[00:00:05.850] - Ben
What is up everybody? Welcome to the Restoration Rundown podcast, the podcast that's dedicated to you, the restoration business owner. My name is Ben. I'm your host, obviously, and I am the CEO of Ironclad Restoration Marketing where I help restoration business owners get more sales just by getting their internet marketing. Right now we're recording this episode leading up to the holidays. So as you guys are getting ready for Christmas and New Year or whatever holiday you may celebrate, I hope you get a lot out of this episode. I'm really excited to bring our next guest on. These guys are industry, very well known in the industry, been in the restoration industry for over 13 years. They run a really popular, really cool podcast called the Head Heart and Boots podcast. If you've heard about it, I want you to help me welcome Chris and Brandon from Floodlight Consulting Group. Guys, what's going on? How are you doing?
[00:00:52.510] - Brandon
Hey, buddy, good.
[00:00:53.630] - Chris
It's fun to be on your show, man.
[00:00:55.200] - Brandon
Yeah, I'm really into the jam that was on there prior to us going live here. I don't know people here, but a.
[00:01:02.240] - Ben
Lot of people don't know, but that's actually me playing the music live.
[00:01:05.680] - Brandon
[00:01:07.190] - Ben
[00:01:08.790] - Brandon
I was like, dude, that's you.
[00:01:12.710] - Ben
I was playing it behind my head and stuff back here. A lot of people know. But how are you guys doing, man? I know and everybody heard I was just a guest on your podcast. I appreciate that. We got a lot out of that. It was really cool. So I had to get you guys on as quickly as possible because a lot of things that a lot of our clients are struggling with, you guys directly address with your consulting group. So before we get into that, I want everybody to get to know you guys a little bit more for my tens of followers or subscribers subscribe there. So Brandon, Chris, I'm going to let you take it away. Give me a little bit about your background and talk to me a little bit about what you guys do.
[00:01:45.940] - Chris
Sure, yeah, sure. Well, I'll kick that off. So a lot of my background is in insurance. So I own some small businesses in my 20s. Kind of got started that way. Ultimately ended up one of my companies. I was selling to a State Farm agent. I was selling ink and laser toner cartridges for a business I started with a buddy and I met a State Farm agent and that launched me into that whole world. And I spent gosh the better part of eight years working for State Farm Corporate, eventually owning my own agency. And then I just decided I wanted to get out of that captive insurance space. I've told a lot of people I really loved claims. I was like, you sell promises all day, then somebody has a big homeowner's claim and there's not a ton you can do as an agent right I broke away from that and started doing consulting, and that's where I got connected with the industry. Brandon and I ended up connecting. A childhood friend of mine had bought a restoration company and was growing it. So that was kind of how I got into the industry. And I loved it.
[00:02:52.100] - Chris
It was just like a duck to water because now all of a sudden, all we do is claims and we can really optimize the experience for those customers, whereas I had very little control over it as an agent. So that was kind of my pathway in. And then I've always kind of had that sales and marketing focus. So I came up building out a sales team for Brandon and I'm business that we were growing and ultimately eventually got recruited away by Bell Ford, their national team, and spent some time there working for the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
[00:03:28.800] - Ben
I don't know if anybody's ever heard of them.
[00:03:30.870] - Chris
[00:03:32.210] - Ben
A little bit more. Not as vague with the companies that we're talking about.
[00:03:37.030] - Chris
[00:03:37.880] - Ben
You know Jake?
[00:03:39.270] - Chris
Yeah, who doesn't, right?
[00:03:42.230] - Ben
Anyways, that's awesome, man. That sounds like a really perfect way to get into the industry, and I guess we'll back it up. Chris, what about you, buddy?
[00:03:51.380] - Brandon
Oh, I'm Brandon.
[00:03:52.260] - Chris
Were you done?
[00:03:52.730] - Ben
Did I just cut you off or.
[00:03:53.640] - Chris
You just got me.
[00:03:54.430] - Ben
Tell me all about yourself.
[00:03:55.850] - Brandon
Yeah, he's done. Once you pass State Farm, Chris is done.
[00:04:00.200] - Ben
It's all good ball for I'm like, damn, dude, you're like really name dropping now. I didn't know how to yeah, that.
[00:04:07.410] - Brandon
Was kind of the weird thing is that both he and I, that was kind of like the last run in the field, is that we got to play with Belfort. And that was a really great experience.
[00:04:17.670] - Chris
It was a great experience.
[00:04:18.310] - Brandon
By the way, lots of good things there. You get affirmed in the fact that, hey, business is business and these kinds of challenges kind of everyone's wrestling with similar challenges. And however, there is something that happens at that scale where you get to learn there are some better ways, there are some more efficient ways to deploy the workforce. So it was a massive lesson, but yeah, I came up I actually have a military background. I spent about eight years in the infantry. Four of that was with the 82nd Airborne Division. And then I went into the National Guard. I actually got deployed early in, I guess, the war, or whatever we want to call it, as part of the National Guard, which sounds just bonkers to say out loud, but, of course, during that time, a lot of the forces deployed overseas for that. But I did that and then I spent the majority of kind of my professional career coming up in different construction facets and then eventually made my way to our industry. I literally knew nothing about it. I'd never even heard of disaster restoration I knew nothing about it. I just knew that they had an open project manager role and that it paid well.
[00:05:31.800] - Brandon
So I stepped into that and it started about a ten year journey, building a team up in the Pacific Northwest, and man, it was a really neat experience. I loved just about every minute of it. I really geeked out on building leadership teams and developing engagement with our employees, and it was just a really neat experience. I love the work that we do. I got a little bit of that hero syndrome right past military and things like that. Man, what a better industry to provide a service and still in many ways be a hero. And so I just fell in love with it and I really don't want to be disconnected from it. I love the industry. So that's kind of what got us.
[00:06:15.050] - Ben
Here for everybody out there. That's one of the reasons I feel drawn to you, what you guys do and who you are as people. Because if anybody that's listening to this or knows me personally, the hero mentality is a huge part of what we believe in. Our core is educating and providing value and helping people. Because at the end of the day, no matter what business I run, I do a lot of different things. I've done a lot of different things. Helping people is at the core of what I really am interested in doing and moving along to what you guys do. If anybody doesn't know out there, I haven't heard about you guys. You guys own floodlight consulting group? You guys help restoration companies across the United States, from everything from sales to operations, all these different things that people are falling through. But the big one and going back to the hero thing is your leadership training, which I was drawn to looking at some of your old podcast episodes going through your website and stuff like that. Because I think that people miss how important that is as a business owner to everybody and everything, as part of your business, as being a right leader.
[00:07:11.710] - Ben
Do you guys agree with that? Do you guys see a lot of failures in that? Okay, yeah. Talk to me a little bit about Floodlight. Let's talk about the business first. And I want to dive a little bit more into the leadership aspect of it because as we're talking and as I was putting this together, I really wanted to focus on that part.
[00:07:27.100] - Brandon
[00:07:27.790] - Ben
[00:07:28.240] - Brandon
Well, we won't deny that because we geek out on it. Both of us do. Chris, as he alluded to, came up on the sales side. I've always been on the operational side, and he and I just I think part of it has been our professional relationship. Like we're kind of kindred spirits in a lot of ways, and I think that it was really natural for us both in friendship and professional kind of strategy is we really always wanted to keep sales and operations teams really unified, really connected, be communicating similar patterns, like, where are we going? Why are we doing it? And it was natural for us because it just was the way that we professionally interacted with one another. And so both of us inadvertently have really become focused on and really enjoy teaching people leadership because it applies to all sides of the business. And anyways, we just love it. So I think we naturally kind of started to lean that way pretty early in the development of the consulting agency.
[00:08:26.370] - Chris
Yeah. I think one of the things we've realized over the years by getting our nose bloodied by life and the experience of leading teams and building businesses is just how important self awareness is to leadership. And regardless of what role you're in, whether it's sales or field operations or general management or owning a company or whatever, that's the actual journey is sort of identifying where our ego is at in the behaviors and reactions and kind of our default behaviors is just understanding why am I doing and saying the things that I'm doing? That's a key part of leadership in our experience, and it's something that we don't often talk about. I think a lot of times the leadership books that many of us have read are really around tactics, sort of the tactics of leaders. But getting our head right, it seems like, is really the foundational piece of understanding. Why am I motivated to do this? And why do I have that reaction every time this situation comes up with my team? Right? And then going from there?
[00:09:41.430] - Ben
And I firmly believe that. So people tend to, instead of being introspective on themselves to create the leader, they're just saying, how do I act like a leader versus being a leader? And a lot of times people can see through that. And I very much believe in what you're saying because you either are a leader or you're going to work on yourself first, because it starts with your foundation. If your foundation is crap, then you can't expect any of the results, or at least for a long time. They won't be consistent, and they won't last a long time for sure. You mentioned books. I like to read a lot as much as I possibly can. Any specific books you guys can recommend out there for anybody listening? Like your favorite would pick one leadership book or author. Make it easier that you guys could both recommend?
[00:10:26.330] - Brandon
I've got mine because we're also about to read it again.
[00:10:29.230] - Chris
Yeah, I got another one.
[00:10:32.440] - Brandon
We'll give you two. Yeah. So mine is Keith Cunningham is the author. And it's the road. Less stupid.
[00:10:38.970] - Ben
I love that title.
[00:10:40.000] - Brandon
It's money, man. It's really challenging. I think Chris and I both kind of views it more as a workbook. Like, you got to read it, but then you also got to have it around because you're referring to it a lot.
[00:10:51.420] - Ben
It's not an audio book category.
[00:10:53.140] - Brandon
Yeah, it's got to be supplemented, for sure.
[00:10:55.680] - Chris
It's a leader's manual. Yeah, I would have to say that's tough because there's so many great books out there. But one of my favorites, again, I just more nerd out on how do we think about leadership and think about ourselves, right? And a favorite book I've recommended to so many people gifted at a gazillion times is Leadership and Self Deception by the Rbinger Institute. It's one of the most unsexy book titles. And who the heck is the Rbinger Institute? Well, they're a consulting group that they do conflict resolution, leadership training, all kinds of different things globally. But the book is a business fable. And the basic premise of it is that as a leader, we can either be in the box or out of the box. And when we're in the box, we tend to see others as objects, things to overcome someone, people to use as a vehicle to get where we want to go. We tend to just objectify those around us to get the stuff we want. When we step out of the box, that's when we reorient ourselves around, hey, these are people just like me with the same hopes, fears, dreams, ambitions, anxieties, et cetera.
[00:12:10.570] - Chris
It just underscores the importance of us being out of the box whenever possible, but also the self awareness of recognizing when we're in the box and we're behaving out of fear, judgment, anger, et cetera. It's a fantastic book about sort of the essence of leadership and how do we identify when we're in a healthy place and how do we identify when we're closed off and starting to objectify others.
[00:12:35.330] - Ben
Yeah, I love that. So as far as your consulting, what you do when you step into a restoration company, what percentage of this and kind of how does that fit into? Look, what we see a lot of the same problems. And like you said before, businesses, business, a lot of people struggle with the same things. Consistency, being at the top of the list, having zero sales experience is one of those things up there. I love what you just mentioned with the leadership and self deception, with being an in the box leader out the box. That makes a lot of sense because most business owners are in the box. Right. A lot of guys or women that we deal with on a daily basis, they've probably started this on their own. They have one other person, they're in it. They're micromanaging. They're used to doing it. So when you guys do step in with a new company, what's your strategy on how do you write the ship? I mean, I'm sure there's a lot of every man out there, for lack of better terms, of consistent issues, you guys see do you guys have some sort of strategy that you or what do you guys bring to the table when somebody hires you?
[00:13:35.200] - Brandon
Yeah, that's a good question.
[00:13:36.870] - Chris
I'll let you take that run with that, man.
[00:13:39.020] - Brandon
So I think one of the things there's kind of two pieces, first off, and actually I didn't coin this chuck Violin. Violin Management. Awesome consulting firm, really great man. A guy that I admire a lot, he talks about presenting problems. And the reality of it is that most clients, most business owners, they're really good at identifying some presenting problems. Things that they're comfortable telling you are broken. And so inevitably, to just be fully transparent, we have to sell to that first. People don't know to fix the things they can't see. And so there's a reality that we have to come in, we have to be operationally sound, we have to be sales driven. We have to do all these things first. And we normally identify those problems within the organization. But then really, I think where the needle begins to move is we try to show people what is the root cause of these things. And a lot of times it's not what people anticipate.
[00:14:35.740] - Ben
[00:14:36.200] - Brandon
A lot of times it really is. This matter of I've got gifted people, they had a technical skill set. We kept seeing that we could depend on them, so we kept moving them up in our ranks and now they're leading people and have yet to gain any leadership skill set. They were a great technician, they were a great project manager, they were a great whatever. Now they're overseeing teams of people and they're trying to motivate and unify and create engagement and do all these things and they've never spent any time developing those tools. Well, the same thing happens a lot of the times with business owners. They were a contractor, they were XYZ. They just figured it out, right? They made mistakes, they got back up, dusted themselves off. Well, they didn't necessarily learn proactive leadership and management anyways. I think what we identify is when we get onto the ground is that a lot of the things that people have hired us to help with are actually just a symptom of a lack of understanding regarding leadership. Leadership principles, management skills, battle rhythms like what do we do to lead our business? And inevitably we eventually earn enough trust to begin working on those parts of the business.
[00:15:53.060] - Brandon
And when we do that's, normally when the needle starts to move for them, that's a fair overview, right?
[00:15:59.090] - Chris
Yeah, I think so. And I think the how it really ends up looking a little bit different with every customer, but it's rooted in some ways. Formal meetings, we have formal sessions with clients, but a lot of the work happens with these ad hoc interactions. I think one of the things that makes us a little bit different than other consulting companies in the service sector is typically consulting companies work from the top down. Right? It's most of that work and advice and best practices are given to the owner of the company and then it's the owner's charge to then figure out a way to implement and execute while they're still running a company. They still have all the day to day things tugging at their sleeve. And we've come out of it a little bit differently where we have those formal sessions with the ownership and the senior leaders, but then we're also participating in the production meeting. We're doing some modeling, we're working with downline leaders. We're getting in the weeds of the business to help with the implementation, the mentoring, the coaching, so that it accelerates the results because it doesn't all hang on the owner.
[00:17:10.310] - Chris
So we're kind of like a bolt on partner where we are working at a high level with the owners to identify the priorities. But then we're showing up to the meetings and we're getting in those sidebar conversations with department heads and helping them as they start to make the transition. New processes, new procedures, etc.
[00:17:31.230] - Ben
Yeah, that sounds like a super comprehensive approach. At what point? I guess we've covered that a little bit. I'm thinking what kind of company is it like an ideal fit for you guys? I mean, do you guys work with the guy or woman that just started their business? They got a cup of one truck on the ground, they got one van or whatever the case may be. I mean, do you guys work with people like that or do you guys are working with more enterprise levels restoration companies?
[00:17:56.890] - Brandon
It really runs the gambit we see. I think the longer that we're on the ground, of course, the size and scope of firm that we can work with has increased substantially. So it kind of runs the gambit anywhere from a few million to 50 plus million a year in terms of revenue and market share. Again, it's kind of all over the board from single location to 1112 15 locations. I would say though, if we're honest about it, I think the sweet spot is that somewhere around three to 5 million people start to produce enough resources to really invest in the business and really make some of the transitions. Don't get me wrong, we don't come in and start telling people to spend more money. Obviously that would be a benefit to the EBITDA. But what we do is we identify that there are times where we have to invest in the business to create the leadership bandwidth that's required to grow to comprehensively and strategically take the business from where it is now to where it needs to go next. Often what we identify is that teams are just running with skeleton crews and a lot of times it's out of desperation.
[00:19:04.070] - Brandon
They don't have hiring systems. All the things there's only so much juice, right, that you can squeeze from a single unit. And so if you don't have the leadership bandwidth, it's going to be tough for that business to get out of its cycle. So anyways, I think around that mark, they tend to really be a great fit. But we've worked with startups. If the owners are in the right mindset and they've got some investment strategy ready, then we certainly could help them as well.
[00:19:36.090] - Ben
Yeah. And you see, I think that three to 5 million is really cool because I think at that point, if you've gotten there, you get to a point where you can't mask your deficiencies anymore, right. The revenue is so much, and these owners are going to get overwhelmed with what's going on. You lose that rain at some point when you get to that type of revenue yearly, depending on what you're setting up as. So it was really cool to hear that. That's kind of consistent with what we do as well. But the other cool part about that is maybe it's not a fit for Floodlight, but the Head, Heart and Boots podcast you guys run. I implore everybody, and everybody listens to this. Know that I'm all about teaching yourself everything we need to empower you with the data to make sure that you're making the right moves or if you're going to hire somebody to do this stuff for you. Whatever the case may be, you at least know what you're looking for and your head is not in the sand. So you guys do have a podcast, the Head, Heart and Boots that I mentioned before that I was lucky enough to be a guest on.
[00:20:30.720] - Ben
Talk to me a little bit about that, how that came about, and then I want to circle back to the leadership aspect of this before we all have to wrap up.
[00:20:38.510] - Brandon
Yeah, that's sweet.
[00:20:39.940] - Chris
Head, Heart and Boots, it was a bit of a lark. It's like both of us were podcast fans, and we just started playing with it. We sat down. We started recording a couple of shows. The passion was born in the first company that we started to build. Brandon had the we both got excited about it. Brandon went and bought some of the equipment for it. And when we left that company, brandon just bought the equipment from the previous owner and just carried it with him. And so we already had the gear, and at some point we were coming out of, I think, a client session, and we were talking about this topic. We're like, this would make a great podcast show, this story. And so we just did it. We just did a few of them, and it was really fun. And we had this kind of first rush of, I don't know, gratification when we published our first episode, like, man, this is cool. It was just a whole different thing, and it kind of became an outlet for us to process a lot of the conversations and stories and challenges that we were working on with clients.
[00:21:56.140] - Chris
And we thought we'll shoot if this is helpful to our clients engaging in these conversations. Undoubtedly, there's people that would want to listen in on this. And I think, too, one of our goals right out of the gate, I think one of the things we realized as we started consulting and you can't in my experience, I just didn't connect with this until we started working with many companies, is just how we're all in the same mess. Like we're all struggling with the same thing. We have the same head games. And there is something valuable about recognizing I'm not alone because I think as entrepreneurs and business owners and leaders, it is so lonely at the top and you don't know that till you get to the top, whatever that is. It's an apartment leader, a CEO, you know what I mean?
[00:22:45.320] - Ben
[00:22:46.150] - Chris
We just thought it's so gratifying when we end up over drinks or at an event and talking with somebody and you have that realization of, oh shoot, you deal with that too yeah, that we thought there has to be some value here in starting a podcast where we share these things. Hopefully we bring some vulnerability to the struggles and frustrations and anxieties and all that. And then other people listening can be like, oh, okay, I'm not alone, I'm not alone in this.
[00:23:14.900] - Brandon
It's not life or death. It's just a thing.
[00:23:16.910] - Ben
I wish I had a friend to record my podcast with. You guys look like you're having a.
[00:23:20.240] - Brandon
Lot of fun, honestly. We do, man. Just in general, we're both kind of team sport people. We're not solo preneurs. And so I think one of the things that's just kind of magic for us is that a lot of what people are experiencing is just us just being really close friends, like just what it is. And with the podcast, you kind of alluded to this when you first kind of brought up the ideas. The reality of it is some businesses we have, to be honest, we're business owners, we're growing a business, we have responsibilities to our team and our families. We have to identify the avatar that makes the most sense, most likely could work with us and benefit from that partnership. But we also understand that grind from startup to 3 million is a really long journey for a lot of people. And some people never break free of these kind of self imposed ceilings. And the podcast is like, do it on your own time. It's totally free and we're not withholding anything. There's no trade secret, right. It's almost like a passion project for us because it's a way for us to continue to contribute to folks and give them some kind of leg up if they want to take the time to listen to it, pull nuggets out and implement those things and really for a lot of ways too, man.
[00:24:39.440] - Brandon
And I think you can relate to this. It gives people a chance to learn a little bit about us before they ever even think about what it would look like to formalize that relationship. And it's meaningful for both parties. Like for us, it shortens the sales cycle. I don't need to teach you who we are. You already know. And that person has already done kind of their own due diligence to figure out whether or not there's some synergy, though. So I think there's value in that as well.
[00:25:06.320] - Chris
They either like the way we think about the business and think about business in general, or they don't. It either resonates or not. And it does. It's interesting that this happened several months ago now, but we had a client that reached out to us. Hey, I've been listening to your podcast for quite a while. I really want to talk. And we started to kind of go through we have sort of an introduction thing we do in our sales call.
[00:25:27.270] - Brandon
And they're like, hey, look, I don't need to do that.
[00:25:29.630] - Chris
I already know I want to work with you. Just give me a number and if I can afford it. And so that was kind of a fun experience.
[00:25:37.520] - Brandon
I get those every week, Ben.
[00:25:38.980] - Ben
But I love those are great. Again, I can't overstate how I'm drawn to what you guys do because I do the same thing, right? I do the podcast and the books and I'm running my mouth on social media every single day, trying to be a lighthouse of beacon of some sort of knowledge or value. Because what I've seen and what you guys just alluded to and why it's really cool that everybody I talk to on a podcast, no matter what they do, we have this universal experience when we're starting a business. I liken it to baby turtles being born right in the ocean. And when you talk, talk about looking at your avatar, you got to look at business owners like that, right? And there's only like two that make it into the water. And those are the qualified candidates that were willing to put in the work. They overcome every bit of odds that could possibly put against them and they make it into the ocean and they grow to this thing that's going to live for 200 years. That's why you have a lot of people restorers, cleaning companies, whatever the case may be, they spin their wheels at half a million dollars, a million dollars a year.
[00:26:39.250] - Ben
They might have a one and a half million, but they don't stay consistent enough or they don't have the correct processes from the foundation to really break into that next level where they have those good problems to have. Where they have all this revenue coming in and these problems where they need to say, hey, we need to start talking to a consultant to start getting this our stuff together here. I really think that's cool. And understanding, if anybody's listening out there, understanding your avatar is huge. I don't care. If you own a marketing agency, a consulting group, a construction company, you're a restorer. Hopefully, if you're listening to this, if you don't know who you're selling to and you don't have that firmly set in your soul and the core value of your business, you're going to have a really hard time getting any sales. If you make exceptions, if you're a water restorer and that's all you want to do, but you start taking mold calls here to make up this thing, you're going to waste all your time doing these mold calls, making $500, $1,000 a pop and neglecting all the things that you really need to do to sell who you want to sell to.
[00:27:35.490] - Brandon
The love of it, right? We can make more money, but are we any happier? Probably not if you're working with a bunch of people you don't want to work with. Right.
[00:27:45.490] - Ben
And that's the key. You got to be happy with doing what you're doing. And again, it's why we do this. Right. That's great that you guys check out the podcast. It's streaming everywhere. I did one quick Google search before we even met, and I found that the guys are everywhere and we connected on LinkedIn. So you guys definitely need to connect with Brandon and Chris and the Head, Hearts and Boots podcast. Subscribe to it. Back to business. All right, the theme of today is leadership, right? How to build the right leader and without giving all the tools away. Look, I love the books you guys made. A couple of really cool suggestions, two things that were never on my radar. I've got a couple outside the box books. When it comes to leadership and more of the introspective, I just got done reading for, like, the third time. You can't hurt me because I really feel like that introspection is important to rebuild your foundation and identify your shortcomings that may be causing other things. So before we jump into something and blame somebody else and start thinking the world is coming to an end and everybody in my business is doing the wrong thing, you got to make sure that, one, you're doing the right thing, and you're putting the right but in the right seats in your business.
[00:28:51.130] - Ben
One cool thing you mentioned is that a lot of times these guys come up, they're a tech, and then all of a sudden they're a manager, right. And the business owners hammering them, hammering them, hammering them. They might have been the best tech in the world, but they were never empowered with the right tools to successfully do their job, and that ultimately falls on whoever put them in that position, right?
[00:29:10.180] - Brandon
[00:29:11.040] - Ben
So leadership, why is it important you.
[00:29:16.690] - Brandon
Do right out of the gate?
[00:29:18.040] - Ben
Boom. Why is it so important? I'm looking through your podcast. You have, like, a lot. If I didn't know any better, I would think you guys are a leadership coaching podcast. So why is it so important for you guys?
[00:29:33.750] - Brandon
Well, I think just kind of the first response. There's two for me personally. One is I was a military guy and right, wrong or indifferent, there's a reality that the military is just so gifted at taking somebody from point A and taking them to point B. You see these very young people lacking life experience and within a very finite period of time, that individual, now in their sometimes late teens, early 20s, are overseeing sometimes tens, hundreds of people. They're overseeing millions of dollars in equipment and resources. They're leading people in very dangerous environments. And so I think one of the things I just learned early on was the power of creating a leader is one of the most awesome experiences I've ever witnessed. And so I saw leaders get created. I was created out of that model. And then I think I walked away from that and went for me, it's like, okay, every time I can influence a new leader, the reach that I had, like that energy and those resources that I spent on that one human, what they are then able to impact is unbelievable. And so I think for reach for lack and not out of a weird ego, I need people to hear me kind of thing.
[00:30:57.330] - Brandon
It's just, look, Ben, at the end of my days, I want to look backwards and I want to be really proud of what I spent my time doing.
[00:31:07.350] - Ben
[00:31:07.990] - Brandon
And there's nothing that makes me more proud than spending enough time and energy with somebody that I know. Now they are going to go march forward and have a super impactful relationship in their sphere. Like, to me, I just think there's it's really personal. Like I believe in the value of it, but it's also just so freaking fulfilling for me. I don't want to do anything else. So that's my personal why. And then I think just surface level wise, dude, people are amazing things. And as leaders, the responsibility that we have and the influence that we have over those people's lives, their families, their friends, is really undervalued. And I don't think most of us really understand. And so when you're a title leader, a leader by title, you are given a very I'm trying not to get all dramatic here, but you're just given a real hefty responsibility, and most of us don't prioritize it that way. It's a burden. It's a thing that we're now responsible for doing. And we never quite make that shift of the honor that actually is wrapped up in you leading a person and the responsibility that you have to them as a person.
[00:32:24.780] - Brandon
And so I think if we don't teach leadership to businesses, we're going to perpetuate a problem that's affecting everyone and it's problems that affect our homes, our home lives. I just don't think we have a choice. It's just such a critical responsibility as titled people inside a business for us to understand what we're being handed and then what do we do with that responsibility once we get it?
[00:32:50.950] - Chris
I think that's my I've been listening to a lot of Jordan Peterson lately, okay? I just got turned on to him. And one of the things he talks about is just how desperate how desperate we are. And a lot of times he's speaking to men, but I think this is true of men and women, is how desperate we are for encouragement and affirmation. And I just think we're in this culture that's so social media driven. We're seeing we have this really polished veneer of everybody around us who's driving the nice cars, and they got the instagram bodies, and it's like we're just desperate to know, am I enough? Am I okay? You know what I mean? Like, everybody is asking that question that affirmation encouragement, like real encouragement of somebody seeing us and recognizing what we have to offer. We're desperate for that. And I think our previous generation, like my parents, grandparents, et cetera, I think there was just so much practical survival instinct built into previous generations where it's just like, hey, just shut up. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, nose down for the next 30 years, and then you buy a cool RV when you retire, and hopefully you still got your health.
[00:34:18.050] - Chris
And yet then I think a lot of us saw that, and we saw sort of, in some ways, the meaninglessness of that, of just dedicating ourselves to a company for 30 years, potentially sacrificing our health along the way and then never really getting the payoff. And these generations that are coming up, they want meaning. They want to understand, what's my place in the world and how do I find meaning and satisfaction in the work I'm doing now versus deferring all of it to when I get to travel and be retired and all that stuff? Retirement is not heavy on anybody's mind anymore, generally speaking. Right? Instead, it's like, how do I find meaning in the work I'm doing so that I'm not trying to escape my job? I think leadership is necessary because of that. It's no longer command and control no longer works for the vast majority of our workforce. We don't want robots. We want people that are engaged in the task because that's how we differentiate in the service business, is by caring and optimizing our service delivery and affecting how our clients feel. And if your teams don't feel engaged in the process, they don't feel valued, they don't understand where they fit in and the whole picture of things and why they matter individually in the company, then we aren't able to create experiences for our clients.
[00:35:55.870] - Chris
And so it's like we had Clint pullver on our podcast a while back. It's a really great show. I recommend it to anybody. He has a book called I Love It Here, and he basically is a consultant to companies, helping them connect with their millennial workforce. And one of the things he identifies is just that it is super critical as leaders today to have equal parts accountability and connection, that learning how to build connection and relationship with our people while still holding to a standard is probably the single greatest task that leaders have today is how do I manage that balance? Because in the past we've aired on powerful leaders have aired on command and control, absolutely telling people what to do, holding their feet to the fire incentive programs to make them do what we want them to do. And now it's like, you know what coming generations are led. They still want money, no doubt. They still want money, they still want time off. They want all the things. But that meaning I think satisfaction in what they do is just as important, if not more so.
[00:37:06.410] - Ben
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I think that from my perspective, the way I look at it, and I try every day to be a leader, right, I wake up in the morning and give gratitude and pray to help me become a better leader and grow me into a position I know that I ultimately can be, right? So it seems like and a lot of stuff that I read and a lot of the things that I do for this is I want to make an impact. And I love what you mentioned about, hey, I impact this one person and create this leader. I mean, the echo goes on for eternity if it's done correctly, right? And obviously there's some left up to that other person. But the consensus is you need to have a shared vision in your company. And a lot of people listening to this are probably like, well, how the hell am I going to get one of my laborer texts to get so stoked about my vision as a business owner to go restore property? But that's where becoming a leader and stoking that fire of passion and what you're doing and sharing the vision with your entire team to focus and laser focus everybody's attention onto one big picture goal instead of their nose to the grindstone, busting their ass and they have this one goal.
[00:38:07.200] - Ben
And that right there is you're creating an entity of leadership instead of a leader, right? You don't want a leader and putting your foot down and you're out of here, Bob, if you don't start doing what you're supposed to do, you have to have a visionary that's going to be able to stoke that to everybody. So leadership in restoration companies, you guys consult for quite a bit of restoration companies out there. What are a couple of common problems you guys see when you are dealing with these customers that are just kind of like something that you see quite often?
[00:38:43.270] - Brandon
I think there's a couple, one that seems to show up most often is that we see the owner of a business has settled into kind of a character frame. This is who I am. And they believe that it's the job of their entire workforce to shift and flex, to become more in alignment with this owner's current profile. Right. There is some truth to that. So I don't want to get off kilter at all here. So there's a reality that each business owner, each entrepreneur, they do have a kind of, for lack of a better term, a way, right?
[00:39:24.290] - Ben
[00:39:24.640] - Brandon
They have a style. They have a style, and there is something that's going to permeate the character of their business that's totally great. Like, each business is their own monster. They're not all the same. And you want to continue to recruit and hire people that can get an alignment with this kind of business that you want to develop. But I think what happens ultimately is we mistake that which is very healthy and positive for I'm, this this is what I've always been. This is how I talk, this is how I carry myself. This is how I lead a business. It's your job to be what I want you to be.
[00:40:02.260] - Ben
[00:40:02.790] - Brandon
And I think what we hopefully will end up doing most of the time is teaching these owners, these entrepreneurs, hey, there is a chance for you to have a unified team behind a consistent vision. However, you're also going to have to learn how to flex and understand your audience. Because if we have a diverse workforce, which we need to have, even if we all figure out a way in our own way to be in alignment behind this greater mission, we still bring our own juice right to the team. And that's the whole point. Right? And so we have to teach leaders that they have to flex. They need to learn how to read their audience, ask questions, get connected, learn what kind of strategies they can deploy to ensure that the audience is hearing what they want to convey. Or we'll talk about it from a communication stand. We say, okay, really great, communicators. Learn how to shrink the gap between what I said and what my audience perceived. Right? Like, gifted communication is all about understanding. How do I shrink that gap? I think leadership is the same way where we get into most companies and we just say, hey, it's not my way or the highway.
[00:41:15.740] - Brandon
There's more to the pattern of that. There's more to this formula. And what kinds of things can you do better to flex, to learn and understand your workforce so that they hear what you're trying to tell them, what you're trying to convey to them?
[00:41:29.310] - Chris
The other thing that I think we see a lot is a lack of consistency. We just see this over and over and over again. You could almost go so far as to say leadership is consistency.
[00:41:44.280] - Ben
[00:41:45.340] - Chris
Because I think what consistency does, it helps people feel safe. It also makes it really clear what are the priorities that I have as a business owner for my company. Consistency tells the true story, right? So if as a leader or a manager, I say, hey, our morning stand to with our tech team is critically important. And then we get surprised with a big old loss and it rolls in at 730 in the morning, and we just scrap that morning stand. Two to go deal with the latest fire in front of us. We are sending a message. Now, of course, there's exceptions to every rule, right? There's times where we break our pattern because of whatever the situation, dictates it. But that is probably the most common leadership struggle that we see amongst owners. And I'll be perfectly honest, I am generally an inconsistent person. I tend to be more on the impulsive side of the spectrum. A lot of salespeople, a lot of people come up with that side of the business are too. They have an action bias. It's like, let's go make something happen. Routines and consistency are really tough for a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses, and yet it might be.
[00:43:03.070] - Chris
The single most important thing at all about leadership is charting a course. And even if it's not the right course, doing it consistently enough that you create clarity and people start to trust you and they'll follow you. And then you can always course correct, but it's like getting people to follow you. They first have to trust that they're going to wake up the next morning and there's a predictable plan in front of them and what's expected of them and what's going to happen. It's like so often, I think leaders get stuck because they have a hard time establishing consistency in their business, and that becomes the ceiling.
[00:43:41.450] - Brandon
Yeah. It's like they allow what is unpredictable, which is lost frequency and the cause of the loss, to then govern the way they lead their business. Those are the same thing. Those are two different things.
[00:43:53.290] - Ben
That's why you need to have a vision, right? So you may not be the most consistent leader in the world. I know I'm guilty of it. If I had 50 computer monitors in front of me, if I'm doing an office day, I could probably do 50 things with two. And a lot of the people that work with me, that work for me are very process and system driven. I probably drive them crazy. But we all share a vision.
[00:44:16.360] - Brandon
We all have that's right?
[00:44:17.560] - Ben
The light at the end of the tunnel. And when you have that team around you, you can be a little bit more inconsistent as a leader because you have a shared vision with everybody. Instead of one leader, you've got four or five or ten, however big your business may be. So that can't be overstated. I love what you guys have to say about that. And it makes sense. I laughed when you said consistency? Because I don't know how I mean, I told you guys you should have your podcast would be about leadership. I think if we went back and looked at all mine, I think the theme of every one of them is to be consistent. One of the problems we see a lot of the guys the shiny new object syndrome, right?
[00:44:50.430] - Brandon
[00:44:50.800] - Ben
It's okay to be that way when it comes to work and being distracted in Add, but when it comes to spending money on your business and hiring and firing or doing marketing like what we do, man, that is a killer. It kills momentum, it kills your consistency, and it trickles down to every aspect of your business, whether you believe it or not.
[00:45:08.790] - Brandon
[00:45:09.970] - Ben
So that's awesome, man. So let's give everybody an actionable item that they can look in the mirror and do for themselves right now that might get them in a better position after listening to this episode than they were in before.
[00:45:26.870] - Brandon
Okay, so I have one, and I think the reality of it is maybe the nuance is where it's important, but we term them battle rhythms. Right? I mean, I think I stole it from the military, most likely. But it's this idea of create some meeting cadences that give some anchor points throughout the week to ensure that there's a place for cross communication to take place. Two way communication to take place, for us to inspect what we expect and to identify and solve as a team any problems or obstacles that may show up. So one of the things that we see is that people are just running and gunning. They're just trying to figure out on the flow. They're busy, they're in a million different places, and all this communication just tends to fall on deaf ears or there is no channel whatsoever for communication to take place. And so what we try to do right away is teach businesses, look, slow down long enough to create essentially three really important meetings. One is some kind of morning stand to that aligns your technician staff for the day. Could be schedules. There's all sorts of things that we're going to cover in that, whether it be the work schedule for the day, just specialty equipment that might be required by the projects in front of us.
[00:46:42.930] - Brandon
But it's more things like, are we doing pre inspections on our vehicles? Are we backfilling consumable lists and loadouts for our trucks? Are we ready to deploy when we're done for the day or before we start the day? There's got to be a consistency to how we establish the start of our morning with our team. That's one big one. The other most important one that we feel is a production meeting. Now, what I mean by that is, what are the handful of most important things that you should have your finger on the pulse for? AR whip. And there's things within the whip that we're looking at in terms of contract values and where are we at in terms of change order supplements? Where's our live gross profit margin? I don't want to overwhelm people, but this production meeting where we're really digging in as a team to our current work in progress and identifying where are the opportunities, what's getting choked off? Why aren't we able to move more revenue into production? What's holding us back? Right? How can we get better? And then I think the last two, three meetings, I believe it's important that we have some kind of all company meeting at some point.
[00:47:53.290] - Brandon
Quarterly is probably about as far out as you want to go. I think monthly is better and it's really that moment in time that the entire team can attempt to be in one place and do some hoorah together. Like we're winning together. Here's where we're being successful. We're recognizing our employees that are kicking ass and taking name. We're showing our teams that we care about them and that they're valuable and we're really building and developing that camaraderie and that engagement. I just think those are non negotiables and I think anybody with very little could put those things into place and it would probably have a very profound effect on their business, regardless of size.
[00:48:33.890] - Ben
You hear that out there?
[00:48:36.470] - Brandon
[00:48:37.380] - Ben
[00:48:39.510] - Chris
I'm going to offer something on the sales side that I think is just a way to refocus ourselves. Maybe one of the toughest things in managing salespeople and sales effort in this industry is that numbers don't tell the whole story.
[00:48:51.240] - Brandon
[00:48:51.510] - Chris
It's like when I was selling ink cartridges, I knew if I was being successful because I was either selling ink cartridges and laser toners to businesses or I wasn't. Right. And in this industry, there's such an ambiguity to the way the industry works and the way that people buy our services. Right? And so I think one of the things that a lot of GMs and owners and sales manager and industry struggle with is their sales reps come to a sales meeting and they're all excited. I talked to this property management company this week and they said they're going to use us.
[00:49:29.590] - Brandon
And we hear this by everybody.
[00:49:31.350] - Chris
We hear this all the time. I had a great conversation with them. They said they're going to give us a try on their next loss. And then if we're paying attention at all, a few weeks past, a month and a half past, and we're like, hey, what was that whole diamond property management lead that you brought up in the meeting? Have we seen anything from them yet? And we haven't, and it's just this big question mark.
[00:49:52.670] - Ben
[00:49:52.850] - Chris
I don't know why they haven't called us. They told me they would. One of the things we've learned over time is that customers don't make changes to their vendors unless they have a problem with their existing vendor. And I think one out of 25 prospects we talked to actually does call us and try us out on their next loss because we won them over with our charisma. We have a friendly, good looking, smart person that just really built some great rapport with them. One in 25 or 50 will get that lucky deal, but of course we can't build a business on that. And so we have to be tuned into the pain. We have to teach our people to ask good questions about, hey, I probably don't need to educate you on what restoration is if you've been a property manager for ten years, but tell me about your experience with our industry. How did your last damage event go asking those kinds of questions and then, like I said, as leaders, when we get our sales reps together and they say, oh, yeah, just property management company, they're going to give us a call.
[00:51:00.130] - Chris
Well, why is that? What makes you think that they're going to give us a call on their next loss and really ask the door? Yeah, they're just being polite. Operational leaders don't like to tell salespeople no. Right, because then the classic sales approach is where you got to handle objections. We don't teach that. I think that's old antiquated sales methodology, but that's what they get from a lot of salespeople, so they don't even want to. They're just like, hey, you guys sound great. We'll give you a call next time something comes up. It's the easy kiss off from an operational leader. And so I think one thing that's very actionable is that your next sales meeting owner, sales manager, GM, whatever, when your salespeople start talking about the wins they're racking up in terms of these people like us, they're going to use us next. Delve into the why. Why do you believe that there's a high chance that they're going to call us? Oh, well, because they've been using XYZ Company the last few times, and it's been like pulling teeth to get information about their project. The communication has been terrible. Okay, now we're going somewhere.
[00:52:03.350] - Chris
Now we can potentially solve a pain point, and that may be just enough motivation to get this customer to switch from who they've always called who's in their current phone contact list, right?
[00:52:15.240] - Ben
Yeah, absolutely. Those are awesome. And guys, listen out there, I hope you take something away from that, whether it's the sales side or the side of the leadership side, and understand how important you are as a visionary to your company and how much everybody relies on you. I know that weighs very heavily on my shoulders with both my companies and any company I've ever had is I have an obligation and responsibility to not just take care of my family, but I've got a lot of other people depending on me. So if that's not motivating enough for you to pull your pants up and start doing stuff the right way and realizing that you're making a bigger impact on the world, then you're probably not going to make it very far in any industry that you're trying to join. So, guys, before we wrap up, I forgot to bring this up earlier. Earlier, and I thought it was really cool, and I wanted to just get, like, a quick thing on it. You had a podcast episode about a weight loss competition. Like, I don't know how long ago that was. Tell me quickly about it, because it's funny, because we did the same thing, but I didn't make a podcast about it.
[00:53:08.590] - Ben
What was that all about? Were you guys gosh, Dude, that's so funny.
[00:53:11.880] - Chris
I don't remember this.
[00:53:14.190] - Brandon
I can't remember exactly which one you're referring to, but Chris and I, we kind of get kind of a thing. So my wife and my daughter have literally created a drinking game. Now, they don't always execute, mind you, about how many times in a conversation I'm going to talk about being carnivore. It may be one of those you.
[00:53:35.040] - Ben
Can get that bottle of tequila real quick. I'll play along.
[00:53:37.410] - Brandon
Exactly. That's all right. Anyways, Chris and I do, he keeps me more in check than the opposite, but hanging with him, I did drop, like, £30 wow. A year and a half ago. So that's been that must have been.
[00:53:49.790] - Ben
What it was about. We got to a point here. I've used to run I had a fitness boot camp, and I've played some football, some semi pro football. So I was, like, huge, and I had lost a bunch of weight, and I got super motivated, and I was in it. I ran this boot camp business for a while while I was young, going back to school, and then life happens. Dad bod starts showing up a little bit and COVID hit, and we were just in the office going out to eat all the time. So we decided as a company, like, all right, that's enough. Let's put some money where our mouth is. And we did a whole year long wait. I think collectively, it started off with ten people, I think, or something like that. It only ended up being, like, two or three of us towards the end. That really hung on for the whole year. But I think collectively we lost, like, £120. I think personally, I lost £50. I think, wow, about 16 or 17 in the last couple of months here. It's just been like, I'm putting on my winter coat for the winter down here, growing the hair out, growing my beard out.
[00:54:44.360] - Ben
But now I thought that was pretty cool. All right, guys, not to get too far off subject again, before we wrap up, how does anybody so if you're in that range that we talked about as far as where your business process is, how does everybody get in touch with Floodlight, and where do we find you guys? Where are you guys. At.
[00:55:00.530] - Chris
Yeah, well, you can just start by Googling us. Okay. You'll see our Google business profile there and reviews. You can read what other people said about us. Certainly the podcast is a great place to go. Head, Heart and Boots find us on itunes and all the different places, and then you can go straight to our website, Floodlightgrp.com, and we've got a lot of information there, and you can reach out to us, fill out the contact form, and we'll add you to that. But, yeah, it's Google us. You'll find plenty of references there.
[00:55:30.520] - Brandon
[00:55:30.880] - Ben
What are both your personal cell phone numbers?
[00:55:33.530] - Brandon
There we go.
[00:55:36.090] - Ben
The people that listen to this dude, I don't know if you want you don't want me having your personal cell phone. That's what I was getting at.
[00:55:43.820] - Brandon
You know what, dude? So, totally random spin on Combo, right? But obviously our episode when you were hanging out with us, we were really hammering on the Google My business profile. So lyftify, have you connected with Liftify and have?
[00:55:58.070] - Ben
Not yet, no. But I did take a look at one of your episodes where you interviewed him a little bit and, man, what a cool guy. What a good service out there, because that's a difficult task to get Google reviews. And again, you actually just hit the nail on the head. You can talk about how good you are until you're blue in the face, but when other people are talking about you is when it really makes sense. I think that quote is something that goes around, and it's true, but I mean, that's even in, like, the Old Testament of the Bible. That's probably the oldest thing I've ever read. But, yeah, no Lift the fire. Guys. If you're having a hard time getting Google reviews, you need to check them out. But I definitely want to connect with him as soon as I can.
[00:56:37.260] - Brandon
Yeah, you got to I bring that up because we're all kind of nerding out about a new change to Google, where when somebody leaves you a review, now, they can actually mark what it was that you were doing. You can literally add the categories. As soon as he said that, I was like, oh, I bet you bins.
[00:56:53.260] - Ben
All over the place. It was coming. Because one of the tricks that we teach everybody, here's something, don't turn it off yet. When you have somebody leave you a review if they left the service that you provided them. So that was a big thing last year, that if you wrote, hey, so and so came and did water damage in my home, had a Flood XYZ, you would actually get a lot of juice out of that. As far as your business goes, I knew that was coming down the pipeline. Listen, get ready, because there's going to be a lot of changes. Hopefully, some of them are undoing some things they did this year because there's some super frustrating things happening with Google, but overall, it looks like they're making a lot of really nice, intuitive changes to the Google business profile. I'm just waiting for the next name change. I'm trying to find what it's going to be. It's going to end up being like Skynet from Terminator.
[00:57:41.090] - Brandon
Well, keep us posted, dude, because no, I will. When the changes happen, we'll have you back out, and we'll have to educate everybody. Again.
[00:57:48.140] - Ben
Gentlemen, thank you so much for your time. Check them out. Floodlightgrp.com Head Heart and Boots Podcast. Guys, I can't thank you enough. I can't wait for the next time. I can figure out a way to get you guys on.
[00:57:58.170] - Chris
Ben, you're a great interview, man. You are good at this, dude.
[00:58:02.350] - Brandon
You got to show your ink more. That's what you got to do.
[00:58:05.320] - Ben
I do most of my episodes. My shirt off, right?
[00:58:07.800] - Chris
[00:58:08.030] - Brandon
There you go.
[00:58:08.960] - Ben
Listen, I'm just so jealous of you guys that I wish I had a friend that I could just podcast with. We probably wouldn't get a whole lot done as far as, like, talking about business and stuff like that, and I'd probably be able to be a little funnier. But listen, guys, just can't thank you enough. Looking forward to talking in the future.
[00:58:22.630] - Brandon
All right, Brown.
[00:58:23.350] - Chris
Thanks for having us, man.
[00:58:24.210] - Brandon
[00:58:24.450] - Ben
All right, gentlemen. Talk to you. Bye.