Making Your Business Less Dependent on You | Business Owners
Welcome to a Wiser Retirement Podcast. We put together a guide with some recommendations to help you focus on being financially fit at different milestones in your life. Some of you may be ahead of schedule while others may have to play catch-up. You can download this guide for free on our website the link to download Your Path to a Lifetime of Financial Success is listed in the episode description or you can go to wiserinvestor.com scroll to the bottom and find it there. Now on to today's episode; Welcome to a Wiser Retirement Podcast where we believe the best financial advice should always be Conflict Free I'm your host Casey Smith today I'm joined with Marty Paradise at Paradise Business Coaching and Robert Swarthout of Teton Crypto Capital today we're going to talk about making your business less dependent on you. Hey guys. Hey Casey how are you thanks for having us on. Good morning. So this is a podcast via Zoom today since we're all sort of
in different locations mostly you Marty thanks for joining us from Charlotte how's things in Charlotte is it snowing yet? I'm in Charleston. I'm sorry Charleston that's what I meant to say. Hopefully it's not snowing. I know right I'm going to say Charleston it's a beautiful area. So let's let's focus on the topic right away I mean Robert you built a company called Shoot proof, you sold it kind of gone into semi-retirement and then now you've started Teton crypto Capital which by the way you can listen to Robert and I in our in our podcast we do one about every two weeks on on crypto topics the last one was quite interesting with the FTX blow up but that's a whole different that's a whole different series what you know why is it important that we build processes to make our business less dependent on us? You know I would just say this the simple fact is you can't do everything and be everywhere right, I mean it's your business only can grow as fast as you have hours to put into the business whether that's your hours other people's hours and when you're you know a sole entrepreneur there's only 24 hours in a day and really not that many hours you had to sleep and do other things and it just comes down to figuring out how to like maximize your time you know a doctor's office can only be so big because doctors only have so many hours in a day if you're in a business where you can multiply your time and allow customers to be purchasing something when you're sleeping that that's like you know in my opinion the ultimate goal but you know just trying to figure out how to get yourself out of the way and let other people do work that kind of helps you work on the bigger picture. I I would add
just something fairly basic businesses that don't depend on the owner completely they're more fun to lead they're more they're more fun and rewarding as a as a very civil kind of why point but also with businesses that you may intend to sell at some point in time will have fetch a higher premium if the business isn't completely dependent on the owner or just a few people in the business so that's just another one of the many reasons I think why it's important to build a business that just doesn't depend on you for everything to get done and that's a journey. Yeah I'm a big fan of businesses or business owners that even if they don't have immediate plans to sell the business they're acting like they're going to sell the business because they're working on making sure they don't have to be around you know it's easy to become the the main character of the storyline right and it's probably helps with the ego and all that kind of stuff but at the end of the day it's the ultimate reward is when you can like go on vacation and leave work at work and it may take a long time to get there for a lot of people but I think it's super rewarding when you can do that. I think so many business owners though it's their baby how do you walk you can't walk away from the baby for two weeks or you know you know I mean I I just I remember when I when I purchased Wiser in 2007 and from Mr Wiser and we had whole room's full of paper just like file cabinet after file cabinets I'm like man this is a digital age even in 2007 right. I remember hiring someone to scan all this stuff in and so the paper and the file cabinet slowly started disappearing and oh my gosh he would get so angry so angry where's my paper I can't find my paper you know and it changes hard you have a certain way of doing it and and this is the only way to do it and and people people can only you know they only have to meet with me because I'm the best and and and the reality is that you got to get people the best you in the in the best product and and the best product that's exhausted and not sleeping at night is probably not the best for the client right from a service standpoint you know. Or the client or the employees that you're yeah. You know I it's something that I just thought of is I wonder if it's easier in manufacturing if you manufacture something that requires machines and and raw material comes in and a widget comes out is it easier for those people to have a business that's less about them than it is for all of us in the service industry? I think all businesses are hard I I think anybody in the manufacturing industry would tell you the last two years have been really tough right they've had different things to worry about so.
Maybe sales maybe you're you're just involved in sales at that point maybe in relationships yeah. Casey I don't I don't know if you're a business owner manufacturing widgets if it's if it's it's any easy it's any easier there's always things that require at least that person the business owner's attention to just different challenges in a manufacturing business with widgets versus a service business right but the fundamental kind of issues and challenges and systems that they need are kind of universal whether you're doing Widgets or a service business like yours Casey so. So so how do we how should we be thinking about it Marty how should we start getting out of that mentality of everything in the business is about me? A couple couple things with with my clients and stuff just back up so I'm a small business coach I've been doing this for 10 plus years and this is the like the fundamental problem with my normal small one to ten million dollar client that they their business is dependent on them and so one one place I start with most most clients and your listeners on the phone could if even if you have two or three people in your business if you don't have an org chart that's okay you could kind of create one or pencil one in and think about the different functions or positions in your business and just simply scan the org chart and put your name in every one of those boxes that you are either occupying yourself or are occupying part of the way but just when you think about that I think most business owners are surprised at how many hats they're wearing how many roles they're playing how many kind of things and pieces of the business that they own or they have to touch for the business to produce the results so that's one way of thinking about it I don't know Robert with your thoughts on that. No I think you said it great there I mean it's you know you always joke about wearing different hats in the same day really it's it's you know 15 minutes to 15 minutes can be different and it's just the idea of really understanding what the problem is before you can go solve it I think is super important it's a great way to frame it so. I remember the first time I turned over just my accounting to somebody else you know I always take QuickBooks myself and and that is like oh no this is me because the business is so much of you as it is you know your personal finances all kind of all tend to blend sometimes and yeah that was hard that was hard the person to hand it to I was like I don't want to hand this to you but you know I've been told if I don't that you know it's going to be worse for me so that was that was the first step for me and then it's easier to hand off stuff you don't like to do but yeah and then handing later handing for us here handing off portfolio trading I haven't made a trade in probably three years but you know handing off that oh no I can only do this but I really can't and I was I wasn't you know I wasn't very good at it because I wasn't doing it at the right times and I was doing it in a hurry it was mistake prone you know then you hire someone to come in and only focus on that job you know it's better for the client in the end. Absolutely yeah I mean when I when I talk to young entrepreneurs they're always like oh you know say they are in the business of painting paintings right like they're an artist they didn't start that business so they could run accounting for their business or do all the other things that need to happen to be successful so understanding what those roles are so you can start picking them off and trying to figure out ways to get out of that I think is it provides a lot of clarity versus oh my gosh I don't get to do the thing I love and I'm doing all the stuff I hate well that that's totally in your control so. I mean
I don't know about you Robert but you know for me when I started there wasn't a whole lot of it wasn't really easy ways to outsource tasks but now I mean there are so many things that can be outsourced through upwork maybe not necessarily your accounting but you need a logo refresh or you need you need something you can just go out and hire someone to to go and do that for you. I mean a pretty amount of outsourcing options these days for just like services is pretty amazing you know even with my new fund like I have outsourced bookkeeping from day one and I pay like $199 or $299 a month to have someone close my books once a month for me and then I know they're functionally done right versus me trying to play an accountant for 15 minutes a month so yeah so part of part of that Casey like before you get get to that there's a there's another kind of skill that most small business owners need to develop but they they need they need to kind of like get to the point of like hey there's other people or other resources and virtual or employees that can probably do a better job at this than than I can and that's a a point but the other idea is that they need to learn kind of the skill of delegating and yeah assigning work delegating work and holding others whatever resources helping you get kind of more free of of the the technical parts of the business you have to you know give people some rope and delegate it and magical things happen when you learn how to do do that slowly. Yeah you know I I have a group I have a breakfast I do with with some advisors and and some of them are always surprised about how many meetings we run here and what's interesting is I have a hard time giving up the relationship with a client because I know so much about them and that's what I love about what I do but the follow-up work from the meeting is something that was really bogging me down and so we have associate advisors here that are always with me in a meeting and so I do the meeting we talk about big picture stuff get down to the granular but the referrals other professionals the meeting notes any portfolio changes any financial planning changes any insurance changes those are all handled by the the associate and so it's kind of like a doctor a doctor comes in and goes yeah you're sick this is the prescription you need and then the nurse comes in and does all the work afterwards and then the pharmacist fills this description right doctor's done probably five other meetings since since you walked out of the building and so that that's that's what I do here but even that is is probably reaching its its capacity but it allows allows one person to be able to do more things I think about if you're starting a business and you know you you got to get the laundry you got to get your house clean you got to get the yard mowed there's so many things that you can be outsourcing so you can focus your time on what's important including your family and and and be able to be more productive to get more hours in the day but there is a point at which even that doesn't help anymore and you have to have this this org chart as you say it we do that I probably do that once or twice a year write down this big org chart and I create positions that aren't even there and and and then I take the different a different color marker and I like Circle this person is doing these three jobs I'm doing these two jobs and then the goal is like what do we need to do to grow the company so we can hire more people to just be be those positions so we can do it better and it's hard it's scary I think in in this environment you know to expand a business when you're not sure about revenue everyone keeps talking so negatively about the economy to go man I gotta go hire this person it's gonna cost me sixty seventy thousand dollars a year man I hope this works you know that scary as a business owner so I I think you know fight or flight right so we we tend we tend to flight and we say no I just do I'll just do all this I'll just do all this, but it just doesn't doesn't work in the long-term or you get burnt out and have an early death right. That's not good either that's not good either. Casey yeah this is actually you know this this podcasts that I think you're up to about 150 episodes where this is actually kind of a good example so this is very good strategic use of your time so you're not like delegating just like you're telling the clients start delegating the the some of these client meetings and just say you don't touch it but so you're coming in here and you're this is strategic use of your time for your clients you know coming up coming up with a great topic coming up with a great topic but in many ways you know you have Hadley running parts of this process, scheduling it probably, coordinating with Robert and I on scheduling, I doubt very much Casey that you're doing the zoom editing and posting this but that's a good example so you don't have to give the whole thing away but you can take the piece that you need to do and the other pieces can be done by someone do a better job probably than you given all the other things you're worried about so.
Exactly it's just an example so it's uh e-myth right the the Michael Gerber's book he talks about working in the business versus on the business I think you call it tactical work or strategic work you want to talk about that for a little bit Marty sure I mean all business owners especially small business owners are challenged with their time, and so another way to think about your time without doing kind of the dreaded kind of time log of looking at 15-minute increments and like where am I spending my time that's actually a good exercise I would recommend for someone to do, but another way of looking at that is really there's just two types of work there's technical work and there's strategic work. And so technical work kind of in the Michael Gerber those are the things that are in the business, so those are doing the work of doing the work of the business this is the activities of the business this is the all these little different functions that over time you want someone else to be doing the technical work of the business, and so that that frees up time for the own for the owner to do more strategic work and kind of get on the business versus in the business. So it's a it's a shift but it's a it's a way of thinking about it and I done a lot of time studies with clients over the years a new client coming in coming into work with me is typically 70 to 80 percent of their time and that's giving them a little bit of grace on the technical things that they're calling strategic, but there's they're spending 75 percent of their time doing technical or tactical work of the business and eventually if you want a business you don't want to you want just a job you have to make that shift from doing the work of the business versus owning a business that does the work kind of a big distinction so that's just another way of thinking about that I don't know Robert if you have comments on that you've been through this journey both of you have been through this journey I've been through this journey. Yeah you know like you said earlier like you know delegating is a big key in like I think for me it was certainly the biggest challenge was delegating but also willing to give whoever is going to do that work enough Grace and leeway to fail and learn from it because it's too easy to see them start to fail and want to go in and save it and be like and then you're telling yourself see I could have done this myself twice as fast and twice as better where in reality you have to give them the the space to kind of learn and then they can grow from there and then you know you turn around a month later and they're probably doing it better than you were and like that's where the real payoff comes and it's just not going to happen on day one I think it's you know if you hire the right people you're hiring people that are going to be you know better than or smarter or whatever the task is than you because for all things and purposes entrepreneurs are like great jack of all trades they figure out how to get it done but they're probably not awesome at everything, no one is, but you may be good at really one thing well start learn how to focus on that one thing and kind of delegate off all the smaller pieces or the anonymously smaller but other pieces to people in the business so. I think it's creating a process too you know that
that's something that I get frustrated with because I feel like man this process worked a year ago just fine but now it's not working Robert's always good to tell me if I'm not breaking processes and I'm not growing so I I tell everyone here that all the time it's like okay well we keep breaking this process but that's fine we're growing we're servicing the client better than a year ago so you know we just got to keep adding to it or subtracting from it but you know I I go back to you man you go to a Chick-fil-A you the same tasting chicken sandwich everywhere and I'd say up until the this this hiring crunch that we're all in I would say the service was the same at every single Chick-fil-A my pleasure right that's a repeatable process and there's some training that goes in at the beginning but it's a process to have it's a repeatable and Gerber's book he talks about McDonald's I guess there just wasn't a Chick-fil-A near him so he couldn't reference that. But it's an older it's an older book too. That's true that's true but but yeah so it's it's creating a process but finding the people so what is what is it was it was that saying people processes and profits right is that the the three p's that that you're after but so if you're a solo business owner you still should be writing processes you should write down this is how you do this and then as you hire people you say okay well this is the process so they they can reference that right. I mean we have with our prospects here we even have we always send thank you notes so thank you for coming in now if we don't get an address then we have to do it via email but it's literally written into the process now that you know we check a box off on our CRM software that says yes we I sent the note so if you didn't send a note you you had to lie and check the box so it's really hard to it's really hard to screw that up you know. Yeah but if it's not written down or it's not part of your process and that you're sticking to yeah just then it just doesn't it doesn't happen and and you're exactly right so even something I wouldn't say that's simple like a thank you note but that's not a very complex thing given all the other things your your firm does Casey. Right well it's the thing that easily gets forgotten you know we had to make sure everybody here is getting the same consistent service as as they come through but you know it's it you know there's a book I read recently but it talks about hiring because it's so hard to find people that are qualified now and even in my own industry I can't hire it's hard for me to hire experienced advisors because it's like taking someone from your Wendy's no knock against Wendy's but most Wendy's I've been to aren't known for great service and trying to get those people to come work at Chick-fil-A. I want
to be the Chick-fil-A in my industry and so I've I've I it's hard for me to bring people already tainted right into into my system, but they talk about hiring the 51 percent you just got to find people with the right attitude that are teachable and so then if I can put them into my process then then I can train them but yeah I have to process already created before they get there you need you need both you need great people great process that's where the magic comes together one without the other doesn't work, you need both and so that and you know Chick-fil-A is just masterful that type of concept and when you're talking Casey there's a kind of a term of you know build build your business like a franchise prototype. Whether you're ever going to franchise or not but be thinking about like if I was to franchise this this thing what would I need to have in in place and you're going to need a lot of systems a lot of process a lot of thinking that can be repeatable and build your business like a I would say a McDonald's build your business like with that franchise prototype in mind so that that also just gets back to our topic today so it work it can work without you being at the helm every single minute in your business having to depend on you so much so. So what are what are some way.. Robert you want to say something? Yeah I was gonna just quickly add that like to me writing the processes down is is mostly about helping do delegation and help having a playbook for people but it also enables your employees that are like go-getters and they find themselves with some free time they can pick something up without asking about it right like they don't have to come and ask for direction they'd be like they maybe they may see something and they can they know where to go kind of get the um the instructions on how to put it together effectively so it kind of enables some more of that natural you know good behavior. Right yeah absolutely. So if if I'm a busy business owner and I'm overwhelmed what what
are some techniques that we could use to start the process of figuring out what what I can delegate? I would recommend just take a average week, maybe not Thanksgiving week, but take an average week and just write down all the stuff that you're touching and doing in a given in a given week. And it's going to be a long list depending on who you are so that just like looking at I'm doing bookkeeping and making sales I'm going back to the shop to check on the widget production I'm you know I'm doing I'm doing all kind I mean all kinds of things and take a look at that list and then I would like really just go through that list of like what are activities that I'm spending a lot of time on that could be done better by it than someone by someone else someone else so it's almost like a it's a delegate list but getting a handle on where your time's going by kind of activities that you're doing is one other way of starting to doesn't happen overnight but move things off your plate so that you can free up your kind of the amount of time you're doing tactical things in the business that someone else could be doing which then frees up time to be doing more of the things you should be doing as a as a business owner which is kind of getting back to the concept of strategic work systems leading managing prioritization and everything else so. Is that is this kind of like the beginning part of scaling? Absolutely. Yeah you know when I was going through this my last business for me when I trying to figure out what I was going to get rid of next was what was the thing I liked the least that I had to do. Like in in the way that I kind of figured that out was what what am I doing that allows me to procrastinate on that? Like in the thing I'm procrastinating on is the thing that I'll get rid of and you just slowly kind of just whittle away. Some of it would have been you know a task that took somebody 15 minutes
a week and other times it was something that it would be two or three hours a day in bigger cases but just kind of like you know in some ways you're kind of balancing delegation with the mental health that that you're going through because you have so much so much mental load that you have to carry and like how do you kind of whittle that down to where it's not as much of a texting situation so. So the next step of that though is to say you start getting better at that but then you have to manage that for other people too right because if your business is growing then then the people you're delegating to they're going to get overwhelmed and how do you how do you catch that you know because so many people today are just yes people and they oh yeah I could take care of this and they want a hoard job as instead of letting go of work because they feel like they let go where they're not as important to you they lose your job right. Yeah for me it was I was really diligent about doing one-on-ones once a week with everybody and just like being honest and letting them know it's okay to say that I can't get it all done because it because that's not going to help anybody it's going to make your job worse it's you're going to burn out you're going to want to leave all these kind of things but like you know just having open and honest conversations and consistent you know it was always on the calendar at a certain time with each person so they kind of knew it wasn't like oh I'm getting called into his office what's going on like it's it's purely like a laid out thing and they don't have to be long I mean they could be 15-20 minutes sometimes it was over lunch you know we kind of change things up a little bit but it was the ability just to kind of also understand where people wanted to go with their careers because you may find out that somebody really wants to do something that you hate to do well guess what I just gave you something to do like all right right so. The only way I mean the only way
you can accomplish that is kind of exactly what Robert says is meeting with employees but you know every every small business needs some type of a meeting cadence or an opportunity to meet with employees in a constructive dialogue and you know it's it's it can be like well this didn't get done last week but it's the kind of conversation that Robert's talking about is how do I make this employee feel more part of this business? how are are they growing professionally? And how are they helping the business and the owner at the same time right yes um be more free from their details of the business? So but that's that's another when you even think about systems and processes I I think a one-on-one Cadence or a rhythm that Robert's described that that's a system should happen on the same day or it should happen regularly they shouldn't you should be structured it should have kind of a way that that it operates with the business and that sometimes takes some time to kind of get going but that's absolutely critical um that's managing your employees through one-on-ones regular check-ins stand-ups whatever you call them but those are all key things that help. What do you guys think is the most important for a small business owner to to be to be focused on in this environment today? Meaning we have kind of uncertainty should they be play being more defensive should they should they be you know take take this maybe maybe things your sales are kind of moving sideways should they take time to evaluate all their processes and rebuild things I mean what what what do business owners today need to be doing? Because Marty you you I mean you have a list of clients that come in every week and and talk with you what what are they saying right now? They're we talked about we talked about a little bit about developing you know in in times like today of developing kind of a pulse of where your your business is going you can call that KPIs key strategic indicators, you can call those different types of things but kind of managing the pulse of of the business is I think really important right now in a lot of different things and it's different for every business but what's the health of my business so a good leader is is managing the pulse of their business they should be doing that all the time. Yeah. Like many of the things I coach clients on they should be doing is just as part of business whether we're not we're heading towards a recession or an economic downturn but be thinking about kind of a pulse of their business would be one area that I would.. Like developing a dashboard. A dashboard or just making sure they're on top of the key numbers of the business so you have a predictive view on how the business might perform three months from now versus how it's been performing over the last six months or nine months and having that dialed into a set of key numbers is one one thing that I would encourage every small business owner to do it regardless of the economic outlook. That's good yeah I would
add that you know the numbers are certainly very important but keeping tabs on the employees and how they feel in those times is just as important because they may be worried that the business is not doing good and they may be totally wrong about that but like this again having those one-on-ones or having group meetings or whatever the correct thing is for your business I think leads to people willing to rally together and try to go capture a hill versus people thinking oh some of us are going to go flank this way and flank that way in reality that's not the goal. So just trying to keep again mental health is such a big thing I think and it's just keeping people you know energized and making them feel like they have a voice and the ability to kind of impact the greater good I think is you know one plus one equals three type thing so there you go. Casey and in summary and Robert said I think we're saying the same thing but in in these type of times you need to be leading your business leading your business and looking at you know making sure you're you know leading employees you're you're keeping track of the business on all the different pieces but leading it leading the business I would I would say just kind of a theme that I guess but leading leading by example doesn't mean doing all the minutia exactly right no I mean that that easily misunderstood so yeah yeah being on your business versus in it eating and managing right businesses um is what I would focus on. Yeah it's absolutely it's a really different mood right now I mean I remember in Covid we had that huge drop in the S&P and I I assembled all my all my people and I said look this is probably going to lead to some type of recession and this is in 2020 but I said there's no recession at Wiser like we are not in recession like you your job is safe we have a job to do and that's to make sure that people understand that they're still on a path to financial success right or they're going to stay on their path to financial success and and it was much easier to lead because there was a sudden shock to the system and you're like oh crap I gotta I gotta come out of my coma and I gotta go gotta go lead this group and we're gonna save the world you know and this this just feels different because it's like it's a it's a dull ache you know. It's not a it's not a shock to the system it's this long dull eight that could be here for
a year or two years right about to you know come up on a year mark I guess when we hit January. So you also could go away at any moment but you you have to say energize longer yeah and I think that that is and I'm speaking my own self because I don't always take my own advice the you know as you have to stay energized as a leader so so if you if you're in the every day for 12 hours a day how can you possibly be energized to move your team or even your client base for that matter right so you have to do things for yourself that that energize you right. So you got to find that time to step away for me I just need about a day or two it's I don't need weeks or anything like that but it's just doing things that you that you enjoy and and making sure that they're looking at that 30,000 foot view for sure yeah. I think that you know energizing can be defined also is not having to deal with all the negative stuff too right. Like it's that's
subtracting away from your energy so again trying to find way we keep going back to it but find ways to delegate and find ways to kind of keep your in your employees mental health in a positive spot well you know produce good results typically so. It's just ensuring everyone in your company is focused on the top three economic objectives of the company just a laser focus on ensuring everybody has put putting the muscle and and the work on the most important things to drive the company and making sure that people in your organization are aligned to that and you know just creating efficiency and being laser focused on that I think as we head into uncertain waters here. All right guys great conversation thank you for your time thanks for having us and Happy Thanksgiving to you both and to your listeners they probably won't hear this for another week or two but Happy Thanksgiving so thank you Marty if they want to learn more about your coaching program where do they go to find that? paradisebusinesscoaching.com and I have a few
resources that they can download and you know find out a little bit more about some of the things we talked about today as well as what we talked about last time a couple weeks ago I guess. ?Yeah yeah episode 122 succession planning for small business owners is one that we've done in the past I don't I don't think you were on that one Marty but I think our last one was just talking about uh growing growing starting and growing a business right we've got commonly missed tax deductions for business owners that's episode 83. you know I I've often threatened to just do a podcast just for business owners but we haven't we haven't done that yet so we kind of get spread out in our business topics episode 104 was another one too an Investment Portfolio built for retirement talking about business and how to grow your business to sell it for retirement we also have some other things in our YouTube channel a wiser retirement why businesses can ways businesses can reduce taxes blame for the future is the video we have out there and then we talked about business owners don't stop learning keep dreaming that was a short video we did as well. Again thanks guys and we'll talk to you soon all right thanks Casey. Thanks for listening to retirement podcast we hope you enjoyed today's episode.
Make sure to subscribe wherever you're listening that way you don't miss any new episodes we would also appreciate if you could leave a rating and review if you have any questions about anything that was discussed today head to wiserinvestor.com and reach out we would love to hear from you. This episode was produced and edited by Lilton Moore.