Do you need guidance in running a business?
Gregory Gray is the Founder and CEO of Gray Solutions, a podcaster with Business Owner Freedom, and a business advisor and life coach. Business Owner Freedom is all about helping the Business Owner. They have programs and solutions designed to relieve the chaos of owning a business. The team specializes in providing coaching to Business Owners and their employees. The Business Freedom System includes a software guide to ensure your business is set up the way you intend for success.
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Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my influence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Right, Greg Gray, you are the founder of Gray Solutions. You're a podcaster with Business Owner Freedom. And by the way, I was on this show. And, matter of fact, I'm kind of scrolling back. If someone wants to go back and listen, I think this was a little while ago, I'm kind of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. But if you look up and your favorite podcast app, and you go back in, look up just business owner freedom The name of the show. I'm still scrolling back it boy. Wow, here we go Episode 38. This was May, published May 3 of 2019. The episode title up my influence with Josh Elledge Episode 38. Definitely go listen to that one after this call. But Greg, thank you so much for joining us.
Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Now, Greg, what we want to talk about on this show is we're going to talk about developing systems so that the business owner, man can have an easier life. And so I think a lot of people are hip to, you know, knowing that they can hire talent. There's some great systems that whether it's Fiverr up work or free up, which we do a lot of work with now, there's some great programs out there, but I think that an area that a lot of growing business owners, an area that we struggle with, is developing those systems and delegate in a way that's going to be successful. Now, sometimes you'll luck out, and you're really get a diamond. And they don't need the systems, they can kind of develop it as they go. Or maybe they have some experience. And I got to tell you that, you know, I've had lightning strike a few times. For me, I've got some really, really amazing people on the team. But at the same time, Greg, I've had people we've brought them on, and they just, you know, within a month or three, it just doesn't work out like and, you know, I if I'm being honest, I don't think it was, I don't think it was their fault. You know, I think, you know, maybe a little bit but I really should have done some different things to create an environment where they can thrive. And so that's what I want to focus on. And so can you give me a little background on why you're qualified to talk on this subject?
Oh, absolutely. So my my deep background came from the corporate world, I used to run manufacturing plants and divisions for companies, and so had thousands of People report to me at times and in many, many managers and different levels. And so going through and trying to be efficient, effective in a business has been something I've worked on for many, many years. And, and so now I stepped out in 2010 to start my own firm to go and help businesses learn how to do that better, because I found that was a special area that I could I could dive into and I was really good at and it was sort of my zone of genius, if you will, is working with people in process. And so that's what that's what got me to where I am today.
Oh, yeah. And so Okay, so the work that you do now is you work with a lot of small, SMB, small and medium sized business owners, and you help them develop this system. And what is that process? Of course, I think you and I talked before this call we talked about, you know, it's really important to kind of set some set of foundation first of like, where you're going what your vision is, why is that critical to developing systems for bringing on employees
Well, if you don't have a vision, if you don't know, in the vision is the where that's where you're going to go, if you don't know where you want to go. And if you don't have a mission statement, which is why you're doing what you do, and if you don't have core values, which is how you're going to do what you do, if you don't have those three things, then you can't express that to the people that are coming on board. So whether you're hiring somebody that's sitting next to you in another room, or a desk across your office, or somebody that's virtual overseas, they can't understand what they're trying to meet what they're trying to do that to them to ask becomes irrelevant. It's just a task. And so to take them to a higher level, you have to explain vision, mission and values to really get them to understand and, and the vision story helps you as a business owner, really encapsulate that into your own words. So you can you can preach it
to people. What is the risk of not having that and just saying, Hey, listen, we're just gonna have a transactional relationship. You're going to do this job. I'm going to pay your money and have story.
Well, you may experience what you experienced is
I'm not saying that's what I did. But there was probably some other areas that that I dropped the ball,
well, maybe you'll just roll people over that that's my whole point is you'll just experience the turnover and you'll experience waste of time and energy, you think, well, I spent time getting this person up to speed, much later they're gone. And then here I go again. And so it becomes a cost of business that you could you cut that cost out, you could actually grow people into exactly who you want them to be. Now, that doesn't mean that you couldn't hire the wrong person and still have this issue. But the percentage of the issue goes down. So but again, you can become more efficient, more effective, you speed up the transaction, so they understand where you're going and why. So is they making judgment decisions and you're not available? They can understand does it fit that that model of the mission and in the values and in the vision and if it doesn't, they can say, Oh, this doesn't make sense. Let me let me wait before I make this mistake. Let me call them to see or send them an email and see what we clarify. So it gives it gives clarity and he You're not clear you don't have clarity, you may end up exactly where you should be, which is not where you want it to be.
You know, Tony Robbins tells the story of Tony Shea, and I'm sure you know this story, but you know where his, I guess some of his executive and Tony Shay's, the founder of it, was it. Yeah, it's apo said, that's what I think it's Spanish word. So Zappos. And so and again, that may be off on the details, but apparently, two executives were having an argument over what they should do. And, and, and one of them says, we need to ask Tony. Now unbeknownst to them, Tony's listening to them and he's overhearing this conversation outside the door. And the other guy goes, you know how it Tony, it doesn't matter what Tony says, these, this is our purpose. These are our values. It's an easy decision. And Tony Shay said when he heard that he knew they were going to be a billion dollar company.
Right, exactly. Okay.
Probably often the details with it. But the general idea is like, you know, if your team gets the values, they get the purpose. Like, it's like, you know, when you're faced with a difficult decision, and we do that right now. It's like our purpose, like what we do we turn thoughtful entrepreneurs into media celebrities in our core belief is that everybody has a message, you can positively impact the world. And so you break that down, and we've got values of democratization and so forth. And I'll tell you that we've been faced with some, you know, decisions we've had to make in committee with some of my leadership. And that has been really, really helpful. And you know, we'll kind of look at it will look at the, you know, kind of, you know, having our values up on the board will look at that and say, You know what, it's uncomfortable, but this is probably the right decision for us is that as soon as it kind of sounds like what we're talking about, right?
Yeah. What we'd like to say is the core values of your business or your guardrails. They keep you in the road that you're supposed to be in industry. some reason you keep hitting the guardrail, you need to call timeout say, Okay, do we need to redo our values because we're, we're going to make a strategic decision to go a different direction. Or we need to say, Okay, we got to quit doing what we're doing quit asking these questions we're asking over and over again, because they're not really serving us. Yeah, yeah.
Okay. So once we have our mission, purpose and values, and we're bringing somebody on board, tell me what you like, what are best practices for onboarding? How much of this stuff? You know, you were wondering on a new EVA? eight bars now? Or, like, what do you like to do to set them up so that they can succeed? And maybe this relates to our mission? You know, our mission purpose?
Yeah, real simple. I mean, every person that you hire, whether they're a VA, whether they're an employee, whether subcontractor doesn't matter who they are. They're all human being so in human beings need direction and any clarity. So the first thing we always want to do is clarify the roles that are going to serve What are you hiring them into? So do you have what we call the roles and responsibilities? Some people call it a job description, wherever you're cut? Do you have that clearly identified in for for somebody doing a small job, that's a virtual, it might be a very short document. Somebody, this is an employee, it can be a lot longer document. But you always at the top of that role and responsibilities is the mission statement and the values, that's their first objective, they have to meet those first, they don't make those then they failed. And then right below that is the actual tactical stuff that they're going to do for the company. And you need to make sure they understand those tactical things. And the key is, how are you measuring that they did those things correctly? So if you have things to do, but you have no measurements or no, no way to evaluate whether they did it right or not, you've sort of missed half the battle. And you want to show them in essence, how to win, how to be a winner, because everybody wants to be a winner. If you if you're hiring somebody, they don't care about that, then you've really just hired the wrong person. So you know, that's pretty rare, but it happens. But everybody wants to be winner. Even if A you know, and I've heard some myself that even if they look good by do a project for you for three months, they want to win, they want to they want you at the end of the thing of man, you did a great job. And so they want to know how to win. So that's the first thing you set up. The other thing you have to do is as a business owner is decide what are the processes I have in my business into I have those covered by somebody or each one of those process scalar so you create what we call process roadmap. And just the very short version is it's almost like an org chart. But we don't believe in org charts with people's names. We believe in org charts with the roles and responsibilities we want to be people agnostic and but real heavy, and if you have every process covered and you have every role identified, now you can put the proper people in those seats, if you will, and that is an essential org chart.
Okay. So, in terms of how important is company culture as a as a function of supporting this and ultimately, you know, again, I think what we want to create it You know, in Greg, if I'm being frank with you, you know, I'm I'm putting in a good 50 6070 hours every week and running my company. Now I think we're at a really critical phase of our business. So I don't feel like I'm quite ready to take my foot off the gas. But I want to, and, you know, what's going to enable me to do that, obviously, is, you know, having great leaders, you know, within the organization, have those leaders be able to handle the operations, they know, everything's documented, like everything is just second nature. It's a rewarding environment. You know, I have a vision for me, I have a vision for our clients. And I also have a vision for employees. And there's, you know, you know, creating a great work life balance, you know, allowing them, you know, ultimate flexibility with their schedule, but it really asked specifically, in regards to culture, what happens if your team is completely virtual? What can you do?
Well, the culture is still just is important, there is no different You mean, whether you have a brick and mortar, you have a virtual, the culture still critical. And we always say that, you know the people in the processes are in the middle and the culture is like is like a wrapper around the outside of it. The culture is what holds everything together. If you have the improper culture, I don't care if you virtual or brick and mortar, you will suffer. Culture is much more important that even strategy strategy can make that make you look good for short term cultures. What makes you a good for a long term. And so, so let me ask the question specifically about virtual virtual organizations I've actually helped and actually run a virtual organization myself. The culture there to me is even more imperative, even though it's just as imperative for either one, but even virtual, because if you're not seeing that person day in and day out, right when they're when they're offline from you, and they're working for eight hours and they haven't touched you. You kind of becomes this isolation factor becomes this loneliness and so you need to be very intentional about Reaching out to them and keeping the message in front of them and keeping the mission and values in front of their face because it can become very lonely and very disjointed from a virtual standpoint if you're not careful, but I will tell you a virtual organization can be extremely efficient. Yeah. Friendly life balancing. I mean, if you're talking about life, I mean, I couldn't live in I couldn't I couldn't live in the corporate world again. I mean, I've lived there. I've been there and it's tough.
Yeah, you've been ruined?
Yeah, I have been ruined. I'm certifiably unemployable at this point, right.
So someone who says well, culture that's just like, you know, Hawaiian shirt Friday, or, you know, karaoke after work on Wednesday. Help me understand it. Can you kind of define what culture means please? Yeah,
I'll make it real clear culture is when you're interacting with your company, whether you're a customer and it employee, a contractor, a va, a vendor, what doesn't matter, it's the way you feel when you've dealt with that company. So when you're using Zappos and example, if you return something to Zappos, you felt great, even though it was returning what you want, okay? They had to have that same feeling through their employees to otherwise you wouldn't have felt that as a customer. So the way you feel that it's it's literally the culture. memorization is the mindset of the organization. So we are leaders in our mindset and how critical that is, that's more important than anything else we can work on. Well, it's the same thing for the organization. the mindset of the organization is the most important thing you can work on. I walk into really credible companies I was in a few weeks ago as an IT company as a $50 million company, very successful. You'd looked at your p&l, we'd all go man, these guys were rocking it. their culture was horrible. And you go Wait a minute, if culture is most important thing, how could that be so successful? But it wasn't that they were successful. It was that they were all pulling How they're all ready to leave. And these are all the owners of the company. And yet they were calling me and going, Oh, we gotta do something. This is not gonna, the ship was starting to fall apart and looking from the outside, look beautiful on the inside, they're about to explode or implode. And so the culture can be the thing that takes you down or thing to build you up. It is the bedrock of everything you do. It is the mindset of the company. Yeah.
And Greg, how do I know obviously, so you work in consulting and you help great small business owners, you know, kind of develop the systems and processes. What does that typically look like? What does engagement look like with you?
So typically, we have a couple of calls a month, we do through zoom and we really walk through the details. We actually have a proprietary program that we walk them through called four steps to business freedom and what that does is it takes a business owner from working those 6070 hours a week two, whatever their vision story, they've outlined them, they may say I want to only work 3030 hours a week. I want to take Friday's off I want to take two weeks every quarter and go on a vacation with my wife and if that's what they want to do, then we help them build what that is the structure is to make that facilitate that to happen. And while the companies we work with have multiple owners and multiple owners have different objectives and we we sit down and figure out what that is, the whole goal is not for us to walk in just let the owners have a you know, free time. It's a whole lot more than that. They also have read you know, revenue objectives and profitability objectives and, and culture objectives and all those things that they want to change. And so we went through it typically takes depends on the company but it can be nine months, 18 months depending on how much work we get to do. And we we engage with them twice a month calls, they have a lot of homework, we work with their teams that may be we go on site if need be to do some team organizational development. And so it depends on their name, but we literally start with a vision story will work all the way through delegation. We teach them how to have proper meetings, power. communication in the company, we put their systems and processes in place. And when they're done, they have a company that not only is it more profitable and in a life nicer place to work in attract better employees. But it's also probably increased in in scalability about two or three times, if not five or six times. Because when you have systems and processes in place, now I can buy your company, if it's run by people that don't have processes in place. I'm buying you I'm not buying a company. I can't buy you. Yeah, repeatable. So there's a lot of reasons to do this. And it's not just for the day to day I mean, some some guys and gals hires to come in and clean it up and they want to stay there another 20 years. Others they going okay, now that it was all cleaned up, we can sell it and do what we really want to do. It depends, but we have both of those cases going on. Wow.
Well, that's quite an offer. Great. How do people find out about you typically, like where? How did I know your podcaster Is that where most people bump into you?
Yeah, that's usually typically where they go it's business owner freedom calm they go there and they see like you know the interview that I'm going to hit you on the show and they listen to what we're what you're talking about they listen to your expertise and they we have other people like you on that have different expertise is some is marketing some is leadership, you know, organizational development, I mean all kinds of things that we bring people on for and so you can get a lot of good tactical knowledge and strategic knowledge from the show and then they typically check Okay, how do I go to the next level? What How do I how do I turn my company into what I want it to look like? So this isn't afraid of the business owner freedom calm is a great place to find me they can
guide Good Good, good Okay, so So again, for the person who's listening to us, again, just in your podcast app, search for business owner freedom, get to go back binge listen to every single episode Greg's ever done. What do you think would happen if they did that? Like you know, the experts that you've been able to have conversations with and, and you do, it looks like you do some solo episodes as well. Getting begin to move forward and I would think it would, would be really, really good for achieving some of these goals that we talked about.
It'll strike a chord with them and you know, whatever their need is, hopefully they'll trip over one there they go hope this is the one on each day. There's a pretty good people there that have really done some great things in the life and, and we really try to work on the business and the life. It was not just business, it's both. That's why we call our freedom because to have freedom, you have to have both, they have to be truancy.
Excellent. Well, you're also on the web at Gregory Gray.com. So Greg, I want to thank you so much. This was really really great. I really do has
ability pre 19:45 thanks much for joining us. 19:46 I it's my pleasure. And if you are ready, whenever you decide to slap that foot off the gas pedal, put a couple other people's feet on the gas will I'm here to help.
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