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Onward Nation

America's best podcast for learning how today's top business owners Think, Act, & Achieve. Onward Nation is a five-day-a-week podcast hosted by Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. Business owners share the most influential lessons learned throughout their careers, including insights into their daily habits, their most vital priorities that have contributed to their business and personal success, and the most challenging time or situation that could have devastated or even ruined their businesses or careers. Business owners share their "recipes for success" including those systems they wish they had put into practice inside their business when first starting out. Each episode concludes with guests sharing two or three practical and tactical strategies they would recommend to brand new business owners in order to best ensure success in their new business and careers. Onward Nation provides business owners with the strategies and tactical step-by-step "recipe" that will help anyone make their business more systematic, predictable, measurable, and repeatable.
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Now displaying: 2016
Nov 23, 2016

Damion Lupo started his first business at age 11, has started 30 since, and is the published author of five books. As a thought leader and bold executioner, his first rental house was purchased Dec 31, 1999 using his VISA card and a bucket of courage. That decision grew into a 150+ house, 7 state empire over the next 5 years culminating with a total meltdown and reinvention in 2008. This drove him to create the Austin-based FinTech Total Control Financial in 2016 to disrupt Wall Street and empower Main Street with a patented technology and artificial intelligence based tool to reinvent old archaic ideas around retirement and financial freedom and empower people with control of their financial lives. His powerful patented tool is called the eQRP, a retirement vehicle 10 times more powerful than an IRA, giving investors checkbook control of their 401k and IRA money and keeping track of it on their iPhone.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Damion's background
  • The time blocking strategy Damion learned from "The ONE Thing" by Gary Keller
  • Damion's "no-ding" policy in his office
  • How Damion uses Hal Elrod's "The Miracle Morning" and starts his day out with S.A.V.E.R.S.
  • The collapse of Damion's real estate business and his life in 2008
  • The lessons Damion learned during that dark time
  • What it takes to reinvent yourself
  • Why you need a coach
  • Why you need to own every single piece
  • Why can't show up -- or work with -- people who or less than awesome
  • Why you need accountability with metrics
  • Why you should take your goals and figure out how to do 10x those
  • Why you should find the things that scare you and chase them
  • Listening to the feedback the world gives you

How best to connect with Damion:

Nov 22, 2016

Joe Kashurba grew the freelance web design business that he started in high school into a digital agency with a virtual team and clients around the world. He went from building $300 websites to building $30,000 websites and managing 6-figure digital advertising budgets for some of the largest manufacturing and construction companies. Joe now advises and mentors other freelance web designers and digital agency owners on how to develop and scale their businesses.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Joe's background
  • Why you need to plan out tomorrow before you go to bed
  • Getting an important task done in the first 15 minutes of work
  • Why constant marketing is so crucial for your business
  • What Joe did after not selling to 25 people in a row that he had consultion phone calls with
  • Generating leads that fit what you're trying to sell
  • Why having the right mindset is so crucial for success
  • Looking at your business from a diagnostic viewpoint to see what's working and what isn't
  • Why you need to niche down and stick to the exact thing you do well
  • Being prepared for and fighting through the fear
  • Building a system to get sales

How best to connect with Joe:

Nov 21, 2016

Gal Ratner is an award winning technology veteran. He is the co-founder and CEO of ShopSnap, a modern e-commerce platform and the founder and CEO of Inverted Software, a software consulting firm in Los Angeles. With over 20 years of software experience, his designs are responsible for powering Fortune 500 companies in multiple industries. Gal led international teams on major financial, media and entertainment, gaming and e-commerce projects. Some of his projects include Microsoft’s Windows 8 download manager, the Volusion eco system, Rockstar Games’s online store, and ShoppingCart.NET, which he wrote as a pet project and was the most downloaded .NET shopping cart on the Microsoft App Gallery. Gal is also an open source community supporter and contributor with projects ranging in capacity from parallel workflow processing frameworks to extensible caching systems. He is an avid blogger and enjoys passing his extensive software knowledge on to upcoming talent.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • Gal's background
  • ShopSnap, Gal's modern e-commerce platform
  • Why conversion rate and security are the two most important things in e-commerce
  • Gal's visualization technique
  • Gal's seven daily habits that keep him focused and on track
  • What Gal learned from Perry Marshall that changed the way he does business
  • Why you need to get great minds in a room every week and work on strategy
  • Why you need to carve your own path
  • Why you need to calculate risks
  • Why you need to plan, plan, and plan again
  • Why you need to look at your customer's world through their eyes
  • Why you need to be flexible

How best to connect with Gal:

Nov 18, 2016

Bill Watkins is a West Point graduate, decorated Army officer, world-class athlete, corporate executive, and an entrepreneur who took his business from his garage to an eight-figure enterprise before he sold it. As co-founder of the Rusty Lion Academy, Bill now connects to and coaches successful men seeking more significance, clarity, wealth, fun, freedom, joy, and control in both their businesses and lives. He leverages his story of financial success combined with nearly catastrophic personal failure to shortcut men beyond such catastrophes and toward permanent growth using proven, proprietary methods.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • Bill’s journey
  • Owning your morning to build your perfect day with Bill’s weekday warrior morning
  • Bill’s priority management system that helps him focus his time
  • Saying no to unimportant many and saying yes to the critical few
  • The disease of yes
  • The 25-year desired future: writing the life you want to live
  • The seven freedoms
  • Getting clear on what you’re deeply passionate about
  • Getting clear on what you’re really good at
  • Figuring out how to get people to pay you for the two above things

How best to connect with Bill:

Nov 17, 2016

In 1985, Mitch co-founded Timeslips Corp, which grew to become the largest time tracking software company in the world. In 1994, Timeslips was sold to Sage. While at Sage, Mitch went on to run all of Sage U.S. as Chief Operating Officer, a division with over 300 people. Later, Mitch joined Chet Holmes as President of Chet Holmes, International. Soon thereafter Mitch and Chet, along with Tony Robbins, created Business Breakthroughs International, a company serving thousands of businesses a year with coaching, consulting, and training services. Mitch was the President and CEO for four years. After the untimely death of Chet, Mitch left Business Breakthroughs to help CEOs build their own “Invisible Organization” using the principles outlined in this powerful book.

What you’ll learn about in this episode

  • What Mitch does with the first 60 minutes of his day
  • Mitch’s daily initiaives list
  • Mitch’s favorite quote from Steve Jobs that helps him stay on track
  • Why you should never compare yourself to others — only the you of yesterday
  • Why you must dismiss fear as the emotion it is — you are not your emotions
  • Why — when you’re hiring — you need to screen for emotional makeup
  • The personality tests that Mitch uses to screen different types of employees
  • Why you should have a membership site or a learning management system to stay engaged with your audience
  • How to tap into recurring revenue streams
  • Why you need to network like crazy
  • Why it’s so important to take things lightly 

How best to connect with Mitch:

Nov 16, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Benjamin looking at you. Closeup on money

Good Morning Onward Nation…welcome to Episode 367…I’m Stephen Woessner. Before we dig deep into today’s solocast and the lesson I prepared for you — I want to take a minute to say thank you!

Thank you because as we rapidly close in on our 400th episode — amazing — 400!!! — we are experiencing another level of growth.

Downloads worldwide are up, the number of countries we are reaching on a daily basis continues to increase, the number of guests reaching out to us requesting to be on our show is up, and the amazing — awesome — and incredible feedback we receive from you, Onward Nation — is up.

And I want you to know how much you being here and making what we do part of your daily routine means so much to my team and me.

We are very grateful to have this opportunity to share the lessons we collect from today’s top business owners — and we rejoice with every piece of feedback you share with us — good or bad — because you help us get better.

We love all of your Facebook comments, Tweets, LinkedIn comments, and your emails, too. Please keep them coming.

And remember, my direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com. Drop me a line anytime and let me know what you think about the show — I always want your ideas and to hear your thoughts.

Rest assured — I read and reply to every single email. So thank you, Onward Nation — my team and I appreciate you more than you will ever possibly know…

Okay, just wanted to begin today’s lesson by expressing some gratitude. So now let’s jump into what we are going to cover today. And that topic is cash or capital you can apply toward the growth of your business — but more specifically — if you are considering outside investment as part of your growth strategy — what’s the recipe — what steps must you take in order to make your team and business attractive to investors so you go from invisible to investible, as my good friends Judy Robinett and John Livesay shared last week during Episode 362.

Judy and John shared some excellent insights and very specific tactical steps, which I am going to summarize for you here — but I am also going to share some additional context about approaching investors because I understand first-hand how intimidating the process can feel like — especially when you are on the outside looking in, don’t know the players, how no idea what your message ought to be, and then fear creates this feeling of being trapped.

And that is exactly what happened to me. In August of 1999, several business partners and I founded a company called FortifiedNutrition.com, back when everyone had a dot com company, taking the companies public, and cashing in once the IPO soared to record levels.

So as the tech and product distribution sides of our business were being built out by my co-founders, I was in charge of attracting investors. And I was terrible at it and it really showed.

My prospecting consisted of aimlessly wandering around the Internet to find venture capital firms who were typically located in the valley, then emailing them our PowerPoint overview of the business (and wow was it horrific!) and then receiving lots of thanks but no thanks emails.

But finally, we made our way in front of a couple of investors and our initial ask was $7 million for 20 percent of our business. Yes, $7 million. We had placed a valuation of our business at $35 million — but wait — here’s the best part — we had not made one single sale at the point of the ask.

Yep, we felt confident our company was worth $35 million even though we had zero sales. Good grief!

Now, you have probably seen some of those ill-fated pitches on Shark Tank, right? When the business owner has zero sales and then tries to justify a ridiculous valuation to the Sharks.

Yep, that was me, Onward Nation. My team and I in a conference room — as I floundered my way through my pitch.

Plus, I had very inconsistent valuation numbers. The valuation I had put together for Ernst & Young’s review a couple of weeks earlier was only — HA — only — $10 million.

Yeah, I had missed the inconsistency — I failed to see the problem of $10 million a couple weeks ago, and now that I am in front of investors, yeah, let’s go with $35 million.

Thankfully, the investors we were presenting to saw something in us — some glimmer of hope — that with the right mentorship — we could build something valuable. They took us under their wing, mentored us, shortened our learning curve through powerful education, and ultimately invested in us at a $3 million valuation — not $35 million — and it wasn’t until we had six months of growing sales under our belt.

So why am I sharing this painful and embarrassing story with you?

Because all of the pain, suffering, and time lost in countless meetings, phone calls, and emails could have been avoided if I would have had a system — a process — a recipe to follow. Which I have now learned as a result of spending hours with Judy Robinett and John Livesay during our episodes as well as outside of the show.

They are brilliant subject matter experts — they really know their stuff — but beyond that — they are generous with sharing their expertise. So if you have listened to and studied Episodes 329, 360, and 362 — I highly encourage you to add them to your list of vital priorities — you will be glad that you did.

So let’s dig into the ingredients to a “Getting Funded Recipe” that I wish I had had for attracting investors back in the days of FortifiedNutrition.com.

Ingredient #1: kick fear to the curb

Judy and I talked a lot about fear during Episode 329 and how it can rise up and attempt to keep her trapped. And it isn’t because she doesn’t know what she is doing — my goodness, no. Judy is one of the most connected — deeply networked people I have ever met. She is an in-demand global thought leader, plugged into the investment community, sits on the right boards, knows all the right players, and even attended two business and networking events at The White House this year.

What!?!

Yeah, Judy has a titanium Rolodex.

Yet despite all of that — there is fear. So Judy has to force herself to kick fear to the curb, where it belongs, and push past it!

Why is getting past the fear important?

Because if you don’t, I guarantee you the first excuse you will tell yourself as to why investors have not knocked down your door with briefcases full of money with your name on it is because “No one is investing — there isn’t any money available — or — investors don’t want to invest in a company like mine.”

You need to know — thoughts like that are simply the Imposter Syndrome trying to rise up and keep you from your destiny.

Because here is the reality — Judy shared some estimates she collected from Credit Suisse — that by 2019 there will be over $329 trillion in household wealth worldwide.

$329 trillion, Onward Nation.

More specifically, within the venture capital and angel investor communities, there are estimates of $70 billion sitting on the sidelines and that is likely on the light side.

So to Judy’s point — there is not a lack of capital. In fact, it is the complete opposite — there is an abundance of capital — but — and because Judy is on the inside she hears these conversations — investors are frustrated because they cannot find good, solid, investable companies to put their cash to work.

That was a game changing paradigm shift for me, Onward Nation, when Judy shared the data points.

So let me say that again…availability of cash is not the issue. The cash is there. But positioning your company correctly so an investor sees you as investable — and — getting yourself into the right room with the right investors — now that is a whole different story.

But, what investors are craving right now is deal flow — a steady stream of investable companies. You solve that problem for them — you get funded and you get funded fast.

So how do you do that?

Let’s move to Ingredient #2: how do you show an investor — or group of investors — that you are investable?

As you might imagine, it is a process. You begin by answer two key questions that I learned from John Livesay (who by the way Inc. Magazine calls the Pitch Whisperer) and the questions are: 1) Why you? and 2) Why now?

To even get a seat at the table, you have to be able to answer these two questions succinctly. In fact, John helps business owners craft what he calls a “pitch deck”, which is essentially 10-minutes worth of content involving 10-12 slides all following a very specific formula.

For example, you have to grab an investor’s attention in the first 90-seconds, even if you’re given 10-minutes. If you don’t grab them with a compelling opening, they won’t pay attention for the whole 10-minutes because they hear pitch after pitch.

They literally hear 2,500 pitches a year and might only fund 25. So you really need to give deep consideration, Onward Nation to the content on your slides, what you are going to say, how you will answer the “Why you? / Why now?” questions and then be ready for the rapid-fire Q&A that follows.

I laughed — but when John shared these insights with me — he said, “Stephen, if you got the questions before you took a test, it would be cheating, but following this recipe is called preparation.”

And he is so completely right.

But there is more to the preparation and transforming your business from invisible to investable. And John was kind enough to break it down for me so I could really see behind this green curtain that he and Judy work behind every day.

John let me know that a business owner needs to think of the investment process as kind of a ladder with different rungs on it.

ladder

The bottom rung would be labeled “Invisible”. Much like dating, when you see somebody you’re attracted to, but they don’t know you exist. Awesome! Well with investors, it’s the same thing. You have an idea, you don’t have anybody on your team yet, so you’re invisible.

Then the next rung up is “Insignificant”. What’s worse, being invisible or being insignificant? They see you but they don’t really care — that happens when you’re insignificant. Ouch. So you have a couple of people on your team, but you really haven’t tested out your business model to see if anybody wants to use it or would be willing to pay for it.

Then you get to the “Interesting” rung of the ladder. Going back to John’s dating scenario, let’s say you say something clever or funny, the person is interested in you but they’re not going to go out on a date with you yet. So now you have some people on your team, you’ve got a business that has some scalability to it, but you don’t have connections and you aren’t really great at pitching.

But with the right coaching and mentors, and some hard work, you finally move up to the next rung of the ladder, which is where you’re “Intriguing”.

You’re not quite investable yet, but you’re getting a whole lot closer. And my guess is, Onward Nation — this has happened to you before — you pitch someone something and in response, they say to you, “I’m intrigued. Tell me more.” That’s what you want to hear from an investor because as I learned from Judy and John, your vital priority with the initial 10-minute pitch and the 10-minute Q&A is simply to get the second date — or the second presentation.

Then you get to the “Irresistible” level. That’s really where you become investable and that’s where you and your team receive multiple offers from multiple investors. But, this is also where you want to have experienced mentors in your corner who can help you negotiate the best deal — and — mentors who have the capability to help you leverage all that is going on during this process for your benefit.

So once you and your team have ascended the ladder and become investable and Irresistible, you now need to get in front of the right investors.

And that is where having influential and well-connected advisors and mentors as part of your team can deliver a major return on investment.

Why?

Because as I learned again from Judy and John, let’s say an investor decides to fund 25 deals in a 12-month period of time…it is highly likely…that 24 of those 25 deals came to them by way of a warm introduction. So, you can do all of the hard work and reach the Irresistible stage — but — if the right investors never meet you — you are still stuck.

You need to build a board of advisors by connecting with people who are capable of opening the right doors for you. Because when you are in the right room, with the right investors, and you have followed the recipe for becoming Irresistible in their eyes, and you deliver a compelling pitch — you will create FOMA — or the fear of missing out — so the investors will compete for your attention.

And that is a game changer, Onward Nation!

So before we close out for today…I want to share one final and very important lesson that Judy shared with me — and it was a question that I never answered while running Fortified Nutrition…and that was…what is the exit strategy of the business — and while you are in the business — how you will grow and capture market share?

This is critically important because investors do want their money back with a significant return so you need to be really clear on your exit strategy — and you get there by having a deep understanding of your market and what is happening in your industry. You also need to be able to articulate your customer acquisition cost and how you are going to acquire customers.

And lastly, be sure to avoid the amateurish mistakes. One of the biggest ones is saying things like, “If we just get one to two percent of the market in China, we’ll be a billionaire in six months.” That’s a top-down sales forecast and sophisticated investors know you’re going to have to start from the bottom up with metrics like how many phone calls are you going to have to make, how will your leads convert, and really understanding those customer acquisition cost are critical to your success.

And then let’s end with some resources you can use and study further. First…be sure to listen to Episodes 329, 360, and 362 for deeper dives into blueprints and recipes you can apply to put yourself in the best position possible to access the cash you need to grow your business.

In addition, Judy and John teach a detailed webinar that goes even deeper with more examples and action steps. You can find it here. Register for it and drop me a line — would love to hear more about what you learned.

So with that…I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today.

It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. You can hit me up on Twitter, find us on Facebook, me on LinkedIn, or you are always welcome to email me directly at stephen@onwardnation.com — and yes — that is my actual email address — no fancy filters or filing system — it will come directly to me.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible encore interview with Mitch Russo — don’t miss it because Mitch shares the recipes behind building constant and steady cash flow into your business. The conversation with Mitch is rock solid awesome — you will love it.

Until then, onward with gusto!

Nov 15, 2016

Jay Samit is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on disruption and innovation. He launches billion dollar businesses, transforms industries, revamps government institutions, and for over three decades continues to be at the forefront of global trends. Jay helped grow pre-IPO companies such as Linkedin and eBay, held senior management roles at Sony and Universal Studios, pioneered breakthroughs in mobile video, Internet advertising, e-commerce, social networks, ebooks, and digital music used by billions of consumers every day. Jay is also the consummate dealmaker; his list of partners and associates reads like a who’s who including Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Reid Hoffman, David Geffen, Richard Branson, and Paul Allen. Jay also serves as an adjunct professor at USC and is author of the internationally best-selling book “Disrupt You! Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation.”

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Jay lost a MAJOR contract that he maxed out credit cards to win -- and Jay tells the whole story here.

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to be the best at what you're doing or the only one doing it."

How best to connect with Jay:

Nov 14, 2016

Al Pittampalli started his career as an IT consultant for Ernst & Young where he advised Fortune 500 organizations all over the country. This is where he first realized that mediocrity and ingrained stubbornness were epidemics. Al now helps organizations like NASA, Hewlett Packard, Abbot Labs, transform their organizational cultures. He is the author of two books that help individuals and organizations adapt to a fast changing world. In latest book, “Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World,” Al uses decades of social science to reveal how being persuadable is not only the right thing to do, its the smart thing to do and creates a powerful advantage in both business and life.

Secret – timesaving technique

Al takes time every day to prioritize work with his program manager -- 20% of what you do contributes 80% of your results. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Tap into your creativity -- Al starts each day by following Julia Cameron's Morning Pages strategy.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Al was seduced by short-term opportunities -- and Al tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"In a world that's constantly changing -- being persuadable -- the ability to adapt to changing circumstances -- is the real competitive advantage."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Being safe is now risky."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Realize the cost of planning
  2. Just test it out

How best to connect with Al:

Nov 11, 2016

As President and CBO (Chief Bargain Officer) of the Bargains Group, Jody has mobilized her award-winning discount wholesale and promotional products company to revolutionize the business landscape. A winner of the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and a PROFIT W100 Recipient, Jody Steinhauer uses her network of resources and leveraged buying power to aid every company and not-for-profit agency that she touches to maximize their buying dollar. Since 1988, Jody has grown Bargains Group from her apartment to a multi-million-dollar-a-year business. Jody is also an official Huffington Post blogger.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Jody sets two alarms so she wakes up in time, visualizes her day while in bed, listens to the news, goes into her personal email, drops off her kids at school, and then jumps into a conference call in the car. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

Be comfortable in your own skin.

How do you define success?

Success is different in every area of your life -- and you need to reevaluate it regularly.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is someone who fits your culture.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Show your employees that you're there for them
  2. Teach your employees how to mentor others
  3. Go out into the community and share your beliefs and volunteer
  4. Recognize negative mentors and learn how not to act as a leader

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Take a look at yourself and your company and where you're head and shoulders above your competitors
  2. Figure out where you can enter into mutually beneficial partnerships

How best to connect with Jody:

Nov 10, 2016

Jon Levy is a human behavior scientist who studies influence and adventure. Fast Company called him “the most well-connected behavior scientist you’ve never heard of.” He helps companies brilliantly transform how they approach marketing, sales, influencers program development, consumer engagement, and product design. His “Influencers Model for Engagement” inspires fresh approaches to marketing, sales, innovation, PR, events, product design, customer relationships and building brand loyalty. Jon's book, “The 2 AM Principle: Discover The Science of Adventure”, was released on Tuesday. The book highlights his discovery of The EPIC Model of Adventure - A four stage processes that when applied makes every experience more exciting and adventurous.

Daily habit that contributes to success

Get the sleep you need -- Jon doesn't set alarms and never has a morning meeting.

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"What defines the quality of our lives are the people we surround ourselves with."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Get clear on your core competency and learn to express it as clearly as possible
  2. Build a diverse network, even within your industry

How best to connect with Jon:

Nov 9, 2016

Today’s show is really special — we have two Onward Nation alums returning for what will be a fast-paced, practical and tactical discussion around how business owners can get funded — fast. You may remember Judy Robinett as our guest in Episode 329. Judy gives speeches worldwide on business strategy and high-end strategic networking to specific outcomes. Judy has served as the CEO of both public and private companies and in management positions at Fortune 500 companies. She has been on the advisory boards of several prominent venture capital firms and is the author of “How to Be a Power Connector: The 5-50-100 Rule”. Judy’s business partner in Crack the Funding Code is John Livesay. John was our guest in

Judy’s business partner in Crack the Funding Code is John Livesay. John was our guest in Episode 360 and he is an expert at helping CEOs craft a compelling pitch that engages investors in a way that inspires them to join a startup’s team. INC Magazine calls John “The Pitch Whisperer” and he also the author of The Successful Pitch: Conversations On Going From Invisible To Investable and host of The Successful Pitch Podcast.

What you'll learn about in this episode

  • What Crack the Funding Code is and how Judy and John came up with it
  • What a pitch deck is and what it needs to do
  • Family offices that are looking for investments
  • The amount of money that is sitting out there waiting
  • The key adjustments companies need to make to go from invisible to investible
  • Why it's important to share information and to get a lead investor first
  • What "smart money" looks like
  • Questions that investors ask and what you need to know to give the right answers
  • Why you need to know your numbers and your exit strategy
  • What a strong strategy for using investor money looks like
  • Why treating an investor pitch like a customer pitch is a terrible idea (and why giving a product demo is not smart)
  • How to get an advisory board
  • Why you should put competitors on your advisory board
  • Mallory Dyer -- an example of someone who as been through this all very successfully
  • Why you shouldn't go it alone
  • Why you need to learn, pivot and persist

How best to connect with Judy:

How best to connect with John:

Nov 8, 2016

On his 35th birthday Mike Michalowicz had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. Among other innovative strategies, Mike created the Profit First Formula, a way for businesses to ensure profitability from their very next deposit forward. Mike is now running his third million dollar venture, is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the former MSNBC business make-over expert; is a popular keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics; and is the author of Surge, Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which BusinessWeek deemed the entrepreneurs cult classic.

Secret – timesaving technique

Mike tells himself that he is the most impactful small business author of this century -- before the world sees something in you -- you need to see it in yourself. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Don't structure your to-do list by due dates -- Mike writes a to-do list and prioritizes tasks with symbols.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You have to deliver on your promises."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Everyone is giving you the wrong information -- everyone has a bias."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Don't follow your passion -- follow your purpose
  2. Test, test, test
  3. Don't pivot -- align

How best to connect with Mike:

Nov 7, 2016

John Livesay is a funding strategist and helps CEOs craft a compelling pitch that engages investors in a way that inspires them to join a startup’s team. He is partners with Judy Robinett in “Crack The Funding Code”, which gets founders — funded — fast. He hosts “The Successful Pitch podcast” with investors from around the world. He is the Pitch Mentor at Startfast.net, the number one accelerator in Upstate New York. INC magazine calls John “The Pitch Whisperer.” After a successful 20 year career in media sales with Conde Nast where he worked across all 22 brands in their corporate division, John won salesperson of the year in 2012. John is also the author of The Successful Pitch: Conversations On Going From Invisible To Investable.

Secret – timesaving technique

John prepares and stacks his "moments of certainty" -- investors give money to those who are confident. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Plan tomorrow today -- John writes down the three things he must get done.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

John got 71 no's in a row -- and John tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Listening -- when you become a great listener -- then you become a great storyteller."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Smart leaders are smart readers."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had the foresight to use Trello to keep track of the podcasting process.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Focus on activities that generate revenue. Period.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have to share in my vision.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Make sure you are very clear on who you help and what problem you solve
  2. Why you and why now?
  3. Make sure your why is bigger than just making money

How best to connect with John:

Nov 4, 2016

Robert Mallon is a nationally recognized professional speaker, business coach, and mentor. For the first 20 years of his life, he was a successful executive in the restaurant and software industries. In 2002, he hired a coach who helped him become a motivational speaker. Since then, he has delivered nearly 2,000 full-day seminars and inspired thousands to achieve their unrealized potential. And over more than a decade as a business coach, he has personally helped hundreds of people with their leadership, business, and life.

Secret – timesaving technique

Robert has a weekday warrior morning program -- spend your morning on what's important for preparing for your day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Set good goals -- Robert takes steps each day to accomplish his goals.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Robert lost his wife to cancer -- and Robert tells the whole story here.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Invest in tools for managing people effectively
  2. Become sophisticated at time management skills

How best to connect with Robert:

Nov 3, 2016

The Wall Street Journal calls Chad Hymas one of the 10 most inspirational people in the world! In 2001, at the age of 27, Chad's life changed in an instant when a 2,000-pound bale of hay shattered his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. But Chad’s dreams were not paralyzed that day he became an example of what is possible. Chad inspires, motivates, and moves audiences, creating an experience that touches hearts for a lifetime. Chad is a best-selling author, president of his own Communications Company, Chad Hymas Communications, Inc. and is a world-class wheelchair athlete. Chad’s speaking in the areas of leadership, team building, customer service, and mastering change has brought him multiple honors. He has graced the stage of hundreds of professional and civic organizations including Wells Fargo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T, Rainbird, IHC, American Express, and Prudential.

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Fear can be a marvelous teacher."

How do you define success?

Success is knowing that those that know you the best love and care about you the most.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is the one who dishes out assists.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Realize what a mentor is -- someone with the ability to obtain a follower
  2. Mentorship is demonstrated through behavior -- it's not a title
  3. Mentors teach others how to be mentors themselves

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Don't get complacent
  2. Socialize with people who are doing better than you are
  3. Execute

How best to connect with Chad:

Nov 2, 2016

Dr. Marcie Beigel has been redesigning behavior for professionals, families, schools, and businesses for over 15 years. Her specialty is engaging with behaviors directly and giving clear and insightful directives to clients ­­ who are oftentimes ­­ business owners looking for balance at home to help create balance at work or new approaches to become better leaders. Her approach is heartfelt, but filled with tough love. You can get her weekly behavior newsletter at BehaviorAndBeyond.net. Dr. Marcie is also featured on NBC's Parenting Toolkit.

Why did you write your book?

Dr. Marcie had people come up to her for years asking for her to write a book -- and she talked to people that read books like the one she would be writing so that she would have content that would connect with her readers and not just content that she would enjoy.

What have been the big benefits of the book?

Writing a book will get people to take you more seriously -- and Dr. Marcie has found that people are more willing to dive in deep with her after reading because they feel they already know her.

Why did you decide to hire a publicist -- and -- what has been the impact of that decision?

Hire people to do the things you don't want or have the expertise to do -- and Dr. Marcie hired someone with the expertise to cultivate the right marketing plan for her book.

What is the most critical skill for getting your book done?

  1. Take small steps -- and don't get derailed.
  2. Manage the people that you outsource pieces of the process to

What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?

A lot of Dr. Marcie's employees work remotely -- and Dr. Marcie gets very proud of what she's built when they all get together for a business dinner. AWESOME!

What's one secret you can share to help move businesses onward?

  1. You need to speak with purpose
  2. You need to do more and speak less
  3. Choose honey -- you have to come from a positive perspective

How best to connect with Dr. Marcie:

Nov 1, 2016

Jeanne Bliss is the Founder and President of CustomerBliss, and the Co-Founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association. She is one of the foremost experts on customer-centric leadership and the role of the Chief Customer Officer. She guides C-Suite and Chief Customer Officer clients around the world toward earning the right to business growth and prosperity, by improving customers’ lives. Jeanne pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first ever CCO role at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, and Allstate Corporations. She has driven achievement of 95 percent loyalty rates, improving customer experiences across 50,000-person organizations. Jeanne is also the author of the groundbreaking book, “Chief Customer Officer.”

Secret – timesaving technique

Jeanne writes a to-do list by sending texts to herself -- she then deletes the texts when they are completed -- stay focused on what you need to accomplish. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Make sure you have time for what matters -- Jeanne carves out time for exercise and her family daily.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Jeanne learned she had to check her ego at the door -- and Jeanne tells the whole story here.

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Write like you talk."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have networked more than I did.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Define what you're passionate about
  2. Create your personal code of conduct
  3. Build the journey of the customer's life that you're improving
  4. Find your way to deliver value

How best to connect with Jeanne:

Oct 31, 2016

Lori Jones is the President and CEO of Avocet Communications and brings top retail, consumer product, business-to-business and nonprofit organizations knowledge and experience in all aspects of integrated marketing to clients. Her experience with Fortune 500 brands and entrepreneurial start-ups, enables her to contribute a keen understanding of the intricacies today’s businesses. Lori is also the host of the brilliant podcast, Integrate and Ignite, recently launched on iTunes and soaring up the charts. You may also remember Lori and the wisdom she shared during episodes 130 and 280 of Onward Nation. If you haven’t listened to, studied, and applied all that Lori shared during our first interview…we highly encourage you to add episode 130 and 280 to your list of vital priorities.

What is your show structure?

Integrate and Ignite explores the nature of what it means to be an entrepreneur. She interviews startup entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 CEOs about a number of topics including philosophy and leadership.

What does a personal brand and how can a business owner use their brand to create differentiation?

A personal brand is your full-time commitment to the journey of positioning yourself as a leader and how it shapes the manner in which you serve others.

Why did you start your podcast?

Lori is very inquisitive -- and she wants to learn from the best.

What impact has your podcast had on your business?

The podcast has given Lori's business the credibility to work with people that she wouldn't have been able to otherwise.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful at podcasting

Don't just use your script -- pivot -- think on your feet and ask relevant questions to what your guest is saying

How much time do you spend on a podcast?

Lori spends about 10 hours a week into her podcast for about 2-3 interviews a week -- and her team spends an additional 15 per week.

How best to connect with Lori:

Oct 28, 2016

J.D. Graffam is a user experience expert and business leader. He founded his first business, Simple Focus, a digital experience company, in 2009. Today, his holding company, Graffam Companies, manages three digital agencies and six product businesses, all of which are bootstrapped and profitable. In his industry, he co-founded “CSS Off”, the world’s first philanthropic CSS contest, speaks nationally about creative leadership, user experience, and business, and is the author of the book “CSS for Print Designers.”

Secret – timesaving technique

J.D. has three rules for processing information -- and it begins with putting personal communication first. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Take care of yourself -- J.D. works on his physical well-being and is present for his family.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

J.D. had his two biggest customers let him go within the same week -- and J.D. tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Know what cashflow really is."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Business is more common sense than you think."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Trust in the scale of our economy
  2. Know that you can do it

How best to connect with J.D.:

Oct 27, 2016

Thomas Lindsay has 20 years of insurance and professional employer organization (or PEO) industry experience in C-level management, focusing on all aspects of workers compensation, risk management, loss control, employee benefits, HR, and payroll. He recently resigned as the COO of a large PEO and is currently the owner and CEO of Humanly HR, a PEO services sales organization, and founder and host of SmallBiz Brainiac, a podcast providing employer intelligence to small business owners. His goal is for his clients to thrive as an employer and become a leader in their industry.

Secret – timesaving technique

Thomas turns off his phone, turns the notifications off on his computer, and closes the door -- eliminate distractions so that you can focus on what needs to get done. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Keep track of your important ideas -- Thomas writes down his thoughts and then implements the important ones into his CRM.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Thomas had to close his doors when he couldn't find insurance after the industry was impacted by 9/11 -- and Thomas tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Financial discipline -- at the end of the day you need be profitable."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Be tenacious and don't give up."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have been more focused on a specific service offering and do that better than anyone -- don't try to be all things to all people.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Focus on short term objectives and break them down into tasks.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Keep your business model as simple as possible
  2. Always be profitable -- focus on today
  3. Say no to distractions

How best to connect with Thomas:

Oct 26, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation…welcome to Episode 352…I’m Stephen Woessner. I am really looking forward to this solocast — because — we are going to tackle what I am beginning to consider as the most expensive money draining constraint inside any business.

And I suppose it is not fair or accurate to say inside any business — because this mistake actually happens inside us. It is something that is completely within our control — and to make matters worse — it is a constraint we put into place — and it keeps us from moving forward.

That constraint is the Imposter Syndrome, Onward Nation.

After interviewing nearly 400 of today’s top business owners around the world — I can tell you with 100 percent certainty — that every single person who has walked this Earth has felt the effect of the syndrome pushing them down and applying great weight to their shoulders.

No matter how big and successful someone may seem on the outside — the syndrome is there.

If you have been listening to Onward Nation a while now — you have heard our guests talk about the Imposter Syndrome — and — what the syndrome actually is. And that is fear.

Fear of uncertainty — or there is also the reverse of that — the fear of certainty.

The fear of not achieving significance.

The fear of failure or the fear of success.

There are many types of fear and it paralyzes us from making important decisions or taking action on new opportunities like you hiring the additional staff we need because remain small seems like the prudent thing to do.

Or…not buying the new piece of equipment because what if you don’t have enough orders to run it at full capacity?

Or…not launching that podcast you have always dreamt of because what if no one tunes in an listens and you can’t get guests to join you on the show?

Or…not knocking on the door of investors who would be excellent partners of yours but you are tired all getting all of the NOs!

So here’s the good news.

All of the pain and pressure fear causes us to feel on a daily basis is actually pretty simple to fix when have the right recipe for success. And the recipe I am going to share with you is something I learned from John Livesay, a good friend of mine and one of today’s leading experts in helping business owners go from invisible to investible.

John helps business owners and executives craft a compelling pitch that engages investors in a way that inspires them to join a startup’s team. John is also the host of the brilliant “The Successful Pitch podcast,” the author of the new book “The Successful Pitch — Conversations About Going from Invisible to Investible,” and Inc. Magazine calls John “The Pitch Whisperer.”

Impressive credentials.

But, John and his business partner — Judy Robinett — also help business owners get ready to make a successful pitch to investors so the business gets funded — and in many instances — get funded fast — because of Judy’s impressive connections within the investor community.

You may remember Judy as our rock solid awesome guest in Episode 329 of Onward Nation and John will be my guest on Episode 360, which will air on Monday, November 7th.

What I love about John’s approach to working with business owners in creating their successful pitch is how he smartly addresses what he calls “The Three Faces of Fear” right at the onset the working relationship.

Why is this important?

Because if John can help a business owner get past their fear — and these three fears specifically — then the probability of the business owner delivering a successful pitch and getting funded increases exponentially.

How does John know this?

Because it is exactly what he had to do inside his own business.

The tech startups John was helping with their pitch kept telling him, “This is great. We definitely need help but what we also need are warm introductions to investors now that we have this great pitch.”

But John kept saying to his clients, “I don’t do that. I don’t know any investors.”

But, there were enough business owners asking John to make the introductions that he realized he should follow his own advice… “If your customers and clients are telling you something that they want and are willing to pay for, then maybe you should figure out how to get it for them.”

So John’s Successful Pitch podcast was his way of building up his network of investors so he could introduce his clients, which it definitely did — but before he could begin to build the initial momentum — he had to overcome the Three Faces of Fear.

John shared with me that when he gets afraid to do something outside of his comfort zone, he has found success when he puts a “face” on it — otherwise, it just becomes too overwhelming and so fearful.

But if he can make the fear more tangible — then that’s the first step to overcoming the fear.

The three faces of fear are:

The Fear of Rejection.

The Fear of Failure

The Fear of the Unknown.

For John, he ran into the Fear of Rejection when he would say to himself, “Well, what if I invite someone to be on my podcast and they say, “No thanks,” or “Let’s hear several other episodes before I accept.”

But, he was able to push past this initial fear by drawing on his years of sales experience that told him — despite the fear, doubt, and pressure he was feeling inside — that key to victory was to never take rejections personally and to never reject yourself.

Onward Nation, don’t say “no” on behalf of your clients or prospects.

If they say no — so be it — but keep yourself in the game and keep on fighting.

The second fear John had to overcome was the Fear of Failure.

When you’re starting a podcast, a new business, or seeking capital from an investor, the Fear of Failure will knock on your door and say, “What if you invest all this time and all this money and nobody downloads and episode? Won’t that be humiliating? Won’t that be a waste of time and money?”

But thankfully for John, one of his early podcast guests was Jay Samit who wrote a book called, “Disrupt You.” In the book, Jay wrote, “Failure is just feedback. Keep going until you get a zombie idea so great it won’t die.”

Excellent advice from Jay, Onward Nation. And just a heads up — make a mental note — Jay Samit will be our guest on Episode 366, which will air on Tuesday, November 15th.

So John if you are listening — thank you for the wonderful introduction to Jay.

Then the third fear is the Fear of the Unknown.

The list of things John didn’t know about starting his podcast was a mile long, including what microphone to buy, how to edit the episodes, how to promote the show, all the way to what questions to ask during the interviews.

John had been a guest on many shows and media appearances, but never hosted one, which is a very different experience being on the host-side of the microphone. John found all of the technology-related items to be overwhelming and potentially could have been the thing that stopped him from launching the show.

But, then John found someone who could produce the show for him and all he had to focus on being a great host.

Boom. No more Fear of the Unknown.

John’s approach to conquering the three faces of fear is masterful and I encourage you to apply it. I also want to share with you and early detection system — something to warn you when you are about to get bombarded by fear — how can you prepare yourself for the thoughts to come next?

Excuses are an early indicator to fear. When we hear excuses playing or circling around in our mind — matched up with some sort of justification — it is likely because we are feeling the impact of fear. So I want to arm you with a list of 50 excuses that Napoleon Hill documented in his groundbreaking book, Think & Grow Rich.

If and when one of these thoughts comes into your mind, let it be your litmus test, that you are heading down the path of fear — it is time to confront it for what it is — dismiss it and move on. Or, if you hear one of your employees, colleagues, or friends say something similar to what is on the list…ask them…what are they afraid of…what is the worst that could happen?

Here is the complete list of 54 excuses…courtesy of Napoleon Hill:

  1. If I didn’t have a wife and family…
  2. If I had enough “pull”…
  3. If I had money…
  4. If I had a good education…
  5. If I could get a job…
  6. If I had good health…
  7. If I only had time…
  8. If times were better…
  9. If other people understood me…
  10. If conditions around me were only different…
  11. If I could live my life over again…
  12. If I did not fear what “they” would say…
  13. If I had been given a chance…
  14. If I now had a chance…
  15. If other people didn’t “have it in for me”…
  16. If nothing happens to stop me…
  17. If I were only younger…
  18. If I could only do what I want…
  19. If I had been born rich…
  20. If I could meet “the right people”…
  21. If I had the talent that some people have…
  22. If I dared assert myself…
  23. If I only had embraced past opportunities…
  24. If people didn’t get on my nerves…
  25. If I didn’t have to keep house and look after the children…
  26. If I could save some money…
  27. If the boss only appreciated me…
  28. If I only had somebody to help me…
  29. If my family understood me…
  30. If I lived in a big city…
  31. If I could just get started…
  32. If I had the personality of some people…
  33. If I were not so out of shape…
  34. If my talents were known…
  35. If I could just get a break…
  36. If I could only get out of debt…
  37. If I hadn’t failed…
  38. If I only knew how…
  39. If everybody didn’t oppose me…
  40. If I didn’t have so many worries…
  41. If I could marry the right person…
  42. If people weren’t so dumb…
  43. If my family were not so extravagant…
  44. If I were sure of myself…
  45. If luck were not against me…
  46. If I had not been born under the wrong star…
  47. If it were not true that “what is to be will be”…
  48. If I didn’t have to work so hard…
  49. If I hadn’t lost my money…
  50. If I lived in a different neighborhood…
  51. If I didn’t have a past…
  52. If only I had a business of my own…
  53. If other people would only listen to me…

And…here is the greatest excuse of them all, Onward Nation…

“If I had the courage to see myself as I really am, I would find out what is wrong with me and correct it, then I might have a chance to profit by my mistakes and learn something from the experience of others, for I know that there is something wrong with me, or I would now be where I would have been if I had spent time analyzing my weaknesses, and less time building excuses to cover them.”

Onward Nation, please realize that the fear you may be feeling right now is not real.

Fear is made up.

Fear doesn’t exist. Fear doesn’t have any power over you unless you let it.

The next time you are feeling pressure — the next time you are feeling fearful — would you please do me a favor?

Just pause — take a deep breath — tell yourself the emotions you are feeling right now are not real — that they are simply the Imposter Syndrome trying to keep you from your destiny — and then — remind yourself of the wise words from Marianne Williamson…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’

“Actually, who are you not to be?

“You are a child of God. Playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

“We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson, Author of A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Okay, Onward Nation?

So with that…I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today.

It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation…good or bad…I always want your feedback. You can hit me up on Twitter, find us on Facebook, me on LinkedIn, or you are always welcome to email me directly at stephen@onwardnation.com — and yes — that is my actual email address — no fancy filters or filing system — it will come directly to me.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible encore interview with Thomas Lindsay — you will not want to miss Thomas’s philosophy why keeping things simple — no matter what business you’re in — tends to be the pathway to profitability, Onward Nation. The conversation with Thomas is rock solid awesome.

Until then, onward with gusto!

Oct 25, 2016

Steve Goldstein is a proven leader who has held executive positions with leading global brands, such as Chairman and CEO of American Express Bank, President of Sears Credit, and Citigroup, as well as several early-stage enterprises. Steve has been an investor, advisor, and interim CEO for more than 10 venture backed e-commerce companies. He currently works in the private equity industry as a Senior Advisor with the consulting and advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal, serves as Chairman of US Auto Sales, serves as a Senior Advisor to Milestone Partners and an Industrial Advisor to EQT Partners (a global private equity firm based in Stockholm).

He has also advised CEOs and private equity owners providing counsel on performance improvement with their companies in addition to acquisitions and merger integration opportunities. His talks are based on his Five Principles of Engagement and are interwoven with stories from global companies to mid-size companies to startups.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Steve gets a lot done before anyone else wakes up -- he works out, eats breakfast, reads a couple of newspapers, checks his email, and takes a shower -- all before 7:30. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Leadership is the courage to admit mistakes, the vision to welcome change, the enthusiasm to motivate others, and the others to stay out of step when everyone else is marching to the wrong tune." - Edward N. Cole

How do you define success?

Success is when you have an organization of people who fully understand what is required that are empowered to do whatever is needed to deliver what your customers want, when you have the ability to change and reinvent yourself, and when you create a sustainable business that morphs and endures.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" is are highly qualified individuals that deserve to be there -- get rid of the people that are holding you back.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Be a resource -- but don't give detailed instructions

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Assess your business from an outside perspective
  2. Meet with employees and get their perspective on what is working
  3. Go through the same process with your customers

How best to connect with Steve:

Oct 24, 2016

Julie Broad is an award-winning entrepreneur, recognized real estate investor, and a popular speaker and workshop trainer. Known for helping new entrepreneurs who aren’t naturally born to sell, build a brand to get results, make an impact and ultimately make more money. Julie’s first book, “More than Cashflow”, debuted at #1 overall on Amazon Canada. Her newest release, “The New Brand You” is quickly climbing the sales charts after its official release in July.

Secret – timesaving technique

Julie believes it's about managing energy -- not managing time -- plan out your day the day before. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Hope is not a strategy -- Julie doesn't use words like "hope," "might," or "wish."

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Julie put an incredible amount of time and money into a project that completely flopped -- and Julie tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Know your audience and know what hooks them in."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You are the average of the 5-7 people you spend the most time with."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have tested everything before doing a full scale launch.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Surround yourself with great people
  2. Plan for things to take longer and cost more than you expect
  3. Take action

How best to connect with Julie:

Oct 21, 2016

George Athan is one of New York City’s top business growth experts. He has successfully consulted for companies in 75 different industries including niche markets. George specializes in helping business-to-business companies create predictable and scalable sales processes to achieve rapid business growth.

Secret – timesaving technique

George breaks down 90-day goals into 30-day goals into weekly and daily tasks -- focus on the tasks that you need to do to accomplish your goals. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Strategy isn't enough -- George habitually gets himself "juiced up" every day.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

George tried to be all things to all people -- and George tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Intense focus -- specifically on sales and marketing."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Stop being a perfectionist -- you'll never be perfect."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have focused on our lead generation process.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Keep your why in front of you
  2. Focus on what can be done -- not what can't

How best to connect with George:

Oct 20, 2016

John Hall is the co-founder of Influence & Co, a company focused on helping brands and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to gain influence, visibility, and credibility with their key audiences. John has grown Influence & Co. into one of the largest providers of high-quality expert and influencer content to the world's top publications, ranking No. 72 on Forbes Most Promising Companies in America list and named Empact's Best Marketing and Advertising Company of 2014 at the United Nations. Influence & Co. was recently mentioned in Inc. as the # 1 Company Dominating Content Marketing. John was recognized by Forbes as the #1 Keynote Speaker For Digital Trends. He also has a weekly column for Forbes and Inc. and has contributed to more than 50 publications.

Secret – timesaving technique

John uses Antnotes -- keep track of what needs to be done and then accomplish it. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Think about who you talk to -- John challenges himself to be more thoughtful and helpful with his employees and others that he interacts with.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

John went to a conference in the early days of his business -- it did not go well -- and John tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You always need to be learning."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Be the person everyone wants on their team."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have drunk our own Kool-Aid a lot more.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Invest in yourself
  2. Control your story

How best to connect with John:

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