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If you’re just starting a business or looking to expand, it’s helpful to understand the five phases of business growth to turn your idea into a fully-fledged, self-managing company. Today we discuss each phase in detail and how to transition from one to the next.
Greg Corombos: Hi, I'm Greg Corombos. Our guest this week on Expert Insights is Allison Maslan, CEO, and founder of Pinnacle Global Network. Her forthcoming book is entitled Scale or Fail: How to Build Your Dream Team, Explode Your Growth, and Let Your Business Soar. Allison is a strong advocate for turning businesses into self-managed companies so owners don't have to worry about all the day to day details and can focus instead on achieving business growth down the line. And Allison, thanks very much for being with us.
Allison Maslan: Thank you for having me, I'm excited to be here.
Greg Corombos: Well, you say that there are five different phases to building a self-managing company, which we'll get to in just a moment, but briefly explain what a self-managed business is, and why you're so passionate about this concept.
Allison Maslan: Well, business owners, you get into a business, and you have this dream of creating this big entity that is going to make a difference in the world for you and also for your family, your lifestyle, and to have freedom. So business owners, and up, you know, creating a glorified job for themselves where they're working 24 seven. And so what happens is that they are in the weeds of their business, and they don't know how to make that shift working on the business instead of in it. And therefore, they keep hitting walls, and then they stunt their growth.
Greg Corombos: Allison, let's get into the five phases. Now, the first two seem fairly simple. Phase one is the very start of a business. And phase two is kind of the bare bone structure of getting it off the ground. So elaborate on those two if you'd like to.
Allison Maslan: Sure. Phase one is, you know, you have this idea, you're getting it started, whether it's you or you and a partner. And you really are running the domain. It's like being a sole proprietor, you know, the five-man or the five-woman band where you're doing everything, right. You're passionate, you have this idea. And that will only get you so far. But it's a start.
And then you move into phase two, where you start to build a very small team. And, you know, a lot of times business owners, they don't even get to this part, believe it or not, because they're afraid to spend the money. But the statistics show that if you hire within your first six months of business, you're going to get to seven figures in about half of that time. So this is where you have a few employees is probably like a bookkeeper and assistant and maybe a marketing person. But you're still approving everything that comes in and out of your company.
So and then there's phase three. Should I just continue to go on here?
Greg Corombos: Yes, phase [three] is really where it starts to really build here. So talk about the components there.
Allison Maslan: So phase three is, then you start to really build out your team. You're you're getting a demand. People are wanting your product or service. You're needing to market your service, and then you're needing to fulfill that service. So it goes beyond you. Because there are only so many customers that you can handle, you know, in an eight hour 10 hour period.
So you've got your admin, your finance, your marketing, your sales, your customer service. And usually, there's, you know, more than one person in that area, maybe two or three. So you start to build a small team. And what also happens here is, you start to see a clearer vision of the company. Like in the beginning, it's more of a dream. But now, you know, you have systems and processes that are starting to form. You're beginning to have meetings with your team, and you're getting more consistent.
But what happens still here is the team can feel frustrated, maybe unmotivated. You're still operating like a boss and telling everybody what to do. And maybe they're not living up to your expectations. It's because you're still forming things here. It's not, it's still not completely clear yet. But it's starting to come together.
And the truth is that, according to Gallup, over 70% of workers say they are disengaged in the workplace. And that's why, you know, a lot of people aren't getting out of this phase three. So this is a really crucial time in the scaling of a company so that you can move on to phase four, where there's a lot more hope. And fun!
Greg Corombos: Yes, yes, exactly, which we'll get to in just a second. But as you're building this team, phase three would seem like the phase where getting the right talent in place to build out from there is very critical.
Allison Maslan: Yes. There is a saying that goes, What got you here will not get you there. And a lot of business owners will have some employees when they start, and they're great getting them to a certain level of growth, but they don't have the skills or the motivation or the passion or the experience to then take it to a much higher level.
And so once you start getting to this phase, and you're getting into, like the seven figures, or multiple, seven figures, you almost need to reconstruct your company from that level, like a new business, but not starting from the beginning. And you've got to have your A players to get you there. Like you're going to the Super Bowl, you can't have your B, C players. You need players.
Greg Corombos: Absolutely. So let's talk about phase four, the exciting phase as you put it. This is where it all really starts to come together. You've got your kind of ground level talent in place. And now you build upon that. And so this is obviously a critical phase to getting to the point where it is self-managing. How do you construct this now, in this phase four, to make sure that this is emerging the way that you want it to?
Allison Maslan: By this phase, you start to see the superstars in your company. You see the ones that go above and beyond what you're asking them to do. We call them entrepreneurialism, where they really are beginning to own that area of the company as if it's their own.
And so you start to elevate those people as leaders within those divisions of the company, whether it's marketing, sales, customer service, and so on. And you start to recruit those leaders that have been there and done this before. And so you, as the CEO, honestly want to be the dumbest person in the room. Like, you want to be surrounded by a team of leaders.
And so you begin to co-create, that's the word here, cocreate with your team. It stops being about you approving and micromanaging everything, which is what is happening still in phase three. And you're the bottleneck of the company, where you start to step back and say, You know what, I trust your team, you've got this. And it begins to be more of a brainstorming where they're coming to you with an issue, and you're saying, Hey, what do you think we should do?
And you let them begin to figure it out and own it and run with it. And that's how the pressure starts coming off of the CEO. Because they're asking questions like, you know, how can we delight the customers? How can we innovate? How can we grow revenue, expand margins, and increase profit?
I mean, how exciting for the business owner to hear the team asking those questions, instead of having to say, you know, hey, like, why aren't you out there? You know, what's happening? How many prospects do we have in the pipeline, right? They’re owning this, and that's when the shift begins to happen.
Greg Corombos: We're talking with Allison Maslan. She's the CEO and founder of Pinnacle Global Network her upcoming book is Scale or Fail. And Allison, that sounds like a dream come true. And phase five is kind of a celebration of all these things coming together. And successfully having scaled the business, as you've explained, this is obviously a very good thing for business owners. But how tough is it still for, you know, these type A people, who have put in all this sweat equity to build the business, to hand it over and let these people make decisions, even if they trust them,
Allison Maslan: You know, it's not easy, because we can be control freaks. And I've been there, and that's why in phase five, you really have to resist. You have to learn to shut your mouth That's a big thing, you know.
I just had an event; I have a team of CEOs that work with me that helped to mentor business owners all over the world. And I'm walking around, and they've got it, you know. I could jump in there and always add something. But basically, what that's telling my team, as you know, I don't trust you.
So I step back and let their magic come out because they really bring so much power and enthusiasm and wisdom to the table. So it really is about, you know, you have to learn to step back and trust and let go, and then you know, your baby's going to grow. You're going to impact so many more people, if you can, as the CEO, as the founder, can get out of the way, You know, and maybe spend some time with your family and go take some vacation.
Greg Corombos: So whether it's your own business or others you've consulted with, what is it like for these businesses when they get to phase five?
Allison Maslan: Well, you know, some of them will say, Gosh, Allison, I don't know what to do with myself. You know? It's a very odd place to be. But then they also, you know, it's not like they're leaving the business in this role. They can be out building relationships. I mean, that's where the real growth happens is who, you know. So they have time to go out there and forge these amazing joint ventures and partnerships. And they get to have their head clear. So they think of new ideas and new revenue streams that they can bring to the table and let the team brainstorm on. It's still there, baby. But they don't don't have to carry it all on your shoulders. And that is where the freedom happen.
Greg Corombos: How big does your business need to be? Or how big do you want it to be to have this structure in place? Obviously, if you want to be, you know, Amazon, that's obviously, you know, a company that wants to have a large profile, it certainly makes sense. But what if I just want to be the best retailer in town?
Allison Maslan: That is such a great question. You don't have to have a major enterprise to do this. I mean, this could be, you know, in the, let's say, two million, three million range in your business. Which, a retail store can absolutely do that. But it's about starting to build the team early. And it's really is the decision of the business owner how big they want to go. I personally think that most business owners think way too small, and they don't allow themselves to dream big, you know? Why not get to 10 million or 20 million or more.
So it really is, it's our limiting thinking that keeps us small. But you can have a wonderful life, take care of your employees so that their families are taken care of, and really get through the five phases in the, you know, the early seven figures of your business.
Greg Corombos: Fascinating stuff. And once again, we should point out that in October of this year is when Scale or Fail will be available. Allison, great advice. Fascinating concepts and a really fun discussion. Thanks for being here today.
Allison Maslan: Thank you so much for having me. And you know, you can actually order the book now on Amazon. It is on there.
Greg Corombos: Oh, fantastic.
Allison Maslan: For people want to get a jumpstart. Thanks for having me today.
Greg Corombos: Oh, you're welcome. Again, the title is Scale or Fail: How to Build Your Dream Team, Explode Your Growth, and Let Your Business Soar. I'm Greg Corombos.
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