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Episode #231
Shannon Susko

How To Grow & Sell Your Consulting Business Using Systems (Without Working 24/7)

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Summary

Shannon Susko‘s book, Metronomics, explains what systems your company needs to grow. Balancing strategy, execution, cash, cultural, cohesive, human, and leadership is very important. Learn how to unite these systems into one regimen that works for you and your team. Join Michael Zipursky as he talks to Shannon Susko about growing and selling your business with systems. Shannon is a team leadership coach and CEO of Metronome Global. She is also the author of Metronomics and 3HAG WAY. Shannon believes that with the right systems, you’ll be able to live your best life while scaling your business. Learn how to develop your team and create leaders in today’s episode of Consulting Success Podcast.

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I’m excited to have Shannon Susko join us. Welcome.

It is great to be here.

You are the CEO and Founder of Metronome United, which we will talk a lot more about. You are also an author and a speaker. You have spent the last several years leading, selling, advising different high-growth companies. I’m excited to have you share some of your experiences and journey. Not only building and selling your own businesses but also how you have helped many other leaders and teams to build their own businesses.

You have also developed a methodology, system, and approach that you have been able to achieve more consistent results with, and that is a big thing. I want to dig into that so that people can learn maybe some approaches, mindsets, or principles from your system. In addition to that, the value and what you have experienced of having a system and how that has helped you to build your business to where it is now.

Before we get into all that stuff, let’s go back in time. You and I were chatting before we hit record about your journey and where you are based, which is Whistler. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Summertime is also amazing. Before you get into building businesses, you have three degrees or something. Take me back to your early education. How did you get where you are now to look at a few chapters of your life?

If we take that chapter, I went and did a Business degree. I majored in Accounting and Management Information Systems. It sounds weird at this point because that is Computer Science, Software Engineering, and all that, but I got a dual degree. From there, I went out and worked for a year. I learned what I liked and what I did not like. I knew I liked the mountains, but I did real jobs in the mountains after that.

I went back to school, I found Whistler, but then I got injured. I’m a ski instructor or ski coach. When you get injured, you go back, and you are like, “What am I going to do?” “You go back to school.” I went back and did a Computer Science degree. I have a Computer Science degree as well. Why did I do that? The funny thing is I did a Bachelor of Computer Science and Business Admin. A Computer Science degree was better recognized than an MIS degree.

I left there and I went out. Funny enough, I was a consultant. I own a consulting company. I took on very high-risk coding contracts for large organizations. I only did it in the spring, summer, a little bit of the fall, and I would ski in my winter. That is why I live in Whistler, and they were high risk, well paying, but I learned a ton of what I would like to do and I did not like to do.

Part of my thinking was to get bigger, better contracts, and I should get my Master’s in Computer Science. I went and did my Master’s in Computer Science. This is a while ago. It was 1995 when I got out with my Master’s in Computer Science. There were not many people who had Master’s in Computer Science, and you got flown all over, people offering jobs, left, right and center.

I still loved Whistler. I had been going back and forth as we were talking across the country every semester, here and there. I ended up back in Whistler with a group of three others. We founded my first company, which ended up being a global internet payment processing service. We built that for several years. You think back to that point if people are reading, you are like, “That happens every day. That was a thing.” You did not like to go to brick-and-mortar stores and process a credit card transaction over the internet.

Entrepreneurs should make mistakes so they can find a repeatable playbook that allows them to grow and scale. Click To Tweet

That was not a thing. That was our vision. We built it. That is the second chapter of our life. You go from school to now what? We are entrepreneurs, and we are making all the mistakes possible and the first four years of our business trying to find a way that we would have a repeatable playbook. We could grow and scale the company, have the life balance of Whistler, and deliver on our promise to our venture back to the VCs. That is easier said than done. We all know that.

We raise a lot of money. When the walls had everything pulled out, we still had a lot of money. Our goal was how do we, as a global leadership team, come to Whistler? If you can imagine all over the world, top of the top, I’m in my twenties as a CEO, and we are going to figure this out, not only the business but the system.

In my first business, we committed as a leadership team. Let’s find the system. Let’s find a way to pull everything together and stop playing like whack-a-mole. One thing got going good, and we are like, “We got this thing over here.” We were working harder, not smarter. We had to find a way. We are crazy business book junkies. We read a lot of books and started piecing things together.

That business went from 1995. We sold it on January 6th, 2006. It has been quite some time. I sold to a California company. We have a company and have 500 people. Funny enough, I went with the deal. It was a good deal and it was fun. They were surfers and we were skiers. It is a good mentality. The most interesting thing is they did not only want our technology, platform, and everything we had done. They also wanted our business system, the repeatable playbook we created. It enabled me and my team to have a balanced life.

In that time, when building the first company, if you think of it about a system and I said in the beginning, “We were working harder, not smarter.” There is only so much time you can invest, many dollars you can invest, and most people give up. The system unlocked it for us, which was amazing. The other side to that is people are thinking, “I heard that a million times.” Most times, you do not hear is if the CEO had three kids in less than three years, they had time for that.

That system enabled me to have a life, get married, have kids, have a family, have 32 ski seasons here, and enjoy where we live, but also go after our passion of building a global organization, which we did with our team. We get bought great. We go there, and I’m on a two-year contract that is locked in. They ask, “Can you back the system into the company?” I said, “Sure. Let’s do it.”

I did not say yes right away in the beginning. I wanted to feel it out, and then I said, “Yes, let’s do it.” We backed it in. It was three years to be back and totally in because there are phases you go through. There is execution cash and strategy mapping phase. There is validating your strategy and building cohesiveness to the next level.

The last stage is about cascading it out throughout the organization, getting it to 500 people all the way out and through the company. That takes time but every quarter you take, you gain momentum all the way through. This leadership team was keen and committed, which you need. You need to have the willingness and desire to evolve your behavior, and they were.

They were on their own path to selling that company but 2008 hits. For anyone reading, maybe you are too young for that, and you lived through it with me, but that was a big year. The worst markets we saw in our lifetime in 100 years. All the value of the market fell out. They put their acquisition plans on hold in 2008. They had high hopes in 2008. They had asked me to stay on for one more year to help them sell the company. That was happening in the front half of the year. No one knew how bad it was going to be in the back half.

I got offered a new idea, some orphan technology, and the opportunity to start a new company. I had a different co-founding partner, and we built a global automated post-trade compliance system for broker-dealers. That is a mouthful, and who cares about that? The big thing is we got to take the system and start at the beginning again. With a new team and take that repeatable playbook, the open playing field, the transparent scoreboard, our coach, and do it again.

CSP 231 | Business Systems

 

This time we built and sold it. The first one was ten years. We screwed up the first half of that. We got it down in six years. The second one, we took this whole system that we know as Metronomics. We applied it before the doors opened. We did not venture back it. We customer-funded it. We built and sold it in twelve quarters.

We took term sheets. We exponentially knocked it out of the park in value, 60 times top-line rev. We used the whole system. I went to the other side of the deal where we are a young company, $3 billion-plus company bought us, but they also bought what we had, plus the system. We backed it into the division that we joined, which was a new division. We had about 1,000 people, and we backed the system in. I did my time and I say that lightly. It was several years. I said my goodbyes and I retired.

It sounds like you probably had an earn-out in both cases.

The first time is funny. We did have an earn-out in the first case. The second case and this is the greatest thing about the system, believed in our predictability because we predicted what we were going to do. That is the 3HAG, 3-year Highly Achievable Goal. We sold on our 3HAG. We predicted our 3HAG and delivered on our 3HAG.

When we got into the negotiations around the earn-out, which was another 3HAG, it got as it does, earns are messy, and they can squash a deal. It got to the point where the acquirer said, “What are we doing? We want their technology. We want what they did and their market, how they came across, and we want this system.”

They removed the earn-out and paid the net present value of that earn-out. On that day, we closed all in. The only thing is I had to put something on the line because I’m the CEO. I’m one of the major shareholders and they made this thing called the Susko Escrow. I did that for the rest of the shareholders. They took a few of my earnings, significant enough to make me stay, and time-released it over the contract that wanted me to stay.

There is a lot to dig into here. The first question may be one that people are not expecting. I think it deserves a bit of attention, which is going back to even before you started that first company, or maybe around that time. It seems like you were intentional in creating a work-life balance or whatever you want to call it.

You told me that your father was an entrepreneur. Most entrepreneurs have this feeling inside that if you are not working on building the business, something is wrong. I’m wondering what was going on in your mind that gave you the confidence, or maybe you had something else you were thinking about, but allow you to say, “I’m going to work on this, but I’m also going to ski in the winter. I could keep taking on more contracts, making more money, but no, I’m going to carve out the winter so I could focus on skiing.” Take me to that time into that mindset. What was going on there?

My dad was an entrepreneur his whole life, many businesses and different businesses. He is successful. I’m the youngest of five kids in six years. My dad worked hard. The one thing my dad always said to me is, and it is in the opening of 3HAG Way and that book is dedicated to him, he could see a high achiever and school sports.

He would always say to me, “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” That was ingrained in me as a teenager, find your time and your balance time. Make sure that if you plan it, you do not feel guilty about taking it. If you figure out a way to balance, you do not feel guilty about taking it. Funny enough, the cover of Metronomics is Whistler Mountain. There are skiers in that photo.

The right systems can enable you to have a life and build your global organization. Click To Tweet

The reason is the photo of the backdrop of Metronomics, my third book that was released, is because Metronomics is a repeatable system. The open playing field and the coach are what enabled me to find balance and balance in my life. It is a bit of a cliché. It is to grow up yourself, your team, your come, and your life.

You have to grow all of those. Otherwise, you are owed of balance. When you are owed of balance, whether you are the only person in your business or you have a team of 100 in your business, if you are owed of balance, it makes it no fun. My dad enabled that thinking so early on. It is amazing that you pick up on that.

Did you ever have feelings of guilt like, “I’m on the ski slopes, but I could be banging on another $50,000 contract? Should not I be doing some marketing?”

This sounds crazy, but maybe for other moms that are out there, the biggest guilt I had was taking time to ski and not staying home with my family. That is ingrained in our society. Planning it all out because you are balancing life. I have three kids under three. You do not do that without an incredible husband who stayed home full time to support all of this. You got to have to make time for yourself.

My trick was I’m a crazy planner. I like to plan my calendars and my schedule. Years in advance, you have to plan out your time. Otherwise, as an entrepreneur, you won’t take it. You will keep working. I felt like my dad was a little bit like that. He had certain trips planned. If my siblings were reading, they would laugh because he always had his fishing trips planned. Those were planned. He had certain things, but everything else was a bit fluid. You could feel he felt that way. It is a huge load to be an entrepreneur and have to be the sole provider for a family. We all know that. That is huge. I never thought that would be me, but it turned out it was.

It is a great example of your time tends to fit the schedule that you create. If I were back in the day when I was in high school, I never studied until my later years and got into university. I used to play a lot of sports when I was younger. I would never study, but if I had only a little bit of time available because I was busy in sports, I would have to get the homework done at that time. That was the power of the schedule to me.

I think it would be great if you could give us a high-level overview of your system of Metronomics or 3HAG Way. First of all, what system to develop or, even more importantly, within the system? How do you know what you should focus on to ensure that you are looking at the right things and you are able to make progress in the areas that matter, so you can create the time to go off and do the things you are going to enjoy?

Metronomics is a system, a regimen, and that is a weird word to use for business because most of the time, you hear of a health regimen. It is like health for the business team and life regimen. People who are probably reading were like, “That is cliché.” It is not because those are the things we need to keep in balance.

What we did in Metronomics was we are writing down every last thing you had to think about and the connections of it so that entrepreneurs can figure out where they are and where the system will meet them right off the bat. Everybody, no matter if someone has been in business 70 years or 2 years, whether you are 2 people or 1,000 people, everybody does a kickoff.

Why you do a kickoff? It is because, in Metronomics, there are seven systems. Now, a lot of people think that is overwhelming, but those systems exist in your business whether you want to acknowledge them or not. Most people only acknowledge three systems. I will start with the ones most will recognize, which is the strategy system. Some might say, “My strategy is not a system.” You have a strategy. I do not know a business out there that does not have a strategy.

CSP 231 | Business Systems

 

The second one is execution. Some have a system and some are working out their system. It might not be as smooth as they hope. The third one is cash. Some people are going to go, “We have no cash for a system like that.” The others will go, “We do this lagging reporting accounting process.” Cash is a system. Those three systems are what we know are the hard edge systems. Everyone relates and loves working on those systems. Teams want to spend the most time on those systems.

Before I talk about the other four systems, those three systems represent your business systems, strategy, execution, and cash. Those are business systems. We learn all those things in school. The other four systems represent a team. That sounds weird. We have a team and a business, but there are three systems in the team, one that grows up, our leaders and the coaches.

There is the cultural system. It is the behavior you accept, but there is a way to do this in a very effective way and time-saving way. There is a cohesive system, not stop and let’s go offsite for two days. Let’s keep the system alive. Let’s grow a team that is committed and connected to the business goals that highly trust one another.

There is a human system, which is a terrible name but is a name we made up many years ago. The human system is the way we get clarity of what is expected of us in the role that we own every day. It sounds pretty simple but thinks of it as, “If I’m on a soccer team and I’m the goalie, I own that role. I own ensuring goals to not go in the net with the rest of my team, but I got that.” I’m going to live and die by that. Those are the positions and roles.

The fourth one is the umbrella. That is the coach cascade. That was a system that gets introduced later into this framework, and that is where we grow up. We grow up as coaches. Not all leaders want to, but leaders can grow into a coach. We have to grow coaches throughout the organization. That is called the Coach Cascade System.

These systems exist. If you think of it as a house, the foundation of the house is our culture. The two walls are the cohesive system and the human system. At the top of the house are the leaders and the rest of the team. They make up the peak of the house. Inside the house are strategy, execution, and cash. They all work together and they touch the outside of the house. If our team is not strong, that is the strong part of the house. If our team is not up, people will fall out. It makes it harder to grow a business and drive your systems. If we can’t scale our leaders, it is hard to grow a business.

I’m thinking about everyone who is with us now, who might be saying, “This does sound like a lot, Shannon. What if I’m a solo consultant, or there are 3 or 5 of us?” If someone was to start thinking through their business and what they are doing in a more systematic way, where would you suggest that they start? If they take away one thing from now to start thinking about, what would you suggest that they look at?

I have two recommendations. This sounds self-serving, but I will explain it in a moment. Pick up a copy of Metronomics, read chapter six, read the intro, and read chapter one. This applies to a team of 2, 15, and 100. If you like what you heard, which is going to tell you, “Here is the outcome.” Chapter six is called Trust the System. Chapter one gives you the intro. The intro in chapter one gives you the basis of why it works. It is very human. Whether you are two people or more, it works. Even if you are one person, I want to tell you, “I have done it.” I started out as a soul coach. It kept me on track. All the things still matter.

What is within the system for that solo consultant or that very small team? If they were to look at chapter 6 and chapter 1, they would start diving in if someone did not have time to do that right now. They can start thinking, what should they be thinking within the system because you said there are seven different parts?

There are seven different parts of the system, but they are offered as one. That was my second thing. My second thing is to read chapter two. Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 are prescriptive. It is mapped out for every 90 days for the next three years. It gives you what you should do, no matter what size. Chapter two is called The Kickoff. It is a two-day kickoff.

Strategy, execution, and cash are your business systems, while cultural, cohesive, human, and the coach cascade are your team systems. Click To Tweet

If you have a little thought that this might be exciting, as what I say is, if you are the CEO, solopreneur, 1 of 2 partners that are reading, go and look at the steps in that. Some of the questions you have answered, like what is the core purpose? Why do we do this? Some of those are in there, but some of the key parts to that within that kickoff are going to gut out your 10 to 30-year goal.

Most people do not do that for human reasons. It is scary, big, and laughable. Those are all reasons why you should. You are also going to gut out your first three-year highly achievable goal. This is where a strategy and execution meet. It is a line in the sand at twelve quarters away. In order to do that, you answer five questions. That is it.

I can tell you, if you can do those two things first, I would be surprised that you can message me and Michael after this and go, “That did not work.” The 3HAG is as human as it gets. The biggest thing is, as human beings, we do not want to say where we want to be three years from now because we might be wrong.

What are some of these five questions to ask to get clear on that 3HAG? Can you give us a few of those questions of what they are?

I will give you all of them. The first question is, what year does your third-year fiscal-year end? December 31st, 2024. Maybe that is it. The Canadian companies could be another time. Second question. What do you want your top line, your gross revenue, to be that year ending? December 31st, 2024. How much cash do you want in the bank? I got it out and write it down. That is scary for people.

The next question is, how many of what do you need to sell in order to make that top line and put the cash in the bank? How many of what? What thing? How many contracts? How many hours? Whatever it is. If you are going to achieve those things and those dollars, the third question is you wrote down a big hairy audacious goal, your 10 to 30-year statement. You are going to write down a 3HAG statement and what you are going to be

If you deliver on that, what will you be? What will be your three-year highly achievable goal? As a company, describe it, gut it out. It is the best thing ever. It feels so good to do this. Once you do that, the next question is, “What are the top 3 to 5 capabilities you need to have in place in your company in order to achieve that?”

Some might be already in place, and some might have to be put in place. You got 12 quarters, which is three years to do it. You write those down. The last question is, if you do all of that, what will you be known for? When we say your company’s name and the marketplace, people will have a space in their brain to say, “In Paradata’s world, we did all that.” My first company’s name is Paradata. We wanted them to think and know that we make payments easy. We wrote our 3HAG down and drove to it. Every year you re-up to 3HAG. I always say, “Happy New 3HAG Year.” We always get a new one and it is always three years away.

Once you have answered those five questions, how much of that are you backing out and breaking down into annual into core? What are the next steps that people would need to be thinking about?

I always say, “Do BHAG, do 3HAG. Sleep on it.” I feel like sleep is so important for this strategic and thinking work. The next day or the next meeting, have a sleep at some point 1, 2, or 3. The next day, you are going to take your annual and do gross rev. You are probably going to do a bit more in between cash in the bank. Forecast cash first. It is important. What are the things that we need to sell in 2022? What are the top priorities we have to deliver?

CSP 231 | Business Systems

 

Company priorities are number one. Who owns it? Specific, measurable, timely, all that good stuff, 1, 2, 3. Everyone agrees. We see the alignment to the 3HAG. We are in Q1 2022 and we are going to say, “What is your gross revenue for this quarter? Break it down over thirteen weeks of cash. What are the things you need to deliver?” Thirteen weeks sprint lanes as we call them.

What are your top priorities? Company priorities first, and somebody owns them. We break them down over thirteen weeks. The biggest thing is to get momentum with a system like this. You have got to get good at execution, clarity of execution, and people know what they need to do in order to create like, “We are doing it. We are putting the numbers up and we are winning.”

Where do you see most people make mistakes with this? Let’s say somebody has a plan, and they have come up with whatever system or approach works for them. In your experience, where do most people make mistakes when it comes to developing and even more important, following a system, whatever system that is?

The number one mistake that we see, and we did it too. I will tell you how we overcame it because it will help everyone else too is create the daily habit, look at the plan, and do it with your team and everybody. It is no different than when you are playing on the field. Someone got the ball, they miss the ball, and you are like, “I can help you.” You go get the ball, everyone is staying focused on the team score and the goal, but you are looking at it every day.

We know that your behavioral habits and accountability are created. You are not born with it. You create it. When you are with a team, you have to create it. That is where, how we overcame that because we can all get together. Whether 1, 2, 10 person team, we can all get that together and go, “We answered all those questions. We got it.” We get to the end of the quarter, and we are like, “We did not do it because we looked at the plan again. We put it on the shelf.”

In order to create the habits, we did a couple of things. The first thing is from Mastering the Rockefeller Habits back in the day, a book Verne Harnish wrote. We met him even before that. He shared with us the one habit that connects meeting every day. The whole organization connects, and the only focus is on the plan. Not only the execution plan, but we mapped out. QHAG is what we call a quarterly plan, a 1HAG, our annual, a 3HAG, and a BHAG. They have to stay aligned.

We are looking at it every day. It is a fifteen-minute meeting and it is a standing agenda. It saved me when I was working hard, not smart. I’m working 9,000 hour weeks. That one meeting with a plan like we described the very first time, within the very first 30 days of doing that with my team, saved me 40 hours a week. One hundred hours a week if you are feeling that right now, think about taking 40 hours out.

Why is that? Is that because people are not necessarily clear on what to focus on? They end up doing a lot of busy work, but not necessarily the essential work.

The biggest thing is the focus. It keeps your focus every day. That is why I say, “If you are one person, have a huddle with your dog, your cat, yourself, your screen, or whatever. Look at it and create a habit to log in every day.” The other piece of it is communication with your team. When you are on the soccer field, it is easy to communicate with the goalie. You just yell to the striker or whatever it is.

In business, especially in our virtual world, it is pretty hard to yell across the office because there is no one there with you at home anymore. This assures you connect. We did this well before a pandemic or anything like that, but we are a global company. I could not yell across the office to my head of business development who was in Europe. We had to make a point of getting together and how fast we solved problems with all the stacks, questions, and things that were going red. As if we were playing every day together.

If you can't scale your leaders, it's hard to grow a business. Click To Tweet

We could like solve them quickly together. If we could not solve them in that meeting, we would make a meeting for it later in the day for us all to get together to brainstorm. It sounds crazy, and most people are like, “I will not work with any client if they do not huddle every day.” It is a secret to success. We are there to evolve behavior and disciplines. The discipline that you got to take to a fanatical level is to look at your plan every day. When you plan on a field, you have 90 minutes or whatever for a soccer game, and you have four quarters for a basketball game or football game. That is all the time you have. You got to stay focused.

I want to switch our focus for a moment to your timeline, back to the chapters of your business and your life. You talked about you had your education, multiple different degrees, and you built and sold two different companies. If we fast forward to more recent times, you develop the Metronomics and the whole Metronome United playbook, frameworks, and systems.

When you decided to go back out, start marketing, and get back into business. How did you get your first few clients? How did you take this body of knowledge and expertise that you had developed in the system and framework and start to have people get excited about it to the point where they wanted to hire you to help them?

2011 takes us to where we sold the business. I had a few more years of a contract, and then I retired. Even before I retired, I got this phone call. It was a colleague I knew out of Vancouver, British Columbia, who said, “I watched you build and sell two companies. I’m here slogging along with my first one with not exciting results like you got. I need to find a way.” I said, “That is nice. Why are you calling me?” He goes, “You must have a system.” If you go to ask me back then, I would never talk about it like this. It has been several years of undoing it and working us back in that we can explain it and turn it.

I was like, “I guess you can say we have a system. Why?” He goes, “I’m wondering if you might want to coach the system.” I was like, “I’m not sure about that.” I was on my own journey. I was like, “What does a coach mean to you? What kind of coach because there are so many coaches? Describe what you are looking for.”

He goes, “I’m looking for someone to coach me and my team.” I was like, “That is interesting.” We morphed from that. I had a CEO coach for me. I grew my CEO coaches because I had many different ones and CEOs for us leadership team coaches. I said, “I was involved in everyone going into every company. I do not know if the system will work for you.” They are like, “We are willing. Are you willing?” I was like, “Okay, I will try it.”

That is a weird thing because I did not go, “I think I will be a coach.” I got asked to be a coach, which I did not even contemplate. I did not have a card or a website. I’m the unexpected coach. I was like, “Okay.” I did exactly and everything in Metronome is what we did in our companies, except that I was not the CEO. I had to rethink things. I prepped for the meetings like I was the CEO. This is what happens and we know this for consultants and coaches out there. If you do well with one company, they are going to tell people, and then you get other people calling you, and so on.

I might not be the greatest example because that is what happened. Someone goes, “I talked to so and so.” They said, “You are doing the system. Would you coach us?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.” I did say yes to a handful, and they got great success out of the system. I thought that was interesting.

I said, “The one thing I would love that I did not have when I was a CEO is this behavioral accountability platform that would be in the cloud.” I grew up with software and whatnot and put stuff in the cloud. I asked my co-founding partner of Metronome Growth Systems. He worked with me in all the other companies and I said, “Do you think you could create this for my companies and this platform.” Back in the day, we were using Word, Excel, and all that stuff. It does not work that great, but it worked.

I said, “Just for my clients because I tried a lot of other solutions out there.” He goes, “I got time. I will create that.” We created the playing field for those clients. Meanwhile, it was going on and I realized the system was working. It is exciting. I looked for this system. In 1998, I was begging anybody for this system, someone to hand me this blueprint.

CSP 231 | Business Systems

 

Someone said, “If you want to give it away, why don’t you write it down?” I go, “I do not want to write that down. That has a lot of work writing a book.” I do not take that lightly. The shortest thesis in the history of my university was I wrote 30 pages. I do not want to write a book. I got talked into writing a book and the reason I wrote the book is that I did not want anyone to be as desperate as I was to grow a company. That is why I do everything now. I wrote The Metronome Effect. You carry on, we have this platform, I have these six clients, and people are reading the book. I wrote a book, so people do not call me.

Aside from referrals and introductions by doing good work, that contributed a lot to the growth of your current business. Aside from that are the books that have the biggest impact on marketing lead generation. Is there anything else that you have done over the last several years, especially when you have found it has a big impact?

The interesting thing is book two came out because I gave one piece of the system that I did not write about in The Metronome Effect to some coaches. Now, coaches were attracted because of The Metronome Effect. They said, “You keep talking about this thing called the 3HAG. All your clients have 3HAG. What is that? Can we use it too?” I was like, “Sure.”

I gave it to a bunch of coaches that I knew. They used it and got the same exponential results that we got in my companies and my clients were getting. They tell two friends and so on being coaches. It gets launched at a Big Growth Conference of our client up on stage talking about the 3HAG. I wrote it down. I was like, “I will give that too.”

I write that down as prescriptively as we wrote every other book. I wrote it down and more coaches read it, which was not the intent. They came and said, “We want to be certified in it.” I was like, “Read the book. You are good.” Lots of coaches have had success. I’m like, “Go ahead.” Several months went by, and there were more coaches asking.

We said, “If our goal is to have no one as desperate as I was to grow a company as CEO and entrepreneur. If we teach the coaches how to do it, we are going to exponentially get to more people in a great way. We are going to help the coaches and clients. This will be great. If it fits with our core purpose, let’s do it.” We trained coaches.

We have over 85 coaches worldwide who are certified in the 3HAG Way, which is a piece and a big part of Metronomics. In the Metronome community, you can find a coach in most continents and countries around the world in many languages, which is beyond my expectation. That is what has taken this off. The coach is taking it out.

For me, as a coach, I still have six clients. One of those clients I have had for several years. Don’t you want a client for 10, 9, or 8 years? I rarely take on a new client because once you start the system, and this is important for anyone reading, the system feeds itself. I say that in all due respect to other systems. Usually, systems run out. They go 1, 2 to 3 years. I can remember my other coaching colleagues going, “I keep my clients for three years.” I’m like, “I’m going on 6, 7, and 8. I rolled one into ten years. One of my first clients since I started coaching.”

Someone goes, “Don’t you run out of stuff?” I said, “No. Does an Olympic team ever go to the business Olympics or their Olympics without a coach? Why would they, especially if they are winning? The coach does not get fired if they are winning.” The system lays out the framework for all of us to plug and play many thought leaders. It is a regimen. Many thought leaders like things into it for what the client needs.

How do you structure your business? You have your own clients, a small group. You have the software, and you have the certification. What does your team look like in order to be able to operate and have 85 certified coaches and software? What does that structure look like?

Create the daily habit of looking at the plan and doing it with your team. Click To Tweet

I have clients that I coach directly. We have a software platform that all my clients are on. I won’t coach anyone unless they use the platform. We have hundreds of coaches on the platform, thousands of companies, and tens of thousands of users around the world. We have the coaches themselves. There is that piece of business where they come, learn and be a part of a community.

For me, I have a business that I coach my clients as I always have. They pay me a monthly fee of $10,000 or more. Most are much more than that these days, but that is what they are paying, and it is all in. There is no nickel and diamond. You get me. You get my time, and cadence of meetings you require to win your business Olympics.

The software is included. Everything is included. That is an all-in. You are buying my brain to work on your business. That is how I look at it only so much time to go over there. The software business is its own business. My co-founding partner drives that business. We have a full team. Our background is building platforms and it is a natural state for us.

How big is that team?

That team right now is about 9 to 10 people. That is a nice size team. That is support, dev, training, and everything. In the coaching business, there are another four people over there to take care of the coaches. All of our businesses were always known for support. That is 24/7. When you need IT support, you are not going to get some answering machine, a chat, or whatever. You are going to get us in a human and we are going to help you. That is in the coaching world. We are going to train and learn from each other. There is community. The software world is no different. My clients are no different. Everything is built up upon how we support those coaches and their clients.

How do you structure your day? Walk me through because you have a lot going on. It is very clear that you still want to prioritize, whether it is family time to time on these slopes and mountains. What does your typical day look like? How do you make sure that you are focusing on the right things, given that you have multiple different businesses, even though they are connected, but you have to look at each of these?

I have been for many years using a personal one-page plan, 10 years, 3 years, 1 year, or every 90 days. That is for me and my family and get ourselves where we are going. Every year, I block out two years out of my time first. My family time is always blocked in.

Is that holiday or vacation?

Everything. We are blocking out what we are doing. I might know exactly what we are doing, but it is blocked. Nobody is taking it in the business or anywhere else. As you can imagine, in our business, we follow this regimen. I do not know any way else to operate. My team does not either. That is how we operate. We follow a very tight schedule in all my businesses about what we do on what days.

In this particular business, we have what we call a Metronome Meeting Mondays. That day is for anything metronome. We have a cadence. It is all set out for years, and it goes on forever. Mondays are for a Metronome. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are for clients, and Metronome Monday will include coaches as well. Friday is my time every week. We block as many weeks as we want to do what we need to.

Once you start the system, the system feeds itself. Click To Tweet

The big thing is that setting this up, and every time I had to say yes to something, I was like, “We are going to get this going, and then I’m going to work myself back out of that area of the business. When we get back going, I will work myself.” All I want to do is coach, teach, learn and be in the coaching community, this great community that we have built with my clients. We are aligned from a core value perspective about wanting to help grow up leaders, companies, and their lives.

Before we wrap up, I have two questions. The second to last is if you think about the best book that you have read or listened to, what stands out? What would you recommend? What do you enjoy?

There have been so many, but I’m going to go to one that I leveraged with my clients. It is Unlocking the Customer Value Chain by Thales Teixeira. It is a fabulous book because in order to leverage my first two businesses, it was about the customer value chain. For your clients, consultants, and coaches, we need to know this too. We need to understand this. I always take everything. I apply it to my own business and I apply it to my client’s businesses. It is super fun.

The final question but no less important. For those who want to learn more about you, your work, your books, and all that good stuff, what is the one website they should go to?

Go to MetronomeUnited.com. Everything is there. I want to say that you have probably got the idea if you have been reading throughout this whole time is that, on our site, everything mentioned in any three books, there are full reader portals that you can log into that are there. They are free. We are not here to make money off this. We are here to help you grow your business. Please log in and check the books out. If you have questions, reach out. We will be here.

We will connect to that on the site. Head over to ConsultingSuccess.com/podcast, and you will find Shannon’s show and this episode. Shannon, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it.

You are welcome. It is so fun to talk to you. Thank you so much.

 

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About Shannon Susko

CSP 231 | Business SystemsShannon Byrne Susko has spent over 25 years building, iterating, and innovating what we now know as METRONOMICS, a system utilized by hundreds of coaches and thousands of companies of all sizes all around the world. METRONOMICS is the “silver bullet” that will grow up your company and get you there with speed, ease, and confidence.

Shannon is also the author of bestselling business books, 3HAG WAY (2018) and The Metronome Effect (2014), and is she is the founder and CEO of Metronome United, a community of more than 50 global coaches who use the METRONOMICS system every day to create lasting impact for their clients, teams, and communities.

Shannon has over 25 years of experience leading high-growth global companies. Her technical expertise is coupled with extensive sales, marketing and operations experience.

Shannon has served on for-profit and not-for-profit boards at a regional, national and international level. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of BCAA, Session B Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Sport Institute – Pacific, and BC Luge Association. . Shannon was recently recognized twice as Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2018, and 2020.

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