The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 074 Carly Fiorina


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The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 074 Carly Fiorina

  1. 1. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 1 of 19 EPISODE #74: CARLY FIORINA In this episode, Travis interviews former business executive, successful entrepreneur, and dynamic business person Carly Fiorina. Carly was an executive of AT&T and a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, making her one of the most successful women in business for years to come. Carly is also an inspired entrepreneur and an advocate for entrepreneurs, especially those in the small business sector. Travis and Carly delved on various points of view on how to improve your business as well as their views on how the government is handling business owners and entrepreneurs through their policies and political stance. Carly also gives helpful advice on how to create a business environment that encourages employee creativity and growth. Balancing your time and prioritizing what's important is also vital in handling your business as well as your personal life. Also, the value of making your customer your focus in all your activities in business is also very important since the customers are the ones that'll maintain your company's growth and stability. These are just some of the things entrepreneurs can gain through this episode and can certainly apply in their business in today's competitive market. Carly Fiorina – Using leverage to grow your business Travis: Hey, it's Travis Lane Jenkins, welcome to episode number 74 of the Entrepreneur's Radio Show, conversations with self-made millionaires and high-level entrepreneurs that will grow your business. This show is a production of Rockstar Entrepreneur Network. Now, I'm super excited today to introduce you to rock star entrepreneur Carly Fiorina. Carly became the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 Company serving as the chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, easy for me to say. Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005. Now this is something that's really impressive, under Carly's leadership HP double revenues from 44 billion to 88 billion, that's with a B, billion. Now she was named Fortune's most powerful woman in business for 6 consecutive years. And so it's crystal clear that Carly is absolutely brilliant. In this episode we're going to talk about the entrepreneurial spirit which completely changed the way that I view the topic or at least how I defined it. We also talk about what's holding many businesses back and lots more. Now one of the things I want you to notice about this interview is how radically different her line of thinking is. Even how she answers the questions in the lightning round. The reason why I want you to pay attention to this is you've got to be willing to go against the grain and think differently. Because in most cases to get dramatically better you have to do exactly the opposite of
  2. 2. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 2 of 19 what most other people are doing. So just keep that in mind and be mindful of the different angles that she comes from, I love it. Now before we get started I want to remind you that you can download this podcast on iTunes and take these interviews with you on the go. The easiest way to do that is go to and click on the iTunes button, you'll see it up there on the very top tab. And it will take you directly to the podcast on iTunes where you can subscribe to the show. Now this will make it easy for you to listen to the podcast while you're on the move and get other things done. Also, one other thing, be sure and stay with us until the very end if you can because I've got something that I want to share with you that's extremely exciting. So now that we've got all of that stuff out of the way let's get down to business okay? I'll go ahead and segway into the interview with Carly. Welcome to the show Carly. Carly: Thank you so much for having me Travis. Travis: I am super excited to have you on the show. Carly: Well, it's good to be with you, I always like speaking with entrepreneurs and about entrepreneurs, some of my favorite people. Travis: Yeah, I know you're passionate about that. You've had a pretty incredible career and one of the things that I found that's really helpful to entrepreneurs is that they can understand the back story and really kind of deconstruct what it takes to find that next level of success. Maybe not the level of success that you've had but the next level whatever that is for them. Do you mind giving us the back-story of how you've got to this incredible level at such a young age? Carly: Well, you're nice to describe it that way and the truth is that the back story as you call it, I'm not sure I know it all but here's the chronology and then I'll give you a sense of what I think was important. So first, I'm an unlikely success story in many, many ways. I was a sort of goody two shoes child, a young woman. I graduated with a degree in Medieval History and Philosophy which is not exactly destining you for success. I went to law school because my dad was a lawyer and he very much wanted me to follow in his footsteps. I hated law school and I quit after 1 semester. So that's not a very auspicious beginning for a young 22-year old woman, I graduated from college in the middle of the 70's recession. So I went back to work as a typist. I had put myself through college as a temporary secretary basically. I typed really well, I filed really well, I answered the phones really well. So I went back to work as a secretary in a little 9 person firm run by two entrepreneurs. And that was my first introduction to business, it was my first introduction to entrepreneurs. And the most important thing from bad experience was I figured out I like business but I also understood how important it was for somebody to take a chance on me and for me to take a chance on myself. And what I mean by that is the two
  3. 3. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 3 of 19 entrepreneurs, George Marcus and Mark Millichap they took a chance on me. They said, "Hey, we've been watching you, maybe you could do something besides type and file, do you want to know what we do?" I took a chance on myself because I took the risk to try something new. And honestly, truthfully, if I think about my career, those two things have always been true. I have always found people who are willing to take a chance on me, but I was also always willing to take a chance on myself by trying something new, by trying the hard things, not the easy things, by going into areas where candidly many people told me not to go, it's too hard, it's too hard, it's too this, it's too that. But what I found is the more challenged I was the better I performed, the more I took chances on myself, the more people who are willing to take chances on me. And the last thing I'll say, I guess is there is no substitute for hard work ever. There is dignity in all work, there is an opportunity to perform with excellence no matter what you're doing even if what you're doing is typing and filing. And when you work hard and when you perform with excellence people notice it. And when people notice they're more apt to take a chance on you. Travis: Yeah, I agree with you. Do you feel like being able to perform under pressure, is that just something that you were born with or is that something that you developed as you honed your skills? Carly: I don't think it's something you're necessarily born with. By the way, I think all people are capable of leadership, I think all people are capable of risk taking, I think all people are capable of performing under pressure, it's just not everybody develops those skills. But I think the only way to develop the ability to work under pressure is to put yourself under pressure. To put yourself under pressure by trying new things, put yourself under pressure by expecting more of yourself, to put yourself under pressure by expecting to do better and better every time. If you're satisfied and rest on your laurels then over time you're never under pressure. So it's just like working out in the gym. If you want to get fit you have to do more everytime and the more you do the easier it becomes and the more you have to do. Travis: Yeah, I agree. So by constantly challenging yourself to grow more and to do more you increase your skill set and also that muscle to be able to accomplish more, right. Carly: Absolutely. And the more you challenge yourself, the more risk you're willing and able to take. Not stupid risks, prudent risks. But many people back away from taking risks because they're afraid. Fear is a very human emotion, I've been afraid of many things in my life and the question is not are you afraid, the question is what do you do with your fear. And there are people who are defeated by their fear and say, "Ooh, I'm afraid, maybe I'm going to fail, I don't want to try something new." And then they sit back. And there are other people who say, "I may be afraid but I'm going to move forward." Travis: And so, how did you get that clarity? Well, let me back up a little bit. Time wise, when was it that you were working in this office and these two entrepreneurs decided to take a chance on you, when was this?
  4. 4. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 4 of 19 Carly: Well, this was, you know, I was 23 years old. I had been typing and filing and answering the phones there for maybe 4 months. And I was frankly, happy to have a job. But when they said to me, "We think you can do something more." And when they started to show me what they did and take an interest in me and the other brokers in the office took an interest in me. It changed my life literally in the sense that it opened up a whole world of possibilities for me. All of a sudden people were saying to me, "You know, you could do business. You could be in business, you're good at this." And it frankly had never occurred to me. Travis: What you're describing is a superstar employee in the making and as an entrepreneur you grow to look for these types of people. The people that are obviously taking it above and beyond what they have to right. And so, anytime you see someone taking it beyond that point, for me I know that what I like to do is encourage them and challenge to see if they'll take it to that next level. Because typically in my experience, I'd like to hear what you're experience is in this, start performers can outperform a regular employee, two to three times, or two to three fold, do you agree with that? Carly: I do agree with that and I also think that that's why working hard is so important. I see a lot of people sometimes who don't like their current job or don't think their current job is good enough for them or dissatisfied with whatever their current circumstances are. And so they spend a lot of energy thinking about what should be happening, what's next instead of concentrating on doing the most with what they have. The truth is that there are possibilities in every situation. The star employees, we use your term for a second, they see the possibilities. An average employee sees the limitations. So what you’re looking for are people who see possibilities, and what you want to encourage in those people is to seize possibilities. I think everyone's capable of seizing possibilities but not everybody does it. There are sometimes however where people might see possibilities but they don't know they're supposed to. And so that's why that encouragement is so important. You say, "People look, step it up. What are the possibilities, what else could you be doing?" And it's why performing with excellence no matter what you're doing is so important. Travis: Right. Carly: Because it's a signal to people. Travis: Yeah, I agree with you. You know, I started out very early in business with my father, and he'd put me on task that I hated. And I hated them so much that it just ruined my day and I noticed at a very young age that the only person that I was torturing was me. And so over time I learned to turn those tasks into a game and now that was how I started becoming a star performer when I work for someone, and I also did that in business to where I could get a team to have some fun with things. We'd make it into a contest. Maybe you're not crazy about the tasks that you're doing but you can become excited and have fun about excelling at it. And I feel like that's kind of the reverse of what you're explaining or a connotation of what you're explaining, correct?
  5. 5. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 5 of 19 Carly: Well, absolutely, and in fact all throughout my career I have done what you're talking about. In other words, make it a game for people, make it a contest, make it fun. Hey, I'm a cancer survivor, life is short, and part of doing something well is enjoying it and having fun at it. So, sometimes it's the role of leadership to get people to see possibilities and to put some fun into it and say, "Hey, let's go have some fun." The other thing I would just say is there is nothing more rewarding than galvanizing a team to do more than they thought they were capable of. Travis: Right. Carly: That's fun. And when people have accomplished more than they thought they could. They get that look in their eye and that's so exciting to see, and then once they've had that feeling they're more likely to try it again. Travis: I agree with you. Something magic happens when a team gels together and they start accomplishing these levels that you're talking about. Carly: Yes. There are many interesting and great things that happen. One is that a team builds confidence and confidence is actually important. You were talking about building the skill to perform under pressure, building the skill to take risk. But another skill is having confidence. I think success is the right balance between confidence and humility. You need to be humble so that you remember that there's always things I can do better, there are always things I can learn, there are always people I can learn from, I don't know it all. But you also have to have the self-confidence to be able to say, "You know what, I can do this. And if I can't figure out how to do it I can find people who could help me figure out how to do it." Travis: Right. So I understand this point of divergence here, if we drew this on a chart, this point where these two entrepreneurs took a chance on you I think was where your path started heading on an upward trajectory. So how do you get from there to someone running a gigantic company like HP and doubling revenue and all of these other things? How do you make that transition? Carly: Well, first a couple of degrees besides medieval history along the way helped. So once I learned that business was something I really could get excited about and was good at I went off and got a business degree. And then I went to work for AT&T which was then the Bell system a million employees and I started in Washington, D.C. And the reason that that also was a very important experience, it was a huge company. At that time it was before divestiture, you and your listeners may be too young to remember divestiture but when you talk about a big bureaucracy, this was a huge bureaucracy with a million employees. So on the one hand that kind of huge, complicated bureaucratic organization can crush risk taking and entrepreneurial spirit. On the other hand, in my case it didn't because I was handed a bunch of accounts that nobody cared about, that nobody had any expectations for. I was put into a very difficult position with a colleague who was much older than I was who resented my presence terribly. And all those challenges together caused me to say, "You know what, I'm going
  6. 6. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 6 of 19 to make something of this, I'm going to go serve these customers, I'm going to see what it is they need, I'm going to make this relationship with this older colleague work even though he doesn't want it to?" So I created challenge in that situation, and because I produce results that people weren't expecting, people took another look at me, and said, "Well hey, she's doing something here." And that also was a really important lesson, that it doesn't matter what other people expect of you, what matters is what you expect of yourself. And if you set high standards and say, "I'm going to go do something here. I'm going to go do something that hasn't been done, I'm going to produce results that are better than others expect. I'm going to go make something work." In other words, if you tackle tough challenges and do something with them, people will take notice, and once they take notice and they're more willing to take a chance, and another chance, and another chance. And the truth is that's just been the story of my career, I didn't have a place to become a CEO, I didn't say, "Here's where I want to be 10 or 20 years from now," I truly didn't. But what I thought about was I want to love what I do, I want to be challenged by what I do, I want to be excellent at everything I want to do, and I'm not going to sell myself out. I'm not going to do things I don't believe in, I'm not going to become somebody I don't like. You know the old song I did it my way, but I actually think that's important, to do it your way. Travis: So, with the entrepreneurial spirit, how does that take you down a path of becoming, working for a large corporation, because normally those two are polar opposites, right? Carly: Well, and I have great admiration for entrepreneurs who set out on their own and build something because that is the ultimate risk take, that is the ultimate taking a chance on yourself. Entrepreneurial spirit is the willingness to take risks, to take chances, but also the ability to see things that other people don't see. And I think that's what binds entrepreneurs of all kinds working in all kinds of situations together. I think entrepreneurs have the ability to see possibilities that other people don't see. That's a very important trait of leadership, I think entrepreneurs are always leaders, and leaders always have entrepreneurial spirit. But in my life, in my career, opportunities kept coming up that were interesting and challenging, and that I kept taking on. And ultimately it led to Hewlett-Packard, although that wasn't the plan. Travis: Right. Well you know, you're forcing me to think of it in a different way because I guess, I'm reflecting as you're talking and explaining your mindset on that. And I guess it really does makes sense to me, entrepreneurial-ism, if that's a word, has a always been something that in my mind I view as an endeavor that someone takes on their own. When having the spirit is someone that is a trailblazer and an innovator whether they're doing it for themselves or not, right. Carly: Well, yes, I think so. And here's the other common element that I would say. An entrepreneur who sets out to build their business, they also need a team, they also need support, they also need people to take a chance on them. Maybe it's the bank that takes a chance on them and gives them a loan. Maybe it's their family that takes a chance on them and says, "You know what, we're willing to tighten our belts here to give you the financial resources to take this risk and go try and build this
  7. 7. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 7 of 19 business." Maybe it's employees who take a chance on them and say, "Yeah, we believe in you." The point is no success happens with someone acting alone, every successful person has people who have taken a chance on them, every successful person has support around them, every success is a team effort actually. Travis: Yeah, I agree with you 100%. So my experience with just corporate in general is that it takes the entrepreneurial spirit and smothers it. Carly: Well, it does sometimes, you're absolutely right. And by the way, that's the problem with bureaucracies, whether they're bureaucracies or government bureaucracies. What happens is bureaucracies focus on rules and people following rules, and of course if you're focused on following rules what are you doing? You're crushing judgment, you're crushing innovation, you're crushing entrepreneurial spirit, absolutely right. Travis: So how do you get beyond that? Carly: Well, smart businesses know that the only way you can succeed long term particularly in this hyper-competitive, global economy of the 21st Century. The only way a business can succeed over time, whether it's a small business or it's an incredibly large business, is you have to always serve customers better than your competitors, and you have to at the same time invest in the future. And the only way to do that consistently, week after week after week after week, is to unlock the potential of the people in that business. In other words you have to unlock people's brain power, their judgment, their innovation, their entrepreneurial spirit, because you can't write enough rules to cover every situation. Travis: Right. Carly: So, the best businesses, again, whether they're 9 people, 3 people, or 300,000 people. The best businesses are encouraging innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Yes, you have to have controls, you have to have financial controls, you have to have administrative controls, there are some rules that must apply, but within a set of parameters. Successful businesses are encouraging employees to use their judgment, use their brain power, use their creativity to serve customers and to think about the future at the same time. Travis: Right. And this is a topic that is worth going over a couple of times because I think it's confusing to a lot of people. My experience with some of the rules within corporations have been created for the few people that cause trouble, and to me you're speaking to the opposite side of that, about focusing on-- Of course you need to manage people but you need to focus on manifesting an environment that breeds individualism just like you talked about doing it your own way. One of the reasons why you stood out is you were able to be your own person and walk down your own path even if it was contrary to what other people felt like was the right move. And in that process you were able to, maybe for the lack of a better term, break the mold and do some things differently.
  8. 8. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 8 of 19 Carly: Well, yes, I think that's right. And I think your observation at the outset is right as well, but there are a lot of bureaucracies that write rules for the bad people. Travis: Right. Carly: Government does that. It's why regulation is so crushing because governments and some businesses are always thinking about who's going to do something wrong and let's write a rule to prevent somebody from doing something wrong. And the weight of that is just crushing. So the best businesses and the best leaders say, "You know what, let's create a set of parameters that will keep people on the rails but that will allow them to unleash their potential." The highest calling of leadership is to unlock other people's potential, and the most successful businesses realize that. And so you're focused on “How do I get the maximum number of people to succeed?” instead of focusing on, "Let me worry about all the people who are going to fail." Travis: Yeah, and it's much trickier than one would think, and I know this because I've built a couple of my businesses to some pretty sizable businesses. And the rules and regulations, and all of the bureaucracy had managed to stamp out all of the profits in the process because there were so many regulations and there are so many problems. And so speaking from experience I've seen that, something that I see a lot of Carly, and I'd be interested to get your perspective on this because I speak with a lot of business owners, is the lack of business basics. And now that, the word basic may sound like it's an insult towards business owners and it's really not. The word basics, there's so many businesses don't have the metrics in place to empirically measure what is or is not happening. And so a lot of their decisions are really based on opinions or guesstimates, and when you can move the opinions and guesstimates out of the way and decisively move forward with what is or is not working, you're able to make consistent and predictable forward progress, do you agree with that? Carly: Well, I do. Look, facts are always our friends. Facts matter, data matters, and this is one of the things that technology enables. There are so much technology now that helps even the smallest businesses understand what's actually happening. Put another way, the more data you have, the more you can ensure that every decision is fact-based which is very important, and you can also ensure that every dollar is being spent wisely and well, and that's important, particularly when you're a small business. You don't have a lot of margin of error when you're a small business. And so, knowing that you're spending your dollars wisely and well, knowing that you're applying your resources where they can do the most good, that's really incredibly important. Travis: Right. Now, I know you're passionate about, and I'm just going to throw a couple of things out there, innovation, education, entrepreneurship, job creation, what is it that in speaking to entrepreneurs, what do you feel like they need to be focusing on to get the most-- A lot of businesses are struggling in this, what I consider this new economy. What's your advice, what do they need to focus on?
  9. 9. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 9 of 19 Carly: Well, let me break that into two parts if I may because on the one hand I'll answer your question directly, what should entrepreneurs focus on. On the other hand I also think it's fair to say that we have created an environment right now in this country that is literally hostile to business owners, and that's a grave concern. Travis: Right. Carly: In other words we are making it harder and harder and harder for entrepreneurs to succeed and I want to come back to that because it's really important. And so I spend a lot of time talking to policy makers and politicians as well who frequently lack any understanding of how a business works or what an entrepreneur is up against. So let's come back to that. Travis: Okay. Carly: But to answer your question directly-- The thing that I think is important for entrepreneurs to remember and this is really basic, to your point about business basics, focus on the customer. You know, I have seen businesses from very small to very large forget, literally forget that a business can't succeed unless a customer buys your product. And so, sort of the most important thing to start with is what am I selling that a customer is willing to pay for over, and over, and over. And why is it that what I'm selling is better than what somebody else is selling? So for me that's kind of the north star. You got to stay focused on who is the customer, how do I satisfy the customer, who do I want my customers to be, what am I customers asking for from me, it's really important. And I say that because all the day to day struggles of running a business, you can kind of forget that, you can get all-- You have employee issues, you have regulation issues, you have vendor issues, you have landlord issues, you got a million issues. Travis: Right. Carly: You got to deal with. Stay focus on the customer because customers will see you through. The second thing that I would, and again, these are all really basic things. The second thing that I would say is people have asked me all my life, "What's the toughest decision you make every day?", and my answer is always that same and I think it applies for every entrepreneur. The toughest decision I have to make every day is how to spend my time. And the only person that can decide how to spend your time is you. Time is the one asset we can never get back, we never have enough of, and the people who succeed I think are extremely good at prioritizing their time. I stress this because I think in today's age with technology, what happens is people are losing their ability or their appetite to prioritize their time and they let all the technology prioritize their time for them. You know, you have a million messages, you've got tweets, you've got email, and people just get consumed with the flooder of activity. And they stop prioritizing their time. An entrepreneur who is stretched in a thousand different directions, prioritizing his or her time is key. And it is an active discipline that has to go on every hour of every day.
  10. 10. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 10 of 19 Travis: Right. Carly: And one of the things I do is once a month I go back and look at my calendar and I say, "Am I happy with how I prioritize my time?" and if not you make adjustments. So focus on the customer, think very long and hard about how you spend your time, and prioritize your time. And the third thing, and again, it's so basic is it is very difficult to do. It's this right balance between focusing on the here and now, and thinking about the future. It's a little bit, I like to say that successful entrepreneurs have peripheral vision and strategic vision, as well as tactical focus. In other words they got to be able to see around them, what's going on in the environment, what are my competitors doing, what are my customers asking me to do? And they also have to be able to kind of face the future every day, especially in an environment where it's changing so rapidly. Travis: Right. Well you know, to help make your point is you've served on a large number of high profile boards, you're a mother, you're a wife, you're a cancer survivor, you're extremely successful in business, so obviously you've figured out this time efficiency thing. So is it due not only to eliminating the things that are not relative to what you're doing, but is it having a system for everything that you do as well? Carly: Yes, but it's about thinking through everyday what really matters. So just let me give a simple, silly example, but it really doesn't matter that you answer every single message you get immediately. It just doesn't matter. There are some things that are truly urgent but not very many, point one. Point two, it isn't easy, and there are times when I’ve balanced it better than other times and there are times when the balance point has to change, you know. When your family's in trouble, when you're ill, when you're business is tanking, there are time when the balance point shifts. But it is being conscious of what is really important and what's just stuff, getting the right balance. And I think the other thing is you have to get comfortable with the fact that whatever you choose someone will be unhappy with you. You're not going to please everybody all the time, it's impossible. Travis: Right. Carly: And so you have to just sort of accept someone's going to be unhappy with how I'm choosing but these are decisions that only I can make for myself and I have to live with them. Travis: Yeah, I see so many business owners engaged in activities that are not leverageable just like you're talking about. It's really analogous to organizing chairs on the deck of the Titanic. You need to place your time and energy in places where it makes a difference and makes the biggest impact. Carly: That's right. Travis: Constantly staying on Twitter and responding to everything is just, there's no way you can run a business no matter how efficient you are and constantly be on Twitter.
  11. 11. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 11 of 19 Carly: Well, that's right. And you know, another way of saying what you just mentioned is you have to think about things that have multiplier effect, that are leverageable to use your term. So finding star employees has a multiplier effect. Finding the people in your organization that are really going to go the extra mile, helping them unlock their potential, that has huge multiplier effect, it's leverageable. Finding the things that are sustainable and scalable, that has multiplier effects. It's all about leverage to your point, and that's true whether it's a big business, a little business, a not for profit, or for profit. You're always thinking about what has a multiplier effect, what can I leverage, what allows me to sustain effort more easily, what allows me to scale this activity more easily. That's what an entrepreneur and a leader has to focus on. Travis: Right, yeah, definitely. So let me take you back to the topic that you had mentioned earlier to where you feel like we're in an environment that is more difficult for business owners, which I happen to agree. It highly offends me because the amount of taxes that I pay across the board, you know. A lot of people, non-entrepreneurs don't realize that the furniture I bought 10 years ago, I paid taxes on that every year. The employee tax, there's so many things. Now we need to pay our part but there's so many other things going on that are attacking small business owners rather than supporting them. And so, take me down that path, tell me what you were referring to? Carly: Well, first we talked earlier about facts or our friends so let's just look at a little data. This isn't just in our heads. So in a recent survey, 70% of small business owners said they thought the government was hostile to them. It is supported by the data. There are fewer small businesses starting and more failing now than in any time in the last 40 years. It is one of the reasons why our economic recovery is so lackluster, because we don't have small businesses forming and succeeding. In fact, more small businesses are failing now than in any time in the last 40 years. Entrepreneurs built this country. The reason America is a great country is because people know that they have the chance to fulfill their potential, to build a better life for themselves and their families, and entrepreneurs made that happen. Entrepreneurs, small and new businesses create two-thirds of the new jobs, they employ half the people in this country, they innovate at a rate, 6 or 7 times than in big businesses, I mean, they're vital. And when you ask small businesses as you do, what's getting in their way, why aren't they starting, why aren't they failing. What they basically tell you is it's just too hard. The cost of failure is too high, the reward for success is too low, the regulatory thicket is too crushing, the tax system is too complicated. If you think about Washington, D.C., which you have basically are a lot of politicians who mostly have never run a business, they don't understand how business works. But you also have a system in Washington that's built around big. It's for big business, it's for big labor, it's for big government. And so the little business gets lost. A big business can hire accountants and lawyers to understand the tax code which is now 27,000 pages long. They can hire accountants, they can hire lawyers to help them understand the regulatory thing, a small business can't. And so we literally are crushing small business owners with complexity, with regulatory burden, with taxation, with a system that's just not friendly to
  12. 12. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 12 of 19 them and that does not encourage them. And it greatly, greatly concerns me, because what the data says is we are becoming a more risk-averse nation, we are making it harder for people to take a chance and start a business, and that's bad for everybody. Travis: Right. I completely agree. I'm floored that we would ask a politician to run a business, the government, and they've never had any experience running a business. Carly: Well, yes, and it's one of the reasons I ran for office because I really think that ours was intended to be a citizen government. There was a time in our country's history where people moved easily in and out of public and private life. And all of our founding father really were entrepreneurs in their own way. It's true, when you have people who are doing things that have a direct impact on the economy every single day, but they don't actually understand what makes the economy work, that's a problem. And of course the other problem is once something gets put into law, a tax, a rule, a regulation, we never get rid of them. Travis: Never. Ever. Carly: Never, and that's why everything gets more, and more, and more, and more complicated, and it's honestly why I think one of the most important things that could be done is to literally go back and look at every single regulation on the books, every single tax. I think we ought to eliminate every loop hole, lower every rate, go back and review every regulation, and look at all of them from the point of view of an entrepreneur, not a big business, a little business. What does this do to an entrepreneur? Because what it's doing right now is making it too hard for them. Travis: And I belong to several masterminds with very accomplished business owners and a lot of them are considering drastic measurements of taking up residency somewhere else because they feel like they're being attacked rather than welcomed. Carly: I know, and it's tragic, it's really tragic, and this is why I speak about this all the time, I gave a recent speech at the National Press Club. It's why I interact with policy makers, not that I alone can change it, I can't. But I feel as though it's critically important that I as well as others continue to raise our voices because it's a little bit like, you know, you've heard the old story of the frog and the boiling water? If you throw a frog into boiling water it will jump out, but if you put a frog in water and then slowly bring it to a boil it will boil to death. And I feel as though we're in a situation right now where we're just slowly boiling entrepreneurs to death. The entrepreneurs understand but the politicians don't understand it. So it's just this creeping, inexorable process where we're strangling our economy. I'm mixing many, many metaphors there but I'm really concerned, and I think there is a direct correlation between GDP growth that is less than 2% quarter after quarter after quarter, and entrepreneurs feeling that the government is hostile to them. I think those are directly correlated events.
  13. 13. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 13 of 19 Travis: Yeah, I agree with you. For me, as a business owner, and I know a lot of my friends, my fellow entrepreneurs think the same way. We've just checked out from the political environment because there's so much nonsensical demagoguing going on that rather than defending-- Have you ever been in an argument with someone that's just bent on being right rather than getting to the actual truth, you know. Carly: Of course. Travis: And it makes you not want to engage with him. Carly: My husband would stay on that way sometimes. Travis: Well, you know, there's a difference between being strong-headed about something but there's another thing, it's a whole different element when you're at least willing to hear contrasting opinions and if something, a better option comes up then we both agree to choose that option rather than hang on to our previous beliefs. Carly: Well look, business owners, entrepreneurs are problem solvers. I mean that's what entrepreneurs do, they solve problems all day long. And the only way you can solve problems is to be open minded to solutions rather than what you came in to this situation within your head. And so I think one of the reasons business owners just throw their hands up with politicians is because politicians don't actually behave like they want to solve a problem. Travis: Right, exactly. It's more about the loyalty of what their party thinks rather than getting down to the bottom. And you know, I'm painting everyone with one broad brush which is unfair, but for the most part that's the attitude. And so a lot of business owners have just checked out because I can't stand to watch something that incites me so much than have such little effect or control over it. Carly: Well, I know and I really do empathize with that feeling and I also know, I can remember speaking to a group of small business owners a year or so ago and really encouraging them to get more engaged in the political process because the political process impacts them so directly. And one of them finally said to me, "Carly, we're too busy running our businesses." Travis: Right. Carly: And of course that's true. So you combine people being totally flat out trying to run their business with a feeling of it's just hopeless, it's useless, I totally understand. And yet I think it is so important that we have people who understand business speaking into the political process that we have people who are trying to run businesses, talking to their representatives about what is happening to them as a result of the political process. And this is a bipartisan issue. It doesn't matter whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. It doesn't matter what your representative is, I just think it's critically important. You know, if I can back up for a second, there used to be a time when business and politics
  14. 14. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 14 of 19 were sort of different tracks. And you knew people who went into politics and you knew people who went into business and the two never met, unless there was some huge problem. Well, I think we have to go back to the way it used to be where all of us were engaged in civic society in some way. And this is now I think too important for business people to just step back and say, "Oh well, there's nothing I can do and I can't have an impact," because what the politicians are doing is having an impact on us every single day. Travis: Well, based on my 47 years of living I've come to the conclusion that obviously, us human beings we're creatures of habit and we tend to not want to embrace change until something breaks, and we're forced to. And I feel like we're heading towards that date where something really big breaks and we're forced to completely change the way that we do things. I agree with you, we need business- minded people within the government to eliminate a lot of these nonsense and get us back on track. Carly: Well, and we need people who are outside of government and outside of politics traditionally who are business people-- Travis: Which is where innovation comes from, right? Carly: Yeah, to put real pressure on the system. Travis: Well, and there's so much esoteric things that's going on. My wife and I sit there and watch the news. And she's pretty intelligent, and I asked her, "Did you understand what they just said?" They were having a discussion about something involved with the government; I don't remember what the topic was. And she said, "No", and so this government is supposedly for the people and 80% of the people have no clue of what's being said. Carly: Well look, this is a government intended to be by the people, for the people, of the people. What's happened over time is we have a government that is, and politicians who are professionals, meaning, they are professional politicians. Not all of them but most of them. Travis: Right. Carly: We have professional politicians, we have professional government employees. And so what's happened is the government has become sort of a separate population. And that's a problem, because it means that we're on totally separate pages, we use to the example of you and your wife listening to the news. We speak different languages now, that's a bad thing. Travis: Right. And you know, the comment that I made wasn't to say that our public is dumb as much as the professional politicians have made conversations so complicated that it's just virtually impossible. They might as well be speaking in another language.
  15. 15. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 15 of 19 Carly: Well, they are speaking in another language, and a lot of the language they're speaking in has to do with political points and their world up on Capitol Hill which is not the world of most business people. Travis: Right. To go back to your point of looking at things from the customer's perspective. When I walk in to an airport, occasionally I'll have an employee there speak to me in airport acronyms as if I work there, and I'll have to say, "No, I don't know what that means, can you translate for me." So that's when a business is slipping, is exactly to your point. You've got to speak to the people that you're serving and many businesses aren't, and obviously governments aren't. Carly: Yeah, it would be a wonderful thing if when you went into an airport, you felt as though people there actually understood you had paid for a plane ticket. Travis: Right. Carly: And it would also be a wonderful thing if people and government understood, actually my job is to serve the citizen who pays my salary through their taxes because that's literally what's going on. But I think we have forgotten that too often in Washington, D.C. Travis: Right. Well, we definitely need you in office Carly. Carly: Well, whether or not I'm in office someday, what I will continue to do is raise my voice and try and influence how people think about it. We all can do what we can do, and that's something I can do. Travis: Right. So let's segue into the lightning round, the last three questions here. We've had a lot of great conversation and I know that we could really go on for another hour here. But are you ready? Carly: I'm ready. Travis: Now, I know, Tera are you still there? Tera: Yes. Travis: We've got Tera with us also; she's not used to being interviewed. Tera, I'm still thinking of a way that we can get you involved on this interview. So hang in there okay. Tera: That's okay. Travis: Alright. So Carly, what book or program made an impact on you related to business that you would recommend and why? Carly: You know, I looked at this question this morning and I know you'll be disappointed. I never can come up with one thing. I never can, and I guess the thing that I would say is the one-- You'll be
  16. 16. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 16 of 19 amazed by this answer. Remember I told you early on in our conversation, I was a philosophy major, remember that? Travis: Uhm hmm Carly: So the thing that I remember, I had always remembered all through my business career was a philosopher named, if I have to pick one thing, is a philosopher named Hegel. Doesn't matter who he was, or when he lived or any of the rest but Hegel had this idea that you took two opposing ideas and you manage to marry them. And his word for that was thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Now why do I bring that up? Because I think what a lot of business and leadership is about, is finding ways to take two things that seem impossible to reconcile and reconciling them. Example, "Wow, I have to focus so much of my time and energy on serving the customer today, how can I possibly have any energy left to think about the future? Well, if you figure out a way to do both, that is success. We've talked about lots of those balance points but it's something that I remember every single day and it's the only way you solve problems actually. What's a problem, a problem is a seemingly irreconcilable conflict but somehow you've figured out how to marry two opposed ideas and get something better as a result. In the end, I think that's what innovation's about. Travis: Interesting, I like that. That's completely a different take on it. What's one of your favorite tools or pieces of technology that you've recently discovered if any, I don't know if you use much tech or not, that you'd recommend to other business owners and why. Carly: This is also a really interesting question but I mentioned that I started out in the phone company. So it's amazing to me the kinds of tools now, magicJack, Vonage, all of these things that literally create free communications. And it applies to everything. But I think what we're going through right now to take it from the specific to something more holistic, I think what we're going through right now is a fundamental transformation that is historic across all of humanity's history, honestly. I think we're living through a time period where everything that is physical and analog is becoming digital, mobile, virtual, and personal. If you think about, why am I saying that, telephone communications, nobody even thinks about it anymore but it used to be this incredible, physical network of analog connections? Now guess what, it's completely digital and mobile. The music industry, the books, music, everything is going from physical and analog, to digital, mobile, virtual, and personal. The reason I bring this up in this context, talking with entrepreneurs is I think entrepreneurs have to think very hard about that. Because I don't care what kind of business you're in, I don't care if you're running the tacoria down the street, you're running a dry cleaners, you're running a technology service company, you're running a not for profit, it doesn't matter. Whatever you're doing, you now have to think about how do I leverage this incredible trend in technology where people are able to connect in a meaningful way, anytime, anywhere, virtually in a personalized way, how do I leverage that for my business. Because if you're not thinking about that you are behind the arc of history, truly.
  17. 17. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 17 of 19 Travis: Yeah, I think the stats may be a little off. We create in text every 72 hours what took us the first 2,000 years of existence to create. Carly: Yeah, the reason I say its transformationals, the first time in human history-- Think about this, literally, for the first time in human history, any person, anywhere, can get any piece of information on any device. Travis: Right. Carly: That's transformational to humanity, much less to somebody's business. And so, I think it's very profound and I think people who don't think about that with regard to their business get behind the 8 ball very fast. Travis: Great point. Your answers come from a complete different angle than most. I love it. You're really a different type thinker here, I'm eating this up Carly. So, what famous quote would best summarize your belief or attitude in business? Carly: Well, my attitude in business. Let me maybe again take a different tack, but we started this conversation which has been so much fun Travis I have to say, thank you so much. Travis: Yeah, thank you. Carly: We started this conversation talking about an individual, in this case me but it applies to other people. And while it is true that every success is a team effort, it is also true that success comes from someplace inside every person. I think every person has the potential to succeed, I think every person has the potential to lead, I think every person has the potential to be an entrepreneur but many don't choose to become any of those things. So the quote that I carry around in my head all the time comes from when I was an 8-year old child, and it came from Sunday school literally, but it is "What you are is God's gift to you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God." And to me whether your listeners believe in God or not or come from a spiritual place. To me it's about every single one of us has gifts, every single one of us has tremendous potential that we rarely, fully tap. One thing I know from managing people all my life, every single person has more potential than they realize, every organization has more potential than frequently is tapped. So all of us have gifts, all of us have potential, this country is the greatest on earth because it gives more people the opportunity to tap their potential. But every single one of us has those gifts and that potential and question is what are going to do with it. And I think if we spend our days thinking about how do I make the most of my gifts, the most of my good fortune, the most of my success, the most of my potential, it's a good life. Travis: Well said. You know Carly, you're brilliant and I find you very authentic, and so it's just an absolute pleasure to spend time with you and throw that ball of communication and just go down several different paths of so many important topics. How do people connect with you?
  18. 18. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 18 of 19 Carly: If they go on to my website, and there is a contact me button there, and they can connect with me that way. And they can also see a little bit about all the things that are going on in my life if they're interested in that, Travis: Great. Now, can you hang out with me for a couple more minutes while I wrap things up? Carly: Sure. Travis: Excellent. Carly: I have like 5 more minutes if that's okay. End of Interview Travis: Yeah, I'm going to wrap it up and probably too. I want to remind you that you can find all of the links to the books and the resources mentioned in the show in the show notes. Just go to, again it's a brand new site that we're building out that's completely focused on giving you the resources to grow your business. Before I close the show today, I want to tell you about a really exciting program that we've put together called the Business Breakthrough Sweepstakes where you'll have a chance to win $73,000 in cash and prizes and a Lamborghini. Now the business breakthrough sweepstakes is a program that's centered around teaching you the formula I've used to build several million dollar businesses. In fact, that's how I've reached more than $70 million in revenue. Now I want to teach you that formula so that you can use it in your own business. The money and the prizes that we're giving away will be focused on adding lots of fun and excitement as we build out our community, and the program is completely free. For more information just go to and click on the Business Breakthrough Sweepstakes. Now my quote today comes from Dale Carnegie, and the quote reads, "If you want to conquer fear, don't sit at home and think about it, go out and get busy." This is Travis Lane Jenkins signing off for now, remember, no matter where you're at in your journey as an entrepreneur, you're an inspiration to those around you to go after their dreams too, so keep it up. To your incredible success, take care.
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