In today's episode, April Porter talks about what it truly takes to grow a business and how it all boils down to two things. Tune in to this episode to learn the key to growth, expansion, and scaling.


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Today we're talking about what it really truly takes to grow a business. And it all boils down to two things. One is capital. No one wants to hear that. But you have to have money to make money, you have to have money to grow and to expand and to scale. And so that's why it's very important to be really protective of your capital, not in the sense of saving, saving, pinching pennies, but in making smart choices with your capital, what you're doing with your capital, where you're investing it and how it's going to help you grow. One of the easiest ways to blow through your capital is by not really understanding marketing and marketing strategy. And because most business owners, when they first get into business ownership, if they do not have a background in marketing, they feel like that's the one key to growing. And many times, they begin spending money on things that are working for other people, or things that they think they're supposed to be doing, instead of having a real skill to vet marketing providers, and to really understand the strategy of moving a lead through the pipeline. 

So that's one of the two things that you need, you've got to have capital, and you need to protect it by getting yourself the education to make smart decisions as to where you're investing your capital as far as growing. But the biggest area that you're going to invest in if you really want to scale is the second piece of the puzzle, which is a team. You have to have capital and a team in order to scale and investing in a team really requires investing before you need that person on staff. Now, that doesn't mean you have to do it years before but you have to be able to forecast the amount of work that is increasing, or where you are going to scale in your business, and then hire the person who is going to help you scale. So many times business owners don't want to hire because they don't want to put out the expense until they really, quote “need the person”. But that's a mistake. Because at that point in time you hire someone, and you're throwing them into a situation where there's already too many tasks for the people on staff, which means they're likely not getting thoroughly trained, and they're coming into a whirlwind, they're coming into a situation where they're expected to pick up the ball and kind of be a little bit of a savior, “hey, we hired you to do this one task”, right? “We hired you to fill this position, and right now, what you're doing is being done by three different people, it's been spread out and done amongst three different people. So we're gonna give all of this to you. And yeah, we need you to just be a genius in that role”. That's what often happens, because we've waited too long to hire that person. And so one of the best things you can do for your business is really get around the mindset, that instead of hiring, because you're growing or waiting to grow until you hire, think about the fact that bringing that person on now is the extra pair of hands that you need, in order to grow when you have that additional staff member. Now, you can begin to delegate to them the things that are eating up your time and interfering with your ability to focus on growth activities. That's also true for other members of your staff. As you grow, just like I said a moment ago, many times when we're missing, or we have a hole in our business that isn't being filled by a team member, we have to find people to do the activities that need to get done that the future team member will take over. And so that means we've added things to every other person's plate on our team. And those things are likely not within their zone of genius. It's extra on top of the work that they're doing in their zone of genius. And so what that means is we start to spread all of our attention thin, and we're watering down our skills to just getting by instead of really being able to take tasks and optimize them, right? Take them to the goal line. 

So investing in a team member is actually an investment that you can make to scale. It's the investment that you have money that you make in advance so that you have more hands to grow. And just like the old proverb says, you know, many hands makes light work. And for you as a business owner, your job is growing the business, your job is not being in the day to day operations. And so when you have the right team members in the right positions, that gives you the freedom to trust that the daily operations are getting done and turn your focus to major growth activities. So part of this is getting the right person in the right position and this past week I wrote a blog article all about this that I encourage you all to go check out on our LinkedIn page at Ask April Porter LinkedIn page, you can check out the “Right Person and for the Right Position” blog article. But in it, we really examine what it means to hire the right person and what you should be looking for and hiring the right person. Everyone, when I initially asked what type of person do you want to hire, most people give me characteristics such as oh, I want them to be reliable, I want them to have a good work ethic, be a go-getter, positive attitude, right? So these are some of the things that people will say. But the reality is, that's really, really generic. And what makes the right person stay with you long term is a connection to what your company stands for, and what your company is doing. So that boils down to core values that are in alignment, and a passion for the mission that you are looking to accomplish.

So that's really what finding the right person means is that you need to find someone who shares your core values. And all of you franchisees out there, we're not talking about the core values of the brand, we're talking about your core values. So you got to find people who align with your core values, and who also understand and are committed to your mission, whatever that mission is, many times it appears in the form of a mission statement, sometimes you think of it as your purpose. Sometimes it's stuck in your head as just the real reason why you got into this business. But if you were to express it out loud, your ideal employees are going to be like, “Yes, I totally want to make that change happen in the world”. So that's what we're talking about when we say the right person is really getting that correct. But then we have to get them in the right position. And this is another place where we can go wrong. So let's say we are hiring - the example I give in the blog article is you're hiring for a shoe, a shoe company, it's a running shoe company. And there's a track star who's applied, and you have a job in the warehouse and inventory and they've applied. And you love their attitude. And they seem amazing. And they're a go-getter. And that's exactly the type of employee you want to hire, and they applied, so you go ahead and hire them for the inventory position. But maybe that's not their passion, maybe that's not their zone of genius, maybe that's why they love your company is because they love running, and they love sharing that and inspiring other people to run. And in the warehouse, they're all by themselves, counting boxes and doing more numbers work, which isn't really their jam, you put that person in the wrong position like that. And they're not likely to stay very long, just because even though they are on board with your mission, they don't feel, internally, like they are impacting the mission. They're just another cog in the wheel. And so when you have that situation, and you're hiring for someone for inventory, and you meet that person you want as an employee, but it's just not the right fit, you got to be honest with yourself. And you have to say, “Okay, how could I hire this person?”, this is where you might need to adapt right in the interview and say, “Okay, I want to hire this person”. But definitely inventory is not the right spot. Maybe I need to go back and take a look at our roster and see, maybe who isn't excelling on the sales floor. Maybe somebody's an introvert and they like working in the store, but their sales numbers are low, and they're not meeting their KPIs, or it actually makes them uncomfortable talking to customers. Maybe I'll talk to them and say, “Hey, I have a position in the warehouse, doing inventory, I think it'd be a really good fit for you. And here's why you would like to move over into that position”, right? So maybe we need to move somebody to create the position for the new employee where they will be able to shine and have a zone of genius and outperform the person who's currently there. But if we're actually hiring all the time, making sure that we hire for the right position, it may be a case where everyone in the shoe store that is selling the shoes is awesome at what they're doing. And so we don't really have another position available in the shoe store. The only position we have available is in inventory in the warehouse and that instance, then you want to express to the candidate how you think that culturally they're an amazing fit, you really believe that they can contribute to your mission, and you're very, very excited to hire them. However right now, the only position available is in the warehouse. And we really feel that your zone of genius is going to be in the shoe store. So we'd love to keep your resume on file and the moment something opens up in there. We want to give you a call and revisit to see If you're available to come in for an interview at that time. 

Now in this job market, that may sound like a really scary thing to do, because you're like, I have a great candidate sitting in front of me and I need a body, why wouldn't I just put him in the warehouse, and then when something opens up, then he could move over to the shoe store, right? And you could do that, if he is onboard, with eyes wide open, and expectations are very clear. But here's the risk in doing that. If you make that kind of offer, there are going to be expectations on both sides as to how fast the movement is going to come, you risk a couple of things here: One, you risk him getting into the warehouse and doing inventory or shipping management, whatever it is, and really, really hating it. And even in just a couple of weeks saying, wow, this really just isn't for me, this is not a job for me, you risk then that person quitting, but at that point in time, they have a bad taste in their mouth for your company, they've now had an experience inside your company that's negative. And they're not as confident that they will enjoy the other position, even though it's more in alignment with what they love to do. Because they now associate those feelings of dread of coming to work, the feeling of being bored, of being frustrated all day long in that spot of just disliking what they're doing all day long, they associate that with your company. There's another risk though, too. While this is a very difficult thing to estimate when a position may become available on the sales floor. And so regardless, if you say, well, “we don't really know when it happens, but as soon as it will, you know, we'll move you over. And we usually have people leave every three months or so. So maybe it'll -  you know, it should be within the next three months or the next six weeks”. If you mentioned a timeframe at all, the candidate is going to have that timeframe in their mind. And if it doesn't happen within that time, they're going to get frustrated. And even if it's not consciously and only subconsciously, they're going to feel as if you hired them under false pretenses, and there's going to start to be a breakdown of trust, if you don't talk about a timeframe, then the candidate is going to create a timeframe in their mind through hope, they're going to hope, well, maybe it's just a couple of weeks, I could probably in 30 days, I mean, it's their retail jobs. So probably in 30 days, somebody's going to leave. So they're going to have this narrative inside their head, about when they will be able to move up. And in so doing when that day comes and they don't move, then we have the result we just talked about where they become disenfranchised, with the job itself, and with your company as a whole and potentially with you as an employer. So that's why it's so important to not only get the right person, but also to get them in the right position. And to really think of this as how do we create the win-win, not from the business owner perspective of “I really need a person right now in that warehouse and inventory management, I really need a person and this person is so great. I don't want to let him go” right? That's a selfish attitude, and whenever we come at something with that kind of thought process, 9 times out of 10, it does not work out. So thinking about bringing on team members in this way, translates seamlessly into how franchisors need to be looking at franchisees to bring them in to be part of the brand. And they really need to be honest with franchisees and with themselves about the core values, the mission, and what does the job of the franchisee actually look like? And is this person going to feel fulfilled in that job. If you want your franchisees to be operators, then that's a pretty easy thing to figure out. You know, like, I own a coffee shop, I want my franchisees to be in the coffee shop every day, I want them running the cash register greeting customers, and making coffee. So we can have a conversation about that I could have them in and do a shadow day and see if you think you will enjoy doing this because this will be a requirement as one of our franchisees. 

But if you're a franchise who wants your franchisees growing the business, then you have to figure out is the candidate going to be okay with not making the coffee, with not being behind the cash register and with not having customer interaction? Because nine times out of 10 people come into franchising when it's their first business they've ever owned. With that employee mindset and with the desire to operate the business. They look for a model that aligns with their passion or with what they believe will be fun. “Oh my gosh, it will be so much fun to make coffee”. “I'm so social, everyday will be fun”, right? When they come in with that attitude, but you expect them to take on actual business ownership and grow the business, then you need to have a different conversation with them about what their day should look like. And figure out if that is really something they want to do, because if that doesn't align with how they want to spend their days, they're gonna go into the shop and they're gonna make coffee all day long. And that business is not gonna grow. So, it's very important to have the right person in the right position - both when you have your own business and also when you're looking at this from the franchisor - franchisee relationship perspective. Until next week, wishing you Infinite Success.

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