In this ecumenical episode, Shivani Gupta, shares how she worked with founders and leader around the globe and imparted her wisdom so their business can have clarity and take action to grow.
You will discover:
– Why globally over 80% of new businesses don’t make it past 3 years
– How to discover what you don’t know you know know
– Why the way we hiring is not working and what you can do about it
Hello, hello and welcome. Welcome once again to the secrets of the high demand coach podcast. And I am here with yet another high demand coach. And that is the one the only Shivani Gupta. She works with leaders and founders who want to scale who wants to get their people to step up, and who want to manage their own health and wellness. Shivani has owned, scaled and exited several businesses from zero to 5 million. She’s spoken in 18 countries to over a quarter of a million people and has authored eight books. I don’t know how she has time to do anything else. But if you’ve seen her at all online, she’s always doing things to take care of herself as well. So it’s just a remarkable, remarkable woman. She’s also worked with over 250 companies and coach over 1500 leaders Shivani just wow, I welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you here. I can’t wait to dive into some of this. But I’d love to just take a step back and start with tell us your story. What were you doing before you did all of this? And before becoming a coach, really? And how did it lead you to make the leap?
Thank you, Scott. It’s so lovely to be here today. Well, I grew up in this very typical Indian family that moved. We moved our family moved from India when I was 11 years of age. And so the whole focus was education, right? They My parents always said, we’re not going to leave you a whole heap of money, but we want you to be educated and that will get you started. And in my family, you kind of had two options, you either going to become a doctor, you’re gonna become an engineer, they were kind of not many paths that were that were set out for you. I was adamant that I didn’t want to be a doctor. And so my father who I have a still a very close relationship. And probably one of the best coaches and mentors in my life is an engineer and my grandfather, who had a profound impact on me, was also an engineer. So I actually started my career off as an engineer following in the footsteps of some of the great men in my family, as the first female engineer in my family, and so went down this path for over a decade. And then I had this really profound, extraordinary experience and traveling to the pole. It was just after September 11. And although a lot of people were not traveling, I had already canceled my trip several times. And I find myself in the pool, and I’m the only person on this trip, I have a Sherpa a guide and a cook. And here I am traveling through the Annapurna ranges for a month. And I got to experience a lot of poverty. But at the same time, nobody begged me for food and money, I found kids bringing me into their homes. I, I cried a lot on that trip. And it was such a transformational trip for me that I came back really wondering who I was, and who I really wanted to become. And being at the corporate sector was not serving my soul. So I came back from that trip, and I resigned from my job. And in the same week, I resigned from my very mediocre relationship. And I’m one of the things I knew was that I was good with people. And I didn’t really know, you know whether this was going to be called coaching or mentoring at the time. But I stepped into that. And that was 20 years ago. And I’ve run several other businesses in that period, but always with that slant of coaching. Because, you know, I’ve entered industries, which I don’t have the expertise in Amazon, you know, run day spas, and I’ve run co working spaces, and I’ve run childcare play centers for kids. And I don’t have a lot of the expertise in there. But one of the expertise I’ve always taken into different businesses is this art of coaching and continuing to learn how to get better as a coach, and then she some of the leaders in my business to achieve the goals.
Wow, wow. And so that’s brought you here. So let’s fast forward to today. What would you say some of the most important work you’re doing for your clients right now?
Foe me, I take it back to that really, really minimal, simple thing where they get that aha moment. So for me, when we’re working when I’m working together with a client, you know, I’ve worked with a client, for example, yesterday, and this amazing founder and entrepreneur is running a really great business. And we found in the conversation that she wants to double the revenue over the next 12 to 18 months. And as we were working together, we found that her team was not charging for a lots of services. And as a result of that we found or waste half a million dollars in that one conversation as a result of some of the work that the team is not charging. They’re over servicing a client and under charging in that and she just stopped talking. She’s this very fast talker and quite an amazing entrepreneur. She just stopped talking and she was like, Oh my God, those moments, to be honest, they’re the ones that bring me so much joy, because that conversation will then create so many ripple impacts for her and business and her life and your employees and our clients. So they’re those those little moments are the ones that I absolutely love in terms of some of the client work. I tend to wear a lot with leaders in businesses who worked for others. And then then also mainly founders and entrepreneurs. And I love working with them because they are so smart. And they also push me to the edge as a coach, because, you know, they always say, as a coach, my job is often to ask really hard, challenging, deep questions to ensure that people get that insight. Most of the people already have that wisdom. And for me, as a coach, the idea is to help bad surface. And so when I work with super smart people, it gets me constantly transforming and constantly learning from that as well.
Yeah, yeah, that’s fascinating. As I was doing some research for the episode, I saw in several places that you’re really dialed in to helping folks get through that zero to $5 million space that that you know, that first 5 million, if you will, and that’s both a huge range and a small range all at the same time. It’s kind of a weird dynamic there. But what are some keys? How do you even start to approach that move from that, you know, brilliant startup to an actual successful organization?
Yeah, great question. Well, as we know, globally, the statistics are that over 80% of businesses don’t make it past the three year mark. And so the question we have to ask ourselves is, why is that? Why do so many people start with this deep passion and yearning to make a difference in their particular industry and sector, but they do that. So a lot of them don’t manage who they are. So what they do is a massive burnout for businesses. So to be able to get to nought to 5 million, not only do you have to have your vision, and your be hag or your big, hairy, audacious goal that we speak about, what are the dents, what are the changes that you want to make, what are you trying to achieve, and getting people really clear about what their goals are, but at the same time, you want to make sure that you’re setting up systems and you’re hiring the right people, and making sure that you’re going to grow sustainably, so you don’t burn out at that three year mark, though, in that, in those early stages, a lot of it is about the clarity of vision and making sure your actions but making sure you’re starting to build something where your name is not next to the 75 things that need to be done, when you start off a business. And I think it’s a bit of a step or a tiered approach. And as you then you know, hit that 250 K mark, then there’s quite a few, you know, more people that you need more sisters that, you know, depending on the type of business. And so I always see that that growth comes in different as you scale. It’s the same problems. You know, there’s always the problem with cash, there’s always the problem of people, there’s always a problem of strategy and systems. And so there’s common problems, but the problems get bigger. And so then we need to find different ways to be able to look at it, we did need a different mindset. So for me, you know, you know, say a client says that, you know, we’re, we’re a million dollars, and we really want to scale up to we want to double that to $2 million. Well, great. Let’s look at some of the challenges that you’ve currently got. That lends us a look at the challenges you’re going to hit when you get to 1.5 or 2 million, when you get to 2 million, there’ll be a different set of challenges. So it’s really about working with them in their next that, you know, six to 12 month journey and some of the actions that they need to take. But because you know, all of us have so many actions to take, well, what are the big actions that you take that actually get the results or gonna get most of your results for you thats what we focus on.
That’s so good. In our as you’re talking, I’m kind of having flashbacks to, you know, the first years of of our business that we started and that first five months, I had no idea what I was doing, you know, we kicked this thing off, I was 21 years old. And just like the first leadership team meeting I was ever in was one where I was asking people to be on my leadership team, right as I just I had no idea it was that kind of entrepreneurial thing of like, hey, like, we’re just gonna make this thing up as we go. And I’ve told people time and time again, because it’s been such a big part of my work recently is the thing that I don’t know if it’s regret most or the biggest struggle that I had, during that time was that constant feeling of being blindsided, right, it’s like you kind of expect 2 million to be just more of a million. You know, it’s like, and in a sense it is, but it’s different to, and I felt like I always had a clear map of what’s behind me. And I never had a clue what was ahead of me. And so it’s really and I was wondering if you could just kind of tease like, how does that change over time? So from 250 to one to two to 5 million? What are some of the big kind of transition points or how are those challenges changing during that window?
Yeah, great question. Um, firstly, Congratulations on starting your first business at 21. I mean, I wish I was 30. Scott when I started, and I wished one of my not lot of regret, but I wish that I’d started at 21. That’s amazing that you started at 21. Well, there’s a great model called the Johari Window. And this one talks about often we don’t know what we don’t know, it’s kind of this unconscious thing that we don’t even know. So often when we get into business, it’s really important to go kind of what do I know? And what am I good at? What do I know that I’m not very good at? You know, what kind of, you know, do I know that I really need to get better at and I don’t even I know what do I think I don’t even know, it’s a great model to sort of start off saying, I don’t know how to run lead ship teams, I actually don’t know how to grow that. When it comes to the transitions and some of the different steps, I found that we know when you hire your first employee, which is always such a stressful beat move, hiring your first employee, to help us grow and be able to scale our business. It’s a really big step. But as your business gets bigger, you know, one of the experiences I’ve had is, in my experience, you always want to start hiring people that are always smarter than you. You know, when we first hire our first employees, we hire people that are good and very capable, and technically very good at their role. As I started to scour businesses, and some of the conversations I have with my clients is, you want to kind of hire people that are way smarter than you at that particular task. So you then start to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you making decisions on these particular topics. So then, as a leader and a founder, one of the things that happens is, then the work that needs to be done is in the on managing your ego. So we then need to manage ego, because all of a sudden, we are not the expert in this business that’s growing in static files. We’ve got these amazing humans around us. And we need to be able to kind of step back and say, How am I going to go? Are we letting these people run the show? How am I going to lead that make some more of those decisions. And that’s a different framework. And that’s a different piece of work that an entrepreneur needs to do. Compared to you did when you first started off, there’s also you know, different systems, you know, there’s different level and complexity of systems that you need to be able to be able to grow, you can’t grow businesses, having manual systems. So you start to look at all the different ways that we automate. And obviously at the moment, all our conversations are full of AI. It’s had CBT, and how we’re going to incorporate that and those conversations, whatever we call the form of it, whether it’s going to be called chat up at night in the future, we just have to keep looking at that and saying how do we incorporate different technology, different ways that we can eliminate duplication in our businesses. So you know, constantly looking at people constantly looking at systems, but then also making sure we don’t run out of cash as we grow? Because we know one thing that happens as we start to grow and scale is that it sucks up cash. And so many amazing businesses are growing, amazingly, but then they run out of cash. And that’s often their downfall as well.
Yeah, yeah, it’s so true. And another point that you made a couple of times, in some of your materials, was this idea of getting your employees to step up? And and it’s just, it’s one of those areas. That seems like it should be automatic, you know, it’s like I step up as a founder, you know, hiring good people, why aren’t they stepping up? Why are they stepping up? Why aren’t they stepping up? What’s getting in the way of your employer employee stepping up?
I believe, Scott, that the way that we are hiring people is not working. You know. And so we know globally through Gallup studies that 87% of our workforce is not passionate about the work that they do 87%. That’s across small, medium, large businesses, that’s a very large percentage. So I’m very passionate about saying, how do we actually change the hiring process? How do we get a the right people, and often when we’re really busy and growing and scaling, we were in a hurry to hire people, we got, oh, my goodness, I need four people, let’s just get anybody with a heartbeat, let’s just put them in these roles, so that I can move on to the next task that we need to do. And I think that what that does, that’s a very expensive exercise, irrespective of the size of your business, we hire the wrong person. And then the cost of that can be somewhere between two and five times their salary. And the other thing that is happening now, globally, is that we are losing key talent. So the people that do a lot of our work, you know, we say 20% of our clients bring us 80% of their revenue, you know, it might not be the same proportion, but are really high producing highly productive staff. When we lose them, then to replace them, the cost is even more. So one of the things that I’ve been talking to clients about is, how do we slow down let people say fire fire in a high fire, sky fires. That’s a very expensive exercise. So I’m really trying to get and speak to people to say, is slow. And then perhaps we don’t need to fire fast. So really slow down that process. And there’s a model I’ve developed that talks about seven areas of passion. And so irrespective of when when employees come in for an interview, they’re always going to tell you how excited they are to work here force because they want the job. But one of the things I’m saying to leaders and founders is take this passion model ask them about their top three passionate work does not need to be the top passion. In fact, for most people, it isn’t. So find people and work out what their passions are. Not only does it help you under And when I see it with their passions, you could also then build some incentives in to tailor that in terms of what their passions are. So an example of that is a leader that worked for me for over five years. Her number one passion was body and health work was the number three passion, she was very clear about that at the interview. So fantastic. So as a founder, I paid $1,200 a year for her gym membership, as an incentive, in addition to some of the monetary things that she had, she absolutely loved me for that whole five years, even though it was a small thing, because I tailored an incentive according to her passion. And we made sure that on a Wednesday afternoon, she left early because she went to the gym to train for a particular marathon that she was running. So understanding your employees passions, and for them to understand what they need to do at work, and having conversations and a feedback culture. But also creating incentives around that is one strategy that people can demand. But really fly the slow part, you know, slow down the hiring process, make sure you find the right people, make sure you do a second interview, have some of your team involved in that and make sure that they’re a really good cultural fit is one way of ensuring that we get those because those people are so much easier to step up than the ones that we’re trying to as the saying goes, you know, getting a square hanging peg and pushing it into a round hole, we’re trying to make them fit into our culture, and often they don’t. And they’re the noisy staff. They’re the ones that complain a lot. They’re the ones that take up so much of your energy, and it becomes really difficult. They’re the ones that always made sleepless nights. And you know, we want to avoid those, we want to hire the right people in there, get them to step up and get them excited about the work that they’re doing.
That’s so good. That’s so I could not agree more. Now, there’s a question I like to ask all my guests. And it’s this what is the biggest secret that you wish everyone in our audience listening or watching today knew? What’s that one thing that you wish everybody knew and and didn’t have to guess at anymore? Or what myth Can you dispel for us?
As you grow and scale getting more support, don’t get less support, get more support around you to help you get better?
Yeah, that is so true. That is so true. And so one other question for you. And then I want to make sure folks know how they can get in touch with you. And so for this one, though, I need you to take off your coach hat for a moment, put on your CEO hat again, kind of get down in the ring with the rest of us and share what’s the next stage of growth look like for you and your business? And what challenge will you have to overcome to get there?
Yeah, well, I’m now starting to coach a lot of people globally. And so with all the time zones living in Australia, and also I’ve got a team that’s starting to put together and new programs, we are now creating a bit of a knowledge database, and also online programs. And so that’s probably the next part of that growth is how do we do that in a sustainable way? How do we grow mobile business? And, you know, ensuring that I still have my wellness and time for my yoga return for my two teenage kids and, and my husband, etc. So how do I manage some of that? Which is always a constant struggle for all of us. But also how do we take this concept of online courses, which a lot of people are doing that? How do we tailor them specifically for leaders and owners of businesses, so that they really can have their teams develop? And one of the really passionate about studies? Now, how do we create coaches internally as managers and leaders? So looking at some of those programs, I’ve just also been assigned a contract to write my next book. So my ninth book, and that’s a fairly big piece of work in the next 12 months, I’ve got, I’ve got a fair bit of work for me to do that.
Well, best friend does so exciting. And you know, judging by what I’ve seen so far, I know it’s gonna be remarkable. And you start tackling some of these things and getting all the pieces put together. I can’t wait to hear more about it. So for those who are listening in, they’re like, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. It like I need all of this. Someone to help me here and how can they get in touch with you find out more about the work you do?
Absolutely. So the easiest way is probably my website, which is called askshivani.com. And that’s probably the easiest. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. And so also it’s Ask Shivani on LinkedIn. And the reason I named that is look, if you’ve got any questions, please ask away. And if you want to hop on to the website, and Joanne and have a free 30 minute strategy call, let’s have a chat about what your needs are. Sometimes it’s just pointing you in the right direction with a book or particular website. But so happy to have a conversation and see you and help you grow in terms of what you’re trying to do.
That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Shivani. It was an honor and privilege having you here and for those watching, listening. You know, your time and attention mean the world to us. I hope you got as much out of this conversation as I know I did. And I cannot wait to see you next time. Take care.
Contact Shivani Gupta
Shivani works with leaders and founders who want to scale, get people to step up or manage their own wellness. Shivani has owned, scaled and exited several businesses from $0 to $5M. She has spoken in 18 countries to over a quarter of a million people, has authored 8 books, worked with over 250 companies and coached over 1500 leaders. After working with Shivani who will share her experience and wisdom, you will have clarity and action from the wisdom she shares.
Want to learn more about Shivani Gupta’s work? Check out her website at https://www.askshivani.com/
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