Episode 32 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
What to focus on to ensure you love your work
Often entrepreneurs will go from one ‘exciting project’ to another and not fully completing, or doing the best they can with previous businesses or projects. This can be very frustrating and often results from them not loving the work they are doing on a day-to-day basis.
Kevin and Brad talk about the 5 things you must do to build your business and build your job the way you want it to ensure you love your job and your business long into the future.
Brad Giles 00:13
Hi, welcome to the growth whispers where everything that we talk about is building enduring great businesses. I’m Brad Giles. And as always, I’m joined today by my co-host, Kevin Lawrence. How are you doing today, Kevin?
Kevin Lawrence 00:28
You know, Brad, I’m doing great. Excited to do another show is it’s a wonderfully creative process that we get to do here together and sharing some of our insights and what we get to learn from all the awesome companies that we work with. So yeah, I’m actually really looking forward to the show today.
Brad Giles 00:42
Good. Yeah, I enjoy checks to prepare as well. And we, you know, we get into some interesting subject. So, on that topic, what might we have in-store today?
Kevin Lawrence 00:55
Well, today, we’re talking about this thing called a job to love and, and what is it that’s required to endure in your business, and a huge piece of it is actually liking how you spend your time, when although it sounds actually really basic. It’s shocking how many people don’t enjoy that the way they spend the time. And it’s even more shocking when they own the company. And they end up doing a bunch of stuff that they don’t enjoy. So we’re talking, about finding a way to endure in your business by really enjoying your job, essentially, and how you spend your time today.
Brad Giles 01:33
Because you can build that any way that you want. Awesome. Well, let’s get into this.
Kevin Lawrence 01:38
I think that’s a great point, right is you can build it any way you want. But, but as people are building companies, you get lost it they forget, they forget about the choices they have, and they’re just so buried in what they’re doing. And so busy trying to do the right thing and, and take care of their customers and deal with their employees and manage cash or whatever else they have to do, especially when they’re smaller, people get lost. And people have this mistaken belief that they need to do certain things.
Brad Giles 02:12
what type of certain things or there are big lists, the first one that comes to mind?
Kevin Lawrence 02:19
The first one that comes to mind, something to do with banking, something to do with touching the cash. You know, some people don’t like to have additional signatories on accounts or things like that. So controlling cash would be one. Sometimes, you know, dealing with important customers, if it’s a smaller business, all kinds of things like the Oh, it’s interesting. And one of the things we’ll talk about today is that, you know, one of the CEOs that worked with Mark is his name, awesome, guys, both a very excellent business. And you know, he really keeps talking about this thing called billionaire habits. And really, it’s a way for him that he’s, you know, he’s well on his way to building a billion-dollar business well, on his way, one of these he does, it helps him to tune into the thinking and the frequency of incredibly successful people. And when you’re incredibly successful at that level, you think about things very differently, then, you know, the the the plumber with, you know, three or four or five guys or crews and a couple of vans running around town. Yeah, and it’s just, it’s a different way of seeing things. So, you know, he uses the concept of billionaire habits to tune into that frequency and look, from there back down to the situation, and help make better ideas. And from a billionaire habit point of view. Everything can be delegated, actually, everything even things you wouldn’t think you could delegate, you could delegate, if you know at that level of success. So if you could do it at that level of success, or why not do it, where you are now, if it’s gonna make you happier, make your business perform better.
Brad Giles 03:58
Yeah. I remember. So I’ve started six companies over my career. And I remember, once a month, there was this particular time, every month, when I would start to get a bit grumpy, I’d get a bit grumpy, I’d be a bit short with people. And I’d be snapping at people or I’d be not in a really good place. And funnily enough, that seemed to seem to correlate with the time when I had to do the reconciliation of the accounts.
Kevin Lawrence 04:38
You did the reconciliation of the accounts?
Brad Giles 04:41
Well, you’ve got to factor in the size of the business was it was only me at that point.
Kevin Lawrence 04:47
Yeah. reconciling I got it. Yeah.
Brad Giles 04:50
Yeah. Like, day one of the business if it’s only you, you’re doing everything right. Yeah. And yeah, so it was not fun at all. Do I would do anything and I got out of it and you know, we employed people and everything else happened. But yeah, I, I could think of many things I’d rather do than reconcile accounts.
Kevin Lawrence 05:12
Of course, you know, what’s interesting is that you know, I am probably I don’t know how many different businesses I’ve had, you start the stuff I did when I was a kid, like, you know, selling painted rocks and tadpoles, I’ve probably had half a dozen to a dozen different things, a lot of them were smaller things I played with as a kid, and I was younger. And as you’re saying, I remembered I had to put myself through college, I started a business because I had to pay for it. And it was called student yard care, where we would go, you know, take care of people’s yards, you know, hauling away garbage in people’s yards, cutting grass pressure washing, anything that needed labor, we would do it. And I remember very quickly, it got to the point where I actually had a crew working while I was going to school, which is there’s a was a long funny there as I was actually really, um, I was late to a very critical meeting, where I was getting the most important scholarship of the Year for my program. And I want it which I didn’t know and I was late, and the Dean of the School of Business is at the auditorium down at the bottom, and I’m walking in the back late trying to slide into class, and they go, here he is. And I remember, but I and my guys wrote, getting a job started that morning because I would do the quoting and let the guys go and do the work. And they were gonna, they were doing the job all day. And I had to go to school for a bit. Anyway, it was pretty funny. But the point of it is, I remember is to flashback there, thanks for bearing with me. But but but I remember is that I would do the quoting and get the work and I just get the guys to do it. Because I like doing the quoting and, you know, in the selling and getting the deals and I didn’t like doing the work so much. And, and that’s you know, and that’s why I think, interestingly, that’s why sometimes a lot of entrepreneurs actually have dyslexia. Because, you know, people with dyslexia have a huge advantage. They can’t do a lot of things, especially on the technical side of the business. So they’re better at delegating and hiring, you know, often they’ll get kids to help them with their homework in school. You know, some of them get people to write their tests, that’s a whole other thing. Or look at the teachers to help them you know, though, they’ll do the test verbally. But in business, many there are many dyslexic entrepreneurs because they’re very good at delegating because there’s a bunch they can’t do. Yet. People that are very good at a bunch of things sometimes have a harder time letting go of stuff.
Brad Giles 07:35
So if we go back to the purpose of entrepreneurship, if we get back to what entrepreneurs trying to achieve, it makes me think of one word, which is freedom, because they want to achieve a level of freedom. Now, it could be time freedom, or money, freedom, or personal freedom, or something else. But freedom is the thing that I think of when I think about entrepreneurs. And it’s ironic when you then think entrepreneurs get stuck in this situation where they’re, they feel trapped, which is the opposite of freedom. Yes, it’s really kind of what we’re talking about here, which is what to focus on to ensure that you love your work.
Kevin Lawrence 08:18
Yep. Because Exactly. And there’s a path to freedom all the time. But it’s like that story of a baby elephant. If you take a baby elephant, this is a bad thing. It’s not humane, but the story is they do with a baby elephant, is they have put a chain around his leg and tie it to a post. So his whole life, it thinks it’s attached to the post, I’m told not experience that you can even undo the chain from the post and the elephant still won’t leave. And it’s so strong, it could rip the post out of the ground. It could rip anything out of the ground. But because from when I was young, it’s trained and conditioned. And that’s what happens to entrepreneurs sometimes. And I agree they’re there. They were driven by freedom. But they get stuck in these things. And they forget. There’s another way and I’ve seen it, you know, I have one entrepreneur, the awesome guy built a great business. And, and but he was wanting to sell it. And we got talking about it. Like why would you want to sell it he was always working too hard. And he hated a bunch of the stuff he was doing. Interestingly, the one thing he hated the most. And I think I mentioned this on another show was dealing with all the lawsuits he had with employees from employees that left it drove him crazy. Well, it turns out he’s very aggressive and when people were getting fired, he was in the room. And because of his aggressive nature, it may have caused the employees to feel a little bit less love and maybe more wanting to fight and Sue. So whether or not he truly was creating more lawsuits because of his you know, very direct, aggressive nature. He also just hated dealing with it.
Brad Giles 10:03
Kevin Lawrence 10:03
And so when we talked about it, well, first of all, maybe have someone else do the firing, like an HR consultant that you could use to do that and outsource that, because his internal HR person may not have been as good as that may or may not. And then two have, you know, this, this HR consultant, who was a very smart HR consultant that I connected him with, um, deal with all the legal issues. So he’s like, I can’t do that. I’m like, why not? You’re the boss. Don’t forget, you’re the boss. And interesting after that, the number of lawsuits went down, because he was no longer in the room and people got let go. And you know, he was frustrated with them, too, right. And so he was, it was frustration probably came through, and the lawsuits got cleaned up without his involvement, he would get a 32nd update. His job love went up by probably 20%. From that one, a single decision, but he felt trapped like he had to do it, he felt he had to deal with his own legal issues. And, you know, I’ve seen enough that you don’t have to do anything. And, and again, he didn’t even have the right team. But we got a consultant that he was already doing some stuff with to handle it.
Brad Giles 11:12
See, there was an actor called Mel Brooks. Yes. And in one of his movies, I’ve got this line that sticks with me. And he says, it’s good to be king. Now, I think he was going into a whole range of ladies and that old stuff that was okay. But we’re breaking up there for the next bit. But it’s good to be king. And it’s good to be the boss. Because you get to create the future, you get to create the job that you want. I studied entrepreneurship in Boston, with the executive program with the entrepreneurs’ organization. And I remember there was a guy who came and speak to us there. Now he was one of the first master franchises for Kentucky Fried Chicken across, I’m going to say like a dozen or 20 US states here, the master franchise, and he was like one of the first people to really take it out. They’re an amazing, amazing entrepreneur. And, he said, he came out and he said, he must have been 85 or 90 years old. And he said, Look, you guys all come in here. And tell me about all your problems. Right? All I seem to hear are problems well, he’s thought if you don’t have any problems, and you don’t have a business, so you give me all your problems, I got no problem having problems, also a mayor. And it was just such old school, simple wisdom, like, you know, if you don’t have any problems, you don’t have a business, like you’re gonna have to sort this stuff out. But you can, if you think beyond this week, you can solve these problems, you can get these things out of the way you can love your work so that you don’t have to think of escaping to, you know, do something else,
Kevin Lawrence 13:09
if you set yourself up for success. And that’s kind of what we want to dig into. Because, you know, to start with, and we got to in our, in our five-point list, we like to make a list of our most important points here for you. But number one is that they gotta love the work or you’re just not going to sustain the energy, you got to find enjoyment in it. And you know, and for a lot of people, those problems or headaches, or maybe it personally bothers him. But as you know, as that entrepreneur shared, that’s what the root of business is, at the senior level, you’re troubleshooting problems, and finding ways to double down on opportunities, a bit of both. By the way, if you’re only dealing with problems, there’s a different problem you’re dealing with in your business, ie, something is wrong, if all you’re doing is solving problems, you need to do a lot of that. But you also have to have the opportunities because a business that only s problems. Usually, that doesn’t go so well, it starts to the growth will normally stop or slow down from our experience. So, but you know, at first remembering that you should love your job, and that’s possible, you just might have to make a whole bunch of changes.
Brad Giles 14:26
If you’re a little bit worn out, you’re a little bit tired, you’ve been working hard, but that’s normal, okay. But if you’ve had a holiday and you know and you love your work, you should be looking forward to going back to work and getting in that you should aspire to getting to be in that situation so that you do love it and rather than thinking I need to do something different all the time, I need to sell this business or I need to get out or I need to, I don’t know, retire or whatever it is like how can you create a business that you look, I don’t know, 5, 10 20 years into the future, and you think if I could impact this many people, both employees and customers, and this is the kind of dent that I’m going to make in the universe, that should give you great excitement. Like, that’s what Yes, were we’re trying to do here is building during great businesses.
Kevin Lawrence 15:28
Yeah, we have another a couple shows of ago, episodes ago, we talked about that about when entrepreneurs lose their vision. So go back and listen to that one, if you’ve lost your vision, two episodes back within two or three. This is Episode 30. So but this, this is about, you know, tactically how you spend your time. And you know, and the way that I look at it, my belief in there’s a chapter in my book, your oxygen mask first. And it’s called into a vest in your sweet spots. And the idea of it is to, is to get to the point where 80% of your time you’re enjoying what you’re doing. And I cannot tell you how many people have come across that they’re not at 80, for sure, they’re not even if it’s not even, they might not even be at 20 Yeah, right, they’re buried in a bunch of stuff they don’t enjoy. And of course, they hate the business. Of course, they want to shut it down, sell it, start something different, because it ain’t fun. You know, it’s just like having a pair of shoes, and there’s full of pins and needles and rocks in the bottom, like it, you’re gonna want a new pair of shoes are you gonna want to take the damn things off and, and so many times, they’re so lost, and they’ll and we can come in, and we can see it because they can’t. And I’ve seen all kinds of situations where people just can’t stand it. And there’s still lingering problems in the business that kind of weigh them down is part of it. But a lot of it, they just don’t get to do the fun stuff anymore. Like, you know, some CEOs love to work on innovation. Some like to sell, like someone, one entrepreneur who is, you know, they were probably doing 500-600 million in revenue, and, you know, $50 million EBITDA, it was a solid business, he’d still be having a big deal he’d be working on all the time, he needed some deal time every week, if you will, him. Plus, he liked to stay in the game. So he could set the bar with some of his guys, and make sure that you know, you know that he could help them want to do it. And he was setting a role model of how to do these deals because he’d often do the biggest juiciest deals. But for him, if he wasn’t involved in a deal, he didn’t feel as best like that was critical for him. But sometimes people get too grown-up adults and doing too much too many of the shoulds. Yep, and not enough for the one-twos. And that’s a design flaw in how they’ve designed their job or the team around them that’s supporting them.
Brad Giles 17:59
For the average person. If you were looking to sell your business, what does it look like after that? I was talking to a guy maybe a couple of months ago, and he spoke about how they had sold their business. And they’d had a year off and they were going stir crazy. And they realize what they have done was they wish that they were back in the business making it better. So thinking about selling the business to play golf or to retire. If you are so motivated that you’ve started and grown a business, you’ve got to be wary that sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side, but it might actually be worse. And what you’re really looking for is to build a business that you will truly love and the job that you will truly love.
Kevin Lawrence 18:52
Yes, that is the idea is to do that. And sometimes we get lost. And that’s the root of it. So let’s help people find their way home. Yeah, right, if they are lost, what is the way home from all of this?
Brad Giles 19:11
First of all, as we said, You must love the work that you do, or you can’t endure. If you don’t passionately love your job, the work that you’re doing on a day to day basis, you’ve got to accept this fundamental principle that you’re not going to be able to stick it out over the long term. And that’s the catalyst for change. That’s the catalyst to build the work that you’d like so therefore to is to create a list of the tasks that give you energy and take your energy. So for me, as I mentioned earlier, doing accounts reconciliation that drains my energy as I can think of a lot of things that I’d rather than before that would come before that. So what’s the things that give me energy in the role and drain my energy and then and then that could be anything Anything, I’m going to come back to what you said before about billionaire habits like you can delegate any task at all, because to your book or your oxygen mask, first that that particular chapter, we want to try to build a model where you’ve got 80% of the time doing the things that you love.
Kevin Lawrence 20:21
Absolutely. And for me, you know, I find that like, there’s a lot of stuff I hate about, I will deal with a massive conflict, a big problem. And I rate customer any time before I’ll do administration, any sort of filling out a form makes me want to poke up my own eyes, like administration documents, because my brain is not wired for that. And yes, I can’t, I am capable. But it hurts. It’s like I have a thing for numbers, numbers talk to me. But sitting and analyzing spreadsheets all day long would kill me. Like I would hate it. Even though I have a high degree of skill with numbers like it. My best courses in college were accounting and statistics to the point where you probably wouldn’t even believe my marks I got Brad, but you know, it was just it was silly. But I could not do that for a job all day doesn’t give me energy, although numbers would be an asset. So the starting point is just realizing and suffering and it’s a good old, you know, almost like a pro and con list gives energy takes energy, and don’t judge it. Don’t pay too much attention to it. But if you’re spending, I don’t care how capable you are, how smart you are, if you’re spending too much of your time doing stuff that takes energy, it ain’t gonna work at all. And no matter who you are, and the thing is, is like, you know, our job description is kind of like, you know, do everything that’s needed. But that’s and so we ended up getting pulled into stuff that we shouldn’t, there are all kinds of other stuff that we probably should stick away from.
Brad Giles 22:03
So yeah, and so then we move on to number three. So just to recap, you got to love the work where you can enjoy and then create a list of the tasks that give you energy and take your energy. But then number three is to identify the environment that you like to work in. So yeah, I got a reasonably interesting example, I’ve got the standard workstation that I do all of my days to day work on preparing for strategic planning workshops, and emails and all of that stuff. When it came time to write a book, I found it hard to get into the kind of the alpha state into the flow state in this environment. So I fit in, and I work really well with white noise in the background, like a silent. And yeah, I find it hard. So I actually found the best writing was in cafes, where there was a lot of hustle and bustle, and I could tune out and be kind of completely alone in a really busy noisy cafe. So I can instantly think of I was in Auckland, New Zealand, and I was just I did some of the best work there. Or there are cafes around this city or even in Sydney. I remember, I had an extra day and I went and I found some busy areas in Sydney to type. So yeah, you’ve got to find the environment that works for you. So what’re your thoughts on that?
Kevin Lawrence 23:29
I can relate white noise works for me, it’s interesting looking to looking for a new home. And knowing probably the number one thing is natural light. And something interesting to look out at. So some sort of view and natural light, you know, is critical for me. there are times where I can go to a place that’s not but every natural light is everything. Like when Windows to me make a house. Yeah, and the more windows, you know, the better in a house as long as it has air conditioning in the summertime. Yeah, but actually, but the other thing is, to me is airplanes is one of my best environments. Like, you know, people talk about, oh, how did you handle? I mean, obviously, I’m not doing it today. But in the past I have how do you handle those flights because I know, I would go to the Middle East, you know, four times a year, India once or twice a year Australia, or somewhere like that at least once a year, and then throughout the US constantly. Um, I don’t like short airplane rides. Like you know, four or five hours is a decent start. You know, I’ll take a 10-hour flight any day, because I am so damn productive actually met a guy who when he needed to get a lot of work done, would buy a long return ticket now in business class so it was comfortable. But he would like you to know, fly to Tokyo or London or Germany or somewhere and back so we could have power time to get his work done. So everybody is just shocked.
Brad Giles 25:05
But I believe you don’t get me wrong. But that’s Yeah, that’s, that’s remarkable.
Kevin Lawrence 25:09
Well, because it’s, it’s a different environment, some people do well in a park, right? Some people do well, in a crowded space some people do well, in a private office, everyone thrives in different environments. So that’s the physical environment. But then there are also other types of environments like some people thrive in an environment of a deadline and high pressure. Some people don’t thrive in high pressure, some people thrive in an environment where they’re working on two or three things at once. Some people thrive on only one thing at a time. Right. So there are all kinds of different things that really create environments. So, people, some people thrive working on a team, some people thrive individually, again, everything is different. I know, for me, collaborative, under pressure is a great environment. I love that. And airplanes and airports, which I’m missing out on these days. Interestingly, I’ve got my air pods here. But you know, I also know if I am sitting by myself and doing stuff, I’ll listen to focus music, you know, apples got to focus music. There are other apps that have a specific focus on music. And it’s a little step beyond white noise. It also makes it easier for my thinking and creative time. Yeah, which is different than normal working time. So, that getting clear, and if you’re not sure, look at history. When did you do it? Because then, um, so what do you like? Well, I don’t know what it like, you know, but you look at what you don’t like, sometimes that helps. But also go back into history and find when you did your best work when you felt the best and were most productive? What was that environment, and it can give you some clues, but the environment has a huge impact on remember I mentioned I won that scholarship in college. One of the biggest reasons I won is I did so well, is because I was a part of study groups. I am horrific at studying on my own, like not good, because I just won’t do it. But I was in a study group. And we were brainstorming and teaching and the study group was actually the catalyst for my success. I was interested in collaborators, which help collaborate, so study groups, I thrive in group projects I thrive in, yeah, collaboration like you and me. But I will guarantee you for almost like I was not a great student before I went there in high school, I was a mediocre student. So I guarantee you that if it wasn’t a steady group kind of environment, I could probably shave 25% off of my grades. I know that’s not false humility, I think admitted I would have made a massive difference. Yeah, because of the environment.
Brad Giles 28:05
So you’ve got to have the environment, right, you got to know what gives you energy and drains your energy. And you got to understand that you must love the work or you can’t endure. So then what happens next, so you know, their environment, you know, what’s giving you energy? What are we doing next week? Number four is to build a path to have your work time by 80% of the things that give you energy. So this is from your book, your oxygen mask first. Tell us about this, Kevin?
Kevin Lawrence 28:36
Yeah, we just got to decide that you’re going to love your job, period. You know, there’s periods of hard stuff, and there are parts of it, that will be hard. That’s that’s life. But you’ve got to find a way whether it’s the type of work that you do and what you don’t. And the environments that you set up that you’ll love it. So for example, you know, if you don’t love conflict, how can you create an environment that the conflict will be easier? Why do so many CEOs have people like us run their quarterly strategic planning meetings? Right? Why don’t we have some CEOs that help us to facilitate really important 360 feedback meetings? Right, you can have someone co-pilot with you on the Highest conflict environments, those are predictable. Not your everyday job, but in a lot of the high conflict environments, you can have somebody else work with you on it. Right? You can delegate that’s why people are relieved to have someone else run their strategic planning sessions because it’s damn hard. And if they’re done, right, there’s a lot of debate and conflict too. So you just got to make the decision that you’re going to love it. And have faith that you’ll be able to find a way to make it happen. That’s, that’s all it is just aside and knowing that it’s possible and deciding that you’re going to let me go out to make some tough calls, but that’s you know, not always tough calls. Sometimes it has a lot to do with your team. Sometimes you’re not delegating enough to your team, sometimes your team isn’t good enough for you to delegate to. It could be either.
Brad Giles 30:08
And so build a path was the first part of that. So build part build a plan? How are you going to get to the situation where you love 80% of the work that you do, and it gives you energy? Well, what’s the time frame on that? So if you were to give up for want of a better term and sell, you know, it might take you three to five years of profit that you’re effectively collecting at once. So then you can think about the longer-term perhaps and say, Well, what am I going to do, then I but then be, it can begin to set a timeframe. So rather than saying,
Kevin Lawrence 30:47
I’m going away, in that three to five years, you’re still there most, they’re almost always going to contract you to stay for at least two years. So you’re there for two years of that profit payback. So then you’ve got between one and three years, truly, of extra cash you get beyond the time you’re staying no matter what.
Brad Giles 31:07
Kevin Lawrence 31:08
So really, it’s like 1-3 years of your profit. And in that timeframe, sorry, but I don’t count that Oh, there’s a contractor, you have to stay anyways. Yeah, it’s a notable transaction, sorry, back to your point.
Brad Giles 31:21
And you don’t have freedom. That’s the whole point of it, you have less freedom.
Kevin Lawrence 31:27
Because now you’re their employee.
Brad Giles 31:28
Yeah. And so this, you know, I want to call out idolatry. It’s called right, which is worship worshipping false gods. So just know that if you do the hard work, it is possible to build the type of job that you will get great energy from. But yeah, you got to know that could take three years or five years to have this kind of level, maybe you’ll do it in a year, and it’ll be great. But just don’t expect everything to happen all at once. It may take a while. Then, number five, understand the concept of billionaire habits, and begin delegating to get you to 80%. So you mentioned that before the billionaire habits, which is really you can delegate anything that you want, you can delegate accounts receivable, you can automate that and also tell you that you can automate things. And yeah, you can even have robots do some of this stuff. So getting understanding that it is not impossible, you’ve just got to work and grind through it.
Kevin Lawrence 32:41
So it’s, you know, if you hate dealing with your bank, you can get an awesome CFO, that deals do all of the stuff for the bank, and you have to show up for a little relationship chat once in a while. So you don’t have to deal with banks, you don’t have to deal with lawyers, you don’t have to deal with almost everything. Heck, if you really hate the running of the operational business, you can get a president in place, who will run and deal with everyone and you could be strategic and just work with your president. Right, there’s all or you can get a president to fully run the company, and you can do other things. So you can, you know, get people to do almost every single thing. You can get people to do every single thing you do today. And there’s the old cliche, you know, we’re all replaceable. But we are, we are all very, very replaceable. And but when you’re stuck in the middle of it, you don’t see it. And you know, I’ve had a great fortune, you know, there’s one business I work with a local business I know I do some work with. And I know another company similar that I’ve worked with that is 20 times the size, same industry. And I could see what the owner and CEO of that business are doing. And I see that you can hire people to do that job, and five times the size of that job. So everything can be but again, that’s hard to believe, you know, I just had no other entrepreneur asked me of a small going to medium-sized business, about sharing his financials transparently with his team, right? That’s kind of a growth phase that people go through, starting to share the financials.
Brad Giles 34:26
Kevin Lawrence 34:26
And I’ve been through that lots of times with people but there’s these. Yeah, there’s just different phases of growth that you go through of learning how to have people more involved in things and having more ownership. So I think the root of the billionaire habits if you were a business with a billion dollars of turnover, what would that look like? Who would you hire? How would you delegate and you would find your way through everything.
Brad Giles 34:52
Yeah. And you would, you would have those issues. Now people might be looking at what was listening to what we’re saying here and saying, Yeah, that’s alright, if you’ve got a billion dollars, but you know what, like, I got a 10 or $15 million business or a 5 million or whatever, I’ve got a smaller business like we don’t have the resources to throw at this. So how do we respond to that? Because people would be thinking that, right?
Kevin Lawrence 35:23
So you start off with deciding what you want it to look like, and suspending belief or holding belief and having faith there is away. Yeah, it’s what you want, and then suspend belief and believe in it. That’s number one. That’s number 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9, like that, that’s all it is. It’s a mind game. That’s all it is. So, no, you won’t believe it’s possible?
Brad Giles 35:48
Just to draw on that point, you and I are speaking from a mindset of abundance? Like we’ve seen, we’ve seen that you can do this continue, please?
Kevin Lawrence 35:58
Yes, I’ve seen people hand off businesses. And guy handed off a business and had somebody else ran it. And it made roughly 100 million dollars of profit a year. There is a reasonable chance the guy running it may have done a better job than the owner of running it. Yeah. No, it’s so if you get a handoff, and that’s a very complex competitive business, and the guy was, it was an outstanding CEO. So of course it would work. So yes, we come from but it’s and also we’ve seen it and we know it, and hey, it’s way easier for the outside anyways. Right? You don’t have the emotional things. So I had a really good point there, Brad. Or something that you’re saying I was gonna share this like, brilliant thought.
Brad Giles 36:44
And we’re all waiting,
Kevin Lawrence 36:46
It was a really good thought. And it just disappeared. it will come back, then the main thing is to have Yeah, I know. And then the next thing is, then believe for whatever it is you are going to delegate that the right person exists. So one of my favorite stratagems is a little slice of a brilliant mind. a little slice of a brilliant mind and another company worked within Canada, the CEO, she was brilliant. In the early days. She’s the one who taught me the strategy. She was about 30 million in revenue. And she had an HR person and a said head of sales and head of HR, who was from 100 to 100 and $50 million companies and she’s only a 30. But how would you say a person asked me, Brad, how does a person who’s only doing $30 million have such senior people on their team?
Brad Giles 38:09
How I don’t know. That’s very interesting.
Kevin Lawrence 38:13
It’s called two days a week.
Brad Giles 38:15
Kevin Lawrence 38:16
Yeah, you can take $150,000 person and hire them for 50 grand a year or 60 grand a year 65 grand a year. So she had the best badass and this guy’s name. I’m gonna say his name. His name is Dawn Daintree he was head of sales I loved him he is an amazing man, an amazing salesperson. He singles-handedly helped to build this company when it was at a lower level and a shout out to Don if he’s listening. He’s awesome. We joke around lots we have a lot of fun. He still with a company kind of now as a consultant he ended up becoming full time but he took it he took on the company couple days a week and he was just he was you know I don’t know what is it I’m not gonna talk about pay but it was a fraction of what he would normally get paid. But it was only a fraction of his time. Yeah and eventually as the company grew and he fell in love with the company he gradually dropped the other work because he was like a freelance consultant dramas other client work and then ended up joining the company full time and you know took the company probably to you know from 30 to you know, well over 150 almost 200 million in sales why him driving sales at any built a great team is an awesome guy but because they hired such a senior capable, fully experienced had all the relationships knew the industry. It was it was brilliant. And they did the same with their HR person is the same as their marketing and marketing strategy person. They all ended up becoming full-time but they hired a tiny slice of them to start with.
Brad Giles 39:52
That’s a good strategy. I like that.
Kevin Lawrence 39:54
That’s something brilliant. It’s one of my favorites, essentially. That’s why we got one of our new team members head of HR from a notable Canadian company. And he’ll end up doing a bunch of that for companies to just a little slice of the been there done that brain experience. Right? And and and so how do you do this? You know, you, you know, get amazing people and you don’t need to hire them full time. Right? Yeah. And the only thing is, is there are consultants and then there are amazing people you can hire on a consulting contract. Yes, very different things. There are consultants who will do research and figure things out. We’re talking badass executives, who know the company there at the sale or something else whose available for a little slice of their time. Hmm. So it’s a plus player that you can buy a little piece of?
Brad Giles 40:47
Yeah, we’re for them. What’s happened, they’ve seen it all before. They know the game they’ve they know they’re looking seven chess moves ahead. Whereas you might only be able to have one or two.
Kevin Lawrence 40:59
And you don’t even know about the other ones. Like it’s Yeah, you got it. It’s Oh, yeah.
Brad Giles 41:04
That’s awesome. So I guess overall, what we’re saying is that, that in order to build an enduring great business, like you can’t, you, you can’t give up. Like, it takes time, and you’ve got to stick with it.
Kevin Lawrence 41:25
And in order to remember, you’re the boss, stick with remembering you’re the darn boss. And you can do it, if you’re the entrepreneur, even if you’re an executive, you have lots of flexibility. Yeah, but it’s remembering, you can tailor it the way that you want it. And it’s almost like buying clothes. Now, some people buy clothes, and if it doesn’t fit, right, they tolerate it, some people use a tailor, you know, so it’s like, you can always tailor things to suit you, we just forget.
Brad Giles 41:53
And, the reason that people become entrepreneurs is freedom like that, you shouldn’t lose sight of that you shouldn’t come away from that, that overarching principle. Now, that doesn’t mean freedom doesn’t mean retirement freedom means freedom, in whatever capacity it means to you. And that means having happiness, having, you know, loving the work that you do feeling, a great sense of pride and reward from that work.
Kevin Lawrence 42:26
So let’s maybe review the, let’s maybe review the items that we’ve got here if we can. So the first is you got to love the work, or you can’t endure it like you’re gonna run out of juice, you’ve gotta find a way to love it. And the intent is to, ideally, in the direction of 80% of the time you’re enjoying what you’re doing. And to get there, you kind of the first start by making a list of the stuff that gives you energy, ie you enjoy it and takes energy or drains you. And that’s your starting point to understand it. And then and then the next angle is to look at the environments that you thrive in. Again, individual versus team competitive versus not collaborative, which is a version of teamwork, versus not high pressure versus low pressure, working remotely, versus in a room with others, working on an aeroplane, working with background noise, or who knows, or sitting in nature humming, I don’t know. And then without have the belief that you can get it to 80% start to build your path, just figuring out one thing at a time that you’d love to get someone else to do and figuring out who and making sure that you hand it off to someone who is incredibly capable. You know, don’t delegate the stuff to your weak people on your team. Because you’ll end up retreating. Sometimes, interestingly, the easiest thing to delegate for some is something that you’re really good at. Because then you know what to watch out for, and it’s easier to manage. The other times you can delegate stuff that you’re horrible at because then you can rely on an expert. Again, it depends on what works for you. And then going back to If in doubt, look at the concept of billionaire habits. You know, if you had built a business that was worth a billion or doing a billion of revenue, how would you think about it then from your client, thinking up at that point, and then zooming back to today with a very different perspective. And I think that’s what the root of this is all about. Brad, it’s about perspective, it’s remembering it’s possible and possible to have that freedom and then making some choices to move in a direction.
Brad Giles 44:36
Yeah, it’s possible. You’ve just got to get your head out of the situation to think what is going back to the words of Mel Brooks as we begin to close? It’s good to be king. You get to build the job that you want. Never ever, ever lose sight of that and keep pushing. Well, that was a good chat. That was, yeah, that was good. Got into some interesting stuff there. So, thanks for listening. This has been the growth whispers podcast where everything we talked about is building enduring great businesses. I’m Brad Giles and of course, always I’m joined by Kevin Lawrence, my co-host. You can find me at evolutionpartners.com.au and you can find Kevin at Lawrenceandco.com. Thanks for listening. Have a great week.