How To Have Strategy In Business
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
How To Have Strategy In Business
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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say that you know education and research is is always key if there's something you want to learn more of or get on is is you know double down your efforts on the understanding of what it is you're trying to do um i always say that's that's the the best way sometimes you know information the right information can can be a game changer and it's out there right and it's just about it's about locating it it's about getting it um into your into your hands and into your mindset to use um outwardly and that's you know that could be a mentor that could be um you know a business uh strategy coach that could be you know anybody a book and and it's just about getting it and then applying it so you know get the knowledge and then apply what you're learning into your business right [Music] everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great expert episode today where we're going to talk a lot about a lot of things and i'll be with uh quan karadagi if i can say the name as at least as close as i can to being correct but some of the things we'll talk about is uh you know the strategy of business and how you do competitive and in the industry analysis and strategic planning and implementation and how to get into or how to get into making a mark in business culture and how to build a team people or people process and systems positioning your business and setting yourself apart how to expand your business via acquisition and then exit there looking at exit strategies for acquisition and maybe a little bit of finding your place with other business partners a lot of good things that we'll hopefully have a bit of time to chat about and with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast juan devon thanks for having me on man um there's a lot of topics that i gave you there hopefully you'll be able to do them all justice and uh yeah it's a pleasure to be here absolutely always plenty of fun things to talk about so before we dive into the the topic and the expertise of han uh maybe just uh for those of you that haven't heard the original uh episode definitely make sure to go back and listen to a little bit of quan's journey and his inventive journey episode um that's a a little while back and then uh but uh for those that either haven't caught up on those episodes are unwilling to go back and listen which i definitely invite them to do give your give us a quick introduction as to who you are and a little bit about your background yeah thanks man um you know i started off in fitness as a personal trainer you know in the original podcast we kind of talked about the journey before that which was a lot of you know kind of finding my way and then going into you know personal training was um sort of the way that i found what i wanted to do and i enjoyed the you know passion and purpose if you will marry together there so from fitness got into you know management um stuck with fitness there and then met business partners and we kind of opened um oh we did open a few gyms and went on to the business owner route so uh you know personal trainer or jim rat if you will personal trainer fitness manager and then business owner so um you know it was it was the learning of it of both of them which was the fitness and business side that kind of led me to where i am today no definitely makes sense and so now is now now with that much is a bit of an introduction and kind of is a background jumping into the the topic at hand one of the things that we've talked a lot about or before the episode was on uh you know doing a competitive and industry analysis so talk a little bit about what that what first of all what that means i mean i think people in general get hate i should probably understand what's going on in the industry you know what my competitors are doing but why does it matter what does it make sense and what does it involve you know it's a great question we were looking at um just to give you an idea of defining our first gym took us about 150 locations right to scout and look for and um we always you know you have a franchise team backing you with anytime fitness so we would look for the the you know demographics of obviously you know um as an industry as you know is there demand for um for your product right uh can you make it in this in this industry um you know and is it viable do you have a viable competitive position with your competition right so for us it was big box gym so you know uh many type of studios boutiques you know and and things like that so analyzing kind of the landscape of what you're trying to get into and what you're positioning an offer is right you know for us it was looking at demographics right so population per one mile um a median income and then looking for you know competition nearby how far how close was competition and what were they doing right what were they not doing so well and where did we fit in between where we could have you know snagged some of the market share uh in between that and and that's kind of what you want to find where it aligns your product with the demand of of today so it's really just analyzing uh the industry your competitors what they do and and you know um just being real honest about it and saying you know is this product viable so with with the brand we had brand recognition we had support versus a mom and bob jim where you kind of don't have that so you have a little more work cut out for you and and that's kind of the scope of the of the analysis portion there and obviously one a couple questions so because first of all 152 locations is quite a few locations and so what was it that you know so you go through 152 and get i had a few questions but what was the one that out of when you finally got to the 152nd or 15th or the one that you finally decided on what were the criteria what did you look at what set it apart from the 151 152 other locations that weren't work right for you you know it's a great question we look for you want enough parking right so no one wants to go to the gym and not have parking right you don't want to drive around and and do that so that was number one number two size of the location right so is it like in a good visibility does it have the um you know good anchors next to it like anchor shops such as like you know a big supermarket where you'll get a lot of foot traffic right um the number three and four would would be you know the area in itself is it easily accessible um is it like what we like to call a home run gym you know is it a lot of cars driving by is there a lot of you know again visibility and um you know the the way that you build out right because construction is important so how much would that cost you know because these these constructions are these build-outs you know can get closer to the million-dollar mark as you start to build interior gyms and um you don't want to go too much into debt trying to build your dream gym um and because we've seen that happen with other other owners as well and you just you end up being tied to that loan into that rent so the rent model was also important in that analysis saying okay how many members do we need to break even and is this viable and is it sustainable and can we do it you know now one a couple of follow-up questions to that so once you do that you know how now what period of time are you doing this to in other words when you're doing a competitor analysis looking at all these locations was it a matter of a few days a few weeks a few months or how long did you take as you were finding that perfect location you know as far as the gyms are concerned when we got into it we knew that they were already there and coming from big box gyms all of us we worked for you know corporate gyms and the capabilities of the competitors uh was kind of just already the writing on the wall we knew they have million dollar market marketing spends and um you know uh outreach and just more capabilities and resources at their disposal right so um with that knowledge we knew right away that that's what kind of what we were up against so we knew the gyms so the competitor analysis kind of we already knew what they were already doing right so the only thing that was going to differentiate us was as a small business was to you know bootstrap more gorilla style more and do the things that large corporations took longer to do this right so innovate and just kind of um you know band together and just be more adaptable and flexible in the process so uh that that's that's what helped us and then you know when we really got down we said okay what ads or promotions are they running what's their price point what training things do they offer that we can kind of take and reformulate or re-um purpose so you know using existing models and and finding you know what the problem is with that model and how can we improve upon it right can we do no contracts can we do lower uh monthly payments so that flexibility is key in the small business one one kind of follow-up question to 12x it sounds like he has looked in a ton of locations did a ton of research really understood both the market as far as what you guys should be looking at independent of competition as far as location and geography as well as with competition how that all factors in now how did you go about getting all that information in other words it sounded like you know you looked at locations you looked at average income you looked at demographics you looked at you know what is their surrounding what are competitors doing which is great and it's a lot of data but how did you even go about finding out that you hired a third-party firm and they did it all for you you bootstrapped and did it yourself you went and knocked doors and asked people hey how much money do you make or how did you kind of go about figuring a lot of that their information out to make the best decision you could yeah no that's a great point so you know in the beginning there the you know beauty of a franchise i like franchises is because of the support network they give you right so you get a real estate team and that real estate team you know maps out everything and how it's looking and if it matches these key metrics that they kind of go after which is the parking the the median income these these type of areas right where you want to come into and so we had a lot of that done for us and then you know any landlord anybody that's kind of you you uh go out to show interest in we'll provide you a demographics report and then we also did an independent analysis where we kind of just drove around the area right so don't just get out and get on the ground there try to drive around and get a feel for it see see what's happening in the area and get eyes out there so um when we did that we used uh you know independent analysis combined was like a swat which was a strength weakness um opportunity threat um assessment and we used the five forces analysis which was um you know threat of entry threat of rivalry um threat of substitutes and um you know that i'm blanking on the other two there but uh i'll circle back around but basically just analyzes each one you know a substitute would be something like yoga right so we knew there was yoga studios around but they wouldn't really replace a gym but they could take market share because they offered yoga which is a form of exercise as a substitute to the gym so um we just looked at all the angles there and try to you know make sure that we had that positioning even though those were present no i i think that definitely makes it makes a lot of sense and it sounds like both you know you had a great team behind you had a lot of experience and made it to you know a better process as far as figuring that out so now as you kind of said okay we've got a better idea of the industry what uh promotions are we offering what price points how can we do something different how we do something better find that perfect location and go through all of that analysis and then you know kind of the next thing we talked about was almost strategic planning and implementation of the words how did you take all that data and start to formulate the plan and how do you know and and there's a gen even a broader question how do other business do that so if they go out they do all that competitive analysis they get all the data they have as you know is best you know never going to be a perfect data set you're never going to have all the information but as much as you can reasonably gather how did you know how did you then take all that and formulate your strategy you know it's a great question we when we met in the beginning there was i mean still three of us and we would we would kind of meet on a weekly basis daily basis and sort of talk about where we were headed right so always forward thinking always trying to innovate and and figure out what the next step is right so you know what can we do better what can we do different so a lot of you know believe it or not over 90 of of strategy doesn't get implemented properly right so we knew um you know the way that we wanted to formulate it was to say okay not to get stuck in the analysis paralysis phase right so you're never going to have enough data you're never going to have enough information but we knew okay if we met and this was a viable thing that we could try and if it didn't work out we were able to pull out of it so we did it was calling a real options analysis right so we we said okay let's let's get this thing going and we'll invest this much you know a little bit a small amount and if it works great if not we bail right and it allowed us to you know um you know what's called the rapid uh you know rapid failure right or rapid growth where you try to immediately come out with the you know minimum viable product get it going see if it works if it doesn't you know retreat come back reformulate and try again so we we just met and you know it ensued a lot of uh disagreements arguments and um you know but the beauty of it was in comparison to large organizations as small business owners you don't have a lot of um obstacles to to cross just you and whoever you're involved with whether it's yourself and your business partner so we just quickly got to solutions and figured out if it made sense for the the customer the member and we were able to steal a profit then this was something that would um would be you know viable so now you take that so now how do you extrapolate that for other businesses right in other words how do they gather that data work for their planning and implementation because you know to some degree every industry is different yet a lot of the tools and that are the same so kind of having gone through that and figured that out and gone through and taken pretty what sounds like pretty in-depth process what are some of the takeaways or what are some of the things that people should be looking at or working to implement as they're looking to say hey is this a good idea and how do we implement it and what should we be considering any thoughts or takeaways yeah you know it's um it's a great question there so the the most important thing is to remember your your product right or what your offer is and the um is it in line with the the mission values peoples and process your capabilities as an organization is this something that um you're staying true to right to yourself and to your company and to not get stuck in the research phase too long right um the most important thing is to do is what they call the critical um step to success which is you know taking action on the strategy you do choose and you know starting off with you know not too much of a risk overhead and seeing if the demand is out there so i always like to test demand first right is the is the demand there and can we fill the need with the demand so i think that's important before you start anything is to you know do like um some surveying and some some research into you know pay the cost of what somebody to do that analysis for you and give you the data and say okay i have this now um the demand is there people do want you know for example team or group training we have it now let's launch this instead of you know coming up with the idea and then sort of blindly going at it that way so you know don't get stuck in the research phase implement um you know low overhead strategies and then reformulate if need be no i think that that uh definitely because it one what you know we you typically you have two sides of the extreme right one side of the extreme is hey we're just going to fly by the seat of our pants we're not going to do any data or analysis we we have a gut feeling we know this is right and you know gut feelings are great and you should you know that you can always factor that in but you should have something to back it up and make the decision so that you're not purely just going off your gut and by the other token you can also say hey we're going to you know we're going to research this out and you're always continually researching and never implementing and ever doing and so and never all that research doesn't actually or implement or you know come into fruition with any action and it doesn't do any good either so there is that balancing effect if you have to say hey we're going to gather as much reasonable data as needs be to make this decision it's not going to be perfect and then we're going to move forward nonetheless in order to continue to try things out and continue to improve it so now we'll shift gears just a little bit because one of the other things we talked about is that you guys have done is you know look to build as you build the business to build a culture and also to build a team and that kind of has two parts one is you know you have busi you have business partners and you're trying to find your position within the business partners and where you are with the company and how you delegate and then you're also bringing new people on that are employees and aren't going to be partners but you're wanting to further that culture to the employees that you bring them on so kind of how did you go about both within your business partners and then as a company grows to keep that culture yeah it's it's great question man the you know the being that the business is you know essentially comprised of what you know people processes and systems right is you know are the people that you're hiring in line with the overall messaging or organizational direction of if you will where we're headed right do they do they love fitness do they like working out do they have a story do they want to help people and are they people uh persons or people's people right and that's you know we look for that right so you know are they easy to get along with and talk to are they reasonable they process things well and uh we we kind of just went for the um the ones that just kind of were easy best way for me to say is it easy to get along with you know was it was it easy to uh communicate and and did we share the same ideas and values there so i think the value alignment's key which is you know for us it's it's growth um initiative right and you know um there's a lot of freedom involved in it too everybody has kind of their own schedule and um we don't we don't mandate things on them and we allow them to come from that place of you know responsibility so you know freedom and responsibility within the framework is what we always try to say there and and having them have that autonomy so um once those things kind of click you just kind of it's hard to describe but you kind of just get a good feeling about it you know you're like this person um it's easy we get along it's cool the interview is a big a big thing there so um a lot of it has to do with just that that gym culture which is just a sense of camaraderie and and coming together and you know some people come there for for therapy and they talk and you hear stories in there and i think it's just fitting in with with that that population no i think that definitely makes it makes sense and and finding those people you know you're always looking for someone that you can get along with you're going to be working with them for a long period of time and you're a lot of times as miss said it's every bit as much as as a marriage in the sense you're going to be seeing them sometimes a lot more than you do your spouse or your kids especially when you're getting a business up and going and that's a lot of your likelihood and yet you spend a whole lot more time dating and courting and figuring out who you're going to marry then a lot of times who you bring out as a partner or who you bring on and it's going to be a long term now one question i'll ask is you know and i'd say most business owners learn this and they have to to some degree figure it out the hard way is there anybody that you brought on you don't need to get into names or details that you know as much as you don't as you feel or don't feel comfortable but that weren't good hireds or weren't a good fit from the culture and then did you know what what did you learn about the hiring processes buying as far as finding that bit or finding out that yeah definitely you know some of our in our northern california um you know the we we looked at we did have that obviously and dealing with you know 15 to 20 employees was was a challenge in that so we we learned a lot in um you know hiring basically as quickly as we could to develop them and onboard them right so and and learning in that phase okay not just hiring out of convenience right not just hiring because we we are you know not we don't have a big pool of talent let's just go for it and we will figure it out and hopefully they'll work out you know you never want to get to that point where you're you're kind of certain i don't say settling but you know and lack a better word selling for just because you you have a fear that you may not get another person is to quickly hire so taking your time right so we learned that you know if we weren't stoked or excited about the person coming on we just said you know what this this probably isn't a good it's not easy it doesn't sound like it's going to be easy so let's let's move on um the onboarding phase is critical um having that employer team member feel like they belong as part of the organization and um having them to uh you know showing them of the process of it and having them feel you know connection right away what was huge as far as like retaining them um constant development you know always investing in their in their growth whether it be through business books seminars and you know training on site was to always invest in their education to make sure that they're learning and growing consistently um and and that was kind of the things we learned there and um you know documentation obviously is huge uh we have to document and talk about everything and and doing everything kind of by the book on that end so you know we we learned a lot in that way of um organizational um stuff structure and getting things you know um on paper so you know it's you just learn a lot with a kind of trial by fire so to speak and um thankfully we didn't have any negative experiences and um but we learned a lot with every every hire and when hires leave we we ask ourselves you know what happened here what what went wrong why did this person not stay or not stick around and it's it's gonna ask the follow-up question which is what were some of the things that did go wrong or cause that believe or cause you to let sub would go you know it was you know missing the things that sort of they give you clues on so they say hey you know i you know um don't know this thing here i don't know x or i'm not available during these times and you know the the lack of communication on our end was um you know trying to make them into what we wanted them to be rather than having them fall into their their own natural strengths right so the the hiring process so critical that we said okay from now on we got to make sure we have alignment before we move on and hire them so so lapses in communication um not kind of um you know hiring out of convenience and then trying to uh take them to where you want them to be rather than them already being there with their capabilities and what they're capable of so you know um trying to make someone uh be something that they don't aren't passionate about being right so that you want that already there and you want them to be proactive to bring that to the team no and i think that that definitely makes sense and one of the things you'd hit on earlier is i think one of the things that i probably found out earlier earlier on that uh that i did was doing wrong was on the idea of wanting to hire someone too quickly because a lot of times you get you know first of all i think you get into and you think oh everybody's going to work as hard as i am and everybody's going to be as dedicated and everybody's going to be excited and for the opportunity and then you hire somebody well they're not quite as excited as i am and not nothing against them because you know they don't have the same hey they're not the founder they're not the co-founder they're not an owner and so they're there for different motivations and different reasons and the things that get you excited about the business probably don't resonate with them but then even getting into you know oh everybody's going to work as hard as i am and they're they're going to do a good job and sometimes they do and sometimes they don't i think that too often you get into hey i'm just going to hire someone quickly because we need someone to fill a seat we're overwhelmed and we can't keep up with things and those are the times i think that you tend to make the worst hires is when you're rushing the process you're not slowing it down you're looking for someone you're settling and you're taking you know taking what is available and sometimes you know that works out great to get lucky and a lot of times you're saying hey really this we we should have slowed this down the beginning because we knew that it wasn't going to work out but we're kind of overlooking things because we're in a crunch or in a bind right right and a touch up on that too i think uh you know you brought some good points is the um the leadership and management um components right i think in the beginning phase it's easy as you know small business owners to like you said you know they're going to work as hard as me and just kind of assume um so i think the you know showing them that that leadership side which is you know the some of the softer skills right getting to know them um and and befriending them is is always helpful you know getting to know your team uh hanging out with them doing stuff together so we do activities all the time and and parties and stuff like that to reward you know so some of the things that great things that they've done because we just wouldn't be anywhere without you know just just team members and solid team members so um the leadership component getting to know your team members and the management side is is coming in and coaching when you need to make sure things are getting done the right way um you know my favorite quotes is you know leadership is you know doing uh the right things and management is doing things right and it's it's making sure that they that you verify the things that they do and teaching them and coaching them when they're not doing it right so that things don't fall through the cracks and and um you know expectations get met and then you don't have lapses in communication and loss of trust which leads to you know negative outcomes so you know it's it's there's you just got to kind of i want to say be there with them throughout the process and then you know slowly letting them go like you know getting the training wheels off and letting them handle the the bike on their own there if you will no i i definitely agree so was we're starting to wrap up and there's you know we had a thing there are a lot of things we could have talked about we hit through a lot of them and always always more things i'd love to talk chat about that we never quite have time but as we start to wrap up the podcast i always have one question the end of each expert episode so we'll go ahead and jump to that now which is we talked about a lot of things everything from doing competitive analysis and industry analysis to slowing down the process to building you know building the right team to doing you know implementation or planning and implementation to building the culture all those various things and there's a lot of great takeaways a lot of things that you could get started on and most of the time you're saying well there's a lot of things i could do but i can't do them all today so if there's just one thing you know something that if you were talking to a startup or small business owner that was just getting started or looking to grow what would be that one takeaway or the one thing that they should get started on i always say that you know education and research is is always key if there's something you want to learn more of or get on is is you know double down your efforts on on the understanding of what it is you're trying to do um i always say that's that's the the best way sometimes you know information the right information can can be a game changer and it's out there right and it's just about it's about locating it it's about getting it um into your into your hands and into your mind to use um outwardly and that's you know that could be a mentor that could be um you know a business uh strategy coach that could be you know anybody a book and and it's just about getting it and then applying it so you know get the knowledge and then apply what you're learning um into your business right and then start small by by reducing risk there and i think that's the most important step is you know business owners kind of have to be just you know voracious learners in today's um uh society two days in today's world in society as well is is constantly learning constantly improving your skill set you know um to stay relevant i would say that the number one recommendation is you know don't don't stay complacent always get new information improve and apply what you learn no i think that's a great takeaway i mean one of the things that i think that you oftentimes get bogged down with is when you're when you're busy especially with the startup is there's a lot of things that are just not mundane but have to get down there a lot of tasks and so you start you stop learning or you stop growing because you're focusing on getting everything done which i get you have to get everything done but if you when you stop learning once you stop growing once you stop seeing what the industry is doing and how you can improve and getting feedback and learning and those type of things then you start to or digress because you're not keeping ahead of what as others are doing and you're not keeping on the forefront and so you know one of the things my takeaway or you know kind of the thing i'd add on to that is one of the things i always do is i always go for a run in the morning i run about nine miles each morning and i'll listen to a podcast or i'll listen to a book on tape and i usually those you know it's not just a you know interesting or fictional podcast but it's always on something business really then half a time when i come into the team and say i was listening to this book for this podcast and then you know i it took for a while it took me to figure out i stepped back and like you know the podcast of the book really didn't have much related to what my thought was but it spawned that idea spurred that idea to hey here's something that we could try out or think about you know it's kind of that continual learning and sometimes it's you learn something and other times it's just a genesis for an idea and so i think always having that learning mentality and continuing to grow and continuing to analyze is a great way great thing to keep ahead of the business so well as people want to uh reach out to they want to find out more they want to be a franchisee they want to be a customer they want a client they want to be coming into your gym they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any are all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you and find out more oh yeah thanks man it's um you know my website is uh k-a-w-a-n-k-a-r-a-d-a-g-h-i which is my first and last name go on karadoggy.com um and you know if people are interested they can you know sign up to um i'm coming out with the book so it'll be it's about fitness and you can find on the website where they can come and it'll be called the the ten laws or the ten undisputed laws of fitness success so it's more based on the workout side but um that's kind of what we're what we're doing what i'm doing there and uh yeah come check me on the website drop me a line shoot me an email um and that's you know i'll be happy to respond uh i'm on my own there all right well i definitely encourage people to check it out and look forward to the book going they're going out and going live so that we can read that as well and continue to learn about fitness so well thank you again juan for coming on it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell your own expertise to share we'd love to have you on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show make sure to as a as a listener to subscribe and share as well so that everybody can find out about all of our awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else with your business just go to strategymeeting.com that's the time of this chapter always here to help thanks thanks again quan and what's the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks [Music]