Allen Brouwer is a father, a serial entrepreneur, and a productivity, scale, and marketing expert. He’s the co-founder of BestSelf.Co. and the founder of the Brouwer Fund - a private equity firm that acquires growth-oriented e-commerce companies for rapid, sustainable scaling.
Allen has a ‘hustle for abundance’ mindset and a passion for work-life harmony. He loves to travel, get out on his boat, and create an experience rich life.
Allen believes life is too short to settle for one-dimensional living. As a student of success, philosopher of personal development, and practitioner of big thinking, Allen pushes limits to see what’s really possible.
Business Growth Strategies Using the L.I.F.E System
Do you run your business or does your business run you?
Productivity, scale, and marketing expert Allen Brouwer doesn’t believe in hustling in the traditional sense. Unless of course you’re hustling for abundance. In fact, his signature process for scaling your business and creating sustainable growth has been dubbed the “anti-hustle” system.
A busy business owner, husband and father himself, Allen knows the value of having a business that runs independently of you while still creating sustainable growth automatically. It’s the ultimate way of achieving work-life balance and a successful, profitable business.
In fact, Allen claims the L.I.F.E system will scale your business to 8-figures in just 24 months.
Sounds too good to be true?
Allen has used this system himself to go from zero figures to a multi-million dollar company in only 2 years. Along with many other notable accomplishments.
This process came about for Allen by starting several companies throughout the years. Through failing, figuring out what works and what didn't; hiring many people over the years, whether it was employees, coaches, mentors, courses, seminars, reading books, or going to masterminds, and sucking the marrow out of what everybody used to make them successful.
Allen would quickly implement, try and fail, iterate, and find what works. Over the course of the past four years, in 24 months, he built an eight figure business.
If you’ve been unable to scale or your business is stagnant, you don’t have enough free time to do the things you should do to grow the business, you’re unsure of how to leverage every dollar, and you’re not sure how to hire the right team, read on to learn the business growth strategies of the L.I.F.E system that will get you there.
The L.I.F.E System for Scaling Your Business While Creating Work-Life Balance at The Same Time
To understand how this process works, imagine you're trying to get from where you are to where you want to be. Think of that as being a mountain top and you're trying to get to the very top of the mountain. There are three ways up the mountain.
The first way is to follow someone who's just a couple steps ahead. They can let you know what immediate obstacles -- loose rocks, snakes, pot holes -- may lie in front of you. You can better make it up the mountain using their their guidance and direction.
Then there are the mentors who are in a Snowcat, so to speak. This would be when you maybe go to a conference or join mastermind groups. Where you can learn from people who you normally wouldn't be able to sit across from or learn from directly. They're pretty far ahead of you and they're able to get up the mountain a lot quicker rather than going step by step.
Finally, there are those rare breed of mentors who are really far ahead of you, but are also very important for your success and growth in whatever aspect you want that growth in. They're the people who can help you find the helicopter and take the helicopter to the top of the mountain.
This is how the L.I.F.E system works. It’s a fast track to the business growth and success everyone wants.
The system consists of four pillars with each letter representing one of the pillars.
- L - Leverage Every Dollar You Make to find new clients
- I - Implementation and SOPs to systamize the business
- F - Find and Retain Top Talent that can run the business for you
- E - Elevate the customer experience to build your brand
The goal is to implement one piece in one area and go around in the circle and implement another piece of another area, slowly, until you're back to the beginning. As you go, you’ll ask yourself, ‘How can I improve this piece again?’
It’s a constantly evolving process regardless of what stage of business you're in, whether you're just starting or whether you're seasoned or whether you're launching something new.
L: Leveraging Every Dollar You Make
Allen knows that where most businesses tend to struggle is when they don't realize how important getting their next customer is.
Whether you're a new business owner, or a freelancer, what you'll tend to do is start siphoning money out of the business to pad your pockets and live a better lifestyle.
That's why we all started businesses to begin with, right? So we can have more fun in life outside of business. Maybe it's going to traveling, maybe it's buying a new car, maybe it's elevating your lifestyle and getting a bigger, nicer house or moving to a better part of town. Or whatever you want to splurge on like, whatever your vices.
But what happens is we actually deplete the growth potential the business has every time we pull money out and feed ourselves. Where true growth happens is when you can postpone that gratification for a later date, just for a little bit, and really use the profits that the business is generating to acquire the next customer.
How to get customers on demand
What you'll find is that the more customers you have and the better experience those customers have, the easier it is to grow and scale that business.
There will be a sort of flywheel effect that happens after you get customer number one. Then you'll get customer two and then you'll get customer three and so on and so forth, but it will compound on top of one another.
You’ll no longer just be getting one customer day if you improve your systems and how you acquire customers now. You'll get 10 customers a day, 100 customers a day, 1000 customers a day depending on what business you're in.
It’s important to remember that just because you have a customer now doesn't mean that you're going to have that customer tomorrow.
To live in a state of more certainty around where your next dollar is going to come from, and how you’re going to be able to support yourself, your family and your team, it's better to have a system in place that can allow you to get clients on demand.
Maybe you don't acquire those customers now, but you use the resources and some of your profits to develop a system to put people in a backlog. Now you have leads and now you're getting more exposure and now you're building out your brand.
Eventually, instead of charging x for your current rate, let's call it $1,000 an hour. Now you're charging $10,000 an hour. But don't think of it is just getting one customer, think of it as, ‘How can I build this system or this flywheel so I'm not constantly in this feast and famine?’
The difference between owning a business and having a long-term financial asset
Allen shares that how he transformed the way he looks at owning a business is to imagine you have two businesses.
One business makes $100,000 a year all profit. The other business makes a million dollars a year, but $100,000 profit.
Both make the same amount of profit, both bring home the same amount of pay to the business owner and at the end of the day, the business owner pays the same amount of taxes on that profit.
But the key difference that million dollar business has which the hundred thousand dollar business doesn't have is that it’s an asset. It’s an asset that the business owner can then sell or leverage or use to do whatever. Maybe it's a joint venture or partnership, there's more value there.
The thing to consider here is, how can you use the the profits you make from either selling a service or a product to provide more value and build a long-term asset rather than just getting by?
I - Implementation & SOPs
Allen recommends not viewing SOPs and systems simply as all the steps to do everything in your business but rather the standard your business is going to operate from when doing something.
There may be many other people providing the same service but what differentiates your and your business from the next is the standard at which you deliver that product or service.
Whether you provide an onboarding system for a new client, or if you're implementing or launching a new product, what is the standard at which you are going to do that?
What this does is reduce the overwhelm you as the business owner has, because you can then hand the system off to an employee knowing things are going to be done to the standards you want. It reduces the bandwidth you’re required to expend.
This frees the business owner up to work on the things that actually matter and not the stuff that we have to do over and over and over again.
To start creating SOPs
- Start writing tasks down that you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
- Notice what tasks come up over and over and over again.
- Begin documenting your processes in sort of a tick box or step-by-step fashion.
- Now create the final SOP by recording how-to videos walking through and talking through the whole process as you're doing it.
- Send it to your VA if you have one and have them create a bullet pointed checklist with screenshots.
F - Find and Retain Top Talent
Any business owner who has a team will probably tell you one of the most time consuming aspects of running a business is the hiring process.
For small business owners, hiring and training somebody takes up large amounts of time, attention and resources. It also affects the business as during this time you're unable to focused on profit drivers. You're just trying to bring that person up to speed and it can be a struggle to get anything else done.
Allen shares a secret to avoiding these obstacles: Always be hiring.
Put your feelers out for who's doing what, what's going on in their world, and how they can fit into what it is that you're trying to accomplish.
When you're meeting people, going to conferences or or talking to people or making connections, be observant of person's doing something interesting. How can they support you or what we're doing? Maybe not now, but in two years, you can see a role for them.
When you're not doing this in person, you need to have is a system to hire people, onboard them and get them up to speed as quickly as possible.
How to always be hiring
Allen shares how to find people by spending only 15 minutes with them to figure out if they're going to be a good fit or not. As a business owner, the last thing you want to do is be bogged down in resumes which are just fluff and filler anyway.
What he recommends is developing a system when you write your job application or posting by giving the person a call to action at the end.
You also want your brand to seep through that job opening so that potential employees think, ‘Oh, this is different. This is interesting. Why do I feel aligned with this.’ Rather than a dry, ‘Here's the roles and responsibilities and here's your expectations and here's your experience.’
Steps to creating an always be hiring system
The call to action at the end of your job posting is to have someone email your business with a specific subject line. When that email comes through, you can set up filters on Gmail that if it doesn't have this exact subject line, it will send an automatic reply saying, ‘Thank you for the application we’ll get back to you.’
If it does have that subject line and the other parameters you can send a canned response that says, ‘Hey, thank you for following directions. Please fill out this Google form.’
2. The Google form should have open ended questions. For example, if we're talking a marketing assistant you can ask,
- ‘Tell me why you applied for this job.
- Tell me what you like most about our marketing.
- Tell me how you would improve our marketing, write some ad copy for us,’ etc.
Give them questions specific to the role that you're hiring for.
3. Keep this setup on repeat and always keep this job posting open. Transfer responses to a spreadsheet. After you get maybe a dozen to 20 of those, you’ll have a spreadsheet of candidates that you can quickly tap into.
4. Add columns in between the responses and rate each response on a scale of one to five or one to ten. Total up the scores for each candidate, and then sort by responses. You now have your top three candidates. (And you didn't have to write a resume, get on a phone or invite people in for a full day roundtable to figure out who they are. You quickly did this with a system!)
5. Next, have a quick 15 minute phone call with the top three candidates. During that 15 minutes, ask,
- Why did you apply?
- What skills do you have that you think you can bring to the table?
- Why should we hire you?
If you have some time left over, you can leave it open for them to ask you a question. And what you're looking here is a gut check. Do you like this person initially? Can they put a sentence together? Are they are they a real human being?
6. If they pass that, then you do a two hour psychology breakdown. This is where you use a system called Topgrading. Topgrading came from the book called Topgrading by Geoff Smart.
This is a process where you go all the way back from the beginning of this person's life all the way to present day you, a sort of break down of who they are. The goal is to ask them questions and tease out what it is that they're passionate about and what it is that they're skilled at.
But even more importantly, what you're really looking for are red flags. What’s the deal what this person? Does something keep surfacing that could could be dangerous for us to hire this person? You’re observing patterns.
The critical onboarding process
After that, is onboarding after you hire this person. Onboarding is crucial to success! The person you hire needs to feel they are bought into the team, into the brand and into the culture.
When you first start, the best way to do this is to have a half hour phone call every morning with them and say, ‘Hey, what's going on? What did you work on yesterday? What are you working on today? What can I help you with?’
You want to get them up to speed as quickly as possible and then you can stop that off after two weeks.
How to retain top talent
Retaining people can be one of the most difficult aspects of the whole process. The best advice Allen shares on managing a team is to develop the culture you want and need in your business. Culture beats anything!
One way to build a solid culture is once a month, or every other week sit down with your employee one on one, whether it's a zoom call or Skype or if you have the luxury, in person, and ask them what's going on in their life outside of business.
Don't ask them anything else. If the conversation starts steering towards business. Remind your employee you’re not talking about work right now just talking about them. How's the family? How's your kids? What's going on? What are you working towards? What are you excited for? What's happening and what they'll feel.
Allen explains that the power of doing this is, “...because it means that you give a shit and if you give a shit about people's lives outside of their work, they're going to give a shit about the business and what the business does.”
E - Elevating the Customer Experience
In a post Amazon world where people can can get anything at a moments notice, customers demand more and expect more.
If your brand is not delivering on those expectations the customer has subconsciously, if these expectations are constantly not met, you will not have happy repeat customers.
Whether you have a service based business or ecommerce company to deliver a product and nothing more, you won’t be meeting the expectations of your customers.
You must ask yourself, ‘How can we exceed the expectations and build a brand that the customer loves and is an advocate for?’
The way to do this is through all the touch points you have with your customers.
How to create customer touch points that build your brand
Let’s say a customer purchases your product on your website. Even though you delivered the product your job isn’t done. You want to take the opportunity to develop an emotional exchange the customer is really asking for.
When they exchange money for something they want to feel heard. They want to make sure that their money was put to good use. That what they invested in, whatever the product is, will solve a problem or a pain or meet a need.
Customer touch points before a product arrives or service begins
The biggest buyers remorse happens from the time that they pull out their credit card and hit buy to the time that the product arrives at the front door.
The same goes with a service. Did I just purchase that? Was it smart? Should I have used that money for something else?
How you can reduce that buyer's remorse is by emailing them or sending them text notifications, whatever communication channel you you want, between the time they purchased to the time that product arrives, letting them know they made the right decision.
Reassure your customer there are other people just like them who've used the product and seen success with whatever it is they’re wanting to accomplish.
Let them know that there's a group or community of people just like them. Invite them to join this group and find like minded individuals. The easiest way to do that is to create a Facebook group for your customers.
Customer touch points after a product arrive or service begins
After the product arrives, you could teach them a little bit about the product, the best way to use it or what other people are using it for. Share with them some other products that compliment this product as well and work well together. Help them to get the most out of what they just purchased.
The way that you need to think about building your brand is to think about every touch point that the customer has and how you can make it better.
How can you create a positive thought in your customers mind through that touch point, whether it's the time they got a text message and said that their products out for delivery all the way to the box arriving? What does that box look like?
A quick win early on to help create a sticky brand is not skimping on the small details. The experience that the customer is having and what experience you can give them.
When a package arrives, people packages arrive all the time to their house. They're all in gray boxes with clear packing tape or plain brown boxes, right? Boring and generic.
A quick win that you can do is to have a brown box and custom branded packaging tape. When someone sees this along with the slew of other boxes that are on their front doorstep it stands out as different, and it can make the experience that much better.
Elevation is about communication
The idea here is to think about how you communicate to your customer, whether it's pre purchase, post purchase, post delivery, pre delivery, whatever it is, how can you tell the story that your customer will be bought into? The story of the brand, why it started, why you started the company, and why they should give a shit.
The second phase is what problems are you solving? What problems are you here for? Why did you start this business to begin with? What is the main purpose or the mission of this company?
The third piece is the solutions to those problems. Maybe those solutions are just insight that you've gotten over the years. Maybe those solutions are the products that you've developed. Maybe those solutions are the content that you create and share.
That's the way you want to look at delivering value as it relates to your brand: problem and then the solution.
- If you can postpone immediate gratification, leveraging profits to build systems for finding clients on demand, you will better be able grow your business exponentially.
- Implement systems and SOPs your team can follow to free up your time so you can work on the things that matter. This is how you build a business that operates independently of you.
- Always be hiring to reduce the time and effort it takes to find and retain top talent. Create a system for finding and sorting through potential candidates so you always have a backlog to fall back on.
- Elevate the customer experience from all angles and touch points through the way that you communicate with and care for them. Differentiate yourself from other similar product or service providers.
Allen designed this system to help remove business owners from the tedious and time-consuming nature of running a business day in and day out all on their own. Something he felt bogged down by himself.
He says, “I've cultivated the system over time and I just re-engaged with it a little bit so I could spend more time with [my newborn daughter], so I could live a life outside of just working all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love work and it brings me a lot of joy and a lot of excitement and value into my life. But at the same time, it's not the only thing that I want to do.”
Think of the L.I.F.E system as something you can run through to help free up your time, free up your bandwidth and reclaim your life.
Many times we get into business because we’re really good at a particular thing. But then six months or a year down the road we realize there’s all this business “stuff,” all this these other aspects that we don’t enjoy doing.
If you implement the system, it will slowly take all those little things off of your plate so you can get back to where you truly find joy and passion.
Learn more about Allen and the L.I.F.E system at allenbrouwer.com and sign up a free four videos part series that will reveal the four foundations to rapid, sustainable business growth.