Tips on how to start, grow and fund your business by Tim Fargo

  • There's probably never been an easier time to start, grow and fund your business than there is today
  • To start a business you have to be disciplined
  • Life is short – learn how to work smarter, not harder
  • Take the time to create systems and break down your processes
  • How to become a Twitter rockstar like Tim with Social Jukebox
  • Execute! “People make a mint off basic businesses that have been validated for years by just executing in a better way.”

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There's probably never been an easier time to start out a business with very little capital than there is today

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Doug: Well, welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Real Marketing, Real Fast. Today, we're going to talk about a number of topics around technology, and financing your business, growing your business. And as my guest today in the studio, I've got Tim Fargo. He is the founder and CEO of a social media tool called Social Jukebox.

In 2013, Tim wanted to promote his new book, Alphabet Success Using Twitter and quickly realized that his evergreen content scheduling was a time suck and using up a lot of this valuable time. He thought there must be a better way. So reaching out to a colleague, he built what he needed. Tim quickly had a solution to his problem of automating posts in a deliberate manner. Now, Social Jukebox serves hundreds of companies from micro businesses with no staff to personal brands and major companies.

Tim understands what it takes to launch a business. His first major success with Omega, an investigation company, started out in an extra bedroom. Tim led that company through growth to over 300 employees in just a few years. Selling it off for over $20 million. Now he's helping others reach large audiences through his social media marketing platform with his own company called Social Jukebox.

So, Tim, welcome the podcast.

Tim: Doug, thanks for having me on.

Doug: Always happy to talk to a fellow marketer and a technology guy. So, is there anything that I left out or any details you'd like to add?

Tim: I'm great at tap dancing. No. I think you covered it. By that explanation, I sounded very impressive. So I'd like to know more about me.

Doug: Well, you're an impressive guy. I followed you for quite a while on social media and I was happy to jump at the opportunity to have you on as a guest.

So, I know that we talked briefly about a few things about your fitness routine to make sure that you're a healthy guy and can keep enjoying life and growing your business.

But we also talked about what it takes to grow a business and get started, and how to get that funded. So do you want to expand a little bit kind of on your philosophy? When you started Social Jukebox, how did you put that together? I often hear people say, “Well, I can't do this because I don't have enough funds.”

Tim: I think that's just an excuse because more often than not, there are ways … And there's probably never been an easier time to start out a business with very little capital than there is today just because of social media and the ability to kind of leverage slices of other things. I mean, you don't need to have an IT team anymore. You can just kind of slice off part of someone else's and do development that way.

So for me, one of the most critical pieces is one is that you don't necessarily need the money. And then the second and kind of related to that there's a discipline to bootstrapping that I think is really, really important. Because there's always going to be things you want as an entrepreneur. But being forced to pick the thing that is actually going to put the most power to the back wheels of your business is much more critical than just having a bunch of cash in your account so that you can go out and indulge your whims.

Because by having those constraints, that discipline does force you to think harder about how you do things. And very often you come up with better ideas, at least in my opinion, by having less access to capital by bootstrapping.

And I've seen plenty of companies and I've worked in companies that were funded and watched people just clip through money doing the dumbest things. But it's not their money. And as long as they hit certain targets they keep getting funding. But you can just see like a train headed towards a cliff.

And from my perspective, when I've worked in companies that were funded and undisciplined, inevitably they crashed and burned. I mean, you could just see it happening because they didn't have that discipline.

Doug: Yeah, and I guess, like you said, when you bring in somebody with capital, you've now got a new partner and you're the expert in your area and what you're wanting to develop, I'm assuming, as the entrepreneur. And now you've got a new partner that might not have that level of experience or understanding that's may want to have a lot of conversations with you on how you build and develop that business.

Tim: Right. Let's use Social Jukebox as an example because even though I have money from the sale of the first business, I used very little capital to start Social Jukebox. I mean, I did it as cheaply as I could. Because to be honest, as you know from the intro, I didn't even intend for it to be a business. I build the tool just to use for me. And then I found that people were much more interested in the tool than they were the business.

Okay, kind of fast forward. As things have progressed, I kind of saw that I could have taken a couple different roads here. And this may not apply to everybody but it certainly applied to me where I could put a lot more work in and I could probably make Social Jukebox a much bigger platform than it is. But there's a certain amount of work and a certain amount of commitment that's required to do that. And if I was funded, I'd almost have to. But because I'm not funded, as long as the business is cash flow positive and I'm happy with it, I can do whatever I want.

And that's a very big piece of freedom. To be able to make that decision without anybody going, “Well, what's the next level? Where are we going from here? How do we lever up to the next level?”

Doug: Yeah. I heard someone say, “What time do you check your email?” And I said, “Well, why?” “Well, I emailed you early in the morning and you didn't respond.” It's like, “Well, I was at the gym.” “Well, I don't know. People that I work with respond within five minutes.” It's like, “Then maybe we're not going to work together because in the mornings, I go to the gym. And when I'm in the gym, I shut my phone off.”

Tim: Right. The thing is when people look at funding, and it does solve problems. There's no question. Having more money will. To play the other side, back at Omega, which was a much bigger animal in terms of needing funding and having to get creative about raising money like through debt and other just expanding payables to make it through things.

So sometimes you were making suboptimal decisions because you were capital constrained. But when you're presented with funding, it's like the honeymoon, you know. And you see all the benefits you're going to get but you don't think about how much of your business you're giving up. And that if it ends up being worth a lot, how much that 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, whatever percent you give up, what's that going to be worth if you do make it? Because you'll be very sorry to have lost it.

And then exactly what you were just talking about. Having somebody who their idea of doing business is, “If I send you a message on WhatsApp, I'd like to hear back from you in the next five minutes.”

Doug: Yeah.

Tim: Look, there's people who live like that and they think it's awesome. I'm not one of them either. So, you know, to me the whole point of being successful includes having a life that you enjoy.

Doug: Yep. I totally agree. You know, I've been on both sides. So we've been in companies where we bootstrapped and had no money to launch businesses. We've been in other businesses where there's been a bunch of money show up through private equity and the goal eventually is to go public.

Now we're at a different place in our business where we're going, “Hey, we'd rather work for equity than always work for cash because there's more upside for us.”

Tim: Sure. Well, and it is that blend, too, though. It's making the decision of what do you want out of it. And I think that's one of the important pieces about how you fund. People probably just look at what are my capital requirements. But sometimes you can get creative and start with less.

But figuring out beyond just the capital. Like what other things are you willing to give up? Are you really willing to give up that percent of your business? Are you really willing to have somebody as a partner who's going to view you as you're basically, in their mind, an ATM? And if the ATM stops working, they're going to try to find a way to take it apart and make it start working again. And that may include removing you as a component of it.

Doug: Yeah. I've seen that before where the CEO or the founder started and they put them in a sandbox. And it's not that he's not, in this case, wasn't a particularly bright guy. It's that he was a bright buy at development but he wasn't the right guy to go talk to the financing guys and take the business to the next level because it was beyond his skill set. So you bring in a CEO who can go do that.

Tim: Right. And it's funny because that's not necessarily a bad thing but it's another point of kind of self-knowledge. Like to really be able to think through, if that day comes and you're not the person, will you really be able to handle it? Do you have the ability and can you kind of pushback your ego enough to accept that because you may hang on to the same amount of equity and they may be dead right that you've reached your maximum potential in terms of taking the business forward.

But one of the problems I saw when I was growing Omega is having people in positions as we grew and they couldn't grow into the next iteration of their position. And that was fine as long as they were cognizant of it.

Doug: Yeah.

Tim: But if they weren't cognizant of it, then it was a very difficult conversation that I had to have with them.

Doug: Fair enough. And I think you're right. I mean, that's what I was thinking right away. It was ego. I've watched guys walk away from situations that were good for them because they wanted to have the CEO title. I said, “Dude, it's going to be like $100 million company. Have a business card that says, janitor. Who cares who the CEO is? Do what you do, and let the business evolve, and bring in a team that's smarter than you.”

Tim: Yeah. If your parking spot says janitor but you're pulling in in a Ferrari, does it really matter?

Doug: No. A little less responsibility. You can walk through the lobby and you won't have 100 people want to come up and talk to you.

Tim: Amen. But it's funny how that works. And I do think there's probably an element of that in the funding thing. And maybe something worth touching on is kind of I think there's a certain amount of mythology promoted through the media that funding is the kind of ultimate validation of your idea. When in reality the best businesses are so quick to validate with their consumer base that they never need capital.

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There's probably never been an easier time to start out a business with very little capital than there is today

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Doug: Yeah. Well, that's the downside I think sometimes. If you've got a bunch of funding, you may be a long way from validating or a proof of concept because you've got enough money to keep plugging along. And the reality of the fact the marketplace doesn't want what you're selling, it's going to take you longer to figure that out.

But when I start my business and you need to make rent or make your mortgage payment at the end of the month, you need to sell some stuff. If the market is saying, “No, I don't want it,” you're going to change pretty darn quick.

Tim: That's such an awesome point. And I have seen that happen. In particular, if you have an engineer run kind of tech business. You know, just a few more screws over here and a little more tweaking. When the reality is kind of getting … I know this is kind of standard conceptual stuff now … but getting that MVP. Like just putting something out in the market.

When Social Jukebox went out the first time, our interface was horrible. I mean, it was an interface only a mother could love. It was so, so bad. It looked like an old DOS based program or something. But for the people I was showing it to, they knew what it did and they wanted what it did. They didn't care that much about it that it looked pretty. And they were happy with how it functioned.

We re-skinned it, of course. We could have said, “What we really need is something better looking.” I was like, “Well, it does what it's supposed to do. Let's find some people who are perhaps a little bit less sensitive to the cosmetics and at least get it out there and see how they think it performs. We can always make the aesthetics better.”

But there is. When you have money, there's that temptation of, “Well, you know, let's make it really, really pretty before we go out.” And the reality is I think it's because as entrepreneurs sometimes we think product release day the world's going to be captivated by what you've done.

Doug: Yeah. That's funny.

Tim: And you wish that were true. You wish when you released your product that everyone would see it. But the reality is you release your product and maybe your mom goes on the site. Yeah?

Doug: Yeah. That's funny because I've heard people say, “Well, you know, I don't really want to roll my market out there because we're going to have so much business we can't handle it.” I'm like, “Trust me I've been doing this for a long time. That doesn't happen very often. You can feel pretty safe that this launch is not going to bring down your servers.”

Tim: Well, and you know what. If you're so successful you crash your servers due to volume, that is one of the most awesome problems you could ever have. Talk about being able to raise money easily if you needed it.

Telling people, “Demand is so high, we're having difficulty scaling our server size,” which isn't really something that even is true today. But if you had that kind of problem, the number of people willing to fund your business is virtually infinite.

Doug: Sure. Phone your VCs and say, “Amazon called. They said I'm slowing down their servers. I need to do something better.”

Tim: Yeah. “They can't serve Netflix properly anymore because we're taking up too much bandwidth.”

Doug: Absolutely. So how do you keep that work-life balance because one of the other things that you focus on is that hustle's a myth. And we hear lots of guys saying, “Hustle, hustle, hustle.” And I think that when you're building your business, whether you're bootstrapping or working with VC guys, there's a time to hustle. I say it's in seasons. You have seasons of your life. So, how do you manage that balance?

Tim: Well, I think there are two pieces to this. One is for me to just admit upfront that by having an equity event earlier in life, my needs are smaller. Although Social Jukebox pays expenses and banks money for me. So I don't even have to touch anything I made from Omega way back when.

And I think there are two pieces to it. One is that perhaps part of this is my age. That I want to do well, but I'm not willing to kind of sell my soul anymore. Because let's say that by working 80-hour weeks for the next two years I could make a billion dollars. I really don't care because there's nothing having a billion dollars would change in my life that really means much to me.

Doug: Yeah.

Tim: I don't want a big boat. I don't want a house with 100 rooms. I don't care about that stuff. It's not going to make me happy. For some people, it would be awesome and they would love to have it.

To me, that's the first step of answering your question because that stuff doesn't have value. What does have value for me is being able to get to the gym. And being able to be in a reasonably good condition so that, knock on wood, hopefully, I'll be able to hang out with my grandkids and do stuff like that, which is probably more important than having a nice car.

I can already afford a nice car but, anyhow, I think you know what I mean.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely.

Tim: So, that, to me, is part of it. But when I talked about the hustle myth, part of it is the work-life balance. But also part of it is that I think hustle in a way it's a little bit like funding. Like, ‘I'm going to work 100 hours a week.” Maybe you don't need to work 100 hours a week. Maybe you just need to take a little bit more time and think about how your working.

I mean, that might sound like the age-old work smarter, not harder. But in a certain sense, it's true. And I think if you're just throwing time at your project, you may be being massively inefficient. And I think it's a risk because I think just being hyper-busy can be an excuse for sloppiness and not working more diligently on your actual business.

My favorite example of this is when the iPhone took over the cell market, I don't think the guys in Finland at Nokia were all taking a nap. I'm sure they were working.

Doug: Yeah.

Tim: And I don't think it was because Jobs had a hammock strung up in his office. They had more clearly identified the key points which would be important for the user. And that wasn't a matter of more hours. That was a matter of more insight.

And I think that's a real critical distinction because I think hustle gets a lot of play. And I'm not saying it's not necessary to a certain extent. But I think, like I say, just throwing your time at something if it takes that much of your time, you could argue that maybe there's a problem with the idea.

Doug: Yeah. Fair enough. And, like you said, there are things you can do that, I would say that leverage your time. We talked before we got on the podcast today, and you said, “Hey, I just came from the gym. And people would say to me, “Well, how do you have time to go to the gym if you're running a business?” I said, “Well if I don't go to the gym based on past history, I may get sick and not be able to run the business at all. And I find I'm more productive, and I think more clearly, I have more energy so I get more work done in less time.”

So there's an example of obviously something that you've figured out and something that I've figured out that helps me to be better at what I do.

Tim: Yeah. Amen to that. It's interesting. I spent five years living in Sweden. And I've got to give full credit to Swedes. When I first got there I made fun of it because I was doing some construction projects. And Swedes love to stare at the plans.

We're going over and we're looking at the plans, and we're looking at the plans, and we're looking at the plans, and we're talking about stuff. And my initial impression of this, being honest, was, “This is a waste of time.”

Now, fast forward having experienced it a bit and having done projects like this in the U.S. and elsewhere, the real benefit to that approach is they don't do anything more than once. They make sure that the first time they do it, it will be exactly right. And then they take the next step.

So, it looks like, initially, there's too much time going into the process. But it's so methodical that the yield is actually massively high because there is no rework. There are no, “Oh, we didn't think about that. Now we have to …” And that happens on some projects where people just do stuff and they're like, “Oh my god, we didn't think about that.” And they have to tear it apart again.

Doug: Yep.

Tim: And I think there's something to be said for that approach whereby being methodical and not necessarily equating motion as progress because sometimes motion is just motion. You know? It can just be a chaotic motion. What matters is forward progress.

And so by that measure when I compared the Swedish approach to some others, when they take a step it's forward. Now, they make take fewer steps, but they're never expending energy on ones that aren't moving them in the direction they intended.

So it's interesting.

Doug: Yeah, it is. Because I've been on both sides where we plan, and we plan, and we plan, and we don't launch, or we delay a launch because we want everything to be perfect. And, like you said with Social Jukebox, the interface wasn't great but you got it out there and people appreciated it, and it solved a problem for them. And then you can go back and clean up the interface.

And then I've seen other times in business where you're running around and if you just stop running, you'll find out you're going in the wrong direction.

Tim: Right. Well, and I guess that was kind of my overall point. I'm all about taking action. But I think, with regard to hustle, taking actions that actually move you forward. Because sometimes it's like, I don't know, I just think about the fire drill thing where people are running around the car. Keystone cops kind of thing.

Doug: Yep.

Tim: Hey, we're all busy. Well, good for you.

Doug: Yeah, but are you productive. And I say that often. And I use my business as an example. That often people will spend time doing marketing and doing social media. And that's really just a way of procrastinating doing what's really important which is talking to a customer, and at some point asking them to sign a contract, or asking them for their Visa card. So we're busy being busy but we're not doing what we should be doing to serve our customers and grow our business.

Tim: Right. And I think that includes, not only doing the stuff, but kind of taking a step back periodically and examining is there a way to drill down into what you're doing and see if there are nuances that you can exploit.

I mean, forget about the spending you put into the market. There's only a certain number of times you'll get in front of a customer. So if you can find a message that resonates better, that can be really, really important. Like identifying what problem you're really solving for your client.

You probably know this story about the McDonald's milkshake. They were selling all milkshakes in the morning. Do you know this?

Doug: No, I don't. Go ahead. Share.

Tim: So, they discovered it seemed like they were selling an awful lot of milkshakes in the morning. And they were trying to get their head around it. And what they ultimately found out was it wasn't just a lot of people with a sweet tooth. It was people that were really in a hurry. And by doing some research, they found that people were coming in and buying the milkshake because they wanted something at least kind of quasi-nutritious. Like because dairy's got some protein and everything in it. And that they wouldn't eat in just like one gulp.

So they would have the milkshake on their way to work. So by identifying what problem they were solving for their customer, they were able to make some modifications to the milkshake to make it an even better product for the customer. And doing that, of course, increases sales and increases loyalty and things like that.

So there's marketing embedded in that insight. And I think that is kind of a great example of, you're doing stuff but if you take the time to kind of drill down and get that better understanding, like you said, like talking to a customer, you may identify things about what you're doing that allow you to, you know, add 50% on your ROI per exposure on marketing just by having a little bit better insight as to how people actually view your product or service.

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There's probably never been an easier time to start out a business with very little capital than there is today

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Doug: Absolutely. Totally makes sense.

I'd like to shift gears and talk about the product and the service that you offer marketers that are looking to leverage their time. We spent a lot of time on social media, so if you don't mind shifting gears, do you want to walk us through like a high level of what is Social Jukebox? Why do people use it? And how is it going to make our life better?

Tim: I mean, what it does is it saves you a ton of time with regard to sending out your content because it automates it. And so, what you do is, let's say you're setting it up for a Twitter account. You would go in and each jukebox is a database basically, and typically, people put a different kind of content into each jukebox. So you might have one jukebox that's blog posts, you might have another jukebox that's podcasts, you might have another jukebox that is your favorite photographs, et cetera.

And then you go into the scheduling system and you kind of set your media schedule. So it's sharing different aspects of whatever it is that your content's driven around. You create your media schedule including things like, let's say you had a Christmas jukebox. Well, you can go in and set up the jukebox to start posting on Black Friday and stop on December 25th.

So you can really create kind of a media calendar in the system and be planning your content and have a single repository for your content, as opposed to if you're doing kind of an upload and then go back and reload, go back and reload.

First, you have the process of reloading, which is time-consuming. And then secondly, you're going to have to manage that content somewhere else and then identify when is the last time you sent it out.

So it's doing a couple things. One, it's automatically sending your content out according to a schedule you set up, which is a huge time-saving. And then secondly, it's also keeping track of when things went out so that it's rotating them so that a particular post or whatever doesn't get overexposed.

Doug: Absolutely. Which makes sense. Automation, whenever you can, makes sense because, like you said, we're all busy. And I like the feature like you have given the example of for Christmas because we often sit down with people and say, “Okay, show me a calendar. When you're busy when you're not busy. All the events that happen in your world that you can leverage and put them into a calendar.” So this gives you an opportunity to build all this stuff well in advance of not phoning on Friday night saying, “Oh, it's such and such on Monday. Can we get some content put together?”

Tim: Well, and another example is. I know, like with my own Twitter account. For whatever reason, I was promoting a book so I started out doing quotes because it seemed like an easy way to get traction and kind of build an audience. And I've kept that up. I mean, I still post a lot of quotes and things like that. Like a kind of motivational, inspirational stuff.

And there are hashtags that are popular. And this applies whether you're a blogger, or a podcaster, or a leadership person. It doesn't matter. There are hashtags that are kind of near and dear to each one of those particular niches.

But in mine, there's Wednesday Wisdom, Thursday Thoughts, Friday Feeling, Monday Motivation. These hashtags trend on Twitter every single week. So I don't go in and do anything. I have a jukebox that starts on Monday morning and starts posting Monday Motivation posts from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. And at the end of Monday, it stops.

And then at the beginning of Tuesday, Tuesday Thoughts or Tuesday Motivation. Because I have a couple of different jukeboxes, one for each of those. And so it'll start posting. But to your point, it's all planned in advance.

If a new hashtag starts trending, and there's a feature in Social Jukebox where you can add a hashtag to every post in a particular jukebox. So it's super easy to go in and say, “Oh, I have this content but I'd like to kind of leverage it because there's a hashtag that's trending that's related to my field.” So you could just erase the one that's in there, put the new one in, save it and every post that goes out will have the new jukebox.

So you can be flexible and react if you need to. But in general, it allows you to plan in advance and kind of just be ahead of the curve that way.

Doug: That's really a sweet tool. I didn't know that feature was there. That's really cool.

Tim: Well, I'm lazy. Before we started recording, you asked me what my superpower was. My superpower is that I'm very lazy so I'm always trying to think of easier ways to do things.

Doug: Well, and I don't know if that's lazy. I tell people when I'm trying to grow their business, who are the people who you like to work with, who pay you quickly, who are profitable customers. Let's not go after the wrong guys. Let's just make it really easy. So I don't think there's anything wrong with automating.

That guy that we talked about when we first started, Tom Schwab, who I had a chance to meet at an event. And we talked about automation and people building systems for the business. And he often gives people that push back and says, “Oh, you don't understand my business. You can't systematize my business. Or you can't systematize my marketing.” He said, “For the Navy, I ran a nuclear plant. If we can automate and we can systematize a nuclear plant, we can automate and systematize your business and your marketing.”

Tim: Hey, when I ran Omega, the way our IT was set up was to make sure that certain things happened on every investigation because you can trace back to the success of an investigation. It's a set series of facts that you need to know about a subject before you can even go because we did surveillance.

So we needed to know certain things before we even tried to go do that. And if hadn't had the process, then it's a little bit more like pin the tail on the donkey.

But by having a process, to your point, and automating these things so that a case couldn't even be scheduled for surveillance until you knew certain things about the subject. That improved the performance of the field investigators because they were never sent out with incomplete information.

Doug: Sure. Totally makes sense. Yeah, I get that.

Tim: But it's remarkable how many people would say, “Well, this isn't a business,” like you just said. “Well, it doesn't work like that.” Yeah, you may not have thought it through that way. But that doesn't mean that it's not possible. It just takes the time to break it down and identify the two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun that go into whatever your business makes.

Doug: Yeah. There you go. There's an example of good marketing. You quoted that and I immediately smiled remembering years ago when I was younger everybody walking around with that jingle from McDonald's, right?

Tim: Sure.

Doug: So how does the Mentions database work? I've not seen anything like this before in the social media space. And so, these days we're interested in tracking our brands and what people are saying about us and make sure that we're responding to people's comments and engagement about our brands.

Tim: The idea there is to know. It's not just to say, “Wow, we're getting a lot of engagement on this post.” Like, okay great. By who? Because I think that's probably even more critical than just knowing that lots of people liked it.

So you can see both by volume and by reach. So by volume would be maybe you have somebody who reTweets everything you post. So by volume, their interaction with you would be super high. But maybe they only have 500 followers. So their reach would be much lower than perhaps if you got reTweeted by Kim Kardashian or something who's got millions and millions of followers. She could do one and probably have more reach than all the other people combined.

But it's a way to examine those and look at who's interacting with your feed so that you can get an idea of … because there are people that you can reach out to. You can either, “Hey, thanks for sharing my stuff.” And kind of create a conversation around things. Because sometimes the mention isn't something that you can even respond to. Sometimes it's a reTweet. But knowing about it by looking at that gives you an opportunity to say, “Hey, thanks for sharing my post.” Because otherwise, you might just go, “Wow, that post did really well.” But otherwise, you'd have to go back through and kind of drill down into the post to know why it did well.

My most popular post ever, which got nearly a million impressions, was because Ricky Gervais reTweeted it. But I knew that from the Mentions. But otherwise, I would have had to kind of drill down and figure out what happened. I was like, “Whoa, people really loved that post.”

But it wasn't just generic people loved it. It was one pretty famous person that loved it and shared it, and as a result, I got a lot of impressions.

Doug: Well, that's interesting because I often talk about getting relationships off of social or off of online to have a conversation like we're having now, and obviously that gives you a way to do that.

And what I've seen in my own experience is that there are people that become evangelists for your brand. For whatever reason, they like what you're producing, or they like what you're putting out on your social platforms or blogging about. And you get a lot of leverage by taking a minute and reaching out and having a conversation with them. And if you don't know who they are, you're missing an opportunity for somebody who's out there on your behalf advertising and promoting your brand who may stop doing that at some point if they don't have any response from you. And may increase that if you take some time and have a conversation with them.

Tim: Absolutely. And I have a few big accounts that have shared my stuff before. Like Paulo Coelho, the author. And Pitbull, and Gordon Ramsay and some people like that. And I haven't gotten a response but I always take the time to reach out and say, “Hey, I really appreciate you sharing my post.” Whatever.

I haven't gotten a response like I say. They've shared it, I've said thank you. Some people would say, “Well, your voice is lost in the wind.” Maybe not. Because I know with some of them it's happened again. And, to your point, I think maybe because I've acknowledged it, been kind of happy about it and shared that. And maybe it will be something more.

I mean, I don't want to badger someone like that just because I know they probably get hammered. I mean, the Mention stream on someone famous' account on Twitter must be insane.

Doug: Yep.

Tim: But I feel it incumbent on me to at least, like you say, reach out and keep those conversations going with the people who are advocating on my behalf. Because just because they don't respond the first time I try to initiate a conversation. I stay in the background and a lot of times if someone shares something of mine, I try to find some of their stuff and put it into a jukebox in Social Jukebox and share it periodically to kind of give back a little something and keep me in their mind.

And I usually put an ad mention in there just to make sure they notice it. But that's my technique. And it has been, with many people, pretty successful at getting them to notice what I'm doing and keep them sharing my stuff. So it's working.

So that's the Mentions thing.

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[just click to tweet]


There's probably never been an easier time to start out a business with very little capital than there is today

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Doug: And it's a simple approach. So we're not talking about anything that everybody listening to the podcast couldn't go and implement. You don't need a tech team to do this. You could just simply set it up, and with a little bit of planning, pay attention and execute that strategy.

Tim: Absolutely. And I think, for all the things we've talked about, the automation and everything else, at the core every transaction is, for the most part, one organization, one organization, or one person and one person.

You could back to some Middle Eastern market 3,000 years ago and a guy buying spice from a particular guy because the guy's always friendly and let him sample stuff, and maybe take some home for his wife to try, and he develops a relationship so the guy always buys his spice from that guy.

There's a lot of cosmetics and a lot of maybe process and automation that's changed. But at the core, we're still doing the same thing.

Doug: Yep. Absolutely. So what's one big myth that you hear that people constantly share about business? Whether it's marketing business or funding that you want to leave with our audience.

Tim: I think there's a lot. One that we haven't talked about would be that you need to come up with a really big idea. I mean, Omega. There were a million surveillance companies, literally, when I started Omega. There was a zillion people doing the same thing. So there was nothing new about the idea.

But I understood business, and IT, and some other things so we out-executed the other people in that space. So before you fall in love with the idea that somehow you're going to go onto some magical mountaintop and come up with this crystallization of this mystical idea that's going to transform society.

If you can just figure out a way to find people that'll do plumbing and show up at people's houses on time and not leave the house dirty when they leave. Little stuff like that. People make a mint off basic businesses that have been validated for years by just executing in a better way.

And one of the best examples of that is Richard Branson. Branson doesn't necessarily do new stuff. He does old fashion stuff with a friendly, happy, well-executed vibe.

Doug: That's funny. Yeah, I tell people that we do business with people that we like and trust.

Tim: Sure.

Doug: So you know I want to deal with a friendly guy. So if your product is the same and, like you said in the plumber example, if you're going to come in and leave your boots on and trapes through my house, I'm not going to be happy, give you a good review, or call you back.

Tim: Right. I marvel. I'm dealing with something right now. And I'm going to name him, I hope you don't mind.

Doug: Go ahead.

Tim: But I'm dealing with British Airways about something.

Doug: Yep.

Tim: This is over the course of a month. They made a mistake and I've asked them to fix it. And they keep telling me, “It'll just be five days.” And then five days will go by and I'm like, “Hey, it hasn't happened.” And we keep going back and forth.

And I haven't quite identified the core problem. But I think somewhere on the other side of the organization is a marketing person like, “How can we get more customers?” It's like, “I've got an idea. How about taking care of the people who decided to be your customer from the beginning, and just executing on the promises you've already made.” It doesn't have to be difficult. But I think sometimes organizations become so big and so kind of tone deaf to actually what they're trying to get done. They are a less obvious version of the plumber leaving his dirty shoes on.

Doug: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. That's a funny example. And I think that a lot of times that happens because businesses are siloed. So like you said, marketing's on one side saying, “Hey, we've got to develop this new program to get new customers.” And when I've spoken to crowds, I've often said, “Hey, who's heard of the old saying that it costs 10 times more to get a new customer than to keep an old one?” And just about 100% of the audience puts their hands up.

And I said, “So, okay. So if we're talking about your marketing budget, and your marketing budget's $100, how much are you spending on retention versus new acquisition?” And that's where the crowd goes the other direction. They're spending $100 on acquisition and zero on retention. But 30 seconds earlier they said that they understood the principle that it cost more to get a new customer than to keep an old one.

So there's a perfect example of what you're dealing with British Airways. Going, “Hey, I'm a customer. I'm already giving you money. I've been giving you money. If you just serve me, you'll get more people like me that will stay.”

Tim: Well, and I'm going to give you a great example of this with Social Jukebox. And this is kind of like a little pet thing of mine.

I don't have a support department. I do all the support myself. I don't have a particularly large volume of support. But to me, here's one of the interesting things. If you decide because you have an IT company that you need a support department, if you mandate people to give support, they will figure out a way to deliver support in an efficient manner. And that's awesome.

But if you're the entrepreneur, what you really want is a product that you keep developing in such a way that it doesn't require support so that you don't need that department.

But the support department, once it's created, isn't going to find a way to mandate itself out of existence. So you have to be careful, like you said, about creating these silos because the silos will never commit suicide. Once you create a department, they're not going to go, “You know what. We should really go into the president's office and tell him we're not needed.”

Doug: Yeah. The product is so good, no one's calling us anymore.

Tim: Exactly. When is that ever going to happen? When is a support department going to, “You know, we've thought long and hard about it? And if you guys just changed a few things about this program, you really wouldn't need us.”

Doug: Okay. There are a few brands that are coming to mind but I'm not going to pick on them today.

Tim: Fair enough.

Doug: That's good. Okay, let's just leave it at that.

So if people want to track you down, hunt you down aside from trying to reach out to you through the support desk, what's the best way for people to find you?

Tim: Most of my time on social media is spent on Twitter and I'm @tim_fargo is my handle on Twitter. And you can actually reach me via email at the help desk, which is [email protected] I answer all those emails. It's not a VA or anything else. And if you have a question, fire away about whatever and I may or may not know the answer. If I do, I'll answer, and if I don't, I'll try to find someone who does.

But those are probably the two easiest ways to reach me.

Doug: That's really cool. It's funny in a day where everybody else is off on the newest social media, it's always to talk to someone who's still active on social, active Twitter and has an email address that they're willing to share.

Tim: Well, I mean, ultimately like we said, I'm not necessarily in it to have a gargantuan unicorn or something. I'm happy to have a lot of clients that are very happy with what we're doing, and most of them I hear from very rarely. I send out periodic emails and stuff like that.

One of the intrinsic rewards for me in my business is actually dealing with people directly. I wouldn't want to go to twisting dials and talking about the user base as some kind of conceptual idea rather than an actual group of people that I know.

Doug: Well, that's really cool that people can reach you at that level in your company.

So who's one guest based on your experience in what we're doing that you think we should have on our show?

Tim: Wow.

Doug: Yeah, I should have warned you. That's always the stumper question.

Tim: You know, a guy that I really, really like … and he's a fellow podcaster … is Andrew Warner that does Mixergy.

Doug: Okay, yep.

Tim: He's a really cool guy and he's not just a podcaster. Like you, he's actually done … because some people are a social media presence and they talk about things kind of conceptually but I don't know how many of them have actually done it. But Andrew has actually had a successful business and now spends time interviewing other people.

And he's got a great head for process, and business, and stuff like that. I think he'd make a great guest. He's a cool guy and I really like him.

Doug: Well, that's awesome. Yeah, I've got a sign from the movie Forrest Gump that says, “You can tell a lot about a man by his shoes.” And so for a long time, I wouldn't go talk about social media because I was tired of listening to people talk about social media and then realizing that they didn't have a presence. “I'm a LinkedIn expert.” It's like, “Dude, you have 400 people you're connected with. How does that make you an expert.”

But we won't pick on him. It helped drive me to build my following just to see if I could do it.

So, thanks. I really appreciate you taking the time today. It's great to connect with a fellow entrepreneur, social media, marketing guy, technology guy. Someone who's done some work in the VC space, and a fellow guy who appreciates the importance of staying fit, getting out to the gym and picking up some heavy things and moving them around.

Tim: Doug, actually it's been a pleasure. The times just like flown by.

Doug: Well, thanks again, listeners for tuning in. We hope that you find some good value here. I've got a ton of information and a page of notes and stuff to follow up with.

I just want to again direct you to Tim's pages. We'll make sure that we transcribe the notes. We'll put the links in there for his social media sites and also Social Jukebox and I'll link to his book as well.

So, thanks again for tuning in. We look forward to serving you in our next episode.

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[just click to tweet]


There's probably never been an easier time to start out a business with very little capital than there is today

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Get in touch with Tim:

Email – [email protected]

Web – Social JukeBox

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