Cody grew up in a Stockton, a little town in western Kansas. His graduating class was 27 people. Though his upbringing rural, his grandparents were entrepreneurs.
Cody also co-founded a multi-billion dollar business called Advisors Excel.
In a one stoplight town, they owned the bowling alley, cafe and a farm. His entrepreneurial grandparents started him on his path.
As the oldest grandchild, Foster was often in the cafe helping his grandmother. In his 5th grade year his grandmother became the sole-proprietor of the cafe. Cody, his grandmother’s favorite worked a lot to help her with the café.
Despite Stockton being a small town, a Foster earned a scholarship and attended Washburn a small DIV II school. The scholarship was provided by an endowment created by a former resident of Stockton. This bit of fortune paid off in several ways.
Yes, Cody was the first in his family to attend and graduate college. However, Cody notes, most of what he learned about business, he learned after graduating school. The biggest break Washburn University gave him was meeting his college roommate and co-founder.
Losing the Cafe
During Cody’s junior year in college, his grandmother lost the cafe to a foreclosure. The only source of income she’d known for 30 years was gone.
This lesson inspired Cody to do a few things. He wanted to protect those that he loved from having the same thing happen to them again. He also got a job at the bank that foreclosed on his grandmother’s loan. The way Foster figured it, the bank had the money, the jobs and now had the cafe. Whatever the bank was doing, it was working.
Lessons Learned, Lessons Applied
Over the next few years, Cody was able to learn what did and didn’t work in the financial services business. He realized that how leaders behaved mattered. Investing in people was investing in his business.
Cody and his co-founders finally took the plunge and started Advisors Excel. They applied the lessons they learned early in their careers. They sought to improve constantly. They invested in their employees, their business and they selves and it’s worked. Their business in just over 10 years went from an idea hashed out at a kitchen table, to a nearly $8 billion dollar a year business.
As that business grew, Cody knew he’d have to grow as well. Applying the lessons from their early years in business. they focused on getting great people.
Feet On the Floor
Cody talks with Mark about his “Feet on the Floor” process each morning. Cody gets up around 5AM he gets into a workout, often basketball at his house, he reads for a bit and by 7AM Cody is inspired, ready for the day and helping Advisors Excel.
Be sure to check out Mark’s new e-learning course here. Mark has a free PDF that gets you started. He’s also got an assessment tool designed to help you achieve your goals.