How to Apply "Big Lucky" to Growing a Business

How to Apply "Big Lucky" to Growing a Business

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: How to Apply "Big Lucky" to Growing a Business

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio biz. Talk for biz owners during the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two time best selling author will cover topics that will help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome back to Mr. Biz radio with me, Mr. Biz Wentworth. And this week we have a special guest with us. He is a, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, dare I say. And he is an O he's the author of a book called big lucky. And he's the founder of Pureology as well as several other things. So this week our guest is Mr. Jim Markham, and he believes everyone can be big, lucky and achieve success. Jim's perseverance ability to overcome odds, business acumen, and made to win mentality, provide the foundation for, for him to have this highly accomplished career. Jim has founded four and developed five successful hair care companies netting over 1.2 billion in combined retail sales with each success, the mark of name has become synonymous with authentic quality high performance products that serve as an industry standard. Jim is be best known for pioneering sulfate free salt-free products in creating the luxury color category, and he continues making his mark as the acclaimed best selling author of big lucky serial entrepreneur. Jim Markham's secret formula for success. This life changing page Turner is an best seller and was a featured Audible's number one, new release. So Jim, welcome to Mr. Biz radio.


Well, thank you, Ken. It's it's a B really a pleasure to be here.


Yeah, absolutely. So let's get started with your entrepreneurial journey. It sounds fascinating. So tell us, well, you know,


I started out as a young, poor boy in New Mexico and had an alcohol mother and ended up getting married at 15, had a child at 15. My, my mother says you gotta work. She says oh, why don't you go to barber school, uncle, uncle Clarence always did well as a barber. And so I went to barber school and did pretty well. I was cutting here at 60. I started entering competitions and won the national championship and the hair Olympics and all, all several state championship. And I read in Playboy back then about JC bring charging $50 a haircut and cutting all the celebrities here. So I was bold up. I got on the phone, I said, Jay and he took my call. I said, Jay, how can you charge fit 10 times what I'm doing? And I I've won all the awards.


And he says, why don't you come out here and we've cut a half head, half ahead of hair. And we'll see which technique is best. I, he had a set of products that I wanted to distribute. I dunno why, but always thought distributing and selling product. A great idea. So we went out and we cut van Johnson's hair. One of his customers, you cut a half, I cut half this side was better. He did something called shaping the hair, cutting shape into the hair, which is not what I did. And, and I learned from him. And eventually, you know, I started a Seabring franchise in New Mexico and did real well. I was a, I was a licensed pilot. I traveled around and taught barbers and stylists how to cut men. So we started men's hair sound, and Jay got killed by Charles Manson in the Manson murders and Sharon Tate was killed. And so I ended up taking over sea ring, ended up buying sea ring out of bankruptcy and, and, and made it successful. Then I started cutting Paul Newman, Johnny Carson, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, and many, many others. And and that, that went well. And of course ended up selling sea ring and doing mark and products and ABA products and geology products and color proof. And I've had a 50 year career of successful businesses and it was a fun trip.


Well, I'll tell you starting off getting married at 15. I can't even imagine. And, and becoming a father at that, that age, you know, 15, 16 years old. Holy crap. That that's a, that's an eye opener. That's gonna make you grow up quick.


<Laugh> it really was. And you know, it actually ended up being good for me. I mean, I, I tried in that environment cause I, I had a home then as opposed to, you know, all over the place and I, I did well and that it was actually good for


Me. Well, Jim, I'll tell you one of the pieces that I really like about your story is that you saw, first of all, you didn't say your age. We're just gonna assume you were of age when you saw you were reading Playboy, but nonetheless <laugh> he got 17 <laugh>. Okay. Okay. But nonetheless what I really liked about that was you, you saw someone that was doing what you were doing, but you know, charging much more, how the heck do you do that? And the, the, the big part of it is you picked up the phone and called you know, I I've talked about this before. One of my favorite Steve jobs quotes is if you don't ask the S always known that the story goes around, I won't tell the whole story, but Steve jobs was 12 or 13 years old and looked up bill Hewlett's number from Hewlett Packard in the yellow pages, which obviously dates it, but he looked his number up and, and bill Hewlett took his call. And as a, as a 12 or 13 year old boy, he wanted to figure some things out. And he called bill Hewlett himself, much like you did.


Yeah. I was very, very ambitious and I always believed I could win. I always thought I could succeed. And I did actually,


Well, I, and I think that's a big part of it, right. As, especially as an entrepreneur. And the other thing I, I get out of your story is know you had all these, these successes, you had some BS and then, you know, taking over Seabring when, you know, and rising it like a Phoenix from the ashes, so to speak and making that successful again. I'm sure that was quite challenging as well. Well,


It was cuz I really had no experience in, in, in I had a little bit of sales experience in sales, but I had none in management or operations or accounting or legal.


And so I, I made it a point to learn each thing at one at a time. And I actually learned it on the job and I, I got pretty good at, at it as we went along <laugh> yeah. Well, and sometimes that's the, the best way to learn it. Right. yeah. School hard knocks as they say, right. Jim <laugh>


School hard knocks that's right. <Laugh>


That's right. Well, and it sounds like you did that along the way, and then you just continue to parlay your experience in gaining that experience into more and more brands.


You know, I, I probably boy would've went to work for somebody, but no one would hire me. So I just started another company. I did, I did five and I just kept starting a company I'd sell 'em and I thought, well, I should consult. And nobody really thought I knew anything or they didn't need anything for me I guess. And so I said, well, hell I just do it again, you know, do another one. I kept doing another one and I always believed I could, you know, I always thought I could do better and, and always did do better each time.


Well, I mean, I think that's another one of those things that a lot of entrepreneurs are unemployable, right? Yeah. Once you had that mentality and, and honestly probably with all the success you had as an entrepreneur, that kind of probably changed your mindset, right. You had a different as, as opposed to being an employee.


Yeah. I never really thought I could make a very good employee cause I was always wanting to lead and, and, and direct and never satisfied with second best. I always wanted to very best and I, I could generally figure that out with other people, excuse me, other people. And so, you know a good entrepreneur that's been in, in control is probably not a good employee.


<Laugh> I agree. I agree. Yeah. I, I tell you the, the, as a fractional CFO, working with all sorts of different business owners and different niches and different industries, more and more, and a lot of times it's, they, they it's self-professed, you know, they'll say I could never work for someone again, you know, <laugh>


Yeah, no, that's right. And and it was a nice trip, you know, and each time I got better and better at it than it was really fun. I really enjoyed starting companies and, you know, selling companies and developing formulas. I always was really one of my things I loved to develop better formulas.


Well, that's interesting. So this week again, we've been talking with Mr. Jim Markham, who is the author of big lucky, and we're gonna talk about that in the next segment. He's also the founder of Pureology as well as four other companies. And I should mention, we're gonna talk about the book during the next segment, big lucky. And we're gonna figure out a little bit about that. What drove Jim to write that book? What kind of spurred on, on that that need to write that book and, and why, and then in the last the last segment, we're gonna talk about how to apply big, lucky to growing a business because he is got a lot of good things to share. So come back after the break on Mr. Biz radio


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All right. Welcome back to the show. And it is time for the Mr. Biz tip of, of the week. And here's something that probably Jim could relate to as well. Having built five successful businesses. The tip this week is it's a little bit harsh, Mr. BI nation. I gotta throw it. I gotta tell you that if you don't have a budget and monitor your progress against it every month, then you aren't serious about your business. Being a financial success, gotta have a budget. You gotta monitor against it. I've talked about it on the show many times before in the past, critically important. And I always joke around Jim. I tell people I, I, I, a lot of people don't like the B word, not that B word budget, including Mrs. Biz, Mrs. Biz. Doesn't like that B word either, but nonetheless it's critically important because you can, it allow, allows you to build your budget off the goals you have and then monitor against them every single month.


So you can see the progress so you can make adjustments. Are you ahead? Are you behind why? And figure that stuff out as opposed to waiting till halfway through the year or more, and then figuring out, oh my gosh, we're behind. And we gotta try to turn this big battleship around to, to, you know, make the second half or the last, last quarter of the year successful. And a lot of times it's too late because it's, you know, depending on the business or industry you're in and how the economy's going, you just can't make changes that quickly. So that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week. So, Jim, I want to, I want to talk a little bit about big lucky. So what, what drove you? What, what was, what made you say, gosh, I need to write a book and, and then, you know, why do you call it big lucky?


You know I've had colleagues and friends for the last 25 years saying, you know, from where you came from to where you are now, you know, it's been quite a journey. You've gotta tell that story because it's really interesting. The ups and downs you went through and how you overcame them and came out of it really successful each time with each company and ended up in a very good spot and and, and create a roadmap for entrepreneurs that hopefully will help them have a easier way of being successful, being more successful. I used to cut a lot of celebrities here, Paul Newman, Johnny Carson, Steve McQueen, but one particular occasion. I was cutting Paul Newman's hair in his house in Beverly Hills. And he said, mark, 'em. He said, you're big lucky. He said, there's three kinds of luck. He said, there's no luck. There's luck. And it was big lucky. He said, you're big lucky, I'm big lucky. So I always took that to heart and applied that in the book. I thought it was an appropriate title since she gave it to me.


Well, I'll tell you when I first, when I first, when you, we first got you booked on the show and I was doing some show prep and everything, and I'm, I see some of your background and some of the amazing success you had and I'm like, why would he write a book called big lucky? Because, and my idea was that maybe you're not giving yourself enough credit. Like you're saying, oh, I was just lucky. You know? And so I'm like, holy crap, no, clearly you can't just be lucky that many, no one gets lucky that many times you have to know what the heck you're doing. You have to be very successful and driven to be as successful as you have. Yeah.


Yeah. I agree with that.


So I gotta ask you, you, you, I'm sorry, go ahead.


I was just gonna say, you know, a lot of times the circumstances, you know one of the circumstances that really helped me, unfortunately, for Jay and he was my mentor, which he got killed and I had the option to going from New Mexico, to, from charging $5 haircut to cutting in charging $50 a haircut. That was lucky. Now the fact that I could keep the customer and keep it going and perpetuate that that was skill. But oftentimes you get, you know, like you, if you live in Africa, that's being pretty unlucky. You're probably not gonna come out of that real good. So there is some elements of luck and elements of skill. And but I didn't do it for that rich. I didn't cause, but lot Paul said I was a big lion <laugh>


Well, that's pretty good endorsement to have, right? <Laugh>. Yeah. Yes. So, so I, I, I have to ask with all these different, these five different companies that you you've started and you had mentioned in the first segment about you, how you love creating new formulas and things like that, how did you get people, others to believe in your products?


You know, I'm, I'm a very good storyteller and I would develop the products and make 'em vegan and carcinogen free. And you know, I'd get the right ladder, the right field, the right, right performance. But I knew how to tell that story about it. And I could tell it, and you gotta, what we did was we cut the hair certain way. And then we promoted daily shampoo, which was brand new in the seventies. And they, but most men would come their hair back into a PO door and they would wash hair once a week or two and use Vitalis or grill cream. And they didn't wash their hair. If they washed their hair, they couldn't comb in their hair. So we gave, 'em a way of cutting the hair the way it grows cutting shape into the hair, which was very masculine and frame the face and gave 'em a shampoo conditioner that they could keep on a daily basis. That was revolutionary. And it just so sword sword and was made, made me very successful doing that. And I could sell that story. So as we went from company to company, I was able to tell my product, concept story, the product performance story, what makes it special, why it's unique and there's nothing like it. I did that well, and I taught that well. Yeah,


Well obviously like I said, with your success, you've had, I have to tell you, Jim, I'm feeling a little bit inadequate with my my shaved head. Look I have here. <Laugh> you're. You're cool. That's good. I mention, I mentioned another show. I've got someone close to me. Who's going through chemotherapy. So myself and some others close to him, we all shaved our head. So it's starting to come back in now, but I'm feeling a little, I'm feeling a little inadequate talking to Jim mark out hair, and I'm, I'm looking like this. You're you're


Cool. <Laugh>


So I, I guess again, I, I wanna talk specifically in the last segment about, you know, applying big, lucky to grow your business. So I don't wanna give too much of that away, but I, that all said, you know, you mentioned some of the folks that you work with and cut their hair and everything. If you would, we've got about two minutes. Give, give us you got, you got a funny Hollywood story, a funny celebrity story you could share with us.


I got one I think is, I'm not sure how funny it is, but it's with Paul Newman, I, I cut his hair a lot and I was on location with six movies and got film credits. And I, he really taught me a lot, but when, when my on particular occasion, I'm in cutting his area, his Beverly Hills home and I'm right in the middle of it. We're talking and Joanne Woodward jumps in his wife. He jumps up out of his chair. He runs over to her kisses, her cheek, and he says, hello, lovely lady. And I'm just an awe that the sex symbol of male sex symbol of the world would take this at my attention and, and charming to go kiss his wife. I thought, what if a superstar like him, does it, what AOR guy like me do <laugh> and I saw him do things like that on different occasions. That was really, really cool.


Well, I gotta tell you, Jim, you mentioned that, you know, how great was it for your business to be able to say, Hey, if you don't, if you don't think I'm good at cutting hair, look the sexiest man in the world. I cut his hair. I help with that. Look, I help him, you know, get that <laugh>.


Yeah. And, and we did some photo shoots on location. I think it was either pocket money, or sometimes a great notion. And he, he just gave me the whole role. He said, just use them in good take. So I had his, all his pictures and I did use 'em all over. I mean, we publicized everywhere and it helped a great deal of having him as a client. We actually started a campaign called the $55 haircut, which is what I was charging. And it said the $55 haircut for a whole lot less. It's your mark selling a better shop, which meant that Joe Schmo and Dallas could use his commercial and say, we give the $55 haircut, but we only charged 10 or 15. And we did that nationwide. And that worked quite well added value with $55, but they only have to pay 10 or 15. And that worked really well.


Sure. Yeah. I bet. I bet. Well, again, this week, guys, we've been talking with Mr. Jim Markham. We are going to hit a break here in a few seconds, but I wanted to mention again, go out and check out his book, big lucky and check out a lot of his product on him. You can, you could Google Jim and find out, but Pureology is the most recent one of his five companies. Good stuff there make sure you follow us as well. On, on check out the Mr. Biz YouTube channel on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram clubhouse. If anyone's on clubhouse, Twitter, we've also launched a new streaming channel that we're actually getting up and going, and this, this actually will be on there as well. So come back after the break and he's going to tell us how to apply big, lucky to growing a business.


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All right. Welcome back to the show. And Jim, I gotta tell you, especially hearing all the experience you've had all the cool experiences, the success you've had with the businesses, the book I'm, I'm anxious. And so I wanna tell you, when you start to answer this question, don't think I'm being rude, but I have my notepad right here. I'm ready to take notes. I'm ready to take notes. So I wanna, I wanna know how do we apply a lot of the things that you talk about in your book, big lucky to growing a business,


You know I did five different companies, a little differently buy for different positionings and that required a little bit of different skillset, but I, I I always believed I could win. I always thought whatever I started, I was gonna win. I think that's really important to believe you can win. You know, I firmly believe God made everyone, everyone to win, and you just gotta your confidence and, and, and, and apply yourself when you get knocked down and you knock downs. Part of growing, you get knocked down, you get back up and you do it again, and just don't quit, keep growing and make it work. So I started with, you know, practically no money and had a, a small budget. As you mentioned, I think budget's critical. You can't do it without it. And with Seabring, we were profitable within six months.


We went from losing about 30,000 a month to gaining about 30,000 a month in profit. So I think just being real steadfast, carefully analyze have a good budget create you create one year, five year and analyze your competition, see what they're doing, right. And what they're doing wrong and try to do it better than they do. And try to create a point of difference that they don't have. I think that's critical to always say, well, they do this, but we do this. They don't always have a point of difference. That's critical. And I think that's one of the biggest mistakes people make is not positioning their product. And most of the, you can create a better position if you just look for it. So see what your competition's doing, see what they're missing. Cause they miss something and find a niche and, and keep going and, and just follow your budget, follow your plan.


Just add to people as you can afford them and be careful with your money. Cause sometimes you run outta money too fast, and that's not a good thing. So I just identified a marketplace, which in the beginning was barbers. Now that's probably the hardest people to sell on the planet. And we made barbers distributors for small towns could be Dallas. And we started with like, you distribute to Dallas, you get, you get to sell to 10 line. So I'd go in and do demonstration and help them get trainings going. And then they would, they would train to their Dallas, then it would be Fort worth and there would be Georgia and all, all around the country. And, and we, we had 78 distributors, 75 distributors with, with sea ring and 78 with, with a mark product. But then I found a really new avenue.


I found the women's market and the women's market is about 20, 30 times bigger than the men's market. And I went into AABA and that opened up a whole new PLA category because they, they have distributors that fall full service. They distribute all the area. So you don't not deal with 78 people dealing like of 20 and they had their territories. But I, I think having a plan, execute your plan, stay within budget. And and, and if you make a mistake, you wish you will, you will fall down, you'll make mistakes. Don't, it's part of it's part of winning it's part of winning don't, don't accept it as a defeat. It's a learning process. It's just a learning process. Analyze it, dust yourself off, don't quit and make adjustments until you get back on track and keep winning. I think as a state of mind, I think big lucky is a state of mind. We're, we're all, we all have big lucky, but you gotta have a lot of confidence that you can fall down and you can get back up and you will win. You keep the confidence.


Yeah, I think it's great. I talk about it all the time. You know what I call consistent perseverance, you know, the, the, the notion of life is it doesn't matter how smart you are, how, how handsome you are, how beautiful you are who, you know, you're going to get knocked down. As you mentioned, it's just part of growing. It's part of learning. You're going to, so you have to learn as an entrepreneur to accept the fact that it's gonna help you. Can't let it crush you when it happens. And I think that's a lot of what you're talking about.


That's exactly what I'm talking about. You just can't take it too personal. It is part of part, they say like playing tennis, you just gotta get a few more over the net than you don't miss that. Then you don't get over the net, just a few more wins. Sometimes it's like that it's only a couple vows over more than you lose. Cause you will lose. And, and hopefully the losing isn't as critical as a winning part.


Well, that being said, what what's, what's your of, of all your experience, what's been your, your favorite? I won't call it a failure, but the favorite time that you got knocked down maybe it's one, the one lesson you learned the most from.


Hmm. Well, I, I, I kinda went broke. A couple of times I got knocked through, throughout. We had a received, we had a three part in the early days and they threw us outta the company for a year and a half. And I had to survive with no money. And I lost all my customers back then. He didn't have a phone to keep address moves, or at least I didn't, and I didn't have my celebrities cut. And I had to play pool and play checkers to make a living. And I was on Hollywood Boulevard, playing checkers with the pimps and the pimps played checkers in jail and learned how to play checkers in jail. I learned how to play checkers in the barber shop from an old guy that probably my age that taught me how to play and I could beat most of them.


So we'd play for $25, $10, you know, and I did, I, we one, one playing checkers than, than pool, but that was a humbling experience. I didn't know if I was ever gonna get back or not. And, and that was a, a big lesson there. You know, I, I, I, I sold mark and products one time and spent all our money and had to go back to New Mexico and start cutting hair all over again. And I went into a marketplace as a $10 marketplace and started charging 35. Of course, that was too high. Nobody would come back to me that I used to have there. So I went down to 30 and that didn't work. I went down to 25 and I started building up at 25. So very humbling experiences. I finally came back out of that and started all products. And you know, it's, it is up to down, but you just gotta keep focused. I, I knew I had to come back and I knew I could do it again. If I just had a chance, I think in confidence and the belief in yourself is probably one of the most wonderful things you can have and the belief that God made you win. You're a winner. You gotta take it and see at the moment


I love it, Jim. And, and look, it's, you just exemplified that consistent perseverance, right? You got knocked down and you're like, man, I gotta make this work. And so of all things with the background you have of all things, you're like, Hey, I can play checkers. I can, I can shoot pool and keep, keep AF float. Yeah, we've only got about a minute and a half or so left here, but what is one thing Jim, that most people don't know about you?


Well that's a good question. I mean, most people don't know that they checkers <laugh> most people anymore, a lot of people don't, I even cut hair. I mean, except for, you know, the book and telling the story, I think most I I'm a, I'm a master checker player and most people don't know that. And I, I used to play checkers a lot. I need to start back now, but online there's some world champions online on, on, I think it's Yahoo. That really is fun it for the checker players, but plan checkers. You know, we, there's not a lot, they don't know about me anymore, but I mean, we stuck it all out there and, and telling the book was important. It took 19 months to write it. And we, we think we got a good roadmap for winners and entrepreneurs that will make it a shorter journey and a more successful or anybody following some of the tips, the trips and tick tricks and tips I went through in my journey.


Yeah. Well, I'm sure. I mean, again, hearing a lot of your story, hearing the things you've done the success you've had the bumps in the road very inspiring, Jim. I, I look, I we're out of time here almost, but really appreciate you coming on the show.


Oh, thank you so much. So fun to talk to you. You got a great show. Congratulations.


Well, thanks, Jim. I really appreciate that. So again, Jim Markum, check out his book, big lucky named by Paul Newman himself, Paul Newman, himself, who Jim used to cut his hair and be directly involved with him a lot. And he's the founder of Pureology as well as several other companies check out Pureology and some of the things they got going on in, in color proof in color in there you go. Yeah. so guys, thanks a lot for listening as always or watching in this case have a great week and don't forget as always cash is king.


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