Turning Down A Chance At Paradise
Little did I know that my experiences a decade ago would help me to build the cyber security MSP I’ve always wanted to own. Back then, I had a dream job at Amazon-owned Zappos. If there was ever a company that took customer-focused service and culture to a level that’s rarely been achieved in corporate America, it’s Zappos. In fact, I chose my job over a chance at moving to the paradise of Hawaii!
Years later, I was finally ready to move to paradise. Because our previous technology company didn’t pan out, my husband wasn’t sold on us opening a new IT company. I had to convince him that I had the vision and knew precisely how to successfully grow our IT business this time. In fact, I had a secret weapon in the Toolkit. Yes, even before I legally formed my company, I started with Technology Marketing Toolkit. In 2014, HI Tech Hui was formed. (In Hawaii, “hui” is a group of people working together.) Follow my journey to find out how we increased our marketing implementation strategies and increased our MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue).
From Break-Fix And $1K In MRR
To An Award-Winning $3 MILLION MSP Within 6 Years!
We made only $54,060.73 in our first six months in business, and I wasn’t taking a salary. Because most of our clients were break-fix, we could only count on a measly $1K in recurring revenue each month. I clearly remember going to Robin’s Roadshow and thinking, “I can’t wait to be able to afford to join Producers Club!”
Familiar with Glazer-Kennedy and embracing the Toolkit, I started marketing implementation on steroids. Newsletters. Direct mail. Sponsored events. Next, before it was even mainstream, we became the go-to cyber security provider in Hawaii. Combined with a Zappos-like level of customer service where we were always proactive and took extreme ownership of issues, our little break-fix business became a multimillion-dollar MSP!
Yes, we actually TRIPLED our revenue the next year and TRIPLED it again the year after that! Then added $400,000, $400,000 and $1.3 MILLION over the next three years! Last year, we reached $3.5 million in revenue.
From Exponential Growth To Near Bankruptcy!
HI Tech Hui was started as a 50/50 partnership. While I was implementing marketing and using Gino Wickman’s Traction as a guide, my business partner HATED and AVOIDED all marketing (In fact, he still doesn’t have a website today!). As we didn’t see eye to eye on the fundamentals of business, we split ways in 2018. After eight long months of arbitration, he took his clients, we lost some employees and we were done.
After the business “divorce,” there simply wasn’t enough money coming in each month. It nearly bankrupted my husband and me since we still weren’t taking salaries. Then, like a champion, my husband sold $30,000 in MRR in a SINGLE QUARTER! And we were back!
Catapulting From $88,500 To $122,400 In MRR!
While we have been drinking the Robin Robins Kool-Aid since 2014, we knew we could do even MORE with marketing. Our main problems: 1) not being methodical and efficient with our marketing implementation, and 2) zero consistency. Going through Robin’s Virtual Rapid Implementation Workshop changed all of that! At the beginning of Rapid, our MRR was at $88,500. After the workshop, we grew to $122,400!
We Sold Our First Multimillion-Dollar RFP During Rapid!
What’s the best way to get the attention of just about EVERYONE on the island? Get awarded a government project valued at $800K a year for five years! By pulling off our LARGEST contract ever during the Rapid Implementation Workshop, we were the darling of news articles. As a result, we were ranked as “#11 For Hawaii’s Fastest Growing Companies!” This honor put us on the FRONT PAGE of our local newspaper!
$6,900 In MRR From Doing A Single Direct Mail Campaign
The RIGHT WAY
We had never implemented a successful direct mail campaign! *Gasssp!* This has been a pain point for us since day one of joining Producers Club. Our previous direct mail campaigns were random, half-assed attempts with no list management and zero follow-up. No wonder we never got results from them!
During the 12 weeks following the Rapid Implementation Workshop, we sent out Robin’s Co-MITs campaign since co-managed IT services have become a specialty for us. This time we did it right. Our part-time list cleaner is scrubbing our contacts, and our salesperson is dedicated to completing ALL follow-up calls. From sending out just 37 letters, we secured TWO appointments, one request for proposal and a NEW CLIENT worth $6,900 in MRR! This stuff really works!
One New Referral In One Week
Thanks To New Purpose And Prizes!
We’ve always done naturally well with referrals. It’s the “aloha” way of life to support friends and family. In fact, 50% of our business comes from referrals and JV partnerships while the other 50% comes from our marketing implementation.
While we had never previously advertised a prize or money for referrals, we have thanked our contacts with gift cards after each connection. We’re changing things up by launching an official referral program for a prize giveaway. We are even featuring this referral program on our newsletter and website! Apparently it works, because in just one week, we have gained ONE NEW REFERRAL!
Pivoting With The Online Shock-And-Awe Presentation
Prior to the workshop, we never used the Online Shock-And-Awe Presentation. However, Hawaii’s Work From Home mandate made it hard to mail the physical Shock-And-Awe boxes. Therefore, we decided to finally create our first Online Shock-And-Awe Presentation. We even took it a step further and created an online welcome feature so they’ll know what to expect after the sale.
Drip Marketing Times THREE!
Through the Glazer-Kennedy training, as well as Robin Robins, I’ve learned how important drip marketing campaigns are to gaining more “know, like and trust” from both prospects and clients. We are currently sending out 340 printed newsletters to our list each month. We also started sending out the Cyber Security Tip E-mails. Next up: launching our TechTip Postcards in the first quarter of 2021.
Hawaii’s Own Cyber Security “Mini-Celebrity”
I was inspired to learn about Better Your Best winner Sitima Fowler’s Celebrity Campaigns to build her brand and establish credibility. Since the workshop, I tried to walk in her footsteps by finally making our first videos! We created a YouTube channel and have added videos and interviews with the local news station about cybercrime. This added exposure should benefit our drip marketing campaigns as well as our SEO efforts.
Getting Better, Bolder And More Consistent With Marketing
No matter how long you’ve been marketing, no matter how many campaigns you’ve implemented, there is ALWAYS more to do. That has been our lesson after going through Robin’s workshop. Here are a few more improvements that will soon lead to more business:
- Updated X Reasons/Why Choose Us – Managed security service providers (MSSPs) are in demand. Our previous 11 Reasons Why always UNDERWHELMED me. After in-depth discussions with Rich Crockett of Technology Marketing Toolkit, we strategized an approach to target both small- and medium-sized businesses and large corporations with our cyber security expertise. Today, I am proud of the SIX strong Reasons Why that speak to both markets.
- More (And Better) Testimonials – We’ve always struggled to get quality testimonials from clients. By finally using Robin’s Testimonial Request E-mail Template, we have received FIVE in just a few months! This has now become part of our process immediately after the TBR appointment.
- Improved TBR Process – We have refined our Technology Business Review (TBR) process from start to finish. Today, we have a meeting agenda, run reports before the meeting and e-mail these reports to clients BEFORE our meeting. We’ve also included cross-selling opportunities.
- More Consistent Social Media – Our old recipe for social media was a post here, a post there and then forgetting about social media. Not good enough. Now we are building out social media content a month in advance, including three posts a week featuring a variety of content leading back to our site.
- Rebranding Our Business – We are in the process of rebranding our business to Cyberuptive. Two reasons: First, we are doing a lot more work outside of Hawaii, and “Hui” doesn’t mean much to you mainland folk. Second, the Cyberuptive name better promotes our cyber security focus.
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My 3-Pronged Approach To Adding $33,900 In MRR
Yes, the marketing implementation strategies and campaigns are essential to getting results. But without the right foundation (and consistency), your results will typically be less than expected. Today, we have a new energized focus, which must ALWAYS consist of the following:
- Make everything a SYSTEM and PROCESS. Take time to FIRST create systems and processes around ALL of your marketing. This includes your campaigns, your quarterly business reviews, your sales meetings, your service… EVERYTHING! And then FOLLOW those systems and processes religiously. If you do, it’s almost impossible to fail.
- Mindset, mindset, mindset. What you believe you can or cannot do is 100% TRUE. I’ve made a great effort to really work on my mindset because it’s that important. So much of what we accomplish in life is directly tied to the way we think.
- Press GO! While creating systems and processes and getting your mindset right is essential, this next key is paramount. Take MASSIVE action. Once you start implementing on a grander scale, your fear, doubts and mental obstacles melt away. By hiring a part-time list scrubber, an appointment setter and a salesperson, we have implemented more marketing implementation strategies and closed more deals in the last three months than we did for the first six months!
We Exceeded Our MRR Goal
While Living In Paradise
As you’re probably bundled up in January and battling snow, ice and frigid temperatures, some of us are enjoying the sun, the beach, and 77-degree days…EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Sorry!) I knew the only way I could move our family to the paradise of Hawaii was IF I could grow my business substantially. Through increasing marketing implementation and a fanatical approach to customer service, we did just that. Our goal has always been to exceed $100K in MRR. Today, we are proud to be at $122,400 in MRR, which doesn’t even include our annual $800K contract!