Zion Kim

 

Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Zion Kim, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Zion is the Founder of 1MT and has helped coach and worked with several hundred companies that grew from 6 to 7 figures or 7 to multiple 7 figures.

While his specialty is scaling service-based companies, he also currently advises several 7 figure SaaS and ecom companies.

He advises on productized services, lead gen, sales, operations/hiring, and systems.

Zion used to run a digital marketing agency working with companies ranging from $20M to a few billion in revenue so he knows a thing or two on scaling and processes.

Some of the companies he’s worked with are Dell, Lawn Doctor (2nd largest mortgage company behind TruGreen), Freedom Mortgage (top 10 mortgage company), Flat Rate (top moving company in NYC), ProSight Specialty (top specialty insurance company in the country), Keranique (2nd largest hair loss brand), Rutgers University, TFC (top real luxury real estate developer in NYC), Swanwick Sleep (#1 Blue Light Blocking brand), brain.fm, Scribe (#1 company that helps people write books), Aaron Ross (Author of Predictable Revenue and former director of sales at Salesforce that generated $100M+ in revenue, Oren Klaiff (Author of Pitch Anything).

If you have any questions about scaling business operations, please feel free to pick his brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s successes and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.

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Table of Contents

Do you have any advice on integrating and branding of an acquired companies web assets into the parent companies?

Ex. Company A is a national leader in AI and acquires company B which is a SaaS company in the niche (healthcare).

Any nuggets on best integrating the web assets of company B with that of A?

I had an answer written out and it got deleted lol…now I’m on my desktop!!

Ok so, first thing to consider is whether the two companies have aligned strategic objectives…

Basically, I’d start with Why did Company A buy Company B.

Next is what is the benefit to Company A being branded with Company B.

I’ll give you two examples…

Google owns Nest.

Amazon owns Twitch TV, but they also own whole foods.

Most folks don’t know about the Nest or Twitch acquisition for a while…

If you go to Twitch you still don’t know Amazon bought them.

However, more recently, Nest is now rebranded as Google Nest, since they saw it as their entry into the home automation world.

This really helped them get their foot in the door.

Now the whole foods acquisition was a WHOLE different beast (pun intended).

Amazon wanted two things:

1) Distribution

2) More Amazon Prime customers

You saw Amazon plastered all over whole foods as soon as it was purchased because the objectives were clear and extremely aligned.

In your example, what did company A do really well that helps ADD to the narrative of what company B will do even better for the customer.

Customers care about one thing — “Why does it matter to me?”

What benefit to customers get now?

If it can’t be articulated to them, I’d argue what’s the point of any integration.

Would like to learn more about productized services. Do you have any training on this?

I do yes…

I have an entire program that’s helped over a hundred companies in this department.

Basics of what you need to know:

1) Who do you want to serve.

2) What is the 6 figure problem…People will pay $5k or $10k for a $100k problem solved for them.

3) What is the ideal outcome when that problem is solved.

4) What is the process to solve said problem (name this!)

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5) What is the outcome or result this person is looking for when all said and done?

Based on the process, chunk it out into the 5 milestones they need to solve this problem.

From there, figure out what are the mini milestones between each bigger milestone.

For example…for lead gen..

1) avatar

2) lead magnet

3) application page

4) Traffic / Fb ads

5) sales

When you break this down it looks more like…

1) What do you want to do and why?

2) Who is the avatar

3) What is the problem they have?

4) What is the lead magnet you have here?

5) break up the page..

etc…

For a program:

Basically, that’s how you get 8-12 weeks, I do recommend no longer than 90 days for a CORE offer.

You want each week to have 2 things:

1) What is the skill you want to teach

2) What is the task you want them to do based on that

Tasks move things forward so people can get to the milestone so they can get to the outcome!

A great and FREE resource on this is Built to Sell!

For a service:

Check out www.scribewriting.com (I work with these guys)

They have ONE very clear deliverable and rules around this. No custom work.

One price point, for one person, with their process on how to do it, so they get a book out every time.

Another company I advise is www.influex.com

Same thing, set pricing, set deliverables, the very nature is custom but the process to arrive at the outcome is the same!

Hope this helps!

Which books you’d recommend for someone trying to scale. I’m at about 500k revenue and my issue is that I’ve scaled too quickly and now I can’t even add more clients. Hiring, (management and administration especially tough) thought process, keeping sane, people to follow, books to read, courses worth a damn.

Books:

1) Traction – gives you a nice foundation to work off of

2) Scaling up – once you get bigger

3) Rocket fuel – to understand partnerships (visionary + integrator)

4) Built to Sell – if you want to exit

5) Double Double & Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold

6) WHO – for Hiring great talent

7) Principles – if you wan to see intense systemization

People to follow…

1) Alex Charfen on growing past a million.

2) Austin G. Netzley is pretty good getting from $25k to $50k

3) Join my Facebook group Culture, Operations, Systems, & Hiring For Entrepreneurs where I talk about this stuff a lot, so honestly, me.

The rest depends on your goal, but to be honest, I haven’t seen many good courses on growth and scaling.

But just look at if they have a team or not, if not then run away since they’re just peddling info.

You’ll realize that limits to scale are quite psychological…

I read..

1) The Great Work of Your Life which is based on the Bhagavad Gita (I read both)

2) How to win friends and influence people

3) 7 habits of highly effective people

Otherwise, let me know what your challenges are and I’m here to help.

Ahh the one person I love following is Roland Fraiser!!! He writes dope content.”

Otherwise, masterminds like Baby Bathwater, Maverick 1000 have helped me a ton. I’ve met EPIC mentors there.

I should probably add that I’ve been to a few personal development workshops…

My favorite being https://thebridgemethod.org/ which was a GAMECHANGER for me.

It helped me really look at my own shit which is honestly what you need quite a bit of.

Do you have experience to help someone start out? Like 0 to 100 to 1000?

I had big names on there since that’s the sexy stuff.

I work with smaller companieI’ve spent the last 2 years mostly helping people get from $20-$30k a month (6 figures) to 7 figures

I have helped quite a few people go from 0 > 7 figures…

However, they always had a few unfair advantages..

There are different kinds of capital I like to leverage…

1) Relationships

2) Audiences

3) Skills

4) $$$

If they have one in excess, I will work with them if they start form 0.

What marketing efforts are companies in-housing and what are they outsourcing these days?

Honestly every company is different.

It usually comes from the top.

The leadership of the team has to decide – what is the core competency that we care about?

For example…Facebook does not outsource their innovation, it happens all inhouse.

However, they hire out branding agencies, ad agencies, etc since that is not their core competency.

The companies I worked with above all outsource SEO, paid traffic channels, page builds, website maintenance etc.

Honestly, I see a lot of larger service companies outsource since the leadership doesn’t know how to build and run a proper team from it.

They really have to weight the options here…

I work with smaller companies these days, and it usually doesn’t make sense to bring things inhouse.

UNLESS these folks teach it, it no longer is cost effective, they think they can do it better, etc…

Are you doing anything related to Amazon home services?

I’m not, but home services is a great industry to be in. Not going anywhere for a bit.

The best models I’ve seen in this market is lead gen + sales where you generate the lead, close the deal yourself, THEN hand off the deal for a margin..

Big business.

How would you define different stages of growth?

Stages for services businesses:

Level 1 – Just get good at what you do. Are you getting the actual outcome you promised for your customers.

Focus on sales and delivery of value.

This is how you get to your first 6 figures.

Level 2 – Figure out who you want to serve, the outcome, and get the process dialed in and get out of delivery, or at least have this streamlined as much as possible.

Stop trying to serve everyone and niche down.

Level 3 – Focus on lead gen. Predictable ways to get new leads.

Tough battle between 2 and 3 since it’s chicken or the egg since you need the leads to hire the people to get out of delivery.

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Level 4 – Get out of doing your own sales.

This is how you get to 7 figures. I’ve seen a lot of people do this without if they have a great delivery mechanism / productive day service.

Level 5 – Start tuning up the rest of your operations. At this point you should be out of delivery.

This is how you get to multiple 7 figures.

Level 6 – Get out of all critical functions of the business and have different owners for these functions. (Sales, Marketing, etc).

This is 8 figures and beyond.

Most important thing is making sure this is tied behind a vision of what the company stands for otherwise you won’t be able to attract the talent.

Level 7 – What are other products / markets / distribution channels.

If you have 1 acquisition channel your business has a lot of liability. Build fail safes into the business!

What trends are you seeing in digital marketing today?

1) People want to learn, but they want entertainment…those that combine both are winning the attention game.

2) People want to be seen and heard, automation will only get you so far.

The people that are winning are the ones that are starting conversations online, and taking them offline.

3) People don’t want to work with generalists…they want the specialist, the people who have niched down and had results in THEIR industry…

Would you rather go to a general doctor or a heart surgeon for a heart surgery?

4) People want to be spoken to…people want to know how things apply for THEIR situation…

Speaking directly your avatar and their pain and what is causing their problem is so important.

People can’t buy into a solution if they don’t have ownership over the problem causing them their pain.

Pain = I don’t have time…

Problems could be:

1) Your business model doesn’t allow you to hire

2) Your systems in your business are poor

3) Your self management and productivity are ineffective

3 different problems for the same pain people are feeling.

People want to know you understand them.

5) Trust is at an all time low…we’re in the rat race for attention..the things that don’t scale get you to a point where you can.

Relationship building takes time and there are no short cuts to it.

Even people selling the highest end products (services) still need to give a ton of value for a price they would have never thought giving it away for.

Info is commoditized. People are working harder than ever to gain trust.

6) People don’t want MORE information, they want CURATED information from people they can trust.

It’s better to have less information and more wins that people can actually attribute to you.

For subscriptions, it’s better to have 1-2 things that people will apply, then the 50 things they won’t.

People want to win, they don’t want to hoard information.

7) People are lonelier than ever and want community. People want value while being around like minded people.

8) If you’re not omni-channel, you’re not getting enough attention. Those who do not diversify channels will ultimately lose.

9) VIDEO VIDEO VIDEO. People like consuming video. This allows people to spend more time with you, but see #1. I’ve fallen behind on YT, but not for long!

10) The things that don’t change: If you can outspend your customer you will always win.

Your business models must reflect how you can double down on your acquisition strategy.

11) More than ever, you must think…are you something people can do without, or are you a nice to have? Product value will always help drive easier marketing.

12) – Invest in your personal brand. Recently, two billionaires said one of their best moves was investing in their personal brands.

Branson + Musk

There are 3 brands that matter in your company.

1) Personal Brand

2) Product Brand

3) Company Brand

There are people that know of Gary Vee, that have never heard of Vayner Media!

Human faces and voices build trust much much easier.

Personal brands and people will become the channels!

The best part, you can carry it with you wherever you go, no matter what it is that you do!

What’s one mistake you made as an entrepreneur that you regret?

Well, I like to say I don’t live with regrets, but this is sure as shit something I wish I could go back and undo.

But now I get to carry it with me as one of the most important lessons I learned.

2 parts to this.

1) Putting an individual in the company over the business.

Yes, people have shit going on, their lives might end if you fire them, but I put the needs of a few individuals over the business and that ultimate killed our cashflow.

The business HAS to be first, and the decisions MUST be made in the best interest of the business.

If the business goes down, then so does everyone else.

2) Avoiding hard conversations.

You get what you tolerate. When you don’t give people feedback, they will not get better.

Then when you want to fire them, they will see you as a shitty boss for essentially telling them they did a great job the whole time just for it to blow up in their face.

I did this, few more times then I want to admit.

When people are surprised when they get fired, it’s because I know I did a poor job giving them feedback.

I avoided a hard conversation, because I wanted good culture.

Part of good culture = high performance = RESULTS.

Don’t create a kumbaya circle in your company if you’re not producing results.

People MUST know where they stand.

There is nothing more joyful than everyone winning together.

How did you transform from a human to an alien?

I’ve just been at it for almost 10 years, and I started early

The problem is, most people that say they have 10 years of experience, really have 1 year of experience repeated 10 times.

Biggest personal development growth comes from literally feeling like your drowning, to picking your head up, to get to drowning again.

That might be a bit extreme, but the discomfort is where people truly grow. When you lean into it every single day, you can make magic happen!

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How does any business owner think when he wants to hire a Digital Marketing agency?

4 different types of business owners…

1) The one that does not have cash and wants the result.

2) The one that does have the cash and wants the result

3) The one that does not even know what result they want but they want to just try.

4) People who have historical performance vs those that do not <- very different

Each one is very different.

Honestly, most people know why they want to hire inhouse or why they do not. If they can’t make that decision then they need to understand the pros and cons.

The best clients are the ones that have already had historical performance, since you don’t need to sell them the opportunity, they just need it done better.

The ones that have never done digital are going thru massive culture change. Going digital changes the DNA of a company.

These folks are scared because everything seems like a cost and not an investment, up to you to help them reframe that.

People just need to know that you have a sound way of doing the math to show them what results they can expect – CONSERVATIVELY based on data, past results, your experience.

What is your favorite method of crafting/documenting processes for scaling teams and productizing services?

Google docs. spreadsheets, videos.

Keep it simple.

Basically if you hand someone the process, can they get to your desired outcome without asking you questions.

If you give it to 2 people, do they both arrive at the same result.

For productizing services.. I wrote answer above.

What’s your process like for scaling businesses? Have you ever turned down an offer for your services? If yes why?

Process for scaling businesses, see above.

I turn down offers every week.

1) Do I think they’re going to be a difficult client, otherwise charge the PITA tax (Pain in the Ass)

2) Do I think I will be successful for them?

3) Do they fit my criteria for ideal client?

4) Are they going to pay me what I’m worth?

5) Are they asking me to do something “custom” that is outside my wheelhouse…which also goes back to #2

When is the perfect time to launch a SAAS? Working on mine since September 2017, invested like 50K but didn’t start to commercialize it yet as I’m waiting to reach a certain level of quality and stability.. Is it the right thing to do?

ProductHunt is the big question, Should I list there early to get adopters even if the app may have some bugs or it’s better to be mature before listing there?

Your goal with a SaaS company is to get it in front of people as soon as possible to receive feedback. Creating in a vacuum is where companies go to die.

You want as much feedback, as quickly as possible to see what you’re building is on track.

The feedback only matters from people who pay you, people who don’t – well I care 100% less about their feedback since they are clearly not my customer.

Basically commercialize IMMEDIATELY as long as your software can provide some level of value to the end user (MVP!)

What’s the best way to gain traction for a new SAAS when you start from a ‘nobody’? What’s the best way for the first stage of growth?

When you want feedback ask for money. When you want money, ask for feedback.

Reach out to your ideal customer and say, hey I have a new software that solves X problem for you, do you have 15 min to give me some feedback on it?

Linkedin is a great place to start.

Sell it as soon as possible as well – feedback from people who don’t pay you is pretty useless

First stage is get customers through the door!

What is an ARR and/or users that an Angel Investor would be looking at for a mid to high 6 figure investment?

I think this depends less on ARR and more on what your valuation potential is.

People that invest want an exit event, so it typically is based on the value drivers of the biz.

I’ve seen companies at ALL revenue levels receive investment.

But it really depends on your narrative of the market you want to tackle and what the potential is for the company (for exit).

What services were you providing for that awesome list of logos?

– What’s up with the ROI Method. Scott said he sold that to you or something?

– Fave resource for operations besides your group?

All those were ppc and some web dev.

Scott and I share the license for ROI method but he’s doing more with it than I am right now.

I listed some resources above but I haven’t really read anything past what I mentioned.

Pumpkin plan is a good book too.

If you was to start again from zero what would you focus your time on in what order?

I would find an offer or someone’s service I really align with.

Tell them I will go generate some business.

Ask them what their typical referral rate, then ask them to double or triple it.

Then I would go sell it and get the money through the door.

That’s if I’m really starting from 0.

If you mean business wise.

Same thing, figure out what people want, then go sell it, then go create it.

At least in the first version I don’t have to worry about fulfilling it but I can make some money!

What’s the most effective way of getting the service out there?

Niche down on a specific job, come up with the process on helping people successfully find that job (even if means manual).

Get the wins, post up wins, help more people.

Repeat.

Look at your data to see what your most popular job postings are /// jobs people are already getting.

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