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Michael McFall - How to Grind and Go from Barista to CEO of Biggby Coffee

Who doesn’t love the coffee business? In the US, the growth of coffee chains is fascinating. Michael J. McFall began his career with BIGGBY® COFFEE at the original store in East Lansing in 1996 as a minimum-wage barista. He’s now co-CEO, and over the last twenty-two years, he and business partner Bob Fish have created one of America’s excellent specialty coffee chains. They have over 250 stores open in 9 states. He’s also the author of Grind: A No-bullsh*t Approach to Take Your Business from Concept to Cash Flow—a book about common sense strategies for turning a start-up idea into a positive cash flow business.

We talked about starting a new business and why the franchise model worked for them. Michael says that products don't usually sell themselves. You need to be willing to sell your product for as long as it takes. You've got to be obsessed with generating revenue. He’s also involved in personal growth and development. As a leader, you need to meet your company where it needs you, not the opposite. We also talk about the importance of being able to compartmentalize when starting a business. We touch on impatience, enthusiasm, and the process of due diligence on yourself. We also learn incredible mission-critical things like the six-hour rule, where franchisees spend six hours a day on the front end for the first year.

Another fundamental premise in Grind is that looking through your business from a cost-cutting lens isn't advantageous to your growth and customer happiness. If you obsess over taking care of the customer, everything else takes care of itself. Making people happy and believing in what you do creates an opportunity to ask your customers to promote you. We also talk about avoiding complexity and not making things more complex than they need to be. This episode is full of smart ideas, processes, and attitudes to grow a business beyond your expectations.

And be sure to subscribe to The Self-Employed Life in Apple podcasts or follow us on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.

Everything you need can all be found at

Michael McFall thank you so much for being here!

Remember, you might be in business FOR yourself but you are not in business BY yourself.

Be your best self. Be proud and keep changing the world.

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Host Jeffrey Shaw is a Small Business Consultant, Brand Management Consultant, Business Coach for Entrepreneurs, Keynote Speaker, TEDx Speaker and author of LINGO and The Self Employed Life (May 2021). Supporting self-employed business owners with business and personal development strategies they need to create sustainable success.


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