Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever wondered how some of the most notable names in business grew and scaled their companies? Today I'm excited to welcome Brandon Dawson, CEO, and Co-founder of Cardone Ventures to the show. Brandon is a business scaling, turnaround expert, and leadership mentor who helps business owners and their teams achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals through their business growth.
Brandon founded his first business, Sonus Hearing, at 26 and was one of the youngest to ring the bell on the American Stock Exchange. With zero debt and no outside capital, he founded and self-funded Audigy Group, growing annual revenue to over $35 million through organic growth. He exited the company at 77X EBITDA for $151 million. Today as CEO and Co-founder of Cardone Ventures, Brandon coaches Cardone Ventures's clients using his proven leadership and business strategies as the foundation for strategic growth, empowering them to follow in his footsteps and to create their own legacies.
Understanding Your Value Proposition
Business owners need to understand that the impact of what they do is more important than the physical thing they're doing. You will close sales when you focus on the effects of what you do, not just your physical product. When someone wants something badly enough, they will pay any price for it.
Q: What is the impact of your product? What do you think is the most significant selling point? How could you utilize that selling point more effectively? How can you help your team understand the impact of your product as they seek to sell units and support your customers?
Working On vs. In Your Business
I was part of a study that evaluated what caused businesses to succeed or fail. There are specific breakpoints in business. We identified at each breakpoint what elements caused businesses to thrive or regress to an earlier breakpoint. Most businesses stay small because they struggle to scale. It's easy to hire a few friends. But when you hire 30, 50, or 100 people, it gets difficult to maintain control and evaluate the effectiveness of each employee.
Business owners have to understand that you can only get so big working by yourself. When you start, what you do has to work, but at the next breakpoint, it's about who you're doing it with, and at the next breakpoint, it's how you are doing it. Most businesses can get the thing they do to work. However, moving to the next level requires the resilience to move from "me" leadership to "we" leadership to "us" leadership. At that final breakpoint, you need to have a leader, manager, and builder, and those are three different people. Failing to make necessary changes and structure your business for success will limit you.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing your team/business? Are you growing beyond your current structure? Why or why not? How can you shift from "me" leadership to "we" leadership?
My first company was private equity backed, but when you're raising money with 3rd party businesses or other people, you have to listen to what they say and give them some control over your product and company.
Successful entrepreneurs must promote their businesses and learn how to be the number one promoter in their business. If you build your business correctly, you will not need to use anyone else's money. In my second business, I equitized and used my customers and employees as my shareholders and investors. If your vision and success are big enough, you make room for other people to succeed inside of your success.
Q: Have you ever worked for a company where you had shares or input into the decisions? How did it affect your feelings toward the company? How did it affect your work ethic? What else can companies do to utilize their customers as equity builders?
Collaboration Leads to Success
Don't talk to anyone who hasn't already done what you're trying to do about how to run your business. They may accidentally send you in the wrong direction. Collaboration is a more important currency than the revenue you collect because who you know will accelerate you more than anything else. The faster you can convert your thinking from how other people will help you succeed to making their success their focus, the quicker you will surround yourself with higher quality, more ambitious, more inspired people to work with.
How do you respond when someone asks what you do? How can you strengthen your pitch based on what Brandon said about sharing the value of what you do? If you need help putting this into words, think about the problem you are solving rather than the product you are selling.
If you are an entrepreneur, consider how your business is funded. What would it look like to give your employees a share in your company? How would it impact worker productivity? Depending on the size of your business, consider an employee stock ownership plan, worker cooperative, or employee ownership trust. Consider the pros and cons and seek professional help to ensure you meet eligibility standards and are prepared for this change.
Who are you currently collaborating with from a business standpoint? Do you have anyone in your life who has achieved the level of success you want to achieve? Consider these questions and come up with five people you might be able to have a mutual relationship with that would help get you to the next level. Next to their name, write how you can help them and how they can help you.
Connect with Brandon