While profit fuels a business, it’s growth that is the real reward.
Steve McLeod established his first company, Fire & Safety Australia in 2007. Today the business has revenues in excess of $10M and employs 150 people across Australia. Steve delivers a masterclass in how to grow your business.
Rory Boyle founded Hampers With Bite with his brother Nick in 2004. It’s actually one of a group of companies that the pair are Directors and Owners of, including Wholesale Promotions, Tastebuds, and of course Hampers with Bite. Throughout their growth, the Boyle brothers have held onto the family business feel of their companies and put the customer at the centre of all they do.
Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain a few typos. Similar sounding words can lead to them being deciphered wrongly and hence transcribed likewise.
Serpil Senelmis: Now what would you do to increase your revenues in your business?
Interviewing Public: I would focus on getting more customers.
Interviewing Public: I guess, think outside the square and offer something a different service compared to your competitors.
Interviewing Public: I’ll probably try give more products, more innovative products. Yeah, because I’m an engineer by profession so that’s what I would go for.
Interviewing Public: At the end of the day, business is really all about sales. But you can only sell something if your customers really find it that valuable.
Serpil Senelmis: For WeTeachMe, this is the Masters Series where industry professionals share their secrets to business success. I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded. I think it’s fair to say that all businesses start with a revenue of zero, but not all businesses will go on to reach revenue of 10s of millions of dollars. In this episode of the Masters Series, you’ll meet two founders who have the pleasure of counting their revenues in 10s of millions. Rory Boyle established Hampers With Bite as part of a group of companies with his brother.
Rory Boyle: I run a business and my brother and I were rolled around punching in the office before literally, but Dad had to break us up with a broom. All sorts of crazy stuff happened over the years. I don’t know what all but every year I’ve learned, every year I’ve grown, every year I realize what it takes to be better and are constantly trying to improve I guess.
Serpil Senelmis: We’ll hear more from Rory soon. But first, I’d like to introduce you to Steve McLeod. Steve started his first company Fire & Safety Australia in 2007 and literally took it from revenue zero to an excess of 10 million dollars. Today Steve shares his business-building tactics through the business growth service, courage for profit. The former firefighter says not every decision he made in his business has been popular. It takes a bold leader to follow through make the right decision. Steve gives quite an exceptional masterclass in how to grow your business.
Steve McLeod: Alright, so I started out in the fire brigade, I joined the airport fire service in Sydney, in the age of 19. And join the Metropolitan fire brigade in Melbourne at the age of 21. And, you know, my journey to become a firefighter in the fire brigade was around my passion for helping save lives and for making a difference in the world. You know, during this time, I spent eight years in the fire brigade involved in high angle rescue and technical rescue. And during that time, you know, I went to a lot of great things I had the privilege of being able to be involved in saving people’s lives. But I also went to a lot of really nasty things and a lot of tragic accidents and incidents that occurred. During my days off and working two days, two nights, and four days off. I started doing work which is what I really enjoyed, which was teaching people about emergency response and safety training, everything from doing first aid and CPR training through to fire and emergency response training. Through doing this during my days off, I discovered what my passion was. And I started a business called Fire & Safety Australia. So starting that sort of as a side hustle to start with, over the next three years between working day shifts, and night shifts, and my days off, that business became a 13 staff member, million dollar a year business in about three years time. I then decided that my passion the opportunity was to grow this business into something bigger. So I started this really from a position of wanting to help people, wanting to make sure that people went home from work safe, and that people understood how to work safely, and they knew what to do if there was an emergency in their workplace. Today, Fire and Safety Australia employs 150 people nationally, and we work with businesses like HP, Chevron, Santos, Large Australian, and international oil and gas and mining companies. And our team is put into two areas. About half of our staff about 80 people are on shift as paramedics and emergency services officers at very large oil and gas mining and defense installations across the country 24 seven. So it’s a business that never sleeps. The other side of the business, we train about 50,000 people a year in emergency response and safety training from clients like the MCG and Crown Casino or Bunnings through to remote oil and gas in mind sites in defense. A lot of this work is remote and it’s a 24 seven type of environment. You know, I build this business from really wanting to improve emergency response and safety in the world. I don’t work in the business anymore. I still the owner, my wife, Kelly and I. I have a CEO and a leadership team that runs the businesses today. The way that I like to think about leadership and about running and growing a business is I love this Steve Jobs quote, my job isn’t to be easy on people, my job is to make people better. So the reason that I love that is not every decision that I made in growing, my business has been popular. Not everything that I have said and wanted to achieve, everyone’s gone along with and everyone said, that’s a great idea. Sometimes it takes a bold leader to have the courage to follow through on the decision they know is right, even when everyone else doesn’t think that it’s the right decision.
Steve McLeod: So in building my business out, we went from zero to $1 million in three and a half years and then one to 10 in the next four years, and then tend to the mid-20s. In the three and a half years since one of the things that’s always worked for me is to have a strong and compelling vision of the future. So ever since starting from the early days, it’s always been about where are we growing to? What does success look like for us in the future? And so one of the things that I’ve always wanted to make sure is that my team knew why we do what we do. The difference that we make in the world, and what the future success looks like, you know, as the CEO or leader of the business, I think your job is to be able to go and show people, Where are we today? And what does success look like in three or five years’ time. And so the goals that I originally said in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, having the team that’s able to see that success, and to see that come off, is what really drives people forward. I think that high performing team members want to understand where the opportunities are in the future, within a business and what the direction is in the future. The other key point is that we have to have a strong culture. You can’t have a high performing business and a high growth business unless you’ve got an engaged team of people that leave the common core values. So we have four core values that we built our business on. Passion for safety, be memorable, commitment to our team and clients and thirst for improvement. These are the behaviors the value set, about the people that we bring into the business, and how we’re able to grow the best team of people to have a successful team. So every single person when I was running my business as the CEO, every person on first day, I would take them through the vision as the first thing that we did. I wanted to see the light in their eye about is this something that excites them? Or is this something they think is hard work? I would say that every people decision in the business is based on our core values. And that my job was to get the right people into the business and the wrong people out. Because we wanted to create a strong culture and engage culture, not a negative culture. So highly recommend building a great culture through the use of core values. The next thing is we’ve got to have an effective strategy. So the way that I like to think about strategy is how are we going to achieve success one year three or five years out, so I like to think it like you are the captain of an aircraft. If you took off from Melbourne to fly to New York, And the captain came on and said, I’m not really sure where we’re going, if we’re going to make it, or what time we’re going to get there. We’re just going to fly west and see what happens. Everyone’s gonna freak out. So instead articulating a clear and well-defined strategy. Talking to the team about this is where we’re going, this is the way we’re going to get there. Here’s our roadmap to success is what’s going to get that team aligned and engaged with the journey ahead. I love this George Patton quote, which goes along the lines of a good plan violently executed today is better than the perfect plan each week. And I see so many businesses that are the strategy work with that are planning and planning and planning and planning. Or sometimes they’d be better off just to start, break a few things and fix it along the way. So don’t spend so much time planning sits and big goals and then just start taking action towards it. Also, we have to look at along the journey Are we on track or off track? So one of the things that I find with businesses is they put together this killer strategy or killer plan. And they look at it in a year’s time to go here, all the things we found that we need to make sure that we’re checking the gauges along the way to see whether or not we’re flying on track or off track, just like a pilot would. I got my pilot’s license when I was 16 years old. And one of the key things to learn when you’re flying around visual flight rules, is every six minutes looking at the map, looking outside? Are we on track or off track? You know, if you sit down and read the paper for an hour, and you look up and you go, there’s water all around me, there’s probably some problems. So this allows you as a business to go well what am I key numbers that are going to determine if we’re on track or off track without goals each and every single week?
Steve McLeod: So I coined the phrase relentless discipline. After training about 400 entrepreneurs and various business sizes, the main reason that I see people fail is that they do not have the discipline required to do what needs to be done, day in day out, week in week out, quarter in-quarter out. They like squirrels that will go and chase the next shiny object that they see in front of them, or change the business’s direction because of something that they overheard, rather than have the relentless discipline to do what needs to be done day in day out. So when I talk about relentless discipline, what I mean is, if you have to make 10 cold calls a day, to go and speak to 10 prospective clients, then you do the tenant a day, every day, for as long as it takes. You don’t do five, you don’t do nine, you do 10 forever until you achieve what that goal is. And so relentless discipline is the only thing that I’ve been able to use to make sure that we stay on track. What are the key numbers in the business? How do we make sure that we’re continuing to grow, see our ideal customers with relentless discipline? So even today, there’s a couple of numbers that I still care about was revenue and profits and that is great. One of the numbers that I’m obsessed about in my business is how many current clients or prospective clients did my team go and see each week. The reason that I put that as significantly as I do our profit or our revenue, is that I know if we’ve got a team of 12, and they’re in front of 120, existing or prospective clients each week, I know the business will grow. But when I see there’s an off week or an off month where that comes down to 30%, they haven’t got the discipline. They’re not following through on the core activities that will drive the business forward. So relentless discipline, what do we have to do over the year? How do we break that down into a quarterly goal? How do we break that down into a weekly activity? Is what I’ve seen working my business to grow us from zero to where we are today. It’s about aligning everyone onto one page. So I’m only interested in our business plan which is based on one page, what are the key things that we need to deliver? So on the left hand side of the plan Is what are the annual goals that each head of each division needs to deliver to have a successful year over the year ahead. So starting a strategy session by saying, what does success look like 30th of June 2019? What do each of us have to deliver to have a successful year? The problem with most plans is that people do all of this work planning, and none of the work doing. So the right-hand side of the page is, what do we have to do each and every week with relentless discipline to guarantee by the end of the year, we’re on track and we achieve our desired outcome. So if I want to see whether or not a business or my business is on track, it’s not about what their goals are for the future. It’s about what are the activities they’re doing this week. They’re going to drive us towards our quarterly targets. They’re going to drive us towards their annual targets. Mostly businesses and most leaders have their head in the sand when it comes to thinking about, do I have the right people on my team? And so I’ve lost count of the number of people that I’ve fired along the journey that I’ve made, but it’s certainly in the dozens. And the reason is, I learned this question about six years ago. And this question is probably the most powerful question, when it comes to determining, do I have the right team? Because unless we have a superstar team, it’s pretty hard to get superstar results. So the question then any time a leader in my business would come to me and say, I have this problem with this team member, this team member is showing up like, this person is a cancer in terms of the culture of the business, they’re not fitting in with our values and our attitudes. The best question to ask is, knowing what we know now, would we enthusiastically rehire this person? When I’ve done a lot of Business Growth Training quite often teach between 30 and 70 people at a 30 and 70 business owners between a quarter of a million dollars a year in revenue and $50 million a year in revenue that would come to some of the courses that I would teach at a 70 people, I might get eight people put their hand up and say, yes, I would enthusiastically rehire all of my employees. So there are so many people that run businesses that have the wrong team members, they have the wrong culture. They’re not hitting the performance requirements, yet they’ve got their head in the sand because they’re going, they’re not that bad.
Steve McLeod: So I don’t really want to not that bad team. I want a great team to achieve great results. So ask yourself this question about your team. And think about knowing what I know now. Would I enthusiastically rehire all of my team? And if the answer is no, and you do nothing about it? You’re the bottleneck holding the business back. You’re the person that has to have the courage to make the difficult decisions, to get the best possible team in place to achieve best success. Saying that we can’t grow a piece Without marketing and sales, without actually going, connecting what we do, why what we do is unique and different compared to our competitors, and connecting that with our ideal clients. So there’s a couple of things that I’ve learned around marketing and sales that I thought I would share with you. The first one is about hiring a sales team. So I want you to look at if you’re a solo entrepreneur at the moment, or if you have a sales team of 50. The two biggest things that I’ve seen that determine the potential success of a sales team or a salesperson are attitude and activity. Attitude being out there every day wanting to win. Are we taking the nose and the rejection and moving our way forward? Do I have the attitude which is I need to go out, see prospective clients see existing clients and just get it done? Or do I have an attitude which is, gee, that’s a lot of time out on the road, that’s really difficult, the markets really tough, my competitors are undercutting. So we have to have the attitude being that we want to win. Second of all, is activity. So by activity, what are the activity drivers in your business that are going to grow it? So in my business in selling professional services, it’s face to face meetings with current or prospective clients. So I would set a number, let’s say that was 12 meetings a week a person. And I would say my job is to help you coach you mentor you, if you hit your 12. I guarantee that you’ll hit your targets. But what I found most of the time is most people were soft. They didn’t put the activity in, and they do six or seven a week. After doing this for about five or six years in churning most of the sales team, I just said if they’re not doing their 12 a week, by six months, they’re just going to leave the business. So I spent a lot of time working with sales team now and different businesses. What’s the activity level? I mentored a young woman a few years ago and she had a chocolate business. And she said, You know, I want to sell my business in a few years time so that I can go and have kids and take a bit of a break. First question I said is how many hours a week are you spending meeting with prospective clients? And it was two. And I said, well, two is not going to get you to the growth that you want to get this about a quarter of a million-dollar business. I said, I’ll mentor you or help you. If it’s at least 15 hours every single week. No, one way can you be less 15 hours a week, every single week, in two years, it was a $750,000 a year business, three times the revenue because we worked out what was the activity that we needed to drive, had the relentless discipline to do it week after week after week, and triple the business. So what could you do within your business? What’s the activity that you need to do because businesses are built off from behind the desk, but they built from talking to clients, emailing clients, speaking to prospective clients, what do you need to do to push that activity forward? Because most businesses that I see that that’s the area they’re lacking. They’ve got a reasonable product, but they’re just not doing enough activity. They’re not out on the road enough seeing enough people, you can do quotes and proposals and emails at night. My business was not built in an eight-hour workday. It was built in going and seeing prospective clients spending time with the team. And then that night doing what needs to be done. The next thing around marketing is what do you do that’s unique and different compared to your competitors. Because if you do the same thing as everybody else, you probably get the same results or less, or it will only be about price. So in my Fire & Safety Australia business, I came up with the five reasons to use Fire & Safety Australia Australia, the first of which no one did in our industry was 100% money-back guarantee, which if anyone isn’t happy, even when they were happy, but they wanted to go and get their money back anyway, we still wanted it. It was a way to basically say if we did that all the time, we would go under, we wouldn’t exist. So this is something which is different. So how can you clearly articulate why you do that is unique and different that your customers need instead of your competitors? If you look at the businesses that have grown really quickly around the world, I caught the Uber here 20 minutes ago, Uber was unique and different compared to everyone else, which is why they rapidly scaled. So what do you do that’s unique and different that your customers need? That is going to make a difference and being able to articulate to them talk about in your website, and everything you do.
Steve McLeod: There are lots of people out there that have this huge vision. And they have great ideas and a great strategy. But most of them just never bloody do it. They don’t have the relentless discipline, week after week, month after month, to do the activity and do what needs to be done. And they don’t have the courage to get through the adversity to be able to move the business forward. So after doing this and reflecting on my own business journey, I authored a book called carrier profit. And the reason I call it carriage for profit is business. leaders need to have the courage required to get through the difficult times. Leading a business in successful times is easy. It’s not that hard. But leading a business when going through cash flow dramas, people, dramas, client dramas, and having the courage to push through. Even though the inner voice might say this isn’t going to work, that’s what get businesses through. So if I see businesses and entrepreneurs that continue to grow, continue to be successful, it’s because they have the courage required to push through, even when things might be falling down around them. I write my book, I came up with a formula, which is every business has a different definition of business success. Some people want to make $50,000 a year. Some people want to be able to sell their business so they can have a family somewhere to make a billion-dollar business. That business success only comes from having a strong and compelling vision, showing and aligning the team. What does success look like three or five years from now, having the courage to go and push through when things are difficult. You know, most of the time, courage is only associated with people like firefighters or in the military, that business leaders need courage to make the decision, which is the right decision, even if it’s not the popular decision. They need to relentless discipline to execute on those core activities, week after week after week. So even when they’re tired, even when they’re sick, even when things aren’t going well, they need to push through and continue executing. And the last one is thirst for improvement. businesses and entrepreneurs that grow great businesses do so because they keep learning. They keep growing, and they keep looking to improve themselves. So that’s what’s worked for me. And that’s what I saw after teaching 3 4 5 hundred different businesses. A lot of them had a great idea, a great product. They even had a great strategy, but it just didn’t go and get it done. And so getting it done, even if not perfect is going to lead to success. So from this, I’ve developed what I think is a good strategic growth framework in terms of how to grow a business. What’s a strong and compelling vision for the future three to five years from now? What’s our strategy breaking down to three or so top goals for each area of the business? What’s the KPI dashboard that we’re going to measure each and every week with relentless discipline? To determine if we’re on track or off track? Do we understand and measure our team performance regularly? Have we got the right team? Would we enthusiastically rehire our team? Do we have established core values that define the culture for the business? Do we understand who our ideal client is? And what we do that’s unique and different? And do we have a clear profit and cash plan for the future? The last thing I want to talk about was this definition of courage, because it’s not always easy to get through the difficult times. So I thought what I would do is share with you some things that happened to me in 2015. So in my business, I had a team at that time of 100, so it was not a small team, and I’ll see all the business. And I had four things that you know what if they happen to you, I’m yet to meet someone that had all four happening their entire business career, let alone a year. This was basically the year of hell, which is some horrible, horrible things happen. So the first one was an employer resign, who was a bit of a psycho, who became a stalker, and did a whole lot of horrible things. I just landed the biggest day of a contract in excess of $10 million, and decided to call the client to say that our business was bankrupt. Email all of the staff to say that the business was going under and a whole lot of really nasty things. So my view on that now is if you’re going to have 100 people, there’s going to be 1% of psychos out there, so you can work your way through dealing with that.
Steve McLeod: The second one is I had a call on a Friday night from one of my employees and a lot of our work is at remote oil and gas and mine sites saying the rope broke. He attempted to hang himself and we helped that person he said to me multiple times You saved my life. We put him up for the next three months in a hotel. His family wouldn’t look after him. So I went flew up to the site to take him, got him to a point where he was cared for. And then three months later, there was alcohol and drug problems and he decided to put in a WorkCover claim, saying that the reason that he attempted suicide because he was overworked in the business, he lost the case. But this just gives you an example of you can do the best buy people commit to people, but not everything works. The third thing is I had one of our senior managers who’ve been with the business for two years. We employ a lot of ex-military personnel, he’s in the special force in the military and unfortunately, he had a parachuting accident the day before. He’s meant to come back to work and he passed away. So one of the toughest things that I’ve had to do is call up his 15 staff, and to talk to them about, unfortunately, this is what’s happened as a result. And the last thing which actually piles In comparison, even though it was huge financially, is I made a terrible critical business mistake that year, the cost is half a million dollars. So the reason I talk about the word courage is because courage isn’t when things are good, courage comes from when you are tested. There is not one business owner that I know who has not gone through significant problems and challenges and had to push through. So that’s why I like the word courage. So what are the decisions in your business that you’re not making? Or that you’re putting off? You know that you need to make it you know, it’s the right decision, but you don’t have the courage to get it done. So that’s why I like to talk about the word courage. Last thing for me is just because a business is bigger, doesn’t mean that it gets easier. I used to think when we’ve got a million dollar a year business, it’ll get easier. We got a $10 million a year business get easy when we make a million dollars in property that’ll get easier. It’s all crap. Okay, it just is different. Which means you can still have cash flow problems at a $20 million business just like in Canada, $200,000 a year business. So don’t think that it will get easier tomorrow because it doesn’t. You will just get better if you keep learning and improving yourself. And secondly, if you keep using that thirst for improvement, to grow yourself and grow your team, you’re going to be able to work through it. What I do now is work with different business by 15 business I work with generally mid-market businesses between one and 100 million dollars and help them with strategy and help them to grow. And the way that I finish any strategy session that I ever do, or any training session is with a quote, and the quote is by this famous person that I think is terrific, and they have a great metaphor that we can adapt when it comes to business. Even to the point I was at a client meeting today after running a strategy session for them a month ago, and they actually made this into a glass plaque. And they gave it to me, and that’s a Yoda quote, which is, “Do or do not there is no try”. So when it comes to growing a business, when it comes to doing the things that need to be done, don’t try and do it, don’t talk about doing it next week, just go out there and do it and know that your business will be better off as a result of it. Thank you for having me.
Serpil Senelmis: So don’t spend so much time planning, set some big goals and start taking action. Most importantly, have a strong and compelling vision. Thanks for that, Steve. We’ll have a tasty treat after the break with Rory Boyle from Hampers With Bite.
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Serpil Senelmis: Thanks that Ad Guy. Rory Boyle went into business with his brother Nick to create Hampers With Bite in 2004. Customers come first at Hampers With Bite. They can custom build their own hampers, and the Boyle brothers will deliver anywhere from Cooroibah to Wagga Wagga. In this fireside chat with WeTeachMe’s Wayne Lewis. Rory says to generate a profit and not just have a turnover, you need to reinvest into your business.
Rory Boyle: In terms of formal education, I didn’t do very good at school. I think I got 39 130 I had no interest in I was going to watch movies and lying on the hill and the sun when I should have been at school. I know aspirations do anything too crazy until I got to sort of 23 24 I was over in the UK working., I was actually selling mobile phones telemarketing and my brother mentioned maybe we should come back and start a business up together. So I come back with not a dollar to my name. I was always a good talker. I was always a good salesperson. And I think I had business smarts so I came back and set up a business with him. That was Hampers With Bite, it was a first company in 2004. Or we didn’t have a customer and naturally it was in our first day I just got the yellow pages out and started calling businesses and find out if they’re interested in gifts or hampers at Christmas time. But just use the skills that are required through telemarketing, showed a bit of balls, gotten a phone just made the calls and you know, in the first year we did a decent amount, which was something to kind of get us going. From there I went to work that was in Christmas because the seasonal business. Went back to work or selling Yellow Pages advertising and White Pages advertising to make sure that all the money that we made over Christmas in the first year we could bank and buy more stock and buy more catalogs and do more and advertise in the second year. Instead of sort of saying I might have been a money at Christmas so take it easy during the year and pay the rent and enjoy it and feel like a business owner. I didn’t do that that was one of the best decisions I made. I banked the money and come back and spent it on trying to get more growth the following year. And that was what I did the next year and then once we had enough to pay a wage all year, we just become more and more efficient with our marketing dollars and advertising and we kind of just grew and took off from there. And…
Wayne Lewis: And obviously, you need to surround yourself with great people as well. So how do you pick people with the skill sets that you need for growth?
Rory Boyle: So we didn’t do that till later. So we, I we’re in business for a while now. I started when I was 24, I’m 38 now. We had some good years in the first six-seven years no doubt about it. We had some good growth introduced promotions warehouse introduced taste buds, but I was in a period of my life where I was still in sort of my late 20s and still locked have a good time and it was making money and but also spending it a little bit and probably not as focused on the strategic direction of the business that I should have been. Probably got to my early 30s and realized okay, I really need to capitalize on this because really, we’re just turning over money. So then I actually got on the phone and found who the best hamper company was in the UK and I found out who the best hamper company was in the US and I flew over and met them and spent a week with them and learn everything I could from them. And I just started learning that was contagious started surrounding myself with business people that took me to the next level and not only for Hampers With Bite but for my other company Taste Buds, which is a chocolate bouquet company that’s grown exponentially over the years and Promotions Warehouse which is a promotional products company that complements the seasonal nature of our business. It’s quite consistently busy during the year and as taste buds wherein Hampers With Bite is very seasonal. So we had to look at in sockeye. We’re very busy at Christmas time with Hampers With Bite, how can we complement that we’ve got a factory that’s empty half the year. Let’s sell promotional products or sell chocolate bouquets. And they’ve been good earners for us.
Wayne Lewis: So you talked about learning off the best, would you attribute that as one of the most important things for growth and if it wasn’t for that, where would you be?
Rory Boyle: Yes, to be quite honest with you for me in my journey, and I don’t disregard somebody else’s learning from the best has been their major driver for growth. For me, the major driver of the growth and success in business was. Was looking at your competitors and seeing what they’re doing and reading articles about them and smart company and saying she’s making this much money, this making this much money I can do that I can, that motivation and just hunger was what really drove us. I think lateral thinking, really looking at what the markets not doing and what you can do to make a difference. I mean, that’s okay. You can spend a million dollars on marketing. But if you don’t have a point of difference, you’d have a hole you don’t have something that makes you stand out, then you going nowhere. So for me, they were the real reasons why we grew. I would say in later years learning from really good business people helps complements and structure the business and the way in which we’ve been able to take it from a small business to a medium business, you know, with more employees and take it to that next level.
Wayne Lewis: Yeah, to talking about the skill sets needed to get it off the ground, and everything else and you’re heavily focused on sales. How important is lead generation for you, obviously, you just picked up that phone book?
Rory Boyle: Yeah, I’ve got a lot of tips on lead generation depends on you. Your industry if it’s an industry where there’s a broad appeal for the product, so my company Tastebuds does chocolate bouquets not dissimilar to flowers. So the same people that we’re going to buy flowers for anniversary or a birthday are going to buy chocolate bouquet. It’s a b2c product with an average sale of 65 to $75, but quite popular and it’s consistent through the year. So it’s a broad demand for that product. So for that product, you know, I really invested heavily into SEO and invested heavily into Google AdWords, Facebook, marketing retargeting, marketing automation, somebody visits your site. I think one of the keys for Tastebuds for us if somebody visits the site, we spend money to acquire these customers to visit the site to do everything you can to capitalize on that visitor when they come to the site. So whether it be pop up forms to try and capture an email address, an exit coupon, sort of a marketing automation flow. That’s not just how you abandon your cart, but it’s sort of five compelling offers to try and engage them back into purchasing when they’ve abandoned the cart. So for company like that, with broad appeal, I’d say, that’s how I want generated leads to capitalize on our leads, live chat, you know, making sure that but essentially a philosophy that spilled around, if someone answers your website and you spent what you’ve got to spend to get them to your website, to do everything in your control to make sure that you don’t lose them, and realizing that just because the business is making a million dollars, you’re not rich, you’re not special, it’s easy to turn over money profits, what really matters. So you really need to concentrate on credit situation where you’re putting the money back into business to generate profit, not just turn over and generate growth, which is integral,
Wayne Lewis: The data that comes out of all this you sound like a bit of a data man as well. Is that right? And how important is that to your decision making?
Rory Boyle: Yeah, the data is the key. So may I do a profile on my customer who exactly is my customer? You know, I did a profile a little while ago, I says, okay, here’s 2000 customers, b2b customers, what what are they role? What did I do? They chief executive of a marketing manager, they work in HR, how many times have they changed jobs in the last three years so I can start understanding who my demographic are, and how often they’re changing their jobs, because if they ordered a year ago, I need to know what percentage of people are going to leave the next year. I want to know what industry they’re in. I want to know where what suburb they’re in, I want to know what company size, how many people that are in our organization, whether it be staff or one to 100 hundred to 1000 thousand to 10,000. And then you get that sort of acquisition model, the second this is what my customer is, how can I best market to them doing that through LinkedIn is pretty effective. But there’s lots of other ways to do it, Facebook marketing, following random entrepreneurs depends on your demographic is. That’s what I do, I analyze data, who my customer is very carefully. And I focus very, very carefully on ensuring that if I spend money to get somebody on my site, we’re gonna find compensation. I do everything I can to capitalize them.
Wayne Lewis: And talking about maybe some of the tough moments. Maybe when the day is maybe not given all the answers.
Rory Boyle: These are tough moments. tough moments was thinking I was turning over money, but I wasn’t making any profit. That’s a big one. Yeah, I was in mid 20s. And we turn it over some decent money and thinking of a big shot and When you really sit down with you can I know he did with turnover money and realizing that anybody can turn over money that’s simple, but it’s actually making profitable counts. There was a tough transition for me early in the business that I was naive in regards to that. There was net profit that count. What is it? Net profit is sanity, turn over’s vanity. That’s very, very true. I judge your business on how much profit they’re making, not necessarily the turnover on it. That’s just an arbitrary sort of figure for me in some regards, depending on the stage of the business. I’d have a woman that worked in our accounts department is stole 200,000 off us, you know, we found out and couldn’t do anything about it. That was a knockout punch at one stage is like I could go through a million tough times in a business. I run a business with my brother, you know, may like we’ve rolled around punching in the office before literally rolled around, punching in the office. My dad had to break us up with a broom. It’s just crazy environment, you know, then all sorts of crazy stuff happened over the years. I don’t know what all but every year I’ve learned every year I’ve grown every year, I’ve realized that you know what, what it takes to be better and are constantly trying to improve I guess.
Wayne Lewis: Yeah. And talking about not so much wasted years but maybe your work-life balance. Can you maybe touch upon that and maybe how you’ve shifted towards that these days?
Rory Boyle: Yeah, if I do completely honest with you work-life balance has never been harder for me than it is right now. I have a little baby who’s here, Rosie, who’s four weeks old, around seven weeks old. Okay, good dad. I got Tommy who’s four years old and another little boy Joe who’s two years old. So in the last four years, some pretty big changes to my life. So that’s really challenging that we’ve never turned over more. I’ve never had more employees. I’ve never had as many demands on my time, never too many responsibilities, everybody’s looking to you. And the balance between being a good dad, getting up with the kids at start in the morning and running the business and doing everything you got to do is more challenging now than it ever has been and I’d be lying to you say if I’ve got a complete hold of it. You know, I work all day, come home trying to spend some time with the kids absolutely burn out seven o’clock, two glasses of wine, try and get to sleep. Get up in the morning, play with the kids try and get to work, do your stuff and just go go, go go go all the time. And it is exhausting. So I’m not an expert on work-life balance. I haven’t mastered it if I to be completely honest with you, yeah.
Wayne Lewis: What does the future hold for you?
Rory Boyle: We’ve become very good in acquisition. I’m really strong. And I’ve had a lot of learnings on that in the last two years. I can’t recommend enough immersing yourself around entrepreneurs, I would say if I had joined a group, say like EO, which I’m not a preacher for EO, but I’m just gonna use it as an example as many business networks six, seven years ago when added surrounded myself with peers who were going to hold me accountable for the decisions I made, like we have a business that was 30 to 40% bigger than it is now and certainly more net profit. I didn’t really start to learn til I put myself around other people that were ambitious. So having cracks. And you sit around with four or five business people and say we’re making this much, we’re doing this much, we’re invested in this and all of a sudden think I’m gonna do that when I’m on and I’m not going to be the idiot that doesn’t do that. You rise with the tide. And you say, okay, I’m more hungry, I go back, I’m more determined, I’ve been reading articles, I’ve been exposed to different people, and it just makes you hungrier and makes you realize what other people are doing. You pick ideas from that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, you put it together, you think laterally, my staff, it’s a bit of a joke, because I always say the same thing, think laterally think outside the box. And I might be a t‑shirt that said that, which is really daggy. But um, but it really is just not just copying what everyone else is doing. And not just looking at a market and saying, look, everybody’s doing this, let’s do this. It’s actually thinking, how can I be different because if you don’t do that, and you go and spend a whole lot of money on Google AdWords, and you’re offering the same product that they’re offering at the same prices with no point of difference, if you’re a new business, you’re not gonna be profitable because they’ve got an existing database. So they’re going to sit in a manner of acquisitions into their business, that they’re not spending advertising money to acquire and you’re a new business. It every customer you bring in you bought, essentially one way or another through advertising. So unless you’ve got an edge on these guys, they’re always gonna have an advantage on you. Think outside the square of how I can do things differently. Don’t do what everybody else is doing. That’s the killer is just from the crowd. You got to look at things differently and find a point of difference. Much like what Steve touched on.
Wayne Lewis: Thanks and thanks very much. Guys, can we have a round of applause for Rory Boyle?
Serpil Senelmis: I really liked how Rory flew to the UK and the US to meet the best hamper companies there to learn from them. But, a little bit concerned about his punch out with his brother. Thanks, Rory. And thank you, Steve, as well. Next time on Masters Series growth hack your startup with data. We’ll find out how to get to $20 million of revenue faster by empowering data to help your startup growth. Until then, I’m Serpil Senelmis from Written and Recorded, and for WeTeachMe, this is the Masters Series.
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