Choose Your Enemies Wisely: Business Planning for the Audacious Few

Choose Your Enemies Wisely: Business Planning for the Audacious Few

Choose Your Enemies Wisely: Business Planning for the Audacious Few

Choose Your Enemies Wisely: Business Planning for the Audacious Few


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National Bestseller!

What’s the difference between your competitor and your enemy?

You know who your competitors are. You keep tabs on them regularly, and can list them calmly, along with their strengths and weaknesses.

But your enemies are a whole other matter. They’re the haters and the doubters who said you’d never make it, the ones who stomped on your dreams. When you think about your enemies, you get emotional. You feel like you won’t let anything—or anyone—stop you.

In Choose Your Enemies Wisely, Patrick Bet-David, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author, founder of Valuetainment, and host of The PBD Podcast, shows how to harness that emotion to turbocharge your business, dominate this year, and grow for generations after.

But first, you need to choose your enemies wisely.

Bet-David has spent years perfecting the system that led to the knockout success of his own financial services company. Now, Bet-David shares the secret behind this system: his 12 Business Building Blocks, which will teach you how to seamlessly blend emotion and logic in your business plan. Both a practical document for achieving goals and the fuel needed to fire up yourself and your team, this plan goes beyond the “how” and digs deeper into the “why”: not only how you’ll get funding, but why you need long-term vision; why you must build a culture that makes employees want to run through walls; why you have to know the enemy you’re out to prove wrong. Straightforward and simple, the steps in this book will lead you to move the levers that create exponential growth and lasting success.

Read Choose Your Enemies Wisely if you are a visionary, dreamer, and big thinker. Where you are now in your business journey doesn’t matter. By following Bet-David’s plan, you will set up your business for sustainable success and accomplish your most audacious goals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593712849
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/05/2023
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 6,097
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Patrick Bet-David immigrated to America at twelve years old, when his parents fled Iran as refugees during the Iranian Revolution. After high school, Patrick joined the U.S. military and served in the 101st Airborne before starting a business career in the financial services industry. At age thirty, he founded PHP Agency, an insurance marketing organization with sixty-six agents. He grew the firm to forty thousand agents before making a multi-nine-figure exit. A serial entrepreneur, Bet-David founded Valuetainment, which became the number-one YouTube channel on entrepreneurship with nearly a billion views and expanded into a media and production company, as well as Bet-David Consulting. He hosts the weekly PBD Podcast, the number-one business podcast on Spotify. He lives in South Florida with his wife and four children.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The 12 Building Blocks

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

Sun Tzu

I was working on a massive deal. Millions of dollars were on the line, and I needed to focus. I told my assistant to hold all calls and tackle anyone who tried to walk through my door. In retrospect, I should have hired a bigger assistant. Actually, I don't think even Lawrence Taylor, in his prime, could have stopped this guy.

He stormed into my office and screamed, "I'm so sick of my life!" He was shaking. "I can't live like this anymore. I've got nowhere to go and nowhere else to turn. I want to win so bad. I'm telling you, right now, that I'm going to be the best agent in this office! Nothing can stop me!"

His rage turned to sadness, and for thirty minutes the tears didn't stop. Ernie was nineteen at the time. He had four hundred dollars to his name, a high school degree, and no business skills. Ernie had all the desire in the world, but I wondered if it would be enough for him to compete.

Earlier that day, Larry had presented his business plan. He displayed all the polish and professionalism that you would expect from a UCLA graduate who had worked at Northrop Grumman. His words were as crisp as his starched shirt. His parents had taught him well, and if he ever needed help, they were there to provide a safety net.

As you might expect, Larry's business plan was impeccable. It was full of Excel spreadsheets and charts and clearly mapped-out goals for the year. When I asked him to share with me why his business was so important to him, he looked confused. When I asked Larry about his enemies, he pointed to the plan, which was bound, and said, "All the relevant details are included herein, sir." I seriously thought about checking Larry for a pulse.

Ernie's plan was a mess, and that's being generous. There was no structure to it and no numbers or projections. There weren't even any bullet points. When I asked him about his strategy for prospecting, Ernie broke down again. He said he was tired of the poverty and drama that came with being in a family affected by alcoholism. "Ernie," I said, "I understand what you're going through, but you still need a plan. What is it that you actually want to do?"

He couldn't find any words. I could see the toll that his family life had taken on him even before I knew much of his story. It took Ernie several minutes to pull himself together enough so that he could speak. Finally, he managed to mutter, "I'll do whatever it takes not to be poor."

If Ernie had been in the room for Larry's presentation, I wonder if he would have been so bold in his claim to be number one. But I saw something in him that I recognized in myself. Unlike some other business leaders, I viewed emotion in a positive light.

If you were in my shoes at the time, who would you have chosen to work with: Ernie or Larry? You don't know these two people, but you know their type. In fact, they represent thousands of people I've worked with over the years. Just about everyone I've met-before they evolved into the audacious few-fell into one of two types: logic or emotion. To make them easy to remember, Larry represents logic and Ernie represents emotion.

In 2005, when we sat down in my Granada Hills office, they were both dreaming of entrepreneurial success.

Based on what you know about these two guys, who would you bet on to succeed in achieving their goals, whether they are losing weight, starting a business, or moving up the ranks in a company?

Your answer to these questions will tell me a lot about you. If you're more in your head, you'll bet on Larry. If you're more in your heart, you'll bet on Ernie.

What I've learned over two decades is that neither Larry nor Ernie is a smart bet to accomplish his goals. The logical people are right to believe that Ernie won't be able to stay organized long enough to get the job done, much less raise capital. The emotional people are right to wonder what's going to keep Larry motivated. If you think like me, you would be asking Ernie, "If you've identified poverty as your enemy and are so determined to defeat it, why don't you have a plan?"

Here's where this gets interesting. You might think that Ernie has the advantage because he's got more to play for. He's more motivated because he needs it more. On the surface, you would be right. But what I've uncovered from doing thousands of plans with people is that Larry can find a reason to want it more. We all have a heart. We all have wounds and dreams that make us emotional. Most people in business have been trained not to go there. For some, they have made it a point to avoid emotion in order to stay centered. For others, they have suffered so much heartache that they focus on protecting themselves from getting hurt.

You can probably guess what question I ask that creates the most emotion in people. Who are your enemies? If they don't answer right away, I ask who their haters are, who has doubted them or stood in their way, and who they need to prove wrong. Oftentimes I get blank stares. When I dig a little deeper (I'll sit in silence as long as I need to-never underestimate the power of silence), the answer usually comes. The emotion that had been bottled up spills out. Maybe Larry still has scars from being laughed at in gym class for being the chubby kid who couldn't climb a rope. Maybe his gym teacher haunts his dreams. It could be an old boss, his more successful friend, or a family member that moves him emotionally. Before we can move forward, we must know the enemy.

What Matters More: Experience or Drive?

Let's continue to compare emotional and logical people. Would you bet on a polished salesman who was trained by Oracle and had plenty of savings, or a rookie rep with no skills who needed that sale to feed his family?

Would you bet on a desperate systems engineer who is in debt to his bookie or a happy, experienced engineer to finish your new app on a tight deadline?

Would you bet on the team that is more experienced and better prepared or the team that is possessed? By "possessed" I mean that it could be that they have a chip on their shoulder, are mourning the loss of a player, or have a deep sense of pride.

I hope what you're saying is, "Enough of the examples of comparing logic to emotion, Pat. Why can't it be both?"

Not only can it be both, your business plan must be both emotional and logical. That's why I want you to see which side you favor, and where you need to improve. If you're only logical, you have probably struggled to inspire people. With my approach, you will know what you need to change to accomplish that. If you're only emotional, you have struggled to develop systems and stay organized. This is why you'll benefit from the structure of a methodical plan.

There's one other thing to keep in mind. As much as I value emotion, there is also a downside. A person willing to do anything to win often will do anything to win—including break laws (and limbs). If they work with you, as an employee, contractor, or vendor, they could put your business at risk. This is another reminder that it's the right type of emotion that you're seeking, in others and in yourself, to fuel your plan.

Before we continue, it's important to clarify what emotion is not and what it is in the context of business planning.

Emotion is not impulsive, irrational, melodramatic, temperamental, or hot-blooded.

Emotion is passionate, obsessed, maniacal, relentless, powerful, and purposeful.

The words for what emotion is not describe the people who have chosen the wrong enemy. The list of words for what emotion is describe the audacious few who become unstoppable.

The missing link in business planning—as well as business meetings, presentations, pitches, and recruiting—is integrating emotion and logic.

Do I sound like a broken record yet? Good. I've learned from decades of leading people and making more mistakes than I'd like to remember that repetition is key. Because it's been so deeply ingrained in most of us to separate emotion and logic, I will continue to emphasize that the plan has to move you. And it has to tell you exactly what levers must get pushed and when.

Just about every business plan written by a Larry or an Ernie fails. One or the other is not enough.

One of the barriers to using this plan is the belief that there's no place for emotion in business. There's also a belief that there's no place for crying in sports, but the man most famous for crying in football, Coach Dick Vermeil, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is the only head coach to win both the Super Bowl and the Rose Bowl. Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Conor McGregor, and Tiger Woods are all emotional. They may display that emotion differently, but they are emotional.

The same goes for business leaders. Elon Musk is similar to two other business leaders I respect, the late Andy Grove and the late Steve Jobs, because they embraced emotion in business. They were also master strategists who could channel their emotion into logical steps.

Being enthusiastic isn't enough. It's also not enough to create the most brilliant spreadsheets. Being part of the audacious few means that you embrace integrating emotion and logic.

6 Ways People Treat Business Plans

                1.            Don't do it at all.

                2.            Treat it as homework: go through the motions.

                3.            Half-ass it to impress others.

                4.            Outline a thorough plan that's only logical.

                5.            Describe an emotional dream without any logical steps.

The only way that works . . .

                6.           Fueled by an enemy and combining emotion and logic.

How I Raised $10 Million by Integrating Emotion and Logic

When I first started my financial services firm in 2009, I was full of emotion. I would tell anyone who would listen that we would have five hundred thousand licensed agents by 2029. For some people, it was easy to dismiss a cocky thirty-year-old who had never started a business before. Others were inspired by my passion and asked the next logical question: How will you reach five hundred thousand licensed agents?

In other words, I successfully used the emotion from having a big vision to grab their attention. I made them want to know more. This is an important skill. But when it came to the how, I continued with emotion. "We're going to have a sick culture! We will have ridiculous grit. We're going to create amazing events."

If you love words, you'll notice how many adjectives I used. As they were in this case, adjectives are often a poor substitute for a concrete strategy. Without a logical plan, no serious investor was interested.

My story mirrors that of many entrepreneurs. The ability to move people emotionally is a rare quality that allows a select few to start a company and convince others to follow them without any proof. Intrapreneurs, consultants, and accountants tend to be strong where entrepreneurs are weak. They're great with financial projections and tactical plans. That's why business partnerships that check both the emotional and logical boxes are so effective. Steve Jobs/Steve Wozniak, Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger, Mark Zuckerberg/Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates/Paul Allen (and later, Bill Gates/Steve Ballmer) are excellent examples of balanced business partnerships.

I didn't have a cofounder, and it wasn't until later that I developed logical skills and recruited logical team members to complement my strengths. When I first started my firm, I was a lone wolf who only possessed some of the building blocks.

Fast forward to 2017, when I wanted to raise $10 million for the business. My vision hadn't changed. I would still tell anyone who would listen that we would have five hundred thousand licensed agents by 2029. But this time, when an investor asked how, I had a very logical answer. A big reason was that I had hired Tom Ellsworth, a logical and experienced strategist who understood the game of raising capital, to be our president. Tom had played a key role in several exits, including JAMDAT, which was acquired for $680 million by EA Sports.

With Tom by my side, we put together a pitch deck and financial projections. In chapter 9, you'll see the exact formula. Our pitch to investors included our growth rate over the previous eight years, projections for future growth based on real data, a specific growth plan with tactical strategies, and metrics that compared us to others in our industry.

A passionate presentation and coherent plans and projections were included in the pitch. Both emotion and logic are required to motivate investors.

They couldn't write the check for $10 million fast enough. That's the power of integrating emotion and logic.

2 Types of Stories to Tell


Get others excited


Get others focused

Winners in All Fields Integrate Emotion and Logic

Once you start working through this plan, you will see how emotion and logic complement each other. I know most of us can access both, even though we've been trained to rely on one or the other. A clue that reminded me that I had the ability to use logic was that as a kid, I spent hours studying baseball box scores. Numbers made sense to me. I just didn't have the experience to bring analytics into my business. After I read the book Moneyball (and later watched the film where Brad Pitt played Billy Beane), all I could talk about was data. I learned to love gathering data and dissecting business analytics.

It doesn't mean that I stopped being emotional. I constantly pour my heart out to my team, and I know that when I touch their hearts, then (and only then) can I get into the details of how to execute. If I talk about what to do before I talk about why to do it, I lose people.

I've made every mistake possible when creating business plans, but I learned a valuable lesson from each one. You must begin by choosing an enemy and then combine emotion and logic every step of the way. Emotion reminds us why we do it. Logic tells us how to do it.

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