I don’t believe in life/work balance. When I was a kid, my “work dad” would come home from the bank in his three-piece suit and he’d go upstairs and my “home dad” would come downstairs in jeans, looking for his martini and the download of our day while my mom cooked dinner.
Sounds very Leave it to Beaver, doesn’t it? It really was. My dad didn’t have a computer or a cell phone. I can remember the only time the office called him at home – the bank building was on fire. But other than that – there was complete separation of work and home life.
We do not have that luxury. At best, we can strive for life/work blend. Our personal lives will seep into the work day and our work will seep into our personal time. But for many agency owners, what that translates to is that you are always on and always working.
That’s not only unhealthy for you but it’s unhealthy for your business. You simply can’t grow your agency if you have to do everything that’s mission critical.
That’s the conversation I wanted to have with Scott Beebe who is a strategist, teacher, and business coach for My Business On Purpose. He is also the host of the Business on Purpose podcast.
Scott is all about about liberating small business owners from the chaos of working in their business and helping them get their lives back by being really clear about what their business is about, what they want to get out of the business, where they have unique opportunities to contribute to the business, and where they need to get out of the way.
His background includes direct and B2B sales, designing and implementing organizational strategy, training and development, marketing and fundraising, along with teaching and speaking.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- The two biggest non-negotiables for agencies today
- The value in building out a detailed company vision and reinforcing it regularly in team meetings
- Understanding what clients you should and should not work with based on your company vision
- Your mission statement: a portable, 15-word version of your vision story
- Why you need to have 3-5 core values that are unique to you (hint: not table stakes like respect, responsibility, excellence, etc.)
- Scott’s spreadsheet for figuring out what tasks you can keep as the agency owner and which ones you should delegate
- How to document processes so everyone is on the same page and can wear multiple hats
- Using team meetings to stay on top of the week’s work and why you should end every team meeting with training
- How to delegate to people who may not be your direct reports without throwing your agency into chaos and confusion
- The four steps to achieving business freedom
- Reinvesting your time into things that matter once you’ve delegated tasks away and have significant free time
The Golden Nugget:“Saying ‘I can do it better myself’ will kill a business faster than anything.” - @scottbeebe Click To Tweet
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Ways to contact Scott Beebe:
- Website: MyBusinessOnPurpose.com/vision
- Twitter: @scottbeebe
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/scottebeebe
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/mybusinessonpurpose
We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!
If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome to Agency Management Institute’s Build a Better Agency podcast, presented by HubSpot. We’ll show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25-plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.
Hey, guys, welcome to another episode of Build a Better Agency. This week, we are going to talk about something that we talk about all the time. This is the whole working on the business versus working in the business. And we’re going to talk about that in terms of how to get it done, how to delegate, and some things that need to be in your business that maybe aren’t there today.
So, to dig into that topic, I want to tell you a little bit about my guest. So, Scott Beebe is the founder and head coach of MyBusinessonPurpose.com. And he is also the host … Many of you probably listened to his podcast called Business on Purpose. And his whole thing is about liberating … I love that word … liberating, small business owners from the chaos of working in their business.
And helping them get their lives back by being really clear about what their business is about and what they want to get out of the business. And also, where they have unique opportunities to contribute to the business. And where they also need to get out of the way. So, we’re going to dig into all of that with today’s episode. So, Scott, welcome to the podcast.
Drew, man, even hear you talk about being liberated from the chaos, just gets me … I get amped. I’m that nerdy where I get that excited about it. I am so delighted that you’ve invited me. And as I told you off-air, this is a lot of work that you put into this. So, the fact that you would share the platform is a real honor. So, thank you.
Oh, you bet. I’m happy to have you here. And again, as I said to you before we hit the record button, this is a hot topic for agency owners. They really struggle with this. So, I want to start by talking a little bit about, you believe that there are two nonnegotiables when you are running a small business. Tell us about what those are and why they are nonnegotiable.
It’s interesting, Drew. If we were to line up a whole room of agency owners and go down the row. And just say, “Hey, what are the nonnegotiables of business?” We’re going to get answers all over the place. We’ve got to have culture, job roles, or write org charts. We’ve got to do this, that and the other. And so, you’re going to get books, the financials. Oh my goodness.
Many of the guys are going to say, “Hey, we got to have our books in order.” Many times, because either he or she has … They’re out of order. And so, they’re starting to think about what are the big headaches? What are the fires that I’ve been struggling with? So, out of the thousands of hours that we’ve had the privilege to sit across the table. And through the Zoom Rooms. And all of that with small business owners, agency owners, we’ve kind of boiled it down to two things.
And if you go into a crisis situation … We live by the coast, so Hurricane Irma just brushed us with its 60-mile-an-hour winds. And we were hundreds of miles away. But then last year, Hurricane Matthew came within about a mile off coast to Hilton Head, which is only 10 miles from us. So, we’ve seen some of this crisis over the last 12 months for us at the time of this recording.
And when you start to get into crisis mode, you really begin to focus on the necessities, right? You care less about the wants. And you really want to go at, “What’s going to keep me alive at this point?” So, when you look at rescue and response. When you look at folks who have been stripped of everything. And now they’re confronted with a situation of, “What do I need?” This is where we come up with the two nonnegotiables.
So, the job roles, the org charts, the compensation packages, plans, bonus incentive comp, the books. All those are critically important. But they’re not as important as these two things. So, if you’re in a crisis situation, number one, you got to ask yourself the question, “Where are we going with all of this?” And so, a hurricane comes through. Your tax bill just came back and you owe twice what you thought you owed.
So, you’ve got to be able to step back and ask yourself the question, “Where is it that we’re trying to go?” If you have a clear and compelling vision story. Not a statement, not on a plaque. A sentence or paragraph that says, “We want to be the world’s most dynamic agency, serving jelly beans, riding unicorns, and floating around the world,” that doesn’t compel anybody. And it doesn’t tell anybody where you’re going.
So, we’ve got to have a clear and compelling what we call vision story. And this is severe detail. Pages of detail. Three, four, five, six. We just had an agency owner. They actually build websites for RV dealerships around the country. Very selective niche. And they’ve got about a nine-page vision story. Very detailed to the future of the business. So, that’s the first one.
The second one in a crisis situation is, you’ve got to have a means to communicate. So, if you know where you’re going, and you’ve got the technology and the means to communicate with other people, what I tell agency and business owners is, “You’ll be fine.” If the books are dead. If the employees walk out. If the building falls down. If all your documents burn. But you’ve got a clear and compelling vision, and you’ve got a means of communication.
If you have those two things in place. So, the vision is an actual vision story. But the means of communication … this is where we might lose some people, Drew … is the team meeting. And I did say that right. I didn’t glitch. I didn’t even have a weak moment. The second most important thing in a small business, outside of the vision, knowing where you’re going, is to make sure that you’ve got a consistent, predictable, agenda-led, leader-led, budgeted team meetings with a clear and concise agenda.
Wait, wait, wait, Scott. So, you’re saying that if I tell my employees once what the vision is and where we’re going, I have to tell them again? Is that what you’re saying?
Yeah, Andy Stanley is famous for saying, “It takes 21 times to speak the vision before they hear it one time.” We had a small business owner last week and the team member came in. Actually, I was really proud of the team member because the business owner had said something. And the team member came back and said, “Hey,” I won’t give the name away, “Hey, Jennifer, I did tell you that last week.”
And Jennifer, the [inaudible 00:06:22] owner was like, “Oh, sorry.” And I stopped the room and I was like, “Hold on just a second. Team member, thank you for saying that. And this brings up a great point. So, you’ve said it once and you it a week ago. Congratulations. You only have to say at 20 more times before she gets it,” right? Because it’s what my old … my first-
Right. Yeah, because it’s a two-way street, right?
Absolutely, and it’s what my first Pfizer manager taught me, Skip Clarkson. And he would always say it three times. He said, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” And it’s true. You repeat things over and over again, not in a rote kind of way, just to pass a test like we did in school, right? But in a way to really grasp it.
But if you repeat your vision 21 times in a short period of time, it’s going to start to stick. And guess what happens? In the psyche, people start to begin to go down that road.
Okay, so I have a nine-page vision story. You’re not suggesting that I read the nine pages to them 21 times, are you?
Right. Here’s what we do recommend with a detailed vision story. And by the way, that’s a little bit of an outlier. Most of them are going to be between two and five pages that we want [crosstalk 00:07:28].
Okay, let’s call it a four page. Right, let’s say it’s four pages.
So, what we want to do with that, that four-page vision, as an owner. So, you as the business owner. So, Drew is not only the CEO, the president, the executive day-to-day working in your business of coaching consulting agency owners. But Drew was also the owner of the Umbrella Corps. So, Drew flies at 60,000 feet as an owner. And he also hovers at about five feet as the CEO, the executive.
Kind of on the ground, but you still got to be able to hover to maneuver. You don’t want to get lost in the weeds. That’s why we have a team to be able to help with the weed whacking, and the mowing, and everything else that goes on with that. So, with that being said, the owner has to be constantly looking at that vision. When I say constantly, on a regular basis. Maybe once a month, because of the GPS recorrect, because what happens is, were going a straight line, eventually we’ll start to just kind of fall off.
So, it’s a simple GPS recorrect. A client will come in. So, let’s take a digital agency and a client comes in. And they look at the client. And internally, we profile, right? We’re told, “Don’t ever profile. That’s wrong.” We can’t help it. We profile. That’s what we do. We [crosstalk 00:08:39].
Right, yeah, right. We categorize, right?
Yeah, And we take the gut feel. And we look at them and go, “Yeah, a little bit annoying. A lot of money that could bring in. I think we would partially like the work.” So, what we do is, we either take or reject the work based on subjective gut feel. And what we’re trying to introduce … And this, frankly, by the way is why so many agency owners’ hair is constantly on fire is because we’re making emotional reactive response rather than an objective unemotional, progressive, proactive response to where we try to make the response ahead of all the emotions setting in.
So, you’ve got a client that comes. Well, you’ve got to be well versed enough in the vision to be cordless. To be out in the middle of your office, without your vision around, and go, “Wait a second. You know what? I don’t know that this fits the client portion of our vision story,” which is one of the seven sections by the way, is, what type of client do we want to work with?
And quite frankly, what type of client do we not want to work? For instance, if for us, we liberate small business owners from chaos. So, if we had a corporation that ran a $100 or $500 million, we’re going to struggle with them. And part of the reason we’re going to struggle with them is because their infrastructure is misaligned with our infrastructure.
So, to get through their corporate infrastructure is going to require a lot of hoops, and jumping, and procurement channels, and all of those sorts of things. Whereas what we would rather deal with is just the owner one-to-one. And do those sorts of things. We know that because it’s in our vision. And so, when we see different people walking around, we profile to go, “Hey, we want to spend time with those people because we can serve them.”
Whereas we don’t necessarily want to spend time with those who can’t serve them. And I guarantee, Drew, every one of your listeners has that client that they go, “I know they don’t fit. But you know what? They pay.” And they take them on anyway.
Yeah. Yeah, we actually have a tool called the Sweet Spot Client Filter that we offer agencies to do exactly that. So, going through that exercise would fill in that portion of this story that you’re talking about, which is, who do we absolutely love to serve? And who do we make great money with? And who do we delight? Who falls in love with us and starts telling everybody about us, right? Because that’s the kind of client we all want.
But a lot of times, whatever walks in the door … I always talk about, there’s two ways to get business. You can just cast a net and eat whatever swims in, or you can go swimming with a speargun, and find exactly what you want. And the businesses that understand what they’re fishing for, and go in with a speargun or the businesses that have that retained client that they keep for a long time, because they’re the right fit.
Yeah, your metaphor works brilliantly here, because we’ve actually got a friend who owns a shrimp boat. So, he’s out on the shrimp boat a lot. And the challenge of catching shrimp is, when you bring them in the net, it’s not only that you just catch a lot of what they call trash fish. These are non-shrimp, basically. But you also have to actually take time to throw those out.
So, it’s sucking your time because you’re bulk fishing instead of going in and being very intentional like you’re talking about. But your vision story can help with that. So, your team meeting comes in on a trust standpoint. Let’s say once a week. And every team meeting is not necessarily started with your vision. But it is started with your mission and your values.
And so, once you’ve got your mission statement, which for us has to be less than 15 words. Has to be a portable version of your vision story. It’s kind of like moonshine. It’s a distilled drop of a big vat of information. So, once you have that drop, then you’ve got your three, or four, or five unique core values. These are things like respect, and responsibility, excellence. Listen, Drew, I hope you have that. I hope I have that, or else-
Those are duh. Right, yeah. Those are duh values. Absolutely.
Yeah. So, what I want to know is, what does Drew value that Scott doesn’t? What does Scott value that Drew doesn’t? For instance, one of our core values is relentless [inaudible 00:12:36]. Man, I’ve got a lot of clients who don’t value that. They like learning, right? But they’re not going to be relentless about it. They’re not going to run their heads for a wall to get to the next latest, greatest book. We do. That’s what we run after. So, it’s good for us. It’s not bad for somebody else. It’s just something they don’t value.
Right. Yeah, they don’t prioritize the value. At some point, if they listed a bunch of values, it might be there. But it’s not one of their top five, right?
That’s right. Even those values, Drew, as well can become filtration that do become the filtration system for decision-making. So, “Do we take that client? Do we hire this person? Did we let this person go?” You take each one of those decisions. Run it through your vision. Run it through your mission. Run it, drip, drip, drip, through your values. And then you got a green-check or a red-check pro and con list. Then you can make the subjective call after that.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s the Geiger counter, right? It tells you it’s good or bad. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, after I’ve got those two things that are necessary, because I know when I kicked off the podcast, the minute they heard, “Delegation,” and, “Work on the business, not in the business,” they’re like, “Okay, let’s get to that, you guys. Hurry up.”
I want to take a break. But I want to come back and I want to talk about how to delegate well. And how to get yourself more time on your plate to actually work on the business. So, we’re going to take a pause and then let’s dig into that.
If you’ve been enjoying the podcast. And you find that you’re nodding your head, and taking some notes, and maybe even taking some action based on some of the things we talk about, you might be interested in doing a deeper dive. One of the options you have is the AMI remote coaching. That’s a monthly phone call with homework in between.
We start off by setting some goals and prioritizing those goals. And we just work together to get through them. It’s a little bit of coaching. It’s a little bit of best practice teaching and sharing. It’s a little bit of cheerleading sometimes. On occasion, you’re going to feel our boot on your rear end.
Whatever it takes to help you make sure that you hit the goals that you set. If you would like more information about that, check out AgencyManagementInstitute.com\coaching. Okay, let’s get back to the show.
All right, welcome back everybody. I am here with Scott Beebe, and we are talking about something that plagues every business owner. But I think it’s particularly challenging in the agency space, which is the whole idea of, how do we have … assuming that we’re going to sleep every single day. And that we would like to see our family for at least an hour.
How do we have enough time to do our day job? Which for many of us feels like working in the business. And also working on the business. So, how do we begin to delegate better? So, Scott, I know that you work with clients every day on this. And that the business owners that you need are no different than the agency owners that I meet, where they struggled to get out of the weeds. So, how do you help them do that?
What we’ve found, Drew, even though people say they don’t like systems, they love systems. So, let me give you an example. Every morning, we can count on the sunrise rising in one direction and the sunsetting in another direction. That’s a system. So, every day we live in systems, the solar system, We live, as I mentioned, on the coast. And we live in creeks, tidal creeks.
Well, every six and a half hours, the creek rises and the creek drops. And it rises and it drops. And for us, it rises and drops about in seven-to-nine-foot swings. When the hurricane came through, it was 12-foot tide on that day. The tide comes in and it comes out. So, you’ll go behind some of our houses. And right now, the tide is just mud. There’s no water in there.
And then you’ll come back out in six hours and there’ll be eight feet of water in there. And that’s a system. Every six and a half hours, that thing moves. So, the reality is, we really like systems. I like the Zoom system. I’m glad somebody built an algorithm, so you and I could hop on a podcast to be able to get this in a recording. I like your record system. Everything’s a system. But we always say we don’t like it.
So, let’s make this a methodical system. So, because we’re on Zoom, I’ll just share my window and I’ll talk through this. But if you happen to use this, then jip it. And you can use the video portion of this as well. But we’ve created just a simple spreadsheet. So, we followed the wisdom that nothing we do is rocket science. And nothing we do will blow your mind in terms of its design etiquette, all right?
We want things that work, things that are functional. So, we encourage agency owners to do is to go simply using … You can make your own. Make your own little spreadsheet and it just needs four columns. That’s it. Well, one column for what the activity actually is. So, what you want to do is, you want to take everything that is in your head. Every single thing that you do as an agency owner.
If you take out the trash, I want you to write it down. If you do invoicing, I want you to write it down. If you do initial sales calls, I want you to write it down. If you do follow-up, whatever it is, write it down. Exhaust it. Every single thing that you do on one sheet of paper. You talk about both freeing and wanting to make you throw up all at the same time, because you see all this stuff and you go, “Oh my gosh, how do I do this?” And then the four columns-
Right. No wonder I can’t get it all done. Yeah.
Yeah. And the four columns you want to put next to it, Drew. Number one, we rank each one of these with a one, two, or three. Again, you can just write this out on a sheet of paper. A number one means, “I am the only person who can do this in my agency.” There shouldn’t be many of those, by the way. So for instance, owner responsibilities. You’re the only person that should be able to do that, right?
Now, what we find is a lot of agency owners will have a lot of ones by these tasks. And usually what that means is, no offense, but you kind of think of yourselves a little higher than you really are. And you don’t think other people can come help you.
What it really means is, no one does it exactly the way I do it, right?
Great point. So, a number two is, “I woke up this morning thinking I was the only person who could do this. But I could be persuaded that somebody else could do that.” That’s number two. And then the number three in your rank, this first column after you write the activity down is, “I should’ve delegated this a long time ago. I just haven’t. My fault for whatever reason.”
Then the second column next to the activity that you want to put down is what we call the energy column. Just put an up arrow. That means, “Man, I draw life from this.” So, when you say, “Liberate small business owners from chaos. I’m in. I am all in. That juices me. It gets me excited.” Things like podcast interviews. That’s on my Delegation Roadmap. That’s an up arrow. It gives me energy. I love spending this time with guys like you.
Now, the sideways arrow is like a, “Whatever. It’s neither here or there. I don’t mind doing it.” Doing things like putting a graphic together. “It doesn’t bother me. It’s fine. I would rather have somebody else do that. But if I’ve got to do it, it’s okay.” A down arrow is, “Oh my gosh, just put me in the bed and put me to sleep. This stuff drives me up the wall.”
Bookkeeping is a great example for many firm owners. We hate doing bookkeeping. So, you’ve got these two rank columns. One is, “Who can do it?” The second is, “Does it give you energy?” The third is, “How much time does it take?” Ooh, now the heat’s getting turned up a little bit, because you’re actually having to put real numerical values to this and. You can time it out however you want. Time per day, time per week. I actually like to put it in minutes.
And then the fourth column, and this is where the oven gets turned to broil is, once you put a dollar figure value to your time. And you realize how much money this task is costing you. Now, here’s what I want to make sure everybody understands. Your time as an owner is not worth $25 an hour, or $35 an hour, or $50 an hour. On average in studies, agency owners’ time are worth anywhere between $200 an hour and up.
So, you’re usually $200 to $1,000 an hour. So, all of a sudden, if you’ve got a 10-minute task or let’s call it a 60-minute task. That’s one hour. So, for round numbers. You’ve got a 60-minute task like doing a podcast interview. So, Drew, let’s take you, for example. This podcast interview is going to cost you at least $200 just in time. That’s not including the editing, the uploading, all of that sort of thing.
And so, you, as an owner of your own business, have to consider, “Are these podcasts worth it? Because it’s costing me the time to edit, the time to upload, the time to host, the time to market. But it’s also costing me the hour plus to do the scheduling and all of that. And all of a sudden, you’ve racked up another $300, $400 worth of your own time doing this.
So, you begin to think about this. And all of a sudden, the Delegation Roadmap becomes real. And again, you can make your own and lay this out. The activity that you’re doing with those four columns. “Who can do it? Does it give me energy? How much time does it take?” And put a dollar value to your time.
So, when I do that and I look at … And regardless of the numbers, I realize I’m working … I, the mythical agency owner, which I’m actually a real agency owner. But I have 20 hours of stuff that I’m supposed to do today on average. How do I begin to … And there’s a mix of ones, twos, and threes. How do I begin to delegate? How do you help your clients recognize what they can delegate or should delegate, and then actually do it?
I think every agency owner will tell you, “I should delegate more,” or, “I do things I shouldn’t do.” But I talk to them all the time and they still are doing those things. So, how do you move them from acknowledging it or recognizing it, to actually changing behavior, or process, or system?
That’s a great question. First thing, Drew, over anything else, just mindset. Let me tell you what cancer to the business body looks like and sounds like. “I can do it better myself.” That’s what will kill a business faster than anything. So, if you go in with that mindset of, “I can do it better myself,” that’s, what’s going to kill your business.
If you can get over that mindset of, “I can empower other people to do it at least 80% as well as I can do it,” now you’re ready for the next step. So, let’s take you to something very tactical. To write a process, all you have to do is open up a document, a Google document, whatever. The first thing you want to write down is the word, trigger. “What triggers this process?” So, for Drew in this case, “What triggers the process of scheduling a podcast interview?”
And that’s where he’d come in and say, “Somebody reached out,” or, “We got an inquiry to be a guest on the podcast.” Something like that. So, an inquiry for guests. So, you write that down as your trigger. Then you go through and you ask yourself this simple question. “What are the two, three, or four major buckets that need to be taken care of when scheduling a podcast guest?
Drew, I’ll ask you. Walk me through it. What are the two, three, four major things that you have to walk through in order to get a guy like me from the point of, “Hey, I’d like to interview you,” to the point that we’re actually on the call together? What are those steps?
That’s after I’ve decided you would be a good guest or is deciding that the first thing? So first-
I would say afterwards, because this is something you won’t write off. Yeah.
So, the first thing that has to happen is, the guest or potential guest gets an email with a link where they can go and schedule the interview. Well, no, I got to back that up. First thing ism I have to put my availability on the schedule. So, that when the person gets the link, there are time slots open that I actually can do the interview, right?
Okay, of schedule. Perfect. And then we come in here and you said, “The guests receives the initial-”
An email with a link, yep.
Okay. Schedule email. Let’s stop there. Let’s just say those were the only two things. Now, I know there’s a lot more. The systems mindset … Here’s what the systems mindset says. Systems mindset is, “The next thing I’m about to do, make it and document it like it’s the last time. Like it’s the last time I will ever do it.” So, the next thing I’m about to do, how do I document that like, it’s the last time I’m ever going to do that?
So, let me give you an example of this. So, if we come back to your first element up here of set your availability of your schedule. Okay, you use a schedule calendar. So, what I would do in order to set this process is, I would go to a tool called UseLoom.com, which is a screen capture software. And there’s a ton of these out here.
But the reason I like this one is because you don’t have to upload anything. It automatically goes to the cloud. So, you get to UseLoom.com. I don’t sell UseLoom, by the way. It’s just a tool we use. And actually, it’s free. And you go to UseLoom and you do a screen capture of how to set up the availability of your schedule. That’s number one.
And so, once I’ve got that video, now I’m going to take the link of that video, Drew, and I’m going to link it right there to that word. So, when I delegate this to a person named Steve, I’m going to say, “Hey, Steve, here’s the process. When we get an inquiry for new guests, I want you to go set the availability of my schedule. In order to do that, just watch this video. And I walk you step-by-step through it.
“Then I want you to go send and schedule the initial email.” Now here’s a situation I would do here, Drew, is I’d come to this email and I go, “Oh, wow. This is probably going to be the same email every time. So, I’m going to open a Google Doc. I’m going to write the email and get it all out just like I want it. And then Steve, my assistant, is going to come in, take the content of that email.
And you’ve also created a video for how to put and schedule that email. So, he’s going to watch the video and just use the email template from here. All of this is linked in this document. So, you start with the trigger, you build the big buckets out, and then you build the contents out. And here’s the key. You build them out one time, that’s it.
And when you build them out is not some special time hackathon on a Friday night, trying to build all this out at once. You build it out the next time you do it. So, Drew, if you don’t have this processed out, the next time you an inquiry for a guest, that’s when you build these videos, the templates, all that out. And put it into one document.
Then that goes on the job role of your virtual assistant. And once that’s in the job role of your virtual assistant, it’s there forever. And that’s why you have your team meetings is to say, “Hey, let’s pull out our job roles. Let’s see where you’re at.”
For a lot of agency owners, the tasks that we’re talking about … That was a great example. But what they do might be more process-driven or it’s like, “I have to have strategy around this,” or whatever. And so, they worry that it’s not going to get done. So, one of the things that I hear a lot of agency owners talk about is, “I want to delegate, but then I have to keep checking back. And I have to,” blah, blah, blah.
So, when you’re teaching your clients how to delegate and then know that it’s going to get done, how do you bake that into the process, so that I am confident? Because otherwise, now, instead of doing it, I have to remember to check with Babette to see if she did it, right? So, now I still have something on my to-do list that I didn’t want to have on my to-do list.
Yeah. So, Drew you teed it up perfect, man. It’s like you’re in my head. So, we come back, if you remember, on-
It’s a scary place, Scott.
I know, man. I know. Remember the number two nonnegotiable, team meetings. So, the weekly team meeting has to be, and I used to word earlier, agenda-led. Now, let me walk you through a quick model of an agenda. You start every meeting out with a story about your mission or your values. Only two or three minutes. Not long. “Hey guys, this is a way we impacted on our values this week. I want to tell you this story.”
Then we move into a series for about five minutes called big wins. We just start the meeting off with gratitude and something positive to say, “Hey, this was a big win for us, either personal or professional, last week.” Now, here it comes. Action items from last week. Now, whatever you used, if it’s Trello, Asana, Basecamp, a spreadsheet. Whatever you used to track what you delegated, this is the time in the meeting where you bring that back up and you check in.
“Hey, guys, how are you coming on that thing you delegated last week?” And they bring a report back. Now, once you’re done with that, that’s when you move into the actual business discussion of the items you need to talk about that week. And look what comes right after it. Action items from this week. And so, it’s all in the same place. But here’s the kicker. The very last thing before you do, team training. Team training.
So, any of those new processes that you have, Drew, that you want to embed into your team, that’s the moment you take, because if you can embed five to 10 minutes of training after every single team meeting, by the end of the year, every team member will have-eight-plus hours of training embedded into their year without having to do any offsite.
So, you can embed training directly into the team meeting for an extra 10 minutes. And all you do with that training is, bring those processes in. And that’s when you get to distribute and also do the quality checks on the back end of those processes.
So, does that kind of an agenda model work as well if I have 100 employees as if I have five? Because now I’m thinking, “My God, that meeting can take 12 hours by the time we go through all the action items that everybody has,” right?
Yeah. If you read the Malcolm Gladwell, we understand quickly that no human being is meant to manage a 100 or 150 people alone. What we do instead-
So, this will be by department head, right? So, this would be my department rather than the entire company.
That’s exactly right. So, what we do is, we come in and say … A typical org chart might look like your block up top for your CEO. Then you’ve got your heads of departments or whatever. Now, what ends up happening is, your CEO managing partner, all they meet with is the heads of department once a week. And then each head of department meets with their team once a week. Just like that. So, there’s two team meetings in that scenario. But all of the team meetings are always driven by the same agenda.
If I’m delegating though to somebody who is not a department head. So, in a typical agency role, a lot of times, an agency owner will be delegating to not a virtual assistant, but some sort of an admin that lives inside the business. Do they have a separate meeting with them? So again, one of the complaints that I hear from a lot of agency owners is, “I want to delegate, but then they never let me know that they’ve done it. So, how do I build the loop back in?”
So, if it’s not going to be handled in a team meeting, is there some methodology around myself, and Babette, the admin, having some sort of understanding about when she’s going to get back to me? Is that part of that is that part of the system?
Yeah, what happens with that. So, you’re talking about, let’s call it an executive within the agency. A level of leadership. If that person has a direct admin, then that admin is a part of whatever team meetings you’re part of. And so, they’re in the loop on that. Now, if you’re talking about an admin that’s outside of their direct scope, and it’s somebody else in the business, here’s the challenge.
Is, when you get somebody at a certain level interconnected with somebody else at another level and trying to do all the separate stuff. What it’s usually creating is confusion at that point. So, really what’s happening is … Let’s just say for this example, it’s the vice president of marketing who’s working with an administrative person that’s lives in the operations of the business.
And so, you’ve got the VP of marketing kind of bypassing the VP of operations to go down to an administrative person to do that. What that does. I realize it might feel easy, but it’s actually creating confusion in the organization when that happens. What needs to happen in a perfect world, and it takes a lot of work and trust to get here.
But the VP of sales connects with the VP of operations in the leadership team meeting, because they meet every week, no exceptions. You can never cancel. You can only reschedule. They meet every week. And they’re together working the quality control over that admin that is under the leadership of the operations person.
Okay. So, unless the person is my direct report, in your model, I would not be talking directly to them. I would be talking to their boss who probably is my direct report?
Right. Right. And if you did talk directly to them, you got to set up a weekly touch point for them as well. And by the way, I mentioned virtual assistants. We treat our virtual assistants like team members. So, they’re in on our week team meeting every single week. When we hire virtual team members, we build a job role. When we hire virtual services …
So for instance, if we were to hire a digital marketing service or a marketing agency, we would have a job role for you, the agency. And then we would evaluate if the agency’s a fit. And you would get to evaluate if we’re a fit for the business. So, we treat agencies, virtual team members, 1099s, just like we treat employees. Everybody gets a role.
That’s interesting. So, your partners are in essence, given a job description even though they may fulfill an entire department’s functionality for you.
So, if you hired a CFO/accountant who did all your books outside, they would have a job description, even though you’re, in essence, hiring a company, right?
That’s it, and they do. And we meet with them. We have a monthly checkpoint with them. That’s our monthly team meeting with our bookkeeping agency. And we gave them a job role when we were interviewing together with them. Them looking at us, us looking at them. And then we came to an agreement. They said, “Yep, we can do that. We can do that. But we can’t do this piece. Is that okay?” And so, we took that out of the job role, put it under somebody else’s role. And then that’s when we got into alignment with them.
Interesting. Very interesting. One of the things-
Representation this, Drew. Where there is no vision where there’s no clarity people scatter. So, it is our job as owners not to dream about sitting on the beach in The Bahamas. It is our job … owners to do the hard work of getting the systems in place. So, we can do the work now enjoy it a little bit later.
So, eventually we can get to the beach in The Bahamas.
That’s right. That’s right. It will still be work. Work will still call us. We were created to work. So, this idea … We’ve got a friend down here who was a former NFL football player for 15 years. And he’s struggling right now. He’s in his late 30s, has got enough money, but he’s got nothing to do in the day. So, volunteering for everything he can volunteer for. We were created to-
Just to have purpose, right?
Yeah, that’s exactly right. But that is one of the key purposes of the owners.
Yeah. One of the other things you talk about is, you talk about business freedom. And so, some of the stuff I was reading about you said that you have four steps to business freedom. So first, define business freedom for us. What does that look like? And then if we want it after you describe it, how do we get there?
Yeah, great question. Wow, nobody’s ever asked me that. So, here’s what business freedom is. Business freedom is not sitting on the beach, sipping Mai Tais in The Bahamas, or whatever. Business freedom is the opportunity to be able to serve people with a unique, what we call narrow brilliance that God has inherently put inside of each of us.
So, He’s wired each of us differently with a fabric. We want to be able to take that fabric and use that to the service of other people. So, when we can do that by trying to limit, not eliminate, but to limit a lot of the fires, and the headaches, and all that kind of stuff … We just had an architect tell us a couple of hours ago, “I just want the fires to go away.”
The fires are never going to go away. As an owner, what we want to do is set up fire departments to go handle the fires. The fire chief has never putting out a fire. A fire chief is equipping other firefighters to put out fires. A pilot is flying a plane, but he’s never going back to turn the jets himself. She’s never running back to put the landing gear down herself. That would be asinine.
So, business freedom is still work, but it’s running the business. And you’re running on it, not in it. Where you’re not serving drinks, putting down landing gear, making the wing flaps go up and down. It’s where you’re sitting in a cockpit and you’re feverishly working on building great instruments on the dashboard. That’s what business freedom looks like. And while you’re doing that, you know that you’re leveraging your narrow brilliance. The thing that you’ve uniquely been created to do to serve other people. That’s what business freedom looks like.
And then the way to get there is not haphazard. It’s not without great clarity. The way to get there, and what we’ve identified, are these four steps starting with the business foundations. That’s where we build the vision story, the Delegation Roadmap, that’s where we actually mandate that small business owners build out a five-bank-account-model under the model that Mike Michalowicz was talks about in Profit First. We have seen more profit-
Yep, yep, we love that one too. It’s amazing. Yep.
It’s duh. You just … “Oh my gosh, yes.” So, we leveraged that out. We build the team meetings in that phase. We build the tactics on actually how to build a process and spread that out. And the other thing we built in the first phase is the nonnegotiable weekly schedule. I know, I know, I know it feels gross and icky that a business owner has to think about a weekly schedule. But it’s responsible to have that.
So, that foundations phase, that’s really what we call the fast-start phase. Then what we move into infrastructure phase. And that’s where we build out the unique core values for the filtration system of decision-making. And then we come back behind that. We autopsy the business to see what systems exist in the business. We lay those out in an org chart, so you can actually see your whole business on one sheet of paper.
Then we build out the job roles inherent that. And we round it out with what we call a level-two dashboard. So, it’s not just tracking the money, but now you’re tracking other metrics within the business to define health. So, that’s the infrastructure phase. Third phase is the people in passion phase where we get to the mission statement. And then we start doing the hiring process.
We’ve got a seven-step hiring process, and then disc profiling, and then culture building. And then finally we get to the advanced game-changing processes, like how to compensate team members. How to price your product. How to build a vision story for your family. How to terminate somebody. And to do all those things.
Once you’ve built each of those as infrastructure, and as a process, now you get to sit in a cockpit and fly. And by the way, you will have more marginal time. You just need to decide what to do with it.
So, when someone gets more marginal time, I’m curious, when your clients have done all of these things, how do they spend … because I’m a firm believer in to get someone to change behavior, they have to see what’s on the other side for them, right? You have to understand what you’re moving to and why you’re moving there.
So, if I’m going to go to all this work … And I know the listeners are like, “Oh my God, that sounds like a lot of work,” right? If I’m going to do that, and I have this more marginal time, how are your clients who have accomplished all of that, how are they spending that time?
Yeah, this is a danger area, Drew, because it is hard work. We tell people, “Your thighs are going to burn. You’re going to sweat. You’re going to breathe heavy.” It’s why we don’t do it in a week or in a month. A lot of work. And at the same time, it’s work that, if it’s done now, my goodness, the residual is unbelievable. But what we also tell some of the business owners is, “You need to decide right now how you’re going to backfill your marginal time.”
The reason is, you’re so conditioned to reaction, to fire, putting out, that once you have the marginal time, you’re going to backfill it with reaction, fire, putting out, scrolling Facebook, doing the stuff that doesn’t matter. So, what we have to go ahead and tell people now, that’s why the vision story is so crucial, is, once you get to that point, one of the sections in the vision story is the family freedom section.
When you start buying yourself those extra four hours, or eight hours, or 12 hours a week, what we’re going to backfill that with is that family freedom section. And we’re going to drop that in there. A date night once a week with your spouse. A lunch afternoon with your kids. Two weeks a year on the coast of Fiji. Whatever.
We start backfilling that section with the marginal time. And we see it. And we have so many small business owners that get there, and you can see the tension that they start feeling. Then here’s what we hear. I feel like I’m getting busy again, Scott. I feel like I’m getting busy.” And we go, “That’s it. That’s it. You’ve got the marginal time. Let’s cut the crap. And let’s backfill it with your family freedom section.”
Yeah. So, I think part of the challenges is, is I think when you are an entrepreneur, part of what fuels us is the chaos and the energy. And the running from fire to fire. Part of our identity is the fact that we’re good at putting out the fires, right? So, I do think you’re right. I think you have to be intentional about how you are … When things get more calm.
And other people are putting out the fires while they’re little fires, rather than waiting for you to walk in the door, and it’s a big bonfire. How do you create that energy and that excitement in a healthier way, whether it’s new business acquisition? Again, as you say, spending more time with the family, growing the business?
For some agency owners, it’s spending more time mentoring their younger employees, which they never had time to do before. And the gratitude and energy that they get out of building someone else’s skills and opportunities. But I do think it’s important to start the process knowing what’s in it for you at the end, right?
Absolutely, and that’s where that vision comes in. Here’s what’s also incredibly important, but it’s usually down the road. You’ve got to start elements of this upfront. But to really dive in is, the business owner really needs to become the chief training officer of the organization. We’ve talked to so many guys. I know you’ve talked to guys that have been executives in companies.
And the guys that have done really well, they actually spend the majority of their time on talent development and also talent recruiting. And so, if you really want to take that to the next level and you want to reinvest your marginal time. Not just in family stuff and not just in vacations and things like that. Those are great, by the way. Not knocking on those. They need to have. [crosstalk 00:43:39].
But if you want to reinvest some of the other time in other things that matter, it’s going back to your team and saying, “Hey, I want to coach you. I want to be an intentional coach for you 30 minutes a week, where I’m going to sit down and I’m going to ask you, ‘What’s the biggest thing on your plate this week? What barriers can I remove from you? Here’s what I see. Does that make sense? Now, here’s what I need you to do.’”
And you follow that little five-part coaching framework. And you just keep meeting with them over, and over, and over again. And the next thing you know, you’re going to start to see growth and development in the team as well.
Okay, totally agree. And I think it’s one of the places where probably all business owners, but in my world, agency owners, invest the least amount of time. Not because they don’t want to, and they don’t see the value in it, but it’s not … We spend so much time on the urgent that we don’t have enough time for what’s important, right? So, I think you’re right.
And I also think that most agency owners love to teach and coach. I think that’s part of their nature. They like doing it with clients and they like doing it with their employees. So, when they carve out the time to do it, A, they’re amazed at what their employees come back with. And how fired up the employees are. And how excited they are to grow and have the opportunity.
But also, how good it feels as an owner to create that for your employees, right? So, I think you’re exactly right. I think it is one of our most important jobs. And oftentimes, the fires get in the way of us getting that done.
No doubt. I mean, it is key. It’s got to be. Thom Crosby. If you want a case study on this. Pal’s Sudden Serviced. A little fast-food chain in East Tennessee in Western Virginia. If you just Google Pal’s, P-A-L-S Sudden Service HBR, for Harvard Business Review, there’s an incredible case study on how they go all in, on training and development, on what you would think is kind of a castaway industry of the food industry. They’ve turned it on its head and I would encourage your listeners to go read that. It’s powerful.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So, Scott, I could chat about this for another three or four hours.
But people are done with their walking on the treadmill or whatever it is they’re doing while they’re listening to us. So, I need to wrap this up. So, if there’s one takeaway for the listeners that you want to make sure that is embedded in their mind, what is it?
It’s vision, vision, vision, vision, vision. If you don’t know where you’re going, I don’t care how big your agency is. I don’t care how good your product is. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re headed towards frustration. So, really drilling down on where is it in detail that we’re going? From a financial perspective, a product perspective, a client perspective, a culture perspective.
And write those out and start to write out ideas, so that you can get clarity around that, because where there is no vision people scatter. But it’s also what another Jewish prophet heard when he heard, “Write the vision down, so that those who read it may run.”
Michael Gerber, who writes E-Myth. He said, “If you don’t write it down, you don’t own it.” And it’s true. If you don’t write it down, nobody has anything to run to. So, don’t get frustrated with your team when they’re not running with you towards your vision when you don’t have it written.
Yeah, that’s great. Thank you so much for the time, and your passion around this topic, and the coaching that you did in the last hour. I know that people are going to listen to this episode over and over again, to start to get all the nuggets. So, I’m really very grateful for your time. Thank you so much.
Oh, Drew, thanks, man. This has been a delight. Thank you very much.
I know that you’ve got a webpage. If folks want to go to MyBusinessPurpose.com/build, what are they going to find there?
So, let me give you even better link. And it’s My Business on Purpose, just to clarify. So, if they go to MyBusinessonPurpose/ … We’ve just updated Vision. So, MyBusinessonPurpose.com/vision. What we’ve decided to do is to take the entire vision module that we offer in our big coaching program. The whole thing soup to nuts. No strings attached. You can find it right there, the video tutorial. And we’ve included the template to go along with it.
So, we try to practice what we preach and pull it in from the back end. And if we never hear from you again, that’s no problem. We just want to know you’ve got your vision written down. So, if you go to MyBusinessonPurpose.com/vision, you can get access, that complete tutorial and the template. And you can start this right away.
We will put that in the show notes, for sure. Scott, if folks want to track you down other than the website, where else might they bump into you on the internet?
Absolutely. We’re at @scottbeebe on Twitter and of course, LinkedIn and Facebook. You can find us all over up there. In fact, we do a lot of Facebook Live, usually one or two a week where we’re just teaching. We just take something that we’ve got. A new tool, a new learning lesson from a client’s office. And we just go to town, start teaching that thing. So, find us there. But MyBusinessonPurpose.com is the headquarters where we’d like to hang out.
Awesome. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
All right, gang, that wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. Hopefully, you were listening hard and very focused today, because there was a lot of stuff to take away from today’s episode. So, I hope it was super valuable for you. And I will be back next week with another guest to help you think about your agency and your business differently.
So, that it serves you, your family, your team, your clients in the way that you all hope that it will. In the meantime, if you’re trying to track me down, you know that I’m an AgencyManagementInstitute.com. And I’m always available by email as well. So, talk to you soon.
That wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. Hopefully. You found it incredibly helpful and inspiring. And that you are ready to go out and do some great things. I also want to talk to you about another tool that we’ve built that I would love to offer you. So, as you’ve probably heard me preach, I believe a lot of agencies chase after the wrong new business prospects.
And I think we do that because we have not taken the time to clearly define who our sweet-spot clients should be. And the way you do that is by looking at your current clients, and then developing out who your prospects should be based on your best current clients. So, we’ve put together a Sweet Spot Client Filter … Say that five times fast … that I would love for you to take advantage of. And for you to use inside your shop, to figure out exactly who you should be targeting for new business.
To get access to that free tool, all you need to do is text AMI for Agency Management Institute, as you might imagine. AMI, text that to 38470. Again, text AMI to 38470. And we will get the Sweet Spot Client Filter out to you right away. Thanks again for listening. If I can be helpful, you can find me as always [email protected] Otherwise, I will touch base with you next week with another great episode. Talk to you soon.
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