Archive for the ‘peer learning’ Category

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

January 7th, 2020 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Three skills are essential to survival as a start-up that you must eventually “unlearn” to grow a business. While these talents are prerequisites for getting a business off the ground, they become a liability as time goes on.

1. Flexibility

In the early days, when cash is scarce, you need to be flexible. Instead of hiring full-time employees, you may need to subcontract work to a partner. This arrangement works well as you pay subcontractors only when you have work, and they pay their expenses.

You also stay flexible when dealing with customers. If you’re just starting up, you’re likely not in a position to dictate to your prospects, so you listen carefully and adjust as necessary to suit their needs. 

Instead of setting up a physical location, you may create a makeshift office by patching together a home office or working out of a coffee shop. 

All of this bootstrapping allows you to get your business off the ground on a shoestring budget. The problem is that being too flexible can start to become a liability. Your contract employees may have other clients and can’t be at your beck and call when you need them. Your customers may start to ask for so much customization that the only person in your company with the technical skills to fulfill their special requests is you. And, eventually, a customer will want to see where you work and may think less of you if your office is your car.

Flexibility, a prerequisite in the beginning, actually becomes a liability as you grow.

2. Thrift

If you’re self-financing your business, you have no choice but to make it profitable from day one. If it doesn’t make you money today, you don’t do it.

This discipline of getting an instant return on cash invested allows us to get a business off the ground. Still, the problem with fixating on immediate profit is that it can undermine your ability to grow.

For example, redesigning your website won’t make you more profitable this month, but it could be a necessary investment to attract larger contracts from more significant customers in the future. 

It’s true that you should never overlook profitability entirely, but it is a good idea to place an equal emphasis on top- and bottom-line results—even if the investment doesn’t pay off right away.

3. Self-reliance

With no money or people to delegate to, a new business owner gets things done on her own. Many of us grow to like the control of doing things our way and fear things might get messed up if we give them to someone else.

Since we can do every job in our company, we often just keep doing some things long after we should. But once you start generating more profit, a few extra bodies are necessary to ensure you’re managing your calendar appropriately and not wasting time. 

If you’re not self-reliant in the early days, you won’t even get a business off the ground. But at some point, your inclination to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself can be what stops you from growing.

Overall, flexibility, thrift, and self-reliance are the essential ingredients of any start-up, and for your company to become a world-beater, you somehow have to unlearn those tendencies for a new set of skills. 

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Insights from Janice Salmon CEO of Just Press One

October 28th, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

All it takes is a simple change to your phone system to help your business save money and provide the best service to your consumers. Just Press One helps to make this possible — by eliminating inbound calls and supply a one-stop location. Janice Salmon offers insight into her business adventures.


  1. An entrepreneur sets out to solve problems. Noticing a need for answering service for the appliance industry, Janice set out to fill this gap. As entrepreneurs, we must figure out how we can solve problems in our industries. We cannot take no for an answer. To be innovative is to succeed even in an industry that does not have a lot of profit.


  1. We have to persevere. Janice did not give up when she heard her first no from the company selling the SureTouch technology. With diligence, she sought out the inventor and tried once more. Giving her the ability to provide this service to women in need via OC Breast Wellness. When the first door does not open, try the other keys.


  1. Having a vision ensures we’re on the right track.As business owners we tend to narrow our focus. As we learned last week in our podcast, living in the now helps us solve our problems. However, this does not mean we do not think about the possibilities the future may hold. To help people is the main goal, and we need to ensure we take those steps necessary to get there, regardless of the obstacles.


Listen to our full interview with Janice here:

“Focus on the Business “, Insights from Matt Rossetti, CEO of Rossetti on The Critical Mass Radio Show

September 25th, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

“Rossetti is a place where they design experiences and generate value.” More specifically, experiences that enrich people’s lives by providing fresh and inventive content, and as we all know content is king! Value that is tangible and relatable whether it be physically or financially, and even emotionally. The authenticity of their brand, as well as, the creative employees is able to positively impact their clients, the community, Sports and Entertainment projects, and even take them across the globe with spectacular hospitality of all sorts. Matt Rossetti joins us on the Critical Mass Radio Show for more.

1.Understand how prospects want to consume information. To be a successful business you have to understand all areas of your audience. This includes how they want to receive their information. Most people today multi task and receive a great deal of information from cell phones while they are on the go. Millennial’s and Gen Z, also hold a great experience to a higher value than the stuff CEOs and executives are trying to market. So if you are holding conferences and events in venues that are not of value to your audience they are less likely to attend and less likely to listen and retain the information presented. Follow the trends and truly take an interest in understanding your audience.

2.Stay with the program. As Gino Wickman said,It is so easy to focus in the business instead of on the business”. What this means is constantly making sure the regimen is followed and creating clear time for fresh, innovative, and creative thinking to ensure the company as a whole is keeping up with the times and the overall vision is being met. Also, implement what you need to implement. It can become extremely difficult to keep the momentum and vision going so setting goals and tracking progress is crucial to attaining the success you want from your company.

3.Don’t be afraid to change the leadership boards. In a successful company a strong leadership team is essential. However, a strong sense of family is created at the leadership level and sometimes the system and the work out grows the person or the people outgrow the system and the sense of trust and the strong connection and bond between executives makes it very difficult to adapt and change the leadership teams with the changing business world. Some of the biggest challenges CEOs face is switching up the leaderships teams but in those situations it is important to keep in mind that it is strictly business and if it is what is best for the company then it must be done to ensure the success of the company.


Listen to our full interview with Matt Rossetti here:

“Think of the “Why” before the “How”, Insights from Ron Johnsey, CEO of ThinkWhy LLC on the Critical Mass Radio Show

September 22nd, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Ron Johnsey is the founder and chief executive officer of ThinkWhy LLC, a SaaS start up focused on a new solution in the labor market space. Ron is a true visionary by the EOS definition, and previously built and successfully exited from another SaaS company, Axiometrics, one that he started and was CEO of for 23 years. ThinkWhy LLC believes that in today’s evolving workforce and tight labor market, this software provides businesses with a strategic competitive advantage. Ron Johnsey joins us on the Critical Mass Radio Show for more.

1.Retain your people.The U.S. is a growth story. As Ron Johnsey puts it,” if we are not growing then we are dead.” In order to grow however, you need people. It is vital that the retention of your employees is strong. In order to maintain the people you hire, you need to pay them well and provide the right services to ensure that the employees’ needs are being met to the best of your ability. Otherwise, you as a business cannot grow and succeed.

2. Have an engaged workforce. CEOs and executivestypically do notput in as much effort as they should to truly understand the culture of their company. This feeds into the employees that are brought on to help expand and grow the business. The number one advantage that smaller companies have against their bigger competitors, as stated in the interview, is an engaged workforce. Hiring to fit the culture of the business and then reinforcing that culture is the only way to truly manifest the work environment that you, as an executive or CEO, desires to see. This also weeds out the employees that are there for just a paycheck from those that are fully engaged and committed to the success of your business.

3. People want metrics to be judged by. People want feedback and they do not want it anonymously. In a high trust environment, you can have a high level of accountability as well. Accountability does not come from a lack of trust, it comes from a high value of trust that the set of goals mutually agreed on will be met and are ultimately the best decisions for the success and growth of your company. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain that high level of trust and provide necessary feedback with a name attached. It not only allows those receiving the critiques to fix and readjust their strategies, it also gives insights as to who is looking into your brand and your ways of performing and meeting the demands of your clients.


Listen to our full interview with Ron Johnsey on the Critical Mass Radio Show here:

“Coaches Are Better Than Managers”,Insights from Bill Eckstrom & Sarah Wirth, Authors of The Coaching Effect, on the Critical Mass Radio Show

September 17th, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA


Whether it be sports or lessons, having the right coach can be the key to unlocking your true potential. Authors Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth’s latest book, The Coaching Effect, helps leaders at all levels understand the necessity of challenging people and creating a high growth organization. They join us on the Critical Mass Radio Show for more.

1.Coaches get the best results and initiate growth. According to Bill Eckstrom, coaches have the greatest impact on performance. High-level leaders such as managers and executives need to behave more like coaches in order to get the best out of their team and drive up performance as well as success. The best coaches and leaders have a great understanding of the play-by plays of the company as well as the team in which they are managing. Coaches over managers, have a positive connotation and break down the barrier between the managers and employees, which in turn, creates a work atmosphere that is built upon trust and a form of leadership that is structured by strategy rather than status.

2.Get out of your comfort zone. This can happen either voluntarily or non-voluntarily. Either way it forces you into new and different situations that allows for the ability to adapt and deal with new business situations. According to Sarah Wirth’s research, people tend to grow the most when they are outside of their comfort zones. This also relates to entrepreneurs and business owners on multiple levels, seeing as how people in business and entrepreneurs are forced into new and different situations constantly and are always asked to make decisions based on new scenarios. The people willing to take on new situations with a positive perspective are the ones who are going to grow the most, and are more likely to achieve success and find more opportunities.

3.The concept of discomfort does not always lead to happy employees. Discomfort according to Bill Eckstrom’s and Sarah Wirth’s research, is when the most growth occurs. Contradictory to what we hear from numerous CEOs about maintaining happy employees, happy employees alone are not always the best producers of successful work. The best coaches and leaders are the ones that push and challenge their team. The concepts of trust and discomfort go hand in hand because as we all know uncomfortable situations are not the easiest places to be in, but when in a business setting and being lead by your boss, or coach, whom you trust, you as the employee are more likely to be unhappy about the situation, but are also more likely to follow your coach into uncomfortable situations and come out successful.

 Listen to our full interview with Bill Eckstrom & Sarah Wirth on the Critical Mass Radio Show here:

“These Killer Concepts Will Drive A Killer Business”, Insights from Jeff Leitman, CEO of Killer Concepts, on The Critical Mass Radio Show

September 11th, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

From unique phone chargers to portable batteries, there is a wide variety of cellphone accessories. One in particular you may have seen in stores or near the checkout counters are the small suction cup piggies for phones. We have Jeff Leitman from Killer Concepts on the Critical Mass Radio Show and Podcast to share some of the philosophies of Killer Concepts as well as provide us on inside look into the strategies of the business.

1.Become customer-centric.Focus your messaging with the idea that your customer is the end user. Look inwardly at what you are trying to deliver. Focus on your packaging, look at your competitors packaging, do research and find a way to strategically market and relay your product to users, and lastly focus on how to effectively communicate the message of what your product is, how it works, and why consumers should buy it. Keeping your customers as the top priority will ensure the success for your business and will demonstrate the authenticity of your brand as well as your product.

2.Stay busy. Stay relevant. When you find that your product or service is doing exceedingly well in your space, it becomes easy to recline and let the product do the work. However, in business, which is a competitive market in itself, it is also easy to become irrelevant. By keeping busy and continuously working on projects it keeps your brand relevant and also opens up an opportunity to keep jobs consistently available. Staying busy is a positive strategy on multiple levels.

3.Keep your employees happy but focused. As brought up many times on the Critical Mass Radio Show, employees are a huge piece to a successful business. However, in any business it is very difficult to succeed alone. Therefore, with the employees that you do currently have that are working hard to see your vision through, it is so important to make sure that your employees are taken care of to the best of your ability. If employees feel as though they are not valued then will put less value in your brand and just come to work for a paycheck or not even come to work at all. Therefore, maintaining a positive relationship between yourself as the executive figure and the employees that oversee day-to-day operations is crucial to the life and success of your business.


Listen to our full interview with Jeff Leitman here:

“The Good Will of Goodwill,” Insights from Nicole Suydam, President and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County on the Critical Mass Radio Show

September 6th, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Goodwill helps people who are facing barriers to find and keeps jobs, which provide purpose, pride, and dignity. Not only do they serve thousands of children and adults every year, but they also provide services to help people achieve the highest level of independence. Nicole Suydam, President and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County joins us on the Critical Mass Radio show to share more.

1.The only difference between a non-profit organizations and a corporate business is the designation to the IRS. Non-profit organizations are full-fledged businesses and when looked at by corporate businesses do not get the status that they deserve. In some cases the best practices of a business are best executed by non-profit organizations. Oversight and compliance are expected and demanded from non-profit organizations and in some cases even more so than corporate businesses. Non-profit organizations are great partners and can boost credibility as well as establish a philanthropic view by consumers, therefore increasing interest to the brands of both businesses working together.

2.Find quality candidates. Many business owners struggle with hiring the right people that will compliment the values and mission of their business. This may be because of how candidates are narrowed down. What I mean by this is people with disabilities or even veterans are typically not given as much consideration as others during the interview process. We have now heard two CEOs, Nicole Suydam and Bob Marsh of The File Depot, that have significantly benefitted from hiring people with barriers, such as disabled individuals, either mentally or physically. As stated by both CEOs on two separate interviews, they bring a work ethic that is unmatched by others in the work place and their genuinely happy and grateful to be working for and representing your company. When conducting the interview process remember that everyone should be given the opportunity to demonstrate the skills and work ethic they have.

3.Be laser focused. For non-profit organizations and for corporate level jobs, focusing on programs and other ways that will allow people to maintain and succeed in their position within a company is a strategic move. Tuning in on the ways that can benefit your employees that allow them to prosper and grow within your business will ultimately allow your business to grow outward. This will add credibility to your employees as well as your business model, and hiring process, because if your employees are growing and expanding the business and themselves it reflects positively on the ones whop hired and trained them. Also, this sets individuals up for other opportunities outside of the business. In the long run focusing on the well being of your employees and being able to reap the benefits while doing so will allow for exponential growth and success all around.


Listen to our full interview with Nicole Suydam on the Critical Mass Radio Show here:

“Leaders Are Readers”, Insights from Pat Burns, Co-founder of the OC Children’s Book Festival on the Critical Mass Radio Show

September 6th, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

Books offer endless visions and dreams, individually different to each reader. Reading can be the secret to a happy and successful life for people of all ages. That’s why the OC Children’s Book Festival is looking to take people on an adventure of exploration. Co-founder and executive director Pat Burns joins us on the Critical Mass Radio Show with more.

1. Answer the big “Why’s” to know the “How”.For an entrepreneur launching a business or even generating a great idea to get your business started and gain recognition can be a daunting task. One of the easiest ways to go about doing this is to answer the “why” questions before hand. For instance, as stated in the interview,” why are we better?”, “Why is our community better?”, “ Why are the children better?”, and for any entrepreneur answering the main questions as to why your idea is better than anything your competitors are currently offering is a sure fire way to advance recognition and make your idea a reality. Always be aware of the “whys “ in order to figure out the “how”.

2.Leaders are readers. It does matter if you love to read. For entrepreneurs and other functioning members of society reading saves a great number of individuals from being taken advantage of. For instance imagine trying to make a business deal and not being able to read and interpret the contract that was drawn up for you. It is proven that being illiterate decreases self esteem and decreases the chances of succeeding in school which in turn decreases the chance of success in adulthood. Although reading may not come easy to some, the variety of ways to gain knowledge through books leaves little room for excuses as to why someone is unable to read. Leaders are readers and without reading you limit yourself to everything the world has to offer and are thus closed off to a world of endless opportunity as well as strategy that and benefit you and your business.

3.Connections are everything.For non-profit organizations especially, connections are everything and determine the success of the business. Non-profit organizations such as the OC Children’s Book Festival, depend on the philanthropic outlooks corporations have as well as the willingness of celebrity and big name sponsors. Without that help and networking, non-profit organizations would not be able to provide the change that all of us wish to see in the world. However, it is all one big circle and it all starts with an individual and a connection to a monetary source. With that connection can bring out change and decrease the problems that society faces on the daily such as illiterate youth. Build connections and help out a non-profit. It can only help and it will bring credibility for your business as well as the non-profit in which you are sponsoring.


Listen to our full interview with Pat Burns on the Critical Mass Radio Show here:

“Key Words are the Key to Success”, Insights from Angelo Ponzi, of the Ponzi Group and Steve Pitchford, of Search Optimizers, on the Critical Mass Radio Show

September 1st, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA



Content is King, especially when it comes to digital marketing. So how can you use that content to target your customers (prospects) to generate leads and sales? Angelo Ponzi of the Ponzi Group and Steve Pitchford of Search Optimizers join us on the Critical Mass Radio Show to tell us how to utilize a fun and interactive approach in order to leave a digital footprint and benefit from digital strategies.

1. Content drives ranking, which drives traffic, which drives sales. Having a strong content strategy whether you are a small, medium, or large size business is important because it helps you to realize how your customers’ absorb and process your content. It is not enough to pump out random content relating to your business, you need to understand the type of content that generates a reaction from your clients and potential prospects in order to generate the right traffic into your business, and ultimately expand and grow the opportunities . Deliver the right content at the right time to make sure you are driving the right call to action from your consumers.

2.Have visibility on search engines and a strong content strategy. This allows for you to identify how consumers and potential prospects are searching for your product or service. The key words that generate the most traffic to your website are the words that need to be bound into your content strategy and by doing this will increase the amount of recognition, opportunities, and clients that your business gets on a daily basis. It is also important to see how long people are staying on your websites. You can increase the longevity of visitors through interactive and engaging elements embedded into your websites. This can be strengthened with the right key words.

3.Voice searches is driving a lot of change. People are not as dependent on keys words as they used to be and even though they are still important to optimizing your business during a search, people are using natural language such as who, what, when, where, why, and how, during their searches and asking real questions through voice searches. With voice searches, it does not take someone to a physical website it provides them with a voiced response which will ultimately lead to a single conclusion but will narrow the conclusions based on how strong the search optimizers are for a particular site and how often key words are used to find a particular site.

Listen to our full interview with Angelo Ponzi and Steve Pitchford, on the Critical Mass Radio Show here:

“MOMS Include Dads and Any Other Version of a Parent “, Insights from Dave Lugo, COO of MOMS Orange County and Sara Piccollo, Vice President of Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity

August 31st, 2019 by Richard (Ric) Franzi, MBA

MOMS Orange County was formed 26 years ago in response to a crisis in access to prenatal healthcare for low income, and at risk women. Today they serve thousands of families bringing them the support they truly need. Happening right now, they’re accepting nominations for their 2020 Champion for Babies and Families award. Dave Lugo, COO of MOMS Orange County and Sara Piccollo, Vice President, Inclusion, Diversity, and Culture join us on the Critical Mass Radio Show for more.

1.Having help from an employer when you are a working mother is crucial. Working mothers do not get all the credit that they deserve; it is an extremely difficult situation both physically and mentally. Therefore, having an understanding employer to help you alleviate some of the work pressures can prove to be very beneficial for both the employee and the employer. For instance, it builds a strong sense of trust and respect and ultimately a sense of loyalty between the two.

2.An awards program is a great way to gain clients and gain momentum for your business. Having an awards program from within your company is a great way to gain recognition as well as credibility for the services you provide. An awards program is a way to provide knowledge and expertise to other near by companies and is also a great way to establish relationships with surrounding businesses. There is also a form of reciprocation that comes along as well when having an awards program, whether it is with volunteerism, philanthropy, or even spreading awareness of the services your company provides.

3.Evolve, change, and rebrand. Typically speaking non-profit organizations tend to be all inclusive when it comes to the services that they provide. However, sometimes that message does not translate and that can be because of something as small as the name of your organization. As the CEO or top executive of a company it is important know and understand who you are trying to provide services to and making it known across the board that your services are for everyone and not just focused on a specific group of individuals. Pay attention to your branding and the scope of the types of programs being offered. If you feel as a CEO or top executive, that the services being offered may not be extended to you based off the brand name, then evolve, change, and rebrand.


Listen to our full interview with Dave Lugo and Sara Piccollo here:

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