Vinnie Fisher | Scaling a Services-Based Business and Leadership Lessons

John Corcoran 6:10

Yeah. Now in the line of work that you’re in, because it’s software, and it’s people. Yep, those two pieces, they don’t work well together. You got so much work that has to go into figuring out where does the software and where do the people start? How do you put a process in place for the people? How do you have the to communicate seamlessly, so the client gets a great experience? Talk to me a little bit about what that has been like for you, as you’ve really kind of invented this new model over the last few years wistfully?

Vinnie Fisher 6:46

Yeah, well, we started this at the end of 14, and really launched the world in early 15. I’m coming into that stage of my life, I’m a b2c person, I’ve only built product companies that sold up to the ultimate end user product to a customer, not a b2b business, which is what we have now. And so everyone thought I was nuts, like I was. And now six years later, like, this is amazing, you’re like an overnight success. Now, what they don’t know is all this stuff in between of how really hard it is to build a service company that makes its wage and margin on labor. And so this idea that you talked about where like technologies, people use different ones, you and I have very similar models, who they rent labor from us. And we’re Our job is to make all that tech work so that the experience that they deliver, or whatever it is they get is amazing. Well, that’s just hard. And we spend money, and we invest in people. And so thankfully, I believe in people over process, but I have a partner who’s our CFO who loves process. So bringing those two things together, is the only way we get there. But like it’s the only way. And I have a motto around here, you know, you have to deliver consistency in order to get excellence.

John Corcoran 8:03

Talk to me about developing leaders within your organization. Because, you know, in order to build a company to the size that you’re at right now, and your previous companies, you have to be able to develop leaders. First of all, how do you identify emerging leaders? How do you figure out who’s going to be a good leader for your team?

Vinnie Fisher 8:24

You know, I, what I actually recognize the quality in somebody First off, they got to join the team, right? And they got to work and they got to assume opposed, and they gotta be willing to wash dishes and just have a very servant attitude. I think one of my buddies, a dear friend of mine in my life, says, If servanthood is beneath you, then leadership’s always going to be above you. And so we have a very servant attitude towards our people around here. Back to CEOs Mindset, my book, I shared my heart, about the heartbeat of a company and values and all that. So go read that I’m not going to bore you with that discussion here. But what I will jump on is this: we just promoted this amazing woman on our team, Lindsay, who’s the CFO of Fully Accountable, she’s been the CFO, and still is for lots of our clients. But she’s now the CFO of our company and on our executive team. Well, here’s what’s hilarious. She, um, she was in that role, asking for forgiveness very often for what she saw as overstepping doing things. And so people who have leadership qualities about him tend to be seeking forgiveness, not permission. At least in my world.

John Corcoran 9:37

Yeah. And other worlds that might be the opposite, right? They don’t want people but that’s the world. Those are the types of people that you want.

Vinnie Fisher 9:45

Yeah, like hard charging, you know, I tend to not be a micromanager. So the things I do, I very much set the vision and get out of the way. And so I would lean on a building and I spent all my time I’m on our executive team, by the way, like, new people might get a Hello from me or whatever. But I spent all our time 90% of my time going to my executive team. And I’m working on things like emotional equivalent stuff and helping them see, like how to help lead the team around them. But honestly, I was just laughing with the most successful leader. People in our company are already doing parts of the role, and they don’t have the title.

John Corcoran 10:24

What are some of the challenges that you help new people who are promoted to a position of leadership within your company? What are some of the things that they’re challenged by that you find yourself working with them on again and again? More? Is it not necessarily the same person? 

Vinnie Fisher 10:43

I think that’s a great question. I think most dedicated people who love being a craftsman are professional, what they do, if that’s an operating a business or manager leader, everyone wants to do a great job at that. One thing that’s interesting about a growing and going concern is that you have to be honest, that you’re guessing there’s a lot of guessing going on. Because today, you know, I always say, you know, what’s someone say? What’s it like to raise a 20 year old, I’ll let you know, when Sophia turns 20 in June, and then I’ll let you know. And so I help our leaders realize that there’s an element to guessing we have enough wisdom to know about yesterday, but tomorrow takes some guessing. And so I try to help them lean on the wisdom that they have and the resources they have around them and, and that the guessing is part of the job of a leader and it’s not so awful. And it’s okay if we miss a little bit strikeouts happen. So I always like to talk about how fear is not like a destination, it’s a way to something else.

John Corcoran 11:45

No, we’re this last year, a lot of companies have had to go from fully in person to fully remote or some version of that, you know, a hybrid where some people are in person that some people are remote. So talk a little bit about that. Because you’re your company. Now you have some people, as I understand it, some people that are in headquarters and some people in remote places, is that right?

Vinnie Fisher 12:07

Yeah, we have just under 30 here, and then the two thirds of our company, we call them homeys. They’re at home. And they one of them can kind of name themselves homeys. early in the day, they just stuck two thirds or a company or homeys. We’ve been hybrid before hybrid was like, Well, I guess required. And so we also were deemed essential. Now I don’t love some of that terminology. I’m hoping we can cycle through and all forgive each other over some of that language. And I think we will. I think we’ll get through some of that. But it’s so hard for those businesses

John Corcoran 12:41

that are deemed essential, right? I

Vinnie Fisher 12:44

mean, yeah, that’s tough stuff. And I hope we all kind of give each other some benefit of doubt on some of that. But I think, you know, this idea that you’re going to be both is, is what is going to be this next season or generation of business, you’re going to have a little bit of both. Now, people who have already been fully remote, like, you need to give everyone else the benefit of doubt. It’s not like nothing’s changed for you, society is massively changed around you if you’re one of those people. But the reality is, people, you have a lot of young people in our place, when we survey them, they love coming to something because it’s where they actually have some relationship, like they would see peer networking, it also creates a separation from their professional and their private life. Like they want a little bit of that break. People who are home all the time, don’t get those two things. And for young people, those two things are seriously critical. So as a leader, I would encourage you to find ways to fill in those two spots, because those two things are critically young people and work.

John Corcoran 13:47

Yeah, yeah. Talk to me a little bit about culture as a hybrid company and what are some things that your company’s done in order to build a culture with part of the team remote and part of the team in person?

Vinnie Fisher 14:02

I think first off, you got to admit whether you actually care about culture. Some people say they do and then you look at them not doing anything about it. So I’m constantly investing in our people in I’m always speaking every about every three meetings of our Monday stand up, I’m talking about mission and giving everyone a reminder, a vision about what mission we’re on and what part you play in that so I and then I’m always speaking about the things the hard stuff we do. So I care about culture a ton. But then layer on top of that, if that’s true, I have to accept that two thirds of our team are in other places. So we do things like our Monday stand up, everyone turn your video on, video on every chance we can. I try to bring as much of this stuff that happens in an office to the relationship of our remote people. We have daily stand ups by departments. Those things happen with a video on, we send out stuff to people at home, no different than we might randomly gift inside the office. So like this last week, this month is like recognizing women. And so we send out stuff 55% of our team are women. So what do we do to do the things, we just got to be a little bit more purposeful John, about like people are at home, but you can do it, you just got to do the stuff you would do in your office, and then think a couple days ahead and mail it to them.

John Corcoran 15:32

Right, right, a little bit more and notice. And then we’re running a little short on time here. But I do want to ask about those companies that maybe have been handling back office functions in-house or in their company. And they’re maybe a little fearful about the idea of running it remotely running it through another company, the way that you guys function. Talk a little bit about how you can do that effectively, and how that can save you time and resources.

Vinnie Fisher 16:00

Yeah, our motto is time, money resources, right? When back the time that you’re investing in things, you shouldn’t be at a fraction of the cost with experts who have massive resources. To me, business processing, outsourcing, accounting as a category should be one of those places. You know, the reality is we do four jobs for less than the cost of an executive bookkeeper. So we are the actual executive bookkeeper, the staff accountant, which we call the controller, the data analyst and the CFO for less than your executive bookkeeper. To me, I don’t understand why everyone is doing it. Because you literally, if you want to have a CFO, you’re going to spend a couple 100 grand Well, for literally a fifth of that cost, you get it all. And so like, to me from a cost perspective and expertise, everyone should be doing this. And then you find out what you don’t know. And you can always grow parts of it. So you know, that’s why we give out all the resources to go do it yourself. Like, go take advantage of that gift page, you’ll get all of it. And if you find out, you want to hit the speed up button, work with experts, then send us an email and we carefully and if it’s not us, we’ll find you the right place if you’re not in our industry where we can serve you best. And that’s why we set that email up, John is if you’re not if we’re not the right fit, we’ll help you find the right fit.

John Corcoran 17:21

I love that. Vinnie, is it always such a pleasure talking to you any final thoughts or advice? You know, as we head into 2021 from one of the strangest years in recent memory? What are you excited about? As we try and get back to some sense of normalcy and business starts to get back to some sense of normalcy in 2021,

Vinnie Fisher 17:43

no matter what this last year was, which will probably round out 18 months, it has massively and radically changed behavior specifically as it relates to buying behavior. And so I would encourage leaders to see that there has been five or plus years of behavior accelerated. So I would be encouraged about what you can do with that. And then leaders are words matter. I would encourage you to use encouraging and beneficial words that are uplifting and beneficial to those that are listening. Because we you and I as leaders, other leaders need to hear this encouragement because people look to us and our words matter. And so I’m thankful to be working on that these days, to be honest with you,

John Corcoran 18:26

Vinnie, is the website. Where else can people go to connect with you or learn more about the work that you do?

Vinnie Fisher 18:33

Vinnie Fisher everything. I’m very visual at all of it. So you can find me and our media team will probably do a good job impersonating me in some places. I’m him in other places.

John Corcoran 18:43

That’s good. At least he’s honest. Alright, Vinnie. Thanks so much.

Vinnie Fisher 18:46

Alright, buddy.

Outro 18:47

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