Deluxe CEO’s New Book Offers Practical Advice For Small Business Owners
Deluxe CEO Barry McCarthy said the country’s economic success depends on strong small businesses.
“It takes courage, vision and hard work to start a small business,” said McCarthy, whose company provides services to small businesses. “I don’t think people honestly respect how difficult it is to start a small business. We should treat small business owners like heroes among us.”
McCarthy is the author of a new book that builds on what Deluxe has learned while producing his corporate makeover series, titled “Small Business Revolution” and working with clients, as well as his own history as an entrepreneur and CEO.
“Small Business Revolution: How Owners and Entrepreneurs Can Succeed” provides practical advice for small business owners and reached No. 2 on the Wall Street Journal’s best-selling business book list.
The sixth season of the TV show, focusing on black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities, will launch on November 9 on Hulu, Amazon Prime and the series’ website.
Last week, Deluxe opened its new headquarters in downtown Minneapolis. The new space does not have private offices and is designed around the concept of collaboration, McCarthy said. The 600 to 700 employees of the company will infiltrate little by little, from mid-November, with the aim of being in the office “most often” at the beginning of the year.
The company with annual sales of around $ 2 billion released its latest quarterly results on Thursday.
McCarthy recently answered questions about the book, the company’s TV show, and his leadership style, in a Zoom interview from a Deluxe office in New York City. The following are excerpts from the interview, edited for length and clarity.
Question: Why did you write the book?
A: We see the book as part of Deluxe’s over 106-year commitment to our communities and small businesses. The profits from the book do not flow to our company. Profits from the book go to the foundation of the business so that we can invest in communities. It is absolutely a way of giving back to the community of knowledge.
I hope people find inspiration there. You can do it, you can build a fantastic business, and we’ve given you a how-to guide. Hope we inspired some people to give it a try.
Question: What are the benefits of putting these stories in book form?
A: Deluxe has 106 years of experience supporting small businesses and today we help 4 million small businesses. It gives us a really unique take on what it takes to be successful, and we’ve turned some of those stories into “Small Business Revolution” episodes on the TV show. But with the book format, we have so much more room than you can cover in a half hour episode; you can cover a lot more material and a much more practical how-to guide.
Question: What are some common mistakes small businesses have made?
A: One of the most difficult topics for a small business owner to tackle is finance. Because it’s the thing that people least get excited about, but it’s so fundamental and it’s where most small businesses fail. If you don’t know your numbers, you are simply dead.
Question: What have you learned about your own leadership of Deluxe, from a former check printing company to a small business service oriented company?
A: Leading a historic transformation of Deluxe into a trusted payment technology and enterprise company forced me to consider every aspect of what I do. The first lesson is the importance of clear and precise communication. The second is your mission and the values must be clear. And the third is the importance of trust. Trust is one of our core values, and we do our best to live it out every day.
Question: More than half of small businesses do not reach the five-year mark. You have included an epilogue on when to give up the dream. Why include this section?
A: First of all, be proud, really proud to have tried your luck. You’ve tried something that so many other people haven’t had the courage, courage, or seriousness to try. But you did. Keep your head up.
When do you know it’s time to quit? If you can’t pay your taxes, if you can’t pay your rent, if you can’t pay your people for what they’ve already earned, you have to stop. Because you are going to a space that lacks dignity, respect. You want to end a business with your reputation intact after trying to do the right thing.
It was hard to write. You don’t want to watch this sober reality, but you have to.
Question: How did you organize the book for small business owners?
A: I wrote the book in such a way that you can read a chapter and then put it into practice; come back and read another chapter and go put it to work. Because small business owners, the biggest bonus they have is their time, so they have to take it small nuggets.
Question: The tone of the book is very conversational and you share a lot of anecdotes. Why this approach?
A: It was absolutely wanted because I wasn’t going to write a manual. People don’t have time for a textbook, they don’t have time for an academic book. They just want to know what they need to do to be successful. “Here is a problem I have; how can i solve it? We tried to be practical.
Question: What can viewers expect from “Small Business Revolution” season six?
A: We brought the series back to the Twin Cities and focused on black-owned businesses and the particular challenges they face, which add to the challenges of all small business owners. We talk about it and present these companies. I’ve seen the rough cut of all the episodes, and they tell a really compelling story about business ownership, entrepreneurship, courage. And we help each of these businesses improve. These are inspiring stories.