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120. Growing a B2B Business in 2021 With Top SMB Expert Michael Haynes

by Brett Trainor
September 14th 2021

Are you having trouble adapting your B2B business strategies to today’s disruptive world? If you answered yes, this episode is for you.

Leading SMB Growth Expert Michael Haynes join... More

Welcome back to another episode of the BdB 0 to 10 podcast where we focus on helping BdB businesses grow from 0 to 10 million. This is a chauffeur, Ceo startup founders, business owners and even folks thinking about starting a business. The podcast is the intersection of strategies, tactics, trends and even a little inspiration, but all focused on that 0 to 10 growth journey. I'm your host bret trainer in this episode. I welcome Michael Haynes to the podcast for the third time. Michael is a leader in the Smb growth space based out of Australia. We cover the current state of B two B and how to efficiently grow a business in 2021. We touch on sales and marketing alignment, digital and sales and marketing strategies, thinking bigger to drive growth, the role of automation and outsourcing appliances, referral engines and the rise of M and A deals in the Smb space plus a whole lot more. This is a fast paced and wide ranging conversation and I think you'll really enjoy this one at the end. Please make sure you visit our website. We can find the show notes plus the links mentioned with my interview with Michael.

If you do enjoy this podcast, please do subscribe to Spotify Itunes, check it out on the website. So you're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Now, let's get the interview started. Mm mm Yeah. Mhm Yeah. Hey, Michael, Welcome back to the podcast. Thanks for having me back on the show. It's great to be here again and this time you might have the distinct pleasure of being a guest that was on the hardware for growth podcast, the BDB founder podcast and now the 0 to 10 podcast all the same podcast. But as we pivot and grow and I do believe, I know you're the first three peat for me has a guest on the podcast and I believe you were on each of those segments. So it's great to have you back And we had great discussions on each one. So looking forward to round three today slash this evening tonight. Yeah people, if you see the video you can see darkness is descending here in Chicago or in Australia that the day is just beginning. So, so I love the global aspect of this.

So anyway, Michael in case folks may have not heard you the first or second time, which all encourage them to go back and we'll link that into the show notes, just a little bit of background on yourself and what you're working on today and Wolf will kick off so sure. So for folks that don't know me, Michael Haynes, I'm an sMB business growth specialists. So focused on working with small and medium sized organizations, particularly service based organization. So your financial services, I. T telco transportation helping those senior those, those organizations of senior leaders in those organizations, how they acquire and retain business clients. So very much focusing solely in your world, our world Brett of B to B. So that's really has been and continues to be my sole area of focus because I truly believe that BTB presents massive opportunities for SMB folks, even in these crazy new times that we're in, it's still, if you understand how to navigate the landscape, it's a great opportunity on how you can build and take your business, afford and build that impact and growth that you're seeking. So continuing to work around that.

But I've done a few pivots myself in terms of how I'm trying to deliver to that in conjunction with the needs, what I've been seeing particular over the past 18 months. Yeah, I think we've all pivoted and had to reimagine the way we do certain things and then quite honestly, if I had listened to you earlier or our discussions because you know, I was heavily focused or exclusive on kind of the B two B founders and startups, you were more heavily focused on the SMB and the small businesses. But as I've shared in the, in the podcast, you know what I found is actually talking to the listeners right? Most of them weren't founders of start ups, right? It was small businesses, it was people thinking about starting business, they had a side hustle and so I'm like, it's crazy that I'm not the strategy, I think everything we talk about is going to be the same, but the one benefit of a ongoing business, They've already got customers, they've got revenue and they share a lot of the same problems. So that was a compliment back to you that said, hey, you know what, I'm not gonna do the S and be spaced out at the beginning. But you know what we all learn, grow and say, you know what I'm working on, what you're working on applies into that world.

So so Brett sell about listening right? And we constantly have to be changing. And as the circumstances change when I was first on your podcast, startup World did present a lot of need and seems like a lot of attractive opportunities. But over the past 18 months it has become clear to me in terms of the markets and clients who have been dealing with that. There's a lot of opportunity and needs based on what's happening with S. M. B. S. And those that are looking to enter the SMB world. So it's always something that's changing and involving. We're all happy to our listening and responding accordingly. Yeah, no 100%. So I had to throw that out because you've been in that the S&B. And leading that charge for a long time. So I'm officially saying I'm joining you in that that pursuit in the question Any B two B company That's trying to get to 10 million, you're all welcome on this boat. Let's let's go figure this out. So what you didn't mention is also an author speaker. You also host a number of masterminds. So what kind of touched on that a little bit later. But I love right since the last time I think we were mid pandemic.

Maybe it's I mean it seems like Groundhog Day, but you know I'd love to just hear from you, you know, what's what's top of mind for you guys? Right, are you right now based on I know the lockdown soup still super heavy but what are you seeing in the B two B space? What's like said what's top of mind for you right now? Great question bret. So as you know, so I work with clients globally, doing a lot of work with sMB s across Australia Canada and the US are some of the three markets that I've been dealing with, some very similarities. So despite a lot of the volatility uncertainty, there are a lot of sMB s that are looking to really build to really grow the business to take the business to the next level and to really move forward. And so a big question often I am getting a lot of SNB leaders is really how to grow the business. So what's the best way in which they should be doing? So really trying to gain an understanding about that that's something they've been grappling with Brett, another area that I've been seeing is is in terms of understanding and really managing business customer buyer expectations because bar behavior has an expectations has changed quite a bit from what I've been seeing and that has been a bit of an area of frustration because I think with the pandemic there was a lot of a lot of content was being thrown out there.

A lot of what I call content vomit. A lot of content was being being thrown out there and as a result a lot of decision makers, business virus are kind of overwhelmed. I know I've talked to some Smb ceos like linkedin, they're like Michael, I don't want to know it, I don't have time for it because they're just getting inundated with so much content which a it's all coming from reputable sources, but they can't make sense of what's going on so often it's overwhelming and confusing. So there's been a tendency to step back because what they're really looking for is to kind of get that road mapping and sense of how to move forward, what do I need to do to move forward and to be able to do so despite all the volatility and uncertainty because we don't want to wait or we can't wait. So that how to grow, how to move forward is a really big question and getting some clarity and some guidance how to do so is what I've been seeing from talking to sMB leaders and then some of the research by the likes of Gardner, for example has really confirmed that whole need for what what they call sense making and road mapping. So I've been hearing it qualitatively from interacting with smb leaders.

But then some of the research why some of those big firms has really confirmed where they've done the in depth studies has confirmed that that's really what business buyers are really looking for right now in this environment. Yeah, I'm hearing a lot of the same things. That's right, it's growth. And one thing I want to get your perspective on is I still go down the rabbit hole with people on linkedin about you know sales and who's in charge and is it marketing. And I've got a very specific viewpoint on that and I know you've been more focused on the S and B. So I love to hear what's your take, you know, sales, marketing alignment, immigration one or the other. Okay, so actually this is where I think I took a page out of your book from my very first podcast discussion when you talked about the notion of bringing sales and marketing together and the notion of revenue operations, there is a real big shift towards that is really what is needed now in this environment, given how business barbie bars as you well know now are doing a lot of their own self research, what I call lurking in the dark.

So they're doing a lot of their their own research now and as a result they're doing their own research. So they don't really want to talk to sales until much later along. I just saw a study by demand base and they talked about the percentage on the buyer's journey of how much done of that anonymous lurking in the dark research before they want to talk to people. So as a result, marketing and sales now need to work together. It's not about alignment, it needs really be around that collaboration working together to create that sense making and road mapping. So it's about helping when you're working with a client let's say it's a Nike firm and they're trying to move forward because they want to build a practice. It's connecting the dots from these different pieces of content and saying based on what's going on in your world, this is what all these webinars, what all these thought leaders are saying, it's kind of pulling that together saying what makes sense for that organization and how you move forward. So you need marketing and sales need to be working together to be creating the right kind of content So sales can have those kinds of meaningful strategic type of advisory discussions that requires collaboration working together.

So it's really to me it's essential now given the way buyers buy and what they're looking for that the two have to be working together because marketing true strategic marketing organizations as you well know, Brett would be doing that in depth analysis of understanding what I call listening to the market to the industries of customers to bring those insights to. They then be able to marry that up with what your sales teams are hearing and seeing from the client to bring that together to create the right kind of tools so that they can have those meaningful discussions, interactions giving the right kind of concept. So that collaboration interaction is critical now now and we're on the same page and I've I've gotten to the point and I know we've had this conversation the past that man if you're talking about sales and marketing alignment you've lost. If you're talking about just aligning, I mean just what the the ability of some of these smaller firms to embrace digital when I say digital it's creating the awareness, creating the good value based content that's helping customers solve problems. And you know when we look at at any given.3% of your target buying audience is in by now mode, that means you've got to be providing the feed or decide whatever you want to do for the future buyers that when they're ready you're there for them.

And if you're thinking about how do I line sales and marketing with goals And maybe if I might I I used to say you know what I'm on a mission to help fix that. But now I'm like, you know what I'm not, that's my opportunity because I'm going to take some of these smaller companies and say man if they're still using outbound sales to make outbound cold calls, we're coming after you because highly inefficient, highly ineffective and I'm no way diminishing or minimizing what good sales reps can do because there's absolutely a place for him. But if your growth strategy is time to cold outreach, you're not gonna you're not gonna get there, you're just not, there's you can't hire enough people and you can't get enough good reps to make that happen. And so I don't know what the future name of it is, right that it's the way I kind of I posted and I'll show up here in a minute but is you know, sales marketing. So I look at digital right? That sparked demand jin park branding and awareness and creating all that thing. And sales needs to be an execution arm of that strategy.

You have to be digital first unless you want to be a very small company Or your super targeted into, I only need 10 of these enterprise level customers and my business is set Different strategy. But if your price born and your product or service and most SMBS is under 50,000, if you're not leading with digital, you're not you're just not, it's not gonna work. I mean I fully agree with you, I do believe um I like that notion of revenue operations that that title, it's maybe not the most creative but it is about marketing and sales need to work together the role of a sales person really needs to be that of a you know strategic advisor and a consultant because it's not just about providing content. It is about providing the kind of the so what so what what does this mean? So this is what you're seeing in terms of trends in your industry and what's going on, what does that mean for the business and what do you need to do? So it's really about sales need to be taking that strategic view and saying what's the action plan?

What's the roadmap? How does that I. T. Solution or whatever service you're providing, how does that work? What needs to be done and how is it going to help them meet their objectives? So it really has to be that again since making roadmap thing has to have that that that advisory context in terms of your comment about digital I think everyone has to go digital now because people check you out. I'll give you 100% my own experiences as a you know I'm an smb I'm I'm in micro business. I've had speaking opportunities and some client opportunity to come up and it's like so how did you find me? I was in a conference for a global conference that I presented in february. Never heard of this person and this person approached me and I'm like so Stephanie, how did you find, well I've been watching your content for months, Michael. I'm like really funny I didn't see you pop up on who's doing my profile on linkedin. People will check you out and that's how opportunities come. And it's often where people, again, business buyers, even though I myself as a buyer, I will, you know, do my research online. We like to check you out.

And so you you don't really have a choice now because I think people don't wanna be bothered. They don't really want the cold call and being interrupted, especially in this environment where people are juggling working from home and all of that. So they'll do the research when they want, how they want and they'll seek you out when they're ready. So I don't really think there is really an option now, particularly in the B two B space, there's not an option now with your big or small, you have to have that digital presence so you can be found so people can do the research When and how when they want, so that you can be found otherwise, it's potentially missed this opportunity. one 100%. And even back when you were using sales people for that outreach, they weren't getting compensated on how well they were setting up the brand for future sales when they were ready, man, if that buyer wasn't ready by today, they're moving on and that's the over generalization blanket statement, but it's just not where the compensation was. So no, that's that's a really good point. I think that's that Advisor, the subject matter expert consultant, the facilitator is critical.

And so maybe that's what I've maybe articulated better than I did. They just need to reimagine the way this works and just don't think about it as a marketing, don't think about his sales. And I know you're a huge buyer centric guy to that says, hey, how do we align with the roles to what to buy your needs and when they need it and quit trying to pigeonhole you know what it is, You're gonna have different skill sets, you can have a facilitator that's maybe more junior role, helping people gather information down the journey, but then they really have specific questions of how your solution or your product is going to help them. They need to have that technical or more seasoned person to understand it. So I said maybe as long winded in my thing, but I think we're heading down the same path. We're heading down the right where I think we're definitely on on the same wavelength, but that's where things need to go. It's about marketing and sales, where they need to be working quite collaboratively together. So they need to be doing. Um I'm a big fan of the whole account based marketing, which I prefer to call, which Jeff Davis in your neck of the woods in Chicago who wrote the book strategy and I fully believe that is the correct term because it's an account based strategy because it's not people have a very siloed view of marketing and I think a very wrong view because it's about being cross functional it's account based approach and saying for these key accounts these clients what do we need to be providing in terms of it could be providing tools like you know case studies diagnostic tools that could be about doing workshops having briefing sessions which may involve people from products operations I.

T. Finance and bring those people together. So marketing and sales I think needs to be the lead to determine what needs to be delivered to those clients and really planning out how that's done what I'm seeing marketing having the understanding a lot of the analytics and insights to say what needs to be created and to drive that. And then sales folks need to be those strategic advisors and conduct those discussions again to really really work with those clients and prospects to take them along their journey and really show them what's the what's the plan what's roadmap how does it work? What comes what happens after the sale? How are you going to work with and how is this going to help us achieve our objectives and move forward? You've got to give that that that road map that plan that view of of the post purchase, what happened how you're going to work with them and what's gonna be the outcome. So it's very much but that all takes a lot of working together marketing and sales getting in, having virtual meetings, workshop discussion to work and plan all of that out. It has to be co collaboration and co creation.

This alignment is not good enough. They need to be working together. Yeah. And I think it's a good distinction you made there between I think the account based marketing when you're going after super targeted accounts and I guess where I fall on uh where a lot of companies are using, you know, sales and expensive salespeople is in those mid price deals in the SNB size deal, that's got to be all digital. You've got to be able to tell your story and sell Digitally and then have somebody there to help close the deal. But 100% agree if you're more in target and you're part of your you're offering goes into that those larger companies, you have to have it in also 100% agree with you on the post sale. How do we get to value? How do we get these folks the value? So I think it's more of a and really to your point, think through your strategy, what is that plan? Right, what does that road map look like? And if you're doing, you know, 10% or 20% of your businesses and enterprise, 80% mid market smb you need two different strategies. Those are just you can't it's not one and the same. Right, fully agree Brett.

But even for the for your mid market again it needs to be going back. You need to do your listening because yes, absolutely, you're not the level of servicing that you're going to have an enterprise, a big client facing time being in person on zoom when you're doing those very close interaction will be different than some of your mid market. But it still needs to you still need to make sure you have a strong understanding from a buyer perspective. So you know what exactly those digital tools, resources and I'm going to say interactions are going to be required because everyone is looking for now, particularly in this environment sense of community engagement with the ability to interact. That is something that is being required at all levels. And we need to be thinking as to how you can facilitate that engagement, that interaction to allow brainstorming collective ideas, sharing of ideas, perspectives. But what's the right tools and mechanisms to do do that Because that sense of community working together is something that has really come through that I'm seeing across B two B all be to be decision makers are looking for you, cure it at the large end with your Ceos and so forth.

But even in your mid market smaller organizations so it's understanding the needs and then how best to do so in a very practical, financially viable way. But making sure it's still buyer driven and you're not just throwing up content selfish at all it's content because that's not that's not good enough either. It still has to be in line with what buyers are truly looking for in seeking. Yeah, it's your point has changed, right? I mean the digital lists. So the digital meaning the research and telling the same story from digital to that the human conversations you better be talked and speaking the same language, sharing the same stories, you know, giving people the ability and you know, one of the things that I've kind of, I had a ha ha moment maybe beyond just including us and be into this whole the whole space is man, I just wasn't thinking big enough, right? Because I was thinking incremental changes, you've been doing business this way. This is where you go to market now. You got to get some more content and I think there is going to and I've been interviewed folks that are building, you know, 10 figure for companies with six people, right?

You're not doing that with a cadre of sales reps. So if you think about it from your business, how do I grow this thing as a direct to consumer? We know it's not direct to consumer but think bigger to your point that are you going to get nobody's in office phones anymore right. If you're cold calling it's going to be a buyer cellphone in Iowa never, ever, ever, ever take a cold color listen to your email or voicemail ever. And so again maybe I'm just thinking maybe we need to think bigger picture. I think some of these things are starting to unfold and I don't know it's a combination of thinking bigger. I think this is where innovation comes in and business innovation and that I believe heat of how you drive growth and I'm big on business innovation or you may want to call it cross business innovation but it's really by understanding in terms of your customers what they're looking for, what your markets, your customers are looking for, where are the opportunities across your organization which might be in terms of product, it could be in terms of the services are there opportunities for Youtube partner?

It's all alliance to joint ventures because those having those kinds of strategic relationships where you're partnering with another company. So let's say a marketing firm is partnering with an I. T. Firm to be able to provide a whole holistic Martek, everything from branding through your analytics by partnering, you know those kinds of strategic relationships can open up massive opportunities to get into larger sized clients getting into new markets, combinations thereof. Um you know introducing new marketing strategies. We're talking from an SMB point of view a lot of the marketing of what S. M. B. S do Brett is very tactical. You know they're not implementing account based strategies, they're not you doing things like micro influencer marketing strategy which is one strategy I believe every smb should be using in terms of finding out who are the go to in your world, who is presenting at your conference is who is right, Who are doing those podcasts and so forth. Where there are opportunities for you to co create for you to be involved to get access to their clients, their world to get the reaching credibility.

So you need to be innovating and thinking innovating across multiple dimensions of your business and aligned with buy or need customer Nate. That's the key. And most organizations and with proper SnB are still when they're thinking about innovation. They think either digital, you know, how do I go Digital And they they're tweaking just kind of at the fringes as far as I'm concerned, So let's go buy digital. Digital. That must have that to me is just kind of the cost of doing business hygiene factors term I was looking for. That's a hygiene factor. It's really thinking now more much more strategically, much more broadly beyond technology. How can we create the right kinds of offerings? We build new products and services, we do it ourselves do we established and collaborate with other parties. So it's about thinking far more strategically around co created even with your customers, I have a technology company who co created with one of their key grocery store clients to create a whole new I. T. Reporting analytic system which they sold to that retailer then they did some tweaks on it and then have rolled it out to other markets.

All right so the whole notion of coke rate so it's really being doing business innovation and thinking across multiple dimensions of how where can we be making some changes new ways of doing things across those five typical dimensions of business innovation. That's really I think what organizations need to be doing as part of their growth strategy and it's part of how to really move forward. Yeah no I think you're absolutely right. It's such a good point and a couple of ways we can go from that. But one I'm gonna just hit a follow up next like your perspective and you know coming from the traditional B. Two B. Where a lot of enterprise but bounced between start up and the enterprise structures are the same to go to market was kind of the same then starting to get to know some of these solo preneurs and I think you know smaller companies and I'm like well the way they do it and they way they grow is super impressive. That would never work for two B. And B. Two B. But you know what a lot of those folks are selling into other businesses and they're building again back to those those eight figure companies.

And so I think they've kind of cracked the code of how to reach you know potential customers, everything the sales process is still the same, but you know, I think I'm just starting to dig more into this, but I believe they may have cracked the code of how to get to the human to human aspect of the B two B and I think we're going to see some of that that applied, but I don't want to go to, I've got another question for you there is automation, right, I think I need to do a better job in my business, but I do think within the SNB and the startup B two B world, we don't think enough early on about how do we automate some of these non value add process. I'm not saying you just go straight to e commerce, you throw it up and you go away but are you seeing opportunities with your customers and prospects to automate there, there's definitely always opportunities to automate to either automate and or to outsource you know, some of these admin, some of these other activities and that is all part of your growth strategy or execution, is recognizing where you know, where are your strength and where you need to be focusing on, what are some of the things that you should be out there and I believe every business, even a micro business should be doing that, looking at, where are the things that you're not gonna like for example, I am, I am rubbish when it comes to all that mail chimp medium and stuff, I don't touch that stuff, I have my, I have staircase marketing up in Brisbane and a delaney, she does all of that for me, website stuff, all of that I have, you know I've got another company's spin fact media, they do all my S E.

O. Or what, so it's about getting smart and understanding where you know where are your core strength, what's the core value of what you're going to be delivering to your clients and customers and what do you need to be doing across your products services you're offering where you have the strength and where you have gaps in terms of skills, knowledge capabilities or can be done more effectively to either outsource and or automate them and that's something that we need to be thinking even micro businesses need to be thinking about because it will allow you to focus on what you need to be doing to be able to take the business forward. Um so that that has to start, I think automation and the opportunity that's all about process improvement but it starts from really thinking about what are some of the things that we can simplify and or outsource we should be taking that we shouldn't be dealing with because it's not in our wheelhouse, our core strength, whether you're a micro business and smb those are those kinds of, I think strategic questions that you should be constantly asking so that you're really focusing on the core areas so that's something that should be starting right from even the early stages, you know, from a side hustle mode because you have at every level there are different options of how you can do that simplification of those processes might be automation, it might be outsourcing to, you know, the whole gig economy gives, gives all smb lots of options in terms of various elements from, you know, finance to legal.

There's all various elements that you can now outsource and get it done and get it done well so that the business can focus on what it needs to do. Yeah. Which brings me back to my core, it was called Sweet spot. My my passion was is around the process. Right? So even if you are going to outsource, you need to think how that outsource fits and what's the process from the outsourcer to you because I see a ton of even large companies that they outsourced, it's more of a handshake agreement, they're not crystal clear on hey, if you're doing X, y and Z for me this is how we pass the data or this is what the expectations are. So I agree. I think we're going to see more and more of the outsourcing but have a plan and a process behind it. So you can at least leverage using those resources, right? And I think I think it kind of all stems back on a level to kind of the strategy, knowing what to purpose. So, you know, what are you focusing on knowing why you're outsourcing, you know, and what are your expectations? So why are you outsourcing, what are the objectives that you're trying to achieve and then with regard to what you're doing within your business?

What are those service levels, what is it you required in terms of the service, In terms of service level, service guaranteed to make sure that you're getting the right kind of turnaround times with technical scenario in terms of fault restorations, answering of, of queries, making sure you're very clear on what it is, you need to be able to run your business and deliver to your end customers and making sure that you're any third parties that you're using are able to live up to that. Yeah, absolutely. Right. And I know that's the sweet spot of your book, comes back to all the strategy, the plan and and again, just have a plan and work towards it. It's just there's there's just so much waste and inefficiency and even small companies, if you can tighten that up and it's not everybody's sweet spot for sure. But and maybe when you're just starting to gain some momentum and you're the selling everything, But man once you've got an existing business, what I don't know, 30%, 40%, 50% of your focus, is you know, streamlining those processes and automation, right? Maybe it's a little high, but maybe not high enough, I don't know.

Yeah, I think I like to try and keep it for our smb folks keep it fairly simple. It's really, you know, knowing what you're trying to achieve and know what you're good at. You know, where you have the capability in house and what you're good at and what's weak and, you know, what is and by understanding your clients and customers and what is critical in terms of delivering to them, building those relationships, maintaining those relationships. That's where you can start to make some decisions of, you know, some of the critical activities. But if, you know, if you lack the skills, you're not good at it, if it's taking too much time or then it's something that you need to look at. How can we simplify or out outsource, which might be, it might be through automation or it might be leveraging, you know, freelancers tapping into the gig economy and see what doing. So really knowing again, you're taking a strong look at listening to you in your organization, you know, what are you doing? What are you good at? Where are there the weaknesses in the gaps and then how best to fill those gaps so that you're delivering the kinds of buyer experience, customer experience that you're looking to achieve so that you can achieve your objectives.

So yeah, it's really kind of having an internal assessment and knowing where where there are gaps where you're weak and taking the steps to fulfill those. Yeah, I think you're right. If you don't, you're gonna hold, it's going to impede on your ability to execute on your strategy, which is something I mean, even I myself was guilty of in my early days as a sole practitioner. I thought, well what I can't do all deaths of and it makes a big difference when you're bringing, you know, when you recognize those capability gap and you feel them and you get them filled well at the level we need as operators in a business. It just allows your organization of function more effectively. And so you can really focus on those, you know, growth slash revenue generating activities that's going to take for business for it. So it makes use differences for all smb s, even your smaller micro ones right through to your larger, it's very important that you have that assessment of in terms of the skills, knowledge and requirements and how you're going to feel where there are gaps. You've got to make sure you address them now because you're right because that's where the bottlenecks happened.

That's where growth gets stalled. And you know, example, I had a friend of mine, she's been in the podcast once I'm trying to get her to come back to do a repeat to start our own company. And as she was starting to build in scale, she looked at the process of, she was good at the sales, right? She had the relationship she can close, but she was bringing in more work than she could handle. And so what she built as an outsource to your point is more of some of the delivery. So she brought is her business grew, she knew where the bottleneck was so she could scale beyond it was it was the delivery aspect of what she was doing. And so that's where she's outsourced. A good bit of it still has to control this process, everything in place. But to your point, it's it, I'm guessing probably 80% of growth problems with a lot of these S. M. B. S. And startups is either the capacity or bottlenecks. And even if you had the interest, you're not gonna be able to grow because you can't you can't handle it would be a good problem, but it's a good problem. But I think, you know, putting yourself out there to market and and then you can't fulfill can be a recipe for disaster.

But if you haven't taken care of those weaknesses, those bottlenecks and you you mess up and you deliver poorly that can have a That can quite have a spill on effect because as you well know, and be to be one of the advantages of B2B is that when you do things right, when you do get it right for clients that in and of itself will generate that what I like to call the referral engine where those clients will become your advocates that you can leverage as part of an advocacy strategy. You can, you know, they were gladly become referral partners, which again, you can really develop and formalize and you know, they will happily start bringing clients to you. And that whole word of mouth through referrals for advocacy can really spearhead an smb to be able to get access into new clients into new markets, you know, dating the reputation that will help them to be able to approach, you know, the bigger end of town. So you you really want to try and make sure that you've got your wheel house in order and that you are able to execute effectively because when you do that whole referral capacity of what those advocates of champions can do for you.

It will do wonders for your business and all it will take sometimes just that getting a referral into that one enterprise client or Yeah. Unity to present at that one leading conference where you're going to be able to do that keynote, which is going to give you access to decision makers. It only often takes one opportunity like that to be a game changer and to really give your business a big boost. Yeah, no, I think that that's so true and It's easier said than done sometimes, but no, you're 100% right and I know where I can't believe we're already running out of time. It's flying by. But I do, I think we may have to have you coming back on a recurring basis because I literally we've only got two, like a third of what I wanted to chat with you about today. I'm happy for us to schedule. We can do a part two, we can uh people do maybe what we should do is a once a quarter thing come on in. Let's talk about the state, what you're seeing, you know from Australia Canada and we can compare notes. But one other topic I wanted to bounce off you, which I had jennifer Bondra V and I hope I didn't butcher her name.

Emma expert. Right. And she wrote a book that's that's phenomena that I told her. I wish I had when I was still in the corporate world, could help me navigate. But one of the topics we got on was, you know, the M and A mergers and acquisitions for for some folks, isn't just for the billion dollar companies anymore. Right. We're seeing, I've seen some startups that received funding and what they did with funding was go about another company. Just kind of curious from the S and B or from your part of the world. I know your Global, are you seeing more, not just an exit strategy for business, but as a growth strategy. Just curious actually funny you mentioned that. So I am seeing that quite a bit um there's quite a bit of acquisition activity. I'm seeing in Australia thing in Canada as well and one of my clients is looking to grow and they're looking to do so through acquisitions. So um acquisition is very much becoming a part a lot of S. M. B. S in terms of how they can fast track their growth. Which is a good thing. I'm all for it and I think it can be great for those that are thinking that mindset but then you have to be mindful of thinking about what does that mean in terms of your overall business strategy or go to market strategies.

So your marketing firm and your I. T. From have now merged now and you're you know end and Martek solution for example what does that mean in terms of you know, well what markets are you gonna be focusing on, what are going to be your offerings? Acquisition is a great catalyst to really spearhead things but then you still have to consider some of those typical b to be some typical strategy decisions of what you're going to deliver, where you're going to focus you know, hired, what's going to be the growth plan to now that you're you're this new entity, how is that all going to work? Making sure you're giving a lot of questions as to how that's all going to work when you created the new entity still needs to take place but yes definitely saying um that's something that a lot of really growth oriented aggressive growth oriented smb leaders I'm seeing um they're looking at even, you know, smaller ones that I'm talking companies in like you're, you know, 30 to 50 person organization, I've seen a few scenarios again, very much service based organization where they're looking walkway, they're looking to do to do that um as part of a way to really kind of kind of really spearhead and take things to the next level where they've identified opportunities that if they've got that broader capabilities or they have access to that particular client base.

Um one of the things that they can do, Yeah, and it can accelerate growth, but I think back to our earlier topic, man, if you don't have your processes and systems in place, right, adding it all their company into that complexity, I think it's a more recipe for disaster unless you you're you're ready for it. I think it's a super fascinating topic and it makes sense. Right, If you can find, you know, because one of the other things I've kind of evolved my thinking on the last three years is, you know, the channel strategies for growth, right, partnerships. Channel partners referral is huge. That should be the baseline, right, You know, dan feist, er we talked about wind back programs, there's so referrals, advocacy, and partnerships and I'm going to say strategic partnerships, bread is something every business whether you're a sole trader and micro business, you should be thinking about, how are the opportunities for you to work with other organizations to collaborate to either deliver value to those customers, to gain access to customers new markets, you know, to get those opportunities that partnership and I think you can even start from things from a strategic partnership, how you can collaborate, putting together a joint event, you know, putting together a joint event because you're targeting a certain set of, let's say enterprise customers.

That is something I think, I think referrals advocacy and partnerships rap. It should be a core cornerstone of every smb growth strategy. Should have to have the rap. That should be a cornerstone because those are things that are the low cost but they can have very high impact if you put your strategy and your processes in place to facilitate any of those three low financial investment but can have massive opportunities in terms of opening doors into new companies and our new market building a reputation within industries are trying to crack in, get into and expand massive opportunity. Yeah, yeah. Make agreed again. That should be one on one, right. Should be taught in start up for small business class that these these are the easiest way your customers telling other prospects about your service and selling them for you all day over you, trying to sell somebody. So you're right and I think maybe the next time you come back, let's dig in a little bit more into those programs, I know you have something worked because about being creative now and kind of taking it to the next level in terms of how do you build those strategic relationships and gain those referrals?

Yeah, it's about being a bit creative but again low cost but can be very effective when you do so. Exactly. And I know I told you one more topic, but I have one more mini topic that I wanted to pick your brain on before I get to the final question, I'm still asking, it is one thing you recommend, but before that I know you've launched a new master mind. So I'm just kind of curious. I love the idea, what are you looking to do with it? So the mastermind that I've launched is called Empower. So Mastermind Group is a pure to pure group. So with the empower mastermind, it's aimed at smes N B C E O S. Um So the senior leadership teams of the companies and it's about bringing, bringing them together. It's got virtual Mastermind small group 10 to 12 people and it to provide an opportunity for those senior leaders to get together to brainstorm share ideas. Talk about experiences, challenges um on their growth journey uh in a B two B context. So this empower Mastermind group specifically for sme ceo of service based companies in A B two B contact to have that, you know collective wisdom sharing, also providing them some access to, you know, what are some of the strategies, tactics and approaches that are B to be specific to drive growth.

So some of that movie provided by myself as well as providing guest speakers, leaders within small business leaders will be to be to give them some of those fresh ideas and thinking and so meeting on a monthly basis. So three our virtual meetings and the group a small group, 10 to 12, cross industry and cross geography. So we'll be cross industry and international First group is going to be very much aimed at Australia Canada and the US because that cross industry cross Geography perspective drives innovative thinking. Fresh approach is not to see where there are similarities of okay you work and financial services, someone else's working in, let's say transportation, but they've got similar challenges. What are some ideas, how they've dealt with certain issues where it be around growth will be around hr what have you And so it's exchanging ideas, bouncing ideas off each other, giving senior leaders some space and some time to think and getting an opportunity to get a bit of guidance, subject matter expert guidance around BTB growth strategies innovation because in addition to the monthly meetings, each of the members will get some one on one time with me via zoom where we will go and have a deep dive as to the action plans that they're working on within their company.

So that's the whole aim of the mastermind, why I'm doing it Brett is for a couple reasons I call it, I called it empower because I'm very passionate about empowering SNB leaders to be able to build a growth impact and lives in a seat. And as you well know Brett, I've said to you many times, I truly believe B two B is a way for empowerment, for freedom, be economic lifestyle, the whole works because once you understand and know how to navigate the landscape would be to be massive opportunities and so the whole empower is to empower sme leaders to be able to thrive and succeed through B two B and giving them the opportunity not just to be getting the expert advice would be able to interact with their peers, sharing of wisdom ideas, inspiring each other, giving them some thinking time, those are kind of all the things that looking to achieve through the empower mastermind group. No, I think it's a great idea and it's needed, right? Because we've seen the vestige groups a little bit different because I think that and again I like the pier aspect of it, right, because you've got other people going through the same situation maybe on a global basis.

I think sharing and having a community to help that this is so important. So next time we chad I'm gonna we'll touch base on how that's that's going as well because I do think it's a really smart idea, so, but I'm not letting you go without asking you what is one thing for the third time now, this is the hat trick. What is one thing that you would highly recommend, what's important to you today? I think this is new, but you know, I've been on, this is my third time, I, I'll check the records, Michael, you check the records, but I would say right now, I think all of us as entrepreneurs, as business leaders, we need to be working on our growth mindset. I'm working on our mindset every day, I think that's quite critical whether you're a side hustler micro business owner leader SNB, we need to be working on our growth mindset every day because we're constantly getting, dealing with all kinds of challenges, you know, here in Australia, you know, we're in the state of lockdown right now, which has gone on forever and ever. And it's just all this vault, if you constantly have to be working on our mindset to making sure that it's positive, it's focused so we can get that velocity and direction.

So I, every day I am listening to some podcast, reading some books right now, I'm reading the velocity mindset by Ron Kerr, I'm constantly listening to podcast, reading books to keep me in the zone, I do it first thing in the morning before I tackle anything to kind of do that mental set reset because you know, as smb leaders, you know every day is different. There's lots of challenges. There's just lots of you know, things I just want to make you bang your head against the wall. Uh and so I I'm really big on, yeah, working on your mindset every day just has how we exercise. I know I like to exercise every day. You also need to work on your mindset and for me reading and listening to podcast where I'm getting different perspectives of how to stay in the zone and how to move forward despite all the things going on. That for me is a big thing that I'm big on now is yeah, exercising the growth mindset. Yeah. No it's it's well said I agree with you. I've you know, part of it was with the podcast and one of the The commitments I made is any time I had a guest on that had a book, I'm reading the book before they're on and you probably can't see it in the dark.

But I think we're up over 30 plus 35 books and you know what I can see your can see in the dark because you've got quite and by the way, I still need a signed copy from you because I downloaded the I had the kindle verbs, you're not the hard copy that I will get on to what you send your mailing address and I will get on to that, you know I have but I mean it's but I was just circling back to your point that yeah, it's been, I forgot how much I enjoyed reading how much I enjoyed getting different perspectives and like I said, reading jennifer's book the other day before I had her on a lot of it was geared towards corporate, but I think it's the new mindset and how to navigate and So it's just you can pick and pull from different areas that you can apply to your life in 100%. You know, you've heard me say, you know, change is inevitable. Growth is optional. So I love that you're taking, hey growth is an optional in my world and I'm thinking about it from whether it's personal or professional, right? So them into both. And so I find each podcast I listen to books I read.

I'm also a massive athletics fans. So I watch a lot of athletics track and field and there's some american athletes that I will follow quite closely, even listening to some of their videos and their mindset and perspective as olympic athletes and their approach, adversity and stuff. I found all of that to be really good in terms of me really getting into the zone and what doing what I need to do. So, so yeah, so it's podcast for me it's reading books watching some of those blogs or some of my favorite athletes and yeah, and just constantly just being getting those affirmations and those different perspectives really helps me stay the course when, you know, particularly when those days weeks, when things are proving to be a bit more challenging. It really helps you kind of have that focus and continue forward momentum. So, yeah, no, it makes makes perfect sense. So, I know I've taken more of your time than I told you I would, but I appreciate you jumping on. So one I encourage folks highly to go one, check out your book, right? It's Once the book # two, coming up, by the way, not put you on the spot. Are you working on number two yet?

I'm not there's probably needs to be an update to the book, but yeah, basically, yeah, hopefully, maybe late next year, we'll see. I'm just just give me a hard time because actually your book's pretty timeless, right? Listen, innovate grow, it's kind of fundamental. So I would encourage people to check that out. Check out your content. It's really good. And then reach and there you're there. Okay to reach out to you to talk about the mastermind if if they're interested. So, for for all things around B two, B S M B B two B um yeah, go to my website. Listen, innovate grow dot com and there's articles, videos, in terms of the mastermind program empower. If you go to listen, innovate grow dot com forward slash mastermind. You get all the details around the empower sme mastermind group. Perfect and follow him on linkedin. If you're not because he's got a little content, they're reactive. So I'd love to connect and reach out at any point in time. Awesome. Well, Michael, thank you very much. And like I said, I'd like to make this a quarterly. Let's just like I said, I only covered, like I said, a third of what I wanted to get to with you today, so appreciate the time.

And if you're open to it, we'll have you back on and we'll keep the conversation going. Would love to do so. Thanks so much for having me, Michael, have a great rest of your day. Thank you, cheers, mm. Mhm. Yeah.

120. Growing a B2B Business in 2021 With Top SMB Expert Michael Haynes
120. Growing a B2B Business in 2021 With Top SMB Expert Michael Haynes
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