Guest: Dr David Dugan
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Overview: Dr. David Dugan, a world-class business coach, joins Talkers.FM to talk about his passion and commitment to helping business owners and entrepreneurs deliver outstanding results in their chosen careers. He shares his guiding principles in achieving success – that is to love what you do and always be an inspiration to others.
Guest Bio: David’s experience in business coaching and leadership across a diverse range of industries is ‘expansive’ and impressive. He served in the Australian Navy for 18 years and retired as a Commander, where he was awarded the Humanitarian Overseas Medal for work during the 2004 Tsunami, when many lives were lost. David has also undergone in-depth training, earning himself a number of coaching credentials, including the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership, International Coach Federation, and being a Trainer with Anthony Robbins the world’s authority on the psychology of peak performance and organisational turnaround. He also studied and practiced as a Dentist. He is constantly educating and surrounding himself with world-class leaders and mentors, and hence himself has matured to the ranks alongside many of the best. Most importantly earning those stripes not through the accumulation of information, but by the application of it and obtaining outstanding results.
Toby Longhurst: Hello and welcome to Business Radio Talkers.fm. My name is Toby Longhurst and joining me in conversation today is David Dugan. David is a wealth expert, business coach, a key person of influence and I believe somewhat of a surfing aficionado. David welcome to the program.
Dr. David Dugan: Hey, good day to you Toby. How are you going buddy?
Toby: Now we talk to a lot of people in business and I get really excited when I get to talk to people who have their own name in their company name. You simply are your own brand and for me that shows, whenever I talk to people in that boat, they always show a level of confidence and pride in what they do. They just go that extra step but it always makes me ask the question “Who are they?” So I guess the question is, who is David Dugan?
David: You say it like it’s the easiest question but it’s actually probably the hardest question to ask is ‘who are you?’ And if I would go to know who I am, like the real salt of ‘Who I am’ and what gets me out of bed for me is to love, to lead and to inspire. So everything that I’ve done through my life has had those three things in play and I’ve had a few different careers in my life. Although the careers might have been different, the single essence of what I do really stays as those three things – to love, to lead and to inspire – not just myself but all those around me as well.
Toby: So what are you doing currently?
David: So I’m a business coach and mentor and even though my website is obviously of my name, that’s my personal brand. I do run a business and there are 12 of us in that business and that’s called Abundance Global. And what most people see when they search, they’ll see my personal brand come up, so I’m a CEO of a business coaching and mentoring company and we help small business owners to really help them to scale their businesses and to create intergenerational wealth for themselves and their community. And for us, small businesses are generally speaking between about a hundred thousand when they start with us to about three million. So when people start with us, they’re usually in that as far as revenue goes and then we help them to scale to become a lifestyle or a performance business from there.
Toby: How did you get into the coaching area? Because as you said, you’ve had a pretty wide and varied career – a dentist, the Navy, many things. Tell us, give us a bit of backstory.
David: Well it’s kind of an interesting thing. If I really go right back to where I sort of started is at school. I just kind of realized that success leaves clues and I remember being 13 years old and I remember the school Captain that time by the name of Bruce Legger who was an incredible guy and I just went “I want to be like him.” So I just modeled him and every year of my school I would model the school captain of the year before and I kind of like took on their habits and so I would say it sort of partly started and probably even before that was with my father – just this whole idea of modeling. Then I got into the Navy and the Navy, they have a rank structure but in the rank structure, there are very much mentoring principles that are based in there all the way through. So I sort of grew up with that mentoring philosophy in my life and one of the key things was I’ve got really inspired in 2000 with the Olympics. I attended the Olympics, I was working in the Olympic Village and after that I thought “I’m going to go out and I’m going to compete. I want to go out and become an Olympian.” And the sport that I chose was the thing called the modern pentathlon, there are five sports in the amazing sport and what I realized I didn’t know how to do it. I only knew how to swim and how to run and even running I have never a real coaching on that so basically I had to get five coaches in each of the different disciplines to watch how I played my game and so that was the first real time that I got this whole idea of five different people looking at my game for want of a better word and it really got me inspired around “What if I applied that into my professional life?” And I was a dentist and I was a Commander in the Australian Navy and then I went and attended some courses. I went and came across a fellow by the name of Tony Robbins and I have got some training with him and some of his coaches so I’ve got an understanding of coaching. At that particular time, coaching was for people who are remedial students. It was like “They need a coach because they’re a little bit backward.” Now it’s kind of if you don’t have someone then people kind of go “Oh you’re just going to get left behind at some point.” Because if you look at coaching, any elite sport or in the Olympics which was held so not so long ago and come off games, there’s never been a team that’s ever competed or even excels or being on the middle diocese that hasn’t had someone looking at their game on the outside, having a coach. So I really came from the sporting background then going to see Tony and then in the military from the year 2000, I was made a professional mentor so all the young officers that came in my department, in my area I was their mentor so that would just become part of what I did. And then the last official job I had in the Navy was teaching leadership and executive coaching, I’ve officially trained as an executive coach. So I had this coaching side on and mentoring side all the way through my career but I love business. Since I’ve been about 12 years old, I’ve had a business on the side and then decided for a variety of bizarre reasons that I love coaching and mentoring and I love business and I went “Why don’t I just put the two of them together?” And that’s what we do today and we inspire and coach small businesses to really become leaders in their area and to hit well above their weight and we know we can do that very consistently now.
Toby: I love that you take so much inspiration from other people, take the best bits and apply it into your own career. There are so many people out there, you’ve only got to look online for a second to see everyone’s got the ‘three easy steps to this’ and ‘a surefire way for that.’ There’s a lot of people with opinion, as someone who has sought out best of the best and now want to be the best of the best – how do you separate the real deal from the crowd?
David: You may have to bleep out a lot of different things in this call because it could be controversial. I suppose the first thing I’m going to say there are no quick fixes, there’s no three steps, that’s all a load of baloney. There are some guiding principles that will help you to go down a certain pathway so let’s put that aside from a moment, I’ll come back to that. But how you choose to be inspired by or mentored by a coach, by someone, I think first off is their mission aligned to your mission is there is where they’re going and what they’re talking about – is that in your heart of hearts, do you feel that something that’s going to be aligned you? I think that’s really really important because there are many ways to be right and there are many different styles to help you get there. You want to follow the right style for you so I think that’s a really important part of it. The second thing is do they walk their talk? And I know and in fact I mentor a lot of the speakers, a lot of people that are quite famous in their business community and what I know is behind the scenes, they’re not really doing what they say. So I would investigate and really find out ‘are they doing what they say?’ And then that leads to the third part is what are the results of that clients? Like what is it that they are doing? How is that translating? We decided about five years ago that we wanted to up our game and we’re business coaches and mentors so what that means is if we’re not talking numbers and finances, then we’re really life coaches or performance coaches which are perfectly fine. That’s different from what we do though and so for us, we track numbers. And to just give you an idea, last calendar year our clients grew their revenue by fifty five percent and their net profit increased from the year before by 418 percent. The year before that was again at fifty five percent increase in revenue and the net profit was a two hundred and seventy four percent increase. Every month we get a profit loss and balance sheet from our clients so that’s the average results so that’s, for us, that’s how we display what we do and out of 100 people that we talk with, we only take 13 so we know who we can work with best. So there are key things around deciding on who to work with and I suppose the second thing I said we’d come back to is are there quick steps? And the truth is there is not. There are definitely some principles that you put into place.
Toby: Those growth statistics you just gave me, they’re really impressive numbers which makes me wonder why if there’s all of that potential there, why are businesses missing out on it? What what are the common mistakes that you find businesses making?
David: Yeah, I’d love to. Here’s the first thing, they don’t really know what they want. I’ve asked, we’ve worked with personally over 1,500 businesses in a one-on-one relationship and into the four to five thousand in small groups of say 30 or less and if I asked the question “What is it you really want from your business?” I have yet to find a single person that can give me the answer and there are three different categories on it. Financially, what do you really want from it? And if I say to people “What do you want from it?” Toby, if I asked you this to you, don’t answer this, but if I said this to you right now, “What do you want for your business?” Generally most people go “I want a million dollars!” And I go “Really? Okay, well tell me why?” And then we sit down and I go “Well what’s your ideal lifestyle? How much money do you need to live a great life so that you can do what you want whenever you want to?” And I’ve done this with thousands of people and most people in the Western culture and let’s say particularly in the UK, Australia and the U.S. can have a great lifestyle. Like their ideal lifestyle between 200,000 and 400,000 dollars in there that’s their personal income that they pull in from their businesses. So that means that they can actually have businesses that are usually a lot smaller than what they think they can. So the first thing is really, really clear on what they want from an income perspective. Secondly is what are they really clear on around the time that they want to put into it? And that’s the time in the business, time on the business and the time out. And the third thing is what’s the impact they want to make? From a personal perspective, what do they want to master? What do they want to grow? What do they want to learn? And then what’s the difference they want to make on the product or service they have? What are they wanting to put out there? I find that a lot of people, they don’t know that, then they get lost. They’re looking for the next bright shiny object and they’re looking for like the next get-rich-quick thing on the internet marketing, insert the ‘quick just do this and you can sell a thousand e-books and you’ll be rich’ or the next Alibaba or Amazon, whatever. You know what? That just does not work. Occasionally someone jags it but it’s not sustainable. So that’s the first thing I would say that people fall astray on Toby around knowing what they want. I reckon the second thing I’d say is most people don’t know the optics and they’re not looking at the numbers in their business at all.
Toby: Clearly if you’re only taking 13% of the people who approach you, you clearly know what you want. What’s the difference between a client you want and a client you don’t want?
David: I have this on a bumper sticker. I ask this question to every single person, “On a scale from one to ten, as far as commitment to scale, to grow yourself and to grow your business – and the scale of one is if it happens, no big deal and ten is you walk across broken glass to make it happen – where would you score yourself? Now I ask people that question and they need to be a 9 or 10 out of 10 as far as commitment to want to grow the business. If they’re under that, we don’t take them and it’s as simple as that. That is the number one criteria that we look at. You kind of think “Oh that sort of make sense.” If you really delve below that, what that really is saying is that the mindset that goes behind a personal drive to be able to handle the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur – it is not an easy ride. In fact I spent over a million dollars in my own outside 5 University qualifications, a million dollars outside that on my own professional development and by far the best professional development course I’ve ever done is start a business because every fear and frustration I’ve ever had in my life will come up and flash it into my face and I’m going to have to deal with that sucker. So if you’re not really prepared to do what it takes and to handle, really truly grow – everyone says they want to grow but the truth is that they don’t really want to grow, they just want to get a nice quick fix. Growing means you go look at some places, shine some light on some dark areas and go “Actually I’m probably not that good at that area and I need to work on that area or I need to be more vulnerable. I need to open up around that.”
Toby: Now David if I called you and I’m committed, I’m in for the hard yard, I’m going to walk across that broken glass, I’m a 9 – I’d like to think I’m a 10 but I’m probably a 9 – and I say “David, we need focus. We need direction. We need your help. You’re our man.” Where do we go from there?
David: The first thing is I want to check out what your product is, your service is and who you want to help so I want to make sure these are our market for what you’re doing – that’s a really important part of it. The other part is we don’t really take startups unless they’re insightful, they are in their second business that they want to kick in again. So someone already needs to have a skill, so they already need to have what I say is they’re great operators so they’re highly skilled technicians and we help them to be great business owners. So we basically bolt on and we copilot the business with our clients. We bolt on the business owner thinking so where we start off with is we align together and we go through our alignment process and really note out in detail what we’ve just talked about around ‘what do you want to achieve?’ All those different areas and then we look at your product, we look at your ideal client, we make sure there’s a message and there’s a match of those two. Most people screw up the productization of their business, particularly if it’s a service business so we do a heap of effort and time into that area. And then once we’ve got that ready, it actually is relatively simple, not easy, but it’s really simple to then just then create a promotion plan and a marketing plan to then put that out to the community. So it’s simple, not necessarily easy, and that’s essentially a big part of what we do.
Toby: And if people want to get in touch with you, how can they do that?
David: They can go to my website daviddugan.com or they can just shoot me an email [email protected] so they can shoot an email and I’m happy for your listeners if you are a nine or ten out there in the category I’ve said there, if they want to have a quick chat with me, I’m more than happy for a fellow entrepreneur to have a chat if there’s something we can do to help them out and that’s great for 10-15 minutes and I’m happy to help them out in any way possible.
Toby: Well David I’d love to stay and chat for an hour but unfortunately we’re out of time. But quickly before we go, I guess all work and no play makes David a dull boy. When you’re not working, you’re a bit of a keen surfer. Where are some of the best spots you’ve been?
David: By far, my favourite holiday destination and surfing spot is the Maldives. Getting on a boat and sailing with a group of friends and sailing through all their little islands there, there’s a break called Coax and other one called Chickens which are my absolute favorite things. And if I’m not doing that, I’ve got three little kids and I’m at home changing nappies, playing on bikes, going to the park and doing things like that so they’re my two hobbies outside doing stuff in business.
Toby: You’re a busy man David, a very busy man. Thank you so much for joining us today.
David: Thanks Toby, I appreciate it buddy. See you mate.
Toby: It’s our pleasure. Now if you’ve just joined us on Business Radio Talkers.fm, you’ve just missed me talking to David Dugan about growing businesses mentoring and a little bit of surfing as well. The good news however is that you can listen to this interview in full on our website talkers.fm where you can find the it in its entirety along with a transcript and many other interviews from Australia’s leading business minds. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn where we would really, really, really love for you to hit the like button, hit the follow button and give us a bit of love. My name is Toby Longhurst and you have been listening to Business Radio Talkers.fm