CEOs typically place their first call to Coach Kevin with a crisis to solve. They stay because of his business acumen and no-holds-barred, tell-it-like-it-is style. Kevin’s career spans 30 years, over a dozen countries and four continents. He’s worked...
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Ronald Skelton 0:06
Hello and welcome to the how to exit podcast where we introduce you to a world of small to medium business acquisitions and mergers. We interview business owners, industry leaders, authors, mentors and other influencers with the sole intent to share with you what it looks like to buy or sell a business. Let's get rolling.
And now a moment for our sponsors. I want to highly recommend you get acquisition Aficionado magazine. Every month acquisition officiate auto magazine brings you tactics for business buying and selling you won't find anywhere else learn firsthand from industry leaders who share their success stories featuring in depth interviews and stories from leading figures in the business acquisition industry. This multi platform mobile magazine speaks to acquisition entrepreneurs wherever they are in the journey. And I want you to visit acquisition aficionado.com today. Hello, and welcome to the how to exit podcast today. I'm here with Kevin Lawrence. Kevin is a strategic CEO coach and a strategic advisor and author of your oxygen mask first, thank you for being on the show today. Kevin, it's great to have you here.
Kevin Lawrence 1:18
Yeah, thanks. I'm looking forward to our conversation.
Ronald Skelton 1:20
I was talking to him, just before we got started, like I got some stuff I want to chat with you about. There's some hot topics in my world about, you know, helping, how to identify, how to identify great leaders. So let's just start kind of how did you get into the coaching space? What, What inspired you to write a, write a book, which kind of go over your origin path?
Kevin Lawrence 1:41
Well, I mean, that inspired me, I kind of fell into the coaching space. You know, after a couple of years working in the ad industry, I started doing marketing consulting, I saw a big opportunity, particularly on the customer service and taking good care of the customers you had. And I did that for a while. But then I realized, man do these ideas are easy. They're actually a dime a dozen. Getting the operators to implement them is the work. And I was like, Okay, well, someone said, there's this thing called coaching. And this is back in the 90s. And I'm like, Well, that sounds interesting. It's like yeah, help people to actually get the stuff done, versus figure out the, the strategy and what to do. And I just kind of fell into it, because I figured it would give me better results with my clients. In the coaching I first started doing it was weekly calls, which was mostly about execution, troubleshoot, execute, troubleshoot, execute, troubleshoot. And that was what I found it was needed, especially for a lot of smaller businesses, they don't have execution rigor, in a lot of cases,
Ronald Skelton 2:40
Lets talk about, just kind of go right into you, you, you have a book out there called your oxygen, your oxygen mask first. And I was looking at the I have the chart up on the big screen way up there. So if you seem to look it up, I'm glancing up that 17 habits, gonna tell me the premise of the book, what it's about. And let's, let's kind of jump into how this relates to us in our world.
Kevin Lawrence 3:01
Yeah, like, first of all, just to back up a little bit. There's another book that I was a key driver behind called Scaling up, which is about building companies. And it was a it's a methodology we use with clients. But the problem we saw is, we could figure out the strategy and the execution and the cash modeling to get the company to scale, which becomes fairly easy and paint by number after you do it a few times in a few cycles. But then generally along the way, a lot of the leaders CEOs, execs bonk like they fall on their face. And, and so I've always been curious about how do you have sustained success and growth as the companies grow? And a lot of times unfortunate people sell because not that they want to sell, they don't believe they can get to the next level. So I've been fascinated in coaching CEOs now for 28 years, mostly CEOs and a bunch of execs. And the book was basically how do you continue to grow as far as you want to go and handle the big gut punches along the way when you get mentally cooked. And that was sort of so it's the guide for scaling yourself cuz I just had too much carnage. Like, I still see a lot of carnage. And most of it's fixable, almost all of its predictable. But only if you've been there a bunch of times and people were shocked at the situations that are in and I'm like, well of course you're there. And it's not that I'm, I'm the almighty intelligence No, it's just there's very predictable patterns of things that happen to CEOs and execs and growing companies. But most of them have only done it once so they don't know what they're coming up against.
Ronald Skelton 4:36
It's interesting is I know for myself, and I've experienced this experiences in this in the.com world where we were funded by VCs and stuff and I've experienced this in my own business and stuff without without guys like you know, I'm, I'm, I'm gonna put that out there because I think you could probably get people past there. It's usually a different person that can take up a company,
Kevin Lawrence 4:55
Ronald Skelton 4:56
shoestring budget, bootstrap it up, get it up and running. And then the different guy, you got to swap that CEO out that General Manager out if you want to go from, you know, he gets it to a million dollars to get to profitable and to go from a million dollars to you know, hopefully we don't lose power here we had an earthquake here yesterday
Kevin Lawrence 5:12
Ronald Skelton 5:13
and the flower the power just switched (inaudible).
Man I was a
Kevin Lawrence 5:19
Ronald Skelton 5:20
Yeah, it was a very, very small earthquake, but I've never been in the dead epicenter of an earthquake and it's usually different to be in the dead center of it. Like, I was standing in a, in a mall yesterday in Santa Rosa, and a 4.5 or 4.4 hit. And the malls on springs, it's meant to flex we are in the Apple Store. I threw my six year old daughter underneath the table and cried I'm 510 and 350 pounds on a, on a good day. Like I flew under the at that table with her and like curled under cuz stuff was flying off the shelves and everything in there.
Kevin Lawrence 5:49
Ronald Skelton 5:50
And yeah, so when the lights just flickered. I was like, I don't do that. Again. I'm busy.
Kevin Lawrence 5:56
Not good timing.
Ronald Skelton 5:56
We were talking about the, the, the difference between the, you're scaling the CEOs, right?
Kevin Lawrence 6:03
Yes. And basically in it some people, the, the, the common theory is people can get you to a certain level, then you got to swap out the leader of the leadership to get to the next. And it's, it's not as true as people think it is. Because often, they just haven't had the, the, the resources or the direction to improve the rate capability on things. And so they don't know what they don't know. So basically, the way I look at it is it's like, if you know how to ride a bicycle, but then you jump into a car, you're gonna have some issues, you go from a car and you master a car, and then you go into an airplane, you're gonna have some issues. And and many of us in our careers go from skateboards, to bicycles and bicycles to cars and cars to airplanes. But we wonder why we crashed the plane, because no one frickin taught us how to fly it. And
Ronald Skelton 6:53
Kevin Lawrence 6:53
we didn't have enough seat time enough practice. And it's not that everybody can do it. But most people get under developed as they grow. And that's, and, and, and also because they don't know what they need to do. They just kind of work hard. So that's, I, I think there's an opportunity for more people to be able to grow as the companies grow.
Ronald Skelton 7:12
I'm, I'm glad you, you said that, because, you know, still my mindset is, you know, without having somebody work with a guy like you my mindset is you know, when I'm looking at a company, where's it at? Now? Where am I tried to get it to? And who's the perfect fit that's done that a bunch of different times. Right. And I, I still think I still think that my knee jerk reaction was weird. If I just said, Okay, I gotta get this company to 10 million. And that guy got us there. My natural instincts got to be okay, well, who, who's out there, they can get it from 10 to 25. Right? And I see, I see this, there's actually a, there's a I don't, I'm gonna, I can't remember what's called now, there's a psychological barrier inside of like, salesmen see this a lot. When you're hiring a sales guy, the one of the favorites, questions you want to ask is what's the most you've ever made in your life? Because there's a certain sense of self worth that people get to. And they think that that's where they're at. This is what I
Kevin Lawrence 8:04
Ronald Skelton 8:05
Kevin Lawrence 8:05
Ronald Skelton 8:06
Right. And though, right, you could take a sales guy, and particularly in stoneware, if you made 150,000, last year, within 12 months, 18 months,
Kevin Lawrence 8:14
he'll be back there,
Ronald Skelton 8:14
he'll be a back there,
Kevin Lawrence 8:15
Ronald Skelton 8:17
Getting Past that, it's going to require him to invest his own mental blocks his own,
Kevin Lawrence 8:21
I call it a thermos, it's the mental thermostat. If you think you're a salesperson, and you should make half a million a year, my gosh, if you're committed, you're gonna find a way. And if you're a salesperson that thinks that 75 is good, as you're going to be able to do, by gosh, you're gonna, you're you're right, generally, because you don't seek out those things. And you know, and a lot of the work that we do with leaders and, you know, chapter 17, and your oxygen mask first is called the master plan. It's thinking about, hey, 10 years, what does spectacular look like, in your work for yourself as a human being and the person that makes it all happen and in your life? Like that willingness to like, really think, what, what do I really, really, really, really want? And yeah, it's 10 years down the road, you got time to get there. But you know, and one of one of my clients on his list is he wants to buy a pro sports team have his own jet. And, and he's well on his way, like, he's gonna do it. Because he decided to do it. But unfortunately, and when people's thermostats low, that's hard. And I was in a session yesterday with we bought a president into one of the companies I'm working with and great guy, and we're chatting as we're going for a walk to dinner and we're just saying, you know, his favorite what he loves, give me a 35 year old executive roughly who is very driven and, and rough around the edges. He goes, I'll work with that person any day all day, for sure. Because they've got the internal drive like their thermostat set high.
Ronald Skelton 9:49
Kevin Lawrence 9:49
internal drive to do we just got to teach them skills and polish them. The opposite is when people don't have that kind of will. That's a different challenge. Now you're in a business trying to motivate people that, that, that, basically you try to crank up the thermostat that doesn't usually go so well.
Ronald Skelton 10:05
Motivation is fickle. I'm, I'm not a big fan of like, you know, the motivational type of things because
Kevin Lawrence 10:09
it doesn't work
Ronald Skelton 10:10
those ebbs and flows. And, and yeah, I think you can train skills I think you can train you can, you can, you can, most people, you can provide knowledge, resources and skills to
Kevin Lawrence 10:21
Ronald Skelton 10:22
I don't think I don't know that fire is trainable like that, that internal fire that drive to get to the next level. So I can see that.
Kevin Lawrence 10:30
Yep, it, it's so basically in, in the book, it's just basically in working with all these different people. It's the 17 most popular conversations I have with CEOs and leaders, to help them get from wherever they're stuck in whatever reason that they're stuck to this next level that they want to get to whether it's the enjoyment of what they're doing, the results of what they're getting, or how they're feeling personally or mentally. It's just that it is basic stuff. But again, when you haven't been there before, and, and it's almost like going to a new city, when you grew up in a city, you know, all the great spots and the bad spots and which way to go to minimize traffic. But when you're a tourist, you have no clue and, and having that local guide, makes it a little easier.
Ronald Skelton 11:14
So you said the word stuck a few times. I imagine a lot of people wait until they're stuck to come see somebody like you like, like that, that, you know, they're at the point where the board's gonna fire me if I don't fix this guy, or, or hey, my company is suffering. And, and I either have to replace myself or fix this.
Kevin Lawrence 11:30
Ronald Skelton 11:30
And I've done it too. I've, I've had a few companies where I had a real estate investment firm, and I hired a performance coach. Because I was I couldn't tell myself if I was stuck and getting burned out. Or if the story I had created was the industry had shifted on me a little bit. And we were doing a very specific type of real estate investing. And I was like, it's just getting too complex to legal to too much trouble. And so I had to bring somebody else in it looks at it from a third party. Is that true that most people wait till their stuff? And when should they come? See you when should if I'm a CEO, and I'm working along with should I seek out an advisor or coach to, to help me get to the next level,
Kevin Lawrence 12:08
know, you go back to that thermostat, when you've gotten big goals or things you want to achieve, we're more likely to reach out for help. And it is true. I know quietly. In other words, they don't always say it when people reach out and contact our firm. Well, we got you know, there's 10 of us at different advisors working with growth companies, generally. And you call it it's their banker, their lawyer, their doctor, their spouse, their board, or their executive has read them the right act, or they've basically gone, what I'm doing isn't going to work and I need to get it together, they're basically staring some sort of death in the face. Before they get help. There's, that's, that's a huge portion, particularly smaller entrepreneurs, the bigger ones, they're used to getting professional help all the time. And for them, it's more of I either they have an issue or I want better performance. But the smaller ones, they're usually from the school of I can do this myself and I shouldn't need help. Where the bigger ones, they've already learned that lesson. And they're always looking just for the best help they can get.
Ronald Skelton 13:15
Yeah, I can see that a lot of entrepreneur like this, that start a business. And I you know, I do this myself still today, like out of my way, I'll just do it. Right. Yeah, you know,
Kevin Lawrence 13:26
that's, because that's what got you where you were, that's like people are successful doers and problem solvers. And that's how they get to be the leader of the business or the owner of the business. But they often over rely on that skill. So you're gonna love this. One of the CEOs I work with his name is Brent, parent, awesome CEO back in Ohio, Brent has this thing where he calls is the big circle and the little circle. The big circle is opportunities, selling stuff to new customers, or existing customers, and the little circles problems. And he says to his team, hey, you should be like spending at least 95% of your time on opportunities 5% on problems, but hey, if you want help with your problems, just come to my office between eight and 830 Any day 8 to 830 is problem time he rolls in at nine
Ronald Skelton 14:14
Kevin Lawrence 14:15
he wants now he's built a massive organization you know entrepreneur of entrepreneurs a guy's awesome, but his basic premise is I'm not interested. I'm not interested at all because it's actually a not a good use of my or your time just go sell something instead. Like problems are, are seductive and dangerous and even have a chapter in your oxygen mask first. It's called stop being chief problem solver. So yes, it's like stopped How am parents know not to tie their kids shoes when they're 14. Right? It's like but as executives somehow we forget. And we think that tying our kids shoes which is the same as solving their problems for them as a leader is effective. No, we're trying to build strong independent leaders, will you do that by making them use their brain? Not yours.
Ronald Skelton 15:05
It's interesting because I started treating some of my guys kinda like I do my six year old is, like I, I asked her to just like, I don't know how to do that, like, Okay, if you didn't know how to do it, what would be your first step
Kevin Lawrence 15:14
Ronald Skelton 15:15
it up? And then just walk. Okay, what would you do next? And I'll just walk them through it, like what sounds like a good solution to me. Or, you know, I have some virtual assistants and stuff to help out. And they bring something to me like, Well, what did Google say when you asked it?
Kevin Lawrence 15:28
I liked that one. That's a good one,
Ronald Skelton 15:30
like, did you know step one, Google it look for tutorial, you know, if you, if you're unsure that that's what you want me to do. You know, you want if that if you're unsure if that's what you want, I want you doing, then send me the tutorials. That is you want it done like this, and I'll go on that with this, you know, but as far as like just throwing things
Kevin Lawrence 15:47
make them do the cognitive work, make them train them to think for themselves and find their own problem, like we do with our children. Right? It's, it's, but it's a dangerous trap. And I love what you said is that, you know, you, you realize you hired people, that would bring you problems. And it's I mean, it's a very,it, it's a very limiting things for people. Because next thing, you know, your day is all day, every day solving other people's Jigsaw problems or jigsaw puzzles, and it doesn't work.
Ronald Skelton 16:15
So there's another concept inside of your book. And this is we're going to kind of segue this into elements that really help buy or sell a company and one of the things on there, number 10, you say make yourself useless. Yeah, talk about that a little bit. Because I think that's critical if you're going to exit, for
Kevin Lawrence 16:31
sure. And here's the philosophy that I have is, you know, if you're going to exit or, or if you're going to keep it, the strategy is actually the same. Make it so the damn thing runs so well, that it doesn't need you. So that means if you exit, the buyer doesn't need you to stay on for a couple of years. And secondly, if you decide to keep it, the business doesn't need you 60 hours a week to drive it. So the premise is, is simple. But it's, it's to build an incredibly strong team. And, and, and the brutal truth is, almost every organization I go to has a very driven leader or CEO, and a mediocre team of direct reports to that person, the team isn't good enough. And, and so if we take it into, you know, from Canada, so a hockey example. It's like if you're building a hockey team, it's basically you post a bulletin at the community center, or the Rec Center, and whoever shows up gets to play. And, and, and you have some fun on the ice. But then you think you want to go to the Stanley Cup? Well, you kind of need to change your recruitment strategy, probably how you practice. And it's, it's a very different process to build an NHL hockey team, then we'll call the bureau league Rec Center team. And unfortunately, a lot of companies have NHL intentions or aspirations, and they got a beer league team. I'm sorry, it doesn't work. You can't create greatness with mediocre people. And they're not bad people. They might not be in the right position. They might not be suited, they might not be willing to work hard enough. They might need training and development. Maybe they need to work for the local government instead, like I, I don't know. But when we go into most companies, the team is so dependent on the leader, and generally not nearly strong enough to, to, to match the aspirations that the company has.
Ronald Skelton 18:33
We did that last year, actually. And I learned extremely valuable lesson exactly what you said. acquisitions and mergers, we put together a team and we were we do these hangouts or these meetups where we're meeting with other acquisitions and mergers, guys, we came up with the idea in one of these rooms. And we said, Okay, who wants to work on the idea and about eight people raise their hand and we took all of them. Right? And unfortunately, these are rockstars. Right? These guys are CEOs, their own companies, they've had access to stuff. The problem is we had so many cheese, right? Nobody wants to we had so many visionary and people. Yep, yeah, nobody was a doer. Right. So it was so hard to get things actual done. Or even to get like this, the all these eight of these guys were CEOs on their own right at other times in their lives, to get them to commit to a date and time they were getting something done was actually like pulling teeth.
Kevin Lawrence 19:23
Ronald Skelton 19:24
They just it just did not work. So you know, it wasn't a I wouldn't say you have to have absolute rockstars. But that's not the only answer here because those guys were I mean, I would work side by side with almost any one of them again. But the, the problem is, is the team has to be designed for the needs of the team, not just you can't just stick five CEOs in a room and say this is a company and expect good (inaudible)
Kevin Lawrence 19:49
all things to happen.
Ronald Skelton 19:49
it just doesn't work.
Kevin Lawrence 19:51
So, I mean you got to have the right people for the job and the way we look at it is they need to have we operate a lot of stuff based on the methodology Is that Jim Collins has found in his research and his books good, great and Great by Choice and etc. And in it, we look at two things when it comes to people is, is, is core values fit, they are in sync with the values and the ill the mental operating system of the company and how they like to treat people and treat customers, that's one. Second is that got an amazing ability to get the job done. If you're a forward on the hockey team, you know how to skate fast around other players, and put the the puck in the top right corner, you know, where a lot of goals are scored, or top left corner, you're very capable Skating, skating around people puck in the corner. And that's, you know, looking for those that ability. So, in companies, sometimes we get people who don't fit the values, and they're just toxic or a nightmare. But usually the bigger problem is people who aren't highly capable in, in, in mastering that role that they're in. And so you, as a leader have to step down and manage or, or do part of their work and be overly involved with what they're doing. And that just that creates a lot of work. And it slows the organization down.
Ronald Skelton 21:10
And I've seen this with companies I've owned, I've seen this with companies I've stepped into and you know, managed, there's a reluctance to let people go sometimes like, hey, the guy's been
Kevin Lawrence 21:20
Ronald Skelton 21:20
I was looking at a company we had, there was a definite problem with one of the guys there. And like what his dad worked there, like this is, you know, sat there for 20 something years retired, the son
Kevin Lawrence 21:20
Ronald Skelton 21:24
got hired, and they're
Kevin Lawrence 21:31
Ronald Skelton 21:32
like, we're not gonna fire I'm still I still go play golf with his dad.
Kevin Lawrence 21:35
Ronald Skelton 21:36
And I like this guy is a poison pill to your company. He's negative mouth, you know, I just told him, so I'm looking at buying your company, you introduced me to him, because you know, he's, he's running a division of it, or whatever. And as soon as you walked out the door, he's bad mouth. And, and when I say something to you, you knew it. You knew he was going to do that. Like, I promise you, if I acquire this, he's not staying.
Kevin Lawrence 22:00
But that's a common scenario is that we tolerate mediocre or inappropriate people, people that aren't excellent in their role for whatever we, we tolerate it because of tension that it will create if we deal with it. And in my world, if you're an NHL company, and you got a couple 100 million dollar budget every year for players and you know, your, your, your, you know, your your expenses to run the team. And winnings important. Yeah, yeah, might have a higher standard people need to meet. And for some reason, we think that we can achieve great things with low standards. And it just doesn't work. And again, those, those people are challenging, but people don't want to deal with it. And, you know, if there's one thing that I can't, and we have, we have a tool that we use every 90 days with most of our clients to deal with us. So those people can't build up in the system. But if there's one thing I talk with CEOs a lot, it's exactly that. If there's one thing I make a note of action items to chase CEOs on, it's exactly that, of, of dealing with those people that shouldn't be on the team for whatever reason it is it's but it's common. And it's just, that just means you would rather piss off the 50 people in the company, but take care of the one. And to me that's ludicrous. And that's undisciplined management, although it's incredibly common.
Ronald Skelton 23:20
It's interesting is there's the same effect as mediocre. There's some at the very high end, too. So when I was in the tech world, I actually was senior director of operations of a huge portal. website portal.
Not really maybe still around. I don't think I haven't checked in a while, but it was head to head with Yahoo in the day. And we had some Oracle DBAs. There were absolute prima donnas. And but the problem is they're absolute rockstars. I mean, we had a couple of the Oracle DBAs, where Oracle would like call over and ask if they could have some time of their time to bring them back to Oracle to fix things, right. They were that caliber of people. They made more money. I was a senior director of operations, and they got paid more than I did.
Kevin Lawrence 23:32
Ronald Skelton 23:32
right. There is some element they were rude, obnoxious, a little bit of a poison pill to the environment, culture of the company. But it would take most of my other Oracle engineers five to six times as, as long to fix major
Kevin Lawrence 24:13
Ronald Skelton 24:13
problems as these guys so you tolerate it.
Kevin Lawrence 24:16
Exactly. And those ones we call those toxic A players where you can come up with another word for what a stands for. But they're toxic jerks, but they're high performing. Like they're high performing jerks. And that's why they stay in businesses, but you cannot build a great company with a bunch of those people because they undermine so much of what it is and, and truly, you know, your culture of your company is not what you say it is. It's the lowest common denominator you'll allow to stay. And when you allow them to stay, you are endorsing and affirming that that's okay in our culture. And imagine if you had a room if you had 10 of them, how would you feel and how would the company feel,
Ronald Skelton 24:56
you know, it, it, it was to the point where at some point to do The individual actually had his own, like, you know, the directors had glass offices and the seat, you know, and at the corners of the walls, and everybody else was in cubicles talking to one of those in the far corner. He was, you know, pay wise, he made more money than I did. So it made sense. But yeah, there's some times where, you know, I was really fired up to get rid of the guy. And I suppose like, everybody said, no, no, don't do that. And I, I, I understand why.
Kevin Lawrence 25:23
I don't, I, I, I don't, I actually have no tolerance for those people. If you're trying to build a great company and have a culture where people feel safe and can do their work and don't have to deal with people like that. I we find those people in companies, we give them chances to step up, like my our intent is getting those any person who doesn't match expectations. They're giving clear communication opportunities, development support, whatever is needed to step up to expectation. And again, in my world, you need to be in a fit on culture, and in a fit on performance. And but it's so clear, and it's been laid out so well to them, if they don't step up, they've basically, whether they want to admit it or not fired themselves. And where it's where it's a crime is when they haven't been given feedback and chances to do it. And next thing, you know, they're surprised now they always act surprised no matter what, let's be clear. But the, the manager has done the best they can to lay out expectations, what's okay, what's not okay, and what they need to do to keep their job. And they're giving a chance, at least to, to, to fix themselves.
Ronald Skelton 26:30
It's interesting, when I first got there, there was a whole thing where like, a guy would go off the wall, you know, exploit, you know, just cursing and throwing a fit, go back, he'd go back and fix something, come back to (Inaudible) touch it. And then, you know, the other managers would be just laughing like, This is funny. What are you guys laughing? That is not okay, behavior. And it's like, oh, that's just him. That's just I'm not gonna say his name. Because you might have changed since then.
Kevin Lawrence 26:51
Yeah let's not, let's not.Yeah,
Ronald Skelton 26:52
yeah. But he's like, Oh, that's just him. And, you know, I say that almost every company I've ever been with, especially tech company, Lockheed Martin, we had one there. Right. You know, I remember sitting at Lockheed Martin straight out of the Air Force, you know, intimate to straight (inaudible) just straight into my first engineering job in a room. And third or fourth month there, I would sit around, watch this other engineer in the room. Because like, when I say, when I see somebody to do some stupid stuff in code with a software test engineer, I would read
Kevin Lawrence 27:19
Ronald Skelton 27:19
code look for security flaws and stuff. But uh, they anyway, we'd be sticking stacks 1000s of lines of code read, it was really boring job. But I learned some stuff anyway, we've, I've watched them I see something really bad inside of code, I would just sit there and watch this other engineer, because I would do at some point, he was a stand up, throw a fit, start writing all over the board, like recode everything from scratch on the board and just like stomp out of the room. Right? And it was just like, Okay, this is the one that does it. Right. This is, you know, you know, and we and it was tolerated, it was actually you know, that guy,
Kevin Lawrence 27:51
Ronald Skelton 27:52
he was probably one of the older guys, engineers wise it was there. And
Kevin Lawrence 27:58
so we have a company where we had someone like that they've been in the company a long time, have been given many opportunities to step up. But it was getting in the way of the team, the rest of the team could not work with this individual. The team wasn't able to move ahead. Long story short, six months later, at least six, nine months now, the team's performance is through the roof. People are happier, there's no drama left than a company like it makes a notable difference, particularly in small to medium sized companies. It's the other thing is, to a certain degree, they're not happy either, because although they're creating the friction, they generally feel the friction. So
Ronald Skelton 28:35
Kevin Lawrence 28:36
they generally have a lot of frustration. And the best thing we can do is to find a way for them to gracefully exit if at all possible, and go find an environment that they will be better suited. I guess I would say.
Ronald Skelton 28:51
Like, there's no such thing as a, a, a bad employee, there's just a phrase, it would be better flipping burgers instead of being in my office.
Kevin Lawrence 28:57
Alright, well, but yeah, we're just a bit literally, like, you know, everyone's got a place where they're a fit every place.
Ronald Skelton 29:04
I was, I was joking. But yeah,
Kevin Lawrence 29:05
I know, I know. But there are, there are like, culture is a big deal. In some companies, it's normal to yell and scream and, and, and do that there's some very aggressive cultures in some companies. And so it's about finding the place where your natural operating system is, like, for example, I am a very aggressive person, I push hard for results. And I like to move quickly. Hence, almost all my conversations are with entrepreneurs and CEOs, because that's their operating system is closer match to mine. If I'm working with a frontline employee, it's not a values issue. It's just, I need to back myself down like I gonna need to, you know, 50% I need to chill out if I'm going to work with frontline because I'm just too much for them. But in a boardroom with an executive team of a growing company, I can just let a rep.
Ronald Skelton 29:57
So let's, let's switch gears back to The acquisition isn't let's do it, let's do. One of my favorite things to do is a storytime. So,
Kevin Lawrence 30:04
Ronald Skelton 30:04
tell us, tell us about somebody that, I don't know, maybe struggling or whatever, like, kind of interesting success stories. Like, what's your favorite that, you know, I work with this guy. We got him from x design. Now he's got an aeroplane kind of stories.
Kevin Lawrence 30:04
Yeah, well, I
mean, what day of the week is it? One of my clients is just in the middle of an exit. Now, it's getting announced this week. But you know, it's a, it's a company that, you know, we built dramatically, like, probably over a decade. I am being careful, because it's just getting announced. And but, but
Ronald Skelton 30:40
no any names in (inaudible)
Kevin Lawrence 30:41
I won't. But generally, we more than 10x the business over the last decade. And we 20 Miss doing math in my head 20x The EBITDA
Ronald Skelton 30:58
Kevin Lawrence 30:59
Yep. Because it was the performance was mediocre. And the, and the CEO was less concerned about profitability, and more concerned about building a great company. So 10x revenue 20x EBITDA. Now a massive exit and, and, and to private equity, and, and, and the whole team is going to stay on and go for the next run. And, and gonna take the capital from private equity partner to continue to accelerate the business and, and, and do more good, through, you know, the impact they want to have on, on people and continue to build it to the next level. And you know, going from privately held to private equity, you know, it takes up it takes a it's a higher level game, it's like going from college football, or sorry, from high school football to college football, like they got to up the ante. So I'm excited for all of them. And it was just a, you know, I've had lots of companies with very notable exits, you know, a number and over the billion range, and lots in between. It's exciting, though, when you see that you get to build something. And at some point, you saw that chunk off to somebody else. And you know the people that have shares in the company, get a nice payday. And then you get to continue to go to the next level as well with, with more capital or more access to capital.
Ronald Skelton 32:20
So you've actually had coaching clients who exited at the billion dollar valuation or more.
Kevin Lawrence 32:24
Ronald Skelton 32:25
Awesome. That's, that's a, that's a year mark, I'd like to see one of these days, right? That's, that's a lot of people
Kevin Lawrence 32:31
Ronald Skelton 32:31
don't understand. Like, if you're just an average guy out there, you probably don't really get the true concept of difference between a million and a billion. Right? It, it is
Kevin Lawrence 32:40
Ronald Skelton 32:41
It is crazy difference. I think anybody can go out and create, you know, a million dollar company, it and something that can self
Kevin Lawrence 32:48
not anybody, lots of people could it's
Ronald Skelton 32:51
Kevin Lawrence 32:51
still there still, most people couldn't even that just to be fair to the people that do it. Like it's to people like you and I, it seems easy, but 90, something percent of the population would never do it.
Ronald Skelton 33:02
Well, statistics show that most people who start one like, Oh, thanks for what one in 2000, or something crazy, like I keeps using that number I have, they're better. Because, because I keep using the number I better go check, double check.
Kevin Lawrence 33:11
Yeah, verify, yeah.
Ronald Skelton 33:12
But you know, to get to a level of significance, right to start a company and get to a million dollars in revenue over and over, it's somewhere in that, you know, 1000 2000 companies fell before
Kevin Lawrence 33:24
Ronald Skelton 33:24
you ever ever gets hurt, I don't want to,
Kevin Lawrence 33:26
I think so
Ronald Skelton 33:27
I don't want to undermine the concept. I'm saying, if you bring in the right people into it, it's achievable. But there's a lot more elements to have to kick in and become part of what you're doing. Market Fit market size, all these different things to hit that billion dollar mark. All right.
Kevin Lawrence 33:45
And you also need generally a little more time,
Ronald Skelton 33:48
Kevin Lawrence 33:48
sometimes you need more capital, but you got to make a lot of right decisions, you got to have big customer needs that you're satisfying.
Ronald Skelton 33:56
Kevin Lawrence 33:57
Right? And if you're making I'm just looking at a piece of rope, if you're making custom colored rope for people that like to decorate their bicycles, like it ain't gonna happen because the markets not big enough,
Ronald Skelton 34:11
Kevin Lawrence 34:12
You know what I mean? I'm picking just a niche of a niche of a niche. It's a silly example.
Ronald Skelton 34:15
Well, you think about it somebody made a million plush selling pet rocks, but you've never heard of the
Kevin Lawrence 34:20
Ronald Skelton 34:20
millionaire a billionaire selling pet rocks, right? There's they've got
Kevin Lawrence 34:23
Ronald Skelton 34:24
an enterprise and, and abroad
Kevin Lawrence 34:26
needs to be generally some sort of ongoing annuity type business in most cases. To get to that kind of entry, there's whether whether you exit for, you know, 50 million or 100 million or a billion I mean, it's just at some point it's, it's just, it's at that level people it's less about the money and more about building something great.
Ronald Skelton 34:47
Kevin Lawrence 34:48
And, and that's what I see because that's the you know thing about exits that I find very itching for some people. They're thrilled to exit and then go do something else,
Ronald Skelton 34:57
Kevin Lawrence 34:57
or retire or whatever it happens to be. Don't take it from her. And there's other people in the exit, they get they get antsy, and they want to go do it again, because it generally, once you make a certain amount of money, it's more about the excitement and the thrill and the challenge of building something awesome.
Ronald Skelton 35:13
I have a friend who he actually did recently. And, you know, I've talked to him about talking to him as he started another project and three, four months, but like, this isn't gonna work. So he's looking for something else to do. And he's just like, you could see that he's, he's kind of at the spot. It's like, what the heck am I gonna do right now, because, you know, even today, I took a job with a job. For the first time ever, that guy's never had a job sinc
Kevin Lawrence 35:35
Ronald Skelton 35:35
he's when he was a teenager, he had been an entrepreneur, a CEO, sold his company made, you know, made his million. And, you know, he's tried a couple other startup ideas. And now he's like, maybe I go work for private equity, or maybe I go work, you know,
Kevin Lawrence 35:50
Ronald Skelton 35:51
Kevin Lawrence 35:51
because because, because because you take the money out as the variable. And it's more about doing it because you enjoy it. And we've got a number of people that will become coaches or advisers, or, or they might go, you know, be a male hired CEO, or president, like the key of it is, is us knowing what you want out of it. And, and my belief, the growth is the path. And the exits are wonderful, because you get paid in a sense of accomplishment. But generally, people like to keep going. And a lot of the people I work with, they love it when people want exit because they get to buy those businesses and build them. But a lot of people just want to keep going and building and building and building because it's the, it's the challenge. It's the, it's the challenge the thrill of what they're doing.
Ronald Skelton 36:35
There's one topic I don't want to miss before we go off here, just because
Kevin Lawrence 36:38
Ronald Skelton 36:38
it's Coquito a lot of us is you've coached a lot of CEOs, business leaders and stuff. If you are in our shoes, and you're looking to hire a great general manager or CEO, a company that you've recently acquired, what would you look for? What are some of the key elements that would
Kevin Lawrence 36:55
this is, this is what I spend a majority of my time on these days, and probably less. And, and, and so one of my clients I was talking to, in the Middle East last night. You know, and talking about assessing of people that we're hiring, whether it's executives or presidents, whatever it happens to be, you know, we have a very thorough process that we use. And the truth of it is, it's no different than if I was going to hire an amazing goalie for a hockey team. I'm looking at their track record, I'm looking at their psychological makeup, I'm looking at how they performed. And the thing about human beings is whether you like it or not, we're insanely predictable past patterns can almost always predict the next 10 or 20 years of a person's life. And I know people don't like that, but it's true. So, and this methodology that we use, we get crystal clear on what we want to hire. IE was a methodology called Top grading as a, as a baseline. But we almost instead of getting a kid, to draw a picture of the building, we want to be build and say, oh, we need a general manager, we get an engineers drawing of that general manager, what they're going to do what they need to be good at what skills and competencies they need to have, then we generally come up with a four page, very mathematical jobs description or engineer spec for the job. And then when we interview them, we have a process where if I was interviewing you, we'd go back. And we would start when you're 18, or 19 years old. And I would if it was you I was considering for the job, I would interview it, we have a process that we use, we would go probably four hours from high school through to your most recent jobs, and excavating massive amount of data to start to build patterns. And to see how well the patterns and capabilities that you have how well it matches, man matches that entrepreneur spec. So I call it like a forensic audit, to compare you to the entrepreneurs, spec. And then, and then finally, we'd go back and validate this by talking to three or four or five of your managers in the last 10 or 15 years. And not your friends, not your Aunt Flo who's on your reference list. People you actually reported to who by the way we learned about them in the process. So we would generally and we do this for, for some companies, when they're doing acquisitions, we go in and pre check who the talent is and who the non talented people are. So we know who to focus on. But we have a very thorough process because we're involved all the time in hiring presidents execs VPS, because those are big decisions. So we have a very thorough process. But at the end of the day, you got to be crystal clear on what you want, and what that job entails and what it doesn't because all general managers are all heads of sales jobs are dramatically different. There's not one version, and then making sure the person already can demonstrate the skills required.
Ronald Skelton 39:57
So interesting. You said Would you like to guys on your referral list? Back when I joined the military? I actually I was military intelligence, which means I had to get these huge secret clearances, their background checks, right? Where
Kevin Lawrence 40:11
Ronald Skelton 40:11
are they you give them a list of people that they asked you everything you've done back to,
Kevin Lawrence 40:14
Ronald Skelton 40:15
you know, teenage year, like the early
Kevin Lawrence 40:17
Ronald Skelton 40:17
Kevin Lawrence 40:18
Ronald Skelton 40:18
Everything they're looking for stuff you'd hide. And then like, who did you run with? Who did you hang out with? They went and visited those people, they went to my little town of Kellyville, Oklahoma and population 700. and knock on people's doors. And they didn't the people put on the list. They didn't really. They were like, Who else did you run around with? Right, and they got different names. And they went interviewed
Kevin Lawrence 40:38
Ronald Skelton 40:38
those guys, right? They went,
Kevin Lawrence 40:40
Ronald Skelton 40:40
they interviewed us, but actually hated my freaking guts in high school.
Kevin Lawrence 40:46
You're gonna get the dirt.
Ronald Skelton 40:48
Yeah. It was interesting that they did it, you know, it's like, okay, I give them x, y, z (inaudible) So, they know the only thing that Joe and Sally is (inaudible) with,
Kevin Lawrence 40:57
Ronald Skelton 40:58
Yeah, you know,
Kevin Lawrence 40:59
because they're triangulating all around you to try and confirm patterns. They're just looking for patterns. And, and our process is closer to that. And again, most people when they hire someone have about a 25% hit rate. That's for someone who is in eighth grade on culture, and on delivering results. With this methodology, we get like 90% hit rate, it's not perfect, but it's damn, damn good. And it's at least three times as good as most processes. And we don't believe in just like, oh, let's do it on a hope and a prayer. You know, we, we really need to make sure that these people are awesome and suited for the role. And when you provide that extra scrutiny and make better decisions, you have more data, more data to compare to, versus a gut feeling. And I liked the person and they're a good storyteller.
Ronald Skelton 41:46
It's interesting is I liked your concept, one of the things I looked at try and some of the other roles, especially sales roles, is I think it's Perry Marshall. He thinks the name of the guy that wrote the one of the 8020 books is not the 8020 principle.
Kevin Lawrence 42:02
Ronald Skelton 42:03
He's got a different play on the 8020 principle. And one of the things he does is when he goes to hire sales engineers, he hires ten, and tells him, okay, it's not like a trial, there's not a you hires them, they got his month sorts of salary, or 60 days with a salary
Kevin Lawrence 42:17
Ronald Skelton 42:17
says, okay, at the end of 60 days, I'm only keeping two of you, right? Here's the goals, here's the objectives, here's what you need to get done here. Here's your training. At the end, you got 60 days from training, any, any does 8020 on, on the hires. And that is can get expensive, but you ended up with just just keeping the rockstars
Kevin Lawrence 42:37
because because you know, two of the 10 are gonna be awesome. And they just you got to get people to sign up for that. And, and this kind of a market that we've been in, I don't know that people are, but the SD intent is good. And I like it, because at the end, you're keeping the best two out of the 10, which I like, it's just when you're doing that with, with CEOs and execs, and that kind of stuff, you can't
Ronald Skelton 43:00
say it doesn't scale to the other roles. I don't know
Kevin Lawrence 43:03
but, but in general, in some companies, that's what they do with salespeople, I hired 20 New salespeople every spring, and then the end five stick,
Ronald Skelton 43:12
I thought about doing them get ready to hire a content writer for some of the stuff I do. And I'm like, I'm gonna probably (inaudible) offer, you know, two months worth of work for 10. Guys, and then pick the two people that are rockstars and keep them, right.
Kevin Lawrence 43:24
And if you can do that on a contract basis, it's not bad. What we would recommend is get clear on what you need, try and understand them and what they are, because it's more for a content writer, you can get them to read some content and see the quality of their work. That's not where your problems going to be. It's easy to assess work quality, it's harder to assess, are they good to work with. And that's, that's and if you're looking at go to go back to a general manager, there's so many things a general manager has to be good at. And that's why I would suggest so this guy was talking to in, in the Middle East last night and like, look, next time we go to hire an executive will spend an extra 10, 20, 30 grand on assessment. So we know what we're getting. And we'll assess a bunch of people. But we will make sure that the person is in a fit for culture and an a high likelihood of being an AF on performance. But what does put more energy up front versus putting the energy in the back end when it doesn't work and you have to replace them.
Ronald Skelton 44:22
Do you guys have proprietary assessment tools? Or do you guys use like Clifton Strengths and disc profiles and that
Kevin Lawrence 44:27
we, we use, use a disc and Enneagram those are just understanding a person's wiring. But just because, you know, someone has a DISC profile that mean that you know, it could be consistent with the role, it does not mean that they'll be good,
Ronald Skelton 44:40
Kevin Lawrence 44:40
So if someone has the wrong DISC profile, it could mean most likely they won't do well. But that's it's, it's an influence in the decision. We use this top grading methodology thoroughly and like right now we're assessing, I think about 30 Different executives in one company because we're helping them to replace four execs and the CEO in a two five year time horizon, so we have a very robust, unbiased assessment process that we're doing to help them make those decisions. It's a combination of this top grading methodology, and 360 reviews from because there's a lot of room in the company. And then all the we convert into development, whether they don't whether they get the job or not, we convert it into a development plan to help them grow towards their goals anyways. So I worked with that we rely heavily on the framework of that methodology and put some of our own touches on it. But it's, it's the best discipline we have found.
Ronald Skelton 45:36
I worked for a company for a while there that actually had this thing where the quarterly reviews, and then every six months, they basically insisted I was a director level at the company, you were directed that you had to lay off 5% of your, your lowest 5% of performance, like they're gone. So you took everybody's performance preview. And if there was some exclusions, if you had really small teams and like nobody, like nobody had performance evaluation, but for the majority of people that, you know, if you take 90 employees at this company at the time, you know, how to lay off three to four employees, minimum by my guild? Because that's the lowest performing in a group. And you know, it was a good market, then, like we were paying vote. I mean, we're still paying bonuses, but it was it took about 45 days to hire somebody on it most. You were getting you were getting good employees, there were still people moving around. I think right now it's a little tougher, people are having a harder time filling certain roles and stuff. What is your thought process on that you take that everybody's coachable? There is time just a performance out?
Kevin Lawrence 46:42
Well, there is but we and we get we have a, we have a tool that we use to go through and assess people very simple, where we ask a bunch of different questions. coachable people are coachable, and when you give them the coaching, they make progress. So everyone, everyone has the potential to grow, many of them may not embrace it. So when we're deciding whether we, our belief is every 90 days, let's just say I report to you, you need to have a plan of what you're going to do to help either improve my performance or sustain it if it's already awesome. Most managers don't do it. Most managers are so busy, they don't take the time to focus on developing or enhancing their team members. So if I was an underperformer on your team, I want you to lay out the two or, or three things I needed to do to be able to get to a high performance level. And make sure it's clear and tangible. And sometimes you got to partner with your HR person to make sure it's done properly. But you know, if a couple quarters in a row, you're given me feedback of what I need to do, and I'm making zero progress, well, then the decision is pretty simple. But because in this discipline, we drive in companies. So we did this yesterday, for two days, we had a strap planning with one of our clients here in Vancouver, and we worked on strategy and execution. And then we spent about three hours going through all the key leaders in the company, assessing current performance versus expectation, ability for them to continue to learn and grow what their next role or succession would be. And two or three points of how we're going to help them perform better in the next 90 days, we're going to do this every 90 days, and that team will get stronger and stronger and stronger. And people will trend up or in many cases opt out, or in worst case scenario have to be asked to go find a job somewhere else.
Ronald Skelton 48:29
You know, I had a I had somebody that worked for me for a while there. And I really, I really liked her as a human being she's a great person. And so one day I thought she was just wasn't performing at a current job. And it was a simple job, like doing backups and do some low level tech stuff. And I pulled it in and said, hey, you know, performance reviews are you know, are bad. It's clear to me that you don't like your job because I hate my job. I was like, Okay, what is it you want to? Because I've been taking classes for two years, right? To write code. I know how to do this, I want I want to be an engineer, I want to write code. We, we have five or six spots open for junior engineers. I said let me go talk to the staff, my department I run computers, the nerd of the computers guy fixing the computers out of the debtors, this legacy over to see if he gives you a shot, you know, and we're caught up on your work, you're just you can still do you can just take care of the backups. She was doing the back steps. And I'll pay you for that for the first 30 days if he'll give you a shot. Right I'll tell you I'll keep billion divided
Kevin Lawrence 49:33
Ronald Skelton 49:33
apart because all I really need you to know my other guys can do some of the other stuff I'll need you to do is make sure the backup so you know I just took a couple hours. Quite frankly, she's changed the tapes because it's still tapes back then. And so couple hours a week that she wanted their money within six months. She was a mid level software engineer and within a year to two years she was one of the like top guys that had two people working with her. She loved it. And that was the big difference. She says like, Hey, she's (inaudible) said, What is it, you really want to do?
Exactly. Which goes back, which goes back to their thermostat of the thermometer. What is it in their mind that they're moving towards which, which is their place? They feel that they should be. It's what they want. And then when, when they have that, that's that desire? Well, you can work with that all day. Then you got to help them get there. Yeah go ahead
For somebody that hated her job, she showed up every day on time, she showed up to every meeting on time and early, she showed up, but she just used to tell she just tell she was miserable. Like she,
Kevin Lawrence 50:31
Ronald Skelton 50:32
you know, they did the call, there's a name for it these days, that quiet quitting, like, barely
Kevin Lawrence 50:36
yeah i saw that
Ronald Skelton 50:37
need to do to keep your job. That's what she was up to at the time, she just resigned that she was finished school and get a job somewhere else, because
Kevin Lawrence 50:43
Ronald Skelton 50:44
that's what you want to do something else.
Kevin Lawrence 50:46
that's, that's not good. Because one they're not happy and you're not going to get you're not going to get your best out of them. And that's where proactively if you can see that, how do you address it? How do you change the role or change the projects to have them? You know, basically to have them be more engaged, and then be more productive for the company to
Ronald Skelton 51:02
just do one more thing real quick, and ask a bunch of questions. What should I ask, What have I missed?
Kevin Lawrence 51:08
what is the most important thing to do with your high performing employees? That would be
Ronald Skelton 51:15
let's go there.
Kevin Lawrence 51:16
Yeah. Because at the end of the day, we get sucked into problems all the time, you don't grow a business by focusing on problems all the time. And where people mess up is with their highest performing most valuable employees. How do we keep them engaged? And ideally, spend more time with them? Because that's where your biggest return is? The awesome people. Again, in hockey, it's your top players that score goals are preventing goals. They, they, they have an outsized impact on performance. So you know, how, how do you keep them engaged and the main premises? Don't get distracted by your underperformers? Give them chances, let them step up? Or let them leave? Try and have your energy going to the, to the, to the ones who are creating the most value?
Ronald Skelton 52:02
Got it, Got it. So how do people reach out to you like, you know, what, if my favorite questions always ask, if they're what, what can myself or the audience do to help you move your game forward? What, what, what can we do for you to, to, to help you achieve your goals?
Kevin Lawrence 52:19
I think like, for me, I'm looking, I'm always wanting to speak to groups of CEOs and executives, that's fun. For me, I got a couple of keynotes coming up next week. And um, you know, now they're firing up again, I just love speaking and sharing, I've learned an incredible amount about scaling companies. And about scaling ourselves as as, as, as leaders. So that's, that's it. I mean, we have a team of people who are here to help dial in strategy and execution and people and culture and performance and cash. We've got a small team that doesn't, but you know, for me, speaking to groups is what I love. And that's why chatting with you about the stuff. It's fun. I love talking about this stuff. Because I feel I have a gift to share from everything I've been able to learn from all these amazing entrepreneurs around
Ronald Skelton 53:05
Awesome. The best way to contact you,
Kevin Lawrence 53:08
our firm is
Lawrence and CO which is my last name Lawrence. But Lawrence and co.com, Lawrence, a n d co.com. We've got a great newsletter, it comes out every week, we've got a podcast called the growth whispers where we talk about different aspects of growing companies every week. Lots of resources. But yeah, you can find us there. And there's, you know, we, we share the best things we can with the time that we have to share it.
Ronald Skelton 53:30
So I'll make sure all those get in the notes. As always. I love shared other people's podcasts. And so I'm a big blue ocean guy. There are plenty of people on the planet that listen both our stuff and do our things.
Kevin Lawrence 53:39
Ronald Skelton 53:40
So I'll make sure that gets in the show notes for everybody. So
Kevin Lawrence 53:43
Ronald Skelton 53:43
you guys look for that in there. And is there any if, if I guess the last thing that I always like to do before because we wrap up is if, if somebody can only remember like two or three things from this whole conversation will want them to go away. And remember Kevin, by what, what would you want to remember from this?
Kevin Lawrence 54:02
Well, the first thing in (inaudible) focus on yourself and your growth, what do you need to do to grow stronger, and be more resilient on a regular basis two build a team build your version of an NHL team that's so damn strong. You don't have to do a lot of daily management, you can focus on taking the company ahead. Those would be the two main things that I would think that are critical.
Ronald Skelton 54:23
Cool. And if you guys get a chance to get his books, the (inaudible) last and what was the other one scaling up,
Kevin Lawrence 54:32
scaling up as the business one? Yeah,
Ronald Skelton 54:34
get those and take a, take a read through those and get started there. I appreciate your time today. Is there anything else you want to add before you call it show?
Kevin Lawrence 54:42
No. Thank you for doing this. Thanks. It's fun Chat we had a great pre show discussion. And you know about a month or so ago and this is a great chatting about this stuff.
Ronald Skelton 54:49
Kevin Lawrence 54:50
Your business is fun.
Ronald Skelton 54:51
And that's the show guys. Hey, it's your host Ronald Skelton. I want to thank you personally for watching the show today and invite you to call our new hot line 918-641-4150 That's 918-641-4150 Call us and tell us about our show, ask questions, suggested guests or even tell me about a business you have for sale and we'll reach back out to you. Again that number is 918-641-4150. call our hotline leave us some information. Thank you. I don't want to announce our new channel partners the ITX marketplace since 1998 ITX has created 5 billion in value by selling more than 225 it businesses in 20 countries. IDX works exclusively with it enabled businesses generating between 5 million and 30 million who are ready to be sold in m&a to decision makers who are ready to buy for over 25 years ITX has developed industry knowledge that helps determine whether a seller is a good fit for their buyers before making the match ITX mergers and acquisition marketplace we have partnered with has a proprietary database of 50,000 plus global buyers seeking it service firms managed service providers, Microsoft service providers software as a service platforms and channel partners with Microsoft Oracle ServiceNow itself in the Salesforce space. If you have an IT enabled business you're ready to sell. I want you to visit the I T exchange net.com/marketplace How to exit that link will be in the show notes visit them now. The investors and entrepreneurs professional mastermind, the investors and entrepreneur festival mastermind combines that additional peer to peer mastermind introduce first in Napoleon Hills famous book Think and Grow Rich with accountability partnering where your peers help you ensure that you set goals take action and get results. If you want to scale blow past roadblocks and achieve success faster than you might think it's possible. I suggest you take a visit over to tiepm.com That's T i e. P m.com. And check out the investors and entrepreneurs professional mastermind