We have some good stuff for you in this week’s episode. We have today, Nick Ramil the founder and partner at EC Accelerate – an amazing program that helps people launch premium brands.
Nick has always been passionate about talking to customers, talking to users and today we talk about customer development – building a brand by talking to your customers, knowing your customers and building your database. Let’s dive in.
Topics Covered in this Episode
Intro Nick Ramil
Great to get you on the show – like – finally! We’ve known each other forever, and being a part of Enter China and seeing what you have built grow has been great, can you give people a bit of an intro of you and what you do.
Customer development for business sellers
Building a sustainable business with premium brands
I picked this topic as I feel this is your passion. But it takes time right, can you share a bit about it
Crowdfunding vs Amazon Ecommerce
Your own store vs Amazon eCommerce
How Much time should one budget?
What is a schedule someone should put in their calendar
How many people to target
What is a good amount of people
Insights on questions to ask
What are you getting from them, data, emails?
The money is in the list
So email database is important, as soon as possible, on a coming soon homepage?
What issues do most make?
Stories of successful cases
Can you share some examples
About the EC Accelerate Program
You’ve been building up EC now for a while – it’s great. Can you share about the program you’ve put together. GFA is also a partner and reseller (affiliate) for those interested
Connecting and learning more
Where can people go to get more info
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this EpisodeSign up for the EC Accelerate program
Episode Length 38:20
Thanks so much, Nick, that was awesome. We’re really glad we got you on the show and thanks so much for sharing some really good insights.
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Listen in on Youtube
[00:00:00] Episode 322 of Global From Asia Customer Development for building a premium brand. We are up to 322 shows globalfromasia.com/customer-development. Let’s dive in. Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down, into straight up actionable advice.
[00:00:27] And now your host, Michael Michelini. How is everybody doing? We almost hit. No, we hit September. The show will go on live September 1st, 2020. We’re almost finished with this year. What a, what a wild year. I, uh, just got some jokes sent to me. A guy goes into a bar and orders a Corona and two hurricanes.
[00:00:51] The bartender says that will be $20 and 20 cents. That’ll be 2020. Yeah, that will be 2020 for sure. Well, what a year? Anyway, I, I feel like there’s so much drama when I just talk to anybody these days, you know, but we have good stuff for you this week. Nick Ramil, founder, and partner at EC Accelerate, an amazing program that helps people launch premium brands.
[00:01:20] I’ve known Nick since the good old days of China and the early 2010, 2011, 2012 rounds. And seeing the community that he’s build up, grow, over the years. And he’s always been a guy I thought of with Customer Development. Somehow I haven’t gotten him on the show yet. We’re over 300 shows already. So it’s much overdue.
[00:01:44] And, you know, I’ve been in some round tables with him, see him speak. He’s always so passionate about talking to customers, talking to your users, you know, do the hard work upfront. And everybody wants to launch the product, develop the product. You know, I’m almost on that side too, but he’s always been about grinding, getting that customer input first, getting, building up your database, building up your email list as always what being wise about.
[00:02:10] So we get them on a show. We share a bit, some of his video, some of, most of, it’s audio, if you watch this is the audio version and we also have a video for it, and we’re trying to do video versions whenever we can. And that’s on our YouTube and embedded on our website, but let’s dive right in and hear what Nick has to say.
[00:02:27] We have a really good conversation about, you know, really building a brand, true brand by talking to your customers, knowing your customers, building your database. Let’s dive in. Do you enjoy the show here? I have to say I actually, we actually, we just did a new team roster. We have 20 people on this team here, technically Shadstone Limited, but in Global From Asia.
[00:02:48] And I can’t say they’re all full time, but they’re all contributing in one way or another to this show. And we’ve been putting that together to work with email@example.com or building out other people’s podcasts and blogs and websites. With our amazing team. I mean, I can’t take too much credit.
[00:03:03] I’m just a guy in this microphone, but besides that, we have amazing people making this show happen, making things happen at the global race team. So thanks to the team. If you wanna check it out. contentinvestments.com. Okay. Thank you everybody for tuning in to another Global From Asia podcast. And I’m really excited, actually.
[00:03:22] I think we were on another podcast together, but, I don’t think you’ve been on this show yet, Nick, so it’s good to have you on. It’s long overdue. I think we’ve been on a lot of shows, events. How many Wechat conversations we’ve had
[00:03:42] eight, eight, nine years now or something like that. Yeah. Back in the day, man. Well, thank you so much for having me happy, too happy to finally be here. It’s a pleasure to have you. So Nick, Nick Ramil, yeah. Founder at EC Accelerate program and world traveler in, in Europe now. And we met in China, Guangzhou days back in the early days and Shenzhen, and the whole, the whole Cross Border sagas and all those trains, planes, automobiles, and you’ve been doing amazing things in the community.
[00:04:22] And today we’re so. So, we could talk about, I know, I think the hard part is going to be keeping it, you know, in, in one show, but Customer Development. Yeah, building, building sustainable business with premium brands. You know, you have these frameworks you’ve been working with, you’ve been a founder yourself.
[00:04:39] You work with founders to build these premium brands. So, um, before we get into it, do you want to give us a little bit of, a little bit more intro about what you do and you know yeah. Yeah. Absolutely man. And as you said, I feel well, we’ll do a good job of keeping it short cause you make it talk for days after all, all of our time together,
[00:05:07] we’re a community backed framework. We support and help aspiring founders establish and accelerate premium eCommerce brands. As you pointed out for us. You know, our goal is really focusing on, but the sustain building a sustainable business, I, you know, something that will continue, not just launching one product.
[00:05:27] And, and this, as you said, it’s been, you know, coming up on a decade now of the pursuit of entrepreneurship. Those first few years, as you remember, can’t say it was the most successful, you know, would never say I’ve failed. Just learned a lot of ways not to build some businesses. Same as same as you, you learned a lot of things.
[00:05:50] Exactly. And this framework is really based on just. You know, the, the, what we believe personally, you know, of course there’s many ways to be successful, but our focus is, is just really on a, on a repeatable, scalable, sustainable process and framework. We like to call it, you know, it’s accessible.
[00:06:08] Entrepreneurship is what our mission and goal is in terms of, you know, there’s a whole bunch of noise out there and a whole bunch of different ways to start a business and, you know, respect to every entrepreneur out there. We just believe our way is, you know, the lowest risk. Reward, uh, that being said, it’s simple to follow, easy to do.
[00:06:29] I suppose it is a way we put it right. A lot of people out there who are going for the, A, B, C one, two, three, which, and that’s not, I’m not our angle. It’s about, you know, Doing the right work at the right time and putting in the time, energy and effort to get that result. Yeah. I hear you, man. I hear you.
[00:06:49] I know what goes into the first question, you know, I think it’s a good one is like how much time does somebody budget? You know, like there’s so many of these get rich quick scams and there’s so many people looking to make money without doing the work. Right. So obviously you’re all about doing a work. I mean, we’ve been in, we’ve been in a, you know, events, you know, You got to put in the work.
[00:07:11] Right. And how much have a brand many like, you know, building a premium brand. I mean, that’s hard to say how long, but that’s pretty much a really hard thing to do. Right. And it takes a lot of time, but, of course there’s a, you know, what, what is your kind of inputs for somebody they should budget to do something like that?
[00:07:32] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It’s, it’s one of those, as you said, it’s one of those. Never ending pursuits. I think you and me will be pursuing entrepreneurship for, you know, as long as we’re around. Uh, it’s one of those things for us, we love to get a foundation set, you know, our, our framework program. And we see the average founder and everywhere, you know, we’ve seen founders do it in four months and we’ve seen founders do it.
[00:08:00] And, you know, 12 to 16 months in terms of at least starting in launching that business. And of course, I think so much, so many variables play into that. I mean, like at this year with COVID, you know, the entrepreneur is, you know, working a nine to five and it’s just their side hustle. Are they going 24 seven on this business?
[00:08:20] And you know, it’s one of those, you know, life happens that everyone, but for us, yeah, we, we love to see those results and that, that six to eight month timeframe on average our founders, they come to us with, or without an idea. They run through the, the process, uh, the, the phases, the content, the templates, the coaching thing, uh, you know, the community engagement and they’re rapidly reaching results.
[00:08:45] And that’s not always. To say, you know, as I said, it’s not just a, like a, you know, it’s not just, you go down a checklist and at the end you’re successful. There’s a lot of, kind of, you turns and speed bumps along the way. But for us, we like the fact that, you know, it is a repeatable process and it, as, you know, man, we’ve, we’ve launched over 80 businesses since 2014, a a hundred percent success rate for all those.
[00:09:08] Businesses who launched and successfully hit their funding goals successfully generate revenue and profit. And, and for us, our, our focus is that really is the toughest impact is, you know, making money, uh, as an entrepreneur, that’s what business is focused on. Right. And that’s really, our focus is, is helping people understand how to do that in the most, uh, effective timeframe possible.
[00:09:30] Makes sense. Makes sense. Of course. Yeah. Like, you know, building brands prior most valuable thing, right. I mean, And it takes time to make something valuable. So you gotta put in the work, you know, I always think of you as a customer development person, you know, when I’ve seen your speeches and what you’ve always been preaching and talking about.
[00:09:50] So I think it’s talking to people, right. Customer development, I mean, is that, that’s probably a core thing you’d say to validate your product idea, your brand a hundred percent. If we really, we focus, as you said, there’s, there’s a customer development, excuse me, customer discovery, which is the, you know, the hypothesis, the theory, there’s the customer research, which is also great.
[00:10:18] And then those two lead into, as you just said, that customer development process, customer engagement process, where that there’s. There’s always that uncertainty, as, you know, as a founder, is this going to work? Are they going to purchase well, as remember, you and me were at the Eric’s talk from Peple together and he said. Sure. His way is to see if someone will, you know, they say they like it.
[00:10:40] They say they want it. I haven’t put their money where their mouth is, you know? So of course that’s the furthest end. Uh, any way you can do any sort of customer interviews, uh, actually really getting into the nitty gritty. And I know, uh, we know relate people, um, In the same space. You’ve introduced me to quite a few who have the same thought process where, and I know you believe this as well.
[00:11:00] Like nothing will ever replace the uncertainty, like actually engaging those near your potential customers and your leads correctly. And, you know, we can, we can do that. And we build the marketing funnels that drive the leads and drive the traffic, uh, end of the day in the early days, you gotta make sure you’re having those conversations right.
[00:11:20] Agreed. I mean, a lot of us, you know, like entrepreneur, especially with the internet, now we want to just hide behind our computer. You know, maybe can’t even really get out, out downstairs, you know, like, whether it’s a startup or eCommerce brands or whatever, but you know, you have to talk to people. So is it, is it like a survey?
[00:11:39] Is it Facebook ad landing pages? I mean, Yeah, no. Great, great question. And I appreciate that. That you’re, that you’re going deeper on the process. Not to keep it high level. I couldn’t agree more, man. A lot of people like to have all the, as you said that the, the business looking good and getting it to where they’re getting surveys or pops or, uh, you know, outside of getting surveys that, you know, getting responses and in.
[00:12:10] To an email funnel, right? Like, yes, I want to purchase this product then getting people excited. And that’s all fantastic. Yeah. When, when it comes to, to the customer development and customer validation process is theirs. Certainly levels to the game. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s easy to get people to fill out survey and have very low level commitment or click a reserve-now button in an email funnel, which is a higher level of commitment.
[00:12:41] And then of course, moving down the line, there can be. You know, texts, conversations back and forth phone calls in person interviews for us, the focus is really driving to the most, uh, deep and really, you know, intimate part of that customer development customer interview process, because that is one how you learn them as the founder and, you know, you’re learning the whole time of.
[00:13:06] You know, how, what to say, what not to say, how to position, how to message, what benefits and features are they most excited about? What do they not care about? You know what I mean? And, and going through that process really helps you become more informed as to, you know, it’s not this isn’t a scalable part of the process by any means.
[00:13:25] And it’s definitely one of the hardest and nitty gritty. That being said, it helps you. Create scalability in your business, because you will have a, you know, a very durable and, uh, you know, concise and complete knowledge about what it is is your, your customers actually want, you know, and I, I really genuinely don’t believe there’s anything better than that or anything, uh, that can replace that in the early days.
[00:13:51] So of course, you know, as you’re scaling. Then you’ve, you’ve figured it out and you transitioned to more scalable strategies, marketing and sales strategies, but in the Genesis and the early days of the idea, you know, a prelaunch, if you will, this is absolutely something we recommend all founders do because it’s so rewarding.
[00:14:09] Right? Yeah, I know. I mean, I think it’s the main, the main work of a founder is to know your know your customer, right. A brand is only really representation of the people, people that are buying it. Uh, so which, you know, so an idea like, uh, how many people is there a hard number? I mean, maybe it depends on the product line or a market size.
[00:14:32] Yeah, of course. So we great question. We, we define this based off of really the, the founders goals, actually. So I, as you know, there’s every founder, every entrepreneur has a different mission and a different goal. There’s, you know, some people want to have a six figure business and, you know, that’s all, they’re aiming for.
[00:14:56] Some people want to have a seven figure or an eight figure business. And obviously, you know, they’re both. Wow. Even if it was the same product, those are fun to me. Totally different businesses and how you’re going to build them. Um, you know, over the longterm and the time, energy and effort, it will take from a, from a customer interview perspective.
[00:15:14] You know, this is one of those things where we really try to make sure. You know, we re not try, uh, of course it’s up to the founders of the program. And, you know, even with my investments as well, it’s up to them, that being said, we’re always aiming to do, you know, minimum call it 50 customer interviews.
[00:15:32] You know, and I, you know, I wish I could see your face right now cause you and me both I’m smiling and laughing. Cause I know that that’s a lot of work. Right. It is man. I’m on it, man. Yeah. And that’s, um, you know, and if you have 50 customer interviews, that probably means you reached out to a hundred, 200 people.
[00:15:52] But you know, every know will lead you to that next yes. And really those, we, we feel it, it just makes you, as, you know, man, you just get so much better. Add it, the more you do and the repetition and something, you show them to me that I really valued though. You know, the SOPs, the, you know, creating a process and it’s like, you’ve created a process for creating processes.
[00:16:14] You can only do that if you’ve done it so much. Right. And I think it’s just really that pursuit of execution and mastery and, and, you know, as we said, we’ll never, it will never be perfect, but the fact that we continue to learn and improve is how you get greater and greater results. Right. So that was a long winded answer.
[00:16:34] Oh, that’s great, man. We like it. We like it. I’m learning. I’m realizing I missed her. Pretty pretty important. Earlier question I met, wanted to ask, you know, like we were talking about before the recording, you know, obviously this GFA a lot, there’s a lot of Amazon sellers and I, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re mostly focusing on own your own stores.
[00:16:55] I’ve talked to others, it’s like a different world, Amazon sellers versus like, No, I guess I was not on Amazon sellers, but what would you say? The, the differences, I mean, uh, for the, uh, for the goals or, or, or, you know, even just, yeah, absolutely. And this is, you know, we. We, as I’ve said, we see there’s, you know, there’s drop shipping, there’s Amazon, and then there’s, you know, your own into your own store front, uh, your own eCommerce channel.
[00:17:28] You know, so just touching on all those quickly drop shipping for us as well. One of those, you know, you don’t really own the product and it’s normally lower margin, lower quality. Um, and that leads to just kind of. Kind of trend based products, which aren’t sustainable by definition. Uh, so, you know, we see a lot of people, uh, who we, we see a lot of people transitioning from drop shipping to our program and also transition, as you said, cause they’re different worlds from Amazon to, to our programming kind of supplement that e-commerce knowledge.
[00:17:59] And from our perspective, of course we love, uh, you know, obviously what, what Amazon does and by all means after. We set up our own store. We always push our founders to go also set up in an Amazon storefront as well, because you know, there’s a channel there and obviously the, you know, one of the largest marketplaces you can tap into, uh, the difference really is know, know when we focused on our own stores and launch our own products and premier primarily driving through private launches or crowdfunding.
[00:18:33] You know, our focus is more about. Focusing on creating that interest and building that brand, uh, from scratch where, you know, there’s, you know, the, the power of Amazon, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, you you’re much more knowledgeable than me is, you know, there’s a great marketplace. There’s a process.
[00:18:52] They. They’re able to support with logistics and shipping and, you know, the listings all look a certain way and, and all of that, which is fantastic. Uh, the, the differences, you know, building it from nothing and, and kind of being in, you know, kind of truly owning all the other parts of the process with your own store.
[00:19:13] So, you know, the, you know, the logistics, the warehousing, the shipping, the, even the look of the store, you know what I mean? Uh, so. Yeah. We’ve we’ve had a lot of go ahead. Sorry. Sorry. I was just going to say, we just had a lot of founders, transition after they’ve done drop shipping or Amazon success. You know, they’ve built a sustainable business there and it’s running and it’s operating.
[00:19:37] We’ve had many, many of our founders who enroll, apply, and then are accepted and enrolled into the EC Accelerate program. Or you know, they’re looking to now build a product, a brand or a product very passionate about, right. Because also a lot of Amazon isn’t based on what you enjoy working on, you know, well.
[00:19:58] You can do that as well. It’s a lot more about kind of where the market demand is. I believe it’s true. I think the other one is, which is another question is the customer is, they’re not really your customer they’re Amazon’s customers. And there’s obviously these kind of tactics to get you to build your email list, but they keep getting harder.
[00:20:17] And harder to implement because Amazon’s just tightening that grip of the customer experience and the customer communication. So, that’s also a big one is, um, you know, Amazon. Yeah, I think Amazon and my favorite thing, what you just said is channel it’s a channel I’ve, I’ve always tell people that, you know, just like eBay or, or, you know, it’s not, it is a business, but so many people will think of it as their business, but it’s really, like you said, a channel of sales, even people in your program, they go through it and then they also open up an Amazon store because you’re building a brand and Amazon is a channel for your brand.
[00:20:52] But so many people think of Amazon as a business only, you know? So, yeah. Yeah, I agree. I agree with you there. Yeah, and I think that’s just a tack on one more thing. I think that’s, you know, I think it’s one of those tricky things where you also, I know I’ve heard a lot of stories of in the past of Amazon listings, um, being shut down or people, I’m not quite sure how it works, but you know, they change policies.
[00:21:16] And then because of the policy change that impacts their store or their listing and personally, uh, you know, I mean, you and me are both. You know, China, China veterans, you, you, more so than me, but obviously, you know, we very much kind of took ownership of what we wanted to create for ourselves. And, and for us, we, you know, we, why we like to build our own shops up to start is because we’re able to be in more control of that and, and own that part of the process rather than as you said, having Amazon owning that process.
[00:21:47] Yeah. I mean, But even Amazon to really differentiate an Amazon, I believe in getting more and more important to have a brand and to really, to really shine, not just to, of course you can take a commodity product, but you still should in today’s age, you know, get really good with your listing and your copy and your packaging.
[00:22:07] But of course, yep. To make her own brand store, like with what you’re doing is it’s much more complex, but it’s also much more long lasting. And you own the whole process from, like you said, from beginning to end. Yeah. And we’ve had a good amount of founders from Amazon, you know, take, take their products, their branded products and develop them further with us, you know, and then, you know, anyone out there, they have.
[00:22:31] You know, if they have access to their customers from Amazon, from, from their store, if they’re just getting started, you know, as you want me to just talk to them, go engage them directly, you know, not just go have those conversations and get more informed about who your customer is. So you can better service that customer, you know, and better attract and engage and convert that customer.
[00:22:51] Because as long as you believe in the value of your product, then, then it’s all about putting it out there. There’s too many people to as many people as you can. Agreed. Agreed. So let’s, yeah, I think it’s a point on here. The money is in the list, right? I mean, that’s the saying, and it’s true, right? Your email database and as possible, I guess these customer surveys you’re doing, you’re building your list, you know, you’re in your homepage, you’re probably at least capturing email, even if you’re not launched yet, you know, um, everything you’re doing, right.
[00:23:22] It’s about building that, building your database, building your list. Yeah. Especially at the early stages. Yeah, absolutely. You have to, that list is the most, I mean, as long as people are using email, your list will be valuable. Right? I don’t see that going anywhere soon. I know, you know, there’s been a lot of, kind of, you know, Trendy strategies, that people are now leveraging that, you know, that aren’t just where again, you don’t have that same amount of control where your list is your list.
[00:23:58] I know that’s something you’re very proud of. And you, you meticulously look after is your, your GFA list as well. And, um, cause that’s, you know, who you’re providing value to. And I think it’s, as you said, that list turns into your customer interviews and, you know, and. Or it turns into your customers directly and again, eat the whole email marketing strategy is something that has, has been, is, and will continue to be, you know, the really one of the main.
[00:24:28] Marketing and sales, you know, funnels for, for any online business. You know, it’s just the more you’re front of mind for that customer. The more frequent, you know, that you’re, you’re being visible to them the better. You know, I think it’s last, I saw it was about six, seven or eight touch points minimum are required, you know, to, to actually have that customer start to build trust with you as a brand, you know, and again, luckily that’s something you can automate with an autoresponder series and an engagement series.
[00:25:02] And all those things. So you’re not sending all those emails yourself at once. You know, and then that’s something we build on our program. It’s just a lot more about, you know, being in front of mind and being ready for when that customer engages, you know, I’m sure similar to you, you know, I’ve had customers convert and in three hours and customers convert and, you know, two and a half years and everything in between, you know, it’s just about being present, delivering value and being ready for when they’re ready to convert.
[00:25:29] Yeah. I, you know, unfortunately, I think there’s a lot of programs or, uh, you know, content yeah. Content creators, or whatever you want to call them and who really emphasized the, Oh, set it and forget it. And you know, it’s, you know, right, right. These emails and incomes, the money and you and me both know that’s not how it works.
[00:25:49] You know what I mean? You’re constantly tweaking, learning, iterating, and improving. And it’s that gradual. Over time improvement that, you know, if you can increase your conversion rate from 1% to one and a half or 2% over a few months, period, by staying focused on that part of the process that in itself brings you significantly more revenue to your business, right?
[00:26:12] It’s not about doing all the different shiny new strategies that are out there. Yeah. I mean, like everybody gets into the Facebook. Box or the chat box, but like similar to Amazon, you don’t have control of these. And they’re always trying to figure out a new way to like add, monetize these channels where it, email and people are still checking, emailing.
[00:26:31] He said as long as people are checking emails, valuable and yeah. And yeah, I mean, I, yeah, I’m, I’m on, I’m on board with you. So you’re. You’re um, I dunno if you want to give us some insights of like, what questions you ask people in these surveys or is it, you know, I know some might be as simple as maybe just even opting in is a, is a, is a signal, right.
[00:26:53] People are opting in on, on a is, is a signal, but maybe actually ones that are talking to them. I don’t know, preview of that. Absolutely. Uh, you know, I, I’m more than happy to, to expand on that when it comes to, to the engagement process, we always see a lot of success when you make those leads, um, or the potential, you know, the sorry, the subscribers.
[00:27:19] I know we’re throwing a bunch of different terms around, but essentially the, the leads or the person interested in purchasing your product, make them. Wait, if you haven’t launched yet. Um, or even if you have, and you’re trying to get customer feedback, just making them feel more involved in the process, right.
[00:27:34] You know, if you haven’t launched yet anything from getting feedback on the design features or benefits, getting feedback on the colors, making them, you know, really the whole brand story and making people will feel part of that. You know, I tell a lot of our fans founders when you’re, when you’re first launching.
[00:27:55] You know, a lot of customers are buying you as much as they’re buying the product. You know, they’ve enjoyed the engagement directly with, with you as the founder, whether it is directly through one-to-one or whether they’re actually in the email funnel, but they like how you’re telling your story. It’s that sort of engagement that, you know, again, it’s just to be genuine and valuable.
[00:28:17] Of course, I think it’s. When it comes to those questions, you know, I can, first off, I’d love to even just kind of going backwards is, you know, of course avoid the future, tends to the conditional questions, you know, would you, or, you know, will you, uh, you know, and look a lot more historical when you’re looking at, you know, when you’re trying to understand if the person will or won’t do something, you know, the, the example I love to always use is, you know, a lot of people you guys, you know, would you buy.
[00:28:44] This, you know, this fitness, this gym membership, when, when we all know it, if you’re looking at someone’s fitness level of, of course they’re aspirational to what they want to do, but what does their past tell you about what they’ve actually done to achieve those goals? You know, whether it’s fitness or dieting or health-related business related, any of those.
[00:29:06] Any of those things that you really try to break down from a, what has this person actually done that tells me in their past that can help inform me of their future decision. So I love, love to do kind of those past tense questions and really get a dialing down, I suppose, on the. Understanding, you know, and asking multiple times even the same question, like what it is about your brand or your product that, that is valuable.
[00:29:31] And of course, then the main one that you all always hear and I’m sure you’ve had other people say, and I know you already know is understanding more about the problem, right? What is, what is the actual issue that they’re having and problem that you can support solving and, um, you know, dialing down on that’s really important.
[00:29:52] Because if you can provide a solution is of course the most valuable thing you can provide. So that’s something that’s always great to focus on. Alright, this is good and re really quickly, I, I will say, you know, for, at the end of those customer interviews, we’re always, by all means, if this person says they’re interested, if they, as you and me talked about, you know, at the start of this podcast, right?
[00:30:16] Like if they said they’re interested, if they say didn’t want it. Prove it, you know, go ahead and like yeah, sell it, get that, get them to send that PayPal, the Venmo, the, whatever it is that shows this person will actually well, actually commit to making that purchase and turn into a conversion. And that back first one.
[00:30:38] Is always, you know, one of my favorite moments for our founders when they post in the Facebook community, you know, our Facebook group or they message me or the message of the team members. And they’re like, you know, got our first sale, you know, are, as, you know, man, you get one sale, you can get a thousand, you can get 10 million sales, but.
[00:30:56] That’s it right. You got to get known for that. So that’s always something we’re pushing our boundaries to do. It was just, you know, cause that’s where most of the uncertainty is, is kind of, am I going to be able to sell this and make money? Well, figure that out, you know, in advance and you know, of course we do that with our funnels.
[00:31:10] We use renderings, 3D printing. We really try to, you know, that’s another difference than, um, the Amazon as well. We don’t really, you know, invest in stock, or manufacturing. It’s a lot more about validating the customer. First, and then, you know, after you do that, then the rest of the stuff makes sense from a manufacturing perspective.
[00:31:34] Agreed. Agreed. Okay. So, well, I think we also learn from mistakes, like, um, You know, what a comment, what are the common mistakes you see people make again and again and again, or you know, that you’re like, damn. Yeah. I’m sure. Yeah. Oh man. It could be a whole show, but a, I dunno, a couple of highs. We have a, do not do list in our program, like to start the program.
[00:32:02] And it’s like, it’s like 30, 40 things that we say do not do this. Because it’s not what you should be doing right now. Um, big one. Uh, so I think what I’ve said a lot in the past is, you know, a lot of people do the right work at the wrong time. And that gets them to, you know, the wrong result. It’s very important.
[00:32:24] Again, there’s so much information out there about how you should do something to where, you know, our framework is very much about distilling down, like putting blinders on and it’s really phase one, phase two phase three, phase four, phase five, you know, and then content and templates and everything within each of those phases that builds a foundation and build it higher.
[00:32:43] Right. The, a lot that we see, which I just talked about is a lot of people are so worried about. Manufacturing or prototyping. And you know, when it comes to building your own store, that’s just at the end of the day, China makes iPhones, you know what I mean? China build spaceships. Like they, no matter what your product is, they will be able to manufacture it.
[00:33:05] It’s everybody can make. Anything it’s who can actually very few can actually sell what they’ve made. You know what I mean? And so for us, we really don’t put an emphasis on that manufacturing prototyping part of the process until we’ve actually, as I said, validated that customer, uh, of course we have the resources and the network as you know, in China.
[00:33:26] Uh, but that’s, again, something we ask our founders not to focus on when they’re first getting started. Another thing is. There’s always a big focus around copyrights and patents. And, and again, any, all these things trying to protect, you know, I think there’s a lot of people who are trying to focus on defense, uh, which it’s like, you know, focus on offense, focus on if you build the best brand and people choose you because of that brand over your competitors.
[00:33:58] That’s the, that’s the most valuable thing you can do? You know what I mean? That that’s the differentiator. It’s not, uh, a legal piece of paper that, I mean, as you know, with Apple and Nike’s history in the past and China, they, you know, if the world’s largest companies have had trouble protecting their ideas and their products, you know, don’t focus as much on that focus more on what you can control, what you can do.
[00:34:20] You know, I’d say those two are pretty big ones and I’m probably the third one. It would have to be. Just around, um, you know, competition instead of collaboration, a big thing, being a community like a lot. I think a lot of people are so worried about people, well, stealing their ideas and you and me, no man, an idea without execution as sports we need.
[00:34:45] So for us, yeah, it is. So it’s like be put yourself out there and get that feedback. You know, people. Been pushed back on us about doing customer interviews or what if, what if they steal mine idea? And if this person steals your idea and executes it before you. And it’s successful, then they’re better than you that’s entrepreneurship.
[00:35:07] You know what I mean? That’s business. Um, you know, so it’s like, you gotta, gotta get rid of that and just understand, like, how do I, you know, and of course this is how we feel. I’m sure people disagree with me and have other schools of thought and that’s totally fine, whatever they’ve done to be successful.
[00:35:23] But for us, it’s a lot more about let’s collaborate. Let’s, you know, let’s figure out, you know, our, our program is based off so many of the mistakes and of course, a lot of the successes we’ve done and as well, and, and we wanted to share that because that’s, you know, what we’ve been doing for the greater part of a decade, right?
[00:35:40] So it’s for us, it’s collaboration is key presence, you know, surrounding yourself with the right people. I’m looking at what you do and what you’ve done with the events in the past as well. It’s get the right people in the room together and don’t make, don’t make things happen. And that’s a big thing for us.
[00:35:55] I love it, man. This has been great. This has been great. I guess I think we did, we talked about quite a bit. I’d love to hear a little bit more about, about the EC Accelerate program and how it’s been developing what it is now. And, you know, also Global From Asia where we’re friends and I’m also a partner and affiliate.
[00:36:14] So be great if some people were interested could, uh, get some more info, would love to hear, hear about it. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, this is really pointing to it and of course we are, and we’ll walk into then to do some, some awesome things together. And I, you know, first and foremost, as I, as I said, it’s, we’re community backed framework for aspiring founders to establish and accelerate premium brands.
[00:36:37] And that’s really just based off of the, you know, these, these terms, they’re, they’re prettier terms exists, but how we like to talk about it, it’s just doing your customer discovery followed by your Customer Development followed by your customer validation, your launch preparation, then you’ve launched.
[00:36:56] And then you create sustainability and scalability. So that’s kind of, you know, the process of how it flows. And that is, you know, in the beginning, you know, of course you have to do your ideation and then after you have your idea, you have to figure out, you know, do your brand development, figure out who that minimum viable segment is.
[00:37:14] And then go do research on that minimum viable segment. And then you actually get into the process, customer development, as we’ve been talking about and, you know, Well, I will say most of the time who we think our customers are and who they actually are, are normally different. And that’s a lot more the case than people getting it right the first time or that very rarely happens.
[00:37:35] So, you know, that’s one of those iteration periods, you go learn, um, your actual engagement and then after you learn, you figure out, you know, how do you, after you’ve learned and validated, how is this something you actually make, you know, scalable. How is this something you can actually, you know, do an in a, in a repetitive way.
[00:37:54] And as you said, it takes a good amount of time, but the nice thing is it’s very much, you know, our framework is based on building the foundation correctly and building it a lot more, you know, on ground, out of cement where, you know, you’re placing each brick, if you will, intentionally, so it’s strong, right?
[00:38:11] So it can stand on its own versus China, you know, go around and, and build a whole, do a whole bunch of things, a whole bunch of different marketing and sales strategies, a whole bunch of different ways. And you end up becoming a master of none and instead of a master of one. And so for us, it’s a lot more about the, what is the most effective, efficient route to validate, you know, that your customers are, you know, are interested and more importantly are willing to
[00:38:37] Pay and compensate you for what you’ve made and if they are, how do we, how do you then, you know, bring this to a larger audience, and for us niches make riches, man. It’s all about, you know, we really want people to be incredibly hyper-focused. And who they’re targeting, you know, because the greater you can serve a smaller audience, the greater value they’ll see.
[00:39:02] And then after, you know, you serve that audience, you can then pivot to the next segment, you know, left or right. Or build outward. But oh, it goes back to my last point, which is that your last question? Excuse me. Like a lot of people I always say, try to do too much. Too fast too soon for too many. And, that, that very simple, very simply put that just means that the, they want, they, they want their business to look like that million dollar brand in day one.
[00:39:32] And they, they have to understand that’s an iterative iterative, right. So just focus ours is about that clarity of just. Really, as I said, those five, six steps of building the foundation business correctly, and then after launching, then you figure out, okay, you know, and, and having a successful launch, go ahead and create this in a sustainable way where, you know, focusing on, if I get one sale a day, how do I turn that into two sales a day, you know, so on and so forth and, and improving upon that process to get greater results.
[00:40:11] Okay. That’s really great, man. And then, yeah, we’ll link it up on the show notes. Some people can kind of get more information about it and I think that’s really, that’s really all I got or what’s some ways that people could reach out to you and connect or. Awesome. Awesome. I appreciate that too. To reach out to us, we’ll just go to a, you know, we’re, we’re changing, we’re going through a, a rebrand at the moment, but just for currently go to www.enterchina.co backslash accelerate.
[00:40:44] I you’ll see a lot more in depth about our program than, than I most likely communicated on here. And. You know, go ahead. And if that sounds interesting to you, please apply. And then after you applied, then, you know, we have our have, we’ll go through our founder interview process and, you know, we work with a certain number of founders every month to ensure the quality of our output.
[00:41:07] And most importantly, you know, then you’re surrounded by it. You have the, you have access to the framework, you’re surrounded by the community and then together we accelerate your business. So that’s where I would head. If you want to learn, learn more about what we do. Awesome. Thanks so much, Nick. We’re really glad we got you on the show and thanks so much for sharing some really good insights.
[00:41:26] Thank you, man. Thanks for having me and look looking forward to the next one. Definitely Cross Border Summit, we’re not going to do an online summit. There are already amazing online summits. We’re going to wait until the dust has settled. Virus has settled probably in 2021, thinking about where to do it.
[00:41:44] I still want to do it in Thailand. Just keeping you guys updated at crossbordersummit.com is still the website. It’s still keeping up the website online, but it seems like 2020 is gonna be a skipped year. It would have been our fifth annual, but we’ll put the fifth one in 2021. Hopefully. And stay tuned.
[00:42:00] Thanks. Thank you so much, Nick. Really? Everybody. You know, Nick has been through a lot, you know, I’ve, I’ve seen, like he said in the show, we’ve both been through our ups and downs. It’s really been a pleasure to see him and the community at EC accelerate grow over the years and to see what, what’s been coming out of the program and what he’s built himself.
[00:42:23] So cheers to that, Nick and well, we are, you know, a partner friend, if affiliates, if you check out our show notes, we have a little link there that will go to the page. It is a premium program, you know, you got it and you gotta put it into work. You know, just like anything in life, you know, anybody wants to get rich, quick scheme can, go somewhere else.
[00:42:45] You know, Frank don’t bother, uh don’t by listening to this show, don’t bother, uh, you know, Doing these programs, because most of the ones we talk about, you got to put into money. Anybody’s trying to just get rich quick, without hard work, you know, um, I don’t know, find some, some other kinds of programs, but if you’re willing to put in the work and the time, it’s definitely a program to look at.
[00:43:06] And without further ado, I think we’re done for this week’s show 322 show notes as always around globalfromasia.com/customer-development. And you can check out all the different things we’ve talked about and of course find his websites. We also have some information on our website, too. By customer development,
[00:43:30] I mean, I’ve gone through this too, you know, there’s also, you know, lean startup, the whole lean startup philosophy, the book, you know, getting out of the building don’t, you know, how might be hard to now to get out of building with the virus where depending on where you are in the world, but, you know, talking to people, whether it’s.
[00:43:46] Getting email addresses, even doing Facebook ads to seeing people would even opt in to your list to believe in what you’re doing. Of course, doing phone calls, you know, even just interacting on Facebook groups, interacting in chats, you know, really, I’m just trying to make sure that people need and want right what you are selling.
[00:44:04] Actually, we got some stuff working on a program here. We might be coming up on the road. E-commerce Gladiator season two. I don’t want to make too many promises, but it’s really, really early stages. But that was actually one thing I saw there was customer development happening already. There’s a use case, you know, that’s the early stages of a brand, you know, once you see people using the product and happy with it and interested in buying it again, this is when you know you’ve got something right.
[00:44:32] You gotta put in the hard work, you got to really make things happen. And it’s about building content, building trust. But, I feel like I’m preaching to choir, I think if you guys have been listening to this and girls been listening to the show for a long time, you know, a lot of our guests have been saying brand is everything.
[00:44:47] I think some article I was reading, you know, value of brands is going up. You know, that’s really all, that’s going to be left. Mass production might go away. Maybe there’s gonna be just in time inventory. You know, there’s going to be 3D printing. Really? It’s all about the people that you’re serving, whether it’s a service or a product, it’s really a group of people that hopefully believe in something to have a common need, desire, you know, a wish to make it happen.
[00:45:14] That’s all I’m going to say for today. We actually have a whole backlog of amazing episodes. I hope you’re enjoying these shows. We have another few coming up that have already been recorded and it’s, um, it’s fun. I actually enjoy talking to people. We also have our GFA VIP members series. A membership program where we’ve been actually having some, quite a few more private calls, uh, you know, with this whole lockdown, people have been engaging much more on our, online sessions.
[00:45:43] So if you want to get involved with that, it would be really cool to also support the show and to also engage some of the people behind the scenes. All right. I think that’s it for this week. I am going to. Go hang out with my kids. You know, I do this after I taught the kids that already, but now it’s dinner time.
[00:46:01] Homeschooling that’s now I have even more respect for those teachers out there. Thanks again for listening. To get more info about running an international business. Please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com. That’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.