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Your Biz Is Starving
This is the podcast where we drop some nuggets as to what we’ve done wrong, what we’ve done right and what were the moves we’ve made into growing into 150-employee, $50-million company. Mostly, what I do is I listen and notice when people are moved by something that maybe I’ve said or my wife has said. If we’re at an event and I see somebody say something where I can really tell they’re making an impact, I write it down and make sure I podcast on it. Because if that impacted one person, it can probably impact many. I want to start this episode out with a huge thanks. We just went over 400 episodes, which is pretty amazing. I can’t even fathom 400. In a really cool fashion, we just got our 101st review.
For those of you that know how much of a pain in the butt it is to do a review in iTunes, that’s a big deal. You can’t do it on your phone, you have to actually stop your life and be moved enough to get to a laptop, log in and then write a review. They make it so difficult. They do it on purpose because reviews are a big part of their system and it’s pretty awesome. For that, I can’t thank you enough. I read every review. Some of them are very moving. A lot of what I’ve done in the last few months is answering questions of topics I haven’t covered so far as a 27, 28-year growth consultant. I’ve covered a lot of topics on 400 episodes, but there is always going to be the next thing that we could talk about especially in growing business now. If you have any questions, throw them at Ken@IncomeStore.com. I do travel a lot but I will answer all emails in relation to questions about the show for sure.
The title of this podcast is Your Business is Starving. Your business is literally starving. It’s always looking for food. I want to talk about what areas need to be fed in a business at all times. At all times means daily, weekly, monthly or sometimes 24/7. It’s endless. If you have kids, are you going to let him starve for a few hours? No, you’ve got to feed them. These are in no particular order, although subconsciously they came out in an order, so I might subconsciously think certain things might be more important. I’m going to speak about your business starving from an area of growth. How in the world in the last few years, have we hit the Inc. 5000 list six times now with four completely different product lines and multiple different management?
The people in management now we’re definitely not around four years ago and certainly not eight years ago. We have flipped management as we’ve grown. We have flipped product lines as we’ve grown. There’s got to be some consistency or methodology that can take a company from zero to $500,000, $500,000 to $2 million, $2 million to $5 million, $5 million to $12 million, $12 million to $25 million or $25 million to $50 million. There’s got to be some fundamental things that need feeding that if you don’t, your baby, meaning your business is going to starve and growth can’t happen if you don’t feed a child. It’s a fact.
The first and foremost thing I wrote down is advertising. I want to be clear. I don’t mean marketing. Advertising involves the physical act of writing some form of copyright, some form of copy or some form of a script. It involves putting energy or dollars behind it. Whether you’re standing on a rooftop screaming, “Car washes here or buy your vitamin here.” You might put that time and energy and money into a quarter page ad in a local newspaper and say, “Car washes at this address.” Advertising is the active thinking of a message, some form of movement, call to action, putting dollars in energy and money behind it. Then here’s the key, putting that message and money into a platform maybe Google Pay-Per-Click, maybe the old yellow pages, maybe a sign in front of the building. The platform has to have traffic. The platform has to have some kind of a count. There has to be some form of way to count the people driving by. Those are called traffic counts, readership in a newspaper or etc.
What needs to be fed in the valley, in the passageway of advertising? Number one, the dollars. If you’re a one-person shop and you’re just starting out, you can pass out flyers and you can exchange dollars for energy. If you’re a 5 or 50-person company, you might want to try things like Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, paid Pinterest posts, Google Pay-Per-Click. You might want to try different platforms. I wouldn’t do anything in life, nothing. I wouldn’t try to move a single product today without making noise in a small city. Noise is defined as hitting four different entry points in the same city and you can go granular.
Let’s take the State of Illinois where I live. I live about 40 miles Southwest of Chicago. There’s a town where I live called Minooka. It’s a tiny town, 15,000 people. If I was to make noise here, I would do ads in the local newspaper. I would do ads in the local Minooka radio station. They have one. It costs next to nothing to advertise. I would get involved in the VFW and the Chamber. I would do direct mail for sure, but the key is this. I would find five penetration points into that small city and the reason is simple. A while back I learned from the gentleman from Dollar Shave Club that the average person signed up for a monthly subscription to Dollar Shave Club after they were hit with the same message on three different trusted platforms.
Noise is defined as hitting four different entry points in the same city. Click To Tweet
Most people think Dollar Shave got to be bought out for $1 billion because they ran some YouTube ads for free in the beginning. First of all, those YouTube ads weren’t for free. It costs a lot of money to make those ads. That was the least thing they did. That was just the start, the tip of the spear. The bottom line is what needs to be fed in your company if you want to continually grow? You want to continually feed the dollar amounts. Don’t stay with the same budget. Grow it, find a way. If you’ve got to borrow money sometimes for advertising, do it. You also have to feed the message. I cannot tell you how much I understand this now. After doing so many different platforms and seeing evidence that our team puts forth of what messages work and resonate and caused someone to click on a website and what don’t cause a thing.
Almost always the message that I think is going to pull is not the one that pulls. We always have to remember and I’ve done two long podcasts on this, you, the manager of your business, the founder of your business, the leader of your division in your company. You are not your audience. You are not your client. You can’t think like them, you are not them. The only way to find out how they think is to test the messages in front of them to see how they are reacting. What else can you feed? You can feed the platform in which your message and dollars go into. What does that mean? Let’s say you do radio and it’s working really well. Are you still on the same radio station? Why not try others? They might not work, but they might work better. You won’t know until you try. Are you just doing direct mail? Try some Instagram posts or some influencer marketing and some Facebook ads or what have you.
The first thing you have to feed when your business needs to grow a little bit is you’ve got to grow the three hits of a platform of advertising, the dollars up front or energy in the beginning, the message and the platform. Let’s flip over to something else that I don’t want to say this used to get me in trouble, but I used to get a lot of friction here, especially from really strong founders and principles of companies. I’m going to say it this way. What needs to be fed in your company right behind advertising is overall vision, the direction of the company, the direction of different departments and the direction of management. I’m on my third management in the last few years. We’re a 27-year-old company. I’m on my third completely new management.
Here’s what’s cool. Our current management knows that my wife and I, we’re a $50 million company. We’re out interviewing CEOs that run $250 million to $2 billion companies. That’s my job. My job is to continuously feed the vision of the company because I understand one core principle about business growth. I’m always running two companies. It’s the same company, but it’s Jekyll and Hyde. It’s the two faces. I’m running the company we’re in and I’m running the company we’re becoming. One’s urgent and one’s important. The company that we’re running now is not important. It’s urgent. I need to be in tune with what we’re doing now. It’s urgent, it’s hot, but what’s much more important is the company we’re becoming. The reason it’s important is because it’s not urgent. Most people live in the urgent as a reactal manager and they don’t do the important, which is the stuff that doesn’t have to be done, but it needs to be done.
Let’s talk about feeding vision. The overall vision of the company, where is it going? Who’s pulling the strings? Who’s steering the ship? Here are some questions to see if your vision needs to be fed. “Do you have the same chief marketing officer now as three years ago, just 36 months ago?” “Yeah, but Ken we’re only an eight-person company. Of course, I do.” You might want to look into that. “What if he’s amazing? What if she’s amazing?” Maybe you could undergird them with a couple of 19 to 24-year-old studs that could teach your CMO a thing or two. If you’re going to have the same CMO, then please continually feed them what they’re starving for, which is new and up and coming talent. Like any good manager, what does he want on a baseball or football team every year, the next year? What is the best up and coming talent? Who’s the best draft we can get and why? Because the manager, the CMO is starving for that. Talent needs to be young and nimble, especially in this world.
Let’s undergird that CMO even more. “Do you have the same PR firm?” “We’re not big enough to have a PR firm, Ken.” “Yes, you are.” Get a virtual PR firm. Get a temporary PR firm. You don’t know what you don’t know. This day’s PR firms are not like the old days where you’ve got to sign an annual contract. They do piecemeal work. They can consult you. Get involved in the PR world now. It’s not optional if you want to grow and grow quickly. “Do you have the same employees overall? Is 95% of your employees the same ones as 36 months ago?” If so, shame on you or welcome to the Today’s Growth Podcast. In this world, the Law of Entropy is real. Entropy is defined as anything that’s manmade or God-made and is built to go from order to disorder. Everything’s manmade or God-made. Your body’s breaking down. Yes or no? Your business is breaking down. Quite frankly, your relationships are breaking down. You have to feed them.
If your employees, fundamentally the base, are the same, I’m going to urge you to immediately go to things like OnlineJobs.ph or Upwork. Go to platforms that have contract labor where you can get people to come work for you for 30 to 60 or 90 days, especially if they’re in that 19 to 24-year-old range and see in 30 days, how much your existing employees get somewhat re-energized. They will come to you with all these new ideas. Here’s another one and this deals with employees, but it also overlaps PR and marketing and just overall vision. It even hits the original one of advertising. When you get a minute, I want you to write down the top three marketing methods you currently use to drive your product sales whether it’s the ones I mentioned, radio, TV, print, direct mail, Facebook or whatever.
Your vision needs to be fed. Click To Tweet
Now, I want to ask you this. “When was the last time you have tried for at least a 60-day campaign influencer marketing? I don’t mean big celebrities, I mean micro influencers. The 1 to 5,000 following range. Most people and businesses don’t know that the greatest bang for your buck in influencer marketing is not the celebrity. It’s not the Kylie Jenner, even though she’s killing it for Ulta Beauty or whatever that is. It is the micro influencer and you can find these people on platforms like Traackr, Mavrck, IZEA, Gust.io or Boast.io. It’s the micro influencer that has 1 to 5,000 people following them that are completely engaged with their following. They talk to them, they communicate with them and they answer all the questions. If you’re a celebrity, are you answering all the questions that people are hitting you on Twitter and Instagram? No. You have no time.
If you’ve got 300,000 followers, are you really connected with your audience? No. If you have 1 to 5,000, what if you’re trying to move a beauty product and instead of going for one celebrity, who has a 0.09% engagement rate with her following or you can get a micro influencer with a 2.4% engagement to take action on even buying a product because it was recommended, that’s engagement. If you’re still doing your direct mail, your Google Pay-Per-Click and your radio, whatever you’re doing, but you haven’t played with influencer marketing on these platforms, that’s close to nothing. I think you can jump on IZEA for $149 a month and access all these influencers. It’s next to nothing.
The point is your business is absolutely starving and you need to start with the advertising plane or platform, which is the dollars, the message in the platform and feed it. Add more dollars, add ten new messages and add three new platforms, but then get deep. Roll your sleeves up and get ugly with yourself. Reinvent yourself and tweak your vision. All you have to do is tweak the people behind you and in front of you and on your team and say, “The brain that got us into this jam can’t get us out of the jam, according to Einstein.” That means your chief marketing officer probably is marketing the same way as a few years ago unless they’ve got the guts to keep gambling and trying new things. Most people don’t. They don’t want to hurt your feelings by trying new things. Jump in, start adding fuel and add bodies to your CMO and your PR firm. When it comes to your employees, let them try new things. How are they going to figure that out? By letting them branch out and hire a VA from the Philippines or somewhere else for ten hours a month or whatever. Just give him a small budget and watch the ideas flow and the ideas are going to flow because you’re feeding your business. This is episode 401. I hope this helps. Take care.