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Success in Entrepreneurship & Recycling | Stuart Kagan – Episode 130

Top tip from Stuart Kagan.

 Celebrate the little wins as well

I love the flywheel. Yeah, I love the flywheel. Just, you know, those, those little wins. Keep adding to it. And you just start getting that speed up that momentum and celebrate the little wins as well. So celebrate those things and bring your team on the journey. Those things to me are really important. So just to go back to it the flywheel it’s all about gaining momentum and over time, the flywheel really heavy, but it just starts getting easier and easier to actually move. I absolutely love that. But yeah, the celebrating success. It’s it’s got a lot to do with bringing your team on the journey, because often, and I’ve seen it and I’ve done it firsthand, many times your goal changes as soon as you succeed.





visionary, people, meetings, entrepreneur, company, love, lisa, person, business, journey, unicorn, metal, great, absolutely, meeting, eos, integrator, younger, listening, entrepreneurship


Stuart Kagan  00:00

Entrepreneurship for me is, there’s so much more to it than it being startup life. Right? It’s often seen as this glamorous lifestyle. I mean, I think I made a post the other day on LinkedIn, that it’s not sipping cocktails and sitting on a beach with your laptop, right? Yeah, absolutely. With everybody. We’d all be entrepreneurs, right. Yeah. It’s, it’s a roller coaster. You know, it’s a roller coaster in the dark. You don’t know what’s coming. Right? Yeah. And, and media makes it look so exciting and glamorous. And I said the other day, it’s more like Indiana Jones and it is James Bond. Right gentleman sitting on cocktails, may may shoot a few people and have some fun and be with a woman, Indiana Jones is getting supported.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  00:54

Hi, welcome to another episode of Better Business better life. Today I am joined by Steve Kagan, who I’ve actually known for a number of years, he was the founder of endless metals. And he and his wife, Lisa wood. And we all work together for a period of time. So welcome to Studio.

Stuart Kagan  01:07

Thanks, Debra. awesome to be here.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  01:09

It’s great to have you here. So you’ve got quite an interesting kind of background story, haven’t you? Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about yourself? And I’ll before we get started, I should tell you guys, we’ve been chatting before this podcast. And we’ve decided that if you’re gonna listen to this, you might want to put on a half speed because we both speak and thinking a million miles an hour. So just word of warning. You chose to tell us your story.

Stuart Kagan  01:29

Sure. First of all, thanks for having me on. Yeah, it’s exciting to be here and lovely to chat to you obviously, like usual. And yeah, we arrived in New Zealand, my wife and I and a one year old kid arrived in New Zealand seven years ago, nearly seven years ago now. And being fresh off the boat, we kind of both got stuck into our day jobs, and spent a bit of time looking at at what were the opportunities could be I had experience in metal recycling. Because I had worked in the largest recycling metal recycling company in Sub Saharan Africa, for 20 years when I got here. And I worked from starting up as a laborer, they’re actually turned up, I end up running the whole company 4200 People at five yards throughout Sub Saharan Africa. And when we arrived here, we saw the opportunity in the recycling space to do things better, and to actually incentivize the people of New Zealand to recycle more. And that meant actually selling on export, getting the best price as possible and passing it on through to the suppliers of the metal, which we did. So endless metals has been going now just over five years. And we had extremely rapid growth, not without its problems. But we had some serious growth. And yeah, within five years, we were one of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand based on the delight plus 50. Yeah, which we regrettably didn’t enter at the time, but we got to see everybody else’s results. And so we would have done quite well in that. Yeah, we we’ve grown in what we thought was an incredible business. And it was lots of fun doing it. The objective in the beginning was to create a business where people looked forward to Mondays. That was Lisa, and I want to walk once. And we both had jobs here. And we were going well. Yeah, we were kind of not excited about going to work the next day. And we said, well, wouldn’t it be amazing to work somewhere where we actually were excited. And Sunday came were like, I can’t wait to go and see my friends and and do something that I’m passionate about. And it was probably on that day that we decided to, to delve further into it and look further. And Lisa did a deep dive as she does. She’s an ex management consultant, yes, looked into the industry and thought there was an opportunity. And she was right. And yeah, we exited that company just a few months ago in January. And now we’re on to other exciting things

Debra Chantry-Taylor  03:51

going on. I got a few things in pipeline. So I know that I mean, I was really evident, I saw that in the endless metals, the actual culture you had built was around a team of people who loved working together, love what they did. They were kind of living that whole US life that we talked about. And he also is all about kind of harnessing the energy of your people and making the most of it. So why did you decide to bring EOS into the business?

Stuart Kagan  04:12

Oh, well, I’m very thankful we did. And I shouldn’t say we there there was very much a decision made by my lovely wife, who was adamant that we were on a treadmill. The growth that we were going at, we used to use the analogy that I would jump off a cliff and Lisa would build the aeroplane on the way down. And what it felt like was that the airplane was soaring to new heights on a daily basis. But we were losing parts of it as we did it. It was quite difficult to carry on that trajectory without you know, just losing, losing what we had set out to do was affecting the culture. And if you didn’t have your systems in place, we definitely felt that we were losing their trajectory or their trajectory wouldn’t be long lived. We felt So that was one of the reasons we we came across. And as I said, it was an amazing decision made by my wife, and we never looked back.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  05:08

And so you are what I would consider a typical visionary. And I think that’s one of the things I loved about you is it actually gave you this, this definition of what a visionary is, therefore, because like we consider completely crazy, until we actually change the world, then suddenly, we’re geniuses. But a visionary typically thinks fast talks, fast, big ideas, always challenging everything. But it can be dangerous if there isn’t some kind of structure around that, right? Well, it

Stuart Kagan  05:30

was exactly what I thought about when you asked me, one of the first things I was going to mention was the definition. Yes, exactly. That is having somebody define what Lisa and I were doing on a day to day basis was hugely helpful for us. Because we were both going off in different ways. And we operated in different ways. So it was, it was really helpful. And I am focusing really on talking slowly. Today, just so you are aware, I do talk really quick man. And as you’ve always said, the visionary often will run off and on a million in a million different ways. It also, the definition gave me the ability to, I guess, respect what Lisa did more. And to understand that without her, I couldn’t do what I did, yeah, because I would get pulled into so many of the things that I didn’t enjoy doing, and I wasn’t good at. And having Lisa there as my right hand. And and knowing that, you know, we were doing this together and I could go off and million different ways and many different thoughts and chasing the shiny things, and have her keep pulling me back into place and and keep us on the right trajectory was really was really helpful.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  06:41

And so Lisa took on the role of the integrator, and that integrator is generally the person who is a little bit of a filter between the visionary and the rest of the company. It’s not that we don’t truly appreciate all the wonderful ideas and where you’re headed. But sometimes we find that if the visionary is allowed to have completely free rein, they’ll have all these people running around doing crazy things when we haven’t actually decided that was the focus. And so the integrator gives that, that a filter for the visionary before it gets to the main leadership team. But also they’re the one kind of beating the drum keep, as you said, building that, that that airplane as you’re kind of taking off, so that the whole team knows where they’re headed, what they’re doing, what the focus is, and keeps them all on the same page.

Stuart Kagan  07:19

That’s a great explanation of what they did what she did. I was often many different, many different directions. And often in meetings. And often in meetings, I would say, Well, this is where we’re going next. And, and this is the new exciting things and and we’re going to pivot into cardboard, paper and plastic or we’re about to move into to waste long before we were meant to and all those sorts of things would I want to say upset, but strangely did yeah, definitely distract? The team would kind of be okay. Well, this is where we’re going now. But we hadn’t necessarily finished what we were doing. Yeah. And that’s what I was saying about the aeroplane going one way, but actually the engine was falling off. Looks great. But for during for a crash landing.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  08:00

Yeah. So I’m just interested. I’m obviously I’m a big fan of Eos. But if you think about what was the the one tool, and then we’ve talked about the fact that you had this definition of the vision or the integral, that’s really important, but what was the tool that probably made them had the most impact in the business for you?

Stuart Kagan  08:13

Yes, so the visionary integrator, was a great opportunity to define but it wasn’t the best tool that we got. So it was amazing, an amazing and amazing and amazing definition that gave us. However, the best tool that I think we got was, I think there’s level 10 meetings, or what we call them, yes. Those meetings gave us the just the structure they had, firstly, that you didn’t have so many meetings in a week was immediately really helpful, because we were meeting about meetings to plan for the next meeting where we were going to strategize about a meeting. And but it was my doing and I’d be like if it everybody get together, we need to talk about something that I hadn’t planned on what we were going to talk about yet. So you had your weekly meeting. But what I loved about the structure of that meeting of those meetings was my favorite thing was, we didn’t discuss what somebody brought up for the first half an hour. So we went through the process, which if you’ve done Eos, you will learn that process. And it’s phenomenal process. And only once you’ve finished that process, you go to the list of things that are items or topics that have come up. And you then decide what is important to discuss. And when we were doing that so many people made mention of the fact that how many meetings did we have prior to this? Where when, say, for example was an hour meeting, we spent the first 45 minutes talking about the first thing that came up and it happened to only be important to the first person that was speaking in that meeting. may actually but all of a sudden you go around the circle and then when everybody’s done and you finish your first half an hour, whatever their time was. You get to that last bit to discuss or to choose what the topic is going to be and you get through some serious gyms Thank you realize what came up first wasn’t even important. And if that person who spoke last didn’t get the time to talk, well, this company, we wouldn’t have sorted out that problem that was so huge and weighing on this person. That was really, really beneficial. There are other things as well, yep.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  10:19

But that changes, because we actually, as you know, in iOS, we actually don’t go into the vision and the long term stuff in the beginning, we actually teach these tools. And the reason we teach these tools is start putting some structures and discipline accountability in place. And I think you’re absolutely right, because the first 25 minutes is all about reporting. So just you know, it’s like giving a bit of an update, professional personal bests, we go through our scorecard, we go through our rocks, we go through our to do list, go through our customer and employee headlines. And it’s only once we’ve done all that we kind of get into the list of issues. And it’s amazing how that discipline can just change it. Because I know that even when you’ve got a scorecard or dashboard, for example, the first person to report if a salesperson will want to tell you exactly why they haven’t hit their numbers or what’s been going on. And then suddenly you get to the end of the meeting and find that you’ve just lost a major client, because we didn’t get around to that.

Stuart Kagan  11:02

But he’s got other meetings they gotta run off to That’s right, yeah, over this meeting, you got to move on, you didn’t deal with the client.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  11:08

And so there’s a whole thing of having an issues list. First of all, before you even start and picking the top three, because the idea is if you only ever discuss one thing, and that meeting, is the most important thing that will actually change the business.

Stuart Kagan  11:18

And I like the idea that it’s yes, the integrated gets a say if we can’t decide, yeah, but it’s decided by the group on what is important, because what’s important for as you said, the salesperson, yeah, isn’t necessarily important for the majority of the team, so you can discuss the issue that the salesperson has, but you’re really just solving that one person’s problem. Whereas you might be solving a huge company problem by waiting for that person at the end, or the one that doesn’t necessarily speak up as much as a salesperson would I was a salesperson, yeah, speak badly about me.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  11:50

Excellent. Okay. And so and the with those level 10 meetings, we didn’t get the leadership level to start off with and they kind of get put into departments as well. And I like what you said, it does reduce the number of meetings, because in theory, any person should only be in two meetings a week, their leadership team and one others, the visual integrator meet once a week, the sales and marketing team wants to meet once a week, and then the leadership team, it’s like, it’s cool.

Stuart Kagan  12:11

Okay, and we and we did that and we rolled it down really successfully, our operations, our operations team that had their level 10, that meeting probably went better than our senior leadership team meeting, they really engaged in it. Because there were in the senior leadership team, I guess you used to having these meetings, you’re used to being able to speak your, you know, give your point of view and you you feel heard, whereas in the ops meeting, the level 10 really got you heard, you had certain people, we had a shipping lady who is phenomenal. And she wasn’t necessarily the loudest speaker in the room. So she never got the opportunity to talk about her issues. But now she was forced to. And it’s like, what is it? And often the team ago? Wow, we didn’t know that. Let’s deal with that. And that was really helpful. So the ops, roll down of that level 10 was extremely well received. Yeah, that

Debra Chantry-Taylor  13:05

You’re absolutely right. Because I mean, we’re naturally kind of voracious people who will push our point of view whether you want to hear it or not. But there’s other people who actually don’t get that. And it’s also what I love about it is it is about so it’s not decision by committee, but it is actually all working together for the greater good. And sometimes the person who has the answer is not necessarily the person who’s working with it day in, day out. And so by actually having that group effort, if you like, they can actually go, you know, I’ve got an idea around that. So we actually looking for all possible ideas. And sometimes those ideas come from the strangest place, I usually have

Stuart Kagan  13:35

The answer for everything, doesn’t mean it’s the right arm. Yeah, that’s right. I am very willing to answer all the questions. Yes. And that’s where Lisa would always give me back under control. I got no, this isn’t for you. Right? Yes, you’re the founder. Yes, you might be running the company. You’re the visionary. This isn’t for you to answer. We need to table this around. Let everybody give their input. And then let’s come up with the answer. So often, I wasn’t allowed to speak first, what we found as well in that process was because some, especially in the beginning, not everybody would give their input on a topic that wasn’t necessarily something they knew a lot about. Right? So maybe it was a sales team. And then the shipping person didn’t want to necessarily comment on it. Once people felt more comfortable. And I didn’t speak first, yes, all of a sudden, we got better results. When I spoke first, you found everybody went my route, because I was the leader I was.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  14:26

And I

Stuart Kagan  14:29

Say that everybody all of a sudden agreed with me. Whereas if I let everybody else speak first, and I then spoke later on, we got a much better result. And it was quite hard for me in the beginning. But Lisa lucky, my wife was my integrator. I knew I knew how to

Debra Chantry-Taylor  14:47

Behave when she spoke. And I had to say, I mean she was a fantastic integral part. One of the best ones I’ve ever worked with in terms of she’s very, very good at sticking to that process. I’ll get on the show actually really fond of her kind of viewpoint as well. What’s it like as a husband and wife like did did EOS hell because working together, I know you guys love each other know you love working together. But there can be some really tough times right? When you’re working with your business partner, who’s also your life partner. What are some of the challenges that you face? And did it us help with any of that?

Stuart Kagan  15:13

I think working together is challenging. Absolutely. I think the biggest challenge is never switching off. Yeah. So especially when you got we have two young kids at home, we’d often find, as I say, often we’d always find ourselves in a table, speaking about what’s happening the day and strategy and we are quite hard on ourselves. And we would feel that we were neglecting the kids at the time, and that then spirals and it’s like, Oh, my God, we terrible parents. And but actually, we’re doing our best Yeah. But where it helps them to go back to it’s knowing our roles, right, having that definition of visionary and integrated immediately within the first session, when you explain it. In fact, a good friend of ours, Daniel, who first introduced us, to me, he said to us in our first coffee, when we first met him, he said, You are the epitome of a visionary and integrator he identified, and then we look more into and then we will make you you explained and defined it more. And it allowed us when we got home, to kind of understand our strengths and weaknesses. And we immediately knew, and I don’t want to say, I guess strength and weaknesses is wrong, because Lisa didn’t have any weaknesses. I know it sounds crazy Lisa’s head could see my weaknesses. And she, she knew that she could speak to me in a way that I could now understand it. Because I’ve been explained that being a visionary isn’t a bad thing, he has not a great thing. It’s just what you are. And therefore you’ll have your pros and your cons, right? You have your strengths and your weaknesses, and should be able to speak to me in a way that well, this is because you’re a visionary love, because you’re only seeing the shiny things. Let me take control. Let me just tell you, let’s stick to the strategy. Let’s go back to our strategy, which we created in the beginning. Let’s go back to that. And this is why we’re not going to chase that shiny thing. And then I would understand that, yes, please. That’s your role. And you’re right to put me in line.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  17:05

And that’s really interesting thought about that. But it actually does kind of give you permission to be the the visionary, which I think that’s one of the things I love about EOS is actually I’ve never heard we talk about visionaries as in people who change the world. But this is actually a particular role in a business, right? And it’s quite clearly defined, which means you can actually going to go right, yes, we are visionary. And then the integrator has another role that could be called COO, GM, whatever it mentioned, rate doesn’t matter. But it’s the person who kind of you know, helps to, to keep that person in there. I wouldn’t say in their box. I hate putting people in boxes, but it gives me permission to use language to go Yeah, that’s typical of a visionary I’m gonna do, and vice versa. Yeah. Okay, cool. Now, how many people were there in the, in the team

Stuart Kagan  17:42

In this in the company was 7575. Okay.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  17:45

And this got rolled out to all the different departments that and because I’ve often had the comment, you know, but the person on the shop floor isn’t gonna be interested in kind of what goes on? How did they find the structure?

Stuart Kagan  17:56

So let me rephrase that, we rolled it out to the manager of the management team, the people on the floor, what happened was, they started having what they would have their daily toolbox, but then they would have a weekly one, which would be substantially longer. And in that we didn’t follow the exact process of a level 10. But we took pieces from it, right? So everybody got the opportunity to communicate what was going on in their area. And then at the end, we would decide what to discuss. Okay, so you see IDs, we use the IDs, absolutely. But because there were, you’d have maybe 25 people in those meetings, it was very difficult to just follow the full process. And we obviously had a shortened period, we have a period that we had to do it in. But yeah, we were able to roll it out. And what you find is, as soon as your ops manager or supervisor who’s involved in level 10, soon as they get it, which they usually do, yes, they go, oh, I want this for my team. Yeah. And they then take that on, and they work out what pieces they can use of it. And as I say, the IDS is what it was called the IDS is what we use. Yeah.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  18:55

And it’s, you know, at the end of that’s a framework, I mean, people kind of think, oh, iOS, it’s kind of it’s a it’s a model, it’s very cookie cutter, it has to be the same for everybody. I’ve worked with probably close to 24 companies, I think so far through the process. And they’re all quite different. And it is a framework that’s designed to give you a bit of structure, but it’s going to kind of go without actually being rigid in terms of what you do. And I think it is level 10 meetings, you know, yes, they’re going to be different lengths, depending on what level they are in the business. It’s about using the tools to get the best value for the greater good.

Stuart Kagan  19:22

Yeah, absolutely. Look, I really, I really enjoyed it. So yeah, no question.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  19:28

It’s funny, isn’t it? Because I know that visionary is often the ones at the beginning kind of go, but I don’t want this. And yet, they’re usually the ones that end up getting, really enjoying it in the long run.

Stuart Kagan  19:37

Exactly. Right. I mean, I was the one pushing it at the end. But in the beginning when it was introduced to me, you know, but

Debra Chantry-Taylor  19:42

You used to get bored at our meetings to remember our leadership team meetings of the day. You’re like, Oh, come on. I was really boring. Yeah, but yeah, it was.

Stuart Kagan  19:52

It was an incredible tool that we that we implemented. Yeah, we loved it, but at the same time, it’s not rocket science. As you say, it’s really not rocket science. And you can read the book and get an idea for it. However, I will say that having somebody help you through the journey is an absolute must. Now, you can do it yourself. But there’s a lot that you will lose out on.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:20

And I appreciate you saying that, because I loved working with you guys do but yeah, why why? What’s the difference between doing it yourself and having somebody like me

Stuart Kagan  20:27

Also say, for example, and I don’t remember exactly what they were called, but the initial meetings that we had

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:33

With a focus day division, yeah, exactly. We find

Stuart Kagan  20:37

Out when we did right person ride seats, yes, we find out. Our person in charge of finance didn’t want to be in charge of finance. Now.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:49

They got it. They got the capacity. They didn’t want

Stuart Kagan  20:52

It didn’t want it. Yeah, absolutely. And that was shocking. Now, would we have gotten to that if we didn’t have a third party? An external person? pushing us to answer those questions. So if we sat in a level 10, and we had read the book, and we thought, well, let’s just go through this and what? I don’t think everybody would be as vocal about it. Because rarely, they’d be speaking to me. Yeah. Me and Lisa, who? The founders, but we were speaking to you. Yeah. So it was very much speaking to an external person. And you could, you know, tell exactly how you felt versus speaking to the person who maybe pays your salary. Yes, yeah. Right. It was very different. And we also in that experience, as well, during that process, we we had grown and as somebody that really was important as we had grown from a period of our team doing many different roles. Right? So that’s what normally happens, yeah. You everybody’s doing everything, right, they’ve got all of a sudden needing to create some sort of specialization. And when we were going that route, when we joined you, we had, for example, our HR manager was also doing health and safety. We needed to go on that journey to try and work out, you know, what did she want? What did you get? What did she have capacity for? And I think, if we had followed our own process, I don’t think we’re necessarily got the outcome would have got the outcome we wanted. Whereas having you take us on that journey, it was kind of, you know, you don’t just play it an EOS role. It was a kind of having a personal coach as well, they’re a company coach, somebody who could you they felt very comfortable to speak to because we had a great relationship with you. And you could ask the pressing questions you knew, in our team when somebody wasn’t being 100% honest with you, or themselves.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  22:34

I don’t know if I’ve actually shared this online or not. But I actually, I have name tags on the desks when we run these sessions. And there’s actually two reasons for that, first of all, because I think a million miles an hour, I’m in my flow, and I sometimes forget somebody’s name, and I know exactly who they are. The other thing is, I use it as a bit of a tool for me. So when I put those out there, I get to choose who sits next to each other. And particularly on the first day, I actually observe the body language and stuff when people see their name. And you can see they go, Oh, Stuart, I’m sitting next to you. And you’re like, oh, yeah, you’re it’s like, oh, and I pick up on that. And I use that to actually I call it poking the bear is like, what can I do to see what I can get the most, and I’m not doing it because I enjoy it. I mean, I don’t, but it’s more because I want to actually make sure that we’re really getting to the bottom of all the elephants in the room that we’re dealing with the stuff that that needs to be said. And I think particularly the family business, the sacred cow stuff as well, like, what is it that’s not being said, I, as an external person, I have the opportunity to do that. Right. I don’t have to worry about going back into work the next day. I can I’m there to make sure we get the best for the whole overall company. Absolutely. Yeah, that’s gonna fund 100%. And

Stuart Kagan  23:35

Also, one of the things we learned in those meetings, and some of you did really well, which was throwing all those different toys,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  23:42

Toys off and I get the choice

Stuart Kagan  23:46

Headgear next time, but one of the eyes might have taken me out or whatever. But I love politicking. Yeah, I’m probably the biggest culprit.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  23:57

Even the no politics.

Stuart Kagan  24:00

I love politics. And once you get your point across, yeah, you can’t then keep getting the same point across everything. It’s a really good lesson for people in meetings to learn, like, you’ve said your point. If you say your point again, in a different way. You’re just all you’re doing is politicking. You’re just in you’re just making this meeting go on and on and on. I love the idea of Scout versus warrior. Yes, I’d once told you about Scott versus warrior. And it’s having that mindset of actually being able to listen to somebody and listen to what they have to say not listen to what they’re saying so that you can defend your opinion or your position right and the Warriors mindset is adrenaline fueled, have to defend themselves have to fight because I’ve been told that that is the way to go. And no matter what you cannot you don’t get to war. And then the guy on the frontline convinces you do not fight. Right so warrior con Well, hello and defend my nation, whatever it might be, whereas the scout has to use only facts. So they go out there, they climb on a tree, they look to see where their opposition is where the other attacking forces are coming from. And they have to use 100% facts, they can’t come with a preconceived idea that they believe they were coming from the west. And they go there must be coming from this, even though there’s a lot of reasons why they’re probably coming from the other side, right? They’re going on these. So they have to go in with no preconceived ideas. And they have to actually take everything as take it to heart and listen to what they’ve been told. And I love that when we have meetings, and I was often a big corporate until I watch a TED talk on it. Yep. And yeah, what is it called? What’s the central thing that suddenly about mindset? I continue to you can put it on the comments already. Good. Great. Yeah. Not too long. But yeah, it really changed the way I think about listening and getting my point across in a meeting.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  25:59

Fair enough. He told me the word entrepreneur, we talked about this before, often misused a wee bit. I think in New Zealand, we can think of the entrepreneur as being startups. What’s your definition of an entrepreneur? Because you’re part of YPO. Right? And actually, there’s a YPO YPO. It’s a Young Presidents Organization, is that right? That’s right. Yeah. What does it really mean? And yeah, what is that? And how do they view entrepreneurship?

Stuart Kagan  26:20

Oh, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna give their view on it. No, no.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  26:25

Well, how do you view it? Sorry? Yeah.

Stuart Kagan  26:27

So entrepreneurship, for me, is, there’s so much more to it than it being startup life. Right. It’s often seen as this glamorous lifestyle. I mean, I think I made a post the other day on LinkedIn, that it’s not sipping cocktails and sitting on a beach with your laptop, right? Yeah, absolutely. With everybody. We’d all be entrepreneurs, right. Yeah. It’s, it’s a roller coaster. You know, it’s a roller coaster in the dark. You don’t know what’s coming. Right? Yeah. And, and media makes it look so exciting and glamorous. And, and I said the other day, it’s more like Indiana Jones. And it is James Bond. Right? gentleman sitting on cocktails, may may shoot a few people and have some fun and be with a woman, Indiana Jones is getting sporting succeeds at the end and gets out. Right. But we don’t actually know at a certain stage. Right? Yeah. And he’s running away from massive balls riding the hills, right. And there’s usually lots of snakes in the pit. But so so to me, it’s not glamorous, and it’s not for everybody. Whereas I feel a lot of people want to be an entrepreneur. And they’re like, all but it looks so cool. And, and it gets all this media hype. But entrepreneurship is the journey. It’s not starting a company, right? Because starting a company is one tiny little aspect of being an entrepreneur, you’ve got the next 10 years ahead of that maybe 20 3040 years ahead of it if you’re lucky. Yeah. Right. It’s It’s the ability to go all the way and and have that grit. And I was chatting to somebody just this morning about it about grit. Grit is something you’ve learned over time, good isn’t something you are taught, you know, grit is you gotta go by it. You

Debra Chantry-Taylor  28:12

Can’t train on it. Absolutely. It comes through experience through

Stuart Kagan  28:14

Hardship to find out that you have grit, right. And then there’s obviously all the Turner’s hustle and there’s, I’m I’m very lucky to be blessed with this insane amount of self belief. Like I really do believe I can do anything I put my mind to. And you said

Debra Chantry-Taylor  28:29

That on your posts was your parents kind of gave you that self? Oh,

Stuart Kagan  28:33

I mean, yeah, the few things maybe they did. But yeah, I’ve got an insane amount. And Lisa will tell you that I have an insane amount of belief that whatever I do, I will be successful. I realized that’s crazy. Because I probably can’t go and play a soccer game against Ronaldo and beat him. But I actually think this is dead on us that I reckon I have a chance. Yeah. And I actually think you do. be lucky enough, maybe put the right shot in the right place. And I might actually be able to meet him. Right. Yeah. Which is crazy. I often think to myself, if I was put onto. In an All Blacks game, if I was put onto the field, I wanted people would notice that I wasn’t actually at that level. I reckon it would take them at least one half for them to realize that’s crazy. They’ve noticed in the first second first of all, I’ll be the smartest guy in the field by like, a million kgs. Right. But so entrepreneurship, go back to the point. It’s a journey. It’s a long journey. Yeah, many different times in entrepreneurship in different times that you’ve got to be at a different level, right? What I love about entrepreneurship, and I think the best entrepreneurs are lifelong learners, because you have to continually develop your skills. So it’s one thing to start up, right. It’s another thing to then fly that airplane, right? If you use the analogy of jumping off the cliff, you fly that airplane, that’s another thing then to to when you want to pivot or when you need to pivot, having that ability, right, and then you throw in raising capital, all of a sudden, it’s like you’ve got to be skilled in in many Different things, right? Like a Swiss army knife. Yeah. But what I have a bit of an issue with with entrepreneurship, is that what gets huge, hugely glamorized is raising capital. Yeah. So in the media, such and such entrepreneur raise $2 million. Fantastic. That’s incredible. What about the entrepreneurs that have been really grinding it out? And hustling and turning a profit? And doing really well? Why are they in the news? I can’t work out like, there’s not enough media hype around the people that are doing it hard. And actually, you know, being

Debra Chantry-Taylor  30:38

Still doing it. And still, there’s still people out there employee that yeah, cheering for them. Yeah. Well, we

Stuart Kagan  30:43

Don’t really have that in our culture. But yeah, I think, I think maybe the medium, I don’t mind, it’s great. It’s a great success to raise capital, don’t get me wrong. It’s a it’s a huge need in the market, you do need to get capital if you want to create something great. But there should be a follow on, right, you raise the money, brilliant, you’re now turning a profit or great, you’ve now gone to market or, you know, whatever the next stage might be, it’d be brilliant to see that more in the media and celebrate the successes of entrepreneurs. I kind of went over No, no, no, it

Debra Chantry-Taylor  31:15

Would I agree. Because I think that, you know, the business I work with, they’ve got good companies that they are employing, you know, somewhere between sort of 25 and 150 staff and they’re, you know, they’re supporting their families and everything else. But they’re not necessarily sexy as in a lot of the fundraising is for sexy things. And what’s the next unicorn we talk about unicorns before, right? I was a young person about the camel was at least opposed to a camel. So tell me about that. Because because the camel is really probably what most of the established New Zealand businesses who are entrepreneurs still are, right? Yeah.

Stuart Kagan  31:44

So the idea of the unicorn, in my opinion, should be you know, thrown in dustbin and gone because there’s such a tiny percentage, tiny percentage of people that actually achieve that status. And it’s all good. And well, to go for the be hag right big, hairy, audacious goal. Let’s

Debra Chantry-Taylor  32:02

Go for it over the moon, if you can, like, right, yep, absolutely right.

Stuart Kagan  32:05

But too many people. And I think a lot of it comes from VC firms as well, trying to push for the one in 30 that they need in order to be successful as a venture capital firm. But with the with the unicorn, it’s so difficult to achieve that status. Whereas don’t get me wrong. The camel is still difficult, but it’s something else that you’re striving for. So if you’re striving to be a camel, you’re looking to be able to actually sustain your business through difficult times. You’re looking it’s more about an immediate path to profitability. It’s not a moonshot look for us. What are we building next is maybe a moonshot. But we’re trying to build what’s a camel that it can sustain itself. And at the same time, if you look at the camera, and really the poster put gave a lot more detail on it, but it can sprint when it needs to. Right. So really fast. Exactly. Yeah. So they’re really quick, but it knows exactly what it needs to do and knows how to sustain its energy. So it doesn’t just go randomly sprinting around the desert, because it knows it has a long way to go. So it doesn’t waste excess funds or whatever resource or whatever it might be. Yeah. And, and the camel can get through really hard times, but it also, and it can do it with a small amount of resources. Right. So you know, the humps of the amount of water can carry it. And that’s how I think as long as my idea, I mean, I follow a sword from somebody else who posted it. But I think that’s how I want to build a business. And I think, probably more and more with the way the economy has gone. People should be building camels, not unicorns. And if you build a camel, that’s incredible, right? Yeah. Like, there’s more likelihood of you building a camel than a unicorn. So yeah, and then again, I also don’t use the word unicorn as much we use mini

Debra Chantry-Taylor  33:52

Corn and

Stuart Kagan  33:55

Other gods go for $102 billion company. Yeah. Which is probably more reachable than a over billion dollar company, which is a unicorn. Yeah.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  34:03

Okay, fair enough. Now, go back to YPO. Tell me what, what is YPO? And why are you part of that?

Stuart Kagan  34:09

YPO is a community made up of a third entrepreneurs, a third family offices, and a third, professional CEOs. And we’re just a community that you join, you pay membership to join, and we look out for each other community. It’s a pure community. We look out for each other we it’s really filled with lifelong learning. So it’s full of education. We’re constantly having different speakers come from overseas and putting on different events and some of our own members might speak to us as well at times to tell us their journeys. Yeah, it’s nice being around what what I enjoy is being around like minded people, having those other people have gone through similar experiences. You have to be under a certain age. Young bit, whereas the younger the younger, 45 years old to get in, if you have gotten before that you get to stay on

Debra Chantry-Taylor  35:06

Campus, so they don’t get kicked out once you click no.

Stuart Kagan  35:10

So I’ve got a few more years anyway me. So, yeah, you know a certain age, you have to have revenue over a certain amount, and you have to employ a certain amount of people. It’s a huge global network as well. So it gives you the ability to reach out to anybody, any other YPO members around the world. Usually you find their reply within 24 hours as as members. And yeah, I’ve got huge value in it, because I can reach out to people in my industry that are, you know, captains of their industry in their in their markets. And we can feed off each other. And I’ve been asked one or two questions from other people. And it’s really, really helpful.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  35:46

Excellent. Are you if there was one thing, you’d go back to your younger self? And give them some advice on? What would it be?

Stuart Kagan  35:52

Wow, I just had a I going to make any motion. I. I had a silent retreat last week or two weeks ago, and there was a question around that, which was quite emotional. But if I could go back to the younger, me, this is actually a question I have in the podcast that I want to launch. Sure, I think I would, I would tell myself that everything’s gonna be okay. And like, just keep grinding it out and keep working hard. And, you know, I came from a really poor family. So we didn’t have a lot of money. And when I started at 18 years old, in the middle of cycling world, I started off as a laborer, with a cutting torch. I wish I can go back to that guy and just say, maybe don’t take off as many Mondays. And maybe that gets so drunk on the weekend with all your rugby friends. But, but what I did worked, because I did work hard. And that’s what I would say to most people around that ages is put in the work. If you work hard, good things will happen. I worked really hard. I ended up running that that entire company 4200 1200 people, I ran it, I’m still a shareholder of that company. So yeah, it was, it was a great journey. But the unknown at that stage is, you know, will do I stay here? Don’t I stay? Or do I get involved in something? You know, I couldn’t do a degree, we didn’t have enough money to go to university at the time. So it wasn’t as if that was an option. However. Yeah, just knowing that everything’s gonna be okay. And, and just keep sticking to the journey and keep grinding?

Debra Chantry-Taylor  37:32

Yeah. It’s interesting. I was gonna ask, and I think well done and what you’ve got to for sure, but some people sort of say that, you know, I always say you got to work hard to I was something we were fairly similar, right? So in my early days, no matter what job I did, I would always be going, what more can I do? How can I help? What kinds of things better and always just questioning and as a consequence, I got moved up very rapidly through the various rungs of hierarchy. But it was because I was always looking at how I could make things better and what I could do differently. But and so I kind of expect that ethic of hard work from from people as well. But for a lot of the young people, they kind of go well, you know, we shouldn’t have to work long hours to prove ourselves. What do you say to that?

Stuart Kagan  38:10

Oh, look, everybody’s got their own opinion. My opinion is, and it’s because it’s been my journey that I did have to work long hours to get anywhere. So my experiences are very different to I guess, the kids now. Or the younger generation now. Sorry. You know, I say, Well, what would I say to my own kid? Yeah,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  38:31

You’ve got two young boys, the oldest is

Stuart Kagan  38:33

Eight. You know, I want him to work really hard. But I also don’t want him to probably go through what I went through, right. I mean, I worked really hard, and every weekend for probably five years, every single Saturday. And the labor was tough, tough on my body. When I when I look back, I wouldn’t change it. Interestingly enough, it gave me all the experience that I needed to be able to arrive in New Zealand and set up a metal recycling business from scratch. In the beginning, I was the person on the front scale, offloading people’s YouTube, people are listening, and they remember delivering to us on the North Shore. You know, there was a I was the guy delivering PPE and I was not delivering I was the guy I’m offloading. So, having gone through the hard work, I had the ability to go back to it when I had got to a certain level, right. So I’d got to level of being an executive director and Sheldon, South Africa. Come here, I was able to start again. So it is very helpful. So what would I set out? I mean, I believe that hard work will pay off. And it’s not forever, right? It’s not forever. It’s not forever, but it’s really hard. And I said, What would I do? If I look, you know, what would I say, to the younger me? I had times was what am I doing this for? And I can understand being 20 years old and going What am I doing this fall, like but but if you and that’s why I would want to tell myself, you it’s gonna work out, keep it keep grinding. So what would I tell the 20 year olds now I’d say keep grinding, like do that hard. work because if you also don’t have the knowledge, and you, maybe you want to walk straight into a management role, that’s fantastic. But what happens when the guy underneath you at a lower level has an issue? And you can’t actually solve it? How are you going to be an exceptional manager? How are you going to progress in that company? How are you going to make a difference? How are you one day when you decide that you want to be an exciting, glamorous entrepreneur, and go out on your own not to live on the beach and have cocktails, but they actually do the work? Yeah. How are you going to train your people? How are you going to start from the bottom? If you’ve never actually done the hard work? What have you learned? And also the other thing is on this topic, so

Debra Chantry-Taylor  40:38

What are we grips from to right bottom is where you get your grits from.

Stuart Kagan  40:41

And when I would go back until the young me is books on that bed. I mean, I I was a jacket school. Yeah, I was more interested in entertaining the class and being a class clown and, and playing sport that I was actually learning. And now I can’t get enough of them. I mean, you’ll find me anywhere listening to an audiobook. I’m in the gym, listening to books, I’m in my car coming here now is listening to me. I’m just like, I can’t get enough of, of listening or reading books every night with my Kindle. So I didn’t think of that at the time. So the younger me I’d say start reading story. Listening, if you couldn’t tell the younger me that I look, I’m

Debra Chantry-Taylor  41:24

Older. I’m older than you. And when we actually research you have Walkmans and things. Yeah, listen, listen and read books as much as possible. What are you listening to? What will you listen to? On the way over here? Sure.

Stuart Kagan  41:35

So on the way here, I was listening to again, Good to Great. Yes. Which actually, I think was first recommended by you and was yeah, when I look back. Absolutely love it. I have kind of on an ongoing basis, I’m listening to the obstacle is the way Oh, which is by Ryan Holiday. Yeah.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  41:54

I haven’t actually read it. Yeah, it’s

Stuart Kagan  41:56

an excellent book. I recommend that at first when you’re going through a tough time. So I’ve had a few of those. And I’ve read it. And at one stage, I read it four times in like a few weeks, over and over because it’s just got such incredible gems. So if you’re having a hard time and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, read the obstacle is the way. It’s about stoicism. It’s by Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss who people know to verse and yeah, just tells you how the Stoics believed in, you know, the obstacle becomes the way and actually often it’s there for a good reason. And you often can’t see the reason yeah, but when you get through it, and bam, the pivot isn’t when you get through it, you go, Oh, that makes a lot of sense. I see why I had to have that obstacle thrown in my way to be where I am now. So often you don’t get what you want. But you get what do you need? Yep. And you can’t see it at first so that that book are in and entrepreneurship book. My favorite is Shoe Dog.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  42:48

Oh, yeah. I haven’t read that. Nike story, right? Yeah. Okay. I’ve got a few. I’m gonna tell you what I used to love to read as a kid, but more fiction stuff. And as an adult, I do love reading all kinds of books on listening to but I only have a very, very short commute in the morning. So it’s like about 10 minutes, I don’t get a chance to listen to anything. Yeah, and then I my Kindle, I tend to fall asleep at night. Well, I’m not really my Kindle. But yeah. Let’s go, Hey, look, we could talk for hours. I know we can. We’ve got so many things we could do. But I think one of the things I’ve taken from that though, is that, you know, it is I love the analogy. Um, it’s a roller coaster in the dark. It genuinely is like having run several businesses and myself, had some successes had some massive failures, that whole kind of innocence. You just don’t know what’s coming up in the next, whether it’s up or down. But you get to learn from it. I think, you know, we get our grits we get our learnings from some of the things that go wrong, more so than we do from the successes. Absolutely, yeah. Top three tips. What top three tips would you give to anybody who is you know, either on the journey of building a great company for a good company on the journey of entrepreneurship? What are the three things you would say are the biggest things for you?

Stuart Kagan  43:50

I love the flywheel. Yeah, I love the flywheel. Just, you know, those, those little wins. Keep adding to it. And you just start getting that speed up that momentum and celebrate the little wins as well. So celebrate those things and bring your team on the journey. Those things to me are really important. So just to go back to it the flywheel it’s all about gaining momentum and over time, the flywheel really heavy, but it just starts getting easier and easier to actually move. I absolutely love that. But yeah, the celebrating success. It’s it’s got a lot to do with bringing your team on the journey, because often, and I’ve seen it and I’ve done it firsthand, many times your goal changes as soon as you succeed. Yep. And you’ve moved straightaway. And you know, we won Best emerging business, the Westpac awards, we won a whole lot of Westpac awards, it was really exciting. But the next day, we’re kind of moving on to what’s the next goal? Right, that’s great. And but you’ve got to get your team on that journey. They’ve got to actually understand that we succeeded. We did something we set our minds to. We were Successful, that’s incredible, we can move on to the next stage, obviously, we have to, but let’s take a moment to actually enjoy the success. Because otherwise you’re just on a treadmill. And you’re just constantly looking for the next thing to do and, and you think you’ll lose your culture and that you lose the sense of belonging, which, to me is a massive part of being on a team. I play a lot of sports in my time. And the best teams succeed, because they belong to something. So that’s really important.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  45:31

And I think I’m reading Dan Sullivan’s a gap in the game. And it’s pretty much around that is if you’re always kind of looking for the next thing. And the next thing you are on the hamster wheel. And then you’re not actually enjoying what is happening right here right now. And in the beginning, he talked about this guy who was like, you know, he was like, once I get to 2 million, and then I’m gonna be happy. And then there’s only was 5 million and it was 10 million, that was 50 million. And he actually end up passing away. And he never actually achieved his happiness, because it was always well, when I get to here when I get to hear, so I think that’s really important. And he always talks about, he talks about always measuring backwards as well. So it’s easy to sit here and go, things are really shit right now. And I’m not feeling very happy, and I’m really miserable. And then you kind of give up where were you a year ago, and what has actually kind of happened in that year that you’ve moved forward, whether you haven’t got to where you want it to get to, you’ve actually still move forward. So celebrate what you have managed to achieve, rather than always looking for the next thing.

Stuart Kagan  46:18

I think it’s I think that just in our day to day life, yeah, not even just in business. Like, you sit at home, and you’re just on that treadmill, and you just have the hamster wheel and you just keep going keep going. But I try and do it as much as possible. Now say to Lisa, you know, where were we a year ago? And, and we feeling frustrated? Because we haven’t necessarily achieved something. But if I told you a year ago, we would be here. How would you feel? And often the answer is Oh, my God, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yeah, I’m so excited. I would have been so excited. So then why are we excited? Yeah. Right. Because immediately, it’s all relative. Everything changes. And now we thinking we’ve got chair now we should be there. But actually just be okay with being and celebrate

Debra Chantry-Taylor  46:59

Being here. Absolutely. And I see on your LinkedIn profile. You talk about being an our father, or husband and a metal Maven. Now, for people who don’t know what metal Maven is, what is a metal Maven, or how would you describe it, or just

Stuart Kagan  47:11

Somebody who’s enthusiastic I guess about it? Yeah. I’m a passion for metal. I’ve been doing it since I was 18 years old. So there’s quite a few years now. Yeah. Yeah, just fouzia ism towards metal. And I guess it’s recycling, I

Debra Chantry-Taylor  47:25

Think yeah. Because that was kind of your why wasn’t it was to make sure that people actually recycled results. We wanted to incentivize the recycling. Yeah. Cool. And you’re about to launch your own podcast, aren’t you and think specifically around that topic. Tell us a little bit about no.

Stuart Kagan  47:37

So it’s, it’s specific to exporters of recyclables. Actually recyclable metal. So metal recyclers in the beginning. And it’s really to educate and help other metal recyclers globally. So it’s very much our target market is global. And we put the playing with the name at the moment, we’ve got a few options once young, scrappy and hungry, so. Yeah, we’re busy working with those at the moment. Yeah. But yeah, our target market is exporters of recyclable metal. And we will be doing once a month. So every week, we’ll do a podcast podcast where we’ll interview some sort of captain of industry, some legend in our field. Well, luckily, from my previous role in South Africa, I do know a lot of them. And I’ve already got the top 10, the first 10 people to agree to do it. And once a month, we’ll do a masterclass. So a masterclass will be on something specific, like for example, that’s going to help the exporters. So we might do something on foreign exchange. And we’ll have a foreign exchange person that will come in, and they will do a market, well ask questions, and they will teach all the different exporters about this little thing, we might do something on marketing, I’ve already got the guy. In fact, I’ve got the principal marketing, I’ve already got the person for entrepreneurship, the guy who’s literally just going out and starting new businesses in the recycling space in the States at the moment. He’s doing wonderful things. So he’s going to come on, and we’re going to talk about entrepreneurship. So with our monthly masterclass, and a weekly interview of somebody in the industry that, but the focus is really learning from experiences. So you know, what, like you said earlier, which I said, I wanted to ask the switch, what would you tell the younger you right? And I’m hoping that the younger them are listening? Yes. So it’s what can they teach from their experiences and, and pick up some gems? Hopefully, you know, everybody can pick up one gem in every podcast that I do more, that’s adding value. And if that can help them, well, that’d be wonderful.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  49:31

Fantastic. Hey, look, if people want to get a hold of us to either because you’re passionate about metals, or just to talk to you in general, and maybe about EOS and your, your journey on that one. How do they get a hold of you?

Stuart Kagan  49:43

LinkedIn? Yep, is probably the easiest. I’m posting every day at the moment. So Stuart Kagan Yep. On LinkedIn. Yeah, totally. Yeah, fantastic. All my details, my email addresses there. So that’s easy.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  49:54

Well, thank you so much for coming in. Really appreciate it. Look forward to following the next part of your journey.

Stuart Kagan  49:59

Awesome. Thanks for having It was lots of fun thank you cheers






Debra Chantry-Taylor 

Professional  EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner

#betterbusinessbetterlife #entrepreneur #leadership #eosimplementer #professionaleosimplementer #entrepreneurialbusinesscoach

Professional EOS Implementer New Zealand

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