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The Power of Lean and Luxe with Crista Grasso

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 16 Nov 2023

In this podcast episode, Jody and Joey chat with Crista Grasso, international lean and agile business consultant and Creator of the Lean Out Method, to discuss the concept of "lean" in business and its importance. They emphasize the need for business owners to make mindset shifts as they scale their businesses, including the realization that they can't do everything themselves and the need for systems and processes. They also discuss the importance of checking one's ego and recognizing that others may be better suited for certain tasks.

intro (00:00:00) - Welcome to the Virtual CPA Success Show for creative agencies. The go to resource for agency owners looking to scale their business. Join us every week to stay ahead of the curve and position your agency for future success.

Joey (00:00:14) - Hey, Jody. How are you doing today? 

Jody (00:00:16) - Oh, doing real well, thanks. 

Joey (00:00:18) - On today's episode of the Virtual CPA Success Show, we talked with Krista Grasso of the Lean Out method. Jody had a lot of fun recording that podcast. What did you think? 

Jody (00:00:29) - Oh, it was a great time. Chris is definitely an expert in the field and her big thing is getting it from 500,000 to over that 5 million mark for a lot of folks out there. And it even extends as high as she's worked with clients in the top 50 in the world. So she's very, very capable and very great speaker. And I just really enjoyed the concept, you know, And she talks about lean luxe leverage. She talks about, you know, basically running a lean. And if you look at our website effing business and of course that means efficient, of course.

Jody (00:01:04) - And that's the big thing about it. So just I enjoyed a lot of it and a lot of great insights. 

Joey (00:01:11) - What I liked about it too is it's applicable to all types of businesses, right? Whether you're a manufacturing business, a retail business, a service based business, like the things that we talk about and the things that Chris is mentioning on the show really could impact anybody who's like at that cusp of like, Man, I think we should scale. I'd like to scale, maybe I don't know how to scale. So I also want to make sure the audience knows to stick around to the end for a bit of a surprising. I was not expecting where she went with our fun question of the day, but I really enjoyed her answer and I thought that was really fun. So stick around. We hope everybody enjoys the show and we're looking forward to to catching you next time. 

Joey (00:01:50) - So when you started your and your thing is lean out is kind of the emphasis of your thing.

Joey (00:01:58) - How do you think your definition of lean has changed in the last like has that changed over time or is that like been a static thing for you?

Crista (00:02:07) - It's such a great question, and I think in a lot of ways it is still static in the sense that when I think about leaning out, it's about eliminating anything that's not adding value to your clients and profit to the business and really focusing in on running a really operationally efficient and luxe business, right? So I think that that's always been true. But think the importance of certain things have shifted right in today's market. I think being lean is incredibly important for people when they don't have as much disposable income, when they don't have as much to really be able to play with. And so think it's more the emphasis on it has shifted, whereas the definition is pretty consistent.

Jody (00:02:45) - How would you define Lean then?

Crista (00:02:48) - Yeah, lean really to me is about value. It's about increasing value, eliminating waste. So when I think about it in the context of our business, we want to be putting our time on the things that are absolutely the most important.

Crista (00:03:00) - We want to be providing the most value that we can in our clients lives, in the impact that we're trying to make, the legacy we're trying to leave whatever that is for us, why we're showing up and doing what we do. So to me, that's really how I look at it, is how can we do more of that and eliminate everything that gets in the way of doing more of that while leading a really highly profitable business.

Jody (00:03:25) - And are you talking would you be talking more to the visionary? So the visionary is the person that's actually creating the ideas and they're usually the thought leader, but they're really poor in execution a lot of times. And so is that the person that is that that's the person we're talking about, correct?

Crista (00:03:39) - Oh, yeah. I call that a visionary. Itis where you are fantastic at idea generation, at starting things, at seeing incredible possibility, not always the best at seeing those things through, maintaining those things, or even thinking through what it will really take to launch and maintain those things.

Jody (00:04:01) - See, Joey, she knows me really well. 

Joey (00:04:03) - I was going to say, it's almost like we planned this. Like you've met Jody before, haven't you? That's why Jody that's what Jody has folks like me to help them, you know, kind of implement that. And, you know, the ultimate implementer, Adam Hale or his co-founder of the company, when I think about Lean and think this is an interesting it's an interesting topic because especially in times like we're dealing with now, where pipelines are struggling, you know, value now becomes a bigger thing and everyone's kind of holding their budget a little bit tighter. When your average client comes to you and says, Hey, I need to start leaning out, what's that like? Where do they start that process? Like, what is your typical client look like when they come to you at the beginning of the process?

Crista (00:04:47) - When they first come to me, inevitably they are at a point of complete and total overwhelm. They usually have so much complexity in their business, so many moving pieces in their business.

Crista (00:04:58) - They can't keep up on things and they're usually in one of two places. They just experienced a period of rapid growth, which sounds really great from the outside looking in, right? You see the higher numbers, you see the higher numbers of clients, great. But behind the scenes it is a hot mess and it's kind of a miracle that they're able to actually deliver on what they're doing because they don't always have the right team in place. They don't always have the right systems or processes or tools to be able to deliver consistently and without a whole lot of kind of making things up as they go along. And so they're usually really, really stressed out. They're usually fairly burnt out or on the verge of it when they've just gone through that period of rapid growth. Now, the other place that people come in a lot of times is they've kind of stagnated in their business. They've gotten to a certain point. They can't seem to bring up their profit margin no matter what they do. They have the right boxes checked.

Crista (00:05:54) - They've got team in place. They technically have systems in place, but things just don't feel like they're really working well or they aren't really moving well and they know they need to reimagine and shift the way that they're looking at things and lean out. So sometimes lean out. They're approaching it from a place of too muchness. And please, for the love of God, would you help me lean this out? So have less need to do and the less I'm responsible for. In other times they're more strategically looking at it as things just aren't moving. Like what do I need to shift? What do I need to change? What do I need to let go of so I can actually get to the next level in my business?

Jody (00:06:31) - Yeah, a lot of people blame everything but themselves. You know, it's the economy. It's people. They there's no good workers out there. The you know, they don't list all the different stuff. When it comes down to it, I'm going to guess it's probably them.

Crista (00:06:48) - Yeah. Mean, are there external factors? Yes. Do you sometimes make poor hires? Sure. Like all those things are true. But at the end of the day, it's ultimately our decisions, how we show up and how committed we really are to the things that we say we really want, as opposed to constantly shifting gears, pursuing new ideas, doing what we love to do best as visionaries, which are not always the things that actually allow you to sustainably grow and scale a business.

Jody (00:07:19) - Yeah, 100% agree. And I can kind of relate, just, you know, relate with myself, you know. You know, you think you've got to do everything yourself and you are doing everything yourself. I can't hire anybody because I can't afford it. But really, can you not afford it? You can't afford not to do it, really. It's at a certain point and and it's just one of those it's a catch 20 a lot of times. And it just takes somebody like yourself to get in front of you and pointed out and and make it really obvious that, hey, here's what you need to do in order to get from step A to step B, And I and I remember, you know, that was probably we were probably at the 600, $700,000 annualized revenue mark when both and I just kind of threw arms up and said what do we how do we get out of this? Because it was, you know, we're working 80 hours a week and killing ourself.

Jody (00:08:06) - And, and then we had, we brought a consultant and similar to yourself and, and kind of set us on the right path, you know, kind of gave us direction on how to do it. And once it clicked, click pretty quickly, it's like, Oh, well, here's how we do it. And it really succeeded going from, you know, half $1 million to over, you know, right now are probably pushing 13, $14 million a year. So it just continued to grow that I would guess, for most of your clients. You know, I think we talked offline a little bit. They come in at the 500,000 mark. They come with the $5 million mark. And you've had clients that, you know, the top 50 companies in the world type of stuff. And so you've got a very variety of different beginning points that people have come to you. What do you think a typical, you know, not nowadays with inflation and everything. What do you think a typical size of a company before they start realizing that man they've got a there's got to be some something else than just being the worker bee and the visionary at the same time?

Crista (00:09:05) - Yeah, I think it really depends on the industry and it depends on the business model.

Crista (00:09:10) - But I find that usually when people start getting into the multi six, high, multi six figure mark is when they start to realize, wait a minute, I'm trying to do way too much or I am putting a ceiling on where I can take this business. As long as everything is dependent on me or I keep kind of doing things in more of a reactive making it up as I go along kind of way. Now it can vary based on industry, but in the coaching, consulting or more service based space, I find it's typically somewhere between that 500,000 to 750 range where people really start to make that realization. Once they start to get over a million, that's when they start to get really serious about it because you can still kind of hustle your way through up until seven figures, but it becomes really, really hard to sustain the business and to do it without the right systems and teams surrounding you. Once you break through and continue to scale through the millions.

Joey (00:10:08) - Well, what I like about your framework there is it ties in really well with something I've been kind of workshopping with clients of mine where I talk about the couple of mindset shifts that you have to have as a business owner, right? Like most people, when they start, they're like, Well, I'm just trying to replace my job because I don't want to do this.

Joey (00:10:23) - I can do this for myself. And that gets you so far. And then that first mindset shift is like, Well, now I've got to hire somebody. So then you start hiring and you start hiring and then you have to have the second one, which is, Oh, I've hired people, but I have no way to rein this in. I have no systems, I have no processes, I have nothing to implement this. And then you have to have that second mind shift. And that's normally when that messy middle starts coming in, which is a consultant. That's the best. Like that's the good stuff because we've got enough assets and stuff that we can play with to make a real difference, and there's actually a need for us here. So I love that thought process of here's how we kind of start having that mindset shift because you, the visionary, have to understand, I got to get out of the way. I can't do it all myself anymore.

Crista (00:11:09) - Yeah, it's so freeing.

Crista (00:11:10) - I think in our own business when we realize where our own bottleneck. It's a really hard realization. But when we have that epiphany and we're like, Oh wait, you realize that if you just simply change the way you think about things, if you just simply change the way you approach things, you can actually have dramatically different results and you can have the results you want. You're not getting there because you're still the same person who's the bottleneck in the business. And so I think it's a very hard transition for people to make, but it's a very freeing transition to make when people finally have that realization. Have you experienced that in your growth journey?

Joey (00:11:44) - It's more of a Jody question than a me question. 

Jody (00:11:46) - Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I mean, yeah, there's no doubt about it. Um, you know, like I mentioned, when we hit that $700,000 mark and met with the consultant and just kind of it was just like I said, it was one of those it was an aha moment because we didn't know, Hey, is this how it's going to be from here to 10 million? Or we can, you know, how can we possibly do this? And we don't have you know, we don't have a time in the world to do anything else.

Jody (00:12:11) - And it wasn't until then that we realized that that was kind of the nice aha moment. And it was definitely very liberating. And but, you know, as you go through, I think you kind of settle back every once in a while into the bad habits, I think, and you get to the next level and you're like, okay, now what's the next level? And you know, like for me, it was like giving out all my hats because we provide CFO services for clients and, and we, you know, Adam and I were the main people that did it for the longest time. And it wasn't until we brought on somebody else because we didn't think anybody else. You can't provide service unless you're an owner. And that was the mentality. It's like, well, you know, somebody brought in Jake, and Jake was our first one, was like, Well, he's doing it. Well, that's interesting. He's doing it pretty well. His clients like him.

Jody (00:12:59) - He's providing, you know great advice and so forth to clients. And we bring one on. We'd fail. We kind of settle back. Was Jake the anomaly? And then we'd bring another one on. So we kept trying and try and train as we grew and that was nice. Once we realized that, hey, that was we can hand this off. To me, it was like, they're all gone. I'm getting rid of them all, get all my clients on somebody else and let me focus on the actual business and took Adam a long time to get to that same realization because you always feel that people are going to leave if you aren't, you know, because of you. If you're not there, they're going to leave. And in reality, that's not true. And then when you add different hats to the business, like marketing was probably one of my actually sales, probably my last hat that I'm actually giving off to somebody because again, marketing was what I enjoyed the most.

Jody (00:13:45) - And I you know, for your 4 or 5 years ago, I handed that off to Kelly, who's on now running our marketing program and doing a great job. And it's kind of funny because I didn't think anybody could do as good a job as I'm doing. She's doing better, you know? So it's like, you know, it's all these realizations, you know, now it's sales. And then and I came to the realization that I do a lot of thought leadership talking all across, you know, the nation all these different conferences and and it was stopping me from being able to actually take on sales calls because I'm out of the office all the time. You know, at these events, I thought, Jesus, now I'm going to catch 20. I'm going to have to give up the sales thing, which of course, I close 40% high and closing ratio, people like me and all that kind of stuff. And then I realized the very first sale that I handed off to our new business or basically our new growth strategist leader, she closed probably one of the biggest sales of the year so far.

Jody (00:14:40) - I was like, Oh, okay. Well, I guess I guess it's not just me, you know? But it was comfort feeling. You get that euphoria like, Wow, that's kind of cool. Now someone else can do that and I can go on to the next next thing and really focus on what I'm good at. And that's the thought leadership side. So yeah, for sure it came through the whole the whole way from being the worker bee, being the visionary, being everything to gradually giving things away, stepping back a little bit, questioning what you're doing, why you're doing it, and then at a certain point you feel guilty. It's like, well, if I'm not doing that and I'm not doing this, what am I doing? You know? And it's like, well, it's kind of funny. It's like when you retire, you fill your space up and it's like, well, exact same thing here. And when you hand everything off, you fill your space up with things that are improving.

Jody (00:15:29) - The overall company, which is the intent of the owner, it should be the intent of the owner of the CEO of president, whatever you want to call that, that individual. 

Joey (00:15:40) - Yes. What I heard there, Jody, was that I now have permission to tell you to check your ego at the door, because I think that's the biggest mindset shift

Jody (00:15:45) - No, is that it's hard to get my ego out the door, so I can't check it. 

Joey (00:15:52) - I think that's the biggest thing that I heard from that is like, you know, and I think a lot of owners would resonate with this is like, man, I think I'm the best. And then they realize they hand it off to somebody who really specializes in that one thing. And it's like, Oh, no, actually, it turns out they're really good at this and I just need to get out of their way and let them cook. 

Jody (00:16:10) -  Yeah. To add to that, it's kind of funny because, you know, Excel, I'd say Adam and I, we we would we, you know, we were the Excel kings of the world.

Jody (00:16:20) - We knew Excel. We can make Excel, do everything in the world. It was great. We're like, oh, this is awesome. And then we brought somebody on that knew how to actually use Excel and we realized we couldn't even spell it correctly because, you know, it's like, Wow, okay, well, that's what somebody does it. It's that way with everything, right? You seem to think because you created something, that there's no one else that can improve on what you're doing. And I think that's a complete fallacy that a lot of owners have. And I'd like to hear your feedback on that, Crista.

Crista (00:16:50) - Yeah, I agree fully and think right when you first start hiring in your business, you're kind of hiring for the things that you don't want to do. But over time you start hiring for the things that you do want to do, the things that you're actually really good at. And those are much harder hires, right? In the early days, it's more like, Can I afford this hire? But you're desperate to bring the person in to get things off your plate.

Crista (00:17:12) - As you're scaling more, you're making really strategic hires and you're thinking about how can I bring the right people in so I can shift my focus to thought leadership or whatever it is that you want to be focused on. So I love hearing that progression and that journey. And I would say one of the things that I have this conversation with people all the time is especially when someone has a framework or a method that's very unique to them, they've both developed it and they've got a lot of depth of experience that's gone into it. They frequently feel very trapped in the business because, well, I can never actually have somebody else do this. It's not something I could systematize. It's not something I could ever find somebody who has the same background and the same experience to be able to deliver in the same way. And it's such a common feeling. And in some respects that's 100% true, right? We're each unique. We each bring our own experience, our own things to the table, and no one will ever do it exactly the way that you do.

Crista (00:18:12) - But can you teach somebody? Can you develop it in such a way that other people can not only do what you do, but bring their own unique experiences, their own unique flavor of things that may just improve upon or provide some incredible other options for people. And that was a big shift for me in my business. I know that's a big shift for a lot of my clients, but again, talk about a place of being really freeing from a feeling perspective is knowing that you're not the only one, that the business won't completely fall apart if you're not the one that's meeting with every client and delivering every service. And it's that, that piece of it that I think is the sign of not only true scalability, but it gives you the optionality for partnerships or exits and selling the business and things that you really can't do if everything's 100% dependent on you. From a thought leadership and delivery perspective.

Jody (00:19:07) - Yeah. Had a client that was working with this is a long time ago and actually worked with clients but had a client that was working with and you got to a point where he's like, I think it's about ready to retire.

Jody (00:19:18) - And he built probably a $3 million company and we're kind of going through. I'm like, Oh, great, well, we need to start looking for potential buyers and that sort of thing. He's like, Oh yes, I'm just going to close it down. I go, Well, why would you do that? And he goes, Oh, because nobody can estimate the way that I do. And people come to us because of the way that I estimate and deal jobs and that sort of thing. I'm like, like, oh, so outside. But go buy your team. And it's like, oh, teams, great. You know, would they stay? Would they stay with the new If we were to sell it, would they stay with the new one. Oh yeah, they would stay. So it came down to that. He felt that he is the only one that could actually manage it. And so I kind of flipped it around. I said, Well, I'll tell you what, if someone were to give you $3 million to train somebody to be you, could you do it? And he's like, Oh yeah, could do that.

Jody (00:20:06) - And I go, Well, that's kind of what you're doing. You've got about a year to do this. Find somebody, train them to be you and you'll get, you know, you'll get your just reward on, on the sale there. But it came to just like flipping the switch there before that individual realize that you know hey yeah I guess somebody else could do it if I had the resources, if I put the money or put the time into it and develop it and, you know, I wonder how many how many folks out there that are listening, you know, kind of flipping the switch a little bit, you know, if you had the resources, could you? Train somebody to do what you're doing and and have the time to do it.

Crista (00:20:42) - Yeah. I have yet to find a business where it wasn't possible.

Joey (00:20:48) - We're doing something kind of similar in our some of our scaling efforts with our onboarding team where I spend a good chunk of my time throughout the week. And one of the shifts that we're trying to get to now is when thinking about things like best practices, Sometimes the best practices and outcome doesn't have to be a best practice being a process, it can be an outcome too.

Joey (00:21:09) - And as accountants specifically, we love to dive into that process, right? Like we love to dive into a procedure and build a flow chart and do all these different things. And sometimes it does take a bit of that mentality shift of like, Oh, you know what? What I really care about more than anything is that this deliverables getting done in a timely manner and the client's happy. And when you make it that simple, then you start to realize there's a bunch of paths forward here. And if we focus on outcome instead of specifically just process, the world is kind of our oyster to think about it. So I love that kind of framework of of thinking about that and not getting too stuck in the way you've always done things.

Crista (00:21:49) - Yeah, I absolutely love that. I call it. I have a framework. I call the 180 20 systems framework. And I think most people approach processes in their business as one hundreds. Everything has to be super detailed. You need all the screenshots, all the thing where you could take somebody off the street with no skill, hand them this document and they could magically do exactly what you're trying to do.

Crista (00:22:09) - But if you think about what you're trying to do in your business, how often do you really hire somebody under those conditions? You're usually bringing people in who have a great depth of skill. You want them to be able to apply their expertise to their role and provide some actual thought and creativity into how they're doing things within certain parameters of outcomes that you want and what success looks like. And more often than not, what we really need is a 20 system, which is here's the outcome, here's the core things that you need to know. Here's the kind of key things for success. And then you have at it. And sometimes you need an 80, which is, you know, not quite 100, but you still give people some room for creative thinking. And I think that that's such a different way than most people teach systems. But I think that that's really what most businesses need.

Joey (00:23:00) - I've got a lot of clients who are living kind of in that messy middle, and they're trying to figure out like it becomes a chicken or the egg question, right? Like, do I invest in the infrastructure to grow first and then hope that we get enough sales to pull it through? Or do I start for the revenue first and try to pull my staff up along with it? What do you see in your consulting that ends up being the best practice or what tends to work the best for folks in this situation?

Crista (00:23:31) - Yeah, absolutely.

Crista (00:23:32) - So you're describing what I call the growth optimization loop that businesses frequently end up in, right? You either feel like you're in a period where you're laser focused on growth, and so everything goes into business development and marketing and sales, and you're trying to bring in as many clients as you can to hit certain revenue goals or, you know, whatever you're trying to do in your business in that regard. And in doing so, you create this whole mess behind the scenes where you then need to update your systems, your processes, and then you end up swing and you end up in an optimization loop. And when you're laser focused on one or the other, you create gaps in the other. And so what think business is really need is that sweet spot in the middle, right? Instead of the pendulum swinging so far in either one direction, you kind of want to settle in the middle. And so think it's a little bit different based on the business and what their needs are. You're always going to be more heavily focused on one or the other, depending on what your biggest gap is currently.

Crista (00:24:33) - But I think the mistake people make is holistically focusing on one or the other and think you do need a blend of both. And one of the things that I tend to find most often with businesses when they think they need to be focused on growth is oftentimes optimizing what you're currently doing instead of going off and trying all sorts of new things is actually going to get you way better results. If you look at your current process, if you could even increase your conversion rates just the slightest amount, that is going to have a huge impact without you having to do anything else. And then you keep backing up all of those touch points. If you can keep increasing conversions all the way back to where people first learn about you and ultimately decide to give you their info and be a part of your world like that has such a big difference on what you're doing without ever having to go out and actually doing something additional. You're just optimizing what you're currently doing to get far better results. And when people are in that weird either or place, that's usually where I recommend they start optimize what you're currently doing, get the supporting systems in place if that's the most important thing, we're really strategically.

Crista (00:25:41) - And intentionally approach more of the growth things to give you the results that you need without any of the waste?

Joey (00:25:47) - Well, I love that because that's typically the typical hire that people feel like they need to make at the beginning of that, what, you know, the loop or whenever you're starting that process, I always say, oh, I got to I got to hire a rock star sales and marketing person because I'm not going to be able to keep doing this by myself. It's not going to work that way. And that's an expensive hire. That's a difficult hire to make because, you know, it's very hit or miss on that position. There's a lot of upfront costs. Take six, seven, eight months for that person's pipeline to really fill up and for you to start getting some benefit from it. But you're 100% correct if you can just add 15 to 20% on your conversion ratio, you're going to have organic growth without having to increase your fixed costs at all as part of that equation. And that solves a lot of optimization problems that companies tend to find themselves in at the beginning of a growth phase where there may be a little overstaffed and their utilization is not quite where they need to be.

Joey (00:26:42) - So that does solve a lot of problems and gives you some capital to then be able to afford to make that next strategic hire and not have it be such a high pressure, you know, hit or miss. If we miss, we're going down. If we hit, it's great type of hire.

Crista (00:26:58) - Definitely.

Joey (00:27:02) - Thinking ahead a little bit more about, you know, sort of some of the things that you see from folks on the back end of someone who has successfully scaled. What does that look like? Because think a lot of people love the idea of scaling like, oh, we got to scale, we got to scale, we got to scale. But what is the successfully scaled business look like?

Crista (00:27:20) - Yeah. Think a lot of times people confuse what scaling really means, right? It's scaling actually really isn't all that sexy, right? Scaling is doing all of the optimization. It's focusing on team. It's focusing on being a better leader. It's all of the things that most true visionaries don't really want to be spending their time doing the things they want to be spending their time doing, or more in the growth space.

Crista (00:27:40) - But without the right operations and support, you end up in a place that's unsustainable and you can easily burn out. So you do want to be focused on scaling. But what I see as being one of the biggest game changers in a business who's really ready for scale is for that CEO and visionary to have a really solid right hand person who can come in and help them bring that vision to life, own a lot of the details, be kind of their challenge partner when they come up with the 85th great idea that day. That's going to derail all the things that they've already committed to. Right. And so it's to me, it's that really solid right hand relationship that I think is so key. And I see a gap in this in the industry where people think of the right hand person as your Co or a director of operations or even an depending on the level of business that you're at currently. And while that operations person is really important, where I see the gap is frequently that true ops person does not have a strategic capability, which actually puts a lot more on the visionary CEO.

Crista (00:28:46) - And so what I think businesses really need is they need that right hand person, they need to be an ops minded person, but it needs to be a blend of strategy and operations. It's what I call a sole your strategy and operations leader. And I think that to me is one of the biggest shifts and one of the biggest things that you can do to really set yourself up to be able to scale and shift your focus to more thought leadership work instead of being stuck in the day to day and constantly having to put out fires and monitor everything.

Joey (00:29:17) - When I imagine a key to that too, is finding that person who, as you kind of were alluding to earlier, maybe doesn't lean into the same things that you lead into somebody who thinks about things a little bit differently. When you were mentioning that earlier, I was thinking about the role of a consultant and the role that we play with our clients is the hardest part of our job is figuring out, Oh, my client really, really, really loves to talk about sales.

Joey (00:29:40) - So if I'm not constantly talking about things other than sales, we'll spend all our time talking about sales and then we won't dive into the really big issues. And I think that's a huge thing. And it doesn't necessarily even have to be an internal person, does it? It can be an external consultant or somebody to come in and coach that way.

Crista (00:29:57) - Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I play that role in a lot of businesses and I help a lot of other people to play that role in businesses. Sometimes it's better to have somebody on the outside and if you have somebody internal, I think it's important that you have somebody who's really strong and who's a true leader and not a yes person because you need that challenge partnership. You need the person who's looking at the entire puzzle of the business. And while they themselves aren't doing everything because one person never can, they should understand everything. They should understand all the different puzzle pieces that need to come together to form the picture of the vision that you have in your business and who needs to own and do the different pieces.

Crista (00:30:38) - And I think that's really, really important. And whether that's an internal person or an external person, you want that person by your side because if that person doesn't exist, that person is you. And it's really hard to get out of the day to day if that person is you.

Joey (00:30:54) - And Jody think you know and correct me if I'm wrong on this, but what I've what I've noticed about you and Adam and why I think the two of you work really well together is you are so opposed to each other in terms of where you naturally fit into certain business cycles. You complement each other's skill sets very well. 

Jody (00:31:14) - Yeah, I think you're right. I mean, I think the big thing, that big difference is that, um, you know like we had talked about earlier, I can come up with a vision, I can come up with the ideas, I can put it in place and I can actually do it. I mean, that's not it's not like you can't do it. I can do it, and I've done it.

Jody (00:31:36) - I just don't enjoy executing it. That's the I guess that's the big part where I think with Adam, he has difficulty coming up with a vision. But once he has the idea, he enjoys executing it. And so that's the, that's the big difference between, I guess he and I. And I think that's what really made us, you know, working together so successful because one enjoyed what the other did not enjoy. And both are good at, you know, both could do, you know, and we both did do you know the job. But it's you know what you actually fall back and enjoy doing.

Crista (00:32:10) - Yeah. Think that's such a great point because most visionaries did not get where they are by not being capable of doing all the things. They probably did all the things for far longer than they really wanted to. But it's really great when you have someone else that can come in and take that ownership and do it so you can do what you really want to be doing.

Crista (00:32:27) - So I love that relationship that you outlined. That's really ultimately what I feel like every business wants.

Joey (00:32:34) - You mentioned one other thing earlier that I would love to, to spend some time learning about, not just from a definitional perspective, but also what this means for business owners. You mentioned the term luxe business. And I'd love to learn more about what that is and kind of what your vision is for that type of business. And you know what that could mean to an owner who figures out how to successfully transition this idea that they started, you know, maybe in their basement or in the garage and now it transforms into whatever this thing is, which sounds really cool. I'm like, I want a luxe business. That sounds great.

Crista (00:33:11) - Yeah, absolutely. So if you think about I'm going to circle back to Lean for a moment here and then I'll paint the context for Lux. So a lot of times there's some misperceptions with Lean or people who may be familiar with Lean and big large corporations and it being more of like a cost reduction and kind of a reductionary thing where it's about stripping out a lot of things.

Crista (00:33:32) - And that can be true to some extent. We're really wanting to lean out anything that's not adding value in profit, but where I think you counterbalance that is you want a business that's lean plus looks and I think that's the blend that is really optimal for most small businesses and most impact driven or passion fueled businesses. Because we've started a business for a reason. There's some kind of change we want to make. There's some passion that we have behind what we're doing. And so the Lux comes in twofold. It's making sure that we are building the business that we really want, the business that's very aligned for where we see things in the future from a vision perspective, from a legacy perspective, but also in most importantly, from a customer centricity perspective and a client experience. We want our clients to have such an exceptional and luxurious experience with our brand that they retain. They want to tell everyone about us. They don't want to go anywhere else because they know that you really are committed to transformation, not just transaction.

Crista (00:34:40) - And you really create this memorable, incredible experience for them. So to me, that's where the Lux comes in. Lean Yeah, absolutely. Get rid of everything that's not important, but the Lux is double down on what is important, double down on what's important. And usually that's getting your clients incredible results, creating an incredible and memorable experience that wants them again to stick around and tell others about you and also making sure that you yourself are spending your time doing what you want and that your business is able to make the impact and leave the legacy that you really created it for in the first place.

Joey (00:35:20) - I like that idea because I think that when I think back to where most of our clients are in the service business, that's really what it's about, right? It's about relationships and it's about maintaining that type of experience that gets people coming back, especially for small businesses, because there's many differentiators, right? Small businesses are if you're a manufacturer, you're never going to be able to compete with Amazon. If you're a retailer, you're never going to be able to compete with Walmart.

Joey (00:35:45) - If you're, you know, a small mom and pop shop type place doing a coffee shop or whatever, you're not going to compete with Starbucks unless you find another differentiating factor. And think about my favorite coffee shop down the street that I will go to every time, even though it's maybe a little bit more expensive, I can probably buy some beans somewhere else for a little bit less money. But I love the guy. I love his story. I love the way he roast his coffee. And I will never, ever not be a customer of his. And that's exactly what he's created, is this beautiful experience that makes me happy every time I get there.

Crista (00:36:18) - Oh, yeah. Just yesterday I went to this little local market. They've got all this incredible food. Everything is priced twice as much as the grocery store. It's but why do I go? It's this amazing, incredible brand. I love that it's local. I love that they clearly have these, like, whimsical touches and they know your name when you walk in the door.

Crista (00:36:38) - And it's just an entirely different experience than going to the big supermarket and buying the same thing for half the price. And so I go out of my way to go there. I take both time and, you know, spend more money because of that experience. And I think that that's ultimately what we want to create.

Joey (00:36:58) - Yeah. And it's a trend that we'll see. I think it's going to continue because I'm falling slowly into the elder millennial category, which that's a different podcast already. But one thing I've noticed come on now, one thing I've noticed about my generation and other generations is we are we are okay with maybe a little bit less, but that less that we want we want it to be the best version of what it is and we're absolutely willing to pay for for that type of experience if someone's willing to give it to us. So that's a great insight from a consultant perspective. We've got Jody, we've got about five minutes left here on the show. And Krista, we didn't warn you about this, but this is usually something that we like to do at the end of the show.

Joey (00:37:46) - We've talked a lot of business, We've talked a lot of scaling. We've talked a lot about stuff. But we'd like to talk to you and get to learn a little bit more about some fun, quirky things about you. So Jody, I'm not sure if you've thought of a fun question on the back end. If you haven't, I can probably come up with one really quick to ask Krista. So I think I'm going to lean in a little bit towards what you were just talking about with your experience at the marketplace, and I'd love to learn more about that place in particular offline so I can visit it. Um, when you think about your favorite thing, that's kind of like your guilty pleasure splurge type item. Is there something that you lean into where you're just like, This is my guilty pleasure and I know I maybe shouldn't do it, but I can't help myself.

Crista (00:38:29) - Yes, 100%. Like no, no question asked. I don't know if it's I shouldn't do it, but I am obsessed with Bret Michaels.

Crista (00:38:36) - For those of you who are old school 80s people, poison, nothing but a good time, talk dirty to me. Favorite songs ever. So I will pretty much I mean I am  I'm pretty committed to my business. You will usually find me prioritizing business over most things. I will never prioritize business over Bret Michaels concert. And so that is my thing that I love to do. It puts me in my absolute happy place. It's there is not a concert that I miss that is nearby. And I frequently will hop on a plane and go to one pretty often as well so that I see multiples per year.

Joey (00:39:13) - Oh wow. Multiple. There's a natural follow up here, which is I need to know what the best Bret Michaels concert was.

Crista (00:39:20) - Okay, So I literally just recorded a podcast episode about a Bret Michaels concert, my poor listeners. But in all seriousness, he has done this new thing called Party Gras. And I just went to this last month. And so it's a recent one and I was talking about the concept of evolutionary change versus revolutionary change and how in business we always want to be evolving and reimagining different ways to do sometimes the same things that have been done a thousand times over.

Crista (00:39:47) - And he kind of reimagined and put some evolutionary change around the concert model, right? If you've ever been to a concert, concerts have been done the same, probably since concerts started existing. Right. And he actually did something different at this last concert. And it was really, really fun. It made it one of the most fun concerts that I have ever been to of his, even though he played the exact same songs in the exact same order, it was still that different. So the most recent one Party Gras if you've not gone highly recommend.

Jody (00:40:18) - Wow. Wow that's the poison. Just what, probably six months or so ago in Indianapolis when they came in town and I'd say my guilty pleasure is very similar but it's not an individual or a group. It's just concerts in general. I mean, I've been to probably three concerts in the last 3 or 4 weeks. I mean it. I just enjoy going to them. I enjoy all kinds of music. I mean, it doesn't have to be a hard rock or it doesn't have to be a soft rock or country.

Jody (00:40:46) - It can be anything really. And just saw Pat Benatar and she was awesome. Probably one of the best vocalists out there and still is. And I saw Nickelback just the other day and then, you know. DIRKS Bentley And, you know, you name it. And it's just a lot of fun going and seeing all the different concerts and just being out there and just listening.

Crista (00:41:11) - Love that.

Joey (00:41:13) - Jody, I haven't told you this, but I just got to see one of my favorite artists, a guy named Gregory Alan Isakov, perform at a brewery in Santa Fe. And it was this. This guy who sold out. He sold out Red Rocks. He sold out arenas across the country. But he came to Santa Fe because he was working on an album that just released, I think, last week. And he was like, Yeah, we're just going to do some songs from old songs and new songs, and we're just going to hang out at a brewery with a couple hundred of our closest friends.

Joey (00:41:39) - So it was when you get to when you get a good concert and it is different and it's like, Oh, something's either more intimate or it's a different setting or a different type of venue, there's a magic there that can't really be replicated with with anything else. So I don't do a ton of live music, mostly because not a ton of great live music comes through Albuquerque that I'm, you know, really wanting to see. We'd have to travel a little bit more to see the when we lived in Dallas, it was a lot easier to see the stuff we want to do. But there's a really great I guess it's a day spa up in outside of Espanola, New Mexico, that has a bunch of natural hot springs. And sometimes when we're having a stressful a week or something like that, you can drive up and just get a day pass and hang out in the hot springs for for six hours. And that's kind of my guilty pleasure. Just need to need to relax and get away from the world a little bit.

Joey (00:42:36) - It's called Ojo Caliente. It's very special. Anybody who is wanting to come through northern New Mexico and is curious, let me know. Happy to pass along the details because it really is a special place and just very relaxing. And one of those things that we do at every chance we have the opportunity to. So yeah. 

Jody (00:42:52) - Love it. Love it.

Crista (00:42:55) - Sounds amazing.

Joey (00:42:56) - Well, Krista, thank you so much for joining us. I'm sure our listeners will probably have lots of questions or might be in a situation where they maybe need some assistance getting through that barrier of the messy middle. Where can they learn more about you and the lean out method?

Crista (00:43:11) - Yeah, absolutely. You can find me at LeanOutMethod.com and for more conversations like this one on my podcast, which you can find at LeanOutpodcast.com.

Joey (00:43:21) - Perfect. Well, thank you so much for joining us. This has been a blast. Jody, thank you for joining us as well. And we're looking forward to everybody catching us on the next show.

Jody (00:43:28) - Yeah, Thanks, Krista.

Crista (00:43:29) - Thank you.

Outro (00:43:30) - Enjoy this podcast. Visit our website, SummitCPA.Net to get more tips and strategy for achieving business success. We're here to be a resource in this ever changing industry.

The Power of Lean and Luxe with Crista Grasso

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