3 times a year our Leverage coaching clients come into town for a 2-day intensive.
It’s one of my favorite parts of the business.
I’ve always learned that the biggest breakthroughs don’t happen on a computer.
They happen on paper, in a room working on your business with no tech to distract you.
In our Leverage program, our clients bring their teams (more specifically their #2) and it was an awesome experience to see their ah-ha’s and breakthrough moments.
In today’s episode, I wanted to share my personal insights from watching our clients work on building a better business during the last few days with their team.
Transcript / MP3
Kind of sharing my takeaways coming out of one of our quarterly two day intensives.
So in our highest level program Leverage, we have our clients come into town for two intense days working on their business and we help them plan their next 90 days, prioritize what they should be working on, things that they should be looking out for, etc.
And something that’s unique about all of our programs, I think that I’ve seen from the programs that I’ve been in is we have our clients, at least the ones that have them bring theirs, call it number two employee along for the ride.
And whether that’s an operations manager or project manager or an integrator, if you know you use the language of traction.
But that role, we really encourage our clients to bring them into the programs because there are training and systems that that person should be really managing and operating inside the business to free up the CEO, which would be you. Right? And so now having had clients that have brought their teams to multiple events and then a few clients that have brought their teams to the, to this event and it was their first time bringing their teams. It was really interesting to see some of the breakthroughs and Aha moments that were happening in the room. So I kind of wanted to share, you know, now that I’ve had a few days to reflect on, on the event and recover and, and kind of build back up my energy, some of my biggest takeaways from the last two days with our highest-level coaching clients, agency owners that are really looking to scale by adding on more leveraged revenue streams by putting the right systems in place, et cetera. So let’s jump on over to the Facebook live that I just recently did and let’s dive into the takeaways.
Let’s get it going.
For three years, my agency built funnels and automation systems for the biggest names in marketing today since then have transformed that agency into a hyper profitable training and consulting business. While everyone is out there talking about scale like it’s some sort of destination. We’ll be asking the real question, how do you transform your business into a more scalable model using the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you already have? This podcast is here to give you the answer. Join me in a follow along as I learned, apply and share the strategies I’m using to build my multimillion-dollar business. My name is Greg Hickman and welcome to Scalable.
I really want to kind of have a conversation with you on, I want to bring you behind the scenes so to speak, kind of from Greg’s eyes, Greg’s perspective on some of the biggest takeaways that I saw our clients having over the course of the last two-day client intensive.
So in our highest level coaching program, leverage our clients come into town for two intense days, multiple times throughout the year. And something that is, I’d say a little bit different from other programs that I know I’ve invested in is we, we allow our clients to bring some of their team members along for the ride, specifically their number two person, that person that plays that operations role. I’m operations manager, sometimes it’s a project manager, sometimes uh, it’s an integrator if you follow the traction model, either way it’s kind of the key people that help your business run and move forward. And again, they come in to town for two days and every time before we leave we plan out their next 90 day sprint so to speak. And you know, they’re looking over all of the things that went right the last 90 days, what went wrong, what are their priorities, where are there bottlenecks across the five core functions of the business, which we’ve talked about in previous episodes.
And we really identify like here’s what you should be working on and here’s what those milestones should look like over the course of the next 90 days. Some of those KPIs and the results. And it’s a really powerful event where everyone leaves with kind of their pecking order, what it is that they should be working on in order to achieve their goals. And like I said, we ha we allow our clients to bring their, their team members along. So what I wanted to do is while all the takeaways didn’t have to do with the fact that these people had team members at the event, many of my takeaways as the person who’s kind of in front of the room training for most of most of the event, I’m kind of in the trenches working with them through a lot of the exercises and workshop elements of the intensive.
My biggest takeaways. So like I said, first I think it’s really important as a, as a CEO of your agency, as your growing your business and adding more rev like leverage revenue streams, like consulting programs or coaching or workshops and training, which is something we help our clients kind of bolt on to their agency and or just transform into if they’re kind of over their agency model. And it’s really, it’s really interesting to have the operator come into the room because there’s so many things that I know I personally in my business that would never get done if it weren’t for Lisa on our team who kind of plays the operations manager role. Right? She’s the one that kind of takes a lot of my vision and helps put it into, into motion and so that we can act on it each and every week hitting our 30 day, you know, our 30 day milestones and our 90 day targets.
And so one, I think that’s just different that many of the programs I’ve been in, like you don’t get to bring the team member and I know in our programs, the training that that person goes through and the conversations and coaching that that person needs is very different. And oftentimes you have some interesting experiences where like, you know, the CEO and that operations manager really are still in like that molding phase where they are learning each other, learning how to operate together. Right? And so we helped them kind of adopt certain systems and meeting cadences and put certain structure in their business so that they can operate more effectively as a team and kind of get momentum and hit some goals. So, okay. What is super interesting is, you know, when you go to most of these events, like as someone who’s running them, you know, you want to get like the video testimonial of, you know, the owner.
Um, but one thing we’ve been doing a lot more of is getting the video testimonials and feedback from the, you know, the operations manager or this project manager. And one of the, um, you know, the biggest takeaway is, and I know that I know that this has happened in my business too, is you know, I go to these masterminds or I go to these, you know, these workshops and I come back and I’m like, hey guys, here’s what I learned. We’re doing it this way. Let’s go. And then the whole team was like, what the hell just happened? Uh, what like how did the priority just change? And if you’ve ever gone to some sort of learning event, a mastermind, what have you and come back and just like threw a bomb into your business cause you learned a new thing or a new strategy and you wanted the entire team to know and like they just got the curve ball, you know what I’m talking about.
So it was really interesting to have that number two person in the room really kind of here in digest what the, the CEO and their boss is actually learning and taking away. They get to talk about how this applies to their current objectives and their current vision. And they felt like they were able to better understand how they can kind of apply these things because apparently as CEOs of our business, despite being visionary, sometimes communicating that vision to the team isn’t always done super effectively and or come off as clearly as we think it is in our head when we’re at those events. So having that person there along for the ride digesting and seen and watching their, you know, their boss or you know, the visionary digest this information and then they have the opportunity to discuss it was really powerful. So they felt like when they brought it back to the team that they would be able to deliver it in more of a consumable way where the whole team wouldn’t feel like they just got, you know, sideswiped by a, you know, by a Mack truck.
Right. Um, so if you’ve ever been there before, having that person they’re along for the ride might actually help deliver the, the objectives and the like the actual execution plan to the team a whole lot better than than you. And I know that’s true in my case where I have these ideas and I’m meeting with my operations manager Lisa, who really helps us kind of distill this down into, you know, 90 day targets, 30 day milestones, and then our commitments, like what are the things we each across the team have to be working on to hit those goals. So it was really cool to kind of see like the light bulbs going off in the operations managers kind of heads or above their heads rather now understanding the, their, you know, their entrepreneur, they’re, they’re visionary a whole lot better now. Um, one thing that came up a lot at this intensive was this, I guess lack of clarity that many of the team members have that if you asked the entrepreneur, right, the owner, the CEO you like in your head it’s super clear, but when you communicate it to them, they’re not really understood like sure why you’re doing something.
Um, and or like the orders that you just gave them are actually important and okay. I think it’s really hard to sometimes, especially if this is a new team member but have what we call the collision of like that healthy conflict between the operations manager and the CEO. And I know I personally butt heads a lot with Lisa on my team who, you know, I’m very much a visionary and she’s very much like the follow through person. If you’d follow a Colby, like I’m a quick start and she’s, you know, follow through implementer and we butt heads and in many ways she needs to keep me in check because if I keep bringing new ideas every single week to the table and we’re constantly changing direction, it throws everybody else off. The days of where I could just operate in pivot super fast starts to go away as you start having a team and it becomes more of like a grenade being thrown into your business versus having the entire team moving in unison like towards one, one common goal.
And so the teams that we’ve, you know, that came where they’ve had their team members for now awhile and brought them to multiple events going through the exercises, you can see like that they’ve, they’ve dealt with a lot of the conflict and the collision and they worked really well together. You know, the operations and energy, you’d be like, Whoa, Whoa, whoa, how does this fit into the puzzle? When we said we were going to do all of these things and the owner’s like, oh my God, you’re right. Like I’m trying to take on too much. And like that collaboration really helps kind of filter into the appropriate priorities and tackling a good amount of like kind of a still enough where they’re stretching themselves and they’re challenging themselves but not setting themselves up for failure where they are trying to achieve you know, 10 years worth of work in you know, the next 90 days, which you know, as entrepreneurs and you know owners of a business we very, we very often can, we can do or can’t expect.
So watching the teams kind of that have been colliding with each other and having that healthy conflict move fast through the exercises while some of the other teams that were in the room where they are new team members going through this for the first time, you kind of started to see some of that collision happening in the room so much to the point where we actually had one set of client, one client with their team leave the room for a few minutes to go, just go have a pow on like hey we need to go. We need to go. We need to go collide and talk about a few things. And like where we’re going and like why we’re all here and all of that stuff. So I think it’s really when done correctly, very healthy for you to have a, an operations manager that is that person that sort of like puts you in check and challenges some of the things that you are suggesting you guys go and tackle as the owner because you’ve been giving them these outcomes and been helping them try to kind of help you run your business more smoothly.
But when you have more free time to go to these events and come back, you just start throwing more grenades into the business and it, and it disrupts the stuff that you had previously told them was a priority. So watching that was, was really fascinating. And um, a lot of this actually comes down to, and I know this, I was, I’ve been guilty of this too, and this is something that you know, I still work on and focus on is as owners of your agency, it’s, you have to kind of ask yourself, okay, are you managing tasks or are you managing outcomes? Because if you’re hiring people to manage tasks, in many ways that work is going to come back to you tenfold. Every time they go do something, they’re going to come back for your approval. Um, every time they have a question and they’re unsure, they’re going to come back to make sure it’s okay.
When they need to make a decision, they’re going to come back and ask you if the decision that they want to make is okay and, or they’re going to ask you what decision should I be making? And really what that’s doing is training them to need you, which is the opposite of what you actually want as the owner of your business. You want to be able to say, hey team, this is the outcome. Go make sure we get there. And like, let me know how I can support you in that. And what that leads into is, you know, the notion that failure is actually the best teacher. And this has kind of played out in my business where, um, you know, one of the players on our team, Megan, you know, I would constantly be managing tasks and it kept coming back to me and to the point where I just realized that, you know, easily you could say that sit there as entrepreneur and be like, well, why are you here if I’m having to kind of confirm everything that you do?
Like that’s not efficient. Right? And so it wasn’t until a couple of things happened that I realized that we needed to really start, have, be managing outcomes across across the board. One is that my team wanted to take on more stuff. They wanted to take stuff off my plate and when I pulled the room at the intensive, all of the team members were literally anxious and like craving, taking on more, more work to really relieve the, the owner of the business so that they can focus on moving the business forward. Right. As the owner, you need to be focused on the activities that are going to grow your business, right. Scale your business more on hiring, getting the right people, getting the right, which the right systems in place, being focused on sales and marketing, not all of the day to day operations. And my team wanted that.
Like they wanted to take that off my plate and it wasn’t until they stepped up and really just told me that look what we got this, we will own this. I didn’t really believe them. And like when they stepped up and got in my face and like gave me a little bit of resistance is when I actually realized, Oh my God, I can trust them with these outcomes. Like let me give them more stuff. Now with doing that, I needed to accept the fact that very there’s a good chance that they are going to fail in some way, shape or form in the beginning. Right. Which is okay, they will fail. So as you’re handing some of these outcomes off, you need to understand that them making some mistakes, but owning them is huge. And until they make those mistakes, they can’t take ownership over it.
Right. So at that point, you then get to come in as the leader and really coach them on how do you avoid this mistake again, here’s how. Maybe I would have done it differently. But if you’re always kind of watching over them to make sure they don’t make a mistake, they’re never going to really have the ownership in the outcome that you actually want them to have. Thus, you’re always going to be micromanaging and you’re always going to be kind of chimed in and disrupting their flow, which is going to take you out of the focus. That of the things that you should be focused on, right? Growing the business. In many cases, if you’re, you know, a small team, the sales and the marketing, the things that actually drive revenue, you need to let them take that on, empower them to take that on.
And with that, you’re going to have to obviously prepare them not to fail, but understand that failure is going to be the best teacher because they will take on more ownership over that. So they want more. Give them more. Ask them to step up when they want things, right? Enable them, let them feel like they are empowered to come to you and say, Hey, boss man or boss, Gal, I got this many of your team members right now, probably don’t feel that way. And it’s because of the way that you’re currently operating. And if you continue to operate that way, you’re gonna keep going in that kind of hamster wheel of everything comes back to you. The business really does rely on you and you’re not going to grow. You’re going to keep having all of the same problems. You’re gonna have all the same challenges.
So if you haven’t already been able to tell one, you need to empower these people. But two, if you don’t have someone in this role, it’s time that you get started looking for this person. And look, it doesn’t have to be super complicated. When I, when I got started, Lisa came on the team and she was working two hours a week for two hours a day, five days a week, right? 10 hours a week. And we very quickly were able to grow that because I saw how much she was taking off of my plate and I had the ability to bring in more revenue and bring in more clients and help the business grow, which then required me to get more of her time. So if you’re still on the fence of like, man, I don’t know how I would even utilize this person, you can find people to start part time as little as two hours a day, five days a week.
And once they start taking on some of these things and taking that off your plate, you’ll be able to grow a whole lot faster. Um, also by having the right team in place, sometimes the right team and finding those right team members need to be put into the right system. And so a lot of our clients that come into leverage have actually gone through our foundations program, which is really all about setting the foundational systems and structure around the five core functions of your business, lead generation, lead nurture, sales, fulfillment, and you know, retention, resell, upsell. Uh, and those five areas are all moneymaking activities and can help you grow. And so there are specific systems that you should be installing and certain structure and, and, uh, you know, kind of frameworks that you can be applying within each areas of those, each area of those five core functions to really start to streamline how that part of the business operates to the point where you as the owner cannot be, can be not a bottleneck in that area and start to remove yourself.
So that’s why we work on some of that stuff in foundations. And what’s interesting is when you start laying those foundations right, the, the roles that are going to help unlock you of cross those five core functions really start to present themselves. So you can actually start to hire more specialists as it relates to where your biggest bottleneck is and or have your operations person focus on, you know, the people in the process within those, within the right, that one of those core areas to unlock your business growth, right? And so it’s not just necessarily about having the right people, but sometimes having the right system that the right people can fit into. And if you don’t have those systems in place, likely those systems are all in your head. Those processes are in your head. And when you go to hire someone, you kind of feel like you’re not utilizing them effectively because they’re doing everything manually.
It’s unique every single time because you haven’t spent the time laying the foundation of here’s our sales process, here’s how it works, here’s our fulfillment process, here’s how that works. Here’s how we deliver repeatable results to our clients. Hey, new fulfillment person, here’s our process on how we deliver. Like, let’s show, let’s have you learn that process versus coming in and trying to figure it out and being different every single time, right? So hiring becomes a whole lot easier when you start laying the appropriate systems and putting the appropriate systems in place across those five core functions. So if you’ve been hiring people and you kind of feel like you have to go find this like superstar person because they need to be able to do anything that you throw at them, almost like they’re another version of you. You probably don’t have some of the core systems in place around your sales, your marketing, your lead generation, your fulfillment, which is making, you kind of need this like generalists player that you, that needs to have all of these magical skill sets.
Like they’re a unicorn person, therefore they’re really expensive and that handicaps you in your growth. But if you have the appropriate systems across lead generation, nurture sales and fulfillment, et Cetera, who you need when and what you need them to do pretty much just presents itself to you and you need them to fit into a specific process and capitalize on using a system that’s already there, making them way more efficient right out of the gates. So if you’re hearing this and you either don’t have that person in place, one know that you can start with someone like that, like an operations manager in a part time capacity. And really start to help unlock you. But if you’re trying to add all of these team members without some of the fundamental fundamental and foundational pieces in place, you’re probably going to be setting those people up for failure is what I’ve found to be true.
Um, this also leads to one of the other kind of takeaways that I had was, um, I have like fighting the urge to just check boxes and kind of go onto the next thing as entrepreneurs, right? We like, I think we crave growth. We crave momentum and we want to see progress. And so when we’re working with our team and, or working by ourselves and we’re giving ourselves like, you know, the 10 things that need to get, excuse me, that need to get done to hit our goal. Once we check off one, we jump onto the next thing. And when it comes to setting up some of these foundational systems and having them dialed in and streamlined, I think it’s really important for all of us to focus on really making sure that those systems are in place and performing the way we want before moving onto the next thing.
And it’s less about just jumping to the next thing and mastering the systems and process within each of those five core functions of your business, right? If your biggest bottleneck is in, um, you know, sales and you think you fixed it but you really didn’t and you jump into lead generation and now you’re really focused on lead gen, lead generation, and you’re flooding your entire sales process, which is broken with new, you’re still gonna have a problem, right? And so I think as entrepreneurs, we want to see that progress. And often we jump from one task or one project to the next without really making sure that it’s streamlined or can handle the increased demand and we’re forced to then loop back and fix it anyway. And so I’d say I challenged and we challenged all of our clients, like really focus on the basics across these five core functions and make sure that they’re fully functional, fully operational to the point where hey CEO, we’ve dialed in the core foundational systems across those five core functions.
Like go take a two week vacation and see how it operates, right? Like can the business and those five core functions still operate without you being there to bandaid everything. That’s when you’ll actually start to see and be exposed to are these systems working when you can start removing yourself from them and by doing that you we’ll see momentum and also growth. Not just like, Hey, the business will hang on, we’ll survive for you know, a few weeks with the owner on vacation, but you actually grow. If that’s the case, I would say that, hey, like you’ve probably have dialed in this system fairly well to the point where you can move on to the next thing. So, like I said, as entrepreneurs it’s, I was watching that, like I’ve been watching our clients, like they tackle one thing and they move onto the next, but that one thing wasn’t mastered yet or streamlined to the point where it still really didn’t depend on them.
So what that really kind of led me to kind of share with them, and this is something I say to you as well also to say to myself is if you want to move your business forward quickly and you want more success, you want to hit those, hit those results. You want to be able to take vacation for, you know, without having to check in for your check into your business and the business actually grows while you’re on vacation. You need to actually never stopped doing the basics right. We see the shiny objects and all that stuff, but the real growth, like the results that you want are on the other side of the unsexy work, the repetition, the iteration of those, those core areas of your business. And so what we’ve been focusing on, and really again kind of hand off to you too, you know, take this to heart, is you can’t stop doing the basics.
Even as you grow as the owner, you want to focus on the basics all the time, never stopped focusing on them, and you want your team members to really get good at the fundamentals and never just start slacking there because they’ve tried something new. Like the foundations are always important. Right? So the last piece is, you know, we saw a lot of wins across all of our clients and the teams because they’ve been making shifts to their agency model. The old model of we’ll do everything for our clients whenever asked, which has led to scope creep, working long hours, feeling handcuffed, waking up to fire drills, low profitability is the old way of doing things. And our clients have been working hard. Many of them that have, some of them that are new have just gotten started on this stuff. But the ones that have been really focused on product position, selling, marketing and delivering their services like products and creating those repeatable delivery systems and using automation to streamline their sales, their marketing and their fulfillment have been able to get their clients consistent, repeatable results without adding more hours.
And so I believe that as an agency owner, you are doing your clients a disservice by doing all of the work for them because you’ve taken pretty much ownership over their business. And in an upcoming episode I’m going to talk about the differences between selling done for you and selling done with you. Uh, because as an agency owner, sometimes it’s easy to kind of flee and you know, resort back to you know, selling done for you because it’s easier but it’s actually not easier for you and it’s actually cut handcuffing your clients and that will bite you in the butt and the rear end in the long term. So the right agency model, which I believe is a hybrid of online training and programs and done for you services, there is a sweet spot here can really unlock you as the agency owner too. Focus on all of the things that you want to be focused on, spend more time doing the things that you love.
Having often cases at least double or triple your profitability while reducing the hours worked, the headache and the energy that you need to kind of show up with every single day to run your business. And so on top of all those things, the people, the process, the systems in many ways all of that doesn’t matter if you’re still operating in the old agency model and so like I said, many of our clients that come in through our foundations program, they are adopting and setting the foundation for this kind of hybrid agency model which really brings the best of both worlds. The the guarantee of results from done for you and the speed of results from done for you with the profitability and the margins. And I guess the scalability from online training and like there is a happy place for where both of where those can exist for pretty much all digital agencies.
So um, if that sounds like something that is the, if you’re new to our world and you’re like, all right, I hear you barking big dog private message me. Happy to chat with how we might be able to apply this to your business. But I just wanted to kind of bring you behind the scenes some of my observations from what was going on in the room with our high level coaching clients for the last couple of days. And hopefully you found this helpful if you found this helpful, please leave a comment below if you’re enjoying this. Um, just say hello and hope you guys enjoy and you guys have a great day. Talk soon. If I gave you five to 10 new clients, would you or your agency break if so, your current agency model is broken? I struggle with this too until I found a better way by adding online programs, training and coaching to our agency, we’ve doubled profits without adding more hours. If you want to work directly with me and my team to transform your agency, visit myscalablebusiness.com to learn more.