Paul LembergPaul Lemberg joins Justin Recla to discuss how the importance of accountability for business growth and how to raise the standard within your business. Paul helps small business owners become wealthy. Since 1995, he has worked directly with the owners of around 150 “small businesses” from North and South America, Europe and Asia, ranging from solopreneurs and lifestyle businesses, to pre-revenue investor-backed startups, to mature businesses with tens of millions in sales. He has coached and advised them to achieve greater success, double and triple their profits, and sometimes grow their companies more than 10-fold.

Welcome to the In the CLEAR podcast. I’m your host Justin Recla and folks you’re in for a treat today because today we have one of my mentors on the call. Today we’re actually going to be talking about some really cool stuff and what he’s doing right now and really what we’re going to be discussing is accountability for business growth and how that plays into your business for holding yourself accountable in doubling, five x’ing, ten x’ing your business. So without further ado please help me welcome Paul Lemberg to the show. Paul, thank you for joining us.

Hey Justin. Thanks for having me.

First off, Paul’s one of my oldest friend in the business world. Met Paul back in, I think, it was 2012 when we came out of government, got a lot of mentoring, a lot of coaching from him throughout the years. Folks, here’s something that you need to know, counterintelligence is all about asking the right questions, right? That’s really the basis and underlying point of due diligence, is we just know what questions to ask. Coming out of the corporate or coming out of the counterintelligence arena into the business world, I realized one of the things that I didn’t know was the types of questions to ask to close sales. It was through Paul’s mentoring and coaching that he helped me identify which questions to ask that close the deals. So, Paul, that’s been … I contribute that to our success in both of our businesses. So can you share with everybody what it is you’re doing now and how you’re holding people accountable?

Yes, absolutely. So, as you know, my business is I help people grow their businesses. You know a lot of people, a lot of consultants, a lot of coaches, that’s what they say and they say that because that is what we do, we help people grow their businesses. You know what that means more than anything, and it’s good that you said that about closing sales, this issue about questions. I believe that more than anything else there’s two components and sounds a little goofy to say it but the two components of growing a business are asking the right questions and then executing on your answers. If you do that, then everything becomes kind of easy.

If you ask a question, like if your simple question is, how do I grow my business? Or let’s say it’s the beginning of a new year and you’d like to double your business this year. Then asking the question how could I possibly double my business, and then coming up with very specific, and the key is very specific, answers to how might you grow your business, you start to have the basis of the strategy. Again, I know this sounds overly simplistic but it’s the key to business growth because if you say things like, oh I’d like my business to be bigger or how do I add business, it’s like it’s not specific enough. So the key, I’m going to say that the first part of accountability is being very specific about what it is you’re going to do next.

I like that. Speaking from experience that clarity piece is huge and once you’ve identified, you’ve gotten clarity of what you’re going to do next it’s one, taking actions steps, two, probably this one comes before number one, is getting somebody on board that can assist you in holding you accountable to taking those action steps and having the right plan in place to get to where you want to go.

You know it’s funny, I wasn’t even thinking about this as one of the key steps about that, as you said, having someone there. I’ve been working with entrepreneurs, business owners, and helping them grow since, it’s a long time now, since 1995 the end of ’95 and what I learned about most small business owners … I’m not talking about people running Fortune 500 companies or even running 50 million dollar companies, but people running 100k business, a million dollar businesses, even 5 million dollar businesses. They don’t actually have anyone to talk to about what they’re doing.

In other words, they don’t talk to their friends about what they’re doing because they say how awesome everything is. Especially guys, we’re all about looking good so if we’re talking to our buddies, you know whether it’s at the bar or the club or you know your whatever organizations you belong to, you never tell them things are going badly; you tell them how awesome everything is. You could never tell them the truth.

Then you certainly can’t talk to your employees because when things aren’t going well, they don’t want to hear it. They’re not interested. They just want to know am I going to get paid or not? You don’t tell you board the truth because you just don’t want to, it’s the same thing as your … You don’t want to look bad in front of the board. So you never really tell your board what’s going on.

If you are married or have a partner of some kind, they actually don’t want to hear it. You come home at the end of the day, they don’t want to hear that you’re having a bad day because it’s going to hell in a hand basket. They want to know how great it is because once again, they want to know that they’re going to get paid. They just had their own crappy day so they don’t really want to know about yours as much as they say they do by the way. So I know I’m saying things which are counter to what we you know we all say but here’s the thing.

This is how it is, have nobody to turn to. That whole thing about how it’s lonely at the top, it’s really lonely at the top. You’ve got to do this stuff yourself. And so hiring somebody whose specific job it is to not only hold you accountable, Justin, like someone who will listen to you talk.

Yeah. That is, one, I love the fact that you bring that up because from being in the business world, having my … and especially with our clients you know we become that sounding board for a lot of them, in the people that we work with that’s what we help them out with. What I love about what you do is that you become that sounding board for, you’re that person that they can trust and talk to from the place of I don’t know how I’m going to make this happen, I can’t talk to anybody else about it and because you’ve been there, because you’ve been in business for so long you know how to guide them because you become not only the confidante but the person that really is able to hold them accountable to the plan, to the mission of growing that business and then they don’t have to worry about … They can still have the same kind of relationships with their investors, their employees and so forth, whereas you become that person that’s guiding them on the path and if something’s not going right they’ve got you to turn to as opposed to trying to manage it themselves.

I think it cuts a few ways. One of the things that happens is you know say it’s planning time or it’s vision you know whatever it is. It’s like you’ve made, you’ve decided, this is going to be the year that you’re going to finally hit that million dollars or that 5 million dollars and whatever that growth’s going to take you’re going to do it. So you see it and then together we craft a plan that has a likelihood of getting you there. Okay great. So then, you go back to your business. You go back to, I’ll go ahead and say it, business as usual. What happens, so I don’t know about you, well actually let me ask you since we’re on a call together. Do you have a lot of spare time where you could do a lot more things in your business right now?

Well on full transparency, I’m cutting some of the fat so I have more time.

Right. That little laugh that you just did before you spoke, that’s the laugh of recognition. And that is, you know, I’ve asked this question of tens of thousands of people, you know audiences I’ve spoken to and everybody … I stick my hand up in the air and I say, “Raise your hand if you have a lot of free time.” You know people just giggle and they giggle because nobody has any free time at least not the people I work with. You’re trying to build a business so you fill it up with stuff that you can do. So now you’ve crafted this new vision and a new vision requires some things to be different and it requires you to do some different things and with all good intention, you set out to do that. But then life happens or business happens and very quickly your plate is full again.

One of the things that I do with people, and it’s one of the ways where I create a lot of value, it’s not like the most sophisticated part but it creates value, is I keep remembering what it was they said they wanted to do. I don’t mean their task list which is, that’s equally important. That’s the accountability part, you set a bunch of tasks for this week and at the end of the week we could see if they got done or not. But, what’s even more important in my opinion, is I remember the vision and I remind them of it unendingly. “Didn’t you say that what you wanted to do this year was add 400k to the bottom line?” Or, “Didn’t you say that this year you wanted to enter those other two markets?” Or, “Didn’t you say that this was the year you were going to finally free yourself from being in the weeds and you were going to start focusing all your attention on business growth rather than on serving the customers, which we can let other people do?”

Like that piece where we become accountable to the owner’s statement of vision, that’s one of the things that changes a business more than anything else because for every day or let’s just say once a week, you wake up and the first thing you said to yourself when you hit the office or maybe when you walked into the shower, the first thing you said to yourself like instead of, “How am I going to pay my taxes?” Or, “How am I going to do this?” You know like that. What you said was, “What new thing can we add that’s going to help us reach our goal of adding an additional 400k this year?” And that become the thing you focus on.

I absolutely love it and if you’re just joining us you’re listening to the In the Clear podcast and today we’re talking with Paul Lemberg about accountability for business growth and when we get back I want to dive into the weeds a little bit more with Paul and really what does that look like? What’s that process look like for your business. So stay tuned, we’ll be right back.

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