Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – What Are The Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Starting A New Business?
Today, we had the opportunity to interview Tabetha Sheaver who is a Owner at Plus Delta.
Interviewee Name: Tabetha Sheaver
Company: Plus Delta
Tabetha Sheaver’s favourite quote: Peace creates space. Space creates opportunity. Opportunity creates wealth.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Tabetha Sheaver : In 2016 I was promoted to CEO of a technology company. I had no idea what I was doing as a CEO and that is when I found up the book Traction. I had been told it was the ultimate “how-to” guide for entrepreneurial leaders but I had no idea how deeply it would impact my life.
We implemented EOS and catapulted from $300K in revenue to $3.1m in a little just around 20 months.
I eventually left to start my own change management practice- which is when I brought in an implementer and my love for EOS was taken to a whole new level.
All my life I loved being a facilitator and coach and teacher and I found in my company we were getting better results from EOS than anything I had every implemented. I went on to implement EOS for 3 other companies in different roles- I’ve been the owner, the integrator, the an employee, a partner and now a professional implementer- which I believe gives me a unique level of empathy and helps me resolve issues more fairly. I also have my PMP, CCMP and mediation certificate which help me be a better implementer.
I do this because I have a heart for entrepreneurs and I believe changing small businesses is how we change lives and communities and I am all about driving positive change.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out? Any examples?
Tabetha Sheaver : 2 things: 1. Empathy and 2. Delegation. In addition to having been a CEO reporting to an international private equity firm and being a bootstrapping founder as I shared above, I also co-founded a technology business that required a capital raise. It was there I experienced a equity, partner model and what true entrepreneurship requires. I share all these experiences to say- I’ve been in many people’s shoes. When I give advice, I can honestly say I am giving it from multiple perspectives. The perspective of an employee, an owner, a founder, a partner, a CEO for hire, a COO, a consultant, and an EOS Integrator and implementer. I believe these experiences help me have more empathy for my clients. Second is delegation. I am a masterful delegator and it is only because of this fact that I am able to have so many experiences. An example of how these 2 things help me stand out: I had a client that wanted to do develop a custom app. It was an experience I had never had, yet I wanted to develop an app also so I contracted a team and built my app in 3 months, which allowed me to better serve my client that wanted to develop his application. This isn’t theory- its real world practical advice, tips, tools all born of my own experiences and learning.
What are the TOP 5 mistakes people make when starting a new business? Please share advice/examples for all of them.
Tabetha Sheaver : I want to start by acknowledging there are different types of entrepreneurs. There are those of us that have a product or service, we are going to get a small loan or bootstrap it and then there are those that are going after funding. I think the mistakes each make are different. The majority of the owners I work with are the small loan or bootstrap guys so that is where my answers are focused.
1. They try to do too much themselves.
2. They under value their time
3. They read too many books, get too much advice and end up trying to implement multiple operating systems which causes confusion and complexity.
4. They worry about expansion before they’ve mastered the foundation.
5. They can’t make decisions- quickly and decisively.
1. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs that believe they have to figure it out, understand it, know it, and/or do it themselves in order to know how to hire, advise or lead. One example, a CEO I know thinks he has to learn how to do medical coding so he can bill things appropriately. Instead of hiring someone with experience he has decided to do it himself to learn. While I get the concept, if you have to learn and do everything yourself it will take years. More will change in the amount of time it takes you to learn everything than if you hire someone to do it for you. That first employee or 3rd party consultant can define the processes and things up and teach you what you need to know. You can still have a say in how things are done but it doesn’t mean you have to do everything or be the expert. Your job as the leader is to set the vision, define the right structure for your organization, fill those seats then keep guardrails on the vision and hold people accountable for achieving the vision. You don’t need to do the billing or take a medical coding class.
2. The other thing I’ve seen is prices are quoted, especially in services businesses, that don’t value the manpower and are underpriced. I have one client that we did the math of how much his time was worth based on hours worked. He was making $.02 per hour. He didn’t value his time. He kept saying its just what I have to do. While revenue was coming in, it didn’t cover his expenses or value his time. No margin no mission. You have to charge enough to make a profit which means you have to know your costs and have enough saved up to cover the initial expenses or get a loan.
3. I am guilting of this one. When I was starting my business I read a ton of books, attended seminars, had coaches and consultants. You know what? I ended up more confused. I was trying to implement funnels and social media campaigns that weren’t right for my business model. At one point I was trying to run 2 different operating systems (EOS and Gazelles) I ended up mixing terminology and confusing people more than helping people. I also had multiple voices and they were giving me different advice. The work was disjointed, and I ended up wasting a lot of money- particularly in the area of marketing. The best advice I ever received about wasted money – don’t think of it as a waste think of it as tuition dollars. I had gone to the college of the real world and spent over $30,000 to learn what not to do in marketing. Good news is, now I know. I now limit the voices that speak into my business, and it always starts with staying true to the vision and my customers rather than the latest trends in business.
4. Pretend you are building a house. The foundation isn’t dry yet but you decide to go ahead complete the framing and you are more worried about having a house warming party than letting the concrete cure. Yes its fun to have a big, well operating machine and can you wait for everything to be just perfect before you move forward no however we shouldn’t be talking about expansion efforts when we haven’t mastered sales in our own backyard. We shouldn’t be adding product lines when we haven’t figured out how to staff the team on the existing product. Yet entrepreneurs do it all the time. I get it- the more one sows the more one reaps however what I see most often is that owners start building one bridge, then a second bridge then a third, forth so on and so on until they have 6 ½ finished bridges but they can’t get over the river. They aren’t seeing results and they feel dejected. You have to pick the first most promising bridge, build a good foundation before you start growing and expanding or it will all come tumbling down like a house of cards.
5. Fear of making the wrong decision eats at start ups. The “what if” monster plagues them. I worked with one owner who had been developing an application and could never take it to market because he couldn’t decided how resources should be curated and organized. I am not convinced it mattered. The content wasn’t his main product but he felt it was an indication of quality and it had to be just right. We redid his content catalog 3 times. To this day he still hasn’t launched his application to the broader market cause he’s to afraid of making the wrong decision. It ended up costing him two good resources. Your people need you to be a leader and if you get tire learn to rest not to quit. I see too many people get tired and burned out from all the decisions they have to make and they quit. Tiredness caused by decision fatigue is a real thing. Get some rest! If you can’t make a decision it is most likely because you are missing some key piece of information. Identify what that key piece of unknown information is and focus on gather that intel rather than making the decision. Once you get that piece of data the decision will be easier to make.
Leaders Perception magaizne would like to thank Tabetha Sheaver for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
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