Founder Stories | with Regan George, CEO of The Social Effect

Founder Stories | with Regan George, CEO of The Social Effect

Founder Stories by TeamWave, are a series of interviews of founders of small businesses and other thought leaders who share their practical insights from their journey of entrepreneurship. Here they talk about how they scaled up their company, what challenges they faced during their initial years, marketing strategies that worked to scale up their small business and much more.

These success stories are dedicated to all the entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups, to show them a glimpse of what it takes to survive in this competitive business ecosystem.

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In this episode of FOUNDER SERIES by TeamWave, our guest is Regan George who is the CEO of The Social Effect.

Transcription of the Interview

Reshmi: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Founder Stories by TeamWave and today’s guest is Regan, who is the Founder and CEO of The Social Effect. The Social Effect helps B2B companies connect with their ideal prospects in a better way. Now we want to hear from Regan how his journey started as an entrepreneur,

Regan: I had to say, but it probably started in 1990, you know, I’m in NewZealand. Yeah. I mean, New Zealand I was in Australia. I met an English girl who was going back to England to do a Masters. So I followed her to England in England. I got involved and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I got involved in it, recruitment in the nineties, which was a, it was a special time for it because that’s when windows first came out.

So, I mean, this is the story. And I, you know, kind of, it’s almost, if I focus on a 10 year period, it doesn’t make sense. Because the journey starts. I come to the UK, I get involved in it. Recruitment windows are just coming out. I become a commission, only IT recruiter. So I’m basically selling, selling, selling. But then the internet comes and then in the mid-nineties, the internet came, my boss got a PC with the internet, dial up, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And I’m just going, wow, this is a, Oh my God. We were spending tens of thousands of pounds, advertising and computer magazines for candidates. And then all of a sudden I was like, Ooh, there’s something called job boards, online job boards. And he was like, no, no, no. We keep on advertising and magazines. I’m going. No, no, no.

This internet thing is going to be big. So I really pushed them towards the internet. And then, you know, a year or two later, we, everything is about the internet. We were literally at fax machines, faxing off CVs fax CV, CV must interview this candidate. And so I just love the internet. So around 2000 I was like, do you know what we do so much stuff that isn’t, that, you know, searching through databases, searching through online CV databases.

We’ve got to reformat a CV before we send it. We’ve got to do, you know, we’ve got to screen hundreds of CVs per day. And I said to my boss said, look, you know, we’re recruiters, you know, our core skill when we’re hired for us is basically selling really that we spend all this time doing this other stuff that takes us away from our core skill.

I said, why don’t I go out to India? Because I’d place loads of Indian IT contractors. And one of them has said to me, once you can do anything from India, Regan, anything. And I just went, ah, one day, why am I spending hours searching through CVs or screening CVs? So since my boss, why don’t I go to India? So I wanted to go to India really. And why don’t I just kind of explore the idea of sitting for an hour so we can outsource these functions to India. That was the year 2000 and the.com bubble was bursting. I went India. I went to Delhi. We had three people in Delhi who were doing their kind of the CV stuff or the kind of administration job within recruitment. I came back to the UK and two months in Delhi, thoroughly loved it. I love traveling.

And I went and we started doing it, but it didn’t really work. It, you know, it just wasn’t, you know, the CVs weren’t right. It wasn’t really working, but the.com bubble burst. And so we were being offered, you know, salary cuts and all that kind of stuff. And I, we didn’t want, no, no, I’m not going to take it. I’m going to set up a company in India.

I’m going to get one of the guys that I work with in the UK to go and sit in India and train people how to do it. So in 2001, we set up a company called OS2I, which stood for outsource to India. And it was the first offshore recruitment process outsourcing business in the world. so basically we grew that from literally a little shop with five desks to 190 people, and we’re working with the largest IT recruitment agencies in the world, the largest technology companies who had in-house recruiters.

And we ended up doing so many, you know, so many things from, we started out doing basic CV searching and CV screening and that kind of stuff. We ended up doing a lot of research, background checks, using phones and fax machines. So, and, and so we grew that to that level of, you know, of staff. I had the most fantastic, you know, nine years living in India off and on two kids in India, two kids at school in India.

You know, I just thoroughly loved it, but two and then 2008 came 2008, nine was a disaster financial crisis. Two of our biggest clients were Lehman’s and we all know what happened to Lehman’s bank. And there was a big retailer in the UK called Woolworths and they both went under owing us a lot of money. You know, two years earlier a larger Indian outsourcing company made me an offer for the business, which I kind of turned down.

Then 2008, nine came and trading was very difficult. The first thing in a recession you stopped doing is hiring. So, so the need for our service diminished like, like that. I went back to the company that wanted to buy us a year earlier, you know, on my knees going, please, please. So I ended up selling, I was two, I for not very much money to the company who wanted to buy me previously, they had there a BPO offering, you know, multiple services they wanted to add in their recruitment process, outsourcing capability.

So 2009, I kind of, you know, got rid of that business. The main thing for me was to make sure that the staff that I had, and at the time I had a hundred were, you know, could go somewhere and be gainfully employed. So it was it was a great journey that didn’t end so well.

But, but around that time, 2009, 2010, you know, I was getting really heavily involved in social media. You know, a lot of the recruitment research was done on LinkedIn and I, I was going right, what business do I start now? I that’s got of right. Linkedin is amazing. It’s this amazing database. You can communicate with people on LinkedIn using multiple methods. And then I had an idea for a business.

I went, why don’t I start a B2B social media agency, which specialized specializes primarily on using LinkedIn to get in front of your, your target audience. So I started what’s now called the social effect you know, around that time. So, you know, 20, 10, 11. And then I was basically, you know, three or four small clients and doing a lot of experimentation. I was still using a little team in India to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

So, you know, we would design a campaign, do the targeting and we get the messaging done from India. So I start, I started that. And then one day, one Sunday, I’m having a lunch. I live in the South of France. I’m having a lunch and there’s a guy at the table goes, what do you do? I said, Oh, I’ve got this little B2B social media thing going on. I said, what do you do? He goes, well, I run a marketing agency in London, 60 people.

We specialize in technology. We’re not doing anything in social media. He said, come and see me. So I went to see him and he was like, really look at this email there’s emails from IBM and IBM is saying, unless these guys start doing social media, we can’t work with them. He said, can you help me? I’m like, yeah, I can help.

So, you know, so basically this marketing agency introduced me to their clients. You know, they own the client relationship. We delivered the work. And so all of a sudden we’re working with, you know, massive technology companies. And now I’m learning, you know, the kind of the quality that you need to provide to these kind of companies. You know, every, every dot on every I, every T is crossed, you know, they love reports.

They love the analysis. If you say, you’re going to deliver something at this particular time, it’s delivered five minutes early, you make promises, you keep those promises. So, you know, he taught me an amazing amount and because he propelled us into these clients, I started hiring and I started hiring where I’m living in France. And I think we had five or six staff. And, but then one day I went, you know what, you know, I’m paying, you know, France is an expensive country to people.

Employment law is ludicrous. Taxes are really high. And I’d asked a friend, you know, I needed to find someone who understood B2B and understood Excel for pivot tables and all that ludicrous kind of advanced Excel stuff. And I didn’t want to hire that person in France. So I spoke to a friend that a business in Cape town and to kind of doing something similar. And he said to me, look, someone’s just left. Who’s really good.

ou should speak to her. So six years ago, I spoke to this, this amazing girl. Who’s still with us lady, woman called Lisa. And so she, she joined The Social Effect, six years ago. And after six months of working with her remotely, she’s in Cape town, I’m in Europe. I went, you know what? This is amazing. You know, I should be looking at building an office in Cape town.

So the social effect over 10 years has grown into a digital marketing agency. You know, we do things like we specialize in paid media for B2B. We specialize in conversion rate optimization. We build online communities for, for B2B technology companies. So that’s, you know, and I’ve grown The Social Effect in Cape town to 30 people. Our clients are all around the, all around the world, primarily Europe and North America. And you know, I’ve really found something that I’m so deeply passionate about. You know, you know, I was a pretty good recruiter, but I never really liked it. I never liked it because, you know, the candidates don’t really like recruiters clients don’t like being bothered by recruiters. So I was always feeling that, you know, people weren’t loving what I was doing. But the, the money was good and it was great for a career.

I just found the marketing, the sales and marketing part of what I was doing was what I loved. So The Social Effect, you know, as a digital marketing agency, specializing in technology companies, and it’s, you know, tech marketing is moving so quickly that you never got to know enough. So it’s so humbling. It’s so humbling that, you know, you know, I, I’ve always been a kind of person who’s always dissatisfied with what I’ve just done, what could have done better? What didn’t I know, what have I learned?

And with, with marketing and marketing technology and all the, you know, the constant changes to it, you’ve got to keep on running to keep up to date with it. So, you know, I’m so glad, you know, in my forties I found something which, you know, is, was just my calling. Sometimes I look back and go, I spent 20 years doing something that I was good at, but didn’t really love. And I spent 10 years doing something that that I really love and I’m getting better at. And it’s, so it’s a passion business. It’s humbling.

Reshmi: That’s really amazing. And I was like, there was a very beautiful story, the way you’re told about how you started off and how you made that switch. So my next question is like, now, when you look at the B2B marketing area, there are so many agencies. So so how do you try to retain your customers?

Regan: I call it as I probably shouldn’t there’s, there’s, there are two sides to it. There’s like winning new logos, winning new clients and retaining the ones you have. And, you know, as you say, there’s a lot of competition. And, you know, when I think about it, you know, we, when a client normally from another agency, so that do something, which, you know, the client doesn’t like, or they’re not really keeping their promises.

You know, and, you know, in a similar way, other agencies are trying to get business from us. So it’s a kind of a, it’s a kind of a battle you’re always trying to dislodge an existing agency, you know, and you and other agencies are always trying to dislodge you. So you know, it, it, it’s something that’s constantly evolving. You know, when I look at digital marketing, you know, our perspective is as one perspective,

And that perspective is everything is about an ROI. Everything is about being able to prove an ROI. And we try and sit outside of, you know, average and not in a way, you know, every agency who’s successful and good at what they do, but it’s about, it’s about our view on marketing, you know, and we need it. We need a different view and look a lot, a lot of companies don’t understand that view know, but the view that everything in marketing should be about, you know, increasing your conversion rate and reducing your cost of customer acquisition and B2B marketing.

You know, we talk and B2B marketing, we talk about funnels, funnels. It’s a sales and marketing funnel. You know, you come in here and you come at the bottom of this funnel, that’s a funnel. You know, the, the marketing sales funnel was invented in 1898.

So we talk in the, you know, the, the marketing funnel is, you know, over 130 years old. So it’s dated. We talk about the funnel where someone comes in and they become a marketing qualified lead, and then they go, then they go down the funnel, and now they’re a sales qualified lead. And now, and now they now never go through a decision phase and now they buy. So it’s almost like, but it’s dropping this wonderful final gravity brings them down to this particular. It’s so easy to see it like that. And that’s how the majority of B2B marketers see it.

They talk about funnels. They talk about, you know, marketing qualified leads, and I’m just going, this is not how it is. It’s not how it is gravity doesn’t just bring someone down those funnel magically in the middle of the, of the funnel. And we should really stop using the word funnel.

You know, it’s just, it’s mess. It is messy. You know, there are so many different variables. So, you know, I like to call that the messy middle, you know, so instead of using a funnel, there’s something that triggers you to trigger someone, your prospect, to contact you at the top at the bottom. There’s a, there’s someone who’s purchased something in here. It’s not, gravity is messy. Someone needs to, you know, explore, evaluate.

And it’s just, it’s just not this natural, natural, natural thing that we gravity brings you down. So our perspective is trying to be slightly disruptive and go look, you know, the funnel that you’re talking about was invented 130 years ago. It’s not about gravity is about this understanding this very messy middle. And it’s how we look at this messy, middle, how we approach it with the, with the content and the touch points.

It’s, it’s getting, it’s getting into that messy middle, which brings us to the bottom, which is reducing your customer acquisition cost. So that’s a kind of different perspective than, you know, 99% of B2B marketers. It’s a, it’s a difficult one to start explaining and articulating, but what I primarily, you know, our positioning at the moment is about creating a buyer’s journey. That’s much more efficient. It’s, that’s much more intelligent. You know, with the objective of looking at how can we reduce your cost of acquisition? So it’s all about testing and optimization. I think, you know, you know, as we evolve and it, every year we kind of get smarter and more intelligent, we figure we figure out where the bottlenecks are, where the problems are. The overarching solution to that is test and optimize test and optimize.

And you take, you take learnings, you try and learn rapidly as agile marketing. But you know, quite often a client will come to me and go, right, okay. We, we want a, a lead and we’re going to pay you this amount of money. And we want this many leads and we’ll go certainly the old days. Okay, thank you very much.

We will go and get you those leads. But what leads normally mean is that, you know, someone has downloaded a white paper and put in their email address and their name and that kind of stuff. That’s a lead, but you know, so a lot of companies are obsessing about how many leads they get, but the only number that’s important to a CFO or a CEO is what comes at the bottom of that. You know, what is your customer acquisition cost? How much does it cost me to get a new customer?

So I find that in marketing, there’s this obsession about marketing qualified leads, we call it the hamster wheel. So you’re on this MQL hamster wheel, just running, running, running more, more leads, more leads, more, more leads. And we try to go, Hey, okay, look, you do need leads at the top of the funnel. If you want to call it a funnel, but let’s focus on the bottom, how are we going to reduce your customer acquisition costs? So that’s our perspective. I don’t think we are fully there and how we articulate it, but again, the great thing about marketing is it’s constantly evolving. We need to get our messaging with more clarity and articulate it better. So it’s easy to understand. So it’s you know, we’re on this kind of hamster wheel to try and evolve, to get our message across.

Reshmi: Great. So you focus on like, even the conversion part, like how many leads we get and how many get converted?

Regan: Absolutely. Yeah. Look, it’s, it’s actually, you know, I’ve got a lot of clients working for great, a lot of people who work for great companies and they are coming to us. I mean, very big technology companies and they’re coming to us and saying, Hey, we need leads. And we’re going, okay, look, we’ll do that. We’ll, we’ll, we’ll do that. But really what we want to be doing is focusing on the bottom part, the bottom part of the funnel.

And it’s quite, it’s quite shocking to me that, you know, a lot of technology companies spend millions and millions but their focus on ads particularly, or a marketing initiatives with this top focus, you know, we, if, if you improve our conversion rate from a, you know, from a marketing qualified lead to a sales accepted lead, or to an opportunity by 2%, you know, you’re increasing revenue by 10%.

You know, if, if you increase the conversion rate between a sales accepted lead, and an opportunity to be in a closure rate, by 5%, you’ve literally added, you know, I’m, I’m not going to do the math. This is going to be accurate, but, but you you’re literally adding, you know, multiple zeros to their revenue, you know, so I’m kind of like, I will take the project if someone wants get to top of the funnel, but really we want to be dealing with a certain type of client who’s going right. Do you know what ultimately I’m responsible for revenue generation? So it’s the lower parts of the funnel.

You shifted from being a recruiter to this starting your own company. Right. So how difficult was that like you had to leave one part you were doing for so long, and then you had to make this move. So how difficult was that?

That’s very good question. It was, it was difficult from ways, but there are a lot of similarities as well, you know, I mean, I love sales and marketing. That was all always I’m the selling and marketing CEO. So that’s one thing. The other thing is I’d spent 20 years in IT recruitment. So I, I understood technology. When we talk, when we, when we talked on a, on a kind of technical basis, I understood it, which, which meant I could understand our clients and potential clients, I can understand their clients.

So there’s a technology company has got some special technology. They want to target these people. So I understand the technology, first of all, so I’m getting it. And then I, because I instantly know I can understand them. So there were similarities. And I think when I started I had no idea about how much, I didn’t know, you know and, but what I realized that what I did, what a lot of people don’t know.

So, you know, sometimes I was in, I was in meetings going, I wonder if I should ask a question. I don’t understand that. And early on, I didn’t ask the questions. I did not ask because I didn’t want to look silly. You know, kind of, later on, I realized that you know, if I’m going to really learn, I’m going to have to have to put my hand up. So it was, it was hard in some ways because I’m in a world, surrounded by people who know more than me in certain areas. You know, I just made sure that what I did know, I knew better than someone else.

And then just kept on that wheel to learn as much as I could, as fast as I could. 10 years down the track you know, I mean, I’ve learned so, so much you know, we, we’ve constantly got, you know, we’ve got, we’ve all got, our company has got a really cool, you know, digital marketing, training platform that we use. And everyone’s about like, you know, are you certified in this? Have you passed that course? So you know, we really push understanding the theory. And then with clients, hopefully, we can turn that into practice. But it’s, you know, what, what if someone said 10 years ago, what I would have had to have gone through to get to this point, what have I done? It absolutely, absolutely. The journey, their learning journey is what I love the most.

Reshmi: And when talking about that, was there something that you regret you have, you had done these 10 years back, like, which you do, which you might have knowledge right now, but you’ll regret that I could have done it in initial stage itself.

Regan: Well, I mean, yes, because, you know, you know, I look back, I look back and go, that was a mistake. That was a mistake, you know you know, I was talking to someone the other day about the fact that I’ve, you know, I’ve got a dissatisfied personality, you know, as an I’ll do something and I’ll look back and go, do you know what I could have done that better? What if I’ve done that? What if we explored that?

So you know, but I think people have got a dissatisfied kind of personality in a way progress better because they are always going, what could have I done better? So look, you know, I look back, I look back on the last 10 years and I go, you know, have I got, you know, big regrets? The answer is no. But you know, I regret a project that I delivered last week because there were things that I should have done better, you know? So no big regrets, but I have this dissatisfied personality of mine, and I’ve got a team around me and there’s two types of people, people who are dissatisfied, but always want to be better. And people who are satisfied generally I find that people who are dissatisfied go further.

Reshmi: Yeah. Because they have that drive inside them too, you know, get that curiosity, I guess, that I could have done better. I should learn more. So maybe that drives them forward.

Regan: True. And that’s absolutely the case. I mean, sometimes you need to, you know, pat at the back and go well done, you know, actually, and, but normally that’s got to come from other people, you know, and there’s nothing better than a client to go. You know, I love client engagements where they go. It’s also, we’re in B2B, you know, five years ago, if you talked about Facebook and B2B, people are like, no way, no way.

Facebook is for family and friends. It’s not a business platform. And, you know, five years ago I went, do you know what? I had six people around a table I’m pitching, you know, a, I’m pitching a program, a marketing program. And I go, look, I’ve done audience research and your audience spends more time on Facebook. So we should be doing Facebook. And they’re like, Oh, I’m not convinced about that.

Yeah. I’m not convinced I went. Right. Okay. Put up your right hand if you’ve been on LinkedIn this week. So let’s say it’s a Thursday, two hands, go up, put up your right hand. If you’ve been on Facebook this week, all the hands go up. And I go, right. Okay. Everyone at the table has been on Facebook this week, probably multiple times and only, you know, 15 or 20% of you have been on LinkedIn. Facebook is we go, we need to, we need to put these ads in front of people where they go.

And they’re like, Oh, I’m not convinced. I said, look, you know, in the, you know, in LA, unless we do use Facebook, as well as LinkedIn, I’m not going to do this program, but you know, we’ll test it. You know, we have a thousand dollars in ads that we put on LinkedIn and a thousand dollars in ads and Facebook.

So we just gonna test with a thousand dollars. At the end of the day, the results will prove us right or wrong. And I think the testimony I got from that client was, you know, Regan, I’m so glad that you pushed us towards Facebook. Yes, we were. We were totally unsure about it. And it’s those kinds of clients who go actually, you had to convince me, but I’m glad you did. Thank you very much. That’s the slap on the back, just a short one, a small one that someone who’s got this dissatisfied kind of nature kind of goes, okay, let’s go to the next one. And next to be better

Reshmi: During pandemic time many companies were, cutting down on the marketing costs. So did that affect The Social Effect in any way?

Regan: Yes. Yeah. So we had, we had two, we specialize in two markets. And you know, again, it’s about the entrepreneur taking the punches punch, punch punch, you know, so three or four years ago, we had two kinds of clients, either B2B technology companies, big technology companies, or we had B2B event organizers. So event organizers and technology companies, and three or four years ago, I went, do you know what I need to, I need to pick one of those. I need to really specialize in one.

And you know, if we work, for example, with Microsoft, we’re gonna be this tiny, tiny little cog and this big marketing machine, you know, insignificant a little dust, a little speck of sand on a beach. And you know, I’m never going to sit down with the Microsoft CMO and talk to them about marketing strategy. It’s never going to happen.

Whereas with B2B events I’m sitting down with the owner, I’m sitting down with the CMO or the marketing director, and I’m having a real conversation. You know, we’re over the table, we’re exploring, you know, the impact I make is known, you know, at the end of the day, you help promote an event and you last year was a thousand attendees this year. It’s 2000. It’s like, Oh my God, you know, I can, there’s a real impact.

So that was the difference. So I was like, do you know what let’s, we’re not going to stop working with our B2B technology companies, but let’s really market ourselves as the B2B marketing agency who works with event organizers. Now as we’re positioning that side of the business where we’ve kind of moving from being, you know, both to one, you know, our tagline was from first click to venue door.

So all the marketing in between that we were, you know, kind of having an impact on. And, but as we were picking events, I went, you know, what if there’s, if there’s a recession because I’ve, you know, I’m 50 and I’ve been caught in two recessions, you know, the dotcom bubble was kind of a recession. 2008 and nine was a recession.

So I’m always going on recession, recession. My wife is going Regan, what about the recession? So, but I knew when I positioned for B2B events that if a recession came you know, one of the things you’re going to discard is going to be events. You know, if I’m a company I’m not going to spend, you know, 10 to a hundred thousand on a big stand at a, at a trade show, I’m not going to see everyone on a plane to go somewhere for it.

So I knew that if there’s a recession specializing in B2B events, wouldn’t be great. So in the back ofmy mind. I’m going, I’m always going, Hey, it’s, it’s great positioning to specialize in a very in a smaller market. And, you know, I think we were, we were one of five agencies would be the top five in the world, specializing in events. And you know that because you competing against the same agencies.

The same agencies use me because we do this and they don’t do that. But I was aware of it. So in February, 2020, I was at an event for events people. So I’m at a dinner. You know, there’s like 15 tables. I’m at a table of 10 people. The, the people on my table at a couple of clients on my table. But everyone is running events companies. And I say to the woman beside me, I said,

So this COVID thing, you know, I mean, what do you think. A storm in a teacup, you know, six months time be back to normal. Don’t worry about it. You know, we’re fine. We’ll be good. Obviously then March came and we went, Oh my God, this is serious. Isn’t it? And so we had, we had all these projects going, taking phone calls, sorry. And you can stop, postpone, stop. So we went, I went, Oh, here we go. Here we go again. It’s it’s that it wasn’t a recession. So we went, right, entrepreneur, you take the punches. You’re right. What we’re going to do, we will, we will pivot because everyone now is doing virtual events. Let’s focus on helping companies market virtual events. So we created an acronym and a methodology called move marketing optimization for virtual events.

We thought this was amazing. You know, the world’s just going to like, love this. You know, the methodology was brilliant. We even had an acronym for it. Yay. So we started marketing to the world, Hey, this thing called MOVE is going to transform the way that you market your events. Didn’t really work. So we spent three or four months talking about MOVE to the world and look event organizers were in desperate trouble.

They’re in trouble, you know, do they want to use an agency? No you know, big companies were doing it themselves. They didn’t want to spend on using an agency to market a virtual event or a webinar. But we were lucky because we had this core technology client base, who all of a sudden weren’t spending money on events. You know, they would, they probably had a budget of, you know, they’d say, take a number out of the sky, $200,000 that they were going to spend in 2020 sponsoring events, exhibiting at events.

So all of a sudden these budgets came back to them. So they’re going right. Regan or my team, what can we do with this? So they were all about demand. It’s all digital. Now. It’s all digital, you know, virtual events haven’t worked wonderfully. So we had a number of solutions that we could offer them that they weren’t getting anywhere else. So, you know, we build online communities and, you know, communities are like this new buzz word, but we’re all at home. How do we, how do we get our prospects, you know, into a community that they are going to, you know, thrive in that they’re going to engage in? And we’ve been building communities for 10 years. So all of a sudden we’re getting calls. Look, we’ve got two communities. We’d like to try this within North America and Asia pack.

So we, we, we had solutions which we were using for events and, and B2B technology. Then all of a sudden with the, kind of the more budgets coming in, because events were canceled, we just went right. We are focusing on B2B technology. So the pandemic affected us in 20, in 2019, we had our best year in 2020, we were 80 to 20% down on what we did in 2019. In 2021 we will, you know, who knows where it will go, you know, we predict that we will probably get to where we were in 2019.

So the, so the pandemic you know, it was pretty harrowing but look, you know, all around me, there are people who have really suffered, you know, my wife works for an airline and she was made redundant. A lot of people I know, have really, really suffered, you know, we, we, we were very quick to pivot. We’re in digital, everything’s gone to digital. So, you know, even though we are 20% down on 2019, you know, I feel very lucky. You know, where we’re, where we’re at, and there’s a, I’ve got a lot of gratitude, you know, for the, for the market that we’re in.

Reshmi: So the marketing channels that you focused on, right. Do you have any particular channels that you focus on the B2B industry?

Regan: Well, yes, yes. Look, we are LinkedIn specialists, you know, we started two years ago with this LinkedIn specialization. That was a hangover from the work we’re doing in India for it, recruitment research and recruit research. So probably out of the 30 staff, we’ve got, you know, probably 10 of them are deeply involved with LinkedIn. So, but what I try going back to my example of, do you use Facebook? You know, what we try and do is from a skillset. Yes, we’re great LinkedIn, but we’ve got a team of paid media specialists who are good at, you know, Google ads, PPC you know, good at Facebook, et cetera. But you know, what we always try and do is we go, right. You know, when does your audience go?

What are they doing? You know, are people searching for this? And if they’re searching for it, then we need to have a PPC strategy. We’ve got to have that, you know targeting on LinkedIn is phenomenal, phenomenal, which is why it’s great if you’re targeting a small audience, but what we try and do is we try and go, right? Let’s, let’s walk in the shoes of our customers, customers, where are they? What are they doing? What are they thinking? And so primarily, first of all, we’ll analyze that a bit, a bit to ask you a question, if there’s anything to do with LinkedIn ads or social selling or building communities you know, it’s in my DNA

Reshmi: And any business books that you would recommend to the entrepreneurs.

Regan: Oh my God, I’m an, I am an avid, an avid reader. It’s ridiculous. I don’t finish them all. Look, this, I didn’t even prepare this. You’ll laugh. Okay. Talking of LinkedIn, here’s why. Okay. but “Million Pound LinkedIn Message” is all about positioning, you know, and, you know, I love, you know, going back to bring a horse to water with a horse drink is all about positioning and value propositions, but I’ve literally got some, some, you know, behind me, probably the last three months, maybe 10 different books, you know, from deep marketing psychology that, let me just, this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read in marketing.

I have a very hard read Think Fast and Slow, which is about, you know, human psychology, how the brain works and, you know, in marketing you know, it’s about figuring out your customer’s customers or my client clients, potential clients.

Reshmi: And any productivity hack that you have, like to stay productive throughout the day.

Regan: Yeah. At the moment I’ve got a, I’ve got a tab organizer, which tires me. I love advertising. I see. Cause like, you know, how do you say four hours a week? And then there was a tab organizer that is quite expensive, a tab organizer, which you, which, you know, so for example, I live in Google, I live in Chrome. You just got to think about your browser, all the tabs, how many tabs you got? What do you do with it?

You can’t keep them there. You know? So eventually you need to close them to start again. So from, so let’s say I’ve got a project, let’s say I’m writing a presentation. You know, I’ve got three, three tabs, open Google slides, presentations, I’m looking for images to support them. So I would have maybe 15 tabs and I’ll go, right.

And I’ll just save those tabs and go, right. This is for this kind of proposal. So next time I got a proposal, you know, for the same, the same kind of genre, I’ll go back to my tab organizer. You know, you know, I meditate every day cause I’m quite hyper. So, you know, meditation to me is, was transformational. You know, I kind of last year, I think late last year I worked with a, with a productivity coach.

So, you know, at the start of my week, my month, you know, I’ve got core goals that I’ve prioritized in different colours, you know, gold, silver, bronze you know, I, I schedule breaks. For me, the number one thing that I started doing four or five years ago was meditation. It’s 20 minutes every day. Yeah. That’s the meditation. And then five minutes after that is gratitude. And then five minutes after it’s a half an hour slot, the last five minutes, I’m just working through what I’m doing, doing in this particular day and what I really want to focus on.

Reshmi: We are almost at the end of the podcast. Any message you want to give to the entrepreneurs?

Regan: Yeah, look, my, wife’s got, I hate that word entrepreneur, you know, being an entrepreneur is, you know, it’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s, it’s a difficult thing and we’re not all cut out for it. That’s for sure. You know, it’s about taking punches and sometimes the punches are very hard and you’re like, how am I going to get up from this? So, you know, I think we need to go into you go into being an entrepreneur, you know, aware that it’s going to be a tough journey. So you’ve got a bit, you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be persistent and consistent.

But it’s, you know, it’s always a right. When you started, the journey is like a straight line. But the entrepreneurial line is like that you’re going up and going down, up and down, up and down. And when you, when you get up, you know, that there’s gonna be another down. So it’s, you know, it’s, my entrepreneurial advice would be, you know, be tough, be tough, you know, when it’s bad, it’s never that bad. And if you do all the right things, you know, often you will get to the top, but it’s a, it’s an endless journey.

Reshmi: Thank you. Thanks so much again, that was very inspiring at the same time, very insightful lesson.

Regan: So if anyone wants to connect, connect with me, do it on LinkedIn. You know, I want to give back as much as I have taken. Everyone’s talked to me about anything. You know, my door is always open

Reshmi: Definitely. If I know someone who wants some advice, I would surely recommend them as well. Thank you very much.

**In case you are a founder of a small business and want to be featured on our Founder Stories, or if you want to recommend someone for our Founder Stories series, you can connect here.

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