Wealth Tactic Rebels
WTR Entrepreneur Interview: Rob Braiman; Transform, Save & Empower Your Business
May 29, 2019 · 41 min
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Entrepreneurship can take a special kind of crazy. However, every entrepreneur must run their business, not just work in it. There are many obstacles along the path, whether just starting out or a more seasoned business. Sometime, if these obstacles are not handled well, they can be a factor in going out of business. Enter Rob Braiman of Cogent Analytics. He has made it his life’s mission to save every business he can; one at a time. Listen in as he shares his knowledge about what to look out for and how to more effectively manage your business. We talk about profitability strategies, steps and what to be aware of to start a business, 4 landmines to avoid, going into business for profit vs. value, resistance to change as well as 2 Value Bombs and more. Rob will also share a special offer just for listeners of this podcast. Don’t miss this opportunity to Transform, Save and Empower Your Business.

Rob Braiman
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[0:00] Wealth Tactic Rebels,
ingenious tactics to accumulate wealth for people who see things differently.
[0:14] Welcome to another episode of Wealth Tactic Rebels, the podcast for people who see things differently.
I'm your host Kevin Dumont and I've been thinking differently in the wealth field for well over 10 years. Today I joined by a guest Rob Braiman.
[0:35] Rob how are you today.
I'm great, Kevin, thanks for having me on the show today. Awesome. Well thank you for being here. Really appreciate it. I'm sure we have a great podcasts in store today with some great value or a listeners.
Now Rob is what we call a Serial entrepreneur,
and he's a senior partner at Cogent Analytics, is a father of 2, and a husband for 24 + years.
been representing clients for almost Seventeen, and is what you'd call a very passionate person about helping privately-held businesses achieve
new levels of success through improved operational improbability strategies.
I would love to give you more details on Rob but, really Rob I think you're the expert on you so I'll let you take it away.
Thanks Kevin and your intro makes me sound way more impressive than I than I think I am but thank you for that. You're welcome.
So, so if I were to do the history of Rob Raymond, I started,
I lost my father young so I went through kind of a trial tribulation period, from the age of 15. Made it through high school, going to college and ended up joining the military and I had the privilege of serving,
I wish Special Operations Command, I was specifically with 1st Battalion 5th Special Forces Group,
which really created a foundation for much about the way I look at life.
[1:59] When I got out of the military did what most normal people do when they get out I have my first j.o.b.,
and by the time I was I think 26, 27 years old I had my first position of equity that.
[2:12] If somebody offered me to help them come run their company after that I ended up with a A partnership that my partner and I built three different organizations together over a. Of about a decade.
[2:25] We had the the joy of selling one and then I liquidated to him about a year after that.
[2:32] I was about to jump in and do it a 4th time and I woke up at 3 in the morning told my wife I think I'm going to I got the funding from the bank
and told her I had never had never going to happen had a an actual work for somebody else position for a very long time and.
[2:49] Don't ask me why but I interviewed for some jobs and I ended up becoming a business analyst working for another firm.
[2:56] And was quickly one of the top four, five people in that firm for for the next 11 years of my life representing small business owners all over the country.
[3:06] I've actually running to run a discovery what we refer to as a discovery and the 48 contiguous states in America.
So do not. I got to see this beautiful country in all shapes forms and and Fashions and got to meet some amazing.
Entrepreneurs across the country that have shared values and shared Spirit about you know building companies taking care of employees going to market the right way trying to build.
And I always refer to a company as a wealth creation vehicle for the entrepreneur just so long as it's not about greed and sacrificing value most entrepreneurs don't do not look at their business that way but we'll get into that I'm sure later in the show.
Separated with that company in 2013 I had I had a private entity that.
It really was just a vehicle for me to help clients separately since 2005 and and I turn brown and Associates for all intents and purposes into cogent analytics in 2014.
And I just didn't I could not share the value of the firm I was working for in my mind it was more about the build our than it was about.
Taking care of the client taking care of the entrepreneur and making a difference.
Right at about a 140 in that five-year. We have made the ink 501 once.
[4:31] In our third year our fourth year we were in the 5,000 and last year.
[4:38] If I want to be very careful about how I say this I can do math and it is a gross metric.
I'm fairly confident that we will have the privilege of being awarded that Inc 5000 standard 3 years in a row.
And that we're off to a famous start this year. We do we do business in 22 States and are just very carefully growing to plan
across the country. we expect it will be in all 50 states by the end of 2022. Excellent. That's good to hear. Easy mission when you're passionate about it.
It is. Right. Right and it gives you you've got some great experiences and doing this to. You know I had an opportunity once, we work out of Manhattan,
and I had an opportunity with a job,
that afforded me the ability to go around all of Manhattan see all the sights. I didn't grow up in Manhattan so to me this with a treat. When it's when you get an opportunity with a career that
[5:37] You can go around had so many great experiences it's a really a blessing.
Definitely rounded me out as a human being you know. Sure. This country in all of its in all of its joy and I mean just from the Landscapes at the Landscaping people American.
You know that's the thing that makes us as a country fantastic is a shared value from border to border. Yah. And for me it's always been about the entrepreneur you know that.
That unique,
[6:09] frame of mind. That, that person that is willing to put it at risk. To build something that in their mind is there future their families something special.
[6:20] There's a special kind of crazy that goes along with being an entrepreneur. Haha. I agree with that! It's a special kind of crazy. Special kind of crazy.
[6:30] So Rob, let's move along here, can you share with our listeners,
[6:37] what steps would they need to take to start a business and become an entrepreneur.
[6:43] So I apologize for the long struggle little bit about where to start this but let me see if I can Jump Right In,
one of the one of the most important things in starting a business and I will tell you from the 4 occasions that I have done this exercise.
That the more I did it the better I got at the planning stage, both from a fiscal responsibility basis, and keep in mind Kevin, that
8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 5 years,
is that by year 10 only one of the remaining two are still standing.
Right. So I'll give you an even crazier statistic, of the one that is left standing at the 10-year mark,
[7:29] less than 30% of those companies ever make it Beyond $5,000,000. Right. That's a shame when you think about that.
You know that somebody's life there's a lot of families attached that's what I what I like to do is give really straightforward Good Counsel which is really good planning.
[7:46] Fiscal planning not just operations, not "hey I can go get work." But how much is it really going to cost me not to buy the equipment or open the doors,
how much sustainable Capital my going to need to the point in which I'm actually breaking even which is where I think most people go wrong,
they, they open the door and they've got enough to cover the cost of opening door and they think, kind of like the Field of Dreams, Kevin, you know you, build it and they will come. Right. Short of a couple of great victories that you can,
you can point to on the map usually that's not true true takes time to develop a probability,
no question will you be profitable from day one.
[8:32] Depending on your markets going to be very careful on how I respond to this by in a large you should have a 1 year 3 year 5 year.
And most people go into business not because they're great business owners they go into business cuz they're great technicians they have fear that part they have honorable value structured their great people.
Business background near learning the business of the business those behaviors are not.
Are not usually part of the entrepreneurial store in don't get me wrong there are some that are but on the main for a guy's been representing clients in a 16 and a half almost 17 years when I normally see.
Are family-owned businesses where it's a Tradesman or a technician or somebody in a in a skill set that said I think I can and that I think I can is the spirit that is that special kind of crazy,
learning the business for the business and we break it down into the profit platform.
[9:30] Show the problem platform really is Outline by Business Development.
Organizational Engineering, Process engineering and kpi or financial measurement so,
pic of operational measurements are key indicators in your business that tell you how the Health and Welfare of your business is financial statement or balance sheet and then operational measurements and those are really key.
To drive Behavior with the people you hire and the processes you put in place so loosely termed we sell it.
We hire the people to be able to either sell it or manage it we are,
process driven or proceduraly driven in a company and then we have to manage that behavior to clearly defined measurement to ensure that our people are producing a profitable project and I always say,
if you bet it in a dollar and it cost you a dollar 2 to do the work when you sell $10.
[10:26] You can imagine your $0.20 light you how you send that you sell $100,000 worth at night or two thousand light that's how businesses go broke because I don't manage,
either side of that stick either the performance of the people process or procedure put in place and how do they measure during the game and always equated to a football game you know if you get to the end of the game,
and in a football season you got 16 dance with the third game of the season,
you get this guy running down the sideline with a little envelope in his hand that tells you whether you made or lost money two games ago.
Likelihood is you're not going to win a whole lot of games during the year unless you're lucky just to later that point,
Define a little bit in a in a metaphoric sent.
[11:17] You speak of starting how about what should our listeners one businessman sells what should they be aware of in their first year what what should I be looking for.
So let's get back to strategic planning and the profit platform really the vision for kind of I took very complex business principles and I just filled them down into.
[11:38] Clearly defined pillars of business that people could embrace. Now each pillar,
when we think about business development or in a business development isn't just sales business development is both sales and marketing so if you think about fails.
[11:55] Cells has 15 or 20 different bullet points in it that would require a business owners attention so what kind of CRM am I going to use,
who am I going to hire how many touches per day what is my market segmentation have I done a competitive analysis have I done a market analysis.
So when you say what should an entrepreneur concentrate on when they first get started,
you have to think about getting the doors open first. Right. So you have facilities and asset expense,
you may be opening the door with yourself and a partner or yourself and a couple of employees the most business owners don't start out with an employee so usually start out with themselves in one,
themselves into seeing your strategic plan know your Market know that you have a marketable product know that your competitors,
cuz you don't always want to be the cheapest guy in the marketplace you want to be a fairly marketing your product,
compared to your competition so if you're $10 cheaper than everybody else you're leaving profit on the table if you're $10 more expensive than everybody else then you probably won't get as much work as the other guy,
so knowing what your true costs are knowing that your bidding and covering your overhead,
and knowing that you're capturing work that you can perform is based on cost management.
[13:17] So not just Revenue management but cost management I was told business owners what's it down.
Use a pencil not a pain and less defined what are true costs of opening the doors are going to be first that's going to be our first capital,
and the next exercise is sustainability. How am I going to go to market, how am I going to sell that product how, am I going to price that product,
and how do I know that I will turn a profit which is when I said to you can turn up profit in month 1,
it takes a finite exercise of ensuring it's going to happen. That's an engineered profit. Right. It is most likely that you can make a profit on goods sold but the overall business may not yet be profitable,
or 3 months 6 months 9 months 12, so you have to prepare for that shortfall in cash-flow. Right, right, that makes sense.
I didn't mean to geek out on you by the way I can quickly jump up on my soapbox and go through a geek out session.
Nah a little geeking out is, I think, a good thing. Yah, I like it. Yah. Yah. Nothing wrong with that.
Can you talk about, when anyone's starting a business, obviously there's going to be issues that are going to come up, can you talk about some land mines that come up?
So I always like to start with the people pillar, when I think about somebody going into business.
[14:39] I've seen so many cases over the course of my career we're two good friends go into business,
and at the end of the year they're not friends anymore right so when you are going into business landmines outside of the monetary issues that we talked about is really having clearly defined communication.
[14:58] Define roles and responsibilities, and I am talking about something more than a job description. You not its funny, everybody says, "Oh, well I need my employees have job descriptions." Of which of course
as an analyst I'm going to agree with but my view of a comprehensive performance-based job description
means that there's a clear communication, there's a clear measurement process,
the employee that you're hiding knows how they're compensated and that compensation is tied to a measurable,
that the employee can take ownership of a lot of times we put unrealistic measurements in place
which de-motivates as opposed to motivates. So there has to be clearly defined responsibilities and measurement
and I'm a I'm a big proponent of performance-based compensation you know the more you can get your employees vested,
and what you're doing why it's important, whether you're talkin' about tool cost or manufacturing cost for transportation costs,
the morning employee believes that they're participating in the benefit of the company.
As opposed to the company being the only one that benefits the more likely you are to be able to get better performance out of that salad that individual that is engendered into,
your vision and their own personal gain now.
[16:17] Keep in mind when I say employees are motivated by four fundamental things and comp is the last one number one is esteem value
so being recognized knowing especially in people use the word Millennial is like a four-letter word nowadays so I don't believe that I beg Millennials are great I think they should have shared values and it's a generational difference,
but people talk about Millennials having the propensity to job hop and I would say,
it's the environment you're creating more than it's their fault so in leadership.
When you hire somebody and you bring them in the organization clearly defined communication expectations,
brings people in an organic environment to want to and embrace the mission revision of the company people want to be successful just as a human nature
that makes sense absolutely for failures that I just pointed out in that very long answer to a short question.
[17:14] But hopefully your listeners are scribbling fevers Lees Summit to.
I love you thanks.
I don't want to sound pretentious I'm just wanted it'll I've spent my life saving businesses I feel like don't the last 16-17 years of my life has been all about.
People back from the brink my favorite clients were up and running but they're just under-performing you know they're making for 5% net profit which is just enough by the way,
to cover their obligations to the bank cover their obligations to tax and if they're growing a little bit that the company is going to eat up that cash flow typically what a business owners making is their paycheck,
instead of instead of the business being able to create.
[18:10] Not just their paycheck but be able to contribute to long-term life-strategy. Yah. I see that a lot I see businesses under-perform. You know, one of the key questions I ask clients is,
what is your plan for distributions and we're talking about an S corp or LLC.
And it's amazingly 90% of clients,
do not attribute distributions as part of their own learning portfolio especially when they're in business five years unless.
[18:39] You know the ideas I'm going to open a business I'm going to make profit when I get to keep that profit rarely is that true,
you open a business and then you reinvest back in your business should buying equipment or hire...

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