OWEN: Hi, my name is Owen McGab Enaohwo and welcome to Process Breakdown podcast where I bring on successful entrepreneurs who come on here and reveal how they’ve been able to create systems and processes for their business which now enable them to literally run their business without their constant involvement. And my guest today is Matt Shoup, he is the president and CEO of M & E Painting. Matt, welcome to the show.
MATT: How are you doing, good to see you.
OWEN: So, tell us exactly, what does you business do and what big pain do you solve for your customers?
MATT: You know, so my business, we’re a residential and commercial interior and exterior painting company. I’m very much a purpose guy, so what I say that I get up and do is we just happen to paint houses. My purpose is to inspire other people, encourage them, and inspire them with our service and shine a light of leadership and entrepreneurship. I have a couple of businesses, M & E Painting, what we do is we paint houses and then I’m hearing today, they talk about the system and process of that, and share that with you.
OWEN: And so, one of the things my audience always want to know, the listeners always want to know, what scale of business in terms of what scale you are in your business. So, how many full-time employees you have?
MATT: You know, we’ve got 12-14 full-time employees we’re growing a little bit year by year. So right now we’re at 12, looking to get up to 14.
OWEN: And what was last year’s annual revenue, probably what you think you do this year.
MATT: You know, 2012 we did just under 2 million, 2013 this year, we’re going to be just over 2 million, and 2014 we’re looking to grow that a little bit more, just a little bit more past the 2 million mark.
OWEN: So great, so now that we’ve gotten past that we want to also talk about the lowest point in the business, and I want you to describe how bad it got.
MATT: Yeah, I’ve got lots of stories. I’ll tell you a really funny story, this is totally off-script but we actually painted somebody’s baby once and that’s a really bad day. That has nothing to do with process, or system, that was just a bad day at the office. And we painted the wrong house, and painted the baby. Anyway, that’s another story. In relation to what we’re here to talk about today, one of the biggest frustrations and lowest points, so just my frustrating point in the business is with– I’m a numbers guy, so I very much see the power. And when I go out and generate a lead through a marketing source there’s a cost to generate that lead, and that lead turns into an appointment, which turns into a sale opportunity, a conversion. And just to track if the level, even the half million dollar, the three-quarters of a million, even the million dollar level of the business in which we operate. To track all those metrics and statistics to be able to know how to grow, how to scale, when to bring certain people in, it was a nightmare dude. We’re entrepreneurs, we work more than 40 hours a week anyway, right? And just the time it took to organize all of that data was just a frustrating point and a sticking point, but I needed to do that in order to know what to do to grow what to do to grow other business. But I never had time to grow the business because I was stuck in all the data all the time.
OWEN: And also before you were [Unintelligible 00:03:09] created a system to basically systemize your business. Take us back to how it was, like a day in your life back in the day. How was it?
MATT: So I started this business. I worked for a college painting company in college, I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. I graduated college, I worked with college painting company, I got laid off from a bank. So my business M & E Painting, it was founded after– I got kicked to the curb, I had a hundred dollars to my name, I’m 6 figures in debt, and all I knew from my childhood of having a lawn mowing business, a candy peddling business, shoveling snow, knocking on doors. I’d get as early as I could to go knock on people’s doors and generate business. And I knew that for every hour I spent knocking on the door I would get about 2 to 3 people interested in an estimate. So, I was lead generating, I was estimating, I was following up with estimates, I was closing business, I was going out, I was setting up my paint crews, doing all of the what’s, and I’ll get in the conveyor belt aspect of my business and how it flows through. But I was doing that all day, and then I get home at the end of an amazing day, we’re very successful, but I would just pile all of this data down onto my desk. And my wife and I were sitting here, “What do we do we all this?” So we’re entering data, and I was working just 24/7, And I love what I do so that wasn’t a problem, but that was the frustrating point, and that was a day in the life of M & E Painting back in ’05, ’06, ’07.
OWEN: And so, how did you solve the problem that you just described the lowest point, how did you solve that?
MATT: So, we had this big white boards in the office, and we track number of estimates, and closures, and we had, basically it was big dashboard that I wrote everything out on and that transfer into a spreadsheet. So I was literally entering and reentering, an re-analyzing, and re-calculating data multiple, multiple times. And then we had a fire actually in our office in 2011. We had already created a system. What I did was I took all this data and I said, “There’s got to be an easier, simpler way to enter the customer data one time and track that all the way through from beginning to end. And it accidentally created an operations manual for the business alongside of being able to enter and track all those metrics. So that’s how I solved that problem, I got so frustrated and I just cleared the desk one day and we just started building an internal internet CRM for our company. It’s called Simple Source CRM.
OWEN: So basically, you wanted to see how all the different aspects of your business, how they’re working to get all the different data, at the different points you’re collecting them. Because one of the things to do is if you’re not able to track, if you can improve. And so, you wanted to really see how the data turns into the input, it turns into output, many money for you guys. So basically that’s what you’re trying to do right?
MATT: Exactly, absolutely. You can be doing all of the action steps and aligning with people to be successful, and relating that back to your vision and your goals. But data is power, being able to analyze metrics and data, and be able to break that down, and systematize what you need to do to make that happen and where you’ve got sticking points you can improve on. What’s going well, what’s not going well. And without that I was just spinning my wheels. It needs to be done in any business, hands down.
OWEN: So let’s talk about the specifics of this very system that you ended up building. So, walk me through it. So you said during the pre-interview that you built this, but obviously it seems it’s like a software or whatever. How did you go through that process of building that? Because the person listening to this now will say, “Okay, maybe that’s taking their business where they have all this data flowing around.” They want to get really organized and systematized like you, and maybe they want to build their own system, they’re own custom solution like you did. Take us back to where you were when you got the epiphany that you have to do this. Take us through that journey to where now you actually had that place.
MATT: Absolutely, so 2005, 6, 7, so about 4 more years in the business, it’s the end of 2008, we we’re over the million dollar mark, we were just spending all this time, and I reach out to a local coder. I’m not a computer guy, I don’t understand code and all that language, and all that stuff that these guys do. I’m a business guy. So I met somebody that could fill that need and I sat down and interviewed him, and I just said, “Hey, Bill, here’s everything that I’ve got up on this dashboard, I want to see how many leads per week.” I broke down everything that we were tracking, why we were tracking it, how that flowed from start to finish. And he said, “I’ll charge you X to create it”, and then we started working together. And we’ve invested a lot of time, energy, money, and it’s a moving target, we’re always refining, and developing it as the business matures and grows. So, I just found somebody, sat down, we built it out, and then we did it different phases, 1.0, 2.0, whatever you want to call it.
OWEN: I’m curious, for version 1.0, how much did it even cost. I just want to give listeners an idea–
MATT: You know, it was one those things where we had different needs at different points in the business. But it was probably, 4, 5, maybe $6,000 and that was that first phase we did. And we’ve put a good 40 to $50,000 into building this system. So we’ve invested a lot into it, we’re very [Unintelligible 00:08:18]. But if I wouldn’t have had it I would’ve spent 200, 300, $400,000 in hiring, and training, and managing somebody to do all that anyways. So entrepreneurs are going to look at that anyways, they’re going to look at that and say, “Dude, 50k, that’s crazy, I’m not going to spend that.” But I was spending in another way, I was spending my lost time, or another team member’s time. So you’re spending it, and you’re spending way more to not build a system.
OWEN: And by building, it won’t cost a system that basically manages the workflow of how work comes in as a lead all the way so you guys [Unintelligible 00:08:52], all the way to delivering that in. By creating your own custom work flow too, what you’ve said, even in the pre-interviews that you accidentally end up creating like a complete operations manual. Explain that.
MATT: Yeah. So the way that the company operates, and I can skip ahead if it’s okay. A customer calls us and we collect all of their contact information, we schedule an appointment, this system, emails a confirmation to the customer. It then sends our estimator an appointment invite to their Outlook Calendar so the estimator knows to call them. So, the way that the site flows the customers through is the same way that how a customer internally flows through our company from the work process. But then, also, their external experience from customer to company also works through. So all the way from painting is two parts of sales–
OWEN: I guess maybe I can do a lead-in to this question because what I think is we always do is during this interview I always try to get the guest to talk about their business and compare their business like a conveyor belt. On one end you have a lead who’s probably interested in painting, in your case. And on the other hand, a customer who’s happy you guys have come in and painted their house and their excited. But behind the scenes there are systems and processes working behind the scenes that don’t get seen by the customer, and now it’s your chance to work through that big time conveyor belt.
MATT: Absolutely. Okay. So yeah, so customer calls, we take the lead, we schedule the appointment, we send them an appointment confirmation, we get an Outlook Calendar request in our calendar, we can call and confirm, we have contact points with the customer. We come out, we perform the estimate, we make sure they’re a good fit, we’re a good fit for them, we give them the estimate, send it to them. We then have our sales funnel and process to when they decide, either they accept our proposal, and we do business and move forward. If they don’t accept our proposal, we kill the estimate, we say that that’s a dead lead, and our system tracks that so we know what we’re not getting. When the job actually schedules with us, it then goes to pre-production phase which is picking out paint colors, getting the paddle washing and the home scheduled. And then again, it moves along that conveyor belt lead production manager. Then takes that customer into the production process, calls them schedules, the pre-painting appointment we walk through. And then as we send the crew out to do the work order, the ping on the system actually tracks job costing, profitability. So when the conveyor belt spits out a happy customer whose house is completely painted, we know exactly their satisfaction rating, what the job caused, what kind of profit we made, our margins. And then we go to a home dashboard that shows us all of our sales conversion. So we see every single piece of data that’s important to our business through that conveyor belt process and that internal system.
OWEN: And so, I’m assuming that as you work the lead through each of the steps, that your own custom solution is actually monitoring each step and trigger in alerts when something is due, and when is it extended past the deadline. I just really want to get more on the standard of how your solution that you ended up having the programmer build for you, how it literally works hand in hand with actual process that you have?
MATT: Yeah. So everybody within the company, so we have our director of first impressions which captures the leads, sets the appointment, that portion of the business. And there’s basically four steps. So they capture the pre-estimate and then the estimate, pre-production, and then painting. So the person responsible for that phase of standing at the conveyor belt to do their thing as the customer right passes through. They have a specific rule within the website where one person must pass the ball, the customer to the other person so then they can pick up. And the system doesn’t allow you to do one thing without the other because our business can’t happen without that either. So, I literally have to pull up because I didn’t it show it to you to show you how it works. But this is very much in-line with exactly how the customer passes through the business.
OWEN: And I’m sure that when you started out, the way the program that you built now, the cost of the solution you built is not the way it is now, that it was the way you built it maybe a couple of years ago. Because the listener who listening might be saying, “I want to get something started”, or maybe “I’m considering building a customer solution like you did.” What will you say will be the points to start with, knowing fully well that they’re going to improve it over time?
MATT: Yeah, and it’s always a moving target. What it was in 2008 is so much different from what it is now, and then in 2020, it’ll be even more different. But what I did, my experience is I really analyze where I was spending my time and where those stress points that we’re taking up. I have things that I’m good at, it’s generating leads and marketing and sales. Okay, where am I most valuable, where am I being pulled away in this system of the business. And I defined what it was. My big thing initially was metrics, and I just needed something to capture the data and give me basic metrics. And then I said, okay, once we had that down we were seeing a lot of issue and a lot of bottleneck with this production and scheduling. We had a big whiteboard and that got almost wiped out in the fire. And I go, “Okay, that’s version 2.0.” So, you just analyze where your stress points are at any different time and once those get handled there’ll be more. And then you just continue to systematize and systematize till I can go take a month off and go to Spain, and drink Spanish coffee for a month.
OWEN: So basically, you looked at the bottleneck of your business, the aspects of your business that were taking you the most time and then you figure, “Okay, how can I build a system for this so that I don’t have to handle this anymore so I can focus on what desires my–” Which one is spending your time the most on which in your case was the marketing and sales, and anything else, you wanted to create a system to handle it.
OWEN: And so, I’m glad we talked about it, and one of the things is we shared how the transformation is happening, but they had to have been challenges when you were building this custom solution for your business, and I’m curious. What challenges did you experience and how did you solve them?
MATT: The challenge of logging in to the website and seeing the back-end code show up instead of the front-end user interface. My thing is that there’s always technical difficulties with that kind of stuff and the challenge is– My business moves so quickly and we grew so quickly that by the time we had 1.0 done we were already thinking of 2.0, that was definitely a challenge. One of the other big challenges was internally– everybody wants progress but a lot of people don’t want to change. So getting people out of that habit of listen this white board, it’s going in the trash, we’re not using the white board anymore. Couple of months, even after we did version 2.0 people are still looking at the white board, and I just threw that thing away one day and I said, it’s just people using the system. There’s so many systems out there processes that help you systematize but if you don’t use it, it’s garbage in, garbage out, I said, “If you’re not using then it’s not going to help you.” So that was our big challenge.
OWEN: And you’ve mentioned that on [Unintelligible 00:16:07] there were some people that really just utterly refused to move forward, you had to let them go. They don’t want to go with you. That must have been difficult too though.
MATT: Yeah, as we redefined ourself as a business and where we’re going, and we’re keeping up with just technology, and process. And I’m the leader of the ship here, my business is an extension of me and where I want to take it. And yeah, I’d let everybody know we’re going to go with, and the people that didn’t want to go there just were politely asked to exit, and they did. Yeah, that’s always difficult, that’s never fun.
OWEN: And one of the things you mentioned during the pre-interview is how you really got this by and by. Have your employees bought into the vision of what you are trying to do. Explain how you did that whole thing, give the importance and the vision of going this route.
MATT: Yeah, and one of the things that I do, I actually speak a lot to entrepreneurs and I talk about when you handle a system, you have a process, you have the how, and then you align with the right people. I call it the how, the who, and the what. So you have a system aligned with people, and you do what you’re supposed to do to how to that be constituting success. But then you throw the vision piece, some of the equation which is basically– Harness where you’ve come from, harness your past as a business, see where you currently are, and look through the windshield to see where the business is going. And you paint that vision and that picture, 3 years, 5 years, as far down the road as you want. And then you put that in the language that’s very powerful, and I sit here in 2013 and then say, “Hey, here’s what M & E Painting looks like in 2016. You paint the future and the present.” People get really excited about it and when you do that the people that don’t, don’t really hang around too much longer anyway. So, yeah, I just put that vision into language. What’s in my head I put it in the paper in a way that people could understand. And it’s exciting, and that’s how my business has grown.
OWEN: My son thinks of literally like a painter, you sure you don’t have this picture in your mind of a painter and technology for your company. Where did this come from?
MATT: You know, back to my story, I’m in an industry where it’s not that difficult to be– I’m not putting myself on a pedestal but the competition, a lot of the stereotype is true. If I show up on time and I’m sober and I tuck in my shirt, I’m 80% ahead of most of my competition. I’m an entrepreneur, and this is my thing. I tell my customers, I tell my vendors, I’ll tell everybody. I’m an entrepreneur first, I was born an entrepreneur as a kid. That’s this phase I’m in and I happen to paint, versus a painter that’s trying to run a business. And there’s the huge difference in who shows up to that and using customer’s home to do work. So, I happen to be in an industry that I learned in college and I’m a bad painter. That line that you have behind you, that red wall there.
MATT: I don’t cut that straight line man. I’ll sell you the job and get you excited about working with us, but I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I just happen to paint.
OWEN: And so, that’s one of the things I wanted, because you’re in an industry where probably, correct me if I’m wrong, this is an industry that they don’t embrace technology as much. And you come in, in there trying to systematize everything. There has to be like struggles between the people we are hiring and that needs for them to embrace technology.
MATT: Absolutely. That industry doesn’t embrace technology, there’s a lack of embrace of a lot of things, customer service, and just being professionals. So yeah, I share my vision. When somebody comes to work with me I say, “Here’s where the company came from, here’s what I believe is an entrepreneur who we are defined. Here’s our value set and our vision.” And then the who, how, what is the other side of the circle is what I call it. But people look at me sometimes like I’m crazy. They say, “Hey, I want to get paid to paint and then go home.” And I said, “Well, that’s not what I’m looking for.” So we attract a certain kind of person that really helps fit in to our model and our vision, and it’s rare. I have to sift through a lot of people that aren’t interested to find the ones that are.
OWEN: Let’s talk about your process for sifting through people, because I attribute the code to who said, if they said technology is basically eating up a lot of established, old industries. And so now, in your case you have to get somebody who’s going to buy into this whole idea. It’s not what the customer that they’d be used to in this industry. So you’re using technology to disrupt the painting industry. But the thing I’m wondering is I want to talk about specifically the process you have for sifting through the people that come and apply to be part of your team.
OWEN: Because you have to who, like you mentioned, the how, the who, and the what. Your process for getting the right person–
MATT: Yeah, so I’ll share the old way that I used to do it which is a complete waste of time and I would encourage everybody to not do this. Somebody would call, “Hey, I want a job. Here’s my resume.” “Great! Come meet at a Starbucks.” I’ll buy a coffee and I’ll schedule an appointment at 8 o’clock, 8:30, 9 o’clock, and I’ll meet 10 people over a 5 hour period. And I’m in the painting industry. So, I go to Starbucks, it’s 8 am, I’m sitting there from 8 am to 1:30. Half of the people don’t show up on me, I’ve had like 5 caramel macchiatos, I’m highly caffeinated, I’m getting stood up all day, and it’s just a complete waste of time. And then the people that did show up, I said, “Well, what can you do for me, what can I pay you?” And it was very much hiring based on a who and a what. Now, I just say, “If you’re interested in working with me to any degree in my business, being a customer, a vendor, a strategic partner, a community partner, we’re very involved in the community. Go to our website manddpainting.com, about us, go to our vision and read our vision. And it states in language, here’s why we’re here, the credo we believe, the value set we run by. And if that jives with you, if you’re feeling that, if you like that, fill out a form. It sends us an email, and once a week, Monday morning, 7 am in our office, I invite anybody who is interested in hearing our vision and story to that meeting.” And just the process of asking somebody to do certain things like turn on your computer, go to a website, read, fill out a form, show up on time confirm their 6, 7, 8 things that are important that they will be doing at the front line of my business, and if they can’t even do that to come to a meeting, it’s just not going to work out. But I don’t spend 6 hours at a Starbucks and get high on caramel macchiato. So I do it once a week. So I’ve taken what was 6 hours that only got 1 hour worth of stuff done, and I end up firing these people to just sharing my vision and sharing my story. And then those people, once they’re interested, then we sit down with the more traditional, “Okay, what’s the job description.” I start with the right side of the circle, defining my company, my values, and my vision, because if there’s not a match there I don’t care what system, process, person, or skills you have, it’s not going to work out.
OWEN: Yeah, and I’m glad that you mentioned that you physically create a custom solution to help with the workflow. But then there’s one thing with the workflow, but then there’s another question that, okay, what do you have in place the enables the employee to know exactly what they have to do in each stage of the conveyor belt?
MATT: Yeah, so with system we have, that’s the entire conveyor belt. So, when I hire, let’s say director, first impressions, and we sit down at their desk and we feel the phone call, there’s obviously, here’s the questions we ask and this information goes into the website. So that portion of our simple source website that this person uses is their job description. And the way that you flow somebody through that system and get them to the next step is what that person needs to do. So, there’s that one-on-one training obviously with somebody that’s been there done that, teaching that person how to set-up the lead, or hits the estimator going out, doing the estimating with the estimator training them. But the training process flows right through with the internal website that we have.
OWEN: And so basically it’s kind of like the system now is that you have a specific procedures for every task that person is supposed to handle inside of the system.
OWEN: That’s how you accidentally created a manual for the business.
MATT: Yeah, and it’s one of those things. I remember when I worked at a sandwich shop and they made me read through this operations manual, I mean reading through. I don’t technically have a written operations manual, My thing is, you know, live by the credo, do what you say you’re doing to do, where you say you’re going to do it. And serve with your talents and abilities. And when you mess up, because you will and everybody does, take accountability. That’s my operations manual. And then the site and working somebody through that is really the rest of the, you know, boots on the ground portion of it. So–
OWEN: And so, how do you track and verify the results of your employees, their work?
MATT: So, when I log in to the site there’s a dashboard, and I can literally click on that and I can see my director of first impressions how active that person stay in terms of generating and setting up estimates that attract daily. Crews calling in what’s getting set-up. I can track the number of estimates my estimator does during an given time. Literally, you can search and you can pick any metric you want to see, and at the click of the button, which used to take 40-50 hours a week of data entry on spreadsheets, I’m able to do that in about 3 seconds on the site.
OWEN: What I’m getting from this is that you basically create a situation where any activity that you’re doing in your business, you’re able to put the data back into this big bucket. And then now you can filter the data based on how you want to see it.
MATT: Yeah, absolutely.
OWEN: You also mentioned that you have metrics to track production as well. Can you talk about some of those?
MATT: Yeah, so a couple of things when you’re tracking in the painting business as a production manager is going to be responsible for a certain number of crews per week, and each crew has a capacity of dollar amount and profit for data that they track. So we have a big production dashboard. We’re going into a particular week, or month, or quarter, we can see all of the jobs lined out. So the jobs go from being estimated, to books, to in-process, to then put on to the production board, and we can schedule that out for the whole year, we can see where there’s gaps, And all it is, is just clicking buttons and moving that person down in the conveyor belt. But just as much as I have the sales metric, there’s also those production metrics and it holds those people in those roles accountable to booking work that’s profitable and scheduling work that’s profitable in the time that it’s supposed to be done.
OWEN: So, what I get from that, you know this popular saying, “if you can’t track it then you can’t improve it.” What I’m getting from this whole interview is that first of all, you literally are showing them step-by-step how to do the task that they’re responsible for. But on the back end you have means where you’re attracting this so you can actually verify that you’re indeed delivering. And you can use the data you’re getting based on the results to track them and keep them accountable.
MATT: Absolutely, yeah. There’s no line when I click on a button and say, “Hey, you did 15 bids last week, your crew did 6 jobs. It’s all there and we meet as a company once a week and we discuss highs, lows, goods, bads, and we put that dashboard up on the TV and we get to celebrate on the success and improve on the things that need to be improved on. Yes, very powerful.
OWEN: And I’m curious though, when you have situations where, you can see the track in this data and you see that maybe the estimate for instance is not meeting their numbers, how do you use that data back to not only improve how they perform but also improve the system overall. I’m just trying to figure out how you bring that learning back to improve the person’s job as well as the system overall.
MATT: Yeah, and one of the things that this site does, and especially in the sales capacity is everybody looks at closure rate. I did 10 estimates and I got 5 jobs. So I have a 50% closure rate. So, okay, 50%, that’s good for the industry. I have an estimator once, he was at 50% closure rate. My other estimator was at 28% closure rate. So at face value you’re going to look at and go, “Oh, your guy that closes 50% is better.” But then I tied in another metric that says, well, how many dollars do you capture for every estimate that you go on. So I looked at it, “Hey, you closed 5, you closed 2.8 out of 10.” But the guy that closed 28%, he was booking the big boys.
OWEN: Big, big money, yeah.
MATT: So, I look at all the different metrics and when you really break it down to different things that are of value to the business, they maybe low in one area but high on another area. So I say, what are you doing? There’s always something that a sales person is doing right, so I always approach it with that, and then find out, “Okay, you’re booking a lot of dollars per estimate. Have you know closed more of your estimates”, or this guy, hey, you’re booking a lot of estimates, how do you bring up your average job size with an up seller recommending something that a customer needs, not being pushy. So, having different pieces of data, and basically looking into the house through a different window, you just see things at different angles. And that’s how the site’s developed over time, that’s how we improve, and we motivate, and we inspire the people to do better.
OWEN: And I like the example you gave, because sometimes on the interview you hear people are all excited about how they increase their opt-in rate. Basically, someone who comes to their blog and signs up, they’re all excited about it, but then you mentioned something that’s very important. It’s like basically, don’t just focus on the metric at the very, very beginning of the funnel because it’s a funnel with different steps. And you want to see how everything affects always the back end where you actually are making money. That the example you gave, whether I had 38%– I don’t know the specific number. One person had a higher amount of, was it close rates you said?
MATT: Close rate, yeah.
OWEN: Yeah, but then on the other end, the guy with the lower closer rate had higher amount of money being generated. So, one has to really look at the entire conveyor belt all the way to the end and use the numbers at the end to justify how everything works through the entire funnel.
MATT: Exactly, absolutely, yup.
OWEN: And so now since you basically have all the systems in place in your business, I’m just curious, what’s the longest time you’ve been away from business?
MATT: Yeah, and I mentioned I lived in Spain in college, I did a study abroad, a semester, and I got a chance– I’m married, I have a wife and 2 young kids, and we spent a month over in Spain last September and just had a great time over there. So the furthest I’ve been away has been a month.
OWEN: And why would you say your business has been transformed as a result of you being able to systematize the business?
MATT: Yeah, I don’t have to be there. When I was in Spain I tried not to work, and I just say try because that means you’re not going to, you’re going to say you tried and then not. But I logged into the site, I log-in, I saw what was going on. I can do that now, I actually have 2, 3 other companies that I operate, and I don’t need to be in the day-to-day of the painting but I can still be dialed in on the pulse of what’s happening and then drop in. I’ll never leave it 100%, it’s M & E, it’s Matt and Emily, it has my name, it’s an extension of me, so I’m never going to just completely step out. But knowing that I’m able to and let my leaders lead’s very powerful.
OWEN: And on a personal level, how is your personal life as they transformed as a result of systematizing your business?
MATT: It’s just when you’re there, it’s great. When I was buried in that day-to-day data entry, just stuff that I can’t stand doing, as soon as I was able to get out of that it’s a cool thing. When I’m in my purpose of why I’m here and knowing what I’m good, I call it my superpower. When I can be focused on that all the time in all my businesses that brings me a lot of joy. And I can’t stand being tied down in that stuff, so my life’s been amazing.
OWEN: You mentioned superpower, I’ve heard that before, but what would you say is your personal superpower?
MATT: Is creating a vision and sharing a vision, and then getting people aligned with it, and then making sure everybody’s in the right seat on the rocket ship. And then blasting that thing off and then seeing it happen.
OWEN: And so, because now you have all these free time in your business, I’m curious, where do you focus most of your time on especially in the business. What areas of your business you focus more of your time on?
MATT: So, with the painting company I’m always involved in what’s the next step, how do we grow this, how do I encourage and inspire the leadership team to be where I’m at so they can lead the people that they’re in-charge of leading. But then I also go around the country, I do a lot of speaking and coaching with entrepreneurs, and any group or organization that wants to be inspired. So I’m just spending a lot of time growing, and developing, and systematizing that business as well. And while I was in the painting business, so I get out of one business and then go start a bunch of other businesses. That’s the space I love being in.
OWEN: Yeah, especially you said your superpower is being the guy with the vision and figuring out, just like the Lego’s, trying to put all the different pieces together so you have awesome picture. I get that. And so, now, what do you say is the very next step for the listener. I was listening to this interview all this time, what would you say the very next step you should take in order to get started with creating a business that is systematized?
MATT: Yeah, whenever I’m on the receiving end of advise, and somebody that’s helping me with my business, I just step back, I’d turn off all the noise, get off email, Facebook. Turn you phone off, really sit down, go reflect, go to a quiet place, wherever that is for you, and then reflect on those things. Where are those stress points in your business, where’s the bottleneck in your business, and what are those things you need to do. Write them down, prioritize which one needs to be done first, and then go out and do it because what’s the definition insanity, right? It’s continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. Change is hard but it doesn’t need to be done. So I encourage everybody just to analyze and discover what that is and then go do it.
OWEN: And also, I think, in regards to trying to get advice, what I get from that is like look for the problem you have and then get advise specifically for that great problem and then go to fix that problem.
MATT: Absolutely, and there’ the technology, and Googling the internet and everything that’s out there. You can get advice for any problem that’s out there, anywhere that you’re looking for.
OWEN: Yeah, and I’m curious because this whole mindset of building business is the way you do. Is it been influenced by books, and if so, what books or tools will you recommend? Because my listeners always want to learn the kind of resources that you have been exposed to.
MATT: Yeah, and I never– In high school, when I was forced to read, and college, when I was forced to read I just didn’t do it. So when I got out of school, very self-taught in the business, I’ve never taken a business course. But some of the top books that have been very influential for me, from a financial standpoint if you read Dave Ramsey stuff, when I started becoming financially successful I would’ve crashed and burned pretty quick financially if I wouldn’t have read that. So you got to be up on your money in terms of–
OWEN: What’s the title of the Dave Ramsey book?
MATT: Dave Ramsey, he’s got Total Money Makeover, and then he’s got one called EntreLeadership which is a great one. And then Start with Why, Simon Sinek is a great book and that’s obviously that right side of the circle, the deeper, why are you doing this, what’s your purpose. And there’s gurus everywhere. The sales book that I really loved, and it’s a little older school was Jim Duncan, High Trust Selling.
OWEN: I didn’t hear that, what was the title?
MATT: High Trust Selling, and you listen to a guy Mike Michalowicz who’s out there. He’s got a couple of books, Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, and then The Pumpkin Plan.
OWEN: I love that book.
MATT: Pumpkin Plan is sweet, Mike’s a really cool guy, he’s got a great book, and he and then I– I wrote a book but I’m not going to be cheesy and pitch it here, I’ll let you pitch it for me.
OWEN: No, go ahead, you’ve been sharing so much. Pitch all the way.
MATT: I spend over a million dollars on traditional marketing to grow my business and generate leads. And then when I finally sat down and realize that I probably wasted half of that money because a lot of traditional advertising, you talking about yourself doesn’t work, I actually created a process and a system to go win business awards. And I was able to go win about 2 dozen very prestigious business awards for my company which just sky rocketed our exposure, the media exposure, the expertise that we got. So my book’s called Become an Award Winning Company, and it’s on Amazon. It’s a system and a process that anybody can implement to stop spending money on traditional advertising, which is you talking about yourself, and then go win awards and get other people talking about you, building your credibility, your name, and your brand.
OWEN: Definitely. And so what’s the best way for the listeners to connect with you and possibly get access to that book that you just mentioned?
MATT: Best thing is go to my website, it’s just MattShoup.com, and learn a little bit more about me and my company. It’s on there, link to check out the book. And I’ve got blogs and all kinds of fun stuff. I’m going to start a podcast too, so I’m going to pick your brain about doing a podcast. I just love inspiring entrepreneurs.
OWEN: And just one of the things too is sometimes we try to extend the conversation, we didn’t cover some topics during the call and the listeners listening and figured out something that you want to ask him. Will you be willing to engage in a conversation if they ask you a question on the blogs?
MATT: Yeah, absolutely. However, they technically do that, like I said, I’m not a computer guy but you send me the message I’m happy to be reached out to and I’ll respond to you as fast as I can.
OWEN: So you listening now, you just heard that. You have a question about something, doing this interview that I didn’t quite cover, go ahead and leave comments on the blog and hopefully we get Matt to come back and respond. Sometimes, I guess I don’t ask all the right questions and so I’m wondering, is there a question that you are wishing to ask to do in this interview I didn’t get to ask you yet. And if so, I want you to post the question and the answer.
MATT: Yeah, we talked a lot about system and process, and the feet on the ground parts of the business, we talked a little bit about vision. But when I finally have things come full circle for me as an entrepreneur, I went from existing to success very quickly. But there’s that different level from when you go from success to significance. So, not even a question but more of a point in the question that I might ask your listeners is, as you systematize and you conveyor belt your business, everything that you do in your business does. How does that tie back to the purpose that you have here on this planet as a person and an entrepreneur, and how are you defined? And is what you’re doing tying back into the legacy and the story that you’re going to leave here?
OWEN: And how does one discover, because what you just mentioned sounds like, what’s the name of this guy’s book, Peak something by the John– basically street levels of trying to exist, and there’s a part where you’re sustaining and stuff. And then there’s a part where you’re going to transformation, right? So, 3 different levels and you’re saying that, basically, when the person is systematizing their business to really cater to– are you saying to cater to the highest point of that peak where is like the transformation part?
MATT: It is yeah, and we talk a lot about systems and process, and I call it right side of the circle, left side of the circle. And when you really get your definition values and vision connected to your how, who, and your what. And those two things connect, and that makes your business whole. Everything that I do in all of my businesses, it comes back to purpose for me and my purpose is to inspire others to discover and leave their legacy and write their story here while they’re here on this planet.
OWEN: Just in case the listener is probably [Unintelligible 00:39:49] whether they discover their problems, I’m just wondering how did you discover yours, and maybe they can learn from that.
MATT: Yeah, because I went from getting laid off to having a successful business and being successful, tying vision to a system and a process, and people, and in tying core values into that. But really, I believe that your business is an extension of you as a person, and if you’re not defined as a person, being able to stand up and say, “I am filling the blank”, what are you, who are you. Then who’s showing up to your business every day. So if you don’t know who you are and you put a vision and a system to that. So what, you can be successful based on whatever the world says is successful or you think somebody expects of you to be successful. But when I really defined who I was, I was a person who I am, not who somebody else thinks I need to be, and then put that into that system, that’s when everything that I do– As I call it “Do your Be”, do who I am and being in that space all the time. So I went from not being there for a really long time and just feeling not fulfilled with all the success, and money, and recognition, whatever that is. Laying down every night, waking up every morning saying, “There’s still something missing.” And it’s because I didn’t define myself. And that’s what I speak on, and talk on, and go all over place and help people with. So that’s the space that I’m in and I love being in.
OWEN: And so, now I’m talking to you who’s listening to the interview. And if you enjoyed the interview so far I want you to go on iTunes and leave a positive review. The way to get there is go SweetProcess.com/iTunes. And the reason to leave a positive review is so that other entrepreneurs can get exposed to this podcast. And the more people we have listening to this the more we inspire to get more guest to share the process and systems behind their business, and you can learn from them and implement in your business as well. And so, if you find this interview useful leave a positive review. And also, share the interview with any other entrepreneur you know who you feel might find it useful. And also, finally, if you are at that point in your business where you’re tired of being the bottleneck and tired of being the only one who knows how to get stuff done. Then consider signing up for a free trial of Sweet Process, a free 14-day trial Sweet Process, that way you can document step-by-step how thing get done in your business, and your employees will know exactly what to do. And thank you Matt for doing the interview, I appreciate it.
MATT: Thanks for your time.
OWEN: And we’re done.