I AM CEO PODCASTTech

IAM729- Marketing Strategist Helps Small Businesses Market and Manage Better

Podcast Interview with Ray Sidney-Smith

Ray Sidney-Smith is the President of W3 Consulting, which helps Small Businesses use Web, mobile, social, and digital technologies to market and manage better, and the author of “SoLoMo Success: Social Media, Local and Mobile Marketing Small Business Strategy Explained.” Ray is also the Managing Director of W3C Web Services, which provides WordPress and website hosting, domain name registration services, and related Web services affordable for Small Business. As a Digital Marketing Strategist, Google Small Business Advisor for Productivity, Evernote Certified Consultant and Evernote Regional Leader for North America, and Hootsuite Global Brand Ambassador, Ray is often invited by economic development organizations to speak to SMB audiences, facilitate group training, and conduct strategy sessions with small business owners on a management and marketing strategy, as well as productivity technologies.

  • CEO Hack: Book- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen
  • CEO Nugget: Make mistakes early and often and write them down
  • CEO Defined: Being responsible for the 4Ps – Purpose, profitability, people and planet

(More can be learned here: https://w3cinc.com/about-w3-consulting/about-ray/ )

Website: https://w3cinc.com/

Book: https://w3cinc.com/solomosuccess
Blog: https://w3cinc.com/blog
Podcast: https://webandbeyondcast.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/w3consulting
Twitter: https://twitter.com/w3consulting
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/w3consultinginc
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/w3consulting/

 

Full Interview

 


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Transcription

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.69] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Ray Sydney Smith of the, w three consulting. Ray, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:40.20] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Great to be here. Thanks, Gresh.

[00:00:41.89] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Ray so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Ray is the president and CEO of w three consulting, which helps small businesses use web, mobile, social, and digital technologies to market and manage better. He's also the author of Solomon Success, Social Media, Local, and Mobile Marketing Small Business Strategies Explained. Ray is also the Managing Director of Web Services, which provides WordPress and website hosting, domain register domain name registration services, and related web services affordable for all small businesses.

As a digital marketing strategist, Google small business advisor for productivity, Evernote certified consultant, Evernote regional leader for North America, and Hootsuite global brand manager global brand ambassador, Ray, is often invited by economic development organizations to speak to small and medium-sized business audiences, facilitate group training, and conduct strategy sessions with small business owners on management and marketing strategy as well as productivity technologies. Ray, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:47.29] – Ray Sidney-Smith

I certainly am.

[00:01:48.59] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? Well, let's get started with the business.

[00:01:58.09] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Yeah. So my story is actually, rather entwined with my current client base, which is that I had just wrapped up, exiting my prior company. And so I had started a real estate company, back in two thousand. I'd run that and decided to exit the company, I saw the writing on the wall in terms of the economic downturn and just decided to leave that. And so after exiting that business, I was just kind of deciding what I would do next. My background was in legal technology. I had then run a small business running a real estate company, and didn't know what I wanted to do at that time. I had been volunteering for the local SBDC in Alexandria, Virginia. One day, I was just in a conversation with the executive director, Bill Reagan, and I'd known him for many years at that point.

And it feels crazy that now it's been nearly twenty years that I've known him. But he said to me, you know, eleven years ago now, you know what you should teach, you know, social media to small businesses, you know, you really have a knack for understanding how to do that. And I said, well, I could teach them for the SBDC, I could just come in and do some workshops and seminars. That's how it all started. I came and I taught some full-day workshops on Facebook. Back then, you know, eleven years ago, people, didn't quite know what to do about Facebook. They didn't understand Twitter. They didn't understand LinkedIn. I just started teaching classes for the SBDC on how to get set up and think about your marketing strategy in the context of a business.

And, that's how it all began. I started working for the SBDC and then, later the state office, the Virginia SBDC network asked me to come and do work for them. It was kind of a snowball effect on other SBDCs around the country, and more broadly, more economic development agencies started to ask me to do work for them, helping their clients understand how to do digital marketing strategy. And so that's where the book came from. I just basically said, if I got hit by a bus, what would I want to pass along to others if I weren't able to be there? And so so much success was born.

And, now I'm finishing the second edition of that book, and I am going to, be retitling it because I know how difficult it is to say. But the book came really out of that part of me wanting to really share with everybody what I've learned over time from helping not only my businesses marketing on the web but also all the businesses that I had been meeting one-on-one and in workshops and seminars, really helping them understand how to contextualize digital marketing for this age for the digital age. And so that book came together. And yeah. So it's been a really wild ride, not having ever planned to be, doing this type of economic development work.

[00:04:39.30] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That makes so much sense. And it's so funny, when you said, at that time, a lot of people didn't know, about how to use social media. I think the beauty of what you do and that me having been a recipient of sitting down, across from you and then taking in some of that knowledge is I think there's still so much to learn and people still are trying to find out exactly how, you know, to leverage all these digital marketing strategies. So that's why I love, you know, everything that you do and, of course, provide the overall community.

[00:05:03.39] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Yeah. The thing is, is that the technology keeps changing. And so I tell anybody who's out there, if you're a CEO, and you're confused about how the technology works, you are not alone. The technology just keeps moving. I mean, just in the last week, there have been five major announcements from the social networks about new functions and new tools and new features that, you know, they could be potentially game-changing, if you wanted to take advantage of those those those different pieces. So don't don't be too shocked by the fact that you may not understand all that there is about technology.

I always say take a piece of the pie, figure out that piece of the pie become successful there, and then grow, especially when it comes to digital marketing, because you could do nothing but digital marketing all day. And I don't know about you, but the rest of us have a business to run. So pay attention to folks like me who are educating, but choose your poison. Choose the particular, social network, the particular marketing channel that you want to go after, and then the rest can kind of stand on the sidelines they can be, can I consider them syndication channels? So there's going to be one primary network where I'm going to be highly focused. And then the others are going to be where I syndicate to them through automated means or otherwise, which allows me to build focus on where I have my community. And everywhere else ends up being a place where I can draw people from to where I am generally most active.

[00:06:25.19] – Gresham Harkless

I know we touched on it a little bit. He did as well too. Can you take us through like, I know you work with these economic development centers and these, organizations that provide a lot of value for our communities? Could you take us through exactly, like, how exactly that works and that relationship you have with them and how that kinda trickles down to the small and medium-sized business owner?

[00:06:44.19] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Sure. So I traditionally work, with my clients are economic development agencies around the country, traditionally. So that's just the way the business developed. And so what will happen is saying that SBDC model, the Small Business Development Center model, they're a program of the SBA, the Small Business Administration, we have nine hundred sides throughout the country, and a couple of other tendential programs like score, and sbdc, and the import-export trade program, program, and so on, so forth. And so what they typically do is hire me to do a seminar or workshop, or to do some level of one-to-one counseling with small businesses. And so what will happen is I will end up meeting with anywhere from twenty to eighty different clients one-on-one throughout any given month.

And so I'm just like with you here, crush, you know, we're one-to-one, we're talking about whatever issues you're dealing with in terms of your business. And, you know, it's remarkable because most people think of me as a digital marketing expert for small businesses. But it's so varied the number of issues that come up in one-to-one counseling with businesses. So it could be a business management problem. It could be a business process improvement problem. It could be just a legal issue where we need to refer them to legal counsel tax counsel or someone who can help them with those issues before they can really get their real marketing strategy in place. Most people say marketing, and they don't understand that marketing strategy really includes product development. It includes your pricing strategy.

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It includes your promotional strategy. What most people think of as marketing, they really mean promotion. And of course, placement, where are you? Where are you going to, you know, distribute your product and make it available to others? So I'm thinking about a business from a very holistic perspective. And when it comes to the SBDC, we're really helping them with business plan development, or, you know, lean Canvas development. And when they're when they're looking at getting help from us, I want to make sure that they're going to be on solid ground when they leave the door, You need a little bit, you know, head spun because they're getting a lot of information rapid fire at them. They usually have forty-five to an hour, you know, forty-five minutes to an hour with me. And, and, you know, those services are provided free of cost through the SBDC.

The SBDC is obviously, I'm doing the work for the SBDC, and they're providing the services free to the general public, to, you know, the businesses in their jurisdictions. So that's, that's my traditional business, I do have, as you noted at the top, I, you know, I have a web hosting and domain registration business that kind of just came out of the, the, the need that, you know, people would come to me and say, you know what? I really need a website and a domain. I don't know where to go. And I said, Well, you know, I can create, easily do that for you. And so it just started to go from there. And so I charge a very nominal rate, I want to make sure people just have access to it when they when they need that. And I'm happy to hand them off to bigger and, you know, better hosting, you know, hosts when they need to, you know, because there are going to be circumstances where we're just not the right fit.

So I don't have any real vested interest in that other than helping people where they need it. We have world-class servers and great domain registration, but still, they're gonna be people who need something different. And so yeah, so that's how the whole business has run. I do take on a small set of consulting contracts throughout the year. It's like one of those things, if you're not doing it, you don't stay sharp. So I do like to take on a few clients, and do that work to make sure that I am staying sharp in executing the marketing strategies that I'm continually educating and giving to our clients throughout the network. What happens is that I get pretty quick feedback from folks because dissimilar to an individual small business owner, when they execute a marketing strategy, they kind of do it, and then they see success or don't.

For me, I'm seeing, you know, sometimes thousands of small businesses executing on my, you know, my advice. And so I'm able to then, get really rapid feedback and know whether or not something's working. And then I can step back and say, Okay, how can we tweak this so that it helps the vast majority of businesses who are coming in the doors? So that's useful for me in terms of being able to not only understand what marketing strategies work or don't work but then being able to tailor them for the businesses as they come to me one-on-one.

[00:10:51.50] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That makes so much sense. And I feel like and I don't know if you would consider that to be what I call your secret sauce. Is it that ability to be able to kinda see and take in that information? But I feel like too I don't know if, you know, being able to have that holistic perspective that you mentioned earlier where you're able to maybe see somebody who has a marketing problem, but realize that there's a lot more involved from a holistic standpoint in that business aspect and be able to kinda direct them in the right, put them in the right place or, you know, connect them with the right people. I didn't know if that's what you feel sets you apart.

[00:11:22.39] – Ray Sidney-Smith

I tend to think that my secret sauce is that I'm extremely curious. You know, the reality is, is that since my earliest memories in life, I have always been just extremely curious about everything in my world. So when a business owner comes in the door, and they've got a new product idea, they want to build something, and you know, they're thinking about three-d modeling it and doing a 3-D print and showing it to me, I'm just interested. I'm, you know, in the Dale Carnegie sense, you know, just being Jen genuinely interested in the other person. I have a, it's just built in, I don't know why I have it, it is just there. But if you give me a t I eighty-six from nineteen eighty-seven, I will want to take it apart and put it back together again, if you told me that you were trying to start a business that was helping, you know, indigenous tribes in, you know, in Malawi, I would be interested. I'm just generally interested in the world. And, so it just has always served me well.

[00:12:24.29] – Gresham Harkless

Right. That makes so much sense. Everything happens for a reason, so to speak. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what do you feel makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:12:37.10] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Outside of small business marketing, I think the most I'm known online about or in the world about is actually productivity. I'm a huge productivity geek. And, while maybe some people know about this, I don't think enough people practice it. And so I always talk about getting things done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. It's a book, and the most recent edition came out in March twenty fifteen. And I had the pleasure of recently sitting down to interview David Allen himself. He's now seventy-five. I think it is in December of twenty-twenty. And just talking to him about his life and work. And, and how it benefits a CEO is that your time is, is basically how you manifest the future. And so like your present time, and so whether you are planning, executing, or reflecting on the past or future, you have to spend your time well. What GTD or the Getting Things Done methodology helps you do is understand that time is only fungible through action. And you have to understand what actions you're taking on any given day.

[00:13:44.20] – Gresham Harkless

I appreciate that hacking. And so I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client. Or if you were to hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business owner self.

[00:13:56.79] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Well, I would say make mistakes early and often and then write them down.

[00:14:01.10] – Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. So I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quotes, unquote CEOs on the show. So right, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:10.70] – Ray Sidney-Smith

I would think of being a CEO as being personally responsible for what I call the four P's. So that is, in essence, purpose, you have to have a mission and vision for the company. If the company doesn't have a purpose beyond the second P, which is profitability. The purpose really needs to be there, to begin with. And so I really believe in having some kind of core purpose to the business that is beyond yourself. That is beyond profit. The second P is profitability, you are running a business, you're not running a charity, and some people are running a charity. And even then people in charity know that you need to make money, you need to have money coming in the door either through fundraising or other ancillary services.

Otherwise, the nonprofit is not going to last very long. So you have to have purpose, you have to have profitability, you have to have a responsibility to people, that is the whole community. So it's not just about your clients, but also your employees, your vendors, and your other stakeholders. So I think it's really important for us to think about people as that third P, and then the fourth P. And this sometimes can sound different to different people, but it's the planet. The fourth P is the planet, the reality is, is that the resources, that you consume on planet Earth are shared among all of us. And if you care about the community, you have to care about the planet.

[00:15:26.89] – Gresham Harkless

Definitely appreciate that, perspective, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and, of course, how best they can go to view and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

[00:15:41.00] – Ray Sidney-Smith

Yeah. Sure. So if folks have any questions based on what we discussed today, I'm always happy to answer questions. And, I guess you can always find me on Twitter at w, the number three consulting. So three consulting. And, yeah, I'm a I'm a Twitter fan. Fanatic maybe. But people can find me on Twitter. And from there, you'll basically find, all kinds of other goodies, from my podcast to the website and anything else you might need is all kind of Twitter's a good one-stop shop for people to find me.

[00:16:09.39] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. We're ready to make it even easier. We'll have the links and information on the show notes that everybody can tweet with you as well. But, again, I truly appreciate your time. I appreciate your working out with all the things you do as well, And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the

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[00:16:38.70] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Sat, 20 Apr 2024 11:42:18 GMT

Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2024 11:42:18 GMT, Duration: [00:16:58.47]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.69] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Ray Sydney Smith of the, w three consulting. Ray, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:40.20] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Great to be here. Thanks, Gresh.

[00:00:41.89] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Ray so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Ray is the president and CEO of w three consulting, which helps small businesses use web, mobile, social, and digital technologies to market and manage better. He's also the author of Solomon Success, Social Media, Local, and Mobile Marketing Small Business Strategies Explained. Ray is also the Managing Director of Web Services, which provides WordPress and website hosting, domain register domain name registration services, and related web services affordable for all small businesses.

As a digital marketing strategist, Google small business advisor for productivity, Evernote certified consultant, Evernote regional leader for North America, and Hootsuite global brand manager global brand ambassador, Ray, is often invited by economic development organizations to speak to small and medium-sized business audiences, facilitate group training, and conduct strategy sessions with small business owners on management and marketing strategy as well as productivity technologies. Ray, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[00:01:47.29] - Ray Sidney-Smith

I certainly am.

[00:01:48.59] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? Well, let's get started with the business.

[00:01:58.09] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Yeah. So my story is actually, rather entwined with my current client base, which is that I had just wrapped up, exiting my prior company. And so I had started a real estate company, back in two thousand. I'd run that and decided to exit the company, I saw the writing on the wall in terms of the economic downturn and just decided to leave that. And so after exiting that business, I was just kind of deciding what I would do next. My background was in legal technology. I had then run a small business running a real estate company, and didn't know what I wanted to do at that time. I had been volunteering for the local SBDC in Alexandria, Virginia. And one day, I was just in a conversation with the executive director, Bill Reagan, and I'd known him for many years at that point.

And it feels crazy that now it's been nearly twenty years that I've known him. But he said to me, you know, eleven years ago now, you know what you should teach, you know, social media to small businesses, you know, you really have a knack for understanding how to do that. And I said, well, I could teach them for the SBDC, I could just come in and do some workshops and seminars. That's how it all started. I came and I taught some full-day workshops on Facebook. Back then, you know, eleven years ago, people, didn't quite know what to do about Facebook. They didn't understand Twitter. They didn't understand LinkedIn. I just started teaching classes for the SBDC on how to get set up and think about your marketing strategy in the context of a business.

And, that's how it all began. I started working for the SBDC and then, later the state office, the Virginia SBDC network asked me to come and do work for them. It was kind of a snowball effect on other SBDCs around the country, and more broadly, more economic development agencies started to ask me to do work for them, helping their clients understand how to do digital marketing strategy. And so that's where the book came from. I just basically said, if I got hit by a bus, what would I want to pass along to others if I weren't able to be there? And so so much success was born.

And, now I'm finishing the second edition of that book, and I am going to, be retitling it because I know how difficult it is to say. But the book came really out of that part of me wanting to really share with everybody what I've learned over time from helping not only my businesses marketing on the web but also all the businesses that I had been meeting one-on-one and in workshops and seminars, really helping them understand how to contextualize digital marketing for this age for the digital age. And so that book came together. And yeah. So it's been a really wild ride, not having ever planned to be, doing this type of economic development work.

[00:04:39.30] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That makes so much sense. And it's so funny, when you said, at that time, a lot of people didn't know, about how to use social media. I think the beauty of what you do and that me having been a recipient of sitting down, across from you and then taking in some of that knowledge is I think there's still so much to learn and people still are trying to find out exactly how, you know, to leverage all these digital marketing strategies. So that's why I love, you know, everything that you do and, of course, provide the overall community.

[00:05:03.39] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Yeah. The thing is, is that the technology keeps changing. And so I tell anybody who's out there, if you're a CEO, and you're confused about how the technology works, you are not alone. The technology just keeps moving. I mean, just in the last week, there have been five major announcements from the social networks about new functions and new tools and new features that, you know, they could be potentially game-changing, if you wanted to take advantage of those those those different pieces. So don't don't be too shocked by the fact that you may not understand all that there is about technology.

I always say take a piece of the pie, figure out that piece of the pie become successful there, and then grow, especially when it comes to digital marketing, because you could do nothing but digital marketing all day. And I don't know about you, but the rest of us have a business to run. So pay attention to folks like me who are educating, but choose your poison. Choose the particular, social network, the particular marketing channel that you want to go after, and then the rest can kind of stand on the sidelines they can be, can I consider them syndication channels? So there's going to be one primary network where I'm going to be highly focused. And then the others are going to be where I syndicate to them through automated means or otherwise, which allows me to build focus on where I have my community. And everywhere else ends up being a place where I can draw people from to where I am generally most active.

[00:06:25.19] - Gresham Harkless

I know we touched on it a little bit. He did as well too. Can you take us through like, I know you work with these economic development centers and these, organizations that provide a lot of value for our communities? Could you take us through exactly, like, how exactly that works and that relationship you have with them and how that kinda trickles down to the small and medium-sized business owner?

[00:06:44.19] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Sure. So I traditionally work, with my clients are economic development agencies around the country, traditionally. So that's just the way the business developed. And so what will happen is saying that SBDC model, the Small Business Development Center model, they're a program of the SBA, the Small Business Administration, we have nine hundred sides throughout the country, and a couple of other tendential programs like score, and sbdc, and the import-export trade program, program, and so on, so forth. And so what they typically do is hire me to do a seminar or workshop, or to do some level of one-to-one counseling with small businesses. And so what will happen is I will end up meeting with anywhere from twenty to eighty different clients one-on-one throughout any given month.

And so I'm just like with you here, crush, you know, we're one-to-one, we're talking about whatever issues you're dealing with in terms of your business. And, you know, it's remarkable because most people think of me as a digital marketing expert for small businesses. But it's so varied the number of issues that come up in one-to-one counseling with businesses. So it could be a business management problem. It could be a business process improvement problem. It could be just a legal issue where we need to refer them to legal counsel tax counsel or someone who can help them with those issues before they can really get their real marketing strategy in place. Most people say marketing, and they don't understand that marketing strategy really includes product development. It includes your pricing strategy.

It includes your promotional strategy. What most people think of as marketing, they really mean promotion. And of course, placement, where are you? Where are you going to, you know, distribute your product and make it available to others? So I'm thinking about a business from a very holistic perspective. And when it comes to the SBDC, we're really helping them with business plan development, or, you know, lean Canvas development. And when they're when they're looking at getting help from us, I want to make sure that they're going to be on solid ground when they leave the door, You need a little bit, you know, head spun because they're getting a lot of information rapid fire at them. They usually have forty-five to an hour, you know, forty-five minutes to an hour with me. And, and, you know, those services are provided free of cost through the SBDC.

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The SBDC is obviously, I'm doing the work for the SBDC, and they're providing the services free to the general public, to, you know, the businesses in their jurisdictions. So that's, that's my traditional business, I do have, as you noted at the top, I, you know, I have a web hosting and domain registration business that kind of just came out of the, the, the need that, you know, people would come to me and say, you know what? I really need a website and a domain. I don't know where to go. And I said, Well, you know, I can create, easily do that for you. And so it just started to go from there. And so I charge a very nominal rate, I want to make sure people just have access to it when they when they need that. And I'm happy to hand them off to bigger and, you know, better hosting, you know, hosts when they need to, you know, because there are going to be circumstances where we're just not the right fit.

So I don't have any real vested interest in that other than helping people where they need it. We have world-class servers and great domain registration, but still, they're gonna be people who need something different. And so yeah, so that's how the whole business has run. I do take on a small set of consulting contracts throughout the year. It's like one of those things, if you're not doing it, you don't stay sharp. So I do like to take on a few clients, and do that work to make sure that I am staying sharp in executing the marketing strategies that I'm continually educating and giving to our clients throughout the network. What happens is that I get pretty quick feedback from folks because dissimilar to an individual small business owner, when they execute a marketing strategy, they kind of do it, and then they see success or don't.

For me, I'm seeing, you know, sometimes thousands of small businesses executing on my, you know, my advice. And so I'm able to then, get really rapid feedback and know whether or not something's working. And then I can step back and say, Okay, how can we tweak this so that it helps the vast majority of businesses who are coming in the doors? So that's useful for me in terms of being able to not only understand what marketing strategies work or don't work but then being able to tailor them for the businesses as they come to me one-on-one.

[00:10:51.50] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That makes so much sense. And I feel like and I don't know if you would consider that to be what I call your secret sauce. Is it that ability to be able to kinda see and take in that information? But I feel like too I don't know if, you know, being able to have that holistic perspective that you mentioned earlier where you're able to maybe see somebody who has a marketing problem, but realize that there's a lot more involved from a holistic standpoint in that business aspect and be able to kinda direct them in the right, put them in the right place or, you know, connect them with the right people. I didn't know if that's what you feel sets you apart.

[00:11:22.39] - Ray Sidney-Smith

I tend to think that my secret sauce is that I'm extremely curious. You know, the reality is, is that since my earliest memories in life, I have always been just extremely curious about everything in my world. So when a business owner comes in the door, and they've got a new product idea, they want to build something, and you know, they're thinking about three-d modeling it and doing a 3-D print and showing it to me, I'm just interested. I'm, you know, in the Dale Carnegie sense, you know, just being Jen genuinely interested in the other person. I have a, it's just built in, I don't know why I have it, it is just there. But if you give me a t I eighty six from nineteen eighty-seven, I will want to take it apart and put it back together again, if you told me that you were trying to start a business that was helping, you know, indigenous tribes in, you know, in Malawi, I would be interested. I'm just generally interested in the world. And, so it just has always served me well.

[00:12:24.29] - Gresham Harkless

Right. That makes so much sense. Everything happens for a reason, so to speak. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what do you feel makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:12:37.10] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Outside of small business marketing, I think the most I'm known online about or in the world about is actually productivity. I'm a huge productivity geek. And, and while maybe some people know about this, I don't think enough people practice it. And so I always talk about getting things done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. It's a book, and the most recent edition came out in March twenty fifteen. And I had the pleasure of recently sitting down to interview David Allen himself. He's now seventy-five. I think it is in December of twenty-twenty. And just talking to him about his life and work. And, and how it benefits a CEO is that your time is, is basically how you manifest the future. And so like your present time, and so whether you are planning, executing, or reflecting on the past or future, you have to spend your time well. What GTD or the Getting Things Done methodology helps you do is understand that time is only fungible through action. And you have to understand what actions you're taking on any given day.

[00:13:44.20] - Gresham Harkless

I appreciate that hacking. And so I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client. Or if you were to hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business. Owner.

[00:13:56.79] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Well, I would say make mistakes early and often and then write them down.

[00:14:01.10] - Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. So I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quotes, unquote CEOs on the show. So right, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:10.70] - Ray Sidney-Smith

I would think of being a CEO as being personally responsible for what I call the four P's. So that is, in essence, purpose, you have to have a mission and vision for the company. If the company doesn't have a purpose beyond the second P, which is profitability. The purpose really needs to be there, to begin with. And so I really believe in having some kind of core purpose to the business that is beyond yourself. That is beyond profit. The second P is profitability, you are running a business, you're not running a charity, and some people are running a charity. And even then people in charity know that you need to make money, you need to have money coming in the door either through fundraising or other ancillary services.

Otherwise, the nonprofit is not going to last very long. So you have to have purpose, you have to have profitability, you have to have a responsibility to people, that is the whole community. So it's not just about your clients, but also your employees, your vendors, and your other stakeholders. So I think it's really important for us to think about people as that third P, and then the fourth P. And this sometimes can sound different to different people, but it's the planet. The fourth P is the planet, the reality is, is that the resources, that you consume on planet Earth are shared among all of us. And if you care about the community, you have to care about the planet.

[00:15:26.89] - Gresham Harkless

Definitely appreciate that, perspective, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and, of course, how best they can go to view and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

[00:15:41.00] - Ray Sidney-Smith

Yeah. Sure. So if if folks have any questions based on what we discussed today, I'm always happy to answer questions. And, I guess you can always find me on Twitter at w, the number three consulting. So three consulting. And, yeah, I'm a I'm a Twitter fan. Fanatic maybe. But people can find me on Twitter. And from there, you'll basically find, all kinds of other goodies, from my podcast to the website and anything else you might need is all kind of Twitter's a good one-stop shop for people to find me.

[00:16:09.39] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. We're ready to make it even easier. We'll have the links and information on the show notes that everybody can tweet with you as well. But, again, I truly appreciate your time. I appreciate your working out with all the things you do as well, And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the

[00:16:38.70] - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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