Transforming Your Company From Good To Great

Transforming Your Company From Good To Great

Do you feel like your business is running you rather than the other way around? or maybe business is going really well for you, but, you know, it can be better? You've got a good company, but, you know, it can be great.

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Transforming Your Company From Good To Great



Tim Fitzpatrick

Do you feel like your business is running you rather than the other way around, or maybe business is going really well for you, but, you know, it can be better. You've got a good company, but, you know, it can be great.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Our special guest today is going to share his best business-building tips with us to help you transform your business. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult.


Tim Fitzpatrick

All you need is the right plan. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am really excited to have with me Steve Preda from Steve Preda dot com. Steve, welcome, and thanks for taking the time.


Steve Preda

Hey, Tim, it's great to be here. I'm very excited chatting with you.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Yes, awesome. And I knew I was on your podcast a month or two ago, so it's nice to switch seats and have you share your wisdom with us. So thank you so much for doing that. Before we jump into what we're really going to talk about, which is running a better business, I'd like to ask you just a few rapid-fire questions. Help us get to know you a little bit better. You ready to jump in?


Steve Preda

I am.


Tim Fitzpatrick

OK when you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?


Steve Preda

Well, I love to go to jazz concerts. If I can get out of town, go to New York. Unfortunately, it's not been happening very much the last year, but I'm ready to go back. I am also tennis fan. I'd love to go to tennis tournaments as well as play myself tennis. And I love to read. I love to read books and spend time with my family.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Awesome. What's your hidden talent?


Steve Preda

My hidden talent, I think, is to synthesize things. So I like to reflect on things and to try to, you know, come up with models for things. And that's what my podcast is about, coming up with these management blueprints and how you can kind of create some shortcuts to improve your business. I guess that's my hidden talent. Or at least this is what I've been working on and trying to make it my good time.


Tim Fitzpatrick

OK, what's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?


Steve Preda

It's work your own journey, so don't try to be someone else, you know, figure out what you are excited about, what you're passionate about, and try to find a way to engage with the... And then you have to be successful. Life is too short for us to do stuff that we don't enjoy and it's very hard to be good at something that you don't enjoy.


Steve Preda

So you might as well find your own thing.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Yeah. What's one thing about you that surprises people?


Steve Preda

What I hear, and this is one of those things where you kind of it surprises me that it surprises them, but my energy level, so sometimes they say, how do you have energy to do all these things that seem to be writing the book and doing the podcast and you're running your business and, you know, being a speaker and the leadership  coaching and all that stuff. And it apparently surprises people.


Steve Preda

I feel like I'm not doing a really great job and I see how much I could improve, but I guess that's what I get.


Tim Fitzpatrick

OK, what about success? What does it mean to you?


Steve Preda

You know, I really resonate. Bob Dylan said that a man is a success when he gets out of bed in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he loves to do. So that's that's my definition as well. And really, it's all about the journey.


Tim Fitzpatrick

It's a great one. Where's your happy place?


Steve Preda

My happy place, it's not a single happy place, I love to go out on a run with a good audiobook. That's definitely a happy place for me. I used to when my children were small, I used to get up at 4 a.m. in the morning and my happy place was being quiet and read a book and write my newsletter. That was my happy place. And now with the pandemic, my happy place become that I can get out with my friends.


Steve Preda

I get so excited about it. I'm an introvert, but I realize that I have this side as well. So that becomes my happy place now.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Very cool. What about what qualities do you value in the people with whom you spend time?


Steve Preda

Well, I value people who think who don't look at things  and people and events in isolation, but they try to kind of reflect on the interconnection set to connect the dots and who speak about concepts and ideas and their vision more than just, you know, the you know, the minutia things happening around, like the DOT connectors.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Very cool. So before we jump in and start talking about how we can run a better business, tell us a little bit more about what you're doing with Steve Pred dot com, how you're helping businesses.


Steve Preda

That's a great question. So Steve Preda dot com is a new place for me and I've been in the last three years, I've been an entrepreneur myself. I built an investment banking firm, which I managed to sell. And that's my story of how that happened. And this also influenced why I wrote the book Buyable. So I was an entrepreneur, an investment banker, and then I became a business coach. I ran a couple of peer groups and now a leadership team coach.


Steve Preda

I did US for the last four years helping companies implement US as a management blueprint to make their businesses better. So that's all there. And then I recently wrote the book Buyable Your Guide to Building a Self Emerging, Fast Growing and High Profit Business. And that's on my website as well. So I guess that all comes together as StevePreda dot com. And I recently realized that I've had different brands for my businesses, my practices, and I'm done with all my branding.


Steve Preda

I just want to be me in the future. And everything I do is just going to be on Steve Preda dot com. And I don't have to worry about branding anymore.


Tim Fitzpatrick

OK, very cool. So let's let's dig into it. You had mentioned your book Buyable. I think any of us that are building a business, building something that is buyable, something that somebody else would want to buy, even if we don't plan on buying, is a good thing. Why should we do that? Why should we build a buyable business no matter what our end goal is?


Steve Preda

Yeah, so this is the idea behind Buyable and why the book is not called Sellable, that would have been the obvious title - Sellable.


Steve Preda

So people talk about being a sellable business because they want to sell it. And my thought is that, no, you don't want to be a sellable business. You want to build a buyable business that gives you options. And you don't have to sell it. You just have to create an asset which is going to be attractive to the people. It's not dependent on you anymore because it's self-managing. It's a growing business. It's consistently growing.


Steve Preda

It's profitable. It's high profit means that it is in its industry. It's one of the highest profit businesses, which makes it a valuable asset. And then you have an asset like that, you will be able to attract good people, better people that are really fun to work with. Who will you will be able to delegate and they will run with the ball and build your business for you. You will not have to labor in the business all the time.


Steve Preda

So you will have time for other pressures and and and other things in your family and whatever is important to you and to be at the strategic level. And if life brings you a situation where you need to sell the business, either because you have a bigger opportunity that you want to go after or because your'e at the end of your career and you want to just transition out and not own the business anymore, or you want to be with your family or you are sick and you can't run the business anymore, or you go through a life change like a divorce and you need the cash, then you have options and you can then, you know, pivot and let someone else take on a business without major transition, you being stuck in the business for a long time.


Steve Preda

And that's the idea. So Buyable. And it comes from my life situation several years ago when I wanted to move here to the United States and I got approached by someone. And at that point I had been teaching other entrepreneurs how to build buyable businesses effectively. And it turned out my business was unbuyable. It turned out I was involved in my business. I was the chef and the bottle washer of the business. And I was involved in everything.


Steve Preda

And my buyer told me that there's no good you value. He would buy the furniture and the computers and, you know, give me a commission on whatever they closed. But the business that's not buyable. And that's when I realized that I had to do the hard way. I had to travel back and forth between the US and Hungary where I was at the time, or my business was for a year until the business became buyable. And then I could sell it.


Steve Preda

And I learned my lessons. I don't want other people to go do it the hard way. So that's what buyable is about.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Yeah, I think the really important concept for people to pull out of this is if your business is centered around you as the as the owner, most people do not want to buy that. It's sellable. Right? Anything's sellable at the right price. But if you want to maximize the value of your business from a sales perspective or frankly, just from a lifestyle perspective, you can't be the broken cog in everything. You cannot be centered around you.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Did I hear that right?


Steve Preda

That's definitely one of the three parts. So self-managing is important. People want to buy the future. And if you're stuck there and it depends on you, then how can they give you the money, and are you still going to be motivated to build it for them? You're an entrepreneur, you're looking to be an employee. So that's the one piece. The second piece is the business has to be growing because if the businesses are going, then it's a frozen situation.


Steve Preda

People, good people will not be able to progress in their careers. So they're going to leave the business. You won't be able to attract good people because it's all stuck at the same level. So it has to be growing, you know, good or bad. That's a fact to attract good people. And thirdly, it has to be profitable because if you're not sufficiently profitable, then you are going to be forced into a situation, into the commodity positioning where your business is going to lose its value.


Steve Preda

Other people are going to disrupt you. So you need this cushion of profitability so that you can make the changes, that you can evolve the business going forward and you can be one of the attractive players in the market which will give you that viability as well.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Awesome. So let's jump into management, what are the seven different management concepts that we need to understand and have in place if we're going to be running a well-oiled machine here?


Steve Preda

Yeah, so that concept of the seven major concepts, it really came about when I was thinking about, OK, what do these books like Traction, EOS, or Mastering the Rockefeller Habits or the eMyth or Skilling up. There are others. So what are these books? How do they approach building a great business and what is it that.


Steve Preda

Implement. And then I can reverse engineer from these books, and I went back to the origins of who you know, who the ideas came from, and where those people found those ideas from. And what I discovered was that there were seven major management concepts that have been evolving and developing over the last century. The first of them is creating processes was articulated by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the Principles of Scientific Management in 1911. And since then there were others like Peter Drucker and Jim Collins and Andy Grove and others who came up with this concept.


Steve Preda

And we find it. So there are seven concepts and all the Fortune companies, they already have implemented this decades ago. And if you have money to hire an MBA, they're going to do it for you. But if you are a small to medium-sized business, then you can actually find a cookie cutter way of implementing these concepts by going to the management blueprints, these books that will help you package these management concepts for you and help you implement it.


Steve Preda

So it's the seven management concepts are they are grouped in three groups. First group is the foundation. So the foundation for your business is Jim Collins said that first you have to get the right people on the bus. You have to get the wrong people off the bus and you have to put the right people in the right seats. So the first two concepts, the first one is the culture. You have to define the culture for your business, articulate your core values, the core behaviors that your people, your good people for you have to exhibit and then you have to put them in the right seats.


Steve Preda

You have to determine the structure of your business. That's the second concept. Second is structure. So what's the right structure for your organization? And define those functions and the roles and responsibilities that go with each of the functions and put the right people in the seats. So that's foundation. The second, when you got the foundation down, then you go to the direction. So where does this company go into the future? And there are two concepts that go in there.


Steve Preda

The first one is the vision. So what is going to be your vision? And the vision breaks down into three elements. The first one is you'll be happy to be carry dishes. Go, Jim Collins. So what is your bechara? This is the big single big goal that like the North Star for your business that everyone is striving to achieve. And then you got that, then you have to figure out your purpose as well. So what is your business about maybe purposes?


Steve Preda

The first one, actually. So figure out your purpose or mission for your business. So because every business has to stand for something. It's not about you as a businessman. Obviously, you want to make money, but the business has to have a societal purpose for it to have any justification for existence. So what are you doing for other people? What is the purpose of the business? And then the Beeac, the big, the Chicago. That's the long term goal.


Steve Preda

And then how do you paint the picture? So Cameron Harold talks about the vivid vision. So you need a vivid vision, a medium-term vision for your business, because it's OK to have this big,  audacious goal like, you know, Space X wants to create that colony on Mars. It's great to have that. But where do we go from here? What's an intermediate stage for us? What's your vivid vision? And SpaceX vivid vision is to create this one-hour trip from London to Hong Kong and having the Hyperloop to get get out to the launching pad and get the rocket over to Hong Kong, London, and Shanghai in just an hour and a half.


Steve Preda

So that's kind of the vivid vision. So you need that as well. So the vision is the purpose. The bechara this is where the vivid vision and then you figure that out, then the concept four is the strategy. So how are you going to get to do that vivid vision and how are you going to differentiate your business in the market from others? What are the goals that you have to set to get to your vision? What is going to be the resources that you have to mobilize to be able to achieve those goals?


Steve Preda

So people resources, material resources, financial resources. And then how do you what is your process to get? How are you going to get there? And how are you going to monitor the progress and make sure that you are hitting those goals? So that's your strategy. So when you figured out the foundation, the direction that it's all about the production, so how do you produce that result and the production? There are three concepts here.


Steve Preda

One is execution, which is all about setting your rocks so call your priorities rocks. Having a scoreboard so that, you know, every week, whether you've won the week or you didn't win the week. So  you're clear on the numbers that you have to hit as a company, the people in the company. What are the numbers they have to hit? And the third piece is the meeting. So you need to have meetings where you create this accountability, this peer accountability between your people.


Steve Preda

So you're not as a business owner, you're not managing everyone on a bilateral basis. But you create this teamwork and team accountability where people are holding each other accountable and do the heavy lifting for you. So that's execution then. Processes is about creating the playbooks and the checklists so that you are systemizing your business. And finally, the alignment is the last concept is how do you make sure that everyone in the business understands where you're going with the vision, how are you going to get there?


Steve Preda

And everyone is part of your vision and they're all rowing the boat in the same direction. That's alignment. And you also have to make sure that everyone is aligned in the company. It's no good to have your vision if people are not aligned around it.

Tim Fitzpatrick

OK, so let me make sure I got this right. So the seven management principles we've got first, the foundational elements, culture and then the structure of the company, make sure we get the right people in the right seats. Then we've got the direction elements, which is vision and strategy. And then we have our production elements, which is execution, our processes and or our systems and then alignment.


Steve Preda

Yeah, you've got it.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Awesome. I love it.


Tim Fitzpatrick

So everybody listening, watching. That's it. Those are the seven elements that we need to have if we're going to be building a well-oiled machine, a business that is actually buyable now. I love this concept you're talking about here of a management blueprint. You know, when we look at marketing, we typically start people with a blueprint. And that blueprint is, for us on the on the marketing side, it's a plan. It's a plan of how we're going to get the right message in front of the right people.


Tim Fitzpatrick

From a management standpoint, there's different blueprints out there. What are the different, you know, what is the management blueprint? What are the major principles involved? And how do you know that you're going to pick the right one for your business?


Steve Preda

These are excellent questions. So there are many management blueprints in the book Buyable. I talk about ten different blueprints. And there are three areas that I identify with. There are the classic blueprints. There are pioneers. The pioneers, the pioneers were the emyth. That was the first one. Michael Gerber. The great game of business. Those are the pioneers, and then you got the classics, which is mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Traction, which is US, the entrepreneur operating system and the advantage.


Steve Preda

You've got the advantage and there's the other one, which is I'll think of it in a minute. So there's one more. It's for small companies, fast-growing companies. And then you've got the third wave. The third wave is the four disciplines of execution and scaling up, which is another Verne Harnish book and the three Hegewisch. And basically what these books do is starting with the emyth. The emyth brought this whole concept of this idea of creating processes in your business to make sure that you know where you're going, how you're going to get there.


Steve Preda

It's this idea of creating a franchise prototype for your business so that you can replicate it, you can duplicate it in different geographies. It talks about McDonald's. It talks about the concepts of working in the business and on the business. So how most people start out as technicians and they have to become entrepreneurs and figure out how they elevate themselves and work on the business and delegate their functions. And then the great game of business. The other pioneer book was all about give me find the business and watching the numbers and helping everyone understands how they fit in, how they connect to the numbers and keep opening your books with your employees and how you do that.


Steve Preda

And then the era of the classic eras where these books started to show actual tangible tools. So both emyth and the great game of business, they talk about concepts, but they don't actually create the tools and the tools are created by these classic books of they start. And the first one of us was mastering the Rockefeller habits, so talked about the one-page strategic plan and the rocks and all these other tools that you can actually implement in your business and then Traction kind of simplified it down direction, said, OK, so there are too many tools.


Steve Preda

You just let pair it down just 20 tools and make them very cookie-cutter and you create this process for every business does the same thing. They follow the same process and it kind of simplified it dumbed down to the degree that even a very small company can do it, even if one person can do traction. And then the advantage, Patrick Lencioni, he brought this human element into it. So he talked about, OK, how do you mobilize people?


Steve Preda

How do you inspire people? How do you lead? How do you create this healthy team environment where people are bringing their maximum talent to the business and they're bringing their energy and they're going to own their functions and they work well together and they can have these hard conversations together. So these are the major classics. And then the third wave is basically taking everything at the higher level, going deeper. So scaling up. So it's about, OK, maybe traction takes you to.


Steve Preda

There's a two-year journey and they take you this far, maybe thirty, fourty percent of the way. How do you go to the next 60, 70 percent and then the three highways or about your strategic lot of tools in the strategy realm that maybe the other blueprints have been vecuronium. The four disciplines of execution focus on the execution. So how do you make sure that you execute like clockwork? Is the production piece a big piece of production piece?


Steve Preda

So all these blueprints, they have different approaches. They all use the seven management concepts. Not all of them use all of them, but those are all the concepts there are, at least as far as I found them. And they have put different emphasis on different pieces. And they also address sometimes different companies. So one blueprint is more like a technician who is trying to turn their, you know, their profession or their trade into a business.


Steve Preda

That's the myth. The great game business is about maybe it's a bigger company that has more complexity. And how do you engage everybody in the numbers game? Traction is more about the small company and making this very cookie cutter scaling up is about fast-growing companies. And how do you take them on this fast growth? And three ways is about strategy. So there are lots of aspects going on there. And maybe I'm giving you too much detail here, but...


Steve Preda

But that's something you can't stop talking about.


Tim Fitzpatrick

So the management blueprint is really just a plan for how you're going to manage your business. It gives you those concrete steps that you're going to take to manage your business in an efficient way. Did I get that right?


Steve Preda

Yeah, basically. So remember the seven concept, so culture, structure, vision, strategy, execution, process, and alignment. So this is all they do. And if you do this seven, you're going to have a wonderful business. And then, of course, then you can go into more depth, so when we talk about strategy than there are different elements to it and you can just start at the basic things and then you go and it's like a virtual keeps growing and growing.


Steve Preda

You can get into more detailed strategy to understand your target market and your differentiation and your tactics and how you map your competition and how you're going to, you know, how you  are going to do it your way and get there. And there are a lot of ideas that go into these management blueprints. And the idea is that you need to really you need to need a guide who will actually help you navigate between all these concepts, because every company is different and every company has different challenges.


Steve Preda

They are at different stages of development. And it's really important that that's why being too cookie-cutter, it can backfire because not all companies need to stop at the same place. They don't have anything. Other companies have their values already. They already have goals and some have some strategies. Other companies, you know, they don't have goals, but they have good processes because they have ISO nine thousand one or whatever. So every company is a different place.


Steve Preda

And the idea is to meet the companies where they are. And over my head, there are like five times more books. This is an overwhelm, so it's not a lack of information these days. It's an overwhelm. It's an avalanche of information. And people are confused and actually have a thousand books being published every year in America and they just don't know where to start. So the idea is to bring in someone who gets you a business, who is a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader, and they can understand what you're doing and then let them figure out, OK, what are the tools that you need right now to reap the low hanging fruit and start from there? And that's the idea.


Tim Fitzpatrick

So by working with somebody like you, you can help them really identify which of the management blueprints is going to work best and be most appropriate for them based on where they're at.


Steve Preda

And which of the tools. So maybe they need a combination. Maybe they need to tools from three or four different blueprints. For where they are so that they can move forward.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Yeah. OK, got it. This is awesome. I love it, Steve. Any last minute words of wisdom or thoughts you want to leave us with here?


Steve Preda

And well, the wisdom is. You try to leverage other people, so don't just read everything, I mean, I did that, I've been there, I've had two or three books a week, and and it's wonderful.


Steve Preda

It's very stimulating. But find a mentor who can actually make sense of this, someone who maybe joined a peer group and talked to other people. So definitely talk to people and try to use other people's experience to synthesize things. So even if you don't have your personal guide, have your mentor talk to other people and try to understand what the landscape is and what is your biggest challenge and try to look for a solution for that challenge.


Steve Preda

And maybe you need a guide, maybe you need a business coach, maybe you need a good mentor or a peer group... Because that's not going to work. How ever many books you listen to or read? It's just too much to process.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Awesome, Steve, thank you so much, I really appreciate the information. It's been fantastic. If people are interested in learning more about you, checking out the book, where are the best places for people to find you?


Steve Preda

The best place is to go there is a digital tool that comes with my book Buyable. So obviously if you want to buy my book, I'm very happy about that. But if you're not ready to do that, at least check out the tool called Buyability Assessment and Buyability Assessment dot com, which will allow you to evaluate your business along six factors of buyability. So you're going to have a complete picture. How strong are you in each of the six factors?


Steve Preda

And that's also going to give you some resources where to go and how to fix those issues that you may have or how to strengthen yourself in those factors. If you're interested in Buyable, feel free to go on Buyable business dot com, which is the website, and you can download the first 40 pages of my book and you can dip into it and understand the big picture concepts. And my story of how I came into it.


Steve Preda

In the book, I share over one hundred stories with different businesses on how they became buyable or they failed to become buyable. What were the pitfalls and how do they overcome or didn't overcome? So and even on the first 40 pages, you're going to find at least 15 or 20 stories that you can deep your theeths into. So I recommend that you check that out.


Tim Fitzpatrick

Awesome. Thank you, Steve. So that's Auyability assessment dot com, where you can run through the assessment and Steve will tell you how you're doing from a liability standpoint. If you're interested in the book, go to Buyable Business dot com. You can download the first 40, 40 pages there. Steve, thank you so much for taking the time. I really do appreciate it. And thank you for tuning in. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing.


Tim Fitzpatrick

If you want to gain clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts right now, hop on over to our website. Rialto marketing dot com. That's R I A L T O marketing dot com. Click on the get a free consult button. Guarantee you'll get a ton of value from that call and walk away having some clarity as to where you need to focus your efforts right now to get the best return. Thanks for tuning in. Till next time. Take care.


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About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help service businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. We do this by creating and implementing a plan to communicate the right message to the right people. Marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the RIGHT plan.

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