#9 – Mitche Graf – Business – Delivering 6-Star Service In A 1-Star World
Best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, international speaker, nationally syndicated radio host, and former All-American Track & Field athlete Mitche Graf has been a passionate lifestyle entrepreneur for over 25 years, dangling his toes into the ponds of many intriguing industries along the way. From selling used bicycle parts out of his garage in the seventh grade to running 4 companies today, he has prided himself on knowing how to squeeze every drop of potential out of his endeavors.
In 2019, he took time off from his own businesses and became the President of an affiliate for the San Francisco Giants baseball team for a season, and bolstered attendance by over 12%, which was the biggest increase in all professional baseball.
Over the past three decades, Mitche has created many multi-million dollar companies…..two award-winning restaurants, a bustling catering & events company, a national spice manufacturing business with over 4000 accounts, a photography studio, a cribbage board company, an award-winning limousine business, a portable hot tub rental business, a drive-through espresso company, an educational products company, an athletic fitness testing corporation, and even a nightcrawler company.
Having started, built, and successfully operated and sold numerous enterprises in many industries has taught him a simple truth: the same basic business principles apply, regardless of the arena you may play in….. (bio continued below player – scroll down)
As an educator and motivational speaker, Mitche’s high-voltage seminars, workshops, and coaching have been taught worldwide to over 75,000 people in nine countries and nearly every state in the U.S. His cutting-edge articles and columns have appeared in the pages of business trade magazines such as Rangefinder, PPA Magazine, Limo Digest, Chauffer Driven, Image Maker, Fresh Cup, and many online marketing sites and blogs. Mitche’s students have generated more than $1,000,000,000 in sales due to executing his innovative methods and techniques.
A majority of his education and training has been from the School of Hard Knocks, from which he has earned his Ph.D. degree. Through the high notes of his business home runs to the low notes of bankruptcy in the 1990s, Mitche has continued to make bold attempts to redefine the limits of his abilities and to reinvent the way his businesses operate so they don’t become all-consuming black holes that suck him dry of his creative juices and zest for life.
Getting punched in the face from failure is probably the best teacher he has ever had, and most of the lessons he has learned were born out of those failures.
He firmly believes life is meant to be lived, not endured, and we each can make a profound difference in the world. He loves his family, loves his friends, and the rest falls into place!
He is passionate about the outdoors, laughing, playing guitar, reading, listening to great music, cooking and eating, drinking good wine, taking a tremendous amount of time off to chill, and most importantly, spending time with his family.
Mitche lives in a small country town in Oregon with his wife Tami and their three small children Jaycee, Colton, Sierra, Tilly the Dog, Nickels the Bunny, Coral the Hermit Crab, and several hundred guppies (names not important).
He spends much of his time looking for ways to work smarter, not harder, so he can spend more time doing and enjoying the things in life that are most important to him.
He believes that EVERY DAY IS A SATURDAY, and this perspective inspires him to wake up every day with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm to live his life by design.
Show Notes and Highlights from the Episode are below.
When starting a business if you love what you do dont worry about failure just start 0:43
Work-Life balance and its importance 5:20
Automation in your business and where to start? 8:52
Sales for your start-up 16:19
Customer Service – Customer Service – Customer Service! 18:35
Why has customer service lacked so much in certain businesses? 24:22
Hiring employees and managing them post COVID-19 29:43
Indentifying opportunites and having the passion for what you do 35:09
It cant be just about the money, you have to want it really bad 38:44
Delivering six star service in a one star world – Book 40:09
SET YOURSELF UP EFFICIENTLY TO SUCCEED AND STRIVE FOR THE LIFE YOU WANT
“I work on the principle of the 24 7 mentalities. And to me, 24 7 means 24 hours a week. Seven months a year. And after I explained to people that go, oh, that makes sense. So, every day I wake up, I look at everything that I’m going to do. How can I be more efficient in everything I do?
How can I take all the systems that exist in my businesses? Break them down to the fewest number of moving pieces and then rebuild. With fewer moving pieces, therefore freeing up resources and time. Right. And so I’m always thinking about how can I be more efficient with my time? And so 24 7:00 AM I successful sometimes?
Yes. Sometimes. No, but that’s my shiny beacon on the hill. Every day, I wake up trying to strive for that because I would love to work 24 hours a week and only seven months a year. And to be honest with you, I get pretty close to that 75% of the time. And the way I’ve done, that is.”
HAVE THE PASSION -- BUSINESS IS A HARD ROAD BUT CAN BE VERY REWARDING
“And I sold the business after about a year and a half. And he lasted for about another 10 years after that. But passion, I think, has to be part of your recipe; otherwise, you’re not going to want to get up and go to work. You’re not going to want to do that trade show on Saturday. You’re not going to want to have a six 30 business meeting when you’re missing family with your kids and your spouse.
So you have to have that desire to get up and want to do it. Not like you have to do it because it’s part of a job. I think you and I are in the same boat. We love what we’re doing so much it’s not a job to us. We have fun with it. We love it. And I recommend before you start, make sure that you love what you do. Don’t just look at it as an opportunity.
Because usually, when people start because of that without a business background, it will end in failure, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes failures, the best step to success. Still, you want to make sure that you’re in love with what you’re doing. That way, you look forward to doing it.”
STAR NUMBER 4 IS THE STRIVE TO DELIVER SIX-STAR CUSTOMER SERVICE
“Star number four is to create an unparalleled culture of customer service. Excellent. And that starts from the top-down and the bottom up, it has to be owned that kind of plants this culture, and it starts with hiring the right people. A lot of people say, well, how do I change the culture? Well, you may have to change some employees.
You really need to hire customers centric people who understand what it’s like to go above and beyond. And it might be time to let one or two people go that don’t understand that dynamic and hire people that have that mentality, but B that are trainable because I can teach anyone to do 90% of the jobs that I have.
I could teach somebody how to manufacture on this line. I can teach somebody how to ship that box. I can teach somebody how to design a nice flyer. I can teach someone how to construct an email for 10,000 people. I can teach that skill. I can’t teach you to be nice. So I always tell people. The best people first and then train them the skill. Star number five is…”
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LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Jimmy Song
- Recommended Books
- Power Marketing, Selling, & Pricing by Graf, Mitche. (Amherst Media, Inc.,2009) [Paperback] Second (2nd) Edition
- Marketing Your Espresso Business: How to Separate Yourself from the Rest of the Pack
- Jim Beach – School for Startups
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