Resources for Buying and Selling Online Businesses

Using Standard Operating Procedures to Level Up Your Documentation with Trent Dyrsmid

We often discuss is the importance of the person behind the business. When leaders learn the value of their business and set goals for success they are positioning themselves to profit, whether they plan to stay in or sell. Today we are discussing standard operating procedures for leaders that run different types of ecommerce businesses. Our guest realized from day zero of being in business that creating SOPs helps business owners stay in the game longer with a focus on working on the business rather than in it.

Trent Dyrsmid is the founder of BrightIdeas.co and host of the BrightIdeas podcast, where he has interviewed numerous CEOs, marketers, and entrepreneurs and has gotten them to share the processes they use to achieve results. Trent is also the owner of an Amazon ecommerce business and creator of a SAAS tool called Flowster, an app that helps business owners track, manage, and delegate business processes.

Episode Highlights:

  • How Trent got his start and how Bright Ideas got an INC 5000 254th fastest growing business ranking.
  • The Amazon reseller model and how Trent makes it work via SOP.
  • Trent’s mantra of “document and delegate” and when he realized this was the key to success.
  • Feedback loops he employs to optimize the procedures. 
  • Hiring challenges and how he’s affronted them. 
  • How Trent’s app Flowster was born and how it works.
  • Ways to introduce new elements in the existing SOP for any workflow.
  • Flexibility in the SOP templates. 
  • Implementing SOP with a team not accustomed to this type of work culture.
  • Advantages of SOPs for sellers and buyers

Transcription:

Joe: So Mark one of the things we always talk about is how important the person behind the business is when they do eventually sell. And the fact that when they learn to value their business it actually becomes much more fun to operate and run because they’ve got some goals set out in the future. And one of the things that helps them are SOPs and above that, we had Norm for our own podcast, it was quickly shot up to the top 10 podcasts that we’ve done. And I understand you’ve got back to that and had Trent, and I’m going to get his name wrong, Trent Dyrsmid, is that how you pronounce it?

Mark: Dyrsmid; yeah.

Joe: On the podcast and he’s got some great SOP stuff both for people that run SaaS, content, Amazon businesses, all sorts of different aspects. What was the general call about?

Mark: Yeah. I saw the Norm for our episode and that was one of the ones that we did early on that really took off because Norm was running an eight-figure business largely on the backs of SOPs and virtual assistants; VAs which is really cool to see somebody be able to do that. Well, Trent Dyrsmid is very similar in that regard. His company was ranked on Forbes 5000 as the 254th fastest-growing company in the US.

Joe: Wow.

Mark: Amazon based business, reselling other people’s products and just exploded and I asked him and I said when did you start to realize that you need to put SOPs in place? Day 0; it’s like I don’t have any special talents other than being the big idea guy and picking the direction but as far as executing those things that’s on my team to do and my job is to give them the processes to be able to do that and to give them the tools to be able to execute on these ideas and this general direction. A really, really disciplined entrepreneur in this regard. He’s not just an Amazon seller either he’s got his own podcast. I was actually a guest on his podcast BrightIdeas.co. He’s got a SaaS company Flowster.app which is an SOP software. I’ve played around with Flowster, a pretty cool SaaS product here where you can develop and roll out to your team a complete operating procedure for pretty much anything. So you can create this nice collaboration but what really sets it apart is there’s this entire marketplace what he found was happening among both when he started his company and also once he started coaching some other people is they’re asking how do you do this part of your business? What’s the process that you use here? And instead of writing it down in word and all that sort of thing and trying to transport over he said well there should actually be a marketplace where people can collaborate and sell their best processes to each other or give them away for free. Most of the stuff in this marketplace is free so it’s kind of cool on that. But what we focused on Joe is not a pitch for a Flowster; I think there’s a lot of ways, you and I talked about just put a video together as just kind of a minimum type of SOP. We talked a lot about how do you write an SOP that is specific enough to really tell people how to do things, will be adopted by your team. How do you make it adopted by your team, and how do you create it general enough so that it can absorb differences when people are seeing maybe exceptions to what the standard process would be. Why is this so important in the process of building a company and can you actually scale a business to eight figures like he did very quickly without them and the answer is no.

Joe: Yeah, and that’s why so many people sell because they take it as far as they can and then they have to bring on staff and get into areas they’re not as comfortable with and I think these SOPs will help those folks hold on longer and get a higher value. I think SOPs will help buyers as well when they buy a business and take it over and if there’s no SOPs in place they can do that and instill more confidence in the next buyer and grow that business to the next level. So let’s get to it.

Mark: Trent, thank you so much for coming on the Quiet Light Podcast. I’m super excited to have you on. I recently appeared on your podcast. Somebody actually reached out to me recently about that episode as well so that’s always an encouraging sign when people contact you after appearing on some of these podcasts. But I’m excited to have you on today because you’ve got so much experience in the world of online business and you cover a lot of materials. We’re going to be looking at just one area that you covered pretty heavily and that would be SOPs; procedures and operating procedures to implement things. But you cover a ton of territory and a lot of the bases of what you do is based on your success with your company. And congratulations on Inc 5000 ranking that you had recently. Why don’t we start; just give us a little bit of background on yourself and also where your company was ranked recently in Inc 5000?

Trent: Sure. So the company was ranked number 254 which was a very pleasant surprise. And as you might guess it’s a wonderful bit of social proof to kind of reinforce what my whole brand message is about which is systematizing your business so that you can delegate a lot of the work that you really shouldn’t be doing to other people on your team. And the net result of that, of course, is an accelerating growth rate. So how did all this start for me? I’ve been an entrepreneur for two years now. When I started my first company back in ‘01 I really had no idea what I was doing. I knew how to sell but that was it. And I figured everything else out over an eight-year period. And it was pretty painful but thankfully I was able to get a seven-figure exit out of that business. And that put me on a track to have a bit of time and bandwidth and so forth to figure out this online business thing and I’ve been making my living online now for about nine years and roughly just over three years ago I switched from being a service business; I’d been running a digital agency for a number of years because my podcast built an audience and people would reach out and can you help me with this and can you help me with that and we were making a decent living doing that. But the last couple of years have been just a stratospheric kind of change up the hockey stick and it started with this e-commerce business. So we started a business three years ago where we would partner with US manufacturers to sell their products on Amazon ideally as one of their exclusive sellers. So in doing so, we were able to avoid all of the risk of launching our own brands and the time that it takes to do that and I like low risk. I love Warren Buffet’s number one rule Don’t lose the money and rule number two is see rule number one. And so the reseller model is a very, very low-risk model because you’re buying proven products. But the problem with the reseller model is there’s lots of sellers on each product and so oftentimes the margin can go away. So instead of making money you just end up kind of getting your money back which is pointless, so by forming these relationships with the brands directly and getting them to kick off all the other sellers or having a very small list of approved sellers that actually can be a very profitable model. The challenge is finding these suppliers require a great deal of grunt work; massive, like you, can’t automate it all. There’s just a bunch of labor because you need to send hundreds of emails a week to hundreds of suppliers. And what made me a little bit for lack of a better word famous in this particular industry was just how quickly we were able to scale the business. We went from doing 0 to over $100,000 a month in five months. We did at one point one million in the first year and we grew at 20% per quarter for eight consecutive quarters which was a huge contributing factor obviously to being 5000 at Ford. And how did I do all that? Well, that’s the secret sauce. And essentially what I did was I realized I can’t be the one doing all this labor. So when I launched the business rather than sitting down to do I sit down to document. And as soon as I’d created documents for all these; like I would do it one time or maybe two times and I would make my operating procedure while I was doing the thing and we would delegate the thing and never ever do it again. And that was a huge, huge advantage over everyone else in the space who was really kind of trying to do it all themselves.

Mark: Yeah and I know we’ve got an episode a while ago with Norm Farrar. I don’t know if you know Norm but the entire episode was how he grew an e-commerce business to over 10 million dollars on the strength of doing exactly what you’re talking about; hiring the VA’s and putting in strong SOPs in place so that the procedures are what you’re working on rather than trying to master every little aspect of your business yourself and run the day-to-day. And I think procedures; in my world, in my opinion, I think a lot of entrepreneurs see procedures as important but they don’t necessarily put the time into the procedures with a business so I want to delve into that a little bit. When you’re growing this business when was the moment where you switched over and thought I should really be putting my time into writing awesome procedures for people to follow?

Trent: Day 0 because I’m not a first time CEO, I had started to drink the Kool-Aid back in my very first business that I started in ’01, somewhere in maybe ’03 or ’04 or it could have been ’05, somewhere in that period of time I read E-Myth by Michael Gerber and my life as an entrepreneur was transformed at that moment. And I said to my co-founder at the time; I said I want a written procedure for absolutely everything our engineering team does. And then I handled writing procedures for what I was doing on the sales and marketing side and that business was twice ranked as a Profit 100 fastest growing company in Canada. And so I got a decent exit out of it for a relatively small business. And so for me having documented procedures was just kind of normal. So when I started my business on Amazon I never thought well I’m just going to go and do this and get really proficient at it and then maybe I’ll make a training video or maybe I’ll have a training session for somebody else. I don’t think that’s an efficient way to eliminate and delegate it all for a whole bunch of different reasons and so procedures were written literally from Day 1.

Mark: So tell me how you go about writing your procedures and starting this and my first question is if you’re not proficient in it how do you write it?

Trent: So thankfully I did have a bit of a mentor in really a bit of a mentor; not really a bit of a mentor, I had a mentor in that business. I’d interviewed a guy by the name of named Dan Matters on my show and that’s how I discovered this whole wholesale model and he has a training course which is a really high-quality course for me. So I had access to his material and I also had access to Dan because he’d been a guest on the show. And so I foundationally understood what I needed to do. And so as I mentioned before I would just start doing what his training told me to do and then I would document it as I was doing it.

Mark: So when you’re developing a procedure for a new task I mean you obviously we’re staying off somebody else’s work to some extent; I mean you were taking some inspiration but if you come across something that you haven’t dealt with before especially like in the Amazon world I’m sure there are elements there that you needed to come up with, what sort of feedback loops do you employ or do you employ feedback loops to be able to maximize and optimize some procedures?

Trent: Yeah absolutely we do. So a perfect example of that is I recently for my software company, a content marketing SEO is a huge focus as a part of our growth. And I’ve never been an SEO expert and so I wasn’t really a keyword research expert and I had never used this tool called Ahrefs before; Ahrefs is a wonderful tool. And they provide training videos. So I would watch these videos but rather than just kind of sit and consume it and take sort of random notes over the period of the video I kept hitting the pause button, pause button, pause button and I would take screenshots of what they were explaining in the video. And at the same time in my Flowster software which is where I create all my standard operating procedures, I’m literally typing out the instructions that they’re giving me and then I’m taking screenshots from the videos. Because my goal is this I want to; I don’t about you but I can’t watch a ten-minute training video and remember all the details, it’s just too much. Not only that I only want to do it once or maybe twice and then I want to delegate it. So what am I going to do; ask somebody else to watch the training video and they have the same problem as me and what if they interpret the video differently than me? Because the training videos they kind of give you guidelines and I have to choose of those guidelines well how exactly do we want to do it? So by the time; a 10-minute training video would probably take me an hour and a half to turn that, to repurpose that content into my standard operating procedure which is a checklist essentially, it’s a step by step by step do this, here’s how you do this and do this, here’s how you do that, do this, here’s how you do that. And by the time I was done now I had a way that I never had to watch the training video again. Anyone that I was going to delegate that task to never has to watch the training video because the procedure is broken out so clearly in the document. And so that’s how you can create a standard operating procedure for something you’ve literally never done before.

Mark: Right. So you would start with somebody else’s training video. Break that up into basically an outline and a step by step process in order to do that. When you’re delegating procedures how do you identify who you’re delegating something to? For example, I’ve talked to entrepreneurs who want to delegate a task but it just doesn’t seem to fit the current team member and hiring somebody new for that doesn’t really make sense. What have you done in the past when you’ve run into these smaller jobs and tasks that should be delegated but maybe they don’t have a great home?

Trent: It’s an interesting question and I don’t know that I’ve really run into that scenario because I live my life every single day thinking about what can I eliminate from my workflow and in order to eliminate it I need to document it and delegate it so I don’t really think; I don’t see anything in my business aside from; so as a CEO I see my job as working on the business. I’m the one who’s supposed to go get the Big Ideas. I’m supposed to come up with the big vision. I’m supposed to build the team and help them to define and execute on a strategy. So that’s the high-value activity and the minute I get sucked down into working in the business that high-value activity suffers. So I’m a delegating theme. So you said well what happens if I can’t find somebody? I’ll find somebody. I’ll hire another virtual assistant or I’ll hire an employee or I’ll give it to an existing employee; like for most of the day to day, repetitive processes that are part of working in the business somebody else can do it. Like I’m not the genius of the universe that oh I’m the only guy that can do this; I don’t really see it that way. Now, are there occasionally tasks that are somewhat non-repetitive, like they only happen every once in a while and they require judgment that comes from experience in addition to following a process? Well, I’m less likely to delegate those to somebody else because the return on investment of doing so is going to be slim. But for those highly repetitive tasks that are every day or every week if you spend that; in my case, I spend an hour and a half making a video for how to use and do keyword research on Ahrefs, well guess what? How many times is that going to get done for every single blog post that my software company publishes which is three a week? Just think of how much time I saved myself.

Mark: Yeah. Oh absolutely. I mean that makes a lot of sense. That makes complete sense. You mentioned earlier; I want to go back a little bit to what you mentioned with Flowster and also how you got started. You leveraged knowledge of your mentor and some of the procedures that he put together to be able to scale up pretty quickly. And this is kind of the idea behind Flowster and I know this is a full disclosure, this is your business, this is something that you’re growing right now a really cool software that really focuses on workflow especially in the e-commerce realm. Can you tell us a little bit about Flowster and how you can use Flowster to be able to leverage other people’s experience?

Trent: Sure. So the thing about like when I very first started out to create my procedures they were in a Google Doc because I didn’t know any better. I thought well that would be a great place for them. They’re easy to update and I can share them and so forth. And then over time we realized that that wasn’t terribly efficient and so we moved our content into a competitor software application. And then as a result of speaking at an event I ended up becoming someone that sells SOPs. I was speaking to one of Dan’s events and there was hundreds of people in the audience and I’m talking about SOPs and they all say hey I love it, I don’t want to make them though can I buy yours? So we started selling ours and that’s why Flowster got created. And the functionality of the software is really; because really you have two pieces when it comes to workflow process management. You have your content which is the set of instructions. Think of it like the recipe book. You want to bake a chocolate cake it’s on page 68, flip to page 68, bake the cake. But what happens when you have multiple cake bakers baking cakes and they all have different due dates and they all work in different places so you have some issues about workflow management. And so what the software does is it allows you to say; so we have in our vernacular we have what we call an SOP template and then we have a [inaudible 00:19:02.3]. So the SOP template is like the master copy of how to do the thing. So we’ll call it in my world one of the things I produce a lot of these podcast episodes; like this SOP template for podcast episodes well in the week that I recorded episodes, I might record 4 or 6ix episodes. So now that’s 4 or 6 workflows each workflow being for one episode. Well if I have; and I have various people on my team who are involved in the post-production process of taking those raw recordings like you and I are doing right now and then turning it into an episode and then getting it on social media and running ads for it and do all of the things that we’ve got to do. So that’s all defined in the workflow and then various portions of that workflow get assigned out to various people on my team with differing due dates. So the software provides you the ability to do all of that delegation and give deadlines and so forth and everybody gets notifications in their inbox or they can just look at the calendar and see what to do. Because the more people that you have on your team and the more concurrent workflows that you have going like how do you manage all that? How do I know Mark if I’ve delegated something to you and I’ve told you I need it done by Thursday; if I just sent you an email saying hey reference the Google Doc, see the instructions, make sure it’s done by Thursday if you don’t finish it by Thursday I’m not going to remember that by any stretch of the imagination. So I need us closing the loop system. So that is one of the primary pieces of value that the software does. But aside from that I actually have one thing that I like even better and I call it the magic button but it’s really the edit button. So remember I mentioned how my job’s to go and get the big ideas etcetera, etcetera? So I’m not a mastermind weekend this past weekend in San Diego and I’m getting a lot of big ideas and some of those ideas I realized I need to implement those in my workflow because they’re really great ideas. I don’t want to forget them. Without the software and without the standard operating procedures I would be faced with the challenge of having to change the hardest thing in the world and that’s people’s habits. I’d have to sit down. I’d have to explain to them and have meetings and tell people that this is the way they need to do it now and then hope and pray that they actually make that happen which as you well know the human habit is really hard to change; that would be difficult. Thankfully in the software so I learned that I wanted to create; I’ll give you a specific example, for my podcast I want to now create a little 1-minute ad and I want to retarget my audience on Facebook to say hey I just recorded this episode with Mark and it was really awesome because of this, this, this, this, and this. So I fire up my SOP template for producing a podcast, I hit the edit button, I go and I make those changes, I hit save, the software says would you like to update all the active workflows based upon this change? I say yes. Well, guess what? That new idea is now going to get implemented in every single workflow that is active at that point in time. So with essentially no effort on my part this new idea or the strategy of this process has literally been pushed out to everybody in my organization just like that. And for me, it’s the best part of the software because you’re able to have your team collectively get more efficient, smarter, and more effective over time. Those ideas that you pick up don’t get lost. They don’t just stay in the notebook they actually become reality.

Mark: When implementing a new idea like that do you find it ever causes confusion among your team? Or let’s say that they’ve been doing the blog production workflow for the past two years and they know the steps that they may not even need to consult the software because they’ve done it. They know that I do keyword research and then I do this and then I do step 3 and step 4 and so maybe they’re doing this independent of the software. Have you ever run into a situation where your team trips up on something like that?

Trent: They’re going to have questions. So it’s a part of our culture and it’s a part of our DNA. People know that the workflows are always changing and they’re always being updated and it’s just like in our company no one would go and try and drink a glass of water without a cup of water. You’d just be weird. The same thing with our workflows; everybody understands that everything happens by logging into the software first. Looking at the workflow, following the workflow, you’re not supposed to do anything by memory. Now does that mean that you’re not going to get questions? No, you’re absolutely going to get questions. And all questions means that you didn’t provide clear enough instructions. So when I get questions I then think okay well how can I update my workflow or my SOP template and in turn the workflows so that that particular question doesn’t get asked again. And if you’ve written great procedures and you’ve provided enough detail you really won’t get very many questions. I like to think of it like the mom tests or all of our moms are not particularly tech-savvy when I’m writing workflow I think to myself is there sufficient detail not only in the what to do but how to do each of those what’s that my mom go through this and probably get it all right without asking me any questions.

 Mark: You answered my next question a little bit here but maybe we can expand in that a little bit. In the world of programming there is this idea of coupling, right? You can be either loosely coupled or tightly coupled. And what it basically means is a program can either be loosely coupled; it’s very broad and allows for a lot of different possibilities and tight coupling is very specific as to how you do things. And there’s benefits and drawbacks to both. You want to be somewhere in the middle in the world of programming probably my old days when I used to write code here. But I love these kinds of; writing and SOP I would imagine that there’s something similar there, right? If you’re too specific and they run across an exception they’re going to wonder what should happen here because the SOP is specific. If it’s too broad then you end up getting people doing things all sorts of different ways. Do you have any tips to find that sweet spot in the middle of where you can be nicely of both sides there?

Trent: So the SOPs themselves are pretty tightly coupled. However now we go back to the whole hiring aspect. Ideally, I’m looking to hire people especially in the more senior roles who have a higher level of expertise in a given topic than I do. And the loose coupling as I say to them look you now own these SOP templates in your department. It is your job to improve them over time so that the people who report to you when they are doing these workflows that they’re able to follow them and you’re able to improve them over time and that has worked very well for us. And it also, of course, frees me up from having to be the guy that writes every single SOP. Because there’s lots of stuff like for example in my e-commerce business that my wife runs on a day to day basis, there’s lots of stuff I’ve never done but we have SOPs for it all because somebody else wrote them.

Mark: Yeah well on that one of the things; so I’ve played around with Flowster app and one of the things I love about it is the marketplace that you have. The ability for people to contribute in SOPs that have worked well and for somebody else to come in and say you know what I really need right now what I could really use well right now but let’s go use an example, how to use Ahrefs for keyword research. This is one of the SOPs with new marketplace. So if you’ve never done this before and don’t want to sit there and write your own procedure or you don’t know where to start you can use this marketplace. In your past, growing the businesses that you’ve grown; I mean you’ve grown e-commerce businesses, Amazon businesses, SaaS businesses, a podcast, I mean you’ve got a really wide range of online experience here, how much have you been able to draw on other people’s materials? What role has that played would you say in the growth of some of these properties?

Trent: Oh massive. Honestly, my secret of being a podcaster is yes it is nice to have an audience and as I’m sure you’re already well aware it’s the world’s best networking tool and it also allows me to get free advice from really smart people in other areas. So yesterday was a perfect example. Yesterday I interviewed a woman by the name of Erin Corn. Erin worked for Facebook. She worked for Instagram and she worked for Amazon. So do you think she’s got some skills? Absolutely she does. And particularly in the area of online advertising which is one of my big focuses for 2020. So at the end of that interview, I’m saying to Erin, hey Erin I think we should collaborate. And I think you should develop a whole bunch of SOPs around advertising on Facebook and Instagram; something I am not an expert in. We’ll figure out how we can monetize that knowledge to your benefit and to my benefit going forward. So the whole idea of the marketplace is when people come to Flowster nobody wants to build an SOP from scratch. It’s just a lot of work. And I was willing to suffer through it but not too many other people are. So the marketplace allows to come in to buy; so there’s free ones you can download and then you can edit them to your heart’s content. If you’re a creator like me you can put your own in the marketplace and you can sell them to other people. And I’ve generated millions of dollars in the last two years in sales of SOPs for Amazon sellers. So there is a huge market for pre-made standard operating procedures and that’s the big reason why we created the marketplace. I thought to myself there’s all these other experts, there’s all these other companies who would benefit from having SOPs that they could either give away or sell to their audience like a software company. We’ve formed partnerships with software companies for example. We’ve got one happening with a major player in the Amazon space by the name of Viral Launch because I said to them; I said look if you’re only providing training videos to your new users you’re putting a pretty significant burden on them because much like me with Ahrefs I had to watch the videos over and over again and I got to take notes and it just sucks. It’s not an efficient way to learn highly detailed processes. So we’re now collaborating with them to create standard operating procedures for how to get the most out of their software. And they’re going to tell their 200,000 email subscribers about those. So how does that benefit us? Well it benefits their users, it benefits them as a company, and it benefits me as a platform. And so if anyone is listening to this who runs or owns a software company or you’re an expert in a particular niche I definitely invite you to reach out and talk to me about some type of collaboration because that’s a huge part of our growth strategy going forward. And for everyone who comes to Flowster the more and more content that’s there; think of it a few years down the road like the Amazon of SOPs. No matter what business that you’re in you can come there and you could SOPs that they might not be perfect but they’re 80% good enough and you can hit the edit button and tweak the areas that aren’t exactly the way you want and you’re off to the races and it’s so much better than creating it from scratch.

Mark: Yeah I mean especially if you’ve never written it before and don’t know. We talked about the idea of this loose and tight coupling; how do you find that sweet spot, well, follow somebody else’s lead like somebody who’s written one that’s really successful. And I think for the audience listening here I know a lot of you guys have SOPs in place, why not share some of these and also use it as a revenue-generating aspect to your business especially if it’s something that’s tried and true. Of course, unless you think the SOP is something where you want to keep it proprietary but there’s a lot of common SOPs that would be really good to share.

Trent: There really is and if someone’s running an agency as an example let’s say your minimum retainer is $5,000 a month and you’re on a classic line or like well we can’t really afford that. Well if you don’t have a down-sell they’re gone; you generated zero. But if you say well you can’t really afford that I’ll tell you what we have a collection of SOPs and you can buy those for 2,500 bucks or we’ll pick a number out of the air. At least you’re giving the opportunity for A. to capture some revenue that’s going to be 100% gross margin because it’s kind of like selling software, build it once sell it a thousand times and B. more than likely as that buyer or that customer starts using your stuff you’re at least giving them the opportunity to come back to the trough later on and say well actually now we’re ready to put you on retainer because these are great but I don’t actually want to do all this work and I want to hire people to do this work and you’re opening a door that wasn’t necessarily previously open to you.

Mark: Right. Just a couple more questions for you. And this one here I think would apply to a lot of the people that are listening. You said that you were SOP heavy from Day 0; I’m sorry not Day 1, Day 0. How do you implement in your experience and maybe you haven’t had to do this; maybe this can be difficult to answer but how would you implement SOPs with a team that is not used to following SOPs especially when you have a step by step software and you want them to live in that SOP on a day to day basis?

Trent: So yes that will be more of a challenge because there is a cultural shift and I think the way to do that; there’s a couple of ways, first and most when the SOPs, so you got to get the SOPs created. So as the boss I mean maybe you could create them all yourself but that wouldn’t necessarily be the most efficient. But you might start off with creating SOPs for your direct reports and you’re just saying hey look this is how it’s done. I’m going to start assigning you these things; this weekly recurring thing or whatever and you’re ingraining your direct reports into using and becoming dependent upon the software. And then you tell them alright so now for your subordinates who have to do this, this, and this over the next 30 days you have to develop 8 SOPs or 10 SOPs and if you don’t you’re just not going to fit in the company and you’re going to get fired. That would be the way I would do it because I’m a pretty direct leader. If I have my culture and you’re not in my culture then you’re not on my team. Other folks are probably going to take maybe a softer approach to it and I don’t know that I’m the best; I know then I am not the best expert on leading cultural change because I didn’t do this with 50 people on staff already and then saying okay guys we’re going to start drinking this SOP Kool-Aid.

Mark: Yeah I just like to wrap up here and then ask you one final question but you mentioned early on that a big influence for you was Michael Gerber’s book E-myth and I read that book and I can; everything you’re talking about stems from what he wrote in that book and so it makes complete sense. So if you want to delve deeper into why SOPs and really I think sort of a philosophical look at how you build and scale a business and the hiring models that you would follow there, that would be a good foundation for anyone that’s really going into this world. I think the product itself is fantastic. We preach a lot at Quiet Light Brokerage when talking about building value in an online business. One of the key pillars that we talk about is transferability. What’s really important with transferability? Well having procedures written out. And for a lot of people it’s intimidating so we just say just do a video recording if nothing else; just kind of a minimum [inaudible 00:34:21.6] product but how much greater would it be if you actually had everything written down in steps with timelines, with due dates and you could apply it to a team and literally just plug and play. A fantastic product and something that would really increase the value of a business just based on the fact that that you have all these procedures written and a buyer doesn’t have to come in and try and figure out processes on their own. They already exist. If somebody wants to check out Flowster what recommendations or do you have anything for them to check out first?

Trent: I do. I put together a page just for your audience. They can get to it at BrightIdeas.co/quietlight and on that page, I will put a promotional code and along with a couple of links. So there’s one of our products that we sell in the marketplace, we sell it for $299 and it’s what I call it the blogger content production pack. So any company that is producing blog content or video content or podcast content would highly value this collection of SOPs because there’s my SOP for podcast production, there’s my SOP for video production, there’s my SOP for text blog post-production, for webinars and for email and obviously, the email is specific to one particular application. So if you don’t use that same application you would obviously have to make some edits and so forth. But if you go to BrightIdeas.co/quietlight all that good free stuff which we normally sell for 300 bucks we’ll be there for you.

Mark: Yeah and just disclosure I actually have that workflow because I was checking out Flowster. It is so detailed. Like the SOP that you have here is great. It really does; when you’re talking about being a little bit more towards the tightly coupled sort of SOPs, it is. I mean there’s just on the weekly broadcast email I’m seeing 29 steps here labeled out which is fantastic. I mean that that level of detail makes sure that nothing is getting dropped. Trent, thank you so much for coming on. It’s definitely a pleasure to have you on the podcast here and thank you for the offer. That’s really really generous for our clients. I appreciate you offering that over to them. So we’ll link to that in the show notes everybody so that you can take a look at it. I’d highly recommend you check out the app, it’s really cool. And if you haven’t implemented SOPs now’s the time to do it. If you don’t know whether or not you want to, read E-myth by Michael Gerber first and then you can build up from there and start implementing some SOPs.

Trent: Yeah and I think mentioning the E-myth you asked me how would I transform the culture? I would hand E-myth to everybody on my management team and I would say you got two weeks to read this thing and we’re going to sit down on our future. I think that because that way you’re using that third party reference. You’re not saying hey I’m the expert. I’m saying this has been proven to work in every industry on planet Earth. This book has been a bestseller for years etcetera, etcetera.

Mark: Absolutely. Okay Trent, thanks for coming on.

Trent: Thanks very much for having me, Mark.

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