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Bill Rancic’s “Smokin'” Good Keynote at Club Industry-Chicago 2010

 Life and business before, during and after The Apprentice.

Once again, I send kudos to the decision makers at Club Industry who decided to select Bill Rancic as a keynote speaker at this year’s Club Industry Show, in Chicago.  And, if you were able to take in BOTH keynote speakers (Richard Simmons was the other one…enough said), you saw the BEST duo of keynote speakers I’ve seen at a fitness industry trade show in several years! 

(Photo credit: billrancic.com)

Bill Rancic, the first winner of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice reality-show, gave a very interesting talk on the business of entrepreneurialism and the entrepreneurial spirit.  He was very concise and forthright in sharing the life and business lessons he has learned along the way to becoming a very successful entrepreneur and highly respected “public” figure.

By the way, if you ever wondered what Bill’s first big entrepreneurial breakthrough was… It was a “1-800” based business he called, “Cigars Around the World.”—basically, a cigar of the month club.  He did all this before computers and the internet became our way of life, communication, and commerce.   As he talked about this very successful venture, one question kept popping into my mind…keep reading to the end of this post and you’ll find out what the question was.

Now, if you’re looking for me to now come forth with a deep analysis of Bill’s business philosophies…forget it.  His talk was very good and very pure, so I just want to act mostly as a journalist/reporter, not as a philosopher/blogger, and summarize the major points he made in a “Top 10 Minus 3” list.  I will, however, throw in a few editorial comments, many of them relating to my experiences as an entrepreneur.  BUT, as I mentioned earlier, please be sure to read to the end of this post; I can’t help but to pose one zinger theoretical question to Bill regarding his business “success.” I welcome anyone’s comments regarding my zinger! 

Top 10 Minus 3 Take-Away Points from Bill Rancic’s Keynote Address at Club Industry-Chicago: 

  1. A good entrepreneur has the ability to recognize an opportunity and seize it.  Unfortunately, according to Bill, only about 1% of “opportunists” do both. 
  2. “The sincere seeker will find the truth.”  This is one of Bill’s favorite sayings—and you see it attributed to him in many interviews and blog-posts.  I interpret this saying to mean that he’s always seeking progress and improvement—in any idea and/or (ad)venture he attempts.  The “Truth” represents the end-point of “sincere” objective research and hard work.
  3. The entrepreneurial mind thinks differently.  An entrepreneurial mind takes an idea and makes it better.   This point sounds like a BASF commercial.  But, what he says is very true.  Innovation is about BOTH innovation and improvement. 
  4. Stay agile in business.  Be ready to change your business model and get out of your comfort zone.  So true; so hard to do.  However, the payoff for stepping out of the comfort zone is very satisfying, successful, and, frequently, profitable.       
  5. Five “philosophies” that led to victory in the first Apprentice. 
    1. Have a good strategy going in:  He used the “marathon” approach—it’s not a sprint…it’s a marathon.  He set little/reasonable goals along the way.   By achieving little successes along the way, the ultimate goal/prize was his.
    2. Practical execution:  Get the job done—right and on time.  In the real world, Bill says, there is only about 1% that actually does it. 
    3. Agility:  Be able to change the game and the game-plan along the way.  He carried his overall business/entrepreneurial philosophy into the “Board Room” (see #4 above).   
    4. Risk:  Take it; manage it; micromanage it; AND turn it into success. 
    5. Fear:  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Too many people are afraid to fail, and therefore, they and don’t even try (new things).
  6. The similarities between three well known businessmen/entrepreneurs:  Donald Trump, Ted Turner, and Mark Cuban.    
    1. They are all good decision makers
    2. They are all creative:  They come up with creative solutions to problems
    3. They never quit and make excuses
  7. Three traits to avoid.
    1. Being reactive, and not proactive.
    2. Surrounding yourself with negative people.  Diminish the power of the negative people around you. 
    3. Not maximizing your individual potential.

 After reading these seven points…How do you relate to them?  Bill’s experiences and wisdom shouldn’t become your new “gospel.”  But, pick, learn and incorporate as appropriate.  Good chance you will become a better businessperson, entrepreneur, and overall person.     

 Finally, let me pose one final question.  For the record, during the Q & A session after his talk, I was the one who ask him, “What’s up with that Omarosa?”  His answer was, basically, “…She’s a little bit out there….”    If I didn’t have to rush back to the trade show floor to staff my GymValet booth, this would have been my next question—the zinger:  “Bill, by the looks of it, you appear to have a personal commitment to health and fitness.  Additionally, you have graciously agreed to educate and entertain us today as our Keynote speaker at the CLub Industry Show.  With that being said, as you built your cigar business, did you ever have any ethical and/or moral concerns that you were selling and profiting from a product that has been associated with the development of smoking-related cancer? 

I obviously leave my final question open ended.  If this question can be passed on to Bill, I welcome his comment on my blog.  Anyone else who wants to comment, please feel free.

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