How to Scale Your Biz Beyond a Milly

How to Scale Your Biz Beyond a Milly

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: How to Scale Your Biz Beyond a Milly

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio! Biz Talk for Biz Owners. During the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two-time best-selling author will cover topics that'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward. This show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz radio, with Me, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And we are going to talk today about a topic that each and every one of you will be interested in, and that is scaling and growing your business. Especially as we're heading into well, we're in increased inflation, potentially heading into a recession. I personally think we're heading into a recession. I'm not trying to be negative, just trying to be prepared. And so scaling and growing is, is really, really important right now. And it, it's probably the opposite of what you hear from most places, right? So a lot of people talk about when things get tough, you kind of just hunker down. I have the exact opposite approach to that. I feel like those downturn create opportunities. If you are positioned properly, it creates massive opportunities, not just opportunities, massive opportunities.


And I know during the pandemic, a lot of my clients, you know, as a fractional CFO, we were positioned for those. And we were able to take advantage of some of those things by take advantage. I don't mean that in a, in a bad way. I mean, we were positioned to where we were able to not only the weather, the storm, but thrive and grow through the, through that storm. So that's what we wanna talk about today. And we have of course, an expert with us today. Miss miss Natasha Miller, Natasha is not your average CEO. She sits at the hem of entire productions, which has been an ink 5,000 listed fastest growing companies in America for not one, not two but three years in a row. Natasha studied entrepreneurship at Harvard business school and MIT, and is a trained classical violinist and accompanied jazz vocalist.


So she's got all kind of talents. I'm really curious to talk about that, Natasha actually she now resides in San Francisco, California, where she's a member and is on the regional board of EO, which is entrepreneurs organization. You know, we've talked about that before, so welcome to the show, Natasha. Hey, thank you for having me. Yeah, absolutely. So look, even in your background was so intriguing to me because you know, me, I, I couldn't play like, I, I want to think I could play a musical instrument, but I'm terrible. <Laugh> I I've joked before in the show, like that video game what's it called? Rock band. Yeah. you know, I think I'm a rockstar, right? I sing, I play the drums. I, I feel like I know I'm doing, I have no clue I'm doing. And what I found is typically people that are, you know, kind of businessy type people, usually aren't very musically talented. I don't know just my opinion. At least this guy is fits that mold. So so tell us about your journey. You obviously have a very interesting background. Tell us about your journey, Natasha.


Yeah, you're right. I mean, I think creatives have a tough time accessing the analytical systems and processes part of their brain. And I have no idea exactly why I kind of am split down the middle. I have a, I have an idea. I have an inkling. But as a creative that also has some of those skills, I was able to be successful as a musician, be successful. I've seven CDs out to record a CD is like orchestrating it's, it's a huge undertaking. And then to do seven is, you know, I'm, I'm not sure how I'm still alive. And then as a classical violinist, I was the concert master of symphonies. That's a leadership role. It's very stressful. It's, you know, very difficult to, to get to. But instead of thinking of myself, just as an artist, I've always been an entrepreneur within all of those creative endeavors.


Yeah. So, so how did you get through that? So, so did you start out as, as a, as a musician and transition into an entrepreneur? Is that how that kinda


Worked out? Oh yes. Oh yes. Okay. I thought the only thing I would do on this earth, why I was put on this earth, my gift to the world was to be a performing artist. And there's, I mean, that would, that's great. And I did that and I actually built this business really. I've been doing aspects of this, this business since I was 15, but I created a real company in 2001 and it really was a lifestyle business to support my performing career. And as it took off and, and gained a momentum and had energy and legs, I began focusing more on it. And when I have had felt, I had put a stamp on the world with my music and did what I wanted to do, I no longer had to perform it. Wasn't part of my, I must do this, my attention shifted to my business. And guess what happens when you put a lot of energy discipline thought leadership studying, you know, all this energy into this business, I scaled and grew it starting in there were, you know, there are different milestone markers, but I would say in 2015 is really when everything just shot through the roof and my business grew by 65% and continued to grow that much year after year.


Wow. Wow. So I gotta ask, so you've written a book and we'll talk about that a little bit here in a bit, but so you mentioned recording CD. So what is, I think, I know based on how you described recording CDs, but what was what's more, was it more difficult writing a book or, or recording say a CD?


The book.


Oh, was it okay?


Yeah. And it's a similar process really, but some music for me was definitely a way that I could express myself. I could be my most creative self, but if you think about it, you know, I had to figure out what musicians, what instruments go on, each song, figure out an arrangement of the song. So they don't all the sound, the same, rehearse them, get everyone's books together, book the studio, learn how to do a take or two and then punch in and do solos. Like it's, it's a huge undertaking, but for some reason, the book, which is similar, right, you, you write and write and write, you have to edit, you find an editor, you have to find a graphic designer. You have to like, there's a lot of mechanics that are similar. It's actually, both of them are publishing, right? It's a publishing endeavor.


But this book that I wrote is the story of my life. Even though my first record, I'm looking at it now it's called her life is the story of my life. It shrouded in musical sort of interference. So even though I'm pouring my heart out, you may just be enjoying the melody or you might be enjoying the solo, or you might be enjoying the baseline. And if you're not really listening to the words, then you're not really prying into my life. Now, some people did and somebody people really know me by that, but with a book there's no hiding.


And it, it does Chronicle my life and not in such a poetic way as a song. Right. Because I mean, I could write in beautiful prose, but a song is more like maybe a poem or, you know, a painting and you can leave some things out. And of course you can do that in writing. But in this book I was very open and vulnerable. And I said some things in the book that I hadn't even shared with my best friend or my therapist. So why did I think I could just put it in a book and then release it to the entire world to read and black and white? I have no idea.


Yeah. Yeah. So it just came out as you were writing. I said,


Yes, it did. It just came out. And I had to make sure that it was okay. That it came out and got some feedback from other people. And they were like, yeah, you need to leave that in. This is why people will trust you.


Yeah. Look, I love to hear that because I would, you know, I would think, especially, you said you're being very vulnerable. You may do it in the initial writing, right. The initial draft. And then you go back and as you're, as you're going through and doing edits, you're like, maybe I should take this part out. Exactly. Or maybe I should leave this out. So interest very interesting there. So we're up against the break here, but again, we're talking this week with Natasha Miller. We're gonna come back after the break. Of course, we'll give the Mr. Biz tip of the week as we always do at the top of the second segment. And we're gonna talk about her book a little bit, which is called "Relentless: Homeless Teen to Achieving the Entrepreneur Dream". And that's one of the reasons why have her in show. So come back after the break on Mr. Biz radio


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All right. Welcome back to the show. And it is, as I mentioned, the time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week, and this week's tip, I'm gonna explain this a little bit, but hire people who ask for forgiveness versus ask for permission. What do I mean by that? You don't wanna hire someone who constantly need well, depending on their role, but for the most part that constantly is gonna ask for your, your permission for this. Should I do this? Should I do that? If you have to have that, first of all, you're gonna be a micromanager. I would venture to guess that 90% plus people would prefer not to be micromanaged. You wanna have someone who's got the confidence, the wherewithal, the knowledge, et cetera, and, and the fortitude to be able to make some decisions without asking you, are they gonna make some mistakes?


Of course they will. And, and that's okay, but you wanna make sure that you, you are hiring people that can do that because otherwise it's almost like you didn't delegate the work. If you go to delegate the work and they have to ask every turn, should I do this? And I'm, I was thinking this, should I do that? It, it really doesn't take you out of the weeds as much as you necessarily need to, especially as a small business owner wearing all the different hats you're wearing already. So very, very important consider that as you're interviewing folks and considering them for different roles, a people look for people who will ask for forgiveness, meaning, and, oh my gosh, I made a mistake. Hey, Ken, sorry. I messed this up. Here's why I did it. Okay. We'll learn from it. We'll move on. As opposed to Ken, should I do this, Ken, should I do that?


Very, very important. I learned that in my corporate career through the school of hard knocks I might add, but nonetheless, very, very important and especially important in a smaller organization, a small business, etcetera. So that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week. So Natasha, let's talk about this book. So I I'm actually, you know, you, I have to say you gave me a little bit of hope. I was thinking about it during the break and the way you were describing initially how arduous it is to record a CD. When I asked you that question, you know, what's more difficult. I thought you would say CD, but since you said book, and since I've written some books myself, you've, you've given me new hope that I can still be a recording artist. I can still be a rockstar, Natasha.


I'm not sure about that, but I think you could put, you could do it, anything that you put your mind to, but it may not be in the cards for you.


Yeah. Yeah. Well, look, if you ask Mrs. Biz, the biz girls who have heard me sing and heard me, you know, see me playing air guitar and whatnot, Mr. Biz, Terry. Definitely not in the cards. Yeah. It's definitely not in the cards for me. But let's talk about that book. So again, the book is called "Relentless: Homeless Teen to Achieving the Entrepreneur Dream". What, what made you write the book? What gave you the inspiration and said, gosh, I gotta, I gotta, I gotta write a book about this.


Well, first of all, I have to tell you that it's actually entrepreneur dream, not queen. And if you have queen on your piece of paper, I mean, I I'm there for that too, but I don't know if I would call myself a queen. That would be a little too much. So I think, you know, four years ago I was at a conference with a bunch of 7, 8, 9 figure entrepreneurs. We were all there to mentor each other. It was pretty expensive. It was at the four seasons in veil. And I did not come there to discover that I needed to write the story of my life. However, that's what I left with. I had started mentioning for the first time in my life, some of the challenges that I had, which were pretty low inflection points compared to a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs who, by the way, 75% of us entrepreneurs have some deep seated issues.


And that is a number that is, you know, been reflected in, someone did a study of a lot of biographies and, and memoirs. But when I started to tell this group, some of the little bits and pieces of my life, I could feel them all just going what, and literally physically leaning in. Yeah. And they were giving up their time, their seat at the table to discuss what they wanted to discuss, to really focus on me and my story. And that's when I knew for sure that it would, it was time to write it. Of course, that was four years ago. And a lot happened in the middle of writing it and the difference between our books, I think, and why this one was very difficult for me to write versus writing about a, a subject matter or a topic that I'm an, an expert in is that I have to account for all the people that I write about in the book, family members, stories that are challenging that, you know, I see from my vantage point, but they might not have seen from theirs.


Yeah. That's an interesting point. So and I can relate to that to some degree notes. So my first two books were subject matter books about business, et cetera. And then my, my most recent book is, is something much more personal, certainly not as personal as, as what you wrote, but there are a lot of personal stories in there. And there are people in there. And I, I went through that same process because it's, you know, maybe you struggle with the same thing is some of it, some of these things were, were very positive events. And some of them, I talk about people that mentored me and helped me along the way. And I want to recognize them in the book to say as a, as a way of saying thank you. Yep. But I also wanna be respectful. Like, you know, a lot of people were very private. They don't wanna mention it. And I actually had someone one of the people in the book that he he's actually a private investigator and he said, look, I, I don't, I don't want my name anywhere. You know, I appreciate that.


I had that as well. One of my advisors said don't use my name. And there were reasons behind that, that I can't discuss now, but I understood completely. And you know, I, it wouldn't have been good for him or me had I used his name.


Yeah. So had you, before you went to that, that conference, had you had the idea of writing this book and you just had never pulled the trigger.


I'd had the idea for 20 years before, but the thing is, is there, wasn't, it wasn't the right time until four years ago? I wasn't, I didn't have as many successes to follow up some of the lower inflection points and I didn't have the distance between some of those inflection points to be able to reflect on. So I wasn't writing this book at a vengeance and I wasn't writing it to you know, hurt anyone. And I think that's really important is that, you know, my story is pretty tragic. I was abandoned by my family on Christmas day when I was 16 at a youth homeless shelter. And I never got to move back home after that. You don't really lead that with that in cocktail or coffee conversations. Right? Sure. When you're trying to grow a business and prove your, your worth to clients, like the ones I have are Google and apple and LinkedIn and Adobe you, that doesn't come up at all ever.


Right? Yeah. I can imagine. Right.


Until you get on the other side and now I'm not going to lose clients because of this, but 20 years ago, somebody might have been like red flag, not sure about this one. Right. Cuz I also wasn't in the right mind frame to discuss it the way that I am now.


Yeah. I think that's important. And I like the distinction you made of, I know you're right. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I think you probably have to be a certain point beyond some of those events that you're gonna talk about because of how, how damaging they were, how, how you know, how much of a, a tribulation it was in your life. And if you try to worry about it right after it may come across, as you mentioned as vengeance or wouldn't be good anger or whatever, <laugh>, you have to be a certain point past that to be able to write about it and express yourself, but not in such a, maybe as raw emotional way.


Mm-Hmm <affirmative> right. And I am very proud of what the book, how the book reads. I'm incredibly like the, the, you know, we're entrepreneurs. We want it to be successful. We wanna make money. Right. So my book is a wall street journal in USA today, bestseller check. But what makes me feel the best is hearing from people with unbridled reviews and, and the men that are reading it. And what, what they're showing me and sharing with me is mind boggling because I'm a woman, it's a story about me. I didn't think too many guys would be interested. I'm hearing from there more them for, you know, in spades.


Yeah. Yeah. And I can tell you, I feel the same way. I mean, the feedback that you get is, is, you know, is, is worth everything about writing


Book. Yeah. Way more important than how many books and how much money I'm making from the book.


Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, again, this week we're talking with Natasha Miller and you can learn, learn more at We're gonna hit a break. We're gonna come back and she's gonna teach us how to scale our business.


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All right. Welcome back to the show. And for those watching on video that just got treated to Natasha shaking her groove thing a little bit to the music, the intro music appreciate that. It's funny and producer Allen picked out the music or whatever, and well, you know, picked it out and said, Hey, do you like this? And I'm like, ah, it's kind of cool. It's different, not something you hear. And I'll tell you, at least 50% of the people we have on the show are doing, do the same thing you do, right? You doing there are dancing to music or like, you know, something, right. It gets, you kind of gets you going, which is good. Right. We wanna, we want energy. So so tell us, obviously you've learned a bunch about many different things as an author, as being a homeless team, to being you know writing the book and being a successful entrepreneur and working with some of the amazing people that you've worked with and companies you've worked with. So I was hoping I could pick your brain a little bit on some of the things that you've learned on how to, you know, scale and grow a business. Because, you know, as I mentioned at the outset, it's gonna be super, super important to really have that growth abundance mindset. I think, especially as we're heading into probably some turbulent economic times right now,


Right? Yes. Hold on. Brace yourself. Who knows what's gonna happen, right? Yeah.




You know, as far as scaling and growth, there's, you know, I could talk about the top three things, but there's so interwoven that you do have to kind of nail them all at a similar time in order for them to work, to actually scale. So scaling means maybe I mean, growth in scaling are different things, right? You can grow your top revenue and not really scale your business. You can't scale your business if you don't have systems and processes in place. And that those words are so overused now that they kind of are neutral, like blank words, right? So systems that's plural. How many systems can one company have? Well, you could have a couple or a few depending on the departments and how they, you know, how they operate, but the processes are the things that are done within that system. Hopefully regularly and repeated the same way, documenting them, being able to train on them and then having everyone, you know, again, rowing in the same direction and small businesses, new businesses, they have processes, but they may not be in a system and they may not be the repeatable processes that really allow you to grow and then scale.


So I, to me, that is the, it's a really big part, but you can't have that working unless you have great people unless everything's automated, but I digress. So what I did, which I think is really I did this not to scale and grow, but because of efficiency, I built a system within Salesforce that was able to, we were able to run 777 events in one calendar year with two people in operations.


Oh, wow.


Crazy. Now those events were not necessarily full production. Some of them were just supplying talent to, so maybe one artist to 45 artists, but still there's a lot of logistics. There's a lot of repeatable, low touch things that we were doing as a company manually. Well, you can't do, I mean, you, we, we couldn't do 777 events manually. So before that we were doing very, you know, much less, but the system allowed us to scale and grow. So again, I created it just because of efficiency. I didn't wanna tell double, triple, quadruple touch things. So that's really important. And then let's circle back to people. So how to conceptualize, figure out who you need or what role you need, and then how that fits into your puzzle, how to write a, a job description outcomes that will then attract that person, how to source and qualify those people. God saved me. Like, what is the number one challenge of every entrepreneur, every business, it's the people period. End of story. Right. And it's, cuz we're human and we're not a system in a process in Salesforce. Right. Right. People aren't automated. We might we're, we're supposed to do what we're supposed to do, but sometimes we do less or more or different and that's, that's a challenge. So I think those two things are bigger than any top three things I could talk about. Not that you asked for three, but <laugh>.


Yeah. No. And, and I think it's so important and I've seen exact same thing is I think any company that's, I mean, even, you know, you could have a company up to, you know, between 75 and a hundred people and you've got someone maybe who's been there for 10 years and they're, I'm gonna date myself with this, but they're the encyclopedia Britanica of the business. Yeah. And in whatever aspect of the, the business that they're involved in and the process and the system is right here in their head, that is, and God forbid, God forbid something happens to them or, oh my gosh, you know, Susie's gonna go on vacation for two weeks to Guatemala to do a mission. And what are we gonna do for two weeks? Because she has done this for the last 10 years. And she does it like so well, but it's, it's all up here.


And it, it's not a system that that's replicatable, as you mentioned, mm-hmm <affirmative>. And a lot of times I feel like businesses that is the, the, the ceiling on their growth is not their product, their service, how they deliver it, it's more so they don't have, I guess, someones how to deliver, but it's the, the systems, right? Again, the system is, the system is Suzy or the system is Bob. It's not in Salesforce. It's not an automated process or it's not documented. And in a way that's effective enough to where, when, when Susie's on vacation in that example that I can easily go pick up her, her, you know, process and procedures and go, oh, I could follow this. I do this. And I do. Okay. Yeah. That makes sense. And you know, I work with businesses and I'm probably preaching the choir on this where, you know, I'm very big on documenting this processes.


Well, you have someone that's been doing it, this process, or, you know, working the system for 10 years, five years, whatever, they know it like the back of their hands. So they take for granted their knowledge. And so they write, they write it out step by step inadvertently, they skip three steps in between every step because to them it's just natural. So then I pick it up and I'm like, I have no idea. Like I just, and they're like, oh, well, you're supposed to click that and then move to the right. And I'm like, you know


How to solve for that, right? Yeah.


Yeah. You have to put that in there, right?


Yeah. I would say, you know, interviewing Susie and having her on a zoom call, recording it, walk you through step by step by step while she's actually doing it on a test, whatever. And then using that video and also transcribing that video, then you won't have as many holes you'll have, you'll still have some holes, but not as many as if you're just say, Hey, SU can you just jot down all the things that you do in a day, right.


Yeah. So another question for you and it's tied to systems and people, I've also seen the instances and I saw this in my corporate career as well, where you've got someone who's a master at whatever it is, right. They're part of the business. And they're very hesitant to document it because in their minds, that's job security, red flag. They can't get rid of me because red flag, I know how to do this. And no one else does. And so they don't save their files on the network they're on their, their local drive, you know, all that kinda


Stuff acceptable.


Yeah. No, I agree. I agree. But have you, have you run into that as well?


I think that I set up a precedent in hiring and onboarding and training that doesn't allow for that. And we're small enough, right. That I can, you know, if someone shares a Google document with me and I see that it's not on our drive, I immediately say that needs to go into this particular drive. Right?


Yeah. No, I think that's super important because I've gone into businesses where that's, you know, that's scenario is playing out and it's like, you know, you gotta go talk to the person and say, and it finally comes out and they just bluntly say, well, you know, I'm a, I'm a friend. I'm lose my job. Like, you know, this is, this is my job. Security is I know how to do this. And no one else does. And it's like, that's how we do this.


Not acceptable. And it's, it is the company's inte intellectual property.


Yeah, absolutely. A hundred percent, a hundred percent. Well, Natasha we're running out of time here very quickly as, as always happens. It seems like on the show, but you can go out to Also follow her on Instagram. She's Natasha Miller SF San Francisco again, Instagram Natasha Miller SF. Natasha, thank you so much for coming on the show. I loved, loved hearing your insights and some of your background.


Thank you so much. And I really appreciate you. And the way we did this, it was great.


Awesome. Awesome. Well, I appreciate that. So guys, as always appreciate you guys listening, appreciate you watching go out, follow Natasha and as always, don't forget, have a great week. And cash flow is king.


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