As an eighth-generation Marine, Patch Baker’s direction in life started early. At thirteen-years-old (13) he joined Military Academy and at 17 the US Marine Corps, entering boot camp, immediately after high school graduation. Two decades later, he has ownership in 29 organizations.
Baker served the Marines for close to 15 years, retiring as a Combat Disabled Veteran. While military service had made him a nearly invincible human being, he soon realized it had left him ill-equipped for civilian life. He was fired from the first two jobs he obtained.
Clearly, Baker is better suited to entrepreneurship, with an indomitable energy for finding, growing and marketing innovative companies. He also speaks, teaches and supports other Veterans and Veteran-owned and run companies, having assisted more than 100 Veteran-owned organizations so far. His advice for businesses working to survive and progress during COVID-19 is the same as his advice during any business season, and is serving his own marketing organization, Mobius Media Solutions, as well the other organizations he heads and invests in exceptionally well. The following are three of his primary principles for business success.
1. Are You With the Right Audience and Painting a Clear Enough Picture?
In marketing an idea, have you painted a clear enough picture of your solution for listeners? If you are doing your best but your listeners are telling you “no,” it is generally for one of three reasons, he says:
- They haven’t experienced the issue you are telling them about,
- You’re in the wrong room and talking to the wrong person or people, or
- You’re failing to paint a clear enough picture of the idea you’re talking about.
When you communicate with smart people, the right people, and are describing your solution clearly and well, the input you hear will be a value add in every case.
You may hear “Could you also add this feature? Have you thought about that additional element?” or “Here’s a platform that’s already doing most of that – maybe you should partner or employ that foundation and add these things on?” or even, “Dude, there are 50 of those things available and you’re just wasting your money and time.” Any of this advice, from a meaningful source, is helpful.
2. Elon Musk: “Don’t listen to the little guy (or gal).”
If you’re with the wrong audience, you’ll be dealing with naysayers who are negative because they’re filled with anxiety and projecting their own anxiety onto you. Elon Musk states it well, according to Baker: “Don’t listen to the little guy (or gal).” Musk is not referring to stature or rank in an organization, but to small-minded people, Baker says.
For business advice, turn to those who’ve done or are successfully doing the level of business you’re aspiring to now. Beware the individuals who consult because they can’t or won’t step up to the bar in creating success of their own. Additionally, you should plan to pay for the consulting you need (and should also charge appropriately for the consultation you give). Those who go to an expert for free advice will invariably 1) disregard the advice, or 2) proceed to also ask for help in execution and will ultimately even want the consultant to partner. In essence, those who ask for free advice are generally also asking and hoping for someone to bring them the answers, the execution and the energy to create a business for them, in exchange for receiving a portion of the results in return. Don’t do it.
3. The Greatest Businesses Are Created for Reasons Other Than Money
One of Baker’s top entrepreneurial inspirations is Naveen Jain, the founder and head of multiple companies including Moon Express, BlueDot, Viome, Intelius, TalentWise and InfoSpace. Jain is a brilliant entrepreneur who’s overcome tremendous odds as a minority billionaire but is fueled not by awards or money but by the desire to eliminate all disease. Another is Roland Frasier, a brilliant entrepreneur who began his first job as a 16-year-old son of divorced parents living on his own and saving $12,000 from a part time job at Skate World to begin his entrepreneurial year. And a third is Raj Jana, the founder of JavaPresse Coffee Company, who made the decision to pursue his life and his desire to make an impact “now or never” when his own business mentor passed away three months short of retirement. He has been true to that promise ever since.
For Baker himself, the passion that drives him in business is support for Veterans of every variety. For the past two and a half years he’s been a partner in AmericanDreamU.org, assisting Veterans in making the transition from the military to successful civilian life, with 10,000 members, 90 events and 20 bases, thus far. He’s also initiated the nationwide effort to standardize all references in the press to all U.S. military Veterans with a capital “V” as a formal title in acknowledgement of their service.
How to Succeed During and After COVID-19?
Clearly, the current challenges of COVID are far from the first or even the largest challenges Baker has faced. As with the entrepreneurs he admires most, he sees challenges as opportunities.
“Embrace the suck,” he says, as he takes every change in stride as a chance to re-think approaches, find new strategies, and, as one of his recent Facebook ads illustrates with an upside-down photo, “turn your former approaches upside down.”
Work harder. Listen and engage with the best. Work for motivations that are greater than money. For the companies Baker leads and supports, as well as for your own current and future ventures, these are strategies that will serve your company well.
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/patchbaker/