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Solopreneur to CEO: The Journey to 100 Professionals with Robert Gauvreau – S8E4

In this episode, we were joined by Robert (Bob) Gauvreau, the Founder and CEO of Accounting Tax Law Advisory, who shared the journey he’s taken to setting up his own consultancy firm that helps lawyers master their financial situation. He’s passionate about providing value across his sphere of influence, from his coaching services to personal branding. Bob explained why he is so dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs with their tax and finance journey and empowering them to make more informed choices. He also shared his secrets for continued growth at every level of business, including leadership lessons and the mindset he adopted to take his company to the heights of success. 

𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧?

You can hear Rob and Bob discussing:

  • Bob’s experiences of entrepreneurship, and how important it is to create a community when you start a business alone. 
  • The core services he offers clients at Accounting Tax Law Advisory.
  • Some common pitfalls that businesses face when tackling their taxes. 
  • The evolution of financial advice since the COVID pandemic. 
  • Powerful growth tips from an experienced business leader.

 

Transcript

Robert Hanna  00:00 

Welcome to the legally speaking podcast. I’m your host Rob Hanna. This week I’m delighted to be joined by Robert Gauvreau. Bob as he goes by is the founder and CEO of over over counting tax law advisory one of Canada’s fastest growing businesses recognised by the likes of The Globe and Mail, the Financial Times and many more as an award winning fellow certified practising accountant. Bob is passionate about working with entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level. He engages with the entrepreneurial community as a public speaker, writer podcaster and blogger. Bob has shared his knowledge at the multifamily real estate conference, Canadian SME Expo on breakfast television and is a writer for Forbes and the Entrepreneur magazine. He is the Best Selling Author of the wealthy entrepreneur, the formula for making money and established his coaching programme the million dollar year peak performance programme. Bob is dedicated to challenging the status quo within the accounting industry while serving the entrepreneurial communities of evolving needs. So a very big warm welcome, Bob. 

Robert Gauvreau  01:06 

Yeah, Rob, great to be here. Oh, it’s 

Robert Hanna  01:09 

an absolute pleasure to have you. And before we dive into all your amazing projects, experiences to date, we do have a customary icebreaker question here on the legally speaking podcast, which is on a scale of one to 1010 being very real, what would you rate the hit TV series suits in terms of its reality of the law? If you’ve seen it? 

Robert Gauvreau  01:30 

Okay, on the reality of the law, well, I’m a CPA by trade, although we do have a small legal practice arm, I would throw it on an eight out of 10. Like I wouldn’t challenge the legalities of the sections they’re referencing. However, I would say the lifestyle element of the office culture very much resembles my own. So I would say that part is very real. 

Robert Hanna  01:57 

And looking at the way that you’re very nicely dressed today, and all of that good stuff on the lifestyle front, I think you’ve justified the eight and eight just happens to be my lucky number. So with that, let’s move swiftly on. So Bob, would you mind just telling our listeners a bit about your background and career journey? 

Robert Gauvreau  02:14 

Yeah, for sure. And once again, thanks for having me. This is a great honour, love working with many of the lawyers and aspiring professionals. And for me, you know, I had a very similar journey. Although I went down the CPA track, I work with quite a few legal professionals in the hundreds. But I started my practice back in 2008. And I started it on my own, you know, just started hoots to pavements sort of thing, lots of handshaking back then related to you know, personal networking and being at events. And we’ve grown that business which was focused on supporting the busy business professional supporting them with accounting, bookkeeping, tax, you know, we hate paying more tax than we legally have to, and, and some business coaching. And we started out with just a few clients, and one employee in 2008. And we’ve just surpassed 100 employees and team members. And now we serve the entire North American market with a specialised focus on serving law firms and legal practitioners in all of those things, financial reporting in accounting, related work, tax minimization and helping them grow and scale their team and their business. 

Robert Hanna  03:31 

Yeah, and you’ve done a fantastic job. It has to be said, Let’s talk more about CPA, because some people may be less familiar, not just any CPA, an award winning fellow certified practising account. So what inspired you to create a life of entrepreneurship as opposed to the traditional route in the accounting industry? 

Robert Gauvreau  03:52 

Yeah. And Rob had I have known that this was going to be a big ego booster for me today. even nicer. No, you know what? I jumped into CPA. And I’ve actually been doing a lot of mentorship with a few universities in Canada right now. And one of the things that they ask is, if you had to go back to first year, what would you change? And that’s a really challenging question, because I feel like I, I pressured everything to see where I fit and actually went to university expecting to be a teacher. And when I got into university, I had the privilege. There was one particular faculty members name was Ray Dart, he has a PhD in strategy and entrepreneurship. And I got into his class and I was sharing this with the university students the other day, I said, What is this dopamine rush that is flowing into my brain right now that is just unbelievable. And, you know, the excitement and the passion that I had around building something that could impact 1000s if not millions, or the entire world. That became really exciting to me. At the same token In, like many professionals, looking at yourself and going, how do you differentiate yourself from all the other graduates who are coming out of this programme, and for me, there were hundreds of students coming out of the business programme with, you know, an idea of starting their own business. And for me, I thought accounting, and tax really was an area that came naturally easy to me. And so I looked at the two of those and said, Okay, I love entrepreneurship, I’ve got a really great professional background. And it’s kind of an industry that stale boring, with people doing the same sort of practices they’ve always done. Maybe we could liven it up, bring some energy and some passion, and maybe try and transform the industry. So that’s how kind of everything came together. And it was interesting, you know, when I was working, I was working in a large global firm, when I was doing my articling, for my professional designation for accounting. And I remember they wanted, we had a discussion about fast tracking the into, you know, partnership quickly, I was really good with relationships and business development. And I was good at the accounting tax side. But you know, the other part was way more valuable as a partner. And I remember looking at that opportunity, and first off being thrilled. And, you know, that was the dream for everyone coming up through those ranks. And then I thought, you know, are these the partners that I would choose? Is this the business direction that I would choose? Am I putting myself into a long term career of something that I’m really not passionate about, and I actually at that time, resigned and said, you know, what, I just gotta go all in and I’ve got to do my own thing and build something that I know can have a huge impact. So that’s kind of how the whole professional entrepreneurship and and aspiring CPA practitioner all came together. 

Robert Hanna  06:57 

Yeah, and thank you for going over that, and, you know, use some words that really resonate with with me, and also our sponsor clear, you talked about sort of transforming and mixing things up, you know, clear have a mission, which we support with transforming the legal experience, but all and, you know, you talk about impact, and, you know, it’s these industries they need, they need people like you to come along and get energy, you know, new lines of thinking, innovate, improve, you know, generate efficiencies, and just make lives a lot easier for people. So, you know, it takes people like you to sort of, you know, it’s not a walk in the park, but But to do this, and I guess you need a really strong mission attached to that. And that leads to my next question, Bob, would you mind explaining exactly what your mission is, and why you’re dedicated to serving the entrepreneurial communities evolving needs? 

Robert Gauvreau  07:42 

Absolutely. And this is something, you know, again, had the opportunity to be in postgraduate human resource planning or strategy class yesterday. And, you know, we kind of talked about the recruitment and building a team and I, I ultimately said to them, it becomes a marketing practice at this point, because what you want to do is you want to be very clear on what your mission is, which I’ll share mine in a second. But you also I said, when we start doing recruiting, we’re only looking for people who align with and are inspired with what we’re doing, and then align with our core values. And then we find out if they’ve got the professional qualifications to actually be part of the team. But for us, I’m very clear that we’re on a mission to empower all entrepreneurs and Simon Sinek infinite games talks about creating this large sort of lofty goal that you may never really truly realise, but that you’ll die trying. And this is something that I really would die trying to empower all entrepreneurs with the confidence of good financial information, so that they can make informed decisions, grow their business, increase their reach and impact and ultimately, we can change the world together. And that’s what I’m excited about. And specifically, I know you, you mentioned, Clio, we’re a proud, certified consultant with Clio as well. And it’s funny how organisations with really strong missions, and values when they find each other in line, you know, the power of those relationships is incredible. And, you know, it’s really brought us into working with a lot of the legal professionals in doing just that empowering them with the ability to just focus on doing the good work they do not having to be distracted with, should they be doing their bookkeeping should they be? What are their deadlines, you know, having that taken rate off your plate so you can focus on the family that you’re trying to help support the real estate that you’re looking to acquire the litigation to help somebody get their business back or to stop somebody from doing things they shouldn’t be doing. You know, the ability for lawyers to focus on those things and not get distracted with other you know, administrative financial reporting issues that really a lot of people don’t fully understand anyway, why don’t we just all focus in our lane and nots? You know, truly my partnership with so many lawyers is just that, let us do exactly what we need to do to support you to be the best you can be. 

Robert Hanna  10:18 

Yeah, and I remember one of my mentors, when I first started, one of my businesses says, don’t always think about, you know, how, think about who, you know, for example, you gave a great example, then if I’m still focusing so much on the how am I going to do this, when there’s experts out there that can just resolve that pain be a lot more better at it than me, I don’t need to know the how I need to know that he who and that’s why I’m really passionate about people expanding their networks collaborating, put themselves out there building brands, because through that, of course, then you get to know the who a lot quicker. So 2008, big year for you, you found they’d go through accounting, tax law advisory, you’ve talked about sort of accounting tax, but for people who may not be too familiar, like, what are some of your core services? And what are some of the core things people come to you for? 

Robert Gauvreau  11:04 

Yeah, and typically, I would say a lot of the time businesses and professionals come to us because they’ve got some sort of pain. And sometimes it’s, you know, lack of reporting, or it’s frustration, because there’s no clarity in their business. So there’s really two major pain points that bring people to us typically, which are, our books are in a mess. And we have no idea what needs to happen. We don’t have the time to do it. It’s really frustrating. In fact, I went over to a business owners location the other day, I was just walking in their location not to meet them. And I walked through the door, and she burst into tears. And I said, Well, this is not really the reception I enjoy having when I come and see people that I know. And she said, You know, I’ve been so stressed, I just sold my house. I’m trying to get financing for a new house. And the bank is asking for all the financial information in order to support that. And I know I’m behind. And she said, I’ve been you know, worrying and crying myself to sleep saying how am I going to deal with this. And she said, and you walked through the door, and she said, all the emotion hit me because I knew you could help me through this. And which we did, right, we got everything done up to date off to the bag, she got her home, you know, like that’s the facilitation of beautiful things that we love to do. So books are in shambles. The other one is where and this one I feel resonates with people all over the world is that nobody wants to pay more taxes than they legally have to. And certainly this time of year, people are hyper focused on tax liabilities and the amounts that we have to pay the government. And a lot of times people get frustrated with that without any sort of proactive solutions to help them keep that tax down. Because truthfully, although we could probably all argue that our contribution to the government and health care system and education is a positive thing. We don’t want to give any more to the political system than we possibly have to because truthfully, our group of people, entrepreneurs and professionals who are impacting so many people, we likely can do more with those resources than a political system. So what we want to do is help people minimise that tax, give them strategies so that that money can go back in their pocket, not to the government, and help support them impacting more people. So those are really the two sort of come in the door, we’ll help you with your taxes, we’ll give you a plan, we’ll get your books up to date. But then the proactive sort of solution going from there is okay now that we understand your business, we understand your margins, what the costs are associated with delivering your revenue, how do we help support you and understanding what steps you can take to really 10x Your business, maybe it’s 10x profitability, maybe it’s creating operating systems that will allow you to get out of the office a little bit more and work more on strategy. So the evolution of where we start is really compliance based. And then we move into helping them, you know, build a better life with greater wealth accumulation and financial success. 

Robert Hanna  14:14 

Yeah, and again, things that just resonate with me, I always say politics for ideas entrepreneur for action, right? I think, you know, politicians are very good at selling ideas and things that never actually happen or don’t quite plan out. Whereas an entrepreneur will take action, you know, if they’re passionate enough about what they do, and I think that can lead to great things over over time. So talking about action, you’re always looking to challenge the status quo within the accounting industry. So how are you going about disrupting the industry and what ways do you hope to achieve 

Robert Gauvreau  14:44 

Yeah, and really interesting question. And I always like to tell stories, Rob to so I like to relate things back to to my reality. I remember a few years ago, we were looking at acquiring a an account any firm that subsequently a large player came in and gobbled them up. But we we’ve gone over and we said, you know, we’re really the people who could help take this local firm to the next level, they had around 30 employees at the time. I’m actually glad it didn’t happen, because I think our core values and our culture was so different. But it was heightened by the conversation I had with the owner who we were sitting around having a beer, we had lunch, having a great conversation, and I opened up the dialogue. And I said, so can we have a conversation about me, essentially, allowing you and your partner’s to go into retirement? And I’ll fund that, and we’ll, you know, support your business and getting it to the next level. And they said, you know, what, we like you, you’re a nice guy, but we don’t trust you. And I, I was kind of caught off guard. And I said, Why don’t you trust me? And they said, Well, we’re not sure what it is that you’re doing that’s so different than us. But it makes us uncomfortable. And I kind of took that away. And I laughed. And you know, the reality is that we’re investing in making sure we’re cutting edge in what we’re delivering that part should be very similar to most firms, right, continuing to try and be the best, know the expertise, know how to apply the rules. But I think the difference for us is the way that we’re continuously trying to innovate solutions to help support businesses. So one particular example, not very typical in an accounting firm, we’ve created what we call our million dollar year coaching programme. And that essentially says, Hey, we’ve got to do all your accounting, your bookkeeping, and whatever. But do you want to be part of a mastermind group with people and business owners just like you who we can’t celebrate our wins openly in public, because people don’t necessarily appreciate that, you know, our spouses, maybe whether male, female, maybe don’t appreciate the grind and the resilience that it takes to go to work every single day and to be on, you know, the idea of being on that people just don’t understand unless you’re an entrepreneur. So there’s all these elements of, you know, yes, you need your taxes done. But can we create a community that helps support and facilitate the struggles of entrepreneurship, but celebrates the wins, and also comes up with new strategies to take that to the next level? You know, that’s one sort of differentiator of what we do versus the typical accounting firm. And, you know, this one boggled my mind, they said, Well, Bob, we’re not business owners, we’re accountants. We do the accounting and the taxes for the business owners. And I, you know, that kind of blew me away a little bit where I was like, Well, I am a business owner. And we as business owners need to reinvent ourselves, we need to understand where the market void is, and how we can serve people. And we lead with that. And we’re very much how do we get the outcomes that we need for our clients while applying the rules? versus, you know, these are the rules, we can’t go outside of them? It’s like, no, let’s learn to adapt to the rules and the case law that’s coming in that suggesting that we are allowed or not allowed, we’re going to constantly learn, we’re going to innovate, we’re going to incorporate AI into our practice instead of it being afraid of it, you know, like, though, all of those elements of building a business to make a bigger impact. That’s just something we do that maybe makes some of our competitors a little uneasy. Yeah, no, I 

Robert Hanna  18:35 

love that. I’m just thinking back to I’m gonna get the quote incorrect. So I’m gonna paraphrase. I think so Winston Churchill, who says the, you know, the pessimist looks for the problems and every idea where the optimist, you know, looks for the opportunities and every idea, right? So, you know, it’s, it’s having that mindset, isn’t it being surrounded by that, and I love that you talk about community because it’s something I’m super passionate about in terms of building this wider global legal community and bringing people together, masterminding collaborating, innovating and growing together, talking of growth, you’ve talked a bit about, you know, some of the reasons why people come to you, you know, the books are in the mess, you know, they want to maybe try and be more efficient with taxes. But, you know, let’s talk about those 500 Plus businesses that you’ve worked with across North America. You know, what are some of the common pitfalls that you see when growing the business perhaps leads them to that point that maybe people listening can avoid if they’re trying to grow their business?  

Robert Gauvreau  19:28 

Yeah, and I can tell you to the reason we lead in some of that coaching, and in some of that mastermind is that we’ve made all the mistakes, you know, since 2008, going from one employee to 100 employees, there’s a massive learning curve, and I would, I would suggest, you know, one of my greatest learnings and this would be for a growing legal team or an entrepreneurial business, the greatest learning I’ve had is probably been in the last 24 months. And what that is, and it may be ties two particular things together that aren’t necessarily financial based, although they will impact financial outcomes. The first is that us as leaders need to become the leader that the team needs, you know, at the next stage of growth before the team gets there. And I had a friend and colleague, his name was Mike, we went to dinner in California, I’m gonna say about five years ago and didn’t really know each other then and he was a super successful entrepreneurs exited twice, which was amazing. And for multiple, you know, eight, nine figures. So he’s done very well. And he said, we have half an hour dining together, you know, what is one thing that I can help you take your life and your business to the next level? And I said, I don’t know. Like, I’m kind of intimidated in this moment, you know, and he said, Well, where do you want to go. And I think this applies to all business owners. And we teach this as well, you need to have a very clearly defined path of where you are now to where you want to go and understand the roads that you need to take to get there. And the key metrics and benchmarks that you have to hit along the way in order to get there. Now we focus on financial metrics, but he was focusing on me as a leader. And he said, If you want to be a leader of 100, people, you have to learn what it takes to be that leader, you have to become that leader, before you can bring everybody with you. And that couldn’t have been more true. The second part was when I actually figured this out, I didn’t really take his advice at the time, I was struggling to become the leader. And then I went all in on it and figured it out, or, or tried to figure it out as best I could. But then the second component was, okay, if you’re growing a team, and we all know this, when we’re starting our business, or we’re early on, especially as a professional, you can just take on all the work, right, you work the 6070 hour weeks, you get it done, you keep the clients happy, you know, the quality of your work is good. And you know, there’s studies and there’s facts showing that if you do it all yourself, you’re going to have a limited capacity. But if you and quick results, though, but if you grow a team around you, it’s going to take a little bit longer, but the capacity exponentially grows as you can build a team around you. So it’s going to be smart to build a team around us. However, building a team and finding the right people isn’t the be all and end all. There’s an extra step. And that’s around accountability, and follow up and meeting cadence. And I learned this the hard way in 2023, where I thought all of my team, which was maybe around 80 People in 2023, they all know what they need to do, we know what we’re trying to accomplish. And you know, we go through a quarter and we wouldn’t hit our targets and we get to the end of the year, we got to the end of the year. And I was like, Holy hell Rob. I don’t know what just happened. But financially, that’s not good. And you know, if the wind blows out of the west, instead of the East, we could be in some a little bit of financial trouble here. Now I’m a financial expert. So I can get a little bit closer to the line. And then most people are that I would ever recommend but but what I really learned from that is if we are going to grow a team, a few things need to happen one, their roles, and their performance needs to be very clearly outlined. And their outputs of what they need to, to accomplish need to be well defined to the point where every single role in our organisation now is clearly defined, the outcomes are defined. And there’s an example of what high performance and medium performance and low performance looks like in every single one of those roles. So when you hire the potential high performer, and we lead them into the opportunity to be successful, we show them the example of it. And they aspire to that and they achieve their goals because they don’t want to run short. And I gotta tell you, when you get that aligned across an organisation with, you know, Monday meetings that everybody gets together, and we go over the outcomes and results. Where are we short? Where are we succeeding? You know, what resources do we need? Where do people need support? We do that every Monday across every leader, every leader in the organisation meets with their team. Are we on track? Are we on track all the way up to we have an executive committee that goes over all departments, and we’re looking at the outcomes and we’re saying where are we falling short? Where are the expectations may be too high? How do we revisit this? What resources do we need? And then throughout the week, to check in with the team to say how are you doing? Every individual gets a check in how are you doing? Are you making progress towards your weekly goals? How can we support you? And that turns into a high performance machine. And we didn’t have that accountability last year. We have it this year, and our financial outcomes and the performance of our business This is double what it was last year. And you know, if that was the one sort of takeaway that I could give to practitioners who want to grow a team and grow a practice that doesn’t drive them crazy. That’s exactly what they need to do. 

Robert Hanna  25:14 

Yeah, and what great example and success story and you know, a lot of that, you know, it’s not overwhelming is its structure, its communication, its process, you know, it’s getting things in in the right order to ensure that you can, you can flourish. And I think that can also lead to not having burnout, mental health, stress, all of these things, it’s worth investing the time, because you see so many entrepreneurs that are just so busy. And actually, they don’t know quite what their Northstar is, they don’t quite know how their hiring strategy should be. They don’t quite do all those little things. I always say it’s the little touches that are the big touches, right? Like if you do these little things, and you implement them, they can have huge impact. So I love everything about that story. And thank you for sharing it. And congratulations, since the pandemic them. How have you seen the advice? Or shall I say demand for financial advice evolve? Do you believe the pandemic has forced business owners to adapt to innovate and B unconventional approach to problem solving? 

Robert Gauvreau  26:18 

Yeah, again, a wonderful question. One of the things I would say that, that the pandemic created in everybody was an ease of communication that maybe wasn’t there before. So from my perspective, pre COVID, a lot of our operation and a typical professional practice was very close proximity to where they were located. And, and that’s typically because the professional experience was more one of, hey, I’m going to go down, and we’re going to have a meeting in your boardroom. And one of the I think positive outcomes of the whole pandemic experience is realising that the expert that you need, may not be the one down the street, and your ability to get access to them, even if they’re across the country or across the world, changes that so you can get access to advice that maybe you wouldn’t have otherwise, the guy who you go meet for coffee, who didn’t have any experience and the legal practitioner, but you know, would file taxes for the farms in the area and just happened to be doing yours as well, you know, that’s no longer an issue, you can find the specialised expert, and you can meet with them remotely. And, you know, I think that transformed the experience. And I think, Rob with that, you know, when people would have the ability to get access to that expertise that they didn’t really know existed, and they didn’t know the power of it, that it made them thirsty for more knowledge, and even more proactive solutions to say, Oh, my goodness, I didn’t realise the power of having a good coach or a good community or good. A good business advisor. And once they got it, they went, Oh, man, I need more of this, because even those small tweaks are just making our business, an even higher performer. And, you know, I think that has been a positive shift. And I think that’s changed people’s demand for continuing to better themselves. Now, one thing I will say is that this pandemic, has now caused, maybe economies to be struggling to a certain extent. So there’s, you know, there’s certain areas where demand has seemed to shift, and it’s shifted downwards, because people have financial constraints. And what I would say is right now, people are more concerned about it, because of how the media portrays the economy. And I can tell you, we’ve got 1000 Plus clients, around 1400 clients across North America, they’re thriving, and, and they’re thriving, because they know where to get the resources, they’re paying attention to getting ahead of the market. And truthfully, Rob, I would say, right now is probably one of those opportunities for any entrepreneur, small business owner, to jump ahead and capture market share that they wouldn’t have otherwise had, because a lot of people who maybe don’t have those advisors don’t have that community that they can surround themselves with. They’re scared and they’re pulling back and maybe even forced into some retirement with some of the demographics of the older generation, where that group that wants to go out and build their business, like that opportunity is maybe one of the greatest that we’ll ever have in our lifetime. And so I think that, you know, there’s an element of people who are really thirsty for that growth and that development. And I think, you know, the pandemic indirectly created economic circumstances to allow for that to happen, and it’s a very exciting time. So shifting the doom and gloom of have, you know a tough economy into those people who really want to go after it? Now’s like a fantastic time to do that. 

Robert Hanna  30:07 

Yeah, and I’m all for, you know, go after it. There’s opportunities everywhere you look, I talked about the red car theory recently, you know, in terms of, you know, just very simplification of it. You you drive around, you don’t, you’re not really conscious of how many red cars if someone tells you count mountain red cars that you’re gonna see when you’re driving around, and you’re alive to it, right. And that’s how you have to be with every opportunity, you have to be alive to opportunities, because they could just be around you, wherever you look, I’m talking about sort of being alive, you are also a best selling author of the wealthy entrepreneur, the format for making money. So can you briefly tell us what some of the key principles are that you explore? And what do you hope for readers to learn from your book? 

Robert Gauvreau  30:52 

Right, and, and thank you for that recognition, as well, you know, as a CPA, with someone who’s trying to transform the industry, you look at different ways that you can have a huge impact with people. And believe me, if you have asked me when I was in my early 20s, if I would ever write a book, I would have said, Hell no. He asked me if I’d write another one, I’d say hell no, but I probably will. But the reason is that, you know, that sort of resource I can get in the hands of people all around the world for free. And, and hopefully, we can include here, Robert, download a free download for the book, as well. So anybody who wants to check it out, can get it for free. That’s the intention for me. So the book is really around the foundational elements of financial control, and success in your business. Some of it talks about building out that map of you know, where are you right now? Where do you want to get to what are the financial outcomes that you want to realise along the way, and if you want to do that, you know, here’s some templates. Here’s some checklists to help support you, here’s how, you know, we need to start building a team, here’s how we look at starting to build our mission vision values out, you know, it’s really like an entrepreneurial, foundational book to say, if you do all of these elements, it’s a really great start, and then we can take it to the next level. And maybe that’s what the next book is Rob is related to the next level. But it really is a foundational piece to say, finances, stress everybody out, let’s get our finances in control. Let’s start building systems. Let’s start building out our team, let’s have a direct path of what we want to accomplish. And that book will give that foundation to people. 

Robert Hanna  32:44 

Yeah, and they always say don’t need a new level new devil. So I think you know, that’s a great example of the next book for you. Maybe it is that that sort of new level. But I’m also you know, my entrepreneur mindset is I’m all about hyper risk, you know, I’m active for hyper risk. But I also like to know that I can sleep at night. And so you know, making sure that you’ve got your sort of finances and things in some sort of way is super, super important, in my opinion. Let’s talk about your virtual summit both, because you have the ascent Summit, can you share a bit about what your summit is all about, and how people can learn a bit more? 

Robert Gauvreau  33:18 

Yeah, so we typically do this at the start of the year. And we built the ascent Summit, partially around sort of pandemic times as well, where we knew that we could get access to more people, get in front of them and share some of our wisdom and insights. And again, for me, 16 years of success and challenges and learning from them, and sharing that wisdom and insights with as many people as I can to help them get through it. Because again, fits with our mission of empowering all business owners, to be financially successful, have confidence, have good information to change the world. And for us, this is a change the world sort of event we typically get, you know, 1000 plus registrants. And we focus on some key foundational elements. It’s been sometimes one day, sometimes three days. But we talk about, you know, if you want to grow and scale your business, here are the four ways to grow. And then here’s some key takeaway strategies that you can put in place. A good example is, you know, one of the four ways to grow is to continue to get more services out of existing clientele, which may be a referral arrangement. And so in our last one of our last sessions, we gave a full here’s a turnkey referral strategy system for you. Because from a business growth standpoint, now usually challenged people to say, if you have 10 clients, do you think one of them would give you a referral? You know, if you’ve got 10 clients and you do a good job, which is why you’re here, you’re proactively trying to do better. So I guarantee you, the people who are part of that community are coming in and wanting to To be the best and wanting to share really great outcomes with their clients, one out of 10 is a 10% growth strategy 10% growth is probably 90% in the top 10% of business growth across the world. So that is just implementing a tiny little referrals strategy. And then we talk about things like pricing strategy, the impact of pricing strategy and growing your business, would everybody be able to introduce a 5% price increase? Well, now your 15% growth and, you know, so we talk about different elements and foundational elements that we can build out in a business and start to build out, you know, the full year. So when we do it in January, we help business owners build out their goals, aspirations, and start to build out that map of key implementable ideas they can put into their business to supercharge it to achieve those goals during the year. So typically, it’s been online, we’re probably going to continue to have it online. Regardless, I would love to have an in person element of it. I’ve got a few things in the works, hopefully for 2025. But our million dollar year programme does give people access to that any of those summits that we’ve had in the past online, and you can get access to those today. So if people didn’t want to wait till 2025, but really wanted all those key foundation, foundational principles, a million dollar year.ca is where that programme is. And inside there, we had one really interesting guest, which was Gary Vaynerchuk, a few years ago, and had a really interesting conversation with Gary. And you know, he can be a challenging guest, Rob, hopefully way more challenging than I am. And, and he was actually he was in his living room on his laptop while I was interviewing him. He actually got up because he had a delivery guy go to the door. And I was like, Well, this is great. Thanks, Gary. But I did challenge him. And I said, Can you tell me the importance of having a good financial quarterback in your life and in your business? And he said, I know what you’re doing. You’re essentially the financial quarterback for a lot of people. And he goes, I was backstage watching you for about an hour before I came on as a guest. And I started to sweat at this point. And I’m like, Oh, no. And, and he came back. And he said, let me just say that the financial backer for me is the oxygen to my entrepreneurial bloodline as like, that’s a good quote, Gary, I like that. And he said I, what I mean, though, is he said, I don’t want a bean counter in a corner, who’s going to tell me all the reasons why I shouldn’t do it. He said, I need somebody in my corner, who is financially adept, and can come in and say, This is how you make that vision a reality. And my mind was essentially blown at that point, because I was like, that’s exactly what our position is. We want to help people like you, Robin and other entrepreneurs say, what is it that you need to do right now to tweak your financial outcome so that you can really explode the impact you have? And, you know, that’s one of the things that the ascent summit does for people every single year is just that tweak to say, how do we make things better? How do we help more people? And how do we as a community make a bigger impact in the world? 

Robert Hanna  38:21 

Yeah, and again, great examples, you know, back to the little touches for big impact. And yeah, I’m a big Gary fan. I did a LinkedIn audio with him. When he first came on, he did like 15 minutes. And that was his time on LinkedIn audio, as part of that. And my friend Mitch Jackson, who’s also been on the show, sort of top trial lawyer, he’s done a lot of collaborations with, with Gary and his son now works at VaynerMedia, actually, which is super cool. And you give some really, really good examples there back to the I love practical and tactical advice. And that’s really what I’m getting from from the summit that you you do and you know, back to the knowing what you already have. I always talk about the analogy of working warm. I think so many people go on cold work too early, meet new business prospects need to do this need to do that, where I always think on the referral who do you know who can introduce you to someone you don’t know as simple as that, you know, and then literally, like you say, upsell your existing services to the people that are already warm to you and know you so I think there’s real good like little tweaks like you say like that 10% Raise that 5% these nano cheap tweaks make a huge impact over a year. So really like that like that. You squeeze the juice out of what you’ve already got. Wonderful. Okay, let’s go to Thorpe’s now because you are an author, Forbes and Forbes coaches Council. You’ve appeared on breakfast television, lots of places. Fox five morning you Good morning Texas, sir believer I’m going to be in Texas later this year. Can’t wait. How have you built your personal brand, not just in person but also on social media? 

Robert Gauvreau  39:50 

Yeah, great question. And I think I have a long way to go to continue to master the personal brand element of it. And you know, that’s actually an area of focus for me right? Now and the reason personal brand I think is so important is that it allows people, or it gives people the opportunity to see your visibility. And when you’re trying to make an impact on the biggest portion of the world that you can, your personal brand is important in fulfilling that mission. And for me, you know, we did we worked with, we’ve worked with some PR firms in the past, to get access to contributing writer for Forbes and entrepreneur, right, I don’t do it as often as I should. But contributing articles, to those major magazines gives us access to millions of readers, which is incredible. Focusing on our personal brand, or my personal brand is, is more so about the give. And, you know, I worked I had the opportunity to work with Tony Robbins for four or five years. And, you know, one of the one of the takeaways that I had from Tony, especially early on was give more value than everyone else, and you will ultimately win the game. And, you know, the game for me is one of impact and growth. And I know that those drives me, I know that growth drives me growing means that I can have a greater impact because my team is able to deploy every element of of what I’ve been able to teach them into the world. And so again, getting access to more people getting in front of more different communities, and you know, podcasts, media, being able to share our message and how we can support people I know has a positive impact on the world. And so for me, although I would say I was more of an extrovert extrovert, when I was younger, I tend to be lined up a lot right now with sharing what our team can do, and how people can make those small tweaks. And indirectly, it usually results in us continuing to grow who we support as well. So again, a lot more to continue to learn on the personal brand side, but But continuing to put myself out into the community out into the business world continue to offer a lot of value is really the centre of everything that I do personal brand.  

Robert Hanna  42:13 

I love that that the power of the gift, right and not necessarily with the take. And that’s what you know, I like about the way that you’re sort of building on that, because I think so many people think well, you know, I’ll go out and give a lot of value. But the there is a reason that I want to get something back immediately. And typically organic relationships or authentic relationships should just be built, in my opinion on on the give. And, you know, I talk a lot about the personal brand. You know, a lot of people obviously say, you know, it’s about reputation legacy. And absolutely, I’m for that, that, for me is a practical term, why I’m so big on, you know, like you investing time in this, it’s your biggest asset, but also your biggest insurance policy. So I’ll give you an example we’ve been through a pandemic, your business could have been crushed during the pandemic, you physically couldn’t trade potentially, you may not have been able to get on the road, you know, that businesses potentially could go under, but your personal brand Doesn’t your contacts, your relationships, your network. So there’s so much that comes off the back of it. So it’s your biggest insurance policy, but potentially in a tough market. And your biggest asset in a boom market, particularly when it’s more opportunities around, these are going to be bigger, better speaking opportunities, better clients, better rates, all that good stuff. So I think it’s fundamentally important, I think you need to be visible, I talked about this very openly. On the show, I don’t believe word of mouth is strong enough to survive as a business anymore. There’s too much competition rising to the top with AI and everything else that people just want it done as efficiently and as effectively as possible. And you need to be where they’re at. And that’s particularly on social media do a great job. So quick couple of questions before we finish up. Bob just been a fascinating discussion. How do you balance it all? How do you balance the role of being a business leader and author, speaker coach, whilst being very committed to your mission? 

Robert Gauvreau  43:50 

Yeah, not Well, how’s that? 

Robert Hanna  43:53 

A very honest answer. 

Robert Gauvreau  43:56 

And you know what, it’s, it’s constantly evolving. I’ll say that early on in 2008. And again, I know, so many people can resonate with this in 2008, when it was me and one other employee, a lot dependent on what I was able to get completed. And back then there were many at our, I dare say, 100 plus hour weeks, and I know that’s real, unfortunately. And I felt like I was young at the time, and I was able to take that on. But you know, I’m 41. Now I’m still young. But what I would say is, you know, there’s a financial health toll that that sort of work takes on you. And clearly I knew that that wasn’t a long term strategy and what I would say for my balance now, especially once you start growing a team, if I go back to I was able to make a really big impact by pushing things across the line and getting projects completed myself. Now if I do that I’m not making a dent in anything because I’ve got 100 powerful people that are doing work 24/7. If I jump in to try and help out, I just get in the way at this point. But for me for balance, we’ve created this across the organisation as well. Nobody works weekends, everybody needs to shut off. And in the North American climate, especially in the professional services side of things, that’s not typical, especially when you get into busy season, people have expectations that it’s an around the clock, people need to shut off, they need to recharge, I need to, if I need to, why would I expect my team to not physical health and wellness has been a huge priority for me, especially the last couple years, I have a personal trainer, I go to the gym four days a week, if you want to have the energy as a business owner, and if I want to have that energy, as a leader, I need to come in with my blood pumping, feeling physically strong, you know, not prone to illness, making sure that my immune system is well taken care of those things set me up to be successful during my day. And I gotta tell you, and Rob, you’re probably the same. I go into my day and my day, now that I have an assistant, she’s very efficient. On scheduling me, I am stacked from 9am to 7pm, without many breaks, although she usually gives me a lunch break in there. But, you know, my day is so stacked that if I wasn’t in good condition, physically, I wouldn’t be able to do it. If I wasn’t inspired by the mission that I’m on, I wouldn’t do it. Because it just wouldn’t seem worthwhile to me. So those are really important. And for me, you know, my rock, when I leave the office is my family. I’ve got two kids, Sophia 13, and Jack 15. And watching and developing, you know, the next generation of what I see as leaders is super important to me as well. So I’ve got this commitment that I always make sure that my kids and my family are scheduled in there. And that’s that’s a no give sort of situation for me. So we work around that so that I can always be present with with them that also re energises me as well. So, you know, I would say building a team around you is going to be necessary. Otherwise, you’re going to be responsible for everything, taking care of yourself physically getting the breaks, and then having things outside of work that get you excited, as well as super important. Because I can tell you, I could go back to those 100 hour work weeks because of how much I love what I do and the impact it has. But that’s not a sustainable practice. If we want to have a long term impact, I have to make sure that that is nicely balanced, like you said, yeah, 

Robert Hanna  47:46 

absolutely. And I think just on the parenting point, use the word that is so true. And it’s it’s not necessarily the amount of hours, it’s about the amount of hours that you’re present. And you use that word and I think it’s true, you know, it may not be possible to spend every week with your with your children. But when you block out that time you are present, and they are 110% The only thing that matters in that moment, and you’re there for them. And I think that’s really, really sound and you gave some really good advice, but just want to ask for sort of one final piece of advice before we before we close. What three tips, would you quick tips would you give for those looking to expand the business? 

Robert Gauvreau  48:23 

Yeah, and I love how you said Quick Tips. Because you know, at this point that I like to tell stories. So one, one tip would be to understand the four ways that you can grow a business, right and get very clear on that because it’s a formula, right, where you’ve got your marketing lead gen, which is serving new clients, you’ve got your existing clients that you can likely offer another product or service to. And then you’ve got retention, which I add as another element of the bucket. Because retention, if you’re filling the bucket full and the hoses on full, but there’s too many holes, you’re never going to overflow it. So fill the holes in the bucket with client satisfaction and retention. And then the last one being pricing strategy, that would be you know, a huge element of what everybody should focus on at least understanding how that needle is moved in your business. The second would be make sure that you have your financial information up to date. You know, so many business owners are are performing aimlessly thinking that their business is doing okay, right until they come to me and say Bob, like where did all our cash go? And we have to go and we start looking at it and recreating what’s happened. The power of having up to date financial information and a scoreboard so you can see if you’re winning the game or what strategy you need to get to the end of the game and a winning position is so so powerful. So make sure that you have up to date financial information, it will change your business. And then last is find those people who’ve been there done that before and surround yourself with a community of like minded people to support you Along this journey, because this is a long road for all of us, you know, it’s not a one and done. And we need to find that community of support that can cheer us on, when things are going well. And we can actually share and celebrate success with, but also that understand the challenges and the resilience and the persistence, it’s necessary along this journey, because people outside of business owners don’t get it. And they look at us and say, well, it must be nice. If I hear it must be nice. One more time, I might lose my mind. But it’s it’s true. Find the people around you who are like minded who are going through the same thing. And you can go through this journey together, learn from each other, and take your lives and your business to another level. 

Robert Hanna  50:47 

Yeah, absolute gold. And you know, I always say everything is energy. You know, typically I like people, if they have an interaction with me, I want to ensure that they get energy, right, I strongly believe that is that is so important. And, you know, again, one of my mentors once said to me, and that’s what you’re talking about there, the importance of having mentors and community, they can really kind of just short circuit mistakes that you don’t need to make, because they’ve already meant made them right. And don’t share big dreams with small minds. And typically, you’re probably around people, you’ve got a huge dream and ambition. And the reality is like, stop working at seven o’clock, you know why you’re not doing this, or whatever it might be. And if you’ve got this big dream and that passion, and you’re going to do whatever it takes to produce, then you know, it’s you need to be around those people are going to be like, yeah, absolutely. What can I do to support you, and those people in your corner are the ones that you want. So Bob, this has been an absolute master class start finish, I always knew it could have been. And so I’m really delighted, we’ve managed to make it happen. But if our listeners want more, which I’m sure they do about your career journey, or your business or the wealthy entrepreneur million dollar year performance programme, the ascent summit that you mentioned, or the wealthy entrepreneur podcast, where can they go out and find out more about you and what you’re getting up to? Yeah, 

Robert Gauvreau  51:51 

so the best place would be to hit our website, which is Gauvreau cpa.ca. access to everything is there but check us out on social so you know, one of the things I would say our social media is really good at is giving that masterclass those nuggets on an ongoing basis. When we find something we want to share it we want to help people so we’re always doing and releasing new ideas, new initiatives, our YouTube channels. Always got some hot videos on there, too. So follow us there. But check out our website. That’s where you can get access to all those resources. Awesome. 

Robert Hanna  52:26 

Well, just leads me to say thank you so so much, Bob. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the legally speaking podcast, wishing you lots of continued success with your business with the future pursuits and career but now from all of us on the show over and out 

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