This episode features guest Terry Dry, the CEO of Future Proof Advisors that specializes in advising mid-market businesses and their executive teams on how to overcome barriers that inhibit growth.
Listen as Terry explains some of the obstacles that may inhibit your company's growth and how you can overcome those obstacles. From leadership to how a company operates there are common barriers to a company growth that you should know.
If you are a midmarket or emerging brand, this episode will explain how you can work with Future Proof Advisors to add a team of experts that will help your company reach its full potential.
Are you spending time big picture on your business or are you working in your business? Find out why it is important to carve out the time to focus on strategic planning if you want to grow and how Future Proof Advisors can help.
Episode Action Items:
If you are interested in working with Future Proof Advisors visit https://www.futureproofadvisors.com and discover how we can help you with your vision, strategy, optimization through our coaching and connections.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guest to discuss today's topic, which is overcoming the obstacles that prevent business growth. Today's guest is an award winning marketer, entrepreneur, strategic advisor, CEO and executive coach. He is the founder of Future Proof Advisors specializing in advising mid market businesses and their executive teams on how to overcome barriers that inhibit growth. A big welcome to Terry Dry. Hi, Terry.
Terry Dry 1:21
Hey, Andy, thanks for having me.
Andy Splichal 1:24
We're excited to have you on the show. Now, yeah, let's get started. So at Future Proof Advisor, your slogan is helping emerging and mid market companies overcome barriers that prevent meaningful growth. What are these barriers?
Terry Dry 1:39
It's funny, I mean, there are so many different barriers. And they come in sort of all shapes and sizes. But if I had to kind of distill it down, I'd say it's everything from the initial mindset of the leader, the owner, the entrepreneur, all the way through to do they actually have a real true Northstar and strategy, then down to like, are they efficient? Is their operations, you know, the way they operate as a company? Is it the vision at work? And then the probably most important part, the team, you know, do they have the right team? And is that the team that's going to help them move forward? So it's, it's every which way I guess there's many barriers.
Andy Splichal 2:20
So, ya know, that's a lot of stuff. I mean, I was going to ask what typically is holding a company back, but it can be all those things, right?
Terry Dry 2:28
It can be but if I, you know, I get asked that question sometimes where it just in the amount of different companies we deal with. And I say this with love, but it's often the psychology of the leader.
Andy Splichal 2:40
That's what I was gonna ask.
Terry Dry 2:41
Yeah. And it's often just how they're thinking, what they're thinking, are they playing to win? Are they playing not to lose? You know, and do they want to be there? Right. So I think a lot of the companies that we deal with, you know, which is in the mid market, are started by entrepreneurs that kind of launched their business because they didn't want to work for somebody, and they wanted to create their own life and create their own business, and then they wind up, you know, sort of the entrepreneurial myth, right? If you get in there, and then all of a sudden, you do have a job, and you're working for like, the craziest person ever, which is yourself, you know, yeah. You know, so then it just becomes that, but I would say, sometimes, that's what's holding back the company, just some fear, you know, which is normal, you know, but if I had to pinpoint one thing, it's usually starts there, and then becomes all the other things I was talking about strategy, efficiency, the team, etc.
Andy Splichal 3:38
So what's the solution for that? Is it some crazy trust exercises? Or what do you? What do you guys deal with? How do you snap them out of the funk?
Terry Dry 3:45
This a giant trust fall? Every day? You know? Well, it's really I would say, it's part of sort of our process. And it's a good question, right? It's that what I would say is, just try to dig deep as to what do they really want? Like, why are they doing this in the first place? And whether it's the owner entrepreneur, or it's just somebody who's the CEO and leader of a business, like, why are they there? What do they want out of it? And so often people give answers, or they think they give you the answer that like you want to hear, or they think they're supposed to give versus like, No, I'm here, because I love what we do, or I love building things, or I love whatever it is. And when you kind of unpack that stuff, you can get to the root of like, what's their primary aim? What's their goal? And that's kind of part of our journey, right? It's just understanding their personal and professional goals. And when you get that stuff figured out, everything else starts to fall into place, and you can get over whatever's holding the company back, which is kind of where we came up with the idea of calling ourselves future proof future proof, which is we're future proofing the company but that comes in every which way, right? So it's it's from the leadership all the way through how it operates,
Andy Splichal 4:57
How deep of a dive do you have to go to get to the actual reason? I remember I had Steve Sims is the author of Blue Fishing on the show. And he was saying that you have to you don't really get to the really answer until you ask three times.
Terry Dry 5:16
You know, that's a good yes, I would say, you know, I have this kind of list of questions I have, right. So when we first kind of get into it with a new company that we're advising, we start there, right, we start with like, quite frankly, I just want to understand the person, you know, understand what they're getting at, and really just tried to help them because, you know, it's that old slogan, or a cliche should say, like, you want to have the business serve you rather than you be a servant to the business, right? That's why you kind of set out on it. But then everyone, including me, I mean, I can tell you this firsthand. Right? I set up that same way. And then I became a slave to the business. And then that becomes hard. So there's sort of a bunch of questions I asked, and maybe it's not the same question three times to your point, but it's probably circling around that same thing of just trying to understand what makes somebody tick. Why, why are they in it and, and helping them understand because what I'll do is, by the end of that conversation and meeting where we've, I've sort of interviewed them, I then spit back to them what I heard. And I would tell you more often than not, whoever that is, says, Well, I didn't really realize that's what I'm saying, or that's what I'm thinking or, you know, you kind of forced them to think about some stuff that they just haven't thought about, because they put the company or other things before themselves.
Andy Splichal 6:42
So when do people come to you at Future Proof Advisors? Is there a certain size company that really needs to overcome some of these barriers? More more than just a startup?
Terry Dry 6:53
Right? Yeah, you know, it's funny, we built this out, because I, I've been on my own entrepreneurial journey a couple of times. And my first venture was an agency and we built it out, my partner, and I built it out. And it was, you know, 12 years of working at it before we ever had like a exit or an event. And it was only later on that I realized, wow, we could have really benefited from having sort of this, I kind of jokingly call it like the Justice League of America, right? Like, just these awesome advisors, or mentors, coaches, you name it, surrounding us to help us make key decisions, help us figure some things out, because they've been there done that we had. And like many entrepreneurs, at least in my case, we were just had the blinders on. And we were just going, going going and thought we knew everything. And that's how we did it. So that was kind of where this idea was born from is there's a lot of these mid market companies to answer your question. There's, it's sort of mid market companies that are between let's call it anywhere between 5 million in revenue to 75 million in revenue, and with over over a million dollars in profit annually. So they've done well, they've gotten themselves to a certain point. But now they might just be stuck, they might just be in a place where they're like, Okay, I've done this, but it's hard. And I really want to increase enterprise value, I want to build something out. And that's where they usually come from. And the reason we focus on mid market is because that's our background. And it's really just tried to create this sort of advisory system and people that concern it's what I wish I had 15 years ago when I was in this position, but I just didn't know any better. And and what we found was there's huge consultant firms like McKinsey, Deloitte, whatever that service, the big, Big Fortune 1000, let's say, and then there's tons of people who are out there helping all the startups. And there's no problem with any of that stuff. But I kind of like but then there's this underserved kind of middle of mid market and emerging companies, which are really the future of business that I felt were somewhat underserved. And we could be helpful, because so many of them don't have like a formalized board, or don't have like a team of people around them. So therefore, the leader or the owner is lonely. And that's what we're trying to solve for. And that's when they come to us.
Andy Splichal 9:21
How do people come to how do people find you? How do they? I mean, are they researching mental blocks? How do I grow my I mean, how do they get into you?
Terry Dry 9:30
yeah, I mean, so much of it is through we've been very fortunate so much of it's been through referrals, and us helping somebody or us knowing somebody and then coming our way. So we've been very, very lucky that sort of, you know, I try to live by this mantra of good things are attracted, not pursued, you know, and so we've been very fortunate on the sort of referral side but you can find us you know, on LinkedIn, you can find our website at Future Proof Advisors. There's there's ways that people kind of come around and then we we meet with them. You know, and we tried to figure out, are they the right fit, you know, as sort of, we look at it more like a community, like we've got members in a community, we don't really look at it like clients like these are people that we are going to be invested in. And so we're interviewing them probably as much as they're interviewing us to make sure we're a good fit.
Andy Splichal 10:16
So let's walk me through that. How does the process work? Somebody say they're referred to you from you know, they come to you. And they say, I need help growing my business, you start with the interview. And they are good fit. Where Where does the process go from there? Do you go into the business? Do you interview the main employees? Do you? Are you looking at financials? I mean, where are you going with it?
Terry Dry 10:41
Yeah, there's a whole process there. So it's all of the above. So you figured it out? And you but yeah, once we figure it out, we're a good fit for each other, then we try to kind of go into a process that we've developed. Well, first, it's the what we call a goal setting, right? So there's personal and business. So it's what we were just talking about where we really deep dive, because so many, at least in my experience, they go straight to the business and they miss, you know, what I think is the most important part, which is what is the leader really want? You know, what do they want to get out of this? Why are they doing this? So there's the goals, personal, and then also the business. And that's sort of an assessment, almost like an interview process. Then there's the business assessment to your point where we're looking at everything from sales and marketing and the actual product or whatever they're doing all the way through to the backroom, right, the back office of how are they running, how their financials, how is the, you know, operations, etc. So there's the sort of different hats we're wearing, looking at all these things. Then once we've kind of done that deep dive, we move into what we'll call the Northstar planning. And I don't know, I mean, you interview a lot of people have kind of curious from your end, like, do you find that a lot of people have that kind of Northstar plan, that strategy, that thing they're living by, that actually really directs them? Are they kind of maybe running around a little bit more? I'm curious what you find?
Andy Splichal 12:05
You know, I don't know, I don't ask that question to the guests. But I would say from working from clients. Yeah, very few. Have that in any size, right? It's kind of a day to day grind. And you end up going where the where the tides take you.
Terry Dry 12:25
Exactly right. You know, and that's what I find. And again, I've been there. I've been that guy, you know, so I know the feeling. So it's trying to have that that next part where we're like, okay, we understand what you want out of the business, we understand how your business is working. Now, let's really go through the focus of a Northstar plan. And so there's a whole process we go through there, where it's our assessment, it's collaborative, though, with the leaders of the company of what should that Northstar look like? And it's based on what were those goals? Right? So we're holding everybody almost accountable to what they told us of Yeah, you know, some people will say, Hey, I, when I hit a certain age, I want to exit or I'm tired or No, I want to do this for the next 30 years. And I just want to grow it. All those things come into play as we develop what that Northstar looks like. And that Northstar is strategic as well as financial right, so we marry those two, then once we've done that, it becomes you know, the hard work, right, the strategic initiatives, because typically, there's anywhere from 10 to 20, pretty big initiatives that will come off of that. So everything from marketing and sales to we have to redo the way our finances work to the redoing the way our pricing works, to new lines of business, to growth areas, all those things become strategic initiatives. And then there's the what we really do is the ongoing advisory, almost like this sort of, you know, secret army or outsource board looking after them that keeps everybody going and focused on all these initiatives as it goes on. So that's, that's the process that that happens. Sort of that deep dive and then the lets coach advise, you know, help you all the way through.
Andy Splichal 14:03
So you're setting the the main goal, and then it's going on for I assume a long time.
Terry Dry 14:09
Yeah, it's essentially like bringing on a board, right? But it's not going to be you know, they're not in there all the time. But it's, it's to have that kind of person you can look to like if I need a problem to be solved, or I need an answer. I've not done this before. It's everyday. It's a trusted confidant. Who's there. But we do set up a rigor of sort of, we'll call it the Hour of Power, if you will. So it's almost like too many board meetings a month.
Andy Splichal 14:37
I was just gonna ask yes. How often do you meet with clients?
Terry Dry 14:41
Yeah, so we're there. You know, we're sort of on call, if you will, but we formalize it in these two meetings. So that we can and we kind of structure it from the E Myth concept of one meeting is on the business where we're talking big picture strategy, and then the other meeting is in the business because we don't want to ignore the fact that there's lots of day to day issues right. So, you know, most recently, we've had a lot of people with being impacted by the great resignation, and just all the issues with staffing. So that might be the session, you know, we're really focused on brainstorming and trying to help.
Andy Splichal 15:14
Should be a whole another episode right there.
Terry Dry 15:16
Yeah, yeah. But that that's the idea. Because otherwise, you know, weeks can go by months can go by years can go by, and they just never get to these things. But we're also mindful of they are running a day to day fight, you know, so there, it's that that concept of you know, there's two businesses you're in, you know, the business you're in and the business you're becoming, right. So it's, it's trying to focus on it that way. So we that's how we split up the time. And really just keep going. And it's funny, a lot of the members that we work with, they're like, I look forward to these meetings, because it energizes me, but it also keeps me accountable, because otherwise, no one else is doing that. So they're bringing in their own sort of discipline.
Andy Splichal 15:58
And are these meetings just with the business owner and your team? Or is it more of a mastermind format with multiple businesses
Terry Dry 16:07
It varies. It's a great question. And it's really varied. And it depends on the situation and the company we're working with and how they want to do it. So I would say, as a rule, it's always with the leader of the company, and then they'll sort of be guest moments, right? So if we're working on the financials, they might bring in the CFO, CEO, whatever, if we're working on marketing, they might bring in the CMO. And then in other cases, we'll do a whole session was sort of let's call it the leadership team. If we're introducing, let's say, a new line of business or another pivot at
Andy Splichal 16:37
All, for all for the one company, right? There's not multiple companies in on the call.
Terry Dry 16:41
Correct? Right. So this is like having your own customized board that's in there, and that we're part of it, right? And that's how we look at ourselves. And we believe that, you know, it's not like a client is it as more it's just like, we're part of this with you, we're in it with you. And, and so we want the team to know us and know us as a resource to to be helpful. Like the board should be, which I never had, I never had that. So I'm trying to create that for these mid market companies.
Andy Splichal 17:09
Now, do you have a favorite success story when your clients that you'd be willing to share?
Terry Dry 17:14
Yeah, there's one that's happened this year, which has been great with, we were working with a marketing agency. And you know, we really kind of unpacked what the leader and owner wanted. And there were two big things, which was one, he wanted to reposition it, and reposition what he was doing and sort of define his niche and carve out his, his vertical, and then build that up. So we kind of did that over, I would say, last year, and none of this is easy during COVID times, but it worked. And then we kind of uncovered by doing that, what that his true goals and the company's true goals and needs are and then we could identify those blind spots. Once we did that, we looked and said, Okay, there's a lot of future facing needs. And the question was, does he build it? Does he buy it? Does he become part of something that's bigger, and we really realized that he'd be better off in the company be better off partnering or being acquired, because then they'd be in a position to offer more to their clients. And that was really something they wanted, they're like, we've done this on our own, we want to be part of something bigger. And so then became that next initiative of, let's go find a great partner agency, let's go find a company. That's the right fit for them. And the good news was, it wasn't like they were in a hurry, they were doing well, they had the luxury of figuring that out. And, you know, met several different companies as part of what we do, as well as like, we know a lot of companies, so we're able to introduce them to some people too, they found sort of the right fit, and they were recently acquired, and within like a month, two months, that both companies now that merged company were like landing, two of the biggest deals they've ever had, and it wouldn't have happened without each other. And that's like, the beautiful thing, right? You're always looking for the win win. Everybody's happy, like I keep looking at it going okay, they're totally in the honeymoon stage. But the honeymoons you know, lasted for a while right now and so it's a good outcome for everyone everything from financial to like quality of life, to the type of work they're able to do and grow. So it's a great success story of like, truly future proofing somebody forwards so much so that they had a actual exit and event and now thriving in this new bigger entity.
Andy Splichal 19:28
Now, did that leader stay after the acquisition or was it a complete exit strategy?
Terry Dry 19:33
No, he stayed and that was the whole thing was he recognized like I love doing what I'm doing. I want to do it as something bigger which is not often what I hear right? I often hear somebody saying, you know, I want a three year window here and I want to build this up and we want to exit it and not for any bad reason. Just like that's what I want to do but this person was totally different. Like I love the work actually hate the headache now of owning my own thing. I'm kind of sick of worrying about payroll. I'm sick have all that other stuff, I just want to do the work and I want to be part of something bigger. So that was the whole thing. So the structure even of the deal was such that there's, you know, it's everything from an employment contract to bonus structure to all the way through to, you know, some actual money for the agency. So it was all worked out and just kind of put that message out there. But it comes back to the future proofing process of had we not gone through, like, what is that Northstar? What is that goal? He probably would have never gotten to this outcome, because you just kind of hadn't forced himself really to think about these things.
Andy Splichal 20:35
Now, on the flip side, are there any challenges that you constantly struggle with consistently struggle with in getting results for clients?
Terry Dry 20:44
Yeah, I think it's the biggest struggle, is what we were referring to before was the, I'll ask you, how much time do you think people spend on the business? You know, being strategic big picture versus in the business? Like, what do you what do you experience with clients you work with? Or even yourself?
Andy Splichal 21:03
Well, I'm, I mean, myself, I'm pretty cognizant of it. But if you're looking at a client's I would say, probably the average is 98% 2%.
Terry Dry 21:14
Exactly right. Yeah, you're even, you're even harsher than I would have been. So that's good. I was gonna say 90/10. But I think you're far more accurate. You know, it's like, and it's, we're all guilty of it, right. And I've been there. So they spend so much time in the business, that the time that they need to be spending on it, and doing all the strategic planning and all that gets to the wayside. Because you know, it's that whole thing, the old adage of urgent and important. So that's the biggest struggle that we've had, as far as getting results is just helping them carve out the time and the discipline of really focusing big picture and strategic and like the other little secret is, people get comfortable in the detail, and they get comfortable in the day to day. And so they'll gravitate towards it. Because it's easier, it's not as stressful as thinking, big picture or some of the bigger tasks at hand. So it is sort of a natural, human thing, that they'll kind of lean towards working in the business and the chaos, if you will. And our job is to help focus them and keep them focused on the bigger but that's the biggest struggle we'll find is just people run, running around. And look, we live in a chaotic time, so it makes sense.
Andy Splichal 22:29
Now the next question, I ask all of my podcast guests, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how you are going to answer it, given the nature of business. But personally, are there any business books out there that you can attribute to your journey as an entrepreneur?
Terry Dry 22:44
Yeah, it's probably not going to be the answer you expect. But there's one book that I recommend to everybody when it comes to business. And it's the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. And it is a different look, right? So it's different than maybe your traditional business book. But for me, it sort of guided who I am as an individual and who I am as a person. And that's helped me, you know, have success not only in business, but in life. And so that's the first book I buy for people who work with me, or that I recommend.
Andy Splichal 23:22
You know, I thought I nailed it. And then I was off, I thought you were going to say, especially after our conversation, regarding planning and working on your I thought you were gonna say The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Terry Dry 23:34
Which is a great book, and I'm looking at my copy right now in my office. So but no, I not to say that that's not great. I think that becomes tactical, I think, so much of it's taken me, you know, a long time in my own business journey to just know, it's so much of businesses about who you are, and how you show up and what you're thinking at first, and then how you're effective, efficient and all the other things, but I found that this book really just helped shape me. And when you can, you know, understand yourself better, you can be that much more successful in business. So that's the one I always recommend and, and I typically do get the response, you just got of like, Oh, I didn't expect that one. And I liked that. Because I feel like there are a lot of terrific business books. And believe me, I've read them all and consume them and love them. But this is the one that I've always felt is a little different. But the approach I think, really can help people especially like entrepreneurs and leaders.
Andy Splichal 24:31
So who is the perfect client for your business? They are out there right now listening and they should give you guys a call get in contact with you.
Terry Dry 24:40
Yeah, I think the perfect thing is, look it's pretty specific art. We focus very much on Ecommerce, businesses and marketing our advertising agencies. So those are kind of two key verticals. If there's somebody who's businesses between, you know, 5 million in revenue and 75 million in revenue and then you know, North of a million in profit. So those are kind of like some of the checkboxes. And then, most importantly, somebody who wants to grow and are future proof, right? Are they stuck? Are they nervous? Are they not sure what's coming next? And they need help in that area? Do they want to grow? Do they want to do all these things? Do they want to take themselves and their business to the next level? So I often say as the qualifier, it's one thing if you kind of need what we do and what we can offer, but it's, you've also got to want it. And so I would just say that the person you know, is hungry for this and wants it because they look at this investment, as something that's going to make not only their business better, but their lives better. And it's it's that kind of mindset meets business qualification that that's like the perfect ideal person for us to partner with.
Andy Splichal 25:49
I think you miss the third qualifier, which is you got to be able to afford it too. How does your fee structure work?
Terry Dry 25:56
Yeah, it's very, you know, it's very fair, let's just put it that way. So you know, there's different things that work different ways. But there's usually like an upfront fee for you know, how we do our first deep dive, and then there's an ongoing advisory bid as well. So it's all pretty affordable and very affordable and fair. So I would say, for the cost of like, a manager level person at your company annually or director level person is what you know, is the investment with us. So it seems, you know, from where we're sitting pretty worthwhile, and our members feel the same way. So that's kind of how that works. And in some cases, we even have a success fee tied to it as well where, you know, if it's tied to an exit, or tied to some kind of growth, so there's some little extra something in there, which is really been the idea of a lot of our members, because they want us to have that much more skin in the game, to help them be successful.
Andy Splichal 26:47
And how can an interested listener perfect or not learn more about working with you?
Terry Dry 26:52
I think the easiest way is to go to our website at futureproofadvisors.com would be where you could see most of all, what I'm talking about and the information.
Andy Splichal 27:02
Terry Dry 27:03
I would say one other thing, though, when it comes to the people we work with, it's so I'm very fortunate, like, I would say all those criteria, and then just be a good person, right? A good human being. And that's part of what we're trying to vet for that we've been very successful. And now we love helping others be successful. And I'm fortunate enough to be able to kind of choose who we work with. And same goes for them. I want them to know,
Andy Splichal 27:28
Now you've just significantly cut your qualified pool.
Terry Dry 27:32
Exactly. But that's fair enough. I think all of us, I don't know if you could speak to this. But we've all worked with enough jerks in our time. And, and I'm not trying to be a jerk about that. But you try to work with people that are like minded and just good human beings. And we're looking at that too. We'd like to think of ourselves that way to just have sort of that so it's enjoyable to work with. So I realized I left that out. And that's probably the most important thing.
Andy Splichal 27:58
Yeah, no, I like that. That's a great policy. So any anything else you'd like to add before we wrap it up today?
Terry Dry 28:05
No, unless there's something you think that would be helpful for your listeners or you. I really appreciate you inviting me on the show, and I just want to be helpful.
Andy Splichal 28:14
That's great. Well, thank you for joining us today, Terry.
Terry Dry 28:17
Thank you, Andy. I really appreciate it.
Andy Splichal 28:19
For listeners. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest review. And if you're looking for more information regarding future proof advisors, or connecting with Terry, you will find the links in the show notes below. And in addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new podcasts Resource Center, available at www.makeeachclickcount.com we have compiled all the different past guests by show topic and included each of their contact information in case you would like more information on any service I have discussed during previous episodes. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.