Momentum Podcast: 561

Part 2: Business Building Secrets

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Tune in for the second part of Business Building Secrets. We resume the conversation I had with a few of our existing clients, so if you missed part one, make sure to go back and listen to that first. In this episode, we talk about having a strategic plan and what that really looks like. 

You will hear from these four entrepreneurs as they reveal what life is like for them after implementing our frameworks and systems. They share how it’s transformed their teams, helped them become better leaders, improved their relationships, and stopped their shiny object syndrome. These four are proof that with the right tactics, you can start to enjoy your business again, while massively scaling your company.  

Full Audio Transcript

Alex Charfen: This is The Momentum Podcast.

Jeremy Bergeron: Hey everybody, this is Jeremy Bergeron. I am a business strategist on Alex Charfen's team. I'm super excited to introduce this episode to you. It's the second part of a conversation Alex has with a few of our existing clients. You'll hear from them as they talk about what it's like for them implementing our systems and frameworks and what it's like for their teams. Check this episode out.

Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen and this is The Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.

Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how.

While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.

Let's go to yours Andrea, because you're a single practitioner in an office and when you came to us, the dream was, "I don't want to be the practitioner anymore. I want to start to be the leader, the manager, the thought leader. I want to start growing this. I want to make a much bigger impact." What did creating that first strategic plan do for you in that process?

Andrea: You know what it was the tipping point for me, the realizing point that I had to do it. And I know this isn't exactly answering your question, was we did the time study. So my very first two weeks I did the time study. And I was like, "No wonder I'm feeling so burnt out. I'm working 50 hours in this clinic, which is more than like a full-time person does. And this is not what a business owner should do. This is not where I should be spending my time."

Alex Charfen: Well, and let's be clear, Andrea, I don't mean to cut you off, but you were working 50 hours in the business and then there was other stuff you were doing outside of that.

Andrea: That is it. 50 hours in the clinic. Yeah. And then of course, yeah. So yeah.

Alex Charfen: Whenever it really was.

Andrea: Yeah. And intuitively I have been struggling against seeing patients and having that one-on-one interaction for years and I couldn't see a way out of it. So my first thing was I knew, and I know you can relate to this, probably everybody on the call can. That I was not going to do the structure, I was not going to create these calls or meetings for myself. There was just no way. And I know we say like start it with yourself so you can get it into your team. I was like, "No, it's not going to happen."

So I hired someone who implemented all of that for me and basically scheduled it onto my schedule. So we had our annual meeting right as soon as she joined. And the clarity that that brought was phenomenal. Like even now I'm thinking about this and reflecting on it and I'm breathing as opposed to being just shallow and holding your breath and just hoping it will be okay. I can wake up and take a deep breath and say, "What is it that I need to do today? What's the one thing that I need to do today instead of looking at a to-do list this long?

And the best part about having her there was she also would see me go onto like shiny object syndrome and say, "Andrea, it's not part of the plan. That's not what we agreed on. You're not allowed to do this. We'll talk about it maybe the next time we do our annual. But this is what we agreed on and this is what you have to stick to."

And that was probably the most enlightening moment of the entire process where I was like, "This is why entrepreneurs feel like they're a chicken with their head cut off." They do all this planning one day and then they completely go black ops like Wallace said. So if it wasn't for my product manager, I wouldn't be where I am. For sure. That was like the pivotal point for me.

Alex Charfen: Andrea, you bring up a really interesting point when you said, "I'm sure you wouldn't set all this stuff up." You know what our system entails is setting up meetings, and process, and schedules, and being in the right place at the right times as an entrepreneurs so that you give up a tiny little fraction of your time to a process and you give back a ton of your time back in your real life.

And for some of us, like for me, I consider myself functionally handicap when it comes to calendars. I'm not joking. Like I open a calendar, I get racy and I get confused and if I get involved with scheduling something, chances are somebody's going to have to fix it. That's normally how it works for me.

And so, when you started in the program and you had this new program manager who set everything up, how hard was that for her? When you think about somebody who's brand new now they're basically within your business and managing you. How long did that take?

Andrea: Like three days.

Alex Charfen: So just by [crosstalk 00:05:20] going through the process?

Andrea: Yeah, she was born for it. She was born for the job. The cool thing about how Charfen does things is I didn't know how to onboard her. So I loved that Charfen said, "Just give her access to the course. Tell her to watch the modules." She had an onboarding call with one of your team members to like, just for 30 minutes say this is how the process goes. By the end of the week, my calendar was booked out for the year for all of our meetings, all of our monthlies, all of our daily huddles, all of these 90 day reviews and our annual. It was amazing. And I just had to show up.

Alex Charfen: Andrea, we tell people that if you have a solid executive assistant, we can help you transition them to an operator within a few weeks. Would you agree with that?

Andrea: Yeah. Easy. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex Charfen: Awesome. Awesome. I love your perspective because it's so new. So Justin, let's go to you. It looks like we lost Amanda. I don't want to what happened there, but we'll hopefully she can sign back in. Justin, so you've been with us one year this month. You've got a retail business, you did about three last year, you're going to do about six this year. What was the big change for you in creating this strategic plan?

Justin: I don't think the change was so much more for me as it was my team. There was a lot of complaints. I go to a lot of events and things and I go there and I come back like, "All right guys, scrap all the stuff we've been doing. [inaudible 00:06:44] this way now. And honestly that's why I got into, or I found out about you guys because remember Devin was the one who introduced me to you.

I knew nothing about the cadence prior to that. I think I caught your podcast like twice so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. But I think it was really good for them because they were really frustrated with me pretty much that whole year prior just because I always come back with something new and something different. And that just felt like we don't know where we're going and every time you go and you come back we just know something's going to change, which I felt bad because when I got back from your event I changed stuff.

But that really I guess was the big thing is it put us on a plan for the whole year as opposed... and we don't deviate. We set up the annual meeting, then we do a quarterly, then the monthly, and the weekly and so on. And so, now there's no more shiny object syndrome. It's just this is the plan for the year. We'll look at it and adjust if we need to every quarter and every month. But it's just consistent throughout the year now. So that I think has been the biggest thing in terms of just the cadence and the strategic planning.

Alex Charfen: Justin, a lot of CEO's get nervous about strategic planning and this is why. Like here's the thought that a lot of entrepreneurs have is, if I have to do this strategic plan thing, it's going to take away my freedom to make decisions and my freedom to grow the business. Did you feel that way when you first started looking at planning?

Justin: No. I think for me, because I never did it, I never did any strategic planning. So for me it was like I didn't want to. But once I actually... I was like, "Holy crap, I can breathe. I feel like now I know what's going to happen." Because before, it was just kind of like shoot from the hip, this is working this month, let's run with it. There's another idea, let's go run with that." So I didn't really want to do the whole strategic planning thing, but it was a better...

Alex Charfen: Well, one last question, just because I know Channing. What has strategic planning in your business done for your marriage?

Justin: Oh man, I'm a nicer person. I'm not as stressed at home because everybody... you know as an entrepreneur you have a hard time, like you said, turning it off. And if I have a bad day, I bring that home. I'd work at home. I may not even have pants on and you wouldn't even know.

No. So, I don't ever leave the office. So, I was always here. So just having, I had to say it, I do have pants, just for clarity.

Alex Charfen: Underpants.

Justin: So it just makes things a lot easier and I can [inaudible 00:09:09]. I essentially not turn it off, but I'm okay. You know what I mean? Like I know what's happening tomorrow and next week. And then in a month, whatever. Yeah, really that's been a big deal.

Alex Charfen: I bring that up for everybody because I was on a call with Channing and a little while ago and she was like, "Thank you so much." So Amanda, I'm glad we got you back on. So same question. Now yours is a unique situation. And for everybody who's listening, if you're in a practice situation, in a professional services situation, like lawyers, accountants, doctors, chiropractors, functional medicine, all of those things. When Amanda came to us, she was like, "I don't think this is going to work for us because we're different." Do you remember this conversation, Amanda?

Amanda: Oh yeah.

Alex Charfen: And it was we're different because we're a firm, and I have attorneys, and attorneys aren't entrepreneurs, and they don't think like this, and they're not going to want to do this. So Amanda, what did creating a strategic plan do for your law firm?

Amanda: It helps me have a life.

Alex Charfen: [inaudible 00:10:09].

Amanda: Yeah. It also helped me, I guess not feel like such a terrible leader because I'm bad at communication. I have an assumption that everybody thinks the way that I do and knows what's going on in my head. And so there was a lot of miscommunication, misunderstanding, not good clarity. Like one of my favorites, I know I've said this to you before, one of my favorite podcasts you ever did is that leadership is about repetition not about dictation.

And so, just learning to get comfortable in that spot has allowed me to... and the strategic plan put that together because we sat down all together and it was like, "Okay, this is what we're doing this year." And everybody's on the same page. And then once I finally implemented those weekly one-on-ones [inaudible 00:00:10:58]. It's become a very tight-knit group of people. And we all have a mission and care about our mission and know where we're going. And it's interesting that all of that happens through a strategic plan versus how do I become a better leader? You know, and reading all the leadership books a thousand times. Better communication is what that helped me do.

Alex Charfen: Yeah. You know what? It's so important that you just said that, Amanda, because I think that so many people, when they want to become a better leader, they go work on their mindset, which is important. It's important to want to become a better leader. It's important to fix what's going on in your head. But the problem is you can have the most optimistic, well thought out, engaged mindset. And if you don't have the right tactics, you are going to bang into a wall over and over again.

And so, I appreciate you bringing that up. Now, here's the big question. Do you now believe that strategic planning and a cadence system works in professional service firms?

Amanda: Yeah, Absolutely.

Alex Charfen: And just so that everybody is really clear, the people that you're working with day-to-day on the cadence are actual other attorneys. And so, even from an attorney's chair, they appreciate the process and the planning and the structure, right?

Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. And even just for the paralegals is a large part of it too. Because paralegals by their nature are not entrepreneurs. They're there to be a support personnel for the attorneys. But it's amazing once you actually allow them to have a voice they do actually have great ideas. They do have amazing insight as to where we can take this company. And part of it is because many of them are veterans themselves. So they can speak on behalf of what they feel like our clients need.

Alex Charfen: And it's like if they're veterans themselves, they also, they're true believers. And so, any type of a process or structure, or a system like this that's going to help them get more done they lean in.

Andrea: Right. Absolutely.

Jeremy Bergeron: Hey everybody, it's Jeremy Bergeron again. I'm a business strategist on Alex Charfen's team. I wanted to thank you personally for taking time to check out this week's episode. We send you so much love and appreciation and we just hope you know how much we really, really appreciate each and every one of you.

You know there's a reason why Russell Brunson said, "This is hands down the best content he's ever seen for entrepreneurs." If you want to take back control of your business, and you want to learn how you can implement these systems for faster business growth, to build a real team of true believers and get your time back, then head over to That's

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