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121 minutes | Oct 21, 2022
You Need to Wear Your Baby
In the closeness is the bonding for baby, mom, and dad. Simple philosophy. Simple products. Successful outcome. Brian Fosse founded Lalabu with his wife, Kerrie. At the time, she was his only encouragement in starting this specialty clothing business. And as they neared bankruptcy a few years later, even Kerrie began having doubts. But Brian pressed on. While sitting on a plane headed to an investor meeting, he knew he needed to continue to trust God and keep going. He read Isiah 40:28-31. It was his all-in moment.Brian escaped $1mm in debt with a $20k per week debt-service payment. Three years later, the business turned wildly profitable and sold for eight figures. A real success story. A real relationship story. A real family story. A real God story. This is entrepreneurship at its best—a gifted young man with loads of ideas, a supportive wife, and the perseverance to succeed. There is something here for everyone.Here is Brian’s Bible verse: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.”Isaiah 40:28-29, 31 HCSB
98 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
The most fulfilling occupation in life is...
I’ve met hundreds of entrepreneurs during my forty-year career in startups. Many of them were wildly successful. The successful knew their industry, solved a real problem, and timed the market just right. And they also knew how to make money. But after cashing out, they didn’t move on to the next stage in life…philanthropy. I was connected to Greg Thompson, the founder of ThomCo. ThomCo was a specialty commercial insurance brokerage. Greg grew this company over thirty years into a valuable company. But he discovered someone embezzled ten years into the company’s growth. This should have put him out of business and declared personal bankruptcy. But that’s when the miracles began. When he cashed out, he knew God’s hand was all over him and his company. At the exit, two things happened. He got more money than he would ever need in multiple lifetimes. And he realized he needed to give it away on a mission of changing lives. Greg told me, “Philanthropy is the most fulfilling occupation he has ever experienced.” Come and listen to his story and be inspired to become a philanthropist. And he tells you how to do it!
120 minutes | Aug 26, 2022
The rewards of determination, dedication, support, and wisdom
Twelve years after Greg Thompson started his company, it took off. Fifteen years after that, his insurance brokerage grew fivefold in premiums. His profits exploded. “Did you ever think of shutting down your business and doing something else during those twelve years?” I asked Greg. “Yes.” But Greg persevered.It is so important to learn from Greg about being a successful entrepreneur. The perseverance, loyalty, support of his wife, and continuous learning that he exhibited led to a precious enterprise. And when the time came, he knew it was time to sell.If you are thinking about or currently operating a service business.If you are had a big dream for your life, and you are coming up short.If you are staying loyal to your commitment to your cofounders and investors but are not sure where it is all leading.This interview is filled with answers, insights, and encouragement. There is so much wisdom shared in this conversation. Listen and be rewarded for the time you invest
69 minutes | Jul 29, 2022
How am I screwing up this company I started?
Greg Thompson is an entrepreneur who built a specialty commercial insurance brokerage. In this interview, Greg shares his experiences moving from an insurance agent to entrepreneur to general manager to CEO. For topics: How to set yourself up for board positions while building your company. How to develop your company even faster through acquisitions. How to become a better business owner by joining a CEO small group, like Vistage. How to be a leader who practices people are your greatest asset. Greg shares what worked and what didn’t as he built his company. How one day, he looked in the mirror and asked, “How am I screwing up this company I started?” Join us.
103 minutes | Jul 15, 2022
One Ingredient to Change Lives
When I asked Authur Washington, the Principal of KIPP collegiate, how many students in his school, he said, “Eight hundred and forty scholars. Eight hundred and forty beautiful souls!”His answer set the tone for our conversation. This conversation describes the building of a great leader—a man who is sacrificing to accomplish the mission God gave him. His objectives:- To change the lives of the next generation. - Educate, encourage and show them discipline and responsibility. - Instill a spirit of hope. - Mold them into next-generation leaders. I learned about leadership. More importantly, I am reminded to change lives, the leader must love the people he leads.
58 minutes | Jun 24, 2022
Increasing your company’s value in an impending economic contraction
Alan Taetle is one of the most respected VCs in the Southeast and Noro-Moseley Partners’ co-managing partner. They are the oldest VC firm in Atlanta., now investing in their eighth fund.I asked Alan to join me for a short conversation about this contraction in values. Both in the public markets and in the private markets. During his twenty-three-year career as a VC, Alan has been through at least three boom and bust cycles.I know you’ll find his insights spot on. And, as an entrepreneur, you’ll be rewarded with some good ideas for increasing your company’s value amid an impending economic contraction. Lastly, Alan shares the advice he gave to his portfolio companies.
102 minutes | May 27, 2022
The Habits of Squirrels
Brian Livingston was the state wrestling champion. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. Then took the well-marked path of law school and a career as a litigator. And then he realized, “This is not me.” He knew from fourth grade he was destined to be a writer. It took twenty-two years to face this truth, but he did. On the evening of January 20, 2018, he began to write his first novel. He committed to 1,500 words per day, seven days per week. Three years later, The Habits of Squirrels was completed. In this interview, you’ll learn how to discover who God made you to be, your purpose, and your fulfillment. Brian shows us the way. His superpower is working on time-intensive, long-term projects that take all of him. It kind of sounds like an entrepreneur starting a new company to me. Lots of life lessons, and you have a great book to read when it’s over! Website Twitter Facebook
119 minutes | May 20, 2022
3 Ingredients of Effective Leadership: Dare. Serve. Measure.
At age 21, Cheryl Bachelder’s father took her on business appointments in China, Japan, and Korea after threatening to quit college. Her college education no longer served her interests, and she saw no purpose. Her father’s investment changed her life.As CEO, Bachelder led a historic turnaround of AFC Enterprises, the parent of Popeye’s Louisiana Restaurants. In ten years, Bachelder increased the stock price sixfold by changing the brand, the culture, and franchisee profits. Then she wrote a book on how she did it, “Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others.”Bachelder never saw the glass ceiling. She never worried about it. She focused on achieving results her entire career. And for that, she was consistently recognized and rewarded.A lifetime student of leadership, she developed an effective leadership recipe. It included: Be daring - Have high aspirationsServant-leadership - Help others be on their purposeAchieve results - Measure the first two on financial resultsThis interview speaks directly to how she made it to the top as a woman executive: her leadership interest and relentless pursuit of bringing everyone along with her to the winner’s circle.Lots to learn here for women in business. Even more to learn for all entrepreneurs about growing your business by being a dare to serve leader.
55 minutes | May 13, 2022
Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting Sales Reps on Plan
He achieved the sales club at New Relic in his first year as an Account Executive. That’s my son I’m talking about, Nick.My questions are:How did he do it?What did he learn after being a Business Development Rep for three years?Did his sales manager help him, and if so, how?As an entrepreneur trying to get your salespeople motivated and on plan, this interview will help. New Relic is a public company selling application performance management to F1000 companies. Nick’s plan is heavily weighted to consumption. This was a new term to me. But once I understood it, I knew I’d continue to use it when talking to SaaS startups. It just makes sense.Give a listen, and I think you'll pick up a few tips on managing sales reps or, if you are a rep, then how to make club level at your company.
87 minutes | Apr 29, 2022
Major Success From Major Accounts
He sold $60mm in software in one year. Russ is clearly the most successful major account seller I know. Russ West is a Senior Account Executive with a red-hot Silicon Valley startup named Yugabyte. In their last funding round, they were valued at $1.2b. I am sure Russ contributed to their valuation by helping grow their SaaS sales in the F50 right here in Atlanta. In this conversation, Russ tells us about his networking approach to prospecting, his service approach to relationship retention, and his methods for managing major accounts with over one hundred stakeholders. And it doesn’t end there. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales execs should listen to this podcast. I guarantee you’ll walk away with some great ideas on how to increase your sales success and how to move toward higher average deals.
70 minutes | Apr 22, 2022
Mem: Eliminate note taking friction
Dennis Xu is a Stanford graduate, entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and the co-founder of Mem. They recently raised a $5.6mm seed round on zero revenue. Since Mem’s founding in 2019, they went from writing the first line of code to attracting over 100k users. Mem.ai is a new entry in notetaking software's hectic market space. Dennis is competing with a host of well-financed competitors, but he is confident of his positioning. Mem mines and organizes your black box of ideas on all of your interests. I am an early user of Mem and a rabid notetaker. Mem is the first product I’ve used that eliminates all friction in capturing an idea and making it easy to find. Its AI engine finds the idea I am looking for and makes the connections to other thoughts and meeting notes that may contribute to my thinking. Mem promises to be the most straightforward Zettlekasten digital system on the market.In this conversation, Dennis and I discuss the genesis of the Mem idea, how they got it funded with only a PowerPoint presentation, and how they attracted Andreeson Horowitz as an early-stage investor. Dennis also shares his BIG vision for where MEM is headed. And that is how Andreeson will make a significant return.
49 minutes | Apr 8, 2022
If you win the morning, you win the day
This is the promise of a morning routine.In this conversation with social entrepreneur Karim Abouelnaga, we talk about the importance of a morning routine. He is thoughtful, diligent, and disciplined about his morning routine. He believes these early morning activities are the foundation for his success. He told me it is the reason for his health, peace of mind, and productivity. I asked Karim to share his morning routine because I had never met anyone so dedicated to it. His morning routine, which is always preceded by eight hours of sleep, is non-negotiable. Nothing interrupts it. Take the time to listen to Karim as he shares what he learned over the last decade about his morning routine. It will get you thinking about your day too. And who knows where that may take you.
163 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
The Judge on Finding True Fulfillment
He is a former federal judge who insisted I call him Bill and not Judge. In that first meeting, he made a powerful impression on me. Here is a man who is humble, intelligent, and a servant-leader. Digging just a little deeper revealed the values he lives by.Bill Duffey remembers what it was like to practice law before the legal profession changed. The change was from a values-centric profession to a financial-centric profession. He knows the most recent two generations of lawyers practicing today never experience pride in their work. In many cases, they adopt values that counter who they want to be. They lost their idealism. They lost fulfillment. Bill wrote a book focused on values to help them. He called it The Significant Lawyer. This book is the best book on values and the impact on work fulfillment that I have ever read. It is written for lawyers, but it is also noted for entrepreneurs. There is much to learn and reflect on from Bill sharing his observations and experience.This interview will get you thinking about who you are and what is important to you. Bill will help you make the right career decisions, build great companies, and choose the right relationships. In short, it will make you a better man and woman for your community, your business, and your family.LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-s-duffey-jr-a45002126/Book: https://www.williamduffeybooks.com
10 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
You gotta solve this problem!
Mike Gomez told me, “I solve the ‘I didn’t know” problem.“What’s that?” I asked.We think companies buy from us because of the product we sell. We later find out, our product or service was simply a qualifier to get us in the deal. The real buying criteria have to be discovered in the sales process. We are not selling to companies. We are selling to people.Mike Gomez and I discuss this problem that needs to be solved in your salesforce. You don’t want to continue to hear, “I didn’t know” after you lost a deal.You gotta solve this problem!LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/growthguy/Company: https://www.allegroconsultant.com/
39 minutes | Mar 18, 2022
Entrepreneur: Who Can Help You Succeed Faster and How Can They Help?
I am sharing this conversation with one of our community’s best angel investors. There is a lot to be learned here by first-time entrepreneurs seeking angel funding. Specifically, who can help you succeed faster, and how can they help?Bill Midgette is an active angel. He is the former CEO of a public company. He leads the selection committee for the Atlanta Technology Angels. And he aims to add value to his early-stage company investments.I’ve been an angel investor for thirty years. I always believed angel investing is a contact sport. You must be involved with the companies you invest in. Help the entrepreneur any way you can. Add your wisdom, network, and expertise to the new enterprise. Do all you can to help the entrepreneur and his leadership team succeed.This describes Bill Midgette. He came to angel investing later in his life, but he adopted these principles. Today he enjoys the upside of a carefully selected portfolio of great new companies.Bill and I had this conversation at an Angel Lounge. Angel Lounge is a monthly gathering of Angel investors whose purpose is to learn from each other and become better early-stage investors.In this conversation, we are talking about increasing returns by contributing your expertise.
114 minutes | Mar 10, 2022
An Entrepreneur Who Broke All the Rules, Yet Achieved Great Success
Sid Mookerji built Software Paradigms International Group, LLC, a worldwide information technology company. He started it in 1994 and sold it in 2018. He grew it organically through cash flow. His biggest competitor was IBM Global Services, but they also just happened to be his partner.And it is this last bit that speaks to why Sid is such a wild success in business and life. Sid started SPI, having no idea what market it should focus on or what problem he would solve. He started his company because he recognized he was surrounded by knowledgeable, underutilized people here and in India. He broke all the rules of startups and was a great success.I learned a lot from Sid in this interview. From the beginning of their marriage, he and his wife wanted to impact their fellow man. Their focus is entrepreneurship and disadvantaged women and children. They worked hard and always seemed to have a talent for finding diverse talent worldwide. They are still doing this today, even after the big exit. They see too many opportunities to help others.Please join Sid and me to discuss his VC firm, family office, and entrepreneurial and angel interests and experiences. Lots to be learned.
131 minutes | Mar 4, 2022
How the First Truly Successful Cyber Security Company Began in a Dorm Room
Chris Klaus is the founder of Internet Security Systems. Sitting in his dorm room, he put down the sci-fi book that gave him a big idea and started coding. This was the genesis of becoming the first genuinely successful cyber security company of the 1990s. I loved Chris’ surprise when government labs contacted him looking for his product. They heard about this kid at Georgia Tech who figured out a way to find the security-weak point in any government or business’ computer network.The most challenging question he had to answer at 19-years old was, “How much does it cost?”There is so much said these days about finding authentic demand. How to ask potential customers the right questions. Strategies around denying the product to people who seem interested. Sometimes even canceling an existing paying customer’s contract. All this to prove you have authentic demand. Chris never had to deal with any of this. He built it, and they came. His biggest problem: How do you build a real company?Step 1: Own the intellectual propertyStep 2: Get the right co-founder Tom Noonan had just the right personality, contacts, and experience. Together, they blew it up.The rest is history. Investors and customers beat a path to their door. And so did IBM, who bought ISS for $1.3b. And to think it started in a dorm room.Join our conversation. It isn’t just about ISS. Chris also spent over two decades and personal millions on what we now know as the Metaverse. Long, long before Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook to Meta. In our conversation, I even told Chris, “Zuck should consult with you.”Come, join us.
107 minutes | Feb 24, 2022
One-on-one with a Legend: Horst Schulze, Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Horst Schulze created the Ritz-Carlton Hotel brand single-handedly. After twenty years as an international hotelier, this was his chance to put his mark on his industry by injecting his core values and beliefs. He took one failing and decrepit hotel in Boston called the Ritz-Carlton and grew it into fifty hotels rated #1 or #2 in their respective markets worldwide.He dedicated his life to excellence in all he did. Horst is a respected leader by all leaders in all industries. But in the hotel business, Horst is a legend.But where did his principles and beliefs originate? I wanted to know, and that’s why I asked him to join me in a conversation on his life and career.He started in a small village in Germany. There was no hotel in the town. Yet, he told his mother and father he wanted to be a hotelier at eleven years old. It was crazy. He didn’t even know what that meant. Was this a God calling?The story of Horst meeting his mentor, Herr Zeitler, is worth your time to listen to this conversation. All successful people I know have a Herr Zeitler in their lives, and the stories of their influence are inspiring. At eighteen years old, Horst wrote an essay on what he learned in Hotel school from sixteen to eighteen. He thought of what made his mentor successful and wrote this sentence…Damen und Herren im dienst zu damen und herren. (Ladies and gentlemen in service to ladies and gentlemen.)How he implemented this simple sentence. The principles he developed. The methods that followed. The people impacted worldwide. This is the incredible story of a man called by God to transform an industry. Come join us in this conversation.
62 minutes | Feb 18, 2022
What Does It (Really) Mean to be a Friend?
This is the question I pursued in a conversation with Jacob Southerland. Jacob is my son’s best friend. Over dinner with the two of them, Jacob talked about his friendship with my son and his other friends. His views on friendship were so unique I recounted some of them in a blog. This blog hit a nerve with you, my readers, and my followers. This gave me the idea to invite Jacob to join me in a conversation on friendship. I am forty years his senior, and Jacob helped me understand what makes for true friends. How to nurture and develop genuine friendships. It’s a short conversation, but it will be worth your time. It will get you thinking of your friends and who you are as a friend. Jacob Southerland is Director of Sales for BG Podcast Network. They sell podcast services to local newspapers and technical colleges. They promise greater exposure in their markets and a new revenue stream. It is a unique product that’s exploding. Enjoy!
126 minutes | Feb 10, 2022
Develop an Eye for Your Entrepreneurial Niche
Wendy Salle built the single highest-grossing optical store in the United States of America.I am a client of Salle Opticians. I found it over twenty years ago in Phipps Plaza shopping mall in Atlanta. Salle sells high-end optical to a well-heeled clientele. They have the best eyeglass frames that money can buy. And they fit them with the most carefully crafted lenses. In the end, they provide a personalized customer experience and a high-quality product.Wendy Salle is the founder. Wendy is a certified optician, gifted merchandiser, and small business operator. She knows and loves her products. She knows and loves her clients.Wendy came to Atlanta in 1985 with her suitcase and a dream for a new life in America. Within two years, she discovered her new occupation as an optometrist and eyeglass retailer. At that time, the industry trend was all about low prices and the speed of delivery provided by big-box retailers. She bucked this trend and discovered a high-end niche just as eyeglass frames became fashionable. The rest is history.After thirty-four years in business, Wendy sold her store last year and is now the Chief Merchandiser for Luxury Optical Holdings. New entrepreneurs. Come. Listen and learn.
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