TMBA 248: The “Steak Dinner Problem” and Polyphasic Productivity

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This week, we’re talking about John Reineck‘s (@JohnReineck) “Steak Dinner Problem”, and how we interact with our clients. We had a great discussion with Taylor Pearson (@CTaylorMPearson) about it in the comments of our recent article about The Coconut Cash Conundrum. We’re gonna be sharing some advanced level strategies on how to handle this complex situation that entrepreneurs face when their business starts to dictate the orders. We’ll also talk about how to identify one thing that benefits your business and maximize your efforts during your most productive hours.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What to do to avoid taking orders from your business.
  • How to define rock solid and simple team communication SOPs.
  • Why you should only be interacting with six people.
  • Alternative ways to reach clients that are typically sold on “steak dinners”.
  • How to handle the fear of not letting a good opportunity pass you by.

People on this episode:

Mentioned in the episode:

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

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Published on 06.12.14
  • Hey guys Nate from the DC. There’s a lot in this one that I’ll be sharing with friends. Even though it’s 302, it’s still useful for me to begin with the end in mind. As I round up my Ten True Clients, it occurs to me that I’m Steak Dinner-ing each one in order to pitch them on a product. This episode challenged me to think ahead to the Process that’s going to sell the product For me in the future. Also really dig the attention-conservation thing Dan’s been repping lately. What’s been working for me is to Calendar Everything for the week, so I never need to worry I’m forgetting about something important while I focus totally on one thing. Keep them coming!

  • Vašek Papoušek

    Hey, great podcast, the Facebook allusion is so true:)

    Anyway I wish to share with you my case study. I managed to develop an iPhone app and it’s developing is almost covered now generating me some small income. The app is called Textio ( and it is for speed reading without need of learning anything. I hired developers gave them share and payed them and now it seems the app can generate some cash without my attention. Are you interested in the whole story? :)

  • Dan Taylor

    This was one of my favourite episodes of the podcast and good to have some second level stuff.

    The steak dinner thing is pretty funny to me as with my first business we constantly had to entertain clients and it was fun at the beginning but then it became painful doing it every week. It’s important to stress heavily though (and you did) that skipping the steak dinners is ‘levelling up’ stuff. When I have been in the growth phase of a business, or often on a new project in the current business I’m back in ‘steak dinner’ phase again hustling away to get revenue coming in and reference clients. The other thing to not forget is that client entertaining is a super valuable skill to have as people for sure do business with people they like. Theres also the second benefit that with me some clients I started off as entertaining have actually become good friends, mentors and great contacts, so don’t dismiss steak dinners (also I rarely eat meat so the weight thing isn’t a negative for me ;)).

    The productivity stuff is interesting. I’m like you in that writing is one of the things I really enjoy with running my own business and I’m putting some effort into writing every day and getting better at it and it’s good to think of writing as a skill across the business like you say, so it might be writing team procedures or sales docs or blog posts (BTW on a previous podcast you referenced a writing style guide can you post the name). I’m not sure what times of day work best for me.. I think it broadly matches yours in morning and evening but it varies for sure and sometimes ill be on a tear mid afternoon. I find when I plan social stuff in the evenings too I get on a roll early evening to finish before I head out.

  • Hey Dan thanks for your thoughtful comment, glad you enjoyed the episode. I think we have a very similar attitude about steak dinners and mixing business with pleasure! hey, if it’s not fun….

  • hey sure, drop a link to an article.

  • glad you found some value here Nate. Interesting to hear how the calendar thing works out, for some reason they make me feel like shit. I completely cleared mine minus my two calls.

  • Vašek Papoušek

    There is no article yet, I will make one :)

  • nice!

  • “We know as Entrepreneurs that we can always go have a steak dinner and make more money.” #BallerStuffDanSays

  • haha :D

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