Hello readers and podcast listeners.
It's been a couple of months since I wrote a 321 Biz Dev article. I've created a second company which supports Republican candidates by helping them campaign more effectively.
The November 2020 election gave me an opportunity to connect with several Congressional candidates in multiple states. Although all the candidates lost their races, I was able to see how they campaigned during the latter stages before the elections.
What I found interesting is these Republican candidates rarely used a system in their campaign efforts. My post-election conclusion was more intense than just being "interesting" as I just mentioned. The more precise words to describe the ranges of what I saw in these campaigns are "stunned", "not surprised" and "shocked".
There is a great intersection between small business owners wanting to find more clients and political candidates working to win elections. The overlap is about 90%.
This is why the title of this article and podcast episode is appropriate for both small business owners and Republican candidates. You may wonder why I did not include Democrat candidates in this content.
There is a greater match between what small business owners and Republican candidates need to do to succeed than there is between small business owners and Democrat candidates. I will just say it like that. It would be nice to write business development tools for Democrat candidates, but the foundations for success do not currently exist.
Both small business owners and Republican candidates must perform certain activities to be successful in finding clients and winning elections.
It is so interesting after my work experience in the restaurant, real estate sales, insurance sales and corporate America that, looking back, there is one thing I noticed common to all those jobs: at the beginning, the pathway to success looked difficult, impossible and overwhelming.
Both small business owners and Republican candidates need to examine their inner selves to find out if they truly want the success they publicly claim to want.
From the restaurant job cooking steaks at a Tampa Florida steakhouse on a busy Friday night (line out the door) to a corporate sales manager job in Los Angeles as a black guy, the beginnings were so stressful in many different ways.
The restaurant job
From the time I was a kid, I can see that I was more focused than most children my age. I read encyclopedias on rainy Florida days when I could not go outside. In high school, I only had two classes in my senior year, so I was able to work almost full-time at this Jewish owned restaurant. Before my senior year, I was a busboy and worked in the kitchen.
By the time I reached the age of 16, the manager put me on the food serving line where I put potatoes on plates and gave diners deserts from the display case. After 6 months working on the line, the manager let me cook steaks during the slow periods.
After about three months of getting familiar with various temperatures on different sections of the grill, the manager scheduled me to work Friday night when a T-Bone steak special was advertised.
Working the line to put potatoes and toasted, buttered bread on plates was a lot different than standing over a hot grill where the grill surface temperature was around 350 degrees (F). My job was to listen to the orders over the loudspeaker which told me which steaks to cook and if customers wanted steaks cooked medium rare, medium or well-done.
After a few weeks of cooking steaks on slow nights, I was promoted to the top broilerman position at the age of 17 years old in a mostly white community of Tampa Florida at a restaurant owned by Jewish restaurant owners.
Before I worked as the full-time broilerman on the busy nights, I was so in awe of Blaine, the top broilerman before he left for college. Blaine would masterfully rotate 40 steaks on this huge 5-foot wide grill and have most steaks ready for customers after they went to the salad bar.
When I began cooking hundreds of steaks per night, it seemed, at first, so overwhelming. There were a few nights where I thought I would fail at the broilerman position when a few steaks were cooked incorrectly or I missed a steak call on the loudspeaker. But after a few months, I was a master broiler just like Blaine and received many compliments for customers.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school where I had only two classes, the owner promoted me to Assistant Manager. The owner even sent a taxi cab to my high school every day to pick me up. The owner paid me extremely well. I was making $400 per week when the average adult with a traditional full-time job was earning $225 per week. The year was 1979.
Working in corporate America in Los Angeles
After leaving active duty military with an Honorable Discharge and six years of service, I had no clue how to find a civilian job and what a resume was. I was attending college full-time and asked for help in finding a part-time job. A college counselor helped me write a resume and apply for a part-time, data-entry position at a California health insurance company.
I interviewed with Ms. Kishida, the hiring supervisor and a college student working on her Master's Degree. Ms. Kishida hired me on the spot. I think it was the military experience that got me the immediate hire.
I had a lot of military training and experience leading people people in stressful situations. Knowing Ms. Kishida (did I mention she was Japanese?) had a responsibility to get her work done for her superiors, I made that connection with Ms. Kishida that hiring Rick would be an asset to the team and not a liability.
Fast forward to working as a corporate manager.
Promotions came quickly for me in corporate America. My monthly income tripled in five years. The quick promotions came from taking on tough projects no one else wanted. The biggest promotions came because I worked proactively to minimize operational challenges.
How does the "black guy" reference fit into this article and podcast episode?
Working at a company with 35,000 employees in multiple states, I was one of five black senior management staff. When I worked in corporate America in the 1990s and early 2000s, there were no Vice President of Inclusion or Director of Diversity positions. I'm not even sure why I would take either of these positions if offered to me today.
All the corporate positions I had were about productivity, being competitive, and ensuring my employer was first in the industry.
Regarding the "black guy" reference, not once did I ever think I was less qualified than other people competing for the next corporate promotion. And I was a young, 31 year old, black male competing with mostly white colleagues. And I was selected for promotions about 80% of the time.
To summarize, personal and professional beliefs come from past experiences of overcoming personal and professional obstacles.
My advice to small business owners and Republican candidates is to know that the toughest things in life always appear to be daunting and overwhelming. But the outcome of attempting something difficult is one hundred times more rewarding. What we see initially as a major obstacle to starting something looks more insignificant as we move further down the journey's path.
After you start and successfully finish an activity initially looking tough, you will look back to learn from the experience. You will never forget the experience. Log the experience in your memory bank for future use the next time you encounter fear and doubt.
Here is a way to tell if an activity appears to be difficult: you will feel sensations of insecurity and doubt. This is your call to action to either move forward to see what happens or bail on the action to never know if the outcome could have been in your favor.
If you have ever done something difficult in life such as give birth to a baby, compete in athletics, overcome a difficult marital relationship, survive a medical issue, get back on your feet after a bankruptcy, rebuild your reputation and character after serving prison time, raise several children with different attitudes and personalities and/or reinvent yourself after a devastating economic event, then you can win at just about anything you try.
The key is believing you can win. I believe everyone has the capacity to be successful. A person can look at past great experiences and bring those great experiences to the present day. Or, the person benefit for other people's experiences.
What about the bad experiences? The bad experiences are useful too if you learn never to repeat the actions resulting in failure.
Rick Nappier writes sales systems for small business owners and winning messaging and campaign strategies for Republican candidates. Please do not hesitate to contact Rick if you have questions or need support.
Rick Nappier, CEO
321 Biz Dev LLC