Over the last few decades, there is a lot that has changed in business, the internet, the Y2K chaos, the dot-com bubble crash, the 2008 housing market bubble and total devastation of the market, becoming the Great Recession for the next 4+ years. Yes, there has been good and bad. There have been big challenges that are once in a lifetime issues, unlike anything we have seen before. How did this affect business?
Well, it certainly has made it interesting. It flushed out many businesses that had no reason to be in business due to a lack of business knowledge and value, however, it also washed out several businesses that did add value, but that didn’t have a model that could last through the crazy problems in the marketplace. I, Dale Berkebile, founder of the business Success Movement and owner of Brandwise for the last 19 years, have seen it all. Okay, maybe not IT ALL, but certainly a lot!
Let me share a bit of my personal journal to clarify. After about 3-4 years in my post-college career, I got the book The Business Side of Creativity (a business book for graphic designers) as a Christmas gift in 1998. At the time I was in a corporate design job and I was freelancing as a side-hustle. I used this book as my bible and referenced it ALL. THE. TIME.
My business, Brandwise (originally called the ART Department), was started after I got laid off at my corporate job. I started my business full-time the next week… April 1, 1999. I was pretty lucky early on because I was doing a lot of web work and was actually ranked the #1 web design firm in 1999, by the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal.
I read the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber but was too green and too young to get the ideas in this book. Regular business books like this were way over my head. I certainly WAS NOT an ENTREPRENEUR, but I just didn’t know that at the time. After a few years of success, I decided I wanted to grow my business. I wanted to pivot from a freelance design business to an advertising agency and later a branding firm. 4-5 years in and pretty good success (I thought), I created a modest income of $50K per year. I thought I was hot shit, so I bet the farm and relocated cross country. I met a girl in San Francisco at the HOW Design Conference and we hit it off. After flying back and forth to see each other (I lived in Lancaster PA at the time and she lived in Fort Worth TX), I decided to up and move my business to Fort Worth with a goal of landing in Austin. I am a music guy so Austin seemed like a dream location. Anyhow, I never made it to Austin. Long-story-short, I married this girl, had a wonderful son and have been running my business here for the last 15+ years (being in business for nearly 19 years today).
In this time I pivoted from a freelance shop to a design/branding firm. I had some pretty good years and some really bad years that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. In this time, however, I learned a ton about business.
One of the things I learned was that… 9-out-of-10 businesses fail. Well, it is actually 96% of US registered businesses fail in the first 10 years.
I was happy I made it past year 10, but that didn’t mean I was living the dream. My business was still floundering with highs and lows. I have dialed in my work and have found a way to get proven results for my clients when it came to revenue growth through sales training and inbound marketing. As I swam upstream though, I struggled to build a solid prospecting machine that kept my pipeline full of the ideal clients. I was selling to CEOs that ran companies making $3MM to $50MM a year. This was pretty amazing… talking and servicing these big dogs. Just because you can sell programs starting at $40K to multi-million dollar businesses, does not mean it is easy to fill your pipeline, manage the workflow and people doing the work.
Because of this and other factors, I was unable to scale my business. After about 5-8 years of building a flawed business model, I went back to the drawing board and reflected on what the hell I was doing.
Was it time to hang it up?
Was it time to get a “real” job?
Was I just going to be a statistic and one of the 96% that failed?
So after a lot of soul-searching and overcoming a 2-year bout with depression, I started working on a new WHY. You see, I had a WHY I created in October of 2013, but this was very ME-Focused. In May of 2017, I created a new WHY. So this one was still a little ME-Opic but getting closer to where we are today.
So where are we today?
Well, my WHY today is…
I want to leave the business community better than I found it.
So, how does one go about, making the business community better and what does this even mean?
What this means to me is… finding a way to help business owners not make the same mistakes I did. I wasted decades and millions of dollars by not knowing how to run and build a business. I struggled for a long time and was on the sales roller coaster most of my business. Over the years, the only thing that really changed was the severity of the roller coaster.
Early on it was a few thousand dollars a month to zero and then back again. Then I scaled it up to several tens of thousands of dollars a month to zero. Sadly in the later stages, because the clients were bigger and the retainers were bigger, this meant the sales cycle was longer and the prospecting game was tougher. Through all this time I honed my business skills and my sales skills and I finally realized I had a broken business model that without a heavy cash infusion was not going to be easy to fix, so I dropped it.
Over the last twenty years I pivoted in a big way several times (freelance to design firm, design firm to agency, agency to business consultant). This lead me to my WHY and my latest pivot… helping business owners create and run a healthy business.
I thought the 96% failure rate was an outrage and mostly because employees decided one day that they had it or like me, they got laid off and said… “screw it I’ll just start my own business.”
Yes, you can start a business fairly cheaply with a few hundred dollars, but if you do not understand business it’ll kick your ass.
You see, most business owners, like me, actually create a J.O.B. for themselves.
They are not ENTREPRENEURS.
They have no real understanding of business, but they have a passion for freedom and living the “American Dream”. This passion is not enough though. I learned this the hard way.
So this is why I create the business Success Movement.
It is a way to help those entrepreneurs that are sick of the status quo, sick of the sales roller coaster and looking for a way to stop dreaming about the “American Dream” but actually build it.
The business Success Movement started out as a Facebook Group, check it out here. Then we started building this website and offering business courses.
Again, the whole goal is to build a MOVEMENT of business owners that are outraged by the 96% failure rate. They are passionate about the MOVEMENT obviously for the selfish reason of not wanting to become a statistic, to be more profitable, to have a supportive community that just “gets them”, and lastly because they know it is just the right thing to do to give back and help others. As the ol’ saying states… UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL. If you are a business owner and you agree, please join the Facebook Group. Then subscribe to this blog and start joining the conversation about ways to change this horrible failure rate of 96%. Our big goal is helping you live your dream and move the success rate from 4% to well over 10%
We need your help!
We certainly can not do this alone. Ther are 26MM Registered businesses in the US alone and who know’s how many globally.
If we work together, we can change the world.
- The first goal is helping you build a healthy model and systematize your business to bring you success, profitability and a way for you to get out of the daily mix.
- I want to help you build a business that runs without you and by doing so you can scale your business and employ people to run it.
- By doing this, you now created a business model that not only works but is valuable to someone else and you could actually sell your business (for retirement or to fund your next project).
- Once you have success, we are wanting to help you build philanthropy into your business model so you can give back and make REAL change to the world.
So there you have it. This is what the Business Success Movement is and WHY we created it.
I hope you found this interesting and look forward to learning more about you and your story.