THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
Lloyd Thompson, who has carved a niche for himself in operational leadership, shed light on the common pitfall founders often encounter. They get entangled in the day-to-day operations of their business, which hampers their ability to focus on strategy and sales.
This is where Virtual Dojo steps in. They provide busy online business owners with a fractional director of operations who can lead their team, oversee operations, and drive process improvement.
According to Lloyd, the founder's ideal role should shift when a company reaches a certain size, around ten or more employees. They should focus on where to take the business, making deals, and forming relationships. They should be the visionary driving the strategy while an operator, like a director of operations, handles the day-to-day operations. If a founder tries to do both, they get stuck in the weeds and can't effectively focus on growth.
Lloyd emphasized the importance of bringing in external help to run a team when founders struggle to delegate decision-making. He suggested implementing regular rhythms and systems within the group to create a smoother workflow, such as team meetings, daily huddles, and feedback loops.
Key Points from the Episodes:
- Importance of operational leadership in a growing company
- Founders getting stuck in day-to-day operations
- Virtual Dojo providing fractional director of operations for online business owners
- Founder's role in focusing on strategy and sales
- Challenges of finding the right talent for operational leadership
- Implementing regular rhythms and systems within the team
- Organizational audit to understand challenges and goals
- Virtual Dojo's findings and recommendations for improvement
- Working with businesses with 10 to 30 staff members
About Lloyd Thompson:
Lloyd Thompson is the visionary founder of VirtualDOO and the accomplished author of “9 Ways to Leave Your Day-to-Day Operations.” With a career spanning more than two decades in the corporate sector, Lloyd recognized an untapped niche in the market.
He set out to empower busy business owners by relieving them of the burdensome daily operational responsibilities, allowing them to refocus their energy on their passions, strategic endeavors, and business expansion.
At VirtualDOO, Lloyd and his team offer fractional “Director of Operations” services tailored to smaller, agile, non-corporate entities' unique needs. This innovative approach helps these businesses streamline operations, optimize efficiency, and thrive in their respective industries.
Lloyd Thompson's expertise and dedication have made him a valuable asset to entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking to scale their ventures while maintaining their distinctive character and agility.
VirtualDOO is a dynamic online business solution designed to liberate online business owners from the constraints of daily management tasks. This innovative platform empowers entrepreneurs by relieving them of the day-to-day operational burdens, allowing them to redirect their valuable time and energy towards pursuing their passions, refining their strategic vision, and actively seeking new business opportunities.
VirtualDOO's services cater specifically to the unique needs of online businesses, offering tailored support and expertise in areas like operations management, administrative tasks, and logistical challenges.
By outsourcing these essential functions to VirtualDOO, business owners gain the freedom to scale their operations, enhance efficiency, and foster innovation, all while maintaining their focus on the core aspects of their enterprise.
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Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Want to learn more? Check out VirtualDOO website at
Check out VirtualDOO on LinkedIn at
Check out Lloyd Thompson on LinkedIn at
Check out Lloyd Thompson on Instagram at
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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Lloyd Thompson. Lloyd, you are the founder of Virtual Dojo. I'm going to let you tell us what it stands for. Lloyd is great to have you.
Lloyd (00:01:10) - Thank you so much for having me. Josh Yeah. So it stands for Director of Operations.
Josh (00:01:16) - Oh, okay. Tell me more, because I think this is you know, when we think about earlier stage businesses, I think that this is probably one of the areas that is just so badly needed and I think ends up being one of the biggest, I think, violations that most of us make when we think about what a founder should be doing, what a founder maybe should not be doing, especially for thinking through like an E-Myth lens.
Lloyd (00:01:46) - Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, when someone starts their business and this is, I guess in the same vein as the E-Myth, they are they are the person who's thinking about the strategy, but they're also the person who's executing. I think in the language of the E-Myth is the the manager and the delivery and the employee or something like that. And so but beyond a certain point, when they get to a certain number of employees, generally five, they can run it themselves, that founder But when they're getting 5 to 10 it gets a bit gray ten plus, they need that founder, that business owner. They need to get out of the day to day operations. Can't be working, man. Yeah. And and if they don't do that, then they just get stuck in the weeds. They can't focus on strategy and they can't focus on sales or shaking the tree for new business. And so that's where this business has started. And so, yeah, my business is virtual and and we help busy online business owners with teams get out of their day to day operations so they have that time for passion, relationship strategy and yeah, shaking the tree for new business and for me.
Lloyd (00:03:01) - Oh go ahead.
Josh (00:03:02) - I'm sorry. Keep going.
Lloyd (00:03:03) - Yeah. So we we provide a director of operations, and when I started this business, it was me. But when we we provide a director operations and I think where we are unique is it's a director of operations on a fractional basis, a fraction of the cost. So what does fractional mean? People might have heard of like a fractional marketer or a fractional CMO or a fractional CFO. So this is a fractional director of operations. So someone who's going to lead their team, oversee their operations and drive process improvement.
Josh (00:03:37) - Yeah. So if let's, let's think about, you know, we'll address kind of what a dog might do and so forth. But help me paint a vision for what you believe the ideal role of a founder should be. If we're thinking about a company that's, you know, ten or more employees.
Lloyd (00:03:57) - Yeah, that person should be really thinking about where they want to be taking their business, what deals they're going to be making, what relationships they're going to be forming.
Lloyd (00:04:07) - And quite often that kind of size company, the thing that that founder is going to be doing is focusing on the sales and relationship. It's going to be a long time, that kind of sized business before they've got themselves out of being the front person of their business. So quite often there's that hat where that person is like a what I would call a visionary. They're they're driving the strategy of the business. But then you've got someone who is the operator, and that's where if they're doing both, if they're being the chief of operations or as I call it, the director of operations, if they're doing both, then they can't focus on the strategy and they can't focus on the relationships because they're stuck in the weeds.
Josh (00:04:48) - Yeah.
Josh (00:04:49) - Yeah. And you know, again, from a growth perspective, listen to, you know, to someone who feels, you know, to the founders listening and you might feel a little bit stuck. Um, can can you maybe, Lloyd offer some ideas for where you see founders kind of getting stuck? And again, how possibly bringing in operational leadership might just be the medicine that they need?
Lloyd (00:05:17) - Yeah.
Lloyd (00:05:17) - So when I. So just a little backstory. Like when I before I got into this business, I'd been in, um, corporate running large remote teams and I knew I wanted to do something a bit different. And I spoke to a business coach and he said, well, if your skills, if you if you really want to work remotely, you could probably help some of my clients like e-commerce or marketing agencies, these folks have got teams and they you know this I think you might be able to help them. And so my first client, he referred me to an e-commerce business, global ecommerce business, and the founder was doing 16 hour days and he was scatter gunning the team with tasks. And he just felt like the emergency department or that game like whack a mole, you know, you whack it and then it pops up over here and you whack it, it pops up over there. And so the guy, the founder in this business, he's a very smart guy and he's come up with amazing products.
Lloyd (00:06:15) - He ships this product globally, but he's so busy, scattered, running the team, he doesn't know another way. And that wasn't his background. Whereas, you know, when you look at someone like myself, I've come from corporate and know how to structure and plan things and how to run a team. So one of the pain points we we address there is, well, I came in and I said, look, let's plan things ten days out at a time. So let's what are we going to do? What are we going to get every everyone working on? Because before that, by scatter gunning the team with tasks, they're being like context switched all the time and it's really inefficient. And those people are they're struggling because they're constantly being re prioritized and because they're getting re prioritized, then it's actually really inefficient. So just having some kind of planning in there to say this is what you're going to look at for the next ten days, that was really helpful to them that a business owner and was able to extract himself out of the weeds and just other things like putting in feedback loops so that when you have, let's say, a campaign, this is really typical in an ecommerce business, you can have a marketing campaign when that event has run.
Lloyd (00:07:29) - How did that go? Did it go well? Great. What did we do that made it succeed? Okay, let's have a look at that. What didn't go so well? Let's have a feedback loop. And so by having an operator come in, who's got the bandwidth to look at this, to look at the process improvement, we're able to constantly improve the process so that less and less time is being spent and more it's more productive and there's more output out of it, you know, more and more successful campaigns. So the real pain there is the founders getting sucked into it, whereas they should be focusing on something else. They shouldn't be in the weeds of it all. It's time, ultimately.
Josh (00:08:07) - Yeah. Yeah.
Josh (00:08:08) - You know, and some of us get very lucky, I'd say, in terms of, you know, maybe connecting with the right team member who really is able to step up and provide that operational leadership in my case. You know, I had a dear friend of mine, Alisa Nolan, who had been friends with for 20 years.
Josh (00:08:31) - She just happened to have the right skill set and she just happened to be available to come join me. And, you know, today she's our COO and does just a phenomenal job. But but, you know, really, I think as I share my story, I want to acknowledge that the stars kind of aligned for me. And I am grateful every day that it worked out. I hear from a lot of leaders that that they, you know, maybe organizationally, privately, they may say, well, you know, I've got a lot of frontline troops, but I just don't have enough lieutenants, nor do I really feel like I've got the talent in house to elevate to that level. Yeah. Can you talk maybe about that, that challenge I'm speaking of?
Lloyd (00:09:20) - Yeah. I mean, a lot of these business owners are struggling to extract themselves out because they're in this role of deciding instead of delegating. And what I mean by that is they've got the team coming to them all the time and saying, Oh, I need a decision on this.
Lloyd (00:09:37) - I need a decision on that. And part and by that founder enabling them and saying, okay, yeah, I'm answering your question and it's reinforcing that behavior. They don't necessarily know that the way to solve this problem is through coaching or giving that team an outcome that they should be focusing on and actually coaching them to say, well, hey, you know, when you come to me with a challenge or a problem, I'd really like you to come with a solution as well. And then coaching them through that and say asking them the questions of how they came up with that solution that they had in their mind that founder so that that person is able to start coming up with these solutions themselves. But that's really time consuming. Like if the founders constantly having to coach people, it's really time consuming. And also. They might not be immediate. It might not be immediately obvious to their team members. Like you immediately had an operator who was great, like you had someone who immediately stepped into the role, knew how to handle this.
Lloyd (00:10:38) - If you are lucky and you had some team members that were like, Yep, I can roll with it. I'm absolutely comfortable. I feel safe in this role. Then the life would be a lot easier. And perhaps you don't need to bring in someone external to run the team. But quite often it doesn't happen that way. And so. And the founder doesn't know how to get themselves out of making all the decisions for the team. They just can't see a way out of it. And so this is something that we can do is bring in someone, even if it's just for a temporary time, like we're on a month to month basis to put the rhythms in place for the business. So what what do the rhythms look like that run, run, the run the team, you know, a regular cadence of team meetings and daily huddles and things like that and feedback loops. And once the systems are in place and the team are all working together and looking at dashboards and measurables, perhaps someone else can step in and run the team.
Lloyd (00:11:34) - And we've done that a few times, like trained the existing team to to be able to replace this ultimately.
Josh (00:11:41) - Yeah.
Josh (00:11:42) - Okay. So explain the process here and why kind of virtual might be a fit. So maybe kind of talk about like how you match someone up or how you do that work. Just logistically, what is that kind of a say it kind of discovery and onboarding process?
Lloyd (00:12:05) - Yeah. So it starts generally with an audit unless someone's had a burning need and we've been referred and we can just come in and get hit the ground running, which has happened a few times. But generally we start with like an organizational audit, so either myself or one of my team will go in, talk to the founder, understand what their challenges are, understand where they want to end up, talk to their team and just have a look at their teams, how their team is set up and what their processes are and what their systems are. So we're going interview the team and this takes about a month after we've been talking to the team members, having a really good look at their systems and processes and at the end of that we'll come back to them and deliver our findings and say, look, these are our these are our findings in terms of how you could improve your systems.
Lloyd (00:12:52) - This is how we think you could structure your people if there is any changes. And then this is what we would recommend. And you can from that point, that business is able to decide if they want to go ahead and make the changes themselves or they're able to say, you know what, actually, we've now been in virtual do have been or have been in there for a month now. We have a really good idea about how they're how they're set up and we're in a good position to provide them with a quote of how much we think are month to month running costs are going to be to support that team. And so that's how we get going. And we we generally have some staple rhythms that we'll run like that. Director of operations will report to the founder or business owner or visionary, as we call them, and then they will take direction of what the priorities are. And then we will then that director of operations that we've placed will then run the team. So they'll run the team meetings, integrate the heads of the heads of various teams and make sure that things are all running smoothly and then look at measurables that run that business.
Lloyd (00:13:59) - Like what are the reds and greens like, what are the sales numbers, marketing numbers, incidents and so forth, and where there are things that are trending down or what I would say are reds. That's where we've identified the opportunities for improvement which feed back into the priorities.
Josh (00:14:19) - Is there, Lloyd, is there a certain you kind of mentioned that level, maybe it's 8 to 10 employees. When when might a founder know? Yeah it's I'm or ask differently you know so I was going to ask you know when might a founder know. Yeah it's high time we take a look at this. Yeah right a different way. Who's kind of your ideal client.
Lloyd (00:14:42) - Great. Great question. If it's less than and by the way, like, it's taken me a while to find our sweet spot, you know, in doing this. But if it's less than a team of five, then the founder might as well do it themselves. You know, if it's 5 to 10, it's starting. It's a bit gray in the sense of like they're feeling the pain, but they're not necessarily feeling it enough.
Lloyd (00:15:04) - We sit in the space of where that online business has about 10 to 30 staff because they're in a space where they've probably not taken on a director of operations yet. They don't know what that role looks like. And so this is a great opportunity for try out the role with us and they might have us in for, you know, six months just to get the rhythms all running, right. And then on board another team member. But teams of 10 to 30 years are absolute sweet spot and typically marketing agencies and e-commerce businesses. And that's that's the niche we've found ourselves in in now.
Josh (00:15:41) - Lloyd, Your website is Virtual Dot-Com. When somebody goes there, what would you recommend they do?
Lloyd (00:15:48) - Oh, so actually I've got a book which you can find on Amazon if you like it in print or Kindle, but actually.
Josh (00:15:55) - Give it away. Look at that.
Lloyd (00:15:57) - So here's my book. It's like a primer of what a director of operations will do to get things running like a well-oiled machine. So if you want to know what a or director operations actually does or you want to do it yourself and get it like a running, like a well-oiled machine, then you can go to my website.
Lloyd (00:16:12) - Yeah, virtual slash book and you can get the PDF for free.
Josh (00:16:18) - And what was that? How do they get that? I'm looking at it. So what? I clicked on virtual. I went to virtual.com, clicked on book and just punch in your email address and then and download.
Josh (00:16:31) - Start reading, get the PDF, get the PD down it goes.
Josh (00:16:36) - Well, great conversation again, Lloyd Thompson, you're the founder of Virtual Again found on the web at virtual dotcom. Click on ebook Download nine Ways to Leave your Day to day Operations. It's free and realize your true vision. Lloyd, it's been great having you. Thank you so much for joining us.
Lloyd (00:16:57) - A real pleasure. Thanks a lot, Josh.
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