Brian and Scott were glad to speak with entrepreneur, speaker, two-time Inc. 500 winner, and best selling author, Tim Fargo. Tim is also the founder of the innovative social media tool, Social Jukebox.
Drinking from the Horn
In his best-selling book, Alphabet Success – Keeping it Simple, My Secrets to Success, Tim makes business concepts crystal clear with easy-to-remember alphabetical acronyms. The first chapter is “ABC – Always Be Committed.” In it, he uses the metaphor of drinking from a horn to explain the commitment you need to run a business. Hundreds of years ago, people used horns as cups to drink from. Looking at a typical horn-made drinking vessel, there’s no flat bottom so it can’t be placed down. When you picked up a horn to drink, you needed to finish it before setting the horn down. The same is true for running a business. You can’t treat a business as a hobby and expect to succeed. You need to take your business full on and not stop until you’ve reached your goal.
Money Should Never Be Your Goal
Tim’s chapter, “PQR – Pursue Quantitative Results,” resonated with Brian and Scott because it’s a concept that they often focus on with their clients. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” they always say. Tim explained why it resonates with him:
He started with a warning to never wish for more money. He knows that most people don’t abide by this rule since the word “money” is searched for on the internet more often than “goals.” Tim says that you should be defining what you want clearly within the context of your business. You need an endpoint. Without a clearly defined goal, you’re going to have a hard time advancing. Tim advises to lay out a large goal and then divide that into smaller quantitative steps so you can easily track your progress.
“Goals: Finding Success Through a Pile of Mistakes”
Tim quotes Tennyson to explain how he feels about life lessons — “I am part of all that I have met.” All of your life’s experiences — the good and the bad — inform you. Tim reflects on how his bankruptcy in 1991 affected him. He had to stop and assess before moving forward. Tim says there’s a choice to be made when life presents an obstacle. You can have a good bounce or a bad bounce. You don’t want to feel bad for yourself and just question why an awful thing has happened to you. Life is full of problems and mistakes for everyone. You are where you are. The better perspective to take is to ask yourself, “How did this happen and how do I avoid it happening again?”
The Yellow Zebra
Tim explains the yellow zebra as an important concept that revolves around differentiation. You want your business to resonate with people and stand out — as a yellow zebra would. There are a ton of products and services out there — some great; some not so great. How do you distinguish yourself amongst them all? Tim says you need people to think of your business in a very different way. You can’t say that your vanilla ice cream is more “vanilla-y” than the next guy’s. You need to find a way to be unique and communicate that to your audience. It could be your creation story or what your brand represents. Small details matter to consumers.
How does Tim’s Social Jukebox stand out? Tim takes immense pride in his customer service, responding to consumer contacts very quickly, which isn’t always the norm in today’s business world. When you respond to your customer contacts in a timely and efficient fashion, it speaks volumes to your dedication to them and the service you are providing. A company’s lack of response indicates a lack of caring. You want your customer service available to respond to messages and to have the tools necessary to resolve consumer issues.
Sole Proprietorship vs. Incorporation
The first question from the audience came from a filmmaker based in Texas. He does some freelance work currently, and he’s trying to decide if he should market himself as a sole proprietor or if he should start an LLC.
From a legal standpoint, Brian points out that there are a lot more legal protections afforded to corporations than sole proprietors. Brian suggests he incorporate himself as an S Corp for two main reasons: one, S Corps are more attractive to serious investors; and two, you’ll be able to have your funds distributed through a K1, which is more tax conducive.
Tim adds that another important thing to consider is liability. If something goes wrong with a job, as a sole proprietor, you’re completely on the hook for any damages that a client would go after. Liability would be limited to the equity of the business if he had a corporation.
The Creative Solopreneur
There was a second question from a stop motion animator who asked about how best to manage the creative and analytical side of the business as a solopreneur.
Tim admits that this is a hard balance. He suggests to ask yourself, “How much client work do you need done to stick business?” He notes that often with creative people, you love what you’re doing so much that you may work too long on a project to be profitable. You can’t work endlessly to make something perfect, which an artist may be inclined to do. Ask yourself, “What do you need to make in order to survive.”
Brian points out the importance of outsourcing parts of your business to the right people and surrounding yourself with the right team of advisors. Allocate resources the best that you can. Tim adds that you need to focus on what you do best. Focus on your unique value to the business and create other positions that support you in doing what brings value to your business and clients.
Learn more from Tim Fargo…
Visit his website at www.socialjukebox.com
Follow him on Twitter
Email him at email@example.com
Co-founders & Managing Partners