#215 – Pivoting Through Change With Doug Utberg

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today, we have Doug Utberg. Doug welcome, great to be here thomas, it is great to have you, would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Sure thing. So um so I actually spent the 1st 20 or so years of my career in the technology industry. So I gradually came through university with a degree in finance and I ultimately ended up going on to get my M. B. A. And I work for a giant tech manufacturing company Intel Corp I would assume most people who are listening have heard of them um and I worked for them for just shy of 18 years, you know, of course, you know, moving up through different roles, et cetera. And then I ended up moving over to lattice semi because you know, one of the things at least that ends up happening, especially in finance for a person kind of like me who is, if people can’t tell I’m extroverted.

And so extroverts in finance kind of tend to be ducks out of water. So as I’m fond of saying, one of two things happen. Either A, you get put in charge or B. You get undercut by the people who are in charge because they feel threatened by you. And so what ends up happening is what ended up happening to me was you kind of, you ascend and then at some point you end up hitting a roadblock. So I was like, alright, I gotta, gotta pivot, try something else. So I went to another tech company, tech manufacturing company called lattice semiconductor. So I live in the Portland Oregon area. So it’s in the United States, way over on the west coast, it’s that you know there’s three states on the west coast Washington is the north, the one in the north that has amazon and and Microsoft of course California is on the south, that has Hollywood and all the California stuff. Organs that state right in the middle and I’m just south of the Portland area, which is the biggest city in the state. So anyway, going back on at lattice semiconductor and what I did was I shifted from finance to information technology. Well I would say sort of because my last 56 years until I was managing a data system team.

And so I ended up becoming the director of the program management office at lattice Semiconductor. But the chief information officer who hired me, he really didn’t like being didn’t like to have to deal with all the budgets and dealing with the finance stuff. So he delegated that to me. So I ended up doing finance again. But from an operational owner perspective as opposed to a finance support perspective. So anyway, going in about a couple of years or so, he ends up taking early retirement which of course is corporate speak for management, told him that he is being moved out. Someone else gets parachuted in from Silicon Valley. And the first move is to get rid of all the people who were in the old C. I. O. S. Inner circle. So I was number one on the list and so I got terminated with absolutely no notice on april 20th of 2020. You know which if if anybody remembers during that time there was roughly 40 million overall people who went on unemployment. So that really sucked because of course I was trying to apply for roles just like literally everybody else.

And I must put in hundreds hundreds of applications probably Somewhere between three and 400. Just nothing. I think I ended up in to interview strings. Um that you know for for roles that had like over 100 and something applicants. And then I think I ended up close but not quite so they said thanks but no thanks. Um And so what I ended up doing was ended up pivoting out of there and I ended up starting kind of one of the businesses that I’m involved in right now which is expense reduction consulting. So what I do is I work with but mid sized companies to reduce their contract based costs but we do it on a success fee basis. So what I’ll do is I’ll partner with my cost category experts will come in and we’ll go and renegotiate your contracts and then we only get paid after you object after you’ve achieved savings because one of the one of the bugaboos at least that I have is that I’ve seen all kinds of consultants come in, they charge enormous fees and you have no clue at all whether you’re really going to get any real value and they get paid whether what they do really generates value or not.

And in a lot of cases what will happen is it will be something valuable that will come out, but it won’t get implemented, so you’ll end up paying a whole bunch of money for consultants that put nice presentations together for management to consume and then it just never goes anywhere. Um So anyway, kind of coming out of that. We are one of the things that I did notice about this business though is that it’s a really really long sales cycle. So I was like okay, I need to figure out something to do, some things to do in the interim so that you know, my kids can go to school and you know can pay the mortgage and stuff like that. So I ended up I’ve ended up working a contract role for a little while and then I also moved into the other secondary role that I’m currently doing, which is I’m doing business development for an information technology recruiting and managed services company. So I’m on the one hand, I, you know, I have my own podcast, I run, I have um a expense reduction consulting hustle. I have a I. T. Recruiting hustle and then there are two pre revenue startups that I’m working with to try to see if we can get those off the ground. Um and so that’s a really long explanation for a whole bunch of different different balls that I’m juggling in the air right now, kind of re architected what my career is going to look like.

Um So you know with that said, I think in the in the pre show thomas and I were talking about kind of what the topic we wanted to walk through and for me, what’s really been on my mind a lot lately is the idea of just pivoting through setbacks. And so, you know, I feel like that’s a that’s a really relevant topic. It’s relevant to just about any existing business owner aspiring business owner or you know, or even high achieving even high achieving career person because there’s always setbacks that you have to work through and figuring out how to do that I think is really important. Thank you for the introduction, busy man. I can tell you’re a very busy man. One thing that you did say in your introduction was about the fact that you were working for a particular let’s say individual and someone got he basically got booted out early retirement, you said in quotations and and a lot of people went with him as I understand it, it’s I mean I feel like I’m a little bit naive in this particular conversation or instance because from a let’s say if you were the business owner in this particular instance.

I know it’s a bigger business obviously, but it would seem counterproductive or negative to a business to just get rid of a load of people who have a load of experience. So in your view, how often does that type of thing happen? I was going to say, that perspective sounds 100% like something an entrepreneur would say. And the difference that I would, that I would call out is that the organizational dynamics are really, really different when the decision maker is spending their own money versus when they’re spending somebody else’s money. Um so at least, you know, one of the things at least that I’ve observed is a lot of larger companies fall into what I call the general electric management paradigm, which is essentially where you have a pyramid of, you know, of management, that you have the ceo you have their staff, they have their staff, they have their staff, and there’s this cascading pyramid of management layers and then you end up having rating and ranking of both individual contributors for several managers, second level managers, et cetera. And so at some point, what happens is the way that you ascend in your career stops being about being exceptionally good at whatever your skill set is and starts being about being exceptionally good at influencing and posturing within that management hierarchy.

And so in a lot of cases, what the explanation for your question is that when the dynamic, when the decision dynamics shift from, you know, your shift from, okay, I’m spending my money, I need to make sure that I’m deploying it as wisely as possible to, I need to protect my turf, ensure that I’m not getting my potential positional power undermined. That that’s when that happens, interesting. Well, you mentioned the setback because you, you suffered a setback there. Um, if someone was about to go through the same thing, let’s, let’s say they got the news, what advice would you give them in terms of how to deal with that? So, I think the, the first thing that I would say is that, um, okay, first thing, decide is to really decide right, what is it that you want with the rest of your career? And so, you know, a part of the inner conflict that I was dealing with was that I had stayed with the stable corporate career because I thought it was what you were supposed to do, right? You know, I’m a late, late gen Xer and of course, right?

We were, we were all trained, right, okay. You know, go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a good job, have a career, you know, you know, buy a house, buy a car, buy a bigger house, buy a car, have kids, buy a bigger house, buy another car, that kind of stuff, you know? And so as you’re going through that cycle, you know, you’re, you know, the, the, the whole idea of, okay, yeah, I’m going to do my own thing that may or may not work out that, you know, that is very foreign to the, you know, to the mindset, that’s kind of, that’s um, that’s really been drilled into kind of my generation and before, um, you know, I think a lot of the millennial generation afterwards are a little more flexible that way, which, incidentally, I actually think is overall productive, but kind of going backwards, is that, um, you know, just, you know, might, you know, the, the way that I had been going about my career was I was like, okay, well, this is what you’re supposed to do, right, this is what you’re supposed to do, I’m doing it and now I was kind of, you know, and, but within my mind, right, I’ve always had some kind of side hustle, whether it was like a real estate investing or trying to get a information marketing company off the ground.

I think when I, before I went to work for intel, I spent a little while selling for selling life insurance and mutual funds, which is really hard, especially because, you know, when you’re doing it and young and broke, all the other people, you know, are also young and broke. And so it takes a really long time to get a book of business together. I think while I was in college I joined on as an Amway distributor and that ended up being a lot harder than I thought. And so when I had the chance to kind of do the stable corporate thing, I’m like, okay, maybe this is the right thing to do. Um, but I’d say, but ultimately, and this is a really long way of getting to, it is decide what you really want to do and then decide that you are going to put all your effort into figuring out how to get there, whatever that happens to be. So, if you are career oriented, what I would say is okay, and you hit the street, well, first of all, now is actually as good a time as you’re gonna find to be on the street because generally speaking, it’s, you know, there’s a lot of openings, but even if you’re in, say, even if you’re in another unemployment disastrous scenario, what I would say is, okay, go on to your social media, probably linkedin principally, unfollowed everybody and then find out, okay, what, what, what, what does this say that if your target, say 20 to 30 companies where you would want to work, right sector job, etcetera, and then go start snooping to find out who are the decision makers at the, you know, you are the people that will be hiring those types of positions at those companies, figure out who they are, start following them, like every post that they put on that, that they put on linkedin, comment on every post that they put on linkedin after doing that for about 2 to 3 weeks, hit them up on instant message, some will reply, some won’t the ones that reply, start a conversation string and then, you know, then just see if you can continue a conversation because you know, if they, if they are not personally hiring somebody, but you get a conversation going and you create value up front, there’s a really good chance that they can connect you with somebody else who is, I think the notion of going through a HR based hiring process if you’re anywhere above entry level is, you know, probably more trouble than it’s worth just because you will have to spend an untold amount of time basically just in wasted effort by filling out resumes by submitting resumes and filling out applications for jobs that aren’t, frankly, frankly aren’t real because there’s for compliance purposes, a lot of companies have to publicly post, have to publicly post jobs even if they are most likely to feel internally.

So that means there’s actually far less available jobs out then you see on all the job boards because a lot of stuff gets posted externally, even though there’s no chance of bringing in somebody external. Um, and so it ends up being a really confusing environment. So, okay, that that’s if you decide to go into a career path, if you decide to go on the entrepreneur, the entrepreneur route, It’s a little more complicated. You will almost certainly have to pivot through five or six times. You might need to end up picking up some end up picking up a day job to finance your entrepreneurial journey or go get financing or something. But the main thing I would say is really decide what it is that you want to do and then decided that no matter what come hell or high water, you’re going to figure it out because I think that’s, that’s probably the single most important factor because there’s always going to be weird stuff you have to work through and there will always be new skills you have to acquire and how you think something works at the beginning and how it actually ends up working when it’s sustainable, they might be kind of similar, but they will almost certainly not be the same.

Thank you for the answer. I’ve heard it a couple of times about the, you know, sending hundreds of applications and getting nothing in response and how it’s a bit broken. Do you think there’s a bit of a, I don’t know an opportunity there for someone to come in and solve that problem? Well, um, so you’re, you’re touching on some hot button button issues here? So there’s, there’s a couple of things about our facts of the current way business happens that I think are ultimately going to become obsolete. One is like I was talking about with those multiple layers of middle management. I think legacy companies that have, um, you know, that have essentially monopoly pricing power will be able to sustain that model for a little while, but the growth companies, the ones that are smart, won’t replicate it, they will have very, very thin management and um, you know, and they’ll be, you know, they will be operating kind of based on more of a self motivation model as opposed to the assumption that you need to have managerial oversight of everybody and then oversight of managers and the oversight of those second level managers, et cetera.

I think that’s one paradigm that’s changing. I think another one is that, yeah, it’s like you said, the, I think the way that companies source headcount is fundamentally is going to need to change. And a part of this, at least in my observation is that there’s a little bit of a kind of turf overlaps or your, what I would say turf war role confusion going on. And that is that in every, almost every company on the face of the planet, human resources owns recruiting, but there’s a fundamental conflict here, because human resources similar to like accounting is a compliance role, not necessarily a sales role and recruiting is a sales activity. And so I think what ends up happening is when you, when you run a sales activity in a complete with compliance based processes, you end up creating a lot of roadblocks and you end up introducing a whole lot of unintended bias, which I think is what’s a big hot button issue right now. Um, you know, and so of course, you know, since I’m involved in the recruiting and um, one of the things that I, that I think actually would be probably smart for a lot of companies would be to partner with some strategic recruiters.

You know, I understand you’re going to have to pay a placement fee, but in a lot of cases being able to bring on qualified candidates in a short amount of time, the time value that you will gain in many cases will exceed that placement, you know, because you have to understand that any time you’re running a process internally, whoever is doing that is not doing something else. And so not only do you have the delay and what you’re trying to do, you have the other thing that things that aren’t being done. And I think this is, this is another, another kind of one of my personal bugaboos, is that a lot of traditional kind of corporate management management sort of basically assumes that internal people’s time is free and that your internal people, what they do doesn’t really matter because if it did, you would have them focus on it. But what everybody does is they go, okay, well, we want you to handle this and that other thing over there. Um, so all right, well, does that, you know, is this, you know, So what you’re saying is what you want, getting to get done is really not that important because if it was you would either, you know, you either bring out somebody temporary to have that be their sole focus, sole focus, or you you know, or you would take whoever that you’re assigning it to and not split their duties.

Um you know, but I think this is one of the other, as I called, the many management delusions is that there’s a management delusion that people’s time is free and if you assign something to somebody that, okay, that that that means it’s fine, my job is done. It’s like, well, no, if you take somebody’s effort and cut it in half, they will take something that they were doing well, and they’ll probably probably do two things in a mediocre way. And if mediocre is all you need, then I suppose you can get away with that. And there’s actually a lot of businesses where mediocre is all they need. And so what people think is that they can just keep splitting people’s people’s effort and get mediocre output, you know, across, you know, across a broad array array of issues, you know, of course, the problem is if you compound that over time, you eventually become uncompetitive coming back to your experience of the fact that you’ve got both entrepreneurship in your, shall we say CV and also working in a in a big corporate and you mentioned the fact that at some point it becomes not about allocation of the best resources or getting the best return but sort of protecting, I don’t know, upper management, protecting themselves type thing.

What could you do if you were in business and you wanted to avoid that type of scenario? What would be the best way to go about doing that in your view? Um that’s a really good question. So my intuition there is that the the most important thing is to make sure that you are limiting the number of layers of management that you put in place and I think the way that you do that is by have make sure that as many things as possible are documented and can be boiled down to processes and wherever you can automate with technology, I try to do that because what you really want to be able to do is you want to be able to have the have an adequate budget so that you can source and compensate exceptional people, you know a player quality people who can really self manage and don’t need to have a lot of oversight to produce exceptional results. I think that’s actually probably the one of the least and again this is just my opinion, but in my view, one of the biggest, biggest weak spots of a lot of companies is that their structure is really designed to recruit and promote B players because in a lot of companies, again, you get, you get recognized and promoted based on what you achieved, but also how well you comply with expectations.

Well, a players don’t comply, they just create value and a players don’t always ascend. In a lot of cases, they just leave, they’ll either leave for another, another role or their lead to start their own thing. And so what ends up, what ends up happening is you, you can get a lot of cases where you have senior management where they’ll see an A player, but the A players not isn’t complying with the regulations and they’re saying, hey, what’s wrong with them? They’re not following the rules, you need to get them in line. It’s like, okay, now, if you have an A player in sales and then, you know, and they’re your top salesperson, you know, as long as they’re not breaking any any legal or ethical rules, just put a wall around them and let them do their thing. You know, that that’s probably one of the best things is if you get to where you can recruit and retain a players, um, you know, make sure that they have those legal and ethical boundaries, but otherwise let them do their thing because if you try to over manage them, you will a reduced their effectiveness and be event push them somewhere else. That’s a great answer. I wanted to follow up on your, um, the fact that you’re in expense reduction as well.

And I think it’s cool that you do the performance pricing, but I did want to ask how you go about mitigating, you know, ensuring that when you do that work, then it’s going to be worth your while. Is there some sort of assessment that you go through in order to ensure that that business has the ability to reduce expenses? Yeah, sure. Excellent question. And so typically what we do is um usually when we start a project, we’ll, we’ll put a materiality structure around um around the type of contracts we’re looking at. So for example, let’s say that we’re looking at, say a telecommunications contract, Um generally speaking will want to be looking at at least $100-$200,000 a year just because um you know, just because generally speaking, smaller contracts tend to be, tend to be a little more difficult to to unwind. Whereas there’s other situations where like, for example, if you’re looking at banking fees in a lot of cases, you know, you’re materiality for for looking at expense reductions much lower. It’s around, I don’t know, like 40, a year or something like that. But in either case, what we do is we end up taking a risk when we go in because we might not be able to generate material savings, you know, but on the other hand, um you know, when you do a success fee based model, your your compensation is unbounded, you know, and I think that’s the you know that that that’s the flip side, right, is you take that front and risk, but in exchange for that, if you were able to generate exceptional value, you, in my view, you have the right to be compensated for all of that.

Yeah. Higher if you’re taking more risk than that means higher price. Right, correct, correct. And how do you find that business? So the generally speaking, the way that the best way to find these types of opportunities is usually through networking with the decision makers most likely in finance or most often in finance. And so this has been tremendously difficult during covid because virtual events are completely useless for professional services networking. And so in a lot of cases, you know, at least what I’ve had to do is I’ve had to really get creative with the way that I reach out to people and like one of the ways that I do that is through a podcast so that, you know, because by having my own show, it gives me a platform to be able to invite decision makers to come on for interviews and then start engaging in a conversation. And so I think that, you know, for a lot of people who are looking to go an entrepreneurial route, what they need, what they will need to figure out how to do is to figure out how are they going, how are you going to do business development, understanding that people don’t answer their phone anymore and they and their, your email open rates are going down and the answer is not just not necessarily to send twice as many emails.

Well, that’s me, thank you for answering the question. That is me being a fantastic host because what I actually, I’ve asked you a question which has a double meaning, What I actually meant was how do you find it, how do you find being in that business? You know, what’s the business like? But I can totally understand that. It meant the same thing. Gotcha. Okay, let’s see. So as far as my, as far as my retrospect, well, you know, if I was going back to when I first joined, um I probably would, I probably would not have done it the way that I did and the reason why is that the difficult part in any type of professional services, consulting type of business is business development and client acquisition. So when I started, I had no audience, I had some people I was connected to on linkedin. I didn’t have a show, I didn’t have, you know, I didn’t really, I didn’t have an active channel on like Youtube. I wasn’t active on facebook or any of the social platforms, you know, I didn’t really have an audience who was, who was, who was brought in and engaged to me. And so the thing is that in a lot of cases you’ll have somebody who gets separated and the franchise consultants will descend on them like vultures trying to get them to buy into something or another.

And almost all the franchises have the same thing in common, which is that they have a excellent, amazing execution model and they have a very, very underdeveloped to non existent business acquisition model. But if you’re in professional services, business acquisition is somewhere between half and three quarters of all the value. It is extremely easy to find people who can do execution. It is really, really, really hard to get people to say, okay, yes, I want to work with you and I’m willing to write you a check. And so I think that’s the, that’s probably the, that’s that’s honestly the thing that I’m still working through is really getting a sustainable, repeatable client acquisition process together that I can, you know, that I can tune up or down, you know, as you know, as I need to scale revenue, you know, because of course, the, you know, the second level thought is that step one is that you start by scratching around you find a few clients great, Making some revenue. Step two is to say, Okay, if you get to where you want to grow your business, you need to be able to say, Okay, what are the levers that I need to pull?

Where do I invest capital to be able to grow my revenue base so that I’ll be able to know in advance that I can hire people because if you grow your revenue base without support you’ll burn yourself out. But if you bring on support without growing your revenue base will go bankrupt. And so the you know there’s this there’s this bridge point where you really have to have your marketing and business development and client acquisition processes dialed in almost perfectly because once you do that then you can say, okay now it’s time to bring in help. Now I can start codifying these processes. I can turn on the spigot and bring in start bringing in revenue because now I’m able to handle it um you know otherwise you’ll fall off the fence one way or the other by burning yourself out or by increasing by taking on a bunch of costs you can’t pay. Have you got any favorite examples about let’s say you go into a business and you reduce the load of expenses and what that means to the client? Sure. So so for example, um you know one client act that I that I worked with is actually my best friend, he has a dental practice.

And what we were able to do was we’ve been able to reduce his dental supply costs by about 17% or so um you know and so that’s actually that’s been pretty pretty meaningful to him because what’s been happening is because the market for dental hygienists has actually really tightened up and you know, he he’s been needing to increase the compensation of new people that he brings in. Well, anybody who runs a small business knows once you pay a new person more, you have to pay your existing people more. Because if you don’t, then you’re going to lose all of them because any time that you have a have a business, you just have to assume that everyone knows what everyone else makes, even though technically it’s supposed to be confidential, just assume that everybody knows how much everybody else is being paid. And if you have any dis equities at all, people will figure out about it and it will make them very, very, very unhappy. Um And so in because that’s actually incidentally one of the reasons why I like doing the expense reduction consulting because it’s working with a lot of the smaller businesses and it’s also, you know, it also helps to provide them the capital that they need to reinvest in their business so that they can either stay viable if you have an inflationary environment or they can afford to invest in growth, thank you for that.

This one is actually a selfish one. And I whenever I, whenever I have anyone on the show and they’ve got military experience, I’d like to ask about how that should we say translates into business. So can you tell me about the Marine Corps and how that how you’ve used that experience? sure. So I was in the Marine Corps reserves for six years from 19 beginning of 1997 through 2000 to um you know, and of course, you know, as far as direct experience, you know, I was a combat engineer, you know, so it’s basically shooting things and blowing stuff up which doesn’t have as many civilian applications. But I think the really important things that I learned, I would say is the ability to adapt and improvise just because whenever you’re dealing, you know, if you’re whatever you’re dealing with the situation, especially in the marines, which is generally, which is, you know far and away the least well funded of all branches of the military. So that means just about any, any mission that we’re working on, you will never have everything you need to complete it. So in a lot of cases you need to you need to change plans, you need to adapt.

You need to figure out another way to acquire the materials or manpower or whatever that you need. And so I think that there’s at least in my view, I think that that notion that scarcity breeds resourcefulness and figuring out how to work your way through situations where you don’t have all the pieces that you need. Um you know, I think it’s really important because there’s a tendency for, you know, on a lot of people to say, okay, I don’t have the materials I need, I’m going to stop until I get supplied, it’s like, no, just figure it out, figure it out. You know, it’s, you know, in in business, right? We get paid very, very well to figure out problems that other people think are unsolvable. And, you know, that’s, you know, because if you’re gonna take one thing away is that, you know, if if you develop the skill of figuring out problems that other people think can’t be solved, there will be no limit to the demand for your time. Would you say that’s, um, sort of within your personality as a result of that experience? I would say personality, yes. You know, of course, right? You figuring out unsolvable problems is a lot easier than it sounds, but but yes, I would say that that, you know, that that resolve to figure things out is most definitely ingrained, but I think it’s also learn able to, because, you know, it’s principally where you just have to say, okay, I’m going to intentionally put myself in an uncomfortable situation and I’m going to figure it out.

Um, you know, and if you get really good at that, then, you know, then eventually you’ll just kind of overcome that fear of, you know, that, that fear of unknown situations. I mean, if you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, you know, human beings have and have an ingrained fear of the unknown because, right, you know, you know, millions and millions of years ago. Uh, you know, if somebody heard a rustling in a bush next to them, there are some people who thought, okay, hey, it might be a tiger. You know, I need to be really cautious. Other people who thought, okay, well it’s probably just the wind. Well enough of those people who thought it was just the wind got eaten by tigers to where the people who, you know, to where the, there’s an almost, you know, there’s an evolutionary bias toward caution and change aversion. I mean, and I think as you know, as business people and entrepreneurs being willing to lean into that uncertainty over time will give you a sustainable competitive edge because despite what they tell you, most people just don’t like to do it. So it’s an interesting point. Um, coming back to the military for a second because I heard it said that once you realize, I can’t remember who it was exactly.

Once you realize, you know, the decisions that you make or the risks that you face are not like, you know, bullets flying by your head or something and you’re not too too afraid of making a wrong business decision, does that resonate with you at all. Yes, exactly. And well, I mean, and the way that I would think about it also because um, I was actually very fortunate in that my, my enlistment ended one month before my entire unit was activated and sent over to the gulf, you know now of course if I did get activated, of course I go, that’s how the game works, but you know, I was able to kind of go out and resume my civilian life, but the I would say the the kind of the non military equivalent of that is that, you know, okay when you go through that uh you know that forced separation from your career path and you have to pivot um you know, in my view, you know, kind of haven’t gone through that, I sort of feel a little a little unbreakable in that I’m like okay, I kind of feel like whatever I’m dealing with, I’m not concerned about being able to handle it. You know, it might not go exactly the way that I want, it might take longer to unfold in the way than the way that I want um you know, but the world is not going to end um you know, and I think that there’s there’s just some people carry so much of a fear of, I wouldn’t even call it a fear of failure because as long as you’re alive and you’re still trying, you haven’t failed, you know, you don’t fail until you’re dead or give up, those are the only two real conditions, conditions of failure, it’s more just a fear of change.

People have such a fear of change that they don’t try new things and I think that actually that impedes a lot of people’s growth growth potential because there’s so many people out there, that as I would say, you know, I’m bringing in some recent pop culture references, my daughter is a big fan of Andrew Garfield in recent show, tick tick boom about Jonathan Larson and the evolution of the show rent. Well, you know, for everybody who’s not familiar with the background, he went through a long, long, long string of rejections and unfortunately had a massive aortic aneurysm the day before rent, the rent debuted on broadway, but anyway, you know what he had to do was right, you know, he was determined that the you know that the art music inside him wasn’t going to stay there, that he was going to figure out how to bring it out. And I think that you know, if you’re too afraid of change, then too much of that value that’s inside you just stays there and you know, I personally believe that you know, kind of, we, as people have, you know, if we are blessed with skills, abilities and talents, we have a duty, you know, if you are let me back up, if you are blessed with skills, ability and talents and those talents are legitimately valuable to the world, you have a duty to bring those talents out to the world because otherwise you are preventing other people from benefiting from what you have learned and no, and I think that when you, when you think about it in that context, it, you know, it, you know, it at least in my view, I find that that there is a motivating aspect of that because if you think of it less than the hey, I want to do a thing and more like, hey, I have a duty to help other people benefit from what I’ve been able to learn.

Great answer. Um, did you, have you had any, shall we say discipline um, drilled into your, into your philosophy or did that not really apply? Um, well, so, and I would say there’s a, there’s a yes to both. Um, and because I think the, you know, the discipline is that, you know, you, you have to put in the work. However, I think there’s, you know, in a lot of cases, some people get really rigid with their discipline, I tend to be a little less rigid just because I’m not, you know, my business is not currently at a point where I’m like, okay, here’s the, here’s the, here’s the step 1 to 50 playbook, just repeat. You know, just put this on infinite repeat and everything will be fine. There’s a lot of stuff I’m still figuring out. And so I think that when you’re going through that, when you’re going through that phase, right? You know, there’s, I think there’s a discipline to say, hey, I’m going to keep going until I figure it out. Then once you do figure it out, there’s just saying, okay, I’m not, I’m going to stay focused and scale it and not get distracted. So I think there’s two phases of discipline when you’re, when you’re running your business.

Well, thank you for taking that detour with me. I kind of like, I enjoyed the topic, so I appreciate it. What are your goals at the moment? I’m currently in, you know, in getting to that, that sustainable business development acquisition process whereby I can say, okay, once I get to where I know that if I do X, y and Z at a certain order that I will bring in a certain amount of revenue, because, you know, a part of my financial discipline is I am not going to invest in scaling my business until I know that I can generate enough revenue to offset those costs. So I’m currently going through establishing and documenting those strictures so that I can, you know, so, you know, so that I can ascend because I think the quickest way to, to tank your business is if you try to grow too fast without the ability to finance it, you know, now, of course I’m not VC backed. So of course if you’re spending someone else’s money, you know, whatever party on, but I’m spending my own money and I just just do not have to go bankrupt.

So I’m being very cautious about it, that’s a perfectly reasonable. I have spoken to you someone about instances we’re scaling, Let’s say it happened too quickly and there’s some reputational damage that can come with that. So 100% understand case studies ad nauseum and finance about what they call the growing broke case studies. And usually it’s where you have a company where they’re trying to grow very rapidly and usually what ends up happening is they have they end up having to put a to put a whole bunch of cash into either growing and maintaining inventory or in extending credit through accounts receivable and then eventually they get to where they essentially just become insolvent because they have a whole lot of assets on their books that they can’t convert to cash to pay the bills. Um and so it’s, that’s the thing is that, you know, over the long term right, profitability is what you need to track over the short term. It is all about cash flow because if you don’t have cash, if you don’t have cat, if you don’t, if your cash flow isn’t there, then all the none of the other metrics matter.

You will be insolvent. Yeah, Well we don’t want to in there. So have you got any, have you got any closing thoughts for us today? I think closing thought is really just reiterating the notion of, you know, just, just really think about what it is that you want the path that you want for the rest of your business life to take, and then and then just go on to develop the determination that whatever it takes to get there, you’re going to figure it out. Because I think that just that determination in itself will create the resiliency that you need, you know, it’s similar to, you know, I’m fond of saying that you know whenever people ask me about becoming a new parent, so I have my two kids, my daughter just turned 16, my son just turned 13, so I was, you know, a new parent a little while ago, but like anybody who’s say like becoming a new parent, they always ask, okay, what do I need to know? I go in my view the principle that, you know, the principal determinant is are you willing to subordinate any and everything else in your life to taking care of your kids? If the answer to that question is yes, you’re ready.

Whatever whatever you find whatever you run into, you’ll figure out a way through it if your answer is well wait a minute, no, but I still want to that’s it. You’re not ready, You’re not ready, It’s you know, because you will end up getting into a big, you know, you’ll end up hitting a really major time conflict and you will end up feeling resentful, are you willing to subordinate everything else to your kids? Similar to your business, right? Your your business or career? Are you willing to, are you willing to keep persevering to figure out what, you know, what what the exact formula is for what you want to achieve it, regardless of how many times you have to pivot pivot and go through setbacks. And if the answer to that question is yes, you’re ready. If the answer to that question is, I’m just trying it out. You save yourself, save yourself a lot of time and heartache because it’s um, you know, you have to develop that resolve that whatever you have to do, you will figure it out. That’s a great answer. I can I mean, it makes perfect sense in relation to kids, but I’ve never heard it said that way in relation to business before.

And that’s a great, a great question to ask people if they’re willing to do whatever it takes and exchange whatever is required in order to meet that outcome. If you like, I’ve noticed that clarity is a big thing for you, right? Yes. Yes, clarity is very important. And in a lot of clarity doesn’t come in one in one at one shot, you know, as I found, right? The as I unpacked what I’m doing more, the clarity has, you know, I’ve always thought that I was clear and every time when I look back two weeks, I’m like, no, I really didn’t have an idea what I was going with, that what I was going after. And, you know, because I think that, you know, because like one of the things that you brought up that I want to unpack a little more is kind of balancing between, say, your personal and business priorities. Because on the one hand you say, okay, I’m going to do whatever it takes around business. Does that mean that I can’t take care of your family? Take care of my family and go, well, that depends. The question is, right? You know, if you have these two priorities, how you know, how do you juxtapose in between one another? So for me, family, for me, I’m a family comes first kind of person.

So what that means is the big rocks in my life jar family. And so at some point, the time that I can put into my business cuts off and that means I’m going to grow more slowly and I’ve mentally decided I am going to keep Pivoting through, figuring out how to, you know how to run my business in a way that works around my family and can still be successful. Which is going to inevitably take longer than if I could pour 90 hours a week into it, but I can’t and I’m not going to so that means I have to figure out a way to substitute intelligence for time. Yeah. And in some instances, I mean, that can actually be more beneficial, right? So if you are, if you’re willing to delegate that can help the business grow quicker than if you were holding on to things, you found that to be the case. Yes, Absolutely, Absolutely. Well, and because another thing that I I’m trying to remember the source, I can’t remember the source, so I can quote it accurately, but there was one person I read where they said, is that making a lot of money actually isn’t that hard.

Making a lot of money while still having a life that you want to live is extremely hard. Um You know, because you know, if you’re willing to put in 80 90 100 hour weeks, um you know, there’s a lot of things you can do, you know, or you know, if you’re willing to go 90% travel, there’s a lot of stuff you can do where you can make a ton of money. It’s very good, very good bet that you will be very miserable and or substance addicted after after not too much time. Um the trick is figuring out how do you become, you know, financially and personally successful anyway, that meshes with what you want for your personal life. And I think the only way you can, that you can really accomplish that is to say, okay, this is what this is what the family rocks look like in my my life, right? So the analogy is that if you have a jar, right? And you’re trying to figure out, you know, how do you fill it up, what you do is you start by putting the big rocks in, then you put the middle sized rocks and fill the rest of the sand and so the big rocks and the things that are most important in your life. And so if the big rocks in your life jar are your family, you say, okay, this is, you know, it’s all right.

This is how much time I’m gonna need for my family. This is how much is left for my other stuff. I have to figure out how to get to where I want to go inside that, you know, inside that time and resource envelope, you know, and I’m I’m a big believer that there are, I won’t say that there are no unsolvable problems, but that there are very few unsolvable problems. And so most things that we think are a time or resource problem are actually a knowledge problem. So for example, if I say I don’t have time to build my business. I said, all right, that’s a time problem. It’s actually not. It’s a knowledge problem. It’s I don’t know how to build my business in 20 hours or less a week. You know, or we’d say, Okay, you know, you know, I don’t have enough money. That’s a that’s a funding problem. No, it’s not. It’s a knowledge problem and saying I don’t know how to get funding that does not risk bankrupting my family. There are different ways of looking at things, but you know, when you start looking at your business problems as knowledge problems that can be figured out, I think this is this is what feeds into the Infinite Perseverance hypothesis, which is that okay?

You know, if if you, you have to start by believing that any business probably run into can be figured out and it can be figured out any way that is consistent with what your life goals are. You know, if you go in with, you know, with that structure, I think that’s, I think that’s a really important part of persevering Forward, because, you know, as the most happening, for example, is the, you know, when roger roger Banister broke the four minute mile, right, you know, up until then they thought it was physically impossible, and then I think after he broke it, it was like a month later when somebody else broke it, and since then there’s been like 1500 people who have registered sub four minute miles. So once, you know, once people convince themselves that something can be done, they figure out a way to do it. And so a lot of what you have to do in business is convince yourself that what you’re trying to do can be done and all you have to do is figure out how well that just as a takeaway, I love that phrase, Infinite perseverance, I’ve never heard that before, I feel like if I actually, I actually just came up right off the top of my head, I’m going to brand it though, I’m writing it down, talking Deserves a trademark, that one just as a because I think it’s highly beneficial for those that don’t have clarity.

What would you say to someone in terms of if they were like, yeah, I I noticed the, should we say the benefits of being clear or knowing what I want, but I really don’t know yet, what do you say to that person? Let’s see. So I think the generally speaking, I think that the, you know, if you’re pursuing business, the business that you, you know, if you’re doing business clarity in my experience, the best business clarity is when you are creating something that you desperately needed at some point in your life. Um and so for example, the vision that I am moving toward with my business and I’m nowhere close to there yet, but the vision I’m moving toward with my business is to give either you either give value, you really value obsessed leaders inside businesses, the tools they need to transform their bureaucratic business or they’re kind of old style bureaucracy business to a world class business, because that’s something that I fought, we have fought against my whole corporate career or giving some giving somebody the tools who is a new entrepreneur either as a, you know, either you’re either fresh out of college or your corporate convert and you don’t really know what to do with this entrepreneur thing, the full tool set to go from not really knowing what you’re, what you’re planning on doing to building and running a successful business.

Those are the, those are the two big problems that I’ve encountered with in my career that I really have a passion for going about solving and I’ve had to make it really, I guess I’ve had to um I guess you’d say um what is it? I’ve had to come to peace with the fact that those, that’s gonna take me a really long time to architect and market those, you know the solution to those and it will probably end up looking different than I think it will today, but I think that the people who are most successful are the people who go about and develop a passion to solve a problem to create a solution that they desperately needed at some point in their life because I think that when you have a successful business um you know again I’ll do respect to Simon Sinek who has a few number one global bestsellers start with, why I actually think that if you have a small business or even a large one for that matter, you actually need to start with, who, who is it that you that your business is designed for whose problem are you solving?

Um you know, because I think that if you’re really, really clear on that who and in most cases for most entrepreneurs that who will be you at some prior point in your life and in a lot of cases that’s actually really productive because that means you know exactly how you felt, you know exactly what you needed and you knew exactly how every other solution that was available to you failed. Um but let’s get really clear on that who because if you know that who that then you can ascend, you can create that proverbial client avatar and use that to answer every other every other client facing questions in your business. I love that answer. Thank you. If people want to know more, where do they go? Sure. So my my podcast is called Terminal Value so it’s terminal value podcast dot com or just look up terminal Value in Itunes or Spotify or any of the other podcast aggregators and my website is just terminal value dot dot biz That’s T R M I N A L V A L U E dot B I Z Thank you for that And for everyone watching, please review the links in the description and doug thanks for being a great guest today.

Yes, yes. And and by all means please check out the podcast and I would love it if people would please leave an honest review. Hopefully it’ll be five stars but I’d rather be honest than would be good. All right, well thank you for your contribution and again thanks for being a great guest. Thank you very much.