Episode 021

Barry Nicholson

Barry Nicholson is a parallel entrepreneur that truly loves investing in local microbusinesses.  He, and his partners, have six companies focusing on retail and the pack-and-ship industry.  He owns multiple UPS Store locations, Pure Design, Connors Mercantile, does real estate investing and has served on many non-profit boards in his community.

What is the difference between average and greatness?

Barry believes the difference between average and greatness is the ability to make the case for the unmet needs in areas outside of business as well.  Understand that you can achieve greatness in many areas, whether in business, or serving on the board of a non-profit.  It is as simple as looking for unmet needs, knowing what resources you have available to meet the need and, most importantly, if you have the passion to make the long-term commitment involved with meeting the need.

The Struggle is Real:

  • Barry shares a horrific experience when he had a tremendous opportunity to work with a company that could have potentially been a multi-million dollar opportunity.  However, due to failure to properly inspect the initial product delivery, they canceled the order and demanded repayment of over $100,000!  Despite solid effort to salvage the opportunity, he was unable to do so.  Barry reflected on this set-back and determined the valuable lesson of knowing and embracing doing business in your sweet-spot.

Celebrate the Victories:

  • One of Barry's monumental victories comes from finally solving a staffing issue.  One of his businesses maintained flat performance and continually turned over a key management role.  Eventually, after tiring of searching outside the organization for replacements, he asked his rock star manager of another business if she was interested in managing both locations.  The interesting part is that Barry originally assumed that she would not be interested, yet she had been waiting for the opportunity.  She accepted the role and the business has grown tremendously!

If I knew Then:

  • Cash is king! While most people understand that you must sell something for more than you pay for it, the lesser known lesson is that growing businesses "suck up cash" and require strong cash flow to sustain growth.  So while most people think that growing businesses generate revenue, it is also important to know how much cash they consume through growth as well.

That ONE Thing:

  • While he never claims to be the best at this, Barry knows how to identify the unmet need in his community.  He routinely asks "why is this not done this way, or why does this cost this...?"  Through these questions he can identify the unmet need, or opportunity for improvement.  He will evaluate if it is something that he has the resources and passion to pursue.  If not, he will pass it off to someone who does.

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