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What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? What skills do you need, and what personality traits should you have?

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts, resilience and a lot of other qualities that are hard to come by in one person.

In this interview, Todd talked about his journey from being an employee to a serial entrepreneur. He talked about the skills you need, the challenges you may face, as well as some hints on how to find the right people for your business.

Todd Randall, the eight-time CEO and business coach from rural Florida, found that running a business can lead you to an early grave if you let it.  He set out to build a business enterprise that worships freedom more than money, and somehow ended up with both.  This is the story of how a man set a crazy goal for himself, to learn to play polo and travel the world indulging that passion, and then worked persistently until he achieved it.   His businesses have included spas, gyms, operations consulting, business brokerage, construction and wholesale companies.  His latest and proudest venture is a thriving business coaching practice where he enthusiastically shares his experience with budding entrepreneurs.

Episode 262 with Todd Randall

Topics covered in the interview

Todd’s first business
Are entrepreneurs made or born?
From employee to entrepreneur
Getting the business idea
Delegating skills in business
Emotional aspect of business exit

Todd Randall’s Bio

Todd Randall, the eight-time CEO and business coach from rural Florida, found that running a business can lead you to an early grave if you let it.  He set out to build a business enterprise that worships freedom more than money, and somehow ended up with both.  This is the story of how a man set a crazy goal for himself, to learn to play polo and travel the world indulging that passion, and then worked persistently until he achieved it.   His businesses have included spas, gyms, operations consulting, business brokerage, construction and wholesale companies.  His latest and proudest venture is a thriving business coaching practice where he enthusiastically shares his experience with budding entrepreneurs.

Follow Todd Randall

Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Todd Randall 00:00
Some of the things administratively can be cared for, on your behalf. And it allows you to focus which is the most important thing in business, which is people. And I think those skills will help, will translate to anything else you do. Like you are running a high tech firm right now have better people skills than most people running high tech firms, because you're in such a people oriented business before. And I didn't realize, you know how much I would learn there. And so I think that, that was the first thing. It took me by surprise. And the more people you work with, you know, the more complicated it becomes.

Susan Sly 00:36
Welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that dares to bring no nonsense insight to those who have the courage to start, grow and scale a business. I'm your host, Susan Sly

Susan Sly 00:50
Well, Hey, what is up, Raw and Real Entrepreneurs, wherever you are in the world, I want you just to give yourself a pat on the back. And you know, just say, Hey, I'm here, and I'm listening, and I'm tuning in. Because why? There's something I want. I want to start a business, I want to grow a business, my business has plateaued, I want to get out of a rut. And we're here to give you raw and real entrepreneurship. And if you haven't already, head on over to Susansly.com. If you have an idea that you want to turn into a tech business, I have founded a brand new Incubator for people just like you. So check it out on Susansly.com. And we come alongside you, my team, we're not only going to tell you what to do, we're actually going to help you build the technology, help you go out there and fundraise, and help you grow and scale that business to get it all the way to exit which is so fun. Now, my guest today I, you know, I woke up this morning, and I was reading his bio, I was watching his videos. And you know, I'm like, this is a man after my own heart. So he is a multipreneur. He has had many different kinds of businesses. And I'm just gonna read you some of his career high points. And I think he's just getting started, truly. So he has over 30 years of business experience. He has built eight businesses in total, including spas, my favorite business. Gym, so we share that in common. Construction company, No, I have not done that. Wholesaling company, coaching, have done that. And consulting agency, I've done that one, too. He's successfully exited three of them. He's still running four of them remotely. He's generating multiple millions of dollars annually. So he's the real deal. And this man could retire at any moment. But he loves the thrill of being an entrepreneur and mentoring entrepreneurs. And he also has played polo in many different countries. We're gonna find out much more about that. So my guest today is the one and only Todd Randall. So Todd, who is coming live from Florida, and if you're on YouTube, today, I'm live from one of the offices at Radius AI. So Todd and I are, he's at his home office. I'm in his old stomping grounds of Scottsdale, Arizona. But Todd, thank you for being on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. I'm so excited to have you here.

Todd Randall 03:03
Thanks, Susan, what a great intro. Appreciate that. We do share some fun things in common. I look forward to our conversation today.

Susan Sly 03:09
Yeah, I've never played Polo. So we're gonna have a lot of, a lot of things to discuss. As you know, I said you know, we have people who are eight years old listening right now in the car with mom or dad, we have people in their 70s and 80s, saying, Hey, I feel like I still have something in me. I want to do something. And in fact, my dad, Joe, shoutout to him. Every week, he sends the show out to all of his friends. So if you're a friend of my dad, you know, shout out to you. Thanks for being a friend.

Susan Sly 03:39
So, Todd, what was the very first business you started?

Todd Randall 03:44
When I was a kid, I remember I had, I did have kind of an entrepreneurial spirit. There was a time where I, my parents asked me to do some chores around the house, and I didn't really want to do it. So I asked my brother to do it. And he wasn't willing. And I had a pack of m&ms. And so I told him, I'd give him seven, I had some big number, seven m&ms If he did a chore for me, and he did. And I thought this is easy. So I'll just go into the cabinet and take a bunch of candy. And we started walking down the street, selling little pieces of candy for a nickel or a dime or whatever. And my parents found out we were doing it and pulled us back in and said look, I have some concerns about what you think is business and they tried to you know, sit down and teach me some business principles based on that. But I was pretty early. I did a bunch of sales in high school and college. I tried network marketing a few times.

Todd Randall 04:40
We would buy antiques in Pennsylvania and resell them on, just on the curb. A little bit like you know the Amazon flip business there is now. So I probably had four or five solid tries at business before I was in college.

Susan Sly 04:57
Wow. Yeah, and the little kids selling candy, right? And you and I are probably very close in age. So we grew up in a time where do you, what was that, kid, one year Halloween, there was some candy that had poison, or there was something that happened.

Todd Randall 05:13
I can't remember.

Susan Sly 05:13
There was a big scandal. And so I imagine that you know, you, that either happened like soon after you were selling the candy or right around that time, which is yes.

Todd Randall 05:24
I'm glad the FBI didn't find out because they might, they might have figured me to be the, the perp on that.

Susan Sly 05:29
Yeah, no, thank God, thank God for that. Do you think, you know, hundreds of interviews that I've done, and I keep asking, you know, what was your first business? And we've, you know, we've had so many different businesses. And the, I interviewed the kid who did the fidgets spinner. And he did, he did that in his high school basement on a 3d printer and went on to make millions. I don't even think he's working anymore. This is not that long ago. But some, there's this argument—entrepreneurs are born or they can be made, what's your opinion?

Todd Randall 06:03
Yeah, I have a strong opinion about this one, because I'm not an entrepreneur in you know, in in so many ways. I had great aspirations of being an entrepreneur as a kid, like I said, and I experimented with business ideas, and none of them really took. And what I realized at the time, early on, I'm so glad for this revelation, is that business was in fact, a set of skills. It wasn't just

Todd Randall 06:49
You know, because people have inventions all the time. And I get so mad when people dismiss children or people in their 70s, or 80s, as entrepreneurs as if they can't. Like they have ideas just like anyone else. And in fact, who better suited in some cases, right, than the young or the old to be entrepreneurs, because of their willingness to be creative, and especially for the older entrepreneurs, for all their experience to map to it. So for me, as a young adult, I actually knew I wanted to be a business person, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. And I decided not to for 15 years. I went, I went to corporate and got the skills I was looking for, because I just wasn't confident enough. And I didn't like the anxiety of just trying.

Todd Randall 07:32
Knowing that this the hills, were always going to be so steep for me.

Susan Sly 07:36
It's interesting, because before the show, we're talking about risk. And I had Mia Hewitt on the show, and she worked corporately, for many, many years before she took the leap into full time entrepreneurship. She started her side hustle. And then it was growing. And then she got to the point where it's like, I can't navigate a full time job, and kids, and the side hustle, and my side hustle is now making enough money. But let's let's talk about that. How did you finally get to the point, working in corporate for 15 years where you transition to an entrepreneur? Because many of our listeners are in that place. They either have a full time job and a side hustle, or they have a full time job and they want the courage to leave. So how did you do it?

Todd Randall 08:21
Oh, this is one of my favorite stories. It gives me goosebumps just to think about it. Because it was a real transition of my life. I always knew, like I said, I wanted to be a business person. And it didn't feel like I had the skills to enter the market. I had friends who were very good at business. And for whatever reason just didn't feel qualified. So I stock. And I learned and I had lots of mentors and, and I was doing pretty well at my gig. When I was in my mid 30s, I really caught the eye, I was in a $300 billion company at the time and the CEO, kind of, you know, hand picked me for a project that was really out of my league. And it was so satisfying to be valued for my contributions. They sent me to Europe where I was writing this big business plan. And they said, Look, if this business plan is a good idea, we want you to stay in Europe and run this new division and I couldn't have been more honored and flattered by all that. And that was right in 2007. That was right before the financial crash. And,

Todd Randall 09:16
and they saw this, the crash coming. They felt unease from the markets and they said, Look, we're just not going to move forward with any projects outside North America. So Todd, please come home. And I was so sad because this was the most satisfying thing I'd ever done before. And I was getting patted on the back and I was getting all the kudos that made me feel like an expert. It was, it was really great. And so I, they could tell, you know, there was a little doubt about this. And I said, Tell you what, I'm gonna go over to Paris for a month or so. And I'm just gonna chill and count it as vacation, count it his time off. I know that I need this to kind of balance myself before I come back. And they were so generous with me and gracious. I thought it was amazing. So I went to Paris and I studied language in the morning, and I stayed with the host family through the school that

Todd Randall 09:59
I was studying language. And then I went and, you know, played golf with friends in the afternoon or went to museums and all this stuff that tourists do in Paris. And at the end of the month, I was blissfully happy. I thought, This is really great. I love my friends here, I love, you know, understanding another language, I love, you know, the big cosmopolitan environment, I was filled with arts and culture. And at the end of the month, the total tally for four weeks, and Paris was like $2,700. Now, for context, this is not that long ago, this is only 15 years ago, right? And I was a very high income earner at the time. And $2,700 a month was a very, very small percentage of what I was making every month. And the revelation to me is, oh, wow, wow, like, this is the happiest month I've had, maybe ever. And it's actually not as expensive as I thought it was. So why am I striving just for the big paycheck that I want?

Todd Randall 10:58
And I realized then, that the title was not as important as I thought it was. Working for a big company was not as important as I thought it was. Because I was just faced with a situation where I could, you know, make a very low income and be so blissfully happy that it was a revelation to me. And the minute I got home, I started researching. I'm like, gosh, I know that there are opportunities that I can start today, that I don't have to be the next, you know, Bill Gates and the next Steve Jobs and the next, Mark Zuckerberg. I could start a modest business and make the kind of income that I know can make me happy. And that was, that was the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Susan Sly 11:37
I love that. So now say something in French.

11:42
Just

Todd Randall 11:42
[Speaks in French]

Susan Sly 11:43
[Speaks in French]

Susan Sly 11:48
[Speaks in French]

Todd Randall 11:50
Not bad at all. When I was working there, we're speaking, we're working only in French, because we're working in the middle of the country where English was not quite as prevalent. And it was, it was amazing. There's something about learning another language because you, like I love to understand people. I love this conversation you and I are having now because we're helping each other understand the world in a slightly different way. And I feel like if you're someplace where you speak the language with other people, their perspective is markedly different. Right? And there's, there's so many interesting lessons to be learned from it. So—

Susan Sly 12:07
I love it, you know, the conversation we're having, and sometimes it does, like this is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, sometimes it does take that life event. And the listeners know, or if you're a new listener, you don't know but, the listeners know that have been here for a while, and some of you have been here for quite some time, that in 2016, when I nearly died coming back from a trip from Africa, and I had been to Africa many times. That's when I had my moment going, Wait a minute, I'm not feeling fulfilled, you know, I had been sharing the stage with Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield and traveling all over the world and growing this great business. But I wasn't fulfilled. And part of the reason I wasn't fulfilled is because I wasn't feeling challenged. And it's amazing when you say, hey, I want to be challenged. It's amazing what shows up for you. So you come back from Paris. And then what was the first business you've started?

Todd Randall 13:20
Okay, so some of your listeners, I hope this really resonates with them because I was stuck. I was stuck here. I had spent 15 years in a corporate structure, I'd got a big, fancy, expensive MBA,

Todd Randall 13:33
I had all kinds of training and mentorship and leadership training. And I didn't have a good idea to start a business myself. So many folks at that age do have opportunities that just present themselves and you take them, right? Your division is being dismissed by your boss. So you offer to take it. You get some capital and you go run it as a separate company, or you have a great idea because your company doesn't invest in it. Or you have a great idea at home, a great invention or something. I didn't have anything and I struggled because I thought that's what I needed. But in the end, I just went and looked at how other people did it. I talked to friends who own businesses, hey, what kind of business do you have? And I found lots of friends who have businesses just buying things and reselling it, or laundromats or restaurants or what have you. And some of them were really, really happy doing their own thing.

Todd Randall 14:22
And so what I decided was that my ego didn't need to be vainly part of the equation. I didn't need to be a hero, or a Mark Zuckerberg or somebody famous for inventing something. I really did want to run a business for the reasons that I just described before. Being able to enjoy the arts or time with friends or another culture or living remotely, like those are things that meant so much to me that I was willing to sacrifice income or title or prestige for that. And I think that's the first battle. You have to, you have to work with yourself is you have to be true about what you want because the world wants lots of things for you.

Todd Randall 15:01
Right? And at some point, you got to stand up for yourself and have a spine and say, Yeah, that's great. That's, that's not what I'm looking for. Right? I would rather have more time than other countries.

Susan Sly 15:10
So even though you're like me, you're in Gen X. It's like, that's how Gen Z or Gen Z thinks. They think that they have a much more rational appearance of the world. Because it's not about a dream business, there is no, like, oh, I have my dream business. No, you don't. You have a lifestyle that you are in love with. That is a dream that you think is a result of that business. And so, and that's the thing, and I can promise everyone that the moment you let go of that, oh, it's going to be my dream business. Because one thing I've always said is, your first one might not be, the second one might not be. And you're never, if it is your dream, you're gonna have a hard time letting go of it. And there's a time when it is time to let go. Because you've, you've either, you know, become redundant in your business, or it's no longer exciting for you, you're not feeling fulfilled. So what, did you, was the first thing you did the the antique flipping coming out of this?

Todd Randall 16:10
No, this was—I went to spas. So what I did, what I decided in the end is I looked at hundreds of businesses, I evaluated all kinds of stuff. And I wanted something that spoke to me. Now I came from health care, and spas were in the wellness zone. And it felt good to me. And I've always been athletic in my life. And I've used massage therapy as a means of therapy for that. So I was connected to it. And so I opened a spa, and it wasn't my spa, it wasn't Todd's spa, I bought a brand and use a franchise license for it.

Todd Randall 17:10
And I had at one point, you know, 100 staff members that were delivering as good care as we could possibly do in our very local area. And it wasn't that sexy, it was just good people skills, good financial acumen, you know, and then picking up the trash on the floor when you walk in. It was, those were the skills required to run that business well, and I, and we excelled as a result of just you know, focusing.

Susan Sly 17:35
And that is so important, Todd because I did, I had a show and it was just on franchises. And it was with one of the top concierge is for franchises in what she does is matches a person their personality with the right franchise opportunity. And the, and, you know, many of the listeners know too, in you know, I got a lot of my background experience in network marketing. I helped generate about $1.7 billion in sales for one health and wellness company. And there are a lot of skills. And the wonderful thing about franchising, about network marketing is you have a lane and things outside your lane, you don't have to worry about.

Todd Randall 18:19
Don't have to worry about.

Susan Sly 18:20
Supply chain and marketing materials and things like that. So you only have to focus on essentially sales, generating new customers into great training grounded, I stand on my little soapbox and say, hey, you know, if you're nervous about business, these are, you know, it's about the levels of risk. So what was one of the things that happened with that franchise that you didn't expect or didn't anticipate? Because here's this guy, I've gotten MBA, I've worked for a massive corporation, I write business plans, I open new markets, and then suddenly I have this franchise, what's something that happened that you were like, Oh, my gosh, I didn't anticipate that one?

Todd Randall 18:58
Yeah, I can think two things right off top my head, one you just inspired me to comment on which is that it's about people. Like if you think about real estate and insurance and network marketing and franchising, some of the things administratively can be cared for, on your behalf. And it allows you to focus which is on the most important thing in business, which is people, and I think those skills will help, will translate to anything else you do. Like you are running a high tech firm right now have better people skills than most people running high tech firms, because you're in such a people oriented business before. And I didn't realize, you know how much I would learn there. And so I think that that was the first thing. It took me by surprise. And the more people you work with, you know, the more complicated it becomes. So equal opportunity and HR rules and class action lawsuits to be aware of, and, you know, workers comp issues and stuff like that. So I think as a small business owner, you want to be thinking about staffing, about

Todd Randall 19:59
inspiring your team and about, you know, mitigating risks so that you have an environment where people can thrive without, you know, without anxiety.

Susan Sly 20:08
I love that you mentioned that. The, one of the first hires I made at Radius, so we, you know, like many startups, right? So you have your idea, it's on a napkin, then it goes to PowerPoint, you know, like, We're serious. Now we're on a PowerPoint, and we're going and raising money, raising money. And you know, we're spending most of it in DevOps, legal, that kind of thing. So when we actually got to a place where we're going to cover our burn, the guys, I have four co founders, and they're like, Okay, here's our hiring list. It's like front end engineer, back end engineer, you know, blah, blah, blah, data scientist, who do you want to hire? I said, an attorney. And then we have law firms. I said, No, I want an in house, general counsel. And to that point, because things that people don't think about when they're thinking about their dream business, like to your point, lawsuits, HR issues, is your D&O insurance up to date, do you have an employee manual? Like all of those things that come with, you want to create that safe place for the people that you work with, but if you don't have someone sort of, with you, coming alongside you, making sure that all of those things are there, that's the thing, people you know, it's Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, that's the thing people don't think about.

Todd Randall 21:22
I did not appreciate how important loyalty was. I never wanted to run a business that felt like the mafia, where people had to pick sides.

Todd Randall 21:31
And so I tried desperately not to have one of those, like the corporate environment I was in before, but I will tell you that I value loyalty more than any other skill that someone can have. If they come in with a good attitude, and are in alignment with, you know, the business interests,

Todd Randall 21:47
that gets them a lot more points than competence or experience or, or what have you.

Susan Sly 21:51
I feel that you can teach people any skill. And I'm proof of that as a co-founder of an

Susan Sly 21:56
AI company who hasn't written a line of code since '92. Which is true. I used to code on Sun Microsystems dating myself, but the you know, and here I am. And— Yeah, exactly. And so thinking about it, anyone can learn a skill, but you can't teach a person, heart. They come with the right heart. And that is so key. So after the spa business, what was the next one?

Todd Randall 22:24
So I opened gyms then. And this was, this was the next real phase in my entrepreneurial career. Because once I started one business, I was in it all the time. And I was proud of all the details and, and I knew every aspect of the business, but all the decisions kind of landed with me. And I started to be trapped in this where nobody can make a decision without Todd around.

Todd Randall 22:45
And I couldn't really grow as a result. And so we started really practicing. I had a manager that I liked a lot. Bless her heart, Karolina, she put up with a lot for me. And she insisted, she said, Look, we need to work something out, because I can take on more, and you're not letting me have it. And the business is suffering as a result. So we work really hard and this whole delegation concept where she was taking on more responsibility, and allowed me to grow. And so I opened up a second spa, and then a gym and then another gym. And then I started a consulting practice and I brokered a few sales of small tech companies. And I was able to do that because we had good delegation skills in place. And I think maybe that's the next biggest lesson that I learned as small business is you do have to have folks around you that you'd eventually trust and and partner with. Like, these are folks that were in the room when any major decision was made, so that they knew how to execute it. They were in alignment with what my goals were because they helped me decide them, you know what I mean?

Susan Sly 23:42
And so when was the moment you looked yourself in the mirror, and it could have been in you know, one day brushing your teeth and you said, in order for things to change, I have to change.

Todd Randall 23:53
I remember this day actually.

Todd Randall 24:21
And she came to me and it was a, it was our come to Jesus moment where she's like, I promise you, you can be better. And I know I'm stepping. You know, maybe I'm stepping out of line here but I need to advise you in a way that you may not see how many decisions are not getting made here. And I've really admired and respected that about her because she was willing to sacrifice her relationship with the business because of her relationship with me. And who doesn't want a business where relationships are that important, right?

Todd Randall 24:52
So, so that, that was the moment. She essentially called me to the carpet and helped me understand how important it was and we moved on together.

Susan Sly 24:59
That is

Susan Sly 24:59
so beautiful. And it takes a lot of courage to have that conversation. And you think about, so my kids watch a lot of Marvel movies, right? Yeah. So you think about Robert Downey Jr.'s character and Gwyneth Paltrow's character, Iron Man and Pepper Potts, and he's, you know, the mad genius in his lab?

Todd Randall 25:18
Yeah.

Susan Sly 25:19
I know, in tech as an example, there is no big tech company that makes it over $100 million if you don't have the pepper. It's like, it's—

Susan Sly 25:29
Yeah, Pepper doesn't have to be a woman. But I'm just, like someone who actually can have those conversations, gets things done, gets the results on the board. And that's, that's so key in entrepreneurship. So which of the eight businesses, which ones did you sell?

25:45
I sold the spas, I sold one gym, and I sold a healthcare tech company.

Todd Randall 25:52
This was a company that did RTLS, which is a wireless technology, and nursing homes.

Susan Sly 25:59
So what, thinking about selling a business, so one of the things, when people come to me, and they have an idea, one of an early question I'll say to them is what is your exit plan? You know, is it to sell an IPO? Because you're, oftentimes an entrepreneur's so in the business, they're not thinking about that exit, but even how you structure it corporately, legally, all sorts of things really rely on, you know, how you intend to exit. But let's talk about something people don't talk about. The emotional aspect of the exit.

Todd Randall 26:35
Yeah.

Susan Sly 26:35
So how was that for you? I mean, you have, you know, over 100 employees,

Todd Randall 26:39
Traumatic

Susan Sly 26:40
many of whom become like, your family and then, and then now you're selling this business. I'm sure they had uncertainty. How did, how did you handle it emotionally?

Todd Randall 26:49
These are great lessons to be learned from, like tech and,

Todd Randall 26:53
and institutional investing, because these folks think about it all the time. They don't make an investment without having some kind of three to five year plan. And small entrepreneurs, I think one thing they miss about people like us,

Todd Randall 27:07
maybe, you know, maybe you think more like an institutional investor now, because your companies are so large, but for small guys like me, I want a business to run, I want it to operate, I'm not thinking about an exit when I'm in it, because I want income from it, or I want to build an asset.

Todd Randall 27:32
I know that a lot of your guests are super successful on the show, and you talk about their wins all the time. This is one of my failures. And I'll be vulnerable about that. This is a business that had a lot of value after five or six years, and I overstayed my welcome. I let the companies go through a cycle where the economy took a downturn and COVID and everything. And I had to exit at a time where I wasn't getting the full value that I wanted. And so it was not just traumatic, because I was exiting a business that I loved, bt it was also traumatic in that I lost an opportunity to exit that business I love and then leverage it into something else. I was protecting myself at that point and just you know, trying to minimize my downside. And I hope that entrepreneurs can hear that story and the pain of my voice when I tell that story. And just take it as a feather in the, as a, as a red flag to plant in their mind somewhere to say that, okay, maybe I should think about this a few years in advance. Because if you can convince yourself to think about it a few years in advance, at least that's better than waiting until the last minute. And business brokers will tell you this all the time that when people come to them to sell business, sometimes they're in a hurry, and it kills the whole flow. Like

Todd Randall 28:43
it's not just upsetting for the staff. It's also upsetting for the owner. And it's not a clean transaction for the buyer, either. You know what I mean?

Susan Sly 28:49
Oh, absolutely. And then m&a can happen really quickly.

Susan Sly 28:53
And that, I think that this is I mean, we could have this, this gonna be an entire workshop because there's the, it's like getting a divorce or sending your child off to college, or there's so many, there's so much emotion that goes on here. And another interesting thing you sort of inspired me just to share this quick story. So we have our largest client for Radius, we have a full time customer success manager that all they do is face this client. And he is an engineer, and he's a sweetheart. He knows I would call him that. And he never stops working. And I have said to him, what's going to happen when you are on vacation? Well, I don't have a vacation plan. I'm like, Well, I'm making you take a vacation. So where are you going? You know, get your wife to plan it. And who is going to take those phone calls and get on the 5am meetings when you're on vacation? And so the beautiful part of this story is I went to,

Todd Randall 28:53
Yeah.

Susan Sly 30:00
there are three partners, myself and two other guys who are in the day to day of running this business like just all in. And I went to them and I said, I'm deeply concerned about him. And we really need someone who can face the customer when he's waiting, it changed who we hired next. And so now the happy bright point is he is going to go on vacation to Germany for two weeks. And I'm, and I'm so proud of him. And then I went to our customer. And I said, this is his blind spot, will you come alongside me and help him to know that it is okay for him to take this time off? And it's the, you know, I think the biggest thing for an owner, and I want to hear your perspective on this, is thinking about the exit as to what you've said, it's not just like so fast. It's to be strategic about it. And if you have a two year, three year plan, to that exit, who do you need to be? How do you need to show up? Who do you need to empower, where are your gaps? Because if you're building this company to last, which is what you hope and turning over something wonderful, then that's how you want to think. But I want to hear your perspective, if you could diagnose this, Dr. Randall.

Susan Sly 31:22
What would the symptoms be that it's time for an owner to leave or step aside?

Todd Randall 31:29
Yeah, one of them you've touched on, which is really important. And maybe we can exaggerate this, this one is that businesses are really fun

Todd Randall 31:36
for an entrepreneur for a period of time, and there comes a point where it becomes fatiguing more than fun. And those are signals that I really recommend that people listen to super carefully because if you're excited about the next project already, just know that your business is going to suffer unless you have someone inside it who is fired up about this company growing. And sometimes that's the very best thing. I will tell you that my gyms really took off the minute I got out the door.

Todd Randall 32:07
We get, I just, I had been grooming someone. I had such a good success rate with the Spas with Karolina. I had been grooming someone

Todd Randall 32:15
to help me not be in them every day to day and they were such a culture warrior, the staff loved working for them, the customers loved having them in the shop. And the minute I was out the door and they were able to take more ownership, the businesses really thrived. So I think that's the first thing is just checking with yourself about your enthusiasm for being there. Also, I think that businesses are naturally valued in a cycle, right? Like the spas, and gyms were temporarily very much devalued, because they lost all their customers during COVID, right. And if you're in a situation where you're like, Oh, I'm going to sell in a year or two, sometimes a year or two is not enough to let you you know, whether one of those storms. And so I think that the time to start planning has to be on a little longer horizon than that, try to think three to five years if you can, because there's some things in fact, out of your control

Todd Randall 33:10
that could be just, you know, negative area. It's just bad luck. And you want to protect against that.

Susan Sly 33:16
The wisdom, I want to thank you so much, Todd, and I want all of the listeners to like, give us the five star review on this episode because you are being so raw and real and authentic. And in, in having the conversation about the things that need to be said, right, because, you know, people see, oh, Elon Musk just invested in Twitter, depending on when you're listening to the show, right? Or Elon, you know, he's Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal is like this series of huge businesses, but Elon has his wall kicking moments too.

Todd Randall 33:54
Yeah, he's one example. Right? There are a lot of entrepreneurs out there. If he's the only example you consider then there's, you're, it's not fair you're comparing against somebody who's maybe quite different than you. Right?

Susan Sly 34:03
Exactly. I have a friend who sold a company for 300 million, he's my friend, Will, he's been on the show, and people wouldn't know his name. And that's the you know, there are a lot of people out there. And I know some of you are like 300 million. Well, that's a whole show, another episode about when you sell your company, all the pieces of the pie, they get like handed out before you get your little sliver.

Susan Sly 34:27
Todd, final question for you. And the you know, I know we could talk about so many things. Before the show I was asking you this question, with your wisdom, eight businesses, the exits, all of it. We're hearing a lot of talk right now about a coming recession. Now that fear sells news, and we've been hearing about a coming recession for four years and if you had, if you took your money out of the market, or if you took it out during COVID It was a big mistake. And I'm a slow and steady investor. So I you know, I just like you know, but

Susan Sly 35:00
there is a recession coming. Now that you've built these businesses, you've sold some of these businesses, if you were that guy who had come back from Paris, but it was now, let's say you were in your 30s. Now, early 30s, or 20s,

Susan Sly 35:17
would you be starting a business in this current climate? And if so, what would you start?

Todd Randall 35:22
Absolutely, yeah, I'm a big fan now, because I think a person's value to, to the market as an individual business is just, it's so easy to overcome the gap of what a company's value is to you, as a cog in their wheel. Right. So there was a point where I was practicing pharmacy, and it was easy to calculate what I was worth, because pharmacists had a value on the market, right. And for me to start a business, all I had to overcome is what that one salary was going to be. And most businesses, if you have an idea that brings value to the market, just require scale, to overcome, you know, that kind of gap. So I recommend, I think starting your own businesses is a brilliant idea, especially in the market today.

Todd Randall 36:05
Because the tools to start a business are so much more prominent than they were a while ago, like before you needed to hire an attorney to start a business. And these days, you can go on the internet and, you know, file for an EIN and file for workers comp insurance and file for payroll help. And there's all kinds of, you know, professionals, attorneys and accountants and other folks that you can hire by the hour or by the project. You don't have to get an office in San Jose, and you don't need seed money from startup firm, or, and they're incubators like yours, right. So what a great support structure that is, what a great design concept that is where someone has a good idea and they just don't know what all the pieces are. And you can take them in with this friendly hug and say, great, you're an expert at this, I'll you know, I've got a, I've got an assistant right here, you can take your phone calls for you. And we have a printer in the lobby, and we have an accountant on staff that can advise you on structure and you just do you. Yeah, right. So I think that's the biggest reason is that there's so many tools now to start. And then the other thing that I wasn't paying attention to at the time, which I pay a lot more attention to now, which are what are the macro trends. So my spas and gyms were trending downwards over the last three years. And that's the reason I went into construction and my construction businesses have been going absolutely the opposite direction. So you know, the graphs look like this. And in the middle, your average works out better.

Todd Randall 37:22
So I think follow macrotrends. See something that you think will just bring more value to people three years from now than it is today. And jump in that water and see how it feels.

Susan Sly 37:32
I love that

Todd Randall 37:33
And try. Just try.

Susan Sly 37:35
And, you know, I think the other thing that I'm so inspired about you is the variety of businesses that you've had, right? And it just comes down to who you are as a person. And I think you're a person, I can literally say, Okay, it's two in the morning. Here's $100,000 go start a business, then you've got to pick an idea out of a hat. I've put 25 ideas in there and you're like, Okay, go, here we go. I know, first I gotta do this. And it's just like, you know, it's incredible.

Todd Randall 38:06
May I follow up one comment on this, too, is that business is a set of skills and fundamental premises that you can learn. I used to think that business people were a gift, someone that was born special, and I don't believe that at all anymore. I went and got a very expensive MBA, because I didn't have the confidence to start my own business. And it's not been helpful. It helped my confidence, but it's the only thing that helped. All you need to do to start a business is start. Start, and then if there's a skill you don't have, go get it. YouTube's brilliant for this kind of stuff.

Susan Sly 38:14
Yeah, YouTube university, because, yeah, just go start. I love it. Well, Todd, I want everyone to connect with you. And so do you, how do you prefer they do that?

Todd Randall 38:52
Yeah, my businesses are all under the umbrella called Beach View.

Todd Randall 38:56
So I have a website called beachview.biz. Also, I mostly connect with coaching and consulting clients in Facebook, just has a really good tool for that. And so if you go to Facebook, I have a Facebook group called Real Business Coaching. And that's the, that's the next best way to reach me, is Real Business Coaching in Facebook groups. And there's all kinds of content up there so people can learn something about me before they reach out to me if they like.

Susan Sly 39:20
I love it. Well, Todd, thank you so much for being on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship and definitely keeping it raw and real.

Susan Sly 39:28
All right, everyone. Well, this has been another episode in the books. And if you've heard about something in this episode, you want to find out more, don't hesitate to reach out. We'd love to hear from you. And if this episode has been helpful, inspiring, which we hope it has, please go ahead share on social, tag Todd and I and you know on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, on LinkedIn, wherever it is, you're on social, you'll probably find us. So with that, God bless, go rock your day, and I will see you in a future episode.

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Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is the CEO and Founder of Step Into Your Power Inc., the Co-CEO of RadiusAI, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of five and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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