TRE:67 – Using Honesty As A Strategy To Achieve Greatness with Peter Kozodoy

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If you’re struggling to get your business going or you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, the problem is probably you. (Sorry about it.) In today’s episode, Peter Kozodoy. Author of Honest To Greatness, shows us how honesty can be used as a strategy to start and grow any business to a successful exit. He also shares his experience failing to get into the Olympics, starting a video production company that went belly-up, and then successfully growing a multi-million dollar marketing firm.


3 Main Takeaways:

  1. A business should never be built around you at the center. It should be built as a self-managed cash flow machine with the intention of being sold at some point in the future.
  2. 100% of your business problems are actually personal problems in disguise.
  3. There is no point in worrying about things in business as all it does is create stress over things you can’t control anyway.


Show Notes:

1:50 – Give us a short synopsis of your new book “Honest To Greatness”

  • Peter was fascinated by the fact that some companies could take his marketing firm’s growth strategies and crush it while others just blew up on the launch pad, and he wanted to know why.
  • Through a few turn of events, he came to realize that it all boiled down to how these companies used honesty as a strategy for growth.
  • Even as a cynic, Peter knows that honesty is what makes organizations great.

5:23 – Walk us through the resistance you felt when you thought you were writing a marketing book but your editor told you otherwise.

  • Peter says that if we allow ourselves the creative space to test things, and we’re open minded enough to try new things, we can find our own greatness.
  • Honesty is an act of attrition. It’s about removing things from your life, not adding things.
  • There’s a difference between being honest and being helpful.

8:36 – What is a “crisis of honesty”?

  • At 18, Peter had 2 of his dreams crushed. He wanted to be an Olympic figure skater and he had always dreamed of going to Harvard. 
  • Reflecting back on this experience at 30, he realized that they had become 2 massive chips on his shoulder holding him back.

15:44 – What steps did you take to move through that crisis and know that things were going to be ok?

  • Peter focused on creating and he took to learning as much as possible.
  • What honest actions am I taking today to set myself up for success in 10 years from now? 20 years from now?
  • He learned to listen to what truly is important to him.

22:20 – Perils & Pearls. What is the biggest peril you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and what pearl got you out of it?

  • Even though he went to Columbia and got an MBA, he fundamentally misunderstood what business is. He started by building a terrible business that would have never worked.
  • Then he realized that business is simply cashflow and when you build something, focus on the systems that will help it run itself, create profits, manage itself, etc.

32:50 – You’re so brilliant with what you’ve learned over the years, how and in what ways do you serve people in your coaching?

  • Peter specializes in working with entrepreneurs because they are fast to move and make changes, vs. a corporation that could take years to make changes.
  • He runs an 8-week business bootcamp to help people just getting started and he also has a mastermind group called Forum, which focuses on the “5%” of activities that matter the most.

40:12 – Where can people go to get ahold of you and take advantage of what you offer?

42:42 – How can we strategically use honesty in our business to grow?

  • Peter says our assumptions about business are what’s killing us. The first place to be honest is with ourselves, and to see where we need to improve.
  • When we as entrepreneurs fail to communicate the entire truth with the people, customers, vendors that we work with, we lose.
  • Be honest about what it takes to run an actual thriving business.

52:57 – If you could go back 5-10 years in the past and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

  • Stop worrying.

How high will you go?

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