As you grow your business, you might need new things to understand where you are and where you’re going. When we start, we usually start with people we know. It’s okay to say thank you for all of your time and move on to the next person in that industry who understands where you are today because you need to have the right people next to you when you’re at the right size. Learn some nuggets of growth techniques that can help your company grow and at the same time protect what you’re growing. Discover the eleven-point checklist of things that you can put in place to protect your growth.
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The Eleven-Point Checklist To Protect Your Growth
This is the podcast where we drop nuggets of growth techniques that can help a company grow. At the same time, as you’ll see in this podcast, we drop just general information that can not only help you grow but protect what you’re growing. I thought this was incredibly apropos as we just again doubled this year, made a lot of different types of changes, very mechanical and tactical. These are changes that anybody listening to this can use today or as you grow, you will definitely need at some point especially if you’re growing rapidly.
We came up with a list of eleven. Actually, I only came up with three of these. Kerri came up with eight of these, but these are the things that we believe are eleven kind of fundamental boxes that you need to check off during your growth phase to protect not only your intellectual property, but just protect the overall growth. Because as we’re all aware, Google made an algorithm change and took 72% of ESPN’s traffic away in one day.
Yahoo, as we learned on a prior podcast, 80% of the value of the company, Yahoo, is they’re tiny 5% stake in Alibaba. It’s amazing. You never know when growth can be taken away from you because you did not protect yourself. We came up with a little bitty eleven-point checklist of things that you guys can put in place to protect your growth. Since Kerri came up with 80% of these, I’m going to let Kerri rip through these. She’s going to cover them lightly, and then go into some of them a little bit deeper. Kerri, take it away.
We’ve been experiencing a wonderful, tremendous amount of growth in our company. It’s awesome and amazing, it’s incredible and I wish that for every single one of you. With that responsibility comes responsibility. We’ve discovered through this wonderful adventure that there’s a lot of stuff that we need and we’ve procured that we didn’t need in the beginning. If you’re listening to this podcast, I’m under the assumption that the whole point is you want to grow. A lot of you are already medium moving onto large size businesses so you might be approaching the same thing that we are.
We’ve also discovered in going through things that there are a lot of people that we need to have on call, not necessarily employed underneath us, although some of them we do, but a lot of people we need to have at the ready. Some of the people that we used to use, like our accountant who in the beginning was good for a time when we were at the size that we were, then we moved to another accountant. Even though that first account was a wonderful and amazing and nice person, we outgrew her.
The next person we got was a good accountant until we grew to the next state. They were unqualified, they just didn’t understand and they were not able to help us with our employees in different states, so we went to a different accountant. As you grow, you’ll might need new things, for example, for an accountant that understands where you are and where you’re going. What I do want to just say, as an aside on all this is when we start, we usually start with people we know.
It’s okay to say thank you for all your time and move on to the next person in that industry. Whether or not it’s an accountant or an attorney who understands where you are today, not yesterday, but where you are today. If you need a new attorney or a new whatever the next years as you grow, it’s okay to say thank you for your time and move to the next one because you need to have the right people next to you when you were at the right size.
Some of the things that we’ve been dealing with this last year has been attorneys. We have attorney at the ready all the time. We actually have a couple. Depends on what the issue is, whether or not it’s HR, whether or not it’s a product, whether or not it’s just plain old contract law. As we know, we need as our growth continues to have the right to attorneys for the right specifications and we do have a relationship with them. It’s extremely important. We are litigious society, so everything has to be contract-based, business liability insurance. Just in general, we need an umbrella. You need to make sure that your company is insured separate than your house, separate than your vehicle, separate than your life insurance. It’s its own entity. It’s a business. It deserves its own insurance. I just hit on an accountant.
When you grow, you need someone who understands the laws. It is not the same with having you as the employee, as having the second employee then to the tenth and to the fiftieth. Laws change laws are different based on how many employees you have as well as they’re for taxes change every single year. You need someone who understands and you might need two different accountants. You might need one for just general accounting for business structure. You might need one for employees and with that would be an HR department depending on the size of your company.
In the beginning, when you’re a sole proprietor, is easy to do everything yourself, but as time goes on, again, litigious society, you need to be very wary of the laws. What you say makes a difference. How you say it makes a difference. Time off is extremely important. Things change and there are companies out there to support you in HR that you’re not necessarily employing one employee to do HR. Depending on your size, you probably don’t need it, but there are companies out there who are there for you. SHRM is, I don’t want to say it’s a conference, but it’s an organization for HR, human resource managers. You can just join that and you have all the legal advice that you need and all the new laws and updating so check into that.
General insurance that falls under business liability. If you have your own building, it needs its own insurance. Also, if you have products. Products require their own insurance it’s called product liability. If you deal with banking information, then you’ll need IT insurance. Again, those things are necessarily expensive. Years back or looking into IT insurance which was pretty much securing a client’s credit card information or an employee’s social security number, that insurance as well as general liability, it’s not expensive. It really isn’t. It’s just sounds like one after another after another, but honestly and hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but bottom line is it’s not much. It really isn’t. It’s worth looking into versus what could happen. Trademarks and patents, that’s extremely important. In fact, we just learned today some areas that we were exposed that we hadn’t looked at and now l can’t cover that. Bottom line is there are a lot of things out there, a lot of things you’re not privy to that if you just call someone and just make sure that your branding, your company name is protected, that would be great.
Advisory. Are you ready for an advisory board or are you ready for a real board? How big are you? What direction do you have? Who is supervising for you and looking over you? My husband likes to always talk about when you’re in the Amazon at one time, a whole team of Amazon men were cutting the fields in order to make way for a road, and then some Amazon men would die because they would fall off into a cliff or ravine of some sort and they figured out that if they just had a man up on top of the trees looking out, they could say stop and yell stop so that they wouldn’t fall over, but they would be aware of what dangers ahead. Sometimes an advisory board or a regular full board, a real board, they’re advisors. They’re there to guide you. They’re the people of experience in your industry or in businesses a whole. They’re not there to hurt you. They’re there to help you and to show you the signs and to warn you of what could come ahead and also to advise you of opportunities you might not be aware of because you’re in the thick of things.
Also, do you have a mentor? We have a few mentors in a construct before, David Corbin. David Corbin is amazing. He’s a mentor to both of us. He does mentoring differently to Ken and to myself. We both have very different individuals. We have different needs. But he is amazing and he talks to you through and helps you get through a business challenge or even just a personality challenge or a conversation. Have you looked at this in a different light? A mentor should not be your best friend.
Let’s be honest. A mentor should be someone that you will take advice from, whether it’s good or bad. You don’t need a yes man. Anybody can be a yes man. You need a mentor that’s actually going to advise you of the proper way to do things or challenge you to another observation, another idea, another way of doing things. Corporate books. We have different corporate books for different companies. Again, you need to have your books in order. Even if you’re a Sub S, you still have a company. It’s a corporate Sub S, so it needs its own set of books. If you think a kid has a baby book, your company needs its own baby book, so make sure you’ve got one of those.
Then, how big are you? You can’t do it all. Don’t expect to be able to do everything on your own. One of the best things that we’ve done in these last few years is hire specialists in their fields. There are people that know more than you do. Absolutely, they do. It doesn’t matter. We cannot be proficient in one area 100%. There’s always someone out there doing something differently, whether or not they’re investigating something or they’re researching some way of doing something better, or it’s a kid that decides to one day do Hot or Not and ends up with Facebook.
No one is 100% knowledgeable in anything so you might need to pull in someone to help you, whether or not it’s not in your whole business like a CEO, but maybe it’s a part of your business. Maybe you’ve got a machine, you have a company that creates widgets, say pens, and you are doing as many as you can for pens and you cannot do anymore. You’ve got 24/7 crew. Maybe they can come in and say there’s a different type of metal that we’re using now or there’s a new machine that’s out there or it’s a prototype and it will do 10% more.10% increase? That’s amazing. Most people have a 10% in under profit margin, so if you can get 10% more, that would be incredible.
You might want to find someone in a particular area of your company that could come in a make a difference. 10%, 20%, 30% difference. It could be someone I didn’t know who comes in and shows you the best way to market something online, a marketing agent. You already know you’ve got the content, you already have a business, now you’ve got someone that comes in and is a specialist strictly in marketing. Say you’re a dentist, they strictly know how to market a dentist field. Why not? If that’s going to increase your sales and increase the people coming into your chairs, or if you say you’re at the max of your chairs, it increases the amount you can charge for your chairs, why wouldn’t you do that? Those are just a few things that we’ve come across in these last couple years. We’ve seen that we’ve needed for growth and I can’t tell you what a weight it’s taken off of our shoulders to be able to hand some things to somebody else so we can concentrate on only what we do best.
I’m going to jump right in because I think there’s not a heck of a lot I’m going to add to this. The last thing Kerri was talking about was bringing in niche or niche specialists. We currently as a nine figure a year company have three specialists. We have a CFO specialist, we have an SEO specialist, and we have an overall what’s called an illumination consultant specialist where they illuminate weaknesses in our company and shine the light so that we know exactly where we need to work on next quarter. We have three very specific specialists, consultants that are on retainer, almost like just an amazing attorney. We have an amazing attorney on retainer. We didn’t have these five to ten years ago.
You got to get to a certain point and when the pain gets hot enough, you bring in a specialist. One thing I wish I would’ve done years ago is bring in the specialists before there was pain. Just a thought there. Kerri mentioned trademarks and patents. I’m not going to go deep into that at all other than we had a meeting this morning and one of our new specialist consultants mentioned a website, I think it’s called Namechk. It stands for “name check” and what you do is you put your product name or your company name or your personal name into this tool and it tells you what platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ your name is still available.
Meaning like take your personal name, if you haven’t locked down your personal name in Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, shame on you because somebody else can go lock down your own personal name. He slapped our wrists a little bit. There was some of our larger websites that we had not protected and it’s just a simple free tool, Namechk. It’s like a trademark pet and it protect your IP. If you’re building a product-based business or a service-based business, there’s no point in building something if some sophomore in college can literally go register your name in a platform and make money off you. That’s like criminal. It’s sad. I don’t have too much to say, that was awesome. That was an eleven-point checklist or punch list that I think at least eight of those, even if you’re a one-person shop, you need them.
Take corporate books. Sounds simple. “We avoided it for years. It’s such a pain in the butt.” But, if you don’t know what the term “piercing the corporate veil means”, if you don’t know deeply what that term means and know that you can avoid that for $500. You really need to do a deep dive into piercing the corporate veil. I’ll just do a shout out to Laughlin. They have 40,000 customers. We’re a client of theirs. They’re amazing. They’re very inexpensive, but they help set up your corporate books so that nobody can pierce the corporate veil because you are not your business. That is a separate animal. It’s a separate entity. They just cover the fundamental things you need to do to protect yourself and keep things proper for your kids and whoever you want to leave your company to, and rock and roll. If you ever want to sell your company, it’s going to be pretty tough to sell it if you don’t have a good set of books.