Brent Keltner A deep dive into the 4Ms of investing

Brent Keltner – A deep dive into the 4Ms of investing
Investing is more than just numbers and math. Most investors make the mistake of only looking at the numbers and wonder why they are not picking strong investments. You need to look past the numbers and look at the business. Overall, you need to understand 4Ms, including the Margin of Safety, Meaning, Moat, and Management. In this episode, our guest helps us gain a better understanding of each so you know what to look for before you invest. Please welcome Brent Keltner.
  • Transcription
[00:00:03.430] – Intro
Payback Time is a podcast about building businesses, wealth and financial freedom. We try to uncover the challenges our guests faced, the mistakes they made, and the steps they took to achieve their goals. The overall objective is to provide you with a roadmap that leads to your own success. Sean Tepper is your host. Are you ready? It’s Payback Time.  
[00:00:33.150] – Sean
Investing is more than just numbers and math. Most investors make the mistake of only looking at the numbers and wonder why they are not picking strong investments. You need to look past the numbers and look at the business overall. You need to understand the four ends. This includes the margin of safety, meaning the motor and the management. In this episode, our guest helps us gain a better understanding of each so you know what to look for before you invest. Please welcome Brent Keltner. Brent, welcome to the show.  
[00:01:06.680] – Brent
Hey, Sean, thanks for having me.  
[00:01:08.320] – Sean
Yeah, thanks for being here. So why don’t you kick us off, tell us a little bit about your background.  
[00:01:12.290] – Brent
Well, I’ll tell you about my company, and that’s probably more interesting to your audience. We do go to market and revenue acceleration, consulting. And really our secret sauce is helping teams move from product driven selling. It’s all about me and my product and my successes to what we call authentic conversations, which is every conversation starting in prospecting to sales, the customer success, starting with your buyer, your customers.  
[00:01:36.770] – Brent
Why are they talking to you? How can you make them more successful? That’s the work we do. We do messaging strategies, playbooks and team based training. I got here in a very roundabout route. I was actually trained as a PhD social scientist and learned how to run authentic conversations, doing qualitative research interviews, and then transitioned over to run and go to market teams at Kaplan and Edge Adventures, Collegiate, Link, and plus all the partners and had a number of very quick growth successes going into situations where they’re focused on their product. And I said, hey, let’s make it about your buyer and customer. And boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Four very different companies, but quick growth acceleration. And so at that point, I was like, hey, I can do this for a lot of people. And I started as a consultancy.  
[00:02:28.540] – Sean
Thank you for the background. Now, are you primarily focused on like maybe new tech startups or new startups in general, or do you work with businesses that are trying to introduce a new product or a new revenue stream?  
[00:02:38.610] – Brent
Yeah, I mean, both. It’s one of the nice things, Sean, about the approach. We have several target markets, but what we’ve seen is that the methodology works as well with enterprise sales teams. Is some of your audience that might be thinking about an entrepreneurial venture or they have a business and they’re trying to accelerate that business. So I was on with a very big higher Ed and corporate learning company today, and they’re launching some new divisions.  
[00:03:06.270] – Sean
[00:03:06.700] – Brent
And this principle about you got to find and I know your method is beyond the metrics. It’s like, what’s the meaning of what’s the mode.  
[00:03:14.850] – Sean
[00:03:15.320] – Brent
Is? You got to find those buyer outcomes and customer outcomes that you’re uniquely qualified to serve where you can build a differentiated message. And honestly, that’s as important in an early growth stage company as it is in more of an enterprise situation where you’re trying to grow faster.  
[00:03:34.190] – Sean
Sure. I want to dive into this a little bit from the investing standpoint. And as you know, our audience are primarily retail investors investing in stocks. And as we teach a Tykr, we’re not investing in stocks, we’re investing in businesses. And there’s more than just math. When you look at a business Tykr, fortunately handles the math for us. But we also as you just alluded there, you got to look at the meaning, mode and management. So let’s dive into the meeting a little bit, which from our perspective is the business model, where the business model is going, who your customers are. Can you help the audience understand how to take a little better look at the meaning part of the business?  
[00:04:14.480] – Brent
Yeah, 100%. I would say it all whether B to C or B to B. It all comes down to two things, really is how clear is the before and after case? Right.  
[00:04:25.310] – Sean
[00:04:25.860] – Brent
Customer is here. You move them here. And can you actually quantify that in a meaningful way? You’re going to save them time. You’re going to make them more money. You’re going to lead to different kind of collaboration between a team or in a family unit if you’re selling some kind of B to C mobile device to track your kids. So the best companies, the highest growth companies, what they can very clearly communicate to their buyers is we will move you from where your current state to a better future state. And this is what that could be worth to you. Would you be interested in learning more? And I’ll just share one story. It’s on the BTC side, but I think of Greg Carter at Truffet. And Truffitt is a retail personalization platform. So they work with Macy’s, Uggs, Dick Sports, a bunch of others to find the right style and fit recommendations. And it’s an impressive product. 17 million brands or 17,000 brands, 200 million consumers. We started working with Greg and team. They’d show up and they’d throw up their transformational AI product and awesome demos. Everybody can relate to getting the wrong product or not being confident to pull the trigger.  
[00:05:35.210] – Brent
And then it would die. Right. There was no ongoing momentum. And as soon as they realized that, we got to tell a story about how putting that on your website does something meaningful for your business. It takes more of your web browsers and it gives them the confidence to buy. It means they buy the right thing. The first time so they don’t return as much. It means you have more insight by combining data sets with what is their potential lifetime value, how to target and retarget them. Boom. Now as soon as they shifted it from not a transformational product, but what does that product do for my buyer? The sales productivity just went through the roof and the pandemic helped with that sales messaging and execution. They had an 85% growth from already like a $30 million base. I mean, it’s dramatic growth for them. And we see that with companies at all phases. If you take and tell a very clear story about how you make your buyer’s life better and what that’s worth to them, you will grow faster.  
[00:06:32.970] – Sean
I love this. I want to dive in a little further. So let’s talk about the differences between B to C and B to B, because B to B can be a little more complex. There’s a little more hand holding in the sales process, whereas BTC should be very clear, very easy for that buyer to understand. So maybe talk about the differences a little bit. Yeah.  
[00:06:54.460] – Brent
I mean, you said it exactly right. In B to B, there can be an instantaneous decision. I’m the buyer. Did you motivate me to show how you can change my life? In B to B, you have to get a champion who then goes back and makes the case. You got to line up the internal stakeholders around their value prop.  
[00:07:18.280] – Sean
[00:07:18.940] – Brent
So that creates a lot more complex. I got to get better at helping them prioritize. What is the value of doing something with me? I think in B to C, what you find in B to B, pure stories matter a ton, but in B to C, it’s everything right. Is there a buzz around it? Do I look at people like me that are kind of using this product? We did a work for a company called Dealer Rater that was a beta C products. They basically sold dealer reviews to car dealerships. But what they found is it was like this people like me phenomenon. I heard testimonials from other people I could identify, and so there was some AI to kind of serve up the right reviews to people on the other end. So I saw other people like me buying and having a great experience with that dealer. There’s an emotional response that makes me more likely to buy. So I think in B to C, telling those peer stories and we know the best form of kind of marketing. And B to C is that word of mouth and actively promoting that word of mouth and building kind of a following around that word of mouth is everything.  
[00:08:29.930] – Brent
Success stories matter a lot B to B, but lining up your buying group is as important.  
[00:08:35.550] – Sean
With B, two C, I found the best in class, doing a good job. You kind of alluded to that a little bit, which is the social score. What people say about it, whether it’s Facebook, Google or Trust pilot reviews, I know there’s a bunch of others that’s one, two is community. I think community is big if you got a community around it that can elevate your confidence in the product. I’m big on this with B to C world is what’s the barrier to entry? If it’s B to C and you don’t have sales people selling the product, it should be super easy to use it or get your hands on it with a pretty low friction return policy or exit strategy or exit process if you’re an assass. So what are your thoughts on all that?  
[00:09:25.000] – Brent
Yeah, I think so. Two thoughts on your second and third, the community and creating the opportunity for your users to learn from each other about new features or new ways of doing things with whatever your product is. It’s critical. But then thinking about the extensions. Right. What else can we put in front of them? If your Apples like, all right, what other devices can I add to your phone to get that make you stickier to it? So I think that two and three. But I would go back to your one, and I think of a company we did some work with called Iron Tree Service. I mean, there’s a million folks that will come down and prune your trees or cut down your trees. And they were the high price leader, but they differentiated around the Iron Tree experience. Right. This kind of end to end. It was from beginning to end. And so a more affluent demographic, but people at home that didn’t want the hassle. And when they would get a bad review, the CEO would literally pick up the phone and call those people and try and remediate the bad reviews for me to fix it.  
[00:10:27.030] – Brent
And he was successful.  
[00:10:28.630] – Sean
[00:10:29.030] – Brent
He was like, hey, let me hear more about what went wrong or how can we make it right for you? And then people go fix it so that your perception was everything for them.  
[00:10:38.830] – Sean
Yeah. A lot of people underestimate the power of good customer service. And you’ve seen this probably in your space. You can have a really good product and bad customer service. It will default to a bad product and a bad experience. But if you flip the equation, I found you could have an okay product or bad product, but really good customer service. You can still from my perspective, you can still get some customers and even retain some customers because your service is that good. I found this in the SAS world. There’s SAS products that are they’re maybe okay, but they’ve got really good customer service, which motivates you to be like, all right, I’ll stay around. I’ll see what this evolves into. So I love to hear this off the customer.  
[00:11:27.090] – Brent
We’re asked for information all the time from the people we do business with. So our expectation is they know us and they know how to troubleshoot our problem.  
[00:11:37.030] – Sean
[00:11:37.440] – Brent
So when you experience and I think insurance companies are the worst often or when you run a car and you think of the experience like, I’ve given you this information two dozen times and you’re still going to make me wait in line for 20 minutes, it’s so frustrating. Right. So when people handle that well and they actually have a good knowledge base and they train their people to sort of list and recap or go back and look at the record of your last interaction, I understand you were on just a call a month ago and had this problem or whatever it is, it changes everything because we’re busy. Right. And we all value our time a lot. So I agree with you. It’s totally undervalued and often under resourced. Right. It’s part of the challenge, yes.  
[00:12:29.090] – Sean
To dovetail into from the investing standpoint is those of us that invest in businesses or stocks look for those companies that have really an elevated experience with customer service, then we want to look at businesses that are scalable and continuously increasing revenue and profits. That’s all great. But it’s just another layer of quality when you really look at the service side.  
[00:12:56.910] – Brent
One of the things I think for your investors, when we evaluate companies we’re working with venture capitalists and helping them with the company. The thing that we always look at that separates good from great companies on the BDB site. But it’s also true on the BDC site is really how well do they know their different buyer types? We live in this world where we all expect hyper personalized messaging and hyper personalized experience because information is everywhere. And most companies start from the proposition like, oh, I have a product and I sell to a buyer. And the reality is on the B to C side, your demographics, your income and your marital status, whether you have kids and your ethnic background all influence dramatically how you think about a product. And on the B to B side, where you sit in the organization and what you’re held accountable for and what segment you live in. If you’re in HR at a manufacturing company, that’s very different than HR at a biotech company or professional services company in terms of the talent you recruit and how you create retention and recruitment strategies and how you think about women leaders and all kinds of other issues.  
[00:14:11.760] – Brent
And so we always early on say, hey, how well do they tell that what we talked about, the before and after story. Why is the buyer going to benefit from working with you? And then do they have a sense about what are their two or three ideal buyer personas in an early growth mode? Hey, this gets me to a half million. This might get me to a million. To get the 5 million I’ve got to tap into three of these different ideal prior types. Here’s the addressable market in that. Do they actually understand that the world today is deeply every market is kind of micro segmented, right?  
[00:14:47.760] – Sean
Yeah. This goes back to how well and this is good for the entrepreneurs out there. Listening is how well do you understand your customer? You think about the businesses you invest in, how well do they understand you or their buyers if you happen to be a buyer? But then if you’re thinking about building a business, understand those personas or those segments within your business and how to serve them better. And it’s not an overnight process. And let’s talk about that a little bit on how you help companies improve that. Like, from my perspective, it’s a lot of surveys and a lot of Zoom calls and getting to know the customer as well as you possibly can and understand the pain points and peeling back the onion. And it takes a while. As I said, it can take not just a few months. It can be years in some cases, yes.  
[00:15:37.510] – Brent
No question. I think all of those things you said, one of the things we always say is most companies don’t know their customer stories very well. And there’s one reason they never ask.  
[00:15:48.390] – Sean
Are you seriously, seriously, if you go.  
[00:15:51.160] – Brent
To some of your best customers and just with a simple kind of you’ve been one of our best customers for a year or two years or six months, we’d love to hear what you really like and what we do. Also, if there’s anything that we’re not doing as well as we might, I mean, this is a value added conversation. We always six months in, we’ll say. And if it makes sense, we would love to bring you into our thought partnership. We always love to hear when our customers hear from other customers. Right. That’s the most powerful form. So you’re just simply saying, hey, I want to have a dialogue about why you’re working with me and just understand, hey, where were you before? Why did you choose us? What was the result of that? So problem solution result. Right. If you just do some of those customer storytelling and you will have a much better idea, and then what you want to think about is this what we’re peer groups. Right. So in our own story, I mean, I built this, as I said to you, this more authentic we call authentic conversations, which are not about us and our product.  
[00:16:55.330] – Brent
It’s about our buyer and our buyer. Why and really landing on how to make them more successful. I built it as an academic and I have a PhD and I came from the Academy. I had a bunch of gross successes as a revenue leader. And then I went to CEOs and BP sales. I have this different way of doing stuff. And I’m like you’re an academic. What do you know? This sounds touchy feeling, right? They just totally dismissed it. It was like ten years ago. And so I said, okay, we’re winning in higher Ed. I’m going to keep winning in higher Ed. And then I just look for people in other segments, human capital, industrial automation, ad tech, that kind of got the outcome we were trying to drive for. It’s not about your product, it’s about the business outcome. And so we built out personas. So I think your entrepreneurs are your investors. It’s how well do people understand the outcome and then how well do they understand it? For a couple of different buyer personas, that’s how you can build really dramatic growth.  
[00:17:50.890] – Sean
[00:17:51.190] – Sean
That’s really good to be sensitive to what the businesses we invest in. Of course, back to those who are building a business is how well do these businesses care about their customers? Are they asking those questions? Are they on social media, engaging? And if somebody comes up with an idea, do you see responses from people at the company about, oh, that’s a great idea. We’re going to take that into consideration. Like you’re hearing us. You’re taking this into consideration. That means a lot.  
[00:18:18.390] – Brent
Yeah. I had the good fortune. A guy named David Merman Scott was my book coach for this book, this revenue acceleration playbook we just published, and he has a book called feminocracy, which is exactly on your point. It’s like your brand really takes off when your buyers, consumer or business kind of co own your brand and they’re innovating and suggesting and you’re internalizing those learnings and letting those people that really already bought in kind of help you map the path forward. But you can start that with five customers. Yeah, you can start with five customers. Tell me what’s the most valuable to you and how do we extend that?  
[00:18:55.330] – Sean
You might have some fun with this question or comment, which is there are entrepreneurs and sometimes CEOs that their ideas are the best ideas, and they’re going to do it their way. Right. And I found that the best way to build a business or launching a new product within a company is remove your ego from the equation, put it on the customer as the product creator, if you will, and just execute what they want. And it’s not too difficult of a formula, but there’s a lot of people they have to put their ego right in the middle of that equation.  
[00:19:29.310] – Brent
Yeah, you nailed it. You nailed it. Right. Our CEO is a buying group of one. They might have an idea about how they want to do things, but at the end of the day, your buyers and customers are going to tell you their language for their peers is a lot more powerful than our language for what we think they want.  
[00:19:48.470] – Sean
Right? Yeah, I love that.  
[00:19:50.600] – Brent
Check your ego at the door. We talk about authentic conversations, but increasingly talking about an authentic mindset. Right. I mean, our minds and this is people a lot smarter than me have done the research on this. But our brains are wired to be egocentric and selfish. Right. Our brains are wired to think about. My point of view is right. To start with a conclusion and collect evidence to support that conclusion. Our brains are not wired to say, hey, let me collect evidence from my market to get to the ideal position. So you have to think about actively checking your ego in the door. And am I actually learning about my customers and buyers?  
[00:20:28.610] – Sean
[00:20:29.260] – Brent
Am I letting that drive my sense of product market fit and then go to market fit, which is about scaling around those initial customers.  
[00:20:38.490] – Sean
Right. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Let’s say you find product market fit, and now you’re in a state where, okay, we know what our customers want and they’re starting to join. How do you put down the gas and really accelerate the business from there?  
[00:20:51.000] – Sean
[00:20:51.260] – Brent
And I don’t know if you know the sales acceleration formula. Mark Roberts, who is HubSpot’s CRO from zero to 100 million sales, he’s got a very specific point of view. I interviewed him for our book, but I heard him talk at a conference recently. Again, what he says is, honestly, you should measure through to your customer lifetime value. So that’s the metric that matters the most, even if you’re converting them at a high rate through your marketing and sales model, what you want is to repeat the customers that have the highest value. And what you want to see is an early indication of that. Right. That there’s adoption early on and how they use the product. So that’s hard to do. But I think it points again at that idea of let’s go to the buyer groups where we have the most significant outcomes that they can articulate, that they can measure and double down on those. So I’ll give you an example of a company called Mainstay where it’s a conversational AI, products that started in higher Ed, they’re now in the corporate market, in the K twelve market conversational AI that initially helped with student admissions.  
[00:22:04.480] – Brent
So getting students to submit an application, enroll yield them through the summer because there’s a lot of summer melt, they double dip and then to keep them through the first year. And when I started working with them, they had ten customers in six different segments, some corporate, some nonprofit, different segments of higher Ed. And what they found is there was a segment of higher Ed that basically had a student lifecycle engagement problem.  
[00:22:31.690] – Sean
[00:22:32.230] – Brent
And every one of those like getting them to apply, getting them to enroll, keeping them for the first year. So those are the folks they could drive the most value for. There’s just huge dollars associated with the applications. The yield, their growth literally from ten to 50 companies was about 90% in this one segment of campuses, about 600 of them that had that lifecycle problem. So they figured out where they could drive the most value and then just started to grow like crazy in that segment. And then second was large community colleges that had a term to term re enrollment problem. So that was their next phase of growth.  
[00:23:12.770] – Sean
Got it. So to become better at tracking and this is not so much a question focus for the investors on the call. This is more the entrepreneurs is what do you recommend entrepreneurs do become better at tracking? Is there type of software platforms or maybe techniques you can really lean into?  
[00:23:30.810] – Brent
I think what we say is just being we eat our own dog food on this is think about if you’re doing any kind of outbound inbound campaigning, just do monthly commits or quarterly commits. I’m going after this persona with this message. Like literally build a library of this message to this segment and this persona and just think about we do that work with clients, but you can do it on your own as well. It’s like every month, how many meetings did I get and how many of those flowed through to opportunities and closed opportunities and just do some simple tracking. I mean, you can do it in a bi tool. You can do it in Excel sheet. But it really is just being more intentional about saying where are we winning the fastest?  
[00:24:13.010] – Sean
Got it.  
[00:24:15.390] – Brent
I have a monthly commit. I’m going after this campaign and then I’m going to review quarterly like, where am I winning the quickest.  
[00:24:23.400] – Sean
Yup. Yes. Appreciate that. Thank you. Let’s take a quick commercial break.  
[00:24:30.450] – Sean
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[00:24:34.960] – Sean
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[00:24:36.610] – Sean
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[00:24:38.420] – Sean
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[00:24:41.810] – Sean
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[00:24:51.930] – Sean
I created Tykr because, number one, I wanted to remove emotions from investing. In other words, I wanted the software.  
[00:24:58.090] – Sean
To make buying and selling decisions for me so I don’t have to. Number two, I wanted to save time. Analyzing stocks can take hours if not days.  
[00:25:07.640] – Sean
And I didn’t want to spend all.  
[00:25:08.800] – Sean
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[00:25:27.560] – Sean
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[00:25:31.080] – Sean
With a free trial visit That’s again.  
[00:25:36.580] – Sean What I’d like to do next is and this has been really helpful for the meaning side of the business, understanding the business model, your customers. Where it’s going? Let’s transition a little bit to the moat, which is the competition. Can you tell us a little bit about how you help the companies you work with? How do you help them become more aware of their competitors or become more aware of where they’re going, so on, so forth? Yeah.  
[00:26:05.210] – Brent
I mean, we often think about and this is where identifying your ideal buyer matters the most, is thinking about each buyer in terms of what are the range of alternatives they have, including the internal competition or doing nothing, which speaks as to the intensity of the value prop, really. And there’s not a science to this. It’s a little bit more of an art, but I think it’s thinking about identifying those personas and then the segments where the number of alternatives and the strength of those alternatives is less and where you can start to tell a story that you believe about unique value, which you can then hear from your customers.  
[00:26:53.090] – Sean
Yeah, right.  
[00:26:53.930] – Brent
It’s sort of lining up those things.  
[00:26:55.920] – Sean
I’ve seen this with the B to B world is you have the obvious competitors, which are obviously other businesses like yours that could take your customers away from you. But then there’s other competitors people don’t think about, which is the selling upstream, getting stakeholder, buy in on something where making the change is actually more friction than just staying the status quo where we’re at. So you got to sell against internal people as well.  
[00:27:23.350] – Brent
I think you know the answer to this. But the number one reason deals don’t close, why people did nothing.  
[00:27:29.850] – Sean
Yes. You can’t make a decision.  
[00:27:32.060] – Brent
No decision. Right. To your point, to buy something new, particularly in a B to B world, you have to spend money to do something different.  
[00:27:41.390] – Sean
[00:27:42.140] – Brent
And that’s hard. So you’re right that there is. And as you go upstream, as you say, there’s all kinds of folks that will say, well, I can do that because they’re protecting organizational turf or organizational budget. So, yes, internal competition is for many companies, our top competition.  
[00:28:06.290] – Sean
I figured, and I’ve run into that before working for larger institutions is trying to sell up the stream and you’ll get some. Yeses, but then you get those nos, and those nos might have a larger title behind it, which makes it a very difficult Boulder to move. And you better be well armed in those conversations internally. And I think it’s businesses that do especially B to B, do a really good job, is giving those salespeople the ammunition, the context to really sell the story the whole way and get that close 100%.  
[00:28:46.630] – Brent
I wanted to go to your fourth one management, and I wanted to pick up on the mindset this idea of the CEO’s ego, because this is one of the things we say, you can have a promising market, you can have a promising product. But one of the big dysfunctions we see in leadership teams in the sort of early growth mode before you’re just kind of an item is the management mindset. You’ll sit in their management meetings and it’s like, I think everybody has a point of view, I think, and just teaching them the discipline to say, I think because. Right. This is my evidence to support that assertion or making it comfortable to say, I don’t know. But I will go find out. And here’s how I will find out. Right. There are so many leadership teams that are oriented for show and not actually oriented for getting to product market fit and getting to go to market fit. And it sits with the CEO to just ask people when they’re venturing their opinions about both external buyer positioning or execution or whatever it is or internal collaboration that they’re supporting that with some kind of reasoning or evidence.  
[00:30:04.510] – Brent
Honestly, how would we know that’s true? Just asking that question, how would we know that’s true? How would we test that?  
[00:30:10.640] – Sean
[00:30:11.380] – Brent
And being open to saying, I’m not sure, but here’s how it goes. Find out if that’s true. Kind of checking your own ego at the door and saying, look, in this current very disrupted buyer environment, we all have to be active learners all the time.  
[00:30:27.410] – Sean
I love how you position that because that’s a really good sign for those of you who are investors and you like listening to the transcripts or watching videos on YouTube of CEOs is that moment when they admit outright, I am not the expert, I do not have the answer, but I will find I have a strategy and action plan in place. They’re not saying those words, but that’s what they mean is to find the right answer on an expedited timeline. They’re not going to dwell on the next two years. It’s like, let’s get to an answer. That’s what I look for in a good CEO. Is that humility to show that I’m not the expert here, but I’ll find an answer for you.  
[00:31:11.530] – Brent
That’s right. And as you said, it’s not a defensive posture. I don’t know. Silly me. It say yes, that’s an important question and it requires further investigation. And this is what I’ll do about it. You got a lead on that further investigation, right?  
[00:31:27.740] – Sean
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Going back ten years or so. I remember talking to he was one of these CEOs that he was like a contract CEO. He’d come in and for mid size manufacturing companies, maybe 500 employees or less, maybe a father is moving into retirement. He doesn’t want to quite hand it off to the son or daughter. So he brings in this interim CEO for two or three years. And he told me, a good CEO and he practices this can make decisions like really good decisions, quickly with high conviction. And at the same time you have the understanding that, yes, you’re going to make mistakes, but you can quickly correct and have an action plan to correct from those mistakes, because there’s a lot of people that want to move into that top level, but they don’t make decisions, and you’ve got to have the guts to make those decisions. So knowing that you worked with a lot of CEOs, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.  
[00:32:23.890] – Brent
Yeah, no, I think that’s exactly right is setting a direction quickly, but recognizing ambiguity and that we might have to make adjustments. What kills morale and slows things down is hanging ambiguity.  
[00:32:38.970] – Sean
[00:32:39.750] – Brent
And so, yeah, I think you’re right that the best CEOs make decisions. They leave some ambiguity because business is ambiguous. But I actually had a CEO, Tom Wrestler at Edge Adventures, who now leads a company called Shoreline, and he would say everything is the same until it’s not right. But this is what we’re executing now. Let’s execute it well. And then as a leadership team, if we’re going to adjust, we’ll adjust. So recognizing both of those and it’s a hard balance, but it’s exactly the right balance, right.  
[00:33:16.700] – Sean
No, I loved your comments there. There are also CEOs that are good fits for different sized organizations. You’ve got your startup CEOs that can get you from zero to one, from nothing to a product market fit than the mid size scale. And then maybe that high end growth going from 10 million in revenue to 100 million. I know you could break this out in different segments, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the different mindsets for the different type of CEOs based on the size of the organization.  
[00:33:46.430] – Brent
Yeah, I think you’re right. The first one is somebody who can dive in and do the work with their team.  
[00:33:54.570] – Sean
[00:33:55.450] – Brent
The second one, to me, is probably the way you need to be this most fluid in making between one and 10 million fluid in making a lot of decisions and agile. And that’s where, honestly, most companies stall because they don’t have the right leadership. I mean, once you’re above 10 million in a software company, you can have 40 or 50 people in a services company more. And now, honestly, communication and talent development are by far the two most important skills. Right. You just have to get good at communicating the same thing to different constituencies over and over again. And as you level up, you got to get better and better at recruiting talent for different roles for different size of companies. Really good CEOs are not really that different from politicians. They’re very good. And Tom Dreadler, who is a good friend, he was so good at telling his story, you could just see the story was crisp and it was authentic. But he knew his audience and he knew the points of the story to tell. So that communication is incredibly good at recruiting talent because he would get people excited about the vision.  
[00:35:11.450] – Brent
And I just had a good sense for people and how their talents could fit into different roles.  
[00:35:19.470] – Sean
The question from my perspective was somewhat selfish because this is a learning moment for me, help build Tykr and have a really awesome team around me. But that’s one thing I’ve been paying close attention to is building a really solid team, recruiting the right people and then reiterating the vision. Where are we going? What do we want to do? And it shouldn’t become like daunting. It’s repetitive, but it should be fun. But it’s a necessity. You can’t just say at once, walk away, which unfortunately, you see that in a lot of organizations, you got to keep communicating, keep driving. This is what we’re doing. Everybody’s got to be aligned in this goal.  
[00:36:00.030] – Brent
Yeah. No, I think your instinct is dead on because particularly in earlier growth companies, a lot of the reason people are there is for the vision. And when the vision dies, when they don’t feel energized by it anymore, they’re going to go get a job in a big company.  
[00:36:16.150] – Sean
[00:36:16.550] – Brent
Big, secure company. So articulating and rearticulating the vision. And honestly, recruiting for vision alignment is really important. I would say through $10 million.  
[00:36:27.240] – Sean
Sure. Yeah. This has been really helpful. And thank you for taking your business model, what you do and really applying it to the retail investors vision here as they look at businesses before we jump into the rapid fire round, which is a fun round of questions we’ll get to in a second. Is there a question that I did not ask that I should have asked?  
[00:36:48.390] – Brent
No. We covered a lot of great groundshot.  
[00:36:50.820] – Sean
Okay. All right.  
[00:36:51.600] – Brent
We enjoyed the conversation. Yeah, likewise.  
[00:36:54.410] – Sean
Well, let’s dive in. We call this rapid fire around. This is a part of the episode where we get to find out who Brent really is.  
[00:37:02.430] – Brent
That’s dangerous.  
[00:37:03.630] – Sean
I know. If you can try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less, if you go a little over that’s. Okay. The first question is what is the favorite podcast you listen to Jay Webb’s over quota.  
[00:37:18.370] – Brent
He’s been a long term friend and he gets a really diverse set of talent.  
[00:37:23.210] – Sean
Nice. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?  
[00:37:29.130] – Brent
Most of the books I read are from a Christian point of view, so I don’t know if I can recommend it to your audience. People wouldn’t necessarily relate to it.  
[00:37:37.270] – Sean
Well, we have a lot of Christians in the audience.  
[00:37:40.260] – Brent
Rick Warrens, I just got back and reread The Purpose Driven Life.  
[00:37:45.880] – Sean
[00:37:46.790] – Brent
Very anchoring recentering.  
[00:37:49.000] – Sean
Nice. Put it on the list. What is the best business advice you ever received?  
[00:37:56.250] – Brent
Make it all about the people, both your buyers and your team.  
[00:38:00.140] – Sean
Right on. We’re going to flip the equation here. What is the worst business advice you ever received?  
[00:38:08.170] – Brent
Worst business advice I ever received was just keep going. Just keep going. Pay return for your investors, even if there was no evidence that there was a successful outcome there.  
[00:38:19.630] – Sean
Right. You got to be wise enough to know when to stop make a pivot, make some changes 100% last question. Here is the time machine question. So if you could go back in time to give your younger self advice what age would you visit and what would you say?  
[00:38:35.220] – Brent
Oh man I think I would probably go back to being about 27 or 30 and I would just say life is a journey. Don’t be in such a hurry young man. Things will work out the way they’re meant to work out.  
[00:38:53.530] – Sean
Yeah right on. Great advice. Well turn it over to you. Where can the audience reach you?  
[00:38:59.420] – Brent
Yeah so if they want to go to the website authenticity wins it will actually bring you to our book website. Great way to get to know us is read our book that just come out the revenue acceleration playbook that will also land you on and they can email me directly at B [email protected] which is W-I-N-A-L-Y-T-I-C-S.  
[00:39:22.340] – Sean
Awesome. Well thanks a lot for your time Brent this is awesome.  
[00:39:25.700] – Brent
Sean really enjoyed the conversation. Thanks for having me today.  
[00:39:34.350] – Sean
Hey I just want to say thanks for checking out this podcast. I know your time is valuable and there’s a lot of other podcasts out there you could be listening to so.  
[00:39:41.780] – Speaker 5
Thanks for taking the time to listen.  
[00:39:43.640] – Sean
To my guest story.  
[00:39:45.390] – Speaker 5
If you did enjoy this podcast episode could you head over to itunes and leave a five star review that would be much appreciated.  
[00:39:51.390] – Sean
Thank you.  
[00:39:51.980] – Speaker 5
And last but not least on this podcast some episodes we do talk about.  
[00:39:56.400] – Sean
Stocks and please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only so if you did hear any buy or sell recommendations please don’t make those decisions based solely on what you hear. Alright thanks a lot. See you.