Do you want to grow your business fast and don't know where to start?
Kory Basaraba of GrowFast Marketing has helped dozens of impatient business owners achieve their visions quickly. In the process, he's identified five pillars that are key to accelerated scaling.
In this episode of SuperFastBusiness, he and James go over those pillars and how you can apply them to your own business for the speedy expansion you're after.
00:58 – Kory’s entry into the fast growth game
03:15 – Strategy versus shortcuts
05:15 – Are you a grower, or a bus driver?
07:29 – What’s the thing that’s stopping you from growing?
12:28 – Knowing, really knowing, what your customer needs
18:15 – Tell stories; story is where it’s at
21:47 – People need to know who you are
25:16 – Having a relationship with the data
30:15 – The difference a good team makes
36:38 – The five pillars in a nutshell
Let James help you grow a better business inside SuperFastBusiness membership
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today, we’re going to talk about how you can grow your business faster. And, of course, the master of that is Kory Basaraba from the Grow Fast method. Welcome to the show.
Kory: Hey, James, glad to be here.
James: So we’re talking about accelerated growth here. It’s kind of talked about a lot actually, in online circles. There’s lots and lots of books on it. There’s gurus on it, there’s experts on it. There are entire coaching industries around growing your business faster. I’m in that industry. There’s a bunch of service providers doing everything from websites through to conversion rate optimization, and you’ve been in the game for a little while. Why don’t you just give us a short runway as to how you got to be focusing on helping people get this accelerated growth. Like, what led to this?
Kory’s entry into the fast growth game
Kory: Yeah, well, I built my first website in 1999 during the first dot com boom. And since then I’ve worked with, you know, dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs, let’s say, and every single one of them is impatient and wants to get their vision as quickly as possible, right? They want things now. And along the journey, I had to build my own products, launch products for clients, just do every aspect of marketing. And you start to see patterns, right, as you’re working in the trenches, what’s working and what doesn’t work. And when it comes to growth, and getting there faster, what I found is that there’s a lot of focus on tactics and tools. And yet, that’s not often the actual problem, right? The latest greatest trick or hack is not the thing that’s slowing you down.
James: Well, it’s kind of like a lure, isn’t it? It’s far more attractive to go and chase that new software tool. Because I think the copywriters do a good job on those tools, don’t they? They talk about automation, and leverage, and it does things that you used to have to do manually. Some of them, like the extreme ones, you know, the sales page will indicate that money will just tip into your bank account automatically as soon as you get this tool. So it does seem like an attractive alternative to doing the workout.
“It always comes down to the research.”
And you know, the thing that I keep bumping into, a recurring theme, whether I’m speaking to a copywriter, or a good storyteller, or someone who’s great with memberships, etc., it always comes down to the research. Unless you do that hard, difficult, boring step of gathering intelligence and data and looking at the market and the pain points and the problems in the market, you end up skipping something. And so those little bright shiny objects, they’re really just very surface level, they’re not deep at all, are they?
You know, it’s ironic, just before this call, the thing that I was doing was going through my research data for my SuperFastBusiness Live event, finding out of the participants, what sort of challenges are they having? What kind of businesses do they have? How big are their teams? Where are they struggling? Because I want to create the event, the content that meets their needs head on.
Strategy versus shortcuts
And I think that’s a really good point you made. So if we look beyond tactics, and, you know, cool things to do, whether it’s bots or nine-word emails, all these sort of things, they’re great. But underneath that, you know, they’re little part of an overall strategy. Right. And I think you’re pretty keen about strategy.
Kory: Well, and I think that it’s true, I am definitely keen on strategy. And it’s tricky because it’s not as sexy, it’s not as shiny, it’s not as instantly obvious why it’s important. So I’ve been working hard to try and help people understand, what do we talk about when we say strategy, right?
And, you know, coming up through this business, the internet marketing industry the last 20 years, I see a lot of people who got rich very quickly selling tools to entrepreneurs. That was their shortcut, right? And I kind of got a little bit annoyed at that, because I’d end up dealing with the wreckage afterwards and my client saying, I did this, I got this, it didn’t work.
So the question is, why is strategy important? And it’s really like, What’s your plan? Do you have a plan? It’s one of the first questions I ask my clients, okay, well show me your plan. And most of them, they can’t show me anything because it’s not written down. They don’t actually have a plan in the first place. They have a lot of ideas, right?
Kory: Things in motion. We’d love to see the plan. Yeah.
James: Well, they’re like a bird dog, you know, who’s just spotted something, and they’re going to just focus on just going to get that thing. And I think we are opportunity magnets, entrepreneurs. We can spot the good in anything. We can look at any scenario and oh, I can see where there’d be, you know, we’re hopeful and vision-filled. But that doesn’t get you across the finish line.
James: Because it’s a long game, right?
Are you a grower, or a bus driver?
Kory: Well, it is a long game. And you know, people ask me, what’s the one thing I should do to grow faster? And one of the biggest things that slows people down is they’re changing direction every 30 days.
Kory: They’ll start a thing, and then they’ll stop the thing and change direction.
James: Because they’re escaping boredom. Some people are good at starting. They’re like professional starters. Start, start, start. That’s actually where they get the most joy.
And I think there’s two main categories of business owner. There’s the the grower, the one that wants to start things and get it going. And then there’s the bus driver – they’re like, give me my route, give me the times, give me my bus, and I will do that every day for the rest of eternity. They’re the people who maintain stuff. And I think most entrepreneurs are not bus drivers; I think they’re growers, and they just love to start things. And it’s good even just to confront that and be real with it. Because we need people like you, Kory, to be the calm steady hands saying, Well, wait a minute. Let’s get some rails for this locomotive. Let’s decide in advance. Like one of my mentors taught me. He said, like, imagine you’re at Grand Central Station, and where do you actually want to go? What is the station we want to go to? And what’s the train route to get there? And what are the platforms that we’re going to visit along the way? And once you get on that train, and you’re so clear on that plan, then it’s harder for people to derail you. And I really love that metaphor because it just rings true.
James: I work with some people who are so clear on what their train tracks look like, there’s no moving them. You can’t move them off it. Because life comes along and tries to get in your way and push you.
So that’s a great one.
Kory: That’s right.
James: Your primary question – show me your plan.
Kory: Yeah. Can I see your plan? And it’s like, well, I don’t have a plan. Okay. And the thing is, you and I are both entrepreneurs; I’ve had to deal with this myself. So it’s not like it’s a judgment about being a starter. You should be a starter. We need that energy to get off and running.
James: Of course.
What’s the thing that’s stopping you from growing?
Kory: Right. So this is about just recognizing it and then bolting on a person or a team or someone else to help keep you on track, right? And so most of us are saying at this point, probably, yes, I get it. I start too many projects, I change direction. You know, I want to grow faster. What do I do? And I like to be practical with that. And the thing that was a big kind of an Aha! moment for me was when I read, you know, Goldratt’s book, The Theory of Constraints, which is technical for a lot of people, but the point is that there’s something that’s stopping you from growing. So I always ask, what’s stopping you from growing?
If you don’t know, say I have a car and I want it to go faster, right? I say, well, what’s stopping your car from going faster? And you have to really think about it for a minute, because most people go, I just need a bigger engine. Okay, so you drop a bigger engine in it, and that gets you some more speed. But there comes a point where the bigger engine is not enough, right? Your transmission is going to break if you have too much horsepower. So there’s this linkage of parts that have to work together to really grow. And so if you think, all I’ve got to do is drop in a new engine, you’re going to be stuck. So a lot of people nowadays, that’s like, Facebook ads is a great example.
James: Yeah. Like, you probably weren’t running Facebook ads back in the early 2000s. Right?
Kory: No Facebook ads. Nope.
James: I think I was running them maybe 2008 or so. Like, really, really early, like a long time ago. It’s not a big part of my thing. Of course, you have the big engine, you’re going to have to handle, the corners are going to come up and you need good breaks, right? Because now you’re going so much faster and you need a well-balanced machine.
Kory: That’s right. So you take care of all the obvious stuff first in your business, right? Okay, you got to have traffic and you got to have a landing page and you got to have a funnel. So you get that all kind of going. But then, to get the next level of speed out requires a little more finesse. Right? If you talk to a guy who’s built a hundred racecars, he’s going to be able to troubleshoot your business very quickly and give you more specific advice on how to unlock more speed, right?
Kory: And when it comes to marketing, there’s so many choices out there every day. Am I a content marketer? Am I doing Facebook? Am I doing SEO? Like, as entrepreneurs, we have all these choices. And we have teams that depend on us to make the right choices. And it can be a little scary. And I know, as humans, we have to chase certainty, right? So if I’m going down a track, a path, and then I see something else that comes along that seems like, well, maybe that’ll work better, it’s easy for me to go after that next direction.
So one of the core things of growing faster is, get a good plan and give it some time to work before you change direction. So a lot of what we do is just, what are we doing for the next 12 weeks? If this is really the thing, let’s focus on the thing and let’s just not take any left turns. Because if you spend two months building a funnel, for example, and it just doesn’t work. That’s a huge slowdown of your whole business. And I see that all the time. I see people who have spent six months building these very sophisticated funnels; they never stopped to ask, is the thing that’s stopping me a new funnel? Right?
James: So they’re working on the wrong thing.
Kory: Working on the wrong thing. That’s right.
James: Crazy. And you know, in an earlier episode before this, we were speaking with Caleb O’Dowd, and he said most copywriters are, they’re building out campaigns that are flawed from the beginning because they never did the research. It’s like, you’ve got to have the fundamentals.
“The more complex a system is, the simpler you can impact it.”
I love the Theory of Constraints. I like Eli Goldratt’s book called The Choice, and the concept of inherent simplicity, that the more complex a system is, the simpler you can impact it. Like, a car is a good example. You’ve got this huge expensive lump of metal, plastic, rubber, electricity, oil, gas, metal. It’s just this big thing with all these bits. And basically, if you lose the key to the car, the whole thing’s useless. Like, as simple as that can impact the entire machine. And on the flip side, if you do change one thing, then you can get a completely different result. Like for example, you cut the muffler off. It will go from really quiet to really loud. Unless it’s electric, of course, which it’s already quiet anyway.
You know, one small change. And so like, if you want to take that car, stick it on a racetrack and cut the muffler off, you can extract a whole lot more power out of it by just removing something. You can remove something from this machine and make it perform better. Crazy.
So I like this. You’ve really highlighted that we should stop for a minute, just stop all this craziness and think, am I actually on the right track? Is my strategy going to get me where I want to go? And then you can fit the tactics into that and make it actually happen. Because you got to execute, of course. That’s where the other disconnect can often be, between the big vision and then actually getting the results.
Knowing, really knowing, what your customer needs
So you’ve talked about clarity around what’s really holding you back. And let’s go further into this. I think you want to talk about customer insights.
Kory: Well, when you’re looking at your business, Okay, I want more cash, I want to grow, I want to be a multimillion-dollar business. All the things that you want and what your business means, you start looking at. If you’re going down a path now, one of the questions I have is, Who gave you the advice that sets you on this path, right? You got to be really careful about people telling you what works and what doesn’t work.
And so, you’ll get a lot of people who were A, selling their tool, who will tell you, this is what you need, because this is the tool I have for sale. And so, so many of my clients are building funnels or doing Facebook ads, because some other person, some guru told them that’s what they should do, whereas what their business needed something else, right? So you bring up customer insights as one of the critical things that could be slowing you down.
And you always have to be aware that you’re in competition. You’re in competition with somebody else. In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to start a business. It’s easier than ever to get in the market. So there’s more people who want the same customer you’re chasing. Right?
James: Look, it’s something I’ve been reflecting on lately. Like, compared to when I started podcasting to now, I was reading on Tim Ferriss’s podcast, it’s over 500,000 podcasts. You know, like, it was easy for me to be in the top 10 in business for many, many years. Now, there’s just so many podcasts. You’ve got to level up, you know? I came to the conclusion, you know, my podcast is crap. I’ve got to start, I’ve got to really refresh it, reinvigorate it and make it better, because the competition has leveled up, and the market moves forward. If you’re not adjusting, innovating, refining, or reflecting, and if you ever get to rest on your laurels or be complacent about it, you’ll be toast. So you know, I’m in an established mature leveraged position, and I’m constantly thinking about how can I improve this? Because whatever today’s standard is is not next year’s standard. The game is changing. So I think that your emphasis on speed is important. We both put the name “fast” in our domain. I have SuperFastBusiness, you have GrowFast Marketing. And I think we’ve identified that this is actually a huge advantage, speed, time in the market.
Kory: Absolutely. Yep. Yep.
Well, and now it’s interesting for you because like you said, you’re in a mature position, you’ve got a lot of experience, but now you’re looking to have to make a change. So where do you focus? To identify, what do I make different? Right now you’ve got so many things you could – you could improve production value, you could improve all kinds of stuff. And one of the first things that I know you advise your clients is talk to your audience. Now, what’s the next level of engagement or interest that your customers want?
James: We just pulled the top 10 episodes from last year out of the 86 episodes we published, and I had a look at, what were the topics? What was the format? how long were they? And I got a pretty good feel for what’s resonating. Like, what gets the most downloads and the most shares? And there was a couple of patterns there. And I’ll take those patterns, and I will distill those into a new recipe. And so I’m gonna essentially 80/20 what I think the patterns are, and then replicate them. So I’m picking my winners and scaling my winners. And the things that got very few downloads, I’ll also look for those patterns as things to avoid and filter away from.
“It’s a constant pattern of find out what works, do more of that, cut what doesn’t work.”
Kory: Right. It’s a constant pattern of find out what works, do more of that, and cut what doesn’t work. And you have to be, a trick is you need a certain amount of discipline. Like, what if you really love the topics that aren’t working? Well, now you’ve got a decision to make.
James: Are you an artist or are you in business for a particular reason? And the other thing I did, and it is counterintuitive for some people, but natural for others, is I asked someone else. I asked an outsider who has expertise. I was having a chat to Charley Valher, and he has a good data set of podcasts. I actually thought about it when I’m coming back from my surf. This is my process, my creative process. I’m coming back from my surf thinking, I’m going to have a call with Charley. Because I had a 10 o’clock call with Charley, and I got out of the surf at 9:40. Just enough time to walk home, have a shower, make a coffee. I’m going to ask Charley what he would do with my podcast.
And a lot of other people think, well, James knows everything. He knows all about this. He’s the expert. Well now, take that hat off for a minute, have some humility and open yourself up for some feedback. I said Charley, what would you do with my podcast to improve it, to make it better? I explain there’s 500,000 podcasts and I want to shake the tree a bit on this. And I just find out what he’s observing from an outside perspective, but one with a data set of podcasts. And he had some fantastic suggestions, one of which I already implemented, and it was so easy to do. And that is to look at, of all the content upgrades, which ones convert the most members? And then to make specific content around that content upgrade. Like, extract and then redeploy more episodes around that core filter. And I made a video about it. And I’ll drive people straight to that podcast, and then I can buy ads to the video.
Tell stories; story is where it’s at
So stepping away and just sort of recapping what you said, I had real clarity on what my customers want. I had clarity on what I’m trying to achieve. I’ve put those customer insights together with my clarity and I then started taking action. And I’ve used a couple of your other concepts that I know you’re passionate about, and just recurring themes. Again, we covered it in 710 for story-based emails. Story-based messaging, that seems to be where it’s at. I’m now making sure that I publish a lot more content, and I’m using a lot more video as well. And I’m definitely putting stories across the board.
And that’s really to your point. Like, what if you want to do something and what if your customers want something different? I’m not typically story-based. When I consume information, I’d like, give me the 10 bullet points. Like, I know a book started as a one-pager, and then got fluffed out into a book. Just give me the one page.
James: But then what I’ve realized is most other people, they want the whole story. Like, take that page, and then wrap it up and package it nicely for me and make it all make sense. Give me all the context and take your time with it. Let’s enjoy this. So I’ve had to actually, I wouldn’t say fluff, but I’ve had to expand and enrich the way that I deliver content more to make it accessible for my audience, where that wouldn’t necessarily be my personal style five years ago. Ten years ago, you would say I’m a robot.
Kory: You’ve come a long way, James.
James: I have. I’ve come a long way.
Kory: That’s a perfect example, though. Like, you can resist story all you want, right? And the reason story is important for us now is because we can no longer force people to consume our ads. The old days, you’re watching a TV show, the ad would come on, you have to watch a commercial. There was no TiVo. Or you could be reading an article, and it would cut to the back of the magazine, and you had to flip through all the ads. Like, those days are over; you can’t force consumption.
So we’re in a world now where we have to invite people to consume our content. And the people who are the best at getting attention are the winners, right? You know, Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this all the time, he says you need to be a media company first, and then sell your product second. And what he means by that, I believe he’s right, is that if you don’t give people a reason to pay attention to you by hooking their brains with what they want, which is entertainment, storytelling, right?
And if you’re into hardcore information, like if you have a problem you’re trying to solve, you can hop on YouTube right now and go solve that problem. Right? You can go to Google, you can get that stuff. So just giving people facts is not enough to differentiate yourself from everybody else, right?
“What’s critical is we want to have human relationships.”
And I think what’s critical is we want to have human relationships. Like, if I gave you 10 bullet points on how to fix your business, and then Warren Buffett gave you 10 bullet points on how to fix your business, you’re probably going to look at his 10 bullet points first, because he’s got a relationship, right? You know who he is and what he stands for. And as people come across you, when they get to know who you are, now they want your 10 bullets, right? So the content gives us that bridge to start a relationship with new people. Because if it’s not you, it’s going to be someone else. And if you tell the good stories… So anyway, I’m bullish on the whole story thing, and there’s a lot of good reasons for it.
James: Man, you should get on podcasts and talk about this stuff. People will know who you are.
Kory: That’s a great idea.
People need to know who you are
James: I wholeheartedly agree. It does seem that way. Like, Gary Vee is a really interesting one, because I heard him talk about making 150 million dollars in revenue and making no profit, which is a different business model than what I am used to. And I can appreciate he’s probably got a very strong strategy with that one, like there must be a huge endgame. And he certainly has proven how you can dominate people’s attention. Even if the message is good or bad, it doesn’t matter if his message’s in front of everyone. Everyone knows him; they all refer to him, point to him, comment on him, consume. And that’s more important than ever.
And one of the huge shifts I had for 2020 is I’ve started putting content on my personal name, a personal Facebook page. And so you can head over to James Schramko, like that page. That’s where I’m putting videos most days now. And I’ve put more emphasis on my personal Instagram. And the interesting thing is, my personal Instagram caught up with my team’s business Instagram at SuperFastBusiness. They’re about to cross over. And I noticed from LinkedIn, where that’s highly personal because you really operate as yourself, that’s where I get the most views. That’s where I get the most profile visits. My personal Instagram gets about four times more profile or bio link visits than the business one.
So I think we are, just sort of a side note here, but we are in the age where it really pays to be personally branded and for people to know who you are. So that’s why, Kory, it’s great to have you on this podcast so that people get to know who you are.
Let’s keep going with this GrowFast method. So we’ve talked about, just a quick recap, constraint clarity – like, know what’s actually stopping you and what is your real roadblock, because that is your biggest opportunity. And as Eli Goldratt talks about, you should redirect pretty much all available resources to solving that, because that is the choke point in your business which, once solved, gets you not just 10 percent increase. You know, monumental increases. He’s got so many stories about that, like the bread company who wants to get better distribution, so they go and find a milk delivery and say, “Look, can we put our bread on your vans?” “Sure.” You know, boom, distribution. Just like that.
You’ve talked about customer insights. Like, you really have to know a lot about your customers, but not not just where they’re at now, but like, who they want to become, because you’re part of that journey. And of course, you can test that and gather the data. And I know you could geek out all day long on that stuff, but you’ve got a very human face for someone who’s so technically capable. And then you wrap it in a story. And you’ve got to get their attention and they have to value your information or your service over someone else, and in communicating. I mean, I’ve been really studying up on this. I’ve got books on copywriting here. I’ve just got a great recommendation, actually. This one here is called The 16-Word Sales Letter. I’m really interested in this.
Kory: It’s fantastic.
James: The framework in the end of that, I mean, anyone can apply that. And you start to connect the dots here.
Having a relationship with the data
And then next up, you really do talk about data leadership. And this is an interesting theme coming up in my community, in SuperFastBusiness membership. Right now, as we’re recording this, there’s this big discussion about dashboards. One of our members is very competent with building these huge dashboards for multinational companies in Europe, who order things. And he’s creating, like, AI predictors and stuff, helping them order the right stock. And they can make huge gains by looking at the data and knowing what to do next, rather than just flying blind, which is like, there’s two extremes right? Most business owners in the small category have absolutely no data. And then there’s the other one who, like, collects absolutely everything, and it’s all meaningless because they don’t know what to do with it. So you may be collecting too much data.
And through a process of refinement and me having some training and background on that from Mercedes-Benz, and having really expensive accountants come and give us spreadsheets all the time, we’ve figured out the few lead and lag metrics that make a big difference for us that are reliable predictors. I mean, a classic example is us looking at last year’s podcast. Like, of all the podcasts, what can we learn from this? What does it tell us in hindsight? Because that’s where the value in the data can be. And knowing what we know now, what would we do for the next year? We’re going to do the same, or are we going to do something different? And if we’re going to do something different, what would that be? What would our best hypothesis be? So talk to me about how you have a relationship with data and the leadership aspect of it and what you’ve seen to be true from your experience.
Kory: It’s interesting, because if you look at any company who comes out of Silicon Valley, right, any of these large unicorns, they call them – a unicorn is a private company that hits a billion dollars in revenue – there’s been, they used to be rare, which is why they were called unicorns. Now, they’re knocking them out. You know, every year, there’s a couple new ones. But they all insist on data. There’s no CEO of a high growth company that’s going to say, oh, just give me your best guess. Right? Like, they’re going to go to their chief marketing officer, their operations, say, Show me the numbers. And if you don’t have the numbers, then you’re fired, and you give me someone who gets the numbers. Because they know you can’t make good decisions without data.
It doesn’t mean you don’t use your entrepreneurial experience and your instincts to do all that. But you back it up with data. And I love your example, because imagine if you didn’t know which of your podcasts had the most downloads. You’d be looking at your next decision for your next year making a strategic move based on your hunch or what you like. And as entrepreneurs, you can build a business to a million dollars or $2 million based on your hunches and intuition. But there comes a point where if you’re not letting data guide you, if you’re not insisting on good data, then you’re just leaving so much on the table. You don’t know what your constraint really is. Your data shows you what to focus on. Right? What’s the one thing that’s going to get you there? You might think it’s, my funnel doesn’t convert. But it could be that your funnel converts just fine, but your product is actually an issue. But you don’t know unless you have data.
So I call it data leadership because it’s kind of like, you step up. There’s like, a rite of passage in most cultures where you become, you know, a grown-up. You go from a teenager to a grown-up. Well, there’s a rite of passage in business when you decide that you’re now going to insist on data. Right? And that happens when there’s enough at stake that you want to stop winging it and get data in there. So data leadership is one of the pillars of growth. Because if you don’t have it, you’re just rolling the dice. So that’s why I’m so passionate about getting the right data.
And like you said, you can’t be obsessed over everything. You got to figure out what’s important and what isn’t. Right? But when you know what your important numbers are, think about your confidence level now, going into your new podcast season with your plan that’s based on data.
James: Well, I’m really confident. You know, I know for one thing, scaling is a huge topic for my audience. And here we are talking about scaling. So I’m really confident with that. And I got a good sense of podcast length, and what subject lines appeal to them the most.
This really leads into my next thing, I use a technique called DDD. And as far as I know, I know I coined this, but someone else might claim it. But it’s data, decision, do. So get your data. You make decisions based on the data. And then you go to do. And I think that leads nicely into your last pillar. Because you got five pillars, constant clarity, customer insights, story-based messaging, data leadership, and the final one, ta-da, team leverage.
The difference a good team makes
Like, when it comes to doing, there’s only so much one person can do. Like, the founder has probably had to hire a team at some point and and get some leverage in the business. And it’s like, when I look into my Slack. These days, I see my team, and then I see our external team. They’re like, it’s like a cloud team where I’ve got a ManyChat guy, I’ve got a programmer, there’s a designer, there’s basically a Facebook ads person. They’re all just joined in as contractors now on our Slack and it’s like this machine, a leverage machine. You know, things happen in there, and away it goes. We take a call like this and it gets disseminated across the internet, in multiple formats and turned into snippets and cheat sheets and opt-ins and SEO and everything. It’s amazing when you have a good team.
And I want to see what it’s like for you when you’ve come into a business and looked at these things and helped the owner. How are you finding the difference between people who have a good team, or no team? You know, what’s it like?
Kory: It’s a great question. Well, it’s fun talking about teams with you, because you’ve been helping us for years build teams in our businesses. So when I look at an entrepreneur who says, “Hey, I want to grow faster. We have a great product, we want to scale, we want to get there quicker,” we look at the team and say, “Well, what’s your workflow like?” Because if you want to scale, you have to release, or ship, good marketing, right? And so many times an entrepreneur says, “Well, we know we need a better email sequence, but we haven’t done that yet.” Or, “I know I need to do Facebook ads, but I haven’t done that yet.” It’s like, well, every day that you don’t do something that you know will work, it costs you money. So let’s look at, why isn’t it getting done? And the constraint is usually their team.
“The company who can release the most good marketing wins.”
And one of the common things I see is they hire the web guy, and they expect a web guy to be able to write, copy and build a website and do all this stuff. And it’s kind of crazy, right? Any manufacturing company or CEO would look at that and just laugh. So we map out your workflow. Show me what it takes to get a marketing idea, and turn it into a marketing result. What has to happen, right? And it’s like, you just build a little factory around marketing. And the company who can release the most good marketing wins. So if you need to do a lot of great content, you have a machine, James, to release a lot of great content and you’ve seen how that’s impacted your business.
James: Oh, I saw how Gary Vee does it. I mean, he was the first guy I saw making a lot of videos, and so that was the seed of the idea. Like, he’s the extreme example. And then you got guys like me, and then you have people who aren’t releasing any content. And I said this to a friend of ours recently, actually. So the reason you are reliant upon referrals, and the reason you’re always the guy in the background is you have no foreground. There is absolutely zero. There’s no content. There’s nothing being published; there’s no frontline content whatsoever. So you don’t have a top of the funnel, you only start getting engaged in the middle of the funnel and on. And that’s fine if you like that. But if you’re not happy with the people you get referred to, or you don’t like the work, then you should move your funnel forward. Like, get it out there.
But once you’ve got a machine, you know, a friend of mine, Dave Wooding, said to me once (he’s a programmer), he said, if you can think it, I can make it. And I think about my team. If I can think it, they can do it. They just, it goes in there and then it happens. And then things start happening magically. They start doing things that they anticipate would be needed. Because once they’re clear on the train tracks and they know where we’re going, like, you don’t have to have everything instructed. Like, let’s say that the train metaphor, we know what platform we’re going and we’re powering, you know, we’re shoveling coal into the engine and the shovel breaks. Do they need to come down to the dining cart and say, “Uh, sir, the shovel’s broken, what should we know?” No!
James: You know, they gaff tape it up and they just get going with it. They keep shoveling, they collect, they just improvise, they fix. Because they know we need coal because it powers the engine, and the engine’s for the train and the train’s going to the station. So once people are very clear on how we’re rolling, magic happens. It’s amazing. And you would have worked with some high-performance teams who would be like that.
Kory: Absolutely, I have. And what I found that’s interesting is they tend to put specialist in narrow roles, rather than trying to find a few generalists.
Kory: So, again, the beauty of the Theory of Constraints is you can apply it to any part of your business. Let’s say that you decide that your number one thing for this year is to get more content out. Well, then you have to ask yourself, well, what’s the one skill or talent that’s stopping us from doing that? And maybe you need a video editor. Right? So you could decide your whole business hinges on finding a good video editor. Well, now you’re clear. That becomes your mission, right?
Because there’s a lot of specialists out there. I use this metaphor a lot – like, my mom, 25 years ago, married a New Zealand guy who’s a builder. And he builds houses and he had a traditional apprenticeship and he builds everything by himself, right? Or he can. So people come to him because they want a house. He doesn’t advertise himself as a great skilsaw, right? “I’m really great with a hammer.” It’s just ridiculous. He says, “You want a house, I can build you a house.” And what he does is he finds all the little experts to do their job. He finds the drywallers and the plumbers, and he knows how to get the experts to do their job. But he’s the one who knows how to do everything. And often as entrepreneurs, we can do a lot ourselves, and we get overwhelmed trying to find someone like us. “I can’t find anyone like me.” Well, no, you’re not going to. Find someone who can do 10 percent of what you do. Find yourself a really good video editor, find yourself a really good contractor that you can pay by the hour and start the process. So part of it is going, what’s the one skill you need in your team to scale? And the other part of this really is understanding, how do I work with the team?
The five pillars in a nutshell
James: Kory, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing this. So I’m just going to recap the pillars, because this GrowFast method, it’s what you’ve been using with your clients; it’s what’s been getting results. And you are that guy that can come in and see all the bits, all the data, all the funnels, all the strategy, the plan (if there isn’t one, I’m sure you can help make it), working with the various specialists to get the house built, to get that result. So it’s constraint clarity, knowing what’s stopping you.
It’s customer insights. Like, what do your customers want to become?
And then there’s story-based messaging. Without the attention, you’ve got nothing. So keep your stories going.
And then get that data and lead with the data. Like, use the data like a Silicon Valley company would.
And then leverage your team. Get the team going. If you need team, there’s so many resources in SuperFastBusiness membership arena. We have recruiters, we’ve got people like Kat Jarman who run operators for you. So if you don’t have a team, they can bring them in. And then of course, you can get the contractors in to help, just like I have. And I’d say that’s a big difference between 2019 to 2020 for SuperFastBusiness, is we brought in some real firepower from outside to specialize in those little areas that we haven’t been addressing, that will give us incremental growth. And maybe not just small increments, maybe some big increments.
And, of course, having you in my sphere has been really powerful for me as well, Kory, so I appreciate all the tips and advice that you’ve been able to share with us. Kory, your website’s GrowFastMarketing.com?
Kory: That’s right. Well, thanks, James. It’s a real pleasure, as always, to talk with you, talk marketing and talk business. And we’re both on a mission to help some entrepreneurs and it’s great to be able to reach an audience through you. So thanks for having me on your show.
There you go. That’s Episode 719. We will put the full transcription there. And also, the checklists will be available as a PDF.
Make more, scale faster with help from Kory Basaraba at GrowFastMarketing.com
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Hear Kory Basaraba present live on optimizing conversion rate at SuperFastBusiness Live 2020
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