1744 – How to Build Sustainable and Scalable Business with Lani Dickinson

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Owner & Founder of Thrive On Purpose, Lani Dickinson.

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Lani Dickinson is a business mentor who works with early seven-figure entrepreneurs and multi-seven-figure earners. Her mission is to help these entrepreneurs professionalize their management, create systems that generate predictable revenue, and prepare for a potential exit. This allows them to enjoy time and location freedom without the risk of burning out.

Lani shed light on the common pain points that early seven-figure entrepreneurs often face. One of the most prevalent issues is the tendency to take on too much of themselves, which often stems from an inability to afford a team. Lonnie emphasizes the importance of creating cash flow and building a monthly recurring revenue stream to multiply the business's revenue.

Another common struggle is the difficulty in delegating critical tasks to others. Many entrepreneurs at this stage have an identity tied to their work, making it challenging to let go and trust others with crucial aspects of their business.

Lani also addressed the cash concerns of early seven-figure companies. She explained that growth and scaling require cash, and the post-COVID labor shortages and increased wages have only added to these financial challenges.

Moreover, she pointed out that entrepreneurs often lack efficient delivery systems and haven't identified the exact value points that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. This lack of clarity can lead to inefficiencies and missed growth opportunities.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Lani Dickinson's work as a business mentor for early seven-figure entrepreneurs and multi-seven figure earners
  • Common pain points for entrepreneurs, such as the need for a team and cash flow concerns
  • The process of professionalizing management and preparing for a potential exit
  • The importance of creating cash flow and building a monthly recurring revenue stream
  • Challenges faced by early seven-figure entrepreneurs, including trying to do too much themselves and struggling with delegating tasks
  • Cash concerns for early seven-figure companies, including post-COVID labor shortages and increased wages
  • The importance of having a clear vision for one's life, loves, legacy, and impact
  • Making difficult decisions and navigating necessary changes in businesses
  • Attaching a cost to desires and understanding the sacrifices and investments needed to achieve them

About Lani Dickinson:

Lani Dickinson's journey is nothing short of inspirational. Starting with a challenging childhood, where her mother was involved in drugs, Lani became a mother at 18 and dropped out of school. However, she turned her life around by obtaining a GED and pursuing higher education. Her determination led her to become a nurse, and she didn't stop there; she earned an MBA and successfully built two side businesses into multi-six-figure ventures.

Her corporate career is equally remarkable. Lani became the CEO of a Fortune 175 company, a position held by less than 5% of women. After 25 years in the corporate world, she left her CEO role as her business approached the seven-figure mark in under a year.

Now, as a business mentor and strategist, Lani dedicates herself to helping entrepreneurs, particularly those transitioning from corporate careers. She emphasizes embedding essential systems into businesses to achieve sustainable success, minus the bureaucracy.

Her approach aims at helping her clients gain true time freedom, increase profits, and create a business that operates independently. Lani's philosophy combines her corporate experience with an entrepreneurial spirit, emphasizing the importance of team-building, data-driven decision-making, and financial management.

About Thrive On Purpose:

Thrive on Purpose is an empowering program for women entrepreneurs running service-based businesses. The core mission is to enable these women to achieve independence from traditional corporate structures and the constraints of conventional employment.

A key aspect of Thrive on Purpose is the dual emphasis on achieving time and financial freedom. This approach ensures participants can build sustainable, profitable businesses without sacrificing important life moments or personal commitments.

Furthermore, the program stresses the importance of making a significant impact through their businesses, aligning personal values with professional goals.

By participating in “Thrive on Purpose,” women entrepreneurs have the tools and knowledge to create generational wealth. This concept extends the benefits of their success beyond their immediate needs to future generations.

The program is about more than just business growth; it's about creating a fulfilling, autonomous lifestyle that resonates with personal and professional aspirations.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Thrive on Purpose website at

Check out Thrive on Purpose on LinkedIn at

Check out Thrive on Purpose on Facebook at

Check out Thrive on Purpose Inc on Instagram at

Check out Lani Dickinson on LinkedIn at

Check out Lani Dickinson on Instagram at

Check out Lani Dickinson on Facebook 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 it's Lani Dickinson. Lani, you're a business mentor, and you are found on the web at maximize my Lani, thank you so much for joining us.

Lani (00:01:09) - Thanks so much for having me. Josh. I'm super excited to be here.

Josh (00:01:12) - Absolutely. Share with us a bit about the the like, who you work with and the impact you have in the world.

Lani (00:01:18) - So I'm currently working with what I would say is early seven figure entrepreneurs who, you know, they've made it, they're doing well at their thing, but they need to build a sustainable and potentially scalable business. Often these guys aren't thinking about sellable, but really we should all be thinking about that. And so I help them. What I would say is professionalize their management so that they can get the time and location freedom and not burn out now and then later. They've built it in a way that they can exit for more. And then that's the second crowd that I really help is the multi seven figure earner. Who knows. They want an exit, say 3 to 5 years or maybe even further than that. But they know what I'm doing now isn't going to get me an exit and I'm burning out and all those things. So I help them in various ways to increase their multiple and have a business that's truly sellable in a real way. And I do that in several, several ways. The earlier people are more like a group kind of a thing, but those later multiple seven figure earners, that could be various things.

Lani (00:02:20) - That could be one on one coaching, mentoring, that could be immersion. I do some fractional SEO work. So those kinds of things. So across the spectrum.

Josh (00:02:31) - Yeah. So what do you see. What do you what would you say would be a common pain point or gap or like as soon as you start having those those conversations with those early seven figure entrepreneurs in particular, where do you often find the greatest gaps that would lead you to say, yeah, no, you and I both agree. You're not ready to sell.

Lani (00:02:55) - Yeah, yeah. So in the early phases that early seven figures, 1 million, you know, they're still trying to do way too much themselves. So team is a big focus. And guess what they say. How am I going to afford them. Right. Yeah. So we got to get right to the biggest goal of a CEO is what create cash and have predictable revenue and build some kind of monthly recurring thing and get the founder out of sales so that we can multiply the revenue that's coming in.

Lani (00:03:25) - Of course, we have to have the operations to deliver on the other side, but that is the very first conversation for that early earner. They also, I believe, kind of have this at the identity level. What they do is at the identity level, like who I am is what I do. And so this idea of turning all these critical things over to other people is painful, because they haven't even thought of themselves as a grower of teams or, you know, most often when they think, I just want to talk about exit, what they'll say is, oh, I'm not ready to sell. It's like, well, you are about to burn out at $3 million. Like the wheels are going to fall off. So it's really that team. How am I going to pay for it. And then the systems to create the thing that will generate the revenue to pay for the team, to get the founder out of sales and then replacing them and all of that and replacing them is a whole nother conversation.

Josh (00:04:19) - I want to address something that that you'd mentioned earlier, just, you know, let's say there might be a lower six figure or even not yet at that level. And they happen to be listening our conversation right now. And they just heard you say that a, you know, early seven figure company, it has cash concerns. And they in their mind might be thinking, how is that possible? They're earning multiples of seven figures. What. Yeah. Why would that be the case.

Lani (00:04:47) - Well growth and scale to through cash right. Especially if you're not smart about it. So I think the piece that comes in there is post Covid labor is hard to find. So one of the things that has happened is wages have come up. So there's that. The people you do have are costing more just to be able to attract and retain, but that's not the biggest part of it. I also believe the entrepreneur, the founder, the small business owner, however they're identified, they are really good at doing the thing they do.

Lani (00:05:17) - So they are enmeshed in the thing they do, and so they haven't maybe. Gone out and they might. They have a delivery system, but the delivery system that got them to $1 million is not the one that's going to get them to two. And it's chewing through cash because it's not efficient. Probably the humans are still too involved in the places they don't need to be. I've found often that the founder does not understand the exact value. Places where somebody says, yes, I'm going to buy, yes, I'm going to stay, yes, I'm going to that that a hall that the buyer has when they're saying, this is amazing, I'm going to refer, I'm going to stay. I'm with you for life. They haven't mapped out that. They haven't asked enough questions that value place. And so they still have too much stuff in the system. All of that is consuming time. Our most precious resource and and money. You're either going to pay with your time or your money, right? So they also haven't what I call professionalize their management.

Lani (00:06:17) - They don't have they still got generalists on their team, like a lot of VA's, a lot of outsourced partners. Outsource partners are better, in my opinion, because they're expert at what they do. Yeah. So inside they haven't moved from generalists to specialists, so they're taking too long to get the result that they could get with a specialist. But guess what? A specialist cost more money. So there's there's several things at play there.

Josh (00:06:41) - Yeah. Lani, what makes you, you know, talk maybe just a bit about your background, your experiences and how that has kind of designed you in a way that makes you the perfect mentor for a business leader who finds himself in this position.

Lani (00:06:58) - Well, I started my my, my, I like to say my first exposure to entrepreneurial ism was literally my mother was a street drug dealer, no joke. Piles of cocaine on the living room table. And so I lived a very unsafe life, was super security programmed, and if people know I was a form, I was a CEO inside of a fortune 175 company.

Lani (00:07:20) - Less than 5% of women make it to that spot. So to get from Mama's Breaking Bad to I'm a Fortune 175 CEO, there's a whole bunch of healing mindset journey that needed to occur. And what I find for the people who break a million, they've got, they've done a lot of mindset work to get there. But to get to multiple seven figures there, there is a new identity that needs to be assumed. And I have done that work and helped people with that work for forever. That's one of the big things I also think I didn't mention there. There probably don't have great financial number. They're not handling that. They don't understand how to get more profit and make hard decisions based on numbers. There's crazy data out there that says like 50% of business owners get financial data, 5% of them even look at it or something like that. It's crazy. So people are afraid of the math and the numbers side. And so having grown up in a for profit. Fortune 175. I lived and died for 28 years.

Lani (00:08:27) - By what do the numbers mean, and what do I need to do operationally to drop more profit to the bottom line so I don't have to lay off so we can make earnings, all of those things. So definitely grew up in that way. But I also built a brick and mortar gym from the ground up and learned all the brick and mortar lessons that way. And then I bridged in all of the funnels in the online lead gen and closing sales in 21 day challenges and all those things. So I brought the online into the brick and mortar and actually closed that. And I've been an online coach for brand new entrepreneurs with all of the funnels to bring them in. And I sold that through the live challenge model and code that was very popular in Covid, and I helped new entrepreneurs for two years. I replaced my corporate income with that method. And so I like to say I've done brick and mortar, I've coached brick and mortar, I've coached online, I've done online. There's not I've worked at the $650,000 in gross revenue.

Lani (00:09:30) - That was my gym all the way down to I just did a $30 million turnaround as a fractional CEO for a health care organization, a small hospital. I've worked at the market level, the regional level, the two states level, and I've worked at the one little brick and mortar level. So I'm at the place in my life where I've done it all, seen it all. You know, I have three kids and grandkids, so I get the relationship things. I've been married 32 years, so I get all those things and all of that comes into play for a successful, sustainable, sellable business.

Josh (00:10:05) - Yeah. For someone that's been listening to our conversation and they say, yeah, I eventually would like to exit. You know, maybe that's a few years down the road. But right now, I would absolutely love to make my life a little bit easier because maybe I'm overworked. You know, maybe I have concerns about, you know, cash flow up and down, that sort of thing. When you begin that conversation with that leader, what does that process typically look like or maybe even like? What is the first conversation sound like?

Lani (00:10:37) - They're sounding like I'm exhausted and my wife sick of me having this business.

Lani (00:10:43) - My family's going on vacation without me even. Right. Um, my family hates my business. They don't want my business, and I don't really know how to do it different. And I'm in love with it. And I don't have a different identity. That might not be the way exactly that they say it. So the first thing I like to have people do is I like to say for your life, your loves, your legacy, and you're leaving. You're leaving the business but leaving the planet. What do you want in all of those areas? Get really clear on that, because that compelling vision for your future is the thing that will help you do the hard decisions that feel hard or impossible in the changes that you need to make. So if you know what you want your life to look like, you can attach a cost to that. And you can also understand if you don't do that, what is that going to mean? I like to help people avoid regret. I did my corporate climb with my kids at home.

Lani (00:11:38) - My son is 33 and I had a 28 year corporate client and I've been gone two years. So what does that tell you? I did that with young kids at home, and I have one regret in life, and that is that I thought there would be more time. And I drove him to UC Santa Barbara College when he was 18, and that is when I figured out I was out of time. I was crying, driving a suburban, not safe, and I said, oh man, I'm out of time. So if I can help this owner get really clear on what do you want your life to look like? Yeah, you're part of the life. And then for your loves, who do you love? What do you want their life and your relationship to look like? We're probably doing the exact inverse of that in the overworked business owner, right? Then we talk about the legacy. They might not really they they might not be so focused on legacy right now. But then when you say, look, you're leaving the planet one way or the other, none of us get out of this thing alive.

Lani (00:12:38) - At some point that happens. What do you want that to look like? And now, how much does all of that cost in time and money? If you want to have the opposite of regret, what does that cost in time and money? And what do the beautiful beaches look like? And what does family vacation look like? And what is high school graduation? What do you want your kids to say about you? What? Your grandkids have two grandkids now. What do you want them to say about you when they when you can get really in touch with that? Suddenly when I come along and say, we have to hire a number two, we have to get you out of sales. We can't have every customer knowing your name and your cell phone number. You have to create this tech stuff for automation. We have to hire somebody to do that you can't get away with. I'm afraid of tech. You have to document your system and. Put some KPIs in process, I got you. I'll hope you understand the numbers and what to do with them, but we've got to make hard decisions every single time.

Lani (00:13:32) - I can refer back to the pictures of what they want their life to be. And I learned this with my husband. We were both nurses. I went to school and got my MBA because I figured out I did not want to be in bedside care. I loved outcomes and I'm incredibly competitive. And he went to law school because it was his lifelong dream to be a lawyer. And imagine the the nurse who becomes a lawyer and has to collect money in health care. Nurses don't get attached to the money at all.

Josh (00:14:03) - Yeah.

Lani (00:14:03) - And so I was pretty frustrated. I was still working in corporate and I had three kids in private school about to go to college, and I was really frustrated every week. He was not bringing money home, but he was working 16 hour days. So my husband's Mexican and a little bit macho. So you can't do forward head on, right? So we take a Christmas picture everybody. I buy everybody their favorite college sweater, I wear mine. I went to University of San Francisco go dons.

Lani (00:14:34) - He wears his Lincoln Law school. All my kids, they're in their UC Davis, Asia Pacific and UC Santa Barbara sweatshirts. Even my later to be son in law was in his UC Davis sweatshirt. We take a Christmas card picture. That's what my husband thinks. As soon as those were developed, I put one right in front of him in. The client sits on the other side of the picture, and I said, every time you have trouble collecting, I want you to look at all of our kids who are not going to have college tuition money. And I want you to understand you are choosing the person on the other side of that picture. I'm getting chills telling you this over the kids staring back at you in that picture. So I don't care if you can only collect half. So I you know, I coached him through that. So we raised his retainer. And he got really good at collecting. He's not had a problem with that for after about 90 days of staring at that picture.

Lani (00:15:27) - So if you can get really clear on what you really want life to look like for you and everybody you love, suddenly collecting money, dealing with the tech, building a system, figuring out numbers, becoming friends with your accountant, growing a team, getting a number two. Suddenly all that's like. Yeah, that's. This is worth it. Choose your heart. Basically. Right?

Josh (00:15:52) - Yeah, yeah. Lori. Lani. Lani. Sorry about that. Lani Dickinson, your website. Maximize my Someone's been listening to our conversation. What's their next step? If they've really resonated with what you've been talking about.

Lani (00:16:05) - I'd love them to go to maximize my multiple. It's just a typical landing page with their name and email address. They'll get an email that tells log in for a portal that's just training. There's no sales in. There is not a it's not there's nothing pitched in there. It's just what are the elements of how to create a sustainable, sellable, sellable business training there? I have a due diligence checklist that a buyer would use if they come to buy your buy your business so you can see what you need to be preparing for.

Lani (00:16:34) - And then I have my framework there. The changes you make now you need to make now to have time and location. Freedom now and a higher multiple when you exit later.

Josh (00:16:43) - Yeah. Lani Dickinson again business mentor your website maximize guys my Lani thank you so much for joining us.

Lani (00:16:52) - Thank you Josh have a great day. Thanks for having me.

Josh (00:17:00) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs.

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