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Business Coach on Checklists And Checklists

Business Coach 1District

Learn about checklists in the next transcript with business coach Clay Clark (US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year) and business consultant Dr. Zoellner (Entrepreneur & Venture Capitalist) on

Clay Clark:                  On behalf of all the slow learners and business coach in America, I want to chime in on this. Pretend that you used to DJ for me, okay? You come out-

Dr. Zoellner:              I think I’d like to, as a master business coach.

Clay Clark:                  I think it’d be about two week-ends of glory. I think you would have been like a Meatloaf concert meets a wedding. Awesome.

Dr. Zoellner:              They wouldn’t want me to end, just keep going.

Clay Clark:                  They would-

Dr. Zoellner:              Probably get married again just to have me out there, I’d invite my business coach too.

Clay Clark:                  They’d put a ‘Z’ on the cake.

Here’s the thing. What happens is, the DJ’s come out. DJ’s, people that are entertaining an audience until 2:00 in the morning. They come back from the show jacked. I mean, they’re pumped, like, “Whoo, this wedding was awesome. You would not believe what happened tonight. It was the …” There’s forty guys all unloading, a place like this, forty guys all unloading equipment, all simultaneously. I would always be a thousand to two thousand short of cash. I was like, “What happened?” “I put the cash right there.” I did this for a year.

Dr. Zoellner:              That’s how long you put up with it.

Clay Clark:                  About a year. Finally, my wife was like, ” You know, people are going to keep taking cash unless you make ’em accountable.” I’m like, “Whatever.” Go meet with a mentor, he says the same thing. I come back to my wife, “Vanessa, you’re right. Sorry.”

Then, I come back, I say, “Here’s the deal. Moving forward, you DJ a show, we require a hundred fifty dollar deposit and the remaining balance is due at the end of the night. If you don’t return your cash or your credit card receipt, I pay you not.”

“You can’t do that.” “I’m going to. I will not pay you at all.” “Oh,” they say, “It’s a violation of labor law.” I say, “Okay, we’ll average your two shows together and now you made eight bucks an hour per show instead of thirty, but I’m not paying you. If you leave a piece of equipment at the wedding and you don’t come back with it, if its system number forty-two is not back, I’m not paying you.”

I remember how mad these guys were. “You’re crazy.” I remember this one guy, he says, “You mean you’re going to charge me six hundred dollars for a speaker?” I’m like, “Yes.” That’s a big turnover. I realize because I was a bad manager, I attracted bad employees. Was that real? Bad manager, bad employees.

Dr. Zoellner:              The guys could care less about stuff, that’s for sure.

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Clay Clark:                  I’m telling you about me so you guys can say, “Oh, I’m not that dumb.” It’s like the 2005, it’s Christmas Eve and I decided this is Operation Checklist. It’s going down. The guys came in. It’s the first week I really enforced it. “Good. You have your cash?” “Oh, yeah. They never paid me, but I need to get paid.” I’m like, to this guy, “I’m not paying you tonight.” “What, well, I quit.” “Good. Go for it.” Next guy. “Hey, do you have your cash?” “No, I don’t.” Out of forty something guys, I’m not exaggerating, and Jason Bailey, he can vouch for this. I think I fired like eighteen guys, out of forty-five in one night.

What made it do-able is that, in the DJ industry, there’s almost no events in January. They’re walking the plank. I found the guys who stayed were diligent and didn’t mind being followed up on, they had nothing to hide. They were honest and they had honest friends who were afraid to work for us ’cause of all the crazy people. One guy comes to me, I’ll never forget, he says, “You know, I would have referred my friends, but a lot of the guys who worked up here are embarrassing. I appreciate you making that call.”

I needed that little bit of validation. Now, since that time, if somebody can’t produce cash and they can’t tell me where it went, they’re wearing the thing on the wrist and they can’t tell me where the cash is, I don’t get emotional about it. It’s a black and white issue. You had to have had money stolen from you at some point.

Dr. Zoellner:              Oh, absolutely.

Clay Clark:                  How many times did you have to have money stolen from you before you decided, “Okay, we’re going with the wrist thing with the key thing and the camera thing.” How big of an issue did it become before you finally were like, “I’m not tolerating this.”

Dr. Zoellner:              Four months into my very first business twenty some odd years ago, when I didn’t have a business coach.

Clay Clark:                  Four months? In my face. This guy beats me. He sells a twelve hundred vehicles a day, four months in, it took me like five years … in my face. It might be-

Dr. Zoellner:              It was the craziest thing. When you start business, you don’t even think about it, “How do I keep my employees from stealing from me?” You don’t even think about that. When it happens to you, man, it’s like a ‘oomph’, punch in the gut. Then your mind gets to thinking, “How do I keep that from happening again?”

Clay Clark:                  I know I mentioned I didn’t get into Harvard. But I became a business coach. It took me three times to take my SAT to really get in. I’m determined that the slowest learners are also the slowest earners and it works in reverse, the fastest learners are the fastest earners. I am impressed with the speed at which you pivot there.


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