Welcome to episode #174 of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
In this live session, I talk about
- The mistakes I made when scaling my expert business
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Hello folks, let’s talk about mistakes to avoid when scaling your expert business.
Now, you might be at a point where you are ready to grow and you’re ready to expand, you’re already making some good money.
However, you find that now you have a team and now you having all sorts of problems.
Well before, the problem was how do I build my reputation and how do I find the right clients?
How do I create my signature programme and methodology?
Now the problems are, how do I find the right people?
How do I get the right people to work with me and stay with me?
But now I don’t have enough money maybe to pay full time salaries, and I don’t want to have full time employees.
And oh my God, do I need to have an office or shall I have a virtual team?
Well but now all the team is falling apart because I’m not communicating effectively with them, so all these kind of things are very likely to happen if you are scaling and if you are growing your expert business.
And it can happen in any business, but I think when you’re running an expert business which is a business which is focused a lot on your personal brand then when you are introducing other team members it’s a different dynamic from having another which started with other team members.
Or maybe with a business partner or maybe with other people working with you and for you.
So, I would love to talk today about in this episode of Explode your Expert Biz, in this whole episode.
I would love to talk today about the mistakes that you can avoid and the things that you need to be aware of. In particular, when you are growing and when you are scaling your expert business.
Because at least if you are aware of them then you will be able to spot them when you are going to meet them, if you’re going to meet those kinds of mistakes, or those kinds of problems along the way, and then you can be prepared.
Because if you’re prepared that means that you can way, way, way, way, way, did I say way?
Way more effective. So, let’s start the music and thank you very much for joining here on another great episode of Explode Your Expert Business.
Y’all, I’m really excited about today, about what I’m going to talk about.
So, what is one of the first mistakes that we can avoid when building, and growing, and expanding our expert business?
Well, one of the biggest mistakes to avoid is how to find the right partner.
Particularly, if you are looking for a business partner or you are looking at someone who can help you grow your business in terms of partnerships level.
And it’s easy when you’re looking at partnerships to find someone who is similar to you.
Because you have the same values, you have the same beliefs, you have the same energy.
Immediately there is this click, where I say we are like each other, we are going in the same direction.
Oh my God, this is absolutely awesome.
That’s the problem with this, is that if you find a business partner which is exactly like you in terms of personality, in terms of great points, and also in terms of mistakes that they can make, then the business is not going to grow really fast.
Actually, it’s going to be pulled into two different directions because you will be able to have the same strength but at the same time you have the same weaknesses.
So, you cannot see the problems from different points of view, there is no variety there. In particular, if you find a business partner which is exactly like yourself, maybe you love the spotlight, you love being the centre of attention, you’re very creative and not very organised, and then get in someone exactly like you for the first few months it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
But when problems start happening now we need someone who’s detailed, who actually loves processes, who actually loves systems.
And this is the most important thing, this is the very first thing I want you to know today, because if you are able to find the right business partner, when you’re able to find the right business partner, when you’re able to find the right person who’s going to be working with you that is on the same wavelength, that is on the same page, but is complementing you instead of being exactly like you, that’s the perfect person you want to find.
And I made this mistake, and Ben and I made this mistake, because when we started GTeX Ben and I had the same exact personality and it created problems.
We were arguing a lot and we were not getting things done in the best way.
We’re making lots of very silly mistakes, but at the same time we were both the show takers so we just gone on and on and on and on. Up until, then we could find someone else who could, let’s say, bridge the gaps and help us in this way, and bring something different to the table.
So, that’s one thing that’s really important to be aware of. How do you select your business partner?
In particular right now, if you’re looking for a partnership.
Another thing which is really important is that when you are looking at a partnership and a business partner you need to be aligned, you need to want the same things from your business, and also very similar things from life as well. ‘
Cause you’re going to be working together for long periods of time and in particular, at the growth phase of the business where now you know what you’re doing but you need to expand, there are going to be a lot of processes, a lot of systems, a lot of procedures, a lot of templates to be put in place so that everything run seamlessly with a very small part of your input.
With a very minimum input from yourself which is then the ultimate freedom of being an entrepreneur is being able to have a business which can run without you, when you are not required for the business to be sustainable and keep growing.
And so, make sure that you find the right person who is also there for the long run because in that moment, unless they are really excited about creating processes and systems, there’s not gonna be a lot of excitement in terms of explosion, in terms of growth, because it’s very likely you’re spend a lot of your time in sorting out those processes, and more time creating systems, and taking everything that is in your head out on paper, or in a laptop, or creating video training for your team member so then they know what you have in mind and they can make decisions as you were there.
But they need to be trained this way and also you need to follow them and to assess them.
And if you have a team around you that can help you do that then it’s even better but that is a process that takes time.
And you can expect that the sales are not going to grow as much as when you were just by yourself just making things happen because now your attention is divided between the team that needs your care, that needs your attention, and also the fact that the company needs to grow.
So, expect that there might be a dip in sales and while you’re preparing yourself putting the foundation in place for then having another explosive part of your growth.
And that’s the thing where I’m sharing these things today with you guys because that’s what we are going through at the moment.
We literally went from four team members to 12 team members in a year and it has been a huge learning curve for me.
In particular, because before I used to be managing teams with my background in restaurants and the catering industry but it’s completely different from being a manager and being a business owner manager.
In fact, managing was not one of my strongest skills and it’s something I’m learning.
There’s a great book that our non-executive director Jeff got me to read which is the One Minute Manager.
Oh my God, such a great book.
Another great book I’m reading at the moment on management principles is actually called Principles from Ray Dalio, awesome, awesome resource in terms of management as well and understanding how to grow a company and get other people to think and to bring forward, and to keep going like you were there with them, and like you are the driving force of the business.
And I think that by setting up the business in this way which is structured to scale then even if you take that dip in sales it’s worth it because now then you’re ready to even faster explosion, to having faster growth.
And there are going to be another plateau after so the point we are building, and putting out the systems and the strategy and processes to get ready for the next step.
And I found a lot of very successful businesses they grow in this way.
And in particular, if you’re an expert, you want to make sure that people will make decisions and will behave as you were there with them, as you were there driving your company because your customer wants you.
And now you want to make a transition to have such a stronger team, that instead of your customers wanting you or wanting to work with Simone, now they want to work with my team.
So, it’s a process as well of rebranding from the me to the we.
And that’s, again, an interesting process. In part because your customer needs to get used to the fact that they might not have access to you anymore or they might get access to you anymore in the same way they were having access in the beginning.
Because now you need to be focused on more important priorities than working with your customer one-by-one.
If you wanna grow, if you wanna keep things as they are then that’s a nice lifestyle business but that’s not what I’m set to build so that’s not exciting for me.
But there are some people that just want a nice lifestyle, no problem, no hassle, very little team, and that’s fine.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
But I want to create a business which is ready to scale and to grow much faster in that direction.
So, this is one of the mistakes that we said. We said finding the right business partner and I gotta say that Ben and I really kept working hard to making we didn’t go separate ways.
And we had many conversations as well saying, “You know what, Ben, is this really worth coin?
“Why don’t you just do your thing and I do my thing?”
And now we found our balance, which he’s managing a completely different part of the business and I’m working a complete separate part of the business, and now it’s perfect.
Now it’s brilliant. We talk, we are friends again, we don’t have to fight anymore.
Why? Because we are both within our zone of genius, we are both driving forces in one thing, but before when we were fighting over who was going to be the driving force and he had ideas and I had my ideas, he actually had to take the decision to step back and kind of deny his nature of being this force driving things forward to allow me to do that.
And I’ll be forever grateful for it. And that’s I think also how you find you know you have a great business partner which is not there just for the short term but is there for the long term results and they are willing to not be maybe a hundred percent happy for the benefit of the business.
And I did the same as well in situations with Ben, and because we were consistently communicating and even if we were arguing with each other we always expressed that what was going on, we always were on top of the problems that we’re having, and always thinking about, okay, what kind of solutions can we put in place?
That kept us working together. So, that’s really important, find someone that ideally, who is complementary, who’s not exactly like you, and then find someone who’s there that has the same vision, the same purpose, the same mission as you have.
They’re excited as you about your business and they’re willing to work as hard as yourself to make that business happen.
So, that’s one thing. Another thing is now to find the right team member.
It’s really easy, and in particular in the expert industry you will have a lot of followers and you will have a lot of people that will want to work with you.
And maybe they are clients and they want to be part of your team and while you’re helping them have a better life, or while you’re helping them build a bigger business, while you’re helping them have a better relationship, because they are clients and they love your services they will be born into your culture, they are born into the way that you run your business, they are born into the way in what you believe as well.
And it’s easier to then start looking for staff members and team members within your client base.
Which is what we did. I believe that it was one of the best choices we ever made, because now we had people that completely understood.
They were already a perfect fit within the GTeX culture.
The problem is that it’s up to you what kind of team you want to create, you can create a team which is more like family where everyone is there supporting each other and you’re finding ways to coexist together.
Or you can have a team which is probably like a sport team that is designed to win.
Now, in a team which is assembled to win there is no room for losers, that’s why a team wins, right?
And that’s where you gotta make some often ruthless kind of decision where someone might be a great friend, or maybe were a great client, or they started working with you, but immediately if you don’t find that they are working hard and you don’t find that they are smart and they are good at what they do.
We’re not talking about skills, attitude is more important than skills.
For example, we had a sales person that didn’t convert for about six months, they didn’t reach their target for six months, but he was so working hard at building his sales skills that we kept him on the team and then we find that person a different role and then they started thriving from that point. And the best decision we’ve ever made, that we’ve made in GTeX, one of the best decisions was actually to not let a person go.
But the reason why we didn’t let that person go it is because they put so much effort.
Lowe Richard thank you very much for joining.
Because they put so much effort in learning their skills, in upgrading themselves, they were investing in themselves, they would keep asking questions, and I could see how driven they were to perform and how bad they wanted this.
For me, that attitude is more important than the skill itself.
So, when you are looking at team members always look for someone that has a winning attitude, that is open in communication, that is great at what they do, they can have potential to become great in what they do as well.
And in particular, that they are willing to do whatever it takes.
They’re not the kind of person who bitches and moans about everything.
Unfortunately, we had one team member who was like that. We worked with that person for a while, almost for a year.
He was creating so many problems within the team but we kept that person because he was incredibly skilled.
In terms of skill, oh my god, awesome. He was amazing, absolutely amazing in terms of skills.
But as a person, as an individual, working with him was very tough.
Was very tough, because he always had to complain about things.
So, when we decided to say okay, this cannot go.
We cannot keep going this way.
We literally almost closed one side of the business that that person was servicing because we didn’t have someone that could do things like him and we had to refund some clients, it was a very difficult decision but again it was the right decision.
Because now that we have found the right person for that role, it’s a pleasure to work.
And it doesn’t become every time before a call, it doesn’t become, oh my god, I really need to go on a call with this person right now but what else they gonna say?
And that’s not the way to create a high performing team. So, always find this person who is the right team member in terms of fit, that you enjoy working with, that is a pleasure working with, and they’re working hard to become the best they can in their role.
And the other thing is give them the structured training, help them train, train them. Spend time with them in the beginning.
That’s something that I haven’t done much. I was like, yeah, I want you to do this.
Do it, then come back to me. And there was very little support from my side, and that’s one of the things that I’ve learned for example from the One Minute Manager book.
Which helped me reassess the way I interact with my team as well, is spending time in the beginning with people.
Spending time in the beginning with people so that they can do their best work.
It’s not about micromanaging it’s about being there in a support role and also checking when they’re doing things right, praising them for that, but also checking also when they’re doing things wrong and give them direction where they can improve.
By leaving them on their own is not even managing, that’s become just forgetting about it and then expecting a great result at the end without support.
And that’s not even realistic.
The other thing that is really important on another note, so that we go on to point number three on the mistakes to avoid.
And I hope you’re enjoying this because it’s helpful for me right now to reflect on the way we are growing as a company, and I hope that’s helpful for you as well.
The other part which is avoid as much as possible, bartering work.
Oh my God, I know sometimes it is a necessity.
Sometimes it is a necessity.
If you don’t have money to pay team members and then if they can do some work for you and then you will do some work for them and you will them maybe access to your community and then they will in exchange provide a service or they will get a free part of your course and then they will help you with some admin work, whatever it is.
That’s fine, the thing you need to be aware of is that something paid will come in.
Unless they feel aligned, a hundred, a thousand percent, but as soon as their pace of paid work that they enjoy come in, they’re going to leave you immediately or very soon.
You might have that conversation and say, okay, I’m gonna give you my one month notice or whatever so you can readjust yourself but you are not their priority anymore.
Unless you’re giving them something, some crucial exposure that will mean that what you’re giving them is way, way more than money, way, way, more than money.
So, the way we run with our team members in particular when we create contracts and agreements and venture partnerships with our team members, is to look at how can we partner up with their businesses.
So then we will have a financial agreement in place as well as for the work that they do for us so they will get paid, and or if they don’t get paid immediately, they get paid a percentage of the revenue that will come from that work.
But there will always be a paid agreement imposed. There are people that are paid more, there are people that are paid less.
There are people that do more work, there are people that do less work, and that’s the nature of a business.
But in particular in this industry, when you are in this moment it’s easy to go and to barter your way out of everything because you don’t want to spend money but remember that’s a very risky strategy for your business.
Because now, imagine you’re spending all of that time training that person and now after two or three months and now they can start to do something by themselves or whatever it is, then they leave because they found some paid work.
And you’re like, oh wow, I was counting on you, I prepared you for this now you’re leaving?
So remember, remember, remember to always make sure that the financial exchange is fair for both parties.
And address that financial exchange, talk about it, make sure that you have an agreement.
Review that financial exchange over time because then you don’t want to have the surprise of someone saying, well I’m leaving because I wasn’t getting enough money or I wasn’t happy with what I was doing.
At least you prevent this to happen or you can’t just go part ways, but be more proactive about it.
And then we have the last part, the last mistake that you can avoid when you’re growing your business.
And that’s again, all these mistakes are something that I’ve done.
I’m sharing with you all the things that I’ve done wrong so thenhopefully you can do them right.
Because now we have spent time reassessing and reevaluating and finding the right structure, finding the right way to keep going.
And the other one is when you are scaling up don’t run multiple projects at the same time.
And in particular if you are like myself, a creative person, who wants to have a thousand different plates spinning at the same time because I think I’m a superhuman and I think I can do it all, then it’s a big mistake.
In fact, right now I’m cutting literally about 80% of the extra projects that I had.
The only thing I’m craving the most is having as much as possible, free time on my calendar.
That’s how I know I’m having a great week where I have very little booked on my calendar.
Because in this way, if I pack too much it means that I will not be able to manage my team effectively.
It means that I will not be able to grow the company strategically, or to have the mental clarity to assess which are the real right opportunities and which ones are the distraction.
And there is almost at this point of growth I found very little space for extra projects.
For projects that will be like, mmm, that would be interesting.
But where you would better spend your time is in refining everything you’re doing, because then if you refine everything you’re doing and you make it more effective, you make it more efficient, you make it better, then you will arrive to a point where it can run on its own and then you will have all the time in the world to create all the other creative projects that you want.
But it’s up to you to take that discipline and say no, right now let me focus on this.
And you know, sometimes there people that run their businesses like that.
If you are the very methodical entrepreneur that does things one at a time, awesome, kudos for you.
If you are the kind of person who’s like a super driving force, it’s like they’re the superstar, great to get people trust me, believing in me, and I love spending time under the spotlight like myself, but at the same time is very creative.
I love running different projects at the same time.
Right now, I’m just cutting all the projects and saying no to almost everything I can so that I can have more time to create processes and create systems and support my team in creating processes and systems that will allow them to grow the company to the way to what we want to grow.
To become the number one company and training company for experts in the entire world.
That’s our mission, that’s where we are going, and so every team member knows that and we know that we need to have very strong processes, very strong systems, and at the same time a very strong brand to keep growing it so then we can focus that again to reach millions and millions of people and grow the company exponentially.
Knowing that almost everything, not everything, but almost everything is ready on the backend to support that growth.
Because there are so many companies that just grow too fast and they are breaking apart because suddenly they have an influx of new business they are not ready to handle, the team is not ready to handle, there are no processes, there are no systems, and so the old clients get pissed off, the new clients get pissed off, and the company crumbles.
And we didn’t want to be one of those companies that’s why we’re slowing down.
We are slowing down, putting a lot of time into the team, putting a lot of time creating those processes and systems so that everything can be ready for the next level of the growth, to the seven figures and multi-seven figures.
So, running multiple projects at the same time, my friend, no no. Don’t do that.
So to recap, we have the four mistakes to avoid that I’ve made in the past few months.
One is making sure you have the right business partner or create the right partnerships.
We were very lucky, I have to say, that between Ben and I worked out in the way it did.
Very, very lucky. We worked hard at it, but also there was an element of luck because I’ve seen so many partnerships falling apart because they were the wrong people.
Or the people were not compatible or were just going in two different directions.
So, this is a way, Ben if you’re listening right now.
Thank you man, I love you, and it’s great working with you. In particular now that you’re doing your own stuff and I’m doing my own stuff It’s even better.
And we can be friends again.
The other thing is finding the right team member, finding the right team member.
Make sure that they’re high performing, that they are willing to work as hard as you do.
And they are willing to be better, they’re willing to communicate, and that becomes part of your culture.
Also, be aware of bartering and doing free exchanges, that can be very risky for your business.
Very costly and very risky for your business.
Make sure that there is always a financial agreement in place, so that people when there is a financial opportunity then they have to choose. Instead of just saying, oh well, I need the money I need to leave right now.
And the other one, which is the last one, running multiple projects at the same time.
No, no, no, no, no, don’t do that. Particularly, when you’re scaling.
Ah, bad. Okay, guys thank you very much for watching another episode of Explode Your Expert Business show.
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