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Mark is passionate about guiding people and businesses through the process of digital evolution. He is adept at strategic planning and implementation with more than 15 years of professional experience helping small and medium businesses achieve their goals. As a technology leadership consultant he uses a wealth of technical background paired with IT leadership skills to help companies in a variety of areas and industries. His projects cover all stages of business growth and needs, including strategic planning, business transformations and major system implementations. Get in touch with Mark: Vancouver Technology Leaders Meetup Group: https://www.meetup.com/Vancouver-Tech.... Builders Without Borders: https://builderswithoutborders.com/ MacGregor-Olsson Consulting: https://www.macgregor-olsson.com

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hey everybody, my name is Jake from the umbrella IT services podcast. On today's episode we're going to be speaking with Mark Olson. Mark is a technology leadership consultant that spent over 15 years working directly with small and medium businesses, helping them achieve their goals by leveraging technology. In today's episode, Mark is going to break down document management and case management software for law firms. So without any further ado, let's jump into it. And I'd like to give Mark Olson A big thank you for coming on today and talking with us about document management and case management software solutions. Mark, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into the field of legal IT services?

Mark Olsson 0:36
Yeah, sure, Jacob. So I've got a fairly varied background. Actually, in previous lifetime. I did construction and mining in the Yukon.

I went to school for computer engineering, and that's basically the practice of programming. All of the wonderful little chips and stuff that make up the computers we use nowadays. realized I didn't really like that aspect of it. So I jumped in. To network management and this kind of thing I worked for the biggest ISP internet service provider in the Yukon for a number of years, and did everything from systems administration on their Linux cluster to doing internet services for the territory. We did network design in this kind of thing for a variety of different sizes of customers and clientele. We even at one point put in the state of control system at the UConn hydro dam. We did towers on tops of mountains doing long range wireless to the communities to help bring them internet so it was a it was an interesting way to grow up and learn all about the different aspects of it and the different parts of the industry. In the last six or seven years I been working in and out of the mining industry. My mining background married with the it skill set certainly helped doing big data projects for some of the larger mining companies like beric and Newmont, integrating drilling analytics with their drilling reconciliations inventory and supply and logistics chains and this kind of thing, and even doing large scale data management projects for their geological database programs. So all of that coupled with my kind of varied it background has led me to my consulting, business McGregor Olson, and that has put me in good stead for helping companies like law firms with their own data management, and helping them set up best practices and find a solution to fit their needs.

Jake Van Buschbach 2:34
It makes a lot of sense. So you've had you've had quite the journey to get here. Do you prefer Do you prefer the hands hands on work? Are you a fan of doing these strategies and the policies and all this kind of stuff?

Mark Olsson 2:45
I have to admit I still like doing a little bit of both the policies and kind of top down strategy is where I find the kind of the bread and butter these days. It's what interests me the most, but I still find myself every once in a while grabbing Heading towards building a server and getting kind of hands on with some of the new technology that's coming out, especially with the

Jake Van Buschbach 3:08
advent of artificial intelligence, it makes a lot of sense. So when you talk about data and handling this kind of stuff for for law firms, what exactly is it that you're doing for them?

Mark Olsson 3:19
So document management and case management is basically the idea that you're trying to track and manage, and ultimately store

all of the paper

that we normally produce in this kind of industry. Most of these systems are capable of keeping a record of all the various versions of the software modified by all the different users that are have been working with to intend them without you're basically doing what's called a records management. So it's not just the idea that we're storing the document and we're also managing it throughout its lifecycle. Right through from creation all the way to its eventual disposition, whatever format happens to take. When we start talking about case management software that's going a little bit further. So it's not just the idea of managing the documents that make up a matter. But now we're also talking about managing the scheduling the conflicts, all the different touches and contacts with the clients, co counsel and this kind of thing. And all of the various reporting that's required for legal cases. So it's, it's essentially coordinating all of that together into a piece of software that helps you not just manage your documents, manage your cases, but also helps you manage the lifecycle of all of that information.

Jake Van Buschbach 4:43
Yeah. So when you're developing all this kind of stuff, I'm assuming you're gonna have to look at things like resources and processes and all the workflows. When you're taking a look at all of this kind of information. Are there any unusual benefits that kind of come up like I noticed that when we're doing that with a law firms, obviously, you have the benefit of not having to go down to the basement and spend three and a half hours looking for a secure document from five and a half years ago. But what other kind of benefits can can law firms expect from implementing this kind of technology?

Mark Olsson 5:15
Well, I mean, the big one is what you just mentioned, I mean, easy ease of finding the data, right? Easy, easy searching through the data. So these big document management systems are essentially massive search engines that got really fine tuned algorithms that are built into them that help you search through the data faster. The other benefit, of course, is that you've now got it in a safe and secure digital format. So if I happen to break out or something, you don't lose a ton of paper copy. But on top of that, you're also making sure that the access to that data is also limited to those people that are supposed to have access to it right. You don't have an open file cabinet or something that somebody can potentially open

sharing

of that information.

There's a ton of paper copy nowadays that goes back and forth when you're dealing with a matter and throughout the lifecycle of a case. So being able to share that documentation through an online portal that you can open up to your clients, your co counsel, that kind of thing, rather than having to shuffle emails back and forth and try and figure out what the, the latest updated copy of the information is. And of course, with all of that being said, your quality of data goes up then as well. And the collaboration potential is is fairly limitless. So all of that kind of thing. Always saves you time and money no matter what you do. So it's it's basically a win win no matter how you look at the equation.

Jake Van Buschbach 6:47
Yep, that makes a lot of sense as well. So in your experience, is this something that every type of law firm can benefit from like let's say you're a corporate lawyer or your family law, firm or personal injury firm, etc. Or if You're a five person firm or if you're a 50 person firm, is there a solution here for everybody? Or is there some people that have to sit out and kind of wait their turn? And they're just they're still waiting for the technology to kind of catch up?

Mark Olsson 7:13
No, not at all. I mean, just about any any size law firm from one or two individuals, right up to hundreds can take advantage of the the idea of document management. And certainly, it's better to start early and getting in the habit of good debt data management practices. And as the practice grows, it's certainly going to put you on better footing. The the costs that are associated with most of these solutions are fairly easy for even a small law firm to deal with. And in the long run, being able to set up a digital footprint and get away from all that paper. It honestly doesn't matter what size of a law firm you are. it's it's a it's a step in the right direction.

Jake Van Buschbach 7:56
Absolutely. And you mentioned the cost really quickly. There. Is this something that the software providers themselves usually take care of is this something with a law firm ends up bringing in a third party provider like in our case, when we were working with CRM, that was online, they ended up just taking care of everything for the law firm. We ended up helping them export and import a couple of different databases from their existing solution. But the new case management software just they handled everything from start to finish with a law firm, very reasonable fee, as you mentioned, and it was just here's a product ready to go. In your experience. Is that consistent or is that a unique case?

Mark Olsson 8:34
No, that's fairly consistent. I've run into both the situation that you've outlined there. Some of the other companies tend to use like a trusted partner, for instance. So it may not be the company itself that's doing the implementation, you may wind up working through a third party that they have tasked with the job of Getting getting the configuration set up in this kind of thing. I've seen price quotes for implementation as well as data migration. Now, I mean, if you have people that are on staff that are capable of that kind of thing, and to be quite honest, I haven't run into any of these systems that are so complex, that they couldn't be shut up, at least partially by the law firm themselves. The migration portion of it can happen either at the beginning later on, it certainly doesn't have to be done all at the same time. So yes, in answer to the question, I mean, essentially, the software vendors are taking care of all of that, whether they reach out to a trusted partner or not, it's all handled all under the same umbrella.

Jake Van Buschbach 9:45
That's really good to know. And have you noticed any other obstacles when you're implementing this stuff like for myself, the only obstacle when it comes to implementing new technology with law firms is the drive is the actual desire for the firm to kind of modernize and begin leveraging technology. But have you noticed any other technical obstacles that kind of come up?

Mark Olsson 10:06
Yeah, there's been a couple, the most notable part of the first part of the struggle, I guess, is making sure that their own internal systems can handle the idea of moving to a digital system. So if that's a software as a service, more of a cloud based solution, some of them don't necessarily have an internet connection that would be able to handle that along with all of their own day to day tasks that they're doing. They need to have a good firewall in place, this kind of thing, just to make sure that the data that's moving back and forth is secure. If it's on premise solution, obviously you need to have a server that's capable of absorbing that extra load. And then if we get away from the technical part of it, like you said earlier, the drive or the the Internal desire to do the move itself and have people adopted as the new solution is another part of the equation. So making sure that all the employees understand the value of moving to this new solution, and why it's going to improve the business processes. Just as important as making sure that that internet connection is up to date.

Jake Van Buschbach 11:24
Yeah, yeah, those are all very good points as well. Another prerequisite that I've noticed is very, very important, is backups. A lot of folks think that just because you you hire third party, and you're going to move all of your stuff into the house that's on their lawn, all of a sudden, it's safe, but we have all of our clients do automatic SQL database backups, bi weekly, with all of the vendors that they use. Do you guys follow similar practices? And do you recommend Yeah,

Mark Olsson 11:50
absolutely. I mean, it's it's all well and good for the vendors to produce their security documentation, then their backup regimen and all this kind of thing, but you And I know that technology fails. So it's absolutely imperative that clients have their own set of backups and are ready to take on that task of the Restore if something happens.

Jake Van Buschbach 12:13
Yeah. And in case something does happen, do you guys have any contingency plans in place that you use whenever people are starting to migrate over to a cloud solution?

Mark Olsson 12:22
Yeah, I mean, I always suggest that they have their own set of backups in terms of not just digital, but also anything that they're working on currently, so that if something does happen, they don't wind up in the position where they're scrounging for the information they need on their own day to day basis. The the idea of being able to set up kind of a hot backup with a an online system is a little more difficult obviously, than if it's on prem. But if it's on premise, then you've got the option of either Having a hot spare, you can have an offline file repository. The idea of having a NASS or something like this set up on the network that they can access the files from. So there's a few different ways that they can go about it for sure.

Jake Van Buschbach 13:15
That's really good to know, in terms of adoption inside of the agency or the firm. I know that we talked already about having that initial drive and the initiative for the firm to adopt the technology. But how long In your opinion, does it usually take folks to go from implementing this, to adopting it and to thriving with it and starting to actually leverage the technology properly? said one month, three months, six months a year?

Mark Olsson 13:41
Yeah, the three to six month window is usually what I see. I mean, the the idea of getting the software set up the initial implementation, all of that kind of thing. Inevitably, it's takes a few months. I mean, it's, it's not something that can happen at the drop of a hat. Yeah. And then by the time you go through a little bit of training, maybe we're We visit that once or twice, just to make sure that everybody has all of the functionality firmly in their mind. And then to be able to use it for a couple of months, get all the bugs out, make sure that all the processes are firmly in place. It's generally speaking a three to six month process.

Jake Van Buschbach 14:15
That makes sense. And when you're implementing these different technologies and solutions, is there one kind of catch all software that you recommend people use when they're starting to implement case management software? Or is it a firm by firm basis? Or is it a category of firms? So do you have one thing for every firm every size? Or do you have one solution for Family Law, one solution for corporate law one solution for personal injury? Or is it really an individual situation?

Mark Olsson 14:42
No, it's definitely an individual situation. I mean, obviously, online services, the cloud based offerings are kind of where a lot of this is moving to. So if a firm is capable of making the move to the cloud for document management and case management That's certainly where I like to look first. But the bottom line is some firms have a fair amount of investment in on premise hardware and their business processes just don't really lend themselves well to making the move to the cloud at this point. So in that case, we start looking at more of an onsite manager solution. So it really kind of comes down to individual

legal firms needs at the time.

Jake Van Buschbach 15:30
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense as well. What What's your favorite part about implementing all this stuff for different firms? Like, is it the benefits is a turnaround with folks? What is your favorite part at the end of the day?

Mark Olsson 15:42
Honestly, at this point, it's been just the sheer variety of different requirements that some of the law firms have. I mean, you mentioned earlier I mean, there's there's so many different types of law. And even within the general groupings, there can be So many different requirements on how they conduct their own business. So just being able to find that kind of aha moment when they realize how something like this can really improve their business process and just have a really drastically positive change in the way they practice law and do business in general. That's that's kind of where I get my kick out of the whole thing.

Jake Van Buschbach 16:24
Yeah, I agree with you completely. Lawyers are some of my favorite people to work for. I always learn a lot working from them. And as you mentioned, they do kind of have that aha moment, all of them. And I've noticed this because they're usually so busy, and so distract, and there's so much stuff going on. And as soon as you can kind of show them the light and just kind of show them that, hey, there's this tool. It's a round wheel instead of a square wheel for the way you're doing things. Like their reaction at the end of the day makes it all worth it.

Mark Olsson 16:53
And I kind of liken it to driving a car and trying to change the wheels at the same time. Yes, and they they just can't believe visualize how this can be done and how it can honestly improve their their quality of life, I guess. And when you show them how it can be done and how drastically can improve things, they just they light up. Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 17:13
absolutely. Well, again, at the end of the day, I think that it people and lawyers have a lot in common. It's just with different industries, right? Like neither of us can, right? We're always distracted. Just kidding. But yeah, there are there's definitely a lot of similarities between the two professions. And if you can get either of us to stop for a second kind of look at the situation from a bird's eye view, and realize there's a better, more efficient way to do things. It works out for a lot of people. So when you're implementing these solutions for folks, I've noticed that we're kind of building out a three to seven year roadmap for these companies with this software. Do you recommend that as well? Or have you noticed that it's better to go by year by year or is it better to do a 10 year plan? How do you guys really structure out the roadmap for these solutions?

Mark Olsson 17:57
Yep, I do basically the same thing. I aim for Five Year roadmap. I mean, the bottom line is that it's it's fine to try and keep the lights on and worry about how things are working day to day. But if you're not paying attention to that five year roadmap and what the business is going to look like five years down the road, and how you need to align the IT strategy with the business goals in order to make sure that when you hit that five year mark, you're not suddenly on the backfoot trying to figure out how you're going to make your your it jump up to snuff in order to get you where you need to go. It's It's It's definitely a mistake in terms of how you're approaching your business. And this is no different the the document management case management concept. If you're not trying to anticipate how that's going to be utilized in your business five years from now, what you're doing now is is not really going to do you any good.

Jake Van Buschbach 18:54
Yeah, and I love working with people like yourself for that reason, because the way I look at it is they got to the point where they're at now, because they didn't have that forward thinking mentality and think of it as zactly. So they need someone like yourself to come in, show them, we're going to do this change now. And we're never going to do a change like this, again, we're going to continuously improve, we're not going to have to sit down and go, okay, panic time, you need a new firewall, you need a new server, your staff need to be trained, we're going to bring all this stuff out of the basement, it's going to be a progressive, continuous change that's ongoing and continually improving. At least that's the kind of approach that we take with it. And it seems to be working not only for us, but also for the lawyers themselves, if that makes sense. Because they become used to the incremental change. They expect it now and it's it's part of the day to day life. So I do like that proactive it approach quite a bit more than the Oh no, something's on fire. Grab the extinguisher

Mark Olsson 19:53
and there's nothing worse than kind of beginning a relationship with a company and having them realize their story. down the barrel of six or seven years worth of technical debt, and that they've got a large, not just monetary outlay, but also of labor and change to how they're doing business and all the rest of that. I mean, it's just a, it's a massive load to throw on a company. Yeah, in order to get them back to the point where they want to be, and they can actually form

Jake Van Buschbach 20:21
100%. And have you noticed that specific industries are hit by this a little bit harder, or they benefit a little bit more from this, like, do Family Lawyers benefit more than corporate lawyers? Or is it pretty much spread across the board? No, I

Mark Olsson 20:34
think it's pretty much spread across the board. I mean, not not to generalize or anything, but just about all the companies I've talked to, in the last little while, have all been in the same mindset of how they treat ID and where they see it fitting into the business. It's almost kind of a hands off approach that they've taken over the last while and that's essentially where they've wound up or why they wound up in the situation. They are now is that Like you said earlier, it's something you need to pay attention to on a regular basis. It's something you need to review quarterly or monthly. And make sure that where your it is at the moment is actually going to do you some good in the next quarter or the next year, however, looks to your business. But it's it's, it seems to be essentially the same across the board.

Jake Van Buschbach 21:24
That makes a lot of sense. And do you have any strategies that you kind of recommend for folks, as you're implementing these things, any mindsets or guidelines that you kind of provide for your clients as you kind of help them transition to this next phase of their business? Or is it just a day by day process?

Mark Olsson 21:41
Well, I mean, it is a little bit of a day by day process simply because of how busy the law firms are. I mean, for them, even more than us time is definitely money. So trying to get everybody in the same places. Always a bit challenging, but yeah. Setting up that that really tight. That means requirements. First and foremost is is definitely the best way to get started off on the rice. But I guess making sure we really understand where their their pain points are, and any any special needs the practice as what kind of other software that they've got that they need to integrate with that they've got accounting software that they want to be able to link their case management software with,

how they're doing their bill back

process and how that looks in terms of their document management. And then, of course, how that all ties into the accounting and billing process. So there there's definitely a lot of moving parts right at the beginning to scope out and make sure that it's well understood before you start looking for a solution. Like we said earlier, making sure that there's lots of staff buy in and we've identified any potential stumbling blocks or time requirements or something like this, that might show up I mean, all of those can certainly influence the the schedule and how we go about doing the implementation. And then right at the beginning establishing some sort of data champion. So that's somebody in the company that's going to kind of be the the point person for the project. And they're going to make sure that the new processes and new data management concepts that we're putting in place are being adopted across the company, and that everybody is making use of the software in the best form possible. It just helps to push the project forward internally and cements the the idea of the project itself. And then I try and do as much like work as I can. I mean, like I say, for these guys, time is money. So the less they have to do in terms of the project itself, the better I mean, not that it's necessarily one day they look up and it's all completely done and everything just tickety boo, but I do try and make sure that as much as possible, they don't have to worry too much about where the project is out there getting regular updates and this kind of thing, but the the implementation and the testing and all the rest of that basically just gets done in the background. And then the last thing that I always make sure is kind of top of the pile at the end is the the training. And the worst thing you can do is put together a piece of software put together a solution that either nobody understands they're not trained properly on it, they miss out on some of the functionality that would have made it so much nicer for them to use. And then if it doesn't get used, I mean, it's it's entirely pointless, right? Yes, to be flexible, and everybody has to have a chance to take advantage of that training, no matter what their schedule is. So you try and be as as inventive as possible, I guess, making sure that everyone gets their chance.

Jake Van Buschbach 24:52
Yeah, I think that's a really good structure to kind of go from beginning to end like we follow a very, very similar one. Training is something I've noticed that a lot of People skip out on a lot of what you mentioned, honestly, is stuff where we come in, people have half started a transition. And they didn't do proper planning. They didn't prepare properly. They didn't design things out properly. And it sounds like you take a really comprehensive approach. When you are setting things up. You mentioned that things like resources and workflows are things we're looking into. What else do you kind of do in the beginning phase of a project?

Mark Olsson 25:27
I guess the first thing that we try and establish is where they're at with their their records management and their data management to start with, in the solution that we're putting in place. I mean, it can be the one most wonderful piece of technology that you've ever seen. But if they aren't actually doing all of the the best practices that are required for records management and data management now, then that's basically where you have to start. I mean, the old saying about databases garbage in, garbage out, right. So it doesn't really matter how good the software people Yes, if people aren't trained on good records management, it's just going to be an exercise in frustration. So that that part of it is definitely the starting point, then, I mean, things like an audit and an all for overhaul of the structure of the matters that they have now, figuring out their document retention policy, proper client management, and all of this, the the nuts and bolts of how you deal with data, I guess is, is more important than the platform that you choose to manage the data in. Hmm.

Jake Van Buschbach 26:41
And a quick question about that. So we've kind of covered how to get started with this and what it looks like as they're getting involved and implemented, and then what things look like as they're finishing up with the training. Now, as this gets implemented, have you noticed that the management costs and the maintenance costs of these solutions goes down? As time goes on, or is this just a recurring thing or people literally just paying the vendors fee? And then every once in a while they have someone like yourself come in tune everything up a little bit? What is the the pricing structure kind of look like for companies that are more concerned about cost?

Mark Olsson 27:15
Yeah, I mean, that's that's generally what I've run into so far. I mean, obviously, if you go with a cloud based solution, it's, it's moving to more of an O and M type model. So you wind up with a monthly licensing fee, essentially plus. But depending on how much data that you're hosting, there can sometimes be a an additional charge for the amount of data. Yeah, although I haven't really seen that too much so far. And then I mean, the

internal management

of it from the law points, or the law firms perspective should be fairly minimal. So then, like you say, it just requires somebody like us to come in every once in a while and kind of do things up and make sure that things are still being utilized properly, and they're still doing proper records manager. But I've noticed some of the vendors also offer like three month and six month retraining, as well, sometimes even as part of the base package. So they can come back in three months later and give them a quick refresher to make sure that they haven't forgotten any any of the important functionality that comes with the package. If you're looking at more of an on prem solution, that's generally speaking more of a capital outlay To start with, and then potentially a smaller licensing fee per year. Hmm.

Jake Van Buschbach 28:35
Make sense? Another thing that I quite like about these cloud solutions that you mentioned is the added the addition of features. So when we first implement something, maybe 18 months after it's implemented, it could be an entirely new solution because they've reworked everything. In my experience. It's never a total UI change. Like you don't end up paying for one piece of software. And then a year and a half down the road. It's totally different. It's more like a Adding on things to a vehicle. So maybe now you've got a nice new touchscreen and a new speaker system, that kind of stuff. Just in layman's terms. So what are some of the key features and add ons you've noticed that lawyers get the most out of from using these cloud and on prem solutions?

Mark Olsson 29:18
Well, one of the big benefits I've seen them take advantage of at least in the last little while is most of these cloud based solutions, most of the SAS systems have integration with Office 365. So having the ability to integrate really tightly with Outlook and word, you can open documents directly from the software and just have it open in its native editing software. Integration with Outlook can give you everything from literally logging all of your email into the document management, the case management system, right down to integrating your calendar with all of the notifications that go with a matter or legal case. The other thing that's really beneficial with these online systems is the ability to share the information. So a lot of them come with a, a public facing portal or client facing portal. So you can publish documentation that the clients need to sign or need to review. You can share documentation with CO counsels, this kind of thing you can even publish in through some of the functionality, you can publish a binder of digital information. So rather than having a large batch of digital documents to have to search through, you can actually organize it in the familiar binder type format, so many of these legal firms are used to looking at the last thing I would say is probably the security. The security of these online systems is pretty top notch in most cases. I mean, they've obviously had to pass They're ISO certifications, a lot of them deal with larger enterprise level clients. So the security that's required for the data and for the access to that data is usually pretty high.

Jake Van Buschbach 31:14
Yeah. And do you recommend any kind of solutions for people to kind of dip their toes into? Or is it something where people need to speak with you first before you can recommend anybody?

Mark Olsson 31:25
Again, it's really dependent on the individual's needs are that the individual legal firm means there's two or three fairly common, not common, fairly well known pieces of software, I guess, on the market at the moment, things like file vine, which I think you've dealt with. NET docs is another one world docs. So all of these are potential solutions. It just really depends on the firm's needs and how they plan on implementing their document management. Sometimes that comes down to the technical ability that they can find internally. And sometimes it comes down to how they want to access the data, the investment they've already got with their own internal systems, and where they see that roadmap in the next five years, what they plan on turning their practice into or where they see their practice in the next few years. Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 32:23
yeah, I entirely agree with you. I think that file, vine and world docs are definitely good places to start. I don't have a lot of experience with that docs. But yeah, definitely just Google searching those to looking at the features there. And in my experience, as well, it's very easy to customize a lot of these things as well. Like if people want features from somewhere, file, Vine has been surprisingly responsive with us where we're saying, Hey, we noticed that with the other case management software that was on prem, we got feature x or feature y out of it. What do you guys think about that? And then maybe four to six weeks later, the devs will email us saying, Hey, we really like this idea. We've added it in thank you so much for the suggestion. So I do like working with smaller companies like that as well. I've noticed you get a lot more back and forth, especially if you're a larger law firm. Most of these software providers are happy to kind of provide extra functionality for you or add in features. Now that's not guaranteed. Again, you have to kind of get in on the ground floor, but they are very flexible in my experience.

Mark Olsson 33:20
Yeah, and I mean, it's always kind of a give and take right to the smaller ones maybe don't have as much experience in the space with it. Like you say, they may not have quite as many features. But they're also willing to take a look at those features. And they've usually got a fairly agile development team. Looking at some of the more more industry wide software like world docs, which has been around for a number of years. I mean, it's got a ton of features, but it's a big chip, right. So the ability to make a turn on a dime isn't really going to be that plausible. So getting new features added and having them as part of the dev team pipeline is probably not quite as quite as likely in the long run. So it again, it really comes down to the firm's needs, and where they see themselves in the next four or five years, what direction they want to go. The biggest piece of advice I guess I could give them is, don't just take a look at the first piece of software and go Yep, that's it and sign off on it done. By all means, take a look at the different players on the field, make sure that you've taken a look at three or four different pieces of software, you can always get a much better idea of the functionality that you think is going to do the best for your firm or is going to work the best with the current business processes. And then start taking a look around to see which other ones can provide that kind of functionality, along with maybe stuff that you hadn't thought of.

Jake Van Buschbach 34:51
Yeah, I think that's fantastic advice for any sort of law firm definitely looking to start implementing some new technologies, leverage these technologies. To achieve their goals and kind of make a new pathway for themselves over the next five years, and in my experience, if you're able to properly pick and implement some of the software, you're able to double triple the size of your law firm, you're able to reduce the amount of cost and labor, you're able to improve efficiency, really any goal that you outline, you're going to be able to accomplish that goal much, much faster in a much simpler fashion by leveraging this kind of technology for people. So I'm glad that you brought that up. Do you have any other advice that you would give to people that are starting to consider implementing these technologies?

Mark Olsson 35:33
Yeah, I keep coming back to this idea of proper records management. But I mean, by all means, take a look internally first, and make sure that as many of those processes and policies are in place as possible. It certainly cuts down on the amount of implementation costs that's required because if it's already nice and neatly packaged, then it's much easier to move into one Have these digital systems, then if you have a ton of chaos that needs to be cleaned up before any of that can be done ahead of time. Do your research on the products that you're looking at, whether that's through somebody like you or me doing the research for them and producing a software procurement document for them, or doing the research themselves, just make sure that you're looking at a variety of different products, don't just pick the first one that kind of jumps out at you. And I guess the last thing is trying to be patient with yourself, the timelines for this kind of thing. Just can't really be that aggressive, it's going to take time. It's a large, disruptive change to the way you do business and you just have to be okay with that. So, absolutely. Let's do some realistic scoping at the beginning, beginning and make sure that expectations are well understood, and that you've got a realistic schedule out of it.

Jake Van Buschbach 37:00
Absolutely, I think it's so important to make sure the expectations are aligned properly. I've seen a lot of folks where that does get tangled up from a previous provider. And when we come in, it's okay. Like you mentioned earlier, it's going to be a three to six month roadmap to get this stuff off the ground. And then you will start to notice the benefits midway through that process. If everything goes according to plan, it's so important to lay that out, because I've seen so many other it providers say it's gonna be magic two weeks in, gonna be golden. Don't worry about it. They're gonna handle it. I'm gonna do this, snap your

Mark Olsson 37:31
fingers. And it's just done. Right.

Jake Van Buschbach 37:32
Yeah. And again, like you said, You're reworking the entire base of your associations functionality. You're not just going in and saying, okay, we're going to change the coffee machine. You're going in saying the way that everyone is going to go through their day to day life and your association is going to be different now. We're going to change the way that you access information, the way you communicate information, the way you collaborate with your team, all these kind of things. And yeah, I think it's very important to set expectations And you're talking about stuff like that. Have you noticed? For myself again here, I've noticed that the clients of ours that made the proactive decision to migrate to cloud based solutions or migrate to on prem, remotely accessible solutions? they benefited a lot during Cova. Have you noticed similar benefits? Are people happy? They've done it? Did you get what we experienced? And did you get 35 emails saying, hey, that project we've been putting off? Can we go ahead and implement this next week?

Mark Olsson 38:34
All of a sudden, this has become very important. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the the benefit to being able to access information in such a readily available fashion when you go to a cloud based solution, or like you say, I mean, to a lesser extent with a, an on prem solution that allows you some sort of external access. I mean, it's it's just, it's night and day. I mean, the the exposure to the importance of this kind of thing with COVID is just been insane. I mean, without the, without the availability of the data like this, you're limited to trying to find a way for people to access remote desktops and all this kind of thing. I mean, some of these systems even allow you to access apps on smartphones and tablets. So you can literally be sitting in the courtroom, accessing all of the matter data that you need for the case that you're working on is it completely changes the way that you approach a legal case?

Jake Van Buschbach 39:37
Absolutely. There's so many problems that COVID cause for folks, and I think that the people now that we've kind of gotten back in action and the courts are starting to open up again, they're starting to really consider moving to cloud solutions. And to be honest with you some of the costs involved with getting your office set up remotely. You don't even have to worry about those costs. Because you don't need Remote Desktop. You don't need a VPN You don't need a lot of these things for I would say and correct me if I'm wrong, probably 80% of your staff, they can get away with just using this again, file vine as the example I'll use as an app as an as a web based solution. All of your data is going to be inside of there. Maybe you need somebody to log in and use copy track. Or maybe you need your account to log in and use EZ log before you move over to EZ law 360. But there's gonna be an online solution for you where you don't need to spend 5030 500 bucks getting 100 people set up with remote access and buying a new firewall and changing your server and doing all this stuff. You can just get the ball rolling with this cloud solution. Now that things are back in order. Now the people are starting to kind of relax a little bit and in three months in case we do do another lockdown, you'll be prepared and you'll be ready to go. So I think it's super important that most law firms nowadays, not only consider it for the sake of future proofing, but also consider it based on the whole zombie process. pocalypse plague that's that's been going on. So yeah,

Mark Olsson 41:02
yeah, totally. I mean, I've done some business cases as well, just examining this exact thing. And even though you may be moving to an own model where you're paying a fee per month, it's just no comparison to the drop in labor that's required to manage all of this stuff. And the advantage that you get for being able to access all this stuff remotely,

Jake Van Buschbach 41:25
yeah. And using solutions like yours. And like mine, when you're in that you're analyzing the amount of resources and the workflows and the procedures that your staff is doing every day, and you have a third party input on that, in my experience, most people are able to cut back surprisingly anywhere from 26 to 36% of their labor costs. That's been at least the case in our analysis. And when you're doing your analysis, is it similar, more or less?

Mark Olsson 41:52
Yep, it's fairly similar. I mean, if you break it down into some of the different aspects of documentation, judgement. I mean, there's obviously some things that aren't going to be touched quite as much as others in terms of like in terms of the, the physical copying of paper, when you're doing bill back information, this type of thing. I mean, that's obviously different than if you're talking about being able to produce a digital binder instead of having somebody standing at a copier for hours on end, producing 20 copies of a matter or something like that. So

generally speaking, I would absolutely agree with your percentages.

Jake Van Buschbach 42:27
Yeah. And one of the biggest things that I've noticed with that extra 26 to 36% of savings in terms of time and labor, is those those employees aren't getting laid off, you're not going to have 96% of your staff get told k go home, what's going to happen is those people that were stuck doing data time, exactly, and instead of them copy pasting things from an Excel sheet, to a document or whatever, those people are now going to be able to take their expertise and their knowledge and do higher value activities with them. We talked about this briefly with Paul Sweeney, who does enterprise resource planning saw And having your accountant go from a bean counter to a strategic advisor financially is incredible. And that's where a lot of the growth that I've seen comes from is, that's that person who you wouldn't really expect it to come from maybe it's the B level case manager, you know, all of a sudden, now they've got an extra three hours every Friday, and they've got some initiative and they feel a lot happier. They've got better morale, because they're using software that works with them. Instead of software they have to fight with, they're going to come up and say, Hey, I noticed that file line does this or Hey, I noticed that world docs does this. And then the entire firm is going to adopt it. And all of a sudden, your three to four step process of converting a document into the actual case management software is going to be one step instead of four. No, it's always coming from those individual people you wouldn't expect it from.

Mark Olsson 43:52
Yeah, integrating with email is a really good example. I mean, the fact that a lot of these pieces of software, talk directly to Outlook. I mean, there's a big labor difference between clicking a button that logs an email to a matter in the in the case management or document management system to one of my clients, literally printing out every email that goes with a matter and then having to file it all.

I mean, it's, it's just, there's no comparison.

Jake Van Buschbach 44:21
Yeah, one of the people that we work for he calls it auto magic when he when he figured out this whole, okay, now I can just have a lawyer automatically sign something and all I have to do is scan the document, it automatically shows up in their cases, it's marked as urgent as I mark it, and then they just shows up on their desk and within 30 seconds, I get a signed copy back, they've reviewed it, everything is good to go. I don't have to go knock on their door and get yelled at for bothering them. Etc, etc. So it does make a big difference. Again, being able to remove those additional steps and then just improve collaboration. I the mood totally changes in a firm after I met these solutions in my opinion.

Mark Olsson 45:00
Yeah, I completely agree. Now,

Jake Van Buschbach 45:03
what are some fundamental tools that you kind of recommend everybody get started with when they're starting to implement this kind of stuff? Should they be looking at the document side first, so they look at the case management side first, what do you recommend,

Mark Olsson 45:14
I would start with the data management part of it first, I mean, the it's a smaller piece of the pie to chunk off, a little bit easier to digest.

There's still some integration work that people

want to do, depending on how their law firm is set up. But it's nowhere near as disruptive as throwing in a full case management system. Setting up office 365 across the law firm if that hasn't been done already, I mean, we've set a couple of times now the the integration possibilities with just about all of the software makes it kind of a no brainer to make that move. If you're considering going with a document management or case management system. And then the the records management that I keep harping on and data retention policies and all this kind of I mean, all of those tools, more and more data management and data process tools need to be in place before you throw a technology solution at it.

Jake Van Buschbach 46:12
Yeah. And you did mention as well earlier, very briefly, the security of these platforms. So that's been a big concern for a lot of my clients, I'm assuming yours as well. We're both based in Canada. So obviously, we have a lot of concerns when it comes to things going into the US. How do you address these kind of concerns for people? In my experience, when we were working with file vine, they didn't have a Canadian server setup. It was actually through my client. We were the very first file line, Canadian based instance. So I was really proud and very happy to get that going. But again, like you said, In a lot of cases, the vendors aren't gonna be able to do that for you. So how do you usually address these privacy concerns for more security focused firms?

Mark Olsson 46:54
Well, actually, surprisingly, there are are there is a move to taking care of That kind of thing on the vendor's end of things. NET docks is exam as an example is set up a European data storage facility, or they're, they're partnered with a data storage facility. So as long as the law firm is alright, with their files being stored under the GDPR Halo, then that can certainly be a solution. Also moving to things like Microsoft Azure, or AWS

as a file storage facility,

that can also get around it simply because they have Canadian facilities that you can work with.

Jake Van Buschbach 47:34
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think that's great. That's awesome. And in terms of getting this stuff implemented for folks, are you able to work with people just in Vancouver in the Greater Vancouver area? Do you work with folks in Calgary, Toronto, what's your limit there?

Mark Olsson 47:49
So far, I've got scope all the way across the country. So I've dealt with clients all the way from the west coast all the way to the east coast. Toronto, I guess is the furthest I've gone so far. But yeah, it's a wonderful remote age now. So you know, people to connect with clients, just like this across Google meet or zoom, or whatever the platform happens to be, certainly makes it a much smaller, smaller world, I guess to deal with in terms of clients and how you can address their needs and tackle these kinds of projects.

Jake Van Buschbach 48:27
Yeah, it really is. I've noticed a big improvement just with my firm and the way that we're able to help more clients. So we're starting to help people on Toronto now in Calgary. And it's all because what we're doing at the end of the day is very similar. Most of the people that reach out to us, I've noticed that they're echoing each other. It's not quite the same problems in the same solutions, but it's always the similar sort of structure and they're in similar places and along the pipeline, and we're able to kind of come in and say, Okay, great, you've got a data map data management policy in place. You've got a data breach policy in place, you've got 60% of the policy. Let's work with you to get the rest of this done. And now, like you said, because everything is so remote, it's very easy for us to just share and review everything with meetings of up to 4030 people in one zoom meeting or one Microsoft Teams meeting, etc. So, it's good to know that you're happy to work with people all over the country, Mark, do you have anything that you'd like to discuss or anything else that you want to touch on before we start promoting some stuff here?

Mark Olsson 49:25
Not necessarily the like I said earlier, I mean, the if you take anything away from today, it's that you should try and establish those good data management practices ahead of time. And if you're currently working with an IT vendor or something like that, that's, that's great. Start putting those kinds of things on your, your to do list your your immediate roadmap if you're planning on this kind of a digital transformation move in the near future. And if you do start doing your own research, just make sure that you're keeping an open mind and look At all these different products that are on the market today, I mean that there's so much to choose from that, it's really doesn't behoove you to just jump at the first piece of software that somebody does a demo for.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:11
Yeah, I completely agree. I've seen that a lot as well, people jump on the first one, they get excited. And they don't realize that there's a cheaper, more feature rich solution that is just right there just waiting for them to discover it. So I think it's super important that when people are starting to make these decisions, get a good idea, do your own research, figure out what you want to do, and then drop somebody like yourself or myself align and just ask them, Hey, I'm looking at this. I looked at net docs, I think it's really good. Here's my situation, spend a half hour on the phone with us. And again, in my experience, I've been able to show people solutions that are vastly more compatible with them. And I'm sure you've had similar experiences. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Cool. Um, do you have anything that you'd like to promote before we move on?

Mark Olsson 50:54
Yeah, I wouldn't mind mentioning a couple of things. My own consultancy, actually that I've been running For the last six or eight months, this is actually the second time that has come into being MacGregor Olson here in Vancouver. We work with a variety of different industries, not just law firms. But I I've certainly taken a shine to how law firms implement technology and the technology that they're really actually benefits, how they're doing business. So that's certainly something that I'd like to continue and if anybody's interested, by all means, reach out. And then I've been part of a group in here in Vancouver for the last four or five years has been around for six or seven now called the Vancouver technology leaders group, and it's basically dedicated to developing the IT leaders of tomorrow. So the group basically includes a variety of technology professionals, they're all different levels. They're usually somewhere in their early stages of their career. making the move to management and potentially all the way through to CIOs, we've we've even got a few CIO level individuals that like to join us. So we try and deliver high value events throughout the year. We do everything from breakfasts, lunches, this kind of thing where everybody kind of brings a topic to discuss, to trying to put on great networking events for people. So you can find that on meetup.com. And just recently, I joined a nonprofit called builders without borders, it kind of harkens back to my days doing construction. They provide professional and technical services to construction projects around the world, usually focusing on disaster recovery in this kind of thing. They've got a trade school that they're actually working on at the moment in Haiti. So builders without borders.com, if anybody has the ability or interests, by all means go take a look and potentially give them a bit of a donation.

Jake Van Buschbach 53:02
That's, that's awesome. Mark, thank you so much for coming on. I'm going to make sure we include all the links to those down in the description here on YouTube, as well as on all the podcast platforms. And what would be the best way for people to get ahold of you. Email LinkedIn, what do you recommend?

Mark Olsson 53:17
I have a profile on LinkedIn. So by all means, reach out that way, you can also get a hold of me through MacGregor olson.com.

Jake Van Buschbach 53:24
Awesome. Okay, thank you again, so much for coming on mark. I hope this gives people a bit of a fresh perspective, and a good place to start when they're considering case and document management software. So I'm very much looking forward to speaking with you next time, I'd actually love to discuss the VTL with you and kind of learn a little bit more about that. And maybe we can touch on builders with borders, builders without borders. Sorry, next time as well. So, again, thank you so much for coming on. And I'm looking forward to our next discussion. Mark. Sounds very good. Thanks, Jacob. Have a great day. We'll talk to you soon. All right. And I think that does it for today's video. If you could please leave a like on this video. It really helps us out You want to see more videos like this then please hit subscribe. If you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest you'd like to see on the show, please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day and see you all soon.

Sales Consulting for Business Owners with...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hey everybody, Jake from umbrella IT services here. Hope you're having a great day. Today we're going to be speaking with Rob Malik from business works consulting. Rob helps other business owners overcome sales obstacles. He helps them develop sales departments helps them refine existing sales departments. He equips them with the tools they need to achieve success. And he taught me a lot during this interview. I hope you find it as valuable as I did. So, without any further ado, let's jump into it. I'd like to give Rob Malik A big thank you for coming on today and talking with us about sales consulting, sales training and his book sell more by selling less. Rob, thank you very much for coming on today. How can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the sales consulting field? Yeah, I've been doing what I'm doing now for just about 19 years. How do I get into it? Well, I made the decision that I wanted to go solo I've been a sales manager while sales rep sales manager sales Vice President and decided they want to go sell most so it

Rob Malec 1:00
just hung my shingle, I really had a desire to help people to help people to grow their business, and everything came from that. Very cool. How would you define sales consulting? Exactly?

Well, there's not a lot of them out there. Interestingly, there's a lot of sales trainers, people who will help you with your sales skills, meaning how well efficient effective you are in leading sales interactions with buyers. What I do is, is a little bit different, and that is to help set up the foundation for a company and its salespeople to sell. So sales process infrastructure, so the steps you follow to make a sale, what's that recipe sales methodology, how you go about executing on those steps to bring a sale to life and turn a lead into a paying customer. So laying down that infrastructure is different than just the one piece of helping people to improve their sales skills.

But laying down the foundation allows a company to be successful where they are. And to scale up and to add salespeople and have them be successful quickly and relatively speaking easily. Gotcha. And do you notice that startups benefit the most from this as an established company struggling with these kind of things? What What is your ideal client look like?

Well, it's not only startups who struggle with it companies of every size wrangle with us every day. So you think classically about the most highly trained IBM sales reps, they have entire departments that exist only to help, excuse me, make the sales process more efficient, more effective, it's sort of that 1% mentality how to go 1% better every day. Somebody we have sales, thousands of salespeople Of course, that 1% better will will multiply and exponentially generate more revenue. If you

You're a startup and you have no infrastructure. Startups need to be the best salespeople they need to not only sell their idea sell their dream they need to convince investors to give up seven figures worth of money to invest in their future. Yeah, yeah, size companies will also wrestle with is an owner operated a bootstrap, they've done well for themselves. But now the sales sales group is generating as much as they can. The business owner would like to work more on the business than necessarily in the business. And they wrestle with Well, how do I do that? How do I let go of the sales function without having it wander and stop producing the lifeblood of the company, which is revenue? So companies of all sizes wrestling, does that make sense? In your experience, is it is it more the system itself that's important that you described earlier and the processes and tracking all of this stuff that gets you that extra 1%? Or is it the ones who

superstar on the sales team and trying to track down other superstars to join your sales team or is it a little bit of both?

Now it's absolutely the system. If you are a company that has one superstar salesperson, and you're reliant upon them, and if they decide to go elsewhere, tomorrow, you are in big trouble. That's not a great place to be at all. So when you get really square as a company on what a salesperson should be doing, and haven't documented how they should be doing those things. As salespeople progress and your salesperson becomes a manager or the like, they can easily backfill and integrate new salespeople into the company and have them ramp up to success far more quickly than if you don't have that foundation laid down. Well, in that scenario, no foundation. Often you'll have to wait 12 months for salesperson to be productive. Wow, that function laid down you can be productive in three to six months and that's what I've been seeing recently. Gotcha. So it

Jake Van Buschbach 5:00
really is a full year of turnaround for a new salesperson kind of get their claws and get the engine revving and start to see results.

Rob Malec 5:07
If you don't have your foundation, absolutely.

Jake Van Buschbach 5:09
Wow, that's crazy. So as part of a foundation I've been looking into, I'm just starting to dip my toe into the field of sales here myself as a start up. And I've been looking through a lot of different CRMs. am I wasting my time with CRM as a small business owner? Or is this a crucial tool that I that I should be spending more time on?

Rob Malec 5:29
Oh, absolutely crucial. Gotta have one. Okay. Even as recently as five years ago, they not everyone had a CRM. But now because there's so many, and they're all quite good, and the user interface, and the mechanics of using them are so simple that quite simply, you are selling with one and a half hands tied behind your back if if you don't,

Jake Van Buschbach 5:51
yeah, no, I'm starting to get a little bit overwhelmed here because we've started to do marketing and we've launched our new website and I've got a CRM and a ticket management's For our existing clients, but now that we've got all these prospects, and there's a lot of incoming leads, I'm starting to start to feel like I'm juggling a lot, my calendar is starting to go a little bit crazy. So it's good to know that I'm making a good decision moving to the CRM is what would you say makes up some good features of a good CRM? I know that we've spoken briefly about how you like to use Zoho CRM, but what what are some fundamental staples of Zoho or other CRM that you recommend to your clients that make you recommend them?

Rob Malec 6:32
The fundamental staples are first and foremost that it does, in fact, have a represent page number, your sales funnel so that you can understand for each and every opportunity you're working on, where in the I'll call it stage of production, that sales opportunity is. Some people say well, the early stage stuff, I don't really need to track that and that's absolutely the most important piece to track those deals that are closest to turning into money and turn into a closed one last deal rather, those are all very top of mind. It's all the stuff early stage funnel that where that that's where the money is. And then as you work those through and convert them in some fall away, because you're naturally not a fit and the light, those ones are is easy to lose track of. So you do need to have the sales funnel represented. Absolutely. You need to, they all have a task reminder function, but you need to use that function, so that every sales opportunity you're working in, if someone was to look at the CRM, you would see that there is a record of what's happened. And there's a task reminder for the next thing to happen in the future. So you need to use that diligently. The other piece now this is quite easy is to have your email connected to your CRM. And so you can still use Gmail and outlook to send your emails out though, but having the connector will allow those emails to be connected into the opportunity record and see And that makes it super, super easy for you to track your opportunities, what's happened and what should happen next. Because if you don't have that, it's hard when you sit down to do your business development work, you have an hour or so set aside to do it. If you're a business owner, if it takes you 20 minutes to get organized and pull the thread from your last business development session, now you're down to 40 minutes of workable time, and it takes you 20 minutes to sort of get in the swing of it, you end up with 20 really productive minutes using a CRM effectively, five to seven minutes to check your notes. And then you've got 53 minutes of productive time, you'll generate far more sales if you use a CRM. Sure,

Jake Van Buschbach 8:42
gotcha. So you mentioned a lot of stuff there that I kind of want to dig into a little bit because again, just just getting started here. This is very educational. In terms of a sales funnel, what what does that usually look like for you is different based on if people are selling products, if they're selling services. I've heard that it's good for Most people to have several different funnels active at one time. What What do you usually recommend as a beginning sales funnel? Or is that something that's very unique to the businesses and there is no umbrella solution?

Rob Malec 9:13
No, they the the mechanics of selling and the sales funnel are somewhat like the golf swing, you know, they components are set. Yeah. And they're classic and they're always there. How you apply them will vary based upon you know, sort of the the lie of the ball and the distance to the hole and the wind and all that kind of stuff. But generally, your sales funnel should be divided into your leads into first meeting, I call it a diagnosis meeting, first past diagnosis meeting, which is when you're trying to learn what pain points they have. Deep Dive diagnosis meeting is the next stage where you're going more deeply and try to quantify the pain points they have. solution, that phase when you're talking about what might your solution be to meet those needs. And negotiation, which is now your negotiating price, and you're trying to close the business. So any business could do well with those five basic funnel categories. You can divide them up further, if you like. Yeah, but those are the five core ones that you should have.

Jake Van Buschbach 10:15
That's awesome. And when you're doing prospecting, these kind of things, I've heard that it usually takes about 90 days to get a sales funnel operational and working. Is that true? In your experience,

Rob Malec 10:26
you should be able to have a sales funnel up and working inside of four weeks. Oh, wow. And by that, I mean you have your CRM selected, you have it configured, you have the sales funnel stages all blocked out, and you start working the funnel and moving opportunities through if it takes longer than four weeks. Generally, it means you picked a CRM that's more complex, or generally that means you lack clarity at that moment in terms of how you want to approach the sales function, how you want to begin filling the top of the funnel and how You're going about the mechanics, if you will, deals through

Jake Van Buschbach 11:04
data. And when people are starting to implement these tools and these kinds of things. Is there any specific mindset that they should have or any sort of contact specifically that the contact methods they should be considering? Because I, maybe this is still happening, but I don't imagine there's a lot of door to door sales still going on, especially in a city like Vancouver in 2020. Given the the current health crisis, have you noticed that any effects of COVID on salespeople is phone becoming a lot more common remote meetings, email sales are picking up? Or is the old school, shaking people's hands and kissing babies still still the way to go?

Rob Malec 11:46
No, none of that is possible at all now, and over the last several years, it's been trending more toward remote meetings and the like, and of course, now is our only option. Can't go out and meet people. And only now are some clients saying, Okay, come in, but they're also being very diligent around social distancing. What I've seen in Vancouver is a lot of clients last week who said, Okay, well, we need a demonstration. This was for another clients products, our boardrooms limited, we can only have so many people. So you can only send one person. And so that's how it deals with people or being. So now it's comfort in reaching out electronically. Is comfort in using tools like LinkedIn and the like, to generate your leads. Yeah. And you know, the part about what are the what's the best mindset to have? I would say in sales, it's and if you're new to sales is don't take it personally. Which is to say you got to reach out to lots of people. Yeah, most of those people won't have a need for your products or services at that time. Yeah. And if they don't, they likely won't reply to you. If you're sending email. Yep. And that's all it is. So if you look, and you say, well, the way I'm going about my outreach is my authentic voice. I think I'm being appropriate. And the way I'm approaching people, if they either say no, or they don't respond, that just means they don't have a need at the moment and keep looking.

Jake Van Buschbach 13:19
Yeah. And how do you follow back with people that you've messaged already, but they haven't responded without being spammy or pushy, because that's one of the biggest reasons why I never kind of dove into sales, because I just didn't feel like I wanted to wedge myself in authentically into people's lives. But whenever I did manage to outreach, I noticed that people were usually very positively responding to my messages and these kind of things. But for those folks that I never did hear back from, I just kind of left it and never circle back around even though somebody had recommended them to me or they've clicked on some part of my website and downloaded something. How do you recommend people can reach out again without feeling kind of spammy.

Rob Malec 14:02
Well, there's two parts to that. If it's someone who you're reaching out to, I use a four week protocol to get started, okay, which is email, and voicemail in week one, email or voicemail, one or the other in week two, week three, you can let it rest if you want or back to either email or voicemail. And week four. It could be if you feel that, well, this is not really going anywhere. Then you could say, I'm here when you're ready, if you'd like some help a message like that, or you can set the stage for the next series of follow ups. And so that's the piece where people often have questions and it relates to authentic and what does authentic mean to you and to reach out to someone monthly. Depending upon your product or service may feel very natural For you. For myself, it's about every three months. And my reach out usually the pushy part and people feeling what's authentic. The two different things. Generally pushy is when you're asking for things. And to stay top of mind, you don't need to ask for anything, you can simply reach out and say, for instance, it could be a have a great summer kind of theme to your message. So here's what's up in my business. Here's what I'm seeing by way of sales. Have a great summer. i'm john john, need to ask for anything, you don't need to say, hey, let's talk Hey, if you need my services, click on this link. And that's the method that I use. I think, you know, in the early stages of your reach out, you'll have those links in that content there. And for the stay in touch piece.

We'll know why you're staying in touch.

Jake Van Buschbach 15:56
Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Rob Malec 15:57
Yeah. So what I found is that There have been instances where 678 emails go by, I don't hear from from the person I'm emailing to. And all sudden they respond and we do a big project together. Yeah. And often people will say thanks very much for staying in touch with me. I've been busy or whatever the case may be. It's just that funny intersection of timing where you reach out. They happen to have a need at that time, where you can help. And then they'll respond. But you could do that 10 times previously, and they don't have the need. They don't respond.

Jake Van Buschbach 16:34
I like the fact that again, it's not all about the hard sell. Because I've always been very good at soft selling. I've been very good at building relationships with people. But I'm just not good at saying like, give me money. This is what I want. You need this service that if people are clearly having an issue, then I like fixing their problems, but I don't like pushing things on people. That's not a perfect fit for them. Which is Why we have we have very, very good customer retention above 95%. And very good customer satisfaction ratings because no one has things that they shouldn't need. But it's also sometimes resulted in things where I haven't properly up sold other services that would have complimented the main service. In your experience again, nowadays that everything is kind of getting commodified commoditized over like LinkedIn, for example, I have, I don't know, 15 messages from people saying hello, I'd like to sell you this web design service or Hello, we do this programming service, maybe your interest. How do you recommend sales consultants and other business owners can kind of differentiate themselves from this flood of private messages and this sea of emails that people are receiving nowadays?

Rob Malec 17:46
That's a great question. LinkedIn is is becoming a way to get marketed to. And yeah, I know there, there can be an irritation factor for sure. The way to differentiate yourself So I believe using LinkedIn is using connections to connect you to others. So if there's someone that you really want to meet that you think is a perfect fit for your business these days, many people are on LinkedIn. And so the number of degrees of separation between you and people you want to meet is often it's just one. And so if you want to stand out, then ask that person in the middle that both you and this person you want to meet, know, to introduce you. And so I developed a series of it was basically email templates to us. So I would email the person that knew both of us, and ask them if they could connect us on email. And I asked her that specifically because I found that LinkedIn connections not everyone, despite people being active, not everyone received LinkedIn messages every day. And so doing the connection through email was better. Better meaning more effective. The person and it was someone that I knew well, the people would invariably say, yeah, sure, I'm happy to help help you get connected. I knew they were a bit lost in terms of what to say. And so I would send them an email template and say, here's an email template, you copy, paste that in whatever way you like, and send that to the person copy me. And that will get us all connected. And invariably, I would see that exact message just copied and pasted into the email connecting me to the other party. Yeah, and that would help separate. Absolutely, for sure. Some people are still using LinkedIn for mass marketing, and I'm not fairly against that. I haven't haven't seen it be effective for myself in my business. My business comes from referrals, much like other small businesses, but LinkedIn definitely has this place.

Jake Van Buschbach 19:50
Yeah. And when people are helping you out like that, do you offer them incentives or Well, how do you usually do that because I usually have a lot of People offer to help me out with that kind of stuff, which is great. But I've never reached out to someone saying, Hey, can you introduce me to this guy? And did it and how does that go in your experience?

Rob Malec 20:09
Right? Well, the thank you part is interesting because there's the notion of well, should I give them some sort of Thank you should I give them something monetary? Whatever I found is this that first and foremost, people really want to help and if you're a entrepreneur, business person, those around you know that it's it's not the easy path, and so they're quite willing to help. And when they introduce, well, should I give money, it gets kind of weird because you know how much money is too little money you're going to be an insult is too much money going to make them feel awkward. And so I would default to something thoughtful. So if you got a nice referral from someone to send them something something as simple as a Starbucks card, or an Amazon gift card, or even flowers like that. thoughtful by design, not expensive, but because people are really liked to help, that positive feedback is awesome. That makes sense if it's a business to business relationship where you have, I was involved in a lead Group A number of years ago where it was we had a we had a shared agreement that if one person brought me business that I would give them 10% of that deal. But that was set up upfront. Yeah, and we all agreed upon that and we were all comfortable with the number and that's why monetary work but I found otherwise monetary becomes awkward.

Jake Van Buschbach 21:36
That makes a lot of sense. I usually do that for my clients as well just generally speaking around Christmas time. And yeah, I'll start working in those little thoughtful gifts as well. I know that a really good one that I always resort to is the manicure pedicure kind of thing. Just get a gift card or something like that. So usually around 200 bucks, give or take $20 depending on where it is. And ladies love it. Grab the guy's pair of air pods or something like that. Just whatever right think about the person you're giving it to, and then kind of give them something nice. That shows you put a little bit of thought into it and usually works out really well. So, and I do like the percentage based business, the business relationship as well. That's great to know. So what other kind of strategies and guidelines Do you usually recommend people implement while they're working with the CRM stuff? Because it seems to me that the processes are going to be the most important part of what we break down today. So I know that you would be wanting to have this introduction set up via LinkedIn or via email, so that you can set up your diagnosis meeting that you were talking about earlier. So when I go into one of those meetings, what would be some of the mindsets and strategies that I would want to bring with me to that meeting?

Rob Malec 22:52
in my estimation, I believe that sales is helping. Mm hmm. And that's why I believe you do not need to be an extra divert, you do not need to be a person who loves to talk a lot to be great at sales. Often the opposite is better if you're a person who likes to listen, ask questions and learn. You're in a far better position to help people because that allows you to give room for the buyer to speak and helps you to learn their needs. And so in terms of CRM and selling overall, it's every day and not a day should go by that you don't do something to put a drop in the bucket of business development be reaching out to existing contacts, reaching out to new new contacts that you're trying to make, or moving deals for. So that's the first thing is every day, when it comes to your sales meetings is prepared to help and by what I mean by that is prepare your questions. And so selling to my mind is is understanding people's current situation. They know the course this is all relative to where you can help with your products and service. versus how they're doing things today where they would like to be by way of what's their desired improved future state as it relates to that, and what's in the middle, what are the pain points in the middle that they're experiencing challenges sticking points that are stopping them from getting to where they want to go?

Jake Van Buschbach 24:19
Gotcha. But

Rob Malec 24:22
yeah, understanding those things puts you in a position to then I think meaningfully in an irrelevant way to talk about what you have to offer as a solution. Rather than if you flip it around. If you were to come in, Hi, nice to meet you and start talking with all the great things you have in the back of the buyers mind that they're saying, Well, that's all wonderful, but how does that help me? Yeah, I know. We haven't talked about what my needs are, and how you can improve my own situation.

Jake Van Buschbach 24:48
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Not Not every hammer is not good for every utility, you know. So let's say that I've established a good sales team. I've got everybody. So let's say I'm established a good sale. process. As a small business owner, I'm noticing I'm starting to close a high percentage of my leads. People are really happy with everything. They're saying, oh, transitioning from another IT company to you, as has been so easy and your team is so great at it. And I'm ready to hire my first sales rep. What do you recommend? The very first part of that process looks like when you're trying to find or is even before you're trying to find somebody. So you've got your sales process down, it's working, you're ready to expand your sales team. What is step number one?

Rob Malec 25:32
Step number one is job description. which at first blush sounds kind of strange. Well, I know I want someone who's going to sell but inside of the job description, what exactly are they doing? And how much of it are you going to ask them to do so? Do I need to tell people you have to generate your own leads or I'm giving you leads? How much does this person have to travel? What size of deal with a typically selling five figures six figures seven figure Do they have to manage anybody? What else? What are the requirements for CRM and the like? So you need to get that job description really clear. So that when you post it a personal read it and say, Okay, I totally get what's involved in this job. It's not vague, it's quite clear. And the places to post today, your options as far as finding that salesperson, you can hire a recruiter if you have that money. And there's all the job posting boards, LinkedIn is very effective for job posting. Indeed, all the other platforms where you can post job descriptions and people can post resumes and like and then in the hiring process, really you need to have a pulse check interview, okay, does this person seem to have credibility? basically do I think at first blush they're a bit second interview is to understand their sales history and answer the question is what was sufficient to make them successful in the business Role sufficient to make them successful in working at my company. My name is with my situation as it stands. The third interview is a shomi interview which is they should prevent present you something. Okay? It's very simplistic. My first 90 days in the job here's what I'm going to do. And the reason we have this job interview is it will give let you sit in the seat of your of your customers and experience what this person has to bring.

Unknown Speaker 27:29
Mm hmm.

Rob Malec 27:31
And the last interview then would be

culture check if there's anyone else that needs to interview this person at your company and then you can make the final decision but where see where business owners typically will fall off is we'll meet someone that really liked them. And wow, that person likes to talk they're hired and they skip the skill check and they skip the show me part. And then you know, you've hired someone, you offload the selling to them because they Goodness, I've got someone doing this. And then they get six months, 12 months down the road and find out it didn't work out. And they're left wondering why. And so what I found in the interview process, and I've had clients say this where to go. Prior to this interview process, I would have hired the first three people I met I really liked. But in the end, we've got a salesperson who was affected that we really love as well. They had both hearts.

Jake Van Buschbach 28:24
That's so great to know that it's usually three to four interviews. And then I really like the show me part of it, and not getting too emotionally attached on day one, because my technical hiring process looks very similar to that. So it's good to know that the sales process should also not be Hey, how are you? Good. Oh, I like the way you're talking. I like the way you're moving and shaking. You're hired, you know. So that's, that's really good to know. How do you recommend that you can kind of two questions here, how can you filter out people that are going to be the snake oil salesmen who are going to be able to recognize that This is a startup or this is a an inexperienced, sales team sales manager, etc. And they're gonna be able to tell you what you want to hear. And question number two would be what are some traits that you would recommend that you look for, especially when you're just developing a team, and you're not going to have like a junior, you're going to need somebody who's gonna be able to come in and kind of pave their own way and build upon the foundation that you've set up.

Rob Malec 29:25
Right to the first part, having a four hour interview process, the person's true personality will show after hour four or five or six that you spend with them. Okay? And so the this notion of snake oil salesmen or the like, often, if we get swayed by someone who is a sort of very articulate someone who is they quickly bond with you, and in the first half hour you feel like your best friends after the multi engine review process, their true personality will show through in any Oh, you can determine, okay, that's all sizzle and no steak or it's it's both the piece about expectations, what's required for them to do that, you know if this is a startup or the like, you really need to be candid with people and give them the hard reality if the job market today is unfortunate, there's a lot of great salespeople who were let go from their previous position to develop it. And there's people who really, really want a job. And so we need to be, I'd say brutally honest with if you're a startup, we are a startup. We don't have money for zoom info. We're using the free version of CRM right now. We don't have travel budget, and this is how many paying customers we have and we need this many more. really be clear with people what they're buying into. Because if there's any great and I and by the way, you have to repeat it about five times. Yeah. Before it cut through that person's desire to have a paying job. Mm hmm. I have seen situations where a salesperson will come in. And yeah, they heard startup, but they get in there and now sudden they're spending 90% of their day prospecting. Yeah. And they go, Oh, hold on. I'm a senior sales person. I don't like to do that anymore. Oh, totally. And this was part of the job. And, you know, the hiring parties had said, we're a startup and they go to the office in the startup environment. For some reason, there was a disconnect there. So I'd say be brutally honest. Be prepared to say at least five times and have the person really clear. And again, this goes back to the job description, what their duties and tasks are, paint a day in the life for them in vivid colors. Yep. And also have them understand what resources they have and what resources they don't have. And be really clear, here's what we're expecting you to bring to the table, sales process knowledge, etc. Sales Funnel management in the light. Yeah. And in asking those asking for those things in the multi step interview process, you'll be able to see if they happen when they go,

Jake Van Buschbach 32:21
GA. And you mentioned there that you might hire someone as a senior sales consultant or senior sales rep. And they might not be used to prospecting and doing these kind of things. Now, if you've got your process nailed, I'm assuming you're going to understand what expectations responsibilities and deliverables exist for that person. So is it best to shoot for the stars? Like someone in my position to find somebody to immediately take over the sales role in the business? Or is it better for me to get someone who's going to be doing lead generation because that's personally what I need, and then have them grow into that role and your experience with either established businesses or startups. Usually the best fit when first starting to build out that sales team.

Rob Malec 33:04
The best fit is to hire the person who is on the cusp of being promoted to the next role. Gotcha. What I found is if you hire the person who's been promoted four times, they don't want to go backwards and do the heavy lifting work. Yeah. They're out of prospecting mode. And they think, Well, my skill set is to be put to a higher task, which is closing business. If you need prospecting, hire that person who has two years experience and they want to get into an outside, outside now meaning outbound sales role, not just lead gen. Find that person. They're at their current job, they may be frustrated, maybe there's nowhere for them to go. You have a lot of runway for them. They still need to use the skills that they're great at. But that can quickly turn into a full sales job unless the business development if they happen to be good at that. Oh, You know that what you want to get to as a business owner is if you have that person, and they become a salesperson, and you really get dialed in on your process and methodology, then you as a business person can say, Well, if I hire this person at x thousands of dollars investment in the year, they can now be productive in three to six months. If I can carry that first six months of salary, knowing that they're going to start bringing some sales around that six month, okay, that that investment works for me, I can do that. If you don't have those nailed down, you hire a salesperson, and they simply do their best to make their way. It's hard for you to scale because you don't know exactly how your investment is going to work out when you invest in a second person. Third, if that first person is great at filling the funnel, they'll have generated enough work for you to hire another salesperson who can turn that into money. They increase the sales funnel and then you hire your sales third, your third salesperson and that's how that would go.

Jake Van Buschbach 34:59
That makes sense. ton of sounds. So I've got a revelation here. But before we move on to that quick question would be do you recommend incentivizing salespeople through just a flat salary? Or do you recommend having commission or pure commission? Or what's been the best system in your experience? Or again, is it something that is not an umbrella solution? It depends on the business itself.

Rob Malec 35:23
Generally speaking, salespeople should have a commission portion to their compensation. Your total target compensation would be a combination of base salary plus commission.

The

Jake Van Buschbach 35:37
okay

Rob Malec 35:40
yeah, so the compensation should incentivize the behavior that you need from a salesperson so if you need growth, then don't have a big fat salary in a small commission, which incentivizes the salesperson just to manage their existing accounts. Mm hmm. They need a permission so that when they bring in a when both of you when you That's how they make their living. And if a salesperson doesn't like that setup, but that's what your business needs, then they're just not the right salesperson for you.

Jake Van Buschbach 36:09
Gotcha. And when you say big commission, what would that look like? So is that a 5050? split? So if you want to get that person to rapidly grow your company, and you want to try to get them to hit a six figure salary or something like that doing 5050 is that a big commission or a big commission be 70%? And the salary is 30%. What What does that look like?

Rob Malec 36:32
So, very simply to set compensation you look at Okay, well, total target compensation is a combination of base salary plus commission. What's the total target compensation number is 50,000 60,000 70,000. And then you can imagine in your mind's eye like a slider where you say, Well, if I want them to earn this much at 100%, of quota then It needs to be this much salary. And then that much commission, if we have a sale, which is a six figure sale, meaning there's more absolute dollars inside of the margin, you could have a 40% salary because when they bring in one big sale, then that would be a bigger commission check. I've seen as high as 70% commission a 30%. salary. That was a more mature business where the salesperson could count on a certain amount of revenue coming in as a lead generation. Hell, yeah. If you're just new starting out, it's better to be more like 65% base salary and 35%. commission and how that commission uncapped so the more they sell the more than they, yeah, they brought up million dollar sale for you tomorrow, that you would pay them and you would pay them well for that.

Jake Van Buschbach 37:49
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So yeah, some that you kind of triggered there is what you're recommending in terms of hiring a salesperson. That's exactly what I'm doing in terms of hiring my technical folks. So sales is simply another technical skill to learn. But as a business owner, I'm, I'm a geek, you know what I mean? I'm an IT guy. I don't understand the technicalities of sales the same way where if I were to ask you to explain how to purchase a server or ascribe a server to a client, I wouldn't be able to determine what I need in terms of a salesperson. So do you recommend any resources that people can look into to learn more about the technical side of sales, and just kind of have a crash course where they can begin to use the same technical processes that they're using to hire their internal staff to hire their sales staff?

Rob Malec 38:38
Well, to learn about sales, there's a couple of

base courses that I would recommend Dale Carnegie, believe it or not, has a great program called the sales Advantage program and if you have no experience in sales, and are afraid of going into the sales call because you don't know what to expect, this eight week program will walk you through all the nuts and bolts in the basics. Being prepared introductions building report asking questions, all those sales one on one things.

There's also the

there's a Canadian sales professionals Association. The CSP, I believe is called and they also have a series of courses that are great for sales building blocks. And then from there, there of course, it's an unlimited landscape of books and courses and things that you can buy, depending on how much time and effort you want to put into learning some, some sales books, some go to sales books, if I was appointed down to two that in my experience are really, really good. If you look at SPIN Selling, by Neil Rackham, that's a great book that gets you deep into asking questions and good solid sales questions. And the new strategic selling is another book Which is by Steven Hyman Diane Sanchez, which is a great book on creating sales strategies. If you were to do anything after your one on one training, those two books will get you started. There's a whole wealth of material out there.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:12
That's great. Thank you very much for those resources, because I think a lot of folks are going to benefit from those. So once people have gotten through those books, and they're all set up and a little bit more advanced, what are some of the things that you see people struggling with usually? Is it refining the sales strategy? What kind of issues come up?

Rob Malec 40:30
Typical struggle is around filling the top of the funnel. Hmm. And that struggle comes from not doing it every day. And it's it sounds overly simplistic, but that's all it is. It's not the fun work. There's not a lot of positive reinforcement. And after a week of doing it, it's no fun. I'll go work with people who are responsive. People who know and like my service and are paying me money already. Yeah, and that's the number one struggle is keeping the top of the funnel. Gotcha.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:59
So yeah, the only book that I've ever read about sales is called fanatical prospecting. And they said pretty much exactly what you just said, which is, you've got to be doing it every single day you've got if you don't do it this week, you're gonna feel that crunch in about 60 to 90 days, and you're gonna go, where'd all my sales go? And then it's gonna take you another 30 days to kind of get that stuff up and running again. And that so when they're prospecting, what do you recommend people kind of do in terms of a strategy for that to make it a little bit less of a grind, and to see better results is it set up a specific window every day where it doesn't matter? It's like going to the gym, like you have to do it. It's the same way that you go to the gym for your bodily health. You've got to do prospecting for the sake of your business. So you got to do it every day from eight to 9am. Is something like that practical or how do you overcome that speed bump?

Rob Malec 41:49
Yeah, so there's two things is set the appointment with yourself. I color code all my different reading types and green, green for go is my Marketing meeting. Very cool. And the next thing is getting a daily goal, which is a daily productivity goal. I want to each day reach out to two people in my network that I haven't spoken to in the last three months. And I want to reach out to two people who are specific leads for my business. And the numbers multiply nicely. So that's 10 each a week, that's 40 each a month, and then you're going to have half of those fall away that aren't to fit or non responsive. And you whittle down then to having enough, bonafide leads, yeah. And enough in your funnel that will pay the bills because if you're a small business owner, and you have mouths to feed, there's a lot of stress that goes along with Am I gonna make payroll this week? Yeah. And if you can keep your activity levels and your result levels up, you'll be fine.

Jake Van Buschbach 42:49
Yeah, that makes sense. And when you're reaching out to these folks, again, you've mentioned before Phone Email is the four week process you outlined earlier. That's the thing to stick to when you're just getting To the prospecting.

Rob Malec 43:02
Yep, yeah, absolutely stick to the four weeks. And then after four weeks bear in mind, it takes you know, this is classic about us about seven touches or so before you can have a meaningful interaction with someone, the four weeks, of course, will take you through your first four, you'll need to figure out for your business in your authentic style, how you will continue to reach out to people. So you get to that seven touches and beyond.

Jake Van Buschbach 43:27
Yeah, so most of the time, I'm assuming it's just introduce yourself pay for what I do. If you need anything, give me a shout. Nice hat by, you know,

Rob Malec 43:40
there's tons of resources on marketing, on messaging on how do I tackle those first, those first interactions that can help people to at least design the content. And then ultimately, you'll find your own voice,

Jake Van Buschbach 43:54
if that makes a lot of sense. So when you see some of these Junior guys Starting to reach out and doing this kind of stuff internally. What are some some of the struggles that a business owner can look out for when they're hiring their first staff member? Is it? Again, I'm gonna assume here, this is what I do with my technical staff. We do weekly meetings every Monday. And then every Friday, we do a follow up meeting based on the previous week's goals, just to make sure everyone's on track. Is that a good strategy to have to internally manage your sales staff as well? Or how do you recommend that we manage the sales stuff?

Rob Malec 44:29
Well, the first struggle salespeople will have is who is my ideal customer, and who should I be aiming for? And once you get square on that, and the next pieces, where do I find those people? And you know, there's the one to one marketing, which is you reaching out to specific companies and then the one to many marketing, which is, can you find associations with like where there's 100 of your ideal customers in one spot, so the one to many is a great place to be in terms of Managing the sales team, you need to manage the funnel. And then you need to manage the activities. And those need to be two separate meetings. So I an easy cadence is, if you meet with your salesperson once a week for an hour to understand who is in the funnel, how many companies are in the funnel? How many phone calls have you been making, how many meetings you've been having and the like. And by the way, all those are in your dashboard and CRM. So the meetings to talk about them and dive into that more deeply. Then in week two, you can have a meeting that's more about let's look into specific deals you're working on. What have you been saying what you've been doing? How is that been going? Is it stuck? Is it unstuck? Is it moving nicely? If so, why? So you can capture best practices and replicate that and try to eliminate things that aren't working for you and take them out of your sales process. So it's a really, it's a two week tempo. So one week is strategy. High Level one week is tactics and next week is strategy and when we next week is tactics. And then monthly, you should have a sales get together where it's a deep dive and understand sales understand deals that have been brought on how they're going. So that we salespeople can make a connection between Oh, I did this, I found that, and they're a great customer, or I did this I found out to the customer from hell we don't want.

Jake Van Buschbach 46:22
It makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So I think that answers with the majority of my questions, but in relation to you and what you do specifically, you mentioned sales is helping. So what are some of the frequently asked questions and what kind of issues do your most of your clients ask you? So when you're working with with an average client, what does an average client of yours look like? And what kind of struggles are they going through?

Rob Malec 46:51
So my average client is typically a business that is healthy that has been growing, that the owner is either the Rainmaker or the owner has been in managing two or three salespeople, and they reach a point where they feel stuck that sales productivity or production is lower than it should be, or it was good, but now it's declining. They can't figure out why or they don't have the time to figure out why. Or it's a business owner it says we've been doing well, I want to double the business. I can't continue to manage this team. I need some help to manage it and scale it and so that's who I typically work with. By way of classic challenges that they would have, it is

my top of my funnel is not falling off.

How do I feel it?

buyers you know, the middle of the sales funnel goes screaming through to give me a price and we give them a price and we get stuck and the buyer becomes non responsive buyer goes dark. Generally, interestingly, the part where I can't close the deal is not a pain point. It's usually filling the top of the funnel the middle funnel part top of the funnel address which is just the consistency of doing it day to day, the piece about buyers getting the price and then going dark. Generally there's something going on inside the sales process where we don't know the buyers needs well enough. We're not what we have as an investment towards a better improved future the one that the clients told us they want and we don't know their needs well enough. We haven't determined their buyers decision making process. So when they just go dark, we don't have anywhere to turn we have nowhere to go. So there's there's a whole bunch of mechanics inside there are things going on. But generally if you quote too quickly and too early, all you're doing is selling price, and that's really going to hurt you. Interestingly in sales, if you have something you have to demonstrate, and you demonstrate it too early to quickly in the sale, you often will short circuit the time you had To learn about the buyers needs, so when you do the demonstration, it's a demonstration of a solution connected to what the buyer told you where their problems. Yeah. If you go straight to demo and say this is really cool, it's really neat. And then you leaving the buyer to say, Well, here's how it's going to help you. They can't figure it out. They got a million things going on. So your sale goes to number 15 on their top 10 list of things they have to work on. Yeah, that's typically what I see in the classic pain points.

Jake Van Buschbach 49:25
I'm starting to understand the title of your book. So selling more by selling less so it's all the listening and you got two ears and one mouth.

Rob Malec 49:35
As simple as that. Absolutely.

Jake Van Buschbach 49:36
Yeah. Very cool. What's your favorite part about what you're doing? Is it working with startups? Is it working with these established businesses that have all of these moving parts already? Do you like building out those those sales machines? What is it that that you truly enjoy working with?

Rob Malec 49:54
Well, my favorite part in the doing is finding the sticking points. And resolving it, opening things up. And the joy, the jazz, and the job for me is helping people. So to help a business owner make their business into what they dreamed it could be, really brings me a lot of facts, a lot of satisfaction. And that's because not because the business is this thing, and then it looks great, but it's this thing that provides for them and their family and their life, and their children and their grandchildren sometimes. And it's very, very, very satisfying to help people build something that they thought they could build, but they were stuck, and have it affect them. So personally, it's wonderful.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:38
Yeah, yeah, I definitely understand what he's saying, as an IT guy. It's also being part of that bigger picture. And being the internal external part of that family is very cool. In terms of tools, when people are working inside of the CRM and these kind of things, do you have any other tools other than the CRM But you just they're absolutely fundamental. And you recommend every business, every sales consultant every sales rep uses?

Rob Malec 51:08
Well, I think in general terms, sales, sales is a tough job because of the piece where there's often days and weeks that go by without a lot of positive reinforcement. These days, salespeople now are working from home. And so we're all quite separate. And it's a very solo endeavor many times. And yes, there's glory when a deal closes, but there's a lot of heavy lifting that goes on in between and rejection and like so. One tool that's great that I use is subscribe to something, a newsletter that resonates with you, or your team, or fits your company values and represents that and have it go into people's inbox every day. And in the weekly meetings, talk about that. What do people get from it? And there's many out there that are motivational Some that are helpful, some that are thought provoking. And often they're not in the realm of sales. They're ones that are outside sales. There's this daily email called the stoic, and it's all about stoicism. And there's a whole history about that based upon rolling times, and Marcus Aurelius and all these people had this way of looking at life and dealing with challenges. And that comes into your inbox every day. And then you read about it. And it just sometimes gives you that little bit of support that little bit of Okay, I can go out I can do it or some different way to look at a really challenging situation. It's absolutely not a sales thing. But it's super helpful. So maybe there's something in thinking about your team, your company, your life that resonates with you, and might resonate, resonate with them.

Jake Van Buschbach 52:48
Yeah. It's very funny to hear you say that because I know a guy's a financial advisor, just sales for them. Use his own independent advisors, of course, he's doing sales and every time I go on my Instagram, I can see it's This person has followed another stoic page. And I'm just imagining that his whole Instagram in the morning when he's scrolling through it is just all of these Greek and Roman quotes and a lot of this stoic stuff. And I followed a couple pages of it as well. And again, like you said, it's it's tough being in a position of a salesperson, not a lot of positive reinforcement. As a business owner, you have a lot of those dark periods as well. And it is nice being able to see things that are kind of echoing the sentiments of what you're currently struggling with and being able to kind of get through that. Do you have any other resources, or market leaders that you recommend people check out? I know, you've mentioned a couple of books already. Is there anything in particular, or any one in particular that you kind of keep up to date with to keep the ideas flowing and keep things fresh?

Rob Malec 53:50
Well, the daily stoic is one that I get every day. Again, another one that is absolutely not sales related to call players Tribune. It's a It's a website, Derek Jeter is behind the site. It's stories about athletes written by the athletes themselves. And, you know, we see the athletes receiving the medals and receiving the trophies. And what we don't see is the hard road that got them there. And I find it very inspirational to see how a lot of these folks came from. You know, they could be any kind of life situation, good, bad, privileged, happy, unhappy, but how they managed to keep striving and working and create something that wasn't there before, you know, this championship mindset that they have, and the business owner and the salesperson and anybody really, every day you have those challenges. And so it gives me a lot of inspiration around all here's a different way to look at something, here's a way to approach it. So that's something I use by way of the sales one, sales ones in particular, there are so many out there and there's so many different voices, I think you would need to find the voice that resonates with you. If you were just to Google Zig Ziglar, and then every other sales guru would pop up behind that. Yeah. And then you could one that resonates with you.

Jake Van Buschbach 55:11
Awesome. That's great advice. Devin, anything else you want to discuss before we wrap up? Or do you feel like we've touched on everything that you wanted to hit?

Rob Malec 55:19
No, this has been great. Thanks very much for the opportunity to chat with you.

Jake Van Buschbach 55:22
That's awesome. Do you have anything you'd like to promote? Before we start wrapping it up them?

Rob Malec 55:27
Well, I do have my book sell more by selling less? I am. I have been keeping it hardcopy on purpose for the last several years. It's intended to be a very easy to digest book, the focus of which is how do you sell value? How do you stop selling features and benefits and what does all that mean? So that's what's inside the book. It'll be coming out in a pub and in PDF format as well for electronic consumption.

Unknown Speaker 55:51
So all the information about that is on my website, Rob Malik, calm, awesome, and that's the best way for people to get in touch with you.

Rob Malec 55:59
Absolutely. My phone numbers, they're all my contact informations there perfect.

Jake Van Buschbach 56:02
I'll throw all that stuff down in the links in the description down below as well. So if anyone wants to check that out, they can do that. So, again, Rob, thank you so much for coming on today. I think this has been an incredibly educational interview. I hope people find it valuable. I hope it gives everybody a little bit of insight into the world of sales. And everybody please make sure to check out Rob's book and yeah, thank you again so much for coming on today. Rob.

Rob Malec 56:25
You are welcome. My pleasure. Have a great day.

Jake Van Buschbach 56:27
We'll talk to you soon. Bye. I think that does it for today's video. If you could please leave a like on this video. It really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please hit subscribe. If you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest you'd like to see on the show. Please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day and see you all soon.

Branding for Entrepreneurs with Marc Stoiber...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:01
Hey everybody Jake from umbrella IT services here and today we're gonna be speaking with Mark Stoiber from brand DIY. Mark is an absolute marketing wizard. He's been recognized by almost every international award for design and advertising. He's written for Huffington Post. He's spoken at TEDx. And today he's going to be dropping a ton of information for us about branding, marketing, and a lot of other fun information. So don't any further ado, let's jump into it.

I have to give mark a big thank you for coming on today and talking with us about branding, his experience in the industry and a number of other topics. So Mark, thank you so much for coming on today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the field of marketing and branding? and What experience do you have in the field? Oh, man, well, that takes us back to before electricity. That's how long I've been around. I

Marc Stoiber 0:51
I was an immigrant kid. And so I have two options, which was either work at my dad's TV store selling TVs or become a lawyer.

I spent a lot of time working for my dad. So I decided I should be a lawyer because I couldn't work for my dad. And so I got as far as getting into law school and then I discovered I wasn't cut out for law. And then I got lucky, got some scholarships to go study in Europe. And by hook and by crook landed at a company called long jeans, which is a watch company. And as part of my work with them, I drifted into the graphic design department and I discovered that people were actually making a living taking pictures and writing words, to sell watches. And that to me was a revelation. I have no idea advertising even existed. Fast forward. The folks at long jeans or at this point, Swiss timing, their timing division. They invited me to go work at the Olympics in Korea. And after the Olympics, I'd heard about Hong Kong being a place where you could go if you're a young, dynamic and utterly unemployable pretty much on me and so I went to Hong Kong with a shabby little port.

folio of photocopies of pictures and words sell me all kinds of stuff. And I fell into a great job working for a great creative director from the UK, everybody in Hong Kong is from somewhere else. And so I had a wonderful apprenticeship into becoming a writer. And that's when I fell in love with advertising. I just loved the craft of it. And I love the design and I love also the fact that you can be very good at something like design or photography or music. But you get to work with professional directors and musicians and designers and say, Yeah, a little more to the left a little more to the right. And it's a wonderful thing bringing these things life is commercial art. And it's funny because I've lived through a lot of evolutions. I worked in a couple of different continents, worked at a lot of big ad agencies I I rose to my level of incompetence, the Peter Principle and became national creative director of a big data you

And then I sort of stepped back. And I said, you know, the thing is, after you've won all the awards, and made all the money, which I kind of had, you realize that there's nothing there because what you're doing essentially is selling whatever somebody gives you for money. And there's not a whole lot of personal values or passion in that if you've already won the awards and made the money because that was kind of what we were there for winning awards. And so I pulled out and I started a green ad agency, I moved my family. I was at that time posted in Toronto, and I moved my family back to Vancouver and I started a green ad agency. Because I thought, you know, as somebody working in advertising, the better I do my job, the quicker I kill my kids, because advertising is all about promoting hyper consumption. I'm really good at you get people to consume a whole lot of stuff they don't need. So great, great stories. They're one of my last hurrahs and big advertising was resuscitating and rescuing Mr. Clean everybody knows but nobody was buying they were about to sell the brand it was defunct. And I remember the very first project we got they introduced four new sense flavors of Mr. Clean yeah so ring summer winter fall and go Why would you do that the orange and lemon is just perfectly fine. And they said well you wouldn't want to be cleaning with a summer Mr. Clean if it's September and you wouldn't want to be cleaning with winter Mr. Clean if is if it's April. So essentially what they were doing was encouraging people to get Mr. Clean and throw the stuff out so they can get the new scent. And you just go that's wrong on so many levels. But you just keep doing it. It starts to show up in your personal life. You know, as you you know, you have you have too many drinks on a Friday night and stuff like that because you realize that what you're doing for a living is pretty crappy. And that also is Set the course for where I am today. Which is, I like to work a lot with entrepreneurs and founders and startups and

the people that tend to find me are in sustainability. They're in tech, and they're in healthcare. And there's a different reason for each of them. Because what my specialty is, is, is taking complex things and making them simple and attractive. And when you work in sustainability, I ran my own green agency for a while and I love working with folks and sustainability because they're hopeless. And the thing is, we work in sustainability. You've seen this so many times. They know they're right. Yeah. That the environment is dying and that we're all you know, we're all going to hell. But what they don't realize is that being right isn't enough because if you have a powerful lobbyists for the wrong side, they'll pound you and healthcare completely different reason. I'm also a big believer in, you know, health and vitality versus just getting people hooked on drugs. I've worked on a whole bunch of natural health clients. And the problem with healthcare is that doctors have been raised that to believe that patients have to listen to them, because they're so in marketing, nobody has to listen to you. And they can't get over that. Yeah. And finally, in tech, the third sector that seems to come all the time to me, you have people who just can't speak like humans. And so

Jake Van Buschbach 6:32
they really,

Marc Stoiber 6:34
yeah, they can claim their way out of a wet paper bag. So healthcare, sustainability, and tech, I especially love tech because I love shiny new things. Those are the folks that come to me with their challenges. And all I do is help make them give them something simpler and more compelling to say,

Jake Van Buschbach 6:52
Yeah, I really like that you called what you do commercial art. I've never heard marketing and branding called that before. Oh dear.

Marc Stoiber 7:02
I mean because anybody who is still under the mistaken impression that what they're creating is art should go back to the forest and to their potter's wheel because it's not art. Yeah, whatever it is, it's it's just figuring out how to it's 100% psychology. Yeah. 100% how to how to hold people's attention until you sell them something.

Jake Van Buschbach 7:22
How do you sell them the excess fat on this pig? And then you get the bacon and egg breakfast.

Marc Stoiber 7:29
Bingo, except that on pigs, I'll write that down.

Jake Van Buschbach 7:34
So you unpacked a lot there. So how would you recommend that somebody who's in a startup position like myself, or others are small local business owners? How can we avoid going from our we've got a purpose for solving legitimate issues. We know that we're right like you said, How do we avoid transforming into these corporate sterilize behemoths as we grow so let's say my business goes from To 10 employees to 50 to 100 employees. Have you noticed that it's consistent for these larger businesses to become sterilized and to become these these monoliths that are just shipping and shipping products to consumers without caring what they're doing anymore?

Marc Stoiber 8:16
Interesting question. That's a really good one. No, because there is an X Factor, and that is digital and social. And what is wonderful about the time we live in, even though it forces guys like me to constantly re re learn and question everything that they've done before, remember, I came up in an environment that was essentially print radio, television. And so you got really good at limited things and you got you got to hone your craft, and then boom, the internet happened, and then boom, social happen and then boom, emerging happen and every time you got to a point where you go, I'm starting to get this it would knock you back on your butt. However, that's not the point. The point is what's wonderful. about digital is that it has suddenly become more about the company that is creating the product and the product itself. What we're what we've seen is a sort of an up ending of the traditional product launch where it used to be that it was really easy to think of a product because there weren't that many around relatively speaking, it was really hard to make a product because nothing was in place to make it so getting even a CAD drawing getting a model made millions of dollars. That's why Procter and Gamble and Unilever and hankel and all those big companies existed because it was so hard for a little company to launch a product. And third, it was extremely easy to market a product because there were so few channels now

today.

What's beautiful is it's really hard come up with an original idea, but really easy to bring a new product to the market. And it's also hard to market a product because there are so many channels by More important, it has become a ping pong match. It used to be a megaphone where I'd yell at you to buy stuff. And you just did. Mm hmm. Now you're going yeah, but what about that sweatshop? Yeah, but what about what you do with animals? Yeah, but what about what about and if I don't have an answer for you, you're gonna kill me now. I would say probably the best example of a company that is started in the old paradigm but had the right values and has seen has seen incredible growth and incredible success is Patagonia. Patagonia clothing, if you go to their website, you'll see it's all about the back and forth. It's all about activism. It's all about what you believe in. Oh, and by the way we make clothes. Yeah, that is super cool. And entirely different from the world I grew up in which was a whole bunch of men and gray flannel suit. Hmm. invisible, faceless, selling toxic stuff and telling you to throw the rest down the toilet When it got halfway done. So as a start up, I'd say there's a lot less danger today of falling into the big, nasty corporate trap. Because the world is keeping you honest. The more successful you are, the more

Jake Van Buschbach 11:14
they're going to focus on keeping you honest, that makes sense. So the secret would just be stick to it, stick to your values. Focus on what gets you out of bed in the morning. And don't worry about the money. Don't worry, don't worry about the commoditization of what you're doing. Well,

Marc Stoiber 11:29
yeah, I mean, you're looking at companies now like Warby Parker, they make they make good stuff, Harry's razors, they make good stuff. Do they make great stuff? No. But there there is a fundamental sort of underlying philosophy of the company. And, you know, they, if they if they don't buy it, if they if they don't actually do this, they're gonna get busted real quick, but there's a philosophy in the company that people are buying it. It goes back to Simon Sinek. And why do you exist as opposed to what do you make you know? Steve Jobs I want to be cool. I want to be groovy. I love Steve Jobs. I don't know what his personality was like, but all I know is that he was a groovy dude. And he liked typography and purple computers. I would buy a frying pan from him. I don't care.

Jake Van Buschbach 12:14
Yeah, I'm obviously I know a lot about Steve Jobs. I'm a big fan of his I know that he was a bit of a sociopath, but I don't think you can change the world the way he did without being a little bit of a monster. But the most impactful thing that I think he did, he did so much stuff, but one of the most impactful things I think he did was creating that iMac, back in the early 2000s with all the different colors. But what he did with that series specifically, which is always kind of stuck with me Is he put a handle on it, so that people would understand they could touch it. And he put all these curves on it and all of these different colors and it was a very, like you said groovy kind of situation. And it turned the computing world front it turns of computing world personal is what it did. It showed regular consumers That I can computer is something you can touch. That's something you can pick up. It's something you can interact with. And it's the same principle for every time you walk into an apple store, they purposely set the MacBook displays up, I believe at 35 or 37 degrees. So you have to push them back. So you can look at them a little bit more. They want you to touch them, they want you to go in and feel the devices and like you said, it all comes down to the psychology of selling and I think it's really important that you said it's why do you exist? Not what are you selling me? I'm thinking

Marc Stoiber 13:34
there's a Nick, you know, we're going off I'm gonna go off topic here a little bit. But you know, I also believe it when you said you know, how am I going to avoid becoming an asshole if I grow too big a nice problem to have. Most entrepreneurs don't have that problem. They have the problem of how am I going to stay in business. And what I think is interesting today, especially today, way more today is that there is a unbounded opportunities to evolve and innovate in ways that are a bit Zig when everybody else says I want to take razors for an example now great case study about Gillette you know, they came up with the original Mach three razor three blades better than two, two blades better than one one blade better than the the old razor. And so they got this big, faceless company said, we are going to chase this down the rabbit hole because that's what big companies do. They get good at inventing one thing, and then protecting their turf, which is suicide today because it's so easy to invent new stuff. Yeah. So they go then from the three bladed razor to the five bladed razor with a swiveling head and vibration and a menthol strip because well, you know, because anyway, they innovate the crap out of this old model and then Harry's and Dollar Shave Club comes along ago. People don't give a rat's about how many blades and we don't you get to a certain number of blades and you don't Care. Yeah. And then what they care about is going to the store and paying $20 for a little stack of razor blade recharges.

Knowing that 19 of that goes to Roger Federer

or whoever their spokesmodel is. And so they changed the way of getting razors to people and boom, blew the market apart. It's the horseless carriage, you know, yeah. And, and that's what I love for entrepreneurs, who are innovating, who are thinking of is something to keep it simple. Be careful about jumping on the incremental innovation bandwagon and take a look, if it's not the product, it could be the process. If it's not the process, it could be the service. There's so many things to look at and with digital. The thing that scares me and thrills me is that everything can come back to you and you can test everything and you can try stuff and your head will explode with so many new ways of marketing.

Jake Van Buschbach 15:58
Yeah, absolutely. What are some of the ways that you measure successful marketing? So let's say that I've got a radical new idea, or I've got a great idea. I've noticed my clients are loving it. My AB testing is going super well. And I'm getting a lot of positive feedback. How do I strap rockets onto that? And how do I measure the success and make sure that what I'm doing is on the right path? Well, that's

Marc Stoiber 16:18
a awesome question. I'm gonna get back to something that Jesus taught me know when, because that's how far back this goes. Yeah. This is the oldest trick in the entire book. And actually, I'm just launching a course with this. I'm in beta testing right now with it. But it's all about research. And it's not about product research. It's not about technological research. It's about finding out what people want. And this in our day and age of digital interconnectivity. People, ironically, are having a harder and harder time just sitting across from each other going so what do you like? What do you hate? Because we're raising a generation of social morons who are have the headphones on and text, yeah, and having a personal conversation with someone is getting really hard for them. But it's imperative. And what you do. You call up your customer who loves your stuff. And you say, so how come you love my stuff? What do you love about my stuff? What do you hate about my stuff? What do you wish I did better? What am I killing it on? And you ask them these questions. And what you're gonna find

is that if you talk to a few of them, and I'm not

talking about talking to everyone, talking about 15 to 20, people who love your stuff, you talk to them And oh, by the way, you don't send them an online poll, because that's cheating. That goes right back to the headphones and texting. Yeah, you don't get real answers. You sit and have a coffee and look at the whites of their eyes. Yeah, because body language tells you everything and you can hit them with the why, why? Why? Why, you know, I'm so you asked. That, and what you're going to see is a pattern emerge, that everybody seems to really love this and really hate that and really wish you're doing this thing. And you're going to see a certain type of person, you know, you call them avatars, you call them personas, whatever you want to call them. a certain type of person, a smaller sub segment of your audience tends to buy 80% of your stuff. Yeah. And I take that and I go, alright, who is that person? I define him or her so I can actually see them. What do they do on a Sunday? What do they like to train? Bah, bah, bah, bah. Yeah. And I replicate them. And I mirror them. And I appeal to other people like that person, saying the stuff that drew that one person to my product in the first place. That's the beauty of digital.

Jake Van Buschbach 18:49
That makes a lot of sense. So when you're deriving that person and you're finding these avatars are these archetypes is it best to go with the lowest common denominator like Myself, for example, we work for so many different types of people I know people that are selling products or selling products to so many different types of people. Is it better to just go for the lowest common denominator that you can find? So for example, middle aged men, professional services, or executives or presidents, etc? Or do you want to find things like okay, 20% of these guys are playing golf. 15% of them love NASCAR, small percentage of them like fishing. There's a there's the other side of the coin, which is the ladies and they have their interests, etc. How do you usually end up breaking down the demographic of these archetypes?

Marc Stoiber 19:34
I'm I'm a simple guy. And so I always go for the simplest answer. Yeah. And the first question is, who gave you money twice? But give you money once? Yeah, whoever gave you money twice. There's already a sub segment and that takes 80% of them out of the equation. Yeah. Unless you've got a product they only have to buy once but, you know, assuming you've got a product that they want to subscribe to. They weren't buying multiple times, or they want to buy the add ons or something. When they buy twice or multiple times, they are buying into something like sounds as opposed to just buying a solution. And that becomes a smaller slice of the pie already, then you want to look at degrees of difficulty. How hard is it to reach a sort of person who lives in isolation, I'm just going to pull this out of my ear. But somebody who lives in isolation a million miles from nowhere, probably a lot harder than it is to reach somebody who loves to live in a city. You know where I can, or I can put out one ad and reach all of them. Although with digital, all bets are off, right? We're all in new city. So I always look at degrees of difficulty. I go, who buys the stuff lots, because they're obviously buying into more than just a product. Yep. And then how can I start to narrow and narrow and narrow and narrow Until I get a very, very tight niche now, you're saying, why would you want to narrow in actual fact what I want to do I want to spread that pie. I want to I want everybody to buy my stuff. Well, good luck. Because what you're doing then is infringing on the turf of a bunch of your competitors. And they all offer stuff and it gets confusing. Nobody understands what you're standing for what they're standing for, it becomes a mushy mess. Yeah. A good brand goes narrow, narrow, narrow, knowing that even if they go brutally narrow in their targeting, there's still plenty of food,

plenty of money, plenty of product to sell.

So that is the first counterintuitive thing that entrepreneurs have to know you want to go narrow, but start with a question. Who gave

you money twice? Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 21:47
that's awesome. I was. I'm glad you brought that up. Because that was actually my next question for you was as someone with limited resources as a lot of local or smaller businesses are. I also very strongly believe in what you just said about Finding your niche hammering it and going down as small as you can go with it if I can find engineers that work specifically on hydro electric systems, and their names are Steve, you know what I mean? Like, I want to go as narrow as I can possibly go when I'm trying to find my clients. Is it strategic? Or is it wasteful for a business with limited resources to find multiple niches that they're able to serve just as efficiently and just as well? For example, let's say you're a watch manufacturers, you might wear a razor manufacturers you mentioned. And they're able to find let's say that Harry's were to start targeting college football teams, you know what I mean? Would it be effective for them at the same time to be running a second or third campaign targeting female volleyball teams or going after these kind of things? You know, I mean, going after different niches at the same time, or is it more effective to just find one, hammer it master it, and then when the time is right, add on a secondary service the way Apple did why by transitioning from the iPod The iPhone so you don't become that dinosaur that you're talking about and stuck in that innovation loop and that one product or service niche?

Marc Stoiber 23:07
Well because I have I have a limited brain I can only think of so many things at the same time. So going after multiple targets. If you ask anybody in a big packaged goods company, they'll go not suicide man. That is not and they've got a billion dollars. You don't do however, guys in college, Harry's razors girls in college, Harry's razors you go they're completely different people, right? Wrong. Oftentimes, the niche isn't defined by sex, age, marital status,

employment. It's not defined by that.

If you go down a few levels, it can be very much defined by their worldview, what their priorities in life or what their perspective on corporations is or, you know, a psychological thing which could be anyone Who doesn't want to pay a stupid model? $19 of the $20 of a new pack of razors?

Unknown Speaker 24:06
Yep. Oh, boy, girl dog. I don't

Marc Stoiber 24:09
care. Yeah, they hate giving their money to Roger Federer or Kim Kardashian. They're in could be a boy or a girl could be young or old.

Jake Van Buschbach 24:18
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And I think my issue there is that I actually fell into the trap of what am i selling? Not Why am I selling it? Or who am I helping? Because again, looking at those Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What What resources do you usually recommend to people wanting to learn more about this stuff? Or if they're starting their first campaigns or they're already an established business running campaigns? What resources do you recommend for the law?

Marc Stoiber 24:42
I recommend a bunch of stuff. First off, hold on.

There are these are this this one is so old, you know, it's got rust on it. Yeah. But this is a classic book. It's called positioning and it was written back in the 80s. And I just reread it again. And it's every bit as relevant as it was back then. And what most people don't realize is that the act of marketing has very little to do with drawing pretty pictures or writing fun words. That's like putting the paint on the house, the sanding, this is the sanding, figuring out where you should position your product so that you can beat your competitors or avoid your competitors and talk to a lucrative group of people who really want what you got. That's one, this is another one. This one is one of the few business books that I I go back to again and again and again and it's hard to find. It's called why Johnny can't brand and for any entrepreneur who wants to embark on building their brand or toning up their brand, this is a killer read bite in paperback from Amazon. Because you're gonna want to skip around so don't get a Kindle version. The third thing that I would recommend if you want to skip ahead and go straight to a live interactive sort of forum, I started a group on Facebook called brand DIY. And if folks go to my, my website, which is Mark Stoiber ma RC, St. Oh I br calm, they will find in the resources section, a book called brand DIY. And it walks you through five steps in building your own brand. And it's important, I'm not saying that building your own brand is cool because it's cheap. But it's important to an entrepreneur who wants to have control and understanding of a brand which a lot of the time has been positioned as this mythical thing that only these guys in black turtlenecks can understand. Mm hmm. I want to demystify this because it is actually a relatively simple process. It goes right back to the research question Who gave you money? Yeah, everybody understands that it is that simple. So check out brand DIY the book, and then go to Facebook. And you can actually type in I bought the URL, brand DIY group.com. And that'll take you to the group. Every day. There is brand tips every day. There's a live stream, we just had a live stream with a candidate for the Green Party and how he's reworking his brand based on being an entrepreneur. So you know, there's daily bits that people can learn from it's, it's lively. And what I like to focus on is the fundamentals. Not the technology because that you can shave a monkey and put them behind a computer and they can do the technology for you. Yeah, in marketing. There's a reason that Omni comm has the second had the worst second quarter in forever. They own all the ad agencies. It's because the technology evolved in marketing is commoditized. And democratized you can do it No, but you'll do a bad job of it if you don't do the fundamentals. Anything

Jake Van Buschbach 28:05
else that makes a lot of sense. We've recently had Michelle saga Rowley on to talk about brand differentiation and and she really drilled home how important it is, for people the way you just mentioned, to understand what you're doing, what makes you different, how to leverage your individuality. And if you're just going out there saying I'm different, okay, what makes you different? Oh, well, we're really good at customer service. And we're the fastest and we're the best, and everyone is saying that. But if you're getting out of bed, for example, I believe was a financial adviser who was very much into meditation. And he ended up rebuilding his company in that image. And using a meditation and these kind of values and principles, and his company ended up rapidly expanding, all of his clients are much happier, he was much more centered and relaxed, his staff had been happier and more fulfilled. And it was very interesting to hear him talk about that stuff. I really like that you're having a lot of overlap with that. Because like you said, you gotta you got to build the foundation of the house, you got to sand the house, then you can paint it, then you can do all the sizzle on top of the steak. So the

Marc Stoiber 29:07
problem is there's a fundamental problem. Digital, I love digital. The problem with digital world is that it has created an arms race for commoditizing all the tools of the marketing trade. So on Facebook, if I go on Facebook or LinkedIn, I can reach out to 5000 very targeted people in my network and sell them something. It used to be. You couldn't do that. Yeah. However, with this commoditization, it has made it easier and easier and easier to put a message out. And just because you can put a message out, doesn't mean you should put a message out and

that's what a lot of people miss.

Jake Van Buschbach 29:44
That reminds me a lot of I've heard a couple of comedians talk about this where back in the day, if you watched a TV show you didn't like it or you got into a fight with someone over the phone, you didn't like it, you would have to write a letter. You'd have to sit there for 15 minutes, write the whole thing out reread it, get an envelope, put it in the envelope, get a postage stamp, walk down the post office, send it off. And by that point you've filtered out all the crazies. Most people are done like they're like, this is ridiculous. I'm not doing it's not worth my time I got things to do done. But nowadays, you see something and it's, I don't like this and it's instant. You can just put it out there and just spew whatever it is you want to spew. And we have this information overload kind of going on. So

Marc Stoiber 30:25
yeah, I mean, and then a million people know you're a dickhead. Right, exactly. And that applies to marketing as well as to Twitter transfer Twitter tantrums, yeah. Our dick pics or whatever you know you want to do. Yeah, there is so many examples. If you want to look at a Kenneth Cole. Cole did an absolute stinker when the Arab Spring happened. He wrote a tweet or put it on Facebook or something it says turns out they were just trying to get into our store to get into our spring sale. Take the phone away from like Donald Trump. Take your phone away. You can put a message out to a million people. Yes, you should.

Jake Van Buschbach 31:05
Yeah. 100%. So really quickly because I know that you got to get running. How do you recommend that? We always make sure that when we are putting things out to our audience that it is valuable? How do you recommend we kind of filter that ourselves?

Marc Stoiber 31:17
Super easy, super easy. Go back to the person who gave you money twice? Yep. Say so what sucks about this thing that I'm trying to do to sell more stuff? Awesome.

Jake Van Buschbach 31:31
Nice. I love it.

Marc Stoiber 31:33
99% of us don't do because once we've created something, we have ownership, it's our baby and going to one of our customers and saying what sucks is saying what's ugly about my baby wants to hear that. Nobody. So but it's crucial if you want to improve that you absolutely become a Zen master about parking your ego. And that you say I'm going to take the advice in the right way. It has a So as a sort of a signal for improvement as opposed to going, you don't like my baby. Important thing i would i would recommend is going to people live white to their eyes, asking them what sucks. Don't ask them what they love about you.

Jake Van Buschbach 32:14
No worries, that sounds perfect. All right, Mark. So I know we gotta get going. But we're going to have to have you on again, because I have a lot more questions for you. But we can continue this another day. So thank you so much for coming on. I hope this gave everybody a really good foundation and things to start with, with branding. And those three books, I'm definitely going to be buying one or two of them that I can already tell you. And yeah, do you have anything that you want to promote before we before we go?

Marc Stoiber 32:37
I mean, all I would say to people is just go to my website, Mark storybird comm if you can link it, that'd be awesome. Yeah, absolutely.

And, and yeah, I'll go to brand diy.com and it walks you right through to the Facebook group.

Jake Van Buschbach 32:51
Awesome. See everybody, make sure to check out those links to brand DIY and Mark Stoiber comm in the description. We'll throw anything else in there that mark sends us after the show. And again, thank you so much for coming on mark. We'll talk to you soon. Rock Yeah, have a great day. I know. And I think that does it for today's video. If you could please leave a like on this video it really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please hit subscribe. If you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest you'd like to see on the show, please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day and see you all soon.

Cyber Security for Local Businesses with...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hey everybody Jake from umbrella IT services here. Today we're speaking with Dominic Vogel from cyber sc. Dominic is going to break down a ton of information about cyber security for local businesses, including how to keep your business safe, how to make sure your files are secure, and a ton of other information. So don't any further ado, let's jump into it. I'd like to give Tom A big thank you for coming on today and talking with us about cybersecurity and how it can affect local businesses. Don, thank you so much for coming on today. Do you mind giving us a little bit of a background on yourself and how you got into cyber risk management and what your journey looks like to get to where you are today? Absolutely. And Jake, thank you so much for having me on your show. I truly appreciate it and yeah, this cybersecurity has been a passion of mine. Gosh, I think since since my last year of high school, which was way back when kind of thing and

Dominic Vogel 0:51
sort of the Dre I went on to get here was so I went through my university days, and all the

Enough the word cybersecurity was uttered once my whole four year degree. All right. And the person who mentioned it was me, I asked a question about cyber security. So, but a lot of my cybersecurity training and education came at after you know, so I've been very fortunate I've been working in, in the field for close to 15 years, and it's all I've ever known professionally. So I always tell people, I, there's two versions of me there was corporate me, which was the first 10 years of my career. And then the last five years, the current version of me which which you're talking to today, that's entrepreneurial me. So, corporate me worked through various corporate roles actually spent a lot of time in the credit union system here in Greater Vancouver. I was in charge of cyber security for first West credit union. And just one day I realized I hated corporate life. I was not meant for that. I always thought I was a corporate person. And I realized No, there's this entrepreneurial person in me that I want to grow. So it was actually five years ago. This this

So it's my five year anniversary, when I left corporate and form cyber sec, which is my advisory company, and for the past five years have been going on, on that incredible journey of not just growing a business, but this journey of self discovery. finding out more about myself, I always thought I was just introverted quiet person didn't really like talking to people. Turns out, I locked off people, I love doing podcasts. You know, you and I had crossed paths in my corporate days, I probably wouldn't have talked, you know, I wouldn't have wanted to be on on the podcast or anything else. So it's very interesting to see all these qualities that I didn't know that I had, both from, mainly from a business and lifestyle perspective, has been really, really cool. So we're really humbled and very blessed to be able to serve so many amazing small mid sized organizations throughout North America. And for me, personally as well, in terms of cybersecurity, I love being terminated termly, throws thought leader I kind of hate that term, I just refer to myself as a talking head

I love making cybersecurity relatable to non technical people and do so in a way which is engaging fun. Because unfortunately, in it, I mean, I can relate to this, Jake, there's a lot there's a stereotype I think it holds true for a reason that a lot of it insecure people tend to have the personality of a boiled potato. So it's good to be to show that we can be engaging we can make what can be a very technical subject, or at least relatable to non technical people. So that's pretty much been a very strange, large

Jake Van Buschbach 3:32
nutshell. All right, cool. Well, congratulations on your five year anniversary. That's a huge, huge stepping stone every year, you're beating out 80% of the competition's that's, that's awesome. And I think that what you said about having the personality and making sure things are relatable. And being able to break things down for the average person is so important. Like when whenever we're implementing solutions for people, I made sure that everyone understands to not get too technical with folks the informations there, if they need it. But it's most important understand why things are being implemented and what impact they're gonna have inside of an organization. So I was really excited to have you on today and talk to you because cybersecurity is something that we provide as part of our stack. But I always like talking to experts who are completely niche down into a field. So what what would you say is the biggest difference between when you were doing cybersecurity and cyber risk management for this credit union in this corporate world, versus some of your smaller and medium sized businesses that you're working with?

Dominic Vogel 4:31
Yeah, I mean, the I was hitting one of the main differences, again, when we look at large organizations and enterprises for small and mid sized organizations, for the most part, there's still so many small and midsize organizations that are stuck in what I refer to as 1995 thinking. And that's where they say, well, we have we're a small company, no one wants what we have. No one's going to come hack us. Or we have Norton 360 We're good. Yeah, that's one of my personal that's one of my personal favorites. And say, Well, you know what? The these are all valid statements if the calendar read 1995 you know, it's it's 2020. And that's one of the biggest changes that I've seen over the course of my career is that small midsize organizations for the most part, they weren't able to get away by not investing in cybersecurity, just because that whole obscurity thing, it did hold true, but not forever. And as we've seen, now, every single company big or small, they have data, they're online, they have a virtual presence, you are at risk you Are you a target. You know, we're dealing with professional cyber criminals. Now, this is we've gone well past, you know, kiddie hackers and amateurs and all that was taught these moments as organizations. If you take an amateur approach to cybersecurity, right now, that's like bringing a spoon to a gunfight, you're done. You're going up against professionals. So you need to have a professional mindset in dealing with cyber risk.

Jake Van Buschbach 6:00
100% I completely agree with that. And it is very, it's a big problem that there's a lot of small medium business owners out there that are saying, Well, you know, we're not big enough or we don't have anything or there's nothing of value in this company. And there's a lot of value in that company. How many people salaries are you paying for? How much information are you managing? What kind of what kind of clients are you working with? I know one of the statistics is over 50% of people that get hit by ransomware, which is the type of virus that gets in your computer locks your data, and then you have to pay hackers somewhere a ransom to get your data back. The I think it's over 50% of businesses that got hit thought they were too small or not important enough to get ahead. And in my experience, what goes on is they didn't have a proper firewall in place, or one employee was using a remote access method that wasn't secure. Or they had an email server that wasn't secure, or it's just some very niche technical piece of infrastructure in their system wasn't secure the right way. The hackers got access through They hang out for like a month to three months, they just kind of soak up information, look at emails coming in, look at emails coming out, and then they launch. And then all of a sudden, you've just lost all of your backups, which is just a hard drive plugged into the server in the back, and you lost all of your workstations and 10 plus years of your business can be gone. And now you're on the hook for $100,000 us in Bitcoin. And your business is down for on average, two and a half weeks. So again, it can be absolutely devastating. We've got two clients on our roster now that we actually recovery. We work with them after they got hit by ransomware. And they called us to clean up the mess. And both of them almost lost their businesses both times because it's just absolutely devastating for small business to be down for 20 days, and to be paying out $100,000 ransom us with absolutely no notice. So in my experience, it's about insurance, but there's also a lot of growth opportunities while there Working with cyber security. What are some of the ways that cyber sec kind of helps their clients grow, as well as develop while you're focusing on the security aspect of things?

Dominic Vogel 8:12
Yeah, absolutely. Great question. And really great points are about about the ransomware. Jake, one thing, one quick thing I

want to add to that, before answering your question, there was

no I often talk to when I talk to businesses, or to people, I'll say, you know, you know, stuff like cyber risk or ransomware, or data breaches, you know, I always say what size of company has the most to lose? Is it the large enterprises? Or is it the smaller organizations? And so many people will say, well, it's the larger organizations, they have the most money they have the most to lose. And the thing is, that's false. If you look at all the data breaches from all the big companies always want to make the mainstream media. They all recover. They all have been fine. They have the they have the war chest to survive

Jake Van Buschbach 8:55
there in the meantime, that Yeah,

Dominic Vogel 8:56
exactly. It's not an issue. existential threat for them for every large company that you see going through a data breach and surviving. There's anywhere between three to five small organizations that no one's heard about that go under, no. cyber risk is an existential threat to small or small organizations because they don't have the sizable war chest to get through that they cannot afford the makers to pay that ransomware to go offline. So the very existence of their business is at stake. I think that's a piece that a lot of people overlook.

It's not

sort of the how much money you have to lose this is that that is an existential question. So I think it's super important for every business owner and people, especially with a local business perspective, to switch their mindset from the word to small approach to being the this is an existential threat. We

Jake Van Buschbach 9:47
have everything to lose 100% Yeah, when you're small accounting firm, or when your insurance agency or one year product company gets hit by this stuff, you're not getting any press, you know what I mean? Your clients are just going, where are you and you can't email them most of the time. You can't phone them, your CRM is gone. You know what I mean? It's it's a big, big challenge to kind of understand exactly how devastating it is to lose everything digital for a week, and then be scrambling to recover your data. Which is why one of the things we use is backups to prevent this kind of stuff. But yeah, so I know that cyber C's tagline is securing business growth. So I really do want to touch on how investing in security can relate to business growth.

Dominic Vogel 10:33
Absolutely, absolutely. As I went on that rant, I forgot what your question was a thank you for stating that. You know, our tagline is secure and business growth for a reason. And one of the reasons why we do that is it's really about helping organizations break through that myth or stereotype that security is there just for security sake or that it's a sunk cost. And there's Unfortunately, no shortage of have security firms and secure consultants that take a security at all costs approach. Security doesn't happen in a vacuum. It happens in the context of business. And when you're talking to non technical people, business people, business owners, what they care most about is the growth of their business. No one wants to say they have a business. Oh, I'm just hoping to just maintain everything for the next 20 years. No, every business owner wants to have growth. And in this day and age, we feel that security is a key enabler and it empowers businesses to securely reach various stages of business growth, if you want your business to grow, and to do so steadily you need to invest in cybersecurity. I mean, it's trying to reframe things. And rather than seeing security as a cost center, see it as an investment and making sure that your business growth actually does materialize. So again, when we talk about all these things, we're not talking about firewalls or threats or the Chinese around or what have you, really we're talking about, we live in a digital age now. And if you're investing in technology, and you're investing in things like digital transformation, you need to invest in security, that these are all necessary ingredients for business growth. And these are all terms that resonates that resonate with CEOs, CEOs, CFOs what have you. Well, it's not all about the while you need to secure this board.

You don't need to get to that level of granularity. At least not initially. Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 12:30
yeah, I entirely agree. What are some of the risks that people are securing themselves against just so people can kind of understand what what it is exactly you're protecting them from?

Dominic Vogel 12:41
Yeah, absolutely. And there there's there's a lot of different venues here. So I mean, the first of all talk about is think about protecting against external threats or external threats could be cyber criminals cybercriminals quote hackers these days The type of people that are trying to steal data. Every organization now has sensitive data. And the data could be confidential business information. It could be your sensitive client or customer information, financial information. data can be so easily monetized. Now, people understand that data is very much a commodity,

especially on the underground market. So

making sure that you're putting in the right, security controls to protect against such theft, that data are used to be able to detect if that theft is in progress. That's one area. Another area is and this is really relevant for b2b business to business organizations, is making sure that you're able to demonstrate to other businesses where you are, especially if you're a small organization or smaller organization. If you're supplying a platform, or service, or some sort of technology you need to be able to demonstrate to your customers to your clients, that you have an act of cybersecurity. programs in place. The reason why that's so important is that larger organizations right now are really clamping down on supply chain risk, and further clamping down on what's referred to as vendor risk management. So they want to make sure that any of the vendors that they rely on, are making sure that any data that they pass along, are you responsible systems are being integrated, that there's sufficient security mechanisms in place. This all came out of when target the US retailer got breached, gosh, over that was, I would say, eight or nine years ago. And the reason that happened was it was through a third party vendor there h back vendor, smaller company that got compromised, and cyber attackers were able to gain access to target's internal network that each bank vendor By the way, no longer exists. So another reason why well, it's it's an existential threat and target still exists. Yeah. But essentially, this is super important and it's where I love to say that this is where cybersecurity as a Very clear business reason now. So I would say if your small company, a small company being, you know, to two companies, let's say they have the same type of platform. And they're both trying to sell to fortune 500 companies, let's say maybe have some HR platform. Company A didn't really bother about cybersecurity. They don't really know anything about that. They don't really care. Company B has taken the time to invest in cybersecurity, and as a result, they're able to actively demonstrate to their potential clients and customers that they have sufficient cybersecurity mechanisms in place. Company B is now in a spot of competitive differentiation. They're able to get through the procurement process Far, far faster and far quicker. And the large companies know that they'll if they're if it comes down to two companies right now, they're going to go with the one that's able to actually demonstrate a proper cybersecurity program. So it's a very clear business reason Why cyber security needs to be invested in. And that's that has excited me because finding sort of those business reasons rather than just focusing on external stuff like after it's really helped to make it real for CEOs and CFOs.

Jake Van Buschbach 16:14
Yeah, hundred percent. I agree, I think one of the way that we explain things is the impact of the business as well. And I do really like the fact that you brought up the vendor threat, because that's been one of the largest ones in my experience. So we have a client, and I want to give any details, but we have a client who has a vendor, and their vendor was compromised for, I don't know, two and a half months or something like that. I had no idea there was some snooping around their emails for two and a half months. And one day three of the executive leaders of this business that we manage, were all sent emails from appropriate emails like it was the middle of a thread, sending data back and forth spreadsheets through OneDrive that just pay basic stuff like that. And they responded saying, Oh, you know what, actually, I think that we need to make some corrections on this file, here are my thoughts. And then there was an attached Excel spreadsheet. And it's from a trusted source. It's in the middle of an email thread. That's like six responses deep for each person at least. And of course, they clicked on the Excel spreadsheets and our AI based antivirus sprung caught it did its thing and the attack was prevented. But it just goes to show that it's even when you're getting emails from people nowadays that you trust that you're in the middle of an email thread with, that can be someone else. And I was shocked to be honest with you that that happened. Of course, again, we make sure we're thinking ahead, we're making sure that we've got multiple layers of security for all of our clients. Again, I don't want to give details about that. But we use at least five layers of security for every level of their infrastructure. We use several different types of backups. So it's very important to me to make sure that when something unexpected like that happens, everyone's prepared and everyone's ready. And I think that's again, one of the value adds that that bringing in a company like cyber sec really does. Because if you're doing an audit, if you're doing an assessment on an existing system, we do this all the time, and I find nine or 10 holes per business on average. I'm sure you find similar sort of thing. But these businesses to tie back to what we were saying originally, if these businesses want to avoid, avoid downtime, they want to preserve their reputation. And if they want to make sure their data remains secure, like it's not so easy, like you said, is just saying, Well, I have Norton 360 like whatever. Like, you know, Norton 360, in my opinion is worse than Windows Defender by itself. And it's a cost you know, so the free the Free Antivirus that comes with your computer is is better than Norton Antivirus. That's my heartache of the day. So yeah, you know, I think that it's very, it's a good opportunity for people like you and I right now to be able to educate people. And while the rest of the industry is going but mo gigabits, and the ram And these other really, really technical things that people don't care about. You and I are going this is gonna have a bad impact on your business unless you secure this, like, I was able to get access to your internal private Wi Fi network sitting in your lobby waiting for you to me when you need to focus on this stuff because all it's gonna take is one robot programmed by a 14 year old Ukrainian kids scanning the internet to accidentally stumble upon your business. And you're gonna owe him $100,000 us by the end of the week, and no one's gonna be working for the next two to three weeks here. And I think people really need to understand that side of it.

Dominic Vogel 19:36
That's so so so so true, Jake, no, and the

two quick thoughts on that. And with the Great example with that email thread there, in terms of how I hate using the term sophisticated, I think it shows the evolution of male female based threats and again, the mindset of again that people are still stuck in 1995 when we talk to prospects about Email based threats are like, Well, our staff know not to click on the Nigerian prince scams. And again, no, great, great. Again, if this was the mid 90s. And Bill Gates was still CEO of Microsoft. Yeah, I'd say, Sure, good job. But this again, is 2020 get your head out of the friggin gutter. You're not living in the mid 90s. Now, you know, the Spice Girls aren't around anymore. It's it's a totally different mentality. Now. And so I think there's still almost as well for this false sense of security that so many organizations and businesses have. I think that's the most dangerous thing. You know, people will say about whether or not they have the right technology in place or, or the right processes to me It all comes down to the mindset if you're CEO, CFO, CEO, whomever business owner has that mindset. You can have the best technology in the world you're still screwed because you know from the top down, that leadership approach is going to do is gonna do me to failure. From a from a security perspective, so I think it's super important that people talk about where do we start when it comes to cybersecurity is the mindset realizing that, like I said, it's 2020. And every business is at risk, restart your restart your mindset and don't come from a false sense of security because you're likely you're setting yourself up to failure. And the other quick point is that so many of our when we when we talk to prospects, so many of them are referred to as reactive, they come to us after the breach after a negative incident, not something I'm going to try and do proactive. And even then, we find that there's still so many organizations and I'll give you an example here, there was a prospect who their their business was literally the the owner told us he said, our business literally days away from shutting down, the days away and I was like, Okay, okay, well So when we went back to the proposals, okay, well, here's how we're going to help him from a cyber risk leadership perspective. Here's what we'll do, you know, in terms of assessments and working with your IT team and that type of thing. And then she said, Oh, wow, I was thinking, you know, maybe 200 bucks a month. And I was like, You told me that your organization, your organization that you own your business, basically everything that you told me that you had built up over the past 35 years that you became within the whiskers legs of being shut down. And you're saying that value to you is $200 a month to try and make sure that doesn't happen again. Yeah. I was like, okay, we're oceans apart. You know, sure. I may not be the world's greatest salesman, but I do think the world's greatest salesperson will be able to bridge that type of cap. So yeah. The scary thing is that there's that there's still that prevalent mindset that even when they go through this, and we've all said even if the longer it goes, so we've talked to people six months after an incident and like well, it's been six months and nothing bad has happened. I was like wow. There's a lot of recency bias as well, which affects the mindset. So that's why I would say, the mindset piece, you really have to just convince more and more people that this isn't make believe stuff. This is this is real. And it's not just about worrying about hackers. What's at stake? Is your very lively.

Jake Van Buschbach 23:20
Yeah. And it's not like a lightning strike, like you're more likely to get hit again, if you've been hit once.

Dominic Vogel 23:25
Yes, especially with something like ransomware if you paid ransom once, you're more than likely to be paying it again very, very soon.

Jake Van Buschbach 23:32
And yeah, I think one of the reasons why people are so not hesitant to spend money but one of the reasons why people are so skeptical of people like you, you and I now is it kind of bleeds over from the computer repair days, like when I was doing iPhone repair and stuff like that people be like, Oh, it's so expensive. Why is it so expensive, and there was all these so you have apple and they're doing the phone screen repairs, and then you have people like myself and a bunch of other small business owners that were fixing phone screens and stuff. 75% of people fixing phone screens are doing shady stuff like I remember there's a place out in Burnaby. And I would have people go there and then they would come see me and I was like, I should just stand outside there with a sign saying, did this company break your thing, because they would be they would be literally taking batteries out of phones and replacing it with non OEM batteries. So they could resell the batteries to other people. And they would be putting in screens where the glass would separate and pop out of the actual screen and then charge the person twice for a good screen. And it's very similar in my experience now with companies for saying that their cybersecurity experts and their their it providers and our it consultants and our managed services company and they don't even use backups, they don't use they don't use data protection. They don't train people staff. There's so many basic tenants of what you have to do to manage a company's it that are just like not being taken care of by these people. And I think that when people see their bill which can be thousands and thousands of dollars a month and they pay that bill thousands and thousands dollars a month. And then when it's time to put the rubber to the road, they find that this company is basically been scamming them for the last six months, two years, five years, whatever it's been, they're incredibly hesitant to invest in other people. So I think that's one of the big sources is that our industry because it is such a wild wild west, it's so important for clients to do research on people to look into their background to see if they're reputable talk to their existing clients, and really dig into the person before they do business with them. So they can make sure the value the person is going to provide them matches with that number. Because, again, we still have some clients for 200 bucks a month, we're talking about individuals and, and just very small businesses. I'm very happy to work with nonprofits and whatever. But I have a lot of people that are 60 person companies, 45 person companies, and when we give them a proposal for like, again, not $1,000 a month, not $500 a month. They're like what is Why? What is this and it's like, well, you're you're safe. to full time salaries to manager, entire organization, you're getting all of this software, you're getting all of this maintenance, you're getting all the security stuff, all these backups, etc. And they still say, well, the last guy was cheaper. And it's like, Yes, yeah, the last guy was cheaper, but he's also the reason why you didn't have any business for 20 days, 30 days, why you didn't have any backups in place in my costume again 80 to $100,000 us in my experience. So I think it's it's up to people like you and I to really kind of call out other folks in the industry that we see doing the shady stuff, because it really does hurt all of us when when that one scammer who can talk really nicely goes in and starts to sell people on solutions that they don't need. I think it's so important to kind of call those folks out.

Dominic Vogel 26:48
Absolutely. And it's, it's, it's, it's something which I completely agree with. People like you and I are unfortunately paying for the sins of those who came before us. And that's one of the Biggest roadblocks that we come up against is that in some, at some point in the past, I'll say three to eight years, a lot of our prospects that we talked to have said, Well, we brought in a security consultant, or we brought the leverage another organization and it's either one or they said, you know, we paid 60 k for this huge security assessment report. It was like 400 pages told us all the things we were doing wrong, but we didn't know what to do with it. Yeah. And again, not to name names, I'll just refer to the Big Four. Those advisory firms in which they often will try and take the enterprise approach to how they do cyber risk management and try and RAM that down the throat of a small midsize organization. You know, small midsize organizations, they don't need some big fancy report they need to know practically what should they be focusing on this year than the year after year after they need to have that almost at handholding to be able to get get there. This isn't some fancy report which is going to be stamped a bunch of times and go before the

audit committee and some other enterprise risks.

You can't take an enterprise approach approach to risk and think that that will be applicable to a small midsize organization. And even with other security vendors An example is we were dealing with a prospect and they said, Nope, we're good. We actually spent, like 200,000 on this state of the art security tool. They couldn't even know what the what the tool was. It was a was a security information event monitoring tool. And they said, Yeah, the salesperson said that this is all we need, that we can install it and forget about it and help protect our environment. I was like, Really? I said, you might if I take a look at it, so took a look at it. And I was like, Who wants it's it's a rack

Jake Van Buschbach 28:42
here and whose actual device and appliance

Dominic Vogel 28:45
appliance and I was like, hmm, I've been powered on and behind and and there's no, there's no, there's no power cable. And I said, so I went back out and I said I said who put Put it in the server room and they said that, oh, the sales rep helped us put in for us. I was like, oh, does anyone ever check to see but you know, generate reports or anything or generate alerts. I said, Oh, no, no, we've never checked. He said, he says, basically set it and forget it. I said, Well, just an FYI. It's not even powered off. The I could see the color drain from their face. And, you know, they had spent like, upwards of $250,000 over the past four years, or five years, wherever was on that appliance, again, false sense of security. And this was a non technical person, being taken advantage of by a salesperson, was able to do you know, be charming enough and have enough sales lingo and security lingo to scare someone into buying a product or buying a platform is a silver bullet syndrome and it's dangerous. You know, it's a shame that the in our industry is tainted by The minority or at least a few individuals that do do that, but it's it smears the rest of us

Jake Van Buschbach 30:06
exactly. What would you say, is something? So let's say that I'm a small business owner, and I really don't know a lot about this stuff. Where can I get started? And what areas of my business should I focus on when I'm gonna get serious about security?

Dominic Vogel 30:21
That's a really, really good question.

So I'll give two parts to that. The Part one is,

like a broken record here is the mindset, making sure that your cell phone whatever however, larger executive team, is, making sure that you recognize that cyber risk is an area that you need to focus on as an organization. And you also need to realize that as the CFO or CEO, whomever ultimately that you're responsible for cyber risk that you need to have leadership when it comes to that. Just like any business, CEO as expertise In the business and in growth, you know, CFO has expertise in finance. You take your average woman size organization, you have leadership when it comes to operations, business, finance, HR, what have you. There's a leadership void when it comes to cyber risk. cyber risk is an area which as I said earlier, you cannot take an amateur approach to it. So I hope this doesn't sound too much like a shameless plug, but you need to be able to engage with people who can provide cyber risk leadership help you as a business and those organization understand what elements are, what threats and what cyber subsections of cyber risks you need to focus on. cyber risk is something which it's different for every organization is different organizations have different regulations, they have to deal with different threats that they may face depending on what sector they're in. Different government regulations, different contractual obligations with their clients and, and stakeholders. So it you need to take almost it's like a tailored suit, you need to take a tailored approach to it as well. cookie cutter approach. So engaging with someone who was able to provide that type of leadership, that type of advisory capability that to me is a starting point because you need to know what you're dealing with. And even if you don't want to pay with for something, get you something a high level assessment. Again, shameless plug, go to cyber sec, you know, there's a 16 question questionnaire. It's all simple yes or no questions. And there's a free report that gets generated from that high level, you'll be able to see what areas your organization should be focusing on from a cyber risk perspective.

Jake Van Buschbach 32:33
Yeah. Yeah, I think that's really important for people to notice. Do you segment the businesses at all into different categories, like for example, when we're working on them? I like to break things down for folks in terms of cloud services, networks, users, workstations, servers, that kind of stuff. Do you do anything like that when you're explaining things to folks?

Dominic Vogel 32:52
Absolutely, absolutely. Absolutely. So one of the one of my personal

favorite frameworks

that we use for So the majority of our clients with the majority of our clients have never assessed or thought about maturing their cyber security platform or cyber risk management. So we use the CIS o center for information security, top 20 security controls. It's a global standard, it's a very quick and dirty way of being able to assess the security posture of an organization does a great job of looking at people process and technology, and also different areas of who's from a technology perspective, where cyber risk can exist, like you're saying there, the workstation level at the user level, at the application level, right across the board, kind of at the network level. So it's important to be able to do that. And that's always Our first step is what I refer to as baselining. Because you need to know what your starting point is. And if you've never assessed it before, you need to know where you're growing from. So we can see that and then based on what we find, though, you're able to say okay, year over year, recognizing that suit user journey. It's not just like saying, oh, let's upgrade to Office 365. And then we'll wash our hands and be done with it. Security evolves as the company evolves. So that's where working with leadership, we can say, okay, based on growth projections, based on where you want the company to go and grow. Here's what we're recommending, in terms of security improvements year over year. So I say something like the CIS framework is a great starting point. And then as things evolve, if it needs to become more, more serious, shall we say, there's other frameworks and other secure certifications that can be started or pursued, but to me, you need to start somewhere and then be able to grow

Jake Van Buschbach 34:40
from there, hundred percent. You mentioned, Microsoft 365. There. If people move to a cloud service like that Microsoft 365 or G Suite or Dropbox, etc, they're safe, right? They don't need to worry about security.

Dominic Vogel 34:58
The

other one, my favorite, man You know, it's it's that understanding again as well of almost this is fine, which, to me, it's the next iteration of the the myth which I often hear with other organizations is that oh, you know, our it MSP handles cybersecurity, if something happens, it's on them. It's like, Well, not really, it doesn't exactly work like that, you know, it's again, it's that out of sight, out of mind, in which you know, you don't you can't outsource the risk. Yes, you may be outsourcing operational elements of that. But again, if your organization gets breached you know, it's it's your customers and your clients are gonna be looking at you. It's not your internal IT team or come after your IT manager come after it managers provider at the end of the day. And what's so many business owners executives still need to understand is that when it comes to due care, due diligence, and a fiduciary responsibility that is on you as a business As a business executive, you need to provide the right governance and oversight on that risk, you own that risk, you can't outsource that risk. You can do things to lower that risk by engaging in it MSP having cyber insurance, bringing in people like cyber se, those are all things that can help to lower the risk. But ultimately, you still own that risk. And by doing nothing, or saying, Oh, you know, we went to Office 365. It's all on them. Now, if there's a breach now doesn't work that way. Yeah, you still need to make sure that there's sufficient steps being taken, especially with the cloud. That's a shared responsibility model, that you understand what your cloud service provider is taking care of from a risk perspective, and what responsibility you still have as organization in terms of managing that risk. There's too many people who still wash their hands and things and again, mindset. That's a dangerous mindset.

Jake Van Buschbach 36:54
Yeah, I think it's super important for people to keep in mind that 91% of attacks that happen on small businesses come in through the people, not the technology. And it's so important to note that if you move your stuff on to the cloud, it's really not that secure, it's actually more accessible in terms of locking down the data and the encryption and this kind of stuff. It is, in my opinion, much better than having like an on premise file server, both in terms of redundancy in terms of the encryption and all these other things. But in regards to a business thinking that just because you've moved to the cloud, and you're secure, that doesn't really mean a lot. In my opinion, it doesn't matter what technology you're using, that comes down to the mindset that you talked about earlier, and making sure that you have redundancy in place. And I always use that word thousand times in every meeting. Because you need to have redundancy across your devices, across your applications across your software, across everything. And if you don't have that redundancy, then when something happens, you're going to be in a lot of trouble again, I don't sell anyone any sort of false stories. I tell them coming in to look at the existing house of cards that your previous it providers set up. Now I'm going to build you a different house of cards. It's not infallible, there's no such thing as as security proof or virus proof. But here are the contingency plans that we have in place in case something happens in the future. And when I take that approach, people seem to be a lot more responsive to it versus, again, a lot of these shysters out there they go, it's the best it's proof all you got to do is turn on this box in the back room and it's gonna make sure that everything is taken care of and it's like that is If it sounds too good to be true. It is too good to be true. And I think the fact that it is kind of shrouded in this mystery and a lot of people festered, it's just black magic, makes it really easy for people to take advantage of them but you really do have to take the same mindset as when I go to the mechanic you know, if I go to a mechanic all your oil pans leak and it's okay is it is it on my on my car, is it really it's leaking again, the same way was last time Wow, okay, no, no, thank you, I'm good. You know, you if you have a skeptical mindset when you're talking them, and you come from a positive place, and you're trying to understand they're trying to help, and you just kind of dig in a little bit, take notes while you're doing it. A lot of these people will contradict themselves, you know what I mean? A lot of these people will give you solutions. And you can go look up those solutions, and go talk to their other clients. It's the same thing as if you're hiring a staff member, like I would highly recommend that you take whatever information they give you ask them for a couple of their existing clients and go, Hey, excuse me, do you use this service? And what is your experience been with it? And has this helped you at all? Do you get this these reports they're talking about? Are you getting these solutions they're talking about? Have you noticed a benefit from having this individual around, etc. It's or this organization around and people are going to be able to give them that feedback. Because if you don't do that due diligence and you walk into a mechanic shop, they can it's like a shark with blood in the water. You know, and I mean, a lot of these guys as soon as people are like, Oh, I don't know anything. about this, I don't understand, like, I just want you to handle it that, uh, they do take advantage. And it's very, very frustrating for me because, again, as you mentioned, it ruins it for everybody. And I want to make sure that people are starting to look at it the same way they look at accounting and bookkeeping, right? It's, it sucks. It's not a lot of fun. People like you and I, the weirdos we get excited by it. But again, the same thing with the accountants right. But at the end of the day, it is another one of those boring facets of your business that now is crucial. If you're not doing your accounting, you're going to you're going to prison. I mean, and if you don't do your IT security and your IT management, your it strategizing, your business is either going to fall behind, or it's going to be destroyed and eradicated by one of these 14 year old Ukrainian kids and one of those little robots. And it's kind of ridiculous that we live in this dystopian movie now, where I've seen literally a bunch of 1617 year old Ukrainian kids get into banks. I've seen Get into giant organizations multi and they get jobs out of it now as well. Or they're making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because at 14, they roll the break into Wells Fargo or Goldman Sachs, you know what I mean? So it is odd that we live in this world now. But it is just so crucial for business owners to understand that you don't have to break the bank. You don't have to go nuts, but having a quarterly meeting with an IT consultant and just saying, this is where I am, this is where I want to be, what do I need to do to get there securely, you can just do that. And they can tell you, Hey, I'm just going to come in. I'm going to spend a couple hours looking at your systems, couple hours talking to your staff. I'll send out a form whatever, and just need to see kind of where you guys are at again after three months. And they can kind of make these tuneups. There's so many different ways that people can do things without spending 10,020 $5,000 a month.

Like I mentioned, we're able to protect some people for like, the equivalent of a cup of coffee every day. You know what I mean? So it's, you know, Don't have to break the bank, you don't have to be overwhelmed. All you need to do is have the same sort of relationship with an IT provider that you have with your account. I think that's that's one of the most important things that I'd want people to walk away from listening to this from.

Dominic Vogel 42:14
That's such a great takeaway, Jake. I honestly don't think I could

stop that. I totally agree.

Hundred percent. I think that that's such an important takeaway. And one little thing I'll add, I love

our for to r&r one or being redundancy. another hour, which is a favorite of mine is resiliency, you know, in this day and age, again, it's not about having that mindset of, oh, we'll never have a virus never get breached. No, there's no such thing as 100% security. What you want though, is to have a organization that is resilient in the face of dynamic cyber threats. You want to have an organization that's resilient in the face of ongoing cyber threats. That is the goal not to have 100% security.

Jake Van Buschbach 42:57
Yeah, couldn't agree more. What are some things basic strategies that you recommend the businesses that they can put in place to kind of secure their their stuff.

Dominic Vogel 43:07
Yeah, to me the there's a couple strong points. One is to make sure that you have a very strong relationship with again, your internal IT team, or you outsourced it managed service provider. If, since with so many executives in which they just blindly trust what their IT manager or their IT managers provider is saying, because, you know, the communication plans are like this, while the technical team is speaking in tech talk, the senior management and senior executives have no idea what they're saying. And a lot of them don't want to appear to be foolish in the face of that and we'll just say, okay, okay. I think they'll know what they're agreeing to. So to me, one of the foundational spots there is to have a very firm, really great relationship, if you're still unable to speak on the right communication. plane, and again, this is somewhat of a shameless plug. This is where again, bring in an advisor or an outside consultant like us, we always refer to ourselves as a conduit in which we can talk to the business, we can talk to the tech team, right? We're able to speak multiple languages, even if that language is still English, we're still, you know, tech Tech Talk needs to be translated to the business and vice versa. So by getting everyone on the same page there, that to me is often one of the most important foundational starting points, you get all the other security controls removed, unless you're able to communicate effectively with each other.

Jake Van Buschbach 44:28
Yeah. And I think that I would add on to that is that I think it's so important that when you bring in a consultant that they're able to work with the existing IT team, because I've had a lot of people come in and they go, Oh, so horrible, what is just a law. And I'm like, Hey, give me a proposal. Give me your proposal, and we'll look at what you got to say, cuz I'm very interested in making sure my clients are protected. I want to be the best we can. So if we have a hole in our security here, we'll go through it. And again, literally, I've seen somebody say you need Norton 360 instead of whatever this other one is, because I've never heard of it and you need to make sure that you're using Dropbox for your backups. And again, when they're talking to the business owner, the business owner will trust them a little bit more than they'll trust us, even though we've got this long term relationship, because they were referred in usually, in my experiences, that's the CEOs wife's brother, you know, I mean, it's someone like that. And it's like, well, he said this, and it's like, okay, let's all have a meeting. Let's all have a big discussion. Let's get everything out on the table and see what's wrong and why it's wrong. And as long as you're able to have civil positive, productive discussions with the consultant, that's great. And 99% of the time, that's my experience, but I have had one or two people that come in, and you can tell that they're just starving. It's like, it's like a used car salesman, but the bad year, you know, they're just like, any, any hook they can grab on to, they will. And all they want to do is just get their foot in the door and get a new client. And again, they're willing to put in inferior solutions are willing to lie about things, and those people are out there. So as the business owner again, I think it's true super important to find someone like yourself, who's able to cooperate and have a productive conversation with the existing IT team. And if the existing IT team is completely inferior and completely not up to the task, you'd be able to provide factual data that that team would have to acknowledge. They would have to say, You know what? He's right. We haven't been doing backups three times a day off site to an archive location as well as to an on site appliance. And this is a real risk, but we weren't doing that. Because you said the cost was too high. You know what I mean? Like, there's always gonna be reasons for it. Yeah. But the fact is, now the business owner can go, Oh, this is a liability that exists in my business. And it is something that I did tell them no, but they didn't revisit it because they're not structured the same way that a consultant or a company like umbrella IT services. So it's very important, I think, again, just to make a final point there that when you're bringing in consultants, has to be someone who wants to solve problems, not someone that wants to critique and tear things down. Exactly. Super, super important.

Dominic Vogel 47:08
Exactly, Jake. And

a final takeaway is, again, isn't for your listeners and for your viewers here, if they're talking to security consultants, if you are talking to a consultant, or security advisor and they are talking about tech solutions, in terms of how to solve problems, all you need to put in product action, you put a product Why? And like you're saying that they're trying to find problems. Two things run far, far away. Yeah. What you need someone who's willing to engage in dialogue, what someone who's willing to look at big picture, and someone who's willing to work with everyone at the table. Yeah, people who are just set try and say I'll put in product x, I will solve your problems. Don't Don't do it run far, far, far away.

Jake Van Buschbach 47:51
Exactly. There's got to be a lot more that they're bringing to the table because again, sometimes you do need products. But if that's all they're saying, That's not true. Like you, you need to have ongoing support, you need to have constant meetings, you're not to the point where it's detrimental. Again, the entire point of you and I've been brought in is to avoid downtime, and wasting six hours a week with us as His downtime, in my opinion. But yeah, there's so much more to be brought to the table than just, yeah, throw this box in the back and never worry about this again, like, it's, it's very much, okay, we're going to put this in, it's going to do these things, here are the risks with it. This is what we're going to do to make sure we have contingency plans for those risks. And then moving forward, we'll sit down and we'll figure out where you're going to be in three months. And then we'll make sure that it's going to last and this is my my plan for the next three to five years for you guys with this new thing that we're going to implement. And then we're going to take a look every three months and make sure that it still doesn't need any updates or we're not missing anything or it's not over being overpaid for being over used. So yeah, I think you're right where if someone just comes in, they go buy this product, set it Forget it. Don't worry about it ever again. It's like that's not that doesn't sound Write again too good to be true. There's no no oil change that's gonna last you 100,000 miles.

Unknown Speaker 49:06
So true. no free lunch.

Jake Van Buschbach 49:07
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, Gemini advice for businesses that are they've been hit by a cyber attack or they've been compromised, or they have a feeling that they've been compromised. What can what can folks like that do to kind of see what's going on inside of their business and to get more awareness?

Dominic Vogel 49:28
Yeah, I mean, if they've been compromised if they've been hit by something, I think it's really important to, to engage with with experts. One of the things that I always tell people is that you need to know what happened and it was a subset of security called Digital Forensics, and which is almost like the CSI squad to be able to figure out what what happened. And, again, yes, it can be expensive, but again, you've you've almost deferred those costs by not investing in cybersecurity. So you know, it's I would like to say it's a debt that you took out and now That loans being called, you have to pay back and pay back that debt. So I think it's super important that when that happens, again, yes, it can be scary. Yes, it can be worrisome. But I also use it as an opportunity and which it can be a learning opportunity to get you to a spot where your organization needs to be. So bring in digital forensics, bring in a cyber risk leaders who can then look at what happened, look at bigger picture, look to a much deeper assessment, say, Okay, here's how we're going to get your security maturity from the dirt floor where it is right now, to a spot where it makes sense and fits with the overall risk tolerance of the organization. So it's and don't try and navigate those waters alone. You like to tell people that cybersecurity has come a long way, you know, used to be a field ruled by generalists now. It's a very hyper specialized field. So you need to make sure that you're engaged with experts.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:53
Yeah, I agree. What are some common mistakes that you see people making when they're trying to implement this stuff?

Dominic Vogel 51:00
Oh, gosh, you know, to me, I would say the it would be a misalignment between sort of the policy and the technology. Yeah, often, it'll be okay. Well, we're going to install endpoint protection on things to protect the laptops and workstations and maybe the tech team or away and install that came SP my way and install that. It's done in a vacuum as long as not going back to mapping back to capabilities, or mapping back to what types of risks are we trying to mitigate? Yeah, if they're just rolling things out with the default policies and not trying to customize it at all, again, yeah, we're getting some protection, but we're not doing it in the way in which we're really focusing on redundancy and resiliency. You need to take a more structured approach rather than just trying to just throw stuff out there. It's okay, take the time to be methodical about it. Make sure that the policies and what we're expecting from a risk reduction point of view that's actually mapped back to the actual technology. That's being implemented. Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 52:01
And what does that look like? Exactly? Like if you were gonna say this as a solution to that problem, what does that look like? Yeah, to

Dominic Vogel 52:08
me back to the earlier point about about having making sure that there's sufficient dialogue. It's not just it's not just a, okay. We need to we need to have a new anti malware solution. When you have Endpoint Protection. It's like, okay, let's just buy a product and slap it in there. Like, no, let's define what our requirements are, who's going to be using it? Are we going to be monitoring it? What type of alerts are we going to be trying to get from that? What type of risk reduction in terms of malware are we expecting? What type of user interface? Are we expecting our staff to be able to interact with it? Or is it just going to be IP support or like the helpdesk or whomever has to be managing it you need to go through a very structured approach to things because at the end of the day, this all these things all map back to some level of business process or business workflow. Too many people still take the I've just pick product x installed product x, wash my hands and walk away. You need to take a lack of better term structured almost like a project management approach to things. Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 53:15
Yeah, I entirely agree. Yeah, give me tools that you would recommend people look into if they're starting to kind of take this seriously themselves. Because again, I think for the smaller businesses, it would be the most important to focus on because again, the larger businesses, they have the resources, they can reach out to somebody like yourself, or if they are concerned or they have any second, they want to get a second opinion. But for the smaller businesses out there that don't have budgets, to be able to reach out and do a, I think you said $3,000 security assessment is what one of these places was charged. And we're happy to do complimentary assessments for folks. But in your experience, what are some of these tools that a small business owner with let's say to a set like an assistant And ended an apprentice won't be able to use to make sure that they're on the right track.

Dominic Vogel 54:06
actually even even then making sure that you have some basic things in place, you know, and even if that's something with example, there's a lot of organizations that use Mac books now. And so you like making sure that you have a good free anti malware solution. So FOSS as an example, as a really great Mac solution. You know, just saying I have a Mac, I'm

secured and that's

wrong type of mindset there. Even if you're running Windows 10, or Windows Defender, I think there's good basic things in place. I think what's important, especially as the operating systems have become much, much more resilient in recent years, is making sure that you are leveraging

an updated operating system. If

you're still running Windows XP or Windows seven, get the hell off that you shouldn't. You shouldn't be writing that to me, we're talking about even get to the point of tools. Just from a mindset perspective, run updated technologies and make sure that whatever programs or operating systems you're running, making sure that those say updated as well. Yeah. That to me is one of the best things to focus on. Rather than saying Oh, use tool accurate tool, why I mean, I just try and break it down into that simplest component. And not another thing as well is that something which will be developed at cyber se is an automated course or it will produce a YouTube series of shorts for organizations that

are small, really small companies

that they want to learn bit more about how we could take a structured approach to cybersecurity and how they can be better accountability partners with their it providers. It's almost like why referred to as a DIY Do It Yourself approach. Yep. cybersecurity, so if you can't, you're not putting up where you can afford larger advisory services. It's, it's almost the example I like giving is if you need to buy a new dishwasher, you can either hire a professional or if you're not able to Watch the YouTube video and see if you're able to do it yourself. Hopefully you don't flood your, like your main floor or anything. But that's sort of the approach that we're taking with this in which it's a DIY approach to really help people better understand the basics, and what they what they should do as a small, very small business owner, and who and the questions that they should be asking. So that's something which will be coming out hopefully sometime in late September. Perfect. Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 56:23
whenever you get that to send me the link, throw it into the script. Absolutely. Because Yeah, I think it's, I think it's so important for that, like, we do a couple seminars here on introduction to Microsoft 365, Introduction to G Suite, social engineering, information security, one on one. All those are up on the channel here, underneath our seminar section away from interviews. And again, like I've had a lot of people reach out and just go thank you so much for making this like, I just get a little bit more peace of mind now that I understand like, these are the ways someone is going to reach out and try to hack my business. And these are the most common ways last year that this happened. The feedback I get is mostly like I didn't understand a lot of this but Now I understand more of it now that I've watched this video, and I feel a lot better having discussions with you and with other people in the space about this, like, I'm not going to again lie and say, oh, everyone's like, Oh, no, I'm a cybersecurity genius, because I watched your two hour seminar, but they're like, I genuinely did appreciate that you made the effort to put this out. I watched about half of it. It was really, really informative. I got overwhelmed, because it's just so much information. But I'm going to come back at it. And I'm going to watch it under 15 minutes. I'm going to watch it on the 15 minutes. And after a couple of months of it being up now people are telling me to watch the whole thing. And now I'm keeping an eye out when I get a phone call. Am I giving out personal information? When I make a vacation responder? Am I telling people how long I'm going to be gone for and where I'm going, you know, there's all these little tiny things now that people are starting to pick up. And they're starting to understand why it's a risk and in 2020 why it's so risky, to just be giving out information because even if you're telling people going to Mexico on your Instagram, it's very easy for somebody to Against spoof your email address and say, guys, I'm stuck in Mexico, my wallet got stolen, I need you to send me 1600 bucks for my transfer for a plane ticket home because they took everything, please send it to my email right now and you click you know what I mean? And then you're done. So there's so many different avenues for people to get into. And if people are looking for a really simple way to break things down that that's easy to approach, I'm going to be sure to send them your way.

Dominic Vogel 58:25
Absolutely. And I think it's so important to generate that type of useful content. Jake, you know, I think that's the way that will will end up changing the mindsets of both individuals and business executives, especially in the SMB world is through that good consistent content. And I definitely would love people to think if they want to see good content, learn some basic stuff around cybersecurity, and what I would produce mildly entertaining as well. Please have people can check out cyber se on our LinkedIn page or any other social media channels Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube page, a lot of great content there for people to peruse as well.

Jake Van Buschbach 59:06
Yeah, I've learned a couple of things, just just going through your LinkedIn to be honest with you. And, again, I think that a lot of folks, again, it's not this thing where you need to learn it. You know, a lot of people don't don't care. You know, a lot of financial advisors, a lot of lawyers, they don't care. Like they don't understand a lot of basic stuff. And they don't care because they're so busy. But being able to scroll through your Instagram in the morning when you're having your coffee or go through your Twitter feed, or go through Google News, or go through whatever it is that you're scrolling through whenever you're scrolling, or have an email, newsletter, whatever, being able to just have that little one line of text that says, Here's your tip of the day from cyber sec. Like that's huge and it adds up over time. And eventually, the same way that you get a little bit of a nugget about a sports team or you get a little nugget about new air pod that came out or the new iPhones gonna have four cameras. Oh my god, you know all these little tiny things happen. Having a little bit of someone like yourself or myself in your newsfeed, where it's a little tiny nugget of just one line of information, like your data should be in three places at all times. Easy. You know what I mean? And people just scroll through and they wonder why that is anyways. And then they're getting in an interview with someone trying to get an IT guy. And he goes, Yeah, no, you only need to have your data in Dropbox, it's fine. Then you go, Well, I saw on a thing that is supposed to be in three places, why wouldn't you want to have it in three places? Well, because this, this, this, whatever. And again, like you can get your data backed up in different places for as low as $6, a terabyte. So it's very inexpensive, but my entire point sorry, is that people should be focused on finding easy solutions and a lot of information out there in an easy way. Or they should be trying to work with somebody personable like yourself, so that when they do need to focus on this stuff the same way you go through your year end audit with your accountant, you're going to To break things down for them in a way that makes sense, where it's friendly, it's easy for them to understand, and then they can go back to not caring until your next quarterly meeting.

Dominic Vogel 1:01:10
It's exactly Jake, you know, and it's, it's, is that what I've referred to as a, as a, as a ripple effect in which those things add up? Exactly. You're saying they're add up over time. And really just the more aware we can make people better. So it's, it's, I think it's so important that over time that there's great people, especially like yourself to be able to get that message out there that resonates with people. And I think that's eventually How will will, will sort of turn the tide so to speak and have more and more organizations be more cyber aware?

Jake Van Buschbach 1:01:46
Yeah, absolutely. And I think long form content like this is important, but at the end of the day, I do think that it's going to be that that image without line of text, you know, it's going to be that one tweet, or that my again, my favorite thing is LinkedIn now, because I brought up ton of people like yourself after just starting the show, a bunch of people added me on. And now I'm seeing all these experts like yourself just posting once a day, a couple times a day. And it's just these little tiny things when I'm just waiting in line. Or if I'm, you know, I mean, if I'm waiting in line, I'm scrolling through LinkedIn, I can totally like, Oh, I didn't know that this new thing happened to Microsoft. I didn't know that this breach happened here. Oh, that's kind of interesting. Why is this software better than that software, and then I am going to be my interest is going to be piqued and I can dig into it more. But again, I think a lot of people don't care. I think a lot of people won't care. But I think it's important that when they realize they kind of have to care. There's easy to approach people giving them small digestible bits of information. Yeah, I think I think we're at kind of that turning point now where in 2020, it's, it's unavoidable. You need to start taking it and cybersecurity seriously. If you're going to be a small business owner in today's day and age, because not having basic tenants can be the difference between having a business in a week and operating normally. It's it's gotten a little bit intense like that, unfortunately, and I don't like the fear based mindset, a lot of people have. But I do like it again, when speaking with someone like yourself, or it's a productive, positive conversation.

Dominic Vogel 1:03:23
Absolutely, no, I think you know, that's the so referred to as the seeds of change. So I'm very hopeful that over the next few years, we get to that point and having that type of positive dialogue, that that's how we inflict positive change on on the environment. And I think it's through these types of conversations that people become more informed. And, man, I can't believe how fast that that combo flew by.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:03:46
Yeah, it's fun. Absolutely. Um, do you have any resources or market leaders or any individuals that you'd like to follow that you can recommend people if they are interested in learning more about this stuff? Obviously following yourself and cyber se on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Ram, but you have any fall any people that you're following or any corporations that you're following that could be of interest?

Dominic Vogel 1:04:06
Absolutely. And especially for those in Greater Vancouver here, another great organization organization called cobalt IO. They're wonderful organization to allow great security, security, monitoring work as well. Highly recommend them that they're great thought leaders in the space. But in terms of other security, thought leaders, gosh, I'd be I'd be hard pressed because a lot of them are much more technical in nature but I think I always recommend to people in terms of a good security resource or security podcast to even listen to is one called down the rabbit hole. It does get a little technical, but it's it's really interesting. They talk about so many different interesting security tales and things like that happens organizations So for people who do like a good listener, a good yarn to listen to, I do recommend that podcast. Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:05:05
And I think the team is so focused and other Vancouver based company, they're great. A lot of their Instagram and all that stuff. They do a great job educating folks. Yeah, I think that's, that's a pretty good summary of anyone else you'd recommend.

Dominic Vogel 1:05:19
The Gosh, I mean, our press event to think of someone else, you know, the thing that I would recommend this as well is just if people are interested in different security products that you're mentioning there, there are some great vendors that put out good work. CrowdStrike continuum are also really great to follow on their social media channels. They have a lot of really great interesting reports is always the Verizon data breach incident response report that comes out once a year. It's also chock full of really interesting tidbits and there's certain there's some sections which are very well written and that he in the

business person non technical person will understand.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:05:59
Yeah. That's awesome. And do you have anything you'd like to promote? Before we start wrapping up?

Dominic Vogel 1:06:04
I know just just like I mentioned there, the the online course, for those really small organizations. So please do stay tuned for that. As well as we have a podcast. It's called cyber security matters. We're all bringing different security people as well as other LinkedIn thought leaders, we've been very lucky to have some amazing LinkedIn thought leaders. Join us on on our show. So it's another great resource, where we talk all things security, and just all things business as well.

And now I think about the need to do a reversal.

You come on the show, and I'll be the I'll be the one interviewing you know, I

Jake Van Buschbach 1:06:46
love to come on web. Awesome. Alrighty, again, thank you so much, Don, from coming on, coming on from cyber se here. And I think that does it for today's interview. So I hope everybody got a fresh perspective on Cyprus. guarantee and I hope we were able to kind of shed some light on some insider thoughts on on the sector here and leave some business owners with some good outlooks and kind of some tools they can use when picking a vendor, finding out their own solutions and just kind of looking at their business. Again, with a fresh perspective when it comes to cybersecurity doesn't need to be this overwhelming, stressful activity. Think of it more of a boring one like your accountant. So everybody, please make sure to check out DOM and cyber se using the links in the description. And again, thank you so much for coming on. Dom we'll talk to you soon. Thanks, Jake. Have a good one you as well. Bye. I think that does it for today's video. If you could please leave a like on this video. It really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please hit subscribe. If you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest you'd like to see on the show. Please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day. I'll see you all soon.

Enterprise Resource Planning with Paul Sweeney...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hello everybody, my name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today we're gonna be speaking with Paul Sweeney about enterprise resource planning software. So Paul helps businesses identify problems, inefficiencies, different mundane tasks that can be automated, and a ton of other stuff using e RP software. Paul broke down what he RP software is, what your business can get out of it when your business should be looking into it and a ton of other information for us during today's interview. So I hope you find it valuable. Without any further ado, let's jump into it.

I'd like to give Paul Sweeney A big thank you for coming on today and talking with us about e RP software and how it can help small medium businesses remove friction preventing growth and a number of other topics. Paul, thank you very much for coming on today. Can you tell us a little bit a little bit about yourself and how you got into enterprise resource planning software? Sure. Thanks, Jake. So I've spent the last 20 years helping small and medium sized

Paul Sweeney 1:00
As implement enterprise resource planning, or MRP software,

but I got into the business after a previous company I was with bought some software could better manage inventory. During the process of implementing that software, I ended up teaching the consultant things. So once that project was done, the consultant said, Oh, hey, do you want to come work with us? So I looked at it and that opportunity look better. So I took the offer, and I've been working in the space ever since.

So my focus is, you know, once we get the system implemented, I turned my attention to helping customers get the most value from the software. That's why I call myself an AARP Sherpa. You can do it yourself. But because I've been there before, I can help you get the results you want with less work and quicker. That makes sense. And when people are calling you in to do the enterprise resource planning software, what are some of the main reasons why a company would need something like that?

So some of the things that

they are buying are flexibility, standardization,

access to information,

a single point of entry because what I find is smaller companies though they you know, you and you start up, you don't necessarily have a lot of money, you don't have a lot of means. You just need to get it done. And so you bring it you start with, say, a QuickBooks and you know, that does, you know, you get your bills out to your customers, you get their checks in you pay your bills, it all works, right. Then maybe add inventory, and then maybe you start doing projects and payroll, and you've got all these disparate pieces out there. But they're not really connected together. And so like, for example, in a project focused business, you can't pull all that data together easily. To say, am I making money on this project? Where did it go sideways? Right? And then so even then even though with whatever they have right now, they might be able to pull those report. But it's slow and cumbersome thing to get access to that data. Right? Because these these systems are not designed around multi users. We can give project managers that data. So when you pull in an AARP, it's designed around multiple people access to some people have access to some things, other people have access to different things, but not everybody's everything. Right. So that means I can give us a project manager access to their projects. So they know currently, where their budget to actual is my project going sideways, do I even need to look at something

that's the type of value that

Jake Van Buschbach 3:56
he brings to the table. That makes a lot of sense. I know that a lot. have our larger clients, once they start to hit the 50, user Mark man, maybe about 50 employees, they start to notice that things are starting to kind of get a little spread out. And that communication within the business does start to break down. And I was actually just reading this morning, just doing a little bit of prep work before this, that about 60%, on average of an employee's time now, prior to COVID, could be wasted per year, I think it was the average office worker 60% of their time, is not used efficiently. So it's very important, I think, for people to understand that when they do start to feel this dis association of the different departments of their business, it's really important to make sure that they're leveraging technology to be able to solve that problem for them. What's an example of a client that you worked with, where it kind of went from night today, just with the difference in terms of productivity or internal communications? What's one of your favorite experiences?

Paul Sweeney 4:58
Well, I can give you a couple of examples. So speaking to your 60% piece, I had one customer that Tom, their accounts payable person was spending three to four days every month doing data entry. Right. And I just happened to be in the office and she mentioned that this this task, she was doing this. So I looked at now what? Why are you doing that? Yeah. So what I did was, I think I think we spent charging 1500 dollars. And I turn that four day job into a five minute job.

Jake Van Buschbach 5:39
That's awesome.

Paul Sweeney 5:41
Right? You know, like, what's the benefit to the business? The job so it gets done. But if you if you think about it from the employees perspective, how much more fun is their job now? And what more what things that are far more valuable, can they now use those three or four days for

Jake Van Buschbach 6:00
Hundred percent. So what does that look like when you when you sit down with her and she explains to you I'm doing data entry? What kind of data entry was she doing? And then how were you able to turn that into an automated process?

Paul Sweeney 6:12
Well, in this particular case, it was it's really really odd thing because

the vendor that they work with

provides them a list of the invoices that they need to pay on a portal, shall we say? And it's so she manually scrapes those off that portal matches them up with their own purchase orders. It's all done in Excel. And then out of that Excel sheet, she loads them into their accounts payable. Right and all I really did was take that Excel sheet and use a macro to auto right into the MRP brilliant is real simple, right? Yeah, just pick you know, I see a problem. I can See how to leverage the existing tools

to make life easier.

Jake Van Buschbach 7:05
That's, that's awesome. And I know that when you're doing that across an entire organization, I've done similar things using G Suite and office 365, where when people get on boarded, they get added to a group. And then that group automatically inherits all of the permissions and resources and workflows that person needs to take care of. So instead of spending four and a half hours onboarding, the staff member and going do they have this calendar? Do they have this file? Do they have access to this contact directory? Do they know what email they have? Do they know what responsibilities they have? They just get an email that directs them to a site that explains to them Hey, you got these resources, you got these workflows, you have these processes, and you're responsible for these tasks. And then they have somebody shadow them for the first week, and then they're good. It just simplifies things so much. It removes the the chance for human error. And like you said, it just makes things more fun for people because they're able to do higher level jobs instead of just sitting there copy paste. sting for four days out of the month, which is just crazy. So very, very good to know.

Paul Sweeney 8:06
And I know she likes it because every time something goes wrong with it my phone rings.

Jake Van Buschbach 8:13
That's great. So what what kind of strategies and guidelines Do you usually implement alongside an AARP software? So like for myself, I always like to break down workflows and procedures and responsibilities alongside the automations. What kind of stuff do you bring in when you're when you're setting this stuff up for folks?

Paul Sweeney 8:32
Well, so one of the the most important things that I like to focus on is standardization. Right? So when you first start your business, you'll agree to anything the customer wants, because you want the business Yeah. However, once once your business has grown and the transaction volume has grown, you discover that this approach can create massive friction. So one of the first things I try to teach is the understanding of the repercussions to the business. shooting from the hip like that. Right. So if you have a standard for how prod products are sold, projects or services are built, and the process becomes quick and easy, and you can train new staff on how to do it, right, but if each customer is billed in different ways with different rules, then your back office becomes very manual. Suppose your billing has that has an impact on cash flow, and suddenly your monthly billing takes three weeks instead of two days. Right. So when we standardize how your business has done, your business you will find your business can grow more quickly, you will have fewer issues to resolve and it's easy to train people how to do their job and Chris fewer errors. Alright, so that's one of the things I like to focus on. Hmm.

Jake Van Buschbach 9:50
That makes a lot of sense because when I when I was starting off, people are always kind of confused because the number one thing that I've always hated. Everybody knows this about me. I hate accounting. I always tell my accountant, I don't understand, I don't know what any of that says, I just want you to keep me out of coming out of a cage. Like I just don't want to go to prison for tax fraud. I just don't understand anything else. So I love the financial side, I love economics. I just hate the the bean counting and don't have this receipt and don't have that and blah, blah. So right from the very getgo, I made sure that I was automating everything to do with my finances. So if I made a purchase, it got populated into a spreadsheet, and then that spreadsheet got put into an app. And I'd be able to look at everything and then I implemented QuickBooks later on and it's always been so simple for me because everything is automated in that regards the business and now I'm starting to understand, okay, not only do I have this accounting stuff that needs to get done, now I have an operational back end now I have an HR back end. Now I have a system systems and support back end. And trying to standardize these things is something that I'm trying to get done over the span of a year and it's it's just about there. Have you know noticed that with your clients, it takes about the same amount of time takes a year to get everything standardized or do you are able to get that done in a quicker way? Well,

Paul Sweeney 11:11
what I find is that the process of getting them up and running and comfortable Thanks, buddy here. Right and part of it is the the changeover right. It takes time to change. Yeah. But part of it is is getting them to change their processes. Part of it is getting them to embrace the change. And then the other part of it, which I think is far more important, is getting them to wrap their head around what this thing actually does. Right and then after that year, they tend to go Oh, I get it. Yeah. Wow.

Jake Van Buschbach 11:59
That makes a lot

Paul Sweeney 12:01
And then we can start doing some really good things. Yeah. Right. Because all up to this time really what I've done is I've taken what you have, and I've kind of morphed it over into a new system. I haven't found that it's a successful strategy to do more than that in the in the initial call round. Because what happens is you get way too much pushback, because people really don't have their head wrapped around what this thing does. Right? So if I just get them up and running and just, you know, address the upfront pain points that we've identified, is the low hanging fruit. Then they get their head wrapped around it. And then now we can start to say, Okay, well, now that you've got this going, you've got those benefits that we talked about. How are we going to leverage it and get even more benefits out of it? Right. So one of the Things I like to look at is like, is let's let's partner grant, I'm not a vendor, I'm part of your team. Yeah. Which, which means that for you, in your best interest, it's best if we stay engaged, I get regular visibility into what you're doing, what you're trying to do, how your business is running. Because so for example, I'm walking around your office and I see somebody banging away at something and I won't stop. We don't need to do it this way. Yeah, I can your productivity. But I can only do that if I'm engaged. Right or are in another case I've had where a customer was spending a whole day preparing a monthly report. And the only reason I heard about this is because he wanted to add a piece of data to the report that wasn't in the source data he was using. So when he showed me what he was doing was trying to do as a wall Let's not keep going this way. Yeah, I read, did his report. So now he gets the same results by right click in Excel and refresh.

Jake Van Buschbach 14:13
Yeah. Yeah. And that's the way it should be to be honest with you there's so I see so much waste going on. And so many poorly implemented technical strategies nowadays it is it is quite frustrating to see a lot of these vendors kind of do this to themselves as well. When people are finally free of these, these shackles of doing these menial labor tasks, what do you usually recommend they start doing instead? Is it analysis? Is it strategizing? Is it a completely new role within the business? What's your experience there?

Paul Sweeney 14:47
Well, so that's a real challenging one because that delves into multiple questions. And one analogy I like is from the book called control commerial operating system? I don't know if you've read that one, I have not. But it talks about seats on the bus. Right? So within any given business, there's a number of different seats that that need to be filled for the business to run. And when you first start out, but there's one set of seats, but then you've grown to another point where the the seats might change, or maybe the people in the seats need to change. Right. So sometimes we get into a point where the business has grown to a point where the existing people that were comfortable doing those those day to day tasks are not necessarily the best choice to migrate to the next level with the distance. Hmm. And a lot of small businesses have trouble with that transition, because they're saying, Well, you know, this way I like this person and you know, they've helped me and you know, Want to be loyal? Yeah. Right. So that's a that's a challenge. And you know, I respect the loyalty in there. And you know, it's it's a great thing. But it can be hard for them to understand that. It's just like a favorite play team sports. And you know, somebody just sucks, right? And you're just trying to work around them. How does the team feel about having this person on the team? Yeah, right. Then you say, Okay, well like this, this individual is a great person. But the role in the team is affecting the entire team. So maybe we need to separate and bring somebody else in, and that that has a huge impact on the team.

Right, so sometimes we can

refocus somebody tasks on something else. A lot of times, we can take a whole bunch of different types of tasks and consolidate them in this one person. So everybody else can go do the stuff that they're more interested in. You know, you know, like, like, when we look at inventory, somebody has been doing spending a lot of time doing menial tasks to keep track of their inventory. Well, they can we can consolidate those tasks and several others into this one person. So the inventory person can then go focus on making sure they have the right stuff in inventory. Right. So that's the kind of things I'm thinking that we're businesses can consolidate some tasks into one person, and then let others do the stuff that they really want to do, which is higher value things.

Jake Van Buschbach 17:43
Yeah. Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I have a lot of folks. Like my personal approach with the loyalty thing you mentioned is trying to train staff as much as possible if we want to make sure they have all the resources that they need and go to improve and stuff like that. But then some folks they just They're just not interested in improving, you know, they're happy where they're at. And it makes a lot of sense for a lot of folks. And in my experience, it is fairly amicable when that happens. And the business does expand beyond that. But what I always think about whenever I do have to make a tough decision like that is, am I gonna go to the rest of the team and say, I know you got to feed the family. I know, you got to pay your bills, but I don't want to make Stephen upset. So we got to keep him on, you know, we're gonna we're gonna keep the anchor on the ship. Because I don't want to make Stephen upset. Like, that's not a way to run your business. You know what I mean? There's definitely a way to honorably and to respectfully run your business, but to understand that someone is not the ideal fit for your business, and then to keep them in a role is, in my opinion, abusive to both parties. Because that person is going to know what's going on. They're going to understand that there's some sort of odd friction in the air, and then they're not going to understand why. So it's very important, I think, to make sure you have that amicable discussion. But mostly my experience and I'm gonna learn from you in a second here. Whenever I do end up automating things, not to your extent, but when I end up automating and improving the business, most people don't get replaced. It's they're freed up, like in my experience, they end up doing analytics, and then they end up being more of a leader in the business. Is that your experience? The majority of the time?

Paul Sweeney 19:22
Oh, yes.

There's a lot of people that Oh, yes. I don't have to do that anymore. Exactly.

Jake Van Buschbach 19:31
Right. Yeah, you saved me my Friday afternoons, I'm not doing data entry anymore. That's usually the response I get is, Oh, now I have an extra four hours every Friday because I'm not having to do this task or I'm not having to do that task. So now I've got an extra 16 hours a month that I can do whatever I want with and then we're able to use those more those other technologies and kind of give them those tools. They go whoa, this is included and I can do this now and holy and then all of a sudden you get to touch base six months later. And it's it's an entirely new position and this person is just flourishing.

Paul Sweeney 20:04
That's right. And they they like it better. Yeah. Right, because they've just gone to this killing. Right. But I would say that the the one trait that I see very commonly, and it's many, many different levels is just a lack of curiosity. Right that that. Nobody says, Wait, there's got to be another way to do this. Mm hmm. Right. And even if the answer's no, but at least he asked the question, yeah. Right. And this is comes back to my point earlier of earlier, where if I'm a partner in your business, when something like that comes up, we can talk and say, Hey, is there a different way we can do this? And we can look at it and say, yes or no, if it's Yes, you know, do we does our existing tool Do it and now I just need to some training, or do we need to as the Excel macro? Do we need to build something that will help it? And then we, of course, always look at, if we have to build something as a return on this investment, does it make it work? Because it makes sense. Right? Cuz, you know, spending $1,000 to fix $100 problem doesn't make a lot of sense. No. Right? But say the spending $100. So the thousand dollar problem makes a huge amount of sense. Right? So that's how I look at it. And that's why I like to partner with people. So we can have those conversations we can connect with with the roles people are doing and get an understanding of what they're doing, how they're doing. And they can ask questions, or I can ask questions, why are you doing that? And that way, then we overtime we leverage what this tool can do.

Jake Van Buschbach 21:59
Yeah. And what would be some of those features? Like what are the staples of good DRP software?

Paul Sweeney 22:07
So some some of those features are

the primary one is a single point of entry for everything.

Right? So if you're a project focused business and you're building, you know, stake engineer, an engineering firm, you know, you've got a whole bunch of people using the time against the project. Well, they've got a ton. Usually they have a timesheet, well, that timesheet drives, what the customer gets billed, but also drives payroll. Right, so one point of entry driven to different transactions. Right, and so with our integrated system, when that employee adds an entry to their timesheet, it's saved. Now, that project manager can see all my my my budget actuals change, so they can monitor in real time. What what people are doing Whether projects are at, you know, as did we miss estimate our budget? And do I need to go get a change? Right? So you then allows you to be proactive, rather than reactive. When that bill comes, comes out for approval every month and you look at whole world, your budget, the customers are gonna pay this bill. And now you know, you're playing whack a mole. Right? Whereas with an AARP, that's a single source of entry. It's live data, you have live access to these things, and you can proactively manage instead of reactively manage,

Jake Van Buschbach 23:38
yeah, and what other kind of data does it present

Paul Sweeney 23:42
on almost anything, right? I mean, some of the other things that we can do is you know, like, if one customer and I really don't like to do this, but he can is a customer wants a specific invoice format, we can do that and just We just build it into the system and the outcomes, right? Um, we have different payment terms for our customers. Right? And the other one I see is deposits or pre payments on orders or projects and how people process those make it very difficult to track you know, who's paid what, and how much of the projects and pay whereas a RP system is designed around to be able to do that. So, for example, like in your business, you sell a $5,000 printer anyone 50% paid up front and 50% when what after the products been delivered? Well, you create the order and you take a payment against the order for that 50% and then when that's fully processing becomes an invoice the invoice is for the total amount. It shows the amount that was Paid already. And then the net to write and it all follows in in under the customer record. So I can now at any time I go into the customer records, okay, well, they gave me a payment of 20 $500. Oh, it was for this order that's still outstanding. We haven't delivered the product. From one point I can flow through and look at all of the different pieces of that transaction and that customer record. Right, I don't need to go searching and paper I don't need to ask questions anybody. I have immediate access to it.

Jake Van Buschbach 25:34
What other information would be included on the customer page?

Paul Sweeney 25:38
A pretty well, anything you want in terms of like you there's the standard tombstone data, their their name, their address, contacts, telephone numbers. You can look at all their past orders, past payments, or outstanding balance. That's just a quick summary. And then if you want to collect additional information, we start getting into that that zone between really that the the financial aspect of the customer and then the CRM part of the customer. Hmm. Right, that that's a let's call it like, what's the best term for but there's a spectrum from one to the other and depends on the nature of your business. Do you need to get more involved in the CRM? Or does just the the financial side of that customer needs to be considered?

Jake Van Buschbach 26:41
Yep. And are you able to track things inside of the ER p like, I spent 12 hours on this customer this week. Here's the breakdown of what those 12 hours look like. These are the things I did for that customer. And then I'm able to analyze all of those on a macro level and see what can be automated.

Paul Sweeney 26:58
Absolutely. Right. So you can, you know, in your business we can integrate your your ticketing system into the the invoicing. Right? So all the ticket details show up on the invoice. And then you can see then you can link the two. Right, you can see, you know, what tickets have been invoiced? What haven't been invoiced, and you start to have some some visibility into what you're charging the customer versus the cost of servicing the customer. Alright, so, yeah, so we can bring these things together. And that's really where the power of these things comes into play. Right? Because, you know, if you don't need to know, the cost versus what you're building, then then there's no value to these systems, but I generally find that that's a competitive world. So the more you know about Your revenue versus your costs, the better you are able to put together a competitive value proposition for the customer 100%

Jake Van Buschbach 28:08
I think that any business that doesn't understand its true labor cost and the cost of the services that they're providing is doomed. Like the way that I've managed to go from a bedroom closet fixing phone screens to having a team of people in an office downtown and dozens and dozens of full time clients and 1000 residential clients, etc. is through cost. Like I just understand, what am I doing right now and I did have to sacrifice a lot of my time when I was starting off because it was just me and you know, I'm charging 20 bucks an hour instead of what we charge now. And, you know, things were very, very different. But I still understood a tank of gas is this much money, my time is this much money. It cost me this much to buy this tool set to buy this thing to rent this space to have these people on you know, and if you don't understand those things, I think that your businesses in a lot of trouble and you need to understand these things. Not only to grow, but to stay alive. Yeah, I think that's fundamental. So that's one of the reasons why I was so interested to speak with you today is because this tool, a lot of these different tools that are out there is such a concise way to create different metrics for your business, which allows you to create different goals for your business, which allows you to have your business succeed, because as I've heard before, an idiot with a plan will beat a genius without one. And I think it's so so important for every business owner to understand what it is that they're doing, why they're doing it, then how it's getting done, like you said, so their staff can be happier, they can achieve higher levels of success. They can be more competitive, they can expand their impact and their communities. There's so many different reasons to be looking at software like this. And yeah, I wish that it was more well known to a lot of folks What what software platform specifically? Do you usually recommend to people when they're starting to look at GRP software?

Paul Sweeney 30:10
Well, I'm a little biased on that. Because I, there's tons of them out there, right?

There's. So

the way I like to describe it is buying your piece offers kind of like buying a vehicle, human down the auto mall, and you can drive yourself crazy looking at options. Right, because there's so many of them out there. Right. So part of it is is the approach that I prefer to take rather than talk about a particular vendor or product is let's let's look at what problems we're trying to solve. Right? Let's understand really what problems we're trying to solve. What is your ideal scenario look like one year from now and five years from now? And then that will help us look at what our options are. Mm hmm. Right. And then then there's the the general tool versus an industry industry specific. There's tons of industry specific software out there. And what I found is when I looked at what they do that for most businesses, a general PRP software can give you the same results. But then you also have a larger pool of people to pull from might even know what you your software is. Whereas if you have an industry specific one, now you have to train everybody that comes in the door. How do you use?

Jake Van Buschbach 31:47
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense as well. We started implementing different sales software, and different CRMs in this kind of stuff. I've been experimenting and surprisingly, the most general one seems To be the best fit for us, there's so many people like I'm sure you know, in the IoT space where it's, oh, you're gonna buy this, this is the one to buy, though it's integrated, it's designed specifically for your industry. And they're just missing so many features and looking at the different forums and the support and all the features that people are adding in and all this kind of stuff. We're just gonna go with this incredibly General, basic CRM. And we actually had a guest on talking about this earlier this week, and I'm excited to publish our interview with him. And he was saying, like, keep it simple. You know, it's better to go with a general tool. You know, there's millions of people using this. People are people, they're going to figure out stuff inside of the system that the developers didn't even know that they had available. So it's interesting to hear you say that, what are some of the general resources and platforms that you would recommend to people is flexus able to kind of help people develop their own unique software with their own sort of branding on top of one of these general tools or do you recommend specific platforms?

Paul Sweeney 33:04
Well, actually, before we go into that, I wanted to come back to the previous topic to raise one one item of industry specific versus general. Let's say you go down the road, he buys an industry specific piece of software. And two years from now, three years from now, maybe you acquire a different business or you see an opportunity in a slightly different field. Well, now, your industry specific software may or may not be able to support you.

Unknown Speaker 33:37
Um,

Paul Sweeney 33:38
yeah, the general tool will support you no matter how you pivot your business.

Jake Van Buschbach 33:43
That's very true.

Paul Sweeney 33:46
So that's the piece that I wanted to raise.

Jake Van Buschbach 33:48
Yeah. Yeah. The tool that I've been using, actually is one where when my staff for see it, they kind of laugh, because it's just so simple. Like it's it's, it's fun. Computer Repair and for iPhone repair, like it's not a management system for an enterprise. But the reason I went with it is because it's so flexible, like everyone's been like, what is this? It does nice is cute is hilarious when you get big boy software, I'm like, go go spend half an hour in there go spend half an hour in the code and go spend half an hour messing around with these different functions, this kind of stuff in there. Like I created the perfect solution for something that I did it in half an hour. What is this? Like? It's so amazing having something that's just simple and flexible. Like I was looking at another vendor. I won't name names, but they were like, yeah, it takes about 12 hours of training to be able to use the ticketing system. Excuse me, like, yeah, like eight to 12 hours. It's fine. We'll onboard you. You gotta do all these courses. We have a whole college set up. And I'm like, I have five employees. I don't have the time to dedicate 12 hours to doing this. That's absurd. And then I was like, I'm just gonna stick What I have and then I looked at their feature set. And again, like 60% of it was bloat. I didn't need it. There's one or two things where I was like, Okay, this is kind of interesting. And okay, maybe we should have a customer thermometer kind of situation going on where we can get reviews about the service. And we should change the title here and whatever. And I just implemented those systems into our general software. And I was like, this is done easy. And now my staff can go, Okay, so the plus button means make a new ticket. And the thing that says notes is where I leave my notes, and all this information here is for this and all the information there is for that. And it's just so easy to use it. And again, like this industry is industry specific software, like I plan on expanding much further from the from just doing managed services. And the software I have now I'm assuming will grow with me because I've done a little bit of testing with it. But there's other software from this other vendor. There's a lot of walled gardens and there's a lot of speed bumps in my way if I wanted to expand into doing something else, so I'm glad you brought that up, Paul.

Paul Sweeney 36:01
Yeah. Right. So, in terms of platforms, and and, you know, like you talked about branding and as your own. Um, I guess my first thought is, can try to understand why you want to do that. Right, because the way I look at these things, is there a tool? Very similar to a truck? Yeah. Right. You get in you drive it. Do you care what the name on the back of it is? Most time? No. Does it doesn't do the job I needed to do. Right. And then what's the total cost?

Jake Van Buschbach 36:43
Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. The main reason I would ask is just people, some people you know, they like to have when they log into their portal, it says their company name, you know, and they want to say, okay, we're gonna go to this tool, but can we see the company name is the logo in the bottom right corner. That's it. bar. Is it the company branding? Or is it the other tool?

Unknown Speaker 37:04
Okay, I got

Jake Van Buschbach 37:05
Yeah, yeah. Yeah,

Paul Sweeney 37:06
yeah. Um, and and so

when I first got into this space I was working with, excuse me, say 300, which is the old qpac product. And it's a very powerful tool very good at what it does. And we can add your logo onto reports. But in terms of the user interface, we have very limited ability to make it your own. Yeah. More recently, I've gotten involved with another product called called acumatica. That one is a more modern architecture and we have much more power around it. So we can make the color scheme match your company's colors. Your logo is on the login page. Right. And of course, it's always on the invoices and documents you send out to customers. But the user interface is much more adaptable to make it look like yours. Right? So it depends on which we're we're talking about we can we can definitely personalize it and make it look like yours.

Jake Van Buschbach 38:22
That's good to know. And can startups benefit from this kind of stuff? Like what what tipping point do you think people usually have like for my business, for example, usually when you hit about 10 staff, then you need our services. And when you hit five staff, it becomes convenient to have our services but it is more of a luxury like it's something where you would call us in part time. Is it similar for yourself or is it 25 staff or is it 50 staff? Or how do you recommend people kind of start thinking about DRP software? Is it size or is it revenue?

Paul Sweeney 38:54
A little bit of both

because you can you can have a A

lower revenue business, the top cut has high margins, they can afford the product sooner than a low margin business. Right. But having said that, the way I prefer to look at it is

the cost of the tool versus the benefits you're going to get.

Right? And and there needs to be a certain size before the the benefits outweigh the costs. Right. So now if you're in a startup and you know you're going to grow fast, then maybe it's worthwhile putting it in early. Yeah, but most of the time, startups have scarce dollars. Yes. Right. So let's let's focus on using those dollars where they're going to provide the greatest benefit and the Initially, most of the time, therapy's not the place. Right? It might be building up your inventory, it might be

spending your money on sales to have more customers.

Right? And then after the fact, then you can spend, then, you know, you've built sales and you've got inventory coming and going. And now you start to see the frictional problems, because you don't have a handle on how much as an inventory or when it's arriving what my cost was. I don't know if I made any money. Right now we can come into play and bring in the RP in and then you start to identify now you manage these these things that affect profitability, Mm hmm. Whereas initially, profitability is not going to happen because you have no revenue or no products, managing the inventory. Right. So your problems are different. I think

Jake Van Buschbach 40:55
also a big benefit that I've noticed is the customers coming customer's always seem to have something to say once we're finished implementing things like they always say, seem a little less stressed out, or this just went so smoothly. And one thing that I've always to touch on your point about standardization, one thing that I've always tried to focus on, I read a book called the EMF. And that was one of the very first books I ever read about business. And it says that your customers need to have the exact same experience every time they deal with you. And that's something that I've always tried to implement, even though it's very difficult and it because you know, there's so many variables in it, but when you walk into Starbucks, it doesn't matter if you're in Starbucks in Seattle, if you're in Starbucks in New York, if you're in Starbucks in Dubai, if you're in Starbucks in Canada, when you walk in, you go to the lineup, you have a little display cable thing to display case, you have the drinks on your right hand side, you have the breeze to saying how can I help you and you got the board behind you. It's the same experience every time Home Depot, Starbucks, McDonald's, all these businesses. something that I've always tried to do is make sure that it's a very similar experience when dealing with us, you click the button, you file the ticket, someone reaches out saying something similar, we help you out, we send in a little survey, and then you're on your way. Or we don't even send out a survey depending on the severity of the issue. But I noticed that the ER p stuff kind of does that everywhere. And once it's completed, again, you kind of have an entirely new business, and that can be pretty alarming for a lot of business owners. What are some of the types of pushback or concerns that you might experience when you're trying to implement such a comprehensive solution for them because I know for myself when I started looking at this, the biggest challenge for me was actually allowing myself to step back and go, I there's a lot of areas I can improve and when you realize 75 80% of what you built is needs to be replaced. It's dead wood. You know? Do you get pushback like that from folks? Are they mostly excited about it? Or do you ever get that little bit of a fear response from people?

Paul Sweeney 43:10
I've got the fear all the time. Mm hmm.

And the, one of the most challenging parts of this whole space is that there's all sorts of different fears. There's, I'm afraid for my job. Or, you know, the one that never gets actually expressed is I'm afraid they're gonna find me out. Yeah, they have no idea what I'm doing. Yeah. Right. And so those ones tend to be the ones that are hardest to overcome. Right, because they're so fearful of being caught out for not knowing anything.

Right, that that I mean, I've had a case where

the person ended up being let go because they're pushing back so hard that they were just, they were the problem. And they had to be like, Oh, yeah. Right. But having said that, after they were let go, the whole business you could feel it like nothing ever. Right? It just became so much better. Yeah. Right. Well, it's unfortunate, but that can happen. All right. The other one is the fear of the unknown. Or I don't know if this is going to work. And then of course, you're asking people to change. Nobody likes to change. Yeah. Right. I mean, I remember, in my university days, I'd come into a classroom and people like to sit in the same chair.

So once in a while, I just go sit in a chair. Yeah.

You watch them walk through the door, and they're just like, Ah, yeah, I don't know what to do. Yeah. That's hilarious. So there's that that fear of change? Yeah. All right. So I mean, one of the pieces of advice I'd have for businesses is to teach people not to be afraid of change. To do that, you almost need to create a constant change in your business. So that people became become used to the idea that things are going to change.

Jake Van Buschbach 45:25
Yeah. And I think that's really important for startup owners to understand and people that are kind of getting ready for this kind of solution. Because I've kind of instilled all those values that you're talking about in my team, and it seems to be working quite well. How do you recommend people do that? How do people instill this kind of progression and this regular change in their business in a way where it's not just changed for the sake of change, but it's actually productive.

Paul Sweeney 45:58
I would say that one of them the most critical things is leadership needs to lead the changes and demonstrate they're using the changes. And then part of the challenge of that, of course, is that the leadership doesn't always know the changes are needed. Right? So I come back to a principle out of one of Tom Peters, his early books is talk to yourself horizon. It's called In Search of Excellence. Right? And one of the principles in there is management by wandering around. Right, which means you got to get out walk around, walk your business, yeah. Right. look worse then work with the staff and and see what they're doing. Right, because then, Hey, you know what your stuff is doing? You can see where, oh, this is a problem, or we could make this person's life so much nicer. Mm hmm. Right. And you get that visibility into your business now, now you've got many, many opportunities to implement change. Right? And the smaller the changes, the easier they are to accept. But also as part of teaching people that we are going to be changing. Yeah. Right. And then once once you've taught people that you use a leadership are open to change, and you want to change, now you can start having regular meetings with people and ask them, you know, what should we change? Right, they will give you ideas, they'll tell you what needs to be changed, but they need to know that it's safe to say, Oh, this is not working. Yeah. Right. And until they see that safety, they can be very reluctant to say something.

Jake Van Buschbach 47:48
I agree. I think that's very important. You know, people need to think that they're, it's a safe environment for them to be able to contribute. I usually end up having weekly meetings or my management team, as we meetings with with our staff to make sure that they have that input. You know, like, Hey, I wasted four hours this week doing this thing. Why is this a thing? You know, yeah, we automate this, I keep getting this issue coming up on the site. Let's automate it. And then it's, it's amazing like with certain sites Now, when we first took them over, they were having, I don't know 2030 tickets a week because they were so poorly managed before. And then now we get one ticket a month and we're running something like 8000 or 6000 automations across 100 machines. And it's fantastic being able to just go Okay, your OneDrive is not working. Let's just have a script come up every time your OneDrive crashes it'll reboot the service you don't I mean little tiny things like that. Just they was the snowflakes make that avalanche. So yeah, I think that's really important. During this whole you mentioned walking around the business. So during this whole epidemic slash zombie apocalypse slash pandemic situation. How do you recommend Do you recommend people kind of start implementing this stuff during this time and in my experience, now is the perfect time to be restructuring their businesses and to be reorganizing, because, again, people are working remotely, it is a time of change. You're starting to realize where the efficiencies and inefficiencies were. And now is the perfect time to implement stuff like this. Do you agree with that? Or what's been your experience?

Paul Sweeney 49:25
Oh, yeah. So the my experience has been, the more you can leverage you're forced to change to make a bunch of other changes at the same time, the easier it is to accept it, because you can kind of go well, we have to Yeah. Right. Right. But I've also done the other thing is, is that Tom, you know, the leadership stuff here, we're going to put in this new MRP system. And now Oh, well, that's our business processes. We need to do this and this. But now I say, well, the software doesn't do that. So we're going to change the process. I blame the software for changing a process that really should be changed anyways. Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:04
Yeah.

Paul Sweeney 50:07
And just just to that point, one of the most important things to me when I talk to a potential customer Bodi RP is, I want to know if there's any process that your business does that's core to your value add or what makes you unique. Because I need to protect that. Yeah. Right. Once we have the software running, it needs to be able to do that process. Otherwise, we've just killed your business. That's not something I relish Yeah, I'm here to help you grow your business make it better, not kill it. Right. So that initial discussion phase is when I'm really searching out Is there something in the in your business processes that I need to be careful about and protect? Because if there is a process and I can't do it, that I need to say I'm not the I'm not the one because I can't do this. Right? The earlier we can identify that the better everybody is because I can say, Hey, I'm not the right tool, let's say, you know, who called out there might be it might be able to do a better job. And we can turn that the the discussion that way. Right. Everything else that if it doesn't add, create value for your customer, you should be willing to change it. Right. And so that comes back to that teaching people that, you know, we are going to change how we do. Could we regularly change it?

Jake Van Buschbach 51:39
Yeah, yeah, I entirely agree with that. Do you know, are you familiar with the peredo principle? Yes. Yeah, that's, that's something I leverage quite a bit. Do you make sure your clients understand what that is and implement that when working with them.

Paul Sweeney 51:55
Um, so that starts to get more into to management, consulting.

And I haven't tended to get in that involved in my customers. My involvement is really, so far has been around. How do we leverage this tool set? Gotcha. Yeah. I mean, I'm really keen to partner with companies and do some of the management side of it as well, because it does doesn't relate to the tool set. Right? Because it's part of is how you think about it. But I haven't done that so far.

Jake Van Buschbach 52:32
Yeah, gotcha. The credo principle being 20% of your services equate to 80% of your revenue or 20. Basically, 20% of something equals 80%. Usually, so 20% of the trees in the forest, they get 80% of the sunlight. 20% of the lions in the herd get 80% of the food. 20% of your employees are doing 80% of the work. And as soon as you as a business owner start to understand that and it's I'm shocked at how constant that is. Where you're able to empower that 20% and start to take the focus away from the other 80%. You know, so I was just curious if that's played a part at all.

Paul Sweeney 53:12
Right? So where europei comes into this is he, if you are like in your business, if you're finding that, you know, 80% of your cost is going to 20% of your customers, we can then look at what the why, yeah. Is it the customer? Is it what we've agreed to? Or is it something about the customer system? And then you can look at it, it's okay, well, now that I have information available to work with, what do I need to change so that everybody so that the business can run more cleanly?

Jake Van Buschbach 53:46
Yeah, that makes sense. Is there anything else that you wanted to cover?

Unknown Speaker 53:53
Um,

Paul Sweeney 53:55
yeah, there's a couple things.

Jake Van Buschbach 53:57
I think we've gotten pretty pretty comprehensive here. One other quick question I do have for you is just any resources, market leaders, anything like that, that people can can look into? I know you've mentioned a couple of books so far, but I'm just curious that there's anything you would recommend people start when they're starting to look into your stuff.

Paul Sweeney 54:19
I guess one of the things that I would suggest is is surround yourself with with some colleagues that you can leverage third, their experience, their knowledge and their connections. So an organization that I participate in is called the Vancouver executive Association.

And they're

a group of business owners and executives that meet regularly and so they're almost like a board of directors, a sounding board, a resource where you can ask questions, and they've all done a lot of stuff in their life. And they can provide you information and ideas. Right, so I wouldn't urges people to become involved in organizations like that. Right? Because, like a lot of resources that I could give her are vendor specific. And of course, they're the the messaging is around selling a product. Right, obviously, that the product has to help your customer. But it tends to be vendor focused. And I'm not sure that, that that's the best resource for me to just hand out.

Jake Van Buschbach 55:25
Gotcha.

Paul Sweeney 55:31
Um, then one of the things that that I would like to convey to people is if you're thinking of making a major change to your business, like implementing

Unknown Speaker 55:43
VRP

Paul Sweeney 55:45
is to really really think about what decisions you've been avoiding.

Unknown Speaker 55:52
Because

Paul Sweeney 55:55
implement implementing this this type of system is not going to help you continue to avoid the question. Yeah. Right? Or what decision are you avoiding? Right? Was it is it letting somebody go? Because they're, you know, they're they're not a cultural fit or your skill set is no longer good for the business.

That type of thing. Yeah.

Right. So that's, that's one thing I really encourage people to think about.

Jake Van Buschbach 56:25
I think that makes a lot of sense. That kind of ties into what I asked about earlier regarding the fear. Because again, like when you realize, oh, I've been suppressing this, or I haven't been answering this question for three years, like, why have I been doing this like this and it's just like you said, people are averse to change. It can cause a lot of anxiety for a lot of business owners and it can be very overwhelming and some people will start and stop and start and stop and it's it's quite challenging as a vendor trying to help somebody when they're just lurching backwards and forwards You know, so I'm glad you brought that up. And do you notice any other

Unknown Speaker 57:04
sorry, God? So for me,

Paul Sweeney 57:08
I'm not in a hurry to sell something. Mm hmm. I want to make sure that that you you are ready, willing and able to embrace this. Yep. Make the decision. Right. So I'm not keen to to do it before you're really ready.

Jake Van Buschbach 57:26
Yeah. Yeah, I entirely agree. Like, it's one of the reasons we don't do contracts with our clients is, I don't want to work with anyone that doesn't want to work with us. I want to make sure that they're ready to go. And they're ready to start doing whatever goals they have. Because it's so so important. I think, especially with what you're doing. People need to believe in the product. They need to understand why the changes are being made. And it's just so crucial that people are able to leverage these technologies properly, so that their business can start to thrive and if they have a skeleton in the closet, and they refuse to allow you to work on one area, you Tire machine can fall apart. And a lot of people don't. Like you said, it takes about a year for people to really go, Whoa, look, I understood that there were problems. But I didn't understand there were this many opportunities. Like, it's so crazy when when people do start to implement different solutions, like yours. And again, it's just you look back, I tell my staff, the same thing, you're gonna look back in three months, and you're gonna be amazed at how far you've progressed. And we're going to do that every day. And after a year, you're going to be an entirely new person. And it's, I think that software like yours. Does that on a macro economic scale for entire organizations and associations, not just for individuals, but it does it for right. Yeah,

Paul Sweeney 58:45
yes. Yep. I just just makes it the way I like to phrase it turns your business into a well oiled machine.

Jake Van Buschbach 58:53
Yeah, right. It just, literally literally it does. Yeah,

Paul Sweeney 58:58
right. There's no more You know, drive around with the emergency brake on?

Isn't a lot of gas here. And not only,

Jake Van Buschbach 59:07
yeah, yeah, hundred percent. And again, it comes down to that situation where you've got you everyone in your organization has things to do, everyone is an expert in their own way. And the more you can sit down with them, and understand where they're coming from, and give them the freedom to do what they need to do, and then create a standardized system based off of their reports. It just works so well, like as I've removed myself from different aspects of the business, and replace that with people who have 11 years experience or 20 years experience or five years experience doing whatever it is that they're doing. They're going Hey, the way you were doing it was fundamentally broken. And I've gone ahead and reworked everything. So we don't need to talk about this anymore. This is the way I'm going to do it. And I'm so happy when people do that. I see a lot of other business owners go No, it's coming my way blah, blah. And it's just like why would you want To restrict this person who's trying to bring more to the table and trying to say like this is broken, this is a useless waste of everyone's time everyone will prosper if we implement this thing. And I love tools like yours because it gives the business owner, the the givers, the stubborn, resistant to change business owner, the hard facts of Yeah, this is what your system is doing. You need to change this part of your system and you need to keep doing what this part of your system is doing. And like you said, When staff are able to see those changes, they might be resistant at first and then they see the benefit. And they go What should have always been doing this this this is the way it should have been. And it kind of reminds me like you said, well, well machine. It kind of reminds me of like Southeast Asia traffic, where you see that the vans going through and the bicycles are going through and the motorcycles are going through and the guys jogging and everyone's just going as fast as they can go but no one ever gets into a collision. It's just so smooth. And it's this organized chaos, where your business just has all of these people doing their individual roles, but somehow it comes together. And it just creates this kind of mesmerizing operation where it just creates so much more value for everybody. So, yeah, yes,

Paul Sweeney 1:01:19
absolutely. Now, right. So one of the other things that that I wanted to emphasize about the software is like when you start out like in your case, you mentioned that you hate the accounting, you basically outsourced it. And that's a great strategy. But where I find a lot of smaller business owners get themselves into trouble is that they also

throw off the visibility into it.

Right so they never look at a financial statement, or if they do, it's once a month.

The main thing they look at is cash in the bank.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:01:58
Do you have a camera in my office? I just do on the 15th of the month, 15th of the month, every time I look at everything, and I'm like, Okay, this is good enough, I just recently made a change. I'm gonna look at it once a week, last week, but, ya know, literally once a month, and then I'm like, Okay, this is enough, I know that this is happening.

Paul Sweeney 1:02:17
Right? And so what I encourage is, is to have financial statements. And if you don't know how to read them, hire an accountant who will teach you Yeah, right, or hire, you know, pay somebody to act as a CFO for two or three hours a month, and sit down with you and tell you what your financial statements are telling you.

Over time, you'll learn right,

but it's this visibility, teaching yourself that visibility into your business. Because if you don't watch it, you know, it's kind of like driving your car or looking out the windshield. Mm hmm. Sometime you're going to have a problem. Yeah. Right. So having that having those regular reports right there, like. So, one of the things I'm focused on right now is building dashboards for owners and executives. Right? So you can have current timely access to the metrics that determine the success or failure of your business.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:03:27
So important.

Paul Sweeney 1:03:28
Yeah. Right. And it's we know we build them for your business. But the idea is that you can have a daily look at it and you know, you know, everything looks good, huh? I can just go about my day or wait a minute. What's this? I need to ask some questions. Right, but that allows you to be proactive. Yeah. You know, so like in your business, you know, are Am I getting access number of trouble tickets? My particular customer, or are my seeing a set of tickets that are outstanding too long? And then you can just ask questions. Yeah. Right. And what I've, what I, what I've seen is that that visibility, and then you asking questions teaches the rest of your staff.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:22
So you're paying attention.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:04:23
Yeah, exactly. You need to have a I can't remember the word but yeah, another interviewee said the exact same thing you need to give the illusion of oversight. Something like that. Yeah.

Paul Sweeney 1:04:36
Yeah. Right. You need to give the perception that you're actually watching. Mm hmm. And all it takes is that occasional question of, you know, why is this ticket been outstanding before it is? Yeah. Oh, you know, you know, we're waiting for a part or we're waiting for a path. Oh, okay. Yeah, but But meanwhile, everybody else in the meeting has heard the question. Yeah. Then The they have the message that you're paying attention.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:05:03
Yeah, absolutely.

Paul Sweeney 1:05:05
Right. So that's something that I think every business can implement and leverage. And I do think they show it because it'll not only will help them now, but it's a foundational thing that allows them to continue to do it going forward. Now, the back end tools might change, the data sources might change, but you still have your dashboard. And you still have your metrics.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:05:28
Yeah, hundred percent. Awesome. Yeah. Is there anything that you want to touch on other than these topics? Or you think you're all set?

Paul Sweeney 1:05:39
on good, but the one last thing I'd say is if anybody listening to this has been thinking about making some changes to their software for your business, call me. It's a free meeting.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:05:49
Yeah, that'd be awesome. How What else can we promote for you? So obviously flexus and LinkedIn phone number, what was the best thing to reach out and then what would you like to promote?

Paul Sweeney 1:06:00
I'd like to promote, obviously, helping customers with better software and leveraging you know, if even if you don't need new software,

we can talk about how we can leverage what you have.

And then of course, there's building dashboards for your metrics, if anybody's interested in I'd be great to have a conversation.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:06:21
That's awesome. And I'll make sure to throw everything down in the links in the description so people know how to reach. I'll get all that info for me after the show. And then we'll throw that in. And then people will have a quick, easy way to get ahold of you and ask you some questions and something that I really do appreciate Paul. And I think that you and I kind of share this as we're both happy to just give out free advice. We're both nerds about what we do. We both love to talk about what we love to do. And if anyone ever asks me anything, I'm just happy to give out free advice. I'm not overly concerned about making a sale. And I'm just super happy to just make sure that people are on the right track and I'm helping them out. So you and I have had a couple of discussions about before the show, and I've been very, very appreciative of some of the things that we've talked about and the insight you've provided. So thank you again very, very much for coming on today and sharing this information with folks and some of these strategies and different features and things that are available nowadays, because I just really wanted to make sure that there's a little bit more exposure for solutions and for people like yourself, because I think every business, every single business should be using some of these strategies and your software at the end of the day, especially if they want to be expanding their impact in their communities.

Paul Sweeney 1:07:33
Yes. Thanks for having me. Jake. It's great talking to you.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:07:36
Yeah, it was great to have you so again, everybody, please make sure to check out the links in description. We're gonna have all of Paul's info there. And again, thank you so much, Paul. We'll talk to you soon.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:46
Okay, thank you very much. Bye.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:07:48
Bye. And I think that does it for today's video. If you could please leave a like on this video. It really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please hit subscribe if you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest you'd like to see on the show. Please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day and see you all soon.

Business Differentiation Strategy with Michèle Soregaroli...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hey everybody, my name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today I'm very excited to announce our guest, Michelle sorger. Rowley from transformation catalyst. Michelle is a business differentiation coach with over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship. She's an ICF, Master certified coach, who helps her clients leverage their individuality to achieve new levels of success and fulfillment while expanding their impact in their field. I learned a lot from this conversation with Michelle. So without any further ado, let's jump into it. Michelle, thank you so much for coming on today and talking with us about business differentiation. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Michèle Soregaroli 0:35
Thank you, Jake. It's great to be here. And I'm delighted to have the opportunity. So Michelle sorger. Rowley, I am a master certified coach. I've been coaching for 16 years. And I work as a professional on differentiation strategies for businesses and professional services. That's kind of my professional bio, if you will. I'm also a mom of two older children who are both University and I've been married for almost 25 years this August. So next week, it'll be 25 years. That's awesome. Congratulations.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:07
Thank you and your husband is your business partner, correct?

Michèle Soregaroli 1:09
Yes, he is. We live together. We work together. We play together. Yeah. And we're still married 25 years.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:16
Good for you guys. That's awesome. Can you give me a good definition? Please like your definition of business differentiation? Because when we first initially discussed it, to me, it seemed very similar to branding and marketing. But the more you explain things to me, it really is its own thing. Do you want to break that down for the viewers?

Michèle Soregaroli 1:35
Yeah, I'd be happy to, because it's something that I think is often misunderstood and there are a lot of nuance nuances to the three different things. So as I see them, differentiation is really more of a coaching exercise. And the reason I say that is because differentiation is as I see it, the most powerful and valuable expression of your true self. Now what I mean by that is that when I say powerful, I mean that when you are Truly differentiated, you're playing in your power zone, you're playing in your uniqueness, you're playing into your strengths and all the things that you do really, really well. What I mean by valuable is it is valuable and contributes to making the world a better place and it is useful and desired by the market. So that's differentiation. Now that comes from an inner, an inner exploration, right? It's not something that you can put on per se, it starts on the inside, and then it's expressed out. When we talk about branding. On the other hand, branding is more of a strategy. It's basically a set of actions that you take to cultivate a certain perception of your company or your brand by the market. So you're trying to create a perception or an image of who you are, and you're trying to reinforce all of those things about your company. So that's a branding exercise from from my perspective, marketing, on the other hand is more about tactics. So marketing is the activities that you do to generate interesting crave attention and generate more sales and leads. And it's about building awareness, as opposed to the strategic side, which was branding, as I said, and then differentiation is the inner stuff that is then reflected out as an expression.

Jake Van Buschbach 3:15
Gotcha. So when you and your team are doing a lot of this coaching stuff, do you notice? Do you end up helping people with a lot of the marketing and a lot of the other stuff? Or do you strictly try to keep it to the coaching?

Michèle Soregaroli 3:26
Well, differentiation coaching, we strictly stick to the coaching first, because that sets the foundation and I don't want any clouding of the issues. But I don't want our clients to start thinking about how does this look and how do I create this and how do I package it because it makes that exploration messy. But that being said, once their differentiators are established, and they understand how they are most valuable in the marketplace. At that point, they can explore branding and marketing strategies. tactics, if you will. And sometimes that'll involve new messaging and marketing or branding experts. Sometimes it's new websites, new collateral new things. But that is a reflection of the work that we've done usually. And at that point, I'm often involved, but I'm not doing that work. Yeah, I'm helping to guide the process at times, depending on who they're working with,

Jake Van Buschbach 4:24
then that makes a lot of sense because doing a little bit digging into yourself and your team of transformation catalyst, it kind of seems like you're actually just helping people take off blindfolds and kind of realize things that they've been trying to keep hidden. In one of our previous conversations, you were letting me know that when people when you ask people, what is it that makes your company unique and different? They all usually say the same thing. But if you actually just let the person explain what they do, they all sound completely different and go in a different direction. So what what are some of the ways that you help your clients kind of find that inner voice and Find with their unique strengths are?

Michèle Soregaroli 5:02
Well, I think it might be best if I start with an example or a story. So

I'll talk about myself first. because years ago, back in my earlier career, I actually worked as a financial advisor and all my expertise is around financial, sorry, professional services. So any advice based business, the differentiation work that I do can work really, really well in advice based businesses. So I was a financial advisor in the early to late 90s, early 2000s. And I spent over 10 years in that industry. Now the fascinating thing that I found in that industry was working alongside so many other advisors, planners and brokers and whatnot. I knew them all individually, of course, and I knew little bits about their offer. And I understood what it was that was unique and different about them and what made their offer truly valuable and why They could bring themselves forth in a strong way that made their offer even better. So I could see that, except that when they were marketing themselves or branding themselves, they were more or less saying so much of the same thing. Things like I want to be your trusted advisor or we give great service or We've been in business 25 years or you know, we have a great financial portfolio management process or what have you. And I was just hearing the same thing over and over again. Anyway, I found that really curious. I didn't really do much with it at that time, but I found it really curious. Move forward a few years later, and I went into, I started thinking about what it was that was important to me, according to my value system. So when I moved into being an advisor, an advisor myself later in my career, at that point, I just leave into the one thing that I felt very strongly about now, this would have been in the late 90s. And I felt very strongly about what I call fee transparency or information arbitrage. So at that time, information arbitrage simply means that one party has more information than the other. And they will take advantage of that information to their own benefit, typically, right. So information arbitrage puts you as a buyer or an investor in that case, in a really uncomfortable and difficult position because you don't know everything you don't know the industry as well as your advisor does, right. So the one thing I wanted to do was put us on the same playing field. So I started out my entire business from the ground up. Every client I spoke to I explained how I got paid. I explained the different fee structures that went with the different products that we sold that went through the different bonuses that I received, depending on what I sold, and how I was compensated and how I was pressured to be so called independent but not because there were pressures from head office wanting me to do certain things right to sell certain products. So by doing that, my peers all thought I was completely nuts. Because that was well before transparency of fees was a thing and financial services nowadays with CRM to and whatnot. But at that time, nobody talked about us. I did. And it worked beautifully. Because the first thing that happened was I built trust. Yeah. So I was leaving into a value of my own because I was uncomfortable with their feeling like we would have been, I would have an advantage. And I didn't want for a second for my clients to think that the advice that I was giving them had an internal bias that they weren't aware of. So I would my fees, tell them how it was paid. And then I would say to them, so now when I'm advising you or providing you with some recommendations, you can question the If you think that my compensation, or the pressure that I'm receiving from external forces might be at play in this advice, so I invited that challenge at any point. So that was a key differentiator in my work. And it worked beautifully. I, you know, I had great success with that strategy and clients became very loyal and generated lots of referrals, because they trusted that I was being truthful and forthright with them.

Jake Van Buschbach 9:29
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I actually have a very similar story with the way that I started this company. I was overly transparent, like people would be asking me Okay, what's, what's going on with this? What's going on with this invoice and I had a lot of early clients take advantage of it because, again, I was very, very young as 1920 years old. I didn't know a lot about negotiating, working with these larger corporations like HBO and Scotiabank. It was very easy for them to get low cost services out of me. But on the other flip side is I was able to go from taking In a couple of phone repairs off of Craigslist to having over 1000 residential clients and over 50 different full time businesses in the span of five years. So relation, thank you. Thank you very much. But I'm very refreshed to hear you say the transparency and honesty were some of the values that you brought to the table because I've noticed a similar sort of issue going on in the IoT space where a lot of clients that we end up taking over from other companies, they just assume it is black magic, and there isn't that transparency, or the breakdown of what's going on. That's why I'm so heavily focused on education. So, so far, I understand that education is one of the differentiators that we have. What are some of the more common differentiators that you're finding across the different professional industries that you're working? Oh,

Michèle Soregaroli 10:46
gosh, you know what, they're, they're so different. I have, that's what I love about what I do, because each The thing about differentiation when it's done right and when it's done from truly authentic place with the advice provider or the business leader. Those those leaders have so many things inside of them that are really important or deeply valuable to them. Things that they would not compromise on things that are, are really part of the value proposition they want to bring forward. And what I find more and more is that they're reluctant. I hear so many things like, Oh, I can't say that. Or if I did that I would lose clients, or, Well, yeah, but that wouldn't even sell or that sounds too fluffy would nobody would care about that. So there's a lot of resistance to bringing forward some of the things that are most meaningful to us. Some of the things that really, really matter to us. And so what happens with differentiation is when we can take that thing that is most meaningful, and the thing that makes you feel most valuable as well. Right? When we can take that and turn that into value to the market, and help you see as a business owner that when you've got the right clients and you have the right fit, they also value that as well. Yeah. And they deeply, there's there is an immense amount of courage required to kind of step out and say some things that are quite different and unusual. You know, I had a client now several years ago, but this particular client was in the insurance industry. And he is he's also a master of meditation and mindfulness practices were really, really important to him

Jake Van Buschbach 12:39
interesting.

Michèle Soregaroli 12:41
And this insurance advisor was not talking about that at all. Right wasn't present. So when we started talking about I said, Where is this in your business like where does this show up in your business? This it's so important to he said, Oh, no, no, no, you know, it doesn't businesses business and home is home. Life is life kind of thing. Yeah. And I said, I said, You know what? I think that there's room for that. So, trends, we go through our process and we ask lots of questions. And all this got revealed. Six years later, his entire business has been built on mindfulness and meditation philosophies around life insurance. That's amazing. And his business has taken off. He's just talking to the other days, had his best year yet, six years, and he's got a much larger team. He's absolutely on fire, totally excited and thrilled and happy, because he gets to bring all of himself into his work.

Jake Van Buschbach 13:37
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense that you reminded me of a book I'm actually reading right now it's about workaholism. And it was saying that one of the biggest challenges that a lot of people have is accepting the fact that they've actually segmented their life into different sections like you said, and you have the work you and you have the real you and you have the family, you and you have the brother, you and all these other variations and The more you can start to align those things, the more you get into, I guess what you would call the zone. And then you just start rolling and and just, you just get rocket packs on your back. So very interesting to hear you say that.

Michèle Soregaroli 14:15
It's risky. It's scary, because you know, first, the first thing that I the general resistance is around things like I'm going to lose clients Mm hmm. Or it will affect our brand, it will affect our reputation reputation in a negative way. And without exception, I have never yet had a client where their brand and their reputation has been affected in a negative way. Because ultimately, the clients that are not a fit, and the networks that they play with in that sandbox are not a fit, they find a new sandbox, they find clients that are better aligned, they have supporters and advocates who are excited about their value proposition and their work and their principles, the values, the things that they are that are important to them, and it just turns into Fire. Like, it's amazing to watch it and it just just gives me such great joy. I just love what I do, because you can turn a business around in as little as a year. That's a man. Yeah, it's quick you what happens is, in the first six months or so, it's a deep dive exploration of the really good stuff, the stuff that sets the foundation. Right? That's where we start. And there's, there is some follow through in terms of action, but what I'm looking for most is reflection and what is really true for you and what is really important for you, and I'm really good at asking those questions. Jake. So which is why I say it's a coaching issue.

Jake Van Buschbach 15:39
Yeah. So you're the Morpheus of coaches. After that

Michèle Soregaroli 15:42
six months, then you you're starting to try on a little bit of stuff, but then that next six to 12 months. That's when you start prototyping and experimenting and really getting into this innovative action on this new stuff, right? in that space of time, it doesn't take very long before you start getting some pretty powerful rewards. Without almost without exception, I can't say without but almost without exception, the I have seen countless clients with an increase in referrals within sometimes weeks. It is remarkable what can shift when you are able to articulate what's important to you why it's important to how you plan to deliver value, how your clients can benefit from that. It's just phenomenal.

Jake Van Buschbach 16:31
That makes a lot of sense. I've seen a lot of people kind of go through similar thing, especially as a younger guy. My old marketer said that you got to let your star shine, and you're gonna attract the people that you're meant to attract based on based on that those vibrations. She's a little bit more into the spirituality stuff than I am, but I think it lines up a lot with what you're saying as well as a conversation I had yesterday with IRA Thompson from Northshore digital about Google AdWords actually. You He was mentioning that a lot of his clients very much struggle with what you're talking about where he'll ask them, what are we going to talk about? What's unique about your business? What are we going to do to bring people in? And they go, Well, we do good service.

Michèle Soregaroli 17:11
Yeah. Okay. Well, you know, what? They don't know. And I see that right. This is what I deal with every day. Yeah. And they tell me what they think makes them unique and different. And it's not not anybody's fault. We all have trouble seeing ourselves. We tend to discount the things that are easy for us, we tend to discount the things that are important to us, because we're so busy being in service of the market. Exactly. Right. So we don't really pay attention to those things. It's very, very hard to pull that out. And I would suggest that the majority of my clients, if not all of them, would say that they would not have been able to do it on their own.

Jake Van Buschbach 17:48
Yeah, hundred percent. Yeah. And to reaffirm what you just said about, you may lose some clients you may I think the word transition is the best word for after speaking with yourself. And IRA now, Ira was saying that once people start to acknowledge a small sliver of what makes them unique, and again, he's a marketer, right? It's not his job to do what you're doing, it's much more beneficial for you to go get the foundation built with you. But once they do that, he was saying their recruiting gets better. All of the clients that they're getting are better and you're getting a smaller part of the pool. But it's like a VIP section. Now, instead of being in this entire pool, and you've got the grandmas and the babies, and the teenagers going nuts, it's just you and your selected crowd. And again, as you mentioned, you're just you're all on the same vibe, you're all lifting each other up. And it becomes a very good synergistic relationship between the clients, the employees and the business owner, based off of the differentiating factors, which are what is helping the CEO get out of bed every morning. So absolutely, yeah, very interesting.

Michèle Soregaroli 18:52
The other and you've touched on a really good point, because when you differentiate well, right, and this is why it's not necessarily A branding or marketing exercise, when you decide to differentiate? Well, it starts on the inside. Yeah. So the way that your company performs, as I say, you know, if I pull back the curtain, and I go into the inner workings, and I talk to your staff or I look at the way your office is organized, will it proved to me that your differentiators are authentic? Right? So how people behave on the inside behind the curtain is the greatest indication of whether or not your company is truly differentiated or whether it's just exercising a marketing initiative.

Jake Van Buschbach 19:35
Yeah, whether you're wearing a mask to meet the market or are actually being genuine.

Michèle Soregaroli 19:40
So you can be beautifully branded and still have an inauthentic experience, right? Because the branding is again about building perception. And then as you create that for the market, you want people to have a gut feeling around your their experience with company, right. So that post if you will, yeah. Right, on a stage, but behind if you open up the curtain and you kind of pull back and go does the brand, if you will, would your employees still talk that way? And would all the inner workings of the company operate in that way?

Jake Van Buschbach 20:14
Yeah, right. And I think also having that genuine parallel between yourself and your employees just to speak internally as well is so important because I've had members of my team that are no longer with us that didn't share the same values that we had. And it it, you can tell mentally, that something is off because they're not being genuine. They're filtering something. And as just a again, my job is to hire people and help people do what they need to do and put people in the correct positions. I can feel the friction between certain people, but we have other folks that have worked with us and then moved on, that still do contracting work with us. And it's just a pleasure to work with them because we don't even have to really we go over the details. We go over all the client things we go over all the technical Details. But on a emotional and communication level, things just flow like water because it's the exact same values driving us. And if I didn't express those values initially, it just wouldn't work out when I actually asked people while we're interviewing them, what are your four top values? And what are some goals you want to accomplish over the next two years that we could help you accomplish? And a lot of people are shocked when they see us ask those questions. But I'm sure that you and your team would be able to do a lot more and bring a lot more questions to the table there. What What does the the process usually look like when you're getting started with one of your clients?

Michèle Soregaroli 21:37
Um, well initially, we start out with I just do some deep dive questions. And what I'm looking for at the starting point is key themes. So what I don't like to get into too much detail too early on, because I'm a very big picture. I'm a very big thinker and a very big picture thinker. So I want to make sure that we start with the big umbrella and then we distill there. Yeah. So the themes are about, you know, how do you uniquely solve problems? And how do you and then how does that create value? Those are usually the two themes that I'm looking for around when you uniquely approach a problem, and you you create value through your solution, what does it look like? And then the third part is that that I'm wanting to know is, and was that important? What Why do you care about that particular approach? If you take that approach? Why do you choose to take that approach? Right, there's usually an underlying reason there. So I like to start with that piece first. And then from there, we get into what I call commitments or promises. So what I want there is delivering on the things that are truly important to you. So this is why again, differentiation, the exercise of coaching through it is an inside job, because I'm actually not that interested in what the clients want, yet. Not right. I really want to know what you want to do. Right. What do you want to do for your clients? That is really important to you? Because it's important to you. Yeah, right. So those commitments, then you can really deliver something that is sincere and authentic that you are proud of, and that you're 100% behind. Right? Then we look at things like guiding principles. And the reason I'm looking at principles or philosophies is because the philosophies that you have or the beliefs that you have, will determine or inform your actions. So I want to understand if you do that thing, if you have if you act that way, what's underneath that? What's the belief that's creating that action? Yeah, right. And when we can start to dig into this, what happens is, with each level, they get like the iceberg, right? They get clearer and clearer and clearer. Yeah. And what I do in each of those exercises is help our clients see with with so much clarity, because Cuz I don't take the first answer with a second or third.

Unknown Speaker 24:04
It takes a long time, because I keep poking and poking and poking you might be a little inconsistent or this is what I heard. Is that what you meant?

Unknown Speaker 24:12
Yeah. Oh, no, no, that's not what I meant at all.

Jake Van Buschbach 24:15
I can definitely see why this would take a year, just to even peel back some of the layers that people have set up. And getting those ideas implemented, and then accepted by a lot of staff and accepted by clients. Yeah, absolutely.

Michèle Soregaroli 24:32
It's a beautiful and gentle process. Yeah, that's the thing I love about it. Right. Right. Right. After we do all of that then one of the the key thing that really anchors it all is I go back to big picture. And now I'm like, Okay, let's talk about purpose. Yeah, we understand what you're all about. Now, let's talk about what you care about. Right? And so from there, once they have a really big purpose, and they understand what their bigger intention is, and again, I'm not I'm not looking for worldwide Change your world domination it can be. It can be that their purpose can be very, very small and scale. And that's totally fine with me. It doesn't matter to me what their purpose is. It just matters to me that they know what it is.

Jake Van Buschbach 25:11
Yeah, exactly.

Michèle Soregaroli 25:12
And then from there, we talk about strategies, and we get into the 20, what I call the 20 year game plan. So anything that I do is the work that I do around the differentiators. What I tell them if they meters is that you can actually transport these same differentiators to a different business to a different industry, across channels, right? It is not meant to last two, three years. It's meant to last you 25 years. And it's meant to carry you every moment of every day, no matter what industry or what business you're in. So it really helps the individual, the entrepreneur, the leader, the founder of the company, understand what is at the essence or the Heart of what they do day in and day out, and it helps them lead with such clarity.

Jake Van Buschbach 26:06
That makes a lot of sense. I was gonna say that you probably helping a lot of people avoid getting hit by a midlife crisis because some of them get

Unknown Speaker 26:14
out of midlife crisis.

Jake Van Buschbach 26:15
Yeah, yeah, exactly. 100% Yeah. Because I can imagine that there's a lot of people again, that like they have their personal life, they have their their family life, they have their their career life, and they've been lying to themselves about more than one area. And I know that you're very clearly focused on their career aspect. But I think when you help people start that journey, they're going to be subconsciously starting to analyze things going, why, why was I late for my kids recital? Why, why didn't I take my wife out last week, you know, I mean, all these little things, and they're gonna start going, is this really my value or have I just been telling myself that this is my value, and as they start to discover these things, I can see somebody going from like you said, if you have an IT company, and then all of a sudden you want to sell that and get into a different profession or If you're just doing something with the family, those values are gonna be in the back of your head at all times. I've recently started trying to do that a lot of mindfulness stuff and writing out my values. And I really, really appreciate the fact that what you're saying as well is that you like to segment it. And you kind of like to keep people focused on what they need to work on at that moment in time. Because, again, someone like myself, I'm struggling a lot, doing what you're actually helping your clients with. Because I keep jumping ahead. Am I okay? Well, I need to write this down and get this down, becomes a scattered, overwhelming mess. What are some of the ways that you kind of help people stay grounded and help them kind of accept the fact that they've got this tremendous amount of mental internal work to do?

Michèle Soregaroli 27:45
Oh, that part's easy, actually, because I don't expect anything more than what they can do. Hmm. And I recognize because my clients are small businesses, they're, you know, revenues are in the million to $10 million mark teams are somewhere between five and 20 typically so quite small which I love because I like working with speedboats. But what I tell them is, look, you've got a you've got a very busy business and a very busy life, usually with families Not always. And so I try to make it very bite sized bits. Right. My one of my core mottos is small steps climb mountains. Just don't stop. Yeah. Right. So small steps over time. So we do little bits. And so why this is why coaching is such a beautiful way to draw this out. Because six months from today, I can guarantee you that not only will you know who you are, what you stand for and what you're all about. You'll know your differentiators. You'll how you'll be able to articulate them, you will understand how to share them with your team. And six months from today, you are set for the next 30 years. Yeah. And then it's really about refining and being in action right then you get into strategy and tactics. But once you've set that foundation, you don't have set it again. You're done. Yeah, I have clients who've got the this blueprint, we call it because that's the core. I've got clients who've got a 10 year old blueprint. And they've told me that it still serves them. And it's still true 10 years later,

Jake Van Buschbach 29:16
that makes complete sense to me. I can imagine. Again, this is a life changing sort of program for a lot of people because they're realizing what's real to them after decades or years of lying to themselves saying, well, the public wants me to do this, I should be like this because I think other people want this. And then most of the time, it's an empty promise because they don't even know what other people expect about them. They don't know what their clients really want. But when you can be transparent with people and be honest with them, I've learned that people will tell you a tremendous amount of information about themselves. And by having those conversations with people. You learn about a lot about yourself at the same time. And again, having somebody that's able to take that information and use in a practical way to fuel the growth of a business, like you said, like a speedboat. I think that's absolutely invaluable. So I'm very glad you're here on with us today to talk about this stuff. Thank you.

Michèle Soregaroli 30:11
Yeah, the thing about it's interesting, it's,

you know, most people are trying to do good work. And that's, that's the thing that it breaks my heart. And that's why I do what I do. Because most of us are trying to do good work. We're trying to be really good entrepreneurs, we're trying to be good and valuable to our clients we're trying to lead Well, most of us are trying to do good work. And when we are torn inside with what we think is right, or what we think we should do, or sometimes we're just not investing enough reflection time to know what we stand for. That stuff is it's relatively easy to fix. And then it's and then it's more about the courageous implementation of that and the follow through of that, right. And so sometimes when we open up That horizon and release that it's, it's truly amazing to watch it. Because people sometimes don't have that awareness. They just don't even know yet right? The same reason that articulate, you put 100 financial advisors on a stage and you ask them all what their differentiators are, and you're gonna get at best 20 different answers. Mm hmm. Right, you're not gonna get very many.

It's just they don't know. They can't figure it out.

Jake Van Buschbach 31:28
Yeah. Since since what you're doing is it reaches people at such a fundamental level. Has technology affected what you're doing it all in any way as the digital age accelerated things I can imagine it would make the pressure on the clients to try to conform to be even worse than it would have been when you originally started this now with all the social media and LinkedIn and everyone's got to say the same thing at the right time and all this kind of stuff. Have you noticed a big change in since the digital age and social media has come into the picture

Michèle Soregaroli 32:01
In terms of clients?

That's an interesting question. I haven't noticed. Yes, I've noticed a change in terms of how to

put their messaging out into market in a sense because of social media and online options. Now there's more and more of that it used to be just a website. Well, it didn't it used to be a brochure, paper brochure.

But

the fundamental problem is still the same. Right? It's so there are lots of lots more shiny distractions out there. Yeah. Lots more opportunities to, to take yourself off point, if you will. But that problem has always been the case for as long as I mean, I started my first entrepreneurial venture 10 years old, so nothing has changed in all those years. It's still there's still tons of distractions, there's still different ways to do the same thing, different opportunities and what what the entrepreneur has to get very Very good at is distilling and filtering out all the noise. Right. And so when they are very clear on decor things in their business and the value proposition that they want to deliver, and what makes them unique, as soon as they're clear on that a lot of it just naturally falls off because it doesn't make sense. It's not the right. It's not the right playground, it's not the right platform, it's not the right way to engage, you know, it gets a lot easier to make those decisions, but that from so has it changed? Yes, in the sense that there are more choices hasn't changed in terms of how the entrepreneur is dealing with it? No, because they're still scattered, and they still can't make decisions. Yeah. And it was the same 30 years ago. So

I don't know if that answers your question. But

Jake Van Buschbach 33:48
yeah, it does. It's very reminiscent of what Steve Jobs says actually, which is the hardest thing you have to do as a CEO is learning to say no. And it's very much like I believe Warren Buffett's the same thing. It's you To say no to people and to say no to these projects, and you might have a fantastic idea, but you've got to say no to it. I think Warren Buffett said right out right out the top 25 projects that you want to accomplish in your life, and then you scratch off the bottom 20 and you treat them like a virus and you stay as far away from them as possible. And you work incredibly hard on those five main priorities that you have. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Michèle Soregaroli 34:25
And that's another approach that I take with clients. It's very similar. I just say, you know, one thing at a time, you if you try to take on too much, it's dilutes all your energy and you get nowhere. Mm hmm.

Jake Van Buschbach 34:36
So, that makes a lot of sense. When you when you have this whole COVID situation going on as well. has this affected anything for you at all? Because I would imagine that, now that we've been talking about this in more detail, it's actually even better for people because I've seen so much of this corporatization going on and a lot of these small businesses are starting to get kind of squeezed by a lot of the regulations that are going on and so Something that seems to be helping my business is the fact that when I'm talking to people, I'm incredibly transparent about things. And the people that I'm interviewing with or that we're doing discovery meetings for, they seem to really appreciate that in a time where all of these corporations are the only option like I can't go down the street anymore to the hardware store that a couple blocks from my house, I have to go to Home Depot. A lot of the butchers that I was going to are now gone and I now have to go to Costco. So anytime I meet someone like yourself or the other small business owners, I'm interviewing, I get very, I just like it a lot. I get excited to talk to people like yourself because you have that passion. And I think that what you're doing, especially during the time of COVID would make it even easier for people to highlight their passion and what makes them unique. Have you noticed a change at all since the COVID situation started about four months ago?

Michèle Soregaroli 35:54
Oh, well, there's definitely opportunity for sure. The the change that I've seen is coming twofold there is opportunity as you've already highlighted, the bigger risk right now is when the small businesses are experiencing a crunch or they're experiencing downturn in revenues or what have you. This is when they start to compromise, right? Fear creates that compromising on things like values and all that they've set up over the last many years or short term, however long they've been in business. The risk in doing that is that as soon as we come out of COVID, they've breached the trust of their followers. Right. So the integrity in the differentiation is very much about integrity. Right? Because that's what trust if you carry, carry who you are and your values through the good times in the bad times, then people will trust you that much more. If you're carrying the good times. This is the interesting thing about consumers which is why our clients are so skeptical because this has happened to them so many times in the last week. Whatever years through history really, in the good times, it's easy to look good. It's easy to act good. It's easy to be generous, and it's easy to align with the things that you say are important to you. But the minute things get tough, it's very common for us to start compromising on those things in the interest of survival, right? And consumers, our clients are watching. Right? They're paying attention. And so then they wonder you were there for me during the good times, are you here for me during the bad times? And if you're not, that is what creates consumer skepticism, right? Because they see that you're doing different things, or you're not acting the same way as you were when times were good. Yeah, you're not treating them the same way. So that is the biggest risk that I see in all of this quite apart from revenue loss and all the other things that COVID we don't need to get into what COVID has done for some of the smaller businesses. In terms of opportunity, though, for those smaller Businesses that can, if they can really what I'm encouraging is for them to even ramp up, ramp up in a bigger way, show how committed they are to being valuable and really delivering an exceptional offer to the market. And when they do that effectively at a time like this Holy mackerel, does it stand out? Yeah. Right. So it's really a time to hunker down. And that's the opportunity because we notice as clients we notice and guess what we get to do. When we're a client of that business. We get to brag about that business. You don't get to share how fortunate we are to have learned about this business to be working with this business to have this supplier what have you, right, and it causes us to bring the good stories up. We bubble up about those good stories at times like this.

Jake Van Buschbach 38:49
Yeah, I couldn't agree more with you. We've had a lot of people just say thank God, we had you guys on our team. You guys got to set up so quickly. You were so prepared for us to be able to move over you were so flexible We've our contracts with clients usually say five o'clock or six o'clock or seven o'clock, we're done. And we were working with some clients until one two in the morning, get everybody set up remotely. And it was just something I was happy to do for people at no charge. And just, you know, you got to be there for your people. And you got to be there for your team. And a lot of the guys now they're saying, Well, you know, I don't really want to come and work in from the office, can I just work from home and if anything, as a business owner, I've noticed that they've improved working remotely. So again, genuinely speaking, my values are my team has to be happy. And if they're doing their job better than before, and they're happier and they're more comfortable. Why would Why would I want to keep this kind of sanitized corporate rule in place where it's you have to come in, you have to work nine to five, you have to do it. When Truly speaking, I don't care. You know, I care that when my clients call the phone gets picked up, and just by sticking to those values during this time, I think like you said people are able to pick up and go Okay, we We want this guy on our corner during this situation next time. And if they were to call me and I were to be disingenuous when they're stressed out, and I'm stressed out, they would pick up on that even more and say, I don't think I can trust him anymore. Something's off. And I think literally now that stack up.

Michèle Soregaroli 40:17
Yeah, they do. We know, we know. And we can intuitively read that right. And so that's that's the opportunity for businesses now is to really show up and bring that integrity even make it even louder. In other words,

Jake Van Buschbach 40:30
that makes a lot of sense.

Michèle Soregaroli 40:31
Yeah, get bigger with it. Yes, it will serve you well.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:35
What are some of the mistakes that you see people making while they try to differentiate themselves or differentiate their business?

Michèle Soregaroli 40:42
biggest one, Jake is lack of patience, lack of patience with the process. So in the fast paced world in which we live,

entrepreneurs have learned to expect faster results and when you're doing with people, it doesn't work that way. People don't change that fast, right transformation doesn't happen that fast. And when you're looking to transform your business, as I see it, I'd started to talk about this a little earlier. But you've got six months of setting the foundation. And then at that point, you've started to integrate it, but you haven't completely adopted it and fully committed, you're, you're in but it's still a little uncomfortable, and you still try to start trying it on. The next 12 months or so, is when you're kind of in a period of innovation, experimenting, pilot programs, prototyping, trying new things, exploring right, and seeing what's really sticking and what's really working. And that's the time when you're what I would call practicing. Right? The next 18 months is where the hockey stick starts to happen, right? It's that that tip of the hockey stick where that's when Things start to click, because guess what your clients have been watching you for 18 months, right? They've been paying attention to a little bit that you were doing internally, six months, because you're telling them stuff, then you're going out and doing stuff for the next 12 months or so. And the next, then they've been watching you. And then so as you start to refine, and that next 18 months, that's when you're refining and honing and really focusing and really committing to certain things that really work that land and resonate with you as a company and with your clients as well. So your value proposition just gets stronger and stronger and stronger. And that 18 months, three years in your business is just rocking, right? So the average cycle is roughly three months to significant transformation. But what I find is, when I say we need to spend six months on the foundation, you're like, Oh, my gosh, this happened a lot. Can we do it faster, I'm like, I can go as fast as you want to go. And so we accelerate the process and literally within Six weeks I like to slow down. Yeah, that is way too fast. Because there's a period of adoption, integration and bodying kind of sitting with it. People need time. So that would be the one thing, whether it's an initiative, a project, an experiment. One of my best examples of this is when social media was really, you know, 10 years ago, when people were starting to explore it. Countless entrepreneurs, right, they would open a Twitter account, try it on, see how it went. And then three months later, it didn't work. We just quit. We got no results. You know, three months on, Twitter's not going to do it. You're going to need a lot longer than three months for your market to trust you that you're there permanently, every day. Yeah, for them, right. It takes time for the market to trust that you're being sincere and you're not just marketing to them.

Jake Van Buschbach 43:52
Oh, yeah. Hundred percent,

Michèle Soregaroli 43:53
right. Yeah. So this is where I see the biggest challenge is that they're expecting too much too soon. Soon. And when the clients that I work with when they recognize that it's just a pace, small steps, climb mountains, be consistent, be disciplined with it, keep showing up. And I promise you, the market will reward you. And they always do. So when when you are able to stick with the plan and just keep going it Wait, even when you're not getting results when you're not getting the feedback when you're not getting the rewards that you're expecting. Right. You're getting some but you're not necessarily getting the acceleration that you expect. Yeah, that doesn't happen for a good 18 months.

Jake Van Buschbach 44:33
Yeah. So just slow down and be patient, make sure you understand what you're doing. Has the peredo principle come into play at all with what you're doing the 8020 rule. So let's say that, again, 20% of the person's value structure is what's doing 80% of the heavy lifting inside of their business. Have you noticed that happens at all if they write out let's say five of their core values, but only one of them is really benefiting the business and then some of them may even be detrimental. Have you seen that at all?

Michèle Soregaroli 45:01
Well, I don't work with core values per se. So what I do is the work that I do is actually taking their core values and giving them action. I like to see core values in action. So all the work I do is around that. But no, I would not say that if only one of your core values has traction, and the others don't. There's something weird about that. Yeah, I'm not saying that at all. So core values, and the basic themes and the things that you stand for what I think is that they should all be in sync. So what I say is in, for example, in a client engagement, let's say you have five core values in your example, right? If you have five core values, if you've got in your client engagement, if only one of those core values is actually being honored in a reciprocal kind of way, and four of them are not being honored. Your tables gonna fall Over Yeah, right, it won't stand. So usually what I talk about is that you need them all to be supporting the core values are like a table. And in your case, your table would have five legs. Yeah. Right. And all five of those legs need to be fully and completely engaged or your table is lopsided. Right, that makes it a little off kilter. So it's just a weak point. It's a weak point in your offer. It's a weak point in your internal structure. It's a weak point in your leadership. It's a weak point in your team. It's just a weak point. So what I like to see is that your core your core stuff, is is never compromised on. And then that turns into your differentiators and your value proposition as you're delivering. Right? So that's how I would see it.

Jake Van Buschbach 46:54
That makes sense. How would you recommend that people kind of put their best foot forward before they start working with someone like yourself, so let's say that somebody is at the level where my business is out, let's say, because I probably wouldn't be at the same revenue stream that I would need to be at, I wouldn't have the amount of growth that's going on that I need. But the things that you're talking about, I'm actually already starting to chase after just by accident. But so I've already kind of started this foundational value thing and a couple of these other discussions that we've had so far. But is there anything specific that you would recommend people kind of do as a prep work before they reach out to yourself and transformation catalyst?

Michèle Soregaroli 47:38
No, it's there's no prep work, per se. But if you're trying to do a little bit of work on your own, I think is the question. Let me give you an example of myself. So the kind of prep work you can do as in an advice based business where you are a service based business, right. Here's an example. So I became a coach. In 2004, I got certified. And I realized very quickly that I didn't want to be a life coach. So I knew I wanted to be a business coach, because I love business and I love entrepreneurs. So very quickly, I was able to distill that I wanted to work with entrepreneurs, and I wanted to work in business. Great. So then I just tilted a little further and I thought, okay, you know, what? The business that I've known my entire life, because I grew up in the environment and ever since it's been professional services in one form or another. So I've been involved and I know professional services inside out, particularly finance, real estate law. I know those industries really, really well insurance as well. So I thought okay, so professional services is where I can really add most value because I understand it. Then I just started distilling and I got into coaching more and more and, of course back then in 2004 2005, even when the 2007 coaching was really about accountability. So this is a really critical example of how differentiation can work effectively. So, accountability is how the coaching industry first started helping you be accountable to your desires and your intentions, right? Wow. I'm not really very good at holding people accountable. I never have been good at people. I've got to, you know, children 18 to 20 years old, and I've never hold them accountable ever for doing their homework ever at all, ever. It's not something I like to do. I don't want to do it. And so clients were asking me to hold them accountable. I was like, Hmm, okay, I don't want to do that. And not only do I not want to do it, I'm also really bad at it. Not good at the whole accountability thing. So I had to really think about that. And this is where your differentiators start to come up. Right? Because for me that was bubbling up. Yeah. So what I thought about was I thought, you know what, the reason I don't want to hold people accountable is because I don't want to be a nag. And I also don't want them to depend on me to perform. Right? Because that doesn't work. Yeah. So I thought instead of being accountable to me, why don't we find things that you're accountable to yourself for because they're that important to you, and you're inspired by them? And then you're far more likely to perform on your own, you know, need me for that. Right, then it's more fun for both of us. holding people accountable. Right. Yeah. So, so those are that's an example. So ever since then, and it was early on. Like I said, I think it was around 2006 2007. Very quickly. I was like this accountable accountability things not working for me. So I'm very clear with any client today who comes and says, I'm coming to you because I really think I need you to hold me accountable.

Yeah, absolutely. got the wrong coach. Yeah.

No, I can. I'm not good at it.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:45
To be honest with you. It sounds like they found the right coach, because I have a lot of friends of mine as well, like you said with the accountability thing. I think that that mindset of I need you to hold me accountable. That's like a very foundational pillar that needs to be adjusted for someone to be an independent adult. Like if you can't even hold yourself accountable. How are you supposed to do anything in life? I over the last four weeks here, I think I've lost about 18 pounds. And I'm not. Yeah, thank you. It's just the covid 18. But, yeah, so I didn't do that by having my friend call me every morning going, Hey, man, 630 you go for your run yet? Hey, buddy. Maybe you shouldn't have that McDonald's. You know what I mean? It's me going, Okay, I'm gonna sit here at my desk. I'm gonna eat broccoli as a snack and drink my two liters of water. Yeah, that's it. That's just me holding myself accountable. And if I had a vendor, or a business partner or anyone else, and I went to them and said, Hey, buddy, I really am excited about this project, but I'm gonna need you to nag me every day to make sure I don't fall off this wagon. That's not gonna work.

Unknown Speaker 51:50
Well, it doesn't sound like you're very excited.

Jake Van Buschbach 51:52
Yeah, exactly. So if I was gonna come to you for your services, and I said, Hey, are you gonna hold me accountable with this and that that would be the first thing in your position, I would say, okay, we need to address this first off and figure out, like you said, What is it that's getting you out of bed in the morning? Let's hold you accountable using those things as a motivator. I think that's an awesome thing that you're doing for people.

Unknown Speaker 52:12
Yeah, well, it's way more fun. Yeah, hundred percent. And I know it works, because I've got two kids who I've never held accountable for anything. And they're both so far tracking fine.

Jake Van Buschbach 52:21
That's great. That's great. So

Michèle Soregaroli 52:23
yeah. But yeah, that's so that's an example right of and so it's what you might see as we were talking about earlier, is had I been fearful of communicating that because of course, coaching was built on accountability. I would write I would not be able to develop the business that I have today. Right? Because the fear is that if I say I am not going to hold you accountable as a client, my the fear could be that that client could walk up and say I need an accountability partner. And guess what? That's totally okay. Yeah. Because I have no business holding you accountable because I'm so bad at it. You're better by somebody else anyway.

Jake Van Buschbach 53:01
Yeah, if you're looking for that kind of things, and in my position, I would go, why did this professional turn me away? And then I would go, oh, because this is my problem. And then I would think about it and go, Okay, I need to be able to hold myself accountable, then I can work with someone as successful as Michelle is. And I think that that it like you said, it's the short term fear thing. If you can avoid having a reactionary mindset to short term fear, you're going to unlock a lot of different potential inside of yourself. And that's, that's why I'm not really surprised to hear that your program isn't only going to affect people for professionally,

Michèle Soregaroli 53:37
right? Oh, yeah, we cover a lot of personal ground as well. But even my client, like I mentioned earlier, the insurance advisor who ended up having a practice based in mindfulness meditation, right. I mean, in life insurance is one of the oldest most traditional businesses on the planet. Right. And it was it was challenging to enter into that world where he was well regarded. And had a ton of expertise and history in the industry, and to come forward into transition his business towards that it was difficult and it took some courage. And he found, as I mentioned that that when he leaned in, it only need you only need a little bit of feedback. Yeah, right. You only need a few people to go, that's fantastic. I'm with you. Can I join you in your sandbox? Right, I'm alongside. And that can fuel more. And as you get more and more positive feedback and ignore the naysayers who are saying, Are you completely crazy, right? and ignore them? That's okay. Because they're not your people anyway, just like for In my case, the clients who choose as I say, if you want to be held accountable, why don't we find something important for you that you can hold yourself accountable to right? Yeah. And if that resonates, then we get to go and have a ton of fun together. Absolutely. And I get to attract a whole bunch of people who want to have that kind of fun together who want that kind of coaching. relationship you want that kind of life for themselves? Yeah, that gets really, really great for me. But someone else might not enjoy that maybe they actually are really good at holding people accountable. And that's their thing. And I think that's fantastic, because some people need that. And that's okay.

Jake Van Buschbach 55:13
Yeah, hundred percent. I totally agree with that. I was actually having a very similar discussion this weekend with someone just saying that the more people you can have in your corner that share in my opinion, it's a growth mindset. That's one of the most important things for me, especially again, being a younger guy. There's a lot of people that are fine hitting their prime in high school or in their last college year, and I'm definitely not one of those people I want to be just, I remember I used to annoy people, because I have so many questions. And I'm always gonna be like that. And now I've accepted it and I know when to harsh a little bit. But having a little platform like this where I can ask people like yourself questions is absolutely fantastic. But having a group of people that you vibe with, and you share those core values with whatever they may be. Everyone gets lifted up in And my experience. So to get away from the individual business owner really quickly, when you're working with them in the next phase like the 18 months following. Do you equip them with any tools to kind of empower their team to function the same way as they've gone through? Or what do you usually do when they're working with their teams?

Michèle Soregaroli 56:22
So my longest running client is 14 years. And we've been

Jake Van Buschbach 56:25
meeting amazing

Michèle Soregaroli 56:26
every, you know, 14 years consistently. Yeah. And so what happens is, once we have the foundation, the tools that they need, I quit the leaders to lead. Right? That's what I do. I do that very well. I equip them to lead. There are times when they need support, in which case we do come in periodically. But what I'm most interested in is that they develop the leadership qualities in themselves to help build new leaders within their company. Right. So there are a few tools I'm not I'm again, I'm a coach. I'm not a consultant. So with coaching, I'm more interested in giving the leader the skills they need to have in order to take their company where they want it to go and lead from the platform of their differentiation.

Jake Van Buschbach 57:15
Yeah, thanks a lot of sense,

Michèle Soregaroli 57:17
right? So yeah, so that's what I work on. And that's really,

when you're coaching behaviors, right? It's about coaching behaviors. So how are you showing up? How are you articulating your messaging? What is the structure that you're using to present or share, communicate? Right? So all those little things, they're very nuanced, but I treat everything I do I treat as human to human right. It's not about a tool or a structure or process. It's really just people. Yeah, and people will be effective in different ways. So my job is to help everybody be effective in the way that is most powerful for them. I don't think that any particular tool necessarily can is best for everybody. So yeah. There, you know, there are some tools that are really good out there. There's a few, you know, sometimes a profile, some kind of can be really valuable. But when you're in a coaching platform, learning new skills, it's really about having an insight trying something new, just like you would if you're learning a new sport or something, right, you learn, you learn one thing, you keep trying it until you get it right. Then you practice and practice. And as you're practicing, you might start to learn a second one, because the first one is getting easier. Right? It's just bit by bit.

Jake Van Buschbach 58:39
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Yeah, because I think even some tools that would be beneficial for certain personality types would be detrimental for others. So

Michèle Soregaroli 58:49
yeah, I'm a believer in simplicity. I'm a real believer in simplicity. So I think the more tools and the more things that you are getting caught up in the more complicated the process. becomes, and it actually is a detriment to your own self. Your personal growth? Yeah. So to an extent. So, you know, there's there are different schools of thought around that. But that's my approach. And of course, it works for me, because that's my philosophy. But there are other coaches who use a lot of tools. And they're very, very effective, very successful, because of their philosophies and how they approach their coaching engagements. So I think again, it depends on the individuals, and how you how you what you need, right? Yeah, as a client, and how my approach can be most effective for you. And if there's a fit, that's a match. That's brilliant. If there's not, that's okay. Right. Yeah. Hundred percent. What else? Yeah, yeah. And that's where the courage comes in, is recognizing that we can't be everyone to all people. Yeah. And we won't be effective in serving everybody. We just can't be a perfect match for every single person. Possible.

Jake Van Buschbach 59:58
Absolutely. Do you have any resources, other people in your field market leaders, any blogs or anything like that the recommend people follow to kind of just add to their social media feeds or start following as a separate website to kind of keep up to date with this kind of mindset and this kind of Outlook and these kind of these circles that you're on.

Michèle Soregaroli 1:00:20
I mean, I've got books and whatnot coming out my ears, but just off the top of my head. One of the there were a couple of books that I thought were very, very insightful. The first one you actually touched on are the book mindset by Carol Dweck. I don't know if you're familiar with it. She talks about growth and fixed mindsets. So as a leader, and as someone who has a team, as well as clients, it's a great read to understand how we can not only have a growth or fixed mindset, but also how you can put someone in a growth and fixed mindset by accident, or intentionally as the case may be. Yeah. So that was really Good one of the one of the books that I referenced many times with clients is called atomic habits. Written by James clear, yeah. And the reason I like it is because small steps climb mountains. Yep. And he helps you understand the little things that you can do one step at a time, that can make a massive difference

Jake Van Buschbach 1:01:23
that's in my stack. Actually, I've got that in my bookshelf right now it's coming up. haven't read it yet.

Michèle Soregaroli 1:01:29
If you want, you know, if you want a really juicy read on things that could be core philosophies, guiding principles, values, that kind of thing. Ray Dalio, his book principles is excellent. It's a tome I think it's 1600 pages or something. Yeah, it's a tome but it is. It gives a really, really solid understanding of the role of key principles or values or what have your key differentiators and how to leverage them. So it's got an Business component and life component. You don't have to read the whole book, because it's divided into so you can read just business or just life

quick.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:09
But that one's also great. So the three of them between those three, they're they're quite

Michèle Soregaroli 1:02:13
different. And you know, I, I'd certainly recommend those, but I've got hundreds in terms of our own stuff. I do a lot of we've relatively recently launched a YouTube channel and there's 25 videos or something like that up on there, talking about little snippets of differentiation. So if you're just looking to go a little deeper, you could go there.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:02:36
And that's just transformation catalyst on YouTube. Yeah, okay. Perfect. We'll make sure to link to that down below in the description for people. Yeah.

Michèle Soregaroli 1:02:44
So that's probably where I would

guide you to start.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:02:48
That's great. I've been reading, relax, focus succeed, I think is what the book is called. It's a little bit cringy in the title, it's by Karl polishchuk. But, again, it does talk a lot about the topic. Folks that we've discussed today like writing out everything that you're getting out of bed for in the morning, identifying if your behaviors, aligning with these things, figuring out how segmented your brain is, and how much of these characteristics that you have may be toxic, and you think that they're positive. But when you actually reflect on yourself, and you stop trying to please everybody, you'll find out that they're actually counter to your internal beliefs, and you become disassociated. Because when you're acting and you're saying things and you're just going through your daily life, you're actually not moving in the direction that your inner self wants to move in. So yeah, I think that pretty much every business owner that I know would benefit tremendously from reading the books you recommended, and and speaking with you for even a small period of time. No worries. Do you have anything else you wanted to touch on before we start to wrap up? I

Michèle Soregaroli 1:03:51
don't think so. I just encourage everybody to be brave.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:03:56
Yeah, I think that's great. Because I think the the main thing takeaways for me today would be to really focus on honest messaging, trying to figure out what my values are and what I'd like my team's values to be not being afraid to stand up for those values, and not being worried about change, because change is inevitable. And it's going to get better or it's going to get worse. And you may as well just go with the flow and start to realize what it is you truly care about and move in that direction. I think that does it. So thank you so much for coming on today. Michelle, I really appreciate it.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:29
Thank you. It's been really a delight, Jake. I appreciate it. It's just been great to have this conversation. So

Jake Van Buschbach 1:04:34
absolutely. Yeah, you're welcome back anytime. So I'm gonna make sure we throw the links in the description. So if anybody would like to get in touch with Michelle and her team over at transformation catalyst, please use the links in the description down below. And again, thank you so much for coming on today. Michelle, I really

Unknown Speaker 1:04:50
appreciate it. Pleasure. Absolutely.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:04:52
Okay. We'll talk to you soon. Bye. I hope so. Bye for now. I think that does it for today's video. If you could please leave a like on this video. It really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please hit subscribe. If you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest you'd like to see on the show, please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day and see you all soon.

Accounting Tips for Canadian Businesses During...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hello everybody hope you're having a great day. My name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today we're gonna be talking about accounting and tips for small businesses during the Age of COVID-19 with a good friend of mine, Brian gray from green associates on the North Shore so if you could please leave a like on this video really helps Brian and I out if you want to see more videos like this, please subscribe to the channel. If you have a suggestion for a future video Please make sure to email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca or leave a comment down below. So now that that's out of the way, and I know the times are tough right now for small and medium businesses in Canada due to COVID-19. And Brian has spent a lot of time looking into different subsidies and strategies to make things a little bit more manageable for business owners in the Greater Vancouver area. So we're going to be breaking down topics like Seba today the Canadian emergency business account, ce Ws, the Canadian emergency wait subsidy, t Ws, the temporary wage subsidy and a number of other topics. So I'd like to give Brian A big thank you for coming on today, Brian, how's your day going?

Brian Gray 1:03
Well, so far, so good jank. Thanks very much for asking. Thanks for having me on your on your channel here. This has been delightful.

Unknown Speaker 1:10
No worries. I'm really excited to talk with you today because I know a lot of other business owners like myself are fairly confused with what's going on. The government hasn't been explicitly clear with what they're doing to help us out. And I've learned a lot from just speaking with you privately about this stuff. So I'm very excited to share some of your knowledge with the public today. How's your day going? so far? anything crazy happening?

Unknown Speaker 1:36
Well, you know, speaking of the Seba loan if we want to just jump right into that, I mean, I had some conversations this morning just with two clients on the on that exact issue. I don't know if we can just go driving right into it if you want.

Unknown Speaker 1:51
Yeah, let's do it. What is Seba just so people know and then let's.

Unknown Speaker 1:56
Yeah, so see what is the Canadian emergency business account. It's a $40,000 interest. free loan till December 20 December 31 2022. And if you repay it, which the details are not quite clear, but if you repay it by December 31 2022, the 10,000 of that $40,000 loan is forgiven. Now, it's not free of course, it's taxable. It's considered a subsidy a government subsidy. But even so it might be the the 10,000 really helps. I mean, in some businesses, it's going to make the difference. And in others, it's going to be just the like icing on the cake. But having $40,000 in, in your business bank account, not knowing if you're going to need it or not, is a nice security blanket for many, many small business owners and the people I've been speaking to, some of them are even unaware of the fact that there they may be eligible. The rules changed in the last few weeks. Expanding the the Seba loan program from having to have a teacher summary and to the tune of $20,000 of wages paid in 2019, to having what they call $40,000 in non deferrable expenses, you'll have to forgive me because most of the claims I've been doing are based on the wage criteria. But the $40,000 non transferable expenses is something that many small business owners actually do have, they just don't realize it. When it goes through their accounting statements, you might find that, you know, even a $200,000 gross revenue, you're gonna have $40,000 in expenses, they're quite likely. The guys that we're speaking with this morning, they've got several companies and we were looking at some of the other ones that they've got going with, where the wages aren't quite up to 20 grand, they just got some part timers in there. But when we look back to see whether or not there's $40,000 of expenditures, well, I basically left it up to them. I said, Look, you know, you probably do, you just need to go and look and so They're on the road now to trying to see if they can get a couple $40,000 see belongs. And again, not to be agreements or anything, it's just more of a security blanket. In this particular case, one of the many ways where this COVID-19 has really taken, taken the wind out of their sails that there's nothing going on and they got to pay rent, they got to keep the employee going, and they've got to pay debts and things like that. So it's gonna really, really help and another one where it's a similar idea, or he just called the other day where I actually found a client on my cell phone on the way back from lunch one day and I said, you know, did you consider these wage subsidies because I've been emailing you and he's not responding. I finally got a look at things and amongst the wage subsidy on the CIB alone, I think he said about $85,000 dropped into his bank account. So, not that he's he phoned me up to say thank you, I would have never thought of this. So even though the media has it played out on the on the TV, you know, Trudeau was on TV almost, or Yeah, he was on TV on the internet, almost every day during that whole COVID thing explaining the subtleties. But you know, business owners often just think, you know, this is just another tactic to get you, you know, and I, I think, really in the in the long run, the liberals are trying to help they're doing a reasonably good job. I, you know, I'm not, you can say my political preference is not the liberals, but given the fact that they stepped up to the plate. I think it's been quite good for Canada.

Unknown Speaker 5:41
Yeah, absolutely. Again, politics aside, I think that again, having that extra $40,000 for my business and being able to help my employees out and make sure we're keeping food on the table, and we're getting the infrastructure that we need and the bills are getting paid. It is kind of difficult to be not grateful for that. So You mentioned the $40,000 of expenses. Now, is that a qualifier for this loan? What other qualifiers are there if people want to apply for the CIB alone?

Unknown Speaker 6:11
Yeah, so there's two qualifiers, if you don't have the wage expense for 2019 in excess of $20,000 and less than 1.5 million, I might add. There's a range there. If you're over 1.5 million million in payroll last year, you won't qualify for the the I'm sorry, we're mixing this up.

Unknown Speaker 6:31
You're you kind of threw me there.

Unknown Speaker 6:33
Sorry, sorry.

Unknown Speaker 6:35
The, I was thinking of more like the Q's tax the Q's wage subsidy. The CIB alone has two qualifiers now one of them is the 20,000 to $1.5 million wages which would have been payable or paid in 2019. That comes off a T for summary that must have been filed for 2019. The other one that came out is the if you go to your bank website, you'll see that there are two buttons to click, one of them is if your wages are less than $20,000. The wages for 2019 are less than 20,000 and takes you into a whole other gambit of questions. And I must say I was talking to somebody by video conference yesterday from the Canadian tax

Unknown Speaker 7:18
tech Federation, what are they called? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 7:22
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses cfib. And he was, I was explained to him how

Unknown Speaker 7:31
you know, the information that you have to upload to the CRA to qualify for the $40,000 non refundable expense criteria is somewhat putting some people in their backseat thinking do I really want to give the CRA You know, my, my stuff, you know, like fearful that for their, you know, knocking on the door, it's almost like, Gestapo sort of thinks I shouldn't say that. But there are there is the fear out there that uh, you know, you give them A whole bunch of information, they might come back and do a, I don't know, payroll or GST audit on, I don't know. But I think that there's two camps to that there's those who really need it and have the legitimate expenses that should just file those things, upload whatever it takes to get your loan if you don't otherwise qualify under the wage criteria, and your wages are less than $20,000. There's the other cat world, you're on the edge and you're not sure whether you you know, your expenses are legitimate and stuff like that. Well, then maybe you should double think don't don't apply, but don't apply to apply. No, I think you really need to think about that. And there are some clients out there that might have perhaps questionable expenses or things they they don't want to throw into the basket in order to qualify. There are a bucketload of other businesses out there that will qualify and I'm sure they're just stepping back because they say I don't want to deal with the government. They're gonna come, you know, rake me over the coals and I don't know See, that might just my opinion, I don't think that is going to happen.

Unknown Speaker 9:04
Yeah, I had a, I had a few concerns like that actually, I know that we spoke about that because I noticed there's some very vague language, when you do accept the loan related to the way that you run your business, not even necessarily the way that it's audited financially, but it was actually talking about the operational side of the business, which was quite worrying to me. At the end of the day, I ended up taking the loan because I run a legitimate business, I'm not doing anything funny. The way I run my business has been very successful. And I'm sure that most folks out there 99% of small business owners are on the same page. So the advice you gave me was, just take the loan, it's you need the money, it's not going to hurt you at all. And if they do come in and audit you, your books is straight, the way you operate, your business is straight. There's nothing to worry about if you've got nothing to hide with it. So again, I was a little bit reluctant at first but again, the thing You mentioned earlier where you get to keep the $10,000. And all you have to do is pay taxes on it. It's a no brainer, in my opinion, especially for somebody in my range where you've got anywhere from five to 10 staff and you know that $40,000 it's not a lot of money for especially for a larger business where you've got 10 1520 staff, maybe it's a week of payroll, but it's still a week of payroll, you know what I mean? Like, for me, it's a couple of weeks of payroll, which is great. And I really appreciate you bringing that up and telling me Hey, did you apply for this? You should know about this. And here's all the ins and outs of it. So, have you have you noticed with your clients that a lot of people have been taking it a lot of people have been benefiting from Siva, is there any other loan structure out there any other sort of subsidy that people have been using that has been beneficial for their business?

Unknown Speaker 10:52
Well, okay, the Siebel loan is

Unknown Speaker 10:55
if you've got wage expenses between 20,001 point 5 million I think it's the It's the easiest thing to apply for. It's an online application, and it just shows up. I mean, if you fit those, check those boxes, I must say, and I'm going to diverge a little bit here. sleep alone is meant not to line the pockets of owners. I mean, it's very clear in the banking agreement, and if you read the CRS website, is to be used for operations. So if you were to get a $40,000 loan, and then throw it into the stock market, hoping that you'd have an opinion, and I you know, so you should, as a business owner, you should be prepared to show or at least prove to CRA if they ever come and ask that, you know, you use this money for legitimate purposes. You didn't throw it in a gic, you didn't buy some investment, and you used it for operating activities of the company. And so I even say don't even put it in a savings account. Just keep it in the general checking account. You're not paying interest on it. So don't don't really don't, don't push it. Don't Try and claim or benefit from having that cash

Unknown Speaker 12:05
is alone after all, you got to pay it back. So,

Unknown Speaker 12:09
you know, keep that in mind to hopefully your business plan is such that by December 22 2022, you can pay it back. And if you can't, then the $40,000 loan converts into an interest bearing loan, which I think is around five or 6%. And still not too bad.

Unknown Speaker 12:24
I forgot the question now. So he said,

Unknown Speaker 12:26
Yeah, no worries. That is a really good point. That the 5% or 6%. isn't that bad to touch on what you just brought up there? When do you recommend people pay this back? Is this something where we should just hold on to it until things stabilize? And should we wait until the last minute and pay the bill November 2022? What are you recommending for people or is it a more individual based sort of thing?

Unknown Speaker 12:52
Well, okay, I think, you know, free money should never be repaid until it's due. Gotcha. And that's the You know, is it free? I mean, maybe some businesses applied, some business owners are applied for it out there and they don't, you know, they kind of like got it. They got it for some reason. I can say that one one wealthy client of ours, I sent him all the stuff. I said, Why don't you go for the easiest 10,000 you might ever see. And he said, No, I can't I just have ethics. He didn't need the money, and he certainly doesn't. So he didn't do that. My other thing is that a question came up like that similar during a meeting somewhere, or casual conversation, I said, well, you can just pay the loan back. I think you can pay it back whenever you want. If you if you feel like not taking the subsidy, I'm sure they'll they'll take it back. I mean, it security, whatever we're seeing right now. Like this pandemic is only just started I think it's going to be in it's going to have an effect over two You know, 510 years, certainly by December 2022, we will hopefully know what's going on in the planet. And even if you don't use that money, just park it in your checking account. It's like a security blanket in the event that Yeah, you know, things aren't rolling out as well as you thought they would. And I'm glad to have the $40,000 loan 5% you know, back.

Unknown Speaker 14:22
That's what I've been doing with it is just, it just stays in its account. Anytime I pay payroll, I take it out of there. And then that's it and then rent and just the basic expenses for the office just got a new office right in January, and then this hit so got a brand new office that's got nothing in it, which is unfortunate, but like you said, I think it is a very good idea. Just to take it if you don't need it. It's a good security blanket and thing in case things go south and a couple of months because I think the people are still trying to determine what the economic effects of this is going to be long term. A lot of projections on the stock market and on the housing market. Actually, I was reading the other day that the housing markets apparently projected to drop 18%. But when I speak to my realtor friends, they say that it's business as usual, obviously, there's been a little bit of a drop off, like open houses can't happen anymore. But for a lot of people, they're still flipping houses the same way they used to. So I'm very, very cautious and interested to see kind of what the future holds with us.

Unknown Speaker 15:24
Well, and as, you know, going further with that, I think a lot of public companies are not issuing guidance any longer because they don't know. They're just stuck, right?

Unknown Speaker 15:33
Yeah. And that's why I wanted to talk to you about this stuff. Because everywhere that I talked to everyone's got a different answer. And it seems to be again, a very confusing situation, which is why I do like your opinion quite a bit. Because, again, it's much more cautious opinion and a more common sense approach, which is why I've always liked working with you and always appreciated your advice, because it's very common sense. Very practical. So again, I do thank you for that.

Unknown Speaker 16:00
You're very welcome. Absolutely. Jake, anytime.

Unknown Speaker 16:02
So related to queues, the the Canadian emergency ways subsidy. What is this? Exactly? And how do we qualify for that?

Unknown Speaker 16:11
Alright, so it's supposed to be simple right?

Unknown Speaker 16:18
Hey, you know, to the to the liberals credit they they they crank this out rather quickly and at first everyone I did get a second hand conversation from someone in the restaurant industry said that oh it's simply just fill the spreadsheet out and submit that data the answer in your money it shows up now that's true. If you read the rules, you have to be fairly cautious and there is a website it's it's you know, if you just do c e Ws on Google you'll find the Canadian emergency we come to the information right on the Canadian hour straight revenue Canada is a website. Yeah, you got to go through it carefully. And there is a there is a spreadsheet there. And you need to look at that spreadsheet and not not mess with the formulas in there too much. Because otherwise things will calculate wrong by the way, which I had one client who first tried to figure it out was overriding the formulas and deleting them and figure, you know, it's just not the way to go. So you just need to plunk your information in there. As you see it fit. I could, why I I can't go through that with you on this channel. Like there's a there's a whole bunch of nuances. But basically, it boils down to this $847 per week subsidy, that's the limit. And so depending on the number of employees you have, you could be getting that money back into your bank account. So you pay them whatever, per week. And the limit is up to 75% of their wage or 847 cap per employee per week. And so to not tonight Go through that process is probably sort of like being ignorant to the fact. So having said that, there's some criteria, you have to meet a revenue decline threshold. And the rules are I even got to look at them again, because every time I look at them, sorry, every time I get on this subject, I refer back to the website that CRA has. And

Unknown Speaker 18:26
you don't have to pay these links for me, I'll throw them down in the description for people so they can check them out. I used to change.

Unknown Speaker 18:32
I could, yeah, I'll get those links over to you. But basically for the month of March. So what they're trying to do is they compare the the, let's just start with March 2020. If your revenue decline in March 2020, went down by 15% relative to march 2019, or relative to the average of January and February 20. So that's the first criteria for qualifying for the queues for the first application period. After March it went to 30%. And may in June is 30%. I'm sure it's gonna stay 30% they actually haven't announced the extension on that it might go to 40% or something, you know, to sort of like try and phase this out. But your revenue has to have declined 15% in the month of March relative to those two other baselines. And for the month of April, May and June it was 30%. Now, having said that, there are little nuances which were kind of surprising if you qualify it in the first period, so you qualify. Let's say you didn't qualify in March. Your revenues were not off by 15%. April comes along the pandemics at full steam ahead and your revenues are they did crash by 30%. You can apply for the Q's for that filing period for the month of April, your payroll for the month of April. And if all of a sudden your revenues flew back up in the month of May and you no longer qualified for the month of May You would still qualify for the cues, because if you qualify in one period, you automatically qualify for the following period. So this is something that is rather surprising. I even questioned myself whether it's right and I check the website every time I look at this, and it's still there. It says here, I'll read it to you actually. It says, If you determined that you qualify for the Q's and one claim period, you will automatically qualify for the following claim period. So now, that's not legislation, but that is the series website. If you want to read the question, I can send you that link to but it's not a very fun read. No, like,

Unknown Speaker 20:39
Yeah, well.

Unknown Speaker 20:41
following along, and in the link, there isn't actually Well, I'll send you the link so that your, your followers can then download the Q's spreadsheet, which I was referring to earlier. Now you have to have payroll data to do this. What I'm saying is that to have payroll data means you need to have books up to date. And, of course, you need to have comparative revenue information and all this sort of stuff. So if you're, if you're a very small business and you're working kind of like out of a shoe box, and you only do things at the end of the, you know, fiscal year, you know, you're gonna have a hard time maybe doing this. But you know, talk to your accountant, and even just a spreadsheet or something, Tally revenues up and compare them and see where you're at. This is something not to be just overlooked. Much like the client who I said, phoned me and told me Thank you very much. Not like he runs a shoe box company. But he doesn't get his bookkeeping to be on top of the books and all that all the time. He did have 2019 data, but he didn't have 2020 data at the time he called so he was very helpful, have happy to, first of all, get his books up to date and secondly, get a bunch of money dropped into his bank account. By the way The accused is taxable once again, it's a it's a, you know, it's taxable. The big deal if you're a small business Corporation 11% Vc is not a big deal. Yeah. So, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 22:11
Okay, that's really good to know as well. And now I know we've got the queue names like Siva and Q's. What is the queue name for t Ws as it was the temporary wage subsidy?

Unknown Speaker 22:22
Yeah, well, that one's fallen off the front page for sure. It temporary wage subsidy was the first thing that was announced. When the pandemic crisis the COVID-19 emergency stuff was announced by the federal government 10% Oh my god, well, 10% I told a couple of guys 10% he said Give me a break, though, that that's good for one day, you know, I need something more because there's no revenue and all that sort of thing. Yeah. There was basically 10% of gross wages and I had a I'm just trying to remember here. It was 10% of gross wages. Nothing. This was not something you applied for. What it was is or what it still is, is something that you just you pay employees as you always do. But when it comes time to remit your source deductions for those employees, you can reduce your source deduction source deduction remittance by 10% of their gross wages. There's a couple of thresholds there. One of them is that there's a cap per employee of 1300 and $75. Cumulative, and there's a cap for the corporation itself or the business I should say, of $25,000 cumulative. And then there's a each each applicate each remittance if you're claiming a wage, retaliatory remittance deduction of more than the tax withheld, then you've got to hold on to that little bit that you can only reduce your source deductions by the amount of tax withheld. So if you're 10% of your wage subsidies, more than that, you have to Hang on to that and claim it the next time. And the series. There's a little bit it's a little bit vague about this, how is it gonna work? If anybody's gone through this, they also know how to know that this affects the queue. Let's see the Canadian wage benefit wage subsidy. You're supposed to calculate your temporary wage subsidy if you're eligible. And even if you don't claim it, that's the way it was. You had to deduct it from your Canadian emergency wage subsidy. huge benefit. Yeah. Crazy stuff.

Unknown Speaker 24:33
Gotcha. So so you can stack these benefits that you get Siva, you're also able to get see AWS and AWS or do some of these. Yeah, okay.

Unknown Speaker 24:42
Yeah. So So Seba is separate. That's a $40,000 loan. That's what we're here. The Canadian mercy wage subsidy, that's skews we call it is you can't get the queues and the temporary wage subsidy de offsetting temporary wage subsidy reduces the queues now There was another nuance in the temporary weights of the on the on the series website where they would allow you to elect that that temporary wage subsidy in respect of your business was was zero percent. I guess what they're trying to say is that it's too complicated. And to claim the temporary wage subsidy is sometimes a pain. And why not just end because it just reduces the queues? Why bother? Right? So I think this is why they're just saying you can elect to not elect to have the temporary wage subsidy reducing your business to from 10% to zero. Yeah, form that they're going to hand out or, or declaration that they're going to make you sign at some point. haven't heard anything about it, but if somebody else does, you know, let me know. Yeah, comment

Unknown Speaker 25:48
down below with that for sure. So the I know another loan that we were briefly discussing is the C CRA. So I'm assuming this is the Canadian emergency commercial rent account, but I don't know That this is going to help people that are paying commercial rents. So do you want to break that down for us as well? Again, just what is it? What do we need to qualify for it? Who's it for that kind of stuff?

Unknown Speaker 26:11
Well, okay, if I can't say I'm a very knowledgeable on that one. Partly because it hasn't gone over very well with landlords, the few restaurant clients we have and others. The landlords are often well hidden in in our realm, our client base, the landlords have not been too accommodating. they've they've often are offshore owners, they, they say, I don't want to subsidize it. Well, basically it was supposed to be they paid the landlord covers 25% the tenant pays 25% and the CRA would cover 50%. But the landlords don't even want to do the 25%. I think it's gone over badly. And I and I should have asked my friend from the CFPB yesterday whether or not anything been done with that he didn't bring it up, but it is out there. And it's it's it's it's how does it work now I think the left now Forgive me for not knowing because I haven't gone through application process but I believe the landlord needs to apply for it. It's a it's a it's the opposite scheme of the residential subsidy here in British Columbia and when the tenant actually applies for the subsidy and the landlord gets it the opposite way around as I understand for the commercial rent.

Unknown Speaker 27:40
That's very interesting to me, the 25% of the landlord has to pay I can't imagine that would fly with like 80% of the people that I know that are landlords, they have such razor thin margins. They're already overburdened trying to just get the maintenance done because the workers in the city are so over, over booked and so I can't get Imagine that you're not good solution someone like maybe in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, you know, where they don't have this housing bubble sort of situation that Toronto and Vancouver have. But I would imagine for that to be effective here, you'd have to drop that number to almost zero, but that's just my opinion. I don't have barren landlords, other than the ones that you mentioned that are overseas that don't have any interest in helping Canadians anyways.

Unknown Speaker 28:27
Yes, I, you know, who was I talking to? There was one landlord, I think he was a landlord. And he was he was on good terms with his tenant and he was just going to get a break nevermind this subsidy thing. He was just going to do it among themselves. I mean, maybe he should apply. I don't even I think I mentioned it. But again, here's comes the fear, you know, you, you, you set the government up, you give them all your information, and some people just would rather not have too much information in series hands. Yeah, that's to say you should be hired hiding it because quite frankly, the CRA has a lot of power. They can come in, you know, seize that they can seize your records. If they figure something's wrong, you know, that's the worst case scenario. But yeah, so being fearful is one thing, but being like a little naive is another. I think what I'm trying to sort of impress is that there's there's two main benefits here going on for Canadian business owners, small business owners. And that's the serve that $40,000 interest free loan with a $10,000 forgiveness at the end. Yeah, the Siva. Yeah, and the Canadian mercy wage subsidy, which is been a blessing for a lot of small business owners, quite frankly. Mm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 29:49
Do you have any other subsidy programs, this kind of stuff you'd want to cover or do you want to move on?

Unknown Speaker 29:57
Well in the light of COVID-19 These are the main ones. I mean, the serve the Seba, temporary weights of the tubes, we call it and the Q's and then this CEC RA, which is a Canadian university commercial rent account. And then of course, there's the the residential rent subsidy, which is not to do with business owners, but it's out there as well. And then there's the Yeah, the service or the service individuals as well. So anybody who's lost their job, you know, would it be lost their job due to COVID-19 would be able to apply for the service and interesting just on serve. So yesterday, we had a Videoconference with about six business owners and individual from the, from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, and we were, a lot of the business owners were complaining, trying to get laborers into their shops and whatnot when they're getting two to $3,000 in subsidy money already. They may think, you know, I'll just, I can just lay low now. At that point, they were frustrated that people weren't coming back to work. But I think the way the liberals have laid it out now, if you get a call, if you're on if you're collecting the the serve right now and you get a call from your former employer to come back to work, jobs ready, and everything safe and all the rest of it, and you refuse or you don't respond, you, you might end up having to pay that sort of back at some point.

Unknown Speaker 31:24
Yeah, I think that's a great addition, because I do know a lot of folks that are there kind of taking advantage of it. And I know a lot of small businesses now that are hurting because of this, they really just need their people back. And again, maybe it's not a job or an industry like yours or mine where we have to deal with people that are highly educated and it's a very high technical skill and it takes a long time to become a CPA takes a very long time to become a good IT guy and get these certifications in place. So it doesn't really affect me or my business because the people that I pay are much more than that subsidy, but Do know a lot of small business owners, hair salon places, maybe retail shop owners, again, like the backbone of Canadian business, right. And these people are just dying, trying to get people to come back to work. And I think we may have kind of over hit the mark here, an approach that I would have liked to have seen instead of this subsidy is the government actually going to the banks, the people that are collecting this money from all of us and saying, we're going to ever get the word but if we're going to freeze everything for three months, add it to the end of their term. So if you're in a 12 month lease right now, or you've got a 12 month of rent and going on those first three months of COVID, all debts are now frozen and added another three months is added to the end of it because then you wouldn't have this hyperinflation you wouldn't have this money being dumped into the economy. You wouldn't have people panicking to pay their truck loans, pay their rent, pay everything they're trying to pay. It would all just be frozen, but the banks would know that they're going to get their money. Just a little bit. Later, you know, I feel like that would have been a much better approach. But who am I? You know?

Unknown Speaker 33:05
So,

Unknown Speaker 33:06
Jake, to your point, I think some of that was going on I, I can't possibly follow it all, there was a lot of moving goalposts there in the last few months and they're still moving around so

Unknown Speaker 33:17
hundred percent. So I do I do some questions about yourself and then grain associates for a. So how did you get into accounting? What experience do you have in the field? What's What's your story? We usually touch on this stuff first, but I know you're eager to get into the Seba stuff. So how did you get into accounting and what experience you have in the field?

Unknown Speaker 33:38
Well, I guess I was a very boring person or something like that. guy. I'm like, I actually don't know how this happened. But it was a long time ago. And I just I guess at one point, I was working, I was a labor. I was just sort of finished high school and doing stuff and really not getting anywhere and I thought, you know, I probably Like I love to have my own business at some point. And so then I went back to college. I moved back home and I parents for a few years that helped because I couldn't possibly afford to live on my own and go to school. Yeah, so I got a college degree from douglas college or not a degree was a diploma in accounting. And then after that, I went to SMU and got a four year BB business, bachelor's in business administration from Simon Fraser University. And in that time, around third year, I remember talking to an accounting professor, or was a finance Professor I forget but he was he was describing to the class the difference between the three accounting bodies One of them was chartered accountant, the other one was certified management accountant which used to be registered industrial accountants, and then there was a CGA general printing read their cgas anyways, they they generally the two latter ones are generally in industry, or the chart of accounts were out there. plying their wares out in public. And that caught my attention. It was also the most difficult one to get. And for whatever reason, I felt energized and I went for it. So there I am, I got my CPA designation in 1993.

Unknown Speaker 35:18
Then went to work for a guy

Unknown Speaker 35:21
in Metro town who had moved from the North Shore over here, and then in 2000, I bought his practice, and we phased him out. And in around 2000, Jeff will forgive me here but at around 2000 2014 or So Jeff Reed, my business partner came in as a business partner. And it's it's been it's been a party ever since. What am I saying? I remember during my convocation at this, the Chartered Accountant thing where the partner of the firm I was with said to me, how does it feel I said, I'm sure glad it's over and I meant the uniform final exam. I written it by past and I was standing there my, my rolled up piece of paper and I was Yeah. And I said, I sure glad it's over. And he says, you know, it's just the beginning. You know, at that time, I said, Are you kidding me? I'm relaxing. And and I guess in hindsight, he was right. So there you go. I think that's the same with any kind of career move that anyone out there makes. But if you go and get your designation or you go strive for credentials, or some sort of progression, you may get over that hurdle, the educational part, but from there on in it is just the beginning. And you know, to say that I don't go to school anymore as long I'm learning every day. And that's what keeps my my brain active most of the time.

Unknown Speaker 36:46
Yes. Yeah, that makes sense.

Unknown Speaker 36:49
That's how I got into account and that's how I run this practice and blah, blah. Yeah. Cool.

Unknown Speaker 36:55
What what kind of benefits and what kind of services does a good accounting firm provide for businesses. So, for example, if you've taken over a business where their books were a little bit shaky, or again, they were missing out on these subsidies because they weren't keeping their ear to the ground. Have you given example the business that you've worked with and you've kind of helped turn them around? or just general businesses like mine, I've noticed a ton of benefits working with you. But do you do have any just a general reason for people to be using a professional accountant versus doing their own bucks?

Unknown Speaker 37:27
Well, look,

Unknown Speaker 37:29
I say the lots of small business owners when especially when they're starting out if you know or if you have an aptitude for doing like the general day to day bookkeeping, then go for it. It's, it's, it's not exactly rocket science, but it does take some attention. It's not just you know, download clicked and it's done. You know, you have to watch what you're doing and understand how the balance sheet and the finance and the income statement integrate. Yeah. If you can do a reasonably good job, and you hire an accountant to do your year end or quarterly gsts or whatever, The rate, whatever the cases, you can, you know, accountants charged fees and like anybody, any other professional, so keep those fees down especially when you're on your, you know your growth pattern, you're starting out from the gate from ground zero, and you'll be better off. There's the other people who maybe have retired and we've had a few people that have retired and they've got a nest egg of retirement funds or whatever. And they come along and they want to start a business and they don't know anything about it. So they hire an accounting firm, they get a bookkeeper, and they just pass off all of that to other people and they just go out and they sell sales and marketing is their forte. So that's what they do best. And they have the funds to pay for all the admin in the background going on. Now, what does it What does it take to be a good accountant? I think, you know, I always reflect on the uniform final exam, which I wrote back in 1993, that the answers were usually you have to within Every kind of problem or question need to come up with maybe three solutions, and then pick one. And I think the attitude I've had all along when there's an issue or problem with with a client's whatever a tax issue or it's usually tax, quite frankly, or maybe an HR employee, try and think of more than one solution and then say, and then say what you would do, like I've or I say what I would do, but it's not the answer. It's just what I would do. But I'm not saying to do that you got three options, and you need to select what you have. And I think, if you can give clients or as an accountant, if we can give clients a solution, which is not just one line, but it's a couple. And, you know, I'll get criticized for this because some clients say, I don't want to know all the options, just tell me what to do. And I have to back off and say, it's your decision, not mine, but I'm going to give you the three things and if you want my opinion, I'll give you mine and then we'll go from there. And we'll pick the best one that makes more common sense for your business and your your life, basically. And I think I started back to the question. I think if accountants can do that, and speak in common sense terms, without getting their clients in trouble, or themselves for that matter, then everybody will be way better. Way better shape going down the road.

Unknown Speaker 40:24
Yeah. So since 1993, when you started, have you seen technology modify the field at all? Because obviously programs like QuickBooks, now they do all the tracking and that kind of stuff automatically gives you all these reports automatically. Now, as a business owner, again, I know it I don't understand accounting. I don't understand bookkeeping. I don't pretend to as you know, I usually defer to you and I am one of those people saying what do I need to do? Just tell me what to do? But have you noticed any dramatic changes in it because even though I do have the QuickBooks program, I have some other things to do some analytics For me, I still defer to you. At the end of the day, I say what reports? Do I need to look at? What How should I be tracking this stuff? What can I do to kind of use the pain and make sure that I'm not being only fiscally responsible, but also being strategic with my finances and planning ahead? Has technology reduced the need for accounting as a benefit accountants? What are your thoughts on the technological effects of technology on accounting?

Unknown Speaker 41:26
Well, well, technology has been huge in the accounting field, quite frankly, it's just been massive. I mean, I guess when I was articling. The computers as they call them, 386 is you probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Unknown Speaker 41:41
That's I didn't see this before. I think this might be definitely before I was using computers, but I do know the I 386 was, I believe,

Unknown Speaker 41:50
yeah, my first computer was an apple, two e, which cost about 3000 bucks and it had an eight processor in it and you could watch the letters across the board. screen, you know, and the modem cost $500. So, despite that, from the accounting field going, I mean, things were paper based for a long time, all the files are in big fat files, and there was no linking and, you know, just human power as well, you know, even this firm when I first acquired it, we had two receptionists and one filing clerk, and a couple of bookkeepers and people that were doing files. And so the and the labor cost weren't as high, quite frankly. But the number of people that you had the house was, like, twice the size of what we're living in right now. And our businesses thrived throughout all of that, and we've reduced our staff not that that's a good thing. But we've, I think what it's done is it's taking the accounting to a newer level, like instead of just doing the mundane stuff, clients are nice now able to jump on board with QuickBooks Online or I think Sage has an online version. And they can download their bank statements. And if they have a little, little bit of aptitude, they can actually post things and they can do their own bookkeeping. Whereas in the past, having to do that in the manual ledger, and all that was a bit of a, they didn't know where it went at the end, they would just put all these numbers down. And it didn't mean anything. There was no real time financial reporting or anything for small business owners. Now they have the power to look at their financial information on a monthly quarterly basis in real time. Yeah. And like, check, you know, you can call me up and say, Hey, I'm having a problem. We can just log right into your system and have a look at it that could it up your books online. I don't think that's a problem saying but just look on there right now and say, oh, here's the problem, or here we need this report. And as you know, we do this quite frequently with other clients. So technology is has come a long way. In the accounting field. You know, I can't I just, you know, like our whole file system, you don't really understand what that is, but we do files. And they used to be all paper based. And about the maybe 10 years ago, we took all our paper files that used to be housed in a locker, costing us money every month. And we hired a person to back scan all that stuff, because we have to keep documents for a period of time, especially for the current clients, because if they need something from the 1990s, we need to be able to go back to the building, cause you know, you bought the building in 1990. Here's the purchase document. So we need that often clients lose these things. Yeah. So we we've scanned everything. Now everything is online, I can be probably anywhere on the planet. And if a client emails me or calls me on my phone for question, and needs back, old documentation, whatnot, or even just needs to know currently what's going on, I can help them out. Not entirely, but Quite a lot, and it's just it's just boggling where we've come, perhaps in the last 10 years.

Unknown Speaker 45:05
Yeah, that's good to know. Yeah, I just we have another interview, actually with Andrew Jackson from Northshore. Digital. It's a SEO and digital marketing firm on the North Shore as well. And he was asking me as well, I was the whole COVID situation affected us. And I was saying that it's been a really good opportunity for people to be able to develop their businesses, and relating to what you're talking about, where the automation that we're able to do in it for the majority of our clients now is very similar to what you just said about accounting, which is, you're getting rid of the mundane stuff and you're focusing on a higher level of service, you're doing analyzing, and you're looking at things in a much bigger picture and you're able to be more strategic with it, you're doing a lot less for hours of copying cells over by hand, and you're doing a lot more analysis on the data. I'm looking at trends and making recommendations and strategizing. So that's very exciting. And now that that's how it's affected accounting, because I know a lot of folks that I do speak to who do stocks. People who do technical things with financials are kind of worried about this whole AI creep that's kind of going on. Do you have any fears about that?

Unknown Speaker 46:15
Well, it's here and it's here to stay. Mm hmm. I've always said, here's my projection for the next 20 years. I think that the preparation of personal income tax returns will be all done within the series, computer system. I think like reflecting back 10 years ago before e filing came along for personal income tax returns, we would print all this stuff, piling into boxes, and then fly downtown literally in a car, not really flying, but go downtown and deliver all these hundreds and hundreds of personal tax returns printed out to the CRA now Don't do that. It's just a click of the buttons file. Yeah, a lot of the data we're getting is actually being provided by the CRA because a lot of the providers sorry, the investment advisors particularly, and the employers are all they have to report all this stuff on various slips and whatnot anyway, so CRA has tons of this information and it'll just be a matter of time before they have other things such as your personal business information and your rental income information and your offshore stuff for that matter, because there's foreign disclosure statements that have to be filed. So I think I think you know, maybe accountants, their their participation in one particular area such as filing personal tax returns, it's going to become a it's going to be gone. I think it's just gonna be taken over by an automated process within CRA and I think it'll be driven by artificial intelligence.

Unknown Speaker 47:54
Yeah, yeah, I agree entirely. I think a lot of this stuff again, is is just a matter matter of getting the the parameters correct, and then accounting for all of the different variables that can happen. And then you're done. You know, I mean, especially with the recent expansion of government, and like you said all the information they're collecting about folks, it really is just a matter of time until you have this robot. And that's what I like, as well as there's a joke where it's like, how much how much tax do I owe this year? And the government says, what we know, but we can't tell you and says, Okay, well, what if I get it wrong? Well, then we'll put you in a box the rest of your life and you're gonna live in a cage. And it's like, Can you just tell me how much I owe, you know, but if you get it wrong, we're putting you in a cage. So I do imagine that's only a matter of time until they do just have a system where it says we've seen this much has come in and out of your account, yours this much. And if you don't pay by this date, and you're gonna have to pay this much interest and it's just, or maybe even gets to the point where you don't even have to consent. It's just that it's tax time. The machine comes in and pulls money out of your account. And you're done. You know, maybe there's not even something to think about anymore.

Unknown Speaker 49:05
Yeah, and I hate to say that, but, and I hopefully I'm wrong. Because, you know, I think doing personal tax returns is a very personal thing. It's individualized. And I don't know how far AI can go with that sort of thing. I think it does, you know, contradictory to what many people think about accounting, there is a lot of

Unknown Speaker 49:30
how do you say

Unknown Speaker 49:31
it as well as the science?

Unknown Speaker 49:34
Yeah, it's, it's, it's not just a numbers thing. It is actually, you have to be sort of colorful and use your, whatever side of the brain is that that does that sort of like other stuff, not just men, not just numbers. I'm not a medical professional, obviously.

Unknown Speaker 49:49
Yeah, of course. Okay, that's, that's really good to know. Um, do you have any tips for folks that are either struggling with their books right now and they want to try to get them Monitor control, let's say again, this COVID thing is kind of waking everybody up to the reality of fiscal responsibility. Do you do you have any advice for folks that want to get started on the right foot? Or they want to kind of get their existing situation under control? What can what can they do?

Unknown Speaker 50:15
Well, you know, I've been saying this for years is that you do need to have your accounting, your bookkeeping, the boring stuff has to be kept up to date, you can't just let it slide. What will happen is if you let it slide, you'll get into trouble. The CRA will penalize you're quite likely. And, you know, there there was one client, we were helping out just last month, who hadn't done corporate tax returns for two or three years. Well, you know, how do I get the Canadian mercy wage subsidy? I said, Well, you haven't been faulty for some reason. You know, like, so. Things like this when when there's a disaster and you're not ready In this case, it's COVID-19 or the global pandemic. But it could be anything. For example, what if all of a sudden what you're selling is no longer in, but what if you're selling typewriters, and all of a sudden nobody buying typewriters anymore, you need to have your books in the order, you need to look at your balance sheet, make sure it's healthy. And if it's not figure out how to make it healthy. And often that just take you know, the numbers really, as I say, Don't lie. So you need to get the numbers on your, on a piece of paper in front of you. And if you don't have an accountant, get one who can explain to you whether you're in good shape or not, or, you know, just go through it with you and often relationship with an accountant may not be just, you know, one visit per year. Most of our clients have been around since 1993. Well, I can't say it's been a process of Get to know your accountant. The client should not just shop around and I'm going to say this, not just due to fees. I mean, don't For the cheapest person on the planet, you need to go for a person that's reasonable that you get along with and can understand your business and wants to help you. One of the things that we love here is businesses that are growing businesses that are perhaps in trouble that can be pulled out, like the guy was just mentioned a minute ago. He's got a great business, he just like lost track of his financial stuff. So we had to take care of all of that. But other than that, he's grateful.

Unknown Speaker 52:29
And that's, that's what I got.

Unknown Speaker 52:32
I always like the idea that you don't pay a good accountant, like I learned kind of the hard way. As you know, I'm going to do a bit of a cleanup on my situation from when I first started, like seven years ago. But yeah, I just look at it as you pay your pay. But at the end of the day, again, the amount of subsidies I've gotten the write offs, I've gotten all these other benefits that have been provided to me it's still like the fee that the accountant charges is just a sliver of what you're saving. Not to mention the peace of mind. And all of the other benefits that come from just knowing you have a professional handling all of this stuff. And is really, that's that's it for me at the end of the day is just knowing that I have someone professional who's going to be handling my situation, I'm going to be getting strategies from that person, things are going to be handled for me. It's the same thing as it right. It's very overwhelming scares a lot of people. It's boring. No one cares, really, until a problem happens. And then it's the end of the world. Like you just said that client who said, How are we going to get this temporary wage subsidy? Are we going to get this emergency wage subsidy and it goes, Well, you know, you didn't file your tea for the last two years like I've been begging you to do so here you go. And if people get hit by ransomware it's the same thing no one cares about it is too expensive. And we don't want to pay for you guys. My my my brother's the CEOs wife's brother is good enough and he does a great job and then all of a sudden you get hit by ransomware and you realize you didn't have backups and 25 years of your business is wiped off the face of the earth and it costs you $110,000 us to get back. You know, we've had to clean up situations like that before for for some of our clients. So yeah,

Unknown Speaker 54:10
I'll give you a plug, Jake. I mean, umbrella guys have been fantastic. We've had some issues and yeah, you're right. We got hit with a little bit of a. I forgot what it was. Was it ransomware It was about Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 54:22
I wasn't even talking about you guys. But yes,

Unknown Speaker 54:24
no, no, I don't want to. I want to give you a plug a little bit. If you if you want.

Unknown Speaker 54:31
But your guys came in. You said okay. And here I was Brian. And because when you when I took over the business, we were trying to keep things lean cash flow was an issue always. And I was always doing the thing. So we had all these servers and whatnot in our thing. And when ransomware got hit one night, I'll never forget the phone call when Jeff my partner called me up and said something's going on. And I rushed over back to the office in the evening and there was this crazy thing going on like a like COVID-19 on Earth. server quite frankly, which was killing everything. And we didn't know what to do with we called your guys in they came in, cleaned up everything went through it a couple of times actually, because it was it was again just like COVID-19 it lingered every in every little nook and cranny. We didn't lose any data. But because we had backups and whatnot, but we are able to is like then then I said to Jeff, my business partner, I said, basically, you know what, we're just gonna hire these guys, and let them take over. And that's where you've done it. You've done a stellar job since and I must say that every time we have a little little hiccup with one of our PCs or something like that we just click on that little file a ticket and within a within a short period of time, usually always the same day. We get a response back some action going on and things get resolved. They never they're your guys never let us down so far, and I hope they never do.

Unknown Speaker 55:54
Thank you, Brian. I appreciate that. Yeah, again, we try to do the best job that we can we try to make sure that the thing Things are taken care of for folks right away. And customer service, as you know, is one of the biggest things. For me, I think it's a big differentiator in what we do, and definitely what you do as well as an accountant. So thank you very much for the kind words, but it's been awesome working with you guys. And for you guys. Again, I know things obviously, we got brought in with, we kind of feel like the Grim Reaper at some points, because we never get introduced to people on positive notes. But like you said, since we've cleaned that mess up for you, and we started managing everything and has been positive. And we've helped you guys implement things like a new server, and we've done a lot of fun stuff. And that's my favorite part about what I do, which is leveraging the technology and getting you guys all set up for the remote stuff when COVID happened. And I know we just did a refresh to that last week. So now it's a lot of fun working for a lot of different sectors. And surprisingly, accountants and bookkeepers are some of my favorite folks to work for because we again, we share a lot of different services, right? We work for a ton of different industries. We have to keep up to date with a bunch of really new That's boring information well boring to some people interesting to us. And and yeah, it's it's been an interesting ride so far. So thank you for the kind words.

Unknown Speaker 57:10
Anytime, just keep it up.

Unknown Speaker 57:12
Yeah, absolutely. We'll keep the keep the ship straight for you. Do you have any fundamental tools that people should be using to keep their bookkeeping up to date? You mentioned sage and mentioned QuickBooks. Is there anything else that folks should be be using do you recommend

Unknown Speaker 57:29
those are the two mainstream small business software platforms that I would suggest we're a fans of QuickBooks because I used QuickBooks back in the 90s even in the DOS version, and I've been using it all the way along here. I'm really pleased with it. Sage has its nuances which I think have somewhat been overcome. It can be a humbling experience to use the sage product desktop product from a few years ago. Even I get humbled trying to Navigate? Yeah, it's, it's not enough. It's meant for larger organizations so that people can't, you know, hide transactions and whatnot, we'll find that's good. But in a small business where the owner maybe the husband and wife are running the business and stuff like that, there's no need for that kind of overall security. I mean, in my opinion, anyways, gotcha. But those are the two main platforms you know, get online banking, get yourself a my business account with the CRA so you can check your tax information online. Coming down the road, and actually it's almost happening now is that Siri will not be receiving checks. So trying to pay your money with a check is gonna it has been in the last two years, kind of hard. And the other thing is just on the, you know, the bookkeeping and things like that, if you're if you're If you are registered for GST provincial sales tax, and then provincial sales tax at any of the PST provinces, make sure you follow those things on time. Sometimes even if you just fall on time, but don't pay till later, which is what's going on now, actually, with the COVID-19 Relief Program under the federal program, and even the provincial here in BC, there's extensions to the, to the some of the filing dates are the same, but the pink it is later so you just kind of keep that differentiated, like make sure that the payment data and the filing date. It's keep them in mind. And so you know, I think QuickBooks Online will help you in tabulating those things. And if you know, in the long run, if you if you if you're not sure if it's complete, now I would, even CRS officials would say file is something don't don't just ignore it now. amended later, but long time,

Unknown Speaker 59:55
it makes sense to me any resources or any market leader Any conferences, websites that you recommend people kind of follow to stay up to date, obviously with the COVID-19 government response, but as well as just day to day accounting stuff.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:12
You know, I think if you're if you're into it, that's the name of the the manufacturer of QuickBooks. You can there's there's nothing to really follow. I mean, accounting has been around since I don't know like 1300s or something was invented in Italy somewhere. So it's very well the same. So I don't say that there's anything to follow with respect to you know, the actual bookkeeping thing or your revenues, expenses, your assets, your liabilities and make sure your payroll is done GST. PST is all being filed on time. And it as long as you do that, and you keep your records don't just assume they'll never ask me for my receipts, the bank statement and the visa statement is fine. No, they don't want to see the receipts or You know, just keep all your records, that would be just a rule of thumb in any kind of business ownership, the website to follow would be these COVID-19 relief programs that are being issued by the CRA. They do change from time to time. And if you haven't already looked at it with respect to the subsidies we talked about earlier, go to those websites and read through them, see if maybe you're not missing something. Or maybe you don't even know about it, like how we'll look at. Yeah, you know, ask your accountant, like, help me out. Don't worry about it, you're gonna charge you for that, but you probably benefit weighing way more than you know the fee, then you can try and do it yourself as well. But if you're focused on your business, trying to get it up and running after COVID shut down or shuttered. If you're a restaurant or a coffee shop or a barber shop, or you know, anything like that that's been shuttered during this COVID-19 you may not be too encouraged about having to do books. So if you can find a book Keep or get that done. don't hire your neighbor. If they say they did it 20 years ago, get somebody that actually does it. There's, there's little firms out there that do bookkeeping as their business hire them. I know a couple. So if you need any help, I mean, Jake can, you know, you can pass them along, I can send you their links or whatever. They're not individuals, the best thing to have as a bookkeeper would be somebody that you know and trust. But at the same time, there's also this advantageous situation where you hire a bookkeeping company, and they just basically take care of you never mind who's actually doing so you're not actually hiring the person, you're hiring the, you know, the entity. So those are the things I'd say watch out for. If you're trying to get your back your business back up and running. Get it see get that $40,000 see below and start financing for somebody to help you out.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:54
That's awesome. That's some great advice, Brian, thank you very much, Jim. Anything that you want to promote before we wrap it up?

Unknown Speaker 1:03:01
Ah, promote

Unknown Speaker 1:03:06
that was a You caught me off guard Actually, I don't worry.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:10
Um, we're all like our own firm, we're always looking for new clientele and whatnot, we're looking for any kind of business who's on a growth pattern or wants to start up or anybody who's transitioning selling their business or actually looking to buy one. And they don't have an accountant or they're not too sure about the advice. They want a second opinion or something like that.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:31
Come on over, we'll chat on the phone or have a little video conference like this and we'll we'll try and help you out.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:38
We we grow this way. I think our fees are reasonable in that in that whole circumstances.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:45
I've never paid a dime.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:49
Actually, that reminds me, I always get my

Unknown Speaker 1:03:51
back. I always get the money back. So yeah, and everyone that I've sent your way has been super, super happy with things so we're super happy to remote. You I'll make sure to link to grant associates dossier down below for folks. We'll put the phone number and everything like that as well. I'm going to make sure to get those links from you and we'll throw those into the description. What's the best way for people to contact you just go to the website phone number, you know,

Unknown Speaker 1:04:17
email is my preference. Brian at Grant associates.ca. I my voice messages do come through by email as well. And but email is the mode of communication. If it gets complicated we talk by phone or video which has been coming becoming the norm I guess, these days. But But email to get my attention is I think we got clients pretty much all over the world, mostly focused in the Vancouver lower mainland, but many of them are offshore and up in northern BC and whatnot. So we don't shy away from anybody that has a question. And if we don't know the answer, we'll get someone who does.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:57
That's awesome. Thank you so much, Brian. Really appreciate it. Do you have anything else you wanted to cover before we wrap it up?

Unknown Speaker 1:05:03
Um No I'm I'm good with what we talked about my throat a little dry.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:10
Oh no worries part it happens you got to get some tea or something going on but yeah, yeah, I think that about does it for today then I'd like to give Brian A big thank you for coming on again and I hope this video provides everybody with some good solutions and strategies to deal with the ongoing COVID situation and accounting and bookkeeping in general. So everybody please make sure to check out Brian and his team and Jeff as well at gray and associates.ca. Again, we'll link to that down below. And if you can please leave a like on this video really helps us out and if you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe. And if you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest that you'd like to see on the show, please comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day and we'll see you all soon. Thank you

Digital Marketing, SEO & SEM with...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hello everybody hope you're having a great day My name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today we're going to be talking with my good friend Andrew Jackson from Northshore digital about search engine optimization and digital marketing. If you could please leave a like on this video it really helps Andrew and I out and if you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe to the channel. If you have a suggestion for a future video or a guest please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella IT services dossier. So now we've got that out of the way. Andrew is an SEO and digital marketing professional who's got over 10 years of experience in the biz. He teaches courses such as digital marketing, SEO, sem fundamentals and Google Analytics at brain station and he wrote three digital marketing online courses for the University of British Columbia. Today we're gonna be talking about the definition of SEO and why it's important for businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs COVID-19 and SEO, the future of SEO and Northshore Digital's approach to SEO. Andrew, thank you so much for coming on. Today, how's your day going? It's going

Andrew Jackson 1:03
great. Thanks for having me. This is awesome.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:05
No worries. I'm very excited to talk to you today. I have a lot of questions for you.

Andrew Jackson 1:09
Sounds good.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:11
Can you tell us a little about yourself just to get started?

Andrew Jackson 1:15
You might know it's a funny accent, although I'll say that you've all got funny accents. I'm originally from England. been living in Canada since 2008, with my lovely wife and family on the North Shore. And, yeah, we met in Japan. And now I've been working in digital marketing for about 10 years. And in 2018, me and a couple of friends founded national digital, and we do website marketing. So we build, promote and maintain websites. And we're specialists in SEO on Google ads.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:51
That's awesome. So you're an international man of mystery. Yeah.

What's been your favorite part about digital marketing so far? Like What got you into it?

Andrew Jackson 2:02
Um, so the story began really with a good friend of mine who's also a client now, Nicholas badminton. He's a future speaker. He used to travel the world and doing keynotes, before COVID arrived now he's trying to get into virtual keynotes. And he's a guy that I met DJing at a party in the year 2000 in London, and we happen to move to Vancouver In the same month. And he is, you know, he's been working in the digital world. And he was teaching a course at UBC in social media, and he needed help getting it online, and UBC were trans transferring lots of their in person content to online formats. And they needed a researcher writer and I ended up being a researcher and writer for UBC for two years and develops three digital marketing courses for them. And that was really the start of my journey before that. I just You know, like as a hobbyist been into social media, having Facebook and things like that, and that was really the start of the journey, I got immersed in the strategy of digital. And then after that I because I UBC on my resume, I started getting offered different digital media specialist roles. And really I took it on from that and it was interesting the journey began with social media really. And back then social media was like this big promise land. Yeah, it was like gonna solve all the world's problems and it was gonna solve all business problems. We're all going to have a voice it was the democratization of technology. And since then, I've moved from social media to website strategy to SEO. And that's really where I'm at now. It's, it's more I shy away from the social side. So YouTube, things like this are bit alien to me. I'm not really big on social media anymore. Although, you know, I go on LinkedIn. Quite often, as my friend describes LinkedIn, it's Facebook for people going places. And so some, sometimes sometimes I'm on there just checking out what what's going on in careers land. But more and more. I'm just working on website stuff. And really, that's the tail of my journey.

Jake Van Buschbach 4:21
Very cool. I'm finally finding myself doing the same thing getting away from social media, focusing on the craft itself a lot more. LinkedIn is the only thing that I'm really checking as well just makes more sense. A lot more data of stuff going on there. So I know that you mentioned you have a co founder here. Can you tell us a little bit about your co founder as well?

Andrew Jackson 4:40
Yeah, so he'd be an awesome person to get on talking about online ads, especially Google ads. I've done Google Ads since 2014. Around that time, and my business partner IRA Thompson, he's a UBC graduate. He grew up on Texas. Your Island. He's a local PC guy. And he's just awesome at Google ads. He's really good at analyzing campaigns and getting really into, like getting the CPC down the cost per click for businesses, and really working on conversions. So like, whatever your business is after whether it's leads, whether it's sales, we have most of our clients that we do Google ads for its lead generation. So they're trying to get more and more inquiries for their business, through their website or through calls or through email. And what we do is we track when that when that happens, and our aim is to get the cost per lead or the cost per conversion down. And so we, you know, one of our tag lines is making data makes sense. And I think that's where we really focus we focus on the analytics and trying to show that what we do on digital what we do with online ads, what we do with SEO All, it really relates to your business metrics. That's what you want to be focused on. So that's what we focus on to. So we try and make whatever is happening with your website makes sense with your business objectives.

Jake Van Buschbach 6:14
Yeah, I've spoken with both of you guys before, and you guys are quite the potent combo. I do really like your guys's data driven approach to things. And I think that's a really big advantage to SEO, is that you guys are actually able to look at the analytics, look at the data. And you're able to actually see how people are progressing with this kind of stuff, day to day, month to month season, the season.

Andrew Jackson 6:36
When the pregnant, we've Sorry to interrupt you at that point. The problem of Google Analytics and a lot of these platforms now is they're getting more and more sophisticated and more and more overwhelming. Like back in the day, Google Analytics was a bit more stripped down a bit more simpler. And it now it seems like you need a degree to navigate it and often, like I don't really use that Google Analytics for major reporting, I try and use visualization software for that. However, it's good. It's good just to go in there and dig around when you've got an answer to a certain question that you're looking for. But you can get lost in Google Analytics. So what we want to do for clients is really have a one or two page report that really shows focuses on their business objectives. And then, you know, how that translates to what we're doing online. So, you know, the traffic, the engagement, the inquiries, where the inquiries come from, and giving them important information that actually matters to the business.

Jake Van Buschbach 7:37
Yeah, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you today so badly is because there's so many questions that I have with all of this kind of stuff. It's very overwhelming nowadays. There's there's the problem of the the flood of information like 10 years ago, it was like you said the Wild West, it was an endless realm of opportunity. And then now today just seems like we're just drowning in options, drowning in information. It's just a neverending flood. And it's really nice to be able to have experts like yourself. We had another interview with with a gal Gabby Decker. She runs another company that does a very good job, Gd commerce, they focus more on online marketing, this kind of stuff, online stores. But how do people like yourself to ask questions for is fantastic. So can you break down? What exactly is Seo? I know it stands for search engine optimization. But what does it mean? Exactly?

Andrew Jackson 8:30
I mean, what it boils down to is just trying to get

Yeah, so trying to get found on Google, but not paying for it organically. It means like, you know, rather than going through an ad, it's, it's an organic ranking. So it's a natural ranking that Google is analyzing over 200 different factors. And then it's based on the keyword and based on your location, it's then spitting out results that it thinks it's almost like a wreck. recommendation of what, where Google thinks that you want to go in terms of a website. And really, it's so competitive now it's getting more and more competitive. Like, do you know how many websites there are in the world?

Jake Van Buschbach 9:14
I do not believe.

Andrew Jackson 9:20
Yeah, you billions it's so last year it was. I think that started last year when I checked, it was around 1.8 billion. It's already up to 2 billion. So it's expanding, expanding, more and more websites coming out there. So more and more competition to rank. And on top of that, you know, you've got other factors. So what percentage of clicks take place on page one of Google? You know,

Jake Van Buschbach 9:47
99 95% Like I said, I got questions. I don't have answers. I would say 95% happen on the

Andrew Jackson 9:56
first page of Google. That's, that's Yeah, it's close to that. Like 92.5, last time I checked, that makes it so it's you're either on page one or you're nowhere. You know, and it's tough to get on page two for some competitive keywords. So it's really finding sweet spots of like, where you can rank and what your keywords are in terms of accuracy for your business, and then accuracy in terms of what your target audience is searching for. So it's like matching all those things together and coming up with keyword strategy, and then creating content that ranks for that. So what I've delved into more than nuts and bolts of SEO, as well as giving you an overview, but I think it's important as I've gone over that,

Jake Van Buschbach 10:42
yeah. So you've mentioned now keyword quite a few times. What is a keyword? And can you give me an example of what a small business would kind of look for when they're talking when you've mentioned optimizing your SEO as well? So what is a keyword? How can I use those to optimize my businesses Seo?

Andrew Jackson 10:58
Yeah, so I guess keywords, I could say query or the you know, when you're using the search box to type in a query are more and more people are using voice search. That's something we should chat about as

Jake Van Buschbach 11:10
well. Really interesting. Yeah.

Andrew Jackson 11:12
So like, over 50% of users are now using voice search, which brings its own challenges for SEO because it's more the queries are more like questions and more natural is more natural language. So it's like things like where to order pizza from tonight that kind of thing? Or like, what is managed IT services you know, rather than rather than someone just typing in Shaw, like a sharp keyword like 80 services so that that would be an example of a keyword for your industry so like managed IT services managed service provider, but around that you'd be looking at Okay, what are they all the services that we do so cybersecurity? Is it void visit all sorts of different things. And so what you want to work on as a business is what are the key words I want to rank for? And where do I want them to rank? So coming up with that strategy is, is almost the starting point when we work with people.

Jake Van Buschbach 12:18
So when you mentioned ranking, is that just me having my keyword on my website a lot? Is that something where I might have a picture uploaded where I've got that keyword in it? How would I improve my ranking for this kind of stuff?

Andrew Jackson 12:32
Okay, so let's go back to SEO and a bit of a more of an overview. I always talk. Like when I'm in my class at brain station, I always talk about the holy trinity of SEO. And so the there's three big things that if you get right, you're going to do well for your ranking. Okay. So the first one is content. So content is king. It's, it's it's really the thing that you want to make amazing on your website, you want to have it very informative, you want it to be unique. Rand Fishkin from Moz talks about 10 times content or 10 x content, where you're trying to make it 10 times better by making it really well researched, really well thought out, and just making it engaging so that people stay on your website. So there's that aspect. So making sure you've got great content. The second thing is user experience. So you want to make sure that the user experience on your website is super slick. It's fast, it's responsive, so it works on all devices. When we do web design. Now, one thing we can do is look at all the different viewports and make sure that it looks great. It performs great on all the different devices. So that that's something you want to make sure happens. And it's more and more important now over 50% of visits happen on mobile now for most websites, most industry is actually your industry. It's interested in most of your keywords. It's like 70 to 80% desktop visits in Greater Vancouver area. But it just depends on your industry. So you want to look into that. But generally, mobile is really important. Google does this thing now called priority mobile indexing. So this means I'm jumping around a little bit here, but Google does essentially three things. Okay. So it crawls. So it looks for websites, it indexes, so it categorizes websites, and then it ranks them. So these are the three things that Google does. And think of it like a library. So Google has to find the books, it then puts them on shelves and categories. And then it acts like a librarian. He actually advises people what to read. So that's the power of Google. And if you think of it like that, the indexing part the category In what happens is it's actually the Google smartphone bot that crawls your website and index it the mobile version First, it doesn't look at your desktop version. So how you perform on mobile is getting more and more important. And it's actually now starting to affect your rankings. So that user experience the second thing is super important and making sure that you work well on mobile devices. The third thing is links. So there's three different types of links. There's External links, there's backlinks, and there's internal links. backlinks are links from other websites that link to you. And it's almost like they're voting for you. They're saying, this is a good website. And it used to be that you could game the system and that's this is where the you got all these spam links, appearing on all these different websites. And what happened then back then it was it was it's called PageRank Google's algorithm that started off Why why Google became the best SEO search engines is because of their algorithm called PageRank. And back then you could game the system, you could just get tons and tons of links from all these spammy places, and Google would put you near the top. Now, they've countered that there's 200, different ranking factors and a lot of other things that come into it. So what you want to focus on is quality links, not quantity. So get get backlinks from sites that are relevant to your industry into your location.

And then you also want to use External links, you want to link out to other relevant sites. So it's kind of weird. When you design a website, you want to keep them on your website. So often, you're thinking I don't want to link to other sites because then they might get distracted. They might go somewhere. But research has shown sites that have a lot more External links to relevant sites, not spam sites. They have much better SEO because Google sees them into locked as part of the system and sees how you connect with the wider world. And you're not just all about yourself. So it's kind of a nice message. And then the third one is internal links or making sure that the, the internal linking structure of your website, all your main pages on your site, have links to them from blog articles and making, it's all to do the user experience making sure everything's relevant and nicely laid out for them. So they have a great experience on your website.

Jake Van Buschbach 17:35
Yeah, that makes sense. That's so interesting.

No, no, that's that. Absolutely fantastic. To be honest with you. That's so much information. And I'm going to be rewatching this and taking notes for sure. That's so interesting that you say that because I do notice that it's usually if I'm Google searching for something technical. Or if I'm just google googling for some Daily News stuff. I do tend to notice it's usually the same websites. Coming up nowadays, and I've noticed that these people all linked to each other, like, for example, New York Times, Washington Post, etc. It's just always interlocked. And it's always always you can see we got our source material here. And it just goes to Washington Post if you're in New York Times and vice versa. So that the link thing is very, very interesting to me. And you mentioned, there's 200 different ways that it does ranking. That's incredible. So how does how does a normal person kind of manage all that stuff? And it seems like, again, it's kind of a situation with my company where it's now a necessity for you and I do exist, because for someone who owns a hair salon, or someone who owns an accounting firm, trying to keep track of these 200 ways to rank that doesn't seem to work very well. I think a better example, honestly, would be a plumber, or an electrician. Because when people are trying to find those services, it's very immediate, and it's just, I'm going to I got a pipe burst. I'm going to go on Google. I'm going to search for Pipe repair, plumbing, Vancouver, whatever, like you said, my pipe is bursting Siri helped me out. And being able to rank number one there could make a break in business. So it's really interesting to me how how much this has changed. Because when I was looking at SEO stuff, it was right, a spammy blog that use the same word over and over again, link to your own website in the header or something like that. And make sure that you've got a fast website. So Google ranks you high. So again, really, really appreciate the information. That's a ton of good stuff. So what specific benefits do you think most businesses can really expect if they managed to nail their Seo? Is it just coming up on the first page of Google? Have you noticed any other benefits from from having good SEO? Do clients actually comment and say, you've got a really nice website? I found the blogs really valuable, or do most people kind of sidestep that stuff? What's your experience

Andrew Jackson 19:59
so SEO is a part of sem, which is search engine marketing. So it's like a branch of the tree. And really sem is all about trying to get more more clicks and more impressions within Google search. And I talked about Google, because that's the search engine that most people use in, in North America. But it really matters. You know, if you're in South Korea, it would be Naver if you were in Russia be Yandex. So you have to first think about who you're trying to reach. And then then you optimize for that search engine. So if you think of SEO as part of your sem strategy, then it's just really about trying to boost the authority and reputation of your own company so that you come up in search, so that when people are searching for queries that are relevant to your business and to your products, your services that you appear, and for some places like it might be Be the first time they come across you. So you have to make sure that your SEO title and your SEO description, the things that Google show in the search results are really well thought out. They're really well written, they have your keywords in there. And really you're trying to get people to click through to your website, so they have to have some kind of enticing description, they have to, they have to make people want to click a little bit so so there's, there's all that you've got to consider. And also within sem, you've got other things so you've got you've got advertising, so it's not always about like, okay, some some companies shouldn't go full into SEO. Like if you're a plumber or painter, you know, you might not want to spend hours and hours writing blogs. Typically the way you rank. What you might want to do is get a nice site together that's like simple like maybe eight pages that is everything you need, and you SEO optimize those as well as possible. But then you have a Google ad campaign where you know that if you can get a qualified lead to maybe book a consultation with you, if you can get that for $50, you can work out, okay, this is this is really good. I can just keep going with Google ads, because there's a lot of margin in that if I can get a qualified lead for $50. You know, a job that I do is that, you know, thousands of dollars, maybe $10,000. It's a really good margin. So you just keep pouring more and more money into Google ads. And you can survive off doing that you don't have to go full in on SEO, you have to weigh up what what's the right mix of Google Ads versus SEO. The other thing is, there's other things like Google My Business, so for local SEO, you know, you want to fully optimize your Google My Business profile, you want to put in all your services, all your keywords, you put in your service areas. So you This is telling Google exactly what is relevant for you. So you're more likely to show up for your website. In the search rankings when you combine it with all these, they're called local SEO signals. So that you're, you're integrating everything together. And so there's a there's a huge mix here. But ultimately, the benefit of SEO is this. I mean, this is what it sold us. It's free clicks. You know, once you once you're ranking for SEO, you, you're really getting that traffic for free. And so it's like the holy grail of search engine marketing, because you're not having to pay for those clicks. I would argue that you are paying for those clicks, because you have to invest in content strategy, you have to develop great content, you have to have a really good website. And it's, it's not really something that you just set and forget. It's like you have to keep going back to these articles and updating them, making them better. And so you have to decide what's the right mix for your company? Is it? Is it to go full in SEO? is it to have a mix of Google ads and Seo? Or is it more to lean on on Google ads? And the other the other factor there is with a new website, it typically takes like nine months for you to start ranking. So is that something? If you bought a new domain? Is that something that you can afford to do just sit around and wait for it to start ranking in nine months time? I mean, it depends on the keyword and the competitiveness and where you are. But generally, we we always say, to get to light the fire to get the fire started. You need Google ads, that's like the kindling. And then you want to build up your SEO in the background so that you start ranking for the keywords that you're bidding on with Google ads. And so it's this mix. It's like a recipe that you want to put together. That's not the same for every company. But you want to work out exactly how much Google Ads how much SEO And how that changes over time.

Jake Van Buschbach 25:03
That makes a ton of sense. So you've answered about half of my questions

Andrew Jackson 25:10
about this. Probably So, so into it, but no, I love this stuff. It's just really, one of our taglines is helping awesome people succeed online. And that's really what motivates us. Like, we, if we don't really like the person we're working with, or, you know, we're not really into what we what they're doing. It's not quite the same for us. So, you know, we really want to invest in people and help businesses do well like businesses that are doing awesome stuff. We work with a couple of peacocks and and just just to just to help help them succeed online. It's it's very fulfilling, actually. And

Jake Van Buschbach 25:49
so that that's,

Andrew Jackson 25:50
that's a real motivation and why I get quite excited about this sort of techie stuff.

Jake Van Buschbach 25:55
Yeah. Now I'm on the same page as here we take the same approach and again, I have a tendency to rant a little bit people know me for that. So no worries, man. Again, this is super, super valuable information, really appreciate it. So you did mention that sem is kind of the tree. And then you have branches of this tree like SEO, Google ads, Google My Business, what are what are some of the other branches on this tree?

Andrew Jackson 26:21
So I would say the 800 pound gorilla in the room is with

his Wikipedia. And so

Jake Van Buschbach 26:29
really, if,

Andrew Jackson 26:31
yeah, so one, one of the best pieces of information I've been given about SEO is to Wikipedia fire your page, as much as possible. And now you've got to balance things up. Yeah, like Wikipedia is long and it's kind of it could seem drab to a lot of websites like in terms of like having to have this certain structure. You have your anchor links at the top that go to all these different parts of your your article. But the key thing is why rank so well for SEO? Apart from getting a lot of links from other websites, because it's got such good authority. But the key thing is long form content about one one main keyword or one main thing. And that's why it has the ability to rank so well. And so for your business you for some, some of my clients, they're professional speakers. They appeared in the media, they have lots of TV stuff that they've done. Yeah, they can actually write Wikipedia pages. And this gives you this gives you an enhanced authority. And it also shows up number one for sure. When people are googling you are googling your company. So I would ask a company, can you get a Wikipedia page. And what that means is Google Wikipedia has very strict rules about the criteria that you can appear If you're a living person, it's actually easy to get on there. If you're a dead person. Like the the you have to be very notable lucky, whenever you write something to Wikipedia, they, they say, Oh, this person is not notable enough yet, so you have to look through their criteria and see, is it possible to get someone on there who's done some great thing, maybe an inventor for your company? Or maybe your company has invented some unique stuff, then I would look or is it possible to get on there? So Wikipedia is something I would shine a light on and say, look at that.

Jake Van Buschbach 28:36
You recommend that we pretend and we fake our death to boost our SEO? That's gonna boost the numbers. And

Andrew Jackson 28:45
yeah, if you want to take it that way, no, not exactly. But uh, yeah, I prefer living people.

Jake Van Buschbach 28:51
Okay, gotcha.

So you didn't mention as well, that you want to look for somebody who's going to do your best SEO and your sem? Who's gonna build your Wikipedia page, see if they can do that. What are some other signs of a good digital marketer, a good sem marketer.

Andrew Jackson 29:11
And before I move on to that I must qualify that you can't actually get paid for doing someone's Wikipedia page according to Wikipedia rules. So you have to be bit careful around that. Yeah, it maybe you just you can charge a fee for writing an article type thing. If you're an agency or if you're doing that for someone, a consultant. There are Yeah, there are creative ways around it, but just be careful around that. Wikipedia is trying to be like this, you know, community of, you know, editors the doing it for the love of information. Yeah. And the spread of proper information.

Unknown Speaker 29:52
Yeah. So, yeah,

Andrew Jackson 29:54
so just be just be aware of that. In terms of a good digital marketer. There's a few things I would mention like one you want to, you want to gel with a person that you're gonna work with. So make sure you have some kind of connection on a human level. And I would say that about any business here. Yeah, you don't want to, you don't want to work with people that you don't gel with. That doesn't make anything fun. I think business should be fun. You know, you know, they should be challenges, but it should be you should have a good time doing it. That's the first thing. The second thing is like, make sure they're transparent. And also work out you know, your how you're going to measure success for anything you do online. Don't let them Don't let someone you're working with an agency or consultant. Don't let them dictate what success would be like. So you've got to tell them, this is what I'm looking for. These are the goals. So ultimately, I want more revenues. I want more leads. I want more engagement on my website. I want more inquiries, I want more traffic and So what you can do then is you can set up what we do is we set up a dashboard of website goals, that then every month, we can actually look at, and record it down and see, okay, we're going up, we're progressing. And ultimately, you want to have that dashboard that tells you it, are you is it successful what you're doing? You don't want to always be guessing, is it working? You actually want it to translate to real numbers. And that goes back to the analytics and making data makes sense that we talked about that national digital.

Jake Van Buschbach 31:31
Yeah, no, that that makes a lot of sense as well. And, again, one of the reasons why I like your industry so much. And what I'm trying to kind of do with my company is is get into that metrics. Because if we do that already, I've been doing that for years and years and years now with my clients where we sit down quarterly, we review everything we've been doing, and there's statistics and there's numbers, and it's boring, and a lot of people don't like it, but it's very easy for them to see okay, the number of automations has quadrupled and the number of downtime. has gone down 90% or 95%. And all of our productivity is going through the roof. But I can see people are collaborating, and I can see people are doing more with less. And there's so many benefits to being able to work with a company that says, here's a and and transparently say, this is where you were when we started, here's where you are now. And here's where we're going to get you. And having that steady progress that you can show off by using tools like Google Analytics, or other I'm sure we're going to get into some other tools that you recommend shortly. Being able to look at these tools and say, when you hired us, you were getting 1000 views a month, now you're getting 100,000 views a month, you know, and yeah, your conversion rate went from 5% to 20%. But our goal is to get you up to 25%, you know, or whatever a reasonable number would be. So I do really, really like working with people like you said, you got to gel with them. They've got to be transparent. They've got to be honest. And personally, I don't really like working with vendors unless they're crazy like you and I are Where it's just eat dreams, sleep, whatever it is that we're doing because, again, you go to a party and people like, Hey, man, what's going on? How are you is like, Oh, good man, you know, just reading a Cisco manual again and it's Like what? Like, did you did you watch Game of Thrones? No, no, no, there's a seminar on this new firewall technology that came out or this data loss prevention, email service and just invigorating man, people are just like, okay, am I gonna talk to you for the rest of the night? But I do, I do really like those prerequisites that you mentioned before you work with someone so segwaying over to the tools that you would recommend the tools that you kind of use to track this stuff. What do you recommend folks use while they're trying to develop their sem strategy?

Andrew Jackson 33:43
I'm sorry to keep doing this here. But before we move on to the next,

Jake Van Buschbach 33:45
please do.

Please do.

Andrew Jackson 33:50
There's a couple of things here like so one is we be careful with digital marketing because it is the Wild West there's no good reason an industry standard or certification. And so you want if you're if you're going to work with an agency, ask them for like some past case studies or like how what they've done in the past relates to what they're going to do for your industry or for your company. And check their Google reviews, you know, are they are they authentic? Are they real? Are they Is there a lot of them, you know, check what people are saying about the company. Because anyone who's doing a really good job, is probably going to ask, you know, their best clients to write them a nice review. So just just go and check that out. Yeah. That's one thing. The other thing is, be careful with what you're setting up as a metric because measure what matters and be be aware that you become what you measure. Because if you set the parameters around like inquiries from a form of phone calls, and you say, Oh, I want to boost phone calls, By 100%, then all of a sudden, that is what the campaign will look like, you will start to do actions that try to increase that. So make sure you set the metrics and you work out. This is actually the things that we need. So often, it's like when we're dealing with a client, it's trying to get to know them and understand their business and what it is their objectives are. And then so we can only be as good as that, that engagement is our that information is so make sure you're clear in what you're trying to do and, and communicate your business and exactly what your objectives are your marketing strategy. And then what we can do is we can run with that we can translate that onto online onto website marketing. And so just be careful to set the right metrics and, but also remember, it's iterative. So like, campaigns change over time. And if you decide, okay, phone calls, you know, I increased Phone calls by 100%. But you know, half of them were just time wasters, then all of a sudden, you might go a different direction. So it's a constantly evolving dialogue between the consultant, the agency, the digital marketer, and the business owner, the marketing officer, whatever. And so yeah, just be aware of that.

Jake Van Buschbach 36:20
That makes a lot of sense. Again, it's the same thing in it, you got to make sure that what you're doing you're have a whole lot of very high touch relationship. It's really important to touch base at least once a month, at least once a month. And you need to make sure that, like you said, the metrics that you're measuring matter. Because if you're like you said, you have 100 phone calls, you go up to 1000 phone calls, your conversion goes from 10% to 1%. That's not an improvement, like you haven't improved anything. So what other steps do you recommend people make before they get started with SEO, so obviously define your metrics. Make sure you match with the person. Make sure that the person is happy. To make sure that the person has a good strategy and does business the way that you'd like them to where they're being held accountable, they're being transparent. Is there anything else that you can recommend to SEO specifically, that people should look out for or that people should keep in mind while they're picking a service provider?

Andrew Jackson 37:19
Yeah, so a national digital for our monthly SEO clients, we have like an eight step SEO process that involves is the last step you know, like, an hour consultation by used to be in person sometimes. But now it's more like on on zoom or Google me and, and also monthly content, so like working on actual new content, and that's kind of like the final step once we get to that. But the one of the crucial first steps is actually setting up an analytics system. So a lot of people might have set up Google Analytics for that. business, but they've just kind of, you know, put the code on their website. And then they've started gathering data. Some, many clients haven't even got to that stage, by the way. So just be aware when when when you start with Google Analytics, that becomes Year Zero. Google can't show you analytics for your website before you've actually set up Google Analytics. So that becomes like Year Zero, you start recording from then. And so, you know, setting up the analytics, the parameters within which you will judge the campaign is a crucial step. But before that, you've all you've got to go through a brief like a campaign brief, you've got to work out. Okay, what are your business goals? What are your website goals? What are the key things to measure? And it goes back to something we use at UBC in a course. It's a framework called go Sam GOS a m, and you can use this as a framework to map out Any campaign or any any project you're working on, not necessarily digital, it could be your life. But the goal Sam stands for goals, objectives, strategies, activities and metrics. And it's a cascading waterfall of dependence. So your goals, determine your objectives, your objectives, determine strategies, your activities, your metrics, and really, you can use that as a framework to map out Okay, my business goals are this, my objectives of this which you know, like SMART objectives, as you know, they have to be specific, they have to be measurable, achievable, realistic, timeframe, all that stuff, all goes back to like business one on one and stuff like that, Mm hmm. But you want you want to work on this framework or have an idea of this. And then you can then where the digital marketer will come in, is really the strategies the activities to be done for your website or online for SEO for Google ads, and then then the metrics will be determined based on your goals and objectives. And really, you want to be able to see that on a monthly basis, like, like I mentioned as a dashboard. So you can see whether things are getting better or not. So, and the more clearly you can communicate your business goals, the better the digital marketing will become.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:28
That makes a lot of sighs

Okay, so, back to the tools that we were discussing earlier. Do you have anything else you want to go before we dive into that?

Andrew Jackson 40:40
No, no. Okay.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:44
Okay, cool. So looking at the tools that people are using nowadays, you mentioned Google Analytics more than a few times I would even call it go Sam, a tool technically, like we we do something as well as a service industry thing. It's called PP di O. So it's prepared Plan, design, implement, operate and optimize. It just makes sure that what you're doing, you've listened to the client, you've prepared everything that you need, you've planned out what it is you're going to be doing. you design it in a way that makes sense and and checks all the boxes for the clients. you implement it based off of your plan. And then you operate it for a little while you review what you've done, and then you optimize it. So it's very similar. Again, I'm sure that your business could adapt that I do like the NGO Sam method as well. But I would consider both of those to be tools just as much as Google Analytics, or something like hot jar where you're able to track where people's mouse's are going to see what it is that they're interested in on a website. Do you have a list of tools that you prefer to work with or that you recommend people use if they're just getting started with this stuff?

Andrew Jackson 41:53
And there are so many that we teach.

Jake Van Buschbach 41:57
score the top three or top five

Andrew Jackson 42:00
Yeah, I mean,

I would start with a Google suite. You know, if you want to rank on Google search engine, you've got to go straight to the horse's mouth, you know, for all your data. So, go, you know, learn how to use Google Analytics, learn how to use Google Search Console. So and then also Google My Business, I would start with these, these are the most important for SEO. And then I use Google Data Studio, which is a visualization tool so that you can put the you can put Google Analytics into all these different widgets and make it focus on things that you want to focus on and add these different filters for things. So it's it you can create really cool looking easy to digest reports, rather than just, you know, like Google Analytics, plowing through all those. They've got dashboards in Google Analytics, but they're not very good. They they you can you can setting them up and experiment with them. But generally, they're not not that useful compared to, you know, Google Data Studio and being able to really visualize things. So I'm, and I'm talking there for the business owner and say, the C level suite within a company because it sure you've got loads of data analysts who want to really get into the the data and the back end of everything in the website. But generally, you want to be able to communicate things that are higher, more meaningful level. And so that's what we use Data Studio for. Google Analytics really is about what's happening on your website. So it's like tracking, you know, where did they come from? What are they doing on your website? And then that's what really that tools about. Google Search Console is really the step before. It's like, how are you performing within Google search? It's all linked to a website. So it's all seen through a parameter of your website. And so you can see on Google Search Console, like how how many keywords you showed up for in search in the last month? And yeah, and so you can see, okay, I got 1000 impressions for i don't know i IT services Vancouver, but I only got 20 clicks. So you know, why is my click through rate only, you know, that that level, and and you look at, you look at where you're getting lots of impressions, and maybe not as many clicks. This means you got to go back and work on your SEO titles and descriptions that are showing up in Google because people are seeing them and not clicking. So maybe you just need to improve the language that you're using. But be be aware also that it's important, what keywords you put in there because this is the low hanging fruit of SEO, and that is to fix your SEO titles and descriptions. So that they have the keyword for each page that you want to rank in the SEO title and the description that makes. Yeah, but you, you don't want to spam it, you don't want to make it look like a bot is created, it needs to feel human. And it needs to also feel like you want to click through. And so there's all sorts of stuff you can get there and Google Search Console about your impressions clicks, based on a keyword based on the location, it'll show you. It'll show you, you know where the person is. That's, that seemed the impression. So an impression is just when you show up in the search. Yeah, yeah, but but not necessarily that they click, they just saw you but for a keyword. It'll also show your average position. So your average ranking, but it's, it's done nationally, so it's not that meaningful, unless you're a nationwide company.

But there's the other thing is about Google Search Console is it's it's, it used to be called Google Webmaster Tools. And that means it's like the ability of someone who's looking after a website to go and communicate directly with Google about what's happening with your website. So for example, say you do a bunch of updates and what you look at in Google search, it's not quite showing the right thing. You can go into search console and ask it to recrawl your website. So they updates, spit, generally, Google will crawl your website lots of times a day, but you want to you can monitor that you can actually see how you're being indexed. Is it the smartphone bar, or is it the desktop bar? And My bet is, if you're any kind of website now, with any traffic, it will be mobile. It's all it's all indexed for mobile and the mobile but yeah, but you can also see, I mean, this is getting into more technical SEO stuff like what structured data or what rich results you're preparing for. So there's all this other thing now, you know, I mentioned the Holy Trinity SEO, but as well as that is like, you know, a myriad of all of the different options of things you can optimize. And one thing I would tell your listeners, your watchers, your viewers to look up, if they haven't got into that, and they really want to dig deeper into SEO, there's a few things and one of them is schema or structured data. And that's like when you search a recipe. It's like it's the data that shows up in the backend of a website that actually has like the picture. It has, like the time it takes to cook a recipe, the calories, all this information that you can add as as meta data at the top of a web page so that Google can show your page better than two to two people in search. And and Google Search Console will show you what what kind of rich results you're preparing for. And so I'd suggest you know, your your viewers to have a look at that. And there's all sorts of tools around that like, now I, we typically use WordPress and I can go on, I could speak for hours about the best plugins for WordPress for SEO. But one of them there is called structured data schema for WordPress. And that's, that's an amazing plugin that can help you with getting these rich results. There's also a MP accelerated mobile pages. So it's more important this for like media sites. And you mentioned things like New York Times, they're all using accelerated mobile pages. It's all the stuff like if you've got an Android phone and you swipe left, you'll notice a lightning symbol and that means it's the ANP version of a page. Okay? it Yeah, it's Google's stripped down version of your web page. So it's got very rigorous, like rules about what can appear. And it's just like HTML and everything else is stripped out of it. And, like for WordPress, there's an a&p plugin that can generate this version of your, of your blog pages, and even your normal pages that can as well. But then it's almost like it's creating a new version of your website to be served fast on mobile. And that's where Google developed this. It doesn't Google doesn't want people to be hanging around on mobile waiting for things to load, especially if you're on like, you know, a 3g network, 4g network, whatever. And you're trying to download things. So this is the way that they force web designers and websites to serve ultra fast content for for mobile. And so there's always new developments like this that you have to keep, you know, keep in touch with SEO. And the new one that they're coming out with now is called Google stories and it's like in 10 slides You can like show the information of a blog post and you've got to develop like this whole, it's like a little reel that you develop. And so there's, you know, there are there's always new stuff to try and keep up to date with. So the best thing you can do is like follow search engine blogs. There's a few like real good industry leaders, Neil Patel, you know, Brian Dean. There's a guy called Alex Chris. So Neil Patel has an amazing keyword tool called Uber suggests. And he actually bought this and then like, put it onto his website and through it grew his business and amazing amount and got all these extra visitors and think he paid like a million dollars for something like that. Don't quote me on some of these facts.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:45
Yeah, I actually I, I was doing a little bit of research and SEO before the show about a week ago before we had you on and now my Instagram, my LinkedIn, my Facebook, it's all theirs. Neil Patel guy All, like all my ads are like this one secret from Neil Patel will blow your mind and this tool kit from Neil Patel, you've never seen anything like it. So I'm not familiar with him. You also mentioned low hanging fruit of SEO. So really quickly. How do you feel about clickbait? Is it useless with SEO? Is it is it useful as another branch of the tree of sem? For example, I just post this video is Andrew Jackson, SEO digital marketing strategies, and then I'll put it up on YouTube and just make a comment about what we're talking about. But I have a friend of mine who runs another business that helps with international tourism, international students, this kind of stuff. And he's always posting the clickbait stuff where it's like, you won't believe what this house in Vancouver has to offer. And then he'll put like a picture of something crazy in the house or whatever, you know, like have you noticed a benefit to using the clickbait strategies?

Andrew Jackson 51:57
Yeah, so one, so we've got a checklist and that's it. Do checklists when you're developing, and I'm one of them is to try and use that a little bit, but only in as much as is appropriate for your brand.

Jake Van Buschbach 52:09
Yeah. Don't want to be a cheeseball. Yeah, yeah,

Andrew Jackson 52:14
it definitely works for YouTube. And I think, you know, your strategy with these videos could be you have a long, far more in depth piece of content. It's almost like the Joe Rogan model of podcasts in our YouTube. And it's like, you have the long form thing. And then you have like little short videos where it's like, then you could get into more of the clickbait titles for that. And it just, it just depends and then, but he definitely helps with click through rates when there's certain words that can be used, that really get people like Oh, go to click on that. And so you know, when you're on some kind of dodgy website, and you see those things that appear at the bottom and you're like, you're like, you know, you won't believe how this celebrity looks when they were 12 years old. You know, Peppa Pig Just seven is amazing. Yeah, exactly. Three outro gets a picture seven. Yeah, it's just but it's horrible. Yeah. Like, you've got to think, you know, okay, you might be able to get people to your site, but does it match with the messaging when they're there? And like, what's the whole purpose? I would say focus on the people that matter rather than everyone Yeah, you're trying to get everyone to your site just try and get the the people who are actually going to convert are the people you're trying to do business with? Or the people you're trying to relate to whatever it's like, I just I don't know I i think we were missing human qualities more and more. I agree in everything we do. And often with digital it's like how can we gain the system just be real just do it properly. You know, like, yeah, try and be good human being

you know, my hi Oscar, but

Jake Van Buschbach 53:52
we had a Kevin MacLeod on he's the CEO of words AI security and the CEO of yardsticks services, also on the are short. And he's a very good guy for WordPress as well. You mentioned that but another cabin that we were talking to I don't know why to start from Kevin Kevin, but another Kevin that we had on the show as well. He actually I think he called marketers locusts or something like that. He was saying that this new fad of just figure out what the key word is figure out what the buzzwords are, jump into a sector. Totally just spam the hell out of it, lose all of the humanity, just figure out the formula that works and hit it and then jump to the next sector when you start to kill it. Like he said, email marketing 1015 years ago, amazing, golden, perfect. And then marketers got into it. And now no one reads email anymore. And then five years ago, Facebook, everyone and their dog was on Facebook and it was really cool. And now it's gotten to the point where if I get a Facebook ad, I think it's creepy. And I don't even like to look at them anymore. Again, this Neil Patel guy I was like, Okay, this guy's a scammer. But now that someone as professional as yourself is recommended, and I'm actually going to click on these ads and look at what he's talking about. But it just it's very funny to me how you said you want to bring the humanity back to it. And that's another one of the reasons why I think that you've done so well is because you're trying to focus on the reality of the situation. And the people behind the service not getting lost and technicalities and the formulas of trying to create as many people and which is why I kind of asked about the clickbait stuff. So, you mentioned the Neil Patel thing as well. So do you have any other people that you recommend people follow any market leaders, any people that I can follow on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc. learn a little bit more about this stuff as I'm doing the Daily News scrolling.

Andrew Jackson 55:45
I mean, yeah, Brian, Dean of backlinko is amazing as well, you know, backlinko.com he's, he's really the dawn of SEO. I think Neil Patel has like risen above him recently because partly because of Uber suggests this keyword tool but This Search Engine Journal search engine lon but a lot of these things they're like, you know, it goes in so much detail. And it's really just for SEO people. Like, I like business business, people who are really trying to learn about SEO, you can, you know, there's constant articles every day about the smallest thing like the latest algorithm released by Google and what it means for different industries. You know, eat at the start stores that appear in my like Android, where I get my Google stories and, you know, I skim through a few every day, but just to try and keep up with everything is like, it's almost like a full time profession. Yeah. So I would dive into things a little bit. But yeah, if Neil Patel is really good at like, business strategy and how to do it well online, so he's a good one to start with. But, you know, we've got a blog as well, national, digital, you know, everything's a work in progress. We We're finding we you know, we're at the start of our journey we we currently work and look after about 42 websites. And the one that always seems to get neglected is our own. So yeah, I mean we do. It's, it's like the mechanic that doesn't look after his car

Unknown Speaker 57:16
Exactly.

Jake Van Buschbach 57:19
me come, you come home, my cable management is a mess. As you can see with the TV by me, I just don't care. I don't want to deal with it. I deal with it all day every day. And when I get home, I don't care. So I totally get where you're coming from.

Andrew Jackson 57:34
But we do have some good blog articles. So like this one is called the fundamentals, search engine marketing fundamentals. And it was written as like a response to all the stuff that I teach at various station and it's very in depth. It was almost trying to do a Wikipedia article about search engine marketing. So maybe I could share that link with with with your viewers as well in the in the comments. And then yeah, I've actually got like, a private page on my site for my students brain station for like all the resources I use for search engine marketing. And it's password protected, but I could share that as well with with your viewers and put that in there so they can skim through it. And within there, there's all sorts of resources like the top 10 plugins for SEO for WordPress and things like that. So it's a treasure trove of stuff that I'm always updating. So I can share that as well so that you can look look at different tools. One tool I will mention just as a nice little thing to check out is one call you viewers might know of it, but it's called built with calm. And so it's like, you know, what is the website built with so say you've got someone a competitor, or you've got a website that you've found and you're like, this is killer. This is great. What what the How did they make this Saw, what are they doing behind the scenes on this website, all you have to do is go to build web.com put in the website, and it will tell you like what it's built with the CMS, it'll tell you all the marketing tools they use in. And that is that is really good for research, like when you're checking out websites and trying to check out you know, how people are doing something cool. So yeah, I would recommend using that. But there's all sorts of stuff like that, that I put in my resources in this in this page for my students or brain station.

Jake Van Buschbach 59:33
Yeah, we'll throw all those links and description for sure. One thing I was going to say is I'm going to start using that tool because a lot of the time we end up doing is something other who is search. I'm sure you're familiar with that. Because when we're taking over control of some of these companies, a lot of them don't know who the webmaster is. A lot of them don't know what the old IT guy managing this what's the deal, blah, blah, blah. And we have to try to figure out okay, how do we break into this domain But being able to actually figure out, okay, your website was built on WordPress,

Unknown Speaker 1:00:04
right?

Jake Van Buschbach 1:00:06
Like a lot of folks, a lot of lawyers, a lot of financial people, there's a lot of professionals out there that just don't maintain their site. And they just assume that we're going to be able to get into it right away. So I'm definitely gonna check out that, that website there and start using that with my clients and just say, okay, you have a WordPress site, who is the who is the credentials for this WordPress site? And do you know how much you're paying for this plug in every month? Because it says, Here's 2995 or 15 bucks a month, whatever. And there's a free version or there's an updated version, whatever. But it's really good to know I'll make sure to link to all that stuff. That's awesome. Man. I do have to ask you about the the zombie apocalypse stuff, the COVID stuff. So regarding that, I'm assuming that you're probably in the same boat as us and you've noticed an increase of services and you've noticed an increase in the benefit for your clients of using SEO But I won't assume here what what's been your experience with the whole COVID situation? so far? Are people benefiting from doing digital marketing? Are they still kind of struggling and shrinking?

what it was what's been your experience?

Andrew Jackson 1:01:15
Well, I have to put that all through the lens of our company. And that is the, you know, we, although we've been going for about two years, it was really just me freelancing for a couple years, until late last year when we incorporated in November. So we're pretty, you know, we're a baby really. And my business partner only joined full time, April 1, and then I have another colleague who works on this with me, so there's three of us. And then we have a development team that helps us with our website projects. So that's where we're at. We were still like growing and then COVID came along and we were like, Oh my god, how's this gonna affect like everything we do and like my business partner left his full time job in order to you know, jump ship and devote himself to this. And what happened at first, it was interested in like, Google ads, probably, you know, maybe 40% of our clients go in touch with us and said, I think we're just going to pause our ads and see what goes on, you know, in terms of COVID, and, and like the lockdown and like just being able to work through business costs and revenues. And then what happened is they all came back within two weeks because they realized that they couldn't meet people and do business as usual. So their leads were drying up. So actually, they came back. And in many cases, they increased budgets, because they wanted to do more on digital that everyone was at home. Everyone's using the internet. Yeah. Research by zoom itself is just an incredible story. And they went from 10 million daily users to over 300 million users daily in advance. So like, if you know, think of what COVID did. And for us, it was a similar sort of catalyst. So we were able to double I think, Google Ads clients within the sort of two months of lockdown. And that I think, is because my business partner was working on things full time again. Yeah. For the first time with us. And so that certainly helped. So I had him but it also had, you know, definitely interesting people, you know, changing where they spend money rather than, you know, maybe using mailouts using like cold call and using meeting people in person. It was more, okay, the website has got to be more important and getting people to the website. So SEO, and especially Google ads. It's just kind of with anything where COVID was really good for Google ads, because it's kind of like within a specific timeframe. And you want things to happen instantly. So with Google ads, you can, you know, put a video You've got to work out a strategy behind the campaign. But you can get things going within days and start getting clicks. And you can start changing all your messaging to meet COVID. And so one thing we did is we put out a blog article, like five tips for websites for COVID.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:18
Okay, and

Andrew Jackson 1:04:19
yeah, and so it was like, a lot of it was showing, you know, like, how to build a COVID page, how to keep your, your community in the loop about how it's affecting your business. But so one of them is about Google ads. And we saw like, at first, the competition, the competition was going down, the cost per click was going down, and we saw conversions going up, you know, just just as a general rule, so we were like, Okay, this is a good time for you to actually do more Google ads.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:04:46
So your clients are actually directly benefiting and getting more conversions since COVID.

Andrew Jackson 1:04:53
I mean, I would say as a general rule, yeah. Like so we work typically with three sort of verticals. As you know, I mean industries, one of them is property or home related. And so now within that we've got realtors that, you know, COVID really messed the obviously how you how you did property deal, you know, like open houses, things like that, you know, everything changed. So it's hard to make one rule that specific across like that, you know, all our clients, but say within trades, like we work with some painters we work with a home inspector, and they typically were getting better value from the Google Ads campaigns. They were getting, you know, more inquiries, because yeah, the the old method of getting clients was dying and harder to do. Yeah, so that's one of the verticals so I've liked the home property related. The other one is financial advisors. So more and more like people want meeting in person. So virtual financial advisors are like digital financial advisors, this kind of key word became more important. And then another one is IT services and like yourself, I'm sure you would just everything became intensified as everyone started to work from home, you're having to deal with virtual private networks and setting all that up and having to do more work. So

Jake Van Buschbach 1:06:20
that thankfully we were prepared for for most of that stuff. Thankfully, we we were ahead of the curve on that. There was a couple of crazy weeks there where we add some backlog but yeah, for the most part, we were ahead of the curve with that very, very, very thankfully, we've already had everything set up and configured. The big challenge for us was getting into people's computers, getting them actually connected to the VPN on their home machines, which of course, we don't manage. It's a personal device. But and then some clients had to purchase dozens and dozens of laptops to be able to be used at home and in the office. But thankfully, again, we did have most of our clients transition over to law tops before this happened I was being laughed at in probably early January because I was like, Hey guys, I think this is going to be a problem pretty soon. We should probably start moving over because I saw these videos with people in China and Iran just dropping. And I was like this seems kind of crazy. He was walking around town wearing my full respirator and goggles in the middle of January my staffs like you crazy. Do we work for a crazy person?

But yeah, things have been intense as you said sorry.

Andrew Jackson 1:07:29
Yeah, yeah. What are the challenges have you had free call but

Jake Van Buschbach 1:07:33
um, that's that's really it. Man. To be honest with you. We've had to expand a little bit more because again, there is more demand now that people are working from home. There's some unique challenges there. Like we're not we're not working on managed networks anymore. Like you said they have to be using VPNs that are secure and now to be using remote desktop or other solutions that we provide for them that are very secure and simple. But for the most part, it's been really smooth sailing it was just that initial two weeks, I think in February, where we had thousand people just say, hey, our personal machines need to set up, we need to make sure that everything is steady. And we need to make sure that we're able to access our work stuff from our personal machines. That was the biggest deal was trying to navigate that water of what's acceptable use for personal devices, etc. But it's been a really good blessing to be honest with you. I always try to position it with my clients that way, it's a very good opportunity to restructure, you're going to be able to look at your organization from the top down and say, Okay, now is a very good time to develop all of the policies that we haven't been developing. It's a very good time to organize all of our systems in a way where we have people laid out by organizational units, those organizational units are composed into groups of people, and we're able to get all of that stuff kind of broken up for them, and when they come back from COVID in a couple of months, I hope They're going to come back in a much more organized fashion with a lot more policies being a lot more efficient, and people will kind of be used to this transition of, Okay, you know what 20% of the workforce is now going to work from home. And we've got all of these collaborative tools. We've got all of these unique ways of communicating now that we weren't leveraging before. We've got an interview with with an accounting firm coming up gray and associates with Brian gray, and I was talking to him, and I kind of got him and his team set up on Microsoft Teams about two weeks ago, I think he'd been kind of pushing it off, and he didn't want to do it. And he finally tried it out after we set it up for a month ago. And he was saying, This is amazing. Like my staff working from home, we're working on the same document at the same time. We're talking with each other, we're sharing things, hey, look at this. I've got a beach background, you know, so he's all excited about stuff like that. And it really is, in my opinion, again, a very good way to kind of exhibit started using this technology because I'm a big fan of automations. I'm a big fan of again, the same sort of approach you are looking at what a business is doing, what is the 80%? What's the 80% of value being generated by their 20% of actions, looking at what workflows make up those actions, and then using the technology to automate away a lot of the mundane nonsense, and looking at the statistics and the analytics, to make sure that that stuff is going to be able to be improved upon. So for example, again, if you have somebody whose job is data entry, perhaps you can set up an automation where that data entry gets automatically finished, and that person can now analyze the data four hours a day, instead of inputting four hours a day. They're gonna get a tremendous amount of value from looking at that sort of information. If you look at things like email collection, there's so many different ways to kind of leverage the technology now, but the biggest improvement has definitely been collaboration, communication and flexibility. I think those are the biggest benefits that come out of this. Yeah, I think it's a really good opportunity for people to restructure and start using services like yours. Because again, a lot of people like myself, I've never done digital marketing, I've never done sales, it's been at the back burner for me my entire life. I've always been a referral guy. But now that I have all of this time, and there's all of this opportunity in the digital space, I really wanted to reach out to someone like yourself and kind of learn what is out there, and how my business can start leveraging it. And I'm sure there's a lot of other people in the space that are going to have similar questions. So I do really appreciate you coming on today, Andrew.

Andrew Jackson 1:11:38
Now, it's been great. Thanks for having me.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:11:40
No worries. Do you have anything that you'd like to promote before we wrap up here?

Andrew Jackson 1:11:46
Um, I mean, like I mentioned, we have social media, but we're not totally active on it. It's more like placeholders where we do get our act together. Really our website Northshore dot digital But if you want to speak to me, you know, call me my phone numbers on the website or email me, you know, I like human contact human connection. I'm pretty busy at the moment. So do bear with me if you reach out and I'm a little bit slow and getting back to you, but I do check my emails pretty regular at the moment and like into things like deep work and actually getting things done and focusing on tasks, but there's, just check out the links, you know, we're gonna put some links in, in the YouTube video. So check out the links, and hopefully there's some useful stuff there for you. You know, I'm all about being an open book. You know, the sort of abundant mindset is what I'm all about, you know, sharing and learning from each other. So hopefully, there's some utility there. And if you have questions, just

let me or you know,

Jake Van Buschbach 1:12:54
yeah, Jake, that's fantastic job. I'll make sure to throw all your stuff in the podcast description in the YouTube description. And all that stuff. And I think we'll link to your brain station as well for folks. And then we're going to link your email, your LinkedIn, all that good stuff. And then I hope to have your partner on soon. And we can probably talk to him about some Google Ad strategies and, and get some more info there. But yeah, this has been absolutely fantastic. Andrew, really appreciate you dropping this knowledge for us. I learned a lot. I hope the listeners learned a lot today. And yeah, thank you so much. And I think that about does it for the interview. Is there anything else that you would want to cover before we wrap up?

Andrew Jackson 1:13:31
No, just good luck with the future of this, you know, podcasts, whatever you want to call it a YouTube video channel. I think it's an awesome idea to like, you know, talk about stuff to do with the community and then how it relates to it. And I think it's an awesome initiative you're doing so I'll be supporting you in the background and trying to Yeah, look, look at what's coming up next.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:13:55
Thank you very much, Andrew. It's made possible because of awesome people like yourself, so Really excited to learn more from from other business owners in the community like you mentioned, so All righty. I got to do this but if you could please leave a like on the video really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe. And if you have a suggestion for a future video, please leave a comment down below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca please make sure to check out the links in the description. Andrew is gonna give us a ton of knowledge. I hope you have a great day and we will see you all soon. Bye

Salesforce for Non-Profits with Emily Pineda...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
Hey everybody, I hope you're having a great day. My name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today we're gonna be talking about Salesforce for nonprofits with my good friend Emily Panetta from makeweight. Emily is a business systems analyst working in the charitable sector sector sorry. And she spent the last five years empowering charitable initiatives through technologies like Salesforce. If you could please leave a like on this video it really helps Emily and I out. If you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe to the channel. If you have a suggestion for a future video, please leave a comment below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca keeping sight on the core on your core mission while increasing revenue and tracking expenditures on a tight budget can be incredibly overwhelming without the right systems and tools for any charitable organization. Thankfully, Emily is here today to help us break down some practical solutions and strategies that nonprofits can implement using the free tool Salesforce for nonprofits. So today Emily is going to help us learn about some of the common challenges being faced by nonprofits. During COVID-19, and how her business has helped them overcome these challenges, work, she's also going to be helping us learn about why she believes Salesforce for nonprofits is the ideal solution for most nonprofits, how to implement these tools without paying for software licenses and avoiding common pitfalls. And she's also going to help us learn some strategies to get the most out of your client resource management software. And we're going to go over a couple of other topics as well. So we're gonna have timestamps in the description now, for each topic in case you want to jump around to a specific bit of information during the interview. So with all that out of the way, thank you again, Emily, very much for coming on today. How's your day going?

Emily Pineda 1:39
Hey, Jake. Um, thanks for having me my days. Going. Well, I'm glad it's Friday, though, and looking forward to the weekend.

Jake Van Buschbach 1:48
That's great. So can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? I know you've got about five years plus experience right now. But is there anything else that you want people to know about yourself? And how you got into this?

Emily Pineda 2:02
Yeah, so now I'm a business systems analyst for Make way and I'm Salesforce certified. But I have played a number of different roles at three fairly well known nonprofits. Your audience might be familiar with best buddies, Canada Social Capital Partners, and make what used to be tides Canada. And I've worked in programs, partnerships in development, as well as finance and in each of these different departmental roles. Salesforce has really been a huge tool for us in optimizing our processes and allow allowing us to do more with less, which makes me a huge fan girl of the system.

Jake Van Buschbach 2:48
So has every one of these organizations that you've worked with, they all use Salesforce for nonprofits, or do you have experience with other systems as well?

Emily Pineda 2:56
So I'm best buddies, Canada, and make way Use Salesforce when I started and then when I was at Social Capital Partners, we moved from a different program, I won't call them out because we had significant challenges with them. But we moved to Salesforce and we're able to expand our, the reach of our projects, as well as the data we were able to collect for program evaluation and therefore, the appeal that we had to funders, so it really has been a huge

tool and, and hero in the space. In my experience,

Jake Van Buschbach 3:38
that's awesome. What were some of the pain points you had with the other pieces of software?

Emily Pineda 3:43
So, um, we, a big part of our programming was evaluating the pilot program and so a lot of

or the program that we were using

was very manual. So it took so many hours to collect information from our program participants and make sure that was all in the system and pull that out of the system in a way that we could see what was happening and pivot our solutions. Whereas Salesforce has a lot of great easy to use, like automation capacity as well as

like set and forget tools.

So you set things up once

and

and sorry, that things up

once and you're able to see like dashboards on a regular basis scheduled out to the people that need to see them and if someone hasn't gotten come back to you with the data on your program, you can schedule automatic follow ups. And that was just a big piece of our project that was missing and and required a lot of our staff time to follow up on previously.

Jake Van Buschbach 5:08
Gotcha. So yeah, it sounds like a lot of the other programs still haven't really come around to the idea of automation yet. I know that's a really big important thing for a lot of the nonprofit's that we work for. They're usually understaffed and overworked. Like you said, doing more with less is really important. And I've managed to bring a lot of value to our clients in the nonprofit space by helping them automate things, not even necessarily taking care of things or hiring more staff or doing work for them. But just analyzing the regular workflows that they go through every day, and helping them implement technology that's going to automate a lot of that grunt work because, again, linking in an envelope 800 times and mailing it out to people you're trying to fundraise from is not fun, but using a tool like MailChimp, or using a tool like Salesforce makes it much, much easier to do that. Especially if it's fully integrated. So When you're using Salesforce with a lot of these folks, Have you always been using it as a business analyst? or What was your role at these companies before? You mentioned you've recently become a business analyst. So what what were you doing beforehand?

Emily Pineda 6:14
Yeah, so uh, Best Buddies Canada, I started as a program coordinator.

And

there a lot of our coordinator staff, you know, we're not because a lot of the time nonprofits are small, you make do with what you have, but a lot of the coordinator staff aren't trained to pull data regularly music so I'm in really efficient ways. So I saw my coworkers struggling and spending hours each week and they didn't enjoy it. We weren't being efficient. And so I knew that Salesforce was a powerful tool, and I kind of started unofficially being a bit of a business As analysts, Salesforce administrator there, and so that was able to free up several staff people's time. And as a result, we were able to bring on more Best Buddies chapters into our program, which is the point of why we exist. So that's what I was doing there. And then I was also a program coordinator at Social Capital Partners. But when the evaluation database we were using was not meeting any of our needs. And, and this was a pretty robust database. It was designed for us by an evaluation partner. But we couldn't use it as an operational tool.

And it was just clear

that we would not get the evaluation data that we required. So having the unofficial Salesforce experience at best buddies, I mentioned how powerful Salesforce was. And we decided to make the switch. What's really great about it is that you, we didn't have any interruption to our users because we were able to build everything in sandbox first in a in a test environment first. And then also, if you're using additional tools, like as you mentioned MailChimp into so many different companies have integrations already built, that are really easy to install and work with. So you're able to get this 360 degree view of your participants, clients and donors. And that was a big thing that we did not have at all with our previous

system.

Jake Van Buschbach 8:46
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So you have experience building from the ground up with absolutely nothing. And then you also have experience actually transitioning to it from an existing solution. Yeah, okay. That's really good to know. Because like, we have a lot of clients Currently actually better using other CRM in and outside of the nonprofit space. Like there's a financial advisory clinic, very sorry, financial advisory firm. And they're using another provider right now for their CRM software. And it's an absolute mess, barely integrates with Outlook. It doesn't do any sort of phone tracking, it doesn't integrate with any other applications. And they're now looking at moving over to Salesforce. And they've been quoted things like oh, it's 20 grand to move over eight employees over to Salesforce now it's $15,000 to move over just your database alone and, and all these crazy high numbers. In your experience, is it usually that costly for somebody like let's say, an existing nonprofit, maybe 15 staff? What kind of costs Do you usually see when people are moving over? Is this something that they can do themselves? Is it something that you recommend that they bring in a professional to do is is something that Salesforce can do for them? How does it work in your experience,

Emily Pineda 9:59
so

Because Salesforce is such a powerful tool, there are consultants that are able to charge very high hourly rates for implementation. And a lot of the information that you do need is available on online. So it really depends how much time your staff has to be able to do that. So I took the time at Social Capital Partners to learn online and I was able to do that.

Um,

I did have a mentor. And that was a Salesforce developer at that time. So I would say that mix of both was really effective in my experience. So having, trying to do a lot of it yourself, but

having an experienced consultant

to advise with

I would recommend for for nonprofits that are on If I did, if you have that those funds then and then go for it, but if you are really struggling to operate, and that's the approach I would take.

Jake Van Buschbach 11:09
Yeah, I've noticed the same thing as well, I always do the cost versus price analysis, because it's the same thing for it, right? Like, yes, there's a price involved in it. But what is the cost of having one of your eight staff who's already completely overwhelmed also having to deal with things like network security and Wi Fi and getting all of the computers maintained, making sure you have a new system ready for the new person and eventually, the amount of time that they end up spending on this and the amount of errors they have to correct and this kind of stuff for Salesforce configuration I can imagine would be even more overwhelming. So we usually recommend finding a good partner like yourself and your team over there and making sure that you have a fair price from experts who are going to be able to do a good job. So I also apologize about the distractions. I know it's working from Hong Kong season, but we have a guest today apparently So, when you're implementing stuff for folks, is that now what you're really doing day to day or what is your day to day look like

Emily Pineda 12:10
my day to day right now is

very different depending on our organization's needs. So right now, we just went through a name change. And so a lot of my time recently has been spent on ensuring the name wasn't hiding in any of our integrations and also understanding because I wasn't here when they were all built from scratch. So kind of putting together the pieces of how things are built and what affects different parts of what we use and making sure that those are functioning and testing that. Recently, we use Salesforce to ensure that our tax proceeding was compliant without as many many Annual controls. So our process before was very manual and required a lot of oversight. And so Salesforce has a lot of I've mentioned automation, but there's also validation rules,

as well as

well, those are the main pieces

throughout different parts of the process, and

yeah, that's what oh, and we also implemented leads in Salesforce recently to really amplify the impact of our partnership team. So there's a lot of lead marketing tools that Salesforce supplies. And what's great about that is that these are the same tools that top businesses are using because it is the world's leading CRM. So their product does need to compete with other very pricey CRM. So we're really fortunate that Salesforce has this 111 percent model, where they donate 1% of the money that they make as well as 1% of their product. And 1% of their staff time to community. And so nonprofits can get 10 Salesforce license for free. And any additional licenses they can get seven for a 75% discount was

Jake Van Buschbach 14:43
awesome. I didn't know they were doing that. So that so that's that's very cool. I didn't know but the one to one rule there. So you mentioned is the top CRM in the world. So what what is the CRM and what is Salesforce exactly because because what I know it as is is basically what I've learned from people like yourself and again, it's it's a way to Maintain different relationships with vendors and clients and this kind of stuff. But what is CRM stands for? And what is Salesforce? Exactly?

Emily Pineda 15:08
Yeah, good question. Um, CRM sherpur, client

resource management.

So the client resource management solution. So you're able to see your clients data all in one place, which is great. And then it comes with a lot of different tools to engage your clients and,

Unknown Speaker 15:34
and

Emily Pineda 15:35
specifically around productivity and analytics. And I really think it it's starting to go way beyond traditional CRM, because they offer things like community hubs, which allows your clients to talk to one another and they so to build really build support around your movement, and they also offer

what am I trying to think

Unknown Speaker 16:07
of? Sorry, no worries. Um,

Emily Pineda 16:11
community hubs.

Jake Van Buschbach 16:15
Okay, what are some of the? Oh, yeah,

Emily Pineda 16:18
got it. Sorry. Sorry. I'm a big one that we're looking into soon to, hopefully into integrate his knowledge base. So and to save time on on questions that your clients may ask you, like, if you've noticed, websites that have the little chat bots that like, automatically recommend information that you need. That's something that sales force has, like democratized and made very accessible for people.

Yeah.

So there's just they're just they just keep building on and for nonprofits they also recently came out with their their actions. Counting subledger. So we didn't have that when we implemented samples for so right now we integrated

our system

with a third party integration, but Salesforce is just building so many new tools in and becoming more and more powerful.

Jake Van Buschbach 17:20
Yeah, that's great. So they're building knowledge management databases into the tool now.

Emily Pineda 17:26
Yeah, so this can be an add on. So a lot of their basic functionality for nonprofits include like engagement plan, recurring donor management, campaign management, and then as you grow, there's a lot of add on tools that are at an extra costs but are very powerful and, and, and effective and easy to to use. Gotcha. So

Jake Van Buschbach 17:56
so you already listed three of the different common features that Do you have any other ones that are just like you have to have this as a nonprofit? Or what are some of the main features you're using every day from Salesforce, what keeps bringing you back to it?

Emily Pineda 18:11
Um, the main thing.

Honestly, it's just it's such a powerful collaboration tool. And without it, our departments would be very disconnected. And it would take us a lot of time to figure out what's going on with each of our donor opportunities. And so the ability to integrate with all the different things we're using is a big item and then also reducing our data entry is huge. So the, the automations that I mentioned, yeah, that's Bentley, everybody.

Jake Van Buschbach 18:57
We have two special guests.

Emily Pineda 19:01
Um, the the automations are a big part of what keeps us, keeps us running and keeps our donors happy. Gotcha.

Jake Van Buschbach 19:11
So So what size? Do you think it's appropriate for people to start considering using Salesforce? Like, is it appropriate for like one of my clients calls them solopreneurs? Or says one person in the organization? Do you think five people 10 people for our product, for example, we usually recommend that businesses when they hit anywhere between five to 10 staff, they should really start looking at outsourcing their it or internally managing and beginning to develop processes. What do you usually recommend First, the Salesforce tool if you notice benefits for smaller organizations, in the same way that it benefits large organizations are

Emily Pineda 19:49
and I think that it's in my experience is definitely really powerful. For That 10 or less number because again, the licenses are free.

And it's just it's

easier to design get started with that small group cuz because it is easier to design and make sure that it's meeting everybody's needs. Um it's also but I can't imagine working at a larger nonprofit without a tool like Salesforce. So I think it's powerful for for both large and small. But if you're thinking about waiting, because you're still too small, I'd say like get started now. Because it's a game changer. And usually your smaller organizations, your people have to do so much more. I shouldn't say more, but there's a lot of different hats. They have to wear exactly their life easier. This is this is a great tool for it.

Jake Van Buschbach 20:57
That's good to know. Um, so when You mentioned that you have a maximum of 10 licenses. So like let's say you have an organization with 20 people in it, is it usual in your experience the last three places you've been for every staff member to have a Salesforce license? Or is it something where you have a department leader? They get one, then maybe their right hand gets one? How do usually distribute the licenses? And does everyone in the organization need to have a license?

Emily Pineda 21:23
Great. So I'm sorry, I mentioned 10 for the free license, but you can have as many as you'd like. So if they're in the database, sorry, the CRM daily, we usually give them a user license. However, there's also lower cost licenses that give limited access. And so for people who aren't in our system and only need to see certain things we'll give them that those licenses. So like community or partner licenses

And

people that are higher up, and then only need to really see the reports that come out of the system, we just send them the report like have the reports scheduled to them. Yeah. So, um, I would say only if you're in the CRM on a regular basis, we, we provide licenses

Unknown Speaker 22:26
gotcha. And go sir.

Emily Pineda 22:30
I'm

often to when we when like people go on mat leave or away for a while, sometimes we'll switch licenses from one person due to another to just be a bit more flexible.

Jake Van Buschbach 22:43
Gotcha. When you're doing that, do they lose data? Does the data just get put on hold? Is it really easy to switch back and forth between different users?

Emily Pineda 22:53
And it's quite easy to switch back and forth. Um Yeah, the It, it's just the license. So the user will still have all the information associated with it. And once you associate the license with them, they'll be able to access everything at the permissions that were set for them. Yeah. Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 23:18
gotcha. So when you guys implemented the technology at the other firm that you're working at the other Association, what were some of the main benefits that you guys noticed? Obviously, the reduction in time the reduction in labor? Did you guys end up doubling in size? What kind of direct benefits to employees implementing this technology give to your clients into your personal organizations?

Emily Pineda 23:43
Yeah, the biggest one was that we collected I don't remember the exact numbers now but at least 10 times more of the data that we needed well, and that was something we were really struggling with before and and that's And then and we were able to adopt it was it was a hiring program. So we were able to adopt it. And actually a really specialized software for our program that we wouldn't have had access to an outside of Salesforce because there's, in addition to Salesforce being able to integrate with a lot of different programs, and there's also companies dedicated to building software that are is on top of the Salesforce platform. Gotcha. Um, so this was a really unique tool that we wouldn't have had access to otherwise. So I think I'm just opening up the doors to what possible was was huge for us as well.

Jake Van Buschbach 24:47
Do you have some favorite add ons and integrations that you work with all the time like in when you started at this, other companies started integrating and we're like we need to have XYZ integrations.

Emily Pineda 24:59
So That was a very specific pilot. So I'm not from that company, but I would say make way we use workato, which is helps us integrate a lot of a lot of different programs like NetSuite and box.

So that was helpful and

and we use clicking pledge for our donation pages, which is big and reducing data entry. But now with sales forces, Summer 20 release, Salesforce has their own giving pages and payment processors. So I'd encourage people to look at that. I haven't thoroughly looked at it but Salesforce is really good at maintaining their programs and and what's Great about going with this. I don't work for Salesforce. But

Jake Van Buschbach 26:03
yeah, I did.

Emily Pineda 26:05
Disclaimer, um, but

in my experience, it's great going with the Salesforce option because there's so much of a community around Salesforce that the forms if I have so much valuable insights, so there's a specific nonprofit community forum. And so they share information on strategies on using it. And it's just it if there's a support ticket, but you've logged for for one of your integrations, and the Salesforce community is usually really good at helping you resolve it faster than the support. Gotcha. So yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 26:53
so if I was a nonprofit, for example, and I want to get started with Salesforce, I can just hop online and say, Hey, Like with your buddies, wine, hey, we work with kids or we are helping out people with maybe the burn fund, for example, they're going to be able to find an online community full of people like themselves that are going to be able to give them tips and give them advice.

Emily Pineda 27:17
Yeah, yeah. And we've found that really powerful. Yeah, in addition to, you know, the mentor I had before and working with consultants, it's just, it's nice that they've such a supportive ecosystem

Jake Van Buschbach 27:33
around that sounds really good. So when you're working with Salesforce, you mentioned that it takes donations now as a payment processing stuff. It does campaigns, it does follow ups. it automates your workflows. What is like a campaign or I don't even know what the word would be. But what does a configuration look like? Is it something where you're able to just set up a campaign and it's going to run Facebook ads for you and then anyone who clicks on the campaign? Is it a full sales funnel? Or is it even more than that?

Emily Pineda 28:03
So

the basic functionality allows you to organize what your campaign will include and then is able to funnel any incoming donations and donors to that campaign so you can do your follow up to them

and send emails out from there.

And then there's a whole Marketing Cloud on Salesforce that has a bit more of the

like the click rates and

different analytics that you might use for your campaign. Yeah. Yeah, we we use predictive response right now for our marketing, which is a different Salesforce. Add on And so when we send an email out, we can see who opened it and who we need to send out to again and and what donations have come in to that campaign.

Jake Van Buschbach 29:13
And you mentioned that it helps you collect 10 times as much data as you needed. So what kind of data does it collect?

Emily Pineda 29:20
So that's really personal, customizable. So you can we had it set up to donate, sorry to collect and retention data on our hires because we had a hiring program, but you can really customize the fields and you can send out surveys. And so what we did is we sent out surveys with our custom fields that we needed to collect and had it continue to follow up if no one responded. And then after Three tries, if they didn't respond, that's when our person would get looped in to be the human contact. Okay, um, to chase after it, but it's really customizable. You could pretty much collect anything you'd like.

Jake Van Buschbach 30:15
Yeah, very cool. Yeah. So are you guys facing any challenges because of the the whole zombie apocalypse Coronavirus thing that's going on? or? Yeah. So what what kind of issues are coming up? And what what have you guys done to kind of surmount those challenges?

Emily Pineda 30:35
Um, yeah. So our projects and programs are having new challenges, but we're really trying to focus on the opportunities that are here as well. So like, for example, one of our projects that together project has moved a lot of their supports online and made it More make their programs more accessible for people remotely. So we're trying to see see, like, how can this improve our programs, and then also trying to establish new relationships with funders, because while we're part of this give five movement, which a lot of founders have private foundations, they only need to give 3.5% of their endowed funds each year. So because of the hard economic times we're having now, we're encouraging other foundations to give at least 5% this year to help. So there's a lot of foundations that signed up for this give five pledge. So we're really just trying to kind of work with them, work with these organizations that are that Want to support extra at these times during these times, and start building new relationships and the lead object implementation, which I talked about earlier, that our development team did last last, in the last couple of months, it's really helped us understand who these new leads in, or foundations and partners, they're not going to like that I said leads but partners are, and to make sure that we understand who they are what they care about, and can communicate the importance of what we do in a way that they'll appreciate. So that's what we're trying to do. Salesforce also has been really responsive during this crisis, and they have been launching new tools. I haven't had a chance to explore them much but who They're just so supportive. I gotta say, they launched this new contact tracing tool, as well as this workforce command center, which helps organization track organizations to track who's been in the office at the same time so that if someone does get COVID, they can. Yes, see, who needs to be notified and what the next step should be pretty cool. Yeah. And then I know they're coming soon, out soon with improved volunteer and grant management features because they realized the need for, like emergency response. So they're trying to support their nonprofits act. Quick, more, more quickly. Normally, gotcha.

Jake Van Buschbach 33:52
So you mentioned that Salesforce is really really supportive, which is good. So even though they are again, like the number one CRM in the world Again, I didn't know they were doing the one for one thing where they're donating this much and they're trying to incentivize other people to do the same. So you really do get like a small business feel from them even though they are this an international corporation.

Emily Pineda 34:14
Yeah, um,

I in I think that's been in their philosophy since they they started that 111 model, I think they might have even Marc Benioff might have even be the one who came up with that model and influenced a lot of other organizations to do that. But yeah, in addition to the tools they build, they also they also like, come out with advice around that contact tracing stuff and how to get back back to work. And they they do do reports each year to try to understand the voice of their customers and they and they publish that. So if you are looking into how nonprofits benefit On a wider scale, you can look into their they're not nonprofit trends reports I can send you the link after but it's always interesting to see like how other organizations are doing things. And I just feel like they make a real effort to understand and be there. So some people call it a call, and I sound like I'm part of it. But, um, no, I just, it means a lot when you can see firsthand how much extra FaceTime the people in your benefit from your programs get because of the things that were automated. Oh,

Jake Van Buschbach 35:42
that makes sense. Yeah, that sounds like a really good call. Um, so when you guys are working with this stuff, you mentioned there's a ton of examples of other people online that are using this stuff and there's always online communities and there's a couple of calls they're starting to develop. So what are some Some examples of some people that you're following, or some other companies that you've seen that have done a really good job of integrating Salesforce. Do you have any recommendations for people to check out they can kind of see what a great integration looks like and what does that look like to you when someone's really done a good job of implementing Salesforce?

Emily Pineda 36:22
It's hard because I don't see the back end of other people's Salesforce so it's hard for me to recommend anyone um, the main things I follow are all the new stuff that come out on trailhead, which is there, like training, how to resource section. I have heard good things at conferences of Big Brothers Big Sisters in the US, and that, I believe, if my memory serves, correct, they were able to use like Einstein analytics, which is a Salesforce is trying to expand the use of AI and simplify it to match their big and little, their bigs and littles and made that whole process really efficient. I think a good setup looks the way a good setup looks as if your users have adopted it and are frequently logging in, you can track that all in Salesforce as well. And I found a big piece of ensuring that is just starting with talking to the users and understanding what their pain points are and really introduced introducing it and building it around those. Those pain points.

Jake Van Buschbach 37:48
Gotcha. So we do a really similar sort of thing when when we're getting started with clients. A lot of the things we've been doing especially during COVID I think it's the best time to be implementing tools like Because everyone's slowed down, people are working from home, they're used to things being kind of changed up and shaken up a little bit. We've we've moved over a couple of big clients onto some new platforms. Now during all this stuff. And the number one thing that we recommend people do is they outline all of their users. I have another video on this, about the organizational structure of your business, but you have to lay out the users, the resources, the processes, and the workflows that are required to accomplish whatever your core mission is. And if you're able to lay all of those out, and it does take time to get that stuff laid out, like it's not something where you're like, Oh, I remember this obscure calendar that we use once a year, but you will be able to tell everybody, hey, just be conscious of what you're working on. add it to this spreadsheet based on your department for the next month. And when you lay all that information out, you can then start to use a tool like Salesforce or G Suite or Microsoft 365 for nonprofits, and really steps a step to get it get a start on the right foot with this. So do you have any tips Are any recommendations for people that do want to take the first step into using Salesforce and what would you recommend those people do while they're getting started?

Emily Pineda 39:10
Yeah, um, I think what you recommended sounds great like being conscious of your day to day processes and noting down like what, what really feels almost unnecessary or repetitive or that easy to make errors on. Yeah, those are really big pieces that that help adoption for sure. And I would say that also make note of the pieces of your existing systems that you're using that you like that you must have can't get rid of like make sure those are noted as well.

And

sales versa, Salesforce is so flexible, I would encourage either working with some One are playing around with a sandbox version of Salesforce. And just getting a basic idea of how things connect and flow together, and I think that in combination with that list you've been making, you'll have a good starting point for conversations with your consultant, or for initial steps in your belt.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:25
Gotcha. What is the sandbox? So you keep talking about and how do people access them.

Emily Pineda 40:30
So the sandbox is, it's, it's, it's just a version of Salesforce, but you don't need you can't. You can't use it for business, but you can build it out in such a way that it will be very similar to your to your business instance.

And so

you can go online, I think You can get it from trailhead, I have to send you a link of how to set up a sandbox later. But you, you can allow consultants into your sandbox or developers to build something out in a way that you think, but also that you think would work for you. But also, I mentioned that, or I meant to mention

that Salesforce has a lot of built in features.

And they have a nonprofit success pack. So that's stuff that's already built with an understanding of nonprofits in mind. So they'll have functionality for recurring donations for tracking your contacts and accounts. And so just like building engagement plans, so I think it's a good idea to take a look at what those are like in sandbox, the non business environment of your sales of Salesforce

And

I will create a couple of records. And you can you can play around with the reporting, but just get an idea of what we're what we're talking about here.

Jake Van Buschbach 42:13
That's great. So yeah, I'll get that link from you, for sure. And I'll throw that down in the description. Because, again, it sounds like if people want to get started with this tool, and start to get advantage, take advantage of all these different features and reduce their workflows and start to automate away up to 20 25% of their day to day, the drudgery, the wading through concrete kind of work. It's great. If you have a resource for that, we'll definitely put that out in the description below. And if it has a starter kit, where it kind of gives people all of these resources that they need and kind of gives them a demo of this is what's most popular right now. And all this other kind of stuff that sounds like a fantastic resource. So we'll definitely throw that down below. And, again, if people have any questions about this stuff, I'm sure they can reach out to their communities or reach out to someone like yourself and get a lot more detailed answers because I know that the general stuff is very difficult to pin down because Salesforce like you just said, if you have a tool that has benefits that you like, right now, just note them down because Salesforce can do it. You know what I mean? In my experience, there's almost no question. I haven't

Emily Pineda 43:18
come across anything you can do. Yeah, but I'm sure it exists somewhere. But, man, they've they've got a big ecosystem.

Jake Van Buschbach 43:27
Yeah. So I think it'd be great if we can start to link to resources like that and kind of help people get started on the on the right foot there. So that's awesome. Um, what are some common strategies that you recommend people kind of implement while they're using this stuff again, the day to day taking notes of what you're doing? That's really good. When you were moving over the previous sociation was there anything specifically you did that made things like significantly easier to implement this technology or any sort of pitfalls, any mistakes that you made that you want to make sure people are aware of and Doesn't happen to them.

Emily Pineda 44:02
Yeah, and I think when I first started out, I was not aware of all the different packages that were already built for Salesforce. So I would recommend I can also share their the Salesforce App Store looking at what already exists. I did learn a lot by ignoring that. But um, there's, there's, yeah, make sure that you're not building something from scratch that that would be cheaper for you to to purchase. And then also being really mindful of what data you'll be want to be looking at in the future and the format. So I said you can customize collect any type of data. Making sure you understand what format that's coming in. So you can you can have specific field types has been important for us. So you know, with some of our legacy systems, there's

it just it just happens sometimes when,

when you if you do decide to go for a package, sometimes it will include a field that has a matching name to a field you already have in your system. So just make sure you're being mindful of what fields you're pulling in and making it accessible to your users. Because otherwise your data can get really messy and that's important for you to be efficient and effective with your programs and compliant with your your finances and receding. So

I guess in summary, data structure

be thoughtful about your data strategy because it's painful to adjust later, after you've been working with it so much and have processes built around it and Salesforce App Store is your friend. Yeah,

Jake Van Buschbach 46:03
yeah. Sounds about right. So that's that's all like, very, very interesting. So it sounds to me like, it's kind of the opposite of what I usually recommend people do is what they should be doing is going and spending for a 12 hours, just login in the store, looking at these communities online, getting the sandbox set up, and then kind of playing around with all these different settings. I usually recommend people do the configuration of things, we do all of the prep work first, I design and implement the technology, and then they play around with it to get familiar with it. But it sounds to me like it's kind of the opposite here because there's so much to be done. And there's so much available, it's a lot better to just kind of go out, dip your toe in the water, see what's available, see what gets recommended to you based on where you're at. Go talk to some communities, and then just kind of write down a list of everything that's important to us specifically, and try to write down Now what's gonna be important to you over the next year that you can kind of scale up into those things? It does that sound about right to you?

Emily Pineda 47:09
Yeah, but I think you can understand your processes and make those notes first before you do the exploring. Um, but yeah, I wouldn't want to build or adopt anything too soon, because I have seen like, you know, Salesforce is coming out with this release in two months, and it's exactly what you, your organization has built a month ago. So we just waited. It, it could have been a lot easier or included. So I think getting a good idea of the space is important.

Jake Van Buschbach 47:45
Gotcha. Do you have any recommendations for tools that complement Salesforce like anything that's not necessarily an integration, but you mentioned some tools that go on top of it. What did you mean by that? What do you guys use and what do you recommend people look at Is there another resource like this app store that people can find this stuff for? different communities online?

Emily Pineda 48:05
Um, yeah, I think that the App Store is the main place to find them. We use target recruit, specifically for hiring and then that that link just with, like, indeed in a bunch of different job site boards, but that was it did a bunch of stuff like resume scanning for us and

and that was built within Salesforce.

But I don't think that's a common need for for nonprofit.

Jake Van Buschbach 48:38
Um, it's still very cool that you can do that though. Like I might even need to get something like that going on. And I know a lot of these places when they're doing volunteers, or they're having big events, like stuff like that would be invaluable for them. So that that's really good to know that you can even do resume scanning with this stuff. So it's not only an external, I was under the impression it was an external fundraising tool, and you would use it to keep an eye on like, this is Bob, he's purchasing your T shirt from Tennessee and this is Sally she's uh, she went to your event in Vancouver and she brought three people with her and this was their age and that kind of stuff. But like knowing that you can automate the majority of the communications that you're doing and have a check in with people three times and then alert someone on your team that they need to reach out and getting all these different analytics internally. And now the COVID awareness and all this other stuff. This is I'm being sold on this like this is something I started making sure that all of our

Emily Pineda 49:35
welcomes give my calls.

Jake Van Buschbach 49:36
Yeah, exactly. But it's a free tool, again, like you said, and most of the nonprofit's that we work with that I'm thinking of right now. Their leadership team is much smaller than 10. You know what I mean? They might have 60 or 60 volunteers or they have 89 people working there and but the core team or like the core lead of people is usually anywhere from five to 15 People, those are the people that need this stuff because they're the ones that are overworked. They're the ones that are under equipped. And they really need stuff like this. And again, being able to just say, like, allocate two hours a week to just going on the App Store and looking at this stuff. And, again, most of my clients already have these resources and all of these different processes laid out. So it'd be really easy for us to just kind of dip our toe into that I can just kind of set a meeting a month though, and just say, okay, you're going to spend two hours a week looking at these Salesforce options. I'm going to touch base with you in a month. And then we're gonna design and implement a Salesforce solution for you guys. It sounds really, really easy.

Emily Pineda 50:43
Have you Yeah, it's about finding the right pieces that cut that go together for your specific use. Yeah, and then customizing it here and there where where it needs to be. I just want to be clear, though, then the whole thing's not free, basic functionalities. Free. And then like when you go to the App Store, there's some free items. And you'll have to check like when's the last time? It's been updated and gone through some checks. But then, and Salesforce itself has add on features, but there's still is quite robust functionality. Yeah. free license.

Jake Van Buschbach 51:21
Yeah, absolutely. And then again, the 10 free licenses is great. And then 75% off every license you purchase beyond that is also fantastic. And, again, there's no such thing as a free lunch. So I would expect that these developers and Salesforce itself would need to sustain itself somehow. So it makes sense that the add ons would need to be purchased. But like you said, if you're purchasing an add on, it's because again, you're going to be reducing either capital expenditures or operational expenditures because of that. And in my experience, when we automate just using tools like Microsoft 365, or G Suite, which are incredibly limited compared to Salesforce, we've managed to reduce a private company. I'm thinking of One of their team members, specifically, two out of his five days of work, we were able to honor for him. And that doesn't mean he's out of a job. That doesn't mean he got his hours cut, it meant that he did not need to send quality control check in emails, he didn't need to reach out to people about the same things over and over again. And he was actually given a raise and promoted because of this because they were now able to fully allow him to access his potential, instead of having being bogged down by these repetitive maintenance tasks he was doing every week. So it sounds like again, even Salesforce, just regular Salesforce should have been something that was being considered and implemented there. I know that I like to keep things very, very flat. If possible. I want to make sure that we're working with one solution that implements with many other solutions. But I don't like people having to log into five different windows and having to learn six different programs. Is Salesforce, capable of being just the whole For everything in your experience like email and marketing campaigns and again payroll like basically everything.

Emily Pineda 53:09
I think for payroll, you'd have to find the right integration or connection but they do have we're using a zero right now for single sign on but Salesforce recently, or I found out about it recently and has a single sign on functionality so it can be your central hub.

Jake Van Buschbach 53:29
That's so cool. That's awesome. Um, what else do I have to ask you here? Um, do you have any market leaders do your following right now you've mentioned what are some of the communities again that you recommend people check out?

Emily Pineda 53:42
Yeah, power of us. hub, and then the generals trail parade Trail Blazers, community forum, and trailhead? You know, I'm not following Salesforce influencers right now. I'll be honest, right. Am I Mostly just meet people at conferences and learn what they're doing. Know,

Jake Van Buschbach 54:05
what are some of the conferences they usually go to?

Emily Pineda 54:09
While there's dreamforce that happens each year, and that's usually hosted in San Francisco, and we'll see what happens this year. Yeah. Um, and then traction on demand hosts and very Salesforce specific conference as well.

Those are the big ones.

Jake Van Buschbach 54:33
Awesome. Yeah, it sounds again, like most people, go online, check out these communities and they're going to be overwhelmed with information and they can just kind of pick their niche and just dive in. Mm hmm. That's awesome. Um, do you have anything else that you want to you want to go over or any anything else you want to promote?

Emily Pineda 54:51
Um, no, I just, I am very passionate about helping nonprofits and feel like I've built Some really useful experience over the years. So I'm happy to talk to anyone and perhaps do some, some work on the side of my work at Make way. If people need support, that's awesome. I think, you know, implementing this,

Jake Van Buschbach 55:15
okay, perfect, I'll make sure to put your LinkedIn down below. And then if you want to throw your email in there as well, but we'll make sure to have contact information for you down there so people can reach out to you with any questions that they might have. Because, again, I know it's a little bit nerve racking being in this format. But I spoken with you about this on many occasions, and I've learned a ton of stuff from you. So I know that you're now becoming, you're going into the next phase of your career with this stuff, where I think that you've learned enough and you're kind of joining my, the dark side over here where you're joining the consultancy side of things and you're starting to do the higher level implementations and administration more so than working inside of the system. So yeah, I'm really excited to continue speaking with you about topics like this and learning about how my clients can benefit from this stuff. So, again, thank you very much for coming on today. Yeah, so again, we'll put your LinkedIn down below. Yeah, I hope this video gives everybody a good foundation to start boosting income tracking individual metrics, implementing tools like Salesforce for your nonprofit, and everybody make sure to check out Make way and make sure to give me a shout if you have any questions. We're gonna have her contact information down below in the description. And once again, if you could please leave a like on this video. It does really help us out. And if you want to see more videos like this, then please subscribe. Last week's webinar that I put on showed nonprofits how to get $120,000 a year in free advertising from Google. So make sure to check out those videos if you're a nonprofit and interested in that kind of stuff. And if you have a suggestion for a future video, please leave a comment below if you have somebody you would like to see on the show. Email us at Tech Tips at umbrella IT services dot Yay. And I hope you have a great day and we'll see you soon. Bye. Thanks so much. No worries. Thanks for coming on.

Networking & Network Engineering with Reza...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:03
I think that looks good. Cool. Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. I hope you're having a great day. My name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today we're going to be talking about network engineering with my good friend Reza, aka Vaughn. So if you could please leave a like on this video really helps resin eye out. If you want to see more videos like this, then please subscribe to the channel. If you have a suggestion for a future video or have a guest that you would like to promote, please leave a comment below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca. So now that that's out of the way, today, we're going to be talking about network engineering. So network engineering is a crucial part of every organization that's often overlooked without a solid network and none of the electronic devices that we use every day would be able to function. And we would not be able to communicate or transmit data the way that we're used to. Reza has nearly 15 years of experience working with networks and he's agreed to say take some time out of his very busy schedule today to help us break down some of the fundamentals of networking, how you can get started with network

Reza Akhavan 1:00
And what difference having a good network engineer means for your organization? So I'd like to give Reza big thank you for coming on and talking with us today about the following topics, such as, what is network engineering? How can a network engineer stay up to date with a constantly changing technology landscape, what effects COVID-19 will have on network engineers and networking in general. And we'll also review some fundamental tools that every network engineer should have in their tool belt. So now again, that's out of the way. Reza, thank you very much for coming on with us today. How are you? How's your day going? I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. It's good. No worries. You have a busy day today or what's going on? Yeah, well, it's always crazy busy.

Unknown Speaker 1:39
always something new. Yeah. That's the name of the game. Absolutely. Um, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, just like why you got into the field? What is networking? What experience you have in it? Yeah, of course. Um, I started as tech support, which is, I guess a very familiar spot for people in the field. That's very good.

Unknown Speaker 2:00
You get your foot in the door you go in,

Unknown Speaker 2:04
you start doing some stuff hands on, and then you find what's the field that is exactly the type of work you like to do, or learn more about. So I started working as tech support for a hosting company. And obviously, a hosting company involves all kinda infrastructure that needs to be looked after starting from their servers that are hosting their websites, having get called or managing their own data center,

Unknown Speaker 2:34
the whole nine yards. So what I found interesting for myself was more networking. And that comes from, I guess, personal preference. I think networks are more predictable. And although I like surprises in life here and there, but I don't like surprises at work. They happen regardless. So network is more predictable than for me at least

Unknown Speaker 3:00
and managing several infrastructure. So that's how I got kind of gravitated towards learning about networks. Yeah, I can see behind you there, you've done a little bit of research.

Unknown Speaker 3:11
Exactly. So So what is network engineering? For people that don't know?

Unknown Speaker 3:16
Well, in order to say, What's network engineering, because this is a question I often get asked, even from people who work in the same company with me, yeah. But they're in a different department. They're like, Okay, what is it exactly that you do every day?

Unknown Speaker 3:31
In order to answer that question, we have to first establish what's a network. And a network is kind of separate from the nature you know, the same way of that you have a network of friends you have, we have a network of roads in our cities. So network when it comes to our profession, it's about all the connections between different service providers between different users from your own to your offices. So this network of cables, filler,

Unknown Speaker 4:00
across the city, they have to be managed, they have to be maintained, they have to be upgraded, you need to add to them. So this network with all the things that have to get added to it, both physically and logically, are more often than not done by large groups of people. network engineers are part of those teams involved with this. It makes sense. So when it comes down to what a network does exactly day to day for you, you're basically just connecting different devices and allowing them to talk to each other. Now, that's a fair point. It's all bought more. With my first part of answer, I touched the fact that how they're built.

Unknown Speaker 4:42
But also now you have to think about having them maintain if they're secure or not, if they're redundant or not, if you have enough options to service,

Unknown Speaker 4:53
X amount of data going across the line and these are all talking in bigger

Unknown Speaker 5:00
turns and from the icy perspective, but network, even if you look at your office, you want to have a firewall in your office that is capable of handling X number of VPN connections because you have X number of stuff. Yeah. So network engineering is basically

Unknown Speaker 5:16
the work of planning for all these during the implementation, and then looking after making sure it's working for everyone else. Yeah, that makes sense. So you're not only working on things like an internal Wi Fi and a business, making sure that people's laptops can connect to the server, making sure they can connect to the printer, you're also making things happen. Like when people are working from home, they need to be able to connect to the firewall, which then connects to the printer or connects to their desktop. So that makes a lot of sense.

Unknown Speaker 5:44
How do you keep up with all this stuff? So I know that obviously, 5g is a big topic everyone's talking about. I know Wi Fi six just came out recently. So how do you usually stay up to date with this kind of stuff?

Unknown Speaker 5:57
That's basically a part of our

Unknown Speaker 6:00
job if some people have this perspective that okay, I go to school and learn something and then I go start working experience I'm learning as I work is going to be enough. But there are many professions. Let's say dentists often have to go attend certain classes auto No, I'm not a dentist. Yeah, just making it out once every x amount of years that they have to go attend classes, learn new things that are in their industry, same stories true about network, or maybe even more, because these new technologies are just getting rolled out and they need people who understand them, they can deploy them properly, they can maintain them, so it never stops. Once you accept that this is your profession, you have to be prepared for dedicating time out of your

Unknown Speaker 6:52
free time to think that you think okay, I'm gonna enjoy myself. You have to have the passion and you have to enjoy learning about things that makes me happy.

Unknown Speaker 7:00
Everything. Hmm. So would you say that the certifications that you have are like, again, you have a large number behind you? Do you think those have been more beneficial? It's not my certifications. Pardon? These are the books. There you go. Yes. So do you think that the books have been more beneficial? Is that the real world experience? What do you think has been the number one contributor for helping you just stay up to date with this stuff? Hmm. That's a very good question. And also a hot topic. Many people debate about this. And there's no right or wrong. Many people say that certain incidents is not something that I care about. I don't like to keep renewing something. If I know something, I can show it to my employer or to my clients, and they will find the confidence out there, and they see how it works. And that is true, but one of the beauties of being certified and keeping them updated is the fact that for example, I've got my ccmp certification.

Unknown Speaker 8:00
And then it was the old model of Cisco. And the ccmp. Route two certification that I took was very heavy on Routing and Switching topics. But now they just rolled out. And by just I mean, last February, it came out and now the new CCNP route switch doesn't exist. It's called enterprise and it has a lot of software defined networking on it, it has a lot of automation. So it's actually a blessing in disguise. People might be bothered by the fact that they have to renew them or they have to study and renew them again. But that's exactly how you can then keep up with the market and you will learn Okay, now software defined networking is bigger than five years ago, I have to learn and renew I certainly and that's a very good way. Also, it will push you it will give you a goal. It will give you the discipline that you need to sit down. Although you had a long day at work, you're going to dedicate X amount of hours and not you

Unknown Speaker 9:00
What a week to study to learn something new. It's a great tool. I'm all for certification. I'm in that camp, some people are just against. Yeah. Yeah, I'm a big self taught guy. So that's always been, I think a good reason why you and I get along so well, is because you have all the formal training and all the certifications. And I have these wacky ideas that I've kind of hacked together. So I know sometimes I'll say stuff. And you'll be like, what, what did this guy just say? That it works?

Unknown Speaker 9:26
It is. It's a double edged sword. You shouldn't always fall on something you really know. Yeah, sometimes the practical version is different. Sometimes you are supposed to think outside the box and be innovative and come up with something that you did. You couldn't find in any book. And people like yourself that been doing it for a long time, learn things, by experience, have their own advantages. Yeah, that's why teamwork is better than doing things on your own. Yeah, absolutely. And I know that you've recently moved on. I know that full disclosure.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
We used to work together, I'll throw that on the table. And now you're you're more of a solo tech in a giant corporation. I know, obviously you have a team going on. But do you prefer the idea of just having a network engineer alone? Do you like having that managed services environment where there's more people to draw information from? Like, what do you what do you usually prefer? And because again, you've got about 15 years of experience. So what what has been your preference over the course of your career? I personally prefer working in a bigger team.

Unknown Speaker 10:29
The reason is, you can always bounce ideas off to other people who already in the situation, know the background, and they know where you're going, we are trying to get to so it's great to have a team of people and I think the last video there

Unknown Speaker 10:48
are

Unknown Speaker 10:52
so basically being in a team has a lot of benefits when you're working on your own.

Unknown Speaker 10:58
Even if you're second guessing.

Unknown Speaker 11:00
yourself, even if you're not sure if it's about

Unknown Speaker 11:04
a technology that is very new, it is kind of hard to pull the trigger or be 100%. Sure. So being Latino has definitely evolved. That makes sense, I think as well like another reason because a lot of people argue right? Like, oh, like you said, oh, I've got my CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, all these things. But then I see these guys, and I speak with some of them. And that's all they do. They're not on like, like on a big YouTube guy. So I like network chalk. I like going on Twitter, and I have my little forums and communities that I like to go on. And I follow these personalities. And they're always saying, like, oh, today, I learned this from Cisco, or today I was on the job and turns out that this sort of firewall solution really works well, whereas this one doesn't, whatever, right? And do you recommend that people do the iterative thing, which is kind of what I do where they're learning bit by bit? Or do you think it's better to just kind of jump from CCNA and CCNP my personal opinion would be that it really depends on your job.

Unknown Speaker 12:00
Like if you're someone and you're an independent engineer, or you're just working as one kind of gear in the cog of a business, it is better to go with the formal training because your job is to do one thing. You know what I mean? You're you have one organization, you're making sure works, you have a very limited stack of technology. And you should be learning as much as possible about that technology with a little bit of peripheral stuff, obviously. But you should be really focusing on if you're a Cisco stack, or if you're you ubiquity or unify stack, or a micro tech stack, whatever. You should be digging down to those certifications on those programs. But what do you think about that doing that's a, an environmental thing.

Unknown Speaker 12:44
It's, it's best to have good balance of good things. It's wrong always to shut the door and one option, be 100%. focus on one thing and then find out that Oh, that wasn't everything I needed. Yeah. So I think you're

Unknown Speaker 13:00
Have certifications from many vendors. And I'm not saying that they don't have value. But the thing is, when you are going to get certified, it is for a couple of reasons. First of all to

Unknown Speaker 13:17
learn something that he didn't know, yeah, that should be the main reason. You see many people get that wrong, they go after them for the wrong reason.

Unknown Speaker 13:27
Second reason for it should be to help you have a better job a better position professionally and snip yourself up for the coming years given what is the trend in the network, or servers or whatever it is environment you're working.

Unknown Speaker 13:47
Now, if you look at people going after random certifications, because it's happening at their company, that's completely justifiable. If you don't have any goal and you just want to

Unknown Speaker 14:00
Learn something you're always better off learning the fundamentals. Because once you learn the fundamentals of Routing and Switching, for example, it doesn't really matter if your switches Cisco, or if it's Aristo, or ubiquity, your HP switching is the same VLANs are the same, everything would be the same. It's just how you would implement it on that particular vendor.

Unknown Speaker 14:23
platform.

Unknown Speaker 14:25
It is very important to make those

Unknown Speaker 14:31
steps

Unknown Speaker 14:33
ahead of time, get a certification, absorb, absorb some information, feel comfortable with it, at least think that you're comfortable with it, and then try to have it in production network. And you try that and then you have to, not all people can afford Cisco. So you end up with people buying cheaper switches or dismond or badminton, and then you learn doing the same thing on those and that's what

Unknown Speaker 15:00
You could go and write exams,

Unknown Speaker 15:03
and have no job experience. And you might even pass, I think it's very unlikely, but you might even pass maybe your greatest study. But that will not translate into you being a successful network engineer at work. So it's great to take your time, learn things, study, try to implement them, try to expand your knowledge. Go dive a bit deeper than what you would find on a blueprint of a certification exam. And then once you're fully confident in things you've learned, you can move on, you can add things to it for the next level. That's how I've been approaching it, and it served me well. I think, I think that's a really good advice, especially for new network engineers or people that are kind of getting started with their careers. You mentioned that it's a good idea to go back and kind of just learned these things. iteratively. You know, I think it's really important that people kind of understand that

Unknown Speaker 16:00
When they pick something, have a goal in mind and work towards that goal. So if you're going to be trying to be a head engineer somewhere, you want to be a network engineer and an MSP, you just want to get a cushy consulting job. You know, there's a ton of there's a million different things you can do. And especially with all this COVID stuff going on, there's going to be, I think, a tremendous increase in, in work for network engineers specifically. But yeah, I think the good advice that you brought up for the new guys is learn the fundamentals. Because a lot of people I know a lot of people ask me all the time, Hey, man, I want to get into it. Like I've seen that you've gone from fixing phone screens in a bedroom closet to working with all these large companies, like, how did you do it? What's the secret, and then they do a little bit of googling. And, of course, Cisco is number one, because their marketing budget, and I tell them, you're not going to work in a lot of Cisco environments. When you're starting off, it's a lot better to just take a comp ti a plus take a network plus, learn the fundamentals, and then you're going to be able to apply those in a valuable way for your clients. So that's it

Unknown Speaker 17:00
matter if you're able to walk into any sort of business and they're only Cisco, you're going to be in trouble. If you're a unify or an HP or like you mentioned these other brands,

Unknown Speaker 17:09
it's really important. You can walk in there and you can go, oh, okay, your printer is not working because it's on a different VLAN behind a firewall, or you've got a firewall rule blocking it, or whatever the problem is, you're going to be able to go, Okay, I understand that the subnet that you're on is different than the subnet you're communicating with. And when I checked your firewall, it's actually blocking communication between those subnets let me fix that. It doesn't matter that you walk in there you go. Well, I've actually got this certification with hp. And I'm only actually able to work on this HP device. Sorry, I can't help you.

Unknown Speaker 17:40
Do you have any other advice for newbies just starting off in the field? A lot. Love a lot. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 17:48
That's Yeah, that's really good. Every minute that you spend at all you are comfortable, you know that things you're changing are not going to have impact on anyone's business. This is not going to put your

Unknown Speaker 18:00
Job underlining. And you will have the luxury of trying all kinds of features of particular technology that you wouldn't necessarily need it at work or for that particular client. So when you live at home and you used to be very hard, I remember I had to drive all the way to Seattle to pick up Cisco devices because I couldn't find that many of you make Hoover. It was a huge hassle for me to put together a very cheap home lock.

Unknown Speaker 18:35
But now it has changed a lot. Now you can actually have a virtualized environment and that environment will give you everything like a very good place for people to look at is even GE that's Evie dash pingy

Unknown Speaker 18:51
just google even g they have a free community version. You set that up and you have a lab when your computer you don't even need that much resources.

Unknown Speaker 19:00
Basically, if you're not aiming to run big labs, and when you start, you have no reason to run big labs. So try to set up a good home lab. And even in my work environment, you can use it as a proof of concept environment, you can use it as your sandbox environment. I always talk to people. And from their home lab, I can say how much they're actually interested in what they're doing. That makes sense. Um, what do you recommend people get started with the home lab, because what I usually end up doing is just I want to have just a wireless connectivity, like some sort of W LAN. I want to have a couple different VLANs running on a firewall or on a switch. But what would you say is a really good way to just kind of get started and start tinkering around because a lot of people like myself included when I was very first getting started. I didn't know what to do. And it's very similar. But you said like, I was looking online, I was dead broke, and I was like, I can't go by even though it's only 600 bucks. I can't go buy a $600 Dell server to host all this stuff. And I don't know I don't

Unknown Speaker 20:00
even know where to begin. So do you recommend any anywhere people can learn about setting up a lab? Do you have any recommendations on how to set up a lab? Absolutely, yep, there, there are very good options that are free. If you are going to study for your Cisco certification, you can just download this software called Packet Tracer.

Unknown Speaker 20:19
And Packet Tracer used to be something that you could only download from their student version account. But now they've made it available to everyone. You can just go on register, put your email address and information you can download. packet person is great if you want to learn working with Cisco devices. Now if you want to if you're interested in having a hybrid environment, which is more realistic. Again, as you said earlier, it is very unlikely for you to walk in and everything is Cisco. And even if that's the case, you're just going to be a one trick pony. And you want to avoid being so go either to

Unknown Speaker 21:00
Even G, or GS three, Genesis three has been around for a long time as well. And you can visualize any pretty much anyone there on it. It's not just Cisco, and setting up that knob and actually give you a very

Unknown Speaker 21:17
intense experience for the first time if you're not familiar with it. And it's great because it's a great experience. You'll learn how to set up a virtualized environment, post different

Unknown Speaker 21:29
vendor devices and upload images, create virtual machines. And once you do that, and have that environment ready, you can start with doing small things. As you said, let's set up LAN connection with couple of subnets. Start with one fun one v that you're comfortable with that get to to get to three. But before doing all that you have to learn the very fundamentals of network and for that any of the certifications network plus

Unknown Speaker 22:00
Or even CCNA, all these certifications versus start with vendor neutral information

Unknown Speaker 22:07
all about TCP IP stack. And when I say this, it's not even only about people who are new to this. Even if you are a seasoned engineer, your best tool is your knowledge of the TCP IP stack. And how you can understand where each of these technologies landing, it will help you to build better solutions. It will help you to troubleshoot when things go wrong. So just to spend time, it's probably the dryer part of your studying. But once you understand that,

Unknown Speaker 22:41
you would appreciate doing that for years to come. Yeah. And to be completely honest, as well. I think that you mentioned the the more experienced people. In my experience, personally, the only day and you and I kind of stumbled on this together at least, you helped me some along with us the main difference between a senior network engineer and a

Unknown Speaker 23:00
Junior is how they deal with the stress and how they deal with the pressure. because like you said, when you're first setting up that routing, in that virtualized environment, you're going to get that dread. And every engineer and every tech guy knows I'm talking about where that that, that just blanket of just comes over you. And you gotta be able to just go, you know what, fine, fuck it, I'll power through, you know, we'll figure this out, we'll make it work. And it's gonna be fine. Because, you know, like, like you said, You're not live on someone's business. You're not live in an environment where if they go down, you're gonna lose $250,000 an hour. You know, that's not the situation you're in, you're at home, you're messing around, maybe your girlfriend's gonna get pissed because the Wi Fi goes down if you don't set up a lab, but that's the worst case scenario, you know what I mean? So you're out some flowers, but whatever.

Unknown Speaker 23:47
So I think it's it's really important to focus on that for the new guys because I obviously being in an MSP space, we rub shoulders with a lot of the newer guys in the field and people that are five years in that kind of stuff, and I've had a couple folks that are only a couple years old

Unknown Speaker 24:00
They go, what's the like? What's the secret? Like, how do you know when you're really ready? And I go, Okay, what happens when you fuck something up? What happens when you break something? And you get that frozen thing or you go Okay, here we go again. And that's and I think that's the main difference.

Unknown Speaker 24:16
Yeah. What do you what are some common common challenges that you've been facing when you're studying? And when you're trying to advance in your career? Do you have any advice for anybody that's that's kind of hit a rut if they're just kind of getting their network plus, or if they're trying to get a CCNA? Or if they're trying to get a CCIE or CCNP. Do you have any advice for those people if they're struggling, or just getting started with these things? Absolutely. I would actually relate a lot to that. Because studying these technologies, they have all kinds of details. When you're learning about something, let's say,

Unknown Speaker 24:52
a routing protocol. You can just learn how to set it up. There are a few commands, you can copy base that off of any form

Unknown Speaker 25:00
You know, there is some sample out there. Yeah, actually, that's the far end of it. Let's go to the very polarized other end of this, that is you sitting down reading RFCs.

Unknown Speaker 25:14
And for people who are not familiar with the term RFCs, or standards that are basically used by all vendors, RFCs or requests for comment, and they often come from I triple E, and when new protocol is being rolled out, let's say you're robbing portable Wi Fi six that you just mentioned earlier, these will have their own RFCs they would define it, what are

Unknown Speaker 25:44
the specifications? What are the technical things that would actually make this protocol work, and then vendors want to use that they go use those RFCs use those information, and then they build the device that is actually working with

Unknown Speaker 26:00
other vendors. That's how the

Unknown Speaker 26:03
operation, the interoperability between different vendors work. You can go sit down and read those RFPs. That's too much that's not needed. But when you are trying to learn something, it's better for you to learn the fundamentals. Be sure that you're dealing with all of that. And despite feeling that it's this, you know, you would ask yourself, Is this really necessary? Do I really have to know this? You would appreciate it at some point in your career that you actually took the time and learn. I'm not saying go sit down and read the RFC, drivers documentation you can find, but don't

Unknown Speaker 26:43
cheat yourself out of information here. Hundred percent. I think it's one of those situations where and this has happened to me a lot, where I've been trying to figure out a problem with a client's network or with their server or something like that, and I'm three and a half hours into it, and I'm getting nowhere.

Unknown Speaker 27:00
Where, and then you walk by and you're like, you check this, and you go to the water. And by the time I come back, I'm just like, son of a bitch. Like, how did you? And it's because you read that one thing on that one forum from 2007. Or you read that one thing in that RFC Handbook, you know. So I think that it is really important to not cheat yourself on that kind of stuff. And another way that I kind of overcome that stuff is I go on YouTube, and I find communities. So one guide that I found to be really practical. I don't know if you agree, is Eli, the computer guy, and he's very good for fundamentals. He'll he I think he has a four hour seminar on TCP IP, and the seven layers and now.

Unknown Speaker 27:40
Yeah, so he was huge. Probably six years ago, when I was starting the business. Actually, he was I would call him my first mentor. And he cuts through everything he's like, this is not what you need to know. I've got 20 years experience in the field. Here's the fundamentals. Here's how you can get your first client. Here's what people are going to actually ask you to do. And he cuts through everything which was

Unknown Speaker 28:00
Really great for me, I wish that I coupled that with like a CCNA or something like that. So I could have had kind of a little bit of a formal training as well. But I usually go on to people like him, someone like network Chuck is also very good. You've turned me on to him. And having them kind of demo stuff in the click Beatty ways is really helpful and I kind of look at what they're doing. And then I go, Okay, well, what would a small business want? Or what would my target want? Let's say it's a big corporation or whatever. And then I can sit at home and I could go, Okay, well, a small business would want to have Wi Fi that's public and private, they would want to have a network that's public and private, they would want to have a firewall, they would want to have switches. And then I can go ahead and design a network for 15 people in a business, instead of like you said, trying to grind through an RFC manual for four hours going, why the hell am I learning this? And at the end of the day, when you put in your eight hours, you can go, Hey, I'm halfway done. My setup I've got I've got a fully functional private Wi Fi system.

Unknown Speaker 29:00
I've got a fully functional to VLAN network that I built up myself, you know, and I think that's really important for people that are starting. And even I think on your level, what do you what do you think, like when you're at the tippy top or getting up to the tippy top of things?

Unknown Speaker 29:16
What are some things that keep you motivated? As a more experienced engineer?

Unknown Speaker 29:21
You have to accept something and that's true about again, there are many, many things we talked about are not necessarily what

Unknown Speaker 29:30
you don't know what you don't know. So you have to be honest with yourself and put the time into those spots that you know are your weakness and focus on them. Also, don't take

Unknown Speaker 29:47
guesses or just don't do things with the hope of getting it done in production networks. Again, that goes back to the value of loving things up at home, trying them

Unknown Speaker 30:01
Be confident with things that you are claiming you're capable of doing. For me,

Unknown Speaker 30:08
whenever I

Unknown Speaker 30:11
face a task, or a project, and I know that this particular device, I'm not 100% sure about all its features, I tried to spit it up in my lap. I tried to set up even a smaller version of that network, see how it goes? What are the things that I'm not sure about them? And that would actually give me a reason to now sit down and study about something that I didn't know. Like, right now, the new trend is that you hear from many people is cloud cloud cloud. And I say this, I know it's a source of debate, and probably many people are not gonna like me for saying this. But this is just marketing. Cloud is internet. It's been around. There was a time that we say okay, this is a data center. This is an office

Unknown Speaker 31:00
Now they say, Oh, this is Amazon. Yeah, sure. But Amazon Cloud Service is the data center is following the same structure as any other network. But they are giving you this certification. So you are basically certified, you are trusted with managing their platform. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 31:22
So you hear all these trends. And if you have a strong fundamental, if you did the homework, and if you learn things, the way they're supposed to be very, then you would not have an issue to go through their documentation or their training or look at new things or try their trial versions and figure it out. Yeah. But if you've been cutting corners, and you've been just trying to get certified to get a X amount of dollars a year as your salary, then yeah, the trend is going to change. It will change. It's a guarantee. And then what do you want to do that?

Unknown Speaker 31:58
start from zero

Unknown Speaker 32:00
Learn that new platform or whatever is trendy at that time. That's not how it works. It's at least not a good long term. I don't know, man, I got some friends who only know Microsoft DOS, and they're doing very well.

Unknown Speaker 32:13
Um, so yeah, I think that's completely correct. Because like the cloud thing, like you said, it is all marketing nonsense. And I think that a big important thing

Unknown Speaker 32:23
is to note that OneDrive is great, but what are you doing? It's not sinking on your local computer. You know what I mean? Like, Amazon cloud services are great. What happens when your phone system that's hosted in the cloud stops connecting to your local phones? What are you going to do? You know, I mean, if you're only able to say, Well, I can log into the Amazon panel, and I can make sure that the servers working, okay. It's like, okay, that's great. I can also log into a Windows system and tell that that's great. How are you going to break through the firewall here? How are you going to do it in a way where you're not going to get this business hit by ransomware? How are you going to let these systems communicate in a trusted fashion, where it's actually going to function? And people go What? It's like Okay, did you

Unknown Speaker 33:00
Setup port forwarding? Well, yeah, okay, so now you want everyone inside of this business to lose everything they've ever worked on because of ransomware and port scanning. And it's like, you know what I mean, there's a lot of things where, and I should probably slow it down a little bit, but I know in case there's new people listening, but there's a lot of things people do, like you said, that are very platform specific, where they completely ignore the fundamentals. And I think it's really important for people to understand again, get your comp ti a plus, you need to understand what a Windows computer is. What is a Mac computer, then you can get into the network stuff. What is a window? What does SMB look like? What's SMB one? What's SMB two was SMB three. I remember we had a client have that I think was like their printer or their files went down for I don't remember like two or three days. And I had two different Tech's look at it. This is before you joined us. And it was a company on the North Shore. And I went on site and I was like SMB, one is disabled. It was scanning files from a printer. No one could get it to scan over. So I went in and I was like SMB one is disabled.

Unknown Speaker 34:00
on this server, why is SMB one disabled? And the tech that had worked on it was like, well, I read in best practices, that malware spreads through SMB one, so I cut it off. And I was like, Okay, you've also disabled like 75% of the functions in this office by doing that. And then it turns out licensing stuff wasn't working. And there's a bunch of problems going on. But again, because he'd heard from this one platform that SMB one was bad, he cut it off, and he didn't know that, oh, shit, I've terminated licensing software. I've terminated file scanning from printers. I've cut off a lot of Mac OS sharing, like so it's very crazy. How a lot of people just get hyper focused on this marketing stuff. And they completely disregard the fundamentals. I'm glad you brought that up. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 34:46
I'm sorry. No, that guy who did that? We'll never do that again. Exactly. So that's the value of being hands on and find things in a control environment before cutting off 70% of business functions. Yeah, hundred percent.

Unknown Speaker 35:00
And that's why I think that I've been so fortunate is I fallen on my face a million times behind closed doors. You know, I mean, I've made a tiny mistake at two in the morning, no one notices, I do my quality control testing. And then I go, Okay, I can't do that. So you'll say, like, let's say, when you and I were working together and you were designing a project for us, I would be able to pipe in every once in a while, then either contribute or critique something. I would not know why. Like, if you were saying, if you were to say, Okay, well, why won't that work? I can say, well, layer four of the networking structure means this or that, but I can say, well, because I did that once and then I got punched in the head. Again, so it's a mix. You know, it's a mix of getting the the formal training about him in the real world training. So yeah, what do you think the future looks for everybody? I know you mentioned the cloud stuff, but I know the COVID thing is stressing a lot of people out and other industries. I've been busier than ever. Have you been busier than ever. Yes, it's it's crazy. Well, the company I work for, they do both IBM

Unknown Speaker 36:00
Services not known for the ISP because it's less for end users and home connection and more for offices and sorry to interrupt. So that's internet service provider and managed services provider for people. Yeah, yeah. Sorry. No worries. Yeah. And then

Unknown Speaker 36:20
this covert situation actually showed many business owners that they should trust their employees but working from home. Now, what are the benefits of this? This is a bad situation globally, and it's hurting many businesses. And it would, it would actually, at the end cause all of us only business owners. The job market is going to be here, even now that they're opening everything back up. There are many businesses that think, okay, maybe we can manage and they're going to file bankruptcy in a few months. I hope this situation is going to get better, but the only good that came out of this was that he chose business owners

Unknown Speaker 37:00
They don't really need to pay rent for a place necessarily. They don't have to have everyone coming to the office every day. People don't need to drive their car, drive their cars as often as they do. You don't have to commute to some specific place to take care of the responsibilities. And all this would be actually a boost to IP services and the level of it needs in businesses. Now we have many clients that they cannot have their employees at their offices, they come to us and they asked how we can help them to set up VPN for them if you're going to host their servers for them. So they don't have to have anything physical at their office. And once they take care of that, what's the use of having the lease and renting that space? Right? Yeah. So it's a double edged sword. And we've been confident in a bad way up to this point, but now business can

Unknown Speaker 38:00
use this opportunity to see that, oh, everything was working just fine. People pour through data at their job. So maybe now we should look at having hybrid environments, try to have people or carers remotely as much as possible. It's a good thing. It's good for environments good for our cities. It's

Unknown Speaker 38:18
overall, I would say it's a positive thing. Yeah. Yeah, I agree. Um, as a network engineer, do you think you're gonna be in more demand less demand?

Unknown Speaker 38:27
Uh, yeah. Well, now I remembered the last question you asked before I give you that answer and the future of network engineering. As with many other

Unknown Speaker 38:39
ever changing IP fields, is going to be more of automation.

Unknown Speaker 38:46
More of learning how to code. It was not a requirement for a network engineer when I started to be familiar with automation or Python or do Ansible or

Unknown Speaker 39:00
automate services, the environments are not as big either.

Unknown Speaker 39:04
Now, it's a common thing for people to have a hybrid environment have Amazon services spin up X number of servers that they need to manage, right? Everything is changing. Now. In addition to that doctors are changing the landscape a lot. Now, you can afford to have a much more complicated and versatile, virtualized environments that you couldn't do because the previous virtualization was based on chopping up your hardware,

Unknown Speaker 39:38
chopping off your kernel your operating system. Now you can have many more doctors than you could ever imagine having virtual servers. So all these things are making the environments to run on.

Unknown Speaker 39:53
multiple number of nodes, multiple number of servers now you can have many doctors with

Unknown Speaker 40:00
Are you going to do you? Are you going to manage the network individually for each of them? Now you need to know automation. Now you need to learn Python and Ansible. Now you have to manage your network from one point on many different devices. So that's the trend. That's something that I personally knock box and I'm working on. And I'm glad actually, it would give me a reason to sit down and dedicate some time and study again, it's not only about learning that technology, it would keep you on your toes. It would teach you how to be

Unknown Speaker 40:36
on a schedule, how to have discipline, how to have time management skills, and these are things that after learning that technology would help you at your very job day to day. Yeah. being disciplined, being good with your time management. taking that out to know last minute of productivity out of your day, when you really need it. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 41:00
You mentioned that I think that's all great advice. You mentioned that you're kind of lacking in that field. But I know that you are unique in a lot of ways in the industry. What are some ways that you kind of recommend people

Unknown Speaker 41:15
move forward with that kind of stuff? Like how would you explain you approach your projects? And what advice do you have for people that are kind of approaching something new? Like, like you said, you're going to be approaching this coding stuff.

Unknown Speaker 41:28
How do you approach any project that you're working on?

Unknown Speaker 41:31
Well, if it's a project for a client, if it's happening at work, people should remember the most important part of any project is the client who's paying for that project.

Unknown Speaker 41:47
That's very important. I see so many attacks just blaze right by that. So thanks.

Unknown Speaker 41:54
So basically, that's a top of the list. So it is always important to have

Unknown Speaker 42:00
complete understanding of what environment they're trying to have. What are the goals? What are the criterias that would make this project successful, versus making it unsuccessful? And then you would be given a budget sometimes.

Unknown Speaker 42:18
We both know because we've dealt with clients, and they've been actually going through this together. Sometimes people don't know that this money is needed to be spent. Yeah, they overlook and they're like, Okay, why should we spend this amount of money on our network? We were doing just fine. Good in it your switch? Yeah. And the modem from our, your favorite brand.

Unknown Speaker 42:43
That's the number one brand.

Unknown Speaker 42:46
My favorite brand? Yeah. But then when you explain to them that how much you're gonna see down the road, or maybe you come here for the

Unknown Speaker 42:58
having security versus

Unknown Speaker 43:00
Not having security, how much damage getting ransomware actually have on your business? Can they afford to go through that? Or sometimes as simple as they asked me? Do we really need internet connection from two different service providers? And I asked them, okay, having a second internet connection would cost you $1,000 a year. If you lose your Internet connection for two days, or even one day for six hours, what's the cost for you and for your business? So you're given this project and sometimes half of this back and forth. It is not about squeezing the client or forcing them to pay more. Sometimes they want to put more money in you have to tell them hey, you're just overspending you're splashing. You don't need to. Yeah, I can do this but half this month. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 43:54
I have a big problem with texts that do that, because it makes it really hard for the rest of us to do our job.

Unknown Speaker 44:00
I've come into some businesses and you've come with me. And we've tried to explain to them like, yes, this, here's the price, like, here's what we're getting it for, there's no margin here. And they've just been screwed over so many times that they just they can't, they don't have any trust left, you know what I mean? Because what we do to a lot of people does kind of seem like black magic. And a lot of those texts do come in a lot of these businesses that do come in, and they take advantage of that. And it makes it really difficult for all of us to kind of get what we need to do. And to touch really quickly on one other thing before we continue, is regarding the cost thing that you mentioned, for example, we've installed the server for a health clinic, and you helped us replace their network, I believe, and since they've done that 15 of their computers were will actually honestly I think we had 11 computers scheduled to be replaced. All of them except for two are now working flawlessly.

Unknown Speaker 44:55
So they now don't necessarily have to urgently

Unknown Speaker 45:00
Replace 15 workstations, all of them are scheduled to replace, but they don't need to necessarily spend the money to replace 11 workstations now, because they spent a little bit extra money on that server and a little bit of extra money on that network. So I think it's really important, like you said, do the cost value proposition. Listen to the client, talk to the client, hear what they're saying, a lot of guys just get sucked into this best practices, I get cool toys to play with. And sometimes you'll walk into a place and you'll say, what were you quoted previously? And they'll say, Oh, this guy wants to put in this system or that system. And you go, Well, that's what do you How big are you? How big are you trying to get like, what's your roadmap over the next couple years? And people will just say, well, we're trying to hit 25 people, and it's like, okay, I don't think that you really need to have this catalyst in here. You know what I mean? I don't think you need to have a $900,000 network infrastructure and server combination for this million dollar a year business. Maybe you need to actually just downgrade to something that's more in the 50,000 hundred thousand dollar range.

Unknown Speaker 46:00
Because you listened and because you told the client what they actually needed to hear, that makes a huge difference. I think that's one of the reasons why we've done so well. And why I like working with you so much is because you'll just cut through the BS with people. You know what, we'll leave a meeting and it'll go, I wish we could have worked with the catalysts or I wish we could have worked with that shiny new toy, but it's not what they need. You know. So I think it's important to touch on that stuff. I just wanted to bring attention to those quickly. Sorry. Please continue. Remember that.

Unknown Speaker 46:28
I don't know what he said that this is my mind. I want to add it before we move on, because it's very important. What vendor explained things to clients? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 46:39
You have to make sure that you're not throwing technical terms up. Yes. It will make him uncomfortable. It will make him feel stupid. It will take away from that conversation. We always have to have a good analogy, something that they can understand and they can relate to and

Unknown Speaker 47:00
Through that, just show them the concept of what you're trying to put together as a solution for them. So

Unknown Speaker 47:07
back to what you were saying with their network infrastructure, and having a good server. Now, if they were not spending money on their network, it's like buying a car parked in your parking, and then you don't spend money on fixing your driveway. And then you don't have a driveway to go out and drive it on the road and enjoy it. It is exactly like that. So maybe give tangible examples to people that would be able to follow you. They're like, Okay, so this firewall that say I eat here is exactly like my driveway, so I can drive my Ferrari out and enjoy it. Otherwise, my $400,000 car has to sit here because I can't even get it on the road. Yeah. Yeah, I think it's really important that the analogy thing really helps because again, like you can, if you can't explain this stuff to folks in language, understand they're not going to get it like if you start talking about the seven layers of networking.

Unknown Speaker 48:00
or whatever, people are just going to tune out, you know, even some some MSP business owners and some technical salespeople, they're not going to follow you. But if you're like, Hey, you know, why isn't this working? Okay? Well, you see your VLAN is kind of like your bedroom in your living room, and you got this wall between them. And it's really well insulated. So if you're trying to talk to someone, and they're in the living room, and you're in the bedroom doesn't matter how loud you yell, they're not going to hear you. Okay, got it. They don't need to understand you've created two digital networks and all this other stuff, you know. So yeah, I think the analogy things very powerful. So, yeah. Cool. Um, what else do I have here? So, what are some common mistakes that you usually see while people are making that we're speaking of using the analogies and not speaking technically to people? What are some common mistakes you've seen our engineers making either while they're designing things or while they're studying or just general mistakes? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 48:54
Well, in designing things, I would say being an MSP for years now.

Unknown Speaker 49:00
I get to see the work of other network engineers and network administrators. But it's now taking over and trying to improve it or if it's broken and they couldn't fix it, and they had to bring you in. It's very polarized. Two things that stands out to me is that they either overcomplicate things,

Unknown Speaker 49:21
or they go lazy and make it super simple. So let's say that it's an office of five people, some network engineer was just for flexing their muscles. They did 200 VLANs, for an office of five people. Yeah, right. That's bad. If you would be surprised how often we find those things, because I'm not I'm not gonna say that. It is always the case. But sometimes they do. They do make it complicated. So they're the only people can understand that. Yeah. Very bad business practice. But it's not.

Unknown Speaker 49:57
It's not that hard to find. Yeah. You

Unknown Speaker 50:00
Other version is that having something super simple, that's another common mistake that I see that they try to avoid that situation and making things, they try to make things simple to hand off to someone else. They make it too simple. That is just kind of stealing from the functions that you really need it.

Unknown Speaker 50:18
So these are two common things that I see at work.

Unknown Speaker 50:23
In terms of studying

Unknown Speaker 50:25
something I see that is very common by people is that they just study things for the sake of passing the exam.

Unknown Speaker 50:36
And we touched that a little earlier whenever we're talking about certification and study. Do not do that because you would cheat yourself out of very

Unknown Speaker 50:46
reason that you are studying that instead of going out and having fun with your friends watching the movie, spending time with your significant other. You sit down you study but instead of digging deep and doing the right thing and last

Unknown Speaker 51:00
And trying things and truly learning the fundamentals. You just try to be prepared to answer, answer multiple choice questions. That's not good. So that's a common thing that I see that people study. And

Unknown Speaker 51:15
I would say

Unknown Speaker 51:17
the only way to avoid it is to have a better perspective of when you're going to use any future. Yeah. Yeah, I think that's all really good advice. I think I think that's a really good, really good advice, man, like, thinking about the plurality of people because I won't say it's a majority, but there's a plurality of these individual technicians that kind of turned themselves into God at the organization. And like you said, like, you walk in, you have five people employed in the business, there's five VLANs, that maybe there's 10 VLANs, because it's one for each of the guys laptops and desktops. And there's all these crazy firewall rules and all these hoops to jump through and it's like, why, like, I get it, but like, why, like, why did you do this? And it's like, well, I was bored and you know, some new things.

Unknown Speaker 52:00
The university.

Unknown Speaker 52:01
Yeah, they always say get out of here. But

Unknown Speaker 52:05
yeah, I think it's I think that's great advice. And it's really important again to make sure you like you said earlier, if you've got a lab for those things, you don't need to make it overly complicated a client site. It's all about balancing. And again, listen to the client, figure out what they're trying to do. And then give them a solution if it's going to take you four hours to do what they really need, then to do four hours, and if you think of something where they're saying, Oh, we want to do a VPN solution and monitor this, we want to do that. And you're the type of person that wants to be a little bit more comprehensive. And you want to say, Okay, you know what, let's add in like a some sort of sort of some sort of cert to add an extra layer of security of this. You can talk to them you can say, look, I can do this. It's gonna take me an extra two hours right now I'm gonna have to come in once a year refresh the cert, it's gonna cost you 500 bucks a year. What do you think and then they'll go well, why? And you go well, ransomware costs an average business hundred $16,000 a year. 2018 average cost the US 800 something thousand last year.

Unknown Speaker 53:00
In your bigger business, maybe you need this. If it's a one person entrepreneur, they're gonna be fine. You know what I mean? They don't need to have all this crazy stuff. So I think it really ties back to again, making sure you have the right tools set up, making sure that you have the right community setup, making sure you're listening to the clients. And I think it's mistakes or how you're going to learn in this field, I think and you want to make the right mistakes, like you said, you want to be if you're losing time with your friends, your family, your significant others, it should be worth it. And it should be taking steps towards a goal. That's that's going to help you build a better life for yourself and fire that passion for technology that you have, and not be seen as this thing for you to resent. Because I've seen a lot of people in this industry later in life have a lot of resentment. And they're very bitter towards other people. And it's very unfortunate to see people go that way because it's it right if you're doing things right. People are gonna ask what the hell am I paying for? And if you're doing things wrong, people gonna ask what the hell am I paying for?

Unknown Speaker 54:00
And it's a very thankless job. But at the end of the day, I think that people like you, and I just have this passion for it. And it's what we love to do. And I don't know what I would do if I couldn't work with people like yourself and work for the clients that I have. And I just think that it's really good advice, man. What are some tools that you recommend everybody use

Unknown Speaker 54:22
just in their tool belt day to day or if they're wanting to learn more things.

Unknown Speaker 54:28
One thing that I don't see many people use or at least in MSP environment, it's using the free tools that you can find out there tools like Wireshark for example. And the best way to start being comfortable there is again, using it in a lab environment. The traffic is very limited. You know what you're supposed to find out that wire and then you Wireshark you see you know all the Heather's you see all the payload of the packet.

Unknown Speaker 55:00
You can just go through different things that are making that traffic. And one day when all the doors are closed as rainy data, some network is down and you don't know what's going on. That tool in your toolbox will actually come and help you being comfortable with going over packet captures, especially with older new firewalls in the market. And there are many good firewalls. Surprisingly, there was a time that you didn't have that many options. In terms of firewalls, it was not something that was built by many vendors. For a long time people have I'm just getting sidetracked but no worth talking about it for a long time people had routers

Unknown Speaker 55:48
to connect to their service provider, and then they are IPS IDs they had in line printed prevention or detection is very separate functions.

Unknown Speaker 56:00
Find a thread on their network, right? Now firewalls, they can do all those things in one place. Yeah. And very important for technicians and for network engineers to be able to look at packet captures, look at the traffic that is going on the wire and just pick it apart, say, this portion of the I know what it is this I don't know, this doesn't look good to me. This lines up with this announcement that was out there, zero day attack that they said does this, this is looking something like it, Brett, you know, in for you enable to be confident in your observation. It only comes from practice. So I would say something that I don't see many people and it's very important to actually add to your toolbox or be comfortable with is actually using Wireshark and other tools that are coming with firewalls, to be able to look at live traffic and say what's what Yeah, how

Unknown Speaker 57:00
Slowly I used to go on

Unknown Speaker 57:02
a website is it it's some military geek thing. I can't remember what it's called right now. I'll put it in the link in the description. But it's basically a catalog of tools like that. That's why I found Wireshark. And it's cheese camera was called. But yeah, you can go on there. And it's like, here's a free antivirus tool. Here's some you can use to like, just do packet scanning. Here's another tool you can do to analyze, like ARP captures, like these kind of things. And it was really interesting being able to just go onto this website. And they've got a whole list of these tools that they approved for technicians to use, just download them for free. They've got trials, whatever. And I was able to use those tools. I remember there was a point where when I was first starting the business six years ago, probably so I started seven years ago, but six years ago when I was starting to really go and fix computers for people. I had a list of like 25 different pieces of software for Mac and 25 different pieces of software for Windows. And if I was doing a Windows tune up, I would go through and I would run all these things.

Unknown Speaker 58:00
Like last wire and Malwarebytes. And all of these other programs have been bought up by these big companies now. And I would just run these programs. And I'd be like, Okay, cool. Let me see what goes on when I'm running this stuff. And I'm using those different tools like, like you said, it kind of nudges you in the direction where you end up expanding your knowledge. And you're not relying on this one little system. Like, I remember probably eight years ago, before I started doing this professionally, maybe I'm mixing up the years I'm not gonna have time but I think the Cisco rv 230 is that the little box thing is that the 320 or the 230? Not sure. It's like a super cheap budget Cisco firewall. And it was like the only thing I could rely on because like I couldn't find anything else but it did secure VPN connections, it did DDoS protection. It had all of these like little tiny things that you would look for in an affordable package. And there was nothing like that at the time. Maybe

Unknown Speaker 59:00
was maybe I was ignorant, because I was like a 19 year old kid scrounging around. But yeah, I remember using that and then having to combine it with all of this other stuff like,

Unknown Speaker 59:10
see now I forget even the firewall stuff is the problem and I'm not doing too much technical stuff anymore. So what's the firewall that's free? I keep thinking free DDS free DNS, but it's not. It's a perfect DSP. There, there are many Linux based Great Firewall. Is there a perf? One feel like that's another one?

Unknown Speaker 59:30
Well, you can use what is that one called? pf sense. That's it. Yeah, that's what I was thinking. So yeah, like I would have a box running pf sense. And there's a couple other little firewall things you can have running. And yeah, but like you said, I think that nowadays, the most important tool is your brain. You know, I think that's definitely very important. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 59:51
I think that about does man. Do you have anything else you want to touch on or you think people should know about that we've kind of sparked or actually be the event.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:00
Over many common questions for someone who likes to start, or they're already doing a little, they want to do more. So I think we pretty much went over all the more important topics. That's perfect. Cool. Is there anything that you want to promote or anything personally you have going on that people can check out? Well, personally, I wouldn't have put it out there yet. But since you're doing this now, people can actually look me up on LinkedIn, try to connect with me and keep an eye out on going to release a series of videos that I'm putting together for people who are working as network administrators and want to take it level off, be a network engineer, you better North Korea, Australia. And I'm putting together these videos but I started was meant to be for the old CCNA route switch.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:00
But the certification all changed last February, and there is no route switch anymore, which is kind of sad.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:09
It's gonna make people with CCNA certification, less hands on and just you know,

Unknown Speaker 1:01:16
people have some information. It's not that I want to talk it down. And only time would show how they actually are in the job market and how much they can actually do when it comes to their work environments. But again, because of all the changes to the certification, and I'm planning to keep these videos for free, I would put them on YouTube channel, I would announcer through my LinkedIn because I don't have that YouTube channel set up yet. And we are working on the name. Most likely I'm going to call it certification, which is a mix of being certified and being your wizard or wishes you definitely need and once I put them

Unknown Speaker 1:02:00
videos out, it's gonna cover everything from fundamental information of TCP IP stack, all the way to common things that you would actually encounter in your day to day. And I'm very excited about it. I have some of the videos recorded already. Some have to change because of the change in certification landscape recently, but I would be very excited to share that with our audience. That's awesome, man. Yeah, let me know whenever you launch it, and we'll put the links to certain ization and the YouTube channel, whatever you end up naming it down below, and I'll make sure to link to your LinkedIn right now.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:35
I have one other question for you that you kind of sparked for me, which is do you think the conglomeration of these big companies like Cisco kind of scooping up everybody and coming up with their own course loads? Do you think that will be damaging for technicians in the future because as an employer, and as a technician, I agree with you, I actually think that they are making a bit of a mistake by taking out the more hands on stuff in the field. Do you think that this is something

Unknown Speaker 1:03:00
That's going to continue. Do you think that people are going to have to reach out to experts like yourself and learn more hands on things that way? Or what do you think the future kind of looks like with us? Well, I think they're kind of catching up with the market.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:14
You can't really blame them for doing it the way they're doing yet. You earlier he asked me, what's the next big thing and I said automation. But if I want to name another thing, if you were asking me next few big things, I would have said after that software defined networking, so they've taken out that portion of it, and now they're adding more SD van SB access, things like that. Yeah. And it's understandable. People are moving away from using COI, the way we used to learn things. Now everything has a GUI and things like that, which is fine, but they can break and then you would really need to know how to do it on the CLR.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:56
Braking never,

Unknown Speaker 1:03:58
never happened.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:00
Never had to flash the firmware.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:03
Yeah, the point is, you know they're making

Unknown Speaker 1:04:07
they made some good changes to that we didn't go into details of it. Now you can get specialist certificates that are just a single example. And the, as the name says they make you specialize in one thing. So you can go and be a specialising route and be specialized in automation and things like that. They're all great. But one thing that I want people to not forget if you're about to start, and you don't know where to start network plus or CCM is feel the way to go. Because you want to learn the fundamentals. Don't worry about what this vendor platform is offering me versus the other one. You are not there yet. And it's not even useful information for you to learn because they're going to change when they release their next generation. So don't worry about those things, but that he was getting

Unknown Speaker 1:05:00
Cisco certification in job market

Unknown Speaker 1:05:03
Ullswater more than everyone else. Also does Jennifer. Also if you talk about firewalls, does fortigate and Paul toe so there are all these big players. But if you really want to learn the fundamentals, just go for those entry level certifications, learn something and then see what actually interests you. You would be passionate about something they know. Think of it you would go to a party and you meet someone for the first time and you find something in common, whether being sports or cars or traveler or whatever it is the topic, you would find that thing in common with them because you both been passionate about it. Now you can share information. You would create that passion once you have information. You cannot be passionate about something you don't really know what it is. Yeah. So put the time and learn the fundamental

Unknown Speaker 1:06:00
You got to develop that interest in that topic. And then from there, it would be very hard for you to go wrong. What have you learned? It's going to be just another added tool to your toolbox. Right? Yeah. 100%. And I think the best places for people to start and you can add on to this or correct me if I'm wrong. COMM Tia a plus, if you're totally fresh, learn that level, do get your network plus. And then after that, I think you'll know at that point, you know, I would also recommend, if you're going to be studying for CompTIA a plus, and you're going to be studying comp T is network Plus, you should be looking at YouTube channels like network, Chuck, Eli, the computer guy. Maybe you have a couple of other ones. Yeah, I would say David Bumble. He's amazing. He has courses on GNS three Academy. That's where he started to get popular four or five years ago, but now he runs daily videos on his YouTube channel on his LinkedIn. He's extremely helpful. I've seen it

Unknown Speaker 1:07:00
interactions with people. He's always there. It's not just you know, some someone looking after his social media. And he offers a lot of free courses, go to udemy.com. And look David Bumble. And when you see his courses, he has a lot of free courses. And he's great at explaining things. He doesn't make assumptions. He does it for people, people who don't know anything. And yeah, that's another great resource. Obviously, if you're going to pay

Unknown Speaker 1:07:30
I would recommend signing up for CBT nuggets. Yeah, if Also, if you're going to pay, I would say better value for someone like myself is already used to be called salary books. But now, separate books was bought by O'Reilly. So now you can get all the books, and many video trainings, self paced trainings for 40 bucks a month. Yeah, yeah, I think CBT nuggets is

Unknown Speaker 1:08:00
Huge. I know so many people in the field that have gone from zero to hero. Yeah, yeah. Awesome, man. Um, yeah, I think that's perfect. I think that's gonna give people a good start. Because I know a big, the biggest, scariest thing you can do is get started. And I think if you just follow network Chuck, you follow David Bumble, you follow these people, I think that what's going to happen is you're going to just you're going to get sucked into it, you know what I mean? You're going to look at the comments. They're going to talk about stuff, you're taking your network, plus, you're going to take the test, you're going to meet people, you know, that will probably not with COVID. But you know what I mean, you're gonna get exposure to these things. Like you said, you're going to meet people who have that passion as well, whether it's just online or in a forum, whatever. And you're going to kind of blow up with this stuff. And I think that if you look at one thing, I always tell people that that start with me that are getting a little bit frustrated on something is look at yourself three months ago or just wait until you're three months from where you are now. Because if you really dig in and you dedicate a half hour a day or two hours a day

Unknown Speaker 1:09:00
Or even 15 minutes a day.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:03
You're gonna be so far ahead of people. It's crazy. And and after three months, you're gonna look back and go, I can't believe I used to struggle with VLANs. Alright, and you're creating the most complex, you're setting up the five person business with 10 VLANs. Before you know it,

Unknown Speaker 1:09:19
say out of everything that we said, and I'm very happy that you brought it up, because I totally forgot about touching that point. I'm very happy. You said it gave me

Unknown Speaker 1:09:31
practice, it doesn't really matter if it's five minutes, I promise you more often than not, you gotta be interested in what you're reading and you do more than five minutes. But even if it's five minutes, make sure you're doing it every day. because well, even one day gap would very nice would break the chain. Yeah. And put you into your laziness and you know, just brushing it off and saying all I'm going to do 10 minutes in two days to cover for

Unknown Speaker 1:10:00
to five minutes every day, don't do that. It's a trap, just do 510 minutes a day. And you got to be very, very knowledgeable in a very short amount of time. And even again, like those videos, we talked about Eli, the computer guy, and he's other folks like network chalk, for me is the easiest because he's entertaining. You know, I mean, like, now I'm sucked in like, he's got his wife and all this kind of stuff. But like, it's just so easy to just turn on one of his videos. And then five minutes later, I'm like, fine, I'll look into this other thing that I'm supposed to look at. And then you're in the wormhole, right? And then an hours gone by and you're like, Oh, shit, I'm late for dinner or whatever. So yeah, I think the daily things definitely very important, but that's awesome. So again, I think this is gonna be really valuable for a lot of people just getting started. I want to thank you again for coming on today. It means a lot. And I hope this video gives everybody a good foundation to start learning more about networking on and it kind of helps you with your career and developing and even if you're further along in your career, I hope it kind of helps you get a little bit more excited about what's going on data

Unknown Speaker 1:11:00
Today so in closing, as usual, if you could please leave a like on the video it really helps us out. And if you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe. If you have a suggestion for a future video, please leave a comment below or send us an email at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca and I hope you all have a great day and we'll see you soon

WordPress Security & Development for Non-Profits,...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:01
Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the umbrella IT services podcast. Today's guest is Kevin McLeod from word site security. We're going to be discussing WordPress security and development for nonprofits, businesses and entrepreneurs. Hope you enjoy I hope everybody's having a great day today. My name is Jake from umbrella IT services and today we are going to be talking about WordPress security and design with my good friend Kevin MacLeod from word site security. So thank you so much for joining us today Kevin. If you could leave a like on this video it really helps Kevin and I out if you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe to the channel. If you have a suggestion for a future video please leave a comment below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca so now that that's out of the way, let's just jump into it. So today we're going to be talking about website design and security. So website design insecurity is more important than ever in today's digital world. Your website represents your organization to protect clients, employees and the rest of the world. I've had many clients call us looking for a good team of web designers after experiencing a hack, outage or other issue with their website after working with somebody that claimed to be an expert, but really just turned out to be the CEOs nephew. But thankfully today we have a true expert with us that can make sure our websites are secure, speedy and safe while providing us with some tools to make sure that our existing websites are up to spec. So again, I'd like to give Kevin A big thank you for coming on today. He's going to be talking with us about why someone would want to hack into a website, what the differences are between website security and IT security and why we have to have so many personal phone calls, trading business back and forth. Some tips for business owners that are looking to secure their website, make sure it's running properly, what you think what the right questions that you can ask website developers some tools that you can use to quickly audit your website and what to do if you think you have a security issue. So thank you again, Kevin. How's your day going so far?

Kevin McLeod 1:56
Good, man. Appreciate the intro. It's good. No worries. Think about how awesome My team is, as well. So I gotta give full credit to the team and say thanks. So then when I'm doing this, because I'm leaning on them every day

Jake Van Buschbach 2:07
100% I completely agree. I think there's a lot of parallels between it and web design and development. And the number one thing is the team behind both of us, I couldn't do anything I do without my team. And I'm glad to hear you kind of say the same thing, because a lot I know, they don't get as much credit as they should sometimes.

Kevin McLeod 2:24
Yeah, you know, I'm not here to the horn and they're sitting in the office.

Jake Van Buschbach 2:29
They're doing all the heavy lifting. Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself? So I know that obviously, you're the CEO and co founder of word sight and yardstick services. Can you tell us about a little bit about those companies and yourself?

Kevin McLeod 2:42
Sure. So I started yardstick or digital agency 14 years ago. Originally, I was just doing some strategic planning and market research and decided the web was my thing. And then years later brought on my brother who was a former eBay employee. And from that he went back to school, essentially mind has gone to bcit and I'm the one who went to business school. And then we built our team around our strengths and weaknesses. And we've now got home at full capacity 13 1213 people on that side of the business, where we build websites and do digital marketing campaigns, a fantastic decade, we were also very good about documenting best practices and researching standards. And unknowingly, we actually built a company within our company. And we spun that out in the fall and created another company called Word site security. That just does WordPress security. And we did that because of the growing need for security. But also because of the gap that we saw a lot of other agencies producing really pretty looking websites that lacked a lot of the fundamentals of building codes of web. Oh, no.

Jake Van Buschbach 3:45
Gotcha. Now, I know with the security stuff, it's a constant issue nowadays. We have a lot of clients that have a lot of internal emails get hacked and taken care of, because somebody will get access to their contact information or to their clients. Contact information through a corrupted form. I've had a lot of phone calls and things to do with ransomware and other things that cause business downtime and outages because of a poorly secured website. So I'm personally really excited. I know it's, we're not going to get into the geek stuff too much today, but I'm really excited to have a more professional, technical talk with you today. So why would you say WordPress security is important because like from my experience, I've seen again, websites get hacked, contact information gets stolen, but maybe once or twice a month, I get a phone call from potential clients about this, but this is something you see every day. So what are some of the implications that you see for small businesses that are using poor WordPress security?

Kevin McLeod 4:45
Here's the scary thing is that you know, you see it once a month. I might see it every day but in the grand scheme of things. Statistics show that's about 90 to 95,000 attempts on WordPress websites every minute globally. Wow. Holy Yeah, that's crazy reported by wordfence. wordfence is one of the leading web web application firewalls for WordPress in the world. And so when you think about that, and you think about the fact that WordPress powers 34%, or more of the entire internet, pretty big target for hackers, just because they can create one massive script or program that's trying to search the entire web, same hole. And that's what we see time and again, just these little scripts little box trying to poke holes in WordPress websites. And what people don't realize is that because WordPress is an open source product, without getting too technical, open source means you can see all the code. And so unfortunately, that that's a good thing because it's allowed the product becomes super robust and other people around the world that contribute to the development of that product over years, but it also means that bad people could see all the code and potentially playing holes and vulnerabilities. So you have to stay ahead of it and always be updating and always be Making sure it's backed up and, and secure, essentially, because there's so many new updates every month.

Jake Van Buschbach 6:06
Yeah, that makes sense. So in order to protect themselves from these exploits that are really common, it's very common for us to see the same thing as well. Someone has an outdated firewall. Someone can just breach and because hey, Cisco has an exploit, people don't know about it, your firewall is vulnerable. They have a robot scan the web, all of a sudden you have 20,000 small businesses get hacked in a week because of that. So you recommended updates for people you recommend website backups, very similar to what we do with people's other IT infrastructure. Is there anything else people can do to make sure their websites are remaining secure and, and safe?

Kevin McLeod 6:41
Yeah, well, that's like a two hour long Mars page right there. So there's like 100 things that we do to secure websites. basic thing that most agencies decent agencies will do is they'll just do backups and updates. So the click the Update button and WordPress loved it the core software and the Make sure there's a backup. And then the failure that a lot of agencies don't do is they don't check that backup to make sure it's actually viable and yeah, to be restored. So that's super important. And then also having a number of backups over the course. So we recommend at least 90 days, so you can go back in time and restore any one of those backups if you need to. And we have the capability that with a click of a mouse,

Jake Van Buschbach 7:21
yes. Yeah, that's great. We've got deadlines up again perfectly with what we offer people. So we do longer retention. But that's because again, we're dealing with financial records, direct files, these kinds of things. But it does take on average about 45 days for somebody to notice a problem on their website and to notice things with file integrity is what I've noticed. So on Microsoft's website, they recommend that it's 45 days minimum of data retention, because if something goes wrong and one of your files or something goes wrong on a piece of your infrastructure that is not actively monitored, which I would assume someone who has a small business and doesn't have someone like yourself, and corner, they're not checking their website code regularly. So it may take 45 days for them to realize, you know what that hyperlink that's supposed to download a PDF about our business that's actually spreading ransomware, or that email form that people are using to contact us. That's not going to us anymore. That's actually going out to some Russian guy who's now collecting my clients information. So I do very much like the fact that you're doing the backups and the verification of the backups. Because, again, I don't know how many times probably three to four times in the last year, we've had to come on site. People say All righty, guys done backups, we got hit by ransomware. All you got to do is restore these backups. And then we go in and say, none of these backups are verified. They're all 60% complete, and they are not secure. They're some of them are encrypted. Some of them have been hacked already. And then it's game over, you know, so I'm very glad to hear you say that you guys are also verifying backups as well. Now what why do you recommend people usually go with WordPress over things like Shopify, or Wix. So these other questions, I don't. So let's be clear about why WordPress versus another. So Shopify is a platform that we also use.

Kevin McLeod 9:11
Yeah. And we recommend for clients who have primarily ecommerce websites, and some clients who have like a WordPress website or their front end marketing machine. And then they have an e commerce store that's on a subdomain that's on Shopify. So we make different recommendations based on what we think is best for the client. Yeah. And then we do sometimes I actually sell but you know, I talked myself out of work. I did it yesterday for a startup startup. I just told them, Look, I think Wix or Squarespace might be a better option for you, just to get a nice little brochure site up, test out some assumptions as you're kind of developing your product. And then once you develop your product, and you've got a really clear idea of how you go to market, then we start to build a more robust website. That makes the reason why we choose WordPress overstate Wix or Squarespace at this point in time. It's just because they're allowed to we're able to do a lot more With that platform, not just in terms of security, yeah, we can also do a lot more in terms of just integration with CRM, grps. All sorts of cool stuff with custom software development. We have some software development partners we work with, who do some cool stuff to integrate things into WordPress. And they could bend that any way they want. Versus Wix, Squarespace Squarespace which are totally proprietary gotcha, what

Jake Van Buschbach 10:24
is what are some of the solutions you guys have put in place for people with those custom solutions?

Kevin McLeod 10:29
What sort of custom solutions?

Jake Van Buschbach 10:30
Yeah, like what what some of the websites that

Kevin McLeod 10:32
you guys have come up with? We had a client left financial sector that was showing their financial performance of various funds, yep, daily. And those would update dynamically. And that sort of functionality had to be custom built because it was pulling data from multiple sources, and then displaying a really cool looking graphs and charts. And then that was embedded in within WordPress within just a window actually was an iframe. But we were able to make it so that page still format and resized on mobile devices really nicely as well. Gotcha. With that custom software developer on that. And then we've done some other work to build bridges between programs. So we've got the website and there's a bunch of data in the website. So we're like, say, locations for a bunch of schools or something. But they have a separate database where they manage all those school information. Yeah. bridge that was built to populate the school locations and information from that database into WordPress. Gotcha. That's very good things can be done with WordPress, whereas with Wix and Squarespace, forget about it.

Jake Van Buschbach 11:29
Now as Shopify as robust and comprehensive as that as well, or is it really Shopify?

Kevin McLeod 11:35
We're big fans, and they're Canadian company, and I love them. Yeah, they've all really good supporting us and our clients. We like Shopify. for clients who have e commerce websites that are like run of the mill functionality. Yeah, you can you can go a little bit further with it. But when you start to get into the area of customization of products, and or you want to give users the ability To pick all sorts of shapes and sizes and features, and it just, it might be a little bit easier to do that within WooCommerce within WordPress versus within Shopify. And so the development cost is lower. And the ability to manage it for the client is easier with WordPress. If Shopify is even able to do it at all,

Jake Van Buschbach 12:18
that makes sense. So yeah, Shopify is kind of in that one and a half to two tier WordPress is the two to three tier. And then you have Wix and Squarespace kind of squabbling over the entry level stuff.

Kevin McLeod 12:29
Yeah. And then you've got like monster platforms like Magento, which are any e commerce website in the world are huge. Yeah. That you know, you don't use a sledge hammer to hammer at a finishing nail. So

Jake Van Buschbach 12:40
yeah, of course. And that's one of the reasons why I've always liked working with you. And then anytime that we have clients need web development stuff, I always make sure to refer them to you because you're going to be honest with people like you said, you kind of do the same thing that I do, which is we talk ourselves out of work a lot. And we just say look, you know, this isn't a good fit right now. I'm going to give you the tools you need at the time. Go ahead and get yourself set up, you're going to grow your business. I'm here to answer any questions you have, if you ever need anything and give me a show, and you know, I'll touch base with you in a year or two. And then if you're ready to work with us, that's great. And if not, then that's awesome to see you're developing anyways. So I really like the boys had that attitude. So just wanted to point out is build trust transfers hundred percent. And again, with all of these experts out there, and a lot of these people that claim to be web designers and web developers, and they're the expert, and they're dirt cheap and these kind of things. I've gotten nothing but burn from that kind of stuff. So again, it always does really, really pay off in my experience to do it once do it well, and work with someone like yourself who takes the entire picture into consideration when they're designing a solution for people's websites. And I feel the same way about you. So with the website security stuff. How do you recommend people usually get started with that? So let's say that I've either got an existing website Like my own, and it runs on WordPress, and we're going to get that revamped. Or if I'm actually going to start a brand new website from scratch, what do you usually recommend people do in either of those situations?

Kevin McLeod 14:11
The security question, I hope, in most people's minds is independent of the website development project question. Purity tends to relate to risk. And risk is an ongoing thing. It's not something you just do, set, build and forget. So we audit existing websites that have been neglected. We audit websites have been newly built, launched. And we sometimes work with existing suppliers and existing relationships, to help make sure that the product they're producing is going to achieve a certain standard for our client, and we share that client relationship. So when you do it doesn't matter. You just have to understand that your risk profile may be differently in other businesses, Joseph Campbell, a sole proprietor who just has a grocery website may not care if they're website gets hacked or goes offline for a day or two, it's not going to cause a much briefer headache. So their risk profiles fairly low. Versus say, someone in a regulated industry like law, finance or something like that, or a bigger brand or corporation whose website is essentially being hit by thousands of people a day, if it had a problem at 58, a big brand issue, reputation issue, but also loss of sales revenue. Yeah. profile for those clients is much higher. And so those are the clients that we tend to have conversations with just around. Okay, when was the last time you had your website on it for security? And have you asked these questions of your web person like about firewalls, backups? Have you scan your website for malware and viruses? All these simple things that people just take for granted consumer happening may or may not be?

Jake Van Buschbach 15:51
Yeah. And what's some of the fallout that you've noticed when people do neglect their websites and they just kind of forget about them and lay them by the wayside.

Kevin McLeod 16:00
Yeah. So

the first thing that people need to understand is the reason why websites get hacked. Like what? What's the motivation for a hacker? Typically, the kiddie hackers are just trying to cause trouble. They're just trying to see if they can do something bad, just mess around. And then there's another group of hackers that are legitimately trying to find some way to generate something, some game for them. And the gains that they want are, Hey, can I steal traffic from this website? put links on the website and essentially steal domain authority. So I've increased the rankings of my website. Can I put something reject something into the website, Leslie steal information, this trend that's moving through the website, or number four is can I take this website offline and hold it for ransom? Gotcha. over other ones, but those are the four main ones that we see. And the one that we see most commonly with WordPress, it's just they found a hole and they can inject something into the site like some unauthorized content. A bank or something that just, you don't even know it's there, it's hidden. And it's just stealing traffic or stealing domain authority. And it could be there for a long time. And that's okay. Like, it's just those little hidden ones hide in the background and help their whatever their website is doing selling something in Russia. Who knows? Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 17:19
And what's the most common of those for the youth, they usually usually run into?

Kevin McLeod 17:24
Yeah, the injection of a link or injection of some authorized content goes off, or is the most common one, usually, because there's an old plugin in WordPress that's been deprecated or just neglected and not updated. Yeah. And as a whole, and they could do something with that to inject some content, or link into the website.

Jake Van Buschbach 17:44
That makes sense. Now, when it comes to domain security, I have this kind of as an overlap between it and web development. So domain security essentially means for the people that aren't overly technical listening, that the site or the vendor that hosts the platform For you to build a website off of so if you buy a domain that could be umbrella it services.ca, that domain hosts an index of information that directs traffic. So if I want to send an email to Jake at umbrella, it services.ca, it's going to go look at the vendor GoDaddy, or whoever it is. And it's gonna say, okay, the email record here says, I've got to send an email to this address, and it'll direct it over using these records. So do you guys work to secure domains for people as well as the actual WordPress instance itself? A

Kevin McLeod 18:33
little bit, and then we this is where we tend to kind of overlap a little bit with it. Exactly. Yeah. And that's why we like to work with with, you know, companies like you where we can understand each other and, okay, who's gonna host the DNS and who's gonna make these changes to what records? Yeah, we try our very best to only handle the web stuff. So the cnam record for the website, which I'm getting a little technical here, but that's really the only thing we want to touch. Yeah. And we let the it supplier or internal IT person or people team handle the rest. Yeah. Wherever we get a little blurry as we sometimes want to host the DNS in a very specific place. We like using a CDN like CloudFlare to host the DNS, because we can then do all sorts of fun things within CloudFlare. With their firewall, their caching their compression, to help speed up and secure the website. And the base product of CloudFlare is free. So provides incredible value at zero price point. And they're an amazing company that has, you know, data centers all around the world. So yeah, if a business outside of say the lower mainland, you want your website to look quickly, and say South America, we use CloudFlare for that to make sure the websites cached on a server in South America. Yeah, look quickly from there. I'm not trying to pull from a local server here.

Jake Van Buschbach 19:56
Yeah, it's again, it's great that you partner with free vendors. Make sure that, like you said, doesn't matter where your clients are, they're going to be able to look at what you're doing. Look at your website, they're going to see what you're offering, what services they're doing. And your company is partnered with companies like CloudFlare. And you're able to use free solutions for people that don't compromise on security or speed. And it makes sure that when people are trying to reach your website, they're always going to reach your website. That's good to know. Um, so do you have an example of a WordPress site that you think that it has? absolutely nailed it? Like, do you have a site usually three to four people in the I would point to wordfence, because they provide one of the best firewall products in the industry for WordPress. Yeah. And obviously because they are a security conscious company that produces a plugin that we use their websites rock so it's so if you want to check out a site that's just brilliant in terms of security wordfence Yeah. See a lot of pages though, is the if they're not nothing is clearly the the industry leading sites in terms of user experience. Yeah, right. But they're incredibly serious security conscious. Gotcha. So you mentioned a couple of things are so you mentioned the firewall through word fine. So I've actually not had a lot of experience with WordPress based firewalls. So I'm kind of curious to learn about that tool. And if there's any other tools, that you guys kind of take into account for WordPress that people might not know exist. And then they can make sure that they have a checklist that they can bring to their web developers just to make sure that everything is up to snuff. What other tools do you recommend people use this as like a fundamental thing I know you've mentioned backups, firewalls, and having just general updates. Is there anything else?

Kevin McLeod 21:41
Lots. So wordfence is a great firewall, but it's on your server. So we use wordfence as well as CloudFlare. Yeah, you know, different configurations for both and best practices. backups are really important, but the backup should be backed up off of your server. So we have a product that allows us to store the backups. AWS Amazon. And that way, they're completely separate. So if the server and the whole hosting company blows up, we've got the backups over here for say, yeah, the five minute refund the whole time to live. So the DNS updates really quickly at CloudFlare. We could move that anywhere else and get the site live in real time.

Jake Van Buschbach 22:16
Yeah, that that ties into our three to one backup policies. Well, again, there's so much overlap that happens between the it and the web stuff. So I'm glad to hear you're following. But

Kevin McLeod 22:27
you made a good point, though, because, like, I don't know much about the firewalls that you guys manage younger people in terms of really kind of, like different trades. Yes. So you know, I would consider web designers to be more like a painter person, the drywallers of the homes. Yeah. Like the plumbers and the electricians. Right. Yeah, I agree. If we, you know, you all different trades, same house. And so some of the other tools that we use include things like uptime robot, so we can see if there's downtime for a site and we've got our sensitivity set to Think it's two minutes. Yep. We can do it shorter. But if we do it shorter, we just get blasted with alerts. So yeah, if it's offline for more than two minutes, we get alerted and our team can take action. There's also some really cool tools that have been pointed to that will do free penetration tests if you want to get really crazy. And those just hit your website over the course of like, six hours, and I recommend doing it at night when you're upgrading. Yep. And find every single possible hole that could be there and your website and give you a whole report.

Jake Van Buschbach 23:30
Yeah. Do you want to give people a quick summary of what a penetration tester is? I know you gave a brief description. Okay, so totally.

Kevin McLeod 23:37
So a penetration test is basically just this program that hits your website, and there's other applications that hit other other areas of it, but it just hits your website with every single possible vulnerability. It's just like trying to find a hole. Yeah, it hammers your site constantly for like, three to six hours.

Jake Van Buschbach 23:55
Yeah. So if your website's a bucket, it's basically pouring water. And with all of the Known ways that websites can be hacked. And it says, Hey, we found a leak, I found another leak, we found another leak.

Kevin McLeod 24:07
And it's very burdensome on the resources on the server. Of course, if we do that we do that night. But it's, you know, I don't commonly do them. But it is something that's cool for people who are working at higher risk sort of companies.

Jake Van Buschbach 24:22
Yeah. So you guys don't only maintain and manage the websites, you're monitoring them. You're actually having responsive teams there. Yeah. That's fantastic.

Kevin McLeod 24:32
We don't want to get that call for clients that that says our site's been down for three hours. Yeah, we be alert that said, the site's been down for like two minutes. We're taking action responding and letting the client know, hey, we resolve this thing. Just so you know. Don't worry, it's dealt with. Yeah, way better. Yeah. The one thing thing that I always talk about is like DDoS attacks. So I don't know some of the hold swallow. Some companies are not great in terms of their plans, like the $3 $5 web hosts. Yeah. You know, it's it's, you know, it's not a lot of resources if the analogy would be. I like an apartment building in a city like Tokyo or Singapore, very small sparse footage on a very big tower. And you could have one noisy neighbor that's sucking up all the resources on that server and your site's gonna slow down. Yeah. Be very cognizant of a really good hosting and DDoS

Jake Van Buschbach 25:22
is denial of service Distributed Denial of Service again, for those who don't know, so it's buddy hours and distributed denial of service

Kevin McLeod 25:32
like that get by, like 20,000 visitors in one second.

Jake Van Buschbach 25:35
Exactly. The server's like, I can't handle that many requests and it just crashes. Yeah, exactly. So this this actually happened. Did you hear Did you hear about this, this topical news story with Facebook and t mobile and a number of these other companies that just got hit, I believe three days ago.

Kevin McLeod 25:55
There is one day going Forbes? Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 25:57
So yeah, yeah. So I think about the 80% of American infrastructure went down. So it was this crazy denial of service attack. So like Kevin just said, somebody hijacked dozens of hundreds of thousands of millions of computers somehow. And they targeted them all to go to Facebook, they target them all to go to T Mobile, they target to the mall to crash these computers that are hosting the services for these giant corporations. And what do you guys do usually to protect people? Because obviously, again, if Facebook is going down, no offense, but I don't think yardstick is going to be able to say that, you know, if Cisco is getting attacked, my Kobe's gonna be our

Kevin McLeod 26:38
best in class products like CloudFlare. Yes.

And if you've got things set up properly with CloudFlare, and again, the free plan only does so much so you may have to get a paid plan if you're really concerned about this. Yeah. You know, they are probably the best in the world at handling DDoS attacks is up other players mess with the CDN space. Yeah. But if you're not using a CDN and You don't have a firewall, you're at a high risk for those kinds of problems.

Jake Van Buschbach 27:05
That makes a lot of sense.

Kevin McLeod 27:06
But, again, taking risk in consideration the likelihood of a DDoS attack happening on a very small business website.

Jake Van Buschbach 27:16
Oh, but if it does happen, you guys have the infrastructure in place to recognize it, respond to it, and prevent it from happening lasting, or at least, you know, we can log into CloudFlare and go, I'm under attack. And then the CloudFlare does internally as a district shutting down access to the website from certain places, just blocking like tons of people.

Kevin McLeod 27:35
Yeah, that's gonna protect the website until the attack is over.

Jake Van Buschbach 27:39
And does it also do you guys have a system in place where let's say that there's an extended attack going on, or CloudFlare? were to have an outage? Do you guys have some sort of business continuity solution in place where you can go, there you go. We're now swapped over to our backup server, and you're going to run out with that temporarily.

Kevin McLeod 27:55
We're working on that one. Yeah. I mean, we'll talk to you about that because we're increasing Trying to figure out if we could have more than one web host set up and have a failover sort of server system. We don't have that presently. But we're we're researching it right now. Yeah.

Jake Van Buschbach 28:11
Yeah, I know. It's it's really brand new and the IT sector for servers, right. So it's hard for web,

Kevin McLeod 28:17
because the way DNS records work in

Jake Van Buschbach 28:19
exactly. Knowing. Yeah, so I was gonna say it's brand new for us. So I can imagine you guys are probably a year to two years behind in that sector, because there's two free ones, because there already has the capability to do it. Oh, really?

Kevin McLeod 28:34
popular does have it. It's on a paid plan. You have to have paid for it. It's based on bandwidth, I believe. And then you have to have your whole failover server set up. It's a little complicated. We're getting there. Huh.

Jake Van Buschbach 28:46
That's great. That's good to know. It's in the works. So stuff like that is, again, I've I think I've had to use it maybe once in the last five years. But when it's there, that's great. And then right and again, I think it's it's Kind of different as well, because, like with us, it's 65. But I guess it really depends on the website, because for us, it would be something like 65 100 people, they're not able to access their files, their computers aren't working, like that's devastating for a business. But if a website goes down for an hour, and like you said, It's Mr. Small entrepreneur who's doing his consulting company, and he's got five clients, it's not, it's not as urgent. But if you're a multi million dollar ecommerce

Kevin McLeod 29:29
company that's doing sales in multiple areas around the world, and or if they're in a regulated industry, or they're publicly traded.

Jake Van Buschbach 29:35
Yes. Yeah. Gotcha. Are there any regulations or standards that you put in place for publicly traded companies or these highly regulated ones?

Kevin McLeod 29:44
We don't have any publicly traded companies. clients. Yeah. You have a few clients are in regulated industries. We rely on their to their internal IT departments to dictate which standards they have to adhere to. Yep. The one that we most commonly bumped into is GDPR. Yep. Trying to do business in Europe. We try to steer clear clients that have, you know, sock one sock two sort of compliance issues, because they actually tend to have internal web departments, yes, as an internal web company. But otherwise, it's really just about them telling us what their standards are. Because we're sure there's not a lot of building who is regulations for web?

Jake Van Buschbach 30:24
That makes sense. So same thing as us. So do you guys have an auditing procedure that I know about? It's again, very similar to ours, it's kind of like the you set the electrician to the drywall. So when you're doing these audits, what are some really common mistakes that you see people kind of just make happen to be there? They're quite quite often quite frequent mistakes.

Kevin McLeod 30:44
And that reminds me that I hadn't answered your previous question of yours to hold on to in terms of best practices. Password strength. It's so silly man. But how many times do I see a login that's like admin is the username and they're like, Kids birthdays or something. It's just their password.

Jake Van Buschbach 31:02
Yeah, I've seen password as the password many too many times. He is crazy.

Kevin McLeod 31:08
Yeah. And anyone out there who's listening like, That's not good. You know what the overlapping is? Because it's like it is laughable when you use those kind of logins because there are literally lists of logins most common logins that hackers know about and they just go through them and get your website looking for Yeah, and plus this login admin plus this login Yeah, and when they want a brute force attack is when they're doing that they're just testing logins, as many as they can. Yeah, that's one that I hate. And when I see that I really have to educate the clients a little bit Yeah, do factor authentication is huge. And you can actually set it up for the admin login for WordPress should be two FA now as well. Yeah. Was any other system in your your business that is vital to your business? To FA is huge. And then we use LastPass. I'm sure you have some other solutions as well for password storage and sharing. Yeah, who is LastPass And currently, the Our own luggage is shared with our team. So all of our technicians working on any project or website, only see.dot.dot.or star star star with a logging in. Yeah, so last exposure is minimized as much as possible.

Jake Van Buschbach 32:12
And I really like LastPass because they were one of the first companies to begin salting and hashing their passwords. So what that means for folks at home is, normally when you have a database like LastPass, where it's a list of websites, a list of usernames, and a list of passwords, you think about it like an Excel sheet, where you have those three columns with all the different rows. And what LastPass did was not only did they jumble them up using encryption, and the way I usually explain encryption is those old serial toys that you get where it's like a CD in a circle, and then 12345 and a circle and you can rotate them along and then B is two and three is C, but they do that hundreds of times over and each instance that they do have the encryption is unique. So if you crash The code for one of those encryption keys, you don't have the key to all of the other instances of encryption. So LastPass has done a fantastic job of securing stuff like that, like you mentioned, the employees that are accessing their websites, they don't get to see their passwords. So we don't use LastPass. Internally, we have our own solution that we've custom created. But again, LastPass is a great solution, especially for people in your field there. So we've we're kind of touching on some tools here. So what other tools do you use yourself? What do you recommend people use themselves?

Kevin McLeod 33:34
Interesting. Let me go through my little list here.

Jake Van Buschbach 33:36
I know you probably got a whole list like I do.

Kevin McLeod 33:41
Most of our tools are tactical tools. We have some auditing tools for us that aren't gonna be insightful, but I'm gonna give you the name of a couple. If someone wants to scan their website. Just I wonder if my website secure. What can I do? There's two that are really good that I use all the time. The first one is up guard. Up GU ar d r.com. They have a free website security scan. And maybe afterwards I'll post a link somewhere for everyone to see.

Jake Van Buschbach 34:08
Yeah, I'll put that in the description down below. I don't know what's

Kevin McLeod 34:11
gonna have no relationship with them. But I just love that it's free. And it just clicks get my free score and they give you a number, which is kind of gives you a benchmark about how secure your website is. Yeah. And then the other one that I use from time to time is security su c u ri. I checked security dotnet. And that one does a nice little scan that tells you if you're using the latest version of Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, latest version of WordPress, do you have a firewall? Yeah, is your monitor just kind of basic things. And this is gonna, at the very least provide the layman with some ideas about what they should ask their web developer. So it's like a checklist. It basically tells

Jake Van Buschbach 34:53
them hey, what you're missing updates. Are they missing a firewall? You're missing this stuff,

Kevin McLeod 34:58
right. The only downside Inside of these tools as they can only scan what they see publicly being very rudimentary scans. So if you really want to find out more information, it's like kind of like getting a home inspection before you buy a house, you can only see so much by looking at the outside of the house, when you give the inspector the keys to the house. And they go in, they look around and look inside everything put down in the crawlspace look up in the attic, then you get a really good idea. Okay, what kind of problems does this house have? And so that's what you need to do. If you really want to get an idea of how secure your website is. And we do that for clients. We'll go give us the keys to that house for a couple hours. We'll go look around and we'll give you a whole affordable we'll be fine.

Jake Van Buschbach 35:36
Yeah, yeah, we do the same thing. We do the audit, we do the assessment. We've we call it something a little bit friendlier the discovery meeting but nobody seems to like the term of audit anymore. But it's so important being discovery. Yeah, it's great because it's your because like you said you do have to go digging through the dumps and going through the plumbing and you have to look at everything right because Because that a lot of these companies, unfortunately, they trust people that have either gotten lazy or they're gotten overwhelmed, or they've got another agenda going on. And it's not most of the time is no fault of the IT guy we're taking over from or the vendor that we're working with. They're simply too busy. Or they're just uninformed. Because as you and I both know, again, our teams are the ones that are keeping up to date with all this stuff, because I do my best to keep up to date with as much stuff as possible. But I only have so many hours in the day. And if I need to keep up with cloud services, and networks and servers, and workstations and hardware and CPUs, and Wi Fi, and all these other factors that go into a business, I'm not going to be able to do any work because I'm going to be glued to my screen learning all day. So that's why I've now kind of come to the conclusion that I have some vendors that are contractors that I like to work with as part of our team. But when it comes to doing some real work, like getting a website done for somebody, I just defer to experts with firms like yourself, because you've got Have an experienced track record, you got a great team of people that can do the job. And honestly, it's not worth the hassle anymore, to not work with a team of people. Because when I talk to a team, you'll go, Oh, you know, I didn't know about this, this outage that half of the DDoS attack, and then half your team goes, we heard about that. We tried telling Kevin about it, but he was busy learning something else. And that's how things go in my office, as people are always just constantly saying, hey, Microsoft is coming out with a new piece of software, you should do a video on it, or, Hey, did you know that there's a new update to our PSA tool or, oh, the monitoring software we use is getting a big update and it becomes unmanageable. So what I would like to do for people then is to take the tools that you mentioned, I'll throw them in the description down below. They can kind of give themselves a free checkup on their site. And if they're interested in getting something a little bit more in depth done, they can reach out to you. Again in the link in the description. We'll have your contact info. Do you have any influencers or market leaders that you usually recommend? to people. So I know we're staring heavily into the security side

Kevin McLeod 38:04
now. But you know, what I've noticed about security people is the ones that are really good. Yeah. Like, not show their faces too much. Yes. Right. So I tend to read the blogs of the best security companies. Mm hmm. And I think that teams, so team members within those companies are contributing content to those blogs is outstanding. And so again, wordfence, wordfence, security, there might be a few other ones that I could pull up and share with you after but their blogs are incredible. And they are the ones that are more forensic right. about getting the lines of code within plugins, and finding the holes and announcing to the world. And, you know, the the there was one recently, like, maybe three, four weeks ago about the WooCommerce. scraping, I think it was Yeah. And that was a big issue, and I think it was, don't quote me on this for security. Defense have found that Before today, and the reason why that's a big issue is because it's a plugin that's used for e commerce for, you know you, every single WordPress website does e commerce probably uses WooCommerce. Yeah, so yeah, so those sorts of companies and their blogs are the best ones.

Jake Van Buschbach 39:16
Gotcha. Yeah, I'll definitely grab a list of those companies and list those tools. We'll throw them in the description. Now I have one that I actually use fairly often. I probably check her blog once every two weeks. You've probably heard of her actually Taylor Swift. So there's a person online, I don't know who they are. But they call it swift security. And they have a large number of tips online that are actually fantastic. So I've already developed our own system the way that you have and it's actually again come into where I've realized I've actually actually accidentally created an audit system here we have a checklist of best practices and maybe one day that will turn into a secondary company as well but reviewing the swift security website, which is Apparently read by Taylor Swift. They have a ton of great tips on basic computer security. And I think they actually have a couple of really basic website ones. So we'll double check that out and see if it's good. But if people find the security stuff boring, and you do kind of want it presented to you in a funny way, that swift security thing is just straight to the point very brief blogs. And they kind of break things down in a way where they'll explain things like if they say, oh, DNS does this, they'll explain that DNS is actually when you take the words Facebook calm, and you tie that to the string of numbers when you're actually visiting facebook.com the

Kevin McLeod 40:41
IP that is a good, good recommendation, because the ones that I read are like, technical. Yeah, please sleep technical.

Jake Van Buschbach 40:47
Yeah. So there's always the intermediaries right and but what I've noticed as well nowadays is people are kind of catching on to that they will have like web routes or malware bytes and these big firms will come out and say we call it as a zero day exploit that uses the SSL encryption blah, blah or what we found a zero day with us whenever. And they'll just have someone else write a blog about it. And it'll say, Well, you see, when you have, again, the serial code thing that I like to use as an example, and you'll find some Twitter guy who spends his days breaking all that down with 10,000 followers. So there's a lot of good people out there, I've noticed, but I'll definitely throw your recommendations down below there for folks.

Kevin McLeod 41:30
Sure. So you mentioned something that reminded me to say something about SSL. This is another tip for everyone who has a website. Go your website, just visit your URL, check it out and look at the browser if especially if you're using Chrome. Yeah. And if you look at the top left hand side of that browser window where it says about your website address, if it says, not secure for you guys to be over here, not secure, right there. That means your website's not encrypted. And it's a very simple thing. You just type your website and it just shows up. It's not secure, right in Chrome.

Jake Van Buschbach 42:03
So what are the implications of not having a secure web?

Kevin McLeod 42:06
Yeah. So there's two big implications number one, but data that's moving from your server to you, is visible by third parties that they were intercept that data, they can actually see everything that's moving. So

Jake Van Buschbach 42:19
what kind of data would people be sending across

Kevin McLeod 42:22
the house? Oh, sure. You're just browsing the web. And it's just images and words. But if you actually submitted a form and said, Kevin MacLeod email address, phone number here, I want some information about this service. I've had a problem, blah, blah, blah. So that's kind of person. So submit, and that's getting set through the web, and could be intercepted by a third party. For anyone that's in a regulated industry or sensitive industry. That is vital. Yeah. The reason why encryption is important. It's actually a ranking factor for Google. websites that are encrypted with SSL get ranked higher than those that aren't all things being equal. Yeah, it's a no brainer these days to get your site encrypted. And it's like turn key most lead post can do it. If they can't you're not in a good web post. Yeah. And then SSL certificates are some free ones. And even the better ones are like 520 bucks, not much.

Jake Van Buschbach 43:12
Yeah. And that that actually answers one of the questions I was going to ask you and kind of turns me in another direction. So the original question I was gonna ask you was, when you focus on security, do you sacrifice speed? And do you focus? Do you sacrifice stability, but after talking, you really right now I've realized that actually adding in these secure platforms, you're boosting performance, you're making sure you're gonna be faster, you're distributed all over the planet, you're gonna have more cash servers. So that answers that. So now my question would be, what tangible benefits can business owners see from using proper hosting? So we've already mentioned the faster loading speeds and this kind of stuff but for somebody like myself, if I were to go change my website right now, which is an absolute disaster, and work with somebody like yourself, What kind of benefits what i what i really experienced?

Kevin McLeod 44:03
It's the same thing is asking the question, what benefits you get from driving a well maintained car? Or even better, What benefits do you get from driving a well maintained helicopter, right. helicopters are designed to fall into the sky. Yeah, a bad web servers are essentially designed to crash.

Jake Van Buschbach 44:20
Yeah. Oh,

Kevin McLeod 44:23
a good web server will not only be maintained well in terms of the software and the hardware, so the physical stuff, but it's also the team that supports that are very responsive. And that put together is what makes a great web hosting company. That's huge. There's going to be a time no matter what, where you are going to need to call that web host up or get on the live chat at 3am. solve problem. Yeah. And if they're only taking email tickets and responding 48 hours later, not good enough.

Jake Van Buschbach 44:50
Also really quickly to touch on that. There's a VPN provider. So we recommend a lot of our clients they use the wrong private VPN, but for some residential clients, we do recommend They use a service like Private Internet access, we'll put a little link to the description in there for anyone who wants to check that out. But we recommend people use a VPN, which is you're creating a tunnel from your device to a secure server. And then it goes out to whatever you're doing. So if you want to go look at your Facebook, or you want to check your email, it's encrypting your data so that no one can see what you're doing. It checks out your Facebook or your email, and it brings it back. Now one of those providers, I believe it was Nord VPN, I could be wrong here. They had a vendor and an employee inside of their company that was running one of the databases they were using, they leak data. So they actually had a true winner. I heard about that. It was Nord. Okay. Yeah. So they had a tremendous amount of their clients data, just be completely exposed online. And again, like you mentioned, using a proper hosting company like CloudFlare really does mean that you're not going to be bitten mass by implications that, okay, I'm using a professional company. I'm using GoDaddy. I'm using Nord VPN, nothing bad can happen to me, it's still so important to make sure that you're using security as a comprehensive tool, not just that you don't want to use a Cheeto to lock your door, you want to make sure that you're using tools all over the place, multiple layers of security backups, etc. So that's interesting.

Kevin McLeod 46:21
I will defend or because I have used them for a while, but not bad. Yeah. There's no such thing as 100% security. So

Jake Van Buschbach 46:29
my issue with them, and my issue with them is they took too long they took I believe, six months to report it. Yeah, no. Yeah. Yeah. So like, like you mentioned, it's the vendor policies, right. That's why we always recommend Private Internet access to people is, I believe they were hacked about four years ago. And it was two days later, they were like this happened. We've dealt with it. It's been resolved. We have the same sort of issue. Whoever, right. Yeah, like you mentioned, it's cat and mouse. That's the truth. When it comes to Security, I made sure that all my clients understand that we're coming in to look at your house of cards to build our own house of cards. And I like to make sure that people understand it in that way. Because I've seen a lot of tech companies come in, myself included. Well, I've never done this, but I've seen a lot of tech companies come in, and they'll say, this is garbage. This is trash. Can you believe this? And I go, Well, from this guy's perspective, this is great. This he's doing everything he can with what he's been given. So you know, I'd rather focus on my solution instead of ragging on this issue, because give it a year, maybe I'm gonna have an oversight. Thankfully, nothing's happened yet, but maybe I'm gonna have an oversight one day where someone goes, Hey, you forgot to have double redundant backups. And you forgot to verify that one week that you got hacked. And then what am I going to do? You know, so yeah, I think it's important to think of security as a house of cards or a game of cat and mouse. And right. It's important to make sure you have experts on it like yourself and your team that can come up to you and say, Hey, No, we've been using this solution for three years. Unfortunately, they did a bit of an ethics slip, we're no longer comfortable using them, we found another vendor that are just as good. And we're going to use their solution for it from now on. If there's whatever the change is, you'll be able to overview those details with them.

Kevin McLeod 48:16
Back to your comment about VPN, because there's for people who don't know, there's a difference between SSL encryption and VPN, yes. Okay. The SSL encryption is the website doing its job to encrypt the information between the user and the website. But the VPN is the user doing their job to encrypt all the information that they're getting through the web and hide it. So both need to happen, right, you should be doing both. I'm not right now, because I didn't want to have some performance issues here. But you should be doing both. And then that way, you're you as a user are secure and your website secure.

Jake Van Buschbach 48:52
Absolutely. And again, that comes down to the comprehensive approach, right. You want to make sure you're using multiple layers. So you want to make sure your cloud service Whether that's CloudFlare, or GoDaddy or whoever is locked down and secure, you want to make sure your device is secure. You want to make sure your server is secure. You want to make sure your networks are secure. And again, that's why it's so important that companies like ours work together. So we're going to be able to give people total packages and make sure that they're safe on all aspects. Do you want to talk about the development side at all like just a little bit? Or do you want to do a little bit of a deep dive into it? We're about

Kevin McLeod 49:29
our trip outside my door. So we should probably add is for 22 here. So we should probably kind of slide into some sort of conclusion to this chat. Perfect.

Jake Van Buschbach 49:37
Sounds good. We're coming up on the 45 minute mark. That's great. Yeah, really quickly, then. Do you have anything that you would like to promote in the meantime?

Kevin McLeod 49:47
Well, if anyone has any, any issues with their website security, like if your world's on fire, just call me right now. Or insight, or we'll put our number in here somewhere. Word site comm is our website. Just call me I'm happy to help Oh, don't panic, right? The first thing you do, we can certainly help you. And then if you want to learn more like you're in a position where you're like, Okay, I want to assess my risk. And I want to make sure that we're doing our best to make sure this this asset website that we've invested in is not at risk, then yeah, we can certainly help you out. And we can start with a basic audit, or we can do a comprehensive audit, or we can get to just jump right into remediation, and clean things up for you know, anyone we're happy to talk to you about.

Jake Van Buschbach 50:27
That's awesome. Great. Thank you, Kevin. So I think that about does it for today's interview everybody. So I hope this gives everybody a good foundation to start upgrading their websites and making sure that you're secure. I hope this answered any basic questions people have about WordPress development and security and the kind of differences between the platforms that are out there. So please do make sure to check out Kevin's website, words and yardstick services. We've got the links to both of those in the description down below. And like you said, if your house is on fire, call him now. He'll help you out right away. Stay calm, there's a captain to the show. And if you could please leave a like on the video it really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this then please subscribe if you know someone that you think would like to be interviewed, and kind of provide some value for our community that seems to be growing fairly rapidly now, thank you all for the support. Please feel free to refer them to me at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca and if you have a suggestion for a topic you'd like to see covered, also, feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly. Please have a great day. And we'll see you all soon. Thank you. Thanks, Jake. No worries Kevin. Thanks for coming on.

Social Media Marketing Strategies for Businesses...

 

Jake Van Buschbach 0:00
on live, and we're live. So everybody, I hope you're having a great day today. My name is Jake from umbrella IT services. And today we're going to be talking about social media marketing with my good friend Gabby Decker, from GD commerce. So I know that social media is a crazy combination of art and science that can be a little bit overwhelming for most folks, especially if you don't have any previous experience working with these platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. But thankfully today, we do have an expert with us that can give us some insight on how to leverage these tools in a practical way. And Gabby is going to be here to provide us with some resources and tips so that we can get started in the right direction. Or we can optimize things if we're already working on our social media strategy. So thank you very much, Gabby for coming in today. How's your day going?

Gabby Dickert 0:47
Oh, just Gloria.

Unknown Speaker 0:48
That's good.

Unknown Speaker 0:50
So yeah, I have a couple of things that we wanted to kind of dive into but if you could give us a little bit of an introduction to yourself into GD commerce To get started, that would be great.

Gabby Dickert 0:59
Yeah. Absolutely. So I started using e commerce, arguably three years ago, it could be argued for two and a half, two and a half years ago. But I began my entire journey through Shopify. So that's kind of my first big job out of university, and university. I studied management, economics and finance. And I focused on project management as well. And so right after school, jumped into the tech world, and quickly got promoted to be an e commerce consultant for some of the largest brands on the platform. And, you know, I saw all of these people with all their successes. And of course, they had these massive teams behind them, but all the teams were doing the same things. So I felt like it wasn't necessarily, you know, rocket science. I felt like it was a formula that everyone was just implementing. And I thought, well, if it's just a formula, can't we take this to smaller businesses and that was, that was My focus, I wanted to start GDC so that we could help the little guy be able to have those things.

Unknown Speaker 2:05
Yeah, that's awesome. I do have a number of questions here for you. So just for people getting started, what kind of mindset? Or what kind of tips do you recommend people usually outline when they're getting started with their social media strategies?

Unknown Speaker 2:19
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think the mindset for any entrepreneur is gonna be very, you have to be very streamlined, right? You have to be really focusing on the objectives, what are you really trying to achieve? And then making strategic decisions so that you can focus on those objectives? Of course, overall mindset. You know, being able to motivate yourself and I think once you have those clear objectives, everything else kind of falls into place. Yeah. But also being really passionate about what you're doing a lot of people, you know, make decision but we

Unknown Speaker 2:55
are back now. So, as Gabby was just saying, the reason And why she got into it where she wanted to help small businesses leverage the big business technology she had experienced while working with Shopify with So, Jim, anything else you would want to expand on why you got into it and anything else people should know about your business before we move on?

Unknown Speaker 3:15
Um, yeah, no, I think that pretty much summarizes Why, why I got into it. And in terms of anything about my business, anything about GDC. Today, we've grown a lot in the past three years today, we work with varying businesses, so everyone from major corporations down to people who are just starting out, so whether you're selling something online, or just have a need for a checkout, or perhaps you don't even have any for checkout, but you just want a website. I still think Shopify is a really good platform. We build websites, we do online marketing. We also offer recruitment services as well. So that student commerce today, the the core of it is, of course, consulting. So we always want to let you know what we think that you should be doing. Because we just want to take whatever it is off of business owners. A lot of the time, what I hear from people is that, you know, they know that they have to get their marketing done, or they know they need any website, whatever, and they just don't want to think about it. So we work with people with varying level of that our input to then

Unknown Speaker 4:35
help them and be an extension of their business. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 4:38
that's great. We have a very similar mindset, an umbrella. Okay, so yeah, some of the topics that we're going to dive into quickly. Now we've got the introduction out of the way we'll just be how to get started with social media marketing. We're gonna be helping folks on refining their brand, what tools and resources that they can leverage and a number of other topics. So the very first thing that I do want to ask you is what would be your favorite aspects about the field of marketing in general, and then social media marketing. As a small business owner, myself, I'm very ignorant with this stuff. And I'm just starting to kind of put my toe into the water. We've been operating for about seven years now. And I've just operated off of word of mouth. That's been very good for my business. I'll go to networking groups. I'll have friends of friends refer things my existing clients will refer me clients, but I've never really tried to broadcast a message or refine my brand or focus on things like that I usually just focus on Okay, here's a problem. I know I can fix that problem. I know I can do it better than anyone else. And I'm going to talk to my local community about that. But I've never actually tried to do a big broadcast. So what would be your favorite aspect of social media marketing? And what do you think the biggest benefit is for businesses like mine, or larger, more established businesses or people that are just starting off?

Unknown Speaker 5:54
Right? So there's a lot there's a lot in that question. So my favorite thing about any online marketing or social media marketing is having the ability to speak one on one with your customer. And I feel very passionately about that, because it's very akin to my roots. So before I went to school, I'd haven't mentioned this yet, I actually worked in radio and television. And when you're doing that, you're also talking to one person. So you're at the end of the day, you're really building a relationship with whoever, whoever you're listening to. And so, ultimately, at the end of the day, social media marketing is just building a community of people that you're having a one on one relationship with, because often when you're having these conversations, and you're being authentic, and those interactions, people feel like they have a relationship with you, whether or not that's a two sided relationship, they feel like they know you in a certain way. And that extends to influencers and individuals as we're using our own accounts, but that also extends to your business. And so one thing I like to think about when we're looking at massive corporations is we still want to kind of relay the same things that we're relaying as a mom and pop shop when we're looking at social media. And that's that there's a human behind the brand. As soon as you add in that human element, that's why if you're looking at really successful Twitter accounts, for example, like Taco Bell and Wendy's, they have, they're very much there's a person behind that account. Everyone knows there's a person behind that that account. And we know the tone of voice for those accounts as well. And if you've ever interacted with them or seen means with from those accounts, you know what I'm talking about? Yeah. And so, while you really need to know who you're talking to, you want to you want to do the same type of thing, right? You want to showcase. Okay, here's the person Hear the human elements behind this business. And let me broadcast those out to the world, but in a way that's still in a one on one.

Unknown Speaker 8:11
It makes sense. So rather than go with the traditional, like TV and movie marketing and that kind of stuff and having the sterilized, as I said earlier broadcast messaging, you actually kind of want to go for a more humanized, vulnerable, legitimate kind of conversational tone versus that sterile corporate tone. And is that correct?

Unknown Speaker 8:33
Yeah, I mean, the the tone of voice that you're using really depends on the type of the type of business that you have. And, and ultimately, it comes down to who you're talking to. So

Unknown Speaker 8:43
how would you Sorry, go ahead. Sorry.

Unknown Speaker 8:47
Um, but at the end of the day, yes, at any any tone of voice that you're using still has to have an authentic human elements.

Unknown Speaker 8:55
Yeah, that makes sense. How would you recommend that people kind of get that community going like, what would be the best way to kind of create that engagement organically where, obviously, you have to start off broadcasting again, I've just started doing this YouTube stuff. And I've now got a bit of a feedback loop happening, which is really nice. But that's because I already had an established business. So I've had some friends reach out on LinkedIn, I'm going to be doing a video because of their suggestions and feedback. But then a lot of my clients are just saying, Hey, we want this, we want that we want this now that you're doing it in a digital format. So it makes it much easier for me that loop kind of started. But if you're someone who's a startup, or you're someone who is an established brand, and let's say your client base isn't an asset, necessarily on social media, how do you recommend that people kind of get that spark going so they can create their community, they can get the organic engagement going? What are some tips for folks just starting off with social media?

Unknown Speaker 9:51
Yeah, so the fact is, your audience is on social media. The question is, what platform are they on? Right? So the One of the first steps that you have to do is identify who your target audiences. And then the second step is making sure we're directing everything, every step after this every step after the first one, making sure that every decision you make is targeted toward those people. So one of my big philosophies is that I think it doesn't make sense for every person to be on every social media platform. And that's something I'll repeat again and again, and again, it just absolutely doesn't make any sense. People are wasting their time so that they can, you know, post on Instagram or read a post on Facebook every day, sometimes multiple times a day. And there, that's just not a very strategic way of trying to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish. So the first thing you have to do is identify where your target audiences so if you identify that that's, you know, YouTube and LinkedIn, that's one audience, some other people's audiences will be on Instagram and tik tok, and you see You just want to make sure that you're focusing on creating really valuable, really like, like content that is serving your audience so that they're receiving something for following No. And I think a lot of the times people will, you know, start a social media account and they'll say, sell, sell, sell, this is what I do. Well, what and, okay, that's a great way to start. Yeah, you really want to continuously serve your audience. And in terms of actually bringing people on, I think, number one is to serve that great content, content that helps you, you're on your target audience. And then the second part, and this is the most important part is you really have, arguably, you really have to engage with folks who are in your community on that platform. So the biggest mistake I see people make is they go on and they say, Okay, well, here's my really great content. I'm serving Getting this to you, you need to now accept it. It's just like, okay, but there's also an entire other part of any social media platform out there. And that's engagement. Yeah. And without engagement, you're not going to be able to do anything. So that means commenting real, authentic comments on other people's depends on where you are on other people's videos on other people's LinkedIn pages, sharing really, you know, great blog posts, or sharing something that you see and saying, Okay, well, this might be able to still serve my audience or Yeah, engaging in the comments is going to be the best thing no matter what platform you're on. If you're engaging in those comments, and you're following people who, you know, either have a complimentary business to yours, or people who have a similar audience whether or not their business is complimentary. Yours. Those are, those are the best ways to actually grow your audience and get your content in front of more people. Gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 13:07
Okay, so it sounds to me like, like someone like myself, like I'm in a very good position there. And I have a cousin doing mortgage brokering now, and he's also very passion about what he's doing. But it sounds to me like, if you're passionate about your business, you're at a huge advantage over someone that's in it for the money, because you're gonna, you're I'm already doing that, like, I don't do that intentionally. But, for example, on LinkedIn, I saw someone shared a whole visual representation of how you can use internets inside of your business. So I know to 99% of people that's something that you would watch to fall asleep. And then for me, that's really exciting. So I shared it, I was commenting on it, but it wasn't because I was thinking about it as a corporate representative. It's because me as Jake the nerd is very interested in how you can further develop Internet's and provide visual representations and help people kind of digest that data so So essentially, then you would say have an organic message. Make sure you're talking about things that you're really interested in. Get involved in the community that already exists online. And then just be yourself and make sure that people understand that there's a human behind the screen. And it's not just a business trying to sell people stuff. Would you say that's a good summary for getting started and kind of how to approach this stuff?

Unknown Speaker 14:14
Absolutely. Yeah. And I think the the get involved aspect is that is the is the aspect that most people are overlooking. Gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 14:24
Cool. Okay, so you did mention earlier that you kind of already doing the traditional media thing. How did you make that transition? And have you noticed any benefits from working in traditional media and moving into the digital media space? Mm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 14:38
Um, yeah, it's a really interesting question, because very, very few people ever asked me that question. Um, so I mean, I left traditional media because I felt like I had I had gotten to a place within it where it wasn't going to fulfill What I was looking for long term. So I had had, you know, minor success. And the trajectory that I was looking at was just not fitting in the lifestyle that I wanted. So I ended up moving to Australia, coming back to Canada and then starting at university. But I continue to do marketing throughout my life and I never thought much about it. I just knew that. That's, that's the type of jobs that I was getting. And the way it served me is that at this point, I've been working in social media for 12 years. I've been working in marketing for 12 years. So whether that be, you know, copywriting or blog writing, managing different social media accounts, like I would I would used to manage the social media accounts for the radio stations, and things like that as well. And so So a lot of wild marketing, digital marketing changes constantly. I and I assume this is very similar for you as well, the industry is, is changing constantly. But there are a few things that are just foundational. And so you're just continuously building over time. And, of course, like, as I've worked in sales, and so I've pulled things from sales and I've pulled things from, obviously project management and all of these different things. So that now I'm able to provide a lot more context when I'm when I'm trying to build a strategy for social media, and I look at a much larger picture now than I would have when I first started and I think that many people do when they when they're starting working with social

Unknown Speaker 16:50
media now. Gotcha. Yeah, I think having Yeah, I think having a comprehensive outlook is really important. Coming from a trades background myself, it really taught Unto allied with it, it's a lot of people don't really think of it as a trade some people do nowadays. But yeah, having that background and the diversity and the ability to kind of see things does make a big difference for clients, what would be some of the biggest benefits that you've noticed for people that are successfully implementing your strategies and kind of going with the mindset that we discussed earlier? But what kind of benefits Can they see from their business? Is it going to be a 500%? ROI? Are people going to start recognizing their brand more like what kind of stuff can people expect if they were to implement this stuff for over, let's say a year?

Unknown Speaker 17:33
Yeah. So if you're working exclusively with a strategy that's just just pushing social media, and I, I would, I would say that's going to be really great for your brand. So people are going to be able to recognize you, depending on who you're targeting, but people in your community will recognize your brand. A lot of the times when people will use social media marketing For is to reinforce their sales process. And so in the sense that they will target people who they want to sell to, and then they will try to convert them, obviously, from social media, but if they're not able to do that, they can then reach out to them because they're technically warm leads. And they already know something about your business, they already identify you as the expert in your field. And so what that does is it makes the sales process when it comes time a lot simpler and a lot more of just top of mind, especially if it's if it's a field where, you know, people know they're going to need you but they might not need to read it away. And so that's maybe like yourself where people, maybe we have an IT guy, but there are two guys that grade and then you know, they want to keep an eye out so they're following our town. They're saying Okay, Jake really knows what he's talking about. Okay, my guy, you know, we had this problem last week, and then maybe two weeks down the road a month down the road, you're talking about that exact problem, but there are other IT guy wasn't able to solve or had difficulty with. So when people are seeing that it really aids in your sales process, maybe that person will reach out to you. But maybe you'll target them through pets. And then one day, they'll just be like, you know what, I really do know that this guy knows what he's talking about. Yeah. And maybe you'll reach out to them, maybe you'll see them at an event. Social media really works best when it's an integration of a much larger marketing strategy and strategy. I very rarely recommend social media being your only marketing, but I also know for like very new brands, often social media is your only marketing strategy. And I think when you're first starting, that's fair because obviously marketing costs money. And technically social media is free. But it's free in the sense that it's a trade of your time for for something.

Unknown Speaker 20:08
Yeah, maybe maybe we can have you on next time to discuss like a more in depth comprehensive strategy and kind of how that one section of social media marketing ties into everything else. So yeah, again, it sounds like if you are involved in your community and you're generating value for people, and you're breaking down concepts and you are adding value to the conversation, people will kind of tell you what it is that they're interested in. Like, again, for example, I had somebody say, I need to know something about backups for small businesses. I need to know how to make sure my computers don't slow down. What's the best way for us to purchase new equipment? Do we really need to be spending $10,000 on a firewall? I've had a ton of questions since I've done just the security seminar and the Microsoft seminar and people saying they want to transition from Google to Microsoft because of all the features. So all I did really was put up A little bit of knowledge that I had into the community into a video and I'm very happy that people took the time to watch that three hour video or just skip to the parts they were interested in. But, again, I think it all kind of ties back in that feedback loop. So it sounds to me again, like if if people are going to be generating legitimately valuable content, people will tell them, I'm interested in this. This is what my business needs, this is what I need, this is what my friends are interested in, etc. And then it kind of sells itself like all you really need to do is not focus on the selling and focus on just giving people the opportunity to hear what you're saying. And then if they are looking to purchase that they will naturally and organically trust you already and that conversation will be a naturally occurring thing. Is that also correct?

Unknown Speaker 21:47
Yes, buck. So my big buck here is that you still need to make it easy for the person once they make the decision to know more. So what that looks like It is, for example, if you have, like any About Us page, but I'll use an Instagram page as an example. A lot of the times, a big mistake that businesses will make is, you know, they'll put their bio saying, or their bio will be simple but doesn't really explain what they do. Get somebody going on will have to scroll through their feeds to kind of assess what someone does. The biggest thing that you need is if somebody goes to your health page or somebody clicks a link in your bio, they need to know what you do. Yeah. And they're not even going to click the link until they know what to do or what you do. So if we're looking at an Instagram page, for example, we'll want to make sure that you utilize the highlights, for example, yeah, let them know what your services are. We'll show them some testimonials of other people who are using your service and really enjoy it. You know, let them know about some of your different offerings so that they can make the decision for themselves. Oh, this is what Jake from umbrella it does, I had no idea, okay, so this can help my business. And you really have to you have to use those tools on social media to hold someone's hand and guide them to take the action that you want, so that you are able to convert the folks that are interested in converting directly from social media just to make that easy for them.

Unknown Speaker 23:33
Do you have an example of any like using Instagram as an example again? Do you have any examples of brands or businesses that have done a good job that people can go look at? Because again, like imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Is there a page or something like that, that you recommend that you've seen that has done a good job leveraging Instagram and the highlights and the bio and just you look at it, you're like, well done instead of getting PTSD looking at a page, like my Instagram page, for example, which is not so bad.

Unknown Speaker 24:02
So, the problem with BIOS is that they update a lot. Um, so I okay, so I just took a look to see if it was still up. But there's this guy, Casey Neistat, he's on YouTube. And it's not like that right now so people can't go take a look. But Casey Neistat, for a while had one of the best BIOS I've ever like I've ever seen because it was so easy. He said, it was something along the lines of like, I make videos on YouTube. And watch, watch it or watch this one. And then there was like two arrows, and it had the link to his latest video. And it's just like, it's quick. He you understand what he does. And like, that was it. It was clean. It was simple. And it was very like I assume it was very effective. Somebody like Casey Neistat, I mean, the other thing is that they have the swipe up feature. Because as soon as you have 10,000 followers on Instagram in particular, you'll be able to tell people to swipe up and then you can put a link directly in your stories. But, yeah, I can't think of any other examples on the spot of people who have really great BIOS, but like the formula is still the same, like it's highlights potentially frequently asked questions and testimonials. So testimonials, provide social proof. And services, obviously, tell people what you're doing and frequently asked questions, answer any quick questions that people might have immediately off the top of their head. Cool. Okay, that's good

Unknown Speaker 25:39
to know. Speaking of companies like mine that don't do a very good job with with Instagram, what are some common mistakes that you see people making, when they're getting started with this stuff? Or just as they've been running the show for half a decade and they're still making the same mistakes? What are some really common mistakes you see people making that have a bigger impact than they think? Am I

Unknown Speaker 26:01
okay? Um, so a big one is inconsistency is so and this kind of comes from the ethos of I need to post everywhere all the time, people will create a lot of social media accounts and they won't necessarily do anything but those social media accounts. And maybe they do for a month, and then it's trails off. And the best thing that you can do is be consistent. So if you commit to posting three times a week on Facebook, post three times a week on Facebook, you can pre schedule all that content so that you have a month's worth of content, three months worth of content, which is what I personally like to do. But make sure it's consistent. If you feel like you have a lot of time. Don't, don't post three times a day, post three times a month, but do it for the next six months. You know what I mean? And then if you want to change things out, because of course, when you're posting that far in advance You might lose tone, you might lose, you know, as we saw yesterday with the Instagram blackout, for example. And if you had just scheduled a post, if you had just scheduled a post for yesterday, you would want to have gone on gone in and made sure that the post example and and you do want to make sure that you have your your thumb on the pulse of your finger on the pulse of whatever is going on on social media so that you're not coming on off tone deaf. But going in and making those little changes takes a lot less work than going in every single day and coming up with, you know, a caption and a photo and whatever else to be able to do the post. So consistency is a big issue. And consistency is a big issue, but also not knowing who you're talking to. And as I mentioned at the very beginning, like you first identify who your audience is, and then you consistently talk to them. And so that's A big thing that you want to make sure that you're always talking to your audience, you don't want to just be talking to everybody. Because if you're talking to everybody, you're talking to no one. Yeah. So you really want to target those audiences specifically. And if you have multiple audiences, that's fine. You just want to make sure that you're talking to the right people in the right platform. Make sense? Mm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 28:25
Okay. Um, so essentially, make sure you have clear messaging, and then know who you're talking to, and just stay consistent. That's even if you're posting once a week, then you're posting once a week, it's better than not posting it all.

Unknown Speaker 28:36
And you know what, like, posting once a week, it's still significant. It's not like a lot of people are just like, Oh, well, if you only post once a week, it's just like, Okay, well, that's what that person has capacity for. Yeah, you know, and don't have, you know, the ability to hire someone to do your social media. And that's what you have. You have one full week but still benefits you through. The algorithm, as long as it's consistent, you do every Friday at 9am, maybe nine to 1902. Fine. You post at the same time every week, that's still great for the algorithm. They know that that you're reliable person, they know that you're engaged. And so I would say that the consistency is just number one. Gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 29:21
So to two things really quickly, you mentioned posting on a schedule, you can pre schedule all this stuff. So I kind of want to ask you about what kind of tools you recommend people use, whether that's software resources, whatever. But you did just mention the algorithm. Can you kind of break that down for people and what that means in terms of Google, or Instagram?

Unknown Speaker 29:42
Yeah, I mean, I could, that's a lot. That's a big question. Essentially, all the algorithms are a little bit different depending on what they're looking for, depending on what they're trying to optimize. Across the board. You can make a few questions on every single algorithm. So number one, you need to engage You need to engage in their community.

Unknown Speaker 30:02
So what is what does the algorithm do? Exactly? That's what I want to make sure everyone's on the same page. Oh, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 30:07
absolutely. So the algorithm kind of identifies whether or not your content is content that they want to push. At the end of the day, their goal is to keep viewers on the platform or users on the platform for as long as possible. So we want to be taking steps that help them achieve their objective. And that's if that's how you always think about it. You don't necessarily need to worry about all the algorithm change store. You know, like this minor change because at the end of the day, if you're doing the things that they need you to do, which are you know, posting valuable content, creating valuable content that keeps people engaged. If you are engaging with other creators on the platform, And if you are, you know, being authentic in that and not trying to use any faults or anything like that, you're trying to do that yourself, then you're working toward it, you have a common goal, and you know that the algorithm will work in your favor. Gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 31:20
Yeah, cuz my understanding of what an algorithm is, is you have a company, like you said, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, whatever. And their goal, as you mentioned, is to get people hooked on their systems, and they want you looking at it all day. And they will make smart suggestions to you by using these algorithms. So if you're watching a sports video on YouTube, it's going to suggest a sports video next, and then it's going to suggest another sports video and then it might suggest a commentator as part of that video, and it'll just go on forward. So the way I understand that is it has a priority list of content that it pre ranks to deliver to different people based on their behavior on the platform and you as a creator can create content that will satisfy that algorithm and it will suggest your content to people that would not see it before. Is that is that correct? Is that a nice condensed version of it?

Unknown Speaker 32:11
I think that's a very well condensed version. I think if you need to see an example of it, all you need to do is be on tech talk for two weeks before Tech Talk serves you content. I don't even know if it takes two weeks. But before Tech Talk serves you content that you think is literally designed for you gotcha. So think about it. You can also think about in use of like your your use of Spotify or something like that. Where it then provides you with Weekly Roundup sir, yeah, whatever I

Unknown Speaker 32:45
was gonna say Amazon as well would be another good example of that where people are talking to people about whatever and W or their cat toys or something like that. And then all of a sudden, the next two weeks all you got is cat toy deals and this kind of stuff, so Okay. We broke that down. So yeah, back to the immediate question. What kind of tools do you think people can use in their toolkit? So you already mentioned doing things like scheduling posts and being able to post in multiple platforms at once. What What tools do you guys use? What can we use? What what are some things that every small business should have in their toolkit? Moving forward, because I know like, for myself, I've heard of Hootsuite. I don't know if that's the right one I've heard of buffer, I think is the other one. And I know for me, my iPad that I use for the marketing stuff, it's just got a row of icons, and it's just twitter, facebook, facebook, pages manager, Google My Business and like a couple of other things. Are there apps we can use that will do everything for us? Is there analytic tools we can use? Like, what kind of stuff do you usually recommend is like a small business starter kit for social media?

Unknown Speaker 33:53
Yeah, so when I'm talking about a small business starter kit, I actually want to recommend the absence of a lot of tools. So what I find is that when people are first getting involved in social media, they're like, Okay, I need to download this, I need to download this, I need to do all these things. And at the end of the day, there may be three things that you need. So number one, a content Scheduler. And my content scheduler may or may not post what your content is, but it's a way for you to organize what content is coming up. So whether that be a content calendar, Hootsuite, there's another one called leader that I really like, or even just using the platforms themselves. So for example, if you're scheduling Facebook content, you can do that right from within Facebook, and pre schedule it out for the next month or so however long you want.

Unknown Speaker 34:51
So

Unknown Speaker 34:53
you can always just schedule it from directly within the app as well. And so but yeah, scheduling content is going to be a lifesaver, because you need to be able to do that. Number two is the acknowledgement that analytics exist. And so in order for you to get a business profile, you have to have 100 followers first on story on Instagram. And so my first thing is if you don't have a business profile on Instagram or creator profile that's necessary exclusively for analytics, because you need to know who's following you know, you need to know, who are you talking to, and if your followers aren't necessarily the people who you want them to be. And what you can do is you can actually check out your discovery page or your discover page on Instagram, and see what types of content are showing up there. And that's the kind of content that kind of shows you who Instagram thinks you are. So you want to make sure that the content that's showing up on your discovery page. And thus the content that you're interacting with is content that your target market would want to interact with. Gotcha. So the more drill down that you can be with that content that you're interacting with, and that you're sharing, whether that be through the hashtags that you're using the locations that you're using different things like the people that you're tagging, you want to make sure that that discover page reflects the people that you're looking for. Okay. And then the third thing is, if you want to be more advanced in your analytics, which is going to be the most important part, you want to use UTM parameters and UTM parameters, essentially allow you to provide more information on what someone clicked on, to get to your website. So that's a that's a longer term conversion thing. But I would I would do them in that order.

Unknown Speaker 37:03
So what is UTM? stand for? And what is the UTM parameter? Because I actually don't even know. I think it's

Unknown Speaker 37:09
urgent tracking module model version.

Unknown Speaker 37:16
So it's like it's like a Google crawler basically where it's something that find something online, and it's a cookie tracer. So if someone goes to a website, if they click on a link, if they search something up, then it's gonna say this person looked at NASCAR, you probably want to gonna send them some stuff about Budweiser, like is it that kind of stuff,

Unknown Speaker 37:35
it's all kind of that stuff. So essentially, what it does is it it's you have to provide your own context for it. So what you do is you would add a link and it has to be a link to your website. And then you give whatever information you want. So whether that be the source, the medium any, any information, about what you're putting that link on. So for example, often what I'll do is if we'll have different links for you know, people coming from newsletters, people coming from Instagram, Facebook, but you can, especially with Facebook, you could really drill it down to this is the exact post that this person is clicking on yes or no. Okay, this provided with a conversion. So anytime you're doing any sort of selling anything like that, if you add those UTM parameters that have to be created, and then you would identify that information from within Google Analytics and if you go to that level of detail that'll help you with the conversion part

Unknown Speaker 38:46
of the day everybody wants

Unknown Speaker 38:47
Yeah, so basically tells you like the person that went to this website came from Instagram.

Unknown Speaker 38:53
Yeah, and you can drill it down even further. You can depending on you could give you could give it a week. You could give it depending on the link, you can, you can drill it down even to the link in the if you have link tree or some some sort of program that lets you put in different links. Yeah, you can drill it down to which link they actually got from Instagram as well. So what is what provides you with a lot of data?

Unknown Speaker 39:20
So you mentioned that we want to have a post scheduler and you said that Facebook pages would just let you do that does Instagram let you do that?

Unknown Speaker 39:28
Not from within Instagram, but that's when we would use something like later

Unknown Speaker 39:32
later, okay, so later would be liquidation for scheduling.

Unknown Speaker 39:36
You could use Hootsuite as well on Hootsuite I just find it's better for agencies or people. We're dealing with a lot of different account of a lot of different accounts, and if you are any later as well, but I just find that Hootsuite has a level of it. It's a little bit more complicated than I think it needs to be whereas later is pretty straightforward.

Unknown Speaker 39:59
Okay, so if we Use later for the post scheduling. And then Google Analytics and Facebook analytics. Is there any other kind of platform you'd recommend for the analytics?

Unknown Speaker 40:09
No, I think Google Analytics is my personal personal favorite mixed with whatever analytics that you get from the hosting platform as well. So from, from Instagram from Facebook, what I would say is start with that there's always a way to take it up a level and always get more analytics. But if you're using Google Analytics, and Facebook or Instagram, you have the basics you need to be able to start making data driven decisions.

Unknown Speaker 40:37
Gotcha. Okay, perfect. Cool, what kind of platforms would you recommend people get started with them? So like, I know myself, I went with Instagram and LinkedIn. And then I just use Facebook as a signal booster, but I know that I already have a lot of very valuable conversations with people on LinkedIn. They're in my sector, and I know that Instagram is just I'm already addicted. And it's really easy for me to kind of promote the ideas that I'm trying to talk about. And the big thing for me is being able to visually represent the concepts related to it. Because, again, if if someone starts talking about different encryption methods and how to secure your business and stuff like that, it gets very long winded. And it's very difficult to keep track of things. So I'm trying to get a visual format for that going on. So I decided to go with Instagram. I don't think there's a lot of lawyers and my target market on Instagram, per se, looking at that stuff. But I do like the idea of people being able to see my business, go and do a little bit of research on it before they do a purchase with us, and having Instagram be one of the top tier things and they see all these visual representations of what we're doing. So I'm going to start focusing on that. But yeah, do you do you think that there's any specific platform like a benefit to doing that or does that just kind of tie back into what you talked about earlier, where you have to identify where your target market is, and then you just kind of counts on those platforms accordingly.

Unknown Speaker 42:02
Yes, yeah. So I would say, you could make an argument for your specific business for Pinterest, if your end goal was to focus on people outside of Vancouver as well, for whatever reason, so if you if you started doing, you know, a digital, like more digital services, yeah, where you don't have to necessarily be in person. I think you could make a really good argument for Pinterest for you in particular. Yeah. And that's because you talked about the visual elements, things like that. But yeah, at the end of the day, it comes down to every specific business, who your target market is who you're trying to focus on. And, and yeah, it includes things like okay, well, we need to tell this story with visual elements. Or maybe our story requires more video elements that are both limits, but also it limits what platforms should be focusing on. But also like, at the end of the day, if it's if it's video elements, I mean, across all the platforms, you're gonna want to use some video elements if possible. So it both limits it but also provides you more opportunity. So what I would say is, first identify who your target market is, and then learn about those different, you know, platforms and in which one your business should be on. And that's something that we talked about in our social media training as well.

Unknown Speaker 43:32
Gotcha. Yeah, the social media training is great. I want to get into that just in a bit here. So what will be the example of a business that's kind of nailed the concepts that you're talking about, whether that be on Shopify, or Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn, whatever. What would you say is a good example and I already mentioned Wendy's. Maybe you could dive into how they've done such a good job with their social media. And then what will be an example of a company that kind of went the other way They use social media and it actually ended up hurting their business, or their social media page hasn't gotten much traction, even though they're a multi billion dollar corporation. Or maybe it's just a small business that kind of made the wrong statement at the wrong time. Like you mentioned earlier, given the situation with the blackout yesterday, I don't think anyone really wants to have like, Wells Fargo giving them a bunch of advertisements right now and you know, this kind of stuff. So yeah, what would be an example of a business that's done a very good job? And then can you explain why you think they've done a good job, and then will be an example of a business that's kind of dropped the ball and the consequences of that?

Unknown Speaker 44:37
Yeah, to businesses, to businesses come to mind. And I think, I think what the business that I really enjoy their social media presence on Instagram, for example, is Best Buy. And I know that that's kind of weird because Best Buy But they have really great integrations and I just pulled it up.

Unknown Speaker 45:04
Now you have

Unknown Speaker 45:06
a baby, they're been using a lot of video. And they do some really fun animations with their

Unknown Speaker 45:19
time content that they're creating

Unknown Speaker 45:22
is just incredible. And it's not, it's not boring content. Like, at the end of the day, what they're selling is, you know, equipment for home, whether that be like computer equipment or kitchen equipment, you know, TVs, appliances, like, it's very hard to make that accessible and exciting. Odds are really good job of that to the point where they have hundreds of thousands of followers and as Best Buy, I don't like it blows my mind because I've been following them for about three years now, actually. So just to watch So you see how it's progressed. It's been really cool.

Unknown Speaker 46:03
Yeah, I'm just scrolling through their page right now this is like, very, very one this that is really consistent. Like you mentioned. Everything has like similar lighting. It looks like they're really focusing. I don't want to open anything because it's all igtv that I could see. Like you said, it's a lot of communication happening. And a lot of it looks like there's a lot of two way conversations happening here. I can see most of their posts have a lot of comments, lots of likes. And yeah, they're really focusing on the people behind the brand. And they're focusing on you know, there's phones and ivas there's there's a woman and her child so it looks to me like they're really really focusing on like you said, the people behind the brand, really consistent imagery. I'm gonna assume they're posting these every day. I can see a lot of the employees and then a lot of like, just the little tiny things that I can see they're trying to highlight. There's a Marvel page there's those little instant coffee things. businessman, a businesswoman, older guy I've been helped out by somebody, and then they're highlighting their employees. So that that is really cool actually, especially given like my industry and they have the headphones and the laptops belling out dad for Father's Day. Very cool. Because Yeah, it is it is difficult to make tech sexy. Like, I can't really go on and talk about like, all you know, the new Cisco VPN, they really good. You know, like, no one, no one gives a shit that we've switched over from like, pptp. You know what I mean? Like, it doesn't, doesn't resonate with people, people don't really care about that. But it is a lot easier to kind of be like, this is our employee, this is the things he's done, these are what we're going to try to do for you. These are the solutions we're going to bring in and the benefits you're gonna get from these. So when you're focusing on those communications, I'm gonna use my cousin again, as an example. But he's talking about like mortgage financing, you know, like you can I don't really understand. But like, how would you recommend somebody like that? Who's got kind of a dryer topic? How do you recommend that they represent themselves and kind of break down those ideas on these platforms to make education better

Unknown Speaker 48:00
Yeah, education. I think like, I think with mortgage in particular, there's so many things around it that people don't know anything, especially if he's targeting a younger, a younger demographic. There's just so much information that people don't know. And what's interesting to me is that especially around finance in general, people don't talk about it. And this is actually low key, something that I'm really interested in as well. But that's because I studied management, economics and finance. And it's so interesting to me to see that, you know, our generation people our age are functioning with so much debt, and they're not trying. It's not necessarily that they're not trying, but they're not able to put themselves in a much better scenario, financially. And I think, when you're looking at mortgages, mortgages tie so closely to finance so I think it whatever information that he can use to educate an audience, I would suggest that he works pretty closely and collaborates with, you know, a financial planner perhaps like an investment banker, perhaps different just talks about different types of investing in a why you would want to invest in a home and what the benefits are. Because I think there's also a lot of, you know, things going around about whether or not it makes sense to buy especially in Vancouver, I'm not sure if he's based in Vancouver, but you know, whether it makes sense to buy versus whether you want to just invest your money in the stock market and what because the way I see it is it's very much a trade off, right. So what value do you get from having from owning your home? And like what what does that Provide you does that provide you with a sense of security? does it provide you with a sense of accomplishment? And what is that worth to you? And so I think if someone if a mortgage broker in particular were to take it from an educational perspective and kind of showcase that, that sense of potentially belonging in a community, potentially, I think security would be a big one. Yeah. Those types of things and showing people who have bought their homes or bought a condo or whatever, showing the positive light not, then that would be beneficial for

Unknown Speaker 50:38
gotcha. So not even necessarily like, obviously, it would be important for him to give updates and break things down like he I saw one of his videos he was talking about the Bank of Canada did a change, and now it's 0.4 0.298, whatever. So that stuff is important, but also including things like how to get to the point where you can afford to buy a house and actually Starting to kind of target like it like, like you said, if he wants to go after a younger audience, he could take a more financial consultant slash advisory kind of thing. And then when people are ready to buy, they're like, I've been following this guy for a year and a half on Instagram, I don't really know anything about him. But I am now no longer buried in debt. I've gone from living off of $1,000 a month, like I did for a couple of years to get to be a little bit more financially stable. And I just did it through restrictive budgeting, but he might be able to say you don't have to live in poverty, you can actually start putting 50 bucks away every month, and that's your desk budget. And that's this and he can partner with financial advisors, kind of the way that you and I have partnered and brought in it to bring in social media marketing, and we're going to be bringing in Kevin to talk about WordPress, security and a bunch of other folks from all over the place. And I'm trying to kind of build this community. So it sounds like that's a good approach for him to take. Now, now, kind of

Unknown Speaker 51:55
with complementary businesses,

Unknown Speaker 51:56
yeah. Okay, that's that's really good to know.

Unknown Speaker 52:00
That's more on the service side, which I think we've covered a lot of looking at more of like the product side of things last, I think that would be pretty much the last question I have for you would be, actually two more questions. So looking at more of like the product side of thing, I have another friend of mine, she has an online t store with that kind of stuff where you're trying to promote products instead of services. Is there a big difference? Or is it the same kind of thing? There is?

Unknown Speaker 52:27
I think it's a significant difference, because what you're we're trying to accomplish with product based businesses is very different, right? With service based businesses, as I mentioned here, where you're working to, and you know, let people know about it. It's really a slow build the product based businesses, the transaction is a lot cleaner, right? So you're saying I have this to offer you, if you want to buy it? Yeah. So it's a lot more straightforward and it's actually kind of Interesting that we haven't talked to her product basis up until now. But I think also just with the nature of both of our businesses wants to go for service space. Yeah. So I think there are a few things that somebody who had a product based business can do the number one thing I would suggest, number one, hands down number one thing is to have an online store and connect that to your Facebook and Instagram. And that's because you want to make the checkout process as easy as possible. So somebody who's selling tea, obviously, you're gonna want to showcase the different benefits of the tea. But also, you do want to create a brand around that tea like what does it mean to drink your tea? Why am I drinking your tea instead of, you know, David's tea or tea or even just like orange Pico from the grocery store, you know what I mean? And so I think telling that story The brand and identifying the lifestyle of the person who drinks your tea and showcasing that lifestyle. It's it's more important to come from that perspective, when you're talking to your audience, then then necessarily showing you the business owner is because I think when you have a product, the product can speak for itself. But when you have a service based business, the business owner or the team behind the business is really the face of it, Josh, and I think when it when we kind of tie it back to Best Buy, they're able to showcase both human element. And to be fair, they've only started to implement the human element into the Best Buy feed in the past. Like I would say, probably it was in 2020 that they started to do that.

Unknown Speaker 54:57
Gotcha. So we got hired I

Unknown Speaker 55:02
had a bit of a shake up most likely. Okay, cool. Um, and do you have any influencers or market leaders that you would recommend people kind of follow? So I know obviously yourself GD commerce would be a good idea for people to follow just to get tips and this kind of thing. I know you guys put out a course recently, I'm about halfway through it. I've learned a lot through there. So I know that this interview is a much more casual, relaxed kind of thing. But you guys are hitting people hard with facts there and it's very, very valuable. So I would recommend people check that out. But just in case of like, like, I follow Gary Vee on Instagram. I've actually I've been turned, the more I listen to him, the more I get turned off of him, but I follow him. I know he's one person I really like. And then I just follow a bunch of other leaders in my space, like Cisco Meraki and other vendors and I follow other influencers who've kind of made they built an eight figure MSP a managed services provider, like my company, they've sold it, and then they just go on Instagram and either they're doing things like check Like one guy I know from Vancouver, he goes around in a Lamborghini and drives kids from St. Paul's hospital around which is awesome. But being able to just kind of see these leaders, like again, I mentioned earlier I learned best from watching. You know, I'm not the brightest guy so monkey see monkey do. And do you have any people you would recommend that people can follow for general things like marketing, social media, marketing, anything, anything like that? Either people or associations.

Unknown Speaker 56:27
It's so funny that you say the longer you watch Gary Vee, the more you get turned off by him and I it's funny because I agree but I think at the core of Gary Vee, he has the right messages. Yeah. But I agree. Yeah. But But I would say Gary Vee is one of them. There's another woman. Her name is Jenna Kutcher, in terms of watching someone build, build digital products and sell them whether that be courses or She mostly sells courses, but she also sells some other offerings as well. Jenna, I think from for myself has been very good because we do similar work. And there, there are a lot of people out there who are good at social media. And I think it just makes sense to follow whoever is good at social media in your industry, or who's good at social media. But maybe is this like is speaking to an audience who has the same demographic that you're targeting? Yeah, so for me, one of ours is the birds papaya, who just happens to be a girl from wealth. I'm originally from Guelph as well. So it's nice to kind of have that town connection. But other than that, she's been able to build an audience of over a million people. I think if you find any person Who was able to build an audience of over a million people, I would say even anything over 100,000 people, 300,000 people, those people are major influencers. And then the other thing that I want to mention is that when you're looking at people in your own industry, people who have 10 510 15 20,000 influencers can often be more impactful than those really large influencers. And so as businesses, as they're looking at people to collaborate with, or people to kind of copy, you want to look at people, not necessarily based on how many influence or how many followers they have, what type of engagement they're getting. And when you're finding somebody who is getting a lot of authentic engagement, they're getting a lot of comments. They're getting a lot of likes, and it looks like those comments are coming from people who are genuinely you know, responding to what that person has to say. Identify what they're doing, right. So a lot of a lot of social media is just seeing what other people are doing and then trying to, you know, mold it into something that feels authentic for you. And then putting that out there, whether that has a different voice, or it has a different tone, or it has a different message altogether.

Unknown Speaker 59:20
So we did actually just got a question from vada. Save here, one of our good friends of umbrella here, they're just asking any particular advice for b2b marketing on social media? And if I create content that is evergreen, should I post it to all of our social channels at the same time? Or is it better to stagger the content across the channels across several weeks? So yeah, do you have any particular advice for b2b marketing? And the answer to that question was staggering content. And thank you very much, Carlin for that question. I'm assuming that's you behind the keyboard. So thank you for tuning in.

Unknown Speaker 59:52
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for that question. It's great. Yeah, absolutely. b2b b2b content. I mean, you want to really Focus on, on making sure that you're on the platforms where the people who are making the decisions are. But you also want to make sure you're focusing on the platforms with the people who are likely to be the ones to reach out to you or who are going to be looking for the solutions. Because with b2b obviously, we all know this, you have, you often have two different people, right? You have the person whose job it is to find to and then the person who has to make the decision. And so you have to, you have, to a certain extent, have to target both of those people. First and foremost, you have to target the person who has to find you. But then the person who has to make the decision, if they've heard of you before that before the person who, whose job it was to find you, brings you to their attention. If they already know about you, they've already seen something from you. That's going to make their decision a lot easier. And so when it comes to sharing evergreen content, I mean, I love that you already have that information. I love that you already have knowledge but that's You need to be doing never post it on every platform at the same time. And that's kind of the quick and dirty answer. And I think, I think the best way to do this is taking different parts of that content and sharing it on different platforms. So it makes sense, right? Because if it's a blog post, you can fully share the entire blog post on LinkedIn. LinkedIn loves that. So for sure, go ahead, share the blog post, as a LinkedIn blog post killer, love that for you. But then when you're going to YouTube, for example, like you can't just share a blog post. And so if you're sharing anything on on YouTube, perhaps you're creating a little video with a little sound bite or something like that. Talking about the same concept, maybe it's a little vlog where you're talking directly to the camera. When you're translating that over to Facebook, perhaps you're sending a link to the blog. And then talking a little bit more about those, the most important parts of it. When it comes to Instagram, you're obviously going to need a graphic that that shows the title or maybe show some of the most important parts of it maybe showcases a quote from within and then more information down below Lincoln bio. But again, like if some be cognizant of the fact that the person who is following you might be following you on all those platforms. And we all know that nobody wants to see the same thing posted again and again and again. So yeah, I would say stay here that over a period of time. It's a really it's a, it's a really time sensitive blog. I know for example, when all of COVID happened, all of our clients wanted COVID blogs. We need to be updating our clients on what's happening right now. For sure. Those types of things. 100% across every platform, share it Yeah, because it needs to get out there. And that and that stands for something like, like, this is what we're doing today, like, we have this event, this is coming up shared across all your different platforms sharing a little bit of a different way. But when you're coming to just creating different content, you want to do in a very strategic way where you're thinking, Okay, we're going to share it on this platform today, maybe we'll share something else on Facebook, they won't share anything on Facebook, share about the exact same thing tomorrow on Facebook, so that if somebody didn't have a chance to read it on Instagram the first time, then they have a chance to read on Facebook, or may have a chance to read it on LinkedIn. Because a lot of the times the people who are following you are gonna be calling you on all together.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:38
That makes sense. Have you noticed a particular type of social media marketing or messaging has a bigger effect towards b2b than it does b2c? And can you also just really quickly I don't know what evergreen content is, what is evergreen content?

Unknown Speaker 1:03:53
evergreen content is just content that last forever got it. So it's something that doesn't necessarily Have an expiration date. So a lot of the times when you're looking at creating content that benefits, SEO, you'll create evergreen content. And then if you just take the day off the blog posts, so that if somebody down the road is looking, they're not like, Oh, this is from 2016. I gotcha. on the business side of things you're not like, Okay, well, in terms of 2016, but it's still relevant today.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:24
That makes sense. Okay, so yeah, so So in terms of content, specifically for b2b like, let's say I was going to design an Instagram page for a b2c business and a b2b business, what would be some big distinctions that you would notice on the b2b page versus the b2c page?

Unknown Speaker 1:04:44
There wouldn't be many on Instagram because at the end of

Unknown Speaker 1:04:49
any platform, I should say,

Unknown Speaker 1:04:52
Yeah, I feel

Unknown Speaker 1:04:57
I think I stand by that. Okay. Um, Because at the end of the day, you're still talking to one person. I think, what the what the content looks like wouldn't change too much other than the fact that you're obviously talking about very different things. What you want to keep in mind at any point, whether you're talking b2b or b2c, you're still talking to the person whose problem it solves. You know what I mean? So you're just saying, okay, here's how we're solving your problem.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:28
Yeah, here is how we're fulfilling an objective for you.

Unknown Speaker 1:05:31
So for Carlin, specifically, I know she's she's an engineering firm that's created some life saving technology that's able to see underwater and helps rescue teams, there's, they've done an absolutely fantastic job of that. So if their target market is going to be big unions that are part of life, say lifeguards, if they've got people doing search and rescue, like the police, those kind of stuff, what what kind of content for that b2b relationship where they want to see Or if it's easier for you, for a company like mine or a company like yours, what can we really do there? Because I know you mentioned targeting the person has to find you and then targeting the person that has to make the decision. But that can be very difficult for a company like mine where, okay, if I have to make content for, let's say, a law firm, or an engineering firm, then yeah, I want to go after something that's going to capture the hrs attention, or maybe the receptionist attention, or one of the lead engineers attention. And then I have to have that followed up with something that's gonna when the CEO looks at our page, he's not going to see like Wendy's content, or it's me shit talking a client or doing hot takes on a topic. So what kind of distinctions would you want to do there? I just want to kind of get a starting ground for a b2b page. Because I feel like we haven't quite dove into that stuff just yet. And then I think we're, we're all good.

Unknown Speaker 1:06:54
Yeah. Well, I think at the end of the day, like if if part of your audience doesn't want to see Wendy's content, you just don't post Wendy's content. Yeah. And I think ultimately, the content that brings in the person who's looking for you, the person who's looking for you doesn't find you on Instagram is the back. And the person who's looking for you is probably finding you on, you know, LinkedIn or Google when it comes to b2b. So like, I think the biggest the biggest differentiator is going to be what platforms you're on. Right? It's not, it's not going to be the content. It's gonna be the platforms.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:35
LinkedIn, really?

Unknown Speaker 1:07:37
Yeah, LinkedIn is a really great place. It really depends though, because what they're going to want to do in particular, is showcase photos or videos of the use. So we want to show them fit photos or videos of people.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:56
And I don't really understand what the technology is but underwater or

Unknown Speaker 1:07:59
is it It's a radar system that you can use underwater.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:02
Okay, so perhaps just using it, or I'm in a similar situation, right, like infographics that showcase the technology. But at the end of the day, most people don't really care about the technology to be honest with you. Most people care about what is the problem that it's solving? Yeah. So if you can showcase what the problem is, what the problem is that it's solving, that's, that's going to be your best thing. And if you can showcase people using it, that's even better. And if you can, you know, have social proof on there, saying, Okay, well, these people are backing us up kind of CO signing for the product.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:40
That's really great.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:43
Yeah, I mean, but the actual fundamentals are going to be the same whether it's b2b or b2c. It's just it's going to be the differentiating factors are going to be what platforms you're on. And obviously, you have a different product or different service. So Should the content that you're sharing?

Unknown Speaker 1:09:02
No, I think that really answers a lot of questions, especially for me like, because I learned that the hard way no one gives a crap about what I do. No one cares that I'm missing corruption and no one cares that I'm using this kind of backup and restore. They care that when the lights go out, people can get back to work, and it has a cover within five minutes. Instead of waiting two days, when they have a problem. They want to be able to call us and hear something either immediately, or be guaranteed within 15 minutes to hear back. They don't want to wait two days or a day like their competitors. So I've started to really highlight that in our assessments and these kind of things. It does make a big difference. So yeah,

Unknown Speaker 1:09:36
the big thing I'd say is if you're trying to if you're trying to break things down, because we get into a habit of knowing too much about what we do, right, we know the intricacies. So the big the big question I like to ask myself when I'm trying to break things down is like what does that right like, what does it mean that I do this? It doesn't matter if I'm I'm telling you all about this great strategy that we do. What does that mean for you? Yeah, And then in addition to that, if I'm trying to find out what does that mean for you? We like to ask, why seven times?

Unknown Speaker 1:10:07
Yeah, this

Unknown Speaker 1:10:08
is so you start with whatever, whatever you think you're achieving for the client. Yeah. And then you say, Well, why is that impactful? Why Why? Why seven times? And then by the time you hit seven, your answers probably there.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:21
Yeah, absolutely. I like to use the Socratic method before we implement any solutions. Like I don't want to be selling people snake oil. I don't want to be doing anything that's not actually valuable. And if you can't answer why, that many times what you're doing probably is not that valuable to be frank. I don't like speaking in absolute terms like that. But I do see a lot of people that just kind of act as if this is one of the reasons I'm not a big fan of Gary Vee anymore, is a lot of these people do just act as middlemen for Chinese trash that's just being mass produced. And they think that they're making a big difference in the world when in reality, they're one of 25,000 merchants selling the exact same masterpiece. Was garbage. And they're only in it to try to make $5,000 a month like this on a YouTube video. And, again, as soon as you peel back, why are you doing this to make money? Why? I don't know, then you're not doing the right thing. But in bodices case again, they did say thank you very much, especially for the specific deep dive on them. So thank you very much for the question. I appreciate it. And then hopefully we can create more valuable content for you in the future. But in their case, again, they're making life saving technology. They're employing a ton of great people to get that done. If even if they save one life with the with the different radar and sonar sensors that they're making, I'm probably butchering it, but that's fantastic. And what my business does, we've been able to empower a number of other businesses, 45 small businesses, hundreds of different firewall associations, people like Scotiabank, HBO we've worked with. So being able to look back at my last seven years and see that I've made a difference with those communities. That's what I'm all about. I have a lot of competitors and a lot of people in the space that end up getting exposed the They'll have a big presentation set up with thousands of people, they'll call in sick, and then they get shown on Instagram at a hockey game. After all these people have paid for things ahead of time they got their cash, they ran out the back door. So I think it is really important again, to kind of highlight if you are one of those people that's really passionate about what you do, make sure that you're highlighting that and showing people like, I got into this, because it's something that I can't not do. Like, I don't know what I would do if I got taken away from it stuff or being able to help educate people about things. And I always loved that kind of stuff. So I know a lot of other folks like yourself are fanatical about what we do. And it's really good to know that we can start to use social media as a tool to highlight that stuff. So I just want to say thank you very much for coming on today. Gabby means a lot. This is the first time I'm doing this. So hopefully, we don't have another technical glitch. So I do apologize to you about that. Is there anything that you would want to talk about are kind of remote I know you have the course that you're doing right now which again, I'm about Halfway through, I'm getting a tremendous amount of value out of it. I'm very excited to kind of get that finished up. I know I want to schedule a meeting with you as soon as that's done, just from what I've learned in there. And I really, really want to start taking this social media marketing and other marketing stuff very seriously. So, one, thank you for producing that, too. Thank you for coming on the show. And yeah, just let the people know if there's anything you want to talk about.

Unknown Speaker 1:13:29
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I just kind of want to echo that. I think that people if you're listening to this webinar, this interview, whatever it is, you might be in a place where you want to learn a little bit more about social media. And, again, we've been having this conversation in a very casual way and I'm very much about taking action. And so what I've done is I've created a social media training and I've actually done just because I'm a little bit lazy, and I don't want to keep training my employees on how to do social media. So This is exact training that I give my employees when they start working for me on how to manage social media. So after they do this training, they go in and they start working on client accounts. And so I'm really confident with the training that is, is in this or with the content that's in this training, and I just want to provide that to as many people as I can. So as of right now, it's almost two o'clock on Wednesday. If, if any of you are interested in you know, getting this training and taking action. What it is, is there's there's nine courses and then every course has a video, a written note module, and then an action based application exercise at the end, so that at the end of the nine modules, you'll have a month and a half to three months worth of content created for your business. So you'll have everything ready to go and go It'll take you through everything that we've talked about today. So everything from identifying who your target market is to identifying what platform is learning a little bit more about, you know, Google Analytics and then ultimately converting that audience. And it does talk for both service based businesses and product is a product based businesses. So I'm really happy with how this this training has turned out. And everybody who has tried it so far is just loving it. Just like yourself kick Yeah. And so if anyone here is interested in signing up, it's learn good commerce.com and up until Friday, I'll leave a special introductory pricing on it's only $99. And I'm also going to throw in an extra bonus if you do sign up before the end of day on Friday and that's going to be a 30 minute one on one with me. And I don't normally do this but I know if somebody is watching this, they probably are going to have a little bit of extra time. I usually like to do a little q&a section. So at the end of when you complete the training, I'm happy to hop on a call with you and answer any questions that you have. If you have any clarifying questions, it also gets you into the big commerce community on Facebook. So you can ask any questions in that group as well?

Unknown Speaker 1:16:21
Yeah, yeah, that's a really good point as well. In regards the the package of learn good commerce comm again, I just want to say that that is very, very viable and $99 I thought you were charging $999 when we first talked about it, and after I got a bit of a sneak peek at it from you, I would have paid that. So thank you, again, for making it so accessible for people who are either social media marketers right now, or they're people who own small business that are interested in it. It's super, super valuable. I recommend folks check it out. And as you mentioned, just now that I forgot about the good commerce group on Facebook, so I've been part of that for about a year. Now. I'm one of the lurkers. I don't post But it is again a community of other business owners and other people interested in learning about this kind of stuff. And I've seen some people post some things and met some people through there and it has been really valuable. So I would recommend people on Facebook, check out your good commerce page as well. Yeah, I think that pretty much does it. We're coming up on two o'clock here. So thank you again for coming on. I hope this video gives everybody a good foundation to start implementing their social media marketing strategies for their business. Please make sure to check out GD commerce umbrella IT services and Gabby's online social media course using the links in our description. So just down below here, you will see GD commerce, learn good commerce calm and Gd commerce.ca. So if you do want to get that half hour, sit down with Gabby and get her full course you can purchase it there. No affiliate links with us. She's just supporting Gabby and a small business of Vancouver. So again, thank you everyone for tuning in. I want to give a big thank you to vada safe for asking that question during the stream. And if anyone does have any questions or would like to see future interviewees or topics covered please let me know we're going to be doing an interview every Wednesday. I've got Kevin coming in from his company yardstick services to discuss WordPress development and WordPress security and website design for small businesses and nonprofits in two weeks, and I've got another Kevin coming in to talk about branding and messaging and marketing next Wednesday, so I'm very excited to have him on so if you could please leave a like on the video really helps us out. If you want to see more videos like this please subscribe. And if you have a suggestion for a future video, please leave a comment below or email us at Tech Tips at umbrella it services.ca Have a great day everybody and we will see you soon. Thank you again Gabby for coming on.

Unknown Speaker 1:18:46
So much. Bye