Anyone who's started and grown a company knows that it is hard. From coming up with a good, salable idea to acquiring clients, it's a path filled with exciting challenges and requiring a lot of hard work.
But if you survive and hit your business goals, the rewards are massive. I recently reached out to my friend Sabri Suby, Head of Growth at online marketing agency, King Kong, to know how he started a business in his bedroom with $0 and then blew it up to $4 million in just two years.
Give us some insights into how you started your business?
I had started, run and sold several businesses since dropping out of university. All of which, were centered around the digital space.
Over the years I had developed many growth strategies that were yielding $10, $50 and even $200 for every dollar I invested into marketing.
I took a look at what other agencies were doing and all they seemed to talk about were impressions, click-through-rates and social reach. They all failed to talk in actual dollars and ROI. Many times I had gotten quotes for these types of digital marketing services and they all came back in the ridiculous $10,000's of thousands of dollar range for simple things like banner ads.
I saw a real gap in the market for an agency that would actually multiply a clients marketing spend into ROI. No 'wishy washy branding campaigns' but actual real revenue generation and customer acquisition.
I made a decision and started the business in my bedroom, with nothing more than a computer. I was cold calling prospects and had my first client within days.
As you know most people don't take action on their ideas. What was your motivation for starting King Kong?
I've always had the mantra "ideas are easy, it's all about execution". So after I identified the gap and real need in the market for what King Kong offers, I wasted no time writing elaborate business plans...I simply ran some basic calculations on the unit economics of the business to see if the numbers would stack up...they did!
After that I rolled up sleeves and started cold calling for my dinner. I would call by day and carry out the work by night.
Who's your target audience?
Professional services business and high-value product businesses who's customer lifetime value is greater than $3,000. Ideally businesses turning over $1 million+ in revenue who have employees, a sales team and a goal to scale their business.
How many hours a week do you work and could you tell us your schedule from start to finish?
Work starts from the moment I open my eyes, until I close them at night. As entrepreneur I look at everything I do as work, as it all plays a vital role to who I am as a person, my energy levels and the outcomes and goals I'm striving for in my business. Most weeks I would work 90+ hours.
I wake up at 5am and go the gym, where I do a mixture of cardio and weight training, followed an intense sauna session. This really gets me into a peak state to start my day.
I arrive at the office by 7am and start my day with my important tasks first, this is definitely when I'm my most productive.
8:30 I'll stop for breakfast or a bulletproof coffee.
At 9am I have a morning sales meeting. Followed by meetings with my team members of the different departments; Paid Social, Paid Search, Organic Search and client management.
By 10:30am I'm looking at 'Top Of The Pyramid' activities that are the most impactful for my time: Customer acquisition, Sales Funnel optimization, coming up with new offers, setting up and refining procedures and systems to manage the growth of the business.
12pm I'll stop for a quick 15-minute lunch before I get back into it. 2pm-4pm most days is spent recruiting for the next A-player to join our team.
4pm-5:30 I'm usually assisting my sales team with anything they need help with.
5::30-7pm is spent replying to emails and assigning tasks to the team.
7-8:30pm is spent communicating with our team members in the northern hemisphere. I try to get into bed by 9:30pm so I get my 8 hours sleep before staring again at 5am.
What are some hardships you had to overcome in the beginning and how did you overcome them?
Managing growth. In the beginning, it was me in my bedroom, no team, no receptionist. As we started to gain momentum and started investing in marketing we were literally generating hundreds and hundreds of leads...and tens of new clients each week. I learnt very early on about the important of having systems in place to scale.
I was making 180+ phone calls per day. Feverishly trying to follow up every lead-up. I then set up marketing automation that would nurture each lead and service them before I even got around to calling them. This meant while I was a one-man army I could service the level enquiries of a team of 5-10 sales people.
With regards to funding, how did you fund your business?
Sweat equity. I funded the entire business of cash flow and
List a few of your favorite blogs that you recommend others in your industry to read
I'm a big fan of growthhackers.com, it's a great community for everything growth.
What are some mistakes you made and how did you fix them?
Not having all service level agreements and contract legally airtight. Hired a lawyer.
What are some great examples of content marketing done right?
Grammarly.com has a ridiculously good content marketing strategy. They rank for some 150,000+ keywords organically on Google. You pretty much can't Google anything on Google about grammar without finding them.
What do you think of what Sabri has been able to do? What could you be doing differently moving forward?