Rob Braiman is a veteran, cereal entrepreneur, CEO, and founder of Cogent Analytics, a business development firm awarded “Financial Times fastest growing Companies 2021”. He has extensive knowledge across multiple industries on what it takes to grow and sustain a business in today’s environment.
Cogent Analytics – Talk to a professional advisor who is willing to help walk you through the challenges that you might be experiencing.
3 Value Bombs
1) With every great challenge comes a great opportunity.
2) If you believe in entrepreneurship, now is the right time.
3) Define roles and responsibilities. There has to be a measurement with how you want somebody to perform – KPI’s – (Key Performance Indicators). Empower employees to take responsibility for their participation in your company.
Thrivetime Show: Looking for a business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs just like you to increase their profitability by an average of 104% per year? Schedule your free consultation today with Clay Clark at ThrivetimeShow.com/fire!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: The Path To Hyper Growth With Rob Braiman
[1:19] – Rob shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- Profit and cash is king in a business, but it should not be what is driving you day to day. Good customer service, good care for the process, good care for the management of the business – this is the recipe to success
[2:39] – The background of Cogent Analytics and its founder and CEO.
- Rob build Cogent Analytics because he wanted to disrupt an industry he fell in love with.
- It seemed to have lost its way and it became more about what you could take, and less about the client and raising them up
[4:19] – What are the main factors that lead to fast growth in both your company and personal life?
- Rob developed a profit platform – the foundational pillars to building a business.
- Organizational engineering is about getting right hats to the right heads.
- Process engineering is about how to most efficiently produce or bring to market what you do.
- The measurement pillar is about informative and financial measurement.
- The profit platform was really a guide to draw people back to the fundamentals and help them deal with some of the poor or critical issues that affect business.
[6:27] – Organizational engineering.
- Knowing who you’ll hire, how you’ll make sure you have the right leadership structure in place, and what kind of team or culture you’ve developed within your company or firm.
- Organizational engineering really gets to the root of people, culture, retention, and training.
[8:31] – Rob’s secrets to being a successful entrepreneur.
- Most people start the journey of becoming an entrepreneur because they have a phenomenal skillset, a set of values, and the drive to do something of their own accord.
- All day long, entrepreneurs can talk about what they’re great at and why they believe in their product. But, most entrepreneurial presidents do not spend time in the planning phase, which is about communications and drawing the team as a whole to a common objective.
- The most important thing about entrepreneurship is that it’s a wealth creation vehicle.
- When you go into business, you have to plan your exit the day you open the door. And you should be equity mapping what your company is worth.
[14:51] – Fast growth scares a lot of people because they might lose their work-life balance. How can one achieve fast growth without losing that critical work-life balance?
- It’s critically important to work to live – not live to work.
- Define roles and responsibilities. There has to be a measurement with how you want somebody to perform – KPI’s – (Key Performance Indicators). Empower employees to take responsibility for their participation in your company.
[17:59] – What makes Cogent Analytics different from other consultant firms?
- They are always client-centric
- It’s about the structure, approach, and market penetration.
- They work hard every single day to build trust, confidence, and credibility with clients in the consulting industry
[21:29] – The next summit that Rob wants to climb.
- The last strategic arm of Cogent Analytics will be a private equity or investment group.
- They have clients who are undercapitalized.
- Some businesses go bankrupt just because they don’t capitalize.
[23:48] – Rob’s key takeaway and call to action for Fire Nation!
- With every great challenge comes a great opportunity. If you believe in entrepreneurship, now is the right time.
- Cogent Analytics – Talk to a professional advisor who is willing to help walk you through the challenges that you might be experiencing.
Boom shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like the MarTech podcast. Today, we'll be focusing on the path to hyper growth to drop these value bombs. I brought Rob Braiman into EOFire studios. Rob is a veteran serial entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Cogent Analytics. Cogent Analytics is a business development firm awarded financial times fastest growing companies in 2021. He has extensive knowledge across multiple industries on what it takes to grow and sustain a business in today's environment in today for our nation. We'll be talking about the main factors that lead to fast growth in both the company and personal life.
We'll talk about work-life balance. We'll talk about organizational engineering and three secrets. The ROVs learned about growing businesses and being an entrepreneur. When we get back from thanking our sponsors, Fire Nation is time to stop trading time for money and start reaching more clients and making a bigger impact. And you can do just that with online courses, try Thinkific for free today at Thinkific.com/EOF that's Thinkific.com/EOF. Are you looking for a proven business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, just like you to increase their profitability by an average of 104% per year, all for less money that it would cost to hire a full-time minimum wage employee schedule your free consultation today with Clay Clark, a former small business administration entrepreneur of the year at ThrivetimeShow.com/fire.
1 (1m 38s):
Rob say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
2 (1m 48s):
First off, John, thanks for having me on the show today. And, and for me, that's an easy answer I have since the beginning of time told my people, if you're in the business of representing others and it ever becomes about the build hour, or it becomes about revenue, or it becomes about profit from an advisory capacity, you're in the wrong industry. So, and I think that's fairly global. I think whether you're an entrepreneur starting a business or you're mature, entrepreneur profit and cash is king in a business, but it should not be what is driving you day to day, right? Good customer service, good taken care of human resources, good care for process, good care for the management of the business of the business.
2 (2m 34s):
And I think you have a recipe there, John for success without having it be about the money. Well thank
1 (2m 41s):
You for sharing that recipe because that's why people are listening, Rob the recipe to success. And I think something that we can really get some great knowledge on is the stories of successful entrepreneur. So give us a little bit of background about cogent analytics and also your role as both the founder and CEO.
2 (3m 2s):
I had the privilege of building three other companies in my life before I became a business analyst for a fairly large consultancy here in the states. And, you know, I just, John was really at my core offended by the practice of it being about the build-out or being about, you know, what was the next engagement you could get from a client. And I, you know, I stepped back from the equation in 2013 and went back to my own personal values, right?
2 (3m 42s):
Honor, courage, wisdom, faith, perseverance, and loyalty, which has driven me my entire life. And I just could not continue to align myself with that method or approach considering we're representing entrepreneurs. We're representing small business owners that in, in its core is a slice of Americana. And I built Cogent Analytics at the end of the day because I wanted to disrupt, you know, an industry that I fell in love with that. I just think lost its way and really became more about, you know, what, what you could get or what you can take and less about the client and raising them up because through their success is the cogent analytics success.
1 (4m 30s):
One thing that I mentioned during the intro Rob, was the fact that we're talking about the path to hyper growth. So let's talk about a couple of main factors that you found in your experience lead to fast growth, both in a company and within people's personal lives.
2 (4m 48s):
I am a traditionalist. So matter of fact, the profit platform, I'm so much of a traditionalist that I developed something called the profit platform, which really is the foundational pillars to a business, whether you're at a startup or a $2 billion entity. And that really is about business development, which is comprised of sales and marketing. And we can get into a much deeper conversation about the pillars, but then organizational engineering. And that's about right hats on the right head or the right seats in the right chairs, process engineering, which is absolutely about how do you most efficiently produce or bring to market that what you do and then important equally such is the measurement pillar, which is about performative measurement and the financial measurement.
2 (5m 41s):
So I don't, I think when you fly blind as a business owner, and you're really not managing during the game, what happens on your profit loss or balance sheet really becomes ancillary as opposed to the purpose of, so, you know, when I say I'm a, I think really going at what you do in the form of strategic planning, whether you're planning for growth or you're planning for recruiting, you're planning for, how do you develop or scale your business appropriately? I, you know, we have the privilege of looking at businesses every day of every week of every month of every quarter, John, and you know, that what that affords us is the best insight.
2 (6m 24s):
I think, into some of the foundational mistakes that small business owners make. Hence the profit platform was really a guide on to draw people back to the fundamentals and really dealing with some of the core or critical issues that I think affect every business, whether you're new or you're a mature company. Let's
1 (6m 46s):
Talk a little bit about organizational engineering. You just mentioned it a little bit, but let's go into a little more of a deep dive on this specific topic,
2 (6m 55s):
Positional engineering, as we advise our clients really goes to every element of the people pillars. So when you think about who you're going to hire, how do you make sure you have the right leadership structure in place? What kind of team or culture have you developed within your, your company or firm clearly defined roles and responsibilities, how communication is either successful or fails within an organization. So it's a broad, broad spectrum of issues that fall within the organizational pillar without boring your listeners today, I will say, you know, people, especially if you're a service company where you provide a service really is the product that you bring to market and, and you can think of you're a contractor or a manufacturer.
2 (7m 48s):
It really still takes people to effectively bring your product to market and then make or fabricate your product to be able to sell into that marketplace. My personal belief is the organizational pillar is the, to me it's the pinnacle of cogent analytics success because we don't think that we've become successful. We scaled to the level we have because Rob Braiman is a savant. I think that cogent analytics success is driven through the fact that we've had many people in this organization adopt our mission, vision, and values, and then make cogent analytics better. So when I talk about organizational engineering, it really gets into the root of people, culture, retention, training, and remuneration.
2 (8m 38s):
1 (8m 39s):
Thing that Fire Nation loves are secrets. And I know that you have three secrets that you've learned about being an entrepreneur that you're willing to reveal. I'm sure there's something you may not be willing to, but what would you share as your three secrets about becoming and being an entrepreneur?
2 (8m 58s):
Well, I was going to say if it was a secret, I wouldn't be sharing it with your audience, but no, in all seriousness, I think over the four now five companies that I have built in my career, aside from all of the people that I've advised over the last 20, I really believe that most people start the journey of becoming an entrepreneur because they have a phenomenal skillset. They have a skill set and they have a set of values and they have a drive that is motivating them to do something of their own accord. And usually that is rarely coupled with a phenomenal planning endeavor and really fleshing out what you've got in your head and putting it down on paper.
2 (9m 48s):
And, you know, as I, as I say to my own leadership team, you know, the, the exercise of teaching a SWOT analysis, which means strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats, if you teach it well, opportunities, strengths and opportunities are on the left side of page and weaknesses and threats around the right side of the page. And I foundationally believe it's our responsibility as a leadership group to deal with that right side of the page issue, which is weaknesses and threats all day long, entrepreneurs can talk about what they're great at and what they believe and why they believe in their product. But most presidents, most entrepreneurial presidents do not spend the requisite time in the planning phase, which is about communications about stating very clearly what your objectives are, setting the measurement to how we're going to accomplish it and really drawing the team as a whole to a common objective.
2 (10m 48s):
And I apologize for the long answers to short questions, John. So if you want to jump in, please feel free. No, absolutely.
1 (10m 54s):
And you know, what I really want foundation to understand is this is why we bring people like Rob on the show because he's somebody who has been there and done that. And he's created cogent analytics for the reasons that he shared. And now he's going to be sharing some of those strategies, tactic, tactics, and quote unquote secrets with us here today. So is there anything else you want to share before we take a quick break and go into the second part, Rob?
2 (11m 19s):
I think the most important thing about entrepreneurship is that it's a wealth creation vehicle. And if I have a message, I'm sure I have some of my clients listening to your show today. At the end of the day, your business is a wealth creation vehicle. Equity matters. You know, when you sign on and you go to your attorney and you sign the paper and you become the owner, you know, a lot of people convert that ownership back into its most primal, which is a job I go to work every day, we're growing my company we're doing, but they don't look at the balance sheet or the wealth creation that passive income called distribution post taxable wage or taxable consequence.
2 (12m 5s):
And, you know, I think that's a foundational mistake. I think if you're going to go into business, you have to plan for the exit the day you open the door and you should be value mapping or equity mapping, what your company is worth, not just profit and loss, but really dealing with the balance sheet that is the health and welfare of any company. And, you know, I've been teaching again that John for 20 years, so we can go to break, but I think that's a deeper discussion as well, absolutely
1 (12m 32s):
Fire Nation. And we do have so much to talk about when we do get back from taking our sponsors, looking for a business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, just like you to increase our profitability by an average of 104% per year, all for less money than it would cost to hire a full-time minimum wage employee, Fire Nation meet Clay Clark clay has been coaching businesses just like yours since 2006. Yep. Even through the great recession. And he does it for less money than it would cost to hire a full-time minimum wage employee at a time when Inc magazine reports that by default 96% of businesses will fail. Within 10 years, Clay is helping businesses like yours to grow on average by 104% annually. How's this even possible clay only takes on 160 clients.
1 (13m 15s):
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1 (13m 57s):
You don't want to trade your time for money because eventually you run out of time. And when you master your time working one-to-one with clients, what do you do here at entrepreneurs on fire? We've been using Thinkific since 2017 to solve this challenge by delivering knowledge to thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. With online courses, as a result, we've seen a huge lift in revenue without needing to trade time for money, but don't just take our word for it. Sarah Cordiner CEO of Main Training was also max out, delivering work for her clients. Her options were that she could hire more people, raise prices or introduce online courses to her business. With Thinkific. She has educated over 9,000 students in 131 countries and has increased her profit margin 100% from previous years.
1 (14m 40s):
All that without trading her precious time is time to take your business to the next level by creating an online course on Thinkific visit Thinkific.com/EOF. That's Thinkific.com/EOF. So Raul we're back. And let's just be honest. Fast growth actually does scare a lot of people because they may think that, Hey, like I'm going to lose all of my work-life balance. I'm going to never be able to see my family cause I'm nose to the grindstone working, you know, 60, 70, 80 hours a week just to grow fast. And I don't know if I want that trade-off but how can one achieve fast growth without losing that critical work life balance?
1 (15m 23s):
At, at the end of the day, we all do want
2 (15m 25s):
Cash. First off liquidity in that fast growth strategy, you know, growth kills more companies than any other reason in the small business community. You know, you grow too fast, you run out of money and now you're worried about paying payroll. And most of that is a symptom of a problem more than it is the problem itself. So being afraid of growth, I don't think is I don't think is a prudent strategy. I don't think it's appropriate. I absolutely think that well-defined skill growth is a function of, of running any company. But now you're touching on something called work-life balance or quality of life issues.
2 (16m 8s):
QOL is we refer to them and I think that's critically important, right? We, we work to live, not live to work. And most often what happens a business goes through, you know, generational break points from that startup where it really is the owner wearing all the hats. And eventually you mature to the point where you've recruited some people and you know, you've expanded your footprint, but you're still wearing all the hats. And we see clients all the time that are 3 million, 5 million, even $10 million operations, where the owner is still wearing all those hats.
2 (16m 50s):
And that gets to that organizational pillar. Favorite that I spoke about earlier, which really is, you've got to clearly defined role and responsibility. There has to be measurement associated with how you want somebody to perform in the form of a KPI or key performance indicator. That way you're empowering the employee to truly take responsibility for their participation in your company, giving them a mission or vision or saying that you have values in a company is only half the equation. The other part is creating a culture where you've got great communication and you've got great accountability through measurement because measurement isn't about me lording over them.
2 (17m 30s):
It's about them being empowered by their own performance because most people truly want to grow professionally and be able to perform professionally it's those environments where people are stifled that really kills the opportunity for scalable growth. And we see that time and time again. So let's get
1 (17m 49s):
Into some more details about cogent analytics specifically. I mean, you know, we all want to be different. We all want to be unique. We all want to stand out. We all want to kind of have a niche perspective within our industries that does set us apart. So what did you do to make cogent analytics different from other consulting firms?
2 (18m 11s):
My easiest answer is I applied a, a core set of values to our approach and we don't break those values for anybody. We are always client-centric. We are always client first. We are always considering the client's interests before our own. And I, and I know that seems like an easy equation, but I will tell you, there's a reason why somebody, so many people have made up good jokes about consultants. Right. You know, I chose an industry that I have a great passion for. And for me it really was about let's. Let's go back to the basics, let's clean up the model and really make it about those that we represent held us true to that value system.
2 (18m 55s):
Now, the harder answer to that question really is about the structure and the approach and the market penetration that we, we started as a very small six person firm. And today we're trending towards 150 people, some six and a half, seven years later after a pandemic. And you know, where I think we set ourselves apart is through maintaining that relationship with the client and it not being a project based firm, but really being a long-term relational based firms. So if you think of an accountant and attorney, most business owners reach out to them when they have an issue that falls within their purview and rarely do they reach out to an operational professional to help them deal with the substantive issues that go along with running a business on a day over day basis.
2 (19m 54s):
And, you know, our view towards the marketplace is that if you're going to represent somebody, you know, you, you can make change or you can effectuate change in a, in a period of representation, but that change does it become durable unless you're doing a continual review, your prior service, John is I am, you know, that that OODA loop methodology where you're observing orient and really consistently making sure that the client embrace the tools, use the tools that were implemented and now are building blocks for where they can take their company.
2 (20m 35s):
And, and, you know, I, I, I've always found it odd in the last, you know, two decades of my life that people so readily reach out to an accountant that really doesn't deal with any of the operational issues. And we all go talk to our attorney, we have a legal issue, but, but we have to work really, really hard every single day to, to build that trusting confidence and credibility with our clients and a consulting industry that that really is designed to help them with bettering themselves, their families, their employees, their families, their community, you know, that's what I think our role is as a firm in cogent analytics. And, you know, I don't know whether that's dynamic or not John, but, but it is what we believe.
2 (21m 19s):
1 (21m 20s):
You have accomplished a lot over the years and by the way, thank you for your service. And I appreciate you bringing that up. Frankly, you could sell off, went to the sunsets. I mean, you've done a lot in this world, but it doesn't seem like you're quite ready to do that for a number of reasons. So what does that next summit that you are looking forward to climb?
2 (21m 40s):
The last strategic arm of cogent analytics will be a private equity or investment group. We just see so many clients who are ill prepared for succession. They're ill prepared for transition, either through an ESOP or an MBO or, you know, a third party who's coming in to look at their business and you know, those opportunities where we can, and I see it's two avenues, right? We find clients that are under-capitalized and are having real problems and they really need someone to understand how good they could be.
2 (22m 20s):
And the other half of that is really succession. And we see those clients, we help them every single day. And most often, you know, I see I've seen business go bankrupt because they were under-capitalized. And that just bothers me to my core so much, like I've taken a different approach to consulting work. The private equity arm of coach and analytics will God willing. And the Creek don't rise will be equally as dynamic because if I continue to take a position with the small business community, that it really is about them and their family and their employees and their families, then I think the rest of it will take care of itself.
2 (23m 0s):
But that is the last hurrah. I, I believe I'm gonna, that's my version of retirement, John Wright is still working in the small business community is still doing advisory work and you know, God willing closing out that last loop called private equity.
1 (23m 14s):
Yeah. My father is the same way. I mean, he's a lawyer he's been running his own practice for 32 years now, actually 35 years. And you know, whenever anybody asks him about retirement, he goes, number one, he's like, well, I just love being relevant in the community. And he wants to do a lot of pro bono work in his later years here. So that's going to be really helpful and beneficial to a lot of people. Then he loves saying the joke, you know, listen, lawyers never retire. They just lose their appeal. So I, I know right now that Rob and other lawyers are laughing, but maybe nobody else, but
2 (23m 48s):
I was going to say, I'm going to steal that by the way, shamelessly. Totally do
1 (23m 53s):
It. It makes a lot of sense since Rob you've given us so many value bombs here today, you shared so much genius. So give us the one key takeaway that you really want to make sure our listeners Fire Nation walk away with from today's episode, then anyways, the weekend connect with you and your business and the other calls to action you may have. And then we'll say,
2 (24m 13s):
I will answer one thing, which is an entrepreneur never really retires. Occasionally you'll see people, you know, who have previously owned a business and then they've gotten into something else. But if you ever meet somebody who truly has the entrepreneurial bug, you know, the version of an entrepreneur's retirement is I get to choose when I go to work and I get to choose what I'm going to do when I get there. So, so you know, that, that set aside the, the wisdom, I think I really want to key in on today is we're coming out of a global pandemic. And, you know, I know there's a lot of business owners that are, you know, short of the subsidy and the PPP and the IDLs and some of the other gap closures.
2 (24m 60s):
We still lost more small businesses in the last 16 months than every ever in the history of our country. And you know, for me, I lament that greatly, but I also know that with, with every great challenge is a great opportunity. So if you're listening to this show today and you've got an idea, or you've got a passion or you believe in entrepreneurship and you're, you're going to start a business now, I think there's a right time to do such. And I would add that with, you know, we, we provide a lot of what I'll call free tools or insights into, you know, raising capital.
2 (25m 40s):
How do you run, manage cashflow or cash management? How do you structure your business properly? We've got oodles of white papers and case studies and things that people can draw from. And if, if you really want to talk to a professional advisor, our phones are on every day of the week. We have professional advisors that are willing to talk through challenges that you might be experiencing. You can go to cogent analytics.com or you can call us at eight three, three, four, my profit, and you know, every single day, we're about the entrepreneur. That is, that is our, our oxygen, our lungs, and the blood running through our main, wow.
2 (26m 21s):
1 (26m 21s):
Love this in Fire Nation. I hope you take advantage of the additional genius that Rob and his company have to offer here because, you know, we can do just like the title says and find our path to hypergrowth. But again, without giving up that work-life balance that I know we all want to achieve on so many levels. So Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with RB and JLD today. So keep up that heat and head over to EOFire.com, just type a Rob and the search bar has shown us page will pop up with everything we talked about today, links to his call to action, to his company and all that jazz and Rob, thank you brother, for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
2 (27m 11s):
John, it's been an honor. Thank you, sir. Hey, Fire Nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by Rob and Fire Nation. Over the last decade, I've interviewed more than 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, and I've created a revolutionary 77 roadmap to your financial freedom in your fulfillment. I put it all into my first traditionally published book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success personally endorsed by Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk of the common path you want to call them. Success is a step-by-step guidance for you Fire Nation to achieve the lifestyle of your dreams. So visit UncommonSuccessBook.com and learn more about how to order your copy today, and I'll catch you there, or I'll catch you on the flip.
2 (27m 51s):
The flip side Fire Nation is time to stop trading time for money and start reaching more clients and making a bigger impact.
1 (27m 60s):
And you can do just that with online courses, try Thinkific for free today at Thinkific.com/EOF. That's Thinkific.com/EOF. Are you looking for a proven business coach who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, just like you to increase their profitability by an average of 104% per year, all for less money than it would cost to hire a full-time minimum wage employee schedule your free consultation today with Clay Clark, a former small business administration entrepreneur of the year at thrivetimeshow.com slash fire
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