Q&A with Cabinets & Closets keynote speaker Barry Moltz
January 27, 2020 | 10:14 am CST

ARLINGTON, Texas – Small business expert Barry Moltz sees it over and over again. An entrepreneur builds and grows a business only to get “stuck” in the trappings of that success. As a result, opportunities are missed and growth stalls.

Moltz, who will deliver the opening keynote on March 11 at the 2020 Cabinets & Closets Conference, specializes in helping business owners get unstuck and in the process unlock their potential to achieve greater prosperity. His presentation will encompass six core areas: sales, marketing, finance, personal productivity, managing employees and customer experience. 

After a stint in corporate America, Moltz struck out on his own and started several small businesses. As much as he enjoyed the experience of business ownership, he found that he liked helping entrepreneurs get their groove back even more. In addition to consulting, for the past 10 years, Moltz has been the host of “The Small Business Radio Show” on AM820 in Chicago. He has also authored six books. His newest, “Small Business Hacks: 100 Shortcuts to Your Success,” was co-written with Rieva Lesonsky and was a best seller upon its release on Amazon.

Moltz provided a preview of his keynote presentation during a recent phone interview.

Woodworking Network: You’ve carved out a successful consulting niche helping small businesses get unstuck. What is your definition of a business that is stuck?

Barry Moltz: Someone who is stuck is someone who has been in business for three to 10 years. Their business is going well enough where they can pay their bills but it’s not really fulfilling their financial or their passionate dreams. Somewhere along the line sales are not what they are supposed to be, profits are not what they are supposed to be. They’re still doing everything in their business so they haven’t been able to hire a team and leverage them. They haven’t been able to distinguish themselves from the rest of the competition by really creating an outstanding customer experience. In the end, they are just not as productive as they want to be. They’re busy but they’re really not getting anything done when it comes to moving their business forward. They’re stuck.

WN: Why do these business owners, even those who have launched successful companies, get stuck? What is it that’s getting them stuck from doing some of the things you are talking about?

Moltz: Markets are constantly changing. What customers want is constantly changing. Competitors are coming in and out of the market. If businesses don’t change they are going to be left behind. Change is hard for people, right? Even though they know they have to change and innovate they’re a about taking the risk and change from the thing that made them successful.

WN: What are some of the most common areas in which entrepreneurs and small businesses get stuck? Why is that?

Moltz: One of the biggest ones is in marketing and sales. They get stuck in what I call the double helix trap where they only do marketing when their business is slow. But as soon as business picks up, they stop doing marketing – the exact thing that got them to where they are. So, their pipeline doesn’t stay full and their business stays flat.

The second biggest one is that they are unable to transition from doing everything in their business where they are the center of every single decision to hiring people who actually do things on their own. This way they can leverage the good folks they hire to help manage their business so that it’s not just all about them.

WN: You talk about how the business environment is constantly changing. Obviously the Internet has had a profound impact on the way businesses go to market. In your mind how has the emergence of social media influenced your views on how companies should be marketing and selling their sales?

Moltz: I think one of the biggest impacts is that it’s not enough to just sell stuff. It’s about being seen as an expert so that you can be there when people are ready to buy. It’s really about creating a relationship with people. People have so many choices. Folks can get cabinets anywhere. Folks can get their closet done anywhere. But what people buy is the experience. People buy having these relationships with your company.

I’m building a new house in Arizona. I had to choose our closet and cabinet suppliers. I could have chosen a number of contractors to do it but I chose the person who I thought I would provide the best experience.

WN: How does a small business leverage social media to establish itself as an expert?

Moltz: I think a lot of people struggle with how can they use these new platforms to get their business known. Unfortunately, you can never get chosen if you never get found. People are looking for companies to help them with their cabinets and closets online. If you are not listed there or if they search a question about cabinets and your company doesn’t come up on the first screen, you might not get found and you have a zero percent chance of getting chosen. I believe you have no choice but to come up with some kind of social media strategy. Is it enough to develop a strategy that all about posting things to get likes? No. I think it’s got to be more well thought out. In other words, what kind of things do you want to be seen as an expert online and where do you want to be seen as an expert online? It’s a really big to have a regular automated strategy so that people see you often and are reminded of your brand.

WN: You advise a wide variety of businesses, some of which are more service oriented, some of which sell goods. Is there anything unique to the approach manufacturers and specifiers of custom closets and cabinets should take to get unstuck or stay unstuck? Or is your advice pretty universal?

Moltz: I think that what’s universal is that people have to focus on the experience not just the commodity or the product? I think that this particular industry from my personal experience has a little more complication to it because there are long lead times on your product. It’s also a very personal decision that people will live with for a very long time.

WWN: What are some of the key take-aways cabinet and closet business owners and managers can expect to gain from attending your keynote address?

Moltz: We’re going to have fun. We’re going to give away prizes. We’re going to give away money. My hope is that after we spend some time together, even if you don’t have any lightning bolt moments, you’ll look at your business from a slightly different point of view. I’m just trying to shift your point of view to the left or the right by 5 percent so perhaps you can come up with either one new idea or see things from a slightly different vantage point so that you’ll make one change. I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t make a lot of changes all at one time but you should try to make one change and see if that can help you in your business.

I don’t believe that in a 45-minute or one-hour speech that you can motivate people to do anything. But maybe by getting excited enough to look at things from even a slightly different point of view, you’ll be able to connect the dots.

WN: Following your keynote, you’ll lead a workshop. What is the extension from the keynote to the workshop? What are you going to do?

Moltz: I’ll talk about general concepts in the keynote speech and then we’ll actually apply those concepts to your particular business through exercises that will allow you to execute some of the things we talked about. For example, we might focus on putting together a content calendar that’s part of a marketing strategy. We’ll talk about what things need to be on that content calendar and actually put them down on a piece of paper. This is a starting point for making some of those changes.

About Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo
The Cabinets & Closets Expo (CCCE) is the annual national event for cabinet and closet professionals and is co-located with Wood Pro Expo. The events are organized by Closets & Organized Storage and FDMC magazines respectively, both part of Woodworking Network.

The Cabinets & Closets event leads off with a full-day executive conference followed by the two-day expo featuring woodworking machinery and supplies. Additional educational programming is offered on both days of the expo. Tours of local manufacturing plants and the popular Top Shelf Design Awards reception are also key components of the event.

The 2020 CCCE is scheduled for March 11-13 at the Arlington Convention Center, Arlington, TX.

For information about exhibiting, and sponsorship opportunities, contact Patrick Filippelli of Hall-Erickson Inc. at ccce@heiexpo.com. or phone 800-752-6312. 




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About the author
Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.