1804 – How to Have a Smoothly Running Business with Danielle Levy

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Chief of Staff, Business Growth Strategist & Consultant, Danielle Levy.

Levy Wide

Danielle's expertise in business growth is not just theoretical; it's built on a foundation of real-world experience and a track record of tangible results. Her strategy approach is innovative and practical, making her a sought-after consultant in the business community.

Danielle peeled back the layers of what it takes to grow a business in today's competitive landscape. She emphasized that growth is not just about scaling up operations or increasing revenue; it's about strategic planning and execution.

Danielle shared that identifying the right opportunities is one of the first steps in business growth. This means understanding your market, recognizing trends, and being able to pivot when necessary. It's not enough to have a great product or service; you must also know how to position it in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Another key insight from Danielle was the importance of building a solid foundation for your business. This includes having clear processes, a strong team, and the right tools in place. These are necessary for growth efforts to be sustainable in the long run.

One of the unique perspectives Danielle brought to the table was her role as a chief of staff. She explained how this position is pivotal in aligning the strategic vision with day-to-day operations. A chief of staff can be a right hand to business leaders, ensuring that growth strategies are implemented effectively.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of the guest, Danielle C. Levy
  • Danielle's background as a chief of staff, business growth strategist, and consultant
  • Danielle's expertise in working with high-level service providers, agency owners, and entrepreneurs
  • Insights and guidance on business growth and strategy provided by Danielle

About Danielle Levy:

Danielle Levy is a seasoned professional known for her role as a problem solver, dedicated to assisting ambitious business owners in expanding and thriving in a courageous business environment. Referred to as the ‘velvet bulldog' by clients, Levy is a strategic partner, seamlessly blending a broad vision with precise execution.

Functioning as a virtual Chief Operating Officer, she adeptly manages operations, team dynamics, funnel design, and automation, ensuring the smooth functioning of businesses even in the owner's absence.

Leveraging her marketing expertise and a robust corporate project background, Levy acts as a manager and a vital force in unifying all operational aspects, propelling growth and success within the realm of her clients' core genius.

Tweetable Moments:

06:59 – “When you stop knowing how to do the things that got you to that point and how to move it forward, it's about who you know that can help you take the business to the next level.”

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Josh (00:00:05) - A thoughtful listener before we get going. Did you know that my company up My has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my, where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my, where you'll see shows like Profit Powerhouse with Glenn Poulos, sales negotiations, and business insights. This isn't just another business podcast, it's a deep dive into the strategies that truly drive success. Hosted by Glenn Poulos, a seasoned sales strategist and business growth expert. Each episode is packed with insights from top executives and business leaders. If you're a high level executive looking to share your expertise and story, we want you on profit powerhouse. Your experiences could be the exact insights Glenn's audience of ambitious business leaders are craving.

Josh (00:01:27) - And for our listeners, if you're ready to elevate your business acumen and learn from the best in the industry, profit Powerhouse with Glenn Poulos is your go to resource. Subscribe now and join a community of professionals who are transforming the business world, ready to be a part of something groundbreaking? Visit up my influence and click on the podcast tab to find profit powerhouse. Whether you're looking to be the next guest or just seeking invaluable business wisdom, this is where your journey begins. Again, just go to up my and click on the podcast tab. With us right now. Danielle Levy Danielle, you are a chief of staff, business growth strategist and consultant for high level service providers, agency owners and entrepreneurs. Daniel, thank you so much for joining us.

Danielle (00:02:21) - Thank you for having me. It's wonderful to be here.

Josh (00:02:24) - Yeah. Well, give us an overview of the work that you do. By the way, I should point out your website is Daniel C Levy. Com that's Levy y. Uh, yeah.

Josh (00:02:35) - Daniel, in your words, I'd love to hear about the impact you have in the world.

Danielle (00:02:39) - Yeah. So, um, I came up back in the days of all brick and mortars in digital consulting and communication consulting design agencies, and I spent about 15 years doing that and made my way over to the online space to work with entrepreneurs over here. And I have this really cool background in project management, people operations, but always with a marketing lens. And so it's been absolutely fantastic to be able to get inside of businesses, see how they work, take a look at their digital footprint and figure out how we can't, um, get them to be a little more optimized, figure out how we can scale and grow them up and really, you know, help CEOs feel really confident in their roles that the business is being handled.

Josh (00:03:24) - Yeah. You know, I noticed that you've got a few initials behind your name in MBA, but also PMP. So when we're talking about like project management, someone that has that PMP designation, can you can you share just a bit about why that may be valuable, as opposed to just a coach that wakes up one morning and says, you know what, I'm going to help people with their project management.

Danielle (00:03:46) - Yeah. So I actually got it. And this is Danielle Unfiltered right here. But I was given the opportunity to take the PMP exam, which at the time, and I'm sorry that I'm not up on the latest was quite expensive to take and was many, many hours of study to take it. And I jumped at the opportunity to take it. And I was much younger in my career, and I was dealing with some fortune 100 companies and was really put in some key leadership positions within these projects. And for me, the exam in particular, and and this is just my personal experience with it. The exam was incredibly broad. So I was in a real niche market. And, you know, folks in manufacturing or folks in more, you know, who are project managing widgets or, you know, any project management professional could take this exam. So for me, it was a little bit broad at the onset. And what I quickly found out was these was really a core set of operating principles that even someone is junior in my career.

Danielle (00:04:49) - It gave me confidence to really work with CXO level folks and say, no, these are best operating principles. This is why we should do the things that we were doing. So it really transformed my way of thinking about like, oh, this is what my gut is saying. I think this feels right about it by no. This is what a proven set of professionals has had to say about this is the right way to run a set of projects. And it didn't matter that I was a 20 something year old or I didn't have, you know, as many years of experience. It was like, no, this is best practice and this is how we should do it. And so it really was less about the knowledge of studying for the exam, as it was a transformation in how I was thinking about projects.

Josh (00:05:31) - Sure, sure. Okay. So the value that you bring into an organization, what might be some, I guess, pain points or, you know, business leader that's listening right now, how might they know that they could value you from some guidance from you?

Danielle (00:05:50) - Sure.

Danielle (00:05:50) - I think there are a couple of signs. One is they're just not sure what their own role is within their company anymore. They've gotten the business to a certain point. What got them here, they know isn't going to take them there. They feel like the business is consuming them instead of them being out in front of the business. Um, that's definitely a sign. Um, the others are, you know, with it by department, you know, they're feeling like they don't have the right team. Um, things are feeling stuck. Communication is feeling muddled. Things just aren't running with ease and flow the way that they should be. Um.

Josh (00:06:29) - Yeah. And so it seems like a silly question to ask, but, uh, what are the consequences of that for a business leader or a founder?

Danielle (00:06:37) - Yeah. You know, I think it's a slowing down of the growth curve or essentially, I mean, and I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but the destruction of a business, you never you know, it's I love that book by Dan Sullivan.

Danielle (00:06:53) - I'm not sure if you're familiar with it. Who? Not how. And it's what.

Josh (00:06:56) - You. Yeah. Just read it. Yeah.

Danielle (00:06:59) - So it's when you stop knowing how to do the things that got you to that point and how to move it forward. And it's like, who do you know that can help you take the business to that next level? Um, what I think is really interesting about businesses is you get it to a certain point, you figure out that you have a sustainable or high growth business, and you get all these processes and systems in place, and then they stop working. And that's actually a sign of success in business, because the things that you've built, you've actually outgrown or you've broken because you need to take them to the next level. Um, and so when you feel that slow down when things aren't working like they used to work, you know, there's a problem there.

Josh (00:07:38) - Yeah. Well, let's maybe share some guidance. Uh, for folks listening, I don't know if you can think of anything off the top of your head to say, listen.

Josh (00:07:46) - All right, let's fix one thing in your organization. I don't know if you can kind of give us a little mini Ted talk or something on something actionable that we can all do.

Danielle (00:07:56) - Sure thing. So I think being really clear on a few key priorities, not trying to get all the things done or especially, you know, we tend to set ourselves up with these mental time frames. You know, just as you and I are talking like we're we're turning the corner on the end of the calendar, right? But there's always the end of a quarter. There's always, you know, fiscal year, there's always some sort of deadline. And I always like to work with teams and say, let's narrow in on 2 or 3 key initiatives. Let's move to a sprint model. I would rather see more things get over the finish line, then go to broad and not really see where the time and money is going.

Josh (00:08:37) - Now, one of those things that I'm just kind of looking through. By the way, you're a great follow on LinkedIn.

Josh (00:08:43) - Um, one thing you were talking about, I wanted to ask you about this. What is process mapping and how can we do that?

Danielle (00:08:49) - Sure. So process mapping in simplest terms is understanding how to get from A to B. And sometimes what we figure out is we're like, well, I should say how to get from A to C, because sometimes what we figure out is we can only get to B and we can actually get to see which is over the finish line. So what are all the steps that we need to take? You know, it goes back to those days of elementary school like um, oh gosh, I even just lost my analogy. But the shortest distance between two points is a single line, right? Um, and that's what process mapping is, figuring out what we need to do to get from here to there.

Speaker 3 (00:09:26) - Um.

Josh (00:09:27) - I'm gonna have a big process mapping day tomorrow with my team.

Speaker 4 (00:09:31) - We got.

Josh (00:09:32) - You know, and we're recording this shortly before, you know, Christmas and the New Year's.

Josh (00:09:37) - So I think a lot of folks, especially now this is airing probably in January. And a lot of folks are, you know, they've made plans for the year and now they need to see these things through to all the way. And I think it's pretty frustrating for all of us. You know, when we set in intention, you know, and then maybe it just we get too caught up in other minutia and or putting out the fires. So our big goal stuff maybe sometimes doesn't make it across the finish line. Any recommendations or tips that that you would provide. Um, so that people can ensure that they get their things done. And again, they don't just fall victim to oh yeah, I know we should be working on that, but we still got to do all this stuff, you know, the day to day putting out fires, which is the bane, I think of of many business leaders existence.

Danielle (00:10:34) - Yeah. You know what? I think there's actually two parts to what you're saying.

Danielle (00:10:36) - So one is definitely keeping an eye on that North Star and being really dedicated, or those couple of North Stars being really dedicated to revisiting them and not getting lost in all the minutia, whether it's, you know, a regular meeting with the executive team or having someone else be the project sponsor or whatever it might be. But I also think being too laser focused on what those definitions of success are can sometimes, you know, we miss the opportunity in that. And I was meeting with a client, it was interesting last week, and she talked about not wanting to feel like a failure because she didn't get all the things done on her list, and we really spent some time going, well, we didn't get these things done on the list, but look at all these other things that were that did get done, um, just because opportunities presented themselves. So I definitely hear you with not losing track of the big goals, you know, those giant rocks within the the grains of sand of day to day business? Um, but I also think being too rigid in our planning isn't really a good choice either.

Josh (00:11:38) - Yeah. Um, one thing that you recently wrote about was decision making fatigue as a leader. What is it? You know, how can we be aware of that as leaders and how can we handle that?

Danielle (00:11:53) - Yeah. You know, decision making fatigue is, you know, all of those big decisions and all of those small decisions that just as leaders or the person that's always been the person that's that by default has made those decisions, just the volume of decisions that need to get made. And at a certain point, does the executive or the leader need to be the person that makes all of those decisions? Specifically, on my team, there was a set of tasks that I was responsible for because as my own business was growing, I had been always. I had always been the one that was doing them. And I have to be frank in saying the quality of what I was doing wasn't as fresh and sharp because it just didn't feel like a priority to me. So we actually bundled all of those up and passed them to a member of my team.

Danielle (00:12:38) - It's I'm not the bottleneck anymore. I can't even tell you what a pleasure it is right now. When I just see things happening in the background that I don't have to worry about, and I know that I'm making the decisions that I need to. There are certain decisions that I will not give up. There are certain decisions that you know, except the leader. They they shouldn't be made by anybody else. But it's really being aware of the volume of decisions that need to get made every day. You know, even when we were chatting, you were talking about how this discussion could be repurposed. There's a lot of decisions right in there. And use this platform, that platform. How soon are we going to schedule it? How is it conflicting with like there's all of those decisions, right. And I really like to stay in the zone of the things that excite me, the things that I'm really good at and give my team the opportunity to do the things that they shine at. Because overall, the business is just in a much better place because of it.

Speaker 3 (00:13:29) - Hmm hmm.

Josh (00:13:30) - All right. So your website is Daniel C Levy. Com and I think you've got some good resources here. Or, you know, maybe things that you've content you've created. I'd love to give folks, uh, you know, some next steps after they've heard our conversation and, you know, so that they can start tackling their own processes and systems within their own organization. Let's give them again, I'm just so sympathetic to that, that business owner leader that unfortunately is doing way too much in their organization. I promise you to my friend who's in that situation listening to this, I promise you this is solvable.

Speaker 4 (00:14:11) - Yeah it is.

Danielle (00:14:12) - And, you know, one thing that I would say is I have a very clear 1.0 and 2.0 in my professional journey. And when I made the switch, I knew what skills I was coming with. And there was a tremendous amount of insecurity that I had because there were all of these new terms and this new like playground that I didn't understand how it worked.

Danielle (00:14:34) - And it was my network that got me through, and it was having real conversations with people that had been there before. So to your point about what is the next step that people can take, you know, even if it's as simple as I'm very, very loyal to my messages on Instagram, just send me a message. I've got a newsletter that goes out regularly. I want to be very, very approachable to people because I have just so much gratitude for the community that got me here, and if I can pay that forward in any way to other folks, I am more than happy to do that. But to your point, there are a lot of resources on there. Um, there's delegation strategies, there's an ice planner ice, as in, in case of emergency planner, there's there's, you know, there's a quarterly there's a goal planning, you know, worksheet that can be used. There's all sorts of stuff. But I think at the end of the day, the most important thing is to take the step that feels most comfortable to the person that's taking the action in whatever way that makes sense, and to continue to stay in motion saying, you know what? I'm feeling some friction.

Danielle (00:15:36) - I know I need to do something even if I don't know what it is. Let me reach out to Danielle. She may not be my person, but she might know my person or she might know my resource, right? It's about us supporting each other and how can we all move forward?

Speaker 3 (00:15:48) - Um.

Josh (00:15:49) - All right. Again, Danielle C Levy, you are a PMP and MBA, Chief of staff, Business growth strategist and consultant for high level service providers, agency owners, entrepreneurs. Your website Daniel C Daniel. It's been a great conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.

Danielle (00:16:10) - Thanks for having me Josh I appreciate it.

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