Having a business can be tough. Creating a scalable one can be even harder. In this episode, host Nathan Hirsch talks with the Founder and CEO of 2X, Austin Netzley, about creating systematic, scalable businesses. Austin has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and influencers dramatically grow their businesses. Today, he talks about the effective systems that every entrepreneur needs to focus on to grow their business and reach success. He also touches on hiring and the roles of the CEO. Join Nathan and Austin as they teach on how to focus on the things that matter, simplify, and create a business that runs without you.
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Creating A Scalable Business With Austin Netzley
My guest is Austin Netzley. How are you doing?
I’m doing excellent, Nathan. I’m pumped to be here. It was great to meet you a while back. Let’s talk about some good business stuff.
We met in Traffic & Conversion. Ever since then, I’ve been following you and your group. I know you have a lot of great content of helping people scale their business which is what we’re all about. For those of you who haven’t met Austin, he is the Founder and CEO of 2X. It’s a company specializing in helping six and seven-figure entrepreneurs more than double their business in just 90 days by focusing on creating systematic and scalable businesses. Austin is a former collegiate athlete and a best-selling author of Make Money, Live Wealthy, which has been downloaded and sold for 60,000 times.
His previous business includes an investing company, where he created his day-to-day trading algorithm and automated it as well as a book marketing company, Epic Launch that moved over 1.7 million books in less than two years for entrepreneurs all over the world. He has been featured in many of the world’s largest business websites such as Entrepreneur, Inc, Yahoo, Business Insider, ABC, NBC and the Washington Post. Austin, I am pumped to talk about you. We are going to talk about scaling businesses, but first, let’s take a gigantic step back. What were you like growing up? Were you a rebel? Were you a straight-A student? Did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I was not a rebel by any stretch of the imagination. I started to get a rebel streak in college, but growing up, I had no idea what entrepreneurship even was. I knew zero entrepreneurs within my family, my family connections and everybody. I didn’t know anything about entrepreneurship until I was 24. I was in the corporate world which was the only thing I knew. I followed the footsteps of my dad who was an engineer. I wanted to be the CEO of a large corporation. I figured I should go to college, work for a big company, work my way up, and after 25 years, start to be an executive. I got a couple of years into that path and thought, “I’m in a trap. I’m in a system here.” I started to learn about entrepreneurship.
My boss at that time gave me three books. None of them were related to entrepreneurship. This was my first assignment in sales. He was like, “Go take these three books and read them on the beach.” He wanted to ease me into sales. I was in a management development program. They take engineers like me and put us out into the sales field. He said, “These will keep you busy for a little bit.” I said, “No, I want to hit the ground running.” Finally, I relented and thought, “This is amazing. What am I doing? Why have I pushed you back on this?” I read those three books and that opened up the world of reading to me. I started going to the library and reading every entrepreneurship book. I was like, “This is a whole new world that I didn’t know about.” I’m an introvert engineer turned to an entrepreneur. Now, I have five businesses, but the one that I am in is something I am excited about.You should focus working on the stuffs that really matter. Click To Tweet
What is it about being an entrepreneur that holds them back? I know you are all about doubling businesses. It usually means that there is some flaw in the business, or the entrepreneur isn’t focused on the right thing. What do you see?
People are focused on the wrong stuff. They’re working their butts off on stuff that doesn’t matter. What so many entrepreneurs that we work with create is not a real business. It’s a self-employed job, something built around them. That’s great to get to that first level of success. People who start in business to have freedom, they start in business to make a lot of money, to have that unlimited upside to grow consistently to be able to make an impact. Few entrepreneurs get any of those things, let alone all of them. What we have to do, first and foremost, is to take things from instead of being a self-employed job that you created for yourself to something that’s a real business. Something that you have a team, you’ve got the numbers in place, you’ve got systems and operational structure that you can scale and get what you get out of the business. That’s where we start. It’s making sure, “Do we have a business model that we can we grow?” It’s crazy how rare that is.
What are the systems that you focus on?
Everything in the business can be systemized, from how you’re paying your team, different financials, marketing strategies, to your sales strategies and to updating your website. Every single thing needs to be a system and that’s how you build a machine. That’s what you want so you’ve got something that’s repeatable, scalable and consistent. Everything from A to Z, from my experience, you have to create a culture of systems. We’ve got hundreds, if not thousands, of systems and systems come in the form of a checklist. They’re SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures, templates or video processes. There are so many different forms of systems. It can be a collection of those things. For instance, we’ve got a hiring system. How to hire amazing people where there are 70 steps in this thing, but it makes it easy for us to go through step by step and hire amazing quality people. We can make that shorter by going to FreeeUp and using your services, but we’ve got systems for everything that we do. I’ll reiterate, we’re already doing the work. We have to integrate systems that we can do it faster, easier and better the next time.
Can you talk about SOPs? That’s a question I get asked a lot. I know I have my philosophies on what a good SOP looks like. How do you create them? What tips do you have for the readers in creating a solid SOP?
What you need is an SOP on how to create a great SOP. You need a template, system and training on how to do that. What our typical SOP structure looks like is, first of all, we define the basic stuff. “When was this last updated? Who’s the owner of it? What’s the status of it? Is it alive? Is it draft mode or something else.” We’ve got to have those basics. Then we have, “What’s the overview of this?” One line, what is this process used for? We have a video that explains this. The Loom is the single best tool in the world to create processes. I don’t create step-by-steps anymore but what I do is I’ll create a video that goes through this. We’ll have a VA take that and turn it into a step-by-step of every single step that needs to happen with screenshots. We’ve got templates and examples and we’ve got other additional notes or resources. Now, we’ve got something that’s completely step-by-step. Look at McDonald’s. McDonald’s can hire anybody off the street or they can hire an MBA. They are going to make the same Big Mac with the same quality because they’ve got amazing step-by-step systems in place. SOPs are one great form of that.
We’re going to talk about hiring, but I want your take on what should a CEO be doing? I saw a video of a CEO checklist. A lot of people say, “I’m the CEO,” and as you said, they are just doing the day-to-day operation of the business. What should a CEO be doing?
A CEO should be focused on the strategic vision of the company. We’ve got a 2X formula, ten elements that we use to double six and seven-figure businesses. The first step is to understand, “Where are we going?” You don’t get in a car until you know exactly where you’re going. Many people are driving their business and working their butts off for 40, 50, 60, 70 hours in a week. Even one of our clients started working 90 hours a week and she had a family at home. There are no goals, no destination and no real end-vision. What we’ve got to do is get clear on what the vision is because then we’ve got to reverse engineer and create the business that’s going to get us there as fast as possible. That’s where we start, strategic vision. Where are you taking the company? Everybody needs to know that. If they don’t see or feel that, then they’re just going to do the task in front of them instead of solving the things on how to get the company there.
Number two is building out a world-class team. Set the vision, hire and find a world-class team, set them up to succeed and then get out of their way. That’s what we’ve got to do. As CEOs, especially for small business owners, you are responsible for growth. Even if you’re not necessarily fully in charge of marketing or sales, you are still responsible. You need to oversee those functions to drive growth. Usually, there’s something else that you like doing that we add, but what you want is five responsibilities max. For me, I love creating content. Is it the highest leverage best thing I can do? Maybe, maybe not. I’m going to do it regardless and important business to do what we want I am going to do it. That’s on my checklist, the strategic vision, stuff related to the team, stuff related to growth, stuff related to something related to what you want to do. What you don’t want to do is to get stuck in day-to-day only. That’s not a real business owner.
Can you talk a little about what a good vision looks like? When people think vision, they think Apple or Amazon, but something more realistic for a six, seven-figure business owner.
A great vision is something that paints the picture of where you’re going to be three years from now. There is a process called The Vivid Vision process from Cameron Herold. He is the COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? who helped them explode. What you want to do is explain in good detail, in three to five pages, where you’re going to be in three years. If you can paint that picture on what it looks like, what it feels, what you are working on, what revenue numbers you are at and communicate that with your team, your partners, and your clients, you’re going to attract the resources that you need to help make that happen. You want to have clarity in what the business looks like. Most people are too general, “I’m going to make $1 million.”
You want to be specific. What does it feel like to be there? We have ours in a five-page document. It’s all branded and there are nice pictures of our events and everything. If you get fired up, you can feel it. The second thing that’s in there is our core values. What are the core values? What’s the culture of your company? That’s what you are trying to create with this, a culture that’s helping you get there. A three to five-page document, get it nice and branded and spend some good time on this. Most entrepreneurs are way too busy to spend their time in culture and vision and some of the stuff or fighting fires or trying to make some money short-term. Long-term, it is one of the most important strategic plays that you could do is build the vision and built the culture that sets your company up to succeed.
Austin, what do you look for when you’re hiring people?
Number one is, do they fit our core values? Number two is something I call A2FSO, Ability To Figure Stuff Out. Can they problem-solve? Because if we can give somebody 70% or even 20% of the information and trust that they’re going to be able to run and do it, we can move fast. It’s not number one but that’s a given for us. They have to fit your culture. They have to get your core values. What you can do is hire, fire and lead base on your core values alone. If you can’t do that, you don’t have the right core values. If somebody comes into our meetings, look at our core values and go, “Those are right,” that’s what you want. It sets up that culture that’s going to fuel itself.A lot of people create these different campaigns, always starting from scratch. Very few ever get to the point of optimization. Click To Tweet
As a CEO, how are you communicating with your team? Is it something you’re setting up once a week, once a day, once a month? You want to let them roll and you want to get out of their way. What does it look like from a communication side?
We do a deep dive, weekly planning on Mondays. If it’s the turn of the month or the quarter, we do even more. We do a departmental team and a full team meeting on Monday. The first half of my Mondays is team stuff. We are planning the week, team meeting and etc. Everybody is clear for the full week ahead. What we do is we have a ten to fifteen-minute daily huddle every single day with the core teams. We’ve got the core internal team and the sales and marketing team. We only communicate with our coaches one time per week on Mondays. We’ve got our higher-end program that I’m on a couple of meetings, but I’m removed from that one. Later on, I won’t be at daily meetings. I’ll be doing the leadership meetings, the strategy meetings and the weekly meeting and everything else I won’t be a part of. Daily huddles are essential to have good communication and a good pulse. We use Slack internally for communication as well.
What kind of numbers should a CEO know for their business?
Most entrepreneurs are looking at revenue, if they even know revenue. There are so many things that have to happen to get there. What we want to focus on instead is the stuff that’s going to drive us to those results called leading indicators. Those are things that are dependent on the business. For us, we’re looking for how many qualified leads do we have in a given week? How many sales calls do we have scheduled? We’re looking at a pipeline dollar value. What’s the total combined pipeline dollar value from our pipeline? We’re also looking at simple things such as sales conversions. What we want to do is simplify things down to a few key numbers.
These few key numbers are the cost to acquire a customer. What is a customer worth? LTV, lifetime value. If we can understand those two numbers, we can start to crank things up. For instance, we know it takes us $500 to acquire a customer, but we know on the backend this customer is worth $2,000. We’d make that trade all day long. Most people don’t know their numbers well enough that they can make proper investments and decisions. If you can get to the point where you’ve got an ATM machine as far as your business where you know those two numbers, we’re going to scale all day long. There is a lot of diminishing returns as maybe those numbers were reduced as you start to scale up, but let’s take it one step at a time. You have to know your numbers inside and out. You’ve got to know them for each step of the business, not just the ending. I get a text every single day, Nathan, with my bank account as well. You’ve got to know what’s going on with the cash situation. It’s important and most people aren’t doing that.
How much of those numbers are you sharing with the people on your team? Whether it’s the team leaders, the virtual assistants, the freelancers, are you sharing all of them or some of them?
We separate them into KPIs and cash. Cash is just me and the other core leaders of the team and one VA. The KPIs, everybody on the team sees. Everybody in the team can see in our value chain in our business step-by-step, “Where’s the bottleneck? Where’s the issue?” If we know the issue is in one part, it’s not a culture pointing fingers. It’s a culture of, “Let’s support this team to help fix this. We’re in it together.” It’s a beautiful situation where everybody knows what’s going on. We have the accountability for every department and every person to drive results. We want the KPIs to be known throughout the team.
What’s your mentality for managing or handling people who aren’t doing what you want? Maybe they started well and they’re trailing off from the core values. They’re not performing well. How do you go about handling that on a case by case basis?
You have to have regular check-ins in place. For the core team, you want every two weeks on an update on how they are doing in their numbers, roles and core values. You want to get well ahead of any issues with that. You also want to get well ahead of what they want. Are they looking at other companies? Most people do not have that deep talk. It’s a one-way thing of, “Do these tasks.” You want to understand what their vision is. What do they want to accomplish? To have amazing people, you want to figure out their vision and the company visions. You want to share why those things cross and how your situation, your company is going to help them get them to their vision. It’s an important conversation to have. At least, have one on one every single month if not every two weeks.
Is there any story that stands out that you can share with us about how one of your clients might have been having some success, but they don’t have that system and process in place? What systems were you able to put in place and where are they now?
There are so many to be able to share. I’ll share one that I shared in our Facebook community, which is the story of a woman. She has a great business and a great product. She had a multi six-figure business with high cashflow, but she didn’t have a team in place. She didn’t have systems. She was doing well in the eyes of most people, but there is a whole other level. She went from $30,000 per month up to 90 days above $84,000 recurring by focusing on a couple of things. Number one, we started to charge the actual value that she was giving out there. That made a profound impact. We started to systemize every key step of her business to get her out of the weeds. That allowed us to be able to hire her first-person.
Even twenty hours a week made the life-changing impact to help her get out of the weeds and stop focusing on the admin stuff. Those three things helped catapult her to the next level. We focused more on some of the marketing strategies and growth stuff, but none of those comes into place if we don’t do the couple things right. We had a better business model. When we’re talking about the business model, we’re looking at, “Are we selling the right stuff to the right people at the right price?” We figured that price was wrong there and it was. We started to sell it at a new price. It was still converted into an even better rate. Get out of the weeds, start to scale and stop doing stuff that you shouldn’t be doing. That’s the basic stuff of what worked here. She went from $30,000 up to above $84,000.
You mentioned marketing. What does creating a marketing process or system look like?
It’s dependent on every single type of business what the best systems are, but anything from a marketing standpoint should be down the system. A full system in marketing means, “Do we have the proper owner in place?” For Facebook ads lead gen, Nathan owns it or whoever. We’ll put a name beside it and put some metrics in place. What are the top five metrics that we need to track to say, “We’re either doing well in this area or not.” We need to have the proper systems in place so that it’s repeatable. We need the numbers to be defined, but we need them tracking ongoings that we are getting regular updates, regular reports to be able to optimize. Few people are getting to the point of optimization. They’re creating and creating these different campaigns, always starting from scratch when we want systems in place that are repeatable. If you do a marketing campaign and it works, you’re going to be using that thing for the next two years, not only in twenty days.Business is tough. There are many things that we can be spending our time on. Click To Tweet
You have to go back to your business and identify what are those top traction channels. You don’t need seventeen different marketing channels. Most businesses that we work with, we’re focusing on three to five max. I can’t think of any situation where they focused on more than five. What you want to do is build one out one at a time, optimize it, make sure that’s ROI positive, make sure that the system is repeatable, and go. We start so often with organic strategies. Many people are focused on customer acquisition, “I need more leads.” If we can get twice or four times the value of the customer on the backend, that helps make investing and marketing way easier so we focus on the fulfillment first.
Austin, this has been great. Is there anything that I missed? Anything that you see a lot of entrepreneurs doing that you think they should be doing differently?
The first thing that comes to mind is to make things simpler. Business is tough. There are many things that we can be spending our time on. What we tried to do and why we created several different frameworks for entrepreneurs to follow is because we have to make things simpler. If we can make things simpler, more focused and much more strategic, we’re going to set ourselves up for success. There are 85 million things that you could do, but only a few that you should. If you get good in understanding what those important and essential things are, you’re going to separate yourself. That’s the goal. Make it simpler, much stronger business, focus on cashflow and driving growth and you’re going to crush it.
Thanks so much, Austin. Where can people find out more about you and what are you most excited about?
You can find us at Scale2X.com. We’ve got a book in the works. It’s going to be impactful to show the people some of the important stuff that we’ve learned from working with so many entrepreneurs and businesses on how to scale and how to make things simpler. I’m excited about that. You can also find our Facebook Community. It’s for six and seven-figure entrepreneurs.
Thanks so much. Have a good rest of your day.
Thanks, great work.
- Traffic & Conversion
- Make Money Live Wealthy
- Epic Launch
- The Vivid Vision
- Facebook Community – Scale2X Facebook Community
About Austin Netzley
He is the Founder and CEO of 2X, a company specializing in helping 6 and 7-figure entrepreneurs more than double their business in just 90 days by focusing on creating a systematic, scalable business.
Austin is a former collegiate athlete and the bestselling author of Make Money, Live Wealthy, which has been downloaded and sold over 60,000 times.
Austin’s previous businesses include an investing company where he created his own day-trading algorithm and automated it, as well as a book marketing company Epic Launch that moved over 1.7 million books in less than two years for entrepreneurs all throughout the world.
Austin has been featured on many of the world’s largest business websites such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Yahoo!, BusinessInsider, ABC, NBC, The Washington Post and more.