Learn the Secret to Small Business Management Success

The Book – The Key to the Golden Handcuffs

“This book chronicles my story about how I built a $10 million music distribution business and how I learned over 20 years how to create a business that ran without me.  You don’t have to take 20 years. I’ll help you learn my small business management secrets so you can do it THIS year.” – Ruth Schwartz

An excerpt from the book:

When I started coaching business executives, I heard their sometimes-desperate desire to “be free.” I’d tell them about my path to freedom, and they would give me a look of disbelief. No matter how much or how often I repeated it, it just sounded too strange or too unlikely. So I decided to write a book about it. And I decided to find my past employees, if I could, and get them to tell the story in their words. I wanted them to tell the good and the bad. What they liked and didn’t like. I wanted them to be honest about why this was different. And I’m hoping it will give credibility to my experience—an experience you can have too.

The premise my book, “The Key to the Golden Handcuffs,” is to inspire you to create a transparent, open-book company as a path to success. Part of that success is that employees are contributing partners in the business and are rewarded for being so by having compensation attached to the profitability of your company. Employees involved in decision making and problem solving at every stage and in any matter that affects them are people who feel valued and appreciated for their contribution, whether they work for money or not. That is the secret that is not so secret anymore.

Being an entrepreneur is as exciting as it is fraught with peril. You have to be willing to risk your time, your savings, and often your sense of self in order to get off the ground. And it is hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would own a business, right? More fail than prosper. Those are the nasty statistics. If you are in the throes of starting a business, you know full well the stress it creates. And when you are starting your business that is your first experience with the handcuffs. These are the metaphorical cuffs that lock you to your business. They lock you physically as you slave over your sales, marketing, and product development. Then they lock you into your bookkeeping, customer service, and operations.

Finally, if things start to work out, you will hire employees and the big kahuna handcuffs keep you managing others, which by the way is much more difficult than you thought it would be. Why? Because you can’t leave employees alone for a minute. You aren’t sure if you can trust them. They never do what you want them to, and so the idea that you are chained to your business, while not true for everyone, is true for many. You become cuffed physically, mentally, and spiritually. And if you are successful, they are golden.

I had golden handcuffs. I never read anything that told me what I needed to do, but I learned, through my own willfulness and accident, what it looks like when you have a business that works without you — a business that works without handcuffs. I found the key. And the key is me. The key is creating an atmosphere where everyone becomes a contributing partner in the business. I want to tell you my story and help you remove your golden handcuffs. You will not only set yourself free, but you will set free all of the amazing people who work for you. You hold their key in your hand too.



Quotes from Mordam Records’ Employees:

I think we got comfortable and also secure in knowing that we were successful, and it was very enjoyable at that time realizing we’ve all worked hard towards a common goal in reaching that success and then helping Ruth as she helped us toward a common goal of being successful.  Ruth created that environment of working with someone, and there’s a big difference between with and for.  So, at that time, when Ruth was owner of Mordam, I always felt with her and with my coworkers and with a team or a collective bunch of individuals that were working toward a common goal.  When I left on that last day of working for Lumberjack Mordam, I felt like I was working for some people that I didn’t really know that have taken over an amazing company that I completely enjoyed. At that point I was working for someone instead of working with.  I didn’t feel like it was a team anymore I didn’t feel like it was a punk rock distributor that I could’ve been proud working for. – Chris Brandstetter

I would say Mordam was as much of a coop, even more than the food coop I left.  So I definitely learned about that small business management style and  I’ve never been able to repeat that type of work environment ever.  It’s too bad that other people don’t have this process ’cause a lot of people go in for their MBAs and get all this academic business training but they also have huge turnovers of employees and training is a time and cost intensive process. – Max (Maria) Miccozzi

Mordam really felt like a real team. It really felt like everyone there had really chosen to be there. And everyone was different in their own way. It sounds funny to say, but I really did feel like family. It was more than just a job. It was a choice. Something that people chose to involve themselves in. –Peter Jacobsen

Learn Ruth’s secrets to small business management success and free yourself from the golden handcuffs.