Dominic Rubino – A Family Business Story
Dominic Rubino – A Family Business Story
On this weeks show I am joined by Dominic Rubino. Dominic is a business coach now but has historically owned and worked in a Family Business.
In this episode of the show we look at what we can learn from Dom’s experience of working in a relatively informal business and governance structure with his cousin.
We also explore how money can be destructive and what happens when you experience rapid growth in the early stages of the business.
We look at the need for governance and ‘professionalisation’ and the impact on businesses of not having this in place.
You can find out more about Dom and his work by heading over to:
Work With Russ
If what I have spoken about in the show resonates and you want to discuss how I can help you and your family business drop me an email: email@example.com or head over to www.familybusinesspartnership.com
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Russ Haworth: well, hello, welcome to this week’s episode of the family business podcast. And I’m joined today by fellow podcaster and business coach Dom Rubino, Dom, welcome to the show and thank you for joining us. Yeah.
Dominic Rubino: Thank you, Russ. So great to be on your show. I’ve been listening to you for a long time.
Russ Haworth: We are we’re swapping roles here, so normally your you’re the interviewer.
And I get to interview you today and we did that on your own. Podcast a couple of weeks ago as well. Which I always find it difficult when people interview me because the shoes are on the other foot. So I get my revenge, which is good. But before we get into what we’re going to be talking about today, perhaps just give the audience a bit of an overview and introduction and some background on who you are and what you do.
Dominic Rubino: Hmm, thank you. Well, I’m a professional business coach, but I’m also an entrepreneur. So I come at being a business coach because I’ve been a multiple business owner throughout the years. And as a business coach now for 20 years, I get called into conversations with companies that always seem to revolve around the same types of themes
You know, whether that’s time for the owner or operationally .
Team, you know, the people in the company, how we’re hiring finding them, hiring them, training them, et cetera, the culture that goes around with team. So we got time team.
Money. Everybody wants to know about how to make more money. That’s usually the first introduction Don, we want to make more money or, or we’re bleeding a little bit of money.
Can you help us stop the bleeding the team and then
Exit or growth strategy? As well as sales and marketing. So those are the conversations that I’m most familiar with inside of companies.
Russ Haworth: Fantastic. And we’re going to delve a little bit into your history if if that’s okay to, to kind of talk through your own experience of working with your family and I want to cover.
Some of the stuff that you mentioned in, in that introduction. So we’re not, we’re not going to go away from, from that, but I think it’d be great for the audience to hear some background on how you came to be working with your family, what sort of that involved, and then we can get into some of the reasons why you’re no longer working environment.
So yeah, kick us off with how it all started.
Dominic Rubino: Well, I’ll try to keep it brief. You’ll have to give me some sort of signal.
Russ Haworth: If I go too long, I’ll just start waving frantic, just cut.
Dominic Rubino: So, you know, like many people, I went into the corporate world after university and I thought that was what you did next.
But I was, I was very, very bored in the corporate world. I sold telecommunications infrastructure and equipment. And as you know, I live in Canada. I do most of my work in the United States, but I happen to live in Canada. And so for if your listeners are in, are mostly in England or all over the world, it might seem exotic, but I was North of most of the cities that you would ever want to visit.
I was, my territories were so far North that I wore a parka most of my days over my suit. But, but it was, it was very interesting doing it. I just got bored with the corporate world. And so I started to sell used junk on eBay. And when I say junk, I spell it J U N Q U E. You know, the classy junk.
It’s not clash.
Junk is junk, but what, but what I figured out is that people were buying used calculators. L E D calculators as well as games and systems like Atari and CLICO vision and television. E-bay had just come up when I started eBay was a brand new website and I’m sure most of your listeners are familiar with eBay.
Yeah. Yeah. So it so happened that I had moved to another Province. And I was living in another city and one of my cousins had also moved to that same province and he was living in a city about three hours away from me. So we would meet at another city in between there as cousins do single cousins do Italian cousins going out.
We’ve got nobody around us. And those stories are for another podcast that should probably never be listened to, but we started to think, well, why don’t we do this stuff together since we’re always hanging out. And so we started to sell more and more things on eBay, and that was a very interesting business, but it sort of happened by accident.
Really. He has a financial background. I have a marketing and entrepreneurship backup background. And so that little junk company, morphed, it changed over time. And what I learned is that as I was, I had now left the corporate world and become a business coach. And because I was always interested in really wisdom, you know, I, I had run businesses before and as you know you know, me through the profit toolbelt podcasts, because I work with contractors and I’d been a contractor before painting homes.
And one of my first companies was installing Christmas lights. Okay, but people’s homes. That was one of my first trade companies. But I, I realized I was working incredibly hard and not making a penny. I mean, really, I could’ve had a job at a McDonald’s and make more money, but for some reason I wanted to be in business.
So I wanted the wisdom that came along with it in order to be a better business person. So that’s why I went to corporate. And that’s why eventually I became a business coach to learn this. And so I applied those. Strategies to this little junk business. And from there, we turned it into selling books, used books.
And before I knew it, I had $250,000 worth of used books in inventory. I would buy them. Used from everywhere from thrift stores. I would buy them from retailers who, I don’t know if you have this over there at rest, but when you walk into a bookstore, they’ve got that table up front with all the books that haven’t sold.
Well, imagine across their whole system, all of those that unsold inventory would get sold to me. And so the best deal I ever did there is I spent a couple of hundred dollars. Buying about $30,000 worth of books, which got delivered to me as a railcar. Wow. I did not realize it was yeah, the real car. And all I brought was a rental van and I spent the day dressed just like I am today and a dress shirt and jeans.
We call it hand bonding, just box by box from the railcar into my van, from the van to a trucking company. I swore a lot,
Russ Haworth: I can imagine. But, but, but obviously that I started working with your cousin because of, because you were family or because there was a complimentary skill sets, how did it come about that you kind of went right.
I’m growing now. W was it a point where it was getting to, to needing more than just your singular efforts to keep things going.
Dominic Rubino: Yeah. I mean, so first she’s my cousin. I have lots of cousins and I love all of them. And so first it was convenience cause we were both. If I call it the same city, that’s not accurate, but we were in the same region and it was easy for us to get together and we were hanging out anyways.
So we just started this really side business selling us junk and that morphed and grew. And as it morphed and grew, and I started to apply the things that I knew as a business coach, it started to grow really rapidly because it went from junk to books to online over the counter medications. And from there, it turned into an online pharmacy.
And in four years, we built that to 120 million in sales.
Russ Haworth: Wow. And coping with that kind of. Growth w when something goes that well, and it goes from, you know, junk to 120 million in sales, how quick a timeframe is that? Four years. Did you say
Dominic Rubino: four years?
Russ Haworth: So what type of precious did that put on the two of you in terms of running that business?
Because when you set out you weren’t. I don’t suppose you had in your mind in four years time, this will be $120 million turnover business. Talk us through some of those sort of mind set shifts and stuff you had to deal with during that time.
Dominic Rubino: Yeah. Well, I, you know, I know this is the family business podcast, but my own experience with my own family, the way we set it up was disastrous.
And I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard the saying that money is a magnifier and that people who aren’t, that don’t have a wealth mindset or money management mindset apply the same life skills when they have no money is when they have lots of money and it can lead to problems. And I don’t want to speak ill of anybody, but their problems.
That were always there became enormous afterwards. And even myself for us, I mean, I, I was working very hard as we all do in our businesses. And I had to get home to take care of the kids and get my daughter to dance. And so driving home, I went through a drive through ATM to deposit my check, my owner’s draw, and it was a hundred thousand dollars check and I put it in the drive-through bank machine.
Do you call it bank machine or ATM their
Russ Haworth: ATM? Yeah.
Dominic Rubino: ATM. Yeah. So I guess the next day I got a phone call from the bank manager, Mr. Ravino, hi, how are you? You know, we have this conversation and she goes, we have a problem. I’m like, Oh my goodness, what’s the problem. Cause I just put a hundred thousand dollars check through the draft grade together and she said, you can’t put.
That much money through the drive-through team. Can you come in and look? No, I’m so busy. I’m working all day and then I’ve got to get home. My daughter’s got to go to dance recital. She’s like, can we send somebody to you? Because this is not, you know, we’re used to dealing with checks of $1,300, but a hundred thousand dollars should not be treated this way.
And you just get into this. No, that’s my own reflection on just trying to do things quick and move on. And so I’m not casting any dispersions on my cousin. We just became more of who we are and how we did things with money. And I, and I would imagine that you see the same thing I do is that that’s very common when people are making a lot of money, it can actually be very, it has the potential to be destructive.
If that’s not handled properly.
Russ Haworth: Yeah. Completely. And, and part of the work that I do with families is to, is to try and create, we call it governance and it’s a very broad term. And it’s one where it’s difficult to kind of put a specific definition on, but the, the governance around that is how you then deal with things within the family.
So one of the, the Topics that perhaps would have been been covered with that is communication, how you deal with the fact that you’re earning a lot of money and it’s going to have an impact on your life. And presumably if you were the only two family members involved there could become then temptation for others to go, well, actually, this, this looks good.
W w when can I join the business? And again, how, how did you guys cope with that kind of meteoric rise from that perspective and the challenges that it would have
Dominic Rubino: brought. So it did bring some challenges. And I, you know, I, I, this particular story doesn’t end well in the family business context. And I, I want to add that I work with lots of family businesses that do extremely well, but I come from a place of also understanding how will the mistakes I’ve made.
So for those of you listening, please don’t think that I’m a bumbling idiot. It just didn’t work the way we did it. And I’ve, I’d like to think that if, if the situation was the same, I would approach it with what you said is governance. Rep’s maturity. Yeah. Systems and process. But also everybody has to be bought into those, those systems, that process.
And I did not have that. Buy-in with my cousin for maturity. It was, it was party money. It was. Falling from heaven. And so that was a cautious times. But your question, no.
I guess, I guess you’re asking what I would do different or like where the, where the family problems came in.
Russ Haworth: What lessons you took away from that experience as a, at the time you’re right in the middle of it, you’re caught up in it as it’s happening and you, your life’s moving a hundred miles an hour and you’re having to deal with the growth of that business at that time.
And then my guess is that looking back and reflecting on that time, there are certain things that you would. Perhaps either have done differently or would advise others to look at differently to, to help them with the challenges that you then face.
Dominic Rubino: Yeah.
I think one of those challenges is at the very highest level.
If we’re talking about what we talk about around the boardroom table, what I’m about to share is the chandelier hanging above it. Does that make sense? Yeah, I’m, I’m talking and this is maybe where you’re going in as well is there’s a difference between owning the business and working in the business.
And maybe we all understand that listening to the show, but is that in place in the company? Because as an owner shareholder in the business, I have certain roles and responsibilities, but as an owner, I’m not automatically entitled to work in the business as an employee. I have roles and responsibilities as an employee.
I’m not automatically entitled to ownership now at face value. That sounds, you know, we’re all very calm here. There’s no. Mom’s involved. There’s no in-laws involved. There’s no wives involved. And I’m just speaking about guy cousins allow me that for a moment. That all sounds very reasonable, but when other people start to have their say at the Christmas table on summer vacation, it starts to get fuzzy on the outside.
If we don’t clearly define the roles and expectations of employee versus shareholder, and we did not do that.
Russ Haworth: Got it. And the terminology that, that is often thrown around at that type of stage of business is called the professionalization of the business. And it makes, it sounds as if it was unprofessional beforehand.
And that’s why I get a little bit kind of it’s. It’s not meant to be derogatory to how it was. It’s just part of a professionalization. Exactly. That yeah, I’m guessing that was made harder because of the speed at which this kind of work we’re not talking about over 15 years where, you know, you can take it slowly and it’s, it’s a kind of, it seemed as if it was in a.
Kind of grandness, but everything was very quick and kind of just happened. And almost victim of your own success as a result. Would that be fair in terms of the fact that it didn’t allow you to have that breathing space to go? Right. Okay. What, what could we look at from a professionalization and inverted commerce,
Dominic Rubino: right?
No, that professionalization is an accurate term. We didn’t, we did not bring that maturity level. That systems and organization that was needed because as you said, it was happening so incredibly fast. And I would never have never looked back on that with any, you know, it was great. How could you say it was bad?
But there were things that we learned, you know, one of the, another cousin came to work for us and he’s has issues, and that really turned into a huge problem in so many ways in the company. But because he was a cousin, it was impossible to let him go. Because as soon as I let him go, my grandmother would get involved.
His mom would get involved. My mum would find out through phone calls. They all had, and suddenly Dominic fired his cousin. That’s all people hear.
By the way, he’s a wonderful guy. A mechanical genius, . So that I wonder how many people are listening right now. Just slamming the steering wheel saying, Oh my goodness. I, I thought I was alone.
Russ Haworth: it’s the family dynamics, obviously. It’s the reason I do what I do in terms of the family businesses and vices is.
The family dynamics side of things. I find fascinating that it’s an additional element that you have to deal with on top of the fact that you’re having to run a business and everything else is going on in life as well. And you mentioned that the. After four years of business became very successful.
Just finally, before we move on to what you’re doing now, outside of that family business environment, how did, how did you come to the decision that now’s the time to draw the line with, with what you were doing with that?
Dominic Rubino: How did I decide to exit the business? Do you mean? Yeah. Yeah. Well, let me add another layer here, Russ, that we haven’t spoken about.
And it’s okay, because it’s just going to double down on the family business podcast. So myself and my cousin were two partners. We had a third partner who hired his sister, who was our pharmacist. And that was so she’s a technician. Right. As a pharmacist, she’s a technician and a scientist. And because of the nature of our business, a pharmacist is required where we live to be on the board and have input into the management and operations of the company, just as a governance issue at a, at a, from a, from a governmental level.
Got it. But again, you cannot confuse being a great technician with being a great business owner and she made decisions that she thought were good, but were not. In keeping with how things should go. And so she had to leave the company as well, and that was difficult for a third partner.
But when I saw the valuation that she got at the revenue, she got, I came home to my wife and said, when we hit X. I’m out because this is a disaster. It was very, very, it was extremely difficult from a personal level and monetarily I’d socked away enough that I knew I could be. Okay. And I’m also, I’m a business owner.
I’m an entrepreneur. I don’t have to run that business for my own. Self-worth if that makes sense. So I I’m, as a friend of mine said, I don’t need handrails in this world. I just go for it. Right. So I’ve, I’ve had businesses and real estate and pharmaceutical and coaching. Many years of coaching and, and in many other things and construction trades, I just knew I’d find something else as I, as you know I’ve done.
So, yeah, that was, that was interesting as well. We had to let that person go. When I saw that valuation, I earmarked that number and said, when we get to X. I should get the same valuation when we hit that, I walked in and said, boys, I’m done.
they did not put up a fight by the way.
Russ Haworth: Right. Was it kind of, Oh, please don’t go.
Dominic Rubino: no, no. I wish I could say it was, it was not at all. And I can’t tell you how happy I was. I thought it would be the end of the world. I even kept going into work.
And what was I doing? Get out of there.
Russ Haworth: And so you took that opportunity to really focus on the business coaching side.
Is that right? That, that was the transition from there. Yeah, that’s
Dominic Rubino: right. I left there and then I spent about a year trying to buy another business. I, I I rented an office. I hired an assistant to honor her first day said, what are, what’s my job? And I said, your job is we’re going to find a company to buy.
And that’s all we did is I just looked hard to buy a company and she thought this is the weirdest company I’ve ever worked for.
Company, tried to buy another company.
And I ended up becoming partners with a gentleman that some of your listeners might be familiar with. He’s he’s an author, a famous author in the world of business, business improvement, sales and sales improvement.
His name is Brian Tracy. Brian had already started a business coaching franchise because of his speaking on stage. He’s a massive scope around the world, but he’s not able to go back to that city and support the people he’s trained. And so he started with a franchise. When I bought it from him, he had six franchisees.
So myself and a partner bought that. And I just actually sold that company two years ago and I built it from six franchisees to 237. Franchise units around the world doing professional business coaching you know, the right way systems, process, oversight, consistency, accountability, respect, all of those things have to be built into a successful coaching relationship or engagement to get the value for the client.
Russ Haworth: And again, I’m guessing that, but would it some. Challenges from six to 200 plus is no mean fee. And the growing pains that can come along with that. Presumably though you’re in a, an advantageous position of being a business coach of being able to tell people how to cope with that level of growth.
What was it a bit of a busman’s holiday? How did that work?
Dominic Rubino: No. I mean, it’s, I mean, I love the business and the people I met were, you know, really for those of you out there who might ever meet a business coach, everybody that does business coaching comes from a good place. So however they, you know, whatever strategy they employ, they’re all trying to do good.
And I admire them for that, but let me tell you what happens. When a business coach stops work on Friday and sits down with a glass of wine, at least when they’re in. And they were in my coaching franchise, they sit down and they think as they swirl their glass, they’re like, you know what, you know what, what my coaching organization could be doing better.
And then I would start to get emails Friday evening, Saturday evening long emails about what I do, I was doing wrong. And our franchisees were all C-level executives. So they had, they, we were the place you went after you were a president, you know, what would you do next in your career? So you came on to our organization and you took your presidential or.
Departmental management skills and you’ve moved that into the consulting role. And so they were, they were very open with their their feedback process. I will say about operationally, how I was bombing it. But we did great and our coaches did great and really that doing great is measured by the client success in the field and the clients really.
I mean, that’s what, that’s what we measure. I think over the 13 years I ran that company. I had to. Two clients contact me at my level about issues they had with the delivery in the field with their coach. Wow.
Russ Haworth: And across that many franchises. That’s impressive.
Dominic Rubino: Yeah. Thank you. It was good. And our coaches top-notch, top-notch
Russ Haworth: so what is it you’re doing now? That’s because it’s a similar line of work, but of you it’s it’s. Just you, how how’s it operating at the moment?
Dominic Rubino: Yeah, well, I, so I actually work with a lot of family businesses. Russ, the reason I started listening to your podcast is because I was very interested in the perspective from Europe of multi-generational family businesses.
And here in North America, two generations is a big deal. Three, almost unheard of it exists, but it’s very rare. And I would listen to your show on here of six generation businesses and four generation businesses. And if I want to bring the best information to my. My listeners, my audience, I have to go find better information.
That’s why I sought out your show. And and I listened to yours cause it’s, to me, it’s studying. I’m like, okay, what do they do? What’s that situation? You had a wealth advisor on the other day or the other day, the other day, I listened to a wealth advisory hat on and there were some brilliant concepts.
They’re not at the country level at the conceptual, you know, again, the chandelier level. Of things that I can bring as value to my clients. And so that’s what I, I enjoy doing. So your question was, what am I doing now? I have two different podcasts. And so I serve the construction market. As a professional business coach, I’ve recently written a book, but the podcasts are, they’re very specific rests.
If I tell you the name of them, don’t
Russ Haworth: okay. I’m going to add it. Okay. So, yep.
Dominic Rubino: So the first one is called profit toolbelt. So that one is for all construction trades. But the second one that I’ll tell you is actually the first one I started and it’s called cabinet maker profit system. It is specifically for.
Architectural mill workers, cabinet makers, furniture, makers, and anything in between. So as long as they’re doing finished wood products, it’s an underserved market with an app underserved under respected market. I might add. They’re not getting the love and attention. And I knew that they needed the help because I’ve coached many of them over my career before I started the podcast.
And so that’s that I’m very proud to post both of those shows, but the cabinet maker one gets the most comments. When my friends say you used to run a global coaching organization, and then you ran a global mail order, fulfillment pharmacy, and now you’re coaching cabinet makers. Yeah. Absolutely.
Russ Haworth: Yeah.
So I, I I’m lucky enough to know a tiny little bit about marquetry and cabinet making so I can understand the level of skill and expertise that’s needed in that field. And it is something that when it’s explained to you and you think cover cabinet makers, you think, you know, the Ikea type.
Cabinet. That’s not what we’re talking about. Really. The high-end very specialist, very skilled work. And it is, it is a niche, no doubt, but it is obviously one that is being served very well by, by what you’re doing. And you, you mentioned about working with those types of. Business owners and the construction and the cabinet making business owners around things like their strategy and their processes and their roots the way in which they’re doing things.
And again, would it be fair to say that when you’re driven by say a passion for cabinet making. Th th the important bit is to be doing the work rather than necessarily that ownership bit of this is how we’ve run a business. We need to have the processes and frameworks in place. Is that a fair assumption?
Or am I, am I off?
Dominic Rubino: Yeah, no, you’re absolutely correct. It’s, there’s a, there’s that movement for being a technician, to being the manager of the business, to being the entrepreneur, running it. And that’s an evolution just like you were talking about. The evolution before the owner needs to change their perspective as the business grows or the ownership team, you know, it might be a family business and you, you might see this, the impostor syndrome is what I’m going to talk about here, where my dad started this business.
He only pulled out 60,000 a year. I pull out 75 and I feel extremely guilty and he still works here and we can’t dad wants it, run this way. And there’s a lot of, all of that noise is inside. This person’s head, but that’s not what the world sees and the company is ready to grow, but what the father did built the foundation for the next level of growth.
And it’s, it’s a matter of putting systems and processes in place to allow the company to be what it’s supposed to be. Just like when we raise a child now, living. Just say Russ raising my kids as a grand experiment. I don’t know if I’ve done it right
Russ Haworth: yet,
Dominic Rubino: but, but there’s an evolution, right? They can’t, you can’t have them on training wheels forever.
At some point, training wheels have to go. At some point, you need a CRM. At some point they have to move to a bigger bike. At some point you need an ERP, you know, like all of those things,
You just, it, the company just needs it. And so are you a caretaker of the business? This is what I’ve learned from your show.
Like multi-generational. Evolution moves from that startup phase to the management phase, to the caretaker phase. Caretaker makes it sound, you know, and I don’t think I’m using the correct words, but the legacy, the custodian. Thank you. Yeah. Maintaining the legacy that’s been built before. Those are different skillsets and different people.
I would venture that maybe the first-generation leader might not have been the right leader for the fourth generation type is in that same business.
Russ Haworth: Yeah, I think you’re right. And I think what, what tends to happen is that there’s again sweeping generalization here.
And I know there is examples to the contrary of this, or I’m not sure not trying to tar everyone with this brush, but it’s, it seems that there. The phrase, the reason we do it, like this is because we’ve always done it like this. And when we’re dealing with changing marketplaces, we’re changing, we’re dealing with changing economies.
Obviously we’re in the midst of a global pandemic adaptation and being able to adapt and change the way things are done. It is probably a stronger way to survive than it is to just keep headed down and think, Oh, I’m going to do everything the same and not the government was going on outside the window.
Dominic Rubino: Yeah. That adaptation is so important because it’s, we are not in the same world. We’re not in the same market, the same economy, the customer’s needs have changed. We’re no longer wearing bell bottoms. We’re no longer listening to it. You know, things change and a business needs to change along with that.
Russ Haworth: And there’s a propensity with families that tensions can rise at a point where it can feel like the next gen are coming in and telling the senior generation, that’s not how you do it. This is how you do it. And I’m guessing part of the work that you do is to help create the processes around that.
So it takes the, the personalization outlets. So it’s not, it’s not seen as an attack from one generation to another. It’s a team understanding how to did that. Talk to us about some of the ways in which businesses might want to try looking at that so that it doesn’t become this one person versus one person viewpoint.
Dominic Rubino: it, you know, it’s and, and right away, as, as you mentioned that situation, I thought of a family business that I deal with who happens to be in cabinetry. I have lots of different clients and listeners on both podcasts that are different, right? Different trades, like HPAC. Do you call it HPAC over in Europe, heating ventilation, air conditioning refrigeration.
Russ Haworth: I know what all of those are, but not the term. Ah, HVAC. I know
Dominic Rubino: that mechanical contracting there or, or something else. You guys always have great words.
Okay. I’m thinking of a particular situation here where we’ve got a father who started the business. It’s they’re doing very well. They’re in the $4 million range. There are three children. In the business. And I say, children, there are age rests are maybe more my age, but very wisely. The father started the conversation about finding somebody like me, not me.
Somebody liked me and opened that conversation up with the family. I don’t want to say the kids cause that’s not what they are. That it’s the family. And said, you know, maybe we should have somebody else here to listen to our meetings and help them run smoothly. And that’s how the search for me started.
And then, you know, they had their interview process. They’re very process-driven family, very loving, great family. And then when we met, you know, they asked me about the systems and processes that I had, which was wise. They asked me about my approach. Absolutely correct. And then I think they spent some time thinking about whether they would like having me part of difficult conversations as well as good conversations.
And we’ve now been working together for quite a while. And it’s working very well, but the owner realized he doesn’t want to do this forever. He has a boat, he loves cars and he’s not spending time enough on each of those. But he’s got this great crew that is his family. Who’s ready. To take over if he would just step back a bit.
And so then I bring in a strategic planning process that really puts the business on paper and out of the owner’s head so that everybody can look at it. Take their parts, go work on it and then come back in our meetings and talk about it and move forward as we go.
Russ Haworth: And what are some of the common areas that you see people struggle with when it comes to that strategic direction and articulating that and putting it down on paper?
Dominic Rubino: You know, I, in my head, I think of all the technical things that need to be done when we start this, this business reinvention process and reinvention makes it sound like work. It’s not, it’s just a different way of doing the same work. That’s all we’re doing. But one of the things that happens is I hear this quite often from family businesses that I deal with, whether they are in construction trades or not, is that they’ll say Dom.
We started having these meetings and then they just sort of filled, you know, fizzled out. Don. We’ve always been trying to get those numbers reported, but we didn’t know how to do it. Dom, we’ve been trying to track our production, but we’re not sure how to do it, or I want to find out this question, but when I ask this person, they get offended and feel like we’re attacking them.
And so when they’ve got somebody like myself or perhaps you rest in the room, It’s just a question. I’m not asking anybody specifically where this number comes from or why it’s lower high or weird. It’s just a question. And it’s a leveling that happens in that family business that allows them to point at me and say, well, dog really wanted that number.
You might as well go find it. And. I’m okay. Being that lightning rod, that’s my job. And I think that’s your job as well rest. So that allows for a third party, independent third party, dispassionate dispassionate third party to look at things objectively and bring systems and process. And repeatability to a business.
So there’s confidence in it moving forward.
Russ Haworth: Yeah. And I, there’s a phrase I’ve come across, which I’ve stolen. It is certainly not what I came up with. I can’t remember who who did. But the, the phrase is you can’t read the label of the jar you’re in, I think sometimes when you’re. You’ve got the same people sat around and you’re having the same conversations.
You can’t see the wood for the trees because you you’re lacking that objective third party, that person that can come in with a fresh pair of eyes and just go well, actually, and ask the in inverted commas again, the silly questions of, well, why, why is that the case? Why are you doing it this way? Why haven’t you done it that way?
And that there’s a huge amount of value to. Having that person sat around those conversations, but it also takes a high degree of trust in order to allow those discussions to take place. And again, that’s not a 10 minute phone call and right. We’re in less go, is it? It’s, it’s more of a drawn out process than that.
Dominic Rubino: I, if you don’t mind me saying, I have seen it work disastrously. Where a company recognizes they need outside perspective, but they go about that wrong. Right? There’s there’s considerable bruising. And that’s, I don’t know if you ever got these phone calls through us, but I have them on occasion. Where somebody will say, my brother hired a business coach, so I need one.
And they were both running the, you know, the same business. So I’m like, well, hold on a second. That’s I’m not a bullet in a gun. Like,
Russ Haworth: what are you doing?
Dominic Rubino: You know, but my brother hired a business coach, so I need one that’s if you are thinking about talking to somebody like Russ or myself and, and I, I, I just say rest myself, cause we’re here.
Whoever you decide to work with, I would go back to the family unit that you have running the business and say, what do you think about bringing in some outside perspective? And if we did agree to that, what would that look like and what would it be for and what kind of person do we want to work with and just come at it that way I don’t need to work with you, but I can tell you who you should work with is somebody everybody buys into because that’s okay.
That is the long-term best for your company.
Russ Haworth: Yeah, I, I agree with that completely. And it can, it can be difficult to know what type of. Advisor to bring in what, what issue is it that’s being dealt with? Is this a legal issue? Therefore, do we need legal advice? This is a financial issue. Do we need wealth management?
Do we need accounting? Do we need this, that and the other? And I think being honest with each other in those discussions and going, okay, where is it? We actually looking for some support here and there will be people out there that can help. There will be people out there that can support in doing that.
You just got to know what you’re looking for.
Dominic Rubino: When, when you start bringing in a divisor, it almost doesn’t matter which advisor you bring in because it’s the same as taking a fat kid to the gym, You’re just teaching somebody unhealthy how to be healthy.
And we don’t know if they’re going to do marathons or spin classes or yoga. It doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. What we’re doing is changing that the, if you view business as a lifestyle, all we’re trying to do is change it. You can work with. Roster me for a year and then go find somebody else. There’s nothing that says you can’t.
And so the change in itself is an exercise for the business that we are in the mindset of change. And so I often say, and it’s a North American saying it’s like taking a fat, get to the gym. You’re of course you’re going to get results. You’ve started to do something different. That’s all it is.
Russ Haworth: And the, the starting point for people to find out more about what it is that you do, where, where should people head for that?
Dominic Rubino: Well, if they’re a cabinet maker, I could tell you they should listen to the show. The podcast, but you know, I deal mostly with construction trades, although I am on the board of an application security company and I do various other things because I’m an entrepreneur, but I’ve actually just written a book it’s called construction, millionaire secrets.
And that is a good starting place. It’s on Amazon. I think, you know, we priced it very affordably. It’s a $10 book. Great. But that gives people that overview of what are the things that you might not know. How can you, you know, if you were to buy that copy and share it amongst your family, Hey, what did you think about chapter seven?
What’d you think about secrets 13? What’d you think about secret number one? And then you start the conversation. And then it can lead wherever you want it to lead, depending on which secret you choose. There’s over 20 in there.
Russ Haworth: But, and just, just give us a little sneak into one of those. If you don’t mind.
what’s your top tip or top secret from the book without giving too much the way of the statement?
Dominic Rubino: No, no, it’s okay. It’s you know, it’s not a long book. I can tell you. I don’t know why this has happened, but I’m I, I’m a very easygoing person. I’m not, I mean, I’m very serious about what I do, but I like to have fun with it.
And so I’m receiving pictures now of my book. Do you mind if I just grab it to
Russ Haworth: show her, I’m
Dominic Rubino: getting pictures of my, my book from people as you would say in the loop.
it’s, it’s big enough. You can read it in the bathroom and I may have set that and then somebody sent me a picture and then somebody else sent me a picture.
I’ve got three pictures now. If you were to, and that’s, I don’t want this to go the wrong direction. It’s integrated.
Russ Haworth: That’s not an invitation for anybody. That’s just, if anything.
Dominic Rubino: Hey, Russ, the lighting is good and nobody’s going to interrupt you. So do what you want, right. If you’re trying to study, but the there’s a formula that I, I talked about it here.
That’s a secret that I didn’t know when I failed hard, because if you would ask me. How I could, how I could be more successful in my painting company or in my Christmas light installation company or in my home renovations company. All I knew all, I had been trained through my life at the kitchen table, from my parents, wonderful parents, but they taught me how to work hard.
I never knew I didn’t understand what it meant to work smart. And so I would find myself at the end of the day, completely exhausted. You have 20 years of how hard is it to exhaust a 20 year old? But I was so exhausted. I remember once this was maybe a little too much information. I remember driving through an intersection once in my painting ban, hoping I would get hit because I couldn’t see any other way out of it.
I was just working so hard making no money. I was dating a wonderful girl and I couldn’t afford to take her out for dinner. She paid for dinner one night and I thought, wow. Oh, man, I’m doing this wrong. How could it be working so hard and making no money? So there’s a formula in here that I learned when I became a business coach and it’s secrets, fifth, 14, 15, and 16.
And it’s how to separate the very basic elements of the business, into how we can calculate and manage the right kind of customer. And how do we calculate and manage getting revenue where it needs to be. And revenue by the way, and is, you know, Russ revenue is the big lie. Revenue is irrelevant. It’s profit.
It’s that third formula it’s in there. But how do you, how do all of those work together to allow me to make the right decisions in the right order? Did you change the business to where I want it to be? And I never, I didn’t know that until I became a professional business coach and I was actually trained by an Australian multi-culture millionaire on that formula.
And I’ve never let it go. I’ve realized that that is, that might be my legacy in my family. And with the people I work with is that they remember that formula. I’ve done my job in this world and making it a better place. So if you want to know my favorites, Those are the ones. Those
Russ Haworth: are the ones. Fantastic.
And thank you very much for your time and insights today. It’s been a fantastic chat and thank you for sharing your story as well. Well for the lessons that took from, from that time in your life where can our audience find out more about you and websites and the like,
Dominic Rubino: Well the best website to reach me on is through profits tool belt.
And there’s a ton of free downloads there, many of the things we covered today, but also feel free to buy the book. You know, we priced it very affordably. It’s called construction, millionaire secrets. And you know, I’d love it. If anybody had questions or, or, and there’s free downloads from there to, obviously today, you have to have free downloads along with your book because they’re supporting material that needs to go along with it.
But those are the things that people hand out at meetings. They’re like, Hey, what do you think of this? Yeah. And and that starts that conversation. I’m here today to help anybody that I can in a family business. Cause I’ve been through the painful side of it. I’ve seen the good sides for so many companies I deal with.
And I, I wish I’d known these things. Probably the same things that you’ve learned. I wish I had known them before or been open to. Being open to really listening to them when I needed the most. And I didn’t.
Russ Haworth: Yeah. And, and that, for me, that’s the motivation behind why I do this podcast is, is to try and get these lessons and these experiences out to people so that they realize, firstly, that they’re not alone in that.
But also that there is help out there for people who are who are in that situation. So we’ll put links in the show notes and people can get in touch via there. But Don, thank you very much for your time and take care. We’ll speak to you soon.
Dominic Rubino: Yeah. Thank you, Ross. I enjoy your show. Keep doing it.
Thank you. Cheers. Bye-bye.