Today we have a special guest. Tim Conley from and Tim411. In a recent episode, we were talking about the scalability of productized services. This is a topic Tim is an expert in, so we were hoping we can talk about that. Justin and Tim live in the same area, and they hang out and talk business on a monthly basis.

Tim has an 18+ year career. He started as a marketing consultant in the .com era. He then built a marketing agency, but got tired of that and scaled back. Then he built and sold a swimming pool company. Now he is known for his podcast The Foolish Adventure Show. This show had over a million listens. He hasn’t done it for over two years, but he still gets 16,000 downloads a month. They talked about everything necessary to build a business without all of the fluff. He is now an Executive Coach who does his consulting all over the world using Skype.

Topics discussed include:

  • Two early stages of growth – under a million dollars – marketing and product development – product fit and marketing and advertising – optimal selling strategy – know how to put people into the funnel
  • Second stage – over a million dollars – team building, leadership, and systems – This is where Tim focuses
  • Obstacles getting through the first phase – Service is people or systems or machines doing something for someone else
  • People are against consulting because they think it is unscalable
  • If you build a leadership team, you should be able to hire as you grow
  • If you provide a lot of customization, you have to use people, so figure out how to properly manage that and not worry about the amount of people you have
  • Leaders are overwhelmed and trying to do too much, mostly because they aren’t delegating like they should, they have a lot of people doing small jobs that report directly to the founder, these people don’t know the vision and always have to ask the owner
  • Set the teams up properly and let them do their jobs, a lot of the overwhelm will go away
  • Until you have a management team that can run the company without you, you are self-employed, if you have the resources, hire a project manager at the beginning, funded companies are forced to hire managers that can grow a large company
  • A lot of entrepreneurs need a lieutenant to implement ideas and makes sure other people are implementing ideas
  • Entrepreneurs need help in the functioning of the company, mundane and detail oriented, they need someone to organize the chaos they create
  • Once you are up and running, you may find you hired someone who is ambitious and smart, promote from within
  • Outside the company – dive into your network
  • If you can find someone to run your company through a job ad, it would be like winning the lottery
  • Trust but verify, when handing out leadership
  • In the early days, you will need more hustle than knowledge, but their is a balance, err on the side of someone ambitious and smart enough to figure it out
  • You may think a startup will work a certain way, but it may not turn out how you expect
  • Determine whether it’s a people problem or a systems problem
  • Training, management, micro-managing are systems generated people problems
  • To build a bigger company, full-time people with a solid structure is the way to go
  • You will be tied to a company of part-time contractors
  • Business is all mental, you create value, someone exchanges money for that value, the rest is in our heads
  • Everything we do, think and believe will help us grow or keep us stuck where we are
  • If you are stuck join a mastermind of like minded people that are a bit above you that will make you stretch
  • Look at your bigger competitors and see what they are doing better
  • A great way to get information from a company is call up and be a customer
  • Tim likes figuring out new things and giving them to his clients
  • A private facebook group is low friction and can be an experiment, it can also make you be seen as an authority, you can put out ideas and get very fast feedback
  • Entrepreneurial imperative – create value first
  • Transfer of knowledge, expertise and skills – service business as IP (intellectual property) then package that IP in as many forms as you can – builds authority and provides income stream
  • Optimum selling strategy in stage 1 business is selling your front end product, know your front end product, use other products to generate leads for your core service
  • Gets customers in a systematic predictable way
  • Higher the margin, the bigger the profits, put products in with gigantic margins, makes whole company more profitable
  • Start with a knowledge product, if you are already doing well, go with a high ticket item

Resources Mentioned:

Stay Connected:

  • If you’d like to take your entrepreneurial journey to a whole new level, join fellow “scalers” on the inside by joining the Zero to Scale Insiders program. For just $19/mo you get access to Justin and Greg and several other like-minded entrepreneurs who want to help you succeed in your journey!
  • from you. We don’t plan on asking for this in the episodes themselves since most people are doing other things when they’re listening, but we’d love if you left one for us. 🙂