Have you ever had a nervous breakdown? Brad Telepo explains how he went from being extremely busy to the point of a breakdown, to a place with true control and efficiency. You can achieve this too if you know the right tools, routines, and mindset. Make sure you check out this podcast to take control of your future!
Josh Fonger: [00:00:00] Hi this is Josh Fonger and welcome to the Work the System Podcast where we help business owners move from owning a job to only a business mastering their systems so they can simplify growth. And today I have a special guest Brad Telepo. Over the course of the past 20 years running his own business. Brad has conducted ongoing studies of systems and the impact on increasing time and mental bandwidth generating profit growth through operational efficiencies as a partner at CXO solutions. Brad specializes in CO piloting with entrepreneurs and management teams in many best practices to greatly increase team mental and emotional bandwidth. All right so Brad excited to talk to you day about efficiency and productivity hacks. Before we get into the details. Tell us the back story, how did you get into this line of work?
Brad Telepo: [00:00:49] Yeah, how I got into this line of work was about 15-16 years ago running a online music company which had a lot of traction a lot of growth and I was also partners in internet marketing firm and we had just bought out a retail music company and my personal life was full; dog owner, relationship, hockey player, active socially and what I noticed what was happening was I didn't quite have it all under control. I was always wondering when and how do I manage these goals over here. These projects here. I wasn't really overwhelmed. I noticed I wasn't completely in the driver's seat. I was always wondering how do I keep tabs on all that's happening. And one day my internet marketing partner give me a call with the usual client request. And in the middle of call when I had to go. Something was brewing inside of me. Something's happening. So I ended up going into the bathroom for a bit and coming out and what I noticed was when I came to find out later was my first and only ever anxiety attack. It is just like it's intense can stop the thoughts from go, hard calm the heart rate down and call it a universal alignment where wanted two weeks later. So mentors for productivity and efficiency fell into my lap. And when I saw the information to implement. I noticed I was trying to do that for like 10 years all by myself but they had the easy system which covered it all. I'm like this is all you have to do. This is incredible. So once that got into play the company skyrocketed in growth and my increase my time in office decreased by at least 75 80 percent. But more importantly that mental bandwidth going from what do I have it all together what's happening. Freed up entirely so I can have a lot more creativity presence. Control mental freedom.
Josh Fonger: [00:02:55] So when you get a client let's say to help them with this overwhelm because you've experienced it and you know the tools. What is the first steps? Like how do you how do you help them in the beginning? Because as you know they're they're super overwhelmed that that would fit directly with our audience. So what was the first steps?
Brad Telepo: [00:03:14] Yeah. There's three main parts that I seek to qualify them on. And the first one is do they have a full tool belts with the information that they're managing. What calendar or scheduling system are they using, if any at all? What are they using for a project and task management tool and the one that I find is missing normally nine times out of 10 if not 19 out of 20 is what are they using to manage the routines of every job role in the org charts? So, that there's a simple checklist system of knowing what to do and how often and to link to the supporting documentation which is where work the system is powerful and so I first look for that. Normally there's at least one missing or they're trying to use the wrong tool for example they're trying to use the hammer for the job with a screwdriver they're trying to use like Evernote to manage projects and tasks source you're just like you're gonna shoot your, yourself in the head. It's better than being in the head. But my favorite question is. Normally they're missing a tool and how much of everything that they have to do and they wanted do, how much they managing in their head versus it being written now in a place they trust. And my favorite people are the ones who are managing at least 50 percent of all that information in their head because that's the source of the overwhelm. It's literally the capacity or the limited capacity to manage it all and those who get the biggest benefit mentally and emotionally.
Josh Fonger: [00:04:51] So let's say you got an entrepreneur and they say they run a business and so they run online marketing firm and then they got all their heads all their client work is in their head. They're busy. How do you, because they did I'm sure they've heard this before you know they've got to get out of their head and put into processes. How do you get them to actually do it? Because now if I've heard it before but then I actually have to manage all of them to actually implement?
Brad Telepo: [00:05:14] Got it. So to clarify the question, How am I actually getting them to get the information from out of their head and into the places?
Josh Fonger: [00:05:23] Yeah. How do you get them started because they here they go oh that sounds great but they're probably gonna say they're too busy right. So how do you get them past that?
Brad Telepo: [00:05:30] So how do I first get them passed, too busy is firstly, we get to hire that expert to say well I have the information the templates the tools and what to do. And the system is flexible. I don't see to overhaul anybody. I just see what a system in excellence looks like. Where are the gaps and to actually fill those gaps. So in order to start them off I love doing a brain dump. And we can look at the entire org chart. Sales Customer Service the CEO you know who's doing the billing to start labeling out cool what needs to be done and how often and what are all the goals projects and tasks going on. You just watching that brain start to happen. It can first get out of their head then we can teach him the art of how do I process this information into which tools using the right methodology. So it's the behavior of one trusting that they're going to get out of their head. And the reason why most people don't know is they're worried about, Where that note go on the phone? Where's that Post-It Note? They don't have a list of all the places where it's at. So they they trust their head a lot more. So it's kind of remind them all day long.
Josh Fonger: [00:06:41] Their had will probably be sticking with them for a while so they will lose it.
Brad Telepo: [00:06:45] Yeah right. If there's a age old saying if you're in your head you're dead in so many ways. And same with how you manage information and all that you have to do and want to do. It's just not the right place for it to play.
Josh Fonger: [00:07:01] So are there any specific tools that you like that you think everyone should have or do you kind of let them pick and choose based on their needs?
Brad Telepo: [00:07:11] I let them pick and choose, you know for a calendar there's Google, Ical, even a paper planner works can be digital and or analog. It's OK for projects and tasks. You know if it's a team you do a sauna. They can use tremolo or as an individual I love love love love To-Do List, it's so simple. So, here's the thing most people are seeking to solve their efficiency in organization and productivity. What is the latest app. How can I solve this? This and that. That is not the answer. If you're truly overwhelmed and trying to keep it all together. It's behavioral, it's being out of your head. It's the behavior of what are you doing and how often to keep the entire system together. What are you doing daily and weekly and monthly? And there's not a lot of routines in order to keep it all together but more importantly learning how to corral the information and let it drop into the system. And where does it go?
Josh Fonger: [00:08:15] So you mentioned that you work with some teams and I'm curious if you're going to work with an entrepreneur and you're trying to get them dialed in. Do they get held back by their teams or do you try to make sure the teams buy into it as well or how do you make sure this sticks? Because if one person does it but the other 10 don't do it, does that make it hard?
Brad Telepo: [00:08:36] Yeah, especially if it's being implemented into a team. So let's look at it like any sports team. I grew up playing hockey, there's soccer, you know there's football. You'll hear the announcer say it a lot. Here's the system. Wow. The coach with the system. What would happen do you think if four of the players were working on their own individual system when they're trying to pass the ball to a give-in-go score? It's like it's chaos. So in order to get a team working efficiently what I noticed is people trying to hire personal assistants. My friend Steve did when he went to go grab his company. I go Steve, what's your system. So you're going to try to on-board new people with their own system without a current system. And you're just going to add chaos to chaos. Now you got different people using different tools in different systems in different teams in different methodologies. And now there's more meetings about meetings and you're just adding more chaos. So the scalability is greatly inhibited. So you do get to get team buy in and the entire team can be in the same tool in the same routines. It's one page.
Josh Fonger: [00:09:50] So what. What do you do if someone fights you on that so let's say you get nine or 10 on there, and one of them fights you, you say you're fired, or do you like curious?
[00:10:00] Most of the people I work with, they you know, it's not my decision to fire them or not. What comes to mind in this moment is. With any system there's no perfect system. So they just say you can try this for 30 days and discard it later. That's cool. But let's just try this for 30 days. And what do I have to learn from you. I don't know everything. I'm just doing my best and I only want to work with people where the time savings is powerful. At least five to 10 hours per week per person. But more importantly there's a massive emotional impact where you see walking around the rest of your life at least once a month saying Thank God I did this.
Josh Fonger: [00:10:46] Now I think that's a great point. There's that emotional mental baggage that is going to translate into profitability and translate into growing business but that can happen really quick. Once people do the brain dump like you said and have some confidence that this is going to work for them I always see that as well. This it kind of changed up a little bit because because of your lifestyle. Have you found any routines or systems that work for entrepreneurs for outside of work, like before work that would be, you know waking up early morning routine and then after work other kind of things that they should really be doing to be productive?
Brad Telepo: [00:11:21] Yeah, so you're looking for those little tidbit hacks right. OK so what comes to mind is I love the Pomodoro Technique. He says work for twenty five to thirty five minutes and take a break for five minutes. Why. Because sitting down staring at a computer sharpening the saw we're literally getting so dull 20 to 30 minutes. How can you get up and get rejuvenated? I truly believe you can increase it by like 25 to 50 percent. Trying to drive people to the grave by having them sit in front of their computer marked out the breaks. I have never had so many companies I love naps. Who knows who's going to strike. It could strike in the middle of this thing, I'm like Josh I'm out of here. It's just it's freedom of these things of just that rests and that replenishment. I do thoroughly believe that there is a morning routine systematically to be done to make sure that your days in check one of my favorites is called like on your tomorrow to make sure that tomorrow is handled so that you when you run into it. It's clearly aligned with your vision. Nothing sneaks up on you. You know what your next couple days are about. Everything's done. It's proactive. It's cool. But you know from a spiritual standpoint I do believe waking up and having time to yourself without anything on thinking about gratitude even a visualization of what does it look like with you being productive and efficient? How do you train the mind to even get into that?
[00:12:53] All great tips and we've got a little mastery club. I try to get people to share their ideas because everyone has cool things to offer. Like the ones you just mentioned Pomodoro Technique visualization and then I think once you get your routine trying to stick with it for a while I've been working with my kids on their routine just because it's so powerful. Have another question for you again changing gears a little bit because of your background in accounting and your finance background that's usually an area where entrepreneurs are weak. What are some routines or systems that entrepreneurs are really set up on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, basis and kind of missing out on?
Brad Telepo: [00:13:30] Got it. So let's systematized financials. I never let go of that job. So every Friday I would download the information into what I use as quick books enterprise. There's other tools available. I would see it all and I can pay the bills. So my fingers can be on that pulse. Then my reports would be generated of what happened during the week plus and minus profit and loss. And then once a month and on the 15th of the month I would generate the prior month reports. So from a systematic perspective of what to do and how often with financials, one routine once a week, one routine once a month, one routine on the 15th a month, all triggered by the calendar. So if you are looking to get a hold of your financials which is business and it's our responsibility to have our fingers on the heartbeat it's the same thing and Work the System talks great about this where if something starts to go wrong in your relationship or in the financials or in the weight it's the system you are staying on top of what you need to do and how often in order to keep it together. It's an error of omission that starts to pop through. So financials are actually easy. If you picture yourself in the financial carpet. All you got to do is get the right tool and it'll automatically generate the reports. It'll learn to automate itself. You could say, cool here's the money and here's some money out. Awesome. Here's my decisions with it. It's very easy to systematized most anything that you can be in any kind of cockpit and say yep I see the credit score, I see the profit and loss, I see the balance sheet in the bills paid. But every entrepreneur has to manage their own financials because the reason I took accounting and studied it since 14 is my dad hammered into me to say if you're ever going to run your own company no accounting is this one of the number one reasons why people go out of business and you don't need to know debt/credits. You don't need to know how to balance that stuff. It just works. Or hiring accounts to at least give you the reports. It's so easy it's just the system.
Josh Fonger: [00:15:46] Yeah and one of the things you, I was reading through your bio about these kind of emotional things that people get blocked up with and the mental stresses some of the find out that entrepreneur is the reason why they don't get their financials is they they don't want to know they don't want to have a company is doing and so they'd rather just keep that system broken so they don't see how bad it really is. So, let's say you get to get your company's financial systems in place. They start to see it. What happens next? So they see the numbers. They see it do that, does that change behavior, once they see the numbers?
Brad Telepo: [00:16:19] Absolutely. So imagine this. We start to see every penny in and every penny out by a category that you name could be rent, warehouse, employees. Now that you're seeing what's happening the decision is automatic. It's right there like I'm spending too much here. A friend told me that the profits get lost in the profits and when our companies are growing fast it's amazing how much extraneous spending starts to happen especially what you're willing to pay 20 bucks a month for 80 bucks a month for. Which is really a thousand bucks a year. So when I love going into increased the financials of the company we first go at expenses because you can remove those much faster compared to the sales it takes to grow it. So I answer that question I realized I just.
Josh Fonger: [00:17:09] Oh yeah definitely. That's great because I think people who are stuck a lot of times, they're stuck because like you said time or mental stress their stock or finances. And I like to look at each one of those triggers and the money is a big one and it's usually can we cut through expenses and can we raise prices and can we do a little marketing blitz right now to get the cash in so we can make some decisions that you've been holding off because so many people just get used to a normal that is not healthy and they're normal. They get comfortable with being unhealthy, Personally, mentally, emotionally, and in their business and you've got something kind of shock jock their system you're gonna get them into this new way, new way of thinking. So what happens when, or maybe this has happen to you I'm king of curious. So you get somebody you get them in their systems you get them their daily, weekly, monthly, routines have ever fallen back to the old habits? Has that ever happened to you where they go back in and go back to old habits?
Brad Telepo: [00:18:08] Yeah. And that comes from a lack of when I was first starting the coaching requesting feedback later I got 100 percent feedback that Brad where's the accountability for the system. Because it is behavioral and it takes us where three to four weeks to learn a new behavior. So I added in that day accountability. Did you do it? Any questions? Feedback, because I'm learning. Are you happy with that? And I believe that once you get it into play once you're that one in two months in. It's rare when they fall back and they're making some other like crazy excuse. So the fallback once the behaviors in check after those wanted two months it's much lower. And it's easy to get back on the horse again as well. But.
Josh Fonger: [00:18:53] Yeah. I spoke once it's documented there's technology behind it. The team is behind it much harder to fall off.
Brad Telepo: [00:18:59] Yeah. And it's the technology it's, I also offer, Hey do you need to have touch ups? What needs to be done? Do you want that daily accountability. But so much work is it's in the first part.
Josh Fonger: [00:19:11] How do you do the daily accountability? I've tried before and I'm kind of curious so because that gets to be kind of tedious on your end. But what does that what does it look like? Because I know for some people that daily accountability is what is the difference maker.
Brad Telepo: [00:19:25] Relatively right now it is tedious until I grow to scale like this company again and to have a second. It's just routine done and it's such a clear agenda. It's did you do it. What questions do you have and feedback. And then what's next. Cool. So when we go to implement two things to say what are we working on in daily rigour. What matters to you? It could be their health. It can be this area their financials their marketing. But I also always include the system to make sure that we are freeing up time and mental energy as fast as possible. So with that being said I make sure that every day we're working on increasing their time mental bandwidth. So in the end they got to be able to drive that plane themselves and where we can just be air traffic control. They just happen to be on a handle that themselves. It's just learning.
Josh Fonger: [00:20:22] So I've got two other questions. I know you've got to run in just a minute here but I want to make sure you have a chance to to let people know where to find you. But before I get to that what is one thing you want to leave the audience with knowing that the audience here is entrepreneurs, small business owners who are probably at the plateau with time, at the plateau with money, trying to figure out how do I how do I systems move forward. What's one piece of advice you want to live with?
Brad Telepo: [00:20:49] Yeah and if you're at that plateau and if you're actually looking to grow your business and your freedom from it which is the point. We started a business in the first place. You're building your empire like Jenga and it's going to topple or you're gonna get maxed out. Trust me. You're gonna run out. So it's just getting out of the head. Knowing where that information and learning the art of processing of simply where does it go. But most importantly most importantly most importantly, to give the best practices and agreements into place. And what are the routines to keep it all together? It's the routines. I think we have two or three daily and one weekly and one month to month and you got to get that mental freedom into place is how much further you're gonna go trying to grow this.
Josh Fonger: [00:21:40] Perfect advice. I couldn't agree more. It has to be simple otherwise you're not going to do it you can't have a routine with 70 things in it you're going to do it.
Brad Telepo: [00:21:47] Yeah, and what I love is you know when I really got down to the three things that are the value to this system is one it's flexible. We don't overhaul anybody. We just look for the gaps. If you already have something that's working we use it. Two, it's reliable everything's covered. Three it's kind of fun and easy. I love playing around and people joking. Getting it in. It's so simple. It can be followed. Right. So we have to systematized the art of teaching systems. I know exactly what to do and how often when I come in.
Josh Fonger: [00:22:20] And it's a new one for me I like that they making it making it fun because if it's not fun people don't want to do it. Or at least if it's if it's really painful they really don't want to do it. So that's that's actually good. Good element to make it stick.
Brad Telepo: [00:22:33] So that's kind of why I stopped doing the consulting and the implementation with me accounting stuff. I notice that unlike some journal entries or something I like I want to kill myself. So it's but even just fun in the interaction and being able to play and laugh at ourselves and the possibility what's there because we're all just human beings and we're all you know weird complex beings just trying to get along in this this world and I just I love the relationships that I get to have from it.
Josh Fonger: [00:23:03] That's cool. Very cool. Well Brad, so can people find you if they want more information about what you do or to get some help?
Brad Telepo: [00:23:09] Got it. And might I suggest it right now as the other Web site and platforms are being finished. Brad Telepo, T E L E P O. You can find me on Facebook right there and E-mail is my name which is Brad, B R A D Telepo T E L E P O at Gmail dot com. Or my phone numbers 4 8 0 3 2 9 9 9 8 5 and might I suggest emailing or picking up the phone sending me a text because. Yeah Web sites are great but it's personal. We get to find out if there's high value for you or not really quick and I can normally figure it out in three to four minutes. If the relationship is going to be worth it and if not I'll just leave you with some tidbits and wish you the best.
Josh Fonger: [00:23:53] Very good. I love that I had someone call me once and and and I asked my questions for three minutes and you think you're going find, business fine, is highly profitable, he's relaxed. He's working 30 hours a week. And I was like I think this seems like you're pretty happy where things are right now. Call me later when things are going bad. That was our working together. Yeah it that's good. Yeah. It's for people who need it. Oh great. Appreciate it Brad. Great advice great tips. This is fun and it's a reminder to me to keep systems fun. That's a key aspect of making it stick and enjoying it.
Brad Telepo: [00:24:26] Yeah man bring in one other thing Josh, just came to mind. One thing I'm blessed with is a leadership academy that I graduated from and now launching in Boston is I noticed when I graduated from its. people that I would trust with such high implicitly that if I still had my music companies I would make every person go through this leadership academy because it handles responsibility integrity. What's in our way like self doubts and fears and I've started building an umbrella of what do businesses want the most and who can I actually trust to refer them to. Maybe it's marketing. I do have two sales masters whose efficiency and productivity? Who can write a business plan? Who can do the financials? So in addition to just my expertise I'm fanatical about connecting people with the right people because how many times have I get burnt. I'm just like if you can't do it. Don't take my money. Just don't do it like I did your money and I only work with people who refuse to take money unless they can provide powerful results and have that integrity so if you have other areas you're looking to play with. Hit me up. I got some gems who have helped me now.
Josh Fonger: [00:25:39] Oh good. I'm going to do that after we get this call right now. I've got a few ideas right now. OK. Very good. And thanks again Brad and thanks everyone for tuning in today. Work this podcast. I look forward to sharing on the podcast with you next week. Helping you grow your business with systems so you can work less and make more. Thanks everybody.
Brad Telepo: [00:25:56] Thanks Josh.