David Rennie is a successful business professional with over thirty years of industry-related experience. He attended Sir Sanford Fleming College where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Marketing before graduating from Acadia University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in 1986. With a strong background in finance, David is known for his excellent problem-solving skills and his ability to navigate various professional challenges. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Administration and has been named a Certified Business Intermediary and Certified Business Counselor. David has led various mergers and acquisitions in a wide range of industries; however is currently focused on the construction sector. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and is an excellent cook.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I was already involved in tax and accounting, and in that field, clients often ask for advice about investments or for tax purposes. If the business isn’t going to the next generation, they start asking about how to potentially to sell or increase the value of the business. I would spend time mapping out details and putting plans together to help them do so. If it wasn’t the right time to sell, we’d look at other acquisitions to get the business larger before they went on the market.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Like with every business, you try to plan the days, weeks, and months in advance based on your work schedule, the clients you have, and the tasks that you have to accomplish. In business valuation and restructuring, things are constantly moving. People are coming and going, you have new suppliers, new clients, new equipment you have to buy. There are always new decisions to be made and new analyses to complete. I’ve always been able to multitask, which makes it easier if you’re a straight accountant who has to do one thing until you’re finished, this may not be for you.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I use a whiteboard and draw a circle I call an opportunity wheel. Once I draw that, I start to ask what we’re looking for. Is it a product? Are we looking for a buyer for a business? Who are the different types of buyers that could be interested in it? If it’s a seller, you do the same thing. Look at every aspect and consider every scenario until you come up with a list. From the list, you go in on a micro level and identify specifics. Once you get those specifics, you start making phone calls, sending emails, networking, or whatever you need to do.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I have an entrepreneur friend who is a risk taker and constantly pushes boundaries. We spend time helping each other out and I’m always intrigued by her enthusiasm and youthfulness and drive for moving forward.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Getting a good night’s sleep. I go to bed early, but I also get up early. I find that I’m more productive between five in the morning and nine in the morning, and I’m able to get more work done in those hours than during the rest of the day. I think you’re able to get more specific things done when you have time to focus without interruptions. Once everyone’s up, the emails and text messages start flying and productivity goes down.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You can’t get time back. We never know how much time we have, so do what you can while you can. Follow your passions as early as possible.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I cook based on the style of traditionally trained chefs and my friend is from Newfoundland with a more homestyle way of cooking. Even though we have these completely different ways of preparing food, they both provide a product that tastes wonderful.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have a certain amount of structure and routine in my life. One of those routines is waking up early. I do a lot of crisis management for multiple people in multiple scenarios throughout the day, so by waking up early, I’m able to accomplish my goals and get done with the core amount of work that’s needed.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Organically, I’ve always been successful in growing my business by building a good relationship with clients and getting referrals. Because the majority of my business comes from referrals, I haven’t had to advertise for new clients. I fill in the gaps with what I call rollups, so just acquiring new offices. Growth comes both organically and through acquisition of like and unlike businesses, so you can have a broad spectrum of services to provide.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I broke my own rule and over-trusted the wrong people. I overcame that mistake by not duplicating it. When you make a mistake, address it, acknowledge it, and don’t duplicate it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Do what you’re passionate about and never surrender. Even if some people don’t agree with your vision, others will see it and you’ll be successful.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I was traveling in Kleinburg, Ontario on a Monday night a few weeks ago and all the good restaurants were closed. I noticed a place that had an outdoor wood-burning oven and decided to pop in. They had picnic tables outside and it didn’t look like much but turns out it was a restaurant owned by an Italian family. They make incredible traditional Italian food, including wood-fired pizzas, so I just kept ordering food. I had the pizza, then they had spiducci skewers, and Mama was in the back making veal, so I had some veal as well. By the time it was all said, I spent $100 on food. I really enjoyed it and did a five star Google review for them. If all the other restaurants hadn’t been closed, I probably would have never stopped there.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Excel a lot because I program with it and I can create my own spreadsheets, customize a lot, and make it do what I want it to do. I also use Google for a lot of things just like everyone else, whether it’s to find out about businesses in an industry, get contact information, or get directions. On a weekly basis, I’m meeting new people and traveling to new places, so Google is a big help.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ve always enjoyed David Shelton’s The Wealthy Barber. I got to meet David a number of years ago and he takes basic financing and brings it down to a level that the average person can understand. He also talks about the importance of putting a little bit of money aside on a regular basis, and it will add up to a lot down the road. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.
What is your favorite quote?
Every day above ground is a good day.
- By setting aside uninterrupted time to focus, one is able to be more productive and accomplish specific tasks.
- Use an opportunity wheel to bring ideas from a macro level to a micro level.
- Never surrender when you’re passionate about something.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.