The Third Growth Option with Benno Duenkelsbuehler and Guests

The Third Growth Option with Benno Duenkelsbuehler and Guests

Welcome to The Third Growth Option, a podcast for and by business owners and leaders. We share ideas and insights that help you in your growth journey. In our podcast guests, we look for heart, curiosity, and the desire to share growth lessons. No platitudes and cliches, but stories about growth or tools that helped grow a business or improve the industry or become a better leader, and how they came to embrace an insight. During three decades as a merchant and entrepreneur your host Benno Duenkelsbuehler has built and scaled many growth opportunities from zero (or something) to 8-figure (or bigger) thriving businesses. Our guests are battle-proven leaders in product design, in manufacturing or product sourcing, in marketing and brand building, in operational, technology and executive leadership positions.

Episodes

August 4, 2022 30 min

Jason Hauer co-founded the Garage Group in Cincinnati, OH a dozen years ago – to teach executives in big companies to hustle, innovate, and grow like small start-ups. I founded (re)ALIGN to work with midsized companies to grow into new categories, new channels, or grow faster with a cross-functional go-to-market approach. That is to say, Jason and I talked about similar challenges from different perspectives.

 

3:26 – on the challeng...

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Edgar Blazona is the real deal: he grew and learned as a punk-ass kid designer and furniture rebel, went to college in corporate America, continued as a serial entrepreneur and founded several successful companies, including Benchmade Modern, the folks who make and sell Rebellious Luxury by the inch. We talked about Edgar’s journey, changes in 21st century manufacturing and branding, and the importance of finding your own way.

3:31 ...

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Four consumer executives shared their thoughts on how volatile consumer spending  (from lockdowns to supply chain chaos, increased demand and now 9% inflation) that affected 2020/21 is shaping up to affect the second half of 2022 and going into 2023.

 

Real insights from real-world leaders: Allison Barrows (VP at Ganz, a designer/distributor of gift, décor, and apparel), John Toler (CEO at Evergreen Enterprises, a distributor/manufac...

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July 14, 2022 27 min

Atul Vir is a study in opposites: an innovator and a CPA, an entrepreneur from a military school and family, an immigrant who came to the USA and built a global business. I found Atul’s insights on innovation, product development, risk assessment, and building a business to be thought provoking.

 

2:27 – talking about Steve Jobs’ influence on innovation and product development “instead of developing a product, now let me see how I ca...

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What if developing people and teams in high pressure situations came down to being in the trenches with them, and food? OK, also about strategy, constantly evaluating yourself more than others, investing in them so they invest in you, and about food? Adding a dose of reality to what’s been said and written about leadership, growth, people, and winning talent wars – is my guest Craig McIntosh, a hard-charging sales executive, a long...

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I learned a great deal in this episode from Brian Beck,  a leading 23-year practitioner, expert, and operator in e-commerce: we talked about the why, what, and how of growing revenue streams through B2B e-commerce. Brian also wrote the book on the subject – Billion Dollar B2B Ecommerce – and our conversation touched on breaking down the complexity of e-commerce (into consumer-facing and operations-facing, pre-sale and post-sale), t...

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Scott Rollman is a deep thinker who listens, a strategist who is passionate about getting it done. In this episode, Scott shared his insights on e-selling (the intersection of digital marketing and personal selling), how digital marketing can best support sales efforts, and we also compared notes – from different cultural perspectives of Scott’s midwestern roots and my immigrant background – on the topic of embracing our superpower...

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February 10, 2022 26 min

It’s fun to learn from fellow travelers on the growth journey. Cliff Farrah and I share a passion (some might even say talent) for envisioning the right growth strategy and guiding the process from concept to successful execution. Cliff founded The Beacon Group in 2001, a growth advisory for Fortune 500 companies and their organic and inorganic growth strategies, and recently authored a wonderful book.

 

I read, enjoyed, and highly r...

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February 3, 2022 30 min

This episode is about how to bring the right people into the room, and how to facilitate the process to make better decisions.

I learned not only about solutions to fundamental “people problems” in our democracy on this episode, I learned how Dani is approaching getting help from “everyday experts”: he took the business community’s “focus group” concept, improved on it, and applied it to public service, learning from bus riders, or ...

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January 27, 2022 32 min

Understanding differences in people outside of our “tribe” – maybe outside of our comfort zone – can be, well, uncomfortable and difficult. Nicole Armstrong, founder/CEO of Queen City Certified shared her insights with me, how her team helps executives to guide them with DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) challenges, as the nation’s first data-informed employer certification program.

 

2:06 – “how do we create systems that make i...

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Jay Messner has built several businesses and helps clients improve theirs. Here we talk about inflection points, causes of failures and reasons for getting stuck, what skills can be taught or developed, vs. having to be recruited, and how to jump through inflections points by creating “trust, clarity, and alignment.”

 

5:04 – “organizations need to have some sense of stable foundation (operationally, culturally, financially) on which...

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Many of you know Warren Shoulberg the journalist, writer, editor, consultant, and singular source of home furnishings industry insights via HFN, Forbes.com, and many others. Here, Warren shares his Magnificent Seven of Retail. Important for manufacturers, vendors, and buyers to hear his thoughts the Good, the Bad, or the Ugly of retail (we talk about a couple dozen retailers, like The Good: Target, RH, Amazon, TJX, Williams-Sonoma ...

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January 6, 2022 27 min

Growing 10x from the ground up, instead of by edict from the top down, requires a magic combination of strategy, flexibility, authenticity, finding rock stars (and letting them be chess players, not chess pieces), and in Doug Cofiell’s example also well-integrated acquisitions.

 

6:39 – “you hire for talent, not necessarily for the exact position… as you build a flexible model, it builds off itself and then it gets cultural… they can...

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December 30, 2021 31 min

Amazon controls nearly 50% of online sales in the USA, with that comes being loved or hated, and often the latter. Jason Boyce has been an Amazon Seller for 17 years, a Top 200 seller (of millions), he shares successes worth emulating, and how to avoid certain failures and “speed bumps” selling on Amazon. He’s the co-author of Amazon Jungle, where he and Rick Cesari share stories of customer-driven innovation, click-through strateg...

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December 23, 2021 32 min

Marvin Dejean removes a bit of mystery around the crucial topic of “digital transformation”, also personal or just “transformation”. We talk about his TIP-squared framework (technology and trends, innovation and insights, people and platforms), how to approach transformation, and avoid pitfalls.

 

3:36 – “learn to dominate your fear… if you don’t transform willingly… then the market, a competitor, the universe, something is going to ...

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December 16, 2021 28 min

Pop-up stores come in all types, and both retailers and manufacturers launch them for different reasons. Andy Bailen has deep experience and “spills the beans” with us in this episode.

 2:21 – “All Things Retail (a weekly newsletter) came out of my interest in providing guidance and help and actionable content for retailers (of all sizes).”

 This conversation about pop-up stores – which Andy has successfully conceptualized and rolled...

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If a bear roars in the woods and nobody hears him, did it really happen? Brian Burke the Mac Man shares his thoughts on personal branding, his entrepreneurial journey from a dorm room business to running a 20+ employee company that has purchased over $45,000,000 in used Apple equipment, and how he helps others with content strategy, creating a post with over 13,000 likes, SEO, and more.

 1:12 – personal branding “helps others to...

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December 2, 2021 33 min

Transportation is a fundamental building block of any economy – so dissecting the necessary ingredients for transforming transportation in the coming decades is key to creating a transportation system that works more efficiently and with less environmental impact. Evangelos Simoudis starts with Data and AI, and has written several books, one about Big Data in our Driverless Future, the other about Transportation Transformation. We ...

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Jay Steinfeld, founder of blinds.com (which he grew from $0 to revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars before selling it to Home Depot) shares heartfelt insights from his entrepreneurial journey and personal development in my conversation with him. If you haven’t read his book Lead from the Core, you’ll want to read it. Whether or not you have, you’ll want to listen to this episode in which Jay talks about “autonomous excellenc...

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November 18, 2021 27 min

Sharon Rowe founded Ecobags, the original reusable bag company, three decades ago, long before sustainability was as cool and certainly as urgent as it is today. She talks about the sometimes-hard choices, sometimes mutually beneficial relationship between conscious capitalism and naked profitability. Sharon authored The Magic of Tiny Business, as a story of doing good and doing well, having your cake, and eating it too. Her compan...

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