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Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO of Srilo Capital | 4x Inc. 500 Entrepreneur with 5 Exits in 19 years
Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO of Srilo Capital | 4x Inc. 500 Entrepreneur with 5 Exits in 19 years
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Sharran is a serial entrepreneur, sought after keynote speaker, and a respected thought-leadership resource for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, SUCCESS magazine, Huffington Post and Forbes.
While Sharran has had 5 exits in the last 19 years, and also a several humbling failed investments and business initiatives. He talks all about them on his top-rated Spotify podcast, Business School.
Most recently, Sharran led Teles Properties’ unprecedented 10x growth over 5 years and a 4-year consecutive streak on the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies list resulting in its acquisition by national real estate powerhouse Douglas Elliman.
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00:00 — Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO of Srilo Capital
01:51 — Why is more pressure, sometimes a good thing?
07:21 — Imigrant to entrepreneur.
25:27 — Sharran’s growth playbook.
28:00 — The importance of accountability.
37:09 — How to find the right mentors.
Read The Transcription (Machine Generated)
Scott: .Thanks again for joining me today, I am sitting down with Sharran stuff. Who is the CEO of Kingston lane. Very excited to be sitting down with Sean. He is a serial entrepreneur. He is a global sought after keynote speaker and incredible thought leader. He writes and contributes for wall street journal success.
I saw a piece on entrepreneur Huffington post Forbes. He has had. Six exits in the last 19 years, which is absolutely insane. He has a top rated Spotify podcast called the business school. I have to shout that out. He’s done so much over his career. We’ll go into all the things that he’s worked on in the past and what he’s working on now.
And we’ll also speak about where he came from. He speaks a lot about his background and the struggles that he went through to, to get to where he is today. So really appreciate you sitting down really excited to chat and hear your story and just give some insight and some value from somebody who’s done so much.
So thank you.
Sharran: Hey Scott. Thanks for having me. A lot of people don’t realize that this stuff takes a while, right? So even off camera or. This is not all of this is not easy to do. And the very fact that you’re putting all this together sharing so freely helping people that don’t. Have a chance to get access to folks in giving them their message distilled down is super powerful.
So a lot of, a lot of kudos to you for one for having me on, but more for a you putting this out and doing all the hard work to get a great message out to people. So thank you for doing that.
Scott: No, my pleasure, man. My pleasure, but yeah, let’s, let’s you know, you, you do this two of you, you give out knowledge, you work with entrepreneurs, you work with CEOs, work with all these people.
So also don’t, don’t sell yourself short. So, so walk me through man. What’s, what’s your story? How did you get to where you are today? Yeah,
Sharran: so you know, I, I am the, you know, the people always say this, right? They say, Hey, if I can do it, you can do it too. And they’re they literally could not be anything more untrue.
Everyone’s like, if, cause how often have we heard something like, Oh, if I can do it, you can do it too. If that was really true, then everybody could do what everybody else could do. So let’s use that as the starting point. And let’s actually talk about that. I’ll come back to that in a second. So. I was, I was born at, in India, very mediocre, everything, a mediocre living, mediocre, everything, Yorker financial situation.
But the one thing that was extraordinary in my life was my parents. Two amazing parents. They’ve always always had my best interest at heart. They would go above and beyond to do everything for me. And they didn’t know early on that I was struggling in school. I I, you know, talk about being the underdog.
I am colorblind, which doesn’t matter for a lot of people. So, but I got kicked out of our class. I’m told that I got kicked out of music class. I was the one of the smallest kids growing up. So I was the last to get picked on. What sports I had symptoms of add ADHD dyslexia. So I wasn’t really good in the classroom.
So you can’t hang out with the artsy folks. You can’t hang out with the music folks. You can’t hang out with the jocks. You can’t hang out with the nerds, right. So literally you can’t hang out with anybody. And after a while, yeah. That what that, what happens because of that is you get bullied. And because you are the easy pickup or anybody to bully you.
And I didn’t know any different. I just thought getting beaten by the lockers was a very normal thing. And Scott, there was a time when I remember we’re just walking from a hundred feet from one car or do the other, I would actually walk around the entire school, just so between the one classroom, the other was our lockers and I wouldn’t, I didn’t want to get beaten.
So I would literally run. You know, close to a third of a mile around the school to go to the other classroom, just because I would get away, get away from the lockers. And my parents knew that something was up and they realized that they didn’t know how to talk to me about it. And I did not how to talk to them about it.
And I still remember this day, it was like my 10th or 11th birthday. I was sitting in a park bench and my dad told me this, you think about, or you’re 10 years old. And your dad says to you. Hey, Sharran, we want to give you a bigger and better future. That was his favorite board, a bigger and better future.
And for the person listening, I will tell you, ask yourself this question, like what is a bigger and better future? And my parents had never left the left India or anything like that. And they said, Hey, there is probably a better cultural system. Yeah. There may be in the U S and the UK, Australia, New Zealand, right.
Wherever that MI you know, you may succeed in, so we need to find you a capability, a passport out of here. And so that’s when I was sitting, we were sitting in front of two tennis courts. My dad was like, Hey, if you can play tennis, that may be an individual skill that can get you out. So we agreed that day on a whim.
I never hit a tennis ball before we agreed that day that I would put all my efforts into that. And academics would be secondary. And so for the next six years, all we did was focus on tennis. I got pretty decent at it that got me out of India and to the U S and the interesting part there is my parents sold.
Every single thing that they had when I say every single thing, I mean, every single thing, my dad had a little motorcycle than India, like a little more. That was the only method of disputation. My dad sold his motorcycle to get me a plane ticket, to come to the U S he sold him every single thing. And so they sent me to the U S with one year’s worth of expenses and And and a blessing to say like, Hey, go, you got one year’s worth of you know, safety net go make the next three years of college around on you.
If you can’t make it come back. And that was the beginning of you know, my, my, my journey.
Scott: That’s a, that’s a, that’s a scary, scary amount of pressure. I young kid, so you come over how does tennis workout? How does college workout? Walk me through walk me through that journey because I know it wasn’t so easy.
Becoming a pro athlete is not so easy.
Sharran: Yeah. So, so there’s two stories that are, that are super interesting. And, and I’ll tell you this, this goes back to kind of the, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I don’t think that’s true. Let’s if we nail that down. Just because Scott can do it doesn’t mean anyone can do it just because Sean can do it.
Doesn’t mean anyone can do it. What is true is if Sharran can do it, what was the support system that Sean had to be able to do that if Scott could do it, what was the support system that he had to be able to do that it’s not that I’m trying to emulate and model Scott or Toronto, I’m trying to emulate and model their support systems because if you were the underdog, if I was the underdog.
There’s a good chance that we could not do it on our own. That’s what people need to know. Right? If you are not the underdog, if you were a super smart kid, like Elon Musk you’ll need that support system, you’re just crazy smart and you figure it out out, and you’re one in 50 million. Right? So I would say that the, the thing that everyone should realize from the lesson is, and everything that we’re talking about is how do you install this?
The support system that allows underdogs to succeed that underdogs. Don’t talk about that often, that that’s what we need to be modeling, not what other people are doing, but what the support systems that they have. Right. So I
Scott: love it. Yeah. I like where this conversation is going to as well. It makes a lot of sense.
It’s something we speak about a lot, but yeah.
Sharran: Yeah. So, so the, the buggy two very, very quick story. So my, my first story is that. My first day in the United States, I landed in Chicago. I had, this was pre before, before cell phones and all of that interesting stuff. I had someone was going to come pick me up.
I wait for an hour or two hours, four hours, eight hours, no one shows up. And then suddenly the pager or the public address system goes off and it’s like, Hey Sharran, true, lots of police report to a white courtesy phone. I’m like, Oh my gosh, what did I do? So I go to the courtesy phone and says, Hey, the, your ride, whoever was coming to pick you up their car broke down.
And they need you to take a bus to Moline, Illinois. And I’m like, where is Moline, Illinois? I just, I just landed here. And, and so I was like, cool, I’ll go take this bus. So I, I grabbed my one backpack that I had and I go take this bus. I get on this bus. It’s supposed to take a couple of hours, but then I realized three, four or five hours later.
It’s nighttime. I’m the last person on the bus. I’m at the bus Depot. The bus driver comes up to me and says, Hey kid, you may have gotten on the wrong bus. Where are you trying to go? And I’m like, Moline, Illinois. He says, well, we’re in lacrosse, Wisconsin. I go, where is lacrosse, Wisconsin, complete opposite direction.
And so I said, okay, well, how do I get there? He’s like, well, you may want to you know, lay low for the night. And then I grabbed the bus in the morning. So I grabbed my stuff, get out of the bus. And right when I get out of Scott, this guy out of nowhere jumps me with a knife. So I get mugged. On my first day in the U S I don’t have anything.
I have $127 in my pocket. And this guy mugs me and he’s like, Hey, give me all your money. And I’m like, I don’t have anything. And so he looks through my bags. I have nothing. And he’s like, you got to have some cash. And I know that I’m in a weird place right now. If I give him my money, I can’t get to school.
If I don’t give him my money, I’m gonna get hurt. So I didn’t want that to happen. So out of nowhere, this is what I did. I pulled out a a hundred dollar bill that I had, and I said to the mugger, I was like, Hey, I have a hundred dollars. I’d be happy to give this to you. It looks like you need it. But I, I don’t think your intention was to hurt me in any way.
I just got to the U S today. I need to get to school. I have no idea where I’m going. I hadn’t eaten in 12 hours. If I give you this a hundred dollars, maybe you will consider giving me 50 back. And he looks at me and he starts laughing. He’s like, well, you’re trying to negotiate. And I was like, I need some money I’m worth asking.
So I hand him the a hundred dollars. I kid you not. He opens his ratty wallet and he dishes me back 2020 and a five. He takes the a hundred bucks and he gives me back $45. That was my first day in the U S or like a negotiated with a, with a mugger. And I not looking back if that happened to me now, it’s God.
Like, I couldn’t do that, but it just so happened. Like in the moment it just don’t happen in the moment all that happened. So that happened. And then I found my way to I found my way to campus after that, but then this second thing happened so well, I get to campus. I have this check that my parents gave me for a full year’s worth of tuition.
I walked over to financial services. I hand them the check and I’m like, Hey, I’m here. I will never forget this lady. A little wine lady. She says, welcome Sharran, hands me the keys to my dorm room and says, Hey, since it’s an international check, it’s going to take 10 to 14 days to clear. I had no idea. She goes, ah, at that time, your meal plan will get activated, like, okay.
And then I realized, all right, I have no, my $45 has gone very last. I have no meal plan, so no food, but I have a place to stay. Good. Awesome. So I, my dorm room, so I go to my dorm room and then I start Scott. I started crashing every party on campus, right? Every pizza party. It’s like every Greek fraternity, you know, math club, computer science club.
I go to every pizza party, every root beer float party. And I don’t know why that’s all they had is pizza and root beer flips. That’s. I went to every pizza under a beautiful party. And after like three days, they were all done and I hadn’t eaten for like 24 hours and I was walking by a dumpster. So I see this dumpster.
I see a bunch of people drop a bunch of pizza boxes into the dumpster and I’m like, Hey, you know what? Maybe I can grab a couple of slices of pizza. So I wait for the wait, forget dark. I jumped on the dumpster. I grab a couple of slice of pizza. I run to my dorm room and I’m like, wow, that was a new low.
And my parents were not there to see that. Well, another day or two goes by, I hadn’t eaten. And I was walking by the same dumpster and I see a couple of kids throw subway sandwiches into this dumpster. Like, huh. So wait until nightfall jumping. The dumpster grabbed the subway sandwiches and then I see a box of Pop-Tarts.
I grabbed these Pop-Tarts. I had no idea what pop hearts were. I’ve been in the U S for days. And then suddenly these yellow BDI started looking at me and I get smacked on my cheek and I started bleeding and I’m like, what just happened? Well, there was a raccoon in the dumpster. Trying to like fight this box of Pop-Tarts with me.
And like, you can’t even make this stuff up because I am like ankle deep in a dumpster with beer bottles and trash and all that. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, like my fight or flight kicks in, I literally kick this raccoon. So hopefully there was no, you know, stolen, self-defense grabbed the subway sandwiches and I just run.
And I’m bleeding. So I sit down, I eat and then I go to get a tetanus shot because I at least knew that. And those were my first two days in the U S like really saying, Hey, This was a new low. And if I can get through this, I can get through anything. And I don’t think if that had happened, if the mugging incident had not happened.
And if that, you know, dumpster diving incident did not happen. And it took me 20 plus years to tell my parents that, and that became kind of the new low, because it’s from a, from an entrepreneur’s perspective, a high achievers perspective, people talk about taking risks. Right? Well, we only know the risk that to take is, is the risk of that.
We have capacity for. Well, my capacity for risk has suddenly been completely changed. Like I could take on so much more risk because I knew that I’d be okay. Most people have not been homeless or not headman, not had not, not, not had food to eat, but when, you know, you can do that, you’ve believed that you can take on more risk and not crazy risk, but you’d be like, yeah, I’ll be okay.
I can figure it out. And I think it set a new lo new floor for me of. Hey, I, I think I can take on more risk in my life and maybe because of that, I’ll get more reward. So I would challenge the audience to kind of think about a low point in their life. And the, the low point in your life is probably the floor for the amount of risk.
You’re able to take the capacity of the risk you’re able to take. And if that’s why, when tough things happen, when you are in a, in a, in a relationship breakup or a business partner breaks up a business goes under you know, your backup, your, your, your, your. You know, don’t make payroll for three months, whatever things like that happened.
That’s a low point. And that I think it also expands your capability or capacity to take on more risks. So I think those two incidents really expanded my personal capacity to take on more risks over the
Scott: years. And those are great. Those are great stories and great lessons. And I think that one other thing that you know, that you probably do now is you allow people to.
Not have to hit that floor, right. Because it’s, God forbid do not, not every entrepreneur should ever get mugged or half a site or raccoon to, to be successful. You mentioned all these things about like getting the right people and bugging the right mentorship, the right support system. And I think that a little bit of advice plus support systems can, can act as some sort of I don’t know, it seems to substitute in terms of allowing people to see what has happened to others.
Right. And that’s really where I think that probably that’s what you do now. You see you, you help people. They don’t have to get to that all time low. To, to be successful to sort of emulate that experience through your teaching and guiding and all these facets that you’ve had, like literally quite literally lived through.
That’s the way I see it. Now, as you know, you have an incredible professional career. How did that kick off? Because you, you had, you know, you had a hell of an experience as a student. But I’m assuming things hopefully got better over time. And then you had a really, really strong professional career by, by anybody’s standards.
So walk me through your professional career your exits. You building your own brand, your own name and sort of elevating yourself to smoke. Now, now you, you deal with the top, the top leadership across, you know, probably fortune 100 fortune 500
Sharran: and others, right? Yeah. Yeah. Let’s do this. This is great.
Thank you. Let’s talk about two quick stories. Right? The first one is right out of college. I was at a these map really well. I was at a computer science and math major, and I was presenting my senior paper at the university of California, Berkeley at a contest at you know, a programming contest. So I’m presenting on stage.
I get my 10 minutes of fame. I get off stage. And one of the judges pulls me aside and he says, Hey Sharran, great presentation. You’re not going to win. And I’m like, well, thanks a lot. Right. And he says, but I just funded. Two guys a few months ago to start their own company. So this was, this was 90, 1999 ish.
So this was during the technology. Boom. A lot of your friends would kind of connect with that. And they said, I funded these guys in the optical switching, optical networking space. I think what you have will round out what they’re doing. You should talk to them. And that was the thesis of my paper.
So I was like, sure, I didn’t know any different. So I talked to them and then I got a chance to join that startup very early on. I was not a founder. I was one of the earliest employees in the company. So I got a chance to get some early equity, which was which was, which was, which was great for me. And.
The, the judge of the contest who made the introduction was an angel. So he introduced me to that company. First we raised, we raised over $27 million of cap venture capital in, in in a few funding rounds. And we were then acquired by a publicly traded company. For a little over $550 million.
So now it will be awesome if I had gotten all of that, I didn’t, but I got enough to make enough to pay off all my debts enough to do everything and give me a five-year cushion to travel the world. So literally what I said was I, I’m not I’m single. I don’t, you know, I I’ve. Paid off all my debts. I’ve put, given everything back to whoever I owe now, it’s my chance to so I spent five years traveling the world, teaching tennis, which I thought was very cool.
But yeah, I was in the, I was in the Caribbean for a year in Dubai for a year and on Maui for three years. So I tried to spend my time kind of expanding my horizons, but this angel who was. At that point is kind of pulled me aside and he said, he’s like, what are you going to do with all this money? Right.
And there’s was not a lot. So he became kind of like my advisor and he so we started a small fund at that point. And we started investing in companies and real estate. And so as a 21 year old and he’s, you know, significantly older, like a father to me, he kind of learned, taught me and helped me without him.
I don’t know anything about it. And so after that he said to me, Hey, you’ve done tennis for five years. This is cool. What are you gonna do with your life? I kind of needed a job. So he said, Hey you should think about if you like business. Yeah. You should go to wall street because the fastest way to learn anything about business and structuring and deal flow is to go on wall street and you should go to one of the big banks.
I was like, how, why is someone going to hire a teaching pro at a big bank? He’s like, no, one’s going to hire you. You need to go to business school. So I actually found. The three or four business schools that had the best feeder system into wall street. And so I went to, I got my MBA at Vanderbilt, and then I got a job.
I had, I got job at Goldman Sachs. I had 39 individual one-on-one interviews to get the job at Goldman. So if people think that, Oh yeah, you just went in and you got hand, like it was I, I did over a hundred interviews and investment banking in, in a six month period. It was 39 just with Goldman. Just with one firm.
So so I spent you know, three years at Goldman and two years at credit Suisse or five years in investment banking and then the same angel. Who has started to become my partner over time, had invested in, we had invested in a small real estate company in Beverly Hills. He’s like, Hey Sharran, the next time you’re in Los Angeles, you should talk to these guys.
They’re a small real estate company. They have one office and like 30 agents. Maybe you can help them while I go visit with them. And then I realized that their original founders of that company are not getting along. Or just have different visions for the world? Well, I told my now partner, I told them, I told my angel you know, kind of advisor.
I was like, Hey, I think this is a great business. We should acquire it. And he’s like, you’re crazy. Who’s going to run it. I said, not me. He goes, if you run it, then we can acquire it together. So he and I became partners. And we, we bought this business, which had one office in Beverly Hills, 33 agents. And I didn’t have enough money to do this.
So I reverse mortgage. My house took loans from my family. Again. To buy a controlling stake in this business. At that time, my wife wa I am who I’m still married to and was pregnant with our first child too. So it was thinking a lot of risk at the same time, but we had one one office, 30 agents, and then I and Scott you’ll, you’ll appreciate this.
I was putting a plan together because I was the operator of the business down putting a plan together. And I. And we, we roughly had done the business was doing fine, but they were doing 300 million roughly in sales. So top line business figure out how all that flows together. And I was putting this model together and by mistake.
And so the 300 million, I added an extra zero, made it 3 billion. Right. And I looked at the spreadsheet and it was all black. It was all profit. It was all like the greatest spreadsheet you could ever see. And I was like, wait a minute. This is insane. Like if we had this, like, we’d have an amazing business.
So I showed him my partner. He’s like, Hey, you should present this to the book. So NATO plan to the board had said, we’re at 300 million. If we did 3 billion, duh, of course we would all make a ton of cash and this would be an amazing business
to do it. And they’re like, well, why do you only have five years to do it? I said, well, the economy generally goes in seven year cycles. W this is 2008, 2009. We are probably a year and a half in, I don’t know how long this would be. We probably need a year and a half to exit. So literally we have to do 10 X in five years.
And so the board was like, okay, well come up with a plan for it. So I came up with a plan. I didn’t know anything. I was 29 years old. I had no idea how any of this worked. I built a plan and literally a Scott. We grew from 330 agents, one office. 300 million in sales to close to 700 agents, 22 offices, 3.4 billion in sales in five years.
So we did 10 X. We did better than 10 X in five years. And then we were acquired by a publicly traded company out of New York called Douglas element, which was one of the largest real estate transactions in the country. And so it actually worked, it actually worked. So that was the end. So now the original chance meeting of a judge in the contest.
Became my advisor and business partner for the last 20 years support
Scott: system, mentor, partner, and now numb billion plus dollar exits. Yeah. Yeah, because I know, I know you speak about the, when you, when you, when you advertise. You as an individual, you going to say, I work with founders, he doesn’t want a 10 X or a hundred X.
And I feel like a lot of people even think that just like a, like a figure of speech, like I want a 10 X my business thinking like, you know, not by a factor of 10, but just significantly, but that’s, that’s a really good point. Like do the proper support now. I don’t think it’s it’s. Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, that it’s hard to replicate in every single circumstance, but you did it and you you’ve probably worked with other CEOs to do it too.
So is that, is that, you know, you exit that now, is that what you want? Cause I want to, I want to understand how you did it and I wanna understand your process and you know, at a high level, we only have a few minutes, but so, so after that, is this, when you started advising, is this one. Kingston lane came to be, is that after the real estate transaction?
Sharran: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so totally. So there’s two parts of this puzzle, right? One, well, let’s actually break down you know, kind of what is the formula for texting the business? So we’ll give it to everybody. So that’s really good, but very briefly I’ll touch on what I do now. So we. Three things.
Number one is I have active operating businesses that I run and there are across the board. Some are in the real estate business. Some are not, that’s but they’re all part of what is part two, which is my partner. And I have a fund. So we have a private fund that we invest in businesses. Some we operate some we don’t, which means they have professional operators.
And so we are investors advisors to those. And most of my time is spent either operating businesses that. We own, or that we’re investors in that’s because that way, if I, Scott, you’re one of our portfolio company CEOs, I have a vested interest in making sure that the business grows five, 10, 15 X, and you succeed.
I have a vested interest in that. Now outside of that, I probably spend a hand a little bit of time. I probably have 68 C founder CEOs at any given time. And the average business size is roughly 25 to 50 million. And the goal for that is to get them to. 250 to 500 million over three to five years. So that’s the goal.
So I never take on more than six to eight at any given time. And most of these folks, you know, it’s a it’s how do you break the grass glass ceiling of how do I get past this? So it’s, it’s a, it’s a cool, very cool relationship. All, all my mentoring relationships all have an equity stake in it, which makes sure that I’m aligned with that growth because most operators are like, Hey, I’m doing.
20 million. You get me to 200, you can gladly have the 10% because that’s what we started off in the first place. So that’s no problem at all. Now let’s talk about the formula for how you actually, you know,
Scott: the playbook,
Sharran: here’s a playbook on how you can fix something, right? So there’s a, it’s unfair to say that Oh, yeah, this will work for anything.
Right. But, but there’s a, there’s a, I call it a heuristic. There’s it’s a guideline, like go with the framework, right. Framework. There’s three parts of it. Part number one is singularity of focus. The, if you think that you can add 1700 skews, 18 business lines and all to get that result, you’re crazy. If that stuff does not work, like after you’ve achieved the 10 X, then you can add more to it.
But the what drives the bus. Is, Hey, I’m going to turn my focus to one big bone. I’m going to wake up and I’m going to knock on this big bone. I’m going to ask everybody in my organization to figure out what is this big bone that they can not, and the question becomes for them, Hey, I’m waking up in the morning.
Am I doing something that’s helping me with this big bone or it’s not? So the filter becomes very clear what everyone’s working on. Different initiatives and different divisions. Yeah, you start to have some accretive revenue on a lot of the stuff, but the singular visions never driven forward. So I’ll give you a very simple example.
When we had, we decided on our roasted businesses growth that we would drive everything by people. So it was all, it was straight up everything related to acquiring great sales talent, and that sales talent drove our business. And so everyone was like, well, yeah, we should train productive people. We should have sales skills.
And I’m like, I don’t care about any of this. Our goal is to go hire and recruit and retain the best salespeople possible. And that’s a really hard to do in a competitive environment. So our singularity of focus was if we got to. 600 plus really productive salespeople doing what they did, they would drive our business.
So that was our singularity of focus. Now, every time I did anything, my team would say, Sean, why are you driving to San Diego? Is this going to help us connect? Like they would ask me that question. So that really good team it’s really good because then I would ask them the same question. Say like, Hey, why are we, why are we spending $3 million on this advertising campaign?
Does it help us get there? Right. So the filter is really important. So number one, Singularity of focus on the problem with the singularity of focus is as an operator, you and I, I call it when you’re inside the bottle, it’s hard to read the label. You think 17 things are important, but as an advisor, when I’m looking from the outside, I can tell you 16 of those are noise.
Yes. It may drop revenue a little bit, but it’s really hard to do by yourself. Right? So that’s, so singularity focuses. Number one, number two, I call it the cadence of accountability. Accountability is, is, is an interesting concept, right? Like, Hey, if you want to. If you want to lose weight, what do you do?
Scott: You take an accountability coach.
You got to get
Sharran: that bird, every single meal that you want or that
Scott: through. Yeah, yeah,
Sharran: yeah. You need some form of accountability, right? Yeah. So I’ll tell you, I’ll actually give you the practical accountability that we had. So I was like, Hey, we need to go recruit some really bad-ass salespeople. And normally what I would say is, Hey, we’d have this chicken call every Friday to see where our recruiters were at getting these great salespeople.
And we made kind of bumping along progress. And I was like, well, this is stupid. It’s this isn’t, we’re not growing as fast as we need. So Scott does exactly what we did at nine 45. Every single morning, we had 11 local sales managers. Their job was to go recruit greeted salespeople at nine 45, every single morning, five days a week, we got on a phone call and the 11 people went an order.
It was like Jim, Jack, Scott, John, same order every single day. And they would rely to numbers. They would rely, they would say two zero one, five, eight, seven, whatever it was. Right. The first number was how many appointments did I have yesterday? And the second number was how many appointments do I have scheduled today?
So think about that for a second. I say to zero, then you go, you say three, one, and the next person goes and says zero, zero. How do you think that person feels right now? Terrible.
Scott: I’ll tell you all three of those people feel terrible because they could be moving in the opposite direction. Right. I hear what
Sharran: you’re saying.
Yeah. Nobody, what we sell is nobody that said zero, zero ever turned up the next day and had a zero, zero again. Right. Motivated. Right. And you also realize that if somebody could do it also gives you a perspective of what is possible. If someone said seven, three, I have seven appointments yesterday and three today.
That’s crazy someone that says zero nine, you know that, Hey, I was busy, whatever. And Scott, all we did was this. There was no judgment. It was you wake up nine 45 and when an order, and if someone missed the call, I pause for 10 seconds to let everybody know that that spot was not taken that day. I mean, it got very, very clear and it sounds militant, but that was the single most important thing that drove the accountability because we knew that appointments drive people.
We knew them because without meeting with people, you’re not hiring anybody. So our cadence of accountability was this 15 minute chunk that we installed in our business that literally changed the nature of our entire business. Right? So number one, singularity focus, number two, cadence of accountability.
Now in the different companies that I work with, that accountability is a different thing. It just so happens that in, in our business we’ve that was the 15 minute chunk that we came up with. Number three, a good process and good process alone drives good results. So a lot of times what we say is I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll figure it out later is what the average entrepreneur says, right?
And that’s why they, that’s why they’ll like doubling your business is actually easy. You can tighten a few screws, get a few bowls, sell a, make a bunch of extra calls you know, offer a bunch of discounts. You can double your business. But when you do that, it’s very hard to sustain a doubling because you hacked your way to doubling it.
And everything starts to break. So the one thing that we realized from a process perspective was when a new sales person came in, because we drove our business with people. Then we needed to have like a bad-ass onboarding program. And that’s all we focused on because we said if Scott comes on and he has a delightful onboarding process, He never leaves and continues to be happy producing results for us.
So I literally shut down my focus on anything as an all I worked on was how do I have the most amazing, like we brought in a consultant from four seasons and you’re is he sharp or force? He was born was Toronto. We brought in a consultant from four seasons to say, how do we design the delightful onboarding process?
And that was a process for us. So for us, it was how do we get to. You know, 600 plus people selling $3.4 billion a year. How do we do this 15 minute call every single day? And how do we have an insane onboarding process? Those three things were this very specific three things that actually drove.
Scott: I love it.
And it makes sense because now you’ve taken that you taking that mantra, that ideology, that, that, that, that one bone you have to non, and then you just, you have that one bone in each piece that will actually lead back to your main high level KPI, bone, whatever. How now I’m curious, how do you, how do you figure out what that bone is as an entrepreneur who is stuck in
Sharran: the bottle, right?
Yeah. So, so it’s a, it’s a series of questions. And then I think that’s the process. That’s a little difficult. Right? And so I’ll give you an, I’ll give you, I’ll give you an example. I was driving to a con, I drove to a conference that I went to. There was a hundred entrepreneurs invited to this conference.
I’d never had a. I was busy running, operating my business. At this time I get to this conference, I sit down, I’m put on a, put on my hoodie and sitting in the back. I’m like, Hey, I can’t believe I’m here. I committed to being here. It’s a whole day. It’s wasting my day. That’s what most entrepreneurs, when most entrepreneurs go to conferences, there’s like, I can’t believe I’m here.
Right. And I’m sitting there, it’s past lunch and I’m like, I wasted this morning. I’m here. I might as well listen, this, this five foot four lady shows up on stage. He starts talking and I’m like, Oh, I should probably pay attention. And Scott, you started talking about leadership, building a business, et cetera.
And I started writing some notes and as she was talking, a couple of questions came to mind. So it was almost going to raise my hand proverbially to ask the question, but I felt like as soon as I asked the question, she naturally answered it in my head. Like a eerie experience. Right. And then I would take more notes.
I’d have another question. And she would magically answer the next question. I was like, that’s weird. Like, how does she know what I’m thinking? That’s weird that she did this for the whole hour and I was driving home that day. And I’m like, this is magical call my dad. I’m like, dad, you won’t believe what happened.
And just as a. You know, I called my dad because of call my dad and he says, Oh, well, you should hire her. And I’m like to do what well she can, these are all of your questions. Even before you’re thinking about them. Maybe she can help you with your business, your life, whatever. I was like, well, I don’t know, well, what I would do.
And so he goes, we’ll write her an email. Or my dad was very good about, you know, scripting grid of our language patterns. And he said, I’ll give you the phrasing. He told me, he said, Sean, right. Or this email that says Hey, so-and-so I, I met you at this event and you amazing. And here was the phrasing that he used.
He says, I would like to offer you blank. And he said, come up with a number, a dollar amount that was painful to you, but still large enough. And at that point in my career, when I was 29 years old, I picked I’ll pick the number. It was $10,000. Right. And I said I would like to offer you $10,000 as a symbol of my seriousness.
That was the line. Right. All I’m looking for. Is for you to prioritize some email communication for me. And that’s it. I don’t need any structured calls. I don’t need any meetings or anything. And I was like, fuck. I was like, God, really? He goes, yeah. Would you pay $10,000 for her to read your mind? I was like, of course.
So I wrote her that email within two minutes, Scott, she responds to me and says, is this a joke? I said, no, I had no, absolutely I’m dead serious. She responds. She’s like, here’s my here are wiring instructions. I was like, awesome. I wire the money and she became my first coach. Literally, she was instrumental in helping me chain come up with this tax plan, put the singularity of focus together.
Like I had none of these pieces then, and she was the one and they told me, Hey, when you’re inside the bottle, it’s hard to read the label. So while I was discussing all the things that I was working on, she was the one that pulled out that, Hey, you’re working on operations and dropping money to the bottom line, but you’re telling me that the people are the ones that are driving the growth.
Let’s think about a future where if it were only the people that you’re focused on, what would happen to your organization? The coach asked the right question and I coach is an interesting thing. Coach mentor advisor. I try to call myself I’m my client’s is private advisor because. For a 200 and an entrepreneur running a $50 million business dropping $20 million to the bottom line.
Doesn’t need a coach per se, because they are like, Hey, I, they just need somebody to talk to who is nonjudgmental, who has been there and done that. Right. So whatever my clients are going through right now, I have been there. Like I know, I know that they’re thinking about wanting a private jet because their friend has a private jet.
I know it. And I told them I. I’ve been on enough private jets. You don’t want one, you don’t want one. And I’ll tell you what you can charter one all day. Like you may think this is a snooty thing to talk about, but that’s what goes through their mind when they hit a level of success. Hey, should I have the jet?
Should I have the car? Should I have the house? Should I have the bank balance should have had the second vacation home. Should I bonus my employees should have an operator. Like that’s what they’re thinking about. And when you’ve already been there, I can kind of Wade through that stuff and cause that’s all noise because at the end of the day, it is.
Hey, here’s the singularity of focus. Here’s the cadence of accountability and here’s a good process, right? So it’s a discovery process. There’s no like formula for it to come out, but I’ve seen enough businesses serve as product manufacturing, whatever that after like a couple of conversations, I can at least pick out the candidates pretty quickly of what is going to drive growth.
And then you build a hypothesis around saying, Hey Scott, if you focused on this division only, will it change your business? Well, let’s figure it out. And then that makes for a really good kind of conversation about it.
Scott: What advice do you have for people that are looking for mentors or advisors or coaches, and it’s not a one size fits all, but there must be some, there must be some red flags in the age of internet and gurus and absolute bullshit.
Like how do you find the right people that are actually genuine know their stuff can actually provide
Sharran: value. Yeah. So I’ll answer two ways first way is this is the number one question that I’ve ever gotten asked in my,
Sharran: it’s really good. It’s really good. And I think that’s what I did was when I launched my podcast, by the way, we should link it up.
My first episode. Is how to find a mentor. Like literally I walk into the 10 step process, how do you doing that? So we’ll link it up anyway. But and, and if anybody’s thinking about that, they should go listen to it. Cause I actually lay out a blueprint for how to go find the right mentor for you. But we, we should ask a question and the question is this.
If I could have blank as my mentor, they would give me X capability so that I can go do Y. So, let me break it down for you. If I had Tony Robbins as my mentor, he would give me X capability. He would give me the mindset of success so that I can go triple my business. If you can’t write that, that person, that means one, you don’t know what they can do for you.
And then also make sure that you don’t know what you actually want. The clarity of that, like that fill in the blank alone will allow you to like sift and sort between mentors very, very, very quickly. Right. That’s the, that’s the first thing. The second thing I’ll tell you Scott is, I like to do. I think we’re all influencer junkies right now.
When I say we it’s the, you have, you know, you, I’m going to follow Greg, Gary V. I’m going to follow grant Cardone. I’m going to follow Tony Robbins. Your entire feed is just filled with,
Scott: I saw you had some negative negative wording vote influencers and one a year. And one of your past. Because there were
Sharran: not like, you know, there were influencer junkies, right?
Like, and so what I mean by that is that literally we’re looking at stuff and we constantly in a stream of weird advice and that’s fine. What I decided to do just because I was getting overloaded with this stuff. Scott was, I stopped and I unfollowed everybody on Instagram and have, and this is, I started this in 2019, every single month.
I pick one person to do a deep dive on. Somebody that I really admire somebody that I really appreciate. And I’ll give you an example. I did one of my favorite people in the world that I like I would pay money to have just to have this person just talk and just listen. I don’t even want to like talk right.
Is Malcolm Gladwell. I love Malcolm Gladwell. I love everything about Malcolm Gladwell. I love the storytelling capabilities. So I did a whole month just deep diving on Malcolm Gladwell. And it was to the point, Scott, where. I would see him on an interview and someone would ask them a question and I literally knew what he was going to say, because you’ve, you’ve done such a deep dive on that person.
So before you even hire somebody, I would say, just spend like two weeks just devouring, everything that they have. And I’ll give you a very simple example. I did a deep dive on Seth Godin, really, really. I mean, I love Seth Godin. I actually wrote stuff to this email, Hey, Seth, here are the 18 things I’ve done.
I did this, I watched this, I read this book. I did this, I did all of that. Right. And I said, there’s three questions that I have that were not answered in any of your material. I’m happy to either send them to you, or if it’s easier for you, I’m happy to do a 14 minute zoom. And I just want to share that with my mastermind group, are you open to doing that?
And he said, Sure. Like literally I got on with set. I asked him the three questions. He’s like, thank you for being a man of your board. I hit stop recording. I sent it to my mastermind group. I didn’t even need to hire him. Right. There’s a lot of ways in which we can just do a bunch of deep dives and get what we need, but we should definitely link up the episode, but ask the question.
Hey, if I could have Scott. Help me develop blank capability. It will help my get me Z results. What does that, once you have that? I think it really gives you a kind of heat seeker missile on who you should hire.
Scott: It’s a good framework. I appreciate that. Well, I’ll link the episode as well. I’ll get some socials from you.
I want to do a rapid fire, some very quick insight from your life before before we close off just to respect your time. And by the way before I pivot, and then we pulled up, get some social. Is there anything else that you’re working on? You want it to bring up?
Sharran: Yeah. So I, the, I am more, more as a gift.
So I’ll tell you one thing that everyone should consider. I I spent the last, I kicked the last 20 years of advice and I put it all together into 20 lessons. I call it the four week MBA. It’s a hundred percent free. It’s a hundred percent free. There’s no, there’s no like no funnel, nothing.
It’s a straight up kind of like, it’s an, it’s a link to a thousand dollar course for free. It’s the number four week mba.com. I’d love for people to just go grab it because it’ll give them a chance to get my 20 lessons that I’ve learned over the last 20 years. So four week mba.com. I’d love for people that that’s kind of like my gift to the world.
Scott: Awesome. I appreciate I’ll link that too. We got any, any links by the way you want, I’ll put them in the notes below. So if you want to check it out podcasts, your site for MBA, all of that, I’ll I’ll get those all set with the show notes. Okay. Rapid fire you know, you can go and do as much or as little depth as you’d like, but.
First question would be one lesson that you would tell your
Sharran: younger self pay for a pay for a coach as soon as you’re able to do it.
Scott: Good. Very good. What is a resource to be a book podcast, audible person that you’re into now that you’d recommend people go check
Sharran: out. I am rereading influence by Robert Cialdini.
One of the, one of the greatest books on thought process, they use marketing and really framing your message. So Robert Cialdini influence is written like 20 plus years ago, a really awesome book.
Scott: What would be the most influential person outside of family, of course that, that has helped you along in your career.
Sharran: That’s a, that’s a tough one. I actually will tell you that one. We’ll I’ll give you one person who is actually in your neck of the woods. Scott. His name is Walter Schneider. Walter multichannel. Walter owns one third of the world in Remax. So he has 41,000 real estate agents that worked with him and he built it all with his bare hands.
And he took me on as a, as a, you know, he calls me kid and took me on that. You know, he’s been my mentor and he’s been along my side for many, many years, and I, you know, he’s uncle Walter to me. And so look, look him up is at Walter Schneider, one of the, one of the kindest people out there. Very
Scott: good. And what are you curious about or learning about right now in the world of business tech entrepreneurship?
Sharran: Okay. Yeah, I’m really, I’m really curious about what augmented reality is going to do for the world, especially with you know, us spending more time on screens and devices. I think that, Hey, I’m going to buy a product. Can I kind of put it somewhere in my room? I’m going to change the paint color of my house.
I’m going to wear this t-shirt can I, you know, I have my body. Can I just put my t-shirt on and see what it looked like? I’m I think that it, it really brings the power of visualization. Back because if you can get, if, if, if, if I can put a piece of art on your wall right now, there’s a good chance you’re going to buy something from my store.
Right. It’s so amazing from a convincing kind of heuristic. And so I I’ve been talking to a lot of augmented reality companies. I be it’s one of the, it’s an investment. We’ve actually set aside monies to make an investment in augmented reality. So that’s my my big charge for the next upcoming years is to, is to put my money where my mouth is in, in learn more about and invest more in augmented
Scott: reality, I think with the future.
E-commerce that’s the one thing that’s stopping people from buying at home, right? That’s all you hear and Ikea is doing it too. Now they’re doing Some sort of augmented reality where you can actually push the furniture into a yeah. It’s it’s, it’s the next, it’s the next iteration of shopping, for sure.
For sure. And then last question. What does success look like for you? What does it mean for you?
Sharran: Excuse me. Yeah, for, for, for me for me, success is kind of figuring out what you’re good at. I think I’ll for a lot of people’s successes are result of. Money fame, achievement, et cetera. And I’ll tell you, like I’ve driven the sports car.
I’m very grateful for it coming from you know, coming from dumpster diving, I’ve driven the sports car and lived in the big house. Like I’ve flown on the jets, all of that. That’s cool, but it didn’t change my life. Like I’m not that that’s not what made me, I think more and more, I wake up and I’m trying to think about Scott is okay.
What am I good at? And can I do more of that? And I think the faster someone can do that, the happier they get, because then they’re spending their time entirely in their zone of genius, right? They’re spending their time in who they are and what they were put on this earth on this earth to do. Now. I don’t think you need money to do that.
I just think you need time and I think you need a great support system to get there. So I’m asking I was I was talking to one of my friends, Rob Hanley today, and he asked an amazing question. He says ask your friends. What you are uncommonly good at? Hmm. Ask your friends what you’re uncommonly good at.
And maybe that’ll give you a little, a window into the world of what you are uncommonly good at, and maybe that’ll drive you to figuring out that true skill of why you were, what you were put on this earth to do. So I am in a mad pursuit of finding that right now.
Scott: That’s smart. That’s a very good answer.
I’ve never heard that answer before, but I think that would lead to a lot of other. Benchmarks for traditional benchmarks for success when you can figure that out. And last, most importantly, Where do people connect with you? Your websites, social, all
Sharran: of that good stuff. Yeah. I’ll I’ll give him, I’ll give him to, to, you know, we already talked about the four week MBA.
I’ll give him two places place. Number one is we talked a lot about 10 X rates. So I wrote this thing called a short blog post. It’s called 10 X in five years. So literally it’s 10 X in five years.com. It’s 37 lessons that I learned growing the business 10 X. So it’s, there’s no opt in. There’s nothing.
It’s just a blog post. You should go read it. It’s 37 bullet points, 37 lessons that I learned growing our business, 10 X in five years to 3.4 billion, 10 X and tigers.com. That’s the place I would send you. Every other place is just, you know, I’m on Instagram, on all of that stuff, but go to tenants and fibers or comm center for the newsletter.
I write, I write an email at three, four times a week to all the CEOs that I mentor, but I share with everybody else. So 10 X in five years.com as a place, I’ll send everybody.
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On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
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