Oct. 9, 2020

[Feature Friday] Brad Farris on Why Running A Business Is The Best Self Improvement Program - The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 40

[Feature Friday] Brad Farris on Why Running A Business Is The Best Self Improvement Program - The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 40

On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast Steve talks with Brad Farris about what it takes to run a business and how it changes you along the way. Brad works at Anchor Advisors where they help owners of growing creative service firms who do marketing, advertising, PR, and web design to better run their businesses. 

To better do his job, Brad, who normally adapts to whatever the situation requires of him, had to get very intentional in what problems he solved and the work he wanted to do. After figuring that out and learning how to market it, clients now show up at his door looking for the help he offers. 

But the surprises that come with running a business are still relentless—in a good way. 

Brad’s constantly asking how he can make his business better, how he can be a better leader, how he can treat his body better, and he recommends everyone else do the same. Because most business owners want to hit the elite 2% of businesses that have more than 20 employees and make between 5 and 10 million dollars, so they can sell it and retire off the profits. The only way to do what is to constantly be growing as a person. 

People say parenting teaches them more about themselves than they ever thought possible, but Brad says running a business taught him even more than parenting about how he is and what he’s capable of. 

The problem is, in growing and running a business, you can never never be just one thing. Once you get out of the startup phase, what you do completely changes, and some CEOs aren’t prepared for that transition. In this episode, Brad offers great advice on how to reframe the way you measure success when your daily tasks change and you let your team take over.

Brad’s best advice for pushing yourself and growing as a person and a business is to raise your prices because it attracts better clients. When you’re not desperate to pull in more work, when you’re attracting the clients who see the value in what you do, you become better for it. You can pay your employees more and you can narrow down your market and create raving fans.

You can learn more about Brad here:

Read the books mentioned in this podcast:
The Golden Toilet by Steve Brown
Predictable Success by Les McKeown

Enroll in the QuickStart Academy today to learn how to develop and implement a proven growth strategy that grows your ROI, your business, and your confidence. Learn more HERE.

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{"version":"1.0.0","segments":[{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":4.0,"body":"But let's think about what happens when you raise your prices. Okay? You, you find clients that need what you have what you're offering, that what you're doing is making a bigger difference for them, right? Because they're willing to give you more money for it. So you get more engaged clients that that want to talk about what a great solution you provided, right? So you're not putting band aids on little cuts. Yeah, that people that have arteries spurting blood, and you're putting a tourniquet on that thing, right,\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":31.0,"body":"right. And so\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":32.0,"body":"if you can find those clients, man, it's such a great relationship, right, they're not second guessing you, they're not telling you what they're like, do it, do more, do more, and they're telling other people about it. And so raising your prices attracts better clients. And it means that you have more margin. So you don't need you're not as desperate to pull stuff in, you're paying your people better. You've got you've got an easier problem to solve on the inside too. And so when you narrow down your market, and then raise your prices, like, now you're really attracting your raving fans, the people that are going to do the most for you.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":70.0,"body":"Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI online podcast where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day, are the invisible key rows of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is the place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Brad Ferris, welcome to the ROI online podcast. Well, thanks for having me, Steve. So this is fascinating to me. a billionaire. Oh, yeah, who takes you puts his hand around you and goes, Brad, I trust you to run around country. And I'm just by by some founder led companies, for me, who in the world gets a deal like that?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":129.0,"body":"Well, it wasn't just me, there was a group of people that we were working together on this, but I do remember vividly, the day that I made a presentation to the board. And I proposed that they spend $70 million to buy a particular company. And they're like, All right, go do it. And I walked out of there like, there's no way Why did they take my advice on that? That was the craziest thing ever. I can't believe they did that. And we lost that bid. And I was like, so thanks.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":162.0,"body":"How old? Were you at this time?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":164.0,"body":"Oh, I was like, 33.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":166.0,"body":"And what in the world gave you? Where did you get all this authority and game that you could at 33? You walk in and pitch something like that to a billionaire? And they go, go do it buster.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":180.0,"body":"So one of the things that I learned about family owned firms, is that if if the family likes you, right, if you build a little bit of trust with them, yeah, they kind of think you can do anything. I've done nothing like this ever before in my life.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":199.0,"body":"That's funny. They haven't talked to your dad or your mom.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":205.0,"body":"Or even my spouse or anybody, anybody. But But I seriously there was a team that I was working with my my boss at the time was a Harvard MBA like so it wasn't just me. But it still scared the bejesus out of me. I mean, like $70 million is a lot of money. And I walked out of there. And I think my boss could see the look on my face. And he said, Brad, it's just zeros. Yeah, if it made sense at $70,000, then it makes sense at $70 million. Like that. That's how this works. It's just zeros\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":244.0,"body":"in that crazy. It is super crazy. You You know my dad, I'd have a problem with just one zero. $70 right.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":256.0,"body":"Yeah, yeah. I and and I mean, the thing is that to a billionaire, $70 million, is sort of like $70,000 is to me, and so if I was comfortable with it at $70,000, he should be comfortable with it at 70 million. You think? Yeah. And so, go ahead. We went on to actually win some bids. And you know, one of them. The the owner was like, well, you like to the sprat business, Brad, you run it. And so that was even like, if I was unqualified to buy businesses, I was totally unqualified to run a business. And I took over a $20 million business in Dallas, and man I learned a whole lot. My you know, but of the nine top people People in the business seven of them quit or were fired in the first three months. Yeah, yeah. It was like, Wow. Okay, trial by fire.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":310.0,"body":"So, you do this for a while and you're in in the back of your mind, you're going, I could, I could kind of do this. I'm walk in here, I, I start running this business. I'm cleaning it up, I get it going bit better for someone else. Why can I do it on my own?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":327.0,"body":"So two things happen. One was, we didn't buy any businesses within 1000 miles of Chicago. So I remember waking up one morning in a courtyard by Marriott, because that's always where I was staying, and turn the TV on. And the Tucson news came on. And as I was getting in the shower, I thought, you know, I know that w gn and Turner are broadcast all over. But I didn't know the Tucson news was broadcast all over like, well, where am I that they're broadcasting the Tucson news.\n\nAnd then of course, I was in Tucson. But not knowing what town you're in you when you wake up. Like that's not a problem that a lot of people normally have.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":366.0,"body":"And unless I'm Mick Jagger,\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":369.0,"body":"and I'm not Mick Jagger. And so I just decided that I needed to have a more normal life. And so I started thinking, what can I do if I never left Chicago and sort of flipping sides of the table and working for the business owners instead of for the billionaires, right? Like seemed like a way that it might work.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":389.0,"body":"So Brad, you have a company, we haven't introduced the audience to your company. I was having fun there. So your company's called anchor advisors.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":399.0,"body":"That's right.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":401.0,"body":"And you're in Chicago. It's true. So tell us a little bit about anchor advisors.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":407.0,"body":"So we work with owners of a growing creative service firm. So marketing, advertising, PR web design, those type of folks\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":416.0,"body":"why, wait a minute, wait a minute, why do you work with those people, and then you've got a therapy degree, or you've worked with some very, very disturbed, creative, sensitive people, right? early\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":430.0,"body":"on in my solo career, I started working for some creative firms. And what I figured out was a lot of them went to art school, not Business School, right. So they're willing to take advice. And they're really smart and creative. So they love solving problems. And they're just kind of, for me, it was fun. These were the people that I wanted to hang out with. These were my tribe. And so that's, that's how I ended up working with.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":457.0,"body":"I see that because here's the, here's the funny thing is, you've gotten these business owners that run these companies that maybe aren't sexy, maybe they're, they're industrial products, or whatever. But there's this point where they realize I need one of those creative guys. Okay, and then on the other side, the creative guys going, Hey, these business people over here need us. But there's a disconnect in the communication and the expectations and how to take advantage and complement each other.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":491.0,"body":"Well, it's, it is sometimes like, they don't speak the same language. Like I need a translator, right. Yeah. Yeah. And, and like you said, about expectations, like the client doesn't know what they're buying when they buy Creative Services. No. And to some extent, the creative people don't know what they're selling. So it's like, we're all gonna pretend Yes, this is gonna be great.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":514.0,"body":"You said marketing. I know marketing, but in your head you see a cabbage head, you know, a head of cabbage. And in my head, I see all this, this great stuff. And then later, why is he mad at me? I guess.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":531.0,"body":"You're so right. And I mean, one of the things that I talked with creative people about is the strategy part of the engagement, because the strategy part of the engagement is when you bridge that gap, and you start to connect those things up. And if you don't do that part before you let people into the back of the shop to get the goods. Yeah, that exactly what you said. You're doing what for me? Why I don't like that blue.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":554.0,"body":"Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And you put the wrong the while you are on my social media posts. We're gonna go out of business now. Yeah. Yeah. That's why I wrote my book was to be that, that subtitle in that foreign language movie?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":573.0,"body":"Yes.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":576.0,"body":"Our lips are doing this, but what we're saying is different.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":579.0,"body":"Exactly. Right. Right. And and just like your book talks about like, to when people come in and they say, I need a website. You know, the first question that creative people should say is why? Why do you need a website? What are you trying to get done? Like, you don't need I don't know whether you need a website or not. Maybe you don't?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":597.0,"body":"Yeah, but what were the In the beginning, especially us are so eager to make people happy. And yeah, it actually gets some revenue and that website on the way and then later they go, Well, this didn't do any good. Go.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":611.0,"body":"Well, what does doing good mean? Yeah.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":615.0,"body":"So you start your own thing. And yeah, so you have this interesting thing it says zero to 27. streak. Now I don't think that's zero, when the zero is no wins, right? For 27. at bats, that is correct. What what went on there? And, and? And then Is this how you figured out how to help people do better.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":644.0,"body":"So when I first went out of my own, I knew how I knew a lot about business, but I had never sold anything before. Right. So So I went to a class to teach me how to sell consulting services. And they taught me this whole program exactly what to say. And I went out and the first two appointments I got, I closed them both. Wow. So so like, I am obviously a star. Does that right? Yeah, exactly. No one does this like me?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":673.0,"body":"He's He's that natural?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":675.0,"body":"Exactly. So so I don't need this process. You know what? These guys taught me this thing, but I know how to do this. Yeah. So then, then I went on 27 sales calls in a row that didn't close. And so I after the 26th, I called up the guy that he was helping me with that, that I took the course from and and I said, I'm terrible at this. I'm gonna starve my kids\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":703.0,"body":"or my money, man. \n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":704.0,"body":"Exactly. And he said, Well, I can't help you, Brad. I'm like, What do you mean, you can't help me? You got to go on three more sales calls. And after each one, write down? What what what happened? what went well? What did poorly, what do you want to do next time. And so I noticed that I went to the first one didn't close. But I didn't ask for the order. Like I had a really great conversation with the with the person. But I didn't ask him for the business. I thought, Okay, well, next time, I'm asking for the business. So I went to the next one. Same thing got to the end of the meeting still hadn't asked him for the business. So the third one, I was like, I know, I don't care what happens. They're gonna be dragging me out of here by my heels. And I'm gonna shout back. Would you like to talk about how we can work together to solve these problems? That would close ever since then? Stick with the program, get the sales? And so it was a terrible? Oh, 427 is a lot of nose. It's a lot of nose.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":765.0,"body":"Yeah. Yeah, that's been sales is a lot of nose. This life is a bunch of nose, right? It's\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":774.0,"body":"true. That is true. But I also I mean, the really important question or less than there is to trust the process. Right? They gave me this process. And it worked. It wasn't me that that created those sales, it was the process that created those sales. And every time I start to have a streak of things not doing well, it's always go back to the process. What what are you not doing that, that you should be doing?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":801.0,"body":"Yeah. So I would imagine that kind of flows into what you help creative agencies or businesses implement. But before we go there, you know, one of the biggest challenges that any leader parent business owner, is how to really communicate clearly. And you talk about there was a struggle that you had to get that dialed in and tell us about that.\n\nSo you and I just talked about how when Creative Services are selling, they're selling apples, and someone else is buying bananas, and nobody figures that out. Right, right. consulting is kind of the same way. You know, I show up and I say something smart, and people are like, Oh, yeah, I want smart things. And so they buy it, and then maybe it's gonna solve the problem. Maybe it's not right. And because I was mostly selling face to face, I didn't have to really dial in my marketing message. And so when people would look at my website, they would be like, what do you do bread? I said, Well, let's sit down and talk about it. We can find out and essentially what I was doing was I do whatever you need, right? \n\nYeah.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":879.0,"body":"If I can discover what you need, I can I can turn myself into that thing. Right. But just a couple years ago, I started selling to people who didn't live in Chicago, I started selling remotely. But what happens when you start to market on the internet is that you realize that that mushy definition of what you do. Yeah, just makes you look like you don't do anything like you start to compare what your website says against what everyone else's website says, right? And if you look just like them. And so I had to really sit down and be very clear about, I help these people with this problem, and this is the result you're going to get. And that oh my gosh, like having finally done that work. It's amazing. It's fantastic. People actually show up at my door and say, Hey, I see you do this thing. And you solve this problem. Can you do that for me? And I'm like, Okay, sure. Let's do that.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":935.0,"body":"So didn't take you, I hope it took less than 27 attempts and really nailing that message?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":944.0,"body":"It took me many, many. And and I, you know, maybe this is you can be my therapist on this. I don't know that I ever really feel like I've nailed it. Yeah, I think I'm always gonna be kind of looking at it and feeling like it's not quite there. Yeah. But people respond to it. So that feels better.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":965.0,"body":"No, that's, that is a big challenge. But here's the thing, the trap of getting your messaging clear is to say the obvious thing. So like, we were talking about someone walks in goes, Hey, I think I need a new website. And if we go, yes, I can help you with that website. Well, that's what we call like, the obvious the logical need. But if we don't really dig in and figure out what's the, what's called a higher order goal, yeah, there's a reason behind this, this trigger that makes them actually come in and risk exposing themselves to a marketing agency. There. That's kind of the kind of desperate day Yeah, run across something that's gone. Man, this is not working, we have to do something, because things are at risk. If we don't, and so to figure out what's really in play, and be able to weave that into the message when people go, what is it that you do? And so in your case is like, you know, Steve, you've worked hard to create this agency, and you've been in business for all these years. And you've got, you've got a lot invested in this. And the reason that you've made it is because he you know what you're doing, right. But you inside, you know, you need some help. You're at a point where you can't what got you here is not going to get you there. And I can help you with that. Yeah, yeah, there's and there's a process. Yeah. That's, that's that ad talking to the higher order goal. And then when they tear up, and they start to cry. Yeah, no, you nailed it.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1075.0,"body":"That I love the way you just said that. Because the two things that I train everyone on my team about one is the thing they show up, show up and tell us they need is not really the thing they need, right? And every client cries. So if you're, if you're not ready for them to cry, you know that then it becomes an uncomfortable moment. But I just want to let you know everybody's gonna cry because what we're talking about is so important to them. Yes, that it's really touching something deep inside them. And so they're gonna cry. That's, that's what happens when we talk about things that are important to us.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1109.0,"body":"Wow. Yeah. So so like, talk to us a little bit now we have some business owners that listen to this and story brand guides and, and marketing director. So you, this is a great audience that you can kind of help us What are like the common themes that you see creative agencies, make a mistake. Now, one of the things that you talk about, and this really shocked me, what I learned about it was, it was from a guy that wrote a book called by then built, but he said like, one out of 40 businesses will ever reach a million dollars. Yes, right. Right, one out of 40. Those are incredible odds for someone to go up against.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1170.0,"body":"It's what's it's amazing. I actually did this research last year. Of all the businesses in America 80% of them have zero employees. Whether, you know, they're solopreneurs, they're working with some 1099 whatever it is, but 80% have zero employees to make it to 10 employees, which is maybe 1,000,005. Maybe it's 2 million something they're only 4% of businesses make it to that point to 10 employees to make it to 20 employees, half of those business don't make it. So only 2% of the businesses in America have more than 20 employees. And if you're thinking about if you're thinking that your retirement plan is I'm going to sell this business, and that's going to fund my retirement, you probably need to get to that 20 employee level, you need to get to about five, between five and 10 million to get the kind of exit that you're looking for there. And so only 2% of business owners are in a position to do the thing that I think most of us set out to do, which is, you know, I want to do this for the rest of my life. And when I'm ready to leave, I can sell the business and retire on the proceeds. And so it really made me think about, you know, we think about Olympians and everything that they go through to get to that elite point in their sport, business owners that want to get to that point, you're, you're in the elite 2% you're in the top of your game. And so just like an Olympian, you've got to be training all the time, you got to be thinking about how am I making my business better? How am I making myself better as a leader? How am I treating my body and my mind and my, the way that I interact with my team, so that we can make it to that elite 2% you can't get comfortable with any point in that process. God, it's so true. You know, everybody all idolizes these, the sports players and, and things, but I tell you, I believe that the most competitive thing that you could ever measure yourself against is just yourself trying to run a dead GM business. It running a business, and I'm sure that you could say this, too. It has made me change more things about myself, it has made me call into question more parts of myself than being a parent. I mean, being a having a spouse has changed a lot of things in me and called me, but it's it's at that level where, like, things that I thought were fine. I can't put up with if I want to be successful at this. And so it's like the greatest self improvement program ever made.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1330.0,"body":"Yeah, and you never feel out of the woods.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1335.0,"body":"True. I mean, I will say, I think something changes around a million around eight, between 100,000 1,000,005 where you're like, Okay, I'm not going out of business, right? Like, I'm no longer afraid that I'm not gonna have a paycheck. I'm afraid that I'm not gonna reach my goals, or that I'm not going to do the best work that I possibly can. And I think that's what drives people beyond that. It drives them. And and you need that drive, because the hustle and the like, the energy that you're putting into growing your business to get it to that 800,000. Yeah, you're at the limit at that point. Like, you can't just keep hustling and grow it to $10 million. No, you need to start building a team and putting putting systems in place. And that\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1385.0,"body":"that's a whole nother setting. Yeah, expertise and an investment of your study and trial and error.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1397.0,"body":"Well, it's a, it's a whole different way of measuring your self worth. Mm hmm. Because when you're hustling, at the end of every day, you can look at your checklist and say, Look, I took these 10 things I'm, you know, I've accomplished something. But when you're when your focus is on building your team, you get to the end of the day, and you're like, Well, I was in meetings today, and I had some conversations with people and I sent some emails, and there's no sense of accomplishment, Unless Unless you look at it, that I am actually creating the system and the environment in which all this stuff gets done. Right. You have to be satisfied with other people's accomplishments as opposed to your own accomplishments.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1439.0,"body":"Yeah, so I know there's one book I read was called predictable success. And I think the big, big takeaway from me was to see companies in certain stages of the lifecycle just like your you see your kid and the life side, you have you know, that their toddler than their gift to the teenager, and then they move out. And it's the same way in a business and for you to be able to back up and go, alright, where am I? But the requirements of you as an owner changes in those cycles as well.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1472.0,"body":"Exactly. Right. So and it's funny because I love that book. I actually I developed a similar like stages of growth. And then I found his book and I was like, wow, okay, so other people are thinking about this, too. Yeah. But it is true that like what a startup business needs is not what a growth business needs, and we kind of intuitively know that. But in terms of what you need to focus on as a business owner, sometimes it's hard to change. Out of that growth mode or out of that, that startup mode into that growth mode?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1503.0,"body":"Yeah, that is. So that's when people say what got you here won't get you there. And that's when you have to continually start to add or figure out how to onboard people that can supplement your weak areas.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1519.0,"body":"Well in there are a whole bunch of startup CEOs who love the chaos and like, quick decision making and, you know, intensity of that startup phase. Yeah. And the growth phase, and especially when you get to the stabilization phase, is actually about removing a lot of that chaos isn't it's about creating more stability and more repeatability. Right. And if you feel like being a business owner is about that intensity and that chaos, then you just keep screwing it up. Like your team is starting to create systems and you just go break him all the time, because I that does, that feels safe to them. But that doesn't feel safe to me, right?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1562.0,"body":"Yeah. And for me, I had to realize that the way I look at what we're doing, where we're going, is very different than the way that your team looks at you. They're looking for predictability they're looking for, for ways to be more efficient. And when you come in with this great idea about where we're going next, you do, you're adding more uncertainty, more responsibility. And that's, that's where that power of being able to communicate clearly can calm them down, assuming assuming that you're inserting good change, and not just for change.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1606.0,"body":"I often talk to people that the CEOs job is to break things, because they're visionaries, they see where things need to go, right. And yeah, and we can't get settled and stuck, we always need to be evolving. And so the CEOs job is to kind of push that evolution, they they break things. And the team's job is to fix the things that the CEO is breaking. Yeah, the trick is to figure out not to break things faster than the team can fix up, right because because that's what leads to chaos. And so that's, that's a delicate balance, or a dance that you and your team have to get used to is you as the CEO have to slow down the pace of change, to give them a chance to do what they're good at, which is build those systems.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1649.0,"body":"So you have these five things that you talk about, as you're, when you're at the stage, when you're getting ready to break through past million dollar barriers, barrier, sound barrier, whatever we want to call it. Talk to us about the five things that you you talk about.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1673.0,"body":"So the first most important thing is figuring out the product market fit. So if you, at the beginning, you know, we're constantly searching, we're trying to find the place where our service meets a need in the marketplace. Yeah. And and so once we find that, then it's, that's when we know it's time to scale. So once we found that fit, and when you in finding that you try lots of things, right? So you experiment, you throw things against the wall, you're gonna you have money, yeah, we do that, right. Yeah, and you have to do that to find your product market fit to some extent you want, you have to try a bunch of things and see what people respond to. But once you find that, you have to stop throwing things against the wall, you have to focus in that one area. Mm hmm. And so, and this is really hard, because you've survived by trying new things to this point. But you need to let go of a bunch of those things so that you can focus on that one service for that one client. And I really pressed people to just pick one target market and offer one service to those people. At you know, you can expand later but but to really find that product market fit into and find that repeatability narrow way down.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1764.0,"body":"I want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called ROI quickstart Academy for authors. Every day, I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business but the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors as well. Can we just chill so good with authors? Because, well, I'm an author. And I understand everything that you struggle with, you have a great idea you have a great book. But what do you want to do, you want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like minded authors, and the experts from the ROI quickstart. Team, it's a great way to get your messaging clear to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online.com or clicking the link in the show notes below. And now, back to this episode. Yeah, so I think the other thing that for me, was, you know, you want to please a customer, and they have this, this thing that's just outside of the scope. Right? That it's Come on, we could do that, you know, but\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1881.0,"body":"how hard could that be? it?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1885.0,"body":"It turns out to be the thing that really sours all the good work you did. That's right. And what were you doing you were stupid enough to try to make them happy. But yet it turns out to be the thing that that really sours a deal that I think for me, the Epiphany was I needed to back up and be more, have more discernment about where the sweet spot of the talent stack of my team was in only bring in opportunities where we just whistle on a way to work every day, because we're in that sweet spot.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1922.0,"body":"You're reducing the risk and making your your performance more predictable, right, yeah. And that's what your client wants to buy, is that thing you're really, really good at. And it's like some way some sometimes I talk to people, and I say so what's that one project that you're just like, oh, when I see that we're gonna hit it out of the park. That was for sure. A Winner? Mm hmm. do more of that. Right.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1946.0,"body":"Yeah. But it takes it takes a bit of courage to start to decline these other opportunities, doesn't\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1954.0,"body":"it? It does. So So that leads us to the second area. And the second area is when you find that thing, that service that you have that matches up with a with a target market. Mm hmm.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1968.0,"body":"You have to raise your prices. Wow. So now, now I'm selling less. And now I'm going to compound the selling less by increasing my prices. This sounds like the worst advice, girl.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":1985.0,"body":"But let's think about what happens when you raise your prices. Okay? You, you find clients that need what you have what you're offering, that what you're doing is making a bigger difference for them, right? Because they're willing to give you more money for it. So you get more engaged clients that that want to talk about what a great solution you provided, right? So you're not putting band aids on little cuts, that people that have artery spurting blood and you're putting a tourniquet on that thing. Right, right. And so if you can find those clients, man, it's such a great relationship, right? They're not second guessing you. They're not telling you what they're like, do it do more, do more, and they're telling other people about it. And so yeah, raising your prices attracts better clients. And it means that you have more margin. So you don't need you're not as desperate to pull stuff in, you're paying your people better. You've got you've got an easier problem to solve on the inside too. Mm hmm. And so when you narrow down your market, and then raise your prices, like, now you're really attracting your raving fans, the people that are going to do the most for you.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2051.0,"body":"Wow, raving fans instead of raving upset.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2057.0,"body":"You're ready clients like that, Steve?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2062.0,"body":"Well, that's like, that's how you figure out when you're you're throwing things against the wall. It's not that your intent is bad. It's not that you're not wanting to help them is that you're, you're figuring out where you're making things worse sometimes, and That's right. That's right. Getting out of service delivery, what's so let's talk about that. Yes.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2088.0,"body":"So now that now that your job as the CEO is no longer to hustle, you're not. You can't do you can't work harder and keep growing business. This anymore, right? So you're building a team and your team is going to start to do the thing, that whatever that thing is that you sell. And so when they start to get good at that, or maybe even a little before that you need to start pulling yourself out of, of doing the thing. You know, so if you're a web design company, you got to stop designing the websites, you got to stop running the content, audits or doing the workshops with the clients. Because the more that you're doing that, the more you're taking opportunities from your team for them to learn to get better at it, and you're not going to innovate the new way to do it, your team is going to figure out the new, better, more efficient way to do it. Yeah. And then further, you've got a different job to do now. You've got to hire good people, you've got to train people, you got to make sure that your people are working efficiently and effectively. Yeah, so you need to get out of the service delivery so that you can do the CEO job.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2157.0,"body":"I get this classic picture in those movies where you're in the jungle, and you're walking along and they get into that quicksand bog. No. And they're slowly sinking. And they're hoping the grass that one route, that they can pull themselves out of that service delivery. Yes, that's, that's harder than it sounds. It is. It is harder than it sounds. All of this is hard. No, no part of this is easy, right?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2185.0,"body":"And, like, I'm not saying that you wake up one day, and you say, I'm never doing another content on it, right? But you're gonna say, okay, every time I do a content on it, I'm bringing Steve with me. And Steve and I are gonna do it together. And then next month, Steve's gonna do it and I'm gonna watch. And then next month, Steve's gonna do it and report back to me, you know, and so you're slowly. One of the rules that I have for CEOs is that you can't meet with a client by yourself. You always need to bring someone with you. So someone's learning what you're doing and learning the process.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2216.0,"body":"There is this point that I got to I realized, you know, it's my business, right? But was, it's like, every time I met with a client, I just made things worse for the team. But wait a minute, this is my business. I started this thing. That's why people are coming. But Steve, every time you talk to him, you mess up all our process.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2240.0,"body":"I was working with one CEO, he had a really successful business. His his team would begged him not to come to a presentation.\n"},{"speaker":"Unknown Speaker ","startTime":2247.0,"body":"And, and he was like, but I, I'm great in presentations, this is what\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2252.0,"body":"I do. And they're like, this is what you used to do. Now we do them a whole different way. And you screw it up when you show up.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2258.0,"body":"Wow. And sly. It's not because you're crazy. It's not because you're No, you're weird. This is common. This is not just your right agency only. That's all your business.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2274.0,"body":"Yeah. This is this is a this is a stage that every growing business goes through. Right.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2282.0,"body":"Yeah. So all right. So new measures for success. What's now is this on me as the agency owner?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2290.0,"body":"Yes. Yeah. It's what we talked about a little bit earlier. Like, so if if your identity if what you felt like you were good at was showing up and doing that presentation and closing the deal? Yeah. That's my measure of success. That's how I know that I'm doing good job. And now my team is telling me not to show up to those deals. Oops. Yeah. So what what do I do? What am I good for? And, and so this is rethinking your role and thinking about what am I good for? If I'm not going to do the thing? My my role is actually to build the system, right to build the process to hire the right people to train them. And so your role changes. And so how you measure success has to change\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2335.0,"body":"that there's this book by Simon Sinek. It's called leaders eat last. Yes. Okay. And so that in that book, I realized where I think my big takeaway from that book was, it is my job to create an environment of safety inside and to provide the tools to help people be successful. That's right. Roll had transitioned.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2361.0,"body":"That's right. And, you know, that was really insightful. And like that first part, creating the environment of safety is so important. But it's also really tricky to measure. Right? Like, at the end of the month, when you're when you're looking back and trying to say what did I do that was great this month? Yeah. How do you say, Well, I did a great job of creating an environment of safety.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2384.0,"body":"But it's, but it's, and that is, so culture is a word that comes out in that environment thing and it's like, okay, so if I'm going to hire someone, they need to know that we don't have to watch our backs. Within this organization, okay, are are the dangers are outside of this organization? Right. We're here to work together to overcome these dangers. Yes.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2415.0,"body":"Yeah. Man, that is super. Like, I never put it that way before but what you're saying is so right. When we're small, and the business is us. Yeah, the risk is that our team is going to screw up and make us look bad.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2430.0,"body":"Right? Yeah.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2431.0,"body":"Our ego so so our fear is that the the people that are going to hurt us are inside the business. Right. But the truth is, the people that are gonna hurt us are outside the business. Yeah. Right. It's the competition is the marketplace. It's the Coronavirus. It's whatever it is, right, exactly. And so that's another thing that shifts and is that we start to spend less time focused on the inner workings of the business, we have a team that's doing some of that we still have to do the environment and the culture and those kind of things. But it gives us room to start looking outside the business at where's this industry going and what new technology is showing up and you know, what's happening from a from a regulation or government perspective, and that is really important CEO work, like you're the only one that's going to do that outside the business work. So that's, that's really critical.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2483.0,"body":"You know, the other danger that I think, is like, I see your business, like when you started, so you've got these, this handful of people on the bus, so to speak, or the train, but at every stop, that the train gets to the door opens. Some people get on some people get off, you know, and but some people stay on to the next stops the next Write, write, write, and there's this juggle, of insecurity, then you can get into a feeling of confidence because you're developing the systems. We call it like, the ROI way or whatever. We're putting the ROI minus on stuff. And that's what gives us confidence to onboard and exit team members when when life just hasn't happened.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2538.0,"body":"That's right. Yeah, I feel like a lot of business owners take it personally when someone quits. Yeah.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2545.0,"body":"Yeah. At first it does. Yeah. Right.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2548.0,"body":"But it just happens, people quit. It's okay. In fact, like, if your whole team has been there 20 years, you know, there might be a lack of change and innovation going on in your organization. And bringing someone new in really gives you an opportunity to look at things from with a fresh perspective. And maybe you're gonna find some improvements there.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2570.0,"body":"So, number five is focus your focus on one on different things?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2577.0,"body":"Yeah, focusing on different things. Yeah, which is what sort of what we were just talking about that. Now that you're freed up from watching the details of every project, you're measuring yourself differently. So you need to start shifting your time, to more strategic things. Instead of looking at things that are going to come to fruition in the next month or a quarter, you need to be looking at things that are going to come to fruition a year from now or two years from now. And so that means like picking your head up, literally. And looking further out at the horizon, looking at the threats that are outside the business that what's coming towards us, how do we need? What what new talent? Are we going to need to meet the challenges that are coming in down the road? What new skills are we going to need? What are the things that we're doing now that we need to stop doing? Because the environment that we're working in is changing, our customers are changing. And so your job is the CEOs job, not the production managers job, right, the CEOs job is to have a point of view about what's coming and start to to arrange the resources, financial human capital knowledge that we're going to need to meet those challenges.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2646.0,"body":"Yeah. So you have this mastermind group process. Yes, called growth phase. Is that right?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2656.0,"body":"The mastermind is the own your course mastermind group. So one of one of our core ideas is that we become business owners, because we want to own our course when no one else is going to tell us right now. But whether that's good for us or not. And so we're helping you to own your course. And, and so we've put, I've done 18 years of consulting one on one with clients. And what I found was there was only so far that I could take them one on one, I could teach them things. But there were certain things that they had to catch from other people that were also doing it. Yeah. And so we put these mastermind groups Together with five business owners, and in the mastermind, there's there's teaching and training and coaching. But more importantly, there's another business owner there that can say, Hey, here's how I did that. And here's how it worked out for me. Or, you know, I was thinking just like you. And now I think differently. And it's just amazing how much they're just messages that people hear better from their peers than they do from an expert that they're paying.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2729.0,"body":"Until you talk about in my book, but I'm, I got the privilege of getting a scholarship to go to the small business. Goldman Sachs, small business. Yeah. Yeah, right. And I talked about, I'm sitting that class, and here's all these people, they, all these different businesses, there's 40 of us in there. And there are all different stages of the lifecycle their business, but I realized that these things that I could never discuss with anyone else, not because no one cared. But the people that I see every day and your your spouse, your employee, they don't relate because they know they're not experiencing the same things. You are right. And sitting in that class, I realized I wasn't crazy. Right? Because you,\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2778.0,"body":"at least not in this way.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2780.0,"body":"You do doubt yourself why you chose Sure. Do this because you're surely beyond your capabilities. And you know what? Yeah, but you show up every day. That's right. So I was so cool. So is this mastermind class? Is this where people cry?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2801.0,"body":"I'm trying to think of we've had people, I think we've had a couple people cry in the mastermind. Usually people cry in the one to one. So the mastermind? We're meeting 90 minutes twice a month. Yeah, talking about our challenges. We've got accountability. There's still a one to one coaching, meeting in between those meetings. And so usually, it's in the one to one where people get down and a little more honest about what's going on. So you're from Chicago, indeed.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2828.0,"body":"And so is it just in the nature of the Chicagoland and make people cry and wonder?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2839.0,"body":"I don't know. I'm not trying to make anybody Christ. But I think that there is something about showing up in a way where it's going to be okay, if that happens, right. Right, that lets people get to deeper issues. You know, there's a business culture where we're all like, yeah, everything's cool. Oh, we're killing it, you know, right. That's, I'm, I'm not in that world. And so giving people space to, like you said, to figure out that they're not crazy, and that, that they are going to have to change and the change is hard.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2879.0,"body":"So what's always wonder, what's the one question that no one ever asked you that you wish they would, because it's something you want to talk about.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2892.0,"body":"So we talked a little bit about how, like, business ownership is a self, a self improvement program, like it forces you to look at things in your life and to change things in your life. And I don't think any of us set out owning a business in order to have it grind off every rough edge that we have.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2917.0,"body":"Right? \n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":2917.0,"body":"But once I got into it, I started saying, you know, this is a good thing. I want to embrace the fact that I need to face these things and fix these things, because I want to be good at what I do. And but transformation is hard, making change, making personal change is really hard. And and that's where I think having some sort of peer group can be super effective. And, and the downstream effect of that is so critical. If I'm doing my work, so I can show up and be a better leader in the office. It also means I'm showing up to be a better leader at home. I'm engaging in my community with with a more whole self. I'm creating an environment where my team can show up and have that same experience where they're showing up with their whole selves and to feel like they're making progress in their lives. So they go home and feel better about themselves with their with their families. And so this one act of of opening yourself up for transformation, kind of opens this Pandora's box that I think just spills out all over the place and and that's what's drawn me and made me connected to it. It because I just see how that business owner is a linchpin in so many lives.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3000.0,"body":"Yeah, I love that. I love that because society has this we're programmed to think that business is bad. Yes, greedy, selfish. And yet, Dad 98% of the businesses out there. They're just mom and dads. They're just goofballs, like me. Yep, trying to do something, and actually providing opportunities for your employees and their families and creating products and services that actually change and improve our lives.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3037.0,"body":"Right. Right.\n\nSo if I think that when we don't open ourselves up to, to the transformation that we're invited into, as business owners, I think that's when you start to see the negative aspects of business, you know, those business owners that are shouting at everybody are triggered by everything or, you know, trying to get a better better deal for themselves and ignoring the facts on everybody else. That that's the fruit of not making the changes that you need to make in yourself to be a better leader. And, and, like so many things, you know, we can get painted with a broad brush.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3077.0,"body":"So I didn't know you worked for the same guy. I did.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3082.0,"body":"Yeah, me. I say that everybody that works for themselves has a nut job for a boss, you know, like, \"Well, why did he promised that deliverable? We can't deliver it on that time. You know, he said, He's crazy.\"\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3100.0,"body":"So what's like the one piece of advice that you love that you've seen, really make a big difference on this transformation conversation? Where, what's the one thing that you love to share with people?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3117.0,"body":"I'm kind of known for telling everybody to raise their prices, like raise your prices is a thing that I tell. I think I've told every client and we've done it for every client we've ever worked with. And it's so transformational, to charge what you're worth. And to be okay with some knows, you know, it's not it's okay. If some people say no, but when the people say yes, and it's twice as much as you charge before or three times as much as you charged before. Man, that feels amazing, right? Yeah, yeah, then you start looking back at those other clients who you were perfectly happy to work with before. You're looking back at him like, oh, they're ripping me off. Like, I can't believe that there.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3160.0,"body":"But that's your, that's your tuition, training trade. School, you would finance that and still be paying it. And literally, that was your tuition to get to the insights that you have. Now.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3173.0,"body":"It's true. It's true. Yeah. But having the courage to raise your prices, when when you go to do it, it's not like you have to put a sign on your front of your building that, hey, I double my price, you can just talk to that one next prospect, and ask them for twice as much money as you asked before. And if they say yes, man, do it again. Don't want again, for the next guy like it like you don't know how high people will be willing to pay if you find the people that really need what you have to sell.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3202.0,"body":"So to the agency owners, the creative people that are listening, how does like start a conversation with you go help us envision what that would look like?\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3219.0,"body":"People generally call me in one of two situations. They're, they're exhausted. Because they've been hustling and hustling. And, and they just don't people call me and say, you know, I just don't know if I can keep doing this. Well, you know, they're thinking about quitting, because they've just been working so hard. And it doesn't have to be that hard. You don't there's another way to do it. The other people that call me call because they're writing a rocketship, like, things are going great. But they're looking out there into the future. And they're like, I don't, I don't know if this is sustainable. I don't know what I'm doing. The biggest business I've ever been. And, and they're so in either case, we sit down and actually first I usually send them through an assessment. I've got a, we talked about those stages of business growth. I've got an assessment on my website at anchor advisors, comm slash growth dash phase. That that helps people to see where they are in that, in that those stages of growth, and points out to them kind of the one next thing that they need to be focused on. So they don't have to focus on a million things. You can just, let's, let's just do this one thing. And for some people, that's enough, like focusing down helps them to do that and then they do the next thing and then they do the next thing. And that's great for other people. They're still Like the exhaustion is too high, or the growth is still feels out of control. And so we'll have a call where we talk about what the next things are for them. And, you know, it might be one of the mastermind groups that might be some one on one work, and then work in a mastermind group. So there's a lot of different ways you can go at that point. But what I would encourage you to do is if you're feeling that desperation, don't go it alone, go find somebody, whether it's me or somebody else to talk to about it. Because it's a it's, it's, you're consuming a non renewable resource, your passion and energy for what you do, will run out if you don't renew it. And so if you're, if your gas gauges on IE, you got to give somebody a call. And maybe stopping by and doing that assessment might be the next thing.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3349.0,"body":"One of the indicators, your gas gauge, maybe on E is if you're crying in the shower.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3359.0,"body":"You might be billowy if you're crying in the shower. But yes, or or just exhausted? You know? I think that for a lot of people, if you haven't been on vacation in two years, like that's, that's not a sustainable situation. Right? If you're if the important relationships in your life, if they're saying, hey, are we gonna get to see you this month? You know, that would that would be an indication that you're on E. Wow.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3388.0,"body":"It's, it's hard sometimes to determine whether you're just going to phase and you're going to turn out of this, you just need to last a little longer, right? So but the thing is, you're not the only one that this is normal, whatever you're experiencing, you're not the first one to go through this.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3408.0,"body":"I it was my wife who said, Yeah, Brad, the last three times we've had this conversation, you told me that this was just gonna last two more weeks, and then everything would be better. Like you just needed to get through this one home for this one push or this one project. And and that was what I had to say. Yeah, I it's always, the solution is always just over the hill. And that doesn't seem right. Right.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3432.0,"body":"So the mastermind seems like it would be a nice, safe way to discern whether because this coach, this coach will let you have Yeah, it's to pick the wrong coach. Yeah, adds a whole nother level of risk in your business. And so that mastermind group seems to me in my view, a great way to evaluate whether a deeper copper station or a deeper coaching role would be a good decision or not.\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3465.0,"body":"And if somebody is taking the the assessment, they might have some questions about what that means for them. I'm happy to get on the phone and talk that through with them. And that's another way to evaluate like, what was that? Like? What was that experience? Like? Talking about that? Is does that is it giving me more peace? Or is it stirring me up more?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3487.0,"body":"Serious? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's the thing. Brad, man, you're an awesome guest. This has been fun. Oh,\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3496.0,"body":"I really love this podcast. Steve, I told you before we got on the air that I started listening, so that I could be a better guest. And I just kept going back through more and more episodes. So I'm really enjoying it. I you're great at bringing stuff out of people. So I appreciate it.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3510.0,"body":"Well, I appreciate that. So if you guys want to reach out to Brad, sounds like it might be worth a conversation. And Brad, you're on LinkedIn, you go ahead and tell us again where to hook up with you. Sure. So on\n"},{"speaker":"Brad Farris ","startTime":3527.0,"body":"LinkedIn, it's just search for Brad Ferris with a FA Rs. And then if you go to anchor advisors calm, the growth assessment is there on the homepage. But if you want to hop right to it, anchor advisors.com slash growth dash phase.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":3544.0,"body":"All right. Well, Brad, thanks for being agreed on the ROI online podcast. That's a wrap. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI online podcast. For more be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better. Be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden toilet at surprise, that golden toilet.com I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI online podcast."}]}