Relationship Focused: How to Successfully Run Any Business

This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff Korhan

This is Episode 17 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Marty Grunder is the founder and owner of Grunder Landscaping, the largest company of its kind in Southwestern, Ohio. In addition to running that multi-million dollar business, Marty is also a successful author, business speaker, and consultant.

What’s his secret to successfully running two businesses AND having a happy home life?

Listen in as Marty shares the importance of developing a single-minded, relationship focused approach that attracts and retain customers and talented employees to build your business.

You’ll find Marty’s straightforward, no-nonsense methods refreshing and capable of uncomplicating entrepreneurial success.

Our Featured Guest: Marty Grunder

Relationship Focus: How to Successfuly Run Any BusinessMarty Grunder discovered his entrepreneurial spirit as a young man with a lawn mower and grew that passion into a multi-million dollar company. Along that journey his success story was amplified by The New York Times, and acknowledged with numerous Entrepeneur of the Year honors.

Marty continues to serve as CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. in Dayton, OH, but his true passion lies in working with business owners and organization leaders to help them drive results.

Your Business is a Laboratory

Getting the formula for entrepreneurial success just right necessarily involves some tinkering. Marty started his landscaping business when he was 14, and readily admits there was some trial and error involved in those early days.

He quickly learned to simply by asking customers if they were happy. If they weren’t, it was necessary to figure out how to make them happy. Once accomplished, it was appropriate ask for referrals that would appreciate a similar service.

Too many businesses don’t talk enough with their customers. Marty likes to ask them what they would do if they were operating his business. That question alone goes a long way toward earning their trust

If you look at your business as a series of transactions, everything becomes a new experiment. When a business is relationship focused, every customer is intimately involved in its success. Consider your business a laboratory that makes successful breakthroughs by minimizing risk.

Be Nice, Pleasant, and Polite

Marty has had numerous mentors in his career, with some of them being highly influential people. How does he make these connections? Being a nice person that wants to be a friend goes a long way toward developing relationships with most people who genuinely want to help in return.

Marty’s all-time favorite books is Dale Carnegie’s 1937 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. In this social media saturated world that amplifies everything we do, being nice, pleasant, and polite is advice that is more relevant than ever for successfully running any business.

Stop Chasing Squirrels

Marty is nearing completion of his latest book, Stop Chasing Squirrels and Capture Business Success. When it is published, some of the lessons will undoubtedly include never, ever forgetting the fundamentals that have always worked. In fact, this is the theme of This Old New Business.

Not surprisingly, Marty’s top productivity tip is the venerable checklist. You can write it out as you alway9 Super Simple Steps to Entrepreneurial Successs have or take it to a digital, and therefore shareable, level with CheckVist. Either way, it always works.

The point is that if you are chasing the next shiny thing at the expense of what’s vitally important for moving your business forward, then it won’t be long before your business laboratory blows up in your face.

Trust me, my major field of study in college was chemistry. You have to get the formula right, no matter what.

A relationship focused approach is all that it takes.

How does your business stay relationship focused?

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Marty’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Do great work. Say thank you. Then ask for a referral.

His Favorite Productivity Tip – Use a “To-Do” list to start every day focused on the things that need attention first.

A Quote that has Inspired Marty’s Success – “Good things come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who did not.” – Anonymous

Key Take-Aways

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About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Facebook Page Comments Go Public

Today Facebook announced new changes at their f8 conference.

There is always a lot of hoopla and excitement associated with this annual event, though I’ll reserve my comments for later.

My ongoing promise to you is to not just report the news – but to give you a thoughtful perspective on what it means for your small business.

Technology is like a shiny new toy that creates a great deal of excitement. We all get that.

However, if you can remember back to when you were a little kid who had just received a new toy, what was your response after the initial surprise?

What does it do?  

Yep, and that primal instinct still applies today to your business practices.

That’s what we do here.  Thus far this week we’ve discussed Facebook Subscribers and Smart Lists – both of which in my opinion are favorable enhancements for social networking and marketing.

Today’s topic is a feature that could work for you, or against you – unless you are prepared for it.  As of yesterday, anyone can comment on your Facebook page.

Previously, one had to Like a page in order to make comments. No more.  Now commenting on Facebook pages is open to the general public.  And this is making a lot of folks nervous.

Why You Should Love All Comments

Comments are one of the most loved and feared aspects of social media.

If you have ever read the comments on USA Today or ESPN, you know that they are predominantly the work of trolls that delight in controversy.  While I rarely get negative comments here, I welcome them all.  Why?

Negative comments are an opportunity to clarify.  You can provide new perspectives that will win over some of the naysayers.  And even if you don’t, you have taken a stronger stand that communicates something to your true fans.

So, love those comments.  Another reason you should love all comments is that traffic sends a signal to Google and the other search engines that gets your content ranked higher.

What’s not to love about that?

The Friends Activity Tab

Concurrent with the public commenting change, Facebook added a new Friends Activity tab to your page.

This is hugely valuable for businesses because it creates a ready historical reference of what your Facebook friends have most liked about your page.

So, imagine that your business has been referred to a new prospect.  They can now go deeper into your content to learn what you have done well.  For example, one of my accomplishments was being ranked in Technorati’s Top 100 Small Business Top blogs in the world.

Accomplishments like this are now shared with future visitors to my page – compliments of Facebook. In other words, Facebook is helping you and me with our marketing via the Friends Activity tab.

I can even envision using a QR code to direct others to this tab. It’s never a good idea to be be too self-promoting, but now that Facebook is serving up some of your best work you may as well take advantage of it.

My first impression of these changes was negative.  Yet, after studying it further I realize they are good for my small business. 

How about you?

Leave a comment below or share this with your community on with any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff

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