EPISODE 36 – Ask Who Not How

EPISODE 36 – Ask Who Not How

By mick | March 24, 2021

Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!

So if this is your first time listening or viewing the podcast, the purpose of the podcast is to eliminate the common and often costly mistakes or pain or error or frustration that many builders experience just running a building business.

What we’ve found over the years that we’ve been doing this is much of the frustration, much of the unnecessary cost in a building business comes from the mindset, the beliefs and the procedures and systems that most builders implement.

The good part about that, if you’re open to it, is that all of those things I just mentioned are fully in your control.

You can change them. You can decide to improve them, to measure them, to refine them and constantly improve your building business. And as they say, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing or at least when I say they, I heard this from Zig Ziglar many, many moons ago, he said, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re gonna keep getting what you’ve been getting.”

So improving and changing. And we need to do the improvement and the change because everything is moving so rapidly around us and if we don’t open ourselves up to constantly changing, constantly improving, constantly reinventing the business, the procedures, the messaging, the positioning, everything that we do in our business, we will and are getting left behind if you choose not to make those shifts. So that’s what this show is all about.

We’re addressing different things every week. If you want to ask specific questions, if you wanna ask us to cover a particular topic, all you need to do is send us a message.

We’re all over the interwebs and you can find us at buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au, you can send me an email at mick@buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au, you can jump on Facebook. There’s a whole bunch of ways to get ahold of us.

So what we’re covering today is this question of ask who not how. It’s a real important mind shift to start to give you more time and financial freedom in your business and get rid of a lot of unnecessary stress that is created from time pressure and being under the pump. I’d like to know what this pump is that people keep talking about but you know what I mean.

I’m gonna do Q and A. There’s a commonly asked question, in fact, it was asked just again this week in the Facebook group, the Builders Business Success Forum. If you’re not a member, jump on Facebook and join the forum, ask questions, get involved, get some solutions there as well.

So that question was asked, I’m gonna be answering it again in this episode and please stay tuned for that because it can save you a bit of money and a bunch of effort that’s unnecessary, the answer to that question.

And of course, we’re gonna give you a personal productivity hack as well.

*Transcription of the show*

The topic of today’s episode all comes from ask who not how and my business coach Taki Moore always is suggesting that you’ve gotta ask who.

When you’ve gotta change something, improve something, implement something in your business, always ask, “Who can I get to do that or take care of it or take responsibility for it?” Rather than “How do I do that?” And you might think, “Well, I can’t afford to pay people to do these things. I’ll do it myself.”

That is one of the attitudes, if you like thought processes or beliefs that I wanna challenge in this episode because I think part of the problem is that when we take on stuff ourselves because we can’t afford to pay somebody else to do it or at least that’s our belief, all we’re actually saying is our time isn’t worth much and that fundamental foundational thought process needs to change.

We need to start to go, “Hey, I am worth X and therefore I should only be using my time to work on the parts of the business, the activities in the business that are sort of appropriate for that hourly rate.” So, being the owner of a business, you should be two, three, 400 bucks an hour.

That’s what you thought should be thinking. A thousand bucks an hour, I don’t care but you need to lift your thinking as to what your time is worth because if you were charging your time at two, three, four, $500 an hour, what would people think if they were paying you that much but you’re only doing activities that I could get somebody else to do for 25, 35, 45, $50, $70 an hour? That’s how we need to start to think.

So the key word there is understanding the difference between a business owner mindset and an entrepreneurial mindset. Business owners mindset… And by the way, the business owner mindset is better than how most builders run their business through their mindset.

They are a technician, meaning that they’re good at the technical work and they make the fatal assumption and this is what Michael Gerber says in his book, “The E-Myth Revisited” that the fatal assumption that causes most small business failure is that a technician, somebody who was good at the work, so a hairdresser is good at hairdressing, they are good at the technical work.

A carpenter is good at carpentry work and they’ve built plenty of houses for another builder.

They think that because I’m good at doing that technical work, therefore I would be good at running a business that does that technical work. Michael Gerber says that fatal assumption is responsible for more business failure than anything else.

And so having an understanding that you are a business owner, rather than just a technician running a business is better than the technician running a business but what we really need to foster with our mindset is becoming an entrepreneur.

And the difference between entrepreneurial thinking and business owner thinking is business owners tend to grab things and take them on themselves. So what I was talking about before, we’re gonna make an improvement or add something to our business, I need to learn how to do that. I’ll do that. I’ll take on that responsibility. That’s what business owners do.

They keep grabbing things and adding it to their list of responsibilities whereas an entrepreneurial thought process is every single day they do something that moves them towards getting something off their list that reoccurs on their list either on a daily or a weekly basis permanently.

So that’s really what I wanna talk to you about today in this episode. But we’ve gotta go back and remember why we started the business in the first place. So why did you start your business in the first place?

Why did you decide to take on the risk and the effort and make the sacrifices that it takes to run your own business versus working for somebody else where you can kind of go home at night time and on the weekends and have holidays and you can forget about things.

You can’t do that when you run your own business and if you’re sick working for somebody else, you call in sick. Most small business owners, they come in no matter what. So why did you start your own business?

Generally, it is because we had the illusion that by having our own business, we would have more choice, we would earn more money and we would have more time freedom coming back to that choice thing.

For the most part, most small business owners particularly builders end up with less choice, they become a prisoner to their business as far as time is concerned and they don’t really earn as much as what they pay their team members quite often.

Every so often you’ll find a builder that earns quite well. They’ve earned more money than what they would if they were working for somebody else but their life has been taken away from them.

Very rarely do you see a builder that earns a good dollar and has a lot of freedom of choice as far as to decide whether to turn up or not, take holidays or not, things like that. So I find that the reasons that most builders started their own business never become the reality for the big majority of them.

What we need to do, going back to the initial topic of today, is you need to ask who or what not how and so I wanna give you the steps of how you implement this even after I just said who but you know what I mean. So what we need to do is step one, what I want you to do is list everything that you do on a daily basis that reoccurs.

So, what are some of the things that… Or list all of the things that you do that are regular.

So things that you must do daily, things that you must do weekly and that could be invoicing, it could be holding meetings, it could be buying stuff, paying bills, all of the things that you must do that show up on your list of things to do every day that reoccur. I want you to list all of those things that reoccur.

Then I want you to highlight the things that you don’t want to do. And the reason for that is that there are some activities that you really enjoy doing and there’s something to be said for making sure that you do things that you enjoy doing. It’s important that people love what they do.

So if there are things that you do that reoccur that you really enjoy doing, if it doesn’t bother you and it’s not an impedance to the improvement of your business, why not keep doing them? So highlight the things you don’t want to do, the things that are boring, frustrating, just big time sucks that cause stress for you. We wanna highlight all of those. And then in step two, ask these questions in this order.

So I’ve put these questions in this order. So we’ll put the cheapest one first. The cheapest option to fix this or get it off your list, we’re gonna do that first. So the first one believe it or not is dump it. Just don’t do it. And you might think, “That doesn’t make sense. I have to do it.” Well, maybe.

And I have had this conversation with many builders and even before we were Builders Business Blackbelt, just business owners and I have challenged them to write out the things that reoccur and we’ve gone through it and I just said, “What would happen if you didn’t do that activity ever again?”

And it is amazing if you have the balls to do this how often you can find things that you’ve just through habit and self-hypnosis, you have hypnotized or habituated yourself into believe that this thing is important and you just keep doing it and keep doing it and after a while, you just forget about the reason why you just keep doing it and things change, technology changes, people’s requirements changes, priorities change.

And so we’ve just gotta ask the question, what would happen if I didn’t do this at all? And it might create a little bit of inconvenience.

It might create a little bit of angst in some area or some small issue but when you look at it in that sort of overview, 35,000 foot overview of the impact that makes on the direction your business wants to go or you wanna take your business, quite often, it’s worth that little bit of pain, that little bit of inconvenience just to get rid of it off out of the system completely.

So there are often things that you do every day that if you didn’t ever do again, it would make no difference to your business future. At least ask the question.

That also frees up some time automatically. Straight away, it frees up time.

So that’s the first one. Can I dump it? Second one is can I automate it? There is a ton of apps and software out there now that does incredible things.

And so, a simple example of that might be communicating with new prospects and so forth. We in Builders Business Blackbelt or our business personally, we use a thing called ActiveCampaign.

It’s a custom relationship management software. It’s in the cloud. It allows you to put your customer’s information in and you can just put a tag on them and that tag will set off all sorts of automations to send them emails, to send them notifications, to send you reminders to do things and all of this.

So it creates a much more of a professional view from the prospect’s point of view. Things happen quite quickly and it takes you no time to do it and you can find people talking about this question of who not how. You don’t need learn how to use something like ActiveCampaign. You can jump on websites like fiverr.com, F-I-V-E-R-R.com.

Well, there’s all sorts of other websites where there are specialists in those particular software packages and for cents in the dollar like for 20 bucks, 50 bucks, you can get them to create these automations where you just apply a tag to somebody or get them to fill out a form on your website and all of these automated emails and contexts and messy messages and all of this sort of stuff can happen.

So there is an absolute ton, a truckload of ways that you can automate pretty much most things internally in your business as well as externally with your customers, with your prospects, with your suppliers, with your subcontractors.

There’s all sorts of things. You could take a lot of activities off your plate if you just opened yourself up to the possibility of automating some of these activities.

If you wanna know or wanna ask about that and throw some scenarios about, as I said, come in and join the Builders Business Success Forum, the Facebook group.

Get in there and ask some questions. The beauty of that is everybody else gets to see the answer to your question as well in that group and we can all start to help each other become more efficient, more effective and therefore more profitable.

So first one is dump, second one is automate. Third one is outsource. So it’s not necessarily software. It’s another person. I use a company called Automation Agency run by a good friend of mine, his name’s Carl Taylor and they have people all over the world in a team and I just send them activities to do: to fix up the website, to do design, to create those automations I was just talking about, all sorts of things.

That’s sort of there in a smaller niche if you like but you can find other companies. There’s another one that we’ve spoken to, I think we had them on the podcast Carve PH, C-A-R-V-E and then the letters PH.

I think they’re in the Philippines and they’re amazing and they can tailor make things for you, for your marketing, for all sorts of things and there’s virtual assistant companies all over the world that for a small amount of money, you can get lots and lots done.

And I’ve put that outsourcing as number three. So we’ve got dump then automate then outsource because the fourth one is delegate and that’s the most expensive.

That’s when you’re paying somebody all of their superannuation, all of their holidays, all of the on costs, all of the time to manage them and so on and so forth, potentially have somewhere for them to sit, maybe a car who knows and you’re delegating activity to those people.

It certainly gets it off your list but it’s out of the four the most expensive way to do it. So delegating is the sort of course the last course of action I would suggest to you.

So just to wrap this up, I hope that makes sense. List all of the stuff, highlight the things that you don’t wanna do then ask the questions in this order: can I dump it? Can I automate it? Can I outsource it? Can I delegate it?

If you can’t do any of those things, unfortunately, you’re stuck with it but at least you will find some things that would be able to be pushed out to one or a number of those four areas. And what I would suggest to you and just wrapping this up is make it a high priority daily to take some action towards getting a reoccurring item off your list.

So, I’m not saying get something off your list every day. I’m saying put a high priority on an action, maybe a small time block every single day to do something that moves you towards getting something off your list permanently.

I don’t think you can get something off your list every day but you can certainly take some action towards getting something off your list every day. And I would suggest you do that and give it a high priority.

So that is it for that part of the podcast. I hope that made sense. Again, if you’ve got any questions, jump in to the Facebook group, Builders Business Success Forum and ask away. I’m more than happy to answer your questions in there.

Q & A

This question was asked again this week, should I spend money on branding? And we had a bit of a conversation in the Builders Business Success Forum about that and the answer is yes but not necessarily money. I’ll talk about that in a second.

So the question is should I invest in branding? When we’re talking about effort and thought, yes.

So putting thoughts in systems and procedures that improve your customer experience, I think is one of the best ways to invest in brand awareness because what you’re doing is focusing on the things that make your business remarkable and that’s the key to brand awareness.

There’s lots of companies around that say brand awareness and putting the brand out there has really improved their business but those businesses tend to be quite large businesses that have big budgets and can be consistently putting their brand in front of people.

I know a lot of builders think that it’s important to have a flash car with the and give a professional persona if you like but for their prospects and their customers to see and I don’t disagree with that but what I would say is if that’s gonna cost money and if you have implemented the profit first system, let the profit first system dictate whether you have money to spend in that space or not.

But I think that the answer to the question is don’t spend money, particularly money you don’t have on branding because the best thing you can do for brand awareness is create a remarkable business and that is most effectively done through focusing on how you can create a better and constantly improving customer experience because that’s what they remark on is how you made them feel.

What can you do every day to improve how you make your prospects and your customers feel?

That will have a much bigger impact on improving the future effectiveness, profitability and growth of your business than spending money on branding if you’re a small business. Hope that makes sense.

Personal Productivity Hack

Now time for a personal productivity hack. If you write a list, if you just sort of get up and get into it, that’s probably the worst way to be productive during the day.

The best way is to create what we call in Blackbelt a prioritized daily action list or some of the members have called it the PDAL and it’s a prioritized daily action list.

When you do that, you’ve got a list of activities and you have thought about the consequences of not doing those activities and then you’ve put priorities next to them and you’ve got your list and off you go and without that every day, somebody will ask you to do something. Somebody will email you, somebody will find you somebody will come up and ask you to do something.

So you’ve got your list and you should have set it up so it’s taking up the whole day without room for distraction but then new things come in. So what you need to do is have a system on how to manage those new things.

There’s a couple of ways that you can approach this, two separate things that are both important and I’ll talk about the second one on another episode but what I would suggest instead of just flying by the seat of your pants, which is what most builders do, builders are notoriously disorganized.

They say they’ll do things and they don’t do them and so what I’d like to do is give you a real simple system to capture things to make sure things aren’t forgotten and you don’t do things that aren’t of a high priority and I call it the four D’s that was taught maybe 35 years ago to me by Dr. Charles Hobbs the creator of Time Power and he calls them the four D’s and the four D’s are when you get an email, when you get a message, when you get a request, apply one of the four D’s to it and the four D’s are dump it.

It sounds similar to the one that we just talked about. Dump it is first. Are you even going to bother to do it?

If you’re not going to, please don’t promise to because you’re actually better off, the customer experience will be better if you give them that early disappointment of saying no rather than saying yes and then letting them down later on. That’s much worse.

So you’re better off saying no and then perhaps give them an option where they can go and get it done somewhere else. Find somebody else, refer them to somebody else to do that thing if you’re not going to do it. If you are going to do it but you’re not gonna do it now, you need to defer it. So number one, dump it. Next one is defer.

What that means is go ahead in your daily planner and if you’re not gonna do it today and you think next Friday is the best day to do that, go ahead and start building a list for next Friday so when you open up your diary system for that day, you’ve already got some things on it and it doesn’t get forgotten and if you’re not gonna do it that day, you can defer it to another day but at least it doesn’t get lost.

The third D, so dump it, defer, delegate it. So duck shove it off to somebody else and that’s another thing that I’ll give you another personal productivity hack, the steps to delegation.

There’s delegation and then there’s effective delegation. So we’ll talk about that another time. And then the last one is do it. So do it straight away.

It needs to be done straight away. It’s the highest priority. It’s higher priority than anything else on your list. It doesn’t mean that it’s more urgent. It means it’s a higher priority. How you get to that is say, “What will happen if I don’t do this today?”

And if the consequences weigh heavier on that item than the most important item that’s on your pre-prepared list, then you get off your list and you go and do that thing and you do it.

So there are the four D’s. Implement them when you get a new request. Four D’s are dump it, defer, delegate it, do it.

Takeaway & Jump On A Call

So what’s the Take Away for this episode? To me, the take away or the underlying message from everything that we’ve talked about in this episode is take control of what you can control. There are things we can control and things we can’t control.

The biggest challenge is to figure out the difference between the two. Like sometimes we try and control things that we actually don’t have control over. That just creates frustration. And then there are things that we can control and we don’t.

So the take away is to find the things that we can’t control and control them. Don’t make extra work and extra problems because of poor systems and poor processes.

There are many things that you can control such as the list that we talked about, communication, constantly improving systems and procedures, doing the thing that we talked about, always taking action to get something off your list permanently, all of that stuff is in your control.

It doesn’t give you an immediate result a lot of the time but it’s an absolute investment in the future and things will change and you’ll start to get more time freedom, more profitability, more choice, more enjoyable work environment when you start to implement those sorts of things. So I hope you have enjoyed this episode of “Builders Business Success Podcast.”

If any of the things that we’ve talked about make sense to you and you wanna learn how you can implement them into your business more effectively, all you need to do is book a call. You can do that a number of ways.

There’s a button underneath the video, just hit the button. That’ll take you to a form, fill it out. It tells us a little bit about your business and then we’ll take it to the calendar so you can schedule a quick call in a time or a day that suits you and just so you’re aware, there’s nothing to buy.

You don’t need to bring a credit card or anything like that. It’s just a conversation to find out what your issues are, what your priorities are, where you wanna go and see if what we do could be the right fit. And we’re no harm, no foul. If we are, we can figure it out together the best way forward that’s gonna give you what you want but it’s just a conversation.

If you’re listening to the audio version, all you need to do is navigate to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au and then schedule a call. Button’s on the website, same process. So I hope this was valuable.

I hope I have made you think to the point where you’re going to attempt to put these things into action and again, if it brings up a bunch of questions, come and join us in the Builders Business Success Forum and you can ask all your questions there and get a whole bunch of answers.

So that is it for this episode.

We’ll be back before you know with another episode of “Builders Business Success Podcast” on Mick Hawes Builders Business Blackbelt. That is it. Bye for now.

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