Robert Clinkenbeard 0:00
You know, took me a while to really find the future leader for my company. So I knew there was going to be an exit at some point. So I took my time and trying to find the people that I knew that I could coach and mentor and train to take over the company. And that's what helped with not only my exit, but also help with the increasing the variation on my business. And then the second thing is to have a framework in which I could scale my business, I used there was a couple of programs out there attraction and scaling up. And it just allowed me to, again, create my vision, create my quarterly rocks or goals, and almost self accountable and bring in some of those key performance indicators to help hold my team accountable to where the company was going.
Steve Brown 0:52
Robert clinkenbeard, welcome to the ROI, online podcast. Amazing.
I think the first thing that's obvious and the question I need to ask is like your accent gives away, you're from out of town.
Robert Clinkenbeard 1:19
Yeah, I confused a lot of people because I was actually born and sort of disappointed. I was actually born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Nobody believes me. But I moved to Scotland, which is where my mom is from, and grew up for 30 years in Scotland in Edinburgh, in Scotland and spent some time there some time in Glasgow. So obviously, that's where my accent is. That's where my guts and determination is from. So yeah, it's a great place.
Steve Brown 1:56
Yeah, well, good. I wouldn't have picked Nebraska, that's for sure. So you've got a company called the red X group. You've got a podcast called the commercial landscaper will will clarify on that one. And then you've got a book you wrote a book called The Iron Man mindset for entrepreneurs. So where where does the commercial landscapers podcast come in?
Robert Clinkenbeard 2:21
Yeah, I just I felt as though I really enjoy talking to people and just extracting all their knowledge. And I just thought, well, commercial landscapers obviously, my background is as landscaping but, and even though I sort of try and have that niche, I open up my interviews with all different types of industry. So I'll just do a 2025 Minutes interview with them, again, extract all the great information from them and share that with my audience. So yeah, I really enjoy doing I do weekly podcasts. And I love it. I love doing it. Cool.
Steve Brown 3:00
So tell us a little bit about the red X group, you, you work with leaders. It's, it's hard to think about it. But if you're not a leader, one of the hardest things to do is get your vision out of your head. And get it really clear so that the people that want to be a part of what you're doing, can go to the right place on the horizon.
Robert Clinkenbeard 3:25
That's correct. I mean, what one of the things I do when I go into companies, I'll you know, just start asking them a lot of questions just to find out, you know, where they're at and what their struggles are. And, you know, nine times out of 10. You know, most leaders owners are still working very much in the business. So they're just working with the day to day minutia, they're pushing sand. They're just they're not allocating enough time, they're not being setting enough time to be reflective and work on the business. So that's probably the one of the biggest challenges I find is that I try and sort of pull them out of that day to day minutia of Krishna sand, to start thinking about, well, where is the company going? Where's that vision? Where the taking the rest of their team members on? What What is your exit look like? So really just start to work with them to figure out where's the company going? Where's the leader going?
Steve Brown 4:22
So would you agree that most business owners are like, often too busy to see the full potential of their business when, when you say they're working on their business or in their business?
Robert Clinkenbeard 4:33
Absolutely, yeah, they're there. They don't see the full potential because they're just dealing with that daily grind. And they're just they're coming out every single day. They're exhausted. They're just, they're beat up. They're getting punched from every side. And so yeah, that's that's my goal is to be basic, get them to elevate themselves up and start working on the business and try and get a breather.
Steve Brown 4:59
So why did you Decided to plant your flag there. What made you like go? I can do this. I can help other business owners and you haven't been there or something, have you?
Robert Clinkenbeard 5:09
Yeah, I am. I've been through that whole struggle that slog and, and I think probably one of the pivotal moments for me is that, you know, when I, when I went from Scotland to Arizona, back in 99, you know, I just, I figured out Well, why are people living like this, they're in this beautiful environment and sunny, this is their maybe in their second or third houses. And here I am in Scotland is miserable, wet, it's dark and gloomy. It was just really depressing. So I thought, well, how are these people being like this, what was leading them to the successful lifestyle? So I started just to be reflective on how tech how to get there. And I figured out a lot of them had their own businesses. So yeah, I did start my own business, I had an exit in 2016. But once I saw that business of the wall, what am I gonna do? No, where am I going to go? In future, I'm going to start another business. And I thought, well, if I managed to go through all these challenges with moving to another country, setting up a business, going through all the struggles, making all the mistakes I did, why not give back to the business community, and help them make less mistakes, allow them to level up. So that's why I started the radix group. And that's why I go into companies and just help caution through some of those challenges they're facing, again, try and elevate the moat in our day to day. So I really take great pleasure in helping other business leaders.
Steve Brown 6:50
You know, I'm, I was fortunate enough to win this scholarship from Goldman Sachs. And they picked a certain number of entrepreneurs to go through a little boot camp for eight weeks, or maybe as longer. But I remember one of the epiphanies that came out of that I'm sitting in this class there in Boston, with 40, other entrepreneurs and all various different stages. And we were eating lunch at one of the, you know, lunch breaks, and I'm sitting there, and it just really hit me that we were talking about things that I didn't get to talk about with any other person. And is like, all of a sudden, in this emotion came over me that I'm not crazy. All these things I'm dealing with is not unique,
Robert Clinkenbeard 7:38
etc. So true, because I think a lot of business owners, they feel as though they're on this island, because a lot of a lot of their friends are not, they're typically working for somebody else, they're not facing the same challenges. So they don't have anybody within their immediate circle to talk to. So you're right, when the when an entrepreneur owner meets another group of entrepreneurs, then it's almost like they can let their guard down to start talking about the challenges, they realize you're right, that a lot of them are facing the same challenges, whether it be people challenges, lack of cash flow, struggling to have a good strategy, maybe they can't really execute your plan, because they're so busy. But there's all that common thread that goes through a lot of business owners.
Steve Brown 8:29
So they ever like cry on your shoulder.
Robert Clinkenbeard 8:32
I've had a few, I've had a few. Especially you know, what's interesting is when you really break down those barriers and open up to you, you know, even gets down to personal situations, because they're so busy work, and they're maybe spending 15 hours a day. And that then starts to fade in your personal life. And that's when it really starts to get emotional. So I've seen a lot business owners really struggle with trying to, you know, balance is a commonly used word, but really struggle to try and figure out how they balance the time.
Steve Brown 9:09
I found that if I think about someone starting a business, and the journey they've been on and you catch them five, six years later, and they've been through the trenches, they've been through some really hard stuff that really tested their mettle. But do you find that often they've kind of forgotten their why why they started the thing in the first place.
Robert Clinkenbeard 9:33
Absolutely, I would say the majority have, you know, unless they have some type of mentor or coach or other peers around them, that, you know, remind them but I would say the majority I come across, they just get so entrenched with trying to, you know, make a profit, hire the right people that they often forget about why they got into business and yeah, it's usually Some type of action or knock on the head, then maybe get some to remind them why they started the business and where they're where the journey is.
Steve Brown 10:12
So where are they, on the hero's journey, you meet the hero and they're in their status quo, then they learn that status quo is not gonna work anymore. And then they realize, Oh, my gosh, a lot of changes coming in, they're struggling with the change. And so they go into this, the pit in the story framework, it's called the pit before they start to kind of learn some lessons and then get determined and mark out, where are they in that journey when you engage with them often.
Robert Clinkenbeard 10:45
Most the time, I feel as though they're either on that plateau, or maybe they're on that, that pit, as you call it, or valley that you know, the feelers or the maybe been spinning their wheels for a number of years, they're working so much in the business or in the weeds, that there's they can't figure out why they're not growing by the not profitable, and they just need the outside help. And, you know, that's this, I really enjoyed going in at that point. Because I really feel I feel as though the ready to embrace the help of an outside counsel, coach or mentor, and enjoy that because I want to be able to help them want to be able to guide them through be able to see that why should enter the tunnel.
Steve Brown 11:35
So like, select that group, where you go into my name, Steve, and and I must admit, I need some help running my business. Is it like that?
Robert Clinkenbeard 11:47
Like that. But that's, that's a good position to be in. Because, you know, there are a lot of owners out there that are still struggling. But I think their ego gets in the way. And they just keep trying to work harder, they work longer hours. And that starts affecting them. The search, the Phaeton family search is affecting their health and other employees around them. And then they wonder why employees start leaving them, Mister spinning the wheels even faster. So it's just, it's sad when you see situations like that, where the Regal or some other obstacle gets in the way.
Steve Brown 12:26
So your book is the Iron Man mindset. Somewhere along the way, you connected the lessons that you were learning, while preparing or running or participating in an Iron Man. And you connected it with like, Hey, this is like this as hard as running a business or harder. I don't know, tell us where that light bulb went on for you. What was going on? Why did you you decide to approach it from that direction?
Robert Clinkenbeard 12:54
Yeah, we're writing a book because as part of my bucket list, and my dad had written a bunch of books, and I thought I'd love to write a book. And I was trying to figure out what my topic was going to be. And I started to think about well, you know, I played a lot of soccer rugby in my life and loved that sport, but my body was starting to break down a little bit. So when I started to do the Iron Man, races are seven smaller triathlons. I start to think about, well, I've never done an Ironman before. You know, I can barely even do the triathlons because it's such a bad swimmer. I mean, I could literally swim one lap to the pool. And then I start to think, Well, why why am i is suffering my head that I'm starting to be that barrier to the future? My vision looks like. So I've started to think about, well, what can I achieve? If I want to do a full Ironman? You know, that's two and a half mile swim, 112 mile bike and full marathon, you know, what's stopping me? And I thought, well, there's nothing really stopping me. I just need to figure out how do I get there. So it's the same in business. A typical, there's not necessarily a barrier to where you're going in business, whether it be a revenue number, or going into different markets, it's just your own mind limits you. So once you figure out where you're going, what your journey looks like and three 515 years, then you then you start working backwards, you start figuring out well, how can I get there? What does it look like to start breaking it down into smaller chunks. So I started to just to piece together all these things I've learned and running the business and doing my own mind training into a book, which is a short, simple read, but it really breaks down those simple principles around how you can take your business to the next level.
Steve Brown 14:58
So I want to say That's one of the main lessons in your book. I haven't read your book. But I would assume one of the lessons is persistence.
Robert Clinkenbeard 15:10
Definitely persistence is is discipline. I mean, when you're having to train 2025 hours a week, he did to be super disciplined. I was, you know, waking up at 334 in the morning. And the night before, I was looking at my training plan, and figuring out well find a five to train three or four hours tomorrow. And typically, there were two trading sessions a day, I need to be really disciplined and intentional about my schedule. So okay, if I want to trade in this time of day, then how do my meetings plan around that, because at the time I had 350 employees, so there's a lot of a lot of pressure of me to perform at work as well and make sure all my employees and all the families had had a vision. So yeah, my meetings were very structured. I was very intentional about every single day I went into work. I had my trading plan to work to. And so yeah, that just helped me in being too cheerful and only in my business, but also personally through my own journey.
Steve Brown 16:22
Excellent. So if you're, you're listening on verbal Vu, RBL, be sure to subscribe to this channel, we've got a great conversation going on with Robert clinkenbeard. His company is the red X group. And his book is the Iron Men mindset. And if you're watching on YouTube, be sure to subscribe as well. So Robert, here's I got some questions that I get asked these questions often. And so I'd love to know what your answer is. And I think the first question on everybody's mind is, okay, there's soccer, and there's rugby. So did you have to learn to be like a real Prima Donna and fall down in soccer and act like you're hurt? And then when you flip it in rugby, it's like, No, I'm not hurt. You're no. No, I
Robert Clinkenbeard 17:15
mean, if if many people know Scotland, and soccer or football, as I call it, I mean, most of those players, they're all pretty hard players. So we're not like the I'm gonna offend people by saying we're not like the Spanish or the Italians that like, flop around. And so that's that's real. But yeah, it was, I think move it into rugby was was a super hard sport, but very much team orientated. So I can go to any Rugby Club in the world. And they'll open up the doors of now find jobs me but really a dive great, great team work. And you're all knowing your, your strengths, and you're helping each other out. Same in business, if you create local small teams, then you know, their strengths and weaknesses, then typically, you'll get more done rather than just trying to be that individual.
Steve Brown 18:16
Excellent, excellent answer. I just thought that was when you said you played both and I thought that was really funny. Opposite. Alright, so true. So true. So the first question, this is in your area, what is personal growth?
Robert Clinkenbeard 18:35
Personal Growth is I feel so sharp in the soul, always trying to let learn more better yourself. Whether it be personally, you know, getting through being a better father being a better husband, whether it be learning things through podcasts through course cautious, but I always feel as though if you're not hitting us, if you're not growing, you're dying. So always just trying to figure out how can I push myself? How can I take myself out my comfort zone?
Steve Brown 19:09
Excellent. So why why is personal growth and important
Robert Clinkenbeard 19:15
I just feel as though if you're going to get somewhere in life, I think it's always good to learn. We're in such a world now suddenly change when I was growing up, where there's so much information and data available through Google or through YouTube, you can pretty much learn whatever you want to do. So why not take advantage of that and try and better yourself. Again, actually be personally and that can be in business. So sharpen so don't look at the CV, look at you know data, look at books look a podcast, so many people out there business owners are willing to share their information. So take advantage of that.
Steve Brown 19:59
Yeah. It seems a lot that nowadays it's kind of a low bar if you just just take on those activities that you're describing. Wow, what a competitive advantage. Yeah. So how do you measure personal growth? Robert?
Robert Clinkenbeard 20:17
I think if I'm around business owners, and even just other people in the community, and I feel as though I can have good conversations with people, and I'm aware of what's going on in the world, and the community, and I could give back and, and communicate intelligently, then I feel as though I'm, I'm always learning,
Steve Brown 20:44
I feel that the way I can kind of measure personal growth is that you remember that time like you felt like you're down in the mud, and you just stopped and you looked up, and it didn't feel like you're going anywhere in you didn't feel like you're winning. But when you turn around and look back, and see how far you've come, say, Oh, my gosh, I was so wrapped up in the battle. But look what's been going on?
Robert Clinkenbeard 21:08
Yeah, that's true. I mean, even you know, going back to my book mean that the whole Iron Man mindset, I feel as though you know, one of the phrases I like, a lot is only good things happen on the other side of fear. So when you're, when you're a challenging situation, whether you're, you're successful, you have a win from it, I feel as though you're always going to have a win by either having an experience that you'll know not to do again, or you get a confidence by being successful, whatever you've challenged yourself. So always go and lean into those challenges. And they come out and look back and said, I learn from that.
Steve Brown 21:55
Excellent. So how do you define your vision?
Robert Clinkenbeard 22:04
I do two things. I asked people, you know, what, what was your personal biak? Your big, hairy, audacious goal. So what do we you want to look like in 10 to 15 years? And whether it's helping others, but and I really like to sit down with people when they use up my army mindset. And planner, which is okay, what do we look like in 10 to 15 years, where they will look like in three years. And look at what those measures are, whether it be business achievements, whether it be personal achievements, even things like travel, but I'm always looking at that even get to the point where I've said there with my family every December, and I'll do a vision board with them. And you know, the kids are all doing things like pets and puppies and bikes and all stuff that but yeah, the fact that they're just getting into the habit of looking to where they're going in the future. And it just gives us something to strive towards.
Steve Brown 23:14
I love that teaching them to have an expectation of the future, that's deliberate, that you can actually control instead of just flowing down the
Robert Clinkenbeard 23:24
street, and that day to day, and not really having any objective. Well,
Steve Brown 23:31
so you work with leaders, and so a cup, I want you to fill in the blank on this one. Okay. And so accompanies to egyik vision concerns,
Robert Clinkenbeard 23:44
concerns, what the roadmap is for the future? Where are they going? Is that revenue goal? Is that charitable giving back? What's the purpose? And then getting all the people behind them, getting the whole company behind them doesn't necessarily have to be revenue. But I just feel as though, especially with, you know, Millennials that are not necessarily in business, looking for people for the money, money is all of a sudden a side benefit, but they'll get behind the company and their purpose and where they're going. I don't think leaders explain and communicate that properly.
Steve Brown 24:37
Yeah, I think that's like the biggest challenge every leader has is it's clear in here. And I know I've said it before sometime in the past, right, but it's like you're surprised as I thought I said that. Right. But it's so much more right.
Robert Clinkenbeard 24:55
Yeah, it's so much more. I mean, I understand why your Leadership Camp Do you know even I recommend doing like a quarterly townhall. bring their team in, comes from one source
and inspire people, get them behind you. That's, that's more or less likely to, to get people through challenging times, if they have that vision and where they're going. They're just not communicating at all people are trying to, because if you leave things blank, people will fill in that verbiage, but just fill in their own communication. So why not be intentional about the communication where the company is going?
Steve Brown 25:43
Yeah, so we're having a great conversation with Robert clinkenbeard. His company is the red X group. He's the author of the Iron Man mindset. And his podcast is the commercial landscapers. If you're listening on YouTube, be sure to subscribe to the channel and like and check out Roberts book. So Robert, he said something a little earlier about fear that personal growth is on the other side of fear. When you started training for these Iron Man's, tell us about a big fear that came upon you that you didn't expect.
Robert Clinkenbeard 26:23
I really, I didn't think I was capable of doing it. I mean, as I said earlier, I mean, I literally could swim. I mean, you can't really see me, but I'm a big Rob big, you know, big legs and you know, did a lot of weights when I was younger. So here I am trying to struggle to the end of the pool one length, and I'm expected to swim two and a half miles. Again, out in open water I could do in a pool all day long, because I can stand up. So yeah, I definitely had a lot of fear around whether I could even complete the race. But one of the things that kept me going, and especially in an Arizona when I was training pre brittle summers. So you know, you wrote training and 100 plus degrees. But what kept me going is, I suppose a sense of pride. But I don't want to live my family, though. You know, I knew one of the things you talk about vision and where you're going, one of the things that was in my head was my family at the finish line. You know, my young kids, my wife, they had to keep up with me trading all these hours every week. And I didn't want to let them down. So when I had the really challenging days, when I'm out on the bike for five or six hours, you know, doing four or 5000 feet of climbing and a bike, or, you know, running 20 miles just in a trading race. You know, that's what the vision kept me going. Because we all we all face challenges every single day, we're all fish, personal challenges we all face from found the struggles stressed your money. And you really have to just fight your way through and look at some of the positives, where were you going for the things that are going to, you know, push you through that fear factor?
Steve Brown 28:18
So when you wrote your book, I've written a book. So I'm asking from experience, but there was, there was that book I ran into a situation where I was like, I really had to get over some fear because when I saw that first draft of my book, the rough draft when I read it, I was like, embarrassed. And I really had an anxiety for days about is like what in the world have I done? Did you have that experience with yours?
Robert Clinkenbeard 28:54
I was nervous. I don't think I had a huge amount of fear because I took a little bit of an easier road ahead I and I talked about this in my book actually is I had a coach to help me write my book. Someday I had written five or six books. So they were the ones who interviewed me recorded me and helped me sound good antique statics. But, and that's where I talk about my book where I think if you, you, you're aware of your strengths and you invest in your strengths, but you you also you're aware of your weaknesses and trying to let your ego take away from your your weaknesses. hire the people or surround yourself with experts, coaches, mentors. Even you know when I started first started my own landscape. business, but really struggling to financial part, I really understand the financials. But I knew that early on and again, I thought, well do I really want to pay money to get somebody in, but I eventually hired fractional CFO, because I knew and really needed to understand the numbers. So yeah, really, really try and figure out what you're good at what you're bad at, or weaker. And make sure that you surround yourself with the right people just to break through some of those challenges.
Steve Brown 30:31
Excellent. So Robert, I like always like to ask is like, what's one question that didn't ask you today that you really wished you could have answered?
Robert Clinkenbeard 30:42
I would say, what were the one or two pivotal moments in my business that could help scale up my business? in a short amount of time?
Steve Brown 30:55
Yeah, what were those
Robert Clinkenbeard 30:59
two things, finding the right people to run my company. So you know, took me a while to really find the future leaders of my company. So I knew there was going to be an exit at some point. So I took my time and trying to find some people that I knew that I could coach and mentor and train to take over the company. And that's where helped with not only my exit, but also help with the increasing the valuation on my business. And then the second thing is to have a framework in which I could scale my business I used, there was a couple of programs out there attraction and scaling up. And it just allowed me to, again, create my vision, create my quarter the rocks, or goals, and whole myself accountable and bring in some of those key performance indicators to help hold my team accountable to where the company was going. So that's what really started to create our fire fire wheel that momentum and grow my business.
Steve Brown 32:06
Yeah. Do you know what man was a guest recently? And so he's got a great system. That's the book traction, entrepreneur operating system. And then the scaling up book. That's, that's an excellent book, who's the author of that book, Vern? harnish? Yeah, that's an excellent book as well. It's super tricky, or super risky. It's so important that you bring in the right people to take over your company. They, like everybody that's been following you to that point, they're bought into you, their mind into your vision, where you're going, and all of a sudden, these new people show up. And it's like, there's a big risk that these guys will take it off in a different direction. And, and I think that's like, yeah, it's just a big risk. How do you How did you do that successfully?
Robert Clinkenbeard 32:58
It was definitely challenging, because, you know, there's definitely going to be a bunch of authors out there that they talk about the people, excuse me, the people that go you there are not necessarily the same people that will take it to the next level, right. So you're almost again, goes back to the point I made earlier, you've got to find again, the strengths and weaknesses in your employees. So you know, maybe they stay in a low position. But again, their ego might not necessarily allow them to get past that. So sometimes there's a little bit of a transition that goes on with employees. But if you want to take the company to another level, you know, we took our business up to 20 million, is I knew that the people that we started the business with, were not the right people. So yeah, it was definitely challenging. And I definitely felt bad for the people that got me there. But I just had to really had some good transparent conversations with them, and explain to them why and hopefully find their position in the company that still allowed them to grow personally. But it just wasn't necessarily in that leadership room.
Steve Brown 34:13
Yeah, that's excellent. That's excellent. Robert, you've been a great guest on ROI online Podcast, where can folks reach out to your how, how best? Do you would people connect with you and get in? Yeah, get set up in your system somehow?
Robert Clinkenbeard 34:32
Yeah, no problem. Yeah. Thanks. Again, Steve. So there's a few different ways people can get hold of me through LinkedIn, Robert clinkenbeard, on on LinkedIn, you can go to my website, they can get my book there and there's the radix group llc.com. And then I'd also be happy to send any listeners a copy of my book, if they want to text the number 33777 Using the word radix ra di x, I'd be happy to give your listeners a copy of my book. So
Steve Brown 35:07
awesome. That's great. How about that audience and you get a reward for putting up with me and all these great guests so that you learn you're not crazy either. Robert, you've been excellent. I really enjoyed it. And I've learned a lot. So thanks for listening the ROI online podcast you guys be sure to go get Roberts book, The Iron Man mindset. I'm I know it's on Amazon. Do we have an audio audible version as well, Robert,
Robert Clinkenbeard 35:35
there's an audible version. And I say like, I'm happy to send people a copy as well. So yeah.
Steve Brown 35:43
Did you read the audible version? Is it in your your Nebraska accent? No, I didn't have the time for that. But maybe I should redo that. Alright, and that's a wrap.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai