Stages of Growth

In this episode, Ashley & Michelle go through the stages of growth as they started the company. They cover all of the lessons they learned when hiring and making pivotal business decisions. All of these times have led Ashley and Michelle to where they are now, and where Simply Home is today.

This Episode Will Cover: 

• Learnings from our business coach

• Perspective shifts from a new entrepreneur to a leader

• How to get through unexpected trials• The importance of building the company team culture

• How to integrate feedback from clients and the team

Learn More About Ashley, Michelle, & Simply Home: 
• About Ashley & Michelle:
• Website:
• Podcast:
• Instagram: @simplyhomeaustin
• Facebook: @simplyhomeaustin
Episode Transcript

Welcome to episode two, Stages of Growth. Today we are talking about the different stages of growth that we have experienced over the past 10 years, and what were some of those trigger moments where we came into the why and the road and the decisions we had to  make to get us past that. There's so much from the past 10 years that we've experienced and part of moving past it was, um, creating a really healthy mindset around what we were focusing on at that time. So I'm so excited to dive in. Let's get  started. Yes.

So this is I feel like a very unique episode because when we had the idea about stages of growth, I think when we were reflecting on it, we shifted because stages of growth we identified as actually being moments where we identify gaps. And that could be a gap that we see in ourselves. It could be a gap that we see in the business, but it presents itself, right? And, sure you could do your best to ignore it, but inevitably, it's  gonna swirl up into a stage five hurricane and before you know it, the things around you are all flying and you may be flying, but you have, you just have no awareness of it, right?

Yeah. And I like this because Michelle and I have coined this as new levels, new levels, new levels. And it's hellish. Yeah. When you're going through it, it totally is. I mean, starting a business, there are,  it seems you're just, it's like hurdle after hurdle and it's not like a negative thing, but there's just so many things you have to learn and learn how to do well.

And honestly, the only way to do it is to do it. You know, like you just have to have the experience of what it takes to have clients mad at you and why are they mad at you, right? Like, they're not wrong to be upset. So what are we doing, that we could be shifting? So I think, um, when we think about that phrase, new levels, new devils, which we still talk about to this day, is that at each phase and they kind of like come.

Obviously we don't really know when they're coming. You have no idea. Sometimes they're like a couple of times a year and it's like, can, can we just not, you know, can it not be that much? Yes. But I guess well it, and it is a good thing because that just shows how much we're growing, but we've identified that there is a gap in time where things just stir.

And it could be maybe issues that are happening in the field. It could be client feedback that we're getting. It could be consistent client feedback about something that we've never heard before. Um, it could be internally, maybe we have some high turnover mm-hmm. For a season. Mm-hmm. Which is unnatural. So all of that we could think could be bad or difficult. Yeah. We could label it. Yeah. But we've tried to shift the perspective in that. Right. It's. A moment of growth and we've found a gap. And this is the new level. New devil. Yeah. And that we're, you know, we're leveling up essentially, right? We're gonna go through this muddy water. We're gonna be swimming upstream for a little bit, and it's gonna be really, really difficult. And you're probably gonna be out of breath and a little bluish in the face  by the time you get through it, but, I was thinking of it like a rainbow, and a rainbow sounds a l of pleasant than what we're walking on sometimes. Cuz it's not, it's not like the cute yellow brick road that you're walking on. It's, I mean, I think of it as territory that you've never been  before. And hopefully by the end of it we've experienced it. The pot of gold's always at the end.

Yeah. Whether it's an employee that we're parting ways with, or a vendor we've worked with for a really long time, again, we just close chapters, right? It doesn't mean that anyone is bad or something is wrong, I think it's just we always try and label  things right? Yeah. And we don't need to. It's just no, we don't. It just is what it is. Yeah, and I think over the 10 years it's been proven that this isn't gonna take us down.

Mm-hmm. All this is, is how do you get to your next level in the business. And so I think, you know, for us being in it and going through it, we now cannot and confidently say that there is a quote unquote end point to this tough time. But then when we get past that tough time, there's another gap, right? Like  there's always a gap, and anytime there's calm. You know, everything's working well, everything's going right. You can breathe and it's so lovely and the birds are chirping, but then we're, you know, then we're looking. Mm-hmm. We're  like, something's on. Something's on the horizon, right? Yeah, something's coming. And that's not to say we're fearful of it, it's just a level of awareness that we've just identified. I feel like it's part of knowing as a business owner, so that was part  of it. How to identify it right.

Michelle and I say how to identify it as listening. You just have to take a step back and you have to listen. What are people around me telling me that isn't working and is it a pattern? And my gut always tells me something needs attention. Right. It needs attention there. And I don't,  it doesn't tell me the solution, unfortunately. Mm-hmm. It  doesn't tell me how to do it, but it tells me something. That's why I'm a business coach.

Oh, also her, she also lives inside my gut. She, she does. Yeah. So as you were saying that,  it also really aligns with our company values and like how, why we wanted to get started and what was so important for us is changing the way that construction's being done. We wanted to be a company that is constantly growing with its environment, and we didn't want to be stuck in our ways to say, this is how we've done things, and this is how we'll always do things because they've proven to be successful in the past.

And yes, what we were doing  five years ago was successful at that time, but it is not anymore. We use things very differently than we did five years ago, so we always wanted to be adapting, changing, and growing  the environment. And so, like Ashley said, is when there are patterns that happen, and they're consistent and they're all kind of happening around the same time. We now realize that, okay, this is just us trying  to level up to the next best thing for the company, so it's not seen as failure. We really make it a point to be careful with our language, with our team, because the team can feel the brunt of the gaps. Right? Especially if it's a learning gap. And they might  often times feel that it's a failure, but we want to be the first to make it very clear that it's not a failure. Um, it is very much so just a learning curve.

And I actually had this conversation with an employee this morning about, um, this very thing and it was so relieving to kind of think big picture once we get past this, what's possible. I was applauding the employee of all the work they've done up until this point, and look how cool it is that we get to add on a new skill that we didn't think we really needed. But it's proving that we do need it.  Right. So we were  just talking about how it's just refining that person. It's just making them better. And so it's not like you failed. It's like, look at what we get to add on. Yeah. Look at it's a refreshing perspective, and it was. A very awkward one to learn for a while. You know how to show up for employees and give them  the space to talk that through and to understand how they're gonna level up. Because we can't tell them. We just have to listen and through our language and our question asking. Mm-hmm. Help them get to the other side, right?

Because we're  on this journey with them, there's a huge amount of trust as a  business owner that they're gonna get through this. And you need to trust the decisions they make. And that's part of what Michelle was talking about. A piece of this is Michelle and I refer to it as the mindset that you have and then how we're gonna work through it. So the mindset's part of it, but then how you're gonna work through it  is you're gonna reflect on it, you're gonna talk about it, you're gonna note it, and you're not gonna feel shameful or guilty because that's not productive. Sure, you can feel it, but don't dwell on it. You note it so that we don't do it again.

And part of our culture is sharing our lessons learned. Mm-hmm. So ourt eam is very open to share about something they learned that week, whether it's about themselves or a mistake they made or something they learned with a client. It's, I mean, it's so wonderful that we have that and that's something that is just a part of our day to day. That's how you get through it.

I think we should talk about an example, because I think people listening might be questioning, well, how do know that this is a new level? These girls are all talk. Right. So I think an example, which, we will get way deeper into hiring. Mm-hmm. And everything we learned with that process and still learning. But I think, turnover is a good, was a good lesson for us because there was a period of time where we did have heavy turnover, um, and there was a period of time where we weren't making the right hires. And that's not on the employee, that's completely on us. Mm-hmm. Because we needed to hone in how we interviewed people and that whole process. But I think that opened our eyes to say, What is Happening? Why are people not staying or leaving, or whatever the case it  was. And we ended up taking hiring courses. We really dove in deep with our business coach about this because it was quite defeating. You know, you put a lot of time and energy when you  hire someone on and you have so much care for that person. And when it doesn't work out, it's quite defeating. So, um, that was a huge, feels like a breakup. Yeah, it's like a breakup. It's, even though it's not, it doesn't have to be sad or you know, it is what you make it, it still feels like a breakup. Yeah. Because they're still leaving, you're not technically working with them every day. Right. So it  is a period of like, grief.

Yeah, it is. You know, but I think that was like, that's an example of one, like it was, it was, mm-hmm. It wasn't just one time. It happened multiple times and it happened over a period of a short amount of time. And so then that  made us realize there's something here that we're missing  that we need to learn. And you always have to look internally. Mm-hmm. You can't blame the people. You can't blame the factors. You can't blame the clients. Like it's always within the system. Mm-hmm. That needs to be tweaked.

We do always notice that something just isn't working. And the, the trick of this all is to pay attention early on so that when you're fixing it and when you're growing that it hasn't all  come crushing down on  you because it's so much easier when you get ahead  of it and you see the  gaps, which actually leads me into part of our next topic, which is there's a difference between pre-planned and unplanned growth. Mm-hmm.

So pre-planned growth is obvious as far as org charts. You have our visions, our goals, our plans for the year. But then you have unplanned growth.Right. And that's what Michelle and  I have really been talking about, which is the things that you don't  see coming and you can't see coming, which is is ironically a lot like remodeling. You can see things, there are things you can definitely see coming, but there are things  that you can't see coming. And for you as a leader in an  organization or a business owner, that is a really big piece of just knowing what lies ahead. Well, cause then you have to pivot.

You know, we make, we look at org, our org charts quite often throughout the year. And we think, okay, this is where we want to be in three years. And then every time we look back at that org chart, we are realizing, okay, there's, we want to change it all up, right? Like there's, we actually see that this department has a need that we didn't identify before this department needs additional support that we didn't plan for, which again it's all  good things. It's just different than what we thought it would be.

Yes. You know? Yes. And we've noticed when we focus on one department and we get that department all good and squared up, and then the other four or five departments are over here going, "help, help!" Yeah. You know, and maybe some of them aren't necessarily drowning, but there might be one that's drowning because we've fully focused on this department, right?

Yeah. And so you're always playing with whatever that scale is called, where it's like the a teeter trotter kind of thing. You know? It's always about balance.

Yeah. I think the biggest take away, like I said, we'll go into more of the hiring. Um, I think one of the biggest things though for me, and what truly rings so true in my day to day and just in my personal  life as well, is totally the mindset shift you have around these things is that you get to choose how you react. And  have I learned the hard way that lesson. Um but things are gonna happen. You know, there's, we obviously can't fortell the future. And so it's just how you kind of roll with the punches. But we've done such a good job of like creating the culture that they also can roll with the punches too. It's not always easy, but they do, they have such a good mindset around it.

Yeah,  they do. And when they have moments where they don't, then  that's why we're here for support.

Mm-hmm. Right. And I think how, you know, I think it's just like when the rain stops and you know, the hurricane moves on a sudden, um, you know, there might be some cleanup to do.

Well, it's almost like the, the wheels that the that the sun comes out are oiled, like it feels easy. Yeah. That's a good description. It does feel easy, like internal systems and people are communicating nicely. Projects are starting smoothly. They're ending smoothly. We're getting good feedback from clients. Like the team's happy. The team's happy. They're not overwhelmed. Like it just, there's so many things that feel at flow.

Mm-hmm. And we know with the flow comes another level. Yeah. The next level is coming. Mm-hmm. I mean, it, it kind of reminds me of like a Game Boy something, you know, you were like, "woo I made it that level."

Yeah, and then you have a moment and you're like, okay, where's, what's the next one? But long story, long, I think the big takeaway from me is learning to be uncomfortable and learning to fight through it, because it is worth it, believe it or not. And you're not the only one that goes through it. We probably have been through it at some point, so get to the other side and you'll be better for it and the company will be better for it, and it'll all work out. You just have to trust the process and you know, if you're freaked out because it's changed and something's been that way for a long time, or you were settled and comfortable, you're gonna be uncomfortable. It's just the product or the nature of, you know, being in a small business or owning a business. It's how, it's how it goes.

Mm-hmm. Sorry, sorry to tell you.

Yeah. Okay, so we wanna dive in future episodes of like, when those, why and the road it's happened and like what they look like in each department because they're all so different. Mm-hmm. Through departments and some of the struggles that we had to go through and identify. Um, we're gonna dive into that more. We sure are. Yeah. Until next time. See you then. We outta here.