Brent Bennett - Silicon Slopes Lecture Series
Is provided. By Brian fruit and, and, he. Told me about. Repentance. Of this guy he's awesome he's been running. His own insurance. And benefits, business. Or quite. Some time. University. Of Utah Cratchit. And. I, this is kind of walking in it was really fun to listen, to his experience. The. Benefits, side. Is that applies to every business I really. Respect. That Britt. Who does a lot of consulting works, with a lot of businesses, to help them be successful it's. A good flavor or, a good variety of what works and what doesn't which businesses, do well which from struggle. So, he's. Is. A really, good. Business. Technologies. So. We're over. Thanks. I, appreciate, it. So. Guys don't be pretty formal my name's pregnant, like Mark said oh yeah we've, got a lot of changes, here I've got a lot of changes here over the last a little bit I started, spectrum if it's in 2002. And. I'll go through a little bit of just kind of it's okay I'll go through a little bit of back Graham just people a little context. Because. Like Mark said I think you know I know. Buddy I've met, almost nobody in my life that. At your age are PhD said I want to get into insurance right I choose something you kind of fall into but. It's a neat business, and I say that from the standpoint what's, up market we walked over here I mean I really, do over, my career I've had a front row seat to. Thousands. Of businesses right now we handle three of them 50 clients here in the state of Utah we've. Literally got employees in all 50 states right, now. Exactly. I'll, tell you a little bit about you. Know so that transition with hub but, they're an international company, so you're one of the greatest, things that I've been able to do with last little bit we've had a lot of companies that are walking, all over the world but individual, my clients, is in California. Cleaning. Park clothing. Biomed. Company and. They've got awesome Japan they've got offices in the UK that got offices down in Australia, and now we're going to help them with that so we were able to help with a lot of their international benefits of risk management now we're able to do that so really it's not an exciting business just from a standpoint we're going to see a lot of different things and learn, a lot but. If it's okay I'll tell you a little bit about my background I, was.
Born In California I moved out to a song city one about 17 years old lived, here majority. Of my life. It's. A great place I really. Started my career kind, of kept my teeth selling, books back in 1991, I was in high school I grew. Up around those love boats to death and, I bring, that up you know there's been a lot of careers. And some things that I didn't put up here it was an area that I've learned a lot and part of what I've learned was a really small company, we had about 17. 18 employees, at the time I started. Here almost 70 years old and, and. And you know I look back the lessons, that I learned in life and you know Mark said you know one of the things that you mentioned earlier is take advantage of some, of the opportunities you know I look back if, there's one thing that I could kind of go through my life especially now that so chance to reflect versa, as I was preparing for today you, know I'll give you a couple. Tidbits. Or at least some things that really helped me, but. One of the things that the boat sales that I learned was a lot of the people that, I sold both through the lumbers 40th right I mean it's old boats the bronies a whole new skin I've sold a lot of those a lot of people here in Utah that, have houses all over the world we delivered boats in Grand Cayman and we delivered boats and Florida Hawaii a. Lot, that way pal and, I'm, a huge boater so I mean I worked there for eight years Wow. I absolutely love, the job but I love the people that I got a beat and I said it from a standpoint. Typically. Do not sell the boat you know what say something like this 40 50 foot boat you'll it didn't be taken down to Lake Powell or go down to Coronado I'd spent up three or four days showing how to work everything but we really got spent some time get to learn them you know. Their children, and. Majority. Those people were small business owners I mean almost all of them were c-suite, at. A company or they were small business owners it was really interesting and one of the things that I learned a lot was a lot of the ways to make money writing. As I talk to these people it was continually. Amazing, to me that you, know somebody would do automated. Checks for an HOA somebody else would build a. Robot. Or biotech company somebody else would have a manufacturing, company somebody, else would be a roofer construct, our contracting, company that. At my age I didn't have no experience. I would have never thought that somebody did this or built this widget and could, afford it to an athlete dollar both to be in Hawaii for summer that, was pretty exciting to me to say that's that gave you a lot of motivation do a lot of things, part.
Of That was at that time I, was, kind of I, was kind of skate. Kids surf bum love boats but, little fun go to college right and so when I, started. Selling boats and hangouts and people I thought wow this is what the world could really look like I got, pretty serious I wouldn't call it really quick I was 17 years old I didn't ever really very, good great and and. And, I had an amazing boss, at the time he was a. Douche. Brain company out of Salt Lake that was, a vibrant. Year from lemon and was. Was huge very, patriotic guy and really encouraged me to join the military and part, of it was just to, pay for call them right so I actually joined the US Army Reserves, strictly. To pay for college I flew, out to Fort Jackson South Carolina and, while I was there we. Invaded. Iraq and ever afterwards so I called active duty it was not it's. Not part of plan through, the paper college was kind of a blessing in disguise when, I look down in South Carolina for a while a stationed at Fort Lewis up, in Seattle, for about a year and a half and. Wrapped and while I was there I wanted. To do a thing glamorous we were shooting bullets or anything, I was processing, retirement, points and landing trips for people coming back so if, you guys watch them back in the first Desert Storm was really, quick riding it goes back and forgets really quick and, so about the by the time I was done with basically I teeth that. You know advanced, infantry training by, the time I was done with that we, had hundreds, of thousands of soldiers that were coming back, from Germany all over and so now we're look at my first lens and employ those guys I didn't really think of it or know it at the time because, I look back with a huge opportunity right I'm really pissed off I would really have to what this was not part of plan I looked, back at it it, created. A really good foundation so, so. I would go through all the details because actually did pre-med I mean when I was in school actually did pre-med I thought I want to be a doctor I went to, started, looking around at that school and, I'm pretty impatient I had, the grades going to school I could have done it and there was no way they thought there's been four years in school again and so. Left. There went to work I, work. For bambor suitable for a while as. A personal sales rep and, transitioned. Over to. HR. Outsourcing company. And, so again kind of going back to my roots I have sold several boats to a company that owned a. PDL. Professional, employer organization and. Kind. Of weaves in and out. But. He hired me to come back and I was a salesperson for him became a sales manager and why, was this elevator there we have you know roughly about 1500, employees at. The firm and I handled our cell, phone of benefit so I hope the company start their own cell phone a benefit plan and, in doing that really, really enjoyed. That. Company, but we worked with small business I mean most, work lands for between 15, to 50 employees and. At that point in time I had done that for about four years. -. Good job in three consulting. Position. Partner, so I get back up, flew around the country career acquisitions, I was, young so it's really fun I don't see the world like I see a lot of cool places and meet a lot of cool people but, I got married that same year and my, wife was talking, way over 40. Weeks. Love money. But my wife was not feeling that was a very good marriage right this. Is not working we're kind of, roommates. On the weekends and so, I really. I grope. The very often her father he had several different businesses. He's her real estate you. Know was in real estate and and. You. Know my first plane was gonna basic training when I was 18, years old I mean he never took family vacations, he worked all the time very, successful, guy that work. Was kind of his life and I always thought gosh I really don't want to start my own business I don't want to be and. Not in 2002. I started Spectre. Honestly. Because I didn't know what else to do right I felt, like that's this is what I'm gonna do but I've been traveling out of town I have some skills and kind of heard your acquisition and employee benefits. And. I could probably translate, that make some pretty good money and not have to travel so I really, you know partnered, up with somebody, at the time I was leasing office space. I've, got a Monday and, what I've got home my wife would kind of grab me yeah this isn't gonna work if I worked out so I leased office space from a company called spectrum, management at the time and, it was strictly a fee-based financial, planning company, and so they didn't do before okay. And. I had mentioned to them hey I'm gonna break, off and start my own company he talked me into kind of buying in partnerships, with him in 2002, now, this was October 2002, I did.
That Started the employee benefits division. So. The company at that time really had been there was about three employees at, the time of 72, contractors. And so, started that and. That. Was in 2002, about 2007. We parted, ways and. You know I'll talk with his hip here in just a second it, was a huge lesson for me I'm a partner together I look. At sports, for example, my school I played soccer. But. I like. Team sports right I would like to play by myself Phoenix. By the planet team and I. Really wanted, to work that, as we went through that partnership we were not aligned right, I think at the time when, we started that company I was, 31 years old he was about 47 years old I literally had my first child within. About a week of him now his first grandchild we had a little bit of success from 2002, to 2005. And I. Was, like rather. I was just like and we were starting, something cool we're ready to go and he was like Jesus I'm gonna take Friday's off and my life with weapons at 3:00 right I want to start golfing on Friday you made it you know and for me I was just barely getting going and so I think one of my biggest takeaways, is that alignment, is really really important, fast. Forward of 2018. You. Had been, in business for about 16, years, you. Know we've, grown the company tremendously. At, least tremendous work for, me and. Kyogre. My stomach was right, I've kind of boost drafts a lot of things I was, kind of adverse to take it a lot of loan and death which. I think is wrong ready, I absolutely look back at my career I think that's that would have helped me a lot I'll talk about that in just a second but, I had. Been talking, with a company hub international, they're the sixth largest insurance, brokerage firm in the world my. Talk to them for about seven year we got a pretty good relationship they, had an office here in Salt Lake and, and. He, approached me in October 2017. And I sold. A portion of the company rolled up some equity and so now the partner and other national, and. So, now we've got about 450, offices, across the United States about 15,000, employees it's a much different, today. Is a much different. So. You, know what I was kind. Of preparing for this and kind of looking through, you. Know my, life and things, I hope things have gone wrong and knowing, what I know now if. I were in your shoes and, sitting a college class of looking I think it's awesome and we're not as we call it we did not have an, October, program grad, I mean you kind of looked, at that said they won't be successfully, be a doctor being an attorney you do some of these things I think it's pretty awesome to look at the, entrepreneurs, as a business, unit right that's one of the things at least we're. Gonna go Gators ship gave them to me is to see a lot of different people in a lot of different careers but. One of the things I really, really encourage you from it if there's some things that I've had success in life it's. Because I've asked advice for the most successful, before now I say, that anyway I put a couple of those in here just to keep me on track you.
Know I talked, it was bad well I've just cuz he was a huge. Mentor. Name a test, room you, know have to eat drink be, spring capital on land s so, that you, know he was those. Anyway. Has had an amazing career at local Utah guy at the time he would be most successful person, I. And. You. Know when I graduated college would eat some things and when any side was really debating should I go to med school she knew this. Person. Here right I thought hey here's a guy that has an extremely. High net worth his time is, very very valuable I've. Sold a couple those to him and back to him pretty well I was, amazed at how open, he was and. Saying absolutely let's, go to lunch right and so he really, took a lot of time energy not just to meet with me but, I said do you want to power off you wanna meet monthly. You. Wanna meet and I was a blown away like I couldn't believe it that how open he was and how, good his advice was I mean one of the things he talked to me and said well where do you really, look forward in 20 years and at the time we never thought that at the time I was thinking what do I want to do next month or next week I was. From now and, one of the things he actually helped me kind of sketch down with, my resume in Reverse is, to say hey where do you want to be in 20 years from now well, what you need to do to have that be a reality, what needs to come before that what needs to come before that what needs to come back before, that and really sketch that we were just very clear my. I'm. Gonna make money right, out of the school first up another four years and so I know that something I just really really, appreciate to do I've. Gotten into this it was just huge leap a Claudette Paul tricks a few weeks ago with. Ryan Smith just you know so cultures for eight billion dollars one of the things that he talked, about is they didn't offer about. Three years ago for a half four five hundred million bucks, I think a lot of people thought he was crazy for not taking that and, one of them's he talked about that story it just resonated, with me really little well is he talked to a lot of people who talked to the attorney he talked to a CPA, and kind, of redo somebody how to do it right, guys so there's a lot of take, the mine and. He. Talked, well the guys you. Know one a former guys were perfect he, said absolutely don't, take the money right like. You, have a good thing going you're, growing this business why would you sell it and, one of these are Ryan said he was I'm really confused because everybody, else I've talked to says I should take the money and and. Laughs. Evan said well, how many other people held a check for five million bucks, right. Don't. Take money and. So I got to me that was a huge takeaway, of like be really careful, of who you're asking advice room and I stand it from a standpoint you, know mark, mentioned earlier I'm ready or, organization, you got it's. Been probably the most impactful, things in my career right and not only my business lack of my personal life right, and not a lot, of that is because I've got organization, and teamwork of people. That will give me advice for one purpose of that's this evening you know if, I ask my CPA if I asked my attorney he do you think I should do this deal they, say absolutely because they're billing by the hour. It's. Not the best advice oftentimes. They're doing what either they leakes best for me or a lot of times what's best for them so I just really really encourage it you know three or take, advantage of the people and. I take, advantage but I mean take it take, advantage of the resources that you have and try, and go get right get. Advice from the most successful, people you know in that industry, I talk. To this a little bit fine alignment with partners Vickers and revisit, that often. You. Know we've we've been under regular order the fourth largest firm. In the state of Utah in terms of sizes here locally you. Know when we started it was, to. Us right one. Of the things I would attribute a lot of our success to is being very candid honest with our vendors right, and so when we look at you know who our partners are it was our client to their vendors and really got a lot of talking, to them saying here's our goals for the year here's. What I need from you but here's how, it. Was amazing, to me is continued. Today how. Open people are willing especially, your vendors and how willing to give you, opportunities.
I Mean I can't tell you we deuces I've seen that there's. No way I can do this there's no way to get a lot of credit and they went to their vendors and said gosh. If you can extending this here's what I can do for you and their vendors occupying a line of credit, the. Money, that. Make sense so I just really, encourage it think. Through that and share your vision often. You. Know I put in here contracts, keep the peace, I'm. A big. Believer that like my, mind was a million miles net right when I was younger I used to stutter really bad because my we kind of go faster than I could talk and. Oftentimes you know I I really buried my career thought, contract, we're kind of a bad thing if we did this let's try and make it as simple as possible and now I'm totally the opposite, I feel like hey let's let's go through every, single thing that might happen because. To just keep the honest promise right and a lot of those things. Change, often time you sign a contract and it's ten years so you guys have a disagree already, have a district with a partner. Or a vendor I, think, contracts are really really good they're not evil instrument, I think a lot of us feel like get contracts could be something, bad they, used to enforce it and I would say oftentimes a contract with some use to remind, you about where you were the place when you say. Mistake. They're they're good things. Another. I don't expect, problems, and plan for contingencies I mean it in business. I love the fact there's a lot of people in the room that have businesses I would. You know no. Matter how long you've been in business I I would almost guarantee that you've had some things that didn't go the way you plan right. And if you able to plan that ahead of time and allow, for that margin of error I think, is something that's really good important, to me you. Know. Give. You an example aces. The Affordable Care Act you, know I'm in I mean health insurance or employment, so we do insurance we do employee benefits and Obamacare, when Obamacare ACA, the Affordable, Care Act came out that. Was kind of scary time for industry, right a lot of people in our industry felt like that we don't know we're gonna have a role a job. What happens for small business and. And. You. Know one of the things that I. Love. That frantic yeah it's gonna be an amazing opportunity I, feel terrible, for the business community but they're gonna be really really confused. Pay. Us money we, know, random. So let's get out in front of it and so, one of these you know this was probably one of the biggest marketing, blunders I've, ever done in our career we spent about, $3,000. Or going to these big chess pieces, that we were doing these mainly programs, about, a deadline, was happening and we. Were so excited about we printed all these up we had in the office we're getting ready to play it and literally. Within probably, a days of us setting them off they. Papillon, said you know what here's the deadline or it extended for every year what's, 30 grand down the tubes I mean I was that was at a time we were doing probably 70 grand here so. 30 grand was, you know a big, chunk before getting. The. Rihanna's we rebranded the stuff right it's at literally sat the closet that kind of boot for about a year I would say I can't believe you know my kids on every. Kid the neighbor that chess sets forever right could, we have that there was evil closets, and closets full of stuff that we couldn't use anymore and then we kind of just decided let's. Rebrand. Let's reuse them us throw another sticker on there we could kind of live another day so, I you, know as as business, is going on you, guys need to plan for some those contingencies, and know what's plan B right if this doesn't work what should be. Another. Item that just kind of early, life lessons, learned is, assume, good intentions, and I can't, say this enough in terms of you. Know our employees. Now even myself, so. Much of our communication now, is done via. Email, via text. It's. Just a lot of it's not going to first thing I mean I'll even eat a lot of my clients have been to 10 champs tell me about one, of my largest clients it's out in California, they're.
Huge. Tech company. 1,700, employees. They. Want me personally to come to their office into the meeting with employees right, and this last year we, have. Tech had, conversations, to Scott I just can't do that more right me to have somebody come they, actually agreed before you percent fee enhancement as long as I personally, go do their meeting with their employees this year and I. Can't, say I frustrated that was that I we flew up San Francisco we were down in Austin Texas doing. These meetings and we would come into a turn, like this and they would have maybe 50, people in the room and we. Would have it on its zoom, meeting or Skype meeting and it would be seven hundred people in the office that did walk out of trim because they wanted to sit at the desk and watch me write, AI, how ludicrous is, this that he's had to pay me this amount they become when people are sitting one, story up, watch my beneath but that's kind of a rule that we live in and. I say that you know assume good in tins that is so easy sometimes when emails, were captured, well back and forth and you're communicating with vendors clients employees. To. Assume to read, it out of context, right but they asked us what. Did they mean by that why, did they say that and I think it was one. Of the my biggest life lesson has, been if you assume good intentions, that usually love people me right, if you assume bad intentions, oftentimes. That's not what it is but you give work that would lose a lot of time energy. The. Other thing that is I look, back that like a lot of the lessons learned and still. I tried to cheap out on some of the things with. Professional, advice, right. Like hiring professionals, attorneys, CPAs investment. Bankers I. Can't. Tell you how many times like from a legal standpoint yeah, I tried to use the legal do kamar or, I you, know created, a contract, that we have to I have a turn build it was similar. And so I just twist the couple things around that I, kind of. The. Box for three thousand, protection. That I didn't have. Or. Example. Me when we went through and sold the business here a year and a half ago. You know we hired an investment banker I look back on having spent a lot of money, I tell, you i 100%. Feel like I probably got a three to four percent ROI but, more importantly the money I'm in the right place like. They actually found the right needle and all through that process these. Are great emotional coaches I see it I'm a standpoint, being you'll, be the CEO being a business owner is really. Rewarding that's finance rewarding, it's emotionally, exhausting, sometimes, it's. There's a lot you have to go through there's a lot you can't share with people there's. A lot that goes on that. You kind of don't want to talk about in public sometimes right not this is good better different it's just not appropriate, and. And, these, professionals. Your attorneys or CPA the best bakers, those are people typically, that, as long as you're on the same page as long as you're open and honest they've been there seen that and, they can really help and you know early on in your career I wouldn't, you know I always have the mindset, of like well as soon as we you, know get to this level that I'll really, step, up and get the right firm right I'll really step up right attorneys and. If. I were to do it again I would, absolutely. Pace. Communication, with your team. But. An. Example, down here diana you, know we're a really transfer, company or at least i feel. You. Know I've, always tried to be very very transparent, you know when I talk about the ACA the Affordable, Care Act or Obamacare, there's. A couple times in my career several, times my career where I look back on it that it actually kind of stuck right I say that from a standpoint that basic, communication, with your team sometimes your, employees, your team could, have only digest so much stuff and. Most everybody in here if you're doing business or you're in a newer format. People. Like you people like me that are entrepreneurs, are. Comfortable, with risks you're comfortable with risk-taking other, people aren't and so you know that's you, know at least a takeaway for me is pacing, that communication, you want to keep people informed but. Sometimes you really need to be cautious about how much information you give enough if you're trying to hide anything but, sometimes people's, mind goes crazy right, I mean I remember with ACN, I put down here choose, an account manager route for me for about six years an amazing lady and, I remember you know talking to her about her popular, entire team pulling men and saying here's, kind of what we're doing here's. Here's kind of the future and we always do I always do kind of a year in a half.
Here's. What we think the, outlook is for this year and here's kind of things I'm really dirty and we, were having that conversation that, shoe stand in the back she started crying right. She worked for me first it's year like what is going on okay I pulled her aside like what's going on. To. Me this is really positive but her hurt digestion was this is so scary I don't know whether I can get a job and, for me I was just trying to be very close with the employees that, make sense here it is you know you, know six or seven years later and we've probably, grown by about 700 percent so, her you don't her concern pours out bet but at the time that. Was that was something that came to me and just pacing that communication. Anybody. Have questions. I, think. For. Me success. Money. Oftentimes, of the score VP right and so it's really easy. They. Have really been important to also look at how people how what. That was that people got there and, I would lot further take advice from somebody, has. Failed miserably several, times and got. Back up and succeeded, then, just have great financial success that. Makes sense I think diversity is really important, and so, so success, for me doesn't it certainly made the person that's making the most money but. But success to me oftentimes means the, person, has been very resilient and. The person that's. Kind. Of struggle to get there right now. Does that make sense to you that the. Definite success is, really, good but I think it's personal right yeah, Oh. Tell. You who this is but I'll, share this it. Was just it was super. Meaningful for me and I actually changed the way that I viewed a lot of things you know I'm a father too I could afford to your own voice seven-year-old girl this, August I've been married for 20 years right that's. Something that was really really important for me right my dad, I love them to death you've been married divorced five times right. So as I look through that. One. Of my goal was to not be that that make sounds like how could accomplish this and I talked about on FitLife, growing. Up a lot of that success I really, didn't want, to be a business owner. This ownership meets it you're away from your family right.
That Means that you choose your business or your family and. You. Know one, of the guys that I reached out to or, one gentleman I reached out to early, on my career he, was probably in my early 20s, I was, married kids. And. I and, literally. Said hey you're probably one, of the most successful people I know this space. And. He prefaced it and they before before, I tell you hey I'm just sold my company and it was a huge, accident. Today, I just sold my company I've had a lot of success but let me tell you what you don't know about me right I've been married twice, my kids don't talk to have no relationship, with my children so, be careful how you digest, this information that. Was super, impactful, to me right like that really need a memorable comment. Of exactly, what we just said like be careful of looking, at financial success of the definition, of success and he. Would tell me if you do it all over again it's different right. So. It's a little, bit of blue. To the background on our company. You. Know one of the things I think is a little bit unique we. Don't work with a specific industry, or size. Yeah. So. Depends on the this size comedy right I think if you're if you're doing one hundred two hundred thousand are here evidence really straightforward. Even. Have you. Know I think you should still have a CPA that's doing that but have a smaller shop and have a smarty yeah this is very appropriate. As. Things get a little bit more complex meaning. That you need you, need some outside advice to, make financial decisions you, need to start with financial matrix, they've, you know one of the things, that's. Not in here but. But. As an example I think one of these that we did right and we did just did within the last three or four years I wish we would have done ten years ago is, I really met with our CPA firm we worked with a local firm here that in Utah County to, really start looking at our maker since you look at industry average where should where should our mentor speed that, make sense where should our over to be what their positive likely because we're service company I didn't. Know what her positive solders right. And so so you know sort of look. Back and say 2013. We. Had over 450, plans right now we have 351, so, we actually shaved off about a third of our of our business, and. Our revenue, grow and our net income, almost. More than double and, part of that was because we really took a look at saying well what is our cost of clients and this type of client, decided to plant we actually can't make money in fact we're losing when you leave we better lock. The door and focus. On here I, couldn't. I didn't fear that right. So the business. Every. Single sales somebody blew them to, buy something from us you wanted to sell and. Having that financial matrix that I went through probably two or three CPA firms looking, for cost of goods sold then. Don't tell me why you're in a service industry which is really difficult I got, to the right firm oh this is how you, change. The business so, I, don't that helps on the answer but I don't know that there's a dollar amount for at a time in business as, much as it is when. Are those one of those internal you, need some. And. You, know it's, not always like there's, a lot of things I prefer CFO, now CFO, things that nature that won't work on projects, and, if I were to give that's what I do you know rather than hiring a firm to say you're my CPA appears say, the retainer for the year which is really expensive I would, go back to somebody that's very skilled, a project. Basis to say here's the problem you, solve it. So. Some of these it was a little bit different about us is really kind of that you know simon Sinek otis have to find their wife and so we spent a lot of time the company several years ago 500, close but really about 2009 2010 the, inflection point for us, really.
The Former, title company this is Morgan in title business in 2009 2010, the market really. You. Talk relative, terms it was fairly, softer, than the overall marketing office down the chain towards our, office was about 40 percent in revenue you know in 2009, 2010. There a 40 percent year-over-year. And, and. One of these that really struck me is the amount, we were really pretty intimate relationship, with most of our clients so you usually tell us if they're gonna murder acquisition, they'll get involved they're doing a big hire don't get us involved and. So it's it's a really neat relationship to do that have a front row seat to. Some. Of these and. I'll never forget, in 2010, where the title, company bars same. Type of industry and they were really talking about. Their, memory, wall or their health benefit wall and, they were talking okay we need to save costs we need to tuck cost kind. Of the world's probably down right I mean just everything is going bad my employees don't listen here's that and, they were just cheap, cheap cheap and I don't mean cheap in terms of just finance. Or writing the cheque just, their mindset, was very much hey my employees, are, tape tape, they didn't view it as an investment you their employees as assets, they do this an expansion, we. Left there and kind of think about this, is a. We. Should work we, meant literally, from that office later in the day within about three or four hours out, of meeting with another company, same. History same valley here in Salt Lake earth, in Salt Lake and, and. They were kind of talking under the breath and saying you know we're actually pretty good I know they probably not great whatever really fantastic. Here. And. We hope that it's you, know Peter stay right on I know the battle tenpai great and, we were going through their benefit package and they were saying literally saying we just love our employees, we don't want to cut back we, you know their works, they're doing a great job and. And. One of my takeaways, watching. From the outside you know the cool thing is that you're watching a lot. Of these symptoms people make they. Really, from a cultural standpoint they. Realized, in a service industry our, services, are employed right. That is the brand that is the. Brand of our company and. And. So we really, you know after that one that was really will be shadows week we have, two of our salespeople we have we. Let. Them take their clients with them right as. We look through there we, said, hey that's one of the biggest difference, is we. Don't sell benefits, we, help companies define, the culture we. Help them take their culture, and push, it out for your benefit so that they can express it as an unbreathable place. It. Doesn't mean that you spend the most amount of money it means that you are thoughtful in your process. It is a financial safety net I have to care about your family to care about your kids and not we put a financial safety net so that you can focus on your work and as soon as we started changing that mindset one. Of our business starting earlier there's a Capri fund right insurance is not sexy like the reality of insurance is not cool industry. To be in but, getting to work with 350. Really cool companies that care about their employees and want advice on how to get better that's really fun right and so you know that was in number than, 2010. We kind of change that in 2011, you know 14 15 16 17 18, we. Hit mean 5000, so we have some pretty big growth during that time they, think oh one of the for, me personally I think one of the most rewarding things you know. In 2017. You talk business magazine for this was one of the best companies to work for and, that was something that we have is like a very conscious, goal this is something might help our clients - this, is something we want to do with the company that I helped translate. That that, was really, really fun. So. You, know kind, of as. A thought process you know and I think all of us go through this in fact you know I look, at my career now I've, been through a couple different careers even though I've been doing this for 17 years. In. Between that, we've done in some ventures. Think. About you who. Do you want to be when you grow up and. They one of the v-neck, from a company standpoint not personally they've really, really important to decide who your company wants to be right for us to be able to brand our company of, that culture and frankly we're going through some growing pains right, because we we, really sold our company for the last, five. Years as a variable, team right, I mean we competed, if the big boys -, they're so big we're, this boutique, firmness that. Cares about you were small were nimble, we knew something seems an hour not right, now we have 15,000, employees in seven, countries and 450. Offices we can't so some, bookkeeping, right, we still have the same story and philosophy, but, managing, growth I think, that's one of the things that it's and it's it really is tricky right there's not a right or wrong answer but.
As I look through. Mm. Mm. And. So I think managing, that growth expectation. Not only from cash flow but also from your employees, is, really important, yeah. So. So as an example you know. Take. Poison example, you know this over, the last two years in. The. Last two years I wrote it for our industry. The average growth rate our industry about four percent so. That's significantly, higher than that one. Of the reasons is, like over staffing example if you want to grow I think, you know I've had the mindset we, we. Want to grow but, we also really, really want to have. Some work/life balance right, that's, really a hard thing to accomplish but here in a service industry you rely on your employees to fuel your growth and so, we've, really tried to stop about 90 to 95, percent total. Out a little bit of drug. And. That was a comfortable number based on ratios that we have the financials how they use a little bit of leverage and, death. I probably. Was staffed about 80%, so that we could have kept that same growth rate but, we wouldn't have heard people out so. That helped answer the question I think you know running. At that high rate you, burn people out right and you kind of don't realize it till after it's done and then you pick up the carnage and have to rebuild and it's, painful. Um. That, routine and work-life balance. For. Me and I'll just share my, story if it's alright you. Know I I'm, a big girl. Like right here oh I think I like to journal in the morning it makes me feel good I like to accomplish. To accomplish, today. One. Of the reasons that he is I'd like to go back when. I get the funk from the company doing really well the company's not really well you. Know I've. Been talking about work talk, too much about, my. Family life and friends and some of those other things which is a really important part of that if those, things aren't balanced I'm guru right, so I'd like people to go back in. January, last year senior early was going really well I'll look back in January open up my journal and see what was I doing in January that I'm not doing in, April, the, felt. Like it was so right you know what most of the time it is for me. Diet. Exercise and spending, time with my kids and vacations, right so look at that I look back like that routine I have come routine I sleep.
Very Well I didn't. Sleep so where we got to throw and. So I adopted my, duty not to do wave about 3:30 morning I'll hit the gym about 4:30 in the morning come home and, that's. Kind of that routine if I get out of that routine for two or three weeks like I don't go to the gym right I feel, like now I'm so slammed by the, opposite morning or. It. Just broke me out like. One of my big things this year I want to drop a kid out slurry more like the that was one. Of my things I really, wanted to do he's 14 years old light never drop hop a day, in his life other than this year right I thought, a lot of cake you got it for, the next three years my goals I want to drop them off as long as. When. I do that it works really really well I got out of that routine. That. Means something, different to everyone and. You know we talked about DL earlier that, was probably one of my biggest takeaway from ela they need to feel comfortable my own skin, I am, NOT a work-life, balance guy when I say that like I'm never gonna go to make kids soccer, school. A. Deal. Down there. Last. Year I took eight weeks vacation. Okay. So all, work 70 hours a week but when I'm on vacation a, combination. That. Is work like that for me that works right, that doesn't work for a lot of other people a lot of the people feel, like that work-life balance is nanofiber, finding. Her past 5:30 I want to be a Pullman, and I have a lot of guilt for a long time like. I should, be the. Kids plays I should do this I should be, other things for me into seventh works right I'm not happy that gets me out of my routine if, I'm in that routine on happiness on vacation, all, right. So like one of my big, sayings is like you know you hear on this work why don't some like to slice of the pie I'm like screwed whenever I eat, the whole pie I gotta slice, the pie I'm at work on a hole. So. To just be, honest with yourself and those kind of laughs on work-life balance, of what you want right I know. Early. On in business and so that from 2002. To. 2014. I said. When it broke company but the other lifestyle, company and I actually, felt guilty, about ready. Guilty, mean that, like I wanted to I wanted a company that would sustain my I. Want. To do some of those things in the business of coming. And I probably want a reason I didn't lever up and get some more death is I, didn't really want to grow us fast I, didn't. Want to take the risk to grow I really just want to have a lifestyle in, about 2010. 2011, when I started looking at some things that my brothers have changed, and, when I was honest with myself it was really it was really beneficial. Because, now, I could start to make plans that didn't conflict, with what was inside and that. Trading time for money I think. That's real right. Meaning. You know especially. In a service business if. You're a service business to be really cautious your time that's very valuable and. Put a number on you, know for yourself of what time you're going to give up don't. Get any questions on that. Yeah. So. I mean I, would, say any. Leadership. So. Leadership think outside the box is one that I've read recently awesome. I finally, highly. Recommend, that you read that. Question. There's. A lot there's just so many really really good books. That are out there you know I've, lately I've been doing a lot of audible. I. Mean, so so I you, know kind of mix back and forth with audible and read books I really like to read books about like given to somebody when I'm done, but.
That That hands, down I've never read that book probably three times the last two months, just, cuz I've got something, I've got to take away or I've read it and talked to somebody else and they mentioned something that I didn't, actually grasp. So. For. Me my, concept, that trading time for money isn't as much as what I charge the client as much. As what I allow myself time on that, make sense and so I. Say. Okay what's my time worth versus. What. Do you pay somebody else and what am i because it's my, pocket right whatever we do that comes out of my pocket and putting. A fair value on well where's. The value of my time I kind of mentioned eight weeks vacation really. Really working for me to. Take that time it used to seem like a lot but if you're working severe out of 70, or 80 hours a week it. Doesn't seem like that much anymore, but, I'm gonna point it right now where I think because I look through that that's something that's something to me that's non-negotiable. Eight out of eight, you see here it's, kind of a non-negotiable I'm gonna take that regardless, of what the cost is, financially. So. It's different for different people I didn't I mean five, years ago I would, have done like. I just. Okay. It's time.