Building your business With Onward Nation and Stephen Woessner


onward nation

Wow. So one of the topics, you mentioned hiring and then you mentioned payroll, too, early on in the business. And every business owner, I’m sure, nodding their head … we’ve all struggled with that as we’re getting things started. And so it’s very common today to hear that, “Gosh, you know, Craig or Stephen, you need to be hiring A players as part of your team.” So, in thinking that, in your opinion, what makes an A player an A player, Craig?

I think it really depends on the position they’re going to be in, because not everybody has to be an A player in a way people may think of an A player. They need to be somebody that’s going to work in the position that they’re going to be. Maybe there’s going to other support for them. They could be extremely good at what they’re doing, but they may not be CEO material, because that’s not what they want, but they’re extremely good at what they do. So that’s what I call an A player. Somebody that fits their role, and in their role is what you would think of an A player has to be.

Got it, okay. And so then, they fit whatever the role is, whatever the seat is on the bus that they need to be in, and then the quality of their work is excellent, right?

Correct, correct. In our case, those are … part of that is being a team player. It’s about the organization as a whole, it’s not about each individual person’s work.

Okay. And so, you’re talking about within your firm, right?

Within … in our case.

So that’s interesting. So it sounds like you’ve really stressed team work above individual accolades or individual excellence. It’s the strength of the team. It sounds like you’ve really kind of marinated everyone kind of in that culture, is that fair?

Yeah, that’s … definitely. It started with the first person, and that’s always the hardest hire, I think, for any business owner. The first hire. But as you move on, then you realize, okay, now these new people, they need to fit in with the culture and you have to make sure that they can fit in, you know. Maybe not just the technician but do they fit in, do they have the same values, do they want the same things.

Yeah, and that’s such a perfect segue into the mentorship topic that I wanted to chat with you about, because marinating your team and being consistent with culture, I mean, that requires great mentorship. It requires leadership and mentorship. During our first conversation, back in 178, you shared the most influential lesson that one of your mentors shared with you. And so let me flip that a little bit and so let’s say that Onward Nation business owners want to get better at being mentors. What would be two or three strategies you would recommend for improving how we mentor those around us every day.

I think we have to remember how we got to where we did, and what we need to do to get those people we’re mentoring to that same point. It’s like everybody looks at somebody and thinks they’re an overnight success, they forget about the 15 years behind. And I think in mentoring we have to kind of stop that clock a little bit and go back and think of what we needed, and how were we mentored, in the beginning, to get to the place where we are today. So it doesn’t have happen overnight.

Yeah, isn’t it funny how sometimes we either lose or forget … and I think it was Tony Robbins who described it as sort of, like, unconscious competence, when you think well, why doesn’t that person just know that? Well, because that person might not have the 15 to 20 years that you do, right?

Exactly, yes. Yeah. It’s-

So, are there any special techniques, or recipes, or strategies or process that you follow, as far as mentoring your team to either share your institutional knowledge, to bring them up to speed faster, or to marinate them in the culture principles that you want them to adhere to?

Number one, is starts with, for me, taking a deep breath. I think a lot of us have that, we’re business owners and we have that ADD and we want to keep moving and go forward and this, and we have to kind of take a deep breath, slow down a little bit and take the time and sit down and explain things, and remember: I have all this experience behind me, this person doesn’t. And just start at the beginning and bring them along slowly.

Yeah, and patience along the way, would that be fair?

Most definitely, that’s what that deep breath is for.

That’s awesome. Nice. Well, so let’s chat a little bit about platform building or thought leadership and you mentioned a podcast is something you’re interested in, at the onset of our conversation. I hear this all the time, my guess is you do too, that today’s business owners, they need to build a platform, an audience, tribe, community, however you want to describe it.

So, let’s say that Onward Nation business owners who are listening to you right now, let’s say that they agree, that yes, okay fine, I need to build a platform, I need to extend my thought leadership. What would be two or three strategies, Craig, that you would recommend to business owners, consistently apply or to make that happen.

I think it starts with a consistent email. Like, we send out a weekly email, and it’s typically enlightening, sometimes a little comedy in there. And that helps to build the platform and keep us top of mind. Another thing is, I think, writing a book … actually I’m on my third book right now. My second book was The 10 Most Expensive Tax Mistakes That Cost Business Owners Thousands. And I’m working on a new one that doesn’t have a title yet.

But I think if you could get something out there, whether it’s a book or blogs, that’s another way to make you a thought leader. And then ultimately I think it winds up with in 2017, the podcast. And I’ve learned so much from listening to your podcast and the people that you have on, all those overnight successes. There’s just invaluable information, and we always forget we don’t know what we don’t know.

Boy, there’s a lot of goodness in these three ingredients that we should unpack. So let’s go, let’s tackle these in order. Let’s go back to the weekly email, and here again, let’s say that Onward Nation business owners are thinking, “Yeah, okay, I get the fact that I should maybe have a weekly email but it maybe should be enlightening … I don’t know, I mean, like what,” … So, let’s take the enlightening piece a little bit deeper. In thinking about your practice, what are a couple of the kind of content nuggets that you guys share on a consistent basis that really does enlighten your list, in your community?

I think when you try and use a little comedy in there … and one that stays in my mind is, we tried to bring it to the importance of tax planning. Years ago, when Charlie Sheen was having his little run of bad luck we could call it, we did an email on what if he had a medical expense reimbursement plan, he could have covered the cost of what it was that his treatment, et cetera. So it kind of just sends it home. It’s not a sell, it’s just, “Hey, this information is out there, maybe if someone … it’ll pique their interest.”


Listen to the full episode here.

Get your free copy of my book the 10 Biggest Tax Mistakes That Cost Business Owners Thousands here.