How to empower your employees to take ownership of their jobs so you can focus on growing your business! – with Paula Baake

Last Updated on November 15, 2019 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

In this interview you will discover How to empower your employees to take ownership of their jobs so that you can focus on growing your business!

Paula Baake owner and founder of Dancing Mind shares how she was able to help her employees come up with a set of values which became the foundation of her systematized business.

She also reveals how she took inspiration from Disney and built a business that not only not only runs smoothly without her constant involvement, but also predictably delivers a WOW experience to customers. Find out how!

Paula Baake owner and founder of Dancing Mind



Tweetable Quote:

In this Episode You will Discover:

  • Why Paula’s employees feel a sense of ownership over the business.
  • How Paula’s employees ended up confused and wasting a lot of time.
  • Why Paula had to let go of team members that resisted change within the business.
  • Why Paula put a priority on developing a mission for her company when she began systematizing her business.
  • How Paula helped her employees build the values of the company.
  • How Paula takes inspiration from Disney to drive company values.
  • Why Paula’s biggest challenge in creating systems was implementing them.
  • Why Paula hired a detailed-oriented person to create systems for her business.


Episode Transcript:

OWEN: My guest today is Paula Baake and she is the owner and founder of Dancing Mind. Paula, did I pronounce your last name correctly?

PAULA: Yes, you did Owen. Thank you very much for having me in your show.

OWEN: Paula, welcome to the show. This interview podcast is all about getting entrepreneurs like yourself hoping to systematize their business so it runs successfully without them, and we want to learn how you’ve been able to do that. Starting out, what are some mind blowing results that you now experience as a result of going through that process of systematizing and automating your business?

PAULA: Sure. First and foremost we started from having absolutely no students. We had students where we way today have close to about 300 members in our community.

OWEN: So from zero to 600 students. That is awesome. I’m curious too, how has your company been transformed as a result of systematizing the business?

PAULA: Well, the most important thing is I’m not the center of the business. I don’t have to do every single thing that we do here. We’d be literally impossible to do every single thing in a business that generates about $1.3 million a year. That’s number 1. The number 2 is that the more I systematize the freer I am to do other things that are important for the business so that we grow.

OWEN: You mentioned something about how as a result of systematizing your business now you’ve empowered others to become leaders. Talk about that.

PAULA: That’s very important. As businesses grows you don’t want to be the only leader in the company. Entrepreneurs have to be very aware that it’s important to have other leaders within their companies. One of the most important benefits is that we’re able to speak the same language and therefore I have other leaders. We’re creating other leaders in the company as well.

OWEN: I think during the pre-interview you mentioned how the leaders that you’ve now created in the company feel like they have a piece of the pie and they’re free to create as well, talk about that.

PAULA: Yes. Because, when I delegate them into something they understand where we’re going, they understand the vision. So now they’re free to attack that as if it was there’s as well. So they feel like they have more ownership in the business as well. And that is really awesome because it increases productivity, it creates better results, it creates a very fertile soil for other things to happen in the business.

OWEN: How has your personal life been transformed as a result of systematizing your business?

PAULA: My business is a 7-day business. We open here Monday through Sunday and we start at 6 am, and we go all the way until 10 pm. And the number things that I don’t have to be here all of those hours.

OWEN: That’s awesome.

PAULA: They come and they know what they’re going to do. We have a system. We have a way for them to deliver the experience to the customers, one from us. They experience more, the experience that we promised to our customers. I’m a little bit more free to create other ideas for the business and run the show behind the scenes, be the mastermind behind the business, which is more important than maybe the one single person doing every single thing. I don’t feel like I’m in the rat wheel per se. I’m more outside of that wheel trying to create more and better deal so that we can serve our customers better.

OWEN: Since you have systems in place in your business that allows it to run without you, I’m just curious, what has been the longest time you’ve been away from the business?

PAULA: I think the longest time that I was away from the business, it was about 3 weeks and I took a trip to Greece and I was able to stay away from the… But I take vocation on a regular basis. But it kind of goes with the flow because as expand in our demands. But that’s the means that I self-impose or demands that I cannot control.

OWEN: The reason why I even ask that is the reality is a lot of business owners cannot even take one day away from the business. But because you’re systematized, I’m going to talk about how you did that. That’s why you’re able to pick and choose when you work, and so on and so forth. Just so the listener gets some context about what your business is all about. What exactly does your company do and what big pain do you solve for your customers?

PAULA: Sure. We are mind-body boutique fitness center here located in Falls Church, Virginia and we teach yoga, cross fed in cycle. But the most important thing is that we really create an experience for folks to come in to our doors in which they feel part of a bigger and larger community of people that are in the same mindset.

OWEN: So a community with health-focused minded people that want to get health and stuff like that.

PAULA: Yeah, healthy and live lives a little better. They want to create something good for themselves. Either for themselves personally or they want to create something good for other people in their lives.

OWEN: How many full-time employees and part-time employees do you have? I’m just curious.

PAULA: I have four full-time employees and about 35-40 part-time employees.

OWEN: And is the company profitable? What was last year’s annual revenue and what do you expect to do this year?

PAULA: We did about 1.3 million last year. It was a 30% growth.

OWEN: Congratulations.

PAULA: And we’re shooting for over 1.6 million this year. And yes, we’re profitable.

OWEN: That’s awesome. We’ve talked about where the business is right now in terms of the fact that it’s systematized and it can run without you. Take us back to when the business was not systematized and automated like it is now. What was wrong with it at that time?

PAULA: Sure. The first thing that I was impacted was the quality of the experience that we were delivering to our members. That quality was impacted because there was so much room left for interpretations either behind the scenes with employees communicating to themselves, or in the front of the room on what they’re creating. Because a lot of what we do is right there in front of the customer where we’re passing a message to anywhere from 30 people all the way sometimes to 60 people. So that leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

OWEN: I can see how that is very important because the type of business you have is all about creating experience for your customers. So if the employees don’t have a unified voice on how things should be then a customer can come today and have one experience, and then come tomorrow and have a different experience.

PAULA: Correct. That really affects people because we don’t have any way to measure what we’re delivering. There’s not real result that we’re creating for people. In addition to that, customers are coming here from instructor rather than coming here for the company for the brand.

OWEN: Oh yeah,

PAULA: …one that’s delivering to them. I knew that that had to stop.

OWEN: Yeah. You also mentioned, this issue, there was also an issue with a lot of confusion for the employees, talk about that.

PAULA: For sure. So when we didn’t have any systems, what happens is that there’s just a lot of room for confusion. People didn’t know what we were doing, how we were doing. So we created a lot of confusion and more importantly we wasted a lot of time with that as well. In a way there was so much gray area that it was very difficult to manage those employees at a time.

OWEN: Back when the business was not systematized, do you remember what was the lowest point? Describe how bad it got?

PAULA: It got so bad that my voice and my vision for the company was being challenged. It felt very difficult to put that into action. I really felt like throwing the towel down and saying that’s enough.

OWEN: This main challenge, is it the staff? I’m curious.

PAULA: The staff, yes, especially at the time. I was being challenged by the staff by the staff in place. It was just difficult, because we had so many people with different views of what we were doing. But even the customers, it’s like, “No, but I like it this way. I like it that way”, rather than, “No, this is the way we do things”, right? And that creates for so much more confusion, so much more work. And it was very difficult.

OWEN: I think during the pre-interview you also mentioned how not having systems in place also made you hire employees that didn’t fit with what you guys were trying to do.

PAULA: Absolutely. Because we didn’t have a system then. We’re just hiring people in. We didn’t have a process to what type of people we were looking for. We didn’t know what kind of values that were looking for them to have. One day showed up to work. We didn’t have proper interview processes. We didn’t have any standardized tests. There were personalities and behaviors to see if they would [No audio 00:11:13] inside of the company. Things like this that when you take they act like stop gates and stops you from hiring that person that could potentially be detrimental to the company culture.

OWEN: During the pre-interview you mentioned at that point you felt sometimes like closing down. And you said you felt lonely. Talk about that.

PAULA: That’s exactly when I was thinking to myself this is enough. It really felt entrepreneur is often lonely. But when you’re in a sea of other people trying to exercise their own ideas about what it is that you do and your voice is not being heard. It felt like I was spending so much time and effort trying to move things forward and implement our vision that… It was a very difficult time.

OWEN: Back then when was your breaking point? Do you remember when you realized that you needed to systematize and automate your business? What exactly happened?

PAULA: Well, I’m the type of person that’s like, I had two choices. I can close the door now, or two if I don’t close the doors we’re going to have to change. The answer was I’m not closing doors and we’re going to change. So I went out to seek what was it that I had to do to change things. And that’s when we started to address creating a new… I wanted people to understand what I wanted and why I want it. And I wanted to be very clear. So it was almost like we were starting the company again at that point.

OWEN: You mentioned during the interview that as business owners sometimes we’re left making not so politically correct decisions but we still have to make decisions anyways. Can you talk about that? What did you mean?

PAULA: In the process of saying, “Okay, we’re going to change. This is not going well and we’re going to have to change.” Obviously, you have to stake down and say we’re going to change. So some people will say, “Okay, lead me. And then some people will say, “No. I don’t want to be led. I’m going to go somewhere else.” At that point you have to make the easy decisions to be made because it’s for the better of the company. So letting go of some people, asking people to do things you don’t want to do and having them follow a process, people naturally resist change. As an entrepreneur, especially when you’re implementing a system, it’s very important to see it through and not give in.

OWEN: Back then what was the first step it took to systematize your business?

PAULA: We clearly addressed our mission. I went back to the drawing board and I spent days and weeks really addressing our mission. I wanted to make the mission very easy and very clear. I wanted the mission to stand on its own and I wanted to make it…

OWEN: Easy for people to memorize, right?

PAULA: Yeah. But I want it to have enough passion that they move people forward.

OWEN: Do you remember what you made the mission, when was it memorable? What was it?

PAULA: Our mission is… You want me to tell you our mission?

OWEN: Yeah, go ahead. So that way the listeners what you did.

PAULA: Yeah, the mission can be stated, it’s one sentence. Our mission is to inspire and empower individuals to experience new possibilities and transform their lives.

OWEN: Awesome. Going ahead with the story. You came up with a clear mission that you want them to be able to memorize. You said something about how… So it was one sentence where people can remember it and it would be enough reason for them to move forward. What was the second step you took to systematize the business?

PAULA: When I felt that now we have a mission so I address our values. We put our values down and I knew that I couldn’t really just come up with those values by myself. It had to be created from our employees themselves, but I had to be a participant in that meeting so that I could guide the values as a company. I wanted the values to get it right. I am part of the community. So we addressed our values. So I gathered a group of employees that I knew were passionate about the company as well. Those employees, I also knew that they were strong, they were smart, they had high standards, and if I said anything they would challenge me. I got those employees and we got in a room and we literally closed ourselves in that room for 2 or 3 days. We turned the phones off and we went to work. We came out of that room with 10 values and now we even have an acronym for our values.

OWEN: Can you share that with the listener?

PAULA: Our values? Yeah. Oh my goodness, you’re challenging me here.

OWEN: I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. I was wondering if you just had it handy.

PAULA: Yeah. I don’t have it handy but it starts with, community is number 1, and then service. And then we address… I’m sorry, but you kind of put me on the spot right here.

OWEN: We can pause right now and get it together if that’s what you want. We can pause it and have you… I want the listeners to learn from it. Not necessarily to say “Got you” or anything but for them to learn from what you guys did. We can pause right now and give you a chance to bring it back. Go ahead, share the values.

PAULA: We address and our values starts with the community. Community is number one because we want to make sure that people feel a sense of belonging when they step into our doors. And then service is what we do. So we want to make sure that whoever we hire has the strong sense of serving other people. The third value is authenticity because we want to make sure that people here understand that they’re in a safe space. They’re not being judged. I want people who are here. They’re real. I don’t want any fake values here. The fourth value is integrity. I want people who work for me to have that integrity. And I want people to know that our employees, and employees themselves, they want to know that they have integrity. Then responsibility is the next value because we believe that being responsible gives us a freedom to choose. And in choosing, and only our choices we become empowered in the pursuit of happiness, right? And then following that is impeccability, because by being impeccable, it begins with that deliberate and precise decision. And it is sustained through discipline. Because all we do here, yoga, CrossFit, Cycle, it’s a discipline. All we’re doing is teaching people habits. If people want to be healthy, if they want to live better lives, they want to have strong habits. Impeccability is a very strong value. It takes a lot of discipline to be impeccable.

OWEN: I’m curious, back then this idea of locking everybody in the room for 3 days and figuring it out. Where did that come from?

PAULA: I read books, and I’ve been really impressed by Disney before. Disney has always been in the backdrop of my life. I wanted to come to the US because back when I was a child my parents didn’t have the money to send me to Disney. I remember reading a book on Disney and how transformational a Disney experience is. But more importantly the behind the scenes on Disney. So a lot of what we do here at Dancing Mind comes from that magical experience that Disney provides.

OWEN: I get that. And I can see how, especially the since it’s an experiential business that you’re in. I wanted to look at what are other businesses out there that are known for giving good experience and try to model after that. Back then, what were the other steps you took to systematize the business. I think during the pre-interview you mentioned something about creating delivery systems. That was one of the first things. Go ahead, talk about that.

PAULA: Yeah. After we addressed our values and people have had kind of a map to go through and deliver our processes, then we address our delivery systems. It’s how do we do things. The delivery systems here, safety is number 1, cleanliness is number 2, and people is number 3. That’s how we do it. So it’s kind of an easy XYZ of what it looks like, how we do things and how it’s delivered. So employees get it, this is what I have to do when I am in front of a person. I have to provide them safety. The environment needs to be clean and the employees here they have to be the best.

OWEN: Was this delivery system more like rules or framework that they have to follow, or was it like explicit step-by-step, do this, do that like procedures. I’m just wondering what it was or what it is.

PAULA: It kind of follows when you put it together. So the mission leads to the values, the values leads to the tellers, the tellers lead to the delivery systems. So again, the overall system is put together by a smaller system. So our delivery system tells people how we’re going to deliver safety, and how we’re going to deliver cleanliness. We came to those because those are the most important things that effect how we deliver our services to people. So they’re almost like a quality check in our services, and the experience that our customers get from us. So we had to put a system around how we deliver our services. So that’s where the delivery systems come in.

OWEN: Back then how did you prioritize the other steps to take. How did you decide which systems or processes to create first and so on and so forth.

PAULA: Again, going back to Disney, we researched a lot of the way that they do and I read a lot of books about this. One of the books that we use here in my company is called Welcome Into the Magic Kingdom. I don’t know if you know that book.

OWEN: I don’t know. I think you mentioned it during the pre-interview, but we’re going to talk about it. Go ahead, say your point.

PAULA: Welcome Into the Magic Kingdom is a very broad… Every single employee reads that book and it talks about how Disney makes the backdrop of their business. So it’s an experience that Disney delivers. And then from there we use Be My Guest, which is another book that talks about the detailed processes in how Disney implements each single process in their business.

OWEN: It was very Disney influenced, I like that. I have to check out those books myself. Back then how exactly did you even document the procedures and processes, what tools did you use? I think during the pre-interview you mentioned something about writing it all down. How did you do that?

PAULA: Microsoft Word, very simple and straightforward, went to town and writing. We documented every single thing that we do here.

OWEN: That’s awesome. I guess this question now is by the time when you were working on systematizing and automating the business, what books or even mentors how they influence on you. I think so far you’ve mentioned several Disney books. Were there other books?

PAULA: Yes. To address the mission and the values I recommend Simon Sinek, Start With Why.

OWEN: Okay.

PAULA: That’s a great book. It talks about how we should really think about the why we’re doing things, not the how. The how comes from the why. It’s kind of a natural process that we need to address the why. Why did we do it? And be very passionate about doing it.

OWEN: Even back then while you were making the changes to the business I’m wondering what was the biggest challenge that you experienced when you initially tried to create systems for the business and how did you even solve them?

PAULA: The biggest challenge is that once you have systems in place you have to implement them, right? So systems are not that if you don’t bring them alive.

OWEN: Yeah.

PAULA: So the biggest challenge was implementing them and getting the employees on board. We were lucky that a lot of our employees stay with us but some employees, we had to let them go. They naturally exit the company on their own because there wasn’t a good fit. And that takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. So you have to go… I think the challenge of an entrepreneur is how do you address change without stopping the business from generating cash flow, without breaking the business.

OWEN: Yeah, making the change on the fly while the thing is still working.

PAULA: Yeah. It’s a whole, entire balance and you have to determine what speed you as a business owner you’re comfortable we’re taking. And just do them carefully and thought fully.

OWEN: During the pre-interview you also mentioned challenge itself was writing down every single process. Talk about that and how you solved it?

PAULA: Yeah. I knew that I had to write our systems down and I think that I couldn’t do both things, run the business and come up with ideas. So at that time I knew that I had to hire someone that I trusted. Someone that shared the same views that I share, that understood my position. So I hired this person to work for me and she’s been with me for almost a year now. But it’s someone that I fully trust and I had to pay premium for this person.

OWEN: So it’s like a detail-oriented person that could stick to the vision that you have but actually put it to paper and fill out and put out all the details in it.

PAULA: Correct.

OWEN: I like that.

PAULA: …and have that system-oriented mindset.

OWEN: Yeah. Is it because you were coming from a creative standpoint and you needed that systematic person to just put all the missing pieces together.

PAULA: Or it goes back to the point, I can’t be the only person doing everything. So yes, I can write the systems down. I’m really good with writing as well but do I want to spend my time doing that, right? I think that there are more valuable things for me to do versus staying inside of a room writing. So at that point you have to make a decision and say it is worth for me to spend this extra money to hire this person, to go inside of a room and write everything. But those key people we do have to pay them extra and they’ll deliver for you.

OWEN: Another challenge you mentioned was that making sure that the front of the house and customer experience has not been affected. Talk about that?

PAULA: Yes. When you’re implementing the systems it’s important that… Like I said, the business doesn’t breakdown so one of our challenges was to make sure that we were implementing the systems without jeopardizing the quality of what we’re delivering. As a matter of fact the quality of what we’re delivering was higher compared before. And that is an art.

OWEN: Yeah. Given all the challenges that you mentioned, why did you even stay committed to the goal of systematizing your business?

PAULA: Because it’s just so much easier now. Right now we’re just bringing someone in. We brought I think four people in the company the last month. And so huge satisfaction and train them inside of a room here during their employee orientation and saying please write this down. Literally, our orientation book is hundreds of pages long but they have something that they’re being held accountable. Besides HR-wise it’s so important to make sure your employees had things in writing. My life is a lot easier now that we have systems rather than before.

OWEN: Talk about how you took steps to systematize the business. At what point in time were you able to systematize the entire business and have it run without you successfully? I think you mentioned during the pre-interview that you achieved this goal sometime in November in last year.

PAULA: Yes. By November last year we had finished the major processes and manuals in place. So at that point I felt that we’re starting to have a lot of room to breathe again. It was November of last year.

OWEN: I think you also mentioned during the pre-interview about at that point you were able to bring in two new key people and were able to give them the manual, and go ahead and work based on these manuals you’ve created. And you were able to get the results that you wanted, right?

PAULA: Yeah. We brought in four people in total this month and two of them are full-time and two of them are key people. We brought in a marketing manager and we brought in a sales person. We basically gave them each two different manuals and said, “Welcome. Read this. Have at it, and this is what I expect of you.” It was just so much more efficient. And they were happier too because they’re like, “Okay. I know what I’m doing.” People get satisfaction. People want structure. So the employees were really happy and I was happy because I didn’t have to be here babysitting them. Yes. I had to be around to make sure that they were doing what they’re supposed to do but I didn’t have to be here every day. And I was able to tend to other things that were more important than that as well. So that’s really awesome.

OWEN: Let’s give the listeners a behind the scenes into your business and see what are the different parts of your business and what specific systems you have in each part. Let me use this analogy. Think of your business like a conveyor belt. On one end somebody’s trying to get health and get in a better shape. And on the other end of that conveyor belt is that person who’s now physically and everything, and they’re out there raving and talking about your business. Telling everybody about your gym. In-between that conveyor belt is a bunch of different parts and systems working together behind the scenes in your business to allow that transformation to happen. Take the listener behind the scenes, what’s happening.

PAULA: Sure. We’re in fitness, but in fitness we’re in the experience industry here. So from the minute the customer enters our doors they’re expecting an experience. We’re in the D.C. are where customers expect high scale service. First and foremost our front desk is number one. We have processes behind our front desk that tell our front desk people this is what you wear. This is how you greet people. This is how you smile. This is what you say. This is what you answer when you pick up the phone. We have two different passwords that have a new student conveyor belt, you could call it that way. And then we have a repeat student conveyor belt. So if we bring in someone new they’re going to be getting a walk. “Hi, how are you? Check-in over here. Let me take you through a tour of the studio, the facility. Let me show you where the locker rooms are, where the bathrooms are. And let me introduce you to the teacher. Let me introduce you to a couple of new students. We want to make them feel at home, right. Because that’s number one, we want right there make sure that they belong. So that’s our new student conveyor belt. And then we have our regular student, a repeat student conveyor belt. And then that it’s like, “Hey, so and so…” We know their names. We know what they want. We know if they want water every time. We want to know that person, so we know if they have a kid. We know if they have a husband. We know where do they work. So that connection is really important. So the first connection is really important. We know if they like to swipe their cards in versus writing their names down. We know if they like…

OWEN: I guess also with the repeat customers you’re also trying to make sure that you’re touching base with them to make sure that they’re actually achieving the goals that came in the first place, right?

PAULA: Yeah. At one point we talk to them. “Are you happy? Can I enroll you into another workshop? Are you thinking about doing this thing that’s coming up on this week.” So there’s that ongoing conversation behind the scenes. Right now we’re running a challenge. So we keep the leader boards. We have the name of every single person who is doing the challenge with us. They’re looking at the results that they’re getting as well. We have, out in social media. We have ways for people to stay connected. We have subgroups of our big group in social media as well so that instructors are speaking to students. So there’s multiple ways in which they manage the experience. But the most important thing is that even though the experience happens when they walk in here, the experience doesn’t end when they leave here.

OWEN: You also mentioned an example where you talked about the experience they get with the lavender towels when they come to the gym. Talk about that. I want to share that with the listeners.

PAULA: Sure. We have systems for everything. We even have a system for how we deliver the lavender towels. We know exactly how many droplets of lavender goes into the mix. How they’re folded. But it is a laborious task but it has to be done, again, with that impeccability that [No audio 00:39:29] there. Because lavender oil is really expensive, so if we didn’t have a system for that…

OWEN: They’ll just overuse it.

PAULA: Seriously, we had that issue. People were dumping lavender oil inside of the water and then folding the towels. That goes into people’s eyes and we’re getting a reaction for it. We have systems were things are filed, what is emailed from person A to person B. But at the end even though it seems like it’s so much to go through writing those systems down it makes our life so much easier, right?

OWEN: I agree with you. Why I wanted to share that story about the lavender towels is that you want to deliver an experience to somebody, someone has to actually take the time to create what that experience will be like. And then draft how to deliver that experience, and I’m glad that you shared that with the listener. What systems have you set-up in place that enables the employees to know exactly what they need to do. I think during the pre-interview you talked about having manuals for everything, like a 600-page document. Talk about that.

PAULA: Yeah, we have manuals for everything. We have an HR manual. we call it our employee rule book. And we have our way being which describes how people to show up, from dress code all the way down to attitude. We have a marketing manual. We have an HR manual.

OWEN: So basically, a manual for every single role that you have basically?


OWEN: Wow, I like that.

PAULA: We have a manual for every single thing that we do.

OWEN: How do you track and verify the results that your employees deliver?

PAULA: Well, numbers, right? At the end of the day we’re a for profit company. But even non-profits we have to… It’s the numbers of students walking through the door. It’s the revenue that we’re getting. It’s the net profit at the end of the day. It’s also employee’s happiness…

OWEN: And customer satisfaction I’m assuming as well.

PAULA: Absolutely. Customer satisfaction is a natural result, right?

OWEN: Yeah. You mentioned that you guys have a weekly sales meeting and quarterly, all hands meeting. Talk about that.

PAULA: Yeah, we meet every week. We have our weekly sales meeting. And then we also meet on a quarterly basis. We have an all hands staff meeting, we’re actually preparing for it right now, in which we review results with all of our staff, the results for the quarter. And we have drafts, when it needs to be corrected and how we’re going to correct. So employees are part of the solution, which is very important.

OWEN: We’ve kind of showed the listener how you systematized the business and where the business is now. With all these free time that you have which areas of the business do you focus on now and why?

PAULA: Right now I’m focused on the behind the scenes of making the business better. Not so much better but more efficient in addressing our performance.

OWEN: You’re focusing on trying to scale it even more I guess.

PAULA: Exactly. Just trying to scale and making sure that this location here in Falls Church is working really well. We have some big goals.

OWEN: Let’s talk about that. You have big goals. What is the next stage of growth for the business and what are you planning to achieve next and why?

PAULA: For the next 1-2 years is that we grow in this location and we maximize our revenue in this location. After that is perhaps opening another 1-2 spaces here in the Washington area.

OWEN: Like franchising or just opening a new space?

PAULA: For now just opening a space. But at the same time it’s looking for investors who are interested in investing on a brand that’s strong as ours.

OWEN: Wow, that just shows the value of systematizing the business is that when you get to this level you can start going the route of scaling and trying to build out even more on your own, or even getting investors. Or maybe be even potentially franchise it, but you can’t even do any of that until the business can run without you.

PAULA: Correct. So you can take a step back and the business becomes a lot more valuable when you don’t have to be doing everything yourself. Your business is not valuable if you’re in it.

OWEN: As we round up, can we summarize the entire process or step that the listeners should take in order to transform their business so it runs successfully without them? I think the first step you mentioned when we summarized it earlier was define your mission.

PAULA: Correct. The first one is define your mission, and then number 2 is define your values. Number 3 is define your delivery systems. How do you keep your checks and balances in what you’re doing.

OWEN: Yeah.

PAULA: Your areas, your products, what is it that you’re delivering. And then after that hire to the mission and hire to the values. So only bring the people who are in line and have the integrity to maintain the mission and values. The after that document every single process. And then make sure that people are following those processes. My last one is step out of the light.

OWEN: I like that. What would you say is the very next step that the listener who’s been listening to this interview all the way to this point should take in order to get started with transforming their business?

PAULA: I think that number 1 is to [No audio 00:46:24] right tools in place. And if they don’t have the right tools in place and they don’t know where to start, hiring a coach or finding a mentor who has done it before.

OWEN: Okay. That’s a good point. I’m curious. Are there any questions that you wished that I asked you during this interview that would add more value to it that I didn’t ask you yet. So say the question and the answer.

PAULA: No, I think you covered it. You had a lot of really great questions and we covered a lot of it. Is there anything else that you’d like ask me?

OWEN: No. I was asking just to see if I didn’t touch anything, and that’s good news that we covered everything. So that’s a testament to the pre-interview and everything we do.

PAULA: I think the one thing is just to make sure… I think the very important, going back to hiring to the mission is to have a really good hiring system.

OWEN: Wow. I like that. What is the best way for the listener to connect with you and thank you for doing the interview?

PAULA: Sure. They can find me at I’d be happy to connect with people further. If people have any questions and be interested in answering and helping in any way that I can, And our website is

OWEN: I’m speaking to you, the listener now. Thanks for listening to the interview so far. If you’ve enjoyed this interview so far I want you to leave us your honest feedback, hopefully a positive review on iTunes. To do that go to And if you have an Android phone you can go ahead and leave us a review on the Stitcher app, or you could do that by going to If you know another entrepreneur who will find this interview useful I want you to share with them. Finally, if you you’re at that point in your business where your tired of being the bottleneck and you want to get everything out of your head so that you could document step-by-step how you get tasks done so your employees know what you know, well, sign-up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess.

PAULA: Paula, thanks for doing the interview.


Noteworthy items Mentioned in this Episode:

  1. Inside the Magic Kingdom: Seven Keys to Disney’s Success by Tom Connellan
  2. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni
  3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek


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Here are 3 Steps to Take After Listening to the Interview:

  1. Define your mission and values.
  2. Create a delivery system for your product, service, and what you are delivering to your customers.
  3. Hire the people that will follow your systems, document them, and step out of the way.


Get Your Free Systemization Checklist

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