Effective Ways To Identify and Fill Gaps in Company Workflow

To understand something is to have an in-depth knowledge of its workings and mode of function.

So, it’s inherently a failure if business owners don’t understand their businesses: How to make it grow? How can they identify problems and inhibitors? 

That’s why on today’s episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast, host Dr. Jeremy Weisz visits with Theresa Baretta, CEO of Loop Link, an operations managing coach-sulting company, who specializes in improving clients’ experiences. 

They discuss effective ways to optimize business, fill in gaps that waste time and money, and essentially fine-condition companies’ modes of function. She tells stories of the companies she’s worked with and gives examples of how she has helped each one optimize and scale.

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Show Notes

0:06 – Introduction

0:40 – Dr. Weisz names some of the past guests that have been on the podcast, like David Allen and Michael Gerber.

0:48 – Dr. Weisz shares the best solution that makes documenting standard operating procedures drop-dead easy, highlighting a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.

1:39 – Dr. Weisz introduces today’s guest, Theresa Baretta, CEO of Loop Link, and names some of her achievements.

2:50 – Ms. Baretta describes what it was like working at her parent’s restaurant at an early age, and how she tried to fix some of the issues they were having.

5:00 – The guest talks about some of the problems they had at the restaurant that caused them to lose customers, from late service times to sending wrong orders, and so on.

6:07 – Ms. Baretta recalls looking back at restaurants she enjoyed, and how she took inspiration from them by going out for dinner to the same restaurant every night for seven days in a row and just observing to improve her family restaurant.

7:37 – The guest speaker talks about the processes and steps she put in place to turn things around in her family’s business, from sorting the attending system, to optimizing cooking and dishwashing processes in the kitchen.

10:03 – The guest gives fascinating insight into how she went from helping her family’s restaurant to helping other businesses.

12:31 – The guest speaker explains how she’s able to convince the CEO of companies to let her implement her ideas to help their businesses.

14:36 – Ms. Baretta explains the concept of risk management.

14:58 – Ms. Baretta explains how she gets companies to implement her processes and use them properly by telling jokes about the amount of money she could actually help them make, but at the same time, trying to explain it’s not all about that.

16:00 – Ms. Baretta talks about roadblocks she encountered when shifting a company to a digital system.

17:00 – The guest tells a story of how she helped a client go from $600 to $70,000 in three months.

19:32 – The guest speaker explains her methodology when she’s starting with an organization, by digging deep into the business’s value system and realigning all of it so it fits just right.

21:20 – The guest gives examples of touch points she helped companies put in place.

23:36 – Ms. Baretta explains what she means by CEO these days.

25:11 – The guest tells stories of what some of her clients liked to do on their CEO days and gives great examples of places to go and things to do.

26:27 – The guest names places where people can check out more of Ms. Beretta’s work and resources on client experience.

26:43 – Ms. Baretta describes the ideal clients that she can work with.

27:09 – Outro

Guest Profile

Theresa Baretta, CEO of Loop Link, is an operations coach-sultant who specializes in client experience optimization.
She’s helped more than 100 creative CEOs take advantage of the power of systems, strategies, and structures, giving them the opportunity to refocus on their original vision and set a customer success journey.

Theresa Baretta, CEO of Loop Link, is an operations coach-sultant who specializes in client experience optimization.

She’s helped more than 100 creative CEOs take advantage of the power of systems, strategies, and structures, giving them the opportunity to refocus on their original vision and set a customer success journey.

Transcript of the interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done, check that episode out, Michael Gerber of the E-Myth and many, many more. Before I introduce you to today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. So Theresa, you could probably relate to this, I bet. Have you had team members ask you the same questions over and over, and maybe the 10th time you spent explaining it, well there is a better way and a solution. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. So not only do universities, banks, hospitals and software companies use it, but I was talking to the founder, Owen and first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So you can use SweetProcess document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time so you can focus on growing your team and your company. You could sign up for a free 14-day trial, no credit card is required. You can go to sweetprocess.com, sweet like candy, S-W-E-E-Tprocess.com. And I’m excited to introduce today’s guest, Theresa Baretta, she’s CEO of Loop Link, which is an operations management coachsulting. She specializes in client experience optimization, which means she helps her clients create the five-star experience for their customers and some of her proudest moments and accomplishments, she helped the business scale from $8 million to $50 million in four years. She took a client from $600 in their bank account to over $70,000 consistently in three months and tripled profits for a family’s business, a restaurant business in 12 months. So, basically I guess, Theresa, what I would say is you’ve helped more than 100 CEOs leverage systems, strategies and structures. So thanks for joining me.

Theresa Baretta: Yes. Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Let’s start back to your family’s restaurant. I always hear about… When I hear restaurant I think hard work. It’s like you’re open all the time, you’re working long hours, when you’re not open, you’re prepping. And so I get the chills when I hear restaurant, because I’m thinking, "Wow, this is a 24/7 gig." So what did you learn from your parents early on? Because you were in the restaurant from an early age.

Theresa Baretta: Yes, yes that’s right. So I actually… My parents had opened up a Vietnamese noodle soup store.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: One of my favorite things in the world, my favorite food, I want to come.

Theresa Baretta: [inaudible 00:03:08] So, it’s the top comfort food for sure. And so I was 18 years old when they opened up that restaurant and I had just wrapped up high school and I wasn’t sure if I was going to head into post-secondary right away. And so I opted to actually work in the restaurant for a period of time before I made my decision, whether or not I was going to pursue a post-secondary education. And so we had an opportunity to open the restaurant in Smackdown middle of downtown in Calgary, Alberta, that’s in Canada. And when we opened, we were so overwhelmed with just how many customers were lining up for our food.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: The great problem to have, right?

Theresa Baretta: It is, it is. We didn’t realize how much anticipation people had and were basically by keeping an eye on our restaurant for opening, and so I got to tell you as just the Vietnamese business, we didn’t know what true operations was. And so, the first month that we were opened while we delivered amazing food, our service was so [inaudible 00:00:04:23]. We weren’t able to bring in the flood of customers fast enough. We weren’t able to serve them fast enough and unfortunately we had unhappy customers leaving shortly after as well. And so when that kind of happened, I had to sit down with my parents and I was like, "Hey, how would you feel if I was able to see if I can correct this, the service side of the business?" And-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What were some issues that you having? Where people getting their food late? What were some of the things people were complaining about?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So we had issues such as the wrong orders were being sent out to the wrong tables. We had customer sitting there for 15, 20 minutes without any tea, any water. We also had quite a few orders that were mixed up in the back of the house where some of the later orders were sent out first and some of the early orders were sent out last. And so we had a huge mismanagement of the orders that were coming through and the staff was just basically reacting. They were just reacting-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Putting out fires.

Theresa Baretta: … versus… Yeah, putting out fires and just going down the list of who was crying or upset the most. And so that was the state of our business for the first month. And I got to tell you, we had unhappy staff as well. And so it was kind of hard to hit the reset button and figure out where to restart a lot of our processes.

Theresa Baretta: And so I did the most simple thing, which was looking back at some of the restaurant experiences that I enjoyed the most. And I used to be a foodie. I would go out to late dinners or restaurants that I really enjoyed their service and their food as well. And so what I ended up doing was, I went there for… I went to the same restaurant for seven nights in a row and just really taking note of how was the service, what was being asked, how long it took for the food to kind of come out.

Theresa Baretta: And so by taking that experience and taking a lot of those notes, I was able to bring that into our restaurant business. And within three months, we were able to turn it back around, being able to then shuffle in three turnovers of the lunch periods, starting from 11:00 AM in the morning until 3:00 PM in the afternoon. And so we ended up being able to turn it around and some of our most loved customers coming back on repeat, not just only once a week, but twice and three times a week, bringing their own clients to our restaurant as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I would come three times a week for sure. What were some of the key processes? I love that you modeled, you went out to other businesses, restaurants specifically and saw what they were doing successfully and modeled it. What were some of the key processes you brought back in that helped turn things around? Like you said, there was a lot of fires everywhere. Where did you start and what did you put in place?

Theresa Baretta: Yes, so I started with the back of the house. So by being able to work with my mom because she was the head of the back of the house and really identifying processes, right? The first order that comes in needs to be the first order that goes out. We also needed to rearrange how dishes were going to be washed as well, right? And really putting some time period into it and ownership. Who’s going to be accountable to run the dishwasher? Did we need to hire an actual dishwasher to help manage the lunch hour?

Theresa Baretta: And then after that, I moved over to the front of the house staff. What I did was I brought in a small checklist of the order of items that needs to be done first. So the host needs to seek the customers first, water and tea needs to be brought out within the first three minutes. Orders need to be taken within the first eight minutes, checking in with the table, especially if the food was late. So we had some very systematized processes that the staff needed to go through. And I also implemented just a floor manager to be able to make sure that they can check in or support the staff as needed, especially if we ended up having a full house at lunch.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. So there was some staffing things that you put in place to oversee these systems to make sure they’re running smoothly. I could see how in the front, Theresa there’s a checklist. How did that get implemented in the back? Beause they’re probably cooking food, they’re all over the place. What did that look like?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So I had to have a hard conversation with my mom at that point in time, which was, she needs to stay in that one place and be the only person who picks up the ticket. And she had her own checklist that was just posted on where her station was and to be able to go through that as the reminders, as we started implementing some of the new processes as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That’s great. I love it. So you go from helping your family’s restaurant to… We could talk about the other business that you were working with that went from $8 million to $50 million.

Theresa Baretta: Yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That’s a big sum, what happened there?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So I consider that as my past corporate life. So, I was working with a business and I actually stepped in from a very burnt out position throughout my career. And initially I came in and I was just going to be an administrative coordinator, just being able to work from an eight to five job, and that was pretty much it. But very quickly, I realized that this organization or this business unit was in a very traditional age era still. We were still working with paper files and we were using an Outlook Board to manage our fleet and inventory. And I was like, "Ah, this is not the way how we can really scale things." And having a single source of truth and just being able to work collectively and cohesively together.

Theresa Baretta: And so I ended up taking it upon myself to create a software platform that centralized all of the business areas from sales to fleet management, to project management and then to service management. And after I had built and designed the software, we then started training the staff and the team members to utilize this tool. And from there, that was when we started being able to see the systems being implemented, the workflows being optimized and every single role started to have their own processes in place so that they can run sufficiently, have the autonomy to be able to really manage some the projects. And that was essentially what really took the business from $8 million a year to $50 million a year.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Theresa, I imagine, when you have a conversation with executives and you want to create this big change, it’s not an easy conversation.

Theresa Baretta: That’s right.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So what do you have to tell them? Because you’re like, "Listen, what you’re doing, it’s good. It’s not…" You have to say it in a nice way, "It’s not necessarily working as well as it could. I want to implement this whole new software." I imagine they’re like, "Sure, Theresa, let’s do it." What did that conversation go like of you trying to basically tell the executives, this is what’s needed next?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. Great question, Jeremy. And I think the biggest thing and the reason why I was able to get the buy-in was being able to outline a lot of the gaps that we had. One of the biggest gaps is visibility, right? Visibility into the metrics, visibility into the actual input and output as well. We know that the work is being done. We just couldn’t measure how well it was being done, how efficiently it was being done, and also as well, the results that was happening from it. We didn’t know how much money we were leaving on the table or how much money we were actually losing based upon certain decisions that were being made. And so, to be able to unify all of that, we had to really lay those pain points on the table. And I was able to share with them how the solution would be able to solve those pain points. And I got to say, looking back, I had the blessing to have a boss who really trusted in my expertise, my insights and the strategy behind that as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Unless you went in and you’re like, "Do you want to scale from $8 million to $50 million? Then let me do my thing."

Theresa Baretta: Yes, exactly.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That may be more convincing, but no, I love that. So you basically mapped everything out, you showed where the gaps were and then once they see that, if you expose the gaps then, there’s really no argument there. Like, how are we measuring this? So it’s less of telling, it’s more of asking questions and exploring and letting them see where the vulnerabilities are.

Theresa Baretta: That’s right. That’s right. So, a part of it is definitely risk management and asking the question, "If we were to scale to this, do we have the right capacities to be able to do that? Do we have the right systems in place? Do we have the right team members in place? And if we don’t, how do we get there and what is needed to get there?"

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. That’s not a small undertaking because you do it, you have this plan, then you have to actually get buy-in, then you have to actually have implementation from everyone on the company.

Theresa Baretta: That’s right.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: True. What’s the some of the things you do to help… Now you get buy-in from the executive team, you to implement this, how do you get then buy-in from the rest of the… And have them actually use it properly?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So I got to tell you, it’s not an overnight result and you’re working in different facets and especially when it comes to other people, right? We all have different skills, strengths and weaknesses at the same time, and it’s really being able to help them see how this can benefit them without impacting their perspective around it. Because when you look at it, you wonder what does a piece of paper really mean to a team member, an individual or a staff, right? Usually it’s also security and by being able to do the work, it gives them that job security. And when we were shifting more towards digital, a huge roadblock that I experienced was the fear of losing the job, the fear of being inadequate or that the system or program would replace them. But it’s about being able to help them understand that they would be better at managing the process than to actually having to do it all themselves as well.

Theresa Baretta: And so just working with them individually, to be able to help them see how this can really benefit them. And some were easy adopters into the new platform, into the new process and there were some where it took me two years before it just finally all clicked in, and they’re like, "Oh my gosh, where was the system two years ago?"

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. It takes a bit because they’re used to the old ways, even the old ways may be inefficient or not as good. So let’s talk about the other client, they went from $600 in their bank account to over $70,000 consistently in three months.

Theresa Baretta: Yes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And what did you do there?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So, while we did start the process in three months, the consistence results actually spanned over almost to 11 months, and by the time we hit almost 12 months, we were actually up to $115,000 per month. And so through that experience, what really took place was really digging deep and diving deep into where their biggest gaps were. And for this particular business, it was in the client onboarding process. Because, the business didn’t have the issue of selling or marketing, but they had the issue in capacity and being able to really move the client through onboarding effectively and being able to have the clients onboard to their platforms sufficiently and confidently so that we can reduce churn. And so when I came into the business, there was small pockets of processes everywhere, but the processes were heavily manual and also as well, there was just too many hands touching the pot, so to speak as well.

Theresa Baretta: And so what we did was we took a look at the customer journey. We took a look at what it is that we wanted to achieve through the client experience, and then really digging into the steps and really allocating ownership to each part of that process. And so through that, we were able to then increase the team’s capacity, but also being able to fully leverage the applications that we were using in order to complete the onboarding and fulfillment of the client services.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So Theresa, let me ask you this. So you go in… I want to hear more about your methodology because… So you go into a company, I know one of the things you really focus in on is creating exceptional experience that wows someone’s clients. So when you go in, talk about your methodology, you’re going to that company and you’re thinking, "How do we wow their clients?" Not only streamlining and obviously growing and profiting, but it seems like you have a kind of a client customer first mentality which the rest will come with that. So when you go in, what is your methodology? Okay, here’s what I’m looking at first and here’s what I do next.

Theresa Baretta: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes. So when I go into an organization and especially if we are tackling the client experience arm of the business, what we typically do is we actually dig deep into the business’s value system as well, right? Really realigning, why do we do what we do and why will it really impact the end users, the clients at the end of the day? And really realigning all of that so that it fits nicely. And what we do will mirror what the values are. That was the most… That’s always the first piece that I do when I go into any organizations, because if we truly can’t operate based upon our values, the clients are going to see that, they’re going to experience that. They’re going to see that it’s way more transactional than relational at the end of the day as well, and so it’s about realigning what the true target is.

Theresa Baretta: Once we have that outlined, then that’s where we move towards the next on analyzing, "Okay, will this step really give them that wow experience? If not, what can we do differently in order to pursue that endeavor?" And a huge part of it is communication and outreaching and making sure that the client feels like we didn’t just take their money and let them be, right? It’s about holding their hand through every single step and really checking in with them, answering their questions and really removing any of the fears, the doubts, the challenges that they have.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What’s a touch point you remember you helped a company put in place that made a big difference, whether it was a call, a text and email, sending something in the mail, what were some touch points, so to give people a few examples?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So what comes to mind is two examples. The first one is to be able to introduce them to your team, especially after the sale has been completed, that they know who is their primary contact point, whether it’s a customer success manager or an account manager, for example. And to also have them introduced to another higher level executive or team member so that they know that it’s not just only like the CEO that they can tap into, or this individual who’s going to provide the services, for example. So it’s providing the client with the confidence that there is actually a team to be able to support them through this next endeavor of their growth. So, that’s the first point.

Theresa Baretta: And then the second point is definitely through providing them with some small gifts and just being able to show them how much you appreciate them, even through my own business, when I have a new client coming on board, I provide them with a small thank you gift box. And also as well, just being able to check in with them on a daily basis. And when I say checking in, it doesn’t have to be more than… It’s not like a long engagement that you have to do, even a 10-minute, 15-minute just to show them that they’re top of mind. That just goes such a long way.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I love what you said there about the key handoff and introduction to the team, because they may be working very closely or in conversations with the CEO or founder of the company and you don’t want them to make them feel like here, I’m handing you off and not making the proper introduction to the team and take some pressure off the CEO and founder as well, right?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s right.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Talking about… You you’ve talked about CEO days.

Theresa Baretta: Yes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And so I wonder if you want to tell people a little bit about what you mean by that?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. Yes. So CEO days is becoming a really popular term, but is essentially a day where you block off in your week or your month, depending on the size of your business, the size of your team and your availability as well. But regardless of all of those dynamics, it’s very important for you to be able to segment that off specifically for yourself, because through the CEO day, that’s where you’re going to be able to work on your business as how Michael Gerber has mentioned it. So that’s the day where you kind of really be able to check in with your business and look at your own strategy plan, being able to determine what is your overall vision? Are you still on track? What is the next thing that you need to focus on in order to move the needle forward in your business? But also as well, just a time for you to be able to check back in with your core values as well. Do you still believe in why you do what you do? Does it correlate to what you do and how you do it as well?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Can you give me an example [inaudible 00:24:49] the name names of what they did? Like you mentioned depending on the size of the company, some will do it once a week, once a month. What’s an example of what someone did for their CEO day? Did they go to a cottage somewhere? Do they go in a boardroom and actually map things out? What is an example of someone and what they did with their CEO day?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So I have a few friends and colleagues in the space and what I have seen them do is once a quarter, they will actually book a hotel room. And especially if they have a family and they have home commitments. They’ll typically go away to this hotel and just be able to have that sacred space where they can just focus in on what it is that they need to do, whether it is strategic planning for their business, or to complete a book that they’ve been putting off to write, or being able to really map out what their next service or program really needs to look like.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, I like that. Because if they’re at home, there’s distractions. If they’re at work, there’s distractions. So you need something, a neutral place where you can get everything done. Theresa, I want to thank you for sharing your knowledge. And I want to point people towards your website looplinkinc.com. That’s loop link and then I-N-C.com. They can check it out there. Are there any other places we should point people towards online to check out more?

Theresa Baretta: You can also check out my YouTube channel and there are quite a few videos and resources there for client experience, and there will be more coming as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And then who are ideal clients to work with you?

Theresa Baretta: Yes. So my ideal clients are consultants, creative consultants. So we’re talking about digital marketing agencies or copywriters, graphic designers and so forth. Someone who are more service providers in this industry.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Got it. Check out looplinkinc.com and thank you so much, Theresa.

Theresa Baretta: Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up. Go to sweetprocess.com. Sweet like candy and process like process.com. Go now to sweetprocess.com and sign up for your risk-free 14-day trial.

Owen: Hi, this is Owen, the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually, you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a five-star review on iTunes. That way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go on to iTunes and leave us a five-star review. We look forward to reading your review. Have a good day.

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