From Building a Team to Setting Prices with Dr. Christopher H. Loo

Episode Transcription

[0:00:00] Glenn Harper: Hello, everybody. It’s Glenn Harper here.

[0:00:02] Julie Smith: Julie Smith.

[0:00:02] Glenn Harper: How’S it going?

[0:00:03] Julie Smith: It’s going well. I got my coffee there.

[0:00:05] Glenn Harper: You’re lucky I missed out on today. But we just had a really cool conversation with Dr. Christopher lou on the Financial Freedom for a physician’s podcast. What a great conversation that was.

[0:00:15] Julie Smith: What a great conversation. I think it brought our two different perspectives right in right in the middle.

[0:00:21] Glenn Harper: Correct. And it’s the funniest thing ever when you’re talking about entrepreneurs and and physicians in particular. It’s really hard for physicians not to want to do everything perfect and stay outside their own lane. They want to go do everything, and we kind of narrowed it down. If they do what they’re supposed to do and hire a team around them, they’re probably going to be very successful a lot quicker than if they tried to do everything at once.

[0:00:43] Julie Smith: Right. So a very underlying thing was getting out of your own way.

[0:00:45] Glenn Harper: I think it’s a great concept. So hopefully you guys will enjoy this podcast and we’re looking forward to seeing on the next one.

[0:00:53] : So today we have a couple, Julie and Glenn, and they are going to talk to us all about becoming business owners, entrepreneurship, spouses, and it’s going to be a very fantastic conversation, highly engaging. I’m happy to welcome them to the show. So Julian glenn. Welcome.

[0:01:12] Julie Smith: Thank you.

[0:01:13] Glenn Harper: Chris, nice to see you.

[0:01:15] : Yeah, I know we had connected through Podmatch. Tell us a little bit about yourselves, your background journey and how you got started.

[0:01:22] Julie Smith: Yes. So I met Glenn about ten years ago, and we just decided to kind of turn the table upside down and revamp kind of business and what we were doing and how we were doing it. And again, finding your passion through all that has been, I think, one of the most fun journeys that we’ve been on, including hosting our own podcast, starting several businesses. And again, it’s just about finding your passion and getting out of your own way for us.

[0:01:50] : Yeah, it’s really interesting because I love in this day and age because I work with physicians and executives and they’re interested in becoming business owners and entrepreneurs. So we’ll get started. One thing is, tell us, what are the one thing stopping people from becoming business owners? Getting out of their own way.

[0:02:12] Glenn Harper: So just touch a little bit on my background because I think it’s important to this discussion is I basically worked at a firm and the premise was just grind out tax returns and compliance work, and I finally realized that I’m doing business right. I’m just doing the task. And that’s what most people do in life. They have jobs and they do a task, and then they decide to be an entrepreneur, but they really just make a job for themselves. And so it took a little bit of searching, but I found Julie and those things and took what all I’ve learned over the years with other clients that I work with entrepreneurs to realize, wait a second, it’s not about doing business. It’s about building a business. And then you have to realize that you don’t know everything, and you’ve got to hire a team around you, and you got to get out of your own way, effective. That’s one of the things we always use. And it’s and it’s about finding that thing that you do. But it’s not about that. It’s more about running an organization because you want to build something bigger than yourself. Right. And that’s what we try to do. And that’s the biggest hang up that most people that are going to be entrepreneurs do is they think they’re just going to go do a job, but they don’t realize that they really need to build something bigger. They don’t have to, but it certainly can be more rewarding if you do that.

[0:03:29] : Yeah, it’s quite interesting because they talk about this concept of working on your business, working in your business, and for the listeners out there, help elaborate and expand upon that.

[0:03:45] Glenn Harper: So that’s like, if you’re again, we’ve had many clients, it doesn’t even matter what you’re in. You’re a cabinet maker, a doctor, a dentist, cpa, financial planner, podcaster. It could be anybody. The task that you do, like say, I’m going to be a doctor. Well, you’re going to see people and be a doctor doctor. Right. But there’s too many other things you have to do in your business to make it successful that does not involve being a doctor. Right. Well, if you can perfect all those other aspects front desk, the billing, the nurse practitioners and build a business around what you do, then you can be in a position where you can scale that and hire other doctors to work with you. And now you’re a business owner doctor versus just being a doctor.

[0:04:25] Julie Smith: And so a picture that sometimes we like to paint when we talk about that is a hamster wheel. We picture someone who’s just on the hamster wheel just making that wheel go around, making that wheel go around just to get to the next day. And so how do you get out of that hamster wheel to kind of be able to build something a little bit bigger than, again, just going around in circles and circles and doing the tasks. Yeah.

[0:04:47] Glenn Harper: We’re not saying you have to be a multibillion national corporation. We’re just saying that you want generally, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re doing business, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If you’re a business owner that’s running a business, you’re probably going to get paid if you’re not there every day. Right. And that’s kind of the American Dream goal that people would want. So it’s just understanding that difference, I think that most people just don’t know, and then they don’t know how to do that. Right.

[0:05:12] : Yeah. Julie, you brought up a really good point is how do people get off the hamster wheel as an entrepreneur and really grow and scale your business?

[0:05:24] Julie Smith: Yeah. So I think it starts with building that team around you, whether that’s external trusted advisors or you start building an internal team. I think it’s both of those and just really having the conversation and being truthful, honest and aware with yourself about what is your day to day. Sometimes I think we hear entrepreneurs and they tell us what they think we want to hear and that sounds great, but that’s not what actually is really happening. Right? And so how are you able to go and have a trusted team around you externally that is able to tell you the truth? Right. And I think that’s been really hard for people to find is finding those mentors or those colleagues that are able, you’re able to have those honest conversations. And I’m not going to lie, they’re not fun. Glenn and I have them sometimes together and we walk away like, oh man. But you know, it’s the truth and you know you have to do something about it. And so being able to really have that awareness, define your goals, define where you want to be, what’s your vision. If you can’t lead a team without knowing where you’re going, you can’t get everybody on board. So really looking at it’s, the basics, right. What’s your vision, what are your goals?

[0:06:32] Julie Smith: What are your long term goals? What are your short term goals? Who do you have surrounding you that you believe you can trust? Who do you have internally that you believe are key people that you want to retain and keep and share that vision with so that they can help bring that team along? And I think it literally boils down to the basics if you look at it well.

[0:06:50] Glenn Harper: The other part of that too is that a typical entrepreneur, they don’t put the effort to measuring things right. And the measuring has to be with as the entity set up properly, do they have an accurate reporting of their money in, money out, and are they looking at it so they can properly see what happened, evaluate it and make the changes? Most of entrepreneurs, they just run it from their checkbook. And you cannot run a business that way because all you’re going to do is just keep falling back on the same old thing. So we find with entrepreneurs, once you make them track what is it, what they’re doing legitimately, give them real data that says if you do this, this and this meaning from how much you’re charging, the type of segment you’re in, what makes you money, what doesn’t make you money, manage those expenses. You give an entrepreneur a clear vision on that and what to do, they just go do it. But if they don’t have that, they just wall around in a circle. It’s the craziest thing I can’t explain.

[0:07:50] Julie Smith: So Chris can you tell, based on our answers, that one of us is very operationally driven and one of us is very number driven and the two shall never cross. No, we have a good cross mix. But it’s funny how our minds just think completely different. And when you bring, I think, some of those together, it really sets a business up for success.

[0:08:09] : Yeah, it’s really all about teamwork and getting to the spouses and the teamwork. One thing that you really touched upon, both of you, was teamwork. And how do you come to send the nuts and bolts of empowering teams and getting them to execute change? Because ultimately it’s about the team that gets the job done.

[0:08:32] Glenn Harper: I’m going to go first on one piece because then she can nail it. But if you are the owner or the leader, you have got to be able to define what you’re trying to accomplish and you have to be able to say, I’m going here, who’s coming with? And then take it to Julie.

[0:08:51] Julie Smith: So I think once you’ve been able to define that everybody wants to go towards something, right? Everyone wants to work towards something bigger, you have to be able to define what role everybody’s taking in that bigger vision or else people are just aimlessly wandering down the stream and really no idea. And so I think it’s about transparency, honesty and communication. And I think when you have those three things with your teammates and you’re able to communicate what that vision is, where they fit in and honestly what they’re capable of and not capable of, you’re really setting everyone up for success to kind of come down the way. And I think what we’ve really learned in our journey is once we’re able to kind of become united and knowing what that is and where we’re going, for whatever reason, I think I sometimes become the person that has to go communicate with each person and get them involved and going. But once you have a united front with your partner and you’re able to kind of go through that, no one can kind of crack through any weakness, right? But if someone senses a weakness and when you’re going to make change or you’re moving towards something bigger, they’re going to eat at that right out of your hand. And so the other thing I would say is just be a very united front with your business partner and make sure you’re on the same page and you have each other’s back. Because as you go through that, you define that you’re having that communication, transparency and honesty, everyone’s going to come with because they know exactly what they have to do. Day to day, month to month, quarter to quarter and year over year.

[0:10:19] Glenn Harper: The funniest thing, Chris, is that when you go and say you have a teammate and they’re hired to do a certain thing and then you just keep throwing other things at them and just assume that they like those things. Well, until you ask, they might loathe that. And if you can find out that this person hates this, but this person loves it and this person hates it and this person loves it, you just swap it out. Everybody’s happy, but nobody thinks to ask. They just by proxy. They put them in there and just get it done. And that’s not what you need to hire for positions and be crystal clear what you’d want people to do. It works every time.

[0:10:55] Julie Smith: And I think as we’ve built teams, we definitely sit down and have those conversations. What we may believe is someone’s strength on our team is the thing that they hate doing. And so being able just to have those open conversations, open lines of communication, we always say on a team, no one’s weaknesses should ever show them through because someone else is going to pick up that and make sure that they’re picking up the slack for that. But it’s again, having that open line of communication and conversation that says someone says, man, I just hate doing excel, yet they’re so good at it. But you never want someone to come in and have to do something they hate doing. So how can you tweak that? How can you take that task and move it to someone who just is like, I rocket excel, and again, I’m using excel as a blanket.

[0:11:37] Glenn Harper: We love excel. excel is awesome.

[0:11:39] Julie Smith: I don’t but I just think having those open lines of communication and understanding what each of your teammates are doing and what they really enjoy doing is going to bring a lot better career success for each individual as you go through your journey.

[0:11:51] Glenn Harper: And remember, the big thing is that an entrepreneur that has a specific trait that they’re good at, say, a doctor, attorney, a cpa, a dentist, whatever, they’re great at that task. Most of them are. But they’ve never been taught how to be a business owner. And that is a whole different skill set. And to think that me as a cpa, that I know everything about business, I’m learning a lot every day, and I know more than the average guy. But if I was to me to saying I’m going to golf and be a dentist and think that I’m going to know everything, I’m just not right. And there’s no disrespect to any other profession. There’s a difference between practicing something and running a business in it. And most doctors and dentists and whatnot and they work for a group, all those things are handled back office. They don’t even know what’s going on. They just go in and drill and fill or sew people up, and they don’t think about the backside. When you become an entrepreneur, you got to do all that. So you better have your team put together and you better be willing to learn. And what does it mean to be a business owner? Not just a doer.

[0:12:56] : Yeah, I love that. One thing is what I love is you have a teamwork and usually it’s a business partner, co founder, spouse. You have this interesting idea where it’s entrepreneurs and the spouses that love them, and I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on those.

[0:13:17] Glenn Harper: So over the years, I just kind of default. I just recognize patterns as I’ve worked with thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs. And what ends up happening is there’s a disconnect with an entrepreneur and the spouse. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the chick or the dude or dude or check. It doesn’t matter. But the things that go through an entrepreneur’s head is a very scary place to be. And an entrepreneur is terrified to share that with anybody because it might be a weakness, it might be doubt. And so they just struggle in the quantum of solace on themselves. Okay, well, as a spouse of that, they don’t know what to think, right, because they’re not getting communicated to. And what happens when people don’t communicate, things kind of go apart. And what has to happen is I just figured out that there’s a couple of tricks you can do to talk to entrepreneurs and the spouses who love them to say, this is probably really all. And when I interview them and talk to them, I’ll know this is probably what your spouse wants to know, and you just got to tell them these couple of things, which is, we’re going to be okay. I’m going to keep working hard. You got to trust me on this. And then the other side of it, the entrepreneur needs some things from their spouse and says, hey, I support you, I trust you, I believe in you, I’m here for you.

[0:14:35] Glenn Harper: And they never really talk about those things because, again, it is a terrifying thing because you’re all alone. And when you can get a spouse to buy in, get your team to buy in all those things, there’s not much that an entrepreneur can accomplish if they have a good work ethic.

[0:14:48] : Yeah. Julie, did you have any thoughts or ideas? I know you just get your thoughts.

[0:14:55] Julie Smith: Yeah. That whole concept is really what feel the passion behind our podcast because entrepreneur, it’s such a lonely world out there and it seems like people have spouses that support them or whatever, but you’re not able to kind of tell your story or give that advice or lean on anyone. And so that whole concept was the whole founding idea for our podcast was to bring a community of entrepreneurs together to say, hey, everyone’s going through the same thing. It’s just sometimes, you know, hey, if we can have someone on and can give a shortcut or can talk about how they went through this and they came out of it and it’s, it’s going to be okay. That’s really was the founding idea of the podcast was because we just know that the world out there for entrepreneurs is lonely.

[0:15:43] Glenn Harper: I swear, part half of what I do for a living when I meet with entrepreneurs and the office is it’s probably more of a therapist than it is an accountant, if that even makes sense. They come to the office thinking they need accounting, and we do do that, but that’s not the primary thing. That’s just a function of the other things we do. But ultimately they’re there because there is something going on, and they don’t know what to do about it, and there’s no direction know how to communicate. When you can walk that through that and you see people just stand up, people break down in tears, it’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen because you’re helping them achieve their dream, and that is the coolest thing you can ever do for anybody. And that is just we have this skill set of this knowledge of this database of things that we can share with people, and that’s what we try to do, and it’s very rewarding.

[0:16:28] : Yeah, I know as we’re coming close to the end. And I wanted to give you guys a chance that you mentioned the podcast, but quickly talk about a little bit about culture and then also about because a lot of doctors, they struggle with charging what they work. They feel guilty for charging for their services. And it’s really interesting what Glenn pointed out, business owner versus the skill. So talk to a little bit more about culture and charging more for your services.

[0:17:00] Glenn Harper: So just on the charging part, Julie, she guessed the culture down, but as far as the charging thing goes, again, that comes down to understanding that you’re in business generally to make a profit. And if you’re not, that’s okay, too. But you got to be realistic of what you’re trying to do. And if you’re trying to make a profit, you need to back into what you need to make after tax, paying all your bills to know what that number is, then you reverse engineer. Back up, though. I got to see 400 patients in a month charging them X after I hit that nut. Then I can do some pro bono and do some free stuff, because I’m taking care of my family is taking care of well, doctors, and everybody kind of does that backwards. They’ll take anybody because that’s just doctors like to help. Counts like to help. Everybody likes to help. But you have to have some sort of limit protocol schedule that I can only take this many of the freebies or the lower cost ones because I still got to make a living. Because if I can’t make a living, I can’t employ my team, I can’t provide for my family. It doesn’t work. So if they just do it backwards and reverse engineer it, it’s a very easy thing to do. And then just knowing what the market will bear and go make it happen.

[0:18:06] Julie Smith: And I’m going to be the bad cop, I generally am. But the bad cop in me says when you’re running a business, you have to take emotion out of it.

[0:18:14] Glenn Harper: It’s very hard. It’s very hard.

[0:18:16] Julie Smith: And I know that it’s hard, but you got to look at it from essentially an emotionless state. If someone was coming to you and asking you the same question of what would I charge or what should I be charging? In general, that entrepreneur or business owner is going to tell them exactly what it should be. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that people can’t then go take that advice and do it for themselves. The value of people is so what they have to bring to the table is so much more than what they give themselves credit for. And I once heard this, and Glenn was there when we heard it. We heard this say, hey, if someone asked me what the weather is, that’s just this side of the brain. That’s easy. I’ll talk about the weather all day long. But if you’re going to go ask a doctor about how to do surgery on this really complicated nerve or something, again, I’m not in that business. It’s this side of my brain. The minimum it’s going to take for me to turn that on is X. And I just think you have to think about it from a completely emotionless standpoint. I know that sounds like such a bad cop, but when you’re running a business, you’re running a business for a reason and you’ve made that decision and you’ve made that leap of faith, you got to kind of stick to your guns on that. You got to know your value and there’s no reason you’re going to devalue yourself and give yourself a discount.

[0:19:28] Julie Smith: And I don’t think you would advise your friends, your colleagues, or anyone else to do the same. So I stick to that concept.

[0:19:34] Glenn Harper: Agreed.

[0:19:35] Julie Smith: And then as far as culture, that is something that I’m probably the most fiercely protective of in our business. Because as you know, when you build a culture, it’s hard. And it’s hard to get all the right people in all the right places and believing in all the same things. And so I think as you go through creating a culture, one, you got to define exactly what you’re looking for. What are your top three core values that you want associated with your culture, and then how are you going to emulate and lead so that everyone can understand what those are? And as you’re going through that, I think one thing to note is it’s okay if you don’t have all the right people in the right places, but recognizing that early on is going to help your culture flourish because one toxic person in that culture is going to take the whole culture down. And so as you’re building something and you’re emulating and you’re leading and you’re getting people to come along and you’re creating that. And again, you define those top 2345 core values that you really are going to lead your culture on. I think it’s okay just to be aware when someone isn’t the right fit because they are going to take that culture down. You got to fiercely protect that because the time and energy that it takes to build a successful culture isn’t worth the negative that one person may bring into it.

[0:20:54] Glenn Harper: And remember, the typical entrepreneur, especially somebody like a professional service person that knows that task very well, they just don’t know those things. And because they’re so perfect in what we do, a surgeon has to be perfect, a dentist perfect. cp has got to be perfect, attorney perfect. Well, running a business, it’s a very far from being a perfect thing. And that’s a very hard pill to swallow, that it’s okay if it’s not perfect. You just got to be trending in the right direction because they call it medical practice, cpa practice, an attorney practice, because we’re trying to learn and evolve as we go. So, entrepreneurs, you don’t have to figure it out today, but try to make yourself, you put in the right position that you’re trending in the right direction, you know what you don’t know, and you’re hiring people to help you. And it’s a journey. It really is.

[0:21:42] Julie Smith: And I think as you go through your journey, as Glenn talks about the word grace is always something we use with clients and people on the podcast, because grace is really, really important, because it is a practice. It isn’t a journey. There’s no right wrong. No one has done exactly what you’re doing. So give you and your team a little bit of grace as you go through that journey.

[0:22:04] : Yeah, I really loved all the it’s really been a very fantastic conversation. You have a lot of knowledge and experience how a lot of people in the audience are interested in contacting you, following you on social media, checking out your website, podcast. How can they do that?

[0:22:23] Julie Smith: Yeah. So you can find us at Harper, cpa Plus and plus as I’ll spell it out. plus.com. And then we also host a podcast empowering entrepreneurs where we just like to have that organic conversation and that’s again on Apple, spotify, and anywhere you find your podcast.

[0:22:39] : Yeah. And for all the listeners out there, let’s thank Julie and Glenn for this really fantastic episode. It’s almost a master class. Check them out on their podcast, LinkedIn as well. All of those resources will be in the links and show notes. And with that, thanks so much for for providing so much value and coming onto the podcast.

[0:22:58] Glenn Harper: Thanks for having us. Appreciate it.

Episode Shownotes

We just had a really cool conversation with Dr. Christopher Loo on Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast.

It’s the funniest thing ever when you’re talking about entrepreneurs and physicians in particular. It’s hard for physicians not to want to do everything perfectly and stay outside their own lane. If they do what they’re supposed to do and hire a team around them, they’re probably going to be very successful a lot quicker than if they tried to do everything at once.

A couple of important areas we cover with Dr. Loo is when setting prices for services, it is important to reverse engineer and understand what the market will bear. Julie advises entrepreneurs and business owners to look at their value from an emotionless standpoint and not devalue themselves.

You also need to understand the difference between being a business owner and a doer. Glenn emphasizes that entrepreneurs should know what they don’t know and strive for perfection.

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