The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

24. Acting As If: How to fake it until you become it with Greig Clark, Founder of College Pro Painters

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Clark started College Pro Painters out of desperation in 1971 when he was only 17 years old. He needed to pay for university and realized his summer job wasn’t going to cover his tuition, so he went door-to-door to sell his first painting job…without knowing how to paint! Clark landed his first job, and learned quickly how to deliver on his promise to customers. He went on to expand the business to 500 franchisees, and over 5,000 painters when he ultimately sold the business in 1990.

In this episode, Clark uncovers how to overcome fear and doubt as a first-time entrepreneur, how to make the first sale, and how to set up the systems, processes, and cadence to grow your business.

You're listening to the IVIENTRENORpodcast from the Pierre L, Moriset Institute, Forente Preneurship at theIvy Business School in this series I ventrepreneur an Ivy Faculty member.Eric Janson will anchor the session, I'm here with Greg Clark, the founderof College Pra Greg thanks for making the time and coming in for conversationGod to be here. So in some of the pret. For this I cameacross a quote from you. I think you'rerequoting or paraphrasingsomebody else. That necessity is the mother of invention and when I thinkabout your story of starting college pro, what was the necessity that gotyou to start this company in the first place, yeah good research, they th Y,that's from Thomas Alv, Edison Wen, the great inventors in American history whosaid necessityes the mother invention an there's got to be a reason. Why? Andso the reason why, for me, for starting college pro was that I had a summer jobthat would make me two thousand dollars a year and school at that time. Littlewhile ago was totally everything in tuition. Everything and living wasthree thousand dollars. So I had a one thousand dollar gap had to close thatgap. My father's Ha the six kids in my family and the oldest of six. I thoughtI got TA close that gap myself, so I sort of look around for ways to make athousand bucks. So that was e gap for me. So I just need. I need a thousandbucks. What's what can I do? What are the tools at my disposal? Let's start apainting, company e Yeah. That was one of the ones H. I had a summer jobalready a great summer job, but it as I say it was two dollars fifty cents anhour forty hours a week, twenty Mac weeks maxim in the summer, that's toogrand, so I needed to make the thousand bucks, but I already had my regulardays fielld. So I did try a couple of things, but the one that I landed onwas to try to paint houses. Another buddy of mine m from the cottage areahad painted some houses the year before and you know it made thousand dollars.I thought we could do it, so we started up this partnership to go out and tryand paint some houses. What I found was interesting about yourfounding story, so you typically people will bild a product. Oi'll have something to selland then they'll go out and sell it. Yours is a little bit of an interestingcase and that you went out and sold and then figuredit out afterwards. So can you tell us about those super early days of? Howdid you actually get it going? Yeah sure they yes, hadn't thought of itthat way. But yes, yes, we did H. I was hoping, of course, at my partner cause.He paid his hous before he knew how to paint. I had AL little bit of trainingand other stuff, so the whole partnership idea was that I was goingto do the marketing these fancy words selling land, the job he would hire.Somebody and h t he and the other people would paint the job. He wouldpay himself a wage and then th I would do all the accounting and we woulddivide the profits. So so we said we had a handshake deal, so my job wasgoing and landthe job. So I tried to a bunch of things. Try to do that. So Itried these fancy marketing things like. I put a lad in the in the local shoppernewspaper and I got some flyers, an istributed, those door to door, and Igot nothing there was. Nothing came from that, so I felt back on that.Marvelous, high tech method of marketing called Colcallig, which was avery scary thing to do, and Uh went through a lot of a lot of challenges. Iwas really you know petrified the first time I went and knocked on a door as,as you said, I really didn't know painting all that well and I, but I didknock on enough doors that finally, somebody said Yeah we'd, like anestimate and so that had to get started. That's so the first customer came fromhad how many doors do you have to knock on before you got your first? Probablyabout thirty? Thirty? Oh that's a pretty good. It's always pretty prettygood ratio, pretty good ratio. You talked about the squingy toes feelingthat feely, when you walk up you're like willing yourself to go up to thatfront door, but you really don't want...

...to go up to that front door. How didyou get over that yeah T it's a good thing to to share actually because alot of a lot of people- hopefully you know watching this eitherhave started or about to start their own company and it's that first, in this case literally knock in thedoor. But it's a first call call that first time, when you're actually goingto put yourself forward and say I can do a service for you and you're justfeeling, they're Goingno, look at o Ya go Lyou. Why can you do this right anddecide you're going? I don't know if I can do it, but damned I going Ta giveit my best. So th yeah, I calht the squingy toys feeling when you go toknock on the door and every bon in your body ir saying go way: Go. Have acoffee go: Go back, go back and play some hockey with the guys right, it'seasier, but there's Illa party of that says: I'm here, I'M GOINGTO! Do it yonow, like the likeyoad. Just do it, you knock on the door and you make yourmouth work didn't work too. Well, the first couple of calls but D: You makeit work and M, and that and that gets you through it, and so you went from got your firstcustomer did everything you could to deliver a good service for that firstcustomer. So you went and buil built the product to deliverd a good service.How did college pro grow Um? I think you tell the story a little bit aboutthe early days and how it transitioned from you know one man operation with afew painters to really being an enterprise that you were tuning themachine on, but this was involved a lot more people. So what was the transitionfrom Ms Greggs company trying to make a thousand bucks to what was that peak? The hundreds, fivethousand employees, yeah Grud offt', say five hundred Franchisees and fourthousand employees. One little piece in the trasition that's important there asit did transist from a partnership to a one person company, because when I didland that first job my partner was going to paint the house quit. So I hadto find, go and hire some painters and get them to do that. Job, which isanother one of those forks in the road. When the whole idea for the businesswas a partnership is gone and you persist, persist to performance- andyou say: okay, we're still going to do this, so that was the first fork in theroad for me, but I did carry on, did hire some painters in that first summermade about three thousand dollars and then the next summer, when that wasalso doing mather summer job that made two thousand dollars so the secondsummer I came back and did pretty much just the painting and made seventhousand dollars in the third summer, just the painting in Thet made twelvethousand dollars. That's whe! I A was at ivy the last two years and feltpretty good about it, and then I took off and traveled round the world withsome of the money that I'd made and got to thinking about this idea, whichactually we had written up in when I was in business school, which is theidea of taking this college pro microcosm of one outlet and expandingit across the country. Everybody els has this dream of Gon Nathoa. It got agood idea: GGO got to go, Cost Tho coast got to grow kindo growl, so I Idrew up the I the well when I was in in BISC in Bisical, but didn't Rey, quitebelieve it 'cause. You never really trustd the sales number butas as Itravel around the world and had spare time I kept a little book, a littlespiral notebook and started to track things under the same chapters thatlearned at biscal marketing, estimating selling production personnel,accounting, HR and Um. So I write all these things down, so I had thebeginnings of a college. FROMANUAL whend. I came back to Canada and started to work at generalfoods. In Marketing in Toronto, but I then look to get one Franchi startwasn't a franchise at time it was. It was company owned operation laterswitched to franchising, that's a different story, but um e got one oneoperation going in London, not a great success, but enough to keep going thenext summer. I had two while I'm still lolding my general food to Dob. Downnext summer I had sex still holding out my general foods job. It's gettingharder her to do that, but I made a a promise to my fiancee, a between thesecond and th third year, the Shou getting tired of all these weekendsliving in intense whil. I went and worked with Franchie eling paint jobsand I said, listen. Here's the deal if, if I use my good operations managementtraining from western Youknow, the decision tree kind of thing where Isaid: okay, if five of the six succeed...

I'll quit general foods and do thisfull time, if three or four succeed I will I will continue to test foranother year and if less than that I'll drop it while work just for generalfoods. I'll have a great marketing career and I'll, take all my salary andspend all my sellar, which half of which have been going into college pro.I think part of her was hoping for the third option. So That's how that's? Howmade the decision to leave and do it full time and then the following year.I actually expanded from the six to twenty operations and then from twentyto forty and then forty eight, you kind of doubled for a number of years til.We grew til, five hundred franchises in about four thousand painters, and howdid you balance in those early days y? U Know often people will there's thisperception, that entreprenurs are big risktakers and that might be true to acertain extent, but often people do a good job of mitigating that risk,whether it's choosing the right partners or validating that there's aworkable business there. So the you know the thirty second story of GreatClark, founder of college pro quit his job and started this painting franchiseand it exploded as we peelback the layers. You actually did a pretty goodjob of mitigating that risk and keeping both going at the same time. How wasthat like how a working a fulltime job, which wasn't an easy job and starting abusiness on the side? How did you balance the two wel? It's a goodquestion, but also I want to emphasize your r point there, because we oftenthink of Auntpreno guys who go parachute, jumping and jump off ofcliffs and stuff like good Richard Renson. I'm not quite like that. So Idid mitigate the risk both times, both both forks and the road. When I beforeI, I left my job my summer job, I I continued it on not just that firstsummer, but partway into the second summer before I quit and did coll profull time. So that's mitigation number one for me. It was holding too down atthe same time same thing at general foods. I continue to hold that jobuntil I was sure that the microcause of working, so the challenge- At least youas you said- was that you're then doing two jobs at the same time and yourworklife balance gets a little crazy and I'm afraid, there's not reallyanyway to handle it. The only thing you have to do is be dead, honest with thepeople who matter to you, and you know your family and your friends of ofwhat's going on and try to be. I guess the only way I found t to do it was Icaught it put the rocks in the Stream, so I put the rocks in the Stream frormy personal life into my schedule at first, you know for me it was hockeyand dates with my fiancee. You put those in and the other stuff has toswim around it. If you do it the other way, it'll always you know and thenmake damn sure you keep those commitments. If you, if you do it theother way, those those rocks will never show up. Now I was I'm sure. If you talk to my family andfriends at the time, they would say, Yeah Gre ul make those avoyments, buthe wasn't always there. If you know what I mean and that's that's that'strue. Yeah saw a pattern that I'm seeing amongstour guests on the shows. There are periods where you just need to go. Youknow, put your head down and work, there's some commonalities and somedifferences between our guess, but one is there's just a period of time,whether it's right in the beginning or growth phase or whatever they sort ofdo regain some semblance, mostly of balance eventually or whatever balancemeans to them in their life. But the typically is a period could be a yearcould be ten years for some people, depending on what they're working onfor they just have to make that thing, the priority, and as long as they're,clear with other people, that that is the priority, not that you'reforgetting about everything else. But this is one of my main priorities rightnow, their life does seem to work around that. So did you you ere justsounds like you were clear with family and fiance and friends like right now Ineed to this. Is One of the big rocks I'd like to think so it Rutepackhinsight's, twenty twenty. I hope I was. I think that the the couple of thingsthi would add to that is. As I say, my coping tactic was to putthose things in the calendar first, so you and then stick to them and thenobviously try to be present when you're there for those. I know that I fail atthat sometimes. But the second thing is...

...you gotta Watch this. Don't worry honeyit'll be better next year or itil better. When I get to this mile soneerthis milestone, because there's always another milestone and another milestone and another love I got to get to, and I remember reading I read TedRodgers biography and I think that's one of the challenges he faced likelike right towards the very end when they're coming to him in his hospitaltbet he's asking about cellphone sales and British Columbian, and you go. Oh,my goodness Ted right and I read that and I went woa- am I doing the samething right a so one of the things I did when I sold college prose. We tooka year and we lived in France for a year and that helped loud college proto flow out on my veins 'cause. I I must tell you tart of the day after iSol college pro. What I wanted to the next day was by another business fast,the next day, exaggeratbt Bey coks right. One of mygood friends who who had been my boss at General Foods, actually took me upfor lunch and he was in the emerges, an acquisition business and you know hecongratulated me on the sale, we're having our lunch and M. I startedasking him so I Scott. What's in your boo, what what do you got for sale andhe start talking a bunch en he goes hold theres Colemans for sale, an I o Iused to camp. I like can't be telln me wot that one and he literally reachedacross the table and said slow down Bu. He slowdown. So do you know what I wantyou to do? I want you tha. I want you to go to France for you've alwaystalked about going to living in France or n England, go to France and live andjust be for a year. Don't do just be right. Givin, I'm a Guy Wa, as I'm told that'swhat I did there's a bunch of things to come backto, but I have to keep going on this track. So what was the year after yousold and you did live in France? What was what did you do for the year ofjust being? What did you do? Well, it's great 'cause. It always sounds great inhindsight, but the first two or three months, fer agony, because if yo've hadthis one thing, I started to college when I was seventeen, so L I was thirtyseven, so you know I've obvays have I have some empathy for hockey players aretire at thirty, seven right. All of a sudden. This thing that was the Folk O.my life is gone. Your pe for purpose is gone. You're there with your family andthis beautiful place. Calle France supposed to Pavg me a good time andyou're going N. I was waking up at two or three in the morning and walkingaround the the streets of Exol, powens and going. What am I doing so withoutgoing too much in at all, I can say, is over a slow period of time, two orthree months gradually, the past sleeped Aa seeped away, and I couldlive in the present before starting to think about the future two little partsthat help that one is people from my past, including people from college proone one, fellow the name, AFS Steve Laurence called me up in France andsaid: Can I come ore for a visit, and that meant so much to me because I usedto be his boss and I was important to him now. He still wants to see me why?Because he values me as a person right. That was huge for me lot of littlethings like that. The other thing was, I remember a day when I tried to sitdown D, Say after three or founths there, and I took a great big piece ofpaper, which I often do with you know the the all the you know the Quadioopadsot, so I canmake notes and stuff and start at the top of the page and said. Okay. When Igo back what's my goal, what Di want to do, and I went I couldn't do it. I thought. Okay,that's all right. Let's just live in the present before you even startthinking about the future, and that was it was a good good transition ear forme, with theree other tactics that you ere habits that you developed thathelped you be more present, nothing like being in the south of France,where the wine is is good and and the temperature is lovely, ou, wear a t,shirt every day and isurrounded by a wonderful, loving family. I really gotinvolved in in all the all the jobs of of of being a dad, a and dealing withmy kids. We walked them to school every day and then my wife and I went to university xo Poos and had to learn howto take courses and French and that all of a sudden, your mind gets focused ona lot of other things right in the present, which is a bloody good thing.To Do H. that's great, so I want to come back to Um College pros, so there's two topics Iwant to get into one is the:...

If you peel back the layers, you thinkabout the systems ind, the processis that you and the team set up there. Inmy opinion, I think yours too is part of why big part of why that company wassuccessful. The sale on the surface can seem simple. It's UH selling paint topeople who need paint jobs, there's actually many other elements of sellinginvolved at college pro. So would you mind touching on the different levelsof sales that you had to make sure we're working in order forthat company to be successful? Yes, so th t e, the basic microcosm of sales ouknow identifi. I love Pokatedra before I do, love his line, an Azpreneursomebody who finds inneed and fills it, finds inneed and fills it so r perp jobsalesman is to fine out the need now. They've called you for a paint job. Sothat's the need, but what are the? What are their real needs? What do they?What do they care whot Thei'r home? What do they want to have done, andthen you show how what you can do can fill it now, really good salesman. Ifwhat he has can't fill it Shou'd say can't do it. You know like that greatstory of the of the S of Chris Cringle at you K America on Thirty FourthStreet Center to Bloomingdales, even those at macys. So that's a really goodsalesman finds a true need and fills it so that we had to do that. There's anumber of different areas where there was selling took place at college pro.The first was we had to the company had to sell the managers ofthe Franchiseee on taking on this opportunity. So ' the value propositionthere, here's what's in it for you, here's what's in a frust, there's adeal there. We had to learn how to sell paint jobs, teach those managers how totell paint jobs to customers. We also had to sell managers how to cell really had to sell painters thatthis would be a good job for them. So there was at least three levels of ofof selling, going on an acceptance going back and contracts being made.Here's an Offerin axceptance, here's onin going to do, for you is wha you'regoing to do for me, and so how did you? What were the keysto success for those? I think the first one being? Even if I look at some of your corevalues, you know it revolves around finding the right people so find theright people for the job so that first cell of convincing the managers to joincollege pro for the summer. How did what were the Keytos success for thatfirst sale? Well, as in all sales, you have the very strong value propositionwhich would be your product, and ours was the headline on our posters wouldbe make at the time make seven to ten thousand dollars a summer. It's is whenschool costs you three, so you make two to three times what you'R it'll costyou for a year and and get a real world N B a you're going to get really goodgood training here s that was the that was the benefit. That was the promiseand then how e w Uld? What was the proof of that promise? The best one wehad after a while and not at the beginning, was we got a lot ofsuccessful managers out there who would either put their stories in the ads oreven better? If we did a presentation on campus, some of them would come andtell their stories. As you know a case, history is the best. U No success story.You can have that's interesting, so the the managersdoing well themselves and then bottling that up somehow either integating thatinto the ads or actually having them come back with. You as part of thepatch right yeah, that's good, and then what was the the next cell? How did you make surethat those managers then delivered on the promise of college pro well so that we had to teach them howto sell to land the job in the first place, of course, but then the nextchallenge, just they actually got to do the paint job to t what they've justpromised and actually the little neat little thing that occurred to me early.I nothing nothing. Um Earth shattering about it, but in the old in the old days got these tri copy forms wh Ich whaswith the proposal form. No, no, no carbon required NCR paperand the first layer was the white laier and that went to the client. The secondlair was t a yellow layr, and that was that was went to the manager and the third laier was apinklair went to the crew, so the point of it being the promise is the same toeverybody and whatever you promise to...

...the customer, that's what you're goingto collect on and that's with the cruise in the DLITVER. I mean it'ssimple little symbolic device, but then we had to put together a set of systemsthat helped they teach the painters and the manager because they had to knowhow to do themselves how to do the painting, and so we had a system ofdoing that we had, although that was, we had a manual of course, but emanualslike ten cents. The next thing is active experimentation. We you actuallytry it out and do it and then conquered experience. We would have a trainercome in and for their first week in the job, would we train them? How to do allthe different parts of painting and one of the first painters was at firsttrainers for me was my brother Tim who now lives lives here in London and oneof the great joys of the Canadian climate? It Se became t the owner ofthe Thunderbay operation after I graduated, but t one of the great joysof our climate is that, because it's still winter in thunder bay and lateApril learning, may he would train for me from my operations in London andToromto without that there would be no college prothat's great. So I've focusin when I'm teaching sales on sales process and uh hard to do from just behind the desk,and I know that you didn't sit down. You know in a cafe and say: What's theperfect process to go about doing sales, you actually did it on your own culd.You go a little bit deeper into how you built out that the Bible, the book, thetraining manual for these managers, sure and it as y? U It does actuallystart in a cafe, but I start with something in my hand, in the cafe andLat behow does somebody else do it. I love to learn from others. So II lookedat the xerox method of selling the IBM method of selling. You know goandOBSERV. I went to Hamburger Yeu an H for McDonalds. Wasn't able to attend it,but I could go and and H, look at it learn from others. So then start withyour with your book, How you do it and then you practice that your duit a lotyourself but the, but the other thing that I think was one of the keys tosuccess at college. Prot was what I call CPI continuous process improvement,write down how R you going to do it. This is draft number one you go and doit you go and observe a lot of your managers. Doing it. You GOIN feeldtrips and you make lots little notes and you improve it. So you improve itin th in the manual you improve your training session and you prove youryour field sessions so constantly constantly gets better, and if you keepdoing that, if you improve pick a number one percent a week, fifty twoweeks of a year you're going to get fifty fifty percent better every year.So you started with something which was a model of another company Y, whateverwh either accompanying another industry. Who Did it well R? And then that was your starting pointand then you said you spent a lot of your time in those days actually in thefield observing what people were doing that was already working today. Yeah Ilike to the in the bur book in search ofexcellence, which was K at the time they called it managing by wanderingaround, I used to call it hand in the can management wher you got to get outand you got to see how things are actually working and we all know thestories of Busi. I'm a big historian h. You read a lot of history of eithercompanies or businesses or armies where the generals don't get out and seewhat's happening, the troops up front they get way out of touch really fast.The other thing I've found is when you go round and visit and you have luncheswith the the guys in the gals in the field, you establish those thosespecial relationships, not with everybody B T with just a couple ofpeople who they learn to trust you and you trust them. So when you go to putsomething new through, you can call m up, and you say like Jo: What do youthink if I try this? Will it really work and he's got enough trust in Y oran off self convise a you know what boss thin that sucks that won't workigt or try doing this right and I'll bet you all. You scratch all goodleaders. They have their joes out there that they can go to who'll, tell hemthe truth, yeah, so y kept in touch with the front lines. That's that'samazing, and then you said that when you were out thereyouere looking for the one percenters, what were those well, unfortunately, there are h theone percenttaes in terms of clients was what I was talking about is that I Isaid that reverse way. Ninety nine percent of the people you'll deal withthe customers are really really nice...

...and really honest. They'll pay yo ontime. They'll keep their end of the deal. There are those one percent,though, who want to get something for nothing andthey'll. They'll refuse to pay you until you do more work for them andthey're a real pain to deal with and the one percent. Though, in your in your observations with the group,you said you're looking to make little incremental improvements in the fieldright. So what were those one percent like? What were the things that youwere looking at, that you could make one percent improvements? Th Eah Y, aht s what I referre doearly. If you make one percent amprovement a week, fiftytwo percent of e year, so, for example, I would drop in on on a job site andI'd I'd love to sort of pull up, maybe a half a block away from the job siteand and wander over and watched them. I wasn't trying to you're not trying tocatch. Somebody. Do something wrong turn a cast and do something right.Sometimes you would find them loafing around, but if you could, if you couldcome up to n at say, half a block and you sort of watch and you watchsomebody painting a window which is in your estimating sandage at a certaintime, you'd watch how we did it versus how we trained to do it and quite oftento see they had a different way of doing it and it was faster. So YEU'dcome up to and a and ask Hem to do another one. It's always a little bitnervous when you're watching him, but so that would be so catching peopledoing innovative things things you hadn't thought of going with ha managerand watching how he or she spoke to the customer, how they, howthey closed the customer almost every time. You pick up something new and Iwould I would make a little note put it in my expando file and take it home andthen rewrate the manual in September. And if I could I put in t esually,could I put the name in of the person who gave that idea so that the manualbecame a bit of a story? That's neat so capturing what people are already doingin the field. Literally writing it down, observing it,putting it in your file, and then that became the process for the next year.That became part of the manual continuous prosmprovement. I think itdrove some of my managers. Crazy. Sometimes remember one time I didn'thave a piece of paper, so I r literally had to rip off the label on a pink, canand and write down the idea on the back that it was just such a good idea. Ididn't want to didn't, want to lose it. That's awesome a so! Then you M in terms of the measurements aside from the guide or the theplaybook tha. U Put together. Did you have a name for it? was there a namefor the canual t e edition of the College Probinder? It was just collegepro Manuel College, Roman, the other name could have been the Bible. Theithat was a bit bi t too much re, so the college pro guide the Guide Book.What other things did you put in place to make sure that that was beingfollowed like what systems or habits? Did you put in place to make sure thatthis was going to be done? proberly? Well, I've always she usually believed.In that phrase I got from somebody it can't manage, which you can't measure.So I tried to put in measures for everything we had. I excellent measuresfor for the sales as as as we've discussed, sales is one thing that canbe very much measured, not just the outcome to Julan th sale, but all theCPS, an undicators that lead up to that. So whe measured the heck out of that.But the other challenge thing was to measure production and you had tomeasure quality the quality of really all the all the value of propositions.Are we living our value propoision with the manager? Do you have one way ofdoing that e living with a customer are living with the painter, so we put indifferent ways. Sometimes, surveys sometimes thought soft things like wewould have. I would have as I travel across the country, I would have thingscalled Franchisee Advisory Councils, where some have a townhall meeting,basically painter advisory councils and I'd meet Y with customers. So it'salways that constant radar sweep both sometimes with Quat stative measureslike surveys and Qu, also quality of measures like in person, meetings totry and H and find out how to improve. So you collected the figured of thedata that was most important at your capeys and then how regularly did youreview that data? While for sales it was, and it was every every week Ithink, as F as we've gotten into things...

...like Internet and social media,probably it every day, fom them someong them now, and pros and cons ofmeasuring that every week. Well, the I find the weak is a very good cadencefor most most business measures. 'cause then you sit down on th Sunday andyou're playing your next week. How can we do better and if you let it go uptoo much longer than that, a problem start to be feel insurmountable, andyou can't especially when it's a twenty week summer for the College, Pro Itas,very, very tight. If you're behind by the end of June, you were, you were introuble. The other reason that we measured and published it so that t alltheir peers could see. On the one hand, it's it's spurred competition, whichcan be a good thing. It also also inspired sharing. They would see thatsomebody else not too far away from he geographi Ye had a very high closingratio, so they would get in touch with them. There were lots of events wheremanagers got together and had drinks or whatever and charred stories and you'dsee those two. You Know Guy Hr guy, an a gall sort of start chatting over wellhow d? How do you do that and then they're they're picking up stuff, oftenthe stuff- that's already in the manual, but it hasn't it hasn't clicked forthem. But when amanual sells you one thing its fine when the boss Sels itone thing: it's okay, but when a peer tells you that you go uand when you seehis working right, that's always better feedback. That's working! I see someoneelse doing it. This means that I will make more money or ret more time orwhatever rig t to start using it, something that stood out. So my wife isa college pro alumni and has amazing things to say about our experiencethere, something that stood out from her days there that I've adopted insome of my own businesses the opportunity to make customersreally happy, and so you'll have to correct me if this is not the right waythat you did it, but it was something like every single hustomer. When youwere done, you would ask them on a scale from one to tend. How did I do anything less than atten was a fail, anit was. How do I make it right, an some cases that meant literally you know sothings would come up. Tha customers wouldn't normally share so he'd say youknow you did an amazing job. You delivered on what he promised, but couple of the crew stepped on my wifflowers in the back and so she's. A little upset about that. So she'd runto the flower shop, bring them new flowers plant all new flowers in thatgarden bed and those people became really really happy so Mi, I MiG your your wife sounds over the topsteller. I love that that wasn't in the place. Well, it was but also Yo lsgotgot got to watch it right. 'CAUSE 'cause, I I would say to my t to our in our training sessions thatthe customer's not always right the contract is what's right. That's thedeal you stick to the L, 'cause there's some questoms! Well, ask you to dostuff about and beyond. So don't think that, because you know, college fosoreputation going Bove, nd beyound that you have to do that if you do it foryour own free choice, as your wife seemed to do great, and if you diddamage the flowers thand, that's 'cause inourthing, which will leave your housewhere we found it. So that's fine! I just I just I think it's just dangerouswhen people get this feeling that no matter what the customer asked,especially when you're a seventeen n eigh year old student, you think El, Igot it whatever they say. Is Right, thit's, not true. What is it h? That'sa deal! You stick to the deal and deliver t t absolute best, O your billyand then by the way, they're expectend to keep that part of the deal which isto pay youright but h. We we right, we did have we q called the business replycard and we asked people to fill it out and and send it in, and we did alsofind that think. The thing you may be saying there is that when people didrate US dowt more low and we did call them back andor they made in actual a formal complaint, if we got jumped on that andhandled it well, because we thought we should have 'cause what we had done wasnot part of the deal. We got higher end ratings from those customers and thecustomer for everything went smoothly because they're just not used to thatin the service business yeah so going above and beyond you'd Ofen get betterraving fans, people that are actually going to tell a story about right. Yeah,that's great! So you touched on it a little bit, but I want to revisit it.So what ended up happening with college pro? I sold it in nineteen and eightynine...

...and I would say the main reason reflectingback on it, was that you know we talked about the growth curve and we expanded.You know first across Cana and they started expaning across th UnitedStates, and I would find that, as I went to a new area, I was realy justrepeating when I h'd done the time before B, which was fine its just good,but it m it wasn't as nothing's, quite as exciting as yourfirst time you go to that door and knock on the door, it it wasn't as muchsquingy tos anymore. The second thing that was happening is I'm now thirty,seven years old, I'm going to managers weekends, which were key parts of ourof our of our culture and I'm thirty. Seven, I've got a wife and four kids,and these managers are still twenty years old and they have much differentthoughts on their mind is what makes fer fun weekend, and I just felt thatthat gap growing o felt it was time to move on and try something else, but itwas very hard to to leave it 'cause. It had been in my blood for well, since Iwas seventeen yeah Um. Do you think, there's opportunities for businesseslike this nowadays to leverage you know, students who want to be entrepronrs tocreate student businesses? Well, it's interesting because I just three orfour people, wh in your class came out to me afterwards and told me some ofthe IDs that were working on and some of them involved students. So I thinkthe answer is absolutely yes. I think that the the products will besignificantly different. I I think the H there'll be some of those classickind of service things, but so man, so many more of them, have to do withsomebody. The technical services that can be can be done and students are right in theright place to do that. So I believe so yes, but I think that theproviding of physical services l probably be less uh e. Last few things I want to touchon before we wrap up M we're speaking about habits earlier and settingpriorities, and I it occurred to me that in our conversations you do thatreally. Well, you have your own process for figuring out, what's important andthen putting time against those things. Would you min saring like what do youdo? How do you evaluate or decide what's important and then how do youactually act on those glad to sure- and I also say t at I did attend the lastpart of your class in that your whole lecture on that war? Superb, my! Iguess I think it's Supperbe, because mine similar, but I I have developed aa habit of I do se annual goals a classic years resolution, but I do withHem in in the I have sort of three main. I call them the three PS of my life.What number one is people number two is my profession and number three ispersonal development and there's sort of subsets onlos. I won't go throughthose, but I set sort o a year end where I'm at and all those things. Whatdo I what I want to do over the year, but I always find those yearly targetsthey're so far away and any week to week you know okay, I got next week todo it. The CL the real thing that makes it work, as you pointed out in theclass todays. What are you going to do next week, so every Sunday idealy I Isit down and- and I would set out what things R I going to try to get donethis week to move that Gol just move the yard six a little bit, maybe e justone of the goals- and I do I do you know sort of track daily on the on thetop thm. It sounds all sort of mechanistic and boy, it's all sort oforganized and programmed and there's a little bit, there's a habit beneaththat. But what, at the end of the day, what you want that Habeit to do is tochange your behavior in a way that moves you towards a goal that mattersyou. I love that that Formu that you put up today. It was priorities plushabits, equal success, right and I think that's a very good formula. Yeahthink trying to figure out what those priorities are is challenging. You know,even for me from time to time. How did you get down to those three? The worldrepeace and SOS so three piece of read the buckets right. They are' thepriorities of what you said underneath them so how to come to three. I guess you usedyou had a wheel with seven things on it and I've looked at all those kinds ofthings and over the time, I've just known that simplicity is better. I itthree is you know some people speakers say: Is he magic number? I like that. Ican keep three things in my mind. If...

...you can't think about your prioritieswhen you're driving your car down the highway, there are priorities becausecause there's too many of them, so that gives me three buckets and then a eachone. I have sort of h three sort of subsets, so sort of it sort of works Umbut you're absolutely wi your priorities, the buckets will probablysay the same, but your priorities in each one will change certainly year byyear, and so it makes doing this sort of annual check in soget. What isimportant under people to me this year? Obviously, the year you get married,the wife goes right to the top of the list. There, because is the person youspend the most time with and have the most impact on your happiness when kidscome along the same thing and I have six kids so there's a lot ofprioritizing that happens there and uh, maybe as a transition to what you'reworking on now. What are your priorities nowadays? What are you up to?What do you focused on so th there'd? Be Priorities under people would be wife,you know kids and friends, but under under profession. It's now bifurcatedhas for about fifteen years. I have the four profit side and the not forprophesied on the fore profit side. I have six entreperal companies with whom I doadvisory services and generally th. The role I'm doing is set up set up forthem an advisory board, and I usually chair the board. Then I meet on theMONTS IN BETWEEN WITH THE CE O. So, and really, if you put an umbrella over thewhole thing, the real goal is to help them set their strategic goals and thenhit a easy words to say, but as as you know, ridiculous you hard to do becausethe day aft just set isgplan is Peter dracker said it's out a date so, as hesaid, and I agree with them, totally, business plans are useless, butbusiness planning is essential, but what makes business make at work is tefollow up and that's what I see the role of the board, his o helped themfollow up in what they said. They were going to do n, the philanthropic site,which is hugely rewarding, as I tried to say to your class today at thisstage, if my life, you take all those skills that you learned and I'mcontinued to learn, as I learned in your class today, take all those skillsthat you're you've been blessed with and worked on and you're. Turning intowards things which will help improve H, you know that classic line Wel Ileave the world a little better. You know because I because I lived and I'mtrying to take all those skills that I've that I've brought andto to helpsome organizations that most of the areas I've worked on has been trying tohelp break the cycle of poverty Um, because if, if becs a society does notmaximize its value, if it doesn't get the value for all its citizens, I meanthe classic case was for years, women weren't able to intribute socize sothat increased our society by fifty percent when that came in ties also,but twenty percent of people whaare in poverty, if if they can get a bettercrack, get you their potential that will raise the whole society and themthemselves, and so that's where I've dedicated h. Since I started workingwhen I sold my adventure capital company, two thousand and six sincethat time, I've I've, probably like half my weekend. Philanthropic ventures-that's great, so this will eventually be listenied to by tens of thousands ofpeople there. Anything that you want to hand with today or working on or peoplecan help you with. Ah, good question: Um, the biggest of philanthropic venturethat I'm working on now is an organization called trails for youth.It's just north of Toronto, and I love it because just just to give TLEbackground, I I've also worked. I I was chairman of the Christian ResourteCenter Downtown Tronto for years, which works with people who are in povertyand is really just trying to help make their life a little better, but you'renot really going to break the cycle there. My daughter Tara does tremendousjob with with an organzation called building up, which is helping peoplewho have run to real problems. Either d addiction problems, criminal problems,Maso health problems, but they o in the sort of twenties. The forties thet wantto turn their life around and help hem get and keep a job which is fantasticwork. I tried it that CR C was not successful. Trails is working with kids,twelve to sixteen from some of the difficult areas of trial and helpingthem by taking them out to t the site...

...and they're stoe vill for one weekend amonth and then two weeks in the summer to help them develop the skills andconfidence to become you know, contributing members to society. Sothat to me is very rewarding work ecause. It helps break that cycle rightat the very beginning and it's a fantastic organization and th andthey've had five hundred graduates, an all of whom have become contrivutingmembores of socety and abot. Seventy percent goon to university. So that'svery rewarding work. So the e S. anyone who is attracted t a that kind of work.Give me a call. That's amazing, well, Greg! I think you've been incrediblygenerous with your time, visiting my class and being on the podgest and UH. You know at the survice I it seemedlike your legacy was going to be college pro. You know employingthousands of students over time and really giving them a foundation thatcan allow them to go on and be very successful in business. But I'm seeinghat there's a whole different layer. You know this is like the second orthird chapter of your life and it feels like your legacy might actually be notcollege grow. I might be something on the on the nonprofit on the charity oron the giving backs well Thani enjoying that and I enjoyed being here today.'cause was learning for me too one of the most satisfying things to me. Tothis day, is you anwell, like hearing the story of your wife wh when acollege from manager, a college, Rol pater, comes to me and said. I learneda lot from that. If you want to go wild and crazy help transform my lifebecause transforming lives is, is changing, lives, helping lives, helppeople pprove their lives where it's all about e Collgepro was a big waydoing it in for profit world. An venture capial is a good way to doingit. I an also in the for profit world philanthropy if and I've MEA number ofthe trails graduates when you see them and see how they've transformed theirlives- and you had a tiny bit to do with that. That is. That's got to bethe most gratifying thing, as I did refer to the Clay Christienson you to clip the prof from HerrdBusiness Review and he does say at the end of the life and they it won't beOhio, Climbdtin Organization, how much money you made those those are fine hat.It will be how many lives you touched and improved. It will be what youreally feels good to you, and so that's I like t watching that video 'cause. Iagree and you've got a group of at least the alumni that I know the two orthree people in my wife's cort when she did college pro attribute a lot ofwhether out today to the experience. Hiy have a college pro, so that feelsgood yeah. Thank you may come and n appreciate T WELCOM you've beenlistening to the Iviongmen or potcast to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player, or visit ivydot ca forward, slash entremrenorship! Thank you so much for listening untilnext time.

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