Rise USA

Aaron Hensley Of Rise Executive Consulting On 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Be self-aware. You can’t rely on people telling you about yourself. You must lead with a high sense of who you are in every moment. If you are mastering this, you will be entuned to the culture you are building and will be able to pivot when needed. Many people can’t adapt or grow past their sense of themselves. They trap themselves. You cannot grow people past your own lid!
Startups usually start with a small cohort of close colleagues. But what happens when you add a bunch of new people into this close cohort? How do you maintain the company culture? In addition, what is needed to successfully scale a business to increase market share or to increase offerings? How can a small startup grow successfully to a midsize and then large company? To address these questions, we are talking to successful business leaders who can share stories and insights from their experiences about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business”. As a part of this series, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Aaron Hensley. Aaron Hensley, President and CEO of RISE — an executive coaching consultancy spent 30
years leading and mentoring employees and business owners in one of the largest martial arts franchises in the United States; during which he owned and operated 12 of his own locations. As an owner/operator himself, he quickly learned his true passion was helping others discover and cultivate their own personal and professional vision — achieving their personal BEST!
Thank you for joining us in this interview series. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?
I am a 7th degree black belt and began my martial arts journey long ago training with martial arts legend Chuck Norris. As a martial arts practitioner of 39 years, I have met some amazing and inspiring people; created lifelong, lasting memories; and learned some of the best life lessons. For most of my adulthood, martial arts was not only my personal passion but also my career. I started my career with 1 martial arts school with 60 students and quickly grew from 1 school to 12; servicing 1200 families across Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. This is where the real growth occurred, where I cut my teeth so to speak, learning how to grow and scale a company.
You’ve had a remarkable career journey. Can you highlight a key decision in your career that helped you get to where you are today?
A few years ago, with having success in the industry I was in; I looked around and asked myself if I was really living up to my potential or was it someone else’s version of success? In my gut I knew I could push further so I dug in and decided to get serious about my future. It was as if all my experiences and education finally matured in both my personal and professional life.
What’s the most impactful initiative you’ve led that you’re particularly proud of?
Over my career I’ve lead hundreds of students through the rank of Black Belt every year. That is an experience they will use to launch themselves into all levels in life. Playing a small part in that journey gives me so much joy.
The journey to black belt is typically a family financial and time commitment, therefore the accomplishment of receiving one’s black belt is often felt by the whole family. Becoming a black belt is an accomplishment intended only for those willing to demonstrate and live by the code of black belt: Modesty, Curtsey, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indominable Sprit. Each of these tenants are not only part of the BB code but are also character-building traits that support my overall strategic mission in everything I do.
Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a mistake you’ve made and the lesson you took away from it?
At one point, I scaled my martial arts business from 1 location to 3. I wasn’t ready. I was making the same amount of money for 3 times the stress and work. I questioned if I was cut out for entrepreneurship, and I had to swallow some pride and start the process over. With a lot of honesty (to myself) and hard work I was able to turn it around.
How has mentorship played a role in your career, whether receiving mentorship or offering it to others?

Mentorship has been a Game Changer! I have learned, through mentorship, self-made success stories are filled with guidance from someone that was there before you. This is a pivotal part in reaching a successful point in your business. My recommendation, lean on your mentors — they have already learned the pain points and can help you avoid them.

Developing your leadership style takes time and practice. Who do you model your leadership style after? What are some key character traits you try to emulate?
Developing your leadership style takes time and practice. Who do you model your leadership style after? What are some key character traits you try to emulate?
As a leader, I aspire to be transparent, real, approachable, with a high level of intensity. Age and experience have given me confidence and allows me the ability to be more open — which is a great feeling.
Thank you for sharing that with us. Let’s talk about scaling a business from a small startup to a midsize and then large company. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business”?

Passion. Hold fast to the passion you feel for your journey. Passion will keep you from questioning if it is the right journey for you. If you don’t have passion for what you are doing you will falter and give up on it, it will become a job. Scaling your business can come with risk; if you believe in your core, it is the right choice you will jump headfirst into its success.

Be self-aware. You can’t rely on people telling you about yourself. You must lead with a high sense of who you are in every moment. If you are mastering this, you will be entuned to the culture you are building and will be able to pivot when needed. Many people can’t adapt or grow past their sense of themselves. They trap themselves. You cannot grow people past your own lid!
Master the People Game. This is the hardest part of scaling your business because you can’t do any if this alone. You need people, more and more, and your ability to grow your people will grow your company. Learn to be a servant leader!
Take responsibility. Seems ever so simple. The reality is there will be plenty that you don’t know but will need to learn enough to be accountable in that area. Attract and hire great people, but don’t punt the responsibility of knowing about every function in your organization.

Vision — Lead from Inspiration. People want to work for companies and people that have a remarkable future. Are you telling the story about where you are going not where you are?

Can you share a few of the mistakes that companies make when they try to scale a business? What would you suggest to address those errors?
Putting profits over the people. How? They cut the “expense” of people to appear more profitable. This quickly stalls growth, innovation, and productivity. Better to make sure you have alignment and people engaged and in right opportunities as the only way to scale is to have people working towards a common goal.
Scaling includes bringing new people into the organization. How can a company preserve its company culture and ethos when new people are brought in?
One is having a process in the hiring phase that seeks out those with similar core values. Next is having a strong culture intact, your own people will help remove anyone with ulterior motives. This goes totally with knowing your people and having alignment.
Many times, a key aspect of scaling your business is scaling your team’s knowledge and internal procedures. What tools or techniques have helped your teams be successful at scaling internally?
We have used online training for continue education mixed with traveling and attending in person workshops. If people aren’t willing to grow, they have to go! That is our mantra. We encourage and help facilitate it.
Daily personal growth intention is required on our team.
What software or tools do you recommend to help onboard new hires?
Plenty of options out there and it can be confusing to decide if software is needed. For a small start-up, don’t overthink or get fancy, good ole spreadsheet with a timeline tracking works for on boarding.
Because of your role, you are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, what would that be? You never know what your ideas can trigger.
In the ideal sense, martial arts has the benefits of fitness and self-defense but its real purpose is self-enlightenment. I would love to help people find their vehicle for similar in their life. To know oneself!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
www.aaronhensley.com

@team_hensley

See Medium Article HERE!