Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 59:12 — 81.3MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Stitcher | Email | RSS | More
Vinnie Fisher – FullyAccountable.com
Want to hear more? Hit it: [themo_button text=”More Business Podcast Episodes” url=”https://drawincustomers.com/category/podcast/” type=”standard”]
You have found Authentic Business
Adventures, the business program,
that brings you the struggle
stories and triumphs and successes
of business owners across the land. Coming
to you remotely because we’re able
to interview people nationally,
which is super cool.
Today, we have Vinnie Fisher,
chief executive officer at Fully
how are you doing today?
Great, James, thanks for having me.
I love what you guys are doing.
And my team is excited
about all this stuff.
And I love I love what we talked about
earlier how, like, the show went bigger.
And so we’re happy to be a part of your
community and share our
stories of how we got here.
Yeah, this is we just jumped on the name
Authentic Business Adventures,
and that’s just it’s long.
There’s three huge words some people
can’t spell, but here we are.
We got to just run with it.
So I’m happy to have you on the show.
Like I said, you got some cool books
on your on your back table there.
You know, those are two I wrote.
One of them is a book,
The CEO’s Mindset that I wrote about
eight figure hosting company we had
and learned that I kind of set out to sell
something that I thought was a good thing
to sell and realized I needed
to build a big company.
And so I kind of was a journey of me
breaking that business and what I would do
if I was going to build
another one. And the other
book next to is called False Prophets,
where I woke up and realized that I didn’t
have any connection to my finances
and I was a gross revenue guy.
And then one day realized that it’s about
what I keep and bring in to the bottom,
not when it comes in at the top.
That’s funny, I used to work for a guy
that would get so excited
about making a big sale.
This is back in the day and all that jazz,
and he’d sell just thousands of dollars
of memory back when memory cost thousands
of dollars, then he’d be like, yeah
And I saw an invoice or bill of lading
really that showed what he paid for it
and then what he sold it for the like.
Let me know if he made two percent.
He had to write it out
for net 30, net 60, something like that.
And so that Web hosting company I owned,
it was a large Web hosting company,
and it was exactly that.
Lots of people on the team.
And, you know,
I had these false assumptions that we were,
you know, Web hosting,
especially shared hosting thin margins.
But you have customers for a long time,
so you make up for it in length of customers.
Well, these faulty assumptions that we
were profiting about five percent when we
were losing money at five percent
and so much flow of cash coming in.
And these longer contracts,
I basically almost bankrupted us
with some really faulty assumptions.
Same thing just focused on gross revenue,
never really how to a mindset around
focused on net revenue services,
money coming in and money going out.
But when you look at the bank statement
on any given day,
it looks like you’re rich
and you realize when we got to the end
of a month or a quarter, we’d be like we
brought all this money and where is it?
And then we’d have this like
deficit to the bottom line.
And we always felt like this leaky bucket
we could never get a good answer to it
except for we just weren’t paying
attention to the leaky bucket.
And, you know, in that business
cycle now because I broke it.
Nice that, you know,
it’s interesting that you take
responsibility for that completely.
So that is admirable.
That is rare that people, I always say you
got to look at the top
to figure out who’s at fault.
I built it.
I broke it and I went on from it.
And that was a great business
that literally we hadn’t even had a chance
to sell it in the middle
of where it was running decent.
And in my arrogance, I’m like,
now we’re doubling down and we’re double
down on some of my decisions
that were blinded decisions.
And ultimately, you know,
we we broke a company that at one point
was the seventh largest
shared hosting company on the planet.
And so, you know, hey, like you know
I’m thankful I without some of those
experiences, I wouldn’t be the leader
and have the organizations we had today.
But, you know, it was a very expensive PhD
I’ll accept that.
But with great humility, I would say
that that was really on on my feet.
It was a, it trickled down from the decisions
that I would have made
in my late 30s and early 40s.
Did you, when did you start that business?
So we started it in
in my mind in late 2009.
But we launched it to the world
about the middle of 2010.
And it’s really had massive growth
at the end of eleven into twelve
into early thirteen.
It was about the end of 12 and 13 where we
the biggest issue was my board, including
me, who was the majority control of it.
We decided to bring a professional CEO,
meaning we handed the ball
off for me to somebody else.
And one of the biggest problems we didn’t
either appreciate or realize was how
many levers I was really pulling.
And in my arrogance,
I thought maybe I wasn’t pulling as many
as I was or even didn’t
really understand that.
And so when I stepped away from it almost
immediately, we started to have a massive
decline in almost every area
of the company and then almost 500
people on payroll at that point.
And by the time
I stepped back in and assumed,
like recognize control of it,
we went from about four million a month
in revenue to a little over
about a million eight.
And we were nose diving into that.
And we just we were able to pull the plane
nose back up just enough to kind of soft
crash land and sell it off for parts.
So you built that thing up to five
hundred employees and a couple of years.
So we had I remember in
it was late 2010.
We did about one month, we did a little
over two hundred eighty thousand revenue.
We were building websites like
the Builder Wick’s version stuff before
anybody was doing that, you know, and we
had to because nothing existed tech wise.
So we just by nature had to build
these flat five page sites.
So we were building the Web
builder version that you now just kind
of click and get as part
of your GoDaddy sign up.
Well, all the tech that didn’t exist,
we kind of created back then.
And well, once our offer kicked into gear
where we could build that as part of your
shared service, we went from two hundred
eight thousand the next month in.
Almost three million in revenue.
We had this massive explosion,
we were thousands of websites behind
in building, we were hiring by like
20 people at a time type stuff.
It was that kind of craziness.
And like we were like,
where do you grab on to a rocket?
The tale, I don’t know where you can write
anywhere, you know,
I’d walk into the building and we’d have
10 new stations built for customer
service and it was that kind of thing.
And so all during 11 and in through 12
for two years, we were just humming.
I mean, humming.
And we were we were so excited
about how we were humming.
You’re that kind of youthful teenager.
That kid thinks they can do everything.
So we started like, what are
the other businesses we can do?
And we got distracted.
And during that distraction is when we
really instead of doubling down on what we
had in front of us and become like world
class and our systems and fix the stuff we
had to go really fast on,
we let our distraction take us into other
businesses, meaning things that looked
kind of complementary to it.
And we never really fixed
the core that we sped through.
And that’s ultimately
what led to our demise.
So are you having to just plug in server
to jump with that Munchen Web hosting?
So the concept of what we all call
a cloud now just didn’t exist, right?
We built our version of that a cloud.
So we just took, you know,
things that we take for granted now,
like I’m not a programmer,
but I intellectually had to,
like, get up to these things.
You know, the idea where now you hook
into a server and server and cloud is
basically servers helping servers manage
load Mac, then what you did is just
provision or build up another server
and you’d have one run is like your
master and dump all your load.
So the other servers.
Well, now you can separate the front
from the back and that naturally
happens in a cloud environment.
Well, we just made up our own
and I remember talking to my friend
of another hosting company,
one of these big events,
and said it would be really neat.
We could separate those two things.
He’s like, we can totally do that.
And we cut a big gap in our head.
How to separate running the data
of running up a spinning up the power on
the front versus the power on the back.
Gosh, we did that in the middle of 2010
into eleven before it kind of existed.
And so we just had
to necessity bore that out.
And we basically built up our own
Round-Robin system, which worked as kind
of a first version cloud that is so cool.
It wasn’t like you could just fire up.
Amazon has three and just
ignore this loop.
You know, we would back down like our
redundancy was with service called
Rackspace, where we’d normally Rackspace.
Yeah, but back then they were
either self or manage manage them.
We just bought load from them and then we
would buy server space within our own rack
server farm where we would just buy it
on the rack and we would kind of manage
that rack versus another rack and when
a server broke would plug another one in.
Now you could just share
load over the cloud.
You wouldn’t even have to build
all that infrastructure to run it.
Yeah, it’s just a side tangent.
I wonder what’s going to happen with
the I.T. guys of the future that used
to fix all this stuff,
company by company by company.
Now that a lot of stuff is moving cloud,
you really don’t have a lot
of smaller companies.
We don’t have
infrastructure like they used to.
Yeah, I actually think that, like,
if you look at what landscape’s happening
today and we live in direct to consumer
and how the behavior of buying has really
accelerated, kind of like
digital and Internet activities.
I was just looking at an article
on LinkedIn about a survey that was done
among kind of like eight hundred big
professionals who run their companies.
And the number one thing that they spent
money on over in the last hundred nineties
was the acceleration of digital 67 percent
of companies that accelerated their
digital budget, meaning automation,
how to digitize things,
how to add artificial intelligence
and automation to their companies.
Well, that would not have been able or
possible if you go back even a season
and I look at season in like five years
because it wasn’t here.
But the tech is here now to help things.
So what is going to pick up some benefits
is going to also lead to the things we
need to automate to even retrain or train
some workforce to support that type of
business structure we’re going to have.
So you go back five years ago,
we wouldn’t have been able
to support that automation.
The tech wasn’t here.
You couldn’t even plug into bank accounts
and get like real time pulls off
your data, how you can do all that.
But the workforce to support that was
untrained to even support that.
So I think this next cycle,
which probably was going to happen three,
four or five years from now,
is being forced to be now.
I was going to ask you
with this hosting company.
Were you pulling people
out of Akron, Ohio?
So, you know, tech wise,
so we use for granted things like full
one of those tech developers,
somebody who basically knows enough code
of all the things that play nice with each
other, like they know WordPress.
I understand open architecture.
They can plug this code with that code.
And we just take for granted that now.
Well, back then, as I’m aging myself 10
years ago, you had to be good at something
like PHP, which was the primary
coding for Web site.
And you would want a coder to do that?
Well, we would just hire a kid out
of school or somebody who had some
website experience building an app.
And he or she mostly he back then would
build and probably now true,
he’s would build in that
code and we would support that.
Now we want someone to be generally good
at like WordPress,
generally good at certain design features
where they can in front and back
and experience and have the ability
to plug into other parts.
And the code element
pull is way different.
So then, yeah, it didn’t exist,
so we’d hire someone and train up.
Now it’s its global workforce.
Our whole model for as a company
is really premised of the goal.
Hire an expert wherever they are and you
should have a global attitude to your
workforce and not just compromise having
something local just because you
wanted a someone in your office.
Sir, that is cool, man.
You guys had to be just run by the seat
of your pants that whole time.
You know, it’s it’s kind of like when you
hear those stories of how Internet
companies go, like we lived it like you.
You were like, that’s
my joke is always that.
Where do you grab a rocket
anywhere you can every day?
Was this entirely different challenge.
And I think that’s what’s exciting about
some of the entrepreneurial journey is
like Phil Knight wrote,
this book should get in there.
He talked about the rocket growth of Nike
and he was like every day,
woke up with this dream.
And someday the business would be
like kind of run without problems.
And the problem he had with that
deficit is a growing business.
Always has a new problem.
One day he got really comfortable and he
wrote about this where his job was
to wake up and solve a new problem.
And they hit me really big.
I’m like, wait a minute,
growing companies just have new problems.
And so as the leaders of these businesses,
we need to embrace that.
Our job is to wake up and solve the new
problem that was created by a growing
business and not dream about something
untrue, like we’re going to someday
have a business without problems.
That just doesn’t happen.
Now, what’s that clicked in?
For me, the journey of running a business
became way more joyful
and actually fun that I’m the one as
the one of my jobs to look ahead a little
bit and not be discouraged leading
the team through our new
problem we have today.
I always tell our employees, man,
I’m like, we are like Vanilla Ice.
If you got a problem,
you will solve it, right?
Because there’s no such thing,
no such thing as a moment,
even as a person,
as you’ll never have a problem
because you’ll end up creating one.
Yeah, I mean, I have to get comfortable
with, like, learning
that anxiety is a thing.
You don’t eliminate it, you deal with it
in autumn is also one of those things.
It’s not something it exists.
And so back in the day when we were
growing, our business started to really
work at a level where it got a little
boring and we were making money
instead of going in and treating the parts
of the business that need to be fixed
as a new opportunity.
I got bored and wanted to go create new
businesses and then we got massively in
mature answer to how to fix a business.
And so I’ve learned over time that boredom
is just an indicator.
It’s actually an indicator
of a good business.
And well, what I need to do with that is
to slow down, allow margin to exist.
And usually my response shouldn’t
be go create a new distraction.
It’s fixed what’s in front
of us that is so fair.
And I think a lot of a lot
of entrepreneurs will feel the same way
or understand that that’s the thing.
And there is always another idea for like,
oh, my gosh, we’ve got to start this.
And that can pull you away
from completely guilty of this.
That can pull you away from the things
that you should focus on.
When we launched the.
Parent that I run now fully
accountable when we launched it.
I had seven sister companies that were
mine that were our first clients.
Now I have a portfolio of companies.
We own three other operating
businesses besides this one.
I’m good with that.
The mistake I made before
was I in a lot of ways was a lever
puller in those other companies.
Now they’re just investments at best.
I’m like a chairman of the board.
I don’t actually believe you should be
having overlap of your executive teams
running companies learn from that.
But if you look back at the early days,
I had to be honest with you that we have
these multiple business operations
that kind of birthed out
of my distraction attitude.
I totally understand that.
That is probably.
One of the hardest things of being
an entrepreneur is is really in that end
because you want to it’s just
chasing the next thing, right?
It’s the honeymoon phase of a business.
I actually think it’s back to this
idea of anxiety and boredom.
And when I was really
anxious about something,
one of the distressed one of the ways that
you can deal with anxiety is to avoid it.
And so would be like,
go watch a movie or play a video game or
like go and eat some food or do whatever
you can to drift away
from it, like avoid it.
Well, one of those ways was a distraction
as an entrepreneur, because I love and see
ideas that just go create something.
Well, that same thing was true when
the business was working
and it didn’t need me.
I dream up the dribbles of income as
Andrew Carnegie or Carnegie would call it,
and like, well, let’s go do that.
And next thing you know,
we have four of those.
And it was created out of this theory
of distraction, not really driving deeper
what was in front of US interest in
that’s mature to notice that to become
aware that, well,
it took a few bucks losing it
in the category, that it took
some honest self improvement.
It took some self internalization.
Like I’m convinced that a house that isn’t
built on a firm foundation will fall
and it’s on a firm foundation of our
business and a small companies heartbeat
run around the leaders who create
them and grow them well.
And I did take an honest assessment
and look at that,
how while I may have been its greatest
catalyst, I also was its greatest problem
when I did those things,
like diversifying distractors.
So tell me, at what point did you write
the books in relation to the hosting
company and Fully Accountable.
So like, I have three books, actually.
The first one’s called
the best investment.
A better you.
I have it around in my library
and in the room or something.
But that story was real interesting.
Like I was in the shower one day and I’m
like, oh, that’s the name of the book.
And it bled out of me.
And it was the story
about me kind of finding my own self-worth
again after breaking our business.
Was I a one hit wonder?
Did I actually break the greatest
thing I was ever going to make?
And I kind of lose some understanding
of how I was fairly and wonderfully made.
Can I just bled out?
I mean, it was almost like a journey into,
like, self forgiveness,
like covering up about me.
Help me get my mojo back.
That really was a big deal that happened.
And so I wrote those three books,
one each year in a three year row.
I wrote one in twenty, fourteen,
fifteen now excuse me.
Fourteen, fifteen, six.
15, 16 and 17 where the three books.
The fifteen was like
in the fall of fifteen sixteen.
I really started to be
excited about writing a book.
I’m like, wait a minute,
I know I can help a lot of people
in the grilling of their business if I
really honestly show under
the hood what happened to us.
So CEOs mindset became like a kind
of like tell here’s what I would do.
And based on what I did do, don’t do this.
Do some of these things.
Also, this is what worked for us.
So CEOs mindset, that title is
the first chapter of the book.
And if I tell anybody about the way before
I get any further, we created
a gift page for your community.
Oh, we’re accountable.
Dot com forward slash authentic business
adventures someone has to do is go there
and we will give you our books
for free and other materials.
We are so passionate about people
in business that we have tools
there for you, for your business.
No strings attached.
It’s all yours.
So I submitted that book
was I laid out the key part of a business
is the CEO or the leader is kind
of getting the right mindset,
switching from like being a market or
a product developer into realizing
you have a business to grow.
And when you get out that six figure phase
and into a seven figure phase,
it’s more important about fixing
the business and growing it with people
and process than it is about kind
of lighting it on fire thing to get it
to a point where you got to fix it.
So that book is all about looking
at the maturity that you need to build
around you and your business.
And then the next book was a self honest
review of what led to the growth of a back
office and me waking up in my health
company, which was after
our Web hosting company.
And so I broke our Web hosting company.
I sold it for parts I.
I always wanted to get
in the health space.
I was I was passionate about a healthy
lifestyle and using supplementation
instead of just medicine as a way
to kind of improve some of our food.
Basis was excited we launched a health
company, we came out of nowhere,
had a really good couple offers
with a face cream for women,
it was called Consumer’s Choice.
We popped we popped fast.
And it was in the middle of us growing
that business that I once again realized
that I was focused on the top line,
not the bottom line on a really good news
about that story was while we were
profiting at about eight percent.
I realized through this process of kind
of waking up one day, very juvenile,
I know this sounds basic,
but I woke up one morning and I’m like,
wait a minute, it’s not about
my what I bring in for the company.
It’s what we keep because we have these
months where we would
bring in a lot of revenue.
We were doing
about 40 million in revenue in this
company and we generally lean team.
That’s a lot of face cream.
Yeah, we were killing a man.
It was a it was a protocol, Mirabela.
We were we were the darling
like it was selling on shelves.
It was selling direct to consumer.
The offer was converting
was a good product.
And we actually had some other products.
But that was our horse.
That was the one that was coming out
of the gates with razor thin margins
in relation to what we were doing.
And so when we were growing and putting
every dollar into acquiring a customer,
I woke up and realized the company,
the way we built it, should have
been profiting at about 20 percent.
Yeah, at eight percent.
So next thing you know,
I’m like, wait a minute,
we’re losing 12 percent a month.
We’re making eight.
We’re like losing.
And all of a sudden everything changed
for me where we actually dial back,
almost half of our revenue,
made ourselves half of our size,
fixed our traffic channels where we were
overpaying for customers we shouldn’t
otherwise had, and then grew it back in
size and successfully sold that company.
But that book, False Profits,
is the journey of us figuring out how
to acquire a customer profitably and not
blow it all just to be be so fancy
of a big company without any profit margin
interest in a super.
I don’t think that’s super common.
I always think I guess it’s interesting
talking to you, because I always think
back to the website or the dotcom boom.
To thousands and the Super Bowl
commercials, that’s dotcom and stuff like
that, where people throw
in money hand over fist.
Some of these companies that
they didn’t have a revenue model.
Why do you see that now with investors?
I think right now, like,
by the way, that’s how all of us in direct
like selling off of a website,
how we’ve been trained,
do everything you can to acquire
the customer, disrupt,
sell as many, be a brand.
That’s kind of what the flow
for at least two or three seasons.
And we look at seasons as five years,
10, 15, almost 20 years.
That’s how everyone’s been acting.
Well, I’ll tell you,
I believe that we’re going to see
a proper disruption of direct to consumer
where if you don’t have profit margin
and you don’t have cash
and you can’t survive
in, I think the next correction direct
to consumer is going to be about
a profitable relationship
to acquiring the customer.
almost what we have seen because we can we
now have a lot of companies we work
with that 42 cents of every dollar
is spent acquiring the customer.
And wow, that’s a lot.
And we believe in our book,
we’ve kind of shown that depending on what
type of direct to consumer company you
are, if you spend over 40 cents on the
dollar, you’re probably not profitable.
No, you’re spending money to acquire.
And a lot of cases require your own
customer by emailing them,
sending them coupons, reengaging them.
Well, if they’re if the marketplace
of leaders in e-commerce,
if we don’t actually take advantage
of the efficiencies in the global market,
we have in a way to effectively
stop parts of our leaky bucket.
We’re going to get passed up
by the companies that are doing that
to what used to be brand disruption,
now brand survival and brand kind
of expansion, their cash and the ability
to to withstand disruptions.
If you don’t have funding coming
from the outside and you can’t
sufficiently capitalize your own growth,
I think you’re going to grow
yourself out of business.
And I think you’re going to see a
collapsing of, of course, right now.
What’s really stopping somebody
from coming in to e commerce,
from direct to consumer?
The good news that technology is allowing
people in, but the inefficiency
of the market is going to get corrected
by people not having enough cash or
capital to withstand the growing pains.
And I think direct to consumer
is due to have that next.
Well, we experienced that six years ago
and we’ve been screaming that and now
overnight, because it is correction to our
community of like this outside force
of closing everything, I think it’s being
thrust upon us now more now than ever.
So do you feel like the cost,
the acquisition costs for a lot
will have to go down or people will just
have to watch it tighter and make sure
they’re not just throwing money
at the wall and hoping some
of it sticks kind of thing?
One of the things we see with clients as
well as with our own companies that we’ve
caused problem with,
I’ll use the word like fear of missing
out flomo and channel envy.
So one of the problems we see with
e-commerce companies and direct
to consumer is your spread too thin
with your spend across too many channels.
So you’re on Facebook, you’re on YouTube,
you’re on tick tock, you’re on Google when
reality should be on one or two channels,
driving them deeper,
you spread your cost across too many
channels and your average cost to acquire
the customer goes up because you’ve
spread your budget too thin.
Sure, people are trying to be too broad as
opposed to narrow down and go after a very
specific audience where they can
preserve more of their budget.
I believe that’s the bigger problem than
it is about any other part of how
they’re spending their marketing budget.
Yeah, you’re essentially missing a crowd
instead of drowning the few people that
would actually be your ideal customer.
Yeah, we have this thing in our head
that somehow, like, we want to be
available to a more mass market.
But you hear clichéd terms that are real,
like the niches cause the riches and dial
into your audience and all these things.
Well, we proved by math and my own journey
in business that that really
is a very true reality.
And when we think about our own company,
we are as big as we are because we dialed
in and focused on a specific audience.
And it allows us to be more efficient,
efficient with our marketing spend
and allows us to be more efficient
with knowing exactly
the audience we’re talking to.
I think that brands that really want to go
and grow beyond their own shadow
are going to have to a.
Rests this issue or they’re going
to get passed by the ones you do.
marketing is so important.
we a lot of businesses rely on like
reputation care to kind of kind
of organic, rural grassroots stuff.
this idea of automation, global access,
product causation, you still have
to pay to acquire the customer on time.
The old adage, whoever can spend the most
to acquire the customer ultimately wins.
Well, there’s a point where that ends.
If you don’t have the money to live
with the growing dealing with process
improvement and adding people to your
team, you’re going to run out
of runway with your cash.
Yeah, acquisition costs of a customer.
You’ve got to keep a sharp eye on that.
I work with a guy that is
in the construction industry
and he’s trying to help contractors
get business essentially right
now in the world that we’re in.
They don’t really need a ton of help.
But he’s asking them,
what is your acquisition cost?
Because he’s comparing.
And Angie’s List or a home advisor or
something like that to what he can do.
And he can do more and essentially less
because it’s better leads,
that kind of stuff.
But anyways, the contractors don’t know.
They have no idea how much they’re
spending per actual signed contract.
And they have no idea even that like, you
know, it’s funny, Google AdWords, right.
When someone’s looking for you that got
you can spend traditionally more money
to see those eyeballs because
that person’s already kind of looking
for you as opposed to where you might be
in Facebook, where you’re just kind
of guessing and you’re not sure
if they’re looking for you.
You’re hoping that they stumble on you
might be massively expensive,
that a set of eyeballs are unqualified
eyeballs on that contractor says,
yeah, I want to have eyeballs.
Look at me.
We like, OK, which has been two, three,
four or five hundred dollars to have
that customer look at you
and they go, we have no idea.
We just want to lead.
It is exactly the issue I’m talking about
when someone really needs to dial in their
acquisition costs because actually 80
percent of companies will go out
of business for lack of cash flow.
You know, absolutely.
We we we don’t realize that we’re
statistically flat and the amount
of businesses that are closing right now
in this calendar year like we were last
year, the different sectors,
but we’re statistically flat.
You would see flat, statistically flat.
You would think in what’s
going on, we’d have more.
Well, some businesses
have thrived over this.
And the ones that we’re going to close
probably got accelerated in their closure
because they have the cash
to withstand the hit.
we’re statistically flat on closure.
So you say to yourself,
what does that really mean?
Well, it’s back to the general
Maybe the way the consumer is responding
is just a different medium,
but more important than ever.
Everyone else now can also
pay for their attention.
So you better start dialing that in.
Yeah, there’s an incredible amount of
competition from a marketing standpoint.
I like I have an online window company
and we’re looking at,
like you mentioned, Google AdWords.
Some of those phrases or terms are
forty some dollars a click, right?
Forty dollars a click.
Hey, we live in accounting and finance.
You know how expensive it is to have
an eyeball or get a conversion,
like I mean, maybe the lawyers have it
worse, the asbestos lawyers or whoever,
but they night like it’s
an expensive click.
But in search, if they’re looking for you,
they make that click and you
can find a way to convert them.
You’ll certainly pay more for that click
than you might on YouTube or Facebook.
Oh, yeah, because it’s a qualified click.
Yes, it’s theoretically, yes, they should
be searching for something like that.
And there’s only one reason they’re not
looking for contracting services or or
accounting because they
want to order pizza.
They’re just really bored.
Want to know how do they
get whatever works up?
Because how do I look
for a fractional CFO?
It’s just there
is no sense of that ever happening.
So tell me the Fully Accountable,
how long has that been going on?
So we open that in that kind of August
time frame of twenty fourteen.
But we’re hoping it internally.
We had a big team that was doing accounts
receivable and payable
for a health company.
Nobody could tell me the cost to acquire
my customer within your own company.
My own company.
And we were built with this
old traditional mindset.
Like two months from now we’ll close
the books and like the old way of doing
business and tech hadn’t
really caught up yet.
And I was like, that’s it.
I need to know what it cost
to acquire the customers.
So with someone in.
Customer service department,
not even my accounting department,
we set out to kind of with Excel,
solve our own problem,
and that’s what I found out,
that almost half of my affiliate traffic,
I was spending too much money
to acquire the customer.
I literally went back to the grassroots
way of figuring that out.
And then what we did is start introducing
our own tech, connecting to bank accounts,
tying software back to the real
map that was in your bank account.
And once we got better at that manually,
we launched to the world in February 15
at one of those big tech conferences.
And we’ve been taking outside
customers ever since.
Now we look like this overnight success
because of what’s happened in the world.
But back then, everyone thought we were
out of our minds,
that many this crazy good marketer is
going to open a super
boring accounting company.
Well, now, with the way global works,
doing it was like, wow,
we really need that today.
Well, you fast back 24 months ago
and people are still wanting someone
in their office who are still wanting
to do old traditional way with now
with budgets tightening up and the need
for immediate access to information,
we’re having record growth hours,
days and months that we should be having.
And everyone’s like, wow,
where’d you come up with that idea?
Well, that started back
in twenty fourteen.
And now we have this system and seventy
five people in a software we built.
But good night.
I tell you that story in 2015 and I
probably put James
to sleep with that story.
I don’t know if you would.
That’s a cool story because we’re
with calls on call the call
answering service that I have.
We’re having a similar similar growth
where people before like a remote office,
admin receptionist, whatever,
I don’t know, is a small company.
And then I get to have our number
one objection was the one you had.
It was like when someone will review
fractional CFO or comptroller full back
office, the number one objective was
always, I’d really love to have
that person in my office.
That’s gone now.
Yeah, this objection
for very obvious reasons.
One, lots of people don’t
have offices right now.
And so that’s exposed is what we say are
time, money and resources,
which is part of like our motto WINPAC,
back your own time,
take the money you have and spend it where
you can limited and get the best bang
for your buck and go where someone has
way more resources than you and experts.
So I would tell you a fractional
outsource work in back the CEO’s mindset.
My book, there’s like six real departments
of a company other than like the heartbeat
of like the CFO and the CEO
and a kind of a little founder group.
You can outsource major
chunks of your company.
Oh, you’re way more efficient
and profitable company than you ever could
be because technology and global
access have caught up.
Yeah, it’s interesting,
just from a competition point of view,
how fast a competitor could get
in the market that you’ve been working
on for four, three, four or five years or
more because the technology
is moving so fast.
Yeah, and we love it.
Like, we only know we serve
hundreds of companies.
We’re the biggest thing with our spaces is
someday when we serve a thousand
companies, we’re going to be gigantic,
like we want more like
professionals doing this work.
Like like the only competition
we have is what’s in our head.
And there’s so many people to serve.
There’s so much an underserved.
The reason our our phone ringing,
so much the reason why your phone’s
ringing so much is you’re meeting a need
and you were on the other side
of this, like, disruption.
And I say with great humility,
we didn’t do anything right.
We just didn’t do anything wrong either.
Like there was a line drawn in the sand.
I can imagine the governor of Ohio got
on the one hundred,
nine days ago and said, there’s this
virus and it’s on your computer.
Don’t log in.
Well, let me tell you something.
We’ve made a lot of trouble, right?
You go back X amount of days,
people like someday there’s going
to be this Internet blackout.
Who would have ever thought
the opposite of that is true?
Right now, the global world kicked in.
And I think that tech deployment,
I think this need to reintroduce or
for the first time introduce training
that allows for some type of efficient
support of automation is the real next
phase of business, whether
you’re local, retail or online.
We have this new version of business.
We have a new season
that everyone is getting used to.
We just happen to be
on the front edge of it.
And who would have thought an outsourced
accounting company would be
on the front of the right?
Like you would have laughed us
off the show two years ago.
Like, well, in December, right?
Yeah, you’re exactly right.
And so we’re like an Internet company that
happens to get all relied on people, huh?
Interesting as far as through all of this,
who the winners have been and who the the
losers, not in a disrespectful way,
but I have friends that own retail
stores that are like, watch us
and we’re going to start.
And now their foot traffic
is down, way down.
And so you’re right.
Like I said, by the way, though,
in fairness, you know, businesses,
94 percent of companies never see
their tenth year in business.
So 12 years ago was when we
had this massive correction.
There were winners and losers
in that correction.
Now, a lot of that was real estate
overvaluation, borrowing of money.
But there was a massive sector of
correction in how business was operated.
Well, we’re going through
another one of those.
We are we’re going to get worse
and there’s going to be
a real big correction.
And I went taking the drama out of it
or any type of underlying feelings.
There is absolutely people on either
side of that line that was drawn.
And you’re either going to have to
improve upon what you have or completely
change what you do in order to exist
in what’s going to be this next
season of how we do business.
Yeah, it’s tough.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow
for a lot of people.
I feel so bad.
I was talking to one of my friends who’s
got a retail store, retail store, where
they all said riots and stuff like that.
And I’m like,
I don’t like there’s no shame in just
closing up shop for what
you’ve got going on.
It’s just the rent is expensive
based on having foot traffic.
There’s no foot traffic, at least none
that is interested in purchasing.
So it’s a it’s a tough not knowing
what will happen in a way,
the way a free market works,
regardless of your feeling about if anyone
anyone’s feeling about a free market,
we’re going to do some version of a free
market society until we don’t.
But while we have one,
what if statistically the amount
of business is closing are
statistically the same?
What’s also true are the new businesses
opening right in a free market.
The inefficiency of lack of cash
gets corrected by a market.
So the amount of new people opening up
a restaurant or a retail store,
you feel like you’re going to watch
that wave of people come in and kind of
will we have the exact
amount of those opened?
But will we have an efficient or
some way to address the what was closed?
Yeah, we’re going have a new improvement
to some of those categories in the way we
do it, like the market
is going to demand that.
And so, hey, my neighbor says
to me, it was really cool.
You can buy stuff online and shipped
to your house in less than two days.
And I’m like, Buddy, we’ve been doing
that for a while when you say this.
But I think that speaks to the mass
thinking, not where you and I live.
When I’ve been living in a digital
environment, we kind of take
for granted some of that.
I think when you look at like Jack Dorsey
from Twitter comes out and says,
wow, we’ve accelerated four years
of behavior in buying behavior online.
We’re like seeing e-commerce activity
that we were predicting we were
going to see in twenty, twenty four.
Well, that speaks to the habit of how
people bought things where they would
just drive over to the store and get it.
Well, since they didn’t feel,
at least at a minimum, comfortable
do it or some requirement,
they weren’t allowed to do it.
The supply chain was filled
by people going online and doing it.
So what you were like afraid before
entering your credit score
card is now becoming normal.
And so when my neighbor says yes,
the way we did it on the interweb as well,
he was one of those guys that just drove
over to fill in the blank
retail store to buy his stuff.
And now he’s like, well, ain’t that hard.
You just hit the button
and have it come to my house.
Well, if we were only having,
let’s say, a 15 percent adoption rate.
The Internet was still seen
as weird and maverick.
Well, the ad that 10 percent
plus it’s been added to that.
And when this is all said and done,
the kind of guessing pundits out
there will say, twenty five.
Thirty five percent of the buying
behavior will be online.
We are becoming more and more mainstream,
which is why the neighbor,
why he may have sounded weird,
is going to make sense because we’ve
adopted a new way to buy stuff.
Man, I always think of my neighbor
anytime he sees a mail truck or FedEx,
he’s like, oh, Amazon’s here universally.
That’s been going on for years.
He’s been complaining about his wife.
And I might be the wife who does that.
I literally don’t like going to the store.
I’ve been buying off Amazon for so long.
I feel like Jeff should name his kid
after me, but that’s up to him so
he can probably have some extras
just like, oh, that’s funny.
So how is business been going for you?
I guess pre pandemic
and now post pandemic.
How have you dealt with the growth?
You know, one of the things and it’s
the first off growth has been amazing.
I’m so thankful that I think this is true.
I think businesses that were primed
to actually take advantage of a growth
curve in this
time are the businesses that were best
positioned and had the cash
to grow properly through it.
We had both of those.
We were positioned right.
Not by our own, they doing just
by the way, this played out.
We were positioned right and we were
cash heavy, ready to go for this.
So we’ve been able to invest in team take
advantage of of sales and marketing
addition, not subtraction.
We had to tighten the budget.
What’s interesting is I think we were able
to improve on doubling down what we were
doing, not change or pivot into something
new and have to guess we
were able to just improve.
And I think that speaks
to why we were able to grow.
But one thing that I would love
to encourage everyone listening that we
did, that I would
really love everyone to do when you have
to take an honest assessment
of what you have in front of you.
I asked our CEO actually with three CEOs.
I asked each of them of their respective
businesses to go back and look at our team
and measure them by your team members
that went above and beyond the call
of duty, the ones that met the obligation
of what they have to do and the ones
that fell below the line of the basic
command of like the quid pro quo
of an employer employee
relationship we call team members.
And anyone who fell below that line,
we immediately asked them
to leave the team because they
we were we were cleaning
up the way we do things.
So you have a couple of ways you can
react to this kind of corrections.
And so what we need to do is to improve
how we were as companies and when we
removed the people below the line,
actually the ones who are at the line or
even went above filled in as we added
the new people to our team
that needed to be there.
And we’ve had a massive uptick in culture,
a massive uptick in client satisfaction
through surveys and scores.
It’s been huge for us.
And I the only thing I would say
of learning from the lesson we should go
through, they have it more often because
it back in an abundant phase, 2018, 2019,
let’s be honest,
the market was thin for people to come
on your team because everyone
the brother was hiring them.
Oh my gosh.
Find an employee in December,
November last year.
This idea of having an A player got
a little bit tired of hearing because
you’re like any B can you forgive me here?
But kind of back to some of that talk like
like making sure you have the right people
on the team is probably more
important now than ever.
Yeah, I was joking with someone.
I was joking with a group,
a networking group of mine.
And it’s funny,
like, I don’t want to make this political,
but I feel like we need to open up
the border because I feel like the people
have traveled 2000 miles on foot
to the border with show up
for an interview
where the people that are like within
your city won’t show up for an interview.
Well, in this way, James,
I think now that we’ve been required
to stay home and figure out remote work,
I think leaders realize
that while we all agree that networking,
human relationship, some creativity is
very hard to duplicate remote wise.
Yeah, you can get work done.
And experts live in other places that we
we what’s been shown to us is that you can
go hire people who live other
places and excel as a company.
You can go out and hire a relationship.
It doesn’t have to be in your backyard
and it might be a better
move for your company.
I don’t think businesses would have seen
that if it wasn’t required on them.
Totally agree to a thousand times
with calls and call especially.
I can tell you that I was afraid to let
anybody out of the office
because I’m like, we can have redundancy,
we can have oversight.
It’s way easier to manage when
people are under one roof.
If somebody shows up, you know what?
If they don’t show up, you know it.
We’re remotely I just hope they show up.
Yeah, but I had my first
today an hour ago.
I had my first interview,
with multiple candidates that were all
in different locations
throughout the country.
And I would have never happened before.
Yeah, but only then we let people think
like we’re so massively
ahead of the curve.
But, you know, we have we have
a corporate office with a hybrid model.
We have homies, people who work from home.
We just call them homies that still need
to be called
doing that since twenty fifteen now.
So when when this all happened,
it was like, oh my gosh,
what do you do about people going home are
like, OK, our corporate people are going
to have to learn how to work off
the kitchen table because they’re
not used to being at home.
But the reality of us doing interviews
of Zoome or or like having remote
interviews like this is
the way it’s going to go now.
And for us as a company,
we just double click on what
they’re working well for us.
So we just have more homies on the team.
And so, you know,
it’s and I love it that businesses like
yours and many other of my friends.
To sit like you and I are realizing they
don’t have to have someone in the office
next to them to absolutely,
really excel as a company, and
I think that’s an improvement business.
I actually think that’s allowing us to add
the best people to the team,
not someone who just happens to live in
either like Madison or Cleveland, right.
Oh, my gosh.
Just open up the doors for the the the
volume of applicants that you can get.
And just I mean,
it’s easier for us to cover a schedule
because of the different time
zones and stuff like that.
Well, it just opens up so many logistics
that the limiting one is how do we
get a computer to this new hire?
And you it’s like, how do you
have the headset with the dialer?
All work in a closed system.
And so we’ve we’ve built our own closed
system that we’ve been improving
on over these last few years.
Now, some companies had to wake
up and do that overnight.
Now, that is tough, right?
And they’re going to figure
it out and they’re doing it.
I’d say that business leaders listening
to it manually don’t overbuild
the automation right now
because you don’t know what you’re doing.
Just great at Lean as you
can improve as you go.
Name of the game.
When are you going to tell me whether
are they records in the back behind you?
Yeah, that’s James.
Everything you see is
to make my ego feel better.
That’s all I’m saying.
Something like that over my shoulder.
These records, there’s a software we use
click funnels and we
drive leads in marketing.
And I am one of my talents,
as people would say, I’m a I believe,
a pretty decent marketer.
Well, those are awards that I won
for being able to drive at least a million
dollars in revenue through a funnel.
And then these are words over here,
because the last two years we’ve been
awarded as one of the fastest 5000
growing companies in the United States.
So what do you see for the future?
Our fractional CFO and controller
service is exploding.
And for us, what we set out to build
before was this
back off is completely done human
part where we added tools to it.
And now I think dashboard automation,
lower dollar stuff is got a problem
because people are correcting their
budgets and they don’t have the extra
room to spend on fancy tools.
I see happening my advice to every service
provider is provide something
of a little higher value.
Where you do the work is going
to differentiate from low dollar dashboard
stuff because the market
from a standpoint of being able to buy it,
isn’t going to tolerate an extra piece of
a tool because the budgets are tighter.
And so I’m excited about where you’re
providing a service component that is
actually providing filling
in the blank for a company.
I think the business process outsourcing
category, the place where you and I live,
is even though they would have said
a couple of years ago we were due to grow
a little bit, the sectors where you and I
live are have they’ve recast growth
figures and we set to double and triple in
size on the backside of this correction.
That is impressive.
So just for the people, I guess
the listeners, what is Fully Accountable?
So feel accountable is a full
outsourced fractional service.
The provides fractional CFO and controller
services where we run your entire
accounting and finance office
for ecommerce and tech companies.
eCommerce and tech companies exclusive.
Yep, that’s where we live.
And my tip to you is,
as a service provider, have an audience.
You want to know our number one secret
weapon, those big of a company companies
we are is we talk to that audience.
So if that’s not your audience doing seven
figure seven figures and up in revenue,
then you don’t work with us.
Now we care about you, which is why
we created we careFully Accountable.
And we’ll help you point
you in a direction.
But you’re not going to be our client
because we only have
to speak one language.
We speak digital.
We don’t speak all the other
And that is actually how
we have massively grown.
And I encourage that for everybody trying
to serve a business,
if you only have a few clients or hundreds
of fifty clients or whatever and you want
to double in size,
you don’t go after working for millions of
companies, focus in on the ones you do.
And I promise you you’ll
explode in growth like we have.
That’s super cool.
Vinnie, what was that website again where
people can get the
right to hold accountable dot com forward,
slash your show,
authentic business adventures and right
there that will be in the show
notes will provide it for you.
You will be able to get
our books for free.
We care about you as a business, whether
you’re in e-commerce or digital or not.
Please take advantage of those.
We want to help you if you want to figure
out how to automate your systems,
how to really take advantage of tech
today, how to figure
out what to outsource.
What did not when to bring
on James Call Center and all those things,
we have those tools for you to help figure
that stuff out, go take advantage of.
That is super cool.
That is super cool.
If someone wanted to get a hold of you or
your company what would be
the best way to do that?
You can get Vinnie Fisher at any
of the social footprint’s very available.
Now, I’ll tell you, someone on
our team manages most of those,
but we’ll happily handle you if you
want to just go to we care at Fully
Accountable and write us an email
or just go to our website.
We are very digital friendly.
We have a very decent footprint
and we’re here to help you.
I appreciate it.
Well, Vinnie, thanks so
much for being on the show.
Do you have anything that you’d
like to add for the listeners?
I’d say this.
You didn’t do anything wrong if you got
massively nailed by this
line in the sand. Totally agree.
I also believe that this is required a new
season of life in business that got
accelerated to a season
we were going to have.
And I just want to encourage you,
if you’re somebody who’s living
in that middle, go reach out to people
like James, myself,
some others who are living on the front
of this because you can do it.
It’s actually not as complicated and it’s
not as automated as you might think.
And we’re just going to have a new way
where we’re going to deploy some a little
bit of tech into your companies
and that’s the new way
business is going to be done.
Yeah, I totally agree.
You know, it’s interesting,
I teach this business planning
class remotely now.
And the students are like,
who do I ask for help?
And I’m like, you ask anybody that owns
a business, they will be more
than happy to help you.
If they don’t, they’re a jerk,
forget about them.
They’ll be bankrupt in a minute.
entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs because
they understand that it’s an uphill
struggle almost all the time from a as
long as you’re in a power growth mindset.
Absolutely. It’s a struggle all the time.
We’re battling big business.
We’re battling rules that aren’t really
made for small business, were battling
the attention and the eyeballs
of the consumer.
We’re battling some of our own awful
decisions, we’re battling all kinds of things.
And so amen man like I’m in, our
whole culture of our company is
in the fight because I’m in the fight.
I love it.
I love it.
This has been Authentic Business
the business program that brings you
stories and triumphs and successes
of business owners across the land coming
to you well remotely,
because that’s how we do it.
It’s more fun that way, right?
It’s the world we live in.
My name is James Kademan
and Authentic Business Adventures is
brought to you by Calls On Call offering
call answering services to businesses
in all stages across the country,
on the Web, at callsoncall.com.
As well as, drawincustomers.com
offering business coaching services
for small businesses, specifically
in the service sector on the Web
And of course, the Bold Business Book,
a book for the entrepreneur in all of us,
available on Amazon and wherever
fine books are sold.
We’d like to thank you our wonderful
listeners as well as our guest,
Vinnie Fisher, chief executive
officer at Fully Accountable.
That’s fullyaccountable.com, right Vinnie?
Thanks for having me today, James.
Oh, my gosh.
I can talk to you for hours, but I know
you probably got a lot of stuff to do.
And I know the radio won’t
air us much longer than this.
we’ve got to keep it where it is.
So I appreciate you being
on the show, Vinnie.
The website one more time was
fullyaccountable.com/authentic business adventures.
That is correct.
I appreciate it.
That’s a huge gift.
Yeah, we welcome you.
We’re happy to help.
They just want to do our part to really
if we can do statistically help small
which I believe is the heartbeat of our
free market economy,
then let’s help each other
actually, one more step of improvement
and it’ll be a great thing.
Thank you for listening.
We’ll see you next week.
I want you to stay awesome.
If you do nothing else,
enjoy your business.