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Entrepreneurs are ambitious, hard-working people with a dream. They do their best to build a legacy for their family and wealth for themselves. 

But most businesses fail within the first few years. In this episode, you’ll discover how to build a company that leaves a legacy. 

Want to impact your community and family for generations? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • Why getting rich is the worst motivation to start a business that lasts (even if it seems like only the greedy make it big) (6:55)
  • How to fix society’s problems by getting rich (9:27)
  • Why firing more people makes your business more likely to stand the test of time. (13:02)
  • How to take charge of your cash flow, build up money reserves and never worry about profit again. (18:46)

Remember to download Grandma’s Top Tips for an Independent Financial Future by dropping into https://grandmaswealthwisdom.com/free/. It's time for YOU to break through to a smart, stable, financial future.

If you’d like to see how Grandma’s timeless wealth strategies can work in your life, schedule your free 15-minute coffee chat with us by visiting www.grandmaswealthwisdom.com/call … just like Grandma would want us to do. 

Links mentioned on the show: 

Video about Ozinga: https://youtu.be/ucP_o0QXD48

Youtube Playlist about Profit First: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-TdbcVNkUZjZEa8Q3aNC_rjNJFOMPUXn

Increase your profits if you’re self-employed: http://grandmaswealthwisdom.com/profit


Read Full Transcript

A hearty welcome to “Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom” with your neighborly hosts, Brandon and Amanda Neely. This is the only podcast that helps you take charge of your cash flow and leverage your assets, simply and sustainably, the way Grandma used to.

Amanda: Hey, I’m Amanda, and welcome to our Grandma's Wealth Wisdom, where we help you break through to a smart, stable financial future, with the tried and true wisdom that Grandma used.

Brandon: Hey, and I’m Brandon, and this is Episode 81, how to create a business that lasts and impacts generations. Makes a difference, right? This year we hit three years in our new business and learned that, in the financial sector, less than 1% of financial professionals make it to three years. I didn't even know that step when we started. I might have changed careers or thought of something else. I mean, we're super proud and looking forward to being some of the select group of financial professionals that stick with it for 30 years or more and I know we will do that. [01:11.5]

Amanda: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. For those who don't know this about Brandon and me, we highly value loyalty, sometimes to a fault. We're also very stubborn people.

Brandon: To a fault.

Amanda: To a fault, yeah. That means we stick with things, though, longer than we should sometimes, but it also means we're persistent and we believe wholeheartedly that we can learn a lot by traveling the same road in life for a long, long time.

Brandon: I think part of our inspiration for wanting to think more about how to create a business that lasts and impacts generations is because we've seen it firsthand, what it can look like. I mean, we have experienced it ourselves. I mean, there's a concrete company in Chicago called Ozinga that we … that was started multiple-- [02:03.8]

Amanda: We didn't start it.

Brandon: Yeah, we didn't start it, but it was started multiple generations ago and continues to this day, and we had the privilege of getting to know the current generation because their headquarters weren't far from our coffee shop. It's the fourth generation that we’ve got to connect with really deeply.

Amanda: And we can't even count how many words of encouragement that current generation of owners shared with us when they would stop by for a coffee. Not just one of them, but all of them were super encouraging to us and cheering us on in our business.

Brandon: Yeah, we had them coming in regularly for coffee and we would ask questions. I mean, this business even won the best place to work in Chicago—there was a big award for the best place to work in Chicago apparently—and we totally understand why, too. I mean, we’ve got to meet some of the staff, too, not just the family members, and could totally tell they enjoyed coming to work every day. Remember this is a concrete company. Most wouldn't expect it to be a warm, friendly place to work, but it is, right? [03:13.0]

Amanda: Yeah, and from what we can tell, it's because the owners over the generations have cultivated the company as an impactful business internally and externally. The company does a lot of good for their employees, but also supports a lot of important work throughout the city and beyond.

Brandon: Yeah, if you're down in Chicago and you mentioned that name, people will know who that is. Not because they bought concrete. It’s because of the other things. We're going to take three things from this amazing family business now in its fourth generation and explore how we might apply them to our own business.

Amanda: Now, I know, Brandon—I’m going to jump in here for a second—you've been really inspired by the Guinness company in Dublin, Ireland, and the impact they've had on Dublin and throughout the country of Ireland. Talk a little bit about, for people that aren't from Chicago, not familiar with Ozinga, maybe what you've learned a little bit from Guinness as well. [04:14.7]

Brandon: Yeah, the Guinness business, they've been around since, I don't know, the 1700s or something and they’ve passed on that business. They were very much involved in helping Ireland survive. They also thought with a legacy in mind, because within that place where they first started, they signed a 9,000-year lease, right? Nine thousand years, that's a long time. That's commitment right there, so they were committed to making that business work and then passing it on to the next generation. I kind of see the Guinness as grandfather almost of the way that business is and the Ozingas as almost not their … they're their newborns comparatively. [05:05.5]

Amanda: Right.

Brandon: And if we think that Ozinga is really old in there, they just compare it to some other business.

Amanda: Yeah. There’s plenty of businesses around that you could be inspired from. Our one that we're most familiar with is Ozinga, but some of what we're going to talk about is also inspired by Guinness as well.

Brandon: And if you want to learn about that, read a book called God and Guinness and that was a really good history of Guinness.

Amanda: But also the things that we're going to look at today for how to create a business that lasts and impacts generations, if you're not a business owner or you don't want to be, these could also be things that you want to look for in companies that you might invest in or do business with.

Now, I know people have lots of different criteria they use for companies that they're going to buy their stock, right? They want businesses with diverse products or maybe they want businesses that have products that people will always need, or they want a business that has the latest, greatest invention that they believe is going to take the world by storm, or perhaps they want a company that doesn't even have a product and they're actually just a platform. People use all kinds of different criteria. [0 6:12.0]

But what if the criteria we use today, for a business that's going to last and impact generations, what if these were some of what you factor in when you're making decisions about buying stocks and companies or doing business with companies? Not that we recommend this, but it could be a helpful thought exercise, something to consider. Let us know what you think in that regard. We're not experts in investing by any means, but it could be. If you're not a business owner, maybe take what we're going to share in that lens.

Brandon: The first ingredient we believe is crucial for having a business that lasts and impacts generations is the motivation of the owners. Why are they in business? What do they hope to accomplish through their business?

Amanda: Yeah, if it's purely to make money, the chances are the business won't last when money gets tight or there looks to be a bright shiny new squirrel way of making more money. [07:06.6]

Brandon: Yeah. That's not to say that the business never pivots and try something new. The concrete company in Chicago used to actually deliver coal back in the early 1900s. They survived by shifting the products while the core of their business stayed the same. They're really in the delivery business, right?

In fact, they are clear on their purpose in business. It is to make a positive impact on individuals, their families, and the community for generations. That's on their website. We'll put a link in the show notes to a video about their purpose if you want to get inspired by this company as well.

Amanda: Now, most business owners don't get into business just purely to make money. Sure, making money for yourself rather than someone else and having a virtually unlimited earning potential, those are really good motivators, but we believe there has to be something more. [08:01.4]

Now, maybe the motivation is close to home, like spending more time with loved ones. The motivation could be for your customers, like solving a problem that improves their quality of life. The motivation could be for your own personal growth.

Brandon: But if you can't tie that motivation into something that lasts and impacts generations, then we believe that increases the chances that you create a business that will last and impact generations, so you want to tie those two together.

For example, if you're thinking about giving your kids and grandkids a better life than you had, you're likely to create a business that will continue to provide for them, even if something happens to you, and I don't know how many people forget that part of, Hey, what happens if I’m gone? and we want to kind of think about both sides.

Amanda: Yeah, another example. If you're thinking about creating better job opportunities for future generations, you might create a business that does a really good job training new hires. [09:00.7]

I heard an entrepreneur say recently that they train their employees on an award-winning level, even if they know they might leave in a short time, because if they stay, he wouldn't want a poorly trained employee working for him. He's got a motivation that extends to improving people's ability to earn a living beyond just their ability to work for his company.

Brandon: Which is awesome, right? One more example and then I promise we'll move on. If there's some social injustice that you want to bend towards justice, you might work to make the largest profit you can, so that you can use it in support of work in that area of justice, right? They need money for that. You likely know that true, good work takes time to see positive change, so you'll not just be working to make quick money, but money that lasts, and continue the change you wish to see beyond the ability to see it, so it's going to take time and money for that justice piece. [10:03.7]

Amanda: Yeah. Likely, you already have a good idea of your motivation and this is just a review for you, right, that your motivation beyond just making money, beyond even your own lifetime. We just encourage you to keep getting clearer and clearer on that motivation and share it with others, particularly the people you do business with, so that everyone kind of knows why you're in business.

Now, the next ingredients are creating a business that lasts and impacts generations are the culture and values that drive “how” you do business. This is all about creating a great place to work for yourself and for your employees and contractors. No business is going to last and impact generations if not even the owners have a good working experience. [10:46.3]

Grandma always said, “Eat your vegetables. Look both ways before crossing the road. And never risk your financial future on elements of the market you can’t control.” That Grandma, always good for some tried-and-true advice. And although some of her wisdom seems to have skipped a generation, you don't have to be left behind.

Download “Grandma's Top Tips for an Independent Financial Future” absolutely free, when you visit Grandma’sWealthWisdom.com. Don't wait. Get Grandma's best tips today.

Amanda: Now, I know business is not fun sometimes. We all have to do things we don't enjoy, but it does need to bring some joy at least some of the time. We believe the “how” of the business must be a process that has some elements that make us smile or get us into a flow state, or however you want to define it, and the people that we work with are a huge part of that process.

Brandon: Now, you don't have to win the best workplace award like the Ozinga company, but there are ways to build a workplace culture that's award deserving. The most important thing we can share here is that who you hire is very important to creating and maintaining a great place to work. [12:05.0]

If someone's not a, quote-unquote, “cultural fit,” it's unlikely they're going to change. It's more likely that the culture will shift by them being there rather than the other way around.

Amanda: Now, sure, you need to define the culture and values you want in your business, but likely you have a feel for them already. The hardest thing is to be very selective with hiring.

Now, we know this is difficult. We are recently hiring for our business to be able to better support our clients and hiring is really hard right now, and even if it wasn't, hiring the right people is always harder than it seems.

Brandon: It's easier to find people with the right abilities and experience than it is to find the people with the right attitude and values. But as they say, abilities and experience can be taught. Attitudes and values can't. Yet, attitude and values are harder to identify in the hiring process. [13:01.6]

Amanda: And that's also why to protect our values and culture, so that our business lasts and impacts generations, we sometimes have to be readier to fire people, to help maintain that, because sometimes we will make mistakes in hiring.

Brandon: Yeah, and we've done that a couple of times.

Amanda: Yeah. Now, don't get us wrong. Diversity, equity and inclusion are super important to create a team where diverse opinions and thoughts make for better decision-making and better teamwork, and all the mixture of better workplaces when we have a diverse team.

Attitudes and values, though, are different than everyone being the same race, gender, party or whatever. For example, our respect and honor of everyone's input is a great value that creates an awesome place to work even when the people are different, right? And it actually works best when the people are different when you want to respect and honor everyone's input, and that's a value that drives how you do business.

Brandon: Yeah, and I have to add, when you have great people who all have great attitudes and values, you're likely to create better processes for how the business gets done. Those processes can be passed to the next generation within the company and help them enjoy the work, too, so those future people that you haven't even hired yet. [14:18.2]

Amanda: Yeah, so in addition to the motivation behind your business, how your company does business is a very important ingredient to creating a business that lasts and impacts generations.

Brandon: Finally, our third ingredient we definitely need to cover today is the lifeblood of the business. Now, you know we were probably going to get there. The motivation is the heart, and if the culture, values and process is the body and mind of the business, the third thing is the blood that keeps all the parts, oxygenated and fully operational, and that is the dirty word, “money.”

Amanda: It's not a dirty word and, yes, we are going to say it. [15:03.8]

Brandon: Sometimes there are entrepreneurs that are like, Oh, money. I want to do all about the other side. But they don't think about the money side.

Amanda: Yeah.

Brandon: It’s a balance.

Amanda: But I think Brandon and I agree that if you want a business that lasts and impacts generations, you have to make and keep money. That might seem obvious to some people, but I think there are too many people that get lost in the motivation, and the culture and values, and their processes of their business, that they forget to make sure the money is flowing as it should and help ensure their businesses last and impact generations.

Brandon: Yeah, they can be all on one side doing all the org charts and value statements, but if they're not out there making sales to bring in the money, hey, it doesn't matter, and we strongly believe that if you want your business to last, even for as long as you plan to work in it, you have to not only know your numbers, but also take charge of them. That's why it's in our little intro for every podcast, take charge of your cash flow. [16:10.8]

I don't know how many business owners I’ve talked to that either don't know their numbers, one, or get statements from the accountants, but have no clue what they mean or how to improve them, so somebody else does it and they just don't know. It seems overwhelming, they say. There are too many numbers. Where do you start? Where should you focus in order to make the biggest impact to your business now and in the future?

Amanda: Now, this is where the blood analogy for money might break down slightly, but tell me what you think about this. Yes, your body, it needs blood flowing through it constantly, but sometimes you need a blood bank. Now, we don't typically save our own blood in case of an emergency, but we give blood for others, and when we need blood, we hope there's a supply of blood for us, too, right?

Brandon: Yeah. [16:58.3]

Amanda: So, the blood bank serves a crucial role in human life. But in our businesses, if we want to create a business that lasts and impacts generations, cash flow is super important, but it's not enough. You also need reserves, and if cash flow is the blood in your body, reserves are your blood bank. Yes, it's there for emergencies, but it can also be there for expansion opportunities or times when you have to pivot.

Brandon: Back in the early days of Ozinga, the Great Depression hit. It was only because the family had some wealth outside the business that the business was able to survive and this was, I think, some aunts or something that had some money outside that they were able to give a loan to it, to the business. But if you look at the history--

Amanda: It wasn't just the aunt, by the way.

Brandon: It was more than that, yeah. You know some of that story.

Amanda: I did the research, yeah. [17:53.5]

Brandon: Yeah, and then if you want to do the research, go to that video. But if you look at the history of the business, you see property acquisitions and expansions that we can only imagine required some upfront capital and down payments to make happen. Now, I don't know where you get upfront capital and down payments if not from proper money management and creating reserves.

Amanda: Yeah, and having reserves outside the business is also what has allowed Ozinga to have more and more impact on their community, like supporting their local businesses like our coffee shop. We experienced their reserves firsthand.

Brandon: Yeah, exactly, and this is true for us, too. We were only able to sell our first business to a nonprofit that's continuing the mission because we had some reserves outside the business.

Amanda: So, how do you take charge of your cash flow and build up some reserves? It might surprise you, but I’m going to tell you this one is actually kind of easy. The best method we’ve found to manage the funds that flow through your business and create reserves is called Profit First. [19:01.5]

We could talk about Profit First for a long time. In fact, we'll put a link in the show notes to a video series we created and some other resources for those that want to learn more to entice you to check out Profit First and its concept and way of doing things, developed by this awesome guy named Mike Michalowicz.

We're going to say this. Not only us, but thousands of businesses have become truly profitable by following the Profit First method. Profit First is a big factor in helping us sell our first business to that nonprofit who is keeping it going and continue the impact. In the day-to-day, Profit First also helped Brandon and I fight a lot less about what to do with the money within our business.

Brandon: Yeah, and if you'd like to have a simple method of knowing and controlling your numbers, if you'd like to be profitable from your next deposit, we highly recommend checking out the resources we share in the show notes and also getting the book Profit First. [19:58.5]

Amanda: Now, before you go check out those resources, let's do a little recap. Yes, we agree that nothing lasts forever. We have no guarantees our business will be around five years from now, let alone 50 or 100 years, but the impact we leave on others can last for generations. We never fully know the impact, the positive difference we make in people's lives, whether they be in our family, our customers or our employees.

The whole point of today is that if we have the right motivation, we foster a thriving culture within our businesses and we take charge of the cash that flows through our businesses. We believe we've done the most important things we can do to build a company that lasts and impacts generations, and even if the industry or the economy changes and our businesses close, we can trust we did our best and we can move to the next thing with confidence and pride.

Brandon: The analogy we like to use here is related to plants. If you're a plant, develop deep roots of heartfelt motivation, of sincere culture, and of fervor money management. Then if you have to get transplanted, at least you'll have deep roots to be a healthy plant, which increases the possibility that you will thrive in your next environment. [21:15.0]

Amanda: Yeah. Brandon, it just occurred to me we said at the top of the show that if people who aren't business owners could use what we're looking at here for the businesses that they might invest in or do business with, and I was just realizing the businesses that we've chosen to put our money to work to grow in outside of our own businesses are 100-plus-year-old companies -

Brandon: Yeah.

Amanda: - and body … they have huge reserves. They're great places to work, from what we hear from the staff that are there, and they have a huge motivation beyond just making money and that makes me really excited.

Brandon: Yeah, just beyond Marty and the Ozinga family, but there's so many other companies that we've been impacted by and we're seeing this happen in our own lives. [22:04.0]

Amanda: Yeah, and how it's growing our wealth and helping us, what we do with the reserves outside of our business and stuff. People that want to learn more about that, reach out to us, and be sure to subscribe before you go, check out those Profit First resources in the show notes, because we're hoping to start our traditional summer of interviews next. We know by now that you're sick and tired of hearing our voices, so look forward to other voices joining us in the next handful of episodes.

Brandon: Until next time, keep building your wealth, simply and sustainably, so you can break through to a smart, stable financial future.

The topics presented in this podcast are for general information only and not for the purposes of providing legal, accounting or investment advice. On such matters, please consult a professional who knows your specific situation.

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