In this episode, Erik shares the takeaways from the book Grow Like a Pro by Andy Goldstorm.
Erik J. Olson (00:00):
Book review of Grow Like a Pro by Andy Goldstrom, what is happening? This is Erik J. Olson. I just got done with another book. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year, ever since I did 75 hard. I’ve been reading about 10 pages a day. I mean, when I read it’s about 10 pages a day and I’m trying to do it every day. I mean, now that I’m not like in the program every single day, 75 hard, that is, eh, you know, sometimes other things take priorities. Sometimes I’ve gotta get some work done first thing in the morning, but other times I could read. So like this morning I read the last couple chapters of this book and knocked it out. But yesterday morning I was on the laptop from five until 7:00 AM had to get something done. So I read in the morning this is the book I’ve been reading for the last couple weeks, I guess.
So Andy Goldstrom is someone that I met through a group called How To Manage a Small Law Firm. He is one of the CEO coaches there. We came across him because we work with a lot of how to manage clients and he is one of their coaches. And I discovered that he had a book. I bought it and I’ve been reading. And I want to give you a little bit of a book review. So first of all, Andy is a two time Inc 500 executive. So that’s impressive. Right, right off the bat working for Inc 500. So like at Array Digital, we’re in 5,000 company. Now we just got that award last year, but he’s been running companies and as an executive of Inc 500 that’s that’s, that’s impressive. So, you know, one of the things that I really took away from this book was he covers a lot.
And I mean like a lot of aspects of running a business, it’s a pretty big book 285 ish pages. But if you think about running, starting and running a business, there’s a lot to it. And one of the takeaways here was that, wow, like as an entrepreneur operator here in Array Digital, like I, I do a lot, like, it’s, you, you kind of like lose perspective of how much you actually do to run a business when you’re just doing it. When it just comes second nature. And you know, I’ve been, self-employed now for like 13 years, but going through chapter by chapter, I was like, oh yeah, there’s that? Oh yeah. Here’s another thing that I do. Here’s a different skill set that I have to apply. So I I’m just gonna, like, I can’t go through the whole book of course, but just reading through it and realizing, wow, this is a lot of stuff that I do.
it it’s a little daunting, right? It’s daunting to think about like all the things you have to do. So I want to go through the table of content to just highlight some of the things that jump out at me. So first is identify a problem. And this is very important. And I like the fact that he has that as the first chapter, because when you start a business, you need to make sure that you’re solving a problem that people have, right? So it’s not so many, so many entrepreneurs myself included. You start a business based on the skills that you have, or that you acquired from your employment. I did the exact same thing. I was a software developer when I went off of my own. And so what was I going to do software development? Now, what I realized is that, yes, there’s a problem out there that I can help solve for sure, with software development, but it was a difficult problem to find.
And I ended up pivoting the digital marketing. Would I do it any different? No, probably not. Because that was my skillset. That’s what I could do. I could do that on my own. So I could go off on my own as a software developer, but identify a problem. So even if you don’t start off with like the perfect problem identified, you should be thinking about that and thinking about like, is this the right problem to be solving? My answer was no number two, chapter two, target the right customer. All right. This is what we do a lot here at Array Digital. So Array Digital, we are not, we used to be like a local agency. We would work with anybody locally, any kind of like business, but we had all these problems. Every time we would get a client that was in like a new industry.
We weren’t familiar with. There were new regulations. We weren’t aware of them. I remember one time we were working with a client in a particular industry and they were like, don’t, you know, or actually they say, you know, they said, everybody knows that you have to have this little icon at the bottom of our website, our kind, you know, websites for our industry. And I was like, I, I didn’t know that <laugh> so no, everyone doesn’t know. But if you niche in that industry, you do know. So, which is one of the reasons that we started to niche. So Array Digital focuses exclusively on law firm, digital marketing, Rival Digital. Our sister agency does the same kind of work, digital marketing websites, SEO, online advertising and social media. But they do it for HVAC contractors. So that’s target the right customer. We have two companies, they target different kinds of customers, different messaging, different needs.
But we had the same service. Actually that was, that was chapters four and five. I, I take it back. He’s got sections here. So the next section is launch profitably. Yes, of course. You need to gain attention and traction. That’s chapter four, leverage successes, meaning like, I, I like that. Okay. I’m stumbling here. But on the cover of his book, it says two time Inc 500 Executives. So he’s leveraging his success, his experience at an executive and doing that in ink 500 for us. I said earlier in this episode where Inc 5,000, I just kind of dropped that in, right? I need to do more of that. I need to leverage my successes. The next section is manage the sales process. Very, very important. You have to, you have to have a sales process. You have to be able to bring in new clients, new revenue, know the competition, manage your pipeline, leverage social media, very important, implement productivity hacks.
So the productivity hacks one, I, I really like that chapter as well, because like a lot of good takeaways next lead the right team. I say, as an entrepreneur operator, when you start having a team, you are the leader like it or not. You are the leader hire well form a cult, a cult-like environment, set clear expectations, organized thoroughly, create an environment that embraces positive conflict. Very important. People need to be able to talk things out. And you are the example, right? You lead by example, people are watching you then develop the right partnerships. As an example, I said before HTM, which is short for how to manage, we don’t have a formal partnership, but I have a informal partnership where we take care of their clients and in word spreads. So I, I need to make sure that that partnership is good.
Manage finances, obviously important. You cannot run outta money if you run into money game over. So raise capital, which I don’t know much about, I’ve never done it, but it’s in my book, which is right behind me, Million Dollar Journey. My, my feedback is don’t do it like you don’t need to do it. You, you just, you need to solve a problem that people are willing to pay you for capital budgeting, financial statement, management, profit, and loss management, risk management risk. Management’s a big one. I recently made a risky decision. And I didn’t like the, I didn’t like my decision after the fact I walked it back. Right? So even if you make a decision and you’re like, that was a bad decision risky to see if you can walk it back. Next section operate efficiently. So identify and prioritize processes, very important process documentation.
We’re doing a lot of that now standardize and determine automation opportunities. Once you have a process, can you automate it or a part of it? So with ours, there’s a lot of manual like initiation of a process, and then Zappier takes over. And it does a whole bunch of stuff where it creates tasks, sends out emails. It does, it does stuff so that a human doesn’t have to align resources and vision growth. This is the big one for us here. We’re always talking about our vision. We want to grow into a hundred million dollar year. The name of the podcast, world class, digital marketing powerhouse, that gives people the opportunity to think about how they could place themselves in that future, that we’re creating, create a short burst of focused effort. Very important, right? I, I tell my team all the time, like, there’s this little, you know, you got this phone.
You probably, I bet you have a phone either on you or right now, or within arm’s length, right? It is incredibly distracting focus and get, Hey, get shit done, right? Track performance. So we’re talking about things like KPIs, making them visible. What’s a good dashboard to use. And then the last part is develop an exit plan. And this is important because you should at least have some vague idea about how you’re going to exit the business. One day, are you gonna sell it? You gonna give it to your kids. Are you gonna let the employees buy? What are you just gonna shut it down? If you have some sort of concept of the exit, then you can start to put the pieces in place while you’re running the company. Most entrepreneurs, especially founders, they haven’t really even figured out what business they’re in, nevermind how they’re gonna exit that business.
It takes a long time to get your, your feet under you and, and establish something solid. So you should just at least just kind of like, when do you wanna exit 10 years from now, five years from now a month from now, right? And then what do you need to do to prepare for that? You really need to find a buyer if you’re gonna sell, right? You need to start talking to people about the, the potential that one day, maybe right. Start thinking about who you could transition this to. I, and I hate to see you shut it down. I mean, we all put so much time, energy and love into our company. It’s, it’s an extension of ourselves to just shut it down. You’ve got something valuable there, make it more valuable and then try to sell it. That’s my opinion. And then the last chapter is putting it all together and acknowledgements.
that was a really good one. I, I, I sent this to Andy. I, I texted him this morning and took a picture of this. Actually it wasn’t the, was it? Yeah, it was the acknowledgements section. And it was interesting cuz he talked about like how it, it was effectively to his family and, and most focused on his wife and how she, she allowed him to pursue his entrepreneurial passions. And I can relate to that. I can relate to that takes a strong woman to allow a guy like me or Andy, if to do what we do or vice versa, a spouse, right? It’s not man women of course, but a spouse. If you have a, if you’re aligned with your partner, your, your wife partner, if you will, your spouse you can do incredible things. And the sooner you get aligned with the better, so great takeaway. Well, I think those are good takeaways from a great book. Check it out. It’s on Amazon Grow Like a Pro Andy Goldstrom <affirmative>.