Justin Goodbread loves business and everything that has to do with it. This is why he has founded Heritage Investors not to be just another financial services company, but as a company that can do more for its clients. As CEO, Justin and Heritage Investors have made it their mission “to be all things to a few selected clients.” At Heritage Investors, Justin wants every single one of their clients to “feel like they are the only client we work with.”
Throughout his career, Justin Goodbread has specialized on working with CEOs, small business owners, and C-level executives with complex tax issues. At Heritage Investors, these clients can get services on “wealth management, financial planning, financial consulting, business strategy, expert witness, private CFO, fee-only consulting, hourly consulting, estate planning, education planning, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, annuities, REIT’s, BDC’s, life insurance, disability insurance, long term care insurance, 529’s, budgeting, 401(k)’s, IRA’s,” among others.
Justin Goodbread has also received accolades and recognitions for his practice. For example, Investopedia has named him part of its Top 100 Financial Advisors list in 2020, which makes it three straight years for him. He was given this honor as recognition for his work as an “influencer in the financial industry” who makes “significant contributions to education.”
Aside from Heritage Investors, Justin Goodbread also runs the website FinanciallySimple.com, where he shares his vast knowledge on financial matters without cost.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Justin Goodbread: Heritage Investors and Heritage Business Advisors stands out because of our team members. I have the privilege to work with highly qualified individuals, each with unique backgrounds. Many have owned or currently own businesses. We understand the pains, common pitfalls and driving desires that are often voiced by our entrepreneurial clients. This insight into our client’s allows us to address concerns head-on and build processes for their company’s success. We provide strategic business planning for small businesses- by experienced small business owners.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Justin Goodbread: I would give them the same advice we share with our clients; do you know specifically what you are trying to accomplish with your career? Are you able to articulate the goal or direction in a crystal-clear way? This is the foundation. Dealing with financial advisors there is a lot of “burnout”. Many think it is a technical industry, and there is a good bit of technical information we have to know, but what I have found is those individuals who stay the course are the ones who are willing to forsake everything to make their dreams happen. “We help others reach their dreams and by doing so we are able to reach our own.” This Zig Ziglar quote is one I use to shift my own mindset.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Justin Goodbread: First, I would say my parents. My parents instilled the value of hard work and a work ethic. My dad used to tell me “You never let another person outwork you. Son, you are a Goodbread. There are not many of us, so people remember your name- if you tell someone you are going to do something, you do it.”
My youth leader growing up taught me that no matter my size, I am a short fellow compared to a lot of people, that no matter my intellect that God had something big for my life.
My wife, she is the biggest cheerleader out of anyone. She always says that if I want to do it, figure it out- make it happen, you can do it! Those are the people in my life I would give credit to.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Justin Goodbread: A good company is one that fulfills its obligations, providing the goods and services; doing what it has told its customers that it would do. This company is average, they are not separated apart from anybody else in their industry. They look familiar- but a great company is one that every facet of the company can be replicated or placed on a pedestal at a national convention.
For example, if you looked at the auto manufacturing or auto repair industry. A good company is one that provides good service to their clients, they are meeting the payroll requirements, they can stand behind the product or service. But a great company is one where every division, every person in that organization is unified and they can go to the national sales convention and are the envy of their peers, earning the title” best in class”.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Justin Goodbread: My first piece of advice is to stop and clearly define where your company is and where you want it to be- this is key in understanding how you will see growth and refocusing. Especially at this time in history, so many industries and organizations are being forced to refocus their goals and operations, this is the first step. I would say you need to have key performance indicators defined and implemented to ensure you are consistently tracking your progress. This also allows you to retarget when your processes may not be working. Lastly, I would advise them to do a deep inventory of their company. With the clients we work with at Heritage, we look at 8 key areas that impact the value growth of a company and we create actionable plans to improve those areas one at a time. Through the KPIs that we define, we can focus in on each area and measure the change that impacts the overall growth of the company.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Justin Goodbread: During the turbulence that businesses have experienced in 2020, I had a business owner comment to me “Man, COVID has rocked my business” and this struck me because I had to share with him the reality, COVID didn’t rock your business, it revealed where your business was not prepared for the unexpected. The best strategies I can share is to create simple process to follow and reevaluate these processes regularly — adjusting and correcting when needed. Having emergency plans in place, educating your team on those plans are essential in preparing your business for future turbulence. This is a perfect time to ensure these are in place because without clearly outlined plans, your business will be in difficult positions again.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Justin Goodbread: I do not believe it is a particular action, it has to be the emotional toll it takes on the owner and management individuals. During COVID I watched strong, determined men and women break down crying over if they could afford to pay their team. Leaders, whoever they may be owners, managers or department heads- they don’t quit work and they don’t carry home work in the sense of a task but often times it’s in the form of emotional toil. They wake up, and don’t get sleep at night over a team member that is struggling. The most underestimated is the responsibility of leadership. Making decisions knowing that they are going to harm people is unbelievable.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Justin Goodbread: Simplicity, the simpler you can create your process, the more WOW there is. We are in an ultra-complex world; WOWs today are delivering the simple thing you told the client you are going to do. That in it of itself is unbelievable even today, but it is the simplest things that matter.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Justin Goodbread: You must live an authentic life and your social media for your brand has to be authentic. There is always a risk to the simplest decision on if you are going to get out of bed in the morning or not. In business there is always a risk to social media, but my best advice is to be authentic in who they are and to showcase personality. “People work with companies they know, love, and trust”- a popular statement by Jim Collins. Companies on social media just need to create authenticity. My mind immediately goes to Wendy’s on social media- they were doing Jib-Jabs and interacting with Taco Bell and Burger King; and it was just fun, and people want to know fun.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Justin Goodbread: Lack of focus on marketing. People do not focus on marketing enough, they tend to believe if you build it they will come- the way you can address this and avoid the error is hire a top notch marketing firm, spend a little bit more money, or borrow some money. Create a marketing program from the top up that creates every single step inside the funnel. Marketing is the fundamental point or purpose of business. Most businesses are sales businesses, they are in the business of selling their service or product. For example, A plumbing company is in the business of selling plumbing and they have got to learn how to market.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Justin Goodbread: For the owners of companies to have their businesses prepared for exit. This does not mean that they are going to sell but they are prepared to be the top, best in class business. If the company is striving to do this, it helps the shareholders, the employees, the employees’ families, the customers, the customers’ families. It helps the entire society. If you look at the impact during the pandemic, in the US we had 5.3 million American small businesses which took PPP money- that the heartbeat of our country. 40% of our population at the time was employed by small businesses that nearly 170 million Americans who were directly affected by small businesses. If businesses are not healthy, that causes problems at home. If businesses are healthy and people enjoy where they are at and where they are going, the Homefront is better.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
You can also connect and follow me on social media:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!