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Episode 95: Brewing Up Success: Turning Coffee into a Family Empire

In this engaging episode of the Family Biz Show, host Michael Palumbos introduces Lisa Smoot from San Francisco Bay Coffee, offering a deep dive into the world of family businesses. Lisa shares the inspiring journey of her family's company, which her father started 43 years ago, transforming a bankrupt flavored coffee and tea company into a thriving enterprise.

Lisa recounts her father's audacious move to invest all their savings into the business, emphasizing the family's commitment and teamwork. She highlights her own progression in the company, starting from basic roles to her significant involvement in various departments, except roasting.

The conversation also sheds light on the company's strategic business decisions, like partnering with Costco, which played a pivotal role in their growth. Lisa discusses the challenges and transformations the company underwent, particularly focusing on their approach to employee training and development, underscoring the importance of clear communication and providing the right tools for success.

Furthermore, Lisa touches upon the family dynamics within the business, their succession planning, and the vital role of open communication in navigating the complexities of a family-run company. The episode encapsulates the essence of perseverance, strategic thinking, and the intrinsic values that guide family businesses through generations.

Watch the entire episode!

Episode 95 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Welcome everybody to the family. Biz show. I'm your host, Michael Columbus, with family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York. Very excited to have Lisa Smoot on the show today from San Francisco Bay. Coffee.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Very cool story that we're going to be talking about. I've dug in a little bit. Lisa doesn't know it yet. But I went through the website. And there's some really rich information that we're gonna be talking about today in regards to family businesses. We're gonna be talking about successes. We're gonna talk about some things that didn't go so well. And you're gonna get a ton of value, Lisa. Thank you for joining us. Thank you so much, Michael, for having me. I'm very excited to be here.



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lisa smoot: and Lisa shared with me before that. She's been listening to the show, so she's already prepped and knows where. You know a lot of the conversations and things that we do. I cannot believe you have a you have a 2 and a half hour. Commute each way each way. Oh, 5 h! It's 5 h.



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lisa smoot: III love you and respect you for doing that. I could barely do a 90 min commute, you know. I'll tell you I am a I don't like the hot weather and our roasting plant is out just north of Sacramento, and it could be 115 degrees when I leave here at night at 4 or 5,



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lisa smoot: and when I get on the San Mateo Bridge it's 52 degrees. The fog has come in. My, I don't need air conditioning. It's nice and cool. So for me, the climate is way more important than the commute. And I get to listen to your podcast so it's a win.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. So



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: well, let's you. You might know this, then II have a history of asking people to share their story of what entry into the family business look like for you.



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lisa smoot: So my dad started the coffee business 43 years ago. We actually grew up in Connecticut, born and raised in the East Coast to California for the offer. He couldn't refuse, hated that business, and after a couple of years, looking around and consulting



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lisa smoot: the options were a toothbrush company, a Dog Food Company, or this bankrupt flavored Coffee and Tea Company in San Francisco. We're like, Hey, let's buy the company



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lisa smoot: so! And this blows my mind to this day at 42 years old, with a senior in high school, a junior in high school, a ninth grader and eighth grader. My dad liquidated everything he had took all of our college money and bought this bankrupt company. And my mom said, Okay, let's go. We can do this.



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lisa smoot: And I remember standing in my kitchen at 42, thinking I would never have done that never! But my dad knew that he could succeed. He, you know, he grew up in New York with consumer products, and before we left he was running a division of Revlon called Mitchum Fair, so he's very experienced and well versed in in everything company wise. So



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lisa smoot: we moved out here. We bought this company, and we were cheap labor, as everyone in the family business will tell you. You know, we were stamping discontinued on the on all of the catalogs, and doing all the stuff that we could do for my mom and dad and going to school and high school and college. And then.



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lisa smoot: after college.



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lisa smoot: I was actually gonna go to work for Pepsi Co. In Arizona, and my dad said, Hey, I need to hire some people. I'd love you to come and work for me. But if you don't want to no problem.



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lisa smoot: so I thought alright, I'll give it a shot, you know I can always leave. So I started right out of college. And here I am all these years later, and you know, as everyone will tell you, I answered. Phones! I did accounts payable. I did accounts receivable, I did, you know, swept the floors. I did e-commerce and shipping, and you know, the only thing I did not do was roast. I had no interest, no desire to learn how to roast.



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lisa smoot: So that's the one thing that I didn't do. But you know I've been in this business now 40 years, and I've done pretty much everything that you can imagine. And now, generation 2, myself. My 2 brothers are here, and we're running the company.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Oh, my gosh! That's fabulous story! And and it's again II just love the disparity in stories where somebody somebody said, Oh, no, you can't work here for 5 years. Go and get your your stuff, and then the other ones, like trial by fire. Get in here. I need your help, and then the the other ones of you know the I have a a cabbage farmer client who followed his grandfather around



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: while he was splicing.



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lisa smoot: Genetic, you know, branches and stuff to make you know that whatever he well, he did it with oranges, and he also did it with with with cabbage, and today, you know, he's retired, you know. My clients now retired, but it was that time with grandpa. Not so much. His father was his time with grandpa that it was just meant so much to him. But he's like this is really cool. My dad was really really big on family, and he literally



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lisa smoot: forced us. And I'm not kidding. Once we all started getting dating and married, and all that kind of stuff. He forced us to go to Hawaii every year. Darn it!



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lisa smoot: And you couldn't bring guests. You couldn't bring fat friends. You had bring your kids. You had to come. For a week the cousins played together, and the parents, you know, did strategic planning for the next year, and I really think that that was the catalyst that made. You know there are. There are 15 grandchildren.



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lisa smoot: and they go range in age from 31 to 17, and sometimes it's all the boys and all the girls, and sometimes it's the oldest and the youngest sometimes. And it was really my dad just saying, This is what you have to do. No, no, kids, robots, and as you, as I hear on your show all the time, it's my way or the highway, you don't like it. Get out!



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's interesting. But you know, alright! So we have my way, or the highway, which is not



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: a way that you know, that really resonates well with us as human beings cause. We all have our own thought processes at the same time what he was doing of fostering the next generation, of working together and playing together and being able to communicate. And that was beautiful. That's awesome. That was a family meeting before family meetings.



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lisa smoot: right? And I didn't realize. And at the time I didn't realize what he was doing. And then we're going to Hawaii, and you know we're having treasure hunts and stuff like that. But it is, it is working together and communicating. But



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lisa smoot: you know, if that was on the on the island right when we get back, it's a completely dot ball, different ball of wax, and.



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lisa smoot: as my family likes to say, we're a lot of chiefs and no Indian, so we were all doing our own separate things, so that no one we, you know, we interact. But we wouldn't tell each other what to do, and we wouldn't cause World War Iii, because I'm telling my brother how to do his job. So we we did. You know we worked together. We had fun. We played together, we lived together ironically. I lived with my



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lisa smoot: youngest brother's wife. My 2 brothers lived in an apartment above me in San Francisco. I mean, it was really really a very, you know. We were all working hard on the business. We were all having fun, and it was, you know, everything we did was to build this business to what it was.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that's amazing. Let's talk about your your parents are John and Barbara.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: They have those 3 of you. Okay? And they buy this bankrupt business.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What I mean you. You remember these things because you were there. So this really, really rich? This is really rich. Talk about how he moved that you all moved from bankrupt business to



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I don't know what what. When. When Dad retired.



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lisa smoot: Mom and Dad retired. What was what was the business doing revenue wise, if that's okay to ask over 200 million.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah. So you you went from a bankrupt business to over 200 million in how many years?



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lisa smoot: Hmm, let's see, I think he retired in 2,017. So that would be, I don't know. It was, you know, 35 35 years.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: something like that. 32 years something. And if if do you remember getting where the first 1 million of revenue?



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lisa smoot: Oh, I remember, I remember when we had no money, and we had to get hard money loans because no one would lend us money. They're like, Are you crazy? And you know we would. We go? Okay, we have to make payroll on Friday. Who are we not pay well? We need our coffee beans. We gotta pay for our coffee beans. Who can we not pay this week, so that we can make payroll, and it was.



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lisa smoot: you know, we we had a bankrupt company that was buying coffee and tea from other sources, flavoring that, packaging it and then selling it to the you know the mon pub, or May stores of the world, the little coffee, not even the coffee shops. It was the gourmet stores.



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lisa smoot: and my dad said, She's Louise. We are never gonna make. We're never gonna make it. We don't have any scale. We have no control over our costs. So we started looking for a coffee company to buy. We bought this coffee company. We started roasting our own coffee, and you know. Then we'd take still. Take orders from Michael's coffee shop. I need 5 pounds of this and 6 pounds of that, and then we'd roast it, and we deliver it. And you know, sometimes I was delivering the coffee.



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lisa smoot: and my dad was still saying, Man, oh, man, we are just never! We're never gonna make you know, it's gonna take us years to get to scale. And he'd always, you know, consumer products. And you know, drug stores and whatnot. So he said. We need some big customers.



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lisa smoot: and right around the time where we're trying to figure out how we could scale up what we could do to scale up. Costco came into town.



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lisa smoot: and we went to Costco, and we walked into Costa when it was all the canned bulges. And you know, Port commercial copies of the world, and there was no



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lisa smoot: gourmet coffee.



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lisa smoot: and you know my dad and my brother started looking around and asking questions. Everyone said, Don't go to Costco. Don't go to Costco. We hear they don't pay bills, and we're like what we got nothing to lose if they don't pay bills. You know. We got it. We got nothing. Anyways, we didn't heed their advice, and we went to cost one said, You don't have a gourmet coffee, and they're like you're right, we don't. And so we started working them to develop a a product to sell in their stores.



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lisa smoot: And then they said, Okay, great. You know we'll take 10 truckloads. Let's say I don't remember what the first order was.



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lisa smoot: but we are like holy smokes. We've got no way to make that much coffee this quickly, so we, my dad ran over to Italy with one of my brothers, and we got a bigger roaster. We got a fast packaging machine, and we put everything in place, and my brother John learned how to run the machine and take it apart and put it back together, and there we go, and we were off to the races. And that's how we first started getting our first big customer



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lisa smoot: and how we, I mean. And we've been, you know, they've been one of our businesses are, you know, they've been one of our customers for 37 years. So it's you know we do. Well, when we have a relationship with the customer. And it's not just, you know, what's the cheapest price we, you know. And we really try to be that partner, a good partner with all of the people that we do business with. So that was our first big win. And we were like, Wow, okay, we can retire now. So it was awesome.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's great when you look at, you know. So at that point Costco comes in. They're probably overnight. Go to 90% of your business at some level 100% of our business. You know, Michael's coffee shop went out of business. We're like, who cares? We got you guys over here. But so the the risk to that.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know, is having one source and whatnot. How long did it take from having just the one source that Ga got you over the you know that 1 million dollar may, you know, revenue spot to where you'd started to diversify your your risk. Well, I think that sort of gave us validation, because up to that point no one knew who who the heck is. San Francisco Bay Coffee Company, and then all of sudden we were in



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lisa smoot: Costco stores. So then, all the little local grocery stores, the You know, the Patrice and the Molly stones and whatnot in the Cal. In the on the Bay area and the West coast. They all started going. Oh, well, you know. Ha! That's interesting. And and so we started getting it opened more doors for us.



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lisa smoot: so it validated us. It took us a while, but you know it was just, you know.



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lisa smoot: a plug, and we are very. We are very grateful to the opportunity we have with Costco. And we, you know, that is a very special relationship that we don't ever take for granted. And we always try to make sure we are doing the right thing by everyone that we do business with. But that really sort of open doors for us.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's awesome.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: go back for just a second because it it. I think it's



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lisa smoot: it's relevant for people to understand that 37 years ago Costco was not the cost go that you think about today? No, they were super small, they were you know. It was sort of like the Costco business centers up today. There wasn't a lot of product. There was no fresh food, there was no Deli department. There was the. I don't even think the food courts were open in in the be beginning, and I mean



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lisa smoot: we made it a point when we started doing business with them, of going to every Costco opening there was, and passing out, making coffee and passing out the coffee.



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lisa smoot: and the night before the Costco store is open they have a Vip party, and we would go. We were always next to the desserts. Our coffee was right there, we coffee, but in the old, old days of opening a Costco, they at the Vip party. They'd always serve beer and wine.



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lisa smoot: so no one wanted to drink coffee. They were all drinking the beer and wine, and then they put an end to that, and then people would come and get their cake and their coffee, and then, you know, that's when we got you know, it's as my dad used to say, we're drug dealers. We give it away till for free, until you're hooked, and then we start charging you



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: healthy drug dealers, health healthy, legal. I just think that's fantastic, and you have grown along with Costco and along the ways. I'm sure there are other people. What do you do you call it white labeling or private labeling, or what? No, in cost. We're not in all cost goes, but it's our branded label. It's a San Francisco Bay coffee, and it's a 2 pound bag of French roast or organic. And then we have these



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lisa smoot: home compostable like one cup pod that you know, curing, compatible, that are that are compostable rather than thrown into landfill. All 3 of those wherever in, in. I don't think we're in the cost goes in the East.



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lisa smoot: Okay? So you wouldn't know that unless we do like a nationwide promotion. But we haven't done one of those in a while.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So you guys. I



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: we do a lot of work with CEO plus leadership team development. And we talk about the, you know, forming, storming, norming, performing. And you have gone through all of those phases, and then to storming back to forming several times in the last 40 years. The other piece that we that we line up for people when we're talking to them. And I've never talked about this on the show. So this is kind of



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: this is really interesting just because of your situation. There's a book that I love called Navigating the Growth Curve.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And what he talks about is it's based on the size and the number of employees, so you know, to go from one employee, you know, 2 employees to to 10, to go from 10 to 25 to go to 25 to 50, to one, to where you get to a thousand. How many employees?



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lisa smoot: So in our roasting plant in Lincoln



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lisa smoot: we have 245, but we don't have enough.



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lisa smoot: Then we have a roasting plan in Mexico. We've got 60 there. We've got a roasting plant in Wales, and we've got 12 there and then we have coffee farms in Mexico, Panama.



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lisa smoot: Rwanda, and Kona that are have full time employees, and then, of course, during the crop we hire Temp, you know we'll have 1,500 employees working in in Mexico, picking on all the farms that we have down there.



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lisa smoot: So there's a lot there. It's it's and the biggest headaches that we have. As I heard, on one of your, podcast the other night is one, the communication and the people. It is always, you know. I don't hear what you're saying, or I misinterpret what you're saying or



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lisa smoot: the communications not clear, and every single I say to everyone every day 99.9 of the problems we have that we have to deal with this because of communication do a better job. We need to make sure you know. What do they call it? Parity? Michael did. What I'm hearing you say is blah blah blah.



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lisa smoot: We don't do enough of that. But but we also what I realized in in in my 5 h commute is that



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lisa smoot: we promote people here, and we don't give them the skills to be managers.



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lisa smoot: We, you know, we say congratulations, Lisa. You're now, you know you're now a supervisor. Well, what does that mean? You know we don't really give them the skills. So this year, we're really focusing on developing our



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lisa smoot: our employees. Whether that means a supervisor. What do you have to do at supervisor lab label level and then lead level, and then manager level. And then how do you talk to people? And how do you write things up? And where does the Hr. Step in, you know? When is it over your head? And you need to jump? Hr, and then



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lisa smoot: and and what are what are your what do you want to do with your life, Michael? Do you want to be in quality? Control your whole life? Okay, great. But you know there's all these other things you could do, too. So we're we're putting together. We just hired a trainer which I'm really excited about, who's going to develop these programs for us.



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lisa smoot: And we're gonna just start. You know, we're starting simple with training the people who need to be trained. And then it's gonna go all the way out all the way out to even the people who are on the lines packing, you know, and whose training skills might be a little different. We have a lot of people whose English is not their first language.



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lisa smoot: and they have some challenges, as far as you know. How do I get around in in the world, you know, how do I fill out a mortgage form, or what do I need? What tools do I need to make sure I qualify that. So we're gonna start, really, really basic simple stuff



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lisa smoot: and work our way up and give them as much training as they possibly could want. And more.



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lisa smoot: Lisa, you must have listened to one of my episodes. Have you read the Dream Manager? I have not, but I had. I've been thinking about this because I have a guy



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lisa smoot: who every single time he gets his paycheck he says we're cheating him.



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lisa smoot: and we're ripping him off.



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lisa smoot: and as I was on my 5 h commute in the morning. I thought. He doesn't know how to calculate what his paycheck is, so that's what got me started.



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lisa smoot: Then I talked to my director of Hr. And said, This is what I want to do, and she's like, well, we need to hire someone, and then I listen to your show. And I'm like, Okay, I'm on the you validate it. You validate what I thought I needed. You're creating San Francisco Bay Coffee University, and I can't. I can't say it enough. The companies that go through and create an internal university.



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lisa smoot: I will throw it out there that knows where they're great and knows when to go external. You know it's okay. There's you just can't be great at everything.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And so I just I hits off to you for that. That's the the Aha moment for me, you know we I don't know. Last year my senior leadership, you know, I've been putting them in place.



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lisa smoot: What's our mission statement, Lisa, what's our? And I'm like, Oh, God, who the heck cares! We, you know, just do your job. It's fine. It's fine, and we've had 16 variations of mission statement. And so finally.



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lisa smoot: all of my senior leadership was talking about our mission statement, our mission statement. So I said, Okay, we have our senior leadership team all the people we need to take this to the next level. Let's so we did a workshop.



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lisa smoot: and we spent 6 months sort of looking at who we are and what's important to us and creating a new mission vision core values which we love. We rolled out in April. And then, right after that I had. I don't know if you know Bob Anderson, have you heard of Bob Anderson from Stoke?



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lisa smoot: He has a group called Leading Challenges, and I met him through my vistage group, and he does a workshop on Eq. IQ.



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lisa smoot: Which we needed. And I said, Supervisor, no, we'd level. And up he came for 2 days.



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lisa smoot: and you know people were in there going. Oh, my God, I can't believe this workshop, I said. Put your phones away and listen, that's all you need to do is listen to. And Bob is a very dynamic, very. You know. He's he's been a teacher. He's been in the army. He's been a lieutenant, I mean. He's done all sorts of amazing things in this world.



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lisa smoot: and I would just peek my head in at the end of every session to see how people were receiving the eqi queue.



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lisa smoot: People were crying and going up and shaking his hand, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, we really, we really need this and that sort of escalated even more cause he was here in March.



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lisa smoot: We need to, you know. That's when we started.



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lisa smoot: Hire the trainer. What's the program? How are we going to do this? And you know, let's simplify it to the very, very basic level. And if no one signed up for how to balance the checkbook. Then we don't need that class right? Right? What I want to do is have these classes on an intranet San Francisco Bay intranet. So you can just go through the library and click on what you want and learn how to do it.



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lisa smoot: But I'm not there yet. That's okay.



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lisa smoot: Long term goals. Yes, yes.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So let's change. You said this before we started recording. And I'm like.



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lisa smoot: Oh, man, we could have 17 episodes just running through so many things we've done wrong, and so many things I want to do which and I'm only on. If I start the beginning 15 of your episodes, so I don't even know if I've got the right idea. But we'll figure it out by 87. Right? That's right. You'll get there you'll be fine. Yeah,



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: y. And you're gonna and you're gonna you're gonna laugh as you hear some of the episodes later on, where we start bringing in a what I didn't do in the beginning is I didn't do a lot of what I would call coaching, and then, as I started listening to the stories I'll ask the question, what are you struggling with? And it's fun to coach. If you give give people a little thing things back so you'll you'll get some things as you're going through.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Let's talk about



00:22:16.260 --> 00:22:20.960

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the family piece. Dynamic piece of this mom and dad.



00:22:22.260 --> 00:22:26.229

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You've got 30 plus years all working together.



00:22:26.920 --> 00:22:34.879

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What? Through that period of time? What for you is great about being part of a family business. What for? You was tough



00:22:35.260 --> 00:22:44.760

lisa smoot: about those years? I'm just. I want to focus when Mom and dad were here first. So I think the thing that was tough



00:22:45.110 --> 00:22:51.399

lisa smoot: was that we were spread very thin. It was literally the 6 of us running this business.



00:22:51.570 --> 00:23:04.700

lisa smoot: you know, Dad, how do I do this? Just figure it out. You'll be fine right? There wasn't a lot of coaching. A lot of this is, how do you do a marketing plan? There wasn't a lot of that. And in those days, you know we had to go buy the book. How do you write a marketing plan, or how do you do this? And



00:23:04.720 --> 00:23:10.100

lisa smoot: you know we'd say, Dad, you know. How am I doing in my job? And my dad was not a you know



00:23:10.340 --> 00:23:16.659

lisa smoot: he tell us he loved us. He tells we are important, but in our job. Do your job. And just, you know, just do your job. You're doing fine.



00:23:16.920 --> 00:23:24.550

lisa smoot: So there was a lot of feedback. So that was sort of hard, because you don't really know where you stand. But you know you're still getting a paycheck. So okay.



00:23:24.880 --> 00:23:27.090

lisa smoot: but there was also



00:23:28.640 --> 00:23:39.969

lisa smoot: I am a person of structure and processes. And I like to fix things. And it just, you know, we were just doing our job, which was focusing on getting more sales, more sales, more sales, more sales.



00:23:39.980 --> 00:23:55.800

lisa smoot: And my mom, my dad passed away may of 2022, and my mom just in this last January there. But you know, 89 years old, and as they both, they were married 67 years, as my dad said, you know, I've lived a wonderful life, and



00:23:55.820 --> 00:24:00.580

lisa smoot: when God tells me it's time to go. I'm ready because I have done everything that I want to do.



00:24:00.730 --> 00:24:28.769

lisa smoot: But so my dad passed away. I started running the company in December 2019, and I had come from sales. So I didn't really know. I mean, I've seen the financials and stuff like that. But I I'm a finance for non finance majors person. So I know what everything means. But I don't. You know I don't get the deep dive, and I need my Cfo to explain it. But I start looking at the processes. And you know, what are we doing right? And what are we doing wrong, and it felt like.



00:24:29.920 --> 00:24:43.540

lisa smoot: I I'm not a touchy, feely person, but you know there's communication that's important to what's going on, and no one was communicating, and this person didn't know what this person was doing, but they needed each other to know what they were doing to do the job. So



00:24:44.000 --> 00:24:45.220

lisa smoot: I sort of



00:24:45.330 --> 00:25:07.119

lisa smoot: not that there. Well, there were silos when I came in, but my dad didn't create the silos. He just said, Do your job right, and that's you know he expected that you do your job, whatever that means I don't know. So that was a huge challenge. The thing that was great with my mom and dad is. We all did this together, you know. We'd go to lunch every day together. We'd have weekends, we'd have dinners, and that was just, you know, and



00:25:07.190 --> 00:25:20.670

lisa smoot: I always thought my husband told me it was very odd that my family all we talked about was business, and I thought, you know, that's normal. And I didn't realize it's normal till I listen to one of your podcast where everyone said, all we talk about is business. And I was like, Phew, okay.



00:25:20.840 --> 00:25:30.839

lisa smoot: we're normal. So it was hard not getting the constructive criticism. And or this is what I want you to do. You know, it's just sort of a figure it out.



00:25:30.950 --> 00:25:56.329

lisa smoot: and and some of that is good, because, you know, it gives you sort of the creative to whatever. And I think I take that to the next level when we have someone coming in. I don't tell them how to do a job. I say I need you to do this, because their perspective might be completely different from mine, and they might think of something that we would never have thought of a way to do it, or a process or this or that that's going to be wait, you know way better than what we're doing.



00:25:56.380 --> 00:25:59.870

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, that's also very right. Now.



00:26:00.370 --> 00:26:23.349

lisa smoot: We've done things as as for 40 years, this is the way we do things. and it's only this way. And so I've challenged my team, hey? Just because we do it that way. Isn't the right way. Is there a better way to do this? Is there a more efficient way? So we've been the last 4 years, sort of like, lifted up every single rock and looked underneath it, and said, Hey, maybe there's an opportunity to do something different and do something better.



00:26:23.410 --> 00:26:40.030

lisa smoot: And we've had. You know, we haven't had a lot of egg on our face. We've had a lot of creative stuff that's happened by giving people the power to do things and the permission to try things. And I and I say to people every day, and I'll say, Hey, how about if we do it this way. Well, that's going to cost you a lot of money.



00:26:40.280 --> 00:26:47.749

lisa smoot: And II say, what's a lot of money, you know? Is it 10 million dollars? Because yes, that's a lot of money, is it? 100?



00:26:47.760 --> 00:26:56.949

lisa smoot: Maybe not. You know what? It's different for everybody, and it might be worth the investment, and then I also say



00:26:57.410 --> 00:27:08.460

lisa smoot: good enough isn't because I got that a lot in the beginning. Well, it's good enough. No, it's not good enough. It has to be perfect. And well, this is the way we've always done that. So no one ever says that anymore, you know, because



00:27:09.030 --> 00:27:24.209

lisa smoot: what worked 40 years ago is not going to work now, and if we don't look at things every day and figure out a way to be better, stronger, faster, whatever we're going to be, you know. We're going to be stuck in in the mud, spinning our wheels where everyone's going, you know, up to the moon. Got it



00:27:24.410 --> 00:27:33.299

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: so I I'll not. I don't wanna challenge you. That's not what the show is about, but II am a Gi. I'm a giant fan, as good as good enough.



00:27:33.310 --> 00:27:57.000

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Oh, really, yeah. So it's kind of interesting and and and so just a different perspective. So when I talk about good is good enough. It's if I make an 80% improvement from where we are. Even though I didn't make it 100. And I implemented, I'm gonna be better off. Stop. So it's, you know, if I keep going. One more, one more. But I'm adding to it, like we have a new website



00:27:57.150 --> 00:28:17.160

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that was supposed to be launched in July, they should have been launched in June. It's not there yet. It focuses 100% on all these CEO interviews that I've done. And we interviewed outside of this another 70. You know, Ceos, they all say, you know, the problems that they're facing are



00:28:17.160 --> 00:28:31.520

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: always the same things. They wanna grow revenue and profit. They wanna grow the value of the business. And it's always the people that are that are the the things that they get stuck on. That's what I use again and again. Then you you just confirm that with communication people.



00:28:31.570 --> 00:28:52.190

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So we're about to like redefine our website, you know, instead of answering the 25 questions that we have the capability of. And I'm just doing that in quotes, you know, we're focusing on the one thing that's most important to the CEO on our front page. And just answer the one thing that's important. And I know it's going to revolutionize how we communicate with the people that we serve.



00:28:52.250 --> 00:28:58.949

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: But it's not ready, and it's taking forever. And I'm like good is good enough, and I know I say that. But there, get. There's a point of



00:28:59.080 --> 00:29:14.900

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: right. I don't know. I don't know if that's what I'm trying to do. I don't know if that's what I'm going to do. I don't know if that's what I'm going to do. I'm not sure if you're going to be able to do it or not. I'm not sure if you're going to be able to do it or not. I don't know if you're going to be able to do it or not. I don't know if you're going to be able to do it or not, I'm not sure if you're going to be able to do it or not. I don't know if it's



00:29:15.090 --> 00:29:17.619

lisa smoot: people are drinking every morning right?



00:29:17.700 --> 00:29:22.089

lisa smoot: And there are a million copy companies out there, and if



00:29:22.560 --> 00:29:27.469

lisa smoot: good enough. Now I take a sip of this, and I go. Oh, what is this? This stuff is horrible!



00:29:27.500 --> 00:29:31.100

lisa smoot: Yes, they will never come back. No.



00:29:31.110 --> 00:29:35.179

lisa smoot: And another example. I had



00:29:35.920 --> 00:29:38.279

lisa smoot: bags that were standing



00:29:38.380 --> 00:30:02.409

lisa smoot: that kind of look like this, you know, when they're sitting on the shelf. They should be straight like that. And I go. What's going on with those bags. Oh, well, that's good enough, I said. No, it's not because when it's on the shelf and someone walks by, and they see this and everything else is perfectly straight. They're gonna say, there's something wrong with that right? So little bit different, you know. In some instances good enough is good enough.



00:30:02.440 --> 00:30:12.219

lisa smoot: And you're right. You could nip, pick the little details on the website all day long and say, Oh, my God, that color is the wrong color red. I need a deeper red.



00:30:12.460 --> 00:30:22.589

lisa smoot: but you know, with with consumer perceptions that could make or break, that could make or break, you, you know, and it in my mind it has to be perfect every time, and if the operator.



00:30:22.590 --> 00:30:43.830

lisa smoot: you know, sees the the seal is going like this instead of straight across where it's not taped properly, or the labels crypto, or whatever. That's not good enough, you know I have to give visuals and say, Here's perfect. This is what I expect from you, and so they have something to compare it to, because everyone's perception of perfect is completely different.



00:30:44.520 --> 00:30:51.460

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I think that's really powerful messaging that I'm going to adopt. There are times perfect is



00:30:51.460 --> 00:31:15.000

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the only thing acceptable, and it goes back to quality control and product design. And you know what you're putting on the shelf, and that is, who represents us. That's no different, like when I'm serving a client I'd have to be bringing my best for them. I can't just be good is good enough. I'm talking about those. It's those design. It's those other pieces like, yeah.



00:31:15.100 --> 00:31:39.169

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: for values. We got 5 out of 4 of them perfect. We're missing that fourth one. Just you're the fifth one. Just go with it, anyways, and you'll you'll you'll reiterate that your mission, those kinds of things, and sometimes like good enough. I mean, you've got to put good enough out on a website. For example, you have to put good enough out there, and then you have to have PE, you know, you can get so much feedback from people and family, hey? Or everyone



00:31:39.170 --> 00:31:45.710

when you know. Click on this and tell me what you think right, and, believe me, people are happy to tell you what they think.



00:31:45.850 --> 00:31:50.660

lisa smoot: Don't invite it unless you want to hear it right good, bad, and ugly.



00:31:51.400 --> 00:31:52.480

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So



00:31:52.540 --> 00:31:58.810

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: talk about the transition between Mom and Dad to



00:31:58.830 --> 00:32:09.580

lisa smoot: the group of you know the group that was running the company that runs the company. So my mom and dad retired in like 2,017. My youngest brother took over running the company.



00:32:09.620 --> 00:32:20.899

lisa smoot: 2,017 may have 2,017 something like that, and decided to leave in December 2,019.



00:32:21.020 --> 00:32:34.259

lisa smoot: Sort of sudden. You know, we were talking about the direction we were going and saying, Hey, we need to get back to basics. and we all disagreed. 5 of us disagreed with one of us, and he just finally said, You know what I'm gonna leave



00:32:34.620 --> 00:32:39.880

lisa smoot: so very suddenly, on some on a Sunday, I discovered that



00:32:39.960 --> 00:32:42.830

lisa smoot: we need to figure out who is running the company on Monday.



00:32:42.840 --> 00:32:46.680

lisa smoot: so I called my 2 brothers, my 2 brothers still remaining, and said, Hey.



00:32:47.130 --> 00:32:53.679

lisa smoot: you need to get into work tomorrow. We need to figure this out and we sat down, and they said.



00:32:53.730 --> 00:33:20.289

lisa smoot: We think you should run the company, and you know I have 4 children. They're all in college and all out of the house now. So I said I could do this. No problem. I I've had no experience running a company at all, but I'm a mother. I've sat on boards, I've you know, been the team, mom for soccer. You've had to, Cor. I've had to corral lots of lots of cats all over the world. And so I said, Okay, I can do this. And I just started talking to everyone of the company.



00:33:20.420 --> 00:33:23.989

lisa smoot: What do you do? What are your frustrations? What's going on?



00:33:24.040 --> 00:33:40.359

lisa smoot: And there was a lot of I saw that there were a lot of silos like our quality control did not talk to our green purchasing team. Well, why not? Well, we've never been allowed to like go. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You guys better figure out how you can communicate, make sure we. So we strip down the silos.



00:33:40.380 --> 00:33:46.470

lisa smoot: I think in the first year of me running the company, I changed 57 things that we were doing in the company.



00:33:46.480 --> 00:33:53.890

lisa smoot: and you have your mute on. You hit your mute by accident, I think. Nope, okay, so



00:33:54.000 --> 00:34:05.090

lisa smoot: I could hear my dog burking. I'll just save that. The good thing about Covid is



00:34:05.110 --> 00:34:30.429

lisa smoot: people taking a sip of coffee or dogs barking or kids coming in and going like that. It's all acceptable now, because that's life right? Oh, well. so we I remember sitting with my Cfo. We called it the War Room, and we just put white posted notes down and wrote, you know, imminent dangers. What do we need to worry about now? Next week, next month, 3 months, 6 months. Blah blah blah! And we just started assembling a leadership team



00:34:30.449 --> 00:34:37.469

lisa smoot: and figuring out what we had to do and just started. I started changing everything we were doing everything we did



00:34:37.860 --> 00:34:41.729

lisa smoot: more collaboration, you know, the first thing we did is



00:34:41.920 --> 00:34:56.820

lisa smoot: I changed the way that we pay our employees we used to pay our employees with a very small salary, and then a very large bonus check. But there was really no rhyme or reason why you and I doing the same job. You got 5,000, and I got 150,000.



00:34:57.180 --> 00:35:09.009

lisa smoot: So I hired a consultant, and he helped us with pay scales and and and you know, for example, we we also had people who've been with us. We have some people who've been with us 30, 40 years.



00:35:09.320 --> 00:35:24.849

lisa smoot: and every year their their pace, their pay would go up and up and up. and you know. we develop pay scales for different jobs in our company. So let's say, quality control. The most you could make now is $35 an hour.



00:35:24.880 --> 00:35:33.609

lisa smoot: and if you wanted to make more money, then you've got to do a different job. Here's all the different jobs you can do that will make you more money, but you've got to stretch and grow.



00:35:33.690 --> 00:35:53.119

lisa smoot: So we had some push back in the beginning. But now you know people, you know, I had a guy say to me least, I've been here for 25 years, and this guy that just came and started working quality control making the same amount as me. I said you could make more, Hugo. You need to. Here's all the different jobs that we need that make more money and can help you grow. What do you want to do? Let's help you get there.



00:35:53.150 --> 00:35:56.180

lisa smoot: So we created upward mobility we created.



00:35:56.270 --> 00:36:09.660

lisa smoot: So there's no getting people out of their comfort zone, you know, 25 years in the same job. That's great, but that also that can also be a det, a detriment, because, you know, you're comfortable in what you're doing, and you might not give it 100 attention every single day.



00:36:09.760 --> 00:36:21.849

lisa smoot: But so we did a lot a lot of stuff. We've never in our lives ever had a marketing department. Ironically, until this year. I hired someone maybe in March



00:36:22.170 --> 00:36:29.839

lisa smoot: she came from she's got an Mba in marketing. She's a super smart person. Went to University of Michigan. Really, great lady



00:36:30.320 --> 00:36:35.309

lisa smoot: she is now our market. We know we did focus groups. So now we understand. You know.



00:36:35.360 --> 00:36:45.859

lisa smoot: you know, all the things that we thought were important on the bag of coffee. No one gives it, no one cares, no one cares. So we're like, Wow, we're wasting a lot of real estate on stuff that we think is important. That's not.



00:36:45.890 --> 00:37:02.400

lisa smoot: And she, we have a brand manager. And we have a digital manager. And we're really sort of understanding who our consumers are so that we can get out there and start and start selling people like you who care about San Francisco Bay. What you want, which is eye opening, it was eye opening.



00:37:02.760 --> 00:37:05.730

lisa smoot: That's fabulous. You know what really great



00:37:05.920 --> 00:37:17.129

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: a a lot of what you just said doesn't always happen. But when it does, 98% of the time. It's magical, what it? What I, what my take away, is



00:37:17.330 --> 00:37:45.589

lisa smoot: run the company the way you want to run the company when you're the next generation. When you're in there, do not try to be the person before you, you honor them by being you right. The one thing that I will the one thing that I do the same as my dad. My dad used to walk around the warehouse at 10'clock every day he talked to, and my dad said, you treat everyone like family.



00:37:45.830 --> 00:38:04.160

lisa smoot: and I remember during Covid, I mean, if when we moved from the Bay Area to here, my dad rented buses and brought the people that he thought we were gonna that were gonna come with us to look at schools and look at homes and look at apartments, and to look at all of these things so that they would be comfortable in what they were moving to.



00:38:04.240 --> 00:38:07.330

lisa smoot: So they're going from East Oakland, which is, you know.



00:38:07.470 --> 00:38:16.590

lisa smoot: you got to duck and cover, just going out to your car to go to school every day because of the you know the the drugs and the shootings, and all the horrible, you know, smash and grabs and whatnot



00:38:16.660 --> 00:38:32.469

lisa smoot: to these areas where they could afford to to rent and buy homes. And so during Covid I went to get my mom and dad a a shot, and for some reason they said, Oh, you have to come back in an hour. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I can't! I can't come back in an hour. So we said, Oh, let's go to work.



00:38:32.470 --> 00:38:57.099

lisa smoot: So I took my mom and dad on a field trip, and my dad at this time was a little bit unsteady, so I had him in a wheelchair, and we walked into the warehouse, and I swear to God it was like Lady Gaga or another. Swift had gotten there. All these people are just swarming my mom and dad, and oh, Hello, Mrs. Rogers! Hello, Mr. Rogers! It's so nice to see you and my mom and dad. You know they're looking at me. I'm like, that's Martin.



00:38:57.100 --> 00:39:05.540

lisa smoot: So that's you know, one. And they're like, Oh, what's nice to see you? But it was really like they're celebrities, because a lot of people. We have that just retired



00:39:05.690 --> 00:39:16.619

lisa smoot: 27 years, and he came in to say, Thank you. But it wasn't for my dad he wouldn't have a house. His family wouldn't have stability, and he would not have been able to buy a house for his parents in Mexico.



00:39:17.590 --> 00:39:27.340

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: The impact, you know, you're you're just making goosebumps listening to you. It's



00:39:27.340 --> 00:39:52.380

lisa smoot: fabulous. And at the end of the day, you know. Yes, when when we started the business, when you started, when did? And mom started the business and you were all working together. It was survival. It was. I don't what I'm doing. But he didn't keep that mentality. It was survival for everybody, and he shared that. I just heard from one of your things. 4.2 people are affected by the decisions.



00:39:52.500 --> 00:40:00.699

lisa smoot: III did the math when I got home, and I could pick up my phone and just in Lincoln alone, that's over 1,000 people.



00:40:02.140 --> 00:40:23.299

lisa smoot: So he and my and my dad did, and my dad did truly care for everyone. Every day he walked so every day, now, at least once a day, I try and do it twice today, morning and afternoon, and I stopped and I talked to one. How are you doing, you know, do you? You know, what do you like about your job. What don't you like about your job? What tools? You need to be able to do your job better?



00:40:23.600 --> 00:40:36.930

lisa smoot: And you know I just asked those questions. And it's amazing the stuff that you get. I'll I'll tell you a really silly sort of Aha! Moment that how simple these needs are that you know, don't even occur to us. I had a woman who's in my



00:40:37.120 --> 00:40:45.739

lisa smoot: shipping department, say, you know. Well, you know what we need in in the ladies. Room is a machine, for you know, sanitary products.



00:40:46.270 --> 00:40:47.759

lisa smoot: and I'm like what



00:40:48.170 --> 00:41:04.619

lisa smoot: she goes. Well, you know. Now we have to take a break. We got to go to our get our purse in the break room, and then we have to walk in to the bathroom, and then we have to go back, and it's very embarrassing. And sometimes you have to have that stuff in your hand. And I thought, Oh, my gosh! I can't even believe as simple a solution as that.



00:41:04.950 --> 00:41:14.670

lisa smoot: And then they said, Well, you know we can't do that, because how are we gonna charge them? You know they can't have money in their pockets because they're on a line. So I said, Make it for free



00:41:14.900 --> 00:41:43.799

lisa smoot: and sign up. They're saying, Hey, if you take advantage of this, you're gonna have to start paying, or it goes away, you know. Please be respectful and make sure that you take just what you need, and so far knock on wood. So far so good. But you know those kind of just those conversations. It's just so eye opening to the simple things that people ask for. It's not. I need a raise. I don't. I want this. It's you know. We we used to have an ice machine in our office. That was this ginormous ice machine that you could have for a convention center. And I always thought.



00:41:43.910 --> 00:41:46.520

Where the heck do we have such a big ice machine?



00:41:46.530 --> 00:42:06.570

lisa smoot: And one woman said, we don't have ice, and the guys have to go from the warehouse into the office, get ice and go back and keep it in cooler. Can we have that ice machine, I'm like, sure. Take it. So now they've got an ice machine, and we've got a small one. That was what we need here. So it's all simple, simple, easy stuff that you don't find out about unless you talk to people and listen to what they're saying



00:42:07.430 --> 00:42:08.970

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and care.



00:42:08.980 --> 00:42:13.540

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That really does matter. It really does matter. And you



00:42:13.630 --> 00:42:15.269

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: a lot of times.



00:42:15.350 --> 00:42:44.189

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: III think you know, I wanna see if I can say this properly. When your dad said, just do your job that comes across potentially is not caring cause they're not listening and just go out and figure it out. I but I think in your dad's circumstances, what he was saying is, I trust you to figure this out. I believe in you, even though it was spoken, and I care about you. And he showed his care just differently. Other things that he did. That's just



00:42:44.700 --> 00:43:10.029

lisa smoot: they were amazing people. And you know, just the I know I can do this. I know I can do this, and it's so interesting because they, you know, born in the Thirtys, their classic classic. You know that that era? And when my mom passed away I was going through all of their stuff. I had to go through all their stuff because my mom had stashed money, and I couldn't just take peep paper and throw it away.



00:43:10.360 --> 00:43:16.980

lisa smoot: My dad went to a boarding school called the Whalen Academy. and I think it's in Beaverton, Wisconsin.



00:43:17.000 --> 00:43:21.930

lisa smoot: and I see this little little gold thing, and I'm like what the heck is this.



00:43:22.050 --> 00:43:27.090

lisa smoot: And so it's inscribed hand inscribed on the back, and as a senior in high school.



00:43:27.200 --> 00:43:37.900

lisa smoot: my dad got the highest award that you could get graduated from that app from that university, never knew it never had any idea. And I was like, Wow, so they were just



00:43:37.910 --> 00:43:41.119

lisa smoot: head down. Do your job right head down your job.



00:43:42.140 --> 00:43:48.979

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I wanna pick up on that point, too, and I think it's one of the



00:43:49.230 --> 00:44:12.740

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: One of the diseases, I'll say, of American Ceos, is this rugged individualism, this this feeling that I have to do it all on my own to be able to make this thing happen. And sometimes what ha! What happens is, you can't see the forest through the trees. You know you, you get stuck and always doing it a certain way. And



00:44:12.800 --> 00:44:35.620

lisa smoot: and by opening up those doors it really helps, especially when the CEO starts to see things differently. And and also, I would say, giving your team the permission to challenge you or to say, Hey, Lisa. Do we really want to do it this way? Because I think you know. And and I'll give you a



00:44:35.740 --> 00:44:55.689

lisa smoot: perfect example. We we need to buy a bigger roaster. 2 years ago, I said, Buy a bigger roaster. It's gonna take us 2 years to get it. So by the time we get it we'll need it. Oh, well, the return on the investment isn't really good. Blah! Blah blah! We don't want to do that. I'm like, just buy it. No, I don't think we want to spend that money. I mean in a in a roaster starts at a million dollar. So it's a big investment.



00:44:55.790 --> 00:45:03.370

lisa smoot: So I said, Okay, all right, you know you win. I you know I trust you. You know the production better than I do. I trust you



00:45:03.410 --> 00:45:23.929

lisa smoot: now. We wish we had that roaster. But it's a, you know, giving them permission. It's not gonna be that big a deal that we don't have it right now, but giving, you know. Okay, so if we don't get the roaster, then what's plan? B. And how are you know I almost am a plan. B person. If we don't do it this way. What's plan? B. And I want to hear what your plan, B is. And I want assurances that



00:45:23.950 --> 00:45:26.420

lisa smoot: nothing's gonna fall through the cracks. So



00:45:26.470 --> 00:45:39.029

lisa smoot: I you know they challenge me every day, and it's and it's comfortable. I mean, we don't ever have contentious discussions. The only contentious discussions are between Jim, John and Lisa because we're siblings, and you know how that goes.



00:45:39.440 --> 00:45:48.470

lisa smoot: But we've all. And and we've also never had the discussion. How do we speak to each other. It just sort of pops right back in. But people



00:45:48.710 --> 00:46:02.089

lisa smoot: have permission to challenge and disagree, and I don't agree with you. I think we should do. Do it this way, and you know, as I've said before, I I'm willing to not do it my way, because I don't want to be that person that's



00:46:02.190 --> 00:46:11.520

lisa smoot: hammering them, saying, No, this is the way we're gonna do it, because I'm not always right. And I'm always you're right looking at it this way, where they have fresh perspective, they might. They might



00:46:11.780 --> 00:46:24.050

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: give me a better perspective than what I'm thinking. Yeah, we we that brings up another point you were into. You and I were introduced through a message board.



00:46:24.320 --> 00:46:35.499

lisa smoot: How long ago did you join Vista? Oh, boy. I joined. I think I'm coming up on 2 years, and when I first joined I was the only female in my group. That's



00:46:35.540 --> 00:46:53.500

lisa smoot: and you know what I'm totally comfortable with that because I had 3 brothers growing up. I've always been the only woman in the room, and sometimes I use that to my advantage. I don't care it, really, and you know our motto in in the Rogers family is, when you down take them harder, so nothing affects me.



00:46:53.580 --> 00:46:57.580

lisa smoot: But when I first joined. It was during Covid. It was virtual meetings.



00:46:57.940 --> 00:47:18.369

lisa smoot: And I'm like, Oh, jeez I, you know I'm gonna give this one year. This is not what I think I signed up for. And then we started having in in in person meetings. And it's so weird it's almost like there was like a microphone on my phone because I'd be thinking about something, a problem that I had to figure out or deal with.



00:47:18.450 --> 00:47:39.630

lisa smoot: And we have a speaker that spoke about it, and I'd be like, Oh, my gosh! So you know, as I've gotten more comfortable it, it really is for me. It's really really valuable. We have probably 80% of the time we have Guest speaker and the other 20. It's just an executive session where we pro issue process and whatnot.



00:47:40.030 --> 00:47:53.959

lisa smoot: And it's really it's really helpful to get other perspectives or to listen to other problems which might not be the same as mine. But all of the feedback from everyone gives me. Oh, maybe I should look at it this way. Oh, well, that's a good point. So it's really



00:47:54.040 --> 00:48:01.969

lisa smoot: it's really, really what I thought I didn't think it was gonna be as great as it is. And I really, I really really look forward to my meetings



00:48:02.060 --> 00:48:26.830

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: good. And and that's, you know, goes back to being a learner. You're listening to our podcast it's getting the same, the same kind of feeling where it's like, here's somebody else's perspective, or I learned something new. And so what can I do to take this, my father? I'm second generation as a wealth advisor and most wealth advisors are not also business coaches. That's one of those weird things that I just.



00:48:26.860 --> 00:48:42.529

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know, if I can things to my my job, let's do it. But what he taught me was, I don't care. Every conference you go to, every meeting that you're in, where there's a speaker, every book that you read. I want you to look for one thing



00:48:42.700 --> 00:48:50.810

lisa smoot: interesting one. If you just find one thing and then implement it into your business and implement it into your life



00:48:50.910 --> 00:49:14.609

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: over and over again. You're gonna be way further ahead than other people, and that makes that time worth your while, because, even though it might be one small thing if you use that for the next 15 years, 30 years, it makes a big impact. And like that was really good advice. That was probably not all. Many pieces of great advice from Dad. The ones that I really took was a big one. I took leave.



00:49:14.610 --> 00:49:27.149

lisa smoot: Yeah, no, I you know. II have a list of books that I've gotten off of your podcast. I have a list of, we have a book club in our in our vistage group, and every month there's a book that's pushed out. And then when I read them.



00:49:27.150 --> 00:49:32.430

lisa smoot: you're over on the side of my anyone who wants to listen or borrow them, or whatever have at it.



00:49:32.630 --> 00:49:58.819

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Great! Yeah, that's I just heard that from one of my vistage members that was, he had come to one of our boot camps, brought his leadership team in and heard me talking about how leaders are learners. So he created what he called the you know the the library, and they somebody created a box and a shelf, and they he just filled it with books some, you know, if there was. If they had, you know, if there was a book that's super popular would put 5 or 6 of them in there. And just



00:49:58.820 --> 00:50:05.050

lisa smoot: yeah. And that way, everybody on the leadership team or in the business could



00:50:05.960 --> 00:50:08.680

lisa smoot: to, you know, learn from it. So yeah.



00:50:08.810 --> 00:50:19.140

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know. My alright, Lisa, we could just keep going and going and going here. Talk to me about right now. If you look at your priorities over the next 12 months.



00:50:19.260 --> 00:50:21.710

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what would you say? Your top 3 priorities are



00:50:22.700 --> 00:50:24.179

lisa smoot: expansion.



00:50:24.530 --> 00:50:31.799

lisa smoot: I don't know if that means a new plant, more more roasting capacity here.



00:50:32.050 --> 00:50:46.790

lisa smoot: I am a as I'm sort of an Ocd type of person, and I need pro. I'm a process person. And the one thing that bothers me since I've learned about all this is that my Dad did a great job of running the company up till he retired.



00:50:47.140 --> 00:50:48.799

lisa smoot: and there's no



00:50:49.870 --> 00:50:53.350

lisa smoot: since 2017. There's nothing out here to what's what's next?



00:50:53.490 --> 00:50:59.969

lisa smoot: You know II admire Queen Elizabeth so much that when she passed away



00:51:00.300 --> 00:51:03.920

lisa smoot: London Bridge has fallen, and everyone knew what they had to do.



00:51:03.970 --> 00:51:09.839

lisa smoot: everyone knew, and you know we need a succession plan. We, you know, not only for the family.



00:51:10.240 --> 00:51:19.109

lisa smoot: but also for the employees. You know, I said, we need to know. My brothers both said, Oh, you know, I'm gonna I'm gonna retire at my desk, and I thought



00:51:20.050 --> 00:51:24.740

lisa smoot: people in our office don't want to hear that. You know, we need to start thinking about those things. So



00:51:24.860 --> 00:51:33.419

lisa smoot: you know as much as I talk about it. My brother's one brother is now on board and says, I see what you're talking about, the other ones like. No, I don't. Why are we planning? We don't need to plan.



00:51:33.500 --> 00:51:37.289

lisa smoot: but we need a succession plan, both internally in the company.



00:51:37.570 --> 00:51:45.939

lisa smoot: and then, externally, you know, for the family what's gonna happen because our is nowhere near. You know, I have 4 children.



00:51:46.030 --> 00:51:48.800

lisa smoot: It's probably gonna be 15 years before they come in.



00:51:49.050 --> 00:52:01.929

lisa smoot: I'm not even sure if any of the other cousins want to come in. So you know who will run it next? And what is the plan to get them up to speed if they want to stay in the in the business and go from there. So that's



00:52:02.020 --> 00:52:03.920

lisa smoot: that's the one. And you know, I



00:52:04.290 --> 00:52:34.090

lisa smoot: from one of your podcasts, I hate to be, you know 30 people in this family that are Con. You know that my decisions affect, and I never thought I always thought about it as I'm running the company, I'm I you know. I. This is what I'm doing, and these are the goals I've set for myself. And these are our sales goals, and that are even a goals. And this and that, and I never really considered that you know what we decide to do affects the 30 people who and most of them aren't in the business. There's only 3 of us in the business.



00:52:34.090 --> 00:52:39.340

lisa smoot: so I need to make sure that I am being a good steward of what



00:52:39.700 --> 00:52:44.380

lisa smoot: everyone wants, and I don't know what everyone wants, so we need to have those conversations.



00:52:44.870 --> 00:52:58.170

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love that it's my my favorite I learned it from one of my mentors which you'll you'll hear him on the podcast several times. Jay Hughes, JJ. None of this would have happened.



00:52:58.280 --> 00:53:25.259

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: A. A. At any at any level. I would not have had the podcast I wouldn't have had the guess if it wasn't for Jay but Jay talked about he goes. Michael, you're in earquoi. You. You're in the ear coin, you know. Country, you know, you should know what 7 generation thinking is like. Alright, I don't know that I never learned it. What is it, Jay? And he's like? Well, we need to be good stewards of the 7 generations that came before us.



00:53:25.440 --> 00:53:39.770

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and we need to think about as we're making decisions, the impact that will have 7 generations from today. Like, so when I think about that, it was really interesting, we set our theag



00:53:40.030 --> 00:54:04.109

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: for 10 years out. Our big, hairy, audacious goal is we're going through this renaissance, this change of who we are and we will still do wealth management. We still do a great job with investments in estate planning taxes. That's great. But our clients wanted to know, how do I build my business? How do I transition it? How do I, you know, do this session so that we became experts in, you know, next



00:54:04.120 --> 00:54:28.720

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: but I had a 10 year be head. I'm 55 years old, and the world says, at 65 I retire. So I had one foot on the gas and one foot on the break, and it was stopping me from making really healthy good decisions for what's the future of our business? So we set our goal out 30 years not be out here. So it's but what that's doing for me is creating a vision



00:54:28.720 --> 00:54:48.889

lisa smoot: right? When we're making 3 year goals in one year and 90 day goals that they connect to what we're trying to be when we grow up 35 years from now, when I'm not long running so just out of curiosity in 30 years. Do you see any? II know you have kids, but you do you see them in the business, or or



00:54:48.890 --> 00:55:00.659

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: yeah. So it's hard to say. The right now. The likelihood is, I've got about a point 0 one chance of somebody saying I'm in, but there are.



00:55:00.770 --> 00:55:03.089

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: There are 1, 2,



00:55:03.260 --> 00:55:14.730

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I think there's 4 that you know. One of them is training to be to take over my job right now, but when she looks at what?



00:55:15.490 --> 00:55:42.340

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Well, the wealth advising side of the business was so different than what we're doing with the business coaching side of the business. And and so I'm slowly dripping the business coaching side. She is a business consultant. She's a senior consultant, for you know somebody that competes with E. And Pwc. And you know whatnot and she's loving it so she's, you know. She's got her Cpa or Mba. Yes.



00:55:42.340 --> 00:56:07.160

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: she she would be great with our clients. I have another daughter that's really high on marketing and design and whatnot. And and we do like like you talked about creating your university and and making that as an intranet. I see her coming in just from that side of the business to help run communications and how we deliver content. And



00:56:07.220 --> 00:56:34.159

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: it right train internally. I wanna have a university that trains my clients. So like all of it when we talk about creating bee hags, I wanna have this talk recorded and put out there so that both, you know, so that somebody can sit there and say, I heard you talking about it. I watch that video again, and I heard it differently this time. I get it now. And so as we build out our university for business coaching and wealth management.



00:56:34.340 --> 00:56:38.610

lisa smoot: that's, I think, that would be different. So yeah.



00:56:39.180 --> 00:57:08.550

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC:  II could keep going and on and on. Let's put it. Let's let's do this. You're sitting, and there's so much that we didn't cover. So I think that this may, you know, somewhere along the lines, we're gonna have to get back together again and and do some more of this. But if you're sitting in front of an audience of multi-generation family businesses with the experience that you've had, what would you say? Here's you know. Here's my best advice to you. Folks.



00:57:08.770 --> 00:57:10.179

lisa smoot: Talk about everything.



00:57:10.660 --> 00:57:17.550

lisa smoot: There's nothing that should be off the table, you know a a. A everything from who's making how much money.



00:57:17.570 --> 00:57:34.609

lisa smoot: how much the company is making, what Dad's plans are for the company, what everyone thinks should happen for the company. And then, you know, simple things like how we treat each other. And you know just the rules of the game, so that everyone's on this. I mean, we've made every mistake.



00:57:34.610 --> 00:57:47.620

lisa smoot: every mistake, and at some point I could tell you some crazy stories that you'd go. What is this? A movie? What the heck? No one really does that. But we lived it, and we did it. And it was really



00:57:47.820 --> 00:58:02.519

lisa smoot: eye opening. But it's, you know, communication is so important at every level, involving, you know, involving everyone. I have 3 brothers, but they are all married, and they have children and wives, and everyone at some point



00:58:02.650 --> 00:58:07.459

lisa smoot: needs to be in the discussions about what's gonna happen and what are we gonna do?



00:58:09.300 --> 00:58:10.960

lisa smoot: Thank you. Thank you.



00:58:11.050 --> 00:58:20.019

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, no. II think, yeah, I think we will have Christina, get in touch with you, and we'll turn to talk about the you know the good, the bad, the ugly.



00:58:20.030 --> 00:58:28.339

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I think if we do an episode just talking about that. That would be fun.



00:58:28.400 --> 00:59:01.590

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah. Lisa. Smooth San Francisco baked coffee. Sf, bay check them out in in just even reading the story. There's a great picture of John and Barbara Rogers and their wedding day, and I love the fact that you II forgot to mention this, but that you, you know you are a family business, and the family business stands behind it, and you put it right out there.



00:59:01.670 --> 00:59:13.500

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You've heard me talk about it on the show before family businesses get a trust bump from their customers and their and their employees family business. So



00:59:13.890 --> 00:59:17.099

lisa smoot: thank you. Thank you. Thank you.



00:59:17.120 --> 00:59:29.099

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Thanks everybody for joining us. This has been Michael Columbus with the family. This show. I'm with family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York can't wait to have you on our next episode. Have a great day. Everybody.

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*not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.

Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.