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Small Business Success Podcast 083—Ask the Expert—Scaling Through Culture

Dobbin Buck of GetUWired joins the podcast again as does Jennifer Leslie, and we tackle scaling your business without destroying your culture—which Dobbin knows all about as Entrepreneur Magazine says GetUWired is in the top 25 Company Cultures among small businesses.

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Transcript:

Dusey Van Dusen: Hello, listeners, this is Dusey Van Dusen. I am the producer of the Small Business Success Podcast. Welcome. Today we have another partner in our series of talking to some partners that work with Infusionsoft to help small businesses succeed. We have one of our favorite partners here, Dobbin Buck. How's it going, Dobbin?

Dobbin Buck: Great, Dusey, such an honor and pleasure to be [00:00:30] here.

Dusey Van Dusen: Awesome, Dobbin Buck, you've heard from him before. He's the co-owner of GetUWired, right?

Dobbin Buck: Absolutely.

Dusey Van Dusen: Can you tell us just a little bit about what GetUWired is before we can move ahead?

Dobbin Buck: Sure, great, GetUWired is a full service web marketing agency. We are Infusionsoft based. We're located in the mountains of North Georgia. A lot of people have heard of us because we have our headquarters for our 43 team members out of a lot cabin in the foothills of the Appalachian [00:01:00] Mountains, and you, Dusey, have honored us with a trip to the cabin.

Dusey Van Dusen: It was amazing. You guys have quite the setup out there. It was beautiful.

Dobbin Buck: We have a lot of fun things going. We are a full service agency. We help small businesses succeed and really have appreciated what the Infusionsoft ecosystem has done for us, and continues to do for us to this day.

Dusey Van Dusen: Fantastic, thank you very much. We are also joined by Jennifer. How's [00:01:30] it going, Jennifer?

Jennifer Leslie: Hey there.

Dusey Van Dusen: You want to introduce yourself and remind our listeners who heard you a couple of episodes, who you are and what you do?

Jennifer Leslie: Absolutely. My full name is Jennifer Marie Leslie. I am a content creator here at Infusionsoft, and I'm very excited to be here and to be talking with you guys today.

Dusey Van Dusen: I just learned something new about Jennifer, Jennifer Marie.

Jennifer Leslie: One of the most common middle names you could ever find.

Dusey Van Dusen: Cool. I wanted to start off, Dobbin, you just have such a huge wealth of knowledge. You've [00:02:00] helped so many different small businesses by working through GetUWired. I want to pick your brain and hear the top two or three things that you see small businesses doing or not doing that they need to change in the business. If there was one thing that you see over and over that you keep having to work with people through, what is one of the biggest challenges you see?

Dobbin Buck: Well, a lot of people come to me and they ask me about scaling business. As [00:02:30] an agency, we've gotten up to 43 members. Many people hit different thresholds where it's difficult to scale beyond that point. They ask me about the key factors that have allowed us even in a, let's just say a difficult terrain being rural, to be able to hire work, world class marketers, and train people up. I always pull it back to ... When I say I, [00:03:00] please remember that I'm meaning we because there's nothing that Dobbin does alone. My partners, Melissa Allen and Bobby Brown and the entire GetUWired team, we work as a unit and as a tribe. I just want to make sure I'm not taking credit for everything here. It's really one of the most valuable things that I've paid attention to and I get asked about a lot, is scalability in hiring and training.

Today I had the honor of doing a presentation [00:03:30] with Dan Ralphs of the Infusionsoft Elite Team. We talked a lot about vision, mission purpose, and values, and hiring to values has been such a huge thing for us as a small business. Most small businesses like us, we can't afford to make bad decisions in our hiring processes when we need to begin training people. Sometimes that's months and months of training before they are [00:04:00] a billable employee. We need to make sure that we're making the right decisions culturally in who we're hiring and in an alignment to our values. I always pull it back to there as far as the advice I give as far as hiring and scalability is first make sure that you have a strong vision that your team lives by, that you can then align your hires by on the way in, or otherwise it's going to be very expensive and [00:04:30] emotional.

Dusey Van Dusen: I can verify that GetUWired has done a fantastic job of this. I was so surprised when we went out there that we drove by, and here's this log cabin out in the middle of nowhere. At the time I don't think you guys even had a sign in front. Do you guys have a sign now?

Dobbin Buck: Yes, our copywriter, Ella, happens to be a great artist. She went out and hand-painted our logo on both sides of the sign.

Jennifer Leslie: Thant's great.

Dobbin Buck: It looks absolutely incredible.

Dusey Van Dusen: That's awesome, so drive out there and pull in, and start meeting this team that you have managed [00:05:00] to somehow pull from all over the place to get ... Part of it is that they love that culture and they love living there as well, but you guys have done an amazing job of doing that. There's proof right here that you don't have to be in the middle of downtown, wherever, to make this happen.

Dobbin Buck: Absolutely.

Jennifer Leslie: Especially in this modern age where everything's so connected and you have the internet anywhere you go at this point. You've got such great technologies available to you where you can just do [00:05:30] 500 different parts of your business, think as one or two people from the comfort of your own home or log cabin.

Dusey Van Dusen: We did have to bribe the local internet provider to get us fiber out to the cabin.

Jennifer Leslie: Oh yeah, I guess not everywhere you go, but you know what I mean. I guess you at least can get cell service a lot of places that you used to not these days.

Dusey Van Dusen: I would love to hear. We've heard on this podcast from Clayton Scott on talking about hiring to the values [00:06:00] and the mission and purpose, hire and fire to those. I would love to hear the GetUWired, the Dobbin Buck spin on that more. I love that you dove into that. You mentioned that when you hire someone to the values, it's so easy for somebody to just look at a potential hire and say, "Well, I really need this guy. Let me just get this guy in because of their skills that they have," or "You know what, this person is fantastic, but maybe she's not a perfect fit for the company, [00:06:30] but she has all these great skills." Why is it so important to think twice about hiring someone just for their skillset?

Dobbin Buck: Sure, absolutely. We've come to believe at GetUWired that skillsets can be trained, that mindset is a different story, that ultimately that there's something that is either culturally or inherently from family values or upbringing, or whatever their journey has been to this point, that is [00:07:00] something that's very difficult to turn their personal values. Really, that's what we're looking for are employees that their personal values are already pre-aligned, predestined to align with our cultural values. We have a 10 part hiring process that really my partner, Melissa Allen, painstakingly developed over a period of time to where we have multiple [00:07:30] phone interviews, surveys, skill tests, background checks, psychological tests, and then in-person interviews with our Vice President of Operations, prior to even going to the head of their department that they would be working with, which there's another in-person interview.

Then it's finally followed up with a lunch to where they're coming in and having lunch with our entire team. Then we get feedback from the team. [00:08:00] There's a lot of different things that go on through this process to make sure that there's going to be real cultural alignment, and to where they're going to be able to fit in because the entire success of our company, or at least a huge part of the success, is that we're able to work really well together. We follow our vision. We understand it. We live it. We breathe it. We talk it all the time. When someone doesn't fit, they stand [00:08:30] out like a sore thumb really quickly. We just don't want to put stresses on people. We want to support people. Hiring the wrong person is not helping them out. It's not supporting them, and it's not helping them grow. It's just a bad fit, so we really want to focus on that.

Dusey Van Dusen: What advice would you give? The one thing that I'm thinking when I hear through that process is I love that waiting out and finding, making sure they connect with [00:09:00] the whole team even. What would you say to a small business that just says, "Oh, that seems like where am I going to get the time to do that," because it seems like that can be a lot.

I'm curious if they're processes that you have in place, or maybe you guys just make it a priority and say, "We're just going to do it this way."

Dobbin Buck: Oh, it's a priority, and it's just the way we do it. We have specific people that are April in the front. She does the initial interviews. Everybody [00:09:30] has their place in this process. When you talk about time, and it's interesting that you mentioned that, I hear this well, if I only had time to do that. Well, repairing things takes three times the amount of time as preparing things. Ultimately, sure, we take a little bit more time on the front end to make sure we're doing things right. That extends beyond hiring and to a lot of different things. Really, I mean the process of having [00:10:00] a bad hire, someone that's going to take that much longer to train, someone that's going to possibly damage your relationships with your clients, any number of negative things could come out of that. There's no comparison to the few extra hours in the hiring process that we might take.

Dusey Van Dusen: Absolutely.

Jennifer Leslie: I'm wondering if you can give us any anecdotes or examples of how that's worked for you in real life, like what's the general length of time that somebody [00:10:30] spends with your company as an employee, or just any stories you might have about how that's really worked and you can really see the tangible results from that.

Dobbin Buck: This is an interesting thing is that we're up rural in the backwoods of North Georgia. Many of our employees, if they chose, they could go to the big city and probably make a considerable amount more [00:11:00] for the skillsets that we've trained them for. A huge part of our culture is to be able to retain these incredible, incredibly productive and talented young people that we're honored to work with. They need to come into a workplace to where they're honored, to where they're challenged, to where they're autonomous and allowed to be responsible for their areas of expertise and all sorts of things.

In [00:11:30] alignment with that, you can't get that feeling and synergy if you've got a bad apple here and a bad apple here. When I say bad, I don't mean judgmentally bad, I mean a bad fit. It doesn't mean a person's a bad person because they don't align with our vision or our values. It just means they're not a good fit. We just have to keep this equilibrium. It's amazing. We've got employees [00:12:00] that have been with us for seven years. Many of them three, four years, which in agency time is [crosstalk 00:12:07] like a lifetime.

Jennifer Leslie: I come from agency life, so that's a long time.

Dobbin Buck: We're part of a family. We've done incredible team building events, white water rafting, survival training, I mean all sorts of crazy stuff that we do together on a quarterly basis. It [00:12:30] wouldn't matter to me, and I understand I'm an owner of the company, so maybe it's a little bit different, but I would be hard pressed to want to go anywhere else just because it would be like leaving my family.

Dusey Van Dusen: You mentioned giving people responsibility and letting them drive that and own that. That was something that when I first started Infusionsoft that I can definitely speak to how important that is, and how great that feels to be able to step into a position [00:13:00] and realize, "Oh wait, I actually can make a difference here." Try to create an environment that encourages that is you start building a real tight-knit family of like-minded individuals. If you can do that in your small business, you can really create a powerful team. It doesn't have to be the giant team, but it can be a small, very powerful team that you guys can get a lot of amazing stuff accomplished. That's fantastic.

Dobbin Buck: Yeah, it's great, [00:13:30] and it leads right into part of the thing about our culture is that we're very leadership oriented. We're tribal. We're cultural. Every week we have leadership training, and that's for anybody from internship level to owners. It's all volunteer. We have ongoing training and involvement in the major smarts that we're doing as leaders and owners of our company, we let everybody become involved at a [00:14:00] very deep and transparent level. That also has had a huge impact.

Dusey Van Dusen: That's awesome. I remember hearing Clayton ... I'm going to get the numbers wrong, but somebody asked him like, "How do you know like when should you start doing some more either formal training, or investing in training your employees, like what size of your business?"

I don't remember if he said they started doing it at Infusionsoft when they were either five or seven employees, somewhere down there. He says, "We should have started sooner," so even if it's just you [00:14:30] and a couple of people, you can still take that time to invest in that training. That's fantastic.

Dobbin Buck: Absolutely, if I was doing my own side hustle or a new startup, these are the things that I would be focusing on right off the bat.

Dusey Van Dusen: Very cool. Well, thank you very much, Dobbin, for joining us. Thank you, Jennifer, also for joining us.

Dobbin Buck: Thank you.

Jennifer Leslie: Thank you.

Dusey Van Dusen: If you want to find out more about Dobbin Buck and GetUWired, you can go to GetU, that's just the letter U, Wired.com, find out about their business. A [00:15:00] quick note for our listeners, if you like free stuff, and I'm guessing you do, if you're trying to bootstrap your own business, then you should get your free trial of Infusionsoft. You can use our CRM, email marketing and campaign tools, and get coaching for two weeks without spending a dime. I recommend it if you've been thinking about how to organize your sales and marketing but aren't sure you're ready to take the plunge. You'll quickly see the value you can get out of having everything in one place with Infusionsoft. Just go to bit.ly/sbsfreetrial to sign [00:15:30] up. That's [bitly/sbsfreetrial 00:15:32], sbs as in Small Business Success free trial. We will see you all next time on the Small Business Success Podcast.