Business Lunch podcast

Important Conversations to Have with Your Business Partner with Roland Frasier and Ryan Deiss

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Honest communication with your business partner while things are going well can prevent disaster down the road.


On today’s episode of Business Lunch, co-hosts and business partners, Roland Frasier and Ryan Deiss, talk about something they hope their listeners will never experience in their business: mutiny in the ranks. 


They discuss the three biggest challenges co-founders face and how to proactively avoid them and ensure the success of your company.


They also share two big things businesses can do RIGHT NOW if they want to grow: 


  1. Implement an operating system that will give you more free time as you scale. Find out more about the Scalable OS Accelerator here
  2. Take your business partner (or your whole team) to Traffic & Conversion Summit LIVE in San Diego, CA on September 13th-15th. 


When a Business Partnership Goes Sour


Great Jones is a direct-to-consumer cookware company that has become really popular the past few years, especially among the Instagram crowd. Two women, who were great friends in college, went off to start their own careers. One was a designer and understood branding and social; the other was more of an operations person. 


Then they decided to combine their talents and started a company together. They were great at PR, and everything looked perfect, but behind the scenes, it was a mess. One cofounder pushed the other out, but the one who got pushed out had a better relationship with the team, so the whole team walked. 


Roland and Ryan know it’s not always as cut and dry as good person/bad person. Ryan and his former partner, Perry, had ideological differences. Ryan thought Perry was a jerk, but now realizes he had to own his part. 


Generally, Roland and Ryan agree, but sometimes they don’t. So, how do they ensure disagreements don’t lead to infighting?


What to Know Before You Go Into Business Together


First, be careful who you go into business with. Don’t go into business with someone with ideological differences just because you’re friends. If one of you wants to do good, and one of you just wants to make money, it will be hard to work together.


Make sure your values align. Take an honest look at your work ethic, finances, family values. Are you workaholics or do you take vacations? Do you want to take money out of the company or leave it in?


They recommend grabbing a long-form partnership agreement from LegalZoom and taking a look at questions like these:



  • What happens if one of us wants to leave? 
  • What happens if we need more money in the company?
  • What happens if we get deadlocked? 



Ideally, you want partners with complementary skills so there can be clear divisions of labor. You each play different roles in the company. But you’ll still have to communicate.


Roland is a huge believer in consensus. If he wants to do something and Ryan doesn’t, but Ryan decides to disagree and commit, as far as the rest of the team is concerned, Ryan is all in. Just like there have been times when Roland doesn’t agree, but he goes along with it anyway.


Bottom line: they put on a united front for the team. “We don’t fight in front of the kids,” they say.


The Three Biggest Challenges Co-Founders Face


The Business Insider article about the Great Jones mutiny addressed three big challenges these business partners didn’t handle well. 


#1: Hiring too many junior team members at high levels 


When one of the team members wasn’t doing their job, one of the cofounders had to pick up the slack, and they started getting resentful about it. 


#2: Misalignment of vision 


One of the partners wanted to pursue profitability, and the other wanted to shoot the moon. Unicorn or die.


#3: One cofounder was the face of the brand with the other behind the scenes 


This is a recipe for bitterness and resentment, not to mention that having multiple faces of your business makes it stronger.


Have Those Hard, Healthy Conversations From the Beginning


What relief valves can you put in place for potential resentment? “Let’s have a conversation now about all the ways we might piss each other off,” Roland and Ryan say.


They suggest sitting down with your partner and your favorite adult beverage, setting aside a couple hours. “It’s therapeutic and oddly fun.”


What do you talk about? Money and time are biggies. Maybe it takes you 20 hours a week to get your job done, and it takes your partner 80. You need to have a conversation about that. Are you focused on equal time commitment or getting things done?


One huge question to ask is: “What does it look like for us to get divorced?” 


It feels counterintuitive to ask this when things are going well, but it’s actually the best time. Address those tough things now while you have good emotional capital with each other, before something gets out of control.


Have these conversations regularly—on good days. Don’t wait to have them when your money is almost gone or resentment is already festering. It’s like this: “Because things are so awesome, I think we need to have a conversation about what it will look like if things get less awesome.” 


It’s an imperfect world, and we’re all imperfect people. But honest communication means two imperfect people can run an awesome company together for a long time.

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  • Business Lunch podcast

    15 Tips for Building a Business You Can Sell


    Roland Frasier is on a mission to help entrepreneurs become rich and happy. One of the best ways to do that is to build businesses you can sell at a profit.   Today’s episode is bite-sized and snackable, designed to give you five minutes’ worth of valuable tips that will take your life and business to the next level.   Here are some things to think about when you’re looking to sell your business, things to have together before you go to market, tips for creating a business that has high appeal to someone looking to acquire.   #1: Make sure you’re in an industry that’s trending up.    You don’t want to sell if your industry is out of favor right now. That’s a terrible time to sell.    #2: Make sure you have a depth of management team in place.    You need to have enough people to take over and run it if you, or any of your key people, leave.   #3: Have SOPs in place.    The more standard operating procedures you have, the easier it is for someone else to come in and run the business.   #4: Identify acquisition targets that your company could buy or be a part of.    A lot of private equity firms are looking for a platform company that can then be built by acquiring other companies.    #5: Make sure you’re in the top 5 in your niche.   Obviously, the more competitors you’re beating out, the better.    #6: Be mindful of the sector growth prospects for your industry.   #7: Elevate the stability and quality of your revenue.   #8: Ensure that your business model is a proven one.    #9: Grow your customer base.    #10: Make sure you’ve got an online footprint.   #11: Work on your brand recognition.    #12: Give back and do good in the world.   Pay attention to DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and ESG (how sensitive to the environment is your company?).   #13: Know the barriers to entry.   #14: Make sure your business isn’t highly dependent on equipment that will wear out or need to be upgraded.   #15: Make sure you have reliable supply chains.    Selling a business that meets all these requirements will take you down the path to being rich and happy.   RESOURCES: Scalable.Co The Ready to Lead podcast DigitalMarketer Podcast Perpetual Traffic podcast   OUR PARTNERS: Get a free proposal from Conversion Fanatics Get 3% cash back on your ad spend with AdCard Get Roland’s book, Zero Down, FREE
  • Business Lunch podcast

    Building a Billion Dollar Business with Chip Wilson, Founder of Lululemon


    Lululemon founder Chip Wilson shares his hard-earned wisdom about all things business.   Host Roland Frasier sat down with Chip at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2021 to pick his brain about anything and everything that has made him successful in life—above and beyond lululemon. From his philosophy on goal-setting to reading 100 books a year to inventing barbecue shorts and dog walker pants, Chip always has plenty of opinions, both popular and unpopular.   Listen in to their brilliant rapid-fire conversation.   Why does Chip have a thing for the number 43? Chip says everyone gets glasses at 43. When people get glasses, they think, “Oh my god, I’m getting old.” Couples look at each other. Their kids are teenagers and don’t need their parents anymore. “Who are we together?” they ask. “Am I married to the right person? Do I live in the right city?” Chip thinks everyone should change their name at age 43. Unless they have a really cool name like Chip.   What is Chip’s philosophy on personal development and goals? Chip says people tell you “a smart goal is achievable.” But he wonders if maybe we should fail at about 50% of our goals, as part of a training program to learn how to fail in life. When he first started setting goals, it was all about him. Life now is nearly perfect for him in every way. So, in order to stimulate himself, it has to be about other people winning. He moved from everything being about him to giving with no expectation of return. The Law of Attraction kicked in, and he started attracting people who were in it for something bigger than themselves.    What are Chip’s favorite business books? When Chip was 19, he was working a construction job and had an opportunity to read the top 100 books. When he was 42, he listened to the top 100 business/health books as audio books and came to the conclusion that there are a handful of books that say it all. His top three are: Good to Great (Jim Collins); 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey); and Psychology of Achievement (Brian Tracy).   What does Chip mean when he talks about linguistic adaptation?  Words are always changing meaning, and we have to adapt. As far as culture goes, the term “values” is out, Chip says. “Vision” is out, and “purpose” is in. Chip took 30 terms out of those books he read, and that’s what he runs his companies on. “Conditions and satisfaction.” When he’s discussing a project with somebody, there’s no end to the conversation unless they have conditions and satisfaction and a done-by date. “Integrity.” Integrity means I do what I say I will do when I say I will do it, and if I can’t get it done, I’ll go clean up my mess and reset new conditions and satisfaction. When everybody knows the terms and what they mean, then we’re all on the same page.    What did Chip do as a lead magnet that was a huge success?  A lead magnet used to be called a loss leader. Roland says, if you call it a lead magnet, you can charge a lot of money to sell information about it. Chip had a lead magnet with yoga mats to get people in his lululemon stores. Yoga mats were easy to make and while other people needed to make a profit, he didn’t. He owned his manufacturer. He just needed to get people in stores or online to get people to buy the clothing.    What was it like to sell lululemon? When Chip was getting ready to go public with lululemon, the board of directors said he had to divest from the manufacturing, but the manufacturing was a critical part of the vertical retail model. Boards of Directors operate out of fear of the U.S. litigation system, Chip says. They become mediocre and fail to become great. At the time, Chip had three very young boys and two older boys. He had missed a lot of his older kids’ lives and didn’t want to do that again. So he traded in this amazing company to be a family man.    What avatars did Chip create that became so successful? He created Ocean, a 32-year-old single professional woman, who owns a condo, is super stylish, travels, is athletic and super healthy. Ocean’s male counterpart is a 37-year-old man named Duke. You reach these people by perfecting the concept of vertical retail.    The ultimate vertical business is where you make something in a factory in Vietnam, someone in Norway orders a piece, and it gets shipped right from the factory to the person. If you own your factory, your shipping, your ecommerce, your marketing, you can take all those margins instead of contracting it out.    What’s the advantage of bootstrapping compared to having a lot of money? Chip started a company six years ago called Kit and Ace, cashmere you can put in the washer and dryer. He says they had too much money and threw too much at it. He bootstrapped lululemon for a long time. When you’re bootstrapping, that’s where the very best creative ideas come from. When you have a lot of money, there’s no necessity to drive the invention.    What are some of those creative ideas that came from bootstrapping? Back in the day, he couldn’t compete with Nike and Adidas with getting celebrity athletes, but he figured out that there’s a level of athlete right under that not getting anything. They’re the heroes in their community and have the most authenticity. Because he didn’t have the money Nike did, he spent one-millionth of the money and offered free clothes to yoga instructors. They were in front of 40-50 people every day and more authentic than a rich athlete. Other past creative ideas include BBQ shorts and dogwalker pants.    If you want to find out more about Chip, check out his website. He’s technically on social media, but someone else runs those accounts for him. “I don’t need an extra dollar,” he says. “I don’t need another friend. I’d rather be home spending time with my wife and kids.”   RESOURCES: Scalable.Co The Ready to Lead podcast DigitalMarketer Podcast Perpetual Traffic podcast   OUR PARTNERS: Get a free proposal from Conversion Fanatics Get 3% cash back on your ad spend with AdCard Get Roland’s book, Zero Down, FREE  
  • Business Lunch podcast

    6 Not-So-Obvious Productivity Tips: Being Rich and Happy with Roland Frasier


    Roland has 6 tips to help you be more productive, and he shares them concisely in this bite-sized episode.   They’re each a little bit outside the normal time-blocking and schedule-setting templates and tips we’re used to, but they work for Roland and just might for you too.   #1: Develop an indifferent attitude about things you can’t change. Just decide not to care. You can’t change these things. They are what they are. Who cares? Stop letting them bother you so much.   #2: Deprioritize the tasks that are stressing you out. Especially if there’s really no benefit to focusing on them. How we prioritize tasks in time management is important. And you have to constantly re-evaluate tasks you’ve already prioritized to make sure they still make the cut.   #3: If you’re burnt out, take time to recharge. If you find yourself unable to focus, unhappy, or dreading something in particular, take some time off to relax and do something you enjoy. This will seem like it’s making you less productive, because it’s taking time away from things you need to get done, but you’ll come back more focused and able to get things done more quickly and easily.   #4: Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is important. First, forgive yourself for things not going the way you want. Instead of putting a label on yourself (“I’m not good at this.”), forgive yourself for mistakes and failures. Failure is really the only way we learn how to be successful. If we do something right and succeed, that could have just been luck.    Studies show that, in a culture where people are punished for failure, they’re typically 230% less productive than people in a culture that accepts failure. Forgive yourself and others around you when you/they don’t achieve the exact results you wanted.   #5: Use the scientific method to find your most productive working habits. Scientists have a control (the way things have always been done) and an experiment to see if it can be done better. Introduce new habits that might make you more productive. Test those out for 30 days and keep the ones that work best.   #6: Create hard boundaries around unproductive distractions. Set limits for social media and emails. How many times will you be on a Zoom call? Have a schedule so you spend time where you want to spend it instead of letting the world do it for you. Schedule time for yourself (read, relax, watch TV), time with your friends and family, and time for work. If you’ve got all three of these things in your schedule and block those hours out, then you’ll get more accomplished than any other way.   You also need to talk to yourself and review all of this every Sunday evening, and make sure it’s all scheduled how you want it. Then talk to your family or your significant other, and ask if there’s anything on your template you should tweak. Then, on Monday morning, ask your boss or your team if they have any changes to your work schedule.   And there you have it—six not-so-obvious tips to help you be more productive.   RESOURCES: Scalable.Co The Ready to Lead podcast DigitalMarketer Podcast Perpetual Traffic podcast   OUR PARTNERS: Get a free proposal from Conversion Fanatics Get 3% cash back on your ad spend with AdCard Get Roland’s book, Zero Down, FREE
  • Business Lunch podcast

    7 Rules for Being Rich and Happy with Roland Frasier


    Roland has 7 rules he follows when it comes to money, and he shares them succinctly in this bite-sized episode.   #1: Invest in quality over quantity. If you’re buying a stock, if you’re investing in a company, if you’re trying to buy a suit, if you’re buying anything in life, if you invest in quality over quantity, you’re going to be happy. Quality lasts. Quality gives you greater utility. Quality generally gives you greater happiness and way fewer problems.    #2: Invest in yourself. The investment that will pay the biggest dividend is always the investment in yourself. Whether that’s having a great coach, joining a Mastermind of successful people, educating yourself through books/courses/trainings, investing in yourself will generate the greatest returns. You are a renewable resource. You are able to take your skill anywhere. The more skills you have, the smarter you’ll be about making choices, and the more options and choices you’ll have. Always invest in yourself.   #3: Use a barbell investing philosophy. The bulk of your investments—90% of the things you’re investing—should be conservative. Roland has a lot of money in cash so he can take advantage of opportunities when they come up. Invest that remaining 10% in things that could pay off in big ways. Preserve 90% of your cash, have 10% at risk, and know that a few of those risky investments could pay off huge.   #4: Think in buckets. You should have a bucket for cash, a bucket for philanthropy and doing good for the world, a bucket for doing things with/for your family, a bucket for travel/entertainment, and a bucket for savings. Then, every month you allocate a certain percentage of your money into each bucket. This way you’ll always have money for the things you need. It’s a great way to manage your money.   #5: Your business should always work for you, not the other way around. Roland sees so many people who get into a business and stick with it no matter what, because they don’t want to fail. That’s a terrible mistake. Give a business a certain amount of runway and capital, and if it’s not performing, you don’t keep feeding it. Let it go. If it’s not working for you in the time period you’ve allocated to make it go, stop investing in it. It will change your life when you stop working in businesses that really shouldn’t exist.    #6: Buy back your time first. Whatever it is that you’re doing right now—from walking the dog to mowing the grass to doing your laundry to cooking meals—if you don’t enjoy doing them, use your money to hire someone to do them for you. If they’re worth less than what you could be earning doing something else with that time, then pay someone else to do them. That buys back your time so you can spend your time doing more valuable things.    #7: Money serves to buy you freedom and options. This one is more of a mindset principle. Money is nothing more than a store of value, so you can do things in the future. It gives you options to do whatever you want to do. It gives you the freedom to spend less time making money. If the pursuit of money is costing you your freedom, or it’s limiting your options in a negative way, then don’t do it. Use that as a guideline. It should govern everything you do. Money should provide you with freedom and options. Don’t sacrifice freedom and options to get money.   RESOURCES: Scalable.Co The Ready to Lead podcast DigitalMarketer Podcast Perpetual Traffic podcast   OUR PARTNERS: Get a free proposal from Conversion Fanatics Get 3% cash back on your ad spend with AdCard Get Roland’s book, Zero Down, FREE  
  • Business Lunch podcast

    Finding the Right Business Partner with Roland Frasier and Ryan Deiss


    What makes a good business partner, and how do you know if you are good business partner material?    In today’s episode, co-hosts Roland Frasier and Ryan Deiss, who happen to be longtime friends and business partners, talk about what it means to be a “partner person.” If you’re not a “partner person,” can you become one? And what does that involve? Related: how do you go about finding another “partner person” to partner with?   Before they dive into all that, they take a quick detour into where to get your funding when you’re getting ready to start a business.   How To Fund Your Business Roland does a decent amount of consulting for high-quality people who are looking at new business opportunities. He talks them through where their funding will come from—bootstrapping vs. raising capital—and how to figure out what it will cost. What are the resources they’ll need to make this new thing go?   You’ve always got to start with your budget. Don’t dive in without knowing that. How much money will you need, and where’s the best place to get it? Will you self-fund? Let the company fund itself? Or go out and get funding from an outside source, like angel investors or venture capitalists? There’s also franchising and licensing. Pick a path, decide how much you need, and state upfront at what point you’ll fold if things aren’t going well.    When you’re looking to start a new business, the first rule of thumb has always been to find a need and fill it. And figure out ahead of time if people will pay for your end result. Do people want what we’re offering? Dry test it to make sure. Don’t take people’s money and then not deliver. And how do you decide if you need/want a partner? And how do you pick the right one?   How to Be a Good Partner Ryan attended a recent Mastermind where they talked about people who make good business partners and people who don’t play well with others. Partner people and not-partner people. What does it mean to be a partner person? How can you tell if you’re one or not? If you know you’re not, can you become one?   When Roland was practicing law, he got to see a lot of people forming partnerships, many of which didn’t end well (hence the need for bringing the law into the picture). He always tells people they should do a partnership agreement, because partnership expectations are hard to agree on if you don’t write them down.    A history of successful partnerships is a good indicator that someone is a partner person. If you’ve been in litigation with people you were in business with, that’s a bad sign. If they’ve sued or been sued by everyone they’ve been in business with, that’s a problem. If they talk crap about former partners, also not a good sign.   Good partner people own their stuff when a partnership goes bad. They don’t blame everything on the other person. Honest communication is really important. You need people who are aware of their own faults and tell you what challenges you might have with them as a partner. Solid self-awareness and ownership and the willingness to change are all important.    When you go in, you have to believe that together you’ll be better than you were separately. The sum has to be bigger than the parts. You also need to complement each other. Ryan had a partner once who was too much like him; their skill sets were too similar. They couldn’t stay partners. You need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.    The other piece is that you need to see value in other people’s strengths. Non-partner people tend to devalue the strengths that other people have. They think the thing they’re really great at is the only thing. You need to see the other person’s skill set as being equally valuable. You can’t treat your partner like an employee. It’s frustrating when you’re in a partnership and the person is me me me all the time. You want to hear “we” and “us.”   A good partner excels at conflict resolution. Roland likes partnering with people who have long-term relationships. Those require you to get past challenges you’ll inevitably have, get comfortable with people who don’t think exactly like you. Is this person’s tendency to run at the first sign of trouble/difficulty, or do they stick around and work things out?   The Good Partner Checklist So, let’s look at all of these characteristics in one place. And, remember, this checklist isn’t just for finding a good partner; it’s also for being a good partner. A good partner:   Has a history of successful partnerships Owns their own crap Is self-aware and willing to change Has complementary skill sets Values other people’s strengths Is good at conflict resolution   Partnership isn’t for everyone. Some people work best on their own. Roland and Ryan aren’t those people though. Roland loves partners. He doesn’t own 100% of any of his companies. And Ryan says, “I’m not just a partner person; I’m freaking co-dependent.”   Look at all the successful partnerships out there and study how they do it. If you want it bad enough, work hard to find the right partner and, more importantly, be the right partner.  RESOURCES: Scalable.Co The Ready to Lead podcast DigitalMarketer Podcast Perpetual Traffic podcast Episode 48 of Business Lunch with Tucker Max   OUR PARTNERS: Get a free proposal from Conversion Fanatics Get 3% cash back on your ad spend with AdCard

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