We love to check back in with previous guests to see what they are up to, how their businesses are doing, and what new projects they are working on. Today we have a serial entrepreneur that has been on the show previously to talk about his experience and his latest venture, MarketM8. It’s always great to catch up with Kelan Raph.
Dave Hamilton 0:00
Welcome back, folks to another week here of the Small Business show for Wednesday, June 3. Here we are again still from from our quarantine bunkers separate but good threats everybody cool.
Shannon Jean 0:13
Yeah, there you go. You got it. Yeah, I’m excited about this week’s show. You know, one of the best things I love about doing the Small Business show is it’s allowed me to connect with a ton of people that I otherwise would have had a much tougher time with, as well as people that I’ve become friends with over the last couple of decades and seeing what they’re doing with their companies and having them on the show and then when they start new businesses having them to come on back and talk about that so we have one of those guests here this week. And I’m really excited about
you know, learning seeing what he’s been up to and sharing it with our listeners.
Dave Hamilton 0:49
For sure. Use I’m gonna I’m gonna tease out something you said it in passing any interview this really isn’t isn’t what the interview is about. But But you said that you were talking about you know, his
Thoughts on COVID-19. And its impact on various industries. And you can hear the interview in a moment here to gain Carolyn’s thoughts on all of that. But you said, hopefully we’re on the back end of this COVID-19 thing. Do you really think we’re on the back end of this?
Shannon Jean 1:16
Dave Hamilton 1:16
Okay, that’s good,
Shannon Jean 1:18
Especially in light of current events that I have to go into here. Yeah, I really think we are on the back end of it and learning a lot more about it, and that things are going to rapidly expand. I think the fourth quarter of this year, we’re gonna you know, it’s gonna be a tough couple months here, get things back a few months getting back things back open, but fall is going to be glorious. And 2021 I think is just full of opportunities.
Dave Hamilton 1:45
What the 2021 will be the I still see that as the kind of the beginning of the roaring 20s here for us. Yeah, yeah. True. Yeah.
I think so. People I mean, it’s clear you know, from like, you
All the stuff that that’s happened this week in this past weekend that people have hit their level of stir craziness and a lot of well, and a lot of dangerous ways. Absolutely. And quite frankly, it’s, you know, it’s awful some of the things that have happened it is. And, like, I can’t even wrap my head around it, but yeah.
You know, but a lot of what we’re seeing is people sort of throwing their social distancing guidelines to the to the wayside. Yeah. And so we’re gonna know, a lot I know a lot more real weeks. Yes, yes,
Shannon Jean 2:32
We’ll know. Wow, okay. It’s not just Florida and Georgia so that because they haven’t seen increases in it, right. They opened up a few weeks ago, but now all over the country, you know, large crowds and, and so, yeah, we’ll find out. We’ll find out and and I’m optimistic, you know, like everything else. We get through everything in this country, and we’ll get through this as well. And it’ll be people that like you that are listening today that help us get through that stuff. And the ones that you know, people
productive folks that want to solve problems, want to go to work, want to get things done together, that’s what’s going to make things better. Yeah, action, man, it’s action. Well, we say, well, that’s what we said at the beginning of all this, which was, you know, figure out first how to survive and then don’t stop, then figure out how to thrive. And there are folks that are that are kind of figuring it out, you know, in a variety of different ways, which is good. Absolutely. Lots of opportunity. Yeah, lots of opportunity. Well, as you create your new opportunity, you’re gonna need a place to put things and to host things. And that’s where our sponsor linode comes in. Because at linode comm slash SBS is where you’ll go to set up a server. And the beautiful part is linode has been doing this for a very long time. They know exactly what it takes to make sure that you can have a very cost effective server that is truly effective, because they know how to make things run efficiently. Even if you’re at something
Dave Hamilton 4:00
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linode.com slash SBS and of course our thanks to linode for sponsoring this episode. That’s what I got here. I’m looking forward to talking to Kellan here you got anything else before we talk to Kelin? Oh man, I’m ready to go. Let’s do it. All right, he’s Shannon Jean. I’m Dave Hamilton and this is the Small Business Show!
Kelan Raph 5:19
That quick prototyping, that experimental kind of mindset. You know, if you take too long to try to craft or develop something and just go get your focus group feedback and keep iterating iterating iterating. Never go to market, then you’re just wasting time. So the best thing is follow that Lean Startup mentality of that minimum viable product, get it out there, get commercial with it.
And when I say commercial, it’s like really like you have a customer that’s paying. You can’t just give the stuff away and ask for people’s opinions. You have to have real buyer
Shannon Jean 6:08
So we love to check back in with previous guests to see how they’re doing what they’re up to. I always mentioned that interview able check in in a few years.
It’s great to see how their businesses are doing what new projects are working on. So today we have a serial entrepreneur. That’s also a serial guest. On the Small Business show, this will be his third time. And I just told him that, you know, if you keep starting new companies, he can keep coming back. So it’s always great. Yeah, it’s always great to catch up with with Kellen Raff. Kevin, thanks for joining us today. I’m excited to talk to you. Yeah. Thanks for having me on Shannon. And Dave. Yeah, that’s cool. So I want to go back really back, you know, I feel like this music when we met, you know, you were working for DHL, right? Yeah. Doing logistics and international stuff. I think if I remember correctly, take a couple of minutes and talk about making the leap from the corporate world.
Starting your first business because you’ve done this a number of times now, you know, I’ve met a lot of people that, that work for shipping companies, a lot of them talk about going out on their own doing their own thing. They’re always fascinated, maybe because they deal with so many small businesses. And it sounds so great, at least from the outside.
But most of them stay in because it’s a safe bet. What pushed you to kind of make that to make that leap? And then do it over and over again?
Kelan Raph 7:25
Yeah, for sure. And it’s funny because I actually was I had a career with DHL. Even before we met, I was working for DHL from college. And I got bit by the International bug and really loved all the, you know, the international trade as soon as I graduated from UC Santa Barbara, applied for a position to go over to Asia and I was in Guam running the airport operation physical operations there. And then
kind of got bit again by one of my clients actually was looking for somebody to expand their business in, in the US, so I moved back
to Los Angeles. And that was really my first kind of entrepreneurial
mission. And it was set with $10,000, to go open an office and open a company and do all that. We grew that company to about 5 million in sales in three years. And it was really trial by fire, very uncomfortable, but at the same time, like just super valuable lessons, and started developing products, developed hundreds of products for big box stores, private label stuff, as well, as well as our own labels. And then, in 2003, when the LA ports went on strike, put me out of business, I had all my Christmas deliveries on the water at that point, and that was it. So at the time, I was like, What am I going to do, I’ll go back to DHL and this time I want to go into sales. So I moved back home ish, you know, back to the Bay Area, and applied for an entry level sales position and got that and then you became my customer Actually, I didn’t even have to sell you what a great day. That was.
I remember it so clearly remember Jason, and he was your account rep before he was gotten, gotten a promotion and introduced me to you and I came out and saw your business and conquered, you know, the refurbishment and repair of all the Apple products, right? Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. That’s good stuff. So yeah, you’re working with you and your wife. And what was cool is that, you know, like, my relationship with you, I had about 200 customers that I was serving not as closely as I was with you, but being able to come in the front door and talk strategy and expansion and customer, you know, customer value type of stuff with entrepreneurs and executives, but also being in the back door and seeing how the constraints of the business really run things and, you know, challenges that might be there physically. And the impetus for me to move on and start my own business was I was just finishing my MBA, and DHL and the economy both started today.
Tank. And if you remember, we couldn’t even believe correctly. And I remember them firing me, which I was like, geez, it’s about time, you know.
But it was kind of a little bit of a push as well like DHL reduce staff by 90% in the US, right? I had left before that, because it was just, I mean, it’s impossible to be in sales if you can’t deliver the service anyway, so
and what I had crafted was kind of a best practices consulting business. And I realized that, you know, having seen so many companies, online retailers, especially, or brands that are distributing with lean teams, that there’s really a lot of value that I could add as just a single single professional. So I went out and left DHL and started what was the first version of optimum supply chain, just a different name. Basically, we’ve named it That sounds and was very successful in doing you know, five, six, seventransformational logistics projects per year, outsourcing logistics, to third party logistics companies, expansion to new countries, renegotiating contracts with FedEx and UPS and was very successful in doing that.We started develop a software to do that as well. And I did a joint venture, which I talked about, I think on the first episode of the show the Grand Canal. Yeah, Grand Canal. Exactly. Sowent through the whole fundraising from angels. And then into series a raised about six or $7 million.hired a whole professional team to really grow and expand the company. And then in 2018, we ended up selling the business to ch Robinson.And then I basically just restarted my supply chain practice, you know, more of the consulting. That’s cool. And so, yeah, it was it’s been a fun ride and it’s been nice to work so intimately with brands and customers. Like you guys had at TechRestore to.
Shannon Jean 12:02
Yeah, it’s good, good stuff. I still am expecting to get a DHL invoice in the mail at some point.All these years later, I mean, we went, there was hundreds of thousands of dollars in discrepancies and trying to go through it was just a disaster. And I haven’t thought about it in years until you mention it. So, but But yeah, it’s a tough thing.
Kelan Raph 12:24
Yeah, it’s a tough thing to do. I mean, even the other the big boys are the ones to have have a challenge with, with invoicing and it’s, it’s a real problem for sure. So that’s one of the services that we actually launched was an audit service to make sure you’re getting built correctly and then to represent if you weren’t.
Dave Hamilton 12:40
Well, that’s I mean, that’s smart. It’s a problem, you know, exists and you know, how it exists and how to look for it. That’s, that’s, that’s, that’s how good businesses are built. So yeah,
Shannon Jean 12:50
That’s killer by identifying those those those problems. So I you know, you have a lot going on. I always think that Dave and I have a lot going on, but then I look at like your LinkedIn profile and then sec man, look at this. He’s doing this. He’s doing that he’s working with optimum doing stuff, doing things with Jensen logistics. And now you’ve got this new company market mate that we’re going to talk about next. How do you effectively manage your time? And to optimize your impact across each of the companies that you’re involved with? I mean, is it just full of delegating, or you do dip back in and out because that’s a challenge I find myself is, you know, how do I, what’s the best way to optimize? You know, my time and, you know, how do you how do you do it?
Kelan Raph 13:34
Yeah, not well, most times. Meditation helps a lot. Focus, you know, really focus on focus. compartmentalizing, which I’ve always been able to do pretty well. calendar like Google calendar is probably number one, you know. Yeah. And thank God for my team. That really helped me a lot with the blocking and tackling the operations. HubSpot, which is the the most killer CRM ever and marketing application as well with, you know, like a link that you can put in to schedule meetings like I don’t ever go back and forth of choosing a time and oh no that time slot available and Oh, can we change it to this time? And where’s the zoom link? Like, I don’t do that at all. I just have one little link and people click on it and set up a time on my calendar. And it goes, great cell phone, because I’ve been traveling the last five years, probably every other week at least. So, you know, obviously, you know, the apps and an email help a lot. But I think more deeply than not, it’s a strategy of agile. I learned this process doing software development. I’m sure you guys are familiar with Agile process where you basically set up kind of work sprints cycles. We do a one week cycle. So every Monday is a Monday, every Friday is a Friday. We have our set meetings on those two days and Pretty much everything in between is just execution. So my team can reach me on my cell phone with text, if it’s something urgent, but I very rarely, if I’m missing a meeting, that’s the only time I have received a text from them. And they all use slack internally themselves, but I don’t, I don’t need to be on that. So it is a lot of delegation. It’s a lot of, you know, providing people with autonomy to be able to do things for themselves. And, you know, we really rarely have any fires to put out. It’s quite nice. And then that affords me the time to be more strategic with customers more productive with actually sitting down and writing marketing messages and things like that. And then also gives me the time to carve out a one on one meeting with each of the team every week.
Shannon Jean 15:49
That’s cool. Yeah, makes sense. That Agile. Sounds like the way to go.
Dave Hamilton 15:55
It sounds It sounds like you’re pretty pretty disciplined in terms of How you employ the Agile thing I and I think maybe that’s the key to the success of it there is sticking with it as opposed to just adopting some of the things from it that sound like they fit in with what you were already doing.
Kelan Raph 16:13
Totally. And I used to not be that way. I used to be like, at the end of the day, okay, well, what did we achieve today, you know, but right there, you know, weeks on weeks, really help and, you know, to be patient and let things happen rather than trying to force them and they do happen, especially when you get people the freedom to do it.
Dave Hamilton 16:33
Well, that’s the key, right is is giving people that freedom to you know, some level of autonomy so that they feel ownership and can can want to do it as opposed to Oh, yeah, Mike, you know, somebody breathing down my neck.
Kelan Raph 16:44
So totally. Another thing is to to set the expectation on reporting out so here’s like, for instance, marketing team is responsible every Friday for reporting out certain metrics. And so that I don’t have to ask them
It’s rather than getting in the habit of Oh, like I’ve seen many business owners, what were the sales for today? Or what were the sales for this month? And they’re asking questions, and then they have to wait for a response and make people nervous sometimes, rather just say, Hey, give me the sales every Friday afternoon. And then let the the individual report that out and just get in the habit of it. And then now there’s no more conversation, you know, it just happens. And if it doesn’t happen, then there’s a conversation. But that’s that’s a different conversation. Right? So Yep, absolutely. Yep. Let’s go. So, yeah.
Shannon Jean 17:31
So give us a details about your new business market mate. What was the impetus to start another company? And what do you guys do over there?
Kelan Raph 17:41
Yeah, so I’ve been in sales for 20 plus years customer facing, you know, working very closely with marketing being the person to deliver the offer and to, you know, set up customers. And I’ve seen marketing done really well and I’ve seen it done poorly. And at Grand canals. You know, when we took all this funding, a lot of it was for marketing a lot of those for sales and marketing. So I was, you know, around the country, you know, at conferences and part of, you know, the creation of marketing content and saw how it was done and really fell in love with it. And it was, I felt finally that I could scale myself, rather than just being sales of talking to one customer at a time and pitching and, you know, all that, that it was something more, more valuable in the long term. So, when I left my canals, I started some sales agency stuff that we were helping our partner companies with their services to bring them to market and, you know, to get the introductions done referrals and things like that. And then I’d had a lot of experience in developing CRM processes, everything from implementation to training and using CRM myself. So you know, everybody from Zoho to Salesforce to you know HubSpot. And every In between, and I saw how Marketo was used with at grant canals in conjunction with Salesforce and really loved it. A lot of the people who are working on it didn’t like it as much. Obviously Adobe loved it. And that’s why they paid billions of dollars for it.
And it was very expensive. So about a year and a half ago, we decided to bite the bullet for optimum and implement HubSpot. And they had just rolled out a CRM system themselves. It was pretty light but very flexible. And so I started to hire a team and build all the processes of sales and marketing on HubSpot. And then, about seven or eight months ago, HubSpot approached us and said, you know, Hey, you guys are really sales forward and really using the CRM Well, what do you think about doing a sales agency like a sales partnership with us? So we became a partner of HubSpot and got really good support from them on, you know, different inbound tactics really just learned a lot. It was painful. The whole year was like, you know, learning can be very painful, can be very costly as well, especially when you have a team that you’re paying for it. But it was well worth it. And so we finished up last year just feeling extremely confident to to basically spin out a digital sales and marketing agency called MarketM8.
And that’s how we started. So we’ve been implementing HubSpot. We’ve been doing all the landing pages and forms and offers and inbound marketing on LinkedIn. A lot of the integrations systems like even Salesforce and things like that. You don’t have to use the HubSpot CRM you can use any. everything these days with API is all connectable but yeah, just totally fell in love with it and started to see it work and realize that that this can be a whole business.
Shannon Jean 21:02
That’s cool. So if you guys are doing, you know, I mean, everything from like you said LinkedIn stuff direct marketing social media Pay Per Click campaigns I mean it’s pretty broad right?
Kelan Raph 21:17
Yeah it is we don’t do as much on the pay per click but all the other stuff absolutely much more social content creation and distribution. And as somebody told me content is king and distribution is Queen and she Trump’s, and it’s super true like you could write the best white paper ever but if nobody ever reads it, it’s completely worthless.
Shannon Jean 21:39
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So you know, I look at this stuff and as a small business owner, you know, there’s so much you like you said, getting your content out there and there’s so many different places and venues number of pieces, like, you know, where do I focus on this stuff and I imagine that’s is that your type of customer you know, small to medium sized Businesses that need help, you know, maybe fine tuning you know their message and where to you know where to be whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram or you know, Facebook, is that your type of customer?
Kelan Raph 22:12
Yeah, totally. So we do a lot of strategy stuff with, with startups on creating the message and who’s the target market and how to approach them, what’s the offer all those. But we also have a lot of experience working with enterprise. And so we have a couple of customers that are billion dollar size revenue, where we’ll help with a specific program that they’re launching new division, or a certain territory, or a certain channel, like just LinkedIn, for instance, company page and professional profiles of the salespeople, and then help them to create the processes and then actually execute processes as well. So a lot of the work that we’re we’re doing is was traditionally done internally, by marketing staff. Now, with things just needing to scale much faster, it’s it’s way quicker to hire a service like ours.
Shannon Jean 23:06
Sure. And when you meet with these people, and you’re working on projects, I mean, do you hear kind of common misconceptions about digital marketing? Over and over, as are similarities? And how do you guys overcome those?
Kelan Raph 23:22
Yeah, I think the number one misconception is that digital marketing is expensive. And you know, people believe that because it is it’s very expensive. If you’re looking at marketing being like Facebook or SEO, or Google ads, things like that. That’s super, super expensive. But marketing itself is basically taking looking at your own business and your services, what you do best, and then bringing that message and offer to your target market efficiently. So inefficiently would be like to mail everybody in a zip code extremely efficiently would be to go you know, much more focused and targeted, and then don’t just send them one message, you got to send them the 12 messages that it’s going to take to really break through, you know, if you just keep, you know, cold calling down a whole list and your objective is getting to the bottom of list and turning the page, it’s not going to work, you really need to focus and, and give the, you know, give the time and the energy, that prospect who you really want to be a customer at the time. And, you know, I believe that marketing is really DIY, like, you can absolutely do this yourself. And when you want to start spending money as much more when you want to scale. So when you figured out a message that works, then you can of course start spending money on ads now, but you don’t want to just throw a bunch of money on a bunch of ads and then see what works. Because it’ll just once you stop spending money then then your demand is gonna dry up.
Shannon Jean 24:53
You got to test and then iterate right? See what a lot of that a be testing does it really take 12 times Someone to engage.
Kelan Raph 25:02
Yeah, that’s it seems like it right. Yeah. It does. Shockingly and frustratingly
Dave Hamilton 25:09
That number that’s lower than the amount of times that it was stated to be the first time I heard that number, you know, 20 something maybe 30 something years ago, it was it was hot in the high 20s almost double that number, when it when it was first explained to me and, you know, sort of marketing one on one, like,
Shannon Jean 25:29
Maybe now now that it’s more focused, and you can Yeah, maybe maybe that speeds it up as if you’re, you’re getting it to the right people first, you know, that would make sense.
Dave Hamilton 25:38
Kelan Raph 25:39
It does, and it’s an average, right and more sometimes there’s, you know, you get a referral, for instance, and you have one meeting and then they ask for, you know, for just set up an account, but it’s more about the point is don’t give up if you decide that this company that you’re going to go after is going to be really good customer for you that they fit the profile, when you call them if the person who answers the phone says we’re not interested, which is what they’re trained to do and have to do these days, because so many outbound calls, or inbound calls to them, right? And you just say it’s okay. And I’ll take care of No, and I’ll, that’s, you know, let’s go to the next one. And so try something a little bit different. Don’t call the same person back. Are you ready to buy it? It’s more like contact the, you know, the controller fits a financial solution or contact customer service. If you think there’s something that you might be able to offer there. Ask for an introduction. That’s what’s amazing about LinkedIn. And, yeah, this is crazy. So I just hit 10,000 connections on LinkedIn last week. Yeah, it’s insane. I can’t even believe like, it’s hard to even keep up I, I probably have, you know, 150 connection requests that are kind of sitting there and that I go through, right, pending but the point is like, I have all those connections, I get probably one request per month to introduce to somebody else. So my network.
I mean, and these are generally from the one I got last week was from a VC that said, Hey, I’m looking to hire this guy as a CEO of one of my startups, you know, can you give me some background on on it? Yeah, I think the one per month and it’s why are people not asking for that? Ya know, yeah, simply because, yeah, that personal introduction is worth so much money. I mean, rather than calling them 12 times, you know, and having a success rate of 20% or something like that, you know, yeah, I’m always shocked how peopleoften overlook LinkedIn and the power of, of your reputation, your credibility, your network, you know, on on that site, and that, that platform, if you will, it is really powerful. And so, speaking to that, are you actively recruiting those followers or part of your system that you’ve developed that you use would like market mate is if a, you know, business was coming to you for help and wanted that presence on there are you using the techniques that you offer to them for your own account? Totally. That’s the primary service that we’re offering where we’re seeing the most success is LinkedIn, you know, leveraging LinkedIn, we just did a webinar on it about six weeks ago or so about the things that you can do. And it’s totally free. You don’t have to pay. I mean, I suggest you get the Sales Navigator for $79 a month, but it’s worth its weight. You don’t have to pay any advertising at all. And you can build, you know, a good network and you can keep top of mind.
I had one of our biggest customers now reached out to me like six weeks ago and said, Hey, I’m just getting a job offer from this global three peel, third party logistics company to run a new division. And she’s like, I love what you’re doing on LinkedIn. I love the way you write.
your content I want to have you got, you know, have you guys helped me to go to market with this? It’s like she’s like pre sold. Nice, you know? Yeah, right. And you give me a proposal. Oh my gosh, this is great. So that’s what inbound is. That’s what you know HubSpot has taught us as well about the, you know, you do all this content creation and messaging and all that stuff. And then you have a nice form that when somebody is ready to engage you, then they can go ahead and do that. And then save your time on the call. So you don’t have to chase people as much. Oh, and they’re there. Like I said, you’re already a credible resource for them. They’re coming to you. So the sales pitch in the whole relationship, foundation is completely different, right?
I’m a firm believer in that inbound it is it’s so much more personal and that’s, that’s why we’re kind of combining sales and marketing. We’re doing marketing on behalf of the sales professional. So that when they when somebody sees you know the brand and the person, it’s the person that they’re
contacting that they’re not, they’re not going to engage the company and call the one 800 number they’re going to, they’re going to contact Dave or Shannon, right as they see him all the time. And so what we do is we help set up the strategy and messaging and you know, the content calendars. And then we have an integration with HubSpot to keep track of it all. So that, you know, we can also do, you know, keep track of the companies that we’re trying to attract, and then the people that are at those companies into specific roles, and then keeping track of how many messages that they’ve received and what message have we sent? Have we called them? Who else do we know at that company? leveraging those relationships? Yeah, that’s good. It’s really smart.
Shannon Jean 30:44
Yeah, that is good. So I want to ask you a couple of kind of timely questions here. You know, we’re in the middle of this. Well, maybe we’re on hopefully we’re on the back end of this COVID thing. Have you had to shift your your any of your business practices in
No, you’re you know, you’re pretty distributed. And but I’m sure there was some changes you had to implement and how you operate, and maybe even the services that you offer to your customers, based on the stuff we’ve just gone through for the last few months.
Kelan Raph 31:13
Yeah, we’re, we’re remote by design. And that was because, you know, I feel people can do their best work, you know, where they want to live. And it works really well. You know, we were heavy zoom users for like, the past five, six years. And so that’s nothing new. The our customers, business models have changed. I mean, some of our customers have actually gone out of business, right, and those that couldn’t distribute their product or for whatever reason, no issues. But you know, the marketing budgets have shifted, what people used to spend a ton of money on conferences and travel and, and that face to face stuff is all just impossible now. And I think that’s gonna be a major, major shift and in the way that marketing dollars are spent, and that it’s going to, you know, ask It already has been moving towards digital. But really being okay with, you know, people salespeople being remote, and people working from home and being more productive and being never late for a meeting? I mean, how there’s no traffic, how can you be late? Right? have been able to take notes right there on your laptop or even record the conversations, to be able to take notes later. Being able to bring people into a meeting right away. You know how you remember how awkward it is? I don’t know if you’ve ever had a salesperson come in and then dial their team in that’s remote. It’s kind of rare. Yeah. What’s the Wi Fi and this cable doesn’t work and why is the monitor not working? And it’s like, it’s just such a waste. Like, you could have, you know, take that one hour that it could take and bring it into 15 minutes, have everybody there and alert and ready to go. It’s great. And then it’s just way way more effective. I believe.
Shannon Jean 32:55
You guys should check out otter.ai and does real time transcription of your zoom meetings as they occur. So unbelievable. It’s definitely magic magic. Yeah, that’s goodness. Okay, so on that same thing, you know, you’re you’re really, when I think of a supply chain expert, I always think of you because your depth of experience is just, you know, it’s deep and broad. So what’s your take on the impact of COVID? And like, and also our current relationship with with China on the supply chain? I mean, do you think things are just going to kind of return to the way they were before? Are they going to be different? And are you advising your logistic customers and how those changes will? will be
Kelan Raph 33:40
Yeah, I think we’re never going to see or experience how it was before. This is just a huge change. And it’s not just supply side or or tariffs, it’s even the demand and consumption is going to change drastically, like looking at cars, for instance, like automobiles. I mean, Tesla was already starting to take over and Uber on top of That lift with the rideshare kind of model. And now you don’t even need a car because you’re not driving anywhere. And it’s, it’s totally going to change, you know, beyond recovery for for many companies and really challenging to a lot of industries, restaurants, you know, 25 to 80% of restaurants I hear are going to go under and that’s after already kind of, you know, owners bleeding into them with not a very high profit business in the first place. Sure. And then all the fallout from a service people that creates opportunity, though, I mean, if food service especially is is a difficult business for people to you know, it’s difficult to maintain success in food service some people obviously can and and are very good at it. But But what you know, most of them will go out of business in their first year. Anyway. I feel like that that part of this is a business that’s used to reinventing itself on a regular basis. Yeah, yeah.
You know what I mean? Like, I mean, there are lots of businesses that are, that are definitely impacted by COVID that are not normally so volatile. But that one is pretty volatile to begin with, I think I mean, I don’t mean to be insensitive to, you know, all of the folks listening who run restaurants and have problems with it, but going into that business, you know, that it’s, you know, you’re operating on thin margins and, and, you know, it’s food service, right. So get it, get it wrong once and that could be the end, regardless of anything else that’s going on around you. So it’s a tough business. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, for sure. But how about like, the, you know, the traditional, okay, we’re gonna build this product and we’re gonna, you know, have our folks on the ground over in, you know, in China, and we’re gonna do this and we’re gonna import I mean, is it just
Shannon Jean 35:48
Have you seen anything in your logistics experience, or hear things about, hey, what’s the real cost of like manufacturing it here?
Kelan Raph 35:59
You know, to me mystically, you’re in South America or something like that, any shift like that, or people just kind of sitting on the sidelines, know for sure, like near sourcing and and doing more local stuff. You know, if you’re manufacturing in Mexico then you’re supporting our neighbors, right Oh, and then you rather than air freight for some late delivery or other issue, you just got trucking which is like the super efficient or even rail, which is even more efficient. And you can do shipments every week or every day if you want, like the auto industry does, you know, like, follow those models of, you know, you can build cars in America, like high tech cars like Tesla, you can do anything in America. And I think the saving grace here for this nearshoring issue is that the capital from banks, you know, to be able to do capex investments and and job creation is going to there’s going to be so much money put into those programs to really say okay, well what’s the ROI you know, it’s gonna be six year payoff period for retooling
To bring it from China to Mexico, it’s like, okay, here’s a check. You know, whereas five years ago, it would be like the lowest cost model 10 years ago, where it was, like, you know, like trying to find that lowest landed cost, but then it’s an unsustainable business. You’ve got people flying to China, you’ve got, you know, people working overnight, you’ve got like all this, like really complicated supply chains. They don’t need to be that complicated at all. And with the technology going, in manufacturing, going much more towards automation and robotics rather than just cheap labor. That was already happening naturally. So right now that we’ve got this issue and a lot of protectionism, of tariffs and things like that, and bringing jobs home, I think it’s just a bigger wave towards towards nearshoring. And whether it be in the United States or in, you know, in Mexico and Central America. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Yeah, yeah. I’m kind of hearing that too. It’s interesting to see where that goes.
Shannon Jean 38:01
Okay, so I want to ask you the question we always ask everybody, I’ve asked you this before, but you may have made a mistake or two in the last I think maybe we talked to a few years ago, it’s always worth digging back into it, you know, you know that we love mistakes. It always makes us feel better, because I know I make a ton of them. Dave hardly does, but they teach us a lot. You know? And is there a mistake you’ve made? And even it’s the same one you’ve talked about before, something that stuck with you and taught you a valuable lesson, you know, across one of your businesses or your own, you know, brand building anything like that, that you can share with our listeners?
Kelan Raph 38:36
Yeah, I think that it is that that quick prototyping, that experimental kind of mindset. You know, if you take too long to try to craft or develop something and just go get your focus group feedback and keep iterating iterating iterating. Never go to market, then you’re just wasting time. So the best thing is follow that Lean Startup mentality of that minimum viable product, get it out there, get commercial with it. And when I say commercial, it’s like really like you have a customer that’s paying, you can’t just give the stuff away and ask for people’s opinions, you have to have real buyers, you know. And then don’t expect that it’s going to be a home run. Like if you know, you expect you’re going to make errors expect you’re going to make base hits, and learn from it and be expecting that you’re going to change the product. So for instance, if you’re a manufacturing, you don’t put your first order in for 10,000 units, and then expect that, oh, we’re going to get the lowest cost by making the most amount of units when you haven’t even sold unit number one. Like it would be much better that you go make 100 and get those started, get the practice of the business and then iterate, iterate, iterate, and figure it out through action, not just like planning an argument and collaboration in terms of later. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it.
Dave Hamilton 40:02
Yeah, like what you said practice your business don’t treat it like it’s a static thing. You’re you’re constantly practicing and learning and getting better. I mean that that’s going to naturally happen anyway. So lean into that embrace it and, and truly treat it like a practice. That’s interesting. Yeah. Like, it’s great.
Shannon Jean 40:21
It’s all it’s great stuff. I mean, I always love catching up and talking to you. You have a real interesting framework on a lot of this stuff. And I’m, I love watching you expand out to different things. It’s great. Thank you again for coming on hanging out with us today. What’s the best way for our listeners to connect with you and to learn more about market make?
Kelan Raph 40:43
LinkedIn is the easiest. Send me an invitation to connect with a personalized message about small business show and any questions that you have. We’ll be happy to connect with you. That’s probably the easiest way and you can also
Find my companies from my profile as well, company basis, they’re also make sure to put that link in the show notes for you and for everybody else, too.
Shannon Jean 41:08
Yeah. And we’ll post the show up to LinkedIn as well because we, we know how good a resource it is. So, well thank you again Kalyn, you know, we’ll always keep in touch you Who knows you may be come back and forth time you start another business.
Kelan Raph 41:21
I would love to. Yeah, we’ll be on congratulations on your the book you just published that is really cool. I love Thanks, Poshmark, as well. I think it’s a super good home based business.
Shannon Jean 41:32
Yeah, both those titles are doing really well. And it’s part of my, you know, evolution, like you talked about and creating that content that spreads my brand, and then also the brand of the Small Business show out there so we can get, you know, just bring more people into the fold that want to live that charmed life that Dave always talks about. as well.
Kelan Raph 41:50
I’ll be happy to distribute more of that stuff for you on LinkedIn too.
Shannon Jean 41:53
Awesome. Yeah, that’s great. Thanks Kalyn, we really appreciate your time today.
Kelan Raph 41:57
Dave Hamilton 41:59
As always, man, I disagree emphatically with you, I feel like I learned the most on that one.
You know, his his whole thing. And he glossed over it and I was gonna kind of have him dig back in but but then we got into even better stuff. So I didn’t but I made a note of it here. That whole thing about you know, if all your if your only purpose in making all those sales phone calls or outreach phone calls, is to get to the bottom of the page and turn the page and go to the next page, that’s the wrong attitude. And it’s that’s what a great it’s not really an analogy, but just a great description of it. Yeah, cuz I bet you especially new salespeople, that’s what they’re doing. Oh, I called everybody call them I did my job. You know, and I mean, there’s that the problem is there is there is some some truth in in just, you know, practicing the fundamentals of work. I know that if I make 100 phone calls, I’m gonna get whatever the number is for you industry, you know, 1015 leads, and then from there, you know, it sort of filters down through the funnel. So so there is that goal of getting to the bottom of the page, like there is there is some value in that, but it needs to be tempered with, well, you know, how much effort are you putting into each of those calls? You know, because if your only goal is to get that person off the phone so you can get to the next one. Well, that’s gonna catch anyway.
Shannon Jean 43:25
Yeah, that’s true. And the one of the other terms that he used that I really stuck with me was that he has learned to when he learned to scale himself. Oh, yeah. And I thought, Oh, yeah, that’s huge. Because I need to figure that out. Yeah. That’s right. And it’s just maximizing because he’s a perfect example. We’ve talked about it on the show before I’ve Scott Adams talks about the talent stack. Yeah, in one of his books that I really had to fail at everything is still still be a success.
You know, you can just see, as he talks about well, I was at DHL that I went and I did this and I did a product company and that worked for a while and then that stopped and and then went back to DHL. Then I launched, you know, a business around logistics, then I built some software. And then we sold that software. And now I’m in all along the way. He’s been doing marketing. So now I’m starting this marketing business. So it’s just a great example of, of
having all these various talents and stacking them together to help make you successful. So I think it’s a great example and something that I highly recommend people emulate. Yeah, it is no, it’s good. It’s great. All right. Well, I think that does it for another week here of the Small Business show. Yep, make sure to visit our sponsor linode comm slash SBS Of course, make sure to go to business show co slash mistakes so that you can get your copy of our mistakes book that kaelin mentioned. We’ll put a link to Shannon’s poshmark book in the show notes, of course since Kellan mentioned that as well cool and I
Dave Hamilton 45:00
I don’t think I have anything else today man. Do you?
Shannon Jean 45:02
I think that’s it. Last thing you know, we’d ask you to leave us a quick review. Wherever you’re listening to this today. It makes a huge difference in our life as we help you live your charmed life.
Dave Hamilton 45:11
There it is. Thank you very much. Thanks, folks. Take it easy.
- 00:00:00 Small Business Show #279 for Wednesday, June 3, 2020
- 00:03:30 SPONSOR: Linode. Instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Linode Cloud. Get a server running in seconds with your choice of Linux distro, resources, and choice of 10 node locations. Visit Linode.com/SBS to start with a $20 credit.
- Today’s Return guest: Kelan Raph, MarketM8
- Embracing Agile Project Management
- Loving HubSpot
- “I believe marketing is DIY”
- The benefits of LinkedIn (especially Sales Navigator)
- Otter.ai – Realtime transcription of Zoom meetings (and podcasts!)
- If you take too long to try to develop something, you’re just wasting time.
- Understand MVP… and live it.
- Practice your business, then iterate, iterate, iterate!
- Find Kelan Raph on LinkedIn