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The HaBO Village Podcast

The 4 Parts of a Successful Business - with Guest, Jeff Chastain [Podcast]

Episode 157: Michael and Kathryn talk to business coach, Jeff Chastain, about how to regain your passion for your business and repair the foundational elements your company was built on. If you've been trying quick-fix solutions to help grow your business but nothing is working, give this episode a listen.

Jeff Chastain and Michael and Kathryn and Redman portrait

 

In This Episode You Will...

  • Discover the 4 P's you need to consider for a successful business (People, Purpose, Playbook, and Performance).

  • Find out how delegation helps you avoid micro management and allows you to focus on tasks you love.

  • Get insight on how to achieve clarity on the foundational elements of your business so you can scale effectively.

“You've got to make sure everything is a simple as possible. You don't need a 6 inch thick SOP- just the basics. Don't overthink things. Keep it as light-weight as possible to move the business forward. Only add on complexity when you absolutely have to." 

- Jeff Chastain

 

21 point vision checklist

References:

 

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Michael:
              Hello, and welcome to the HaBO village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              And this is the podcast working with you, the business leaders, to encourage you, equip you, give you some tips, on how to build a company with more cashflow, better culture. Really, we call it passion and provision, but it's the idea of having a company that's thriving that you actually enjoy being a part of. Today, we've got a great conversation ahead of us. I think we're going to enjoy it. Jeff Chastain is with us. Tell us a little bit about Jeff, Kathryn.


Kathryn:
               So Jeff is the founder of Admentus. He's a business transformation coach, and Jeff does a lot of the stuff that we do. He just does it in Texas, you know, where it's more humid. But he thinks alike with us in terms of what it looks like to build the foundation of a business, really strong, all the elements that are involved. So Jeff, without sort of reading off your bio, which I just think isn't ever any fun.


Michael:
              Without further ado, welcome to the show, Jeff.


Kathryn:
               Tell us a little bit about yourself.


Jeff:
       Hey, thank you very much. And yeah, I love the passion purpose kind of idea. Because to me, that's the hard part that I hate dealing with, or getting those stories where the business owner has just burned out that passion. At that point, it's just turned into a job. I was just talking with somebody the other day. It was eight-year business owner, very successful kind of product they'd launched, but he'd just lost all passion for the company. He was just sitting there looking at bailout and quit and sell the company at that point. It's like, you've done the hard work. Don't lose the passion because yeah, it's got to be passionate to it. We've got to enjoy what we do, which is really one of the reasons I got into this in the first place. Because I actually started out in the technology field.


Jeff:
       I was doing fractional CTO work long before there was ever a fractional term for that in the vernacular. But I just lost the passion for it because I kept dealing with clients with business owners that were... I always loved telling the story that I had a CEO come to me at one point. And of course all the right decisions are made on the golf course. So he was talking with another CEO buddy of his saying, yeah, our sales numbers are down. The other CEO said, well, we just tried this new CRM system in our company and it's really helped us out and made things a lot better. You ought to try it. So he came to me from the technology side. Hey, let's implement this CRM. And we went through all the process, all the discovery, the implementation, all that kind of stuff. And then of course he comes back mad at me because his sales numbers didn't increase. Like, oh duh, you just put technology on top of a broken process. Unless you've got the foundation built, technology just magnifies whatever you got.


Jeff:
       So that was kind of really the many examples of that. The catalyst to say, hey I'm not having fun sitting here trying to sell widgets to people, when honestly I've got enough experience to say that, yeah, this is not going to give you the results you want because you don't have your ducks in a row in the first place. So that was kind of my transition to say, coaching is like, oh, let's switch the consulting mentality for the coaching mentality here. And let's see if we can fix the foundation here so that great, you can then go use technology and use it to its full benefit. But yeah, that's really my passion now is to say, okay, let's fix the foundation. Put that passion back into the company, let you enjoy doing this rather than having it be a job, which is unfortunately what a lot of entrepreneurs kind of end up building to themselves. It's now they're owner and boss. Instead of having to report to the boss, they're both, and it's still a hamster wheel and it's still a job, and they really haven't grown and gotten their vision at that point.


Kathryn:
               Yeah. That's hard stuff. It's amazing. We talk about it here a lot. How many people come into our office and, you know, the pain point is the marketing. I need more sales. I need this, I need that. And you're like, okay, but you don't know how to talk about yourself. You don't know how to keep the promises that you want us to make to people. How do we begin to shore up all these other elements of your business so that we're not just pouring leads into a leaky bucket, right?


Jeff:
       It really is. Yeah.


Kathryn:
               Yeah.


Michael:
              Well last night we were having drinks with a business leader here in the community. And one of the conversations that came up was she's burned out. She's fried. And part of it is she's in a nonprofit, a nonprofit that serves the business community, these small entrepreneurs and businesses in downtown America. Right? And she's just exhausted because so many of them, they don't know what they want. They don't know how they're going to work with other people. She's just frustrated. But what she got herself into is she had an expectation of what she thought everything was going to look like. And then it fell apart on her. And when we work with our nonprofit clients, which isn't a lot of them, but it's a steady percentage, a small percentage of our business.


Michael:
              It's amazing how many of them have stepped into, I thought this is the way it was going to work. This is what the board looked like. This is what the board told me. And as your company grows, some of these folks that have brought on investors for small companies that are for-profit, they're dealing with boards. They're dealing with investors. And they're in there and all of a sudden they got into a situation where what they thought the money was going to bring wasn't everything that the money actually brought. I mean, have you seen that?


Jeff:
       Yeah. I always... People, for whatever reason, you start a business and everything's about the money. I've seen those kind of posts on social media, and stuff. It's like, what's holding you back in business? And the answer is always money. I need more money kind of a... Well, do you really kind of a thing there because directly to your point, yeah, you go talk to investors, you go bring in outside money. There's always strings attached to that. That it's not just free money. They're expecting some say, some control, some results, et cetera, kind of a thing there. And especially if you're not producing results at the rate they think you should be, then a lot of times those strings start getting even tighter at that point.


Jeff:
       So it's definitely a risk-reward right there. I will say that I actually encourage people a lot of times, whether it's a coach in our case, whether it's a board of advisors, a peer counsel, something like that, especially in the early days, having that sounding board is really helpful. But if it's tied to financial strings, then that can add a whole other dynamic to it for sure.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, absolutely.


Michael:
              Have you seen a lot of the investment process and everything else. Let's talk about that for a moment. That whole idea of actually purchasing... in a sense you're buying counsel when you bring on money like that. The way you were talking about it's very interesting because a lot people are like, and I've heard it, especially in California with Silicon Valley here. You know, everybody's going, you know what, we could get this advisor and these advisors. And that's what getting investors is going to do is get us better advisors.


Kathryn:
               We should go on Shark Tank.


Michael:
              We're going to make lots of money because all of these advisors are going to open the doors and everything's going to be great. But that attachment to... I'm an advisor, but I need a return on my investment. And that pressure, what have you seen from that?


Jeff:
       Well, actually, since you mentioned it, the Shark Tank example. I'm not an avid follower, but I've seen half a dozen episodes with it. And it's interesting to me because rarely are they saying, okay yeah, I'm just going to invest in your company. There's always a catch to it kind of a thing that I want this certain percentage or I want this condition, this criteria kind of a thing there. And to me, that's always the thing you got to sit there and weigh. Okay. Is that benefit, risk reward, right there? Is that benefit of having the cash worth giving up some control and giving up some things like that. But yeah, to me that's an area where I always, honestly, I tend to caution people. It's like stay away from that as almost a last tier resort. Unless you're trying to do manufacturing and you've got to have big cash to produce a product right there, it's like virtually any other business you shouldn't have to have that massive infusion of cash upfront.


Jeff:
       There's plenty of people, hopefully in your network, that would be more than willing to sit down for a cup of coffee just and bounce ideas off of. You shouldn't have to go pay for a board of directors or pay for investors or something like that. Again, unless you're just one of those to me, it's a pretty small slice of the pie that you really have to have that kind of money up front to front a company. Most companies, it's like we even talk technology companies, granted old days back in the days, even like a Hewlett Packard or something like that, they started out out of a garage. They didn't start out with this huge fancy facility, and a bunch of investors pouring money into it, and all this other kind of stuff that you kind of think of today.


Jeff:
       You don't have to start that way. And the vast majority of businesses really don't, but it's still just kind of that... And to me, it's media push or whatever. It's sensationalization that, yeah, the Shark Tank still, or that kind of thing where, hey, we're going to come give you all this money and you can jump out of the gate real fast. Again, to me that's asking, putting a lot more risk on it that... Not only the money side, but okay, you're rushing things that, do you really have the foundation in place to accelerate that quickly? If you jump out of the gate too fast, then you'll be in trouble.


Kathryn:
               So let's pull back to the foundation question. So we have, everybody's got a model, right? We have six areas that we would talk about as making up the foundation. You have four. So what are your four?


Jeff:
       My four, and it was interesting, I was actually looking at yours on the website earlier this morning, very much overlap, just a little bit different terminology. But to me it's four different P's of saying, okay, people. Having the right people, the right seats. You got everything aligned from a personnel standpoint because honestly you guys are probably the same way, nine times out of ten, any kind of business owner that comes to me with an issue, there's a personnel problem underneath it somewhere. There's always people tied to into it somewhere. So you got the people side. Then the second is purpose. So again, it's following your passion kind of idea to say, okay, who are we as a company? What's our purpose? What's our mission there? Because really you've got to have that defined in order to get all your people behind you.


Jeff:
       Because especially in a small organization, you're not going to have the dollars to sit there and pay top tier salary and get the top tier people there. You want those people to be bought into something more than just a paycheck, because there's always going to be somebody else that can afford to pay them a little bit more. And if they're only there for the paycheck, you're going to be dealing with turnover and things like that. Versus if you've truly got everybody bought into the passion, into the mission of the company, you're going to be a lot more aligned that way. And the other side of that purpose to me is saying, okay, what's our strategy? Yes, we know who we are. Now we've got to know where we're going and how we're going to get there. So I do a lot of mountain kind of climbing or mountain kind of examples to say, okay, from a strategy standpoint, what's your 10 to 15 year pinnacle of that mountain that we know what we're aiming for.


Jeff:
       It goes back to... I think it was either late eighties, early nineties with Microsoft saying, hey, our goal here is to put a computer on every desk and every home. And at the time it sounds ridiculous. Why would everybody need a computer? Of course now I'm sitting here with two or three in front of me and a cell phone that's more powerful than any of the computers were just a few years ago kind of a thing there. But it's that kind of a goal there that gets people excited and say, hey, this is what we're really trying to achieve. And then be able to back that down and say, okay, what's your three to five year kind of check-in point? What's that landing we're going to hit up the mountain here at three to five years? It gets a little bit more clear.


Jeff:
       Back it back down one year and 90 days where it's just getting clearer and clearer so that your people know, and this was one of my biggest struggles in corporate America. Was that okay, I've got a job here today. I know what I'm working on today. How does this fit into the bigger picture. I'm here as another cog in the wheel kind of a thing here. Whereas if they truly understand that, yes, this piece of the puzzle I'm working on right now fits into our 90-day plan, and I have to have this done in order for us to reach those goals, you get a lot more buy-in at that point. That to me all wraps under purpose.


Jeff:
       And then the third side is the playbook, to say, okay, how are you going to deliver your product, your service in a consistent manner that I always talked to companies or talking to people about. We need to treat your business as if it were a franchise. If you were wanting to go franchise it and replicate it, that if you think about... McDonald's is one of the biggest franchises out there kind of a thing. If you put a McDonald's on one corner of an intersection, put a Jake's Craft Burger House, whatever, on the other corner, if you're betting, you bet on McDonald's being around the longest kind of a thing there. And it's like for most of us that have been to McDonald's, it's not exactly high-end dining. It's not where you probably don't go for date night or anything that way.


Jeff:
       But the reality is you take the other, the custom burger house kind of a thing there, and you picture it. You walk in the first time, you're the adventuresome family. You like trying new places. Nice, clean great atmosphere, nice hostess kind of a thing greets you, happy, takes you to the table, hands you menus, explains you all the different specials for the day kind of a thing. Just a good intro. You've got... the waiter pops up real quick, offers you a free appetizer because this is your first time in, offers you recommendations, explains the menu kind of a thing, brings your order out. Everything tastes great. They set this level of expectation.


Jeff:
       Second time you come back though, hostess is not having a good day or whatever. Not as friendly, just directs you the table, tosses the menus on the table and goes. You still order what you want, but this time the order doesn't come out right. You ordered rings and got fries or something like that. And the waiter's less than apologetic even though honestly it was his mistake. He put the order in wrong. But it brought that level of expectation down, that, wait a minute, the bar was originally set up here. Now the service you delivered time two or time three is not at that level.


Jeff:
       And pretty soon that falls off your list of go-to restaurants. Whereas you go back to McDonald's, again there's a certain expectation there. If I go to McDonald's I expect to get a Big Mac, and it's always made exactly the same. Doesn't matter who the cook was on duty that day. Doesn't matter which location I went to, what time of day. It's always the same. And that's what I coach businesses with to say, okay, that's type of expectation you need to set in the first place and constantly deliver on, whether you're one location or 10. If you bring in customers that one time and really wow them, the second time you don't, they're not going to refer you. They're not going to come back. So we've got to sit there and build that out and build it out, again, where we can switch out the line cook because they took a vacation or maybe they left or whatever kind of a thing, but we need to be able to rotate. It sounds bad from a people perspective, but we need to be able to rotate our people out right now.


Jeff:
       If nothing else, when you build promote them. That's one of those things to me that's the other side of it to look at. It's like, okay. Yeah, I know you're sitting here holding onto your job, holding onto these resources. All you're doing is holding yourself back. You can't move up in the company because there's nobody to backfill you. You've got all the knowledge right there. So you've got to be able to delegate that out and build out those processes. So to me, that's the playbook to say, hey, how are we going to build this business?


Jeff:
       And then the last component is just the performance side. So to me, it's great you got people, great you got a purpose, great you got a playbook. If you're not executing on it and there's no way to measure that, then it's simply a dream at that point. And it's the... I always like looking at and saying, hey, as a business owner, or even a management level, you should be able to go sit on a beach somewhere, no phone, no laptop. The waiter basically brings you a single piece of paper that's got 15-20 numbers on it, and you should be able to tell exactly from that piece of paper all aspects of the business. Are you on track or off track? You shouldn't have to go in and have all these meetings. You shouldn't have to go in and stand over people's shoulder and say, all right, well, have you done this task or that task?


Jeff:
       You ought to be able to see, hey, red, yellow, green stoplights on it and say, okay, marketing is green. We're hitting all of our numbers. I don't have to worry about it. We're good right there. Or hey, it's yellow. Is it yellow right now just because we had a spike this week versus that? Or can we see the last trend of the last quarter to say, ah, this is trending down and say, okay, it's a leading number so that we know incoming lead flow is down. Well, we know ahead of time, that's going to impact sales. That's going to impact our finances in three to six months. So I can plan for that rather than waiting until the end of the quarter and saying, wait a minute, why didn't we meet numbers? And it's too late to deal with it at that point.


Jeff:
       But it's really understanding and knowing those numbers is the performance side. And to me, once you build all four of those together, it gets the profitability side, builds up the profitability to where you can turn around and reinvest, or take out, or whatever you want to do with profit. But if you've actually got real profit, real dollars, they're not the imaginary revenue numbers that everybody likes talking about.


Kathryn:
               Gross revenue.


Michael:
              Well, let me ask you a question. The other day we were talking in the office about, really with some of the things we've heard, are when, especially when they're smaller companies, especially when they're under ten employees. Sometimes under five. I have 1,001 things on my plate. I'm running like crazy just to try and keep up. How do I find the structure, the order? How do I find the time to put all that stuff in place? Because usually people are asking us that question, and I get to ask you this time.


Jeff:
       Well, and it's interesting you mention that because I've got my own podcast there interviewing business owners, and don't try to push it or even plan it. But every single one of them comes back and says, delegation is the hardest thing, especially in early stages to say, okay, I've got a thousand hats on. How do I figure out how to get rid of a few of these and be able to move forward? Because most people realize if you truly want to grow or truly want to scale, you can't keep doing everything yourself. That's just the reality of it. There's only 24 hours in a day.


Jeff:
       And if you want to create a job for yourself, that... I was talking to somebody else earlier today, the company out power washing driveways and sidewalks and stuff like that. It's his own company. He has one truck. He's doing it. He's perfectly happy just doing his one truck, and that's perfectly fine. But the reality is there's just only so many houses you can hit in a given day. So you've got that barrier on your own business right there. That if you want to grow beyond that, you got to bring on a second truck. You got to bring on stuff and start handing that stuff off. So to me when they come and say that, it's like, okay, first thing I always go with with them is, okay, let's figure out what you've really got on your plate. What you're really doing everyday. Because we've all been there. You get to the end of the day and say, okay, I was really busy all day. I'm exhausted. What the heck did I really accomplish?


Kathryn:
               I've never had that day, Jeff, what are you talking about?


Jeff:
       Oh, okay. That's a first.


Kathryn:
               I'm productive every darn day. Every hour. What are you on about?


Michael:
              See what I live with? Perfection. I can never measure up.


Jeff:
       When you've got perfection, it's hard to live up to that.


Michael:
              It really is.


Jeff:
       Sorry I'm not helping you at all.


Kathryn:
               So delegation. That's a very real issue.


Michael:
              Well, and we've been talking about that even more around here as we're growing as a company. I mean, this is... I'm sure you've experienced as you're doing your business and building your business, helping others grow theirs, you're running into your own challenges. We run into our own challenges, like, okay, that's great. More people are knocking on the door. Do we say no? Or do we put them on a waiting list or do we take them on? And then if that's the case, do we expand our staff? We've got a decent sized staff at this point, and we love it because we love the community. We love the fact that we can accomplish something together that we can't accomplish just with Kathryn and I. We've tried it. We've done it. We've been in business almost 20 years. So we know what that's like. But then all of a sudden you get into this place where you get used to doing a bunch of stuff and you get really good at it.


Michael:
              Like when you've power washed a driveway 20 times, or you've power washed a driveway 200 times, you start to pick up little things where it's like, okay, I can kill this. I kill it. I'm in, I'm out. I'm done. If I have to stop and train somebody, and then are they going to stick around? Because maybe they stick around six months and they don't like it. So they're gone. Then I do it again. Now I'm on my third or fourth person. I'm tired of this. It's easier for me to just do it on my own. How do you delegate? That's a hiring issue at some level, but there's a point at which you start to say, I'm really good at this. Why should I slow down maybe 50% just to train somebody I'm trying to delegate to. How do you deal with that?


Jeff:
       Yeah. Well to me there's two answers to it. One, it's a mentality shift to say, okay, what do you truly want in the business? Do you want to grow or not? Because there's some things you're just going to have to say, you got to bite the bullet and say, okay, if I truly want to grow, I want to bring on two or three more trucks here. The reality is that means I have to take the time to sit there and train. But the other side of that, that I run into a lot of times, is people look at it, say okay. They get into business because they're an expert at something. Whether it's a power washing, whether it's a lawyer, whether it's an accountant or whatever, you've got your lane of expertise. And hopefully, one, you've got some passion around that, that you enjoy doing it. And two, that's the revenue maker.


Jeff:
       But at that point I would say, okay, don't... You don't necessarily have to start there with delegating that part. Delegate the stuff that you don't like doing, or that you're not good at it, because there's other aspects to business. You've got to hopefully invoice and bill your customers right there after you power wash their driveway. And if all you focus on is power washing the driveway, then you're going to be out of business pretty quick if you don't handle the back-end billing. So look at handling that off.


Jeff:
       But most of the time when I talk to people about systemization or about documenting processes and everything, it turns into a pretty quick hangup of where do I start? How do I do this? And it's almost like this instant paralysis that, okay, I don't know how to do this process.


Jeff:
       Or I sit there and look at everything on my plate. It's like, I've got to document all this at once. Like no, forget all this. Do it simple. And it goes back to the comment earlier. It's like, I would actually invite them or coach them and say, okay, first off, just simply make a list of what you're doing every day. I'm spending 30 minutes on Facebook doing ads. I'm doing two hours with coaching clients here. I'm doing whatever. Figure out what you're really spending your time on. And then take that list and break it down and say, okay, which of those items are really you're good at, you enjoy doing, that generate revenue, versus on the other end of the spectrum, which ones are you really not good at and you don't like doing? You don't like doing bookkeeping and you're not good at it.


Jeff:
       That's why the books are two months out of date. And you haven't invoiced anybody. That's the prime target to me to go delegate and offload. You don't have to go delegate the stuff you really enjoy doing, the prime revenue maker, because at least in the early days, it's still your company. You're the one making that money, but let's get some of the other stuff off your plate so you can focus more on that.


Jeff:
       But even from a process documentation standpoint, I always try to make it as minimal of an activity as possible. It's like, okay, simply the next time you do it, take out a notepad kind of jot down rough steps. There's okay, when I go to invoice the company or invoice the customers, here's what I have to do. I have to go pull up the CRM, pull out their information. I have to move it over to the QuickBooks or whatever. I have to mail out the invoices kind of a thing. Just give me a rough process of that, of what you're doing, looking at those steps. And then take that to employee or a VA or whoever you're trying to bring in to hand that off to, and get them to walk through those steps. Figure out where those knowledge gaps are because there will be, you've done the process a hundred times. You skip over stuff. Whereas somebody brand new hasn't seen it.


Jeff:
       So work with them that first time or two to really figure that out. But at least they've got a boiler plate. And then let them fill those gaps in and run with it at that point. But it's got to be, it can't be a, just throw it over the wall, because that never works at that point. There's still a knowledge missing there and you'll get frustrated that, hey, they're not doing it the way I would have done it kind of a thing. And then you're micro-managing and it's more stress. And then before long you ended up firing that person kind of thing.


Jeff:
       And to me, that's all you're doing is wasting resources at that point. You're wasting your energy, your time. You're wasting the money resources for firing them, bringing somebody else in. It's just a cycle. Whereas, okay, if you really invest a little bit of time in it, not necessarily setting a whole block aside, and say, okay, I'm just going to go document process now. If I can do it in line with when you're actually doing the process and do it in piecemeal. It doesn't have to be, I'll always joke with people, it's like, you're not writing a six-inch thick SOP manual.


Jeff:
       You don't want to write that and they don't want to read it in the first place. You just need simple, basic steps. It's kind of the 80/20 rule. Document the top 20%, the high points of what it takes to do this process that gets you 80% of the value. Start there and refine as you go, because any and all processes should always be a living document. It shouldn't be a once and done go stick it in a filing cabinet because if it's that way... again, nobody's ever going to look back at it again. But it's just simplicity to me. It's like people to me way overthink that idea too much. It's like, just start simple. Keep it simple. Build from there.


Kathryn:
               Well, and it's funny because one of the things... I'm in the middle of training a remote assistant, and I just basically am like... I don't know how to actually create an SOP. It's just not... I mean I could, but it just sucks the life out of me. So I've literally said, you're going to watch me do this. And you're creating the SOP as we go, because I don't even know what I know. I just know it. Right. [crosstalk 00:24:17] And so kind of what you said. I've got so much knowledge and so much history that I know what to do, but to have to stop and explain why I do that. It's just easier to do it contextually. So I'm just like, okay, you just shadow me. We're going to do this process together. And then you're going to tell me what it is that I assume that you would have to ask. Right?


Kathryn:
               And that is so great because then it's her job to create the SOP. It's not my job. It's just my job to structure her through it so that she can then create the SOP. Right? So that's working really well for me, because if you tell me I just have to document everything ahead of time. Like you said, as the person who doesn't love that stuff, I just am like I can't, I can't. I don't even know what I know. You know, I just know it all. So that's good. That's good. But there is the reality, and you know we've laughed about we work with a company that helps us hire assistants, and they have this term that just cracked me up, and we've just continued to use it with our clients. It's like, if you hire someone, you have to know that there's what they call the trough of sorrow, right.


Kathryn:
               Which is the place where you want your productivity to go up. That's why you hired them. But actually initially it's going to go down. It has to, because you have to take the time to actually get them up to speed. And then it goes up. But if you don't own yourself and even with your VA or your new employee or whatever, that there is a trough of sorrow, and we're in it together, and it's okay, then that's when I think the expectations can get screwed up when you're trying to bring people on. Because they feel like you're thinking they should be productive much faster than is actually realistic. So I love the trough of sorrow imagery. I don't love being in the trough of sorrow, but I love the expectation that that creates as we're working with people. Because it's just true.


Jeff:
       I haven't heard it specifically by that name before, but that's a great illustration of it. Because yeah, it's really the case that you're burned out. You just want an immediate help. And it's not immediate. Hopefully it's short, hopefully it's quick. But ultimately that depends on how well you can train, how well you can facilitate that. And while I would say yes, the visual of walking through or shadowing somebody is worse, to me that comes down to the personality. So they may be a digital learner that works so well. If they're more of a contextual learner where they need to see written down, to me that's where I would say, hey, again just while you're doing it, it doesn't have to be detailed steps. To me if you're getting to the point of, okay, click on this link, touch this, touch that... Way too detailed at that point. Just show me the highlights, give me the thing and then yeah. Let them fill in the details at that point. Definitely.


Kathryn:
               Yeah. That's good.


Michael:
              That's really good. When it comes to just the things you enjoy the most about working with small businesses and leaders, what is it? Why do you do this?


Jeff:
       I would really say it's the fact of giving them the clarity and, to some degree the hope that I really can reach whatever vision. I actually like working with these smaller businesses, really the true, almost like [inaudible 00:27:17] that even 10, 15 employees, hesitant to say even better than some of the bigger companies. Because with the bigger companies, even still, it's like a cruise liner here. It takes so much effort to just make a little course correction kind of a thing on some of those companies. And in some respects, they look at you, well okay, that's what we're paying you for. We expect of you to get that value. There's not a lot of true energy and excitement.


Jeff:
       Whereas a lot of times, again I've been there, but with the smaller companies, this is like do or die kind of almost here, that okay, we've got to make changes. We've got to figure this out. Or we're going to be out of business here in six months. And seeing them have that clarity and understanding of, okay I may not be across that chasm yet. I may not be to where I want, but at least now I've got a plan that I understand. I've got an actionable set of steps I can go follow for the next year. To me, that's the passion.


Jeff:
       That's the enjoyment of seeing that light come on and saying, okay I really can do this. I really do know what to do now. I'm not just sitting here flailing in the dark, throwing darts at this marketing strategy or that hire or this whatever, trying to figure out how to make this business work before I run out of cash. It's just having that light come on, having that clarity to them is to me, that's the most exciting part of it.


Kathryn:
               Yeah. That is a lot of fun.


Michael:
              I like it. I like it a lot. Let's kind of land in here. This has been a really good conversation. I appreciate you sharing today. If people want to hear about you more or get to know you more, how can they find out about you?


Jeff:
       Oh, everything's through the website. It's just admentus.com. The link off of there is a podcast, but our podcast is building to scale. So we're just looking at literally scaling businesses. What does it take from a systemization standpoint to build that foundation? Because I always look at... It's interesting when we talked about scale and we talked about this briefly off air was that everybody's always looking if I would scale a business, I always want more of something. More people, more money, more reserves, whatever. And if you don't have the foundation built, if you don't have the systems in place, you go start adding on level two, level three of the house that's only designed for a one level foundation, it's going to come crashing down. So we always look and say, hey, scaling's great. Let's make sure that the foundation's in place. And so we're interviewing other business owners talking about their challenges, their struggles, their successes, as they've gotten to that point. And it's always interesting. Every story's different. The challenges are the same, but every story is different. So it's always fun hearing those stories.


Michael:
              Yeah, it absolutely it. Okay if you're listening, the one last question. Somebody today is listening. They're frustrated. They've got less than 10 employees, less than 15 employees, somewhere in that area. They're frustrated. They feel like they're running ragged and they are trying and working hard, but it just doesn't seem to be getting easier. It seems to be getting more chaotic. What kind of encouragement can you give them?


Jeff:
       It's actually a Albert Einstein quote to say, hey make sure everything is as simple as possible, but not simpler. Because that's to me kind of the phrase when you're in that early stage of business, you're saying yes to everything, every possible customer, every possible dollar coming in. And what they don't see is they're adding complexity with every single one of those. That, okay yeah, our core focus is making blue widgets, but this guy's offering to pay us a whole lot of money to make some red widgets. So of course we're going to make red. And then before you know it, you've got every color under the rainbow kind of a thing. And you're doing all this mess, all these hoops. And it's like, you've made that business way too complex.


Jeff:
       So you've got to make sure everything's as simple. You don't need the six inch thick SOP kind of a thing. Just the basics. Don't overthink things. And I'm very much the perfectionist myself. So it's always... I like making things complex, but then the idea is really just keep it as simple as possible. Keep it as basic as possible. Keep it as lightweight as possible as you can to move the business forward. Only add on the complexity when you absolutely have to.


Michael:
              I like it. Well thanks for joining us today. I appreciate it. It was a great conversation.


Jeff:
       Thanks for having me. I enjoy the conversation.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, very much.


Michael:
              And if you're listening today and you're saying we're just frustrated or concerned or just trying to figure out how to take our company to the next level, but we're struggling because we're struggling to have that great culture that we really still enjoy going to work with and having the cash flow that we need to not only meet today's bills, but build for tomorrow's dreams. We really encourage you to come to our website. Also check out halfabubbleout.com. Look at the rest of our podcasts. I think you're going to find lots of great interviews there, lots of great comments because we're looking at different ways to help encourage you as a leader, to handle more and more complex questions and challenges in a more and more complex world. So we hope that this has been helpful for you today. We hope you enjoyed it. Come on back. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              Have a great day, and we'll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.