Carol Roth, Business Strategist and Bestselling Author
Carol Roth talks with Bill Ringle about tough love for entrepreneurs.
>>> Visit MyQuestforTheBest.com for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.
Listen to this interview to learn:
- The importance of re-evaluating business models from a non-emotional basis
- How to think about what “good risk” means
- A secret to successful business planning that separates thriving businesses from business casualties
- How the Rule of 3x lets you budget resources, and more importantly, manage expectations better
- Why scalability is so important to think about as an end goal
Read the Show Notes from this Episode
- 1:48 Roth’s first entrepreneurial experiences as 8-year-old selling toys to her younger sister.
- 3:20 [On problem-solving for business leaders] – “I look at other people and I ask them what their problem is, or I spend time with them to try to uncover their problem and try to solve this problem for them.”
- 4:55 “I tend to favor frameworks because I believe that everyone has their own definition of success, not to mention their own circumstances, goals, and objectives.”
- 5:16 Roth tells about some difficult experiences that occurred in her young adult life.
- 6:49 “Through all these times when I felt I wasn’t going to make it, I was not going to be able to go on another day, I kept persisting. I kept keeping my eye on the goal, on what was going to make me strong, and what was going to help me give back to the world.”
- 8:01 [On the inspiration for writing the book] “I wanted to give people a realistic, decision-making framework, again, very particular to their own situation. I didn’t want to say, ‘This is the way to do it.’
- 8:17 “My definition of success, and what I’m able to bring to the table in terms of resources and experiences, is very different from what other people bring to the table and what they’re looking to accomplish.”
- 9:27 [Why people appreciate The Entrepreneur Equation] “It’s just having that structure, that non-emotional, non-biased ‘What am I trying to do and how am I going to get there focus’ that has been very valuable for people.
- 9:33 [Roth’s definition of success] – “Getting through a day without collapsing.”
- 9:39 [Roth’s actual definition of success] – “It revolves around accomplishing certain goals that I’ve set out, that involve being a good wife and friend and relative and person. I sort of have a whole list of criteria that I live my life by.”
- 10:19 “I don’t think success is a place that I get to, I think it’s a journey. Because every time I accomplish something, we’re coming up with three additional things to add to the list.”
- 10:52 “I always have a plan. And it’s always a very large plan. And the way that I approach things is that I start with a big goal, some people call it the B-HAG, I sometimes call it the balls to the walls crazy goal, and then I break it up into smaller chunks that kind of lead there.”
- 11:45 [On entrepreneurial self-awareness] – “I think so many people go into business because they are in love, or rather in lust, with an idea, with the emotion driving what they are trying to accomplish rather than rational thinking.”
- 12:22 The value of properly thinking through new opportunities in light of the risk/reward trade-off, and taking the time to fully build the necessary foundation before taking the leap.
- 13:11 Why entrepreneurs should avoid the field of dreams business model.
- 14:40 [TGFO – Thank God for Oprah] “If it takes Oprah a couple of years to get her venture off the ground, it will probably take you the same”
- 15:00 “I’m convinced that once you become an entrepreneur you catch being bipolar, I didn’t know that it was contagious, something that you can get, but it’s amazing to me the high highs and the low lows that you go through, sometimes in rapid succession after another. And you really have to have the constitution, the stomach to be able to handle those because that is what throws so many entrepreneurs for a loop.”
- 15:59 [What it takes to be an entrepreneur] – “It really is something that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable with leaning into the ride on the rollercoaster and realizing that if you get knocked down seven times, that you need to get up eight times.”
- 17:10 “Equity value is the value of the business as a going concern, the value of the business by itself that’s separate from you.”
- 17:31 The story of Terry the massage therapist: examples of companies with and without equity value.
- 18:32 “The way that most entrepreneurs really make a lot of money, and the ones you see on all the magazines and on the media when they’re able to sell their business or create this value that’s not completely dependent upon them.”
- 20:01 [On the rule of 3] “Anything that you would do in business is going to take three times longer, is going to cost three times more, and be three times as difficult as you anticipate.”
- 20:45 “In terms of scaling, you have to go back to what’s the end goal. What are you trying to do? Are you trying to build a business just for a lifestyle? Or are you trying to build something that has equity value? Are you looking to employ other people and give back to the community? Are you looking to leave a legacy?”
- 21:15 “It always goes back to having a lot of clarity about what you see in the future.”
- 22:05 “One of the things I always encourage people to do, especially if you are financially risk-averse, or that you don’t have the financial wherewithal, is to think about entrepreneurship within the confines of somebody’s else’s organization. You can be an entrepreneur in spirit without risking your own capital.”
- 22:55 “If you’re not willing to take the financial risk or even gain some relevant experience, go do it on somebody else’s dime, go do it within the confines of another organization. You still have something at risk, you’re still risking your reputation, you’re still risking your job, your salary; but it’s a different kind of risk, and sometimes that makes people more comfortable and can be a good starting point.”
- 24:14 “One of the things I’ve learned is that you let the market tell you what it wants from you. You can go out with any product or service, and the market is going to tell you if they want it.”
- 24:35 The Doctor is in, Roth’s role as advice-giver.
- 26:00 “I’ve always been an advisory business, I started my career as an investment banker, that’s what I was clearly meant to do, and that’s frankly what people want from me.”
- 26:41 How Roth uses expansive lists to stay productive.
- 28:47 Roths’ sources of inspiration.
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Carol Roth is a business strategist, content producer, dealmaker, former investment banker, and author of the New York Times bestselling book The Entrepreneur Equation. Carol has worked with hundreds of companies, ranging from a single entrepreneur with an idea to Fortune 500 businesses, on all aspects of business and financial strategy. Collectively, she has helped her clients raise more than $1 billion in capital, complete $750+ million in mergers and acquisitions, secure high-profile licensing and partnership deals, and create 7-figure brand loyalty programs.
Carol is known for her tough love style – she tells it like it is, but as she says, she will give you a hug afterward. She draws upon her broad experience base to provide advice ranging from the business basics to the bold (think firing your customers) with a fresh, no-holds-barred approach. She refers to her advisory style as the “Spinach in Your Teeth®” philosophy, warning business owners to never trust anyone who won’t tell them that they have spinach stuck in their teeth.
She is a frequent radio, television, and print media contributor on the topics of business and entrepreneurship, appearing regularly on Fox News, MSNBC, Fox Business, and WGN TV Chicago, among others. To supplement her active media participation, Carol has completed media and improv training with The Second City, the leading improvisational comedy school in the US. Her Unsolicited Business Advice blog at CarolRoth.com was recently named as one of the Top 10 small business blogs online, and she herself was named a 2011 Top 100 Small Business Influencer. Carol is a contributing blogger to outlets like The Huffington Post, AllBusiness.com, and Crain’s Chicago Business/Enterprise City.