In this special edition of To The Point, host Chris Yano takes a moment to speak to who he is, why he is the way he is, and what he’s learned in his more than a decade of serving the home services industry.
In his career, Chris has met many amazing contractors of all shapes and sizes, and had many, many conversations that have helped him learn and grow. These conversations have shaped Chris, and allowed him to take note of the common traits that successful (and unsuccessful) contractors have.
The main inspiration for this podcast is Chris’ massive heart to serve the trades. As co-founder and CEO of RYNO Strategic Solutions, Chris lives day in and day out to serve his clients. But he can’t work with everybody. In fact, RYNO is pretty tactical in who we partner with. We’re not for everybody, and we can’t work with everybody. It has to be the right fit. After some encouragement from Gary Vee, Chris took the opportunity to start this podcast as a way to serve everyone in the trades, including those that aren’t able to work with RYNO. While all of the past conversations that shaped Chris are lost to the past, the current conversations are now being recorded and shared completely free for the benefit of anyone who wants to listen.
So, how did Chris get into the trades in the first place? What makes him the person he is? To understand, you have to trace his roots. Born into a farming family in a small town in Indiana, Chris got his work ethic from hard work as a child. If you’re never detasseled corn, go ahead and Google it. From farming, Chris applied this work ethic to many other aspects of his life. From wrestling in high school to racing Indy cars and winning three rodeos in the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association Bullriding Circuit, Chris learned that the harder he worked, the better the outcome. This principle has guided him, and it’s one he’s continually applied to RYNO. Combined with competitiveness and ambition, hard work is a direct contributor to the level of success you’ll find in life.
Right out of high school, Chris moved to Arizona. While he enjoyed success bull riding for a few years, it certainly didn’t pay the bills, let enough generate enough income to raise his first daughter. So he took to corporate America, and got his start in marketing. He caught on quickly to internet marketing and liked it, but there were a lot of things he didn’t like about the way it was being done. See, Chris is one who needs to truly believe in what he is selling. He was learning that what the company he was working for was pitching wasn’t happening on the back end for his customers. It came to a point where he simply couldn’t look another company in the face and ask them to spend their money on marketing he knew wasn’t going to match the sales pitch.
Still, Chris was learning a lot. He understood the product, but he really wanted to understand how it was done. Since he the company he was working for didn’t provide this, he learned it himself, devoting countless hours to truly understanding internet marketing and what it takes to be able to back up and deliver on promises being made for client fulfilment. Alongside his wife, Anna, who is COO of RYNO, Chris applied that principle of hard work just like he had with wrestling, bull riding, and racing, and started his own company, Brickyard Marketing (now RYNO).
There are a lot of things we focus on at RYNO, and it’s all 100% applicable to your HVAC company, your plumbing company, electrical company, garage door company…really any company that you want to be successful. Today, we sit just above 100 RYNOs. We’re still focused on growing contractors for almost 14 years straight, and our passion has never changed. Why is this important to you? It’s not about Chris, it’s not about RYNO—it’s about the things we’ve learning in growing to an 8-figure company with a 90% customer retention rate. It’s not to brag about the money, but how we got there. The things we do are 100% available to implement into your own business. It’s simply a matter of being authentic, passionate, and willing to put in the hard work to grow to where you want to be.
It all starts with your people. You have to pour into your staff. We want to make sure they are always becoming better versions of themselves. There are a lot of ways we accomplish this. Each month RYNO employees have education goals and an education budget to use, with KPIs to give them a clear picture of their growth path. We also created RYNOu to provide an internal platform to educate, cross-train, and give our team an opportunity to hone more than their main craft. If you’re always working to help your team improve themselves, your business is going to follow the same trajectory. To stay on track, we also have regular one-on-one meetings to make it clear what’s next for you and how we can help you accomplish that.
We added the Misogi journey last year, something we learned as a result of an executive retreat with Jesse Itzler. RYNO pays for our employees to do something each year that is something they’ll never forget, and something out of their comfort zone that they wouldn’t normally do for themselves. One RYNO went on a week-long backpacking trip, another learned bull riding, and our very own Tall Paul dipped his toes into hip hop dancing classes. It’s another example of showing your employees you care, and giving them the gift an experience. If your employees know you really care about them and are willing to go above and beyond to take care of them, they’ll fight hard for you and your customers and be much less likely to get poached.
In the same spirit, we started our Good Time Committee. It’s part of our team that meets regularly to come up with ways for us to have fun! We work like crazy, but having fun while we do it helps keep that positive energy flowing. We had a “show up to work in a onesie day”, for example, and we’re currently running a Random Acts of Kindness week where every employee is doing something nice for another employee.
The tighter your team, the better they will fight for you, your leadership, and for your customers. We have RYNO service days where once a month, we go out as a team and serve somewhere. It’s a type of team builder, but one that is focused on helping others instead of just ourselves. It feels good to give, and it feels good to give together! You want your bonds to be strong, and your team to be like a family.
One the same note, people want to be led with passion. You have to lead with influence and not intimidation. By truly caring and leading by example, you can create better leaders, a better path forward for your team, and a winning culture for your company. Listen to your employees to hear what they have to say, not to react to what they have to say. Be empathetic, genuinely care, and most of all Don’t Be An Asshole. Be Authentic!
As the leader of your organization, you also have to make sure you have the right mindset. That means stop worrying about the things that are out of your control. People worry about 90% of the things that never happen. Don’t waste your time, effort, and mental health on an issue that hasn’t even come to fruition. Of course, planning ahead is important, but you have to be focused on attacking the 10% of things that are happening when they actually happen.
First of all, your company vision has to be crystal-clear. At RYNO, our company vision is this: We Exist To Grow Your Business…Period. Everyone at RYNO knows this. In addition, or core values are clear. We act on our core values, and everyone is empowered and expected to do so every single day.
Combined with your company vision, you absolutely have to know your “why”. 90% of people don’t really know why they do business, they just know the what and the how. As soon as Chris changed his mindset from how and what his business was done to why he did it, his business changed. It seems silly, but it’s a mental shift that can seriously impact your business. This came from a Simon Senek Ted Talk Simon Senek Ted Talk about how great leadership can impact your business.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing! If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing right now, stop wasting your time. Time is too precious to live with regrets. When we talk about finding your why, it’s not about profit; profit is simply a result. It’s about It’s about finding purpose in what you do.
Why should anyone care about your company? What you do and how you do are important too, but those things should back up your why. Your peers are doing the same what and how. What makes you different from them? You can’t just be faster, have better prices, or offer a better warranty. People make most of their decisions off of feeling, and that’s going to come from your why. Do you genuinely care about doing what’s right for the customers that you serve? It’s okay if you don’t have that completely figured out, but you have to focus on getting that crystal clear for both yourself and your team, and you have to mean it. If you’re preaching it and you aren’t an example for what you’re preaching, you’ll lose all credibility. If you tell people why you’re the right heating and air conditioning company, why you’re the right plumbing, why—you’ve set the hook. All you have to do is reel that thing in and not break the line. If you do that, you’re putting yourself ahead of 90% of your competitors.
Don’t be afraid to be a humble leader, and be willing to admit that you didn’t know something or made a mistake. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Humble leaders have greater success, and it’s something Chris has witnessed time and time again with all of the contractors he’s worked with. After all, Chris is the first to point out that the advice in this blog comes from what he’s learned along the way from others. Let your ego go, and be authentic to yourself and everyone around you. That’s the only way to achieve true and lasting success.
We’re extremely grateful for your feedback on the podcast, and love hearing when one of our episodes helped you change for the better. We want everyone to win, and if we can’t work with you as our marketing partner, we hope that To The Point can be our way of helping you succeed. We have lots of great things in store, and hope you’ll follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and anywhere you find us to stay in touch!