You're listening to path to purchase a podcast for passionate and committed business owners and marketers, Oli Billson and Tom Breeze are here to give you the tools and knowledge you need to grow your business and take decisive action. Welcome to the episode.
Speaker 2: (00:14)
Hello everybody. This is Tom Breeze here with another episode of path, the purchase. And of course I am with my good buddy, Mr Oli Billson and today we have an interesting conversation to have because I, if you're anything like me and I'm going to go with me for now, cause I'm sure Oli has a different perspective on this himself. But if you're anything like me, then when it comes to kind of entrepreneurship running your own business, then you're going to constantly be having these different ideas and some ideas go into your brain and straight back out again. Cause you just know you can't tackle that one even though it sounds great, you leave it alone and it's good to know when you can leave things alone. And then sometimes you catch hold of an idea and you think, actually this is a real runner. I want to pursue this a little bit further, see where this takes us and I want to at least give it a good test and experiment with this new idea that you might have.
Speaker 2: (01:08)
I know that, for ourselves in the agency we are very good at YouTube advertising and we're often thinking about different ideas about what might be the next step for the business. Do we just keep on with the advertising side of things or do we look at more organic YouTube, do we look at other ways of getting different types of clients or maybe even becoming the client ourselves and all that sort of stuff. And so we're always thinking of these new ideas and I think I'm getting pretty good at knowing deep down what feels right and what is a good decision to take most of the time. But that said, I wonder if there's a strategy to this because I definitely don't have a strategy. I kind of rely on my gut a little bit here most of the time for myself. But I mean, Oli, I'm going to pass over to you now and see what your experience is because I'm sure that you come up with ideas. Do you have something that you use as a filter or do you have anything that you use as a way of determining whether an idea is going to be a good idea what tends to be your strategy when it comes to this sort of thinking?
Speaker 3: (02:08)
Yeah, sure. So I was actually on a podcast, they end part of last year and somebody asked me if you were talking to your, you know, a younger version of yourself, and you were going back 10, 15 years or so. I go, what is it that you would have said to yourself that, that that would have made an impact on, how things would have played out and what would you have done differently? And, it was a good question.
Speaker 2: (02:40)
So that's almost like an episode by itself. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it was and the first thing that came to my mind, and it's still the same thing that I stand by now is you, time in general is something that you need to respect that, you know, that you need to consider what you do with your time. And so often as entrepreneurs and business owners, you need to kind of create a litmus test as it were for different opportunities that come your way. And sometimes, the different circles, the different that that you mix in the different people you associate yourself with or as a byproduct of how successful you are or sometimes how quickly you fail as well. Sometimes in business leads you to different opportunities and we're always thinking of new ways to do things, but you've got to be very selective over what you do because there isn't an infinite amount of time to do everything.
Speaker 3: (03:44)
And some things have a much higher multiple, of the time that you spend in terms of revenue and other things give you a multiple in terms of leverage of your own time as well, which is also a consideration. So I think my answer really revolved around picking those opportunities very wisely and kind of having a, you know, having or creating a, a litmus test for, taking on opportunities, whatever they may be so, you know, whenever anything presented itself as an opportunity, I would ask, you know, myself, you know, is this gonna move me further, forwards is it going to leverage my time? Is it going to build and scale, enabled us to scale our business is it congruent with what we're doing and is it going to take my focus away?
Speaker 3: (04:42)
You know, there's lots of things that you should consider whenever, you know, looking at different opportunities that come your way. I mean, I'm sure you've had lots of opportunities. I know people, you know, right now, in fact, you know, I had somebody the other week, who wanted to do some kind of equity deal with that, that business, which is quite a unique situation and I've done other things. W have been kind of acquisitions and mergers and other things like that as well. And sometimes they can be quite distracting, what have you, whatever other effort you think it's going to take. It undoubtedly takes more of your own resources or your team's resources or whatever you have around you. And of course there's only so much capacity for that in any given situation.
Speaker 2: (05:32)
Do you know, I read a book, you'd be pleased to hear once upon a time and that's the end of that comment there. The, I read a book called, Oh, I'll come to me in a second. I'm not, I think I've made a stick. I think it was, great book. I probably referenced it many a time cause it's great for learning how to create really good video and be memorable with your story and your brand. And what sort of good stuff as well. But one of the things that was a big takeaway for me was, they talked about, in the past in the military, they realized, and this is let's say a long time ago, they realized that when they were going to war, they used to be very prescriptive and say, right, you missed a soldier. A, you're going to do this, soldier B, you're going to do this, or would you see you gonna do this?
Speaker 2: (06:18)
And that's the thing you need to do, like you're going to do it or you'd get killed. And if we weren't able to get, do it to do it, that's kind of like very prescriptive and the like, the battle plan was laid out. And, then what they obviously realize is that whatever plans you have, they're great until you meet the enemy. Because the enemy is not static. They're going to be doing their own thing as well. And so you need to be dynamic with things. And so they realized that better version of this is to say, all right, well, you don't have a specific task. Instead you have a, a goal in mind, like what we're looking to do as a team. You guys are going to work together to achieve that result and accord it commander's intent. And so then kind of like that would be the takeaway for the book for me is like, I know I have a commander's intent.
Speaker 2: (07:05)
I don't, I, Oh, everyone always talks about kind of goal setting and say, here's what you want to achieve. This is what you want to go for. And whilst I've always looked at that as a kind of like, yes, I understand that the merits of goal setting, I often look at goal setting and think, well, I don't want to limit myself. And also, I changed my mind quite quickly there is probably a commander's intent, big end, like what I want to achieve and where I want to go with things, but I kind of leave that in my unconscious, subconscious, whatever you want to call it. But there's kind of like a, a movement in one direction, which I know I want to achieve. And then I break that down into normally quarterly goals or yearly goals to say I definitely want to be there by this point at the end of the year, but hopefully a lot better or there or thereabouts and see how the year takes me.
Speaker 2: (07:50)
But that's kind of my, that's where I'm focusing my attention and then any opportunity that comes my way that is outside of that remit and I'm like, sounds great but not for me right now so I, I know I can say no to loads and loads of things that comes down to different client opportunities, different prospects that might come through, different products we might bring to the market, different services we might bring to the market, et cetera. If you're not, it's very easy to know what opportunities are to say yes and no to so I suppose that's kind of like a, a big part of my, while she was speaking, I was thinking about what is it that I actually do do to achieve kind of making decisions of what decisions to take when it comes to opportunities. But I know that having that bigger, higher goal of like commander's intent, not to say I wanted to achieve something, but just like I'm heading in that direction and I know I can trust myself to move pretty quick in that direction.
Speaker 2: (08:39)
But the more I can clear out of the pathway just to be like, that's where I'm going, then the better opportunities tend to come about. And I don't know if that's letting the universe do its thing or whether, and I don't necessarily believe that, but I do believe in the more things you say, no to freeze you up to say the right things, but you'll see them with a much more clarity and then once you, once you start moving that direction, then the momentum will inevitably come. Know I've done that before where we look to different avenues of doing advertising in different capacities for clients. Like we looked at doing some YouTube advertising with it to do some TV advertising. Well, it's doing Facebook advertising. And obviously when it came down to it, I was like, well, I know YouTube really well and we're getting really good results there.
Speaker 2: (09:20)
Let's just pull all of our efforts into YouTube. And as a result we've, we've skyrocketed and got really, really quickly in one direction. I don't believe that's one decision that's achieved that, but it's definitely been very, very helpful and so it just gives you that laser like focus and I don't want to sound like the kind of seminars you hear and like everyone talking about like, Oh, what you need to do is niche down. And I don't necessarily fully believe in that, but I do believe in saying no to a lot of things to clear up your kind of vision of what you want, where you want to go.
Speaker 3: (09:49)
Yeah. And I, I think that talking to that is in the same interview, I am sad that you almost want to create, not to do less. That gives you, you know, almost empowers you to say, I'm very aware of the fact that I probably shouldn't be doing these things as well as well as kind of, you know, opportunities that present themselves the things that I focus my attention and time on right now. Here are a list of things that as they come towards me, I want to remind myself that I definitely shouldn't be involved in them and that actually somebody else should be handling them for me or at least, I should find somebody, so go and handle them for me if I don't have somebody to do that and so, I think that's another takeaway as well in it, which is, you know, a very, a conversation that has some synergy towards taking or not taking or appraising opportunities is also looking at that not to do list of things that you, you know, that you should definitely be avoiding doing, as well.
Speaker 3: (10:58)
So you can focus your attention on the, the, the things where you add the most value where you have, you know, you are applying your unique ability somebody that I followed for quite a long time. He's called Dan Sullivan, from a strategic coach. And he has this concept of, this unique ability. And really that's what you want to hone in on and, allowing, you know, to use after building a team of process managers and project managers, two different types of managers, to take these things off your plate so you can just focus on, where you add the most value to the business. And there's a lot to be said for that, for sure from, from, from thinking about all of these different things. I know that one of the things that I would say, and I would positively encourage other people to think about this is this concept of layering.
Speaker 3: (11:58)
And let me explain what that is now we have done this in our business whereby we have created an income stream that ultimately then has gone on to be its own entity, its own business in itself. It has its own organizational structure, but initially we layered another income stream into the business with the intention that if it was positive, if it was taken, initially, well and it was profitable, then that would ultimately become its own, business and cost center within the group of businesses that we have. And the way to layer, is to actually build a, to create that revenue from your existing resources and your existing capacity. So you would actually, in my case, I had a marketing team that would, I had built that I was paying for that was on my payroll.
Speaker 3: (13:01)
That was building my franchise business and we were doing extremely well and we'd scaled from zero to 170 franchisees in nationally in less than four years as a result of this marketing team. Well, my next thoughts were because I was doing consulting that we may start to offer some level of agency services and use that team that we were already familiar with all of the dynamic response marketing principles and online stuff that we were doing, but just do it for other people. So I created that income stream initially that then grew into what we now know today are obviously all of the bill, some marketing business as its own agencies, his own business, standalone from the other business and, and, and it's, that is a smarter way to, with, with a way that that leverage existing resources and capacity, that you've got to be able to, still retain the focus, which is really important.
Speaker 3: (14:07)
It was what you were talking about that in your existing business while still creating an additional income stream that ultimately may develop into something that honors itself to be, you know, a business in its own right. And we've actually done that a few times where we look for these opportunities to cross pollinate or cross sell or upsell other services. We've got, we did it, before that franchise business and a training business and the training business fed the franchise business, then that became its own entity. And so there was this obvious Ascension path, that, that we created to create design entities of themselves. And that's the concept of layering.
Speaker 2: (14:52)
So you're taking so that you already have existing kind of assets in place and say, right, well we can, we can almost like duplicate that type of work but just apply it to a different scenario.
Speaker 3: (15:02)
Yeah, exactly. And so, it was also the, one of the metrics we look at as we've grown has been revenue per employee. I am, everybody should look at, how much money they earn from your employees. It's a very simple calculation, top line turnover, divided by how many employees you have is, is one way to look at revenue per employee but there's other more complicated mechanisms of looking exhausted. Not everybody's pay paid proportionately either. So, you know, there's other ways to calculate profit per employee as well, which is a slightly more complicated way of doing things but I'm very worthwhile doing if your business lends itself to that kind of approach and it's interesting because you're paying for those people and by introducing this layered approach of new income streams, you actually get, you know, a higher multiple for the clients that you are, a high multiple. For those that, that, that staff, that costs that you've got, as well, which is definitely a way to increase it for sure.
Speaker 2: (16:16)
Yeah, exactly. I think that like something that's one of the interesting things that I have with my mentor James Schramko was I'm looking at your revenue per hour, like your own individual revenue per hour and what tasks you're working on. Because you know, some of the tasks you work on definitely don't warrant like how much you should be earning. You might have like, like 20% of things you do make you $500 an hour, let's say for argument's sake. And then 80% of things you do is like a $10 an hour task. And so many entrepreneurs have that, like they don't focus on their core strength and it would be if they just focused on their core strength constantly and had another person or another two or three people doing that. Yes. As the overhead. But you can get on with what you're already good at. And that's something that I think is key, but it's probably for another conversation at a different time.
Speaker 3: (17:01)
Yeah. And I think one of the things that, hopefully people listen to us can take away with them. I think what you just said is really insightful, is actually sometimes thinking about how much, how much you're paying people per hour and what your, what, how much you are worth per hour as we mentioned before, spending most of your time should be on those higher value activities where you're utilizing your unique ability, but where you've got a situation where you should go and research and do diligence on opportunities, don't let that be you, that does that due diligence on that opportunity and power someone else to go and do that, work so you don't have to get them to synthesize and everything together and bring it back to you to make a more informed decision. Whether or not you should or shouldn't do something, is, you know, very much worthwhile.
Speaker 3: (18:01)
And giving somebody else the, the opportunity to do that and fully leveraging that is definitely worthwhile you know, we use that all the time for all different kinds of things that we see out there where, you know, we make an opportunity to pick something up and run with it or pick it up and drop it again because it's just not something that we want to, you know, explore into it. Because, you know, in the, in the agency world, things, technology, certainly marketing automation, people's, you know, what people are in our clients are investing into software technology, people investing in tech are changing. And so, you know, we're always striving to keep ahead of that, and, and keep in line with the curve so we can go out, keep ahead of the curve so that we can preempt that and we can serve our clients better.
Speaker 3: (18:56)
That always revolves some level of consistent development and research. I've, how can we, how can we get on board with these new things that are, that are coming out, to support, you know, those initiatives that the clients are running. So, yeah, very, very insightful I think conversation for some people, because often they're trying to run with these opportunities and never really understanding where they may ultimately go. There's often not a lot of congruent with what they're doing, which pulls their focus away and that probably could delegate that activity researching to, to other people and that's very much, you know, worthwhile for sure.
Speaker 2: (19:44)
Interesting one of the things I also wanna mention is, is the opportunity of this podcast because I know that, whilst you and I do this podcast, I think that we could be doing it in a completely different way if we were looking for this podcast to provide us with clients or for us to get huge, massive exposure and things so if we looked at the revenue for this podcast, I do, you know, I don't even know what it would be. You put up a better idea than I would, but one thing that we know we didn't do it for that so it doesn't really bother us too much. But, it's interesting because I think that one thing is like we've talked a little about the financial side of things. Is it worth doing it financially or is it worth doing for the progression of your company?
Speaker 2: (20:22)
And things. Remember that sometimes, this is for the listener more than anything else is like, the, sometimes you do things because you actually just genuinely like doing them and want to do them. And that's kind of equally as important so whilst I can put any billable hours to this particular podcast, you probably only I police you could be getting an invoice from you Oli. Cause I think it's without you, it wouldn't have ever happened but that's the, that's the beauty of this is that you and I would have been having these calls anyway and the great thing is we can just jump on and ask each other questions and run it as a podcast. So it's almost a leverage of something we're already doing and just turn it into a podcast. And if you're listening to, hopefully you're enjoying it. Me and Oli just ramble on about things.
Speaker 3: (21:00)
Yeah. I think in itself though, I think that that's exactly it. You know, kind of coming into it with some level of intense, of what you want to have happen, what do you kind of want, not necessarily want out of it but there is something you, you know, get from it and, I think that, that, that, that in itself is a good reason to, to do what we do here and also to hear the, the, the re the response and reviews that we, we get fairly regularly from listeners. It's nice to get that one that happens even if they do mistake me, for the clever one, the topic, every, every now and again but, you know, we, we can't have it always the, the, I don't think I've ever been mentioned as clever before I get the guy with the gray hair. I get that every now and again. [inaudible] is a new one for [inaudible].
Speaker 3: (21:55)
Yeah. That's why I was looking for something with a little bit more, you know, cachet. But I just couldn't think of that. So, we would just leave it as clever for now, you know okay, let's move on. So, let me ask you this question then, and this is off the cuff, so I'm not sure if you'd even be happy for me to answer this question but talking about opportunities and looking at like where you're going and the commander's intent and everything we've spoken about here, and also leverage and things with what you've already got your layering what does, and I, I don't mind going after you if you like, but what does the future hold right now in terms of where you see Oli Billson marketing agency going? What, what is it that you kind of like can see in the, maybe in the short, medi longterm, whatever would it, whatever you want to share. Like where are you going next?
Speaker 3: (22:38)
Sure. I think the, every business goes through different phases and not necessarily just about revenue, how much, how much revenue do they generate but they also go through phases of, other growth indicators. So, bring, how many staff do they have, you know, perhaps how long they've been in business and with each of those stages comes certain challenges well, every stage there's different challenges. And in order to jump from one stage to the next, very rarely a business will ever jump over. It will never really ever leap frog a stage. It is always going to grow through that stage you know, slowly or, all very quickly, but it still has to go through that stage and, or phase. And so the, the, we, we've spoken about this on the podcast before is, you know, the tactics and strategies that got somebody from, you know, up to six figures a year are very different from six figures to half a million and a half a million to seven figures and seven to, you know, 2 million, 2 million to five, five to 10 and 10.
Speaker 3: (24:04)
And the book. So they are very different. And I think what you have to do is, you have to grow. You can't expect as a leader, as a CEO, founder, entrepreneur, you can't expect your businesses to grow you've got to, if you're not prepared to grow, as well, you have got to invest in yourself to grow, to get you to that next phase of business, to be equipped with what you need to, take on those challenges that next phase of business. Now for us and talking about, Oliver Billson, we're very much in the phase of, creating a, an attractive business to actually work for now why is that important well, you know, our, it's not that client acquisition is not important or retention is not important to us. It's certainly a measurement but in our phase of business where we are, we're really about focusing right now on, creating a business that's attractive to work for, that is really hiring in a talent and is, is actually investing in, investing in the right tools and resources to help our people grow, actually help them grow, and really empower them to be better versions of themselves.
Speaker 3: (25:46)
The degree of professional personal development within people we already have in the business as well as bringing new people in as well. What that will enable us to do is to, one for sure it's not going to help us acquire more customers. That's for sure. What it will enable us to do is provide a better experience to our existing clients but also provide, in turn we will retain more clients because our business has always been predicated on, number one, always focusing gliding on results, not brand related activity. It has always been released, predicated on getting results with direct response. So it was, we put it dynamic response marketing. So when we're sharply focused on that, we have to develop ourselves and our team to equip yourself to do that job, as well as we can do and you know, getting the right people, attracting the right people is super important for us and for me, is also extremely important because it allows me to then focus our, you know, my unique ability, on, on other areas of the business that need development as well to, you know, give people the opportunity to, to rise up and take some responsibility for their own roles, and, and create some those roles that, that that are not yet filled as it were, to bring more people in, to the business. So that's really our kind of phase of business right now. What about you Tom? What do you think?
Speaker 2: (27:27)
It's really interesting hearing you talk about that. Cause I'm literally, we've just been going through a recruitment phase and we're just about to go back into it as well, to find more staff to help out and it's a question Mark in my mind like whether I want to get more clients or I want to get, different types of deals with clients or whether we go for just the bigger clients and and whether we want to split it out. Like, so viewability becomes your ability process plus another brand. A bit like what Google did with alphabet type scenario not to say that we're at the same level as that, but more a case of saying, well, your velocity runs extremely well and very happy with it and we're starting to get bigger and bigger clients. And it's like what required us to run a very successful agency previously.
Speaker 2: (28:10)
There's different demands and different, different, different challenges. I suppose when it comes to different types of clients, like a whole nother level above means that we need to provide service on a not on a, it's just a different type of level. It's not any more focus or any less focus. It's just like, okay, this is a different type of client that we need to focus on. They require different things. We're working with a much bigger team for example and so just provides different scenarios to tackle and whether we want to go that route or whether we want to just like just get more and more of the same or we go down a different path so to speak and it's more a question of what type of agency do I want I think the focus for me is definitely growth of course.
Speaker 2: (28:53)
And that's kind of now built in within the agency. So we've kind of, it doesn't require me to grow it quite so much. It's still spearheaded by me, but the team can, can support with that process. So it doesn't really need me to do anything in the day to day. It's more of a leadership role that I'm kind of taking it a step at the moment, and moving more and more into that role, as we go but the, the next, wave activity for me is to go back to the drawing board of research really. So research and development, cause with YouTube it's not like a really with anything, anybody doing anything. It's kind of like, whilst this prescribed training out there, unlike YouTube advertising, there actually isn't training out there. It's like we're going out and stir pioneering into that space and not, not gonna know what we're gonna find.
Speaker 2: (29:40)
So it me to go into, kind of like new campaigns and build stuff and see what works, what doesn't work, test a load of stuff. And so I'm going into that much more heavily because it will support the team moving forward to be like, okay, here's new strategies and tactics we can employ but likewise where we've experimented with a different idea of going down different pathways with, deals that we have with clients. So whilst we've always been a CPA agency, so, kind of cost per acquisition models, that would be our preferred way of doing work with clients. We're now exploring the revenue share strategy and also, we've just kind of moving into a scenario where we hire talent to build, like to build another brand so to speak. So like we're not having a client come to us, we're saying, well, we'll almost create the client, if that makes sense for viewability to then promote.
Speaker 2: (30:32)
So that's a new area that we're getting into and it's, we're taking baby steps right now, seeing what it would be like. But coming with a lot of knowledge and a lot of like, we can create products very easily. We can do all the promotion very easily. We can kind of like, we can build a whole website and do everything we need to very easily cause the whole team for that. So it's leveraging upon what we've already got and now we don't have as the products to sell. We can create products, but we don't have the talent to create that product or whatever it might be. So they're going into that market a little bit more heavily now. It's be like, okay, well we'll go and hire that talent to create that product. And so that's something we're going into. It's a new area for us and I'm not sure what the future holds with that, but I'm, it's definitely one that we're testing right now.
Speaker 2: (31:12)
And so it means we're kind of diversifying a little bit as opposed to just like having that sole focus of just grow, grow, grow. We're starting to, to start to take stock a little bit more and looking at kind of like, other ways of promotion, looking at a little bit more like the 30,000 foot view looking down and being like, what should we be focusing on because whatever we find is going to massively steer the agency for the next move. So, yeah, it's, it's, it's an exciting time but also it's bringing new challenges, which is only good for me. I think that two years ago if I looked to these sort of challenges, I would have been like, wow, I'm not familiar. I'll, I'll, it's like, I wouldn't have had the mindset to think like that but it soon comes around if you start moving in the right direction, you start realizing you overcome lots of challenges along the way and there's a bigger challenge than you thought you had. And now like, Oh, we are that, of course we can do that now. And you just have that realization that you grow yourself. And so that's been a real nice realization for us as myself, but also in the agency. We can tackle bigger projects and not get daunted by them and, and look very positively towards the next step as well. So it's been a very nice realization.
Speaker 3: (32:14)
No, I love that. Yeah, that's good. I, I think, you know, for those of you, you guys are listening right now, you know, me and meantime have been on, interesting journeys, to, to get to where we are and I'm looking forward to what the future holds.
Speaker 2: (32:35)
No, we'll look back at this episode and like a couple of years time or something like that, man, we were like looking back at, there we go. We were so naive at that time and then like, and then we'll move on. And they're like, well, the coupon doing that over the next few years, I'm sure. No, definitely love it. Cool. Tom, I can't wait to, I catch up in the next episode and I look forward to catching you them and everyone else.