fbpx

Episode 192: Playing the Business Game by the Numbers with Ben Harper


Are you one of the business owners, entrepreneurs who are so afraid to look at their numbers and data of their businesses? These people are the ones who don’t want to face the reality of where they’re at. Ben Harper, a self-confessed Peaky Blinders fan, uses their data in order to decide on important matters in the company. Listen in as Ben Harper, answers questions from the listeners as well as some quick-fire questions from Adam Stott.

Show Highlights:

  • How Ben Harper used data in order to make important decisions for his company
  • Meet Hugo’s business model and who are their current clients and partners
  • The mindset behind sacking the free trial and raising their fees 3 times already
  • What’s the “Facebook approach” used by Ben Harper
  • Why not being a ‘hard boss’ can be detrimental to the company
  • There’s no silver bullet, it’s all hard work

Links Mentioned:

Big Business Events Members Network
Meet Hugo

Transcript:

Please note this is a verbatim transcription from the original audio and therefore may include some minor grammatical errors.

Adam Stott: 

Hi everybody, Adam Stott here. Thanks for checking out my podcast business growth secrets, you’re absolutely in the right place. This podcast is going to reveal to you all of the secrets that you’ve been looking to discover. They’re going to allow you to cure your cash flow problems, attain more clients, bring in more leads for your business and create systems and processes that give you the growth that you want. You are going to discover the business growth secrets you have been looking for that I’ve used to sell over 15 million pounds worth of products and services on social media and help clients everywhere to grow their businesses on the mark. So, let’s get started on the business growth secrets podcast.


One thing is I like to make 01:01 based on the numbers. I tell my clients to make their decisions based on numbers, well I’ve got a lot of clients that hate numbers right. You’re a numbers man right. Because if you’re a numbers man or a numbers lady. It’s a lot easier for you to take decisions, and then actually it doesn’t really become that difficult to make the zoom, because you’re being led there logically right. A lot of people don’t get that. And a lot of people don’t want to look at the numbers and a lot of people don’t want to sometimes face the realities of where they’re at, but they need to. Tools being having that data background actually been for you as an entrepreneur.


Ben: 
01:39 I’ve not met many other people like myself, I suppose you were kind of number driven but risk taking at the same time. 01:47 I think the right brain, left brain thing maybe. Yeah, it’s kind of work for us. So we these risks, we put the numbers behind them and it’s without the numbers. 02:01 


Adam Stott: 
So look, we’ve got a couple other questions coming in from online as well. So first one, and also businesses would be tempted to decrease marketing spend during difficult times. What are your thoughts on this?


Ben: 
You know, we see that what other people were selling to some of our clients. 02:17 That’s what people do. That’s the natural thing for businesses struggling. Generally, that’s the old adage, but I’ve never really agreed with it because if you cut your losses often you’re giving up on really many ways. So I think it’s a case of again looking at our data and knowing what is working and what isn’t. And then you’re not sure about something you’re not really understanding that’s when they cut it off, because our system is quite transparent we get, you know, normally between five and 10 leads opportunities in your account, we can see what you’re getting. And then, I know what 02:50 that works really good. 


Adam Stott: 
So, I think he’s quite clear, you know. The same thing can you invest in marketing in difficult time, you’re actually going to gain results a lot of the time. In terms of your business model, which is interesting looking at your business model you’ve managed to science really high profile clients yourself. So tell us about working with your clients now. 


Ben: 

We’ve got everything from small one man bands for big mega agencies that actually work with us, all sorts really, all sorts of brands agency is pretty big ones, which is great. Coming up first really targeted businesses, you know, 03:31 30 people, something like that, probably, the kind of SME. Small business space, but we’re adding a lot of new features at the moment to kind of push that a little bit. But yeah, even despite that we’re picking up the clients don’t want to give it a go, which is good.

Adam Stott: 
Yeah which is awesome. Absolutely, and you’ve got with this transparent business model right, so your numbers your pricing is all out there for all to see. We’re pretty clear with it, and that’s the same for every client. That doesn’t matter who you are, is that client?


Ben: 
03:58 client we were raised the price is probably worth mentioning actually probably three times. 04:03 price rises gives you a lot. 

Adam Stott: 
They will answer a question on that right because one of the things we frequently have culture, and we meet people all the time, we’ve got 1000s of clients from all different lines of business. And one of the things that most of them need to do most of people watching tonight. Most of the people watching tonight are not the people who are watching tonight. Probably not charging the worth, or not making the correct margin for their products or services, even some of my top clients, even some of our clients are performing a very high levels down raise their prices and haven’t raised their prices in different periods. 

You are saying you’ve raise your prices three times during the period. So what was the mindset behind that? Tell me a little fear around that? There’s always a lot of fear, a different way of thinking you bet, which I think is really interesting. 

Ben: 
So originally we started out we, we started out the freemium model sign up, try it for free for seven days and then it was 99 04:57 a month after that. And first thing we did, just before lockdown is we got rid of the free trial at that time if you’re causing a problem with it straight away and to get the patient away to just on that as well. Well that was kind of a, we’d have the free trial for 18 months of that one so scary thing to do for us, straightaway within a week we made sure that it was great. 05:24 


Adam Stott: 

Just interject 05:28 that was the best decision we ever made. What have you done if it was a couple of weeks, it was a couple of months and they weren’t quite working?


Ben: 
05:39 I’ve got a couple of options in terms of shorter trials or different ways down the trial and a few backup plans but that was kind of what we wanted to work on. And what we did first is we reproved that before we got rid of the trial, we launched another brand. 05:55 WordPress website, which is exactly the same products a year ago. But under a different name, made signed up on there, with no trial. And just this about few people buy this. And if they will just tell me who we are actually about the same thing. And people do start buying. So ended up about 10 clients on this random of the Breton’s straightaway, and went okay, well that works. So we’re pretty confident at the time that he’s going to be quite tested learn approach to see if that’s going to work. 


Adam Stott: 
That’s awesome. The fact that you try to get back to a test brand, got themselves and their product on Z when asked, that’s good man. 06:34 

Ben: 
We acquired that brand went back into the Makiko family and disappeared. So we get that and then we launched. I think it must have been about a time we saw its current price and up. So we went from nine per month to one something like that. 06:55 And then we realized that we wanted to actually look a little bit longer so we stopped selling monthly bills until we can pay anymore, the shorts project paper was important. So I think it was for 07:09 pounds per quarter, I think, to start with, now so normally package six monthly package,07:17 unextended for a minimum different steps. And every time we did it actually. I’m really excited because the price is going up on the first January, you need to sign up now and you get a rush. 07:32 And then you have a couple days afterwards. Because then we’ll find out. 07:37 But it works really nicely.


Adam Stott: 
I want to ask you a question, a different questions, or something, a lot of the things that you assign are the things that I tell clients quite regularly, and one of them is about the importance of speed and the importance of speed in business and doing things fast and having the ability to adapt fast and take action fast. It sounds like there’s something you’re doing. So what’s your opinion on the importance of speed in business? 


Ben: 
Yeah. We’re about sort of middle class, breaking things that kind of Facebook approach. I used to say if you can’t get in three days. Now a bit bigger slower like that. 

Adam Stott: 
I love it. 08:19 I’m actually going to talk that same, 08:25 

Ben: 
Let me hear yourself, so I was kind of wondering what to do next. I have the idea, on Friday, or on Monday, not every weekend but we launched it on Monday went okay, this works, then it’s about speed 08:49. It’s probably not going to work. 

Adam Stott:
Yeah. Nice, awesome. A lot of people put far too much emphasis on perfection. Perfect. Where is all about progression not perfection. I got a question from Hannah. Hannah Vining. And one of the things I was saying we talked about speed, we’ve lined up guests, or this on I think on a Tuesday evening, I think we do in today in a Thursday, but I think every Tuesday evening lined up for the next eight weeks with special guests so we like the sound of that everyone put it in the comments, bring in lots of great people to to Ben’s the first one. Now the reason that Ben’s the first one is because Ben was the quickest to come back and was asked in a way, immediately yes I’m up for it. And I think that that just shows you that the person that takes opportunities, is that the person, the most fastest, the person that ends up in business, you know, and goes out and grows. And there’ll be look we’ve got we’ve had hundreds of business owners on tonight already right, that will come in throws off and say, through the different channels, and it’s going to be some people tonight, we’re going to be gone on your website on a you know and they’re going to be looking at what you do, without shadow of a doubt there’s going to be some businesses that want to do some business with you, Ben.

And the reality is you took four weeks to say yes. And for me it’s about getting those lessons across to the people that follow and getting them to understand the speed and the movement, price and momentum and those results. So this question from Hannah Vonnie. What’s the hardest lessons that you’ve learned in business so far?


Ben: 
Tough one. I’d say probably being too lenient on my hard boss. I’ve got a nice boss of a very nice people got a lot of slack and sometimes not. So in this business. 10:34 Most of the clients. So, again, probably not here to get more subscription model when they have lots of business, we have a few clients that 10:42 Tim Sullivan, this is a second time. We learned the internet. 10:49 

Adam Stott:
So actually having people take advantage of your good nature would you say that 11:00 in the beginning, in the beginning I was fought, I was always go too much, always was to kind of always, you know, he said it’s a difficult lesson. And as you become more successful you get more requests. And then in the end 11:19 you know in a big way. But yeah, absolutely. So really just to beat the one of the hardest lessons you learn not to beat yet, right. 

Ben: 
So yeah, I think so. Unfortunately, we gotta be the bosses are 11:34 


Adam Stott:

So another question we got come in. This one’s from Kevin, how do you make your email campaigns avoid the spam folder and send them to this, I think you said, the answer is Alexei again. 

Ben: 
Yeah, getting people to opt in being consistent make sure they still want it. We tried a few different platforms and stuff like that so by using data again to make sure that what you’re using and what you’re doing is most effective found generally like sending in blue or MailChimp seems to be the best for us, generally without subscribers but I tried everything I think pretty much for anything other than just trying to make sure we do it the right way but some people that hate spam and stuff let’s just you used that data 12:13

Adam Stott:
It sounds to me that you’re doing such a high level of segmentation, that you’re probably not going to be hitting too much junk.

Ben: 
Everyone should be relevant. 


Adam Stott:
Yeah, the smaller you send to the more it’s going to get through, you know if you’re smack 100,000 emails, you just, you know the reality is not gonna go through to a ton of people but if you’re actually really going deep on the data, you’re going to get much better results as you mentioned earlier absolutely. So I got another question here so this is from my market manager actually asked this question. So it’s good question right, good question. So Ben, if you wake up tomorrow and it’s the first of January 2020. What would you do different?

Ben: 
Do I have the benefit of hindsight, knowing what’s gonna happen? 12:54 

Adam Stott:

Yeah, of course. That was what makes the question interesting. 13:01 


Ben: 
We ready to go first. So we’ve been. 13:11 We wouldn’t be where we are now, where we are now. In February, ready to go, basically in 13:14 straightaway. So, I think we do that to get bigger, faster basically.


Adam Stott:
Yeah, absolutely. I love that. That’s awesome. What would you actually do? How would you, how would you handle it looking back? I think that actually that is a really good point because cash is pretty much the most important thing in a business, who’s only signed to a client the other day that was signed not really know where I stand and I said well where you stand is if your business has got enough cash to get through, you don’t have a problem. You got a problem when your business runs out of cash because cash is the lifeblood of your business. You’re gonna die. Alright so that we want to make sure we keep the cash. Absolutely. So good answer there, good answer. 

I also got another question in. Is there a quick way to build an email database? So good question, very relevant question. We get a new customers obviously by slow so any methods that you use particularly Ben for building email as a basis?


Ben: 
For things we used a bunch of conferences and things like that where we collect data from people. This store is already getting a lot in a day. But just having kind of nice neat magnet based contacts with people who are customers with people who are the right kind of customers. We do have a plugin, a lot of eBooks. I think people are gonna want content around for marketing content how’s it watching a new web design possibly, people will find their emails to find out what kind of information they know, where they’re gonna find it and then they’re opting in to receive that much later and all of that. So think about how content marketing approach, and people 14:52 do a great job with with that they’re gonna want to look up and we look at them as a good example of how to do quite well. But yeah, there’s no silver bullet. Unfortunately, it’s hard work. But yeah, there’s some things we do.

Adam Stott:
You mentioned about seeing in the Philippines, we use people in the Philippines as well for our sourcing. I’ve done so many to recommend to our clients. And what do you find particularly useful there and 15:13 you didn’t use that for any database growth?

Ben: 
Because we’ve got a so many sales team out there 15:19 based on kind of having an American approach to sales. Every Wednesday is never complaining of being just generally awesome they’re great. But we also have a couple of people out there who deal with data for us mainly in turn leads to they’ll deal with. If we have people who are opening our emails we’ve got a lady although he does take through everyone’s clips or emails that we cross certain projects and will then give that to the sales team today for instance but these are the ones that you’ll get from the phone numbers, etc. But we don’t really use them for finding emails that we’re going to go out and email, but I get what you get. In terms of outsourcing, obviously, 15:58 our CTO had his whole tech team previously, his previous company out there and just yeah they’re great. 

It’s really rewarding because they’re used to being deployed by American companies are pretty mean to them. I think generally. So, yeah, they really appreciate a nice company, I think and do a great job.


Adam Stott:
Good stuff. So do a couple of quick fire questions, you know, just really for the audience to give them a bit of an idea of some of the things that have influenced you. So you know what would you say is, let’s go read first and easy one best business book or favorite inspiring book that you’ve read?

Ben: 
A Lean Startup by Eric Reese, all about moving fast, breaking things, because the man isn’t. 


Adam Stott:
Okay, so the Lean Startup Yeah, very good book actually. So, lean startup, do you listen to any particular podcast? A kind of podcast that you listen to in your life. I mean it was the number one most.  Obviously,16:58 


Ben: 

I don’t know I’m a reader, if I read, I didn’t really read a physical book because personally I like to read startup stories and like founders finding stories about stuff. 17:11 


Adam Stott:
That’s my favorite source of reading it’s actually a story, a 17:16 story. He averaged quite right tons, give us one of those that you like or do you like to on the sidelines?

Ben: 
Start-up brand by, what’s his name? 17:27 McHale Swanee, I think that’s a really good story, and he’s got his wife’s death I think that they mentioned, nowhere else we’ve made some mistakes and it’s really interesting basically how the whole journey.

Adam Stott:
Okay, awesome. Good stuff about that one. Okay, what’s the most inspiring film or a series that inspires you usually?

Ben: 

I like Peaky Blinders, a lot of business. 18:01 


Adam Stott:
Good stuff. Okay so, yeah, pretty much everybody say a big thank you in the comments to Ben for coming and joining us. If you want to go and check what Ben does and check out a bit more about him.  You can go to 18:17 


Ben: 

18:20 there’s a live demo that you can play around with so have a look. 


Adam Stott:
Yeah, so maybe you go 18:25 look really good to me when I saw he does he generates six to 10 leads for a business are pretty much every it every week or every month you do that for?


Ben: 
Every week promotion is it all depends on what criteria they set to what kind of leads they want, 18:39 what areas they want them to think that it’ll generally be more broad than general. 

Adam Stott:
So go and check, Ben’s stuff out sounds awesome. You know without a shadow of a doubt I’d look around it was pretty impressed and cut the last piece from us before we wrap up tonight. So big thank you, Ben you’ve been amazing guest on man, some really cool stuff. Congratulations on 19:01 and the things you shared tonight. I’m sure there’s a good golden nugget stands for everyone this evening that they can learn from and I hope it certainly continues for you I’m sure there’ll be a few people get in touch with you So thanks very much. Good night everybody and I look forward to seeing you very soon have another bite, this week. Thanks everyone. 

Leave a Comment