THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to Entrepreneur & Construction Management Consultant of Profit Consulting Company, Leo George William Smith.
Leo's journey into the world of business began at the tender age of 17 when he started his first construction renovation business. This venture later developed into 22 different franchises, demonstrating Leo's knack for growth and expansion.
After selling his business, Leo transitioned into management consulting, where he now works with his clients, primarily in the construction space. His clientele includes renovators, custom home builders, and landscapers.
Currently, Leo is working with a landscaping company and a roofing company to help these companies grow and expand their services. His focus is on redesigning and rebranding them to position them for success in the 10 to 20-million-dollar range.
Leo believes that many small businesses in the construction industry start by working with their hands without considering the importance of strategic planning and systems. He emphasizes the need for a blueprint phase, similar to hiring an architect when building a custom home, to eliminate future mistakes and ensure success.
Leo also highlights the importance of creating the need for a product or service. He shares an example from his experience working with a chain of funeral homes, where they shifted their focus to selling pre-need contracts. This shift in focus demonstrates the power of anticipating and creating a need for a product or service.
Key Points from the Episode:
- Leo Smith's background and work as a management consultant in the construction industry
- Leo's clients and the types of businesses he works with (renovators, custom home builders, landscapers)
- Leo's approach to redesigning and rebranding businesses for growth
- The importance of building influence and trust in today's market
- Leo's focus on helping landscaping and roofing companies grow and expand their services
- The need for strategic planning and systems in small businesses in the construction industry
- Creating the need for a product or service, using the example of funeral homes selling pre-need contracts
- The concept of “stepping stone relationships” and how it can help businesses reach a larger customer base
- Designing a business to work for the owner, rather than the other way around
About Leo George William Smith:
Leo George William Smith is a self-made entrepreneur with an inspiring journey. At just 11 1/2 years old, he began working part-time in a tailor shop, aiming to connect with successful individuals for mentorship.
Leo's ambition led him to delve into real estate, and by 17, he purchased his first house, initiating accidental entry into the construction business. Through strategic renovations, he generated positive cash flow, kickstarting his success.
By 25, Leo achieved his first million and currently owns shares in 19 companies, collaborating on various ventures. Despite being single and childless after the love of his life moved to Mexico, Leo remains active, participating in competitive court and beach volleyball.
Notably, he's designing an innovative solar-powered houseboat for Muskoka, reflecting his entrepreneurial spirit and creativity. Leo's story exemplifies determination, business acumen, and a passion for continuous innovation.
About Profit Consulting:
Profit Consulting Company, with a remarkable 39-year legacy in business analysis, specializes in evaluating companies across diverse sectors like construction, restaurants, and automotive industries.
With a keen understanding of the market, they address a concerning statistic: 96% of businesses fail, often due to inadequate business plans and flawed strategies.
Profit Consulting Company discerns that even companies with business plans often need more expertise and precise execution. To counter this, they offer a systematic and customized management consulting program.
By leveraging their extensive experience, they help businesses excel by refining their strategies, ensuring precise execution, and bridging the gap between planning and implementation.
Profit Consulting Company is a reliable partner for businesses seeking expert guidance, aiming to significantly enhance their chances of success in today's competitive market.
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Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Want to learn more? Check out Profit Consulting Company at
Check out Profit Consulting Company on Instagram at
Check out Profit Consulting Company on Twitter at
Check out Profit Consulting Company on Facebook at
Check out Leo George WIlliam Smith on YouTube 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. Management consultant Leo Smith. Leo, your website is interim CEO for you. That's the number four. And the letter you. Leo, thank you so much for joining us. My pleasure. Yeah. We'll share with us a bit about the work that you do and who you serve.
Leo (00:01:17) - Okay.
Leo (00:01:18) - Well, I mainly serve the construction space. Most of my clients are in the construction industry. Renovators, custom home builders, you know, that sort of thing. Landscapers. Even. I started my first business when I was 17. A construction renovation business when I was 17. Develop that to 22 different franchises, sold hundreds of franchises, then creating franchises, basically taking people that know nothing about the construction renovation space and having the system teach them everything they need to know to make them successful and really is consulting, management consulting. So when I sold that business, went straight into management consulting, was trained by the largest management consulting firm in the world, was number two in the world. Very proud of that. Then started putting out my own shingle. Now I have my own clients.
Josh (00:02:08) - Awesome. And who are the clients that you work with today?
Leo (00:02:12) - Uh, today I'm working with a landscaping company, two young guys, startups looking to design and build a landscaping company and eventually become custom home builders while they're getting their custom home builder license.
Leo (00:02:26) - We're starting with landscaping. I'm also working with One Day Roof, which is hence the name roofing company, residential roofing company, uh, opening a commercial division as well. So we work with companies that are in the 500 to 2 million space. And basically what we do is we redesign them, rebrand them so they can get to the ten and $20 million space.
Josh (00:02:51) - So aside from redesigning and rebranding, what percentage of the overall implementation would you say would fall under kind of redesign, rebranding, or what other significant pieces of the pie would contribute to that growth?
Leo (00:03:06) - Well, when I say rebranding or redesigning, I'm talking about building a custom home. Let me use an analogy. If you are going to build a custom home, you know your wife's dream home, the first thing you would do is probably hire an architect, right? Because you wouldn't start by hiring a bunch of guys and giving them shovels and say, build me my dream home because you would have a mess because each one has your own interpretation of what your dream home or what your wife's dream home might be.
Leo (00:03:37) - Right? So the architect basically does the blueprint phase to eliminate 99.99% of the future mistakes you're going to create. The same thing applies with business, right? Most businesses today and I belong to a lot of Facebook groups. And I've asked this question hundreds of times. Most people start by working with their hands and they figure, okay, I know I'm a good carpenter or I know how to work with concrete, so I'm going to start a concrete business, or I'm good at planting shrubs and bushes and stuff. So I'm going to start a landscaping company that explains how most small businesses start. And they start by working with their hands and you figure, okay, the knowledge that I have in landscaping or the knowledge that I have in painting should be enough to get me a business. Well, if you look at Google statistics, for example, Google says it takes 5 to 20 years for the average painter to get to $800,000, $800,000 at 10% net profit. He's making 80 to 100 grand, right? So he's basically starving.
Leo (00:04:44) - But yet when you have companies like wow, one day painting or sort of pro painting or 100 and 800 million. So I mean, the money is there, but they haven't really figured out the 33 tools and how we came about these 33 tools is in the last 40 years, we've been comparing this gentleman contractor with this gentleman contractor. This guy does a million. This guy does 20 doing the same product, doing the same kitchen, same bathroom, same flooring, same painting, same all that or custom homes. But yet one has figured out the processes or these systems, or the tools or the software or the key people to do it, and it's basically like a recipe. And we called that recipe the 33 tools.
Josh (00:05:31) - In your work, in working with folks within kind of the construction and trades and those industries, are there any commonalities you see there? And I'd say compared to maybe other industries, I know that you've served and you own companies in other segments, but I'm just wondering if there's some cultural commonalities that you've seen that are interesting, that you know, that you have to proactively address, or just we see it all the time that that sort of experience.
Leo (00:05:59) - Actually, I've learned a lot in my training process working for the largest consulting firm. I was forced to analyze, you know, accounting firms, manufacturing firms, firms in travel and tourism firms in the funeral industry, which gave me the creeps. Normally I get the tour of the facility. I don't want the tour, you know, let's just stay here. Yeah, but you'd be surprised how much we've learned or how much of the systems we created for the funeral industry that we now apply to the construction renovation space. For example, when I was analyzing a chain of funeral homes and I'm going back at least 35 years back then, and I kept asking the question of this director, and he was getting frustrated with me. And I said, well, what is your business? What is it you do? And he gave me his same answer three times. And didn't give me the answer that I was looking for. And he kept saying, well, Leo, we help with a grieving process. We help with the funeral, we help the family go through this negative period.
Leo (00:07:03) - And I said, no, no, no. But what are you as a business? What are you doing? Because he kept talking about his service, and I wanted him to talk about his business. And really what I wanted to talk about is how you're controlling your future. How are you creating the need for your product and service? And I knew what his answer was going to be. Well, we can't control the need. And the third time that I asked a question, he got a little frustrated and they said, well, how are you creating that need? Right? And that's when we started talking about taking that business to the next level. And we started selling pre need. Right. Because we all know that unfortunately our mother's going to die, our father's going to die. You know people are going to die. But instead of waiting for the moment to happen, we started creating contracts. To say okay, if and when this does happen. We already have the strategy. We already have the funeral, the flowers in the casket and everything that you're going to want.
Leo (00:08:01) - And because you're signing up today, you're signing up today's prices instead of prices five and ten years as the prices grow. Right? So they started accumulating contracts and they started buying other funeral homes. This project was so successful they started buying other funeral homes. Then eventually word got out and competitors started copying. But they had 3 to 5 year advantage that the other people didn't have the same type of strategy we can use for today's construction renovation space. And if only people knew the advantages and the leverage tools that are available today. Yeah, that most people mean most contractors today are still have the mindset they did ten and 20 years ago. The world has changed even the last ten years. Everybody now thinks, okay, I got to do pay per click. You you're ten years old. That's something you should have done ten years ago when it was profitable. Now everybody's trying to get on Google Pay per click or Facebook pay per click, and you're just driving up the prices. You're already five years behind.
Josh (00:09:11) - Yeah. So where do we go? Particularly like for example, you mentioned pay per click advertising. And I think that that begs the question to our listener, what should I be doing.
Leo (00:09:20) - Good question. You start thinking about where is my client going to be in 12 months, right? Yes. Where are they engaging? Because what happens when we try and sell? What happens when you get a phone call, usually at dinnertime, right. You switch off, build a kind of wall between you and the guy trying to sell you, and you start running away. So selling used to work ten, 20 years ago, but selling doesn't work today. Selling has limited results. Right. And the question that I usually ask my clients, would you rather have $1 million in a marketing account, or would you rather have a million followers? Right. And most people know I want $1 million in the marketing account, right? But $1 million today will not buy what $1 million used to buy you 20 years ago? It just does not.
Leo (00:10:12) - So influence is the new currency. I keep repeating this and you need to get it through your head. Everyone needs to get it through their heads because without influence, you can't persuade. If you can't persuade, you don't have followers. You don't have trust, you don't have a trust foundation. And it's going to be very difficult for you to close. Even if you get people from a Facebook ad campaign, they don't know who you are. They don't know your trust foundation. You haven't built credibility over the last 1 to 5 years, right? They don't trust you. They haven't been following you. Right. So today we should be working on clients. We need 3 to 5 years down the road and if we're not doing that, we are severely being left behind. Yeah.
Josh (00:10:56) - I love your example. And by the way, dollars for donuts. They're 1 million followers or $1 million. I can tell you that acquiring a follower probably going to cost you more than a dollar a piece. If we're talking about like a legitimate someone who knows you and likes you, that sort of thing, you know, it's like kind of like that example, like, you know, a realtor, like if they're just trying to make it big in their local market, you know, once you get to a point where you've got 200 meaningful relationships in your community, it's kind of game, set, match.
Josh (00:11:26) - I mean, you can keep expanding on that, but that is a gift that is going to keep on giving as long as you keep showing up in their life in a generous and valuable way. Yeah.
Leo (00:11:35) - May I expand on your point? That's a great point. I have a client who runs a painting company. He uses what we call stepping stone relationships. His stepping stone relationship are real estate agents, right? Each real estate agent, I mean, if they're worth anything. And the average real estate agent makes about $30,000 a year, which is kind of pathetic. But if you reach for the top 10% or even the top 20% in your city and you build relationships with those people, those real estate agents will know between 1000 and 5000 people, a thousand homeowners. So if I'm a painting company, which I do own part of a painting company, we use them as stepping stone relationships to get introductions to the homeowner. So instead of us trying to build relationships with 10,000 or 20,000 homeowners, we just build relationships with 50 successful real estate agents, and they in turn recommend us when the client needs to move, repaint, or whatever.
Leo (00:12:31) - Now this client does $5 million in just relationships with real estate agents, and he travels to 38 countries a year surfing and playing beach volleyball while the company works for him. This is what we call company on autopilot, right? And very few people when they're designing a. Business. They think about working with their hands. They don't think about how can I create this business to work for me while I'm at the cottage, or sailing or traveling or doing whatever nobody thinks that way, and which is pretty damn sad, right? Again, to emphasize that point, if you look at the People Are Dragons Den, Shark Tank, they own hundreds of businesses. Are they working with their hands? No. These businesses work for them. Right. And flipping everybody thinks about, you know, flipping real estate, no flip businesses. You'll make a hell of a lot more money.
Josh (00:13:23) - Wow. Well, and I know that that's something that I think is a part of that. You work with some clients who are really interested scale, scale, scale and create a sellable business.
Josh (00:13:34) - Would you mind maybe talking about that? And then let's talk specifically about how you engage with your clients. And also to our friend that's listening, how they might know that there's an opportunity to engage.
Leo (00:13:45) - Okay. Well, I'm always looking to meet new people I spend I shouldn't say spend. I invest a lot of time on social media, Tik Tok, Facebook group and so on. So our goal when we engage with a new client is usually to get them to the next level. We see a lot of burnout. For an example, I was working with 24 year old roofing company that was stuck. They kept hitting the $2 million glass ceiling when they flew in to meet with me. Him and his wife flew in. We had lunch within the first ten minutes. I could smell the burnout. The way he spoke, his body language, everything was it was burnout because the reason why the wife wanted to come along is she was sick and tired of every second or third year refinancing the house because the, you know, the business is not where it should be.
Leo (00:14:34) - And it kept hitting that glass ceiling after 24 years. And the biggest complaint back then was, Leo, I can't find quality people, you know, nobody wants to work for me, right? And the funny thing is, we think we are great bosses. We are really ugly to our employees. I've sat in trucks, I followed business owners, and when they start yelling at the top of their lungs, you freaking idiot! I've told you this many times, how can you call that culture? Then how can you say after making that statement that my employees love me because I take them to paintball? I buy them donuts every Friday. Every once in a while I bring them coffee. That's not love. You know, you're trying to buy loyalty. And most business owners, you know and love. Sometimes we need to hear this. Most business owners are horrible to their employees. And that's why there's a revolving door. Right. And this was the case in this company. So we had to change the culture.
Leo (00:15:33) - We had to rebrand and create proper differentiation, internal training programs and all the other tools that I don't have time to get into. But a long story short, within four months we tripled their workforce.
Josh (00:15:47) - That's amazing.
Leo (00:15:49) - Just by not doing the negative that we're doing. Okay, don't do the negative. Don't push your employees away. You know, rule number one.
Josh (00:15:59) - Yeah. Don't be a D to your employees. Yeah. You know, listen, maybe, you know, if this is old crotchety, you know, you could have gotten away with that maybe in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Not today. We're well too.
Leo (00:16:11) - Connected to have too many choices.
Josh (00:16:13) - Right? Right, right. Leo, your website is interim CEO for you. The number four letter you talk about for our friend that's been listening to our conversation. And, you know, maybe they've stumbled upon this episode six, 12 months after because they're just kind of searching around. We get a lot of listeners that way. By the way, if that's you.
Josh (00:16:33) - Thank you for listening, Leo, to that person who is in the research phase right now, and they're looking or wondering what their next steps might be in terms of like where they can engage and get value in that engagement. What would you recommend?
Leo (00:16:48) - Find me on TikTok, Leo George, William Smith or on Facebook? Leo George William Smith still the same name and engage with me there. Then you'll understand how we create trusted relationships, how we truly help people. Because it's the same strategy you should be using if you want to find painting clients or landscaping clients, or someone needs bathrooms. And by the way, have a client who builds $150,000 bathrooms. When everybody else says that's impossible, that's his average. When you reach for the higher clientele, the people who live in $5,000,040 million homes, that's the price tag. And that's your quality of life is going to be better if you serve better quality people or affluent people. So I try to practice what I preach. So follow me on TikTok or send me an email through the website.
Leo (00:17:40) - You know, let's figure out what your problems are, what your challenges are, what your concerns are, and why you're having a hard time getting. Followers or testimonials, or why you're not making a ton of money right now because you should be in the construction space. You should be making a ton of money right now, and there's really no reason for it. Because if you're not making a ton of money, it means you're pushing those profitable clients, your competitors. Why do that? That makes no sense to me.
Josh (00:18:11) - Leo, your website once again is interim CEO for you, Leo Smith, your management consultant. You have a long and storied background. You guys have over a thousand businesses. You and your team have had their hands on to help them to scale. So thank you very much for.
Leo (00:18:28) - Your 40 years. So that's a long time too. I'm 64 years old. Where did the time go?
Josh (00:18:34) - Well, Leo, thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate you.
Josh (00:18:38) - And again, thank you for joining us. Take care. 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. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.