Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast with Bill Bice
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Introducing Bill Bice
Today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast is a man who has always been an entrepreneur.
Starting his first company at age 14, putting on road races with corporate sponsors.
At 18, he started ProLaw Software, the first integrated ERP for law firms.
After selling the company to Thomson Reuters, Bill became a VC as a founding partner in the Verge Fund, investing in high tech, high growth companies in the Southwest.
One of the core things that Bill has learned in building and investing in companies is that the go-to-market is always the hardest part of growing a business.
He got so frustrated in trying to get great marketing for his companies that he decided to tackle the problem.
A programmer at heart, Bill founded boom-time, tackling marketing as a technology problem.
It turns out that when you follow the data, really good things happen.
That’s why boom-time built the world’s first marketing-as-a-service platform: fuse. boom-time’s marketing strategists follow the data: they already know what will work.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, boom-time applies proven marketing techniques at scale.
How The Dots Joined Up For Bill
As he says “I am a a programmer at heart. So why am I running a marketing company?
Because these days, great marketing is all about the data.
We built fuse, the world’s first marketing-as-a-service platform, and used it to recruit our world-class team of Word of Mouth marketing experts along with our network of 300+ subject matter experts.
I have created boomtime by teaming up with Mark Canon, previously the CEO of Hibu, the Yellow Pages company in the UK.
This seems a partnership made in heaven as Bill has spent his career helping entrepreneurs and business owners figure out how to reach their potential.
Mark built a £200M digital marketing business in the U.K. in three years.
So was this one of those ideas that grabbed him in the middle of the night, and wouldn’t let go?
And where were the struggles that he had to overcome to make this success a real life example of entrepreneurial excellence?
Well let’s find out by bringing him on the show to start joining up those dots, with the one and only Bill Bice
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Bill Bice such as:
Why its great to start something new when you are young when you have nothing much to risk in your life.
The reasons why finding a mentor in your life is a must. Dont be frightened to reach out and get help, especially at the beginning.
Why they best things that humans have is the ability to project ourselves into the future (but also this could lead to huge problems too)
No matter what you think, it will always take longer and cost more than you expect it to take in a business.
We discuss the principle of “how do we amplify the power of word of mouth” to get the real value of marketing.
How To Connect With Bill Bice
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of The Bill Bice Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there. Good morning. Good morning, young listeners and old listeners and and every listen and I’ve got thank you so much for being here at Join Up Dots. We’re coming into the sixth year of doing the show. And as in all things, you have your peaks, you have your chops, your happy little plateaus, but we’re certainly hitting another peak at the moment. So thank you, for everybody who’s out there listening to the show, sharing it with their friends, and just saying that this show from the United Kingdom, it’s got a little bit of a different vibe, you might want to listen to it. Well, today’s guest I’m delighted that he’s on the show, and I’m delighted I laid awake all night when I worried about him. I thought oh my god, he’s gonna be sitting up at the crack of dawn waiting to speak to me, but he’s not. He’s in Switzerland at the moment. So it’s a nice nine o’clock in the morning. He’s perfect. He’s refresh it probably still in these Jimmy jams. But that’s okay, that’s fine. Now he is a guest that’s joining us on the show because he is a man who has always been an entrepreneur. He started his first company at age 14 putting on road races with corporate sponsors. Now 18 he started pro law software, the first integrated AARP, but law firms. Now after sending the company to Thomson Reuters bill become a VC as a founding partner in the verge been investing in High Tech High growth companies in the southwest. Now one of the cool things about him is that he’s learned in building and investing in companies is about the go to market is always the hardest part of growing a business. He got so frustrated now I’ve spoken to him already. He doesn’t sound like a man who ever gets frustrated. But he was he was frustrated in trying to get great marketing these companies. But he decided to tackle the problem. a programmer at heart he founded boom time tackling marketing as a technology problem. It turns out that when you follow the data, really good things happen. And that’s why I wanted him on the show. That’s why boom time built the world’s first marketing as a service platform fuse. Boom times marketing strategies. Follow the data, they already know what will work instead of reinventing the wheel. Boom time applies proven marketing techniques at scale. Now, as he says, I’m a programmer at heart. So why am I running a marketing company is a good question. And we will find out because these days great marketing is all about the data. We built views the world’s first marketing as a service platform, and used it to recruit a world class team of word of mouth marketing experts, along with our network of 300 plus subject matter experts, I’ve created boom time by teaming up with Mark cannon, previously, the CEO of Hippo or hi boo, the Yellow Page company in the UK, I should know what it’s called, actually, this seems a partnership made in heaven as he spent his career helping entrepreneurs and business owners figure out how to reach their potential, and Mark, build a 200 million digital marketing business now get this right. In three years, that is pretty good going. Now together, they’ve created a new approach to marketing one that uses technology and expertise together to deliver marketing as a service for b2b and law firms at scale. So was this one of those ideas that grabbed him in the middle of the night and just wouldn’t let go? And where were the struggles that he had to overcome to make this success? a real life example of entrepreneurial? Excellent, well, let’s find out as we bring them to the show to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Bill Bice? How are you sir?
Bill Bice [3:52]
Good morning, I am awesome. If we accomplished nothing else, I want to hire you to do my intro every single time
David Ralph [3:58]
I will do that. I will follow you around that. If you could just keep me in a little bag like one of those Chihuahuas that you see that I can just like poke my head out every now and again and spout the intro which would you do that? For me, Bill?
Bill Bice [4:10]
There seems to be a lot of those in Switzerland for some reason everybody’s got a backpack with a dog and
David Ralph [4:14]
what what is that about? I you know, I think to myself, I like the thought of having a dog when a dog fits into my life. So if I’m walking across the country, I think I’d be nice to have a dog and throwing a stick and stuff. But all I see is people walking around with little bags of poo what that that that can’t be good, especially if it’s in a bag. Surely.
Bill Bice [4:34]
That is the downside is a huge
David Ralph [4:36]
downside. And it’s one of those things I think we should tackle by the end of the show. And I think you’re the man to do it. So let’s get right into your storey because it is fascinating. Now, at the age of 14, you started putting on road races. And I thought to myself, yeah, that’s fine. That’s okay. But you’ve got corporate sponsors, now that in trusts me, bear How did you do that? Before we talk about views and everything else? How did you actually get corporate sponsors to believe in a kid at the age of 14,
Bill Bice [5:05]
I think the novelty probably helped being a 14 year old walking into, you know, into somebody’s office asking them to support and you know, and it was credible also, so I was doing this as part of a, as a little sporting store franchise that was in, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. And, and so I had a great mentor that was, was helping me learn, it’s what really got me to fall in love with business and in small business in particular. And so it just, you know, just worked. And it was, like, like, a lot of things I did when I was young I was I was just, I was too young to know that I did, I shouldn’t do it. And so I just, I just went did it.
David Ralph [5:47]
And that’s that stay with you that that sort of lack of fear, because real Join Up Dots, we get so many people that connect with us, and at their heart, they either don’t want to take a risk, because they think it’s not going to work on I don’t want to take a risk because I don’t want to potentially sacrifice what they’ve already got. I think that by doing that they’re gonna lose, and it’s in protection mode. So have you still got that was a great sort of early learning that you’ve still got that today.
Bill Bice [6:16]
You know, I think I lost that a little bit after having some some success it is, it’s harder once you have something to to protect, and almost had to learn to bring it back. I mean, the one of the great things about starting when you’re young is you don’t have a lot to lose. I mean, the perfect time is, is in university or right, you know, right afterwards. And in my case, I, I had a great business running while while I was going to college, and I dropped out to, to run it because I was learning a whole lot more running that business and I was going to school, that is just the that’s the perfect time. But on the other hand, there, you know, there’s no time that the you that you shouldn’t do it, it’s I just feel like the what you lose, if you don’t take the chance, it is just so much more significant. And it is harder when you’ve got a family and a house. And you have to you have to take it on in a more intelligent way. But I you know, I hope that that now I’m able to do it in a in a way, you know, working wiser and not not harder.
David Ralph [7:26]
Yeah, I was 44 years old with five kids and a mortgage. And God knows what everything you could have was on my shoulders at that time. And I walked away from my corporate career to start Join Up Dots. And I look back on it now. And I will still say I would do it again, even though I do it them side quicker, because you spend so much time sort of back and forth trying to learn things and stuff and you look back on it. And even his business is almost easy. It’s almost easy. Once you get the clarity. Do you feel the same way with yourself and fuse bill? Do you look at it and go? Actually, well, we won’t speak about Mark because he bloody did it in three years. 200 million. That’s that’s a good success. But for everything else, do you think that you could do it quicker? Looking back?
Bill Bice [8:10]
Well, absolutely. The truth is, it’s always hard. But if you’re if you’re willing to take advice and mentorship, which is which has been certainly one of my challenges, then that one of the great things we have as humans is the ability to project ourselves into the future. One of the best ways to do that is to go find somebody who’s already done, what you want to do, you can talk to somebody who’s already there and understand is, is it really worth it, learn from them, gain from their experience, you don’t have to recreate all the same mistakes. So I much rather create brand new mistakes that I learned from it really pisses me off when I do something that I just know, you know, what if I had just spent a little time thinking this through and getting some help, then then I could have avoided that.
David Ralph [8:55]
Now you said something which is quite profound. And you I’m sure you everything you said he’s profound. But Miss this sort of struck me because at the moment, I’m going through a big phase of trying to be as present in the moment as possible. Because in business and in everything, we we think to ourselves, we should be further ahead. And we should be there because as you say, humans can project themselves into the future. But as good as that is, and you say it’s one of the greatest talents we’ve got. It’s also one of the worst things, isn’t it? Because it puts unnecessary strain on you. Were actually by being in the present being focused in that moment. That’s where the real work occurs. Not so much in the future.
Bill Bice [9:36]
Yeah, you know, I started meditating A few years ago, and it has been has made such a such a big difference in my life and has made it much easier to be in the moment. And so when when I talk about that, in terms of projecting yourself yet, you do have to have a balance, because so many people always live in the future are always live in the in the past. And the only thing that matters is what you know what you and I are doing right? right this second. But yet we have when we talk about living in the future, rarely are we doing that in a productive way that is helpful to what we’re doing today, that’s almost always in this sort of, you know, worry driven constant stress approach. And if you can put those two things together, where, where you’re able to, to leverage the experience and learnings of others and and live, you know, live in the in the moment, then, you know that there’s enormous power behind that. And I think that’s what really makes it possible to take those risks. Because the truth is that right now, right this second, you really don’t have any big problem, there’s there’s nothing to be worried about. I mean, unless you literally have someone that you love and care about this that’s in a hospital. And, and there, you know that that that happens, it’s a horrible place to be. But we spend most of our lives in a place where we just aren’t facing a challenge like that. And if you’re able to look at it that way, I think it enables you to take the risks that you’re talking about you I
David Ralph [11:00]
agree with you my my number one strength, or there’s a thing called the Gallup Strength Finders, and my number one is futuristic, and I’m so off the scale for futuristic, but how everything will be bringing everything will be great. And we could do this, we could do that. But I’ve realised through the journey of growing my show that that’s actually my Achilles heel as well. And what I need to do, and I do five minute chunks, when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, I think to myself, I just sit there for five minutes, just sit there for five minutes, and see if anything bad happens to you. And of course nothing ever does. And it doesn’t mean I do another five minutes. But it’s a it’s a real Achilles heel, as much as it’s a strength is also a negative, but I have to deal with every day bill is not easy being me.
Bill Bice [11:47]
I have no doubt about that, having it having listened to you. But that’s the thing about strings, right as they also tend to be our biggest weaknesses. If If you didn’t have that optimism, there’s no way you could have done and created what you have. And neither, neither could I. But on the other hand, I also probably take risks that did I shouldn’t have. And so it’s just it’s finding that right balance, but I’m, I’m so much happier when I when I put myself out there and and actually go after what I’m what I’m capable of doing. It’s so much more fulfilling?
David Ralph [12:18]
Well, let’s let’s talk about futures, because that’s what I I’ve got you on the show for. And one of the reasons I got you on the show, I get a lot of people that connect with me and their marketing people. And I, I don’t like marketing, I think to myself, a lot of marketing people come along, and they say I can do this. And I can do that. And I say to them, okay, show me the results first, and they come back and it’s just like you’re paying the money. And it’s kind of going out into into the future somewhere. And a classic example of this while I’m on my little rant. Is is movies, movies, actually no bad if I took away all the advertising, it probably wouldn’t make any difference on the people that go to see films. But they’re still spending all that why I wanted you on here is because you follow data. And I like data data is real world evidence. So where did you come up with that idea? Because Netflix uses data. And Amazon uses data. And everybody seems to use data about doing great things, but sort of newbies or just sort of say, Oh, yeah, I can do this, I can do this, and I just want to take your money and throw it out to the world.
Bill Bice [13:27]
Yeah, that is that that cat that fully captures the the challenge with marketing in particular, if you’re if you’re running a a smaller business where you you just you don’t have the margin for error, you don’t have a massive budget to work with. Marketing can is a really frustrating area. And it’s just a discipline that that has traditionally avoided. I mean, what I joke about is you go into marketing so that you can avoid the people knowing what you do. And it’s Yeah, you get a lot of, you know, you got a lot of people who are attracted to my marketing for for kind of the wrong reasons. The reason I love marketing now after having been frustrated by the the discipline of marketing for so long is that it is so data driven today. So the the move to digital has really changed this so that, you know a famous quote that that’s attributed to john Wanamaker about you know, I know, half my advertising wasted, I just don’t know what chaff. And now we actually have very much the opposite problem, we have way too much data. And, and so we have information on every single engagement we’re creating if, if we wanted, the data is there, so now we have to be able to turn that data into useful information that we can actually make decisions on. So now we’re swimming in data. And it’s really difficult to understand all of the things that are happening across a full marketing campaign. That is, you know, what, because one of the most effective approaches is to be multi channel, you’ve got to, you’ve got to get to your audience, across multiple channels. So you’ve got to have a podcast and a blog and a website and email, and you got to be in social media. And what we have found is that understanding the customer journey across all those channels, and tying all that data together, so that you can get that unified picture of how you’re reaching your audience, and what’s working to create engagement and what’s pulling people down the sales funnel. That’s how we turn all that data into useful information that we can then take what’s essentially a Lean Startup approach and the iterative approach of just constantly improving, using that data to get better and better that you know, that’s how you do great marketing in in today’s world.
David Ralph [15:35]
Well, I think that’s absolutely true on but how do you know what the data is and how it’s going to apply? I give you an example. Through podcasting, you get a spreadsheet, basically, that turns up, and you can see my listeners that are landing on you. And you can see where they are, you can see, you know how long they listen, you’ve got loads and loads of data. And you can see that the trend is going up. That’s fine. I mean, every now and again, can you shoot spike, and my son was looking at it the other day, and he said, you know, what you should do is know what caused that spike, and then do more of it. And I said to him, I’ve got no idea what that spike is that it just occurs every now and again. So we have all this data, how would you go in and actually find out what’s making batter. Because that that is obviously the genius you see the spike and go, I just do that I do whatever happened bear more of it.
Bill Bice [16:28]
Yeah, be so easy if if we just do exactly what that was. Right. So there, there are other examples where where there’s a lot easier to see what’s going on. So we do a lot of work with, with in b2b and and essentially you’re you’re the you know, the three legs of the stool and b2b marketing are your website, email and, and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is just this amaze me, if you’re selling anything that’s b2b, then then you should be putting tremendous focus on LinkedIn right now. It’s just it’s, you know, it’s absolutely taken over the b2b world. It’s a, it’s a rather simple algorithm today, compared to compared to Facebook, I mean, reminds me of Facebook 10 years ago, you can really see what’s going on, it’s much easier to, to understand what you’re doing, and, and the reaction that you’re getting from that. And the beauty of those pieces as you can tie them together so that you can see how that customer journey is working, we capture somebody on LinkedIn, we get them to the website, we capture their email address, now we’re following up with them regularly with with emails are pulling them back to the website, they then turn into a prospect. So we can see that whole process. Because we’re driving all that with data, it’s really tough to just do that out of the box, because all those pieces give you these silos of data. So the thing that we created with us was pulling all that together. And, and that’s what all of the, if you’re running a small business, what all your large competitors, they’re doing exactly, that they have a huge advantage in that regard. Because they really under they really are able to understand that. And I, you know, my passion is about those small businesses that are really what drives our economy and, and create new jobs. But if we’re not better at competing with this new age of marketing, it’s going to be really tough for those small businesses to stay relevant. So we got to bring that same sophistication to smaller companies so that they they really are able to compete with the big guys. And, and we’re able to do that with that data across those channels. Because we’ve tied all those pieces together.
David Ralph [18:28]
Well, let’s play some words now, then we’re going to come back to Bill his Oprah,
Oprah Winfrey [18:32]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move, and then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [19:03]
Why? So that sort of applies to your journey. So you’re sitting there swimming in data, and you’re getting frustrated? As we say, and, you know, as I said at the beginning, I can’t imagine you getting frustrated about enemy bill. But I’m, you’re sitting there and you can, you know, we need a different way, how did you get past that, wow, there’s so much to do this overwhelm, to get the clarity of joining up both dots of your business and bringing it all together.
Bill Bice [19:30]
So this is the the classic working in the business or on the business. And it’s something that that I think every entrepreneur and every business owner struggles with, it’s something that that I’ve long struggled with. And yet I’ve seen the pattern, that when I do the hard work so so that I can work on the business instead of in the business, that that business is so much more successful. And it’s really tough when you’re starting out because you have to do everything, that’s just that’s just part of it. And so the the approach that that I ended up taking was just setting off time that I dedicated to, to working on the business. And once you get a little bit of growth, and you get a little bit larger company, that that should be the number one goal is to make it so the CEO of the company is is able to work on the business. And in order to do that, you have to, you have to put a great team together, you have to be willing to delegate, which is which is also really tough if you’re, if you’re like you and me. But yet, finding people who can do each of those core competencies in the company better than you can is the most important job of a CEO. And so whatever it takes to get there so that you can be working on the business that lets you have that strategic level, that’s the only way you’re really going to be able to propel the company forward. You see so many businesses that are sort of stuck at the same level we’ve been doing, you know, 500,000, or 2 million a year for the last five years. And it almost always boils down to this core issue. If if the CEO, the company, the owner of the company is not not doing that strategic work, then you’re you’re never going to make that jump forward. And I’m really making the argument that marketing is is a great example of this. Because if you spend all your time in the business, working on your marketing, it is such an all consuming thing to do. And yet there’s so much great expertise out there that you can put to work and just get it done. Because that, you know, that’s the thing that makes it work is that every day in the trenches work. And so what you see over and over again, just as a classic mistake to tie it to this core issue is what we focused on our marketing, we things are a little bit slow things pick back up. And of course we get a good do that work, and then things slow back down again. And the cycle just goes on forever. And yet you have to break out of that and do it consistently day in and day out.
David Ralph [21:48]
Now with your same what I liked as well, where was I looking at? Yes, 300 plus subject matter experts, okay. And you still go with words, mouth marketing experts, which is what I love. Because, you know, literally all the successes that I’ve had, I can track it back to a conversation I’ve had with somebody, and it just kind of is word of mouth marketing. Really? How do you find both subject matter experts? And how are they experts in that subject matter?
Bill Bice [22:19]
Yeah, so that’s what I love about word of mouth. That’s the, that’s the one form of marketing that that really works. And the thing that makes word of mouth. So we have the core of word of mouth, right, which is what you were just just talking about. And it’s the direct experience that people have with you your brand. And because you do a great job for them, they’re willing to share that with others. So how do we amplify the effect of that, and, and the best way to do that is to have an insight driven approach to whatever it is you’re selling. So you got to avoid the number one mistake of marketing, which is talking about yourself that nobody cares, what they want is help for solving the challenges they have in their business in their life. So the best way to do that is to talk about things that are really important to them. So what does your audience care about. And most of the businesses we work with are, are kind of niche II, they’re working in specific markets with the same kind of business over and over again. So they actually have really great perspective in that market, because they see it across, you know, this whole spectrum of of a bunch of businesses like that, whereas the CEO of that one company just doesn’t have that ability. So how we leverage that is to go hire subject matter experts who have been writing for the websites and industry publications of whatever that market is, because this is how we solve the classic copywriter problem, you can find somebody who’s great at writing. And last week, they were working on a car dealership, and this week, they’re supposed to help your enterprise SAS company sell to the fortune 500. And it’s just not realistic. I mean, you can spend so much time educating them, and they’re never really going to get it. If instead you go out and find somebody who understands that market knows the problem you’re solving has spent their career working with exactly the people that you’re trying to reach, and therefore knows how to talk to them, they’re gonna be able to take your ideas. So this is really the key to how do you do this effectively over and over again, I rarely find a business owner. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever found a business owner where I can’t sit down for half an hour and, and brainstorm and get enough ideas for six months worth of great content. Like the reason you’re doing this is because you have great ideas about it, the hard part is actually executing on that and writing that out. If you if you take that task on yourself, you know, staring at that blank screen is is just, it’s just impossible, it takes way too much time. So you go hire a writer who already knows that market can take your idea, take the so we take the core idea turned into three or five bullet points. Part of what our platform does is share that with the appropriate writer in our network. They create the the initial draught and then goes to an editor who’s called is to capture the right voice behind, you know, behind that business owner CEO. And it gives us a steady flow of really great content and a much more cost effective way than trying to do it internally or, you know, or having a staff person that that’s that’s what they do
David Ralph [25:16]
that does it. Yeah, I find it The hardest thing through everything I do, I can turn on the microphone, and I can talk for hours, no problem at all. I can write an article, no problem at all. Just think of it and write it emails, I look at emails. And that is once again, that’s my Achilles heel. And people say oh, you should be emailing every day. And I think I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to say, which is really weird because I can open my mouth and it just blood blood out. Is that something that you see people struggle with as well, but wanting to do a value to the point where it actually stops the value being presented, because I don’t want to be like a spammy email. They don’t want to be unsubscribed by people. So in fact, they don’t do anything.
Bill Bice [26:00]
Yeah, email is such a challenging area because we we all get way too much email. And and yet the the irony of that, how do you solve that for your particular business is that you need to send more email than you are today. You know, if you were to most, you know, most businesses don’t send regular emails to start with. So one, we got to start doing that. But even if you have a regular flow, and today you’re sending one email a month, well, you really got to be sending to a month or or 30 a year or one a week, depending on the particular business and who the audiences that you’re talking to. And, and the way that you make that work is it does have to be in providing value. And you’re very fortunate that you can sit down and just write a write an article off the top of your head, you know, most business owners just aren’t able to do that. It’s it’s just it takes you know that that, you know, they’re great at running a business, they know exactly what the issues are that their audience is facing. But taking the time to write all that down. It’s just not it’s not realistic. So having having that done for you is, is how you solve that problem. And it also really helps to, frankly, to have a third party writer doing that for you, that really helps create that separation, because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of, of constantly talking about yourself and your company. And it just doesn’t work. But if you’re sending out great emails that are really providing insight and helping your audience, then you’re not going to get unsubscribed. Because you’re you’re, you’re really providing providing value. So I you know, it’s a little trite, but it really is about providing value. But you’ve got to come at it with that perspective of if I’m in the shoes of the of the audience that I want to reach. And, and our whole goal is to help them what is I’ve got to be willing to put out there the really great advice and insight that I have. And that’s that’s I’m often our biggest challenge is getting people to be much more open about sharing that information. And it’s exactly exactly what I’m doing here, I’m willing to lay out everything about what we have found to be enormously effective in marketing, because I know how hard it is to actually execute on it. The value is not in the know. And I want as many people to be doing this as possible. But I know how difficult it actually is to do day in and day out. So we’re only going to help our audience by sharing what you do to be to be successful in your own marketing.
David Ralph [28:29]
It’s interesting, I remember one of the first things that I got advised by somebody is, don’t protect your best stuff. Give it away, give it away. And I remember best six years ago, seven years ago, I used to think now that’s my best stuff. I’m going to keep that I’m going to keep it. But of course as you say, there’s a you know, every single person out there thinks they can just rock up and do a podcast, but they really do. And I speak to them. And they go oh yeah. Now it’s not a problem with tower Babel. I’ll be advocate two episodes out a week, that’s no problem at all. When you look at them down the line, they’ve done about 15 episodes, and I’ve stopped. Because there’s so much more to it isn’t that marketing might seem simple. But there are multi levels, but you have to go through to get the rewards that you want.
Bill Bice [29:14]
Yeah, that that really is it and content creation is really tough. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about podcasts or emails or, or articles on LinkedIn, it’s all difficult to do it really well. And yet, the only thing that makes it work is doing it consistently day in and day out. And that’s that’s what makes it so tough. Anybody can sit down and do it once or twice. But to have the time to do it day in and day out. I think it’s really asking too much of it, that you’re just back in that loop of you’re constantly working in the business, if you’re taking that on for yourself, unless like you it is your business. I mean, it is you the content is you. But for a normal for a business owner, that’s just that is such a heavy load to take on. I’ve never worked with a business where they said, Okay, I’m going to go, I’m going to go do this, I’m going to do it myself. And it’s exactly the same thing. You come back just a month or two later. And there’s been one email sent out and we never got to the second email now dependent when
David Ralph [30:13]
the show goes out, because it’s all a bit weird in Join Up Dots Lane. But I’ve been I’ve been in America, I’ve been in New York for a month. And so I’ve closed it all off. And so the episode that I’m referring to might have gone out already. And if it hasn’t, then this makes no sense. But you’re going to find out about this episode. And I got to a point where I was going away for a month. So I needed 30 podcast episodes. Plus, because you don’t want to come straight back from vacation and then plough into, you know, chasing it again. So I needed about 50 podcast episodes. And I recorded an episode. And basically I said, Look, guys, I’m struggling at the moment too much coming at me, I’m going to go down to two days a week instead of three days. And I slept on it. And then the next morning, I woke up and thought no, I can’t do that. Because I’m a particle, the podcasters podcast, and that would be the easy route to just drop back. And do you feel the same as a marketer, a marketer can’t choose not to do it by have to do it. And a business has to choose to do it. It’s it’s not open to question but some people think they can just do a little bit here, I’m in a little bit there and been shut down shop for three months and being come back and try a little bit I’ve been don’t get the rewards.
Bill Bice [31:25]
If you’re going to do that, I think you’d be better off just not doing anything, because you’re not gonna you’re not going to get anything from that. I mean, what we just see over and over again, is that consistency is the key to great marketing is the low hanging fruit that you if you if you have a successful business that is generating referrals today, which to me is sort of like the best the foundational element that we have to have, in order to apply word of mouth marketing, which is another way of saying that you’ve you’ve done all the hard work, you have a great product or service, you’re doing a great job for your clients, they’re sending you referrals. So if you done all that hard work, and now you want to grow the business, if you don’t do it consistently, then it’s it’s almost just me, you can just burn the money and video it and and and show it to people and get the same and get the same result. Because what really works is staying Top of Mind with that audience. And so the the base thing that you need to do for marketing for every business is really straightforward, we need to do a better job of capturing the prospects that are already coming to us the referrals that we’re already getting, we need to do a better job of following up on those referrals. I mean, every businesses is has opportunities to be better in this regard. And then we need to build that audience and stay top of mind with it and all of those things. That is the low hanging fruit and in marketing for every business. And the only thing that makes it work is being on it every single day. There just isn’t any other way to make it work. That’s that’s why it’s so tough.
David Ralph [32:55]
Now let’s talk about the bootstrap is because there’s going to be some people out here listening to this. And they’re building their business, they’ve got a product, they’ve got a service, they’ve got some kind of being as an offering. And it’s not, it’s not coming in that it’s there. And maybe one person buys it every six months or something and he’s not really working. So they’re listening to you thinking yeah, this is what I want this this, this sounds brilliant, this is going to be great. But I can’t afford it. I can’t afford it at the beginning. What can we say to them? Because obviously, you know, in the long run, you’ve got to, you know, you can’t make money unless you put money into the business. But how do we overcome that fear at the beginning, when it is all, as we said at the beginning of this episode, in that kind of protect what they’ve got mode.
Bill Bice [33:39]
So one pattern that I’ve seen is that it’s really tough for one person businesses to be successful. And I think a large part of that is because of what you just described. So if you’re doing something that is that is really great and you are passionate about it, then then the very next thing to do is to go get somebody else passionate about be willing to bring a partner into the business so that you have enough horsepower to get somewhere because you’re going to for a while, you’re going to have to be able to do both, you’re going so let’s assume that we’re dealing with a b2b service. So I can use my LinkedIn example. That is actually the perfect place to be because if you’re running a a small two person show, you can go out on just LinkedIn and drive more than enough business to to keep yourself highly occupied. And the way you do it is to grow your network aggressively on LinkedIn, the, you know, the beautiful thing about LinkedIn is, it’s really, it’s a networking event where you get to invite only the people that you want to meet. And so you have to overcome the this idea that I’m only going to connect with people that are you know, on LinkedIn, that would be like going to a cocktail party and only be willing to talk to people you already know, you’ve got to aggressively use LinkedIn to reach out to people in a non salesy totally, I want to, you know, I want to add to my network and be helpful to your network, building that network is such the perfect way to take that smaller business. And you can do the same thing on on Facebook, it’s just, it’s just, frankly, easier in in LinkedIn right now, in order to be that, that starting point of building the business, but I think it’s I think it’s really tough to do as, as one person, you get so much more value if you have a partner in the business, and you have to be willing to give something up to do that you got to find a great partner, you’ve got to bring them in for equity in, in your business. But one of the one of the biggest challenges that I see, particularly with first time and early stage entrepreneurs, is they want to hold on to everything. And so you need to give the best of what you have away from a marketing standpoint, you need to give away the most valuable thing in your company, which is equity in that company, in order to bring in the horsepower are necessary for you to be be successful. It’s just so much easier to get there if you if you have a partner. And then and then you can execute on the things that we’re talking about right now, in order to get your business up and going. But then when that really starts to roll, you’ve got to you’ve got to bring in the resources to keep doing it. You can’t You can’t walk away from it.
David Ralph [36:19]
Now, have you ever wanted to walk away from it? Have you ever sort of woken up and thought Actually, I’m, I’m sick of this, this, you know, this, this just isn’t me anymore? Or is it just ingrained in you?
Bill Bice [36:30]
I work with a lot of entrepreneurs. And I think I think we all hit that at some point or another. And it’s, for me, it’s always been a wake up call of there’s something that I need to be changing about what I’m doing there. You know, there’s there’s some systemic issue that’s coming through in that way. So I’ve I’ve never had like true burnout in the sense of just at a personal level, I don’t want to do it anymore. But I’ve had that feeling around a business that I’m working on. And to me, it’s always been a signal, you know, there’s something here that I’m missing. I’m spending too much time in the business, I got to figure out what’s going on. I’ve got to work on the on the strategic element and see, okay, what what am I missing here, there’s it, because the reason I get that feeling is is I’m working on business that has stalled and you know, it, it always takes longer and is harder than it should be. I’ve never worked on a business where the original plan just work, that just doesn’t happen. It would, you know, it would be great to be one of those Silicon Valley creation myths, but the reasons to creation methods, because it really didn’t happen that way. It is always tough, and it always takes longer than it should. And so that that to me is just a sign that there’s something I’m missing, and I’ve got to figure out what it is to work on it.
David Ralph [37:46]
Few few years back, I’m a member Join Up Dots. It went well to begin with, and Bennett plateaued for a long time. And I couldn’t get any sort of motion on it. And Ben, it started to go up. And at that time, I should have been delighted thinking opinion, this is what I’ve been working for. But I actually started to panic, that as the audience was going up, I couldn’t give enough back to them. I you know, with great power comes great responsibility. And I remember thinking to myself, I’m trapped, I’m trapped. Now, I’ve got to do this for the rest of my life. You know, I used to have a job in corporate land, but I could quit and go off and do something else. But this personal brand, it’s me, it’s me, what can I do? What can I do? And it overcome me for a while before that, I thought to myself, you know, do I want to do this for the rest of my life. But I worked through it. And I cannot remember our word for it. But I worked through it. And now I think to myself, this is all one, you know, 10 years later, I’m going to be here going, how bill our you know, nice to see you. And, and and away we go. But there was a real big part of it, where I thought to myself, this is getting successful. And I don’t think I’m good enough to maintain that success. Does that have any resonance with you? Well,
Bill Bice [39:00]
did that help you start going through that experience? Did that help you start living in the moment more because that, that sounds to me like a classic case of of just being willing to accept and live in the moment? Because what a you know, what a great place to be?
David Ralph [39:15]
Yeah, I think at that moment, I started to realise that things take time, it really I realised that I can’t keep on just forcing it and forcing it. I just had to let things naturally flow. But I also knew that I had to be consistent. And so that’s why I’m a podcaster. You know, that’s that’s what I say a lot of people say, Oh, I’m a business coach, and I’m based now I’m a podcaster. That’s my core message. But yeah, I did realise. And as you said earlier about sort of meditation, I realised I couldn’t meditate, because I thought that meditation was sitting there cross legged, you know, with your eyes going white for long enough. And I just couldn’t get into that zone. And so I started doing that five minutes, just sitting there for five minutes, just sort of centering myself before I went again. And yeah, I think at that is it was because I’m futuristic. And so I was pressurised about where it was going, and did I have enough in me to make it happen? I was too far ahead. And I wasn’t in that present as you as you’re saying,
Bill Bice [40:15]
you know, it worries me any entrepreneur who doesn’t have that fear? Who doesn’t worry about that? It doesn’t have some time periods? Where, where you feel exactly like that? Because if you don’t have that, then then I don’t think you’re pushing yourself hard enough. And, and you’re not you don’t deeply care about your clients, your audience. If If that doesn’t concern you sometimes I To me, that’s totally that’s completely healthy. And and it would it actually worried me if that that had never happened to you, then then well, what would you know, what was the real psychology behind? What’s going on? For you?
David Ralph [40:51]
Yeah, I normally in those periods, you find the real business? Have you found that I realised vain? What my absolute core offering was any isn’t about what I was offering. It was something totally authentic. To me, it was my life experience that became that offering.
Bill Bice [41:10]
It almost feels like we have to have a crisis like that every once in a while in order to get the insight to really understand where where we need to go. Yeah,
David Ralph [41:18]
I agree. Well, I know where we need to go. And we need to move forward seamlessly to the words of Steve Jobs. He said these back in 2005. And let’s listen to them again, his Steve,
Steve Jobs [41:28]
of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference now
David Ralph [42:02]
have Have you gone off the path? Or are you on a path that was quite obviously waiting for you? Do you think Bill,
Bill Bice [42:08]
I think I’ve always been off the path. I mean, I was very fortunate to have parents that supported me even even though I dropped out of school to run a company which they you know, just thought was was crazy. And, and you know, most people thought it was crazy at the time. But it was something I was passionate about. And and I was also lucky that that that everything fell into place to despite how little I knew at the time. I you know, I I’ve always felt better being off the the path, there’s a little bit of non conformist in there, but I I prefer to focus on the, the individualistic side of that to, you know, to me, the path is has already been tread is is is really, it’s just it’s boring.
David Ralph [42:53]
A always is boring, isn’t it? Yeah, and I don’t understand what people want to do. But I just don’t understand.
Bill Bice [42:59]
I mean, if you’re an entrepreneur, I think that’s, that’s just part of your genetic coding. I mean, I felt like I was born an entrepreneur, I mean, I was I was selling pencils to my classmates in the in the first grade, just you know, the, the classic thing is, you find the pain point. So the walking around with with bags of poo, you know, there could be a great company that comes out of this podcast, because that’s a real pain point. And anytime you find something that causes people to swear, you’ve got a business opportunity. And in the first grade, it was that if you didn’t have a pencil, you didn’t go to get to go to recess. And if anything would cause first graders to swear that that would be it. And so you find those things. And if if you run into that, instead of swearing about it, you say, Oh my god, here’s a great opportunity, well, then then you know, you’re an entrepreneur, and you need to take that risk, because that’s that’s who you are,
David Ralph [43:51]
and looking back over your life. And I love asking the question, is there a big.in your life that you look back and you go, Wow, that’s really when that started to really go my way.
Bill Bice [44:02]
It’s been a really long climb. So it’s a, I think it’s a pretty long series of dots. I mean, it starts with that, that first first business when I was 14, and getting to do that one I was in, in high school. And then if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have started my, my first software company pro law. And if, without that experience, I wouldn’t have been on the management team at West Division of Thomson Reuters, which was, you know, an amazing learning experience. I mean, there’s nothing like selling your little software company in order to get on the management team of a multi billion dollar company in order to learn that, you know, what, it’s run just like your your little company is it’s it’s the same craziness. There’s just you know, there’s just more zeros after the numbers. And, and all that all that experience it it is. So that was that from a commencement speech the best audio from you. I remember hearing that before and and Jobs has has said some some really amazing things. And what what does this classic line about wanting to put a dent in the universe? I haven’t had that one. Yes, I mean, it he says something along those lines, which was always amazingly appealing to me, which was, that was just His goal was to make, you know, leave some sort of mark which he, which he absolutely did.
I have a goal of being able to do that in my own small way. Hopefully not being as as challenging as Jobs reportedly was to deal with into to work with, I also want to enjoy the process along the way. And it’s just been a it’s been a really long string of dots that has that has gotten me here. But at this point, I just can’t see it. You know, I can’t see it happening any other way.
David Ralph [45:54]
Great. Sounds like you are on your thing. And just before we still know that I’m bringing the show to an end, obviously, in the introduction, we were talking about your marketing being for b2b and law firms. Now, is it open to everyone? Or is that your niche? There’s somebody out there listening, thinking this Sounds Sounds great, but I don’t fall within that category is your company boom time and fuse? Is it something that they can get involved with
Bill Bice [46:20]
this, we really specialise in companies that are in that 2 million to $20 million range, we certainly have clients that are that are larger than that. But that’s, that’s kind of our specialty. We do a lot of b2c work. Also, the kind of the advantage of b2b is that we found that, that we can take the same strategies and tactics and apply it to really do a whole range of b2b businesses. That is, as long as as long as you’re selling something that’s a fairly high ticket, impactful thing, this, you know, this approach is turned out to be enormously effective. So that’s just turned into a real growth area for us. And law firms are a great specific example of that. Our, you know, our team. So I brought back my original team that that, that we created it at pro life. And so we’ve got a lot of experience in legal. And so that’s, that’s really why we have a focus on law firms. And we have a lot of, you know, we have a lot of fun doing this, doing this together. And so it’s, we really covered a pretty wide range of marketing, but the things that are really growing for us are in that b2b and professional services area. Right?
David Ralph [47:34]
Great stuff. So if you’re out there, and you’re running a company like that, then jump over to the show notes, and we’ll have all the links. But Bill, thank you so much for being on the show. What’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Bill Bice [47:46]
So my email is CEO at Boomtown com I love talking to business owners and helping them with their marketing. I’m of course on on LinkedIn. And both both places are easy to find me.
David Ralph [47:58]
Well, and of course it to us, you have been leading up to this YU in Switzerland today. Yeah, you’re you’re an American, why are you in the Alps,
Bill Bice [48:07]
it is really beautiful here. So I can walk out the I’m not actually in the garden, but I’m about five feet away. And if I step outside, I can look up at the Matterhorn, which is just absolutely beautiful. And so we’re just here with here with my family and spending a month in Switzerland. And it’s, you know, it’s really, it’s really hard to beat that. And do
David Ralph [48:28]
do that, you know, because that’s what I’ve started doing, I take a month off and take my family away and stuff did you do you think that is a real win to your business, instead of having 10 days or two weeks, whatever
Bill Bice [48:39]
it is, I mean, I’m I’m not as good at this as I would like to be. So I’m not really taking taking a full month off. But I I still find it really refreshing to switch context out and go experience totally new things, even if I am working some while while I’m doing that, I I agree with you, the best thing to do is to is to just fully take that time off, because when you come back, and we already did that some this summer. And when you really disconnect I find that I come back, you know, just fully energised and and somehow all kinds of great ideas have come up in the meantime, even though I wasn’t thinking about it. So there’s so much value that you bring back when you when you take that break.
David Ralph [49:26]
Yeah, I agree with you 100%. I totally 100% disconnect, not one person, not one notification. Nothing gets to me at all, in my time off. And yeah, that the MIT is just popping to head up. Oh, God, I should have done that. And never thought about it. Brilliant stuff. Well, Bill, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Bill Bice Thank you so much.
Bill Bice [49:57]
Takes has been a lot of fun. Appreciate it.
David Ralph [50:02]
Mr. Bill bias. Yeah. So I think that is one of the things that really intrigues me about knowing the data inside your business. And as I said, on the show, yeah, I look at my data and I know what’s happening, the monthly trends and stuff. But there’s certain key points, I haven’t got a clue. And I have got no idea how to look at that data and think to myself, what has made that occur, because if that’s occurred, then make it a curve again, and make it a co again. And if you need help on that look for somebody, you know, look for somebody that can understand that data manipulation because there’s gold in your business, it just needs to be mined. Until next time, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for Bill, joining us on the show. And thank you for all the listeners that are dropping us a line. We love the storeys, we love it when you tell us where you’re listening to it, and the issues you’ve had and how you’re building your own business. And you know, I love that. So saying that through. The more we get, we can put those on the show and shine the light in your direction. But until next time, look after yourself. And I will see you again soon. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye.