This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • How to implement your goals

Resources & Links

Episode 161 – 2022 Business Planning – Part 3 – Implementation

Show Notes

Part 3: What you need to do to GET THERE

What will you need to do to reach your goals?

  1. If you need to sell 400 more shirts per month, how will you do that?
  2. Was expanding a goal? What will you need?

In this series, we first took a look back at last year, (or if you are new maybe you did some initial research on the biz). Then we went through and created goals. These goals helped us work backwards.

So if you wanted to make $50k in profit, you sell shirts for $20 and you profit $10 a shirt…. you need to sell 5000 shirts. This means you need to sell about 417 shirts a month. This is your goal.

You have a profit goal = at least $50k

You have an annual shirt goal = $50k / $10 profit per shirt = 5000 shirts

You have an annual revenue goal = 5000 shirts x $20 retail = 100k

You have a monthly sales goal = about 417 shirts for about $8340 and $4170 profit

Now that you have a goal, how are you going to achieve it.

What has worked in the past?

If you are in business already this is great because you can look at what worked well before.

  1. Did you pay for ads online? How much did it generate for you? Did it meet profit per shirt goals?
  2. Did you cold call or door knock?
  3. Did you get referrals?

What ways did you get business that….

A – met profit per shirt goals

B – you can replicate.

Now do the math on how much money, time, effort it will take. Will this get to your goal?

If it can… great! If not this is one step closer.

Sure-Fire ways to generate business for startups 

Is there a sure-fire way to generate business that you aren’t doing?

  1. Cold calls / door knocking
  2. Asking for referrals
  3. Attending networking events
  4. Calling old customers

These are all low cost and sure-fire ways to generate business in this industry. If you talk to enough people, and talk to them again… you will find more customers.

This comes back to some math again, and some creative thinking. You can use a 10% rule for a lot of the estimating here. If you talk to 10 people, 1 of them will have some interest in what you do. You can estimate that 10-30% of those people will become a sale in the near future.

So if you talk to 100 people, 10 of them will be interested and 1-3 will buy. This might sound like a lot, but when you break it down by degrees of separation this is very attainable.

If you go to a network meeting and there are 20 people there, you may find 2 that are interested. Also, you will talk to 18 people who aren’t interested… but they might each refer you to 1 or 2 or more people each. You might find someone who will shout you out on their social media or on their linked-in or in their business. 20 people can quickly turn into 100 people, landing you sales.

This rule works with cold calling, emailing past customers, attending events, knocking on doors, talking to friends/family, your kids friends’ parents, etc etc etc

So just start doing some math. If you talked to X people, how much $$ does that generate for YOUR business. Yours might be for every 20 people I talk to I generate $500. If I need to sell $100,000 that means I need to communicate with 4000 people or 330 a month.

New ways to generate business (if you arent doing them)



Direct Mail

Local Ads

Social Media


Trade Publications


Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups Podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So get ready to soak up some knowledge. Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc.

Mark Stephenson: Hey everyone and welcome to yet another episode of the CAS Podcast, my name is Mark Stephenson.

Marc Vila: And this is Marc Vila and today, we’ve got a part three of 2022 Business Planning. You don’t have to do this in January, you don’t have to do it in February because these rules apply for any time you’re planning to grow your business. So you could pick it when you want.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: So if you’re listening to this in the future, it’s good stuff.

Mark Stephenson: Honestly, I’m going to give you a peak under the hood. We’ve actually planned out some episodes in 90 days or so to see what your progress is. So whenever you start, we’ll have reminder episodes coming up to make sure that you’re staying on track.

Marc Vila: Great, great. Well, part one was looking back at last year’s business, looking back in time at what you’ve done, right? A great episode. If you’re brand-new, maybe that looking back is just research you’ve done, right? About the business and what you’re going to do.

Mark Stephenson: And that’s another numbers episode, it’s really important that you do that.

Marc Vila: Yeah.

Mark Stephenson: If you’re in business especially, so you’ll have a basis for planning for this.

Marc Vila: Yeah and if you’re brand-new, it’s a very important episode because there is a future you that didn’t listen to that episode and then you got to the next year-

Mark Stephenson: That’s great.

Marc Vila: And you want to look at some of your numbers and you said, “I didn’t track any of that stuff.” And then you said, “I wish I would have.” So it’s great for a new business because it gives you an insight of what to look at. Yeah, part two was goal setting, so setting goals, right? What did you do? What do you want to do, right? And once you know what you want to do, this episode is how you’re going to get there. So this is implementing your goals, getting out there, making them happen.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah and this is really a pick your numbers, pick your situation that you want to be in in the future and working your way backwards. So this is the math and the tactics that you’ll use to implement the goals that you set, right? This is what you have to do, like, okay, I want a big house, I want to work for 30 minutes a day, I want to quit my job, I want a fantastic side hustle so I can go on vacation. Whatever that is and that you’ve written down from last episode, these are the concrete steps that you need to map out so you get to the number or the situation that your goal is.

Marc Vila: Yeah. Yeah, it’s great, right? So some of the questions we wrote that we’ll answer, right? What do you need to do to reach your goals? If you need to sell 400 more shirts or whatever you sell a month, how are you going to do it? Are you looking to grow your business? What are you going to need to grow it to get to this new number? Is this a brand-new business and what are you going to do to get to those first things? So what we’ll start with is, we’ll go into doing that backwards math I think, right? Where we talk about, this is the goal, this is what it means, right? We’ll triangle it down from a big idea to more concrete things and then we’ll look at what you can do to generate that more business or new business. And we’ll get into some concrete numbers and then we’ll get into how you experiment a little bit.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah, I like it.

Marc Vila: Yeah, let’s start with… I’ll just read this, then I’ll let you go, how about that?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: You want to make $50,000 in profit, that’s the goal, right? You might think that’s a really small number or a huge number, it’s just a number, okay? You want to make $50,000 in profit, you sell shirts for 20 bucks and you make 10 bucks a shirt, right? We’re doing easy math.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: That means you need to sell 5000 shirts, 50,000 divided by 10 bucks and if you have 5000 shirts, we’ll get you $50,000 in profit, right? And then we’ll break it down in one more level, that means you need to sell about 417 shirts a month.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: That’s your goal.

Mark Stephenson: So a few things I want to point out about that is there’s a big difference between your revenues and your profits, right? So we’re not talking about $50,000 a month in sales, we’re talking about the difference between what you sell things for and all of the expenses that it takes to make those things and sell those things, right? So you’ve got your top line, you’ve got your business expenses, you’ve got your cost of materials and supplies and everything that we went over in the last episode to get to your profit per item. And we’re making it really simple for you here by just saying it’s a shirt that you sell for $20 and it costs you $10 to make it, including the blank, so you make $10 a shirt. And that specific calculation, which hopefully you’ll get from last year’s numbers or you’ll surmise or figure based on some of the information that you’ve read or other of our podcasts you listen to, that $10 a shirt is a pretty conservative number in our business.

Marc Vila: Yeah and one thing to mention in this is where we say the shirt costs you 20 and you profit 10, right? Is you’re going to want to do your best and if you’re in business, you know this, if you’re not, you’re going to have to predict a bit but it’s all your expenses, right? So the cost of the shirt, the cost of the ink, the cost of a lease if you’re leasing your equipment, right? And this is true of anything, doesn’t matter-

Mark Stephenson: Rent.

Marc Vila: If it’s mugs or shirt, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: Rent, if you’re paying rent somewhere, doing your taxes, right? These are all these things because we’re looking for a simple number, we want the business to profit a certain dollar amount. Now, I think if you’re going to do this as an exercise for yourself, you can write down four things which we’ve written here, right? You have a profit goal, how much money do you want to make at the end of this? How much does your business want to make? If you have an LLC, this might be the amount that you take out of that LLC as your money from it, right? And we said 50,000, just as a number. The second number you write down is, how many shirts do you have to sell to get to that 50,000, right? So 50,000 and we said 10 bucks per shirt was the number.

In the last episode, we dove into how to get more of those numbers a little better if you need it. So that means 5000 shirts, that’s the second number you wrote down. So 50,000, 5000 shirts. Then what does that mean in revenue? It’s important to know that number, right? How much cash did you actually take in? So that’s 5000 shirts times 20 bucks, right? 100 grand, $100,000 in revenue, that’s your third number. And then the fourth number is really two numbers, it’s a monthly goal because we said in the last episode, an annual goal is too big. I can’t do 10,000 push-ups in a year, that sounds ridiculous, right? Well, unless we do the math just for fun because I love talking about that, that’s only 27 push-ups a day.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: 27.39, so the last one is a third of a push-up.

Mark Stephenson: It’s literally my least favorite topic in the universe, is push-ups.

Marc Vila: Yeah but if you had to do 10 in the morning and 10 at lunch and seven before dinner, that’s not that much and you’ve done 10,000 push-ups, so that’s the point of this monthly goal. So the fourth number is your monthly goals, which we said is 417 shirts, divide 5000 by 12. 8340, 8340 in revenue and 4170 in profit and that actually will exceed your $50,000 goal right there.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah. So my favorite number in all of this and I think probably the most useful number from one perspective, is that number of shirts that you have to sell. Because you can break that down into… That can inform, okay, so what kind of orders do I want? Do I want one order for 417 shirts every month? Or is my business set up where I need to do 10 orders? Or is that 417 orders because I only sell one shirt at a time? So I like it because it actually sounds like a pretty easy goal for making 50 Gs a year, it really does.

Marc Vila: Yeah.

Mark Stephenson: 417 shirts is not a lot.

Marc Vila: Yeah, it’s not that much and if anyone’s doubting that and you want to just have a little visual thing, just go and empty out all the drawers for your whole family and count up how many shirts you have, then you realize how many you need to donate to Goodwill or something because you haven’t worn them in eight years.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: But those are all the shirts that you own. Or if you look at a restaurant, if you get one restaurant to do your business and they have 20 people that work there, that could be a 100 shirt order in a snap and then referral business that comes from there. So getting to that number is not unrealistic at all, a super realistic number. Especially if you’re looking at side hustle-ish, first year-ish or a growing business.

Mark Stephenson: And again, this math works out. So if your number is $100,000 a year that you want to make, then it’s 834 shirts that you’ll need, you’re going to be doing a couple hundred shirts a week, it still sounds like a suspiciously low number. You know what I mean?

Marc Vila: Yeah.

Mark Stephenson: It still sounds very achievable. But don’t change your goals now, right? You already did the math and what you did last year in the first part of this 2022 planning project and in the second part, you already figured out your goals. So don’t necessarily change them right now based on what you’re learning today, go through the entire exercise with what the goals you set in the last episode was and then maybe you can take another look.

Marc Vila: Yeah, there are two things I want to mention in regards to all these things. For one, we’re doing math numbers that are easy to do, so we can say them and you don’t need a calculator, you can just use your brain and you can think of it, right? So one person’s going to say, “How do you make 10 bucks a shirt?” Right? “You can’t do that,” right? There’s somebody saying that right now. There’s another person saying, “I would never only make $10 a shirt,” right?

Mark Stephenson: I’ve literally seen that conversation a thousand times.

Marc Vila: I’ve seen both. So it’s just a number, your niche is much different than somebody else down the road. There’s a difference between volume selling and individual selling, high fashion selling versus selling to nonprofits. There’s so many things, these are numbers and you pick your numbers. There’s no wrong answer and there’s no right one. I’ll tell you, there is a right one. The right one is the one where you’re hitting your goals and making profits, your goals.

Mark Stephenson: I like that a lot.

Marc Vila: So that’s a big thing with that. And then the other thing I was going to say about the goal setting, just a second quick thing on that, is it is important you realize what your dream is, what you need to achieve that dream and then you run that business according to that and you’re going to take the following steps, how to achieve those goals. These are really important that they’re for you and your business, there’s a FOMO thing, a fear of missing out thing, where you do all this and you’re like, dang, I really should be trying to do more or better.

Mark Stephenson: Which we do all the time.

Marc Vila: Yeah because somebody else does or why didn’t I shoot higher, right? That’s always a thought out there but if you did the exercise correctly, the math you’re doing achieves what you wanted. So trust yourself a little bit because you try to go too far away from that dream and you make it unattainable and you give up. That’s just something that I heard from the last thing.

Mark Stephenson: No, I like it. So let’s break this down, you’ve got the 417 shirts that you need to sell, right? So the first step is based on part one of the series and that is, you’ve got to take a look at what has worked for you in the past or what is working for you right now, with those goals in mind. So how many shirts did you sell a month or a week last year and what’s that difference? And how did you sell those? Right? What methods did you use that got you to that 200 shirts or 300 shirt or 400 shirt range that you need to examine before you figure out how to get to 417?

Marc Vila: So you’ve already done things, right? Last year in your business, if you’re existing, that made you the money that you made last year, that helped you sell the amount of orders that you did last year. And what you want to do, the purpose of this question, is you’re looking to replicate what you did before.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: At scale. As long as it meets two things, right? You met your profit per shirt goal, so if you said 10 bucks is the number, you want to replicate orders, ways of getting those $10 per shirt, right?

Mark Stephenson: Or better.

Marc Vila: Yeah, right? Or better, yeah.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: If you sold a bunch of shirts at $2 per shirt, that’s not one you’re trying to replicate because that’s not part of your goal, unless you redo your numbers for $2 a shirt, right?

Mark Stephenson: Right. Yeah.

Marc Vila: And the second thing and this is a little harder to say but you have to be able to replicate it, you can replicate it.

Mark Stephenson: So I especially like that because the vast majority of people that have small customization businesses, it’s all word-of-mouth. Many of them don’t really… Especially if it’s a side hustle, it’s people at work, it’s their family members that made connections, it’s people from church or from a leads group or a fraternal organization or something like that that you belong to, that you’re already plugged in on. So oftentimes, those first sets of sales are easy and you don’t actually have to do that much. Year one, frequently, you started a business, this custom T-shirt business as an example, because there was already a demand. You were already paying too much for custom T-shirts at your high school and you knew you could get in, so there’s some built-in business that’s pent up there. But year two and year three, once you have growth goals, these are the times where you really got to look at, okay, if all of my business is referrals, I only know a certain number of people and I’ve told all of them, how can I expand that or replicate that?

Marc Vila: Yeah and this example specifically from referral, you’re talking about a single degree of separation referral.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah, these are personal-

Marc Vila: They know you.

Mark Stephenson: Yes.

Marc Vila: Which is different than other referrals I’ll talk about later but yeah, the single degree of separation, your brother, your pastor, your boss at your day job, the person who runs the Little League that your kid goes to. You knew all those people, you got that business. Now, that is harder to replicate because it’s harder to just say, “Well, I will just get 10 more friends that really trust me,” you know what I mean?

Mark Stephenson: Which you could, I guess.

Marc Vila: You could but that’s different. So it’s a little harder to replicate that because these are people who just gave it to you because you’re you and it’s harder to replicate those relationships.

Mark Stephenson: And when you go past that, that’s really when you’re getting into the marketing part of the business and the advertising part of the business.

Marc Vila: Yeah. So I think we can go into it, then next is you’ve got that business and you’re getting some other referral business from that business, right? You do a job for your pastor, the pastor loved it and you do stuff for the church. And then another church down the road, you went to some sort of a community meeting and the two pastors had a chat and they said, “I’d love to use someone that goes to your congregation.” So those referrals are going to happen but you didn’t do anything actively to make that happen.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: Which is what a lot of people do, they passively get referrals. So this next step is going to be talking about the surefire ways to generate business for start-ups. So if you’re looking to hit goals and you’re just getting referrals from people you know and then passive referrals, it’s hard to replicate that and predict that. So this is going to be stuff that you could do that are the surefire ways to generate business, so let’s just talk about some of them.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah and it’s important to think about these in the way that’s based on your last year’s experience. If you did pay for ads, like Facebook Ads or Instagram or TikTok or whatever you’re doing, then definitely don’t ignore that if they were profitable and successful. If you did cold call or if you did actively network and prospect for connection business, then don’t set that by the wayside, you need to know those numbers from last year so you can identify which one works best or which one or three worked best, so you can expand on that.

Marc Vila: So thank you, thank you for saying that because I didn’t write in the notes and we almost passed something really important. So Mark brought up a point that was a further of something that we were just talking about. You look at how you got business, any ways you got business and some of those for existing business are going to be paid ads, pay-per-click or maybe you did Google Ads or you put some sort of local ads out or something like that, you paid to get business in one way or another and it generated business, you should know your numbers on that. And then you say, “Can I replicate that?” Meaning, can I spend more money in Google? Can I take out more local ads that are similar? Maybe I did something in a local magazine that goes out to certain businesses in a certain zip code. Well, can I do four other zip codes? Can I do the same thing?

If you did Facebook or Google Ads or something like that, maybe similar, can I spend more money on that? If you had a niche you advertised to, like you advertised to fishing and you do fishing shirts, right? Is there another niche similar that you can replicate doing that same formula for advertising to people who have boats, right? Similar, related to fishing and this is the replication thing. That you know your numbers where you can say, “I spent $10,000 on ads, I know it generated $100,000 in revenue, I did all the math, all those sales were profitable, that got me to three quarters of my goal. My goal was 15% more, how much do I have to spend to get that?” And you do the math, “What if I would have spent 10% more? There’s my number at the end, 20%, here’s my number,” until you say, “Okay, I need to spend 30% more and assuming all things go the same, I’ll be able to hit my goal.”

Mark Stephenson: Yep.

Marc Vila: So that’s the theme of what’s worked in the past, do it again, do it bigger, do it more, do it faster, do it stronger.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: Right? Now, if you haven’t done that and you’ve just gotten the first degree referrals and then the nonaction second degree referrals through the friend of a friend referrals but you’re not active in that-

Mark Stephenson: Connections.

Marc Vila: The connections, you’re not active in that. So here’s ways you can be active in generating income and that you can hopefully have a reasonable way to predict how much work you have to do.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah and I’m going to change something because these are some ways that we’re going to talk about next that definitely work, they definitely will increase your business. Number one, we’ve got cold calls down here, I prefer… What do we call it? In one of our previous episodes, we called it active networking I think.

Marc Vila: Active networking.

Mark Stephenson: I’m going to change that in our notes-

Marc Vila: Change it, sure.

Mark Stephenson: And call it active networking because people hate sales and they definitely hate the idea of cold calling. So active networking, you know what networking is, that’s when you meet new people in a social setting and you talk a little business, right? That’s basically what networking is, you go to a chamber of commerce meeting, “Hi, my name’s Mark, I sell custom T-shirts, what do you do?” So active networking is going into random businesses or specific businesses and doing the same thing, saying the same things, “Hi, my name’s Mark, I sell custom hats, love your business, here’s my card.” That’s active networking.

Marc Vila: So yeah and this is actually just going out there and getting your name in front of people, over the phone, in person, whatever it might be, you’re wearing one of your shirts, you’re carrying one of your mugs. I don’t know what you’re doing but you’re out there and you’re physically letting the community or your niche market… And if you haven’t listened to any of our niche market type of episodes, listen to those. But you’re letting them know what you do. And we’ll go through some others and then we can talk about some of the rules on how you can do the math to figure out what you have to do, right?

Mark Stephenson: Okay, I like that.

Marc Vila: So the next is asking for referrals, so that’s active referral seeking.

Mark Stephenson: Yep and that would be, if you’re still at the level one stage where almost all of your customers are connections, that is not waiting for them to happen to have a conversation with someone that they know and mention you. It’s calling them or emailing them or texting them and say, “Hey, listen, I’m actively looking for more business, who do you know that you think might be a good customer for me?” And so it’s inspiring them to think about who they know, who they’re connected to and who else might be a good customer for you and that’s a huge bonus.

Marc Vila: A huge one and this is something that you do active and passive when the passive is still an active way, right? So one way is, you ask them for a referral, right? A person’s name or contact. And then the other way, once you’ve already asked them for that and maybe they didn’t have anybody yet, another way you do it is when you see them next or when you deliver their goods, you remind them, “Hey, I’m still looking for customers, I’m looking for customers, keep my name in mind if somebody mentions something that I do.” So they don’t have anybody to tell you yet but remind them to keep your name in mind. So this is something that you do always.

Mark Stephenson: And we’ve got podcast episodes on this but I just want to mention a few active tips and that’s to prod their thoughts by saying, for example, “Do you have anybody that works with a big school that’s got a sports team?” “Do you know anybody that runs a small business, like a hair salon or a small restaurant?” Give them a couple of examples to think about while they’re going through their daily lives and then they realize, oh yeah, my brother-in-law owns a chain of hair cutting places, I bet he could use something. Cool, next step.

Marc Vila: Yeah. Yeah, that’s great, that’s great and this is something that… All this stuff is trackable, right? This is something you do, so if you’re going to do the cold calls or the door knocking, you track how many times you did it that day, that week, that month. Same thing with referrals, you track the numbers. Another one of these surefire ways is actual networking, attending networking events, joining clubs, going to virtual or in person or phone meetings, joining Facebook groups of people in your area or in your niche. This is getting your name and your business in front of other people in a way that’s expected, right?

So if you go to a networking event, if you join the Chamber of Commerce, if you join a business local Facebook group, whatever it might be, everyone’s expecting to tell what they want to do and hear what you have to do and this is another… I know so many people who have small businesses personally, that aren’t even in the customization business, that’s how they grew their business only, nothing more than joining those things and talking to everybody and that’s how they get all their business. And then they do some referral asking if they’re good.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: And then the next one is calling people who bought from you before.

Mark Stephenson: Oh man, this is one of my favorites. One of my favorites because a lot of you folks, typically again, year one, year two, you’re pretty much probably just tracking your customers in QuickBooks or FreshBooks or your accounting software. You really don’t have a system for, oh, they bought for a big holiday party that they have with their family over Thanksgiving, you don’t have a way to remind yourself to call them next year to see if they’re going to have that party again. So getting in touch with old customers, people that have bought with you, maybe not bought in a while, that’s panning for gold, right?

Marc Vila: Yeah, right.

Mark Stephenson: Guaranteed results.

Marc Vila: And we say the word call, call means email, text message, Facebook message.

Mark Stephenson: Contact.

Marc Vila: Contact, just get in front of their face in one way or another, virtually or in person and say, “How you been? Hope everything’s good. Last year maybe you did this, is this going to happen again?” Or, “I hope you really enjoyed that, I’d love to do it again for you.” Or, “By the way, here’s a good idea if you’re interested.” And you just say stuff to your old customers and you track this as well. You track all of this stuff and they will all generate business and then you can do some math on that. And sometimes, this is hard if you don’t have previous data, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: So you’re going to gather data as you’re doing it and then you’re going to guess ahead of time and you can change your guess and move because you’re going to have to figure out, how much of this activity do I have to do to reach my goals?

Mark Stephenson: But you do have to commit to tracking it and I promise your business is going to be better if you do.

Marc Vila: Yeah, you’ve got to do it. And there’s this 10% rule, it oftentimes is true but it’s just a great guessing start, right? That if you talk to 10 people, one of them’s going to be interested in what you do, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: One of them’s going to be interested in what you do, if you go to a party and it’s a kid’s birthday party and there’s 10 moms and dads there and you talk to 10 different families and you say hi and you say what you do, one of them’s going to say, “Yeah,” and they’re going to tell you all about something, right? And then you could maybe say, maybe somewhere between 10 or 25 or 30% of those people are going to buy from you in the near future, right? And all this depends, that’s why you got to track it, there’s no surefire answer.

Mark Stephenson: So before I forget, I have a challenge for people.

Marc Vila: Okay.

Mark Stephenson: If you’re in a room with 10 to 20 people or more if you have the guts to do it, just stand on a chair and say, “I sell custom T-shirts,” and I guarantee, if everybody in the room knows that you sell custom T-shirts, somebody’s going to walk up to you and say, “Hey, you know what? I need custom T-shirts.”

Marc Vila: Let me tell you a story about that.

Mark Stephenson: Okay, yeah, do it.

Marc Vila: So I don’t remember, it was a party and we’re at a party at a friend’s house and we’re playing a card game, right? And there was drinks involved and I forget, it was me or somebody else, because I did have some drinks but I think it might’ve been… Anyway, it doesn’t matter, let’s just say it was me, story. I pick up a card and it’s a business card and I just… I was like, “What’s this doing on the table? We’re playing cards.” And then someone else said something and, “Oh, one of the guys here is a realtor, he left some cards on the table probably,” and everyone’s like, “Oh, okay, whatever.” So then it’s karaoke time, this is two hours later, everyone’s in it and the party’s really going now.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: It’s after midnight and they were playing card games at 10:00. So the guy gets to do his karaoke and I recognized the face from the card because if you’re a realtor, you have to have your face on the card, I don’t know what-

Mark Stephenson: For some reason, I don’t know why.

Marc Vila: Law. Yeah, it’s in the law.

Mark Stephenson: But for the reason of this story that you’re going to tell.

Marc Vila: Yeah and I knew it was him and then he says, “Everybody take out your phone,” and we’re like, we got a game, a game’s about to be played. And, “Let me put in my phone number,” and then I’m putting my phone back in my pocket, I don’t know what this is, I’m out of this game now. And then, “If you need to sell your house, call me,” and it was not well received I’ll say because we’re at midnight karaoke, drinking games at 10 o’clock. This is near wrap up time because we’re getting into the karaoke, everyone’s going to run out of gas in about three songs but he did do that, I don’t know if he had a single piece of business out of it but I threw his card away.

Mark Stephenson: You know what? I got to tell you, if you gave me his name-

Marc Vila: If you’re listening to this by the way, I didn’t do that, that was a joke, I’m going to call you.

Mark Stephenson: So for me, I fully support what he did but I would not want to be at that party. I think the karaoke cancels out the business idea.

Marc Vila: Let me tell you how I would have done it.

Mark Stephenson: Okay.

Marc Vila: I would have picked the most singable karaoke song, probably by Googling, what’s the best singable song?

Mark Stephenson: I think it’s either Row Row Row Your Boat or I Will Survive, one of those.

Marc Vila: Neither, neither, neither. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, we’re not getting into that.

Mark Stephenson: Okay.

Marc Vila: So you pick your age group, you figure out the song, you get the best song that you feel, 75% of people are going to sing along with me. And then you play that song, it doesn’t matter the fact that you’re terrible at karaoke-

Mark Stephenson: Okay.

Marc Vila: And you’ve had a few wines or beers because everyone sang it with you and it’s now the best song of then night, and then when you’re done and everyone’s really just high and happy off of that song, you say, “Thank you very much, by the way…”

Mark Stephenson: “I sell custom T-shirts,” yeah, “And houses.”

Marc Vila: “Talk to me if you want to, hopefully I entertained you and I’m even better at making shirts.”

Mark Stephenson: So I think we’ve given a couple of extreme examples here but you get the idea, you get the idea.

Marc Vila: So anyway, there was 30 people at that party, so you should track that, okay? Because what we’re going to say is… Like we said, if you talk to 100 people, I’m going to go into numbers because I’m stumbling, if you talk to 100 people, 10 of them are going to be interested, right? And then one to three of those people are going to buy, right? And it sounds like a lot, talking to 100 people, right? But as you start breaking it down into degrees of separation, if you go to a network meeting and there’s 20 people there, maybe two directly of them are going to be interested. But you talk to 18 other people who aren’t interested now, maybe later, so they’re also in that maybe bucket, that later, but they might refer you to one or two other people because you’re asking for referrals.

And then somebody might shout you out on their social media or their LinkedIn because you asked for a referral and they just might say, “You know what? I don’t know but I’ll Tweet your name out, you’re a nice person.” So those 20 people can quickly jump up to that 100 very quick and if you’re doing multiple events and if you’re doing it at the baseball game and you’re doing it at the party and you’re doing it at an actual networking event, in the Chamber of Commerce, you quickly start seeing that those doors are opening up.

Mark Stephenson: So I think this math is really important because this is what becomes attractive about starting to learn how to do things like paid social advertising. If you advertise on Facebook or you actively market in a Facebook group, you may get that opportunity to deliver that message, I sell custom T-shirts, to 100 people in a day and get that response. If you had some success in the prior year with newspaper advertising or flyers or banners at a sporting event, whatever it is, then you’ve delivered your message to 500 people that might be at the game. So this is where you can start to see the difference, there’s really a quality difference between personal interaction but you can quickly make up for that by spending money on actual advertising. So if you’ve had success with that in the past, don’t discount it and maybe even give it a try again, especially if you’ve got a big goal.

Marc Vila: Yeah. No, that’s great, I love it and really, all about it, it’s about tracking because what you’re going to do is you’re going to do your best to say, I met 15 people at this networking event and mentioned myself, I called this many businesses, and you’re going to write that down. I stopped into this many businesses on the way home and I wrote that down and you’re going to start writing all those things down that you’re doing. I asked for this many referrals and you’re going to get business and you’re going to be sure to find out how you got it, right?

“How’d you hear from me?” Everyone’s going to say how they did, “Oh, so-and-so told me about you,” and you write that down. And hopefully, if you’re keeping track of these people or your memory is pretty good, you remember where that lead came from. “So-and-so gave me…” Oh yeah, baseball dad. And then you can start tracking and over time, you will start to build up, if I call this many people, I’m going to get this many sales. If I go to this many events and talk to this many people, I’m going to get this much sales and it becomes predictable.

Mark Stephenson: If you look back at last year and you had a great month and you don’t know why, you don’t know where the customer came from or the two customers came from… If you find yourself saying, “Oh, the economy was great last year,” or, “The economy sucked last year,” and that’s the reason your business was really good or not good at all, then you’re not doing any of these things and you’re paying for it. You either paid for it last year or you’re going to pay for it this year because you don’t know how to duplicate your success and avoid your failures. So what Marc said about tracking and writing that stuff, it can be a Google Sheet, it can be a legal pad for now, I don’t really care how you do it to start, as long as you start by the time you end this podcast.

Marc Vila: Yeah and the reason is this, right? This is what you get to, right? If I talk to X number… And over time, it’s predictable.

Mark Stephenson: Right, it’s not predictable on a daily basis.

Marc Vila: Yeah, this is crazy the first 90 days and in six months, it barely makes sense but if you’ve been doing this for years, you’ll have a formula that’s like, no, over time, this is how it works, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: So if you talk to X amount of people… Or I’m sorry, the goal is to get to a number, right? So I’ll talk about a real number. Yours might end up being, for every 20 people I interact with personally, I generate $500 in business, because this is how the math worked as I’ve tracked it. I tracked the number of people I talked to, I tracked the different ways I talked to them, I tracked the sales and I tracked how much those sales were and I got that. So if you need to sell $100,000 in revenue, you do the math, you need to communicate with 4000 people or 330 a month.

And it seems like a reasonable big number to have 330 conversations but realistically, if you’re talking about work days and business and you’re picking up the phone… And talk is also email and social media, so in one night, it could be 15 people at a birthday party, right? Boom, you had 15 people but also, you worked that day and you also went to lunch and on the way to lunch, you talked to five, while you were working, you called eight old customers, that one day, a single day, you could have talked to 50 people, right? So it’s like, boom, you’re 15, 20% to your monthly goal in one day. And anyone who’s worked in sales, if you’ve worked in sales before, you know that you pick up the phone, you email, you do all that stuff, you get it done.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah, it’s good and I really like working 417 shirts or whatever your shirt number is a month and breaking it down that way too. So you can look at, when I contact these kinds of people, they buy between 20 and 40 shirts from me, right? So I only need to talk to 10 of those kinds of people.

Marc Vila: Yeah, you’ll start to get it, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: Because that 20 and 500 was just a number, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah.

Marc Vila: And it could be, well, if I talk to 10 people at networking events, those generate 1500 in sales.

Mark Stephenson: Right.

Marc Vila: If I talk to 30 people at parties and social events, that generates $500 and then you can start thinking about it and then you can start replicating that. Am I going to go to this party? I don’t really know that person that well. If I go there, the number of sales, I’m going to make 500 bucks.

Mark Stephenson: By the way, it’s because I’m wearing my T-shirt that says, I make custom T-shirts, call me.

Marc Vila: At least you have your logo on or something, right?

Mark Stephenson: No, I’m much more blunt.

Marc Vila: Yeah and you just say, “If I go to this thing, I know I’m going to generate $500. Why? Because I’m going to be friendly, I’m going to wear my logo and that’s typically the math I ran into over the past 18 months that I’ve been tracking this. That every time I go to a party, I make $500. And I’ll also get some free hamburgers and pizza, I don’t know. I’ll save 10 bucks on lunch.” There’s a birthday gift involved, we’ll have another podcast-

Mark Stephenson: A lot of people don’t know about that.

Marc Vila: On how to get cheap birthday gifts, you make them a shirt.

Mark Stephenson: Oh, that is great.

Marc Vila: Gosh, all right. All right, so let’s-

Mark Stephenson: You make them a shirt that says, this guy sells custom T-shirts-

Marc Vila: He sells shirts.

Mark Stephenson: Here’s his phone number.

Marc Vila: But making them something that you do or a series of a few shirts is a pretty good idea.

Mark Stephenson: Man, this is why you have to listen to the podcast until the end because this is when Marc Vila saves his good idea.

Marc Vila: We have five minutes left and we should just talk about new ways to generate business if you’re not doing them yet.

Mark Stephenson: Okay.

Marc Vila: And these aren’t the surefire ways, these are the risk-reward ways I think because this is going to involve work and money. So let’s just talk about what they are and really, it’s a whole podcast just to talk about how to set these things up.

Mark Stephenson: Right and I think I already blew some of that in advance by saying you write Facebook or Google a check, you try paid ads. That’s something that requires you to either hire somebody, develop skills and write a check all at the same time but the payoff can be extreme.

Marc Vila: Yeah, it’s very scalable.

Mark Stephenson: Because this whole business, it’s from online work, online advertising and things like that.

Marc Vila: Online, so there’s SEO, right? There’s getting found online on Google by making sure you set yourself up to be found online. There’s paid ads that are through social media and then there’s tons of paid ads everywhere. There’s other things like direct mail or local ads that some people run their businesses off those, right? You get ads all the time like that, right? Social media, there’s alternate, there’s newer things out there, like working with influencers, paying people that might be local influencers or influencers in your niche that you could pay with or work with or do something for, that they’ll shout you out online and they’ve got a lot of followers. There’s trade publications if you have niche markets, right? So you might find that there’s a local fishing club and they have a website and you sell fishing shirts and maybe they even do a little ad thing and it’s a few hundred bucks to put it on there for a few months.

These are all ways to generate business that unfortunately, you can’t know exactly what they’re going to do but it’s just like the networking thing, you can’t know for your niche and your business until you do it and track it. These are all the same, you’re going to spend some money, hopefully if you’ve listened to our podcast on how you do some of this stuff right, then you’ll set yourself up for success. But you’re going to write somebody a check and they’re going to do local ads or they’re going to do SEO for you or they’re going to do Google Ads and hopefully, it’s going to work out in a way where it’s profitable because it’s been built right. But that might not work in week one or week five or week eight, it might take a few months to really learn that. But this is part of your goal and your planning, is well, I really feel I can make money on Google because I sell this product, I’m going to invest X amount of dollars a month or whatever it is because part of achieving this goal is getting to a new scalable level that is paid advertisement.

Mark Stephenson: Yeah, I like it.

Marc Vila: Yeah, so those are important ways to do it too but I would say the hierarchy of this podcast is on purpose, if you are in business and you’ve done things, like all the stuff we just mentioned, paid ads and all that stuff, and they work, figure out how to replicate them. First thing, right? Because you know it works, it’s scalable. If you haven’t done them yet, don’t skip to the third part yet, you have to go through part two, right? Part two was the networking and referrals and all of that stuff because that’s business that’s waiting for you, that’s just you actively getting out there and looking for referral business. You don’t have to attend 100 parties a month, you could go smaller, right? And just join a few.

Mark Stephenson: And you can avoid karaoke.

Marc Vila: You can avoid karaoke, you don’t have to go crazy with this stuff but you should be doing that first. If you’re not doing something within that realm, then you’re potentially missing out. Now, if you’ve got a fat wallet and you’re very antisocial, then you can skip that area and you can say, “You know what? I don’t want to talk to anybody, I don’t want to go to anything, I don’t want to ask anybody, I don’t really want to do anything, I just want to run an internet business that people come to me,” then you’re down to these other ways of marketing. Which you’ll just spend some money to do typically because the chances of you making a viral TikTok video that five million people see-

Mark Stephenson: Zero.

Marc Vila: It’s winning the lottery.

Mark Stephenson: Zero, yeah.

Marc Vila: It’s winning the lottery and then I have one last anecdote then we can go.

Mark Stephenson: Okay, okay.

Marc Vila: And this is about all this stuff. Your friend did a video on TikTok and sold 10,000 fishing lures, okay? Well actually, it’s not your friend, it’s your wife, her work friend’s husband and brother own this, right? So you’re actually two, three degrees of separation away from these people, they’re not close to you. So then you’re like, well, I know somebody who did that, of course it’s achievable. No, that’s not, what you have to do, if you want to really see the math on that, is you have to think about, how many people do I know? How many people do they know? So you can say it’s the same amount of people that I know times that, so if you know 100 people and all of them know 100 people, you’re at 100 times 100. And it was one degree from that, so it’s 100 times 100 times 100, I don’t know are we at a million yet?

Mark Stephenson: 100,000.

Marc Vila: So one out of 100,000-

Mark Stephenson: It’s a million, it’s a million, sorry.

Marc Vila: Okay, I thought it was a million. One out of a million did that, you’ve heard one story out of a group of a million people and when you think about it that way… Now, when you start talking to your friends who are business owners and really asking them how they did it, all the stuff that we just talked about today is what you’re going to hear.

Mark Stephenson: Nobody said, “It was easy, I did a TikTok dance wearing the watch I sell.”

Marc Vila: Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Mark Stephenson: Okay.

Marc Vila: So I think that wraps this up, right?

Mark Stephenson: Yeah, that’s good and that was part three of the series and I’ll close off my side just by saying, go back through it all, go back through it all. We’re not making any of this stuff up, right? This is the process that we go through, ColDesi and Colman and Company together, we grew tremendously over the past two years for a variety of reasons and we know what all of those reasons are. And we know how much money we spent to get there, we know what we spent it on and we’re in the process of going through everything that we’ve just talked about with you over the past three planning episodes, so we can plan for 2022 and beyond. So it’s not just for big businesses, it’s not just for small businesses, we’re not making it up. If you go through the process, your business will be better than it has been.

Marc Vila: Yeah, that’s great. I love it and all this is true, everything that we did here, you will 100% get more business if you do just a fraction of some of the stuff if you’re not already. So great, wrap it up, Mark, say goodbye.

Mark Stephenson: Okay, this has been Mark Stephenson from ColDesi.

Marc Vila: And Marc Vila.

Mark Stephenson: You guys have a fantastic 2022.


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