Allison Maslan is a 10X serial entrepreneur and now pays it forward to entrepreneurs and business owners as CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, a mentoring and mastermind company. Her new book, Scale or Fail, debuts this October, and she shares important tips for women in business on how to master scale.
Melinda Wittstock: Allison, welcome to Wings.
Allison Maslan: I am so excited to be here, Melinda. Thank you for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: Me too. I love these Friday minisodes that we do, because we get right, specifically, into the advice that we all need to really excel in business and I always like to start with what's inspiring you right now?
Allison Maslan: Well, what's always inspiring me is, helping business owners and those that want to be in business to take that leap. When I see a business owner in front of me and I see all that potential [inaudible 00:00:49 so they can break through to the next level. That gets me super excited.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. So many women struggle to get to that one million mark in revenue, assuming you've taken the leap and your there, so when you get stuck on, what I call, the start up sticky floor, and so I love that you are so focused on scaling and I know you've got a book coming out later this year on scaling, but really briefly, what are some of the challenges that really prevent women from getting to a million and beyond and to scale?
Allison Maslan: That's such a good question because if you could nail these three things down from the get go, wow! It's going to be transformative, so let's look at those.
Allison Maslan: The first one I would say is if you're going to really scale your business to seven, eight, nine figures, you have to be able to deal with conflict, and I call it dealing with the elephant in the room and embracing conflict, actually going towards it. Now, I don't mean, Melinda, creating conflict. I mean dealing with it instead of pretending its not there, pushing it under the rug, and facing it head on, and coming to some sort of positive resolution. That is crucial, especially as you start building a team because this can destroy your company if you are not dealing with it.
Allison Maslan: The second thing is not delegating. We, as women, as you know, can be control freaks. I definitely have been a control freak in my past and it was a process in letting go, and also that perfectionism, not having your hands in every single piece of your company and as you begin to build a team is to empower them to take it and run with it.
Melinda Wittstock: And it makes so much sense, and we say this, these things, over and over again on the podcast, but they are always easier said then done, right? You think, oh yes. I've got this, and it will come up again and you'll be like, wait. What am I doing checking the links? I should be doing – why am I doing this? And it comes up at weird times? Is it still for you or are you recovered?
Allison Maslan: I had, a few years ago, it was this massive wake up call because I was attending an event enjoying myself. I look at my phone and my own ad came up, my own Facebook ad promoting something. I click on it and it goes to an error page and I'm livid, because the last thing I'm wanting to do is round up my team to get this fixed. It was a hole for me in my company, so I ended up putting in a marketing project manager in that position that was going through all those pieces to make sure, we had everyone doing their job but nobody was going through and making sure that everything was taken care of.
Melinda Wittstock: Marketing QA. I love that.
Allison Maslan: Yeah. The goal is to get yourself out of the company. It's to fire yourself, ultimately. As you're being the CEO and really scaling this company, if you're the one doing those things, you are slowing your growth massively.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, Allison, you have grown and scaled so many businesses, so what challenges you now? Are there still things where it's like, oh gosh, I wish I could do this better or a big challenge that you have? Because we all grow so much as people when we are in that kind of uncomfortable zone, so where are you at right now in terms of what's the tough thing in your life?
Allison Maslan: Yeah, I think that's a great question. There is always going to be a tough thing. There is that saying “New level. New devil.”
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, I love that.
Allison Maslan: And if you are always growing and evolving, you're going to be hitting new challenges all the time and to me those are just opportunities. They're stepping stones to the next level, so for me, we were just talking. I was on vacation. What do I do on vacation? I come up with more ideas. I get very excited and super creative and I just want to give more and more things to my team and what I've realized is that really overwhelms them. Not that they're not capable, but it's really easy to just start texting, “hey, lets do this” and “lets do that” and then find that on the other end of that, the receiving end, that they are getting overwhelmed or confused, right?
Allison Maslan: So it's being very clear. Making sure you're prioritizing things and making the decision of, is this something we really need to do now? Its a great idea but can we table this for next quarter or next year? Right?
Melinda Wittstock: It's kind of like Golden Retriever puppy syndrome. I feel like I come back from conferences and different mastermind groups I'm in and I do. I have this idea diarrhea, and I'm so enthusiastic. I mention Gold Retrievers because they are so happy and boundless and you can go in a zillion different directions, as a lot of visionary people have that. We're so creative as entrepreneurs but yeah, you're right. To the team, it's like “oh my god. Do I stop doing what I'm doing right now? Do I do something else? Do I – ahhh?” So I'm with you on that one. I think I've been like that to my team. I'm sorry everybody.
Allison Maslan: I know. I had one time an employee said to me, “Allison, you're like a red race car that is going so fast and we are running so hard to keep up with you.” And that was a big wake up call for me to go whoa. Wait a minute. That's not good. So it's always a balance because I love the creativity and I also really love and respect my team and they work so hard. I think as the CEO you've got to have great people on your team who can handle it and at the same time, be realistic and what is smart. Initiatives for your company and you don't have to do everything all at once. You can do it all, but not all right now.
Melinda Wittstock: That's such good advice. In fact, that could be your number one advice, but I'm still going to get three pieces of advice from you, additionally.
Allison Maslan: We've got one more and that is that you've got to have a revenue focused company.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Allison Maslan: I find that women have a very hard time, not all women, but with sales, and I think it's how we're raised or have been raised in this generation. We are probably same generation, and that is when you're younger don't make waves. Be nice. To me, sales is the nicest thing that you could do. You're sharing and if you don't share what you have to offer then the people that need you are never going to have that opportunity to grow in whatever form that is, whether it's the beauty industry or the tire industry.
Allison Maslan: You can't fix it. You can't support them unless you sell, and if you're not bringing cash in every single day into your business. It's never going to scale and it's crucial piece that I think where companies take a nose dive. Even those that get a lot of funding. Boy, those funds go fast. Start building things out, your products. Start building your team, and all of a sudden there's nothing left and you've got to start going for more rounds of investors and the key is if you just would focus on sales from day one. You may not even need those investors.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow. This is so smart. I think somewhere in the start up community particularly in tech, it became success just to raise money and what a disaster because there's so many people who go out there and they thing they're successful just because they closed a round but that doesn't make a business.
Allison Maslan: No. That's borrowing money. What is the rah rah about that? You owe it to somebody. It's like you sell it. It's done. Its a transaction. Its done.
Allison Maslan: Steve Jobs started his company by going out and selling a bunch of computers.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Yeah, so I think also just the ability to pre sell things before they are completely finished, right? Before they're a finished thing. So we have this vision of the finished product and how amazing this finished product is going to be and if we're selling something that is short of that, it's harder somehow. I had to kind of get out of my way at point on that where a mentor of mine said, “Melinda, do you remember your first cell phone?” and I said, “Oh yeah. Sure.” It was like a brick or something. I'm really dating myself, but it was one of those big things, and she was like how does that make you feel? And I said, “it made me feel great. I could talk to anybody. I could do all this kind of stuff.” And then there was this long pause and then she said, “Was it the iPhone?” Right? And so it wasn't, in that case, the full vision, but still a product that was valuable, so it's getting out there, selling before it's a completed thought sometimes, but that's hard.
Allison Maslan: Well, Apple is a genius at presales. That's what they do. They build that anticipation that it's coming. So I absolutely agree and we do a lot of presales because it's a way for us to see, what is the demand for this product and that's one of the things. I have a company called Pinnacle Global Network and what we do is we mentor business owners all over the world in our mastermind and we help with this whole sales and presale process.
Allison Maslan: It's build the plane while you fly it so you could actually be marketing and selling it and creating it at the same time.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. That's exactly right. So, Allison, how can people find you and work with you?
Allison Maslan: Absolutely. Well, first of all, I have gift. You go to Allison Maslan dot com forward slash C E O and I imagine you'll spell it somewhere for me.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. I will. It will all be in the show notes.
Allison Maslan: So Allison Maslan dot come forward slash C E O. You'll get my scale, free training, which is a five video training on how to scale your company, so that's all a gift and that's worth several thousand dollars, or if you want to reach out to me directly, if you have questions about mentoring with me and my team, just go to support at Allison Maslan dot com.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful and so generous. Thank you so much because scaling of course is the S in wings.
Allison Maslan: I love it. I love it.
Melinda Wittstock: Women. Innovating. Networking. Growing. Scaling.
Allison Maslan: Well, you're brilliant at it and what you've done with this podcast is just beautiful and you're impacting so many people.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, well thank you so much and thank you for putting your wings on and flying with us.
Allison Maslan: Thanks for having me, Melinda.