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From Walnuts to Wall Street: Brandon Dawson Is on a Mission to Help Businesses Scale to 10X Levels How the self-made serial entrepreneur went from 2.4 GPA to selling his company for over $150 million.

By Kristen Aldridge

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As a self-made serial entrepreneur and expert business strategist who sold his company for over $150 million, Brandon Dawson learned the power of scale when he was just 16 years old and grounded on his parent's five-acre walnut farm.

Dawson was determined to finish his walnut-picking punishment as quickly as possible, so he looked to an unexpected source for assistance: the seniors at his high school, who were trying to raise $1,000 for their class trip. The students showed up in droves, and in two days, the whole orchard was picked clean. "I didn't even touch a walnut," Dawson says. His new problem? Finding a way to turn a profit on the nuts.

With a 2.4 GPA and no business experience, Dawson picked a random price, and to his surprise, many of the students' parents bought the walnuts, allowing him to pay the students back for their labor.

"The more people that you throw at a problem, the more people you have there to present the solution, the bigger, better, faster and more productive you're going to be at getting it done," Dawson says.

Despite his budding gift for entrepreneurship, Dawson says that many of his classmates thought he'd barely finish high school. "None of those people had done what I wanted to do, so I just shut that out. I was so intent on breaking out and doing something incredible."

Against all odds, at only 29 years old, Dawson became one of the youngest people to ring the opening bell, listing his company, Sonus, on the American Stock Exchange. Serving as founder and CEO for seven years, he acquired over 100 businesses and raised $38 million in four equity transactions, as well as $20 million in strategic debt financing.

But, Dawson was just getting started. He soon found his next problem to solve: helping independent business owners scale and grow their businesses (outperforming their industry peer group by 3.5 to 15 times) while preserving all their equity value and control of their business.

Without raising or borrowing money, he grew his new company, Audigy, from a startup to a $151 million sale in 2016, at an astonishing 77x EBIDA.

He credits the relationships he built as the reason for his breakthrough success. "You can't move around people to move the business, you've got to move the people to move the business."

The equity structure Dawson created allowed for all his members and employees to share in the proceeds of the sale, transforming hundreds of lives in the process.

Today, Dawson is dedicated to a new mission: helping business owners achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals as fast and impactfully as they can.

Teaming up with iconic global entrepreneur and business mogul Grant Cardone, the two have created Cardone Ventures, which promises to help companies transform and scale to 10X levels. "We see business owners already seeing 30 to 50 percent increases by doing the things we're teaching them," Dawson says.

Having unwavering belief is at the core of everything they do.

"When I met Grant, I realized that all of my thinking was still too small. The whole premise of the 10X concept is whatever you're thinking about right now, ten times that thinking," says Dawson.

"You're going to believe in what you picture yourself as, you're going to work with every ounce of everything you have to create that, or you're going to concede and give up. You have to own it and you can't let anyone take it away from you."

In this episode of How Brands Are Born, learn how Dawson went from 2.4 GPA to selling his company for over $150 million.

How Brands Are Born is presented by Cardone Ventures, in partnership with Original Stories Media. Learn how Grant Cardone and Brandon Dawson can help your business transform and scale to 10X levels HERE.

Kristen Aldridge

Founder of Original Stories Media, Journalist, Producer and Storyteller

Emmy-winning journalist and brand storytelling expert Kristen Aldridge is founder and CEO of Original Stories Media, a production company that specializes in capturing the origin stories behind the world’s most impactful brands. With over two decades of experience in the media industry, she has created content garnering millions of views for hugely successful platforms including Entrepreneur, ESPN, ABC, CBS, Yahoo!, and SHAPE.

Passionate about all things entrepreneurship, Aldridge created the original digital series How Brands Are Born to shine a light on all the remarkable people changing the world one big, bold dream at a time. Her mission is to help leaders reveal their most authentic selves so they can more effectively unleash their vision, inspire their culture, and bring deep value to the marketplace.

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