Tools for Success – Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Rebel

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article or any of the other articles in the series. Each of the articles after the first takes a closer look at one of the tactics.

Don’t be afraid to be a rebel – push back, think out of the box, but be strategic and analytic about it.

You don’t have to be combative to be a rebel. Think innovative. Think doubting and questioning the establishment. Think positive energy. Think unexpected. Think passionate. And yes, at times, it can be lonely. Was I always a rebel?

I was always trying new things. I attended the trade show for collision repairers to find innovative new ways and how they were working; new tools, new marketing methods. I knew they were ahead of us. And, it couldn’t hurt to understand their business better.

I was carrying an electronic organizer in 1990, and was the first to carry a brick phone in 1990. You don’t have to be on the bleeding edge in technology to stay ahead. We bought Apple IIe’s to computerize our inventory, and there was no software to do that, but I knew it would save time.

I was reading a book a month, and learning things about business that just weren’t normal in our industry, even though they were commonplace in other industries. I was the first to put salespersons on commissions, though other industries had been doing it for decades. At the time, in 1985, a decent counterperson wanted $1,000 in cash per week, with no regard for how much they sold.

I was new in the industry, so doubted almost everything I heard, but wasn’t afraid to try something that worked in another industry in our industry.

I spoke at conventions, and many thought what I was sharing was intended to mislead them, as no one could possibly be willing to share that much info. I got what I gave, and many shared with me. One benefit to speaking is that you become a much better leader, and your communication skills are much improved.

I never fussed about things I couldn’t control. Many were unhappy about new competitors at the auction, and were quick to tell newbies that they weren’t allowed to bid on all cars. I thought that was crazy, and they tried to make me pay too much for cars to “teach me a lesson”. I just ignored them. Copart actually asked me to come to some of their out of town auctions to disrupt bid rigging, as they knew I would bid what the cars were worth to me. They gave me deals on storage since I was buying out of town, which was very unorthodox. I was working 20 auctions per week, and had gobs of desirable inventory, while others just worked locally and had to pay too much or not get the inventory they wanted.

I was advertising out of my area, and tracking results. Inc. Magazine in 1996 wrote me up for innovative tracking methods of calls, prospects and customers. I remember in 1986 I got a call from an angry recycler in Pennsylvania that said, “Don’t be mailing things to my customers here. If they need a Mercedes engine, they will call me and I can call you”. WOW. This was old school, and I was the rebel for sure.

I was always positive, which is a bit different. My dad taught me that no one gives a crap if your feet hurt so don’t bother telling them about it. Those that know me personally know how I answer when you ask me how I am doing. I always say, “The best”! Being positive can actually surprise people and make you stand out, and is often unexpected.

One cautionary note. There are many tried and true things that are likely the best practice for a given process to a situation. Don’t be so innovative that you overlook doing those, which I call “Blocking and Tackling”. And make sure you’re doing all that blocking and tackling while you innovate. I often find folks looking for the latest gee-whiz stuff to make their business better, when they aren’t doing the basics. A good example is a business owner that wants to start using Twitter, but he hasn’t updated his web site in five years. Everyone tells him Twitter is the hottest new thing. Twitter is an incremental tool and is unlikely to affect your business in a material way.

In a prior article, we discussed  learning to think strategically, but always be thoughtful even as a rebel!


Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies. Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as, countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for-performance, and find new customers on the web.

As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.

To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625,

ext. 232,, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX. 76117.