Momentum Podcast: 709
How to Stop Being the Biggest Bottleneck in Your Business
by Alex Charfen
In an entrepreneurial business, the most common issue I’ve encountered is that the entrepreneur in charge is buried by the responsibilities of running and growing that business on a day-to-day basis.
Alex Charfen, a business growth coach who helps entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses, gives practical, tangible, and actionable tips that you can implement into your business right now.
More often than not, entrepreneurs say that they are drowning in things that need to get done. At the end of the day, they look at what they still have left to do and wonder how in the world they are going to get it done.
It’s as if the entire business is hitting a bottleneck and there is no end in sight.
By the ed of this 24-minute podcast episode, you will understand:
– What the biggest bottleneck in entrepreneurial businesses is.
– The tangible, tactical, and transformative steps you need to take to break the biggest bottleneck.
– How getting past this will grow your business exponentially.
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Your business has the potential to change the world, and the only way to see that potential become a reality is to implement a strategic plan. If you're ready to learn more, go to https://charfen.com/standby to get started.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
One of the most common issues in entrepreneurial businesses is that the entrepreneur in charge is buried by the responsibilities of running and growing that business on a day to day basis. More often than not, entrepreneurs say that they're drowning in things that need to get done. By the end of the day, they look back at what they still have left to do and wonder how in the world they're going to get it done. It's as if the entire business is hitting a bottleneck and there's no end in sight. There's only one way to break that bottleneck and allow your business to grow faster than you ever thought possible. In this episode of the Momentum podcast, Alex is going to expose that biggest bottleneck in your business and give you the tangible, tactical and transformative steps you need in order to break the bottleneck and allow your business to grow exponentially.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazer, 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.
Today's topic is: How to stop being the biggest bottleneck in your business, how to stop being the thing that is really stopping your business from growing, you know, that's that's really what happens is for us as entrepreneurs when we become the biggest bottleneck in our business, it's so challenging because we actually stop our business from growing. And here's why this happens in so many, so many different businesses. In fact, when you look at the statistics, it is clear that most entrepreneurs never get out of being the biggest bottleneck of their business.
And people ask me, like, how do you know that? How can you say that? Well, if you just look at the numbers in the United States, it's clear most entrepreneurs say the biggest bottleneck don't get a lot of leverage and don't get a lot of help. Let me let me show you these appropriate covid numbers. But prior to covid-19, there was about twenty nine million businesses in the United States. That's a huge number. Twenty nine million twenty two thousand of them are less than one hundred thousand dollars a year in revenue. Sorry. Twenty two million of them or less than one hundred thousand dollars in revenue. So out of twenty nine million. Twenty two million never break six figures a year.
Because the six figure transition for a lot of entrepreneurs is what you have to start getting help, where you have to start getting leverage, where you have to stop being the biggest bottleneck. What do you have to stop just making things up as you go along or handling things as they come in and start putting in the infrastructure of a business together. And that transition from I'm going to do it all now. I need systems, I need structure, I need support is a very difficult transition for entrepreneurs to make. In fact, you know, every one of us and let's just get real about what it's like to be an entrepreneur. Every one of us has had that period in our lives where we are doing too much. We are putting tons of stuff, tons of pressure on ourselves where we're like, we don't have the right resources, we don't have enough time, we don't have enough leverage, but we still get whatever we're trying to get done. So every one of us has been through that period of really hard times and then finally nailing it and making it happen and getting there.
And so a lot of times we don't even notice that we've transitioned to becoming the biggest bottleneck in our business. We don't even notice that we are the main element in the entire world that is holding our business back from growing.
And when I look at the numbers, twenty nine million, only twenty in twenty two million are under one hundred thousand. It gets a little weirder than that if you look at all the way up to a million dollars in business. So twenty two million are under one hundred thousand. Then there's one point seven million that are from one hundred thousand three hundred and one point nine million from three hundred thousand to a million.
So under a million dollars, you're looking at the vast majority of businesses in the United States. It's twenty to twenty four to about twenty five and a half million businesses in the United States out of twenty nine million never break seven figures. And so there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there.
I would say the majority of entrepreneurs out there are stuck being the biggest bottleneck in their business. So today, let's figure out or let's talk about how you get out of this. And so first, I want to I'm going to cover three areas of this this issue. And I wrote down some notes here. I want to make sure I nailed this for you. Angelina, thanks for being here. I want to I want to share three different aspects of being the biggest bottleneck in your business.
So, number one, how it feels. I want you to see if you're feeling any of these things in your business, see if any of these symptoms are coming up for you. The second area I want to cover is why this happens. Like, why is it that we naturally, almost programmatically become the biggest bottleneck in your business? By the way, if you're feeling like you're the biggest bottleneck, do not beat yourself up those numbers that I shared. I want you to know you're in the majority if you're feeling like you're the biggest bottleneck. This happens to all of us. In fact, it happens to us repeatedly. This has happened to me. I have to consistently get myself out of being the biggest bottleneck in the business. In fact, every time the business grows just a little, you go back to being the biggest bottleneck. Often times that that's like a cycle that occurs. So you have to consistently and repeatedly get yourself out of this place. So I'm not sure why it happens. And then the third thing is I'm going to share how you exit being the biggest bottleneck, not just for one time, but how you exit being the biggest bottleneck. And you never go back to being the biggest bottleneck in your business. You never have that psychic and emotional, energetic pressure of knowing, maybe not fully admitting to yourself, but knowing in some level of conscious or subconscious or less than conscious understanding that you are holding things back.
Because for us as entrepreneurs, what do we live for?
Like you tell me, what do we live for? We live for momentum.
Do you hear that word or do you feel it like every time I said the hairs on my arms just kind of stand up because I want to be in momentum, I want to be going forward. I want to be making things happen. I want the world to be following in my wake. I want the outcomes I want to see in the world happening. I want to I want to change the world and leave my dent in the universe. Who's with me. So if that's how you feel about being an entrepreneur, let's talk about getting you out now and forever from being the biggest bottleneck. So first, let's talk about how it feels. So the reason I want to share how it feels is I want you to be able to self diagnose if you are the biggest bottleneck in your business. Here's why. Here's why. So often we blame ourselves for what's going on in the business, but we don't realize what's really happening. We blame ourselves for not being good enough. We blame ourselves for having the wrong mindset. We blame ourselves for not working hard enough. We blame ourselves for not getting up early enough and not staying up late enough. And, you know, we go out and we start doing things like we're now in the five a.m. club and we're taking on more personal development information and more and knowledge. And we're listening to podcasts and we're looking for the solution. The reality is there is a tactical reason that this happens. So this is what it feels like when you're the biggest bottleneck.
No. One, you're doing too much.
You consistently feel like you are doing too much. Now, if you're if you don't have a team yet as an entrepreneur, it still can feel like you're doing too much when you are just a single person business. It can feel like you are involved in everything in the business. You're just you're trying to get it all up and running and you're tactically overwhelming in the present. Now, if you have a team, this this content really applies to this. This broadcast really applies mostly to people who are either who have a team or are about to start hiring a team. And if you don't feel like you're the biggest bottleneck or don't have a team, then listen to this podcast anyway, because I'll show you how to never become the biggest bottleneck as you bring in your team. And so if you feel like you're doing too much, you're involved in everything. You're tactically overwhelmed in the present. And what does that tactical overwhelmed look like? You know, when I describe tactical overwhelm, it's like when everything in the present is loud, when everything in the present demands your attention, it can get very difficult to select where to go next. It can be almost nearly impossible to understand what the next best steps are. Tactical overwhelm narrows our perspective of what's possible. It brings the future in closer. It narrows the options that we have. Tactical overwhelm makes everything even harder. So not only are you the biggest bottleneck in your business, but when you become that bottleneck and you hit that tactical overwhelm, then you hit this. This.
This condition we call decision making fatigue.
Decision-Making fatigue is that feeling when you are doing everything and trying to show up for everything and trying to make the right decisions and trying to move things forward, and it just gets more and more and more overwhelming. It's brutal. So if you're feeling those things, this is why it happens. Let's transition to the second area. I said I was going to talk about why does why does becoming a bottleneck happen? Why is it so natural that it happens?
Well, here's why. As we transition from starting a business to growing a business. Things change when you are that small fifty thousand dollar a year business or one hundred thousand dollar a year business, there's not that many things that are going to challenge the businesses.
It's a smaller business. You know, if you're in a 50 or 100 thousand dollar business, you're probably thinking, oh, yeah, there's a lot of challenges.
[00:10:06] But the challenges in one hundred thousand dollar business compared to the challenges in that five million dollar business is immaterial. They don't they won't even register in a five million dollar business because there's so much more going on. And so here's why we end up in this place where we feel like we're the biggest bottleneck. When we first start our business, we are basically transactionally managing ourselves. That means we figure out what to do. We get it done, then we figure out what to do next. We get it done. We figure out what to do next. If you've started a business, do you relate to what I'm saying? Have you been there? You're like doing it, making it happen, doing it, making it happen. Now, here's what happens. Unless we have better information or unless we have some training or some understanding or someone has shown us the way like I will do with you today, we take that transactional management of ourselves, of figuring out what to do, getting it done, figuring out what to do, getting it done, which, by the way, that's something we congratulate ourselves for. It's like a pat on the back. I figured out what to do. I'm moving things forward. I'm making things happen.
And we take that same type of management and we transition it to the team. We start hiring. So we bring in that first person and we tell them what to do. And we checked it. It got done and we tell them what to do. And we checked that it got done and we tell them what to do and we check they got done. And it is exhausting. That first person sometimes feels like, oh, man, I think I'd just rather just do this by myself.
Right. And then you hire another person and you go from one to two. Now you're outnumbered. And how is it that one person was difficult but two people are ten times as hard? Why? Because you're telling them what to do and checking them got done and telling them what to do and check. And then I got done. For a lot of people, the scenario goes like, excuse me, but you hire that second person. Dang, I don't know what just happened.
You hire that second person and.
It gets so overwhelming that it actually feels harder as you get more help, but you get some leverage in the business, the business grows. Now there's more pressure and you're telling what to do and checking out the garden and telling what to do and checking the garden. And the challenge is that if you grow a business in that transactional way, you are committing committing to being the biggest bottleneck in your business. Because here's what happens when people don't know where they're going, when they don't know the outcome, when they don't know the next steps, when they don't have a clear destination, a clear outcome they're creating in the business. They are required if they want to be productive, to come back to you and check in and say, what do I do next? Where are we going now? I finish this, what do I do next? And that is why as entrepreneurs, we get overwhelmed.
And I want to I want to I want to talk about like this this entrepreneurial culture we have where entrepreneurs in general say things like, I'm not a good manager of people. I can't really hire a team. I'm not good at communicating with the team. I tried hiring and I wasn't that great at. Well, here's the reality. Most entrepreneurs are incredible leaders. You are probably an incredible leader. You probably lead people in some way. But when it comes to the details of management, that's when it gets frustrating. Well, here's the issue. When we are stuck in that transactional management loop, we are never going to get out of it. We are managing. People were repeating ourselves. We're doing things and entrepreneurs hate to do. We're saying the same things over and over again. We're answering too many questions. We're repeating ourselves. We're telling people something that we've that we've already told somebody else on the team. And it drives us crazy. You can hear it in entrepreneurs language. They say things like, oh, I'm so sick and tired of telling my team what to do or I just wish everybody would take initiative or I wish I just can't get out of the way. Everything keeps coming through me.
So let's talk about how you exit this transactional management. Let's talk about how you exit, why you become the biggest bottleneck, and let's talk about how you you you not only cast off this identity of being the biggest bottleneck in the business, but we create a structure so that it never happens again.
So here's how you go from being the biggest bottleneck where you're telling people what to do and checking that it got done and telling people what to do and check. And then it got done to where you are. No longer the bottleneck and the business will scale without you having to increase the effort on a daily basis. Because when you're in transactional management, the more people you hire, the more business you do, the more successful you are, the more you are going to have to do. And our goal as entrepreneurs has to be and this is this is something I don't talk about a lot, but I don't think a lot of entrepreneurs have actually recognized this and said, oh, this is actually my goal. Our goal is to do less and less as the business grows larger and larger.
I mean, for a lot of us with our personality, that actually hurts to say that it's like, oh, I'm going to do less, I don't want to do less. I want to show up. I want to perform. I want to make things happen.
But the reality is, if you're going to grow and scale a business, you must do less and less in the business as the business grows and scales. So how do we get it to the place where instead of being the biggest bottleneck in the business, you are offloading what you're doing, you're growing the business, you're doing less and less as the business grows? Well, we go from what we call transactional management, telling them what to do, checking and got tell them what to do, checking and got done. And we switch it to transformational leadership. And here's the difference in transformational leadership, in transformational leadership. Rather than telling people what to do in the present, you tell them where you're going. You give people a clear outcome, like here's where we're going.
You coach their success along the way. So you point them in a direction, you show them where they're going. Then you coach success along the way so that they do it the right way and systematically show them how to do it. And then you get leveraged results. Here's what I mean by that. When you show people where they're going and you coach success along the way, they learn with you. When someone's creating the outcome and they're creating the success, they actually are going to be a lot more excited about it, a lot more into it. And you're going to get a lot more energy and perspective from them. And then leverage results is where you will start getting more productivity and more profitability out of every member of your team. Think about that as an entrepreneur, what is our goal? Our goal is to get the highest amount of productivity with the least amount of effort, energy and resources. That's just how we should always think. And so if we switch from transactional to transformational, we automatically are going to get that much more out of every single member of our team. And here's how we do it. We create a strategic plan. When I say that we need to have a clear outcome in the business. Here's what I mean by a clear outcome, a plan that shows all the projects, everything the business is doing and shows everyone in the business what is happening. So everyone knows the destination your company is on and going after. And we talk to hundreds of entrepreneurs a month. And one of the questions we always ask is, does your company have a strategic plan? And what often happens is people will say, oh, yes, yes, we have a plan.
We'll say, great, pull it up. We'd love to take a look at it. And they said, well, well, the plans really in my head, I mean, my team knows that we talk about it. I don't really have it written out. Well, when I say in order to go from transactional to transformational, there are some requirements. Number one, the plan has to be in writing. Everyone has to have access to it on the team. So if you are in a place where the plans in your head, that's a commitment to transactional management.
Every time there's an issue, somebody's going to have to come and do and ask. And if the plan is in your head, you want it's like you want them to come to you. They have to come to you. There's nothing else they can do. There's no other resource to use. So the second way that we make a plan real is not just it's in writing. Every person has has it. And this is big. It's easy to understand. And then you put it together in a system, in a process where it's impossible to misunderstand. So everyone truly understands where you're going, regardless of what size team you have. They all know the outcome. When you look at teams in the world that accomplish extraordinary things, things that like like are just ridiculous. Like I think of SpaceX for the first time that I saw that company launch a rocket and then bring it back and landed like a rocket, like sitting up. It looked like CGI. It looked like special effects. It was crazy. But you know what? That company had an incredibly clear outcome. We are going to create a reusable rocket system that can go into space, that we can get back down to earth and use it again without damaging it. And they went after it in that way. And the thousands of engineers that had to make the calculations to make that possible and a feat so incredible, it didn't even look real.
They couldn't have done that if Elon Musk was saying, OK, today we're going to work on propulsion systems, today we're going to work on guidance, today, we're going to work on navigation. What did he do? He said we're going to we're going to take off a rocket, put it into the orbit, bring it back and use it again. And that level of clarity on outcomes is why massive things happen in the world. And so when you look at huge organizations that are literally changing the world around us and reforming how we even think about what's possible, they have hyper clear outcomes.
And in most entrepreneurial companies, where there's transactional management and people are struggling and they're not really doing what they want to do and they're not putting out the effort that they want to put out, it's because they don't have clear outcomes.
And so the shift here is creating a plan where it's easy to understand, the impossible to misunderstand. It's in writing. Everyone has it. And here's what will happen. Not only will you stop being the biggest bottleneck in your business, because that's the goal here. We want to get you out of being the biggest bottleneck, get you out of being the element of the business that's holding it back. Because, man, as an entrepreneur, you feel that psychically. You feel that physically. You feel that energetically. It's like it's punishing to know that you're holding everyone around you back. It's punishing to know that you're holding back the impact and the income your company could be making. And so here's what happens if you're willing to create the processes in your company where you create a strategic plan and then you do so over and over and you distribute it to your team. And the way that we have our members do it is every 30 days they create a strategic plan. We have a one year plan that's updated every 30 days. Everyone on the team understands what the productivity is going to be for the next 30 days. There's clarity as to every project. There's clarity as to why you're doing it. There's clarity as to who's involved with what, what scoreboard you're using to keep track to know if you're moving forward. When you have that level of clarity, it's like your entire team becomes supercharged. And here's what happens.
Instead of being the biggest bottleneck, this magical thing happens, your team gets out in front of you.
They actually lead the way, they start knocking down goals and outcomes and making progress without you having to lead the charge, your team actually goes out and does it for you. Because as entrepreneurs, if you've heard me, you've heard me say this before or if you've watched me for a while, you've heard me say this before. As entrepreneurs, we get up every day, travel into the future, create a new reality, come back to the present and demand it becomes real. And when we spell that future out for our team, they can get out in front of us and help us make it happen. Because here's the reality for us as entrepreneurs. What we want to have happen in this world, the outcomes we want to see created in this world, are probably going to take more than just our individual effort, the bridge to making the contribution we know we want to make, the bridge to making the changes we want to make, the bridge to making the impact that we want to make. The bridge to helping as many people as we want to help is to go from me doing everything to we are accomplishing this together. And when you create a strategic plan and step out of being the biggest bottleneck and show it to your team so they can get out in front of you. You'll actually be able to do that, you'll actually be able to make the transition from doing everything yourself to now having a team that is supporting you, helping you, and in a lot of cases out in front of you leading the charge. And so.
You know, when you look at being an entrepreneur and making the impact that we want to make.
If it's significant enough, then this is the transition we all must make, the transition from it being just us to us, to it being the team and everyone around us making an impact and helping people out there in the world. And when we're willing to make that transition, that's when we truly go out and leave our mark, make our dent in the universe, make the impact we want and see the change we want to make in the world actually happen.
And so I want to help you do that.
And if you've ever felt like you're the biggest bottleneck in your business and if you've related to what I've said here, I just want you to know this is near one hundred percent of entrepreneurs feel this until we are shown that there's an exit ramp where we can get into trans transformational leadership and leave transactional management completely behind. In fact, leave management completely behind, period, and lead our businesses around an outcome so that our team gets out in front of us and helps us get there. Everything in our business and our lives change.
We see this all the time in our memberships.
We have members come in, create their strategic plan, turn it over to their team, start getting the support they need, get their team out in front of them and suddenly everything in their lives change. The relationship they have with their spouse, improves the relationship they have with their kids, improve. We see our members all the time, start getting in better shape. Accomplishing personal things is that they wanted to accomplish forever. Why? Because as entrepreneurs, we don't just want momentum, we need it. But when we have a team that is out there creating the momentum in the world for us, when we have a team that is putting out the the impact that we want, that is making things happen for us, we can start to do the things we've always wanted to do and grow even faster. So when you stop being the biggest bottleneck in your business, oftentimes that is the transition to being the person you've always been meant to be. That's why this is so important. That's why this is so life changing for entrepreneurs.
Hey there, this is Eddie Kurk with Alex Charfen team, thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Momentum podcast.
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