How ignorance will kill your Minnesota small business


What would your biggest critics say about your business, even if you didn’t agree?

I love Gordon Ramsey’s Hotel Hell and Marcus Lemonis in the show “The Profit”

Their shows involve basically the same thing:  Failing business owners reach out to them for their help, investment, and expertise.  The guys will come to the business, restaurant, or hotel for a couple of weeks, and do everything in their power to turn it from a turd, to a diamond.

What I love about Marcus Lemonis on the Profit, is that the first thing he does after investing money, is take full charge of every decision for a week.

The biggest value that these two consultants and investors bring, isn’t really their cash, it’s their perspective and expertise.

They follow the same path:

  • Get real about the brutal facts
  • Cast vision for just how horrific the current state of affairs is
  • Rub it in a bit with the owner, to get them ticked off and feisty about their ugly and mismanaged “child”
  • Listen to the customers voice and focus on delivering value
  • Fix process, people, and product with a brutal “customer centric” perspective
  • Simplify what they do according to Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Principle & STOP DOING ANYTHING ELSE
    • What can you be best at
    • What are you passionate about
    • What drives your economic engine (what actually MAKES MONEY)
  • Gets rid of people that are keeping the business behind – usually the owners
  • FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS – do one thing great rather than lots of things mediocre

What I find funniest, is that these business owners are the ones that reach out to Ramsey and Lemonis, and then they get all bowed up, and angry when they get confronted with the brutal facts.

Brutal Facts:

Brutal facts are things like this:

  • You might like your food, but your sales say something different
  • You think you’re good at sales, but it’s easy to see that  you’re not
  • You are a bad manager
  • You are a bad leader
  • You are wrong
  • Your team dislikes you
  • You cause people to cringe

If you were to suddenly get every customer of yours, and every critic together, and give anonymously survey them with the following questions, what would they say?

  • If you had to choose, what’s the worst part of working with _______
  • If you had to think of some things, even if they’re super uncomfortable, under total anonymity, what do your biggest critics say about this company, even if you don’t agree?
  • What’s the thing we execute the most poorly or most mediocre?
  • Ask an employee, what would you do in the first 30 days if you were suddenly put in charge?
  • What does the owners biggest critics say about them, even if you don’t agree?

If we want to grow our businesses, and become TRULY great in some regard, we should start hunting down the most brutal facts possible and fixing whatever it is we find.

The meme attached to this post talks about:

“Address Any Semblance of reality the perception is based on”

Perception is reality.

When we make excuses and find reasons to dismiss criticism, we don’t grow.

You should either win or learn – there is no true failure.

Failure is tuition for success when you’re authentically engaged in a continous improvement plan and confronting the brutal facts.

How was dinner? 


That’s the response 95% of the time at a restaurant in Minnesota.  We’re always saying things are good and fine when in reality, we might have disliked it or been very neutral in our opinions.

Brutal Facts are Deceptive, and Hard to Uncover

You have to cultivate the right context and atmosphere to be able to achieve authentic feedback.  Particularly when we have relational equity or power over the people we’re asking it from.

As Business Owners, if we hold power or relational equity with those we’re seeking feedback from, we should expect a false-positive nearly 80% of the time.

Your friends, family, and customers might tell you what they think they want you to hear, rather than the truth – because they don’t want to hurt you.

We need to allow ourselves to be hurt, and refuse to get defensive.

Defensiveness kills our ability to grow

When criticism comes our way, do we let it sit and simmer, or do we feel the need to respond?  It’s natural to confront unfair, or unwise criticism, but there’s value in mining out every single little nugget of truth that might possibly exist in every piece of feedback.

So there you have it – if you want to grow your business, don’t be like the dorks on The Profit or Hotel Hell – start seeking feedback and building in true perspective builders into your systems so that you don’t languish to the point of needing a critical event.

In need of some perspective?  

Call Rob Satrom at 952-200-8073


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