When we come into a new year we can’t help but reassess. Do I want this year to be like last year? What do I want to be different? One of the popular episodes from 2022 Level Up Leadership podcast was episode 9, all about the three different models we can design our business by, Solo Hero and Agency.
I’m recasting this episode at this time of year because people might be thinking about their business model – do I want to start my own business? Or hire some staff behind the scenes? Or building an agency?. Today’s episode is to help you get clarity on what you want, and what freedom means to you.
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[00:00:00] When we come into a new year we can’t help but reassess. Do I want this year to be like last year? What do I want to be different? One of the popular episodes from 2022 Level Up Leadership podcast was about the three different models of business, solo hero and agency.
[00:00:18] I’m recasting it at this time of year because people might be thinking about starting their own business or hiring some people behind the scenes or going to hiring more staff to work with clients and building this agency model.
[00:00:32] We often think that we have to go on this growth path of solo to people behind the scenes, to an agency. But I also want to give you permission to go the other way. Maybe you’ve got an agency and decide you want to scale back to working just on your own and having a few people behind the scenes or strip back completely and be a solopreneur.
[00:00:51] Or maybe you’ve been working in a corporate business and you’ve wondered, is this the time to start my own business? If these questions are in your head for 2023, then this is the episode for you. We’ll be reflecting into episode nine, Solo Hero and Agency. And these three terms are terms that I have created, but not a new concept. If you are curious on how to go through this process yourself, I do have a free mini course, it’s called time to hire. You can find it at zenithjourney.com/timetohire, and it takes you through the steps of deciding what type of business you want. So enjoy this recast of episode nine, and I’ll see you next week for a fresh new episode for 2023.
[00:01:36] Thanks for listening.
The great thing about having your own business is that you get to design it. Hello, freedom. But sometimes we get so busy, we forget to make the most of this freedom. What I often see happening in particularly small businesses, is that the business is driving the person as opposed to the other way around.
So there is a mini course that I have that helps you to decide what sort of business structure that you want that’s going to align with your style of business and where you want the business to go.
Today, I’m going to talk about three different business structures when you would use each one. And also that it’s not a linear process. You don’t go from one to the next to the next. Your idea of success in your business is YOUR idea of success.
These three names are “Kate Specials”. But they are well-known structures. I hope that naming them, this will help you to see whereabouts you fit. Let’s start with the first one. The first is called a SOLO and often businesses will start here.
The idea of a SOLO business model is you manage every aspect of your business and you don’t rely heavily on delegating tasks to others to get done. You’re solely responsible for producing and developing the products and services that are offered to keep your business afloat. You might have a bookkeeper and accountant or virtual assistant, but it’s more ad hoc and lean. The pros are you have full control. You have no need to manage anyone. It’s simple, and it also has a cashflow where it is just relying on yourself. Which is also the con, if you do not have work, you don’t have any clients or income.
Some examples of this could be a contractor or a consultant, like an architect or a recruiter, workshop, facilitator, cleanup, engineer, or virtual assistant. All of these people could also have a HERO business or an AGENCY business. But they’re just some examples. If you’re working by yourself. That these are some of the roles that could fit into SOLO. Now the next business structure is called the HERO. I call it HERO because you are the face of the business and the CEO.
You do the client work yourself, but you have a team that makes the business hum. So think marketing systems, accounts, administration, online courses and programs, client inquiries.
Your team might also do the client work, but it always goes back through you to the client. If your team is dealing directly with the clients, maybe consider the third model which is the AGENCY model.
So when you’re scaling in a HERO business structure, it’s less about getting more clients and more about digital products because there’s only one of you to go around. Or you’re putting on a team to do the grunt work behind the scenes.
In the HERO model the values of your business are your personal values and the business relies on your skills knowledge and energy for its point of difference
People come to your business because of you, you are the face, you are the voice. Now the pros you have full control, you can rely on the team to do all the background work. The cons are [depending if you see this as a con or a pro] managing and leading a team and trusting people to represent you. It’s always a lot more personal when you have a HERO style of business.
So some examples might be Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, or a keynote speaker. If you’ve got a podcast in your name, you probably have the HERO model. So the HERO is all about being the face of the business. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything to there’s a team behind you, but you often are the one that is doing the client work or the client interaction yourself.
The third model is the AGENCY model. This is where you are the CEO of a team of competent people who have their own clients and they work directly with inside your business. You might also have clients or you might lead the business without being involved in the day-to-day client work. When you have this agency model, it’s important that the people that you bring on can do business development, or you are doing the business development as well.
The pros are this business doesn’t rely on you to run it or to get income. The cons are you’re one step further away from the client. So ensuring that you have the right people is really key in this agency model. If you imagine it, it’s almost like yourself and the next to you is another person next to that person is another person. And under each of these people is a structure.
You can either have one structure that supports all the different people in this agency model, where it could be all of your back of house. You might have a one of marketing group, one administration group and finance, it could be your course creators, all fits into one pool. Or a bit more like the legal model, each person in this agency might have a support team.
You can also see it in Real Estate, where they might have their own assistant or support sales person, but then there is a core set of services provided by the business. Some other examples, it could be a recruitment firm with a number of consultants each with their own clients, and they need to also do business development to get their clients.
A dental clinic, law firm, or a cleaning business with a team of cleaners. So any type of business could fit into these three structures to how do you choose, which is the right structure for you?
First have a think about what sort of business do you want to have? Do you want to be actively involved with the clients every day? Do you want your face and voice to be that of the business? Or are you wanting to be stepping aside and having the business run as its own entity.
These will give you an indicator of which of these three models is going to be the best fit for you. I think there is a myth that you go from SOLO to HERO to AGENCY and agency is the goal, because it is not the goal for everybody. I have spoken to a few leaders of businesses where they have gone to an agency model, but have found that it didn’t work for them. And there’s normally a couple of questions I’ll ask here. Did it not work because it needed some more time to bed down when you’re getting people to represent you running your business.
Or is it not work because this is not the type of business that you want. And when you answer those questions, it becomes clearer where your business is going. So I encourage you to have a think about these three models. Have a think about which one you’re currently in. And then think about where you would like to be, because the leadership for each of these three models is quite different.
If you’ve enjoyed this activity, this is one of the five questions in “5 questions to ask yourself before you hire your first or next team member”. And that’s where their casual contractor or permanent employee. This is a free mini course that you can download. I’ll put the link in the show notes.
And we’ve just done a deep dive on question number two. Working out what your business structure is. So if you’re thinking of growing, or if you’re thinking that maybe you’ve grown and you don’t want to, this is the tool for you. So jump in and give that a download.
If you are in the Hero model or the Agency model, and you are looking to level up your leadership, in July, I will be releasing a program called “Solo to CEO”. You can get on the wait list in the show notes. The “Solo to CEO” program is an eight week course where we go through everything that you need to lead you a business, whether that’s a hero business or an agency business. Thanks for tuning in today. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode. Thanks for listening.
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Time To Hire?
5 questions to ask yourself before you hire your first (or next) team member.
Pause the overwhelm and learn exactly what you need to know before hiring your first (or next) team member, whether they are full-time, casual or a contractor. A free on-demand 60 minute mini-course with interactive guidebook designed specifically for small business owners and solopreneurs.