Dave Molenda, CPBA, CPDFA, CPEQA is the founder of Positive Polarity, LLC, a Midwest-based coaching/training firm that brings solid growth to companies from over 30 years of real-world experience where he grew his business to $10,000,000.00 in annual sales before selling it. He speaks regularly at conferences around the country on topics that are designed to make the listener not only hear, but engage.
He developed a formula for success, ST + ICE = P (Strengthening the Team + Improving the Customers Experience = Profit) and with this formula, he has helped companies with their business growth. His #1 Amazon Best Selling book called, Growing on Purpose, details the importance of both the team and the customer and how, if treated properly, profit will follow! He also is the host of The Positive Polarity Podcast, a weekly Podcast that interviews awesome business professionals with amazing stories!
He is a dynamic speaker that will truly reach the listener and move them forward!
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Dave Molenda: I have been involved with starting up and successfully building two businesses. One I sold and the other one I am still involved in. The first business I started had 0 dollars coming in the first day and when I sold it, we had $10,000,000 in annual sales and 22 people on the team. My current business is Positive Polarity, a business and sales coaching firm.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Dave Molenda: It is a little of both. I do a lot of work with DISC behavioral assessments. And here, we see that there are certain personality types that tend to be more successful in the entrepreneurial world. On the other hand, there are plenty of successful entrepreneurs that were able to make it after they have tried other paths.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Dave Molenda: Empathetic, vulnerable, and intentional.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Dave Molenda: Positive Polarity started as a business coaching firm. As the client base grew, so did the trust from the clients. So then they start asking what other things can we do together. So we branched out into sales management, sales training, hiring, and HR. We evolve as our customers needs evolve.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Dave Molenda: The biggest lesson that I learned in 30 plus years is that the phone doesn’t start to ring as soon as you open your doors. I see a lot of new business owners that make an assumption that as soon as they open their business doors, that people will flock to them. Sure, you might get your friends and neighbors to give you a start, but sooner than later, you will need to sell to someone that you don’t know. If your marketing plan is not a key component to your business plan, then I suggest that you hold off on your business launch until that plan is done.
If you are not willing to attend every networking function, call hundreds of people in a week and turn over every rock that you can, then hold off on your start-up until you are ready, willing, and able to do this. ASSUME that no one knows you, or cares about you. Even if you are well connected, you need a deep sense of conviction of talking to and connecting with your ideal prospect before you open for business.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Dave Molenda: I was aware of this early, but I saw plenty of other people do this. Don’t assume that anyone will come to your open house unless you invite them, ask them and give them such a compelling reason to come to see you. With 11,000 new companies coming daily, why would they want to do business with you.
Assuming that you can do it better, faster, cheaper etc. than your competition is a huge mistake. If someone asked you, “what do you do that no one else does, ” how would you answer this? If needs to be something different than price and we just do it better…
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Dave Molenda: I would tell myself to treat my team better. When I was young, I thought that the team was dispensable. A good team threatened me, rather than gave me peace of mind. Now I see that a strong team will create a loyal customer following. I did not see the connection between these two until I wrote my book, Growing On Purpose! Now I tell everyone, the stronger the team, the more engaged they are and the better the customer experience will be!
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Dave Molenda: In Field of Dreams, the notion of, “If you build it, they will come…” typically does not work for starting and building a business. Unless you have such a unique idea that people will search you out, I would say this is terrible advice to start with.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Dave Molenda: In the grand scheme of things, COVID is simply a blip on the radar screen. I cannot really find anything concrete to learn from the past two years. People still buy things, maybe smarter, but them once the crisis is over, they tend to go right back into the same routine as before. Maybe be more empathetic to those around you, as you never know what they are going through!
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Dave Molenda: The worst words for any business in my opinion are these, “This is just how we do things around here…” If you are not able to be nimble and open to change, then stay employed by your current employer. Don’t try to start a business. If you cannot think, and quite frankly, live outside your comfort zone, then you might not have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Look at all the large companies in the world that are now out of business…huge retailers, giants in their industries at one time, now gone. Most of them lived on their past successes and were not comfortable living outside their comfort zone.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Dave Molenda: Assume no one knows you. Never give up. Be more persistent than your competitor.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Dave Molenda: The best way to prepare is to have a coach, network of people, or some type of accountability in your life. It is easy to get caught in the weeds of your business. you need some fresh eyes on your business. Start with a coach. All the best athletes in the world have a different perspective than their own. It will save you years of problems!
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Dave Molenda: I would want to be a rock star!
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Dave Molenda: Easy answer! Jesus Christ! In addition to pages of outstanding wisdom, He was able to connect with his team in ways we can only hope for!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Dave Molenda 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 Dave Molenda or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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