In this episode, Josh speaks to John Pyron, also known as “The Business Doctor”. John is an International Business & Sales Expert, who provides coaching services which has proven to help thousands of businesses flourish into their full potential.
Today Josh and John speak about business plans as well as other interesting and helpful business-related topics, such as connecting with your employees and helping them create their vision to improve work flow and success rate in your business and their personal pursuits, as well as errors in the mindset of new business owners.
Some key points you will learn discover in this episode:
- Why long and excessive Business Plans aren’t always the most effective
- Sharing your vision and communicating effectively with employees
- The importance of stating your values
- Mistakes new business owners make
- The one-page business plan strategy
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show 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. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business.
Our guest today is John Pyron. John is the “The Business Doctor”. He started seven different businesses over the years. He’s been in network marketing. He’s had online businesses.
And the thing that made me really attracted to John when I was a guest is his attitude towards business plans. So instead of me talking a lot about who John is, we’ll let him talk for himself. Yeah, I think that’s where we’re going to start with John today. So let’s start talking about business plans. And how are you?
John: Great, man. I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.
Josh: Well, thanks for joining me today. I really appreciate it. So let’s talk about business plans. It sounds like you have sort of a similar experience to me. You started off with a 20- to 50-page business plan?
John: Yep, I mean, I spent a lot of time on it and then it sat on the shelf until next year when I did the same thing again.
Josh: So how many years did it take you before you figured out that really long business plan wasn’t very effective?
John: That’s really a great question. It was in 2006, I met a guy named Sol Bristol, joined a peer group called The Alternative Board, and that’s where I was introduced to the one-page plan. Really, really enjoyed it. Spent this ton of time really nailing down, “Okay, what is my vision statement?” because you only got a certain amount of space to put that in there so every single word has to matter and has to count. Also, in the mission statement, the objectives, the strategies and action plans. And what it did for me is it forced me to get very, very clear on what my vision was, what my mission was, what the top nine objectives because there’s only so many objectives that are going to fit on that page, and really nailed down what the strategies are that I’m going to actually use and then what action plans are so.
Josh: So what you just brought up is really interesting, is that If you can say it in a few words, it’s likely to be more powerful and it’s really hard to do it in a few words.
John: Yeah, I have just found, over the years, that simpler is better. It’s best way to go about it. And the more of a big deal that I am in my business, the less freedom that I have.
Josh: Isn’t that the truth?
John: It’s so true. Too many small business owners out there, they’ll hire a couple of employees and it’s almost like they want to get on their soapbox all the time and it’s all about them when, in reality, they really want their freedom. They have to serve those employees and make them better. And teaching this one-page strategy to my employees was probably the biggest game changer of all. It allows me to get more done and actually get my business plan accomplished on a regular basis because it gave us something to talk about.
Josh: So how is that true?
John: Taking my own plan first, like I just finalized my own plan for next year. And now that I finalized that plan for my business, I basically take the exact same format and I do it for my own life so every area of my life – fitness, health, finances and that sort of thing. Once I’m done with that, I basically take the one-page plan to my employee and I help them understand that– you know, it’s like Jaz-Z said, “I am not a businessman, I am a business, man.”
And so, teaching all of my employees that, “Hey, you’re a business inside my business and as long as you treat that area of your responsibility as a business, you’re going to be (1) a lot more happier, (2) a lot more productive, and your success is going to skyrocket. And so, teaching them how to think as a business owner within my own business, helping them develop their own vision for their role or their life for where they want to go, what their own personal mission is, and helping them to really identify the objectives that they want to get accomplished in 2018.
Josh: So there’s so much to unpack with what you just said but I’m going to focus on vision for a second. I’m assuming you need to have your employees tie-in to your vision with their vision?
Josh: And if they don’t, they’re not going to be a good fit for your organization?
John: Correct. Correct.
Josh: So how do you go about doing that?
John: So it all starts with what the company’s vision is first. Where are we going? So you can have a vision for a year, for three years, for five years or whatever that vision is going to be. And once you’ve nailed down your own company vision, sitting down with each employee and really breaking that down and going, “Okay–
Let’s just take my assistant, Erica, for example. Right? So she is my personal assistant. She handles also all my appointment setting and coordination and that sort of thing. So in order for me to achieve the vision that I have for my company which the current vision I’m working on right now is about a ten-year vision. And so, in order for her to fulfill her part in that, I need to help her understand, “Okay, what is your vision as a personal assistant? What is your vision as an appointment setter, sales coordinator, even coordinator?” When you see yourself, you know, you’re right here but, ultimately, where do you want to go in that role?
And, you know what, the hardest discussion to have with an employee is to help them understand is “Guess what, you’re not going to retire from here.” And most employers aren’t willing to actually have that discussion but it’s reality, okay? They’re going to invest a third of their life into my company and at the end of the day they’re not going to retire from my company because I don’t want them to retire from my company. I want to sell my company at some point and retire myself. So I’m going to retire before they’re even of age to retire.
John: So helping them understand that there is an exit strategy out of my company. And their skill set is here. Where do they want their skill set to be when they ultimately exit my company?
You see, the reason I’ve been able to be so successful in building teams is helping the employees understand that, “Hey, you know what? I want you to walk out of this company better than when you first came in.” So if I can help them be better and operate more in their strengths then I get my goal accomplished. So I help them create the vision for the area of my business that I want them to be super-duper-duper successful at. And I want them to be a whole lot more smarter than me in that area of my business. And so, a one-page strategy with that employee gives them the autonomy to own their own objectives.
Josh: That makes a ton of sense. And, frankly, you’re being an adult about how you’re going about coaching your people in the future. And, unfortunately, too many business owners are not adults about that. So I want to ask you about values because, for me, any vision I have is an outgrowth of my values.
Josh: Is that true for you, also?
John: Yeah, I mean, when you you talk about creating values, it’s like, “Okay, what do I want to be known by?”, right?
Josh: Well, value for me– I’ll give you an example, like one of my values is personal responsibility. Another one of my values is simplification which means I take the complicated and make it simple. The actual word for that is [inaudible 00:08:18] but I hate that word. So those are the values and from that, I build visions and missions off that. And I have found, over the years, that without clearly articulated values, people make up their own values for what your company is about.
John: I definitely would agree with that. And I haven’t done a lot of work in the area of values in years just because I did that work a long time ago and I’ve just been living that. You know, personal responsibility is probably my number one value. Taking 100% responsibility for every single thing that happens – not just in my business but in my personal life.
Josh: Right. That’s a great way to live your life. So you’re coaching your people and you’re having them do their one-page business plan. Where does systems fit into this?
John: So the one thing that I kind of of had an “Aha!” moment with about– kind of, I want to say, about six years ago, is the way the one-page plan has always been taught is you’re looking at objectives, strategies and action plans for a whole year. And I said, “Okay, well, how is this actually going to be executed on? And how can I systematize this where I can basically insert this into the culture of my company or any of my clients’ companies and create a system where that owner can literally disappear for months and come back and have that business be more profitable than when they first left?” And so, this becomes a part of that fabric. And that culture is, “Okay, objectives are annual. Strategies, we’re going to create our strategies for how we’re going to hit those objectives.”
But in order for a strategy to work, you really got to give it 90 days and you really don’t want to make any modifications for 90 days. So a system is an appointment, literally, in the calendar – in my own calendar to revisit my strategies once a quarter and do what’s called– I would call a baseline strategy, if you will, is “Over this last quarter, here’s the results that I got. Here’s all the stuff that I did to hit that. What strategies are working? What can be modified or improved? What is a strategy I can add? Or what strategy is not working?”
Josh: So my experience with systems is, if you put systems in place it’s one of the steps to help a business owner become operationally irrelevant. And, basically, what you’ve been talking about is how do you make yourself as a business owner to become operationally irrelevant. And very interestingly, you just said that your clients can take a month off, come back and the business is more profitable when they left.
And I actually think there’s a reason behind that that’s pretty interesting. I want to get your reaction to that, is that business owners tend to be pretty good at thinking strategically and really bad at acting strategically. And the reason for that is because they don’t have time because they’re so much involved in the tactical operation of the business that when they make themselves operationally irrelevant through using your tools, they now have time to act strategically and not just think strategically. Does that fit in with your thought process?
John: It definitely does. One of the best things I ever heard was from Warren Buffet. And it probably was game changer in how I create systems now and how I look at business is, as a business owner, there’s only one to three things that I should be doing. And if I’m doing more than one to three things in my business then I haven’t hired the right people or I suck as a manager and a trainer. Okay. But–
Josh: But in there.
John: –there’s only one to three things that I should be doing and it’s the top one to three things that will add the most value to the overall organization. And there’s a process that I walk every single client through in order to find out what those one to three things are. And then a lot of our beginning focus with the one-page plan is getting to that point.
Josh: So what is the process you walk people through to get there?
John: So I teach them how to create four lists.
John: So the first list is sitting down and writing out every single thing that you do as a business owner – you know, answering email, correspondence. Whatever it is that you do. You know, putting the stamp on a letter. I don’t care what it is. You’re going to sit down and list down every single thing that you do. That’s list #1.
List #2 is going to be – off of list #1, what am I not absolutely great at and I don’t want to do? That’s going to be list #2.
List #3 is going to be what’s left over is typically going to be “here’s the stuff I am absolutely great at and I want to do more of.” And that’s going to be list #3.
And then, finally, where the systematization comes in and the freedom comes in is looking at list #2 and looking at list #3 and going “Okay, what– list #4 becomes “What can be automated, delegated or outsourced?” And those things we get to put on– even if it’s stuff that you love to do. What are some of the things that can be automated, delegated or outsourced?” And that goes on list #4.
And now, we can actually go to the one-page plan, put those objectives in there. Come up with the strategies on how we’re going to get there. And then the action plans become, “Here’s what we’re going to do this month to get there.” And, over time, what ends up happening is you’re going to be doing less and less in your business and more of what you should be doing, like there are only three things I do in my business now.
Josh: And what are those three things?
John: I coach or mentor people, one-on-one. And I only work with 12 people at one time. I do public speaking which could be a seminar, a workshop, a webinar or a podcast. And I create content.
Now, it used to be I create, edit and curate content. And I found out I hate editing and curating. It’s a waste of my time.
Josh: I agree.
John: I would rather just pick up my phone and talk into it. Hand it off to Erica and you figure out what to go do with that and make all that magical stuff happen in the background. I don’t even want to know how you do it. I don’t care how you do it.
John: But those are the only three things I want to do in my business. And the cool thing is, I’ve got the team in place that allow me to do that. We’re on a podcast today. This is the first time I’ve ever had a chance to talk with you, right?
John: I didn’t seek you out. I didn’t set up the appointment. I didn’t provide me the instructions. All I did was show up, log on my computer. Here I am doing what I absolutely love to do which is answering questions and helping other business owners.
John: Those are the four lists and it’s a very, very powerful exercise.
Josh: So, during your four lists, something came to mind, one of my favorite books is Now, Discover Your Strengths and in there, they ask a very interesting question which is, “Is it more important to focus on what you do well? Or is it more important to improve your weaknesses?” I think I would guess what your answer would be. Well, what is your answer for that?
John: It’s easier to focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.
Josh: That’s exactly my answer. By the way, I have asked this question to well over a thousand business owners now and there’s an interesting breakdown between a business owner and their employees. If I ask business owners, “Would you rather improve your strengths or improve your weaknesses?” 99%, it’s almost never that a business owner says “improve my weaknesses”. When I talk with employees, it’s the opposite.
So why do you think that’s true? I’ve never been able to figure this out. So I’m going to ask you, John. So why do you think it is employees think improving weaknesses is more important than improving strengths?
John: Great, great question. Here’s my take on that. It’s almost comical. It’s most employees don’t hear from us as a business owner unless they’re doing something wrong. That’s human nature, right?
John: Most employees get attention from their boss when they make a mistake. And so, it’s ingrained in them. It’s like, “Don’t make a mistake. Don’t make a mistake. I’ve got to improve that. I’ve got to improve that. I’ve got to improve that.” And it’s the business owner–
Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People – you know that’s the first book that came to my mind when you even asked question, I’m like, “I’ve learned that a long time ago.” Is to catch them doing something right. Spend more time on what they’re doing right and how you can make them better and minimize the amount of time that you’re spending on what they’re doing wrong, right?
Like, any new employee, I just hired Erica about a month ago. And the very first instruction I gave her is, “I want you to make as many mistakes as you possibly can, as quickly as you can.
Josh: Well, that’s another– we’re going to do that in over time. We’re going to talk about mistakes when we end the podcast recording. So if you folks are listening, go to Facebook Live at Ask Josh Patrick and watch the end of this but that’s a topic all by itself which is a hugely big deal.
John: Yes, so the answer to your question is like, I think that is probably the biggest reason employees are more focused on, you know, wanting to change their weakness is because they don’t want to be harassed by their bosses anymore.
John: Yeah. And looking at the teams that I’ve developed over the years, out of the 12 clients I have right now, over 10 of them have more than 10 employees and I focus on helping them build their teams. And a shift in that culture has made a huge difference. And the teams are performing at a higher level when you focus more on what an employee’s strengths are and less on what that employee’s weaknesses are .
Josh: Yeah, that’s where you build teams with complementary strengths. And the challenge I find there is companies are dysfunctional. They throw rocks at people who are different than they are. Companies that are highly functional, they have great respect for the differences in their organizations.
John: Yeah, yep.
Josh: You’re actually picking out all the things that I think keep businesses from growing, is that, you know, if you take a look at the amount of businesses, 95% of the businesses in the United States, have less than 25 employees.
Josh: And there’s a reason for that, is that business owners hire helpers. They don’t really think about how to delegate effectively.
Josh: At least, that’s been my experience.
John: Yeah. I mean, Robert Kiyosaki, in his book, The Cashlfow Quadrant, talks about the difference between a B quadrant business owner and an S quadrant business owner. And most small business owners are– even thought they may be incorporated, they may be an S Corp, C Corp or whatever, they’re still a sole proprietor for the most part because they don’t ever duplicate themselves through their employees effectively.
Josh: Right. And what they really need to do is duplicate their weak self – not their strong self. And they need to duplicate their weak self with people who are strong at where they’re weak.
John: Yeah. I mean, John Maxwell wrote a book called The 25 Irrefutable Laws of Great Leaders. And the #1 law is the Law of the Lid which is a business will never outgrow the self esteem of the owner.
John: I think, the biggest mistake that most small business owners do is they get all fired up in the very beginning of the business. And there’s basically four stages to a business anyways but they get into stage one which is cashflow. They figure that out and then they never go beyond that.
John: And it requires them to grow personally and they’re like, “I have no idea how to do that.” And their ego is so big so they don’t want to let that down and get a mentor. And that’s probably the biggest game changer. I’ve had, In 27 years, there’s only been, I think, three and a half years, I haven’t had a mentor.
Josh: Right. That makes perfectly good sense. Hey, John, we are unfortunately out of time. So if somebody wanted to find you, how would they go about doing so?
John: Oh, great. Very simple, just go to johnpyron.com all one word, so J-O-H-N-P-Y-R-O-N.com – all my links to Facebook, Twitter – everything is on there. I always tell people, “If you feel like you resonate with me, there’s a button there called book appointment and you’ll get access to my calendar and I’m glad to give 10 minutes to see if there’s anything I can help you out with or if whether we’re a fit. But that’s how people would connect with me.
And I also have an offer for you. I have a one-hour, free audio CD. And for those of you who those fancy new cars without CD players, you can just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the audio file for it. It’s a one-hour free audio CD course called Success to Sustainability: The Five Things You Need to Do to Create a personally and economically sustainable business. And to get it, it’s really easy, you jut take out your smartphone and don’t do this if you’re driving. But you take out your smartphone when you stop driving, then you text the word SUSTAINABLE to 44222 and we’ll get it right on it’s way to you.
So you’ve been at the sustainable business. This is Josh Patrick. Thanks a lot for stopping by today. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802‑846‑1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an e-mail at email@example.com.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.