You don’t need to have any formal education to become an entrepreneur, but it’s imperative to gather knowledge and learn from other experts in the business of business to ensure future success. In this episode of The Agent of Wealth Podcast, host Marc Bautis is joined by Brad Sugars, a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and the #1 business coach in the world. Over the course of his 30-year career as an entrepreneur, Brad has become the CEO of 9+ companies and is the owner of the multi-million dollar franchise ActionCOACH®. Together, they discuss a variety of business tips and strategies for entrepreneurs big and small.
In this episode, you will learn:
- The advantages to creating repeat business.
- How business owners can create functional management and employee structure so they don’t have to work in the day-to-day of their business.
- The pros and cons of scaling your business using franchising.
- How and when to teach children about entrepreneurship.
- And more!
90 Days to Revolutionize Your Life (30xbusiness.com) | ActionCOACH® | bradsugars.com | Billionaire in Training | Pulling Profits Out of a Hat | Bautis Financial: 7 N Mountain Ave Montclair, New Jersey 07042 (862) 205-5000
Disclosure: The transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity and content. It is not a direct transcription of the full conversation, which can be listened to above.
Welcome back to The Agent of Wealth Podcast. This is your host, Marc Bautis. On today’s show I brought on a special guest, Brad Sugars. Brad is the owner of the multi-million dollar franchise ActionCOACH®, as well as a bestselling author and a keynote speaker. Brad, welcome to the show.
Hey, Marc. Great to be with you today.
As we’re entering the new year, many people embark on a journey of improving their life, their business, their wealth, and so on. I know you created the program “90 Days to Revolutionize Your Life”. Can you start off by providing a little bit of background about the program and how you came to create it?
Brad Sugar’s “90 Days To Revolutionize Your Life” Online Course
Look, I’d been teaching business for 20+ years. Then, I started teaching wealth. When I hit 50-years-old, I said, “You know what I want to do? I’m going to record everything that I can possibly teach someone.” So I sat down and started teaching business. I thought, ‘If I do 30 minutes a day, for 30 days on business, I think I can get through 30 years of business knowledge.’
Then I sat down and said, “Well, what about all of those life success principles?” Because there are core principles and formulas of life success that have helped me. When I sit back and I look at ActionCOACH® as a company… We have more than a thousand offices now in 83 countries – building an organization like that, there are certain success principles you have to learn. So I wanted to teach them.
Then I sat down and said, “What about wealth?” Because I’ve written books on wealth. I even wrote a book for kids on wealth. I said, “I can teach that.” It resulted in 30 minutes a day for 30 days on business, life and wealth. If you combine those three, it’s 90 days of this Australian accent coming to you live for 30 minutes a day.
If people want to change their life, they have to change their thinking. You can’t change your life with your old thinking. Your old thinking got you to where you’re at, it can’t get you to where you want to go. It’s the old theory of what got you here won’t get you there.
I remember being 16-years-old when I won the Rotary Youth Leadership Award in my area. They sent me away for a training program on how to be successful and a leader at 16. It gave me this yearn to learn – a desire to read, study and understand. So I just started reading everything. What I realized is that if I want to achieve something, I can learn it. As long as I’m willing to learn it, then I can do it.
The learning work is the hardest work, Marc. I think that’s why very few people make changes. They’re not willing to learn new stuff. So that’s my focus: Getting people into learning.
How does someone participate in the 90-day program? Do they listen or watch?
Learners watch online lessons for 30 minutes a day, then go to the next phase. 30 minutes of learning a day is a lot compared to what most people do.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners weren’t sure what to do. I’ve run my business through four economic downturns, so I started teaching them how to survive an economic downturn in business.
Is there something that learners are encouraged to implement at the end of each lesson?
Yes, there’s homework every day. I don’t include homework because I expect people to do homework. But if you’re going to succeed financially, you need to build a plan for your family’s wealth. If you’re going to succeed in business, you need to build that plan for business. If you’re going to succeed at life, what do you want your life to look like? What does a successful life look like to you?
As a father of five, it’s important for me to teach my kids the formulas of success. When I sit down with my children, I say to them, “B times do equals have.” They look at me funny and ask, “What do you mean, dad?” Well, when you know what you want to have, what you have to work out is what you need to do in order to achieve it. Until you’re very clear on what you want to have, it’s hard to work out what you need to do. Therefore, it’s hard to work out who you need to become.
If you set a goal for your life, your business or your wealth, you have to grow into that goal. You’re not going to achieve the goal on your current knowledge, because if you could you would’ve already.
How to Create Leverage in Your Business
When I teach people leverage – the principle of doing the work once and getting paid forever – they look at me confused. What do you mean do the once and get paid forever? Because what did we learn in school, Marc? We learned to do the work once and get paid once. If you show up, you get paid. If you don’t show up, you don’t get paid.
Of all my 17 books, the ones I’ve written on wealth have always been about leverage. How do you build something that pays you forever? How do you build a business that works so you don’t have to? My definition of a business is to build a commercial profitable enterprise that works without you. If you have to show up, that’s not a business – that’s a job.
I own 11 companies, but I only work two days a week. Two days a week to run 11 companies – Tuesdays and Thursdays. People ask me, “How do you do that?” Well, I build businesses and I build business people. If I build my team and mentor/teach them, they can run the business so I don’t have to. I have great CEOs who run all my companies.
Even Steve Jobs had to learn that. Steve Jobs got fired from Apple in the beginning. Their business model was very different to Microsoft, whose model was to build a piece of software once and sell it a billion times. Apple was making a computer once and selling it once… They were a manufacturing company.
If you want to look at a genius of leverage, look to the Disney corporation. How many ways do they sell you the mouse? If you have any kids, how many Frozen items do you have laying around the house? From Frozen dolls, to soundtracks, to books. Then Frozen 2 came out and you had to buy those items all over again. Disney is a genius at leverage, because they get the customer once and keep them coming back for life.
I invest in real estate. Why? Because I buy the house once and it pays me back for the rest of time.
Leverage is definitely an interesting topic from the business owner’s perspective. Let’s say someone is starting a company… Should they create the company, then they figure out how to leverage it? Or should they be thinking about leverage from the beginning?
I’d hope that they’re thinking about leverage before they start. Let me give you an example. If you were to go into business, would you prefer to make a cleaning product and sell it for the rest of time? Or would you prefer to go into business building air conditioning plants? I would prefer to go into a business where I create one product and sell it for the rest of time.
Leveraging business needs to be looked at in two ways.
The product or service. Is it something that is repeatable? Profit in business comes from repeat business. If you don’t have repeat customers, you will have very little profit in most cases.
Functional management. You need to look at the work of the owner, versus manager, versus employees. The employee’s work is the work that gets done once, and they get paid once. The manager’s work is the work that gets done over a long-term, and they get paid long-term. A manager does things like planning, systemization, training of staff, hiring staff, and marketing. The owner’s work is the work that is done once, and it pays forever.
The owner works on building a business, the manager works on running a business and the employees work in the business. When you start out, most business owners do all three. But if business owners are doing employee work, guess what level of money they’ll make? Employee-level money.
How to Prevent Your Business From Running You
How easy is it for business owners to transition from that? Let’s say they’d love to have that owner, manager, employee model, but it’s tough when they’re just starting out. How do they get there?
Firstly, they need to learn the skills of management – how to recruit people, how to train people, etc. Once you know what you’re doing, once you’ve studied it and understand what that looks like, it’ll take three to seven years. You could get there in three years, but a lot of us have built a business where we’ve trained our customers to deal with us. We say, “Hey, I’m the owner… I’m always here, you can call me.”
That is the dumbest thing you could ever say to a customer. I want to train my customers to deal with my staff, not to deal with me.
Also, they need to grow emotionally. A lot of us start a business because we like to be the boss and because we’re a bit of a control freak. So we need to grow to trust our people, learn to let go, learn to train them, and build systems to delegate rather than abdicate.
In general, people get into business because they’re good at something. They’re a good hairdresser, or a good accountant, for example. So they open a salon or an accounting practice. No one taught these people how to be a business owner.
There’s a distinct difference between being a technician in your business, being a manager in your business and being an owner in your business. That is the ladder of growth. I wrote about that in my book, Billionaire in Training.
So is one of the first things in creating that ladder putting systems in place?
Yeah. So, at ActionCOACH®, we have approximately 280,000 clients around the world that we coach as business owners. I’m very proud to say that we do that in three communist countries as well – China, Vietnam and Russia. I love the fact that we’re teaching people how to be entrepreneurs, it’s a lot of fun.
But when I sit down with clients, I walk people through that book. It’s our systematic methodology of how to grow a business. Like baking a cake, there’s a recipe. If you follow the recipe of how to grow a business, anyone can do it.
We start with the following four areas:
- Direction: Determining where the business is going.
- Finances: Understanding the financials.
- Operation: Knowing the operational aspects.
- Productivity: Understanding the business’ productivity.
Those are the first four areas in most companies because typically, business owners want control back.
Then we generally move them into marketing, because to fund growth you need repeat business and a better conversion rate. I teach my five ways formula, which is possibly the most important formula any business owner should learn. That is:
Leads x Conversion = Customers
Customers x Number of Transactions x Average Sale = Revenues
Revenues x Margins = Profits
Leads, conversion, transactions, average sale and margin are the five most important areas of any business owner’s marketing plan. Marketing is the process of profitably – buying lifetime customers. If a business doesn’t have a marketing budget, it’s not likely to make any money.
Once that’s taught, we then move into systemization. We don’t want to systematize until we’ve got volume of marketing, because if you have a small business and you build the systems for that business, they’ll only work for a small business. As you start to add volume, you’ll break those systems.
Then we move to team building, then synergy. Have you ever seen that movie? What was the Ray Kroc movie called?
The Founder, like that. We challenge people at the synergy level to say, “We’re no longer looking at 30% growth. We’re looking at 30 times growth.” That’s why I wrote my latest book, Pulling Profits Out of a Hat. In that book, I discuss the traits of a business that has exponential growth.
That’s a lot of what I do today. It’s a lot of what I teach.
The Pros and Cons of Franchising
Makes sense. On the topic of expanding, what are the pros and cons of expanding under a franchise or doing it as a business owner yourself?
Franchising is a great methodology to bring in capital and people, but I’ll give you a story of two guys I know that both built restaurant chains to explain the difference. Business owner #1 created the restaurant chain as a corporation, where he raised capital before building. Business owner #2 created the restaurant chain on a franchise model. Now, both of the business owners built about 120 restaurants, with approximately the same revenues and profits. Business owner #2 sold for $120 million, while business owner #1 other sold for $750 million. Because the franchisees bring the capital, they retain a lot of the asset base.
Now, I love franchising. Currently four of my companies are franchises, including ActionCOACH®. But a lot of my companies are not franchises because I would rather build the business with my own capital. I’d rather build with a team than build with franchise partners.
But both of them have benefits. If you’re not willing to build more than a hundred locations, I wouldn’t go the franchising route. Because once you move to franchising, you are no longer in the business of your business. You’re in the franchising business.
How does the mindset of the owner come into play? Let’s say a business owner likes being an employee, manager or owner. But there’s a lot of potential for growth. How should that business owner change their mindset? Should they?
It really comes back to your goals – that’s where everything starts. My success formula is dreams x goals x learning x plans x action = success.
What are your dreams? A lot of people don’t dream that big because they’ve been taught not to, but turn your dreams into goals. From your goals, define what you need to learn. As I said before, you’ve got to grow into your goals.
I remember when ActionCOACH® was 10 years old. The Chief Sales Officer at the time came to me at a conference and said, “I think it’s time for you to go.”
I said, “Yeah, I’m not enjoying this conference. You’re right.”
He said, “No. I think it’s time for you to fire yourself as CEO.”
I looked at him and said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “You don’t like this business anymore and I think I like it more, so I could run it better than you.”
I’d just had a baby – my first child – and I thought, ‘You know what? He’s right. I don’t need to run this anymore. I don’t need to be at home.’
So I fired myself as CEO. I left, spent four years as a full-time dad, and eventually fell back in love with my business again. The thing was I had a business that ran without me, so I was able to make that decision
Another reason you want your business to run without you is because something can happen that will disrupt your ability to work. It could be your health, someone else in the family’s health, or another issue where you physically can’t do it anymore. Your business better run without you, or it’s going to die.
And the third reason it should run without you is so that it’s at full value. This way you’re actually building an asset, rather than building cash flow that’s dependent upon you showing up every day.
How to Teach Children About Entrepreneurship
What’s the right age to start thinking about creating a business, versus being an employee? I know you were 16-years-old when it was introduced to you. Is that the right age?
I think that the teenage years are the right years to introduce a child to desiring a level of success. Desiring a level of achievement. It doesn’t matter what success or achievement means, but desiring it at some level, whether it’s sporting, scholastic or otherwise.
I want my seven-year-old twins to succeed, but at seven, if they don’t love tennis they don’t need to be the best tennis player. I just want them to enjoy it. Now, if at 13 they want to get serious about tennis, then yes, they need to be serious.
The earlier someone desires being successful – whatever that means to them – the better.
I’m stunned at the number of people that have kids that have never read a book on parenting. When my wife told me we were having twins, I sat there for a few minutes… I’m not at a loss for words often, but I was definitely at a loss for words that day. One of my first thoughts was to head to Amazon and look for books on how to raise twins. I knew I had to read and study it.
Yeah, I’m a lifelong learner too. And I don’t just learn, I also implement and execute on what I learn.
That’s what I want to say to everyone listening to this podcast. If this is your first time with Marc, subscribe. The topics he’s covered and the people he’s interviewed… you sit there and you realize this is amazing knowledge.
Thanks. We’re really seeing entrepreneurship explode now. People are not happy in their W-r jobs, so this conversation has really come at a great time. Having a resource like you can give people the knowledge they need before they take the leap into business. Just like what I do in finance – it’s not rocket science, but you have to learn it, make a plan and implement it.
So, I want to thank you for being on the show. How best can someone reach out to you?
Two things. First of all, I’m going to send you a link, Marc, that gives everyone the Black Friday. I’ll extend the Black Friday deal on that 90 Day Course to all of your listeners.
You can find me on Bradsugars.com or any social media, even Pinterest.
Great, we’ll link to that in the show notes. Thanks again for being on, and thank you to everyone who tuned into today’s episode. Don’t forget to follow The Agent of Wealth on the platform you listen from and leave us a review of the show. We are currently accepting new clients, if you’d like to schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with our advisors, please do so below.