Building Your Business Through Transparency & Trust

Welcome to the Rialto Marketing podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Jacob Ouaknine for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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Building Your Business Through Transparency & Trust

Tim Fitzpatrick
Welcome to the Rialto Marketing podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult and you must remove your revenue roadblocks if you want to accelerate growth. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am really excited to have Jacob Ouaknine with me from M6iT Consulting. Jacob, thanks for taking the time to be here today.

Jacob Ouaknine
Thank you for having me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, I am looking forward to digging into this with you. I had mentioned before we started recording that some of the stuff we're going to talk about, I have not talked about with other people, and I think there's a lot to be learned from it. So super excited to do that. Before we jump in, I want to ask you a few rapid fire questions. You ready to rock?

Jacob Ouaknine
Yeah, go ahead. Let's do it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. So very quickly, what do you do? How long have you been doing it?

Jacob Ouaknine
M6 has been operational for about 12 years now. My focus in the company is to work on the onboarding of our customers. I take very good care of the initial relationship with my customers, and I try to stay on that arena. I think it's important because I cannot alone myself, I know that. But it's very important to provide a very transparent message to prospects or to a new client and really help them during the onboarding phase of coming to M6. I spent a lot of time doing that and, of course, solving problems, whatever it might be.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Speaking of problems, in those 12 years, what's the most important lesson you've learned?

Jacob Ouaknine
Fairly, there are so many. Every stage in a company growth has been a different experience, and it's not really one. I'm going to call it a maturity level as you grow into the business, as you learn more about the business, you make different decisions. I personally, sometimes when I look back, I'm like, Wow, it's just so different how I approach things, how I envision things. But the biggest lesson for me was always try to try transparent and true to what I want to deliver. The most important, really, of them all is to really establish trust with my client because without it, really, we can't work. I mean, at the end of the day, if you think of a relationship, just a date. A lot of the time people are wondering when you meet a prospect, it's really the first date. You're just trying to get to know each other. You're trying to understand what you have to offer and where you're going, what's the added value. But if there's no trust, it just doesn't work. We really, really focus on trying to build an absolute transparency. During the initial call, we don't care about the signature. We really just want to see if there's synergy, dive into the problems and give a lot of time for our clients to really get to know what we can deliver before they sign, just to create that trust because it's important. Then after that, once this is established, usually you just get it done and that's what we want. Just focus on the work and let's move forward with it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
We all run into these roadblocks as business owners. When you hit roadblocks, do you have any mantra or motivational saying you say to yourself, share with your team to push through those times?

Jacob Ouaknine
Oh, for sure. It's just not about me, it's about the client. It's just not about you, it's about the client. People have different experiences, have a bad day, a good day. Sometimes, roadblocks are related to growth. Sometimes, they're related to hiring. Sometimes, they're related to technology. Sometimes, they're related to clients. A lot of the time is, All right, something is happening. What do we do now? Are we going to sit down and push an agenda, or I'm going to sit down and figuring out with a client? A lot of the time is, Okay, let's reset, sit down, figuring it out, whether it's with the employees, whether it's whatever we do. At the end of the day, truly, it's just not about us. We're here to provide a service for our clients to allow them to focus on their growth. It's just reset, sit down, reassess, review, communicate, communicate, communicate. That's just super important. And we go from there.

Offering Better Solutions to Give Clients Independence

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of the things, Jacob, that we talked about in the pre interview that I thought was fascinating that I want to dig into is that you shared with me that you recently repackaged and positioned your services so that clients were actually less dependent on you. Oh, yeah. How did you change your services and why did you do it?

Jacob Ouaknine
Just like every MSP, if you court other partners or competitors, you'll see it's always a package, a package, a package. You have to do this, like this, and it's like a cookie cutter. And really, like I said earlier, the growth in the company, we matured from so much over the years, and we've learned also so much from our mistakes, even from our successes. What allowed us to be successful? There's one really key that I found to be super important is fear. Customers are afraid and they're afraid to be held hostage. They're afraid to put into a contract and what's going to happen next. At the end of the day, we do manage everything that they own, all of their technology. It's their data, it's their security, it's their communication. As a business owner, I put myself in their shoe and I'm like, Wow, I have to give this company access to everything that I have been building on my own and I have to deal with. We realized that fear was definitely there. How did we try to eliminate that? It was really building that transparency, initial call. Then as we learned and working with different prospects, different clients, and as we start working with different industries and onboarding high techs and during, we realized everybody has the same problem. They're afraid, they just want things to work, and they don't want to feel like they can depend on you because it doesn't really matter. The moment they say contract, you're afraid, you're like, Oh my God, I'm going to get stuck. So we said, You're not? Fine. If that's what bothers you, you're on a 30 day contract renewal, 60 day cancelation. So within 60 days, everybody departs professionally. No, not a problem. Would that make you happy? Yes, of course it does. And as we start working on technologies, we realized that even though the fear of being in a contract was there, there was also a fear of do I have to use your product? Do I have you use a package? And that always came during the calls. And again, another lesson is that they're afraid. They're afraid to be locked on to something that might not be suitable for them or that I control. So we realized, Okay, well, how about this? We're going to focus more on being solution engineers. So implementing solutions for you and managing them in a very simple form of, Let me implement what best works for you, and you're going to pay us to manage your technologies. No different than what you see today in building management. That's actually one of the example that I provide a lot to our clients is, you have your own buildings and you have a lot of resources and vendors that are going in and out, but you need the building management. Someone that has the expertise to deal with it on a day to day, has the connections, the procurement, the resources, and so on to let this building run smoothly. We're going to translate that into technology and we focus on the management. We really repackaged it. We really didn't repackage it. We dissolved it. It's really open to what are your needs? What are the technology available for you to make that happen? Let's implement, and then after that, we manage. We're no longer in the package. We just offer truly two solutions. One is retainer based, one is proactive management, which just allows more of a budgeting for the company so that they understand where their cost was going to be. There are pros and cons between the two, depending on the client. But at the end of the day, it's all about management. How can we manage your technologies? How can we improve your employee lifecycle with technology, onboarding, onboarding? Whatever we can eliminate initially is what the focus is going to be. We repackaged it, but really just disconnected from the typical MSP package. I'm going to give you an AV and backup. We just let's just stop all of that because we realized that, for example, focused on Apple, MDM has been tremendous to Apple users. Zero touch, come in, everything is deployed. And if you make a comparison to these competitors, well, you're taking away some work, right? The idea is less IT, less IT, less IT. You have less IT. The truth is, that's scary. If you're a business owner and you've been doing this for many years, right? Don't have problems, don't make money. But the truth is, that's false. It's absolutely false because instead of us running like a hamster on a wheel and then just solving small problems, we try to eliminate 80 to 90 % of the burden. But then the focus of management is really around white glove support. If you are needing support, you absolutely need it. You can't eliminate it. We can't take that away. It doesn't really matter how much automation we do and how much NPM we implement, whether it's in tunes or or Apple MDMs. What we focus on is improving the employee experience during the onboarding and onboarding. Coming in, they come in with a lot less issues. We automate a lot of the processes so that there's a lot of communications between HR and IT and order point of contact. Then you have the lifetime of the employee at the company, and that's when they really come in for support. You can't just you can't eliminate it. I've been doing this for way too long and you just AI and chat botch just does not work. When you're very busy, you're doing some contracting, you don't have time to look for the answer. You need someone to come in and hold the hands and that's it. But then happens when you're doing onboarding, when the employee departs, that's when we come in again, we follow the initial procedures that were created, make sure that security is met, and then again, it's a circle that just repeats itself. Within itself, I try to avoid calling it a package anymore. We focus on the implementation and management of their technologies.

Tim Fitzpatrick
With the traditional managed service provider, the contract, it's like, Hey, here's your tech stack, here's what we're going to use, and here's how much it is per seat. That's typically what people see, right?

Jacob Ouaknine
That is correct. It's typically per seat. They add, like you said, add all of the stacks, but we no longer want to be liable for those licenses. We want the clients to own those licenses.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, that's what I was going to ask you. The client, you don't own the licenses anymore, which most MSPs are buying the licenses for the client. You're taking yourself out of that. I'm assuming you're facilitating it for the client so that it's easy for them to procure it. But they're procuring it. You're pulling that out. So you don't have that as an ongoing cost. You're also not necessarily making the profit on that per se, but you're making it.

Jacob Ouaknine
We do. We do. Being fully transparent, we do. It doesn't really matter which solution we are because we have such large resource of vendors. I won't say, Let me pick one over the other because I'm going to make more money on one, or there's a higher revenue. No, it doesn't really matter what you pick. Some vendors were like, Just go trade to them. It's not even worth our time. There are vendors who have a lucrative way of allowing us to distribute their licenses. It makes sense because we offset that labor cost. Everybody wins, even though I am making a very small percentage of some licenses. But in the meantime, remember, I have automated and eliminated a lot of these issues. So it's a win win situation. The client wins, we win. And the way we win is that we, again, eliminate the biggest burdens of day to day IT tasks. And really focus on the white glove support for management or implementation of projects. So now, as a company, I have less resources to just deal with tedious requests. Instead, we have time engineers that have time to sit with you and talk to you and solve your problems or figure out what the right solution is instead of just, Oh, my God. Forget password. Who wants to do that anymore? I hope I answered your question right.

Tim Fitzpatrick
No, you did, Jacob. There's a couple of things I want to pull out of this because this is a fantastic example of taking something that people just do not like about how an industry traditionally does things and just completely eliminating it. And by eliminating that, you've created a clear competitive advantage because most people are going to be going to MSPs, getting the long term contract, I'm going to pay per seat, I'm fearful, I don't want to do that. And you've put yourself in this position now where you can approach people and you go, We don't do that. Hey, we manage. We're going to give you the roadmap you need. We're going to help implement and manage that roadmap as things are implemented. But we're pulled out of that process. It's 30 days. It's basically month to month. But with the 60 day cancelations.

Jacob Ouaknine
It's funny, Tim, because one of the key sentence that comes out a lot in our meeting is, with or without M6, everything will continue running. That's how you build trust. Not by making the client feel that without you, they can't run, but with you, they can run. Very different. Not without you, they can't run, but with you, they can run. What we do is we add the value of allowing the machine to run smoothly, securely, and really improving the employee lifecycle at the company because it's super, super, super important to us. Because we knock down a lot of the stress in the initially. That's how we are defined as being successful is how well does an employee start hitting the ground. We don't want to be in that environment where we feel that the client is being held hostage in no way, shape, or form. This is why I'm part of these initial calls. A lot of the time, I do not want that feeling to be there. I want it to be very transparent. Hey, we'll guide you, coach you, not even consult, because a lot of the time, believe it or not, the word consulting means I know more than you. I don't. Sometimes I don't know much about the client, that we still need to learn their workflows. Sometimes there's some lesson learneds over the years. There's a lot of back and forth. Over the year, to give the added value is the knowledge of what we've combined over the years in doing this so many times, it literally becomes Lego to us. We just have to take pieces and put them together. Typical example, I don't know how much of the detail I can get into, but we had a situation where there's acquisitions and a client acquired another company, and in that process, there was a lot of conversations, how do we go about it? And believe it or not, Tim, our counterpart, the entire conversation was about being afraid to lose their client. When you do that, you actually lose them. You don't keep them, you lose them because you're not allowing them to move forward. You're afraid to lose the revenue, but you don't realize that in making it work as best for the client, you eliminate burdens and you continue making money on services. That's it. It's less overhead. There's less overhead, less cost, and so on, and so on, and so on.

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Transparency is Key to Growing a Business

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Jacob, you've mentioned transparency multiple times. It is super important to you, super important in the sales process on the front end. Can you dig into this a little bit? What are some of the things that you're doing to just be transparent?

Jacob Ouaknine
I don't focus on the signature. I'm not interested. I don't focus on numbers during the initial call. We're not a nickel and dime company. We make it very obvious because if you're calling us only to save money, maybe we will, maybe we won't. But it's all about the quality of service. You have a lot of MSPs that today offer all you can eat thing. Some clients come to us like, We want to save money, but our MSP offers us unlimited support. I look at them and I say, Well, there is a difference between all you can eat restaurant and fine dining. We're fine dining. We're not all you can eat restaurants. You cannot maintain a great quality of service by just feeding you all the time. The quality of the food is never going to be the same. It's really just listening to the client, understanding their pains, really digging into what they really have because a lot of them realize, Wow, am I spending this much time trying to understand you? Yes, I do. I really want to know what's going on in there. What do you have? There's no way we're going to quote you over first meeting. There's no way we're going to do that. Sometimes it happens because it's very straightforward. Sometimes it doesn't. But in most of the complex environment, we need to spend 2-3 meetings at least to gather that information and say, Hey, I think we can be good for you. Sometimes we say, We're not good for you because it's just what you're requesting is not going to meet our deliverables and we're not interested in the money. Because eventually we're going to lose our reputation and it's very important to us to stay true to our customers.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So you're not afraid to say no if they're not a good fit, which is a great place to be. It's like if we say yes to people that we know aren't a good fit, it's just never going to work long term.

Jacob Ouaknine
It's tough because you have to meet your quotas, you have to meet numbers and so on. Sometimes it's hard, but I always look at it this way. The pain that I'm going to have in managing that client that I don't want will eventually come back to me costing us a lot more on resources, a lot of stress, a lot of back and forth, which is spent just sometimes just digging into audits for absolutely no reason. That's a lot of time spent. I would rather take that energy and focus it on a client that actually needs it or wants it, and let me run there on that end. Let me focus there instead. And we've been good. Look, it's a good place to be, but it has to be a mutual... It has to be a two way street. It really has to be. It's very important.

Having a Strong Onboarding Process is Critical to Long-term Client Success

Tim Fitzpatrick
You know, Jacob, you also touched on your onboarding process, super critical to long term client success. What do you do in that process to ensure that it's strong? How have you set that process up?

Jacob Ouaknine
If you recall, the initial first and second call that we have with our clients or prospects is really digging into knowing what they have, what are their burdens, what are their fears, what are the concerns. We gather all of that information from understanding the environment. Sometimes it's like some clients will think, Oh, we're trying to sell. I'm not interested in selling you. I'm just advising you. If you're not going to listen to me, you know what? I'm going to make more money because you're going to use me a lot more for things that could have been solved initially. We spent a lot of time gathering all of the information during the first and second call to see if there's a synergy, who's our point of contact, what are the workflows, let's gather the information and access to all of the systems as needed. Once we have that, then we already have a very clear picture of what needs to happen. From that point on, we draft a scope of work for the onboarding team. We already know where this then and what to build. At that point, if you know the 80 20 rule, it's 80 % planning and 20 % execution. A lot of the time is spent planning for the onboarding. The rest is just scheduling and onboarding and fixing, and that's it. What do we do? The process that we have is really gathering as much information as possible from the client even before they sign because once they sign, that's it. We have to hit the ground running and we have to be ready for it. Then once we have all of that, we scope out the work, we have a clear vision of the client, the client is involved, point of contacts are involved. There's a lot of communication about what the roadmap is going to be, where are you going to be, and what system they're going to have. But one of the most critical aspect of the onboarding, most critical is business interaction. What are we going to do to make sure that business is not interrupted as these changes happen. Let's work backwards and figure out what are the risks. What can we do to eliminate that? Because it doesn't really matter how good we are doing things. I know if you've seen the center that live skit where someone is having an issue with the computer is like, Hey, move, move. Let me fix this for you. Remember that one. We don't want to come in gun blazing, Hey, here we go. We're going to be your super IT guy. No. Let's take a break and sit down and figure it out and slowly implement things without causing any business interaction.

Tim Fitzpatrick
As you onboard a client, do you have specific project managers that are responsible for that? Do you have key people that manage the onboarding?

Jacob Ouaknine
Yeah, we have two, actually, two of them. Funny enough, you would think you would need more. You don't. Because the only thing a project manager really needs is how to manage his own resources. He doesn't need to learn a lot. He doesn't really need to know the details of how things are being done, plus you. But really how to manage the resources. Our product managers are very good at what they do. They have a good understanding of what really happens behind the scene. It's just to make sure that the scope of work is very defined, clients approves it, and then we focus then on schedule and implementation.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What I'm hearing you say is one, good onboarding starts with just the beginning of the process and getting as much information as you possibly can, which then is allowing you to create a strong SOP for the project, project managers overseeing it. But you also, for your business specifically, this is super important is just making sure how are we going to manage business interruption and make sure that as we make these changes, there is no interruption? Because obviously, if there's interruption, you got an onboarding problem and they're going to be pissed.

Jacob Ouaknine
Oh, yeah. We've seen that happening a few times when we... Actually, there was a client who had a change of management, and our attrition rate is very high, to be fair. I just realized how good we are. Customers comes, once they come, they stay. They stay with us for a long time. And again, trust, dependency, communication is very key. They were in a rush in the moving because sometimes you lose a client not because you're doing a bad job. It's just simply choice of management. Management knows better IT and then they come in and take over, that's fine. We warn them of a few things during the onboarding of our product, just to show you how careful we are with our clients. We warn them, please don't do this. Take your time. They're taking over, but just take your time. There was a bit of a rush in what happens within 24 hours. They had very large downtime that cost them a lot. To me, every mistake that I make or every mistake that my competitors make is a lesson learned for tomorrow, for the next call. When we have calls with our prospect about their experience with IT, I'm not really interested in bashing them because they're doing a bad job. It's not really what I want. What I really want to know is why are you moving away from them? What caused you to change company? What are the reasons? Let me see how I can do it better for you. Then we absorb all of these lessons that they've gone through. Guess what? We want to make sure that the next prospect will never experience what our competitors have done to their clients.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's fascinating. Jacob, that's another thing that in the sales process that I think is actually really helping your onboarding. If you can understand why they're leaving a competitor and you have visibility to that upfront, that goes into your 80 % planning, 20 % execution. What are we going to do in our plan to make sure that we can eliminate these reasons that they were leaving before? So, man, you understand that.

Jacob Ouaknine
It's an advantage because you have to think about it. There is a bit of sometimes some prospects just don't want to provide information, but that's not really good. Again, if I'm going to manage your technologies, there must be some trust. If I don't feel it, if it's not there in my entire 12 years in the business, if that trust is not established, the relationship usually does not last very long. Getting to know them initially, which is, again, compared to a date. You have to know what you... Let's talk a little bit. Let's just have a glass of wine and relax. There's nothing going on. And really, this is what our first call is. Hey, we're just here to learn about you. We just want to know if there's some dynamics, understand your pros and cons, why you're moving, where you're going, what are the stacks that you're interested in working with. It's really just to get to know each other. And believe it or not, a lot of the time, we end up the call by asking the questions, Have you spent this much time with other competitors in really building this communication? No. It's as if they want to first sign and then figuring it out later. We do the complete opposite. We'll figure it out first and we're not afraid to give you the entire solution initially. You know what? If you can do it on your own, kudos to you, my man. Take it and then get it done. The only thing that happens is two parties have learned a little bit about something and they depart. But a lot of the time they come back because if I give you that much time and that much attention, then you know there is value there and you always come back and ask more questions. That's when the trust is built.

Tim Fitzpatrick
How much time do you typically have between 2-3 sales meetings?

Jacob Ouaknine
Usually, the first one is about 30 to 40 minutes. Second one is about the same time, not more, because already after the first gathering information, the second is talking about what are the options, which direction, what's the roadmap, how do we go about it? There's already a very clear vision of how we're going to accomplish that. We already in there. The third one is this is it? These are the two options. Let's figure out how does it meet your budget? Does it not? Are we a right fit or not? Then we might make that decision usually on the third call. Then by the time the decision is made, it's literally hitting the ground running.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of my mentors said, The faster you talk money and try and close the sale, the less money you make. I think there's so many people that try to rush the sales process rather than take their time because they feel like, Gosh, I'm spending too much time on this.

Jacob Ouaknine
That's false. Yeah, that's not good.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. But again, you're doing things different than a lot of your competitors, which I think is why things are working so well. You're taking the time in the sales process. Your services and your offers are presented in a way that makes sense to people. It's what they want and it's eliminating the fears that they commonly have in doing business with MSPs, which I think is so cool.

Jacob Ouaknine
I have one thing to add to your comment is I was told once, work like you don't need the money. When you do that, when you actually work like you're not running after the money, you want the money to run after you. You put passion into it, you put care into it, you put love into it. I'm not saying I don't have bills to pay. I do. Everybody does. We have to be a successful company. But being successful does not necessarily mean how much you have sold. What's your revenue this year? It's really how many people trust you, how many companies trust you. That's what I define as success. It's really not how much revenue we generated this year because I don't care in that. I can beef it up by selling a lot of hardware. It's not what I'm interested in to. But what I define as an M 6 success is the amount of client that trust us and that trust our ability to help them out. And sometimes it's a difficult road because it's like any relationship. Initially, I trust, I don't trust, maybe you will, maybe you won't. And there's a lot of back and forth. But a lot of the time it's like, Oh, wow. It really ended up well. Oh, wow. We actually made it work. And then you can see it in our clients face. And that's my joy is like, It wasn't so bad after all. I'm like, Well, yeah, because I made it that way. I made it that way. And the way to make it happen is 80 20. It takes a lot of time, it's touching and getting the information. So I didn't mean to take over what you're saying. I just want to say, work like you don't need the money. And that adds that even anyone will feel it. You're going to feel it. And that's what I try to educate my employees about it. It's not about you, man. It's about the client. Don't worry about it. It's not nothing personal. Just someone out there having a very bad day, someone yelling above them to get something done, and they're just coming to push the stress on you and you just have to absorb, push it on the side and get it done. And that's it. And that's usually how it works.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Jacob, you've shared some awesome stuff. And I know you guys have been doing a lot of work, repositioning, getting this right. What's next, man? What are your aspirations for the future?

Jacob Ouaknine
Spend more time with the family.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a good one. So what do you have to do to be able to spend more time with the family? Do you have to find somebody to replace you or what do you have to do?

Jacob Ouaknine
I don't want to be replaced. Not that I'm afraid. A very close friend of mine and actually was one of my managers at one point in time said, Jacob, make sure you always hire people who are smarter than you. And it's that mentality of fear. You will be afraid because you'll think that person is going to take over your job. False. You're going to have smart people around you working with you, helping you get better. I don't want to be replaced. I just want to work in parallel with other people to build. What's next for me? M6, funny enough, invests a lot of its time and money into our existing customers. We have another branch of M 6 called M 6 Adventuress. What M 6 Adventures is, it's just an adventure. We find clients that we can believe in and we invest and put our money and time into them and allowing them to be successful. Along the way, we just put our time in them. It has been great because it's a two way street. We are the backbone of the business. We are the one giving them the tools that they need to be successful and working. I've done that in the last two years and I actually enjoy it because it is super rewarding, not because of the financial aspect of it, but truly just it's giving a hand to another business. I was there when I first started and I know the burdens of it, the fears, the what if. When you're there to reassure them and give them what they need to start, it feels great and I enjoy that. But how do I do to spend more time with the family? It's a very important question to answer because it's all about respecting my employees, their time, and really setting the right tone with our customers. I value my time with my family a lot. I think that when you establish that rapport with your clients and they know that your employee's time is also valuable. I'll give you an example because I want to get into just two parts of it. A lot of our clients was like, Are you guys 24 7? We are, but I don't like to get my employees in the middle of the night. Well, we need it. Well, why would you need it if everything is working? You don't need someone to wake up at 11 o'clock at midnight when things are breaking because it's not supposed to break. What? I don't want to wake them up in the middle of the night. But tell me more about why you need 24 7? And you see the reverse psychology. We're going back understanding their concerns. And the truth of the matter is, in the last 12 years in our business, the majority of the client that were in that model, we move them completely away into a problem free environment, less outages, less issues. It took a lot of pushing, but we get there. The way I want to spend the way I spend more time with my own please is when my employees have more time for themselves. I don't know if this makes sense at all, but the only time that I will be working very hard is because my employees are burned out or our employees are waking up at 10 o'clock and they might not have the right answer in this, and then you're back and forth and let's make sure this happens. So trying to find the right balance there is super important for me because if I have to spend time in my family, so should they. I don't want to take it away from them. And then number two is really sticking to your belief, whether the person is religious or not religious, whether they believe in to something or don't believe in something. There is time for work, there's time for family, there's time for fun and so on. But you have to disconnect at least one day a week, just one day. Just disconnect for everything that you typically do because everything becomes a routine, I feel. What helps me a lot is having that disconnect on the weekend. I can trust my employees to respect that. When it's their time, I'll make sure they also get it as well because they also need it. That when we come back on Monday, everybody is refreshed and can work properly without being overworked in a way. Because a lot of IT, to be honest with you, a lot of it is, you're not going to pick up the phone at 11? No, I will not. I don't want to. And if I do pick it up, it better be worth it. And so we compensate our employee very, very well for working after hours to, one, make sure that the client is cared for. But two, if I have to get you out of your bed and away from your family, I better make it worth it for you. We try to do that a lot. It's not, again, about the money, it's about the relationship and the employee. You know this better, Tim, that the most difficult part about growth is retention of your employees. It's very, very important. If you overwork them, don't respect them, then you lose them and you're back into square one like in a hamster on a wheel. Employee train, let go. Employee train, let go. It's just a constant repeat. To avoid that, you have to find the right people, the right managers, because everybody is different, our different views and so on, but we have to respect that. I spend a lot more time... What I do to spend more time in the family is when things are running very smoothly for my clients, when my clients understand that there is private time and there's work time. And then specifically for my employees, I want to make sure that they are not bothered as well. Because 90 % of the time, if they're wake up and there's something happening, one way or another, the chain of calls just follows and ends up coming back to me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it's been great, man. Knowing what you know now, anything you do differently? Yeah, there's a lot of things that I would do differently for sure. Yeah, there's a lot of things. Again, our success matured over the years. We've learned so much. In the last 12 years, I will break it into three years, maybe, or four years. The first three years was like, Just want to work and win customer clients, and let's just make them happy all the time. Then you start to slow down, and then you realize the flaws and the mistakes and the successes and the lesson learned. There are a lot of things that we've done differently in the last four years. One was, funny enough, because I have to... It's your area. And though we don't work directly together, but I think that it goes without saying that we hired the right people. It's very scary, but we hired the right people to handle certain areas of our business where that can actually allow us to grow. Let me rephrase it. I do not like to hire full-time employees unless they're really full-time employees. I want to hire you to sit here. What do we do? Then we look outside. When it comes to marketing, we immediately looked outside about who's available to come in. Then again, transparency, honesty, this is who I am, this is my budget, this is what I want, this is what I'm trying to achieve. Then find the right partner to work with you. In order to make money, you have to spend money. There's no question about it. You can't generate more revenue by cutting down. Finding the right partner to help us, let's say, on our marketing, it's very crucial. And then, again, we've been together and spoke a few times. So finding someone like you who can sit down, assess, and help and give us directions of how to go about it is great. A lot of our competitors figure it out as they go. I don't like to do that. I don't want to do that. Why bother? What do I have to be the guinea pig of someone else's onboarding? I want to learn from the best and I want to do it with the best. And yes, it's going to cost me money, but you know what? Because it's going to cost me some money, I'm going to take it very seriously. Very, very seriously. And I have to do my homework now. There's no way out of it. But if you don't put time and effort and resources into it, then it's just a repeat again. We try this campaign and it didn't work. Next month, you try another campaign and it didn't work, and so on, and so forth. Same thing with sales. We did the same thing with sales. We're like, Okay. Luckily, a lot of our business is organic, to be fair. A lot of it is organic. But we decided to do sales. We dived it into it and I'm like, Well, how do we go about it? Well, let's bring the best people to work with, really the best that we can afford, and sit down with them and figure out a way to make it work. We've learned so much from them. I mean, really so much. It goes back again to that saying of hire people are smarter than you. Hire partners that are better than you. I'm not afraid of competition, FYI. I do work with partners. I do work with some of our competition. I'm not afraid of it at all. I really believe that the amount of time that someone is afraid to lose a client, if they take that energy of being afraid of losing them and convert it into taking care of the client, they will never lose the client. You will not lose them. Don't be afraid of losing them. Just translate that energy and push it back into them of caring for them. Then you'll never have to worry about them leaving because they'll be happy. It's the same thing with our partners. We nurture. We have a couple of partners in marketing, just like you, sales that we work with, and they're just super smart and just prove me wrong. Let's just figure out together, just the same way I treat my client, I will talk to you the same way. Let's figure it out. What direction do we have to go? What's our budget? If we aim for six months a year, where are we going to go? And 90 % of the time, we have excellent results.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, I love it, Man. Jacob, this has been a great conversation. I've really enjoyed especially talking about the repackaging and positioning. I think you've done so many things right there that people can learn from. And it's created this competitive advantage for you that I think is going to help you just continue to grow and grow and grow. If people want to connect with you, where can they learn more about you?

Jacob Ouaknine
I'm active on LinkedIn. I'm not super social. Let me repeat that. That's when my friend comes in and they realize I speak multiple languages. Sometimes I say things. Sometimes I'm not very HR friendly just because culturally I say things differently. But I don't spend much time on social media. I am very social. I just don't a lot on social media. But LinkedIn is a platform that I use regularly to communicate with friends, so I can be found on LinkedIn. Otherwise, you can go to m6it.com and just contact me and be happy to share knowledge and mistakes.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. I love it. Jacob, thank you so much for taking the time.

Jacob Ouaknine
Thank you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Those of you that are watching, listening, I appreciate you. Jacob broke down a lot of things that they're doing that I think they're doing really, really well that are helping remove revenue roadblocks that people commonly have. If you want to know which of the nine revenue roadblocks are slowing down your growth, go check out revenueroadblockscorecard.com. You'll be able to discover and assess in less than five minutes. Tons of value there, so go check it out. You can also always connect with us over at rialtomarketing. Com. Would love to hear from you and be happy to chat if you've got some roadblocks that you need some outside eyes on. Thank you so much. Jacob, thank you. Until next time. Take care


Connect With Jacob Ouaknine


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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