Newsroom HomeBlogsStoriesSoundtrack ProjectNewsroom ArchivesChamber Home Page

Your Greatest Competition is You

You may think your toughest competition is those people across town, but you would be wrong. It is you, the business owner. Yes, talking about YOU.

You likely lose more business due to your own shortcomings than sales defeats. Sure, sales losses matter, but not as much as the business skills you are not deploying (which likely include better sales techniques) into your business or marketplace.

All owners are expert at certain things or they wouldn’t be in business. But just as true is that they are lacking in “others.”  When you cure things under “others,” you can experience real progress.

How well do you deploy social media? How good are you at leading sales efforts?  Do you understand what financial statements tell you? What marketing methods have you become fluent with?  How are you leading and inspiring?  What growth ground have you broken?  Do you maintain positive cash flow?  Are you keeping employees trained and current? Any “no” answers mean you are beating yourself in those areas.

For example, I hate marketing. I like sales, solving business problems and developing people. But I hate marketing, likely because I’ve never mastered it. The methods can seem mysterious and iffy. And expensive. Ahhh! So that is under “others” for me. Likely that uncertainty feels similar to you in whatever areas you hate. I get it. But you increase in professionalism and profitability the more you master these things.

Knowledge is power and profit for small business owners and their lack can be killer. For example, my company sells annual service contracts, which may be worth $1000. When I sold one I booked it on the month. This happened for ten of them. “Wow, I am killing it,” I bragged to my accountant who replied, “Well, not really.” Say what? “Look bean man, I have $10,000 profit this month alone.” His response, “No you don’t.”

Tenured owners immediately recognize you only book one-twelfth the thousand dollars on each month. The balance goes under unearned income. This recognizes costs as they incur monthly such as parts, supplies and labor. Oh. I was obviously not yet a tenured owner. The lesson kept me from going out and spending money I did not have.

Another tutoring was in cash flow versus profit. I showed a profit but my grim reaper bean man said I still had negative cash flow meaning more cash went out than came in. “Yeah, but I am profitable, Beans, ” I protested. Well, not really. I quickly learned monthly principle payments on loans aren’t included in your P&L but interest is. More bad news. More lessons learned.

These are just two examples of many I’ve learned as I’ve earned my stripes. They goaded me to make important course corrections in my thinking or else I would become the unfortunate frog in the warm water that slowly worked its way to the boiling point, causing it to perish.

There are many such light bulb moments crucial to the prosperity of a business. They are on the owner to learn, and getting them wrong can cost you way more than the loss of profit on a sale.

Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: 'Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail' and 'Small Business Survival 101.' He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Posted: 12/8/2015 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Big, Business, e/Doc, Ideas, Owner, Pease, SBC, Small, Systems, Tom

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment Subscribe

Is seven < than four? (true/false)

Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.