Momentum Podcast: 251
Explosive Growth Fast With Ryan Lee and Brad Gibb
by Alex Charfen
Ryan Lee and Brad Gibb have one of the same passions that I have, they are obsessed with working on helping and supporting entrepreneurs to do better, feel more confident in the world and to guard their wealth. If you know that you’re leaving money on the table and you could be doing more, this interview is going to reveal a ton to you in the context of business growth.
Full Audio Transcript
Brad, Ryan, it is just awesome to connect with you guys. I'm excited to have a quick conversation, and really primarily because I want the two of you to share the contrast where you were just a few months ago and where you are now. I think that everyone listening is going to get a ton of tactical application of like these are the things that really move the company forward. You guys have had a pretty incredible few months, huh?
Brad: Yeah, absolutely, man. It's been an amazing rollercoaster ride that just gets faster and more focused as we go.
Ryan: When we met you, Alex, at the first of the year, it felt like a therapy session where you were going through and diagnosing all of our deepest secrets and fears and worries. So I hope people can take away things from this because really our biggest takeaway from this is that it is possible and what seemed totally and completely impossible and we had tried it so many times that we were completely convinced it would never happen has already happened. So we'll just jump right to that. It's May and we've already outdone our total revenue from the prior year.
Brad: Not only have we outdone the total revenue from the last year, we've done it in a way that has reduced pressure and noise. I mean, last year we grinded like crazy to get the revenue that we had. This year and four months, we've still grinded but we're grinding back on moving forward again, being in momentum. It's because you've helped us get clear on how to build a team.
Alex: So, Ryan, here's something that I want to make sure everyone who's listening understands because I think entrepreneurs get to this place where they're like, "Man, all of this is going to take so long. It's so hard." It's hard to see forward motion. We started working together about four months ago, right? Four or five months ago?
Ryan: In January.
Alex: In January, your company consisted of just the two of you.
Ryan: That was it.
Alex: How big is the team now?
Ryan: Seven people now.
Alex: Brad, what is that like having seven people? How much more are you guys getting done now?
Brad: That's why we were able to increase revenue. We were out of the ability to increase revenue because we had no more capacity. Ryan or I had to do it and we were avoiding clients because we couldn't give them any of our time.
Ryan: Alex, we were just having this conversation this morning. We love, absolutely love what we do. But at the end of last year, we were burnt out.
Alex: I remember when I talked to you guys. It kind of felt like you were on the edge of like should we do this anymore?
Alex: So you both really were there.
Brad: We had those conversations already, yep.
Alex: So, Ryan, here's something I want everyone who's listening to hear is that it's only been four months. It's a little bit more than a quarter, and you went from I don't know if I should do this anymore to like what is the mentality now for the two of you?
Ryan: Now we're back on purpose and we're back on fire again because we've now created space for you to do what we love. The reason we were so burnt out is we hired employees without any intention whatsoever. As soon as we put them on payroll, we thought that the problem would go away. That mentality and that framework compounded the problem. That was part of our issue last year is we treated it ... We did not know how to target the right people. We did not know how to set clear expectations. We weren't ever in alignment, and it turned into a big, chaotic mess.
Brad: We also didn't know how to be a CEO. We were implementers and we were very, very good implementers, which is why we were a seven figure business with just two implementers. We didn't know what it meant to actually be a CEO and run a company. I sort of felt dis-ingenuine when I say I'm an entrepreneur because it was just me. Ryan and I weren't even on the same page. It was Ryan was doing his thing and I was doing mine. We called our ... We put ourselves under the same name. But in the last four months, we've hired two very key people directly on our team, and then contracted with four others. What's my math? Three others. So that gives us our team of seven. We've taken out of our head, everything the way Ryan was doing it and the way I was doing it. It's a very easy to understand, clear process. Now we can hire somebody to say that's the process I want you to own, or less that, more the outcome, right? Here's the outcome that needs to be done. Here's the tools that you have to do it. We can move just incredibly fast now.
Alex: So one of the things that I share with entrepreneurs is this statement that process will set you free. Let me just set this up because here's what I hear from people so often. I don't want to be in meetings. I don't want to have a schedule. I don't want stuff on my calendar. I just want the business to grow, but I don't want to have to like do all the stuff. What we coach is if you put the right process in place, you spend a fraction of the time running your company that you are running when there's not process in place. Are you guys finding that to be true?
Brad: 100%, man. I mean, when you say the word meeting, I think any entrepreneur kind of throws up a little bit in the back of their mouth because [inaudible 00:05:07], right? Now that we have targeted interactions, there's a very clear purpose. There's a very clearly choreographed time and purpose for the meeting. We get in and get out and get back to production, get back to making a difference. Not only us but our teams. They like it. They know what they're being measured on. They know what's expected. They get in, they get out. We go to work.
Alex: One of the things I tell entrepreneurs is that when you create ... When you work within a process, time with your team will feel like momentum because for a lot of entrepreneurs, time with your team feels like you got in trouble or feels like you're in detention. Have you noticed that contrast?
Ryan: Man, 100%. The team that we had last year was over just some big chaotic collision because we hadn't paid attention, they hadn't paid attention. We were expecting a result. We weren't on the same page. So every time we met it was exactly that. But now when we meet, you're right, man, we have energy because we know what we've done. We're excited to report on it. We're excited then to hit the next milestone.
Alex: Brad, was that weird for you to go from ... I remember when we talked before, you guys had even mentioned you dreaded meetings with your team. I think you even used the word dreaded meetings with your team. How weird is it to go from dreading meetings with your team to looking forward to it and being excited afterwards?
Brad: Again, it makes us like what we do again because something gets done. Because we've done the work now that way that person can be effective. Now it's about ... We're all bottom line, right? Entrepreneurs, we're all bottom line. The meetings didn't used to be bottom line. They used to be mucky through all of this garbage and not clear in people's feelings and the stuff that scares us all to now it's just is the process working or not, how can we support you, how can I help you get what you want. We're back to what we like as entrepreneurs of just solving a problem and moving it forward.
I find myself just leaving my team messages saying, "Thank you guys. This got done and this is awesome. We appreciate you." So it's more than just avoiding it. Now it's like yeah, pendulum swinging the other way.
Alex: Brad, it feels like you're kind of getting a little emotional.
Brad: Just a tiny.
Alex: But you are, right? I want to draw that out because here's what I'm reading and feeling from you is that when you have a team that shows up in a way that it makes you feel like you can do more. When you have a team that you really feel that support both personally and in the business, it is emotional, isn't it?
Brad: So much of it for me I think was relief. One of the big mind shifts in becoming a CEO was not accepting the crap that I was used to accepting. Giving myself permission to say, "I need help and support to take this away." When we brought our key person on, the first 15 minutes of the interview is this isn't going to be a good fit is we were very clear you're here to support me and Ryan.
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brad: You're here to get us through that and to protect us in a way. That's what we're going to hold you to. That's what we need done. To say that I used to feel weak before but now it's empowering that I can go to that person and say, "Hey, you're not doing that." I can give them things and say, "This would help me feel more protected. This would help lower pressure noise. That's why I need you to do it." It gives us a connection that I do like. Yeah, for sure.
Alex: So here's what's ... I can't tell you how much I appreciate it because the way you're communicating this, I think the entrepreneurs listening are going to hear possibility. They're going to hear the potential for really being able to get help because when I hear you say it used to feel weak to say I need help, I need support, explain that contrast to me, Brad. So it used to feel weak, what does it feel like now?
Brad: It's empowering now. Now this thing that was in my brain that ... Honestly, most of it I just avoided. I didn't want to deal with it. So there was this compounding noise in my head of I know I need to be doing that, but there are other things that are more important. I'm just going to suppress it down inside. Now I can take it out and give it to somebody and know that it's going to get done. I have the ability to think again and to process. I get all these things owning space in my brain because they weren't being dealt with. I was never going to deal with it, but now I have somebody there that will and that I have a process that I can trust and accountability and a clear outcome on it.
Alex: Yeah. Ryan, how much easier is it for the two of you to communicate with the team within the system of cadence than it was before?
Ryan: It's night and day. We didn't know what to say other than man, it's burning. When Brad talks about this compounding pressure inside of us, that's where we were at the end of last year. We did not want to go through what we went through again in 2017 business we haphazardly approached our business and our interactions with our employees. So the end result of that was we just let everyone go and we're faced with a decision. Do we contract? Do we reduce the size of our impact that we're going to make in the world and be okay with that? But any impact driven entrepreneur knows that that's not okay. That is the absolute last place that we want to be. That's why we came to you.
Now because we're clear on what we're hiring people for and we have a clear system to plug them into, man. In our practice, we talk about people collapsing time in their financial game plan. 40 years of results in 10 years or less. That's what you did for us, man. We achieved at least 12 months in four months or less just by using and plugging into your system.
Alex: That's fantastic. That's so awesome. For the people who are listening because I'm going to play devil's advocate for a second. For the entrepreneurs listening going, "Oh, come on, guys. Can it really be that easy?" So give them tactics. What are some actual things that you took out of our program and you put in place. What was the difference that it caused?
Brad: Before we jump into those, I will say this, if you ask me two months ago, I still would've been like, "I have no idea where this is going to go." I was in the middle of the tunnel where I lost the light behind me and I didn't have it in front of me before. I looked at everybody else in the group getting these master results. I was like, "What? How come I'm not getting that?" It'll feel like everybody's implementing way faster when you get in, but we've really only implemented two or three things. But you helped us identify the two or three things, most important things. I've already taken three drinks of a water bottle.
Alex: You're making me thirsty.
Brad: But it doesn't take like the thing I want to take. You don't have to be perfect at the entire system from day one to get the result. You just need to find the couple of pieces that are meaningful, implement those and then find the next ones. So as we go through these tactics, it's not yes you can get the results and it didn't take shutting down my business for four months to write out steps and procedures and processes.
Ryan: So with that in mind ...
Alex: Go ahead, Ryan.
Ryan: What you did for us is (a) you helped us get very clear on who we needed to hire. The exact personality type, the exact responsibility of what that person needed to be. That was insanely empowering for us. We just picked someone in our network that said they wanted to work with us and started throwing money at them. But now we were targeted. We were intentionally weeded out 97% of the distraction so we could focus on the 3% that would work. Then once we had that person, we knew how to clearly plug them into a system of, "Hey, here's where we're going." We haven't done very good at the end result stuff, but, man, we've been amazing at the quarterly stuff and then breaking it down to the 30 and the weekly. So now every single day we get on and do our targeted interactions. We report on a number that's meaningful to all of us, that all of our interactions contribute to, and we talk about what's working, what's not, and on a weekly basis we're clear on what needs to be done. I mean, that was huge for us. Brad and I are now working together instead of independently side by side. The same for our team.
Alex: That's huge. You want to add something, Brad?
Brad: Yeah. I was just going to add that getting clear on ... We would say we need a personal assistant and that wasn't good enough for Alex. He's like, "What is that person going to do?" No, that's what job descriptions say the executive assistants do, what is your executive assistant ... I mean, we went back and forth on our four R document for a week before we even ... But that allowed us to get the person who knew what our expectations were and knew exactly what they were going to be doing for us and then in the interview with them, it was ... We could go through people a lot quicker. We feel like we got the right person. That's proving fruit now. But we got clear and now the hand off. The problem before, we hired an assistant and we never gave her anything to do. The first assistant we hired, we paid her for like a month, and she didn't do anything for us because we didn't know how to get it out and off.
But with the four R document, with our huddle, and with the cadence pieces, we could actually give that person something to do. Then we had time to hire the next person. So it wasn't that time was magically created out of thin air, but we were able to offload, create more time, offload, create more time, offload to where we are where we are now. It just got faster and faster and faster to where it took probably six weeks to see really the first result of it. But then it was a month to see the next one. Ryan and I were just sitting here before jumping on with you that in the last really in the last week to 10 days, we feel like we had another entire month of evolution because it just builds momentum and it compounds.
Alex: That's huge. That's so awesome. So a couple of things just on that. One is on the four R document, I think you drew great contrast because most people write a job description, and what we write so everybody who's listening knows, it's role, responsibility, the results you expect and the requirements for the position. That four part document really spells things out. So when guys went out and started interviewing, when the person came in, they were relatively plug and play, right? You don't end up with this place where it's like there's any lack. That description that you just gave, Brad, of hiring someone and having them sit there for a month, I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs have told me that. It's like I got an assistant, what do I do? But when you go through the four R process, there's no ambiguity at all, right?
Brad: Then we can build a ... We dread building processes, but once I got bought into the outcome, the results that they were going to get me, I wanted to build the system so that ... Because now I wanted those results. I got bought into her position as much as she's bought into her position. Then it gave us motivation to say, "Okay. To get that, these are the things that we need. This is what it has to be," and then building the process to get that, it pulled us into it rather than us resisting against it.
Alex: That's awesome. So another thing that you brought up that I want to just ask about because we have a few minutes left is the daily meeting. So we have everybody in our programs do a daily huddle. When I am in public and I speak to big rooms of entrepreneurs and I say, "How many of you are meeting with our team daily?" Honestly, half the room rolls their eyes. They're like, "It's going to be one of these guys who wants me to talk to my team." Which is so funny because can you imagine an NFL coach saying, "I'm going to coach the team this year by talking to them once a week." It just would never work. Or a director for a movie, "Hey, guys. I'm going to check in on Thursdays." When you look at what we do as CEOs, we are every bit the coach of the team and the director for the movie. But what ends up happening is it's just we have too much involvement because we don't have a process.
What has the daily huddle done for you guys?
Ryan: I think more than anything it's allowed us to stay connected with our team, connected with the weekly results, and then it's just build momentum. I mean, because we follow your cadence, the team ... It's already preset. We all know when we're meeting. We know what the expected outcome of the meeting is. We know what we're going to be talking about. We know what we're celebrating. We know how to report what we're struggling with, and putting that together in succession has resulted in a compounding effect within our business. When we talk about accelerating results, it's the daily targeted interaction that is really the engine that drives that.
Alex: So, Ryan, here's an interested question for you. Do you get excited going to that daily targeted interaction?
Ryan: I do. We put it right at the very beginning of our day because now the tone is set for the entire day. We know what we're all driving to and we're excited to report on it again the next day. I mean, yes, that's what the momentum generator and boast that we have to start the day.
Alex: So, Brad, I share with entrepreneurs, if you're willing to commit to a daily huddle, you will get to the point where the daily huddle is one of the most important things in your life. Are you guys there?
Brad: I had to miss one because I was at a family thing with my kids and I felt myself wanting to be like can we wait for 15 minutes so I can do that. Obviously I didn't and I used better judgment. But I didn't. This is going to sound cheesy but entrepreneurs, especially that are in this, we're alone, right? We feel like we're the ones that are broken. We don't have any connections. I can't go to a dinner party or a super bowl party or something and interact with anybody because I want to talk about entrepreneur things. But I feel grounded when all my teams there. It's like rallying the troops and I can see what everybody's going to do and it gets me excited. Ryan's going to go crush it today. Eric's going to go crush it. Jessica's going to go crush it. We might be able to actually do this. All right.
I got the energy for the day. Where before, I had to fight a battle with my team and I had to fight a battle with Ryan. Then I had to go to the marketplace and fight a battle. But now I feel like it's us putting the armor on, getting the rally cry together, and now I really feel like we can go take over the world. So that's what I like about the huddle.
Alex: Guys, I can't ... I've had chills like five or six times while we've been talking because I remember our original conversation. I want you to know something. We had very good content as a company. I know we do because we get a lot of very good results with people. But it doesn't matter how good our content is unless we have entrepreneurs who (1) believe in it, implement it, use it in an ethical way, and really like care at a deep level, our stuff does nothing. So when I look at what you guys did, the way that you've implemented, the way that you've pushed the I believe button, the way that you gone out and found the right people. Here's the thing I can't get out of my head, you've done as much up to May as you did last year. I want to come back in three months and do this again so we can share with everyone where you're going because the growth has literally been explosive.
Ryan: Well, man, that's the exciting part for us. That's what puts us back in momentum because ... I mean, last year we grinded. The first four months, we built a team and now these next three months, man, Brad and I are ... We have the pressure or not the pressure the opportunity, the space, and the capacity to go back out and create again. That hasn't existed in our business for the very least 12 to 18 months, man. That is the huge part about this.
Brad: Well, full disclosure. There's a dip in February because we, "Okay. We've got to figure this out." You've been cleaning up your language, which is really great. But you cursed when we shared out March number with you.
Alex: Yeah, I did.
Brad: Because it was double anything we done ever before.
Brad: Triple. Yeah. Triple what we done before because January was a good month. But then April, we didn't quite hit March, but we didn't fall back to any ... That raised .. Now we feel like in our company, if we don't hit our April level like that's our new normal.
Brad: Yeah. It's insane. I shared this with you before on the boxer, but we've got some really good mentors around us. They've tried to get us to see to 10 million because of what we do and how passionate we are. We really feel like we're trying to change the industry in what we do. But I inevitably, I honestly, I never believed it. I thought if I could get to three because I could get to three through hustling. I could just figure out how to hustle harder and get a couple people to hustle with me, and we could do three. But now not only we're on path to three, but I can believe that we're at 10. We're already at 10, we just have to execute. We're there. All we got to do is execute and then figuring out how to go further from there. That shift, again, that gets me excited again about what we're doing because nobody likes to plateau. Part of my fear abo going bigger was I can't so why? Why try?
Alex: Gosh. So awesome. All right, guys. So here's what we're going to do. Three months from now, let's come back and do this again. I want to get an update from you within the next three to four months. I want to get an update. Here's what I want to start working towards with the two of you in our program is if you can see 10 from where you are, that means we're really close to you being able to see 100. I know it's been a big step to 10, but if you can see eight, you can see nine, and guys, we're building an infrastructure for the two of you with the impact you have on entrepreneurs, that's where it's going. I just want you to know, I see it, and I'm going to make it my mission to show it to you.
Brad: I'm excited.
Ryan: Alex, can I just make one plug. For anyone listening.
Alex: Oh, for sure, Ryan.
Ryan: If you are an impact driven entrepreneur, Alex and what he shares will do more for your business than anything else. Man, that has been amazing for us, Alex. So huge gratitude and appreciation. Who you are and the system and the team that you built. I mean, you're leading us on a path that you've already walked, and that's ... We love that about you, man. You're leading us. That's been awesome for us.
Alex: Thank you, Ryan. I really appreciate it, man. Brad, thank you, brother. I can't wait to see you guys next week in Boise.
Ryan: Yeah. I'm excited to hang out.
Alex: All right. Guys, thank you for this. This was absolutely amazing.
Ryan: Awesome. We appreciate it. Thank you, Alex.