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How To Build Systems and Processes That Will Support Your Growing Business

Transcript 

Kathy (host):
Welcome back to Help! My Business Is Growing, a podcast where we explore how to grow and build a business that it's healthy and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina. There are two things that you have to think about as your business is growing. Those are systems and processes. They're not one of the sexiest of topics. However, they're very, very, very important because if you don't have those figured out, as your business grows, you will eventually get to a point where either one of the two things will happen.

Kathy (host):
One, you'll either hit a ceiling of your growth because the operations that you currently have won't be able to support the pace of that growth. You'll hit a capacity. And if you don't have the processes to train the people on, it's very hard to onboard new people quickly enough to help with demand. Two, you will start to see issues and your product or service delivery because of the inefficiencies. That's because you don't have the processes and systems in place of how you're delivering those products or services in a way that it's repeatable and scalable.

Kathy (host):
Of course, both of these, as everything else in business, eventually will end up in showing up in your numbers and in your financial performance. In this episode, I'm joined by not one, but by two guests. Their names are Athena Quinones and Meagan Ruppert. They're the owners of SCALE Business Consulting that help female coaches build empires with delegation, systems, and simple strategies they need to uplevel to true CEOs. Together they have a combined 26 years in entrepreneurship, business development, marketing, sales, and the coaching industry.

Kathy (host):
We're going to be discussing topics such as, how does a sustainable growth really look like, what is a visionary, and what is an integrator? And why is it important that you know which one you are, and why is it important to build systems and processes in your business, and how to go about building them? What are the actual steps? So join me. Athena, Meagan, welcome to the show.

Meagan (guest):
Hi.

Athena (guest):
Thank you so much for having us.

Kathy (host):
So excited to have you here. I'm also excited to dive deep into this topic of business scaling growing, because there is scaling and growing a business, and then there's scaling and growing a business in a healthy and in a sustainable way. Before we go into the hows and what, I wanted to highlight this for our audience, what is the difference between scaling and growing a business?

Athena (guest):
Yeah. I know Meagan can speak at length into this, so I'll just give you a nutshell of my thoughts. When you're scaling your business, you're doing it in a sustainable way. You have a plan and method which you are growing your business. Now, growing could be, really, we can positively grow. We can positively grow in a negative way. But growing doesn't always mean that everything is happening where you're having a profit, where you are able to sustain what you're doing. You're able to continue on your methods for the future and longevity of your business.

Athena (guest):
So growing could be temporary too. But when you're scaling, we're looking at long-term growth. We're looking at long-term practices that could be repeated over and over, and that could be tweaked to continue on in a positive factor. But growth is not always does that. It not always looking at the big picture. It's not always profitable. It doesn't mean it's sustainable. So there's a little bit of a variation, in my eyes, on what the two are.

Kathy (host):
Yeah, you're so right because why I always say if your goal is just to grow, and the question is, why are you really growing? What is your goal? What are you planned for the business? Because if you have that as a benchmark, if you have that as a north star, then you're able to figure out how you get there in a better way. How do you do it in a healthy and sustainable way, as you said, because if you're just growing, you can grow your costs exponentially, and you will not even notice that all of a sudden you have no money left in your pocket.

Athena (guest):
Growth doesn't always mean profit, and it doesn't mean that you're able to stay in business longer. It can mean quite the opposite if you're not careful.

Kathy (host):
Yeah. What are some of the common mistakes that businesses make when they're trying to scale and grow?

Meagan (guest):
I think there are so many. The first thing that I would say is a lot of people think that scaling is more sales, more marketing. Unfortunately, this is a lot of what's being taught out in the market, which is like, "Oh, I'll teach you how to scale your business." And they're just teaching you how to get more clients. But they're not teaching you how to build, like what Athena said is sustainability. They're not teaching you how to actually create a business that's going to be able to sustain over the long term and especially in the service-based industry.

Meagan (guest):
We serve coaches specifically. Our clients are coaches. And so when you're scaling, you need to make sure that you're able to fulfill on all of those sales that you're making. So a lot of people miss that piece and no one's out there talking about the unhappy clients, because they're not able to fulfill on what they sold. That's definitely one of the pieces, is there's just this insane focus on marketing and sales without thinking about all the other pieces.

Meagan (guest):
Athena and I always refer to this, the marketing and sales is just the rocket fuel. Your business is the rocket and you need to have a sustainable infrastructure, so that when you're pouring that rocket fuel in, that the rocket doesn't explode 20 feet up off the ground, which happens for a lot of people. So this is why we see the fly-by-night influencers out in the industry who are like, "I'm here today and I'm gone tomorrow," if they weren't able to sustain the growth that they created for themselves.

Meagan (guest):
That's definitely one of the big mistakes, is this heavy emphasis on sales and marketing without a heavy emphasis on the systems, on the processes, on building a team. These are the three things that we focused... I mean, we teach the lead gen and the sales and all that, but we put a huge emphasis on the teams and the systems and operations. Athena, did you want to add to that?

Athena (guest):
No, that was perfectly said.

Meagan (guest):
There's definitely other ones, but I think that's the biggest thing out there.

Kathy (host):
Though the thing that bothers me, when I look out in the online world and they have all these ads, "Oh, I did a five, six-figure launch," and no one's really talking about what does that actually mean for the business, are you able to support the customers that are coming in? How are you going to hire people? Do you have enough money to hire people? If you bring in 20,000 in revenue and you're spending 30,000 to support that 20,000, you're not making any money. Your business is going to have a huge problem. You talked about the sustainable infrastructure, and I really want to dig deeper into that. What does that mean and how does that look like?

Athena (guest):
I'll speak a little bit into this. Your infrastructure on your business, that's really the foundation of your business. Your business needs to be built on systems that are repeatable, that are simple, that you can teach. You need to have processes that help you to identify growth or the need to change, the need to pivot fairly quickly because we all know in business, it can be like a rollercoaster. We can have ups and downs and there be quick changes. So we need to be able, as CEOs of our business, to be able to identify that fairly quickly and to make needed changes.

Athena (guest):
With the systems and processes in place, we're able to do that. Not only that, but you need support. How are you able to manage a launch, like you just gave an example of? If you are bringing in 30 clients, you just had a successful launch, well, can you do that by yourself? Or are you going to fall flat on your face because you didn't have the support to be able to help you get through those hurdles and help with whatever it is you're doing? Whether it's coaching or you're serving in some other way, what capacity are you working at? And are you able to provide that quality service with the audience that you're bringing in?

Athena (guest):
The team can do so much. Not only does it help you with growth, but it helps you with that sustainability. It helps you to serve your audience and gives you some time freedom back because we know we're not geniuses and everything. We can't do everything in our 24 hours a day. We need support. Let's be real. We want to take vacation when we need it. We earned that. We deserve that. We need to clear our minds and we need to show up as the best version of ourselves, and we can't do that if we have nothing that is fundamental or the foundation of our business to build on. We really need to start from ground zero.

Meagan (guest):
If I can just add to that, we actually were just on a call with our clients few minutes ago, and one of our clients, she just had a $60,000 lunch. When she got onto the office hours with us and we were talking, like, "How are you doing? Tell us a debrief." And she was like, "Well, I just got off of a call with my team, and honestly, I could not have done it without my team. I was able to go and..." What did she say? "I got a massage and a facial," in the midst of her launch because she had team there support.

Meagan (guest):
What was amazing is she's not some multi-million-dollar coach yet. She's not there yet, but she has the infrastructure there to support her. She immediately, because she didn't have the need beforehand to have a customer service person. Now she was like she immediately, after she sold out the launch, she was like, "Okay, now we need this customer support person." She's got the processes that she's able to quickly put this person into place and got them supporting her with all of these new clients that have come in.

Meagan (guest):
You can't do that when you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off, trying to figure out, "Where do I need to focus in my business right now?" But she had the wherewithal. She had a strategy in order to be able to build sustainably, have that foundation for her. So it just speaks into what Athena's saying.

Kathy (host):
An interesting piece here is what I've seen in business owners that I work with, a lot of them struggle... It's almost like a chicken and the egg problem because you're so busy, you do not have the time to do the systems and the processes. But because you do not have the systems and processes, you're the one that is really, really busy. The problem is when you don't have that, the people that you have with you can leave you at any time, unfortunately, and there goes your entire capital that they had in their head about how your business operates and that goes with them, and then you're left scrambling.

Kathy (host):
Who does the systems and processes? Should the business owner be doing that or should they hire someone outside, like a consultant or someone like you, that helps them figure this out and puts it in business for them?

Athena (guest):
That's a great question. What you really have to ask yourself is, what's in your wheelhouse? What are your expertise? Is it building out systems and processes? If it is, then awesome. You are the best person to build them out for your own business. But if it's not in your expertise, if you really don't know what you're doing, say you're more of a visionary than you are an integrator, then you are the person to do it. So then I would highly recommend hiring out.

Athena (guest):
For example, our clients, they are not integrators. They don't really know how to build out systems and processes. They don't even know where to start. So that's why they've come to us as their coaches, because we provide that for their business. We provide them all of the systems and processes that they need to put in place to start fresh from ground zero and build their business up. Now, some of our clients are very successful. They've been in business for 20 plus years, but they still didn't really have the systems and processes.

Athena (guest):
So when they went to go grow their business, they couldn't. But again, having someone that can come in your business, look at what you're doing, and see the opportunities for growth and inject systems and processes, if they're doing it right, that can help to substantially grow your business at a rapid place, because now you have that foundation. To answer your question, I would say it really depends. If you're grounded, do it. If not, then find someone that is great at it, because it's such an important part of your business. You don't want to get this wrong.

Kathy (host):
I think it's also, you might be good at it, but you just don't have the time because you still have to support the clientele. You have so many things on your plate. It still benefits, even though it goes into the point, just because I can doesn't mean that I should be doing that, and really distinctively figure out, is this really something that I should be spending my time on? You mentioned the visionary and integrators. What are those terms, if you could explain that?

Athena (guest):
Yeah. Meagan and I, we have a lot of things in common, including our birthdate. That goes birth month, day, and year.

Kathy (host):
Wow.

Athena (guest):
Yeah. So there's a lot of things that we share. But we're also complete opposite. She is the visionary in our business and I'm the integrator. And we've always been this role. We've always been this way. A visionary is someone that is more creative, that comes up with a lot of ideas. Meagan is constantly coming up with ways to serve our clients, so ways to market, programs to build, all these wonderful, big visions in our business to help us.

Athena (guest):
However, her strength is not in really implementing the strategies and putting into place to draw out the plans to make this vision become a reality. That's what the integrator does. The integrator is the one that typically will build out your SOPs in your business, that will build out the foundation that helps to hire and bring on a team and manage the team, that really helps to put all the pieces in place, and also is able to make the determination whether one of the visions that your visionary is giving you, whether they're a good choice or a bad choice, whether financially it's a wise decision or maybe it's something to hold off for a later time. They're really the sounding board to the visionary, I would say. What do you think, Meagan?

Meagan (guest):
Exactly. Well, and it's so funny. I texted Athena earlier this morning with an idea that had come through yesterday. I always sit on my ideas before I send them to her. So I'm like, "If it's a good idea, I'm going to share." And so, whenever I send it, I'm like, "I wonder how she's going to take that. Is she going to think it's a good idea? Is this going to make sense?" And of course, she [inaudible] it was great. We're really excited about it.

Meagan (guest):
But the thing is that most entrepreneurs, they're the visionary because we're the ones... We created this business. Most of us are not necessarily that great with all the day to day. There might be pieces of the day to day that you're really good at it because this is the thing that you're really good at. Like me, I can market. I can write. I can do all those things. That's totally in my wheelhouse.

Meagan (guest):
But when it comes to creating the systems and processes, managing the team, thinking about what's going to happen in 30 days, or if we do this thing, is this other thing going to break, that's Athena's line. So most of us entrepreneurs do have that big picture mindset. It can be why a lot of entrepreneurs have trouble actually getting the traction that they want in their business to grow where they want to go, because they lack that implementation piece.

Meagan (guest):
They lack the minute day-to-day small picture. We're all big picture. And so, it can be really hard for your team or for whomever is supporting you if you don't bring those pieces into place. So I'm blessed to have an Athena. But for those who don't, it's really important to have somebody who can help you with that and be that sounding board and help you to bring your ideas down to earth.

Kathy (host):
Yeah. I think the last time that we talked about, we talked about this idea of a glass ceiling almost, that there are levels in the business, almost like steps that you'd go through. A million-dollar is where usually this whole visionary-integrator thing really comes out. Would you say that?

Meagan (guest):
Yeah. I mean, you can do it earlier, but you are going to hit that ceiling because you are going to get to that place. Again, to have a million-dollar business, I mean, I'm sure some people have done it just with themselves, maybe an executive assistant or a VA. I know for a fact that people have done it. But you're going to get to a point where you can't even take a break from your business to go to that next level.

Meagan (guest):
And so, having somebody like an integrator to step in and help you, all of a sudden, you've now moved out of the driver's seat and now you're just the map and somebody else is really driving the car to the destination that you want to go to. So it makes it so much easier. I mean, for Athena and I, and what we've been able to create in less than a year, it's like... I mean, even I'm shocked, even though, obviously, we built an eight million-dollar business for someone else.

Meagan (guest):
But now, on our own, what we've been able to do in a year is just phenomenal. I strongly believe that it is because we do have these two pieces and we're able to volley back and forth and to be able to bring ourselves forward.

Kathy (host):
I want to talk about this case study that you guys have, which I think it's really fascinating, and how took the business from literally zero to eight million in a little bit more than two years. You grew your own business for zero to 200,000 in six months. So you have experience in rapidly growing and scaling a business. What I would like to focus on is, what are some of the steps that businesses go through when they go from zero to a million, and then from a million to three, and three to let's say, eight million? What are some of the problems that they have and how were they able to overcome it with your help?

Meagan (guest):
Well, I'd love to have Athena speak into this in a moment, but I have one thing because I want to talk about the zero to a hundred thousand because this is usually one of the more challenging parts for a business. What we have found is that focusing on building a team-first, a lot of people think, "Oh, I'm not going to build a team until after I've got X amount. I'll start hiring people once I'm making that much."

Meagan (guest):
But actually, you can build a team for a very small investment. You can put them into specific positions in your company like, "You can do it." Instead of maybe spending money on ads, you can bring in a team to actually do your lead gen for you and it converts so much bigger. And so, what we did within both companies, there was a major emphasis on team building from the zero to a hundred.

Meagan (guest):
Then, of course, always more team building. We're always building the team, getting more dynamic. But this was absolutely critical. For the company that we took from zero to eight million, it took us about 120 days to hit our first hundred thousand. It was a lot. There was a lot that went into pulling that off and making it happen, and we were running on advertising spend. We were using Facebook ads. And so, there was a lot that went into being able to have those conversions, but we had a strong emphasis on building the teams.

Meagan (guest):
So we put people who were good at what they did into those positions. Like we put in a salesperson, like [inaudible 00:19:54] marketing. You have the salesperson. We had somebody who was working on fulfillment and building out our program. Then the same thing. When we took for our company was we focused on... First was the lead gens. We weren't doing ads. But then the next piece was that we focused on building a sales team so that Athena and I can focus on serving our clients and driving the business forward. I know, Athena, you can speak a lot into the next phase.

Athena (guest):
Yeah. What's important to understand when you're building a business and growing and scaling a business, it doesn't matter how small or big you are. You will always have problems. Your problems are either just going to be smaller, and because you're small, but they're going to grow as you grow. But what's important is that you're starting from scratch or at least at some point you're recognizing that your systems and processes and team is very important.

Athena (guest):
So when you start that and you grow from there and you continuously develop from there, then your problems and the gap between your solution to your problems, that's going to narrow it down. So what I would say is that whether it's a hundred thousand to a million or a million above in revenue, what's important is that you're always having a team in place to help to close the gap, to help to recognize issues, to help with growth, and a business plan, having that set out with a mindset of, where do I want to grow in the next three to five years?

Athena (guest):
How is my business plan going to help to identify that growth, the gaps, and whatnot? And then, what support do I need to get me there? And then, who am I going to fill in those positions? Placing the right people in the right positions is critical to your growth. It's critical to your success. When you're able to have that vision and that plan and all the things in place, you can more easily grow at a more rapid place or pace, sorry, because you have everything clearly laid out. You have that plan. So just knowing who to go to, where to get that support, that's a really important piece.

Kathy (host):
Yeah. When I work with businesses, what I always preach about is you have to be strategic about the business. You really have to think about, where are you going to be six months, a year, three years down the road, because you have to be able to figure out, what are the people that I need and who do I need to hire for? Because the right employee doesn't just magically show up at your doorstep, unfortunately. I mean, you have to go out in the market and hire them, and you have to have the right compensation.

Kathy (host):
Also, I would like to add to that is what I usually do with the businesses that I help with, when we look at their human resources, I always like them to do a talent inventory of, what are actually the people that they currently have in the business? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What do they like to do, what they don't like to do, what do they want to be doing, and merge that with the business that they have right now and where they want to be, and see if they even actually have to hire for new people. Because a lot of times what happens is if you just have the systems and the processes and the automation, you don't really need to go and hire more people.

Athena (guest):
Yep. That's so key, Kathy. I'm glad that you said that because that's something that we teach our clients as well. It's always, what are the strengths and interests within your company? It's easier to hire within. It's easier to train within, to develop, because these are the people that already know you. They know your culture. They know your audience. They know how to serve your audience. So they're going to be the best advocates for you versus anybody else, and spending so much time and resources on outsourcing or finding more people to bring into your company.

Athena (guest):
Another thing that we always look at is, when we are having to hire, we will have a backup of candidates that were really good candidates that maybe was a second or third option. If in fact we need to replace the person that we hired, and maybe we're adding or whatnot, we already have a pool of really good candidates to pull from. We don't have to go through that process of recruiting all from scratch all over again.

Athena (guest):
So it's always about thinking smarter, not working harder. So what can we do to shorten the time that we're investing in our company, and how can we utilize the resources that we already have to help us with our growth?

Kathy (host):
When you're going through this process, how important is your mindset as a business owner? When you're thinking about this growth, and scaling, and hiring people, and finding the right team, how important do you think is the mindset in that process?

Meagan (guest):
I mean, it's everything. It really is. We just did a training for our clients the other day around leadership. Like I always say, it's like my mission, I'll die a happy woman if I can help every business owner, or every person in general, to know how important it is for you to trust in the process, trust yourself, trust your team, trust your gut, trust that the people that you're putting into the position are going to do the right thing.

Meagan (guest):
If your intuition is kicking up and saying, "Actually, I don't think that they're doing what I need them to do effectively," what do you need to do to remedy the situation? You have to grow into a CEO. Not everybody is just born as a natural leader. Just because you own a business and you have employees, that doesn't equal good leader. Good leader comes through experience. Good leader comes through listening, through meeting and making sure.

Meagan (guest):
Just like you said, it really comes down to right people, right positions. What do they enjoy doing? What are they great at? So having those dialogues with people and then actually listening and then taking that and seeing, how can I implement this into the business? Because it's one thing to know what people are great at. It's another thing to actually give them the opportunity to really work into that. So mindset is at the core. It's everything.

Meagan (guest):
You can have the best team in the world. In fact, we've experienced this ourselves, is you can have the best team in the world, you can think that you're doing all the right things, but if they aren't being supported in the right way possible, if you're not showing up as a good leader and implementing on the feedback that you're getting and doing your work to become a great leader, you're going to lose them. You will. And it doesn't matter how great the pay is. People are not going to stay somewhere if they don't love working for you. So mindset is so everything. I don't know, Athena, if you have anything to add into that.

Athena (guest):
No, that was great. It's true.

Kathy (host):
How does that look like in a business on a daily basis when you're supporting the employees, when you're supporting your team, making sure that they are not just doing what they're supposed to be doing, but also that you're growing the team and that they're doing the things that are going to help you scale and grow the business? Are there any tips that you have for people who are trying to grow into the CEO mindset, what they could be doing on a daily, on a weekly basis?

Athena (guest):
Yeah. One of the things that we always recommend to our clients who are growing their own business is tracking. We look at spreadsheets all the time. We keep track of our activities, our conversions, everything. This is for every role in our business. We're also ensuring that every role that we hire into our company, and this is what we tell our clients too, they have to be revenue generators. How is this role going to bring revenue into your business?

Athena (guest):
Because at the end of the day, we want to make sure that this role is bringing in the revenue to cover for themselves, and to bring additional revenue into the company. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to even add them there. So what activities are they doing to bring revenue into your business? But when you have tracking, this gives you something to look at and to review, what are they doing every day? Are they successful at what they're doing every day? And do we need to make changes?

Athena (guest):
I also really, really believe in having team meetings. Whether your team is one person or it's 30 people, team meetings are really, really critical to giving your employees and your company a time to reflect on their position, to give you feedback, to let you know what's working, what's not working. It's a great time to also see like, "Is there any way that I can encourage my employees? Is there any opportunities that maybe I can share with them to help them grow and develop into their position?"

Athena (guest):
If we don't give them an opportunity to share their strengths, their interests, what they see, what their vision is for your company growth, then we're missing out on some really awesome opportunities for ourselves as leaders. And we could be identifying all of that through a simple team meeting.

Meagan (guest):
If I can just speak into that for one second, because we've actually been in the midst of changing up a few of our processes with our lead gen, and I have a specific person who's working on lead gen, and she and I partner together. She did not create the strategy. She'll be implementing the strategy that we have. But when I was considering making changes, I immediately booked a meeting with her and we hopped on the conversation and I bounced a couple ideas off of her and wanted to get her feedback on what was she seeing and anything that she wanted to add into what I was thinking.

Meagan (guest):
I was like, "Okay. Here's what we're going to do. Let's go implement on this for a week and then let's meet again and talk about it. We actually had our team meeting the day before we had our meeting. But the coolest thing ever was that when we... Because we always ask wins, like, "Where are you winning?" Her win was feeling so accomplished because what she and I had discussed and went and implemented on was getting amazing results.

Meagan (guest):
And so, she was able to really feel empowered and feel so rewarded just from seeing the effort that she put out really coming back to her. So there's so much benefit in having that dialogue and then giving them the opportunity to share what they feel and taking that feedback and putting it into action.

Kathy (host):
Empowerment is something that I've seen really shows up in the numbers as well, because when your team feels empowered, you're not micromanaging them. They feel like they're a part of the business, they're a part of the path that you're on. They are going above and beyond for you as a leader. What I'm noticing too is a lot of people really struggle between micromanagement and actually giving the people the space to think for themselves and to actually do things.

Kathy (host):
But what I'm noticing also is that a lot of people have hard time being leaders and they go into this micromanagement space. What advice would you give to someone that really has a hard time letting go of their baby, of their business, and having someone being empowered in their business to make decisions on their behalf?

Athena (guest):
If you could see our faces, we're smiling from ear to ear. The reason is this is a hot topic. One of the things we do for our clients is we recruit, hire, and train their very first VA to do a lead gen system for them and help book calls. I had a pop-up training last week with all of the VA's that we've ever hired for our clients. We worked through some of the challenges that they were having and it helped to do a little bit of a workshop with them.

Athena (guest):
After that, I wanted to follow up with having a leadership meeting because there's things, if you ask, and if you're open to communication, and you create a safe place for people that are working for you to talk to you and get feedback, they'll open up to you. And so, I found a lot of things about our clients, which are the employers of the VAs, that I thought I needed to address. It all tied into leadership and being able to step into the role of CEO and letting go and not micromanaging, and being able to delegate.

Athena (guest):
Few days later, I decided, "Well, we're going to create a pop-up leadership meeting on how to become a great leader." So we just ran that. Matter of fact, we just ran that on Wednesday. It was so empowering for our clients to hear how important it is to take a step back. You create this role, you have an outline of what their job is. You need to give them the freedom and the trust to be able to allow them to operate in their zone of genius, because this is now what they're trained to do. This is not your job. It's theirs.

Athena (guest):
So delegate tasks and then step back and put a hard stop on yourself and create that boundary for yourself, that this is not my job anymore. I'm going to trust that they have my best interests in mind. And then I'm going to create a culture of just open communication, and a culture of trust, and a culture where... We want to be in a place where it makes us happy to show up to work, we're encouraged to go to work and we want to grow and learn. When I create that, I can trust that my employee is going to do the best that they can do.

Athena (guest):
If they run into any challenges, they're going to come talk to me. And so, I don't need to be there micromanaging them. I can give them that freedom. It's so important because being a micromanager doesn't help you or them. All it does is create confusion, conflict, and you're likely going to have a high turnover with your employees, which is ultimately going to frustrate. You take a lot of your time and a lot of your revenue, and nobody wants that. So create this amazing culture of trust and learn to set your own boundaries and step back.

Meagan (guest):
Like you said, Kathy, where you said you see empowerment show up in the numbers, which I love that so much, but micromanaging you see show up in the numbers. All of our clients who we have seen struggle with their numbers, when we connect with their VAs. So we're looking at things. Like nine times out of 10, it's because they are micromanaging and they're adding too much onto their plate. They're just with poor leadership. And so, you see a drop in the numbers.

Meagan (guest):
We even saw a situation where, in a previous business that we were running, where the CEO made an emotional decision around the money. She wasn't looking at the full picture, and she jumped in to the entire team and was like, "We're struggling. We're not where we need to be. Oh my goodness." And came down on us. Was like, "How are we going to fix this situation?" We went from having, what was it, Athena, like 600,000 in revenue one month, to dropping down to like 50,000 in revenue?

Athena (guest):
Think we were actually closer to $800,000 in revenue a month. And the profit margin was well beyond what the average profit margin is for most businesses. It was a process and a team that we took several months building out and everything was working perfect. But in the CEO's mindset, she was looking at the wrong thing. She was looking at her bank account really. What she wasn't considering was her spending, and even personal spending, not business spending, and made a really bad judgment call. So that, like Meagan said, that reaction and that micromanagement just tore the company apart.

Meagan (guest):
Literally, yeah.

Athena (guest):
Yeah. Literally tore the company apart and went from almost hitting a million dollars, which we were on target to hit, to dropping all the way down to, I think, 300,000 the next month. People were lost. Employees left and people were upset. To regain trust in your employees, that is a hard thing to do once you lose your employees' trust. That's a two-way street. Your employees need to be able to trust you just as much as you need to be able to trust them.

Meagan (guest):
Yeah. I mean, it literally took, I want to say it was like four months, to get the revenue back up. Athena said 300,000. We were able to keep that. Well, that's because, luckily, we have the recurring. But in terms of new sales, it was a massive, massive drop-off. We were really lucky that we had all those recurrent contracts. But it takes a long time to rebuild that trust.

Meagan (guest):
It takes one second to break the trust and it takes a really long time to rebuild it. So the trust thing and not micromanaging, it really does impact the money. And so, you want to talk about that glass ceiling. You can shatter that glass ceiling by trusting and empowering your team and giving them everything they need to be successful. Then if you ever have one of those emotional moments, which every CEO goes through, we're all entitled to have our moment, go to your team. Go to your leaders and ask questions.

Meagan (guest):
Don't just assume that you know what's going on. Ask questions because, gosh, I mean, it was heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking for everybody, for her, for us, all of us. We were just like, "Oh, we'd worked so hard to create this amazing thing. It's all clicking." And then in just a second, it was all gone.

Kathy (host):
I mean, that is such a heartbreaking story to hear because it doesn't just shatter the trust that also builds resentment for the people that probably stay behind. It sounds like the fact that they were making decisions and putting stuff out there to the team based on the emotions versus the facts, I mean, that is a big no-no in the business. I also say, do not look at your bank account. Look at your spreadsheets.

Kathy (host):
Look at what's really going to happen in the business because your bank account is not a good way to gauge what's really happening in your business, especially if you have recurring revenue coming in and you know that at the beginning of the month, you might have a drop, but in 10 days, you're going to have a huge influx of revenue coming in because you have that recurring revenue.

Athena (guest):
Yep. Yep. Exactly.

Kathy (host):
Such an important lesson, for her and for all of us.

Meagan (guest):
Yeah.

Kathy (host):
I want to ask you, what is the one tangible next step that the listeners of this podcast can take back to the business, something that they can do over the next week to really go into the CEO mindset?

Athena (guest):
We might give you two steps because I'm going to have one and Meagan will have-

Kathy (host):
I'll take it.

Athena (guest):
Okay. I would say, if you haven't already built a business plan and really a strategy for the next... At least just focus on the next three years, including the growth of your business and everything it's going to take to get you there, and everyone it's going to take to get you there, you need to spend some time drawing it out. Even, say, you do have a business plan. When's the last time you looked at it and revised it? When's the last time you sat down, if you have a partner or somebody that's working with you on the business, that you sat down and actually talked about that growth and what it's going to take to get there and implement everything?

Athena (guest):
That is such an important process. It's something that every quarter I would recommend looking at it. Meagan and I, sometimes we need reminders. We just reminded our self maybe last quarter that we need to set dates every quarter to sit here and look at our business plan, make revisions, and make sure we're on target. That is really important. So if you aren't doing that, do it. If you've never done it before, build it out because having that vision and knowing your strategy for your growth, that is just super important. What do you think, Meagan?

Meagan (guest):
Well, I think that that's a pretty great step to take if you have that plan. What I would recommend is take a look at it and think about, how can I simplify this? I think that because we're in this digital marketing age, which is so amazing because it's enabled us to get in front of so many more people and grow our business to so much faster than we ever could before. But I think there's been this culture of over-complication that you have to have...

Meagan (guest):
Depending on what industry you're in. You have to have this one thing, so you can have this next thing, so you can have this next thing, so that you can make more sales. What if you could shortcut the time that it takes for you to get in front of your market and make a sale? So think about how you can simplify the process and take out some of the fluff, to really focus on, how can I just make real connections with people?

Meagan (guest):
I mean, if you're in a service-based industry, get on the phone with them. Have conversations and see if there's something that you can bring to the table for them, or maybe there's a connection that can be made. Focus on just simplifying it. We've completely overcomplicated it, and so it makes the difference between where you are now and where you want to go revenue-wise so much bigger. If you simplify it, you can really jump your timelines way more efficiently and keep leading.

Kathy (host):
Simplify and plan. I love that. Meagan, Athena, how can people contact you? Where can we find you?

Meagan (guest):
Yeah. We like to keep it simple and lean. Come and join our Facebook group. It's called the Ladies Who Scale. You can go to ladieswhoscale.com. This is where we operate everything from. You can pop over there and get connected with us. When you join the group, we will send you over our high ticket copywriting cheat sheet. In there, we're doing trainings around delegation, systems, sales, marketing, the whole gamut on what you need to do in order to grow your business effectively, efficiently, and sustainably. That's definitely the key. So come join us over there. Then of course you can also email us if you want at hello@letsscale.io.

Kathy (host):
Fabulous. Thank you so much for being on the show, both of you.

Athena (guest):
Thank you, Kathy. It was a pleasure. I had so much fun.

Meagan (guest):
Thank you so much for having us.

Kathy (host):
Thanks again for listening to Help! My Business Is Growing, a podcast where we give you the tools to grow and build a business that it's healthy and sustainable. I love recording this episode because even though we talked about all the pieces that go into building a business that is healthy and sustainable, at the end of the day, it doesn't have to be complicated. It really takes two things. One, having the right plan in place, and two, having the right processes that are there to support and simplify your operations.

Kathy (host):
As always, before I go, I have a favor to ask. If you're listening to this on Apple Podcasts, can you please go to the show and tap the number of stars that you think that the show deserves? This will help other business owners find the show as well. Thanks so much. Until next time.