systematic excellence



Do you know how to always be ready to adapt your business to change? Whether you do or not, listen to this episode as Mike Michalowicz, the author of Fix This Next and creator of Profit First, joined us to talk about ongoing adaptation, the last step of our Business Hierarchy of Needs series, and other exciting information useful for all business owners. Listen here!

Show Notes

Building a legacy for your business isn’t linear. As a matter of fact, many successful businesses find themselves returning to step one over and over again. So, what is their secret? How do they keep growing despite the obstacles in the way? Is there a simple way to know which problem to fix next?

But guess what? You’re about to find the answer to these questions and other valuable information from a distinguished expert in the subject! 

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we had the author of Fix This Next, Mike Michalowicz with us. For the past episodes, we’ve been breaking down each step of his Business Hierarchy of Needs, and today we covered ongoing adaptation…. And then some.

AND all of our listeners get a special present from Mike himself… just click here ➡️

Listen to this episode to find out:

➡️ Strategies to prepare for change and ongoing adaptation

➡️ How to ensure your business stays strong 

➡️ Personal experience and real life stories from Mike Michalowicz

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

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Episode Transcript

Amalie Shaffer  0:01  

All right, welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer, and I am here with Janine Suvak.

Janine Suvak  0:07  

Hey there.

Amalie Shaffer  0:08  

And we are so excited. We have a special guest today, we have Mike Michalowicz and we are wrapping up our business Hierarchy of Needs series with the man that actually created the Business Hierarchy of Needs, and so we couldn’t be more excited. By his 35th birthday, Mike Michalowicz had founded and sold to multi million dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became a small business angel investor and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again. Driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies, Mike has devoted his life to the research and delivery of innovative, impactful entrepreneurial strategies to you. And Janine and I can definitely both vouch for that. We’ve read many, more than one of his books we recommend them to our clients. So Mike is the creator of Profit First, which is used by hundreds of 1000s of companies across the globe to drive profit. He’s the creator of Clockwork, a powerful method to make any business run on automatic and his latest arguably most impactful discovery is Fix This Next. In Fix This Next, Mike details the strategy businesses can use to determine what to do in what order to ensure healthy, fast, permanent growth and avoid debilitating distractions. Mike has made it his mission to eradicate poor entrepreneurs and I find that to be very heartwarming. Today Mike leads to new multimillion dollar ventures as he tests his latest business research for his books. He’s a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and a business makeover specialist on MSNBC. Mike is a popular mainstage keynote speaker on innovative entrepreneurial topics, and is the author of Fix This Next, Clockwork, Profit First, Surge, The Pumpkin Plan, and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. Fabled author Simon Sinek, deemed Mike Michalowicz, the top contender for the patron saint of entrepreneurs. So we’re really excited. I know I’m excited. Janine?

Janine Suvak  2:27  

Yes. I’ve actually read all of them.

Amalie Shaffer  2:30  


Janine Suvak  2:31  

We don’t just advocate them. We use them in our business as well. And they work. They absolutely work for us and our clients. And we’re so excited to get to talk to him today.

Amalie Shaffer  2:42  

Yes, very exciting. And so we welcome him. And let’s get started. All right, Mike, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Mike Michalowicz  2:54  

Amalie, Janine, thank you so much for having me.

Amalie Shaffer  2:57  

We have spent the last I don’t even know, how many whatever the steps are, the last few weeks, number 25, going over the business hierarchy of needs. And it’s been helpful for us, because we’ve been able to bring in some some guests to help us understand topics that aren’t our zone of genius, but also just being able to provide the audience with actionable information based on on this breakdown, which we think is so helpful. When you can just look at something and figure out okay, “what do I need to do next? And what does each stage mean?” Because they’re all linked sort of, but there’s things that need to happen before.

Mike Michalowicz  3:38  

A sequence. You know, I consider it if you want to visualize this as a chain. So if we had a chain between the two of us, and we’re pulling as hard as we can, the chain will always break at the exact same spot and the spot’s the weakest link, no matter what we do to influence maybe, you know, we’re trying to bring it somewhere else, we give it some slack and pull fast or we waive it, it will continue breaking the weakest link. The mistake is to focus on all the links and say “boss strengthen and this and that” and the other one to make the chain stronger, because it won’t get stronger until the weakest link is resolved. And that is a great illustration of what business owners go through. We’re fixing everything, but nothing gets fixed. And the reason is, is we don’t know which is the weakest link. So step one is identify which link is the weakest, once that strengthen the entire strength of the chain improves. So in our business with a pinpoint the weakest element, and that’s why the hierarchy of business needs is so relevant. Once we define the weakest link and improve it will fill an entire boost permanently for the business. We find the next then weakest link and prove that we continue the process.

Amalie Shaffer  4:48  

And it’s not to say that you can’t think about the steps, you absolutely should like if you want to build a legacy, you have to think about that. And even in the beginning you need to think about it but it’s not where you’re spending your time your money, your energy, like it should be a thought and part of each step and keeping it in mind as you go. But there’s things that need to be put in place prior to the point of view, getting to, you know, to the legacy level.

Mike Michalowicz  5:15  

And there’s two modes, there’s what’s called maintenance mode and resolution mode. The mistake is to put everything in resolution mode, “we need to resolve this, this, this and this, we’re trying to fix all the links.” All the links, all the elements of business must be maintained, we must keep the business going. You can’t say “I know we have a profit problem, I’m going to resolve that and let’s just ignore everything else. Let’s stop sales for now.” You know, those things have to happen. The parallel is the human experience runs in parallel, there’s a Maslow hierarchy of needs, I’m sure you explored how it applies implies into the business hierarchy of needs. Right now, as we’re having this conversation, we are still living, breathing beings, we’re still breathing air, that’s a fundamental physiological need for the survival of humanity is the consumption or the utilization of oxygen. It’s happening, but it’s automatic, we don’t consciously need to think about it that’s in maintenance mode. So in our business, we have all these elements that must be maintained, just keeps going on automatic, but the second the business starts choking. You know, if we take a bite of food, we can’t breathe, the other stuff doesn’t matter. Now the resolution is get that lot, whatever’s lodging, our throat out of our throat, so that we can breathe. So we revert to the imminent needs that needs to be resolved or maintain the other elements. Once it’s permanent resolved, we elevate to a higher level needs. The business urgent needs is something we will ping pong around it. Actually my own business, with COVID pandemic, we were pursuing higher level stuff, even legacy, but an impact. But we were very right back to sales. We had to reinvent what we’re selling. And we’re still in the sales level.

Amalie Shaffer  6:55  

A lot of people felt that, a lot of people felt the same way where they’re like, we’re back at square one. And they could have been in business for 1520 years. They’re back at square one because they had to adapt or die, basically.

Mike Michalowicz  7:06  

Yeah. But and that’s the survival business. I think the mistake is to deny and say, “Well, you know what, we’ve been around for 15 years, we’re just gonna stick with what we’ve had before. It didn’t work anymore. We are choking.” Some businesses. So we need to get that dislodged.

Amalie Shaffer  7:19  

Yeah, definitely. So we brought you on because we wanted to talk about the ongoing adaptation. What does that mean for business? What does it look like? What kind of planning does it take? I mean, that this is the last step, obviously like you said, you might go back a few times come up to it, go back to it, and there’s going to be some ping pong. But when you reach this level, and you’re starting to think about this ongoing adaptation, what does that mean for a business owner?

Mike Michalowicz  7:47  

Yeah, that the biggest risk is to stick with what’s working into perpetuity, because historically, it worked. You may run into business owners, I’d say when you ask them, “why do you do this process?” Right? “Well, because we’ve always done it.” You know, it’s a normal response. But it’s not an appropriate response. Just because something worked in the past does not mean it’ll work in the future. If something continues to work, milk it for all it’s worth, if you have a product that’s selling well, and continues to sell, well, I’m not saying abandon it. But just like anything else, there is a maturity curve, there’s something comes to life, and it matures over time, and ultimately, it dies out. You can see this, you know, the typewriter was an amazing invention, it did a great job. There’s not too many people buying typewriters now, if anything, I got my own, and it’s an old display piece. And that’s

Janine Suvak  8:34  


Mike Michalowicz  8:35  

But you know, you better have moved on to I guess they called keyboards or keyboarding, or whatever the thing is, that’s probably gonna be replaced by something new. So there’s this reinvention that’s necessary, well, that requires us is to do is to be acutely aware of the data to keep our thumb on the pulse of the business. Just like if you’re, you know, in the hospital, and they have the EKG system connected to you. They’re watching your heartbeat. We have to watch the metrics for our business, the key metrics, and we needed to find what they are. But sales is usually a strong indicator of what’s our sales, our conversion of prospects and the clients, the profitability, different products and services we have. And watch that on a regular basis. We have a quarterly sit down in our own business actually literally happened two days ago, we all sit down and we go over our numbers and say what is working and what’s not working anymore. Though the things that are working, we continue to amplify, because you push for but the adaptation happens in the not working category. If something’s not working, can we reinvent it or do we cut bait and abandon it? So we had some things like speaking public speaking, that isn’t working right now. It’s hard to get on the stage has a big revenue stream for us to go to stage and deliver a presentation when no one’s coming to events right now. Well, that’s not something we’re going to abandon. We believe that speaking isn’t permanently over, but in the short term, it needs to be reinvented. So we reinvested actually I can show you some of the equipment stuff here to do more virtual stuff. We have a lighting set. You can’t really see it well, because how the camera is. We have a mic like a specialized microphone now for presentations, all this different stuff. So it was part of our reinvention for the business is what was working before, wasn’t working now. So adaptation requires us to have our thumb on the pulse of the business, when something isn’t working to have the courage to reinvent or cut bait on it and amplify what is working. Just remember, that’s what’s got you here and your business won’t get you there. Ultimately, you have to be willing to abandon stuff when and even though it was historically appropriate. It’s not appropriate anymore.

Janine Suvak  10:38  

I think that all applies to my pet peeve is different, but not better.

Mike Michalowicz  10:43  


Janine Suvak  10:45  

So you have to try things when you’re in adaptation mode. So but everything you just spoke to you with monitoring your metrics to see if it is actually making a difference is it’s important.

Mike Michalowicz  10:55  

Yeah, I know. I love that. It’s funny. This coincidence, I’m releasing a new book, I just got the manuscript back to my publisher, it is called, just hear me out is called Different is better. I know, it’s contrary, what you’re saying. But actually, in the context is, it’s a marketing book. And that if we continue to do what everyone else is doing, it’s white noise. But if you do something different, it gets noticed. But I go on in the book to argue different for different sake is actually the ultimate failure. Yeah, we can do different things just because it gets stands out in marketing, we can do different things just because we think it’s cool. But there’s no consumption or no demand for no interest. That is the ultimate fallacy and distraction point. So I agree 100% Janine.

Amalie Shaffer  11:37  

I mean, I mean, it goes both ways, too. Because if you just continue to do the same thing, just because you did, just because you’ve always done it that way. But it’s not working, you’re still failing, right? Like you’re still failing yourself if you’re not adapting, because, either. So you really have to, like whatever changes or adaptations you make, you have to just watch the metrics to see if it’s working, and make a change when a change is required. Right? When when there’s a reason, if you just pop up with an idea, like, “okay, but what’s the reason for it? is there a difference? When is it going to make an impact? Are people asking for that?” If people are asking for it, give it to them, if you can supply it, and I think COVID is the perfect example of how ongoing adaptation is required. Now, time is going to be some big pandemic. But this is the perfect example of what it means to like you have to in order to survive, you have to continue to adapt, or you just won’t.

Mike Michalowicz  12:33  

But you know, a pandemic is a very abrupt change, you got to face it. But yeah, to your point, pandemics are pretty rare first time in our life.

Janine Suvak  12:41  

But the extremes show the case, right? Exactly.

Mike Michalowicz  12:44  

Exactly. It’s the boiling, it’s the boiling water, you throw a frog in boiling water, it jumps out, if you put it in cold water and turn up to a boil over time, it doesn’t notice. And that’s the risk so many of us have is that change is not abrupt, it’s very subtle over time, we don’t notice it. There’s people still driving taxi cabs today that say, you know, Uber is a fad. You know, because because they went in cold water, and they formed an identity around it. And I think that’s the biggest trigger is once we identify who we are and what our role is, that becomes can become insurmountable when change is necessary. So be very careful about how you position your identity, you may have to change how you see yourself.

Amalie Shaffer  13:26  

And you have to be willing to change and be willing to admit that maybe what is going on isn’t working right, like try a process or, and that’s the self evaluation. I feel like so many of these topics that we’ve talked about, through this whole series has been, the first thing is self evaluation, admitting to yourself that you might be wrong, or you might be doing it wrong, or there might be a better way, or there might be a better product or whatever. But there’s so much through this, first being the business owner is like evaluating yourself and being able to admit when something is wrong or not working or needs to be changed, because that’s the first step. The people on your team, they can talk about it all the time. But if you’re not listening to them, or you’re not even admitting that there could be a different way, ultimately, you’re still gonna fail in the end because you’re not going to be able to grow beyond that point.

Mike Michalowicz  14:14  

Yeah. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Janine Suvak  14:18  

Every time.

Mike Michalowicz  14:20  

Right? Really, it really is. And, and listen, you all teaches it teaches but but teaching us doesn’t mean that I’m capable of not being or seeing beyond my own mind. So when when speaking tanked back in March, you know, last year I was like, “Oh, this is this is quick, don’t change a thing. Don’t worry about it.” Two or three months into it. I’m like, “wow, this is really sustained.” But I’m a speaker guy. I write books and speak, this is who I am. Now. I needed to get past that pretty quickly. And thank God for my team. They were actively saying listen, speaking how long as me done, we gotta change who we are. And they were actively reinventing. To get my mind to accept, “oh, there’s a problem,” it took me quite a few months to really take action in my own head.

Amalie Shaffer  15:11  

But you’ve cultivated a team that knows that you will listen to them, right? Because that’s like a whole nother step. You know, if we go back into the business hierarchy of needs, you need to cultivate the team that is one understands that when they speak, and they have concerns you listen, but also feeling like they’re, there’s openness to be heard, and to speak. And so you have cultivated that, and then you also respect your team enough to hear them out. And even if it’s not in your head, like you were thinking, “it’s gonna be fine.” They’re like, “Listen, Mike, this is not going to be fine, right?” But you had enough respect for them, because you’ve built this team. And they’re strong. And that comes from well before the point of ongoing adaptation, right, that’s like when you start building the team. And so I think that’s, you know, that’s part of the process too. And, as you’re going through building the team is, is important. And it’s not just a thought that happens down at the end at ongoing adaptation, it’s a thought that happens, you know, well before this point.

Mike Michalowicz  16:14  

That’s a trigger point. It’s like one of those automatic behaviors like breathing, we worked very diligently for a long period on our order level, the third level up, which is efficiency, and really focused on resolving that addressing elements of it, about four, it was our concentrated effort. And we’ve revisited again and touched on it. But four years ago, it was an all out effort for systemization. And the number one thing was for me to get out of the business, I started implementing for vacations, maybe something that Adrian Doris and when you’re interviewing her spoke about, but the idea of before, a vacation is not a vacation for the owner, as much as it is a vacation for the business from the owner. And it became this process of trying to empower my colleagues to know that the business was more dependent upon them than it was the owner guy. And while we are focused on sales, we’re back at the sales level, on automatic, that order we’ve worked on for so many, for many years ago, is still playing out, it’s still achieving what it needs to achieve. And a big part of it is employee empowerment, to know that the business is better served by their action than trying to placate what the owner guy thinks or says.

Janine Suvak  17:30  

I think that’s super important. And what I really like about the business hierarchy of needs in those top levels is it shows the potential that you have, because we work with a lot of people right at that order level, and they want to hit impact. But they still this goes back to how they identify themselves. It’s like they aren’t just stuck in their business, they have stuck themselves because they identify themselves in that role and they can’t envision the next stage or where, it’s like they they feel lost. They don’t know what it is exactly what our lives if they’re not—

Amalie Shaffer  18:06  

Yeah, they want out, but they placed themselves there, right. We can appreciate where you are, but in order to get there and then the explaining to them how the there’s a void that will be created when they move out of it right. And so then all of that has to be taken into consideration. And talked about and planned for, you know, when we and that’s something that’s what we do and work with people, but it’s explaining to them, you literally put yourself in this position, we’re trying to help you get out because you want to get out. But you also have to change how you think view yourself and your job description, right? Like, it’s changing it completely.

Mike Michalowicz  18:47  

I think for many entrepreneurs, the greatest day of the business is the day before they actually opened the doors. Because, you know, we’re dreaming like Casper to change the world. And this the impact we’re gonna have, you’re actually thinking about the impact and legacy level. But the day you open the door is now it’s like we got to survive. We have sales that support it, it’s our building our way out. And it’s a shame when we lose sight of that, thinking that we lose sight of the vision, and that this is the grind that we now must live or the other shame is we will get to that legacy and impact level without doing the other stuff, the necessary stuff. It’s a journey. And we have to keep on revisiting why are we doing what we’re doing. I’ll actually show you on my wall here. I have a reminder every day behind that one life it says eradicate entrepreneur poverty back there. Every day. There’s a reason I know I’m coming in to work and writing books. It’s to get to that, that legacy. That that there’s stuff out there that will serve generation to generation of readers. But it doesn’t mean every day I’m sitting there pondering and strategically working on legacy I need to sell, I need to get back to the basics. So set the vision, revisit the vision and sometimes when hierarchy points to it, you have to put a lot of work into that vision, again, saying the legacy. But for most of us, the sustainability of businesses usually the first three levels, I call them the get levels. Either you’re going to be actively fixing or improving sales actually fixing or improving profitability, or fixing order wishes efficiency throughout the organization.

Amalie Shaffer  20:20  

Right. Yeah, exactly. And to keep revisiting them, and until it’s in maintenance mode, then you can focus on something else. But as soon as it isn’t, it’s like, okay, but go back, going back to sales is not like, “Oh, my business is failing”, it’s just you got to go back and focus on it, I think sometimes taking a step back. Because I think a lot of times when you’re putting in new processes and doing the efficiency, it takes you kind of slow down to speed up kind of thing. And so when people feel like they’re doing that it feels like failure, but it’s not failure, in order to get these things implemented, it takes time, like you got to kind of slow down to speed up and then and then keep moving forward. And anytime you ping pong down to a lower level, it’s not failure, it’s just, that’s business. That’s life. I mean, it’s just the ebbs and flows of it. And being able to keep that in mind as you go on every day and not getting down on yourself for the business because you’ve had to go back and readjust them. And that’s just part of life, you know?

Mike Michalowicz  21:22  

That label’s absolutely critical. Going to the base is not failure. Like, if you ever feel a hunger Pang, like “I’m starving to death, and I feel hangry” it’s not you failed. It’s simply your body’s saying it’s time to eat.

Amalie Shaffer  21:37  

Right? Right.

Mike Michalowicz  21:38  

Your business, your business, the sales, it’s not that you failed, it’s just that your business is hungry for sales. Yeah. That’s simple.

Janine Suvak  21:45  

I have a question about the opposite end. So we read your bio, in the intro, where you exited to companies, and then when investor lost it all, and now you have multiple companies again, when did the legacy level become clear and intentional, because you can be doing it without recognizing it?

Mike Michalowicz  22:04  

Yeah, my first few companies, so and I think is a choice we can make as entrepreneurs, we can live at the first three levels, I call them the get levels, right? So sales, profit order, you can just sustain there and then and have a very healthy business. The other two levels really are about the giving phase of a business. We impact is how we start shifting the world around us, legacies that we build up a model that lives on beyond us. And so my first three businesses, I just thought is all about acumen as much money as possible, and you’ll be really happy. And I found, at least for me, is so far from the truth. The defining moment for me was losing it all because it was a total reset, not just financially, it was a reset on my ego. I thought success was the more trophies I had the more houses and cars and stuff that I could show, the more successful I was, I redefined at that point, like, “Oh my God, this success is the legacy that I choose to leave on this planet, to serve humankind.” And that losing my money is the best, biggest blessing ever got. It was most painful experience. I never want to experience it again, I wish it upon no one. Right. But but it also redefined me I felt like my ego got torn out that day and and torn apart. I hope it never returns in the way it did or did exist. And  that became the defining moment. The other interesting thing, and here’s something I didn’t share in the book, but it’s really interesting insight. There’s a question that circulates that says, if you had all the money in the world, what would you do? And I think it’s a great question, of course, because it says if money wasn’t an object, what what was your heart craft to do? But the problem that question is it assumes you need all the money in the world in order to experience that. There’s another question saying, if you have no money in this world, what’s the vocation you thirst for? And when your vocation can match your vision, your dream for yourself? Now I have a calling. I always wanted to be an author when I had all the money in the world. Once I had no money, I said, “What do I want my vocation to be to bring sustainability to myself?” I said an author. It was very clear that moment, that was my calling, I got to be an author. It was my dream. It was also my vocation.

Janine Suvak  24:23  

That’s awesome. Yes. Thanks for sharing.

Amalie Shaffer  24:27  

So for business owners that are at the level of the ongoing adaptation. What things can they– Obviously, a lot of it is these abrupt changes possibly or things that they aren’t expecting, but is there planning that they can do? Is there things that they can prepare for?

Janine Suvak  24:51  

What trips them up at that point?

Mike Michalowicz  24:53  

Yeah, I think the number one thing to do for your business is to get your business to a level where there is no dependency on you. You may even call it a cash ATM. But basically, the idea is that if the business has no dependency on you, there’s a moment that’ll happen where you have now a decision to make, you can say, “Well, I’m just gonna sit back and just let the business continue on and generates a lifestyle for me.” Or what I see more commonly, I’m going to re insert myself in a business in a joyous way where I can do the work I want to do. But regardless of what you do with your own direction, you become very viable to the market. I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, the retirement plan is to sell my business. And sadly, very few businesses are prepared for that. But if you design a business that has no dependency on you, that’s what acquirers want, is they grow their businesses like “oh, there’s something that I can bring into the fold that doesn’t need the owner.” And therefore it’s a turnkey business, this is a really good viable model. So they’ll bring us in. But since the business doesn’t need you, and it’s a cash ATM to some sort, now the valuation of your business increases, they want you and you don’t actually want to sell, the only way to sell something you don’t want to sell is to make an offer that is undeniably good. So that is a part of adaptation is getting the business to a level where it doesn’t need you. Because it gives you this freedom to choose what you want to do to reinvent the business to start a new business to sell your business. So that’s the level we need to get to when we’re thinking that way.

Janine Suvak  26:20  

Okay, I think we put it in turning it from a job into an asset.

Mike Michalowicz  26:24  

I love that. Yeah, I would challenge people change your title, I’ve done this myself, I used to love calling myself an entrepreneur or business owner, I really don’t any more, because those terms are very good and have become bastardized. If someone hears that you’re an entrepreneur, like, “Oh, you got work, you know, burn the midnight oil, you gotta hustle and grind.” Like that’s the terminology that’s circulating. And that was never the intended design of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is kbringing an idea to tt tttttrtttrrrrtt then empowering other peopttththrppp0ťu gtlett who want to work, not start a business but want to kkto work for a ttp business to do the work. Actually, the trt one job I believe an entrepreneur is, is to provide jobs for other people. And so what I did was I changed a label, I call myself a shareholder in a small business. The reason I use that label for me is a very empowering label. I’m a shareholder in Ford stock, which, which right now is not a stock tip. But what it is, is this, I received profits from Ford, they distributed them every quarter. And secondly, I have voting rights, I helped define who the board is, I have rights in major decisions, I vote for it, I only own 100 shares, there’s many other shareholders, but I do influence to some degree, the direction of the company, my own little small business, I own 100% of the shares, I own everything. So now my influence is significant. As a shareholder, my responsibility is to invest in the business get started, but not to do the work is to collect the profitability, I took that major risk on and to give it strategic direction. I think the label we signed to ourselves is very important on how we behave toward our business.

Amalie Shaffer  27:59  

Yeah, I think that’s awesome. That’s such a great, yeah, I really like that. And I think it goes the same way with when you’re hiring people to with the whole not assigning job titles, right? Like I prefer, that’s something that Janine and I constantly work with our clients on it’s like, it doesn’t matter what it’s called, just tell them what they need to do, like, what position are you trying to fill? what things need to be done? Let’s figure that out. Who cares what the name of the position is, you can call whatever you want. I mean, banana, you know what I mean?

Mike Michalowicz  28:32  

Actually, I like that.

Amalie Shaffer  28:33  

You know, it doesn’t matter. Because ultimately, it’s about the job description, the tasks and the what they’re actually doing, the processes that they manage, those are most important, but it’s the same thing for the business owner. And it also I think, sets like you said, the mindset because the mindset of the business owner is so important. When you’re trying to build this business. It’s constantly looking in the mirror, it’s constantly self evaluating. It’s constantly, you know, doing all those things, and having a different mindset in the way that you explained I think is really, that’s really awesome. I think it’s great.

Mike Michalowicz  29:06  

Yeah, it’s word of warning, I would say with titles when it comes to employees. Small businesses are notorious for assigning lofty titles, really, for marketing purposes. So I have five employees and one of the employees I call the CFO, this is actually something I did at one point, one of my businesses have 30 employees and I brought someone on who was basically a bookkeeper, but his name was Ken Lee, Ken the CFO. The problem was this. The reason I was doing it was I wanted other companies to see us clients and say, well, you have a CFO, you must be a huge business. But Ken start to see himself as a CFO, he’s like, “well, I’m a CFO”. He started looking at jobs, and he goes, “wow, CFOs make 500,000 a million dollars. Well guys looking at GE, that CFO makes you know, $3.2 million, because I’m getting paid $45,000 you’re ripping me off Mike” and Mike. “Ken, you’re not really a CFO. You’re just a CFO here.” And he couldn’t see the difference. So he said, “you know what I’m out of here on to get a CFO job”

Janine Suvak  30:06  

Did he? Well, I shouldn’t ask.

Mike Michalowicz  30:09  

I wished him the best. And he deserved it. It was my flaw to assign a title that was incongruent with his capacity. And immediately I became demonized, because I wasn’t paying him enough. So just be very careful about the tiles you assigned to others, because they actually may believe it.

Amalie Shaffer  30:29  

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Well, Janine, you have anything else that you wanted to ask?

Janine Suvak  30:36  

No, I just wanted to thank you so much for joining us. Thanks.

Amalie Shaffer  30:39  

Yeah, we were really grateful. This has been an amazing experience, getting to interview everyone during the whole series start to finish. So. And I think that it’s been like I said, it’s been helpful for us to talking to people who are experts in areas that we aren’t, and being able to provide that information to our audience. So we’re really grateful. Thank you so much for being here. Do you have any last thoughts that you want to add before we, before we say bye?

Mike Michalowicz  31:06  

Sure, final thought is this, folks listening in here, decide what to do in your business? Please don’t get overwhelmed with trying to pick the perfect thing, just follow the system, it’ll point to it and go for it. I see people get into that analysis paralysis, they say, “well, it could be this, but it also could be that” and that’s the biggest mistake. Taking direct direction, a singular direction, even if it’s not the perfectly correct course, is a far better course and taking no direction at all. So pick the one thing, you’ll get guidance through the system. And just stay at it until you feel as resolved and then move to the next thing.

Amalie Shaffer  31:40  

Yeah. And if you need outside perspective, because sometimes that helps to be able to narrow it down. Janine and I are both certified Fix This Next advisor. So we got that outside perspective. There’s a whole database of advisors and that help with that. And sometimes getting an outside perspective on something that’s so sensitive can help you get a better perspective on where it is that you actually need to start working on things.

Mike Michalowicz  32:04  

There’s no doubt about it, right. That’s the difference between seeing the forest and seeing the trees. We as entrepreneurs, there’s so many blind spots we have, we just don’t know we’re blind to them. So that’s a great, great action to take.

Amalie Shaffer  32:15  

Well, thank you so much, Mike, and anyone listening, please make sure you subscribe, share this episode. And if you didn’t check out the rest of the business Hierarchy of Needs series. Please make sure you do that and we will see you next week. Thank you so much. Mike, thank you.

Mike Michalowicz  32:30  

Bye bye.

Janine Suvak  32:31  



Businesses need to set goals, otherwise it’s wasted time for everyone involved. One of the best ways to ensure everyone is on the same path and working towards the objective is by having quarterly planning. In this episode, we talked about quarterly dynamics, why they’re essential to your business, and how to plan efficient meetings. Listen now!

Show Notes

Efficient planning is THE way to a thriving business. When your team members, from top to bottom, completely understand the overall mission, the objectives, and their roles, you’ll see your business flourish. And the most efficient method to make this happen is through quarterly planning!

In the past episodes, we’ve been breaking down Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs from his book Fix This Next, and we’re getting closer to the last steps. In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about Quarterly Dynamics.

Listen to this episode to find out:

➡️ Why quarterly sessions are crucial to success

➡️ Real life examples of why businesses need quarterly planning

➡️ How to structure your quarterly planning session

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie Shaffer  0:00  

All right, welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer, and I’m here with Janine Suvak.

Janine Suvak  0:08  

Hey there.

Amalie Shaffer  0:09  

And we are Systematic Excellence Consulting. And we help businesses run more efficiently, build more efficient teams, particularly remote teams. And we help them get the infrastructure in place to be able to grow and scale. And today we are continuing our series from the Fix This Next book by Mike Michalowicz, he in the book introduces the business hierarchy of needs. And we have gone through all but the last two steps. And so today, we’re going to talk about quarterly dynamics. And so this is the second to last step in the hierarchy of needs. And it’s really important. And something I want to say before we dive in is that although these things are laid out in the “do this before this” kind of setup, all of these things are important to think about and to keep in mind as your business is growing. Just because quarterly dynamics is later or higher in the hierarchy of needs, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing quarterly planning or quarterly dynamics in your business from the very beginning. That’s something that Janine and I, we do with clients, we have a setup where we do annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily, sort of meetings and planning. And that allows you to stay on track for what you want to achieve. So although we’re diving into this now, and it’s at the end, or at the top of the business hierarchy of needs, it is something that needs to be considered and through the whole life of your business. So yeah, I just wanted to say that before we got started.

Janine Suvak  1:57  

That’s a good point. Because I think in the hierarchy of needs in the way that he’s structured it is like what he’s speaking to is the quarterly dynamics as you’re setting them up. Remember, this is legacy where you as a person may be exiting the company in some form or another. And it’s meant to go on and follow the vision, without you, you may be selling it, you may be just hiring your own CEO for it and moving on to your next project or whatever. But the idea is that you personally aren’t going to be there. And the business needs to still be able to take a look at itself and its goals and where it’s going with the new person who’s in charge. And everyone up and down the organization should know where it’s going and be able to do that assessment at their levels.

Amalie Shaffer  2:46  

Right. And it’s whether it’s you’re in charge or someone else. But ultimately, at this point, if you haven’t done a leadership turnover, it’s still, you know, you as the business owner are leading the charge, right, you are setting the vision from the top down. And so with quarterly dynamics, you’re at a place where your sales are strong, your profit is predictable, you have mastered all the needs at the order level. And you’re transforming lives, right. So that’s bringing us straight up through the business hierarchy of needs to quarterly dynamics. And I really wanted to point out something he said, because I feel like it’s really important and this applies to every business, no matter the size, is that every part of your business must be able to adjust dynamically yet cohesively to the greater organization. And so, even in a small business where you maybe have, you know, five people, you’re the business owner, you have five team members, ultimately, all the pieces of marketing and your sales and your internal operations, and all of those things have to be able to dynamically change, they have to remain flexible, but they also have to work cohesively right in order to move the business forward. And so let’s just start there with the discussion and because you can’t just have your marketing, like if your marketing is great, and you’re getting sales but you don’t have the infrastructure to manage all those things, to process the orders, to deliver on those things, the team members to be able to support you, ultimately it’s gonna crumble right? Everything’s gonna end up crumbling. So everything needs to be able to remain flexible as we know with you know, the current state of the pandemic. You need to remain flexible and make changes when necessary, but everything needs to work cohesively in order to be successful.

Janine Suvak  5:04  

Yep. And we’d really like to dig down into the practical part. So it’s like, so what does that really mean? It’s like, well, there’s that thing of more businesses die of indigestion, right? And that’s where you think like, “oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the problem of all these sales coming in”, but they can destroy your business, if you can’t deliver, it destroys your reputation. And that’s very difficult to recover from, and not just smaller businesses growing to be larger. But there’s this epic example of Aloha Airlines bought a superbowl commercial one year. So that’s a massive ad spend for one day, right? Yeah. And they didn’t have the customer support to feel the phone calls that they got, it was a massive success, and they couldn’t handle it. So they weren’t able to capitalize on the investment in the ad spend and didn’t get the ROI on it, that they should have, because they weren’t prepared for the response to it. And so that can take you by surprise, it happens. Same thing with what, what content creators online, have something go viral, and their servers aren’t properly configured for it, and their traffic gets throttled. So they’re so excited, something went viral, they’re supposed to be getting all this traffic, but their host is throttling it, because of the kind of plan they’re on or something. I mean, it can manifest in many different ways. But it can hurt your business more than it helps it in terms of just straight dollars on that.

Amalie Shaffer  6:35  

And so it takes planning to be able to, you need the internal planning. So the person that’s in charge of operations, to be communicating with the person that’s putting the marketing plan are running the ads, you know, even the sales team, all those people need to be in communication. And if you have a smaller team, and you have one person doing multiple things, you and that person need to still communicate, because you need to think about all of the ways that your business will be affected. You know, if you have an uptick in leads, in sales, and then in on delivery, for whatever it is you’re selling. So to really talk about the practical side of this is, it starts with a vision, and that continuously being put out to the team to the company. And I mean, till you’re blue in the face, right? Just constantly so everyone is on the same page with what does it look like? Where are we going? And then all the pieces, right? So each department, you know, maybe it’s not a department, maybe it’s just one person that runs that area of the business, but they each need to do their own planning, right. And then they need to come together as a whole and do the planning to make sure that everyone’s on the same page with “Okay, we’re going to launch this campaign on this day, we’re expecting it to look like this, sales needs to be ready for fielding calls.” And then the next step in the next step. And then you know, what happens when, okay, internal operations, onboarding, who’s in charge of onboarding? Are they ready? Are they prepared? Do they have everything they need for onboarding? or you know, that’s in the case of a digital product, or maybe coaching or something like that, but if you have a physical product, do you have the number of T shirts or the number of coffee that you might need if you’re launching this new campaign. And so individual areas of the business need to have their own quarterly plan. And it needs to be laid out with dates of when things will get accomplished and things like that, but then the whole group needs to come together to make sure that all those pieces are working together, and that everyone’s on the same page. And then you need to track it, right? You need to track how it’s going. Okay, campaign launched. So that’s where our kind of weekly, maybe monthly meetings, possibly monthly and weekly together come in to see how things are going. Okay, how’s the new campaign going? What are the sales looking like? What’s the conversion rate? How are we doing internally? What’s the inventory look like? Do we have enough? How’s the onboarding going? And so not it doesn’t just stop at like, “okay, here’s the quarterly plan”, right? There needs to be milestones and check ins throughout that three month period as you’re implementing whatever that plan is, and then it needs the metrics right?

Janine Suvak  9:45  

If you don’t know your numbers you don’t know your business. So all the metrics that you shouldn’t be tracking all along for sure quarterly get togethers is a great time to do that. Step back and do the “what happened” though, you should be looking at more closely than that.

Amalie Shaffer  10:01  

Right. In the quarterly is when you actually put the plan in place, but then that monthly and weekly meetings are when you’re looking at the progress. “Okay. Do we need to make adjustments right now? Or is it going well, and we’re doing fine?” right? That’s where you kind of, you have to change the knobs a little bit, maybe need to back off on one or, you know, increase on another. And that’s where that happens. But the quarterly plan is, is where all the people come together, they come together with the plan, get on the same page, get the milestones in place, and then you kind of like, it’s like a map, right? Like the quarter, you lay out the path you’re gonna hike. And then each, you know, each weekly meeting and working your map as you go.

Janine Suvak  10:44  

You don’t just file it.

Amalie Shaffer  10:46  

Your weekly meeting is like checking or daily, you know, checking the places on the tree, are we going in the right direction? And so that, you know, even if you just have a small team, and if you’re the business owner, and you have a small team, involving the rest of your team, in the quarterly planning, I think is so important, because it gives you outside perspectives on what to implement, what to do. And instead of you just standing there by yourself, or bring someone from the outside a consultant in to help you but still involving your team. You know, that’s when you really want to get the ideas and look, “okay, what worked in the last three months, what didn’t work? What do we need to change? What are some new ideas, some fresh perspectives in there?” and then, especially the people that are doing the things, and we’ve talked about this multiple times, you know, getting the perspective of the people that actually do the things are on the front lines, doing the sales, you know, running the ads, make them report to you on what worked for them, and what didn’t.

Janine Suvak  11:51  

You should be able to say what you want to have happen. And they should know how to make that happen, or raise their hand for what kind of help they need in order to make that happen. And that’s what your job is to give them the support they need to make it happen.

Amalie Shaffer  12:07  

You set the vision and then get everyone else’s, not that you can’t have an input on what things look like or need to be or whatever, you can. But the most important thing is get the experts, the people that you’ve hired to do their job because they’re an expert, and you’re not, get them to tell you what it is that they want to do or think will work. And then bring all those pieces together, and then put the plan in place, you know.

Janine Suvak  12:34  

And at this legacy level, they shouldn’t be dependent upon you for that kind of I mean, you really can’t get to that kind of level, if you have a super top down, they’re dependent on you to figure everything out for.

Amalie Shaffer  12:47  

And I was kind of meaning because quarterly planning is important, regardless of where you are at in the business hierarchy of needs, right? Like this is talking about it like that’s the level but I was more applying it to some smaller businesses, you might not be at the legacy level. But quarterly planning is still important, right? It’s not something that just goes out the window, and you don’t worry about, even if you’re just a small team, you still need to do this. And that’s what I was more referring to. Those people will be putting those plans together. The key is just to bring them together and remain dynamic. As you know, as the environment changes.

Janine Suvak  13:26  

Yeah, there were a couple things I wanted to add to that. It’s like quarterly planning, you know, you’re looking at KPIs, even if everything is going swimmingly the whole game is you can always do you better, right. Quarterly, that’s a great time to do a Fix This Next assessment, whether you think you did or not just to see, where’s the slowest point of what is going on? I wanted to talk about, oh, the incentive. So there’s the objective stuff, that is the metrics and everything but getting to the people side of it, especially back to what we were talking about at the beginning, when if there’s an issue with say, sales is overwhelming, delivery. And you’re having to ask people to slow down, this is that adjusting dynamically, so everything is moving forward together. When you have to ask a person or a department to slow down, you need to consider where’s the incentive? Right and how you’re going to be able to manage that. Because if you have contractors, you know, people who are working hourly, if you have salespeople on commission plants, it’s like you’re literally asking them to take a pay cut because something’s not working right. And so it’s really important to manage that properly, so they don’t get rattled, and you’re not taken away from them.

Amalie Shaffer  14:43  

And instead of telling them to slow down, figure out how you can get the other team to work, right.

Janine Suvak  14:49  

But just be mindful of what it’s like there’s looking at the business as the machinery and the system and the metrics, but there’s what is actually how is this having the effect on your people, and how do you need to address them? I think it’s super important. There’s also with quarterly, something that we talked about for quarterly is that the quarterly assessments with your people on an individual basis, so there’s the business as a whole. And then there’s the individual, the feedback, it’s like the pat on the backs, the if somebody needs help, it’s like this should be all built in to what you’re doing every quarter.

Amalie Shaffer  15:29  

Yeah, definitely. And I think that in order to move forward, again, all those pieces need to be cohesive. So it’s not just putting a campaign in place, being able to deliver on it, but it’s also ensuring that the team is prepared that like you said, doing the quarterly reviews, or you know, something like that, that’s all built into the schedule, right into the battle rhythm of your business, and what does it look like, you know, and the departments or the the people that are in charge of the areas in your business will start to, they’ll understand that it’s a schedule, so they’ll start preparing for it, they’ll start getting ready. So every quarter, we do these things. And that’s why putting that plan in place ahead of time is helpful, too, because they start to get into, like I said, the battle rhythm.

Janine Suvak  16:30  

And we use military terms. But interestingly enough, it’s like most a lot of modern businesses based on the structures and systems in how the military works and adapts because that goes back to what we talked about earlier about, that’s literally the trial by fire, how they make things work. But when we talk about dynamics, you know, on the military side, there’s this thing called the commander’s intent, which is the same thing as your vision. And everyone from the top all the way down to the bottom knows, it’s like, this is what you want to have happen. And then there’s all these op orders and things that are like SOPs. And like, this is basically how it’s supposed to happen. But in the reality of a battle, people get cut off from communications, people get killed, and then the person who is charged isn’t available anymore. And there is, you know, I like reading military history stuff, but from World War Two, when they were interviewing or interrogating people, it’s like, even though they’d stolen half our stuff, and they broke our codes and everything else, we still finally won. And their comment, feedback was along the lines of it’s, “but you didn’t even follow your own plan.” And it’s like, “well, that’s because the plan falls apart. But everybody knew what the endpoint was. So they kept pushing towards that, wherever they were under what adverse circumstances and in the role that they serve.” So that’s the dynamic part. And that’s why it’s important that they understand the goal.

Amalie Shaffer  17:58  

And also facilitating the open communication between different areas and departments within the business, within the structure that also allows for dynamic changes, because as they see something happening, they need to be able to communicate to the other area. So they’re not just working in silos by themselves, right, they need to communicate. So you as the leader is putting out the vision. So everybody knows, everyone knows. And then the mid level leaders are then continuously putting it out, but then also communicating horizontally as to like, what’s going on? How’s it working, hey, we had this go on, and back and forth, and being able to, to make changes that they need to make, but because you’ve empowered them to make the changes that they need to, as you guys continue on towards that end vision, without them having to turn back and constantly say, “Hey, is it okay if we do this?” “Yes, please, go do it and figure it out, get it done.”

Janine Suvak  19:13  

And chronologically, by the time your business has gotten to this point. Remember, you’ve had people who have essentially cross trained for the people who like to try new things, you have people, everyone from the top to the bottom are able to go on vacation. So there is you know, backup and there’s no single point of failure anywhere. So you have your organization from the top to the bottom, in each individual at this point has the ability to shift loads where needed without things breaking because of the dynamics that you’ve built in from one person to the next.

Amalie Shaffer  19:51  

Exactly. And I’ll just say one last thing. I don’t know if you have anything else to add, but I’ll just say one last thing. Quarterly planning is the perfect time to bring an outside person in a consultant, that’s what Janine and I do. That’s how we support business owners as we come in, give them the outside perspective on what’s happening inside their business, and help them put the plans together for the next steps like what do they need to anticipate, you know, are they going to need to hire new people? are they going to need to get more inventory? We can come in, and take this Fix This Next framework and figure out what needs to be focused on and how to plan for it. And so whether it’s Janine and I that you bring in, but quarterly planning is a perfect time to bring in an outside person to help you give, get that fresh perspective and help you get these plans in place. And it has to be documented somewhere, right? just having a quarter plan, okay, we’re gonna do these things. But without it being planned out somewhere physically, like in a project management tool on a document, somewhere, these kinds of things will just sit on the back burner until someone actually takes action. So that’s another thing that we help for. So obviously, this is our podcast, we’re gonna plug that but if it’s not us, someone else, and that’s just advice from business owner to business owner, bringing an outside person in to help you get that fresh perspective on what’s going on in your business is important. It’s important to get that especially if you’re feeling stuck. If you’re feeling like you don’t know where to focus your time, you’re feeling torn into or pulled into multiple directions, and you’re not sure where to focus your time and energy or your team members time and energy. That’s something that a consultant can help with. So if you are looking for that outside perspective, please reach out please email us, book a call if it’s not as someone else. And also last thing. Our next episode is the episode with Mike Michalowicz, we were lucky enough to be able to interview him. He’s fantastic. If you haven’t gotten the book, it’s a great book it Fix This Next, the links will be in the show notes. And I hope that you catch obviously this episode if you’re listening, make sure you subscribe so you can catch next week’s episode. And if you haven’t listened to the rest of the series, please go back and listen to it. We’ve had a really amazing guests on that that gave us a lot of information, a great information about the different topics. And if you have any questions or like I said, looking for support, please feel free to reach out our email address and website links are in the show notes. Make sure you subscribe. And yeah, that’s it. Did you have anything else you wanted to add?

Janine Suvak  22:45  

No, that wraps it all up.

Amalie Shaffer  22:47  

Awesome. Well, thank

Janine Suvak  22:48  

This interview is awesome.

Amalie Shaffer  22:49  

And, again, make sure you subscribe, leave us a review. If you like the podcast, leave us a review. It helps get this in front of more people. Make sure you share it, we will be so grateful. And we’ll see you here back here next time. Bye bye.


When your company provides a high-quality service and products every time, your customers will slowly but surely transform into heart-based promoters. Once they start talking about your company, wearing your logo, or using your hashtags without you asking them to, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition. We invite you to join us for this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast where we talked about heart-based promoters, loyalty, and useful tips to increase both. Listen now!

Show Notes

When your customers love your company, you can be sure they will be coming back for more. They will wear your logo, tell other people about your services — basically, they become advocates of your brand. A heart-based promoter that will bring other people in.

We invite you to listen to this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast and learn everything you need to build a loyal community that will help your business sustain over time. In this episode we continue breaking down the Business Hierarchy of Needs by Mike Michalowicz, and we’ve reached heart-based promoters.

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ What are heart-based promoters 

➡️ Benefits of customer loyalty and how to measure its success

➡️ Why heart-based promoters are important for the longevity of a business

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie Shaffer  0:01  

All right, welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer and I’m here with Janine Suvak.

Janine Suvak  0:08  

Hi there.

Amalie Shaffer  0:09  

And we are Systemic Excellence Consulting, we help business owners run, manage build more effective systems processes and remote teams and we are continuing our Business Hierarchy of Needs series that from the Fix This Next book by Mike Michalowicz, and we are actually interviewing him, and his episode will air in two weeks. And so we’re both very excited about that. Yes, but today we’re doing we’re going over heart based promoters. And so we’re now into the level of legacy. And the point that I think the great point that Mike makes in the book about the heart based promoters is actually referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And on the third level is belonging. And so what brands and companies do in order to have these heart based promoters? So I guess maybe let’s define a heart based promoter. So a heart based promoter is someone who will promote the business no matter what, right? They wear the logo, they talk about it, they go there, you know, they go and buy from the company, and they’re willing to spread the word about it without even really asking them to do it. Would you add anything else to that definition?

Janine Suvak  1:34  

No, that’s it. That’s it is that they, it’s coming from them.

Amalie Shaffer  1:39  

right? They’re not even getting paid to do it, they just do it because they love the company right. And so, the way that going back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the third level is belonging. And what these brands and companies have done is build belonging around their brand. So he might use as an example he uses Disney as an example. So when people even if they have never been to the park, they will still be wearing Disney things, you know, or have the stickers on their car or whatever, where they’re constantly promoting the company and without ever, you know, I mean, obviously some people go there but everything is around this community of loving Disney and they’ve created that and that people you know, there are groups who get together to talk about it, you know, like their parent groups are based around Disney and going on trips to Disney people have made businesses on how to plan trips to Disney, things like that. So it’s, it’s bigger than just one person going to a theme park or one person buying a T shirt or something like that, right? You become part of a community of people who love Disney.

Janine Suvak  3:03  

Now, I think it’s such a really ingrained part of how we work, you know, and that’s why it’s one of his basic, you know, his levels of what humans actually need. Because if you think about it, think about from young ages, right? Our schools and their mascots, right sports teams that people identify with, in the military, the different units, right? And they all have their own identification. And it’s, and you know, the power of boldness is not the most loving way to look at it. But it’s, you know, it’s the heart based ones. It’s like, they’re just fans of what they do, and they want to promote it. What’s funny is, so my husband, Rob, he does this all the time, Amalie, where he will sell stuff in stores for the store, because he will go in for something. It was when the I think when Fitbit first came out, and we had to go he really liked when so he went as we went back to get me one. And while we were waiting for the guy to help us, some other people came in and were asking about it. And Rob showed him his and showing all the features and how excited he is. And it’s like that is what a, you know, a heart based promoter looks like. It’s like the store didn’t, it’s like he’s literally in their store. They don’t need him to do that. But he’s doing it because he’s just so excited about it and wants to show it off to people.

Amalie Shaffer  4:25  

I think the other thing is, is having lingo. So Starbucks has special names for the different sizes of their their coffees, or Mike mentions CrossFit, and that they have special lingo and that that’s become a community around, you know, around that type of workout. And I think that and he even goes on to like, you know, different shows and even like Southwest Airlines, you know, like the logo of any brand when Nike when you notice it like it, people are wearing it all over and and it builds a community around it. You know, I think you can, there’s so many different brands and companies that you can relate to having heart based promoters, I think the important thing is, is how to build that. And it’s really about building the community, right and making them feel loved and appreciated for being part of it, because they’re not your employee, right? I mean, of course, your employees, probably, you know, buy things from your brand or whatever. But, but ultimately, the people that are taking it even further, aren’t even being paid, they pay to have either go to your, you know, the theme park or purchase your items, or go to your restaurant or watch your movie or whatever, but it’s making them feel appreciated, and creating that belonging around your company. And that is how you develop those heart based promoters. And I think, it was in the book, it kind of talks about how it can be hard to sort of measure that. But I think the way you do is asking, you know about referrals, like how did you hear about us, you know, and figuring out how, you know, if it’s word of mouth, like then you know that you’re building that community? And that it might be a little bit more difficult to have metrics around it. But you can know if you’re, you know, if you’re growing your following?

Janine Suvak  6:32  

Yeah, I think yeah, specific metrics would be difficult, but I think it’s when you see that your audience is doing things on its own. And you can with, you know, plant the seeds of that intentionally by, I think it may come from them. So what did we see? What do they call themselves or in fandom world, right? You may not know what quotes from the movie or the book are going to be the favorites that they pick up on. But once they do, then you can help add momentum to that by participating in it with them. And they love that. Yeah.

Amalie Shaffer  7:16  

Another way to do that is if you use a specific hashtag, for example, and then you see it growing, right, you can see because you can follow hashtags, and you can see how the numbers grow, and how many people are using it. So if you use one, and not all the time, or those posts, especially if you use a common phrase or something, people might use it for other reasons. But if you start putting that out, and then if you ask people, when you’re out and you’re wearing your shirt, doing something, you know, use the hashtag this, a lot of events will do that, and tell you to use a specific hashtag to put your photos up, something like that, you doing it that way is a that’s a great way to be able to see your growth of your following it away like that, if you have, you know, a Facebook group or something like that, seeing it grow. But there might not be necessarily like exact metrics or you know, things, but it’s definitely something that you can see through there are ways to set up for metrics anyway.

Janine Suvak  8:22  

Yeah, and you can snowball on that, you should be hash tagging your own brand. But when you see something come from your audience, then you can add that to your promotional activities as well.

Amalie Shaffer  8:33  

Yeah. And I think this is so important. So in the last episode, we talked about intentional leadership turn. And that is important as when we’re, we’re now into the legacy level of the business hierarchy of needs. And all of the actions in this are long term, right? A legacy is built by having belonging through generations, right. So generations of people, people might shop in a specific store, because their parents shop there. And so then they have a connection to that store, or they watch a certain show or something, you know, you sit around and watch the same show. And so growing up, they watch and so then they continue to watch and so then they become heart based promoters, because their parents or their family or whatever. And I think all of the topics that we’ve that we talked about in the legacy is just about how to continue, to continue that legacy and continue your business even after maybe you’re gone, you’ve retired, you’ve turned over the leadership, you’ve sold the business, whatever. But the business still continues on and when you have a strong base of promoters that do it because they love It because they love the company, the brand, the products, you know, all of those things. I mean, that will help to continue your business long after you.

Janine Suvak  10:11  

Absolutely. I think it actually provides consistency, right? Because what is the most dangerous transition for a business is when the founder steps away and someone else takes over. And very often the new person may institute a bunch of changes, or the attraction was to the actual founder, rather than the brand or the company itself. So when you have these heart base promoters, they’re going to carry it forward, and whoever stepping into those shoes, you know, are gonna–

Amalie Shaffer  10:45  

–Keep them in check. I knew that a couple of software like that we use in business changed their name, and people do not like it. I know that because people were like, “why would you do that?”

Janine Suvak  10:59  

Those were pretty lame name changes too.

Amalie Shaffer  11:01  

I think, didn’t Google do it recently with their icons? Because they like made the icons look all the same. And I saw all these people talking about it. And they were like, “why would you do that? You can’t even tell the difference between them.” And then I noticed that the icons have changed again. So i that’s what heart based promoters could do. Right? Keep people not just promote the products but but keep them in check. I forget which software it was that their name or something.

Janine Suvak  11:33  

Wasn’t Infusionsoft changed to Keap or something like that? Yeah, I spelled it differently. And it was, yeah.

Amalie Shaffer  11:40  

And I think Bernie did change their name. But it was like a week later, they changed it back. Because every all these people had complained. And they were like, “why are you doing that?” And so I just I think, and ultimately, you got to listen to the masses, if that’s what your heart based promoters are saying? Why would you change the name on that? or change it back?

Janine Suvak  12:02  

You know, yeah, I question who gave that advice in the first place? You know, it’s like putting a different wrapper on the same thing is not, you know, probably addressing whatever they were trying to address internally. I’m guessing, I’m betting, yeah.

Amalie Shaffer  12:17  

And heart based promoters, they will tell you when they don’t like what you’re doing, right. And so they’re a great resource to get feedback from. I know, we had talked about feedback integrity on one of our other episodes, but I mean, those people are people that you want to look for, for feedback, ask for their honest opinion about things. You know, and I think that’s, it’s just so important to building your legacy, and is to build the community

Janine Suvak  12:45  

You know, Aloha Airlines special thing was a warm chocolate chip cookie. And God helped them if they ever tried to take that chocolate chip cookie away, because that’s what that was their thing, you know? And everyone expected that chocolate chip cookie. So I wonder, you know, it’d be funny is, is I wonder if there’s a way it’s like, if there’s something that a company found they were stuck with and couldn’t get rid of, even though they wanted to? Because the fans liked it so much.

Amalie Shaffer  13:17  

Yeah, maybe? I don’t know. Possibly, I’m sure that’s happened. Yeah. Yeah. Did you have anything else you wanted to add?

Janine Suvak  13:27  

No, I just think it’s, it’s kind of interesting. This is really when the tail starts wagging the dog at this level.

Amalie Shaffer  13:34  

Yeah. And it’s important and you know, if you haven’t listened to the other episodes of the business hierarchy of needs, I highly recommend going back and listening to it. We’ve had some really amazing guests on and great information for each of those levels. Obviously, if you haven’t gotten the book yet, Fix This Next is a great book. And we will be interviewing and airing the episode with Mike Michalowicz, the author of the book in January, which I’m super excited about. And, obviously, subscribe. If you know someone that would benefit from hearing this episode or any of our other episodes, please share, please leave us a review. We’re always happy to, you know, hear feedback about the show. And we will be back here next week. So thank you so much for listening. And we will return next week. All right. Thanks.

Janine Suvak  14:33  

Bye bye.


Many entrepreneurs share the desire of building a legacy that will transcend time. But if you want to make sure you’re leaving your business in good hands in 10, 15 years, you need to start thinking about it probably sooner than you think. In this episode, we talked about intentional leadership turn: from how to prepare yourself and your staff, to how to put on a plan, and everything in between. Listen now!

Show Notes

Growing your small business, making it successful, and turning it into a legacy that other people will follow, sounds like a dream. But it actually is completely doable if you have a plan in place. 

Today, we can tell you how to prepare for that moment! 

Preparing your business to ensure it is a legacy takes planning and preparation — it’s never too early to start planning your leadership turn. In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we continue breaking down the Business Hierarchy of Needs by Mike Michalowicz, and we’ve reached intentional leadership turn. 

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ Building a legacy: what does it mean?

➡️ How to prepare your team for a leadership turn

➡️ Things to consider when determining who will take over and when

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie Shaffer  0:01  

Hi, welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer, and today we are going to talk about intentional leadership turn. So last time, we talked about community and how that moves your company into the legacy portion of the business hierarchy of needs. So continuing with that same series that we’ve been doing for the past few weeks, months, actually, I guess now. And so the intentional leadership turn is really the mark of creating a legacy. And I think all along all of the things that you do leading up to the point where you’re considering a leadership turn or thinking about it, are preparing your business, growing your business, preparing it to build a legacy. And with this topic, that in Mike Michalowicz’s Business hierarchy of needs, he talks about putting together a plan. Now, obviously, you might be thinking about this well before you anticipate leaving, but the idea is to, one have the goal of wanting to build a legacy and two, have the plan and the goal of wanting to put your business in a place where it will continue on after you. And maybe that isn’t your goal, and that’s fine. But if it is, it is an important thing to consider. As you grow, as your business grows, because intentional leadership turn is going to take, it’s not going to be able to happen immediately or instantly, it’s going to take time, because you’re going to have to think about who is going to take over what that structure looks like, there’s a lot of elements that will go into creating that plan.

I think one thing to remember is you may have started the business, or if you’re on the other side of it, and maybe you’re part of a business where the person is thinking about turning over, there’s gonna be you know, some shock to the ego to think about if your name and face have been on the front of the business for so long, but then you’re thinking about turning over or you work for someone that’s thinking about turning over, you know, there’s gonna be some possibly some static as soon as you turn over. Because what you become is the messenger instead of, you’re the person, the one man show or the one woman show, someone else could be carrying on your legacy to continue it going. And so your name, whether you rename it, but maybe it is your name, and they just become the messenger, you know, there’s going to be you’re going to move into the background a little bit if you’re working with someone that’s at this point in the business, you might want to, you know, just consider that it might be difficult with with the turnover. Now, I think the important thing to consider here and Mike Michalowicz says in the book, how can we keep our mission solid in our executive team fluid? And so I think it’s important when you’re at this place to really lean into your team, your executive team, what does that look like? What do they need to know? What do they need to learn? How do you groom them to turn over with you to lead the company? And what does the timeline look like and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know, you’re leaving in six months, but you want to put people in your executive team that one are fit for the position of taking over the leadership when you’re gone, but also are trained to do that right. And something that Mike mentions in the book that I think is really important is that you want to continue to groom these people and train them and bring them up through your business and with the understanding that if you decide not to turn over the leadership, that there’s going to come a point where they’re going to possibly leave and it would be ideal if you as the business owner help them get that position for another business. So he mentioned the example of Kat Cole, who was the former Hooters waitress, who then became the Vice President of Hooters. She became the president of Cinnabon for four years. And then she was promoted to the president of the company that owns Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s, and so although she didn’t stay with Hooters, but she did learn the skills, she became good at her job. And so then she moved on to other companies and was successful there.

And I think that’s something that as the owner of a business, who is considering a leadership turn, understand that if that person becomes ready for that leadership role prior to you being ready to turn over, you know, you’ve now groomed them for the leadership position, and it would only be right for them to move on to another business. So I think that is something to keep in mind when you’re doing that. I think this is a critical thing, when you’re thinking about the legacy of your business, especially when you realize that you might not be part of it forever, right? When you first start out, you might not be thinking about that, but 5-10 years down the road, you might start thinking about, “okay, what does it look like when I’m ready to retire?” Or even if it’s just stepping away, and being less involved? What does that look like? And what does that mean, for the business? Can it carry on without you? And I think all of the steps that we’ve talked about in the past really bring those are all the building blocks to this point of a leadership turning, you know, if you have a business, and you don’t want it to get to the point of a leadership turn, that is okay. But if you do, it’s something you need to consider, well before you’re ready to turn over, something like that doesn’t take, you know, a couple of months, it takes years, it takes time, for training people and having people in different positions and learning different skills and the different operations of the business, it takes time to understand and learn the management and how to manage the business and not necessarily specific to your business, but just in general right to come in and be the vice president or president of a company that’s huge, like Hooters or something like that, it takes time to learn those skills. So to groom someone and train someone, especially if you’re gonna hire within, you know, if you’re looking externally, that might put a different timeline in place, but internally, if you want it to be led from internal team members that will take time to groom them for that.

So I would say, you know, if you’re at this place, or if you’re even thinking about it, it’s definitely, you know, consider what it might look like, put a plan together, and then start executing on that. And that plan might just look like, “okay, who can I give more responsibility to? Who can I teach how to do these different operations?” and still thinking about things that you can take off your plate and give to someone else and see how they do at it. And that will be a huge indicator on how they will do as a leader, and whether you would want to, you know, turn over leadership to them? Or if you would be looking externally, for looking externally, you know, what does that look like? What are your requirements, what expectations do you have? What do you want to ask them, you know, about their beliefs and their ideas for the business going forward. And then there’s all there’s definitely going to have to be some release of control as well, which is, you know, that’s something that you’re going to have to kind of take a look at and decide, you know, when you decide to take a step back, you really have to release control and let people take over, knowing that they have the business’s best interest in mind. So I hope that was helpful. Again, we’re continuing with the process of reviewing and going through the business hierarchy of needs. We’re really excited because we have Mike Michalowicz coming on for the last stage. So we have two more stages to get through and then we’re interviewing Mike Michalowicz and I’m really excited about it. That episode will be airing in February. If you haven’t listened to the rest of the episodes, please go back and listen to them. They’ve been really amazing. We’ve had some really amazing guests on with us. And yeah, thank you so much for being here. Make sure you subscribe. If you know anyone that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you send them it. We always appreciate your views and we will catch you next time. Thanks, bye.


Businesses that have a strong community and a meaningful engagement with their target audience, tend to grow and reach more people faster. In this episode, our guest Rhodesia Jackson, a branding and graphic designer whose work focuses on helping feminist business owners and people with strong values, joined us to talk about the importance of community continuance for entrepreneurs. Listen now!

Show Notes

As your business grows, so does your community. Without your audience’s or customer’s support, growing your company can be a slow and sometimes painful process. But we can tell you how to change that – with easy and simple steps!

We’ve talked about the importance of reaching out to our customers, asking for honest feedback, and truly connecting with them. In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about community continuance, along with our guest Rhodesia Jackson, a branding and graphic designer whose work focuses on helping feminist business owners and people with strong values.

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ What does community continuance mean for the future of your business

➡️ Benefits of building a strong community online

➡️ Actionable steps to build your online community from the ground up

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Rhodesia:

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. I’m here with Janine Suvak and we make up Systematic Excellence Consulting. We work with businesses to help them run more efficiently and help build efficient teams, which will lower their overhead and increase their bottom line. And today we are continuing our series of the business hierarchy of needs from Mike Michalowicz’s book, Fix This Next and we have a special guest, Rhodesia Jackson. I’m really excited for her to be here. We’re going to be covering community continuance. So Rhodesia, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and then I want to dive into the questions that I have.

Rhodesia: (00:44)

That sounds great. Thank you for having me. I’m Rhodesia Jackson, I’m a branding and graphic designer based out of Boston. I focus a lot on my work working with feminist business owners and folks that have really strong values and want to back that up with their marketing and visual brands.

Amalie: (01:03)

Awesome. Awesome. Well, we’re really grateful for you to be here. So the first question I just want to start with, what does community continuance mean to you? Like what does it mean to build a community? Why is it important for people to do that as they scale their business?

Rhodesia: (01:21)

Yeah. I think building a community allows you to connect with your audience in a way that’s not really possible one-on-one. You have a group of people who all are in the same group for a reason, either they like your product or like the values that you have surrounding your products or your business, and they want to talk about it. They have opinions and topics that they want to bring up that may not be answered fully and different groups of people. So having that community allows them to get things answered and for a business owner, it allows you to see and see what they’re thinking. It’s always good.

Amalie: (01:55)

Yeah. So real quick, do you want to talk about what built to be inclusive is, that’s your community. And so what let’s kind of, as we go through these questions, let’s talk about your real-life experience in having a community. So what is that community about and what does it mean to you as far as, is it business-related, is it personal or is it both like, do you integrate both in with it? I’d love to hear more about that.

Rhodesia: (02:20)

I grew up both of inclusive, it’s Facebook group for feminist business owners. It’s really just a group for feminist leaning or really value driven business owners or progressive business owners to connect and be able to ask questions or being more inclusive in their business, being able to show their values front and center, ensure they’re able to be themselves in their business. I think a lot of times with how polarizing the political atmosphere here, it is here in the United States right now, and pretty much the world, it can be difficult for business owners to speak about what they believe and what they think is important and things that really matter to them. Sometimes people feel like they have to stay really quiet and I am the complete opposite of that. I think being loud and proud and open about how you feel about everything is important because people connects with you as a person, as opposed to you as a business.

Amalie: (03:19)

Definitely. And that’s how I met you. That’s how we met. I was in your group and you were doing, you do a challenge where you help people implement inclusivity into their messaging and things like that. That was the initial way that I met you, I believe was you were having the challenge. Do you still do that?

Rhodesia: (03:37)

I do those every once in a while, maybe three times a year. I’m planning on doing it four times a year. Just going on social media and day by day during like seven to five days to update your social media channels and make sure that you’re making an effort to make them more inclusive, just because you’re thinking like, “Oh, I’m really inclusive. I love inclusivity” doesn’t mean everything about your business is doing that because if you’re not really, it’s not set up to do that automatically, it’s set up to connect with people that look like you kind of people that have same experiences as you obviously independent setups so that you don’t get different views and different points of views in your day-to-day life.

Amalie: (04:13)

Yeah. Awesome. And which is like, that’s one aspect of it in a way that we related to business for us is we talk about hiring people that are experts in what they do, which are different from what you do. You don’t want to hire a bunch of people that are just like you, because then, you know, you don’t have people that are going to give you input or help broaden your horizon or show you things or give you inputs or outlooks that you might not ever think of. And so having a wide variety of people and skills and knowledge will help you grow and help, you know, give you a good base for your business.

Rhodesia: (04:56)

Because the great thing about people as they all have different experiences and they’ll have different, you know, like the frames that they bring to the table. So like every solution for every problem is going to be different everyone’s solution. So if someone has a different experience, they’re going to come to the table with a different solution that can save you time, money, it could be better. It could just be a more interesting, more exciting solution, especially in the world of design and creativity.

Amalie: (05:19)

Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s what Janine and I do, you know, we help people as consultants. We come in with an outside perspective to look at, you know, when, when someone’s knee deep in the sh*t, right. They can’t necessarily see all the other options that might be outside of what they’ve normally done. And that’s what we do. We come in, we identify problems and then we provide solutions. And sometimes it takes that outside perspective or someone that has a different experience or a different skillset and having a community to go back to find people to work with, you know, that’s a great way to do it. So let me ask you, as far as building a community, what are the objectives of it? What are the things that you can get out of it? And I realized like you, as the community owner, there are some objectives for you. Some might be more selfish than others and that’s okay because ultimately you’re putting the hard blood, sweat, and tears into it. Right. But so for you, like what do you think that those are the objectives of having a community? Obviously you want to provide some, it’s not all selfish, but there are some that are, and can you talk a little bit about both of those?

Rhodesia: (06:30)

I mean in business terms, in marketing terms, it gives me a audience of warm leads. That’s obviously like a great thing, but also I like talking about this sort of stuff, like all the time, and I feel like doing this in some groups might not, it’s not always so welcome. So I might have a conversation with one person, but in our group we can be as loud as we want. And it’s a conversation when people are going to take part in like actually get more perspectives, which I really appreciate. And I think you can ask questions that you would never think to ask a different group because you’re not going to get the answers at all, or people won’t see it because the group is so large, but having a smaller size group and having it being so pinpointed on this very specific topic of being inclusive, being for what your values and all that other stuff. And you’re in the group really makes a difference in getting civic answers to questions and insights that you might not get to typically.

Amalie: (07:31)

Awesome. Awesome. So how can you measure the growth of a community beyond the obvious? So the obvious would be like numbers of people. What other ways can you use to grow or evaluate? So part of the process that we, that the business hierarchy of needs and the fix this next book talk about is you need to nurture, like once you put in, once you set an objective, you’re going to start to take action on that, but then you need a way to evaluate it and then to nurture those, those steps that you put in. So how would you measure and evaluate a community beyond just like the number of people?

Rhodesia: (08:10)

Yeah. I think it’s really important to have engagement. That’s number one thing from yet, I can have half as many people as much engagement and I’d still be happy. I think that is number one. For me, I’ve had groups before where I’ve started a group before and there was probably as many members, but there is no engagement. It was like crickets. So that’s not valuable, it’s not doing anything for either side from the audience, we’re not getting anything out of that. And then I’m also not getting anything out of that as a business owner.

Amalie: (08:42)

Yeah. And how do you get engagement? And this doesn’t have to be just for Facebook groups, but I think a lot of the way that you would nurture or get engagement of a Facebook group is similar to how you would in another, community building platform, whether it’s like mighty networks or an in-person thing, but like what ways can you, what things can you do in order to get people more involved and engaged?

Rhodesia: (09:09)

I think making sure they’re part of finding the answers. I’ll do polls some time to see what people want to learn about and asking questions, like why they joined the group, what they want to get out of the group. What are things that they really worrying about? Like having a group, being into a lot of group or a community allows you to really ask questions whenever you need to, if you’re stuck on what to talk about in a blog, or if you’re stuck on what to ask and they give you the answers.

Amalie: (09:40)

Also helps probably I would assume to make sure that you’re also serving their needs too. Cause they’re coming to you, which they, with your business gives you warm leads, which is serving your needs, but then you want to also make sure you’re serving them.

Rhodesia: (09:53)

Oh, exactly. Well, yeah, because you want to let them know that you’re an expert you know what you’re talking about and you’re an authority in that that feels, so you want to be able to give them as much value as you can.

Amalie: (10:07)

Awesome. So why is it important for the future of your business? So let’s say the business owner’s been in for a few years and they’re going through the business hierarchy of needs and they get to the point of community continuance.What is the importance of it for the future of their business? What does it do for the future of a business?

Rhodesia: (10:33)

I think for the future, it gets to the point where you don’t have to do as much like heavy lifting to get your community moving. I think when I first started, I had to absolutely post every single day in the group, otherwise nothing would happen, but it’s gotten to a point where people are starting to post things themselves and starting conversations themselves. And people are asking their friends to join the group and asking people they know to join the group, and I don’t have to be looking like, “Hey, who wants to learn about inclusivity in their business?” and doing that all over the place because they’re coming just organically. I think that is kind of the goal of what I wanted to get to so that the group could be more of like a resource, if anything, because I see this as being like, not just for my business, but this is the way I put in the work. I’m an introverted person. So going to protests and stuff like that it sounds like a nightmare for me. So this is how I’m doing the work, but through this and like the course I’m doing, this is how I’m doing work to make this world better.

Amalie: (11:35)

Yeah. And I love that. So, in terms of your business or someone’s business, what’s the importance of it? I think what I was kind of thinking in my mind is that the importance is that it helps, like you said, it’s warm leads. So it helps kind of create sort of organically this, this lead generation system or sort of pool of people, but also I would be willing to bet that it probably improves your referral network. Right. You know, they’re in the group, right. Cause you’re building relationships ultimately inside the community. Right. So, and I think that for referral networks, which is great, cause we were just talking about this recently on a podcast episode that it’s so important to build relationships and actual, genuine relationships, getting to know people inside of a community, especially like a Facebook group or anywhere where there’s a forum, where people are posting ideas and talking, having conversations organically, they’re going to start to build relationships with people. And so then your referral network starts to grow. You have better relationships, you start to get to know the people in your group, but also the people in your group benefit from that too. Because as they start to grow those relationships, you know, like you’ll start maybe to refer people to the people in your group and the people in your group will refer things to other members of the group. And so it just becomes, you know, a huge network, you know, whether they become your client or they just referrals or whatever, but there are so many opportunities for it based on just relationships and actual genuine relationships, not just reaching out on Facebook messenger, like, “Hey, I’m selling this thing” and they don’t even care about you.

Rhodesia: (13:25)

I hate them so much. So please don’t talk to me

Amalie: (13:29)

Very uncomfortable. I’m like, “Oh my God.” Like as if someone can’t smell that from a mile away, let’s come on.

Rhodesia: (13:35)

I mean, it must not work. I don’t get the point of keep doing it. There’s no way that works. There’s no way.

Amalie: (13:42)

And it must be exhausting.

Rhodesia: (13:43)

Please leave me alone. Yeah. I don’t know. And to the point of that, I think building relationships though, I am introverted person, I like building relationships with people, understanding what they’re good at and the things that they bring to the table, without even realizing, I guess I will refer people to other people in the group or I’ll see an article like, “Oh, so-and-so might think this is interesting”. I’ll send it to them. Things like that that had been mentioned before. And all of a sudden I send over a podcast or something else like that I think would be interesting to them or their industry. And I think sharing it really lets them know that I actually, I know who you are. I’m not just like just a random number. I’m actually paying attention, I’m in here too, and I want everyone to be able to be the best person they can be, the best person they can be in their industry. So that means, yes, it is great for me as a business owner, to be able to get those referral networks out there and really connect, but being able to connect with them needs to be authentic. It needs to be real. It can’t be fake and messaging and spamming them every other day. Not good.

Amalie: (14:50)

That’s not a good way to build relationships. Let’s just make sure we put that out there. Right. So let’s say someone is at a place where they’re, so they’ve gone through the business hierarchy of needs. They’ve gotten to community continuance. What’s the first place that they start? How does someone start to, if they haven’t already, maybe they have a little bit of a following and now they’re like, “okay, I’m ready to take on this new responsibility.” What’s the first thing that someone should do if they want to start to take maybe the small following that they have, maybe they don’t have a Facebook group. Maybe they do, but like what’s the next best step for them to take, like actionable steps for them to take?

Rhodesia: (15:30)

I think trying to think about what sets the group apart. I think like what I was talking about, the first group I started that was really like, nothing happens. The problem was that it was too vague. It was like a women’s entrepreneur group to learn about design. It sounds boring.

Amalie: (15:48)

I thought it was way more interesting than that.

Rhodesia: (15:52)

No one, I wasn’t getting the attraction because it there’s too many of those in the sea. It’s kind of like with business, you can’t differentiate yourself with what everyone else is differentiating themselves with. You need to take your special sauce of USP and use that to really make a group that speaks to the people you want in your community and your audience. Otherwise it’s just kind of like gonna fade into the background.

Amalie: (16:15)

So they probably need to find a platform if they don’t have one, right. Like find a platform, decide what platform you want, whether it’s, you know, if you just want to build your community around your Instagram account, that’s fine. Right. But if you’re looking for more of an engagement type community, Facebook group might work for you. Right. Or mighty networks is really starting to come out. I’ve actually, I belong to two communities on there on mighty networks. And I think it looks really great. It allows for some interaction and some units that you can put in there just like Facebook groups. So it’s just a different platform. I know some that go that have communities in Slack, which I don’t know if I love that, but I know that some people have built fairly large communities. Yeah. It’s a lot. It’s not something that I know some businesses that have been kind of successful at it. So I think it depends too, like where will your people most comfortably hanging out? If it’s too difficult to get to, people aren’t going to do it. You make it too hard and use it like the gym. If the gym is too far away and it takes too much effort to get there, I’m probably not going. So let’s just be honest, you know? So if your people or if your community has to work too hard to get there, they’re probably not going. Or, you know, maybe it’s like a zoom, once a week or whatever they decide. But so the first thing is to find like a structure around it. So a platform, and then come up with a method, how you’re going to, is it going to be posts? Are you going to post questions? Are you going to do lives or whatever. So having sort of a plan or a strategy on how to do that. And then it’s really coming down to inviting people. And, you know, if you don’t know what platform to be on, I would personally, I would reach out to my community or my following and say like, “where would you want to have this? I want to build this community, where should we have it?” And if it’s in person that it’s, you know, creating a monthly meeting or something, you know, place for people that are going to meet and make it a regular thing. So people put it on their calendar and start looking forward to it and that kind of thing. And then once you have that, then it’s really just inviting people and put essentially marketing, just like any business, right. Once you’ve come up with that.

Rhodesia: (18:38)

Definitely getting a group of people that you know are already be interested in inviting them in. And then that we’ll just go from there again, if we think one’s themselves to the group, also doing some kind of like lead magnet, I think was really helpful.

Amalie: (18:51)

So when you started yours, did you use that five day challenge, was that your entrance into your group? I can’t remember.

Rhodesia: (19:00)

No later, I think first I had done like a social media guide for maybe a couple of weeks to a month maybe. And that was bringing people into the group afterwards, after they finished looking at that. And then I built out the seven day or five day challenge off of the PDF lead magnet that really helped people come to the group.

Amalie: (19:22)

Awesome. Do you have any, well, first of all, I do want to offer, I’d love for you to promote, tell us any offer that you have going on right now, share that with us. and then we’ll put the link to your group in the show notes. So we will have that, but do you have anything special going on right now that you’d love to share with the audience?

Rhodesia: (19:43)

Just want to promote the groups, join the community and using your business as a platform to make change in the world.

Amalie: (19:53)

Awesome. So I’ll make sure that I put that, we’ll put it in the show notes for that. And then do you have anything else that you want to say about community continuance? Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?

Rhodesia: (20:06)

I think I’m good.

Amalie: (20:06)

Yeah. Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Well, we really appreciate you being here. Thank you so much Rhodesia. Where’s the best place for people to reach out if they do have questions or want to connect with you or want your services, what’s the best place for them to find you other than the group? We’ll put that in the links. Just the group? We’ll put it in there.

Rhodesia: (20:25)

Maybe my email, I guess.

Amalie: (20:29)

We have it. We’ll include that. We’ll include that. Right. Perfect. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. And for anyone listening, if you know anyone that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe to catch our other episodes. If you haven’t listened to the rest of the series for of the business hierarchy of needs, please go back and listen to it. It’s been super valuable. We’ve had some amazing guests on just like today and Rhodesia. Thanks again.

Rhodesia: (20:59)

Thank you so much for having me.


We strongly believe that you are only as strong as your network. Helping our customers either by serving them ourselves or connecting them to someone else – even if they are considered our “competitors” – is one of our core beliefs. In this episode, we discussed everything you need to know about complementary networks to better serve your customers every time.

Show Notes

One thing that you should always be doing as an entrepreneur is expanding your network with people who offer services or products similar to what you offer. Yes, what some people may call your “competition.”


Listen to this episode to find out!

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about the importance of building a complementary network to expand your business opportunities and offer a great service to your customers every time, even when you can’t help them directly. 

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ What is a “complementary network” and why it is important to the success of your business

➡️ Tips to build a successful complementary network

➡️ Why supporting other businesses helps you grow

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie Shaffer  0:01  

All right, welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer and I’m here with Janine Suvak.

Janine Suvak  0:07  

Hi there.

Amalie Shaffer  0:08  

And we are continuing our series on the business hierarchy of needs from Mike Michalowicz, his book Fix This Next and today we are talking about complementary network. And I think that you are only as strong as your network is, and something that, you know, you and I Janine value is, if we can’t help the client, we ensure them that we will get them connected with the person that can and the reason we’re able to say that and do that is because we’ve built a great network of people who provide services just like we do, but also complimentary services, right. So, you know, people that if we’re too busy, or we don’t feel like it would be a good fit, but we think someone else would be, even if there would be considered our competitor, it’s still important to have those people in your network and say, “I’m going to help you, and even if it’s not me, I’m still going to make sure you’re going to get taken care of.” And I think that’s so important. That’s that element of ethic. We even talked about it when we talked about letting, if you can no longer work with a team member or something and saying, “Listen, right now we don’t have the work for you, but I know someone who would be able to hire you”, and then you can refer them out and give them work or, you know, with a client if you’re not able to continue working with them. Let me refer you to somebody. And what that does is it continues to serve them just in a different way.

Janine Suvak  1:47  

Yeah, I think it’s a very basic premise. It’s the golden rule of treating people how you would like to be treated. And if you go on the premise that entrepreneurs are problem solvers, then people come to you, they have a problem that they need solved. And when I have a problem that I need solved, I appreciate any help along the way, getting me to the solution, whether it’s the first person I approach or the 10th, you know, it’s like that’s just how it goes sometimes. I actually learned this, saw this in action as a child I grew up with my family had a local plumbing business. And we hung out with other families who had local plumbing businesses, and they often refer clients to each other based on who, you know, sometimes you have, you only have so many people who work for you, sometimes you have more business than you can handle and you can’t leave the person, well, you could, you could just say sorry. Or you could give them the phone number to the person you recommend. And they always appreciate that and it builds your reputation.

Amalie Shaffer  2:45  

Yeah, I think it also deepens your impact, or expand your impact, because you’re leaving an impression on that person by taking care of them instead of just washing your hands of them, you know, and then also shows if you can build relationships with people who are either complimentary to your service or competitors, but it shows if you can build a relationship, and you’re confident in your business to have a relationship with your competitor, I think that that really speaks volumes about you and your business. And so I think then that allows you to have a bigger impact on the people that you’re serving, whether you’re directly serving them or you’re serving them by getting them the right help they need to solve their problem.

Janine Suvak  3:34  

Yep. And from the flip side is like I think it’s a red flag when you find someone who is trying to be anything or everything, then they haven’t really figured out what they are doing. They probably aren’t masterful at what it is they’re doing. And anyway I see that as a red flag.

Amalie Shaffer  3:55  

Definitely. And then to talk about complimentary, something that we provided for the ecomm coffee funnel that we released in the membership area to learn how to build a coffee drop shipping business is one element in in the membership area is a guide on how to brainstorm complimentary products so things that you can sell with coffee that makes sense so then involving other vendors or you know, suppliers in that and you can do that not just with physical products but services too, a complimentary to us, you know, to whatever your services, if you’re a website designer, then you know, maybe you have the complimentary service as a copywriter right where you would you would be able to collaborate or you know, refer someone once you’ve designed their website you could or get the wireframe, you could refer them to a copywriter that you work with. And there’s a strong bond behind or there’s strength behind the words of “Well, I’ve worked with this person”, you know, the people in our network we’ve worked with, and we’ve known and I very rarely would refer someone to someone I haven’t either known or worked with myself, or had my client, you know, whether we referred them to, you know, a client.

Janine Suvak  5:15  

In that instance, it’s someone who’s been referred to us by someone we greatly trust or wouldn’t do that, right.

Amalie Shaffer  5:24  

It’s nice to know that you have people that can support you. And, you know, if you’re referring people to someone, they’re likely to refer back to you, right. So it just sort of the circle of being able to support each other in business. Even like I said, even if it is someone that does what you do, or is a competitor, it’s still the same. And I think in the book, Mike Michalowicz talks about Miracle on 34th Street, about how the person was like, “Oh, we don’t have it, but you can go to the store to get it.” And that’s an important thing because ultimately, that’s going to leave an impression on them, and they’re going to want to come back to that store and buy something else later. Because you were honest with them and said, “Listen, we don’t have this toy, but over here has it” and sending that other store, you know, the business, I think that’s, you know, that’s just an important part of business, it doesn’t have to be a dog eat dog world, you know, like, it doesn’t have to be this cutthroat. It can be a more of a collaboration, that we make it out to be sometimes I think.

Janine Suvak  6:31  

Yeah, well, that was my thought just the word competitor, right, it’s like, you can spend way too much time worrying about the competition or trying to beat them out, or somehow stay ahead, when in fact, if your focus is on being and providing the very, very best, your business is inherently going to grow. And you are secondarily going to beat out your competition because of that, but that should be why not because of some kind of, I don’t know, underhanded tactic, or just, I don’t know, I mean, we’re not really talking about unethical practices, but it just seems like a negative way of moving through the world, rather than just doing the very best you can.

Amalie Shaffer  7:10  

And it comes off with a level of confidence too to be able to say, “Listen, I’m just not the right fit for you. But I know someone that is”, I mean, to be able to do that, instead of coming from a place of kind of scarcity, like, “Oh, my God, I got to help them.” And, you know, if you just come from a place of “look, we’re just not a great fit.” And that’s okay, not everyone’s gonna like me, not everyone’s gonna want to work with me, you know?

Janine Suvak  7:35  

Yeah, that’s the other thing about so called competitors. You could literally do the exact same thing. But on the personality side, some are better fits than not. And it just is what it is. That’s the chemistry between people.

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think that. Especially, you know, even when you’re starting out, I think that it’s important to have that, because the level that we’re talking about from the book is the impact level. But I think even when you’re starting out, building that network from the very beginning, I mean, there’s people that are in our network that I’ve known since the day I started my business, and I’m still in contact with them, and will still refer work and they’ll still refer work to me, or I’m like, “Hey, we got some openings, if you know anyone”, because then I feel comfortable enough going to them and saying, “I have openings for that if you know anyone that’s looking for this service, know that that I’m available, or we’re available for that.” And I think that’s important, too, because you’re going to constantly just have conversations and you know, you’re referring people back and forth. And I just think it’s a great support network too.

When you put it in perspective of the impact level, if you’ve gotten all the way through sales, and through order, or through profit, and then through order all the way to impact without building a network or collaborating in very many ways, shape or form. It’s like you’ve really done it the hard way. That is a long, tough slog. And there is a lot of fun in teamwork, even in joint ventures, just all the different ways you can collaborate with people, including your team and your audience along the way that you totally missed out on if you if you’ve managed to make it that far. But the odds are really against you that you can even get that far without it.

Amalie Shaffer  9:23  

Yeah, definitely. And there’s opportunities there of being able to get in front of other people’s audiences, people getting in front of your audience. You know, if you can provide a new service to your audience by collaborating with someone or bringing them in for a training or something, you’re telling them your audience “I will bring it to you” and then they–

Janine Suvak  9:49  

I care so much about you that if I can’t provide it, I am going to find an expert and bringing it to you. Yeah.

Amalie Shaffer  9:56  

Because now you have the expert network, right. And I think that’s so very important. I, I think I really, truly believe that you’re only as strong as your network is and you’re only as successful as your network and the people that are around you and supporting you in business for sure.

Janine Suvak  10:13  


Amalie Shaffer  10:15  

But I know this was a short one, do you have anything else to add about it? I think that pretty much wraps it up. There isn’t too much about that. If you don’t have a strong network, you need to go out and make some friends. Okay.

Janine Suvak  10:26  

if you struggle with it, reach out. There’s a lot of introverts out there in business and they do struggle with it, you know, so if you have any questions, and you want to just connect with us.

Amalie Shaffer  10:38  

Definitely, yeah, reaching out to people that do what you do, you guys can, you know, talk about, you know, your crazy stories, find ways to work together and collaborate. I think that’s like, that’s one of the best things is being able to do that. And the reason we were able to have all of these people, for the interviews for this Business Hierarchy of Needs series, was because of our network, most of the people we knew, there was a few people that we didn’t that we met and now we have now we know them now, you know, we’ve worked with them. But the reason we were able to fill so many plates, so many of the interviews is because we have a great network of people that we know and have worked with, and I’m really proud of that, you know.

Janine Suvak  11:21  

it’s been super fun. I love this series. Yes.

Amalie Shaffer  11:25  

Well that’s it for that if you do have questions, please feel free to reach out you can always message us on social media. And you can find out about the Fix This Next book by Mike Michalowicz on our website at If you know anyone that would be interested in hearing this episode, make sure that you share with them, make sure you subscribe. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes about the business hierarchy of needs, make sure you go back and listen to that. And we are really excited because on the second of February, we are interviewing Mike Michalowicz, the author and he agreed and so we are really excited about that. And we so if you

So if you have questions, bring them, bring them.

You can post them to us on social media. Feel free to message us if you have any specific questions you’d like us to ask him. And yeah, I guess that’s it. So I hope that you enjoyed this episode, and we will see you next time.

Janine Suvak  12:37  

Bye bye.


Do you know why feedback is so valuable for business growth? Believe it or not, feedback plays a big role in your company – and we will tell you how to use it! In this episode, we discussed the importance of feedback integrity, both internal and external, and how you as a business owner can use it to take your business to the next level.

Show Notes

As business owners, we do our best to keep our customers satisfied with our service and products. And not only them, but also our employees, contractors, and anyone we come in contact with.

It’s a hard job, to say the least. 

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about the importance of feedback integrity, how to set up systems to collect it and how to effectively use it to improve your business from the inside out.

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ The role of feedback integrity in your company

➡️ Steps to set up an effective process to receive feedback

➡️ How to use feedback to improve your services

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:36)

Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer, and I am here with Janine Suvak. Hello, and today we are continuing our series of business hierarchy of needs from Mike Michalowicz’s book, Fix This Next. And today we’re going to talk about feedback integrity, and we’re going to talk about the importance of getting feedback, both critical and complimentary, and also how to set up a system or a process that makes it easy for people to give you feedback. And when we say people, we mean clients, prospective clients, your community and your team as well. So let’s just start with the importance of it. That’s kind of the most obvious thing is getting feedback and outside perspective on things, whether it’s easy to hear, maybe some feedback is harder to hear, but let’s just talk about like, what can we pull from feedback? What’s the importance of getting the feedback from people?

Janine: (01:39)

Well, there’s literally, there’s people watching the KPIs for your business. Those numbers are feedback on how everything’s going, but it’s statistics, it’s not personal, right? So you are getting feedback all the time. I hope that’s what you’re doing. And I think the funny thing about feedback in your comment is like, it is obvious, but I think for a lot of people, it’s really scary because of the potential for the negative feedback.

Amalie: (02:07)

For sure. I think it’s important too when you elicit feedback from people in a way of like describing and using words to give you feedback versus just numbers, you’re able to hear them put into their words, how they say things and how they would describe your service or your product, which helps you with sales copy. And it helps you improve your messaging by hearing how your actual customers and clients, the words they use, then that gives you that verbiage to use on your sales pages, in your emails, on your social media posts, because you’re hearing it right from them. And I think that’s an important thing, especially if you’re possibly looking to rebrand or, you know, you’re looking to improve your messaging. That’s definitely a way to, to a place to start it. If you’re thinking and you want to refresh the brand, place to start is to get feedback from people before you even start writing, hear it from the people that are actually buying your thing or your service. Right?

Janine: (03:14)

Yep. And we’re assuming that your sales copy and your product are in line with each other, because for sure, the sales copy speaks to the pain points and meets them where they are. But if the product doesn’t, then that will show in the feedback as well and your refund rate and it’ll cause all kinds of other problems, if those things aren’t in line with each other, so they should be. But I was just going to say, I think it’s interesting. It’s like you to take the emotions out of it and the personalization out of it, it’s like in the startup world or in entrepreneurial programs at universities and things like that, they’ll have the students take their product and literally go out on the street and solicit feedback and ask people about the thing that they want to sell in order that’s market testing. Right? And so they’re actively positively seeking market feedback and the sooner you get it and the more you get tthe better your product will be. And then everything else follows from that. And that really should never end.

Amalie: (04:21)

I think it’s really important to understand too, that in general, people will not give feedback openly unless they’re asked for it. And so it’s important to actually listen it from people, send them a form, something like that. We’ll go into setting up a process for that, but it’s really important to ask people. I would even say, if you’re looking for feedback about your internal operations from your team, it is so important that you specifically tell your team members that you are open to hearing from them good, bad, or otherwise that you want to hear from them. And you have to hold that up. Right? So the first time that someone gives you some negative feedback or critical feedback and you, then you respond negatively is going to send people away immediately. And so you have to, if you say that you are open to hearing feedback, you have to remain open to hearing about it and know that it’s coming from a good place. Whether, you know, it’s hard to hear or not. But I think it’s important that whether it’s your team or prospective clients or current clients, or, you know, whatever, asking specifically asking people, you know, that’s something that we do in our businesses. We ask people, if someone, we recently had a situation, we launched e-comm coffee, a funnel, and a membership area that teaches people how to start a coffee drop shipping business. And we’ve gotten some negative feedback and that’s okay. But we’ve specifically responded to those people and said, you know, could you give us more details about what you need or what you want or why you wanted, you know, a refund or whatever. And it’s important, even if they never respond, I want them to walk away knowing that we’re open to hearing what they have to say. If they’re unhappy, there’s bound to be someone else that’s unhappy too. Right. And so we’ve got to get those details about it, but I think it’s important to give people the opportunity if you don’t have a platform or a form, or, you know, if you don’t ask the question, a lot of people just walk away with, you know, and not say anything, whether it’s good or bad. I mean, both of it’s, you know, will help, but it’s important to actually ask for it. Yeah.

Janine: (06:30)

And there’s a certain amount, as far as the negative feedback goes, it’s like, there’s always going to be a little bit of you can’t please everybody. But if you’re looking closely on that, it gives you tips to what your next product could be, how the current one could be better. How your system, not just the product itself, but maybe how you’re delivering it. Right. Maybe something’s just not explained well enough. Maybe it’s hard, too hard for them to use, even though it will get them the result that they want. And the same thing, as far as feedback goes, it’s not all just about the negative feedback. You can have tons of positive feedback and still in there are some gems like, “Hey, this is awesome, but wouldn’t it be great if this…” Or what, if you know, your audience will lead you and give you feedback on it’s the market demand right. It’s like, if they love this one thing from you, they’ll love the next.

Amalie: (07:20)

Yeah. And getting testimonials from feedback. You know, if there’s positive things, you can put that on there. You can use that in your copy or, you know, wherever, but that’s all going to come when you ask people about it, you know, ask them to give you that. So if we’re talking about, “Oh, this is what I want,” well, and process because I think there’s important, there’s different ways that feedback needs to be asked for from different people. So like your team members, you know, maybe it’s a quarterly thing, “Hey, how are things going?” Maybe have a form that they fill out and then you can sit down and have a meeting with them kind of open conversation. That’s something that I would do quarterly, or even every six months, something like that for a client. If you’re working with them, I would get feedback from them when it’s done. Right? When you finished your service or once they’ve received and used your product even, but with prospective clients, let’s say it’s someone that opted into your freebie or someone that filled out the first step of your two-step order form, but not the second part where they actually put the payment in. It’s great to go back to them and say, “Hey, we noticed that you filled this out partially, but didn’t finish it. Is there something that stopped you?” That feedback is important. So there’s different places where different groups of people should be asked for feedback. Where you going to say something about that?

Janine: (08:43)

I was going to say, I would just, I would go into a little more detail with a client. I think it’s important to get feedback from the onset of the project. You know, that it really is okay. And they’re on board with what the plan is and how it’s going to be executed. And then at every step along the way, you know, not every single step, but each significant milestone. Right. Because sometimes, sometimes clients may or may not know exactly what they want, and those can be more challenging because then, you know, I try to stay away from clients who don’t actually know what they want or the result they want, because they’re, you know, these are the people who are like, “Oh, you know, just go ahead and do it.” Right. And then you can turn around and give them something that you think is brilliant and and it’s a read their mind kind of thing. And it just sets up for problems. I think.

Amalie: (09:36)

Well, yeah, I think in the beginning, it’s more about setting expectations and having a conversation about it. What I meant at the end was getting feedback about, “okay, where were you when we started? Where are you now? You know, what did you expect to see that you didn’t see?”, You know, asking them those kinds of questions, but yeah, definitely you need to get feedback throughout the whole process and making it clear to the client that here is the avenue you can use to give to, if you need something where you have questions or you want to give us feedback. And for us, we use Slack. And so we bring our clients on Slack and they can message us there. And we make sure that we communicate with them to let them know that there’s an open line of communication. Obviously they can’t have us on calls all the time, but they can leave us messages and we can get back to them and have a conversation if we need to get back on the same page, if they feel like we’re not on the same page, I think that’s important. And then that end form that we have. So we have a Google form that we send to clients at the end. Once we finished our contract, we have a form that they fill out. And so the process is we generally wait, we have a wrap-up call once the wrap-up calls done once everything’s been completed. And we’ve parted ways, if you will, then we send the form and an email. On the e-comm coffee side, in our abandoned cart emails, we do elicit some responses. And then if we find that people respond to us personally saying like the one that I mentioned, I then went in and responded to them personally and asked them, “you know, could you give us some more details we’re looking to improve.” So that way we’re, again, opening the lines of communication, letting them know we’re here to listen. Even if they don’t respond, that’s fine. But they know from our side of things that we’re open to hear what they have to say. And then with our team, we constantly are reiterating that we are open. Please tell us if something could work better. If there’s a better process, if you see a better way to do something, please let us know, we’re open. And we realized that, yes, we know click up. Yes. You know, I’m proud of what I know about click up, but that doesn’t mean that I know everything about it doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t know a better way of doing things and so we’re open to that and we do elicit the feedback from our team, “Hey, how’s it going? Is there a better way to do this?” You know, and asking them, especially for the people that are doing the processes, they’re going to be the best people to give us the feedback.

Janine: (12:07)

I was going to say back to when somebody comes to you with a problem or some kind of negative feedback, I think that the best answer just to start with is “thank you.” Followed by, “What do you think we should do about it?” Yeah, because hopefully they’ve given some thought. I mean, I refer back to our military times when, if you went to the commander with a problem, you are expected to have three suggested recommended courses of action. So he is like everything in a multiple choice format, but really, you know, if they’re the ones seeing the problem, they’re the ones who may have the solution right off the top.

Amalie: (12:46)

And that’s a training point too, for your team, especially if they come to you with a problem, but they don’t come with a solution, say, “thank you for bringing this to me, please take the time. You know, tell me what you think about it. You know? And we can either set up another meeting” or something like that, but train them to come with the solution. That’s why you hired them. We’ve mentioned this so many times about, you want to hire people that are better at things than you are. That’s why you bring them on, you know, you want someone that’s better at doing it than you are. And so they should be able to come up with the solution. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t have, you know, feedback. Obviously it’s a feedback loop. And so they can come with their solution. And if you have something to say about it, you can kind of go back to back and forth, to come with the final solution and then move forward from there.

Janine: (13:38)

Yep. And this is where I’d like to bring up the point of it’s there’s more than one answer most of the time. So even if you immediately have a solution that comes to mind just asking them what they think and then running through the exercise, either with them, or like you say, calling a meeting and getting the team involved in it, where you run them through the exercise of, with these various courses of actions, I’m choosing this one because, or which, you know, then they still have buy-in they feel like they’re listened to, they’re more likely to go along with the suggested solution, even if it wasn’t the one that they initially came up with.

Amalie: (14:14)

Yeah. I think one of the things we didn’t mention was if you have a community, you know, a Facebook group or something like that, or mighty networks or something, getting feedback from your community is important. Even if they’re not paying clients or they haven’t purchased any of your products, if they’re following you, I mean, everyone has an opinion about everything. So I would just ask them, you know, if you’re looking for, if you’re getting ready to launch this new product or do a new training, ask your community for feedback on that and make sure that they understand how they can give you feedback. Obviously there’s, you know, you don’t necessarily want people just posting it on the wall. Maybe you have one, you know, ongoing posts where people can put feedback so you can control it somewhat. But you know, letting them know that there’s an outlet and a place where you will hear them and take it into consideration, I think that’s important. And then to follow up on it, I think that’s the most important thing, especially about the critical feedback is to follow up and actually execute. And if you can’t, because there’s a reason for it, you know, giving an explanation. So people don’t feel like they’re just giving you feedback, but nothing’s being done. And that goes for your team that goes for your community, your clients, you know, that goes in any of those situations. I think if there’s a reason you can’t fulfill or change, whatever they’re recommending, it’s important to let them know that there’s a reason behind it. Because if you get feedback, but make zero changes people they’re not going to trust that you’re actually listening to them. They’re not going to feel heard. And they’re going to feel like they’re just putting, you know, in the comment box, which is like not actually anyone reading it.

Janine: (15:54)

And why is that important? That means you’re not getting better. Your business isn’t getting better. Your product or service isn’t getting better. I mean, really. If you think about what you’re saying, commenting back to people, it’s like your marketing for your business, no matter what channel or channels you’re on is, that’s literally, if you’re just spewing things out and not taking anything in, you’re not engaging, you’re actually not using using your marketing efforts to their best ability. And you’re missing out on tons. In addition to feedback, wherever it is that you’re putting in from it, wherever it is, you meet your community out there is where you should be commenting back. Whether it’s on your social media channels. If you’re say running Facebook ads, people can comment on them. You should be commenting back. Those are all conversation starters. And for every one person who’s writing something, there’s a whole lot of people who are reading it, you know, the lurkers who are out there and it’s important that they want to see how you handle. They want to know what your answers are, good or bad. They just, they’re watching everything you say and do. And that’s important.

Amalie: (16:59)

Absolutely. So just to recap, you want to make sure that you’re getting feedback from clients prospective clients, your community, your team, and you want to actually ask for feedback so that people give it to you, make it known that you’re open to critical, to positive, whatever, whatever feedback you’re looking for, make sure that you make it clear that you, that you want all feedback. You welcome all of it. You want to have a process for it. So a form, you know, a form for your clients when they wrap up a form for your team members away for your community to submit feedback and a way for prospective clients, if you’re looking to make changes, put the questions out to your community or your followers or your audience and get an actually them questions that they can respond and then engage with them. So as far as feedback, you know, I think those are the important elements and then following up with it. So either executing it to improve the service or product based on the feedback or letting people know that if there’s something that you can’t do, why and so that they feel like they’ve actually been heard. Anything else I’m missing?

Janine: (18:10)

No, I think that was fantastic.

Amalie: (18:12)

Okay. Awesome. Well, we hope that you enjoyed this episode. If you know anyone that can benefit from hearing it, please share it. Make sure you subscribe. If you haven’t listened to the rest of the business hierarchy of needs series, please go back and listen. We’ve had amazing guests and some really great conversations about it. The book is Fix This Next by Mike Michalowicz. It’s also a fantastic book. You can find it on our website, systematic excellence, We appreciate you. And we will see you next time.

Janine: (18:40)

Wait, wait, what do we have coming up?

Amalie: (18:44)

Oh, we have an interview with Mike Michalowicz. It’s actually to our last interview of the series. So on February 2nd, we’ll be doing an interview with Mike Michalowicz, we’re super excited about that.

Janine: (19:00)

That’s so much fun. Yeah. All right. Well, if you catch that too. Yeah.


When you and your team are moving together in the same direction, great things happen – for everyone! In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we had Karen Grill join us to talk about a very important step for entrepreneurs: dream alignment. Join us to learn how to really bring your team together while achieving your business’ goals. Listen now!

Show Notes

There are endless benefits to helping your employees reach their own goals. If they feel like they are fulfilling their personal goals and the company’s goals, they are more likely to perform better. It’s an awesome win-win situation for everyone.

In this episode, we will tell you step by step what you need to do to align your employees’ dreams with your company’s mission for ultimate growth!

Our guest for this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast is Karen Grill, a business and productivity coach for entrepreneurs and a certified Fix This Next adviser. We talked about dream alignment, which is an important part of Mike Michalowicz’ Business Hierarchy of Needs. Join us as we discuss the importance of supporting your team’s dreams in order to reach your business’ goals.

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ What dream alignment means for your business

➡️ Simple ways to find out if there is a misalignment in your company 

➡️ Crucial mistakes you need to avoid when growing your business

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Karen Grill:

Our Website

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Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:02)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer and I am here with Janine Suvak and we are Systematic Excellence Consulting. And I’m really excited to be here and we are on another step from the Mike Michalowicz’s business hierarchy of needs. We are on dream alignment and we have a special guest here. And I’m really excited. I think this is a really important step in the business hierarchy of needs because this really brings everyone together and it has everyone facing in the same direction and moving together. So today we have Karen with us. Karen is a business and productivity coach for entrepreneurs and a certified fix this next adviser. Having started her first online business over 12 years ago, she knows the struggles of entrepreneurs and has learned the strategies for creating a successful business. She loves helping business owners manage their time, overcome their tech issues, create systems and strategies to work less and earn more so that they can run the business they love while still having time for their families and themselves. Karen, welcome. And thanks so much for being here.

Karen: (01:13)

Well, thanks to you both for having me. I’m really excited.

Amalie: (01:16)

Yeah. Yeah. So we’re, it’s been really fun doing this business hierarchy of needs series because we’ve been able to interview people from different industries and speak on the topics that ultimately affect all businesses. And so it’s been really interesting to bring a bunch of different people on and, I’m excited because you’re a fix this next advisor. Like we are. So, you know these topics in and out like we do, and it’s good. And I’m really excited. So let’s dive in and let’s just start by talking about dream alignment. What does it mean? And as far as the business hierarchy of needs, where does it fit in and what does it mean to you when you read that part or when you start to look at a business that needs that step?

Karen: (02:01)

Well, this is up on the impact level, right? And so I think dream alignment is so important, but overlooked by so many businesses. And I think small businesses to large businesses. I mean, I think it’s all the businesses and it’s actually can be a very simple step to start asking the people that you work with, who work for you, kind of what their dreams and goals are. And I think a lot of people shy away from this topic because I think it’s money. And so often the case as it has nothing to do with money, it’s really talking to the people and finding out kind of, I call it like their business currency or their business language, what really excites them. And then what do they need in their life to make them be able to show up a hundred percent for their job. Right. And I think it can just be starting with that simple conversation, whether you’re a small business owner or a large business. In thinking about dream alignment, people often ask me, “but Karen, like at a shoe store or a fast food place, how can you have a dream alignment for your employees?” Because they’re probably not going to there forever. That’s probably not their life career. But I think it’s easy to at least talk to them about it, have that conversation and figure out where they are. And sometimes it can be a simple solution. So if you’re a store owner for a shoe store and you have an employee and you talk to them and you find out, “Oh, they want to be an accountant they’re studying”. So maybe you have them meet with your accountant and having a 30 minute conversation with it. It can be as simple as that, that costs you no money, but it shows that you really care about the people and know you’re interested in them and invested in them. And they’re more likely then to be invested in your business.

Amalie: (03:32)

Yeah, absolutely. And it’s also, I think it’s important too, when we talk about moving people lie around and role alignment too, because if you understand what their dreams and aspirations are, and you want to keep them in the company, you can either create a position, have them move or transfer to another position inside the business. You can keep them, you know, and, you know, still offer them opportunities. So I think that also helps with the dream alignment. I think the most important thing is making sure that you as the business owner and the team understands, what is the business’s goal? And where is the business going? Because then they can figure out where they fit in, you know, get in where you fit in. But you have to even know what it is to so you could figure out what your place is in it. All right. And it starts with the business owner because if the business owner is a little shaky on that, everyone else is going to be shaky on it. Right. You know.

Karen: (04:32)

Especially I see it with smaller businesses. They don’t really think about their mission. They just started their business and they started to get clients or customers. And so they’re kind of, back-filling some of the things that they miss and when you don’t have that values and mission for your business, it is hard for the employees to understand where they fit or if they want to continue on that with you. And so I do think it’s important to figure out, you know, as the business owner, what it is so that you can communicate it to all other people who work for you or with you. And so that they can say, “Oh, I am totally in alignment with that. I am so excited to work here” and then supporting them. You’re right. So some people it’s all about titles, right? They want to move up the ladder and become a VP of something. Some people do want more money and that’s fine, but some people want more time. And I think we’re seeing that a lot kind of with the things that we were experiencing this year, that people actually want more time for their family. And so with that simple conversation, you can figure out so many solutions. With the tech nowadaws we can have so many more solutions than like 30 years ago where you were the work part-time or full-time and that was kind of it now, you know, working remotely is so commonplace having reduced hours, figuring out ways that you can work with your employees so that you can get the best from thenyou’re more likely to retain them. They’re happier, more likely to have better sales or rates. So it’s overall a great business strategy to really support the people who work with you.

Amalie: (05:47)

Yeah. What does it look like or in your experience, what have you noticed when there is a misalignment between employees, team members and the ultimate mission of the business, what does that like? What have you noticed as when it’s misaligned?

Karen: (06:05)

I think a lot of business owners will see that their employees aren’t very happy to come to work, right? So sometimes they’re late. Like that’s one indication. They don’t want to work as many hours maybe as they had in the past. So those are some small indicators, but other ones are, you know, maybe they’re not doing their job as well, or they’re not as enthusiastic, especially if they’re a frontline worker, they’re communicating with a customer, you want them to be happy and excited about their job. If you start to see that go down, that’s typically indications that something’s not quite right. And that’s definitely why you should have been proactive and had the conversation early. But if you haven’t done that, to do that now.

Janine: (06:37)

Yeah. Well, it’s a really tipping point, isn’t it? Right? Because when you get started out, you’re pushing, you’re pushing yourself and you’re pushing your business until you get that little bit of momentum and then you have the team and you’re pushing them. But when you have that dream alignment going on, it turns from pushing into pulling and they’re just taking it and running with it, it’s a whole different feeling. And if you’ve never gotten there is like, it’s pretty glorious. You definitely want to strive for that with your team.

Amalie: (07:04)

Yeah. And understanding too, as your team members are with you over years, their priorities are going to change too. And understanding what that looks like. So, and it doesn’t mean that the business owner, because as the business gets larger, there’s going to be more people. And one person can’t remember all these things about all these people, but then you delegate the responsibility down to, you know, your C level executives to managers to, “Hey, this is important.” So the business owner, the CEO puts out to the C-level executives to the managers that it’s important for us to make sure that everyone is aligned, their dreams and goals are aligned with the business’s ultimate mission, goals, dreams, those kinds of things. And it’s your responsibility as their direct manager to make sure that that’s happening. And if it isn’t, you can got to communicate that up and down. Right. So figuring out what it looks like for them. And so, as you know, the business gets bigger, the CEO gets further away from there’s some distance put between there, but then the responsibility of making sure that all of these things are aligned then goes onto the shoulders of the people below the CEO and then below the C-level executives and then down to, you know, middle management, those kinds of things. And so, but it all starts with the business, or the CEO, putting that out as that is an expectation that is a, you know, a mission statement, if you will, for the business. And I think that’s important because people will constantly change and decide maybe they have kids. So then their, you know, their goals and things change and their values and what they’re looking for. Maybe they never wanted to be promoted, but now all of a sudden they’re like, “all right, things have changed now I need a promotion.” Right. And so you have to understand like where they’re coming from and what they’re looking for. If they’ve got to send a bunch of kids to school, the college they might want to, you know, there might be looking for some different opportunities, right. And we want to support them in that.

Karen: (09:02)

And I think you’re so right, that it does come from top, right. That the business owner really needs to set that tone because otherwise it’s easier than for maybe the lower-mid managers to say, “Oh, this isn’t that big a deal. I don’t really need to do this.” But if you’re really affirm as the business owner saying, “this is really important, and I can explain why it’s so important for the business”, they’ll understand that they need to continue this. And I think a big mistake that I see a lot is they’ll have the one conversation and then never do anything again. And so you really need to make sure as kind of the business owner, making sure that not only do you have that initial conversation, maybe set up a plan or some, you know, play times that you’re going to reconnect and talk about this again, because things do change. You need to make sure you follow through with that. You can’t just have an initial conversation. Everyone gets excited and then nothing ever happens again. And I see that a lot.

Amalie: (09:45)

What happens then?

Karen: (09:47)

Right. Well, and again, then the employees feel like they were kind of tricked, right?

Janine: (09:51)

That’s worse than not saying anything at all, isn’t it?

Karen: (09:54)

No, it’s true. And so, cause they get excited and maybe they create all these ideas and these plans, and you’re not there to support them with that. They’re like, “what was the point? You know, you’re not really caring about me. You’re not supporting me.” So you can’t kind of make it. You need to make sure that we’re going to do this maybe quarterly or maybe when it’s your, you know, yearly review or something, you’re checking in with them and making sure you’re following through.

Amalie: (10:15)

Yeah. And having an open and transparent feedback loop of ways to, “Hey, you asked me about this thing, but you never,” you know, having a way to be able to have these conversations, but it takes everyone being able to be honest with themselves and be like, “you know what, I messed up” and, you know, being able to evaluate where they are and admit when they’ve made the mistake of, “you know what, I did let that go and I didn’t follow up, I’m sorry.” Right. And being able to hear feedback about themselves. Right. And I think on every single level that we’ve talked about, it requires everyone to just be honest and be able to evaluate their own performance and behavior and say, “you know what, okay, maybe this is something that I need to look at a little closer, or I need to evaluate, how can I do this better?” And it, and it’s all about a full on feedback loop up and down, you know, the chain and, and being able to receive feedback from, you know, people that you’re managing or people on your team, but then also having your team be comfortable receiving feedback from you too. And so it really needs to be an open, transparent thing. And I think we’re not all perfect. So, you know, in this dream alignment, if someone feels as if they’re not aligned, you want them to be comfortable to say something like, “you know what, I’ve just been really feeling like this position I’m in is not really filling my needs, or I’m not feeling motivated anymore. And is there other opportunities for me” or, you know, that kind of thing. And being able to hear that and then either tell them like, #you know, right now we can’t, but I’ll definitely keep you in mind in the future”, or “yes, we have an opportunity for you and you can apply for it” or something like that.

Karen: (11:57)

And, and again, I think that does start from the top when the kind of set the tone and make that a priority. People feel more willing to be able to talk about that. And again, if you come from the place of, you want people to be successful in the place that they are, and if they’re feeling out of alignment, they’re unlikely to be a hundred percent successful, right. So if you kind of view it from, we want everyone to be in the best position for them to use their best skills and our knowledge, then I think it’s easier for them to say, “you know what? I’m not feeling that I’m using my skills in the best way.” And that’s easier I think to talk about then if you’ve set that tone from the very beginning from the business owner down.

Amalie: (12:31)

Yeah. I think in smaller teams, a lot of the people we work with might only have 10 to 20 team members. And so I think when they, these all still apply regardless of how big your team is. And I think it’s easy to think, you know, when you’re going through the business hierarchy of needs like, “Oh, that’s for bigger businesses,” but it’s not, even smaller. But even if you just have two people, you could still put out the tone of the message, that it’s important that “I want you as my team member to be doing what you love to do. And if there is a way for us to put you in that position, we can”. Now with smaller teams, obviously people end up wearing more hats and that can be a little more difficult, but there is still a way to do that. Maybe, you know, you can hire a third person if you only have two or something like that. But I still think that all of these steps, even something like this at the impact stage can still be done in smaller businesses. You know, do you agree?

Karen: (13:28)

Totally agree. So I work with even smaller businesses where they maybe started as a solopreneur and then hired a couple of people like a graphic designer or a virtual assistant. And you’ll see a lot of times when you go in, they’ve had turnover virtual assistants and you know, sometimes there’s a lot of different reasons, but a lot of times it’s because they really didn’t understand what they were looking for. And a lot of times it was time, they kept saying, “well, I kept giving them raises and they still didn’t stick around.” And so when you kind of go in and delve deeper, if they never had those conversations with them, and a lot of times it ended up being that they wanted a different time schedule. And so I think, you know, there’s easy solutions to a lot of these things. So one time I had someone who I was asking about, “so what are your dreams and things?” And she wanted to learn that specific program, a software program. And it just so happened that I had a course on that. I’m like, “well here, why don’t I give you the course, we’ll meet, you know, each quarter and you’ll tell me how you’re doing. And then, you know, you can have this new skill.” It’s a win-win for me, she knows a new program that she can use for my business. And so, you know, it didn’t cost me anything. Right. And so I think there’s so, so many, a variety of solutions that you can find to help support the different people, whether you’re a very small business or a very big business. Yeah. But it’s really just starting with figuring out, you know, what each person wants.

Amalie: (14:38)

Yeah. I even think that you can apply it to contractors too, in a sense that, you know, but obviously there’s a limit for contractors because they’re not employees. So I think there is a balance that you need to make sure you’re in accordance with the law and all of that. But I think there is a way to, we have contractors that we work with that one of the first questions when we bring them on or put them in our referral network is, what can you do? What do you love to do? And what would you like to learn that you want to, you know, that kind of thing. And so then, then we know, and we can prepare ourselves to bring them on and say, okay, we know we’re bringing this person on. They don’t have the skill, but they are willing to learn. Okay. So we’ll bring them on knowing that, or they can do this, but they love to do this. So let’s try to get them a position with this skill, you know, doing this particular thing. And I think that’s important. That’s one of the first questions that we ask them just on a form, you know, before we even bring them in for an interview, just so we can understand, like, okay, what do you love to do? And what’s your skill level at it? Is it something you love to do? And you have a little bit of skill and we need to give you some training. Cool. Then we know, and we can go in eyes wide open and help you, you know, do that. And I think that helps even with contractors to align them with where you’re going in the business. And I think that’s important, even if they’re working just five hours a week in your business, it’s still important that they’re supporting you because if they have time and you bring them on for more hours, then maybe they become an employee. If you show them that sort of support through growing with them and them growing with you, then you know, I think that you can both be successful.

Karen: (16:16)

I agree. And then you’re more likely to retain them, right. Because they’re saying, “Oh, she’s showing an interest in me. So, you know, I’d like a stick around” and it’s true, we all have certain things that we like to do more than other things. Right. And we maybe have a ton of skills and a lot of people on applications that just list what skills you like. But if you don’t ask them what they really like to do, what they’re really passionate about or what they feel like they excel at, then you won’t know for sure what types of things you should be giving them and what would really give you the best impact for the dollars that you spend. Right. You want to have that return on investment, be the best it can be. And so I think having that conversation with contractors as well is so important.

Amalie: (16:51)

So if someone feels like their company’s mission is not aligned with some of their team members, what would you tell it? What advice would you give them of how to make those changes or how to go about getting things in alignment, if they’re feeling like things are misaligned.

Karen: (17:12)

So I think a little research goes first. So I mean, if, depending on the size of the company and maybe there’s other avenues that they just are in kind of the wrong area. And so maybe there’s a different area that they could be in the company. And then having that conversation like, “you know, I really enjoy working with you, but I would prefer to work in this area. How can I make that transfer?” In some companies it’s easy in others it’s not. So that’s definitely, I would do a little research first to figure out if there’s something else in this company that I could do, if not, then you’re going to have to look outside. And maybe there’s some support that they can have to, to help you grow whatever, maybe it’s leadership or something, some other skills that you might need, with understanding that you might be looking for other opportunities. I mean, I think being open is kind of the best policy, I think from both sides. So if you talk to the person, say, you know, we don’t have any opportunities in that area. You need to be okay to hear that. I know that there aren’t those opportunities and then, you know, investigate other opportunities for yourself. But I think again, if you can be open with the people and hopefully they’re open with you, it’s usually a much better win-win situation.

Amalie: (18:11)

Yeah. Yeah. And I think for, you know, if any contractors or employees are listening to this, then they can also reach out, you know, and say, “Hey, I’m really feeling like I’m not in alignment.” Or if they don’t even know what the mission is, if they aren’t clear on that. I think one of the first things I would recommend a business owner to do is, is your mission clear to your team? And if they say yes, well, have you asked them if they know, cause that’s the first place I’d start is let’s ask them to make sure, because a lot of times you’re like, “yeah, they definitely know, they know what’s going on.” And then you ask the team and they’re like, “we absolutely don’t know what’s happening. We just go day by day and see what happens, you know?” And then if that’s the case, then that’s probably the first place you want to start is this is our mission. And it’s okay if the mission changes, but you just got to let everyone else know, you know, before.

Karen: (19:03)

And I think, you know, as business owners, we’re so busy and we think we’ve communicated that to the team. Right. A lot of the times it’s just been in our head that we’ve told them all these things, right. We haven’t actually done it in an effective way. And so I do think, you know, whether it’s having a meeting, you know, whatever the way your business works is making sure you communicate that because if they know too, then they’ll better understand how to serve your clients and customers. Right. They don’t know the mission, that’s harder to do. I think it also helps them with sales and then helping them stay. And then they can also see, you know what, this actually, isn’t the place for me with this kind of mission. And you don’t want people who aren’t in alignment, staying with you for long periods of time, because it really is not a win-win situation for either side. And so maybe it’s even helping them find what they’re looking for and helping them move on to that. So you can have the right person who is aligned with your business mission in that specific place.

Amalie: (19:52)

Yeah. I think that’s a good point because if they’re not aligned, then maybe moving on to something, you know, leaving your team might be the ideal situation. And although that can be tough because you’ll have to train someone new and at the end, in the long run, it might be better, you know, to do that sort of, I mean, similar with clients like, you know, you have some clients that are aligned with what you’re doing now, and then you have some that aren’t, and it’s probably better just to kind of move on, you know, if you’re transitioning or pivoting, it’s better to just work with the clients that are ideal for you, not ones that are going to take you off the track that you’re on. I mean, it’s similar with team members, I’d think.

Janine: (20:29)

There’s some intangible math in there beyond just the hiring and training. Right. Because if their heart’s not in it, they’re just not giving you their best work. And that affects your whole business.

Amalie: (20:41)

Yeah. I think one of the things that I with our team members I’ve found is that the way that I can tell that like they have our backs, no matter what is that, they will say things like, “Hey, is there anything like, what else can I do? Is there, I want to learn this.” And like, you know, if we put out, Hey, does anyone know? Cause as we bring clients in, sometimes we have to change who’s going to take lead on that project from our team and we’ll say, “Hey, does anyone specifically know this software?” And guaranteed, no matter what, I’ve never asked a question like that and not had one of our team members say, even if they don’t, “we’ll all learn if you need me to,” you know? And so to me, obviously if they don’t know it and we need them to know it that’s different, but just the fact that they’ll say like, “that’s okay, I’ll learn it.” I’ve not had anything that we’ve put out that someone was like, “nah, I’m good.” We’ve never had that situation. And that tells me one, they believe in what we’re doing and are willing to help us and be flexible and learn. And you know, then we can work something out. Maybe we pay them to learn if we need them to do it faster. Maybe they learned on their own and we can work out an agreement with them. But I mean, that to me just shows that they support whatever we’re doing, you know, and they have our back and no matter what happens, they’ll be there to help us, which is great to know because I mean, we rely on them to be able to take on clients and client projects and get things done and our own internal projects, you know, they help us get those things done. And I think that’s so important. But that tells me, that right there. Just every time I ask a question like that or, you know, or we ask them to do something new, they take it on without any issue. Like, “Hey, we have this thing we want you to learn and they’ll take it on.” No questions asked and, and they’ll, you know, they’ll ask questions if they need help, but you know, they’re not like, “mmm, I don’t think so.” And so I think that we just have a really great team and I feel like that’s a sign that you have great people working with you is if you’re need help and they’re willing to jump in and “Okay. Yeah. Just let me know what I gotta do, and I’m here to help,” you know, and I think that’s really, that’s really important too.

Karen: (22:54)

Because I think when people feel supported and heard, they’re willing to go above and beyond, right? So you’re like, you’re saying there’s maybe their exact job description and there’s some businesses I’ve been in where people will only do, like what’s written down. They won’t do anything above and beyond that. And I think that’s because they’ve never been supported, but in those organizations where people have had conversations and they try to help and show them that they really care about them doing training for them or whatever that is, they’re willing to say, yeah, I’ll raise my hand. I’ll step out of my comfort zone. I’ll try something new because they do feel supported. And so I think that’s the kind of environment we all want, right. Where people can grow and learn new things and contribute in different ways than they had ever thought. That’s been, what’s specifically written on their job description.

Janine: (23:35)

We have a client that we just finished up a 90 day intern program with five interns. And so that was, it’s interesting in this context and that was inherently short-term and they’re totally inexperienced. Like we knew they were moving on from the day they got there. And so did they, they were all college students, but we did weekly check-ins where, not just how are they doing, but basically helping them add what they’d done the week prior into their resume and how to put some of the work that they’ve done into a portfolio. So we were literally helping them get ready to find that next job as part of the program, you know, but they loved it. And they certainly raised their hands once I think, you know, it’s like they see that what we, what cause this one client in particular, there’s like there was more work than there is team all the time. It’s just the nature of the business. So anytime they wanted to raise their hand, they could do more. And as they, as they caught on to how it, what it was doing for them, they kept raising their hand more and more and everybody was super happy about it. And it’s just great to see.

Amalie: (24:41)

Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. So Karen, any last word before we wrap up about dream alignment and how people can make sure you know, that their team members are aligned with the mission and you know, the goals of the business, any last words?

Karen: (25:02)

Well, I know a lot of people when they do the fix this next evaluation say, “but Karen I’m at sales. I’m not supposed to be thinking about impact at all.” And I’m like, “well, that’s not exactly true, right?” Yes. He’s saying fix this first in the sales department. But I think, like I said, all it takes is a conversation with the people on your team, with the people in your organization to make sure that you’ve communicated your mission. Right? So you ever communicated that to them. So everyone knows what it is, but then also to see what their true dreams are. Especially if you want to keep those really good people, you want to retain them. You want them to do their best work, give a hundred percent and more. And so I don’t think you have to create some big program. Doesn’t cost a lot of money just having that simple conversation can start everything in the right direction. And so even if you’re working on your sales right now, if you’re hiring somebody, you know, start adding this in it can be just a really slow gradual process. Just adding a couple of questions. That’s not that hard. It doesn’t take time or money. So yeah. That’s where I think people should start.

Amalie: (25:58)

Awesome. And then put on your calendar quarterly to check in with them. That’s awesome. So Karen, thank you so much. So tell us, tell the audience where they can find you. Yeah. And we’re where they can get in touch with you if they would like to find out more about your services.

Karen: (26:18)

Sure. So I’m at and I’m Karen Grill on Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn everywhere, it’s easy to find me. I also have second neck moms where I focus with mom entrepreneurs. And so you can find me at Second Act Moms. But thank you so much for having me. It was great.

Amalie: (26:33)

Awesome. Thank you so much. And we’ll make sure all those links go into the show notes so that they’ll have access to it. And so if anyone listening, if you know anyone that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe. If you haven’t listened to the other episodes of the business hierarchy of needs series, please go back and do that. They’ve been really helpful. We’ve had a lot of great guests on talking from their expertise and it’s been amazing. Karen again, thank you so much. And we will catch you next time.

Karen: (27:03)

Thanks to you both. Thank you. Thanks. Bye-bye.


The impact your business makes in the world is connected to your team and their motivation. If you want to make a larger impact, then you need to make sure your team is onboard with your company’s mission. Join us in this episode as our guest, Ravi Toor, coach, consultant, and speaker who helps corporate leaders strategize, develop, build, and sustain conscious businesses, discuss everything about businesses’ mission motivation and conscious leadership.

Show Notes

Having a team that genuinely supports the overall mission of your business makes for a more productive and motivated environment. 

Team members will be more likely to achieve the goals set out for them. They will be more engaged and involved in the growth of the business as well. 

So if you’re looking for ways to get your team completely onboard with your mission and wanting to make a real impact, this episode is just for you!

On this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about mission motivation, alongside our guest Ravi Toor. Ravi serves as the leading advisor for guiding C-suite executive teams through the conscious leadership development process, helping them secure stability for their company’s futures.

We invite you to join us as we discuss how conscious leadership is exactly what your company needs to transform your team into a motivated one that is focused on achieving success. 

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ What is conscious leadership and how does it affect your mission?

➡️ How to determine if your  team is motivated by the mission or their individual roles?

➡️ Best ways to get your team motivated by the mission

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (01:20)

and integration of the 17 UN sustainable development goals. Ravi guides corporate leadership through positive systemic change with bold strategies. So they can be fearless in their commitment to growing their triple bottom line with integrity, authenticity, and alignment to company values. And we are so excited to have her here today.

Amalie: (00:00)

All right, Ravi. We are so excited to have you here today. So we’re going to just jump right in. I want to start with a question. I know we had kind of discussed a little bit about where we should start. Cause I think this is an important topic to cover the mission motivation. And so I want to start with discussing how the size of the impact of business makes in the world is connected to mission motivation. So everyone motivated by the overall mission versus motivated by their own roles. And I know that this is literally your area of expertise, so, I’m excited to be able to discuss this topic with you, and but let’s start there. So why don’t you, you know, just let’s dive in and start talking about what’s the differences between the two.

Ravi: (00:49)

Yeah, absolutely. First of all, thank you guys both for having me on I’m super stoked about this topic. I think the umbrella term that I’m going to use throughout this episode is conscious leadership, right? And I really think that conscious leadership and conscious business, they are the terms that business owners need to understand and utilize within their companies, right. And really become adapting of that or agile with that. And so when you talk about impact, the size of impact the business makes in the world, you know, there’s two theories of thought here, in terms of impact, are you talking about the business itself, creating impact? Are you talking about more initiative driven impact, right? So the impact your business makes in the world is first and foremost, what you present or represent to the world and to the community and to your audience, that has an impact and in your employees are actually, are really into it, right? So depending on the size of your company, and really you can be smaller or bigger, but if you provide something so a tangible product, a service, right, no matter what your sector per se, right, when you are providing a service that is completely valuable, that’s an impact. And employees want to be a part of that, but there’s that other component that goes really deeply ties even deeper into the mission. And that is really considering the impact, your input and output in this world. Right? And so this goes in 2020 has really highlighted this. This has become a clarity year for every business on the planet, but when you have a mission that is focused on impact, delivering impact beyond your service, beyond your product, that is there to provide more value to the world beyond profits, that automatically becomes a, if you will, an incentive for employees. Right? So when I was doing a bunch of research at the beginning of the year, what I was looking into was number one, the changing demographics, right? So we know that there are millennials and gen Zs that are now rapidly entering into the workforce. Right. And they are mission focused. They are value-driven, they are impact focused, right. They want something way more than a paycheck and a hierarchy. Right. And so if they see your company, as somebody, who’s got all these perks and benefits, plus is providing a great product or service. That’s awesome. But they’re looking for something more. What do you represent? What do you stand up for? What are your company values and what are you trying to do to better this world? Because it’s not just about a job anymore. And we see that day in and day out, it’s about maintaining a legacy within the company, whether you’re sending it off to the next generation or whether you’re just staying in business. Right. That’s the name of the game. And so you have to think bigger and broader, and that’s where the conscious leadership kind of really ties in.

Amalie: (03:45)

Yeah. And I think that the impact is dependent on how motivated and mission driven the employees are too, and the leadership. Right. So if it was just the leadership, your C suite, like mission oriented, gone forward on the right path. But the employees were just sort of, they’re doing their thing, but not really feeling behind it. Because ultimately when they leave work, they’re still part of your business. And when you make it part them involved in it, part of it, like they’re going to promote it and talk about it. If they’re just there to do a job, and then they leave, that doesn’t give them any incentive to really be part of the mission. Right. Like bringing them in. It’s a thing. And so I don’t think it’s a matter of how many employees or how big your team is. It’s a matter of how involved you get them. And I think that’s the impact because a small business of 10 people could make a huge impact if everyone’s behind it and buying into it and together on the mission versus a business of 300 people. And they are thousands of people and people are just there to kind of do the job and leave and that’s it, they’re like, “yeah, it’s whatever I do it, but it’s fine.” And I think that’s the difference of how impactful a business can be.

Ravi: (05:10)

Absolutely. And you really talk to some key aspects of commitment, right? So one of the biggest, biggest things that companies are looking for is to retain talent, right. Really good talent, but not only retain them, but lessen the resources to find them and to retain them. Right. And so one of the things that really works for companies to be able to acquire that high-level talent and then retain them without putting up so much of their own resources to find these guys is really focusing on the integration within your entire collective. Right. So it’s crazy. I was just talking to my mentor. So, like I said, at the beginning, when we jumped on, I was literally talking to my mentor about this, on our call earlier this morning about of leadership hierarchy. Right. And so traditional business goes in a, there’s a leadership hierarchy. We all know about it, right? So there’s managers and directors and then VPs, and then C-suite, and you go on and on and on shareholders and so forth. And everything comes from the bottom down. Right. And what we’ve taught our employees, or what we’ve really adopted is in order to move up the hierarchy or in order to be really successful, you’ve got to focus on your job. You’ve got to, you know, you’ve got to do the best at your job. And you’ve got to really be that star quality employee kind of a deal and just do everything, “right.” . And what does “right” mean, we really don’t know, depends on who you’re asking from the top relative to the business. And so the big change here, especially in 2020, but it’s been coming down the pipe for a really long time. It’s just become a greater awareness is that you have no hierarchy if you’ve got a really mission motivated and really impactful business that employees want to stay with, that your audience wants to be a part of it. It all comes to a point where everybody is considered equal. Now I understand that that’s not how you can really run a business, but when you start with a culture or mindset of equality within the company, so everybody from your employees running the mail room down to your directors, down to your shareholders are all the same. It’s one mission. We’re all focused on the same, the same goal and impact. What you end up doing is you, you create a flat organization, right? So there’s no longer that hierarchy. And that flat organization means everybody’s on the same playing field when you do that, you open up intrepreneurship. So like for us, we’re entrepreneurs, we own and run everything we’re focused on the big goal. And that makes us motivated. It gives us opportunity. It lets us think bigger. When you think of flat organization introduce intrepreneurship, you automatically take employees from that traditional mindset of just doing the job to thinking bigger ownership. Right. They have more vested interest in your company because of your mission, because of what the bigger mission is.

Amalie: (08:18)

So how do you recognize if people are motivated by the mission or their individual roles? How do you recognize it? How does a business owner right now take stock of his or her business and recognize if people are motivated by the mission or their individual roles?

Ravi: (08:52)

Yeah. I mean, this comes down to some of the traits that I believe are deeply inherent in conscious leaders. And that is really when you look at components like integrity and responsibility, right. A lot of emotional intelligence and awareness. So when you’re looking at, especially those four components, you’re looking for someone who is not only selfish to some degree, so they are responsible for the role, but they understand at a greater level, the capacity to take all roles and how they merge together. Without people below you and above you, there is no you, right. And so knowing that and having that kind of, that broad understanding, you can start to look at your, I hate to say it, but those in the kind of the hierarchy settings within your organization, look at them and take a look at what they’re doing. When they’re motivated by the mission versus their own role, they are so much more inclusive, right? So they are building with the team, they start corresponding with the team versus just making the decision by themselves. They ask, right? So they’re asking questions. They are a lot more in a place of integrity where they use, even verbiage, right? So words that are inclusive, right? So when you are having someone who’s operating from a place in where they’re specifically focused on their role, there is a lot more of me, I, and self-motivated focus. And that’s pretty obvious when you start to look at how they’re interacting with the rest of the team, where are the ideas coming from? How are they taking achievements or even Escalades of that. Right. And you break it down and you start to look. I mean, people are people, good people are good people, let’s get real. Shitty people are shitty people, right? So if you’re focused on your own role, you’re probably going to be self-centered, you’re probably going to be using a lot more kind of chorus of language, if you will, right. It’s something that really kills the vibe of the team. You look at the team below them and you can take a look, is the team motivated by this individual, do they feel a part of, or do you feel kind of like a plateau? The team knows that they’re the team. And then there’s that individual in that hierarchy role, per se, when you start to see someone who’s operating in a level where everything is equal and they are way more motivated by the mission, what ends up happening is you see, you don’t really see that managerial term, if you will, or that hierarchy role, it doesn’t become a part of the conversation more. So it becomes about how we, the team, how us, how we have accomplished this, why we’re bringing this forward. Again, inclusivity, it’s really obvious to see as well and here.

Janine: (11:48)

So how do you square that? So there’s, that’s really fascinating to hear how you laid all out. That was awesome. And I was just thinking about, you know, there’s all these different philosophies on how the psychology behind how people are motivated and such right. People who are motivated. Well, we talked about the paycheck, people who are motivated by the challenge, people who are motivated by titles, you know, it’s like, how do you square that with flattening the hierarchy? Or is it more that you’re filtering for people who are motivated by the mission?

Ravi: (12:25)

Yeah. So you know what? It is a combination of both just given where we’re at at this point. So there is some filterization, that’s going to end up happening, right? And those are some of the basic components of HR. You’re going to have some filter components built in to make sure you’re bringing in the best talent that’s going to be best suited for your mission. Right. And best suited for your impact, both as an organization and as a part of the bigger organism. Right? But when you are looking at flattening the organization, what you’re doing is you have to rethink your business model in terms of inclusivity and a culture, right. You have to reshift the culture. And so that starts basically at the onboarding. So what I always say and what I always advocate for is get an onboarding system set up where it’s not, and I want to be very clear about this onboarding system. It is really pushing away from the traditional onboarding more it’s okay. This beautiful slide presentation of who the company is, what the mission is, what the values are, and then how you’re a part of RA RA RA, right? That’s great that used to work, but it doesn’t work anymore. Instead, what we’re doing is recreating the same presentation, but a lot more in depth. And having them really understand depending on your organization, where they fit in within the mission from there, you’ve already figured out how to acquire the talent. That’s going to be focused on the mission. And you’ve put in the parameters where you really build up and amplify that mission. And that need for conscious leadership. The moment you step into this company, you already, we picked you because we think you’re wonderful and you’re a conscious leader, but also this is how we’re going to support you through your time here to ensure that we all are on the same page and hitting the mission. And then the next one that some will cringe at and some will openly accept it is really, really training those individuals in hierarchy positions with conscious leadership traits, right? So taking real, real individuals in these positions and teaching them about how to be conscious leaders, and how to really kind of step down from, you know, some are going to have to step down from their soapbox. Some are going to have to have some real challenging conversations with themselves and with the coach or the individual that’s leading them through this process, but having those real and tough conversations to break the ego, to get away from role representation, and to get really focused on a collective bridging that kind of collective with the culture and creating a community that is mission-driven is how you approach this. And it does start at the hiring process and then continues to funnel throughout the organization at different levels. Right. But everybody needs to be trained to understand what conscious leadership is and how that really pours into a very, very motivated company and a very, very motivated team.

Amalie: (15:27)

Right. I also think it’s important for people, especially coming in like a new person coming in, understanding how they can get involved. What are the ways, not just what my job is and what my job description is, but, what’s the options? Because I think someone that’s motivated or mission motivated, that’s getting behind it and really believes in it is going to look for ways to get involved beyond just what their role is or their specific job description. And so allowing them having different committees or something, allowing them to get involved in different places and taking some of those initiatives that are inside the business and creating a committee around it, and then them basically nominating someone to be the leader of that. Cause someone has to lead whether it’s flat or not, there has to be a leader, there’s gotta be people doing things. And so, but letting them know how they can get, like, “here’s your role, here’s other opportunities for you.” And letting them know how they can get involved in other areas, because that also kind of comes as cross training. And that’s something that we talk about, making sure that, you know, you don’t have those linchpin redundancies. You have people that know how to do other things. And just having that cross training, and I mean, I think that’s a way initially when you onboard them to bring them in and let them know that, and then you can base, that’s a way to measure how involved people are too, right? You can say, “here’s your job. Here’s opportunities to get more involved.” And if the person isn’t getting involved, that might be something you want to talk to them about. Is there a reason about it? But if you have people that are, they come in, they do the job, but then they get involved in these other things inside the business, you’ll see, they’re assertive. They’re going above and beyond. To me, that would present as someone that’s motivated and someone that’s not, you might want to dig a little deeper and find out what’s happening with them. Is it something, maybe they have their own idea. Do they have a new idea? Do you have an initiative you want to start? That’s a way to involve people. We are right from the beginning when you bring them in.

Ravi: (17:37)

Absolutely. And I think that there’s not only a short term game here, but like you said, a long-term game, right? So the short-term is to bring them in and to have them really motivated within the company to do their best, to be completely involved, right? That’s really what you want is you’ve got, you want high quality employees who are totally involved in your business so that your business thrives and grows, right? That is the name of the game. Let’s get real. But the long game is really being able to recycle if you will, the talent within different levels of your organization, because they’ve already been trained from the onset, they know everything about your company. And you think about it when you start to train like this. And when you start to really create inclusivity and build that flat level of a flat organization, what you do is you, like I said, you start to breed entrepreneurs right. People who are innovative by nature, their creativity block is opened right up, right. They really are a part of the community. And they want to do more because they appreciate the company because they value the company because they value their job. They’re motivated by the mission. They want to not only talk about it, but they want to do something with it. And not in itself. If we know the way things are going with business today, innovation is what’s going to keep you alive. And so being able to have these ideas, that slew of ideas coming through, basically on tap, because you’ve got highly, highly motivated individuals in different levels within your company, bringing you all these ideas. I mean, it is a perfect strategy booklet, right? You just have an such a crazy amount of content that you can create and recreate and create and recreate forever if you think about it. So it is a win-win for everybody involved, contrary to how we’ve been taught otherwise previous to like this decade.

Amalie: (19:43)

So as far as when, what are the ways in which, CEOs and business owners could get people motivated by the mission if they are not. So let’s say they’re taking on this idea of conscious leadership. They’re bringing it in. And there are some people that maybe don’t want to play ball necessarily, but like, what can they do in order to, they don’t want to lose, right. They don’t want to maybe back them into a corner right away and be like, well, what are you going to do this? Or you’re not? Right. But some things that they can do to, you know, get them motivated to bring them in versus just solely being focused on their role, but get more mission motivated and being more part of a team or the community.

Ravi: (20:26)

Yeah, for sure. So the first thing I always see as a red flag is when employees aren’t motivated about the mission, I wonder how motivated the top level stakeholders are, right. And typically they’re not. And actually when we break it down, even further, the first thing I do, no matter whether it’s coaching for conscious leadership or building for conscious business, right. We look at your values and your mission and we get really crystal clear. Do you even understand what your mission is? Is it clear? Are you on board? Because typically it’s not clear and they’re not completely on board and they’ve got their mind elsewhere. Right. And it’s typically profit focused and profit is great, but you’re going to lose in the long game, because it’s just a short-term value. You need longevity behind you. And to develop that longevity, you’ve got to really get clear on the mission and get that culture dialed in. So do your top level stakeholders really understand? And I mean, all of them, right from that point, are you guys really sure that you are also conscious leaders? Don’t just, you know, don’t just talk the talk, walk the talk, right. Being it, be the motivating factor. I have seen some pretty awesome companies. You know, like one of my favorite ones is this is a West rock company. It’s a supplies company. And they are from the top down mission motivated. They are ultra clear on their mission. It is plastered everywhere. And you would think that this is a company that just creates shipping solutions, right. But really based on their mission, what they’ve done is they’ve articulated that through their leadership, into their employees, their employees are totally all about it. Their products then become a part of that mission. And then innovation breeds and so forth, right? It’s a positive snowball. You can’t stop. So when you have that much focus on who you are, knowing this about your mission and you’re that motivated, you can’t help, but have it rub off. Then what you want to do is you’ve got some employees who are not mission focused, right? They are not mission motivated. They are not interested or seemingly not interested. I can tell you from experience, that’s typically not the root issue, right? Until you’ve got to get really down to the root. Now not every manager or person in hierarchy is really a coach or somebody who has a psych background to the, you know, letters behind their name or so forth. Right? However, they do have an inherent understanding of humanity so they can have those deeper conversations. But if you don’t know how to have those conversations, you bring in somebody whose sole focus is to really, really help your team and your executives develop conscious leadership within the organization, not for specific roles, but within the organization. And that’s when you start to really realize the root issue, you might think, you know, Sally or Bob aren’t mission-focused, but really what’s going on for them is they don’t feel a part of, or they don’t feel confident enough to bring their ideas, or they’re looking at, you know, your company is Adidas, but they’re looking at Aldo, when they see all or not Aldo, but Nike, they’re looking at Nike and they see Nike’s team is completely integrated. And so now they’re wondering what’s wrong with our team. I thought, you know, I thought boss Dave over here said that he wanted everybody to be a part of and I don’t feel it. Right. So there are different questions that need to be asked in order to figure out the root issue. And typically what you’ll find is these unmotivated employees who, if you ask sincerely, and if you find out the root issue, sincerely, you’re able to turn them around. And they typically are your most motivated employees at the end of it.

Amalie: (24:20)

Probably just want to be heard, right? Like here are the ideas and I’d be asked. And it’s so funny because doing this whole business hierarchy of needs series, all of these themes are just, they’re just all the way through all of these topics. Listening to your team, having conversations with your employees, having some vulnerability, having open conversations, being transparent, all of these things allow a business to run, right? Like you have to have these conversations, you have to know your team. We were talking about role alignment and all of these different pieces of understanding even the lynchpin redundancies of like, okay, you need to evaluate, you have to cross train and evaluate, but the only way, what’s going on is to talk to your team. You have to talk to your people and you have to, if there is someone that is unhappy, you have to figure out what it is, is it a home issue? Is it a they’re unhappy with the job? Are they not being able to go after the goals that they want to go after? Because if you align your mission with their mission, right? I mean, there’s nothing better than that. Is there some certification that they want to get, that’s going to support the business? Well, what better opportunity than to offer that to them? You know? And it’s interesting. So many of these themes are, you know, they’re just through all of these different topics and it’s, I mean, that’s how you have to successfully run a business and run a team, you know?

Ravi: (25:46)

Right. And when you’re talking about that, all I can think about is, well, there’s two things I think about. Number one, this hierarchy is in essence, built on a preexisting psychology hierarchy and that’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Right? It’s basic psychology, basic. And if you think about it, this absolutely applies to business because you’ve got your basic functionalities that you need to meet, and then you transcend to the higher levels, right? So your legacy and your scaling and so forth. So there’s that component that you can’t ignore. It’s basic psychology. The second part is for me in coaching and really working on conscious leadership, it is really important that we steer away from any kind of like woo conversation about this and make it real data orientated. Right. So businesses are about in the business of knowing things and then prescribing or building the next thing. Right. So how do we operate in business? We do collect data, communicate, evaluate, rebuild, or skip whatever the next iteration is. Right. And so when you think about that, that’s the same thing, except for you’re using different types of data forums. So typically we’re talking metrics and we’re able to get from different sources, it’s all logical, but now we’re moving our metrics or drive from people, humans. Right? And so your collection process is different. Your analyzation process is different. The whole process is a little bit different yet the core fundamentals of collecting, understanding re-evaluating, and then processing and creating a solution. That all is the very same. You just have to get really clear on how you’re going to collect that tap data from these individuals, and then how you’re going to communicate that data. Because it’s one thing to say, okay, we’re a mission-focused company and that’s great, but how does mission impact our bottom line? Right? And when you think of this from a broader perspective, if you do not get conscious leadership built in, throughout your organization, so that doesn’t mean just the bottom or just the middle or whatever, but throughout, you impact, positively impact your bottom line greatly. Because now, you know, like you said, there are so many different areas that you can reduce costs onto your being. You’re able to retain those employees. You’re able to really develop out functionalities within the organization. Things are streamlined, it’s efficient, right? Think about change, change, change, change. So really when I look at it, I think it is only in the best interest of a company to start focusing on conscious leadership throughout the organization, because it means it means the world to your business. I mean, it is your business.

Amalie: (28:34)

Yeah. That’s awesome. Do you have any last thoughts just before we wrap up, I do want to let, I want you to give you a chance to tell people where they can find you, but do you have any last thoughts about, about the topic before we wrap up?

Ravi: (28:47)

Yeah. You know, when I think about it, we are in a massive way. When I think about it, we are heading into a decade where there’s significant business transformation, right? So the way that we’ve been used to doing business, that model, it is becoming extinct, right? It is not, it isn’t going to serve us in the long end of things. And so what we really need to do as business owners, as communities and organizations, is we really need to start becoming agile and adapt to these new methodologies of operating. Right? If you do not, and you know, this as a business owner, as you’re listening, you know, that you got into this to provide a solution, you knew that you were going to have to adapt based on the data you were able to bring in. And based on the different, you know, the different performance indicators that you met, you knew you had to adapt in order to continue to be able to provide a solution. Well, the same goes for the internal organs of your company, right? You’ve got a beating heart. That’s probably your mission and your, your C-suite, right. And then you’ve got the different component of the organs of your company, working simultaneously together. It is important that we focus on that. And quite frankly, the workforce that’s entering into your organization. Now, you don’t have any more baby boomers. You don’t, you know, gen X is slowly fading as well. We are focused on millennials and gen Z. And these guys are asking for a whole different type of a structure that really, really, really takes into account what they value the most. And that is impact, right. Both social, environmental impact and, and having a greater mission than just profits.

Amalie: (30:44)

Yeah. That’s awesome. Janine, did you have any last thoughts before we wrap up?

Janine: (30:48)

I just think that was wonderful.

Amalie: (30:49)

Yeah. Thank you. And so Ravi, where can people find you? Let us know where they can find you where’s the best place to get in touch with you.

Ravi: (30:59)

I mean, I’m always on LinkedIn, so I’m a big fan of open communication and really getting to know people. So come on to LinkedIn, find me Ravi Toor and drop me a DM. I would love to further a conversation with you, but if you’re not on LinkedIn, you can just go straight to my website, RaviToorco and take a look at how you can reach me. And let’s start a deeper conversation about how your organization can thrive with conscious leadership.

Amalie: (31:27)

Yes, that’s awesome. And I’ll include all those links in the show notes, so they’ll have them. So I will thank you. And if anyone listening to this episode, if you think, you know, anyone that would benefit from hearing it, make sure that you share the episode, make sure you subscribe. And if you haven’t listened to the rest of the Business Hierarchy of Needs series, I highly recommend it. We’ve had a lot of amazing guests on, thanks for listening and we will be back again next week. Bye bye.


Does your business benefit clients through a transformation beyond the transaction? Do you know the difference between serving your customers and actually providing a transformation? If not, then this episode is just for you! We continue our series based on Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs. Join us as we discuss how your business can (and should) provide a real transformation beyond a simple business transaction. Listen now!

Show Notes

Want happier, loyal clients? 

While most small businesses focus on selling more and getting more customers, successful entrepreneurs focus on providing real transformations to their customers, who are more than glad to come back.

That’s because business owners who put an effort into offering a transformation beyond the transaction really make an impact in their customers’ lives, whether it’s big or small.

On this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about Transformation Orientation, which is part of Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs. We invite you to join us as we discuss how to bring your company to the next level by providing a transformation beyond the transaction.   

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ Why you need to make “transformation” a priority

➡️ How to define what transformation your business provides

➡️ Easy ways for showcasing this transformation 

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. This is Janine Suvak, and we are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help businesses run more efficiently. We help them build teams. And we, I need to do that again. Cause I didn’t know. I was going to say I don’t. Let me try again. We do stuff. We help them. What was it?

Janine: (00:35)

So is the health. We help them make their systems more efficient to decrease their overhead and increase their bottom line.

Amalie: (00:42)

Thank you. That’s the crease there. Hold on. I don’t know why I’m my brain. Okay, let me write it down. Hold on. Decrease their overhead, overhead. Increase their bottom line. Okay, let me try that again. Go ahead and edit that out. Okay.

Janine: (01:09)

Oh, we’re still recording. Okay.

Amalie: (01:11)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. I’m here with Janine Suvak. We are Systematic Excellence Consulting and we help business owners run more efficiently. We help them build efficient teams so that they can decrease their overhead and increase their bottom line. And we are here today continuing our series on the Business Hierarchy of Needs from Mike Michalowicz’ book “Fix this next.” And we’re talking about transformation orientation, and the whole idea behind this is going from just serving your clients to actually facilitating a transformation in what you provide to them. Whether it’s a product, whether it’s coffee or t-shirts or whether it’s a service, you know, even if it’s, you know, a service like what we do, where we do consulting on the front end, we help people problem solve, right? We are fixers. And so we can create a transformation by what we do by, you know, not just providing the service, but coming out on the other end of working with us, looks like a complete change in how someone runs their business and it makes our lives easier. Right?

Janine: (02:38)

Let’s use that as our first example because that’s exactly what we provide, is a transformation, right? We help business owners who they, their daily life is running around, stopping out fires, trying to keep up with their team, trying to keep up with every aspect of their business. That’s just overwhelming. Their day don’t have time for their families. You know, they have this endless to-do lists and what do we do? We come in and we shake that whole thing down, get it all organized, get their systems together, get their teams trained on them. And in particular for the business owner, get them out of that day to day. So they can be the visionary in their business. So we are literally transforming their life from one day to the next and that bleeds into the time they have for their family. You know, the being more efficient actually helps their business grow. So they have more revenue, they have more profit, their team is running more efficiently. So they’re getting more out of them. It’s transforming them and their business. So it’s a huge transformation that we provide for people.

Amalie: (03:50)

Yeah, exactly. And we provide the support, right? We’re we are, we are fixers, right? So we help identify the issues. We help provide solutions, but we’re also there as, as a sounding board, right? So we’re there to help and do the executive coaching to support the business owner in the transition, but not just the business owner, but you know, with most of our clients, most of the situations with our clients, we place someone in the integrator or operations role and we help to train that person. So the support’s there as well, which that is another level of transformation in itself. Right? And so we teach them a new way or coach them on a new way of running their business, which is a, that is a transformation in itself is just, okay, this is a new way of how we’re going to do things new way of how we’re going to communicate. We’re no longer going to communicate through email. We’re going to communicate in via like with an SOP in place and in Slack or, you know.

Janine: (04:55)

And what is that transformation? Nothing falls through the cracks. Right. Everybody knows what they’re doing. Yeah. I guess another way to look at it though. It’s like, what if you’re, we were talking about earlier, if you don’t know what kind of transformation you’re providing is like, okay, so I used to do surgery, right? And it’s like, well, what I was selling to people, if you want to, well, not really selling, what I’m selling is the service of cutting people open and taking something out and sewing them up again. Right. But you’re going to sell that’s the procedure. Right. But the transformation is they’re going from ill to healthy again. So that’s really what you want to look at is.

Amalie: (05:43)

And I think if you don’t necessarily have the words to put towards recognizing or speaking what your transformation is, ask for feedback from your clients, where were you? But when we met what was going on, where were you after we worked together? And how has it changed now? Right. Like actually ask them, you know, what it is. And then you can use those testimonials. As long as you get permission, you can use those testimonials on as proof of the transformation that you provide to people. So that when people come to you, our perspective clients come to you, they can see, “Oh, that’s the transformation I want too, and if they got it, then, then these people can help me.” Right. And so it allows you to be able to display the transformation. I mean, essentially that’s what the testimonials are, right? That’s the proof that you provide the transformation.

Janine: (06:41)

I think for online businesses that are like coaches or service providers or, you know, course providers, that’s probably a little easier because that transformation really is the reason around the thing that they do or that they’re selling. But, you were, you were telling me earlier about examples for products, as well?

Amalie: (07:04)

Yeah. So I think for a product, it might be harder to think about the transformation as in like how, what we just explained for a service provider. But if you think about like Snapple, for example, the lids or what there’s like a chocolate company, I forget, is it Dove that has the little sayings inside the wrapper. So like Snapple and they have these like motivational, like tiny little quotes inside the lids or inside the wrappers. And when they get feedback from people that say, “I love these quotes, they’re so beneficial”, whatever. Like, “it really, you know, brightened my day. When I was having a bad day, when I opened up my Snapple and read this on the cap” or something like when you get feedback, right. That’s a transformation as little as it is, like the transformation doesn’t, isn’t necessarily going to be like a life changing, you know, 180°, it might just be that like you improve their day. Right. So, you know, a coffee company could on the wrappers, like maybe behind the label, they put a motivational quote or, you know, something, you know, something on the label that brighten someone’s day, or, and then they get feedback from their clients or from their customers. And then they post those things, those testimonials, or those responses on their social media. And so then that’s spreading more of the positivity from, you know, from the product. And that’s a way to do some transformation, even if you’re just brightening someone’s day, that’s a transformation in itself. And that’s a way, or like a t-shirt company. Right. So, t-shirt company that prints specific kind of quotes on shirts or motivational sayings, or like that, like, that’s going to change someone’s, you know.

Janine: (08:58)

For a t-shirt company, it’s really anything, whether it’s a silly picture, it doesn’t even have to be words. It’s like the it’s like, what they’re selling is a shirt that you put on. So you’re not running around without shirt on, but the transformation is the shirt is the means by which you express yourself. Right. Whether it’s something funny, something that you value a cause that you’re supporting an event that you were in. I had a gazillion t-shirts from all this swim events and water polo games. Yeah.

Amalie: (09:29)

I think the biggest thing with like, those kinds of products is getting customers to take maybe like pictures of themselves with the t-shirt or a picture with the coffee, with like the saying on it or the cap, and then getting them to provide feedback like “this t-shirt so many people have asked me about it. I can finally express myself”, like whatever that looks like, but getting feedback from them so that you can take that and put it on your website, put it on social media. So you can show the transformation that someone gets, if someone puts your t-shirt on and they feel amazing, or they drink your coffee in the morning and they’re ready to take on the day, you definitely want to get them to put that in their words so that you can take that and put that out because then people looking to buy your shirt will look at, “Oh, well, they felt amazing putting it on.” I mean, anyone can put a t-shirt on, but if they felt amazing putting on your t-shirt with that, because they can express how they’re feeling, someone else is going to want that feeling too.

Janine: (10:29)

Yeah, absolutely. Well, you know, I was thinking about, well, actually the general premise that what do entrepreneurs do, right? They solve problems with whatever it is they do, or the product that they make. Right. And solving of that problem is the transformation. So it can be as simple. I have a pen, listen, this is a pen. And without this pen, I can’t record my thoughts or save information or communicate.

Amalie: (10:57)

It doesn’t glide on the paper the same way. It is important.

Janine: (11:01)

Yes. I tried writing for the store to get this one kind of pen, I’m serious. If you’re a pen person, you know what I’m talking about? You have to have your favorite pen. And so it’s not just, so the transformation for me is that when I have my favorite pen, it’s easier for me. I get really upset when I don’t have it. So I do my work better. It’s an important part of my ritual of doing certain tasks. And that’s that? Yeah.

Amalie: (11:30)

I will say, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

Janine: (11:33)

No, go ahead.

Amalie: (11:34)

I got a thought that popped out of my mouth. Okay. So, if you’re listening to this episode and you’re a consumer and you love a product that you have go write them a review to make their lives easier. Right. I was just thinking, as you were saying that I was thinking, okay, what do I have right in my space that I’m like, “okay, I couldn’t really do without,” and I kid you not this hair clip that I have in my hair, this little tiny hair clip. It’s like nothing, but this little hair clip holds my hair better than any other hair clip. I swear to God. And I was just thinking, where did I buy this? And how can I go write them a review? Because It made a transformation on my hair.

Janine: (12:09)

But it’s important if your hair isn’t at the right tension, it bugs you.

Amalie: (12:14)

Yes. Or if it’s too tight or it starts to fall out, I’m going to find out where I bought this thing and I’m going to write a review because it is important. And I was just thinking like, in this little area, like, what do I have that’s important? And I thought, you know, I mean, even a phone case, if your phone cases works because it saved your phone from dropping and you you’re glad that your thousand dollar phone doesn’t get hurt, but could be dropped because your child’s playing with it. Right. Or whatever, you know, that’s important. So as consumers, I feel like we do have a responsibility to go write reviews to people who we think have products that we’ve purchased. So that’s one thing. But then on the other side of it, if you’re selling something, if you’re selling a service or whatever, you need to get feedback. So that way you can express to prospective clients and customers, the transformation that you’re providing and you as the business owner need to understand what that transformation is, because that’s ultimately what you’re selling. Whether it’s a product, whether it’s a t-shirt, coffee, whatever.

Janine: (13:14)

Whoever’s writing your sales copy should also be able to answer this because it is really important to the sale product descriptions and all that. Right?

Amalie: (13:26)

Google Forms. That’s literally, all we have is a Google form. That’s how we get client feedback. We send out a Google form, there’s some questions on it. And it asks, it walks them through. I’m not that we, we don’t like tell them what to say, but it walks them through, like, where were you before? Where are you now? And we do ask for honest feedback. So like give us honest feedback about, you know, what were things that you would have changed or would have preferred to see, or what was missing or whatever. But, you know, we want to know where they…

Janine: (13:52)

That’s important to improving.

Amalie: (13:54)

Absolutely. We want to know where they started and then we want to know where they, where they feel or think they are now that they’ve worked with us. That’s important too. So like getting both sides of it and then we can pull from that and put those things on our website. We can put them out on social media. That’s important to have.

Janine: (14:13)


Amalie: (14:15)

And then the way that you measure that is, as you, do you get more feedback, are you getting more comments on or reviews on your website or on your Facebook business page? We always ask people to leave us reviews and because sometimes people don’t think about it. But some people go and do it without us asking and, and that way, that means a lot. And I think that’s how you would measure if you’re making a transformation, do people feel like they have experienced some sort of transformation, even it’s just a small one, right? That feedback’s going to give you on how you, a measurement, you’ll be able to measure it by getting feedback from people. And then you nurture it by giving them opportunities to give you feedback. I’m actually remembering for this podcast, make sure you subscribe, make sure you share this. You know, we tell everyone at the end of every episode, make sure you share this with someone. And so that’s our way of nurturing the feedback. More subscribers, more reviews, allow us to know that people like our podcasts, you know, like I went and looked at the reviews the other day. I hadn’t looked in, I don’t know how long there was one that was just written just last month. And I thought, “Oh, that’s kind of cool.” You know, that’s how we nurture it, share it, subscribe, you know, leave reviews. That’s how we nurture getting feedback and understand the transformation people have from just listening to our podcast.

Janine: (15:42)

Yeah. You can gamify soliciting the feedback too. You could run a contest or just something give away or something like that and have them show your product in the wild, you know.

Amalie: (15:53)

Take selfies with it. Befores and afters right. She has a t-shirt company that she’s actually made over a million dollars from her funnel, shout out to Audrey. She’s amazing. And so what she does is she gets people to send pictures of them wearing the t-shirt and then she posts them on her social media. So people can see people just like them wearing her shirts, which is amazing. And they’re great. She sells kids and parents. So like parents, like moms and daughters have like the same t-shirt on like, it’s really an amazing thing. And people get to see other people wearing it and gets to see them. They’re happy smiles. And, you know, they usually send in like a comment about it and how they feel when they wear their shirts. And it’s really moving to see, you know, and, Designz by Morgan is her company. But, we’ll tag her the show notes. So, I mean, what were you about to say? I didn’t, I didn’t mean to.

Janine: (16:52)

I was going to say, as we get you look at that broader or that higher level view of the business, higher creative needs, I mean, what you just described is how it’s the beginning of a movement, right?

Amalie: (17:03)

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And I definitely think Audrey and where she’s going with Designz by Morgan. I mean, that’s what she started, you know, through that in and getting the pictures and the comments from the client, the customers who bought these shirts, I think it’s really amazing. Yeah, that’s awesome. So as far as transformation orientation, as far as the step goes, it’s first to, if you haven’t already put words to the transformation that you facilitate, it’s important to do that. If you don’t, if you need to refresh the words for it, getting feedback from clients, even reaching out to old clients or, or previous customers, or, you know, that’s where you’re going to get those, that candid response and feedback. And so if you’re a service provider, or even, you know, even products, just a simple form to send, “Hey, I’d love to get your feedback on, you know, what you thought of working with us” or, you know, whatever, and just Google form it. It’s super simple. You can get complicated with it, you don’t have to, and then taking those things, make sure you ask for permission and then taking those things and posting them around, put it on your website. And then, you know, you have the feedback to be able to express to prospective clients and customers, the transformation that you facilitate. Do you have anything else you want to add to that?

Janine: (18:33)

No, I think that wrapped it up really nicely.

Amalie: (18:35)

Yeah, that was great. So, again, we are making our way through the Business Hierarchy of Needs. And if you haven’t listened to the rest of the episodes, we highly recommend that you go back and do it. We’ve had some amazing guests on to provide expert information on the different steps. And again, if you, like I just mentioned, if you find this episode or if you’ve really enjoyed listening to our podcasts reviews are helpful, make sure you subscribe. If you know anyone that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure that you share it, and we will be back here next week. Thanks for joining us.

Janine: (19:17)

Have a good one.


Having a business that offers too many services or products makes it really difficult for their customers to connect with them. Sometimes, too many options is simply overwhelming! In this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we had special guest Angel Lawery join us to talk about mastery reputation and why it’s so important for entrepreneurs to focus on mastering a few services. Listen now!

Show Notes

Do you know why a business that offers only one or two things is (usually) more successful than those who offer a lot more? A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that having more services will attract more customers, but that is generally not the case. 

Even if you are good at doing it all, you’re better off focusing on one or two services and doing it better than everyone else. 

On this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we invited Angel Lawery to talk about Mastery Reputation, which is part of Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs. Join us as we discuss how mastering one product or service will help your business thrive.  

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ Why it’s better to master one thing, not everything

➡️ How to find the one one thing you want to be known for 

➡️ Easy steps for narrowing down your offers

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Angel Lawery:

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. We’re really excited that you’re here. I’m Amalie Shaffer. I have Janine Suvak with me and we are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We work with businesses to help them run more efficiently and help, which allows them to decrease their overhead, which increases their bottom line. And today we have a special guest. So we’ve been going through this series from, the Mike Michalowicz’s book, Fix This Next. And we’ve been going through the business hierarchy. And today we are officially, the mastery reputation episode and we have a special guest Angel Lawery with us today. And Angel creates customized marketing campaigns using Pinterest and PR for female entrepreneurs moving into their next level who want to get more and more targeted leads to make more money to make lasting impacts on the world. She’s also a wife and stay-at-home mom of six living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she has access to her favorite beach. So super jealous because I live in the Northeast. So it’s starting to get a little cold. I lived in Florida. I was stationed in Jacksonville. So I used to live in Florida. I loved it.

Angel: (01:22)

Yeah. It’s a fun place to be depending on where you are, you know, it’s, it’s all kinds of, it depends on where you are, the light, the liveliness of it.

Amalie: (01:34)

Yeah, yeah. Yes. Well, we’re so glad to have you here. And did I miss anything when I introduced you? Did you want to add anything to what you do?

Angel: (01:44)

No. I’m just stepping more into the PR side, cause I’m creating my agency. So that will be announced next year, sometime, I’m getting all the pieces together, so yeah. Nope. You got everything

Amalie: (01:59)

Awesome. Awesome. And we’ll give you some time at the end to do promo of what you have going on too. So if you have something you want to talk about we’ll make sure we catch that before we get off. Okay. Today we’re going to talk mastery reputation, and we’re going to talk about the importance of being known for something, right? So whether that’s being known for a service or a product or whatever that is. So let’s just start by discussing what are the benefits of being known for one thing versus a lot of things. Cause I think that’s an important distinction to make initially when you’re at that level of mastery reputation.

Angel: (02:42)

Yeah. That it’s actually so important because, even for myself, finding when I started, I was like, I’m good at a lot of things. And then people add on, you know, you’re good at this too. So you’re building like this list of things and I call it Europe, mistress of all trades, instead of Jack of all trades, you know, you’re all these things. And it’s really important to focus on the one thing that just really lights you up so that you can be all in on it. So that when you are serving your clients, that they know you’re not all over the place, it’s really you just mastering and coming to a place where you just know it like the back of your hand. That is so important. I think that when people first start out in their businesses and they’re all over the place and it’s, it can be confusing if you don’t have anyone to say, Hey, no. And I usually that that’s like, no, we’re going to focus on one thing for at least 90 days and see if it’s your thing so that you know that you’re focused on doing this one thing. People can come to you and they know that you, you provide this one service that they can, you know, you’re a rock star at.

Amalie: (04:01)

Cause then they know what to hire you for. Right? Like they, instead of going and also people tend to be in decision fatigue, where they make decisions all day long. And then if you give them another decision to make where they’re like, “Hmm, I don’t know exactly what I need”, but if you have one thing and then they resonate with it, then they can sign it. They can go forward and say, I want to learn more. Or they can say this isn’t for me. Right. And so.

Janine: (04:27)

Wow. I love that you put a time limit and a structure to it cause we, Amalie and I talk about market testing, you know, it’s like, and there’s the throwing the spaghetti, but there’s, there’s the market testing and pivoting to get. So there’s both you trying to find your thing and there’s you trying to find your market. And so I love that you put a structure to that time limit.

Angel: (04:49)

Yes. My coach, she was like, “Angel, you like to learn something and just go.” And I’m like, “yeah. That’s why I’m not in corporate America anymore because I will learn something and then I’m bored. I’m like, okay, what’s next?” But in business, that’s why I mentioned, you know, it has to light you up. It has to be something that you really like, you really love it. If you didn’t get paid for it, you would still do it. You would still help people in that. And having the time structure on it to say, “okay, you’re going to focus on this one thing and just turn it right.” Like you said, market research is really, really you digging in, but finding your people is the thing that can be very difficult. People don’t talk about it. They’re just like, “Oh, these are your people, go.” And it’s like, no, but I need to know about these people. I need to know the pain points. What are they going through and how they say it, how they verbalize it, how do they feel about it in order to help me stay on track.

Amalie: (06:02)

Right. But once you find your people, then that’s where, it’s easier to find your people when you’re focused on one thing, right? Like when you’re trying, when you’re selling one thing, it’s easier to find your people versus trying to be master five different things. You know, then you’re trying to find five different groups of people. And that’s not to say that other people won’t be attracted to you for other things, but you want to talk directly to the people about the one thing that you’re selling, whether it’s the product or the service, or, you know, the program or the course, right? That one thing is your specialty. So let me ask you if someone is good at a few different things. So they’re multi-passionate how do they determine what they should focus on? What’s the first thing that they, they just pick one and go for it. I mean, that’s sort of, I guess how I would probably do it, but what do you recommend?

Angel: (06:59)

You know what, that is how most people do it, honestly, and honestly that’s how I did it too. I was like, you know what I mean? I am multi-passionate, I know I help people over the years, you know, you may not get paid for it, but you’re helping people. It’s like, “Oh, I can help you do your taxes. Oh, I’m a relationship coach. Oh no, I’m a life coach.” And it’s like, okay, but hold on, take a step back.

Amalie: (07:25)

What do you want to be known for, right?

Angel: (07:27)

Yes. Right. It is like, stop thinking about what everybody else says you’re good at. Think about the thing that somebody said, “I need help with this” and you can go, “Oh, no problem. A to Z.” That’s how I think of it now. Like, do you have the A to Z? Or even if you have the eight to S right. If you have like that are, you know, coming behind you, you want to pull them forward. Even if you have eight to D do you have those things? And do you feel solid in that? Do you trust yourself in saying I’m going to help this person? So I think that most people do, like I said, I started that way. I was like, “I’m going to relationship coaching. That’s where I’m going to go.” I am not doing relationship coaching now. I hated it. Did not want to do it anymore. And so now I’m like, Oh, but I love.

Amalie: (08:39)

Right now. So start where you were. I apologize, my bad.

Angel: (08:42)

No problem. Well, people do just pick one thing. I did that. I started on a relationship coaching, because I was like, “Oh, that’s great.” But now being in this, I’ve been in this almost five years. So I tell people, you know, step back, push out everybody else’s, you know, “Oh, you’re so good at this. Oh, you’re so good at this” because it will take you on a merry-go-round. You’ll just be going around and around because you’re thinking what everybody else thinks, but can you take someone from A to Z and lead them there and trust yourself that when they get to Z, they will have the results they want. And even if you can’t get A to Z, A to S even eight to D if by the time they get from a to D they are rocking it out. They are just, you know, in another state to transform their life in some way, shape or form that they wanted. That is what you should pick, but pick the thing and stick with that one thing and try it out. And if it doesn’t work, then try the next thing. But definitely have notebooks. And I have stacks of notebooks. It’s insane. But I brainstorm because you can’t, if you’re anything, like, I didn’t know, I was creative until I started my business. Go nuts in the brainstorming like this.

Amalie: (10:12)

Just don’t let that distract you from all the other things you’re doing.

Janine: (10:14)

I say, keep that notebook specifically to stop the distractions.

Amalie: (10:20)

We recommend it to our clients all the time where we’re like, “listen, if you have ideas, put that on a Google doc and we’ll look at it later. You know, like quarterly planning. Don’t bring that up until then.” Over there, you know what I mean?

Angel: (10:35)

Because otherwise you’re just like, you, you might as well just be walking, holding your head because it’s, you know, on top of, okay, it’s your business. And then you have a life. You actually have a life outside of your business. So, you know, whatever that looks like, you have things that’s going on there. And so when you combine the two can be overwhelming for people. And I used to do launch coaching. So I’m very well versed in this. We’re telling people, no, like I’m the no queen. My children will tell you. I will tell you in a heartbeat. I do not feel bad about it. I don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t feel anything about it. No, you’re going to do this because you said you were going to do this stick with the decision like you were talking about before. And stay there.

Amalie: (11:25)

I think it’s important too, because becoming a master of one thing and internally, you’re able to refine your processes, make sure it runs efficiently. Externally, your marketing, your efforts, your money, your brain power is all focused on that one thing. And then that equates to the people coming to you, knowing for one thing, then your referral network will grow because they know who to refer you to, or like who to refer to you because they know what you do. They know what you’re selling. They understand what people come to you for. They understand how to communicate it to the people they know. And so it all makes, it makes the back and forth smoother, right? Internally you’re running smoothly. Cause you’ve mastered it, your marketing, your efforts, your money, all go in the same direction. And then you’ll be able to attract people more easily because not just referrals, but your marketing, your messaging will be succinct and you won’t have to be changing it as often either. Because if you’re constantly adding a new service or you’re going in a new direction, you’re constantly having to revamp like, “okay, we got to change our messaging because it doesn’t match what we’re doing.” And if you’re constantly doing that, then you’re also constantly having to grow your network or, your client base and all those things. And that’s fine if that’s where you’re at in business, but at the point of mastery reputation, as far as the business hierarchy of needs, this is a place where you’ve worked through all those beginning steps and you’re at the place where you’re ready to be known for that one thing. And that then allows all the other things to be aligned. Right. And then you’re moving forward with that.

Angel: (13:15)

Yes. And as someone honestly, and I love transparency. So I’ll say I’m very open. So ask me a question. I’ll tell you, I have been that person, but everything has been in the same space. So it’s been about marketing. And then I finally realized, “Oh my gosh, it’s marketing.” And then I’m finding, I like navigating exactly what I want to do. So I’m pivoting, which is fine. Cause sometimes you have to pivot if it’s not your thing anymore, if it’s not where you, your heart is, you know, at the time it’s okay to pivot and go in a different direction. But I would say, try and stay in that same lane, like you’re saying, doing a whole nother, like me going from marketing to life coaching, it’s like.

Amalie: (14:10)

The marketing will help you with the life coaching, like change your messaging.

Angel: (14:13)

Right. You have to change your messaging. Actually today, a best friend of mine, she was like, “Hey, you want to be accountability partners.” I’m like, “yes”, she’s doing the same thing. So we’re both, it’s very important. I’m preaching it to the mountaintop. Have someone with you to say, “you know what, that’s not what your goal is, stay on that path.” And if you need to adjust, I call it tweaking and repeat tweak and repeat tweak and repeat. Cause that’s how you master things. Right. We get it repeated.

Amalie: (14:49)

Yeah, definitely. So if someone is right now, let’s say that they’ve gone through all the different stages of the business hierarchy of needs and they’re at the mastery reputation level. Okay. And they realize like, “okay, so maybe we’re known for a couple of things.” What’s your recommendation or actionable steps that people can take to move away from kind of having this wide view to sort of a more narrow, like what are things that they should look at? What should they do? We really love to give people actual steps that they can take. So what are your recommendations for that?

Angel: (15:26)

Okay. Well, first thing I would say is look at the offers that you have. And if you have more than three tiers, if you have, let’s say five or seven, you may want to bring that in a little bit. Because if you have seven things that you’re offering to people all at once, and they’re able to just, you know, sign up and it’s evergreen, you’re stretching yourself so much. So I would suggest you look at what you have, some things be combined. So say, is there an offer that you have that’s at one level with say one-on-one with you. And it was three months. Look at maybe turning that into a mastermind. And so now you have, you know, maybe one or two things, that’s the lower tiers, but now you have a mastermind where you can actually serve and give them a deeper experience, look at your offers and see where you can collapse things. So you’re not really seriously burning yourself out, trying to master all the things and be everything to everyone. Bring that in. I would also suggest that if there’s one offer that you really love and the results that you provide is just fantastic. You have the testimonials, people are raving. Of course, I’m NPR. I love saying, “Hey, let’s look at some places in media, whether it’s editorial or if you’re doing podcasts, do you want to be out in the forefront being, I call it the it check for this thing. Pick the thing that you want everyone to know about”. For example Marie Forleo’s B-School period. That’s it. You know, if you hear B-School and you ask about it.

Amalie: (17:17)

Yeah. Oh, hold on. Wait, we can’t hear you. Oh, Oh, hold on. Oh no, wait, we can’t hear you.

Angel: (17:35)

Wait. I thought so. No, it came back. It was my internet.

Janine: (17:44)

It was right out. When you hear B school.

Amalie: (17:47)

When you hear B. Right. So we got that part. Sorry, go ahead.

Angel: (17:53)

So go ahead. Okay. So yeah, when you hear, when you hear B school, you know, it’s Marie Forleo, like, you know that she is, that’s her thing. She’s that. And one thing to focus on when you talk to her, she probably going to mention it, be that person and be like, this is the thing that I want to pull people in. And then you say, okay, now they go to my mastermind. Or maybe you don’t fit this particular thing. Let’s start here on a different tier. So you can get up to where I am at this tier. And then,

Amalie: (18:26)

And they can always have those other services. Oh, sorry. They can always have those other services in their back pocket. Right? You don’t necessarily have to, Oh wait, can you hear us? Oh no, no. Okay. Now I hear, now I can hear you. Okay. So they can always keep those services in their back pocket. Right. Then the other ones that, you know, you have them. But it’s like, if you want to be the “it check”, like you said, that you really need to, once you figure out what that one thing is, then you can go out on all the channels and put that message out. Right. You’re you’re focused on that. And that’s how you build your reputation. Right? Getting feedback, all those things, getting feedback, getting out on publications, getting on podcasts, like that’s where that PR comes in, where you, what you do and helping people get out into, you know, get their name out there. But I think that it’s most effective to get your name out there when you’ve refined your offers and figured out what you want to be known for. Otherwise, it’s like, if you start putting yourself out for the thing, right. And then in like a month you switched to something else. It becomes very confusing and then you don’t know, you know?

Amalie: (19:46)

Yep. I agree. I agree. That’s why it’s so much better for you. As you know, we go into business because we want freedom, right? Whatever the freedom is. So if you have all these things, you’re not actually providing yourself freedom, you’re actually putting more work on yourself and putting more things to that. You got to feel, you got to feel instead of you being fulfilled instead of your clients being fulfilled. So it’s much better to have that one thing that you’re talking about. And every time somebody says, “Oh, Hey, I have a podcast interview. I would love to interview you. You know what you’re talking about, period.” It’s just easy. You know, people get into this and they get overwhelmed. And I don’t like it when people are overwhelmed because it just slows you down. You do get paralysis. It’s like, I have to decide, you have to decide, you’re an adult. Let’s decide, what are we doing today? We’re going to be business owner. Decisions. Let’s decide on something and stick with it for just 90 days. That’s my thing. 90 days.

Amalie: (20:57)

Do contracts too.

Janine: (20:59)

Oh, I was just going to say, well, when you consider that, you know, generalization, that it takes 10,000 hours to really become masterful at something. Then if you’re trying to become masterful at more than one thing, it’s going to take you that much longer to get to that point. And there’s no 90 days in that map. Right.

Angel: (21:18)


Amalie: (21:22)

Contracts with clients in 90 days, I think 90 days is enough time to like actually gain some traction and make some changes. Because I feel like at least the first two months, like is a lot of like prep and a lot of back and forth. And then you can really start to see the change by the end of 90 days. So I agree. I think, you know, 90 days is a good amount of time to see if something is working, whether that’s like external marketing or internal, you know, fixing things to see if problem is solved or whatever. So do you have anything else that you want to add as far as how to become known for the one thing and to master your reputation? And before we, you know, before we wrap up, do you have anything else you want to add?

Angel: (22:06)

Sure. Well, one thing that I’ve learned is actually connecting with people, making connections and I don’t think of it as even networking. I think of it as where relationships, because you’re building relationships and when you’re actually having conversations with people, once that person, you and that person are having that kind of conversation. And it’s not just business, even though you might be talking about some other things, they remember just like you do. And if someone says, “Hey, do you know anyone who does this?” Like you said that back pocket. I say that all the time, I keep people in my back pocket all the time, because I will pull out someone that I know. I know my friends. So it’s great to make connections, just, you know, even on Facebook, you’re just like, “Hey, you know, what do you do? I think you’d be great for this. I have someone, you know, who might be interested in this.” That’s how I get podcasts interviews. That’s how I got, I get trainings in masterminds.

Amalie: (23:16)

That’s how we connected, to help us with some PR. So that’s also, you know, and another way to be able to help refer people is to hire them, work with them. So like in our referral network, most of the people that we refer out or give work to, or something like that are people that we’ve worked with either they’ve worked on a project for us or for a client as a contractor with us. So definitely. And I agree, and getting out on podcasts is a great way to spread the word about the one thing you are really good at, right. So, Angel, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. We’re super grateful. Tell us if is there anything that you’re promoting right now that you want to tell the audience about, and then we’ll of course include all the links in the show notes. Just if you want to share that real quick, that’d be great.

Angel: (24:11)

Sure. Well right now, I have a Black Friday offer where I am finding 10 spots specifically for you where your target audience hangs out and it may be editorial and maybe podcasts. It may be media. And so I’ll be finding those 10 things for you and also providing you with a pitch template. So for the editorial pieces, I love to get, say, “Hey, I got featured here.” Just, you know, just drop that in, drop that on Facebook somewhere. And so that’s what I’m going to be helping people with. And I’m actually going to be mastering that even more so because I’ve done it for myself and I do it all the time, and I’ve done it for my friends. So now I’m like, okay, I’m going to open this up to everyone. So that is what I’m doing right now.

Amalie: (25:00)

So how can people get in touch with you, where’s the best place to find you and how can they get in touch with you about that service?

Angel: (25:07)

You know what, I’m so informal, because of the creative part of me can not handle the corporate America part. So you can ping me. I am open.

Amalie: (25:15)

We’ll share your Facebook page and stuff in the show notes. So just how you want them to just reach out to you via messenger is good.

Angel: (25:23)

Yeah. Messenger is always great. Yep. I’m on it all the time. That’s the best way to reach me. Or you can email me at

Amalie: (25:35)

Perfect. And we’ll put that in the show notes as well. So thank you so much. I hope you have a great day and if anyone’s listening, if you think that you know anyone that would benefit from listening to this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe and we’ll see you next time. Thanks. Bye.


Our continuing series on Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs now addresses Linchpin Redundancies. In this episode, we explore how business can grind to a halt if proper SOPs are not in place and updated frequently. We avoid these disastrous results by cross-training the team in all business operations. Listen now for all the details!

Show Notes

If you or a member of your team goes on vacation or gets sick or quits, will business still run unabated? Will everything you built fall apart in days because no one is trained to operate efficiently while you are gone? 

Avoid sleepless nights over these troublesome scenarios by having all your bases covered for any of these eventualities.

Join us in this episode as we explain the importance of having an open discussion with your team, and avoiding the major issues that can occur when the only team member that knows everything is gone. Join us as we discuss:

➡️ How to make your life easier with processes 

➡️ The key to ensuring you have effective processes in your business

➡️ Items to include so your process don’t fail

Don’t miss a beat in business, Listen now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:


Fix This Next

Free Business Evaluation

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie (00:01):

Welcome back to another episode of the Systematic Excellence podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. I’m here with Janine Suvak and we are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners run more efficiently, build effective teams and we help them grow and figure out what the next step in their business is. We’ve been doing a series on the business hierarchy of needs from Mike Michalowicz’ book: “Fix This Next.” We are both Fix This Next advisors and we have been just breaking down the elements of the business hierarchy of needs. Today, we’re going to talk about “linchpin redundancies” and if you haven’t listened to the rest of the episodes, I highly recommend going back and listening to them.  Also as Fix This Next next advisors  we have a quiz on our website where you can take the quiz and it’ll help you to determine what is the next step in your business. Then if you need additional support, that’s where we come in. You can book a call with us and we can help you break that down.

Janine (01:07):

You can find that at:

Amalie (01:12):

We’ll put the link in the show notes. Today we’re going to talk about “linchpin redundancies.” We’re going to look at explaining  how to figure out if your business is designed to operate unabated, when key employees are not available. I would even throw in if you’re not available too, so as the business owner and CEO. So do you want to kick us off with this? Cause I know your favorite thing.

Janine (01:44):

This is my favorite one, it’s the one guy theory, right? It’s like you can’t have that one guy that when he goes missing, it all falls apart. I have a favorite story about this. Some of you know that I served as a flight surgeon in the army and when we would go to training events, very often, the medics ran them. After Saving Private Ryan came out, they would always, no matter where you went for training, they would always show this one scene where they’re storming the beach and people are getting taken out all over the place and they’re calling for the surgeon, right? And then you see a bunch of guys behind the main character huddled over someone else. There are a bunch of medics and they’re like, “this IS the surgeon because he got hit.” And they love showing that. But then there came a day when we’re deploying, and my medics weren’t really paying attention to some of the pocket training I had going on. And I was like, “Guys, you know that scene, so you know what happens when I’m gone, then who’s going to do this. It’s going to be all you taking care of our 377 people.” And their eyes got kind of big. They got real quiet. And all of a sudden they started paying attention. Cause it just never occurred to them in reality that I wouldn’t be there for them to lean on. And it just changed their whole perspective. So that’s a little dramatic because lives are on the line, Right? But it’s the same thing for your business. You can’t have your business falling apart. Your livelihood depends on it. Your team members livelihood depends on it. It’s not just an exercise for fun, right? It’s not just playing while the boss is away. It’s super duper important to make sure that the business can function when key employees are not available for whatever reason, especially the unexpected last minute, once when there’s no time to prepare, now’s the time.

Amalie (03:31):

Yeah. And so what the importance of this, or how you ensure that people are covering down is to have cross training and to have clear SOP’s, I think I’ve maybe mentioned this every single episode we’ve talked about! SO important!

Janine (03:50):

It stands for “Standard Operating Procedure. It’s a list of step by step instructions that, ideally, if the person who normally functions in that role for whatever SOP you’re looking at, if they’re not available, you could literally have a temp come in, sit down and follow the step by step and get the job done.

Amalie (04:13):

Right. And so that’s how you ultimately ensure that your business could run, whether you’re not there or one of your other employees or team members isn’t there, is to have clear processes and to do training on them. So making sure that people know: 1) where to find the processes. We talked about outcome delegation and minimizing wasted effort, we talked about the fact that you need to make sure that whoever owns that process is refining it and updating it. So that way, if they’re gone, for some reason, whoever comes in is going to do the updated process and not whatever the old one is, and the person’s been doing something else all along. So cross training, making sure people know how, and have access to your software. So that’s really important. So to help to ensure that’s the case is having a clear onboarding process for team members and making sure that they get all the access they need to the different software. So if there’s some last minute thing where someone’s not there, “Oh, well, so and so can’t do it because they don’t have access to this software.” Well, they should have access to it from the very beginning and how you do that is have a clear checklist of what the person, when they get onboard, what they need to have access to. And even if they’re not going to use it all the time, I would highly recommend just giving them access to those things. I mean, we’ve done it in our business where with our team members where I’ll say, “Oh, I need Karen to go do this.” But then I realized I never gave her access. Well, I should’ve given her access from beginning. So then now we’re not in this like heat of the moment, “Hey, I need you to do this!” then she’s like, “I can’t, I don’t have access.” I’m like, Oh man!

Janine (06:05):

Yeah, you may be literally incapacitated. You may simply not listen to internet and you know, power outages. Let’s say something where, you know, it’s not just your wifi, it’s your phone. You literally are cut off from communications. Like it has to be done in advance for all those things to happen.

Amalie (06:23):

Right, exactly. So making sure that people, have access to the resources they need, they have access to all those things that are saved. Whatever they need. So her onboarding process, not only do we have a Google doc with the onboarding process, but we have checklists inside of click up that tell you exactly what they need to have access to. And then we use last pass to share passwords with them or give them access to Google drive or whatever the case may be. That allows us to ensure that they have the resources that they need to achieve, whatever it is we’re delegating to them or tasking to them.

Janine (07:10):

And make sure they actually DO access everything as you start cross training. There’s actually a couple of things I want to say that about cross training as you start having your team cross train. There’s a funny thing. I’ve run into many times actually with employees making the comment that they are hesitant to fully document what they do because they’re afraid that they’re going to get fired or it’s even happened to them before, where they’ve essentially revealed all their magical expertise and then been replaced by a lower paid employee. And it’s like, well, please don’t do that because you just got rid of a treasurer who has an expertise and they will continue to do more things and wonderful things for your company than who you just hired to replace them. But it’s a real fear of people. It really is.

We’ve been hired by people that, to build the SOP and the team is everyone on the team. Their first feeling is, “Oh my gosh, are we going to get fired?” And it’s like, no, but how would you like to be able to take vacation? So it can be a happy reason. It doesn’t have to be getting hit by a car, whatever their fear is, but just be aware that they will have those fears, and address them from the get go.

Amalie (08:28):

Yeah. I think it’s important too, is the vacation piece of it. Being able to take time away, not just you as the business owner or CEO, but your team members too. Someone can take time off without there being a huge stress in your life like, “Oh my God, who’s going to do this?” Or “who’s going to take care of this daily thing that I need done?” You can easily say, “Great! Enjoy your time off!” And you are under no additional stress. Because you or the team member not going to have to take anything on. The team member with the additional work is confident that they know what to do. And that just makes the overall environment much better. There’s no additional stress. The person that is taking on the additional work doesn’t feel slighted. They just understand that this is a temporary thing while the person’s away and they know what they’re doing. If it can feel stressful, if they’re being asked to do something and they have no idea what they’re doing and there’s no process, and now they have to try to figure it out. Well, now that it’s going to take you as a business owner to help the person, right. And it just becomes a mess. And then you’re in a position where nobody can take time off. No one can go anywhere because otherwise your business will fail.

Janine (09:57):

Yeah. If you have that team member that you love and you rely on and you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of them not being there for a week or two weeks or a month, that’s where you need to start, really. Oh, but I wanted to bring up something else about access. So as security protocols get more and more complex, make sure that they have access. Just because we generally work with companies that have remote teams, as travel opens back up and people move around and they’re working from home. They’re still working, make sure that you have a means by which someone can enable their access. I’m speaking to things like two step verification, where, what phone number are those going to? Right? What happens if that person with that phone is not available and then team members need access? So those kinds of things need to be accounted for. Happened to me the first time I went to Croatia and evidently Google thought I was an Eastern European hacker because it knew where I was. And then I couldn’t get into my own stuff as I started over again. So, I mean, it was just annoying and I could get myself back into everything, but imagine a team member is traveling. You’re relying on them to do something. And if you’re not available. Have a process for that eventuality, it’s gonna catch you off guard. We don’t want you to caught off guard. Right? No surprises.

Amalie (11:23):

So I think a place to start with this is to sit down with your team and have a conversation. In both our other episodes we talked about minimizing wasted effort and we talked about the outcome delegation. Sit down with your team and ask them “Hey, where are you with with these? Who knows how to do this process other than you?” Right? So getting your team together and having a conversation about it; if you don’t know, that’s okay. Just let’s pull them in and let’s have a conversation. That’s where I’d start is let’s just start looking at: so this person does this process. Is there anyone else that knows how to do it? No. Okay. Now we need to start assigning other people the different steps in it. And before they do that, I would have them do a review. Okay. Do a review of the standard operating procedure, whoever owns it, make sure it’s, it’s good. It’s up to date. Then you’re going to train someone on it and then help them figure out who’s going to cross train to make sure they know how to do everything. But if you’re not there, if you’re not sure, just pull your team in. First of all, the operations person should be able to do this. Meaning, pull the team in, figure this out. If you don’t have an operations person, and it’s not something that you want to take on yourself, or you’re unsure. If you have the right perspective on it, then you pull someone from the outside. Like that’s something that Janine and I do. So you’d pull in someone like us and have them do an evaluation for you and help you figure out where there is, where there is or isn’t a redundancy. You could even have basically all the episodes that we talked about in this section of the business hierarchy of needs. This is what we do. So, having us do an evaluation of where there’s effort that is being wasted. If you’re not delegating outcomes, if role alignment is off, like all of those things, getting an outside perspective, if you don’t feel confident that you can do it yourself.  Sometimes when you’re in it, in the midst of it, it is hard to see. So bring someone from the outside. Now, if you have an operations person, if you have an integrator, if you have that role already filled, you may still feel like you want an outside person to come in and work with your operations person. That’s fine too. But I highly recommend in this place, if you don’t feel confident that you can take a step back and look at the big picture, bringing someone in can definitely help you.

Janine (14:17):

That’s super important, because I was going to say, it’s not that you can’t do it, or you may even feel confident doing it, but is it really the best thing that you should be doing with your time? Right? I mean, as far as linchpin redundancy, taking a step back. Now this is from Mike Michalowicz’ book, Fix This Next, that we’re following in this particular series on podcasts. And we are Fix This Next advisors, but he has another book that’s specifically around systems called Clockwork. And really putting this to the test, is, you’re the first person who should be taking a vacation. And if your team breaks out in a cold sweat and your business is going to fall apart, if you step away, then that’s definitely a sign that, first, you need to be replaceable. It doesn’t mean you WANT to replace yourself, but again, you should be able to take a vacation or if there’s a family emergency, you should be able to step away without everything going off the rails. So it begins with you. But even replacing yourself, it’s like, is that the best thing for you to be doing? That’s where we can help make that go easier and faster for you to get that set up. Because what do most business owners do when they’re doing this for the first time, right? Is they kind of take their mess and they hand it off to that next person in line that they most rely on, but what they’ve done is, now that person is stuck in a mess. So they may not be the linchpin person anymore, but they just created an even bigger one in one of their other employees. And so the problem just keeps getting passed around or just passed that one time and then it’s not identified until that day comes from that employee’s not showing up. And meanwhile, they’re doing all the things they are supposed to be doing. This is again, back to it’s like nobody likes doing the documentation except me and Amalie, we love this stuff, right? And we do it all the time. So for us, it’s really fast because the systems and patterns are the same for both businesses and it’s just customizing it for the dynamics of your particular setup in your team. That’s what we can do for your company.

Amalie (16:17):

Yeah, exactly. Did you have anything else you wanted to add for linchpin redundancies?

Janine (16:27):

Just don’t be that one guy that when you’re gone, it all falls apart.

Amalie (16:31):

Exactly. So to just to give you a starting point, if you’re in this place where you’re trying to figure this out, if you’re not going to bring someone from the outside in, you really need to take a step back and you need to engage with your team to find out, okay, who knows how to do what? And it’s going to take a minute. So you’re going to need to set aside time to set a meeting and have a discussion,. You want to make sure that everyone knows how to do someone else’s job and hear from them about who knows how to do what and what they don’t know how to do. And if you don’t know, that’s okay, but like the way to figure it out is to talk to your team. Just like we talked about with outcome delegation, talking to your team, right? So figuring out where the wasted effort is. Talk to your team. You want to know from the person that’s doing the thing, the task, the operation, using the software, what is the most effective way to use it? This is the outcome I want, how is the best way to get that done? Where are, who else knows how to do this other than this one person? What role are you in? Do you feel like you’re in the role that it best fits your goals and needs and desires from a role alignment? And I would just bring up the section of the operations, part of the business hierarchy of needs. And so this whole section, what it comes down to is getting an outside perspective, looking at the big picture of your business and how it operates and engaging with your team on and having them tell you what’s going on for them as far as the operations for them.

Janine (18:12):

And you’re not done until you put it to the test and send those team members on vacation. And that’s where you’re going to find what got missed you should plan for that. You should expect that small steps got missed. And there are going to be questions asked and make yourself available to the people that are taking on the delegated role while this person has gone the first time around and then clean it all up and you’re good to go. And then you can take your two week vacation, right. Again, because you should have done it first.

Amalie (18:47)

We are wrapping up the operations part of the business hierarchy of needs, so if you haven’t listened to the rest of the series, we highly recommend you go back and do that. And anyone that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share with them, make sure you subscribe so you can catch our next episodes. And we thank you for listening. Have a good one. Bye bye.


There is a huge difference between tasking and delegating, but there is even a bigger difference between delegating tasks and delegating outcomes. In this episode, you will find out everything you need to know about outcome delegation as we discuss its advantages, different ways to achieve it, and how it can empower your employees. Listen now!

Show Notes

Successful delegation is a skill that CEOs, business owners, managers, Integrators, Online Business Managers, etc must learn in order to be effective in their positions. one of the most important pillars that make companies thrive. 

We aren’t talking about just task delegation, we are talking about outcome delegation.

On this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we continued breaking down Mike Michalowicz’ Business Hierarchy of Needs to help business owners determine the next best step to take in their business to grow and achieve their goals. Join us as we discuss outcome delegation to build a strong and effective team that keeps constantly improving itself. 

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ How to use outcome delegation to empower your team

➡️ Who you need to surround yourself with to be successful

➡️ The biggest reason why you need to refine your processes

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!


The Secrets to Delegating Effectively

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

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Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. I’m here with Janine Suvak. We are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners refine their processes, build their effective teams and run more efficiently. And we are currently doing a series of breaking down the Business Hierarchy of Needs from Mike Michalowicz book, Fix This Next. We’re both Fit It Next advisors. And today we are talking about something that I personally love very much.

Janine: (00:36)

And me too.

Amalie: (00:39)

So today, we’re talking about outcome delegation, and this is important because we stress the importance of delegation versus tasking, and way back in the beginning, when we first started our podcasts, I actually don’t remember which episode it is, but I will look it up and make sure I include in the show notes. We’ve talked about the difference between tasking and delegating. But this is, this is important. The outcome delegation is important because what you’re doing is empowering the members of your team to take full responsibility for the process and the outcome, and letting them be responsible for refining the process, basically walking through it, letting them report back to you, if something’s not working, giving them the responsibility of, you know, if you can find a better way to do it, if there’s a better way to measure it, you know, basically just giving them the whole ownership of whatever that process is or that task. And then, you know, even if it includes delegating it or tasking other pieces to the team, ultimately whoever’s in charge of it, you’re empowering them to be in charge of the whole thing, not just telling them, “okay, do this one thing, come back to me when you’re done, do this one thing, come back to me when you’re done.” And I really think that is important, but you’re also giving them, you’re giving them the responsibility of, “okay, look, you set a goal of you want to achieve this goal”, and then you’re holding them accountable to that, but you’re empowering them to achieve it. And you’re saying, once you achieve that, you know, you’ve set your goal. You ask them, “what’s the goal that you want to achieve?” and then they achieve it. And then you want to congratulate them for that because you’ve empowered them to achieve the goal that they set for themselves in whatever that process is, you know.

Janine: (02:56)

Totally high fiving them. I think the military has this down really well, where you have the officer role, which is more like the business owner. And then you have the noncommissioned officer role and it’s like, well, what does that mean? If they’re both in charge and they have different responsibilities. In one of my assignments with my aid station, our senior NCO left unexpectedly, and I had a very, very new young NCO. And he didn’t understand the difference between our roles. And I was like, “listen, we have this same mission, but your job here is to make it happen. My job is to make sure you have everything you need in order to make it happen.” And meanwhile, I wander over to the clinic and see patients cause I have other things that I need to be doing that they don’t do for me. And where that comes. So, but what I was going to say, as you were talking, the thing that occurred to me, it’s like, okay, that was speaking specifically to team members who may not be accustomed to taking charge and taking ownership of their roles in those kinds of things or the problem solving part of that, that affects their roles. But the next step in that is, you know, that ideally it’s like, you don’t have to do much explaining and you just tell them the outcome you want and they go, “I got it.” Because ultimately you want to be surrounding yourself by experts, whether that’s by bringing on new experts or giving your team members what they need to grow into becoming that person who is so expert at it, they can talk circles around you and you don’t need to know the details. They understand that’s literally their job. Right.

Amalie: (04:33)

That’s what I was going to say too, providing them the tools to be the expert if they aren’t. Right. So when you hire people, you kind of make a decision. You’re either going to hire someone that you’re gonna train into the position and they’ll achieve it, or you’re going to hire someone that’s already the expert, right? Maybe the person that you hire you see the potential or they have the personality, they just need the training, right, to actually do the physical task. Maybe it’s the certain software or whatever the case may be. And so I think when you’re making that decision, either way, you just need to provide them with everything they need, right to be able to achieve the outcome that you want, and then you let them own it. Now, if they’re just starting out the training that you provide them to be part of your team. So even if they are an expert, they’re still gonna need to be trained on your processes, the way you do business, all of those things. So you do need to give them time. So the way to achieve effective delegation is to have clear processes, to have clear and recorded processes, to have effective training. So you want to have the training that allows the person to be integrated onto your team and into your day to day operations. That needs to be clear. And it need to be sort of well-rounded so that they get all the training they need in order to be integrated. So that would come from a refined onboarding process and then once they’re integrated, then you can tell them, “okay, here’s my expectations.” So it needs to have clear expectations. “Here’s what I want. Here’s the goal or the outcome I want.” And then once they’re integrated in the team, then you can give them the responsibility. I think it would be easy to try to give someone new on the team, this responsibility of, “okay, take this process on.” But if they’re not sure on how you kind of do business or how you operate, it might be premature to do that. So that’s why you gotta make sure those front end things are taken care of. So the onboarding process, the training, you know, whatever the case may be. Now, if the person’s brand new in whatever skill or software that you want them to use, you do need to allow them the time that training to learn, you know, whatever that is. So then once they do, then you can give them, you can fully give them, you can delegate the outcome. You can delegate the process, all of that, where then they take full responsibility for it.

Janine: (07:08)

Yeah. Make sure you have checking points because, sometimes people are, they’re afraid of failure or disappointing. And so you want to make sure that you’re checking in with them and they’re not stuck somewhere. And you can give small guidance adjustments rather than have them come to you, head hung down, feeling like they failed, right. It’s really your job to help them succeed. So you need to be, you know, make the time to shepherd that process. The other thing is to also to be mindful, you know, we have our previous episode about role alignment is fricking phenomenal and that where you have team members moving around, just because they’ve been within your organization, when they’re in a new role, it’s different when you’re actually now it’s down to all the nitty gritty details and you’re actually doing it even though you’re familiar with them and they may need some assistance in that new role as well.

Amalie: (07:59)

Yeah. And I really think so. I don’t know if you’ve listened to the rest of the episodes, but if you haven’t listened to the previous episodes of, as we’ve broken down the business hierarchy of needs series, it’s important to understand that it is where we’re at right now is the operations part, but there are a lot of things that come before that. And so where we’re at right now is really where the business owner, you as the business owner or CEO needs to take a step back and really take a critical look at yourself and your team and operations, you know, everything leading up to it is a lot where you’re involved in a lot of this, this section where we, you know, we had the role alignment. And then we talked about minimize wasted effort. It’s really taking just a critical look at the operations, and making sure that you, as the business owner are setting the example and then setting those expectations for the rest of your team. So like the outcome delegation, it starts with you as the business owner to make sure that you’re doing that and you are delegating the outcome because ultimately if you’re not, then you are tied to your position. You cannot leave because ultimately you’re the only, you’re the one that’s doing the tasking versus the delegating, which means your business will always need you in it. And it will never be able to operate without you.

Janine: (09:37)

Yeah. And to put this in the context, as you were doing with the business hierarchy of needs, there are five levels. Each level has five particular needs within it. The bottom line is sales. You have to have sales to be a business and their needs within that. The next one is profit. You can sell a lot, but if you’re not profiting, you’re just going to dig a hole for yourself and your company. And it’s ultimately going to fail. And those things, the whole concept behind the business hierarchy of needs Is that the lowest level thing that’s holding back, your business needs to be established before you can move on to the next one. Otherwise you have an inherent weakness that’s going to lead to failure. So those things, sales and profitability have to assume that they’re well established by the time you get to what we’re talking about today with the outcome delegations. This is, if you don’t have sales, don’t worry about this. Where are you going to getting sales, right? That’s where you need to be with this.

Amalie: (10:34)

And ultimately this section with the outcome delegation, what it’s going to allow you to do is really move into that CEO position. When you can refine your operations and it is running on its own, you can really step into that role where you’re giving yourself some distance from the day to day operations and the forward-looking of the business, and it allows you to grow. And it allows you to see the bigger picture. If you’re still knee deep in the shit like running everything, right. You’re really not at a place where you can look beyond that, right? Because what comes next is the big picture is the, okay, what’s the future look like? And if you’re constantly looking behind you and then there’s no way for you to look forward and as the CEO, that’s your job, right? That is literally your job is to look forward what’s next for the business and getting reports from the trenches of what’s going on, but it’s not your job to be in it constantly. You know, not to say you don’t want to disconnect from your team, but you want to give yourself some space. You don’t want to constantly be knee deep in the shit.

Janine: (11:49)

Right? Well, entrepreneurs begin with a dream with the vision that they have, right? And then they start on this journey, starting with sales and through ordering up to here. But, somewhere in the middle there, the reason why order becomes important, this is usually where they’re treading water, right? They’ve been wearing all the hats at the beginning. They start delegating, building a team and delegating as sales and profitability becomes more apparent and growth starts to occur. But, you know, as you’re saying, that ability to step away is important. And I just like to bring this up because people don’t usually think about it. Most people, you know, love what they’re doing. They’re very passionate. They love their team. This is what they want to do, but I just want, the hard facts are, it’s like the number one cause of personal bankruptcy is medical issues. It’s like, you know, people get sick, you get hit by a car, random things happen all the time and instilling this order in your company, not making yourself, you know, the key point of failure is vital to your financial security, both your business and of course it’s supporting your family. So that’s why this is inherently important.

Amalie: (13:01)

Yeah, definitely, and that goes for your team members as well. So making sure that there’s, they covered down on each other and making sure that people know other people’s roles and that there are recorded processes. So that there’s constantly someone that can fill in for the other person.

Janine: (13:19)

That’s actually, we’re getting a little head. That’s what we’re going to dive into our next episode. And that’s my favorite topic. But before you can do that, you have to be able to delegate outcomes.

Amalie: (13:28)

Yeah. And so, I think just to reiterate the point is you’re not just delegating how the thing gets done. You’re delegating, “this is what I want. This is the goal I want.” I want, you know, I don’t, I can’t even think of a good idea.

Janine: (13:45)

Well. You’re literally not delegating how, you’re delegating what you want.

Amalie: (13:52)

So if you give someone an SOP, you are saying, “this is the process that you’re doing it.” So that is delegating the how, right.

Janine: (14:00)

Right. But the purpose of this step of this level is that you’re giving them the responsibility for the outcome, right? The SOP is the tool in order to be able to accomplish that.

Amalie: (14:12)

Right. And if you already have an SOP, then you would give them the SOP, but then they become responsible for refining it or whatever. But if there is no SOP, then you would, then you would delegate the how, like, “okay, I need you to, this is what I want done. I want to podcast produce and I need a process written for it.” And then you just let them go do it right. But if you already have an SOP, you would give them the SOP and then let them know that if there’s a better way to do things, you need to, you know, then refine that process and make it better. But the end goal is I want to produce podcasts every week. Right. And then let them own that. And ultimately I think that the way to achieve this is to remember that people, if they haven’t already written a process or done that before, we’ll need some training. So you got give them time to learn it. And if you have an operations person that operations person can support the team members in training them on how to do it, you know, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the business owner or the CEO, but like, that’s something that we do, right? Like we come in as consultants and as coaches and we help business owners, CEOs, and their team members evaluate their processes. Right. Better ones teach people how to construct that sort of infrastructure for effective operations. And so, if you don’t have someone in the business that can do it, bring someone from the outside that’s ideal because you really need someone that has that sort of structured mindset of, okay, here’s what we need to be built because not only does it need to be recorded somewhere, but you have to have somewhere to manage that, especially being remote. And that would be in a project management tool. So like I said, that that’s sort of, that’s like what we do coming in as consultants and coaches.

Janine: (16:10)

Yep. And having the, I mean, we have that broader look of the many, many, many ways in which things can be done, where if, you know your team members, they can document what they’re doing, but they don’t know what they don’t know.

Amalie: (16:24)

Yeah, exactly.

Janine: (16:25)

And there’s also the trap of being an expert as well, where often the little steps can get missed because there’s so rote and so routine, they don’t even think of them as steps.

Amalie: (16:40)

Yep. Exactly. Did you have anything else you wanted to add to this?

Janine: (16:46)

Nope. I think we’ve got that pretty well wrapped up.

Amalie: (16:48)

All right. Cool. So just to kind of just to wrap up here. The outcome delegation really starts with the business owner CEO that starts with you, it starts with evaluating at yourself and how you give out the tasks and activities in your, in your operation. So are you tasking or are you actually delegating? And understanding that if you’re tasking, it’s fine, but in order to be able to have the business run on its own and run while you’re not there and continue the operations, you really need to delegate. And that’s important because as your business grows, it is going to need you to be in the CEO role, the looking forward, the setting the next big goal, or setting the vision for the business. And if you’re still in the day to day operations, tasking and not delegating, you’re not going to be able to achieve that. It’s not possible. You just won’t have the capacity for it.

Janine: (17:56)

And you’ll also be pretty miserable because you’re not leading.

Amalie: (17:58)

Right. Exactly. Cause that’s probably not what you want to do. Now, if you want to just task. That’s totally cool. You know, we’re just talking in the instance where you really want to be the CEO. You want to be forward-looking, you want to be growing the business and things like that.

Janine: (18:12)

That’s just an important point that gets, let’s just bring that up really quick. It’s like very often someone who is a technician, somebody who’s very good at a particular thing, decides that, “Oh, I’m going to start a business with this.” Whether it comes from a hobby or something that people are commonly coming to you for help with. And, you it’s okay to not be the person that’s running your business. If that’s where your joy lies, then in, you can literally hire somebody to run your business and then you don’t have to deal with any of that.

Amalie: (18:43)

Yeah, exactly. So, all right, well that is outcome delegation. We thank you for listening. If you know anyone that could benefit from listening to this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe. And if you haven’t listened to the other episodes of the business hierarchy of needs series, go back and listen to them. They’re really great. We’ve had really amazing guests come on and share with us, and we will catch you next time. Thanks. Bye.


Having a strong team is one of the pillars of a successful business, but aligning people with their strengths is not as easy as it sounds. Our guest Adrienne Dorison is the cofounder of Run Like Clockwork, alongside her business partner, Mike Michalowicz. Adrienne spent the past 10 years in the field of operational efficiency and has created the most simplistic approach to making businesses ultra-efficient, and in this episode, together we will uncover the secrets of effective role alignment. Listen now!

Show Notes

Role alignment is one of the key elements to any successful organization. Even if you have the most dedicated team members – that won’t guarantee success if you don’t align them to their strengths, passion, and talents. 

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we had Adrienne Dorison with us; as a cofounder of Run Like Clockwork and an expert in operational efficiency, she’s the person you call when you need help optimizing your team. Join us as we discuss the secrets to align your team members to their roles in an efficient way.

On this episode we discussed:

➡️ Why it is so important to understand your team members’ true talents

➡️ How to shake things up and optimize your team 

➡️ The biggest reason why challenging your team is so important

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Adrienne Dorison

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:00)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m here with Janine Suvak. And we have a special guest today. I’m really excited about. Janine and I are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners find the next best step in their business, to focus on in order to continue to grow and we help them build and structure their teams. So today we have a special guest. We have Adrienne Dorison, and she is the cofounder of Run Like Clockwork alongside her business partner, Mike Michalowicz where she equipped CEOs to design a business and team that can run itself like clockwork. Adrienne has spent the past 10 years in the field of operational efficiency and has since created the most simplistic approach to making your business and team ultra efficient. She’s personally passionate about baking in generosity into business models believes when we earned money, we can give more away. Adrienne lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband, baby girl, and two dogs. So welcome, Adrienne. We’re so excited to have you here today. Did I miss anything in the bio?

Adrienne: (01:06)

No, it was like, I feel like I should shorten my bio. To be more efficient but thank you. No, that’s great.

Janine: (01:16)

We found that all of our clients are dog people like us. So that was the best part for me.

Adrienne: (01:22)

Well, I just had the baby girl this year, so my bio was always like the two dogs. And then once I had my baby, I was like, I think I should put her in there. But I’m not taking the dogs out.

Janine: (01:34)

Yeah. Well, congratulations.

Adrienne: (01:37)

Thank you. That has helped me clockwork.

Amalie: (01:39)

Yeah, definitely. Well, now it’s like mandatory, right? You need to, right? So we’re excited to have you here today. We’re going to discuss role alignment. So we’re doing a whole series on the business hierarchy of needs. And so today we’re going to talk about that. So I’d love to hear your philosophy about roles and responsibilities and how to align people with their talents that they have and, you know, and then we’ll just kind of go from there.

Adrienne: (02:03)

Yeah. So we have the approach that it’s much better to understand like what your team member’s strengths are like, what are their true talents? And then try to find responsibilities within the business that align to those things versus creating a job, you know, a title that we have this job title. And then we have all these responsibilities that we “have heard”, should fall under this title. And oftentimes a lot of those tasks don’t necessarily correspond to the same strengths, right? So if you have an administrative assistant that might be doing some things that are communication based, they might also be doing some things that are much more detail oriented or even analytical that you’re having them, you know, review metrics and things like that. And so they’re all over the board in terms of what their innate strengths might be. And so instead of using just a job title to define what this individual should be doing inside your company, start looking for areas where the strengths and the talents can align to the responsibilities that you’re handing over to someone. So for example, if communication is someone’s one of their highest strengths, and they’re just really good at communicating, instead of just putting them on, you know, one area where they can communicate, how can we get more pieces of the business over to them that relate to communication. So if someone is dealing with your customer support inbox, they also might be really great at sales calls. Like if they love talking to people or maybe they’re going to be really great at, you know, connecting with your customers in a different way, or handling phone calls with vendors that maybe you hate doing. So starting to think of like, Oh, just because this doesn’t fall under that “title” that we have for this person, what are their strengths? And I think this is super helpful in a small business, because sometimes we have all of these different responsibilities and we don’t have enough work to give someone a full time job in the sales department. But if you have someone who’s a great communicator, maybe they could take on some of that responsibility and it becomes a full time job or more hours dedicated to something that’s related to their strengths, which you will find keeping them like vertical.

Amalie: (04:29)

Like you can only be in sales, you have to live right here, but giving them, just adding to their roles and responsibilities. So let’s say, for the audience sake, you know, someone that has a team of, you know, let’s say five to 10 people and what is something that they might recognize in their team that says that people aren’t necessarily where they need to be? Cause I want to give some actual steps. The first step is like, okay, recognizing that there’s a problem. So what, what are those red flags or keys that they need to be looking for?

Adrienne: (05:04)

I think number one is identifying that people aren’t maybe performing at the level that you want them to in certain roles, but you can see that they’re doing certain things very well. And you’re like, gosh, like why are they not getting this thing? And it’s like, maybe they’re not good at that thing. So instead of saying, which is what typically happens is we’re like, “Oh, I have to fire them. I have to start over. I have to find someone else like, where’s my like unicorn, you know, it’s just going to be able to do everything really, really well.” And so identifying like, “Hey, I can tell that this person has incredible talent in this one area. Maybe I’m just not aligning them with the right responsibilities.” And actually I need to start looking for other potential gaps in the business that this individual could step into. So that’s the other thing, right? Number one, are they maybe not performing well in certain areas, but excelling in other areas that you really want to capitalize on? And then another thing that might be happening is you’re experiencing gaps within the team, as the team continues to grow, you’re identifying, “Oh, we potentially need someone else to do this role because, oh, we have a new position available.” And it’s like, do you really have a new position available? Or do we just need to re balance and shift what everyone on the team is currently doing? Like, is it a gap or do we just need to maybe shuffle things around in a way that aligns with people’s strengths? Because when they’re working on their strengths, they’re usually going to be more efficient at doing things so they can actually handle more right, in terms of capacity. So sometimes we think we need a new hire when really we just need to rebalance based on people’s strengths.

Amalie: (06:44)

And check yourself for like, okay, what am I doing that I don’t need to be doing? And will that person be good at it? Right. And then bringing them to pursue that. So how do you go about figuring out what people’s strengths are? So we might be able to see that they excel at certain things, but are there other ways that you guys use to figure out what people’s strengths are and then go and then choosing what kind of role they’d be good at?

Adrienne: (07:06)

Yeah. So for, you know, as you were saying, like, you know, understanding like what is on your plate that needs to shift as well? The first thing that we do, anytime that we have these kinds of questions is we do a time tracking, right? So number one, we want to track everyone’s time on the team and kind of assess where their time is currently going. If we think that that currently aligns with their strengths and start identifying what needs to be shifted over to someone else. So the reason I bring that up is because a lot of times your team members actually know what their strengths are or what they’re frustrated with or what they’re not good at because they’re feeling the frustration of it as they’re doing the work. Right? So when we do a time tracking, I have our team do, and our clients do like a debrief as individuals of that time tracking. And so on the time tracking, I have them tell me, like, “what could move off of your plate potentially? Like, what do you want to transfer? What is potentially either below your pay grade, because you’ve grown at this company and now you’re kind of beyond what you originally started with, or it’s just not aligned with your strengths and maybe you’re a team player.” So you’re like currently doing it and you’re willing to keep doing it. But for the longterm, we don’t want you to keep doing it because it’s not a good use of our company’s time, money, energy. And so they are number one, able to kind of communicate to us like “this is not a good use of my time. Or I think I could train someone else to do this a lot better. Or I think someone else on the team might be even better at this than me.” So that’s number one. The other thing that we use is like personality tests we use StrengthsFinders, for sure. I think that StrengthsFinders is an incredible one for helping people identify certain things like soft and hard skills. Also I’ll say that, we use a couple of different personality tests, StrengthFinders being the one that helps us match things to talent more specifically. Yeah. We also use Enneagram, but that’s more of like a self awareness, how I work type of thing, which can be super helpful in terms of communicating as a team and working better as a team. But doesn’t give it a specific like talent, you know, feedback as a StrengthsFinder was so we’d use strengths finders and then help people become more self aware of those things. And I think the other piece is also like identifying one of the things that we do is identify where people are and what we call an S curve. So Whitney Johnson wrote a book called build an 18, I think it’s called, sorry, Whitney Johnson, who don’t know me anyways, but it’s a great book. And she talks about this concept of an S curve and how it’s related to people’s competency within their role. And so I share that because sometimes people are in a role that does align with their strengths, their natural strengths, but they’re not fully competent yet within the role. So they are going to be challenged. So I always like to tell people, if you’re being challenged by something, it doesn’t mean that it’s not aligned with your strengths. It just might mean that it’s new for you and be patient, right. You’re going to have to work through it. But if it’s completely misaligned with your strengths, that’s an opportunity for me as a leader to say, “I’m just trying to, you know, push a Boulder up a Hill”, which is not the most efficient use of our time versus understanding that it is my job to challenge our team members to grow and to try new things. But if it’s aligned with their strengths, then at least I know I’m pushing that in the right direction.

Amalie: (10:46)

Yeah. I like to gauge my tests about how, which ones I procrastinate on. So like which ones I put off. So like Janine—

Adrienne: (10:55)

I know it would take me forever, forever to do.

Amalie: (10:59)

If I keep putting it off, that means like, that’s the thing that I need to stop doing. And so like, but if people are aware and if your team members are aware of like, hey, so what are the things that you, even if it doesn’t take a lot of effort, but you keep putting off what are those things, make a list of them and send them to me because that, I know, let me find someone that isn’t going to put them off and it’s not to be mean or anything. Honestly, like there’s just things I don’t like doing. So I put them off and like, if they’re the thing that’s like on my, to do list three days in a row, I know that I’ve really don’t really want to do it. You know?

Adrienne: (11:35)

Yeah, it’s a good, it’s a good like metric.

Amalie: (11:37)

Right. How long did I put this off? When it might take 10 minutes, but I still put it off for a week. You know, that’s a problem.

Janine: (11:45)

Totally. It’s a bit more energy into putting it off, than actually getting work done.

Adrienne: (11:49)

Right. So yeah, anytime they’re getting frustrated by things, not frustrated because it’s challenging, but frustrated because they hate doing it for some reason. Right.

Janine: (12:01)

I think you can tell, people handing things off. They just think that everyone else must, that is terrible. It’s a punishment to handle this thing. But there’s someone out there who loves it, right?

Amalie: (12:13)

You need a culture of that inside of the business. It’s okay to say that you’re not good at this. And to be able to, as a business owner or, you know, the manager of the team to be receptive of that feedback and then make the changes, you know, maybe it’s a one on one call to find out, “okay, what’s going on, what’s happening?” Did they take the personality test? Did they take the strengths and, you know, figuring out and then putting all the pieces together, then looking at the rest of the team. “Okay, well, who can take this on? Where is everyone at?” And you know, what is their workload and things like that. And then, then transferring it to someone else. But the communication is important.

Adrienne: (12:51)

Totally. And we communicate this again and again, and again and again, because rebalancing the team, we talk about this inside the book is not like a one and done type of thing, right? Because my team members and myself hopefully are continuing to grow. So every time and develop, especially if I’m pouring into them and if I’m investing in them and training them on different things or you know, creating or creating opportunities for them to be trained by other people in the strengths that they want to grow in. Then every quarter we’re kind of looking at that time tracking and looking at where they’ve grown, what maybe is no longer something that they want to keep on their plate. And so it does give me an opportunity to keep reminding them to not feel bad about telling me like, “Hey, I want to transfer this off my plate right here.” And they always have to communicate why, right. Like why? Because I’ve grown beyond it or because I’m looking for a new challenge or because it does not align with my strengths anymore or never did, but I just ended up doing it or it ended up on my plate because you asked, you know, in a pinch for me to do it, but then I just kept doing it. Right. That happens all the time. It happens to me. I know what happens to them.

Amalie: (14:02)

And just being open to talking about it and doing review and it like keeps things fresh. You know, people like to do new things and they like to prove themselves and they like to take on a challenge and then, you know, and achieve it. And so if you have the culture of growing and supporting the growth of the team, and then you’re bringing people in and then you’re just kind of moving them to the next level and bringing new people in, it allows new perspectives and you might get a unicorn eventually that could do a bunch of different things. And, you know, like you just don’t know. But if you stick with the same team in the same positions for year in, year out, I just, you know, it can get stale.

Janine: (14:40)

Yeah. That rebalancing naturally introduces some cross training. Right. So, and getting rid of redundancies.

Adrienne: (14:50)

Yeah. So one of the things when we use this like S curve concept. So at the bottom, it’s like, you’re not very competent in the role, but what they call the sweet spot is like right in the middle of that S and that’s when people are just like rocking and rolling in their role, they know what they’re doing, you can trust them. They feel like they’re competent. They’ve built some confidence, but at the top of that S curve is what we call mastery. And mastery is great for a certain period of time, but our A players will get very bored in mastery maybe a year, maybe even less than that. And so what we always want to be doing is identifying when someone has achieved mastery in their role, and then opening up that conversation for where do we want to jump them to a new challenge, but within the company where it can align with their strengths, we’re doing this right now inside of our company, someone who has previously been on the coaching and programming side of our business is going to jump to marketing next year. And the reason for that is because she’s absolutely at mastery in her role, because she’s spent a good amount of time getting there a few years. And if I didn’t give her this new opportunity to be challenged and to like bump to the bottom of low competency again, she would leave and go somewhere else. And this is what happens to our talent, especially on small teams, is we don’t, they don’t see an opportunity for themselves to grow, there’s limited spots. And so, number one, by removing yourself as the bottleneck and clockwork in the business and allowing the business to grow more effectively, it gives people more opportunities because there’s more positions we’re growing. They see something that they can step into, but also they see, like we were talking about like that they can go cross department, that they can learn new things that they can shift into a new area. They don’t have to go to a new company.

Amalie: (16:36)

And they can train the people that will come in.

Adrienne: (16:39)

I always say, we have to dangle that carrot when someone’s in mastery. You train the next person that you can dangle that carrot and say, okay, “I’m going to move you in six months.” You tell them, “here’s where you’re going. This is the new opportunity. But over the next six months, I need you to train so to get them to a level, make sure your systems are in place, make sure they understand what they’re doing, let them shadow you all of that.” They kind of get to own until they move into the new role.

Amalie: (17:06)

Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Janine, did you have a question?

Janine: (17:09)

Nope, I don’t have questions.

Amalie: (17:12)

Okay. So in kind of wrapping up here, is there anything else that people should know? So we’re going to have, they would do the test. It will, if they would notice maybe people’s performance that not maybe up to par or not as good as it was in the, in the past. So they recognize that there’s an issue, having a conversation, doing the survey for their strengths and then moving people around. So other than that, is there anything else that is just critical to understand, you know, for someone that has a team of five to 10, what they need to do in order to make sure that they are aligning their team members with their strengths and not necessarily a title, but with the roles or responsibilities that they take on.

Adrienne: (17:54)

Yeah. So I think number one, when you write a job description or when you’re, you know, communicating to your team members, what they’re going to be responsible for. I think a lot of miscommunication happens because we don’t clearly indicate what the outcomes are that we want them to be responsible for. And I think that that creates a lot of a, I’m doing air quotes, but it’s a podcast. You can’t see me, but like “poor performance” of people. Right. Like people feel like, “Oh, this person isn’t performing up to the standard that I want.” And I’m like, “well, what is the outcome that you have outsourced to them? What was the outcome you delegated to them?” And they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know.” And I’m like, well, how do you know that they’re doing a poor job?”

Janine: (18:37)

“Did you set the standard?”

Adrienne: (18:39)

It wasn’t clear.

Amalie: (18:39)

Do they know what the expectation is?

Adrienne: (18:43)

Do they know what the expectation is? And what is excellence in their role look like to them? Have them define that before you even start it?

Amalie: (18:54)

Do they know what they’re living up to?

Adrienne: (18:56)

Right. Because your expectation of excellence might be, or your definition of it might be very different than theirs. And so at least when you’re starting, you know, the delegation process, or if you’re needing to do like a little bit of a re onboarding, which I highly recommend, if you have a team and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t do any of this. It’s okay. Re onboard everyone, make it fresh.” Right. To communicate what the outcome key outcomes are that you want them to be responsible for. And if excellence is one of your values or, you know, looking through your values as a company and making sure that they understand, what does excellence in my role look like, have them dictate that or communicate that to you and make sure that it’s in alignment or clear up any, anything that you feel is out of alignment before you get three, six months down the road and then are feeling like they’re not getting it. Maybe this isn’t their strength. And it’s like, well, maybe it is their strength, but they just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand what your expectations were of them. And I think that’s one of the biggest missteps that small businesses make. Is that they have this position that they want to hire for, but they have no idea what the outcome is that they’re looking for from this individual. And it will lead to poor performance from everyone because they can’t take full autonomy of their role and really utilize their strengths if they have no idea where they’re supposed to be going. So I think a lot of times we suffocate people’s strengths, when we’re not communicating about where we want them to go, which means they’re not able to make decisions on their own, they’re not able to really be A player that they are because they’re there, they have no target. Right? I was talking about this the other day to a colleague. And it was like, if you want to hire A players, you have to understand that A players want to win. And if you are either not giving them a target or constantly moving the target for them, they will leave. Right. Or they’ll become frustrated and they will get suffocated. And just do the bare minimum because they know that they cannot please you because they have no idea what it takes to win on your team. So being really clear with what it takes to win will help bring those best strengths out of them versus suffocating them. So that’s a huge one. And one of the things that we do, when we do our strengths analysis, we also do what we call a user manual for everyone on the team. And we have them write down, what do we need to do to get the best out of you as a team member? And what do we need to do to get the worst out of you as a team member? And so each individual write that about themselves because you know, all of the tools that we buy come with user manuals, we, as people, most complicated tool have no user manual yet we’re expected to like work together perfectly. So helping people understand, like here’s how to get the best out of me. Here’s how to get the worst out of me. And our team has access to each other’s user manuals. We read them when we onboard people. That’s one of the first things they do is create a user manual for themselves. So that can be a really great tool. Also, if you’re finding that, they have these strengths and, you know, they have these strengths, but potentially your communication or the way that you’re leading them, isn’t allowing those strengths to actually come through or be best utilized.

Amalie: (22:07)

Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much. And where is it best for people to learn more about you or connect with you? Where where’s the best place for that?

Adrienne: (22:18)

Yeah, they can go to is the best place to find everything. We’re also on Instagram at RLClockwork and yeah, if you have questions, just reach out to us there.

Amalie: (22:30)

And we’ll include the links in the show notes. So again, thank you so much for, you know, being on the podcast today. We really appreciate it. For anyone listening. If you have anyone that you think needs to hear this, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe and we’ll catch you next time.

Janine: (22:46)

Thank you. Bye bye.


We’ve been addressing Mike Michalowicz’s Business Hierarchy of Needs for the last episodes, and now it’s time we get started on our specialty: operations. In today’s episode, we discussed one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face, which is wasted efforts. Join us as we talk ways to minimize or even eliminate wasted efforts in your day-to-day processes to really make your business grow. Listen now!

Show Notes

Is there anything worse than working on a single task for hours only to find out it could be done in half the time? I don’t think so!

As entrepreneurs, we’re constantly challenging ourselves to maximize our time and resources. We need to see results, and we need them ASAP. If you’ve sat for a long time wondering how to help your team members – and yourself – make the most of every minute, we are here to help you!

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we discussed everything related to minimizing wasted efforts, from evaluating your business’ weak points to how to tackle this issue many of us face. Join us as we discuss:

➡️ Effective ways to evaluate where your company is wasting efforts

➡️ Critical element for any business’s efficiency and effectiveness

➡️ Dealing with bottlenecks and wasted resources

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:


Fix This Next

Free Business Evaluation

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

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Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: 00:37 Welcome to the podcast today. We’re going to discuss tasking vs. delegating and what the differences are. We’re going to talk about how to effectively delegate and then we’re going to talk about if things don’t go well when you delegate tasks. I’m here with Janine and I’m going to start out just kind of discussing the difference between the two. When you are tasking, you are giving someone something to do, but the expectation is that they’re coming back to you with any questions or any permissions. Those kinds of things. And when you delegate, you are giving them an outcome that you want them to achieve, right? You’re saying, I want this outcome, please, do it. And generally speaking, you’ll have a process in place that they need to follow in order to get that particular thing done, I want to call it a “task.” So I don’t want to get confused here with tasking and task, but a task, right? So someone is given a to-do item. 

And then tasking. What’s important to understand between the two is that delegation is releasing the responsibility and putting it onto the person that you’ve just now given the task or the to-do item to. The real important difference of tasking is that person’s going to keep coming back and saying, “Oh, okay, I did this, here’s this. What’s the next step? I did this. Okay, what’s the next step?” Whereas delegating is “I want this done.” And then they will go through all the steps that they need to go through in order to get this To-do item or this task done to get to the outcome that you’ve requested. So do you have anything to add to that, Janine? I mean that’s how I would differentiate between the two.


Janine: 02:48 Yeah. I just to expand, well, not expand, but in another way. I mean, tasking is more somebody who’s helping you with something that’s within your realm of things that you need to do. They’re just an extension, and that’s why there’s more of that interaction. Whereas with the delegating, you’re literally handing something off within in a certain…

Amalie: 03:12 Ownership.

Janine: 03:13 Right? No, your hand. The thing that needs to be done, you are placing in someone else’s hands and they are going to go do it. And you get the result of the task.

Amalie: 03:25 So when you’re delegating, I think that you need a few things. You need to provide a few things to the person that you’re delegating to. Those are resources, details, and information, things about the item, they need the resources to be able to complete it. The permission of making decisions about it — the ownership of it. So when you delegate something, you are telling the person that they have the permission to make decisions and then making sure that you clarify that with them so that they understand that they have that. And then giving them the result, the result or the outcome that you want from that. The ultimate delegation is you tell them the outcome and then they get it done, or you give them the result that I want, and then they take the action to get that. What do you think?

Janine: 04:39 Yeah. What do you think is the biggest hangup people have with delegating?

Amalie: 04:47 I would say the permission. 

Janine: 04:50 I agree.

Amalie: 04:51 Yeah. That they struggle with giving someone permission to make decisions about a particular task or project or you know, anything like that. So you tell them to write something, they write something and then it comes back to you. But you still have to read over it and you still have to check it. But if you have a process in place where there’s someone else that can proofread or check it and then it gets done, then it takes it off your plate. But if you’re just tasking everything still comes back on you for approval. Everything still comes back. I think it’s that ultimate approval that business owners are struggling or struggle with releasing that ultimate version before they send it out. They have to see it. And I think that that’s where the bottleneck comes from.

Janine: 05:43 That’s what I see too. Generally what I see is, it’s coming from the business owner where they’re setting up that situation and not allowing that person to go do their thing.

Amalie: 05:58 And it also sets a standard, right? So once you have your team members in a routine or in a way of doing things like that, they can always come back to you for permission to move to the next step. Like, “okay, I wrote this piece. What do I do now? Okay, I wrote this piece. What do I do now? I wrote this piece. Here it is. What do I do now?” It’s really hard to break them out of that, right? Because you’ve set them up to be in that situation in that they’re constantly coming back to you. And that’s why the business owner’s plate is always full: because they’re not delegating their tasking, they’re tasking out and then getting everything back on their plate to review it, to approve it, all of those things.

Janine: 06:44 And setting the stage for that occurs when they’re onboarding these people, the new people, that’s where a great deal of this should be starting with. So say, that the information and the resources that they need, they need to know what they have to do, the job they need to do and where to find it. That’s a big problem because a lot of them are just files everywhere. People with personal spreadsheets, just being unorganized, is a huge problem and just make that worse when you bring new people in and they feel lost and they’re frustrated because they want to do a good job. They can’t find anything. I mean, most people don’t want, if they’re competent, they don’t want to be that person that is constantly not knowing where to find things, not knowing who to ask, not sure what “right” is supposed to look like. And finding out the hard way. They don’t want that. They want to do well. They want to do it right. They want to be fast and get better at what they’re doing

Amalie: 07:49 I also think that business owners need to have checks and balances in place that don’t include them. They need to have team members that can look at each other’s stuff or have sort an org chart where the business owner’s at the top, and then you have levels of people that they have someone in the middle that can review things or see things like if they need, you know, I mean every piece of anything should have more than one set of eyes on it before it goes out. Absolutely. And I think that those checks and balances need to be in place and it shouldn’t include, well, let me say the less it can include the business owner, the better. Because that will allow, then the business owner will no longer be the bottleneck. They will become the CEO versus what I would call the business owner.

Janine: 08:43 An analogy for this, it’s not necessarily business, it’s in medicine, but when I was training as a surgery intern and we’d go around in the evening at the end of the day on the status of all of the patients that are staying overnight in the hospital that night and all, you know, whatever things still needed to be done. The goal is pretty clear to everyone. The patients should be better the next morning than they were when the attending leaves for the night. That’s pretty obvious. But the attending is there and we go through everything, the team, and there’s like five levels of residents from the intern to the fifth year. So you have all these different levels of experience going on. And the attending would end with, if you need any help with anything, just give me a call, calling me as a sign of weakness and then they’d walk off. And then the chief resident would just say, “okay guys, you know, we got this”, emphasize a few of the more important points with the, you know, the more critical patients. And they’d say, “okay, well I’m going to be in the chief resident room if you need anything. You know, just let me know. Asking for help is a sign of weakness.” And they turn around and walk off it just kind of roll down hill until there’s the intern standing there going, “oh, now what?” But that’s probably not the best way to do it cause that’s like shutting the door to add to people asking for help. But the purpose behind that was for them to think through absolutely everything they knew and could possibly do. So they weren’t asking questions all the time just because they were unsure and didn’t know when to let go. It’s like, seriously, it’s okay to, you know, refill that person’s Tylenol prescription without waking up the resident in the middle of the night for that. Then at each level they, the more competence they had.

Amalie: 10:43 I think having an organized backend of your business helps with that. Like having the resources organized, having standard operating procedures that they can follow, having references, you know, loom videos, things like that that they can refer to first. But telling them and giving them the direction of, “okay, here’s the project, or here’s the outcome I want, here’s the resources you’re going to need to get it done. You have the permission to figure it out. Go and do it.” But having a solid, robust place where you have all of your documents and your standard operating procedures and things like that will help to give them, the things that they need to try to figure it out before they come with questions. One of the thing that I’d like to talk about next is what to do when there’s mistakes made. So I think one of the biggest fears of business owners when they’re delegating is that it won’t be done right. Because it’s not going to be done. And that’s absolutely true. But the business owner, the responsibility of the business owner or the person that’s delegating to the person that will complete the task or the project, they need to give them the resources that they need in order to do it as closely to what the business owner would do themselves. But mistakes will be made. It’s going to happen. I mean, it’s inevitable that it will happen. I think how the business owner deals with that is really, really crucial.

Janine: 12:33 I would actually say, take the focus off how close to the way the business owner does it that they do it and turn that onto the outcome. Because there is more than one right way to do anything. So if this person does something completely different than the way you would do it and they get the result you want to, the level of quality you want in the time you want, does it matter that it’s completely different from the way you did it? It might, it might be.

Amalie: 13:06 If you want it done in that specific way, then you need to have a standard operating procedure for it. If that’s how you want it done the nature of when, right. I’m just saying like if if you want it done in a specific way, then that’s how, that’s where a standard operating procedure comes into play because you then tell them exactly how they need to do it and there’s a reference for them to follow to make sure that they are getting it done exactly how you want it done. I think that the best way to deal with something when either a mistake was made or it wasn’t done exactly how you want it is to instead of just come out and say, well one, embarrass the person or you know, obviously you need to explain to them that it was done wrong, but by doing it in a negative way, people will be less likely to come to you when they’ve made a mistake, which can create internal stress inside your team and that they’re afraid to come talk to you, which you never want to have happen. You want them to openly come and talk to you and tell you that they made a mistake, but they fixed it and if someone makes mistake, I think one of the most important things to do other than kind of addressing in a positive way, is asking them questions to get them to come up with how they should have done it or what should’ve been done differently instead of just telling them the answer. Ask the questions so that way next time when they’re in that situation, they can figure it out for themselves and you know, and avoid being in a situation that, you know, in this situation that they got in.

Janine: 14:50 Especially when you’re correcting someone after a mistake been made, part of that, setting the environment for success moving forward is leading with something they did right. Because it’s rare that someone did every single step all the way along, completely wrong before it came to your attention. So you can lead with, “hey, you know, I liked how you did this, this was good, this one.” Teach them as you’re explaining it. There were a couple other ways you could have done it like this, that, or the other thing. And then let’s take a look at this and, and how this thing happened. And so by then they’re not on guard anymore. They know you paid attention. They know that you’re not just seeing the one thing that went wrong and not the 99 things they did well.

Amalie: 15:46 And then asking them, you know, how they could have done differently, what could have been done or what should have been done right. To help them process that so that way next time maybe it can be avoided.

Janine: 15:57 Yeah. And depending on the extent of whatever the thing is that they’re working on, having those checkpoints along the way so nothing gets too far off track and you can give little nudges of guidance to keep them on the track that you want them on, instead of waiting for something to completely derail before you come in and swoop in and rescue them. It’s better to just keep them on track.

Amalie: 16:24 Right. And then they can have, like I said, the checks and balances in place to have some of the other team members, or having someone that manages them, that’s between the CEO and the person that’s doing the task. You know, having that person in a sort of middle management or something to help to make sure that they are on track, which again allows the business owner to be a little more removed from the day to day operations, which is most of the time what I hear business owners say that really brings them down or is weighing them down or taking up most of their time, is the day to day operations, is managing those.

Janine: 17:08 Yeah. And they have a hard time letting go of that. I think I had a situation with a very, very young, NCO who is running my clinic. He’s in charge of the operations. I had to be very clear with him, like, “it is your job to run the operations. It is my job to make sure that you have what you need in order to do that. So when you run up against something such that you can’t get the outcome that we’re looking for, that’s when you come to me, it’s not a failure on your part.” And if I’m really doing my job, I’m seeing what you’re doing and I’m anticipating these things, so I’m getting what you need as or before you need them.

Amalie: 17:55 Well I just want to recap what we talked about. So we discussed the difference between task and delegating and ultimately where we want to, where we focused our time is that delegating gives the person who is completing the task, to-do item or project, the permission to make decisions about that project, that to-do item, or that task. That is one of the biggest differences, that you have asked them for a specific result or outcome and they are off and running and getting to that. Then we’ve talked about the things that they need in order to delegate effectively, which is giving them or having a place for them to find the resources or information they need to complete the item; permission to make the decisions about it. And then giving them the result that you want. That’s ultimately how delegating is done. You delegate by giving them an outcome. “Okay, I want this completed, you know, I want this result.” And then they go and do that. Then we just talked about how it’s important to, if mistakes are made, (because they will be made) that you addressed it in a positive way, starting with what they did right. And then letting them, by asking them questions, help them to get to the point of realizing themselves what they did. What could have been done differently in order to achieve the correct result or helping them figure out what they could have done differently in order to be able to problem solve on their own without having to come to the business owner every single time a mistake is made. They’ll be able to recognize it, catch it before there is a mistake. They’ll be able to improve their own process when they’re going through and doing it. Anything else that I missed that we went over today?

Janine: 20:22 No, no, this is great. This one thing is probably the single biggest bottleneck for so many business owners. It sounds simple, but it’s something that you have to apply over and over to each of the people on your team and each of the things that you’re delegating as you’re doing it, until everyone, including yourself, is proficient at it. And it will just set you free and set them free to go on and do great things.

Amalie: 20:59 We hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast. You can find out more about Janine and Systematic Excellence at and you can find out more about, me, Amalie at

Janine: 21:13 If you did enjoy this episode, please subscribe, leave a review, and share them with people you think may find it helpful. This goes a long way in helping us reach and serve as many people as possible. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see on the next episode.


Money makes a lot of us nervous, but as entrepreneurs, we simply need to discuss it whether we like it or not. Our guest, managing member of CPA on Fire, Ron Parisi, is dedicated to using his knowledge in accounting and tax experience to assist online entrepreneurs build a successful business and make better financial decisions. Listen to this episode as we discuss cash reserves: what they are, how much money your business needs to grow, and how to build your reserve up.

Show Notes

Are you prepared to handle an unexpected emergency in your business? Do you know how much money do you need for your business’ safety net? 

If you already have a cash reserve – that’s great! If you don’t, it is important that you consider it an important part of your business and schedule some time to plan for it. Don’t let all your hard work disappear because of an unplanned situation!

Figuring out the size of your company’s cash reserves can be difficult, but in this episode, our guest Ron Parisi will tell you all about it. Ron is the managing member of CPA on Fire, and he is dedicated to utilizing his 25+ years of accounting and tax experience to assist online entrepreneurs to help them learn what they need to run their business as profitably and effectively as possible. 

In this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we focused on how to make your company less vulnerable to setbacks while making progress by securing a cash reserve. Join us as Ron shares some of his financial expertise with us.

We talked about:

➡️ How to determine your business’ unique cash reserves number

➡️ Steps to build your cash reserves from zero (starting today!)

➡️ Why you need to run your business as if you were going to sell it

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Ron Parisi

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

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Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:00)

All right. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. I’m here with Janine Suvak. We’re really excited to be here today. We’re continuing our business hierarchy of needs series. And today we’re going to talk cash reserves with a special guest. Money always makes me a little nervous, but I am really excited about this because we have an expert with us. His name is Ron Parisi and Ron is the managing member of CPA on fire. Rod is dedicated to utilizing his 25+ years of accounting and tax experience to assist online entrepreneurs. Ron’s accounting and business insights have appeared in the Wall Street Journal Accounting Today and other national publications. As a senior executive, Ron built a multimillion dollar national book of business based on his accounting and tax expertise and his relationship to modern business landscape and risks. Ron provided his expertise in a relaxed plainspoken and useful manner. Ron doesn’t speak in technical accounting tax jargon to impress, rather his aim is for the client to learn what they need to run their business as profitably and effectively as possible, which we’re all really thankful for because technical terms I would get a little bit lost, but that’s why I’m really glad that we’re doing this series because we’ve been able to bring experts in to help us talk about the areas of the business hierarchy of needs, where we’re not, you know, that’s not our zone of genius. So we’re really excited to have Ron with us today. All right, Ron, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re really excited to be here, and talk about cash reserves, although it’s not really, you know, everyone’s favorite topic, but we appreciate that we have an expert here to help us and talk us through, you know, just, the information around how much you should have, how to make decisions with it, you know, depending on how much you have in your cash reserves. I think that it’s a really important thing to be aware of, for a business when you’re, you know, trying to make decisions. That’s a huge factor in, you know, what kinds of things you can and can’t do with the business. So I guess let’s start off in, do you want to talk a little bit about like how someone determines how much they should have in, what’s a goal that they should set and we’ll kind of go from there?

Ron: (02:20)

Yeah, sure. You know, normally when I sit down with my clients and we talk cash reserves, you know, how much Ron, how much should I have in the bank? You know, my rule of thumb is usually 10 to 30% of annual sales. And, there’s a lot of factors that go into that. Depending on sort of your life cycle of your business, what are your plans? One year, you know, I always say 90 days, one year, three years, and then lifetime, I’m a big believer. And we always try to cram as much as we can in the 90 days, and we never hit our goals in the 90 days, but over a lifetime or over five years, over 10 years, you give yourself, you know, if you’re a creative entrepreneur, you’ve got to give yourself time to be successful. And, you know, I’ve been doing this 25 years, so I’ve seen a lot of successful businesses and, you know, sometimes it takes time to be successful, but to be successful, you know, you need the engine, you need the fuel for the engine and that’s your cash. And that’s why I think it’s a very important point, you know, we’re talking about, and that’s your cash reserves today, so,

Amalie: (03:28)

Yeah. Do you have any specific examples of people that you’ve worked with or clients that you’ve worked with that, you know, struggled with that part, but once they were able to, what adjustments did they make in order to build that up without really just like losing all the business? What did they do? What was the change that they made, in order to build up that cash reserve so that they were in a better position?

Ron: (03:56)

Yeah. I know you guys spend a lot of time talking about, you know, just general bookkeeping and accounting and understanding your business and you know, why you can be the best at your industry. You know, sometimes you still can’t be successful. The first thing you gotta know your numbers. And you have to have a budget. I hate, you know, this was Mr. Boring talking about excellent. But, you know, through technology nowadays, you spend a little time, it can go a long way with, you know, online platforms, QuickBooks online, Xero, Wave, things like that. You can get your books in pretty quick order. But you know, before we kind of talk about like one client, the thing that I tell my, especially my starting off entrepreneurs, that are going to catch you and that’s loans, right, taxes and inventory. And, you know, I think a lot of folks are very good at, “okay, this is what I took in this month. This is how much I wrote checks.” But they don’t understand that, you know, usually those three, you know, very rarely hit the P and L, the profit and loss statement. And, you know, every December and January, you know, when we’re doing the taxes, “Oh my goodness, Ron, how do I owe this taxes? I don’t have any money in my bank account.” And a big, big thing to know walking in is, you know, your P and L can only get you so far. Your cashflow is your most important, you know, where where’s your money going and being ready and I preach no surprises, no surprises, you know, know what your tax liability is. I know you guys are big proponents of Profit First. I use this modified Profit First. It’s customizable to everybody, but like the big pain in the ass is when you make the money, you put the money away for your tax liability, number one. And I’ll talk about my, you know, the client that I serve, right. Let’s say it’s, Jan, right. I’m mostly in the online space. I catch clients when clients have an approvable business, you know, they’ve had success and now they want a two X, five X, 10 X that business, right. Number one, you know, particularly if you’re in the eCommerce space, number one, you know, a limitation to growth is cash, right? Growth consumes cash. So again, you know, knowing what, OK. Plotting out that growth, how much is that going to cost? How much is that going to cost today? And I now understand you’re going to make a lot of money year two, year three, but you’ll get there with the cash that you currently have. So we really are big proponents about forecast budgets and looking at consumption of cash toward a very high growth trend. So, you know, Jan usually understands that, you know, we recognize limitations. We take, you know, whether it’s banks, loans, investors, partners, building joint ventures, you know, because you know, there’s a lot of creative entrepreneurs out there and, you know, you give them the fuel, the cash, and you give them the platform they’re going to be extremely successful. And that’s what I work with, with my clients. Other clients pretty girly in the startup phase. You start telling them, well, you need 30% cash reserves for your business. You know, they just shake their heads and there’s no way. So, you know, I don’t want to be “Oh yes, everybody has to have 30% to be a successful business.” You have to understand again, where you are in the life cycle. And, sometimes, you know, you do have to go under rich crackers diet to be successful. But you know, once you have a sustainable business, this is where the profit first putting money away comes into play because let’s just call Paul, right. Paul’s been very successful on his business the last 10 years. Right. But then you look at Paul’s balance sheet, not only as a business, but you look at personal and you say, “Oh man, you’ve been doing great the last 10 years. You have almost nothing to show for it. Right. Okay, you’ve been making your $6,000 contributions for your IRA. And that’s the only because their CPA has been telling you to do that, but otherwis you haven’t built any personal vault.” And there’s the ability to build personal wealth as you’re successful, if you are disciplined, if you understand, and everybody thinks that, “alright, I’m going to make, I’m gonna make $10 and I’m going to put $10 and 50 cents back into business because I’m going to make $12 tomorrow.” And again, you know, you need to be very good at business and you need to be, very good, or, you know, very good at the tracking, or you need to hire somebody to help you. Big proponent of, you know, unique abilities and understanding what you’re very good at and only doing that and being successful and surrounding yourself with the right team. But, so Paul, you know, that when Paul comes and sees me and has, you know, almost a zero balance sheet, you know, things have to have to change because most likely Paul’s working 12 hours a day and is getting burnt out. And really, I think it’s a mental thing, you know, when you don’t have a lot to show for your business, sometimes, you know, entrepreneurial life can be up and down, you know, sometimes you’re going to not, you know, you have that hot prospect that says, no, you know, you, sometimes it’s, you know, it can be a roller coaster and you need certain markers to show you, “Hey, you are making progress, you are going to be successful.” And, so that’s where, you know, making sure as you’re making the money, a certain amount of that money goes back into Paul’s pocket and gets put into a savings account, brokerage account.

Amalie: (10:44)

I think that’s really important the part about paying yourself. I mean, that’s something that, I mean from day one that working with a bookkeeper, that’s something that Janine and I have set up and, that money that’s our cash reserves goes into an account that we actually labeled “the vault.” So it goes there, there’s a percentage, it lives there. There’s always a percentage that’s going. And we never missed that. And we always get paid. You know, even if it’s less, money still comes to us as being paid. Not only is it good because I mean, that’s how a lot of businesses fail is that that person, the person that runs the business never makes any money, but it’s also kind of a boost, like, “okay, I’m actually physically seeing something come to myself every month from the business.” Whereas if you’re day in, day out, month in, month out, and you’re not seeing anything come back to, that gets like, I mean, that’s a long road to be on. You know.

Janine: (11:42)

There are people who are putting their payroll on credit cards and just crazy. I can’t imagine.

Amalie: (11:48)

Yeah. I also think that, as you grow, I know, I think Ron, you and I actually talked about this when we first met, but, including not just, you know, the inventory, but the team. So as the business grows, like your team’s going to grow, you’re going to have to hire more people and you can’t do the same amount of business with the same team you started out with, everything has to grow at the same time, your inventory, your advertising, your, you know, and then, and your team and all of those things need to be included in that when you’re doing the forecasting, I find that a lot of it’s that doesn’t get included in it when they’re doing the planning is the team, you know, you have this huge, big thing. One of the things that we talk about a lot is because we work with people in very similar situations that they’ve been successful in. They’re ready to go to the next level, but there’s some indigestion internally. And so, one of the things that we recommend is when you’re, if you’re thinking about hiring that project manager, that’s going to help you do this big launch, hire them before you do the planning, don’t do the planning and then hire them, because then you’re not even thinking about the cost of having that person on your team. Do that in the very beginning, have them be part of it. And it’s like leaving all that out, you can’t rely on the same, you know, two person team to do something that a 10 person team should be doing, you know? And have you found that to be true as well?

Ron: (13:13)

Absolutely. The one book, you know, I’ll throw a book out there it’s called, a kind of a quirky name. It’s “The road less stupid”, right. Keith Cunningham speaks about and is a big thing, when I do my monthly meetings with my clients, right? What hat are you wearing today? And, you know, we talked about that, the technician hat, you know, going back to Mike Gerber, technician hat, manager hat, but then he talks about CEO hat. And then he talks about an investor hat. And then the concept that an investor hat is huge because, it really makes you step out of your business, and you know, okay, you’re not a hedge fund who’s putting money into the business. You’re putting something even more important to the business and that’s your time, your energy, and you have to wait, you know, the opportunity costs. So, that’s a very important hat to wear when you’re in that growth stage, you know, that you guys are advising your clients,” Hey, get out, get out of the office.” I know COVID is tough, right? Wherever you need to go the living room or go over to the corner of your kitchen, you know, put that investor hat on and really say, “okay, I really think I can do X in gross revenue. What is it going to take to service all those new clients?” Okay. Like you mentioned, it’s going to take a new project manager. That project manager is going to cost X plus payroll taxes. Plus they’re going to have to buy that individual computer plus whatever benefits, you got to literally think, you know, strategize longterm. “Okay. What is this going to cost me? Alright, and then how am I going to pay for those additional factors that’s going to get me the two X to five X to 10 X.” So, but it’s important that you put on that investor hat. And like I said, everybody’s go, go, go all the time. And they don’t take the time to, you know, to work on their business instead of in it. So

Janine: (15:19)

Yeah, well, along those lines, so I was in a conversation the other day about, I guess the gist of it was that, it was when we were talking to Chris, Amalie, the gist of it was around, you know, running your business or looking at your business as if you were going to sell it. What takes have you on that?

Ron: (15:39)

Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the first conversations I have, you know, what’s your exit strategy and our exit strategy, you know, I’m 25 years old. What do I need an exit strategy? Everybody needs an extra strategy. And, you know, with my business, I’m going to be at this until probably they have to remove me. I just love it and I don’t have any plans to retire, but I always do have an extra strategy because you never know, you know, what the opportunity or what the offer is going to come in and say, you know, Ron, you know, your business’ CPA on fire would be a great addition to X, Y, Z business that I wouldn’t even think about. What’s the number? And you also should manage to that number, because like you said, we never know, you know, what life can throw at us, and being just a prudent investor, you should know that number.

Amalie: (16:35)

How does cash reserves play a role in the exit strategy? Like what role does it play? Does it make your business worth more obviously cash wise, but I mean, is there some benefit, like as part of your exit strategy, is it to make sure you have a certain cash, you know, a certain amount of cash reserves, is that like a box you need to tick when you’re getting ready? You know, you need to hit before you can exit, or?

Ron: (17:05)

You know, when we do deals, right? The due diligence team that comes in to look at that, look at your business. You know, it’s not necessarily how much cash you have in the bank. It’s how well you’ve been utilizing that cash. And how, and if you’ve been, had the ability, if you shown a track record, like for your company, if you’ve shown a track record of the ability to put money aside every month, right? That’s a huge feather in your cap, right? The discipline, obviously this business has enough cashflow to be able to, you know, have a savings account for the owners, be able to pay their bills, be able to tailor their taxes and be able to fuel, you know, future growth. You know, that’s what buyers want to see. They don’t want to see the guy that’s putting every last dime into the business and not seeing, you know, super high, positive cashflow. So, you know, it’s not necessarily how much you save. It’s the cashflow that the companies, you know, there’s going to be a big factor in how they evaluate companies and there’s always strategic niches, but one thing is the cash. And especially now, nowadays, you know, people want to see that positive cashflow. So it’s very mindful. And again, I can’t emphasize this enough having clean books, you know, if “somebody is interested in my business, I don’t have anything really ready to show them for the last five years. Can you help me?”. And a lot of, a lot of prospective buyers aren’t willing to wait around. So, you know, if you really do have an exit strategy, you know, or I believe you should have an exit strategy. And part of that is, you know, being able to document, you know, how you guys are doing every year, every month. So

Janine: (18:47)

It was interesting. I spent a lot of time in the world of aviation and you can’t when you have an aircraft, like they’re missing their maintenance log that makes the aircraft work plus, and I imagine it’s very similar, right?

Ron: (19:00)

That’s a, that’s a wonderful analogy, right? Yeah. How have you been, how have you been caring for the CR plan, how you can carry into this car before buy it, you know, same thing.

Janine: (19:11)

Exactly. So.

Amalie: (19:12)

Go ahead. Sorry. So let’s say you, someone that’s listening doesn’t have that, you know, 10 to 30%, let’s say that they don’t have that, what’s your recommendation then for a per month, you know, a percentage or that they would be needing to put aside, do you have a recommendation? If they would start today. Okay. “Starting now, I heard the podcast, I don’t have the cash reserves. Where do I start?” What would you recommend to someone that doesn’t have that?

Ron: (19:42)

Yeah. Yeah. I think that for the first step is to save something. “I mean, don’t, don’t say, okay, once I get to, once I get to a million dollars in sales and I’ll start saving, or once I get to this point, I’ll start saving.” But I think the safe thing would be, you know, “Hey, how much is your positive cashflow, right. And then how much are your catches and, you know, principles of the ways I’m trying to pay back if you have any debt.” And then I would just, you know, start off with 10%. Start off with 10% of positive cashflow, put that aside and then start, start reevaluating that, but the most important thing is to start. And, you know, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you say, “Hey, Ron, you know, I’m looking at my books. And, after I pay my taxes and my debt, I don’t have any money.” You know, you better have a pretty aggressive growth plan. And, because, there’s nothing worse for me that pains me just working with entrepreneurs is just watching somebody, you know, work extremely hard and making them money.

Janine: (20:53)

Nobody wants to be on, right.

Amalie: (20:55)

Yeah. Sorry, Janine, go ahead. What were you going to ask? I know, I apologize. I stepped on you.

Janine: (20:59)

Actually, your question was pretty much similar.

Amalie: (21:04)

Yeah. I mean, I think it’s important to understand, like, you know, if someone’s proactive and ready to make a change, you know, just taking one step at a time. And I mean, obviously working with a bookkeeper and a CPA, you know, we work with both, and we highly recommend working with both when something is not your expertise. And I think Ron, you mentioned this in the beginning is you need to have someone that, that is their expertise because it isn’t, I mean, I’m sure I could probably master, I could probably figure it out, but what does that take? What am I being taken away from by doing that? You know, it’s just not, I mean, we run our team, like our employees and our contractors the same way. Like, what’s their expertise. I’m not going to have someone that is trying to master something when I can get someone that it comes easy. Let’s just let everyone do what they’re good at. And then everyone’s happy, you know, ultimately, but I think we talked about, you had mentioned, that’s kind of how you run your business as well, and what you talked to your clients about, like, just let us do what we’re good at and you do what you’re good at, right?

Ron: (22:05)

Yeah. I would say, I’m sure you guys help with this is that there’s levels to this, right? There’s no proverbial onion, you peel back, you know, okay, “Hey, I’m really good at this. And this is the only thing I’m going to do as an entrepreneur.” That’s not really being realistic, you know? So just remember, you know, you can you start peeling back and as you become more and more successful, you know, I just feel, you know, clients get into this trap where, “Oh, I don’t, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that. I can only do this”, but this may only take up 10 or 15% of their time. And, you know, they have to, you know, again, you know, going back to my original point, you gotta be patient. Success comes. And it’s, you know, making sure you have a good plan to get a good business plan.

Amalie: (22:50)

And setting priorities too. You know, like if you have a list of 10 things you don’t want on your plate, I mean, you start with the first one, get that off, and then, you know, you, but just having priorities, I think helps too.

Ron: (23:03)


Janine: (23:05)

I was chuckling to myself, when you first said that was like, clearly a man of experience. When the first point you want to make to entrepreneurs is to be patient can lead to, that impatience to get, it’s what drives them to get things done. But it’s also a trap.

Ron: (23:24)

The adversity, man, as much as you, we were just talking about this, I’m in a coaching class. And he said, he had a very similar situation that I did. You know, I had a big setback in my twenties with partners and this job, he’s a very, very successful financial planner. And he said, “Ron, you know, I lost like major six figures in my twenties with partnerships.” And he said, “that was the greatest lesson I ever learned.” I said, “absolutely.” You know, it’s hard to imagine that those setbacks are lessons, but overall, you know, it’s part of being an entrepreneurs like fail fast, boom. Next, fail. But, yeah, I don’t, you know, I don’t know, the partnership, my experience with partnerships is certainly, well, in my life today. But how do you guys, how do you guys stress patience with your clients? I’m interested.

Amalie: (24:25)

Make plans with deadlines, and stick to them. You know, we make them make plans and like you said, forecasting, but anything that you want to accomplish in your business needs to be forecasted, not just the money. I mean, the plans, your launches, what are your services, all of that, it’s all planning, you know, and looking at all the little details, who are you going to need on the team to get this accomplished? What role are you playing? How much time do you actually have to spend on it? You know, it’s like getting down into those details. It’s uncomfortable, but that’s the only way that we can really put together. And once you start to see this project, come together, you get to see how big it is. You’re like, “Oh, okay. Now I understand.”

Janine: (25:07)

Yeah. And we also give them a place to put all those good ideas, right. It’s like, just put it over here and we’ll coordinate next quarterly meeting. We’ll go through the whole list. And so it’s not telling them no or stop because they can’t, but it gives them a place to put it and then focus that.

Amalie: (25:27)

There’s gotta be a real good reason to take us on a different route. You know what I mean? Like once we’re going there, there’s gotta be good justification for trying to take another one. And it can’t just be that you just read a new book and got a new idea. You can write that. And we’ll look at that in three months. Okay. I mean, it’s tough, but that’s what we’re here for. And that’s what we’re good at. So that’s why people hire us. Like you can be as out there with the ideas that you want, like do it all day long, just, you need to keep that on a Google doc and we keep heading forward with the plan. You know.

Ron: (26:02)

That’s funny, I’ll tell you, I was talking to three partners in a very entrepreneurial venture and they have their one thing that’s successful, but then they have two other things that, you know, two other income streams that they want to go after. And I’m like, “yeah, you know, you got a perfect number one, no matter how juicy that Apple, it looks, you know.”

Amalie: (26:22)

Well, that’s okay. We have thick skin. So that’s what we’re good at. We’re there to give them a kick in the ass when they need it and let them know like, all right, we’ll get to it, you know, and it’ll be fine.

Ron: (26:33)

But I just real quick back to the cash flow, I just kinda made a kind of a list of, you know, things like what would drive you to have more cash and have less cash. You know, the fact that a lot of my clients don’t have accounts receivable, you know, they work with Stripe or PayPal, but if you do have accounts receivable, you know, those terms sometimes can go, you know, especially when you’re looking at an economic difficulty, you go from net 30 net, 60 test, maybe now a hundred, you know, 120 days. So, you know, I would put more cash away if you have a lot of AR. Marketing, if you have a really solid pipeline, hey, I’m getting 10 leads a week and I’m landing one or two leads a week, and I’ve had a nice track record for the last few months, less, you know, less cash I would be, I would feel more comfortable as your advisor. Right. And we talked about, you know, big growth, more cash, you know, it’s just unnecessary or ways to get cash. Okay. And then just, you know, you don’t want to hear about it sometimes, but sometimes you do need that joint venture, or you need that investor that comes in and helps you get to the next level. And that’s an important sort of a mental hurdle that I have to get over some folks. So they don’t want, this is their business. They don’t want to give it up, but sometimes, you know, to make that next leap, you really have to kind of be open for that. And then just, you know, where’s your clientele? If just one client make up a third or half of your income that could be gone next tomorrow. You know, obviously more cash in that respect. If you add, if you’re selling something, you know, repeatable item, you know, probably less cash is necessary and you have a good track record, reoccurring income, obviously lower cash. So there’s a lot of factors between that 10 to 30%. But for me, that’s a really good goal to start off with. And again, life, you know, where in the beginning, you probably going to have less cash, as a mature company, you should have more. And if you don’t, then you really need to, you know, do everything we just spoke about planning, budgeting, profit first or some form of it.

Amalie: (28:52)

Awesome. Ron, thank you so much for being here. We really appreciate it. That was really helpful. And, you know, anyone that’s listening, if you know, someone that would be find this episode useful, make sure you share it with them and subscribe to catch the next episode. And Ron, if anyone wants to get in contact with you, maybe need you to save their ass, you know, get them on the right path or where can they find you what’s the best place to connect with you?

Ron: (29:16)

Yeah, absolutely. Sure. So, the name of my firm is a CPA On Fire. And so you can find at and, you know, we’re, we specialize in virtual CFO services to growing online entrepreneurs, but really thankful and very grateful to be invited. You guys do great work on this podcast. I’ve listened to a whole bunch of them. So thank you for inviting me.

Amalie: (29:41)

All right. Great. Thanks so much. Alright, bye.


Although it’s a scary topic for a lot of people, debt and loans do have benefits; in fact, you can use it as fuel to boost your business. Dominick Wallace is a #1 Amazon Best-Seller contributing author in Business Finance, has a master’s degree from the University of Virginia; and his experience and love of serving people have taken him and his business, Wallace Capital Funding LLC, far. Listen to this episode as we discuss profitable leverage, what it is, and how to use debt as an advantage to your business!

Show Notes

Whether you need funding to purchase equipment, to invest in business real-estate, or pay your staff, you might consider taking on debt. We understand it’s a tough choice to make, and we are here to offer some insights about it. 

Because believe it or not, it is possible to effectively leverage debt to grow your business! 

In this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we had Dominick Wallace to talk us through the process and benefits of using debt as leverage. Dominick is a #1 Amazon Best-Seller contributing author in Business Finance, has a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and is the owner of Wallace Capital Funding LLC. His experience and love of serving people have taken him and his business very, very far. 

In this episode, we discussed: 

➡️ What you absolutely need to know before taking on debt 

➡️ Ways to leverage the debt for increased profits

➡️ The secret to having a successful business

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

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Episode Transcript

Dominick: (01:27)

summers of Virginia, I was learning, believe it or not a trade in painting. So I was one of the guys that was hired by some property management company that would turn over, you know, apartments for other students and that kind of stuff. And I ended up, after I finished school, making it into a business, but just like any small business, I was looking to grow that business. Cause I was a guy that would, you know, if you were fixing your house up before the holidays, you know, you want to make it look nice. Are you gonna sell the house? You know, to make me want to make it look nice. That was the guy, my in my crew, my business that we did. But you know, you only grow as fast or go as big as the projects that you have. So I was looking to go into the commercial world and I was in the Washington DC area. And then in that area, what I learned is talking about doing business on larger projects, you know, you wanna do large commercial jobs, like complexes, buildings, that kind of stuff. And what I found out was that, you know, the owner property owner would be some corporation or government agency. And you guys are very familiar with working with government agencies and stuff like that, but like government agencies. So they told me that I had to go and talk to the property management company. And then the property management company told me I had to talk to the general contractor. And then what I was looking at was okay, so, alright, so now they’re telling me how to get work and that kind of stuff, but I’ll quiz you guys. So what would be the one question, if you were a contractor and working business, you already kinda have an idea of how to get the business from, what would be the next question that you want to know?

Amalie: (03:48)

I don’t know. What would be the next question?

Dominick: (03:53)

How did you get paid?

Amalie: (03:56)

Oh, well, how do I get the money? Right. Where’s the money coming from?

Dominick: (04:03)

I need to go, pay me. So here was the fun, the funny, crazy thing was, so there was the general contractor said, “well, we’ll pay you when we get paid.” And I was like, “okay, well, that’s kinda crazy.” So, and then it was like, “well, if you send your invoice in by the 20th of the month, then send in your invoice, your net 30 day invoice, then we’ll pay you.” I’m like, “this is crazy.” Cause you know, I was accustomed to, you know, you’ve finished the house and then you just get paid right in there. Right. And so I was like, “this is crazy. So you’re asking me to finance you, right. I got my labor, my guys, all this tied into this work and I’m trying to figure out, you know, how do I make money doing this?” And I was, I was joking to myself, but I was like, “I might as well be a finance company.”

Amalie: (05:02)

Yeah. So I do have a question. So we can talk about the profitable leverage. So what questions does a business owner need to ask themselves before jumping into something where they would take on debt or look for financing? What are some things that they need to consider before doing that?

Dominick: (05:23)

Yeah. So, so just going back to my contract and Bay days, and even working with a bunch of other small business that was like 20 years ago or before I started the finance business. But yeah. What I mean, you’re looking through, you know, systemization, ladies. So just like you’re looking at your systems, you know, you want to look at your financials, right. And just see, well, you know, how can I worked as cashflow game, you know, between, when I get paid and when I got to get paid, you know, one of the things that I had learned, which was different than taking on a traditional business loan, actually financing I actually learned to get into the front of game, what’s the type of financing called account receivable financing. I don’t know if you know what that is, but it’s basically really advancing your receivables instead of having to wait. And, later on, so that’s how I got introduced. And, then I turned around after some time and made some referrals and then, believe it or not, I was making more money on referrals in my contract and business. So that then I switched to be in finance. But you know, that was a short story. But to answer your question, you know, just like me looking in to, you know, how to manage my debt, can you do it in a way, because contractors will rob Paul to pay Peter all the time. They use one job, the money made on one job, to finance another job. Now it’s a finance company financing that person. What we try to coach people on is, because we want to make sure the money we’re giving to them goes to what is intended for, right? So if you can get terms with your suppliers. So meaning like as a painting contractor, you know, if I need paint and painting supplies, that kind of stuff, if I can manage when I have to pay for my supplies, you know, kind of due to supply or what the GC was doing me, right. And say, “Hey, can I, can I manage that cashflow? You know, can I pay you on terms?” And then you can kind of match that situation. Now as you grow, you know, maybe your supplier might not give you, you know, let’s just say, you know, a hundred thousand dollars terms and, you know, “Hey, you know, you got pay some of this down”, but if you can kind of manage that cash flow game, then you won’t actually have to take on debt. You won’t actually have to take on a traditional loan and not try to coach people to do that, or it’s before you take on a loan. But then the next thing right, is just managing, you know, how much you get paid and your profit margins, which I will call your profit centers, you know, where you actually make money from.

Amalie: (08:48)

What are some ways, so let’s say they do take on debt, right. But what are some ways to leverage the debt for large profits or increased profits?

Dominick: (08:58)

So, okay. One of the things, I’m on a campaign right now, I just recently financed a contractor, a roofing contractor, and they were paying 25 grand a month on two loans that total up to $250,000. And now I was able to refinance, and now they’re only paying $3,000 a month. And what happened with them? They took on one of these MCA loans, these merchant cash advance loans and what those loans do? they take out cash from your account on a daily basis, versus a traditional loan, which would be a month. Right. And so I’m telling all of your people that are listening, stay away, stay away,

Amalie: (09:59)

But that sounds terrible. I mean, it’s like those payday loans.

Dominick: (10:03)

Yes. Like payday loan for businesses. But I mean, and I’m trying, and I’m concerned with him on, you know, now debt, we paid that off and I’m like, “Hey, I’m giving you this money. If you manage between your profit margin. So let’s look at, you know, how much you’re actually bidding your work for, and this could be any business. It could be even a restaurant, right? Like how much your plate, how much work goes into that plate for you to make a profit?” And then based on that, because the crazy thing is, you know, your loan is typically is on your balance sheet. It’s not on your income statement, which people are kind of, usually they’re looking at, but they’re not looking, they’re not typically doing, what’s called, you know, a cashflow statement, really looking what’s going in and what’s going out.

Amalie: (11:08)

And a bookkeeper can help with that.

Dominick: (11:10)

Yeah. Bookkeeper can help with that. But one thing that you can do on your own, too, if you get someone that helps set that up for you is that you can, you can have a line item that looks at the loan payments that are coming in and out, or the question you’re saying to propose loan payments and kind of look at what that would look like. So that you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way, I would say, you know, so you can see if there was, make sense for you, or you might, you might not just, you know, there might be opportunities out there that you can take advantage of, but maybe from a resources standpoint, you know, you guys can help them, of course, with the systematization part of it, too, because to scale up to maybe take on that. But if you don’t have the resources right away, it’s a smart to take on that additional business, even though you could qualify for a loan to do that. Right.

Amalie: (12:17)

Right. You just need to evaluate it before you take that step. And once you’ve take that step, then you need to figure out, okay, how are you going to pay it off? How are you using it? Are you getting your ROI? And then making sure that you’re accountable to making the payments on it and figuring out, and are there times when you can pay more than the minimum payment to help, you know, to continue. And maybe part of your plan to pay off the debt is to, you know, increase your profit margins in order to be able to afford to pay down the debt faster. Right. So you can save on not paying as much interest or something like that. Right.

Dominick: (12:56)

Well, yeah. Yeah. So let’s say even if you own a building or even just, personally, let’s just say, you know, you have a mortgage and obviously rates are historically low right now. If you refinance your house and you’re able to reduce your mortgage payment. Now, if you can actually continue to pay that same payment, even though you reduce your interest rate, go ahead and do that. And, you know, obviously, you’ll pay your mortgage off, you know, what, three or four years ahead of time, maybe even higher, depending on how much additional payment you’re making.

Amalie: (13:44)

So for anyone listening, what is the one or two things that you want them to walk away with after listening to this episode about leveraging their profitability.

Dominick: (14:00)

So, you know, know your business and what I mean by know your business is where’s the profits in your business? Where are your hidden profits in your business? If you have hidden profits in your business that you can take control over, then, you know, if you need to make an investment or take on long, cause really a business loan is really, it’s supposed to be fuel to grow your business. It’s not to save it. So yeah, traditionally the banks really only want to lend to businesses that really don’t need.

Janine: (14:51)

That’s always been true.

Amalie: (14:52)

Right. And so I kind of think of it and maybe, I don’t know, this is the analogy that popped in my head, but you know, when you have a funnel, right, and you don’t re target the people that went through your funnel the first time. So you have to re target the people that didn’t buy or didn’t buy the OTO the one time offer, but you need to retarget them to bring them back into the funnel, cause you’re leaving money on the table. So you have to do that, in the same way that you do that with a funnel and optimize it, you got to do that, in your business, where are you leaving money on the table? And then if you, and then taking the idea of, you know, whatever, if you are going to take on debt, figuring out how you’re going to leverage the money that you’ve now taken on, right? How are you going to leverage it so that you are increasing your profitability? And then if you can clearly state how you’re going to do that, then you know, you might be in a position to make that decision, but if you can’t and then you’re looking for it to save you, then you might not want it.

Dominick: (15:56)

One other thing I will say is you always want to have your business set up to be able to be sold at any time. Right?

Janine: (16:08)

Yeah. That’s super important.

Dominick: (16:09)

If you can operate your business where you can sell it for the maximum amount, because if you’re, if your business is structured where it’s sellable at any time, then it’s, it’s also financiable, not, not just for you, but anyone who wants to buy your business. I’m not saying that you, you might want to sell your business, for your listeners that are thinking about right now like that in the future where you’re trying to get your systems in place and all your accounting in your, and you’re financiable. And, and one of the things that we also teach is, you know, set up your company so that, you know, it’s credit worthy, you know, companies have his own credit versus individuals. And so if you can do that, then you’re set up for the future.

Amalie: (17:11)

Yeah. So where is the best place for people to find you? If they’re looking for support or they want to find out more about you or they want to connect with you, where’s the best place to do that?

Dominick: (17:22)

So one once a week, we do a webinar or masterclass. Now we’re talking at So keys, like, you know, you have multiple keys.

Amalie: (17:37)

Yeah. We’ll put it in the show notes, so they’ll have the link.

Dominick: (17:40)

Okay, cool. Cool. Or you know, of course I’ve company Wallace capital funding. So you can just look us up there.

Amalie: (17:47)

Okay. And they can find you on Facebook and Instagram too. Right? Those are your general, your social media sites.

Dominick: (17:53)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Individually, I try to do a once a week, a little economic kind of, you know…

Amalie: (18:02)

You go live really pretty regularly I’ve checked you out.

Dominick: (18:04)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s pretty, I mean, now it’s kind of topical now. Of course. Then economic kind of thing.

Amalie: (18:10)

Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast. If anyone’s listening and someone you know could benefit from this episode, make sure you share it and make sure you subscribe and we will see you next time. Thanks again, Dominick. Thank you. We will see you again soon. Bye bye.


Imagine retaining your customers, having them buying from you more often and each time acquiring more products and services – basically, every entrepreneur’s dream! Our guest Will Perry, CEO and CMO of Reason, an ecommerce that specializes in scaling growth-stage ecommerce brands with The Ecommerce Growth Formula, joined us to talk about how to improve our business’ transaction frequency to make more profit. Listen now!

Show Notes

As you probably know it is exhausting finding new clients all the time. It takes your full focus and until you have mastered transaction frequency moving on to other things really isn’t an option. 

You can move on without mastering it but then you’re skipping a fundamental piece of growing a solid business foundation. 

Finding ways to have repeat customers is the key to this phase of building and growing a successful business.

Repeat customers become more loyal to your brand once you build a stable relationship with them and show them you are able to do a good job; as our guest Will Perry says, “happy clients stay longer.” 

Will is the CEO and CMO of Reason, an ecommerce direct response ad agency that specializes in scaling growth-stage ecommerce brands with The Ecommerce Growth Formula, and he has a passion for selling and thriving.

In this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast, we focused on one of the crucial elements that help business owners increase their numbers and grow, which is transaction frequency. Join us as Will shares some of his expertise with us.

We talked about:

➡️ How to keep your customers buying from you again and again 

➡️ The one reason you shouldn’t over-diversify your services and products

➡️ Effective strategies to upsell and resell 

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Will Perry

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:36)

Alright, welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m here with Janine Suvak and we’re here every week. I’m Amalie Shaffer. We are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners determine the next best step in their business towards their road to growth. And we help them build efficient teams. And today we’re discussing transaction frequency. So as part of our business hierarchy of needs series we are going to talk about the step of transaction frequency, and we have a special guest, his name is Will Perry. And I’m really excited that he’s here. Will has a passion for selling and thriving. He is the CEO and CMO of Reason, an e-commerce direct response ad agency that specializes in scaling growth stage eCommerce brands with the e-commerce growth formula. Will, welcome. We are so excited to have you here today.

Will: (01:27)

That’s a lot of e-com references. I need to tighten that up.

Amalie: (01:33)

You are not the first person. So every person after I’ve read their bio, I feel like at least like 70% of the people I’ve said their bio they’ve said, “Oh man, I got to make a change.”

Janine: (01:45)

Oh, just read your copy out.

Amalie: (01:51)

We realize you specialize in e-commerce. So we’re excited to have you here.

Will: (01:55)

Totally. Likewise.

Amalie: (01:57)

So today we’re going to talk about transaction frequency. And so this is the idea that your clients and customers continue to buy from you. So there’s a lifetime value of a customer, but then there’s also, you know, that’s an important thing to take into consideration. How long does that person stay in your web? You know, do they come buy from you once or do they buy from you multiple times? So let’s just start out by talking about how to continue to have your clients purchase from you without overly diversifying your offerings, because then you risk, you run the risk of having less quality versus providing the highest quality. Right. So let’s talk about that. Maybe talk about from your agency perspective then talk about from maybe your customer or your client’s perspective.

Will: (02:42)

Yeah, absolutely. So, and of course those mean almost two completely different things in both of those contexts, right. And, you know, from the agency side we are on a recurring revenue model / continuity model with our clients, but it’s kind of this hybrid plus based model because we work on a performance basis, only with our clients, we generally get paid for results. So we’re not locked into these fixed contract structures or, you know, where it sometimes can actually hurt the growth of the brand because there’s this too much too rigid of a payment terms or things of that nature that can kind of really hold back their own growth based on scope of work. And so we made a massive shift about probably six to eight months ago where we kind of completely altered how we price and bid and sell and position ourselves with all of our e-com clients. And we’ve, we’ve really started to see some explosive growth with our clients and with our own revenues and profit percentage and things like that by getting everyone’s goals in alignment. So based on the transaction frequency, it’s really simple. We produce results, they stay. So, you know, it really comes down to the, you know, the three PS and, you know, it’s funny cause I was just watching The Partner, the Marcus Lemonis, so with, you know, we’ve really taken a somewhat simple approach with how we approach, you know, repeat purchases or increasing the transaction frequency for our agency is. It’s really kind of straight forward, you know, happy clients stay longer. And when you produce, clients stay longer. So about six to eight months ago, we completely changed the entire structure of our financial terms, our payment terms and how we aligned with the brands that we partner up with. And basically what we did was we opted directly for performance based, only contracts with our clients. And so, now, you know, everything we produce is in direct correlation with the amount of effort that we’ve put in or, you know, even more than that would be what we’ve been able to basically create for them. And that way, you know, on the brand side, they’re getting exactly what they want, which is scale and growth. We’re not held back in terms of what we’re willing to do, and it’s a much more win-win scenario. And so we’ve been able to keep clients longer. We’re not as much worried about scope creeping or the minor details of exactly how things get done. We’re focused on the end result and that’s helping our partners grow. So we made that big shift probably, like I was mentioning six to eight months ago and that it has produced clients staying longer. And that has really helped our transaction frequency because in the past, you know, we were generating great results, but we were kind of feeling, you know, held back by, you know, flat payment structures or flat terms that, you know, obviously we negotiated, you know, it was a big learning experience for us. And then, you know, that dynamic is completely different from how we actually scale e-com brands. And the reason that we say growth ready e-com brands is that not every brand is ready to grow. They may not be traffic ready. They may not have the infrastructure internally from a, whether that’s cashflow or whether that’s inventory to actually scale. In the midst of COVID actually, I think we’ve sold out five of our clients out of inventory multiple times where it’s a good and a bad thing is that we’re on those performance based structures with those clients. But then our growth is halted because of the lack of the operational side of the business. And so it’s actually kind of fun being on the other side of the coin now, you know, being the ones where it’s like, “Hey, the marketing’s not working. ” It’s like, “Hey, y’all got to keep up.” Right. Yeah. But in terms of the frequency portion is, you know, I think a lot of times, whether it’s the CEO, the marketing director, or the executive team, the investors, they get so shortsighted on the profitability of acquiring a customer. And it is probably the hardest thing that we do is kind of coaching through those conversations because there’s, there’s no doubt about it, no matter what sort of marketing activity you do, whether it’s, you know, SEO or organic social media, brand awareness, events, advertising, it’s all going to be costly to a degree. It’s an investment into driving awareness and traffic for the brand, and that costs money. And the only way to gain profitability, especially online, where brands are spending upwards of 40% of working capital on marketing gone of the days of reserving 10% of revenue for marketing and advertising. And that basically doesn’t exist anymore. And so it creates this massive disconnect of profitability versus lifetime value and scale. And so what we have found, and I’ll kind of tie this all in. So for anyone who has that online business, or, you know, has an info product that they sell online or is selling physical product online, there’s really two key business models that work the first is any sort of continuity model. So whether that is a highly consumptive product that you can replenish every 30 to 90 days, or whether that is some sort of subscription product, that is those two models or those two variations of that model are the way to make your marketing the most cost effective possible, even if it’s sloppy in how you market, and maybe you’re overpaying in some areas to acquire customers, but at least the ability of getting them buying from you again and again, monthly is significant higher probability, kind of what we call a high ticket AOV sort of product, even if it is a onetime purchase products that are 52 or a hundred dollars and more, anything less is going to be almost a loss leader for that brand. And it, you know, so if you’re selling something that’s less than $50 and you only have one product and it comes in one version, it’s going to be extremely difficult for someone to gain profitability in their business by selling that sort of product. And so going back to that continuity model at minimum, you know, if you sell protein bars, getting that customer to buy those protein bars every month, or secondly, what’s called the product ascension ladder, which essentially is ascending them from product number one to product number two, to product number three. And so you have to have a plan for that. And you know, whether it’s emails, whether it’s SMS marketing, it doesn’t matter, or what it is, ads, et cetera. If there’s no plan to extend the customer into the second product, again, it’s just going to be an extremely costly endeavor. So that’s how we approach it. We don’t look at the ads or the emails or the SMS we look at basic, or I shouldn’t even say basic foundation, foundation of ascending someone into that second purchase and then executing it through the vehicle of ads or emails or SMS or something like that.

Amalie: (10:31)

Right. Yeah. And then making sure that it’s all in alignment, right? Whatever the ascension is. So you’re not going to move them from one product to like cleaning products or you’re going to keep them in. And it’s going to be close enough that you’re able to maintain the quality of whatever it is you’re producing, or if it’s a subscription box, right. You have three different levels. You have the subscription box, that’s smaller. Then you have the little bigger one then you have the larger one. And then, you know, each one has, you know, products that are similar. Or, and if you’re looking at a service provider, I know you do econ, but for service providers, your services need to relate to each other. And that you are answering the next question or solving the next problem with each next service, versus you’re varying them often some different direction. Otherwise that becomes confusing. And then having too many options as well, that’s where you really start to overly diversify. And then you’re not being able to maintain the quality because like you were saying your structure, so that infrastructure, being able to have the products and things like that, but internally to a service based business is not having enough people on the team to be able to serve the clients or you are, you know, at capacity, but then you don’t have anyone else to support you in that. So you’re the only one that can provide this service for your client. Well, what happens when you’ve hit, when you’ve hit? I mean, you’re not going to be with, yeah. You can do group programs, but at some point, you either have to have the team members to support you or you’re going to hit a limit. And then, then once you’ve spread yourself so thin your quality goes down.

Will: (12:05)

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve kind of, that was kind of part of the restructuring as well is our org chart and how we specialize. So, you know, in the digital marketing world, it’s very easy to kind of build a business based on unicorns. You know, people who have a lot of skills in a lot of different things. I mean this humbly, but, it wasn’t scalable for me to build a business based on my unicorn skillset, you know, someone who can do a lot of the things and do a lot of the things well, but that’s not a scalable foundation. And so what we learned through that is that we had to specialize internally with our roles, you know, so that we could continue to scale. And we, weren’t getting stuck behind, you know, this one person, for example, that could do ads and emails and copy and ad creative all at the same time. Right. You know, that, that creates a blockage or a bottleneck. To go back to your, your other thing you were saying with the quality or no, the more so the not diversifying your offer too much. I kind of always look at it in terms of an upselling strategy. So how do I take that one customer and sell them my next level or layer of value? So for example, in the ad agency world, maybe you start by, you know, doing an audit and you charge $500 for the audit, and then you do a $1,500 project. And maybe that project is like a landing page. And then after that landing page, then you sell them on a three month engagement, right. And maybe that’s, you know, 15 to 30 grand or whatever. And then you, you know, partner with them for 12 to 24 months. So all of those services stack on each other.

Amalie: (13:59)

Right. It’s more of a vertical versus a wide spread horizontal sort of.

Will: (14:03)

Vertical integration. And so if anything, we’ve actually been removing services from what we do and charging more. So we’re really kind of stripping away the fluff and really just focusing on what drives the maximum amount of results for our minimum amount of input. I know that that sounds super selfish in a way, but how do we maximize the time investment that we are putting in, in order to maximize the results for them? Because then we’re not just doing a bunch of stuff for the sake of doing a bunch of stuff, which costs us time and money and costs the other company, time and money. And that’s not really helping anyone, you know, in that process. So I think the vertical integration of services is super important and how do they continue to build on each other and not necessarily go hard right or hard left, you know, sort of thing. So.

Amalie: (15:01)

And then including, and building your infrastructure as you go. So when you get ready to offer that next service or that ascension plan, do you have everything in place to do that? And that’s where Janine and I come in. So you’re the one that’s helping them, you know, get their sales in and all of that. And then we’re there, you know, we pick up on the internal part where, cause one of the things where people fail is that they have the indigestion internally and they’re not able– because it’s great. You can bring the clients in, you can bring the customers, then you can have people wanting to buy your product. But if you can’t fulfill on it, ultimately, I mean, it’s a dead end. Right. And so having, not just the products, but the people, the time, you know, do you have the structure? I mean, that comes down to what’s your communication structure. Those small things can make or break a business internally. You know, if you are having all these people come in, you’re getting the sales. That’s great. But if you are missing those internal pieces and having, like you said, one person that does all those things, but if you take it and you have more people that specialize in different things have some redundancy, so that, that one person’s gone. But if you create that team, you’re better off and going to be able to handle more customers or clients or whatever.

Janine: (16:12)

I think it’s interesting. You used the word selfish because it kind of speaks to your character and wanting to serve your clients and all the things that you can. But, I was the flight surgeon in the army, you know, I come from medicine. You don’t ever want to see your heart surgeon work in the front desk one day. It feels funny when you make that transition, but you’re serving your clients better by really focusing on yours. It’s awesome.

Will: (16:36)

Yeah, for sure. I appreciate that. It’s been five year journey and learning process of, you know, learning how to not do it. And, you know, so it’s really, it’s really kind of gotten us to be even more focused, create even more clarity every step of the way, you know, every, every, I kind of look at it in these 90 day chunks where I was joking with Kevin earlier, I kind of have a theme every 90 days of like cause I’m the visionary, right? So I see these things that I want to do and that I want to tackle. And I’m like, “Oh, we’re going to do this.” But can you keep it going? Right. Keep it going. And for me, the big theme this year has been thriving. On our wall in the office, it says, “thrive with us” and getting back to our why really kind of realigned everything of what we do, how we do it, how it’s set up, how we charge, how we communicate, how we’ve put the team in place in order to succeed. And all of that is evolving, you know, and growing, you know, every day and every week, but it’s all geared on wanting to align with people who also want to thrive, you know? And if they want to thrive, then it’s a good fit. If they don’t want to thrive, probably not someone that I can help. And that’s okay. But I think that’s what business is all about. It’s going in, aligning yourself with people where you can make big things happen together.

Janine: (18:06)

Awesome. So be performance-based is a bold statement about your confidence in yourselves and what you do. And it’s awesome. It’s hard to find. I’m just having a conversation with one of our clients the other day about, you know, they were being told their ads are profitable, but the agency wasn’t counting their actual fee for services. Bad math.

Will: (18:29)

Well, that’s kind of, that’s the thing of it too, a lot of businesses don’t know their own numbers. Right. So you kind of come in and especially as a marketer, you come in and you disrupt the whole thing. Right? So you sell a bunch of stuff and then they don’t know what to do with it. And then they don’t know how to track it. Right. So then they don’t know how to track it. And then they don’t have enough cashflow to be able to turn the whole thing back over again. And then it just, I never thought that I was going to be a digital marketer turned in business growth and I’m not even there yet.

Janine: (19:07)

Financial adviser.

Will: (19:09)

Yeah. You need to know all the things and you know, it’s been great. Cause you know, we’ve learned that and we’re becoming better and better at all of those other areas, but it’s just really funny how marketing can disrupt the whole entire business structure. And so that’s been fun.

Janine: (19:26)

Yeah. It really can. Yeah. Awesome.

Amalie: (19:29)

So if people want to get in contact with you, how should they reach out?

Will: (19:34)

Yeah. A couple of different ways. So if anyone’s running digital or paid ads, you know, whether it’s on Facebook or Google, we offer a free ads report card. So if you’re curious to see what the performance is of your ad campaigns, how your ads are performing against your competition, go to, www.adsreport We provide a free audit for everyone who comes through, who is curious to get there. To have us grade their ads. So that’s ads report You can also check out and we’ve got a bunch of case studies there where you can see how we’ve grown some other online businesses, what we do and how we’ve done it. So that’s, and then you can check out our website, which is that’s, the basic generic, not as much fun stuff. So I would say check out and, or you can hit me up on Facebook and LinkedIn at Will Perry.

Amalie: (20:39)

All right. Awesome. And so just to recap, on the subscription model, that’s going to allow you to have that continuity your clients. And then when you are looking for ascension plans, keeping it in a vertical versus a widespread horizontal way and that each, each service should be, or each product should be playing on to the next one and answering the next question or solving the next problem when they’re looking to have a higher transaction frequency. So not necessarily diversifying more, but you want to have them keep coming back and buying from you and that subscription or continuity model is going to allow you to have that. Anything else you want to add before we wrap up?

Will: (21:17)

Yeah. I think getting, you know, stay away from anything that’s a onetime purchase, you know, so just really drilling down that continuity model is so important. You know? So if, you know, if even some of your listeners are thinking about starting their own business, stay away from anything that is sold one time to one person and starting with a continuity model in mind from the beginning and how you’re going to continue to sell. I’m always a sell first mentality and then figure out the rest later, whereas probably would give Amalie a heart attack, set up the operational infrastructure. And then, but for me, you need to know if something’s going to sell or not. And everything else is a moot point in my personal opinion without figuring that part out. So starting out with that sales strategy first and then building out the rest of the foundation around it.

Amalie: (22:11)

Okay. But that’s why you have Kevin, right? So you can do those things and then you have Kevin to create the balance.

Will: (22:17)

He has a copy of Rocket Fuel on the desk.

Janine: (22:21)

There you go. Just to say that’s a very detailed market validation system.

Will: (22:28)

I mean, if nobody wants to buy it, what are you going to do? I mean, yeah.

Amalie: (22:32)

Definitely. Definitely. Well, thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. And for anyone listening, if you know anyone that could, that could benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe. We’ll be back to continue the business hierarchy of needs series. And thanks again, Will, and we’ll talk soon.

Will: (22:52)

Absolutely. Thank you.


If there is just one metric you should be keeping an eye on, it’s your business’s profit margin. Why? Let our expert guest Angie Noll tell you all about it! She’s the founder of Reconciled Solutions, a company where they help high achieving small businesses advance toward profit acceleration and work-life sustainability. Listen to this episode to learn how to make the best decisions that will maximize your profit!

Show Notes

What is a good profit margin for my business? What’s the most efficient way to track my company’s revenue streams? 


Keeping an eye on your business’ profit margin does more than simply monitor your company’s financial health; having a healthy profit margin allows your business to sustain itself while helping you focus on what really matters: running your business, creating ideas, and serving your clients.  

We invite you to listen to this episode where our guest Angie Noll answered our questions and shared with us great ways to determine your profit margin. In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talked about:

➡️ How to evaluate if your margins are healthy or not

➡️ Tips to improve your profit margin

➡️ Making better decisions based on your profit margin

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Angie Noll

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:00)

Going to record now. Okay. Welcome back to another episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer, and I’m really excited. We have a special guest today and we are talking about margin health. So we’re continuing our series with the business hierarchy of needs. And I have Angie Noll here today, and I’m really excited. Because we’re going to talk about margin health. So I’m sure people get really excited about talking about this. So Angie, I appreciate you being here with us today. Angie Noll is the founder of Reconciled Solutions where they help high achieving small businesses advance toward profit acceleration, operational efficiency, streamline technology and work life sustainability. Reconciled solutions, they focus on two areas, business advisory services focused on profitability, acceleration bookkeeping an accounting support through QuickBooks online products for Angie. This means being keeper of the calendar in her world means visibility and clarity to manage a flourishing business and a home with three kids, two pets and one sweet husband. What kind of pets do you have?

Angie: (01:10)

I have this awesome goldendoodle he’s about eight pounds. His name is Patriot. I love him. And then, we have a cat Cassidy. Our neighbors who have no pets say that we must be pet charmers because our pets are very well behaved.

Amalie: (01:29)

Nice. Nice, nice. So, we’re, I’m a dog person, so I have a dog. So I appreciate that. And I mean, not that I don’t like cats, cats are great, but I’m more of a dog person. So anyway, I am really excited that you’re here. Thank you for being with us today and we’re going to be talking about margin health, which obviously I feel like the fight, the only people that get excited about talking about financial stuff are people that that’s where their expertise is.

Angie: (01:56)

Yeah. I love talking about this stuff. It makes me, it hits my happy spots.

Amalie: (02:01)

Yeah. And for me it makes me sweat a little bit, so let’s be done anyway. So we’re going to make it easy. We want to, we’re going to talk about, you know, the importance of it because I think that having profitable margins not only helps someone have a sustainable business or lets their business sustain itself, but it also helps the business owner focus on serving their clients because if they’re worried about money and not making enough and not being able to pay the bills and not being able to pay the team and all those things, they’re not really going to be there and be fully, you know, a prison in the moment of running their business or being the creator of the ideas and all those things. So I think it’s really important topic, even though it makes me a little uncomfortable. So, let’s just dive in. So the first thing I want to start with, how do you evaluate if someone’s margins are healthy or not?

Angie: (02:53)

So, when we get a client at Reconciled Solutions, we usually start with the numbers. We’re starting with their QuickBooks online file. That’s been our expertise for years is looking at that and our clients are small business owners. I would say they’re typically selling half a million dollars in revenues on up to $10 million a year in revenues. And so the first thing I look at when I am analyzing a file is their profit and loss. Okay. And in the profit and loss, what I’m looking for is not necessarily what total income is. Although I do look at total income, but I want to look at how the income is expressed in comparison to the cost. So I’m looking at silos of income and what I seen a lot of small business, is that they dump everything into income from services or consulting income or sales of products. Okay. And there’s no differentiation in their books. And so from the first point, we have to see differentiation in their books. So if you’re a lawyer, for instance, you’re going to have litigation, you’re going to have flat fee services. Maybe it’s residential, real estate closings, maybe it’s insurance, subrogation, what it is, but each one of those is a separate way that you go to market because this ties back to your market and how you position your brand. Okay. And then within that, the expenses for each are varying. So if you have a large piece of business as an attorney and it is based on flat fee, residential closings, you’re going to have different expenses for that than you would have for an insurance subrogation case. And so I want to see if the expenses are split between the different income streams. So that’s very important for me to be able to see that we have multiple different revenue streams and that there are expenses that tie into each of those revenue streams, because one might be a loss leader for your company. Another one’s going to be, you know, it’s going to be the bread and butter of your company. And the third is going to be something where you’re like, “Ooh, this is the really juicy deal. This is where we make some really good margin.”

Amalie: (05:32)

Right. And it also probably helps them to see maybe where they should invest marketing money too. Right. Because if one of them, you know, they can see, “okay, this one’s working out really well. We have a great profit margin on this one. Let’s spend some money to boost it up” or if one’s not doing well and they’re losing money on it, “well, what can we do to improve it?” Where can we kind of plug the holes or can we raise the price of this to make it profitable? Or, you know, whatever, but you can use it for a lot of different evaluations, making decisions on how you’re going to grow the business, where you’re going to spend your money, all those things. Right?

Angie: (06:07)

Yeah. So it’s not only just tied to the margin and the profitability of the company, but it’s also tied to how we make our marketing decisions. You’re absolutely right, Amalie. So, the thing for me, that’s really important is that not all clients are created equal, right? We don’t love all our clients the same. And so when we are setting out our marketing strategy, not only do we need to measure where we make the best margins, but where it’s easiest to get the business where there’s opportunity and how to fine tune that, where do we love doing business? Where are we finding repeatable processes? So, you know, we want to go for the low hanging fruit. So if you’re in a situation where you want to improve your gross margin, when you’re looking at your different silos of income, you need to think about, “okay, where do I have capacity to grow easily so that I’m not struggling to make that operational side and deliverable difficult for my firm?” That’s where I need to spend my energy because we’re delivering efficiently, we’re delivering accurately and without pain, hopefully people are also enjoying their jobs while they’re doing it.

Amalie: (07:27)

Right. Okay. So with that said, what should a business owner track to ensure that their margins are healthy? If they don’t have someone like you or supporting them, what should they track? What can our listeners, if they don’t have outside support right now, which we do highly, highly recommend having outside support. But if they don’t, what are things that they should track? I mean, what should they be looking at?

Angie: (07:55)

Yeah. So, you know, you’re an expert in business. You’re not necessarily an expert in your accounting system, but you need a good accounting system that is telling the story of your business. So what I said earlier about setting up your accounting system so that it is tracking the different streams of revenue, so the different income streams, as well as matching it up to those different expenses. And so that you can see that the gross margin on this revenue stream is 50% where the gross margin on that revenue stream is 10% is really critical. And so that’s all done through your QuickBooks file and that is just measuring the cost and the gross margin against the revenue stream. So having that set up I’m also a big believer in setting up if you’re using staff or contractors, it doesn’t necessarily matter. But when you are using employees, I often see a lot of companies that report all their wages paid under just that category. It’s called wages. And that is not telling the juicy story of your business, if you put it all under wages. So what I want to see is that if I’m a physical therapist and delivering physical therapy services, there’s going to be an office assistant. There’s going to be a biller. There might be an office manager, those are different than the person who’s actually doing the physical therapy. So I want to see wages for the physical therapist, separate from the office staff and separate from the owner, because it’s critical if you’re measuring your profitability, that you’re separating out the owner’s wages from the rest of the staff. So that would be another thing that is very important to me. Any time that that pay is changed in a direct relationship to revenue incoming. So you’ve hired a contractor to deliver against a project, then that really is considered a cost of good or, materials and contractors expense. And we want to be able to call that out separately, according to the revenue stream. And from that, then if you have that lined up that way in your accounting file, the last thing is utilization of staff. And you can calculate your utilization of staff just by taking your total revenue and dividing it by the number of full time, full time equivalent employees that you have so that you can get idea of how you are utilizing based on a day to day basis, week to week basis, month to month, year to year, how ever you want to track that. How frequently.

Amalie: (10:59)

Great. Awesome. Well, that’s great. Okay. So let’s talk about raising prices. So it’s, I think it’s really important because in order for the business to continue growing, I mean, prices need to continue growing too, probably, right. So, let’s talk about when to raise them, what to raise them to, what are some things to keep in mind and to take into account when business owners are making these decisions?

Angie: (11:25)

Yeah. So costs go up all the time. And that means that we need to reflect that in our prices. Now you can assume, you know, regular inflation, but then things get thrown at you like a global pandemics. You might have to buy a whole host of PPE. You might have to do work from home because you can’t go into the office. It doesn’t matter if it’s a global pandemic or the next thing that’s coming down the line. You know, it’ll be something else. There was a housing market crash a few years back, right? We all remember that. So in a 10 year span, there’s going to be two really bad years. And so you have to be ready to survive them. So that being said, I’m a big believer in regular and systematic price increases. If January is your time to reassess your contract, then everybody’s price goes up in January. I do think that the percentage of price increase or how you want to, you know, do that is subject to going back to your margin health on the different revenue streams, and where your company is focused on. So what I mean by that is that if you’re getting tons of business in one area at a certain price point, and you’re not getting very much business in a different area that has a different price point, but it’s so hard for your company to deliver on that revenue stream, that you don’t need to do a standardized 5% price increase across the board. You can do it by revenue streams. You can do it by looking at where your opportunity lies, where you want to get more clients. And also I think it’s really, really important. And I will say this from a call I had just yesterday with a mastermind group, to pay attention to the price, not to charge too little, a lot of people under charged themselves. And it doesn’t necessarily translate to value for the customer. So, we had a client in my mastermind group yesterday, one of the business owners was offering something at a very low price point because people are in pandemic, economics are hard. A lot of people are out of work. And the first thing I said about that was, “I think your price point is too low. You’re not showing value at that price point. People don’t think it’s worth it.” And it was worth it, it was full of juicy offerings and things that were going to be favorable for the client. So charging what you’re worth is very important. If you want to offer a discount because people are hitting hard times and there’s economic, something like a payment plan or a discount during this difficult time. But the initial price has to go out at a value proposition price, meaning I’m providing high quality for a price that is commensurate with that.

Amalie: (14:52)

Yeah. And one of the things that in my experience, being an online business, excuse me, people will not take into consideration the programs that they have to, that they have to run their business. So like their CRM, or if they’re a designer, the Adobe suite or whatever they have. And not putting that in as part of the package, right. When you give a price of something, it needs to include those things that you buy or spend money on in order to serve clients. So I mean, you’re really just hurting yourself by not including those things. So if you have, you know, if you’re paying for a service in order to maintain, you know, your business, manage your business, your project management tool that you bring clients into to manage their projects, all those things should be part of part of what it costs to hire you. You know, and I have found in my experience that a lot of people don’t take that into consideration when they’re coming up with the prices, they’ll come up with a price, but they don’t take into consideration all those things that, cause if the client is accessing your project management tool and you’re paying monthly and a higher monthly fee for them to be part of it, I mean, ultimately they need, you know, that needs to be part of your price that you’re charging them. If you don’t include that, you’re really just hurting yourself and you’re paying out of pocket for something that really it’s part of the service that you’re providing. Right?

Angie: (16:30)

Yeah. So when you initially set your prices, it does need to include all those different, you know, subscriptions that you need to go to market. They might be a fixed cost, but it still needs to, you still need to figure out how those impact your bottom line. And then if you’re doing regular and systematic price increases those subscription fees, as they go up over time and inflation happens, they will be accounted for. What won’t be accounted for as is again like when a global pandemic hits and all of a sudden your in-person offering needs to go online and you have to buy technology to support that new way of doing business. And in those cases, then you can increase the price out of cycle, so to speak. And if you’re increasing the price out of cycle, it shouldn’t be considerable because you’ve been regularly managing your price increases and building it into a systematic approach.

Amalie: (17:40)

That makes sense.

Angie: (17:41)

And another example of that is gas prices. You know, a lot of people are, charging a surcharge for delivery and whatnot and gas prices fluctuate all the time. And it’s out of the business owner’s control, right? That’s a global market event, right? So when gas prices go up and down, if there’s a huge increase, there might need to be a surcharge to the client as it relates to the field.

Amalie: (18:11)

Right. Awesome. Well, did we miss anything? Did I not ask you something I should have asked? So we make sure that everyone gets the information they need. Is there anything you want to add we before we wrap up.

Angie: (18:27)

You know, the only thing that I want to add is, as we talked about from the beginning, it’s all about measurement, right? You can’t find your way if you can’t see the runway. So the plane is not going to be able to take off if there’s not a runway there and measurement starts in your accounting file, that accounting file needs to tell the story of your business. It needs to tell the story of your business health, as well as the unhealthy parts of it. Because that’s the story that helps you build funding when you need it, sell it when it’s ready to be sold and pay yourself and put food on your own table. So I just really encourage people if they’re not, you know, great with their books and accounting and understanding those concepts, hire somebody and invest the time to figure out how to read those financials. They will give you a path, a runway to work with.

Amalie: (19:23)

That’s awesome. And thank you so much. People want to connect with you, where’s the best place to do that?

Angie: (19:29)

Well, my website is probably the best place to do that That’s a reconciled with an ed and a solutions, plural, and then it’s dot net.

Amalie: (19:42)

Awesome. And we’ll make sure we will put it in the show notes so people can have it. So thank you again so much for being here. I really appreciate it. And, you know, thank you for all the information. I hope that everyone listening, found it helpful. If you know anyone that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe, and we will be back here next week with another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. See you then.


Susanne Mariga is the person you call when you need help in achieving your business accounting goals. Among the many amazing things she does, she’s a certified public accountant and certified tax coach who specializes in business and personal tax planning. Today we are talking about debt — specifically how to avoid it and easy ways to break the cycle. Listen to this episode and learn from one of the best in this subject!

Show Notes

One of the best things you can do for your business is paying down your debt as fast as possible. More often than not, debt can slow down your growth and the overall success of your venture. 

Fortunately, getting out of debt is not impossible. It won’t happen overnight, but rest assured there are ways to break off the cycle while allowing your business to flourish.

That’s exactly what our guest Susanne Mariga does: she helps business owners achieve their goals in smart, efficient ways. She’s also the host of the Profit Talk Podcast, has experience as a certified tax coach, and has worked for Big Four accounting firms, such as Arthur Andersen, LLP. 

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we focused on a topic that makes a lot of us sweaty and nervous, but that simply needs to be talked about: debt eradication. Let Susanne tell you all you need to know about debt and how to pay it off!

In this episode, we talked about:

➡️ Should I choose debt to fund business growth?

➡️ 4 major steps to get rid of debt

➡️ Why implementing the Profit First system can be life-changing

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Susanne Mariga

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

All right. Welcome back to Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m really excited to be back here. I’m with JanineSuvak, of course, I’m Amalie Shaffer. We are systematic excellence consulting, and today we have a special guest Susanne Mariga and we are really excited. She is a certified public accountant and certified tax coach specializing in business and personal tax planning. Over the last two decades, Susanne worked for Big Four accounting firms, such as Arthur Andersen, LLP, and in our own firm has helped thousands of clients achieve their business goals. A certified profit first professional at the mastery level. She is also a charter global management accountant as designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Susanne has served as a business advisor for the New Spring Houston Community College Business Plan Competition, and she is the host of the Profit Talk Podcast. So we’re really excited to have her here today and we’re going to discuss debt eradication. So I know that makes everyone a little nervous. I think it probably even makes her a little nervous because we’re going to learn her philosophy on debt in general, but we’re really excited to be here and Susanne, did I miss anything? Obviously you have lots of accolades that I wanted to make sure I include it, but do you wanna just tell us a little bit about how, you know, what you have going on and how you got started with, being a profit first professional?

Susanne: (01:28)

Yeah, actually this was probably one of the biggest reasons I got started as a profit first professional. Right, you know, I’ve been a practicing CPA for almost 20 years and, you know, actually grew up in public accounting. My dad was a CPA and he hired me when I was 14 to be a bookkeeper. So there are many, many years. And, you know, obviously I started my career with big four public accounting. I worked for Andersen and then later on KPMG, and then about 12 years ago, I started my own practice. Right. And I was going to focus on really super serving small business clients. And I remember when I first started my business, I remember I first got my office and my first client walked through the door and I was so excited to see my first client. You guys remember that when you open your doors and you get your first client, you’re like, “Oh my gosh,” you want to do a happy dance, but you have to like calm yourself down. It looks sophisticated. Exactly. And, he brought with him the shoe box, right? And it’s a shoe box of filled with receipts, you know, Oh my God, when they go to a gas station, you crumble the receipt and put it into your shoe box for your accountant at the end of the year. And he plops down next to me, he puts his shoe box on my desk and he says, whatever you do, I don’t want pay taxes. And I remember unraveling his receipts. And I remember getting to the bottom of this box and there was this PNL or something that he called a VNL right. And, and I said, “well, don’t worry. So you’re not going to pay taxes. Cause frankly, you didn’t make any money.” Right. And so a couple of days later, he comes back to get his return. He’s excited. He’s getting a refund, he’s getting something called earned income credit. And for you guys that don’t know, earned income credit, it’s like that welfare check that you get for, “Hey, you try to work. It didn’t work out, but what’s an hours end.” Exactly, exactly. It’s an honorable mission for just showing up, right. The millennial award. And he was happy. He was getting a couple of thousand dollars back for refund and he comes back the next year and he brings the same. He walks with more updated, crinkled out receipts and he pops down again and he goes, “whatever you did last year, do that same magic again this year, cause I don’t pay the taxes.” I unrolled his receipts. That’s at the bottom of his box and got to this crinkle up out. And I was like, “well, don’t worry, sir, you’re still not gonna pay taxes because frankly you didn’t make any money.” And then, you know, he comes back a couple of days later, he signed his return. He’s happy. He’s getting that earned income credit again. Right. And then he goes away and he’s happy, right? He’s thinking he’s had a successful year. And I’m thinking, “I didn’t do that bad myself as an accountant.” And then the third year he comes back again and he brings back the same shoe box and it’s crumbled receipts again. And this time is a little bit different because you know, this time I’ve got to know him better. He’s a little bit older. And you know, frankly, he just looks tired. Right. And he still managed to plot down in my chair. He still managed to say, “Susanne, whatever you did last year, I still don’t want to pay taxes.” But this time it’s just not funny because now I’ve gotten emails from him at 11 o’clock at night, you know, I’ve seen him get all these employees that, you know, they’re making more money than he’s making. Right. And frankly, I’m seeing that he has accumulated debt, he’s accumulated debt and he has nothing to show for it. He doesn’t own his own house. He lives in an apartment. He doesn’t even own his own car. He’s financing that car. He’s got no retirement. And frankly I’m worried about him, right. Because he has nothing to show for it. And when I looked at my client, you know, and I looked at a lot of my clients and I saw they were all in this same situation, the same situation of running in a spiral, not making any money and accumulating debt and really everybody around them was benefiting except themselves. And so, yes, I feel very strongly against that as a result of that. But that’s why I started my profit first journey.

Amalie: (05:06)

Understand. Awesome. So let’s just talk. So we’re going to talk eradication. So let’s start with one, your philosophy on that. And then let’s tell us in what situation is accumulating debt okay.

Susanne: (05:21)

Okay. That’s, that’s going to be a loaded question. I feel very strongly against that because one, you start to enter on a cycle, right? It’s a, it’s always a catch up cycle. And I grew up in a religious household. And one of the things that we were always taught was Proverbs 22 7. It says the rich rule over the poor and the borrower is a slave to the lender. And there’s a bit, a lot of talk about slavery these days and nobody wants to be a slave. And, but when you enter into a debt or a debt covenant, it literally is a cycle, right. You’re constantly paying. And if you don’t have the convictions, you will constantly be accumulating to pay. So, you know, my personal opinion, that debt is never really okay. I’d rather you grow slow and own your business versus constantly owing the man, right. As they say. Now, if you are going to get debt and it is something that you want to do. And sometimes, you know, if there are ventures that are bigger than us or, you know, we need manufacturing companies in the world, right. And they, they do have a need and we appreciate what manufacturing companies do. Right. I think the big thing is ROI. What is the guaranteed return on investment, right? Because they guarantee return on investment. And I’m not talking about going to Vegas and playing a slot machine. What is the guarantee that you are going to get if you accumulate debt? Right. So if you’re spending on marketing and you’re spending on advertising and you’re spending it on new startups, there’s a chance that you might not be getting that back. Right. And so return on investment is extremely important, especially right now, when you see people getting EDLs and other lines, what is the return on investment for every dollar that you’re taking out? What is, what is the amount of growth that you are going to see in terms of revenue, as well as profit.

Amalie: (06:59)

Right. And so if you are investing in something, is there like a timeframe that someone should see a return? And if they don’t see within that timeframe, you’re like, “okay, now I gotta watch it, obviously it’s not working” particularly like with marketing or something like that. Is there a timeframe you give? I know there’s guidelines that Janine and I personally follow and tell our clients follow, but I was just wondering what your opinion was about that.

Susanne: (07:23)

Well, the problem with debt, Amalie, as you’ve already spent it, right. We already spent it before you get it back. So, so you’re already paying in some ways, Russian roulette, right? So if you’re paying for marketing expenses, you’re already spending the money before you’re going to guarantee to get it right now. I know that marketing, we obviously want to see a 10 times ROI on it, but again, with that, you’re already spent the money. I would rather you take money from your retained earnings. I would rather you take money from your profit, right? Your routine earnings invest that back into the company is what I would rather see you do.

Amalie: (07:58)

Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that we say is about 90 days, right? So if you think that you can see an ROI in 90 days, then we feel as though, I mean, that’s usually the gauge that we use when we’re making decisions about things and we advise our clients on things like that. So, Janine, you were about to ask a question.

Janine: (08:19)

I was just going to say that Mike Michalowicz makes that point about the different way of using the debt, right? I’m sorry, I just got a little off track, but that, because of what you were just saying, it’s like, I was thinking of an example. In my medical practice, I would send people out for testing and accept the smaller profit per patient and waited until I could purchase the equipment myself, even though there was mathematically a larger per visit profit. If I were to, even with the debt, you know, with the payment, buy the equipment, I chose to wait. And so I think I was just thinking of that as an example of small growth versus like what Amalie talked about 90 days, that kind of equipment was not 90 days. It was big amounts that made a difference. So it’s really interesting math, but look at it from those different perspectives.

Susanne: (09:13)

It is as, you know, I subscribed to Dave Ramsey. I love that man. He is so amazing. And one of the things that he says is that, you know, when you don’t take out debt, you make mistakes, but you make smaller mistakes. Right. And he gives the example of when, you know, he bought a huge amount of books, right? Because he thought he was going to sell those books. And while the books didn’t sell and he goes, imagine if I had taken debt to buy those books, you know what I mean? Now that I have books that didn’t sell and I would have debt on top of those books that are sitting in my basement.

Amalie: (09:47)

So let’s talk to the people who have debt, right? So they’re in a situation, they have debt. Let’s talk about what to do to get rid of it. What’s the best way forward if you have it. And you either want to avoid accumulating it or you’re in a place where, maybe you’re feeling a little bit, you know, like you’re barely keeping your head above water. So let’s talk to those people about how to manage that or what you recommend for people like that.

Susanne: (10:18)

You know, I think there’s really four major steps. Now there are like teeny steps in between, but there are four major steps to debt eradication really. And the first step is not an obvious thing, but it really is a thing that keeps you from getting into that and then quickly get you out. Right. And that is, first of all, when you’re in business price your service, price you’re offering. Price right. It makes sure there’s enough margins and profit in there to really be able to build, retain earnings. So you don’t have to go into debt in the future. And it needs to be able to produce profit for you. Right. Because if you’re not pricing your services right we’re not pricing your widgets right. That means that, you know, you’re going to rob Peter to pay Paul. Because you’re in and that’s exactly what happens. A lot of people, they get into debt because they don’t have enough money to support their operations. So they go to credit card, they go to line of credit, they call it working capital and they stay in that cycle. So the first thing is, make sure you are pricing right. Make sure there’s that margins in there that you can not only get a profit, but accumulate, retained earnings. Because if you build retained earnings, you don’t have to accumulate debt later on. Because you have money that you can reinvest in your company, if you’re pricing right. Now, the other thing I would say, as you know, with debt, it starts with a conviction, right. It starts with conviction, just like Janine says that I don’t want to be in debt. Right. There are ways that I can accomplish what I want just in slower gradual things. Slower gradual steps. And it’s kind of like, if you have a bad habit, if you’ve ever smoked cigarettes or you ever went on a major weight loss, right. When the first things that happens that makes people stop smoking, stop, you know, or lose a drastic amount of weight, you know, hundreds of pounds is they, they get sick of it. Right. They wake up one morning and it’s, I don’t want to live this way anymore. Right. And so the second thing is you have to have conviction. You have to have conviction. “That that is not for me. This is not how I want to grow my business. This is not the legacy I want to leave. You know, I want to be able to grow.” You have to have it. Cause even if you have a small window and you’re like, okay, debt is okay, right. If you say that small, you’re always going to, okay, wait a minute. I’m short this month. I’m short this month. I need to be off my working capital, or I need to get a working capital line of credit or, you know, or, this is project that’s coming up in a pipeline. It’s an amazing project. Right. I might just be able to win on this. Right. So again, it’s going to be tempted to go into that credit card, go into that line of credit. So the second thing you have to do besides price, right, is you have to have conviction that it’s not for me. And otherwise, you know, there’s always going to be a credit offering. There’s always going to be like, even in COVID-19, there’s always going to be a credit offering. So you have to say, you know what? I don’t want to live this way. I don’t want to live this way. Debt is not for me. I do not want to be a slave to the lender. Right. And then the third thing is, you know, you have to like, you know, they always tell you in debt management on the personal side, it’s just like the business, you got to cut the cards, right? You gotta cut the cards. You gotta say, you know what? Get rid of temptation, move it far away. Cancel those line of credits, put them in the freezer. You’ve heard him say it, cut the cards. Right? Because again, as long as those options are open, you will always be short one month, one day, it’s going to happen. I don’t care who you are. There’s going to be opportunity. That’s going to come by. And you’re like, Oh my goodness, let me go grab the card. Right. And so you have to say, cut the card. Right. And make it not assessable. That’s the other thing to resist temptation. Just say no. And then the fourth thing that you do, if you’re in debt, I highly recommend what we call the debt snowball. The debt snowball. Now I know you guys have been talking to a lot of our PFPs or profit first professionals and what that snowball is, it’s a lot like what Dave Ramsey talks about. Right? So what that means is. So what happens in profit versus, you know, we have the five bank accounts there. We accumulate money in this income account. And then we use these envelopes, bank accounts with like envelopes, right? We have the income account, the operating account, the profit account, the tax account, the operating, the owner’s pay account. And we’re literally allocating money to these by purpose. Well, that money that you’re putting into your profit account, what happens at the end of the quarter is if you don’t have any debt, we call it an owner’s distribution or half of it. It’s an owner’s distribution. Right. Then the owner can go out by his crews, go on vacation, you know, do whatever he wants with it. And the other half goes into what we call retain earnings. So say for those rainy days or those big investments that might come up through the pipeline later on, well, what happens if you have debt. So instead of rewarding the owner immediately, we have to delay gratification and we take half of that profit that’s been accumulated in that account. And we put it towards our smallest debt and, and every quarter we pay off our smallest debt, and then once that smallest debt is paid off, we then put it towards the next smallest debt. And so we keep putting it there until that debt is paid off. Right. And that’s our debt snowball.

Janine: (15:17)

God. That’s fantastic.

Amalie: (15:18)

Yeah. So, and one of the things I was thinking about when you were talking is also having a plan. I think that’s something that Janine and I have talked about. Like if we’re in a situation where we’re going to, you know, take on some debt or whatever, is to have a plan. We’ve not been in a situation where we’ve needed to do that. But if we were in the future, when we were going through Fix This Next and getting certified in everything, we had talked about this, like having a plan on how to pay it off. Right. So already in our mind, if we are going to do it, here’s the plan. Here’s what we’re going to need to do to our services in order to afford, to be able to pay it right. And already setting ourselves up, thinking about what will happen. And then if it’s feasible, if in our mind we think that that can happen, then it’s an easier, it’s an easier decision for us to make, if we can see the plan and have it, “okay. These are the changes we’re going to make in order to be able to afford,” you know, if we are going to take on the debt, obviously it’s not ideal, but in some instances it’s a situation, you know, it can happen. And then having that plan already in place, like, “okay, we’re going to raise our prices. We’re going to take on it. We need to take on this many clients, you know, we’re going to have the first part of the payments start here. We’re going to be able to do double payment.” You know, whatever that plan looks like, creating that before we say yes to taking the debt on. And if we can’t come up with the plan that we probably shouldn’t even be taking the debt on, you know?

Susanne: (16:44)

Yeah. That makes sense. That makes sense. Yeah. And you know, that there’s those capital intensive companies, you know, those manufacturing companies sometimes require that to do that, but it’s, again, it’s just, what’s the return on investment and making sure that plan can be successful.

Amalie: (17:01)

Yeah, absolutely. And then Janine, did you have a question?

Janine: (17:05)

Oh, I just always have a question about sharing stories with maybe, you know, about how something with your clients with profit first.

Susanne: (17:16)

Oh. In terms of like how my clients apply it?

Amalie: (17:18)

Or just like any success stories or did you have a client that– I know Profit First has really made a huge difference in our business. I mean, I started profit first when I had my business by myself and it made just a huge difference. I mean, it really did. I highly recommend it to everyone. And I know when Janine and I partnered up, we do in our business. And I just think that, I mean, if you’re in a place where you’re overwhelmed with trying to figure out where the money needs to go, all of that, like to me, it just solves all the, it just solves all those problems because everything has a place, everything as a percentage. And it just goes where it needs to, like, it’s like when you have a messy house and like things aren’t in the place where it belongs with like, just put everything where it belongs and like putting all the money where it belongs, to me it’s just, I don’t know, to me, it relieves some of the pressure and overwhelm of having to deal with like, you know, with the financial side of it.

Janine: (18:16)

It’s kind of hard to describe the absence of stress, but it clears up so much head space to not have to have to worry about that. It’s amazing. I love that.

Amalie: (18:27)

About your clients, like before and after like profit first.

Susanne: (18:30)

Oh yeah. I mean, profit first, like you said, it’s an amazing cash management system. You know, I always clear clarify. It’s not an accounting system, it’s a cash management system. It gives you a framework for it. And, you know, lucky as a PFP, I’ve gotten to work with hundreds of clients and implementing the profit first system. I’m actually writing the next book with Mike Michalowicz. We’re going to release it in June, 2021. I’m not going to mention today what it’s about until we actually start to talk about it. But yeah, so it’s very, very exciting, but, and I definitely will talk about some of my clients there, but you know, one of the things that hit me a few weeks ago, as with profit first, we weren’t just changing people’s lives. You know, our, we thought we were changing people’s lives, giving them a cash management system. And it really occurred to me that we are changing legacies. We were changing people’s legacies. And I think that has been the most beautiful thing about profit first. Like literally I have worked with clients that were, you know, putting me in a house, the size of them, you know, right. I had a client, that was running a million dollar loss a year, but that’s what happens when you’re in a $30 million revenue game, right. If you’re in a $30 million revenue gain and you’re financing your business, you can run a million dollar loss. And literally within the first quarter to change them around, to have them have a 300,000 of profit, you know, it was significant for them, you know, and what we did was we restrategized, we retargeted who their customers were. We helped them niche and we raised our prices. And again, you know, and this has been one company after another that we do this with. And again, you know, we’re not just changing lives, we’re changing legacies because we’re giving their children debt-free businesses, right. We’re giving their children their first generation to go to college. Our children now have that opportunity to do that. And then when you mix tax strategy with that, I mean, it just’s compound impact. So that is, you know,

Janine: (20:10)

I got goosebumps when you said the first time I never thought about that that way. That’s huge.

Susanne: (20:13)

Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you think about a lot of these, these business owners, you know, you know, if they’re in a trades, right. Or if you’re in a staffing industry, you may not have gone to college, but now your children have the ability to do that because you have set yourself up for success by running a cash positive business.

Amalie: (20:31)

Yeah. That’s awesome. So where can people find you? What do you have going on? Do you have any offerings, anything that you want to share with us and where’s the best place for people to find you? So obviously your podcast Profit Talk Podcast. So that’s the first one. I know that we’ll make sure we put the link in the show notes, but where else?

Susanne: (20:49)

You know, we actually have a free profit first master class that we teach. And we have one that’s coming up in September and what they need to do to find this master class is they need to go to Facebook. And if they write profit first masterclass with Susanne Mariga S U S A N N E, spelled with an S not a Z, and Mariga is M A R I G A it’s a Free Profit First Masterclass, it’s a five day masterclass is one hour per day, one hour each, each day of the week. And we literally go over one core concept of profit first and how to implement that in your business. So that’s the easiest way, the best way to find that you actually get to interact with me on Facebook live at Profit First Masterclass with Susanne Mariga.

Amalie: (21:32)

Okay, well, we’ll include the link to that as well. And we’ll include your website link in the show notes so people can get in touch with you. Any last thoughts before we wrap up?

Susanne: (21:44)

You know, if you guys that are in debt, just take it one step at a time, right? Take it one step at a time, start with a 1% profit allocation. You know, the hardest thing about implementing profit versus just getting started. And literally once that boulder starts rolling down the hill, don’t ever get in front of a boulder that’s rolling down the hill. That 1% profit allocation start small, and you will get to the top of the mountain.

Amalie: (22:07)

Awesome. Thank you so much to them. We really appreciate it. And we will be putting all of the links that we mentioned in the show notes. If you know anyone that would be interested in hearing this episode, make sure you share it, make sure you subscribe and we will see you next time.

Susanne: (22:27)

Thanks. Bye bye.


Are you struggling to get customers to pay you? We’ve been there too! Micala Quinn joined us for this episode to talk about one of the most important parts of any business: collecting payments. Listen to this episode to discover some useful tips that will make this process easier for you!

Show Notes

Collecting payments from clients shouldn’t be a hassle. If it feels like a hassle then you’re doing something wrong…

Don’t worry, we got you covered!

In this episode of the Systematic Excellence Podcast we talked to Micala Quinn: wife, mom, podcaster, and creator of the online course “Overwhelmed to Overbooked”, about how entrepreneurs, who struggle with collecting payments or find it to be a time consuming process, can make it easier on themselves and their clients by improving their payment collection system. 

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ Reasons your payment process is costing you business 

➡️ Tips to make your payment collecting process more efficient

➡️ Micala Quinn’s “Hire your next team member” and why it’s so great

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Micala Quinn

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:00)

Alright. Welcome back to another episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m here with Janine Suvak, just like every time. Hey, we’re excited. We have a special guest here today. We are continuing our series with the business hierarchy of needs, and we’re going to be talking about collecting commitments. So again, Janine and I are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners figure out what the next best step in their businesses to focus on so that they can grow and we help them build and form efficient teams. So today we have Micala Quinn. I’m really excited. Micala and I have been friends for a long time friends, I quote, cause we met online. She’s my internet friend, but Micala is a wife, mom, online course creator, podcaster, and work at home enthusiast. Her mission is to revolutionize what it means to be a working mother. Micala’s online courses, designed to launch working moms into the freelance world, prepared, confident, and ready to make their mark. To date more than 1000 moms across the country and world have enrolled in “Overwhelmed to overbooked”. In late 2018, Micala launched the Live Free Podcasts to spread her freelancing method and mission throughout the world. With more than 200 5 star reviews, the podcast has surpassed 100,000 downloads. Congratulations. Awesome. When Micala does jump off her work work at home mom soap box, you can catch her walking to the park with her kids, making cookies and watching a rerun of Friend’s for the millionth time with her cute husband, Collin. So Micala. We’re so happy to have you here today. Thank you for joining us.

Janine: (01:40)


Micala: (01:41)

Yeah. Thank you guys so much for having me.

Amalie: (01:44)

So today we’re going to talk about collecting commitments. So part of collecting, you know, you have to deliver, right? So that was the episode we had last week and now we’re going to be talking about collecting. So once you deliver what you are supposed to the client, you have to collect on it. Otherwise, why are you in business? Right. So, let’s talk about, you have a way of making sure that collecting on commitments is a smooth process. So how do you manage that? You can talk a little bit about how you do it in your business, but also with the people that you coach and mentor as well. What do you recommend for them and your team? I know you have a team, so what’s the best way to make it easy for you to pay them.

Micala: (02:26)

Yeah. So my big perspective is you want someone to pay you, you need to make it super easy for them. Don’t make it a, a headache. Don’t like make them go and reenter their credit card every time and go out to their garage to get their purse or wherever they keep it. So I like to tell the students that I work with and even the girls on my team, if you want to be paid on time, you need to set up automatic recurring payments on specific dates. And that is so important. One of the girls on my team just recently had an issue because I was Nuveen and inbox, transition staff. Some things were just automatically getting filtered out of my inbox and into trash and she didn’t get paid. I didn’t know. She didn’t get paid. Cause I never saw the invoice. And she was too timid to be like, “Oh no.” And, you know, she didn’t have her business systems all neat and tiny. And so it was the end of the month. And she was like, “Hey Micala, you know, I never got paid for June” or whatever. And I was like, “haven’t I told you a hundred times to get me on freaking automatic payments? It drives me crazy. I love you. I love working with you. You are awesome. But it is such a hassle for me to have to enter in my credit card each time.” I know that sounds crazy. I know.

Amalie: (03:57)

It is. I mean, it’s true. And let’s just take from that example, you can not be timid about asking for payment, like period. That is why you’re in business. And even though we did it in the order of talking about delivering commitments and then collecting commitments, we take payment upfront for a lot of things, you know, unless there’s like an added project, we might add that to the next month or whatever, but there’s some sort of exchange in the beginning. Starting work means there’s some sort of payment. Right. But you absolutely can’t be timid about that. I mean, you just did the work, so you need to get paid then. I mean, you probably need to think about why you’re in business, you know, cause it’s not like the people at the grocery store, are like, “are you ready to pay?” You know, if you have, if you work with someone or, you know, if you go to a business owner, you buy something, they’re not timid about asking for your money. So you can’t be either.

Janine: (04:54)

If you’re working with the right clients and doing the work well, they should be happy to pay you.

Micala: (04:59)

Oh yeah, absolutely. And I’m happy to pay her, but I just want it to be automatic, right?

Amalie: (05:04)

Yeah. And making it easier. Absolutely. I mean, it’s like any onboarding process or off-boarding any process you should make it as easy as possible for the client. And so doing automatic payments for sure. That would make the process smooth. So now did she put you on automatic payments?

Micala: (05:23)

She did.

Amalie: (05:24)

Okay. Good. Well, that’s good. So I do have a question. So in your contract, so you have automatic payments. Do you do anything that are like one offs, like with clients, I guess you have more course related, so, or when you were a service provider or with your service providers that you mentor, do you ever recommend having a late fee in their contract?

Micala: (05:53)

Well, yes, but in most cases, payment is done upfront. In advance. Now there are some times where there might be payment plans. And I would suggest that they set those up at specific milestones and you know, you’re paid in advance for the first portion of the project or the whole project. And you don’t really, if it’s a onetime thing or a onetime project, you don’t really start working until you’re paid. And if they don’t pay you, you don’t work. If they are on like a recurring payment plan or whatever, and maybe their bank card changes and it gets rejected or something happens, and they don’t pay you on time. You can have that late fee in your contract, but to protect you. But again, you would stop working if you’re not paid.

Amalie: (07:07)

For sure. And if you, so if anyone listening is in a situation where they didn’t get paid up front, they’ve done work. And in the contract, it says payment is due when work is done, which if that’s how you work, that’s fine. I think for me the most important thing, if you are running your business that way is that if you have a late fee that you stick to it, right? You can’t have a late fee just to have it in there and then not stick to it. Right? Like you have to charge that person. If they don’t pay, otherwise it makes you look kind of flaky. Right.

Janine: (07:42)

It changes the dynamics of any conversation you have with them after that.

Amalie: (07:46)

It’s like fake scarcity, you know, when people do fake scarcity, you have to make it real, right. It has to be real. Or even if you have, you’re selling a hundred of a thing that you actually have 300 of, but you have to show that you have a hundred and then stop after you sell the hundred, right? You have to actually live by the scarcity or also just, it comes off real sleazy and flaky, you know? So I think that’s important.

Micala: (08:11)

That’s my least favorite way to do business. If someone’s not going to pay you or if they don’t pay you, you shouldn’t deliver final goods until that payment is collected. You know, if it’s graphic designer, web design, you shouldn’t hand back over that project until you have collected payment because you know, in a lot of cases, if someone doesn’t pay you, what are you going to do? Are you going to go to small claims court for this? I mean, it could, depending on the size of the project, but is it going to cost you just as much to go through that process? Right. So I strongly advise against collecting at the end, if at all possible.

Janine: (09:01)

So I did mobile app development for a few years. I’ve literally had the standing on a street corner at night, holding the code in a USB drive in my hand and not letting go of it until the cash was in my hand. And it’s like, I would never see anybody in that situation, but you do not give it up until it’s been paid.

Amalie: (09:25)

And you know, if it’s like an add on to a project and all of that, but at least there should be some sort of down payment, you know, upfront and then, you know, maybe midway through and then upon delivery. Delivery, meaning they pay, then they get whatever it is that they’ve got whether it’s a physical product or, you know, digital, whatever.

Micala: (09:45)

Yeah. Once I get your final payment, we can set up a call to hand over all of your website assets and I’ll walk you through how to manage the backend of your website.

Amalie: (09:54)

Right. Like doing the offboarding process or whatever, you know, here’s the files. Here’s whatever. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Janine: (10:01)

Have you ever run into when a vendor has failed to fulfill their commitment to you after you paid?

Micala: (10:07)

I haven’t. I have hired all women from my program pretty much. So I’ve been really lucky. I mean, I’ve been really lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to kind of get to know them. I get to see their work ethic, their personality from like a bird’s eye view in the first couple of people that I hired, I didn’t post like, “Hey, I’m hiring.” I went to them and was like, “I see what you’re doing. I see what you’ve done. I see your work ethic. Can I hire you for X, Y, Z?”

Janine: (10:49)

That’s super genius.

Micala: (10:51)

It’s been amazing. I’ve been really, really, really lucky with the girls. I’m with the women that I’ve built my team with.

Amalie: (10:58)

And we always keep you in mind, when we’re hiring or when one of our clients are. So we did a podcast episode early on about hiring and we included your, maybe we’ll put the link to it. We’ll put the link. Well, we’ll ask you at the end, but why don’t you tell us now. Where can people, if they are looking to hire, where can they go to hire the people that are in your program?

Micala: (11:23)

Yeah. So we have a hiring form at If you put in, you know, details of the job description, what you’re looking for, you know, some people when they’re hiring, based on their business, they really want someone with a medical background or they really want someone with, care for animal background or something. So as specific as you can get, and then putting in there your ideal budget, so much narrow down, getting applications from people who specifically fit what you’re looking for and what your needs are for your business.

Amalie: (12:01)

In the episode where we mentioned your URL. We also said it’s important to know what your budget is when you’re hiring someone. So I’m glad you said that.

Micala: (12:12)

Well, your budget’s gonna determine if you’re looking for the expert, has all the experience, or if you’re looking for a beginner and you’re going to be willing to train them or provide them with some of that education, there’s nothing wrong with either option. It’s just your budget’s going to determine. And I see a lot of people, like, “I want an expert in click funnels and the best copywriter, and I’m going to pay $20 an hour and I just laugh.” I’m like, that’s never gonna happen. Right?

Amalie: (12:39)

Yeah. Anyway, Janine, did you have another question? Are you good?

Janine: (12:43)

No, that was it. I’m good.

Amalie: (12:44)

And Micala, any other advice for anyone listening about, that we didn’t cover? Just now for collecting on commitments with clients, do you have anything else that you wanted to add?

Micala: (12:58)

I think that’s pretty much it, make it easy for your clients.

Amalie: (13:04)

Love that, make it automatic, make it a system, make it a process that happens automatically, automate easier. It’s yours and theirs. Yes.

Micala: (13:13)

This is a huge problem. People that need this help, our local service providers like construction, painters, all of that stuff. Bug guys. We get our lawn mowed and we’ve had this guy for like four weeks now. And he has not invoiced me. I text him. I’m like, “when do I pay you?” I’ve asked them to pay you because I hate, I just don’t go for money. I want people to be paid. I want them to know that their work is appreciated. And I texted him again last night and I was like, have you sent me an invoice? I haven’t seen anything come through. Good Lord people. You’re going to go out of business.

Janine: (13:59)

I literally posed as the guys who give, sold me, installed my new air conditioner, I had to go and pose as his office manager to help him get the system set up so I could pay by credit card from my home, but they got me the best warranty ever.

Amalie: (14:17)

But anyway, Micala, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it and we’ll make sure we put the link to the hiring form in the show notes. And if you’re listening, make sure you subscribe. If there’s someone you think that could benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you share with them. We’ll be back next week with another episode, and Micala, thanks again.

Micala: (14:37)

Thanks for having me. Bye bye.


Fiona Wong is a spiritual guide who helps creatives understand and explore their purpose through Human Design. Through her experience, she’s created a process to provide exceptional customer service every time by delivering on commitments. Listen to this episode to find out about this process and how she mastered delivery and customer support in a few steps.

Show Notes

One of the most mistakes we see many business owners make is promising more than they can deliver. Failing to deliver as you promised can prevent your customers from coming back to work with you which means losing business..not just that person but anyone they tell about their experience working with you. 

You need to develop a process to ensure you are able to deliver on commitments, in a timely and consistent manner. Don’t know how to do that? We are here to help!

Fiona Wong joined us for this episode to talk about her experience as a business owner who initially struggled with delivery on commitments, but now, she’s mastered customer service, and today, thanks to her systems and detailed process, she is able to serve more customers than ever before.

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ Why delivering on commitment is extremely important

➡️ You’ll want to avoid this mistake when serving your customers

➡️ The main reason why consistent systems and processes are important for any business

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Fiona Wong

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

Alright. Welcome back to the Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer. We have a special guest here today, but before I introduce her, just if you haven’t yet, make sure you subscribe. We are here, we talk business, operations, people management, process management, and, you know, anything business operations, and we are Systematic Excellence Consulting. And today, like I said, have a special guest. We have Fiona Wong and she is a spiritual guide who helps creatives understand and explore their purpose through human design. She takes a practical approach to the esoteric because in her words, if you can’t take this stuff and apply it to your day to day life, why bother? You can find her work at So we will include the link in the show notes, but I am really excited to have you here today, Fiona. So I had my human design done by Fiona actually. That’s how I know her and well, we were friends on Facebook for a long time. We’re like in semi we’re in the same circles and some good friends for a long time, but then, she started offering human design. I had it done. It’s actually very eye opening and it’s really exciting, but today we’re gonna talk about, well, first of all, did I miss anything in your bio that you wanted to add before I tell the topic we’re going to talk about today?

Fiona: (01:26)

That’s who I am. And then prior to that, I was basically a freelancer of all the sorts. So fitting for today’s topic.

Amalie: (01:34)

Marketing and stuff like that, right? Okay. So today we’re going to talk about delivering on client commitments. And so I’d like to start by, you have a story, so you were using some systems in your business, and then you switched to some other ones. So kind of tell us about the story and what the repercussions were of switching, maybe the positive and the negative. I’d really like to hear both, because in our business, one, shiny object syndrome is real and a lot of people have it. So you get these new things. You’re like, “Oh, maybe I should take advantage of that, but do I really need that?” And at the core of providing a good service and providing for your clients is delivering on commitments. And so understanding how that affects your relationship with your clients, your due dates and things like that, I think are important. So tell us your story and then I’m just going to ask you lots of questions.

Fiona: (02:29)

Yeah, sure. So one of the issues that I used to have is I was a tech VA. So I wanted to learn how to use all of these technological things. So when fancy things like Kajabi came out and things like Squarespace and ShowIt came out, I would literally just like move my whole website because instead of thinking strategically, “Oh, well I just need a landing page. I need a place to collect emails, things like that.” I made the assumption that it was technology to help me become successful. And a part of that is because of all the affiliates, it happens in our circles. A lot of the entrepreneurs circles, everyone’s an affiliate for something. So you don’t really know whether someone loves what they have or if they’re just getting a really nice affiliate cut, and then you have these copywriters who are really good at what they do. And they’re just like “the software, this one thing, this is what you need, your whole business. You just eat this one thing, here is the magic pill.” It exists. And of course, when I’m stressed out, what do I do? I scroll on my phone late at night. And I see, I see this free offer. I put my email and it’s like, “but wait for this introductory price, you can use our software before it goes up by like a thousand dollars.” So I sign up for it, spend the next couple of days, tinkering with it. So instead of serving my clients, or trying to communicate with my clients, I’m spending all this time, learning a new software, putting things together and the worst thing, and this is a problem I’ve had over and over and over is I will have to do something, reach out to their customer support. And, “Oh, well, that’s a great idea for a future feature.” And now I’m like, I canceled all this software. I migrated all this stuff. And like the last piece of the puzzle isn’t there. So, so I’ve had a lot of software that I’ve used as a bandaids and on the client. And it just looks bad because people ask me, “well, why are you changing things all the time? I liked your old website. I liked your old, this. I liked your old that.”

Amalie: (04:35)

So you have a client portal where they go to, and then you’re like, “Oh, it’s actually this one instead. We were using this one, but it’s this one.” Changing their stuff too.

Fiona: (04:44)

Yeah. Yeah. But then they get all these weird emails because you never know if you accidentally onboard him into a workflow or a sequence and it’s just like, it just looks terrible. It looks like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Amalie: (04:57)

So recently you started using a new system, right? You were using, what did you use?

Fiona: (05:03)

I was on Kajabi, yeah. I was on Kajabi for a while because, and here’s another weird thing, you never know in business who’s making what amount of money, who’s just parroting information. And a lot of people I followed were using Kajabi. So of course they’re like, you know, if you want me to use Kajabi and of course, lots of strong affiliates with Kajabi as well. And what I realized was I wasn’t there. They were making what, 10 grand, 20 grand a month. And I’m still at like the five to eight K a month type of income. And for me, I just didn’t need all of these bells and whistles. So when I was stressed out, you know how some people stress-eat. Some people binge-watch things. I stress play with my website and my automations and my system. So I’m stressed out. I was like, well, if I just need an intro, I made this super intricate like quiz that’ll drop you into like a specific funnel based on what you select. It was ridiculous. And I was stressed out and I was like, “Oh, let me play around with this and Kajabi.” And now I just wasted like two weeks of my life doing something that never really saw the light of day, because I was just too distracted. And I don’t know, I just had this revelation that I need to simplify everything because at the end of the day, if I can’t work with clients, cause my hands are in technology.

Amalie: (06:28)

Right. And you have to have offers that work with your lifestyle and what you’re doing, right? So like, if someone can’t commit to offering one on one service, but they still want to serve clients in different way, they need to come up with whatever that looks like. Like you do work with clients one on one, but you can only take a certain amount. And if you’re not looking to grow where you have people on your team that are also doing the human design, you’re going to be limited. So then you have to think of other ways, “okay, how else can I serve clients?” Because the most important thing in this whole sales section of the business hierarchy of needs is bringing money in, like bringing money in bringing people that you can sell to. And one of those things is to deliver on the commitment. So for you, like you have to provide a report, Janine and I do consulting and we provide a report and it can be time-intensive. And so we’ve simplified the process to try to take away some of that time intensive, or the time that we have to invest in it in order to be able to do more of them still provide the quality, but just be able to do more of them. Instead of it taking like five hours, we need to be able to do it in, you know, two or three hours, something like that. So that’s also something that you have to think about, but what happens with, you know, a client relationship or sales, if you can’t deliver on your commitments? You know, what does that look like for the client on that side? Did you have any issues with that? Like when you were kind of dealing with that, do you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Fiona: (08:04)

Yeah. So, first of all, Kajabi didn’t grow with me at all because they’re so product-based and I still served one-on-one clients. So I was just like, “well, you know, this isn’t working either” and I had to figure out another way to even get clients to work with me. And when I did, I ended up using a program called MoonClerk to get human design clients. I ended up, I don’t know, charging too low or something. And I just, it was just an explosion of clients. People tell me that these are good business problems to have, but it’s also a great way to have like a panic attack, overwhelmed. And it’s like, “Oh no, I have to deliver all of these things and now I’m struggling to do it.” So then came be assessment of “how do I solve this problem?” And this is the type of problem that sometimes when I bring it up to people, they’re like,” Oh poor you, you have too many clients.”

Amalie: (09:01)

It can seriously affect going forward. If a client has a bad experience, like you don’t deliver on time, they might not come back and work again.

Fiona: (09:10)

Yeah. You know, all those referrals, all the people that they could have brought to you and, and things like that. So that’s kind of where I ended up. And I honestly, I’m almost embarrassed to say this. I tried so many different things. Because this is pandemic era. So I got a hotel several times a week and I was paying like $40 to rent out their room for a day. I thought maybe if I just worked more hours in solitude, I could deliver. That didn’t quite work. I thought, well, “maybe if I had my VA plug in some of the info, so all I had to do was log on and read, maybe that’ll help.” But then sometimes, a typo was made here. Something was not made there and I would have to redo it all over again. So what I ended up doing was really taking an inventory and an audit of my life and of my time and saying, “I can only do X amount of readings, but maybe there’s another way I can serve people and still be accessible to people without just doing the one-on-one all the time.” And when I was late on delivery, I was very on top, I’d tell people like, “Hey, like, I’m going to be two days late on this.” And I was giving people like a free call here, or I’ll give you like a free seven day follow up or something to kind of make up for it. But that was a very painful learning.

Amalie: (10:36)

Absolutely. Absolutely. But it’s good what you did because you, you looked at the situation and you tried a couple of things that didn’t work, but then you figured out, “okay, here’s my time. Here’s what I can do. Here’s what I can’t do.” And then figured out what fits in there, you know? And then when you’re ready to grow, it’s going to be another assessment. “Okay. Where am I at? What can I do? What can I not do?” Forward whether it’s financially or with my time. And you know, you’re going to continue. As business goes, you know, grows and continues on either you’re going to stay where you’re at. Maybe it’s perfectly fine. Or maybe you grow, like, who knows. But every time you do that, you have to think about, okay, well, how can I deliver to the client? Because it’s great. You can bring lots of people in and that’s fantastic. But if there’s like indigestion internally where you can’t deliver and give people what they’ve paid you for, like ultimately your business is gonna fail, right? If you can’t make that happen, if that process, whether it’s a one on one face to face kind of coaching, or if it’s a product that they’ve ordered and you need to deliver it, I mean, if you can’t deliver on your commitments, ultimately your business is gonna fail. You can have hundreds of people standing in line to get on a call with you to see you, to have a session with you to buy whatever your thing is. But if you can’t deliver on that, ultimately, I mean, you’re going to fail.

Fiona: (12:01)

A lot of people talk about that, cause what’s the hot topic, lead generation. And then it’s like, “Oh great. I have all these leads, all these clients” and now comes the difficult conversation of how do I manage all of this and how do I, and it’s not just delivery. It’s also the quality of what you’re delivering. You don’t want to give someone like subpar work that does not match what you pitched them on your sales page.

Amalie: (12:24)

Yeah, absolutely. I think for delivering on commitments it includes quality because like you said, if it’s on your sales page that you’re gonna hit these 10 top, these 10 things on it, and it’s going to be, you know, in depth notes and you give them five things with a one sentence explanation. That’s not delivering on commitments. Whether it’s on time, let’s say it’s on time, but you’re still not ultimately delivering on what they expected to get. Right. And so I think, like you said, I think it’s quality. It’s timeliness, it’s staying in communication. You know, if you’re going to be late, like not making a habit of it, but then, and explaining to them, “Hey, this is going on, but I will have it to you.” And then you were giving, you know, some, some additional things to make up for that. And I think that’s great, but ultimately it would be good to be in a place where you don’t have to offer that where you can say, “”okay, it’s a seven business day, turn around, you’ll get it by that time. And then, I like what you said, where you really just simplified it, just simplify your process. It’s something Janine and I did too. Let’s just simplify our process and just deliver to the client on what they want, you know, or what they paid us for, the quality of it, you know, and all of that. And then just assessing, “okay, what do I ultimately need? I need a way to do intake.” Right? I need a clear process. I need it simple, like write down the steps and then yeah, you can go out and find the system or the software, we use systems and softwares in our business and that’s great. But ultimately you just need to write down what that process is. Figure out, okay. Maybe give yourself like a four hour block of time to do some research, find something that works and then stick with it, you know? And not change it constantly, unless there’s a huge issue with what you have set up then, you know, just to begin with. But I like that you went and looked at it. “You’re like, okay, here’s the amount of time I can offer. I know I can do this many one on ones. And then I know that I need to figure out another way to serve clients.” And so you did come up with another way and what’s that. Do you want to tell us about that?

Fiona: (14:39)

Yeah. I ended up doing, cause I raised my prices by more than twice the amount that I was initially charging to kind of…

Amalie: (14:49)

Which is totally worth it by the way. So if you are, yeah.

Fiona: (14:54)

I’m doing a lot of readings and I’m trying to give a lot and I actually took your feedback. I do timestamps now make life easier for the people.

Amalie: (15:03)

I was one of the beta ones just so you know. And I gave her some feedback. Well, that’s just because that’s who I am. And so I was like, “I hope you don’t mind. I’m going to give you some feedback.”

Fiona: (15:11)

So I ended up, taking that to heart and it helped a lot of people. And what I ended up doing was thinking human design is something that the messenger who originally downloaded it. He said, it’s for everyone. This is for every single individual human life on this planet. It cannot be owned. And I thought to myself, well, I want to make human design accessible, but there’s only one of me. And I’m also a single mom and I’m a sleepy person. So I can’t, I can’t really do that. So I thought to myself, how can I make this accessible? And I noticed a lot of the people who came to me for readings, they would be like,” okay, well, but also what does this mean? What does that mean? “They were all people who wanted to learn more and even if I could take care of everyone, I can’t fit everything into a one hour recording. So I created a self serve process where I literally broke down my whole human design reading style, what I do during a reading. And I made little short five to 10 minute clips, put them in a library. So every time you look at your chart, you’re like, “Oh, I’m interested in learning this.” You could just open that.

Amalie: (16:22)

I purchased it, by the way.

Fiona: (16:25)

Did you like it?

Amalie: (16:25)

Yeah, I just started looking at it. But no, I think it’s great because, and I should have done this. Do you want to explain a little bit about human design? I don’t know why I didn’t ask you that to begin with for anyone that’s listening that doesn’t know. Let’s talk a little bit about that really quickly. And then we’ll explain how that new product helps because it’s about helping you analyze your chart. And I think that’s helpful because it’s a lot to remember too on that one call, but tell in briefly, tell us a little bit about human design and then we’ll go from there. Sorry.

Fiona: (16:57)

No, yeah. I assume everyone knows what this is. Human design is, it’s a mixture of five different systems, astrology, chakras, Kabbalah, quantum physics and I-Ching and that’s human design. And the way I explain it to layman is that astrology and Myers-Briggs were having an affair in the eighties and they snuck out somewhere and they had this baby and they ran away from the patriarchal, oppressive society. And they raise this baby with their friends, which is Kabbalah, chakras and all of that. And now human design is a little bit more grown up and venturing into the world, but it’s a little bit of their parents and all of their parents’ friends. So.

Amalie: (17:43)

I love that. That’s such a great explanation. And I feel like they probably raised like in the desert somewhere, I’m thinking maybe the desert or, you know, somewhere like LA, I feel like the hippie vibe.

Fiona: (17:57)

The country, maybe, just away from the big cities like human designs, like, okay, cool. Now I’m gonna, and it’s kind of like the strange kid on the block that people are kind of interested in, but not really sure about. But it’s like astrology, there’s a whole system involved and certain numbers mean certain things. Certain colors mean certain things, right.

Amalie: (18:18)

It’s understanding who you are, how you process information, how you come up with ideas. It’s a lot about your personality and it’s not, I feel like it’s, like you said, it’s a combination of all those things. So it’s more than just like reading your horoscope for the day. It’s about personality. It’s about how you process things. I think that was like the most important thing of understanding for me was understanding how I process information and emotion. And I think that was really important, but it’s a lot to read from one report. So having a way to go back and like look at it and understand what it means. And then trying to like go back to your video that you recorded for me and like rewinding and finding the place, you know, like, so what she did was put together this course that people can basically, you took your head, your brain and your process you use and put it into a course that people can refer back to it. And I think that’s great. It doesn’t take away from doing the one-on-one reading. The one-on-one reading is ultimately, I mean, it’s valuable. And I would say priceless because of your knowledge on how to do the human design reading. And even if I just go into that course, it’s not like I’m going to be able to get all of the information that you provided in the report. So I think that’s important, but it allows you to serve your clients and deliver, you know, it removes some of the time intensive delivery for clients. You can still serve people in multiple ways, which I think is really important.

Fiona: (19:49)

Yeah. And a huge thing I learned from human design, what human design taught me is that everyone, because it really celebrates who you are as an individual. That’s what I love about it. It’s not like, “Oh, you’re an aries, so you’re going to be a butthead” So you’re going to be like, you know, really out there, it’s really encouraging you to be that individual. And I’ve learned that there’s a type of person that is just like, “I don’t care, Fiona, here’s $300. Read my chart.” If the type of person that’s like, “no, I want to explore and play with my chart with my own hands and see it for myself.” And some people learn like that. So human design taught me that and I applied it to my business because I was like, “well not, everyone’s going to be able to afford a personal reading with me. Not everyone is going to be able, not everyone wants someone to just read things to them” and it’s surveying my audience on different loads. It’s deliverables just in a different form.

Amalie: (20:46)

Yeah. But it allows you to deliver on commitments that your clients are asking for. Right. It allows you to do that without, you know, stretching you thin, right. And you might take on a little extra, some extra one-on-ones, you might be stretched thin, but you understand what your boundaries are and what you’re capable of and what you have time for that along with your other commitments and so you’ve now worked it out, so that it works in your business and your lifestyle. And I think that’s super important because that’s going to allow you to deliver to your clients the quality that they are looking for, you know, the reports or the course that they’re looking for, you’re able to give them what they’re looking for. And that’s ultimately most important.

Fiona: (21:32)

That definitely is. And I know this from being a virtual assistant, I have worked with clients who priced customer support, literally just all the VA’s were on customer support during launch time, because they cared so much about pleasing their audience and making sure people were taken care of and delivering a great experience. And I’ve also worked for people who were kind of just like, “Oh, just ignore them or just file it away. And they can, they can take me to court” or blah, blah, blah. And now when I look back at some of those clients, five, six, seven years later, it’s very clear that the ones who prioritize delivery and customer support and just keeping their audience happy, they are still in business. And they’ve exploded. They are just all over my newsfeed sometimes. And like, yeah, it’s a longterm commitment.

Amalie: (22:24)

It is. Yeah. But it’s also problem solving and finding solutions. Okay. “How can I continue to deliver to my clients in the way that fits in my business with the services that I offer, what price point do I need to be providing them at?” And it’s all of that. And you did that examination and that evaluation to figure out how that’s going to work. And then when you hit a point where you’re, you know, you’re either ready to grow or you’re, you know, something changes or you’re going to add a new service, you’ll have to do that assessment all over again. And so I think that’s great. Anyway. So did you have anything else to add? I really appreciate being here today and sharing with us about delivering on client commitments. I think it was really helpful. Did you have anything else, did you want to, you’re welcome to plug your service, you’re welcome to plug what we’ve kind of talked about your course. So we’ll put a link to that and we’ll include the link to your website. And your readings are offered on your website. Is that right?

Fiona: (23:23)

Everything’s on my website. I think the last thing I would say is the biggest lesson for me is not about what the website looks like, what software you’re using, what things look like on the outside. It’s really what happens on the backend. It’s that connection. When you hop on the discovery call, it’s your client being pleasantly surprised that you delivered a day or two ahead of time, these are the things that ultimately were the most important. And that’s basically what I built my business on. People remember me, I’ve rebranded so many times, tried so many different services. And a lot of the people that I’ve known for years have told me, “I just like what you do.” And that is just that’s priceless and yeah, that’s why delivery is so important.

Amalie: (24:10)

Awesome. Thank you so much for being with us. I really appreciate it and we will include all of your links in the show notes. And just if any, you know, for anyone listening, it’s but again, we’ll put all the links in there. If you’re listening to this and you know someone that would benefit from hearing this, make sure you share this episode and subscribe and we will see you next time. Thank you, Fiona.


Renee Hribar, a sales professional with over 20 years of experience, made her first million before she was 25 years old; she has successfully trained thousands of people to help them become top sellers, and she even participated as a speaker at TEDx. Listen to this episode as we talk about the 3 easy steps every entrepreneur needs to follow to boost their client conversion rate and sell like a pro. Join us now!

Show Notes

Client conversion is insanely important. Regardless if you get 10, 200, or even 1000 people in — if you can’t convert them to actually buy from you, your business isn’t going to grow and succeed. We understand the pain of having to convince customers that your product or service is the best option. 

If anything we’ve said so far resonates with you, then you are in the right place to start! 

In this episode, we had Renee Hribar, a thriving sales expert since 1994 in one of the most competitive cities in America, join us to talk about some of the biggest and most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when they’re trying to convert clients into paying customers. 


In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ 4 mistakes you need to avoid when talking to clients

➡️ 3 easy steps to successful client conversion

➡️ How to keep your customers returning to your business (even after the contract is over)

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Renee Hribar

Our Website

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Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are for products and services offered by the podcast creators. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: The article, video, or audio may contain affiliate links. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable us to continue to provide free content to readers and listeners.

Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:31)

enee Hribar and she has been a sales professional since 1994 in New York making her first million before she was 25 years old. I mean, Jesus, that’s crazy. She has gone on to sell millions of dollars in products and services and train thousands to sell for the first time, including myself. She is known in her industry as a fun, energetic sales coach who leads with heart, TEDx speaker who offers training sessions at global conferences on demand courses and virtual workshops. She skillfully breaks down her decades of sales expertise. With her one of a kind laugh and learn teaching style, you will certainly gain a new view of the softer side of sales. So I can totally tell you the truth. She knows what she’s talking about. I learned from her and I’m really excited that you’re here, Renee. Thank you so much for joining us.

Renee: (01:22)

Thank you. That was a lot. I’m like, I gotta shorten that.

Amalie: (01:25)

Everyone has said that when I’ve read their bio. Yeah. It’s just really funny. Every time I’ve read it, people are like, “I really think I should shorten that.”

Renee: (01:38)

Really? That’s funny. There’s another interesting case study. I love it.

Amalie: (01:42)

I know, read your shit out loud first.

Renee: (01:46)

That was meant to be read, not written.

Amalie: (01:48)

I got you. I got it. Yeah, exactly. Anyway, so I’m excited. We’re going to talk client conversion. So big sales can totally make people uncomfortable. It totally made me uncomfortable. So I met you and we spent some time together, which I’m super grateful for. So let’s just first start talking. I mean, conversion’s important, right? Because you can get all the people in, but if you can’t convert them to actually buy something, you’re kind of screwed and your business isn’t going to grow and succeed. Right? So let’s talk about some of the mistakes people make when they’re trying to convert clients. And then we’ll talk about how to improve it. And I know you have tons and tons of stories from your years of sales experience. So share those as you find fitting.

Renee: (02:29)

I will. Absolutely. Thank you. So yes, I have done, I don’t know, hundreds of thousands of sales conversations and through getting my hand burned on the stove, if you will, I’ve learned the hard way. And then once I had my own sales organization, I’ve taught people how to do that. And so I was the one, like they would literally go in the bathroom, they were at a client call client location, doing a presentation. And they were like, Renee, what the hell do I say?

Amalie: (02:53)

I mean, I’ve done that. I’ve totally done that, right in the middle of a call I’m boxing you Renee, what do I say when they say…

Renee: (03:00)

And so I’m used to those in the moment, you know, “Oh my gosh, what do I do now?” And so I think the first thing that I want to share is you’ll never, this is a writer downer. You’ll never, ever lose time if you invest in discovery, you’ll never, ever hate yourself that you dated longer. You’ll it’s okay. Like you’re going to find, you want to find out as much as you can before you make an offer. That’s the first thing. And then with that, and I’m going to share a story about this, you will protect yourself and your ego and your good name by not going too fast, too soon, by not making an offer to somebody who’s just not that into you. And so I do a lot of dating and selling analogies. I think we’ve all gone through the pain of dating. And so we sometimes feel like, “Oh, geez, dating is different than sales.” No, it’s not. It’s really not, it’s people to people. So if we think about it, so I remember what some of my first sales calls, one of my big, first big presentations and I had done so much research. I had created, you know, just, I thought the best presentation ever. And it might’ve been, however, I didn’t, I walked in and I just started talking, I don’t think they’ve even said how they were. I was like, “hi, how you doing? Let me tell you everything.” And because I didn’t let them talk because I didn’t involve them in a conversation. It was literally a presentation by the end. They were like blown back. Like their hair was blown back their eyes. They were like, “Oh.” I lost them. Right. I lost them. I lost the account. And when we walked out of there, they were like, “wow, you can say a lot without breathing.” It wasn’t until later that I realized I didn’t do the right thing. I had prepared. I had, which as a woman, we really, I feel like, cause I sold alongside a lot of male counterparts and they wouldn’t even look at the dock until I walked in there. I was like, “you’re going to lose.” And then watch me prepare. And I prepared so much that I lost. I was like, “ah,” but I had to find that guard rail. And you know, I never recovered from that one with that one particular client, I’d be like, “Johnny is going to take over that account.” But the reality is, I think we come in, we get so excited about what we can do for someone. They’ve maybe filled out a form, they’ve expressed interest in let’s say five things that they really want. And then you start talking to them and they say, “no, I want seven things.” And you’re like, “okay, we can do them”. In your mind, as an agency or a service provider or coach, you’re like, “okay. “And you’re adding it up and adding it. Wow. That’s gonna be a big proposal. And then they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know if I can do that.” And so what I learned was you’ll never lose time on discovery. So what is discovery? Discovery is asking questions along the way. More importantly, qualifying them along the way. So I’m sure we’ve all done that, right? Like we wonder when we get to the offer, “why they didn’t say yes?” It’s because we didn’t qualify them along the way. So this is a great analogy with even just dating, and like my husband, when he asked me to marry him, he was 99.999,9%. sure I was already going to say yes, he didn’t ask. It wasn’t like, “Oh, I wonder what she’s going to say.” He knows his ass cause we had done the discovery. Right?

Amalie: (06:33)

I feel like that’s one of the biggest things that I had learned from you. And I kind of equate it to driving a ship or even driving a car because the faster you’re going and you’re trying to make a decision in the moment. You have to make these, the sharper, the turns going to be. But if you just slow down and see what’s happening, like in a car when you’re driving and you need to, you’re trying to figure out which direction to go. You need to slow the car down to make the turn or make the left or right turn, depending on which way you want to go. I mean, thank you. But in that way, like just slowing everything down. And, but here’s the key, I think that I also learned from you is that whatever amount of time that you put for the call, you keep that boundary and you just book the next call. And so that is something that has stuck with me. Whatever, if it’s 15 minutes, it’s 15 minutes. If you don’t ask, if you don’t get all of your questions asked that is totally fine. Book another call, book another call. Even if it’s 10 calls later, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, both the person you’re talking to and yourself will feel like you have gotten all the information that you need. They will feel like they’re being heard and then you can make the sale, but getting on a discovery call, it’s supposed to be 15 minutes and you’re on for an hour. One is, I mean, you’re just not even respecting your own time, which why would then they respect your time. Right? So in that discovery, I feel like those are the two biggest things that I’ve taken away and live by to this day.

Renee: (08:02)

That’s right. I think I made you put your hand on a stack of Bibles. Like I, Amalie Shaffer, will promise to always book the next call before this call is over. Even if it’s in a month or six months, they’re like, “I’m about to go on sabbatical to Nepal.” “Oh, that’s great. When do you get back?” “In six months.” “Great. Let’s, let’s book a call in six months from now.”

Amalie: (08:21)

Right? Right, right.

Renee: (08:22)

Because you can, it’s harder to revive the dead than continue the conversation. So we always want to have that string.

Amalie: (08:29)

Yeah. And just asking as many questions as possible because especially in situations where there’s consulting and packages, right. When you’re selling that it could look differently for everyone. Right. Unless you’re selling a cookie cutter thing that they buy and do that doesn’t involve your time. That’s fine. Okay. That’s always going to be a consistent price, but if you’re doing consulting, it’s all going to be different. And the only way you can know that even if you’re a good fit for them is to ask them a bunch of frigging questions, even if it comes off as kind of annoying. So just to make sure, and it’s okay to do that. You know? And I think that’s the biggest thing, because getting on and feeling like, “Oh my God, I need to like give them an answer right now. And I need to figure out and they want this, but I don’t know.” And it’s like, just slow it all down and just ask questions, and then tell them what you think is the best, you know, the best thing.

Renee: (09:22)

A hundred percent. But even like thinking about like the doctor-patient relationship, you know, if you were to put on the white coat and be the doctor, you know, you have to do tests, you know, you have to do discovery and as the patient you’re like “doc, I have a runny nose. Just give me, give me a Z pack.” And they’re always like, “hold on.” And they always start from the beginning. Is your heart beating? So taking on that doctor role, the patient may want a quick answer. But as far as the doctor, in this case, the seller, it’s our moral obligation to slow that puppy down to actually make sure we have the full picture before we give any kind of diagnosis. And this case a diagnosis is a proposal. And so on to your point, I had three points I wanna make: discovery, the offer and continuation support. I think those are three places that people leave money on the table. Discovery. They make the offer too quick and then they lose it. So they leave money on the table. With making the offer and you hit it so hard in the head, which is you buy whatever time you set for that call. You keep that time because that shows you value your time. And it is really, even if it’s subliminal to them, it is, it is an example of what it would be like to work with you. If you say it’s 15 minutes is only 15 minutes. If you say it’s an hour, it’s an hour. So you keep your word. It’s in there, it’s being ingrained. She does what she says. She’s going to write, which is vital, especially when working virtually. Cause it’s hard to really know, “is this person gonna like take my money?” You know, “are they going to do what they say they’re going to do?” And so now on to making the offer. So I’ve done this many times and I’ve been shut down and burned many times. I remember I almost lost my, one of my first sales jobs. Cause I made the offer and you know, I was taught, you know, make sure they know there’s a deadline. I’m like, okay. So I was like, “this offer is good until tonight.” I don’t know. So the offer is good till tonight and I don’t know, take it or leave it. And the guy was like, so I don’t remember exactly what I said obviously in the moment, but it was something to that effect where it was, I was trying to follow the directions of my sales trainer saying you have to give a deadline. And I went way too far. Right. And so I remember I literally closed the portfolio and I probably closed it a little harder than I anticipated. And it was like “slam” and the guy was like, “I’m good.” Or, you know, “I can’t make a decision by it.” And I was like, okay. And then I, Oh my God. So I made a little bit of too harsh of an offer. Slammed the book. Didn’t really think it was. And then like abruptly left. That was the potential customer that I lost. That was his rendition. When he called my company. Oh my God. It was like, “I don’t know who you have coming out, but you’ve got to fix it.” So I was like, it might’ve, it must have been 20 years ago. And I still am like, I can still, “Oh, that was bad. Wasn’t it? It was really bad.” So, I blacked it out.

Amalie: (12:38)

Those are the things you just gotta put in that compartment and just put them away and it’s going to be fine.

Renee: (12:44)

Yeah, exactly. I still have nightmares about it all. So at the end of the day, we all make problems for ourselves by trying to be the best thing, but it’s not authentic. So what I want to say is we’re going to give you some advice, but I want it to be authentic to you, the listener here. Because, and even because we can go too far and even if we do go too far, know that it’s okay, we’re human. We can always, apologies go a long way.

Amalie: (13:09)

And then shit happens sometimes, you know, it happens.

Renee: (13:12)

Exactly. So in that vein, so how to make the offer with a deadline, but still genuine and authentic. A lot of people will come back to me saying, “well, I mean, I could do it at another time.” And I said, listen, you know what? You’re only, it’s like, you’re only one person, unless it’s an offer like a scalable digital course. That’s a whole other thing. But if you’re a service provider and you’re customizing a service plan and you’re going to deliver something, you don’t have endless time. What you don’t want is them saying yes a month from now when you expected a yes on Friday. Right? So whatever that is, and I want to say more time does not a yes make. So make it within 24, 48, 72 hours, even if it’s a draft. So the way I get around this, oftentimes when sending proposals is I will put the proposal in draft mode and I’ll say, “what does that mean even, right.” It’s literally me just typing draft on the proposal. Yeah. It’s just, it’s like me just writing DRA. This is a draft. And me saying these words, this is a draft. This is what, based on what you told me, this is what I’ve come up with. And this draft offer is valid through 4:00 PM on Friday. And let’s set up a time to talk on Friday to see if there’s anything on here that needs to be edited so that you can feel comfortable moving forward. So that we can both feel good about doing business together. It’s just some phrases I might use.

Amalie: (14:39)

Which is all true. It’s all true. It’s not being, I mean, you are asking them, you’re just kind of giving it to them to say, “listen, no pressure, here it is. We want to make sure it’s right.” It’s just how you say it. So the person can feel empowered to make the decision. And you’re kind of giving them some room versus hounding them and hovering. Like, you know, it’s just a better way of saying it when all those things are true. It’s not like you’re being sleazy or lying or anything like that. It’s all very true. And it’s just how you phrase it.

Renee: (15:11)

Totally. Because they might need to go to the board. They might need to ask the partners. They might have other players in the realm. And I’ve of course I’ve uncovered that in my discovery. So either way, I still like to sleep on things too. And I’m a solopreneur I can make my own decisions, but I might say, “you know what, that’s a good offer. And I do like it, let me sleep on it.” And then I like to get back on the phone. But even if I don’t get back on the phone, I still know that by 4:00 PM on Friday, if it’s not paid, it’s withdrawn. Right. And so even if I’m a solopreneur and I’m in Google docs or dump Sato or something’s, you know, simple, I would literally, I’ve given them a link. So if they go to that link, I have control over what they see when they go to that link. And I can simply say, if it’s, you know, at 5:00 PM on Friday now, this time is over. This offer at this price is no longer valid. And I might just have the whole thing, you know, deleted or grayed out and say, “you know, if you want to discuss further action, or if you want to discuss more options, go to here”, that would just give him my email. So making the offer, having a deadline, having a demarcation point allows everybody to get off the hook. Easy. So if, if they don’t buy it, that’s okay. I still now have a way to go back in. “Hey, I was thinking of you. I’m so glad we had that talk” or whatever. I didn’t put my heart out there and be like, “Oh, do you want to marry me? Please, please, please, please” No worry over the weekend. “Oh gosh. Are they going to say yes?” And then they pop up two weeks later. “Oh, we finally had the meeting with Bob” and you’re like, “crap. I just brought on two other clients. I don’t even know if I can do this now.” Right? So having urgency and having that deadline are vital. And then when I make that offer to them, I just want to say this last, this one part is it’s. This is something that I just see all the time “high, low.” Do you ever watch like HGTV or any of those? Like two brothers? They go like, “Oh, I want five bedrooms and I want it on the ocean and my budget’s $300,000” and they’re like, “okay, let’s take it to five bedrooms on the ocean.” They’re like, “wow, this is amazing. It’s gorgeous.” They’re like, “this is 1.8 million.” They’re like, “Oh, so do you want to look inland a little bit? We’d probably get you the room you need, but it will have an ocean view.” Okay. Sure. So it helps them understand by the time it’s all said and done, they spent 500,000 and they got an amazing help. So how does that relate to sales and making the offer? We have to really like quantify and put a price on what people want. And then as individuals who are customizing something, give them a good deal on what they need, knowing that we’re still going to be able to do business after this. So for example, if they need four things, if they need a website and they want all their social media done and they want SEO and they want blog posts. Okay. So I might say, “let’s do one thing first.” Like whatever, the most important thing, maybe it’s the website we do first. Right. And ask them their budget. Right. So you know, their budget, you know what you’re working with, right?

Amalie: (18:11)

Yeah. And so that is like, I mean, it is a question. It is mandatory. It will be asked. And if they can’t answer, we will discuss it until we get an answer because I can’t help them if I don’t know what they can spend. I can’t exactly help you. I don’t know. I mean, I could give you something that’s going to cost you like $40,000. But if you can’t afford that, why would I even, you know, I just don’t know why would I offer? It’s not going to be, you know, but with the budget I can tell you, we can figure out what your problem is. And I can tell you how I can help you within your budget and then say all these other things that you want help with. I can eventually, but let’s just start. Let’s get you. Let’s keep it in your budget to begin with. Right.

Renee: (18:54)

Exactly. So getting exactly that whole HGTV analogy is about what is your budget? What do you want? And then finding a middle ground, because we’ve done our discovery and we made an offer that has a time line. And then we have also made sure that it’s quantifiable. So they’re like, “Oh, I see the value now. I understand. I see.” And so their yes is, it is a mutual understanding. It’s not us giving a presentation. That’s going to wow them or turning around their objections. It’s us. And you said earlier, empowering them. It’s giving them power in the decision. Even though we were the one driving the bus, but we’re not putting them in a car seat.

Amalie: (19:31)

You know, that was something I definitely learned from you is that helping them understand like the high and the low allows them in their mind to say, okay, when you come in with this offer, that is not exactly what they asked for. They understand why it’s not exactly what they asked for. Right? Because they understand that if everything that they asked for is going to be this much, but their budget that they’ve already told you is this much, you’re telling them based on what you said, this is what I can offer you. But that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to help you later, but let’s start here. Right. And that’s again, another thing that I learned from you is helping them see, because they might not understand how you priced things or what your price means. And so they need to be able to understand. So when you say, like with the house, that perfect house you have in your mind, well, it looks like this. It probably feels great. It looks great. But this is the price for that. So in their mind, they hadn’t imagined what a $500,000 house looked like. They imagined it to be this $1.8 million house. Right. And so that’s really, that was such a huge thing for me to understand. And it helped me to communicate with people better.

Renee: (20:42)

A hundred percent. And these are all learnable skills. That’s the beautiful thing. “Usually I can’t sell them.” You can, as long as you know the rules, right. It’s the rules of the road. Like I told you already, I went off, I went too far to one side. I hit the guard rail on that side. Eventually I learned kind of how to follow the two yellow lines in the middle. And then that white line on the side just kind of stay, stay there. Don’t go swerving. So the last thing that I wanted to talk about is discovery, making the offer, and then continuing support. What I hear so often in the service provider world is a “one off.” “Well, that’s just a one off.” Is it though?

Amalie: (21:18)

Why does it have to be?

Renee: (21:20)

Why does it have to be right? It’s kinda like, “Oh, she was just, you know, whatever. It was just a one night stand.”

Amalie: (21:25)

Yeah. This was a one night stand.

Renee: (21:27)

Okay. Well, yeah. I mean, you still are connected somehow. So at the end of the day, how can we turn clients that, that might be, I mean, think about the lifetime value of a customer, maybe they start off as a $5,000 client. How can they turn it into a $50,000 or $500,000 client by continuing to offer support? So a lot of service providers that I work with, they can do many things. They might start off doing one thing or three things, but they could probably help them with a buffet of services. But if you say all that upfront, it’s going to be A) super expensive and B) it might be too much too soon for anybody to understand. So what I always set up is mile markers. And I know we’ve talked about this a lot, okay, so don’t let too much time go by before you have a progress meeting, a meeting that’s outside of everything else you’re normally doing with them. But just to sit down with them, whether it’s every 30 days or it’s quarterly or it’s every six months, whatever feels right for you, make sure you set up those times in advance. “So listen, I’m going to have a meeting with you in 30 days and we’re going to check progress.” They’re usually pretty psyched about that. They’re like, “Oh wow. That’s different. Not everybody does that.” And so as a service provider, I’m gonna come in and say, “listen, this is what you hired me for. Look at all the progress you’ve made.” They’re like, cause they don’t always see the progress. And now it’s up to me to like take screenshots and really measure and you know, work on the KPIs, make sure that I’m looking for things and then say, “you know, there’s a lot of opportunities since I’m now working in your business in this way that I’ve actually noticed that I feel like I want to bring up to you. Do you want to hear what I see?” Yeah. Right. It’s things that even their best business coach can’t see because this isn’t working inside of their business. So we have a unique vantage point because we are in their business, in unique way. And then say, “well, you know, this is what I noticed. If you did this, it might look like this. Or if you did this, it would impact this number and this column.” “Oh, wow. Yeah. You know, we had brought that up at a meeting a while back, but you know, Johnny just wasn’t ready to move on it. And Paul was out of the office and it just got slipped down to the next meeting and it just never got brought up.” “Yeah. I noticed.” And I really see that you could probably, and you could speak intelligently to them using their vernacular because you’re in their business. Because haven’t, we all seen it as a service providers, seeing a client of ours that we’re actively working with, hire some other who-ha somebody else who we are like “that guy? No, not that guy don’t hire that guy.” Or just hire somebody else in general for five times what you’re getting paid. Cause you might see it on the inside. And you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I could have done that for you. “And even if you have the relationship where you can say that, they’re like, “I didn’t know.” So I gotta finish with this guy first. And then you’re like, oh, so now there’s bad feelings on both sides. So having these set progress meetings allows us to show the progress. So they’re like good feelings. “I noticed,” “Oh, you noticed” it’s kind of like a doctor: “So I see you look at your Epic health. I noticed a few things.” Oh darn. Okay. I’m listening. And so “do you want to hear what those things might look like in addition to what we’re doing now?” So when we notice those things, it’s not do them for the same price. It’s do them for additional service upgrades.

Amalie: (24:39)

And so the other thing, so that is, again, something I took away. And the other thing is that kind of goes along with that is even after if they’ve said no, and even after your contract has ended is checking in with them every few months, every six months, you know, every three months, whatever that looks like, and then just check in and just, “Hey, how’s it going? What’s new. What’s happening? How’s that thing I set up for you?” Is it working for you? Even people that have said no to our services, I will check in with them and ask them how it’s going with the person that they hired that wasn’t necessarily us. Like, how’s it going? And what it does is expand your network. They could always become referrals. Who knows if they’ll refer to you or they might become your client again, like who knows? You know? And so I think a good analogy for this would be when you have a funnel and you retarget people back into the funnel that didn’t buy the first time. Right. So if they didn’t buy the OTO, you retarget them through email and ads to go back into that and buy it. I mean, it’s the same exact thing. You’re just optimizing your sales process. Just like you would optimize the sales funnel. Right?

Renee: (25:47)

Absolutely. It’s the joy of my heart.

Amalie: (25:49)

You’re so proud.

Renee: (25:53)

I’m like, Oh yes, that’s okay. Because that alone will make every business more money. Just that alone. Just keeping in touch. Our network is our net worth. Every single day of the week. Never harm us from reaching back out and saying, “Hey, how’s it going?” Even if we’re already done with that previous relationship, but the idea here is the prime ideas while you’re still in it, look for more opportunities and yes, always book that next call or this one’s over. Even if you already had a paid relationship and go to sabbatical in Nepal.

Amalie: (26:24)

in Nepal or whatever.

Renee: (26:27)

That means no wi-fi. Clearly out of touch.

Amalie: (26:32)

You can send some pigeons or smoke signals or something maybe.

Renee: (26:36)

Yeah. And so a story that I have about the continuation support is I had one of my first clients when I first came to the online space. She was from New York. I was from New York. We met on an online Facebook group. We just started talking and hanging out and she wanted to launch a course. So I helped her write the sales page and launch it and you know, do some live streams and we just kept in touch. So she did the work. And when we were like, “okay, well there’s not really a lot for us to work on together,” but we kept in touch and she ended up hosting a TEDx talk like an actual TEDx. And I was the first one she called and that’s how I got my TEDx talk. So keep in touch with your people, everyone.

Amalie: (27:15)

Everyone let’s hoard all the contacts.

Renee: (27:18)

Because you never know. You never know. And I know, so it’s mutually beneficial.

Amalie: (27:23)

That’s awesome. Well, Renee, thank you. Is there anything else you want to add? I feel like we gave everyone, I hope it was helpful because I know that I have taken these same lessons with me and you know, I put them into practice every day when we’re, you know, in business. And I think they’re just so important and they make it a lot less uncomfortable and it’s just a conversation, two human beings, learning about what they need and then letting them know if you can help them or not. I mean, that’s really just, it just, if you think about it like that. So you said a lot. I hope people learn something. Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap up?

Renee: (27:55)

No. We talked about discovery, making the offer, and continuing that support. I think those are the main components.

Amalie: (28:01)

So where can people find you if they need help? Because they suck at sales. Where can they get help?

Renee: (28:10)

The best place’s my website. And that’s my So Renee, R E N E H R I B A R. There’s an H in there somewhere.

Amalie: (28:20)

Awesome. Well, we’ll make sure that we put the link in the show notes that they have done and they can find you and anyone listening, if you know anyone that could benefit from listening to this episode, make sure you share it and make sure you subscribe. We’ll be back next week with another episode of Systemic Excellence Podcast. Thank you so much for today. And I hope you have a great day.


Amelia Roberts uses her love of observing human nature as well as her marketing experience to help professionals stand out, articulate their unique value and “get first dates” in business so that they can become leaders in their industry. Join us for this episode as she gives a step-by-step guide to make yourself stand out and attract the right customers to your business. Listen now!

Show Notes

It is really exciting when you put your message out into the world and people start responding. It feels good. People are hearing you. People are resonating with your message. But some point you start to realize the people you are attracting are not your ideal prospects for any number of reasons. They are resistant to being sold to, they don’t have the money, they want something different than what you are selling, they want something free, they want to pick your brain, etc. 

If you have experienced a similar situation we are here to tell you that you are not alone. We have all been there. 

In this episode, we had Amelia Roberts, an expert in helping under-recognized professionals stand out and “get first dates” in business, share with us why entrepreneurs often attract wrong customers — and, most importantly, how to fix it! 

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ How to recognize when you are not attracting the right people 

➡️ A step-by-step, sure-fire guide to attracting the right customers

➡️ The main reason why your plans are not happening (and how to make them come to life!)

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Amelia Roberts

Amelia’s Get in Front of Anyone freebie

Our Website

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

All right. Welcome back to the Systematic Excellence Podcast. I’m Amalie Shaffer and I’m here with Janine Suvak. We have a special guest today, Janine and I are Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners figure out where the next best step is in their business. And then if they’re looking for ongoing support with management, we place people our team members in long and short term contracts with them to help them get their business structure set up or standard operating procedures and managing of their projects and their team. So today we have a guest and I’m really excited. Her name is Amelia Roberts, and Amelia is a digital native who officially became a practitioner of online marketing 12 years ago with a role as a virtual assistant. Student loans from nursing school inspired her to put her love of observing human nature, showing empathy and previous marketing experience to work in new ways. As a result, she was able to pay off her student loans in under two years as a social media manager. I mean, that’s impressive. Now, along side other roles, you can find Amelia helping under recognized professional standout, articulate their unique value and get first dates in business so that they can become thought leaders in their industry while maintaining work life harmony. When she’s not optimizing human potential, Amelia enjoys planning, real and imagined food tours. I love that. I love that. I’m so excited that you’re here, Amelia. And today we’re going to talk about prospect attraction. So before we get started, did I miss anything in your bio? I just wanna make sure I got all that cause I just think it’s fantastic. And I love the imagined food tours. Is that post COVID?

Amelia: (01:42)

The normal question? The normal response, yes. That’s that’s post COVID, but no, it’s not.

Amalie: (01:52)

Yeah. Your vision board. So what’s your favorite imagined place to do a food tour?

Amelia: (01:59)

So, so imagined food tour. So it’s a long story, but Pinterest, thank you, Pinterest. I was quite the Pinterest addict. I had to go cold Turkey because it really has you feeling like you’re doing real work. You feel like you’ve done something and yeah, so that’s where my imagined food tours were placed, you know, different attitudes.

Amalie: (02:22)

And so where, so if you could jump on a plane today and go somewhere for food tour, where would you go?

Amelia: (02:30)

Oh goodness. On a plane anywhere. I’d probably go to maybe South Africa. Yeah. I was first introduced to that beautiful, beautiful country when I was like 19, 20 and didn’t stay long enough, but oh my goodness. The food was absolutely exceptionally great and of course the U S dollar went really, really far. So you know, they really, I mean just the level of the quality and the texture and blah, blah, blah. I’d probably go there. Yeah.

Amalie: (03:02)

Awesome. Alright. So today we’re going to talk about prospect attraction. So this is part of our series that we’re doing what as we go through the business hierarchy of needs. And so today we want to talk about prospect attraction. We want to talk about, so let’s start with, how do you recognize if you’re attracting the wrong people? So obviously it’s great, you got all these people coming in. It’s exciting, but then you figure out, “you know what, maybe this isn’t quite right.” How do you recognize if you’re not bringing in the right people?

Amelia: (03:33)

So it starts with having a goal of mine, you know, definitely having a goal of mine, knowing who you need to, how many of who you need to meet. So when you have an income goal or revenue goal that helps simplify a lot of stuff. When you have a specific service offering that you have at a specific revenue goal, how many conversations are you having about that thing, period. And also, you know, tracking those conversations, are they yes, nos, maybes, how many of the yeses are you getting? How many of the nos, how many of the maybes are you getting? And then if you’re not getting enough of the numbers that you need to support your goals, that’s an easy indicator that says, “Hey, maybe I’m not talking to enough of the right people.” With that said, you know, anytime you’re kind of thinking about or wanting to, you know, look at your funnel, no matter what sort of funnel it is, I mean, it could be the story that you’re telling it could be the offer and it could be the people, but, those indicators of like, “are these conversations happening the way that I’d ideally like for them to happen?” If no, then that’s a indication to start looking at the type of people that you’re attracting. Right? Yeah.

Amalie: (04:44)

Yeah, definitely. I also think that you know, when you look at, when you’re analyzing, whether your funnels work, you’re not kinda like you were saying, you look and see, okay, are the people clicking on the first page, going to the second page and getting off, or are they opting in, are they not opting in? And in that same way, you have to think about the conversations you’re having, right? It’s someone coming on a call with you, they’re booking a call and they’re not interested in what you’re selling or they were caught off guard that it was a sales call, to me, then, something in your messaging going off is, is often they’re not really understanding. So definitely agree 100%. Okay. So what goes into attracting the right people? So maybe we’ve realized, you know, we’re attracting the wrong people, but what goes into attracting the right people?

Amelia: (05:31)

So like attracts like says everybody, I don’t know originally, you know, where that came from originally, but it’s true. And so it’s really about, are you solving the right problem? Are you asking the questions that your ideal clients are asking themselves? Are you talking or speaking, something I highly recommend, especially when it comes to figuring out, topics, podcast topics, you know, people who want to get on podcasts, like what topics are you going to talk about? Make sure the topics are addressing, there’s no objections or the frequently asked questions of people who are along the buyer’s journey at a point where you want to talk to them, or what would it make sense for you to talk to them? 

Janine: (06:18)

What would you say to a business owner who has clients that basically they’re not the right fit. It drains their soul to work with them for whatever reason, but they’re afraid to let go of what they’re doing at the time.

Amelia: (06:35)

I invite people to lean into serving people better. Because if your clients aren’t getting what they need from you, there’s probably someone else who can serve them better. And likewise, if there’s a mismatch between you and your clients, there’s probably people that you can serve better as well. So, I am a matchmaker at my heart at my core. I even had something called “Get more first dates in business.” So anytime I hear relationship where, you know, two people aren’t both getting something amazing out of it, it kind of makes me wonder and people to be invited to be okay with, you know, blessing and releasing and, yeah.

Janine: (07:22)

I love that you relate your messaging to dating because I think a lot of times people get caught up in the, “I need sales” and forget the relationship aspect of it until after they’re into it.

Amalie: (07:35)

Yeah. And Janine and I just recently talked about what, even with employees or contractors, if it’s not a good fit for you or you stop working with them, you know, you can refer them out to other people too, because just because it didn’t work with you. So it’s the same with clients and you start to build your referral network that way, you know? And I just think it’s such a great way to do it. Right. “Listen, you and I are in a great fit, but I know someone that would be great for you or, you know, I think someone would be great to work with you.” And I just think that’s fantastic. I know you were just about to say something, sorry, go ahead.

Amelia: (08:07)

Yeah, no, it’s that idea of, sort of what you had said, Janine, like business is relationships, you know, the whole like and trust factor. And, people tend to, when it comes to going after larger contracts, you know, who can I partner with to go after a larger contract? We look at who’s around us. We look at people that we’ve seen work or, you know, do similar things in different capacities. And it’s all about relationships.

Amalie: (08:34)

Yeah. So, okay. Tell us a story about whether it’s you or one of your clients that was in a position where they were attracting the less than ideal clients and what they did to turn it around. What were the steps that you took or your client took, or you told, you recommended for clients to take so we can give the audience some actionable steps that they might be able to take with them if they are noticing or recognizing that they’re not attracting the most ideal clients.

Amelia: (09:04)

So this has happened recently. There was a client who she offers, well, I want to keep it vague because it’s like very recent, but long story short, she was giving services around web design, right. And long story short, the people she was getting on the phone with and they were having pricing objection. And I sort of like probed around, like what sort of content was she putting out? And the content that she was putting out was around what is a website? You know, should you have a website? Great things that websites should do. So she was answering. You can see it right away. So the questions and content and questions I encouraged her to start answering look more like, “how to prepare your website for a launch? How to prepare your website for JB partnerships?” So it was like a different conversation that would attract a different group of people who, you know, who are used to a certain pricing. They’re used to websites doing certain things. They don’t need to be explained that, you know, it’s important to make sure that you have your pixel place here, here and there. There is not a conversation that you’re having. Yeah.

Amalie: (10:28)

I think I would, it’s just popped in my head, but did you tell her how to hire or what to do when you’re hiring a web designer? Cause I feel like that would be really good.

Amelia: (10:39)

You know what I did suggest that she start to do lives on questions I think your web designer should ask you or how your web designer can mess up your project or something like that. Yeah.

Amalie: (10:53)

Do you want to like, just set yourself up because if the person that’s in the position to have the money to spend on someone to do their website is probably not looking for a definition on what is a website or explaining what a website is or the value of it.

Amelia: (11:12)

Yeah. And that’s not, I mean, for people who know that, I mean, there’s like a whole, that’s just not what my client wanted, with that said, there’s like a whole industry of people who are going after the local home service industry, the roofers, the carpet cleaners, who, you know, they’re a little, you know, healthcare too, to be quite honest. They’re a little behind the digital, you know, the whole thing. And you know, some, there are lots of roofers and carpet cleaners, and they still, you know, are word of mouth and I know notebooks and what not, but that’s the thriving, there are people who are literally seriously sending up your client.

Amalie: (11:56)

So, just, let’s just put it into steps. So the first thing you you recommended was for her to look at the content that you’re putting out. So your messaging, the content, your blogs, your videos, your Facebook lives anywhere you’re putting anything out as to examine that first, then think about, you know, even maybe before that it’s like knowing who it is that you want to talk to, where are they, what questions are they asking doing some of the market research? What are they posting about in groups or what are they asking about? Right. And so that’s like the first step is knowing who you’re talking to. Second step is then to examine and evaluate your messaging that you have on your website, anywhere that you put out messaging, making sure that it’s on point and answering the questions or covering topics that the people are interested in. Right. And then making those changes and then giving it time to work. Okay. So once you make the changes, let’s see if it works, are you attracting the right people? Are they coming in? Are they saying yes to your offers, but giving it some time, it might take some time to take, you know, to take an effect, right?

Amelia: (12:57)

Yes. And there’s an acronym that I was actually, I have to think, shout out to Jordan Gale of Systems Saved Me and helped me come up with an acronym, but it’s bond B O N D for browse, you know, browse the needs of your best buyers. You know, what are they saying? What problems and challenges are they saying they have, simple research can do this Facebook group, and then observe their buying habits. What are they actually buying in real life. And needs. What are they saying that they need more of in their life based on your observation and browsing and then D deliver, just deliver what the people are asking for.

Amalie: (13:37)

I love that. That’s awesome. I love that. Awesome. Okay. So next question. When it comes to attracting the right prospects, why do many visibility plans or goals never see the light of day? What happens? 

Amelia: (13:51)

Because they aren’t formed into a project. I think there are a lot of business coaches out there that says, “you know what? You just need to get visible. You need to get out there.” And it’s like, what does that actually mean? And I’m finding that a lot of us are process and project people. A lot of us are, it’s like, we need to know, okay…

Amalie: (14:08)

You are speaking our language. I’m like getting excited. Cause that’s our shit. Yes, it has to be a project and yes, it needs due dates. Yes.

Amelia: (14:17)

Yes. So, so you took the words. Yes. Task dates and people enrolled or tasks these roles and a lot of people don’t break down their projects like that or think about it like that. And so when people say like, “Hey, I want, you know, I have a book coming out or launch, I want to get on a lot of podcasts. I need to find JB partners or affiliates, or I just want all these people to come into my life and start giving my stuff to their people.” And, this is what a project plan could look like and it’s like, “do you still based on what the project plan looks like, do you still want to keep the launch date that you’ve talked about on this project plan? Or do you want to give yourself more time?” And then if, you know, I still want to compress or whatever, whatever we can go on from there, but, yeah, having a project plan.

Amalie: (15:09)

And so one of the things that Janine and I recommend is if you’re going to hire someone to manage the project is to bring them on before in the planning process, most people bring them on the plans, they’re “okay, just manage this.” We recommend bring them on during the planning, let them do, if you’re going to hire someone to manage it, let them do the planning, let them put it together, let them delegate, write out the tasks, do all that stuff. Because without that, nothing’s ever going to get done. You’re all just going to, everyone’s just going to sit there and your launch it’s going to come and go and that’s it.

Amelia: (15:42)

Yeah. And typically, and that’s another thing is like, people who enjoy, like I enjoy visibility projects, high casting, baby. That’s my little world. And I’ve done this before. So it’s like sometimes, you know, people who may have listened to an episode or a podcast where they described a launch plan and they said, you know what? That sounds like something I want to do, but just listening to it and deciding it’s, as you know, it’s a completely different thing of how this works in real life actually. So yeah.

Amalie: (16:16)

And all the details, like there’s a lot that goes into it. And if you were trying to plan a project, manage it and get it done on time. It can’t just be some overarching, like “we’re going to do this thing.” No, there’s like a hundred things that go into that one thing, you know. You’re speaking our language. That is like, that’s what we do, you know? So anyway, that’s great. So I love that. Okay. So next question. Why is it important to set the buying criteria when creating a marketing plan?

Amelia: (16:48)

So, so setting the buying criteria is a term, I think I have to thank Chad Holmes for that, right. Yeah. So I’m setting a buying criteria. What I mean is with your content or whatever topics you decided to talk about on podcasts or collaborations and Facebook groups, or, you know, webinars create the example of what it looks like, what an expert should look like, like you as a web designer person, you know, set the criteria. These are things to look for in a web designer, but these are things that you should ask. You know, this is either things to look for in a copywriter. This is what to look for in a project management person. You know, these are the questions you should ask. These are the questions that they should be asking you. And so, when you educate your audience about, you know, what to look for in the buying something, I mean, the next logical thing is why don’t I just go with you? Right. And you know, sometimes people say, “Oh, well, you know, I don’t want to give too much away, but as you know, when you share, you know, everything that goes into whatnot, whatever it is, your area of expertise is the right people with DIY wires, the tires, I shouldn’t say tire kickers, cause they’re a little different, but the DIY wires we’ll take that and go for a lot of us who offer the done for you. We’re not really trying to work with the people who just need a separate tool or template. Yeah. We’re not, that’s not how we eat, but it’s the people who want the fuller solution, a full solution, and people who feel as though they deserve to have that extra time and space and energy to do other things that they want. Those people, when they see that they’ll be like, “Oh, wow. Well, why don’t I just hire you to do all of that?”

Amalie: (18:33)

Right. Do you think that putting your prices out publicly is part of prospect attraction, like part of this, putting that out there. So not only telling them the buying criteria, like this is what to look for, but prices as well. I know, obviously we all have our opinions about it. I was just wondering what yours is.

Amelia: (18:50)

We do. And we all, so we do, and I say, go with the recommendation of whoever it is that you’re paying. A lot of business coaches have different thoughts on that. So if your business coach says, don’t put the prices up. If you’re paying them, probably do what they say. Don’t do it. The business coach that I’m paying, she has her prices out. So you just had her third, like a hundred K months that she has a price is very out there and open and it is a filter. And, so I’ve done the same. And I like the transparency. I don’t want to get someone on the phone and I don’t have it in my head. You know, if I hide the prices, by some words, Jitsu, I’ll be able to get them to be okay with it. I’d rather have no getting on the phone. You know, the numbers that we’ll be talking about. So, but that’s me. But again, if your coach that you’re paying says something else, don’t do that.

Amalie: (19:43)

Yeah, no, we agree. We think, I think if you don’t specifically put it in to maybe on the sales page or on your website, something like that, but if you have a form that someone fills out, letting them know that this is at a minimum, a five figure investment or six figure, you know, whatever the case may be, whatever you know, are you willing to make them answer a question? Are you willing to invest a minimum of 10 grand or, you know, getting that first layer in? I also like “starting at prices”. So starting at, because a lot of, you know, what we do is a customized based on whatever, after the consult, you know, whatever that plan is afterward, it really just depends on what that is. So if we can say, “Hey, starting at,” then they know that there’s a minimum that’s most likely going to be above that if they work with us. So, but I agree. I think putting it out in the open, I’m not saying that you need to put out an itemized list of everything, but giving people ideas and making them understand that there is an investment and that, you know, if you’re not looking for that, then you either refer them somewhere else or you have an option that isn’t as expensive. Right. But putting that out there so that they know what they’re getting into. Janine, do you need to, do you have a question?

Janine: (21:01)

Oh, I was just thinking that that’s just a further way to differentiate the kind of client that you’re looking for.

Amalie: (21:07)

Yes, exactly. Yeah. 

Amelia: (21:09)

eah. I like that idea of starting at, I might update my website. Yeah.

Amalie: (21:13)

So what that does is it doesn’t box you into, a specific price when, you know, everyone wants to order their meal, but it’s like, they want, okay, well, I don’t want, I want this on the side, but I want that and I want this. And like, so it’s hard to put everything into like, you know, a nice cookie cutter price. So I liked the starting at personally, I think it helps. And then on our form, you know, we do have a question that says, are you willing, you know, this is an investment of, and so that they know that there is an investment to make when working with us. So, okay. So how can, so, I want to ask this question, how could you be the most interesting person in the room and attract the right people? So are we talking like, I know you and I were kind of going back and forth in email before we got on the interview and you had sent me this and I like this question, but are we talking room as in virtual room or like physical room?

Amelia: (22:09)

So yes, yes, yes, yes. So it is possible to be able to work the room online. We all have our processes. I have a process for that as well similar to how you work with a room, the person, I mean, there’s stages of relationships. And when you first meet somebody or you first have an interactions with them, whether it’s on social media or you’re commenting on, or you’re on Instagram and you see somebody who responded to a post or something like that, and maybe they have a question and it’s just out there flapping in the wind, go and answer that question, you know, be of service to them. And, you know, as you’re talking to people and then you follow them back or whatnot, and you like, and comment, you know, you have opportunity to connect with them to friend them or whatnot. And then, you know, once you start to have conversation, once they connect with you, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, thank you so much for connecting. You know, I noticed that commonality. Long story short, how you’re the most interesting person in the room is by being interesting to them. That’s an adults’ thing. It’s like, people are always tuned into the station of what’s in it for me, Wii FM, we’re all tuned into that a hundred percent of the time. So when you dial into that for your practice spectrum, somebody want to do business with you. And when you’re really tuned into the what’s in it for them and asking them about what they’re looking on their life, that’s how you become the most interesting person in the room.

Amalie: (23:38)

I like that. Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. I think it’s so important when and I think that with conversations, there’s a fine line between some genuine curiosity and coming off as kind of little pushy, little, you know, maybe a little sleazy. And so when you’re going into a conversation, be genuine and about it, if you really want to find out about the person, go in and genuinely ask the questions and find out, but you know, don’t go in and just do it because like, because then that person’s going to know, they’re going to read the energy, they’re going to feel it. And then they’re going to be like, “okay, well I’m not even having this conversation. See you, bye.” You know, and shut you down.

Amelia: (24:24)

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s absolutely true because I personally let me just pre face it. I’m naturally, I’m a very curious person. I’m very empathetic. I’m a healthcare professional, so that’s in me to be curious and empathetic. So yeah. So you’re right. That does work for people who are sincerely curious about it. Or, if you’re not sincerely curious about humans, then I feel as though empathy is a muscle lead to learn to work. That’s a whole nother topic, but I just feel as though it’s a habit it’s never happened. That’s a better word that can be developed to be curious about somebody else, another human, but, yeah.

Amalie: (25:09)

Agree. Yeah. That’s awesome. Janine, were you about to say something?

Janine: (25:13)

Oh, I was just laughing at the empathy muscle. You can learn to work it and many people will see you. 

Amalie: (25:18)

I think, I mean, I think it’s a huge part of sales and the next episode that we have is on conversion on client conversion, where we will talk more sales. And so I think that’s definitely a part of it. But even with your messaging is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to sell to makes you more attractive, you know, it’ll help you to attract them more because you are speaking their language, you’re talking to them. And, you know, I think empathy goes a long way with that. Well, do you have anything else to add before we wrap up the episode? Or did you have anything else that we missed or didn’t ask you about that you wanted to add in for all the listeners. Where can we find you? Let’s start there.

Amelia: (26:15)

Sounds good. So, yeah, I’d love to continue the conversation. If you are listening and you’re saying, “Oh, something that she said sounds interesting.” I’m over on LinkedIn, I spend time over on LinkedIn and I’d love to connect over there. I am slowly, slowly starting to do more over on Instagram. So at RN_Connections feel free to connect over there too. But yeah, definitely connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message. And, yeah, don’t be alarmed if I ask you for a quick five minutes.

Amalie: (26:47)

You might ask a bunch of questions. Did I cut you? I think I cut you off. Were you about to say something that you wanted to add to what we were talking about? I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry.

Amelia: (26:54)

No, I can’t remember if I left, you have the free gift link, but, if not, I’ll send it to you.

Amalie: (27:01)

Okay. We’ll include in the show notes.

Amelia: (27:04)

Yep. So I have a free gift, called “how to get in front of anyone.” And I just have a couple of tips there. I hope it will serve somebody.

Amalie: (27:11)

Oh, I love that. Thank you for that. We’ll put on the show notes and links to your social media as well, so people can connect with you. Janine, did you have anything else that you wanted to add?

Janine: (27:22)

I just wanted to thank you for being here. This was fantastic. Yeah.

Amalie: (27:28)

All right. Well, thank you everyone who’s listening. If you have anyone that you think could use this episode or would find it helpful, make sure you share with them and subscribe, and we will see you next time on Systemic Excellence Podcast. Thank you.

Amelia: (27:43)

Thank you.


Do you know what your company’s sales performance needs to be in order to support your personal comfort? Do you know how much monthly income do you need to maintain a basic lifestyle? We are talking about Lifestyle Congruence number, and if you don’t know what it is, this episode is just for you. In this episode, Jennifer Hanson, digital bookkeeper, online business manager, and owner of Blue Biz Ninja LLC, sheds some insight into everything you gotta know about lifestyle congruence and how to continue maximizing your business without risking your lifestyle.

Show Notes

What are you spending money on? Does it add to your own personal purpose? Is it something nice, but doesn’t help your business grow? Could you take a little break from buying that while you’re getting your foundation set? Or is it something that could go away completely?

Those are all important questions that every business owner needs to ask themselves throughout their career. 

If you haven’t done that yet… your business could be suffering! 

Establishing your personal lifestyle congruence number is important not only for your company’s growth, but also for your personal comfort. Finding this magic number helps you find out how much income do you, the business owner, need to maintain a basic but comfortable lifestyle.

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we had Jennifer Hanson, owner of Blue Biz Ninja, an expert in helping clients design and implement efficient systems, talk about lifestyle congruence, and how to use it to help you reach your goals faster and fulfill your mission. 

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ The most important questions you need to ask yourself that will make your business grow

➡️ How to figure out what your lifestyle is costing you

➡️ Most common mistakes business owners make that you need to AVOID

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Connect with Jennifer Hanson

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

Alright. Welcome back to the Systemic Excellence podcast. I’m super excited to be here. We have a special guest with us, and it’s the first day we’re kicking off our Business Hierarchy of Needs series. And we’re starting today with Jenn Hanson. I’m really excited. I’ve known her for a few years. And, Janine’s here with us, I’m Amalie Shaffer, we’re Systematic Excellence Consulting. We help business owners find the next best step in their business. When they’re feeling like they’ve plateaued or they’re not sure where they should be spending their time and energy, we help them figure that out. And then we help them with their operations, their internal operations, and managing their people, processes, and projects. So, again, we’re Systematic Excellence. We have Jenn Hanson here today, which I’m really excited about. Jenn is a digital bookkeeper and online business manager and head ninja at Blue Biz Ninja LLC, she helps her clients organize their data, design and implement efficient systems and create a productive financial mindset. Through Jenn’s defined focus and grow method, extra steps and distractions are identified and eliminated. Now with more time and equipped with the tools for strong repeatable action, her clients can build the business they’ve always wanted. And to find more out about Jenn and we’ll make sure we put this in the show notes, her website is and we’ll make sure we put that in the show notes. So Jenn, welcome. We’re so glad to have you here today.

Jenn: (01:33)

Thank you. I’m super excited to be here.

Amalie: (01:35)

Yeah. And so today we’re going to talk about lifestyle congruence. So let’s just start by kind of defining it. So we are working through the Michael Michalowicz business hierarchy of needs and how he breaks it down. And the first step is figuring out what your lifestyle is costing you. And so when we do that, let’s just dive in, start talking a little bit about, you know, what do people need to consider when deciding on the lifestyle congruence, and then we’ll talk about what they do with that number.

Jenn: (02:09)

Okay, sure. So one of the best… What are you spending money on now? Is it something that you absolutely have to keep doing? Is it something that is nice, but could possibly take a little break for a while while you’re getting your foundation set? Is it something that can go away completely? Is it one of those false enjoyment things, but it really doesn’t, if you look at it, really doesn’t add to your purpose, your mission for your business and for your life.

Amalie: (02:48)

And so you cut out a little bit right in the beginning, it like bleeped out a little bit. So you want to look at all of your expenses in life, your house, your bills, your kids, all those things. And you want to consider that. So taking stock of all those things, it’s going to help you come up with the number of what is the amount that you need to make to live comfortably, right? And that needs to take all those things into consideration. What are some things that maybe people wouldn’t think that they should include in that, that maybe with your clients, like if you had any experiences with your clients where, you know, they were coming out with their budget, but they left something out that is important to have, or to include in when they’re trying to figure out what that lifestyle congruence number is.

Jenn: (03:40)

Probably the biggest one is a savings or an “oops factor” kind of account. You know, life comes up, pandemics hit and it’s kind of one of those, “Oh my gosh, I wasn’t quite as far ahead as I thought”, you know, you’re trimming expenses. But just having that little cushion there gives you more breathing room financially and peace of mind if you’re like, Mike says, if you’re head down just in survival mode, you end up wasting so much time, so much resources, but having that, “okay, this is coming, I can take a minute and breathe.” That will end up helping you in the long run.

Amalie: (04:32)

Yeah, for sure. And something that we do in business when we’re looking at, especially with CEO’s or when we work with our clients to move them into that role is we look at what can they trim, trash, transfer? You know, we look at how can they all the different things that they do, and you almost need to do that with your financial investments as well. Okay. “What can, is there anything I can trim? Is there anything I can trash? Is there anything I can transfer? Look for maybe to lower the bills or something like that?” I think that’s important too. But I like what you said, you know, the emergency fund. I feel like that’s something that a lot of, in my experience, a lot of people don’t necessarily take that into consideration. And just thinking about this lifestyle congruence number, when you start out like that is so important, knowing how much you need to make to continue your lifestyle and understanding how that translates to the business, you know?

Janine: (05:34)

I was just going to throw in a couple of things, just the fun fact that the number one cause of personal bankruptcy is medical bills and nobody ever really thinks about what goes wrong cause they’re so busy chasing that dream that they have, you know, I think that’s important to mention, I know that was a big motivating factor in my life, because things didn’t go as planned and they were totally unexpected and preventable sort of thing. And the other is the different ways that people fall into going business, right. Literally accidentally developing from a hobby. Maybe there’s no plan at all, and then they deliberately go in and, they’re chasing the gazillion dollars, right. And they need to know this lifestyle congruency to know what kind of choice they’re making out the business they’re going into, because it’s one thing, if you’re doing some kind of, I dunno, SaaS platform that’s super useful and applicable, or if you’re going to cross sweaters for bearded dragons and there’s a pretty low market cap on that. What have you seen in that area, Jenn, about what affects your clients? So, are your clients, have you seen them have to go back and reassess their lifestyle congruence based on the business that they went into, does it affect the, where they want? Cause you can choose to plateau, right? So it’s not necessarily forced upon you, but what do you see in the difference between people? How does it help them when they forgotten that? And then they clear it up.

Jenn: (07:22)

Really going back to the fundamentals, like you said, to know why you’re in business helps, you know, it sounds silly, but it helps you achieve your goals. If you are just swinging at the fence, but without any kind of retrospection or introspection, you can end up just wearing yourself out. So, really taking the time to kind of regardless of why you got in, but why you’re still in is more important. So if you got in, because it was a hobby, but you’re like, “man, this is really my calling.” Then taking the time to really sit down and come out with steps and a plan will help you end up reaching your goals and fulfilling your mission.

Amalie: (08:16)

Yeah. I also think that with lifestyle congruence comes how much time do you want to invest as well? So not just money, like not just thinking about, what you need to make in order to fund your lifestyle or how much do you need to make from the business, but also how much time are you willing to invest? So what’s your time capital, you know, what do you have available, and being realistic about it, because that will determine some of the actions that you need to take in the business. And, so I think it’s not just a review of the money, but I like that taking. So if we were putting steps together as like step one, putting all of your expenses, all your emergency funds, things that you need to save for your investments, whatever you spend money on putting that into a spreadsheet or something. So you can really see what it all includes. And then coming up with that bottom line number and not like, you don’t necessarily want it to be bare minimum amount. You want to give yourself a little room. Okay. Maybe round up a little bit, you know, and then come up with that number. That’s your lifestyle congruence. So if we’re doing steps, I’d be like the first one that it’s like take stock of your time. What availability do you have? How flexible can you be in your schedule? Are you only going to be able to put in, you know, maybe four hours a week or are you able to put in 40? I mean, that’s a huge difference. Even 10 hours to 40 hours is such a huge difference. Are you willing to work on the weekends? Are you not? I mean, I’m pretty strict about my Friday afternoon. I’m not willing to work on Friday afternoon, so we don’t plan anything. Which means those are hours I’m not working, you know? No, I’m just kidding. But I think we’re doing steps. It’s like, step one takes DACA that then takes DACA the hours. And then once you have that, then it’s really “okay, how do you apply this in the business?” “Well, how much money do you need to make?” You know, where do you think that people struggle with kind of translating that into the business? So they might have a number. They’re like, “all right. I figured out this is how much I need to make.” With your clients, any experiences with your clients where they’ve had trouble kind of translating that? Maybe they didn’t consider the hours or something and they have a number, but then like when they take it to the business, they don’t know how to really put the plan to move forward when they have the number. They don’t know how to apply. I don’t know if I’m asking that clearly, but I think so.

Jenn: (10:47)

Well, we’ll try it, if I answer it right and then if not– so essentially just what you said, they’d come up with the number. Actually, the first step is coming up with that number. You know, a lot of people say, “I want a big business. I want X number of sales,” but then they’re still scraping to get by versus, you know, let’s take a step back and reverse it. You know, we’ve worked through what number do you need to make. Okay. Then what number, we looked at your history of your personal finances, let’s look at the expenses of your business. What number is that? Is there anything that we can trim? Is there anything that isn’t working a hundred percent? Can we get more out of that and then drop another expense? Is there anything that can share the workload and then the other piece to look at is, all right, “so this number breaks us up to what tax bracket.” Then we need to add it and you know, the taxes amount. So it’s just, it’s the same steps, but just in a bunch of different categories, different sections, and then give you the total of your minimum goal for, you know, monthly sales or yearly sales and learning your cycle. You know, every business has a cycle, even if you’re open 12 months of the year, right? Holidays, school, pandemic, you know, everything. It’s not, it’s not homeostasis all the time. It’s up and down and flowing. So planning out, if you have a lean month, then we need to make sure that you’ve got a buffer in your account so that you can keep paying yourself. Because if you yourself, fold, then your business is gonna fold. It cannot work without you, right?

Amalie: (12:44)

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And so once all those things are considered, I think it’s important that you mentioned about the business expenses, because when you’re figuring out like what your products are, the price of them, you know, of course you need to take into consideration your experience and all that, but you know, you need to figure out, “okay, well, how many of these do I need to sell in order for this?” Or is it a, “some of these and some of these, item A and item B, maybe it’s 10 of these and 12 of these” or whatever, you know, and then figuring out what that looks like. Okay. So then, you know, if you’re going to have team members and thinking about that, what’s the minimum amount of hours I can give them, especially with employees, you’re required to give them certain amount of hours. So that’s something that we have to take into consideration and then we have to figure out, okay, what are our prices? What’s our pricing structure? How many of them do we need to sell? And then, you know, taking that. So it’s like that number is the start of starting to create just the overall plan of action for your business. What do you need to be doing? Okay. So if you need to make X amount of money and you’re doing 10 calls a month, and it’s not bringing in that, well, you might need to make your goal more than 10 calls or so. Right. So then you start to build on that. So that first it’s like, that’s the base. That’s the foundation of building is that lifestyle congruence. And then you just build on top of that. Okay. What’s the business expenses, what do you need to be doing for sales? All of that. And through this interview series, we’ll actually go into some of those in sales and stuff like that. But this is like that first step. What does it cost for you to just live? You know, what are those things? And I was gonna say, I feel like a lot of people, I’ve noticed that some people don’t include like groceries. So, what are you spending on groceries, man, if you got kids, you might be spending a lot of money on groceries. You know, Janine, she’s got a lot of kids. I mean, they’re grown now, but she had.

Janine: (14:45)

But when they were teenagers, good Lord. Right.

Amalie: (14:48)

So that’s something that you have to consider. And what are your subscriptions? What are all the little things that just like your animals, your dog food, you know.

Jenn: (15:01)

Or emergency pet care.

Amalie: (15:03)

God, yeah. Talk about expensive. My dog’s got allergies. I mean, he goes to the vet more than I’ve been to the doctor’s, you know, it’s crazy. But all of those things need to be taken into consideration, especially when you’re taking the business on as your full time. Right? If it’s, if it’s your side hustle, it’s a little different, right. It might just be filling some holes or gaps where your main income isn’t filling at the time. But if that’s your full-on, your job, all of those things need to be taken into consideration and thinking about, are you willing to cut them or are they, you know, if you are willing, go ahead and cut. But if you’re not willing, then you need to make sure that that number is included. You know, cause all matters in the end. When you work with clients and do you find that people struggle to come up with this number to sit down or do you find that people don’t even do this part? What do you find as far as that with your clients?

Jenn: (16:04)

Probably the hardest part is getting started. They have an idea that things are bad, that things are scary, but then to sit down, put it all on a paper spreadsheet, you know, whatever. Then it’s right there in their face and that can get really, really daunting. However, the first step to resolution is just admitting there’s a problem. And you can’t admit the problem until you actually see what it is. And you know, one step at a time, what is it? You eat the elephant one bite at a time is just small little steps. There’s a ton of good resources out there. I’ve actually fallen in love with, I know this is the taboo word, “the budget”, budgeting app called YNAB. It’s just, it really helps.

Amalie: (16:58)

How do you spell that? I want to make sure we put that in the notes.

Jenn: (17:01)

Literally. YNAB it’s short for “you need a budget” and I know Janine loves it. There are other ones out there, there is Intuit who does TurboTax, they’ve got Mint. But YNAB does things a little differently where it, essentially, you don’t count the money until it’s in your bank account, which goes, I thought in line with Mike Michalowicz and Profit first, you don’t count that money until it’s there. And then you spread it out amongst the different accounts and YNAB is amongst the different bills. And that really helps keep at the forefront, what you have in your bank, how you can spend it. And so it’s just little steps to get going. And then, you know, it turns into this really nice snowball in a positive way.

Janine: (17:56)

It’s funny. Cause it’s work, it’s more work. There’s a lot of emotions tied into finances. So they are super scary if they’ve been neglected or set aside. But I always it’s like, I can’t not comment at on how much it brings your mind. It’s totally your ROI on that work and getting through the fear is totally worth it.

Amalie: (18:19)

Yeah. For sure. And working with a bookkeeper. Oh my God. I mean, if there is anything else. We’ve interviewed our bookkeeper we work with, Chris Mims, I think she was in COL too. So, but I mean just the relief of having someone that can support you in that. I mean, it just is, it’s a huge, it’s just, it’s huge. We’re getting the bookkeeper seriously. I would not, I would never go into business without having a bookkeeper. I just wouldn’t. I mean, you just don’t have the capacity to take all that on like, you know, you just don’t.

Jenn: (18:58)

Especially now with the pandemic and the new, you know, the idle loans and everything’s changing with the IRS. You really need someone to keep an ear on the ground. Who’s kind of an in-between, between the accountant and, you know, everyone’s hustling to make sure that they’re up to date on the information, but having that designated person in your corner is really, really beneficial to businesses.

Amalie: (19:25)

Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Janine, did you have anything else to add? Jenn, did you have anything else that you wanted to share with us, with the audience about figuring out their lifestyle congruence or anything like that? And then, if you have anything to add, then also let us know where else we can find you. Sure.

Jenn: (19:44)

I would say the only other thing is don’t go this alone. Don’t be embarrassed, everyone, and I do mean everyone has been in this situation before. That was something that I didn’t realize until I was in the situation and talking to people and they’re like, “Oh yeah, it’s nothing.” I was like, Oh my gosh. So, please reach out to someone. You guys are incredible assets. I know you speak very highly of Chris. If there’s anything I can answer, please feel free to reach out. Probably the best place is check out the website, there it’s got all my contact information, any of the social media platforms. So yeah. Any questions reach out.

Amalie: (20:29)

Great. And we’ll put that in the show notes so people can reach out and contact you. We’ll also put the YNAB the app. We’ll put that in there. And if you think of anything else, you know, let us know. And, if you’re listening to this, please subscribe and leave us a review if you enjoyed it. And if you know anyone else that would benefit from hearing this episode, make sure you go ahead and share it with them. We really appreciate you joining us today and for the series for the business hierarchy of needs series, we’ll be back next time. And I look forward to the next interview. So Jenn, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it. Thank you. I hope everyone has a great day. Bye.


If you are looking for assistance with your business, make sure you know exactly what you need. We get a lot of questions from our clients about the difference between consulting and coaching. Just because they seem similar, it doesn’t mean they are the same! Listen to this episode to understand what to expect from each and when you need to hire them.

Show Notes

Working with the RIGHT business coach or consultant can help your company reach its true, full potential. A good coach or consultant will help you create a profitable business, find weak points, and even overcome plateaus. They can help you figure out where you can save time and money. They truly are life-savers!

But… which one does YOUR company need? What are the differences between the two? What do they even do? 

Join us for this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast as we discuss the key differences between a coach and a consultant, and get an insight into how our coaching and consulting services can bring the best out of your business!

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ The BIGGEST difference between coaching and consulting

➡️ Learning how to find out which one is best for your business needs

➡️ The main ways our services can help you build a successful business

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

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Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

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Episode Transcript

Janine: (00:06)

I’m here with Amalie Shaffer. How’s it going on, Amalie?

Amalie: (00:09)

Hi, I’m good.

Janine: (00:11)

We are Systematic Excellence Consulting and we help businesses with their systems, their operations. We help them find team members or place team members to structure their business for growth. And we love that stuff. Most people don’t, but we do, and it does great things for businesses. And here in Masterfully Integrated every week we share tips and tricks and hacks to help business owners run their businesses more efficiently so they can have more free time for their lives. Yay.

Amalie: (00:39)

Yes, we think that’s super important.

Janine: (00:41)

It is important. Life is a journey. So today we’re going to talk about, we’re going to share a little, we get a lot of questions actually about, we have some different services, the difference between consulting and coaching, because they are different things. And there are a lot of misunderstandings about that. And if you are looking for assistance with your business, you want to be sure that you’re looking for the right thing, and understand what to expect from the people that provide those services.

Amalie: (01:10)

And when to hire each one or engage with each one and how to leverage that. Because I think even sometimes, and I don’t want to be mean, but I feel there are times when I think people who call themselves coaches and consultants don’t clearly define their role. I think people that advertise it, I think sometimes confuse what the two roles should be doing, because I think they need to be engaged at different times. So we’ll talk about that.

Janine: (01:43)

Well, let’s talk about it from the business owner’s point of view then, so they need to be engaged at different times. And so what would you think is the most common situation that a business owner says, “Hey, I need help. I need ‘something'”. What would you say that is?

Amalie: (02:05)

Well, well, it would depend. So do they want the, I think where the line is drawn is, do they want someone to direct them and give them, I don’t know exactly what the word is, but coaching is more supporting them where the consultant is helping them find the problem and the solution. I guess if that makes sense.

Janine: (02:37)

Yeah. I’m sorry. I started this off on the wrong foot and I should have gone more with definitions to start with.

Amalie: (02:42)

Dennis is watching. So I just want to say hi to Sue. She said, hello.

Janine: (02:45)

Oh, hey Sue, how’s it going? So coaches are usually more focused on their role is more in development, whether it’s that leader’s development or the team’s development or them together in their interactions, where a consultant is more like a hired gun, a hired expert in a certain subject matter for a one off thing that they’re going to help you with in your business, whether it’s you, whether it’s a project, whether it’s a new vertical you’re adding on or something along those lines. So their roles. So a coaching role, it’s more ongoing, a consultant role can be over a period of time, but it’s usually within a well-defined project.

Amalie: (03:23)

And the coaching is development of, you know, the skills, the development of, so like a coach that does sales, right? It’s going to focus on developing the sales team skills. If you’re bringing a consultant in now, they’re the, the consultant and the coach can be the same person. They come in initially to do the consult where they do the kind of finding the problem, nailing it down, defining what the issue is, coming up with a solution and then coaching them through or helping them develop in their skills in order to solve the problem. Right. So I think that’s kind of where, that’s how I would define it and draw the line. Like you said, the development, so professional development. Something that we’ve done with clients is that CEO development, right? The executive coaching where we’re helping them learn their new role as a CEO, because once we move them out of being the operations person and managing all the pieces, there’s a whole another role that they need to fill that might be new to them. And so coaching them and doing that is helping them develop their skills in that. Okay. What do they need to focus on? What do they need to be doing everyday versus–

Janine: (04:38)

Yeah, they’re both leadership roles, but they’re very different. They feel really different to the business owner because they were usually the head of operations, doing all the things well aware of all the details and probably more too much, too much. So, and making that transition to CEO it’s like it’s still a leadership role, is still understanding everything that’s going on, but how your actual responsibilities and how you go about doing that is really different in that we’ve helped quite a few people with that. So what you were starting to touch on in the beginning was for coaching. So yeah, of course sports is a good analogy for coaching, but there are different styles of coaching. And so when you’re looking for a coach, whether it’s for yourself or for you and your team, or just for your team, there are different styles. There’s very autocratic where they just coming here, you know, the sports analogy “here’s the place. Here’s how you’re going to run them, do it.” And then they help you with accountability for that. There’s more, and that gets results faster, but, you know, there’s ups and downsides to everything. So that’s why you really want to make sure you’re getting what need for the situation that you’re in. It gets results faster, but it really doesn’t allow for personal growth of the team or professional development in terms of stepping into roles and being able to do what that coach just did the next time around as far as speaking up, providing solutions to problems when your team members are the one that are closest to the problem, and developing the plan and implementing it. So, you have to, there may be issues with buy-in. They just feel like they’re being dictated to where sometimes, you know, the flip side is they’re just relieved and they just want to get it done. So it’s not good or bad. It’s just very dependent on the people and the problem that’s going on at the time. So there’s autocratic democratic. I wrote this down, the coach kind of stepped there. They’re providing oversight. They’re watching what the team is doing. They’re stepping in as needed, but they’re more, guiding and pointing them in rather than telling. So there’s that. Holistic. This is more getting into the business and life balance and development kind of thing. They’re looking more of the team and the company as all the parts of the whole, and apply, their guidance and support more holistically. And the democratic ones are kind of similar. It takes longer to get to the same result than autocratic, but it involves, but your team and yourself are developing into that role. So you can end up with a more solid skill set within the team at the end of what you’re doing there. So that was coaching styles. What would you say about those coaching styles, Amalie?

Amalie: (07:37)

Well, I was thinking that for us, we do more of, I think the holistic, and what was the title of the second one?

Janine: (07:51)

There’s holistic, there’s democratic, the autocratic.

Amalie: (07:53)

Democratic. I feel like that’s the one because when we do the consulting, so the way that our process works is we do the consulting on the front end to really figure out what the issues are or where the holes are or where there needs to be some changes. And then we create the plan and then we help the CEO and the team implement those changes and we help guide them. Right. So, that word “guiding”, whereas it’s not so much like “we have to do, you have to do these things.” We’re there to say, “you know, here’s our recommendation. And then try it, let us know how it goes.” And then we get feedback from them and then we help them solve the problems as we go. And so it’s this kind of ongoing process. And then, you know, we’re also there to kind of like call them on their shit, because if they get caught in old habits, which we’ve definitely had clients do, and we’ve had to call them on it, you know, it’s our job to call them “Hey, you know, we talked about doing something different, what happened?” And figuring out where the issue came from, what happened to cause them to go back into their old habits of being a micromanager, whatever, you know, the issue is. So I think that’s kind of where our services fall. I was thinking, I mean, unless you had something else to say about that.

Janine: (09:16)

I just wanted to throw in about the calling people and stuff. I mean, it sounds mean, but actually they thank us for it. And the whole idea there is just, you know, it’s one thing to start doing something a new way and there’s another for the time it takes for that to get ingrained as a habit. And when you’re talking about not just the person changing their habit, but the people around them having to adjust to the new habit or the team may be also working on their own habits, it, just neurophysiology, it takes 60, 90 days for new things to become ingrained and less conscious thought and become the new habit. And so that’s why having that coaching or oversight role once things are put in place is so important it’s to help them stick.

Amalie: (10:00)

Yeah, absolutely. So let’s talk about when you can recognize when to hire one or the other. Right. And so my initial thoughts, the way that I think about it is the consultant to me, needs to come on the front end. That’s how we run our business, because what the consultant is, is the outside perspective, objective outsider, who can take it all in, analyze it and really drill down to what those issues are and provide recommended solutions, right? And then the coaching is what takes it and helps you implement it if you want that additional support. Right? So to me, that’s what it is. So if you’re a business and you’re making, you know, six figures, or you’re on just on the edge of almost making six figures and you’re ready to get to the next level, or you’re trying to go for multiple six figures or wherever, if you’re somewhere where you’ve hit a point you’ve plateaued, and you’re trying to get to the next level, but you just don’t know what’s stopping you from getting there, to me at that point it’s okay, stop. I need an outside perspective. And that to me is where the consultant comes in. And then the coach comes in to take you to that next level, you know, and help you implement whatever those changes are because a consultant can come in, give you an objective analysis of what’s happening in your business, talk to your team. That’s something we do. You know, when we go in and work with businesses, we talked, we interviewed the whole team, everyone, and figure out what’s going on. We asked them questions. We figured out and not just in the beginning, but we interviewed them at the end as well to figure out, “okay, what did you expect? How’s it going? Did we miss something?” Because our job’s not done unless that team and that CEO are feeling confident that we’ve helped them solve their problems. And so I think that that point–

Janine: (11:59)

And we want to see them, see our clients get the outcome.

Amalie: (12:04)

But it’s that point of hitting a plateau and you’re trying to get to the next level, but you can’t figure out what it is that’s going on. You just can’t, you’re just stuck because you’re too knee deep in the shit. You really need that outside perspective of someone to come in and give you the objective analysis of what’s happening.

Janine: (12:22)

It was just crossing my mind as you were talking that analogy for me, having been a flight surgeon in the army, it’s like, when you go and see the doctor, the doctor is a consultant, they’re doing the analysis. They’re diagnosing, they’re coming up with the plan. They’re handing it to you. And then off you go to implement it when your visit is done, right. Go get your prescriptions, do whatever you need to do.

Amalie: (12:41)

Or maybe get a health coach to help you maintain.

Janine: (12:44)

Or the nurses. And this is more like in a hospital setting, but literally nursing is caring for someone through their illness, right. And from day to day or hour to hour or whatever it takes. And so there’s the, you know, problem solver, plan maker, that’s the concern. And then there’s the help you actually get through it to the other side, and that’s the coach. And so online, something else I wanted to throw in here, not a monkey wrench, but another term that comes up on the coaching in the spectrum of things is mentors. So where do mentors come into play?

Amalie: (13:25)

I think… So we actually offer a program that we consider mentorship and where I think it’s a little different is the mentor is problem solving, like on the job training. So how we run. Okay. So I guess it, let me see if it, hold on. Let’s see if it.

Janine: (13:50)

We’re having a technical, just flashed, it’s saying we’re live still.

Amalie: (13:54)

Okay. Yeah. I was just checking the page to make sure that we were alive. Okay. It looks like we’re good. So hopefully we’re okay. Anyway, it looks like we’re good. It’s almost 14 minutes, I guess. We’re good. So what we do is we give our clients who are in this program with us, we give them, Voxer access to us, you know, during our business hours, to message us about problems. We do have a call once a week with them, where we talk about things, teach them. So, if they’re in a situation and they’re, you know, maybe they’re writing SOP and they’ve not written SOP before. Right. Let’s just say for example, but one of them do well. We would teach them how to do that. We’d show them, give them examples, give them templates and then show them what they need to do to do that. That would be something we do on the call, but the Voxer access are on the job training, kind of is being there to answer their questions. Like, “okay, hey, the client asked for this. I’m not really sure how to deal with this, or what should, what should I put?” You know, I can’t think of a really good example right now, but it’s like, they’re having a conflict or, “Hey, I’m really having an issue trying to manage the team. I’ve put the tasks out, but they’re not responding quickly” or whatever. And then what we would do is provide them, “Hey, here’s how I would deal with it.” And then, you know, have a discussion and then they’d go off and do it and then come back to us, let us know how it goes. To me that’s more mentorship. That’s like “follow along. Let’s do this together.” And yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s how I feel like I would define it more. Our Masterfully Integrated program is more of a mentorship versus, you know, the coaching or the consulting.

Janine: (15:38)

Yeah. I was looking at, I would agree with that too. I was looking at it in terms I’m traditionally, cause we live in this online space. Right. And with entrepreneurs, we’re mentoring more traditionally in the corporate world. It’s more someone who is ahead of you in your actual professional path. So, rather than that broader look or the problem solving, it serves more as a guide. We talked about, I just had a conversation recently with some people about this along the lines of, so when I first enlisted in the air force and went to my very first base, I was very blessed with our chief master Sergeant. The head enlisted person would take every new airman when they arrived there, sit them down and basically tell them how to become chief master Sergeant of the air force, which is the highest ranking enlisted person in the air force. And what he mapped out was it’s like, it’s not just doing your job and doing it well, you need to volunteer for sports. You need to volunteer for on base and off base activities. You need to pursue your education. You need to do… And he had a list for us and he was like, “you don’t need to do them all at once, but these are all the boxes you need to check during a year to show, to make set yourself apart. And then you also need to look for special duty assignments. You need to go to Washington DC and this, that” and he literally laid out, this is how you become the chief master Sergeant of the air force. And it just kind of blew my mind. I’d never seen that before. And I’ve very rarely seen a sense where someone’s taken that long view. And for me, it really opened my eyes because 75% of what he laid out there, it’s unwritten, it’s the you don’t know what to ask things. And that’s super important. And I think that’s a mentor can really help with that kind of longterm depth in your, in your path.

Amalie: (17:32)

Yeah. And not to say that coaches can’t do what mentors do. I just think of it slightly differently, right? Because I mean, sure coaches could be on call like we are, you know, with our Masterfully Integrated program, a coach could be in taking calls like that, or helping them problem solve. But I find it to be more like someone’s over your shoulder, like looking at like what you’re doing and then when you need help you look over their shoulder. So, and by shoulder, I mean get on zoom and I’ll share my screen with you. Right? So that’s something that we’ve done when, you know, when one of the people in our program is looking for support either we’ll be looking over their shoulder or they’re looking over our shoulder to help give them real life experience and say, “okay, here’s the issue we had and this is how we solved it, or this is what we did with it. Or we were trying to set this process up and this is how we do it.” And we give them the specific example of how to do that.

Janine: (18:33)

It’s definitely way more personal. Yeah. Well, that is pretty much it.

Amalie: (18:43)

Well, we hope that you enjoyed this episode. And we will be back next week, 11:30 AM Eastern. And we are, just to put a plug out there, although we have talked about our programs a lot today, but we’re starting a series with our podcast, where we’re actually breaking down all the steps of the business hierarchy of needs that we’ve discussed previously on a Masterfully Integrated episode. And we’re interviewing experts and, that help us break down the specific needs and how to solve problems if you’re stuck in that area of your business. So that will start, not next week, but the following week. We’re gonna start that and then we’ll be pulling a topic from that every Friday for Masterfully Integrated for our show here. So we’ll make sure we put the links to our podcasts. You can check that out. And then obviously if you want to check out the, where we drill down into one specific topic from the podcast, we’ll be doing that every Friday. So we will see you next week. If you watch the replay, give us a #replay. If you have any questions, feel free to put them in the comments. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover on the on the show on Fridays, feel free to put those in the comments as well, or message us privately. And we will answer those questions. So thank you so much and we will see you next week. Have a great weekend.

Janine: (20:15)

Have a good weekend. Bye.


If you are looking to hire and delegate important tasks to take your business to the next level, but you don’t know exactly who or what you need; if you need help defining roles and responsibilities, or you don’t know the differences between a PM, an OBM, an Integrator, and a VA, this episode is for you!

Show Notes

If you are ready to grow your company and take it to the next level, hiring someone to help you manage everyone and everything is your next step. But deciding who, and what their responsibilities are, can be a tricky task for many entrepreneurs.

But… We gotcha! In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we will reveal important information on how and who you should hire in your business when you need an extra pair of hands. 

You get a behind-the-scenes discussion between Janine and Amalie as they determine how they will define the roles their team members fill in their business. 

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ Project Manager, Online Business Manager, Integrator, and Virtual Assistant: What’s the difference between them all?

➡️ Key to a seamless hiring process for your project

➡️ Find out what’s the best skill-set for your business needs

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:


Rocket Fuel

OBM Certification Program 

Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

Content Disclaimer: The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article, video or audio are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article, video, or audio. Systematic Excellence Consulting LLC disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article, video, or audio.

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Episode Transcript

Amalie: (00:01)

Alright. Alright. Welcome to the Systematic Excellence Podcast today, Janine and I, Janine Suvak, Amalie Shaffer. We are Systematic Excellence Consulting. And today we’re going to discuss the different roles that are on teams. So we’ll cover project manager, integrator, online business manager and VA. So the reason we’re discussing this now, is because we are figuring out, the different roles that we need to hire for as we build our agency and also just defining what those roles are. So we find that in the online space, people use terms or roles kind of interchangeably. And so we really want to put a definition to what those roles are. So we’re going to discuss that today, just kind of really openly between the two of us and what we think, and just our experience with working with those or being in those kinds of positions. I know personally I’ve been a tech VA, I’ve been an online business manager. I’ve been an integrator, you know, depending on what the person or the client was calling, what they needed, that’s the term I use, but ultimately a lot of the jobs I was doing or, you know, a lot of the positions, I was doing a lot of the same things. It just had a different name. So, alright, so we’re going to start by kind of defining what the difference between what we think an online business manager, project manager and integrator is. And I don’t know. So before we jumped on here to record, we actually stopped our conversation, like, “you know what, we should really record this because I think the discussion is really helpful and I’m sure other people, whether they’re trying to figure out what the term is that they should call themselves or, you know, what you should call yourself or a business owner or CEO, that’s wondering, what do I call the person I need to hire?” Right. And so I guess let’s start with integrator maybe and say, or where do you want to start as far as, where we can start to define that?

Janine: (02:08)

Well, yeah, I mean, just to go back to what we’re starting with when you’re talking about, so with our agency and we’re talking about dealing with people on both sides of it, the people in the roles and the people who are looking for people to fill those roles, I don’t like to make up my own definitions for things when they already exist out there, but there’s so much confusion around this. And when you have job platforms with AI screening and someone has to put a name to what it is they do, it’s really restricting because these things all lie along a spectrum, or some of them are even terms that have been popularized by books, but they’re a combination of other commonly known terms. And so that’s why there’s just so much confusion out there. I would say, I would start at the bottom with the VA. Because I think that’s the most clear one, right? And that’s usually the first person somebody hires.

Amalie: (03:05)

And I think that you can hire a VA to do a bunch of different things. And so when you are writing out a job description, you need to say a VA that does XYZ. So I was a tech VA. So I did, email integrations with funnels, making sure that everything was connected. I didn’t design the funnels. I didn’t even really put the funnels together. I connected all the things to make sure the payment processor work, you know, made sure all the emails were in the right sequence. And all the automations work, setting up Zapier, that’s where I did a lot of, you know, the tech VA. So I think when you define what it is that the VA does, so there’s some admin VAs and they do, I think that’s the most common. Write or email, going through email, being your personal assistant kind of position. The main point is a VA is a doer. They do the tasks that are delegated to them or task to them, depending on where you are in the level of delegation and tasking. And if you do have questions about delegation, tasks you can go back to episode one of the podcast where we discuss that, just to drop that in there.

Janine: (04:14)

Delegate, delegate.

Amalie: (04:16)

Right. And then, so if you are just tasking and that’s fine, you know, what the VA does is actually do the tasks. So they’re the doer, they’re the people that are doing the tasks. Now, I think there are some instances where someone in an integrator or project manager role will do things, will do tasks when they’re wearing multiple hats, because there aren’t enough people hired. And I think that happens a lot with smaller businesses where they’ll hire, “okay, I need a project manager” and they’ll have one other person on the team. So they have two people and the one person who’s getting all the tasks delegated to them can’t do everything. So the project manager or online business manager, or integrator, whatever they call that person that’s in addition to the VA will also end up doing tasks. I’ve been in that position where there just wasn’t enough people. The team wasn’t big enough, but I was brought in to manage the projects, I was brought in to manage, you know, the VA. But then it still left me doing a lot of things, which was fine because in that instance it worked. And then as the team grew, the less I did and the more management I did. So it kind of depends, but ultimately the VA, regardless of their admin tech, you know, whatever they are doing.

Janine: (05:38)

If you were going to put them in a defined box, they accomplished tasks.

Amalie: (05:42)


Janine: (05:42)

But I don’t think putting them in a defined box. It’s really, you know, I think that’s where the confusion begins because as your business grows, as your team grow, as people with you, some people will only be tasked doers for whatever reason and other people grow with the company. They take on bigger things as the company gets bigger too. And then it’s a whole different scenario when you already have the bigger company and you’re looking for a specific person to do things.

Amalie: (06:10)

And that VA might, you know, it’s something that we talked about in the episode, the last episode was you could make your VA a project manager as they grow with your business and their skills. If they they naturally have the skills of being the arranger and being a communicator and being someone who has attention to detail and can put all the resources and plans together to come up with a succinct, effective plan. If they have those innate skills, you can move them into it. You know, you can move them into a project management role or even integrator or, you know, whatever. So, but the main thing we wanted to point out is just the VA ultimately whatever roles that they take on whatever tasks they take on, they are a task doer. That’s the thing like a VA, isn’t going to be managing other team members. If that’s the case that term calling them at VA is not the right term. And I think a lot of people, I don’t want to say a lot of people, I have found in the online space that people will use the term VA so that they can pay less money for that person. And that’s unfortunate. So someone that’s like, “I need a VA who does website design.” First of all, stop, that’s a website designer, not a VA that does that. That’s not okay. And if you are listening and you are a VA and you do graphic design or website design or whatever, you need to drop the VA and call yourself a graphic designer period, that’s it.

Janine: (07:49)

And you probably need to raise your fees.

Amalie: (07:51)

Probably. But I have found that people have done that. They will say, “Oh, I need a, I need a VA that does social media strategy.” Okay. No, that’s not, you know what I mean? That’s not it. But so when you are looking for a VA, before we move on from VA, is define the actual tasks that you want that VA to do. So if it’s admin, that’s the kind of test you’re looking for because VA’s will do a bunch of different tests. There are VA’s that will do social media.

Janine: (08:19)

Well, by posting publications, those are tasks, you know, producing content is different, right? Planning the strategy is different.

Amalie: (08:32)

And that would be a project based thing that you go to someone that does that, that’s the specific thing they do. You know, they’re known for social media strategy for writing content, you know, whatever copywriter that writes content, something like that. You’d be looking for someone specific. Now there are some VA’s out there that will do that. And like I said, if you’re listening and you’re one of those people, I would definitely change your title from VA to whatever it is that you do, whether it’s social media strategy, social media content, production, whatever that is.

Janine: (09:02)

And we say that because the standard VA term is an entry level position doing very low skilled tasks and each of these other things are a required amount of skill and experience that just to be, you know, a VA won’t be able to do. And that’s why we’re saying that.

Amalie: (09:21)

Yeah. And not necessarily wouldn’t be able to do, but isn’t hired to do initially or doesn’t come on to do those in those two kinds of tasks. You might have the skill to do them. You just need to change your name. So people understand what it is that you do, you know.

Janine: (09:39)

Yeah, I mean, there’s a value to tasks in the market.

Amalie: (09:40)

Yeah, definitely. So then from VA, let’s, let’s discuss project manager, which we did in the last episode. So we don’t want to spend the whole time. We just want to kind of touch on it. Cause then I want to roll into the online business manager, an integrator role. Cause I think that’s really important. And basically what we’re also trying to do is establish our definitions. So that way, when clients come to us. So with our agency, we place people in short and longterm contracts, and we want to make sure that our definitions are clear for our clients to understand when we say we’re going to place an integrator, what does that mean? Or when we tell the client, “okay, based on what you’ve told us, we think you need an integrator.” We need to all be on the same page with what that definition means and what that role looks like. And same thing with a project manager. So one of the things I was saying was that when we use the word, when we use the term project manager, I think of someone in a short term project, managing the resources, the plan, the people, all the processes, everything for it, but reports to, now this all depends on the business. If the business has an integrator, they would report to the integrator, the integrator then reports to the CEO, the CEO. So that’s my idea of it. If they have someone that does, let’s say the business does launches every three to four months and the project manager’s managing each one of those projects, to me that becomes more of an integrator where you’re in the person’s business all the time, not just there for one project, then you leave. That’s what I was saying.

Janine: (11:23)

Yeah. And I don’t see that quite the same way. And I think that’s BS that the role of project manager has been around longer than the online space has been around. So that’s where I think some of the fuzziness comes from because the online space is what’s really way more dynamic as far as bringing people on for the one off thing and letting them go. I mean, that’s been around longer than the internet too, but it’s just much more prevalent in the online world. That’s the gig economy that we are on. Right? But I was going to say, that to me, rather than their role in the company being short term, it’s they have a highly focused role as managing a very discreet project that has a definitive start point and end point. Their role in the company, they could be a full time person and they do project after project, which is what traditional project managers do versus bringing them on incentives. Again, it’s the kind of thing. But, so yeah.

Amalie: (12:25)

And I see that. And then if that person stayed on long term and just manage each project that came up, then they would still report to the integrator in the way that we, you and I define the org chart. And then also with that said, if that person’s staying longterm, they’re an employee, not necessarily a contractor, which we did touch on in one of the episodes with Emily Baker talking about the difference between the two, but then what we’re doing with the agency is people can hire short and longterm project managers, VA’s, and integrators, without having to worry about all the legal and all that, because they are employees of our business. So we kind of take that away. That’s really why we’re trying to make sure we define all these roles clearly, because we want to be able to communicate with our clients who it is that we have on the team, what their role is and what they’ll do for them. And then we can help the client figure out what the issue is or wherever the hole is it needs to be filled or the whatever. And then we have people on our team that we can place there. 

Janine: (13:39)

And we do keep going back to the legal jeopardy part of that definition between contractor and employee, because for the longest time, honestly, even now, most people in the online space are doing it wrong. You know, it’s cheaper and faster and there’s no paperwork to do –well, there’s a little bit of paperwork– to do it the contractor way versus the employee way. And it’s, you know, and neither is there a lot of oversight where the jeopardy is a high risk thing, right? And most people get away with it forever, but… quarantine, COVID-19 and everything. When people, all of a sudden a mass number of people were looking for assistance for their businesses, assistance to pay the people on their team and the contractors themselves in their own businesses in order to. Looking for unemployment or some kind of assistance to get through that period of time was a huge, rude awakening for a lot, a lot of people, because if they weren’t doing it right, then they didn’t qualify for the kind of assistance they needed for either them or their team. And without being able to support their team, then they weren’t able to support their business through it and was, yeah.

Amalie: (14:46)

And I think, you know, defining that, I mean, with the VA’s, especially, you know, if they’re in your business, checking your emails, acting as more of a personal assistant than anything else, like that person should absolutely be an employee. If they’re doing social media and your business doesn’t do social media, but they’re doing a project for you of, you know, posting social media, something like that. And they’re working on a project that has a start and end date, you know, something like that, then they can be a contractor, but most VA’s, from my experience on what they do for people. They really should be employees, right.

Janine: (15:30)

You’re watching old movies and you have the executive. And then the little lady sitting at the desk, the VA is essentially the digital version of the little lady sitting, they’re not only that. I know that, but I’m just thinking from my analogy. And so the A in VA is “assistant”. They’re not just one traditionally, they are assisting you in the day to day, in your day to day roles with the little brunt tasks that don’t need your higher level skillset. So the reality is that most of them should be important. 

Amalie: (16:03)

Exactly. All right. So let’s talk about the integrated online business manager. Cause I feel like this is something that I see all the time. So at one point I defined my role as an online business manager. And then, I read Rocket Fuel, learned the term integrator and then decided that that was the role that I felt more aligned with. And I don’t, I can’t really explain why I felt like that. I guess it was more because it said that they partner with the visionary or the CEO. And it’s more of if you write on an org chart, you know, you have the visionary, if you haven’t read Rocket Fuel, I highly suggest reading it. It’s a great book. We’ll put the link to it in the show notes, but

Janine: (16:56)

By Gino Wickman and Mark Winters.

Amalie: (16:58)

Thank you. And so the way that Janine and I were kind of defining what the organizational chart would look like with a visionary and an integrator is the visionary and the integrator side by side versus on the visionary on top of the integrator. And then all the other team is underneath the integrator. That’s sort of how we were discussing it. And I think that’s why I felt more aligned with it because my role in so many situations was to be sort of the strategist and the sounding board. And I feel like that’s more of a side by side role versus an above and underneath kind of role, you know? And so for us, you know, I see online business manager a lot and, you know, looking at some of the definitions online to me, it’s very similar. And if I read the definitions from online, Sarah Noked has an online business manager certification program. And then if we look at Rocket Fuel, the main difference that I really see is that Rocket Fuel was focused more on larger businesses. And what I gathered from just reading online is that online business manager is for smaller businesses, maybe, you know, in the org chart on her website, it said business owner versus CEO. In Rocket Fuel, they talked specifically about CEOs versus just the business owner. And to me, that’s that definition using those specific words, to me define the kind of business or the size of the businesses, how influential they are based on how big, how many employees, how much money they’re making to me, those, those CEO versus business owner to be just using those terminologies is a big difference.

Janine: (18:45)

Yeah, it’s true. Yeah, I have to say so for me, the OBM when I first heard it, it kind of drove me nuts, first of all, because I don’t like acronyms and regardless of the industry, I always have to ask what that means. But just the fact that it’s called online business management, especially as time, I suppose, that was an important distinguisher early on, when you’re saying you’re managing a business and yet you’re sitting in your pajamas at home during the day. Right. And people wonder what you’re doing. You’re an online business manager, but with businesses going, you know, it’s like, you almost can’t have a business without an online presence. So over time it’s like, the meaning of that term is disappearing. So it’s not a distinguishing factor, but as far as the integrator roles, it’s like, yeah, for the integrator, you’re really serving as that interface between the visionary and the operations of the company. So you have to be able to live in both worlds. And so to me, that’s very much a split thing versus an operations person is someone, I guess, there’s still more, they’re getting a higher level of authority and responsibility delegated to them. But that’s why I met traditional org chart. The operations person is under the CEO, whereas the integrator, we see it more as beside it, because if you want a good integrator, you want someone who feels that vision with you there, they can translate it into the tasks and the operations and the everything else for you, but they are the sounding board and the feedback and they help you define that vision that’s in your head, but they’re able to turn around and put that into this great plan. 

Amalie: (20:32)

Do you think that if someone had a chief of operations that they could still have an integrator? They would have a visionary and integrator and they’d still have a chief of operations that ran it. Like, do you think that that’s a role that would be able to be filled or is that synonymous with integrator?

Janine: (20:53)

I think they’re synonymous. I mean, you’d have to have a really big company for those to be distinct individuals.

Amalie: (21:02)

And so I guess the kind of the conclusion that we’ve come to is that when we say online business manager, we believe that it is the same as an integrator, that those two roles are the same based on the definition that we’ve found. And what I have found though, in my experiences, when I first started calling myself an online business manager, even when I first started calling myself an integrator, people, clients, prospective clients put me into a, almost like a VA role, which then at first, when I wasn’t super confident about what I was doing, I said okay, even though that wasn’t really the role I was looking to fill, but I said, okay, because, I don’t know. I just, not that I didn’t know better. It was maybe I was afraid to say something cause I wanted the experience to be able to do it. And I guess my advice for anyone listening that is in that situation is to speak up for yourself. You know, I think there are situations where I would really like to have spoken up for myself or had someone I could talk to, to figure out how I can say it to someone to define those roles or my role. Cause once you sign the contract and you’re in the relationship with the client and starting down that project, it’s too late to define your role.

Janine: (22:40)

Because you’ve already signed the contract. You’ve promised them that you do those things.

Amalie: (22:44)

And so the time to do it is when you’re still in the kind of dating mode with the client, you know, where you’re just getting to know each other, you’re trying to figure out, okay, what does it look like? And you’re on that discovery call or that follow up discovery call. And you’re trying to define what that role is going to look like. That’s the time to do it. I will say in my experience, when I first started, I did not do that. And I took on roles where I was not comfortable because I was just doing things I didn’t really want to do. I know that kind of got off track by. I wanted to mention that.

Janine: (23:13)

I think it’s super important what you’re speaking, when you’re talking with a potential client, right. They’re describing all the things that they want and need. Right. And then it’s, it’s the point I thought that was really important about what you said was you didn’t want to say no. Right. And I think it’s important to understand that in these conversations, it doesn’t have to be yes or no. Right? That’s the whole point where you can say, okay, of all of these things, this is where I can support you and these other things. So in this case be like, okay, here’s where I can support you as a OBM or a project manager. These other things, these are actually, these are task oriented, more direct assistant to you thing that would actually take away my focus from this. But you don’t have to say, “no”, you say, “but because I organize things, I can help get these organized and find that person who can do these things for you. You’ll be more efficient, I’ll be more efficient. It will make the whole thing more cost effective.” And so you’re still solving the problem for them without serving in that role. And you’re not saying no.

Amalie: (24:17)

Yeah. And it’ll take me a while to get there. But once I did, then, you know, I was in a much better place. So I’ll just put a quick plug for us. We have a program that we call Masterfully Integrated that I don’t like to call it coaching. I find it’s just problem solving. And so what we do is we’re available to the people that are in that program. We do three and six month contracts for it, but we’re there to answer questions and help, you know, problem solving whatever issues you have in your business. And it’s, it’s something that I wish I would have had when I was starting out. So I could’ve called someone and, you know, got on boxer and been like, “Hey, you know, I’m struggling with how to figure out what to call this or do this” or whatever. And that’s something we do. So if you’re listening to this and it sounds like something you’d be interested in having Janine and I support you on a weekly basis to help you kind of problem solve with any client issues, you know, any businesses.

Janine: (25:17)

Sounding board devil’s advocate that outside I’m biased point of view, you know, cause you know, you’re deep in the thick of it and sometimes it’s hard to get that bigger, a different perspective.

Amalie: (25:28)

Yeah. And if you’re interested in the show notes, we will put the link to book a call with us, and you can get on and you know, we can answer any questions you have about the program or you can email us at So let’s move on from that. Cause I know I kind of deterred it from the conversation. So when we talk about the integrator, again, we really feel like they are the same as calling someone an online business manager because ultimately, even if we drop the online part, you’re a business manager, you’re managing systems, people, projects you’re managing. And ultimately that’s what the integrator does. The integrator. If you have five different projects going on, you have five different project managers, you know, working on those five different projects, the integrator is still managing all those projects, meaning, understanding what’s going on with each one of them. And my dog currently is trying to eat a fly and I’m just laughing cause he’s making some pretty good if you can hear them. But anyway, so,

Janine: (26:36)

And I would say, you know, whether you’re a director of operations would be doing the same thing too. And I think, you know, as we’re talking about these definitions, I know we’re trying to put a little container around this as well. Everybody does cause we look at it a different way and it depends on where we are in our business , it is in its growth. But I think the really important thing is if you’re looking for someone to help with your projects or with your operations, that the people you work with understand what you’re talking about is that we’re looking at these because like integrator was popularized by Rocket Fuel. You know, other people are looking for director of ops. Some people think they need an of staff or, there’s, you know, project manager, all these different terms, even if they use them mean different things to different people where they are in their business. And so, you know, you definitely want someone who is going to listen to what that means to you.

Amalie: (27:29)

I think actually this sort of just came to mind and maybe this is what the most important thing is after us just talking all of this out. So just so you know, this was us really discussing and working through, how we’re going to define this, how we’re going to move forward. So this was not planned in that and having this discussion. And now that we just said that what I’m thinking is maybe we don’t talk about roles. Maybe we don’t give a name to, or a title we talked about rules. We talk about here is your role spelled out like “Janine, your role is this.” We don’t give you a title. Maybe we just say, that’s your role. And then Janine is Janine that works here and does these things, right? And maybe that’s what we get away from because like who cares what you call it as long as Janine knows that she’s managing all the people that are on the team, right? 

Janine: (28:19)

I think about it is I couldn’t even name my dolls when I was a kid. So I struggled with names. It’s really important for me to know the definition because I am not going to get it right.

Amalie: (28:26)

So I think that that’s important. Maybe we don’t name it. Maybe we say, look, because ultimately what we do is pinpoint the problem and the biz in the person’s business, that’s our role, Janine and I in our business, we do the consulting, we find the problem and then we provide the solution to fix it. And then we offer support, continued support, regardless if they’re a VA, they’re an OBM. I mean, whatever you want to call it, we find the problem, define it and give the solution. And then we can place someone from our team in the role to fix the problem, regardless of what it is.

Janine: (29:01)

We also of course, are looking at what are your current resources who you have and who might be able to do that. So it’s not just the answer to every solution is it’s we have this person, right? If we have them, if that’s necessary to provide to that. But when we’re talking about this, like we’re when we’re looking at each– here’s all the things that need to be done. Here’s all the people that are around to do it. And here’s their capability of doing it, any one person, if you have that, whether it’s a business partner or a VA, but say they’re a full time person. It’s like, they may be doing task oriented stuff. Or I don’t know, a hundred percent of the time. They’re like, “Oh, they’re going to take on this project management.” But it’s literally only taking 50% of their capacity to manage the project. It’s like, “well, they’re not going to suddenly do nothing with the other half.” They can still do task oriented stuff. And so that can be very flexible. It can grow over time. It can be ultimately, they move up to that next level and they’re no longer doing the task oriented stuff. So it can be super dynamic.

Amalie: (30:03)

So I would say that going forward from here, that what we need to do is with our clients and in our own business, we need to worry about roles and responsibilities and not titles because who cares, what they’re called as long as the VA, if that’s what they call themselves, if the VA knows that they’re going to be managing the project that starts next month, and then they’re going to have to do tasks the next month, who cares what they’re called. Right. it doesn’t matter. So I would say, I guess the titles let’s just do roles and responsibilities and just write those out. You’re responsible for this. You’re responsible for that. And I will say, like, making sure that roles and responsibilities are listed out in the contract before you sign on to any relationship with the client or, you know, whatever, having that defined, forget the title. Just, I would focus on the details of that. 

Janine: (30:59)

The big break in that was in the tech industry. Right. Very much in the corporate culture, which is fine in oxymoronic, but how I’m trying to use it here, but that people very much wanting to differentiate themselves from traditional corporations, right. Even though they were massive corporation. So that’s where the jeans and the backpack and the work casual wear in the workplace came from their titles. You have this, you know, director of happiness, you know, and just wild things that are just like, “Oh, they’re super fun, and they love their titles.” But then they realize that nobody understood what that meant. Right. If they were talking to anybody outside the organization, it didn’t make any sense. So it’s like, so given that, it’s just important that we understand client to client, whatever they call it as fine and fitting it properly.

Amalie: (31:46)

And then with the client, we’ll just define the roles or responsibilities. They can call it like business manager. Maybe we call an integrator, but the most important thing is, are we on the same page with the defined role? What are they doing? What are they responsible for? What are the expectations? As long as those things are clear, you know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter what they’re called. I think that’s ultimately where we’re going to end up with that is that doesn’t matter. And then, you know, in our copy, when we’re writing to talk to clients, they understand that there is maybe to use all the terms. Do they understand that we cover all of them because if someone’s not, if they haven’t heard of the term integrator, but they have heard online business manager and we don’t mention online business manager, then we just mentioned integrator. They might think, well, maybe they don’t have that role, but we do. We just call it something different. So in copy wise, while we’re promoting, we need to talk in all those terms. But at the end of the day, we know that when we’re placing someone, it’s not about the title, it’s about defining the roles and responsibilities and expectations.

Janine: (32:50)

And that’s why I think it’s important. It’s like we do that. We talk to people, we get on calls with them. We’ll put a link here. So if you want to talk to us, if you have any questions about anything or ou have a need that you want to discuss, we do that because again, with the online job searches is like the, the AI it’s like they are screened by tags. And if you don’t put the right tags in there, then you’re going to miss the kind of people you need again, because there’s so much overlap and misconceptions and fuzziness between these different terms. It’s also a problem if you put all the tags in there, then you get so many things you have to screen, it’s a terrible task trying to take someone on. So those are just things around it. 

Amalie: (33:29)

When you’re writing out the job descriptions, maybe don’t put a title with it. Maybe just describe who it is you’re looking for. As if you’re describing your avatar, just describe and say, I don’t care what you call yourself. If you have these strengths, you know, if you have these personality traits and you like to do this, and you don’t like to do that, and you know, you list it out that way, don’t give it a title, just let the person identify themselves, bring them on, you know, do an interview, give them a test project and then go from there because ultimately you’re worried you want to focus on their strengths, not necessarily if they call themselves the same thing as what you call it. Right?

Janine: (34:12)

Fundamentally you want to work with someone you enjoy working with.

Janine: (34:14)

Their personality, their strengths, like, that’s something we talked about in the last episode was that it doesn’t matter if they, they might not have the experience or history of doing online business manager tasks or, you know, or not tasks, but being in that position or they don’t have project management experience, but they have the personality and the strengths, fundamental skills and personality for that type of role. And you want to give them a chance, let them do it, you know, let them try because just because they called themselves a VA before doesn’t mean that they don’t have those, those skills. And if you are wondering about the project manager if you listened to our last episode, episode 21, we talked a lot about that and hiring one and all of that. So anyway, do you have anything else to add for this? I feel like we kind of came to the conclusion. So we appreciate you guys kind of getting being here and listening and you got an opportunity to kind of listen into the kinds of discussions that Janine and I have. As we, you know, we grow in our partnership and stuff. So we appreciate it. We will be back here next week on Systematic Excellence Podcast. Make sure you check us out on Fridays on our Facebook page. Systematic excellence on our Facebook business page and we go live every Friday at 11:00 AM Eastern. And we usually dive into more detail from a topic that we talked about on the podcast. So you want to check that out every Friday, 11:00 AM Eastern. You can check us out at All of our other social media sites are Systematic Excellence. 

Janine: (35:54)

If you’re sitting in that corner of, “I know I need something, but I don’t know what” that’s, what our discovery calls for. We can help you figure that out and get you pointed in the right direction.

Amalie: (36:03)

And we’ll put the link in the show notes for that. So thank you so much for listening and we will see you next time.


Project managers are an essential part of a business. No matter how large or small, every project needs a project manager in order to succeed. But finding someone who has the skills, time, and personality traits to take on this role can be tricky. Come join us as we talk about what project manager’s role is, when it’s time to hire one and how and where to find a good one.

Show Notes

Skilled project managers are a valuable resource to just about any business. Good project managers provide the focus, direction, and motivation teams need to complete projects effectively and efficiently…and on budget.

Since a project manager plays a vital role in a business, hiring one might seem like a scary or overwhelming process. 

The good news is: We’ve got your back! 

In this episode of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we talk about the advantages of having a project manager, when is the perfect time to hire one, and how to make sure you’re getting the perfect fit for your company. 

In this episode, we discussed:

➡️ The actual role of a project manager 

➡️ Why are they important and do you really need one?

➡️ The skills and strengths your project manager needs

➡️ When and where should you start looking for one

And a lot more. Check this episode out now!

Our Website

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Connect with Amalie:

Connect with Janine:




CliftonStrengths Test

VIA Test

Enneagram Personality Test

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

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Note: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at

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Episode Transcript

Amalie Shaffer  0:01  

All right, everyone. Welcome back to Systematic Excellence Podcast. We’re so excited to have you here. And today we are going to talk about the project management role. So for the next few episodes, we’re going to go over some roles. We’re going to talk about job descriptions and strengths when you should hire these people. So today we’re going to talk about the project manager. We’re going to talk about OBM, and we’re going to talk about integrators over the next few episodes. But today, we’re going to dive in. I’m here with Janine, as always.

Janine Suvak  0:37  

Hey, everyone.

Amalie Shaffer  0:38  

And so today we’re going to talk about the project manager. So project managers are a crucial part in a business when it comes to bringing all the pieces together of a project or a launch or you know, whatever, you know, whatever you’re working on, and they are the person really that brings it all together, puts the plan together, and also makes sure that everyone else is doing their part. So we’re going to start by just kind of diving into what is a project manager, specifically what they do, talk about the strengths of that, then we’ll go into when you should hire one, and then we’ll talk about how do you find a good one. So, you know, right now, we really are talking to the business owners, the people that would be hiring a project manager. But if you’re a project manager, or a VA, or an online business manager, and you’re listening to this, this still can be really helpful for you because we’re going to talk about some of the strengths that people will look for when they’re hiring a project manager. And if you’re aspiring to do that, this episode will be helpful for you. So let’s go ahead and dive in. And Janine, let’s start talking a little bit about what’s the role of a project manager is. I kind of gave like a little bit of a synopsis of it. But let’s dive into you know, what are the kinds of things that this person is going to do?

Janine Suvak  2:06  

Yeah, typically in the evolution of the business, the first person you’re bringing on is the VA. And so we wanted to talk a little bit, that role can evolve, or you can bring on a set of Project Manager separately, depending on how your business goes. And that’s why we wanted to distinguish this role.

Amalie Shaffer  2:25  

Okay, so as a project manager, what are the things that they’re going to be responsible for?

Janine Suvak  2:33  

So types of projects and when we say projects, that’s obviously super, super broad term, right? But these projects, they can be an internal project for the company, something that they’re doing, developing on the inside or something for their audience or their customers, a new product or the upgrade or something along those lines.

Amalie Shaffer  2:53  

So you know, for me, the project manager is the person that is developing the project plan so they understand where they’re starting, and where they need to get to. And so they need to understand the resources, the budget, you know, timelines, the due dates, and then they take all of those things and put them together into a plan. And then they delegate to the people that are, you know, the copywriter, the designer, the tech person, and making sure that each of those people have what they’re responsible for. And then they make sure that everyone remains on the schedule, make sure that things are getting done on time, they’re staying within the budget that’s set, and then they set the goal, you know, they set the goal in the milestones and then they ensure that everyone’s going along with that, and, you know, they’re a leader. That’s their role. They’re really sort of the keystone of the overall project and making sure that everyone is involved, they understand the big picture, but they know what their tasks are. And then I see a project manager being like the person that’s waving in the planes like, “Okay, you go over here and then I need you to go over here and do this,” you know, kind of just directing everyone for the project. So they need to know every detail about the project, they need to understand what the deliverables are, they need to understand due dates, how to communicate with the client, I mean, everything that goes into a project, that ultimately is the project managers responsibility, and then to make sure that everyone’s getting done what they have to get done. So if the copy needs to be written first, the project manager needs to make sure that “okay, the copywriter understands that their task, someone else is waiting on them to get their piece done and they have to get it done on time so that the designer can start on their piece.” And it’s the project manager’s job to fit that all together and make sure it’s flowing well.

Janine Suvak  5:13  

Yeah, we didn’t say it explicitly yet. Because it seems obvious, but I think it’s important to leadership in your outcome that the outcome that you want is stated very clear, because the projects are often termed in phrases like, you know, “we’re making this something, we’re developing this something” but you want the outcome described very clearly, and have that where both the project manager and all the team members involved see that so they know what the endpoint is, and it’s super, super clear. And also that we’ve spoken all the time about delegating, for authority and the authority and the responsibility and the outcome. And ideally, to avoid that trap of spending your time with a lot of managing of your Project Manager, it’s like, if you’re spending a lot of time managing or interacting with your project manager, then you haven’t given them everything they need to succeed and do the project efficiently. The idea of having one is that, that if you give them everything they need, all the resources and the expected outcome, then they should be able to take that and run with that at that point, right.

Amalie Shaffer  6:23  

And just report back to you as the CEO, they should be reporting back on giving you updates. And there should be a schedule. And if you use a project management tool, you as the CEO should be able to go in and look at it and just be able to see what’s going on and get a glimpse of that or have the project manager provide a report to you. And then you know, you have to also set your boundaries and set your expectations. So if your expectation is to get a weekly update, the project manager then would provide you a weekly update. If you don’t need that maybe it’s just monthly, you know, you really have to set those expectations with the project manager on what you’re looking for. And then what that allows is that the project manager can work, do their job, and you can be secure, you know, release the reins, let the project manager do their job because you know, you’re going to get your update once a week. You know, if you don’t have that expectation set, you’re going to be wondering what the project managers doing, the project manager is going to be annoyed because you’re constantly asking them questions. And so in order to avoid that, you know, you’re just setting those expectations upfront and the project manager needs to remain flexible on based on what you need from them. So one of the things I want to roll into is Janine and I strongly believe in hiring people for strengths and not necessarily experience because none of us knew how to use ClickUp or Trello before we got our first free accounts with it, you know, we had to learn and we can teach people to do it, all those things that you know, using a system or software can be taught. But ultimately, there are some fundamental characteristics that people or someone needs to have in order to be an effective project manager that really can’t be taught. So we’re just going to discuss some of those and where we would suggest you using these is in your job description. So if them having experience as a project manager is important to you, then you need to put that in there. But Janine and I believe that they don’t need to have project management experience to be able to be a project manager. So some of the strengths we’ve gotten from it’s a test, it’s called Clifton strengths. And there’s a test that you can take, we recommend, you know, providing this test to the people when you are hiring, and we’ll go into that a little bit about how do you find someone so that’s one of the things is having them do some tests. So some of the strengths that we think that a project manager should have are someone that is taking on responsibility. So it is a lot of responsibility to take on as a project manager.  Adaptability, so the project manager has to be able to, they can’t be so set in their ways that they’re not willing to adjust or be flexible based on what’s going on. I mean, there’s going to be times when things go over the deadline, “okay, well, what needs to happen now? how can we make this work?” and they need to be able to adapt if you start to use a new system or a new software, they need to be able to adapt to that quickly and learn new systems and be comfortable doing that. And so the way you could write that out is saying like, you know, comfortable learning new systems, comfortable using new software, things like that in the job description. Another one is an arranger, so an arranger is someone who looks to piece together all of the resources and people, I guess people are considered resources too, and within the project to maximize productivity. So someone that has the mind to be able to do that is going to be an excellent project manager. The other thing is communication and connectedness. So for a project manager, they’re going to have to work with the other contractors or employees that you have. So they’re really going to need to be able to motivate those people you know, if things are slowing down they need to “Okay guys, we got it,” you know, they have to be able to talk to people. If your project manager is client-facing in customer service, you definitely need the connectedness and some empathy to be able to communicate with not just the team but the client, but also having empathy with the team and understanding that some things just aren’t always going to work out you know, there’s got to be good days and bad days and they’re gonna have to help pick up the slack and just, you know, motivate the people to stay on track with the plan. Janine, did you have any others? Those are the ones I wrote down that as I was kind of brainstorming on the project manager, but any other strengths that you think a project manager would need?

Janine Suvak  11:11  

Well, it’s just interesting those strengths, if you look at them, you’re like, “well, what if, you know, they’re lacking one”, it’s like all of those interact. So importantly, in a good project manager like you really can’t be missing one at all.

Amalie Shaffer  11:25  

Yeah, absolutely. And that’s not to say, you know, if you have someone else on your team that doesn’t have those strengths, they just need a different position, right, they just need to be doing something different. They have connectedness, but maybe they lacked the arranger or they were, they lack that kind of skill. They could be a good customer service person, but maybe not a project manager. But what Janine said earlier about the VA is important because if you recognize that your VA has already been in your business, for who knows how long you know, a couple of years, they’ve been with you from the beginning. If they have these strengths, it would be the perfect opportunity to put them into that position. Especially because they know your business inside and out, especially, you know, they’ve been there long enough. And you know, if any project managers or OBMs or VAs are listening to this, those things that I mentioned, are important for you to display in a way, when you on your social media or on your website, you&#