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the business series

The Business Series

In this series, we explore the stories, books, and practices that help lead to successful businesses.

These can really apply to anyone who runs anything, whether it be a coach, a small business, a mid-level manager, a family, a church group, etc. Learn how to lead better, be more efficient, and simply enjoy some entrepreneurs’ stories.

Ep 1: Business Leader Books

Matt & Scott share their business books that have provided them value and insight as business owners themselves.

The E Myth Revisited (Matt)

This book discusses business systems. There are owners, managers, and technicians in every business. If you’re a great technician, you might not be a great manager or owner (e.g. if you’re a great coach, it doesn’t meat you’d be great at running a gym).

Scott’s Initial Recommendations

He recommended reading the Wall Street Journal daily for a few years–stick to the business stuff. The Harvard Business Review is another good source. Lots of new business books are just repackaged old ideas.

Scott got much out of My Years with General Motors.

Poor Charlie’s Almanac (Matt)

There are some great nuggets in this book. Another great resource are the Berkshire Hathaway letters. Both also recommend the Intelligent Investor.

The 4 Steps to the Epiphany (Scott)

This book is about creating a start up.

The Effective Executive (Matt)

This book discusses time management and how to best focus your efforts. It really can apply to anyone who runs anything (a household or family, for example).

Some Newer Options

The Everything Store about Amazon and Jeff Bezos is a good book. Delivering Happiness is the book about Zappos.

Creating a Company Culture & Expertise

This is difficult to do.

Also, you ultimately have to do and get over the expertise hurdle. Keep learning, get after it, and ask questions.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

This book delivers great productivity, work ethic, and living good life tips.

Crucial Conversations

This book discusses how to have difficult but necessary conversations. This applies to business, but also normal human interactions in any relationship.

The Business of Business

Business is hard. People glamorize it, but it comes with challenges and the probability of failure and failure’s consequences.

Plus some rapidfire book recommendations that didn’t quite make the top cut.

Ep 2: Building a Better Belt with Dominion Strength Training

This is the original Dominion Strength Training interview. Blake & Katie join Matt & Scott to discuss the creation of Dominion Strength Training. You can find their website here and follow them on Instagram here.

Blake identified the possibility for creating a belt company when–as a novice lifter–he saw a gap between poorly made, cheap belts that you could get quickly and expensive, high-quality belts that took months to get to you. He realized that lifters needed a high-quality belt they could receive quickly.

They initially sourced from Pakistan, but ran into quality issues and were forced to repair belts with their own hardware before a large pre-Christmas order, which led them to work toward producing the belts themselves.

This led them to create the belts themselves to avoid these problems. This gave them more control of the quality of the belt, and ultimately improved the quality of the belt. They moved from Atlanta to Florida to build their business.

Lots of people have good ideas, some attempt to pursue them, but few persevere through the difficulties and succeed in creating a successful business.

By the way, Dominion sells more products than listed in this episode…stay tuned for episode 6 for an update from them.

Ep 3: How to Change Careers, Pay Off Debt, & Build a Successful Gym with Jordan Stanton

Jordan Stanton, owner of Next Level Barbell, joins Matt & Scott to discuss his story of frugality, risk taking, and self-determination.

He went to college to become a nurse, but realized this was not a career he wanted to stick with long term. He began to train lifters and came to a point where he had to decide if he was going to really pursue it or not, and he ultimately did.

He paid off his bad debt with frugality and even though his initial gym was in a garage, he provided a clean space with high-quality lifting equipment and offered excellent coaching.

Although Jordan discusses going All in, he didn’t really go all in. He pushed hard, but he didn’t buy a huge warehouse and hope customers would come. If you want to start a gym, start in your garage and get a rack. Maybe move to a larger garage or get more equipment. You might eventually consider renting a small space. You don’t get an expensive space without knowing there is a customer base for you.

Jordan also realized the importance of the subscription model. He didn’t have clients pay monthly but rather had them pay monthly. This ensured regular pay. He also offered discounts for people who came regularly as opposed to coming in for one session.

Lastly, he found a huge element to creating a successful gym was building the community. The community keeps people coming and makes it harder for them to cancel, because their friends lift at the gym. This is large element to the success of CrossFit, because group classes create a social element.

Ep 4: Traversing the 2020 Business Landscape with MicroGainz

This is the episode Matt & Mike recorded the day before Thanksgiving 2020 and aired that Black Friday. Matt & Mike discuss MicroGainz and the opportunities and challenges that COVID created for their businesses.

You can follow MicroGainz on Instagram here. MicroGainz offers fractional plates (now up to 10 lbs), dumbbell fractional plates, gym pins for machines, and now Barbell Logic engraved micro plates. The equipment is made in Pennsylvania, USA. You can always use cold “LOGIC” to get 10% off.

2020 has been a hard year for many people, though good professionally and personally for Matt (and he’s thankful for that). MicroGainz benefited from supply issues because he was able to produce plates when others could not.

The great part about his products is that they can be used whether you train at a gym–they fit easily and lightly in your gym bag–or at your house.

Ep 5: Entrepreneurship with Mike from MicroGainz

This is a new interview with Mike Reed from MicroGainz . Mike & Matt really focus on entrepreneurship and creating a successful business. Also, Mike and his wife recently attended the 2021 BLOC Party, had a blast, was able to meet many of the coaches and clients, and brought gear to sell (without shipping).

You can follow MicroGainz on Instagram here. MicroGainz offers fractional plates (now up to 10 lbs), dumbbell fractional plates, gym pins for machines, and now Barbell Logic engraved micro plates. The equipment is made in Pennsylvania, USA. You can always use cold “LOGIC” to get 10% off.

Mike discovered the problem of not being able to make smaller jumps when he completed LP, and realized there weren’t many options on Amazon. Plates he found were cheap and poorly made and not made in the USA.

He decided to fix this problem himself and worked to make his first fractional plates. Not only does this go to show that successful business solves a problem, but it was actually a problem Mike faced himself. He had an N of 1 that this was a real problem, and he also understood the importance of this problem and how he could help his clients.

People have lots of misconceptions about what entrepreneurs or business owners do. They think it’s glamorous and easy, but it’s really about grinding for years and maybe even decades. Mike worked 2 jobs for 4 years before he was finally able to quit his day job. Matt similarly had to work 2 jobs when he initially began coaching.

For both of them, there came a point where they realized that not only could they quit their day job but they needed to if the new business would succeed.

Ep 6: Dominion Strength’s Business Journey

This is the NEW interview with Dominion Strength Training. Niki talks to Blake & Katie about their journey as entrepeneurs as their business has grown and they’ve expanded the products they offer. You can follow Dominion Strength Training on Instagram.

Niki actually met Blake & Katie before Dominion Strength Training started, as they came to Atlanta Barbell to receive coaching. They were CrossFitters but learned to love strength training, and as they turned to purchase their belt they realized there was no high-quality belt they could get quickly.

Initially, they received equipment from overseas, but production and quality issues led them to realize that they could offer a better product with less problems if they built the belts themselves, so they began to build the belts themselves.

Because they control everything that goes into the belt, they create the highest quality belt on the market. They can ship the belts to you quickly because they don’t customize but rather have belts in stock that can be yours within days.

They have grown and offer more products now, including straps, different sizes and types of belts, and dip belts.

Ep 7: Marketing with Josh Veach

What is marketing and why does it matter? If you feel you can provide a valuable service or product to others, how do you not only get that message out but demonstrate to your potential audience & customers that what you are selling is right for them? Josh Veach, CIO at Barbell Logic, joins Niki & Matt, to discuss marketing.

Josh also runs a non-profit–Go Shout Love–that designs and sells t-shirts, with the funds going to help families pay medical bills for their children with rare diseases. You can follow Go Shout Love on Instagram here.

Matt and Josh met not through lifting or some business convention, but rather through being neighbors and sheltering from tornadoes.

Josh’s house did not have a basement but Matt’s did, so Matt offered his basement in case of a tornado (and Josh and his family took him up on the offer).

The friendship first entered the business realm when Matt needed to build a website for his gym, Strong Gym. Josh had begun to do pro bono work and eventually created a company of his own that worked on marketing and website development.

Since then, Josh has become a full time employee at Barbell Logic, a member of the leadership team, and a crucial member of the team.

Now, back to marketing.

Most people focus on themselves and their business and forget to think about their audience and clientele, what value they are looking for, and what drives their decisions.

If you’re a coach or business owner, you (hopefully) believe in the product or service you’re offering and understand the value you provide your clients. Or, if you don’t have any clients yet, you at least have some idea of how you can impact and improve the lives of your future clients. But simply sharing your story is not enough.

Josh’s advice comes down to three big things:

  • know your clientele, what value they are looking for, & what drives their decisions
  • what makes you different (& better)
  • make it easy to have them pay you

Additionally, and just as important, you cannot lie about your service or product. Word of mouth is still the best way to grow, and if you lie or overpromise about your product or service, the word of mouth will be negative.

Lastly, you have to build your brand through repetition.

What beer do you think of when you think of the coldest beer? What beer do you think about when you think about getting away to a beach? Is this a result of some inherent property of that beer, or that those companies have made decisions about what their product provides and have consistently messaged that over years and decades. You are positioning yourself and your brand in your audience and clients’ minds.

One example of this is having a consistent color scheme and font in your marketing and design work. It’s a small point, but it helps maintain one consistent voice and builds the repetition and consistency you want.

This actually decreases in difficulty as you grow. Though you as a coach don’t have a marketing department planning and preparing your messaging, you are also one person. How do you maintain a consistent voice in a larger company? It’s hard.

Lastly, what’s a CIO? The title means Chief Information Officer. Josh helps with website development and design, marketing and sales. He ensures that Barbell Logic maintains that one consistent voice throughout its webpage, social media, content, services, and advertisements.

Understanding marketing can really help you in multiple areas of your life, beyond your business. The underlying principles are about clear communication and working to understand what the person you’re communicating with wants.

 

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