Your business’ operational roadmap is paved with five important tools—Delegate and Elevate, Accountability Chart, Operational Tools, Customer Service Matrix, and Advisory Network. We’ll break down what they are, how to use them, and how they work together to achieve success and efficiency in your business during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
About Randy Gerber and Gerber, LLC
Gerber, LLC., is a professional service firm focused solely on improving the business and overall happiness of first-generation entrepreneurs. By taking a holistic approach to each individual client’s ideas and aspirations, Gerber, LLC helps its clients integrate and achieve their life, business, and financial goals.
Randy has shared his professional expertise through a variety of speaking engagements. He has presented throughout the United States through webinars, podcasts, and in-person at EO, Vistage, Leadercast, Raymond James National Conference, and numerous local organizations.
Randy has been an extremely active member and leader of the Columbus Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization, including serving as a board member six times since 2000. EO is a global, peer-to-peer network for entrepreneurs to learn and grow together.
This event was held at Cultivate in August 2020.
Emerging Entrepreneur Experience
Today, we’re going to talk about operations and professional teams. Let me actually spend a quick second on why I’m qualified to have this conversation. So, we work with 200 and 21st Generation Entrepreneurs and haven’t seen them grow their businesses from, you know, a million dollars to sales, half million dollars of sales until today, our average sized clients have about $45 million in sales, and we have seen the things that work and the things that don’t work and sequencing, what do you do first, what do you do second, do third? And so our whole emerging entrepreneur series of which today is a part of that is geared towards helping clients, helping businesses grow from, you know, $300,000 of sales and million are just sales to the $3 million gross profit company.
So this is rooted in our experiences or client experiences, and testing over time and feels that’s pretty good. In addition to that, to make sure I give credit where credit’s due a portion of today’s session is directly out of traction or Entrepreneurial Operating System which we are we think ELS which again is operating system is a fantastic program that eventually businesses grow into the problem with ELS is that really need to be about $5 million of gross sales to justify the process and be expensive and so, so we think that part of today’s or we think part of the value is putting the foundation in place that when you get ready to do ELS and we do ELS ourselves, we do it ourselves and administer for clients as well, that you have the foundational tools in place to make sure that you’re on the right track.
So today we’re going to talk about operations and professional teams and the thing that we had to think about here that people lose sight of is that business operations are the activities involved in the day-to-day functions of the business conducted for purposes of generating profits.
It sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how critical this is. And I’m going to tell a quick story here to explain why this is so important. That if you go back and look at the 2008 debt crisis that exposed individuals, small businesses, and big businesses, they were overloaded and had too much debt, and the catalyst to this was that people pay down their debt. They stop using it, they refinance it to lower interest rates, shorter terms, kind of ironically, going into the 2020 crisis. One of the reasons why the economy was doing so well is because all these 10 Year 15 year and 12-year mortgages taken out back in 2008 2009 2010 either had expired or were about to expire so consumers were super confident that plenty of cash flow and then COVID-19 hit and in what are they exposed small businesses and individuals had no cash in their businesses that cash small businesses, individuals did not and so the remedy the federal government shows to views was to flood the market with money. They gave people unemployment benefits that enhanced the credit that came out of the PPP for small businesses but basically flooded the market with money, and so he asked the question, How in the world could you go in this macroeconomic environment for 10 years where things are good, you know, the economy was growing, revenues are going up? And what becomes very obvious to me is that small businesses, in particular, didn’t. As their revenues grew. Their expenses grew too with it, and they weren’t really thinking about operating profits. And they certainly weren’t thinking about having operating profits end up on your balance sheet. So you know, this is if you’re struggling with what I’m saying, to look at what’s happening right now, because this is proof positive, why you have to be very concerned about ultimately your operating profits.
Who Is Your Competition?
So the first issue is Who’s your competition? And this was kind of an eye-opening experience for me. We started the business back in 1991, and sometime around 1995 to 96. I was at Vail and talking to a guy who has been in business for a long time and he asked me Who’s, Who’s your competition? But we’re staying at the Four Seasons Hotel and in a coach, I absolutely cannot afford but it was in the Nexus hotel. I’ve been in my life and the service was phenomenal, the experience was phenomenal and he asked me, Who’s your competition? and I started kind of rattling off all these different advisors and he said no, your competition is this hotel. And like, What do you mean? we’re not? We’re not in the hotel business. And he said, Your competition is the best consumer experience your customers have ever had.
And I think that is one of the things in the world we live in today. That we’re all accustomed to, instead of amazon.com as I was talking to somebody today who shops at the dollar store and she’s a company with a dollar store that I never have because I go to Amazon and we used to press a button, click it and have it delivered the next day to my house and if I want information, like go on my phone, Google what I want instantaneous, accurate information. So the world’s changed a lot that as we consume every day, our competition isn’t the person who’s in your space competing with you or the competition that we all have. Everybody has the best customer experience, that your customers experience in their life all the time. And they’re not even conscious of it. It’s just a subconscious behavior. So as you’re thinking about operations in your business, you’re thinking about, you know, how you’re growing the business you got to remember, the consumer experience that your customers have is different and you’re gearing it towards what they’re doing day to day in their life.
Dysfunctions Of A Team
So, the first issue, and again, I hate to keep referencing COVID-19 But you know, one of the things that COVID-19 Exposed were teams that were dysfunctional. So people who weren’t aligned with the core values of the business and so there’s basically five dysfunctions of a team,
Absence Of Trust
First of which is the absence of trust, and if you can’t have trust, it’s just not going to work.
Fear Of Conflict
Secondly, fear of conflict, you’re not always going to agree, you’re going to have disagreements. You have to work through them to get on the same page to deliver operational excellence.
Lack Of Commitment
Lack of commitment. I mean, that’s one of the things that I think the virus exposes that some people simply couldn’t go to work because they are overwhelmed and need continued commitment all the time with people.
Avoidance Of Accountability
Avoidance of accountability. This is one of the best things ELS does: it gives you the tools to hold people accountable for doing their jobs. And I think that’s one of the other things that in small businesses, again, those $300,000 or $2 million sales businesses, that because the entrepreneur is so close to everybody, they just don’t do a good job holding people accountable.
Inattention to Results
And then lastly, inattention to results, and again, this is all rooted in operational excellence. So you can’t have a dysfunctional team and be operationally excellent. And so you have to be thinking about it all the time. How do we make sure we have trust that we have a healthy conflict that we have committed employees and committed team members are holding everybody accountable and we know our results so the thing about the inverses of the positive that you want to do.
8 Functional Areas Of A Business
And with that, and this is really important. That no matter what size business you are, if you have to understand that there are eight functional areas, and this is coming directly out of Eos. This is not gonna work.
And I want to be really clear about this. There are eight functional areas of the business. It doesn’t mean there are eight people, only each of these right? Certainly, businesses are smaller in the beginning. And it’s going to be a person who will hold different seats or multiple seats. Okay.
So, one really important part of the visionary is where’s the business going? Somebody on the team has to understand. What does the future look like? What are we trying to accomplish? Usually, the visionary is the entrepreneur, the person who started the business. Somebody needs, you know, sales and marketing sometimes get confused.
Marketing is promoting the business and promoting the overall business. What’s happening in the experience you have with the customer?
And sales is actually the person who’s doing the literal sales. And they’re the ones getting the commitment from the customer divide.
Operations, IT, Finance, HR
Operations, and then information technology, finance, and HR. Oftentimes what you see happening, in the beginning, is that the IT, Finance, and HR, sit with the vetted, visionary seat because they’re the entrepreneur, sometimes the operation seat.
And customer service. So again, the big part to remember for a customer service piece is Who’s your competition. It’s the best experience that your clients are having.
As a part of the accountability, we talked about and a part of making sure that we’re addressing these functional areas. This is a mistake and I made the same mistake here. You don’t hold people accountable. You don’t measure results. So one of the most important and simplest things you can do is have a scorecard.
And the scorecard basically identifies those things that are most important, what’s measurable? These happen to be our measurables, So what are those most important activities in the business that have to get done in order for you to know the business is doing well? One of the things I’ll tell you to be very careful with on scorecards is people tend to think about lagging indicators. So what our revenue was? What our profit was? What does our balance sheet look like? versus leading indicators. And so as an example in our business, the number one objective by far is to keep our clients and so we have that we know that if we are doing these are internal names for us. If our retirement plan workflows are above 90% and our private client workflows well 90% We’re going to, our clients are not gonna leave us. We know that.
The second thing for us that’s most important is that it’s predictive so we can tell our you know how that’s happening for us, so we can see what we’re ahead of this. We’re not going to lose clients and the second piece is getting new clients, and everything else below is all about new clients. So it’s where we’re controlling the behavior to get in or measuring sorry, the behavior to get new clients versus how many clients that we actually get to make sense and I’m saying but having a scorecard that is reviewed every week, the team understands, you know, holding people accountable to it is really critical.
This is probably the aha moment for me. Way too late my business and this is a common mistake and we make it and still make it common mistakes in our businesses every single day. If I could do the one thing over again in my business, I would have embraced training a lot sooner and you know that I was with them, about 10 years ago, about 15 entrepreneurs and we were out in Jackson Hole skiing, and we were talking about the challenge. We’re sitting at dinner, talking about the challenges in our business, and to a person, it was the inconsistency of training and like how is this possible and because you hear about trading a long time and it’s kind of I know that sounds obvious, maybe stupid, but large businesses that unlimited cash feels like the least, that they can train the people all the time. That’s not the case for small businesses. I mean, if you know, peeling off 5% or 10% of revenue to train was really hard to do in the beginning. and so, you got to be creative and clever with how you do it. And so, you know, growing people grow a company and really high-quality folks. They want to learn, they want to improve, they want to get better, so, if you can hire those people you really want to make sure that you’re investing in that. That’s what they want. They want badly. Best growth firms or training companies really mean they are. You really go back and look there. Their training programs are robust and continuous training and development create loyalty, in my opinion, training dollars are an offensive investment. That’s something you’re making to help grow the business. So as you’re, as you’re thinking about, you know, every dollar that comes through the door and revenue, a certain amount of it’s got to end up in training program at the beginning for competence and good benchmarks to 3% payroll and usually want to focus on middle management first if you have middle management, if not, then went on to lower and integration into business operations system deals, optimize training for employees. So you know, concentrating as you’re developing business as you go. And then lastly, the early embrace provides. Any questions on this at all?
We have continually invested in improving our training. I still don’t think it’s good enough. We’re taking a huge step. We’re prosecuting your secretary COVID got put on pause or making an enormous investment to really make it even better stuff. It’s something that’s just so important.
And the accountability. So one of the challenges that small businesses have. We assume that we’re all trying to think about workshops, you know, where do people sit? And that’s really the wrong way to think because small businesses don’t have the luxury where you have one person per role, right? You can’t afford that many people. So it’s really about accountability, what’s the functionality.
So you go into what the visionary responsibility is: idea generation, creativity, etc. Then come back and explain the integrator. But then you have operations, marketing, finance, business development, and it’s about the function and so a person can sit in multiple seats. That you really start to define what each function what’s accountable per function.
The integrator whose role is to remove the obstacles below the line to allow the visionary to keep driving the vision of the business. So does it make sense?
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that the entrepreneur is a visionary integrator to never work, ever. That you know, oftentimes the recommendation would be that you’re your you have your visionary who might be you know, also client service delivery as well. But your operations person is often the integrator in the beginning. No matter what the business, I don’t care if you manufacture something, distribute something professional service forever, doesn’t matter.
Get The Right People On The Bus
And of course, the most important thing is to get the right people on the bus. And I don’t think we say this and we do. I will be second. So again, it’s straight out of Eos. This particular part of it is they believe and I believe it’s our experience that you define your core values which are core values or be the present positive bold pursuit of excellence living with entrepreneurship, and how the sense of urgency and it’s a very simple system that basically, in this case, Lisa, if in each category, if you feel at least is doing a great job, she gets a plus.
If somebody’s not doing well and that, they get minus and if they’re okay, it’s a plus minus. And the issue is that basically if you have somebody with a minus, they get a warning. They don’t improve it. They get a second warning, a second strike, then they don’t improve it. Third, strike them out. Plus-minus is a coaching opportunity coaching and training opportunity.
I’ll tell you, we’ve been doing this now for five, four years and frankly, we don’t have to even do it on behalf of our employees. We ask them themselves. Well, how do you feel here? How are you doing? They know, they know their pluses, plus-minus or minus and it starts the conversation. So we do this at least once a year and additionally as needed. So questions? and so this is getting the right people on the bus.
Get The Right People In The Right Seat
The next piece which is most important is getting the right people in the right seat. And they have to get it, they have to want to have the capacity to do it. So I will tell you that we have been huge proponents of this. We’ve used this well over time. We’ve done a really good job of identifying the right people. And many times we start them in the wrong seat, but we have the right person because we don’t have a seat for them. Or we need, we needed to be in the seat right now because the business needs but if you’re good at communicating, and you know if you’re you have a path, launch, get the right person on the bus, you can get them in the right seat eventually. We’ve done this a bunch of times that we identify really good people, and we’re good enough now that hey, look, we know we’re putting you in a wrong seat, but we need you on the bus. And you know over the course of the next 12-24 months, we’ll get you in the right seat and most of the time at all the time they play ball. And I think with any small business, if you find that right person, you don’t have to seek that’s okay. Grab them because really good people are really hard to find.
And again, this all goes back to operational excellence because the right person is going to always deliver a great experience. Even if they’re in the wrong to sit. How’s it going? Mindset, Trump’s skill set all the time.
Mindset, trust skill set all the time.
And get it they understand it. They want to do it and they have the capacity. So there are some people who get it and they want to do it. They don’t always have the capacity to do it. So that capacity piece is really important that they have the capacity to do it
Team Quarterly Goals / Rocks
And so when you start thinking about operational excellence, you know, one of the things that you should do, obviously you have annual goals, and then break those annual goals into quarterly goals. Okay, and that scorecard that I showed you earlier, actually goes to measure those quarterly goals and so that scorecard is you’re measuring every week to accomplish those quarterly goals. As you accomplish those quarterly goals, you’re taking one step closer to your annual goals. So, and you know you have to identify. What is it? Who owns it? And what does it do?
Pretty simple stuff. Every week, literally every week to talk about it every week you bring it up every week you address it.
You should have no more than seven goals. I think that’s a little much to actually try to do five or six goals per quarter and you have to have at least three that to be specific, measurable, and attainable so very specific to those who can’t say things like get new clients right. Or you know have had COI meetings Centers of Influence meetings yet said he had to have one per week.
The council What’s your CLI meeting weekly goal?
Three to four?.
Every week with Metro should never have a problem getting nine or 10. Every week sounds kind of silly even if I ask her a question.
With it. As I’m talking about your meeting pulse and this is so you have your annual planning meeting which is a one-year plan and your quarterly planning meetings which are reviewed. What do we do for the quarter? You’re establishing new goals and new rocks for the next quarter. Resolve key issues for that quarter? And your weekly meeting. And it sounds simple. And it is simple actually. But guess what people do? It’s pretty remarkable. Even myself when I first started had I known this when I first started we would have been five years ahead of I mean for sure five years. We were very inconsistent and got distracted on one occasion, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And you know, if we had a system out of the gate we’d have made a big difference. And it seems a little cumbersome when there are two or three of you. But it’s you know, you get in the habit when there’s three that are five on their five’s their ten’s and ten and there’s 15 in this and it’s part of the culture where they get used to the communication and how to communicate.
The big one, I think, and this is again, a very common mistake that people make all the time in the beginning is, they don’t have an annual retreat and you can do it in a random library room out or something or do it here. It’s a great idea. But you know, talking about where’s the 30,000-foot vision we’re where we are trying to go long term.
Review the previous year and address the 135-year outlook so you have your one-year goal with quarterly rocks that wander golden leaves to be part of where we’re going five years from now, and it’s gonna be wrong all the time. That’s okay. But it gives you direction, it gives you the idea of where you’re trying to accomplish, and then that we were really bad at it we still can do better and celebrate your wins you always have won. Your team wants to they want to hear the wins, you know, and you know, most entrepreneurs are very competitive. And so they’re always beating themselves up about we should have done this, we should have done that. And that attitude doesn’t really celebrate wins and you need to learn how to celebrate once we’ve set any expectations and alpha outline. That’s one of the things too that if you’re hiring the right people on the bus, regardless of the seat, you should be able to have fun. And that’s an important part of it because we are all human beings and that’s one of the things that makes COVID-19 is proving that we desperately need human interaction and to have fun and I wish I could see a smile again in front of underneath a mask. So now I get that we forget, but certainly, have fun. And that’s an important part of human interaction.
Okay, this is not this Gerber relay, this is not ELLs, and I’m surprised actually they don’t have this address. But this is important too. And let me kind of really pick up the story I told starting out about what COVID-19 exposed was small businesses and individuals don’t have any money. Okay, and so and revenues went up, expense structures went up. And it is one of the reasons why companies weren’t as profitable as they should have been. Because they are also so super important on this index, they sold products and services or goods and services that weren’t profitable.
They sold things to chase revenue, not to chase profits that ended up on their balance sheets. And here’s the best example that we’re living in right now today: those restaurant tours that decided to stay open during COVID-19 and do carry out what they did. They slim their menu choices down to the best sellers’ most profitable and most of them did just fine. So we have 13 restaurants for our clients. And you know, the ones that chose to do that. They actually did pretty well. And so I’m like, Well, let me ask you a question? If you know, Polish sausage isn’t profitable. Why was it on the menu? Well, Mr. Gerber came in every week with his family. He was willing to make Polish sausage and the company for 20 years went to make sure he was happy that every time they made it, they lost money that literally matters over and over and over and over again from restaurant tours. And this is the most obvious time that and this is every business by the way. These aren’t restaurant tours but I’m not sure what we do know and so you have to understand who your customer is, what are you selling them? And are you making money per product or per customer per whatever it is?
And so you have to have service metrics to understand this and that it’s your word, your bond, your focus.
And so as an example, you want to look at what you’re selling is, you know, is it high revenue, strong relationship Okay, low revenue, the strong relationship you know, C and D you know, high revenue poor relationship challenging clients and I don’t care if you’re selling a service or widget, whatever, it’s the same thing that falls in there. And you really, you want to understand what are your best products and services? Who are your best clients and only try to match those. That’s it.
Service Matrix Purpose
And one of the things so what you do is you develop a service matrix. And basically, when you do this, you are number one, and it’s also with us when we made a decision to work with First Generation Entrepreneurs only. That was a whole bunch of people but what it did was allow us to focus on one specific set of audience and do it really, really, really well.
So externally, we can stand it, we basically for our Berber clarity, we have one product, that’s it, one in one service, that’s the same for everybody. cost the same for everybody. And we do it the same way for everybody. And if it doesn’t fit somebody, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that we’re bad or they’re bad. We’re not you know, but something else that we do we know how to do extremely well. And so it’s easy to articulate.
And internally that allows us to hire the right people because we know exactly what we’re doing and exactly who we’re doing it for and then went off too well to have a one person for one off type work right.
So it guides your workflow and clarifies what service levels you know, we have a client who manufactures vinyl railing and you know, as his business went from the hardest thing for a million, 5 million bucks is that 35 $40 million.
As time went on, he was railing against me Because Ebos made a whole bunch of stuff. And his profits weren’t going up. As he got bigger. They sell more stuff and he realized that what he was really good at making goes viral. But all the other things that went viral really, he needed instead of making it himself buy it from somewhere else packaged and distributed and make it an easy purchase for the customers but it’s here today very profitable.
He still only makes vinyl right and now he not only did the use of this fabricated now he extruded that and fabricated assembles it still sells many other things. But it’s not it’s all in a package together and they’re extremely complimentary. They focus on one thing with vinyl railing and not automate it and they know exactly who buys it. They also know that those people might buy all these other things but he doesn’t have to stock it. He doesn’t have to make it, the deal with a supply chain. It’s just Yeah, so I don’t care what it is you do doesn’t matter. Understand who your customer is. what you’re best at doing.
How many products does Amazon actually make? exactly zero were they great at doing distribution? Right.
Deliver the right service to the right customer at the right time.
Service Matrix Tips
So service matric tips.
Number one, this is most important to be consistent. You know, back to the operational excellence where we started consistency wins all the time.
Communicate With Your Client
Communicate with the customers internally and externally. So many businesses are happy about this. Communicate.
Revisit Your Client Base & Csm
Revise your client base and your client service matrix. The changes I mean our business is different today than it was 10 years ago. So you know we truly have one private service. However, it continues to evolve.
You know, for a while there for a while. If we simply work with First Generation Entrepreneurs only. Now or something that should we say it’s, you know, from 20 to 50 million bucks or $100 million in sales. I mean, should we continue to narrow that down? Possibly should we think about geography?
Do Not Overpromise
Never over promise Pilcher? Rather than one reason we have one product so we don’t over promise we promise exactly what we know exactly what the outcomes are. And that’s it. We did.
Take Your Team Into Consideration and Keep Score
Take your team to consider and keep score. So are you delivering your service as you say, hence the whole workflow piece of it?
Advisory Board Benefits
So, one of the things that most people do when they have small businesses, they’re always looking for advice and I think it’s important to always get advice.
And so sometimes people put an advisory board together. And I think that in general is a really good idea. Keep in mind advisory boards, are not the same as the board of directors, and the Board of Directors actually votes and control drives the company advisory board is what it sounds like. It just gives advice.
And you really have to ask yourself, What are you trying to accomplish? And let me tell you the number one mistake that people entrepreneurs make on advisory boards, get people on the advisory board that basically they think they can sell our services their business that its sales relationship and that’s really what you’re doing is asking how to make sales, you know, make the introduction because the value of work goes way down. That’s all you’re trying to accomplish.
Monitoring, Strategic Thinking, Industry Experience Preparation, Access & Connections, Credibility, Sounding Board
What you really want to ask yourself is, do you need mentoring as a strategy if you’re looking? Does it help you get some experience in the industry? So if you know we have a client who works for another client, we have a client who is a very, very large restaurant chain and another client works for him. And he left that client and started his own restaurant. And in the beginning, he needed you to know more industry experience he worked for one restaurant tour operator and you know so he got other people helping put other different types of restaurants because he does a very good now is that I seven or eight chain restaurant is a different animal than the person who used to work for you.
For preparation, you know, access to a connection is no different than sales, right? Same thing. So be careful with that one because that’s where everybody starts and it really doesn’t help you very much when we really do need oftentimes mentoring because the biggest challenge you’re going to have in your business is your employees, not your customers.
And so you need people who are going to help you with that, you know that strategic thinking. Sometimes credibility is important for having the right people on your advisory board. It gives you more credibility with the marketplace and your employees. That’s okay. And obviously a sounding board. So, when you’re thinking about this, you need to think about it. What is your expertise in what industry?
I will tell you with a high degree of conviction that you don’t get people on your advisory board who work for big companies.
Growing a company from 300,000 Our sales or a million dollars of sales or $10 million of sales is very big different than running a division of $2 billion.
Even though that person has a lot of business experience, and that’s true. When you’re a small business with limited resources and sitting in multiple seats, you need to have people on your advisory board or your mentor will understand just that.
They understand how difficult it is to sit in multiple seats at the same time. With no resources. So it’s okay if you want to, you know get the camera, Mitch on your board who has done that, okay, because he did do that and they’re now a $3 million business, but you need somebody who actually wants my opinion went through that and they don’t have to be the entrepreneur or they can be, you know, the key person who was along the way there’s lots of folks out there but really understand that who and what extra that one, don’t lose sight of the expertise. The number one thing we see at both Gerber and emerging both is that virtually every company that comes into our doors they hired on the financial expertise, the CFO or controller, okay, we don’t perform those services, but specifically some controller CFO they under hire all themselves. So the first place you should look for a board member if somebody has experts who can help you and or your bookkeeper and odor controller and that’s usually when the best place to start is to get the first person to understand controllership or CFO motion. Make sense?
Advisory Board Tips
- Set clear expectations in writing rather than a gate.
- Tell them what to expect when you meet how long the trim is.
- Always pay them. Always, even in this novel. I don’t care if it’s 50 bucks. 100 bucks. 1000 bucks, pay them because it needs to be a value-oriented relationship right?
- Always prepare meetings or your agenda meetings in advance.
- Prioritize their discussions to be high impact. Don’t get stuck in stuff that’s trivial.
- Maximize relationships with each member as you know using entrepreneurs you want to know each person and on time here but you know, your body of work can be as little as three people. I wouldn’t have more than seven. You know, you have all these three.
- So, be a great communicator. These folks are going to call you if they’re saying yes to you, they like you. They’re not making I mean, they’re making money without ever getting relative money. They want you to win. So with that, you have to keep them in the loop. They want to know what’s going on.
- And the terms and agreed terms and meaning previously agreed upon in advance. So how long is this relationship? Going to last off? We’re going to be, are we going to be one of the meetings last? What are my expectations? All upfront? Make Sense?
I’ll tell you the variable words are a boatload of work. They’re generally worth it. When they’re a ton of work.
One of the mistakes people make all the time is that they think having their professional team on the advisory boards is a good idea. It’s bad. In fact, we won’t. We won’t sit on an advisory board anymore. You can hire us for help. We’re not gonna sit on your couch for you your accounting, bookkeeping, Attorney insurance, have you met those people are your professional folks. They can go to the meetings, just meeting the meetings but they’re not on our advisory board. Okay.
And again, no specific skill sets that you want. So, the value boards work for some people but don’t work for everybody.
Sometimes you simply want a mentor.
And we have plenty of clients who have a mentor or sometimes they have two mentors. And then the thing with a mentor, it’s a little looser relationship that you’re probably not paying them. You don’t have to be quite as definitive on the agenda and the frequency and a mentor is probably more of a sounding board. This person also really needs to be engaged with you. They really really want you to do what they want there. They liked you a lot and they really wanted you to win.
So with a mentor, that’s relationship number one you are gonna take charge. They probably won’t mean that they’re not saying they won’t be responsive to you and yet take charge.
Be flexible to what they need, you know in terms of timing and availability. be receptive to them.
You should always show up with an agenda. They may have their own, that’s fine, but you should always at least have an agenda for whatever you’re talking about.
Be appreciative and pay it forward and give them feedback. You know, give them feedback. Are they helping you or not, you know, and you have to be a jerk about it but giving feedback with respect to you know, what, what’s working for you and now working through the relationship.
And again, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way for mentors or advisory boards. It’s really about you and your unique personality and where you are and sometimes you’ll do both where you may, you know, you may have an advisory board for a while and then get a mentor later or whatever the case may be.
Peer To Peer Networks
And lastly, and this is pretty important. And you know, being an entrepreneur is a very lonely thing, right? It’s a lonely space. And that’s one of the things I realized many years ago that, you know, most folks aren’t entrepreneurs. And but you have this, you have this ecosystem, you live with friends and family who love you. And most of those folks simply don’t understand what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. And so they give you advice because they love you to like you so much. But that’s often not the right advice. And sometimes it’s advice that’s rooted in their inability to understand what you’re going through and what you’re doing. And so, what really makes sense is to be part of some peer-to-peer network of other entrepreneurs.
So places like this place here, which is terrific are exactly, you know, and again, it’s about where are you in your business, where are you with your time, but you want to surround yourself in an ecosystem of other entrepreneurs. And it’s important to be somewhat, you know, size in scope, similar-ish. But the speed-sensitive as your business grows, you’ll have time to move on. And so there’s, there are peer-to-peer networks, just entrepreneurs out there. There’s also then in your industry as well. I have done both for a long time. I tend personally to get more value out of the non-industry-related period peer to peer as just simply regular peer-to-peer different businesses but I think it’s important to have a sense of your industry as well. There’s plenty for most businesses, most industries, plenty of resources out there, and prioritize where you can optimize your time and money. Because it is me I can tell you firsthand that the time the money is not that big of a deal, but the time is at this point in time.
So there are different groups out there as well. And there’s a lot more there’s a word of this is like this here obviously that’s a great job. So thank you for coming here.
Thanks for having us.