Welcome to episode #226 of Explode Your Expert Biz Show, brought to you by http://gtex.org.uk/,
I am your host, Simone Vincenzi, The Experts Strategist, and this is the podcast for experts who want to become the ultimate authority in their niche while making an impact in the world.
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In this episode, I talk about
- My reflection at the end of the BASE Scale Up Conference.
- How to scale your business, hiring, leadership and culture sales
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Ladies and gentlemen, we are here at the end of this scale-up the BASE scale-up conference where Ben and I were speaking. Thank you for joining, if you’re watching a replay make sure you put #Replay.
I’m going to go away from the noise in a minute, but I just wanted to show you, now it’s time to socialise, it’s time to relax.
During the end of this live show, I’m going to introduce you to some of the key people that were part of this conference, and I wanted to share with you bit more about the experiences that we have today, some of the main learning points from this scale-up conference, and something that you can take away immediately to help your business, so just find a meeting room, lemme get in here right now.
So, first of all there are a few things that make a scale-up very different from a start-up. Now, the environment is very different, the needs of the scale-up, compared to a start-up, are very different. So, what’s the difference, the main one? Well, a start-up, you are still figuring out your ideas, you are stilling going out there. You might not have a team or you have a very, very small team, and still you are in the concept, in development of the concept, while when you are scaling-up, it means that the business is already proven. You got staff, you got processes, you got things in place that will allow you now to expand what’s already working, and going to new territories.
Thank you for joining, Bob, great to see you.
So, when you are scaling-up, the more the challenges that there are now, there are more challenges around culture. Which means, “Am I hiring the right people?”, “Am I leading the people in the right way?” There are challenges financially, because now it’s difficult if you’re not bringing a certain amount of revenues, your fixed cost, they are quite high most of the time, so you need to have always a big push in terms of the sales and getting in front of new people to bring those revenue, to generate those revenue, they are going to then fuel all the rest of the business.
Other challenges that we have as scale-ups are in terms of managing and managing people. So, “Am I managing the people in the right way?”, “Am I hiring the right people?”, “Am I managing the finances correct?”, and it’s all done in a larger scale. So how do we then, what kinda solutions do we have? And that’s what I want to talk about in this session. What kinda solutions can we put in place, as scale-ups, to solve this problem? And this is some of the things that I’ve learned today attending some of the sessions, and also listening to some of the comments that came up.
Let’s talk about growth and profitability. This is the session that I led today, and money or having more profit. Wrong. The moment where you grow the most is actually the moment where you have the least amount of profits in terms of percentages. So you might have even more money, you might have more money in the account, but profit margin and the amount of money that you keep might Concept to apply, is to apply the concept of profits first? i.e. Reddim, lot of people recommended that book and the concept of profit first is to take your profits first.
So when someone pays you, take part of your money and put it aside immediately, like you would do mainly for your personal finances. Why’s that? Because, as I said, your profit margin might be reduced and you don’t want to go into the trap of reinvesting everything you have immediately, but you always need to take some cash aside for profits, for savings, for other moments where you will not know. Now that your normal costs and your break-even point is higher than the way you were running before your company. So that’s at one point, we’re on the main point on growth and profitability.
The other parts that I’ve mentioned during my talk on growth and profitability was that you can find always additional money in places that maybe you’re not thinking about. Now if you want to grow in terms of revenues, and creating more profit, you can literally always have to find new clients, that will be the normal answer. “You want more money? Get more clients, fine.” But what you can do to get more money, you can increase the prices of your services, and that immediately will equate in more money in your account.
You can put to your clients, current clients with a new product or service, or new joint venture. That’s money immediately in your account, so you not having wanting one way, which is getting new customers to grow and scale your profits, but also you can look at it internally. Another way to get more money is actually cutting costs.
It’s important that every five, six months you do a review of the costs that you’re incurring right now in your company. Can you cut some costs? Yet more money in your account, immediately. So you can see there are multiple ways in which you can, as a scale-up, you can have more money in your account.
You can increase the number of clients, you can increase your prices, you can increase the amount of money that they spend with you, you can offer a new service, you can cut cost, all these things will equate more money in your bank account, because the more money you have, you will need that money to invest. You will need, as a scale-up, that money to be put back into, then growing the business back again, ’cause when you’re growing, as I said, you will spend a lot of money, your profits margin will be reduced, you will a lotta money hiring people, training people, and making sure that all the operations, your operations, they’re going to work in the best way. So this is what I shared in my session.
Then I went into a session which was a leadership session. So I wasn’t delivering this one, I was there as a participant. And it was one concept which revolutionised literally the way I’m thinking right now. And it’s so simple. It’s very simple, you probably may have already thought about it, I haven’t, which is for your employees, when you’re having staff members to create now a customised experience for every employee. Now we live in a society where everything is going towards customization. We go on Netflix, what do we see? A customised interface on things that we’re interested in. We go on Amazon, we see recommended things. We go on Facebook, everything is now going towards customization for users. “What are you interested in?
I’m going to give you more of that.” And the same environment is now happening, the same changes, are happening now in the workplace as well. What do I mean about that? Employees now don’t any more rule that applies for everyone, but if you can work with each employee and give them what they want. A customised worker aspires to work in your company, they’re gonna be more likely to stay with you, to be more effective, because they find something that is perfect for their needs.
Now, I’m aware that it’s not possible to implement this kind of customization every single time in every single department of your business. But if you can start thinking about, “OK, I’ve got these employees. Do I need them to come in the office at 9 o’ clock and to leave at 5?” Maybe not. Maybe you don’t. Maybe for some who’s important and you give them a physical space to work from, for someone else you give them a remote space. Someone you give them more holiday, because they want them in one block, and someone can take more holidays separated throughout the year.
So, there are things that you can do now in your company to create this customised experience for the employee, and that was something I never thought about in those terms. Even though all our staff members, all the people that work with GTeX, we ask them, “What do you want?”, “How can we make your work experience better?” But a lot of times, we can fall into the trap of creating a policy or a rule that now applies for everyone. Like you make them happy, but you make someone else unhappy. But what if now, as a scale-up, you think about creating a customised working experience that creates a win-win between you and your staff.
When I mean you, I mean your business needs, not you as a person. Because if someone needs to answer the phone at 10 o’ clock in the morning, they need to be there to answer the damn phone at 10 o’ clock in the morning. So there are things that a business will need, but then there are other that will be very important for your employees. Why don’t you give it to them? No, it will create a bit more difficulties in terms of contract and now there’s going to be a impact in terms of administration, but what’s costing you more? Draught another contract, or losing an employee and training another one? And recruiting and training another one?
So think about this. Now, the other things that we were talking is in terms of the landscape. How’s it changing? How’s it actually, if you have There was a brilliant question in the panel that I was moderating on growth and sustainability after my presentation. There was this question about not-for-profit organisations, about charities, how can they scale-up? Because it’s easy to start a not-for-profit, it’s easy to start a charity, because you have a lotta support, because it’s something that you do for good. But then you’re start talking about money, if people see you as a charity, or if people see you as a not-for-profit even if you’re offering a real service, then people will still treat you like “Oh, but I’ll do this for your good, and if I just give my time for a pound or a euro, I’m doing my thing.”
And they sometimes expect services for free, and they expect the exchange of money not to be there, which means now that it’s more difficult to scale-up for any not-for-profit or charity. And so the answer that was given by a brilliant woman, you gotta check it out, Christina Montero. And what she runs is a company, I think she works at, I’m going to give you the company details later on in the comments. And what she said, she takes women refugees, and she places them in a company. So it’s a recruitment agency, but the target client is refugees. So, at the beginning she had a problem that people would say, “Well, we’re not going to hire this person, pay the recruitment fees, but we’re going to take this person, give them some jobs, give them a reference for three weeks, but we’re not going to pay that person, we’re going not to pay you.”
And she had to really set clear boundaries, she really had to set clear boundaries on, “No, this is a recruitment agency, you pay my fee, and you pay that employee, because I’m doing this for social cause, but I need money to keep the business running, I cannot just do everything based on exchange.” And so even if you are a start-up or a scale-up as a not-for-profit or as a charity, make sure that you set your boundaries and you use that money like a business will do.
Get paid, because if you don’t get paid there is no scaling-up, and you’re only dependent on fundings or grants that you might get or you might not get. And that was another brilliant, brilliant, brilliant advice. And then we talked about challenges that scale-up face. This is one of the biggest thing, and we found that one of the biggest challenges is also as well changing the client perception, because sometimes as a start-up, the clients will work with you as the founder, and now that you’re a scale-up, you need to be less accessible, so your time as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, your time become the most valuable thing. That’s what your time becomes, the most, absolutely most valuable thing, because now your time is better spent managing your team rather than meeting random people for coffee.
So make sure that as a scale-up, as an entrepreneur, you spend your time carefully. Don’t do any meetings unless it’s agreed, planned, unless you meet someone that you’re really interested in meeting, but something random comes up and you don’t have a clear outcome. Nine times out 10, is going to be a waste of time, and that’s what we found out in there the conversation. So remember that your time is the biggest asset that you have, you gotta guard with your life.
Guard your time with your life as a scale-up. Those are some of the things that we talked about, we also talked about growing communities as a scale-ups, to give the community involved. We talked about creating policies and regulations in companies, wanting to get the employees involved and making their voice heard. So, there were a lotta other topics, make sure that you get your ticket for next year BASE Conference. Some of the people, maybe some of the speakers, that were here, we can meet some of the amazing entrepreneurs that are here.
Let’s hear what… do we have around. So everyone here. So… Are you doing an interview now?
– [Man] Uh, something–
– Can I borrow you for a moment, just for 30 seconds? I’m here live on Facebook, I just want you to introduce yourself, and what you do.
– Oh, hi!
– We’re getting all of it in.
– Yeah, we’re going, if you could introduce yourself and what you do and the amazing projects, we had a great chat earlier on.
– We did actually, yeah. So my name is Kevin de Randamie, I’m the founder of Braenworks Academy, it’s a business school for creators, based in Amsterdam right now, and currently building a platform around it which kinda functions like a LinkedIn for creators, to help them better monetize themselves. Long story short.
– Fantastic. So are you also planning to expand to London?
– Yeah, yeah. We had a little chat, we are very much interested in seeing if we can link up with the communities, creative communities in London. As I understand, there are definitely creative hubs that focus on business. So, it’s very interesting to see if we find the same, say, thresholds, hurdles and stuff like that, and see if our solutions match theirs and vice versa. So, that would, to me, is very interesting research.
– Brilliant. So we’re going to see his face in London as well, make sure you connect with him, repeat your name and where can people find you.
– Yes. So on Facebook, on Insta, you can find me on the Blaxtar, which is my previous hip-hop name, so don’t judge me. It’s B-L-A-X-T-A-R, and then you’ll probably find me.
– Fantastic, make sure you connect with the Blaxtar. I’ll see you later around.
– Yes, sir, same.
– OK, so now we found some people they saw ready to see you. So let’s see if we see, so we have just behind me, the guy that is talking, having conversation just behind me it is the high council for the high commissioner from the council at here, which we’re going to see. We have one of the founders.
– So are you happy for today?
– Yes, yes. Was amazing. Our main purpose was to start the dialogue and to have conversations, and I was actually blown away by the first part where we had the policy makers and the promises. Everything is recorded so we gonna make sure they keep their word. Let’s see what’s happening next year.
– Fantastic. So definitely a lot are having a dialogue now. With a glass of wine, it helps the dialogue, it always the dialogue with a glass of wine.
– That’s the networking, right?
– How did you find it?
– Oh, I loved it. I already say that, absolutely love it. People need to get their ticket for next year.
– Make sure you’re coming. Are you coming next year?
– Of course, I’m already there, sign me up.
– We already have five, I think, five or six speakers confirmed, so
– We are running it.
– Thank you very much for organising it.
– Thank you!
– OK, I want to introduce you to another good friend of mine. Nick! Nick, can I borrow you for a moment?
– [Nick] Sure.
– OK, let me just borrow so I wanted you to meet a good friend of mine. I mean, we just became good friends today.
– Yes, yes.
– And it’s Nick, the real Nick.
– The fake Nick.
– Not the fake Nick, it’s the real Nick.
– Surname, Nick?
– de Bruijn, de Brujin. Call me Nick Brujin.
– Nick Brujin, your company’s called?
– Dutchify. Can you talk a bit more your company, because I found your concept fascinating.
– Yes, of course. Dutchify is all about starting the best life in the Netherlands, and it goes really broad. If you want to buy a boat and bring it to the Netherlands, if you want to marry somebody in the Netherlands, well that’s very broad, but we take care of the paperwork, everything that goes around that.
– So if I want to find a wife in the Netherlands, you find me the wife? Or do I need to have the wife already?
– You need to have the wife already–
– Oh, damn!
– And we take care of the paperwork. No, we’re not a dating service, but we can take care of the formalities to make your life the best life in the Netherlands.
– And I immediately got a, we connect with Nick because it’s such a great idea.
– I never seen any other company that does what it does in this scale in the UK or in the US, and I’m happy to have found it in Amsterdam.
– Yeah, thank you man.
– So what’s next for you, Nick?
– What’s next for us? We first want to conquer the entire Netherlands. We’re now in the major cities, so that’s Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague and Eindhoven, but we wanna take to the full of Netherlands. After that we wanna grow into Europe, so we wanna expand to maybe Germany, maybe Belgium, so we wanna expand our service, because Dutchify, for us, is a way of becoming more Dutch, but you can take one step further, because the Dutch way’s a very practical way of doing things, and if you can do that in any country, you have guaranteed success, and a guaranteed best start for your life.
– And you know what? I think as well that Italian people, they need a bit of Dutch to get some of the things done. We need to get a bit more Dutchness here, so make sure if you’re Italian, you need a bit more Dutchness, then get in touch with Dutchify. And hopefully we’re going to see you, maybe we have Englishify, maybe we gonna have Italianify.
– Yes, yes.
– In the world, so I’m really excited to see the expansion here.
– Cool, cool. We’re looking forward to it.
– All right, Nick, thank you very much. Where people can get in touch with you?
– You can get in touch through our website dutchify.net, you can call us, you can email us, definitely like our Facebook page, just type in Dutchify, you’ll find us, or like us on Instagram, dutchifynl, you can follow our tweet and everything.
– Fantastic. Thank you very much, Nick, I really appreciate it. I’ll come and join you with a beer.
– Thank you, man.
– All right, so as you can see we meet some really interesting people. My arm is getting a bit tired from holding the camera, so I’ll see if I can find someone else I met during the day, so yes, lemme go through, lemme squeeze through, lemme squeeze through. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, can I steal Debra for a moment? Can I steal you for a moment? I wanted to come with you. Yeah, no, if you can come with me, Debra. It just, whoa!
– They say “take her away.”
– There is a–
– They say “Take her away, for God’s sake.”
– OK, no. All right, Debra, I want to conference, if you’re watching live, thank you very much for watching live. If you are just joining, thank you for joining, there is one cool thing here which I’m going to show you. I really wanna show. Now we have a blackjack table tournament just going on here, on our Hey! Look, everyone says hi. Hi everyone!
– Hello to French fans!
– Yeah, we got French fans Brilliant, I love this place. So it’s time for me to go and get a drink. I will see you in the next podcast or in the next Facebook Live. Thank you very much for joining, Simone Vincenzi here from GTex, and remember that together we grow exponentially. Bye for now.