Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with John Ferris
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Introducing John Ferris
John Ferris is todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business podcast, who is the CEO and innovation of Growth Strategist of InVision Edge.
His company is focused on helping companies everywhere to innovate and grow by working with a three part strategy.
His three-part Innovation and Growth Framework helps to
1. Create a radically clear strategy while obsessing on execution
2. Launch an innovation system that shows you and your teams how to turn big ideas into reality to create value
3. Engage leaders to lead in an innovative culture who are inspired to get things done
As he says “Working with many of Canada’s leading mid to large organizations, we know that you want results. Now.
We focus on the quick hits that deliver fast ROI, while building longer-term innovation and growth capabilities that create ongoing results.
But of course throughout Join Up Dots we deliver content based on giving you guys the information to take the leap and build freedom and success.
So how had today’s guest done just that, and started his own business which gives him the lifestyle he wants too?
And where do companies make their biggest mistakes, that we can all learn from in our own day to day adventures?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only John Ferris
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with John Ferris such as:
Why its so powerful to be upfront and honest when attracting your first customer when you start building your business.
John shares how he always wanted to do his own thing, and simply used an in-house business strategy
The reason that John calls middle management the “Concrete in the middle” and why they aren’t connected to the businesses “Why”
John discusses openly why and when he decided to scale and grow his own business to more than himself. A decision that was brave but has given him so much.
How To Connect With John Ferris
Return To The Top Of John Ferris
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Full Transcription Of John Ferris Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello there. Good morning to you. Good morning, everybody. And thank you so much for lending issue is once more I really do appreciate it. As I always say on the show, I try to always say you’ve got a lot of options nowadays when it was me right back in the early days, there was only me, john Lee Dumas and Ricky Gervais is really and now there’s that there’s a few podcast hosts that you can spend your time with. So thank you so much. Well, today’s guest who’s on the show. Yes, it’s an interview type show today. He’s the CEO and innovation of growth strategist of envision edge. I’m gonna say that again. He’s the CEO and Innovator of growth strategist of envision age quite hard to say. His company is focused on helping companies everywhere to innovate and grow by working with a three part strategy. Now he’s free part innovation and growth framework helps to create a radically clear strategy while obsessing on execution, knowledge and innovation system that shows you and your teams how to turn big ideas into reality to create value, and engage leaders to lead in an innovative culture who are inspired to get things done. Now, as he says, working with many of Canada’s leading and mid to large organisations, we know that you want results and you don’t just want them you want them now you want them now, we focus on the Quick Hits that deliver fast ROI while building longer term innovation and growth capabilities that create ongoing results. But of course, of course throughout Join Up Dots we deliver content based on giving you guys the information to take the leap and build freedom and success. So how has today’s guest done just Buy and started his own business, which gives him the lifestyle he wants to and where do companies make their biggest mistakes that we can all learn from in our own day to day adventures? Let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Mr. John Ferris. Good morning, John.
John Ferris [2:22]
That’s quite an intro. Good morning, David. It’s such a pleasure to be here this morning with you.
David Ralph [2:26]
You are in my most favourite place on Earth. As I was saying to you, I’ve spent many months I spent years in Canada. It’s a good place to be isn’t it?
John Ferris [2:36]
is the best place in the world. We live right here in the centre of cannon town called Winnipeg, Manitoba. And encourage all your listeners and viewers to come on over and check us out here. It’s a great, great place to live.
David Ralph [2:48]
Well, a great guest you are I thought that you were gonna throw me under the bus there or grass me up as we say. I thought you’re gonna say you told me I’ve only spent one night in Canada and your tour. JOHN, you’re too honest. That’s a so is his honesty something VAT is because I’m, I’m on this Fame at the moment I talked to a load of guests where they’re kind of getting disillusioned by the online lying as we call it, where people try to express that the entrepreneurial journey can be done in six weeks, and you buy something and you press a few buttons, and it’s done. And then you’re gonna be living a life, on a beach with a laptop, wherever you want to go. Do you think honesty is more relevant and more sort of everywhere in offline businesses when it is online? What do you think?
John Ferris [3:38]
Yeah, I think it’s both. I mean, honesty is really the core of any business and a business relationship you have with your customer and with your teams. If you don’t have honesty and trust and credibility, you might have short term success, but you will not have long term success. So building that, you know, the the trust and the relationship and the credibility takes time and there is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes you know, A lot of hard work, a lot of focus on those relationships. But any relationship that’s worthwhile and long term starts with the foundation of trust. And once you establish that trust, then you can move into, you know, bigger commitments, bigger engagements and bigger areas of focus within your business. So I think whether it’s online or in person, I think the the focus for all of us is establish that trust and credibility and you know, trust and credibility comes through, not just talking comes through listening, right? So engaging in your audience engaging with folks you do with that Nick is step one in any business relationship,
David Ralph [4:32]
because I’m kind of fascinated john because I spend so much time teaching people how to create online businesses that really work and drive traffic. I’m obsessed with that beginning point where people have got that burning passion to create and deliver, but I actually haven’t got the track record of delivering. Do you have any advice how people can get out of their own way and quite simply say look, you want to first customer I’ve ever had I’ll do the best I possibly can for you.
John Ferris [5:03]
Yeah, actually, when I started out that’s exactly how I started out. I mean, I I fairly deep experience in and strategy, innovation and leadership for working with big companies. But I started out on my own doing some consulting work. And I’d never been a consultant in my life, right. So I was very honest with folks that Listen, I you know, I do have some something to contribute. I’ve got some, you know, some skills basically, but I don’t have the expertise and consulting is that’s not what I’ve done. So starting out, I was really open with that. But just as you said, it’s really focusing on all will work hard to figure it out together. And I’ll listen to what your challenges and opportunities are and we’ll work to make sure we realise those but starting out it’s definitely about being open and honest with that and any any business that that continues to grow, you play smaller bets, right, you’re not going to go all in initially you’re going to try things out, we call it fail fast, fail cheap. So you, you start working on small things. And small areas of your business. And then you’ll grow with confidence as you develop that. But the worst thing you can do is over promise and under deliver. Because that, again comes back to trust and credibility. As soon as you do that, whether it’s online or not online business, then you really are in trouble. So it’s really taking those small steps, being open and honest with the customers or clients that you’re dealing with. And learning fast. The other key that’s that’s one thing that’s really helped me out is being able to learn pivot fast. Because when I started our company, we were a very different company. And it’s evolved over the years to who we are today. But that’s through listening through having trusted relationships with people and making those small iterations and small changes in your business to really meet those customer needs.
David Ralph [6:44]
It’s interesting that you say that because I think a lot of businesses Well, I think the majority of them at the very beginning just make it up. They just make it up and they kind of think I’m gonna provide this to the world and sometimes it might fly out. At times, it doesn’t sometimes it limps along, but they don’t then listen to the customer because the customer is telling you what I do now for a living is a vastly different from what I started doing, just because people kept on saying, Do you know anything about x y Zed, and at a time I thought I know nothing about x y Zed, but I’m gonna find it if there’s money in it, and I become sort of obsessed at that. The customer does tell you what they want.
John Ferris [7:30]
Oh, absolutely. At the end of the day as business owners and leaders, our job is to either solve a customer problem or help them achieve an opportunity that will help them grow their business. That’s our that’s our job. It’s really not to solve our problem or help us realise our opportunities. It’s to help our clients and our customers realise their possibility. So that takes a lot of listening and it does take pivoting adjusting in your own business to be able to do that. And I work with a lot of businesses and a lot of a lot of organisations will fail or have challenges when They’re listening to their own needs versus the needs of their customers to absolutely be need to be at the kind of the coefficient of listening to your customers. But more importantly, not let your own ego take over in a product or service that you offer thinking it’s the best in the world when your customers may not. So you really have to be willing to listen and adjust your business. And that’s, that’s on an ongoing basis. Markets change needs change, customer expectations change. So you always have to be on the lookout for changing your products or services or focus on customer as you’re evolving.
David Ralph [8:34]
Now, what do you think about the words of Steve Jobs now Steve Jobs so created this show, really in a roundabout way and we play his speech almost every episode at the end, that Join Up Dots that connect the dot speech, but one of the other things he said and it’s contrary to what we’re talking about here, but he Steve Jobs so he must know a few things is, it’s not up to the customer to tell you what they want. It’s for you to give what the customer wants. He kind of had the different way that customers don’t know what they want until you actually show them. What do you think about that?
John Ferris [9:08]
Yeah. Steve Jobs can’t can’t argue with Steve with a debt at the end of the day, they mean customer may not be able to articulate what type of product they want. But if you can help them solve a problem and articulate the problem, and customers will talk about problems, but they may not know what solution or what product they need for it. So Jobs is a master of that he was actually solving problems for customers. And yeah, he they couldn’t say well, I need an iPod or I need this new iPad or what have you. But he was solving problems for them, which has access to technology, user friendly technology, ways to enter interact with with that. So so the things are very easy with a nice design. So what he was doing was solving the problem. So he was very much listening to customers what their problems were. He wasn’t listening to his customers about what product they wanted to they didn’t know but he was listening to what the problems were that needed to be solved.
David Ralph [9:59]
So you’re Sitting in your lucky underpants, john, you’re in your bedroom, and you’re, you’re probably a corporate guy and you think to yourself, I’m a bit I’m a bit fed up with this. I don’t like the boss. I don’t like the hours. I don’t like the commute. And it’s run by idiots that I don’t agree with. But I’m basically talking about myself here. And when you get to that point, you think to yourself, I’m going to do it myself. How did you reach out to did you reach out to people because that’s the time where if you reach out to the wrong people, they will keep you routed to the spot by giving you all reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
John Ferris [10:34]
Right? Well, that’s a bit of my backstory as well. Although, you know, I was very, very thankful to work in organisations that gave me great opportunities to try different roles and, you know, give respect for for leaders that I worked with. But I always wanted to do my own thing and I knew through the course of my career, as I developed skills and focuses on primarily business transformation, it’s always been what I’ve done in even when I’ve worked in large organisations But I developed the model and I felt as if I could do this on my own, and work with many other companies to help them with this model. I think that’s a really cool thing to do. And I was, obviously in my late 40s, actually, at the time, and I reached out to, you know, some trusted people that I have in my network, reached out to some entrepreneurs that have been there and done that. And actually, a lot of people said, well, it’s easy. Well, you got a pretty good thing going, you got a good career on the go, good reputation, all that sort of thing. It’s pretty darn risky to start your own thing in your late 40s. But, you know, it’s one of those entrepreneurial, I guess, a mindset thing that while I considered all those challenges, it’s something I always wanted to do. So I chose to take that leap and move on my own enjoyed actually another small consulting company and started a business wing of that company. And most people thought it was crazy just to take the leap into do that. But it’s really about you know, having the confidence in yourself that You know, you can make a difference. And you know, you kind of visualise your licence You carry on doing what you’re doing and you know, you’re not satisfied what you’re doing, that’s not going to change unless you do something radically different. So I made that decision to go out on my own with this other consulting company, then, actually, there’s another pivot point few years in, I had this partnership with this other other other person and consultancy, but I decided I wanted to go fully on my own and start my own company. And again, that was a bit risky as well, because I, you know, I didn’t have the background in running a consulting company, I had some experience in consulting as I’ve worked with this other agency, but going out on my own, and that was 50 at the time, and again, people are saying, Man, starting your own thing, you know, without, you know, a brand without a you know, full client basis is still you know, quite a risky thing, but I decided to take that leap. And, you know, it’s not like, you know, everyday you’ve got full confidence in what you’re doing. There’s many times that I did question that. I really do and but it through the course of You know, getting some wins, getting, you know, some good clients on board, developing a team, etc, you you kind of gain that confidence. But at the end of the day, it’s about, you know, realising what, you know what the possibility is for yourself and what that vision is for yourself. And you always got, I always have to come back to that even even today, I was working through the ups and downs of business. And it’s always coming back to that, why, why did I really do this in the first place? And that’s kind of that kind of grounds me for the ups and downs in business. But it’s, it’s, you know, it’s not easy. It’s not for everybody, not everybody’s an entrepreneur. However, those who are wired that way, the only regret I have is not doing it sooner, I would have done it sooner in my career. Because just the freedom, the focus and the ability to make a big, big contribution. It’s not it’s like nothing else. When you do it, do it yourself. So it’s very thankful for the opportunity. And it’s been a wild ride but taking those first first jumps out there it is a challenge. And you know, you do have to rely on friends and coaches and people have been there and done that. But at the end of the day, it’s your own decision to make. And you need to, you know, really wrestle with that yourself to make sure you’re you’re ready for it, and then make the leap. And for me, it’s been again, it’s been a wild ride, and the only regret I have is not doing that scene.
David Ralph [14:19]
Let’s hear some powerful words now by Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [14:22]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [14:49]
Now, I was 44 when I left and I had 120 children, I’m very fertile. And it was it was a hell of a struggle, and I was so naive. When I look back at it, john, I started a podcast and I thought, okay, if I start a podcast, I will record episodes and I will just earn money like magic. And in the first year I basically earn zero and I was thinking, oh my god, this is a terrible thing. Then the second year got a little bit better and a birdie and now I you know, I would never go back. But I always say to people, you know, if you aren’t gonna reach out, reach out to people that are doing what you want to do and and look for the honest ones. Look for the trustworthy ones, because if anybody wants to do a podcast, I always say to them, unless you’ve got a business, don’t do it. run a mile. If you think that you’re gonna grow a podcast into something like I’ve done. It is so hard is unbelievable. But people don’t do a about people like to give advice. If somebody reach out to you, john, I’m sure that you would give them honest advice about starting a consultancy business.
John Ferris [15:57]
Oh, absolutely. And I do get quite a, quite a few few requests for that sort of thing. But I found just, you know, an on the kind of the theme of advice. I’ve had many different coaches throughout the years, and I still do, but as my, as the business evolves, I hire coaches and bring coaches on to help me who have been there, done that they’ve been through it before. They’ve scaled organisations, they’ve been in the similar spaces. So relying on people and talking to people who have actually done it is actually key. It’s not just about the theory of business and the theory of entrepreneurship or even the theory of podcasts. It’s about people who’ve been there and done that. And only if you’ve experienced that, can you really truly be an expert in in guiding people through or providing advice. And having said that, it’s it’s a matter of context to even though they’ve been there and done that you have your own journey. And, you know, our, you know, our challenges entrepreneurs is to be what I would call meaningfully unique, we have to do it differently than other people. Otherwise, you know, you’re just copying what others are doing. So, you know, while you have guides, mentors and people that can can show you the way you’ve got to Define your own niche and your own path on the way but relying on people who are experts who have been there done that, absolutely critical for any entrepreneur, either if you’re, you know, kind of at the pivot point or decision point to decide if you’re going to entrepreneurship. But as you’re starting out, having those guides, people that can help you out is absolutely key to that whole growth path that you’re focusing on.
David Ralph [17:21]
Now, let’s talk about in a vision edge, and I’m going to I’m going to say two words that will strike fear into your job. They strike beer into any consultant across the world. I hope you’re hanging on to your desk. middle management, my coffee cup here. Yeah, middle management. Now, we’ve anything about innovation and creative strategy. It generally in my appreciation of working in companies, the leaders, the top dogs really want that but the middle managers are just basically trying to cover their backsides and stop things happening. Do you find that ironic? JD Bulova has it changed now.
John Ferris [18:04]
No any complex or larger organisation, whenever you have layers of bureaucracy that that’ll happen and I often call that the concrete in the middle. And our job for transformation, whether it’s strategy or innovation work is to deal with the concrete in the middle of the organisation, which is often middle management. And you know, there are people at that level, they’re purposely trying to block things, but they don’t see is what their role is and how they can help. So you’ve got, you know, the executives and the senior leaders, you know, they have a vision, they want to transform, they want to, you know, create the strategy, they want to innovate in products and services, etc. And then employees actually all want to contribute, they want to do really cool stuff, right? So they’re wanting to contribute, but then sometimes the middle management are in the way not allowing their teams to do what they need to do to work on new things, etc. So, what I found is, if you get to the heart of why that that that challenges or why that concrete is there in the middle of organisations Because of middle management aren’t connecting with the lie, they’re not really connected with the purpose of the organisation, or they’re not really connected with the kind of the greater good. So I find working with them and senior leaders to really connect, connect the dots, join up the dots on what the real purpose What’s your real vision is in your organisation and getting middle management engagement creating that, instead of just being told what to do getting them to create that is really key. The other challenge with middle management is are often you know, they’ve been promoted, based on their their technical expertise by doing a good job, they have not been promoted because they’re good leaders. So they don’t know they just don’t have the skills to lead the job as leaders determine what’s important and why is it important not to do the how tos and some are still stuck in the How to so their value is associated with the how tos of of the business versus leading the business. So giving them the skills and even rewiring their brain on what their focus is and what their value is, of leadership is really key. So With a strategy connecting with the senior team to help them see what that purpose is, and giving them the skills and the mindset that they’re, you know, success is measured differently now that you’re a leader, those are the two things that really help in that area. And and there’s some, you know, there’s some that have been promoted to a level of incompetence, actually, they’re not they shouldn’t be leaders.
Unknown Speaker [20:21]
We’ve all seen them.
John Ferris [20:22]
And we know we all know those folks. So you know, the heart, you know, our focus at envision is about transformation. So there are times when you have to have hard conversations with leaders that this is not the right fit for you and for your organisation to really transform and move forward. On strategy and innovation. You’re gonna have to make some tough decisions with your with some people here but that’s that is thankfully the minority, but it’s sometimes that that’s what needs to happen. But dealing with it, you’re absolutely correct. The hardest thing to transformation in a large or mid large organisation is dealing with the middle management but it can be it can be dealt with through again. Focusing on that, why that purpose? Why are they connected with the organisation purpose and then giving them the skills and rewiring their brain on what leadership is and what their value is to the organisation.
David Ralph [21:12]
I will give a three prong strategy about iOS when I was middle management years ago, many, many years ago, the only three things I dealt with and I focused in on was number one, does my team make it easier for other teams? So it was I part of the solution or part of the problem? Get my staff promoted, and hit the targets given to me that they were the only three things and literally every member of staff I’ve ever hired, still calls me Mr. Ralph to today, they still connect with me, they still tell me where they’re going. And I just thought that was the three things make it easier for other people and then you know that you’re creating a system because in business more often than not people just get into that silo, don’t they? And they say, Oh, this works but they don’t consider it has a knock on effect to somebody else.
John Ferris [22:00]
Absolutely, yeah. So I mean, what you highlighted is, is exactly what you should have been doing, you’re focusing on leadership, you weren’t focusing on the doing, you were freeing up, your team’s allowing your teams to focus on what they could do best. And, and, and, and empowering them to make it happen. And that’s what leadership is at the end of the day. And you know, in larger organisations, often you get departments fighting with one another as well. So it’s really working together with all the leaders so that they’re focused on that common purpose and and allowing their teams to collaborate and work together and not be too protective, so that they’re working on the biggest opportunities in the organisation. But that Yeah, you nailed it. That’s exactly what what it’s all about is as leadership.
David Ralph [22:39]
Can I catch up with you, Ben? JOHN, can I proved myself?
John Ferris [22:44]
Yeah, I can get a job with you. I mean, you’ve got some good chops here.
David Ralph [22:47]
You wouldn’t want to want to hear you know, I sit here half naked every day. It’s not a place for a professional man. So when you are moving through companies, one of the things that is quite different As I say, is to get in there and create the ROI. Now, I used to be in training and development for years and years and years. And I knew that probably 80% of the courses and the the training that I did work for the first three days, and then people just drifted back into the way, you know, and it all went back, it was a tick box culture. And it always used to sort of wind me up to the point that I’ve said, I’m gonna leave, I’m gonna create Join Up Dots, how do you guarantee that the ROI of your work actually keeps going?
John Ferris [23:33]
Yeah, that’s, that’s a journey for us. So, at the end of the day, you know, it’s about execution. It’s not about the programmes or the consulting or training you offer. It’s about long term execution, sustainability and creating the return on investment. So what we have found in our model has evolved over the years. You know, we often did kind of classic projects, we’d go in and run strategy projects. We helped create strategic plans, just the core of our business and we’d help help develop it product for innovation, etc. So that was the core of our business. So we go in run a project, we’d leave, you know, they might get an outcome with with the finalisation strategy, but it didn’t necessarily take hold. So we’ve really kind of morphed our model into a training tools and coaching model, where it’s not just us coming in and helping them create their strategic plan, for example, it’s helping train them on the mindset of a train them on the tool straight, train them on how to so that it’s, you know, long afterward done, they’re actually knowing how to do this. But the most important part is we would call it a rhythm of counterpick accountability. So creating a rhythm accountability, how will you hold yourselves accountable to executing the strategy? What are the measures of success? What’s that regular drumbeat and frequency you’re going to hold yourself accountable to and strategy. And when you get to the execution phase, that’s really the key point. And that’s why it’s embedded now coaching on top of what we do, it’s not just about you know, training people and running running sessions on strategy. It’s about coaching on a regular cadence so that we’re we’re ensuring that whatever they’ve committed to related to their strategy they’re actually executing on and we’re helping them on the execution of it, and achieving the metrics and achieving those biggest measures of success that they’ve committed to. So really focusing on long term execution is key. And, and we, we have found that the key for that is coaching is helping organisations through a coaching model that we have to to really focus on execution. So because as you pointed out, if you if you’re just focusing on an event based consultancy, whereas you know, you do a training or you do a project here and there, there’s no long term sustainability, but if you show them how to do it, and you put in systems and processes for for accountability, a rhythm of accountability, and you provide coaching layered on top of that, then it starts becoming part of who they are and what they do. And then it becomes part of their DNA over time, but it takes time, but focusing on execution is absolutely key. And that pivoting and adjusting is key as well. Some The ROI will change or the maybe market conditions that change but having that pencil started about talking about at the beginning of our congress conversation now that close trust with your client and your customer, you know, as they’re redefining their businesses, and there might be competitive changes or customer changes, redefining what ROI looks like and what execution looks like is an ongoing thing. But it needs to be layered you know, the showing how to through training, determining that rhythm accountability through systems and processes and then focusing on coaching for long term sustainability. We have found to be the most successful model in execution and achieving those long term results.
David Ralph [26:39]
Great stuff we’re listening to john fairest envision edge on Join Up Dots. We’ll be back after these words. Are you
Unknown Speaker [26:48]
ready to make a full time living online? Check out the amazing Join Up Dots
Unknown Speaker [26:52]
business coaching. Hello, my name is Alan. And I’ve just completed the excellent eight week course with David before I started working with David Actually, I had no idea at all, where to start. I had a lot of ideas about
Unknown Speaker [27:06]
while I probably thought was going to be good business, David was able to help me through that though, to find that passion. Within literally minutes. We had, we had a business idea. And for the last seven weeks we’ve been building on and building on and the position I’m in now, I don’t think I’ve ever got here
Unknown Speaker [27:23]
on my own
Unknown Speaker [27:24]
because of the amount of information that David gives the structure. He’s got the full package here and he explains it in a way that I can understand. His support is is phenomenal. I feel like this is the way business is supposed to work.
Unknown Speaker [27:38]
David helped me understand Okay, what were the next logical steps that I should do? How can I get this up and running? So I would really recommend this as an excellent course helping you if you have an idea if you have no idea, really teasing that out and at some of the practicalities and steps to take to really launch your business whether as a full time job or as a side hustle. So it was really excellent. I recommend it for anybody thinking about setting up their own business. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say David will totally save you years. Thank you, David for all your amazing help and support which keeps on going. And we certainly couldn’t be where we are today without you. So you’re awesome.
David Ralph [28:18]
So if you would love to become my next success story and have your own life changing online business, following my step by step system, fine tuned over many years to take away the effort and expense that others struggle with, and come across to Join Up dots.com and book a free call with myself. Let’s get you living the easy life as it’s there waiting for you to get it that is Join Up dots.com business coaching. Now, in those last words, john, I say let’s get you the easy life and I’m always referencing it has become the easy life once you’ve gone through the hard life and more often than not, there’s there’s a lot of back and forth with building a business where you try things It doesn’t really work you spend you invest did your business suddenly expand once you started bringing in support when it wasn’t just john Ferris and you got Rhonda and Robin and all the other people on your team?
John Ferris [29:15]
Oh absolutely i mean, the different levels of scale and when you’re on your own as a solopreneur you know you’re doing everything right you’re in sales you’re doing the delivery, you’re trying to figure out your business model etc. and and you know, have it you have a decision point at some point you decide to be on your own which is which is cool too many people do really well already decided to grow, grow business or grow grow a company. So I, early on in my, my career, after starting envision, I decided, well, I want to grow a company or scaled, scaled organisation. So you know, bringing on our first team member, which is a huge decision because you know, you got to do the math on it is gonna work out you have enough revenue to support that. But that really freed me up to focus on a lot of the things that I’m even better at. So instead of doing some of the administration were things that I don’t get energy about. I would hire people that would help me, you know, run that run the business run the elements of the organisation, so and who
David Ralph [30:13]
was your person? Who was your first one? I would assume, I would assume that it was Wendy. And I’m guessing she’s your wife. But was it was this?
John Ferris [30:24]
Well, Wendy actually joined a bit when I started the company. We’re both invested in the company and started the company when he didn’t join the company until a few years in so our my first hire was a young guy who basically helped me do some administration work to help book my appointments, help set up, you know, client reports and do the summary to the administration stuff. So the very first person I hired was somebody to help out on more of the administrative side to help me you know, get in front of the clients and help me get in front of on the selling side of things. So that was the first first hire I had. And then the second person was another delivery. Somebody that could actually run strategy sessions and run innovation sessions. Wendy joined shortly thereafter, and to help work in the business and on the business. So yep, so she came on a few years into the business two years into the business. But every time we’ve been, again, scaling and growing, looking for the right person, has really been the key to help me and the organisation be successful. And building the team around me, primarily, and things that I’m not really good at, which are quite a few things actually, has really helped grow and scale our business. But every time I niche down and limit what I do and focus what I’m best at, instead of trying to do everything for everybody, our business grows, and so focusing on bringing in the right talent to surround yourself with that is really key. And you know, you at some some point you make a you know, it’s almost a psychological transition where you’re actually working. It’s not just in the business, which most of us do. It’s working on the business. So most of my time these days is focusing on the business. What do I need to do to bring in, you know, the right people? What do I need to do to develop new products? What do I need to do to, to, to engage in, in big client relationships? So it’s what systems do we need for the organisation to help scale it. So sending out spending purposeful time on the business is really what’s consuming me now. So that, you know, there’s long term sustainability and legacy versus, you know, kind of the core client work and doing core sales, for example. So, having team members that are building these other engines of the business is really key to help grow our business. So for those who, you know, you know, it sounds logical, as you know, you talk through it, but I can tell you, it’s not not as easy as it might sound. You’re, you’re always, you know, second guessing and, you know, often you have to play both both sides, you’re working in the business and on the business, and you might have to take two steps back before you take those steps forward. But what I do know is every time we’ve niched down in our business like that really Can I narrow down our focus in our business, then we’ve grown significantly. So bringing the team’s niching down your business offerings, what you’re focusing on and, and owning and dominating the space that has helped us really grow our business very well. So that’s really how I’m consumed with the time right now because
David Ralph [33:19]
I don’t think I don’t think john would want to work with my wife. I I worked with her many years ago when I first met, but now I don’t you know, what, what if she wants a pay rise? You know, and and I don’t want to give it you know, if there’s we all had those cold moments in bed, where you know that nothing’s gonna happen because the doors have been shot. That that does that not bring business issues home into the house?
John Ferris [33:50]
Yeah, well, it is. It’s, it’s, the key is we found that we need to be really purposeful in the discussions that we have. So when you started envision You know, we talked about who’s going to do what role, so that we found that to be really key so so that we’re not, you know, kind of going across purposes. So when Wendy came into the business, we were really clear what her focus was, and what, what my focus is, we also are very purposeful in, and she’s way better than it at it than I am cutting it off, you know, when you get home in the evening or on the weekends, you know, making sure that we have very purposeful downtime, but it doesn’t, it won’t organically happen, you actually have to be very purposeful in the discussion. So you know, after seven o’clock in the evening, or whatever time it is no business at all, or every weekend or all Saturdays are totally focused on our time. That is, that’s been really, really helpful to be purposeful, our personalities to me, you know, it all comes down to personalities, right? We do. You know, we have a great relationship, obviously, but we also have very good work relationship and respect for one another. So it has worked really well. But I guess the key advice would be first of all, you know, have the disk Before a spouse joins a business to make sure you know what you’re getting into, and be very purposeful in where the lines are in the business. Because you know, it is a business to that you’re running here. So you’ve got to make sure you’re clear on the roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and talk about how you’re going to resolve conflict. At the end of the day, you know that some of the buck has to stop somewhere. So determining where that buck stops is really key as well. So you know, we’ve worked through through those things over the years, and it’s very thankful for the opportunity to work with with Wendy and we have an awesome, awesome team as well. So it’s, it’s been a real privilege.
David Ralph [35:36]
I think one of the key lessons I will give out to all entrepreneurs and all wannabe entrepreneurs married is don’t tell your partner how well your business is doing. Because as soon as soon as I say anything, my wife starts going, Oh, well, we can have the lounge redecorated. We can have a new canopy up the stairs instantly, it’s going to go one way. So I always keep it I always keep Pick quiet. Now one of the things that you touched on john, which is very big as well, and one of the things I talk about on the show is laziness and strategic laziness in your business where you’re not just fighting at it all the time, but you allow yourself to be separated. And through Join Up Dots. I’ve spoken to so many entrepreneurs, that business has exponentially expanded, when they’re not in the office when they’re out in a field when they’re driving across Canada when they’re allowing just the ideas to come to them. Is that something that obviously you’re doing it now? Uh, Wendy keeps it under control. But is that something that became relevant to you through the journey, but actually, you do have to walk away from it for it to grow?
John Ferris [36:48]
Oh, totally. I mean, you, you know, as an entrepreneur, business owner, leader, you get caught, caught in the whirlwind of daily activities and you can get sucked in that vortex. 24 seven, and what you do realise that If that’s all you’re focusing on, you’re not focusing on the biggest opportunities for your organisation to grow. So, I did realise that thankfully, I wouldn’t say early on, but mid journey, realise that at that point and it’s not healthy, you’ll burn yourself out if you keep doing that. So, you know, I’ve been very purposeful in, in, you know, freeing up time so that I do focus on the business. So having simple things like Friday afternoon is a strategy day, I will not do client work, I won’t miss it, I’ll turn things off. And it’s just focusing on the business. So it’s, you know, take you know, looking at new products, new ways of growing or organisation, and often I’ll get out of the office to do that little coffee shop where you can work from home. But Friday afternoons are my time just to work on the business. And that’s been very liberating, knowing I have that time. The other thing I do is we take quarter quarterly mini vacations, so I’m like it’s the long weekends are what happens so we actually programme in mini vacation so that we’re getting away from the business. At least once a quarter, and we do you know, we do spend time away from the business, you know, because we have systems and processes and very talented people, you know, we’ll go for I grew up the east coast of Canada. So in the summertime, we go away for a couple of weeks. Next week, I’m going to Mexico, my wife and I are going to Mexico for a week. So we do, we do take time out of the business, and we do truly unplug to urgent issue but we we that actually forces us to to make sure that we’re having a business that’s self sustaining, because if they’re not if we don’t if we don’t have a business that can’t run without us, it’s not really a business. It’s your it’s an independent job, essentially. But he’s a president basically. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So forcing even by taking a vacation, that it even helps the team develop and grow and develop the confidence so that we can take those times so you know, while it’s it’s healthy from just you know, rest and relaxation, time to get away. It’s actually very, very healthy for yourself. business, and it forces you to think about, okay, what are the, you know, what are the systems in place I need to have in place, what are the people I have to have in place to and, you know, measures of success, etc, to allow me to do that. So it’s been just incredibly helpful taking time, time away from the business.
David Ralph [39:15]
Yeah, I didn’t save any early days, I just thought I would work harder than anyone else. And now, I have what I call three vacations a month. And like tomorrow, we’re going away with some friends and we’re just staying in a pub overnight in England and just having a few drinks and the rest. We’ve realised it doesn’t have to be vastly expensive. It doesn’t have to be five or six days. It can just be one evening and a morning but it’s the change of scenery which is so powerful.
John Ferris [39:44]
You got it. Yeah. No, it’s it’s incredibly healthy for for you as an individual and for for your business. So yeah, totally recommend that and you’re right. It doesn’t have to be a big massive vacation. It could be just a, an overnighter somewhere or a long weekend to help you relax. That thinking and and I, you know, I’ve found that it’s in those times when, you know, have the biggest ideas, even though not purposely thinking about the business. It’s those ideas. It’s also times when I get to know these biggest ideas that that we can have for transformation. So it’s very liberating. No question about that.
David Ralph [40:20]
So just before we move on, we have Steve Jobs always have to bring him on to the show. Is it the dream business at the moment? Is it something that you lay in bed with a smug smile on your face and go Yeah,
Unknown Speaker [40:31]
David Ralph [40:32]
this is ticking literally all my boxes.
John Ferris [40:36]
Well, that’s that’s a great question. I mean, I love what we’re doing and we’re we’re in a really good spot. However, I guess maybe classic entrepreneur leader, we’re always wanting to do more. So you know, I would say it’s a journey. I do love the journey and I’m really enjoying where our businesses right now. incredible team and incredible clients are working with We’ve really honed our, our business model. So we’re in a good, you know, good sustainable place for a business. On the other hand, there’s just way more that we could do so I wouldn’t say that you know, I kind of sit back and have a scotch in my hand saying hey, this is it I’ve achieved but I don’t want to achieve there’s just so much more that we can do. So it’s a never ending focus on on on, on what we can do to contribute even more so that that does still consume me. But I love that I mean, that’s that. I love that journey. I love business. I love being an entrepreneur I love working with with clients and our team to do great things. So you know, and I would say that’s, that’s kind of making it at the end of the day. If you love what you do, you feel like you’re making a contribution, then you’ve achieved what you need to achieve. But as far as an end goal that’s that’s ongoing. There’s there’s so much more that we want to do within envision.
David Ralph [41:54]
I bet me I’ve ever said this on the show. I did. I can’t remember saying it but I think about three years ago. I hate it. what I was doing, I hated Join Up Dots with a passion. And the reason that I hated it was it was getting bigger and bigger and more people were seeking me out and asking for my opinion and help. And I had a real imposter syndrome occur from nowhere, but up to that point, I was ready with good. And I remember saying to a friend of mine, I feel like I feel like just smashing it up. I feel like just you know, deleting everything I’ve done just to sort of escape from it. Now I embrace it. But there was a period of time where the business, even though it’s an online business was too big for me. At that time, the world saw me as something but I wasn’t.
John Ferris [42:41]
Well, absolutely, I think all of us get to that point where, you know, your business grows to a point where it’s almost overwhelming. And I love your term on the imposter syndrome. I think that’s classic. We do a lot of leadership coaching. And I would say pretty much every single entrepreneur and leader that we deal with have have that at some point of their career, the empty After sending what you do I really deserve this. And I really good enough to be where I am today. So it’s very common. The question is, what do you do with that? And you know, you caved, you say, Well, yeah, I’m not that good. So I better just kind of stop doing, or do you take that and say, Well, how can I be better? What do I need to do? But often it’s those inflection points. Like when things are so crazy busy that you have to make the decision? Well, do I either cut back? Do I scale up? Do I hire people? Do I figure out a new way to do it? But those are, I mean, I think those are points with all of us as entrepreneurs face. The question always is what do you do with that? And, you know, accepting it, as you know, the reality is not necessarily a good thing. So figuring out what you’re gonna do differently, to help get that joy back to get that passion back as to why you started the business in the first place is really the key. And then putting in the resources supports to help you get through that next level. That often is the point where it is you’re forced to do it because you’re just not happy doing what you’re doing.
David Ralph [43:59]
Yeah, and now I’m Bloody love it john. I bloody love it and the out spark is back and it just feels like something that was made for me, you know, and that’s the thing once once it it beds in and it’s comfortable and you’re totally in control and, and you can switch off, you know, I can switch off a mumps really and it just goes off on automatic pilot and then I turn it back on again. And the income just starts flooding in. It’s a dream, I think. But it wasn’t a dream in the early days. Well, let’s hear from the late Steve Jobs, he created many empires. And here’s his words, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [44:35]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny life, karma, whatever. Because believing the The dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [45:10]
Now all you words fast, you look at your own life and you think, yeah, but they really are true those ones or Was he an idiot to say those
John Ferris [45:20]
are not bang on? I mean, you know, we are, you know, we are made up of all the experiences that we we’ve had. And, you know, and often we can’t see when we’re going through tough times, and even good times, you can’t see all the dots Connect, but they do. And, you know, Steve just mentioned, you know, that’s still an instinct. And actually gut feeling instinct is based on experiences that we have. So that’s why it’s really important to rely on that. But, you know, you’ve got to love the journey that we’re on even though we might have some really tough times. Celebrate the good times, obviously, but the the tough times. You know, we we often think why am I going through this, there’s it’s just so hard what to do. Keep going. But those those parts of those dots that were going through at the time really helped build for a bigger future and a bigger possibility. So embracing those is really key. And in a lot of times in entrepreneurship journey, we just don’t you know, there’s there’s times when we’re just not sure, okay, well, I don’t know what this experience is about or where we’re going with this, but you got it, you got to soak it up and learn from that experience. And as you learn from those experiences, and those dots start connecting, you just get bigger and you get stronger, and you learn more from it. So, you know, I would say, you know, I’m a collection of all those dots that are experiences that I’ve had in the past. And when they start connecting, actually, when you see those magic intersection points that I get it now, then that’s where the magic happens. And that’s totally exciting. But you have to, you know, you have to listen and you’ve got to soak it up and experience that and and reflecting is really good to know well, you know, our our business has actually been strategy innovation, which is you know, naturally forward looking It’s good to reflect on where you’ve been what you’ve learned, what are the good things you’ve done to, you know, to make your business successful? What are the challenges that you’ve had? and learn from those as well? So yeah, I know Steve’s bag on it’s about experiencing those dots learning from them. And we are, you know, you know, made up of the experiences that we’ve had in the past. And that makes us even stronger today.
David Ralph [47:25]
Absolutely. So what would be your big dot when you look back on it that really showed you what you wanted to do?
John Ferris [47:34]
Yeah, well, minor degree, so there would be so many of them, I would say, you know, from the perspective of moving from a job into entrepreneurship, you know, the big big dot for me was, you know, there there was a formula that I found of success, whether it was in a large company or in different roles that I had. And the formula of success was, you know, creating a strategy really for clear focus on what you want to do and creating new things and And leading teams. So once I started connecting the dots and those intersections of success points that I had within a company, then I gained the confidence that no matter where I am, no matter what position I hold, what team I’m leading, if I apply these three things, and I can be successful, and those connection points led me to entrepreneurship to start my own business, so that I can help others focus on those three things. So as soon as that light bulb went off, that was in very, very big for me, another big dog would be, you know, when in the consulting world or in the entrepreneurship world, learning that it’s really not about me, it’s all about our customer and what our solving problems for our customers so that that that.of it’s not just about, you know, creating really cool products or really cool things that I think are interesting. It’s really creating products and services that that our customers solve customer problems or help them to take advantage of opportunities. So that was a fundamental dot for me on on the kind of the entrepreneurship side of things. So those are the kind of key key dots that I’ve that really stick out now there’s many others that have formed who I am and what I do that we talked about in front of the show talking about listening right and that’s really key it’s it’s it’s really forming, you know, the empathy and listening to whether it’s your team members or customers so that you can actually get an understanding what their challenges opportunities are and really responding to those. I would say in my early days, I was more of a talker, even when selling Actually, this is what we do. And this is you know, why it’s important versus listening, listening to people about what their problems were. So that’s been a key teamed up for me to I’m still working on that, frankly, is you know, really listening and being more empathetic and in customer relationships or with team member relationships, so that really responsive to what what people are saying. So those would be some high level thoughts that that I’ve experienced, powerful stuff powerful,
David Ralph [49:57]
right? Well, this is a doc that we’ve been building up And this is this you’ve led your whole life to this point. This is a B sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with a little john Ferris and if you could speak to him, what advice would you like to give him to allow him to join up the dots to where you are today? Well, I’m going to play the music and we’re going to find out is a sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [50:29]
With the best bit of the show.
John Ferris [50:47]
Okay, well, I you know, I would say, you know, looking at providing guidance and coaching to my younger self, I think, you know, one of the things that I would talk about would be patience. And I’ve learned the hard way that, you know, often the biggest areas of focus and transformation happen when we’re patients when we listen, when you step back and talk to people in the early days was not that patient, it was always about kind of grinding it out working harder, working harder. And I think take taking time back to reflect on who you are, where you get your energy, where you get your drive from, is really key. So spending those downtimes to really figure out who you are, what you’re about what really drives you. And today, we talked a lot about the why that purpose, a reason to believe. And as young folks we often don’t spend time doing that we just work hard. So spending time on who you are, what why you do what you do. I would also say spending time on relationship is really key because we often get lost in that as we’re, you know, grinding it out, working hard, raising families, etc. But at the end of the day, it’s about relationships and connectivity, that really drives us. So spending time on whether it’s work relationship, whether it’s relationship at home or within your community. But having a rich relationship helps you be better in your career helps you be better as a human overall. So spending time and focusing on on that that relationship is absolutely key, are working hard is really key as well. It won’t come to you on your own, you’ve got to take hold of it, and you’ve got to make your own opportunities, and many will be wrong and classifying. In my young days, I would classify a failure as a failure, and I did something wrong. Now in my older self, I focus on failure as an opportunity to learn and to grow. And we do know, you know, the more we try, the more will fail but the more we’ll learn as well. So take those, take those bets take take that those risks and and learn from them so that you’re continuing to grow and focus on what you’re just really good at and finding what that is is really key. So taking risks, and really focusing on on kind of That that energy that drives you is really a key thing. Also surround yourself with great people, you know where we are made up with, about people who surround us. So surround yourself with good people, whether it’s colleagues you’re working with, or whether it’s relationships you have, we’re defined by the people that surround us. So having a really good friendship group, really good business community, is really a key focus of kind of growth of who we are, what we do and what we want to do. I’d also talked about visualisation in when I was younger, I didn’t really look ahead. Today I do look ahead, what what what do I want to do, what do I want to be? What are those things that I want to do to make a difference in this world, and spending time to do that. Also getting out of the business, we talked about this earlier, making sure you take some downtime to really get a sense of what’s important who you are, what you want to be so taking vacation time to take some time away. is really key to focus on that kind of that whole self. And not just, you know, not just that, that business self. So those are, those would be key elements that I would look at and would recommend to my younger self that you know, slow down and kind of soak it up, figure out who you want to be what you want to do. I guess the last parting piece of advice I’d have to myself would be, you know, if you’re not happy, and whether it’s in your job or what have you, then do something about it. I’ve talked to so many young people that just aren’t happy and they’re not fulfilled and they just try to stick it out, and things won’t change. So if life is very short, and at the end of the day, it’s about doing things that we love to do that make a difference. And if we’re not in that space, now we’re doing things you want to do that make a difference and do something about it. Don’t Don’t try to grind it out or try to be you know, just to work hard, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. So finding what that is and and be prepared for taking many different forces. The road it’s not one. It’s not one journey. There’s multiple journeys we can take and be prepared for, you know, taking those different forks in the road, but enjoying the journey along the way.
David Ralph [55:11]
Great stuff. So what’s the number one best way our audience can connect with you, Joe?
John Ferris [55:18]
A couple of ways. One would be to first wave email me directly john Farris, at envision edge Comm. I’d love to chat, love to talk business logic, love to talk strategy. I’m all over LinkedIn, look me up john Ferris on LinkedIn, send me a message. I’d love to chat. We also do have a free tool for you to look at strategy and looking at assessing where your businesses and strategy and that would be at our website, envision edge.com backslash, backslash, Join Up Dots, we have a special gift for your listeners. So take, take a look there and you can access me there and also get a complimentary downloadable tool to help you with your strategy.
David Ralph [55:58]
Well, Mr. JOHN Ferris Thank you So much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. Please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up, because I do believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past is always the best way to build our futures. JOHN, thank you so much,
John Ferris [56:14]
David. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.
David Ralph [56:18]
Mr. John Ferris, so he wanted to start his own consultancy business and he had never had a client before. So what did he do? He was honest. And he said to them, Look, I’ve got the experience, but we’ll have to sort of work it through as we go along. And I remember many years ago, doing training courses with people and doing the same thing and saying to them, Look, I don’t know this as well as you know it. But let’s work together and people always pull together and they can see the strength in you. So don’t get the whole imposter syndrome and think that you can’t start your own business because you have no track record, you build your track record, and the best way is honesty. Until next time, thank you so much for being here. You Looking after yourselves, and I’ll see you again soon. Bye bye. Are you ready to start your own podcast and really make it work for you bringing customers and profits into your life and your business in the easiest way possible, or perhaps you’ve already launched and aren’t getting the results you want? If so, I’m going to teach you the information that you need that makes all the difference to your success. Now, don’t be fooled into believing what others are teaching you when it comes to what makes your podcast get those results. podcasting success is not about the podcast. It has nothing to do with a recording or equipment. It has everything to do with understanding your market and making those customers come to you time and time again, this is raw 100% live behind the scenes podcasting mastery, not shown anywhere else. If that’s of interest, head over to Join Up Dots and book a time to speak with me to make sure that you’re a fit for our next course. This is podcasting mastery live at Join Up dots.com