Isaac Mashman: “Personal leadership”

My final thing to take your company from good to great is to find ways to increase your value. Instead of lowering your prices, ask yourselves what can we do to provide more value to our clients. This will not only drive more revenue, but it will drive customer results higher as well. There’s a […]

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My final thing to take your company from good to great is to find ways to increase your value. Instead of lowering your prices, ask yourselves what can we do to provide more value to our clients. This will not only drive more revenue, but it will drive customer results higher as well. There’s a direct correlation. I did this with my own services. We charge over a thousand dollars a call, but there are a variety of benefits, all valuable and with a focus on solving our client’s highest value problem.

As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Isaac Mashman.

Isaac Mashman is a business owner, podcast host, and public speaker. Coming from a lower-middle-class family in Jacksonville, Florida, growing up Isaac saw firsthand how the lack of money could influence one’s life. During his senior year of high school, he turned away from the idea of going to college like he had been planning for his entire educational career, instead falling into business.

Since graduating Isaac has dipped his toes into over half a dozen business ventures, including multiple network marketing companies, artist management, a record label, drop-shipping, and an apparel line. It was in early 2020 he finally understood he had a passion for personal branding and had seen some success with his own up to that point. On April 17th, 2020 Isaac launched his public relations firm Mashman Ventures. This company takes an untraditional approach to PR and emphasizes the importance of building one’s personal brand.

As of the time of publication, he has a team of over a dozen people and is 60 episodes into his podcast Chase the Vision with Isaac Mashman.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Absolutely! Thank you again for this opportunity. I come from a lower-middle-class family in Jacksonville, Florida. Growing up, my grandfather worked at a cabinet shop, my grandmother a stay-at-home wife, and my mom worked at fast-food restaurants taking obnoxious shifts. Although she is a brilliant lady with a college degree, she had to struggle taking care of me as a single mom.

I remember when I was younger being told that I needed to take school seriously so I could get a scholarship because lord knows, they couldn’t pay for it. That is exactly what I was doing too. I was never one of those D or F entrepreneurs. Quite the opposite actually. I was always a top of my class student, and education for the most part came easy.

Then, in my senior year of high school, I sort of fell into business and started with a clothing line. My thought process was that I could be in control of my income, my life, and do things I never could do growing up. After all, if other people my age were doing it why couldn’t I?

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

There are so many things I could talk about here. Learning how to be supportive of myself and to stand by my self-beliefs have to have been the most challenging. Very few people in my family understood my choice to sacrifice a full-ride scholarship. My mom, bless her heart especially. When you have an expectation for your child and they do a 180, I too would be put off so I can’t blame her.

Personal development played a huge part in staying focused. I could look to mentors and leaders who had the results I ultimately desired. I could learn from their mistakes and understand what I too, could do to achieve similar results. This trust in them and in my future self kept me fueled.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

I remember when I was in my first network marketing company and was trying to get people to show for an opportunity webinar. I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I’d send out texts that were multiple paragraphs long saying “This is XYZ and here’s a list of 47 reasons why you need to be a part of it”. Looking back I laugh, but I realize that that allowed me to understand a weakness of mine. So, I started reading more on sales and studying people who were at the top of the sales game.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I could talk about our methods or I could talk about our foundation, which is our team.

Mashman Ventures as a whole is diverse, with people from all walks of life, and even from around the globe. Diversity is important in a workplace as is an internal culture. What people can’t see from the outside, is just how well everyone works together. We also just brought on a personal trainer for our team to work with, free of charge so we’re all excited about that!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I don’t believe one can ever completely burn out. I think burnout instead takes form in different ways. I’ve noticed that when I feel burnt in one area, I oftentimes devote more time and energy to a different area of life or business. Self-awareness is the best thing someone can ever develop.

In a technical sense, turn your business and personal brand into a game. Still act with professional common sense, but enjoy the growth. Enjoy the challenges. Act like you’re playing a game of Monopoly. You don’t play to get around GO, you play to develop your empire.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I can’t mention one person, without a dozen more coming to mind. I am extremely grateful for my virtual mentors, for the authors in which I read, and for the people who have supported me along the way such as my Grandmother. Since I was little, she was telling me to work with my “noggin” and not with my back.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

Good means to be average. To be mediocre. It means that the company is operating within normal standards and that’s the extent of it. Their culture is decent, their customer results alright, and their brand could be described as “eh”. This is a huge problem for many business owners, especially starting out because good doesn’t necessarily pay the bills or lead to growth.

Great on the other hand is to perform with excellence and with pride. A culture is developed that incentivizes collaboration and healthy competitiveness. The brand looks like it belongs to a billion-dollar corporation, and there are so many 5-star reviews and video testimonials from happy clients, nobody can argue with the company’s methods.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.

If I had to break it into 5, I’d start with personal leadership. Whoever is the leader of the company (note I didn’t say boss) has to start by leading themselves. From there, others will pick up on it. Have you ever heard the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do”? Chances are, you didn’t listen. Hypocrisy does not work in leadership.

There has to be a vision worth fighting for. Sure, a good company has a vision, but a great one has something that inspires passion. Within my own organization, our people know that we’re not only creating unrivaled personal brands for our clients but that there is unlimited room for growth within the company and outside. We have developed a vision not only as a team, but are reinforcing one another’s individual visions as well.

Treating a business like a business and not like a hobby was a pivotal move for me personally. It’s real easy to say you’re self-employed, or a business owner. It’s also easy to be what I call “unemployed with a title”. I knew in order for me to see change, I had to change.

The development of a company’s brand. Having a website is not enough anymore. Every company should always have a scaling brand both on and offline. What better way to find new customers than coming across right in front of their faces every second of the day? Mashman Ventures is across all platforms, directories, and we even went as far as getting accredited with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that we stood out from the rest, and have an impeccable digital footprint.

My final thing to take your company from good to great is to find ways to increase your value. Instead of lowering your prices, ask yourselves what can we do to provide more value to our clients. This will not only drive more revenue, but it will drive customer results higher as well. There’s a direct correlation. I did this with my own services. We charge over a thousand dollars a call, but there are a variety of benefits, all valuable and with a focus on solving our client’s highest value problem.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

Having an idea as to why you’re doing what you’re doing is vital to staying committed to it. No, I am not talking about your “why”. I’m talking about at the end of the day, what is important about this business that is also important to the community? Business is about solutions, and without it, there are potentially thousands or even millions of people who will remain with their problems. This is especially important speaking about non-profits or companies that support change or charity work through sales.

You’re a business leader, and leaders lead with a vision.

What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

I am convinced every business owner goes through this at some point in time. If you’ve seen success previously then I would suggest doing some self-reflection. Ask yourself questions like “What have I stopped doing that I used to do” and “Am I really performing as hard as I know I should be?” It takes a degree of humility to answer these.

Again, as I mentioned earlier it is all about emphasizing the solutions. Be aware of the problem, but don’t dwell on them. Also, understand that it is only temporary… If you want it to be.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

I don’t pay attention to the economy that much. Unless I am looking to invest, or dive into the crypto markets I don’t spend time thinking about how the economy is tanking, and how we’re in a recession. This may sound ignorant, but at the end of the day, I determine my own economy. I know that there are plenty of people of affluence with a problem, that I and my company can solve.

Now, what I have done for people who want results, but maybe can’t afford it right now, is increase my amount of content. Sharing more strategies, publishing more podcast episodes. At the end of the day, this serves as free and organic marketing that will land me (and us) more financial success in the long run.

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Internal marketing. Without a doubt. I see a trend coming in the near future that will have companies hiring personal brand experts to come in and train their workforce on how to leverage their personal brands to drive sales and company awareness. Are you more likely to buy from a friend or family member, or buy from a stranger?

Internal marketing is a form of word of mouth. Word of mouth has been around longer than any other form of marketing.

As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

Connection equals conversions. The moment the company stops looking at their prospects as numbers and sales is the moment their conversions will increase. Start looking at them as loyal customers with real problems and unique traits. Have more conversations that show care and concern. That love will be reciprocated.

Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

An underrated strategy that I and Mashman Ventures are heavy on is driving testimonials, both written and video. If you are confident in your product or service, you should have no issue asking a previous or current client for a testimonial. From there, you display it on your Google Business Listing (which is entirely free) and your YouTube channel.

Another aspect of building a trusted brand comes with an employer brand. I learned this from Ish Verduzco of Crave It. How are your employees or contractors talking about your establishment? You can go as far as having them record a video discussing why they joined the company.

Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

From the moment you first make contact with the customer, there should be a level of care and comfort. How convenient is your sales process? Your booking software? How professional is your invoicing system? All of these things matter and add up. Many people get too big to do the little things and wonder why they don’t get the big results.

What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Social media can be a tool for global destruction or for global communication. It’s all about how you use social media. I personally believe it is a vital tool for a company’s success. Depending on the company and its personality, a tone should be displayed online. Let’s look at Wendy’s. They have a humorous team handling their Twitter page, so much so that feuds between brands have started, driving brand awareness and more burgers sold. Popeyes within the last few years received upwards of 70 million dollars in free marketing when their chicken sandwich went viral. This right here is a perfect example.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Acting bossy and being lazy. The title CEO does not give you the green light to be a royal jerk, and the title CEO does not mean you can sit back, feet up, vacationing in Fiji. In order for a company to go from good to great, all of the gears have to be oiled and turning.

There honestly isn’t a one-stop solution for this though. It’s best to prevent yourself from turning into it, to begin with (i.e reading and sharing this interview), or if it’s too late falling on your face and learning the hard way.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would without a doubt start a movement that encourages self-education. I believe that at the center of all achievement is personal growth. This attitude directs people to solutions, and not to the problems themselves.

How can our readers further follow you online?

You can find me everywhere @isaacmashman and by going to my website — I’d love to connect with everyone who may be reading this!

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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