Ethan Drower talks about ways of making your small business more efficient.
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Don Mazzella: [00:00:00] For 20 years, the Small Business Digest has helped millions of entrepreneurs grow their business. We do this by highlighting ways they can increase profits, whether it means suggestions, improve marketing and provide better financial management, offer robust people management ideas, provide speedier logistics. Our guests each offer ways of reducing costs, adding sales. Widening profits. Don Manzella here again for Small Business Digest. And I’m happy to say I can pronounce. Our guest today, Edward Yao. And he doesn’t know it, but I often have trouble with some of our guest. Names. But he’s here to talk about something that’s very important. I feel important. You know, small business. We all agree we’re facing a problems. But, you know, people come on and say these are the problems, but here’s maybe some of the solutions. But before we get to them, Ed, welcome to the program and tell us a little bit about yourself, your company. And finally, a website.
Edward Yao: [00:01:14] Awesome. Well, glad to be here. You know a little bit about myself. I have been in the small business space for my entire career. I look, I think, younger than I am, but I’ll let. I’ll let your audience decide. Um, I have. I started off in management consulting and then quickly ended up starting Canada’s first daily Deal company. We grew that to over 130 people, worked with over 10,000 small businesses across Canada. And it was a challenging but very rewarding experience. And that’s where we got a lot of exposure to how small businesses work. Why it’s so difficult. It’s the only job in the world where you have to be good at dentistry or plumbing and also be good at marketing. You have to be good at recruiting accounting, and you have to do everything. And you know, we have a saying, Jack of all trades, master of none. And it’s, you know, it’s it’s the only job in the world where you have to do you literally are expected to be executing on all of those cogs which is what led us to start one local. And what you what you see when you look at our website and what you see when you when you have conversations with us is addressing those pain points. We take all of the 200 plus processes that John, you know, the plumber or John the dentist need to be doing to grow their clinics or their businesses, whether that’s soliciting reviews, responding to customer inquiries, optimizing their website, you know, and so on. And we take that all off of their plate. And so we are, you know, at the forefront of full stack marketing offer offering for small businesses and in the back end, because everything is integrated and we provide that in-house specialist specialization in one platform, we’re able to do these things at a much higher or much more automated and pass those savings on to those business owners.
Don Mazzella: [00:03:22] And your website.
Edward Yao: [00:03:24] Our website is w-w-w dot one local.com all spelled out w-w-w dot on E local.com.
Don Mazzella: [00:03:36] Okay, let’s back up a little bit and talk. When you say one local, we’re talking about local businesses. Your plumber, your, um, your dentist, etcetera. Am I correct? Absolutely. So you’re in effect saying we’ll come in and help you compete in your community? Am I hearing it correctly?
Edward Yao: [00:03:59] Yeah, absolutely. And you know, Don, when you say compete, there’s a lot of things that go into what competing means. If you were to rewind 25 years ago, competing meant maybe putting a sign on your front door. And the the the saying location, location, location was very relevant. Then Yellow Pages came along and you needed to be listed in the Yellow Pages. But with digital and, you know, the evolution of the internet and the mobile web, it’s it’s where people reside has become very fragmented and it’s become exponentially more complicated. To compete in your local space, you need to have a mobile optimized website. You need to show up on Google, you need to have social. And it’s no longer just listing in the Yellow Pages.
Don Mazzella: [00:04:46] Okay, let’s let’s focus in on that. So let’s say you’re the local hardware store is wrong because many of them are independent and the hardware stores just don’t exist anymore. But let’s talk of drapery store. Let’s start with that. Okay. Drapery store traditionally draws from a larger area than, say, a the something else. What would you do for the drapery owner who comes to you and says, look, I’ve got to improve my business? How do I do it?
Edward Yao: [00:05:28] That’s a great and that’s a great question. If I could get us to use potentially a different industry. Drapery is, you know, to your point, more of a retailer. Our specialty is are with service providers who have service areas, if you will. Okay. And let’s take let’s take perfect. Perfect. And so in this in this scenario, let’s say John is the owner of a plumbing business. We would, you know, optimize every part of his customer’s journey from discovery, attraction, conversion to and retention. When it comes to attraction, it’s about making sure that when a customer is looking for a plumber, you’re showing up. That means you need to have an SEO, SEO or search engine optimized website with relevant keywords. You need to have your advertisements accurately targeted so that prospective customers are finding you in the areas or the the, the websites that they are residing on or engaging with. And then once you do, once you do get someone to engage and they start to do their research, do you have enough information that going to help that customer end up choosing you, whether that’s reviews? Do you have pictures of your services or of of to get the customer or give the customer a feel of who the type of company you are, whether that’s on your website or on your socials? Does your website load fast enough? You know, if your website loads slowly, the patients now amongst the customer or prospective customers is at an all time low. And so if your website loads slowly and that can be because of the way you have it set up, that can also be because things have changed on the mobile browser or on the browsers that people are using that change the requirements.
Edward Yao: [00:07:21] You know, not too long ago Google changed Chrome and if you didn’t have an SSL that was up to date, it would flag your URL bar. These are things that can cost you conversions. And then when the customer does ultimately choose to engage with you, are you asking them to email you or are you asking them to fill out a form call you? How is it How are you engaging or facilitating that that request or that inbound interest in the best practice is to fulfill it in a way that the customer wants to and not force them into a channel. So that means more omnichannel of approach. But if you are sorry one second, if you are, you know, taking in that interest in and you how are you communicating that you have received that interest? You know, an example is if you take a phone call and you don’t answer and you ask and you ask your customers or your prospective customers to leave a voicemail, that’s going to encourage that customer to continue their search. And, you know, the list goes on all the way through retention and generating referrals. But there are over 200 tasks that or processes that we have mapped out that the average business owner needs to be doing. If they really want to maximize the likelihood that they’re going to grow their business. And we take all of that on for them.
Don Mazzella: [00:08:50] Well, you you touched on the one that to me is the most important. If my plumber doesn’t answer the phone, I get worried and I go on. How do you help individual companies eliminate that problem or minimize it?
Edward Yao: [00:09:08] So there’s twofold. One, when you end up on one of our clients websites, you can text in, but assuming you choose to phone in and. Uk dah.
Don Mazzella: [00:09:22] Yes, I’m here. I used the cough button.
Edward Yao: [00:09:26] Oh, nice. Oh, yeah. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Um, the. If there are many ways we support you, like I mentioned in omni approach to how we’re going to take in that customer’s interest and intent. If you end up calling and choosing to call, we can absolutely support that and we will ring the business’s phone line depending on how the business is set up and their their preference. We can ring the phone line directly. We can pass that on to a receptionist that we would help you set up in our platform. And so whether or not it goes direct rings a couple of times, it ends up with us or directly brings us first. You can train a bot or a receptionist, a digital receptionist. Think of it like Siri to respond to that phone call for you, though, you can choose the voice. You can tailor what they say. We can facilitate that call and confirm at least a callback time or a booking on your behalf.
Don Mazzella: [00:10:27] Well, that’s very interesting. I’d love to follow that further because I happen to run into a statistic that the plumbers lose 17% of their initial calls because they don’t answer the phone.
Edward Yao: [00:10:41] 17 or 70.
Don Mazzella: [00:10:43] 17.
Edward Yao: [00:10:44] Oh, nice. I think it’s higher than that. But yes, 17 is is is not surprising.
Don Mazzella: [00:10:52] When you consider that you’re talking about the key question as your bot answer the question how much does it cost? So because that seems to be the third question dealing with plumbing is how how much is it going to cost me for you to come out and look at my overflowing washing machine?
Edward Yao: [00:11:16] And it’s and so there are with every industry that we work with, there are nuances. And the the beautiful aspect of AI is that it will continue to get better as you feed it more information. At our current stage, we would take that phone call and unless there are specific mappings as to what we want to ensure that the bot to say we would encourage the customer to book a consultation and lock in that intent, intent so as to discourage them from continuing on with their search. Right. They have gone and they have decided they’re going to call John’s business. They looked at his reviews, they looked at the website and said, you know what, I want to interact with John. Our job is to confirm that John understands and is going to facilitate this interaction to discourage them from continuing their search because you don’t want to continue to looking and going through that process as a customer over and over again. And you want to know that someone is going to get back to you or you have already communicated it and and you are progressing down that path to get your remedy for your plumbing issue.
Don Mazzella: [00:12:26] Our reviews important.
Edward Yao: [00:12:28] Absolutely. I mean, I think there’s a common stat 92% of people check reviews before they make a purchase.
Don Mazzella: [00:12:35] Are they real?
Edward Yao: [00:12:37] Yeah, absolutely. They’re. I mean, I think Google is getting better and better at making sure that the onus of legitimate reviews is is more and more reputable of what makes it on online. And it’s paramount. Right. You’re not you’re not alone. I go on Amazon and every once in a while you read some reviews and you think, you know, are these real? And I think it’s up to the platforms to make sure that they are enforcing that and making sure that the quality is continues to get better. But our customers or our businesses are unable or have the way that we help them generate reviews is making it easy for their real customers to leave reviews. And I think over time, as you aggregate more and more reviews to your profiles, you’ll be able to tell the difference between the real ones and the not. And then also the hope is that the platforms get better and better and they will streaming out the fake reviews.
Don Mazzella: [00:13:41] We’re talking with Edward your your company again and your website.
Edward Yao: [00:13:47] My company’s name is one local and the website is w-w-w dot one local.com.
Don Mazzella: [00:13:54] Okay. Well, let’s go a little further into this. How do you deal with with someone that says your Chinese restaurant? The food was awful and they said no MSG but I found got all the MSG that I had to go to the hospital. What do you how do you handle a situation like that?
Edward Yao: [00:14:14] Well, I think transparency is very important. And I think as the consumer base or as society gets more comfortable with online reviews, I mean, relative to how long the Internet has been around, you know, the prevalence of online reviews, you know, has been has been around for a while as well. But relative to just how customers make the decision, you know, we haven’t had online reviews for very long and we are seeing the evolution of how the customer thinks through them. Right. But originally it was this was everything. This was this was fact. And to your point on, you know, people are starting to realize there can be gamification of these reviews. And I think now we’re at the point where people are starting to understand that there can be gamification and then there are two sides to every story. And so as a business owner responding to those reviews transparently but not being too, I think, candid, but at the same time balancing out, not being too pacifying or patronizing is is the right is striking. The right balance is probably the most difficult part. But redressing that that conversation you know if it if it’s honest feedback and it’s something that they want to apply to their business and improving what they do, they should absolutely comment on that. If they disagree with the accusation or have a rational, rational rationale as to why they use the level of MSG that they do, they should definitely respond to that. And then the customer base can review that feedback, that negative review and the response and make their own decision.
Don Mazzella: [00:15:53] You know, I wish I could agree with you, but I just don’t see it that way, because it seems to me that the negative reviews seem to come from a smaller segment of the population of the population. And it seems to me there are people out there that do nothing but be negative. Yeah.
Edward Yao: [00:16:16] It’s true there. I mean, there are trolls on the Internet and and it’s just part, I think, of today’s Internet and today’s society. But, you know, if are you suggesting not responding?
Don Mazzella: [00:16:34] I’m not suggesting anything because I haven’t figured it out. I I’m so far behind on social media as the as to be a Neanderthal. But the point I’m trying to make is we we recently saw a Chinese restaurant. We moved to Wilmington and it had five star reviews. So we went down to see it and it was a little hole in the wall and the food was atrocious. Okay. Yet if you read the reviews, it was, you know, it was rated number one in Wilmington. Um, did you review what.
Edward Yao: [00:17:14] Did you leave a review?
Don Mazzella: [00:17:17] Well, I didn’t because it’s not my nature to leave a review. My wife will leave a review. We were just surprised that this. I’ve literally built it up because. Well, let’s go on. Because this is. This is your time, not my time. Let’s go on. What are some of the other things that your company does that can help a local business?
Edward Yao: [00:17:46] Um, I mean, I think I spoke about a lot of them. Review We help with review management. We help with your online profiles, your listings, management, your website. You know, there’s over 200 things that we help with. Was there anything in particular that that you wanted to speak about?
Don Mazzella: [00:18:04] Well, well, well. Do you provide. Can I can the the client call up and talk to somebody in your company?
Edward Yao: [00:18:12] There’s the the client can talk to one of our AI bots and we would set that up for our business owner that will learn and and continue to evolve and get better and how they’re responding. But you know, currently, yeah, we would be able to help them facilitate that call. You know, speaking to something like a Siri.
Don Mazzella: [00:18:30] How about your pricing? How does the pricing work for your system?
Edward Yao: [00:18:35] Uh, so there’s, we have different packages to help businesses address different needs. If you are a business owner who’s really good with web and you’re very comfortable, you may not need web presence and we would help you with maybe your engagement and how you facilitate those calls and how you engage with your customers and solicit feedback. And so we have a package to help with engagement. We have a package with around your web presence, and we have a package around ad management and social media management.
Don Mazzella: [00:19:04] Now what do they run about monthly? Do you charge monthly by contract?
Edward Yao: [00:19:09] How does it work? Everything is everything is on a monthly subscription. And they are they’re they’re priced relative to what we would otherwise as a business owner have to pay in salary. And so the closest equivalent, if you were to look at what is in the marketplace, there are 7000 self-service tools, but they require that business owner, John, that we were speaking about earlier to go and optimize or manage these tools. And a lot of these business owners don’t have time or the expertise to be able to deliver on that. And so that doesn’t work. So they end up hiring help. They either hire a full time marketing coordinator or they hire their nephew, their niece. And if you were to pay someone 20, $25 an hour a full time for the year, you know, you’re looking at over $50,000 a year. And that’s just one person not likely not specialized in in any of the fields. Every one of our offerings has specialists built in internally.
Don Mazzella: [00:20:11] Just give me one one price for one offering.
Edward Yao: [00:20:14] If you were to take everything, how about that? If you were to take everything for from one local, it would be $1,200 a month.
Don Mazzella: [00:20:21] 1200 a month. That’s okay. We’re getting close to the end. What would you like to leave our audience with? But first, tell us the website, your website again, and spell it out.
Edward Yao: [00:20:33] Our website is w-w-w dot one local.com. So on E local. And you know what I would like to leave to any small business owner that’s watching this is that you know thank you for for what you do you make up more than 90% of the economy and it is by no means the easy our line is small business is is not easy, but our goal is to make it so.
Don Mazzella: [00:21:02] Okay. Well, on that note, Edward Yao, we say thank you so much for certainly I learned a lot. I hope our audience did as well.
Edward Yao: [00:21:12] Well, thank you so much, Don. It was great chatting with you.
Don Mazzella: [00:21:15] One Tony Soprano, the famed fictional crime boss who grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey, turned to a psychologist to resolve some of his conflicted emotions. I grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark. At the same time as depicted in the forthcoming movie prequel to the television soprano saga. In the highly successful television series, Tony Soprano was a man born to the mob, yet questioning his birthright, the rules he lived by and the people he associated with. Tony Soprano was not alone in my book. Frankie, if you get hurt, I’ll kill you. Talks about those changes and the people they affected, myself included, and the fictional Tony Soprano. The period 1952 1965 was the time of major changes hitting Tony Soprano in fiction and my neighbors in real life. He liked he, like many of my neighbors, felt the strain of an evolving Italian American heritage. Tony Soprano and my generation were being torn from their roots, rendered from the comfort of their familiar with changing rules and mores. The family, long a center of his life, was unraveling. Recall his mother, actually. Tony Soprano’s mother actually ordered his liquidation. The mob to which Tony Soprano was born to was was morphing in ways he neither understood nor wanted. My book. Frankie, if you get hurt, I’ll Kill You.
Don Mazzella: [00:23:11] Explores these changes by leading the reader through the labyrinth of channels swept away for most of us of Tony Soprano’s generation. Tony Soprano is fiction. His experiences were not returned with me to those time where individuals did things differently there and needed to adapt to changes without comprehending the exact nature of those demands. Certainly Tony Soprano did not quite understand. Neither did I nor others of our generation. I provide insight in Frankie. If you get hurt, I’ll kill you. Because my father was for many years the chief launderer of the shirts and the pressing. My mother had a lifetime friendship with a mob boss, and I covered them for the Newark news. The book is Frankie. If you get hurt, I’ll kill you. I’m available soon. Here and at your favorite bookstore. Mozilla here again for Small Business Digest. We have with us an entrepreneur extraordinaire. And if I’m not mistaken, he’s Ethan Drower. He’s here calling us from Argentina, but he’s been all over the world. And I think his product is really in Europe, if I’m not mistaken. Am I correct? Ethan Correct. So, Ethan, there’s a lot of questions I have, but I’ll start by asking a little bit about your personal background, then about your company. And finally a website where people can hear more.
Ethan Drower: [00:24:59] Sure, no problem. So I’m Ethan Drower. I am a co-founder of Cite Medical. We call it Citemed for short. My am a I am a trained software engineer and I’ve been in the software space for over a little bit over ten years now and have worked in a lot of different industries ranging from finance, high frequency trading to consumer app type of development. So I’ve kind of run the gamut. My current venture and my longest standing venture has been Citemed, and we are in the medical device space, We are in the regulatory affairs in Europe. World. So it’s quite a it’s quite a specific it’s quite a specific niche. But as for myself personally, it’s always been the, the software end of things, the engineering, the building side and always just trying to find the juiciest problem possible to tackle. So our website done think that’s the last thing I’m missing is citemedical.com so citemedical.com. That’s it that’s me.
Don Mazzella: [00:26:18] Okay well what specifically do you say? Artificial limits cetera. What do you mean. What does your company do?
Ethan Drower: [00:26:29] We. In short, we help medical device manufacturers prove that their products are safe to sell in Europe. And the way that we do that is we help them by either compiling big research reports. So we do research of existing studies previously done, previously done reports on on devices. And what we do is help them compile them into submissions that they send to effectively the government in in the European Union. And that’s how they help. That’s how they get their devices approved as safe to sell. So that’s that’s the gist of what we do.
Don Mazzella: [00:27:12] So some things like artificial limbs and things like that are artificial fingers. Is that what you’re talking about?
Ethan Drower: [00:27:22] It what’s interesting, Don, is that it’s any medical device. So we’re talking a robotic surgical arm all the way down to a Q-Tip or a hospital gown. Those all have to have a certain level of scrutiny when it comes to their safety. So we get we get to touch a whole wide range of complexities and products and and different different devices.
Don Mazzella: [00:27:49] Well, just out of curiosity, why are you in Argentina on vacation or. Um.
Ethan Drower: [00:27:56] One of one of the nice things about our team and the way that we’ve structured our company, we have people all over the world, so we work across 3 or 4 different time zones pretty seamlessly. And we gave up our office during the pandemic because nobody wanted to go there. So I encourage the team and myself to take advantage of our location, freedom and and go see the world while we build this thing. Why not?
Don Mazzella: [00:28:27] Okay. Sounds like fun. But now you’re on this show because you said an interesting thing about what should what should an entrepreneur be or look for and or and I’m always curious about that. So that’s why you’re on the program today. Tell us your thoughts on this.
Ethan Drower: [00:28:50] Sure. Well, we can. Let’s just kind of go one by one, because I have a few core core tenants, I guess, of of entrepreneurship that I have. Given out as advice written some articles on and guess that’s probably how you caught on the first one. The first big quality I look for in fellow entrepreneurs and try to cultivate in myself is a high risk tolerance, is what I call it, because what you’re what you’re really doing when you start a company is you’re assuming a ton of personal, either financial or even more importantly, time risk. And the idea is to build something that is at such a high scale that it can pay you back 100 fold, a thousand fold for what you’ve invested. And you’re constantly in a state of not knowing what the future holds. And you’re in a state of continuous reevaluation of what we call the level of risk in in your business, in your marketplace. And if you want to be successful in this game because it is a game, you need to be comfortable with that. Constant level of uncertainty. And you need to be you need to understand that the risk that you’re taking are are leveraged risks. Right. And that’s why we do it, because we want the big payoff. We want the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the the exit or the the big scaled up version of whatever you started. So think that’s a that’s a critical one.
Don Mazzella: [00:30:37] Keep going and the floor is yours.
Ethan Drower: [00:30:40] Okay, I’ll keep going. I wasn’t sure if you had some. If you were going to debate me on this here, Don. No, Let’s keep going.
Don Mazzella: [00:30:47] No, but people are here to hear you, not me.
Ethan Drower: [00:30:52] Okay, perfect. Then I’ll keep rolling. So the second one and this one I get, I often get a lot of pushback on from other. Founders who are engineers or are software software developers. And this is. We have a big emphasis on the ability to sell what you have built, sell people on your idea or sell your actual product. Now, this is something when when you’re a creative person or you’re an engineer and you really love and derive a lot of satisfaction from building your thing, your widget, your software or whatever. You tend to you tend to be of the mindset where you think as long as you build something exceptional, people are just going to beat down your door and and buy your product, buy your service, because they’re going to see how hard you’ve worked and see how good it is. And I’ve found over my career that every time I do that, we lose. And you have to you have to cultivate a sales savvy. You have to acknowledge and work on the art of persuasion. And it’s just as important as the actual thing that you’re building if you can’t convince somebody to even look at what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter how good it is. It’s not people are not going to beat the path to your door. So one thing that I often, you know, have have difficult conversations with, if I advise other entrepreneurs is, yeah, this thing, the idea is great, but you need to learn how to sell it.
Ethan Drower: [00:32:33] You need to learn how to pitch VCs or you need to learn how to speak to your potential customers and your potential market. And yeah, I can’t, I can’t emphasize it enough. Um, so that’s number two. Moving along, this is a kind of a softer skill here. And this one is, I would say, equally as important in selling. It’s it’s they kind of go hand in hand. So what I, what I always try to cultivate in myself and anybody that I’m advising is focus on having extreme empathy. Empathy is number three, because you need to have a genuine thirst for knowledge when it comes to your customers and your potential market experience. You need to get inside their heads. You need to care about their problems, and you need to obviously identify them. And the only way to do that is to truly be empathetic. You cannot you cannot win in the long term as kind of an opportunistic fly by night operation. You need to truly spend the time with your target customers and your target market. And you need to you need to ask questions and you need to listen. Um, without it, you’ll never write good marketing copy. You’ll never incorporate the feedback into to change and improve your product. And you won’t be able to iterate to a point where you have a more refined pitch and product, right? The elusive product market fit, which is what we’re all in this game for.
Ethan Drower: [00:34:13] We want the right market, we want the right product for that market. The only way to do that is to listen, is to listen to these people, because whether they tell it to you directly or they tell it to you through explaining their problems, they are communicating the solution that they will pay for and the solution that that will motivate them to buy. So that is absolutely, absolutely essential empathy. Um, moving along, number four, I believe we’re on is this is this is a pretty cliche one, but put it on here because I think it’s I still think it’s incredibly important. Um, you need a resilience to rejection and rejection can come in many forms. It doesn’t. We tend to equate it with the failure of a company. But what I’m talking about are the day in and day out micro rejections that you’re going to face. You need to be able to pick up the phone and call a stranger and pitch them your idea and have them and be okay with them saying, no, I don’t want that. Don’t ever call me again. You need to you need to be able to spend a bunch of money and try a new marketing campaign and have it completely flop. But you hopefully can learn something from the data, right? Um, a lot of times when an entrepreneur gets a little bit of success on.
Ethan Drower: [00:35:39] They start to they start to feel like a winner and their friends and family know them as a winner, somebody who’s who’s getting stuff done. And when they start to feel like that, they become risk averse and they become afraid to take the bigger shot because they’re getting that, they’re getting that bit of validation, they’re getting that bit of notoriety. A couple publications saying this guy is great. And that’s one of the reasons I always try and reference a lot of my past failures when I do any kind of media because it’s so important to be of the mindset of it’s okay to try something and miss the target completely. And if you’re not doing that, it means you’re not moving fast enough with with your product, with your with your company. So to all, to all everybody out there that’s listening, take the feedback. The feedback is what matters. The result pass or fail, success or nothing. Doesn’t matter as much. Seek the feedback in everything that you do and eventually there’s going to be more wins than losses because you’re going to continue to learn, continue to refine your product, continue to get better. So resilience to rejection, number four and number five will keep it, keep it at five. It’s a nice it’s a nice number is a still and calm mindset. And we’re not I’m not going to take you down the spiritual, the spiritual road here, Don.
Ethan Drower: [00:37:09] But I believe that as entrepreneurs, we can deal with an incredible amount of interruptions and stressors in our daily, you know, just our daily businesses, our daily lives. If you do not have the type of mindset where you can remove yourself from the current fire, the current issue at hand, and look objectively at the full board, the big picture and make a decision, you’re at a disadvantage to other entrepreneurs because it’s that it’s being able to walk through the fire, as they say, and do it in a way that. Does not compromise your decision making ability. So guess I guess that’s what I’m getting at when I say a still mind. Don’t be forever reactive to the small fires of the day because they’re always going to be there. So. Keep keep a calm mind, keep a focus on the long term goals. And as long as you’re progressing towards those goals, it’s okay to have the little panics and let the let the little issues that of day to day step managing staff. You can let those slide. You don’t have to get you don’t have to get absolutely buried in in resolving every single little conflict or problem because they never go away. There is no day where you own a company and it’s running without problems. It doesn’t exist. So we need to learn. We need to learn how to deal with it. Um, yeah, that’s number five.
Don Mazzella: [00:38:47] Wow. Ethan That was five excellent presentation. Before we go further, your website again for our audience.
Ethan Drower: [00:38:56] Sure. We are citemedical.com. So cite like citation medical.com.
Don Mazzella: [00:39:05] Okay well, you know, I was listening to it. I couldn’t disagree with a single thing you said but I’m going to ask a question. No, believe me, I’ve disagreed with people. But I guess my question is how do you deal with people who backed you in one deal that failed and how do you go back to them and say, trust me again, or do you say they will never trust you again?
Ethan Drower: [00:39:36] You go back to them, Don, because in my experience and in my experience, those that have have backed my previous ventures, win or lose. They are more interested in backing me personally than they are the specific, specific venture. And I think those are the type of investors that you really want in your corner because they see the potential of you as an entrepreneur and they understand that not every idea can work out. It’s not always a question of the founder failed. He broke the trust. He blew it. Most of the time when you run the companies, you did all you could do. You spent the money the way it was supposed to. You built the product the way it was supposed to, and the market didn’t take or didn’t take what we wanted. Right. There’s not always a way to win if you’re a better entrepreneur. So I say if you approach your investors with that framework and you say, this is the idea, this is what we’re trying to do. You’re investing in the idea because you think you share my opinion of the probabilities, but it is a probability. So what they’re really investing in is, is the entrepreneur themselves. Is this guy or girl going to do their best and take the best shot at this opportunity? And are they going to then learn and grow from it? Obviously, investors care about their returns. It’s not they’re not going to be happy if you come back and say, well, at least I learned a lot, right? The the return is what matters. Don’t be mistaken, however. Don’t be ashamed to take the swing and miss and come back with another idea.
Don Mazzella: [00:41:26] Well, let me ask you this. You’ve heard of vaporware. You know, it seems to me what I look at, I went to a presentation of 16 nascent, nascent firms a couple of months ago, and every one of them seemed to me to be vaporware in the sense of, yeah, maybe it would work. But then you ask the critical question, has anybody bought it? And invariably the answer comes no. How do you answer when you think you have a good product? But so far you have no one who said, Yes, I agree with you.
Ethan Drower: [00:42:13] So we’re talking about selling something before it exists.
Don Mazzella: [00:42:17] Or supposedly exists as a beta model. Every one of these companies supposedly had a beta. Or beyond. Was in New York City Venture Capital Group. I’m I’m at the end of the thing. I couldn’t find the one company that really could demonstrate that they had something there.
Ethan Drower: [00:42:44] Well, I would say that is not an industry that I have any interest in. That’s not a sandbox. I have any interest in playing it. I very firmly believe that you should be building the smallest functional piece of whatever it is that your idea is and you should be showing it to everybody. It should be accessible. So that’s how that’s how we run Sinemet and that’s how we’ve done all of our previous, our previous ventures. We build something and then we go out and try and sell. We build the smallest thing possible and we go out and try and sell it and we we sell it by giving it to the users. And based on their feedback, they like it. They don’t use it. They love it. Whatever we change, right? We iterate. So I would I would argue that. You know, as an as an investor in this day and age, it’s you shouldn’t be you shouldn’t be taking risks on things that aren’t even they haven’t even built a sliver of of what it is. There’s no there’s no need for it. It’s cheap to build. It’s cheap to build demos. It’s cheap to build betas nowadays. It’s not $1 million investment to to come up with a piece of code that you can put online that works for somebody. So if I was if I was running a fund and I was investing in these small companies, we would say, show me something and I want to see it live and I want to be able to use it and play with it. I don’t care if it’s pretty, but you have to show me something. So I’m not interested in the okay, we’ll build the whole thing in a year to see you then. Thanks for the chat. We’re interested in micro micro opportunities, micro bits of functionality that can then be brought out to the marketplace and test it.
Don Mazzella: [00:44:37] Let me now throw a curve question at you, which you don’t have to answer. Why is it that men seem to be able to get more easily get capital in the central entrepreneurial world than women?
Ethan Drower: [00:44:54] Oh, a controversial question. Yes. I like it. I like it. Don, let’s do it. I would say and these questions are so difficult because you’re generalizing men and women and there are so many different types of each personality within each gender. Okay. But. The key trait and the key trait is not male female. The key trait is ego and agreeableness. And what what I’ve seen in my experience and I’ve hired a lot of people is that those who those who demonstrate an extreme level of self-assuredness and confidence beyond their actual abilities or experience raise more money because they’re willing to go out there and say, Yeah, we can do this. Those who are a little bit more introspective and a little bit more cautious with their words and actions and thoughts. They raise less money because they don’t feel that they’re ready yet. They don’t feel that they deserve $5 million. Okay. And if you really do the do the numbers and you break down this these traits across men and women, ego and disagreeableness are more predominantly male traits. So the I would say that the reason is why men go out there and raise more money is because the vast majority of men that are raising money have more self-confidence and a little bit bordering on delusion when it comes to their abilities and their experience. And those men and women that do not have that self-assuredness, they raise less money, mostly because they ask for less. And they don’t they don’t have the they don’t have the unshakable self-belief that they’re going to be fine even if they haven’t done it before, even if they don’t have an exit, whatever, they’re going to be. Okay. So if that trait, it’s not man woman, but when you really break it down across both genders, there are more men out there that think they’re much better than they are, than there are women, and that that you actually can you actually can support statistically. So so guess that’s that’s how I’d answer that.
Don Mazzella: [00:47:17] Okay. But that’s the best answer I’ve had in a long time. I like it. Unfortunately, we’re coming to the end of our time. First off, your website again. And finally, what would you like to leave our audience with?
Ethan Drower: [00:47:31] Sure. So our website one more time is citemedical. So citemedical.com. If you haven’t clicked it by now, you probably never will. That’s okay. We hope you enjoyed the episode. Um, what I would want to leave everybody with as an entrepreneur is it’s kind of the summation of these things. Take the feedback that comes to you when you’re starting businesses, when you’re meeting people, when you’re selling, when you’re raising money. Take all of that feedback in. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have to make the decisions for yourself. And there will come moments when you’re going to have to go against what a lot of the feedback and what the crowd has has said and done. So it’s kind of that that be true to yourself, but with the caveat of you still need to get all that feedback. You can choose to ignore it for, for the bigger picture, for the bigger gamble, the bigger payoff. But. Choose for yourself. Always, Always choose for yourself. Just do it from a position of being well informed.
Don Mazzella: [00:48:44] Ethan Drower, thank you so much for being with us today. It was really terrific time.
Ethan Drower: [00:48:50] Thank you so much for having me. Don.
Don Mazzella: [00:48:52] You have been listening to the Small Business Digest. Our website is the number two digest. Go there to hear this and all past and future shows and tell us a good guest you would like to hear on this program. Remember, this show is about helping our audience improve. I’m Don Mazzella and thank you.