Episode 140 — Chris Ronzio — Building and Leveraging a Business Playbook
Without basic standard operating procedures, your law firm will not be able to run smoothly, effectively, or efficiently.
That’s where Chris Ronzio comes in.
A behind-the-scenes master of delegating, standardizing, scaling, and impacting thriving companies everywhere, Ronzio is the mastermind behind Trainual, the all-in-one program that helps with team member onboarding, training, process docs, SOPs and more.
On this episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Chris gives us an inside look at Trainual, plus:
- How leaders can equip their team members to grow
- Why efficiency is everything when it comes to success
- The ins and outs of documenting your business processes
Entrepreneurship from a young age. “I knew I wanted to be in business from watching my dad, but I didn’t want to be attached to the phone and the plane and always on the road. As a kid, I would print out business cards for myself and make up little business ideas because I wanted to be like my dad. That’s what I was doing every summer, every weekend. I just grew up experimenting with entrepreneurship, selling door to door, convincing neighbors to let me clean their yard furniture or dust their house or or whatever to make money. When I was in high school I made my first real business: a video production company for events. It started at my school with soccer and football games, and then we started doing state level tournaments and championships, baseball tournaments, and cheerleading championships. Then that went to regional events in New England where I grew up. I ran this business for about 12 years through high school and college. That’s where I really learned a ton about business. One thing that stood out to me as we grew to three offices and 300 camera operators doing events across the US was that we had to systematically pull off every one of these live productions in all 50 different states, looking and feeling and acting like we’re the same company. I put so much energy into standard operating procedures and the software tools we used and the training for all the crews that we hired — and that’s when we became Trainual.”
The early stages. “I went all in on consulting and I became the operations consulting practice that was helping people build their operations manuals and their playbooks. We would do roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures, and kind of your culture deck and everything about your business — but we were doing it with Word Docs and Google Docs and YouTube videos. And I thought, if this business of mine, this consulting business is really going to grow, we need some IT. That’s when we made a little software project called IT Train. That was about eight years ago now that the first initial version of Trainual came out.”
It’s the little things. “I enjoy delegating. I get this kind of dopamine hit from being able to hand something off and not doing it anymore personally. A lot of people do that, but they do it verbally or they do it by sending email instructions or a Slack message. Documentation is just a more failsafe way to do that. If you have a format and if you know how to do it, you’re answering the questions people could ask you in advance by documenting a process really well. I know it’s stable. I know somebody else can do that, and I can go focus on other things. So for me, it’s not like I get this joy out of process documentation; it’s that I get this joy out of building an asset of the company. I feel like each time I document something, I get something out of my head. I am increasing the value of the business. That’s what gives me joy.”
Make your life easier. “Nothing’s worse than sitting down as a new employee and getting like a 500-page book slapped on your desk. I think we can overwhelm new employees with a fire hose of information. What I would suggest is first don’t document crazy amounts of detail — just enough to answer the basic questions. I’ve got this formula in the book for a perfect SOP, and it talks about asking the right questions to find out the steps to every aspect of your business. That recipe is something that you can write down for every process in the company, but when you go into crazy amounts of detail that you’re just tired of writing the process, then you’re going to have this burdensome task that you just don’t want to do. So I would say documentation can happen in the background, and it doesn’t have to be this gargantuan task that overwhelms you.”
Great team members make a difference. “All of this can be effective if your people are doing things right. That’s what this is really all about. Do you have great employees that feel connected to your business, that are being retained in your business? Do you have employees that want to be there and that are performing well in your business? When you give them clear expectations of what they should do in their role and you’ve given them clear instructions for how to do things, you’ve already provided them with a minimum level of satisfaction.”
What does being a game changer mean to you? “When you watch a game, whether it’s basketball or any sport, there can be these pivotal turning points in a game where like a team goes on a run or the whole energy of the thing changes — and that’s game changing. That is a moment in the game when the energy changes, a team goes on a run, they start to score, and after that, the game is never the same. I think game changing to me in business is the same way, whether you find a key hire that’s a leader in the business, or you find a key software tool that revolutionizes your company, or you find a new customer segment or you come up with a new product. There are these moments that are pivoting our trajectories and saying, wow, the business will never be the same after this. That’s what game changing is to me.”