Blake Binns is the owner of Good Advice, a company that grows and scales businesses by creating customer-centric processes. From the new aspiring entrepreneur who isn’t sure where to start, to the seasoned owner who feels like they’ve hit a ceiling — Good Advice shows businesses how to get more customers and run a sustainable, scalable brand in a way that is efficient, profitable, and most importantly — gives you back your time. Blake also hosts the Good Advice Podcast, a U.S. top 50 entrepreneurial podcast updated three times weekly.
Blake is a sought out leader and speaker, and he currently resides in Fayetteville, AR with his wife, Joy, and his two kids, Blake & Maylee.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Blake Binns: I so appreciate being here. I started Good Advice in 2018 because it felt like we had made business management so complicated — to the point where we had gotten away from the really simple decisions that can have absolutely massive returns on our business. And it felt like so much business advice out there had become so theoretical.
I wanted to create a way to give business owners those actionable, practical, and relatable steps to actually grow their businesses. So Good Advice was born!
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Blake Binns: You can’t be too married to your processes. So many businesses died these past two years because of an inability to depart from old practices. Think of how much ahead businesses are who were already leveraging online sales for their customers and remote & hybrid models for their employees.
Don’t be afraid to completely turn your business upside down. Innovation doesn’t happen in a lab — or more importantly, through hours or even days in an executive room.
Innovation happens when you’re willing to completely change how “we’ve always done it” in response to what your customers really want. Sometimes this means setting ego aside.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Blake Binns: Businesses should absolutely lean in to customer feedback, both in their industry and specific to their products and services. What are your customers saying they want in 2022? Too often businesses *think* they know what their customers want — but when you look at the processes being taken to actually collect feedback, internalize it, and mobilize it into innovations within the business… these things aren’t always happening.
Sometimes this even means letting go of short-term profits in order to design your business around the long-game… meaning building a business that customers can appreciate to the point that they become part of your tribe. Building raving fans doesn’t happen overnight — and the businesses who have done well during the pandemic were the ones who knew how to energize their tribes.
This isn’t about savvy marketing. Instead, it’s understand that profitability comes as a result of being completely driven by the needs, wants, and desires of your customer.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Blake Binns: Consulting and business management have often gotten a bad rap for being overly therapeutic — there isn’t anything wrong with mentoring, but it’s not uncommon to hire a coach and not really know what you’re getting as a result. More importantly, I’ve known businesses in the consulting space that didn’t leverage technology — so when the pandemic happened, these businesses withered.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a tech-appreciative business since the get-go, utilizing LinkedIn for our social media content as well as the Good Advice Podcast which continues to grow towards nearly 300 episodes and has been featured on a number of top charts.
More importantly, I’ve ensured that the Good Advice brand when working with its customers has always stuck to its roots of what caused me to build it in the first place — practical, tangible, and actionable. So we’ve made sure that our work with our customers has reflected that with measurable and meaningful results.
We love knowing our customers can look back and say exactly what working with Good Advice did for their business, both in revenue & profitability. It’s been a real difference maker in our industry.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Blake Binns: The best advice I could have received in retrospect would have been to be okay with not knowing how completely the world was going to be turned upside down. I take an analytical approach to business — my own included — and I thought I had a good grasp on how things would change throughout the pandemic.
Clearly none of us really knew the implications of the pandemic — how long it would last and all the things it would mean for our businesses.
“Buckle up and enjoy the ride!” would have been great advice. And more importantly, be okay with not knowing.
Moving into 2022, we’re continue to really dig in to how our clients are being impacted in their respective industries, and making sure that our solutions are still centric around their own customers.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Blake Binns: Lean in to technology — that’s my advice. It’s a bias of Good Advice because so much of our work that goes into building scalable, sustainable brands means leveraging technology.
But we can’t act like the pandemic is creating a temporary influx of these tools. The pandemic was a catalyst for a trend that’s been over two decades in the making.
Make sure you don’t get left behind and if you are uncomfortable with any part of a business that operates in a digital world — there is an enormous amount of resources available to you.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Blake Binns: Too many! But I have mandatory “sun breaks” where I go outside and soak it in!
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Blake Binns: It’s in our nature to resonate with stories — look at our human history and you’ll see cultures passing on their values their oral tradition.
Stories remind of us the important work we do on a daily basis. And just like I want my clients to revolve their business around their customers, I want the same for Good Advice.
Most of my stories talk about the good work we’re doing and some of the ways we’ve totally transformed businesses. That’s the fuel that keeps us going especially when we find ourselves in a marathon like the pandemic.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Blake Binns: There’s one clear danger that has always been present but is even more so highlighted with the pandemic.
People more than ever are looking for the “simple fix” to the obstacles their business is facing. Sometimes there really is a clear answer, but clear doesn’t always mean easy. And it certainly doesn’t always mean cheap.
With social media content around business advice continuing to grow, I’d encourage people to be wary of overnight success stories.
We all face real challenges in business — and these challenges give meaning to the entrepreneurial experience. Growing a business is hard work. Keep after it!
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Blake Binns: I’ve been involved in the Crypto space for several years now, and it’s been exciting to continue to see this become more mainstream. More importantly, I’m excited to see Crypto grow into actual real-world use cases, which has always been one of the biggest obstacles in its adoption. There are some really cool implications of micro-lending and commercial real estate ownership through Crypto. I’m really eager to see how this plays out in the coming years.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Blake Binns: We’ve worked *extensively* with bosses and their teams — simply because when it comes to scaling your business, you eventually have to bring someone else onboard. You can’t clone yourself!
Because of this, we’ve been talking about the Great Resignation at length, and even at the start of COVID, we were reminding our customers and businesses abroad that 2020 was the prime time to really evaluate how you treat your employees, otherwise you may not have them when the pandemic ends.
I think your quote is spot-on. Harvard Business Review did a study on the number of people who were actually self-aware enough to know if they’re a good boss or not, and only 10% proved able to recognize their strengths and challenges in management.
That means 90% of us have real work to do, and in that large band we certainly have bosses who are living on another planet — they are absolutely the issue but will never see it that way.
One business owner in our first meeting together explained that she had lost all 13 of her employees in the past 9 months! She asked, “What can I do to hire better?”
I explained, “If your entire team has quit in the past year… it’s not them. It’s you.”
No matter how I explained this, she couldn’t accept her own responsibility.
All this to say — remember that leadership starts at the top. The culture your team experiences is largely inspired by your actions as the leader.
Diligently be mindful of this, and remember if nothing else that culture is a deliberate internal strategy you create and stick to just like you would any marketing or sales strategy.
It can’t be an afterthought (or a pizza party!)
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Blake Binns: Not having to deal with emails! Maybe one day I’ll channel my best Jim Carrey “Yes… to all!” impression.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Blake Binns: Success is always the same for us. We at Good Advice want our clients to experience new levels of success with their business, to breakthrough whatever ceiling has been holding them back, and for them to be able to scale their businesses in exciting ways while giving owners their life back. If we can make that happen, we’re succeeding!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Blake Binns for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Blake Binns or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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