John St. Pierre joins me to talk about the importance of having a 3-5 year strategy plan for your business!
John is the CEO/Chairman of Rhombus Group (founded in 2003), a private holding company consisting of several small-medium-sized businesses that are run by great Entrepreneurs. His firm's goal is to invest in and help Entrepreneurs grow their businesses in their desired fashion, and provide them with the support and infrastructure to achieve their wildest entrepreneurial dreams.
Here are a few things we chat about:
To learn more about John you can go to entrepreneursunited.us
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What we've done with our business to is creating an actual plan that helps you accomplish your mission, your vision strategically and revisiting that on an annual basis. Many entrepreneurs can probably relate to this the chasing the shiny object syndrome, oh, there's revenue over here, oh, we can make that part. Let's just manufacture that part ourselves. We don't need to use a vendor for that. And you start going way too wide, you lose focus. And we've found that this one page three to five year strategic plan that we've implemented, really helps us align our forever concepts, our values, our core values of the business, to our why and why are we doing what we're doing, but then brings us all the way down to Okay, what do we want to accomplish in the next three years? What are we where are we trying to go? And what do we need to do every single quarter and hit our year plan in our three year plan in our 10 year plan in our forever plan? So that's the concept that we've used. And by using that tool, it provides me as an entrepreneur, extreme clarity on what I should be doing not doing and our team should be doing or not doing on a daily basis?Pete Mohr:
Are you making every decision in your business maybe feeling a little overworked and overwhelmed? Do you ever wish you had someone to go over the big decisions and entrepreneurial choices you had to make? Well, maybe this sounds familiar. Your partner at home doesn't want to hear about business anymore, and your friends don't know what the heck you're talking about. And maybe your team at work well, even though you have an open door policy, they're not always as open as you'd like them to be? Well, there's good news. I have room for two more one on one coaching clients next quarter. And, you know, here's how it works. We'll get together on Zoom either every week, or every second week to discuss the strategies and frameworks that will clarify your thinking and advance your business and entrepreneurial life. It's all about the five P's, your promise your product, your process, your people and your profit. Once they're better aligned, you'll enjoy a better life and business. Remember, you own your business, and it shouldn't own you. It's time to reduce the frustrations and increase the freedoms. So if this sounds interesting, go to simplifying entrepreneurship.com forward slash Call to book a freedom call with me and we'll see if we're right fit. Hey, it's Pete and welcome to another edition of the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast. We're here to help you cut through the chaos of running a business and transforming your frustrations into freedoms. And today I had the opportunity to speak with John St. Pierre and John. I met John a couple of months back when I was actually a guest on his podcast entrepreneurs united. And we really hit it off well, and his partner, Richard, you know, the three of us were talking about entrepreneurship. And I said, you know, I've got to have you back on my podcast today, too. John runs a company that invests and manages a whole bunch of small businesses and has for many, many years. And we're gonna dig into some strategic thinking around how important it is to have a three to five year strategic plan for your business and what it can do to propel your business into the future. So let's dig into it with John St. Pierre. John St. Pierre, it's a pleasure to see you again. And welcome to the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast.John St. Pierre:
Absolutely. Thanks for you. Thanks for having me.Pete Mohr:
Yeah, well, thanks for having me on your podcast a while back, and it was where we first met and love your podcast and continue to listen to it as well. And excited to have you here to talk about strategic planning today and all sorts of great stuff. You are sort of the leader of the CEO, right of group of all sorts of companies and helping all of those companies survive and thrive and grow and do all that great stuff. So we're going to dig into some of the tools and methodologies around how you help them with better strategic planning, right? Yeah, IJohn St. Pierre:
love that. And certainly your your message of simplifying entrepreneurship really hits me pretty hard. Because at some points in my career, I've overcomplicated entrepreneurship. And as soon as you start simplifying it, and realizing there's some tools out there to help you really get clarity on what you're trying to accomplish. You can do great things. So I look forward to talking about how we implemented certain strategies in our businesses that really worked for us.Pete Mohr:
We were chatting just before we hopped online about what I call the heart of simplifying entrepreneurship. And right in the very heart of that simplifying entrepreneurship model is called the Empowered entrepreneur. And wrapped around that is having clarity, having confidence and having the right community so that you're really giving the empowerment back to the entrepreneur to go and do what they need to do. And you know, we were chatting about how we can align strategic planning into that and why don't you start us off here with how you do that with your companies and what you're suggesting.John St. Pierre:
This is way too often you either have a vision or a mission, maybe sometimes they don't have one or the other and really knowing as Simon Sinek would say What's your why and what you're trying to accomplish, but what we've done With our business to is creating an actual plan that helping you accomplish your mission, your vision strategically and revisiting that on an annual basis. I found myself as an entrepreneur, and many entrepreneurs can probably relate to this the chasing the shiny object syndrome, oh, there's revenue over here, let's go over here, oh, we can make that part. Let's just manufacture that part ourselves. We don't need to use a vendor for that. And you start going way too wide, you lose focus. And we've found that this one page three to five year strategic plan that we've implemented, really helps us align our forever concepts, our values, our core values of the business, to our why and why are we doing what we're doing, but then brings us all the way down to Okay, what do we want to accomplish in the next three years? What are we where are we trying to go? It takes a little bit of that one thing, concept two, okay. Now, if there's this is where we want to be in three years, what's the one thing or a few things we need to do in this next year? And what do we need to do every single quarter to hit our year plan hit our three year plan in our 10 year plan in our forever plan. So that's the concept that we've used. And by using that tool, it provides me as an entrepreneur, extreme clarity on what I should be doing not doing and our team should be doing and not doing on a daily basis.Pete Mohr:
Yeah, yeah, I love that. I mean, I've created a whole planner too, called the one page planner, go figure, right? And, and from that perspective, use a lot of those things through the four Ps and five Ps that we've talked about on your show. And, you know, it's so important to have some sort of framework, whatever the framework is, to give you that guidance and that clarity, because without the clarity, we can't get the confidence, right? That's right. And so many entrepreneurs are stalled, because they don't know what the next step is. And until we kind of have to rewind a little bit, and get more clarity around, why we need to move the ball and what we need to do around the clarity piece, so that we can take that to the next vision of the three to five years, kind of go through what that looks like, John, for some of the companies that you've worked with,John St. Pierre:
for sure. And I think one particular example I have in mind is the first company who started doing this for at least eight years ago. And we would sit down at the end of the quarter with our executive team. And we have this one page Strategic Plan format that we took from the Rockefeller habits, a book from Vern Harnish. And yeah, a lot of great tools there for a scaling up and the growth institute that we can talk about, we would sit down as a close executive team and really walk through what are our core values? Yeah, you know, we had posters on the wall last few years, are these really it? Is this really who we are? And we would challenge ourselves and talk through that. But then we quickly move to, well, if these are our core values, what are the actions we need to have? And what's our why? You know, why are we here? Why are you here? Why are we here? Why are employees here? Why do our customers come here? And we walk through that exercise is usually a two day process, Pete and we really get aligned ultimately, from not only the Forever core values piece, but we'll take it all the way down to what are we going to do next quarter? What are the five things we're going to do in q1? What's the five things we're going to do in q2? What's our theme for the year it's funny, you mentioned surviving to thriving, you're one of our themes, and 2020 was one of our business was survive to thrive. And that was the theme of the year, this year, that business, the theme is roaring 20s, we want to bring back the roaring 20s. And let's go. And so you know, there's a theme you create, and you implement that. But once you get that done with your executive team, you then bring the whole company into it. And you introduce your plan, or your revised plan to the entire enterprise and the group of managers and employees in the group. And they each should have it literally on their desk, they have the roadmap of where this business is going. And where that's helped me from a clarity perspective to as an entrepreneur, is anytime I would lean a little bit towards a decision that wasn't on that plan. My team would help hold me accountable. They will say, Well, wait a minute, John, you said this is the plan. And I'd be like, oh, yeah, you're right. That's the plan. You're right, thank you. I'm gonna say no to this opportunity and stay clear and clean. And what happened every year, which I thought was even more amazing than the initial process is, once you have that initial plan, Pete on an annual basis, you don't have to recreate the plan. You look at last year's plan, and you say, Okay, how are we going to modify this? Has anything changed? Any decisions change any direction change? And so over eight years in q4, we would take last year's plan and we'd look at, okay, this isn't right, we got to change it. It gets to be a lot of fun when you have eight years worth of these plans. Yeah. And you print them all out on the table. And think, six years ago, our B hag was to do this. We're already here. This is fantastic. And then people start buying in to this planning process. And now you're just tweaking your tweaking as you go along. But you know what your ultimate destination is? And that's provided incredible clarity and confidence for me as an entrepreneur,Pete Mohr:
and probably not only for you, for everybody else in the organization.John St. Pierre:
Yeah, it gives them a way to make decisions. And it gives you as an entrepreneur, the ability to allow your team to make decisions because everybody's bought into that plan.Pete Mohr:
Yeah. And they know what the decisions about because they know their why. Right. And you know, I love this concept around the idea that entrepreneurs shouldn't be dealing with decisions at lower levels of the organization because that's what accountabilities are. The other day I asked a client, do you know what you want and she said, You know what, I really don't know what I want. So I created a one page document called the want clarifier. And it takes you through the idea and into the activation so you can understand what it is you want, fully flesh it out, and then set up a plan to activate it. If you'd like a copy of the one page want clarifier. Just go to simplifying entrepreneurship.com forward slash want. This episode of the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast is brought to you by zootopia.ca. I've owned Utopia now for over 12 years, and we're always looking to ensure our clients look great and feel fantastic. Like when you look in the mirror, and you say, Ooh, I look pretty good. And when you close your eyes, and you say, Ah, those feel fantastic. That's when you know you've found the perfect pair, whether you come for a visit in person, or visit us online at shoe topia.ca. Our goal is always to make you feel like family and provide an experience you'll remember, our clients are at the very heart of Utopia, visit email@example.com. Currently, we're only shipping to Canadian addresses. There's only so many decision making juices in each person's mind in a given day. From the visionary standpoint, or the entrepreneurs standpoint, they need to be really focusing those decisions on the things that are going to propel the business ahead. And anything that's already has a process behind it or already has accountabilities behind it, let them be done at that level and free yourself up from that.John St. Pierre:
Yeah. And I'd say there's also the flip side of that, too, which is I know you do some entrepreneurial coaching as I do. Yeah. And once an entrepreneur has their three to five year plan, and they commit to that three to five year plan, there's going to be that shiny opportunity that they're going to be like, Oh, I also want to do this. Yep. And I've had many, many conversations with entrepreneurs to say, Well, wait a minute, is it in your three to five year strategic plan? Well, no. Okay, well, what are you talking about? Like, if you want to revise your plan, wait till q4, revise your plan? And then maybe we can look at it. But why are you putting these things into your business, you're over complicating your process versus keep it simple. Simplifying entrepreneurship, you have a plan, don't deviate from your plan unless you go through the proper protocols to change it.Pete Mohr:
For those of you who are watching on video right behind me, I have this this book, The Art of saying no. And I mean, it's literally right there. And it's our Book of the Month in the art and simplifying entrepreneurship book club. Yep. If you don't know why you're saying no, that's why you don't say no, for the most part, right? And once you have a plan like this, it allows you to say no, because you have a reason behind it, that is going to stretch you into the area that you want to go and all of these sort of, like you said, shiny objects or a squirrel brain sort of things where you're kind of like, whoa, what's happening here? Just go by the wayside. You're like, no, that's an easy, no, that doesn't align.John St. Pierre:
Yeah, absolutely. And that alignment piece is so important. Pete, right. You talked about clarity and confidence and community. Well, the way to build community, way too many times entrepreneurs and their executive teams sit in a room, they make a decision on where they want to go, and they don't communicate it. And then the team has no idea directionally what decisions they should be making or which direction should be. But in this process, if everybody's bought in the ownership, the executives, the managers, the employees, and they feel involved in the process. When we go through and revise the plan and annual basis, we actually have the managers go to the team and say, Is there anything you think directionally, we should be changing or anything you think, you know, I should bring into this meeting, somebody feels like they own it. And when you have very healthy conflict management processes within your business, too, it helps keep everybody accountable to here's what we said we're going to do, and we go do it. And once you prove to your team, this is what we say we're going to do, we go out and do it, we can also look back and go, Okay, now this planning process makes sense. There's buy in, and our community gets tighter.Pete Mohr:
Yeah, and your team wants accountability, right? Like, they actually want accountability. And I think that's one of the things that a lot of entrepreneurs, they're hesitant to release accountability in a lot of cases. But in fact, you gain more loyalty by releasing accountability. Because people actually want to own their own decisions. They want to own their job, they want to feel as though they're contributing to that mission and all that kind of stuff. It's it's a, it's a really important piece that I think a lot of entrepreneurs don't see unless it's sort of brought to the attention. It's alsoJohn St. Pierre:
that transparency and vulnerability component. I know that I suffered a little bit earlier in my career with transparency and vulnerability. I had a plan I knew what I was going to do, but no one else knew what it was, but that's okay, cuz I would deviate any way I wanted. And once you're vulnerable to say, No, this is the plan. Let's communicate and be transparent with everybody. And I'm giving you all license to hold me accountable to this planet. First, that's where you can really get laser beam focused on really what you're trying to accomplish. And the results we've seen myself and through other businesses have been phenomenal.Pete Mohr:
Before we wrap it up, I want to just kind of dig down into one other section, because you touched on it a little while ago. And it's the communication of this. Yeah, like, we've done our off site, we've spent two days we've got this thing you'd mentioned a, this should be on everybody's desk. But it's one thing to be on the desk. But it's one thing to be actively on the desk or actively being looked at, and things like that. And what do you suggest with the teams that you work with? And things like that as to how to keep this front and center throughout the entire year?John St. Pierre:
Yeah, no, it's great. I think first off in terms of how we launched this, you know, we, we have a company event, whether it be a zoom or live depending sometimes a mix, this plan is released. And here's what we're going to do every single quarter this year. Here is the theme. We have an annual summit, if possible, where the theme is present. We had our roaring 20s theme this year, for example, in Atlantic City, and really did a show about it and really implement this is the theme, this is what we're going to accomplish. Yeah. And I think you said it very well earlier to the employees want this because the employees want to know directionally where we're going and how we're going to do things. So when decisions come up, if the first thing in everybody's mind is well, is that in the plan, it becomes second nature to people understanding Oh, is it in the plan? Oh, yes, it is in the plan, okay. Therefore, we are treating this seriously, it's similar to you having core values on the wall, but no one ever talks about, exactly. You could have all the posters in the world, your core values may not being displayed in your business, because they're just a poster on the wall. If you create this three to five year plan, put on everybody's desk, and no one cares about it. It's a moot point. So it's very important as an entrepreneur that you take this task seriously. And that you ask your management team continuously, and they cascade downwards and downwards. What are we going to do to contribute to this plan? So that may be another component P that we didn't even talk about, which is the cascading of this plan? Yeah. So this plan is a master plan for the overall organization? Well, if you're in the sales team, your sales team should be getting together and okay, what are we going to do every quarter to contribute to hitting the quarterly and the annual plans and the three year plan and the finance teams doing the same thing in the operations team doing the same thing. So your leaders really need to cascade this plan down through the organization, and make sure that every decision they're being made, the question is always asked, Does this fit our three to five year student plan? Document?Pete Mohr:
Yeah, yeah, I love that. And I think it's actually the leaders number one job to continuously communicate that plan each and every day in every way that they possibly can, to their team, to their clients, to to everybody that needs to know in order for this business to run. And once that's done, if that's communicated, clearly, everybody knows what to do. Everybody knows which track they're on, and why they're doing what they're doing. And it's just such a fundamental part that, you know, you go through all this effort, that it's actually communicated throughout the entire year, not just once a quarter or, you know, whatever the case is,John St. Pierre:
yeah, as entrepreneurs, you know, we get criticized when we don't walk the walk, we talk the walk. And if you walk the walk, and just take this time, to create this strategic plan, and really implement it in your business, it will really simplify your life. Yeah, they'll make your life a lot easier. It'll be clear, it'll be communicated. You'll create the community that you talk about a lot about Pete. And instead of over complicating your life, this would really simplify itPete Mohr:
right on. Thanks so much, John, appreciate the time and the conversation here today. And it's for anybody that wants to get a hold of you and learn a little bit more about what you do. And about your podcast. Why don't you just tell them about that? Yeah,John St. Pierre:
absolutely. I'm the co host with my good friend Rich Hoffman of the entrepreneurs United podcast where we talk really all topics entrepreneur ism, with different guests of many degrees, similar to yourself and talk with entrepreneurs and all day long. You can also go to entrepreneurs united.us, and learn more about who we are and what we do. And certainly if you haven't done so already, and you haven't read, mastering the Rockefeller habits, or scaling up by Vern Harnish, or visit the growth Institute's website, those are just tools that we've talked about here today that really made an impact on my life as an entrepreneur.Pete Mohr:
That's awesome. Well, thanks again. I appreciate your time. And look forward to seeing you again in the near future, John. Great. Thanks, Pete. Well, thanks for spending some time with John and I here today on the simplifying entrepreneurship podcast and think about how you can work around a strategic plan if you don't already have one, a strategic plan that three to five year time frame that John is talking about how you can lay it out, and he gave me some great tools, we're gonna put them in the show notes, you know, where to find them, Vern Harnish, and the Institute all that sort of stuff around where you can use some of those. I of course, have the one page planner as well that also attached in here because that also includes different planning systems along the way to help guide you, you know, he was using different terminology than I use. I use prime priorities around how we're Setting up our prime priorities for our life and our three year framework, the One Year Framework, your months and your weeks and all that sort of stuff. But it's that concept of without a plan, it's really hard to make things happen. And so important to lay some time out and specifically, take some time right now, if you don't already do this, book it in your calendar. And if you don't have a management team, then do it by yourself, book it into your calendar to allow yourself some time to start thinking strategically about these things, and develop what your true priorities are. So you don't get off into the shiny lights that we were talking about, or, you know, have that squirrel brain sort of moment, and you're staying on track to achieve the things that matter most, not only for your business, because we're using our business as entrepreneurs to prop up the life that we want, right? So remember, you own your business, and it shouldn't own you. And if you're feeling as though your business is owning you, then you need to take the time to actually start planning and create that strategic plan. So love the conversation with John here today. If you like the podcast, and think this might resonate with some of your friends who are entrepreneurs, please share this episode with them. You can also find it on the YouTube channel if you prefer to watch. I'd love your feedback in the comments on YouTube as well. And I'm interested to hear about future topics that you'd like me to cover maybe future guests you'd like to hear from as well. So you can really help me out here on the podcast by subscribing to it on Spotify or Apple or wherever you're listening and rating and reviewing the show on Spotify or Apple as well with up to a five star review. Connect with me if you want to learn more about my coaching programs on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, or of course on the website at more coach that's mo hr.co Ach you can just email me at Pete at more dot coach and until next time, make it a great dayUnknown:
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