This is Part 2 of my interview with Jim Treliving, billion-dollar businessman, owner of Boston Pizza, and original Dragon on Dragons’ Den (Canadian version of Shark Tank), and investor in Easy Daysies. He talks about his opinion of failure, personal advice he got from Warren Buffet, how his little Irish Grandma mentored him, how he reads people, who would play him in the movie of his life, and much more!
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Elaine: 00:10 Hi, welcome to Elaine’s Kitchen Table. I am so honored to have you here with me today, where we talk about the business of real life. That’s the lessons we learn right here off the kitchen table, about parenting, about business and about life. Today I’m very excited to share the second half of my interview with Jim Treliving. He is one of my mentors. If you want to hear the lengthy introduction I have for him, it’s in Episode 14. This gentleman is going to share right now about his advice he personally received from Warren Buffett and he’s also going to talk about all these awesome ways his business has flourished and become successful, so you do not want to miss this. Plus you also want to find out really cool things about Jim, like who he would want to play him in a movie about his life.
Elaine: 00:58 How cool is that? But before I share that, I am very proud to announce that Elaine’s Kitchen Table has its very first sponsor. So here it is and I’ll be right back with the rest of our interview.
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Jim Treliving: 02:42 The one thing you two have done, and I really appreciate it with your kids, the three kids and yourself is the fact that you’re both together. A lot of businesses get torn apart with this and, you’ve worked hard to be together. Yet both have to give a little bit. Yes. And that’s, that’s a hard part. That’s a really hard part.
Elaine: 03:00 And I think bottom line is family does come first for us, for me and my husband and, that’s one thing I do very much admire about Dragons’ Den, as entertaining as it can be to watch the kids learn so much. And I have been to many classrooms, I feel really honored and blessed when I get invited to a classroom to talk to a bunch of children about my experience and about Dragons’ Den. They all love Dragons’ Den and they know it better than I do. (Jim – they know better than I do!) They memorize episodes that I’ve never seen. But the point is to help kids to reach for the stars, to not be afraid to have big dreams because I think a lot of children don’t dream big anymore. And it’s so important to realize it’s okay to fail because the fact that you failed meant that you tried and you started, that means you’re ending off somewhere higher than you’ve started.
Jim Treliving: 03:57 You’re not really failing, because you’ve learned like I’ve said with failing, it’s just not the right thing. It’s not a failure because you worked hard to do something. You’ve built it up and you’ve tried and it didn’t, it didn’t work the way you wanted it to work or the public wanted it to work. So try again. It’s, there’s no failure. You’ve learned a lot. So how can that be a failure? In my mind.
Elaine: 04:16 That’s absolutely right. I recently met a gentleman named Thomas Bailor and he said there are no mistakes, they’re all discoveries. Exactly. And then when you discover something from something that didn’t work out, you remember it better than being taught in a classroom. (Jim – Don’t do it again!) Yeah, don’t do it again! The hard part is don’t do it again. Don’t do it again. Yes. And, and you know what, I’m learning as I go with Easy Daysies as well. And I’ve often been told oh Elaine you’re too nice, or you’re going to get taken advantage of. And then – I do, by exactly that same person who tells me that. And you know I’m learning (Jim – that’s a person you probably wouldn’t want to deal with anyway) Yes, and that’s a whole different podcast.
Jim Treliving: 04:58 I think this is the thing you learn to do is that, you know, we’re all in the same boat. Nobody’s ever come in, I think you’d be taught, and I’ve had a chance to talk to guys like Warren Buffet and from Warren on down. Not every deal went through that he made a ton of money. Like he said, you know, I asked, I said to him question one day. I said, Warren, what do we have to do in the United States not to go through the crisis we went through from 2006 to 2010? What rules do we have to change? And he said, we don’t have to change any rules. What we have to quit doing is breaking the rules and we broke all the rules and that’s why it happened. If you fall down, he said when you bought your house, your first house, how much did you have to put down?
Jim Treliving: 05:38 I said, 20-25%. He said, and you couldn’t afford $1 million home, right? I said, no, that was just a dream. I could afford a $25,000 home and I had to put 25% down. I knew I could get $5000 – $6,000 but that was it. Well he said, you know what, I did the same thing on Omaha Nebraska. I had to put money down like my parents had to put money down. When we hit this big collage in the United States of a disaster for housing, everybody was buying a house. It didn’t matter what the price was. Put three mortgages on, put four mortgages on, just pay the the last one, and that’s why the collapse. So we broke all the rules. So I think it’s the same thing with anything is if, if you’re doing a business and you’re breaking every rule, you’re not going to make it, if you’re breaking rules in your business world and you’re changing the rules to fit your position, then it’s not going to happen.
Elaine: 06:33 I agree. I wish everyone had that integrity.
Jim Treliving: 06:36 Well, it’s not – I think part of it is that you’re born, you’re born into a family or you’re born with something that somebody, our mentor or whatever, that sits down and talks to you about it and says this is the way it is. You know, if you don’t believe that, then you’re going to be in trouble. And I think that’s what we’ve done. I had the fortune and privilege of having a great family to grow into and from my grandmother who would, knew nothing about business, and didn’t want to know anything about business. She ran a great family. She had five boys, or six boys and a girl. And uh, my aunt was, it was a great lady, but she treated, everyone the same. My dad got a little extra because he was older, but he, he was the same way as my grandmother. I mean, my mother’s side of my family were from Scotland. So the Irish and the Scottish got together and I got created. So, figure that one out. I’m not tight with money sometimes.
Elaine: 07:34 I’m going to quiz you now about your habits. Sure. What if you have, and I’m sure you do, are the top two or three habits that you have in maintaining success in your business that you would like to share with our listeners. There must be something that you just stick to and you keep doing, whether it’s one or two or three things.
Jim Treliving: 07:56 Well I think my, probably my habits as it goes back to even when you met me in Dragons’ Den, I sort of sit back and wait and see what you got to say. I listen to everybody else talk about what you’re, what you’re all about, asked you questions, about how you’re going to do this and what you’ve been doing and I make my decision. But a lot of my decisions are made when the two of you are walking down the stairs. I look at you and see how you do, how you operate things, how you do things. (Elaine – we had our 3 kids with us) I know, but as you’re walking in there, I want to look at you. The two I’m going to look at is you two. I want to know what you’re thinking. Just I get a feel of what you’re doing. And I do that with every person that walks into the Den, every business deal.
Jim Treliving: 08:35 When I first went up and met George, my partner, I was looking at him. I had a whole thing going in my head long before George knew what I was thinking. He was a good account with Peat Marwick. He was going to be in there for 30 years, as an accountant he’s going to do, be a partner. I had different, a different aspect of what I wanted him to do. Now, I didn’t tell him that, but I just watched them and seen how he worked. And for five years he did my books. On the fifth year I hired him and he came to work for me, not as a partner, but he was making more money than I am. I will, I’ll tell you how, how bad I wanted him. So once I made the decision to take him on, I wanted him not just to work for me.
Jim Treliving: 09:15 I wanted to be a partner, but the first year I wanted to see how he’d do. So I asked him to come to work for me and the second year he come in and he said, I don’t want a raise. And I said, perfect, cause I can’t afford you because you’re making more money than I am right now. And he said, well I, but I want shares, and that’s how our partnership worked. That’s how I look at everything I do. If I’m looking at something to do and I assess you as you’re walking through. And it was a trait that was brought to me through the police force. There was no question when I was, you know, if somebody walked in the room and I was in a dark room or a dark alley, you have to have an assessment really quickly or you don’t stay alive very long. So that’s a little bit different from what you do today.
Elaine: 09:56 Thank you. That is very true. And it’s not always that easy to have that personal contact because so many businesses are dealing online now.
Jim Treliving: 10:10 Yep, but I think you can take even in the online stuff and I’ve read online stuff, I can either believe it or I don’t believe it. If it’s too good to be true it’s probably not true. You know. So if you’re watching the lines in there and the person that’s giving you this or the answers, yeah I think it’s even better not having a person in the room. Cause you can have, you can think how does this person thinking, what’s the thinking behind all this stuff that they’re giving me back and forth, back and forth? Is it short answers? Are they going to be short with me? You know all these little things come into play as what you’re doing and how you’re answering. Is there a profanity used and when they answer you something? Cause they, you can send them a note to get them really peed off.
Elaine: 10:53 Yes, true colors.
Jim Treliving: 10:53 Do that. Do that once. See what they do, how they react. (Elaine – oh dear). It’s fine. Or play golf with them. Guy throws his club, wraps it around your neck…
Elaine: 11:04 Is no business deal there! I’m going to do a lightning round of questions, right now. Sure. It’s about seven questions and you can just tell me the answer, yes or no. First comes to your mind. What is your favorite pizza?
Jim Treliving: 11:19 Great White North, fresh tomatoes.
Elaine: 11:20 Same with my husband. What is your current favorite hockey team?
Jim Treliving: 11:28 The Calgary Flames!
Elaine: 11:32 Poor Canucks, congratulations though, your son is amazing.
Jim Treliving: 11:32 Yeah, Brad’s done a great job over there. He’s working hard and uh, the one thing he’s, I think he’s taken after with his mother’s brains and her looks then you’ll go a long way.
Elaine: 11:44 Your favorite vacation spot?
Jim Treliving: 11:46 Hawaii.
Elaine: 11:48 I agree. Are you a morning person or an evening person, night person?
Jim Treliving: 11:52 Evening probably. Uh, I’ve learned to be a morning person because I worked a lot when I was in the police force. I worked a lot of shifts. So the shifts, I loved working, going to work at two in the afternoon and working until two in the morning. And uh, so I didn’t, I never, I’m not a big sleeper. I get five, six hours, I’m fine. Uh, even to this day, I never was, but I hear guys sleeping, until 10, 11 o’clock in the morning, I don’t know how the hell they do it! I’m lost.
Elaine: 12:23 What is one golf course you have not golfed at yet but would love to have your next game at?
Jim Treliving: 12:27 Oh gosh, that’s a good one. Uh, probably Pine Valley. I’ve been invited to do that and I’ve golfed all the other big ones. I golfed Augusta and been in St. Andrews. So, uh, yeah. Pine Valley.
Elaine: 12:43 Who is your mentor?
New Speaker: 12:45 Who is my mentor? Probably as good as any is my partner. A lot, uh, both partners. I say my wife is a good mentor and still is. And so is my partner for 40 years, 45 years.
Elaine: 13:01 And lastly, if someone could play you in a movie about your life, who would choose?
Jim Treliving: 13:06 Oh I like John Wayne, but he’s dead [laughter]. Who would I like? Hmm. That’s a really, really interesting question. Who would I like? I don’t even know who the actors are anymore. Um, who’s the guy that played in, uh, crashed his plane the other day? Played in all the lost Ark things. Harrison Ford? Harrison Ford.
Elaine: 13:34 I was gonna say that!
Jim Treliving: 13:35 I love Harrison Ford. George Clooney I met and you know George is a nice guy, but I met him and he was about this high (Elaine – I was going to say Harrison Ford) Harrison Ford would be, of all the other guys, I would think probably John Wayne. I in fact, one of the guys from Dragons’ Den now calls me Dude. And that was John Wayne’s nickname.
Elaine: 14:00 Well, I think it’s because you have that elegance in that class.
Jim Treliving: 14:04 Well, thank you. Thank you. That was great.
Elaine: 14:06 Jim, thank you very much for your time. I am so honored that you are here with me, but I’m even more honored that you are an investor in Easy Daysies.
New Speaker: 14:14 I love being in Easy Dasyies and I’m glad that you’re here, both of you.
Elaine: 14:18 Thank you so much.
Elaine: 14:19 Wow, that was great! I hope you got inspired like I did in the business of real life, and I always love hearing from you. So please do find me on Twitter @chatwithelaine or on Facebook at Elaine’s Kitchen Table. I would also be so grateful if you could take a moment and go on to iTunes right now and rate this podcast and leave a comment, and I will personally thank you on our next podcast and I always love to hear from you, and tell me what you want to hear about and learn about. That would be so great. So thank you very much for tuning in today, and I will talk to you soon. Goodbye!