Navigating Multi-generational Business Growth

In this episode of the Ready Yet podcast, my guest is Ed Delia of Delia Associates, a second-generation owner of a business-to-business brand and growth services company celebrating its 60th year. Join us as we discuss the importance of having a clear growth strategy, measuring progress, and adapting to the market’s demands to ensure long-term success.

Ed also shares insights on stepping into leadership roles within family businesses, learning from both successes and failures, and the unique challenges and advantages of running a multi-generational enterprise. The conversation delves into Ed’s personal journey within his family business, including the delicate transition of leadership from his father and how multi-generational businesses can thrive by embracing change and fostering innovation.



Ready Yet?! Podcast Episode 233 with Ed Delia: Navigating Multi-Generational Business Growth​

Transcribed with Descript

Erin Marcus: Hello, hello, and welcome to this episode of the Ready Yet podcast.

Erin Marcus: My guest and I today, Ed D’Elia, did I say that correctly? As you, you just totally caught me with that joke too. The G is silent and it’s also invisible. I don’t usually fall for that stuff. My dad has that joke. Sense of humor. So I grew up on, right. I grew up on alert, right? I grew up on alert for someone giving me a hard time, but I love chatting with you about business strategy, about marketing, about your unique, unique niche of multi generational businesses.

Erin Marcus: You’re in one, that’s who you serve. I think it adds a perspective that most people never even come close to getting. So before we get into all the fun conversation Why don’t you a little more formally tell everybody what it is you do and who you are and all the cool stuff.

Ed Delia: Thank you, Erin. And I pronounced Erin right, right?

Ed Delia: Yeah, you’re good. Okay, I got it right. Okay, good stuff. So thanks for letting me be on today. So D’Elia Associates is in its 60th year. So founded in 1964 by my father, Mike D’Elia. I grew up around the business, came into it in 95. Then we executed a buyout. And he retired he passed in 2012, but the business had been under my my direction for some years prior to that.

Ed Delia: And I can honestly say post buyout, he was a fabulous mentor to me, a great guy, and I gave him much as I give you tremendous credit and anyone else who is in that first generation, who is that founder and the person that’s pioneering something and boldly going and starting something new. It’s it’s an amazing thing.

Ed Delia: It’s an amazing journey. And across my career, I’ve also learned that. Those that carry that forward are an equally interesting and engaging journey, whether they be second or third or even fourth generation. And that’s who a lot of our clients are. So we provide business to business brand and growth services.

Ed Delia: I have a team of 12, and we function As a strategy company and then an execution company for predominantly the privately held family business in the business to business space. And those are who our clients have been historically across our proud 60 years. So it’s great to be on with you.

Erin Marcus: It’s awesome.

Erin Marcus: And I, you know, so I worked in my career. I did work in a family held business. There were 2 generations. Wonderful, wonderful people. But my God, there were moments, right? Like, I think when you bring family dynamics into like, as if business wasn’t hard enough, as if family dynamics weren’t hard enough, you start bringing those things together.

Erin Marcus: And I see some people do a magnificent job the way you talk about your dad. And I had people on my podcast who had to give their dad two weeks notice that they were quitting. Right. I mean, could you even imagine that conversation? So I don’t know, actually been there, right? See it all the time. We had a

Ed Delia: similar one.

Ed Delia: It was in it was in 2000. I see my father was part time retired and I said dad, I love you. But one of us needs to really go do something else now. Because I’ve got this and you can either fully retire or, you know, if you want to halt the buyout and you want to keep this and keep doing it, I’ll go do something else.

Ed Delia: But one of us really needs to, to make a move.

Erin Marcus: One of us needs to not be in this

Ed Delia: office every day. Yeah. And that was and, and reluctantly he said, okay. You know, I’ll step back. And there was a brief period of time where I think he was not happy about that. I know he wasn’t happy about that because when you found something and you spend all of your life’s work doing that, something.

Ed Delia: It’s hard to fully disengage and what he did discover, and it only took maybe two or three months is he discovered what I call retirement,


Ed Delia: And he realized all the things that he had put on the shelf that he could now do, and he started engaging in those things and. Had an amazing run, you know, just doing all the things that he wanted to do that he never had time for before.

Ed Delia: Now he had the time and he did them. And I think his quality of life and, you know, the, the, the, the fulfillment that he had and all the things that he was doing blossomed. And I know that our relationship really kind of took on another level at that point too. So.

Erin Marcus: And I think that’s such a key to it. I know a couple different multi generational businesses and it’s hard when you’re the parent to stop being the parent.

Erin Marcus: And. I used to have a business and worked for a long time in the world of working with families with aging parents and one thing I saw over and over and over again, most of the time, as soon as your mother’s involved, you revert to being an eight year old, right? Like, as soon as your parents are involved, you, you kind of revert to your childhood self.

Erin Marcus: If you’re not careful, or even if you are, and I can’t like, like I said, families are hard enough and businesses are hard enough, but what are some of the pitfalls or like lessons learned that are so blaringly obvious in multigenerational situations, like that the rest of us could really learn from as well.

Ed Delia: So one of the things that I typically look for if there’s a scenario where it’s the next generation is up and coming, like there’s a rising generation and it looks like they’re either being groomed or poised to take the reins, is do they have a vision? And by that I mean, do they have their own vision of where they see the company going under their leadership?

Ed Delia: And it doesn’t even have to be a good vision. It just has to be their vision. A

Erin Marcus: vision.

Ed Delia: For starters, right? Right. We can tweak the

Erin Marcus: plan if there’s some base. Yeah.

Ed Delia: So the, cause when there’s, when there’s an absence of that, what that’s really saying to me as an outsider looking in is that, well, I’m going to kind of do it like my mom or dad did it, or I’m going to kind of ride on their, On their efforts for as long as I can, or I’m not really ready to do that yet, which means, you know, the time just isn’t right.

Ed Delia: I mean, when I, when I came into the associates, I had a vision and my vision was to really reposition the company as a business to business branding firm and brand development was my passion. And I said, if we can. Develop a system for building and enabling and elevating brands for business to business organizations and help them do that systematically.

Ed Delia: They, we will take them to a better place. We will take us to a better place. And that’s what I set out to do. But that was my vision. And that was very different from, you know, my father was starting a very traditional advertising and PR firm. And that’s what he did. So, you know, if I kind of plotted along and said, okay, we’re going to be a traditional advertising and PR firm.

Ed Delia: And we’re just going to kind of, you know, roll, roll through life that way. I don’t think we would have gone very far, quite honestly. You know,

Erin Marcus: and you know, we we’ve seen this through the COVID pandemic. We’ve seen this during different recessions that have happened. I’m now old enough to witness several of them.

Erin Marcus: There’s times in your business. you need to iterate. I know that, you know, they use the word pivot. I’m not a big fan of that. I believe it’s an iteration and you kind of iterate or die because the market changes around you, the world changes around you. And if you’re still, you know, we, you look at all the case studies, we go through Kodak, GE, you know, if you look at net or blockbuster, if you don’t iterate, You become obsolete.

Erin Marcus: And when you look at a business that is generational in nature, now you’ve been there longer, you’re up against the founders, your parent. Right.

Ed Delia: Yeah.

Erin Marcus: I could see where, what you’re saying, if you don’t come in with something

Ed Delia: and that’s hard too, sometimes when there is Say a parent figure who represents the previous generation who’s not ready to leave, you know, because they might be telling you a lot,

Erin Marcus: right?

Erin Marcus: Yeah. Yeah,

Ed Delia: they might be lobbying against the change that you’re trying to enact and that becomes some of the friction point, you know, where you see the the family dynamic bleeding into the business dynamic, you know, and I’ve seen that and I’ve borne witness to that all the time. I think because I think a lot of times our clients think because I’m second generation, I understand, you know, You know what infighting looks like and, and I’m okay to, you know, it’s okay to fight in front of me and slug it out.

Ed Delia: I used

Erin Marcus: to say to Tom Jr. all the time, you know, when I first started with that company, his mom was also there. So it wasn’t him and his dad had an amazing, amazing dynamic. But once you have three people, both parents and, you know, Every now and then there’d be a dust up and he would look over at me and I’m like, they’re your parents.

Erin Marcus: Like I just work here. They were awesome and amazing. They were, but there were days, right?

Ed Delia: Yeah, those are your parents on the plus side, you know, to your pointer. And I mean, there was a period of time where it was my dad and I and my sister. Now, yeah, of course, we sometimes

Erin Marcus: younger sister, older sister,

Ed Delia: older sister,

Erin Marcus: you were doing,

Ed Delia: I’m the youngest by 10 years.

Ed Delia: So I was what you’d call him. Yeah. So but when we were on the same page and we were doing something together, it was amazing how far and how fast we could accelerate. Because we knew each other so well, you know, literally, you know, we knew each other like family and when you put that positive family momentum behind a business, great things can happen, you know so on the other side, you know, on one side, yeah, you sometimes have that squabbling or fighting on the other side when you get on the same page.

Ed Delia: It’s a beautiful thing.

Erin Marcus: Nice. Nice. Yeah. So we were talking about before we hit record, we were talking about looking back at last year, looking for, you know, not knowing that last year was supposed to be a challenging year and how that worked in your favor. Talk to me a little bit about what, cause I think this applies to any business.

Erin Marcus: Like where do you, we were talking about having the right strategies for the right goals, like what do you usually look for when, when giving guidance to somebody on where they should be looking and how they should, what the way that I’ve been talking about it lately is what internal business problems should they be solving in order to move forward?

Erin Marcus: Yeah.

Ed Delia: Yeah. That’s a great a great question. The A lot of times we see businesses you know, just throwing a lot at the wall. You know, we’re going to try to do, we’re going to go to some trade shows. We’re going to, we’re going to work on our, our web strategy and we’re going to do this and we’re going to try that.

Ed Delia: And we’re going to try these things. And, you know, it’s kind of like, we’re going to do a lot of tactics and hopefully one of these tactics will pay off. Yeah, that’s one way to do it. But it’s really not an effective or efficient way to do it, as opposed to going at the root or where are the opportunities to grow in these current conditions, whatever they may be, you know, at any given time, the conditions are, to your point, they’re going to change.

Ed Delia: It’s either, you know, we might be in a, in an up market position. We might be in a down market position. We won’t be in a sideways market position. What are those conditions are? You know, where are the opportunities? Cause there always are opportunities.

Erin Marcus: There’s always opportunities. And also I listening to you, it’s like, it’s not only external conditions, it’s internal conditions.

Erin Marcus: Right. I see a lot of people make mistakes because they see an external opportunity or they believe that there’s an external opportunity, but they forget to look internally at what they have going on to see if they are ready to do the thing.

Ed Delia: Yeah. Yeah. I’m kind of going through that with a, with a new client right now who wants he knows what he wants.

Ed Delia: He knows where he wants to take the company. Yeah. But the you know, the resources aren’t in place to achieve that vision, and he’s starting to realize that, which is a good thing, you know, starting to realize that, wait a minute, we can’t do that with the capacity that we have, you know, we can’t be there as quickly as I wanted which is some healthy thinking, because it, it sets a more realistic expectation And it also, you know, builds in the time for growth, for learning, for adjustment, because this is something of a new venture for this organization.

Ed Delia: And, you know, what I’m, what I’m kind of coaching him on at this stage is, there are going to be things that come up that you didn’t anticipate, because this is new, this is a new, you know, it’s not out of your wheelhouse, but it’s definitely a new direction. So, you know, just be mindful of that and allocate for that, that it’s not going to be this straight upward path.

Ed Delia: That you want it to be, and it’s not, you know, you’re not going to get there in a year.

Erin Marcus: Well, and we feel bad. I think one of the, you know, the one of the challenges in this instant gratification society is we get all disappointed to hear, be told that the thing that we want, we can’t have immediately and jump right into.

Erin Marcus: But what you’re describing is you’re not telling him he can’t have it for 10 years. Yeah. It’s just like, there’s a few dominoes that have to fall first and you’re giving yourself a much greater chance at, like, this is probably a thing I watch over and over and over again. They want the outcome, right?

Erin Marcus: They want the outcome. So they move directly into what they think they need to do to get that outcome. And we jump, we try to jump steps. People try to jump steps and like, you can crawl up the steps, you can run up the steps, but you don’t get to jump over the steps.

Ed Delia: So we, we often define it, you know, in, in marketing terms is the the customer value journey.

Ed Delia: Yeah. So you can’t get to engagement until you have awareness. Go figure. You can’t get anyone to trial or do that first step until you have engagement. You can’t upsell them. Right. And you most certainly can’t make them a raving fan. Cause they don’t even know who you are. This

Erin Marcus: is a big thing that gets me with passive income.

Erin Marcus: The big, big, big thing everybody wants. I want passive income in my business. You want passive income, go make investments. Like there’s ways to get passive income, but if you sink a ton of money into creating a quote unquote machine, that’s going to create passive income in your business. And you have nine followers and four of them are your, you know, your aunts.

Erin Marcus: This is not a successful path.

Ed Delia: Yeah, and I would argue, I think it’s a great point and it’s a great dose of reality, Erin which I think is why I love talking with you. You’re very real, you know. That, you know, even with Totally


Ed Delia: Even with investments, if you’re too passive with your investments, there’s not going to be income for you.

Ed Delia: There’s not going

Erin Marcus: to be income either, right?

Ed Delia: Exactly. Passive income. It is the biggest lie. It is the biggest misnomer. It was good for selling books. You know, and a lot of people sold books on the basis of teaching people how to create passive. I thought you were going to

Erin Marcus: thank you for fixing that because I’m like, no, books don’t create passive income either.

Erin Marcus: Books open doors, a real book for income. New York times bestseller costs you a ton of money, time and effort. Oh my God, the effort. Oh my God, the effort. There is no passive income. There is no set it and forget it. There is nothing about business. Or money that, you know, I do remember my mom, my mom moved here.

Erin Marcus: It was passive income for me. My mom moved from Chicago. Like I was like eight, nine years ago, she’s finally sold her house and bought the house in Florida. So like we shut everything down and we sold it, which means there was a safe deposit box. And in the safe deposit box in Chicago were a bunch of bonds that I had gotten for my bat mitzvah in 1982.

Erin Marcus: That everyone had forgotten about, right? What was the interest rate in 1982? It’s pretty high, right? It’s pretty high. So, in a safe deposit box in Chicago was a stack of bonds in my name that we had all forgotten existed. And in like, let’s see, it’s 2024. And sometime around the late, the late 20 teens, when I went to close that down for her, right?

Erin Marcus: Found them. For me, that was a nice chunk of passive income.

Ed Delia: Yes.

Erin Marcus: Not life changing, by the way. You don’t create life changing income by forgetting that

Ed Delia: it’s there. No, no. You know, so for for the listeners if we’re bursting the bubble, yeah, I mean, true growth comes from having a great strategy, having the best execution you can muster, and having the tenacity to stay the course and the willingness to work hard at it.

Erin Marcus: Yeah, we work hard at what you do. Please, the measuring. The measuring, measuring, measuring.

Ed Delia: Yeah, yeah, and you know, what we also see with a lot of a lot of companies is there’s an unwillingness to to do, measure, and improve. It’s more like a do. Why do you

Erin Marcus: think that is? I agree with you.

Ed Delia: I think there’s a, there’s an expectation that That set higher than the action could ever fulfill.

Ed Delia: So there’s an expert. And a lot of times it’s because and I have to be careful of this too. Whenever we come up with new solutions that we’re introducing I always take a step back. Now, I used to not, you know, I used to just run out the door and say, Hey, look at my new thing.

Erin Marcus: Exciting.

Ed Delia: Because Why I’m taking a step back is I’m saying, wait a minute, am I just kind of drinking my own Kool Aid?

Ed Delia: Right. If I just talked myself into something because I think it’s cool and I know I can do it. Does the marketplace think it’s cool? You know, will the marketplace, you know, what, what unmet need am I meeting with this? You know, where, where are there options? Where are there, is there competition? Where are there already, you know, things in place that can do this?

Ed Delia: And then, okay, now where are the gaps? And where can I fulfill an unmet need with a new solution as opposed to running off and saying, well, gosh, we tried marketing product X, but nothing happened, you know, and they said they’ll just bail out of the boat, right? Right. So, you know, I guess what we’re saying is, you know, let’s make sure it’s a good solid boat.

Ed Delia: Let’s make sure it’s in a good direction. Let’s make sure we’ve done some homework to verify the veracity of our idea and not just talk ourselves into a good idea. And then when we’re sure. Let’s put in prioritized measures in place where we can start to test the waters where we could start to see what the receptiveness is in the marketplace.

Ed Delia: And that might mean, you know, an initial, you know, debut. That might mean showcasing something at an industry event or conference, whatever it is, wherever we can get some of that. You know, frontline voice of customer or voice of prospect at that point to say, Hey, that’s cool. Or, Hey, that’s not cool. You know, and then from there learning and developing and refining until you get to a point where, okay, we’ve got a foothold now.

Ed Delia: Now we’ve gotten something. We can really put more marketing muscle behind and we can grow this and it will add value to our organization.

Erin Marcus: One of the things. So, yes, I absolutely agree with you on all of that. There’s the inflated expectations and falling in love with our own, you know, reading our own brochures.

Erin Marcus: And the other thing, cause you had said this to me earlier, I think the other place we go awry, that businesses go awry, putting strategies in place. to avoid doing the thing you don’t want to do, but that would actually solve your problem. Like you admit, you had mentioned for a service based business, that’s really under the 5 million mark.

Erin Marcus: The owner is lead salesperson is not that, that is the option, right? The owner is lead salesperson. If you’re a service based business under, and I watch done this myself on occasion, wanting to change that. And it very seldom works. Right. So where are we doing strategies to avoid doing the things we don’t want to do?

Ed Delia: Yeah. Yeah. It’s it’s and I, and I wish it was another way too. You know, it was very easy.

Erin Marcus: Everyone would

Ed Delia: do it. Yeah. Yeah. Like you, I’ve tried 10 different ways to say, all right, I’m going to have someone else play the lead sales role in my organization. And as much as I’d like that to be, I have yet to find the scenario.

Ed Delia: I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying, you know, in 28 years, I haven’t cracked that code. But what I have found is that when I go out and talk to people, we have very effective, you know, interactions, and those interactions often lead to opportunities. So what I’ve elected to do is say, okay, I’m going to build my organization where I can spend more time doing that.

Ed Delia: And I have a really great team that can support the development and fulfillment of everything that we would do in our commitments, you know, to our clients and helping them grow. And then I get people that are really good at that because those people are easier to find, at least in my experience, then a really good sales official who are out there.

Ed Delia: It’s just that. You know, for, for certain industries at certain levels, they’re just really hard to, to find and, and make, you know, sustained investments in.

Erin Marcus: Yeah, totally. Also think the other reason that we try as CEOs to get away from that sales role is because we started our business to do the thing that the business does.

Erin Marcus: And the more you grow your business, it can feel like the less you actually get to do the thing.

Ed Delia: Yeah. And usually we’re pretty good at the thing.

Erin Marcus: Right. Which is why, right. Exactly. Which is why someone whispered in our ear at some point, yeah, you should go do this. Right. It’s a hundred percent.

Ed Delia: So it’s hard to step away from that.

Ed Delia: And that’s really the you know, kind of the trap is that you know, I mean, there’s a lot of the, the old adage, are you working on your business? Are you working in your business? You, you know, sometimes I just want people that say that, shut up. Just go grow your business. , you know, go work on that , you know, work on that every day until you hit 5 million and then go build a professional sales organization.

Ed Delia: You know? It’s so hard, you know, and it’s, and it’s really, that’s where marketing and a lot of the work we do helps to augment and amplify that, you know, chief sales person. Or those, you know, frontline service people is to extend them, extend their reach, extend their voice. So they can be in more places at once and can accelerate that growth up to that 5 million point when they are you know, south of 5 million.

Ed Delia: That’s really what we’re focusing on. How do we make that, you know, how do we help them sell better? Help sell, sell, sell more quickly with more effectiveness and go on to the next opportunity very efficiently. Because sometimes they struggle with that because they’re, you know, to your point, you know, they’re, they’re sitting back and saying, well, gosh, I didn’t sign on to just focus on sales and business development.

Ed Delia: I, I have a passion for making or doing or fulfilling whatever the product or service might be. And yeah, that’s true. But you know, it’s

Erin Marcus: still, how do you keep somebody like you, I have these conversations constantly. I know you’re having these conversations constantly. What, is there any tricks, tips, tools, approaches?

Erin Marcus: To help people stay the course to help people, like, what do you have to tell yourself to prevent you from being susceptible to this?

Ed Delia: So we actually developed a tool for this. It’s a, we call it the growth planner. So really it’s a tool for companies that are looking for that growth, that scale. And on the growth planner, there’s, you know, there’s three methods of growth, if you’re a B2B for profit enterprise, you can either acquire more customers.

Ed Delia: You can retain and expand the ones you have, or you can find ways to increase the buying frequency of your audience. Those are the only three methods of growth that I know of. Within those growth methods, there’s about 10 growth channels that one can engage in to find that new growth. Now it would be irresponsible for me to say, okay, Aaron, here’s 30 ways you can grow.

Ed Delia: Go at it.

Erin Marcus: Have at it.

Ed Delia: Good luck. So what we do is then work through, based on current business conditions and marketplace conditions, what are the top three to five that will move the needle in the next 12 to 15 months? Let’s focus on those and let’s build a path and a strategy. So it really comes down to prioritization.

Ed Delia: What are we going to focus on first? What are we going to focus on next? And then after that, Because that allows us to ensure that the growth strategy is aligned with the business’s ability to grow in the area where we see new growth most likely to occur. So we’re kind of connecting those dots and then building a program to facilitate that growth, you know, but it’s got to be all, all, all people flying in formation.

Erin Marcus: Well, and I think I know for myself, when I try to do this and try to stay the course, it’s almost like weight loss. You just need teeny, teeny, teeny wins in order to help you stay the course. Yeah. Right. And that goes back to that measuring. Like, we have good gut instincts, but our feelings just lie to us.

Erin Marcus: And if you feel like it’s not working because you’re only attached to the ultimate outcome, you’re going to miss the wins, the teeny wins that actually make the difference, but also that keep you motivated.

Ed Delia: Yeah. Yeah. That’s and we all go through those spells, you know, when we’re wearing that chief sales officer hat.

Ed Delia: Where it’s like, does everyone hate me?

Erin Marcus: Am I right? Is it, you start to feel like I, you ever have those moments, right? I live in Chicago and they ever, all of a sudden, like I’ll be downtown or I’ll be on the highway and all of a sudden it feels like nobody’s there, which never happens, right? And it feels like, you know, dystopian sales is a lot like that, right?

Erin Marcus: Every now and then you’re like, where did everybody go?

Ed Delia: Yeah. And then, and then suddenly in a rush, things happen. And, you know, I think it’s more of the in terms of just the mental health of, of any leader of a business to find that balance point and know that it’s not going to be a great day every day, waking up and saying, what can I do to affect a great day today?

Ed Delia: What are my top 3 priorities today that I can endeavor to do to make today a great day and then to go about doing those. And then, you know, if you’re consistent and continue to apply that consistent effort, good things do happen. Good things will happen.


Ed Delia: but it takes, you know, it takes that momentum.

Ed Delia: And I think the other thing people don’t realize is the amount of energy that it takes to start moving the rock forward, you know it’s not like, Oh, we’re going to put a little bit of effort and okay, you’re going to put a lot, you got to lean into the rock, you got to really move it forward. And I think sometimes when we were talking about multi generation, when there’s that next generation, you know, poised to take power, a lot of the things that paralyze the business or fear.

Ed Delia: So, and the biggest fear that typically the, the founding generation has is that the next generation is going to falter, you know, and, you know, what every family business wants, I think, unilaterally is. You know, if I’ll, if I’ll put it in a term, it’s sustained prosperity, right? They’ve been prosperous over many years, sometimes decades, sometimes multiple generations.

Ed Delia: They want to make sure that that prosperity, that continuity of prosperity is maintained as the next leader takes over. So a lot of times there’s fear that, oh, maybe they’re not ready. Maybe they’re going to make a mistake. That was probably the hardest thing for my dad is he had to sit back and watch me make some mistakes and I needed to make those mistakes.

Ed Delia: And I need to own those mistakes, because that’s how I learned from those mistakes, you know and yeah, it must have been painful to sit on the sidelines and say, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re turning up my feet right now. You realize that I’m like, yeah,

Erin Marcus: I got my one hand and then I

Ed Delia: dust myself off and get back up and say that was stupid.

Erin Marcus: Well, and you and I also said this. It’s not saying that it’s fun in the moment, but in hindsight, part of the resilience is to be able to have a bit of a sense of humor in your resilience.

Ed Delia: Yes,

Erin Marcus: yes. I’ve done some dumb stuff

Erin Marcus: that looked like a good idea at the time, right?

Ed Delia: Oh yeah, yeah.

Erin Marcus: And the less you hold on to it, whether you have an external sense of humor or just a relief, at least release of it, You can’t keep going if you’re holding on every mistake that you’ve made.

Ed Delia: When I was in my 20s I had the great idea to launch an American made t shirt line and what I didn’t realize is that t shirts aren’t made in America,

Erin Marcus: nor should they be, right?

Ed Delia: So I got my first shipment from, I found like the one t shirt company that made American apparel. And, you know, the whole theme of the brand was, you know, Pride country made in the USA. It’s all about Americana. Right. And on the label of the shirt, when I looked at it, it said made in Mexico. So, so I called the company.

Ed Delia: I said, wait a minute, you’re here. I said, no, we are. We outsourced that order to Mexico. It did

Erin Marcus: not occur to you to look

Ed Delia: at what was, well, that’s a problem.

Ed Delia: So I got about a thousand t shirts Aaron, if you ever need a t shirt, I need a t shirt, I know where

Erin Marcus: to go.

Ed Delia: Nutshell experiments. Now, why on earth I thought to do that, I think you’re

Erin Marcus: probably so pumped up about it in the moment. Right.

Ed Delia: You know, I think it was kind of one of those 20 something you know, let’s do this.

Ed Delia: Yeah didn’t didn’t look at anything except, Hey, I want to do this. And you know, but it was a, it was a learning experience. And what it taught me was,

Erin Marcus: you know,

Ed Delia: attention to details. Think about your product. Think about availability of supply. Think about what it takes to make the product. And then you know, ultimately, is there a market?

Ed Delia: For the product. It’s a

Erin Marcus: Mexican based t shirt. That’s in America.

Ed Delia: No, but that was you know, and thankfully, you know, we didn’t go too deep down the rabbit hole and, you know spend tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on, on that experiment. And you could give teachers a nice thing about being small as you can make experiments.

Ed Delia: Yeah. You know, without killing yourself. So that’s so that was a fail point. That’s awesome.

Erin Marcus: I love that. We have to end on that note. That’s fantastic. Do we really? Here’s how I know. I, I say this, this is my litmus test when I interview people. When I ask the question, hey, share some of your failures, a newer business person will get nervous.

Erin Marcus: an experienced business person will start laughing and be like, which one would you like to talk about? Right? Those are the people I’m looking for, for guidance, right? Been there. You

Ed Delia: mean, you mean today or this week?

Erin Marcus: Exactly. I’ve been there, done that, have the t shirt and you have all the t shirts. If people want to get ahold of you and tell me more about that tool that you have, what was that called again?

Erin Marcus: The growth So we call it the B2B growth Planner, B2B Growth Planner. I absolutely love that idea.

Ed Delia: And if you go on our site delia net.com, you can download it for free and check it out, fantastic with it. And then you know, from there, lots of times people will have some questions and they’re always free to, you know, I, I’m willing to have a conversation with anyone if, if I can help them whether, whether we can be of support or not.

Ed Delia: It’s all about you know, helping people and helping them get to the next level and whether they’re ready for us or not. It doesn’t matter. Love it. So

Erin Marcus: delianet. com.

Ed Delia: Delianet. com. And I’m at, at Delia. You can find me pretty readily on LinkedIn too. Awesome. Yeah.

Erin Marcus: So thank you for spending time with me today and your energy and your effort and your experience and your approach to all of it.

Erin Marcus: I absolutely love it. So thank you for being with me today.

Ed Delia: Thanks for having me, Erin. It was great to talk with you today. Awesome.

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Erin Marcus

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Erin Marcus is an author, speaker and communications specialist helping organizations to “Conquer the Conversation,” and creating improvement in sales, customer service and team dynamics. To bring Erin to your event or business:

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