062: Randy Kirk | What it Takes to Drive Small Businesses Forward

Today we’ve got the Founder of So Cal Masterminds, Randy Kirk. He is passionate about helping business owners and executives succeed in business. As a serial entrepreneur and business book author, Randy is truly aware of the opportunities and challenges associated with running your own show.
In this episode, we get into what it takes to drive small businesses forward. Randy talks about the action you’re able to take because of the Mastermind room you’re in, and 2 actionable items you should take right now. Check it out!



The Mastermind Effect:  01:29

Our ability to learn has changed over the last 5, 10 years. What we have access to when we were younger: textbooks, teachers, classmates, friends, family, and co-workers—that gives us a sliver of what’s truly possible out there. How has your learning changed from your early years versus today?


Randy Kirk:  02:53

Currently, if I’m going to be left alone on a desert island or some place that I only get to keep one thing, it’s going to be my iPhone and of course, a cell connection. We can’t live without it. Some people are saying that we already are robots because we are connected to the internet through our phones even if there’s no neural link connection yet. For now, the phone is indispensable whether it’s working during the day, to research, or whether it’s watching a television program at night and wondering what that British word means on Britbox.


The Mastermind Effect:  03:34

Is it also because of the contacts and the connections that you have in that cellphone for how you’re able to learn? Is that also part of why your cellphone is intricate and important to you?


Randy Kirk:  03:49

I think I’ve always been a connector. I’ve always been someone who networked a ton. I don’t know that I network any more now than I did before. The networking is definitely different. When I started out 50 years ago, the Chamber of Commerce was a big deal. The Optimist Club or the Rotary was a big deal. Moose and the Lodges were another big deal. You even did business at church. That has definitely switched. Service clubs are not anything like what they used to be. Now, it’s the networking clubs. Our referral groups are a very big deal now. There seems to be a lot of networking folks that are setting up meetings when we can meet in person. Now, all that stuff has gone online.


I’m a member of something called Lunch Club and another one Meet After Work. They’re all online. I told somebody the other day. I’m very outgoing. I don’t mind walking into a room of complete strangers and trying to muscle my way into conversations. But I don’t like it. It’s not my favorite thing to do. But now with these groups online, you are matched up with one, two, or three other people in a room. Everybody in the room is expected to start a conversation. It’s much more natural. It’s much less hassle. I think even shrinking violets can probably do it.


The Mastermind Effect:  05:14

That’s interesting that you mentioned something there about you’ll go into a room of people that you don’t know. You work your way through it, but it’s not what you enjoy. I think the more entrepreneurs that I interview, believe it or not, are introverts. Because the energy that it takes when you’re giving yourself so much, you’re giving back. You want to lead with the gift mentality. You exert so much that to do it right then and there literally takes you to one to two days just to get that energy back.


Randy Kirk:  05:42

I’m kind of the opposite. Nobody’s really ever accused me of being that much of a giver. I’m usually the closer. I’m usually energized by meetings like that. But it’s still not fun. I’m still saying, “No, I don’t go.” Wow. I get to go to a mixer tonight.


The Mastermind Effect:  06:01

We have more ways to take in information than ever before. It’s almost overwhelming to say the least. Some people look for mentors, accountability buddies, masterminds, coaches, online courses, and a lot of way to take in information today. Who are you currently learning from and more importantly, how did you connect with them?


Randy Kirk:  06:23

I learn from everybody. I consider everybody to have something to contribute to me. I have a friend who has an IQ of about 75. She is never been married. She is subsistence-level living in West Los Angeles, California. She gets along. She manages to make her way through life. What she has taught me is that living in the moment is amazing. She is so generous to everybody around her. Nobody ever forgets her. I call her my hero. It doesn’t matter what your brain power is. What matters is what is it that you can contribute. I want to know what everybody has that can contribute to my knowledge base.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:04

That’s what we call a superpower. Everyone has a superpower inside of them. Sometimes it takes coaching, mentorship, masterminds, or a friend that you surround yourself with. To pull that superpower out, sometimes we need help. We just don’t know what it is. If I were to ask you your superpower, what would you say it is?


Randy Kirk:  07:29

A superpower is probably recognizing raw talent and then helping it to bloom. It could be a product. It could be a company. It can be a person. What I’ve done for my entire career, and even before my career, is seeing that raw talent and wanting, desiring, and feeling you have to help that thing become what it could possibly be.


The Mastermind Effect:  07:54

A lot of people get stuck and they don’t know how to execute what’s in their head. We’re still going through a pandemic. To me, it’s causing a reset on how we’re able to accomplish things. You and I were talking about this beforehand. How have masterminds helped you when you’re looking to reset yourself and get unstuck?


Randy Kirk:  08:16

I have three different versions of what we call a mastermind group. My favorite, the one that everybody gets the biggest kick out of, is a 12-step program for entrepreneurs. Getting into an environment where there’s a bunch of other people who understand me and who I understand, because we have similar backgrounds, experiences, and desires. The stuff that makes us stick is more similar than it is to my brother or my parents or my next-door neighbor. They get me, I get them. In that environment, I’m more trusted and I’m more trusting. Number two is that our mastermind groups at least are totally based on brainstorming. We spent four hours in a brainstorming meeting. Unless you’re completely dead to the world, if you’re in that meeting for four hours and you don’t come up with a handful of ideas. Because you’re brainstorming on other people’s problem or issue or opportunity, just the brainstorming process itself has to be able to say, “Oh my gosh, I could do that for myself.”




The Mastermind Effect:  09:23

That’s the amazing thing with masterminds. You get together with people from different industries, different passions, and different abilities. You’re able to when they’re on the hot seat or you’re discussing their business. Even though you are in a completely different industry, you can plug and play something, take something out, plug it into your business or your niche, whatever it is, and see immediate results. That’s the great thing about it. It’s like you aren’t in a room full of plumbers. If it was a plumber’s mastermind, you probably don’t want all plumbers to be in there. You probably want people from different industries so you can think differently. You can see around corners. That’s the power of masterminds.


Speaking of masterminds, they’ve been around for a hot minute. Probably the first mastermind was the apostles, and then eventually Benjamin Franklin. He created the Judo club or the leather apron club. Then this guy by the name of Napoleon Hill defines it and writes it in a book, “Think and Grow Rich.” There’s been such a large boom of self-education moving away, in my opinion, from traditional education. Where do you see these two parallels going—traditional education versus self-education?


Randy Kirk:  10:34

I’m married to an English professor. I’m in the cusp of her very long career in education seeing this movement in both directions. I assumed that all four of my children would go to university. Only two did. Two of them say, “I don’t need University.” I said, “What do you mean, you don’t need university? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” We’re in a situation now where people are learning skill sets, or they’re even learning university-level education online sometimes from universities who are putting their stuff up there for anybody to take for free, or from TED Talks or maybe from my new website. It’s all out there. There’s no lack of information available out there for people to learn if they’re motivated to learn.


The Mastermind Effect:  11:28

That’s the big thing. You got to be motivated. You got to have that drive, that want. You have to start the engine. You might not know where you’re going, but you got to take action. Experiment and take action.


When someone typically invests in their future, they have a better than vague idea of what they’re going to get out of it. They’re able to have some expectation of what the results could be if they implement what you’re working with him on in that mastermind. What should people expect when they enter your reality?


Randy Kirk:  11:55

What they should expect is somebody that’s going to encourage the heck out of them and give them some creative ideas for direction if they are interested in receiving it and if they’re interested in potentially going out and executing on some of it. If they enter my reality, the reality is if I’m perfectly happy where I am or I may not be happy where I am but I’m not willing to do any hard things to improve, then they’re probably not going to get a lot of my time.


The Mastermind Effect:  12:27

You can weed them out quickly: those people that should be in your circle and those people that are going to be a drain versus a value-add to the groups that you’re bringing together. People come to you and are involved in your masterminds because of the people you’ve selected, because of the people that you’ve researched a little bit. Make sure that they’re going to be a value-add, not a value-drain.


Randy Kirk:  12:49

Right. That’s even true on an individual level. There are obviously mentor relationships in life. I’m just not interested in the person who sucks up the knowledge or sets up my time and then doesn’t go out and execute. I have a consulting business as well and I fired a couple of clients over the years. If you’re not going to do it, why are you paying me? What’s the benefit?


The Mastermind Effect:  13:16

I feel that people have a way of surprising us, whether it’s their willingness to learn, their drive, whatever it is. Give us a success story, if you wouldn’t mind, of someone that’s been through one of your masterminds. What they were able to accomplish because of the room that you curated?


Randy Kirk:  13:33

I think the one that comes most of mind is the co-author of my new book, “Making Money Out of Thin Air.” Shallow Chamberlain is the co-author of my first book that I co-authored. I had another author involved. She’s a CPA and a CMA, which is a Certified Management Accountant. She started her own CPA business three years ago. Middle-aged. She had been an accountant in a corporation for many years. Now, she’s going on her own. We see a lot of that, a lot of our mastermind people. I don’t know if this would be true nationally, but in Southern California, a lot of our mastermind people are coming out of corporate and starting out again on their own in middle age. Anyway, she comes to our mastermind practically out of the gate. She comes in and she said “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do it.” We said, “Well, you know, you’re probably going to have to knock doors.” She said, “I don’t want to knock doors.” One of our members said, “I’ll knock doors with you.” He was in a completely different industry. He said, “I’ll go out with you for four hours some afternoon.” He went right up with her. They knocked on doors together. She’s still not thrilled with the idea of going out and making cold calls on local businesses, but at least she had a chance to go out and see that it wasn’t as scary as maybe it was perceived, and also to get a little bit technique under her belt for going out and doing it. Well, you know how they talk about only 50% of the businesses will be around five years after they’re open? Well, at year two, she was already successful in terms of what she was contributing to her family. After three years, she’s doing great. She’s fending calls and she doesn’t have to go out and cold call anymore.


The Mastermind Effect:  15:23

No one’s really a fan of cold calling and knocking on doors. It’s tough today, obviously, to knock on doors. But it is an art. That was unbelievable that someone stepped up and said, “Hey, I’ll go with you. I will take this challenge on with you.” My fellow masterminds are awesome.




The Mastermind Effect: 

When I work with my coach, we talk about what it takes to be successful. In our solo shows, we talked about the pillars of success, hanging out with the right people, willingness to invest in yourself, and taking action through experimentation. I feel there’s a lot of things that it takes to be successful: mentorship, willingness to fail, experimentation, partnerships, all different things. What do you feel is a key ingredient when it comes to being successful?


Randy Kirk:  16:07

Doing the hard things. I’ve written half a book called “Doing the Hard Things.” If anybody wants to write me at that email address, I will send them a free copy of this partially written book. I find the number one thing I found in three years of mastermind. Because I’ve learned more in three years of running mastermind groups than I think I learned in the previous 47. So, the thing that I see over and over again is that people are stuck at around 65,000 to 75,000 in income at running small businesses. That seems to be the national average. That’s what I’m saying as well. They’re stuck at those levels because they’re not willing to do the things that they find to be outside their comfort zone. It may start with cold calling. But it’s not just cold calling, it’s learning how to market. It’s learning how to sell even if you’re getting in warm leads and not knowing how to actually do the selling process: how to close at the end, being afraid to close at the end, not being willing to accept a no, and not being willing to jump in and learn how to do your accounting properly. Because it’s math and you’re afraid of math. That’s what the latest book, the “Making Money Out of Thin Air” is all about—how to become great at understanding your financials. There’s a whole list. I think I have 30 something items in there of hard things that small business owners typically are not excited about doing.


The Mastermind Effect:  17:39

What I was getting out of what you’re saying is if they’re not willing to do it, they can’t be everything to everyone. They work in the business, not on the business. You need to outsource. You need to sit there at things that you’re not good at. It’s going to cost me money. Well, guess what? How much is it going to cost you if you don’t outsource your social media? How much is it going to cost you if you don’t outsource and get a coach, a mentor, a consultant. That’s where you’ll sit there, and you’ll be able to see you’ve outsourced what it takes to be successful.


Randy Kirk:  18:11

I agree with you 100%. I now have workers all over the world because I started using fiber and other resources a few years ago. I’m getting to the point now where all the stuff I hate to do is done by others. The only caveat I would make to what you say is it’s always good for the owner to get a certain level of knowledge about every one of those subjects so that people can’t pull the wool over their eyes, they can see whether the person is doing quality work, and so that the other person recognizes that they can’t pull the wool over the owners’ eyes. I’m a big fan of owners digging in on those things that are even a little outside of their comfort zone and learning at least enough to be able to keep everybody else on.


The Mastermind Effect:  18:59

Yeah, absolutely. You do need to have a working knowledge in those areas, or you will get taken advantage of. Let’s be honest. You probably still going to get taken advantage of either way, but you can mitigate how much of a loss that’s going to be there.


As we’re getting closer to an end, I feel that there’s always new ideas brewing in times of prosperity. I think real innovation and ingenuity come in times when we feel the squeeze. I think the world is still feeling that squeeze. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that really excites you?


Randy Kirk:  19:31

Well, it’s pretty interesting. You asked because I’ve just made this decision at the same time that I am going to start this new website. The website excites me. What really excites me is I’m going to jump into your industry just a little bit but different. I’m going to have a YouTube channel also starting about January and it’s going to be a daily show. Maybe I can have you on my daily show after I get it started. It’s going to be about my main book. “When Friday isn’t Payday” is about everything in business, from the germ of an idea to start a business, all the way to selling the business at the end and everything in between. It’s an opus. It’s 400 pages packed with ideas and methods and approaches. What I’m trying to do with a website is now expand what can be put in a book to where it’s really covering the entire range. The daily show will be to drive people to that website, drive them to my books, drive them to the mastermind, and drive them to my consultancy. It will also be very informational. It’ll be something that the goal will be every single day, people are going to take something away of tremendous value out of a 15- or 30-minute sit down.


The Mastermind Effect:  20:47

I would be honored to be on the YouTube channel. I appreciate that.


What is one last thing that if any of the listeners out there implemented it, they would see real action and something change and their personal business life over the next 30, 60, 90 days. What’s a tip, tactic or actionable item you can leave the listeners with?


Randy Kirk:  21:10

How about two. One of them, if you’re a local business and you’re not highly ranked on Google My Business, you’re foolish. It is by far the number one real estate online. If you’re not highly ranked on Google My Business, become highly ranked on Google My Business. It is very simple. If you’re in the top three, if you’re in the three pack, we call it, then you will get found and you will get phone calls. If you’re not in the three pack, your phone’s not going to ring because of Google. It’s just as simple as that. I’ve been proving that for 15 years. That’s number one.


The other one is what I want on my gravestone. Nothing happens until something is sold. I’ve seen companies that had great store fronts, great interior design, great products, great social media—every thing’s great. I’ve been in the bicycle industry almost my whole life. I’ve seen situations where people walk in the front door of a beautiful and incredible bike shop with one of the top brands, and nobody even greets them. Then, when they do greet them, they don’t try to determine the need. Then, as everybody’s standing around, nobody’s closing. Then, after the clothes, they’re not selling add-ons. I mean, it makes me crazy. Nothing happens until something is sold.


The Mastermind Effect:  22:34

Your point on Google, I wholeheartedly agree with that. We had zero reviews in one of my companies this year. I think we’ve got just shy of 100. We started it in April and people now find us. One of my companies gets one or two customers on a monthly basis just because they find us through Google.


Randy, I appreciate you spending the time with us today. We’ve got Randy Kirk, founder of So Cal Masterminds. Thank you so much for spending time with us today.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Currently, if I’m gonna be left alone on a desert island someplace and I only get to keep one thing, it’s gonna be my iPhone and a cell connection of some kind.” – Randy Kirk

“We’re in a situation now, where people are learning skill sets or University level education online, sometimes from Universities or TED talks, or maybe my new website. It’s all out there, there’s no lack of information available out there for people to learn if they’re motivated.” – Randy Kirk

“I’ve learned more in 3 years of running mastermind groups, than I’ve learned in the previous 47.” – Randy Kirk

“Nothing happens until something is sold.” – Randy Kirk

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more, connect with Randy, send him an email at randykirk77@gmail.com and visit https://www.socalmasterminds.com/. Check out http://freebusinesshelpnow.com/ 

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You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can move beyond your limits.

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