Where do you need to be spending your Brainshare in your business?

Interview with Joe Siecinski

We are happy to present Joe Siecinski, who helps thousands of business leaders prioritizing their Brainshare. In this interview, Joe shares lots of insights from his 30 years of experience.

Let's hear from Joe, how he started his journey.

I was born in France, raised in Arnold, Missouri. Grew up in South Korea and live in Silicon Valley. I spent six years in United States military intelligence, which is an oxymoron. Went to work for a little company called Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies. Had a fabulous 25 year career, and retired in 2007.

In 2007, my goal was to retire and go buy an island. However, in 2008, all my real estate investments went underwater. And I said, okay, well I can't retire now. So I looked around.

Then 2008 hit with the Great Recession. I saw so many businesses going out of business and decided that I had to do something to help.

And that's when I started, BrainSHARE Joski International. In the corporate world, they teach you how to run a Fortune 50 business, but the businesses that I wanted to help were smaller businesses. So I had to go get the tools, education and knowledge I needed to be able to help them.

So that's when I started down the path of, okay, running a Fortune 50 business is not like running a mom and pop's donut shop, you know, a smaller business, $5 million or less. I realized building a business is like building a house. It's when I wrote my best selling book, BrainSHARE - how business owners make more money and have more time.

The biggest challenge I saw was business owners had so many hats to wear. You have to be the CEO, you have to be the CFO, you have to be the Marketing Manager, you have to be the Sales Manager, you have to be the Operations Manager, you have to be the Janitor and more.

All of these modalities cause stress and inefficiencies. Trying to do them all at once causes inefficiencies. And that's why I developed a small business calendaring system for managing your most valuable assets, setting your goals and getting your operations together. That's the foundation. And that's where most people, most small businesses struggle.

And that's how I got here. I've been doing this for almost 14 years now. My goal is to help 2000 businesses every single year, and I've been doing that for the last six years.

How did you manage to launch BrainSHARE at a time when the 2008 recession hit and all your real estate investments were going down?

Well, just like I teach my clients, I had to put together my schedule. How much time do I need to allocate to marketing? How much time do I need to allocate to sales? So I put together my sales and marketing plan, just like I teach my clients to do. Because without revenue, without sales, you have no business. And that's kind of where we started. And then built up from there. Build that strong foundation and build the business up to whatever you want out of your business.

What were your strategies when you started off from ground zero, how did you reach out to the market?

I developed what's called a 10 by 10 marketing strategy. You can't depend on just one strategy. Otherwise your business is at risk, just like your investment portfolio. So I started out with networking. I did a lot of work with the Chamber of Commerce, I did events, and I wrote a book.

I started my email marketing campaign, started my social marketing campaign, I got out in there and did a ton of workshops for free, and that was the key. You've got to build your network. The Chamber of Commerce and some networking groups like BNI were instrumental.

Look around your area, see what opportunities exist. Identify them and then put your tactical marketing plan in place. Who's your target market? What are you offering them to help them? How are you getting them the offer? How much time are you going to spend and is it going get you ROI?

While your initial strategy was to do networking, the Chamber of Commerce activities and events, would you recommend the strategy for someone starting a business today?

Every business is unique, so you've got to put together a marketing plan that makes sense for you and your business.

If you're running an international e-commerce business, The Chamber of Commerce might not be the best place for you. It might be someplace else. If you're, an attorney, that might not be the best place. If you're an accountant that might not be the best place. It might be cold calling. It might be bold calling. It might email Marketing. Every business is unique and you've got to dive into what's going to work for your business, and that's what we get to help with.

So how many clients do you handle at BrainSHARE?

The most I could ever take on, one-on-one clients is about 50. Right now I've launched BrainSHARE online where I've got 75 subscribers. My target is 200 subscribers. I can reach a lot more businesses that need help.

BrainSHARE online is an e-learning system, for those who want to learn and grow their business. We've got 12 modules, over 200 lessons to build a business that works without you, that you can go at your own pace, and learn what you want. When you get stuck, you just give us a call and we guide you to break through the obstacles. On the subscription service we are targeting a thousand businesses and I'll handle three to four, one-on-one clients. I've also got two or three other coaches that help out wherever needed.

So, how big is your team and how did you go about building it from scratch?

Well, you know, I started out as a solopreneur and the first thing I added was add some virtual assistance. I did what's called a skills fun matrix, deciding what you need to outsource and what is not adding value to your team. So there's a process for this that you want to go through and decide what should I be delegating? The first two things I delegated out were my bookkeeping, and my answering service. Right now I've got four VAs. I've got a business development person.

I've got an accountant. I've got two other financial partners. I've got a complete network of resources for whatever my clients need. I'm not the expert. I'm the general practitioner. When we need an expert, we pull in the expert. So, on my team, I've got about nine people total. With regards to my network, I've got well over 200 whom I refer to on a regular basis.

So who would benefit from subscribing to BrainSHARE?

Okay, so the brainshare.online e-learning system would be ideal for businesses that have five employees and want to get to about 20 employees. However more than the number of employees revenue would be the best metric. So business with a million dollars of revenue to 2 million and want to get to five or ten million.

We start with the CEO and then we break it down to the management team and then to the employees. But everyone needs to understand and, move that up. That's how we grow the company.

So if you want to earn more, learn how to build a business that works without you. Brainshare.online is the right place. My one-on-one clients are typically in the 20 million space that want to get to 50 million.

We do have individual subscriptions, team subscriptions and workshops, clients get to pick and choose.

What is the impact digital and social media had for your business?

Well for my business, when it comes to social media, LinkedIn is the go to channel. Email marketing is also very critical. But, things like Facebook and Twitter is not my target. Now that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a target for your business. I look for business media because the people that I want to help are the business owners.

COVID-19 put many businesses at stake. What was the impact of COVID-19 on your business?

Well, I lost almost half my clients. That's the bad news. The good news. Some were able to pivot. Event based businesses had to shut down because there was nothing you could do live. We did leverage technology and moved into virtual events. But that really didn't bring in the revenue to keep the infrastructure in place that we had from a cost structure standpoint.

So eventually some of the companies had to pivot, some had to shut down and some had to change their business model. And then I actually added on six new clients as they were going through this and were exploring how to get through this in a different modality. So I actually ramped up my business when COVID-19 hit.

Can you give some examples of how some of your clients pivoted during the pandemic?

Let's take the events business. They had to go completely from a corporate way of doing things, to a digital focus. And that means that they had to bring in a digital resources and completely reorganize their structure.

So they needed to bring in more IT resources that understood technology and less of the physical planner. We had to restructure the entire organization. We had to redo the org chart. We had to redo KPIs, roles and responsibilities. We had to restructure the entire company.

Fundraising just completely changed. I work with several nonprofits and the fundraising models had to completely change/pivot. A lot of brick and mortar companies had to completely pivot. Almost all my restaurant clients really had a challenge on getting a handle on things. The PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) and some of the government initiatives helped.

However, it also created some challenges because some businesses got too reliant on that. And now the repercussions of that are starting to hit today. How do we pay back these loans if we have to pay 'em back? And with the influx of cash, the financials weren't accounted for in the way it should have.

Some got a little lazy, and are now feeling the hangover of the funding that came in. And we're diving into a lot of financials that say, okay, this was not real money. We got to take that out of our projections. So that's where we're doing a lot of work right now.

What does your typical day / daily routine look like?

Well I get up in the morning, do my meditation and exercises. Then I look at my calendar and ask myself what do I need to accomplish today? And then I make sure my calendar's set up so that I'm very, very effective and efficient.

So I time block modalities. I'm in marketing mode. I'm in sales mode, I'm in operations mode, and then I run through the day allocating my time appropriately. At the end of the day, I review my entire day. What did I do? What didn't I do?

I do an analysis and then I look at the next thing and say, okay, what's tomorrow look like? What's the rest of the week look like? And I make sure that my time allocations are set the way I need to achieve my goals. And finally at night I do my reading, my gratitudes and then hit the bed.

Given your experience working with multiple businesses what is your take on The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris? Have you achieved it or is that even a real goal?

Well, if you even talk to Tim, he doesn't work a four hour work week. The concept is simple. Figure out what you do well, do it, and what you don't do well have somebody else do it. Charge a hundred dollars and pay $50 to get it done.

The concept is simple. That's standard. Basic delegation. It's your business. You decide what you want it to look like. You build it just the way you want it, just like building a house. Define what kind of house you want, put the plans in place, get the blueprints, get the foundation in place and build it.

A successful business is a profitable enterprise that works without you. It's what Tim Ferris kind of says. However, it takes work to get there. It's simple. It is not easy and you've got to get your ego together. If you want to earn more, learn more, there's a bunch of books out there.

Put it on your reading list. I read at least two books a month and that's been my goal for a long, long time. And if you're not sure what to read, give us a call. I'll make some recommendations. If you get stuck when building your business, give us a call. That's what we're here for. My goal is to help 2000 businesses every single year. And in fact, with the new, BrainSHARE online, we should be able to help about 10,000 businesses.

From your 30 years of experience working with large corporates to SMBs, what is your biggest learning that you would like to share with business leaders?

Time is your most valuable asset. How you utilize it will determine the success of your life and your business. So understand how you're spending your time. Put your goals in place, put your plan in place, and then allocate the time to achieve them. And when you get stuck as you will, get somebody to help. I've got two coaches myself.

I don't know everything, so I need help all the time because our biggest competitor is right between our ears. Get a mentor. Allocate your time, put your plans in place, and help the universe. That's my strong recommendation.

Thank You

This interview with Joe Siecinski is our way of bringing you insights from fellow business leaders. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Learn More About Joe

You can reach Joe at joe@brainsharecoach.com

You can learn more about his coaching program and on-demand training here.