Inspiring Business Podcast

Become the Lazy Entrepreneur - Employer of Choice and a more Valuable Business

February 06, 2023 Stephen Sandor Season 2 Episode 9
Inspiring Business Podcast
Become the Lazy Entrepreneur - Employer of Choice and a more Valuable Business
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

The problem with change is it’s not often wanted or valued.

The mistake most business owners make is they either rush in and spend money on systems to fix the problem or get stuck in the details and never move ahead

 This episode of the Lazy Entrepreneur Series winds up the 8 weeks with the final steps of the implementation process and the Integration of the Processes and Systems as well as considering the risks associated with change. 

And, how to lead and inspire your team so they are a part of your business improvement success.

Scale to Success Solution principles have been used in countless situations here in Australia and internationally where businesses consulted to, and managed by, Steve Sandor, has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of increased revenue and profits.

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 Series II Episode 9

Series II Episode 9

[00:00:00] Welcome to episode nine, the final episode in the lazy entrepreneur series. The first 10 minutes of this episode is a recap of episodes one to nine so if you wanted to jump forward, uh, there are timestamps in the podcast that will take you to the beginning of the content it's been a great pleasure from me to bring this series to you. I hope you get a lot of value from it and listen all the way through to the end, because there, again, we repeat the bonus offer that we're making to all of people who are subscribers to anyone of the Inspiring Business, email lists. Enjoy. 

[00:00:52] Welcome to the inspiring business podcast, where I hope to inspire you the business owner and provide you with tools, [00:01:00] information, and knowledge that will help you create a business that is scalable and ultimately independent of your daily involvement. 

[00:01:08] My name is Steve Sandor and I'm your host today, and this is the ninth and last episode of the lazy entrepreneur series, where I walk you through the scale to success solution the very process that I use when I help my clients to achieve the goals that they're struggling to implement. 

[00:01:30] Just a real quick recap on weeks one to eight. In week one, we were looking at doing that business analysis, and identifying the priorities, the goals. Um, the objectives that you're looking at achieving with, and, you know, we looked at your satisfaction level at each of those functional areas. 

[00:01:51] Looking at sales marketing operations finance IT. and identifying where you [00:02:00] felt the business was. In week two, we looked at um, the process of uh, setting goals and objectives and using the smarter model. So that's the specific measurable achievable relevant and time bound and then I added in the energy. So the energy that you have to achieve the goal. Um, and then recording and reviewing that information and really looking at, uh, accountabilities

[00:02:29] And then in week three, we looked at the mapping of those priorities and goals and the timeframe and I introduced a concept called experiential awareness and that is where you don't have necessarily the experience where you've yet to experience whatever it is that you're trying to achieve and you're going through a, an awareness and education process to be able to identify where you are in that comfort level or that [00:03:00] experiential awareness. So that, you know, whether it's reasonable for you to pull the trigger or whether you need to bring in resources to help you to achieve that. 

[00:03:09] Then in week four with we started to talk about people and I introduced the employer of choice framework. And really what we're trying to create is a business that is not just independent of you as the business owner, but also a place where employees want to come and work and they attract other people who want to come and work for you. I introduced the concept of collective accountability and behavior and looking at how to empower the business supervisors or the management team as well as including in that whole collective accountability the staff, because I think what we tend to [00:04:00] do in this employer of choice concept, the narrative is that the employer has to provide everything for the employee. But that can't be the case. It has to be a two way street and so if you want to work in an employer of choice environment as an employee, you also need to be contributing. So introduce this framework of how can we be inclusive in that whole process? 

[00:04:24] Week five, we looked at forecasting or modeling and this was more about what corporates potentially use in terms of, looking at capability and capacity planning or workforce planning. Um, as a small business, I think you don't need to be as formal in this whole process, but as a small business, you still need to be able to work out and what your capabilities and capacities are and we talked about the different types of modeling, one being forecasting, and [00:05:00] that's the larger organizations tend to work in that because they're doing that forecasting on a quarterly basis and they're looking at making adjustments and it's harder for them to make adjustments because of the hierarchy that they have. So small businesses can be a little bit more responsive to that or agile. 

[00:05:19] So I introduced the concept of structured flexibility. So there is a structure around it. There is a, another sandpit in which you can play with, but you've got flexibility in that. 

[00:05:29] And as far as capacity planning is concerned, it really is maths. It's looking at the workflow or the amount of work that needs to be done to get an output. What the optimal number of that would be what your inefficiency rate is and each business has a slightly different inefficiency. Most businesses work at around about 85% efficiency. 

[00:05:54] Good ones. Don't get much better than that bad ones or, you know, down [00:06:00] around 65. 

[00:06:01] And really what you're looking at there is you're looking at your marketing strategy, your sales pipeline and what's coming down the pipe and whether you actually need more or less, resources to be able to handle the work as it comes through. 

[00:06:18] And really what we're trying to do is we're trying to get ahead of the game here. In this whole strategic planning work the context is we're trying to actually get ahead of what might be coming so that we're prepared for it when it does arrive. 

[00:06:32] Week six called it financial modeling. we probably should have called it, um, management information systems because I'm not a financial planner. I'm not an accountant I don't give advice in this particular area. In fact, what I do is I encourage the clients financial advisors to be more involved in this part of the process. 

[00:06:57] But with every investment that you make [00:07:00] in any, business improvement, there has to be a return on that investment and so we looked at how we might go about it and putting in place management information systems that will enable you to look at the performance of the business, not just the financial performance, but also the, individual or people performance as well. 

[00:07:24] So in weeks seven and eight were the first part of the implementation. 

[00:07:30] And in week seven, we'd looked at it from the staging ground point of view. So we've got to a particular point, we're reasonably comfortable that we have all lived the information that we need to earn we've collected all of that and now what we're doing is we are prioritizing that and what I'm suggesting that you do in this whole process of business improvement is that you look at milestones that are [00:08:00] important, but not urgent. So these are strategic changes to the organizations operations the way that it functions. They're important but they're not urgent and they don't have to be done straight away and the reason we choose these as opposed to the important and urgent ones, is it gives us time and as you'll see, one of the things that we in, in this particular session, what we'll be talking about is reviewing the steps that you've taken and looking at whether you were successful at that and then whether you need to reset the strategy based on the information that you've collected. 

[00:08:40] Now, if you're rushing through this, you don't have time and you tend to make mistakes. So as you're developing the process improvements, what you're looking for is recording the information that was in the important and urgent so the things that you becoming reactive to. [00:09:00] Measuring that. Having a look at those. And then, feeding that information as a part of the feedback loop into the achievement of that particular milestone that you're working on now. 

[00:09:11] And then you get to the end of that, and it's a rinse and repeat for that and again, we'll spend a little bit more time in this session talking about that. 

[00:09:19] And then week eight, we talked about the resource allocation. So this is what do you need to get from A to B in that first milestone? And that first milestone might be you know, A month or two months or three months, depending on the overall size of the project. I think, three months is too long and, a month is probably the right amount of time in any case, whether it's. Four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whatever that you work in two week cycles. So you, these are the steps along the way are two weeks steps. And the reason two weeks is one week is [00:10:00] not enough time for people to implement whatever it was that they'd been asked to implement Four weeks you get too far down the track in a process and potentially if it's the wrong track then you've wasted two weeks of. Inefficiency. So we found that it's, you know, two weeks is the best cadence to get into in terms of that. 

[00:10:23] So, this is just a suggestion if you, if you've been on your team have been working in a particular way and it's working for you well, then you continue with that. Not suggesting that you change the way that's worked for you, but this in my experiences is whenever we've went over, I've been involved in, some significant changes we've always worked in this sort of two week cycle. 

[00:10:46] So what we're going to look at here in this part of the integration are three key areas. One is process management. The other is the risk assessment. And then the final [00:11:00] piece will be the systems management and I'm going to add in here also people in terms of the process changes that you made that you might want to introduce. 

[00:11:12] So looking at the first piece is the process management and documentation and so as you are stepping down this pathway, so you've got your strategic objective, whatever the functional area that you're working on, it's important, but not urgent. You've got some milestones that you've, that you're looking at achieving. you've got objectives and goals in amongst all of that and now you're stepping your way through, looking for those changes. 

[00:11:43] So the things that you need to do or have in place are the systems and processes that you're currently using so that you document those. I'm not looking at making any changes so you're just documenting on how you're doing that and what you'll find. I think what, at least what I found [00:12:00] is that a lot of businesses have a bolted on changes so there's been a particular way of doing it someone found a better way of doing it so they changed the process but now there's inconsistencies because they do it one way someone else does it another way. And so what you're trying to do is you're trying to find out actually, what is the process that's being used at the moment? Don't change it. Just to document it. 

[00:12:28] And over a period of time over, you know, whilst you're documenting that, you'll actually see some obvious flaws in the process. it may be that, it's the integration of between one system and another system. Again, not looking at changing it, just looking at noting it. A lot of businesses in at when they get to this point where they are, where they're struggling with capacity and they just can't get, the throughput. What they'll tend to do is I'll tend to [00:13:00] throw bodies at the problem, or we need more people here when in fact that's not the first thing you need to do. What you need to do is you need to look at what the process is and are there any efficiencies in that process that might help the people who are managing the process to become more efficient at it. 

[00:13:20] A real simple example of this is that when I was the divisional manager of property division I had a 50 bed hotel and one of the, one of the things we. Kept seeing was that there was this problem with procurement, that there was always some delays in the procurement and when we actually mapped out the process and started talking to the people who were doing it the person who was doing the ordering wasn't anywhere near, the hotel and so this communication breakdown, so what all we did was we moved that person to a more logical location. [00:14:00] In the, in the hotel and the communication improved. And so it had nothing to do with systems processes. Uh, procedures, anything like that it was just a real, simple thing about location. 

[00:14:12] So you actually, in doing this process, you've actually might be able to see some really obvious things that you can make a change to. So you're not changing the process you're just simply improving a small step along the way. 

[00:14:26] I'm a fan of checklists and templates for repetitive tasks. So, if you do have the repetitive tasks and you don't have checklists or templates, well, then obviously what I would suggest that you do is that you create those. And you might see that the mistakes that are made or the inconsistency in terms of process will be rectified because people are following a checklist. The reason for taking our time in the, in these initial stages is I see a lot of people rushed [00:15:00] down this big black hole. And they try and make wholesale changes to the business and then buy systems and implement those systems into a process that is flawed from the start. 

[00:15:13] And so I know again, that I am being cautious here, but the old story is measure twice cut once. And in the preparation of this business improvement take your time. Hasten slowly is what I is, what I'm saying. 

[00:15:33] The next piece is around the assessment of risk. Now this is not the traditional risk management assessment that you would have someone coming and look at the and I, your software or, you know, what risks that you might have against, um, And a loss of intellectual property or, you know, being hacked. 

[00:15:54] This is more of the risk assessment of when a change is [00:16:00] made will there be a knock on effect to the performance of the business. So unintended consequences. 

[00:16:07] In episode three, we spoke about the experiential awareness and just to recap on that it's, if you've done this a hundred times before, then it's a natural process for you. 

[00:16:23] There's very little thinking about it. When I went from being a human resource consultant, working with large organizations to being a line manager in a large organization. Running the business or the mechanism of the business for me was natural because it had been something that I'd been doing for 30 or 40 years. And so being a manager in that environment was, was not difficult for me. 

[00:16:51] What was difficult or what I hadn't yet experienced was the technical part of human resources or security or [00:17:00] property. And I needed to build up my experiences in that area so that I could apply the rest of my knowledge. And that's really what we're talking about here. And this is again while we're looking at using the important and not urgent. goals or objectives so that we've got time. 

[00:17:19] What you will experience is employees who potentially resist any change. And there's two ways that you can look at those employees, you can look at them as being obstructionist and not wanting to change but in my experience, those people are more passionate about the business and they don't want the business to fail. 

[00:17:47] So they're being the conscience of the business and I think you need to respect that. They're not being obstructionist because they're being difficult. They're being [00:18:00] cautious and responsible. So I think the way that you look at that is that you embrace that you interrogate that you're curious about why it is that they feel that way and my experience again, is if you've been able to justify that the change is actually an improvement and they've engaged in that, that they become the advocate for that and the champion of that. If you resist at that and push back, what you'll do is you'll, there's the they'll dig their heels in. You'll dig your heels in and you'll just move nowhere.

[00:18:33] And the other risk involved is overcommitment of your time and energy or your staff's time and energy to making the improvements. So this is why we sort of wheel back to the capacity and capability planning. And we're looking at, uh, goals and objectives that are not urgent. So that we have time. I keep laboring that point, but I want to make sure that you understand that that's really the key to this is [00:19:00] you wanting to, you want to time? Um, To make these changes. And I know that's frustrating. 

[00:19:07] And if your doing this as a DIY process, And you're looking at making the changes and using the internal resources that you have. Then you need to be in a situation where you have the capability and capacities to be able to do that. 

[00:19:26] So the next major improvement that potentially will come as a result of you're walking down this pathway will be a change in systems and typically this is the adoption of some sort of digital transformation within the business. 

[00:19:47] I'm a fan of digital transformation but not at the cost of the way that the business operates. And so a lot of the times, My clients have had pretty [00:20:00] poor experiences with. taking on a CRM or some sort of adoption of a of of a digital transformation and the main reason is that they've decided, as I said earlier, the biggest mistake is deciding what's on what platform you want to have before you actually understand what it is that you're trying to improve. So a lot of people think that the system will improve the process, but in fact, what you're trying to do is improve the process so that you can buy a system that delivers that. 

[00:20:30] So if you've had some experience, poor experiences in the past, In this area it's always good to go back and have a look at. I'm gonna, what was the reason behind that? Was it you know that you tried to improve the, uh, implement the improvements without thinking about it too deeply. 

[00:20:48] How did they go? Maybe it was the service provider and the lack of expertise. So you really just trying to investigate what was the cause of that so that you can not [00:21:00] make necessarily that same make mistake again. 

[00:21:02] So any systems implementation should come as a result of the feedback loop that you've had as you've gone through and again, getting to that point where your at the end of the decision-making matrix, not at the beginning. 

[00:21:20] The final part around this implementation, which I think is often overlooked, particularly when we're talking about digital transformation or a change of system is what you're asking people to do is to change their operating system. So their brains are wired to do a thing in a particular way and then what you're asking them to do is to do it in a different way. 

[00:21:50] Now along the way, what you will have been doing as the leader is you will have been including those people in the [00:22:00] decision making process along the way so that they can give you some feedback, they can, you know, you can do some testing potentially manual testing before you actually do the systems change. 

[00:22:11] And that's always a good way of running a parallel test. Um, of the old way that you did it and the new way that you did it, just to compare the two. 

[00:22:20] But what you also need to do is ensure that there is the necessary personal development along the way for employees to keep up with whatever changes there are. So, if you all looking at extracting yourself from certain parts of the business the gap that is left behind is that knowledge gap or that experience gap that needs to be filled by your employees. 

[00:22:48] We come back to the capability planning. So what skills and knowledge do these people have and where are they going to get that skill and knowledge and the caveat on [00:23:00] that is that they actually need that knowledge to be able to do their job. Again, you're not trying to create expertise in a particular area within your employees that has no financial value to your business. 

[00:23:15] So again, using the example that I've used throughout this whole series is that there's no point in training somebody to be a full stack web developer, just simply because you have a website unless you're a web developing business. 

[00:23:28] There's a great podcast that I listened to often. It's called coaching for leaders by Dave Stachowiak and. Uh, Dave mentioned that leaders on born they're made, and I agree with that. 

[00:23:43] I feel that business owners have one major characteristic of a leader, which is courage. But courage alone will not help you run a business. So it's in this space that I feel that business owners. [00:24:00] They wing it and it's the one area that they don't have to. There are plenty of resources available. Coaching for leaders is one there's plenty of podcasts. Um, you can listen to my podcast. Um, we're in fact, you are listening to my podcast. Um, and so there's plenty of free information available for you to develop your leadership skills. 

[00:24:24] And John C. Maxwell, a leading expert in this field of leadership said a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. So at its core is accountability and leading by example. 

[00:24:39] One of the key areas again, rushing down the pathway, I think is a mistake. We encourage people to work in two weeks, sprints to achieve a milestone that might be 4, 6, 8 weeks long. 

[00:24:58] Be really clear on your [00:25:00] goals and objectives so that when you get to the end of that period You use the review, revisit and reset process to determine whether in fact you've been successful at that juncture. 

[00:25:19] And I spoke about keeping record of the information. So through this first part of, particularly through this first part, Of the project you wanting to take a lot of notes about how the team's functioning, how you're functioning. Where it might be going off rails where it's succeeding. Because you're looking at feeding that information back in and redoing what you, what worked and maybe resetting what didn't work. 

[00:25:53] Because over a period of time, what happens is the team starts to get efficient. It [00:26:00] starts to get a cadence. It starts to get to know each other. It starts to understand what's achievable what's not whether you've overextended yourself or not. And there becomes this open and honest communication in terms of the objective that you're achieving and that has this crazy effect of bleeding into the day-to-day operations of your business. So the fact that you've you're working down this particular process of, goal setting and being, uh, being intentional about that and communicating with each other and looking at how successful or not successful it was without any judgment around that. Or you're looking at collectively to make that improvement. It has this impact of becoming an employer of choice because everybody is actually enjoying what they're doing. 

[00:26:56] The one thing as the leader or the [00:27:00] owner of the business that I would also caution you on is always thinking that your right. And I know that I struggled with this a long time back in my career as a 30 year old, I was right until I wasn't. And then that was a significant. Um, dent in my career because I actually lost my job because I wasn't right. 

[00:27:26] And I wasn't prepared to accept help, or be prepared to admit that I was wrong. And that's a dent in your ego. So what I'm trying to impress upon you is that your not the business value. You're a part of that business value. And so therefore encouraging you to be open to different ideas, different solutions, in fact, being wrong and putting your ego in your pocket and [00:28:00] it's not that ego is a bad thing. I think you need ego to be confident. 

[00:28:04] But it's being egotistical or looking at having a controlling interest as opposed to being in control and what that tends to do is it tends to be seen potentially as a megalomaniac tendency. And if you have that megalomaniac tendency, and what you end up doing is attracting sycophants who become part of the echo chamber and there is no diversity in your team and so therefore you stagnate. 

[00:28:39] And that's how I'd like to end this series of the lazy entrepreneur. 

[00:28:44] I've you've got a lot of value from, this was certainly my intention to give you everything that I have on the scale to success solution. 

[00:28:53] I haven't held back there's probably a few checklists and booklets [00:29:00] eBooks that are still in the process of being produced and made available on the website. Um, so keep an eye out for those. 

[00:29:09] I genuinely hope that you got some value from that. That was certainly my intention. 

[00:29:15] The final thing I just wanted to remind you of is the bonus offer the fact that I'm giving away. I know I'm crazy. $40,000 worth of value of consulting services. 

[00:29:25] So, if you haven't heard it's 20 individual one-on-one sessions with me four one hour sessions. That's valued at $1,200. Five deep dive analysis into one functional area of your business. And a look at deep dive light over all of the other functional areas. That's valued at $2,500 

[00:29:50] And one scale to success solution, full blown, report and that's what value that in excess of 5,000. [00:30:00]

[00:30:00] To be eligible you need to be registered on, um, one of the Inspiring Business email lists So if you're not sure that you are registered what you can do is you can send me an email at and I'll send you an email with that confirmation. Any registration to that list has to be in, or by 5:00 PM, Australian Eastern standard time. Otherwise you will be excluded from that. 

[00:30:33] Then, what we'll do is we'll send an application form out You'll need to one complete the form and provide some additional information. It's not onerous but I'm not going to give this away for no effort from you so if you're interested, Understand that this, the context of this is around accountability and these are valuable and so it's not just, you know, walk in the door, [00:31:00] take a ticket and you get served. If you walk in the door and you I put some effort into wanting to be here and that's okay if you don't. I. I'm okay with that. 

[00:31:12] And if you're not sure all of the information is on the website and there's a link in the show notes to that. 

[00:31:21] So next week we go back into the usual recordings of conversations that I've had with people over the last three months and there's some crackers in there so really looking forward to getting those out to you as well. Um, I hope that you take up the opportunity of registering and being involved in the, um, uh, in the bonus program. I forgot to mention that it is a first come first serve basis except for the Scale to success solution. 

[00:31:58] And in with [00:32:00] that. If you haven't heard this before the scale to success solution is a simple application of systems and processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. And I hope that the last nine weeks has demonstrated the methodology in which I go about providing that structured flexibility for you as an organization. And it also delivers, people development programs and leadership training do you know the same programs that I've delivered over the last 10 years as a human resource consultant and so what we're doing there is building up the skills and knowledge when internally within your organization, so that your employees can do the, the jobs that you've employed them to do and enable you to, um, go and do the things that you love. 

[00:32:53] So my goal for you is to become the lazy entrepreneur. So you can continue to do the [00:33:00] things that you love to do and more importantly, be with the ones that you love. 

[00:33:04] And as always, I really do appreciate you for listening. And I hope that the information I've shared with you here today it's useful and adds value to your business and that you're inspired and energized to make a difference in your and others' lives. 

Recap of Episodes 1 - 8
Introducing integration
Process management
Risk Management
Systems Management
The role of people in the process
What you need to do to extract yourself from the day to day operations
Being the Leader
$40,000 Bonus Offer