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Small Business Success Podcast 081—Ask the Expert—Get a Revenue Goal

We’re fresh back from Infusionsoft’s PartnerCon where we met with a ton of small business experts who solve problems for entrepreneurs and small business owners every day.  This episode we hear from Daan Schmidt of Schmidt Communicatie and host of SchmidtCast - Europe's #1 EntrepreneurCast for business.  We talk about working with family, the importance of starting with a revenue goal, and more.

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Transcript

Dusey: Hello ladies and gentlemen, this Dusey from the Small Business Success podcast, and we are coming to you today from Partner Con here in Chandler, Arizona, and we have a unique opportunity to talk to a lot of our partners that work with us here at Infusionsoft to help small businesses succeed. They work with them every day, they know their pains, they know their troubles, [00:00:30] so we're hopefully gonna gather some insights from some of our partners here at Partner Con. So you'll hear a series of these podcasts coming out. This is the first one that ... part of the series, so if you're just hearing it, stay tuned for more to come. And our first partner that we're gonna to be talking to is Dan Schmidt.

Hey Dan, how's it going?

Dan Schmidt: It's going great, thank you for having me.

Dusey: All right Dan, you want to tell us a little bit about your business and what you're normally up to day-to-day?

Dan Schmidt: Yes, well we're based in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, and we work for clients [00:01:00] in Holland, in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria, Romania, Ireland and the U.S.

Dusey: Very cool.

Dan Schmidt: Help them out with market automation.

Dusey: That's with Schmidt Communications, right--

Dan Schmidt: Right, correct.

Dusey: Very cool. And do you focus mostly on implementing marketing automation?

Dan Schmidt: Yeah. That's the main thing. So we always start from a strategy. So we always look at the small business. So, you know, "What's your goal? Who's your target audience? What's [00:01:30] the content you've got to offer? What's the channels that you've gotta use, and how can we build a conversion strategy?"

Dusey: Very cool, very cool. Also, we have another new voice on the podcast with us, Jennifer, hi, how's it going?

Jennifer Lesley: Hello, hello, doing well!

Dusey: Thank you for being here. You want to introduce yourself a little bit, tell us about a little bit about how you are, what you do with Infusionsoft?

Jennifer Lesley: Sure, so as Dusey said, my name is Jennifer Lesley and I am one of the new content creators at Infusionsoft. And I'm very excited to be here with Dusey and Dan and [00:02:00] loving hearing more about this marketing automation that you're doing.

Dusey: Fantastic. So I just ... I have a question, this is something that we've talked about on the podcast before, but just before we started the podcast ? Told me that you started your business with your wife, that she actually kind of founded or you co-founded together your business.

Dan Schmidt: Yes.

Dusey: So I would love to just hear, we have a lot of small businesses out there that are working with family members, maybe it's a couple, maybe it's not, and I was just wondering what that's been like for you and, you know, what [00:02:30] advice you might give to small business owners that are either considering working with family, considering starting something with their family, or how they deal with issues that might come up?

Dan Schmidt: Yeah, cool. So my wife is Lizzy, and she founded the company in 2013. And in 2015 we decided to build the business together, we were actually moving from one house to a bigger house to have an office next to the house where Lizzy could do her work, and while decorating the rooms, we were like, you know, "Why don't we do this together?" [00:03:00] And we had a three week vacation to redo the house and do the movement, so it's kind of hectic, and in three weeks' time, we just made a plan on paper, and on the Monday back in the office I decided to quit my job--

Dusey: Oh, wow!

Dan Schmidt: And just go for it.

Dusey: That's amazing! So, what was that like? I'm sure you were anxious, I'm sure you were excited, you know, what gave you the confidence [00:03:30] to be able to do that?

Dan Schmidt: It was actually very scary. Because I had a well-paid job as a sales marketing manager at a software company in Europe. But that was a dream inside. I just, you know, the dream was to be my own boss and to chart my own course and to do this thing together because we really saw that she was helping out entrepreneurs. Back then, it was mainly [inaudible 00:03:52] marketing, so we became a partner only six months ago with Infusionsoft. So marketing automation was really new. [00:04:00] We had a lot of experience with marketing automation with auto software platforms, though. But the family ... yeah. Well it's an adventure to do it together, we love working together. I think, some of my friends say, "It would never work in my marriage, it would be the end of my marriage." But yeah, we just knew that we could do it together, we just have, you know, if we are together more, it's better for our relationship.

Jennifer Lesley: That's great.

Dan Schmidt: For some other people, [00:04:30] it's better that they are apart as well, you know, do your own thing--

Dusey: Yeah, you have to kind of evaluate, kind of figure out--

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Jennifer Lesley: Would you say that you guys balance each other out pretty nicely when it comes to running your business--

Dan Schmidt: Yeah, absolutely.

Jennifer Lesley: Personality wise, and everything?

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Jennifer Lesley: That's great.

Dan Schmidt: So in the business, actually we don't really ... Well, we do work together, but we have our own things. And she--

Jennifer Lesley: That's important.

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Jennifer Lesley: Yes.

Dan Schmidt: She really loves her thing, and I should not tell her what to do, and she should not tell me what to do. But it just, you know, it flows.

Dusey: What are, like each of your focuses [00:05:00] in the business?

Dan Schmidt: Lizzy is all about finance, so she's really the number lady. And helping the clients, she's really in this ... you know, the one-on-one sessions, the serving part, she's more like the service oriented part. And I'm much more about the sales and marketing part.

Dusey: Gotcha. You know, when you said the finance and the one-on-one, I don't normally think of those two together, necessarily, right? And it just goes to show all the different hats that small business owners tend to wear.

Jennifer Lesley: Yes.

Dan Schmidt: That's true.

Dusey: [00:05:30] That's fantastic.

Jennifer Lesley: So, I'm curious, I wonder if you could share maybe some of the challenges that you've come across in starting your own business and show you've overcome them? Because it's very clear that you've become very successful after doing such a very scary thing, and I think that's gonna be very inspirational to a lot of small business owners. So I'd love to hear what your experience has been with that.

Dan Schmidt: Yeah, so do you have any specific ideas where you want me to go, or just in [00:06:00] general? Challenges?

Jennifer Lesley: I guess just in general, any kind of challenge that you've had, about, like, building out your business or, you know, keeping up with clients, you know, finding new business, anything like that?

Dan Schmidt: Right. Well, the most ... You know, the biggest challenge when you start a business or actually, you know, Lizzy already had the business and it was running obviously, so we saw the potential. But it was still very small. We tend to say we didn't have a small business, we had a tiny business. So we first had to bring it to a [00:06:30] small business, but the biggest challenge for us was to do the marketing. You know, you got to get in front of as many people as possible to hear your message, see if it resonates, and that's where you get your clients from. So it starts with lead generation and prospects, and that's where Infusionsoft for us, we first were a user. And that's later we decided to become a partner. And that was for us a very important thing, to [00:07:00] just start emailing and obviously, do events, podcasting, all these kind of things.

Dusey: Very cool. So you guys ... One of the things that you do with your clients is help implement marketing automation, right?

Dan Schmidt: Yes.

Dusey: So maybe you could just talk a little bit about, you know, what most of your clients ... Where are they at before you start working with them, like what are the things you tend to see that, okay, this in a problem area, this is a problem area, and the pains [00:07:30] that they're going through and then how you guys, you know, what you do to kind of get them up to speed?

Dan Schmidt: Yes, right. I see a lot of clients that, you know ... so when you look at the domain of online marketing, there's so many different things. Social media, I mean, there's so many platforms. People have the tendency to think, I gotta be in all of them. I gotta be on Facebook, I have to do my SEO. I have to do Google advertising. I have to do this, I have to ... And the problem [00:08:00] with a small business is, if you think you have to do it all, you actually will suck at everything, to say, you know, it's not gonna work.

Dusey: I know that feeling very well.

Dan Schmidt: And so what we tend to do is, so, like I said, we go from a strategy, and I think for business owners, choose a goal. And do one thing very well, and when that works and brings in revenue, then do a second thing. But [00:08:30] don't get too thinly spread that you're not effective at all. So that's what we help our clients with. We actually ... So, if you look at the quote from one of the biggest strategists in the world, Michael Porter, he always says, "Strategy is all about choosing what not to do." And that's where we start with small business owners. Just stop a lot of things.

Dusey: That's great advice.

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Dusey: So, what ... When somebody's thinking about that question, what [00:09:00] not to do, what do I leave out or where is the area that I really focus on, even if it's at the expense of dropping these other ones off, what are some questions that you are asking them to help them figure out, you know, what might the best platform for their audience be, or how do you they figure? 'Cause every small business is gonna be less successful or more successful on different platforms, so how do you help somebody figure that out?

Dan Schmidt: The first question we ask is, "So what is the revenue goal that you want to make?" This sounds really strange to start with revenue instead of with [00:09:30] the service part, but we've found a lot of small business owners have not thought about their goal. So we have a very specific goal that we want to reach in our revenue every month, and that brings a lot of focus. So in a strategy session, we'll just say, "So how much money do you need to make in your business? And how much money do you want to make in your business?" Those are two different things.

Dusey: Does anybody just say, "All the money?" I'm curious how many people kind of, like, set [00:10:00] something that's ... that maybe they're mostly worried about setting something that's realistic, which, you know, I think is important compared to how many people are like, "Oh, just shoot for the moon and just--"

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Dusey: I'm curious what you tend to have to fight there.

Dan Schmidt: Well, to be honest I really have a high esteem for our clients, but I've seen some really, really successful business people and they still don't have a clue how much money they need or want to make. And so we really break it down from a goal and actually, you know, the questions [00:10:30] after that is, "So, what are your products and services? How much do you charge?" And we really look at the productizing of the products or the service, and just ... That's where it starts. And then when it comes to, "What do I need to do in order to reach the goal?" You first ... you know, the second thing you need is to define your target audience. But then the next thing you have to do after that is to say, "Okay, what strategy am I going to use?"

Now, if you are [00:11:00] in a business to business situation, most of the time I see that our clients work on Linkedin. Not on Facebook. If it's a business to consumer situation, it's more Facebook. Now, I don't say that Facebook is wrong in the business to business situation, not at all, you can really use it there as well. But, you know, it all starts to make sense what you gotta do and what you have to stop doing, once you know really where you want to go and who you want to reach and what you want to do for them.

Dusey: That's fantastic.

Jennifer Lesley: [00:11:30] I'm curious if you have any specific verticals that you really see your clients falling in, and if there are any in particular that you just love working with or you just see that there's a lot of strength in that vertical?

Dan Schmidt: Yeah, well, both my wife and I have a background in charities. So we work for a lot of charities and membership organizations. We really like to do that. Although Infusionsoft is more oriented to small business, we see the charities and membership organizations, they can really [00:12:00] profit from Infusionsoft as well, and what we do for them is lead generation. So generate potential donors, potential members, by having a lead magnet, which goes to a nurture campaign, which is automated by Infusionsoft, and we see that if you nurture them you actually ... well, they get to know you. Hopefully they get to like your charity. And if they get to like you, they get to trust you and that's where you do a lot more, you get a lot more donors or members.

Jennifer Lesley: [00:12:30] That's really interesting.

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Dusey: Yeah, I had a opportunity earlier this year to film Dierks Farms, who ended up being the winners of the Small Business Icon for Icon last year, and, yeah, they said that their most important campaign that they had they called their Indoctrination Campaign, which was really just helping people get to know who they were, right? What was important to them, what their values were, and of course, what their products and services were, but like, to get to know their flavor, right? And that's what people [00:13:00] were really attached to and brought them to the first sale and brought them coming back again and again, is a connection to their brand that was started with, like you said, a simple lead magnet and then just starting to trickle out, "Hey, here's a little bit about who were are, and we hope you like who we are."

Dan Schmidt: Yeah. That's powerful. And other verticals we work for is financial industry of service companies, financial service companies, business service companies, and we have some coaching and trainers [00:13:30] in our portfolio as well.

Jennifer Lesley: Okay.

Dusey: Very cool.

Jennifer Lesley: Very cool, yeah.

Dusey: Well, I've got one last question for you before we wrap up. If there was one thing you could leave our listeners with that you wish every small business that you talked to, what's the one thing that you wish that they were doing that you often find that they're not doing as work with them? What's that thing?

Dan Schmidt: It's being consistent. So, if I look at successful online marketing, you got to be consistent. There's [00:14:00] so many small business owners that start an email every once in a while, and then, you know, during summer they stop. During Christmas they stop. When they're sick, laying in bed, they stop. And you got to be consistent. So our most successful clients with Infusionsoft are the ones that do it all the time, no matter what.

Dusey: Very cool, yes. Very important advice.

Jennifer Lesley: Excellent advice.

Dusey: And hopefully, for those of you out there that aren't part of the [00:14:30] Infusionsoft family yet, Infusionsoft can help you do that. I'm just thinking of that when you say, like, over the vacation or whatever it is, getting some of that automation into place so that you can take a vacation and things kind of keep running along and you can be consistent while still being able to take a break--

Dan Schmidt: Yeah.

Dusey: Definitely go check out our free trial, we'll put a link in the show notes if you're curious, and how you can be more consistent using Infusionsoft. I think that's a fantastic answer. So, if you want to hear more from Dan, Dan, [00:15:00] thank you again, very much for joining us--

Dan Schmidt: You're welcome.

Dusey: If you want to hear more from Dan, he has a podcast called the Schmidtcast, and just search iTunes for that. That is, Schmidtcast. Right?

Dan Schmidt: Correct.

Dusey: Schmidtcast. And that is Europe's entrepreneur cast for business, you can find it on iTunes, he's got a lot of great advice there, thanks again, Dan, for joining us.

Dan Schmidt: Thank you.

Jennifer Lesley: Thank you.

Dusey: All right, we'll see you all next week.