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Episode 5: Achieving scale and profit with Glen Carlson

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All Xero In episodes

Hosted by Rob Stone and Jeanne-Vida Douglas

Building a business that scales and stays profitable is easier said than done - just ask this week’s guest Glen Carlson. Digging through the accounts he found out why his company wasn’t profitable: unchecked spending. The entrepreneur and MD of a growth accelerator had made a habit of buying organic macadamia nuts instead of white mints for his events. As the business grew, the annual nut tally hit $15,000. Xero In hosts Valerie Khoo and Rob Stone talk to Glen about how Key Person of Influence expanded across the globe and why it’s important you find a great accountant. He also reveals the keys to success for small business owners looking for growth beyond the early “struggle zone”.

Episode transcript

Participants: Valerie Khoo, Rob Stone, Glen Carlson.

Welcome to Xero In, home of the entrepreneurs' small business journey. Here are your hosts Valerie Khoo and Rob Stone.

VK:   Hi there small business owners. I'm Valerie Khoo and you've just tuned into Episode Five or Xero In, and joining me in our Sydney studio today, is Rob Stone from Xero. How have you been Rob?

RS:   G’day Valerie. Really well. How are you going?

VK:   Yeah. Good. What have you been up to?

RS:   A whole range of stuff. Busy time of year, so yeah, finding it hard to read any good books at the moment, so I've discovered Audible.

VK:   Oh yes.

RS:   And it's a great audio book app so you can get on, and you can listen to books on the way into work.

VK:   Fantastic. And do you listen to - how many a week do you reckon?

RS:   Not that many and definitely don't read as many books as I'd like, but I think you can get through maybe one book every couple of weeks.

VK:   Yeah. I'm a big fan of audio books, but lately I have not been listening to audio books. I have been planning a trip to Tasmania. We've - you know, my partner's family live in Tasmania, but also one of our team members lives in Tasmania - Tasmania, so I'm going to catch up with her and I thought that that would be an interesting segue into what we want to talk about this week - about in terms of our resources. Because I have, as I mentioned, a team member in Tasmania. I've got ones in Melbourne. I've got ones in Perth, in the South Coast in - in New South Wales and we all need to work together and collaborate on different tasks and so I thought I would share some of the apps and resources that we use to do exactly that.

   I know that they're different when you're working in enterprise, but for a small business, we're big advocates of Google Hangouts in terms of communicating with each other, sharing screens with each other, but also of course, the wider platform of Google apps because you can, you know, share documents and make sure that no matter where you are in the world, your team can access whatever document they need.

   But in terms of task management and project management, we're big fans of Asana, and we'll put all of those links into the show notes. But what do you use Rob?

RS:   I've used Google Hangouts quite extensively and I love it and I'd be on it for most of my working day. I also find Yammer is really useful for internal teamwork and collaboration and I've only just discovered Slack and I have to say that's a real winner too.

VK:   Mm. Yeah. A lot of people are talking about Slack. I haven't tried it yet. But that theme ties in really beautifully with today's guest and that's Glen Carlson, who is the head honcho at Key Person of Influence, because his team is based in Sydney - well in Australia, in Singapore, the US and the UK. So we're going to find out a little bit more about what Key Person of Influence does.

RS:   Just by way of background - yeah, the company runs a really great accelerator program for businesses, so it's a 40 week business growth accelerator and it's based on a book that I haven't read yet, but it looks fascinating. It's a Daniel Priestley. It's a best-selling UK book, called Become a Key Person of Influence.

VK:   I have read that one - not through Audible, but through the actual hardcopy book, and it's a good one and just full disclosure here. I am one of the mentors and I do speak at the Key Person of Influence brand accelerator days, which has been acknowledged by INC as one of the top personal branding conferences in the world, and also the business has been featured as the ninth fastest growing company in Australia by Smart Company. We're part of the Xero podcast network and we'd love you to subscribe to the show in iTunes.

RS:   And leave us a review. The link is in today's show notes on xero.com.

VK:   So thanks for joining us today Glen.

GC:   Oh, it's great to be here. Thank you.

VK:   Now Glen, for listeners who might not be familiar with KPI - Key Person of Influence, go on tell us, what's your elevator pitch?

GC:   All right. So at – at a very top level, I guess, we're a training leadership and advisory business, but the way that that shows up as a product is we run a growth accelerator program for small, typically service-based businesses all around the world. So we operate in the UK, the USA, Singapore and Australia and we bring together top level entrepreneurs and industry leaders, so high net worth men and women that have built very successful business and global brands to work with our clients over an extended period of time, to essentially help accelerate their entrepreneurial journey.

   There's a lot of online interaction, there's like workshops, there's peer to peer accountability. We basically just help create a bit of solidarity around helping take an entrepreneur or a business owner even, from really that early stage struggle zone, into a fast growth business or even just into a bit of a lifestyle business.

   So that's kind of essentially what we do, and I guess I find myself in the middle of some extraordinary people, doing some extraordinary things from our - from our elite mentors - all the way to our clients who are in the trenches building some - some really extraordinary businesses. So I'm – I’m fortunate to - to see a lot of what works and what doesn't I suppose, in the world of small business. We've worked with thousands of people now, and so that's kind of what we do and that's what excites me.

RS:   And clearly KPI is delivering a lot of value. You were recognised as BRW's Fast Starter and Smart Company top 100 in 2014. Just to give some context to our listeners, can you give us an idea of the size of your business and your growth rate?

GC:   Yeah. So I mean, globally we've got a valuation now of about $10 million, so about five million pounds or so and we've got a team of 25. In Australia we do about $400,000 in revenue per employee at the moment, so – so we’re highly leveraged through technology. One – one of the things that was really important to me, is we wanted to be efficient. We wanted to be profitable, we wanted to be a best practice business ourself. I didn't want to be an organisation that was promoting best practices, without in fact, applying it. So 25 full-time employees with probably another 20 consultants around the world. Yeah, that – that sort of revenue. We've got some - we've got some exciting growth plans and operationally, we're operating in the city of London, the city of Tampa, Florida and Orlando, Singapore and Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. And in less than - to kind of get to your - the stats that you just mentioned, yeah, we - last year we qualified for both BRW and Smart Company's 100 fastest growing companies.

   For Smart Company we hit number nine and for BRW we hit number 68 I think.

RS:   Congratulations.

GC:   And that was - that required us to be operating for three years to kind of qualify that. So the - the first year we qualified. We kind of, hit it as a - as a fast growth business.

VK:   And so there's been a lot of fast growth in that time. What were the main kind of, growing pains you experienced?

GC:   Like personally or…

VK:   No.

RS:   …as an organisation, or both?

VK:   I mean in terms of the business - mainly. Well, why don't we do both? Let's start with the business and then we'll talk about you know, what you experienced as a - as a co-founder?

GC:   Yeah. Sure. So - well I guess as - as me, because I mean the business - the business started as me - the first thing that I, I experienced in those first few years, was really a lot of burn-out. It was really hard work and struggle to get the thing off the ground. I hear some people out there spruiking an idea that it can be easy. I haven't had that experience. Start-up's a bitch. I thought I wasn’t go to say that. Maybe you'll put a beep over that.

   So a lot of my personal time, energy was going into that and not a lot of time for personal life and not a lot of time for personal health or any of that sort of stuff. So just that kind of grind a little bit at the start. I don't experience that now. Right? So that was - once we got out of that sort of first struggle zone or early start-up phase, was able to put in the right systems and then the right people so I could - I could back out of it.

   But in that early stage it was really - it was really that sort of - a bit of that burn-out. But in terms of the business, when we went through that kind of fast growth, a couple of things were not done well. The first thing that wasn't done well was I had a terrible accountant. I didn’t know I had a terrible accountant but I did have a terrible accountant and they weren't giving me accurate numbers and they weren't giving me accurate data. They weren't helping me manage my costs and so our gross profit dropped from what should have been around 25, 30 per cent all the way down to about four or five…

VH:   Wow.

GC:   Which sucked and so I think a lot of people may - certainly people that I talk to that have gone through their first stage of fast growth - sit there and go - wow, we're doing lots of revenue, but where's the profit? And I think there's that's old - old phrase, which is you know, revenues - revenue's vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality.

RS:   That's a great expression.

GC:   We were doing all this vanity revenue and - and fast growth, but we're looking at the bank account and going - where - where the hell is it? So literally, when I was looking at these numbers - I'm not a clever guy. I'm not an accountant. I don't have an MBA and so literally I just sat down with my team and we went through line by line. I got them to put together what is everything we've spent money on over the last - over the last year to 18 months and we go through and we literally went through line by line. There were something like - I don't know - forty thousand line items - that we went through, sitting there and we just asked the question. Do we need this? Like, is this what our customers are buying from us or is this just waste and look, it got to the point where I found out we were spending $15,000 a year on nuts.

VK:   On what?

GC:   Right. On nuts - on macadamia nuts. So the first - the very first program that we ran in Australia, I wanted to do it different. It was just me and I wanted to create - and I didn't want those little mints. But you know those shitty little mints that you have - get on a hotel table - I didn't want those. I wanted like, organic raw nuts. It's good for people's brain. I was on a health kick, so I'm like - great. It'll cost me a hundred bucks but I’m like bugger it. I want it to be different. But then when I started bringing on my team and they just started replicating what I was doing they’re just like - okay, so we - we, we buy these nuts and we put these nuts on the tables. And then the scale when we were doing about a 130 events a year, those nuts added up to 15 grand and I'm just like - what? I'm like totally flabbergasted.

RS:   So do you have more timely…

GC:   And that's - that's just one example.

RS:   Sorry. Do you have more timely ways of measuring these expenses now?

GC:   Oh, absolutely. Right. So as soon as I went through that, we did a full upgrade. I sacked my accountant, which is a tough thing to do, because you have a relationship with them and you know - but they created such a mess. It took our new accountant who's amazing, a few months to sort it out. They recommend Xero, obviously of which, this is a podcast for, but that has made it - that has made such a huge shift. All of our data is now in real time. We can stress test. We can put in benchmarks around - if a certain benchmark or budget around a certain cost for a certain set of line data gets out of the - out of the boundary that flags a notice, we get notified. We can get a check on that, you know, et cetera, so we're back up closer to the 30 per cent profit proximity and we're able to do that in about nine months as soon as we had all the right information.

   So it was a rapid turnaround but when you're growing fast and when you're - you're worried about bringing money in and the team and all that kind of stuff, you know it becomes difficult to stop and actually look at all that stuff unless you had the right systems in place to start with.

   I thought I did but I didn't, so you know, for anyone else that's what, really looking to be in business at all, one of the first things I recommend, is - is getting a great accountant who cares, who is pro-active and can help you understand the gobbledegook that is often the financial statement.

RS:   I love hearing stories about how, you know, finding the right advisor and getting real-time data can make such an impact on business, and it's interesting when you said, there was a couple of key things that you did, which was processes and people. Could you expand on, you know, the key factors that allowed you to expand internationally, so quickly?

GC:   Yes. So the key factor is that I'm very well aware that I don't know all that much. I don't say this to try and pretend to be Aristotle or Socrates or something like that. I say it because it's true. I see - my job as the founder is - or co-founder, I should say, along with my business partner Daniel Priestley - but I kind of run the southern hemisphere. My job is to come up with a vision that's inspiring to the team. Their job is to tell me how to get there and how to achieve it. So I don't manage; I don't micro-manage. I certainly don't micro-manage because I don't manage it. It really is - this is where we're going and for every team member, their job is to kind of tell me, so instead of me building out the systems - because I don't know how to build out systems and best practices because I'm not tactically on the tools doing it - I just make it the job of my team, who are tactically on the ground doing it to build what we call an asset.

   So from my perspective an asset is something that continues to produce value, whether the individual is there or not. We call it - the hit - hit by a bus test.

RS:   That's a great definition.

GC:   So, yeah. So - so every - so every week, our team does a - a stand-up team meeting wherever we - wherever we are - and we all - we all log in through - through Zoom and we have a meeting and we talk about, not just our high value activities, which is the activity that we're working on, but also what is the specific asset that we're working on. So our events team are pro - producing documents and checklists, our sales team are producing scripts or videos that we provide to clients to help the sales process - everyone in the organisation is producing an asset because they realise that as the business grows, if they want to grow with the business, they need to be able to replace themselves. It's not my job to replace them. It's their job to replace themselves and they - they need to document and understand the systems that they're operating by. Look, often it’s a lot that they're creating for the first time, but instead of them just creating and doing it, they’re actually documenting and implementing it. So if two things were to happen: (a) fail to get hit by a bus - I could put someone else into that role and upskill them very, very quickly because all of the assets in terms of systems processes has been developed. But more importantly as the business expands, if that individual then wants to step up a level to a more of a leadership role, they can easily find and install the person that's going to replace the role in which they were first hired.

   So it's by me de-coupling myself from operational delivery by having a lot of trust in my team and – and hiring people that give a damn and actually want to pour their creativity into their role, that don't want to be micro-managed, that want to kind of express their creativity and enthusiasm through their role, and me giving them enough rope to be able to do that, I think is what's allowed us to grow, because it lets me focus on the things that a founder, I think, should be focused on.

RS:   I couldn't agree more with you, but when you're that asset-centric, you're really talking about empowering people through autonomy. That then flows into picking the right people on your team. What's some of the secrets that you employ or what's some of the successful things that you've done during the interview process to make sure that you're hiring the right people into your team?

GC:   So first of all every - every time I've gone through a recruiter or some kind of thing like that, it hasn't worked for us. The way we've always found great teams - they've either come along to an event or they've read what - some of the material that we've produced, whether it's a book or an article or a video or something, and something from there has sparked them to say - oh, hey have you guys got anything going on or we put it out that we're hiring through our - through our database of people that know us. And as a result we get in-bound opportunity that way. And I find that going through like a Seek or something in the past, we've had people - we've worked with those people, but they haven't lasted very long. It's like - it's almost like we haven't captured the hearts and minds in the early day - from the outset I suppose, and it was a - a bit of a functional transaction. They were showing up to get paid whereas when someone approaches us because they've read the book and they're inspired or they came to a conference we did and they were inspired, or they were referred by a friend of ours, who had been inspired by what we do or you know, has created results by what we do, it's like you’ve captured the hearts and mind in the first place, so it's starting from a much better position.

   The next thing I do in the interview process pretty consistently is - first of all - I, I, I map out my vision in terms of what I'm trying to get done. I introduce our team, I explain the lay of the land a little bit so they can get it and then literally, I throw it open and I ask them an open-ended question like - how can you help? And I shut up and then I let them talk and I ask - how else, how else? And I'm like - how - like - and I talk about assets and then I'll talk about how we see asset with the hit by a bus test.

   You know, do you have any - and one of the things that I ask is I - I don't ask what you think or feel about it because they'll make that stuff up to get the job. I ask, you know - can you give me an example of some assets that you've produced in the past or some systems or procedures or processes that have survived you in the past, and they'll – they’ll tell me that. So I'm looking for what people have done - have actually done, rather than what they - what they say and really I'm looking for whether or not, once I've told them my vision, whether they can understand what my problems must be in terms of trying to achieve that and then how they can fit in to help solve those problems.

   And that's kind of the 80 per cent thrust of it. If someone can do that well and I like them, they're in. It's - half of it is the ability for them to answer that question once I've articulated my vision and – and the other part of it is do I get a good vibe from them – it’s like a gut feel sort of, shoot by the hip type deal.

RS:   So kind of, you've basically you know, explained the backbone of how you've got a very diverse network of - of people working for you internationally and domestically, because you're giving that autonomy. You know, they're creating their own assets, but are there certain tools that you use or structures that you’ve put in place that helps you to run more smoothly, your operations?

GC:   Yeah. Well, look I know you guys aren't doing this pod - this podcast just to plug Xero, but Xero is the backbone of it. It's like no company can exist without oxygen of cash and essentially Xero is our - is our meter that gives us all the data we need in terms of how we're actually performing. It's the primary scorecard. Everything else other than that is - is, is you know in the service of making those numbers look right, I suppose. So - so that's number one. That's fully integrated, real time, up-to-date, awesome and my God, the - the level of - the amount of cortisol reduction I suppose - the stress reduction I've had in having access to real time, accurate, clean timely data is huge. Second to that…

RS:   Have to get you back again, Glen.

GC:   …one of the - one of the two - or a couple of the tools that we use right - one tool, which is a bit of a killer app is called Get Flow. I think it's just getflow.com. Get Flow is an amazing way of doing two things. (a) It's an amazing way of managing your own personal to-do list, but you get all your other team in Flow, so they get in and they have their own profile inside the app. And you can delegate stuff to them; they can delegate stuff to you. It's very easy for teams to create little to-do projects and delegate aspects of a to-do to other teams to do. It tracks it all; it monitors it all and it reminds you all. I love it, because I can be sitting around having an idea of something that needs to be done. I can smash it straight it into the to - to-do list and delegate it straight to the person who actually needs to do it, because nine times out of ten, I'm not the best person to be doing it. And then they can then come back to me and say - okay, what priority level is this based on my other to-dos?

 And I can look at all their to-dos. Right? So in a team meeting, we can literally just open up each other's to-dos, see what everyone's got to do as a - as a, I guess, a founder, a business owner and leader - I can look at all that and go - okay, are we actually focusing on the stuff we should be focusing on or is anyone getting caught in minutia?

   So that's an amazing app. Another really amazing app is an app called Slack, which is probably the best new addition in technology into the business that we've had since - drum roll - Xero. It is a killer. It's a - it's a group collaboration communication tool. It has reduced - it's reduced internal emails by 90 per cent in the first week.

VK:   Wow. That's great.

GC:   It's reduced Skype chatting by 90 per cent or by 100 per cent internally. It's just gone, and everything is able to happen in that app. What's great about it is you can plug in your Dropbox which we use as well - huge. We've got a Dropbox in another, but you plug that in, you plug in Google Docs - so we operate on Google apps. All of that stuff works. But if you're going to talk someone inside Slack - so you're chatting away - and it's like Skype. Someone's type and you're responding, but if you then need to give them a file, instead of having to go out, into Dropbox, drag the file onto - onto your desktop and then drag into an email or – and then send it or something. You can just search for it straight from Slack through their API as long as these other programs are plugged in. Up it'll pop and you can just deliver it to them straight away. So that's just lubricated the operational experience, but you also create different channels, so it's really been a good way. I mean, I've got 25 team in eight time zones, so we operate non-locally and Slack has become a really great way of just creating a culture.

   Everyone can chat. There's - we - you know we have one wall where we people are posting fun stuff and bantering backwards and forwards and like, one of my team just recorded another one of my team doing like a 30 minute dance-off and then we upload that to the UK team and say like - beat that, and they've got to do like a little - like we just do weird stuff to kind of keep everyone engaged. But then there's also a stream where we can be posting best practices, so if we come up with a new design for a brochure, we can upload that - so the UK, to USA, Singapore can use that instantly as well. So that's just been a really great one-stop shop, but between Dropbox, Slack, Flow, Xero - you know, they're - they're the big ones.

VK:   So apart from…

GC:   That are…

VK:   Apart from these great tools - sorry to cut you off there - apart from these great tools - you've obviously got these fantastic systems now, because you've realised that they're really important, and you sacked your accountants at one point - what other major turning points have there been in your business?

GC:   In terms of other major turning points, it's when we really start - and this is sort of an attitudinal shift really between Dan and I. We used to see ourselves very much as - as a training business. Right? We would run training workshops and seminars and all that kind of stuff. We really now see ourselves as a media and technology business and we are strategically developing assets for that end. So we're very much moving towards - so for example, our blog keypersonofinfluence.com - there's over 60 contributors to that blog now helping entrepreneurs all around the world accelerate their entrepreneurial journeys, so again we've decoupled content creation from needing to come just from inside our organisation to externally. That's moving into media. So we're doing some partnerships with some media production houses to be able to produce and present a lot of our content at - at a far higher quality that - that we would do internally.

   We also last year acquired a technology company that specialises in building websites and online lead generation tools, so we've got an online diagnostic, which is at keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard and what that does is it helps someone kind of evaluate their ability to influence. Our philosophy is that success requires the ability to influence and anything that diminishes your ability to influence, will therefore diminish your ability to succeed and so we put together a list of the 40 force multipliers I suppose, that people can people can rate themselves on and this online tool spits out a report that gives them a roadmap of what to do. It introduces them to us. It provides with some clear insight. It might inspire them to want to come along to one of our conferences or listen to a webinar or read the book or get involved. But we realised that a huge part of our future was going to be around developing this tech, not just for us, but for our clients as well and evolving even further into software as a service.

   And so when we bought that company - there's about 10 guys in there up in Milton Keynes which is north of - north of London. That as a huge shift in our thinking, realising that beyond just the service business, we're now a media company and a technology business. That's where our real shift in thinking and strategy started to shift. Our team has really got behind that. The value of our company has really increased as a result of that. When we're pitching and communicating that we find people at the partnership level, so at the level of major scale are far more interested in that. We're working with some of the big Top 4 to potentially scale globally, and if it wasn't for those shifts in thinking and trying to harness I guess the times that we're in, we wouldn't have experienced that - that rapid second phase of growth. So I guess the first phase of growth was sort of brute strength as just the training business and now the second phase of growth that we're going through is – is very much driven on the back of us seeing ourselves as a media and a tech company.

RS:   Hey Glen. I've got one more question. On your LinkedIn profile, you talk about making it big, and you say hard work is not enough. What do you need to do? What's - what's the few points that you need to do to make it big?

GC:   Yeah. Sure. So I probably should update that. [Laughs] I haven’t updated my LinkedIn in a while, that’s obvious! But yeah, I understand what you're saying, so look here - here's - when I say our philosophy, it's my philosophy, because in - in my business I apply the Key Person of Influence methodology. Right? So it's based on the idea and keep in the mind the people that we're talking to are service providers, so usually six figure revenues still, so they haven't quite cracked a million in revenue. Usually less than five employees and sometimes less than 10 and often - you know, every now and again, we'll work with people that are doing millions in revenue or are in a pure start-up. But the kind of - when we're talking to people, we're talking six figure service-based, so doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, personal trainers - anyone in that kind of people helping space. Experience working with thousands of people now around the world, is that there comes to a point for those people, where developing more skills, more talent, more expertise in their craft, has diminishing returns. So becoming a better physiotherapist eventually has diminishing return.

RS:   Interesting.

GC:   Becoming a better real estate agent eventually has diminishing returns, because it's all just built around you as an individual and an individual only has so much bandwidth before they start to - to burnout. So once someone has reached that level of confidence or even mastery, what's required to in what you say, kind of make it big, or to get to that next level to transcend the small or micro struggle zone of business into more of a lifestyle business, it requires this attitudinal shift in thinking from being a good operator to being a good entrepreneur, and it's literally a gear shift.

   It's a gear change. It's a whole different phase that you're moving into where, as the founder, instead of focusing on operation and delivery, you're focusing on what we see as the five strengths of influence which is you're focusing on your pitch and communicating your value to the market and how to scale that. You're publishing content and positioning yourself as a leader in your industry, you're creating products that can scale and how to move beyond just you into a scalable platform. You're thinking about profile. How do you raise your profile and the profile of the business and how do you create joint ventures and partnerships with existing key people of influence or key brands in your industry.

   And our experience has been, when an operator shifts into focusing on just those things they start to become the entrepreneur. They start to create a lot more value, which means they can afford to hire the good people to implement the good systems, but as long as they stay an operator, as long as they stay stuck, doing those low value activities, they're never going to create the amount of inbound opportunity, the amount of value and the amount of profit they need to actually be able to grow and scale a decent business. So it's not until they attitudinally are prepared to make that gear change and focus on being an entrepreneur instead of a founder, they'll – they’ll stay stuck.

VK:   And I'm sure there are a lot of listeners who want to do that, and if people want to find out more about you and Key Person of Influence, they can go to keypersonofinfluence.com.au. But we thought we would wrap up…

GC:   No, just dot com.

VK:   Just dot com.

GC:   Just dot com. Just dot com.

VK:   You're international.

GC:   We've rolled everything up into the global site now, yeah, so either the US, UK, Singapore and Australia go to dot com. It'll sort out where you are and it will lead you either to the blog, to the text, to the book or to any of our international conferences, which will then lead to a potential to apply for the growth accelerator. If it’s a good fit.

RS:   If you'd like to try Xero, head to xero.com. There's a 30 day, no obligation free trial. So go ahead and check it out.

VK:   So we thought we would wrap up with just some really quick fire questions, Glen.

GC:   Cool.

VK:   Who's your favourite entrepreneur or business personality?

GC:   Right now, Elon Musk, without a doubt. The guy's got spaceships.

RS:   What wakes you up in the morning?

GC:   Coffee.

VK:   What's your favourite business-related book?

GC:   My favourite business-related book would be Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

VK:   Really?

RS:   I love it as well.

GC:   It's the quintessential…

VK:   Great.

GC:   I thought that that book is a killer.

RS:   What do you do when something in your business isn't working for you?

GC:   Oh, I ask my team how to fix it.

VK:   What's your favourite TV show?

GC:   Vikings.

RS:   Oh, I love it. And where - where is your go-to for news?

GC:   Honestly, I'm not a news guy. At the moment, in terms of current events I love VICE. VICE I find - they're raw, they're real, they get visceral on the ground. It doesn't appear to be tainted with a sensational agenda. VICE is pretty cool at the moment, but I avoid any TV related news or opinion. I find it to be wanting.

VK:   And finally, what's the best piece of advice you've been given?

GC:   Well, a best piece of advice I was given was when I was in a bit of transition, not really understanding my purpose, not really understanding what I was meant to be doing or where my greatest value was, and a mentor of mine said - give your gift in a - for a period of time - like an extended period of time - like he was recommending three or four months - give your gifts, but without expecting anything in return. Not - no money, no recognition, nothing. And it's - it's interesting, when I went through the process of actually going okay - what would - if I was to give my gifts and I’m to be spending my time doing something, not getting paid or not getting kudos or recognition, so therefore the stuff I'm doing it would have to be rewarding for me on its own - it actually allowed me to really discover what I liked, what I geek out on, regardless of the money and I since went on and built a business around those things, which is very much around philosophy and - and personal development and empowerment and self-expression type principles and then entrepreneurship and business, which is – which is kind of what the Key Person of Influence program has been - has been built around. So - so give your gifts and ask nothing in return and then from that go commercialise it.

RS:   That is great advice. Unfortunately on that note, it is time to wrap up. Thanks so much for joining us today Glen. It has been absolutely enlightening.

GC:   I'm stoked. It was good fun. Thanks for having me.

RS:   Cheers.

VK:   If you have any questions you'd like answered on the show…

RS:   Tweet us at Xero using #xeroIn. There was some really interesting insights there from Glen. Things that stood out for me - I loved his concept around assets and building assets in your own business - things that are self-sustaining. It's unique, but I think that really resonated with me. I also thought it was quite a cautionary tale about just the perils of not having real-time data.

VK:   Yeah.

RS:   And then lastly, how he avoided adverse selection in the recruitment process by getting people coming to him that were inspired by what he's doing.

VK:   Particularly about - just simply emailing his own database. So he's actually not putting it out there necessarily on the big job sites or using head hunters, but he's actually emailing the people who are already bought into his message. So yeah, very interesting.

But I thought I would share another interesting resource that people might be into, and that is the Booked for Lunch series which Suzi Dafnis does with the Australian Businesswomen's Network, and it's a monthly thing and she does a webinar with a high profile author, and she's had people like Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan and Ryan Deiss and Sally Hogshead, and she has a person on every month and they talk through the concepts behind their best-selling book, which is why it's called Booked for Lunch. It's also held over lunch and the best part is that it's free, and we'll put the link for that in the show notes so that people can access it.

RS:   And on that note, for more useful information, check out Xero's Small Business Guides. You'll find a link in today's show notes.

VK:   Well, that's it for today. Be sure to join us next time. I'm Valerie Khoo.

RS:   And I'm Rob Stone. Thanks so much for tuning into Xero In.

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