Today, we’re going to explore change, develop a plan, and follow through with Barry Moltz. Barry gets small business owners un-stuck. He’s a nationally recognized expert on small business has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging in size from 20 to 20,000, appearing on many TV and radio programs. But Barry speaks from experience, founding and running many small businesses with great success and failure for more than 20 years.
His first book, “You Need To Be a Little Crazy – The truth about starting and growing your business,” describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business. In his seventh book “Change Masters, Barry explores follow-through and why so many small business owners pay for expensive advice, agree to take action, and then never follow through.
What follows below is a lightly edited transcript of our interview.
[Gary]: Barry, welcome to Small Business Matters. We’re in the middle of, or coming to the tail end of, of the COVID pandemic. There’s been a lot, and there’s been so much change. I mean, people have really been forced to pivot. Are small businesses more open to change, given COVID and rapid pivot situations, do you feel?
[Barry]: No. People only change, in my opinion, when they’re in incredible pain, and certainly, with the COVID-19 pandemic with businesses having to shut down or have fewer hours or occupancy, they had no choice but to change. When restaurants were closed, they had to become grocery stores. They had to do takeout. One of the things I liked about the pandemic one silver lining was I got to eat food from fancy restaurants, where I could never get a reservation because they were doing takeout.
[Gary]: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s been a real eye-opener. We’ve seen so many great situations where people have innovated and pivoted in such a creative way. Restaurants that may not have been able to do seated dining are catering to people; even in our kitchens at Experian our kitchen staff were making meals for local charities. So you really have to think out of the box.
[Barry]: And the products have been amazing. I was at a restaurant in Hollywood last week, and when you sat down, there was a little paper bag that said mask caddy on it. It was a place where you could put your mask while you sat and ate. I mean, you would never have seen that before, right?
[Gary]: Yeah. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Right? And, going contactless, we’ve seen a lot of innovation in the space. So how do you confront change in your own business Barry? What was your experience like?
[Barry]: Well, change for me has always been difficult because our brain wants us to keep doing the same thing, because what they figure is if you’ve been doing the same thing over and over again, and you’re still alive, I guess it works. And so you don’t want to do something different. Our brains get lazy because we give them those patterns as we get older. But what I try to help small business owners focus on is not the changes that I want them to make, but how do they make the changes that they know they need to make but have had a hard time taking action. And the way you start to make that change is really to take a very small step, as much as we like to say in the retelling of the story that most businesses, they took, these giant leaps to change. Most of the time they start with such a small change, and then they build from there.
[Gary]: Why do you think so many small business owners struggle with change? It seems to be a pretty common problem.
[Barry]: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s fear. Things are going okay. They’re making enough money. And again, people only change when they’re in incredible pain right? So think about how we’ve had telemedicine visits for a long time, but Medicare only started to pay for them during the pandemic because they had no choice. So again, most people don’t want to change their business because they abide by the expression. “The devil I know is better than the devil. I don’t know.” They don’t know what changes are going to bring. So they’re afraid. So they stay where they’re at. That’s why people stay in marriages that they’re no longer in love with or stay at jobs that they no longer like working at.
[Gary]: Fear, it’s the fear of change, right? So you’ve worked with hundreds, probably thousands in your time. Can you share some examples of businesses you’ve worked with who were ready for change and successfully did so?
[Barry]: Well. I mean, during the pandemic, what I was amazed by, I had a one client who helped design clothes for various fashion brands, and they changed actually designing fashion masks. So again, they went where the need was. I saw that the Pawtucket Red Sox, who was part of the Minor Leagues during the pandemic, only Major League baseball. There wasn’t Minor League baseball. They had nothing to do with their stadium. So they decided to open a promotion called “Dinner On The Diamond” where you could go into the baseball field, they set up tables, and you could have ballpark Franks and cotton candy and things like that at the ballpark, there was no baseball going on, but there was another way they could use that physical facility, which I thought was amazing.
[Gary]: That’s a great story. Yeah. I saw just so many examples. I mean, even if it’s not limited to just restaurants. I saw one instance where there was a media studio, but they typically go out and film events and send film crews on site, but they couldn’t do a lot of that. But they got into the business of enabling churches to do streaming. So they had the whole consulting side of their business spring up around putting streaming systems together and training churches to operate the equipment and conduct services.
Free Book Giveaway
On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022, 1:00 p.m. Central, Barry will do a deep dive on his new book in a webinar “How to make the changes in your business you must make.” The first 1,000 registrants for the webinar will receive a free copy of “Change Masters.” Register early to secure your copy.
[Barry]: You saw restaurants and hotels hook up where, hey, you want a dinner night out, come to our hotel room, we’ll do room service or have the restaurant bring in-room service for you. Or you want to get out of the house use our hotel room as your day office?. There’s a sign still at the Burbank Airport in Hollywood, it says “Rent This Entire Hotel” it’s the Artesian Hotel in Las Vegas starting at $8,500 a night for you and your family. So people were innovative. They were thinking of ways to deal with what it is. And I think that’s the wonderful thing about small business owners, we’re going to take a gut punch, but then we’re going to figure it out.
[Gary]: What if the necessary change is a change of management or ownership?
[Barry]: Well then that’s really, what’s going to happen. I mean, mainly I’m dealing with business owners, so they never think that the problem is them, but the business often has outgrown them. Think about it, there are very few companies that can take very few owners that can take it from founding up to a hundred million dollars. So once my business has got to be about $10 million in sales, that was it. I didn’t want to deal with all the HR and all the legal types of things you got when you had a much larger business. So I think you have to realize where can you effectively manage change or bring change to the organization? And if you can’t any longer, it’s time for you to go.
[Gary]: How can a small business determine if the change is necessary?
[Barry]: Well, usually they’re stuck in one of those areas. So, for example, their pipeline isn’t full, they’re not bringing enough customers, or they’re getting customers in the front door, and their existing customers are going out through the back door. They’re not keeping the customers they have, or there’s a tremendous amount of turnover in their business, or they can’t find new employees. That has to do with how they’re doing leadership and management. There’s not enough cash for their business, or their customers keep going to their competitors, which means they’re not providing an outstanding customer experience. Or the owner says, you know, I can’t get anything done. And they blame time for when it has to do with focus and attention. So if they’re stuck somewhere, it means something’s gotta change. My favorite expression is from Albert Einstein. He said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting to get different results.” And so many of us act that way.
[Gary]: There’s a national shortage of workers, you know, with COVID. There are so many people changing jobs with the Great Resignation. Retail and a lot of frontline types of positions like restaurants were hit with this problem. What do small business owners need to do change-wise to be competitive and attract workers beyond the wage challenge?
[Barry]: Well, to attract the workers, you now have to figure out how their personal life will fit into your business. It used to be how is business going to fit into people’s personal life? But it’s really the other way around. You’ve got to have a strong culture and a strong vision and mission of why these people should be part of your company. And you have to care about how they’re doing, not only inside the company but also outside the company. But to have not so much dependence on employees. One of the things you need to do is use technology. We saw the implementation of technologies accelerate during this pandemic with people putting in processes and different kinds of automation. Automation could take over if there was a turn-over or they didn’t have the people to actually do the work.
[Barry]: I mean, one of my favorite automations that finally caught on during the pandemic was contactless payments. I’ve been using my Google Pay, Apple Pay for many years. I really like it. I can use my watch, but now it has caught on because no one wants to touch anything. Or the QR code made a huge comeback where we got the menu from just scanning the QR code, or I was able to pay by scanning the QR code at the restaurant table. So I love those things, and I think that’s going to continue to keep going on.
[Gary]: What about the small business owner who is reluctant to change? You have probably dealt with quite a fair share of those situations. What if it is someone that’s just reluctant? I watch The Profit with Marcus Limonus, and there are so many cases there where the person just doesn’t want to change.
[Barry]: Listen, people who aren’t willing to change will end up the way of Blockbuster and taxis, right? Because someone’s going to come into a more innovative space. Remember, innovation and disruption are the two sides of the same coin. When you’re Blockbuster, it’s disruption, but when you’re Netflix and it’s innovation. And when you’re a taxi, it was disruption. But for Uber and Lyft, it was innovation. Someone’s going to come in. Who’s going to be smarter, look at the problem differently, and have enough money. And they’re going to out-innovate you. And that’s hard because many companies in an existing business are still making money, so why should they change? This is why it was so difficult for Blockbuster and taxis to change or think of the yellow pages. They had a hard time getting to digital advertising cause they were making so much money from their print guide. It’s hard to be that innovator when you’re primarily the dominant player in the industry.
[Gary]: What inspired you to write “Change Masters”?
[Barry]: People would hire me to consult and help them change. We would get together; they would pay me money. We would put together a very detailed plan of the changes they wanted to make and how they would make the changes down to each of the steps. And then I would leave, and nothing would happen. They wouldn’t do any of those changes. So I got frustrated with people paying for expensive advice, but they never really got anything out of it. So I decided to focus on not specifically what they needed to change, but how they could make the change and really step-by-step. And I put together in the book 20 steps that you can make to do any change. Now, when I tested this change matrix out with my wife, I said, honey, could you fill this out because I’m testing it for the book? She looked at the worksheets; She goes, I don’t have to fill it out; there are no changes I need to make. So I’m not trying to motivate people to make changes I’m trying to help them to make the changes they know they have to make.
[Gary]: The book is called “Change Masters – How to Actually Make The Changes You Already Knew You Needed to Make“, Barry, where can our listeners learn more about you and the book?
[Barry]: You can go to my website, which is www.barrymoltz.com or Barry Moltz on any of the social media sites, except for Tik Tok. I don’t do TikTok.
[Barry]: That’s awesome. Thanks, Barry, for sharing your ideas today on Small Business Matters.