Over the years, my thinking regarding “experts” has evolved. I once believed that becoming an expert was a worthy goal and hiring an expert was a smart business decision. Not anymore. As someone famously once said, “An expert is someone who can tell you exactly how something can’t be done.” But as we both know, doing the impossible is how progress happens. Don’t give me a “No,” try to help me get to a “Yes.” Every breakthrough, every accomplished dream, and every achieved milestone was just an impossibility the day before it happened. Progress doesn’t come from the naysayers, it comes from those who keep pushing.
We don’t need more so-called “experts” in small business finance. We’re already filled to the brim with doubting and constrained bankers. We need more passionate and persistent Specialists. That’s what we call ourselves at Fountainhead: Specialists in SBA 504 loans. This is what our industry is crying out for; this is what the Owners of small and midsized businesses need; this is what their trusted advisors want: more Specialists, not “experts.” Let me explain further and why this applies to you.
Henry Ford, when asked about his employees, once said it best: “None of our men are experts. We have, most unfortunately, found it necessary to get rid of a man as soon as he thinks himself an expert. Because no one ever considers himself an expert if he really knows his job. A man who knows a job sees so much more to be done than he has done… that he is always pressing forward and never gives an instant of thought to how good and how efficient he is. Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible. The moment one gets into the expert state of mind, a great number of things become impossible.”
An expert thinks they know everything, even when they don’t. They cannot admit they’ve made a mistake, even when they have. An expert is that former teacher lecturing you to boredom. It’s often their theory being espoused instead of real-word experience. An expert is pedantic, condescending, and aloof. A heartless expert is so yesterday (as my kids would say).
A Specialist, by contrast, wants to know everything, but understands that no one possibly can. A Specialist will chase down the answer for you, if they don’t know it, because a Specialist has the quiet confidence to admit when they might not know something, yet still wants to be helpful in all cases. A Specialist is present today and wants to help you succeed tomorrow.
Is this a distinction without a difference? I don’t think so. We think of ourselves as 504 Specialists. This loan program is our sole focus. This loan program is what we advocate for… what we educate the marketplace about… until such time as it takes its rightful place, well-known by most entrepreneurs. It’s the loan program we know a tremendous amount about – more than just about anyone else in the industry – but we won’t stop “carrying its flag” until we’ve helped every owner of a healthy small or midsized business, that we can, create wealth through commercial real estate ownership with our loan program.
If your loved ones have a life-threatening illness, you send them to a Specialist. There may be “experts” in a particular field of medicine, but the Specialists are the ones working miracles. The “experts” don’t tend to be in the trenches day-in and day-out. A Specialist is ever-evolving, ever-learning and growing… discovering the best ways to do things… making the routine look effortless… and occasionally doing the impossible.
Perhaps this week’s message might help you think long and hard about becoming a Specialist, too? Hopefully you already are one. We live in a Specialty world. The generalists are a dying breed, and fewer and fewer people want to deal with a so-called “expert,” whether in our field or yours.
When you know of someone wanting to create wealth through commercial property ownership, give us, the 504 Specialists, a call. We’ll jump right on it and leave the so-called “experts” in the dust.
Have a truly Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! Be safe, be reverent, and be proud.