With Josh Fonger, a business performance architect and the co-founder of Work The System. His specialty is taking stressed out entrepreneurs from working “in” their business to working “on” their business, using systems, so that profit and freedom become a consistent mechanical reality. Josh had the unique experience of personally helping hundreds of businesses grow simply, using the WTS Method. He is an international business consultant, coach, and speaker.

Join us in this fabulous conversation about using systems to increase your impact and competitive advantage, decrease the complexity and chaos, and create a business that you can scale and enjoy while doing it!

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Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:

  • Why systems and structures are essential for success. 
  • “Don’t wait until the fire happens”
  • “Small businesses don’t know how vulnerable they are.”
  • Most people treat themselves like employees and not like business owners. 

Check out these highlights:

6:30 “The smaller companies are the ones that need the most.”

10:58 “There is a clear recipe with success with regards to systems.”

12:05 “You don’t get to skip business fundamentals.”

12:40 “Preventing problems is a great way to make your life smooth so you can scale.”

14:00 “If you don’t treat your business like a business no one else will.”

18:60 Why you need to invest in your business weaknesses to grow them. 

19:40 “Security is only as good as your health”

22:00 Working procedures and why you need them. 

25:45 Automate, delegate and delete.

29:10 Why clarity is important.

33:00 Why you need to map out and document your systems. 

38:07 “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

40:39 “Once you have a solid framework to build on, that’s when the ideas flow.”

46:00 You don’t have to wait until a problem happens to put systems in place. 

How to get in touch with Josh:

On social media:





Download your copy of Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less by Josh Fonger.

About Josh Fonger:

Josh Fonger is a business performance architect and the co-founder of Work The System. He is an international business consultant, coach, and speaker. He’s had the unique experience of personally helping hundreds of businesses grow simply, using the WTS Method. His specialty is taking stressed out entrepreneurs from working “in” their business to working “on” their business using systems, so that profit and freedom become a consistent mechanical reality.

Learn more about Josh here: www.workthesystem.com

Imperfect Show Notes

We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below.

GGGB Intro  00:00

Coming up today on Guts, Grit and Great Business.

Josh Fonger  00:04

As there’s often a lot of things that we do that we don’t even need to do at all anymore. They’re just time wasters. We just couldn’t happens. And so we have to be really ruthless about that. That’s the whole point of that strategic objective is to say, Hey, does everything aligned by this and if it doesn’t, then maybe you can just totally remove that from your business.

GGGB Intro  00:23

The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit, and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell  00:56

Hello there! Welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, the Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington. Welcome to another episode of guts, grit and great business. So I’m super excited to have my new friend Josh fonder here today. Welcome, Josh.

Josh Fonger  01:17

Glad to be here, Heather.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:18

Thank you. Well, and for those listening, Josh and I met a few weeks ago, we are in a joint group together and he was kind enough, I pretty much spammed everybody who welcomed me to the group and said, Hey, let’s connect. He was kind enough to do that. And Josh is gonna be really fun to talk to you, because the folks that I serve, need what you have. So let’s introduce Josh. Josh is a business performance architect. I love that title, and the co founder of work the system, he is an international business consultant, coach and speaker, he’s had the unique experience of personally helping hundreds of businesses grow simply, I love that keyword simply using the WTF method. His specialty is taking stressed out entrepreneurs from working in their business to working on their business using systems. So that profit and freedom become a consistent mechanical reality. Josh is in Phoenix, Arizona, he’s a dad, he has been working as a business consultant, coach and speaker for nearly a decade. So we’ve got lots of great experience. Josh, welcome. I’m so happy to be connecting with you again.

Josh Fonger  02:31

Yeah, it’s gonna be fun. It will be fun.

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:33

So tell me take us back to the beginning. How did you get started in the consulting world?

Josh Fonger  02:40

I certainly wasn’t by choice. Yeah, so my undergraduate degrees in architecture, and I thought I was going to be involved in real estate development, which is what I did after I graduated, and I got my Masters in Business. And so I wanted to be developer and commercial real estate, in the Phoenix area. And, you know, the crash happened in 2007 2008. And I was one of the one of the victims of, of that got laid off and couldn’t find any work, unless I wanted to get about a 80 90% pay cut, which is a challenge. It’s challenging when you’re the breadwinner of the family. So could not find work applied everywhere. And the only place that would hire me was as a contractor, being a business consultant, a small business consultant. And so obviously, I took it, you know, at that point, I had lost house, lost the car, all savings, all retirement, everything. massive debt, and I was living in my in laws condo. And so that was, you know, basically anything will be better than that. And that’s where we’re at small family with two kids. And so consulting it was, and I had written my business thesis about why you should never hire a consultant, but you don’t need a consultant. My dad didn’t like Ansel and my father in law really, really didn’t like consultants. And but you know, when you gotta eat, you gotta eat. So I feel like that’s kind of the, the god sense of humor of kind of like putting and putting you in a role that you think, has no value, after you’ve been kind of, you know, beaten to the ground, and, but I just fell in love with it, but really enjoyed it. That was what 2009 When I really got started, and so I met some amazing people, like you had a chance to travel the world and really help a lot of companies. So I think it was a great, great series of events.

Heather Pearce Campbell  04:25

Yeah, I love that. I mean, there’s a couple of things that I love is, I mean, the irony, first of all of writing your senior thesis or whatever your senior paper on, why should never hire a consultant. But also, I mean, and there’s a common theme. So I have to say that I don’t find it too ironic that every guest that comes on my show talks about what happened stemming out of a really hard place, right and how that often leads them to where they are now or their next level of success. And so I I you know, So as hard as that was, I love that that was a turning point for you. And here you are, like clearly on your path doing what you’re here to do. So what kinds of businesses and clients do you work with? And I also want to know, who do you enjoy working with most?

Josh Fonger  05:14

Yeah, great question. I like working people who are action oriented. So let’s start with that people actually, aren’t just playing business, but they actually want to go somewhere. So people with ambition are way more fun to work with. They’re serious about the business, not just serious about learning about business. So those are the most fun clients. But as you know, when I met Sam Carpenter, I guess it was about 10 years ago, we started to work the system together, we really went to this revelation, where we started working with really large companies, and helping them put their systems in place, and building those out, but the majority who came to us were small business, but they could never afford any of our fees. And we can never fly out there. And we’re just like, well, we just work with big companies. And then we just kept building up more and more materials, more more trainings, more and more services. And so it’s worked, you know, from like, you know, half billion dollar companies, $200 million companies and kind of worked our way, our way down to what is the companies who need the most help, which are those entrepreneurs who are, you know, wearing all the hats, they’re working 80 hour workweeks. They don’t see their family, they have health issues. And that’s the majority of who we work with now. And that’s, I really enjoy that face. So that is a tough plateau, that if you don’t break past that plateau, you’re going to either suffer for the rest of your life and then go out of business, or you’re gonna go to business soon and not suffer too much. But either way, it’s going to be suffering. And that’s the that’s the plateau that most people get stuck at. And our programs really are help help people get beyond that, that plateau. And so that’s the fun work is getting people beyond that, and all the big companies. I certify a lot of consultants now and so allow them to work closely with with larger businesses around the world.

Heather Pearce Campbell  06:56

Yeah, awesome. I mean, there’s a couple of overlaps even between the work that I do and what you do. So the way that I describe it is the folks that you’re talking about who are stuck at this point, they’re at this kind of plateau, and they need to be able to scale but a lot of folks are going after the big fish, right? A lot of people want to be working with the big fish. And the same is true in the legal world, a lot of the attorneys and law firms like they’re going after the big fish in the marketplace. And unfortunately, what it means is the folks that we’re talking about here, are really mostly left out of the legal marketplace. They’re not well served by the traditional legal industry, but they’re up to some phenomenal things in business, like people are doing really interesting things in this space. And for the folks that do figure it out. I mean, there anyways, I love the group of people that you’re talking about, and that you’re committed to supporting on their path. And it seems like right now more than ever, like, are you busier than a one legged man in a in a foot running

Josh Fonger  08:02

Yes, we are. And it’s by choice, right? We wouldn’t have to be. But there is an incredible opportunity to help people who are in the same position today that I was in 12 years ago. And so we’re really we’re really trying to do is enable and empower people who, you know, like the work we do, but they, they just lost their job, they just lost their business. They are unemployed now, but they have skills, they have some savings, and they think you know what, I’m ready to do this. And you know, kind of build my own future, build my own career and help companies probably in the same industry that they came from. And so that has been our big focus is find those people supporting them, training them, so they can actually go out there and fix companies, because you mentioned the most people are going after the really big companies. But the need is really the smaller companies are the ones who need the most. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is enable and empower them right now.

Heather Pearce Campbell  08:58

Well, I love that. And I wasn’t even in that moment, thinking about the folks who do not have jobs and are maybe thinking about transitioning to the consulting world because they’ve got a set of skills that they developed over here, right, doing something else, or, you know, working inside of somebody else’s business. But even for the folks who are already consulting, but they need improvement with their systems, they need to increase efficiencies, but you know, and I can speak from personal experience right now as a mom in the midst of COVID. Like, my schedule is intense and it’s not because I have like expertise and systems. It’s because I need probably all the things that you teach, right and I keep telling myself like this is gonna be a massive opportunity to uplevel my business in multiple ways around systematizing around creating efficiencies. So are you working with folks who are already in the consulting world and are in that place?

Josh Fonger  09:55

Yes, yeah. So we’re our company is divided. So as in I work with other companies who are just small business owners trying to get fixed, that I work a lot of consultants who are trying to go out there and fix companies. So there’s kind of two two main divisions of the business. And, you know, our method is the same approach is the same. And there’s four parts to our method. And it’s, it’s tried and true. I mean, it’s stuff that’s been working for hundreds of years, just Sam Carpenter was able to encapsulate it, he’s able to, you know, this book right here work the system. It’s, we’re working on the fourth edition right now. Oh, wow. It’s, it’s been around a long time. And we’ve just when the book first came out, we weren’t really sure, you know, would this work in this industry or that industry, and now that we’ve had a chance to work with a lot of companies around the world, you know, whether they own a bunch of bowling alleys, or they own a hair salon, or they have an E commerce business, or, you know, they’re a coach or consultant, it, it’s the same thing, because it just deals with mechanics. And so Sam has an engineering background, my background is in architecture. And we really want people to know that there is a clear recipe for success with regards to your systems. And it’s like math, if you follow it, it’s going to work. And the hardest thing that we have to do is convince people that is worth the effort, the investment because they would prefer to chase the shiny object, they would prefer to find, like we talked about before, they want to find the easy path, they want to find a quick hack they want to find. And we’re just like, you have these systems that the money is right there if you’re willing to work on them. But they’re like, Well, maybe if I just do this new thing, and then I’ll have you know, success. And it’s just life doesn’t work that way.

Heather Pearce Campbell  11:36

So there’s a couple of things that I want to dig into that you said, and one, I want you to walk us through what the work the system method is like, I want to hear more about that. But also to the point about people in the space chasing the next shiny object or thinking there’s some other strategy they need to try that’s going to get them there faster, right? And it’s, it’s not wrong to have those desires of getting there faster. But you don’t I feel like you don’t get to skip business fundamentals. You don’t get to skip really building that underlying structure. And it’s the same conversation I have with clients around. Like, why do you need legal support? You look at any business out there in the marketplace, who is doing things worth knowing about? I can guarantee you they’ve got legal support in place. Right?

Josh Fonger  12:24

Yeah, it really is true, you can’t get the fundamentals. That’s why we’re meeting later that later on a couple weeks, is that we have all these legal contracts, agreements, and insurance and all these things. But we still we’re gonna do a refresher, and we’re gonna make sure those are all dialed in. You know, preventing problems is a great way to make your life smooth, so you can scale and most people wait till the fires happen. And they do what we call Whack a Mole. And so they’re in this perpetual game of Whack a Mole, and their business only grows as fast as they can put that hammer down. And, you know, maybe that means they get to half a million in sales, annual sales or a million, but they’re not really going to go much farther than that. Because they just can’t whack the moles fast enough, and then eventually, they’re going to get sick, their main manager is going to leave, no, something’s going to happen to one of their partnerships. And it’s going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. And they’re just going to the lender, and I’ve seen it so many times. And it’s because small business, they don’t know. And you can definitely attest this, they don’t know how vulnerable they are. They think they’ve got a good business, I think everything’s smooth, but but an outside looking is like, there you are, like, two weeks away from going under, you just don’t even know it yet. Like if you lose this one client, you don’t even have business. Like if you get you know, as soon as one bite, you don’t actually have a business like that there. You’re so close to having your company go under and I help other companies who bankruptcy. They just don’t know it yet. And we want them to think like a business owner. So our whole all of our products and services we say are for mature thinking business owners, is what…

Heather Pearce Campbell  14:00

I think I can hire you to do the sales for.

Josh Fonger  14:03

Yeah, once I saw, you present it for our group, I was like, hey, everyone nice to work with Heather. I’m working with other. It’s crazy not to because you mean,

Heather Pearce Campbell  14:12

Well, we speak the same language like you saying, like treat your business like a business. Right? I’ve had this quote that I’ve said for years. If you don’t treat your business like a business, nobody else will not your clients, not the government, not a court system, not the IRS, nobody.

Josh Fonger  14:28

And I think most people because they were employees, and then they become entrepreneurs, they they treat themselves like their employees in their business, instead of like a business owner. And that’s it. That’s a big shift. It seems like oh, I can just do that real quick. But what most people do is they start a business and then they become the hardest working lowest paid employee per hour employ in their business. And then what to ask them you know, who’s doing the strategic planning, who’s you know, securing capital who’s doing partnerships, who’s developing these new products and services? Who’s researching this? I explained All these things that should be done? And the answer is, no one is who’s doing leadership development, who’s doing training, who’s doing these things, they would grow a business and say, Well, no one’s doing these things I go, so this company has no business owner, this is a company without an owner. This is just a bunch of employees. And you’re one of them. And this is the, this is the problem. This is why you you’ve plateaued at this place. And so they really have to shift their mindset about what our business is. And they need to understand that the business is not them, the business is made up of these systems that that repeatedly produce value in a scalable way. And once they take hold of that, you know, they’re not a million or the next day, it’s then they can get to work on those pieces. And build that resilience that can build that stability, that foundation, like you talked about. And then things just grow and grow and grow. And I let them know that once you do this, because your competitors probably aren’t going to do this. They’re not going to catch up with you like you’re going to be at a place that they just can’t, they can’t do things that your margin, they can’t do things that your quality, they can’t do things at your speed, they can’t do things that you do for your customers. And it’s going to put you in a position that just is night and day. And so but you have to be willing to see the systems and then to invest in them.

Heather Pearce Campbell  16:15

It’s huge. Well, and I hope people heard what you just said, I wrote it down. What most people do is become the hardest working lowest paid employee in their business. And for people listening that can relate to that, like that’s a that’s a punch to the gut.

Josh Fonger  16:32

Yeah, well, I bet there too, right. So I’m not saying that. We don’t all fall fall prey to that. But I was definitely in that ship. So I’m not to go too deep into work, the system’s history. But I started off as a as a employee, a contractor for Sam Carpenter, unemployed, and a part owner than a majority owner. And then I bought out all the rights to the intellectual property or sighs I owned the business, right? And then what did I do? Well, I became the hardest working consulting business, right? So I was find this company find that company. And then I was like, What am I doing here? You know, I’m making good money as a consultant, with with good and looks property with good brand. But then we you know, so right now, we’re actually hiring three people this week, I think we have 15 people on our company right now. And so this is all happened in the last last 10 months, right is now we are building out systems, building out a team to work those systems and building out a way to then take our take our method, take our model, take our emotion, property, and license other people in it. So we can have a way bigger impact. And we can, you know, really change the world. But also, I am not the guy doing the work. I’m the guy overseeing the work, right. And that was a big mental shift. And I don’t even know where the Genesis Genesis of it was. But I was just, you know, just realizing. So, you know, I built a model that can’t scale. And I need to realize that I’m the owner of this business that I just, I bought him out. Now I’m the owner of this business. Not I am the the business, because I was the business before,

Heather Pearce Campbell  18:08

Right? Well, and it’s I mean, I think it gets back to anybody who ever has read Michael Gerber, right, it’s the same concept, we all get into business, generally, as a technician, we want to do a thing that we enjoy doing, or that we’re good at, or that we think we can monetize. But we don’t get into a business, knowing all the other things about how to run the business, how to be the manager, how to be the visionary, like all the parts, and we have to learn that if we’re going to stay in business or go anywhere in business.

Josh Fonger  18:37

Totally true. And, and the the, if you’re really good at doing your craft, whatever it is, and probably are, if you’re watching this, the skill sets and the knowledge that you need to run a business are totally different, right. And this is you need advice, you need legal advisors, right, I have financial advisors and legal advisors, I’ve leadership advisors, you know, part of groups that can help me grow and challenge me, I have a, you know, a sales coach who’s advising me on that. So all the things that I know that I’m weak at, but I need to grow it, I’m, I’m invested in myself in the business to grow those things. And if you as the leader aren’t going to invest in yourself and your company to grow things, then again, you’re just going to stay the best at doing the task that you do. And it’s going to really, really hurt your business. And again, you you haven’t built anything of value that you can sell. You just really giving yourself a job. And some people that they like that they want to be they want they want to have a job, they want to have a security job, but really, the security is only as good as you know your health. Because once that filters at all, which it does for everybody at some season, you can go down really fast.

Heather Pearce Campbell  19:50

That’s right. Well, and it’s Yeah, I mean, the importance of what you’re talking about. There’s going to be a lot of people listening who this hits home for an especially Now in the midst of COVID, and people feeling constrained by a lot of things, generally often including their own schedule, are you able to walk us through a few steps of the method? Can we dig into that or is that you have to go get the book to get the good?

Josh Fonger  20:15

Well, the book is the book is free at our website, work with system comm. So you can download it or you can buy it on on Amazon or whatever else. But this there were There’s four main main pillars that we make sure everyone is aware of if they’re going to try this on their own, which which again, first thing is the system’s mindset. So they need to see their world as separate systems, they need to get above their business above their life and look down and see the separate parts, and realize that each one of those parts is happening. They’re happening right now. But you as the leader, manager, you want to isolate them, you want to identify them, and you want to make them as good as possible. That usually involves documentation. So you can hold have quality control, and you can manage people who are doing it. But so first thing is mindset. Second thing is the strategic objective. So that’s the document. And a lot of folks have a document, mission, vision, their strategic plan, their dream document, their five year plan, but a lot of companies do this. So our version is called the strategic objective. It’s an internal document, it tells you where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. So we are going to deliver this, we’re gonna do it for this customer, we’re gonna do it in this way using these technologies. And it’s with this kind of team. And it’s just a one page, plan that everybody in your company, and all your contractors can read it and say, Okay, this is what we’re all trying to do. So all of our efforts aligned to this, it’s makes you incredibly efficient, it helps you say no to the wrong things, it helps you stop wasting time on on vanity projects and ideas that just aren’t going to go anywhere. And really simplify growth and skill building. So that’s second piece. Third piece is operating principles. These are the decision making guidelines for everybody in your team. So if they’re going to make a time, if they’re gonna have to make a decision about sending an email that hasn’t been double checked, should they double check it first and send it or should they just send it fast, because speed matters more than double checking? Well, you might have a principle that says, you know, qualities of a support or reputation is so important. And so we always double check and make sure it’s perfect for you might have a principle that says, mistakes happen, we can correct them. Speed is what matters. And we’re always first to market. Now, if you have two employees working your business, and one holds to one principle, one wholesaler principle, you’re going to constantly have friction all day long. And most companies have a lot of friction with every single handoff every single interaction, every single communication we want to do is instead smooth out the way everyone makes decisions to have alignment. And consistency, it makes, again, makes companies incredibly great to work at but also smooths out and speeds up all the work. So operate principles. The last one is working procedures, working procedures are probably what we’re known for. And that is procedures using the pieces of your business. So how you make the sales call how you prepare for a podcast, how you deliver that product, how you do a refund, you know, every single thing you do is a separate system in your business. And over time, you want to build out the documented processes and procedures and templates of your business so that you would call it nersessian IP or build these different pieces. It’s going to make your company incredibly valuable. But it’s also going to make your company incredibly profitable and scalable, and high quality. So we work with companies on writing these implanting these and preparing these so that they can be really out of the day to day. Like I was checking something just yesterday. And I’ve been checking this for the last three weeks, it was a weekly blast that goes out for marketing. And I just said, Why am I checking this? And so I wrote a quick list as i Okay, Jacqueline, here are all the things that I checked when I look at this thing to so now write this up. I’m not checking this anymore, just you you all check these things. And they’re going to add to that checklist. And that’s one less thing now that takes me 10 minutes a week. Now it takes me zero minutes a week, right? So you just I just bought myself 10 minutes of freedom a week. And it took me about eight minutes to do. And so it’s about constantly seeing the repeatable things in your life and your business and realizing those can be mechanised. Those can be document those can be scaled and delegated. And owners have a very hard time doing that. Because it’s like, well, this only takes five minutes, and this is only 10 minutes. And you know, rescheduling my calendar is only two minutes here and then that is your day your day is made up of two to five minute tasks all day long. And you know usually eats most owners live.

Heather Pearce Campbell  24:38

Oh, well and right now like even. And so for that like what you’re talking about what comes to mind is context switching, right all of these little things that are doop doop doop de doop. I mentioned even before we went live like I’m working really hard on like block scheduling right now. But the context switching for me still can’t be avoided because I’m working with two small children at home age two and seven. And then often, just me and then home because my husband has to go into work. And it’s brutal. Like, I have to say that that one, it feels for me like right now what it used to take 100% of my effort to get done in a day takes 200% of that effort, right? And it’s because of context switching is because of all these little things that eat up time that change your focus from moment to moment to moment. And I think as entrepreneurs, and especially for smaller entrepreneurs, with small teams, it’s really easy to let those things pile up, and not maintain the view of like, How many times am I gonna have to do this again? And how do I just get it off my plate?

Josh Fonger  25:42

Yeah, we call it automate, delegate, delete, and there are a lot of things that become repeatable in your business that maybe they should never exist in the first place, right? So you just need to like, just delete those things like we’re doing this thing. And, you know, I had one client where he was providing this monthly report for all of his clients. And he spent a couple hours every week and gathered all this weekly report and gathered all this information and give it a nice dashboard for his clients. And, and then he said, Gosh, this long time, and he was going to systemize it and have someone else’s team do it. But he just emailed his clients and said, do you all like this report? Is it providing value? Or do you mind if I don’t send any more? And they said, No, you don’t need that anymore? We don’t look at it. Does it go? Well, just save two hours a week, you know, and so as there’s often a lot of things that we do that we don’t even need to do at all anymore, they’re just time wasters. We just couldn’t happens. And so we have to be really ruthless about that. That’s the whole point of that strategic objective is to say, Hey, does everything aligned by this? And if it doesn’t, then maybe you can just totally remove that from your business?

Heather Pearce Campbell  26:46

Well, I love that, you know, the other thing that is really clear, especially with your operating principles, and I’m sure with the working procedures, but particularly what comes to mind with the operating principles is allowing when you have team allowing people the flexibility and the ownership over decision making, because they have guidance on how to make decisions the right way. And without those, I mean, I so my most recent experience in leading a team that’s bigger than what I typically do in my own business is I got hired on by a local firm as a, basically a project manager for 15 people that all make up a project, actually fighting the timeshare industry. So 15, attorneys, paralegals and staff on this massive, you know, many millions of dollars project. And I had to step into it midstream and get up to speed, like understanding the database, understanding the workflow, understanding all the personalities, and it was a really, actually very, very fun thing for me to do. It lasted for about a year, it was about three days a week, but it ended up being a really successful project. And one of the things that took the most time of anything else to sort out is how do you keep this team of 15 people going in the same direction and making decisions that are just not irritating the hell out of other people on the team? Right, so it was a really good playground for me to get to apply. Because there’s really two kinds of books that I read, business, and personal development. That’s it, like you shove a business book in front of me or person, like I’m all over it, I really don’t read anything else. And those are really fun things for me to read. And so getting to experiment with a lot of what you’re talking about in the context of somebody else’s team was actually a lot of fun, and taught me a lot about it. But I think that, you know, people get it wrong all the time. And the amount of friction, like you said that most teams have friction in that decision making process and understanding the rules. I mean, just slows everything down so much.

Josh Fonger  28:57

Yeah, friction, there is metal, besides the business, there’s always hidden money there. And it’s always in friction. And it’s it’s the loss due to miscommunication, bad communication, not quite understanding what the objective is doing too much work, doing too little work. And it just has to do with clarity. And so yeah, that’s a big reason for this. The strategic objective, the operating principles, and the procedures is just to provide clarity from a high level, mid level, and from a ground level what what we expect and what what is good look like. And it’s, it’s the fallacy of everybody, but especially the business owner is that they, they think people are thinking like them, they think, Okay, well, they’re going to understand it the way I did. So if I say Hey, can you catch the call and try to make some sales? What does that mean? You know, are we trying to sell everybody or just the right people are trying

Heather Pearce Campbell  29:52

Isn’t this the human experience? Like we all start off I think thinking like, oh, I don’t understand it, they’d get like, I find that this is probably not conversation just applicable to business, but just how we communicate generally thinking that we’re like minded.

Josh Fonger  30:06

Totally, yeah, totally. Yeah, I mean, miscommunications happen nonstop. And I like to share this story. I Pascack was one of my clients real sharp client, real fun to work with. And I went through their names, but we were working on their business, and they stage homes for sale. Right. So they will, they will do this home staging business. And she takes the call, sometimes as the owner thing, they had, like 10 people in their company. And sometimes he’ll pick up the calls, right? And, and I was they’re having some conflicts with their sales or whatever. And she said, why when I get the call, I’m trying to sell everybody, I’m trying to close the sale, I’m trying to get their contact information, I’m trying to get referrals, I’m trying to find out who else they know. And, you know, put them in a database and all this stuff. And he’s like, Well, I got a call, I’m trying to figure out if they’re a bad fit, because because I’ve seen how busy you are, I’m seeing how our team is stressed, I’m seeing that we have a backlog of work. And so I’m trying to figure out ways we should not get them as a client figure out ways where where they’re actually not a good fit for us. And there’s so they both are answering the phone with totally different goals, totally different objectives. And they’re both doing sales, and she’s erring way on the side of selling the wrong people, everyone. And he’s Erin way far inside of not really gaining business they could gain. And neither one of them had just defined what is what is successful, what does a successful sales call look like? What are we trying to achieve here during this call, and they were butting heads and having conflicts and you expand that out amongst employees where they also don’t know what is success look like. And it just, that’s the average business that that small business right there.

Heather Pearce Campbell  31:44

Oh, I love I love what you just said. And that example is so clear. And such a great example of how that goes wrong. The fascinating thing is right before you I literally got off a call with a woman who’s a sales expert, she totally teaches people just about sales. And the one thing she said about having a team or somebody else do your sales or somebody else inside your own businesses, you have to map the system and it gets to what you said. Sales means a lot of different things, a lot of people and that conversation can probably go sideways, like, you know, eight ways to Sunday, people are gonna handle it differently and and mostly wrong, and mapping the system and saying, here’s the objectives, here’s what a good call looks like, oh, it like it just puts myself at ease hearing that, like, that’s what everybody should want, right? Take away the stress from that.

Josh Fonger  32:38

They should want it it’s um, so I used to do a lot before I met Sam Carpenter, I used to work with a lot of flooring stores. And so I fly around for carpet wines in Florida, America and help them with their budgets, with their marketing with their sales, Team sales, management, hiring all that sorts of stuff. And I would sell them packages, the things that they need to fix the business. And I’d go through a list of you need to buy this, this and this, and this, this all these trains. And one of the things I would always offer them is that you need process improvement, like he has nothing documented. This is before my same carpenter. Like no one knows what their job is, they don’t know how what a good job looks like. You really need to map out your systems and document them so that people know what to do, how to do it, what success looks like, and they can improve it. And they had these great ideas that I told you, but these ideas are just gonna fall by the wayside, because they’re not getting built into a system. As soon as that person leaves. You lost all that intellectual capital. And and they would always say, no, no, no, no, Josh, we don’t need new systems. Everyone knows what to do here. Everyone just kind of knows we’ve been doing it long enough. We know we’re fine. And I would sell out of 100 sales, I’ve probably sold to process improvement plans. Because no one else thinks that no one thinks they need it. They think, well, everyone’s been doing this long enough. We all kind of know what to do. We don’t need to write these things down. And it’s the it’s the difference between playing business, or, you know, having a professional business. It’s the difference between small business and big business, big business, have their systems document. That’s why they’re big, small companies don’t. And they wonder why they can ever grow. It’s there’s a reason why those big companies have those things documented. And it’s not just because they like to have bureaucracy. It’s because they know, it creates safer places to work where you can have people do consistently high quality work, where you can scale and in aware it’s not a nightmare to work there. And a lot of small companies, they just think there’s a different way and their different way requires a Herculean effort, and also requires everyone to be really amazing. I think this is an important that entrepreneurs get is that if you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve had success over the years, you’re probably way better than the average person at your work and at doing work in general like you’re I meet some amazingly talented, smart people that they just know so much about so much. And then they wonder why the company grows. And I say, Why doesn’t go and I say, it’s because the people you’re hiring are not like you, they’re, they’re good people, they’re trying their best, but they’re just average, like, they’re just average people. And of course, you want a higher above average, but that’s less than less likely to find. So you have to set up your company so that average people can show up there and they can do good work their work that they that’s meaningful, and do it consistently, you can’t set up your business so that they need to be like this amazing Rockstar that can just figure everything out without need instructions and just solve problems on the fly. And, and you know, think ahead without even being told what to do. Because those people are almost impossible to find. But if you do find them, you’re going to be totally beholden to them, they’ll hold you, they’re gonna hold you hostage, and if they leave, your company is going to fall apart instantly. I’ve seen it happen all the time. And they’re going to be the bottleneck, because you can’t scale that you can’t scale that kind of situation. So that’s the way most companies are set up is that it’s just they’ve added complexity because they know everything, instead of just simplify and say, I’m gonna hire you, you’re gonna do this one thing, once you master you’re gonna do these two things. And these two things are simple enough where you can match them quickly. And that’s a big part of the misaligned structure of small business.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:27

Well, in that example, I mean, I I actually what I was writing down when you were talking about the difference between big businesses and the small businesses you work with is the small businesses, what I wrote down is rely they’re relying on people a lot more. And then right after that, you said, like, they’re putting a lot of pressure relying on their people to be amazing. And the number of times I’ve seen that go sideways, where one person whose key to the infrastructure walks out the door takes a different job, or has a health thing go sideways, you know, suddenly that small business is scrambling and in a serious, serious pinch. Whereas if they had a system, they had, you know, something already mapped, and they could just plug a new person into the system. But I think you partly answered because my next question was going to be where do you find that you have the most resistance from your clients? Is it around this process mapping this process improvement is that the sticking point,

Josh Fonger  37:25

The sticking point is this change. Because everyone hates change. And they like what they are used to, right. So people are just very comfortable. And for you to have them do work differently, they’d have to admit the way they’re doing it now is not good or good enough. And that that’s it’s definitely an ego thing. It’s an emotional thing, I really try to remove that and say, This is a tool that’s going to empower you to do your best work. It’s not, it’s not the other way around. And so that is always the biggest thing is the resistance to change, and doing something that they feel like it’s slowing them down, I tried to say that, and I didn’t come up with this phrase, and I don’t even know who did but it’s slow is smooth and smooth is fast. So you gotta, you gotta slow down, to smooth out your systems actually figure out what they are. And once you do, you’re going to go very fast. But in the meantime, you have to slow down to actually get these things done, you got to build your infrastructure, if you want the scaffolding, you got to build a scaffolding if you’re gonna build that next story to your business, and under the next the next level to your building. And if you don’t build a scaffolding, you’re just you’re just going to stay at that same level. And that is the biggest resistance. The other one is a resistance that people think is going to happen, but it’s not the way we do it is they think once the systems get built, then I won’t be able to do things the way I want to, you know, I won’t be able to have this kind of ability to think on my feet and be creative and new and to kind of think on the fly. And I asked him the question, I said, Do you want things to be run? Do you want to do things the best way? Or do you want to do things your way? And, and I said they can be the same but like help us we’re gonna come together, and we’re gonna come up with the best way to do it. And once we document the best way, the question is going to be would you like to do it the best way? Or would you like to do it your way? And so, and they’re like, Well, I like to do the best way oh, well, we were just documented the best way. So we’re all it that’s great. If you want to do it the best way we talked about it the best way. So you’re fine. And it within the steps of a procedure, especially when it does require some, some nuance, there’s going to be let’s just say it’s a ended up meeting a new customer. So you know, shake their hand say hi, blah, blah, blah, there might be a step number four that says, here’s a guideline, like we want you to do this, we want you to achieve that. But do it in the best way that you think fits like so it’s not like you’re a robot. There’s certain steps where there’s a whole lot of creativity and and pizzazz necessary. But a lot of business is not that way. A lot of businesses just you have to click this box are won’t go, you have to double check this or there’s gonna be a screw up, you have to do these things in order. And that’s a lot of business. And what we want to do when we tell these creative people is that we want to remove all the mundane, all the repeatable, all the administrative, all the things that we know are the always the same. Get all that figured out. So that you that you really can come to those junctures where personality and charisma matter, and really dedicate your energy towards those areas. Because everything else has already been figured out. Like there won’t be any more fires in those areas, your business. And so it should enable you to be more creative. And also people once you have a, once you have a solid framework to build on. That’s when the ID ideas flow, as we say, now that we figured out the best way to do it, does someone have a better way? And it’s like, well, now that we know that this is going to be consistent, yeah, actually, it would be good if we did this one thing here. And it would be nice if we sent out this package at week four, and it would be really great if we included in an audio file, whatever it is, and then they can really take what is 90% good and take it to the 98% because they have the framework to work on. So, so long answer to your short question. But there’s always resistance is because people hate change. But I solve that by letting them be part of the process, and also not cram it down their throat. It’s not like, we’re gonna have 100 procedures that are all going to happen tomorrow. You know, it’s, we’re gonna build this new business culture together, and we’re gonna start with one procedure next week, why don’t you help us build it. And that, that is a lot more palatable?

Heather Pearce Campbell  41:35

Well, in the, you know, what I hear you saying, and all of this is that people really, especially folks that are what I consider entrepreneurial, they have built something themselves, they’re somewhat used to like doing things on the fly, right. And there’s a lot of probably personality and ego involved, just because a lot of these businesses are built around the person, right. And so the theme is that as much as they may resist structure, like structure is the thing that will give them the freedom that they want. And your systems and support is, like you said, it’s all about the scaffolding and the structure, which then allows them to even flourish more when they want to personalize that a little bit, or apply their strengths on top of that structure.

Josh Fonger  42:23

Yes, and I and I, this is something I’m really noticing with the clients I’m working with, with now, the ones who actually do this, and the ones who don’t, is the ones who have the ambitions of helping the most people with their product or service, or really delivering the most value at the highest level to the most people. They’re the ones who are willing to invest to make this happen. The ones who they just, they’re the craftsmen who just really love to, I don’t know, to carve the rocks, or to paint the paintings or whatever, they really love that and they love the feeling that they get from working with the client, I love the feeling of working with their hands and doing their thing, they’re probably not going to give that up. And because of that their company, like they literally love to wash windows, well, they’re probably just going to wash the windows. And if that’s what you love, then then stick in that zone and be comfortable with a business that is only going to it’s gonna plateau at this point in your life is going to be stuck at that point that that’s totally fine. But the ones who have the most success with ours are the ones who actually, they want to help the most people and they know that they are the bottleneck in doing that. Right, because I love consulting, I love working with clients love, I love actually solving those problems. But to solve 1,000% more problems. I can’t be the one doing it, I have to be the one coach and try and teach people on how to do that. It’s the only way I can I can actually affect a bigger outcome. And so that was a mind shift before it became a business shift.

Heather Pearce Campbell  43:53

Mm hmm. Absolutely. Well, so much of this is about mindset first. I mean, really, and especially any area involving change is certainly calls on mindset. So a couple things. And I want to make sure that for folks that are listening, because I’m going to pop all of Josh’s contact information his gift for the for the freebie, which is a copy of the book that’s amazing into the show notes page. So be sure to visit Legal website warrior comm forward slash podcast. Anything you want to say Josh about the free gift. And then I’m also going to ask you what, you know, what final thought Do you want to leave listeners with?

Josh Fonger  44:35

Well, I would say with a free gift. It’s funny because people with the down in the book, they think it’s Oh, it’s one of those free books, you know, it’s not really worthwhile. This is a pretty heavy this is a substantial book. So it’s not like one of those quick reads, it actually is substantial, so you can download it and get it or you can buy it on any way where books are sold. But we also give away the audio book and I would say anybody who’s read the E Myth before and wants to know. Okay, so Michael Gerber explains, you know, this entrepreneurial myth anybody wants to know what the next book you should read. And this is the most often thing people say is like working system is that the next book, you should read after that, because it tells you how to actually do it, not just that you need to build systems, but actually tells you how to do it. And so I would say, it’s worth the read is changed people’s lives.

Heather Pearce Campbell  45:24

Well, and I mean, it’s a powerful gift, and I encourage people to go buy it. I’m a real believer that if somebody pays something for something, they’re gonna, they’re gonna take it more seriously. And I ordered your book, actually. So it’s, I will be reading it next as well. But for people that are going to read it, I’m going to tell you, I only want you to download it, if you plan to get on it and read it. Next, I’m a doer. What final thought would you like to leave people with?

Josh Fonger  45:53

I think that the final thought would be that there is a way out of your hellish small business, there is a really way out, right? And you don’t have to wait. And some tell something horrible happens first, and this is most clients come to us, after there has been a horrible health issue, or there’s been a death or there’s been a someone who’s left the business, you know, took all of the IP with them in their brain. Or you don’t have to wait until those things happen. You can just pick a point in the future, you have ambition, high point feature, and there is a method that’s going to take you there. And so I would just say Don’t, don’t get stuck in this thing. Like this is just the way it is, I work late nights, I get up early, you know, I miss my kids sporting events, you know, my wife, and I go for a date, once every two years like, you don’t have to build your life like that. You can be exceptional, you can be the different you can be the one that you don’t have to be a statistic. And I often say that if you’re going to an average Minnesota planning, going out of business, if you’re gonna be above average, planning, going out of business, you’re gonna be really exceptional planning going out of business, because, you know, the stats, prove it out. Most everyone who has a business within 10 years, I was like, 95%, I don’t have that business. So if you would like to be exceptional, you have to do exceptional things. And this is be one of those things. So be that top 5%, who actually decides, like you talk about take the business seriously. And you can really grow something great. And it does give you an amazing ability to impact the world. You know, Friends, family generosity, time, you’re just gonna have a lot more freedom to do more of what you’re meant to do in a bigger way. And without building systems. It’s mechanically mathematically, it’s just not going to happen. So that’d be my plea to everybody who’s listening or watching this right now?

Heather Pearce Campbell  47:44

No, I love that. It’s it’s really powerful. I mean, plan to be exceptional, if that’s where you want to go. And I think a key part of that is also having the humility to understand none of us are born with these skills. None of us have, you know, I mean, I, I should say, I guess I can only speak for myself. I wasn’t born with the skills of how to do everything in business. That’s not typically how it works. And so I think humility really serves people well on this path to say, you know, what, I know it can be done well, and I don’t have all the answers.

Josh Fonger  48:19

Yes, yeah. And the only way this can work, and I think this is a great way to end is if the business is not you. If you’re the business, then that hurts too much to your ego to get his help. But if your product service offering this design for your ideal client is the business and assessors business, then you’re like, Well, gosh, if this is the goal, I’m going to need people to help me with that. I’m going to need people to get resources or whatever it might be. Because the goal is to help these people in the best way. Not the goal is for me to help people. It’s the goal. It’s my business to help these people. And that’s that’s a different shift. And yeah, oftentimes, almost always, the owner has to be the one to get out of the way. And get some help.

Heather Pearce Campbell  49:01

Yeah, no, I love that. I think that’s the perfect ending point. Well, oh, my gosh, Josh, thank you for being here today. I love this conversation. It is so so critical to everybody on the entrepreneurial and small business path. So if you’re listening, I really hope you will pop in, check out the show notes. Find a way to connect with Josh and at the very least download the book and do yourself a big, big favor. Thank you, Josh. I look forward to connecting with you again very soon. All right. Thanks, Heather.

GGGB Outro  49:33

Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more. See the show notes which can be found at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation Please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us to keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.