Who’s on your Nascar pit crew?

nascar pit crew

When you’re watching a Nascar pit crew, what do you notice? Everyone in the pit crew specializes in one task, and they’re good at it. Real good at it, right? Whether it’s replacing a tire, filling up fuel, or talking strategy with the driver, every job within the pit crew is important.

Just as each driver in Nascar has his own pit crew, you too need your own crew. Obviously, they won’t be in charge of replacing your tires, but they will be in charge of helping you either make money or save it when it comes to your business.

Over the last nine years, I have found myself going back to the same crew, no matter what business I am working on. So, in that spirit, here are the 11 crew members I always use:

Pit crew member #1: Frank A. Cialone

The more money you make, the more likely you are to get sued. If you haven’t been sued yet, you may think you’re lucky, but in reality, it means that you left way too much money on the table.

Every time someone threatens to sue me or wants to get into litigation, I call Frank. He is like a pit bull. When someone messes with you, all you have to do is let him loose, and he’ll take care of the rest.

He’s very aggressive and does whatever it takes to make sure that you pay the least amount of money when and if you are being sued. And if you happen to be the one suing, he’ll make sure you get the most amount of money possible.

Pit crew member #2: Ben Hamburg

When someone threatens to sue you, it’s very rare the case goes to court. In most cases, it actually goes to mediation, which means that not only do you need to hire a lawyer like Frank, but you also need to hire a neutral third party to help settle your dispute.

Every time I need a neutral third party, I call Ben. He isn’t on your side, but unlike most mediators, he won’t beat around the bush. He’ll try to get you a settlement as quickly as possible.

Although the fees start adding up when you pay your lawyer as well as a mediator like Ben, they’ll both save you a lot more money than if you were to go to court to settle the dispute.

Pit crew member #3: Andy Shah

For some odd reason, I have really bad luck when it comes to government audits. Lately, it seems like I have been on a roll, and each year the government audits either one of my companies or myself.

When you get audited, you could hire a tax attorney and start spending 500 plus dollars an hour, or you can hire Andy, who has a much more reasonable rate. He’s a CPA like most accountants, but the one card that he has tucked under his sleeve is that he used to be an auditor for the government.

So, not only does he know how to deal with auditors, but he’ll do everything in his power to make sure you pay the least amount of money to the government without breaking any laws.

Luckily for me, although I have been audited multiple times, I have never had to pay the government any extra money because of Andy.

Pit crew member #4: Joey Tran

The reason why 50% of small businesses fail is because they don’t have enough capital. One way you can solve this is by raising either some seed money or venture capital.

No matter how much capital you raise, legal bills for fund raising are typically high. Most lawyers charge anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 to do all of your legal paper work when it comes to fund raising. And to top it off, you usually have to pay your investor’s legal bill as well, which means you can easily spend $60,000 when fund raising.

Paying $60,000 may not sound too bad when you are raising 4 or 5 million dollars, but when you are only raising $500,000, it ends up being more than 10% of the money you received.

The great part about Joey is that he’s a really good and scrappy attorney that can help close both small or large funding amounts for a reasonable fee. He is actually so reasonable with his rates that even venture capital funds use him so that their portfolio companies don’t get stuck with huge legal bills.

Pit crew member #5: Bill Bromfield

I know, I’ve already mentioned three attorneys in this blog post, but the one that I tend to use the most happens to be Bill Bromfield. He’s a partner at Fenwick and West, and he happens to be the attorney I trust with everything.

From legal contracts to personal issues, I can always count on Bill to help me out. The best part about him is that although he is at a big law firm, he doesn’t charge you for small things like phone calls that most attorneys would charge you for.

Anytime I have a legal issue, I call Bill. I don’t care that he is based in Seattle and most of my business is done outside of that region. Hands down, Bill has protected me from more lawsuits and helped me with more legal contracts that any other attorney did.

Pit crew member #6: Chuck Longanecker

Although I have the privilege of working with a few awesome designers who are my team members, sadly there is just way too much design work for internal team members to complete.

Anytime I need a website designed, I call up one guy: Chuck Longanecker. He always takes care of all of my website and blog design needs in a timely fashion, which is rare for designers.

Not only does he do great work, but he is reasonably priced, which is also rare for designers who work with people like Tim Ferris and Seth Godin.

Pit crew member #7: Andrew Wilkinson

Just as I love having Chuck Longanecker help me out on my website designs, I love having Andrew Wilkinson from Meta Lab help me out on my web application designs. They are one of the best design firms when it comes to web application designs.

Not only has Andrew helped the who-is-who of the web 2.0 world, but he is great at making applications user-friendly.

From Gary Vaynerchuck to Kevin Rose, anytime someone needs a web application designed, they turn to Andrew.

If you don’t believe that Andrew is a rock star, just look at who David Heinemeier Hansson (creator of Ruby on Rails) uses for his design needs.

Pit crew member #8: Sujan Patel

I’ve been in the SEO world for almost 10 years now, and although some say I am a great SEO, they’ve actually got it wrong. I used to be a great SEO, but now I am just a business guy who closes deals.

After being in the SEO realm for a few years, I taught my cousin everything I know. Over the years, he has come to surpass me in SEO knowledge and expertise. Anytime I need SEO work done at an affordable rate, I turn to Sujan. He is quick, cheap, and delivers results.

Pit crew member #9: Dave Snyder

Anytime one of my companies needs some SEO, social media marketing, or pay-per-click help, I turn to Dave Snyder. More importantly, I turn to the company he co-founded, Blueglass.

Because they have a large team of talented marketers, they are able to take on large projects and actually deliver. They provide great results, and I haven’t been able to find one company or person who can build more natural incoming links and traffic into my website than Blueglass can.

The best part about dealing with them is that you don’t have to babysit them like you do most consulting companies. They just get the job done!

Pit crew member #10: Jay Tillery

Although technically I lose money from blogging, for some reason or another, I always end up spending money on my blog. From modifying plugins to tweaking the design, there is one guy who I can count on to help me out.

Jay is a WordPress ninja and probably the most affordable guy on this list. He just takes care of all of your WordPress needs without you having to check if he did a good job and if your blog works in all browsers.

The cool part about Jay is that he works around the clock, so when I need things done late at night, he gets them done. That way, I can test things during non-peak hours.

Pit crew member #11: Ben Jesson

Although I am the co-founder of two startups that help you make more money from your web-based businesses, I don’t always have the time to maximize my conversions.

So, when I need someone to come in to improve my conversions from a copy and designs perspective, I call Ben and the Conversion Rate Experts team. By no means are they cheap, but their rate is far under the increases in revenue they’ll bring you each and every month.

The best part about Conversion Rate Experts is that they’ll treat your website like their own. They’ll make sure that whatever they do is truly in the best interests of your company. And if they can’t make you thousands, if not millions, of dollars in extra revenue, they won’t take on the project.

Conclusion

My hope is that knowing who is in my business pit crew will inspire you to build your own and help you grow your business like it has helped me grow mine. The only thing I ask is that you don’t try to haggle with any of my crew members.

I personally pay each of them, and although some of them cost me an arm and a leg, I’ve always found that they make me more money than they cost me.

At the end of the day, some of these guys will cost you six figures a year, but I’ll bet you that they’ll make you at least double that.

And if you don’t believe in paying high priced service providers, one thing that I’ve learned, the hard way, is that you really do get what you pay for. I have tried hiring low priced people, like lawyers and marketers, and the results they provide aren’t really worth it. Don’t make that mistake!

P.S. If you want help growing your business click here.

Comments

  1. Matt Ackerson :

    Interesting post Neil.

    The first crew member is intriguing. What advice would you have for up and coming entrepreneurs for staying OUT of the court system and legal entanglements?

    -Matt

    • Have good agreements in place from the start. That usually can stop most legal issues from arising.

  2. Alex Ramadan :

    Neil,

    Would you consider any of those guys your friends outside of your business interactions, aside from Sujan possibly?

    Any thoughts on having a good friend be your designer, lawyer or other business type advisor?

    • Yea, I drink beers and hang out with a few of them.

      I think it is a good idea as long as you have the advisors duties in a contract. Make sure each party knows what they are getting into.

    • I don’t think that it is possible to keep a good relations with these guys and call them whenever you need if you are not friend with them. You have to keep a good relation with everybody you can because you never know when you might need them and it is better to have a friend rather than an enemy at any point.

      • Well you definitely don’t want lawyers to be your enemy, but if you can create solid relationships, it’s only going to help you in the long run.

        • Frank Cialone :

          I have clients that I’m friends with and others that, while I like, I don’t spend much non-work time with (for various reasons — geography, being at very different places in our lives, or sheer busy-ness). Either way I respond the same and I think all good lawyers do — I like getting good results for clients, and it’s both important (from a business sense) and hugely flattering (from a professional pride sense) to have someone I did work for call me a second time — even if it’s years later, which has happened many times.

  3. Wasim Ismail :

    Neil its so true, about what you pay for is what you get, if your willing to invest into good quality service and products, your customers will see this, and also they will be willing to pay you for your services. You would rather pay a bit extra and have a good quality product and service, than pay less, and have trouble with it.
    Thanks of the article 🙂

    • It’s worth it! Especially when it comes to legal issues and such. You always want to have yourself safe and secure.

  4. Hi,
    I like how you talk about all of them with so much respect, and as always exactly to the point-who they are and what/how they do.
    Respect and professionalism is most important for one productive businesses relationship.

    Quality over quantity .It is just a math. 🙂

  5. “You really get what you pay for!” That’s a nice reminder for us not to shortchange ourselves and settle for something less than stellar performance. The problem, however, is that if you’re still small, you can’t afford the rockstar pit crew.

  6. Neil, when are you writing a book? 🙂

  7. i think by doing is by incorporating team work only it can be work it out,

  8. Always the work will be equal for the payment we make.So it’s better to make the large payment and hire a good and valuable service providers

    • You get what you pay for 😉

    • gloriousworldaroundus :

      @kendria : How can you say if you spent large payment you will get a valuable service? In my experience i paid a lot of money to my staff, but i couldn’t get any valuable services from them.

      • Sometimes it requires some kind of strategic strategy.

      • The thing that you can never know if the results will be like the expectations no matter how much you paid for it. If you pay the one that asks for a smaller fee you can get great results but also bad results. The same goes for paying the higher fee. You can receive great results but also you can be very disappointed. The thing is that you can never be sure how things will go. Sometimes the cheaper way is better, sometimes the most expensive one.

  9. Rick Stroud :

    Hi Neil….thought your comment “Although I technically lose money from blogging” was interesting. Why do you blog?

  10. You got a pretty strong crew in all areas. Nice to have people on hand that you can trust real quick.

  11. Leslie L. Kossoff :

    Neil, this is an incredibly generous article.

    So often, people who are successful prefer to keep their ‘pit crew’ to themselves. Instead, as with so many of your posts, you share information that will help any entrepreneur or executive understand all the sooner what’s going wrong – and, now, where to turn when it does.

    Thanks for all your writing. I always both learn from and enjoy what you give.

    • Yeah, I can see that with people sometimes. At the same time, I want my crew to get more business as well, only because I know they provide a legit service for me.

  12. Elena Patrice :

    What a nice post! Nice to acknowledge those who “make it happen” with you. You show respect to those on your team and respect to those who use your services and rely on you. You sure have my respect and I think your closing comments are great! Thanks!

  13. What does your name mean :

    So Neil, would you say that “more money equals more problems in business”? Just because everyone wants a slice I mean, or is that a defeatist mindset? I can definitely see how a crew or your dream team can help you succeed though, it’s so damn hard to make it on your own, but also just as hard hiring the right crew. Cool post though and very useful tips.

    • Well it takes time… I didn’t always have this crew. I went through a lot of people before I was able to put this dream team together.

  14. You put me off being in business as soon as I read your first four team members were all in case you got sued!! Does it happen that often?

  15. College Textbooks :

    Sounds like you have an all star pit crew. the company I am working with are working hard to make just those decisions right now.

  16. Neil,

    Good read, very intriguing post. The first couple of crew members got me to thinking. Which brings me to my question. I recently started selling products on my own website, do you think it is important to incorporate the name for potential legal issues or tax benefits?

    -Brodie

    • I personally think you should, but I would double check with an accountant for tax advice. And a lawyer for legal advice. 😉

  17. Nick @ CashBlogged :

    Great article! I’m in the early stages of putting together my “pit crew”

  18. Jonas Kleinfeld :

    Neil – great post!

    You mentioned 4 attorneys above. Do you recommend going to Bill Bromfield first in any issues?

  19. College textbooks :

    @Jonas, I believe he means have all your bases covered. And what ever your venture, will depend on who and what you need. You must first and foremost trust and know that whomever you place your trust in is worthy of it.

    • College textbooks :

      Sorry I forgot to add, It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to make a company happen and be successful. No one person can do it all alone. So who do you want on your team?

    • Thanks, that’s very true. It wouldn’t hurt talking to one or the other to see which one fits your needs. They’re all great people.

  20. I have that impression that those guys paid to be listed here.. 😉

  21. Just shows how things get complicated the higher up the ladder you move. Of course, smaller businesses do have to hire less costlier people, but mostly they won’t get into issues as big. So totally agree that the money you pay, you mostly earn more than that.

    • yeah because the more powerful your team is, the better 🙂

    • If you are a smaller business it doesn’t mean that you can’t run into trouble as a bigger one, so you can still pay the same amount of money as bigger businesses but many times the money you pay reflect the service you receive, so less money can mean lesser chances of succeeding.

  22. Hey Neil….
    i think u should write a book on your entrepreneurial experiences and belief…

    i visited ur blog today only and i m just ipressed

    • I will write one, just don’t know when 😉

      • me too want to say this to you, because you are giving good information and practical experience in your, so you can write a book about entrepreneurship and it will be as great helpful for future generations.

  23. Eddie Gear- The Guy With An Attitude :

    I am starting to build a network and surely I will build a pit crew that I can turn to for support. Thanks for your insights Neil. Great post again. You always write some of the best articles.

  24. Unity is strength we have to grouped so that we can achieve a lot

  25. I agree, online entrepreneurship is also about having a good team and this is when you start seeing results. You have to outsource because you don’t do it all by yourself!

  26. “I used to be a great SEO, but now I am just a business guy who closes deals.”

    Neil,

    Could you explain this a bit more?

    I mean like how’d you make the transition, what kind of deals do you close now, how is your time spent, your business/management structure, etc…

    Probably worth an entire blog post 🙂

    • Yeah it is lol. It’s just a lot of random stuff…. Getting people together, working with others etc.

  27. Favourite Hobbies :

    if we are grouped the things can be done easier else it will take time

  28. Sample letters :

    I agree and i use seo, online entrepreneurship is also about having a good team and this is when you start seeing results.

  29. You do have a solid strong pit group my friend. When you make a lot of money you do need a really sharp and trustworthy lawyer. Its a nice article very well explained. To be honest I learnt a lot from this article. Thank you.

    • Glad you found it useful. I agree you need a trustworthy lawyer along with a trustworthy staff of people surrounding you.

  30. Amazing revelation about the importance of having an expertise crew behind a successful business venture. I am so happy that I have read this now, rather than later after getting torn apart. I shall definitely keep these suggestions in my mind, when I am ready to kick start a business.

  31. Laura D'Amico :

    I’m an absolute believer that people should focus and specialize. This post is a great example of that. When you focus and specialize, you can become a true expert. When you need help in an area that you are less well-versed in, you can just call in another expert to help you out. Plus it helps to have smart friends!

    • Definitely. Having smart friends is vital. You tend to mold yourself into those you surround yourself with.

  32. I have always been told to be very careful when mixing friends and business, and that is usually very good advice, but when you look at Lebron and how he allowed his friends to be his “pit crew members” it’s kind of intriguing to think about the possibility of that happening. Although that is only possible with a very tightly knit circle of friends.

    • Definitely, your true friends will be with you through thick and thin. Your true friends pick you, you don’t pick them.

  33. colorado springs theft attorney :

    I agree with you Neil, If you want a top product you have to pay top dollar. Low price means low quality and thats it.

  34. Didn`t realise there where so many members of a pit crew for nascar.

  35. Why is nascar never shown on television in the UK?

  36. Jessica Scatch :

    If you pay the one that asks for a smaller fee you can get great results but also bad results. The same goes for paying the higher fee. You can receive great results but also you can be very disappointed.

  37. Meir Ezra Coaching :

    I just like the helpful info you provide for your articles.

    I will bookmark your weblog and test once more here regularly.

    I am quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff proper right
    here! Best of luck for the next!

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