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Improve Performance, Provoke Thought, Think Critically.

You are constantly striving to improve.  You are looking for practical tips you can apply to your daily work that will impact your performance.  You are looking for advice from professionals who do the work. You want to engage with professionals who have been in your shoes.

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The Find My Catalyst Podcast is published weekly.  We take listener questions at @catalystsale on twitter or via email.

Topics discussed - Revenue Operations, Customer Success, Goal Setting & Execution, Mindset, Performance, B2B Sales, Sales Training, Product Market Fit, Growth, Hiring, Recruitment, Sales Process, Business Acumen, Startups, Leadership.

Sep 18, 2018

What does it take to Finish Big and what makes a Small Giant

Bo Burlingham joins us this week on the Catalyst Sale Podcast to discuss two of his books - Small Giants & Finish Big.  We also discuss the importance of knowing what question you intend to answer when conducting research, the importance of understanding this question for your audience, and where community fits.

Questions Discussed

  • What inspired you to do the research for Small Giants?
  • What is the Small Giants Community?
  • What compelled Bo to write Finish Big?
  • How do you know if you have asked enough questions to get to the root of the story?
  • Why do founders try to manage the exit on their own?
  • What does research mean to Bo?

Key Takeaways

  • Zingerman's - 2003 coolest small company in America
  • Small Giant's have a quality - MOJO - which is the business equivalent of charisma.
  • Most companies lose their mojo as they get larger.
  • Bo started with what do these companies have in common.
    • Run by people & started by people who had a clear idea of who they were, what they wanted, and why.
    • Reflected the community where they started.
    • 1:1 relationship with customers & suppliers.
    • Employees come first.
    • Financial/Business models.
      • Focus on gross margins
      • Healthy balance sheet
      • Need to have a business model that can change with the environment & times
    • Crazy/passionate about what the company does - over the top.
  • Things change when a company grows.  It is no longer possible to operate the same way when it was smaller.
  • You have a choice - there is nothing in business that requires that you build a large organization.
  • The reason we tend to adopt quick fixes is that companies are so focused on growing big fast. 
  • Go to to connect with others who are interested in building Small Giants.
  • When researching Finish Big, he found a tremendously high percentage of the people were unhappy about their exit.
  • People were willing to share more than expected.  They wanted to help other people.
  • People were willing to let Bo write about mistakes
  • A good exit
    • People could look back on the process, and feel it was a good process.
    • People could look back on what they have done, and feel they created something of value.
    • People could look back and say that the others who joined them on the journey benefited.
    • That the business continues to go on & do better.
  • A bad exit missed one of the above.
  • Entrepreneurs like to feel like they are in control.  They forget that do not have the experience in managing the exit.
  • They will make mistakes through the process.
  • Some of the best people to ask to help you with an exit are those who have done it.  They understand the mistakes.  Find an exit advisor who has been through it.
  • Entrepreneurship is not a construction project.  It is a journey that includes building a company, but it also includes leaving the company.
  • An exit is not an event - it is a stage of the business.
    • Stage 1 - The education phase
    • Stage 2 - The strategic phase
    • Stage 3 - The exit
    • Stage 4 - The transition from being an owner to whatever comes next.
  • The business tells you what the next thing is that you have to do - the exit or lack of structure after the exit can be extremely disorienting.
  • Failing at the exit is a tragedy - Don't Fail Alone
  • A book (or research) starts with a question.
  • Once Bo has the question, then he knows how to do the research.  The most important thing is to understand what is the question you want to answer for your reader? 
  • Peer groups are important - the best advice you will get is from people who have been through the journey.

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Catalyst Sale

In every business, in every opportunity, there is someone who can help you navigate the internal challenges and close the deal.  There is a Catalyst.  We integrate process (Catalyst Sale Process), technology and people, with the purpose of accelerating revenue. Our thoughtful approach minimizes false starts that are common in emerging markets and high-growth environments. We continue to evolve our practice based on customer needs and emerging technology. We care about a thinking process that enables results versus a process that tells people what to do. 

Sales is a Thinking Process.