Non-Sexy Scalability Through Process Documentation
Adi Klevit is the Founder and CEO of Business Success Consulting Group, an organization that provides businesses with the infrastructure, processes, and systems they need to thrive. Adi and her team help companies scale, transfer knowledge, and prepare for succession. She has over 25 years of experience as a trained industrial engineer, management consultant, and business executive. Adi is also the host of the Systems Simplified podcast, featuring top leaders sharing stories on how to systematize a business.
Welcome to The Future Is Borderless podcast with David Nilssen, we feature top entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world, those who bring a global mindset and a unique perspective to their life and business. Now, let’s get started with the show.
David Nilssen 0:23
Hey, David Nilssen here I am the host of this podcast. We started The Future Is Borderless as a way to connect with business leaders from around the world who embrace what I think is a borderless mindset. And we’re making space where we can exchange ideas castlight on new innovations and share best practices. And these are things that are not just applicable to our business, but also our personal lives. And ultimately, the goal is to help us lead to grow in a rapidly changing world. Now, this episode is brought to you by DOXA Talent. DOXA helps businesses to source full-time highly skilled workers from all over the world. And as a result, these companies can scale faster, increase margin and improve culture. To learn more about DOXA and how you can leverage borderless talent, go to doxatalent.com. All right, well, I’m excited for today’s podcast, Adi is a leader and the visionary behind Business Success Consulting Group. As an organization, they identify, create, and document processes and procedures so that businesses can grow and scale. They have this systematic process to allow for real knowledge transfer and allowing for greater business continuity. Adi utilizes her practical know-how and wisdom to successfully help organizations and companies of any size dramatically improve their efficiency and performance. I should also note that she has an industrial engineering degree from Tel Aviv University. And with that, Adi, welcome to The Future Is Borderless.
Adi Klevit 1:57
But thank you. Thank you, David, it’s great to be on this podcast.
David Nilssen 2:01
I’m excited for this, I think, you know, I spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs, I know you have as well, it processes and systems is not where I would typically say most crazy entrepreneurs I know are really proficient, this is a place that lots of organizations struggle, so I’m excited to dig in. And funny enough, I had a chance few weeks ago, actually, I got a chance to interview Michael Gerber, who’s the founder of the E-Myth, which, you know, he on his inside of his books and everything he espouses, he emphasizes the need to develop processes and systems that can help a business run effectively without the owner’s constant involvement. And you constantly hear that having a vision and building a team, having great marketing are things that will help businesses rapidly scale, but the less sexy, and arguably, the more critical items are some processes and procedures. So why do you think that gets overlooked?
Adi Klevit 2:56
Well, I think for their business you just mentioned, and it’s much more interesting to dive into marketing and sales. I mean, I can talk about myself, too, as a business owner, you know, I would much rather go and network and meet people and talk to people than sit down and write my processes, right? Because it seems more, maybe instant gratification, or it’s something that we as entrepreneurs are more inclined to do. I mean, we love talking to people, we love people, right? We always want to increase and get to the next opportunity, etc. But it’s really what I noticed when I started my business over 11 years ago, is that this is what’s missing. And this is the part that entrepreneurs are just not doing it, although they really need it. I had to go through to the same thing in my own business because it really started to scale and grow and do really well, when I actually implemented processes internally because it helps with hiring, help with consistency, output, increase efficiency, training, onboarding, right. So we need it. But it’s not as exciting as doing other things that seem more creative. So I think that’s probably why it’s being overlooked. Not because it’s not important. It’s just it’s not as exciting probably.
David Nilssen 4:14
Yeah, I think it’s also hard. I mean, it dawned on me as you were sharing that what makes us great in the early years of our business ultimately becomes our kryptonite, right? Like our superpower becomes our kryptonite, when we first start, we’re chief cook bottle washer, all the processes are trapped in our mind. And as I said, in your introduction, transferring that knowledge, getting that out onto paper is really, really hard. So how do you support business leaders and getting it out of their brain and onto something that others can reference and use to help grow and scale the business?
Adi Klevit 4:46
Right, so we developed the process on how to do it because you’re right, it can be overwhelming, right? I mean, the reason why it’s not being documented is because lack of know-how or lack of time, that’s what I find from many of my clients and people that and other entrepreneurs that they talk to. So it’s either the prioritization in terms of making the time for it, or lack of knowledge on how to start, where to start? How do I get it done? How do I not document too much? How do I not document too little? So it’s really it’s a matter of prioritization, right? It is asking the question, what part of the organization, if you had well-documented processes and procedures will get you the biggest return on investment. And you and I talked about it. And return investment is not necessarily in terms of money, although it always will lead to profit, but it’s really you have to define for yourself, what is return on investment, if you’re working 70 hours a week, and as you said, you’re doing you’re wearing all the hats, if the return investment is for you to work 40 hours a week, and just shed some of the hats and give it to somebody else, then that is the return you’re looking for. So when you look at your organization, you go, okay, let’s say for instance, you are a contractor, you’re doing construction, and you’re wearing, the estimator hat is taking a lot of your time, then that is the place where you can start documenting doesn’t mean you’re gonna get, you’re going to totally give that part, right, but you can then get assistance. And that’s really where you come into play. David, with your companies, let’s say you’re wearing domine hats, you have to identify which hats, you can actually delegate still maintain, maybe the main was the one that you have the most value, but start shedding off and delegate the rest, which you need to document, but you can delegate it correctly.
David Nilssen 5:18
This is obviously about you, not me, but I’m really glad you brought this up. Because actually, it’s funny, I’m obviously in the outsourcing business, and we help people build and scale mobile teams. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me and said, I tried outsourcing and it didn’t work. I tried it and the workers, they weren’t great, right? Like there’s all sorts of excuses. And funny enough, the number one reason I’ve identified through my experience, that businesses fail to leverage outside teams or offshore teams, is because they’re not clear on the process and procedures and expectations of the role. We think we’re clear, but we’re actually not clear. We’re very, very often we are not clear. So I’m glad you brought that up.
Adi Klevit 7:21
Yeah, and in borderless economy, we’re not in the same office, in the past, you know, you can walk into somebody’s office and as well, how do I do it? Show me right, but now, it can be hours before they are being shown, especially if you work in different time zones, or different location, you have to have it prepared for a person to be able to follow a procedure. So, I agree with you, I think now, it’s more important than ever to actually have those really well documented, especially if you’re outsourcing, to worker to employees to workers in another country or another region.
David Nilssen 7:57
Yeah. Who’s your ideal customer profile? Or ICP? I mean, when you think about it, like I’m thinking, is it size employee count industry? Or is it maybe the problem that they’re trying to solve? Like, how do you filter who’s good to work with you versus not?
Adi Klevit 8:13
I came up with what identifies you, people that work with us, right companies that we work with, it’s really fast-growing companies that are lacking consistency, they have a mindset of they want to grow, they want to scale, right? Because, as you mentioned, in the beginning, processes are not the most exciting things. And some companies will say, well, I don’t want to do that. So some entrepreneurs say, well, let’s put it off. No, I mean, my ideal client is a company that is growing and scaling, and they’re excited about it, they see the potential they want more, they’re enthusiastic about it, they’re very ambitious, but they know that they need systems in order to grow and scale that will be ideal, right? That they recognize it, but they know that they cannot do it themselves. But they want to get somewhere they want to really make an impact. So that’s another thing is like, I really like working with companies that make some kind of a change some kind of an impact that they have some kind of purpose behind them, because I’m really motivated by that as well. So it’s easy to connect with entrepreneurs that have the same mindset. And then it’s really like a partnership, we partner together to really see that growth and that scaling.
David Nilssen 9:28
Are you providing your clients with some, there’s the Get it out of your brain and on paper, document it but there’s also this, do you provide any sort of objective third party eyes on the process to say, Well, why do you do it this way? And not this way? Do you guys actually go through some of that consulting as well?
Adi Klevit 9:47
Absolutely. So the first thing that we’re very careful of is when we go into a company that is doing really well is not to change things right? Because that’s dangerous because obviously, they got to where they got because of what they are doing. So it’s very important that we document current state. And we really ask the questions of why it’s being done, right? I mean, if you were putting the blue paper on top of the pink paper, why are you doing that? Right? There was a reason why it started. If nobody knows why anymore and makes no sense, yes, maybe we can change it and make it more efficient. But if there was a reason, maybe now putting the blue paper on top of the pink paper is not necessarily the right thing. And we can automate it, but we have to understand the why behind it. So it’s really digging in and being very curious and asking, why are you doing it that way? Why this way? Why that way? What led you to decide to do it, because at some point, it worked. So we have to be very conscientious of documenting the best practices, but also identifying the pain points. What is painful right now? What is not working? And why. And then obviously, for sure, we look at efficiency and how to make it better by asking those questions. Right. And it’s usually either I mean, the stakeholders themselves, or they want to go Oh, yeah, you know, we’re doing it because it’s always been done that way. But we didn’t never. So we don’t know. So that curiosity and that wanting to know why and understanding things until we really understand. And that makes sense. I think that’s a key component in the documentation.
David Nilssen 11:25
Yeah, okay. Yeah, that makes sense. And these are living documents, I would assume, right. So when you put them into a form that your customer can now sort of visualize digest, and then to your point earlier, delegate or replicate. At some point, they’re gonna go back and reinvent these processes, or change bits and pieces of it. So how do you create it so that they have the ability to do that down the road?
Adi Klevit 11:51
Yeah, so first of all, we use process documentation platform we have separate that we use, and that is, for me a must in order to document right, because, as you said, it has to be a living document, we can just put it in some kind of a Word document, or a Google Doc that just sits somewhere in a folder that nobody can find. Because that’s part of the problem, where we sometimes start working with companies, ask where they go, Oh, I have some documentation. Well, where is it? Oh, that folder? No, no, maybe we put it in this, they just don’t know, right. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Because we don’t want to just document for the sake of document, we want to make sure that it’s being utilized in the company day in and day out. So we have to put it in a place that is very accessible. So that’s number one. Number two, as we are creating the processes, we’re also training our clients on how we do it. My biggest joy, when I see a client is happened to me a few days ago, I got a notification that the client actually created the process themselves. So when they looked at it, and it looked great, because they actually now part of the process, they’re not depending on somebody else, you shouldn’t be depending on me or anyone else, in order to create processes for the company, what we are doing, we are like a catalyst, we are making things faster, right. Because if something can take maybe a year or two years for somebody to do, or they don’t have the know-how we make it faster and faster and faster and faster. So you can actually have it like within three months, six months, nine months depends on how much you are documenting from the company, you’re going to have it ready and done. But I’m also going to teach you how I’m creating it. And once we have the core processes documented, you don’t have to go and change everything. Because hopefully, we’re working with companies that already scale and growing, it’s not like something that they’re reinventing every single time unless it’s a new process. But they can always change it, they can always add things, you know, they can add a new video, they can add a new screenshot, we make it very easy to also be able to adjust and adapt to the new situation. And we also do follow-up. So we do the process very, very concentrated on working on the documentation part. And then we also offer follow-up services in order to make sure that it’s all assimilated and implemented into the company.
David Nilssen 14:15
Yeah, I think that’s super important. And it’s funny, I was thinking about this, even in our business, if we were to go through a process like this, it would be a Herculean effort to document those core processes. So I’d be taking resources off their current duties to actually work on that stuff, or I need to bring in a resource to do it. So I can see why this is an important service for people. Tell me a little bit about a use case and certainly you can anonymize this but I’d love to hear like, like what’s a customer use case that you’re really proud of that would sort of illustrate the impact that this type of processor system can have within an organization?
Adi Klevit 14:50
Sure, so I’ll give you an example. So we documented, we actually got brought in by a company by the owner to just bought companies. So it’s not a usual use case. But I liked that case study, because it’s really, it’s fun. They bought a company. It was two partners, they bought a company. And there was an employee there that has been there for years and years. And it was dangerous, because the employee basically held all the information in their head. And although they didn’t give any signs that they’re going to quit. But what will happen if they quit tomorrow, the entire investment will be basically going down the drain, because it’ll be really hard to figure out what that employee does. So we documented the processes, we did a fantastic job, we created videos, we created all the procedures, we even interviewed some outside contractors, because they held some of the knowledge as well. And then the owner felt such relief, because now the investment is secured, it was really a risk mitigation, because now they had the manual. Usually what happens is that we are being brought in by companies, either they’re growing and scaling, as I mentioned, or they’re wanting to sell in three to five years. And they want to have a manual. I mean, you mentioned Michael Gerber, it’s kind of like a turnkey operation, right. So they want to have that manual, because it does increase the value. And that’s another case study, I had a client that had a painting contract, he’s a painting contractor, painting company, and he was ready to sell. And he wanted me to be there when we talked to the prospective buyer. And when the prospective buyer saw all the documentation was like, his eyes just lit up. Because he saw that he has all the training manuals, and all the documentation of how they do the bids, and how do they specialize, like how they develop the relationship with other contractors that gave him a lot of work. So it was all there, all you need to do is kind of like this, add water and mix, right? I mean, it’s like, you know, you just have to follow the instructions. And that is great. I mean, that’s priceless, because that really makes the difference in a business.
David Nilssen 17:09
Yeah, it’s huge. In fact, I know somebody who recently they’ve got a business that actually requires very few people to operate within the organization. And this person has somebody that’s been with them for over a decade, supporting them. And so much of that information is trapped in this person’s head. And they recently came down sick. And so now there’s an issue. It’s not just them leaving, it’s that life happens, right? And we are susceptible to those, especially when there’s a single point of failure and or sloppy process design. Let’s say that.
Adi Klevit 17:44
Absolutely right. I mean, I had a client, they brought us in because one of his key employees that was handling their accounts receivable had an unfortunate health situation where she had to go to an emergency surgery and was not able to come back to work for four to six weeks later, even recovering. She was under a lot of pain, et cetera. So what’s funny, she recovered, she came back, but he said, Okay, I’m not I’m not gonna take that risk anymore. So I need to document all those processes. So it doesn’t happen again.
David Nilssen 18:16
Yeah. How do you measure success when you’re helping someone enable their own processes? Like, I mean, I totally understand the concept like, hey, we’re going to focus in on the place that can deliver the maximum ROI for the business. But how do you know like, at the end of the day, how do you measure success for your business?
Adi Klevit 18:35
Well, I measure success by the success of the clients, like know, the success of the project. I mean, obviously, the success for the business is that the client is satisfied is happy, refer others, people sign up, so that’s my success, right? But the success, how I measure success with a client is I ask, what will measure success, what do you want to accomplish? So maybe some of them wants to three extra revenue. Some of them want to be able to spend more time one client told me I want to go home and have dinner with my family three nights a week, I have a client that she told me that, if she can actually pick up her son from daycare, one day a week, as opposed to sending the nanny, she will be like, super happy. Right? So we set those goals and it’s individual to each client for each client. So we measure did we accomplish it or we didn’t accomplish it. But I also measure success by the amount of use if when I see employees actually going into the software and using it that success. Or like, for instance, I was talking to a client earlier today, and he was bragging on how he actually, unfortunately, one of his employees quit, just like that. And it’s a very technical business that is hard to just pick up just like that. He did not know how to do something. He said, I just want you to do software. And I was able to complete the process, and he was so happy about it. So that’s success.
David Nilssen 20:10
I love it. How did you get into this business? What was the inspiration for starting the company?
Adi Klevit 20:17
Yeah, so as you said, I have a degree in Industrial Engineering. So I’m doing it for over three decades really in the area of process improvement, improving businesses, putting ordering, putting organization, that was my first job was basically to organize and document the process of a production line. So I was always in that area. But about 11, 12 years ago, I started my own company, I decided, I just want to go on my own and start my own company. And it was more of a general consultancy. But then I noticed that one of the advice that I would give my clients is you need to have your processes documented. How else are you going to onboard? How are you going to train? Right? How are you going to retain employees? Risk mitigation consistency, we talked about that. I want to help you with efficiency, but I don’t even know what you do. Where is the process map? Let’s do a process map. I’ll come next week, show me the process map? They didn’t do it? Or, yeah, we’re gonna hire a new receptionist, let’s write her job description. And what she’s going to do. They didn’t do it. And I go, okay. There is a problem here, just like we talked in the beginning of the podcast, and I got to go get it, somebody has to roll up the sleeves and actually do it. Because the thing is that there is a lot of great consultants that can give a lot of advice, but I saw that need for the do it for you service, because it just not there. It wasn’t there, right. And it’s not for everyone, not everyone wants to invest. Not everyone wants to do it. Some people want to try it on their own, which is great. But there is a need for the done it for you. For those that see that they just don’t have the resources internally or the know-how to do it, which we already discussed. So that’s I just identified that need. And I started doing it. And I saw the success. And it’s still the results. And it’s still how much people go like, wow, this is so needed. They’ll just continue down that route.
David Nilssen 22:19
Yeah. It’s so funny. I remember the first time that I heard about what you did, I was fascinated, because I just knew if I look back in my two-plus decades of owning my own businesses, and this is always a pain point, right? For those of us that move quickly, who, you know, aren’t as detail-oriented or systematic in the way that we operate, that always is sort of the thing that gets deprioritize. It’s number three on the list, right? And so I can see why this is a huge need. I know we’re getting toward the end of our time together. But I just want question for you I’d love to understand just as a leader, most people that I run into who lead organizations are avid learners. So my question for you is, what are you trying to learn more about today? How are you investing in your own development?
Adi Klevit 23:04
I tried to really understand the technological tools that are out there. I mean, I’m really trying to see how we can leverage technology in order to make our lives easier, but still maintain that humanity, right. I mean, we’re all into the AI and whatnot. But how do we actually use the tools in order to automate some of the processes, but still maintain the process intact that actually works. So I really tried to learn more about that, making sure that, all the subscriptions that I have in terms of technology are actually working for the best. And we actually utilizing the best of it in terms of tools. So they project management systems or software, how do we actually do it so it’s easy to implement that my clients can implement that we can implement it, and it’s actually effective, and it’s not a burden. So that is really my concentration this year. And one of the goals that I have.
David Nilssen 24:02
Awesome. Well, I mean, we certainly know we’re living through a transformational time today with the rise of AI and so we’ll leave it there. We’ve been talking to Adi Klevit from Business Success Consulting Group, excuse me, Adi, where can people go to learn more about what you do?
Adi Klevit 24:19
They can go to LinkedIn, it’s Adi Klevit, best place to find me, you can message me there. Because we have a website and it’s all the details are there. I think LinkedIn is the easiest part.
David Nilssen 24:32
Awesome. And we’ll put that in the show notes. So anybody that wants to reach out can, but thank you so much for being on the show. Appreciate all your insights today.
Adi Klevit 24:39
Thank you, David, for having me.
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