Brian Roland: Why did this CEO step down to help his company?

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Steve Werner

Steve Werner

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00:00:04.440 –> 00:00:18.300
Steve Werner: Welcome back to grow your impact income and influence the number one shows for entrepreneurs looking to scale their business online i’m your host Steve Warner and today i’m with Brian rowan Brian was the CEO.

00:00:18.750 –> 00:00:31.410
Steve Werner: Of what is an Inc 5000 company for six years and in order to scale he actually had a sub down ability which provides corporate perks and benefits for major companies.

00:00:31.830 –> 00:00:41.790
Steve Werner: it’s been scaling been growing he saw that he was the bottleneck in his business he knew we had to make some changes he’s going to talk to us today about how.

00:00:42.660 –> 00:00:55.890
Steve Werner: You don’t have to exit as a CEO you can still be involved with what you know and love about your business he’s going to show us some of the tips and tricks to know when kind of walk us through that journey Brian welcome to the show how are you doing today.

00:00:56.610 –> 00:01:00.120
Brian Roland: Great thanks so much for having me good intro I appreciate that very much.

00:01:00.630 –> 00:01:01.560
No problem, though, is.

00:01:02.730 –> 00:01:06.990
Brian Roland: Always great to have people announced you’re being let go from your own company.

00:01:09.180 –> 00:01:15.720
Steve Werner: So I want to know what that looks like because i’ve I mean I remember like TIM ferriss talking about in the four hour workweek right now, he was the bottleneck.

00:01:15.930 –> 00:01:22.710
Steve Werner: But I don’t think very many entrepreneurs, at least not very many that i’ve talked to in our you know hundred plus episodes have.

00:01:23.100 –> 00:01:37.800
Steve Werner: realized like I need to step down and said they they go to a spiritual retreat or you know they have an out of body experience or they hire consultants, how did, how did things go like how did you end up realizing you had to hire a CEO.

00:01:39.120 –> 00:01:39.420
Steve Werner: and

00:01:39.510 –> 00:01:39.900
Brian Roland: yeah.

00:01:40.140 –> 00:01:47.040
Brian Roland: These meeting great great question, yes, a lot more practical than an out of body experience for sure the.

00:01:48.330 –> 00:01:56.730
Brian Roland: So as kind of the constant entrepreneur, you know we I founded the business in 2006 with my brother mark and.

00:01:58.020 –> 00:02:03.120
Brian Roland: We we really bootstrapped it to about a $10 million business right before.

00:02:04.380 –> 00:02:21.870
Brian Roland: right before making this change and really as we are looking at the pattern of things every year and a half, from the starting the business, you know i’d have a new big idea, and that would turn into a new product line, a new revenue Center.

00:02:22.980 –> 00:02:38.490
Brian Roland: It would kind of catapult us to the next thing and really rewind back to 2006 this is before you know we’re a SAS platform we help companies offer corporate perks and discounts to their people as a benefit and.

00:02:40.080 –> 00:02:48.270
Brian Roland: You know in 2006 developing a SAS platform was a lot more simple, it was not a mobile responsive product.

00:02:49.230 –> 00:02:54.870
Brian Roland: Meaning you’re really just working with one code base when when you’re developing a mobile responsive site.

00:02:55.230 –> 00:03:03.840
Brian Roland: I mean you’re you’re developing multiple iterations of the same thing it’s it’s a lot heavier build and so we were fast and we worked really fast together.

00:03:04.650 –> 00:03:16.350
Brian Roland: And so we just got in this rhythm where we’re always cranking out something new and about six years into it, we started to slow down and about eight years into it, you know we’re trump’s in through the mud.

00:03:16.830 –> 00:03:25.650
Brian Roland: And we kind of hit this point where my next big idea we were saying hey you know we can’t handle this internally we’ve got the money.

00:03:26.040 –> 00:03:33.870
Brian Roland: we’re doing well, we got the money, but we can’t handle it internally, so why don’t you go hire an offshore team and develop it over there.

00:03:34.650 –> 00:03:41.460
Brian Roland: let’s not roll it into our existing business because it’s going to get confusing so let’s create a new brand name a new thing.

00:03:41.790 –> 00:03:48.840
Brian Roland: And that basically turned my head from our current business that was working and over to the new business for a period of.

00:03:49.410 –> 00:03:57.780
Brian Roland: Three years which really put that business on autopilot and there was enough momentum that we made it through those three years, but we really started leveling out.

00:03:58.200 –> 00:04:10.110
Brian Roland: At the end of that three years right as the new business was getting hard and we had we had some tough decisions to make and and the challenges of 2020 didn’t make any of that any easier.

00:04:11.640 –> 00:04:17.850
Steve Werner: So talk, did you so it sounds like you didn’t exit the old business.

00:04:18.180 –> 00:04:28.680
Steve Werner: Because you knew, you were a bottleneck you just knew it was going to be a better move, and it was going to make more sense, it was going to be easier and cleaner to start the other business as a completely different entity Is that correct.

00:04:29.340 –> 00:04:39.450
Brian Roland: Well, no, I know i’d say it was the pursuit, it was kind of the natural progressions of chasing the chasing the ideas that this final.

00:04:39.810 –> 00:04:46.230
Brian Roland: The the progression led to the business was scaling scaling scaling, to the point where the business couldn’t take more ideas.

00:04:47.040 –> 00:05:01.500
Brian Roland: But there was there was enough momentum from the business to launch it over here well what that did was it really exposed what was what was going on inside obscenity which was really working out well and so.

00:05:02.820 –> 00:05:15.600
Brian Roland: It with my attention diverted to the new business opportunities processes and things when we’re doing great but but they but we hit a point where we are growth was not accelerating.

00:05:16.170 –> 00:05:23.610
Brian Roland: The way we were used to and that’s simply because we were using up a lot of our lot of our natural momentum was being used up and.

00:05:24.600 –> 00:05:30.540
Brian Roland: If we hadn’t created a cycle of predictable revenue and a lot of areas, yet for the business, so we weren’t.

00:05:30.900 –> 00:05:39.900
Brian Roland: We didn’t know which buttons to push to fire up the existing revenue channels to keep them growing and why focus was elsewhere, so that that just wasn’t happening.

00:05:40.530 –> 00:05:48.690
Brian Roland: So, so the new business just expose that hey without Brian in there, things are starting to level off and with Brian over here.

00:05:50.790 –> 00:05:58.890
Brian Roland: You know we’re really creating a new monster, so it, it became clear in 2020 that the new monster just.

00:06:00.120 –> 00:06:06.930
Brian Roland: didn’t have the lift that we wanted it to to support it, so we shut it down which redirected my attention back to identity.

00:06:07.500 –> 00:06:20.040
Brian Roland: Which is where it became clear that me bringing new ideas to a business that has a lot already going for it is just not helpful and the steps of accountability that the business was ready for.

00:06:20.490 –> 00:06:21.510
Brian Roland: we’re not.

00:06:21.720 –> 00:06:33.150
Brian Roland: Areas that gave me a lot of energy, and so this is what ultimately led to the decision point which is like well you know the business is asking for.

00:06:34.200 –> 00:06:41.100
Brian Roland: More policies they’re they’re asking for new insurance policies they’re asking for predictable schedules are.

00:06:41.550 –> 00:06:51.720
Brian Roland: For crying out loud they’re asking for an agenda to our all team huddle and we’re we’re a fully remote team so everybody has been zooming in since that was possible, we started doing that.

00:06:52.110 –> 00:07:03.690
Brian Roland: In 2006 and and so you know I didn’t bring an agenda to the all team meeting you know we just round Robin did, and it worked out great and we hit a point where they’re asking for an agenda.

00:07:05.040 –> 00:07:11.400
Brian Roland: they’re asking for they’re looking at compliance and they’re they’re looking for third party perspectives and audits and.

00:07:12.450 –> 00:07:24.660
Brian Roland: You know assessments and we’ve got to beef up these handbooks because so and so state says so, and I mean I had people asking for performance reviews it all these things are not in my entrepreneurial.

00:07:26.850 –> 00:07:27.330
Brian Roland: heart.

00:07:28.350 –> 00:07:43.410
Brian Roland: they’re not something that i’m i’m looking to lean into i’m like hey I want to look six months ahead, I want to look 12 months ahead, I want to build awesome strategic partnerships, I want to take this beautiful thing that we built and see how far we can we can get it out there and.

00:07:44.520 –> 00:07:50.340
Brian Roland: that’s that’s not what the team needed, so it became clear is like look I can’t wear the CEO title.

00:07:50.820 –> 00:08:01.080
Brian Roland: If i’m not willing to do, half the stuff that the CEO is needing to do, and the other stuff that really is more of a president kind of head of OPS role.

00:08:01.800 –> 00:08:10.560
Brian Roland: So this is the decision point that we said hey let’s let’s give Brian let’s give Brian a break let’s let’s let them debrief from the last 13 years.

00:08:11.730 –> 00:08:13.170
Brian Roland: The business is doing awesome.

00:08:14.280 –> 00:08:16.740
Brian Roland: let’s keep Brian thinking six months ahead.

00:08:17.880 –> 00:08:26.490
Brian Roland: Keep driving the product direction that’s something I do pretty well pretty naturally been here since day one it’s something that just comes really easy for me and.

00:08:27.540 –> 00:08:31.710
Brian Roland: let’s put somebody in charge of revenue growth for our existing channels.

00:08:32.910 –> 00:08:39.180
Brian Roland: And and really honestly once once something’s working i’m ready to try something new i’m not ready to see how I can make it work more.

00:08:39.660 –> 00:08:54.870
Brian Roland: And so let’s for existing channels, so we put our CEO in charge of revenue and partnerships, and then we promoted our coo to President and coo and put them over all things people and operations and that has we’ve been doing that for.

00:08:56.640 –> 00:08:59.580
Brian Roland: gosh a good while now, that was a year before.

00:09:00.630 –> 00:09:08.670
Brian Roland: The March, it was February 2020 so you know their first assignment was the navigated global pandemic and good luck.

00:09:09.960 –> 00:09:14.310
Steve Werner: So first off my hat is off to you for having the.

00:09:15.360 –> 00:09:16.530
Steve Werner: The internal like.

00:09:17.550 –> 00:09:24.030
Steve Werner: I don’t know what the right word is to put your ego aside and like, not because I think i’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs, they reach.

00:09:24.240 –> 00:09:35.400
Steve Werner: A certain level and they know they should pull themselves out right, but instead they refuse to do it so first off my Hats off to you for that, I mean it obviously has helped you grow your business I would love to.

00:09:35.940 –> 00:09:48.990
Steve Werner: How did that conversation start to come about because you went from you shut down the other business that you’d started you come back in entrepreneurs, what do we do, we were visionaries we have ideas we have things that we want to do, and like we we hate structure.

00:09:49.110 –> 00:10:02.940
Steve Werner: Right life right, so what you came back into the business and was it a conversation that a couple employees pulled you aside and had was a song your brother talk to you about how did, how did that start to come about and how did.

00:10:03.630 –> 00:10:07.890
Steve Werner: How did that unfold, because I could see that being really difficult yeah.

00:10:08.700 –> 00:10:20.370
Brian Roland: that’s a that’s a great question um I like the way you put it in the analogy, I that I referenced is it you know it’s like it’s like this falcon that.

00:10:20.910 –> 00:10:32.130
Brian Roland: dives into the lake and catches a fish that’s way too big for it to get back out out of the water with and instead of letting go of the fish and.

00:10:33.420 –> 00:10:49.650
Brian Roland: and saving its own life, it just hold on to the fish because it’s like I can do this, and the fish pulls it down until it drowns and that that’s ultimately the what entrepreneurs who aren’t equipped to do all these aspects at once and there’s some that are.

00:10:50.790 –> 00:11:08.280
Brian Roland: that’s the choice they’re making like i’m going to hold on, no matter what, and if it goes down at least I go down with it kind of mentality and that just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but a lot of people can’t see that that’s what’s happening so to kind of answer your question.

00:11:09.630 –> 00:11:24.930
Brian Roland: rewind to around about the time that I started working on kind of the new brand the new startup you know, Brian you go work on this idea over here we’ll keep doing what’s working over here I appointed.

00:11:26.220 –> 00:11:36.300
Brian Roland: A VP of strategy and he was he’s an entrepreneur i’ve worked with for a while before he was actually in the peer group with me that i’m in and.

00:11:37.410 –> 00:11:43.560
Brian Roland: And I said hey I really need somebody to go through these revenue channels and to improve them.

00:11:44.700 –> 00:11:53.910
Brian Roland: And at that point, and this is about three years prior that the goal was really for him to go through all four of those revenue channels incrementally.

00:11:54.750 –> 00:12:06.000
Brian Roland: build them all, up to the point where he was running the business as CEO and so that that’s exactly what happened, and so there was a lot of strategic foresight that went into that.

00:12:07.290 –> 00:12:14.910
Brian Roland: The only thing I could credit it to is that I just enjoy living in the future, I like Thinking forward.

00:12:16.050 –> 00:12:31.680
Brian Roland: I I know where I like to be and where I don’t like to be and i’m i’m okay with that and i’m not somebody that feels like they have to be in control, I like to be in I like to be a big part of the creative and the directive and direction and the experience.

00:12:33.150 –> 00:12:49.800
Brian Roland: But I don’t have this need to be in control of the people and so really the big moment for us was in our annual executive retreat or up in flagstaff we’re all sitting around the cabin and we’re kind of talking and it’s in the.

00:12:51.240 –> 00:12:51.960
Brian Roland: it’s pre.

00:12:53.370 –> 00:13:05.340
Brian Roland: it’s the October and the new startup is hard it’s just not working out as well as as i’d liked and we had built it on a foundation that.

00:13:06.270 –> 00:13:24.900
Brian Roland: was getting turbulent and I was just not happy and but, but I really wanted it to work because it was what I invest in the last two years on, and I was like I don’t want to let you guys down by just letting go of this thing we’ve invested far too much in it.

00:13:26.430 –> 00:13:32.940
Brian Roland: Now, everybody else’s thinking hey you know your little baby’s getting pretty ugly and we don’t have the resources to support it.

00:13:34.200 –> 00:13:44.280
Brian Roland: And without dragging any TEAM members into it and that’s what was happening and so really there was a moment where they just released me they said look we.

00:13:44.760 –> 00:13:55.710
Brian Roland: We don’t need that it’s a great idea, it could totally fly, but we don’t need it, and what we need, more than anything is for you, Brian to be healthy and unhappy and you’re not right now.

00:13:56.190 –> 00:14:03.630
Brian Roland: And so they just kind of released me from that and and then they everybody just step back and it’s like what let’s.

00:14:04.350 –> 00:14:09.600
Brian Roland: let’s rely on let’s get everybody healthy, whereas everybody, the most healthy and so.

00:14:10.440 –> 00:14:21.420
Brian Roland: It became clear that that we’re at that kind of we’re at that point where it’s like well for everybody to be healthy it’s like we really need Brian leading vision and direction product direction and story.

00:14:23.100 –> 00:14:26.250
Brian Roland: And and thinking through what that looks like.

00:14:27.360 –> 00:14:32.640
Brian Roland: But the business doesn’t really need him to to even grow or go.

00:14:33.690 –> 00:14:39.600
Brian Roland: And, and so this is a good opportunity to put new leadership in place and.

00:14:40.680 –> 00:14:55.140
Brian Roland: pour gas on the fire in a way that we haven’t invested in before and so that’s where we we said hey Brian let’s get you in the founder role when you spend some time debriefing what’s worked for us let’s let’s see what ideas you have from the sideline.

00:14:56.520 –> 00:14:57.360
Brian Roland: and

00:14:58.770 –> 00:15:18.960
Brian Roland: And then we we put travis on my team in charge as CEO driving revenue and Jeff on my team in charge of driving operations as President and coo and it’s it’s been a beautiful thing ever since and for the first time I feel like I just have one job and 13 years and it’s it’s been great.

00:15:20.070 –> 00:15:25.710
Steve Werner: So we’ll come back to the one job because I definitely want to hear about that, but I think what would the.

00:15:26.100 –> 00:15:33.390
Steve Werner: entrepreneur and me, and what I think I can hear some of the past voices saying are like no one’s going to do it as good as I do it.

00:15:34.140 –> 00:15:37.380
Steve Werner: they’re not going to make the right decisions they’re an.

00:15:38.010 –> 00:15:51.630
Steve Werner: At the same time, the other half is like yes, I have to let this go, but right, I think it comes down to I mean the solo printer that starts to build a team and gets the five employees and realizes like the best thing I can do is hire somebody smarter than myself.

00:15:51.960 –> 00:16:04.530
Steve Werner: In that area, so you, you have a slow transition, because you, you did kind of appoint somebody before you went over and worked on the side project coming back what i’d like to ask, because you, you took people off of your team, they obviously.

00:16:05.310 –> 00:16:15.720
Steve Werner: they’ve been with an entity for a while, how did you how did you keep your hands out of the pudding how did you like manage that internally and.

00:16:15.870 –> 00:16:25.260
Steve Werner: How is it like, how is it working with the team, because you obviously you came up with these people was there a big learning process was it pretty simple did you.

00:16:25.290 –> 00:16:28.110
Steve Werner: have an internal trick meditation I don’t know.

00:16:28.680 –> 00:16:32.520
Brian Roland: yeah that’s a great question um you know.

00:16:34.830 –> 00:16:35.700
Brian Roland: I think once I.

00:16:37.470 –> 00:16:49.650
Brian Roland: Once I came to terms with the idea I mean like a lot of things I started looking for third party validation like is is there enough reason for me to believe that I can step away that.

00:16:50.040 –> 00:16:56.640
Brian Roland: The momentum won’t slow down that the ideas won’t stop that better ideas won’t come along that revenue will continue to grow.

00:16:57.060 –> 00:17:06.480
Brian Roland: That me giving up profitability by increasing expensive with new leadership is actually driving greater wealth for for my family in the long run.

00:17:06.930 –> 00:17:15.690
Brian Roland: All these things and and and I kind of I came across this article in entrepreneur was called the five stages of your business life cycle and.

00:17:16.290 –> 00:17:33.330
Brian Roland: You can find it in my entrepreneurs, is it time for you to resign article on that website, which is Brian Roland calm and it really talked about the five stages of a business life cycle and I could see every one of those stages and the first stage is seed and development.

00:17:34.410 –> 00:17:45.450
Brian Roland: And you know we bootstrapped we’re privately funded and so we you know we were hunker down during that phase and if you’re if you’re getting outside funding there’s more to that phase.

00:17:46.590 –> 00:17:55.320
Brian Roland: But then you go through kind of Stage two, which is this startup phase and then stage three, which is the growth and establishment phase.

00:17:56.460 –> 00:18:11.130
Brian Roland: And then stage four is expansion and we live I I love stage two and three startup growth and expansion like that’s the hustle keep it going immediate gratification pick up the phone get.

00:18:11.520 –> 00:18:20.760
Brian Roland: You know, get a yes, eventually, and you know kind of send out an invoice and repeats and like I love that and I kept doing that and doing that.

00:18:21.810 –> 00:18:37.440
Brian Roland: But while I was doing that startup kind of growth and establishment phase, the business all the underlying things that we had built we’re merging into expansion and expansion was getting the found it was laying a bigger and bigger foundation and and.

00:18:38.760 –> 00:18:46.710
Brian Roland: To the end that Foundation was maturing, to the point where my ideas coming in kind of sharp like a like that hoc diving into the water to grab something.

00:18:47.010 –> 00:18:53.880
Brian Roland: Like my precision was not calibrated well anymore, because the Foundation had moved it it had expanded.

00:18:54.360 –> 00:19:03.600
Brian Roland: And so that’s really where I felt the disconnect I was like Oh, I mean I started running up into real life situations where people from the team are coming up and asking me.

00:19:03.990 –> 00:19:09.750
Brian Roland: What do you think about this and I tell them and what I think with my quick like entrepreneurial I got this.

00:19:10.050 –> 00:19:17.010
Brian Roland: And they say, well, what about this and I was like Oh, what is that well this customer for the last six months is in blah blah blah.

00:19:17.400 –> 00:19:25.800
Brian Roland: I was like I really I had no idea what are we doing about that well we’ve been doing this that and the other I was like oh that’s really smart.

00:19:26.730 –> 00:19:31.500
Brian Roland: And it kept finding myself getting to the place where I walked through me, what do you think we should do.

00:19:32.100 –> 00:19:38.370
Brian Roland: Well, I was thinking we should do, I was like that’s exactly what we should do, I was like I didn’t know all that, like go do it.

00:19:38.880 –> 00:19:50.400
Brian Roland: That kept happening, and so it was just this awareness that my calibration wasn’t really in sync that well anymore, I was still a good kind of hundred killer kind of go out there and get it, but.

00:19:51.630 –> 00:20:02.250
Brian Roland: The calibration was off and really the business was was begging to enter stage five which is maturity and possible exit and.

00:20:03.570 –> 00:20:06.780
Brian Roland: That required a level of leadership and accountability.

00:20:07.800 –> 00:20:21.240
Brian Roland: And operations interest and focus and investments that just weren’t that exciting, for me, and so, for us, but but necessary, and so, for I really had the choice to do something I didn’t want to do.

00:20:22.380 –> 00:20:28.860
Brian Roland: Or to let somebody else who’s better equipped for it to do it, and you know it turns out that.

00:20:30.090 –> 00:20:39.750
Brian Roland: A lot of people will a lot of the things that I like make my skin crawl that I just don’t want to go near like I was shocked, there are other people that liked those things.

00:20:40.920 –> 00:20:49.950
Brian Roland: And so, so I started letting those other people do those things and finding other people who were excited about those things, and as I slowly backed away.

00:20:50.940 –> 00:21:02.610
Brian Roland: i’ve i’ve found our our business in a healthier better place than it wasn’t originally and I found myself resigning as CEO, which was the best thing for the business and.

00:21:03.090 –> 00:21:15.420
Brian Roland: And kind of to your question, I know i’m still the cheerleader on the sidelines for the team i’m still at most of the all team calls checking in getting an idea of what’s going on.

00:21:16.230 –> 00:21:29.490
Brian Roland: And we talked a little bit in the pre show about our social mission and one of the milestones we just reached with giving over a million dollars to the projects that we support and.

00:21:30.210 –> 00:21:37.560
Brian Roland: And that’s something that i’m still very involved in as kind of the founder and the distributor of kind of our profits and those sorts of things and so.

00:21:38.430 –> 00:21:46.140
Brian Roland: That has helped maintain this relationship where the team is running and going and has a lot of direction they have a lot of structure that they were all looking for now.

00:21:46.530 –> 00:21:53.700
Brian Roland: And there’s still a really healthy relationship for me to participate in that without now without getting in other people’s way.

00:21:54.990 –> 00:22:11.280
Steve Werner: that’s awesome we’ll talk a little bit I do want to talk about your your mission, because I mean you, the mission with where you’re giving money is to eradicate extreme poverty, which I mean what a better mission like that’s I don’t know of any better mission in the world than that.

00:22:12.330 –> 00:22:14.820
Steve Werner: that’s pretty powerful the.

00:22:16.170 –> 00:22:22.980
Steve Werner: I think what I want to highlight in that journey like a lot of entrepreneurs would have reached the place and they would have said.

00:22:23.370 –> 00:22:32.400
Steve Werner: Like i’ve seen i’ve seen this happen, like, even though I am no longer happy, I have to do this, because this is my business and my identity is so tied up with being.

00:22:32.760 –> 00:22:43.320
Steve Werner: The business you still are the business like you found a way to stay in the business and not not give that up but to get yourself out of the way.

00:22:43.950 –> 00:22:53.640
Steve Werner: One of the questions that I want to ask I don’t I we didn’t talk about, but I would love to hear your answer, because I think some people at that point would have just exited they would have said, you know what.

00:22:54.300 –> 00:22:59.490
Steve Werner: i’m selling it i’m going to take take the money i’m going to go do something else somewhere else.

00:23:00.810 –> 00:23:03.360
Steve Werner: Why, why not exit.

00:23:04.320 –> 00:23:08.640
Brian Roland: yeah yeah Thank you that’s a great question um you know.

00:23:09.960 –> 00:23:10.260
Brian Roland: As.

00:23:11.790 –> 00:23:21.390
Brian Roland: i’m 40 and i’ve got young kids we adopted our oldest from Ukraine when she was 12 i’ve got i’ve got a good runway in my career left.

00:23:22.890 –> 00:23:25.710
Brian Roland: i’ve learned that I like to start things.

00:23:26.730 –> 00:23:42.570
Brian Roland: And so exiting would be a a short term would would be a I feel like it would be an immature decision and and the fact that it, it creates a short term it’s a short term play.

00:23:43.710 –> 00:23:45.150
Brian Roland: That would lead me to.

00:23:46.500 –> 00:23:47.370
Brian Roland: Start something new.

00:23:48.780 –> 00:24:01.050
Brian Roland: And and building a better mousetrap is not really a wise idea right now we’ve we’ve we’ve got a really great business that has has a lot of lot of potential a lot of future potential a lot of future value.

00:24:02.760 –> 00:24:12.150
Brian Roland: Also, with our social mission, you know I I I started a benedetti in 2006 really in this pursuit of more meaningful work.

00:24:13.530 –> 00:24:36.120
Brian Roland: You know I I straight out of college, I was making six figures as a sales guy selling phones pretty quickly and making more money than my dad ever did, and you know not married no kids like I didn’t I didn’t protect money was never a goal for me and it wasn’t.

00:24:37.290 –> 00:24:56.940
Brian Roland: It wasn’t my measuring stick it’s it was just a tool to be used and so um it came down to impact and where where can I, how can I make the biggest impact, and so we started our social mission really in pursuit of this idea that that I wanted to have a business that had an output.

00:24:58.110 –> 00:25:14.520
Brian Roland: towards our cars for every input into the business I wanted our output to the cause to infinitely scale, just like the potential that our revenue had to infinite scale, and so my measuring stick is always been what allows us to have the biggest impact and.

00:25:15.690 –> 00:25:26.730
Brian Roland: When the business grows, to the point where our exit allows us to have a bigger impact towards our charitable efforts, then what we can do on on an annual basis.

00:25:27.870 –> 00:25:36.300
Brian Roland: Then we’ll start getting to a place where an exit conversation makes more sense now, but where we just crossed our first million towards.

00:25:37.500 –> 00:25:41.370
Brian Roland: Giving towards extreme poverty and.

00:25:42.390 –> 00:25:48.900
Brian Roland: You know there’s a 10 a 10 year runway to the United Nations has as a goal to get everybody there and.

00:25:49.320 –> 00:25:59.790
Brian Roland: When we talked about extreme poverty we’re talking about the 300 to 500 million people in the world that are still walking five miles every day to find dirty water that’s drinkable.

00:26:00.210 –> 00:26:09.000
Brian Roland: And, and then walking it back, I mean, these are the people who whose kids are getting water for the family, instead of going to school to get an education.

00:26:10.980 –> 00:26:16.530
Brian Roland: The cycle to break poverty starts a lot with with clean clean water with extreme poverty and so.

00:26:17.610 –> 00:26:32.610
Brian Roland: We picked world vision, because they work in many countries around the world, in extreme poverty, they also serve the United States and a lot of disaster recovery efforts and inner city poverty that’s not as extreme but still very important and so.

00:26:33.990 –> 00:26:40.470
Brian Roland: that’s still at the heart of what we do we’ve built a culture at or inside our team that really rallies around that.

00:26:41.760 –> 00:26:54.180
Brian Roland: And one thing I just finished out working finished working on that your listeners might be into I feel like every business needs to support some kind of cars that’s bigger than their brand.

00:26:55.410 –> 00:26:55.770
Brian Roland: and

00:26:56.970 –> 00:27:06.600
Brian Roland: And this is just part of our DNA at ability, but 2020 was a good case study in this interestingly, because.

00:27:08.400 –> 00:27:24.480
Brian Roland: Everyone at some level became an impact driven brand and in 2020 the it was just a reverse model, it was a negative impact that was influencing businesses at as opposed to businesses influence.

00:27:24.900 –> 00:27:37.380
Brian Roland: Making an impact positively for a cause, but in either case, it requires the team to rally around something and fight for or against something that’s bigger than their brand and.

00:27:38.280 –> 00:27:54.210
Brian Roland: And, and this pursuit of this higher calling in at work is what allowed these big companies to go fully remote and have a dialed in team that was still miserable and on track because they’re fighting against something bigger than themselves.

00:27:55.320 –> 00:28:11.790
Brian Roland: When you’re fighting for something bigger than yourself in business you’re building a Community around your brand that allows you to navigate the ups and downs much better when when you’re impacted by something, and all of us in business are going to be impacted.

00:28:12.900 –> 00:28:21.270
Brian Roland: So, so I built an impact plan it’s a one page template it’s a free download, but it really guides entrepreneurs with hey here are the five things you need to find.

00:28:21.720 –> 00:28:34.800
Brian Roland: To take your impact to the next level to give your team something to rally around you know decide, are we going to keep this a private impact for owners and our investors are we going to include our employees that are we going to tell our.

00:28:36.300 –> 00:28:47.670
Brian Roland: tell our customers about it and and then it really gets into you know building this social mission for your brand and but one of the things I was most surprised by.

00:28:48.510 –> 00:28:56.910
Brian Roland: Looking back at it all is one of the big one of the most unexpected perks of kind of the social mission for us was a competitive advantage.

00:28:57.660 –> 00:29:08.670
Brian Roland: With without realizing it the social mission that we were doing that we’re, including at the end of our sales presentations that we were doing annual updates about with our existing clients.

00:29:09.780 –> 00:29:18.390
Brian Roland: it’s actually what our customers connected most to and it’s set us apart in our industry in a way that we never could have with our product or.

00:29:18.720 –> 00:29:28.950
Brian Roland: Our services alone and so it’s something i’ve got gotten pretty excited about and i’ll give your listeners a phone number at the end, they can text to get the impact report email to them.

00:29:29.370 –> 00:29:32.760
Steve Werner: yeah that’d be you can drop it right now, if you want we’ll put it in the show notes as well.

00:29:33.270 –> 00:29:43.680
Brian Roland: yeah great yeah yeah just text the skills to me text, the word impact to area code 61580 to 6853.

00:29:44.610 –> 00:29:56.130
Brian Roland: And you’ll get a link to my Community page where you can join and you’ll get a direct link back right away with a PDF version of the impact report that you can personalize it and make your own.

00:29:56.820 –> 00:30:06.570
Steve Werner: awesome um there are a couple Brian you’ve shared like you shared a wealth and like kind of the the inside workings of your brain going through this and how.

00:30:06.840 –> 00:30:15.000
Steve Werner: How this worked for you, I have a couple questions, I want to ask first off, I think, immediate gratification drives a lot of entrepreneurs right like we are.

00:30:15.630 –> 00:30:20.460
Steve Werner: We want like we’re like we see something we plan, and then we want like.

00:30:20.940 –> 00:30:23.790
Steve Werner: Right now right like you were we’re talking in the pre show like.

00:30:24.000 –> 00:30:35.280
Steve Werner: We don’t we don’t work with agendas, we don’t have a lot of schedules we don’t have a lot of anything and we don’t really need deadlines, because we’re like we want to do something we go do it and we’ll work 20 hours a day on it till it’s done.

00:30:35.610 –> 00:30:46.620
Steve Werner: Whereas employees have a completely different mindset So how do you I think one of the things that drives entrepreneurs is having that immediate gratification so when you.

00:30:47.010 –> 00:30:54.540
Steve Werner: stepped out of the CEO role, I think it probably if I read between the lines correctly, it got the stuff off your plate.

00:30:54.870 –> 00:31:07.710
Steve Werner: That was a huge pain in the ass right having to come up with schedules and like handbooks and all that stuff What did you find that keeps the immediate gratification going for you like, are you.

00:31:08.820 –> 00:31:14.400
Steve Werner: Are you just working on forward thinking like strategic partners, what are you working on it gives you the immediate gratification.

00:31:15.180 –> 00:31:20.760
Brian Roland: yeah that’s a great question and I think that’s a big part of the struggle of.

00:31:21.900 –> 00:31:27.420
Brian Roland: This transition for me personally I think it’s a big fear, on the other side of.

00:31:28.680 –> 00:31:31.170
Brian Roland: A business exit that i’ve seen is.

00:31:32.190 –> 00:31:44.880
Brian Roland: You know these these these entrepreneurs that have led teams of hundreds of people, you know moving hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars of value or just actual money.

00:31:46.050 –> 00:31:51.540
Brian Roland: Around and they sell their business and overnight they’re jobless.

00:31:52.770 –> 00:31:53.010
Brian Roland: and

00:31:53.460 –> 00:31:56.730
Steve Werner: There sounds great to most people, but to us that’s like.

00:31:56.970 –> 00:31:57.750
Steve Werner: What do I do.

00:31:58.290 –> 00:32:08.400
Brian Roland: it’s it’s terrifying, especially when you’ve looked at right in the eye and you’ve been like every relationship that I had a form of authority in i’m giving up.

00:32:09.780 –> 00:32:13.350
Brian Roland: And that’s that’s number one it’s.

00:32:14.520 –> 00:32:18.060
Brian Roland: it’s an unhealthy place it’s a scary place and.

00:32:19.920 –> 00:32:29.460
Brian Roland: there’s I mean I there’s a lot online about entrepreneurs, that really go through this kind of post exit depression and.

00:32:31.080 –> 00:32:37.680
Brian Roland: I felt a tiny form of that by just removing myself from the visibility of so much.

00:32:39.180 –> 00:32:49.020
Brian Roland: And so it’s a it’s a very wise question something i’m navigating myself i’m putting a lot of that into my writing.

00:32:50.790 –> 00:32:59.370
Brian Roland: Honestly, these podcasts that i’m doing a lot of my motivation for doing these podcasts is debriefing the last decade and and.

00:33:00.330 –> 00:33:15.390
Brian Roland: And these are areas that allow me to stretch into something new that that I haven’t done before in my professional career, but they still provide that kind of real time entrepreneurial vibe and that connecting and.

00:33:16.590 –> 00:33:28.980
Brian Roland: And then you know I still participates every other month with we call it the betting table with our team internally, where we’re taking we’re we’re all place in our bets on what to develop next for the product.

00:33:30.210 –> 00:33:42.600
Brian Roland: And i’m usually representing one of those projects, and you know if it has anything if it touches vision or culture i’m involved in some way right now at least and and that’s that’s been a good thing.

00:33:43.230 –> 00:33:52.920
Steve Werner: that’s good because I mean you definitely entrepreneurs everyone, without a doubt, is visionary like that’s what defines I don’t know if you read like rocket fuel.

00:33:54.000 –> 00:33:56.220
Steve Werner: Like the visionary and the strategic.

00:33:56.610 –> 00:33:58.050
Brian Roland: That when you check that out.

00:33:58.350 –> 00:34:02.100
Steve Werner: It basically cuts like for every visionary.

00:34:02.400 –> 00:34:09.510
Steve Werner: The first person, they need to hire is the person is the strategic like love spreadsheets loves to like dial in the details.

00:34:09.690 –> 00:34:21.720
Steve Werner: And like basically be our our counterpart right like we can see the vision we can plan, we can talk about it, we can sell people on it, but then we need somebody that does the like nitty gritty the stuff that wears those out building the handbooks.

00:34:22.290 –> 00:34:23.250
Brian Roland: Right yeah.

00:34:23.370 –> 00:34:24.870
Steve Werner: The schedules all of.

00:34:24.900 –> 00:34:26.040
Brian Roland: You had me in handbook.

00:34:27.840 –> 00:34:43.830
Steve Werner: Tell me, I know, when we were talking in the pre show you said scaling up was probably the the number one book that you would recommend just what why, why would you recommend scaling up and What did it do for you, I always like to pull up book recommendations.

00:34:44.340 –> 00:34:46.290
Brian Roland: yeah that’s that’s great um.

00:34:47.310 –> 00:34:53.040
Brian Roland: yeah the opportunity to get to know the author, a long time ago now burn ornish and.

00:34:54.900 –> 00:34:55.710
Brian Roland: You know.

00:34:57.060 –> 00:35:06.480
Brian Roland: He his first iteration of that book was was called the Rockefeller habits and he republished it under scaling up and.

00:35:07.830 –> 00:35:11.850
Brian Roland: You know, for me, it’s it’s a blueprint for.

00:35:13.530 –> 00:35:17.910
Brian Roland: You know the nuts and bolts of what’s necessary to scale up your business.

00:35:19.230 –> 00:35:36.090
Brian Roland: And and it’s really just it’s practical it’s, to the point and it helps you helps you focus on what’s most important and it sparks it sparks ideas along along the way, but it’s very tactical you know I enjoy.

00:35:37.170 –> 00:35:45.120
Brian Roland: Learning from resources that are extremely tactical and to the point, if it if it gets too out there, or too.

00:35:48.150 –> 00:35:52.950
Brian Roland: too hard to apply then it’s just yeah it’s just kind of like like I don’t you know, give me give me something.

00:35:54.090 –> 00:36:01.200
Steve Werner: got it well with that leads really well Brian into I think the last kind of question segment of this.

00:36:01.620 –> 00:36:08.340
Steve Werner: If if an entrepreneur is listening to this and they’re like you know what I know i’m the bottleneck and i’ve been having a hard time giving it up, but this.

00:36:08.970 –> 00:36:15.750
Steve Werner: This conversation is kind of made me realize that maybe I should hire a CEO Maybe I should.

00:36:16.020 –> 00:36:27.900
Steve Werner: retain my visionary status and find somebody to run the day to day what is one piece of advice that either you could go back in time, five years and give yourself, or something even that you’ve learned in the last year.

00:36:28.710 –> 00:36:33.180
Steve Werner: Working kind of in the situation, what is something that you, what is the advice that you would give.

00:36:33.690 –> 00:36:41.160
Steve Werner: an entrepreneur that’s looking to step out a little bit, but doesn’t necessarily want to exit because I think I think you did it right in not exiting.

00:36:41.610 –> 00:36:50.160
Steve Werner: And still being involved in the business because you maintain your sanity that way i’ve seen so many like you talked about entrepreneurs that leave and they’re depressed yeah.

00:36:51.300 –> 00:36:57.870
Brian Roland: yeah well it’s it’s a pivotal moment that any successful business has to has to face down.

00:36:58.800 –> 00:37:05.730
Brian Roland: And and look i’ve seen the opposite i’ve i’ve seen entrepreneurs who built an awesome lifestyle business for themselves and.

00:37:06.420 –> 00:37:13.530
Brian Roland: The business was running itself, and they were pulled back, and then they sold 60% of their stake to a private equity, firm and.

00:37:14.220 –> 00:37:25.260
Brian Roland: That private equity firm demand demanded accountability pulling them back in just for the vanity of being able to show that the founders still involved.

00:37:25.740 –> 00:37:42.240
Brian Roland: And that sounds like a scary place for me to be and it’s one reason we’ve resisted outside accountability when it comes to funding is is because it’s important to us to have the integrity to make the decisions that we feel like is right for us directly.

00:37:43.830 –> 00:37:44.070
Brian Roland: At.

00:37:45.810 –> 00:38:07.020
Brian Roland: I think so much of the entrepreneur entrepreneurial journey, for me, was day by day, step by step, like you know, a lamp unto my feet like I could only see what was right there everything else, I was waiting for it to be revealed or for it to come and and so.

00:38:08.370 –> 00:38:17.700
Brian Roland: I mean it, it took me it took me 13 years to have the awareness, to go back to my business degree and remember there’s a life cycle and.

00:38:18.090 –> 00:38:29.460
Brian Roland: Your beautiful baby grows up and it turns on you and it starts talking back and it starts it starts demanding things that you may not get energy from and so.

00:38:30.330 –> 00:38:40.590
Brian Roland: Really, this awareness that this friction that was starting to happen was just a natural natural progression and to and to lean into it and a healthy and mature way.

00:38:41.580 –> 00:38:51.450
Brian Roland: Which is basically to foster it and care for it and lead it and develop it and that doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself, and I think entrepreneurs are.

00:38:53.970 –> 00:39:06.360
Brian Roland: I really think the Jeff bezos the Elon musk’s these you know these zero to everything entrepreneurs are are painting an unrealistic expectation of the entrepreneurial life because.

00:39:06.690 –> 00:39:15.600
Brian Roland: We forget how many resources they have behind them so that they can maintain that CEO title, and that means that CEO role at the top, while.

00:39:15.960 –> 00:39:23.130
Brian Roland: infinitely building out their executive structure and their management their management line and their downstream of.

00:39:23.640 –> 00:39:30.360
Brian Roland: Is is built out so deeply because they have the resources to do that when when you’re running a lean startup and you’re growing and you’re.

00:39:30.780 –> 00:39:41.370
Brian Roland: And you’re scaling up with privately without outside involvement you’ve got the most flexibility that you possibly could have because you don’t have these outside ties.

00:39:42.420 –> 00:39:53.130
Brian Roland: But you can’t you can’t compare yourself to the entrepreneur that stayed in the CEO role, all the way to the very top, and then you know exited and flew to space like.

00:39:55.800 –> 00:39:56.580
That that’s I mean I could.

00:39:57.960 –> 00:40:00.360
Steve Werner: write or send a car into space, just because they.

00:40:00.360 –> 00:40:01.380
Brian Roland: could just guys.

00:40:01.440 –> 00:40:12.870
Brian Roland: yeah no I think this will will will know, by the time this goes live, but I think Richard Branson and Jeff bezos are both going to space in the next two weeks so it’s their inaugural trips right.

00:40:13.350 –> 00:40:24.000
Steve Werner: that’s what they’re saying um I mean, I think you point that out really well and like just not comparing yourself to others in the space like learn from them.

00:40:24.630 –> 00:40:37.590
Steve Werner: But don’t compare yourself to them, especially and anyone who tries to compare themselves to you know virgin Amazon tesla like any of those bit like.

00:40:39.270 –> 00:40:52.950
Steve Werner: Sure, but they’re they’re like the top Echelon like point 00 1% and that’s just a recipe for comparing yourself to anyone else ever is a recipe for for hatred and not.

00:40:53.460 –> 00:40:56.700
Brian Roland: A ballgame yeah it’s not even it’s not even apples to apples.

00:40:56.700 –> 00:41:00.690
Brian Roland: Like it’s you know it’s it’s a whole different ballgame for sure.

00:41:02.040 –> 00:41:08.280
Steve Werner: I do think it’s interesting on a side note, I guess, I just saw like Jeff phases step down um.

00:41:08.850 –> 00:41:11.370
Steve Werner: yeah but he’s kind of doing the same thing you are.

00:41:11.820 –> 00:41:13.260
Brian Roland: involved read my article i’m.

00:41:13.530 –> 00:41:15.660
Brian Roland: pretty sure I think so.

00:41:15.810 –> 00:41:21.330
Steve Werner: I think so um I do think, I mean the the takeaway for me in this is.

00:41:21.600 –> 00:41:29.070
Steve Werner: I think some people some entrepreneurs and I don’t think they’re true entrepreneurs, they start with the exit in mind, they want they want the exit in two to five years.

00:41:29.280 –> 00:41:37.170
Steve Werner: They want to bank 5,000,010 million whatever and then like I want to do something else, and you might take away from this was, you said you know.

00:41:38.640 –> 00:41:45.840
Steve Werner: That seemed like an immature decision, she was much more mature, this is our baby we build it I know everything about it.

00:41:46.080 –> 00:41:54.930
Steve Werner: I can still be involved, but I can let it grow on its own, but I can still be involved and you compared it to parenting which I don’t have children, but I can imagine it would be the same thing.

00:41:55.320 –> 00:42:06.930
Steve Werner: It reached its its teenage years it did some some back talk it did some you know, it was the rebel little bit and you still be involved, and you can be really proud of it, and you can continue to grow it.

00:42:07.500 –> 00:42:23.550
Steve Werner: instill like get personal worth from it, I think that leads you to a happier place ultimately because i’ve had entrepreneurs on the show who sold another you know they’re floating a little bit and they’re like what am I gonna do i’m gonna do this and do that it’s not the same so.

00:42:23.640 –> 00:42:26.190
Steve Werner: I want to say thank you for sharing so much.

00:42:26.820 –> 00:42:31.800
Brian Roland: Oh you’re welcome and and I think the real measuring stick here is impact, I mean for me.

00:42:33.210 –> 00:42:38.490
Brian Roland: Building building your work on on something meaningful.

00:42:39.570 –> 00:42:49.560
Brian Roland: Is what will sustain you, through your life and and continue to motivate you to keep going, and so, when it comes to the exit and the exit conversation it’s.

00:42:50.010 –> 00:43:01.080
Brian Roland: If your goal is impact, then the question is simply what allows for the greatest impact does exiting the business right now propel the impact to a new level.

00:43:01.950 –> 00:43:10.440
Brian Roland: that we can continue to pursue through a new foundation or a more direct nonprofit that we started are doing our own or a way that we’ve we’ve fuel other.

00:43:11.100 –> 00:43:23.850
Brian Roland: nonprofits at a level we never could before or does does the impact we’re making day by day, through our business to our customers with our employees is that more meaningful than.

00:43:25.500 –> 00:43:33.510
Brian Roland: The exit where you leave all those things behind and maybe you’re left with a pile of money, but nobody to do much with with with it.

00:43:36.030 –> 00:43:39.150
Steve Werner: that’s I mean that is the question i’m.

00:43:40.770 –> 00:43:49.260
Steve Werner: Brian I want to say, like, I want to thank you for sharing so much um I love the impact driven I mean, I think.

00:43:50.460 –> 00:44:00.390
Steve Werner: every entrepreneur I know has some of that and I love the fact that you, you put that front and Center on, I want to give you a chance, one more time, what was the phone number if people want to get.

00:44:01.080 –> 00:44:08.940
Brian Roland: yeah and I, and so I I set up a platform on Community so that I could text back and forth directly with entrepreneurs and.

00:44:09.870 –> 00:44:30.810
Brian Roland: You know I want to have more personal approach with that that’s not subjecting you to ads or algorithms from other people, so you can text me my my number is area code 61580 to 6853 just text impact and that’ll get you the impact report and it allows start a conversation directly.

00:44:32.190 –> 00:44:43.890
Brian Roland: Also, we built a benedetti we we opened up a small business perks platform for companies with less than 150 employees so they’re getting the same corporate discounts we offer.

00:44:44.130 –> 00:44:58.710
Brian Roland: To the big boys for these little companies and we’ll give you your first month free if you use the coupon code growth 150 you can do that at a vanity calm and we’d love to continue the conversation, and one of those two ways.

00:44:59.490 –> 00:45:15.150
Steve Werner: awesome those will all be linked in the show notes if you’re listening, make sure you go text him on Community on also go check out vanity, if you have a company that has under 150 employees and you want to offer benefits that is awesome on.

00:45:16.560 –> 00:45:23.460
Steve Werner: Brian thanks again to everybody else until next time take action change lives make money and we’ll see you soon.


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