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Strategies for Gaining Competitive Advantage With Ken Burke

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Ken Burke is an all-star entrepreneur and thought leader. He is one of the true pioneers in the e-commerce world and the software realm. He founded MarketLive and sold it to Vista Equity Partners for a ten-figure exit. He runs The EntrepreneurNOW! Network, which provides learning resources for entrepreneurs at all stages. 

Ken is also the author of Intelligent Selling: The Art & Science of Selling Online, as well as his recent best-selling book Prosper: 5 Steps To Thriving in Business and Life.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Ken Burke explains why he started MarketLive
  • The role that intellectual property (IP) plays in the sale of a company 
  • How to use a patent to gain a competitive advantage
  • Ken explains how Microcasting Networks serves clients 
  • Helping entrepreneurs build better businesses through e-learning
  • Ken talks about his latest book Prosper: 5 Stages to Thriving in Business and Life
  • Where to learn more about Ken and his businesses

In this episode…

What is your brand’s unique competitive advantage? How do you position and protect your brand in the market?

In venture funding, investors want to know what makes your brand unique and competitive. They want to protect their investment by funding valuable companies, making it important for entrepreneurs to position themselves as industry leaders. This is why intellectual property comes in handy.

In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein hosts Ken Burke, the Founder of The EntrepreneurNOW! Network, to talk about strategies for gaining a competitive advantage through intellectual property (IP). They also discuss the role IP plays in the sale of a company, how to know when to get a patent, and the benefit of investing in a company with IP versus creating a product from scratch.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process. 

You can email their team at welcome@goldsteinpc.com to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’

Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha moments that change everything. And now here’s your host, Rich Goldstein.

Rich (00:33):
Rich Goldstein here, host of the innovations and breakthroughs podcast, where I feature top leaders in the path they took to create change. Pass guest guests include Joe Polish, Roland Frazier, and Kevin King. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein patent law, where we help you to protect your ideas and products we’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies. Over the past 28 years, the fewer company that has software product or design you want protected go to Goldstein patent law.com, where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. And you could email my team at welcome Goldstein, pc.com to explore if it a match to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American bar association that explains in plain English, how patents work it’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent. I have with me here today, Ken Burke, Ken is an all star entrepreneur and thought leader.

Rich (01:23):
He’s one of the true pioneers in the eCommerce world and in the software realm, he founded market live, which is a market leading enterprise class eCommerce software platform. That’s used by major merchants and has generated 2 billion in online sales. He sold market live to Vista equity partners for a nine-figure exit. Now he runs the entrepreneur now network, which provides learning resources for entrepreneurs at all stages, and has a ton of free resources. You should check it out. He is also the author of intelligence, selling the art and science of selling online as well as his recent bestselling book, which took him 10 years to write prosper five stages to thriving in business and life. It’s my pleasure to welcome here today. Ken Burke. Welcome Ken.

Ken (02:08):
Oh, Hey Rich. Hey, great to be here. I’m super excited to, uh, be chatting with you.

Rich (02:13):
Yeah, absolutely. So then let’s see where to begin. I mean, let’s talk about, um, let’s talk about a market live. Um, so what, what made you decide to build that instead of something else?

Ken (02:24):
Yeah, well, you know, I mean, when, when entrepreneurs are young and they’re fresh out of grad school or undergrad school, I was fresh outta grad school with my shiny degree. My master’s in entrepreneurship. It’s like, oh, you have a degree in entrepreneurship. Okay. That’s different. Uh, I, you know, you just, you go into either you, I, I don’t know how much thought you do it. You do it as a passion. And I think I fell into eCommerce, uh, very early 1995 because I had a client that said, Hey, can you build eCommerce stuff for us? I was really into this thing called the web, which unfortunately, and I’m dating myself was new in 1993. Actually, when I started working with it, it was literally just out, not, it was not mainstream at all. I think the Netscape browser came out in 1993. And so in 95, when I was beginning to build e-commerce websites, literally it was all brand new.

Ken (03:09):
So I rode the wave up for 21 years, uh, sold it to this equity partners, actually 10 digits. <laugh> uh, sorry, my little correction on my bio there, uh, our fault <laugh>, but, uh, and you know, it was a great exit and a great ride up and down, you know, went through everything. Sequoia capital was my first invest investor. And I think if your listeners know Sequoia capital, usually most people do. They are Google and apple and in Yahoo and everybody, everybody, you can imagine you got funded by Sequoia capital that, uh, is big. Yeah.

Rich (03:39):
But basically you put them on the map, right? Yeah. I wish I could. They came later, right.

Ken (03:43):
For me to say that on a podcast. Right. <laugh> uh, I wish I could, but you know, you know what, we had a successful exit and it was a really great process, um, and happy to talk about any and all of that. And certainly, um, you know, how investors and exits look at IP overall, cuz it’s a, plays a pretty important role as you’re attracting, as you’re attracting capital.

Rich (04:03):
Yeah. Well, you’re singing my song right now, so let’s talk about that. <laugh> um, so, um, yeah. So what role did IP play in, um, in getting a company funded and in exiting?

Ken (04:14):
Yeah. And you know, I think a couple of things, first of all, and I, I coach a lot of entrepreneurs. Uh, it’s a passion of mine. And so I work with companies currently. I also have my own company, micro casting. I have a couple companies, but micro casting where I’m going through the same things that your listeners are going through right now, which is do I patent. And those are questions that, you know, you can help them answer. Uh, is it worth it? What’s the process look like? You know, how important is it? I have one of my entrepreneurs that’s developing, um, what’s called floating solar. Uh, and it is a, it’s literally a revolutionary way of generating solar on like in the north Atlantic sea and in, uh, on lakes and other things. And we absolutely had to patent it all. And then we joint ventured it with, uh, with a company called European, uh, uh, EE I’ll just use the, the, the, and, and that patent was incredibly important to the overall partnership, the joint venture that we created with them, it wouldn’t have happened.

Ken (05:02):
Otherwise they actually even helped us with the world, the international patent. Uh, we didn’t know exactly how to do that, but we did the domestic patent ourselves. Um, and that was integral to our agreement that now we are starting, he literally is an inventor and we’ve developed all of the prototypes to really change the way that solar is generated on water, not in water, but on water. The, the, the actual panels are, and that can withstand incredible tolerances. So I tell you that because that joint venture would’ve never happened without the patents in my own experience. That’s just one of the ones that popped to mind very recently and kind of an interesting story. I like being associated with something that’s gonna help change. Uh, it changed the world, even though I have really little to do with it. <laugh> the inventor is amazing in my experience.

Ken (05:46):
What I’ve run into in the past is, and, and even with my coaching of entrepreneurs is two things. When you go out and get an investment, when you try to get investment, even the first investment, the first thing, uh, well, within that first 15 minutes of talking to an angel investor or a VC or Sequoia capital or anybody they’re gonna ask you, what makes you unique, special, and different, and why can’t somebody come in like Facebook or Google and just eat your lunch? <laugh>, that’s the first question. I mean, it’s one of the main questions I get and they all, like, I think all the VCs, an angel investors, you know, have this little playbook, I always called it a playbook. And on some page somewhere, they say, ask this question, and that’s the question that gets asked, because you either have, like, maybe you have, um, a ton of customers already, a mass, and it’s really hard to displace you because you have so many customers or you’ve developed technology that is very hard to replicate, but you don’t have a patent on it.

Ken (06:37):
Or the best answer I can give the number one answer is I’ve got it patented, or I’ve got, or copyrighted or trademark, depending on what it is. And it can’t be duplicated at least protected for a period of time. Right. And then it kind of like, oh, okay, I’m, I’m over that. I move on to the next issue. Like, you don’t have enough revenue, you don’t have enough ARR or whatever the, whatever the objection will be, but they always want to understand what that is. And the easiest answer is to say, Hey, I’ve got a patent on it. So it, it is. And that is true. Both for a investment of even a million dollars, a half, a million dollars, an angel investor, or VCs like Sequoia capital, who I’ve obviously dealt with or the sale of the company, because I was able to luckily sell my, uh, company, uh, had a great exit.

Ken (07:19):
Um, and, uh, thank goodness, knock on wood after 21 years, which is not always easy to do, uh, to Vista equity partners, which, um, took it. And now it’s probably, you know, the company got merged to another set of companies, probably worth two or 3 billion now. Uh, it wasn’t when I sold it, but you know, they they’ve done a lot with it. Um, since then, and I gotta tell you, one of the things that were in was in the process was what are your patents? What are your trademarks? What are your copyrights? What, how am I protected when I buy this asset called market live? My, my, my enterprise pass e-commerce software that we did $2 billion, not in all time, a year in commerce, 2 billion a year from a lot of major retailers. So when they’re buying that asset, they wanna know how they’re protected. So it totally makes sense if you can do it.

Rich (08:03):
Yeah, absolutely. So, so what I gather from that is, it, it, it, um, it makes a difference in the beginning and it makes a difference in the end and pretty much everywhere in between. And so it,

Ken (08:15):
And what I tell everybody to run out and get a patent. No. Yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t, I’m sure you wouldn’t either, you

Rich (08:20):
Know, oh, it’s gotta be the right patent. It’s gotta be the right.

Ken (08:22):
Gotta be the right patent. Exactly. And, and, you know, you’re an expert on that. I’m not, but I can say that there, you know, there, you have to assess within your business in the overall business strategist, not just because it’s easier to get Fu I, I will say if you have a patent, it’s easier to do certain things or, or some protection that protects you from your competitors. Otherwise, what they’re gonna ask is, again, what, how are you competitively differentiated? Why can’t three other people or five other people or 20 other people come in and, and just take. So I always also tell, uh, uh, my entrepreneurs, myself, what is your unique, competitive advantage, right? And it’s not the unique advantages for the market. And, and it’s not a patent that’s for the investment side, but, um, your unique, competitive advantage out there in the market and positioning your technology against everybody. Else’s, that’s really what you’re trying to do from a strategy perspective. And a patent could fall into that because nobody can duplicate what you do. Right. And you can weed that into a story that can be very powerful. Right? Well, you know, give an example. We used to own the sub patent to the shopping cart, and we used it in our sales pitch for what was relevant for five or six years. Here’s what happened. There were, um, oh, I forgot what they’re called there. Uh, people that buy patents, uh, or by, by the,

Rich (09:32):
They sometimes call them patent trolls.

Ken (09:34):
Thank you. There we go. I couldn’t remember the name. Oh God. It was. And they bought the one on a shopping cart, like a shopping cart. Right. So they started suing all retailers and e-commerce that, and people were paying them like big companies were paying these guys. And so I got in early on the settlement and I paid them $50,000. And I said, I wanna sub patent on it. I don’t know exactly what that meant. I don’t even know if it’s official term. Uh, and I wanna cover all my customers now in, in perpetuity for $50,000, they did it. But I was able to go in to new customers and say, oh, by the way, you know, that thing that you’re, you’re otherwise gonna have to pay because you’re using a shopping cart, I’ve got a sub patent on it. I protected all my

Rich (10:11):
Customer. Maybe there’s a sub license, perhaps.

Ken (10:13):
Yeah. It could be that. Yeah. Yeah. I probably not stuff patent. It was a long time ago, but I mean, it was, it, can you imagine the shopping cart being patented? It’s like, it, it was universal even at the time, but it was,

Rich (10:24):
Yeah. There were some crazy patents that were granted, maybe unjustifiably, some of which were for things like sending a fax and oh, right. And so, yeah. And there were companies that went around capitalizing on that. Um, but, but yeah. Going back to what you were saying, your, your unique, competitive advantage. So I think the idea is that unique, competitive advantage is something in the marketplace that makes a difference for your company to your customers. And so then correct that, and that you’re able to protect that that’s a real opportunity. If you’re able to actually protect that thing that is differentiating you in the marketplace, then that’s a valuable path.

Ken (11:03):
That exactly. So it’s, I think, yeah. And what I, and I exactly it’s in the context of the unique, competitive advantage strategy. Yep. That then you then take that and spend it into your unique value proposition, which is a different strategy in your business, uh, or your messaging strategy where maybe it even goes on your website, or it goes, you know, in this and that they can’t get it anywhere else. And here’s the deal. The more that you can lock in a customer to having to stay on your technology. And I don’t mean this in a bad way. I was just talking to one of my entrepreneurs about this, and we, let me give you a real example. My entrepreneur, uh, was, it was a software SA based software company. Uh, the software isn’t quite as sticky as it should be right now. It’s just not quite there yet.

Ken (11:42):
Right. So they’re trying to lock customers into a yearlong contract. So they don’t leave because it kind of takes six to nine months before things start to really happen and so on and so forth. What customers want to meet, especially retailers, uh, who are selling in the online space, uh, want immediate results, right? So they don’t wanna wait. So after two or three months, if they don’t get results, they drop it. Right. So what I’m working with them on is trying to engineer that what’s the hook, what’s what makes you indispensable, which could be by the way, this is where it’s leading to, uh, a patent could make it because you’re not gonna get this anywhere else. Right. That could be one reason. Another reason could just be that it’s so vital to my business. If I don’t have you, then give an example. If you’re in the, you know, uh, the e-com space and you don’t encrypt your credit cards, or you don’t have security, you’re not in business period, you can’t do it.

Ken (12:27):
So I had to buy all this technology in order to do that on behalf of my clients, that’s a requirement to even do business. So, so, so being a, a, a, a provider of that services, security service, or what have you, which are, by the way, just going crazy right now in terms of growth is because it’s a requirement because if anybody gets hacked or this or that, you’re out of business, so people will spend. So that makes you indispensable. All I’m saying is how do you become indispensable? And one of those ways could be why I own a patent on X. And then you wrap it around your overall value proposition and Botta Boomba Bing. You can sign monthly contracts, right. Where I was getting to with the story was instead of signing yearly contracts, which is the number one objective of these customers, if you were indispensable, I don’t care sign a month contract because I know you’re not leaving me.

Ken (13:10):
It’s like somebody buying an e-commerce platform from me, they used to cost anywhere between a hundred thousand and a million dollars, then another a hundred to a million to implement. We were a very expensive solution and customers would minimally sign a three year contract. I’m asked for five year contracts because signing a three month contract didn’t make any sense. I’m gonna spend millions of dollars to tra test you out. So that, that, that’s the other way of looking at it is that you’re indispensable or you’re so big. Your implementation is so big that, that they can’t pull you out very easily. Right? Yeah. And you wanna be in that if you can be in that business, it’s a pretty good business to be in.

Rich (13:44):
Yeah. No, absolutely. And so, and so then, um, it, it, I guess another way of, of, of looking at this is it’s kind of like when people are looking at hiring your company to build out their eCommerce platform or to, to work with them, to provide an eCommerce solution in parallel, they are looking at well, what would it cost for us to just do this from scratch, which you said might cost them like a million dollars or so. And unless there’s some reason why it’s, it’s you, and there’s no other game in town why you’re indispensable. So it’s like, if, for example, you owned the IP for a certain, um, certain functionality that was indispensable, then they couldn’t just say, well, we could either spend the million dollars to build us on our own, or we could pay him, um, X, million dollars to, um, you know, to, uh, become, um, his client and have him build out our system. So it’s like when you have something that differentiates you in a way that it takes it out of the, well, what would it cost us just to do the same thing as you gain?

Ken (14:50):
Absolutely. No, I totally agree. And the level of complexity for which, and we used to have in the early days of the e-commerce world, um, we would have bigger companies say, we’re just gonna build it ourselves, which is incredibly insane because it’s way too complicated now. Right. Uh, and even back then, it was, it was, it’s not just a cart, there’s a whole lot of components I will get into, uh, that make it almost impossible to do it today. And

Rich (15:11):
It was risky. It’s like you could spend nine months building it and then, and then be now six to nine months behind in getting your, your store launched.

Ken (15:21):
Exactly. And then you have to continually update it with the features. And I can update, I can spend, you know, a a hundred thousand dollars or $50,000 to build a feature and then roll it out to hundreds and hundreds of customers, if you’re doing it on your own, which is a very bad, you know, we’re giving some sales strategies here of why people should, you know, anybody that owns a software company should tell their prospects. It’s just insane to build a lot of these tools on their own, which most people don’t right. There are still the cases where it big it departments in larger companies wanna build, build everything in house, but that’s a lot smaller than it used to be. People just don’t wanna do that anymore. Um, and they’re getting smarter and smarter, but it’s a, it’s a really good argument. Yeah. You can build it, but how are you gonna keep it updated? It’s gonna cost you millions of dollars to continually update this thing when I continually invest in innovation, because that’s my job as a tech company. Uh, and you don’t have to worry about it and you don’t have to pay for it either. Right. So,

Rich (16:11):
Yep, absolutely. Hey, let’s talk about a few things here. So first of all, let’s talk about, um, uh, micro casting, what you’re up to these days. Yeah. Building there.

Ken (16:20):
Yeah, absolutely. Well, so my latest company, of course, you know, I sold off that e-com company, uh, latest company is, uh, all around leveraging, uh, e-learning for sales and marketing purposes kind of across between eLearning and CRM with a lot of new ways of thinking about eLearning as well. You’re like eLearning, why do I wanna put eLearning in my business? Well, heck if you’re a thought leader or you have a software company, or you have a medical company or a financial company, those are our targets, but they’re really any company. Even if you’re a, a retailer, uh, perhaps you’ve got to now see customers buy, they don’t just buy your product or service. They buy a solution. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> part of that overall solution. We call the whole product. The whole product incorporates add-ons incorporates your core product, incorporates some of your implementation services, but also incorporates eLearning both in the prospecting way, all the way through the customer journey, to where they’re even a post customer.

Ken (17:12):
And here’s why it’s not just that they need to be educated about your technology. They need to be educated about everything that surrounds, whatever it is you do. Right. So if you’re selling a piece of equipment, like a piece of medical equipment, uh, I’m just making this up. Um, it’s not only teaching. ’em how to use the medical equipment. Let’s say it does some diagnostics. I’m making this up again. Uh, never use this example before today. <laugh> uh, but you also have to understand the perspec. Now they’re gonna expect you, the companies that are buying this to, to provide that thought leadership on, well, what did it, not just what we’re diagnosing and how it works, but what’s the relevance of the, all these different diagnosis that you have to do and start teaching the people that are using this machine, going back up the chain to understand, well, what’s the cause of these and, and, and how do you help your customers or patients, uh, uh, explain it to them and all these soft kind of soft skills that are required.

Ken (18:06):
So if, and so positioning your company as being a thought leader, and I gotta tell you, I did this at market live. Uh, we’re doing it certainly at micro casting, uh, the new company, but you have to position your company as a thought leader, or you as an individual, as a thought leader and Rich, by the way, you’re doing this now you’re doing it. As we’re speaking thought, leader, book, website, free resources, free training, free education, all that’s eLearning to me. Right. I have a very broad definition of e-learning right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, so Rich is gonna be a consumer of my technology. Everyone. I’m kidding. I’m joking. Of course. <laugh>, uh, I hope someday maybe. Uh, but, but, but, but what I wanna do is I wanna make sure that’s all centralized. I wanna make sure that, and this is a way of thinking in your business so that you can engage prospects, customers, partners, and even employees as well.

Ken (18:49):
You wanna engage the customer. So I gotta tell you all the selling I’ve done for 25 years, I’ve done a lot, a lot of selling. I was the main sales guy at my company, uh, going out there, shaking hands and doing all of that. The key is when, especially if you’re on longer sales cycles, the key on the selling side is lead nurturing. So it’s attracting the customer use eLearning to do the bait, use the bait, right. Uh, then lead, nurturing, keep them in the funnel, educating them. So they’re a more informed customer all the way to when they become customers, not just selling ’em the product or service, but then really evolving yourselves, which is what we did at market live. We didn’t just sell software. We taught people how to do eCommerce, which means how to increase sales, how to grow their business, all of that. And that’s why our customers stayed with us. That’s what we do.

Rich (19:31):
Wow. Alright. Fascinating. And, and, uh, there’s, there’s a lot to unpack in there, but you know what, I, I, I have a bunch of things I wanna talk to you about though, too sure. Like including the, um, entrepreneur now network that you created. So, you know, we,

Ken (19:47):
Yeah, we created the network. It was interesting cuz we created the network about four or five years ago, what, four years ago. And I did it specifically so that I can, and this is kind of an interesting IP, uh, connection. I did. I, I didn’t know e-learning I come out of e-commerce I didn’t know. E-learning very well. I said, I, you know, I sold my company, uh, went on vacation for a year, came back and said, what do I do with my life? Okay. And I’m like, I wanna do something that’s more impactful than I’ve done before. I don’t wanna just do it for money. I want to do it something that I can have an impact. So the first thing I said is what do I enjoy doing? I love talking entrepreneurs. Second thing is, can I build an entire environment around that? So entrepreneurs have a place freer, otherwise to get a lot of great information and help them coach them along to where they’re not giving up big percentages of their companies to accelerators orcs.

Ken (20:31):
And they do things smartly. Okay. So, but what I really wanted out of the network was to learn how to do eLearning well, and then transfer that over into the technology company, which is exactly what we’ve done. I spent three or four years trying to master where the problems in eLearning what’s, what’s not working, what is working, what systems are out there. And I’ve used a ton of systems now, so that I could model what we created at micro casting. So that’s a great way to create IP by the way, is, is have a test bed, some and a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t patient enough to do what I just said. Right. And I’m not very patient, as you can tell, by the way that I talk and the, uh, accelerated rate that I talk at, uh, uh, I’m not very patient as well, but I, I knew that in order to master taking this out to the rest of the world and curly, creating something that was different, I needed to really understand it. That’s what I did. I built the company to do that. And it just happens now to be a standalone company that’s profitable. So, and guess what, guess what little side note, it funds micro casting now. So I built a company, made it profitable and now it is, I’m not, I don’t have VCs right now. I fund it through entrepreneur. Now that’s how it’s being funded, uh, solely so that I can own more of the, uh, the rights of the company. I can own more of the percentage of company. Right?

Rich (21:41):
Yeah. Fascinating. So, and, and basically though entrepreneur now is e-learning and so like you’ve, you’ve, you’ve basically, um, created a specific e-learning platform to train entrepreneurs in what they need to know, what, um, um, what they need to understand mindset that they, um, should embrace. And you’ve taken that and you are now, um, creating a platform that’s helping other people or giving the ability for other people to then get their e-learning out there. Is that, that

Ken (22:09):
Right? Exactly. What I did is I created the content. So I wanted to understand how content gets created. So E the, the entrepreneur now network is a content network. Like there’s not a lot of technology. I

Rich (22:18):
Just created a platform though, to make it work.

Ken (22:20):
Exactly what I did was I then built a platform from the learnings that I made from that. Right. So the, the content is amazing. We have like a couple hundred courses and there’s, I mean, there’s a lot of really great stuff there. Um, uh, it was my tested, but I also in the same process was able to do, uh, to do, to, to do something, to help others as well. And that’s what it’s intent to do, but it is a content company. And then micro casting is the software company that was birthed out of it, if you will.

Rich (22:46):
Yeah. That’s fascinating. Um, that, that you, you basically, um, kinda, um, you figured out, and then you, you made it so that you could, um, help other people do

Ken (22:56):
Well and guess where all my IP is coming from. Yeah. Right. And this, this falls right into what you’re expert at. I, I created my IP out of, out of the experience. And sometimes you have to do that now again, entrepreneurs can do a ready fire aim strategy, uh, which I talk about all the time, you know, and I’m a ready fire aim kind of guy sometimes too, you know, get ready fire. And then you’re like, huh, what are I supposed to do? Or we can take a step back sometimes when it’s important, sometimes ready fire aim is okay, you wanna move fast in the market. You want to hit it. You don’t need to get it. All right. I’m good with that. Right. Or you can, or another strategy is you step back a little bit, really figure things out and then go all in.

Ken (23:32):
And that’s, that’s in this particular case, that’s the strategy that I decided to use so far, it’s working. <laugh> so far. It’s good. We actually did something that is highly relevant to people, which I was shocked at because, you know, you kind of say build it and they shall come. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> sometimes entrepreneurs. A lot of times entrepreneurs do that. They’re a solution. And I want them to listen to that. They’re a solution in search of a problem entrepreneurs. You gotta understand that you need to find the problem that you’re trying to solve first, identify the problem. And it’s gotta be really painful. This gets back to all the things we were talking about earlier about unique definition. And mm-hmm, <affirmative> making yourself sticky. Find something that people are really struggling with lead. In my case, it was lead nurturing and customer retention, customer renewals.

Ken (24:16):
If you’re a SAS business, oh, one of the great ways to renew customers, cuz I lived it for 21 years is you renew them by providing them with a you’re much more than just a software package or a solu you’re a solution that’s continually helping them. And e-learnings an important component to that. Uh, so we found problems that people needed to solve and then now we’re solving them. Right. And I can’t encourage your entrepreneurs who are listening and others are listening to take that mentality cuz we really, as entrepreneurs who want create a product first and then figure out where the problem is and that’s not the way you do it.

Rich (24:47):
Yeah. I mean, that happens a lot with in inventors and inventions too is they’ll they’ll invent a solution. Yeah. And um, but if you dial it back and find, well, what was the problem that it’s solving? There might be other solutions. There might be better solutions, um, to that

Ken (25:05):
Problem. Totally agree.

Rich (25:07):
Yep. So, um, that’s great advice. Tell me about, um, prosper five steps to thriving in business and life. So you took 10 years to write this book <laugh> and, and you know, just the title itself implies that it’s, that it’s, that it’s kind of like sitting back, looking, looking at your successful career and saying, you kind of what’s made me successful. What’s made me happy. And uh, uh, so you know that, that’s fascinating. So tell me a bit about it.

Ken (25:36):
Yeah, no, well, you know, it’s funny. I, I, it took 10 years to write and I only wrote on airplanes. Uh, so I, uh, I, I, I, I did all of my research and consuming of data even prior to the writing, the actual writing of the book. And so, and I’m very slow and uh, it’s, you know, it’s 300 page book, but it’s not that big, uh, you know, it’s a normal, a hundred thousand word book, uh, and uh, it just formulating what I wanted to formulate. It just took me that long. And I sat on it for a year here and a year there just like a lot of other authors do, this is not an abnormal story when you’re writing a book, but really the book is across between a personal development book and a business book. Uh, and, and really what that says is, is you gotta be, you, you gotta get your, your insights working first, uh, before the actual business can really manifest itself.

Ken (26:20):
And that’s just been my experience over time. So things like, you know, the, the five key steps are, you know, you gotta accept yourself and, and because otherwise you’re gonna be continually taking everything that people do to you in a business. And they’re gonna be firing bullets at you all the time. I don’t mean to use that as an example, cuz that’s not a good, but they’re gonna be, they’re gonna be trying to hit you, knock you down. And if you can’t be strong enough internally, you can’t spread that out to your employees and you can’t build that into your culture. Number one, number two, you gotta manage your ego. Oh God entrepreneurs. And, and, and, and some business people have huge egos that will kill you every time. So I really wanna make sure that we expose that and understand it. Then three, we gotta have clarity.

Ken (26:56):
I don’t care in your personal life and your business life. You need clarity to understand where you’re going and the more pinpointed you are, the more likely you’re gonna get there. Now we understand that, but we gotta go through a process of getting to that and then taking action, what’s blocking you from taking action. So this again, the personal development side of things, but these are real things that will stop you in business from actually moving forward. And then the fine final thing is a little touchy feely called give gratitude. This is at the end of the day, how do you integrate gratitude within everything you do, including your business as well. Uh, and then there’s a lot of other philosophies in there, but if you get your mind straight, you’re good to go, right? I mean that, you’re, you’re good to go. That’s what that book attempts to do. And then I paired it with, after the book has been written called your entrepreneurial mindset, which is really giving a lot of business strategies, uh, that, that kind of back that up as well. And that’s all on our website and Ken burke.com and, and such. So anyway, that’s what I, that was a long answer. Sorry about that.

Rich (27:49):
<laugh> awesome. I love it. And uh, people wanna learn more about you or get in touch with you. How do they go about doing so yeah,

Ken (27:57):
For the book you go to Ken burke.com, Ken K E N B U R K e.com. Uh, for entrepreneur now just go to entrepreneur now and oow.com, uh, and you’ll, uh, you can grab any and all the free content that we have up there, uh, and micro casting. If that, that interested you at all, uh, micro casting.com, uh, will get you to the eLearning platform as well. So we’re, that’s where we’re at. And of course you can always find me on linkedin@kendrick.com. I’m also a LinkedIn learning instructor. So if you have a LinkedIn learning subscription, you can take any, uh, you can take some of my courses. They’re not all up there, but you can take some of my courses as well, uh, as part of that subscription free of charge.

Rich (28:33):
Awesome. Awesome. Well, Ken, really thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. This was great.

Ken (28:39):
Oh, great. Yeah, I hope it was. I hope it was helpful to your listeners. I really appreciate all the great questions as well.

Outro (28:50):
Thanks for listening to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, Rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the web at innovationsandbreakthroughs.com and we’ll see you next time.

 

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