2020 Webinar Series on Patreon

Small business owners have risked it all–you are the true hero of this story!  You risked everything for a dream.  You saw in owning your own business the opportunity for an income and a quality of life far beyond that of people working for wages.  As time went by, you may have raised your sights even higher or you may be frustrated in not accomplishing the goals that you had set.  You are at a fork in the road.  One way leads to the accomplishment of those dreams; the other to failure and you have certainly tried and done all you can do.  To paraphrase Steven Covey, “no matter how hard you work you won’t find your destination without the right map.”  Through our webinars and the work of our Success Partners you will see more clearly the “rocks in the road” and achieve the peace of mind that a properly developed map can provide.
The Fremont Group has a six webinar series that follows the SIX RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SMALL BUSINESS OWNER as taught in the book, “Minding My Own Business” authored by our Executive Director, Dirk Dieters.  They are available to patrons at www.patreon.com/TheFremontGroup but you can view the first one here for NO CHARGE!  Challenge yourself and take 18 minutes to view the youtube video and then give us a call!  303 338 9300!
https://www.patreon.com/posts/2020-mmob-33922889

Change 2020 For The Better

Expectations are high for the new year.  This year things will change.  But last years’ issues remain—or are growing!  The Fremont Group is a non-profit organization serving owners like you.  You need a plan for 2020 that will bring about your desired changes.  Attend a personal, Minding My Own Business Workshop!  In two hours working with our Success Partner you will receive the answers that you seek—strategies that will avoid failing to accomplish your 2020 goals and make you the hero!

These are personalized, one-on-one workshops and will be the best $399.00 that you will invest this year!

Call now to hold your time slot!   303 338 9300

The 2020 winter workshop schedule:

Medford Oregon                            Saturday            January 25th

Denver Colorado                            Friday                 January 31st

                                                              Tuesday             February 18th

                                                              Saturday            February 22nd

Phoenix Arizona                            Friday                 February 7th

                                                             Saturday            February 8th

Sacramento California               Monday              February 10th

                                                             Tuesday             February 11th

Salt Lake City Utah                       Friday                 February 14th

Las Vegas Nevada                         Saturday            February 15th

Reno Nevada                                  Monday              February 17th

Albuquerque New Mexico         Friday                 February 21st

Troy Michigan                                Friday                 February 28th

Lansing Michigan                         Saturday            February 29th

Hilton Head South Carolina    Wednesday           March 18th

                                                            Thursday              March 19th

 

Minding My Own Business Workshop now available on video!

The Minding My Own Business Workshop attended by hundreds is now available to small to mid-sized business owners in a Power Point presentation!  Based upon the book, Minding My Own Business by the TFG Executive Director, Dirk Dieters, the narrated presentation lasts approximately one hour and allows you to learn and compare your business to the six responsibilities of the small business owner!

It is available FREE for the remainder of 2018!  Call the office 303 338 9300 or email your request to admin@tfginfo.org!

What can The Fremont Group Do For My Business?

The Fremont Group is a non-profit organization supporting small to mid-sized businesses. In our effort to be a resource for your success we have a number of ways that you can benefit. For example:

Self Assessments. The Fremont Group offers a self-assessment package. This is a series of approximately sixty questions in all areas of your business. From your responses your strengths and weaknesses are identified. The self-assessment then continues to determine how much of an impact these issues have on your results so that you can determine where to start and what is and what is not worth changing. The Self-Assessment can be completed over the phone with one of our Success Partners or we can meet with you on site. There is a nominal charge for either.

Minding My Own Business Workshops. Minding My Own Business is the title of a book authored by our Executive Director, Dirk Dieters. The book identifies and reviews the six responsibilities of the small business owner. Our workshops our modeled after the book. Generally one and one-half to two and two-half hours, the workshops are always individualized. You are guided by our Success Partner through interaction with the topics and are guaranteed to acquired a technique that you can immediately implement in the management of your company. The MMOB Workshops can be attended in three ways: through webinar; in a local hotel in your area; or on your site. They are designed only for owners and spouses. Webinar workshops can be scheduled. TFG plans MMOB Workshops in cities and invites local attendees. The charge for the Workshop varies according to its’ location.

Webinars. TFG offers an on-going series of individual webinars. These are one-hour sessions on specific topics offered at a nominal fee. Check our Facebook page or contact us to be added to our email list for topics.

Initial Consultations. Our Success Partners perform two-day Initial Consultations. These are done on consecutive days at your site. We meet extensively with you, your key people, review your financial statements and operating procedures and then on the second day, together with you, develop an Action Plan to address issues that impact your results. This is you Business Physical that many clients complete each year. It may or may not lead to an on-going relationship with that Success Partner to help implement the identified actions. The fee for this is all inclusive of travel expenses.

Success Partner Relationships. Our clients develop on-going relationships with their Success Partners. This includes half to full-week on-site work followed up with weekly telephone contact and off-site work to ensure implementation. In many instances Success Partners return monthly for a half-week but always remain on their “Advisory Board” for weekly conversations. The fees for this work are subsidized depending upon your size. Contact us to determine your range of subsidy.

On a side note, all of our communications are done through video screen sharing. We use the simple Google Hangouts that is already on your computer if you have a gmail account. We also sponsor events. In 2018 we plan Golf Outings in Phoenix and Denver. Contact us for information.

Dirk Dieters invited to speak at Aurora Chamber of Commerce

Dirk Dieters, Executive Director of The Fremont Group and author of “Minding My Own Business” will be the speaker for three consecutive weeks at the Lunch and Learn seminars sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.  The three sessions will be broken out of the full “Minding My Own Workshops” that are offered through The Fremont Group.  On September 8, 2011 the session title is, “Show Me The Money.”  This session will cover small business budgets, cash flow forecasting and basic financial control of your small business.  On September 15, 2011 the session title is, “Are You Getting Bang For Your Payroll Buck?”  This session will examine organizational structure, accountability and incentives, and motivation of “climber, camper and quitter” employees.  Finally on September 22, 2011 the session examines sales—‘Selling—Internal and External—in a Recession.”  Attendees will examine their own sales system, identify their sales assets and learn to leverage their sales effort.

Like the full “Minding My Own Business Workshops” these sessions are personally tailored to the attendees—they are not general theory, rather they are designed to provide the attendee with something that can immediately be implemented into their operations.  Announcement will be forthcoming regarding the opening of these sessions as webinars on line.

Business Owner magazine retains Fremont Executive Director

Dirk Dieters, the founder and Executive Director of The Fremont Group has been retained by Business Owner magazine as a contributing author of business articles.  Dieters, author of “Minding My Own Business” (available on this site or Amazon.com) is nationally renown for his work with small business owners.  Business Owner magazine is published quarterly by GPS, GR, CBS or STA—major firms in the small business management consulting field.

I JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME/MONEY …

Everyone has one-hundred sixty-eight hours in a week—how come some people find the time for family, some people find the time to attend workshops, and some people find the time to run more than one business yet others work excessive hours, don’t get out and seem to just live with results that never change?

In “Minding My Own Business,” author Dirk Dieters examines the six responsibilities of a small business owner. The business climate is difficult and there is only one guarantee—that the rate of change will accelerate. You have a responsibility to keep your company ahead of that curve. Are you investing the time required in this responsibility? The Fremont Group focuses you by teaching you that there is only one reason for your business to exist—to make your life better. When was the last time you made the effort to look at your business? How is your business making your life better? How is your business making your life worse? As a business owner decisions are actually very simple—we build upon the things that are making your life better and rid ourselves of the things that are making your life worse. Like other authors and experts, Dieters does not list as one of those responsibilities the requirement that the owner invest all of their efforts and time in the performance of the technical tasks in the business. Your responsibility as an owner is not to do other people’s jobs but rather to lead the company.

There are resources that make you company better. They range in cost from the nominal fee for a “Minding My Own Business”™ workshops to more intensive mentoring/coaching relationships yet we still hear the objection, “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the money.”

Everyone has one-hundred percent of their money—how come some people find the money to sharpen their skills and create change in their business how come some people live with results that never change?

Irrational decisions are most often the product of either fear or denial. Fear causes poor decisions; poor decisions lead to poor results. We can be afraid of many things—we can be afraid of being wrong. What if the workshop does not provide me with anything that builds upon the positives or rids us of a negative? We can be afraid of repeating a previous mistake. What will people (employees, family, etc.) think if it turns out to be another expensive venture that doesn’t really help? We can be afraid of being weak and at risk of being “talked into things.” People are already questioning my decision-making—what if this is a mistake? And we can be afraid of showing weakness. I am not going to admit that I might benefit from outside help. Companies go where the owner leads it. If it is led by fear it probably will never go where you want it to.

Some may classify denial as a form of fear, however I think that it deserves a classification of its’ own. It is a natural human trait to postpone difficult actions as long as possible. We hope that if we ignore a problem that it will go away. This is the equivalent of being hooked on drugs—we call it “hopium.” Unfortunately it sometimes works—and this just hooks us more. Hopium can paralyze. Just “hoping” that things will change can create a death spiral in a business. Rarely is the confrontation as painful as the problem itself. Things happen when we make them happen. Change takes place when issues are addressed, confronted and solved in a systematic method. If we wait and “hope” for change, we are allowing hopium to control our fate. Denial doesn’t solve problems and your employees know it. They expect to receive training and respect the fact that you seek continuous training in your job of leadership.

We all have the time—it is an allocation issue. Allocation of time and money. Would attendance at the workshop help you build upon the things that are making your life better? Would getting help improve the performance of your business? Would either help you rid yourself of things that are making your life worse? If any of the answers is yes then choosing to do nothing is not a rational decision. Allocating time to anything other less important things is not going to move either your business or your life forward. So why make an irrational decision? What else are you really going to do that could change your business and your life? Oh, I forgot—you don’t have the time/money.

WHY YOUR INCENTIVE PLAN DOESN’T WORK AND WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO ABOUT IT

An incentive is an action taken to change the short-term behavior to match a pre-determined objective.

In dealing with employees we are constantly dealing with the issue of “alignment.” Alignment is matching the best interests of the company with the individual best interests of the employee. The theory is that each person acts in their own best interests and therefore by rewarding certain activities with a reward that is desired by the employee; their actions will change to obtain that reward. In the development of an incentive program one has to determine what changes in the behavior of employees would benefit the company, the amount of benefit that it would generate, and how to deliver to the employee some percentage of that amount for the desired change in behavior. In other words, if an employee changes their behavior and now does “X” and that as a result of this new performance the company will benefit by “Y” dollars, what percentage of Y should we pay to the employee and in what manner.

Often overlooked in this analysis is the issue of what behavior we are already paying for in the base pay of the employee. If a sales person receives a base salary, then there is a certain minimum amount of sales that they must produce in order to cover that salary. Therefore if we are going to also pay a commission on the sales that they generate, those commissions should only start after that minimum production has been generated to cover their base salary.[1] This issue gives rise to the axiom that “you cannot create a rational incentive plan until you have first defined the results that you are already paying for in their base pay.” The violation of this rule dooms most employers in their attempts to develop an incentive plan without professional help. As a consultant all you have to do is look at a company’s job descriptions to see if they have identified results that are required for each position rather than tasks and if you only see tasks, you can be assured that any incentive program that they have is fundamentally flawed.

These are the basics of incentives. More recent analysis has brought criticism to the “stick” and “carrot” approach to behavior modification. In Coaching for Performance, by John Whitmore,[2] you will find an analysis of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as applied to the workplace. He advances the theory that standard incentive programs treat people like “donkeys” rather than “humans.” He applies Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to show that incentives should instead be directed to moving people up this scale—from “Belonging” to “Esteem from others” to “Self-Esteem” to, finally, “Self-Actualization.” He also provides an excellent analysis of the stages of team building.

In my experience, no new theory is ever completely right, and no old theory is ever completely wrong. The truth is generally in the middle—which leads us to management development.

In Minding My Own Business,[3] I have divided employees into three categories—climbers, campers and quitters. A climber is any employee who is self-motivated and wants to perform. A camper is any employee who is merely there for a paycheck and receives their self-fulfillment from activities other than their work or career. A quitter is someone who is actually detrimental to the organization and probably will not change. All three types of employees can be found at all levels of the company—there are field level climbers and there are high management level campers and quitters. Often our comfort zone will actually create campers out of the climbers that we promote to high level management. The critical purpose of these classifications is this: although your climbers only account for about 20% of your workforce, they produce about 80% of your profit; your campers account for about 75% of your workforce and produce about 30% of your profit and your quitters actually cost you about 10% of your profit. So where do we want our turnover? In the campers and quitters of course. But to avoid having turnover of your climbers you have to give them a ladder—climbers want to climb and if we don’t provide the ladder, a competitor will.

In the past we have structured incentive programs to merely provide bigger carrots to the climbers, however the application of newer theory would be more effective. Climbers want more money, but also want the opportunity to progress up the Maslow Hierarchy. Campers are not necessarily seeking their fulfillment from their employment and therefore are not going to respond as well to these incentives as is a climber. Campers can be safely treated as “donkeys” and enough reinforced behavior will result to justify the incentive. Quitters on the other hand are another matter. They are not yet to “donkey” status and therefore must be identified and treated with parental directives—your performance is unacceptable, here is how it must change, if it does not change within a given period you will be terminated.

Left out of the analysis by Whitmore is the role of the “team” in the development incentives. Although he discusses team building at length, the tie is never made to the Maslow Hierarchy. In a workplace, it is only through the creation of a “team” that the progression from belonging, to esteem from others, to self-esteem to self-actualization makes sense. Therefore after an organization has created an effective and rational incentive program next the “climbers” should be identified and “teams” should be created to implement a second level of motivational incentives. This has numerous ancillary benefits. First it provides a “ladder” for those climbers to climb which reduces their turnover and increases their bond to the company. Second it allows the owner to tap into their most important resource and delegate to this team (or teams) responsibility for management issues that is currently taking up their time and energy. This frees the owner to be better at doing his or her job of running the company.[4] In the development of this “management team”[5] the owner is actually building a company—a company with value that exceeds their own input. This is critical if the owner ever intends to leave the company (sell). For a company to have any real value the cash flow must be produced by systems, procedures and controls rather than by the individual efforts of the owner; otherwise when the owner leaves, there is no company.

To summarize, the owner must:

  1. Identify what results the company is currently paying for in each position’s base pay.
  2. Identify the climbers, campers and quitters.
  3. Assume that the quitters are leaving and recruit for these positions so that no quitter can hold the company hostage. Turnover should occur on your time table, not theirs.
  4. Identify the changes in behavior that the company desires.
  5. Determine the benefit that would be derived to the company from this change in behavior.
  6. Develop and implement an incentive program to align the new behavior of employees with the desired result.
  7. Determine the size and structure of a “management team” to be comprised of climbers.
  8. Perform team building activities within this group.
  9. Assign to this team management issues and tasks that will free the owner to do a better job of “running the company.”
  10. Continually reinforce the decisions of the “management team” and create opportunities for “new climbers” to join.

[1] Note that taking this into account by providing a reduced commission rate is actually counter-productive as it penalizes your high producers who greatly exceed the amount required to cover their base. Any compensation plan that over-compensates the lower performers and under-compensates the higher performers is fundamentally flawed.

[2] Coaching for Performance, Third Edition 2002, John Whitmore, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London.

[3] Minding My Own Business, Dirk Dieters, Author House 2005.

[4]Ibid. See MMOB for an analysis of the six responsibilities of the business owner.

[5] Note that the “management team” consists of all climbers, not just those climbers who are in management. Field workers and staff level employees may also be climbers and those people need to be included in this “management team.” The Fremont Group has developed a formula for the rating of employees upon this scale and for the identification of persons in non-management positions who are equally critical to the long-term success of the company and whom must be included in this program.