Ep374: Logan Nathan – Your Solutions Are with Your Advocates Talk to Them

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Quick take

BIO: Logan Nathan is the founder and CEO at i4T Global/i4Tradies. He’s a digital transformation specialist, a serial startup entrepreneur, a board director and advisor, and an angel investor.

STORY: Logan had an innovative idea that would be a big disruptor in the digital transformation industry. Just when the idea was getting traction, the pandemic hit the world. Logan had to pivot his business to survive. With the help of his employees, suppliers, advisors, and associates, he could pivot to a point where his business has now gone global.

LEARNING: Listen to your advocates and customers; they can teach you more than you think. Look at your problems from a different angle.

“It doesn’t matter what you have learned. There is always somebody who will teach you more than what you know.”

Logan Nathan

Guest profile

Logan Nathan is the founder and CEO at i4T Global/i4Tradies. He’s a digital transformation specialist, a serial startup entrepreneur, a board director and advisor, and an angel investor.

Worst investment ever

Logan has always had an innovative mind and is always trying to challenge the status quo. It is no wonder that he was running his company at 18 years of age.

Getting into the digital transformation industry

He always wanted to cause disruption, and the digital transformation industry caught his eye. Logan delved deep into it, did his research, and about four years ago, he wrote a book about digital transformation. Now he wanted to innovate a product in that industry.

Targeting tradesmen

Logan had, over the years, built relationships with tradesmen. So he decided this was where he would develop his product. His idea was to create software like Uber but for tradesmen. He discussed the idea with a trade business owner, and he loved it.

Diving both feet in

The two gentlemen dived into the idea and got the wheels rolling. Logan had a team of people who could code and do the technology part of the product. They then went looking for funding so that they could come up with the beta version.

They went for an angel investing meeting, and the investors were skeptical about the idea and told them to get out of it as fast as they could. Logan was adamant, and so he went on to create a finished product.

The market was not ready for them

When it was time to hit the market, Logan realized that it was not ready for their product. It became tough to deal with individual tradesmen. But one day, he happened to interact with a property management agent who was having issues with a tradesman. It was then that Logan realized that he was targeting the wrong people. So he shifted his business ideas from individual tradesmen to property management agents.

A successful turnaround

The shift saw the business take a turn for the best. The company started to get traction and was making a substantial profit.

Then came COVID-19

Just when the business was getting its footing, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and Logan lost 80% of his customers. The business was not going to survive the pandemic. However, his never-give-up spirit made him look at the pandemic more positively.

Looking for all possible ways to survive

Logan gathered his employees, suppliers, and associates and had an extensive discussion on how to stay in business. They all accepted to receive pay cuts allowing the company to have some dependable cash flow. They also came up with an innovative idea to stay in business. This new idea has grown so much that Logan is taking it global.

Lessons learned

Entrepreneurs never give up

The biggest lesson that Logan learned from this experience is that a true entrepreneur never gives up.

Listen to your advocates; they can teach you more than you think

Your employees, suppliers, associates, and advisors are your true advocates. They are the ones who will give you the lift that you need. Make sure you listen to them because they, too, have opinions and ideas that matter.

Always think that the reverse is true

Always look at situations in reverse. Therein lies your solution. When things are going great, ask yourself what is bad about that situation to preempt it. When things are going bad, ask yourself what is good about that situation to seize the opportunities.

Andrew’s takeaways

Look at your problems from a different angle

Always try looking at a problem from a different angle; when one idea does not work as you expected, look in another direction where that idea can be valuable.

Talk and listen to your customers

Whenever you feel down, talk to your customers. You’re either going to find they’re not happy about something and then you’re going to feel invigorated to fix that. Or you’re going to find out they’re so glad about something, and you’re going to feel good about that.

Actionable advice

Make sure that you have enough cash flow to last you at least three months. This way, you will be able to forecast for the following three months. If you can manage that cash flow, and look at all the things that can go wrong, then you will be ok.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Logan’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to learn from his journey in the last couple of years. He also wants to use his experience to teach many other people because the more people you train, the more collaborative advocates you will have in your journey.


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk, but to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now to reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist. I've made specifically for you my podcast listeners, based on the lessons I've learned from all of my guests, fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz. And I'm here with featured guests, Logan, Nate and Logan. Are you ready to rock?

Yes, I am. Of course.

Andrew Stotz 00:43
Let's do it. Well, let me introduce you to the audience. Logan is founder and CEO at I 40. Global an eye for tradies. He's a digital transformation specialist, a serial startup entrepreneur, a board director and advisor, and an angel in investor login. Take a minute and filling further tidbits about your life.

Logan Nathan 01:09
Thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me to your exciting podcast. Well, like I said, People can't see me Of course, this is an audio broadcast. With my gray hair, you can really say that I've come from almost 40 years of IT industry. And of course, having gone through studying as a youngster on my own, you know, doing my own business. And then I realized that I want to be really the expert on technology. So I quit that and joined the multinational. And I took that journey for 22 years. And then I realized that my real passion is all about driving, and the intrapreneurial shape that I always had him from ever since I was young. So 18 years ago, my journey started starting up my own company, and really trying to learn all to really implement the things that I've learned through my corporate life through my journey, you know, as a youngster, and, of course, I learned a lot of lessons. And believe me, as you go through, I'm going to give Australia some exciting stuff. Let me fire up the 18 years of this journey. Yeah, going with you so fantastic. You know what the next step is?

Andrew Stotz 02:30
Yeah, maybe just for those people who don't know about your business, you could just tell us a little bit about what your business is what it does right now. So that we understand where you're coming from with that.

Logan Nathan 02:42
Right. So, like I said earlier on, I've been always in the IT industry, and always been in a waiting room where my thinking and always like to challenge the status quo, that's always been my nature. So 18 years old, in my running my own company, all is I've been trying to service the client, and we didn't really have a vertical. So we were just servicing the client or anybody that require a digital transformation need. Right? That could be just from an consultancy, to advise to developing a website, to social media to actually, you know, taking the journey across to whatever they had. About four years ago, I wrote a book about digital transformation, because, you know, intrigued me how Uber, Airbnb and all of these disruptive technology has changed the way the industry worked in the past. That intro me and said, wrote a book about trans transformation that's impacting the small businesses like mine, in any industry, that really got me delete thing and say, I'm not getting any younger. Before I call it quits myself, I want to disrupt an industry that I only choose, and good take the journey. Of course, as an entrepreneur, you always take a risk. So I was looking around since I've finished my book, and rightly or wrongly, we had a lot of relationship with trades people. We know in Australia, we call them tradies. trades clients, and you become my mates as well being you know, you get to get to know them really well. And I put this idea forward to one of the trades, business owners, and he loved it. He said how are we doing disruptive to the trades industry, the way it operates the Uber style way? They said, he told me I've been thinking about it too. Let's do it.

Andrew Stotz 04:44
By the way, when you talk about trading, so you're talking about plumbers and mechanics and and you know, nutrition, handyman all of these, you know,

Logan Nathan 04:53
yeah called tradies. But, you know, I think that normally they call a tradesman or contractors you can call that in the wins. So we said, Yes, let's get into it. And as always entrepreneurs do dive into it. The next thing, we'll just dive into it. Fortunately, I had a team of people who know how to actually do the coding and the technology part of it. Without asking the questions too much, we'll just get into it. And as I dive into having a beta version, obviously, you got to now start looking for funds. And I remember this very clearly. When I went into one of the angel investor meeting, they said, Are you trying to fix tradespeople problem? They're the most disorganized bunch. And you while he can get out of it, get out? I don't think you're not going to get anywhere. But no, is not the answer for me as an entrepreneur, especially, given the tradespeople, I said, Yeah, let's go in. So remember, I was talking about Uber star, we are trying to solve a consumer problem, which you always, you know, used to getting, you know, service from the trades, but no transparency, no nothing, just like an Uber platform does. As we took the journey, and obviously, we had some trading mates or trades people that that business owners willing to put the money in, we got into their journey. By this time, I spent my enormous mind money on this with a small investment from six other trades business companies, we got to the bottom of it in terms of where we're going to go now. While we are the idea, I really found out the market wasn't quite ready yet. The trades people who are not prepared to be transparent, because the way that trades people work is you got some problem, I'll fix it, you pay me the money and get out of here. Right? And the consumer point of view, they are also been well trained, or comes to us to just, you know, do something for me, here's the money and do it. The worst scenario is what we were trying to do is everything transparent and open. Offer often the tradies are taking cash. And the consumers also used to by paying a cash, they can save a few dollars. So often, this is much, much bigger challenge and what we have, right, you know, cut the chase, we actually realize you're into the end of the line. Having gone through all the investment, this b2c journey we are taking is not going anywhere. Right. However, a light bulb moment came in, during the process well into the year and a half, I would say. So here's that story. As we've gone in, we actually had a call from one of those investor tradie, who was also using the tradespeople. He was also using the platform. He said Logan, something funny happened to me today. When actually I received a call from a real estate company, then told me often they come to pay their bills months later. And they said we are about to pay the bill. So we were checking with the tenant, whether this was fixed. wombat is no visibility here. And the tenant said, No, they can't recall, these guys never been there. I don't think you should be paying the bill. Then, of course, that request, come back to the trades company owner. And he said Logan, I can tell you normally this is a $300. Bill, I just let it go and become the guilty party because it will take me more than four hours to find something happened six weeks, seven weeks ago. And it's the day's work for me or half a day's work, that's not going to be possible to justify the $300. With that I become the guilty party, I lose that client forever. And then but like Gao goes on, and I keep struggling, suddenly I realized I'm using AI for tradies which then records every moment of that transaction process. When the call was received. When did I actually accept the job? We did I assigned the job to one of my employees to go and do the job. What time did you arrive? What did you do? What time you finished it? I got the feedback. And we got all that audit process there. Right. And it took me with some time five minutes to realize that and I print that in PDF form and send it to this real estate property manager. You won't believe it. He had a drop dropping experience jaw dropping experience I should say. The reason is what kind of transfers in Are you because we were not expecting that sort of detail that you're recording at any moment. Andrew that said Amen. He shared that I realized that night. We are not really chasing b2c or business or consumer. We have a gap, a huge gap in the business to business area where the business is actually Got a bigger problem, where they are actually handling somebody's asset management and not able to produce results, or justify that in a way that they need to do it. So, now we have gone back and realize, let's go to this, what I call it authorized agents, who actually got an asset to manage on behalf of their client, who can then really require to be ahead of the game, and disrupt the way that the whole business processes working from A to set. And, and with that, we have actually gone to the biggest company, and we have been really convincing them to do it. And we have really started building that, that was going back to 2090.

Andrew Stotz 10:52

Logan Nathan 10:52
to actually come into 2019, we were thinking we are really going to cook and hit the rocket, you know, very soon, and we are going to be world famous. Guess what happened in March 2019, sorry, 2020 COVID, he does, I don't think anybody expected it. I'm not alone, the whole world. Cut the long story short, by March, April, we lost 80%, the little revenue we were getting. And we were actually thinking in this is a isn't the end of the world. For us, everything we have done for the previous three years is gone wasted. As enterpreneurs, you never give up, you always find a different way to do things. So what we have done is the first thing we did is how can we keep our head above water. All I knew is we don't know what the length of this period where the problem is going to be. All I knew is if somebody survived during this period of COVID. And the customer says if that company survived, that's the company we want to deal with. That's the unknown, the company and the team. And the culture of that company handled it really well. That's all I knew at that time and back in March. So I put that back into motion. First, we went to all the what we call it collaborators, or partners and say, What can you do for us? That's the first question. Then he said, I mean, the end of the day is about cash flow management. For anybody that is actually devices all about cash flow. Fortunately, Australian government also gave enough funding to keep my head above water for the people that genuinely doing the business. That's number two. Number three is now you go back to your staff and be honest to them, and open to them say this is a real situation, guys. We want to keep going. And I really shared with them what my real. My vision is at the end of COVID. No idea what that in the COVID means when I told about this around about March, April timeframe. And I said, What can you do? You won't believe it, including suppliers. And our staff were prepared to cut their wages for a period of time. Of course, they couldn't do it forever. And we were able to cash positively cash manager for a period of about three months. In the meantime, he said, ``Where is the situation now? Just like that light bulb moment with the property manager is that what can we do to right now to the situation? Forget about our vision, the long term, what is it we can do now? Believe it or not, we come up with a very simple SMS technology that really can earn a house owner locked up in a lockdown situation can just send a request to say I want to trade I'm in trouble, right or tradesperson. And you could get that. So we introduced that. And we got the recognition from quite a lot of other people that that is the right thing to do. And take that forward. Now that's become a part of our module on our bigger picture. Right. So taking this forward, we have not stopped there. While our technical people were busy doing this work for about two to three months. What we said was okay, why are we not? What do we do differently? We manage the cash flow, we managed to keep the retain of the client. Let's go back and tell the story to the world where we are at and how important post COVID this technology is more than ever before. Guess what? Back in 2019, the clients that we had started coming back and talking to us. Cut the long story short, we also did another thing we said we are not just now we in talking about in Australia. This problem is worldwide in fact actually worldwide is much bigger than The problem in Australia, we said we want to go global. That's why we actually name it i 40. Global. Right I for trade is going globe, the globe today, not only we have actually signed with a number one company, here in Australia, and also to fast track our global growth, found a one of the largest company trades company to become the license holder for Oceana, that mean Australia, New Zealand, and the smaller countries in around this region, for them to really take on and, and implement this technology in this part of the world, which is Oceana, that allow us to have a master license owner focus on that, while the strategic customers commit to us, and we won't believe it, we now have a $10 million deal over the next five years. Yeah, now, as we speak, I'm now implementing the same process and the strategies that we learned in the last 12 months, globally. And we think we're not only we think we know, the things that we have done, can be really valuable in the US, Europe and other parts of the countries. That's really my short and long term, long answer of where we are at. And the two lightbulb moments and I'm blaming, every time you talk to the client, you talk to your staff, you talk to your supplier, they will tell you the lightbulb moments for you. You have to just listen, listen and listen carefully, and think it through and say how does it impact? I really want to give you one other thing that are always been been my motto. When things are happening really bad, always things what is sorry, when things are happening really, really good. Always think that reverse actually what is bad about this? When things are going really, really bad for you. Just ask the caller what is good about it. Right. And to be honest, if I can just give you a single light bulb moment for your for your listeners, that's what really got me to think differently, and come through the survival through the COVID, where I was bringing up broken going broke, to where we are today going thinking about going global.

Andrew Stotz 17:20
That's great. Yeah. So how would you summarize? I mean, you this is a big, a lot of stuff went on in this, how would you summarize what you learn from this experience?

Logan Nathan 17:33
You'd never give up? Right, as an apology, never give up? And summarize is the answer is with you advocates. Right, you step into it?

Andrew Stotz 17:48
That's great. All right, well, let me share a few things. I wrote down a lot of stuff as I was listening to you. But the first thing that you made me think about is that you kind of you were attacking what you thought was the problem. And that was the relationship between the tradie and the customer. So kind of a, you know, that simple relationship. But what you the way that you ended up solving it was you identified an ultimate beneficiary or an asset owner, or somebody that really needed that much more than those two parties needed it. And therefore, and you found that, so that's the first thing is this idea of going beyond where you're first looking. And I know in the industry of finance, we have brokers that execute, buy and sell orders, we have fund management companies that send those buy and sell orders to the brokers. But we also have the asset owners, which are the ultimate beneficiaries. So sometimes you may not be able to convince the mutual fund company, for instance, to do a certain thing. But if you could give into the asset owner, let's just say that they you should look at corporate governance and you know, social impact, or ESG, you make the fund management company say, well, we're really busy and all that. But if the asset owner goes to them and says, I want this, then all of a sudden after this. And so I think you've given a great example of kind of looking at the problem from a different angle, you saw a problem. You didn't see that it was as valuable as you thought. But then you found another direction where it was valuable. And I think the second thing that I take away is your cart, you know, it reminds me of my business partner. He says whenever you feel down, talk to your customers. And he said, You know, you're either going to find they're not happy about something, and then you're going to feel invigorated to go fix that. Or you're going to find out they're happy about something and you're going to feel good about that. But what You've told us that listen to your customer, listen to the parties involved, and you'll find your answer there. And that's a great lesson because a lot of times when times are tough, we lock ourselves in our offices, we have team meetings. And what you're telling us is the answer is not there. That's what I take away from what you said, what would you add to that?

Logan Nathan 20:25
Thank you. Yes, spot on. I would just say, broadly, advocates are the advocates, you're not only just applying your supplies, your association that you know, the advisors that really give you the lift that you need, of course, your employees, that they're the ones really making that engine room, burning every day. You got to really make sure you listen to them, because they also, you know, equally impacted, or really have the livelihood with you. Yeah. To me, combination of all of that tapping in the right town. Yep. Like I said, in when things are bad, always ask what is good or bad? Because that's a really opposite psychology, like your podcast talking about the worst, worst investment. So he says the opposite psychology, right? And when things are going good, which is happening right now, to me, I'm always thinking, what is bad about it, you know, how do we have in the growth and the cash flow that can really something can go wrong? So what is bad about it? How do you mitigate that? So it is the opposite that often we don't ask, that's really true in generally life. To be honest with you,

Andrew Stotz 21:35
I like it. Because you know, if you think of life is just a series of ups and downs. It's like a sine wave in electronics as an example. And it just goes up and down. But when you are at your peak, and you ask what can go wrong, you bring down your peak a little bit. And when you're at your bottom, and you say, what could go right, you bring up your bottom a little bit, and you bring more stability and less volatility to your life. So I think that's really great advice.

Logan Nathan 22:04
Thank you that you're either us any better than what I could do. Very good.

Andrew Stotz 22:08
Excellent, I think, a lot of great lessons to learn. So now, what I now want you to do is give some advice, and think about young people out there that are struggling, they're challenged, they're facing obstacles, they're not exactly sure how to overcome those. And I'm going to ask you this question, which is based upon what you've learned from this story, and what you continue to learn. What one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Logan Nathan 22:36
But ultimately, if somebody's trying to do whatever they want to achieve is a cash flow is the King. We all know that. Right? So when he talking about the cash flow, what is it that you require? The one of the biggest lessons I've learned is, make sure that you have a cash flow, at least in tech for next three months, then you can actually put in pretty well forecast for the following three months, right? entrepreneurs are really good in ideas. The cash is always difficult to come by, especially with a new idea. But if we can really manage that cash flow, and look at all the medication that can go wrong, that's what I was thinking in a good question, you know, what can go wrong? And the other way around as well? And then I think you got it made you afraid to ask your associates, if your suppliers and your employees because they can give you have a lot more ideas. And we have done, you know, salary for, you know, nearly three months, and they voluntarily accepted?

Andrew Stotz 23:44
Yeah. So, listeners, you know, pay attention to the words that Logan is mentioning. He didn't say cash. He said cash flow. And cash flow is king. A lot of times we see cash is king. And yes, I mean, everybody would like to be sitting on a big pile of cash. But if you can't produce cash flow, it's very hard to convince other people to come along with your story, whether they're employees, or whether they're investors. So I think let's take heed to the exact words that Logan said, which is cash flow is king. All right. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months? Number one is to learn from what we have done it. And a for me is about teaching many other people to me, right? Because the lesson that we have learned, the more people that you teach, the more

Logan Nathan 24:43
collaborative advocates that you're going to have to take your journey. really doesn't matter what I learned is always somebody is going to teach you better than what you


Logan Nathan 24:54
So the more you pass on, just like I'm doing with you, Andrew Yep. And I'm learning from you, as I Just talking, right? And the things that I've done, you're putting it beautifully back out to your listeners. Beautiful. Right? So yeah, that's why the more you teach, the two things happened to you, the more you teach, you're learning more from your own self, listening to your own voice. The other thing is you're creating more advocate for yourself. Today, I think I've actually, you know, just got another advocate, yourself. And through your listeners, I'm sure that I'm going to get many more LinkedIn requests and connect in and take it further.

Andrew Stotz 25:31
Yep. Fantastic. Well, listeners, there you have it, another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal in the next 12 months is to help you my listener, reduce risk in your life. So go to my worst investment ever.com right now and download the risk reduction checklist to see how you measure up. As we conclude, Logan, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of Ace Dance Academy. I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words to the audience?

Logan Nathan 26:09
Thank you very much, Andrew. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for giving me the opportunity as well.

Andrew Stotz 26:14
Yes. Well, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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