Alex Charfen – Essential Systems for Every Business – Episode 255

Alex Charfen – Essential Systems for Every Business – Episode 255

– BOOM! What’s going on everyone? This is Steve Larsen, and to those of you who
think I yell too much, welcome to Sales Funnel Radio! (Horn blast) – Dude! – Yeah! – [Kids Yelling] Ah! – Yeah! (audience clapping) – Oh!
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I’ve spent the last four years learning from the most brilliant marketers today. And now I’ve left my nine to five to take the plunge and build my million dollar business. The real question is, how will I do it without VC funding or debt? Completely from scratch! This podcast is here
to give you the answer. Join me and follow along as I learn, apply and share marketing strategies to grow my online business. Using only today’s best
internet sales funnels. My name is Steve Larsen and welcome to Sales Funnel Radio. Hey I’m really excited for this episode. I have wanted to get
this individual on here for quite some time, and
Alex Charfen has been one of the reasons why my stuff
is blowing up so much. I have learned that I need to
listen to less people, right? I’m very, very picky
on those that I choose to dive deeply with, and so
for marketing and sales right? I’ve really doven deep
with Russell, obviously and you all know that. For systems and business
systems I’ve diven very deeply with Alex Charfen, he’s the other coach that I pay a lot to and listen to as well. And I have other various
ones that are very carefully selected and I don’t
listen to anybody else right? I’m very, very careful on
the content that I consume so that I can spend most
of my time just moving rather than more information
which I don’t think we all need more of. So anyway, I’m excited
for you guys to understand more of why Alex Charfen
for me has been so key. So I asked him to come
on the show and to teach a little bit more about the systems that all businesses need, regardless of whatever you’re in. A lot of these are the new systems that a brand new
entrepreneur needs whenever they finally get that revenue coming in. And then there’s also though
the same kind of systems that he goes and he creates for those who have an existing business
and are ready to scale. And he talk about that in this interview, how do you know when
you’re ready to scale? How do you know if you should be scaling and you’re not right? He’s gonna go through some of those things with you guys today and
this is so, so awesome. If you guys did like this interview, please reach out to him,
he did not need to do this, and say thank you. At the very end we do have
a special little thing for you and so we’re excited! Let’s cut over to the
interview and go say thanks to him if you guys got things from this. Boom, what’s going on everyone? This is Steve Larsen, welcome
back to Sales Funnel Radio. We’re really excited
to have you guys here. I’m with one of my good friends, he’s become an amazing friend,
definitely been a mentor, I would call and consider
him a brother as well. I want to introduce everybody
to Alex Charfen here, and before I really
bring him on I just want you all to understand, Alex
Charfen was one of the guys for me that helped me
understand why I am who I am, and that’s okay, and
helped me lean into that. I’ll talk to you a lot about leaning into your obstacles,
leaning into those things that have been crappy in your life. They end up becoming your super-power. However it truly was, you
all know that my story going to Funnel Hacking Live, that first one, Alex Charfen was one
of the first speakers, and I took so many notes, I ran back home, I showed my wife and she goes “That’s why? “That’s why you act the way you do?” And I was like “Yes! “It’s because of this guy! “He did a crazy deep gravelly voice “and I loved it, and he was the man!” And I’m so excited to
bring him on the show here, guys please welcome Alex
Charfen, how you doing man? – Steve it is so good
to be here with you man. Thank you, and I echo your
sentiments completely, and I consider you a brother as well man. – Oh thank you so much, thank you so much. You know it was even like two weeks ago, we were chatting about your material and going on through it, and she goes “Oh yeah, I have to remember this is how “your brain kind of works.” And I was like “Really naturally, yeah! “Like you should really know that!” You know, so we’ll go
(Alex laughs) back through and I feel
like, you know I’ve got that capless pig shirt that
I wear all the time? But I really want one that just says “Charfen will explain.” Or something like that,
(Alex laughs) you know what I mean? That should be the next shirt because so much of what I do in this world just is not explainable without you. (laughs) – Yeah it’s unique, you know Stephen? I think when you, when you characterize it that way, what I hear is so much of what you do is different than what
anybody in the world would ever expect. And that’s what I’ve found
from the day I met you. I think I walked up to you
and said something like “Hey man, I think we should talk. “You’re a really unique entrepreneur “and I don’t think you
understand just how unique.” – I remember you said that.
– Or something like that. – Yeah I remember, and
I remember I felt like, you know in the Matrix when he’s talking to that lady with the spoon bend– like I felt like I was talking to her, and I was like
(Alex laughs) “What does he see in me? “What are you looking at?” You know, and “Please dissect me!” You know, so anyway. Well I really am pumped for you to be here though and just
massive incredible love. Your name, it’s not just a noun, you have to understand it is a verb in my vocabulary.
(Alex laughs) People be like “How did you do that? “I just Charfenized it baby!” I say Charfenation all the time. “Yeah I was hanging out
with the other Charfenites. “I’m going over the Charfenation. “How did you do that?” Oh, anyways, you’re very much a verb in my vocabulary around
here and with my family, so it’s really quite an honor
to have you on, really is. – Thank you Stephen, it’s
an honor to be here man, this is awesome. (Steve laughs) – This is really cool. Well hey I wanna just
start right out and just, I wanted to ask, my audience
has heard a lot about you. I’ve talked about you a lot. A lot of people are just– because so much of what
I learned, I mean I was going through some of my old notes from even two years ago, just recently, going through one of your
events and I was like “Gosh, you’re so right, this is so cool!” Anyways, and watching how much it really has created additional leverage for what I’m trying to do. It works, it’s real and
I want everyone to listen to this and listen to
what Alex has to say here, and understand that this
is how I’ve been doing what I am doing. – Hm!
– And I learn the marketing and a lot of sales from
Russell, but how to have a life and systemize
it and make my business an asset, from Charfen,
from Alex Charfen here. So, anyway could you just
tell us how you go into this? ‘Cause I know you weren’t always– I mean I call
entrepreneurial optimization, I mean it’s really what you do
(Alex laughs) it’s not just the systems, but like I’m wearing glasses now,
I’m drinking more water than I ever have in my
life, I’m doing all sorts of stuff I never would do
because of you, you know? How did you get into this? – You know Stephen, I
think if the question is “How did I get into an entrepreneur?” I didn’t find
entrepreneurship, it found me. This was really the only thing I ever felt comfortable doing in my life. Ever since I was a little
kid, I was always the kid that was different than everybody else, crazy socially awkward,
like what you see today, I don’t try to be socially
awkward it’s just natural. (Steve laughs) You know? And I was always different
than the other kids, I didn’t really get along
and I had trouble in school, like all the systems in the
world told me I was broken. And then when I was eight
years old my family went through kind of a financial downturn; my father lost a company,
he didn’t go bankrupt he went really close, and
he ended up to make money for the family we were selling stuff in a swap meet on the weekends. And I remember going to the swap meet for the first time and standing behind a folding card table, and woman walked up and I sold her a pen that
had an LCD clock in it, like that was big time
for 1981 or whatever or ’78 or ’79, or whatever it was. – Yeah.
– And she bought it, and Stephen I can remember
thinking at that moment, “Holy crap, I’m good at this. “Like this is something
I’m not terrible at.” Because up until that
point I really hadn’t found anything where it was
like “Hey, that was good.” It was always like “Almost got it kid. “You don’t suck as bad
as you did yesterday.” You know? Like I was the kid who consistently got most improved, all the
time, ’cause it’s the award you give to the kid who sucked the worst? – Yeah! – And when I started– when that woman walked up it was like “Hey, this is something I
can do over and over again.” And the more that I worked with my Dad, the more that I experienced business, I loved it because the world is so random, when you get into the world
of business there’s rules, there’s an outcome,
people are in it together, you actually have to work
together to accomplish and to achieve, and if everybody cares about it, it’ll happen. And so this is where I feel comfortable. And you know it’s funny,
when I was a kid I used to create businesses and
create business plans and write out time cards
and all this other stuff, and I thought that was
like the weirdest thing as an adult I would
reflect back and think like “Man, I was such a weird kid.” That’s exactly what my daughters do. My daughter this morning
was at the kitchen table for three hours writing out a schematic for a water park she
wants to build one day. – Wow!
– And that’s just, it is you are who you are, and I think from the very beginning
this is who I’ve been. – That’s amazing, and when did you decide to make a business around
this and go actually help other entrepreneurs like
myself who need these systems? – Well, the business that
I have today, we started– So let me give you a little brief history. – Yeah.
So in my twenties I was a consultant, and I get, you know a lot
of people ask about that. I did some consulting
at a very high level, in the Fortune 500 level? And I built a very large
business that almost killed me. And so I can tell the story really good, like I can give you all the highlights and make it sound great. $250,000,000 company,
I’ve worked with Fuji and TDK and Memorex and Logitech, and all international business. I can tell you the
other side of that coin, I had a $250,000,000
company, I made less than $2,000,000 a year, my
margins were razor thin, I had a bleeding ulcer and I was probably over 300 pounds. – Wow.
– And so when I got out of that business
I wanted to do something completely different. So in my early thirties
I got into real estate, we were taken out by the
real estate market in 2007. Katy and I introduced our
first information product and that’s how we got into this world. We created a product called the Certified Distressed
Property Expert Designation. In 2007 we were bankrupt, we introduced it at the end of the year. In 2008 we did like $500,000 in sales, the next year we did $7,000,000, the next year we did 10, and over the course of
the life of that product we did about 70 and we
went from bankruptcy to liquid millionaires in a year. And then we, in 2013 the US
Treasury came to our office and did a broadcast
with us, where they said that according to their
research, our company had pulled forward the foreclosure crisis five to seven years, so it was intense. – Oh yeah?
– Really intense. And what happened was, right around 2011, a lot of our clients who
were buying our product wanted help growing their business. And so I took all of the
stuff that I used to use as a consultant and the
systems and structure Katy and I used to run our business, and we started training it. And so since 2011 we’ve been training it like in classes in courses, and in 2017 we started the products
that we have today. So now we have an entry
level coaching program called Billionaire Code Accelerator. It’s for people who are
doing over 300k a year, and then we have a high
level coaching program called the Billionaire
Code Grow and Scale, and that’s for people who
are doing over 3,000,000 a year. – That’s awesome! That’s so cool.
– Yeah it is the most fun I’ve ever had Stephen, it’s just– It’s like every day I wake up and here’s what I get to do. I get to play in this playground with game-changing entrepreneurs that are starting businesses
that are doing things that are just unreal. And our systems, our structures are kind of the backbone for
how they’re doing things. So on a daily basis me
and everyone on my team gets to wake up knowing
that we are helping the game-changers change the world. And we recruit for people
who want to do that, we recruit for people who
are passionate about it, ’cause everyone on my team feels like their life’s mission is
being fulfilled through being in this business right now. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. – That’s incredible, and I can tell everyone else who’s listening
and watching this now, it’s exactly as he says it. You know as I, I remember the
first time I ever went to, I think I’ve been to
three of your events now, and they have just been life changing. I go through and it gives
structure to the idea, but then also how I
behave against the idea. So I can actually go in
and breathe, I can live. You know I watched my Dad go
create this awesome company when I was a young boy, but it took him too, right? But everyone does that,
it’s super natural, so you to go in and
remove the entrepreneur, create systems around it,
and now there’s processes and procedures, and
people that they actually go in and push forward
their vision even further, it’s this incredibly,
I know it’s not magical but it feels magical, to me! I’m like “Oh my gosh!” Like I can’t wait, I’ve
actually had a tab open with your course open
for like the last month and I’ll just dive into
another video, and I’m like “Oh my gosh!
(Alex laughs) “Back to the drawing
board, that was so good!” You know? And I go back to it again
and again and again, it’s just always up, everybody
who’s listening to me, it’s always up. And I’m going in and that’s
really what’s teaching me how to run it like a company, rather than me be the company, and I’ve loved that. Just been so powerful. I wanted to ask you kind
of a key question here. And it’s a question that I
actually get asked a lot. ‘Cause people come though my programs, I’ll help them make money, they’ll go and make a lot
of cash and it’s awesome. But then after that like what do you do? You know?
– Yeah. You keep those sales coming in? What are the first
systems that you find that new entrepreneurs with a
sizeable amount of cash should actually go create first? What are those first few moves? – You know I think I
definitely want to share a couple of systems
Stephen, but first I want to just share a thought process. – Okay. – And I think, and this
is a tough thought process for most entrepreneurs to
take on, and it’s interesting ’cause I’ve watched you go through this shift too, right?
(Steve laughs) ‘Cause at the beginning,
– No! – and I just want everyone to know, when I met Stephen Larsen he was ready to take on the entire world solo! – Yeah.
– Like all alone, right? And here’s the thought process, like after you start making money,
here’s the next thing to ask yourself is “How do I sustain this? “How do I make it real? “How do I make it last a long time? “How do I make it so that I’m not “the only driver here?” And the thought process
has to be, when you get to the point where the
momentum you’re creating on your own isn’t enough, and
believe me we all get there. Like I know that if you’re
watching me, watching Stephen, you’re one of those entrepreneurs and in the back of your mind you have this crazy voice that has always told you “You’re meant for more,
you’re gonna do more, “you’re gonna change the world, “you’re gonna make a massive impact.” And if you’ve always felt that then there’s a shift you have
to make in your thinking. Because here’s the issue
for people like us, I call it the Entrepreneurs Dilemma. For people like us, we need far more help than the average person to
reach our full destination, but any request for help or support that we have to make,
leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed. Stephen, you with me? – Yes, yes yes yes 100% – And so here’s the shift,
what we have to realize is that if we’re gonna change the world, that is a group activity, and
leadership’s a contact sport. And so we have to wake up to the fact that when we start to build a
team, and create a structure, and pour in to the people around
us, invest in those people, make them important, build
relationships with them, we will build the company
that we have always wanted. That’s the only way it’s ever been done. The myth of the solo
‘preneur who’s changed the world is a myth. It’s a joke. – So true (laughs)
– It’s one of the most damaging things that’s out
there in the entrepreneurial world today. Because the fact is, show
me anyone that looks like they changed the world on
their own and I will show you a massive team behind them. – So true. There’s this idea that
gets pushed around now, and it’s like I’m gonna
go and be this person that does all this stuff. I’m the gift to the
world, and it’s like okay. but you can’t do that on your own. And even in the last
six months, I have begun to experience and feel burn-out. – Yeah.
– And it’s, really, I have never in my life experienced that. And it’s been hard, and the only other way I’ve been able to create leverage is by listening to what you say and create those teams around. – Yeah. Well then, Stephen
– Definitely (mumbles) – that’s the thing. Here’s the deal I want
everybody to understand this. If you’re an entrepreneur, you have a job. And that job is to stay out of burn-out. You have a job to lower
pressure and noise in your life, to increase the protection and support that you have around you. Because if you don’t work
with that equation constantly, lower the noise and increase the support, lower the noise, increase the support, here’s what ends up happening; you are in an equation that doesn’t work. And it’s not like anyone can come and argue against me here because, this is like gravity,
this is like you know the facts of life, this
is like taxes all right? We’re all gonna pay
’em, like there’s no way to argue against this,
you’re going to lose. And so in that situation
as an entrepreneur you have to be really cautious about doing too much yourself, and
about loading yourself up, because here’s our instinct. You know you have this, I
have this, we all have it. If there’s something to
be done, the first thought we have is how do I just get it done without telling anyone else, right? Oh yeah!
– Yeah (laughs) – And it’s like “I’m gonna conquer!” – Freedom baby!
– “It’s all me right?” Yeah and we forget that humans
are tribal animals, man. We are all terrible at most things. Let’s get real, if you’re
good at a lot of things then you have a liability
because you’re not gonna be able to choose what you shouldn’t do. I’m very fortunate, I
suck at most everything, and that’s like an honest reality. Anyone on my team will tell you like “Oh man, don’t let Alex fill
out a form, use the calendar, “send emails, like we keep him
out of all of our systems.” Seriously my team
actually knows when I have a password for a system
and then they monitor me using it, ’cause I’m so bad at that stuff. But on that same token,
I know what I’m good at. I’m good at vision, I’m good
at where we’re gonna go, I’m good at putting the
frameworks together, I’m good at assembling a team. And by doing those things, we can grow a massive organization
and have a massive impact. – Yeah.
– But so for every entrepreneur, the
key here is figuring out what you’re good at and
doing that to the exception of everything else, and
it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do as an entrepreneur. Here’s why, the second
you start doing that you feel like you’re being egotistical. You feel like you’re being self-serving. And here’s the fact, when you drive your business to get easier for
you it will grow like crazy. – Mm. – But driving your business
to get easier for you will feel like you’re
doing the wrong thing. It happens all the time,
there’s a discussion right now on our Facebook group of one of the CEOs in our group who made a post in it, I’m paraphrasing, but
she said something like “As I offload and reduce discomfort, “and get a team around me,
I’m feeling less and less “significant, am I doing this right?” – Yeah.
– And my answer was “Yes! “You’re absolutely doing this right, “that’s exactly how it’s gonna feel!” Because we need to attach significance to the total contribution, not to your day-to-day activities. – Mm. That’s powerful, you know
it’s funny I was (laughs) It reminds me of a, I watched a– You know when I first got to ClickFunnels, it was just he and I, there wasn’t like a copywriter, a videographer,
there wasn’t like– It was just he and I! So we did every single role
in getting these funnels out, to the exception of
just a few where he’d go “Oh someone’s really good at X, Y, and Z.” And then by the time I left
– Probably design or something (laughing) – What’s that? – Probably design, but
everything else was you guys. – Yeah, yeah, yeah, right? And I knew enough Indesign and Photoshop, I was the one doing it (Alex laughs)
most of the time. And doing it, and doing first copy rounds, and it like, it was nuts! And so by the time I
left, it was funny because he had started implementing
these types of things. And I remember watching him
during these funnel launches just laying on the floor,
bored out of his mind. Like I’ve never seen him
like that in my life, and he was like almost going
to a state of depression, he was like “I’m not needed,
I’m my own thing now. “Ah no-one needs me any more.” It’s a funny thing to realize, we’re just the
orchestrators, we don’t play all the instruments. (laughs) – We shouldn’t, we shouldn’t. And so, you know back
to your question about what systems should an
entrepreneur start looking at? – Yeah. – See now I’m gonna talk high level. – Yeah.
– And I wanna share, like you and I are really close friends, and I wanna share the
most critical content we have for entrepreneurs with your group. – I appreciate that.
– And for us there’s, and this is what we
normally share internally once somebody joins our program, we share the five things that
keep companies from scaling. ‘Cause reality is,
there’s really five things that keep companies that
should scale, from scaling. And here’s what I mean
companies that should scale. You know if you go talk
to most consultants, venture capitalists, investment bankers, accountants, lawyers,
whatever, they’ll give you this laundry list of why
companies don’t scale. They didn’t have enough money, they didn’t have the right people, they didn’t do all of these things. – Yeah. – The reality is, if you
look at most companies that should scale, there’s
a clear five reasons why they don’t, so let
me share them with you, but let me give you this caveat. Here’s what I mean by “Should scale.” If you’ve got a market, if
you’re capable of selling, if you could do more and
you know you’re leaving money on the table, you should be scaling. – Right.
– If those things aren’t there for you right now, go resolve that and then start scaling. So far too many people
try and scale before they actually have all the steps in place. Then you just build
infrastructure that does nothing. – Yeah.
– So let me tell you what the five things are. So number one, first and foremost, absolutely most crucial,
is most businesses don’t have any type of strategic plan. So as a result, there’s
no go-forward strategy, and here’s what happens in a business when you don’t have a go-forward strategy. If you don’t know where you’re going neither does your team, neither does anybody around you and so you will, by
virtue of math, become the biggest bottle neck in
the company, here’s why. If there’s no forward plan where all of us can point at it and go get it and help you chase it down, every time we want to know what to do we have to ask you, and
we have to go to you. And it’s a death of a thousand paper cuts. And you’re literally in a place where you’re telling people what to do, checking that it got done and telling them what to do again. And if you’ve ever been in that situation as an entrepreneur, you
know that somebody only has to ask you twice before
you’re ready to flip out and lose it.
(Steve laughs) Am I right Stephen? – Yeah, yeah, usually once. (laughs) – Once, right, right,
but by the second time you’re like “Are you kidding me?” And so the way we get
past that is we create a clear strategic plan,
we share it with our entire team and if the team knows where they’re going, here’s what happens. I want you to understand something about the people coming to work for you. If you’re in a small business, you’re hiring entrepreneurs. – Yeah.
– And I know that there’s this saying in the market, “You’re either an entrepreneur
or you work for one.” I call complete and total BS. Don’t even bring that crap around me. – Yeah.
– Every person on my team is an incredibly
talented, hyper-motivated, world changing entrepreneur,
they just choose to be part of a team. – Yeah.
– And so you’re gonna hire entrepreneurs, and the way you keep entrepreneurs absolutely
and totally focused and excited, is you show them what they’re hunting, you give them the kill, you say here’s our plan, this is what we’re doing, this is how you win. And if you hire the right
people, they will walk over hot glass to get to
that destination for you. – Yeah.
– But if they don’t know where it is, you’re gonna demotivate them and completely de-leverage them. So number one, you have
to have a strategic plan. In my experience, less
than 1% of businesses do. Also less than 1% of businesses ever hit $100,000,000. In fact only 3% ever hit 1,000,000. – Jesus.
– So when you look at that, it’s not 1% of businesses
that hit 100,000,000, 0.01% of businesses ever hit 100,000,000, and the reason is most businesses don’t know where they’re going. That’s one. And Stephen, by you
having the tools to build a strategic plan in
your business, hasn’t it changed how you approach things? – Oh gosh, you guys
remember when I tell you those stories of I left my
job, I created 200 grand of revenue really quick
but there were no systems, I was the support guy,
fulfillment guy, sales guy. I did every role and I
voluntarily, very painfully, had to turn down revenue to
go build these structures. And I want you all to
know, it was Alex Charfen’s stuff that helped me go
in and actually set those systems in place. And so like, please understand my affinity for this man and what he does everybody as I say this
(Alex laughs) ’cause, you all know about
half way through the year I was only at like three or 400 grand, which is pretty good still, but that last huge sprint came in because of the things that Alex Charfen and his
team were teaching me. And all those planning things that I use and all the things that
I’ve just lightly mentioned, they’ve all come from Alex Charfen, and it’s helped me actually scale me. – That’s awesome Stephen,
man that makes me so proud. – This is so cool! (laughs)
– Like there’s only one Stephen Larsen in the
world, and I told you that the first day I met you,
I’m like “Dude you are “completely and totally unique and I think “I can help you build the
company you really want.” – Yeah, you said
– And for us – this could be something.
– to be sitting here, and for you to say that, is
like I got chills Stephen, that’s so awesome. Thank you man!
– Oh man, I’m so jazzed about what we do,
but it’s because of what you teach I’m like “I can do it!” Instead of “I can do
it, but lose my liver.” You know? Or like, die somehow.
– Well, and Stephen here’s why I was so excited about helping you specifically,
and I want to qualify this so that your entire
audience understands why. I’m a weird guy at events. I don’t talk to a lot
of people, I actually kind of keep to myself, I watch, I observe and then I hunt. I hunt unique, crazy, off
the charts entrepreneurs who I know are gonna change the world. And the first time I ever
saw Stephen at an event, I did not leave the event
until I’d cornered him, and told him what I needed to tell him, because I knew you were gonna be exactly that type of person, and here’s why it’s so important to me Stephen. It’s because I could tell
the first time I saw you, you were gonna have a
massive effect on the world. But here’s what I know
about entrepreneurs. You’re gonna have the
biggest effect on the people closest to you. The people who are most
proximal, your team. – Yeah.
– And when I see an entrepreneur like you Stephen, I’m like “Man, if that guy builds a team “he’s gonna change hundreds of lives “internally in his company,
they’re gonna change “millions of lives
externally, and I know those “hundreds of people
will build your legacy.” And when I see somebody
like you I’m like, man! That is the path, let me
show you how to do this. And the fact that it’s working, is like, ah it makes me so excited every day. This is why I get up
out of bed every morning and do what I do. – Ah, it’s so fun man, feeling’s mutual. You walked up, it was from that
fat event that you were at. – Ah ha. – And you walked up and said
“There’s a huge company in you “and I don’t think you know
it, and I’m gonna help you “pull it out of you.” I remember when you said
that I was like (raspberry) (laughing)
I was so scared, I was like “There’s no
way that this is real! “I know who you are, are you kidding me?” (laughing) It freaked me out, and I had to own my own vision for a while. It actually took me a
while to practice that. Anyway, so much has gone
on in mental clarity and development from what you’ve taught, not just these systems and things around, it’s really cool. – So let’s give the second one Stephen
– Yeah, sorry, sorry. So first you have a
strategic, oh don’t apologize, shit I love this part. (laughing) So first you have a strategic plan. Second, the thing that you need to have is a system to communicate that plan. Let me tell you something
about us as entrepreneurs. We think we’re good communicators,
we’re lying to ourselves. (laughing)
The fact is we are haphazard and emotional, and we’re pumped one second
and we’re not the next, and we’re all over the place,
and here’s what happens. When we have a team that has to deal with a personality like
ours, and there’s not a system for communication, it’s random and haphazard and
overwhelming, and it comes from all angles and they’re
waiting for word from on high. – Hmm.
– Here’s the fact, is if you’re the
entrepreneur in charge you’re the most important person in
the building all the time. You’re the most important
person on the team, in the tribe, in the group. And they’re all waiting
to see what you say. And if they’re waiting for
days and nothing’s happened, they start thinking “Is something wrong? “Did something go bad? “Did we do something wrong?” If you have a system where, as an example my team knows every Monday
at 4:00 we’re all gonna be on a weekly meeting together. They also know every day at 9:27 a.m. we’re gonna be on a daily
huddle, and I’ll be there. They know that once a
month we’re gonna have a meeting where we show
our strategic plan. They know once a month
we’re gonna have a meeting where they all get the results. So they all know when
they’re gonna communicate with me and how, and so as
a result, from the first day you’re on our team there’s a system that you hear from me. Not just me pumping stuff
out there haphazardly. And so as a result, my
team knows they’re gonna hear from me, they trust
it and here’s what happens. I set the expectations,
I meet the expectations, we create trust. So I create trust with my
team every time I do that. And here’s the fact. If your team trusts you, you
get way more out of them. If your team trusts you,
they will do more for you. And if your team trusts you,
you’ll get discretionary effort, which means when they’re driving when they’re showering, when they’re doing something else
they’re gonna be thinking about your business. Why? Because it gives them momentum. So if you have a strategic
plan and a system to communicate it, you’re ahead of 99% of companies out there. – Okay.
– And Stephen, same thing for you right? With the system, the structure? Like we all fight structure, but once you put it in place isn’t it incredible? – Oh it’s amazing! Stuff’s getting done right
now, that we set in place once. And then I’ll be like “Oh,
podcast episode just launched.” Like “Oh, what day is it? “Oh that’s sweet! “Everyone just put it
out, all right, cool!” – Right, I remember when I started getting messages like “Hey, I
love the new podcast!” And I’m like “Oh, we put a podcast out? “Nice!” – I didn’t do that, what
are you talking about? (laughing) – So you have a strategic
plan, then a system to communicate. Here’s the third one, now
this is big, really big, and most business owners
just, they don’t look at this ever and it’s the biggest struggle is, or one of the biggest struggles is; you have to have a system to consistently document the right
processes in your business. – Hmm.
– And by documentation I mean having a flowchart, having a process document,
having a checklist. Having something that
shows you how the important things in your business are
done over and over again. You know, and this is an example that I, I was gonna say if you
walk into a McDonald’s and you look above the fry cooker, there is a process to cook
fries above that fry cooker. If you will get anything that happens in that McDonald’s, there’s
a process for literally every single thing,
including unlocking the door, turning off the alarm, sweeping the floor. That’s why there’s a consistent
experience at McDonald’s. I’m not saying it’s a good experience, I’m saying it’s consistent. – Sure.
– Now, right? – Yeah.
– And so in most businesses, in most
entrepreneurial businesses, there’s no process. In fact it’s even scarier than that. The process lives either
in the owner’s head or in individual people’s heads. So you lose a person,
you lose the company. You lose a person, you lose a big chunk of what you’re doing. – Hmm.
– So you have to have a system in a
business to consistently evaluate what processes
are in the company, and then on a monthly and weekly basis document the right ones. And the way that I
would suggest you start, is you’ll get you customer experience, like what is the customer
experiencing in your company and what process documentation
do you have to back it up to make sure that is
completely consistent? If you do that, you’re gonna
beat most people out there. Because, again 99% of
entrepreneurial companies have little to nothing documented
in any type of process. – They’re just shooting
in random spots 24/7. (Steve makes shooting noises) – Or they’re doing stuff
like “Here’s how we do “our customer onboarding, I trained Suzy, “Suzy trained Annie, Annie trained Bob “and now John does it.” And you’re like “Oh, cool! “Let’s go and see what John’s doing.” Well John’s doing nothing
close to what Suzy and Bob and everybody else
were originally doing, and so you have these degrading
processes in your business. And here’s what happens. When you look at
entrepreneurial businesses, they tend to do this. They go up in revenue, they come back down in
revenue, they go up in revenue, they come back down. If you’re inside those
companies hundreds of times like I have been, here’s
what I can tell you. Revenue goes up as the process is working, and then when it breaks
it comes back down, Period, that’s why
businesses don’t continue to go forward. There’s processes
breaking in the business. Whether it’s marketing, sales, delivery, whatever it is there’s a process breaking. When you document them
you make them bulletproof. So in our business we actually
use Lucidchart flowcharts, – Okay.
– we use Sheets in Google Sheets, but then
we also use a new product called Process Street
which is a distributed, automated process document
system which is incredible. So we have all of our
processes in Process Street and we have a distributed
team around the world and we have somebody in
Ireland who can do their part of the process, as soon as
they hit the last button it transfers to somebody here in the US who can do their part of the process. – That’s awesome.
– So documenting your processes and putting
them in place, game-changing. – Holy cow, okay I wrote that down. I’m taking tons of
notes so everyone knows, I hope they are as well. And I’m not sharing! (laughing) – is the company and we, we are so happy with it because Stephen here’s– I want everyone to know,
Katy and I, we’ve run, we’ve had five businesses
get over $10,000,000 a year. And in all five of them we ran
them with paper checklists. This is the first time we
have automated checklists in Process Street. The last information products
business that we had, we literally had three-ring binders that we would carry around the
office and check off stuff. Because having a three-ring
binder with a process was so much better than
having somebody trying to do it from memory. Now with Process Street
we can distribute that three-ring binder and I can get reporting on who’s doing what. – That’s amazing. Yeah I’ve actually seen
the three-ring binder and I’ve thought “Holy
crap, that really is “how he’s doing it.” ‘Cause you would teach
it and then I watched you actually do it ’cause
you would record your stand up meeting calls in the morning – Yeah.
– And I was “Oh my gosh, “that’s so cool!”
– Yeah. – “I’m not doing that, interesting.” Then I go back and take
notes and start it, yeah. (Alex laughs) – And then implement. Well, and you know,
here’s this phrase in the entrepreneurial world. Ah, I kind of get a little triggered right?
(Steve laughs) – Let it out baby! – You know the thing that
people say from stage, “Here’s what I want all of you to know. “All you have to do is stop
working in your business “and start working on your business.” And I’m always like “Oh, good, thanks. “Thanks for solving it all for us dude, “that was awesome. “You just solved all my
problems with that really “cliched BS thing that
everybody tells entrepreneurs.” ‘Cause my instant thought
when I was in my twenties was like, well first my
instant thought was like “How do I get on stage to
punch that guy in the face?” (Steve laughs)
And my then my second thought was like “What a load of crap! “If I don’t work in the business nobody’s “answering the phones, sucker.” Like, what’s going on here? I don’t know how to make that change. And so the way you make
that change is working on the business means
documenting processes. Making it clear, making it repeatable, making it so that it’s real. And so that you have a strategic plan that everyone understands,
a communication system everyone knows is gonna happen, a system for documenting processes so everyone can repeat what’s going on with your clients, and then the next step, and this is big, is a consistent system for identifying, documenting
and then prioritizing the right project in the business. – Ah, this changed my life. Hardcore.
– Whoa, and this is, whoa Stephen you
know how game-changing this is because here’s the problem in most businesses. Projects are selected emotionally. Period, like I can’t tell you that they’re done any other way, they’re emotional. You go to an event and somebody says “I’m doing this thing.” And then the next day
you’re doing that thing. Or you know, you watch
a podcast or you listen to a podcast or you hear a
webinar, and the person says “Hey, I added this thing to my business.” And the next day you’re
trying to do that thing. And in our business, if I
have a really great idea that I want to implement
today, like if I’m like “Man, this is really
high sense of urgency, “we should get this implemented.” It’ll probably be
somewhere around 45 days. And I’m totally okay with that. That’s the timing it
should be in my business. Now if there’s an emergency
we’re gonna fix it that day, but if I’m like “Hey I see an opportunity “here with something.” It’s probably a 45 day event, why? I have a team and a structure, and a plan, and we have a system
that’s moving forward. We’re already hitting our numbers, why would I mess with anything? I actually protect what’s
going on in the business and I add things gently,
I add things carefully. I make sure my team’s into
it too and I make sure we have consensus, because like just in the last 60 days we’ve gone
from two million recurring to two point three million recurring, – That’s awesome!
– so why would I mess with what we’re doing? – Yeah.
– Yeah so when somebody’s like “Hey Alex I got this “great idea for your business.” I’m like “Awesome, get in line.” – Yeah.
– And we’ll put it into our system to see if
we want to actually do this, because the fact is,
if you’re getting sold as an entrepreneur on
what your next project should be, you’re probably
in the wrong place. – Yeah, that’s fascinating,
I really agree with that. And you know, it was your planning system for figuring out which
projects, I still do it. Top of every three
months and it has guided everything we do. And while I do follow a few rabbits and I’m practicing that,
bringing it back in, we still largely follow, though, the plan as to what the business needs, – Yeah.
– and that’s grow and scale rather than this impulse of like “Yeah, oh shiny object, shiny object, “that looks good, that looks good!” And it’s been that discipline,
that’s the other thing that’s always up is my waterfall (laughs) – Yeah, yeah, always! I mean mine’s up right now. I mean I could share it right now. – Yeah.
– And the reason is I always have my strategic plan pulled up in front of me, I’m looking
at it every single day, I’m asking myself “Is the
team doing what we need “to do here? “How do I support people more? “How do I help them do this more?” Because when you look
at our strategic plan, here’s what it’s made up of. Our one year outcomes,
our client-centric mission which is our Superbowl, our hall of fame like the long term, but then it also has the 90 day projects we’re
focusing on right now and what we’re doing
this month to get there. So that waterfall of
long term, to one year, to 90 days, to 30 days, I can see it all on one document and it tells me exactly where I should be supporting the team and what we’re getting done. And so here’s what happens; I go to an event, if I go to an event– I went to an event a couple of weeks ago. I had an idea that was like
“Oh man, we have to do this.” Then I come back to the
office, I look at the waterfall and I’m like “What do I want to kill in order to do this thing over here?” And you know what the evaluation was? Nothing, I’m not going to
take anything off this, that would be crazy. – Yeah.
– And there’s no way I’m gonna go to my team and say “Hey guys, in addition
to all the other stuff “you’re committed to,
here’s a hot potato.” I just backed down and I waited till the next time we had a planning meeting and I said “Hey, there’s this
thing I think we should do.” We evaluated it, and then
it went into the system and went into the plan. There is very little knee-jerk
reaction in our company because we are going so
fast in a forward direction, that for me to challenge that in any way it has to be game-changing
at a different level, so it rarely even happens. – Yeah, black-ops right? Call them black-ops? – Black-ops.
– No black-ops! (laughs) – No black-ops baby,
if it’s not on the plan you don’t do it or it’s black-ops. And usually the biggest
creators of black-ops are guys like Stephen and I. So my team has an open license to tell me if I’m doing black-ops. (Steve laughs)
They will actually call me out in a huddle, in a meeting, they’ll be like “Ah, this sounds like black-ops.” And then we’ll make a note, we’ll put it in a parking lot and do it later. – Oh that’s so cool, okay. – Yeah, well that’s one of
the most important things you can do when you have a team Stephen, is you train your team to criticize you and then you congratulate
them when they do. – That’s really cool,
then they have license to actually flex their brain
instead of feel like they’re in a box.
– Absolutely. (Steve laughs)
You know I heard a story once about Larry
Page, who runs Google, – Hmm.
– and there was a story of he was in a meeting and he really strongly stated a point and one of the team members
got emotional about it and started yelling at him. She was like “I think you’re wrong “and this is why you’re wrong.” And Page was smiling. And afterwards she asked somebody
“Hey why was he smiling?” ‘Cause she backed him
down and he actually said “You know what, I think this
deserves more investigation. “Let’s do this.” And then she walked
out and she was shaking and all adrenalined
up, she had just yelled at the CEO of Google,
like what the heck’s gonna happen to her? And she turned to somebody next to her and she was like “He was
smiling, is that because “he’s gonna come down hard on me?” And the person was like
“No, he was smiling “because you confronted him,
he loves it, he wants it.” He knows that if people
aren’t confronting him, he’s in a bad place. – Mm. – So I look at it in my team and I’m like “Hey if my team’s not
challenging me a little bit “then we’re all just
marching behind a duck.” You know, I don’t wanna
have ducklings behind me, I want people who are saying
“Hey, this might work, “this might not work, we
might have a better idea.” So you give your team
license to criticize, and license to call you on stuff. – Hmm. – So.
– Gosh I love that. – So here’s the fifth one. So we have the strategic
plan, communication system, selecting and documenting
the right processes, selecting and achieving
the right projects, and then this is big, it’s
finding the right people. And it’s not just
finding the right people, it’s evaluating the
company, understanding what the company needs right
now and what can you offload that is going to
create the most momentum, not just for you but for the team, for everything that you’re doing together. Like what is the position that you need to put in place next so that the company moves forward the fastest? And unfortunately, just
like everything else I’ve named, planning, projects,
process, all of those, people also become emotional. An entrepreneur wakes
up one morning and says “I’m doing too much, I’m
gonna hire an assistant,” Then they have the
assistant sit next to them for three weeks and they wonder why this doesn’t work out. It’s because you had
the thought to get help, which by the way I congratulate you on, but there was no process there
to actually make it work. And so here’s the process you need. One, you evaluate what’s
going on in the company and understand what the company needs. Then you turn it into a job description. You use it to recruit, then
you do tons of interviewing, you drive it until you have three people that you can select from,
you hire one of them and then you do at least
a 90 day onboarding, high intensity onboarding. When I’m onboarding an
executive team member I meet with them every
day for the first month, three times a week for the second month, and two times a week for the third month. People tell me “Hey man, doesn’t that “feel like overkill?” I’m like “You don’t
understand what it means “to have an executive team. “Your job is to build
relationships with those people.” You want to know how
you build relationships? There’s one commodity
that build relationships. One, time, that’s it. And so when I’m onboarding,
when I’m bringing somebody one, whether
it’s on my executive team or anywhere in the
business, somebody is doing that high intensity onboarding with them, up close and personal every single day for the first 30 days making sure we have no drift. And so, when you have a system
to select the right people, bring them on and then
onboard them the right way, here’s what you avoid,
and Stephen this is like– Ah, this statistic drives me crazy. In corporate America, I
know because I used to be a consultant there. In corporate America they
would say things like “Well we just hired
so-and-so in that position “so they’ll probably be
productive in four to six months.” – Oh. – The first time I heard that I was like “Did he just say four to six months? “Does he mean four to six days, or does he “really mean four to six months?” Because in my business,
even way back then, if I had to wait four months for somebody to be productive I would
have, they’re gone! – Yeah, yeah, they’re gone! – And so in our business we actually have this experience right now. We recently brought on
somebody else, a new person to help us in marketing,
and with our onboarding process he was actually achieving products within the first five
days of his first week. – That’s so cool!
– And that’s how it is, like that’s how it should be. You want somebody to come in, be effective and start contributing
and creating momentum. Because here’s what will happen. As an entrepreneur, if you’re
wired anything like I am and I know Stephen is,
if you have somebody on your team that starts to feel like they’re not carrying their
own weight, you won’t sleep. You won’t sleep, it will rip
you apart, Stephen am I right? – Yeah (laughing) – It will destroy you, and so
here’s the question though, are they not carrying their own weight because they’re lazy
or they don’t want to, or they aren’t the right
person, or is it because it’s not clear?
– They have no idea what they’re doing.
– They don’t have confidence.
– Yeah I didn’t help them. – Right, ’cause here’s the thing. Your team needs three things
in order to ultimately be effective and to be
the type of team you want. And here’s what I mean by that. As an entrepreneur here’s
what you want, you want a team that just does stuff
and asks permission later. You want a team that
achieves and lets you know how things worked out. That’s it, I just know this
is how entrepreneurs work. You want people who make
really good decisions. You want people who move things forward. You want people who don’t
stand around waiting for stuff. And if you want to have a team that actually moves things
forward as an entrepreneur, you gotta spend the time with them and let ’em know what your ethos are, let ’em know how you make decisions. That’s how you duplicate decision making. – Hm, gosh I love that. Okay, so strategic plan,
system to communicate, system to document
processes that can be shared inside the whole biz, documenting projects and the ones you’re gonna work on? – Yeah.
– That was so, oh my gosh. And then finding the right
people, and I actually personally just went through
your onboarding training and it’s so awesome,
– Oh nice! – ’cause it goes through
and it’s like this, you basically create a runway for ’em, right?
– Yeah. – And if they don’t
land, don’t worry you’ve got parachutes and there’s jumby cords all over the place, and there’s like
– Yeah. – you’re doing everything
you can to help ’em win fast and lots of small tiny wins that build that confidence, and I was like “That is brilliant.” ‘Cause that is not the way
you’re taught anywhere else. – So Stephen check this out man. We recently fell out of the lucky tree on recruiting and we hired
this guy named Greg Duby and he is, ah, amazing. He’s like, he’s just one
of the most exciting guys I’ve ever worked with
because he’s so solid and so centered, and just
so good at what he does. And Greg is a former
nuclear propulsion tech in the Navy, so you know what that is, that’s the guy who rides the bomb around in the submarine okay?
– Yeah, that’s amazing! – Yeah, you have to have advanced degrees in Physics, advanced degrees in Math, I mean he’s literally a rocket scientist. So he worked in the Navy,
then he worked at NASA, then he worked for some of the larger consulting firms out
there, I mean he’s done incredible stuff in his career. He’s just, he is one of
the most solid people I’ve ever worked with, and within about two or three weeks in to our company, in one of our daily huddles, we said “Who wants to get caught being, “or who got caught being awesome?” It’s where we call each
other out, and he said “You know, I just wanna
call this company out “for being awesome. “I’ve been here for
three weeks, I’ve never “had an experience like
this getting onboarded “anywhere, I’m up and
running, I’m excited, “I feel like I’m really part of the team. “I feel like I’ve worked here forever “and I’m three weeks in.” And this is somebody who worked at some of the best
consulting firms in the world, NASA and the Navy! And our little tiny
company has impressed him so much because we did onboarding, because he knew what
he was supposed to do. And as a result, Greg, I think we’re about three months in with him, – Yeah.
– And dude, there’s projects that I thought were
gonna take a year or two that are getting done this week. – That’s so cool! – It’s crazy. – It’s just a completely
different way to do it. Yo, the one thing I hated in the military, I love the military, but, you know, some things that are rough and that is that there’s no clear guidelines on how to win ahead of time. – Yeah.
– The way you’re instructed is by hitting barriers and
then you get punished for it, and you’re like “Just
tell me ahead of time “and I wouldn’t do it! “But all right, let’s do
more push-ups you know?” Anyway.
(Alex laughs) – Something tells me you
did a lot of push-ups Steve. – I just want to say thank you so much for being on here. I asked for 30 minutes
and you just completely over-delivered and I
just really want to say thank you to you. My audience already
knows very well of you. Where can people go to
learn more about you but specifically also get your help inside the business? – So the best place to learn more about us is to go to our podcast. You know I publish a
podcast four days a week, which is essentially a
one-on-one conversation with an entrepreneur growing a business. And the way that I create
each one of those episodes is when a question or issue comes up in our coaching groups, I
create an episode around it, we distribute it to the group. But then also we distribute it to anybody who’s listening,
so you can get the same coaching that I’m giving
my high-level clients right on our podcast, it’s called Momentum for the Entrepreneurial
Personality Type, and you can check it out
at And then if you want to understand more about our products,
about our coaching groups you can go to our website But better is to just reach out to me or to one of my team
members through Facebook, the easiest thing is just reach out to me, I’ll connect you with the right person in our company, and we’ll
go through a process with you to help you
understand if we can help you. We do not, you know
Stephen, we’re pretty neat, we don’t sell everybody. We actually get on the
phone with a lot of people who we sell later, but we won’t
sell you unless it’s time. We know exactly what solutions we provide and if you have those
issues and they link up, then we’ll work together but we go though a personal inventory in
order to help you do that. So if anybody’s interested
in getting on a call with a member of my team,
you can also shortcut the entire process by going
to Answer a few questions and you can just set up a call link and you’ll be on a call with one of my team members. They’ll help you qualify,
understand where you are. And just so you know,
we don’t do sales calls, they are all consulting calls. When you get on a call with my team, you won’t ever feel
like you’re being sold, you’ll feel like you’re being helped. – Which is exactly what I have felt when I started doing that as well, just so you all know he’s
very serious about that that’s very real. I always feel like I’m being
helped by anyone on his team. Anyone, and come to find out later “Oh that was the sales guy!” You know what I mean? (Alex laughs) They dare to go in and actually they want to change the world and they’re very serious about it. So thank you so much, appreciate it. Check out Billionaire Code. The Momentum podcast is a goldmine, it is one of those gems on the internet that is actually worth all of your time and attention, and thanks so much for being on here Alex,
I really appreciate you and love you and thank
you for being on here. – Stephen, dude, this has been an honor. I hope to be able to
get invited back again, and as a Sales Funnel Radio
listener this is really cool. (Steve laughs)
I appreciate you man! – Thanks, I appreciate it! (pop piano riff) Hey awesome episode right? Hey once I figured out the simple patterns and formulas that make this game work, I had a new problem. Back when I eventually left my job and launched my personal business, I sold about $200,000 of product in around three months-ish,
and while I thought I was King Kong a new problem started. I was the business, there
weren’t any systems, I was support, I was fulfillment. I was the one in charge
of getting the ads around, I was the sales department,
I was marketing department. And I knew I wouldn’t survive it alone, better yet I knew I’d never
seen a rich solo-preneur. This game takes a team. Contrast that to now and my company does tons of stuff that
I don’t know how to do. What changed? His name is Alex Charfen, check
him out at So I usually don’t bring tons of people on Sales Funnel Radio,
you should know that his programs combine
with my marketing skills or why my business is
killing it in revenue today and not killing me personally. Alex Charfen’s programs and training have been life changing
for me and my family, and taught me who I really
am and what I’m meant to be. So when you’re ready to
build an actual business, an actual asset and not
just make this another job. When you’re ready to keep
the role of entrepreneur but learn the role of CEO, go get started with Alex Charfen at That’s C-H-A-R-F-E-N

19 thoughts on “Alex Charfen – Essential Systems for Every Business – Episode 255

  1. #Awesomeness . such a great episode. a few clicks in my brain regarding WHY you do WHAT you do. love it Stephen Larsen

  2. Omg WOW I don't even know. Visionary yes, Trying to do it myself me, Alex Wow motivated, unmotivated so me, vulnerable : dispersed plan which means building nuggets everywhere yet have not put the nuggets into a gold block. Crazy value in this video both of you I take a bow and Alex Thank You amazing.

  3. Thank you, I watched it all the way through and took notes.
    My Friend Daxy told me about you and I've been hooked. Keep Crushing it.

  4. 16:05–18:40 is a real gem! I'm learning that as an entrepreneur you need to frequently assess and load-balance your activities.

  5. We loved this one Steve! Got so much from Alex and really helped us figure out what we should be focused on next.

  6. Alex, thank you for coming on and sharing!! I've followed SFR for a while now and love the content but I have a brick and mortar business that has driven me crazy until I started doing the things you talked about in this episode. Thank you very much!
    Steve – keep up the excellent work!

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