with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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This week we are joined by Roland Frasier, CEO, War Room Mastermind and the Principal/Founder at Traffic & Conversion Summit, DigitalMarketer, Praxio, Rival Media, Plattr.

He is the co-founder and/or principal of multiple Inc. Magazine fastest growing companies (e-commerce, e-learning and SaaS). Serial entrepreneur who founded, scaled or sold almost two dozen different businesses ranging from consumer products to industrial machine manufacturing companies with adjusted sales ranging from $3 million to $337 million.

Through War Room Roland advises over 100 major companies on digitally centric customer acquisition, activation, referral, retention, revenue and growth strategies and plan implementation.

He is a guru in the art of the deal and one of the most humble and generous chiefs you’ll ever meet.

Books and Resources Recommended




When I read Robert Allen's book on real estate, it was just amazing to me that you could buy real estate with no money down, and the first time that you do that, I always, when I talk about buying companies with no money down, so the impact for me was to ultimately I took those principles and so what if I just did that with companies, and it turns out you can.

The Denis Waitley (Psychology of Winning) one for me was that I had never really, no one had before that exposed me to the thought of setting goals. And, so the biggest thing that I got out of Dennis's thing was that the people who set goals achieve them and people who don't, don't typically. That you have to have some thing that you're working towards or you're just kind of floating, and then he talked in that about visualisation and how athletes who he trained, and he sort of trained Olympic athletes and astronauts and all these amazing people and actually did studies where they would visualise themselves on the bench pushing the weight up and that, that enabled them in their minds to go and actually lift the weights that they hadn't lifted before.

Roy H. Williams, who I just recently was exposed to, he's called the wizard of ads in Austin. And, he says that for ads, you have to take the mind first to the place that the body will then go. So, in your advertisements, you need to take people in their minds to the place that you want their fingers on the keyboard or their bodies or their dollars to go in the future, because if you don't paint that story and take them there, then they don't ever go. So, that was the big thing I think from Dennis. And, then Tony did a fantastic job of synthesising the work of Milton Erickson, and Richard Bandler, and John Grinder from neuro linguistic programming and hypnosis into a, especially in unlimited power into a very digestible, understandable, nonscientific layman's kind of approach or laypersons approach to that science of NLP.


“Everything that you want to accomplish can be accomplished with mentoring, modelling and masterminding”


And, it was a gentleman who was interested in buying an eCommerce, not an eCommerce, it was actually a wholesale, I'm trying to think of how to do it without giving it away. It was a wholesale concrete business and this was the manufacturer of this kind of cool type of concrete. And, so my friend was interested in acquiring that company but didn't have the money to do it. It was doing about two and a half, $3,000,000 a year. It was profitable at about a 150 to $200,000 a year profit.

So, in the neighbourhood of eight to 10% profit. And, he didn't have any money or know anything other than he'd been talking to the owner and the owner was interested in selling, and he was interested in buying, and the owner was only selling through print ads in magazines. So, like old school, old school, right? Print ads in magazines had never, and was selling direct to customers. So, had never sold directly to wholesalers and had never sold online. So, it was really kind of an interesting opportunity and had had inquiries before, but it was like, nah, I don't know how all that internet stuff works and I don't want to hassle with other people who are reselling. So, I just want to sell to the customers, and he said, “But I'm thinking I've got this other thing that I want to do. I've invented something else that I'm really interested in”, now so one of the biggest, coolest things is when you find someone who's already in their mind, sold their business, like they're done, even if it's a good business, a truly creative entrepreneur frequently is tired of the business they're in, and looking to the next business that they can be in. So, that's a really positive sign.

And, I said, “Well, the first thing that I always like to ask people, what are you going to do with the money?”, and, he's like, why? And, he's like, “He's gonna tell me it's none of my business”, I said, “No, it's actually a 100% about your business because if you can figure out what he or she is going to do with the money, then you'll find out exactly how much they actually need right now”. And, he's like, okay. So, he went and asked him and the guy said, “Well, it's going to cost me about $200,000 to do the mouldings for this new thing that I've invented”. I was like, great. I said, “And what are you going to do with the rest of the money?”. He said, “I'll have it for working capital or investments or whatever”, and I said, “Great”. I said, “So, you should be able to buy that company for $200,000 down”, and he said, “Okay, well how?”, I said, “Because that's all the guy needs to do that. And, if you can find out what the deal is on the mouldings that he needs for this invention that he's got and you can get him those without you having to come out of pocket $200,000, you can buy that business for no money down”.

So, the thing that I always look for is what are they going to do with the money and then how much is it going to actually cost to do the next thing that they want to do. And, if they just want to have money for investments, chances are really good they'll carry back. So, they will finance the acquisition for you. So, great. So, now he's down to $200,000. And I said “Okay, so you need $200,000 to do this”, I said, “He probably doesn't need $200,000 right now to do that”. I said, “Ask him what is the process with the people that he's talking about doing the mouldings”, and it turned out that he only needed like about 80 grand. I was like, great, you only need $80,000 now, because the way that you pay for the mouldings is this, and the business is actually making money. So, let's let the business pay for everything except the actual cash dollars that he needs right now today. And, he was like, great. So, we went back and talked to the guy and the guy was like, yeah, okay, I could do that.

And, it's like, so you know that the money's going to come, so you transfer the business to me, I will assign you the money that the business is making until you get that $200,000 that you need and I'll secure the rest of the business with the stock and the business that I'm buying.

Fantastic. Well, what we knew was that if we could get a small deferral period, then my friend could go out and go to all of the wholesalers who had already inquired about making wholesale purchases for the company and do deals with them to raise the $80,000 that he needed to put down. So, all they needed to do was have a period of time where he could do that. So, we negotiated a 60 day period where he would get to do that during the due diligence period for looking at the company. Right? And, so then he was able to raise the money, cut the deal to get advanced purchase orders from the people who were the wholesalers who had already asked and inquired, and then he went out and he did the deal with no money down. So, and that's a very abbreviated process of that, right?

It's just being creative enough to find out what do they actually want, what are they going to do the money with and what are all of the pieces that are available to you right now to generate the money without having to come out of pocket? And, to me it's a game, right? I just don't, like when I have the money to buy a business, I don't want to pay anything down for it because I want the business to pay for itself. That's a fun game to play, right?


So, if a business deal, a marketing problem, a business problem comes to me, I'm thinking about everything that I know that I've encountered before in every situation that is not business, as much as I am business. And then it's somehow identifying not being constrained, I guess, to a formula that let's say, I'll use business acquisitions as an example because I think it's a good one, is the way you buy businesses, you pay money for it. I don't accept that, right? I don't accept that as a fact of how you buy businesses.

And, so if somebody says, well, you buy a business, then you pay money for it or you trade something for it, and the way that you get money as you get money from a bank or you get money from an investment banker or you get a loan. None of that right is completely acceptable to me. And, so if you go through, the Toyota's system of the ‘five why's' of if you want to get to the root of any problem in manufacturing, the machine failed. Why did the machine fail? The machine failed because the ball bearings failed. Why did the ball bearings fail? Because, they were not properly oiled and maintained. Why were they not properly hold and maintains? Because, there's no system for doing that. And, if you keep asking those questions, usually within five times of asking it deep, you get to an answer that is the true answer. And, so I like to do that with buying a business, I'll call it the ‘five buys', so I can buy it for cash. Great, what if I can't buy it for cash? Oh, well then you're going to get a loan. What if I can't get a loan? Well, then you're going to need to find another way, right? And, you go through all of that and at the end, if you do that exercise with pretty much any problem that you're trying to solve, and instead of accepting the traditional ways or the ways that you could do it easily, think about what if I didn't have that? What if that wasn't possible? And, then it just really makes you think about all of the other things that you could do and you come up with a creative solution that can get you buying houses, or companies, or solving huge problems that you might not have otherwise been able to because it was too easy to do that. It's too easy to say, well, I need money to buy a business. Okay, well I can't get it, therefore I can't buy the business. No, what if you couldn't buy businesses for money? Right. Does that make sense?

Somebody explained to me the other day, a medical doctor who was trying to explain how a stroke affects people, and he said, “Look, a stroke is pathways to the brain, and imagine that you always go down the interstates and you, let's say that you now you can't go down the interstate and you have to take the side streets. Could you get to that place by doing that?”, and the answer is yes. And I was like, okay, well now what if I said you can't, you can go that side street way but you can't take any of the main streets on the side streets that you're used to, and that's what happens in a stroke situation with thought, that our thoughts are not allowed to go down the main way and they're not allowed to go down the side streets, but they start down the side streets and several of the main side streets that they know are missing.  And, now what are you going to do? And, that's why it's so hard to form speech or things like that when you go through something like that. And, I think that if you can simulate that a bit by removing all of the normal, easy, well travelled roads to solve a problem that you're trying to solve, then you're forcing yourself to be truly creative in how can I get to the end result? And, it might be harder, but it might be that in fact the main roads in that situation like bank financing is a perfect example, isn't available, that it's not an option because you don't have the assets, or the wherewithal or whatever to make that happen, or the business doesn't have the fundamentals or you don't want to personally guarantee it because you don't want to risk your own capital. And, so I like the creativity of challenging yourself to remove the easy ways to do things, and think about how can I accomplish this a different way?


It's eight years old now and we have 165 people in it. We had limited it to 100 for several years and just in 2018 decided that we were going to expand it, but it's a collection of people who are, you have to be doing a minimum of a million dollars a year to be in it, but really the average is probably between five and 85 and 60 million. We have several people that are in the hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, and two members now that are over a billion dollars. Which is really cool because in that group, the goal I think of a group like that is that you have people who have been where you want to be, or are where you want to be and can reach a hand down and pull you up and tell you the things that you need, the things that are different. The things that won't work, that are working now. That kind of stuff, and so I think that's really valuable all along the spectrum of revenue. And, then the people who are at the higher levels get to see the agility of the people who are, and the scrappiness of the people who are at the lower levels so that they can say, well we shouldn't take two years to bring this thing to market.

We should be able to do, so it's a really cool mix of people who have really big companies and people who have smaller companies, but all of them are taking action and doing things and sharing in a very open, giving, vulnerable, atmosphere and everyone's goal is to double their business each year that they're in the programme. And, you end up making really great friends and that leads to all these ridiculously good contacts. So, it's very exciting for me. I have a really unique perspective because I was a member for three years before I became a partner in digital marketer. I've bought into the business with Ryan and Perry. I did that with also no money down, by the way. So, hopefully they're not listening to this, because, you know? But, that perspective of being in there three years and seeing the tremendous value of the relationships that I had, but also seeing as a customer, the things that I thought were limitations of it was really helpful.

So, when I became a partner and ultimately that became a business unit that I'm running, to responsible for anyway. I don't really run anything, but I was able to bring that in and say, here's some changes we should make that I think we can serve people better, and every year it changes. It's always evolving. And, so we're in our eighth year of evolution and probably still 20 years away from the perfection that we seek, if we ever can achieve that, but we learn more, I mean, I can literally say that I would pay to be in there if I didn't get to be in there because I run it. I would pay to be in there because I did pay to be in there and I did experience the growth and I did see the magic of that group. And, there aren't many, there's no group that's like that, but there are several, like the genius network from a networking standpoint, and meeting a different group of people is fantastic. And, so I belong to about five or six different groups because they radically expand my network, and the money that I pay to be in them is dwarfed constantly by the deal flow, and the learnings that I get from the folks that I would not have otherwise encountered.