Successful Business – Defined

A successful business


clear benefits to a defined group of eager people easily and profitably


gives a Clear Benefit

to a Defined Group

of Eager People




You get to define what a successful business is. Does your business feed you? Financially, yes, but creatively and energetically? Are you proud of your business? Does your business help you in living your Good Life?

Clear Benefit – People have a problem they want fixed and you have a solution. They know what to expect and they are not disappointed, in fact, they are delighted.

Defined Group – These are people you know and love. You have an affinity with them. You feel for them and you know their pains and their joys. Most importantly, you know who they are.

Eager People – They need and/or want what you offer. Further, they are motivated to make the changes that your solution offers.

Easily – This means working from your strengths and with the help and support you need. This isn’t supposed to be hard. It is the things that you do easily that others need the most.

Profitably – Your profit should be more than you need so you have capacity to grow, give more and focus on what’s important. If it isn’t yet, keep adding value and increasing the price until it is.

The Business Owners Success Club is a community of business owners working together to make all of our off-line businesses successful. Would you like to connect with other like-minded business owners from around the world to share stories, inspiration and examples of how you can make your business better?


February 17, 2015 at 1:22 pm 1 comment

Create Your Masterpiece

I wrote a book called Your Effortless Business because I saw, and still see, too many small business owners struggling. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods around what it means to own/run/manage a small business.

My intention is to write a manifesto-like book along the lines of this.

Here is a resource I intend to use and I thought you might like it too.

January 1, 2015 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

New Year, New Projects

The Business Owners Success club has been around since… I just looked it up on my Docs and the first one I can find was written December 14 2005. So this year is the 10th anniversary.

In recent years I’ve had a vision for this as a place where business owners can gather to help each other. I see that there are times when we need help and when we can give help. I see building a platform where there is no us (needing help) and them (the gurus who give it). The lines are blurred. We all benefit by giving and receiving help as and when we need it.

I don’t know what that will look like, but I’m going to take this year to find out.

January 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment


I love the Business Owners Success Club.

I love the posts I have here and all the goodies I’ve gathered here over the past 8 years.

This will become a many to many collaboration during 2014. I’m still not sure what that will look like, but that’s okay.

At this point, I’m putting my energy into Your Effortless Business blog around my book of the same name. I invite you to join me there.

November 11, 2013 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

BOSC Podcast #6 The Offering

Build your business from your strengths, clarify what your clients (tribe/fans/pals) need and decide how to help them. Then make the offer. Under lean startup principles, the offer is made before the solution is fully built. That way, you aren’t building something no one wants. You aren’t wasting resources on parts that don’t matter. More importantly you are building something that will truly help and be valued.

Gary Morton and Frances Schagen talk about the Offering.

Thanks Joe for sound engineering and the groovy music.

PS Joe is looking for a name for his most recent composition. Have a listen over there and make a comment about how it makes you feel or what it makes you think.

Here we go on an epic journey together to making the best business and the best life we can.
The business owners success club brings business owners together to help each other. Who else do you know who could benefit and who could add to the conversation?

March 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm Leave a comment

Epic Projects and Buying Groceries

I have a confession to make.

I’m one of those people who can’t work on only one project at a time. My comfortable number seems to be 3. I’ve been that way for years.

I’m also an innovator. You know, someone who craves seeking out new ideas and trying them.

I learn lots. I get lots done. When I do work work, I get paid. When I work on building projects, I don’t get paid.

But I don’t seem to be able to make big headway on any of my projects. I make progress, for sure. I published a book, thank you Joel and Tom. I finally started the podcast here, thank you Joe and Gary. But the need to make money in the short term seems to get in the way of building something for the long term.

I figured I knew the best way to fix that and that’s when I made a big mistake. I stopped doing the paid work to concentrate on my ‘projects’, the current 3. So that I could get one up and running. My words for this year are Epic Projects. These 3 projects (and the 2-3 waiting in the wings) are all potential Epic Projects.

I cleared the time (and stopped making money) and have worked very hard. I am making progress, but I find myself needing to do some work to make some money for the short term. I am doing a series of workshops around Your Effortless Business. That should keep the wolves from the door. It cuts into the time available to work on this project, but that’s part of the balancing act we walk. Your Effortless Business is part of what I bring to this project, so any work in that area, adds to my ability to contribute, here, too. I like it best when things are intertwined like that.

As they say: wherever you go, there you are.

I’m back where I started.


With some important changes in thinking.

  • I value my time more. I examine how I’m spending my time and I expect to get a return for it. I expect to make progress on each of my projects over the span of a day. It helps keep me focused.
  • I’m deep into the lean start up modality. I’m being much more deliberate with testing my assumptions and being willing to try a new thing as I learn. Progress on my projects means that I am answering questions and refining the problem and solution.
  • There are dreamers and doers. I like to think I’m a bit of both, but I recognize I fall heavily on the dreamer side. That means I need doers working with me. I have partners on all three projects.

The Business Owners Success Club is one of the 3 projects.
It’s been one of the 3 on and off for many, many years. I ran it as an off-line group for three years (2006-2009). We met monthly and improved our businesses and ourselves every month. I have 36 mini workbooks and a ton of on-the-ground results. It’s part of the research that went into my book.

Here’s what I learned from that, 15 years of running a bookkeeping business and working with 100’s of business owners:

  • Making a business work well takes continual improvement.
  • Trying and testing must be done in a deliberate way
  • What I need today is different than what I needed last month.
  • I circle back around and learn more each time I work on a part of my business (or project)
  • It’s all about practice, habits, change and courage.
  • All that works better with a circle of support.

It takes a community to grow a business.

We are building that community. We are incorporating those lessons listed above.

It’s me, so it will be innovative. Parts will work and some won’t. If you are willing to play along I guarantee, you will be so much farther ahead that when you look back in a year you won’t recognize where you were today.

This is one of my Epic Projects. This is both, an example of how to build an Epic Project and a wildly valuable resource for business owners who want to build their own wildly successful business.

If you are interested in being part of the early development of this community, have a look at our Welcome tab to see what we are thinking. If not, stay tuned to see what happens.

Do you have Epic Project(s)? Is your business your Epic Project? Do you agree that building any successful venture takes continual improvement?

Here we go on an epic journey together to making the best business and the best life we can.
The business owners success club brings business owners together to help each other. Who else do you know who could benefit and who could add to the conversation?


March 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm Leave a comment

BOSC Podcast #5 Designing your business around what your customer needs

This is a longer podcast, and worth it. Shaun Whynacht of Blue Cow Creative joined us to talk about customer needs and designing a business around that.

Thank you, Joe Schagen for recording, editing and adding your music.


February 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm 3 comments

Designing a business that plays to your strengths

Would you rather work with people one to one or in groups or work alone?
Do you prefer working with words, numbers, sounds or pictures?
What do your best days look like?
What are the days you look forward to?
What days sap all your energy?
Do you like routine or novelty? (think about your best days)
Do you like working at a desk? Outside? On the move?
Do you prefer modern, classical, or comfortable settings?

When your friends come to you for help, what is it they need from you?
What do you do well and easily?
What could you spend all day reading, talking and learn about?
What are you doing when you are in your element?

I spent today alone at my computer researching and writing with a little cleaning and chicken care thrown in.
Tonight I’m headed to a public meeting to discuss Community Economic Development.

Perfect day for me.
What about you? How can you spend your days so you love most of what you do?

Here we go on an epic journey together to making the best business and the best life we can.
The business owners success club brings business owners together to help each other. Who else do you know who could benefit and who could add to the conversation?

February 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

You’re Stronger than you Think

We talked about you. Now we’re talking about business models and and building a business around your strengths.

What is it about the hidden talent meme that fascinates us? We get a true thrill when someone pulls out a talent that saves the day. It’s part of the appeal of video games – you choose the talents and skills of your player, in anticipation of the coming challenges.

There’s something almost magical about coming up against a challenge and finding a means we didn’t know we had to overcome it. A gift for writing a persuasive argument; the ability to rally others when the deadline approaches; the optimism to carry on even if the cause looks lost.

Then – oh the feeling of power knowing we can take on anything we want. Tinged with that small amount of regret for the times we let go and didn’t dig in to make it happen.

Always remember you have way more in you than you think you do and you can accomplish much, much more than you think you can.

Here we go on an epic journey together to making the best business and the best life we can.
The business owners success club brings business owners together to help each other. Who else do you know who could benefit and who could add to the conversation?

February 18, 2013 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

BOSC Podcast #4 Design your business around your strengths

Gary Morton and Frances Schagen explore what it means to design a business around your strengths. When we don’t, we struggle and you’ll hear how I made this mistake and struggled with my business.

As always a great big thank you hug to my son, Joseph Schagen for sound engineering and for the original music he wrote for this. Get in touch, he’ll make you sound great, too!

February 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

The Three Success Factors

I have worked closely with 100’s of business owners and I have seen too many struggle. I have seen what works and what doesn't.

It takes 3 things to succeed:
1. Hard work - and I know you do that already.
2. Knowledge - domain knowledge: you've got that and continue to learn; and business knowledge: this is where everyone focuses and it's easy to find
3. Mindset - This is the killer app. This is what makes or breaks small business owners.

We work on Mindset here at the Business Owners Success Club: how you think about yourself and your business.

When you focus on a business that gives you what you need to live a Good Life and gives others what they need to solve a problem, everything else falls into place and you have a successful business.

Using that as a framework we work on one aspect of business every month. February is "Your Place in Your Community" month.

In March we will open the doors to our online community. Stay Tuned.

Sign up here to play along.


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Here’s the short and sweet version