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The Owner's Eye: Detecting Opportunities & Threats

I asked the owner of a new vehicle dealership, who had a showroom full of gleaming eye candy, which product was his favorite to sell. “The one I have had the longest,” he answered. Spoken straight from that business owner frame-of-mind.

This owner has been doing things long enough to know what kept him in business and what threatened it. He could look past the shiny objects and realize they were just the means to achieving profitability that benefits his family, employees and customers. While he loved his products he loves achievement of the financial goals more, which is how you should think.

I love this example because it shows an owner focused on owner things first. He has a good “owner’s eye.” The owner’s eye is different from anyone else’s. It is a unique thing that sees ways to create revenue, customers, jobs, and an income for himself. It also sees danger lurking everywhere. It does not spend a lot of time thinking the sky is always blue.

Owner psyche is like the parent (the business owner) watching his child (the business) enjoying the monkey bars at a playground. While the child is merrily busy the parent has a sober if not expressionless face. He is assessing various dangers that may ruin things. “Will it storm and lightening? Will Billy fall off and break his arm? Will he get into a fight with another child? Will he get sand in his eyes?” The parent is happy only after the day is done and none of the threats materialized. Repeat next week and every week. In time Billy will likely suffer some of those if not all! You don’t travel the ownership trail without acquiring some scar tissue.

Such is how the business owner mind hopefully works. It sees threats others don’t. It is very close to customers and employees to detect early signs of trouble. I would go so far as to say if 7 out of 10 things coming to your attention in a day are not neutral to negative you have not yet got the real picture. The smart owner figures out what is wrong with his business before his competitors do. And yes, you have to be able to see the future too.

That owner brain MUST know what it needs to know. It is your responsibility and in your job description. Employees may say what you want to hear, customers can hedge real feelings, friends can feed you rah rah or quotes of the day and vendors will angle for their best advantage. In the midst of all that you have to know empirically what is true and what isn’t. Somehow. Oh, one other thing. Please know you are your greatest competition and not the guy down the street. To what degree that is true will be determined by your level of business knowledge.

The owner frame of mind has only two settings: “On” and “On.” Idle time finds it pondering whether to add a product line or not, to terminate or hire people, to get a loan, to buy a business or sell or just wonder whether he will ever collect his AR. It asks questions like “What will my business look like a year from now? How long before the salesperson pays off? When am I seeing serious money in the checkbook? When will I sleep like a baby?” Endless stuff like that.

Some caution is in order. That business mind is not made of titanium so it has to be cared for. Keep it educated. Get help with business problems by delegating. Resist the feeling all problems need must be solved right now. Exercise. Don’t get your nose so close - it fogs the mirror and can’t see anything clearly.

Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books and publish 85 columns as a small business advisor.                   
Posted: 6/29/2016 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Big, business, Chamber, eye, Greater, Ideas, Memphis, mind, Opportunities, owner, owner's, Pease, SBC, small, Threats, Tom

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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.