The Art of Preventing Stupid – Build a Stronger Business with Matthew Davis￼
Matthew Davis has built a multimillion-dollar law firm around risk management. When you’re building a business, prevention is always better than cure. Our guest today has some great tips for proactively protecting your business.
Meet Matthew Davis. Matthew is an attorney and the CEO of Davis Business Law. Throughout the years, Matthew managed to lead his solely owned firm through over 1000% percent growth, making it one of the very few law firms ever to make the Inc 5000 list.
With over twenty-five years of experience helping business leaders with their legal and entrepreneurial matters, Matthew now teaches them how to deal with their vulnerabilities so they can capitalize on their opportunities. He’s also the author of a phenomenal book called The Art of Preventing Stupid, which explains how businesses can systematically and proactively protect themselves against threats.
Matthew is all about taking a preventative approach to business. He believes that it’s better to prevent certain issues than deal with them when they’re no longer easy to control.
In this episode of the Think Business with Tyler podcast, we talk about the importance of prevention in business, what are the three sources of vulnerabilities for business owners, why you need to deal with your vulnerabilities so that you can capitalize on your opportunities, and finally, the power of treating your employees like internal customers.
If you want to strengthen your business, make sure you tune into this episode to hear how Matthew does it.
💡 Name: Matthew Davis
💡 What he does: He’s the CEO and Owner of Davis Business Law.
💡 Noteworthy: Inc Magazine published Matthew’s first book, “The Art of Preventing Stupid,” in 2019, and the follow-up, “The Strong Protected Business,” is slated for publication in 2023.
💡 Key Quote: “Both internally and externally, one thing I always talk about is figure out what everybody hates about your industry and do it differently.”
💡 Where to find Matthew: LinkedIn
Take a preventative approach to your business. We’ve heard over and over again that prevention is better than cure. And as much as we try to apply this useful tip in our everyday lives, we seem to not take it so seriously when it comes to our businesses. But taking a preventative approach is as effective in business as it is in life. Matthew is all about prevention. He explains,
“From a professional standpoint, I think I’ve always come to the table with a preventative approach because that’s what mom was doing. That’s what she taught me. And that’s, from my perspective, kind of an ethical deal. In law school, we’re just taught to deal with issues as they arise, rather than getting ahead of them.”
There are three sources of vulnerabilities: catastrophes, ignorance, and ineptitude. Everyone makes mistakes, and business owners are no exception. But is there a way you can set up your business to make it more bulletproof to internal and external vulnerabilities? Matthew believes there are. First, you need to understand the three sources of problems – catastrophes, ignorance, and ineptitude. Then, you need to tackle them one by one. Matthew says,
“I said, ‘Guys, your problem is you’re ignorant about recruiting. You don’t know how to recruit.’ And we marked it down, prioritized it, and guess what? They fixed that problem. But had we just not put the bow on it, there you go. And by the way, ignorance is a more common source of threats or problems or vulnerabilities when your company is younger.”
If you deal with your vulnerabilities, you can capitalize on your opportunities. Every company has its vulnerabilities, but not every business owner has the right mindset. So if you want your company to make it and hold its ground, you need to deal with your vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Here’s what Matthew thinks.
“He’s got a line in there where he goes, ‘I can’t believe how stupid I was two weeks ago.’ And any business owner that’s grown a company knows how that feels, right? But the trick is the businesses that make the smallest number of unforced errors are the strongest players on the field. And by the way, they’re the ones that get the opportunities, particularly when the chips are down. […] If you’re in good shape, if you’re ready to go play ball, that’s when everybody else is down, you’re going to be standing. And one of our canned taglines is if you deal with your vulnerabilities, you can capitalize on your opportunities.”
Treat your employees well and they’ll treat your customers even better. Companies that treat their employees well tend to be more successful and bulletproof. The reason is simple; when your people are satisfied, they will be better at their jobs which means your customers will be satisfied too. Matthew thinks you need to treat your employees like external customers. He explains,
“Culture is, let’s just start there if you want to build a business, and it starts at the top, and it starts with how you treat people. And the way we approach things is that all of our people, all of our team, we treat like internal customers. And Richard Branson talks about it. I mean, there’s many people that do, but it’s, if you take good care of them, they’ll take care of your customers.”
“I realized I couldn’t replicate because I didn’t have a marketing strategy, and I had one client that could have taken 40% of my business that way. And at that point, I’m the provider for five kids. And yeah, it’s a pretty scary place to be. So talk about being scared again. I said, ‘Well, okay, let’s go start a law firm.’ And here we are seven and a half years later with 13 lawyers and 24 employees.”
“We talk about all your problems come from one of three sources. Catastrophes, there’s one, catastrophes, which are things outside of your control, and they can be humans. They can be natural. They can be market.”
“I want to grab people’s attention because, of course, entrepreneurs all think they’re 12 feet tall, all of them. And they do, and it’s that bravado that pull pulls them through a lot of the time, but, yeah, I wanted to agitate the issue.”
”When you see our ads, when lawyers see our ads, they either love us or hate us. And I want to differentiate between. I want to scare people off because most law firm ads sound like, ‘Would you like to wear a gray suit and be a douche bag to the rest of humanity?’ And that’s what they read. […] And we’re like, ‘Would you actually like to help people? Would you like to have a great work environment?’”
“At the end of the day, success in your business is really just a word problem. And you can focus on it and just drill down on it, which by the way, we’re still doing but just constantly refining your word problem. And I have mine up here at the top of my whiteboard, which is right up there, and just if I had figured out some of those numbers earlier, we would be farther along, but then again, I can’t believe how stupid I was two weeks ago.”
“Sit down and deal with your vulnerabilities and do it in an organized way. […] when you can get prepared, when you can prevent things, and if you can’t prevent things, you can prepare for them. But at least you’re not making stupid mistakes.”
The Art of Preventing Stupid by Matthew Davis
Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey B Mackay
Hiring for Attitude by Mark Murphy
Email Matthew to get your FREE copy of The Strong Protected Business Program at firstname.lastname@example.org
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