Are you overwhelmed with the chaos that is your small business? Char Watson joins us today as the MEO and Founder of The Providers DOO and podcast host of the CEO Doctor Podcast. In episode 109 of the Moments with an MEO Podcast, we discuss how to reflect and simplify the chaos that is our businesses as solopreneurs!
In this episode, Char and I discuss:
- Operational Planning
- Tactical Planning
- Strategic Planning
- Simplifying more than just our systems of how we do things.
Work with Char Watson:
Work with Britt Lanza:
Check out MilSO Box here: www.milsobox.com
Char Watson 0:00
You know, this month we've had less leads than we did last month. Why is that happening? So I know something they don't know why it's happening. That's a tactical planning session. This actually needs to happen on a week to week basis. But you know, end of the quarter, let's look at the data. Like, let's look at the trends over the past four quarters. And what are we seeing like are we able to put together patterns are able to put together behaviors are able to put together changes are able to identify things that we need or that we need to let go of?
So welcome Shar to the podcast. I am so thrilled that you are here to talk about dismantling chaos, which seems like chaos in an episode. And I'm so excited. So welcome to the moments that Emil podcast, thank
Char Watson 0:46
you. Thank you so much. Bram, happy to be here. I would love it. If you could just start with a brief introduction for our listeners of who is Shar. Sure. Yeah. So of course, I'm a military spouse, mom to three beautiful babies. And I started my entrepreneurial journey about three years ago. And that's kind of me in a nutshell. I'm not that exciting kind of just your everyday, Jane. So yeah, that's me.
I love it. I love it. Now. I'm curious. How did you meet your spouse?
Char Watson 1:17
Oh my gosh, okay. So this is funny. And I'm sure I'm gonna get a lot of hate mail for this one. But so my husband and I actually met in high school met our junior year, and he became best friends with my brother. And so then me and him started to become best friends. But then his feelings were going deeper and my feelings weren't. So he asked me, he asked me out, like, gosh, I think three times during school. And I was like, no, no, cuz I was just, I didn't want to ruin what we had. Like, he was such a dear friend to me. I loved him in that way, you know. And then after we were out of high school, my brother had taken him with us on a family vacation. And I don't know if it was just being in a different situation, or what but I was like, Oh, my God, like, I think I've, I think I've actually loved him longer than I let myself bill. And so I asked him out. And then the rest is kind of, like history from there. So I don't know kind of a funny story. So best friends first, then moved into relationship and it's been great. Obviously, I recommend that but no, no, no, so many.
I love it. I love it. And I feel like your story just sounds like a Hallmark movie, like waiting for happen. I love it. What was it, like trying to talk to him and be like, okay, so I know I've said no, but
Char Watson 2:38
yeah, it was honestly, it was so embarrassing. Um, we were on a formula ride by ourselves. And I just just was honest with them, just like, hey, look, I messed up, I realized I've actually have cared for you a lot deeper, longer than I realized. You know, can you like, can we try again? And he, I mean, little bit of history. He did have a girlfriend at the time. So it was just kind of like working through that situation. But I mean, he literally was just having that heart conversation. Like, I'm sorry, I suck.
Were you nervous to tell him that and especially since he had a girlfriend or were you pretty confident?
Char Watson 3:14
I would know, I was horrified. I was like I said, I probably like already messed this up. He's probably gonna be like, No, I've asked you so many times now. Like I've moved on. He was he was mad like, he it took him. I mean, we didn't really talk the rest of that trip. I think he just kind of needed to process it. And then when we got home, it was quiet for a couple of weeks. And he's like, okay, you know what? I'm, I love you. And I've been waiting to be with you. So let's just try this.
I love it. I love it. So do you guys consider yourselves highschool sweethearts?
Char Watson 3:47
You know, he does. I don't because I was the one that was like, No, I don't want to do that. Yeah. So no, I mean, it depends on your ask.
I love that. Now, he wasn't in the military when you guys started dating? Correct. So what was it? Like? I mean, did he come to you and be like, hey, I want to do this. Has that always been his plan? Was this something you guys set down later? What was that like?
Char Watson 4:13
Great question. I'm glad you asked this, because it kind of is like twofold. So when we first started dating, he was actually talking to a recruiter, like he's come over to the house. Travel was going to start basic training that summer. And I just told him flat out I was like, I don't want to be a military spouse. I don't want to try and have a family that's, you know, like trying to work in this odd way as this just isn't for me. Backstory my dad isn't in the military, but he worked two jobs my whole entire life. So we just never saw him and so in my eyes, that's how I was viewing it. Yeah. So he didn't join and then about five years of struggling with infertility. He's like, You know what, why don't why don't we just try this lifestyle like we probably aren't going to be able to be parents. We've been struggling with this for a long time. Why don't we go travel like why don't we just change Here's some stuff and I'm like, Okay, let's do it. So he joined the military, and he got back from basic and we were pregnant. It was so crazy. So funny. And, um, there's been a couple of times, to be honest, he's like, I don't know if I want to do this. But after he went on the deployment, it just completely shifted for him because my husband's in the reserves. And so I think that he just, he just, like, wasn't ever fully invested in it for a while. And then when he went on the deployment, it I mean, it changed it for him. And for me, it was amazing to see people complete strangers just show up with like dinner, or like, Christmas presents, like it was an amazing experience. And I was like, you know, what, we need to change the way that we're investing in the military, like, for ourselves, for our family, for our community. And we have and so now, he's still reservists. But he's working a lot more with his position, and he's climbing up and, you know, putting that real dedication in there. And same for me, too. So we've definitely have made some shifts in our lives. And now we're planning on just staying in until retirement. So yeah, I
love that. Wow. So what was it like for you agreeing to military life when you had this idea of what it was going to be like? And then having that that clarity? Like, what was that aha moment? Or what was that transition?
Char Watson 6:19
You know, when he first joined, I still was super hesitant, but he was doing the reserves. So it was kind of like our meet in the middle, because I still wasn't necessarily wanting to do but I was like, well, we can try it. And he's like, you know, if we like it, it's like, if we feel like that This feels good to us. And I can move into full time. So it's kind of just like our starting point, you know, and we'll, we'll stay in or, you know, just do reserves. And we can go in full time. And we'll make that shift there. But I think the transition really came not all at once, like I really feel like it was steps, the deployment definitely was the one that really solidified it for both of us. And that was like, nine years later, so a really long time after. But the steps in between, though, really just changed it for us. traves way of like him showing up in the world. And my way, as a mom, you know, understanding that eventually we're going to come to this time where you have to be a single mother, things like that. They were just baby steps, I feel like to really get us to the point that we were like, okay, you know what, we're doing the right thing, this is the right thing for our family.
So were you always an entrepreneur, or were you in the corporate space before you started your entrepreneurial journey. Talk to me about that. Yeah,
Char Watson 7:27
I was in corporate for a long time I was in the healthcare space, I started on the clinical side and moved my way up to the front side, then moved into dental. And that was about 15 years. So I would say it was more of an intrapreneur. When I first started, I was in big corporate. So it didn't really matter what I would say or ideas and things like that there was just too long of a chain of command. But then getting into the private practice space, I was able to be more of that intrapreneur and bring these ideas and bring this innovation and these changes and things and I was hurt because I was right next to the providers right next to the CEO. So he valued, what I was seeing what my ideas were things like that. But then the shift kind of came when we got that letter saying, Hey, you're leaving in a year. It just, it was like, You know what, I've always talked about going out on my own, but there's so much security being in a company. And I did but then I didn't want to live a full time life in a company and be a full time single parent. And so it like literally was like, here's your sign, it's time for you to go out and like, Go do what you want to do. Because this is going to make more sense for you and your family.
Yeah. So what was the inspiration for your program? The providers do? Do you want to talk about what it is? And then how did you come about this? This amazing idea?
Char Watson 8:44
Yeah, sure. So when I was in the private practice, space, titles are a little bit funny for people, I feel like it can kind of put you in a box. So I don't want to be coming from that space. But when I was in the, in the private private practice space, I went through a lot of hurdles, like a lot of fires, you know, like merging with another practice in the community. So spearheading that opening another location like just like these big gigantic challenges I've never come across, again, no experience and had no knowledge in and going through these big challenges really got me closer to the provider. Like I mean, I was next in line as far as like that communication and things like that. But as far as coming in more strategically and coming in more as a leader that progressed through these challenges. So what I initially I wanted to do was just to give away for these private practices to stay private. A lot of times, you know, they get to these points of burnout, and it's because they're holding so many principles of business ownership. But because of what I had gone through in the shifts that I was making, I was handling, you know, the strategy in the management so the provider could stay in the clinical and the vision, and then I have the team underneath for the implementation. So in the private space in the small business space, the Director of Operations really it's not a new concept having a director of operations, but it's a new idea in this Small, the space corporate, you're gonna hear all the time smile you're not. So when I went out on my own, I was like, You know what we really need more direct reparations in these private practices. When I was going through that transition, I couldn't find any resources on it, I couldn't find a program on it, I couldn't find any colleagues going through, I couldn't find anything. So it was literally like, going through these fires and building my experience in my knowledge, trial and error kind of thing. So I wanted to change that I want to be able to have a way for office managers Bill transition to be a director of operations more seamlessly, but I want to have a way for providers to stay independent if they want to, without feeling like the only way to prevent the burnout from them. The only way for them to stay successful is doing it all or joining another corporation like this is a natural progression that makes a lot of sense for the small businesses. It's something that's so so needed, there's I can't tell you how many providers I talk to you, they're, they're like, I am so burned out, I am exhausted. I don't know if I want to do this anymore. I don't know it just needed to happen. So when I first started it, I started as a fractional director of operations. So that means I would just be working with their practices, you know, about five hours a week or so to really help with the strategy and management. But it isn't a long term solution. That's a very short term solution kind of come in and kind of help with the business awareness and get things you know, more systemized and things like that. But the long term approach is to have the office manager be the director of operations and have that transition. And so I was building the program kind of in the background, but I was like, I don't know, I don't know if anybody's gonna listen to this, because it's new, and they're gonna you know what I mean, like, I was just really nervous about it. But every time I leave the office for being the fraction direct preparations like this, it's not fixed, like I haven't fixed it for a long term approach. I fixed it for a short term approach. And so the providers do was born and gone. And now let's see, and now it's out here for everyone. So really happy with the program has made a lot of difference for practices, I've been a part of
that is awesome. So it seems like really what you do, and correct me if I'm wrong. But this is kind of how, how I'm envisioning it. So these smaller private practice, mostly dental locations, are really in the middle of this chaos. And there's, they're trying to juggle everything. They're trying to be the CEO of their company, but also the main provider, and the main source of income and the main everything. And so really, what you do is you help them kind of systematize everything so that the chaos becomes more manageable. Yeah. So a lot of our listeners are brand new, small businesses, they might have one or two people on their team, but we're talking mostly solopreneurs just shifted, they've just done all of the chaotic holiday rush stuff, whether that's services or products or whatever, what would you recommend for the solopreneur, as far as like, handling this chaos, that just was for like, two, three months to now Okay, now we're in our season of rest, this is usually the quiet couple weeks, what should they be doing in this time to kind of help them manage everything that just happened and make sure that they start off 2020 Too strong.
Char Watson 13:23
So to clarify, just just so that your listeners like, you know, feel validated. And what I'm seeing, when I was doing fractional Director of Operations services, I worked with a lot of solopreneur practitioners, so like chiropractors, therapists, and businesses business. So whether you have like a small amount of chaos, because you're a smaller business or a big amount of chaos, because you're a bigger business, businesses business, it's still like, we're still talking about the same principles. So a lot of times when practice owners come to me, they're looking at like three big areas, they're looking at structure, they're looking at strategy, and they're looking at systems. Because of that, I've actually put together like three different planning sessions that need to happen. So in quarter four, it's the last one of the season, truthfully, this needs to happen in every quarter. So I'll just start with quarter for access, where we're in, we really need to be looking at operational planning. So operational planning is your day to day processes. So this is looking at things that you know that you know, it's your workflows, it's how your is your SOPs, it's all the things that you know, you need to be doing on tasty basis, and making sure everything's optimized. So whether that's, you know, automated to the best that it can be building out a different system, refining the systems are delegating, it's looking at it. From that point of view. If you have a team, this is the meeting that you have with your team, so you can really get their viewpoints and understand what they're seeing. Because someone in the back to someone in the front are seeing two different perspectives on the same issue. So that means that you can bring the team together, you're going to get a whole 360 view of this one singular problem that you can dismantle quite quickly. The second one is a tactical planning. So this is where you know Something that you don't know. So sounds a little funny. But meaning like, you know, this month, we've had less leads than we did last month. Why is that happening? So he knows something, they don't know why it's happening. That's a tactical planning session. This actually needs to happen on a week to week basis. But you know, end of the quarter, let's look at the data, like, let's look at the trends over the past four quarters. And what are we seeing like are we able to put together patterns are able to put together behaviors are able to put together changes are able to identify things that we need, or that we need to let go of Simplicity is key here, number one, is really like, you have to be able to get things down on a singular level. And if you can't, then you're going to keep running into these problems. So if we were coming into quarter four, we would work on those two areas operational and tactical. for quarter one, then we get more into strategic planning. So strategic planning, there's kind of two different ways to do this. And I really did base it on where the provider or where the solopreneur is at in their, their journey. Easiest way as a solopreneur. I feel like typically, because you're a smaller business, is to go through the strategic objectives and identify like, three, maybe four that you want to work on for that year. And then start breaking it down into projects, and start breaking down goals and KPIs that will support the objective that you want to achieve. Try and rather than trying to identify a driver, and then build objectives around that, it's easier to do it the other way. I love working with solopreneurs, excuse me so much like, it's my favorite. You guys are like, visionaries, wild, impressive ideas, innovation, I love it. I'm an operator. So I don't think like that. So I love working with solopreneurs. And being able to, like, hear all your amazing ideas. So I mean, if your listeners want, I'd be so happy to give them a strategic planning session, and help them kick off 2022 and help like go through a strategic planning session in its entirety, and figure out what we need to work on for that year. So if your listeners want, I'm happy to you know, give a discount because entrepreneurs, military spouses, we got to stick together Friends, like it's the way to do it. So
absolutely. And I love this because you're the the systems and you know, the processes and things like that. That's not my strong suit. So it's perfect. You're kind of like, you know, the other half to that. And so I'm more the goal setting and the marketing and, you know, the social media aspect. So absolutely, your links will be in the show notes. And at the end of the episode, we'll make sure that we get people to connect with you. I would love to know, was there ever a time, especially when you were creating your own business, that you were like, man, like I'm trying to help people with the chaos, but I just feel like I'm in chaos. Or were you ever just so like in line? You know, like, I feel like a lot of times we start a business and then we hit that like imposter syndrome. Like, am I supposed to be doing this? Like, how am I supposed to teach on this? If I can't even you know, so what was that? Like for you starting a business? Did you hit chaos? Or were you pretty systemic from the beginning? Oh,
Char Watson 18:05
no. I mean, nothing's perfect. No, I hate chaos. Because I mean, truthfully, I really did struggle with that imposter syndrome. I've been doing Director of Operations services at that point for about five years. So I knew it, but I hadn't taught anybody yet. And so I was like, well, maybe maybe I messed it up, because I was going through it in such an absurd, chaotic way. So maybe I don't like really know this stuff. I really struggled with it in the beginning. So at the beginning, I honestly had like five different offers that I was offering, because I'm like, I don't know, like, maybe you don't need this, I'll just come in and do that. And that I was creating my own chaos, because I seriously, I mean, yeah, I had five different offers, and every office would be different. And they wanted something different. And so the length of time and the amount of time was in the office and things like that always vary based on these different offers. So no, in the beginning, I was a hot mess. I really was I felt like sometimes I was about ready to pack a bag and move into the office. Other times, I was just ready to just hash it. Like I was just like, I don't know if I want this anymore. Because I mean, I spent like the first year building it. So that was good. I wasn't quite I mean, we had about nine months when I actually quit the corporate job and started my entrepreneurial journey before traveling for the deployment. So I had about nine months to get it but I still was just struggling with it so hard. I didn't get anything like solidified before he left. And then he left and so then I was like oh shoot this is this is even more difficult. So then I had the challenge of being a single mother to three beautiful babies and being an entrepreneur. So honestly, it took it took a good friend, I invested in a coach and she's like you are making yourself a mess. Like you need to you need to start making this so difficult. Just pick one thing you want to do and go do that. And I was like, oh, okay, okay. So I did, but I had to have somebody tell me that I thought that I was you know, that was what I should do is how All these offers and I was just making it more difficult for myself.
Yeah, you mentioned earlier that Simplicity is key. And you just brought up again how you had a bunch of offers, and now you've kind of niched down your offers. What does that do for the service based provider or even like a product based provider who has like a whole bunch of offers niching down. I know my first instinct when I niched down just in my ideal client, right, it was scary, because I was like, how many people are gonna fit this tight niche? So what is it like to take the more simplistic route and gain that? I feel like clarity, because confused, people don't buy. So if you've got too many offers, and you're confusing, I feel like you're gonna get less, you know, clarity as far as like, what they want to get and all that. So what would you recommend for someone thinking about niching down services or things like that?
Char Watson 21:03
I honestly just like to ask the visionary. What's your ideal? Like? What's your ideal day? Who's your ideal person you want to work with? What do you love doing? What lights your soul on fire? What doesn't? Like, I think just asking those clarifying questions and letting them to kind of just like go through it is the easiest way. It really is. If you're just trying to look at it, and you have these five different offers, you're like, Oh, I'm gonna just pick this one, it's gonna be really hard to know if like, Was that the right decision or not? And can you predict success with this, because you're not really sure if you want to be doing this, and really putting your full time investment into this. So you really got to have your soul behind it, or else you're going to be bored of it, or you're going to be burnt out of it before it can really get successful, because it takes time to get that traction. So if you give up on it too early, then you're going to be starting back at square one. So I think just asking yourself those clarifying questions and really identifying like, who you are and what you really want to do, and what's the outcome you're wanting to achieve. We'll help make that decision.
Where can people connect with you? If they want to get in on the strategy session? If they want the discount? Where can they follow you? How do you want them to reach out?
Char Watson 22:11
Okay, so just truth to be honest, I am a BD grandma, and I am so bad at social media. Like I said, I'm not a visionary I sold therefore, I'm not a marketer. I'm not the front of a business business kind of person. I'm like way in the back. So. So if anybody goes on social media, they're probably like, wow, she never posts I don't. I love it. So I'm on Instagram at the CEO Doctor podcast. But that's not like very much. It's literally just like, once a week, I'm more on LinkedIn, just under Shar Watson, or if they just want to hop on the website at the providers do a.com There's a link down there, like work with me. And then you can click on a strategy session. And you can just click on that just mentioned this podcast, and I'll give you that $500 off.
Awesome, awesome. And those again, those links will be in the show notes. I've got two final questions for you. This season, we're really focusing on the fact that no matter where you are in your entrepreneurship journey, you're learning something like your the journey is endless as far as learning and teaching and growing. And so I'm curious, what's one thing that you're learning? Right now?
Char Watson 23:14
I'm learning more to trust myself? Yeah, it really is. I've, I've been such an operator. So I leaned more towards like tactical thinking, but I don't always follow my gut instinct. And then when I don't, I'm causing, like, crap, I should have listened to that. So I'm learning to listen to myself and trust myself, and not like second guess and not go through like the whole long thinking process, like just act and do. So that's the biggest thing I'm learning right now.
I mean, in the beginning, we're all like, we've got this great idea. And we trust our idea. And we're like, yes, let's make this business. And then we start doing research. And that's where the self doubt comes in. Yep. Because all of a sudden, there's a million people doing your idea. And you know, all these things. So reassuring that self doubt with self confidence, and just trusting yourself and trusting your gut is so important. Yep. How do you embrace being an MAO, a military spouse, entrepreneur,
Char Watson 24:10
my biggest is supporting my spouse, he's ready to go back on another deployment, not because he's like morning sleep. So please don't take it like that. But it just it meant so much to him to work with his brothers and sisters, and that very intricate way. And so he's leaving in a year, like it's already coming up really fast. And so for me is supporting him and supporting those dreams and those goals while still providing for the family as a mother and no entrepreneur to so it's kind of like a mix of both but just making sure that he has that space and that support for me and the family to be able to support our country and fulfill his dreams.
Sure. I just want to say thank you so much. I think especially after you know the whirlwind that is the holiday season. A lot of times we've been sitting in chaos for so long that we don't Know where to look and we don't know where to go. And as someone who is not the logical but more the creative side, I love your take on this because I think it's so important to have goals and have dreams and have visions and have ideas. But if you cannot implement them, you're not gonna get anywhere. And so I really think people are gonna find value in this episode. And I just want to say thank you so much for joining us today.
Char Watson 25:26
You're so welcome Brad. Thanks so much for having me.