Mastering the Two Biggest Keys to Scaling ANY Biz

Mastering the Two Biggest Keys to Scaling ANY Biz

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: Mastering the Two Biggest Keys to Scaling ANY Biz

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


I'm ready. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio. With me Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And,we're gonna dive in here with a topic that I know will resonate with a lot of folks,loyal listeners we've had,on the show, folks who are not only, well, particularly if you're a solo entrepreneur,but even outside of being a solar entrepreneur, there are absolutely things that you need to be thinking about and ways to scale your business that you might not be thinking of. Because as business owners, we get caught in the weeds way too often. I know, I, I get caught in the weeds myself, even though I've taught my clients not to do it. Right. Uit's so easy to get caught in those things and you end up not realizing, you know, I call 'em RPAs revenue producing activities, that you're not focusing enough on revenue producing activities, particularly if you're the primary salesperson for your business.


And even if you're not, you're probably have some involvement with that, but focusing on RPAs and not getting caught up in having too much of a percentage of your time focused on other things. So we're gonna talk about some of the things you can do to help with that. And again, as always, we have an absolute expert with this, this week to talk about that. Alexis Kingsbury is, Kingsbury has joined us. He's an award-winning entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience, currently running two softwares service businesses, which, which are air manual and Spider Gap with a remote and global team, and supports others as a board member or consultant, including well-known companies like Sony PlayStation. In the last few years, Alexis has worked with hundreds of business leaders to help them save thousands of hours of their time each year and unlock their business's growth. And you know, some of the personal things that Alexis mentioned, which, you know, he had me here, he enjoys craft beer and whiskey. I mean, look, I mean, he's gonna be a great guest, right? Alexis, welcome to the show.


Thank you very much for having me, Ken. It's great to be here.


Yeah, yeah. So, so tell us a little bit, but before we get into some of these things that I know that you, you are passionate about and you're gonna be able to help us a ton, is, you know, what, what is, what did your entrepreneurial journey look like?


Yeah, sure. I thought, I thought you were gonna say going into the craft beer whiskey. We can do that another time. <Laugh>. The so my, my journey, so it's like over the last, I think it works out 17 years, which seems ridiculous to me now cuz I, I know I look very young at Ken. That's very kind of you to say. But I, I you know, I've been, I've been working with businesses now for about 17 years, helping them to improve their processes and ways of working. And I've been creating, building my own businesses for, I think it works that 24 years. And yet I feel like it's took me a long time to learn some foundational concepts, really, that if I'd learned earlier on that would've made, made a huge difference to, to the success of my businesses and my life.


So it's one of the things I'm passionate about is sharing some of that, because I, I think it can help so many other people. But you know, right now, like as you say, I've, I've got now multiple businesses and doing well and seven figure revenues, and I've got team members in nine countries across five continents and so on. But I, I mean, I started back when I was 13 years old, I was an entrepreneurial kid. I was, I had so many ideas for different businesses I could do. I was washing cars, sweeping drives, creating newsletters. I created a PlayStation fan site with banner advertising on it. When I, when I, while I was studying management science at university, I was selling headsets and building computers and doing it support. And the, it was almost like the problem was every time that one of my business ideas would start to get some traction and go, Well, I'd get so busy and then I'd think, Well, now I'm stuck.


I can't scale the business and I'm just stuck doing it and I've gotta get a school, or I've gotta do university or, or whatever. And so I could just couldn't see how I could scale the business. And every time it's like, I looked at it and said, Ah, the problem is the product. The problem is the business model. The problem is this new idea. And actually now I look back, I think most of those businesses with a bit of time and so on could have become, could have been scaled. But I was missing a fundamental lesson, which I only learned when I then became a management consultant. And so after graduating, k management consultant worked with large companies like Honda bp, AstraZeneca, and government agencies and so on. And I learned there that the way that they operate at scale, cuz they don't rely on just a single business owner, right?


They operate at scale using people and processes. And so it was by learning that when I then left that management consultancy and start up my own business says, I knew that I needed to make sure that I was putting a team in place, and that by doing that I could then grow the business and I could take on the, take the things that were working and get them done by other people. Now, unfortunately, I didn't then immediately do that successfully. There were numerous mistakes. I then made <laugh> relating to both hiring, but also ridiculously because I had been a process consultant, as a management consultant. Like, what I did was I thought, okay, I'm gonna hire really amazing people that are better than me. Like, I'd learned that at least from some of the amazing entrepreneurs, you know, people I looked up to like like in the uk, Richard Branson being well known UK entrepreneur at the time, who I remember him writing about, like, you know, you don't wanna be the smartest person in the room, surround yourself with great people.


So I thought, okay, I need to hire a salesperson. I'll lie the best person I can find that will be on that, that had and I, I found someone that had done a million pounds worth of revenue in the in the previous year which back then probably, but it would've been like $2 million now it's about about $5. So exchange rate started doing so well. But we, I I brought him in and thought, this will be fantastic. He'll sell a million pounds worth of revenue for me over the next year. And I didn't wanna ruin the magic. So I didn't give him processes, guidance, training, nothing. I thought, you know, I'll let him do it the way that he wants to do it. And set him up and waited and waited and waited and waited.


And after a while, realized he wasn't even gonna get as good results as I had been getting. In fact, not by a long shot. And sadly then had to make him and a developer we'd had at the time, redundant. And we were back to square one, in fact further than square one. Cuz now we didn't have the money that would kind of saved up. And, and so that was a really painful experience that I think a lot of business owners have either had or seen other people go through, right? Is that, that experience of failed hire or, you know losing a load of money on a decision. And so then I was very reluctant to to hire again. But it was, it was when I realized that, ah, I didn't give him any processes. I didn't give him many guidance. I didn't give him those, the checklist of what was working for me. And so once I did that and started hiring properly in future, that was what unlocked growth and as a result allowed us to achieve amazing things. But it's ridiculous to me that it took me so long to get there, <laugh>.


Well, it's interesting. You know, I find myself doing the same thing, Alexis is, you know, some of the things, and I'm, I'm embarrassed to admit this is some of the things that I really work with my clients on doing as a fractional cfo. Sometimes I look back and I go, I'm not even doing, not for myself, for my own businesses. You know, what, what am I doing? Like, what, what the heck is going on here? I'm gonna, I'm not even drinking my own Kool-Aid in some, some instances, which is just silly. And a lot of it is what I mentioned at the outset is getting too buried in the weeds, which is so easy to do. You know, taking for granted in your example of the knowledge that you had obtained by selling your business and, and selling your services and not passing that along to someone.


So someone comes in cold to the business and yeah, they may be a great sales person, but they don't have the product knowledge, the service knowledge, what worked, what didn't work, things like that. And without that process you know, they're gonna struggle. It doesn't matter how great of a salesperson they are, they need to have that process. And, you know, again, I think as business owners so often we take for granted not only the passion we have for our businesses, but also a lot of the knowledge that you just assume like, well, I have this, and so others probably have it as well. And it's just not the case all the time. So again, this week we're talking with Alexis Kingsbury. Keep leaving that s out Kingsbury. You can find out more about the two companies he's running, the two companies he's running at, and We're gonna come back after the


Break, give the Mr Biz tip of the week and


Continue talking with Alexis.


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All right, welcome back to show time, as we always do at the top of the second segment is the Mr. Biz tip of the week. This one is actually a quote. Some of you guys have been listening to the show for a long time. I, I've probably heard this one before, but it is from none of the Mr. Grant Cardone. And his quote is that Best known beats best product Every time I've talked about this before on this show, it doesn't mean, you know, to have a crappy product. It doesn't mean that at all. It just means you have to be known. You know, me as a fractional cfo, if I can, can help you as a business owner, You need help from a fractional cfo, but you don't know who the heck I am. I can't help you. And if I'm the best known fractional cfo, I'm gonna get a lot more business than, you know, someone who might be just fantastic as a fractional cfo, but they're in a, in a corner somewhere and, you know, in nowhere USA and no one knows who they are.


They can't help folks either. So it's really important to get out there from a marketing and branding perspective to make sure that folks know about you. I, I went through this during covid and I felt really bad about a lot of business owners that had failing businesses that, gosh, that they just knew about me and they could have reached out to me that I probably could have helped a lot of them, and I didn't that. So I took that on to myself and we kind of changed some things, how we were doing marketing and branding and things like that to, to get the name out there more so I could help more folks. And so that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week this week, a quote from Mr. Grant Cardone. None other than Mr. Grant Cardone. So, so Alexis, let's get back into this a little bit more. So I, I know in particular with, with Air Manual, that's more of a, you know, kind of talking through process, onboarding, documentation, software, and then your other SaaS company, Spider Gap isn't 360 feedback software for employees. Talk to me a little bit how you help folks overall. Maybe, you know, kind of some examples of how you've been able to help some, some business owners.


Sure. So I'd say so the Spider Gap side is all about supporting the development of employees. And that's something that we are passionate about. It's I think a lot of people that listen to this show will be passionate about that continuous improvement, right? It's, you know, improving yourself as a business owner and and you want that for your teams as well. Air Manual is more about the improving the ways in which you work and, and making sure that you've got a business where you are able to delegate effectively. Because I think that in theory, when we talk about freeing up time and and elevating your impact and being able to scale and spending your time on evangelizing what you're doing so you can become known the problem is that it's so easy to get tied up in the, in the day to day.


And, and in theory, we've all been told the answer like the, the best, best best business books out there like e Myth and Traction and Clockwork and Checklist Manifesto and Ready for Our Aim and so on awesome books. And they all tell us the answer, which is, you need to document your processes so that you can delegate them and you can approve, improve upon them. And so but one of the challenges that we found is that I, you know, and particularly as a process consultant, I'm yet to see a book that really explains how to make that easy and sustainable. And that's the challenge, is that most business owners I know have tried to document their processes and hand them over, but they found that they typically get messy. They're they end up with staff not really knowing where to look.


The when they do find them, they find them difficult to follow and and keep track of where they're at. And they're really difficult to edit and improve. So either you end up creating as a pdf, that means it's really difficult for someone to edit it or you don't, and it's like a Word document and people, people like edit edited by accident. And so it's just like this whole area's just this massive mess. And the, the reality is that it means that it becomes really frustrating as a business owner, as or as a leader because in theory you feel like, Oh, I'm, I'm giving you everything you need Mr. And Mrs. Employee, Like, you've got everything. Like I'm giving you all the guidance, I'm giving all the help, I'm telling you the answer. And yet then you end up frustrated that the person's not able to deliver.


And on the flip side, you've got this employee or freelancer or contractor or whatever it is, who kind of feels like, Yeah, I'm not getting enough guidance, or it's very difficult to follow, or it's a bit fragmented or all over the place, or, you know, it's not very well organized or structured or I can't refer back to it. And so you've got this pain on both sides of the equation. And so what we sought to do was solve that, like creating both a, a software application, which we provided as a, as an online tool for documenting process and onboarding in the form of air manual. But also we provide consultants and loads of guidance and so on that's out there to help people to implement this in their business. Because it turns out it isn't easy. And also it's particularly hard to create something that that doesn't go out of date and go go stale.


So that's what we sort to, to solve with, with Air Manual. And I'm really pleased to say that after initially, like honestly, like initially it was tough. We'd show people what we'd created with the application. People say, This is amazing, Give me access immediately. Like I wanna get started. And two weeks later they've done nothing, right? Nothing. And yet this is a business leader that says, Yeah, my biggest priority is like freeing up my time. And I remember working with a a business owner of a, a printing company and he was doing 60 hour weeks, so he was working like evenings, weekends, and he didn't even have enough time to find out how to free up his time, right? Like he had already rescheduled the call with us a couple of times because he's so busy. And yet he knows that the aim of that call is to, is to help him for up time.


So he said he said, I, he said, I know I need this. I just have no idea where to start and I dunno where to find the time until, So I said, Well, where are you currently spending your time? And we came up with a few tasks, but there was one part in particular that was he was spending three hours per day on, so that's 15 hours per working week, which was sending quotes to customers. So when there's a request for a print printing job quote that he needs to respond and cost it up and add a profit margin, all these sorts of things. And he said, I know Alexis, I, I need, I know I need to document it, but I figure it'll probably take me about eight hours and I just haven't found the time. So I said, Well, we've got 45 minutes left of the call, let's see what we can do.


And in 45 minutes we've got the entire thing end to end documented, right? And in a follow up call, we got the whole thing handed over to his account managers, which meant that after having spent two hours with me total, he was saving 15 hours per week. Per week. Yeah. So that's what return investment of his time of a single, like, he'd got a return investment within one day and of course over the course of the rest of the year, that's 780 hours of working time that he gets back that he can work on the business. Here's the really crazy thing we do an impact review call with all of our customers. And one of the questions that we ask is, So what's been the biggest impact? And I remember saying to him, right, presumably it's the time saved. He said, No. I said, What, what is it?


Then he said previously it took me two to three days to send quotes to customers. The account managers do it in less than an hour. Now you imagine if you send a request for a quote from a printing company and you send two companies and one comes back in three days and Neil one comes back with an hour regardless of price, which one are you gonna go with, right? Yeah. Imagine what that did for his conversion rate. And so, and that was one process like we can then go on to all the other things that you're spending his time on. But this is it, right? Business owners are often, myself included, really bad at that logic around investment of time. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And partly it's because sometimes we've been burned, sometimes we feel like we've spent a load of time hiring, training, onboarding in member of staff and feel like it, We've spent so long on it that we may as well have just done it ourselves.


And I can give some guidance on exactly how you avoid that. Cause I think that's a common problem cuz people make the effort bigger than it needs to be. Like that business owner, I thought it would take him eight hours to document a process that took us less than 45 minutes to do. But the the fundamental principle, the heart of all of it is that you need that in place if you are going to grow and succeed as a business, certainly if you're gonna grow and scale, but even if you wanna survive, because at some point in your life as a business owner, something will side swipe, whether it's a bereavement or your sickness or just, you know, market conditions or whatever, there'll be something that comes in and if you haven't got those processes in place that allow you to step out of the business so that you can do something strategic or look after a loved one or whatever, then you won't have a business to come back to afterwards. And so like if for the long term you have to invest the time, but the crazy thing is if you do do it right, you get that time back in the short term too.


Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. Well we're gonna have to break here. We'll come back and talk to Alexis some more on some tips on documenting and delegating.


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All right, welcome back to the show. And again, we'll talk to Mr. Alexis Kingsbury. Uyou can find out more at either of his websites at and that is more of a process and onboarding documentation software as you mentioned and alluded to in last segment, or Spider gap, which is an employee friendly 360 degree feedback software. Which again would be something super important. Gosh, Alexis, I don't even know where to go. I mean, some of the things you mentioned, I'm so was scribbling. You probably saw me during the break scribbling feverishly with some notes here. But you know, what are some things, I guess let's start, I was gonna ask you, what are some things that you see business owners struggle with in this process? Umnd I guess one of the things I guess we should start with, cuz I see it so often and even just what I do is them not them thinking, Oh, you know, the example you gave was a great one is, is this is gonna take me eight hours to do it.


I'd rather just do it myself, blah, blah blah. So they think it's gonna be more than it is. And or not realizing, even even look, my, I'm a numbers nerd at Alexis, so even when you said eight hours, but he was spending 15 hours a week on it, I'm like, that's, that's, you know, roughly two and a half days of your time to do it and, and be able to pass it off to someone. Even if it took eight hours, it would be worth it, let alone you were able to knock it out in 45 minutes, which is just amazing. So you know, is that one of the things that you see most challenging from business owners and not doing that?


Yeah, so I'd say the starting point is definitely that get getting the time to make the time, right? It's, you know, reminds me of the the story from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People where he talks about, you know, someone's walking through the forest and they come across someone who's feverishly trying to cut down a tree with the so, and the guy says, you know, what are you doing? He says, Oh, I've, I've been trying to cut down this tree for five hours. He says, five hours. Have you tried sharpening the saw? The guy says, What are you talking about? I haven't got time to shop in the store. I need to cut down this tree. And I think it, I think a lot of us fall into that trap sometimes in business. Like you get so close to it that it's hard to see, so hard to see the word for the trees, like, and take that step back.


So I think that's the first place that people get stuck. What's awesome is that when we work with business owners in this area and that they can start to do that, the amount of time you can save in a relatively short period of time is so stark that you start to see the benefits and you freed up your time, which means that you can reinvest it over and over. And that's powerful. I think the next challenge that people have is when they're then thinking about bringing in other team members. So maybe the first few tasks you've been able to delegate to a freelancer or an outsourcer or an existing member of staff, but then at some point you're gonna need to hire more people. And I think that then the business owners get stuck with the onboarding. So they, they find the hiring process takes a long time and they're almost spent by the time that someone accepts the offer.


And the mistake is to think, okay, I'm done. You know, I've ex they've accepted the offer, they'll come in and they'll do the job. And of course actually the real work is only just beginning. That's when you need to start the, the, the onboarding process to, to make sure that they're actually gonna turn up on day one. Cause I've seen examples of business owners say, Oh you know, I, I've got this great person and then it turns out they don't even turn up or, or they leave after seven weeks or whatever. So you need a really good process and, and good experience that the person can go through to not only feel engaged and empowered and supported, but that they can be delivering value really quickly. Cause in general, I've seen a players, they wanna be delivering value, they want to be being helpful.


And so the faster that you can get them doing that, the better. So that's one of the things that we help clients with doing is, is detailing out, okay, here's what the onboarding process is, here's the things that need to cover and make it self service so that the employee themselves is driving a lot of it themselves. Like I hire two consultants on the same day in, in a particular month and they were able to get up to speed and able to conduct customer calls in one week and it took an hour and a half of my time in terms of supporting them. Now what that does in terms of your ability to then grow as a business because you're able to high get people at speed when you are busy, which is crucial. And then beyond that, I think then it's about how do you make, how do you keep your hands around all of this and make managing the process of the onboarding and someone that you've got the structures. How do you make that easy to do? Because you can't survive as a business if you have to just hold it all in your head and be the manager of it. You wanna make it so that your teams can actually manage the processes.


Yeah, I think that the onboarding thing, I've seen that as well in in it ends up being a really unfortunate situation a lot of times because as you mentioned, I've seen same thing where the owner goes through the arduous task of, of bringing someone on and they finally get through the hiring process. The person accepts, they actually do show up and then, but the owner thinks, Okay, I'm done. Like I've got, I've got new resource, right? And then the resource shows up and as you mentioned, if they're an A player, they wanna hit the ground running, they're ambitious, they want to, and they, and if there's documentation isn't there, they get frustrated, the owner gets frustrated cause they're saying, I hired this person and I'm paying them a lot of money and they're supposed to be an A player, they're not producing. And so the owner gets frustrated, the employees like, I'm trying here, I don't, I'm working with limited, you know, documentation, et cetera. And so then either the owner gets frustrated and maybe he is very shortsighted and lets him go, or the employee says, You know what, I was looking for a job, I got two other offers. Yeah, this is not working out and you lose an A player because you weren't, you know, you, you didn't have the good documentation, but it'll turn over to someone like that.


Absolutely. And, and, and I've seen it time and time again. And, and of course the amazing thing is that I often find that the best people, like the, a real a players in the organization are often the ones that are least confident of their ability in what they're doing, partly because they set the bar so high and so they get really antsy if they're if they feel like they're not adding value. And so it's really important that early on you are, you are clear on this is what, where we're gonna get to you two, this is what value looks like, this is what being productive looks like. So as a result, here's the process we're gonna take through to a point that you can add value. And for typically for sales and customer success people in my teams, it's let's get you to the point that you can do a demonstration call with the customer that you can help understand their needs, identify whether we are a good fit for their needs, and demonstrate that fit to them so that they can then make a decision on whether to proceed.


And we can get them there in typically four or five working days. So once they're at that point, like when they're starting to have actual cause in their calendar, they suddenly feel a bit more relaxed and like, oh, okay, yeah, I'm doing this and I'm adding that value. And then of course we go from there and we make them productive and we help them do fulfill all the other responsibilities in their role. But I think so often business owners and and leaders more generally think, Oh, that sounds like a lot of work developing all of that, you know, providing that guidance. But again, it's just like when we're talking about delegating individual tasks, really you're just bringing together a load of processes and guidance that you are gonna have to do anyway. You're going to have to talk them through it. And so you've got choice.


You can either spoon feed them the information or like really it's more like give them the fire hose to drink from to try and learn everything they need to and then hope that they'll take it all in or get it, you know, get something documented so that you've got at least got a structure that you can go through. But ideally, as I say, like we found that I remember we were working with a business owner who we managed to save them 18 hours in the, in the very first week of onboarding an an employee and 200 hours over the next three months of that one hire. And, and that's for wiring one person, right? And then over the time they're then hire more and more important people and their ability to scale is so d So I think people need to kind of take that plunge and make that decision to, to do that cuz it, the impact is huge.


Yeah. And here's the thing, the, the whole, the delegation process is absolutely critical to your ability to scale and then delegating without documentation crushes everything, right? So you might be delegating, but again, as we were talking about without the documentation, it's gonna be super frustrating probably on both sides of that equation of the delegation equation. So, you know, having both of those and being able to work with, with a company like yours, Alexis, to be able to help with some of those people who are experts at this. Look, I just talked about this, actually, I think it was the last show we did, the Mr. Biz tip of the week was to focus on your strengths and hire people, experts for your weaknesses. Get getting someone like Alexis's team to come in and they do this every single day to be able to see some of these blind spots. You see the impact of this, you know, you save, you know, hundreds of hours, 50 hours, whatever. It's just a huge impact monetarily in your ability to scale. Alexis, unfortunately, we're out of time here, but I really, really appreciate you coming on Absolutely amazing information.


Nice. It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me. And if people wanna find out more, I suggest they check out our podcast at where we talk a lot about sort of bite size tips and so on. And also we are running a regular webinar at landing about these sorts of topics to help business owners.


Perfect. Perfect. Well guys, thanks for listening. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. As always, don't forget, cash Flow is king


To become part of Mr. Biz nation, follow him on all social media platforms or never miss a show by going to If you prefer free video content, visit the Mr. Biz YouTube channel or check out his streaming channel, which is available on 100 plus streaming platforms at

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