Cultivating a Transformative Culture – Bryan Clayton

“You as the owner and leader of your business, you get exactly the culture, vibe, and company that you deserve” Bryan Clayton

Every entrepreneur has a unique account of how their entrepreneurship journey unfolds. There are however very key similarities in all these stories among them being resilience and continuous transformation. Our guest today, Bryan Clayton is a seasoned entrepreneur and leader in his own right. He shares with us his unique journey to business success and insists on the importance of factoring in people aspect in your transformation plan.

Bryan Clayton is the CEO and co-founder of GreenPal, an online marketplace that connects homeowners with local lawn care professionals. GreenPal has been called the“Uber for lawn care” by Entrepreneur magazine and has over 100,000 active users completing thousands of transactions per day. Before starting GreenPal, Bryan Clayton founded Peachtree Inc., one of the largest landscaping companies in the state of Tennessee growing it to over $10 million a year in annual revenue before it was acquired by Lusa holdings in 2013. Bryan‘s interest and expertise are related to entrepreneurialism, small business growth, marketing, and bootstrapping businesses from zero revenue to profitability and exit.

In today’s episode, our guest will be giving us practical and key leadership lessons and tips that are instrumental in running successful businesses and which listeners and viewers will find insightful.

Listen in!

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  • I am the CEO, co-founder of Greenpal and I have been at this company for 8 years, with several hundreds of thousands of customers using the app to get their grass cut and doing $20 Million a year in revenue. [3:08]
  • Before Greenpal I had a landscaping company that I grew from just me and a push mower to 150 employees which got in $10 million a year in revenue over 15 years. [3:29]
  • I was able to get the business acquired which doesn’t happen so often in the landscaping industry. [3:42]
  • Growing that first business I learned a lot about how to grow and scale a business, leadership, how to become a good leader, and how to get people rallied around what the objective is and getting them to want to come to work every day. [3:47]
  • I applied everything I learned in the first fifteen years of business into the second company which is a tech company. [4:20]
  • One thing I have learned, is that business can cause you as the founder or owner to be a better leader. [4:41]
  • You are constantly going to be evolving every so often and that means that you are doing things right. [5:07]
  • One of the growing periods I went through and I was a terrible leader and boss and I had to evolve and grow. [6:27]
  • You as the owner and leader of your business, get exactly the culture, vibe, and company that you deserve. [7:10]
  • That was a tough pill to swallow but was one that I had to learn the hard way [7:34]
  • I decided that I was going to make it fun again. [7:46]
  • I tried to align the company’s success with what my people wanted in their life. [8:07]
  • I started a program where we were giving out interest-free loans, and as the staff grew in number, the program ballooned and became the why behind what the whole company did. [8:20]
  • It galvanized the whole team into one solidary force where key things like quality and timeliness took care of themselves. [9:33]
  • The reason why the business was able to be sold is that we had a good culture and low employee turnover [9:54]
  • When the leader tries to fix culture, it’s got to be actionable, practical, and real. [12:20]
  • There was a big gap between my previous company and the current company that I did not understand. [14:28]
  • I believed that starting a software-based company would be easier than what I was previously doing but I was so wrong. [15:02]
  • I recruited two co-founders who were as relentless and hardworking as I tried to be and I could tell that they wanted something more out of life. [15:10]
  • With Greenpal everything was new and it was difficult forging my way through the unknown. [16:01]
  • It took us three years to build what we believed Greenpal should be while teaching ourselves software development as well as marketing and distribution of the software. [16:21]
  • With putting in the time and hard work we started to see evidence of it working and started bringing specialists and people that were better at the roles than we were and build a team. [17:02]
  • Now we have a team of twenty-five people and most are smarter than me. [17:14]
  • It is a fun thing to build a business where you walk in and most of the people are smarter than you. [17:20]
  • It has been 8 years in the business and I am glad that I did not give up because it has all been worth it. [17:40]
  • You have to do interesting things in your life to live an interesting life. [18:51]
  • My business is the storyline of my life and if it weren’t for the ups and downs, it wouldn’t be as interesting. [18:59]
  • Commercial Break. [19:35]
  • If you are going through a crisis, then don’t nibble at it. It is not happening to you but for you and maybe 5 years or less from now, you will be glad this happened. [21:46]
  • A lot of times as leaders, the easiest mistake we always make is holding on to B, C, D players when we need to flash that out and get lean. [22:18]
  • When you are a founder of a small business of between 15 -20 people, you have to be good at both. [25:10]
  • It is constantly being aware of the difference between a good manager and a good leader. [26:18]


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