Tracy: What was your entry point to entrepreneurship?
Ted: My true entry point was as a young boy I sold seeds and holiday cards door to door. I mostly concentrated on the retirement community down the street from our home. I also delivered newspapers for the afternoon Miami paper, The Miami News. It was the largest non-motorized route in the district. I had an old Firestone bike with a humungous basket on the front that was so heavy when laden with papers it would flip over it I hit a bump too hard.
Tracy: Was there a time or an event when you caught the bug and wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Ted: My biggest story and motivator was watching my father, whom I called Big, leave a really good corporate job to go out on his own. I didn’t realize it then but that took a lot of chutzpah. There were still a couple of us kids at home at he would work night and day to make that enterprise work. Both my brother and I worked for him at separate times in our lives. I remember not only him working hard and long but also having the freedom to come and go as he pleased and take vacation when he chose.
Tracy: What was your ‘crossover point’ from, I’m going to be, to, I am an entrepreneur?
Ted: I began and ran a wholesale distribution business in Montana that required me to spend a lot of time on the road, out of town. It was an opportunity to become a protected distributor of Pepperidge Farm Cake and Cookies and other like products. This territory would cover all of Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota. This is when it truly hit me that I was a business owner of a wholesale distribution company. I had to buy trucks, rent warehouse space, plan remote distribution, hire merchandisers and helpers, etc. That is when it became real. And I truly loved most every minute of it. If you ask me what I didn’t like, I’d have to say the brutal winter nights in Williston, North Dakota!
I went in to my job with Pepperidge Farm knowing I only wanted to do it for five years, and then find something more local to run and own.
As I was closing on six years my wife came across an ad in the local paper, The Lewistown News Argus that said the largest local hotel in our area was looking for several management positions. I became general manager of that hotel and stayed in hotels for almost eight years. During that time, I realized I was very good at teaching, coaching and training teams to be highly successful who were making my employers very good money.
With that revelation, I know I could take all my previous talents and skills combine them with my business and coaching acumen. I could help business owners navigate the difficult waters that I saw my own father struggle with so many years ago. In fact, Big is really “the why” to what I do today.
Tracy: What is it about you that you can look a business owner in the eye and say, I can help, and how did you discover this magic?
Ted: Past success is the greatest predictor of future success. I have had it personally and have led many business owners past any place they ever thought they could be. I help them get past the whole thought of just being a good business owner who can work less in their business to being a true entrepreneur who can buy build and sell businesses as well. I know it because I’ve done it more than once, and I’m doing it right now with people in this community. I really discovered this when I started working at The Yogo Inn, in Montana. I just started asking questions that made people think beyond their surface environment. They responded by looking at their work as more than just a paycheck. Then they started asking me questions. How should I do this, what do you think of that and they had more experience in hotels than I did at that point. But they listened, learned, applied and grew.
Tracy: What do you find is your prospects’ biggest or most common problem?
Ted: Most businesses have the same concerns, focused on not having enough time, the need for team building, and a lack of money.
Tracy: What are two or three of the most common questions prospects ask you?
Ted: Sometimes businesses worry that no one can help them. They feel no one understands their specific needs for their industry. They also wonder how long it will be before they see results, and how well I’m acquainted with their industry.
Often businesses will try to find solutions on their own, but that always takes up more time; time they should be spending doing what they love, not on the business of running a business.
Tracy: Why would working with a professional, like yourself, greatly improve your prospects’ chances for success?
Ted: Once you have help with what you need, that increases your chances for success. I understand what business owners need. My question to them is simply, how can I help? I really wish someone would have come knocking at my father’s door and said to him, I’m here to help you with sales, marketing, building a team, getting leads, and to help you find more time. Any of those things would have made a HUGE difference in his life. I see that in so many business owners today. They are really good at their trade, skill or talent, but not so good at running their business. That’s not taught in schools, anywhere. Recently, I was working with a doctor client of mine who told me out of 12 years of schooling, no one taught him how to run his business.
With my company, ActionCoach–the world’s number one coaching company–I have tools that have helped me successfully coach thousands of business owners, and I have been where they are today, and know how to help them move past it.