In the Margins: Making the Leap to Over $10M in Revenue

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Visit this show online at www.growthforce.com/podcast

Follow us on social!

Twitter: www.twitter.com/GrowthForce

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/growthforce 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GrowthForce 

There’s a fine balance between investing generously in your product and effectively managing your margins. 

The key is to find a happy medium between funding a quality product that makes your clients happy (and attracts new ones) and generating enough profit to grow.

Anson Sowby, CEO & Co-Founder at Battery ,shares how his company navigated these waters en route to generating $10 million in revenue with a 20% profit margin.

We discuss:

  • Balancing the quality of the product with the quality of the margins
  • Making finance a priority from the beginning
  • Focusing on growing existing customers rather than chasing new ones
  • Realizing that you work for your employees, not your clients

For more episodes like this one, find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website .

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Path to Profit in your favorite podcast player.

That balance of the profitability we'reshooting a Batman Commercial, so you've got to match the output, the quality ofthe product, with the quality of the margins, you're listening to pastor profit, apodcast looking at business growth from every angle postle. If you're lookingto hear stories of success and staler lessons learn from leaders that havegrown and scaled their businesses. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to path to profits. OnYour hose for today's episode, Steven Kining, CEO of growth for se, I joinedtoday by Anson Sobe Co founder at battery it's in Sobe. How are you doingtoday? I'm doing great thanks? Well, it's great to have you on your show,because I'm excited to have a conversation about your past, aprofitability from two thousand and thirteen to two thousand and nineteen.You grow business from start up to over ten million dollars in top line revenue,but more important twenty percent profit fact more than twenty percentprofit. And then I really want to hear the journey where you sold fifty onepercent of that business to a publicly traded company in Paris of all places.So but before we begin tell e listeners a little bit about your background andwhat your team at battery is up to yeah. So I started my career on the on thebrand side. So opposite of the agency side, I started in two pretty funindustries, video game development right around ninety nine, two thousandas a video games, are kind of becoming just as popular as movies and in thetheatrical genre and then now, obviously you know becoming an evenbigger industry, and then I was in toys became a toy designer and then, with afew other CO founders. We had an idea to start a blogger marketing platformwhere primarily, we were tapping into what was called back then mommybloggers and now they're called influencers of course, and so we were.We were pretty lucky early on to get in with brands like Una Lever and Pang andcraft, and then we sold that to a holding company. And then I startedbattery in two thousand and thirteen so deal a mix of start up, and you knowbrand and entertainment side, stuff and you're in Los Angeles right in theHollywood hills over there. All right- and you know I love what we're talkingoff off line about some of your stories about hearing seeing celebrities atyour kids school. But you know how did you get started on this? A what, whenyou were back in two thousand and thirteen? Were you thinking? Okay, I'mgoing to start this business. What prompted that and then and then whatdid you do? What decision did you make to get it going so we saw you know mecoming from the Vigodman Istry my partner, and I saw a few opportunitiesin video games right so back, then, video games are still very muchmarketed like the theatrical model, in other words, let's drive as many videogame sales in target in the first six weeks that the disk is on sale becausethen, in six weeks, if it doesn't so well, it's going to be discounted ormoved it back. You know very similar to you know the movie model of trying toyou know drive as many cheats and seats. You know as they say, but at that timethe video game industry was starring to shift between coming from a disbasedthing to an online. You know downloadable driven, so the modelneeded to move away from a theatrical marketing model to more of a consumerpackage goods model which is an evergreen, always eval content, and youknow- and by now now we have fortnight where to you're driving content microtransactions on the theatrical model is just pretty much dead so, but we sawthe opportunity to bring brand building rigor again from my past at Uni Leverand Pang bring that brand building rigor to video games, as they weremoving away from just again, he factional model to more of an evergreenbrand. So we picked up a few early big clients like Warner Brothers,interactive, the video game, division order brothers and help them againmerges two worlds of what they were used to with where the intest was going.So that was the original impetus behind...

...battery of bringing Brian bigly rigorto entertain friends, and then we went to work with Netflix and paramount andCVS, and so it started off with that way originally. So how did you fund allthat? So you got you got this idea for a business. You got some subject matterexpertise when you're deciding to go to launch this. Did you you mentioned a partner? Didthey bring in some capital? Did you go to friends and family? Did you gotAmerican Express in visa like like? What did you do to get the whole thingstarted? America, etres and visa took out asecond home equity, home alone on our homes, credit cards and then just hadreally great clients who believed you know brain a new business and thenprobably, most importantly, just hired some really incredible people, and then,of course, you know, a few of US didn't didn't take salaries for a while, butthe most important thing was the great people in a few really amazing clientswho honestly, I took a big chance on us in the early days, so who were thefirst people you hired? What was what was that? A that's, a that's, a gutsymove right now, all of a sudden, it's not you're, not taking again salaryyou're, actually giving somebody away your salary right. I mean the firstthing was my great co founding partner, a guy by the name of Philip coastedwho's, still very much in the middle of this thing with me. You know s sevenyears later, so phil was that first thing finding finding that greathonestly, you know business soul, mate in him and then in the beginning it wasprimarily freelancers and obviously freelances can, of course get veryexpensive because you're paying day rates or hourly rates and they aren'tvery profitable. But the good thing is: They aren't a full time employee thatwe can pull them in and pull them out as the work goes up and goes down andof course, you're not paying them health benefits, and things like that,so it was a very tricky profit balance between. Yes, it's great because thesefree lances at that time were very flexible, but they were also veryexpensive, so it was starting off with you know many more hemp and freelanceemployees compared to full time and then over time. That then started toshift, of course, to having more traditional folds employees than France,but there's a very tricky. You know profitability thing in the beginning,because it's easy to fall in love with Free Lances is just so flexible, butthey could be very expensive sure it kills. You kills your marks for fee so,but in the beginning like do you have a mindset of? Let's just you know, provethe concept like, let's just figure out. If this is, can we turn this into areal, real, paying gig right or did you have from the beginning? You know pedalto the metal to just grow it like crazy, because you knew we got this yeah it.Maybe it was blind optimism. It was petal to the metal, let's grow. This isprobably a mix of. We got this and Oh crap. I hope we got this. You know itwas it was. It was the the ups and does it, but it was full peal to the metal.This is the only thing we're doing. There is no plan, be we're going to doany it was. It was, of course, that mindset of always pivoting right dryalways changing and not always sticking with a certain way of doing things justbecause it worked last year last month, which is that that ability to truly hipit dig into that. Okay, so right now in you know where, in the end of thesecond year of this pandemic and everybody's Timiti and pivots on top ofpivots, right, walk us through those first few decisions that you made a dand what did you learn from them and, more importantly, what mistakes did youlearn from yeah? So it's a good point. So, early on, we were given a couple ofreally big projects by warrant brothers. One was the Batman, video game and onewas Lego and the we were given multi million dollar budgets, which iswonderful, but the expectation was very high. The expectation for one of herswas literally to blow up buildings on the warn of Brothers Back Lot to HireAcademy Award winning cinematographers. You know the expectation was very, veryhigh, so it was very tricky in the...

...beginning to learn how it was great toget those big budgets, but we had to be very fluid and flexible of how we workin them. So for the longest time we are, our office was probably only God. Iwant to say this. Maybe fifteen hundred square feet, or maybe even a thousandsquare feet, even though, if we had every employe who was working a battery,they would not be able to fit in the office, but we said: Let's keep ourfixed cost low. Let's try to keep those cost down, so we can be as flexible asyou want, because in the beginning it was really about proving that proof ofconcept. So, let's let's put as much money on the screen as I would say sowhen we did that man, let's try to put the greatest product out there and bevery flexible. So sometimes we had meetings at our office that weliterally didn't have a conversion to fit as many people, and we were alwaysa bit embarrassed. Sometimes when clients would come by the Obasute, thetrick was keeping the s fixed cost low so that we could be really flexible incertain eras. That makes sense. Did you make any mistakes that you know if youcould look back to your younger self you'd say? Oh, I wish we hadn't donethat. Oh, my God! How long is this podcast yeah there? There? That's whatwe want to share right. That's the value of your lessons, your past toprofits. Did you go for four hours? You know so I'd say in terms of profit, soI feel like at certain points. You know. Let's say with those big you knowmultimillion dollar productions. It took me a while to find the rightbalance between ensuring this production is highly profitable,ensuring we're making the margins and creating a really great product thatthe clients would like and would lead to more business from that client, butthen also lead to more business and more clients coming in the door. It wasa very difficult thing because it's easy to say: Oh, let's not beprofitable and, let's quote unquote, put all the money on the screen tocreate a good price that we know is going to lead to further revenue, butalso you do that once with a client and there's, you can't put that genie backin the box meeting once they know that margin, that's the margin, they expect.No matter it's if it's smaller, if it's big and also with other clients whowere coming in there are, we were very open about here's, the budget, here'swhat we're trying to do so that balance of the profitability we're shooting aBatman Commercial, so you've got a match: the output, the quality of theproduct with the quality of the margins, and I definitely made mistakessometimes of leaning too far this way and not being profitable and thenhonestly, leaning too far this way and cutting people and cutting stuff andnot creating the good product and then the clients, weren't, happy andwouldn't hire us the next one. So that's and that's still something- Istruggles the wrong word, but it's still, it's still a real to challenge.I would say even today, right now that you're part of a puplit company. So sowhat did you do? What was the? What was the lessons when you you know? Was it?Did you GET SMARTER ABOUT PRICING? The jobs? Did you get smarter about? Youknow the people you can do up brought andwhat was the? What were the lessons? Why, first of why was that so importantto you in the early days right and then and then second, you know how yeah Imean one because we're here to make money and and be profitable. So thatwas absolutely important and then obviously number two. We were there tocreate a good product, but it just continue just just that right mix againbecause as a company were made up of, you know five different types ofemployes and then I'm sorry. You asked about the team earlier and that is byfar in a up or nothing if we don't have a good team, so we've got a certainnumber of creative employees on the art side on the riding side, you have acertain reproduction employee, so they will manage these big shoots or hirethe director and things like that. And then of course you have, you knowfinance and Amen, and then you have all your Client Service folks and then youhave your strategy folk. So it's a real colitis pe of the type of employee fromyou know. On one end, a finance person...

...managing the bottom line to you knowtruly an artist who's, creating work and to also manage those differentpersonalities and their thoughts and there so that all goes into theprofitability and really the the challenge, but the opportunity of itall. I love that you started by you know we're here to make money right and- andyou know one of the things I love about this podcast is we're trying to sharethe lessons of the folks who have been really successful in building a highlyprofitable business, because a lot of times I see people who they think thetop line is the measure of success right. Your top lines for your ego andyour bottom line is for your sanity right. How did you do this? Where doyou fit on this people? Side of you in the creative and the production on thestrategy, or all of you know you do the finance at all. Let what's your higherpurpose, I'm just a marketing entrepreneur, so I feel like I have to,but I have to be equal parts of all of those and you know you're exactly rightin the beginning. You know again, we all wish we knew everything on day zero.I had never started a company that created TV commercial, so I alsolearned a lot about the process. I learned a lot about the different binsand different. You know, because again you can have a million dollars comingin to create a TV commercial, but theoretically you could have sixhundred thousand of that going right out the door when you're hiring theactors and the director and the location and all that that's a hugetrunk of top line, just being siphoned up. So we so we got a lot better ofjust understanding. A lot of you know from the screen actors guild to theUnion rules and obviously now with Ovid coid ass adds a lot of costs on theshoots, because now everyone has to be tested there are, I call them the Ovidpolice on set for good reason, making sure people are wearing their mouth sonow, there's a whole other separate set of ovid costs that we never had to dowith before. So I just think it's getting better at all that and thenobviously managing the creative side, because you want to create a goodproduct, so I feel I feel, like I'm a broken record and I apologize, but it'sjust the constant balance of both and there's there's not a set rule for bothright. It's very much client based project based again what what are the?What are your? What are your revenue goals? You know coming out of that, soyou sound like a marketing guy who really understood the importance of thenumbers on the early end right. That's unusual right. We deal with got forspecializes in marketing firms and creative, but usually there they knowthey're coming to us because they haven't paid attention to the numbers.Did you hire somebody early on? Did you and your partner just say, look we gotto eventually take a salary, so let's just learn how to do this an excel, orwas this part of your job in the past like? What's the lesson for somebodyWHO's at that million dollar spot got that first million dollar client. Howdo you make sure that you don't blow all the cash? It's interesting and Idefinitely probably wasn't speaking this way six seven years ago, so weshould have spoken then, and then you should have come back now and you wouldhave said. Oh, my God ansard you were an idiot back then so finances wasreally interesting. We went through really for iterations of what I'lldescribe quickly. So first we started off with when we were too small toafford someone full time. You know we had a back back office account who istruly just building building our quick books. Pinal, you know managing thecost coming in the envoys in very, very basic and then and then doing somelight tax raging, and then we got a little vigor, and so we hired anoutside accounting firm. Who is not only doing all those things buttheoretically then starting to give us a bit more finance strategy in terms ofhow we were hiring and how we were forecasting and and getting ahead ofjust the day to day and looking a year up. And then we got to the point wherewe hired a CFO. We heard a brilliant guy named Steve Ornstein, who had whohad built really really big advertising agencies that I always look up to sothe joke with he, and I was the first...

...time I spoke to him over the phone. Isaid all right: Can you start tomorrow and he said, listen Kano. We got a meanperson before you extend an offer, and I said I know but you're great. I knowas you Du you know, and then we hired him and now we're definitely kind of itand in face for of now being part of a multinational holding company, and nowwe probably levelled up our finances times ten movies. It was kind of thethe single back office account to the outside accounting firm to the fulltime SPLAN. Then, obviously, you know hiring full time people underneath himto now being part of a company that publicly reports the street, becauseyou started with a profits. First Mindset right we're here to make money.My guess is: That's probably the reason why you were able to sell fifty onepercent of a ten million dollar company to a New York or tist, publicly tradedStock Exchange Company, because you know it's easier to cellebrated sokudos to you because most creative steps, you know the last thing is likeokay. Now we got to do a taxi turn alist just to the compline. So whatabout growing the top line? Why often look at the struggles of businesses,especially right now and they're, trying to figure out how to spend moneyto make money? What lesson and I and that's that's kind of the maker breakmodel right if you can get the client in the door, it's relatively easy tofigure out if you know what you're doing, how to price it and how tomanage it, but you got to spend a lot of money to quite the customer. It areall that overhead et tit up. What did you guys do any lessons there mistakesthat you made originally and things that the listeners would like to hearit took us a while to learn that lesson so and I'll blame myself, because Ilove new business. I love the chase of the new customer, the courting periodof a new client pitchy against other agencies and winning- and I probablylove it a little bit too much inasmuch so that in the early days my new Bizfocus was unidentified nubes, who are the new clients? WHO CAN I go out to asopposed to the Organic New Biz? Okay? Here we've got, you know clink Viz. Howare we growing them? How are we entertain? Of course we focus on thatas well, but I was much more. The Art of a hustle- and that was also amistake. I feel that we needed to start to reverse that a bit and again it goeswith being a bit older is a company, the more clients who have the moreorganic revenue you can define, and we have put such a focus on our PR. As acompany of we hired a small little PR firm early on. In the words we weremaking a name for ourselves, but shifting that focus of when thinkingabout nubes organic growth, first versus unidentified new bus. It took mea lot longer to realize that I really really wish I had. I hadn't made thatmistake for so many years yeah. It's a lot easier to sell to somebody thatalready trust you, then it is to find somebody new. That's what I'm hearing,so you hired a PR firm. Did you invest in so? Did you like? What are thesecrets that you did because you're where people want to be right, and so,let's first finish out that top line growth? How did you, besides the youknow, getting up every morning and figuring out which networking event canI go to find a new relationship? What else did you do well for what it'sworth? I hate networking events, so maybe I'm a weird. I tried to go to afew of those network events where you put a name tag on, and I just I can'tdo it, and this is coming from a guy who loves. You know, bus death and Ican't stand that wearing events, but so we invest in. So I had a great singlecontractor that focus on making sure, as we were starting to move in totoindustries from video games to music to alcohol, that we were optimizing, ourorganic search result, so we weren't doing paid so in the beginning, butorganic s m just making sure that our url was showing up and a lot of those.You know bad example, I'm looking for a great alcohol advertising agency boom.You know we would, you know, show up, because I felt that the organic resultswere better than you know paid adders.

Also, we focus on that hired a couple,really smart, PR guys who helped us get awards. I say when we want soadvertising age is kind of a big publication in our industry and at agenamed us in two thousand and fifteen as one of their small agencies of the year,and then we got it. We got it again in two thousand and seventeen I believewas here and then we got it again in two thousand and eighteen. So we got atand I felt like that was because then of course, we'd get the can lions andthe creative awards, but I felt like the creative awards were really good tobalance with the business ward, so we were on like the ink five sand. Youknow fastest growing companies La Business Journal, but that was all fromyou know. I was very focused on this kind of quote: a quote: A war its ofbusiness result awards as well as creative words, but it's interestingwhen you talk about top line a lot of these, the inks of the world they've,based that on top line, they don't ask what your profitability is, which is sointeresting, and I don't know why that they only ask what you're topling, andso I think, we're incentivized as entrepreneurs to grow that top line.But if we're not taking any money home, what what good is the top I, but it isinteresting, and I didn't actually make that connection all those early onthose the business journals. It was all based on top line. They never evenasked about profit building and any time you go to a you know you go to atrade. Show you meet your competitors, how you doing yeah! Well, we're we'reten million dollars got a hundred employees. I was like yeah that goodfor you, where a at right now it's like, but nobody ever says you know so howhow you taking home good money so so you're not alone there, and youknow that's why that's why we have this podcast. So you said something that Ithought was interesting. First of PR firms focusing on awards right, mostpeople. Think of PR. It's like! Okay, I'm going to get an article in inkmagazine, I'm going to get an article in a business journal cranes. You knowwhatever it is, but those awards are the really what the industry looks atright. So how did you pick the industry you mentioned? I think I heard you sayyou went from movies to video to alcohol, a you know. Alcohol and videodon't seem aligned right so was or you know, you're on your a marketing guyright. So you know you understand the crossing the chasm concept right. Howdid you pick those industries because that's an important decision on theearly days to get that right? You did you use your gun. Did you have data?Did you get lucky what happened? So? Yes, yes and yes, so some we picked andPhil and I sat down one day and we grew at a spider chart and saying how can weliterally pad industry so for them for at that time, yeah young malemillennial gamers were playing Batman and young male millennials also drinkbeer? Okay, great, that's a a connection, we're not going to go fromBatman to United Airlines, and so we mapped out where we wanted to go andwhere we thought we would be successful. And then it was a matter ofspecifically mining. Our networks in saying who's, a great alcohol brand. Weget talked to we're doing so much in video games. We know it's a verysimilar consumer. How can we jump across here and we were lucky enough tojump to you know alcohol from there and then we started in banking and thenfrom financial services that then opened up a whole new swim Ling ofjumping into other energies. But ironically, we start in financialservices. Based on our youth experience. We started in youth marketing offinancial services and then we grew further into that, and you know weobviously still have a lot of other industries that were excited to go into,but it was very, it started off as methodical and then and then it wasmore a relationship based to go from there and with the pearance. I shouldhave said it wasn't just about awards. It was very much as about articles andthings like that, but it was. It was really understanding what would drivethe most traffic tour site. Is it an award or is an article sometimes thatwould that would change? That's really interesting. So what I heard you saythat I think I've never heard anybody say before. Is You picked the yourvertical market strategy and the riches...

...are in the niches right? That's the keyright, so you got to you, got to kind of define who you go after, but youdefine it based on cutting. Is a customer psychographics like you know,young males to what do young males do with their lives, and I never reallythought about it that way. You know what what's the marketing sit, yourmarketing guy elaborate a little bit about what should somebody who's at amillion dollars wanting to get to ten million dollars? What should they bethinking about to make their decision yeah? I mean it was very much startingof that, because we again we started the company based on video games andexperience and relationships, and then it was very much of what are all theother types of products and services that touch that psychographic consumer.So we could go to film to music to alcohol and things like that and thenagain, then it just just expanded out of that again, some was, let's say aformer client who jumped to a completely different industry, anindustry we had no business working in, but because we had thegreatrelationship with the client, then they hired us in and boom and opened upa new swim line. So it was very much it was. It was hotei process, but then, atthe end of the relationships of who would give us a chance in a newindustry, yeah opportunistic, that's really cool all right! So, let's, let's,let's go down fast forward to the exit you sold this to WHO Jus Havas? Yes,have us in Paris? Yes, which is you know owned by vend right universal, soyou know they're. Obviously, a big name in Hollywood was that the goal like doyou start the business and say all right? We going to start this businessa we to try and sell it to one of the big guys right to or burnlet or youknow like Netflix were. How did you end up there? was that the goal of thestart? It was very much so well. The goal was to align with the rightpartner who we felt we could hyper growth, our revenue and profitability,more than doing it on our own, but we didn't know what that would mean isthat raising capital is at private equity. Is it an agency holding companylike Havas, there's a lot of these new kind of marketing tech companies thathave so we didn't know what the end result would be, but we did believe weget to a certain point where we needed to hyper. We could better grow with apartner than on our own, so we were diligent about that from the beginningand we aligned ourselves with a really smart banker who guided us for a fewyears, he's the one that helped us find the CFO he's the one that said well,you got to be focusing on this. You've got to be okay, let's get them. Let'sgive him a shout out. Who is the Banker Rob Dixon? I can't believe I justlinked on his name, so he has. He has his own firm, called RND ventures. Sorob was a huge asset early on because we said okay help us get there and then,when we felt like we were just about ready. So we did a big campaign forNetflix held Netflix is a joke and it even it got us in the Wall StreetJournal. It got us in the year times in it put our brand out there in ways andI never thought could be, and then at that point we said. Okay, I think we'reready to. We can grow, but we need the right partner. So rob was great. We satdown with him and we just met with a lot of different companies, but thelearning I'll have. That was a difficult time of focusing on okay.Where can we take the company in five or ten years of the right partner, butyet I still have to manage my piano. I can't lose track of my profitably rightnow, because I'm looking five years down the road and man, that's a toughbalancing act and for sure mistakes I made with that at points. I was lookingtoo far down five years. Welcome this right partner, do media, there's aversus you know. Managing a five years will not come. If I don't manage that,I date a piano, you sold the business of two thousand and nineteen. When didyou hire a banker when did rob? Show up rob showed up a few years before, butwe didn't hire him. Luckily, he was used so kind and nice and just you know,worked with us and we didn't really...

...hire him. Yeah I'd, say probably a yearor so in advance is well you you paid him. You started paying him a year anda half, but but but when did you start working with him, because what I oftenfind is a lot of people come to us to say, Hey. I want to sell my businessnext year. I'm like okay. I wish you'd come to me two or three years ago,because you got some work to do based on the price that you want to get. Yougot to grow the margins or the top line or the overhead's got to get lower like.But you know how many years did you work with a banker before a deal gotdone? Yeah, yeah, I'd say that was about three years. Korea is the numberright. That's what I've heard exactly like what you're saying and it was itwas even in year two or three of the company, I went and got recommendationsof different bankers. God knows we were not in any, I mean we were a mess inyour two in terms of our our financials, but I knew like to your point when, when I wasready, if I didn't do that process for years ahead of that, I would just beable to say I want to sell next year, so we knew we needed to get ahead, butwe talked to a lot of bankers and we just we just got along so well with rob,and we were very much and he just has such an incredible track record of hisfirm doing that with a lot of other agencies. But yes, Short answer is, Ibelieve it was yeah about three years or so before we started working withthem, so you grill it from start up with credit cards and a small fifteenhundred square office to ten million dollars, and it happened pretty quickly.How did you manage that growth like what was the you know, the growths thatyou had to go from a Nachere to a CEO or you know to a leader as opposed to amanager? What lessons did you have now that you know if, if, in the early daysyeah, you made some big mistakes right, as you got a supercharge company, it'sso funny. I always ask myself on any given day. Am I working on the businessor in the business? So in the early days I was, I was very muchh anoperator, and I mean I am working in the business I managing the clients andI'm doing the quick books myself. I'm invoicing, I'm you know hiring the PRagency and then, as we grew, I realize okay. What does it mean to work on thebusiness bring on a banker bringing on the right partner? What capabilities wewant to grow? How do we want to go so and it's a shift that I think is very.At least it was very difficult for me when you start the company from scratch.You are doing every little piece, so you're the ultimate operator, butobviously for the company to grow. As been stated in every single businessbook known to man, the ENTROPIA needs to go from. You know operator doer totruly the leader and growing the company, and so I started to make thatbig shift and it's it's still something. I always ask myself so working on thebusiness or in the business and it's okay, there's not a writer, a wronganswer: There's not some magic percentage. I think it changes overtime, but I'm always checking in with myself every day and where were youwhen you, when you started to move out of that, you know I'm the witch itmight set, how many millions, where your you know, one five, ten h. Whatwas the start of you start thinking about that I mean it probably waspretty close to ten. It was probably pretty close to those high digitals atthat was probably even too late. I probably should have even started it abit earlier right. Well, if you got a you know, a million dollar bat mindvideos as as hitting your top line, you can get to ten. Does it take a lot ofthose? You know one of the things we talked about when you- and you know Italked before you said you know. One of the big shifts you came is that in theearly date you realized that you don't report to a client. You actually reportto the employees right. You know you're here to serve them and talk about batlesson, because to me that was one of the biggest ones for me and it puttingthat employee above the client that yet your capital right is the people whoactually serve that clack talk about that, oh and man. I could. I could talkyour ear off about those mistakes. In the early days, I felt that the clientwas most important in the employe was...

...second important, because the way Irationalized that to myself was without revenue, there is no company and theclient is providing the revenue. Therefore, client is the most importantand I am in service of the client, not the employees, man. I wish someonewould have told me. I had that thing. I had my head on completely backwards andI probably realized over to one. I have a great business partner who harped onthat, and maybe I just have a thick scold fil finally got through to me onthat, and that was really only the last few years or so did I trulyrealize and I put the stake in the ground and said I work for theemployees. I do not work for the client because, with I don't care what revenuethe clients giving us without great employees we're not going to grow thatwe're not going to create a good product. That is probably the lessonthat took me the longest and man I wish I would have realized that day. Why not?I don't know how many other entrames made the mistake I did, but I guessit's not true. You get so much into the product. A product of product versusyou are a leader and the product is the people, especially in our case, wherewe're a service based SINISTRE, all our product is the ideas inside everyone'sskull. So, and I even remember the day that I made some cheesy linked in postof, like I don't answer to our clients, I answer to one place. I remember howscared I was of doing that and I had so many clients at that's so good for you,that's amazing. I thought a client would fire me by me, saying I rememberputting it out there on linked in and just kind of me putting a stake in theground and saying o an t, there's no, there's no coming back now. So whatdoes that mean, though, in terms of decisions you have to make? This soundsall good. You know a couple of Nice words on the W on the Conference RoomWall. I assume you have some nice conference from ms now. What does itmean, though, in terms of day to day living? What does that do for you? Aswhat have you changed since your early younger self yeah? I think it's soearly young yourself. I could have a senior client reach out to me with anissue or complaining and my head back. Then clients always right clientsalways right. That must be an issue. We got to go fix that and then I made theshirt to say well hold on then. In this case the customer is not always right.I want to hear the PL V of our employees and how can I support them tothe client constantly? Just always just doing a lot of regularly scheduledcheck ends and like look, I get it. I'm the CO founder. No one probably wantsto check in with me as much as I want to check in with them, but just justsetting it in prepose saying hey, this is not a status. This is not homework.You don't owe anything. Just how can I listen and listening has been? That'sbeen the number one thing to learn because too quickly, someone would tellme something and whom I'd go in action, but I had to make a shift to saying.Okay, let me listen. Let me take a pause and then let me ask the rightquestion, because man I was, I was running through a wall before you couldevenfinish telling me what you were telling me and I thought well, I m anentrepreneur. I got to do that. I get but the listen, the pause and theasking question reallies a lot of times most of the Times the employees don'twant me to do something for them. They want me to listen and want me toacknowledge them, and then how can I empower them or or how can I give themthat opportunity? But just you can tell I have a lot of energy, I'm a veryenergetic person which is a blessing and a curse it just like the S. Ialways sell myself slow down and I use a lot worse curse words in that, butjust slow down, listen, pause and ask a question, and that was the onlysomething I started doing two years ago. I wish I would have done it six yearsago. It was amazing to me how much running a business is like parentingright. I'm listening to you talk and it's the same thing my kids are askingme is like look. I just want to talk. I don't want you to do anything with thisinformation. I had this conversation last night, so this is so helpful. Iknow in growth forest we've had to fire big accounts because they have found agood manager. It's like that's a no...

...brainer you're. You know a reallystrong leader and your organization is worth ten X, your best client, solistening to the needs of the employees. I give you a lot o fact. I've got a lotof takeaways here. You know, I love the story, it's just you know from homeequity loan to selling fifty one percent to you,know a giant company and still living that dream, and I love how you startedwith the goal of selling the business right. You know start with the end inmind and what that meant is you knew from the beginning. We have to makemoney we're not in this to just grow the top line. We got to balance theprofit margins and the quality of the product, and, and what that meant, isyou got numbers early right? You know you use the springing actors guild andyour industry is: is the resources for budgeting and and had finance as apriority from the very beginning? I think too many people in the creativeside. You know that's comes in at the end, because it's all they focus on onthe top line, and I love that you, you know, as a guy who likes the art of theHustle, you pivoted, to reversing instead of chasing the new client tofocusing on your existing book, because it's a lot less expensive to getadditional add on work from people. You already trust you than it is to go,find that new one and it's fun to hunt. But you know farming is probably whatyou know you got to do best and the idea of using the customerspsychographic for the industries. I've never heard that before you know whatis the buyer of our customer already? What does it look like and then findingyou know you threw your relationships to add on from there and then. Finally,third, is the people a mistake? You know the product is the people, it'sthe ideas inside their head, it's the intellectual property that you've gotit's their relationships. It's the knowledge of your the Voodoo that youdo and those regular checkings to listen to them. I think that's great!You know I plug you for that, and I hope the listers have have gotten somegreat lessons from somebody. Who's been successful, doing it the top line andthe bottom line. So is anything we missed anything that you know you'dlike to leave us with as we as we head out, no other than you, you nailed it,and I wish I had known all this on day one, but I sit it's learning andgrowing some of this. I learned last year Tom I learned four years ago, butyeah it's just it's learning and growing with the process, though youguys your first, what we, what were you doing in the bathroom with the leakysink, you told me what tell me that story yeah, so so our first office,that was the first scariest thing I did when we signed a year lease for ourfirst office and our office was so small. We didn't have a bathroom, itwas. It was two floors down, it was shared in the building and obviously wedidn't have a kitchen in our office. So when would go wash our dishes in themen's, bathroom sink two stories down and then, when it would rain. Luckily,in La it doesn't rain too much, but when it does, it made holes in theceilings and made up to put buckets in the middle of the of the floor, andsometimes we didn't want to pour our coffee out go down to flora zone. So wepour our coffee into the same buckets and it was washing. Your dishes, in the men's bathroom sink,does wonders for your desire to hustle and move on and grow, but we weren'tspending that much money in the office, and I look back at those days like sothose those are the days that made it, but very embarrassing when you had tomove the coffee bucket from the conventum when a warner brothers clientwould come over, but it wasn't that expensive, so we save money. This hasbeen really great. I love how you shared the path from what all of ushave experienced right, going down the hall to a bathroom and washing out theCoffee Cup, been there done that, that's how you got to start to livingthat dream of building a proper...

...business selling it having an actionand how you pivoted along the way. Thank you for sharing all this. Ifanybody's listening has any questions or just wants to connect with you,what's the best way for them to find you, so I mentioned Lincoln before I'mjust a huge linked on guy, so search for my name on Linkedin and you'll.Find Me Anson Solby. Thank you for taking the time to join us on paths orprofits and to the rest of you, we'll see you next time visit growth,forecome podcast for more helpful resources to help you find your ownpath to profits. Growth Corse is the smart back officesolution that CEOS need for better financial management of their business,delivering a level of reliability, consistency and expertise that istypically reserved for mid market companies from advanced bookkeepingmanagement, accounting, Controller and advisory services. Growth Forceprovides dedicated teams and cloud based technology that becomes a scaleboo solution for your business. You need to where you are to learn morevisit. Growth for too you've been listening to Pattereth, to ensure thatyou never miss an episode subscribe to the show in your favorite podcastplayer, if you're listening, apple, podcast, we'd love for you to give aquick grating of the show just hap the number of stars. You think the podcastdeserves. Thank you so much for listening until next time. I.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (26)