The most successful entrepreneurs know execution is essential to growth. Yet your entrepreneurial mindset matters more than you may believe. The way you think and what you believe shape how you perform all the work you do. In this episode, we look at why the entrepreneur mindset matters if you want predictable growth from where you are. Today’s guest is Josh Teeple, a partner at Grobstein Teeple. Inc Magazine ranked his company #4004 on the 2020 Inc 5000 list and No. 4688 (2019). Grobstein Teeple provides various services to companies and individuals dealing with complex issues requiring specialized financial expertise. Josh walks us through his discovery of why the entrepreneurial mindset matters. We look at the importance of how you think and what you believe. Josh and I share with you the keys to shifting your mindset.
Don't miss an episode. Subscribe to Growth Think Tank.
Josh Teeple: The Transcript
About: Josh is the Co-Founder of GT. He has been in practice since 1997 and is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified in Financial Forensics, Certified Information Systems Auditor, and Certified Information Technology Professional. Josh’s professional experience is focused on fiduciary support, insolvency consulting, forensic accounting, fraud investigation, economic damages, expert witness testimony, fractional CFO support, forensic technology, transactional due diligence, and auditing. Josh has served as a court-appointed Receiver, a disbursing agent, a settlement accountant, and a neutral accountant in numerous litigation and insolvency matters.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
Josh Teeple: Managing people I think is one of the hardest things to do. Some people would probably come more naturally to them and then some people have to have to really work at it and learn, learn that that process of people management I’ve learned things I’ve made mistakes along the way. And I like to think that I’ve learned from those. From those mistakes, but, yeah, getting to that point of being a good though, people may have been through a good leader, It did not come to me overnight. And I really had to work it out.
Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I help leaders and their teams navigate the defining moment of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett: Growing a company fast requires you to have a strong team and that team has to have the right mindset. What we’re going to talk about today is the entrepreneurial mindset, not just at the founder level, but throughout the company, and what that really means to create a company that works together collaborates, and really pushes the boundaries of growth. I’m here with co-founder Josh Teeple. This is a company that was number 4,004 on the 2000 Inc list. And it really is 2020, sorry. , we’re with Grobstein Teeple. , they’re a full accounting firm and we are going to talk about the power of the entrepreneurial mindset across the company. And today’s conversation is really about you being a leader that inspires people to think like entrepreneurs.
So Josh, how are you?
Josh Teeple: Morning, Gene. Thanks for having me.
Gene Hammett: I am excited to talk to you about, you know, growing your company fast. Tell us a little bit about your accounting firm.
Josh Teeple: So we started, our firm about eight years ago. I think it was eight people at the time. Most of those eight original folks are, are still with us today we’ve grown over that number of years. , mostly organically, a couple of little strategic acquisitions here and there, but, but we’ve added, over 40 additional people and had, you know, some tremendous opportunities and some great revenue growth and, and feel very fortunate to be in a position where we are in today after such a short period of time.
Gene Hammett: So you’re the co-founder with, the other name, partner. This is very common inside accounting firms. Did you guys come from a big six big four kind of background?
Josh Teeple: Yeah, so my, my, my co-founding partner Howard and I. We’ve known each other for a long, long time. And so our, our professional relationship, is, is also conjoined with our personal relationship. And, you know, he’s, he’s kind of my, my work family and we feel very much like we’re brothers and kind of joined together in that way. , we started together in affirm two firms ago. There was a large regional firm that uses about 120 people. That card was acquired by a very large national firm. I think at the time it was the eighth-largest firm in the country. And we were there together at that firm for about four years or so. , and after that, after four years, we decided, to spin out on our own and give it a go and see if we can make it on our own.
Gene Hammett: Well, I’ve had some clients that are accountants and there are some specific struggles that are necessary to overcome. As accountants are moving into management and leadership positions. Does, does anything come to mind of a struggle that you’ve overcome to be the leader that you are today?
Josh Teeple: Yeah, I, it’s, it’s an unbelievable learning experience for me. , managing people I think is one of the hardest things to do. Some people would probably come more naturally to them and then some people have to have to really work at it, learn, learn that that process of people management, I’ve learned things I’ve made mistakes along the way. And I like to think that I’ve learned from those mistakes, but. Yeah. Getting to getting to that point of being a good people manager and a good leader, did not deny it come to me overnight. And I, I really had to, to work out
Gene Hammett: Josh, one of the things, cause it, I re company has researched about your company is you really believe that employees are an important part of the system. They’re not just people they’re collecting a paycheck, but they’re really a part of something. And you believe in putting your people first, tell us what that means to you.
Josh Teeple: None are only. An important piece. They are the fundamental piece of, of our business. We’re a professional services firm in, and without our people, we’re, we’re not, and we’re, we’re very fortunate and lucky to work with just some tremendous individuals at every level. We, we love remote people from right when they come out of college or even before they leave college. , it’s a great opportunity, for us to get to know them and them to get to know us and the firm and we’ve had a lot of success there. , and it’s something that we’re really focused on now is bringing in the games firms and then, and then bringing them in step accountants and kind of grow with the firm.
But we’d like to, we’d like to say that we, that we hire a future partner and we’d like to, hire superstars people that are, that are go getters that are aggressive, that are kind of like-minded with us. And in that regard, that. That they want to, they want to really make something of themselves in their professional career. We’re not particularly interested in buggers. , although there, there is room for those people as well,, but we, but we want, we want those people that want to grow and, and, and become, you know, future, future potential owners in the, from down, down, down the road. And, and I think that’s a that’s a mindset that’s that has served us well. We’ve. Again, back to those original people that, that took a huge risk and less the warm and fuzzy confines of the, of the big national firm, , to, to go out with us, they all fail to take pay [00:06:00] cuts. We took pay cuts. My, my partner and I, most of those people are still with us today. And, and most of them are now, now our partners and, and that’s, , that was something that we, that we set out to do with, , with that group of individuals. And it’s worked out, it’s worked out really, really great for us.
Gene Hammett: Josh. I want to go into this a little bit deeper because I think there’s some nuance to this that a lot of people don’t really understand when it relates to selecting people that could be future partners. And you, you, you put something in there about potential owners. You want people that have a desire to be a part of something, not just have a job. How do you interview for that specific kind of question?
Josh Teeple: That’s, that’s tricky. , because you, you never really know it. I mean, like when you’re, when you’re hiring someone straight out of college, they may not know what they want to be. Yeah. They studied four years in business school and maybe they’re sitting for the CPA exam and, you know, they kind of had that accounting kind of focus, but until you leave college and go work at a public accounting firm, you don’t really know what that experience is like and what it’s like working in the world of public accounting. Our firm is a little bit different. We are a full-service public accounting firm, but, but our bread and butter really is a consultancy practice. , we do taxes, we do a little bit of insurance. We do some of those kinds of things, but, but we’re really more well-rounded business consultants. So this is more of the business-type environment. Then what I would term a kind of classical accounting environment.
And so once, once people get into that and they, and they get to experience these different things and, you know, lots of different projects and personalities and challenges and, and those types of things, it really, gives them kind of a well-rounded exposure to the world in which we work. As far as interviewing those people, to see if they’re going to be a good fit with our culture. We do spend a lot of time on the interview process, particularly if they hadn’t already been an intern. Again, I love the internship because we, really get to know the person and, and, and see if they’re going to be gonna be a good fit for the long run. But if we don’t have that opportunity, we do spend a lot of time, with that interview, we, that person will meet people at all different levels, multiple partners, and then managers and staff people and create COVID.
We used to, we used to. As part of the interview process, we used to have the interview, we’d go out to lunch with a group of people that would be that, that, that person’s peers. And we would basically, that would be a soft interview or whatever you want to call it, but they wouldn’t go, they would go out to lunch with future coworkers and then. Myself or another partner in the firm, would we kind of debrief with the people that went out to lunch with, with the interviewee and we would just get a straight response from them. Are they a good fit for our culture or are they not?
Gene Hammett: I love the fact that you’re trying to understand culture fit because I think of all the questions I’ve asked on this podcast, whenever I, we do come to this question about what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made more than 50% would say hiring for skill fit instead of culture fit. so I appreciate you bringing some, some light to that. The reason I wanted to have you on here, Joshua was cause you have a real keen interest in seeing people that have an entrepreneur mindset. So what is an entrepreneurial mindset to you?
Josh Teeple: We don’t leave anything on the table. We, we, we look at all sorts of different opportunities. you know, we, we have the primary accounting firm, but we have other businesses going on. We, and it’s one of the reasons that Howard and I went and, and, and founded this firm is because we wanted the flexibility of being. The business owners of being the entrepreneurs that are, that are that’s creating something that’s very much ours. And ever since we’ve founded the firm, we’ve been fiercely protective of this culture that we, that we’ve been nurturing in that time. And I, and I do call it an entrepreneurial culture, a lot of accountants they’re there. They’re never really equipped, trained with given opportunities to be market-facing people.
We like all of our people to be out there comfortable in the marketplace, whatever that marketplace may look like for them. We encourage them to expand their networks in any way. That makes sense for them. They get a good join, you know, a PR obviously a professional kind of organization, or they could join a. Try to get on the board of a, of a not-for-profit we’re big, we’re big believers in giving back to the community and being supportive of that. They could, the softball team. I do. I don’t really care what it is. As long as they’re out, they’re getting comfortable in their own skin. Most accountants you think of the green visor?
You think, you know, the people that, that just aren’t out there being comfortable, talking to other people and we try to get them over that because if you want to have a career with a lot of longevity, particularly in a firm like ours, which is entrepreneurial. You’re going to have to start giving back at some point by, you know, either generating business directly. And, you know, we have people that, that certainly make rain, but we don’t have anyone. That’s just a pure ring maker. Every everybody here is what we call a technician or a worker. In addition to some of us also make it ring. And we all work really, really hard, lots of the billable hours and, you know, lots of, admin time giving back to the firm and all those types of things. But you have to have that mindset to get to the, to the upper echelons that, that you want to be a real, real contributor. And you can be a contributor in many different weights, but you have to have that mindset that, that is something that is important to you. We firmly believe that. If we support these people that, that have that mindset that had those types of ambitions, and we enable them with the tools we opened, the doors we, you know, is what we can do to support them. If it’s going to be good for them, it’s going to be good for the firm for a long run.
Gene Hammett: Now mindset is something that’s been coming up a lot inside of companies and organizations, and it comes up a lot in our smaller companies like yours. , when I was working with really big companies, no one ever talked to me about my mindset, for example, and. You know, over the last five years or so, leaders are getting tuned in to the importance of mindset and how people see the world, their beliefs that are underlying to how they perform what they’re doing. And have you gone through formal training to understand the mindset and be able to engage with others around what their beliefs are?
Josh Teeple: Yeah. I actually have done some, some formal training at the, at the. The firm I was at that ad before we founded our firm, I was, I was part of a very good program that, that they, that they ran called the, and they called it internally. They called it the leadership academy. , and it, and it was me and I don’t remember a couple of dozen other future leaders of, of that great big firm. And we had all sorts of guest speakers and workshops. And I mean, it was, it was a, it was a huge investment. On that firm’s part to, to do. There’s just, just in the last charge ability alone would have been millions of dollars a week charge ability, but they did a very good job with that. And I did take a take away a lot of valuable things, but, but more important than the lessons that I learned there, it was the people that I met, , in that, in that group.
And you know, my peers and the people that I ended up spending a lot of time with at that firm. You know, we all kind of we’re on this, on this ship together. It was, it was a, it was a very rewarding experience.
Gene Hammett: So Josh, let’s put a spotlight on this for a second. If you’re talking to employees about mindset, what is the biggest challenge that they have to overcome too, to really, you know, perform at a higher level? A lot of people, for example, , have certain fears of that, that hold them back, or it’s a confidence issue. What would you say that is the conversation you have to have. Over and over again with your people,
Josh Teeple: it’s, it’s getting them to that point where they’re, where they’re comfortable in their own skin and getting giving out to them to enter the marketplace. you know, I keep kind of coming back to that because that’s just not something that, that accountants are trained to do. And, you know, I work with a lot of lawyers and frankly, lawyers are trained to do it. And the gift of gab comes naturally to some folks. But I would say that it’s probably, it’s probably, they’re probably in the, in the, in, in a minority. I think, I think that, that getting out there and getting comfortable, and being your own skin is, is, is something that most people actually have to have to work at. , and to, you know, to be really successful. As an accounting entrepreneur or whatever you want to call it, you really have to be, have to be good out there to, to develop those relationships.
And, and those, you know, that which will ultimately culminate in, in business and revenue. One of the things that we try to stress with our, with our younger people is, look, we don’t expect results tomorrow, or next month or next year or three years from now, what we expect. Is that you are laying the framework and the groundwork for this meaningful long-term from business relationships. And hopefully, you know, some of these business relationships that start out just as business become personal friendships or, you know, personal friendships often resulting in getting some sort of referral or business.
And you just don’t know where that business opportunity is going to come from. So you nurture. And it’s an investment. It’s a, it’s a time investment. It’s, it’s a monetary investment on the part of my firm because we pay for dinners. We pay for sporting events and we pay for, you know, for you to take someone golfing and those, those types of things. We, and then again, the opportunity costs of the, of the loss charge ability, you know, the accounting firms are crazy about charge ability, but that’s, that’s an opportunity cost for us that we, as a firm pay right now. With the hopes that in five years from now it’s paying off dividends because you are so good at building these interpersonal relationships that, that, that are gonna.
Gene Hammett: Josh, I’m glad you went there because I think a lot of people don’t understand this. And if we go back to some of the conversations you’ve had is, you know, you’ve got 50 employees, not everybody’s expected to make rain or bring in money and clients. you know, a lot of tacticians and technicians around this, but you want to make sure that you’re having the kind of conversations where people are willing to put themselves out there and not be afraid to have these conversations. You know, one of the biggest things I’ve seen because I’ve had so many conversations with people is they don’t really see the value in selling something. But when you ask questions, like, let’s go back over the last project she worked on.
How did you create value there? Oh, exactly. Does that make sense? When you, when you have those questions to go back to, then they can carry that forward into that never would have happened. If someone didn’t put themselves out there.
Josh Teeple: Absolutely. And I, and I love it when, when one of our younger people are inquisitive about those types of things, and they really want to understand the dynamics of why are we doing this? Why is this important? How did this happen? How are we involved in this project today? , and it’s, it’s great too, for them to see the soup to nuts kind of experience. And I think that’s one of the opportunities that we offer to our employees. Is that, that level of exposure, as opposed to, you know, sitting in a cubicle and working on bank reconciliations for a year, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re interacting with, with partners and interacting directly with our, our clients and lawyers and bankers and everybody else throughout this process.
So these entire things, so I don’t lose the forest for the trees. And I think that’s a really neat opportunity that they have in consultancy practice. , like this, so for sure,
Gene Hammett: Josh, I want to bring this home. What we’ve been talking about today is inspiring people, really employees to have an entrepreneur mindset, and it takes a special breed of leadership to be able to bring that out in others. So I really appreciate you having that conversation today. What is, what is the one skill you’re working on now to be a stronger leader?
Josh Teeple: I always work on trying to, trying to have more patients and trying to, trying to get people more involved and trying to, trying to, to make more time for their development. I’d say. You know, personal shortcomings that I, that I recognize and I, and I do try to work at it. , but you know, I’m, I’m so busy and I got so many things on my plate that it’s hard to, to just take that 15 minutes and sit down and, and you know, now during COVID have that, have that one-on-one zoom meeting that I need to have with those people. And I always regret that. I don’t do it more frequently. Inevitably the feedback I gave either directly from the person with whom I sit down, or I hear about it from one of my partners who heard about it, or something like that was what I really enjoyed. That prime, where Josh sat down with me and walked me through this project or told me how to do this cashflow statement or whatever the thing is, the fact that you know, one of them.
One of the founding partners would sit down with a staff accountant and spend that 15 or 20 minutes to really help them understand why what we’re doing here is so important for the firm and by extension so important for your professional growth. That I think that pays crazy dividends.
Gene Hammett: Well, I appreciate you saying that because I think a lot of leaders just don’t see the importance of spending that extra time with individual players, to help them grow, help them shift beyond where they are today, but it pays off in spades. So Josh, thanks for being here on the podcast.
Josh Teeple: Oh, you’re very welcome. Thanks for having me, Gene, it’s been fun.
Gene Hammett: Well, I’m going to reflect back a little bit of the things that Josh talked about. This entrepreneurial spirit is something I think you, as a leader should be paying attention to. Hiring people into it, because these are the people that bring creative solutions to normal, everyday problems that your clients are facing. And if you have employees that are required to think, then you want to make sure that you are tuning into this entrepreneurial spirit, because it really will help them become better performers and better leaders. And you, by doing this will be a better leader. If you’re concerned about how to really take your leadership skills to the next level, make sure you check out Fast Growth Boardroom because we have a place where you can go learn how to be an extraordinary leader.
You can create great content and learn from others that are really growing their companies faster than ever before. Fast Growth Boardroom is something that you may want to take your business to the next level and your leadership. Just go to fastgrowthboardroom.com. As always, when you think of courage and you think of leadership, think of Growth Think Tank as always live with courage. See you next time.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
A QUICK FAVOR
And lastly, please leave a rating and review for the Growth Think Tank on iTunes (or Stitcher) – it will help us in many ways, but it also inspires us to keep doing what we are doing here. Thank you in advance!
If you want more from us check out more interviews: