Justin Goodbread knows that business can get complicated sometimes, which is why he’s there to make sure that it doesn’t have to be. He has shown a fiery passion for helping other business owners achieve their dreams and fulfill their business goals. Throughout his career, he has “started and sold three businesses for a profit,” and he wants everyone to do the same.
To help out other entrepreneurs, Justin Goodbread has started a blog and podcast, titled Financially Simple™. For these two media, he has created content to “help business owners understand the ins and outs of owning, growing, and eventually selling their most prized possession.”
Justin Goodbread is also an author and keynote speaker. Since he has seen it all, and he has done it all, in business, he can relate to every ambitious entrepreneur who wants to make it in the industry. He uses storytelling to drive the point home, breaking down complex business concepts to make it more easily digestible to his audience. More importantly, he makes business fun, driving people to act.
According to Justin Goodbread, his main obsession is “assisting owners to grow the value of their business.” He relishes the opportunity to help out “small business owners attempt to double their net worth every 3-5 years.” He likes to “cultivate a relationship with them, teach them how to grow their business, and succeed beyond their wildest expectations!”
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Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Justin Goodbread: I am a southern guy from the Brunswick, Georgia. I started working as an entrepreneur at the age of 15 with my own landscaping business. I operated it while earning a degree in horticulture from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. After meeting and marrying the love of my life, I was able to sell that business for profit and move to Knoxville, Tennessee where I live today.
After the move, I earned a business degree and worked in a large wealth management firm for many years, but in 2009, one of my business partners and myself ventured out to open Heritage Investors. Heritage is a boutique-style wealth management and financial planning company in West Knoxville. As I gained more and more experience in the world of business and financial planning, I discovered my passion for helping small business owners and for breaking complex financial concepts into financially simple terms. In the simplest terms, I want to help business owners understand how they can grow the value of their business and plan for a future that does not consist of an business entity running their lives, but the owner’s life running the company.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Justin Goodbread: I guess there was a summer day, I was about 16 years old at the time and about one-quarter mile from where I lived was a lake my brother and I would go fishing and swimming at.
It was a hot summer day in Georgia which meant it was about 400 degrees outside and so we decided we wanted to venture out on the lake. About the same time, we realized our dad had taken the truck my brother and I shared away from the house. In the back of that truck is where we had left a trolling motor we used to power and steer our fishing boat. Once my brother and I realized we didn’t have the truck to get the boat to the water or the motor to power the boat, I went inside and told my mom that we couldn’t go fishing.
What she said to me has profoundly impacted my life since. She said, “Figure it out, there has got to be a way.” So, my brother and I hooked the boat up to the four-wheeler and drug it down the sandy road to put it in the water. Inside that boat were two shovels. We spent that afternoon paddling the boat around the lake with those shovels.
That experience taught me that you never give up, there is always got to be a way. There is not a human being alive in business that does not want to throw in the towel. But there is always a way to accomplish what you want to accomplish. This does not mean it is easy- if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But if you have the gumption and tenacity to see it through, there is always a way. This is the same principle in business and one that continues to push me through difficult circumstances.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Justin Goodbread: When I set out to create a blog for business owners, I came up with a name I was sure would easily capture others. I called it Planning is Fun. However, it turned out planning was fun for those searching to find an architect. In fact, there were several looking to secure that domain name as well. My takeaway from that debacle was to make sure my words better described what I was doing.
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Know your current status: do a self-assessment of where you are right now (ex: SWOT)
- Do you know, crystal clearly- defined, where you want to be? Can you state exactly where each department within the company needs to be within an allotted timeframe.
- Can you align your team to the vision? Are all the team members committed to that core value when they are at work? (everyone from the janitor to the CEO need to be aligned to a common purpose)
- Outline what each person’s specific area of authority, responsibility, and accountability is to your vision. What specifically is each member responsible for, who are they accountable to and what authority do they have to make it happen?
- Find your motivator. Someone on the team must be the one who quantifies the progress of the team and motivates the members to continue to strive towards where you want to be. This person is essential in your team’s accountability. This person is creating the atmosphere that allows the team to flourish.
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Justin Goodbread: My personal belief is there is more to life than clocking in & out to do a specific job, and it is a core reason I started Heritage. Having a purpose larger than a profit margin or bottom line I believe is instrumental in the longevity of an organization’s success. Our purpose at Heritage is to impact the lives of as many business owners everyday by providing education, and measurable ways they can grow the value of their business while creating a proactive exit plan.
Not only should you create a purpose or an overarching vision for your business, to affect the most change that purpose needs to be a motivator of your whole team. The iceberg effect says that only 4% of the front-line information hits the c-suite, this shows us just how disjointed organizations can, but in order to motivate and unify everyone you must have the same value committed across the team.
We are Marshall, a famous movie was about a football team who, by all odds should not have been successful, but because they were rallied around a common cause become unstoppable. There are so many examples of this. If you look at tragic events in life, I physically witnessed a woman almost lift a car off her husband after a car accident. There is no way I could have done that- but she was motivated beyond belief and through that motivation she accomplished something supernatural.
These goals are not money, they are not prestige—these are not core motivators that will move mountains. A vision to motivate a whole team needs to be a well communicated purpose.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Justin Goodbread: The questions of increasing a conversion rate leads me to anticipate that we are quantifying all the steps in between a lead and a client. The problem with the question is most businesses are not truly measuring all the steps from the initial visit or top of the funnel, to the sale or the bottom of the funnel. Step one is to measure and quantify all the steps in between the initial visit and the final sale. The question assumes that that is happening. If that is happening, do a client inventory with your already existing, ideal clients. What messaging speaks to them? You can do this as easy as creating a survey from colors, shapes, numbers, pictures: a marketing survey. The beginning is tracking the data points this is your road map to increasing success
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Justin Goodbread: In simplest and often most frustrating terms, this comes only with time. As a company you can do random acts of kindness to help your status as beloved, but trust is given and earned by both parties and it takes time for that to happen.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Justin Goodbread: Visit our educational website at Financially Simple or if you are a business owner and would be interested in working with my highly qualified team, please visit Heritage Investors.
You can also connect and follow me on social media:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!