In our inaugural podcast Josh Patrick talks about why he started The Sustainable Business Podcast. You’ll learn some of the following things:
- Why having a sustainable business is important.
- Whether it makes sense for you to think about the next generation of business owners.
- What are the two things that keep you from growing your business.
- What are the two things you need to learn to create a business someone else would want to own.
You’ll get a chance to hear how Josh thinks and whether Ask Josh Patrick is a place you want to hangout. If you think you might be right for our mentoring or mastermind programs, you’ll want to click on the button below and set a time to speak with Josh.
Finally, please let us know what you think. We would love to hear your comments about our opening episode.
Narrator: Welcome to the Sustainable Business Radio Show on podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. The Sustainable Business is all about creating great outcomes.
Here’s your host, certified financial planner, student, entrepreneur and private business expert, Josh Patrick.
Josh: Welcome to the Sustainable Business podcast. This is my first episode. I thought it might be useful if you’ll learn a little bit about what a sustainable business is and why I’ve decided to do the show.
First, I want you to start with asking yourself the following question: If I was running my business and if would still be here 100 years from now, what would I be doing differently in my business? Yeah, I know you’re not going to be running your business 100 years from now but what about the next generation? Let’s start there. What would you have to be doing in your business to allow it to continue under new management-ownership? That’s the question we’re going to be answering with this podcast.
I’ve asked my friend and coach Jason Billows to take the role of the interviewer for our first podcast. Jason’s going to help me keep on track and make sure we answer the big question – “Why should you listen?”
Let’s get started and bring Jason in.
Hey, Jason, thanks so much for agreeing to be the host of my inaugural episode.
Jason: Hey, Josh. Thank you so much. I’m thrilled to be doing this but I want to set you straight on something right from the beginning, I was the one who asked you if I could interview you. I just think that that’s really important because I think that I know things about you that perhaps would help the listeners out there to really understand why they should be listening to this podcast. I’m honored to be able to interview you but it was me who asked you to do the interview, all right?
Josh: Well, I need someone to keep me on the straight and narrow. I’m sure you’re the guy to do it.
Jason: Well, that’s the thing. Just as we were starting this podcast interview, I was saying to you, “You know, Josh, here’s the thing. I’m in the driver’s seat” because you’ve got a big presence. You’re a big guy like you hold the room. You hold the space in the room but I’m in the driver’s seat now buddy so you’re going to have to answer the questions that I’m asking today,
Josh: I’m looking forward to it.
Jason: Okay, cool.
Josh: Or maybe I have some trepidations about that too.
Jason: Yeah, you’ll have to wait and see what the questions are going to be first, right?
Josh: Yeah, I guess so.
Jason: Here’s the thing, Josh. You and I, I believe we first met at a conference. And then you and I’ve done a little bit of work together. We’ve been part of a mastermind group together. Here’s a few things that I know about you that people should probably know right off the top. I think they need to know that you’ve been really successful in business in a few different areas, not only in having your own business but also in being a really successful coach – helping other people with their business as coach-consultant. That’s one of the things I know but you. It’s about your success in business.
I also know that you love skiing and you love the outdoors which I think is kind of cool. You’re not just of one of these guys who sits behind the computer crunching numbers and giving advice. You actually get out and live your life. I love that aspect that you have in your life of a real – not so much work-life balance but a work-life integration. I think that that’s a really great quality that you have.
The other thing that I really know about you is that you’ve got a pretty dry sense of humor. I’m going to be honest. Sometimes it’s not all that funny.
Josh: I can tell you a story. The first time I did a presentation, and that was about 40 years ago, my father came along with me, he said, “You know, that was a great presentation except for one thing, don’t tell jokes. You’re not funny.”
Jason: I’m going to assume he was not a funny guy who thought he was too, right?
Josh: No. No, actually, I don’t think I’m funny. I know my father doesn’t think he’s funny. We’re just kind of no-fun type of guys. That’s all there is to it.
Jason: Okay. I honestly do think you’ve got a great sense of humor. These are all reasons why I love you Josh and why I’m glad that I’m getting to do this interview with you but we don’t have a lot of time here today so I want to dive into some things. I want to help to give listeners a really good idea about what it is that you’re going to be doing with the podcast and why it is that they should be listening to you. The first thing that I want to ask you is, really can you just clarify for us, who are the people that you’re looking to serve with this podcast? Who are they?
Josh: Well, the main people I’m and trying to serve are private business owners who have actually established a business and they feel kind of stuck. Not businesses that are solopreneurs but businesses probably that have somewhere between 5 and 25 employees. I’ll tell you what I found and this was true in my own business as I grew it. There are stages where there is massive learning that has to happen. The first one is when you get to about three employees, and the next one is about 10 employees, and then 25 employees, and then about 50 employees, and then close to 100. And then probably the next jump over 100 is a 200.
In each one of these stages, there’s lots of different things you need to learn. What I find is that, especially around to 15 to 25 employees, an awful lot of owners seem to lose their way. They’re not very good at sharing. They’re not very good at trusting and they certainly aren’t very good at delegating. Those are issues that really keep people from holding back.
My belief is that in that size of business is actually the salvation of the North American economy. I know you’re Canadian and I’m U.S. but the same thing is true up in Canada. It’s that a business who has 10 people is more likely go to 25 if the owners learn what to do than a single employer business going to 5 or 10 employees. So, if we’re going to really add employment, we need to be focusing on these businesses and we’re going to make businesses more successful so they can afford to hire more people which helps all of us by having a better economy. So that’s where my focus is.
Now, it doesn’t mean that other people won’t give value. If you’re an advisor to business owners, you should also be listening because, in my experience, an awful lot of advisors miss the boat. As you’re listening to this podcast, you’re going to pick up things, if you’re an advisor to businesses, that you might want to be applying with your business owner clients that will get you to a higher level of success and more importantly, a higher level of implementation of the ideas that you have. Does that make sense?
Josh: Yeah. That does make a lot of sense. Two things that you just mentioned that I think are really important – I like that idea of not just talking about things in theory but also about being able to help advisors or help business owners to implement things – actually put them into practice. But here’s a thing that really struck me when you said that if you’re an advisor to businesses of these sizes that you should be listening so that you understand what their challenges are, what it is that they need to be doing. That’s one of the reasons why I’m going to be listening to this podcast regularly because I have clients who fall into that size of a company who are struggling with a lot of things with their growth.
You mentioned the different milestones that people hit when they’re growing and those unique challenges that they have. I know that for me—although I’m not necessarily working on the same systematic approach to growing the business. I’m working on other elements of the business owner’s life and work. I know that that’s going to be really valuable for me.
Now, also for people that—let’s say you’re just a solopreneur right now or you’ve only got a couple of people in your business, if you have aspirations to grow then I think this will also be really helpful for people like that because they’re going to be able to learn in advance what are the things that I need to look out for? What are the things that I need to avoid? Or what should I be working towards? Even if I’m not yet there yet, you know?
Josh: Yeah. I think that’s true. I think that your solopreneurs could get some value from it. It really comes out of “Do you want to be more than a solopreneur?” There’s an awful lot of folks I know in the single business owner category that are really happy being there and they have really no interest in getting larger. For those who are interested in getting larger, this podcast will be really important because it could help you save thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in mistakes that you won’t make because you’ll learn what the best practices are.
Jason: It’s something that you mentioned off the top, I guess, was use that term sustainable business. And that’s the name of the podcast as well, right? What is sustainable business anyway? Why did you name the podcast that? What does it really mean? What’s your definition of a sustainable business?
Josh: That’s a great question. First of all most people, when I say sustainable business, think I’m talking about environmentally sustainable. That’s a piece but it’s not really what the podcast is about. A sustainable business is one that’s economically viable and it actually creates a return on capital.
I’m not going to get into the complicated formulas that return on capital actually involves but let’s say you have a business that’s doing $500,000 a year and you’re making $50,000 in that business and you’re paying yourself $60,000, so it’s essentially $110,000 in free cashflow. That’s not enough if you want to grow your business. So sustainable business is – first, thinking about profits first. And it’s also saying, “How do I get myself out of the way of the business?” And this is why a lot of businesses never really grow because everything has to run through the business owner and the business owner becomes the bottleneck in the business. If you are interested in becoming what I call operationally irrelevant or become a passive owner then you’re really never building a sustainable business.
Finally, what a really sustainable business is, it’s a business that you’ve created that other people would die to own. It’s not necessarily you’re going to sell your business but if your business is what we call sale-ready which means it’s ready to be sold all the time, you have a business that’s profitable, that’s growing, that’s fun to run and other people think you’re so cool they just got to own it. And someday, you’re probably going to want to leave your business and having the option on whether to sell it, pass it to managers, pass it to family is really a good option. The other two which is you liquidate a business or you go bankrupt are not especially attractive. So, if you’re going to be sustainable, it’s got to be a business that somebody else would want to own someday down the road.
Jason: And as you say, even if you don’t have that intention of selling, it’s certainly nice to have the option.
Josh: Yeah. My experience is once we actually get our clients to build a truly sustainable business, they don’t want to sell it. In fact, most people who walk in my office, I ask them, “Okay, what do we want to talk about?” They say, “I want to sell my business.” I say, “Okay, great. When?” “Yesterday.” And what that always tells me is they haven’t built a sustainable business. They’re involved in too much of the business they’ve been doing it for 20 or 30 years. Frankly, these folks are burned out. They don’t have to be. Once we teach them, it’s really a pretty simple four or five things you need to do. They get to go from being too much involved in the business to becoming operationally irrelevant in business and allows them to focus on the right things that really add value to a business.
Jason: Let’s touch on that a little bit. You say that there’s these four or five key things. I realized that there’s probably a lot of work that needs to be done around those things. But if there were just one or two tips that you could give to a business owner, if they wanted to create a sustainable business like you’re describing, what are two things that they should start out with?
Josh: Well, there’s two things that they have got to do. (1) You have to learn how to delegate. And to learn how to delegate, there’s two things that come into play. (1) Do you trust the people you’re working with? And if you don’t trust the people you’re working with then you’ve got the wrong people, so then you need to change your people. (2) The second thing is you have to learn a tolerance for mistakes. Now, let’s face it, we all make mistakes.
The problem I see with a lot of small businesses is the business owner pretends they never make a mistake and any time something goes wrong it’s because of their idiot employees. And because they’ve got idiot employees, there’s no way they can delegate real responsibility to them.
I can tell you, every statement I just made is absolutely 100% false. Your employees aren’t idiots. They want to do a great job. And if they’re not able to do a great job, you should really look in the mirror and not blame your employees. It’s likely you systems aren’t very good and your processes aren’t very good and your expectations have not been set for what you really want your people to do and they’re trying to make it up all along. The fact is your employees don’t want to make it up. They want to know what they need to do for success and it’s your job as a business owner to make sure that they actually get that.
So, to give you a long answer to a short question, it’s really two things: learn to trust your people and have a high tolerance for mistakes. But there is one more thing I have to say about mistakes, it’s that when someone makes a mistake you always have to ask him this question, “What did you learn?” Because if we don’t learn something from our mistakes, then the mistakes we’re making were just a complete waste of time. If you look at all the really good business owners who have built fabulous organizations, they’ve all done those two things.
Jason: Wow. This is really landing with me right now. Those two points are absolute gems. But the reason that it’s really landing with me is I have a client who, a few months ago, was having some issues with delegating. I guess we could call it relinquishing some control of their front-end staff – the people that were really working in the front lines. What we finally did was we had her tell her staff that, “Look, you can make any decision that you want as long as it doesn’t cost this company more than $100.” What ended up happening was the staff said, “Great!” and they felt like they had all this freedom. But the result then for the business owner was that she ended up having all of these $100-mistakes happening again and again and again. What she wasn’t doing was exactly what you just said – asking them what did they learn and what are we going to do differently now so that you know how to either make a different decision in the future or resolve the problem without it costing that money.
And so, it’s been a little bit of a learning curve. This is why people need coaches. It’s not just a matter of “Hey, let’s read this in a book and then apply it.” Being able to work with somebody who’s been through this before, who’s seen the ups and the downs of trying to implement some of these different things and really figuring out what it means to integrate these things into a business is key. I guess that raises the question for me then Josh of what qualifies you to do this stuff? What qualifies you to talk about this stuff? Why are you the coach, or the consultant, or the advisor to be helping these people?
Josh: Oh, I was just about to do what I often do which is quote a book. Well, let me tell you a little bit about my history, then I’ll tell you my quote. When I was 24 years old, I graduated from college. The easiest thing for me was to go into the family business which ended up being a good thing but it started off as being a disaster because my father and I fought like cats and dogs. He sent me to one location out of town he wanted me to close down. Instead, I picked up four or five new accounts and he said, “I don’t want to go there anymore so you buy it from me.” And I did.
I had one and a half employees. I was the one employee and I had a part-time person working with me. Very rapidly, our competitors went bankrupt. We ended up buying them out. So I went from one and a half people to 25 people overnight. Two years later, we bought another branch. Unfortunately, the other branch that we bought was the worst purchase in the history of the world of buying any businesses. I’m absolutely convinced of that.
I have made nine gazillion mistakes. I went from having one branch operation with myself and the part-timer. Then when we sold the company, we had built it to a four-branch operation with 90 employees. We were doing $6 million dollars in sales. That was in 1995. Today, that will be pretty close to $15 million in sales.
I’ve had a lot of practical experiences of building the operating companies that I do work with and help advice on. Then I left that business and went to the wealth management business which I’m still in today. I help people who own businesses to manage their wealth and get them to the point where they can financially afford to retire.
My educational history is a B.A. in American history. At Boston University where I went, if you were a B.A. in American History you had to read a lot. So I got into the habit of reading a book or two a week. I’ve been doing that ever since I graduated. I’ve read over 2,000 books on business so there is nothing that a private business owner can come across that I’m not aware of. Some of those things, I’m world class in helping people solve. And those I help do myself. But I’m at least competent to have a real conversation about literally everything.
On top of reading all the books, I’ve gone to over 100 seminars. I’ve taught over 500 companies strategic issues around how to make their companies better from financial planning, to marketing, to operations, to people management. I’ve done that and I’ve been working with businesses for a long time. I’ve helped businesses create some really good successes. I’ve helped some businesses avoid some gigantic mistakes that would have cost them well over $1 million.
In fact, a client I worked with recently, they brought in a new partner. I said, “Before you sign the deal, you have to what I call the prenup for business owners.” In other words, that if it doesn’t work out we can have a breakup clause so there’s no harm, no foul. As it turned out, he was a bad match. Had we not put the prenup in place, instead of giving him the $2 million dollars back he’ll get $3.5 million. So, because of just that one simple little thing, his company was saved from a $1.5-million mistake. I’m basically just a curious guy. I keep wondering though what makes things work? What’s under the hood? And if someone does bring something I’m not aware of, I’m going to go research it and find out what it’s all about. And then I can say, “This is a good idea and this is why.” Or “this is a horrible idea and let me ask you some questions about what’s important about it for you.”
Jason: You know, Josh, the combination of your personal experience with your education and your training and just that curiosity factor that you mentioned, I know that I’ve seen that come through in a really big way in the mastermind group that we have been a part of and the other work that I’ve done with you. You’re definitely the kind of guy that I want to have on my side when it comes to growing and scaling my business.
Okay, you’ve got the chops. We know that but here’s the thing that I’m also curious about – is that you’ve these successful businesses. You have a successful wealth management business now. You’ve got clients that you’re working with one-on-one to help them with growing their companies and scaling their companies and what have you. Why do this podcast? I mean, you don’t have to do the podcast. Why are you doing it?
Josh: Well, there’s a saying out there that it’s important to move from success to significance as you get a little bit older. I think it’s really key to share that wisdom that I’ve gathered as much as it is or as little as it is over the last 40 years or so. I’m 62 years old and it’s time for me now to start giving back. That’s one reason for doing it. The second reason is I really want help a lot of businesses create value for themselves and for the people who are in their communities. I think this podcast is actually a really good way to do that. My reason for doing it is let’s have some fun. Let’s create some value. Let’s learn a little bit. I know–gosh, I’ve got a list of almost 100 people I want to have as guests on my show who can bring value in little expert areas around the podcast. In fact, you’re going to be a guest of mine pretty soon on this podcast and we’re going to talk about coaching.
Jason: Yeah. I’m looking forward to that. It’s going to be a great episode. I’m really looking forward to it.
Josh: Yeah, me too. We have people like you on the podcast who have got real experience and are working in the trenches, not folks who are theoretic academicians. We might even do a show sometime about why I hate MBAs.
Jason: I’m definitely going to be tuning in for that one. That’s great. Look, Josh, obviously throughout our conversation here today, I think that listeners have a pretty good sense of what the show is going to be about, what they’re going to get out of it, who it’s for and why you’re just a great awesome guy that’s probably worth listening to. I know that a lot of people are probably thinking to themselves, “Hey, this Josh guy sounds like he’s somebody that I could really tap into for some knowledge here. God, I’d love to ask this guy, Josh, a question.” That kind of leads us right into this next thing I wanted to talk to you about to kind of wrap things up here today. Tell us about this whole brand of “Ask Josh Patrick”. What is it exactly?
Josh: Ask Josh Patrick is—I hate the term but it’s become an industry term. It’s an expert site. Essentially, an expert site is somebody who has information to share with the world that can add tremendous amount of value. I think Brendon Burchard may be the person who coined the term but I’m not sure.
What the Ask Josh Patrick site is about is these three areas. The first is going to be online learning. If you go to the www.askjoshpatrick you’re going to see a button on our home page that says “take our survey”. I would hope folks would click that button. It’s basically a three-question survey. The three questions are: What is the biggest problem that you’re facing? What is the biggest opportunity that you’re not taking advantage of? The third question is what keeps you up at night? Now, based on the answers that I gather from the business community, I’ve been asking these three questions for about six months now, will be the type of courses that we develop for online courses.
The second step people can take is they can join a mastermind group. Now, our mastermind groups are not coaching groups. They’re true peer-to-peer groups. The reason I’m doing it as a true peer-to-peer group with the moderator being me is that my belief is that business owners really know what they need to be doing. Nobody in your organization is going to tell you the truth. That’s just the way it works. It’s a fact of life. But other peers will tell you the truth. They’ll tell you where you’re doing things right. They’ll tell you where you’re doing things wrong. In our moderated mastermind groups, there’s not going to be people getting and pointing you fingers. The rule is you have to ask questions about what they would like to have happen during the conversation.
And then for those who want really customized work and they believe that they’ve got the ability to create massive value in their business, then you might want to think about hiring me as a one-on-one coach or a one-on-one mentor to help you through. Askjoshpatrick is going to have an awful lot of support material, blog posts, podcasts, and videos that are going to help you have a more successful business so that’s where it is.
If you’re interested in getting more information my e-mail address is josh@askjoshpatrick or you can do jpatrick@stage2solution. So, it’s jpatrick@stage2solution or josh@askjoshpatrick. When you go to askjoshpatrick and you think you have something that will be really interesting to talk with me about, there is a form for you to setup and setup a conversation with me. You’ll have to fill out a short questionnaire there and then I’ll be prepared to have a 20- to 30-minute conversation that allows you to evaluate whether our mastermind or one-on-one coaching might be something that’ll be good for you.
Jason: Askjoshpatrick sounds like it’s going to be an incredibly valuable resource for people. Here’s one of the things that I love. I love that you’re creating these mastermind groups as mastermind groups – not coaching groups. I think that that’s really valuable in the sense that as you say “having your peers be able to give you that feedback” and really be able to tap into people in perhaps other industries, competitive industries, complimentary industries and what have you. to have those different perspectives and have people tell you like it is. I think that that’s really valuable.
I know that I have access to a number of different mastermind groups that I could be a part of. I use that term mastermind groups pretty loosely because it’s really the ones that kind of come up a lot of the time for me are ones where “Ah, there’s a bunch of people that are looking to get together and connect because they’re lonely in their solopreneur business lives. But, you know, having the mastermind groups like you have where you’re really curating that group and putting that group together in such a way that it’s going to deliver value that’s going to be relevant to each of those members, I think, is hugely valuable.
And folks, I’d really recommended that you go to askjoshpatrick and fill out that survey there that Josh has mentioned because not only is it good for you to ask those questions to yourself but I think it’s really important to answer those survey questions so that Josh knows what kind of stuff to create for you. If you’re looking for something, if you’re struggling with certain things, I guarantee you if you say that you’re struggling with certain things you’re going to see an episode here on this podcast about it at some point to help you out. So make sure you go and do that.
Josh, I want to wrap things up here right now and just say “Thanks for letting me ask you some questions today and interview you today. I’ve got a much clearer idea of what this podcast is going to be about. I know that I’m definitely going to be tuning in. I think that a lot of other people will as well. Thank you so much for creating this free resource for us because I know that it’s going to be a huge benefit.
Josh: Jason, thanks so much for doing this. I truly appreciate it. You’re a great interviewer.
Jason: Thanks, I’m blushing.
Josh: Okay, thanks so much. I appreciate your time.
Jason: I know.
Josh: You’ve been listening to the Sustainable Business Podcast where we talk about what you need to do with your business if it was to be here 100 years from now. If you like what you heard and want more information, please contact me at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2 or visit us on our website at www.stage2solution.com or you can send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is Josh Patrick and thanks for listening. I hope to see you soon for another edition of The Sustainable Business.