Today’s episode packs a double punch, starting with discussions about attracting more customers with effective digital marketing and culminating with tips for scaling your startup as it grows. Founder of Toronto-based Local SEO Search, John Vuong reminds us that no amount of website SEO and online advertising will matter if you forget about the fundamentals of running a business, knowing and serving your ideal customers well, and identifying and leveraging your unique selling proposition. Only then can he and his team effectively support your business with compelling websites, custom SEO campaigns, social media marketing, and written and video content outreach strategies. We also debate the merits of traditional vs digital advertising and the ultimate differentiating benefit of the latter – the ability to test a variety of messaging options and then pivot more quickly and inexpensively. With over 200 factors that go into website rankings, this is no task for amateurs. Your job as a business owner and expert is to “let people in” – i.e. speak to your target audience authentically via the channels they frequent.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Episode 55: The Power of Digital Marketing with SEO company Owner John Vuong

Hello leadershifters and welcome to another episode of the Leadershift Show with Shani. Today we welcome John Vuong, who is the founder of Local SEO Search based in Toronto, Canada. Say a quick hello and then I’ll say a little bit more about you.

John Vuong: Hi Shani. Thanks a lot for having me. I’m excited to be on your show and share some information with your audience members.

Shani: Excellent. Very happy to have you. If you’re tuning in, stay where you are if you’re interested in learning more about SEO and why it’s super important and critical to any marketing plan in this day and age, and becoming increasingly more so as every day rolls by. Or if you’re at the point where you want to get some tips about scaling your business because one of the interesting things about Local SEO Search is that John has grown it from just a few people when he started it up to 30 plus people now. While that may not sound like a lot of people, it’s like apples and oranges to run an organization with just a couple or few people and then scale it to a point where it’s 30 or more people.

You’ve to get that phase of transition right, culturally, operationally and everything in terms of leadership or else if you get even bigger than that, it’s going to be harder to go back and clean up. All right. Let’s get into it. Welcome from Toronto, our neighbor to the North. Tell us a little bit about your background because I know that you shifted from more traditional advertising into the digital space. When was that and why did you decide to do it? That’d be the first two questions.

John: Yes, definitely. I started this agency back in 2013. It’s been seven plus years, but prior to that, I studied in college. I finished my business finance degree. I didn’t want to study that and continue and pursue my career in that. I took any job when I finished school and it was really the sales roles that I got involved in. The first job and opportunity I had was in the advertising sales space. I did dabble in traditional media, as well as digital media from affiliate online to email marketing to where I stayed for five years, which was at Yellow Pages Group where I was selling ad space to business owners.

What I really enjoyed was the face to face real life business owners and the connection I had with these business owners that really made a big impact in the local community. That’s where I wanted to gravitate and focus the rest of my career in. At the end of my tenure at Yellow Pages, as you know, it was the phone directory where people would spend a lot of money in print media to dominate their local niche in the category.

Shani: It doesn’t get any more old school than the Yellow Pages and naming yourself like Quadruple A or whatever so that you alphabetize up at the top of your category.

John: Yes. Those were easy and cheap ways to get onto the top, but there’s the paid advertising portion, which is allowing you to promote yourself. Always take responsible for upselling, retaining my customers, people that were spending a lot of money, I was more the sales rep, right? Account manager. While I was there, there was a shift that was happening. Google was slowly taking off and more and more people were consuming and finding business owners no longer in a traditional medium. They were gravitating towards more digital, which is Google websites.

Business owners were wondering what was going on because they were spending more than ever, but they were getting less and less leads. They were getting less phone calls, less quality customers and they knew there were still people out there buying and consuming, but where were they going? That’s where I found out Google was it. I was spending more time in front of a computer doing research and it was a lot quicker. It was a lot easier. Those people moved and shifted quickly were able to dominate that presence online.

Even on Google, there were a lot of people that didn’t understand how Google operated. I really wanted to understand those differences, there’s paid ads, there’s social media advertising, there’s different types of mediums such as blogging, which is written, there’s audio such as podcasts, there’s video such as YouTube and then, of course, there’s images where you can find Instagram, Pinterest, et cetera.

Various forms of advertising but what’s the difference between advertising and traditional media versus Yellow Pages, which was more directive advertising and Yellow Pages being directive and SEO being Google directive, there’s a very good synergy as opposed to advertising which is traditionally flyers, newspaper, billboards, radio, television. These are all different forms of ad networks and mediums, but then digitally, it’s the same thing. There’s banner ads, there’s email marketing, there’s social media advertising, there’s YouTube ads, Google ads, there was this search, very similar.

What I tried to uncover was figure out what was Yellow Pages doing and now Google was doing the same thing. It was a really easy tie-in for me to transition and figure it out on how to pivot and run a business because there was a need and demand, I just had to fit that mode in which business owners wanted to pivot and shift their dollars. I didn’t know anything about SEO, but I had to figure it out. I knew there was a customer need and demand. I knew there was an opportunity there.

Shani: Yes. Great. Some of what you already described has answered one of the questions I was going to ask when you call yourself Local SEO Search, that actually is a pretty big umbrella of a lot of different services and you’ve already named a lot of them. SEO obviously stands for Search Engine Optimization and that’s obviously important so that you get found whether it’s organically or you go the paid route. Why is it important for any size business right now from a solo entrepreneur to a fortune 500 company to have their online social search strategies dialed in?

John: It’s more important than ever because more and more people are consuming information digitally on their smart phones, on their tablets, on their desktop, laptop. Internet speed is so quick now. Affordability of internet, as well as smartphones being more powerful than ever. Right now, technology has leapfrogged, expanded so quickly in the last five years. When I first started, we were still in P3 Pentium computers right now. There’s the Apples there are the Intels.

Blackberries were very popular. Now it’s all iPhones. Phones, the cameras were not that great back then, but now it’s like 10 ADP. It’s going to be 5G networks. Technology has really amplified and picked up. It’s more important than ever to not just have your digital presence taking care of– if you haven’t looked at building a really good website first off, you’re missing out on a huge potential of potential buyers that are now spending more time than ever navigating and searching and seeking business owners out.

Shani: What do you say to someone who says, I have a website up and it’s fine. It’s got some pictures, it’s got a contact form and I don’t really want to spend any money. I don’t want to hire someone to think about key words. What would you say to someone like that?

John: I’m going to take a step back. Before Google existed, how did these business owners survive for five, 10, 20 years even generations without internet, without computers? They took care of their customers. Reputation. They knew the value proposition. They knew the services, unique selling proposition. They really took care of their customers. Understanding their needs, desires and their wants.

Shani: Right.

John: Putting that together to provide them a service or a product that people want to pay, exchange money for. Traditionally, if you take care of your customers and understand that– it took years, maybe it took generations for business owners to really understand how to run an effective business. Which is the straightforward take care of your customers, generate some revenue, take care of your family, et cetera.

Today, with the speed of internet, speed of technology, everything is now amplified. People think it’s easier than ever but they forget about the foundation of what brought people to become a business owner in the first place. They forget that these people have been working for five, 10, 30 years even, generationally to get their reputation, the brand, their established vendors or suppliers to understand the process.

Today’s world with podcasting, YouTube, social media, everyone wants immediate. They see an ad saying, I can make $10,000 in a day. They click on it and they’re going to be sold something that is never going to be realistic. They’re selling a dream. It’s the same thing in terms of all these business owners, bricks and mortars, traditional business owners. It took years, decades, generations to really understand, refine and understand how to run an effective business. Now, you look at digital website design, building a really good solid brand. Do you think it’s going to take weeks, months or will it take five, 10, 20, 30 years? You got to give it time. It’s not as easy as everyone thinks.

Shani: Your point is that yes, you need to be online, you need to be optimized, you need to be thinking about what social platforms your audiences are visiting so that you can reach them, but don’t forget the basics. Product, price, place, promotion, the four Ps of marketing and just because you could spend all the money in the world to get on page one for your industry of a Google search, but if your product sucks or has a gazillion one-star reviews, like who cares?

John: It will not fix your business. I only work with people that understand how to run a business. Your campaign will not replace a business owner that doesn’t know how to run a good business. I only want to help people that want to digitalize and really amplify their message if they already understand how to run a good business, right? People forget about that. They think it’s the be all end all once they’re dominating search engines. Google understands it as well. They want to really only help people that actually know how to run a good business, which is amplify your message, become a thought leader, an expert or authoritative figure in your industry, in your domain.

Once you become that, because you took care of your customers, you understand your service value, unique selling proposition, all that other stuff, that’s where you get rewarded. Sound foundationally. Take care of your customers, understand that so that then digitally, you either do it yourself or you understand the content piece because there’s different forms of content, different mediums but really focus on quality, well researched depth, position yourself as an expert as opposed to just putting out information just because you think people need it. Focus more on really positioning yourself as an expert.

Shani: What would you say are the top ways, at least currently, because their algorithms change and there’s different things that they place importance on over time but currently, what are the top two or three ways for someone who either doesn’t have a limited time or a limited budget to do everything that will help get people bump them up in the search engine so that they’re if not on page one at least in the first few pages?

John: I’ll be honest with you. There’s not one or two because there’s only over 200 factors. I understand that people want hacks. They want to be known. They want to be ranking right away. Well, that’s not reality. That’s never going to be reality because running a business, if it was that easy, everyone would be running a business successfully. I will always say, take care of your customers, understand who your customers are, understand your product and service level and really tone down on who those ideal customers are of yours.

If you already have some paying customers, narrowed down to 10, 15, 20 of those, understand what they want, really speak to them and then really build a website based on who your ideal customers are and focus on creating content, values, speaking directly to them as opposed to speaking to yourself. Then you can then focus on refining your strategy in terms of SEO or digital footprint to really just focus on your ideal tribe.

Shani: I like what you said, speak to them and there’s two different points I want to discuss there. One is authenticity, right? That’s part of what appeals in social and digital is not just doing a video or writing an article that makes you sound like you have a stick stuck up your ass or content that is really not value added or authentic. That’s piece number one, is the authenticity. The other piece is actually the words speak. Do you think at this point video trumps written advertising strategies?

John: Speaking to them means how is your ideal customer consuming content? Don’t focus on hitting every single medium out there in every single social page and every channel and medium out there because you only have a limited budget especially if you’re a small, medium sized business owner. Where are you going to invest your time, hard earned dollar to produce the maximum return?

Are you good at writing? If not, hire someone to do it. Are you good at producing video? Is that how your customers are consuming content? If so, then produce really good high quality video. Is it audio, then speak to them. Understand who they are, understand what content and medium they’re using and then put that out there to hit more of your ideal tribe, especially if that’s how they consume content.

You’ve got to understand that and it’s very difficult to understand that if you’re just starting off. If you’re just starting off, you probably don’t understand how to run a good business yet. Therefore, you need to put in the time and fail quite a few times or lose some money or spend some money, and you’ll feel it. Once you start spending and not getting returns, you’ll really appreciate how much time and effort that hard earned money is worth. Until you put money in or put more time in it, it’s hard. People can say a lot of things but they’re not serious.

Shani: What would you say to a client who, let’s say you’re supporting and they’re providing you with some content that you’re going to run your magic on. The content isn’t that good and you don’t feel like they’re speaking authentically? What advice would you give them to shift the way they’re doing their messaging?

John: A lot of business owners don’t understand how to write good content and that’s no offense to them because they were not trained as going to school or they’ve been doing five, 10 years of professional writing, that’s a different trait altogether or producing good content an audio or video format. There’s experts, videographers, photographers and all that stuff. What I always tell people is personalize it as much as possible, let people in on more of your journey, let people in on what really matters to you and what really matters to the customer. People can see through you if you’re not being authentic and genuine.

It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to let people in on, I don’t know what I don’t know and that’s okay. Just be true to that. Own up to it. Don’t fake it. People can see through if you’re faking it. That’s why I would say, people who give me content, great. I would say, just focus heavily on personalization, being honest about it, everything else is about– we have a full team of experts that will just change some of the content writing styles to mode into what Google wants or their ideal customers want because they’re not trained for it.

That’s the whole key, whatever SEO team in-house or you hire, they have to be on the same page at the same level as yourself. They understand what your whole outcome is. What’s your core values? What your goals are and your mission. You have to be in alignment as much as they want to hire you, we vet them as much as they vet us.

Shani: That’s right. It’s funny when you said let them in. It reminds me, I was a guest on a fairly well-known person’s Facebook live. It was actually Facebook and Instagram live going at the same time off of two different devices. She was doing it out of her home office, of course, #COVID. While we were chatting having really intimate deep conversations about a few things, she’s got a couple of kids and they’re coming and going and they’re leaning into her live video, kissing her goodbye on the cheek. It was like you felt like you were in her living room with her. It was very cool.

John: It’s okay because people understand reality is you have children and it’s COVID and no one’s allowed out and schools close and it’s okay, right?

Shani: I get the sense that even after COVID, I think people just love that. They’re like oh, she’s not getting all uptight because her kids are in the frame and they’re interrupting her. She’s incorporating it into what she’s doing. To me, that’s a really great example of authenticity and let them in to use your words.

John: [crosstalk]. Big brands have a lot of budget to really make it professionally looking. Today, the average business owner or consumer has a phone that is really high on [crosstalk] or a Zoom account. As much as you want to make it look professional, it’s genuine. It’s yourself, it’s [crosstalk] and it’s okay.

Shani: Totally okay. I love it. Here’s my next question. You had mentioned earlier that there were at least 200 factors that go into your ranking. Does that mean that this is not ever going to be a Do It Yourself if you’re an industrious entrepreneur and you want to do your own SEO, because that sounds awfully convoluted.

John: You can definitely do it yourself. Everything’s self-taught even on my end. I didn’t know technical background but then, I started hiring people that were really good at what they were good at. From social strategists to SEO managers, to the doers, from link builders to social content, reputation managers to videographers to technical SEO. There’s so many other components that are very critical.

If you want to do it yourself, you have to be good at a lot of different aspects. You’re going to invest hundreds and hundreds of hours of trying to understand and learn to do everything. Just like a business owner. You can do everything from operations to hiring to accounting to sales and marketing to bookkeeping, you name it, everything, but are you going to be great at everything? Will there be other people doing it better than you and you can pay them a lot less than what you’re worth?

Shani: Absolutely. That question was almost a set up because I knew the answer but I wanted people to hear it because I think it’s really important, folks who are watching and listening, to value your time at its highest and best use and sure you could spend tens of dozens of hours figuring this out, but there are people who do it. This is exactly the thing that you should be outsourcing if you want to have it done effectively because there are folks like John who can help you, have done research and are trained and have helped other clients succeed. Don’t be a hero. Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself.

I help the company that manages all of my online things, I help them with the content. The content is authentic because it’s mine. I speak to them regularly and I’m telling them stories and giving them my ideas and rants and whatever. They turn that into content and they do all the wonderful things behind the scene to make sure that it gets seen, not just by the people who are following me, but by other people who are my target market. I couldn’t even pretend to know how to do that or want to do that. Basically, giving you a little clog.

John: Yes, because SEO was challenging. Don’t get me wrong–

Shani: It’s so challenging. I think it’s very complicated. You never know. People are like, I just want to do something that’s going to go viral. Well, if that’s your intention, you probably won’t go viral because it’s always the thing that nobody expects to go viral– Actually, push back on me if you disagree. Is it almost impossible to plan to be viral or can you help someone with that?

John: Yes. Viral is more amplified. Shares and likes and comments and more and more people are on that feed.

Shani: Right, but how is the content put so provocative or different or unusual or kitten cuter than the other seven million kitten videos online that makes one thing go viral over another?

John: One thing I would say is, people don’t understand the amplification part and the PR push and how much money is being behind any viral media out there. Any piece of content that does go viral, there’s thousands upon thousands of dollars put in that either production or marketing piece of that piece of content. People just see it being viral but they don’t see how much time and money it goes in behind it.

Shani: Okay. Is traditional media dead? Should clients be mixed use? Should businesses be allocating their marketing dollars not only to the things that we’re talking about today, but should they still be doing TV, radio, Super Bowl ads, if you’re a big company, billboards, Yellow Pages? What’s your current opinion on, let’s call them marketing mix?

John: I always tell my clients, if it works, continue doing it, track everything, make sure there’s a solid return on investment, but dabble into it because it’s a different type of people consuming different forms of content. If it is radio or television, there’s still an audience because there’s still people watching TV and listening radio when they’re driving or commuting or whatever it may be, but more and more people are spending time on podcasts.

Shani: The people who are watching and listening are fast-forwarding through the commercials.

John: Yes. You have to test it, right? The big advantage of technology and with Google being so prevalent is users are becoming more and more savvy and they understand that it’s real time data where you can actually start and stop a campaign mid cycle a couple of days, a couple of weeks, a couple months, target your audience, refine that message midway and really track the effectiveness of the campaign as opposed to traditional media where you have to pay for a designated time slot, produce a ton of money on a production on a trade show or putting it in a flyer, right?

All that takes a lot of time and effort and money and then you got to pay up front and then you have to wait to see the results while digitally, you can actually start and change it, the messaging, tweak it real time.

Shani: That’s right. You can AB test different messages. That’s on of the things I love about it. Bottom line is, folks who have businesses and you’re still doing some traditional media and you’re seeing a return on that investment, sure, keep doing it because if your customers are going there, keep speaking to them in that channel and you can’t afford not to be doing some social online marketing.

John: Yes. Even with social, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, really understand what impact it has on your audience member. It’s great if you have a product and you have an offer or a sale, but how about service level? If you are a dentist or lawyer, do people go to social to look for a dentist? Look at who your ideal customer is. What’s their journey like? Do they actually look for business owners like yourself on Facebook or Instagram? Or do they go to Google or do they go to YouTube? Really figure out which medium is best for your ideal tribe and then figure that out, produce good content and really focus on that medium of choice.

Shani: Right. If I were to be cynical, which I’m going to be, these things are listening to us. I’m not conspiracy theorist, but everyone I know has experienced the following. Your phone’s just sitting around the table while you’re having a conversation and you’re saying to your friend, can you recommend a good dentist locally? I really need to get some dental work done. I think I need to replace a crown or have a root canal. You’re saying these words and next thing you know, you’re on Facebook scrolling and you’re getting served ads for dentists locally. Explain that phenomenon if you can.

John: Google is tracking and sniffing on every behavior that you have not just voice recognition, but usually search recognition. They know your history on search, Google. Whatever you type in say, “root canal services”, then you go to a different browser, go on Facebook, login, it’s that cookie that tracks and there’s ads, people are paying to follow based on these keywords or these categories that you’ve put yourself in and it’s either related to or within that realm? Then there’s targeted ads being pushed at you and this is where Google, Facebook, Instagram all these social media channels, YouTube makes them billions of dollars.

You’re like, wow, what’s going on? How did they know that I was looking, right? Well, because you’ve already done that search without even realizing you did or you spoke to someone as in you’re asking someone on Facebook, your friend or whatever, but people still want to be in control. Google is great because you can actually check them out on the review section, you’re going to check out their social channels and you want to be in control and you don’t want to be pushed ads at you. Typically, people want to be in control just like Yellow Pages. Understand the difference between natural listings versus paid advertising.

Shani: Yes. I want to shift because I’m really impressed at how you’ve been able to scale your company. I want to hear about that. As we were talking before we started recording, your team is highly distributed, meaning they’re throughout North America and in other continents and so forth. Your staff have been working from home before COVID. Number one, I want to hear, what did you learn from scaling the business, both things that were successes and things that if you could do a do over, you might have done differently? Let’s start there.

John: Back seven years ago, I was fortunate to have already been working home-based. At Yellow Pages, I’ve already transitioned to five years working at home. That allowed me to be comfortable in the home environment of really committing myself to working work hours. It was a really easy transition for me and it’s not for everyone. If people want to work in the office, have that social interaction and atmosphere and going for coffee with friends and family, that’s different. I was very committed to really just working at home.

Right off the bat, I started my company because being home-based, web-based, I didn’t really need a bricks and mortar storefront operation. I already knew there was a demand. I reached out to them, I got my first clients and they signed up. In terms of me scaling, I knew what I was not good at, which was anything to do with SEO really. I was sales and marketing. My background has always been in sales. I hired people and I made tons of mistake, not vetting them properly, hiring the wrong people, not doing enough due diligence and trusting them too early. I had to like hire and fire a lot of people early days.

Then I got comfortable enough to really hire an operations manager, SEO manager, someone that actually had been through the ropes, worked a lot of years, a lot of experience. Then I met them. I got to know them more on a personal level, make sure that the value prop is very similar in alignment to myself and the company. That’s more important. Personality wise, and understanding where they are in terms of their career aspirations where you want them to be. Are they an ideal fit for you and your company or are they a short-term fit? Is that what you want?

Do you want to mold them, spend a lot of time training them or are they just doing this for a side hustle or do it on a couple hours here and there versus committed? There’s a difference.

Shani: Absolutely. I’m hearing you say some of the biggest mistakes you made were on the people side of things and that you eventually learned to hire people whose values and work ethic were aligned with yours.

John: Yes. In terms of like experience, I think anyone can learn things but there are intangible things. Are they honest? Are they credible? Are they authentic? Are they willing to try something and own up to it? Take risks. Stuff that I feel being an owner, I’m very open about that stuff. If they are as well versus hiding and being shy and sheltered or whatever, like I’d rather people be vocal and it’s not for everyone, honestly. People are very introverts as well and you have to understand their personality traits and what works for them.

Understanding people is one of the– I think I have a real good asset in that standpoint because of sales. I’m lucky enough to have worked with thousands of business owners to really ask the right questions, really listen to them and then see and just position myself in a way that it doesn’t have any negative impact in our conversations.

Shani: Got it. In terms of the virtual aspect of it, since it’s not a choice for the past four or five months for most people, like you could say, Oh, this particular business didn’t have to be brick and mortar, well, come COVID, everything had to go away from building where everybody was showing up, doing the commuting thing and now everybody’s working at home. Do you have any unique advice or things that you’ve learned over the seven years that you’ve been running a virtual business for the people, for whom it feels like it’s been seven minutes and they’re still struggling to figure out the formula?

John: Yes. It’s definitely a challenge for a lot of people because their comfort zone is driving to the office, going get coffee and then meeting people in person. Dealing with real customers in person especially these service-based companies. The challenge is, now more and more people than ever are consuming content at their leisure in front of a computer. If you already don’t have a website, you’re behind the curve. Now that you have a website, how are you letting your customers know what’s going on? How are you changing, pivoting? How are you taking care of your customers, updating them?

This is where having either a strategy in place or something in terms of like front facing digitally is important more than ever like not just expecting things to happen. You got to be proactive and pivot. What are you doing to let your customers know what’s going on? Are you updating your website with messages like pop-ups or social media feeds? Are you building a database of your active clients and dripping them on a newsletter? Constant communication with them because it’s more important than ever to stay on top of what’s going on. Like constant updates.

What are you doing differently? Can you now provide a video of a tour or what is your process like now, which is a lot different than they are used to, right? What precautions are you taking? What are some of the measures that you’re taking that will make the customers feel safe? All these things are very interesting and a lot of business owners just– obviously, it’s a big shift. It’s a lot for them because their revenue have dropped a lot. Their most important concern is are they going to be around? Can they pay rent? Can they even keep their staff? I get it.

Their mindset is not there in terms of like making sure their customer base is even aware, but they still need to understand how important it is to continue engaging with your ideal customers because there’s still a lot of potential customers and your active customers that need some handholding to let them know and feel assured that you’re still there for them when things get normal again. That may take months, years, you don’t know. You just have to be equipped to pivot and transition accordingly.

Shani: Good. If someone wants more information from you or wants to hire you to help them with SEO, digital, social, what’s the best way to find you and your company?

John: Yes. You can reach our website at www.localseosearch.ca. We’re based in Toronto, Canada, but we service clients across North America. If you do want to contact me on LinkedIn, feel free to reach me on my team page in localseosearch.ca and find me on LinkedIn.

Shani: Terrific. Thank you so much for being on the show today. This was very informative and interesting.

John: Thanks a lot for having me, Shani. I had a lot of fun.

Shani: My pleasure, and folks, just to do my usual wrap-up of some of the key highlights of our conversation with John today, this is all super important, but not if you don’t have the foundation of a great product or service, a value proposition, that you know your customer– That you know what’s unique about your product, your service versus your competitor and that you are managing a good reputation.

Don’t forget the basic blocking and tackling that go into operating and marketing a business has to be the foundation below building a digital and an online presence. Don’t forget also, that while you could certainly try to do this yourself, it’s always evolving, it’s very complex and as John shared with us, there’s over 200 variables that go into where you rank on a page and all the other things in terms of what’s going to serve you an ad.

When you are providing content either to someone like John and his team or if you’re posting things yourself, be authentic, be yourself, let them in. That’s one of my favorite things that you said today, “Let them in,” into your life, be authentic, speak to the customer. Don’t try to speak to everyone on the planet. Then your message is going to be watered down, and really, not very resonant for anybody.

Remember you’re speaking to your customers where they want to be spoken to, so the selection of the right channels is very important as well and folks like John can help you figure out where your customers are spending their time online. Then, of course, from the perspective of scaling a business, it seems like your top two takeaways are, “Focus on hiring the right people,” and, “Knowledge isn’t everything.” You got to make sure they have the right values and some of the other intangible things that make someone a good employee, versus not, and knowing what you’re good at as a leader.

You knew your strength was sales and marketing. You didn’t try to do everything. You started hiring the people with the expertise and, gosh, I wish every leader I worked with knew that about themselves, because so many of them were like, “Oh, well, I run this business so I should know all the different things.” It’s like no, you just need understand how the business operates and makes money and make sure you got the right people in the right seats on the right bus.

John: Exactly.

Shani: So again, John, thank you so much for joining us. Leadershifters, thanks for tuning in today. You know how to reach me, shani@theleadershiftproject.com, and all the various social media platforms on the website. Until next time.

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