You’ve probably figured out the not-so-secret bit about growing your business: if you’re not careful, you can find yourself working harder for your business than it’s working for you.
Or perhaps you’ve reached that growth plateau where it seems like what you’re doing isn’t working but you don’t know what else to do — or, even worse, you have some ideas about what you need to do but don’t have the clarity and confidence to do it because what you’ve done in the past has worked well enough to get you where you are. (Right?)
Or maybe you’re just tired of manning the helm of your business all by yourself and want to pull in a trusted partner to help you chart your course and make the hard decisions that you keep meaning to get to but just … don’t.
If any of those resonate with you, I’d love to help you make your business work better. For you. For your team. For your customers. For your ecosystem. Businesses should serve people, not the other way around.
The Essentials You Need to Know About How I Can Help You
I am a cross between a business architect, navigator, and mechanic. I have the unique ability to flow between Big Picture strategy, the mid-range picture it takes to achieve goals, and the details of the day-to-day stuff that comes up.
Here’s the least you need to know about me:
- I illuminate and resolve challenges people didn’t know they had and show them how to pursue opportunities they couldn’t see or think they could do.
- I focus on developing long-term relationships with fewer clients rather than running a coaching mill. I help clients get to the top and stay there, which requires long-term partnership. That and I love my clients and the work we do together. While I often find quick fixes — especially in sales and marketing — the best results will take time.
- My areas of focus are: strategy execution; team building; branding; sales and marketing; leadership; strategic customer development; business model development. (The outcomes section below will likely be more meaningful for you if you’re unfamiliar with those functional specialties.) I eat complex business puzzles for breakfast. If you want a specialist, I’m not your guy, as my value-add is helping a founder work through all of the major strategic considerations rather than just focusing on tactical issues.
- I’m neither pro-big or pro-small – I focus on helping people build the business so that it best serves their owners, teams, customers, and ecosystem. I usually end up helping clients find a way to have the best of both mindsets.
- I have high expectations for clients and challenge them, but we have a lot of fun together. It’s pretty common for me to develop deep friendships with clients, as well; working with each other for years and going through what we do makes it nearly impossible NOT to do so.
- Clients get access to my extensive network and arsenal of tools, frameworks, and methods. I actively build clients into my ecosystem; we’re all making the pie bigger for each other and the world at large.
- I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners and have literally written the book on small business growth patterns, the Small Business Life Cycle. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll have something going on that I haven’t seen before, but how we address it will be unique to you.
- While we use business results as data points, my real aim is to help you be a better entrepreneur, boss, and holistic person who will be able to sleep well at night, have better relationships, and actually have the time and resources to live the life you want. Business is a means, not an end.
What I do may not be the whiz-bang sexiest stuff in the world, but it consistently gets results.
The Type of Outcomes My Clients Have – Your Story Could Be Here
Rather than rely on labels like “business strategist & navigator” or talk about my specialities, I’ll do what I love best and celebrate the outcomes my clients have brought into being. These focus on either more recent outcomes of active clients or outcomes that are representative of my work with clients; you can read more on my testimonials page.
(Last updated: 6/9/2015)
John Nicholson, founder of Marketade
John wanted to simultaneously grow his service team and improve the quality of his service deliverables. He knew that he was focusing too much on working in his business rather than on his business. In a year of us working together, we’ve doubled his revenue, increased his team headcount from four to nine, and improved his client satisfaction and profit margins. He’s sleeping a lot better these days, or, at least, he would be were it not for the baby he and his wife had while we were doing all of this.
Rachel Rodgers, founder of the Rodgers Collective
Rachel came to me when she knew she had more to offer in her business but was so stuck in the day-to-day that she couldn’t see how to change it. In the year and a half we’ve worked together, she’s launched three successful product lines (we have more on the way), hired 4 additional employees to keep up with demand, given presentations and classes at InfusionCon and CreativeLive, and tripled her revenue. We’re currently strategizing on how to keep the momentum up while she moves to France to fulfill a lifelong dream she and her husband have had.
Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend
Scott had built a well-known and captivating brand, but a lot of it was built on a launch and marketing strategy that wasn’t working for him. He had plans to travel with his wife and go deeper with his community and didn’t know how he was going to keep it all going. In the first nine months of us working together, we reworked his customer journey map, introduced two new products that didn’t require launch insanity to be successful, and prepared him to be able to grow his business on the world trip he’s currently on. We’ve yet to fully replace the revenue he had from his days of launchorama, but we’ve put considerably more life back into his lifestyle business.
Chris O’Byrne, founder of JetLaunch
Chris’s business was doing well, but he didn’t know how to reach and serve more people while still staying true to his need to be location-independent and less involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. After doing some strategic assessment and tentative planning, we set a goal to double his revenue by the end of the year. Instead of doubling, his revenues actually quintupled, all the while giving Chris more time back to spend with his family and give back to his community.
Jeffrey Davis, founder of Tracking Wonder
Jeffrey came to me at a crucial near-breaking point in his business. He was exhausted by trying to maintain three different brands and frustrated that he wasn’t really getting the business results he wanted. Productive Flourishing helped Jeffrey merge those three brands into one banner brand, develop a signature program that he sells out consistently, outline a series of additional programs, and hire a full-time executive assistant. With a new found solid underpinning for being a decisive business owner, Jeffrey went on to develop his own frameworks and methodologies to re-brand his and others’ businesses, expanded his team to include associate consultants to keep up with demand, added a new website development offer to his business clients, and initiated audience-organized speaking events. During those years, he and his wife had a second baby, his father passed, and he coped with contracting Lyme’s Disease, but Jeffrey recently reported that he’s the happiest he’s ever been.
What Specific Kinds of Projects Will I Work on With You?
You might be at the point to where you’re thinking you don’t need to be told what to do because that would just add more work to your plate. You just want to hire someone to do it.
You can’t just hire someone to do your job and you wouldn’t let them do it, anyway. You’re used to being the boss, not having a boss.
My goal is not to do your job for you, either, but rather to help you do what’s uniquely your job and figure out what to do with the rest. In my experience, founders are only doing about 20% of their true job, with the rest of the 80% being them working in the business rather than on the business.
You might also be wondering what I specifically do in your business. I don’t do the work, manage others doing the work, or lead the managers. Just as you don’t see sports coaches out on the field or courts during games, you won’t see me responding to customers, writing tweets, or doing employee reviews.
That said, if you want other people to do that stuff, you need to figure out how to build a business that can afford it, hire them, train them, integrate them, and lead them. All of those things are precisely what I can help you do.
Consider our time together the co-working time to do the executive part of your job. We make the decisions and goals together, co-create the plans, co-review the results, and co-evaluate strategic challenges and opportunities. I supply an external perspective, industry knowledge, know-how, focus, and tools and frameworks; you supply the hunger, context, and vision (however fuzzy). Many clients comment that I’m the “business guy” partner that nicely complements them as the creative entrepreneur.
The structure of the intensive then provides the accountability and momentum to make sure you’re implementing the plans we make. The next section explains that structure a bit more.
In case you’re curious about what types of projects we’ll get into, here’s a list of projects that clients and I regularly work through and that I can help you with:
- Determining your high-value activities and ensuring that they’re getting done – aka prioritizing your to-do list
- Assessing your business capabilities to determine whether you need to hire someone, what functional capabilities they need to have, and how to do it
- Developing your company-specific recruiting, hiring, orientation, on-boarding, and integration processes for your employees and teammates, rather than winging it and hoping it turns out for the best
- Hiring, firing, lateraling, and otherwise dealing with the sometimes not-fun side of leading and managing teammates and employees
- Developing your own frameworks for tracking their Key Performance Indicators and Critical Success Factors
- Developing reports and understanding about the financial aspects of your business so you can use the financial data to drive better decisions
- Overhauling your business processes and systems so that they work more effectively and efficiently (for example, moving from a bunch of incoherent files, folders, and emails to a supportive, cloud-based architecture like Google Apps and Dropbox)
- Simplifying your brand and creating customer journeys that clearly shows the value of the brand and introduces customers to its products and services
- Preparing your business to support the daily activities needed to write and launch books, software, events, and so on
- Developing new service offers and in-roading into new markets with the offers
- Effective planning, with a specific emphasis on mid-term planning
- Developing a robust body of work and thought leadership
- Getting out of the “don’t know how to grow but can’t stay here” stage
- Product, service, event, and other offer development
- Determining whether your price is right, and if not, what to do about it
- Cashflow planning and projection
- Streamlining your service and delivery process
- Marketing campaign and plan development
- Honing your brand and value proposition
- Developing a decision-making framework that helps you become a faster, more effective decision-maker
- Expanding your business into physical facilities, with the ensuing hiring, planning, and managerial issues that come up
- Diagnosing and eliminating unnecessary complexity in your business
How We’ll Work Together
The reason that so many founders stick to easy problems and low-hanging fruit is that addressing strategic challenges and pursuing their best opportunities requires tenacity and grit. It can also be fun, but a lot of times, the sweetness of that low-hanging fruit seems better than the true sustenance that comes from the higher value projects.
We’ll start our engagement with strategic goals that we jointly decide are most important to your business. We’ll determine these goals based on your questionnaire and the no-cost, no-obligation discovery session. These goals set the anchor for the roadmap we’ll start building on Day 1.
We’ll then meet every other week for about 75 minutes (+/- 15 minutes) via webcam or in person (if you live in or are in Portland). We’ll do our best to set regular meeting days so we establish a regular pace and groove.
During the first month of our engagement, I’ll be asking you to take some personal assessments and provide historical financial and business information. Based on your answers, I may ask you to fill out some additional questionnaires or provide more context. These will give us a good baseline to start from and many clients find this review phase to be extremely informative. It’s the stuff they’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to yet.
Depending on what specific goals we set, we may not be all the way through them, but I can guarantee that you’ll be significantly farther along than you’d be on your own. We also sometimes find that our assumptions about top challenges and growth opportunities were wrong and we’ll adjust the plan accordingly. Better to intentionally work on the things that will have the biggest impact, rather than stick to other things just because we said we were going to.
Near the end of the six-month engagement, we’ll discuss whether you’re good to sail on your own for a while or whether you want to keep going. Many clients find that they get a lot of value out of successive engagements because we keep replotting and driving growth for their business and doing this with a strategic partner is easier, better, and more fun. We’ll figure this out when we get there.
Ready to Get Started?
Because the work I do with clients in these engagements is extremely tailored and has different levels of complexity, we may need to have a no-cost, no-obligation discovery session to determine the best way to work with each other.
Automatic monthly payment or paying for everything up front is required for my six-month engagements so that we can just focus on the work. We’ll discuss pricing options during our discovery session. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, and checks or cash.
To get this session scheduled, please fill out the quick form below and we’ll set up a meeting.
Who Am I, Anyway?
I’ve been leading and orchestrating teams and projects of some type or other for nearly a quarter of a century; I grew up catalyzing action and completing seemingly impossible projects.
In my twenties, I was a logistics officer in the U.S. Army. Logistics is the art and science of getting supplies and troops from one place to the other safely and effectively. I deployed to Iraq, where I excelled in an above-rank position that orchestrated the movement of a transportation battalion that delivered point-to-point throughout Kuwait and Iraq. When I returned, I was given joint force logistics planning and coordination positions.
While I was doing all that logistics stuff in the military, I was simultaneously completing a PhD in philosophy. This background heavily complements my technical training; it’s the soul and heart of my work, whereas the rest is the hands and head of my work. (In case you ever wondered what you can do with a philosophy degree, here’s an answer: build a global brand and business that helps people build beneficial businesses and live thriving lives.)
I’ve been advising business owners and entrepreneurs on how to execute since 2007. I’ve literally written the book on how to navigate the stages of business growth and have more on the way. All modesty aside, I’m the guy that many of the people you learn from turn to when they want some additional perspective on how to execute their wild ideas. My work is routinely featured, showcased, or highlighted in places like Inc., BNET, Fortune, the Guardian, Lifehacker, Copyblogger, Problogger, the Domino Project, and so on, and I’m a columnist at some of those venues. I’m also a professional speaker, an event facilitator, and a community builder.
When I say that I get what it takes to start and run a multifaceted business while having a full life, trust me, I do. It’s a daily practice for me and I’d love to be your guide from the side more than the sage from the stage.