March 25, 2023

Episode #73: Jemmie Wang – AcretivPartners, LLP

Jemmie Wang was born in Taiwan, grew up in Canada, and has lived in the US since 1989. He earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.B.A., both from the University of Michigan. He is also an ASQ certified six sigma black belt.

He is an entrepreneur at heart and ran a computer company for 9 years while getting his degrees and then worked in the corporate world for 15 years with Dell and private equity backed companies.

Since 2014 Jemmie has been a consultant helping companies of all sizes from Fortune 100 to regional family-owned business improve profitability and successfully sell, often investing along with ownership.

Transcript

hello this is coach Tim campsall and I’m your host for the self-made as a myth show make a difference together where we’re talking with successful business owners to hear their journey of them building their business and because we know that success in business is not something that we can do on our own we’re taking time out to acknowledge and recognize the folks who have helped us to build our business and helped us to be successful today I’m excited to have a fellow business owner from Indiana with us today my guest has checked this out has lived in how many countries three countries and is fluent in English Chinese and and learning Spanish he loves to travel and has been to 43 countries 43 countries wow that’s amazing we’re gonna get a little bit of uh insight into that here in a minute and he’s most proud of spending quality time with his girls who has traveled to many of those countries with them it’s my pleasure to welcome Jimmy to the show today hello Jimmy hey Tim uh thanks for having me well let’s start with having you um introduce yourself tell us a little bit of your personal story like where you were born and and live about your family and some of your hobbies yeah so um I was born Jimmy Wang I was born in Taiwan I grew up in Toronto Canada and I’ve been in the U.S since 1989. so uh you know 30 some years and uh I guess my back story is I got my bachelor’s in electrical engineering and MBA from North Michigan and I’ve been uh I’ve always been kind of an entrepreneur at heart um very creative in how I think about things and business and solutions and so I started a computer company in the 90s when I was going to school full-time and ran that for nine years and I went to Dell and a series of private Equity owned companies that I helped sell as part of the executive team and since 2014 I’ve been working with my partner on uh in Consulting and also Investments so we consult with everyone from Fortune 100 companies to Regional Statewide family-owned businesses and we do really focus on process Improvement increasing profitability and helping a lot of these companies sell when they want to and often we invest alongside with the owners so we have some skin in the game and frankly uh it’s not all altruistic so I mean so we get some upside when we make these significant improvements uh and are able to cash in with the owners when they sell so and uh you know in terms of I guess my hobbies um a lot of different Hobbies including uh you know camping backpacking fishing a lot of Outdoors things but also it’s fundamentally a lot of travel so we’ve been to 43 countries uh over the past few years and um just for me I guess it’s one of the things you do when uh when ADHD transitions into adult uh I want to I like being exposed to environments that are new to me and are challenging right that that’s what really um you know iron sharpens iron so that’s what really makes me alive like I’m here I don’t know I don’t know the local language I don’t know anyone and my family’s here what do we do so that that’s what uh really wakes me up yeah fantastic and um of those 43 countries how many did you say you took your daughters to they’ve been like 34 of them with with me with my me and my wife and um and they they’re well traveled now um and I think it builds a sense of confidence among these kids right like uh we’re going somewhere we don’t know anyone we don’t know the local language we have a kind of high level itinerary of what we what we’re going to do but uh what I the way I frame it is it’s kind of like travel Jazz right so it’s not it’s not like a traditional piece of music where here’s a piece of music and you play every note the way it’s written but it’s like jazz right there’s gonna be a lot of improvisations there’s a lot of change of plans um you know there there may be a great attraction that was not on the list uh we just happened to run into and there may be something that uh we thought we’d be at for four hours but hey it’s done after an hour and a half that’s great and um so it’s like travel Jazz and I I think there’s tremendous value in exposing um exposing kids to that and it it literally broadens their Horizons in the world but also shows them how to deal with uncertainty how to deal with you know kind of the known unknowns and even unknown unknowns that come on so as a fellow Canadian do you uh do you recognize tell people you’re from Canada or from the us when you’re traveling abroad [Laughter]

my family can say whatever they want but I talk about it which is which is true uh and you know but what’s my first Americans um these the every place I’ve been to even places that you think hmm they should not love Americans like Vietnam right Vietnam war bombs were dropped there than in all World War II right most about Americans and you think like they should not love Americans but when I go there and every single one of them they’re like we love Americans so I would encourage my American friends to travel to these places that some of these places that we’re you might even wonder like hey what do they think about Americans every single place I’ve been to even places that I’m like hey why do why do you love the Americans and you know unanimously they love Americans yeah so I’d encourage I encourage my Americans friends to shop Jimmy what’s a funny story that your family likes to tell about you that you’d be willing to share with us today you know I don’t know if there’s one funny story but they they make fun of me a lot about um I’m a my wife says it’s a it’s a gift and a curse um when I go somewhere I want to walk into when I see a certain situation I cannot help but imagine how this process can work better right so like my brain cannot cannot but help say oh you know this restaurant does things this way this here’s a sequence there’s a better way to do this this is a better way or uh you know even traveling like what is the optimal so a lot of people when they travel they’re like hey we’ll start the day and we’ll see what happens or we’re gonna hit these three sites so I have um I have points of interest on a map and so when we’re buying somewhere I can see uh what’s the optimal sequence of of sites right and so my family makes fun of me a lot about that but you know what uh they they get the benefits of that without the obsession without the obsession and they ultimately they ultimately enjoy it they’re just like let him struggle over it yeah we’ll get the fruits of that struggle and there you go Jimmy you mentioned that you’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart tell us about how the business came about and at what point did you have the confidence that you could run your own business so I started my first company when I was probably 19 right and I ran that computer company for nine years and what got me confident about that was and I’m trying to frame this in a very positive way was I saw some of the other people doing it and I’m like wait and this may be overconfidence but I’m like wait I can do this a lot better there are better ways to do this right they’re not they’re they’re making this mistake that mistake it’s inefficient this way and so there are better ways to do this and that’s what got me that’s really what um gave me the confidence I guess and you know when you’re 19 you know we were both 19 ones Tim and uh when you’re 19 you’re overconfident about a lot of things okay so maybe I was overconfident but it if so I guess the positive uh result from that was it allowed me to try it allowed me to jump in yeah right which uh I mean which for me is it’s a very positive kind of attribute in that you’re just willing to do it right as opposed to kind of waiting for the perfect perfect moment the perfect situation the perfect business the perfect product whatever it is because perfect almost never comes right yes I love that um tell us a little bit more about the company so what’s what’s the name what do you guys do how do you help people so currently um the company is called the creative Partners LLP and my partner and I my partner was a partner at booze so we have uh clients literally ranging from Fortune 100 to Fortune 100 companies to um you know Statewide Regional companies with revenue of you know and tens of millions right tens of millions tens or hundreds of billions and we do everything from strategic planning to um specific improvements on uh you know whether it’s a division or the product or whatever just bringing kind of The outsider’s View with a emphasis on quantitative um quantitative decision making right instead of this instead of making decisions by gut uh making decisions by facts by facts of numbers in a very unemotional um unemotional way and it’s a lot of it is what I call you know Moneyball for business right so instead of managing by gut like hey this guy looks like he’s a great baseball player or he looks like he’s um he fits The Stereotype of the great this baseball player but let’s look at the numbers let’s look at the numbers and then let’s also look at or we look at the right numbers right that was one of the uh keys of Moneyball is like what are the right metrics so what are the right metrics for this business this division uh what actually what metrics are actually tied to profitability and are under the control of the employees in that business right because there are some metrics that are tied to profitability but are not but under the control of the managers the executives managers employees in that business right so what what drive profitability and are under control of the employees in this business and optimize those increase profitability increase Top Line and if the business uh when the timing is right if the business owner wants to help them uh sell the business present it in a a favorable of a way as as possible and try to get maximum value and uh because we will offer we’re one of the very very few Consulting companies that will often take a significant or in a couple of cases all of compensation in the form of uh stock options or stock okay so um our interests are completely aligned with that of our clients sure right so and then when they uh when they cash out or um hopefully a a market or premium pricing we get the benefits of that as well fantastic Jimmy share a story with us of where someone pushed you or inspired you that um that you could do it maybe even when you didn’t think that you could and the impact that that person had yeah you know um I think when I left when I left uh the last I guess full-time job in 2014 uh you know I was like hey what do I do now and uh the previous CEO I had worked with I talked with him and I said you know I’m thinking about doing this and he said yeah you know with your business contacts and uh your skills that we saw in the business that benefited the business uh you can definitely um you could definitely you could definitely do this and uh that was encouraging but I I’ll say like um that was encouraging and a lot of the other colleagues and uh friends I talked with they’re they’re all very encouraging uh but for me all those things helped but they helped validate kind of the I guess the confidence I had that yeah this is this is very doable right and uh it’s something I I did before you know even in my 20s when I knew nothing right I mean come on you know when we’re in our 20s what do we really know even in my 20s when I knew nothing I ran a business so I’m like yeah I know so much more now and um I’ve grown so much I’ve gotten you know I’ve gotten my butt kicked uh the right way uh so many more times since then uh that this is this is very doable but the encouragement from you know the previous bosses and colleagues and Friends uh helped definitely yeah awesome what’s been your biggest learning as a business owner so

I think my biggest learning and someone I think someone once said I’ll paraphrase this like the the smart man learns from his mistakes and success successes but the really smart man learns from the failures the successes of others so what I try to do and what I’ve seen from a lot of the business smaller this small medium-sized businesses that I’ve worked with is a lot of these really successful people in business did not get there because they’re rocket scientists right and I’m not I I want to be very careful they’re you know they’re not stupid people but they were not rocket scientists right they didn’t go to Harvard MIT who stand for whatever but what they did is they just did it okay and they just did it they had an idea and instead of um being paralyzed by analysis or waiting for the perfect idea or waiting for the perfect time the perfect situation the the perfect customer right the perfect season you know whatever you just said that I I’m just going to go and do it and see what happens and then I’m going to be open-minded about how I’m going to make this succeed I’m going to Pivot frequently when necessary but I’m just going to do it so I’ve I’ve worked with a lot of people who were who are not rocket scientists but they just did it yeah yeah right they just they just did it and uh they did it and improved along the way uh you know I’m a I’m a Michigan guy so one of the things Jim Harbaugh says that is very uh that kind of touches me to the course he said see which our success is we’re going to be better today than we were yesterday and we’ll be better tomorrow than we were today yeah okay so it’s not how good you are right now or how good your business is right now or how good your ideas right now but are you going to improve it continuously right so are you going to do it and are you going to continue to improve if you do those two things that I a lot of these clients we work with who we help cash out with you know eight nine ten figures okay uh that’s what they’re about and that that’s kind of my lesson is that um success in business is is is a lot of is just doing it right and doing it obsessively right and one thing I tell my girls is Obsession beats Talent night you know 100 of the time yes Obsession beats Talent yes one of the things my uh coach uh taught me in the in the first couple years is be persistent and consistent and so I think that ties into what you’re saying is if you keep doing the things and you know doing the right things planting the seeds eventually they’re going to sprout and and and things will take off and yeah yeah you have to Pivot you have to learn you have to adapt because right nothing the only thing we know about our plans for sure is that they’re not going to work out exactly the way we map them out but but it’s a guideline right it’s a post it’s a it’s you need to have a plan yeah there’s a great philosopher Mike Tyson uh a great quote he has two great quotes I I tell my girls all the time one is everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth uh but you need to have a plan but you need to be um flexible with it right because we’re all going to get punched in the mouth yeah okay so you can’t say I’m gonna this is the plan I’m gonna keep going at this guy full you know stayed on either punch their mouth again again you need to have a plan right so uh absolutely you need a plan but you need to be able to adapt right yeah and and I like what you said too about that continuous learning so some folks can can get worried about quote-unquote failing um and so when we change that word from failing to learning right or or failing forward that that’s a much better perspective of yeah there’s going to be lots of stuff that we don’t get right the first time and that we have to adapt and and course correct and modify and tweak but if we’re if we keep going at it and keep working towards our our plan or our vision right we’ll and learn along the way and and make adjustments then you know lots of people give up way too early so those of us who keep at it are the ones that are going to see those successes I I just went to lunch with a friend of mine earlier this week and he does uh he does sales in a insurance industry uh wholesaler and he says that he tracks this he says for every 6.4 rfps I put I respond to I wouldn’t want it yeah okay so for him he looks at it as yes I can improve upon that number but two I just need to increase that’s just 24 right if I do if it’s one is 6.4 if I do 64 I’m going to win 10. if I do 100 128 yes I’m going to win 20. yeah and it’s just it’s just math right so he just keeps at it he said and it’s fascinating the way he puts it to me is he says look my job is easy right technically it’s very easy I work a lot I work very hard um but technically it’s very very easy and most people can’t do it because they get discouraged because they they get discouraged by the 5.4 that they lose yes but you know which I mean if you put hours or days uh preparing a proposal I can see that but he just says I I just focus on the one of the 24 and I just have to increase that 6.4 yes yeah and the great thing about that is when you know your numbers now when you get a no you know you’re one you’re one more right one step closer to the next yes that’s that’s one of the 5.4 no’s right yep you got you need 4.4 more no’s until you get to your yes yep right and that’s all it is yeah exactly so it’s it’s it’s persu it’s persistency consistency it’s Obsession yeah yes yeah Jimmy we know that business success doesn’t happen in isolation so tell us um about one of your biggest challenges during the years and maybe a fellow business owner who came alongside you and helped you get through that yeah you know um that’s a great question I’m going to take I’m gonna do a slightly different take on that in that I’ve had a lot of help over the years from fellow business owners but also um

uh customers clients and some of the key decision makers at the clients okay I’ve had a lot of help but what I what I want to emphasize is you have to bring something to the table okay no one’s going to help you if you bring nothing to the table okay I mean none of us and and some people are surprised by that but I’m like okay let me ask you how many friends do you have who are who are ugly on the outside ugly on the inside boring to be with and just downers how many friends how many friends do you have that are like that right and everyone’s answer is no a zero like I don’t have any friends like that right but there are people like that out there so my point is none of us have friends like that because they bring nothing to the table right okay so they you have to bring something to the table Yeah and yes we need the help of uh friends you know colleagues other stakeholders in Industry uh whatever but we need to bring something to the table so that they will help us because they see that we help them or we can help them or we will help them right and whether that is uh insights uh customer leads um oh you know whatever brings something to the table so that uh others will be a lot more or will absolutely help you yeah and it makes me think of um so I’m in a BNI networking group and and the the principle is givers game right so the more you give to the the other members in the group there everybody then feels uh you know almost uh a a need or responsibility to give back and reciprocate you know what you give to others I I like how you know how you’ve explained that so that folks who are listening you know understand that principle of you know you get what you give right right and it’s from their perspective it’s not entirely altruistic right I mean like I said if it weren’t entirely altruistic we would all of us would have a couple friends who are ugly on inside ins outside and boring to be with and not funny or whatever right none of us have that right so uh it’s not entire altruistics because then these people uh that you would you want help with and you need help with see uh this guy or this gal brings something to the table and Canon will help me so I’m gonna help him or her right and it in fact it’s how the human societies have worked for thousands of years right where uh in societies where they did not have um extensive ability to store Foods right when you when they make a big kill they share the food with everyone it’s not because they’re magnanimous and autistic because you can’t eat an entire Buffalo by yourself or with your family so look I killed it so here’s some Buffalo for everyone but remember I mean they don’t say it but remember I killed this Buffalo new to you and yes maybe two weeks maybe two weeks from now when you kill a buffalo and I don’t have one you know you remember that because maybe four weeks from now I will kill another one yes so you have to bring something to the table yeah I love it Jimmy if I asked you I’ll put you on the spot here if I asked you to pick three people in your business who um as part of your journey who you’re most grateful for them being there to help with your business growth who are those three people and how they help you you know I I think I I don’t want to mention any names because they’re still in kind of the industry but um I’ve had probably two CEOs and one CFO who’s who have helped me a lot and I think

you know um I think was the Sicilians I was saying only a true friend will tell you when you have mud on your face right and they helped me a lot in that they offered me advice that was often inconvenient right and maybe uncomfortable right you need to do more of this or your uh this behavior on your part will limit your growth right which is what one of them said uh and I think some of these uncomfortable because I I don’t need anyone to especially we’ve talked about this right I I’m I tend to be a very confident guy right I don’t need someone to tell me oh you did this great or you did that great yeah because you know people like me tend to think I do everything great right reality or not so I it these gentlemen helped me um and they were very successful and one of them I still deal with on a monthly basis um they help me by saying okay uh these things you need to work on okay and here’s why and if you don’t work on this it’s going to meet your growth and so on and so forth and that I thought um it was very valuable I I highly encourage and I do encourage um young people especially to find to find a mentor okay a mentor who will help guide them not just technically and some people think mentors are you know this person will help me with this technical skill some of it is that but I think more so how you grow as a how you grow and mature as a human right uh we we have we have long lifespans right our our life expectancy right I was approaching around 80. so if you get to Workforce in the early 20s if you work till you’re six that’s 40 years so that’s a lot of time to grow and uh you know it back to the horrible scene right if you’re better today than yesterday a better tomorrow than today yeah uh the sky’s the limit right but if you’re flatlining uh that’s a long time to do flat light yeah yeah and there’s a lot of ways that so people can can grow right it’s easy to read a book or listen to an audible or watch a video or go to a conference so um I I hear a lot at times well I don’t have the time well you really people you don’t really not have the time right you can’t afford not to keep growing and developing because um you’ll get left behind so think about what what can you easily Implement into your your weekly schedule that helps you to to continue to to become a better person tomorrow than you were today I love that saying yeah I I think uh you know Warren Buffett uh gave this analogy he he asked a bunch of school kids and I was watching documentary what asked a bunch of school kids he said look if if I told you you can only have one car in your life okay how well would you maintain that car and protect that car and improve that car and you know the kids are like yeah that’d be I if I can only have one car in my life I do everything I can to maintain it to uh you know to make sure it lasts my entire lifetime and then buffer said okay well you only have one you you only have one right you only have one person one body one mind and if you would do that for a car why would you not do that for yourself now yeah right and I think that’s where you know companies like yours could probably help come in and action coach but um and and it’s a great point right you would do that if I you would do that for a car if I told you I only have one car right right why would you not do that for yourself your body your mind your capabilities yeah I love that quote wow it’s that’s so powerful Jimmy as you think about the next three to five years what are the biggest challenges that you see that you’re gonna face in reaching your goals and who are the types of people that you’re going to need to help you overcome those challenges so we we live in an age we’re looking at age one um changes and this sounds cliche but it’s not where change is all around us okay so if you think about it if someone if someone fell asleep in 1850 and I woke up in 1900. that person’s skill sets would still be relevant okay would still be very relevant uh whether they’re blacksmith or whatever it’d still be it’d still be a relevant skill set and if you do a fun experiment for the year let’s say 100 A.D and 150 A.D it would be even worse right I mean like nothing changed in 50 years right now if you think about it we’re in 2023. if someone went to sleep in 1973 and woke up in 2023. their skill sets would be almost completely irrelevant right almost completely irrelevant so my point is not only is change all around us but the pace of change right so from engineering terms the second derivative right the pace of change is increasing change so it changes getting faster so one of my challenges is to keep up with that with a lot of my clients right A lot of my clients and so the pace of change is increasing and how do I keep up with that and and still stay on the foreground right and honestly as as people like me you know uh get older and older uh there’s at least a perception that hey this guy or uh this gal is they’re not keeping in touch with what’s what’s new what’s the greatest newest and greatest right right so I have to combat that and the way I combat that is to um kind of what Warren Buffett was saying is to work on me work on my brain work on um my knowledge of what of the trends and then to synthesize that right so uh instead of being so be able to synthesize all that and be on the front The Cutting Edge the front end of a lot of this change so I think that’s the um and yes working with other stakeholders uh in this industry but working with you know some ypus and others and keep you on a foreground of this increasing rate of change right yeah so I I can imagine but I’d love you to talk about it a little bit there must be things that you you’re able to access to help you with that learning um so what are what are some of your go-to’s in terms of helping you keep up to that change you know I um I talk I go to a lot of Industry conferences of the various industries that I lead for my um partner me and he leads some others I don’t have these industry conferences I talk with a lot of thought leaders in Industry uh you know at the conferences uh sometimes on background and I read a lot I read um I read not only about the industries that I’m involved in but of global Trends right what’s going on what uh what’s going with the newest technology so for example I uh I started playing with the chat gbt right and uh just on the second day I started playing with it uh I finally got in because they put me on a wait list and all that but second day I started playing with it I used it to summarize um I asked for an executive summary from one of my uh direct reports and he gave me a two-page he gave me a two-pager I’m like okay no look for this type of top unless you’re unless you’re giving me an executive summary of the history of the universe it’s got to be shorter than two pages yeah I need three or four bullet points so what I did was I took that two-pager put in a tattoo BT I said give me three give me four bullet points and and it did it and it was very good wow okay so I’m not selling that obviously uh because I don’t own chat gbt but just being just doing that and experimenting with it and uh instead of pushing back and say oh you know chat EBT will never replace humans that’s not the point right but are there practical applications of these new technologies out there right now yeah that I can use to improve my business and my life right okay it doesn’t even mean this is going to be end result I think they’re gonna be far bigger consequences and results but are there uh is there a small bite of the Apple that this thing can do in kind of my business right that um I may be able to Parlay into something else maybe something that is monetizable sure right and so that’s an example of kind of keeping in touch with uh with the changing technology right I I see a lot of people frankly I’ll be honest I hate to be ageless but I see a lot of people my age like oh you know tattoo ET will never replace humans on but that’s kind of the wrong measure right it’s not we’ll replace humans but we’ll replace some things that some people do right now so that they can they can do the things that chatty gbt cannot do right right and how do we play around with that so that we can then think about so then I I played around with I’m like hey I wonder I I think of a couple uses my clients can do with this in their business right and even if that doesn’t come to fruition that’s starting to connect some of the islands of knowledge I have about this industry or other industries that uh that may still be Islands right now but I’m starting to I’m starting to connect you know neural land bridges yeah well I I like your example back to what you said at the very beginning that your mind’s always thinking about how do I make it more efficient who even just taking a report and being able to you know condense it down to a two-pager and then condense a two-pager to bullet point I mean that saves a lot of somebody’s time right it saves a lot of time and it’s hard because I forgot who it was um I think it was Benjamin Franklin or George Washington someone said um wrote a letter it’s like a two or three Page Letter I said at the start I said sorry for this long letter I didn’t have enough time to write your short one [Laughter] because it’s harder to write it’s harder to convey yeah the same thoughts where 95 of the same thoughts in three bullet points than it is in two pages right anyone can do this two-pager right anywhere right two page that’s not a summary to me okay anyone can write this two-pager but can someone get 95 of the core of this t-pager in the three bullet points yeah wow okay

if decision makers are not going to read your two pages or you can read your three bullet points what should I do why what are the uh consequences if I don’t do it if I do it done yep fair enough last question here Jimmy uh Jim Rohn said that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with so as you think about that quote what advice would you have for business owners who are trying to do it on their own or feel like they have to do it on their own they can’t ask for help yeah I would encourage them to that’s great question I I would encourage them to network more to go to some of these networking events and search for try to spend more time with people who are successful in the fields that they want to be successful in okay uh you know if you’re in if you’re in basketball or chess or whatever you don’t get better by playing those who are worse or far worse than you right okay and it’s even questionable how much better you get by playing those who are at the same level right you get better faster if you play and Associate and watch those who are better than you okay you can see what are they doing that I’m not what am I doing that they’re not and uh how do I get better so I’d encourage people to network more to uh go to more of the events for the industries that they want to be successful in uh and to associate to be friend to offer value to those who are successful in the field that they want to be successful in so that um they can learn something from these people who are more successful than them yeah awesome Jimmy it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today thanks so much for being on the show thanks Tim it’s great talking with you to everyone who tuned in thanks for listening to self-made is a myth show with your host coach Tim campsel be sure to help us spread the movement by liking our show and posting about it on your social media and to join our movement go to be mad together.com all right folks that’s a wrap make sure to pay it forward and I’ll see you all next time take care bye