Three Secrets to Scaling a Nonprofit

by | Jan 19, 2022

Do you ever think, “if we get any bigger, this organization will crush me?”

Are you ready to scale, but you’re afraid that growth will make you even more alone in your leadership role?

This week on A Modern Nonprofit Podcast we’ll show you how to build the right team to scale your organization effectively.

In this episode, Dirk van Reenen joins us to talk about why nonprofits need a defined business structure, the right team (not just a passionate team), and the mental shift founders must make to scale.

Dirk van Reenen is the founder and CEO of BERGFlow. He empowers founders to build better teams and prepares them for scalability and greater impact.

  • Why working in silos stops your growth, and you  can avoid it. (4:25)
  • The 3 factors for determining if someone is right for a position and your mission? (7:13)
  • How to shift your mindset from founder to collaborative business owner. (17:30)
  • How to feel less alone in your leadership role. (28:09)

Thanks for watching. Be sure to subscribe for new episodes every week!

For more nonprofit accounting resources check out www.thecharitycfo.com

For more information on how to building a collaborative, mission-oriented team, visit BERGFlow @ https://bergflow.com

🎥 Click the video below to watch the episode on YouTube.

🎧 Click here to listen to the Podcast on  AnchorFM or Apple Podcasts

👇 Or scroll below the video to read the full transcript of our conversation

 

 


A Modern Nonprofit Podcast

Beyond Donations: Growing Your Mission with Earned Income

1/19/2022

Tosha Anderson:

Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of A Modern Nonprofit Podcast. My name is Tosha Anderson and I’m here with my new friend, Dirk van Reenen. You are the founder and CEO of BERGFlow. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about BERGFlow a little later, but I love talking to founders, whether founders of for-profit, there are nonprofits, we all carry the same weight, the same responsibilities, the same struggles, the same frustrations. Um, and I love having these sort of conversations about leadership and how we got to where we are and the lessons learned and how we can help other people that are in a similar situation. So di thanks again for joining us and I’m, I’m really excited to dive into this conversation,

Dirk van Reenen:

Tosha, thank you so much for having me on the show and yeah, likewise, I’m excited to dive in.

Tosha Anderson:

Cool. So let me just start by saying the notorious, you know, issue in the nonprofit world. Nonprofits tend to have multiple people wear many, many hats, or this was my experience when I was a CFO of a nonprofit it’s, it’s a constant complaint in the industry. And one of the things that you work with your clients on, or you help businesses see is having the right people in the right position or, or just right for your business in general, how would you help a nonprofit or, or what advice would you give a nonprofit to identify? Do I have the right people in the right role? Are they right for my organization and maybe what to do with them? If they’re not?

Dirk van Reenen:

Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, um, I think the interesting thing about nonprofits, uh, I think that there’s a lot of similarities between a nonprofit and a small business mm-hmm <affirmative> because, you know, as you mentioned, uh, just before we started recording, um, nonprofits are usually very mission and vision driven mm-hmm <affirmative> so they, they are fueled by a passion to make a difference in the world to solve a problem that nobody else is taking on to, you know, really kind of be that, that force for good. And there’s a lot of energy in that and there’s a lot of kind of entrepreneurial spirit in that mm-hmm <affirmative> but it’s kinda like you, you start the mission and you forget that whether it’s a for-profit or nonprofit, it’s still a business mm-hmm <affirmative> and businesses really, um, function on systems, processes and people <affirmative>.

Dirk van Reenen:

So this comes back to, okay, when you, when you start going into this, instead of just saying, Hey, we’re gonna find people that are passionate about our cause and kind of throw them in, start with saying, okay, what do we really want to accomplish here? And what’s going to be the right structure for us to have to accomplish this mission, vision mm-hmm <affirmative> um, cause what happens is, you know, somebody jumps in and they want to help. They’re passionate and they’re like, Hey, can you do this? Yes I can. I’m willing to do it. Hey, can you also do this? Can you do this? And like you said, mm-hmm, <affirmative> the next thing, you know, you’re wearing 30 hats and you’re getting burned out. You’re getting frustrated, the communication breaks down. And from there, everything kind of starts spiraling downward. So I think the it’s it’s, it’s a very natural tendency. So if you’re listening and you’re experiencing that in your nonprofit, it’s not that there’s something wrong with you. You’re actually experiencing what most nonprofits and by the way, what most small for-profit businesses are experiencing as well. Mm-hmm <affirmative>

Tosha Anderson:

I love that. So helpful. So another issue that I see with nonprofits, not only do you have these kind of unicorns wearing multiple hats, but you have them operating in silos, right? So you have the development department and then you have the accounting department and then you have the program team and sometimes an organization have, might have multiple programs. So you have a program director and their staff on, on one area. And then over here you have a program department and staff over here and sometimes they might have different leadership styles. They might have different practices for things they’re delivering different services. And sometimes it makes sense to operate in a silo because much of what they do, doesn’t have a lot of crossover, but especially on the administrative side, I notice again, in my experience, it’s working for a nonprofit and I’ve had this conversation with so many people that those silos really result in some just operational breakdown. <laugh> in so many different ways. And I know one of the things that, that, that you talk about is this promotion of collaboration and collective genius, you know, within your work teams, how do help nonprofits or you know, small businesses start working together and break down these silos.

Dirk van Reenen:

Yeah. So the first thing you know, that you have to understand is again, what are you trying to accomplish? Right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and this is not just, um, Hey, what do we see happening in the future? But it’s really about coming back to structure. Okay, do we have the right structure to succeed? Because just, just like, you know, if you look at professional sports or anything like that, like, you know, there’s a specific structure to how a team shows up and there are different players in different positions and you tend to kind of get a particular type of person in that position. You know, now for sports it’s based on all you are, how much you weigh, how fast you can run. Mm-hmm things like that in the business world. It’s going to be based on really your innate wiring, which is mm-hmm, um, the core of behavior mm-hmm.

Dirk van Reenen:

So in the business world, depending on what type of position you have, whether you are more in the administrative financial kind of analytical data type role, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that’s a completely different profile than somebody that’s out in the growth, social, you know, kind of getting out there and getting the word out, going to meetings mm-hmm <affirmative> calling people. Um, and then it’s also a different profile for the people that are actually doing the servicing work. Right? So mm-hmm, <affirmative> the first thing to understand is, okay, what is the structure of our, our business? And again, profit or nonprofit, nonprofit in this case. And then do we have the right people in the right seats? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and sometimes that’s a hard thing because again, people show up because they’re passionate about something they want to help. And usually when you start introducing structure, there’s a little bit of a rub because people are like, well, you know, I really wanted to do this.

Dirk van Reenen:

I’m passionate about this, but yet they may not be the right fit for that position. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the starting point for all of this is to make sure that you have the, the positions identified, you have the right profile for you. Can’t build a business around a person because if something happens that person, they have to be, uh, you have to be able to bring somebody else in, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> businesses die because they, they build entire companies around a specific, uh, person. And if something happens to that person, they get burned out. They leave, something happens. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the business starts collapsing. So the better way to think of about it is what is the right structure and position profiles for this nonprofit to reach its mission and vision long term mm-hmm <affirmative>. And when you start from that, that point of view, what you’re gonna find is that you start getting the right people in the right position.

Dirk van Reenen:

And the last thing is that you’re gonna make sure they have the right motivation for being in that position. When you align those things, then you’re going to start helping somebody succeed at a higher level in the job that they’re doing. What we look at is we look at three distinct things to start the process of alignment for the position. Number one is we look at what we call, um, innate wiring. And again, this is the foundation of behavior. Now a lot of people talk about behavior personality, and the way to think about this is that there’s an innate way that you are wired mm-hmm <affirmative>. And then based on that, it creates a derivative called behavior mm-hmm <affirmative> and then behavior has a derivative called personality. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so some people say, oh, we, we look for the right personality. Well, personality is very flexible, depending on who you’re talking to, what situation you’re in what environment you’re in mm-hmm <affirmative> so some people say, oh, we look for behavior, but behavior’s still a derivative of hard wiring.

Dirk van Reenen:

So we go to the core and say, how is this person wired? You know, what kind of environment and job and role are they going to succeed in at the highest level what’s going to fulfill them. What’s gonna make them feel like they’re winning. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. The second thing is we look at it, something called cognitive agility, and this is how somebody thinks and how they process information. So the idea here is that you match somebody’s cognitive agility with a role that is stimulating to them. So think about this. If you hire somebody for a role that has too much mental stimulation, they’re just not going to ever catch up. They’re always gonna feel like they’re behind. They just don’t quite get it. They’re gonna be a poor performer. Mm-hmm <affirmative> if you hire somebody that isn’t stimulated enough, they get bored. Mm-hmm <affirmative> when somebody’s bored, they get distracted.

Dirk van Reenen:

They’re they’re not focusing on what they need to do. They’re also a poor performer. So what we wanna do is find out, okay, based, done the way that somebody thinks and processes information. We wanna match them with a job that’s continually stimulating to them, cuz they’re gonna be interested in it, pay attention to it and give more attention to it. And then the last thing we look at is emotional intelligence. And I think this is something that, especially in the nonprofit world is really important. The people that you hire do they have, uh, a high level of emotional intelligence or if they don’t, can you raise it up? Cuz emotional intelligence, you can really raise up, right? It’s not a static number. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so based on those three things, we can really start understanding if somebody is a good fit for the role that they’re going to be in long term, because you know, we kind of, you, you talked about this earlier too, is that sometimes there’s a lot of turnover in nonprofit mm-hmm <affirmative> so when you got people wearing a lot of hats and there’s a lot of turnover, it’s costing that nonprofit a lot of time, effort, energy, and money.

Dirk van Reenen:

And then ultimately that’s taking away from them being able to achieve their mission and vision. So we feel it’s central to get these things right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then the next level is really finding out, okay. If, if those things align in the position now, how can we get to know this person and find out if we are truly aligned in what’s important to them about the work they do because people innately want to do work that matters. And the only substitute for doing work that doesn’t matter is getting paid more money, but at a certain level, once somebody there’s actually statistics on this and research that once somebody makes a certain amount of money and in America, it’s usually about $75,000 a year, depending on where you live. Mm-hmm <affirmative> once you make at least that much money, money is not gonna add a lot more happiness or, or meaning or fulfillment to your life. So mm-hmm <affirmative> um, you have to find what matters to people what’s important to them. And when you align that, you’re going to find people that are more fulfilled in their role. They’re they’re happier. They feel like they’re, they’re doing work. That was meant for them. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that’s really the, the core of opening up collaboration. Hmm.

Tosha Anderson:

I love all of that and I’m sure we’re gonna get into it, but as a business owner, myself and struggling to make sure that I always have the right people on the right bus. I wanna talk a little bit more about, um, how you help people do that because all of that makes logical sense. Like, yes, that all sounds amazing. How do we actually know when we’re doing that? Because then you, you know, I just find, even for myself, like I find myself, okay. Yes. I’ve considered these things. I’ve tried interviewing for these things and then we’ve all done this where we hire the person and you realize how in the world did I miss this? Right. Um, so we’ll kind of circle back to that. But before we dive into that, I think there’s another area when we talk about hiring people and we might have some people that are just starting to develop their staff, um, finding the resources to hire their first staff.

Tosha Anderson:

So this is all good information when you’re looking for the right hire. And like you said, going through the process of figuring out what are those positions, what, what kind of structure do you need from your snapping and then hiring for those positions or, um, you know, contracting it out or, or defining some solution for those specific functions, um, of the business. And, you know, I will say I have learned something in business that was quite surprising to me when I started this firm five and a half years ago, I drug my feet, kicking and screaming, resisting the growth of the business, meaning I was so stressed. I was so burnt out. I, I, I was just tired. Right. And I, I told myself that I can’t possibly get larger because it’s going to be then even more stressful and you know, more hours working in all of these things.

Tosha Anderson:

And, um, I had an aha moment one day where I realized, what if having a bigger firm or business or nonprofit is actually easier than having a small one. Right. And so I always tell it was so much harder for me to get to, to $250,000 than it was for me to become a multimillion dollar company. Like it, as crazy as that sounds. And I know you work with small businesses all the time. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so I’m curious to know, um, you know, what is the big hit that crushes most small businesses or in our case nonprofits, the, before they ever make it to the million dollar mark or the $5 million mark, what are these businesses doing or failing to do to get to that next place? Um, and maybe you could share some of your experiences too. Di you know, the idea of getting the company started and building the momentum is so much harder, I think, than almost scaling and keeping that momentum. Um, but I’ll let you share your experiences. I’m curious to know what you think.

Dirk van Reenen:

Yeah. So Tosha first off, I mean, so many business owners have that experience and, um, you know, Michael Gerber talks about this in E Myth and it’s, it’s the person that goes out and has a passion about something starts doing a business. And just like you said, you, you said, Hey, I was just starting this as a part-time job. And then people started finding out and then mm-hmm, <affirmative> all of a sudden, a lot of demand on your time. So that’s what happens is people go into something with what we call a technician mindset, meaning that they have some sort of a skill, they got some sort of a passion and they wanna jump in as kind of an entrepreneur and start driving it forward. But they think like a technician and not a CEO. And ultimately what that means is that they focus on the wrong things, right? And that’s why when, when business starts getting tough and it starts, you know, taking so much of your time and effort and energy, and you get to that burnout stage. And especially if you had some issues with hiring the right people, you got some burnout, you know, people aren’t bringing their best to the team. You have to inject so much energy as a founder into the business. And, and typically what happens at this point is that you tell yourself a story that if we’re any bigger, this business is going to crush me.

Tosha Anderson:

Right? Exactly.

Dirk van Reenen:

So the challenge here is that there’s one thing that you don’t have in the equation, what we call talent. It is that right person that is going to start sharing that burden and that responsibility with you. Absolutely. So what we find is for, for most companies and, and this is true for nonprofits as well, we’ve, we’ve worked with some nonprofits and we, we highly support several nonprofits and, and do work with them is that there’s a core structure, a very basic structure that works for most companies. And it’s that you have the CEO and then you got three distinct key leaders in that organization. And what we call a ’em are the director of services, the director of operations and the director of growth. And as starting a business, if you can find the right three people in those key positions, you’re gonna be on your way to scalability.

Dirk van Reenen:

So director of services is somebody that really their job is to oversee the service that you are providing, whatever that value is that you are injecting into the world, whether it’s for profit or nonprofit, they own that area. Your director of operations owns everything from your HR to your financials, to systems and process development, to really supporting the CEO and everything that’s happening. And then the director of grow is responsible for hitting the accelerator and bringing in. If you’re a nonprofit, more funding, uh, finding people to support you, that’s their job. What tends to happen though, is that a founder goes out and they hire somebody that kind of has a loosely defined role to hire somebody else that has a loosely defined role to hire somebody else, somebody else, somebody else, somebody else. And the next thing they’ve got like nine or 10 people that are reporting to them.

Dirk van Reenen:

And no wonder that they’re burned out, because either they’re doing everything or they got everybody else, that’s constantly coming to them and saying like, what do I need to do here? What should I do? What should we do? And they’re just putting out fires every single day. They’re, they’re out firefighting. They’re not casting vision. They’re not moving forward. They’re not thinking about, okay, what do we need to do to move this thing forward? And they don’t have that sense of collaboration. So the first thing that we really recommend is that, and, and this is the, the killer of companies because, um, you know, in the world that we predominantly work in, in the small business, small and medium size world, mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, people think, oh, if I build a million dollar company in life is grand mm-hmm <affirmative>. We work with people that have 2, 3, 4, $5 million companies, and they’re broke.

Dirk van Reenen:

They work all the time. They’re frustrated. And I mean, we, we have clients and when we start working with them, they’re like, you know, we’re, we’re thinking about just like shutting the doors and walking away from our business, you know? And, and, and you would think like, how could somebody do that until you underst and the pressure that they’re under mm-hmm <affirmative>. So the first thing that we do is just say, look, you have to start thinking in terms of team mm-hmm <affirmative>, you have to start thinking in term of collaboration. And that starts with finding the right people for the right position, with the right motivation, cuz right back to what we talked about a while ago. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and when you start thinking, in terms of that and started thinking about I’m gonna take me out of the equation, right? So, um, right for you, the charity C O your company can scale when things aren’t centralized on Tasha.

Dirk van Reenen:

Absolutely. When you start succeeding through the right people and your job is to empower them, develop them, coach them. Then as they’re learning and growing and making decisions, they start hiring people, training them. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, coaching them. That’s the pro. So it’s about adding depth to your organizational chart. Not going as wide as you possibly can. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that’s the switch because for an entrepreneur, we tend to think in terms like, well, I’ve got high energy, I’ve got a high horsepower motor. I’ll just do more. I’ll just take it on. They’re not doing it. And a lot of times what happens is we end up jumping in and we taking we things off of other people’s plates. Yes. We’re constantly saving people, right? So what we gotta do is we gotta stop saving the people in our own world and we gotta start empowering them, which means mm-hmm, <affirmative>, they’re going to make mistakes.

Dirk van Reenen:

They’re going to screw things up. They’re going to cost you money. And all of those are learning opportunities. If you have the right people, wanna have the right people, that’s the start is that you sometimes have to get out of business with people, no matter how passionate they are about what you’re doing. If they’re not the right fit for the right position, with the right motivation, it’s going to catch up to you. And typically it’s catch up to you. It catches up to you in forms of I’m working a lot more and we don’t have the profit to move things forward, right? Cause I mean, whether you are a, for profit or nonprofit, you still you’re bringing in money. You have all of your operational expenses and the money that’s left over is what you can make a difference for with mm-hmm <affirmative> in a nonprofit, that’s what you’re giving.

Dirk van Reenen:

That’s what you’re investing. That’s what you’re making the change with in a, for profit. That’s what you’re taking profitability with. And a lot of the business owners that we work with, they take that profit. And it’s not just for them to buy things for themselves. They’re giving those profits to nonprofits. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, so whatever the case is, like you have to protect that profitability, whether you are giving it away in a nonprofit mm-hmm <affirmative>, or you are taking it as distributions, you have to be able to protect that because without that, you can’t make that bigger difference in the world. And that’s where a lot of people don’t tend to think. They tend to think of just like I’ll do more. I’ll do more mm-hmm <affirmative> instead of thinking about talent as the central X factor for growing and scaling a business,

Tosha Anderson:

A hundred percent agree with everything you said, Dirk. I, I like to joke with my colleagues also that own accounting firms, that my goal is to make myself is irrelevant in this business on a day by day basis, is, is humanly possible because I’m just standing in my own way. And I think leaders of organizations always think, how can I be more productive? How can I be more efficient? Well, if you’re just productive and efficient, that just means you’re gonna end up doing more things, um, within the same period of time. But what you should really be asking yourself, not, you know, how am I gonna get this all done, but who’s going to get this all done. And it just can’t be you. And I’ve really focused over the last few years on clearing head space, actual physical time, um, and physical space like figurative space, I guess, in my head on how to think more strategically about the business and focusing more on the vision of the business and not necessarily doing all of the things.

Tosha Anderson:

And I think all of us get in that trap and nonprofits are not unique from that because oftentimes the leaders of nonprofits come up through the programmatic side. They are, you know, the, the professionals in the services that they offer, right. It pick any area, it could be nurses, it could be teachers, it could be mental health professionals. Um, it could be any of those. And not only are they then completely overwhelmed with all of the administrative side of the business, but like all of us, they sometimes tend to, um, focus more on what they are really good at. Right. And that’s the technician, that’s the doer side of things and kind of neglecting some of those other responsibilities, which I think makes it even more important to find the right people to help you do that. Um, I love when you said three different, you know, kind key people going back to, you know, the director of services, the director of growth, or, you know, revenue generation is the way I look at it and the director of operations.

Tosha Anderson:

And you can have, like you said, multiple people underneath that, but that is absolutely what I’ve learned in my business that having people that can operate in those areas, because what I think it inevitably happens with any entrepreneur or, or leader of an organization, they try to do all of those things. And then when you focus so much on service delivery, then you neglect revenue growth, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative>, if you focus on revenue growth, then you, then you end up, you know, sacrificing operations or, you know, it’s like, you can have one of those things. You can’t have all of those things, things at the level. Now, if you can level up and get all of those three areas operating, um, you know, as significant as possible, that’s the, as you said, where the scalability is, and then you just stand back and let everybody do their do their roles.

Tosha Anderson:

But I’m, I was guilty of that. I was doing all the revenue generation. I was overseeing all the service delivery and I was doing all the things operationally. And one of the things that I think is really important is to continue carving out roles. Um, if you are a leader of a small organization and you say Tasha, that’s all great, but I don’t have the budget for that. Like you said, Dirk, start thinking about what those positions look like, carving out your responsibilities into key functions, and then just start hiring for that, or start planning for what is the next thing, um, because we’re continuing to grow. Right. And so my business partner, my chief operating officer, he wears a lot of hats. I’m like, oh, okay. Let’s what are you spending the most time on? We’re gonna carve that out. Now we’re gonna create a position.

Tosha Anderson:

Okay. We’ve created that position now. Okay. Let’s look at it again. What are you spending most of your time now on? Right. And then we create a position for that. Um, and I did the same thing for myself over the last 12 months. So I think that’s all really good advice, sir. So I think what everybody’s kind of wondering now is, you know, you are a founder yourself, so you’re not just speaking. You didn’t just read a bunch of books and come up with this idea on your own. You created a business, you’re a founder and CEO of BERGFlow, and this is what you do. You help other business owners or leaders of nonprofits see the light in the ways I’m sure of all the experiences that you have lived through. And I can echo a lot of the same things that you’ve described. Tell me a little bit more about BERGFlow. Why did you start it at start it? How did you get here? Like tell me a little bit about your story.

Dirk van Reenen:

Yeah. So I’ve, I’ve always loved business and I’ve always wanted to be, uh, a, a business person and an entrepreneur, since I was a kid, like that’s what I wanted to do. And, um, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, uh, during my college years, I actually, uh, bought a business and I actually worked there, started managing at the owner, uh, owner of finance, me and I bought the business. Um, and then when I was 28, that business failed and put me like in a really, really bad financial position. So around this time I had just gotten married. Um, we had our, our son about two years after we got married, um, just doing this really bad financial position that we’re in. And this was, uh, started in 2008 mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and for me, you know, I was, you know, uh, ended up starting another business, but was working six, seven days a week, 12, 14, 16 hours a day.

Dirk van Reenen:

And I mean, a lot of entrepreneurs can relate to that. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, but for me it was, it was like 2, 3, 4 years into it. And I mean, things were just not getting better. Uh, my, my marriage was extremely stressed. I was hardly ever seeing, uh, Jackson, my, my son at the time. And just cuz I was, I was trying to survive, trying to kind of move things forward and you know, it was a really hard place to be in and fortunate. Um, I had some exposure to the right things. One of the biggest things was, uh, taking a class around, um, how to find, recruit and hire talent. That was one of the things I found. And I mean, for me, when I took that class, this was uh, at the end of 2012, it was, it was like the super highway opened up in front of me.

Dirk van Reenen:

And for the first time my life, I was like, okay, this is the path. And um, I had, uh, I was with a large real estate company at the time, uh, running a sales team and my sales team over the next two years exploded in growth. Uh, we expanded into, uh, multiple cities and then I became a CEO of that company. And um, over the next couple of years, uh, I had an incredible leadership coaches and mentors, financial coaches and mentors team building coaches and mentors. I mean just different aspects of business and had a lot. I mean, I, I, I, I think I crammed like 20 years of experience into about five years <laugh> and um, by 2016 I was running a as a CEO of a real estate company that was doing about 800 million a year in sales, out of a single location with 500 real estate agents.

Dirk van Reenen:

And, and I was running a big business, uh, but my heart was still a small business. And I kept just thinking about like, man, like all of those people that were back where I was, you know, six, seven years before and their marriages were completely stressed down, they weren’t seeing their, and they were, you know, they were, they’re just trapped by their business. And I mean, it, for me, it was, it was such a compelling pull that, you know, I resigned from my, my corporate position and I started workflow in January of 2017. And, you know, we said, look, we wanna make a change in the world. And we wanna empower the, the founders, the, the, the owners, the CEOs, the entrepreneurs that are out there, you know, in the, in the fight every day of, of building their businesses and making a difference. And mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, for us, uh, it it’s really about working with those people and helping them understand again, how all the right teams around them, because we believe if they, if they build the right teams, they’re going to have a much larger chance for succeeding at higher levels.

Dirk van Reenen:

They’re gonna have a much larger chance to make the impact that they wanna make. And then they’re impacting the people that work for them. They, those people have families, those people are leaders, their, their neighbors, their leaders in their communities. So we can make a big change in the world if we start working with small businesses and helping them succeed in those missions. And, you know, that’s, that’s the way that we started our company. Um, and since then we’ve launched, um, actually a, a few other companies. So, you know, we, uh, are like, I’m the founder of, of three other companies as well. And so when you say like, we’re, we’re in it every day in building businesses, like, you know, I know exactly what that’s like. I know what it’s like to get punched in the face on a, you know, daily basis from multiple companies, right?

Dirk van Reenen:

Somebody, uh, you know, somebody leaving, you know, having a, had a, having a get out of business with somebody taking a financial hit, you gotta a client that’s mad at you. You gotta, you know, whatever the case may be. Um, but the difference is when you, when you have the right people around you, it’s not about you being in the fight alone anymore. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s about you having a team that steps up that takes responsibility that helps you move things forward. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And really for us, um, that’s been the biggest game changer for us is having the right people in our world. And again, it’s, it’s the right people in the right positions with the right motivation, because when that happens, you know, then you can really move things forward. And, and for us, it’s, it is this idea of, um, man, if we, if we have these things, then it makes a huge difference.

Dirk van Reenen:

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And to they, you know, we work with over 300 companies today on an ongoing basis and what’s happening in these companies too. Cause we link all the companies that we work together to, we link them into communities so that they don’t feel alone because mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you know, I’m sure you can relate to this, that at some point when you’re building your business, you feel so alone, you feel so isolated. And because it’s so hard, you’re getting beat up. Think that there’s something wrong with you. You think like, man, I’m screwed up because this is so hard. And yeah. You know, when you let people know that, Hey, everything that you’re experiencing right now, there’s a lot of other people experiencing the same thing. And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with you. Yeah. There’s just some things that you may not understand and may not know how to do just right.

Dirk van Reenen:

So when you can start understanding that there is a structure there’s form and function to who hiring their systems for getting the right people, training them, helping them succeed, then everything becomes easier. And mm-hmm <affirmative> and that’s exactly you made this comment earlier that running a big business, a lot of times is way easier than running a small business. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it’s because when you have the right things in place and the right people in place, it is easier. And, and I love what you said a while ago. Cause you said something that, uh, that has a lot of self awareness around it. You said, Hey, when I can get out of my own way, mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that’s the thing is that every owner, founder, CEO, like they are the lid on their business. They are the, like, if you’re wondering why your business isn’t growing or doing what it is or why you’re not attracting the right talent today, it’s because of you.

Dirk van Reenen:

Yeah. Now that doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you, but there may be something that you wanna look at, uh, improving, changing your approach, thinking about differently, structuring differently. And the biggest thing is just getting out of your own way and getting out of other people’s way. Like, you know, cuz I know every time that I go in to take care of something, it’s a good chance I’m gonna screw something up for one of my people. So the best thing I can do is just let them figure it out, work on it. I can maybe coach them through it, but I should not get involved unless it’s like absolutely on fire.

Tosha Anderson:

Yeah. It’s a, it’s a big ego, you know, hit a little bit in, in some ways you, you gotta work through some feelings when you make the commitment to remove yourself from key functions, letting go. Um, I mean, it’s your thing that you’ve created. You feel so strongly about it. Um, but then it just got to a place where the business is just too vulnerable. If I am the hub of everything. If, if Tasha failed to show up one day that, that the business got to a point where I had too many employees and too many clients solely on my wellbeing, my, whatever that if Tasha failed to show up one day, how long would this business continue in the absence of me? And that was a moment of vulnerability and not just that like my own family. Right? So can this business extend beyond me, um, for, you know, the, the, the financial benefit for them, right?

Tosha Anderson:

Uh mm-hmm <affirmative> or just, just all with her way to nothing, because Tasha just failed to show up to work, you know, so many days in a row and, and everything just dwindled to nothing. So that, that was a, that was a, you know, that, that hit me, um, one day and I realized we need to find a succession plan for everything. And by doing so kind of freed me up now and them, and kind of enjoy doing more of what I love doing and doing less of what I don’t love doing. And then when you find putting somebody in every role where they truly are doing the things that they love and you get to do the things that you love, I mean, everything just multiplies. So, so, um, tell me Derek, if people wanted to find out more about you, your platform, your resource interested in your work, how would a nonprofit work with you or how could they get in touch with you to hear more about love, what everything he’s saying, we need a lot of this help, where would they, where would they in touch with you? Where would they find you and maybe what are some ways that you could help them?

Dirk van Reenen:

Yeah. So the first place you could find us just to go to our website, which is Bergflow.com, B E R G Berg, F L O W flow Bergflow.com. And really the, the process for us starts with, um, just understanding where this company is, that’s reaching out to us. So we do mm-hmm, <affirmative>, uh, like a free, you know, phone consultation with somebody just to kind of get a sense of where they are. We have them fill out a questionnaire so that we can understand, is this a company that we can help or not? Cause typically when, when companies come to us, there’s, there’s two reasons they come to us. Number one is either they’re growing so fast that the wheels are just completely falling off the bus and they’re holding it together with duct tape. And they’re like, we have got to get systems, processes and people in place.

Dirk van Reenen:

And that’s what we specialize in, you know? Or, um, another reason is that we have companies that are multimillion dollar companies that have gone stagnant and all of a sudden they’re like, oh my gosh, we don’t know what’s what exactly is going on. But I mean, we are just out of momentum. And so we typically come in and help them restructure get the right people in the right positions. And then we, we see, you know, kinda like a reinsert of energy growth, you know, moving forward profitability. So the, I think if, if you aren’t listening and you are at that place where, you know, you, you, you know that you gotta get structure with the people in your team, like there’s just too many people there, there, there nobody has a defined role. Nobody really kind of has a, a place to take more ownership and responsibility and you gotta get that in place to grow.

Dirk van Reenen:

Then that those are the companies and or nonprofits that, you know, we work with. It’s mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it’s when people have to focus on, you know, companies have to focus on their people, get the right structure, work on collaboration and really get everybody to start working together. Cuz like you said, the silo thing is very real in business. And what we do is we really open up communication and collaboration between uh, people in the organization. And that creates a lot of good energy to move things forward. So if companies are interested, they can go to Burke flow.com and you can just click to, uh, schedule re consultation with us. Awesome.

Tosha Anderson:

Well, thank you so much for all of your words of wisdom and resources that you might have on your website and, and the offer to connect with, with our nonprofit audience, um, directly. So yeah, you said Bergflow.com is the best place to reach out. We’ll put that in the show notes as well. So Dirk thanks again for joining us and until time everybody thanks so much.

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