Our guest for this episode of Cracking the Cash Flow Code is Jeremy Slate from Command Your Brand. Jeremy and I talked about how you, as blue-collar business owners can take advantage of what he calls the small pond strategy. When you use this strategy you are showing that you understand a niche and you are an expert at solving problems for people whom you want to reach.
Jeremy has been using this strategy with his own company for years and has had fabulous results. You'll be glad you spent a few minutes with us learning how the small pond strategy can be used in your business.
The smaller your companies focus, the easier it is for you to figure out what your customer is looking for and you can have all of your conversations focus on what's important for that customer.
Here are some of the things you'll learn:
- How to understand what ponds you're part of.
- Learn some easy ways to create all the content you need without having to write a word yourself.
- How to easily find something interesting about your business that others would want to learn.
Spend a few minutes with us today to find out you can use the small pond strategy to help the customers you want find you.
Narrator: Welcome to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where you'll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You'll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program, and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you will have a sale‑ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want, in the way you want.
In Cracking the Cash Flow Code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he's learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh Patrick: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you're at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. My guest today is Jeremy Slate. Jeremy is the founder, CEO, and president and Grand Poobah of Command Your Brand. They're a PR agency that works with people who want to get booked on podcast shows. But that's not what we're going to start talking off with Jeremy about today. Jeremy had a great idea which he calls the small pond strategy. So, instead of me trying to explain what it is, let's bring Jeremy on and he can explain what it is.
Hey, Jeremy. How are you today?
Jeremy: Hey, Josh. Thanks for having me, man. You forgot I'm chief cook and bottle washer too, man [laughs].
Josh: Oh, okay. Well, that's-- you know, I like Grand Poobah better but that's just my own preference.
Jeremy: Or, what was it? The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes? Is that what the other one was?
Josh: Yeah, but that was some--
Jeremy: I'm trying to think of from The Honeymooners. What was Ralph Kramden from?
Josh: I don't remember that.
Jeremy: Was it the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes?
Josh: It was some sort of, you know, Mason sort of thing but [laughs]. I didn't watch The Honeymooners a whole lot even though I was old enough and you weren't.
Jeremy: My dad's obsessed so I've seen like every episode [laughs].
Josh: Oh. Okay. Well, there we are.
So, tell me. What is a small pond strategy?
Jeremy: The way I like to explain it to everybody is, when you think about it, right, everybody's a big fish in a small pond everywhere. And I grew up in a small town. It's five‑eighths of a mile in size. Literally, nothing happens there. Like we're famous because Babe Ruth used to golf there once in a while. That's about it. So like, literally, nothing happens there. So, if a local cat runs away like it's big news.
So, the thing you're thinking about, when you're thinking of a small pond, is I tell people to start with a list and list all the small ponds you're a part of. It could be like an organization you're part of like Rotary. I live in a lake community, so it could be that your lake community has a magazine like ours does. It could be that small local newspaper. So, we have a weekly that goes around every Thursday to my county and the two counties around it. And pretty much any press release you write and send them they will print.
So, I like to tell people develop what those small ponds are because there's going to be no competition for you there. And especially if you're running, you know, a smaller local business, it really can create a great effect for you.
So, when you're thinking of that, I find like local newspapers like ones where either they come in the mail to your house or they are ones that you can grab like at the deli or something like that, those are really, really attainable, and really good to get in. And a lot of people grab them. So, it can really get you some good notoriety. And it's kind of a great way to kind of get your first media pieces because it's what creates trust. It's what creates celebrity. It's what really creates a lot of things you need in order to make it easier to grow your business.
So, when you're looking at that, you want to think of like “What is newsworthy about what I'm doing?” And by newsworthy, I'm saying like if I'm running like-- say, I'm a plumber and I have bought some new piece of machinery that nobody else uses. And I'm kind of the first in the town to do it and it's really interesting. You could write a story about, hey, local plumber is advancing technology, has bought this, and is using that. And when you write that press release-- and I would tell people Google the following which would be how to write a press release in 2020. There's a really good article by HubSpot which will teach you how to do that. But when you send in a press release, you have a really good chance of it getting covered in that newspaper. And the cool thing about that is a lot of them have like the in‑person component where you appear like in the actual like paper newspaper which that in itself is really cool. And the other part is you actually appear in Google News so you're able to build like backlinks to your website which is cool. So that's kind of one part of it.
Now, here's the other thing that's really, really interesting. The first time I got on TV, I'm here in New Jersey, and our largest regional newspaper is called the Bergen Record. I had pitched to nj.com which is our new jersey website. They had run the press release. It ran the Bergen Record. I had a producer for a local television station read it and I got on TV that way.
So, there's like a lot of really cool ways that you can find out what your small pond is, take advantage of that, and use that to get in front of just the right type of people, locally, that you need to get in your doors.
Josh: Okay. So, that sounds great as long as you like to write.
Jeremy: That's true. It's definitely true.
Josh: Now, here's the problem with most blue‑collar business owners I know, if I recommend they write something, they look at me like I just grew a second head. So, how do I go about-- or how would a blue‑collar businessperson, who hates to write, in fact, probably wouldn't ever do this if they had to write, how can they get past that? Let's say it’s a company with four or five people, so they don't have a staff that writes either.
Jeremy: So, this is what I would tell you to do and it's just another good community outreach thing. Go to your local community college and find out who basically runs internships there. And this is something I've done. It's something a lot of local businesses I know have done. And you can actually see like who's like in a journalism major, who's in an English major and they have to do a certain amount of writing in order to graduate. So, you can actually set up an internship with your local community college, and the person then would get credit for taking a course, but they'd be writing for you. And it's also not off your budget because you don't have to pay them because what they're getting is the experience of doing it and also the college credit. So it's kind of a very cool way to do it. And I've seen a lot of business owners do that. I know some high schools also have programs like that, too, but I know it's typically your community college. So, if you're a small business that really would handle that barrier for you and, at the same time, like you're creating some goodwill in the community of kind of giving somebody a shot.
Josh: That's great advice. So I'm going to sit here and-- you were talking about a plumber that just got a new piece of equipment or a new tool, what if I was-- I'm not going to be that same plumber. Let's use plumbers today for fun.
Jeremy: Yeah, absolutely.
Josh: And I really haven't bought a new tool or I don't have anything that's new in my business, especially there, but I do have a strong opinion about what makes a good plumber versus a bad plumber. Is that something that you could write for a local paper that might get picked up?
Jeremy: So not as a press release. But that is something you could do as like a letter to the editor in like the opinion section of the paper. So, you could do that.
But, in another way, something you could consider doing is like maybe you're a veteran, you could write an article about being a veteran‑owned business and why that would be interesting to you. In that case, that would be newsworthy because a lot of times, for a press release, they're not going to cover things that like, you know, may be controversial or something like that. But, if you want to go through the opinion section of the paper and do a letter to the editor, you could see something there and get some attention that way because a lot of those also appear online.
But you want to find things that are newsworthy, like maybe you're veteran owned, maybe you have a female co‑founder, maybe-- so, things that are interesting about what you're doing. Maybe you're doing a community outreach program. Like, I know I do a lot of anti-drug speaking in schools and, when we do a program, we write about it and it runs in the newspaper locally. So, like, these are things that you could be doing that are positive locally but are also creating attention for your business in the right way and can get people, you know, calling you.
Josh: That makes tons of sense to me.
The issue I see a lot of times with these blue‑collar business guys is I'm going to say, “Let's find something interesting about your business” and, again, I get the blank stare except without the second head because they don't think there's anything interesting about their business. So, if you're going to give somebody some advice and say, “Okay, you're not doing especially something new that's a press release worthy sort of thing-- and, by the way, a press release is just something that you’re announcing to the media which is about something that's new or different in your business. But you say, “Let's try to find something interesting you're doing.” How would you help them discover what it is they do that’s interesting?
Jeremy: You could kind of make like a shortlist on this. Like, what is unique about my business? Is it military service? Is it something I do for the community? Is there a certain way that I do it? Like, maybe you are the only plumber that offers a free console, and it's a huge part of your business, and this is why. So, there could be something unique about how you do what you do.
Like I used to work-- when I was in college, I would go to school during the day. I would work for a painter. And he was like super old school. Like I actually got a lot of experience in this where we hand scraped everything. And we painted everything with a four‑inch brush. Let me tell you, that it's hard work, man, when you're painting with an oil‑based paint. So, like in a lot of things that he would do, he would talk about like how particular his methods were because nobody does it like that anymore, but it actually creates a better experience and a better job. It doesn't do like sprayers do. So, maybe there's a certain way that you are doing things that can actually add some knowledge to the world. That too is newsworthy and interesting because it just may not be done or if it's not being done or it's cutting edge. It's interesting.
Josh: Yeah. I mean, you just triggered something which I call the Schlitz effect and--
Jeremy: The Schlitz effect [laughs].
Josh: Yeah, the Schlitz effect. It’s actually-- Schlitz was a very famous beer company back in the last century. In the early ‘20s, their advertising agency went to them and said, “Okay. Tell us about what you do is unique.” And they said, “We don't do anything unique.” And they said, “Okay. Then, how do you make beer?” So, they explained how they make beer. And they said, “That’s it. We're going to advertise how you're making beer.” But the executives at Schlitz said, “We can't do that because that's how everybody makes beer” except that nobody was talking about how they make beer.
Josh: So, even though you may not do something that’s completely different than your competition, if nobody in your industry is talking about it, and especially nobody in your local community is talking about it, you can own that by claiming it.
Josh: It doesn't have to be unique. You just have to be the first to claim it.
Jeremy: Because it's an educator viewpoint, right? Like you're actually explaining to people how it works so, like whether they work with you or not, they're more informed on the contract that they're going to work with. And since you're the one educating, they’re likely going to trust you anyway. So that's really cool because you're creating opinion leader status in somebody’s eyes just by-- you know, in a way, when my dad used to say, like, tell ‘em how the sausage is made. You know what I mean? Like you're actually kind of walking ‘em through that.
Josh: Yeah. And it's really, really strong because I will promise you that almost none of your competitors are talking at all about something that everybody does. And even though you're in the industry, and everyone in the industry knows us what you do, people outside your industry don't have a clue about how your industry runs. And that's something really, really important for folks to understand and get their arms around.
Jeremy: Even from that standpoint, too, like a local newspaper, you can shoot a quick email to like a writer for a newspaper and be like, “Hey, I have a great idea for an article for your paper. Like, these are the five things you should ask a painter before you hire them.” And they may pick you up on that idea. And that, too-- that could be like, if you're a small town, first or second page news. So that's something to think about, too.
Josh: Yeah, that's a really good thing.
So, one of the things that-- I mean, you're obviously in the podcast world, in the podcast business, and I'm going to assume that most of your customers are looking for a bigger footprint than the local one.
Josh: But, at the same time, there are some really good local podcasts that are being done. So, does a local podcast make sense? And, if so, why? And how would you start one if you wanted to do it?
Jeremy: Well, I think from kind of what we were just talking about, we were talking about from an education perspective, I totally agree, right, because you're educating people that could walk in your doors and want to buy from you, so why wouldn't you want to make them a better prospect? So I think that's really important. But I think the thing to think about first is like, what are you going to call this thing? And I think, from that standpoint, it's what is unique about what I'm doing or the value I'm delivering. Like, I wouldn't just call it like, you know, the Bob's Lumber Podcast because, you know, it's just not really unique enough. You know, maybe there is something unique about your process or what you sell so you would kind of toy around with that a little bit to get a name. But I think that would be a great place to start.
And you know what would be cool, too, and I've seen a lot of local businesses do this, I have a friend that has a local podcast out in Utah, in Salt Lake City. And he actually brings in local business owners on his company podcast, out in Utah, and they talk about what local businesses are doing. So, there's kind of that cross reference too and you're creating then an opportunity for other businesses to share what you're doing because you're getting their story out. So that's something also to think about too is like, “How am I going to get this content out and how am I going to help people?” And especially, on a local level, it's a pretty awesome networking tool because like being on a microphone is kind of cool and fun and you can feel special doing it.
Josh: Yeah. Being a podcast host is only exceeded if you happen to be a media personality, or a writer for The New York Times, or something like that. I used to blog for the Times and I can tell you that anytime I ever asked anybody to have an interview with me and say, “Well, I'm blogging for the Times.” They always said yes. And I would say that, probably, when I asked people being my podcast, about 90% of the time-- even people you would think you can't get on your podcast, would come on your podcast and show you why.
Now, if I was a local business, I might not want other business owners on, especially if I own a painting contracting company. But what I would do is I might bring in an electrician, I might have carpenters come on, I might have architects come on, and talk about what needs to happen for your general outcome for what your customers are getting. If I'm hiring a plumber, unless it's to repair something in my house, it’s usually part of a bigger project.
Jeremy: Yeah. I think that's really interesting because you're actually handling the education for somebody that could need all those other things. So, you actually create more trust in yourself because you're helping them find what they need.
Josh: Right. And that's-- you know, I think it's really easy-- it's really important that, if you're going to do a local podcast, at least in my experience, or do any podcasts for that matter, the more knowledge you have on a subject, the better host you're going to be.
Josh: You know, I had somebody on my show the other day and they were saying, gee, it's really refreshing to have a podcast host that actually knows what they're talking about so we can have a substantial conversation about something. He said, there's too many people in the podcast world or a host who just kind of nod their head and go along with whatever the guest says for whatever reason. If anyone's ever listened to his podcast, for any period of time, you know that's not me [laughs].
Jeremy: Well, Josh, I'm one of those people that that wins Jeopardy all the time in the safety of my own home. Rest in peace, Alex Trebek. So, I have a lot of weird and specialized knowledge which really seems to help me as a podcast host.
Josh: It does. It does. I mean, you know, there's literally nothing that we could talk about when it comes to a private business that I'm not going to at least have some ability to have an intelligent conversation about. There's only a few other things I could have that with maybe the Grateful Dead, or HubSpot, or something along that line. The truth is, if you have deep knowledge in which your podcast is about, you are going to eventually get traction with your podcast.
Josh: Something else I wanted to ask you about podcasting because I think people will do podcasting and they'll do 10 episodes or five episodes. And then, they stop.
Josh: Because they didn't get 8000 people listening to every episode. Talk a little bit about why podcasting, for that matter PR, is really a long slog. It’s not a short‑term success story.
Jeremy: I appreciate you mentioning that too because like whenever I'm talking to people that are, you know, new at this game or they're considering it, like I always say, “Hey, be willing to be in it for a minimum of six months, you know, to a year before you really see what you're looking for because you have to create the audience, you have to learn what your own voice is.” Like it took me 200 episodes to learn my own voice. And I think that's important, too.
So, I think they come into it for the wrong reasons, right? They see like Joe Rogan. And they see a lot of these big shows and they think, all right, you build it, you make some advertising money, and that's how it goes.
But, in actuality, like when you're creating a podcast, it's a community building thing. It's, you know, building a leadership position for yourself. It's using it to connect with people. Like it's one of the most amazing networking tools I've ever had. Like, you know, I've talked to my some of my favorite players in the Yankees. I've talked to former CIA director David Petraeus. Like, none of these people would have given me the time of day if I didn't have a podcast. So, like, you have to understand the bigger vision here, like what are you doing this for and how is this aiding you in everything else you're doing? Not just thinking like, Hey, I'm doing this to be famous, or I'm doing this to, you know, make some money or whatever.
It's the bigger picture of how can I connect with people? And how can I create trust? Like, it's vital. And that's what I think people are missing when they pod fade, when they come into it with like 15 or 18 episodes and they just, you know, say game over because they didn't make any money off advertising. If you have that viewpoint, I really would just recommend not starting, honestly.
Josh: Yeah. I would agree with that.
Here's another question for you. As you know, we are simulcasting this particular episode. We have the podcast itself. While we're recording the podcast, we're also going out to YouTube Live and Facebook Live. And, if LinkedIn would ever approve me, we would do LinkedIn Live too. But LinkedIn, that's a different story.
Jeremy: I got approved for that not too long ago. It's interesting.
Josh: Yeah. Well, I haven't worked hard enough at it.
Jeremy: Let's do this, Josh. I'm going to bring you on my LinkedIn Live in the next couple of weeks. Let's do it, man.
Josh: Okay, I’d love to.
Jeremy: Anyway, continue.
Josh: There's actually a good reason for me to do that because this is my new book.
Jeremy: All right. So I'm going to send you an email after this and we're going to set that up. But, anyway, continue.
Josh: Okay. So, is it important to do simulcasting?
Jeremy: You know, I haven't really done it myself, honestly. I'm kind of new with that. When I'm doing content for LinkedIn, I'm usually not doing it for my podcast, I'm doing it to reach a different type of audience and have different types of conversations.
So, like, here's an example, when the payroll protection loans first came out, I have a friend that's a really great CPA. So, we actually had him on and I did an interview about like what people should know. Like, what questions should they be asking and stuff like that? So, I'm creating more like business‑geared content over there and things that business owners need to know. So, for me, I haven't had a ton of experience with simulcasting.
We do take our videos and we make them into YouTube videos. We've gotten a decent amount of traction over there. You know, we've got like, I think, 750 followers over on YouTube which isn't a huge number but it's, you know, for not really intending to create content for there, it's helped us. But I haven't had a ton of experience simulcasting.
When I'm doing live streaming content, it's usually for a different purpose. Like, for our Facebook group, we do gated content for our Facebook group that just our members can see.
Josh: So there's one more other thing that I want to talk about a little bit before we run out of time.
Josh: Which is, a lot of times there's a big conversation going in the podcast world or in the world of people thinking about podcasts. Should I build a show or should I build my ability to become a guest on podcast? Which you think is more powerful?
Jeremy: I think it's a little bit of both, honestly. And I tell people like before you're going to start a show, I would recommend going on some other shows first because you get that viewpoint of like how the guest is thinking, what that experience is like, and it makes you a better host. So, I usually recommend that people do that first.
And then, if you're going to start a podcast, like if you're an opinion leader, you should have one, right, because you should have a unique viewpoint to do that. If you're not having a unique and different viewpoint, I wouldn't recommend starting one. There's enough out there already.
So, to me, you know, I would start with going on shows. Once you're more comfortable, try hosting your own show, if your viewpoint’s unique enough. But I think it's really a mix of both that's going to help you get out there and get you in front of people, you know. I guess, in this way, I kind of, you know, eat my own medicine on that one because that's exactly what I do.
Josh: Yeah, I actually think if I had to choose on one or the other, I would recommend somebody become a guest before they became a host. And the reason is, I already have my tribe. Now, I can expand my tribe with a podcast, but I get introduced to a completely different tribe when I'm on somebody else's podcast. So, I think that both are important. But if I was only to choose one or the other, I think I would probably advise people to become a guest.
I'm about to launch my new book The Sale Ready Company which doesn't actually get launched until next year by my publisher but, I was able to buy a whole bunch of copies, so I have a bunch. And I know that, although I'll be pushing this every week on my own podcast, that that's going to have very limited results for me. With me getting on other people's podcasts will actually move some books and get people exposed to it that would not ordinarily get exposed to it.
So, if you have something you're trying to get out in the world, which is going to go past your tribe, be a guest. If you want to build yourself as being a thought leader, or an expert, or the go‑to person on a particular topic, host a show. But if you're going to host a show, and you can't prove your expertise, don't bother. That's my opinion.
Jeremy: Exactly. And please don't take the exact same format that everybody else does, if you're going to be a host. Like--
Josh: Please don't ask me what I had for breakfast, or what my morning routine is--
Jeremy: What are the five things you do every day? No.
Josh: Zero. I am a random human being and I do not do the same thing, in the same order, ever, any day.
Jeremy: Like I usually come up with like three key things I want to talk about. I've heard Larry King talk about this before. I listen to other people that are great interviewers to like learn more about how to do it myself--
Jeremy: And I've learned a lot from Larry King. I listened to an interview once where he said he writes three to five things he wants to talk about. And then, when he gets another question, he writes it down. And that's something I've always done because like when you try to remember that question, you stop listening to the person. So, like for me, I'm always trying to focus on, “How can I be a better interviewer and not do something like that?”
Josh: Great. Hey, Jeremy, unfortunately, we are out of time.
Jeremy: Oh, man. This has been fun.
Josh: Yeah. I always like doing this. These always go fast, too.
Josh: I can always tell how good the interview is because, when I look at the timer I've got going on, and it says 21 minutes or 22 minutes and it feels like five. I say, “Hmm, that was weird.” And this was one of those times. So, you're great fun and a great guest.
I'm going to bet people are going to want to find you, after listening to you, especially if they would like to become a guest on podcast. So how would they go about doing that?
Jeremy: Well, the best way is going to be over at commandyourbrand.com. They can find out all about our company, our services. And if they want check out my podcast, it's all over there, commandyourbrand.com.
And I have two things I'm going to ask you to do. The first one is really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really important but nobody ever does it so please do this. I want you to go to wherever you're listening to this podcast and please give me an honest-- I mean, honest rating and review. It is absolutely crucial to help get this out to some more people to listen to it and it’s a big favor to me.
And here is the favor for you, I have this sort of thing I did. I must’ve done this almost 20 years ago, it was kind of a joke because a friend of mine did this around estate planning. I put together this thing called the periodic table of business elements. The periodic table of business elements is a whole bunch of business tactics and strategies that you can use to move your business through success, to economic and personal sustainability. It’s really easy to get. You just go to www.stage2planning.com/periodic. That's www.stage2planning.com/periodic.
This is Josh Patrick. We're with Jeremy Slate. You're at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You've been listening to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?”
If you've liked what you've heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102, or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.