Consultant: Keys to business success already on hand

Brad Worthley, who speaks today at GroBiz 2011, says business owners often make decisions based on fear, not on what's best.


WALLA WALLA -- Looking for the key to unlock business success? A consultant and author in Walla Walla today for the GroBiz 2011 Business Conference & Trade Show says most business owners already hold it.

Chances are, they're also responsible for locking themselves in a box. Brad Worthley, a Bellevue consultant, author and the keynote speaker kicking off this weekend's GroBiz conference, said our own inner saboteurs stand in the way of success.

"We tend to make decisions not necessarily on what's best for the individual or business, but on fear," Worthley said Thursday via telephone. "Most people tend to not want to take an emotional risk."

He said people -- in business and life -- can tend to hunker down instead of reach for the stars because they project fear.

"It's easy to be afraid with the economy if you sit and watch the news long enough," he said. It's easy, he added, to get in a mindset of failure.

Overcoming that fear is vital to success, he said. The message was expected as one aspect of his keynote address this morning, "Simple Steps to an Extraordinary Career and Life."

Worthley, who has started seven different businesses over the course of 35 years and has consulted across industries from casinos to airlines, said separating emotion from reality is a matter of quantifying fear.

"Is it truly just a story in my head, or is it quantifiable?" he said.

The message is one of many expected throughout the daylong series of presentations designed to increase business success in today's market.

The conference, presented by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce and Walla Walla Community College, features local business people as well as special guests in two keynote speakers and 12 breakout sessions at the community college's Performing Arts Center. The sessions cover everything from tips for startups to long-term survival strategies.

A replacement to the annual Business Expo, GroBiz will feature a consumer trade show open to the public Saturday at the Dietrich Dome.

Worthley kicked off the conference today with a roughly hourlong address. He was also a session speaker with a discussion on steps to making or breaking a career.

Among his offerings: Assess the market, always have a plan and separate yourself from the competition.

"In banking, or as a CPA, or in real estate, it's hard to separate yourself," Worthley said. "So the only thing you can do at that point is increase your level of service."

It's not enough, he said, to simply answer the phone quickly and be kind to the person on the other end. Service includes attention to details.

"If you're a baker, are you offering baker's dozens? That's quantifiable," he said. "If you do heating work or window cleaning and you come into my house, are you putting booties over your shoes to show you have respect for my carpet?"

Worthley said taking time to plan may be the simplest thing business operators could do to improve their bottom line. He recommends operators take one day a year to develop a strategy for their businesses.

"If you want to stay in business you don't have to work harder," he said. "You have to work smarter."

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at or 526-8321.

Grobiz Details

Dozens of businesses have gathered under one roof for a massive event showcasing their goods and services.

Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce members and GroBiz 2011 Business Conference Trade Show attendees will get a sneak peek of the trade show tonight at Walla Walla Community College's Dietrich Dome. The event opens to the general public Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The trade show is free of charge to attendees and is a chance to meet operators and merchants behind an array of businesses throughout the Walla Walla Valley. GroBiz 2011, which replaces the former Business Expo trade show put on by the Chamber and Walla Walla Community College, also includes a demonstration stage where vendors will showcase their products.


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