My friend Kevin O’Leary is famous for saying, “You have to be willing to fire your mother if you want to succeed in business.” In a recent interview, the host, shocked and mildly appalled by that comment, asked if he literally meant you should be willing to fire your mom.
His reply was a firm “Yes,” followed by, “Your allegiance has to be to the business FIRST because without that all the good things you want to accomplish are doomed to fail.”
But far too many SMALL and unsuccessful business owners either don’t understand that their allegiance needs to be to the SUCCESS of the business they are running or they refuse to abide by it due to their emotional reaction to what true allegiance requires them to do.
As kids, we stood every morning with our hands on our hearts and pledged allegiance to the flag – but how many actually understood the oath we were taking?
Once upon a time, traitors to that allegiance were shot or hung. Our armed forces understand the concept of allegiance and willingly lay down their lives for the oath of loyalty they’ve taken to our country. Mothers have an allegiance to their babies and will protect them at all costs. In the Bible, God commands Abraham to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to show his true allegiance.
Having an allegiance to the company you are running means you have to put its needs above everything else, including your own needs. If you let your emotions of guilt and fear rule your decisions, you’ll end up doing things that are detrimental to the success of the business.
Most people walk around fearing what others will think about them or say about them if they make such decisions.
They choose to let their business suffer rather than “risk” hurting someone’s feelings by firing them, telling them “no” or being thought of as an ass because they refuse to cave to their request. Their allegiance becomes to other people’s expectations or agenda instead of their own, and more specifically to their business.
Take bad clients as an example. So many business owners tolerate all sorts of bad behaviors from their clients for fear of losing them or appearing to be “too harsh.” Right now, I’m desperately urging all my members to review their margins and, IF those margins are found to be too low, to raise their prices.
Many won’t even LOOK because they 1) already know they’re too low, and 2) already know they won’t do anything about it.
Why? They fear losing their clients or having them send “angry” e-mails over a price increase. While no one will applaud you for raising your rates, if your ALLEGIANCE is to ensuring your business is profitable so it can be sustainable, grow and succeed, you’ll do it anyway, maybe through gritted teeth and your head hung low (as you would if firing your mother), but you’d get it done.
An MSP told me once that he wanted to double his business in a year, but as long as it didn’t interfere with his hobby of playing and teaching tennis, which took both weekends and several hours a day. I told him I wasn’t a right fit for him as a consultant because the only way I know to double an MSP business in a year requires a full ALLEGIANCE to THAT goal and nothing else.
To be clear, you’re here to SERVE your customers and provide value and a solution or service that is competitive.
You need to SERVE your employees, pay them well and provide growth in a great culture. But ALL of this is done, ultimately, as an allegiance to your business succeeding, not because you’re a benevolent, kind soul.
As Jack Welch often said, your #1 job as the CEO is to WIN. When you win, you can provide better pay and greater opportunities to your employees. When you WIN, you can provide more and better services to your customers. When you WIN, you can be charitable. And when you WIN, you can achieve true financial freedom for you and your family – but none of this is remotely possible if you don’t pledge full, complete, and unwavering allegiance to the success of your business.
This year at the Roadshow, my focus is on helping MSPs hit the RESET button on their business model, target market, and marketing strategy.
I am going to help MSPs go UPSTREAM NOW for better, higher-paying clients and differentiate yourself not only from the ankle biters in your market area but also from the larger, more well-funded MSPs and the more aggressive “Super MSPs” that are gunning for your BEST clients…as well as going upstream to sell co-managed, raising your rates and being able to compete for and WIN big contracts by delivering advanced cyber security protections and compliance-as-a-service. There’s much work to do. If this is important to you, then join us: www.ITmarketingRoadshow.com.