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Transforming Your Small Business: An Entrepreneur's Guide

Get ready to revolutionize your business mindset with our seasoned guest, Dr. Rickard Briggs. A serial entrepreneur, academic, and proponent of outsourcing before it was cool, Dr. Briggs has over 30 years of expertise that he's excited to share with us.

Firstly, he delves into the importance of enthusiasm in growing a small business, revealing how his entrepreneurial journey began at the tender age of 12. He further reinforces the concept of strategic delegation and utilizing resources to nurture and retain valuable talent within your organization. Then, we'll walk through an inspiring account of Brenda, a staff accountant, who amplified her ingenuity to save a whopping 14.5 business hours per month in her office. It's an essential discussion on trusting employees to make decisions for the organization, a practice that can yield surprising benefits.

In the latter part, Dr. Briggs unfolds his strategies for business expansion and going global. Prepare to look beyond the status quo, embracing change, strategic alliances, and partnerships that can entirely reshape your growth trajectory. We'll also delve into the intricate balance between short-term necessities and long-term objectives, the magic of outsourcing tasks via platforms like Guru and Fiverr, and mitigating the potential challenges of scaling your business. Finally, Dr. Briggs recounts his daring ordeal of revolutionizing a traditional industry with technology, online marketing, and talent acquisition. Brace yourself for a compelling journey of transformation and growth, sure to inspire any budding entrepreneur.

Show Notes

  • (0:00:01) - Growing Your Small Business
  • (0:11:59) - Fostering Innovation and Creativity in Organizations
  • (0:18:39) - Strategies for Business Growth and Globalization
  • ((0:22:03) - Outsourcing and Growing Your Business
  • (0:32:56) - Revolutionizing Business With Technology and Talent
  • (0:36:06) - Frugal Self-Sufficiency in Business

0:00:01 - Announcer

You are listening to the National University Podcast.

0:00:10 - Kimberly King

Hello, I'm Kimberly King. Welcome to the National University Podcast, where we offer a holistic approach to student support, well-being and success- the whole human education. We put passion into practice by offering accessible, achievable higher education to lifelong learners. Today we are talking about growing your small business. Some great advice coming up and kind of age-old advice which is always in season. So we talk about having enthusiasm for your business, outsourcing, working smarter, not harder, and utilizing the hardest part into human resources, really keeping good people around you and learning how to delegate that authority Some great advice today coming up on the show.

On today's episode, we're talking about how to take your small business to the next level, and joining us is Dr. Rickard Briggs. Dr. Briggs is a committed and well-accomplished global entrepreneur and academic with over 30 years of experience in business and academia. He has founded, launched and developed seven international businesses related to asset management, healthcare, business process management, insurance and consulting, as well as developed international partnerships with companies in North America, Asia, Australia, Africa and in the Middle East, and we welcome you to the podcast, Dr. Briggs. How are you?

0:01:38 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

I'm very well. Thank you for asking and it's a pleasure to be here.

0:01:42 - Kimberly King

Well, it's great to have you. Why don't you fill our audience in a little bit on your passion and your mission before we get to today's show topic?

0:01:51 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Absolutely so. I have pretty much for most of my life been working as an entrepreneur. I started my first business at the prime age of 12. It wasn't a paper route, it was outsourcing which ultimately became the foundation of my main business and I opened up in my 30s. I took that global. We went domestic within six months and then we went international to three countries within six months. Then we went global within the year, ended up having just over 500 employees that we had, the majority located outside the United States, and the majority of the management, as well as sales, accounting, legal and such, were based here in the States. The idea or the concepts were that we had the core individuals based out of the States and then we outsourced the billing, the telephones and the data service offshore.

0:02:51 - Kimberly King

Wow, that's incredible, and I think you started at such an early age. You must have had some great role models around you.

0:02:58 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

I did. I grew up in New York City and there was a lot of innovation opportunity as well as enthusiasm for individuals who were looking to do things differently. That was proffered by not only the school, the teachers, but also all of the individuals within the community that I lived.

0:03:17 - Kimberly King

Kudos to you. That's wonderful. Thank you for being a mentor to all of us now who have the pleasure of listening to this podcast. Today, we're talking about how to grow your business and how to take it to the next level. So, Dr. Briggs, in your opinion, what are the most critical components needed to elevate a business to its next level of growth?

0:03:39 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Indeed, that is a great question. One of the foundational ones that I utilize when I talk to individuals looking to grow their business arguably the most important element from my perspective is enthusiasm. Quite frankly, if you're not committed to your business, then you're going to have difficulties convincing other people to invest or otherwise become involved in your business. So having the mindset of development is internal. You have to be able to project to not only to your employees, but to your investors and to the community that you want to grow. So it is extremely important that the individual focuses primarily on their mental health and their enthusiasm to developing their business. Without that enthusiasm, you're going nowhere.

0:04:31 - Kimberly King

Such a good point and I can hear your enthusiasm and, obviously, your passion. Can you share a specific instance where you successfully scaled your business operations and the lessons you took from that experience?

0:04:44 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Absolutely. Actually, I have an interesting story in reference to that first story that I told you when I was 12 years old and I'll explain that in a little bit more context to give you an idea on how I developed that opportunity. But then I took that information. I've applied it throughout my life. So I was 12 and I grew up in New York City. We had a local community and I was involved with the local football team. Our little community had a football team East Midtown Plaza Rangers is what we call ourselves but nonetheless we played actively in the afternoons.

Now I worked part-time at 12 years old. I delivered dry cleaning. All I had to do was go to Howie's place. He was a local dry cleaner and I spent about two hours- I would take the dry cleaning and I would deliver it. I got $25 for my shift, so it was a flat fee and I was able to retain the tips and gratuities from the deliveries.

One day my team wanted me to play football and I said ah, guys, I can't, I can't, I have to go and do my work. And they said hey, Rick, how about we come help you? Then you can get it done really quickly. Then we can all go play football. I said, ah, yeah, that's a great idea. So we went and I said Howie, is it okay if my friends help me? He said, oh yeah, sure, that's great. So we all went about making the deliveries and, sure enough, we were all done. There was 10 of us. We were done in 15 minutes and as I was walking out of the dry cleaner, Howie said hey, Rick, you still get your $25. So I'm standing in the center of the dry cleaning place with $25 in one hand, $5 in the other hand from my tips. Now, I usually made $15 or $20 in tips, but I was willing to forego my $10 in tips to cut my time and effort down by almost 80%. So he did that out early.

That's great, I'm standing in the shop looking outside, looking at my friends, looking at the money and it. I didn't understand the concept yet of outsourcing, but I knew I was on to something and thereafter I asked my friends on a semi-regular basis to come help me. So I was able and they were ecstatic. They all had $5 or $6 in their hands from the tips that they made and that was their first job. So it was a win-win. Unilaterally, Howie was excited because the customers got their deliveries quicker. I was excited. I made almost the same amount of money in a fraction of the time and my friends were happy. They all had some money in a roundabout way. That is not a bad example of a business development opportunity. I was able to identify an opportunity accidentally, but I understood that there was something there I didn't know what it was on how I could maximize my performance. So again I'm going to circle back to the most important thing that I can tell you when it comes to business development: work smarter, not harder.

0:07:42 - Kimberly King

There you go. There's your headline. I love that and again, I love the fact that you got your football team. You figured that out at an early age. Good for you. What do you believe are the main barriers preventing your business from reaching its full potential, and how are you addressing these challenges?

0:08:02 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

So if you had told me from the get-go that human resources would be the most problematic part of any business, I would not have believed you. My first response or any entrepreneur's response was ‘heck, no, the hardest part of the business is making money’. No, if you've got a good idea and you've got good people, the money comes organically. Keeping those good people that's the real problem. So what I found out very quickly was that I was spending more time working with HR issues - everything from staffing to days off, sick time, benefits and the full gallimaufry of everything that HR handles. As a small business, unfortunately, you're the lone wolf. You're handling all of these elements yourself. So when you start taking the majority of your time and shifting it over to personnel issues and you lose the effort and the energy of driving your business development, that's going to be a problem.

I personally ran through about a year where the business was losing money not losing money revenue-wise, but we weren't growing and today's conversation is about growth and we were stagnant. I might as well have put a revolving door on the office. I was losing people so quickly. A lot of it had to do with me being well so and so, because I was a micromanager, I was the lone wolf.

When you start, when it's just you, you have to do everything by yourself, learning how to delegate authority, assign people the tasks, understand that people are much better at certain things than you are. That takes time and my business grew so quickly I didn't have that time to develop those necessary skills to allocate and delegate that responsibility effectively. What I was ashamed of doing was putting people down. I actually went back to school so I could learn how to run that company better, and I did. One of the main issues, or one of the main things that I was able to understand, was that if I treat people the way we ought to the golden rule. But if I actually allocated some of the business to them - they had skin in the game. So immediately, one of the major considerations that I undertook was changing it over to an employee-owned company. At that point in time, I never lost another executive thereafter.

0:10:31 - Kimberly King

And good for you that you went back to school to figure that out because, again, delegating that authority and not to say that you're a control freak, but it's your baby, right, this is your business and so when you're doing everything, it's hard to let go of the reins a little bit, so sometimes you do have to go back to school. That is great. In terms of business development and growth. How do you strategically plan for new market opportunities or expansions?

0:10:58 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Market research… we have been - we have been given a good number of gifts recently with the insertion of artificial intelligence, because I'm actually fooling around now with developing marketing plans for specific businesses using AI. Brilliant, brilliant. But I'm not doing anything that you're not- that you're supposed to be doing, which is research, period. You have to understand your market. You have to understand whether or not your market is over, saturated, under-saturated, under-fulfilled. You need to be able to delegate responsibility to individuals within your organization to find those opportunities within your market to grow your business or outside your market to further expand your business.

0:11:46 - Kimberly King

That's a good point, and you know what it's so funny? We think we have all these talents and we're great at everything, right until we aren’t. And so again, delegating that and finding people sweet spot that's- That's a great leader. Can you elaborate on how you foster innovation within your organizations to stay competitive and stimulate growth?

0:12:07 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Yes, every day, every day. So not a day goes by that I'm not thinking about how I can encourage other people to be more creative, and innovation and creativity go hand in hand, and I'll share this one story in an organization, by its nature, creates a culture, and that culture is extremely important to its growth. If you have a poor culture or poor work environment, your company is not going to be successful. I mean, I just seen that too many times and I think we talked about this a little bit time in the past, about ‘clock roaches’, about the individuals who just want to, you know, scurry away at five o'clock. Well, no, what we want to do is we want to create organizations where people want to want to be there, that they want to do their best work, and one of the things and I'll share this story about Brenda, who was one of our staff accountants.

She was let me put a visual here. She looked like a librarian of a sixty five year old lady- very thin, round rim, glasses, hair, hair. You got the image now. So she was very, very diligent with her work. She loves spreadsheets- I say that laughing, because I hate them. So anyone who loves spreadsheets is my idol anyway.

We had this coffee machine in the office. Now where she sat was in the center of the office. We had offices around and then we had cubicles in the center. She sat in one of the cubicles in the center, right next to a giant copier that we called Goliath. Now, Goliath turned on in the morning and it made this horrific noise. It sounded like a locomotive train going through the office and it took about fifteen minutes for the thing to boot up. So which, I'm sure, Brenda. So, I came in one day and I had to walk past Goliath every morning in order to get to my office. And one morning I walked through the office and Goliath was gone. I yelled and I yelled out and I said oh my god, we've been robbed. Someone stole Goliath.

Brenda popped out of her cubicle with wire rim glasses and all, and spreadsheets in hand and she said Rick, Rick, and I said yes, Brenda? She said she said I moved Goliath. I said what?? I said how’d you move Goliath, Brenda? She says well, not me, not me. I had the maintenance crew do it. And I said why did you do that, Brenda? And she said well, I've been running some numbers… and I said I bet you have.

She laid out her spreadsheet and she said I've been evaluating the usage of Goliath for the last 30 days and I've come to the conclusion that if we move Goliath to the other side of the office, we will save 14.5 business hours, which translates to almost $1800 a month in savings. And I said Brenda, really, how do you do that? And she said well, I also discovered that people are actually wasting a little bit of time over here because they tend to talk a little bit too long. And I said all, Brenda, okay.

I said and where did you move the copy to Brenda? She said come with me. I put it on the other side. I said oh, great, great Brenda. So we went to the other side and I said oh, Brenda, I’m so proud of you. I said here, plug it in. And so Brenda bent down. She went to plug it in. She looked at the plug. It had five prongs. The one on the wall had two. She said oh. And I said I wonder, maybe that's why Goliath was on the other side, because it needs a special plug. And she goes, ahhh.

But here's the thing what did Brenda get? Brenda got a $250 gift card to take her family out to dinner that weekend, because what she did was completely outside of her comfort zone and it was the environment that I was creating in that organization which is innovation. She was an accountant by sheer nature and she took her skill set, saw an opportunity to help the company and did it. That's what it hands down every single time and we call that ‘intrapreneurship’. That's where individuals create opportunities or new innovative ideas within the company that they work for, and entrepreneurship is more common than intrapreneurship. Quite frankly, in today's organizations, if you're not contributing to that organization's bottom line, you will be passed over. It's not so much doing your job today, it's doing more, and helping the organization grow is the key.

0:16:34 - Kimberly King

Boy to be heard loud and clear, by the way. I feel like that is missing and so just even in another example and I love, I think we should all have a Brenda in our life. I love that story, so thanks for sharing that. But you know, even when you go I don't know, maybe an airline or a business, and you have somebody there that really can't make that executive decision right there, maybe an airline might be too big, but even at a fast food place or something where they're like, no, they have those boundaries or those rules and they won't think outside the box. I think customer service and intrapreneurship is definitely missing today and should be taught, and everybody should do that, not to waste money with the company, but just even that customer service. And I love that story about Brenda. That's a great story.

0:17:25 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

A lot of that- and I'm just going to add on to that- A lot of that has to do with trust. Trust is the key, is the key word in that. If leadership does not have trust in their employees to make decisions in the organization's best interest, then you don't have a good working relationship. You have to trust your employees to make and even if the decision is the wrong one, that's fine because, quite frankly, we'll learn more from our mistakes than we will from our successes.

0:17:53 - Kimberly King

And that's great leadership right there. I think you know that's wonderful. That gives me great hope and that you're the one in the teaching role. When you consider your growth journey, how has your leadership style evolved and what impact has it had on your team's ability to help this business grow that right? There is a fine example with Brenda, but do you have any other stories that you can share?

0:18:19 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Well, yes, actually, I think I touched on it a little bit when we first started talking. In essence, I was a so-and-so. I could use an expletive, which would be more descriptive, but I'm going to stick with so-and-so.

Kimberly King

We'll use our imagination.

0:19:30 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Yes, and you could be creative. And just to give you an idea, I was the individual, the CEO, sending out emails at four o'clock in the morning, calling people stupid because of the decisions that they made the day before.

And I don't know a lot of individuals that I've worked with have had managers and leaders like this and unfortunately I fell into that category again because I didn't have the skill set to lead my organization correctly. I went back and I got the education and the training and I tell people time and time again at this point in time that not only can I validate the additional education and I can quantify it, and I had arguably the best way to quantify education- I had a business. They taught me things. I took those things, I put them into the business and I watched the money grow. So if you say, well, how did you gauge whether or not that worked? I made more money! So if I lost money initiating a new program, I wouldn't do it. So yes, I did have failures in that, but it was very easy to figure out which ones were working and which ones were not very quickly. So, in essence, the revenue did continue to grow, and when we're talking about growth, we're talking about change.

The most important thing from leadership is to throw the status quo out the door. If you're doing the same thing today that you did yesterday, then you're not running your organization effectively. You need to change every single day everything that you do, or at least think about changing it. You can't walk in saying, oh, you know what, my company is absolutely fantastic today. No, it's not. It's always room for improvement. It's the same thing. I do it, and let's just bring this to a micro level. Every year I go out and I look at car insurance policies. Why? Because maybe there's a new policy that's less expensive than the one that I have. That's common sense to me. But do you know how many people never change their auto insurance? They will sign up for it. 30 years later, they're still on the same policy. Maybe you're paying $50 more per month than you need to multiply that by 30 years.

I'm going to go check on the project. It's a good analogy when we talk about ignoring the status quo, but it's also a good policy for personal finance.

0:21:01 - Kimberly King

I love it and that's true. I mean, really nothing's ever going to be perfect, so that willingness to change and make things better, that's great advice. I could talk to you all day. We have some great information here, but right now we just need to take a quick break, so stay with us. And now back to our interview with Dr. Rickard Briggs, and we're discussing how to grow your small businesses. So, Dr. Briggs, great information, and I love all your examples. Can you discuss any strategic partnerships or alliances that have significantly influenced your business's growth trajectory?

0:21:38 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Yes, that's an easy question to answer. However, it may be more complex for a lot of individuals, primarily based on whether or not you subscribe to a nationalistic approach to doing business or a globalistic approach to doing business. I have always embraced globalization as a key factor in the development of any business. Whether or not you're advertising to be an executive assistant, part-time, perhaps helping someone, whether or not you're even running and I'll say this a bakery. Well, you can say, well, bakery. Why would I outsource items from a bakery to, let's say, the Philippines? Ah, but what does a bakery do? Bakery sells product and service or products to the local community. So perhaps you could outsource your marketing campaign to a foreign entity for a fraction of the cost, allowing them to do the marketing for you because everything's digital. I mean, we're talking now- We're 3,000 miles apart. Everything's available online. And why would you want to pay someone in the States $15, $20 an hour to run your marketing campaign or your PPC campaign when you can pay someone in the Philippines, who arguably may have more experience than the individual in the States, $3 an hour? And you're saying, well, that's unfair. No, it's the economy of that country that allows you to pay them a fair wage- $3 an hour in the Philippines is a fair wage for them and you get top knowledge, top quality people. The same holds true unilaterally for almost every service you can.

If you have a bakery, then you have accounting that needs to be done. You could outsource your accounting and your tax service to an accounting firm in India. I know it sounds crazy, but yes, they have to go through the same educational processes to subscribe to the IRS in the United States as a tax professional in the United States. So arguably, you're getting the same level of intelligence at a fraction of the cost. All you have to do is upload your documents online and you're done.

So if you take a look at oh, HR we talked about HR a little bit Can you outsource your HR Absolutely. There is no need in today's global environment to have your 500 employees under one roof. You can have your core element under one roof making your product and then you can outsource the legal, you can outsource the accounting, you can outsource the marketing, and I'm using that holistically. The concept that I'm trying to proffer here is to delegate the work responsibility to individuals who can do a better job than you can, and ultimately, it would be wonderful if they could do it for less money. So does that - I think that answers the question.

0:24:33 - Kimberly King

That's such great advice and, again, even food for thought for a little business like my own and PR and marketing and media and all that, but that for the tax purposes or, as you said, human resources. What a great, that's a great piece of advice and you know, we're all – yeah?

0:24:45 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

I'm going to add on to that really quickly, because there are several companies that have platforms where what you do is you, if you have a project, you go and you post your project and people bid on it. So you'll get bids from, for example and I tell students to do this because students are asking me I need a proofreader and I don't want to pay $1.50 a page and I tell them go to Guru, tell them what you're looking for, and you will get 15, 20 offers to proofread your work for pennies on the pennies per page. And they'll say well, where are these people located?

All over the world. You'll have librarians from the Ukraine offering to proofread your work. You'll have English teachers from the Mediterranean offering to do the same thing because it for them, that's their side hustle, and they'll take a few extra dollars. I mean, quite frankly, you're an adjunct professor. You're only getting a small percentage of what a full-time faculty member makes. That's okay for you. So I'm sure it's okay for someone in France to proofread a student's paper in the United States for 20 cents per page.

0:25:58 - Kimberly King

I love it. So you said, Guru, are there some others? I've used Fiverr before, I don't know if that's one…

0:26:05 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

There's a number of different sites. The simplest way is bid for work. Do Google search, ‘bid for work’ and it'll list all the sites.

0:26:15 - Kimberly King

Okay, good to know. Thank you, great advice. I love that. How do you balance short-term needs, such as cash flow, with long-term objectives like sustainable growth?

0:26:27 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

That's an excellent question and again I will say that one of the major dilemmas leadership and owners face with businesses is revenue. The concern for generating revenue unfortunately sometimes is the old, you know, can't see the trees through the forest right. They're so focused on making money they lose sight on what they actually wanted to do, which was solve a problem. I tell people six days and twice on Sunday that ignore the money, focus in on fulfilling the product or the service, excuse me and the money will take care of itself. If it's not, then you don't have a viable business and you shouldn't have opened it up unless you prototype and that's a different story we're talking. This is after we prototyped it, after we've had a viable business, we know it's up and running, it's doing good. Very less about the money. Focus more on the product or the service. The money will take care of itself.

0:27:32 - Kimberly King

So more great advice and I feel like in today's environment, just I think the younger kids they want to make that money, want to make that money, so your advice, I think, is golden. So, from a legal standpoint, what potential challenges do you foresee as your business scales and how are you preparing for them?

0:27:54 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Great question again and it's this, but I will put legal in the same category as accounting tax anything that is ancillary to your product and service. Everything is changing on such a quick basis. The company that I my major company we had, I'm going to say, about three or four lawsuits a month. And what, yes, we did. I mean we were sending out millions of mailings every month. When you're dealing with that sort of volume, people get upset sometimes, and so we had three or four lawsuits every month. We would get these letters and we had corporate counsel, we had staff account staff attorneys and such, generally speaking, they would settle them relatively quickly. It basically it was more of a shake down than anything else, but quite frankly, we would settle each one of those cases between $5,000 and $10,000. And you're saying, oh, that's good, that's a lot of money.

No because it became part of your operating expense, just like your electric bill, just like your water bill. We had a legal bill every month and it went from when we first started. We just had one attorney that worked for us and his salary was 100,000 a year, so we only had X amount of expense per month. As we started getting more lawsuits, we had to add more and more and more until we had corporate counsel and four staff attorneys just to handle the issues that we had.

But when you factor that into an operational cost instead of an ancillary or an unexpected cost, it makes the. That's the only way that you can do it. So every single month you need to have a budget that is consistent with your growth potential and that includes legal. So if you're legal budget if you have, even if you don't have a need for legal right now there has to be a legal budget and money has to be put aside for that bucket, whether or not it's being spent or whether or not it's being utilized in other areas. There has to be an allocation for that. If you're not allocating your funds to project possible issues, then that could be problematic in the future.

0:29:59 - Kimberly King

Some more great advice, and that's so true.

0:30:05 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

The other thing, too is- and I'm just going to add on to that really quickly, because one of the things that falls in line that popped into my head for legal coverage is E&O insurance. Errors and admissions, which is one of the insurance policies and everyone always tells you know, always get more insurance than you need. And that's the same thing with attorneys. Always have more attorneys than you need.

0:30:29 - Kimberly King

Yeah, that's good advice.

0:30:31 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

So it is. It's basically, it's making sure that you ‘CYA’.

0:30:37 - Kimberly King

Okay, great, wow, that is food for thought. I'm taking notes as you're speaking here. In what ways are you integrating technology into your business to support its growth? I know you mentioned AI, but can you share some experiences where technology significantly improved your operations or strategy execution?

0:30:58 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Yes, this morning I wrote a marketing plan in five minutes.

0:31:01 - Kimberly King

Because of AI right? (laughter)

0:31:04 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Yeah, I'm being facetious, to a degree, but I mean, this is a transformational time that we're living in, primarily because the information so we talked about this a little while ago, in the sense that it's easy when you know something, it's easy to articulate it Because you talk about it all the time. And I tell people when they're creating their pitch for their business that they have to rehearse it every single day, that they need to be able to articulate what their product or service is very fast, concise and in a general term that the majority of people can understand and digest. So the same holds true with technology, and I'll share this story too, because I learned this lesson from my dad. This is back in the early 90s, when computers, we were still programming in DOS and we had programmers and whatnot, and then suddenly Windows came out and I remember I came home one day and my dad was dragging in these enormous boxes Because remember the computer's back in the day, right. So he was dragging in these huge boxes.

I said what do you got there, dad? He says, oh, I bought a computer system today, I said. I said, really, you did, and he was, I think I'm trying to think he was older at that point in time I said really. I said, isn't that more for my generation? He said nonsense, nonsense. If I don't figure this out, my business is not gonna succeed. And I said really. I said why is that? He says because technology is the key. Wow, and I laughed. I laughed because I'm like okay, goofy dad, whatever. (laughter) Much the same way. When I'm standing on the floor of the dry cleaner, I'm scratching my head like hey, wait, this is not a bad idea. In hindsight he hit the nail on the head. If you're not embracing change again, it's throw away the status quo, embrace the new. And technology, for me, revolutionized my industry, my business.

The main reason I was able to outsource was because technology allowed me to have individuals working in five other countries and have them actually working in my office through remote connections. And so five years before I did that, I couldn't have done it, and the only reason I did that is because, wait, I mean I have to tap into this story too, because one of the things and we all talked about Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, no, not a great place to sell things, because everyone's like, oh no, this is the way we've always done it. I know this is the I go to Joe. He's my mechanic. I've been going to him for 70 years, I'm not gonna do anything new. So when I opened my business in Pittsburgh and started knocking on doors, they're like no, no, no, we're good, go away. I'm like, well, this sucks. What am I gonna do now? But at that point in time I'd go back when I realized that Pittsburgh was not gonna be a place for me to make billions of dollars. I'm like, what am I gonna do now?

Well, there was a new thing called the internet that I tapped into and one of the new things that they were doing was PPC, which was pay-per-click, which was an online marketing campaign. I taught myself to do that. I taught myself to create a website. No one in my industry, because it was an antiquated industry- Billing and invoicing is not something that really has to change too much- I did. I changed it. I embraced a new technology. I went all online. I was able to remotely access people all around the world and then I would send my letter service to places - four different places throughout the country, because they had the different places with CBS files. I was doing things for a fraction of the cost that other companies were paying a fortune for.

And then what happened before I started outsourcing, was suddenly I bought another company, integrated it into my company, but I had to, at that point in time, make a lot of money every month in order to pay the bills. We weren't improving. I was making commitments and promises to clients that I couldn't justify or substantiate based on the current level of performance that my individuals were doing globally and in my office. Until one day someone knocked on my door and I said hello. And they said hey, would you like to try this new software platform? I'm like no, no, no, I'm good. And then he was walking away and I thought to myself well, wait a second, I'm not a Pittsburgher, come on back, come on, tell me what you got. And he explained what he got. I bought it and our business exploded. But it was only because of the experience I had knocking on doors and having people tell me no, no, no that I say well, geez, you really should try change. And here I was doing the exact same thing, saying no, no, I'm good.

0:35:54 - Kimberly King

And see I love that because you're innovative and you say yes. You talked about that in the very beginning, that willingness to change and be open to things, and that has changed your business model. So I love that story and I love that you taught yourself how to do all your online and your marketing and your website, so that sometimes we do need to really stretch ourselves so that we can put ourselves in the dark as well too.

0:36:21 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

A lot of it had to do with I had no money. When I started my business, I put everything into the to buying the building I had flat broke. Every penny that we made for the first few years went right back into the business. So on that, yeah, when you own a business, you learned to be frugal very quickly.

0:36:42 - Kimberly King

Very quickly, absolutely.

0:36:46 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Which is a beautiful thing, because that in essence for me, I'm like okay, what do I need to do here? I need to develop a different marketing strategy. How am I gonna do that? Well, I can't afford to hiring marketing company. Oh well, I guess I better do it myself. What am I gonna do? And I started doing some. I started doing some reading and it worked. That's great. I'd like to think I'm a good teacher.

0:37:09 - Kimberly King

You are a good teacher and you're also a pioneer and I love that. I was just gonna tell you quickly. My husband just is bought into a fishing charter business and he's been a government employee and so now he's learning all the ropes and tying lines and all of that. But it's been very interesting to see it from my point of view because I've had my business for a while. But I'm gonna definitely share this podcast with him. I think he'll love it. So this is great.

So how do you approach talent acquisition and development to ensure that your team can support and drive your businesses to the next growth phase?

0:37:47 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

So again, another great question. We had a conversation earlier in reference to another individual, Mike, who was given some solid advice about hiring people that you're comfortable working with, and indeed that is sound advice, quite frankly, and we talk about this more in partnerships than we do with employees, because in partnerships there has to be an integral relationship, not only emotionally but financially as well, those things that were tied together by those in comparison to employees versus leadership, where you're working for the same company but you don't have that level of responsibility and commitment to each other. So employee staffing it becomes a very difficult endeavor. Based on the turnover, one of the things that I've had the biggest problem with in my history and one of the most common complaints that I have from other businesses are the number of individuals that are hired that only stay for a short period of time, and that's extremely problematic. And there's been a number of and there's empirical evidence of the costs related to a poor hire.

But what's really not discussed on a regular basis is the moral destruction it does to the company when you take away the morale of you. Hire someone, you're gonna assign them a mentee. That mentee is gonna take them around for two weeks. They're gonna expend X amount of energy in order to train that person and suddenly they've left. Well, that doesn't do the company any good. They've just lost thousands of dollars on the hire but, more importantly, the person who you have as a good employee, because you basically that's your best employee.

You wanna put your best foot forward, so you assign your best to train. Well, guess what happens? You're sucking the lifeblood out of your organization by assigning them to individuals. They're gonna be dismissed or leave quickly, and so it is a. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that just can get worse and worse as you assign more and more people. So, understanding the dynamics of how your internal organization works and the morale that's extremely important to keep elevated, especially among your top ranking people. Yeah, I mean, I think most organizations could say, yeah, I could let 50% of my people go today and the organization would run just fine because my top people could cover the difference. And unfortunately, that's not the way that you wanna operate your business. You wanna have 50 people that will run your business and if you lost one of them, it's gonna hurt.

0:40:34 - Kimberly King

Okay, that's a good way to think about it too. But you're right, I think the employees make everything wow. So do you do one-on-one coaching as well?

0:40:47 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

On that employee. Let me just wrap that up because I think it's an important point. Too many people focus in on the quantity and not the quality. The reason they go for the quantity is because they have a high turnover rate. You see how that is a catch 22? And that's the real problem. If you're hiring good people, they won't leave. If you have a good corporate culture, they won't leave. And that's the objective that you want. And if that was the dream, then HR wouldn't be a problem.

0:41:25 - Kimberly King

And that's so great. I just found out that one of my clients he's a dentist and he's had employees. Probably six of his employees have been there 25 years with them and I'm like that's unheard of.

0:41:39 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

And that's a family, that's a family.

0:41:42 - Kimberly King

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I'm like you're doing something right, for sure. Well, this has been great. We're definitely gonna have you back on again. It's been such a listen.

0:41:52 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

I like doing this.

0:41:53 - Kimberly King

Good, well, you're hired If you want more information.

0:42:00 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

The compensation package is absolutely fantastic.

0:42:03 - Kimberly King

Exactly right. I like your sense of humor too, but if you want more information, you can visit National University's website. It is nu.edu. And thanks again for your time. We look forward to your next visit, doctor.

0:42:18 - Doctor Rickard Briggs

Thank you, Kim.

0:42:22 - Kimberly King

You've been listening to the National University Podcast. For updates on future or past guests, visit us at nu.edu. You can also follow us on social media. Thanks for listening.

Show Quotables

"You need to be able to delegate responsibility to individuals within your organization to find those opportunities within your market to grow your business or outside your market to further expand your business. - Rickard Briggs https://shorturl.at/HT279" Click to Tweet
"An organization, by its nature, creates a culture, and that culture is extremely important to its growth. If you have a poor culture or poor work environment, your company is not going to be successful. - Rickard Briggs https://shorturl.at/HT279" Click to Tweet