Momentum Podcast: 601

Your Business Can Be Predictable, Even in a Crisis

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

When I was just getting started as an entrepreneur, the word “predictable” sounded negative to me. I wanted things to be exciting, spontaneous, I wanted to freedom, predictability seemed like a step in the wrong direction. As my business grew, and I got busier, I started realizing that without predictability, I wasn't going to make it. Things got so overwhelming so fast that I felt like I was doing everything, falling behind on a daily basis, and I was constantly overwhelmed. I went from loving my business to having trouble getting out of bed every day because I was felt like I was getting constantly beat up.

My quest for excitement and spontaneity turned into a daily battle with trying to keep up with everything. When I finally stopped finding predictability, systems, routines, and process everything changed. My business started running like I wanted it to, it required far less for me, and I actually achieved the freedom that I've always wanted. Your business can be predictable, even in this crisis.


Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum Podcast. Speaker 2: Predictability drives freedom in business. In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, Alex is going to break down what it means to have a predictable business in such an uncertain time like what we are facing right now in the world today and he's going to share with you the story of what changed everything for him in business. I can't wait for you to hear this episode. Check it out.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.

We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

So yesterday, the jobless claims came out in the United States and we had a jobless claim number of 3.28 million. To give you perspective, the previous jobless claim number, the previous record on jobless claims, on people who had reported that they lost their jobs in a week period was during the 80s and it was 695,000. The second highest period was during the foreclosure crisis and it was 600,000 and change, I think 640,000 something. Yesterday, we got the unemployment figures for last week and they are 3.28 million. Overwhelming number. Largest number there's ever been by a factor of almost seven, just shy of seven times the previous record. And so the reason I jumped in today to share with you this message about predictability in your business and how you can create predictability is that we are living in a time that feels completely chaotic, unpredictable, unhinged, like we don't know what's going to happen next.

And it's a very real feeling. It's even a real feeling for someone like me. I've been through a ton of crises. I grew businesses through the dot com crisis, I have it written up to over there, 9/11, the stock market crisis, the real estate crisis. In fact, Katie and I put a business, number 21, on the Inc. 500 List during the real estate crisis. But this is different. This is dramatically different because here's what's going to happen in this crisis. We're seeing changes across the board. When you see 3.28 million people who have claimed unemployment, first, I think the number's low. The U.S. Treasury gave guidance yesterday that we shouldn't pay attention to those numbers. They're not relevant because they were before this recent stimulus package. So in the same week we have record unemployment and the largest stimulus package that the government has ever cut.

And even though the Treasury is saying, unemployment numbers, these aren't that significant or relevant, here's what I can tell you. Next week, we're going to see even higher numbers. We are now officially in an instant recession. And so here's what I want you to know. If you've been running your business in a way that's not predictable, if you haven't had a strategic plan, if you've been making it by, if you've been doing most of the work yourself, if you've been filling in with tactics instead of strategy, you're in trouble. I just want to be blunt and real and honest with you. I want you to stay in business and if you don't have systems in your business that create predictability, that make it easy to make decisions, that involve your team in decision making, you are going to have a hard time through this crisis. And anyone who's left who's like, "I'm just going to wait until things get back to normal," I want you to know you're going to be waiting for years.

This has tectonically shifted the entire world. What we knew as normal two weeks ago is gone. We are going to be building a new normal for a long time. And so here's why I bring this up with you, because as entrepreneurs, when we hear the word predictable, we often fight it. And here's how I know. I did it for most of my career. In my early career, if somebody had said, "Alex, you need your business to be predictable," I would have said, "Are you crazy? I want it to be spontaneous and exciting and be able to do what I want to do and have it be free and have freedom. I don't want predictability." And for years I had consultants and coaches and people around me tell me I had to be more consistent if I wanted to grow my business, I had to create more predictability. I had to make it more routine. I had to have process. And finally, it started to sink in.

And in my mid to late twenties, I applied process and routine and structure to my business and it exploded. And ever since then I've applied process, structure, routine to every business I've had and they've exploded. Even the business we started in 2007, in the middle of bankruptcy, to serve the real estate market, we applied process, structure, and routine to make it predictable and it exploded. Katie and I were in bankruptcy court in 2007, 21st fastest growing company in 2011, because we leaned into predictability. We leaned into structure, process, and routine and we leaned into making it so that things happen the same way over and over again. And here's what I want you to know if you're an entrepreneur.

That might sound terrible to you. That might sound like, man, if things are happening the same way and there's structure and there's routine, it might sound constraining. It might sound like that's something you don't want to exist in. But here's what I want you to see on the other side of that. If you have a team, they need process, structure, and routine. In fact, if you have a team, they feel unsafe unless there's process, structure, and routine that protects them. And so if you as an entrepreneur are fighting this, you need to know you are literally fighting your team. And in a time like this, in a crisis like this, you don't have time for wasted steps. You don't have time to fight your team. You don't have time to show up in a way that they aren't hearing and seeing and understanding and moving forward.

And so, in this time of crisis, it's more important now than ever that you create predictability in your business, that you stop the overwhelm, you put process, structure, and routine in place and you create predictability. And it will change everything for you. Because here's the impression we have in our minds as entrepreneurs. If I have the same meeting on my schedule every week, if I do the same thing every week, if I follow a routine or a process, it's just going to get boring and I'm not going to have freedom. Well, today I have more freedom than I've ever had in my life, even in the middle of this crisis. Katie and I have financial freedom. We know we're going to be okay. We have business freedom. We run the business we want. We have time freedom. When I need time, I take time. In fact, last year, I had a series of really unfortunate personal events and my mom passed away and I called my team that day and said, "I'm out."

I took six weeks with nothing. I think I answered three text messages. When I say my mom passed away and the next day I checked out, I didn't call, I didn't give plans, I didn't give instruction. I just said, "I'm out. You all need to handle this." And in that six week period, my business grew. I was excited to get back with my team, but I was able to step away. That is real freedom. That is true freedom. That's not the freedom that we talk about. That's not sitting with a laptop on the beach. That is, I needed some time so I could take all the time I needed and my business still went forward. And that's the impression I want you to have as an entrepreneur.

Absolutely, it can be overwhelming to build process, structure, and routine. However, here's what's more overwhelming. Running a business without process, structure, and routine especially now. Here's why. I've shared some numbers. I've shared with you. The world has changed. It's gone, and right now for you and your team, the number of things that is unpredictable is off the charts. In fact, yesterday I went to Whole Foods with my daughter in the morning. We were running out of food so we ran out before work. We went over to the store and went into Whole Foods and it was like being in a movie. It really affected me. Kind of threw me sideways for the whole day. What I experienced was not predictable. Going to Whole Foods is so routine to me I could almost do it without thinking. Well, we drove up and there wasn't a lot of cars in the parking lot.

They had doors locked on one side. All the carts were cleared out. You had to go get a sanitized cart from a person who was cleaning it off and handing it to you. They were limiting how many people would go in and go out. There was only one entrance in, one entrance out, and then in the store it was just bizarre. I don't know if you've had this experience, but man, people were looking at each other weird and I would say hi to people and they wouldn't say hi back. And Reagan and I actually had a woman walk down the aisle with us and turned her back to us and shuffled by us like she didn't want to expose the front of her body. That's how scared people are and that's how crazy the world has become. On top of that, things were missing and all the food wasn't there. Ironically, most of the food that we eat is super healthy so it was all available.

But that moment yesterday of unpredictability and instability and feeling like everything's changed rocked my world. It knocked me sideways. And then about midday yesterday I jumped back into my routine, got on some calls with my team. By the end of the day, I had been on several calls. We were moving things forward. This morning I got up, I executed my morning routine like I do every day with my wife, with my kids. We went on our morning walk and I've had four or five meetings with my team this morning. Everyone's in momentum. We are making things happen. We're moving things forward. We've got new marketing out, new messaging out. We've built our Facebook group from zero members to over 500 members in just the last 10 days. And we're right back in momentum.

And so here's why I think predictability is so important at a time like this, because, now here's the big equation, this scares entrepreneurs, everybody ready for this, predictability in your business means consistent momentum. When you create predictability in your business, you will have consistent momentum. We need to stop fighting predictability. We need to stop fighting process, structure, and routine because if you want to stay in momentum, this is exactly how you do it. Yesterday was disorienting, threw me sideways. I had emotional feelings all day. I was thinking about my mom a lot. I was thinking about the people that I've lost, the things that have changed. I was even back at one point in that foreclosure time mindset, thinking about all the money that Katie and I had lost. It's like that unpredictability, that instability in the morning, really sent me on a trip that I didn't want to be on.

And then by the end of the day, because I had gotten back into my routine, because I was back in my process, I was feeling much better. And then this morning, I'm right back where I want to be. I'm in the place where my life is predictable. I'm protected by my momentum bubble. I have the people around me I want to have around me. We are moving things forward and making things happen on a daily basis. And we're going to go out and sell like crazy, help as many people as we can, make a massive contribution, and move things forward, because in a crisis like this, entrepreneurs like you and I are exactly what always has changed the world and what always will change the world. And what we need to do right now is rise above the noise, identify the opportunity, grab hold of it, make it happen, get into momentum and take the world with us. And predictability will get you there.

So, in a normal market, you can survive in a company where you have no structure, no process, and routine, you can just run it through force of personality. But in a crisis market that will kill you. It will eat you up, it will grind you down. It will be so hard for you to create the business that you want. But when you create process and structure and routine, here's what will happen. When you give into, when you accept that minimal process, structure, and routine is the way to create predictability and the way to create momentum, you will not only have the business you want, you'll actually start having the success you want. I think one of the major reasons so many entrepreneurs, talented entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who should be showing up more, doing more, making more happen, if you've ever felt like that about yourself, like I should be having more success, doing more, making more happen, I should be showing up in a way that's more significant, perhaps, maybe what you really need is more process, structure, and routine, more predictability in your life, predictability in your business, and that will actually move things forward.

So at this time of crisis, predictability is more important than it ever has been. And I just recorded a new training on how you can sit consistently and predictably grow your business even in this crisis and I'd love for you to check it out. We just updated it. If you go to, I know I use that URL all the time, we do it for consistency, but it is a completely different experience now, and I recorded a 20 minute training on the steps you need to take right now to not only survive this crisis, but to thrive in this crisis, to make things happen, to make a contribution, to make a huge amount of income, but to also make a huge amount of momentum that helps the entire world around you. As entrepreneurs, we are the energetic drivers of this planet. We always have and always will be the most consistent source of positive human evolution that there is.

And so by getting into momentum, we will help grow out of this thing, charge out of this thing, evolve out of this thing, and get past this crisis. So go to Check out the new training that I did, spend 20 minutes and understand exactly the moves you need to make right now to not just survive this crisis, but to thrive, to make a contribution, and to help us all get through this. See you there.

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