Is Your Business Ready For More Leadership? Fractional Leadership With Ben Wolf – 275

In episode 275 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim and Ben discuss:

  • 01:30 – Sometimes, E-commerce Business Owners Are Not Good Businessmen
  • 03:30 – Ben’s Backstory And How He Got Started In Business
  • 07:30 – Meeting Fractional Executives Changed Ben’s Business
  • 09:20 – What Is A Fractional Leader?
  • 12:30 – When Is It Best To Get A Fractional Leader?
  • 17:30 – How Are Fractional Leads Good For Your Business?
  • 20:00 – The Types Of Fractional Leaders
  • 23:00 – How To Look For The Best Fractional Leader
  • 32:00 – How To Find And Interview A Potential Leader
  • 37:00 – How To Get In Touch With Ben

Transcript

Tim Jordan:

It’s amazing how e-commerce is generating these awesome businesses through people that didn’t know that they would ever run a business. But one of the problems is we don’t know how to run a business. A lot of mistakes are being made. We can’t leverage past corporate experience and strategic thinking that maybe our businesses need it’s a problem. Luckily today’s guest has a solution called Fractional Leadership. It’s gonna be a really good episode, a lot of key takeaways, make sure to listen to the end. And here we go.

Tim Jordan:

Hey everybody and welcome to another episode of the AM/PM podcast. I’m your host, Tim Jordan. And today we have a guy who’s going to talk about part-time talent. Ben, is that right?

Ben:

That’s right. Fractional Leadership, Fractional Executive Leadership.

Tim Jordan:

I knew you would say that much better than me and you’re probably scoffing at this idea of part-time talent, but I said it for attention. So, our guest today, Ben Wolf is an expert in, let’s say part-time leadership. I know. And we’re gonna hear lots of different ways to kind of describe that lots of different descriptive terms. That all mean roughly the same thing today, but let me tell all of you listeners, why I think this is important. Like I said, in the intro, a lot of times we e-commerce business owners suck at being business owners, right? We don’t know what we don’t know.

Tim Jordan:

I was a full-time firefighter. I didn’t get an MBA. I know people that were stay at home moms or they were nurses, or they were educators like all of these great professions, maybe even no profession, but they didn’t all come from the corporate background. They don’t understand how really the core structure of business works. They might understand how a key component of it works. They might understand how to get a brand running or they might understand numbers really well. Or they can do keyword research or data analytics, but running a business especially that scales requires all of those things. Now a typical business. Why I say a typical business? A more traditional business. Somebody, a founder is gonna raise a bunch of money and they’re gonna hire all these executives, right? Or at least director level leadership. And they’re going to be people that stand finances better than them are kind of traditional marketing better than them are operations better than them.

Tim Jordan:

But we as e-commerce sellers, we screwed up, we started building these businesses and they started blowing up last few years. And maybe even sometimes we’ve been a little bit arrogant and thought, Hey, we got this right. It’s my business. I can do this myself. I can figure it out. I’ll watch a few YouTube videos on how to make financial decisions and we think we’re awesome. But I see a lot of people leaving a lot of money on the table, especially when they go to sell their business because they didn’t put some key components into place. Not only that, but they’re killing themselves. They are going to the graves early because they’re trying to do all these things instead of outsourcing it. And then I think we have a problem with assuming that outsourcing just means is hiring virtual assistants in the Philippines, right? Hiring a $3 an hour person to take these tasks off of us. Instead of also thinking about hiring a part-time person that is smarter than us in a lot of areas has more experience in us, can actually make decisions, actually hold us accountable even, and actually help us build our business so long intro. But I’m passionate about this. I hope you guys can hear that. Ben, welcome to the podcast.

Ben:

Thanks so much for having me, Tim really appreciate it.

Tim Jordan:

So tell us kind of how you became the expert in this. Tell us may be the origin story of becoming the fractional leadership guy.

Ben:

It’s funny to call me an expert, but a lot of people have a lot more expertise than me. Just the one who just took more action on getting this out there. But my background is I was actually, and one of my relatively recent lives corporate restructuring and bankruptcy attorney after leaving that I joined a healthcare startup and that that’s, I got started in the entrepreneurial world and joined the founder first full-time employee, no revenue, very tech oriented, very idealistic, very mission driven or you know, a little startup. And through that, even though I didn’t have a background before a lot of trial and error, a lot of experimentation and just figuring it out, how to build a business. And by the time I, by the time I left that business, we were the largest organization of our type in New York State.

Ben:

And we were over 130 people. So I did get to shepherd it through a lot of growth and a lot of revenue and just learned a lot through that process. And one of the things I learned is kind of related to what you said in the introduction, which is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Like, you know, we’re figuring this out. None of us on leadership team, like the founder, me, any of the other people we also brought on, we had never built a business like that before of that size and scale. So we didn’t know a lot of things. Everything we knew we just figured out. And like when we got bigger, you know, there’s so many things, a couple of examples when we got bigger, we found and we started taking surveys and we found that the newer people in the organization who hadn’t been there, like from the beginning or near the beginning were really unhappy because what was happening was everybody was so slammed.

Ben:

Everybody was so underwater with stuff to do. They brought new people in or like, okay, get your, i-9 get your employment stuff figured out. And then just throw you into shadow with somebody else in the role or with a manager and team leader. And, and they just, like, it was just kind of like figure it out, figure it out, figure it out. And people did not. People just were not happy. I mean, they loved the organization was happy in many ways, but like in many ways also were not happy. And nobody had time to like figure out or knew how to make that better or had the bandwidth to make it better. Other things like in marketing, we would get leads in. We were not, again, we were not marketing experts. The founder had a really good instinct for marketing, but you get a Google paper click like lead, cuz we were tracking the source of leads, but we really had no clue where the leads even came from.

Ben:

We were not marketing experts. So we didn’t know if they saw our bus ad and then they saw our bus stop ad. Then they saw our billboard. Then they saw our subway ad cuz we’re in New York City and you know, and then they’re like, oh, let me, we Google them. And then we come up with a top of Google pay-per-click and they just click on the ad, oh look, it’s a Google pay-per-click ad. Right. But we don’t know, we can’t make, we’re spending lots of money. I don’t even wanna say how much money we were spending. And we didn’t know where like how to even make intelligent decisions about that spending. Because we didn’t know the source of our leads and we weren’t experienced marketing people who hadn’t done this before.

Ben:

Anyway, long story short, I didn’t really learn the answer to this. Or like to hire some new full-time executive, like a CMO who could afford that. So we didn’t learn until later on after I left that company, after I set up a business as for actional, meaning a part-time COO. So, I have another firm that does that Wolf’s Edge Consulting. And so serving clients as a fractional COO and through my podcast, win-win entrepreneurial community through the whole entrepreneurial operating system, EOS kind of community. That’s a whole ecosystem out there through them, through the podcast, through networking ended up meeting tons of people who are fractional CFO, fractional COOs, fractional integrators, which is another word for COO, for people that do EOS and met all the CTOs. I met all these types of people and realize and I started doing it myself and realizing what a huge value it is. They don’t have to hire you full time. You could have a experienced, been there, done that. They know how to run businesses of this scale before which you don’t. And so you could bring them in, don’t have to hire them full time, 250,000, 300,000, whatever that ends up costing wherever you live. You don’t have to do that. You can have someone part-time for a fraction of that cost for a fraction of their time to give you the guidance research insight leadership accountability to, to be able to get you the benefit of that knowledge within your business. They’re part of your leadership team. But for a fraction of the cost.

Tim Jordan:

Just to Kind of recap, the origin story you guys had to start a business that needed experience needed high level executive leadership. You really couldn’t afford it at the time. And you were drowning because you didn’t have that input. You didn’t have that oversight. You didn’t have thatleadership. So you got involved in the EOS stuff, you got involved in helping other people get their operations kind of lined up and you discovered this world of, of potential fractional executives. that can come in and make big differences for businesses. Yeah. Without costing 250,00 or $300,000 a year.

Ben:

Exactly. You said it more better than I did.

Tim Jordan:

Well, yours was more what we’re looking for accurate, right? Little deeper. I have to dummy it down for myself. Make sure I understand it sometimes. So what does a fractional executive, or what does fractional leadership look like? Like what is the actual concept? How does this work?

Ben:

Right. Well, let’s say you found somebody, right? That’s a whole separate conversation. How do you find the right fractional leader, the right fractional executive for yourself? But once you find somebody it’s typically it looks like you pay a monthly retainer to them or their firm and you have somebody who’s again experienced, been there, done that in at a bigger level than what you’re doing it now or at your level or than what you’re doing in now. So you’re not, again, like what we, most of the time have to do is like hire somebody who’s cheaper and kind of try to level them up or learn with them cuz you don’t know how to do it either and hope that they could figure it out. But you can get somebody actually who already knows how to do this as a much as you said, they’re smarter than you.

Ben:

Not really smarter than you, but they’re smarter than you in their thing that they can get you up to speed on. And so a monthly retainer, they’re part of your leadership team. So they’re coming to, again, if you level this up in a way where you have a leadership team, they meet with you weekly, they meet with the leadership team weekly. They supervise, they can kind of supervise on and out, you know, even though they’re an outside person, they’re supervising your team in that area. I’ll give you an example of an e-commerce client that we just got at fractionalleadership.io. We just got a request from few weeks ago. They said we need a CMO. Right? We’ve got talented people. We got a guy that kind of manages all the performance marketing.

Ben:

They got Amazon, they got their own website and they had somebody doing that. They had somebody doing their brand, their catalog kind of managing all of that. But still, the partners had to supervise everything they did because they were good executors at a certain level, but they were also just figuring this out and, and didn’t and didn’t really know what they were doing so much. They couldn’t drive what they were doing. They could do stuff, but they couldn’t really drive it and didn’t know strategy. Didn’t know how things should be. So, requested for us to, you know, Hey, find us if fractional CMO find us a part-time CMO. So give them several referrals. They just retained one of them. And I mean, they’re just extremely happy. I look forward to hearing more about what happens. But they have somebody who’s done this before. They’ve done e-commerce companies before as a CMO. And so like, they don’t have to just figure it out for the first time. Like they know what to do. They’ve been there, they’ve done that. They know what works.

Tim Jordan:

So how do businesses know when they’re ready for this? Because this isn’t something that you start on day one, like, Hey, I wanna start a little brand online. Let me hire this fractional executive team. Like how?

Ben:

That’s gonna end up being your biggest expense. It’s exactly. So not as much as it be full time, but it’s still gonna be at that level. Yeah.

Tim Jordan:

So how do we know when it’s time for us to start looking at positions and how do we know what positions we actually need?

Ben:

So that’s a great question. There really is no set answer because you know, there are people who do it right at startup. I mean, there really are some, you know, especially they can get funding, you know, they, they just know like, you know, sometimes you, you need a CTO, like you’re building an app, you’re a tech company, a SaaS company. That’s not what maybe that’s not what you guys are doing. In the example like that, you know they need a CTO right away. And so I guess it’s a question most of the time, it’s really after you’ve survived the startup gauntlet, I would say it’s post startup, right? When you’re in the startup phase, typically it’s all hands on deck. Everybody figuring everything out, no structure, like, that’s what you actually need to survive because most companies don’t survive what I call a startup gauntlet.

Ben:

So usually not always, but usually, it’s when you pass a startup gauntlet and you’re trying to scale up, that’s really when you’re starting to hit a wall, you’re starting to hit a ceiling of your own abilities and talents. Dan Sullivan talks about a concept. You’ve read any of the Dan Sullivan, strategic coach stuff. He talks about a concept called Who Not How. You’re hitting the ceiling a lot of times because you ask how, right. Okay. We need to get better at finance and financial analysis. You say, okay, how do I do that? And you start reading books and websites and videos, and like learning how to use QuickBooks and like trying to figure out finance. That is not what you’re great at. That is not what you’re best doing. Like you started a company not to like learn QuickBooks and financial analysis.

Ben:

Like you started your company cuz you like make great stuff and love selling great stuff. Right. Or what is that you’re doing almost cause it’s e-commerce and like that’s what you’re good at. It is a waste of your time and energy to spend it like relearning and reinventing the wheel with finance. It’s when you start hitting the ceiling like now you’re 3, 4, 5, 10 million dollars of revenue or more. And then you’re like trying to figure out the finance thing. Like there are people who’ve already figured this out. And when you’re at that scale, you’re hitting the ceiling. Cuz you’re making dumb decisions. You’re wasting money, leaving money on the table, as you said before. And Tim, so if you could bring in a fractional CFO, they could be with you half a day, a week, a day, a week, two days a month, four half days a month, whatever, a day a week, whatever, depending on how much you need at your scale, they’ll figure that out with you and what exactly you need and you could bring them in.

Ben:

And they’ve done this before, either with, e-commerce not with e-commerce, but their finance experts, they could help you get your data in the right position, help you budget out in the future. What can you hire? That’s not gonna be reckless. When can you hire, when can you not hire, what are you wasting money on? What are you not making enough profit on that? You should be like, they could bring all these things to your attention that you’re not aware of. Because they’ve done this before multiple times. And so again, I think it’s that time when you realize you’re bleeding money or you’re hitting this ceiling, you’re not scaling your people, don’t have the ability to manage your growth. Like they don’t have the talent and it’s again, it says who not how concept instead of asking, Hey, how can I market better?

Ben:

Or how can I get better at finance? Or how can I get better at, instead of learning something new and reinventing the wheel, trying to figure it out, say who can help me do this? And the amount of time and energy and resources in paying someone, you know, to whatever that retainer is, you know, 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 a month, again, depending on the type of fraction leader type of organization type of experience that’s gonna cost you much less than the opportunity cost of having you look up YouTube videos on how to do something that you could spend be much better spent on developing products, scaling, doing whatever it is that you love doing. And your’re great at you’re gonna make a lot more money off of that than you are from the money that you spend it bringing in expert to build something for you.

Tim Jordan:

So what’s the advantage of having fractional? Is it just that they are more affordable? You’re not hiring someone full-time so I guess tell me if this is right from the fractional executives’ point of view, instead of working with one company and making $300,000, they can work part-time with six companies for a lot less money per company, but actually, probably make more and have more stability and have more freedom.

Ben:

For sure. Yeah. A undred percent.

Tim Jordan:

Is there in addition to just being less expensive, so less payroll basically for me having someone fractional? Yeah. Is there some truth in this idea that I have that, that person’s ability to see on to the hood of multiple businesses actually increases their value because what I see and I consult with some pretty big companies in space, right? And I see, for example, their marketing teams, they get stuck in a bubble, right? They’re always inside that bubble of seeing what this company’s doing, maybe what works, what doesn’t, but they don’t get examples of other things that work or that don’t, and they might make mistakes that other people might have seen already, or they’re missing out on opportunities that are growing for other companies. So is there an advantage also to having someone I guess, have a bigger sampling of what works and doesn’t

Ben:

Yeah, no, that’s a great point. First of all, I would say, even before you get to that, another reason why fractional might make sense for you is that the role is not full time, right? It’s not just that it costs less, you may not. You really very often–

Tim Jordan:

You may not need it full time.

Ben:

You may not need full time. So that’s one thing I would just put out there as a reason. Okay. Like at some point you will need it and they could hopefully scale you up to the point where they could work themselves outta the job and help you.

Tim Jordan:

So it’s not just cost savings. It’s like, I legitimately don’t need someone 40 hours a week looking at my books

Ben:

Very often. You don’t, you really don’t. You know and so that that’s one thing and then hopefully they could scale you up where you do need it and they could help you transition in someone and find somebody. But your point is also very well made that having somebody that’s working with multiple clients, learning from experience with multiple companies, that’s a value. And not only that you have some people that work as part of firms. So they even concurrently not just their own clients, they benefit from their colleagues, clients. So for instance, in my fractional COO firm, well such as consulting fractional integrator firm. So we have a group of us and we have time every week where we bring each other’s client issues to each other and speak from experience. And we all gain a lot from that. And we all are better able to serve our clients and bring in new experiences. And, oh, I didn’t think of that or, oh yeah. You know, just bring more minds, more experiences to the situation and bring more minds, to the situation, which is another benefit. Not everybody, a lot of people are solopreneurs and they still have that benefit that you pointed out solopreneur for actional leaders. But those that are part of firms have an additional value that they can sometimes bring as well.

Tim Jordan:

So what are the different roles that work best as fractional executives?

Ben:

Well, the most common that I’ve seen and the ones I write about in my book also again, Fractional Leadership: Landing Executive Talent You Thought Was Out of Reach is five categories, which is marketing, sales, operations, finance, and technology. So marketing against CMOs sales, CSOs, VPs of sales, whatever you wanna call it, CROs, operations, which is fractional, COOs, chief operating officers. I actually call my firm fractional integrators, which is in again a term, the EOS world that they use for fractional COOs and then finance fractional CFOs and finally technology people, which is fractional CIOs CTOs, or sometimes CSOs, depending on what they need and what their main concerns are. And some of these e-commerce companies really may need us the CIO because they have a tech stack that is their life blood.

Ben:

I mean, they’re their they’re bleeding money. If their servers would be down for even a second or if they would’ve a data loss or anything like that. So sometimes CIO could be something that they would wanna think about. But yeah, those are the main kind categories. There are other types, there are people who do less common ones. There’s people sees there’s chief legal officers, you know, that some people have people do chief people, officers, which I didn’t really include in my book because most of the time when you meet people who say they do fractional HR, usually they’re doing more of the admin side of HR, which is valuable and that’s a great fractional resource also. But what I’m writing about and speaking about is more the fractional executive level C-suite type of resource.

Tim Jordan:

Most of these fractional leadership roles are they filled by independent people that are typically like freelance consultants or cuz you’ve kind of mentioned your firm where you have multiple people that are working in this integration kind of positioning. So are they typically firms of the group or are they typically just freelancers running solo?

Ben:

It’s a mix. I would say I would say anecdotally, I don’t even know anecdotally, I think there are more freelancers solo practitioner, fractional leaders than those in firms. But there are many who are part of firms. I don’t know if it’s 40-60, something like that, but there’s definitely many that are part of firms. Probably not a majority just in my personal experience, but it definitely is a big mix. And so you just want to think about typically people who you get through firms typically are gonna be a little higher cost, right? So you have to think about that, and that depending, you know, depending on the firm, depending on the person that, you know, that could be a knockout right there, or that you could use them or but they have those benefits. They typically have a, more of a proven process, more of a system that their people are using. They’re typically their people are part of a team, not on an island. So you, you have certain benefits of that. But you just have to think, I guess what’s gonna be a better fit for you or you could meet people of both types and you know, and see what resonates more.

Tim Jordan:

Got it. So what about experience level, right? Am I typically trying to hire somebody who has worked for a large corporation and understands like a very traditional C-suite experience and is kind of stepping down and helping smaller companies? Or do I want someone that’s worked specifically in the startup world that’s helped a business grow? Like which level of experience or type of experience is more valuable, right. For a front action executive for my team.

Ben:

It’s A great, great question. I mean, if you’re a smaller or smaller mid-size startup or business, that’s trying to scale up, typically you’re not gonna want somebody from a big corporate background. Typically what I say is you want people who has experience with your size company or bigger. That’s why I typically it because if you have somebody that’s used to, I mean, I’ve definitely heard horror stories like this of people who hire fractional CFO, like from a big fortune 500 company and bring it into an early stage startup. And it’s just a disaster that people have to understand. I mean, again, you don’t wanna have to retrain people. People need to understand that’s all benefit of having a fractional leader is they understand what it’s like in the startup world. What’s in the, what it’s like in the entrepreneurial world.

Ben:

And they’re not trying to like, build, like, they’re not trying to like tell you, oh, you have to use SAP or some like insanely expensive ERP system in your company. You want somebody that can understand the financial limitations of where you are. You gotta do things in kind of a shoestring budgeted kind of way. Like maybe they’re your biggest expense, right? They’re what you’re splurging on, you know? But then when it comes to, they can help you figure. And if they understand your level, like maybe they could say, Hey, you need this system, even though it’s expensive because that’s just something you didn’t know. I was just scared to make that jump, but really I do need it. And it’s pennywise pound foolish not to go that route, but if somebody does have experience, it really understands what it’s like and what it needs to be like at an organization of your skill. Then they can help you determine when is the right time to kind of spend a lot. And when is when we can go shoestring, but if they don’t have a background in small companies, if they kind of grew up right outta college and worked at big companies, they don’t understand. I mean, they’re not gonna understand what it’s like and what it needs to be like in an organization like yours

Tim Jordan:

Whole different origin.

Ben:

Yeah. It could a disaster. I mean, somebody could be very street smart and have a very good intuition and high emotional intelligence and they could kind of adapt to that possibly, but it also could be a big question.

Tim Jordan:

It’s less likely. Yeah. And I won’t even make a comment about how like a CFO probably doesn’t have a whole lot of emotional intelligence. Right. That would be–

Ben:

Oh, no, come on.

Tim Jordan:

Kidding. Kidding. Kidding. All right. So talk to me about time, right? If I am, let’s set the stage here for a second, just going back, what you said as a brand new startup, I’m not ready for fractional leadership. Right. But as a scaling company, I am. So maybe I’m a year in, maybe I’m two years in. Maybe we’re doing all of these things, but not doing them very well. Right. I’ve got an accountant that really, I need someone internally. I’m doing some marketing. It could be better. Right.

Ben:

Got an agency, got a freelancers.

Tim Jordan:

Answer. Yeah. I’ve got an agency and I want to move it in house and train my own team.

Ben:

We have a couple of lower level people doing some of the tactical, but nothing above that.

Tim Jordan:

Gotcha. So when I’m at that point, based on at least the five primary types of positions, you’ve mentioned, what kind of time commitment do you think most startup companies or second level startup companies need? Am I hiring a fractional CMO that’s working five hours a month or 15 hours a month? Does my CFO work one hour, a week, or five hours a week? Like, what time type of time requirements do you typically see with these different roles?

Ben:

It’s again, unfortunately very hard to give a typical, you really have to see what’s right for you and,what you need. But there’s a wide range. I would say that for CMOs, I typically see a higher amount of if that’s what you’re bringing on where maybe they’re working even two days a week with you, maybe with two clients. And I’ve definitely seen that, again with CFOs again, I’ve seen CFOs doing two half days a month. And you got your external bookkeepers, your internal bookkeepers, and they kind of work with them to make sure they’re giving the right output. And then they kind of do their magic and analysis and have a conversation with you or your leadership team once or twice a month. I’ve seen others that are a full day a week.

Ben:

I mean, as a fractional COO, a fractional integrator me and the people on my team were typically working with clients about a full day a week, doing leadership team meetings, meeting with the visionary, the CEO, the founder every week, meeting with the other members of the leadership team, possibly working a little bit on a project on a, on some kind of cross-functional project that we’re helping forward. So we’re typically working about a day a week. So I would say that’s pretty typical is about a day a week, but you definitely find less, you find more, it’s hard to say something that’s typical. Cause it really depends on what you need. Depends on the type of organization. Depends on the position, you know, marketing sales, operations, finance technology. So it’s not easy to give a two typical of an answer.

Tim Jordan:

So I asked you the impossible question essentially, which is all right. It gives me an idea. So let’s say that my e-commerce business is to the point where I’m ready for this. Like, I need someone that can level up my marketing. I need someone that can help me make these financial decisions. Like, should we take working capital or not? You know, all these things that are kind of above my pay grades speak from experience, how do I go about finding the right person or the right people to work with my company?

Ben:

Yeah. So great question. I mean the traditional way is Google, right? The issue is, and you actually alluded to this in your introduction that there, like, what terminology do you even use? You know, we’re talking about part-time fractional outsourced as a service. Like there’s so many different terminologies you can use. And that’s part of the issue. It’s part of why I wrote this again, book Fractional Leadership, because if you wanna find somebody, you don’t even know what to Google. You Google any term, you end up finding only a fraction of the people out there that do what you’re looking for. But again, the traditional way is Google and a notepad, right? You get out your notepad and you search a bunch of websites, write down their names and try to figure out maybe what they charge, what kind of industry experience they have, if they have a match with you, what you think you’re looking for.

Ben:

And try to just write down and take a notes at it with about a bunch of, and then get on 5, 10, 15, 20 calls over the course of a month or two. And you’re gonna just find that they don’t say what their budget, what they charge, or they don’t say the industry experience that is meaningful to you. So you end up going through and kissing a bunch of frogs. That’s a typical way. And like, eventually you should get there. I mean, the truth is if you have friends, if you could put in a peer networking group, or you could put in some kind of peer group, you have say, Hey, who’s used a fractional CFO before that worked out really well. And then if you have friends, somebody that, you know, and trust are not a stranger and they say they had a good experience with a certain fractional CFO or CMO, et cetera.

Ben:

Then that’s a great way of finding somebody Googling again, looking around kissing frogs. That’s another, you know, most common way, but it’s high effort as Deadpool always says maximum effort, right? And so you end up maximum effort method, right? And so, you know, but look, this is why I created fractionalleadership.io to do my little pitch here. Right. Which is, you know, what I call kind of like the thing I wish I had when I was searching for fractional executives for the businesses, I was a fractional executive in, but I’m a COO looking for a CMO or looking for a CFO. Or when I’m a fractional integrator looking for clients. And I like the resource I wish I had. So I just created fractionalleadership.io as a vetted fractional leader, referral platform, meaning I check three references, like directly talk to three references for each fractional leader firm or solo practitioner in our network figured out what they do, what their industry experience is, what they charge and, go to fractionleadership.io, request a referral. And we look at what you’re looking for, how big you are, what you need, what you can afford, and then make referrals of people who we’ve vetted and try to make it easier. That’s our goal there. And again, yeah. Try to overcome also that issue of kissing frogs, that issue of most relevant information is not available or people don’t pull on their websites or their LinkedIn profiles. And anyway, it’s a manual process, so trying to make it easier, at least.

Tim Jordan:

So here’s the thing that always terrifies me, right. If I’m hiring someone that’s supposed to know what, I don’t know, how do I know if they know what they claim to know? Right. Like if I’m hiring someone that is gonna be my assistant or someone that maybe has a lower level experience in me, it’s easy for me to weed out the bull crap if they claim to have experience. Right. But if I don’t understand high level financial decision making, how do I know if this guy interviewing to be my fractional CFO is worth a crap, or if he’s blowing smoke on my butt.

Ben:

That’s the exact issue. So that’s why I mentioned that if you have a friend, somebody you trust or colleague or somebody, you know, from a networking group who has used somebody before, well, then you know, that they’re the real deal they could deliver, cuz your friend has used them. If you’re doing the Google method, yeah. All you know is their conversations. Unless you ask for references, which is again, more work, but you could check their references. But that’s part of why I set up fractionalleadership.io, the way I did because I’ve checked their references. Like I does it guarantee that they’re not, you know, that they could really deliver doesn’t guarantee it, but hopefully increases the level of confidence that plus the conversations you have with them you know, can assure you that they really can deliver.

Ben:

I actually, tell a story in my book, I interviewed somebody in my podcast and told a story in the book about a what was it? It was an HR consulting firm who hired a couple of fractional CMOs that didn’t work. It’s I specifically wanted to interview her to ask, okay, why did those retainers of fractional people fractional, CMOs? I think it was like, why didn’t it work? So one was with her, one of the things we learned that she wasn’t like, she was just too deferential. Like you say, I don’t know what they know, but she was too deferential. They were like trying to solve problems that she’s like, you know, we don’t get our clients that way. You’re like, like I get my clients, but my speaking engagements, but you’re like focused on SEO.

Ben:

Like I don’t get leads like that. That’s not how leads come in my business. And so like, they didn’t speak up and like ask the questions to understand. I mean, you could still ask questions. Like you don’t have to just take it on faith. Like if they say something, they’ll be able to explain to you why it’s this way and they should be able to help you understand, Hey, this is what happens if you do it that way. It’s like, oh, I understand why you would think that. But here’s what happened like they can get you there to help you understand it. And the other thing I would say is you know, see, so you have to listen to your God. But the other thing I would say is that the advantage of a fractional executive person that you’re retaining relative to a full-time hire is that it is lower risk. It has less trauma to the organization. If it doesn’t work out, if you bring on your CFO or you bring on a COO and this person’s gonna help you run the company and bring them on they’re part of the team, and then it flames out two months later, it’s very traumatic to you.

Tim Jordan:

It’s very, it’s a big hit to the org chart. It’s a big hit to the staff. Like everything is everything massively upset.

Ben:

The people, the morale, it also gives you kind of like a PTSD that you don’t wanna like do it again. Yep. Like it’s very damaged. Like, you know, and you end up going even longer without bringing you on the right person because you have such PTSD and fear of commitment. That’s

Tim Jordan:

Does a fractional person actually get inserted into the org chart? Yeah. Like, like, do I have staff members reporting to reporting to this fractional person or that fractional person reports to me?

Ben:

That’s the advantage. Is it could take it off your shoulders to a great extent.

Tim Jordan:

So it’s not just a consultant, right? It is literally somebody in the organization?

Ben:

Consultant does a project. They do certain work. Maybe they only report to the CEO or maybe they only report to some other leader that they’re working under, but they become part of your leadership team just on a fractional basis. And, but still, they’re not part of the organization. They’re still an outsider. They’re still only there. Part-Time, they’re not as much of a commitment. They have a lot more experience. It’s a faster rollout of what they do. And it’s just less traumatic. If it doesn’t work out, it ends up not being a match. It’s like, okay, you know what? We gave it a shot. It’s less traumatic, less PTSD, less morale dampener for your people. It’s just less traumatic. If it doesn’t work out, I’m not saying you should let go in expecting it to not work out, but it is a nice kind of a bridge step, a baby step towards this role, maybe a year or two later, you go to full time. But it’s a nice bridge step, a baby step. And it’s less trauma if it doesn’t work out. So I think that isn’t that an advantage.

Tim Jordan:

Well, this is a lot of good information. And we’re getting close to time. We need to wrap up, but I will say that this topic of is coming up more and more in the e-commerce world. And it’s not just because businesses are maturing and need that kind of you know, that bridge, that kind of gap filler, but also people are starting to realize, Hey, we’re missing a lot of opportunities, right? So it’s not like, Hey, we want this person. We can’t afford it. We’ll do a part-time. And it’s like a, oh my gosh, I don’t know everything I thought I did, or, oh my goodness. There is a solution out there which is a fractional executive or fractional leadership role. So this is really timely information. I’ve actually been talking about this in my coaching community for like the past two months. Like it just keeps coming up. So really good information. I suspect that if people had more, that they wanted to get or more questions or wanted to see more content, they could go to your website, which is fractionleadership.io. You’ve probably got blogs and all sorts of cool stuff in there.

Ben:

Exactly. The Podcast blog. There’s a link to the info in the book there. People can order copies of the book and bulk if they want to. But yeah, the links to the Amazon pages there, you could just search on Amazon for fractional leadership. You should find it.

Tim Jordan:

Okay. Awesome. Well, I thank you so much for being on. I appreciate all of you listening and if any of you have found value and this makes sure to leave us a review on of our podcast platform, you’re listening to give us a thumbs up, give us a subscribe on the YouTube channel, share this with any of the mastermind groups or friends that you have that are in the space that need to hear this. And we’ll see all of you on the next episode. Thanks for coming, Ben.


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