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Featuring Sales Strategist Paul D'Souza.

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In this episode of the Coach Mike series, Mike Suprovici (FI Head of Portfolio Success) is joined by special guest revenue strategist Paul D’Souza and Founder Insights editor Dustin Betz to talk about strategies founders can employ as they navigate unknown futures and uncertain markets. Paul D’Souza has been a leader in growth Startup and Enterprise Sales for more than 20 years, currently self-employed as a Sales Strategy Consultant at the D’Souza Group, and is also a longtime Go-To-Market and Revenue Mentor for the Founder Institute. 

D’Souza has experienced multiple market downturns throughout his career, and observed business leaders whose reactions and choices have served them and their employees both well and poorly in the early stages of economic disruptions. With at least a short economic recession now seemingly inevitable, how can founders not panic, but be smart as they prepare their contingency plans? Mike and guests discuss the strategies startup leaders can use to best prepare themselves now for navigating the choppy waters of unknown market conditions ahead.   

Coach Mike and guest Paul D'Souza answer questions like:

  • How can founders provide stability to potential nervous customers, jittery suppliers, or uneasy employees in the early stages of an economic downturn?
  • How do the best entrepreneurs show up as organizational leaders? How can founders deliver their levelheaded best and grounded mindset to their team's challenges?
  • What are Paul's breathing and physical tactics to bring greater focus to one's daily tasks and attention? 
  • How can founders forecast their company's potential futures for unknown market futures, and plan contingencies for different scenarios?
  • How can companies with supply-side challenges deal with the new manufacturing challenges and supply chain complexities created by the realities of COVID-19?
  • and more! 

Visit CROaaS.com to learn about Paul D'Souza's Chief-Revenue-Officer-as-a-Service offering, and other services for business leaders to increase revenue

The following includes a transcript from this Founder Insights podcast episode – these transcripts are produced by a third-party natural language processing algorithm, and are not checked word-for-word by humans for complete accuracy—so, there may be some errors or typos!  


Dustin Betz  0:02 

Welcome to the founder insights podcast. I'm founder Institute Content Editor Dustin Betz and I'm joined today, not in our HQ studio but remotely - as we're all hunkered down and social distancing - from his own home office, by founder Institute portfolio success manager and my co-host, Mike Suprovici - Hello, Mike.

 

Mike Suprovici  0:22 

Hello, everyone. It's great to be back with you all.

 

Dustin Betz  0:26 

And we're also joined today by our special guest: revenue strategist Paul D'Souza. Paul has been a leader in startup and enterprise sales for more than 20 years. And he is a longtime go to market and revenue mentor for the founder Institute. Paul D'Souza, welcome to the podcast. Can you please introduce yourself a bit?

 

Paul D'Souza  0:43 

Absolutely. Thank you so much. Glad to be on the show. Congratulations to putting the show together. So much needed. Looking forward to having an amazing conversation with you guys and helping the hundreds of founders you have through the founder Institute all over the world, welcome.

 

Mike Suprovici  1:01 

And I want to also say that Paul is not only is a longtime mentor, but he's one of the top people we know with regards to sales and sales strategy. And also he has kind of a meditation background. So Paul, would you mind talking a little bit about that in your meditation background? Yeah. Because it's very applicable to these days.

 

Paul D'Souza  1:20 

Exactly. Right. So yes, I've been focusing on the domain of revenue generations, you know, historically, we call that sales strategies and marketing. I do all that for sure. I've been doing that I wrote a book on the subject called the market has changed, have you I go even further back, I have sort of developed an in philosophy complete body of knowledge with nine principles are called Waldo, which translated the Japanese name for the way of harmony like I Kido. in judo, though, is the word for the way and why in Japanese is harmony. In fact, I've used these principles to turn businesses around for 20 years.

 

The book I wrote 10 years ago, it was anchored in the same philosophy. And the fundamental step in that whole process, that philosophy about personal change and transformation and living a harmonious life, right? Not just the 1%. But sustainable success is anchored in silence. Silence is that nothingness from which all action starts. And if you want to get to self integrity, right, you've got to go to a place of silence to know who you are, and then come out guns blazing. So why those sort of a practical philosophy and meditation is only the first step is to to to help you get to silence the way I teach. It is a very practical approach to get the silence for the sake of not just being mindful, but for the sake of knowing exactly who you are and what you're here to accomplish because that translates into business strategy. That translates into getting in rapport with your customers, that translates into building your brand. That translates into your customers wanting to know who you are, so they can engage with you. They can commit to a transaction and build a future with you.

 

Dustin Betz  3:15 

Awesome. Yeah. I mean, there's obviously a lot of feelings that founders are having right now with a potential economic downturn. And we want to talk about how founders are feeling. But we also want to talk about the strategies that founders can use right to both cope with everything that's going on around them, which might involve practical things like meditation, but also strategies they can use it in their business. So how they can plan as pragmatically as possible without panicking. Yeah. So with that, Paul, I mean, kind of want to turn it over to you with a broad question about the general sentiment. People are feeling a lot of founders are really nervous. Many are indeed starting to panic. I don't know, should they be? What's your general feeling on? What businesses are going to be headed in for here? Fantastic. Great question.

 

Mike Suprovici  4:00 

Yeah, totally makes sense. I think it's also just really important for founders to be grounded in reality, given just the circumstances. And with that, you should be planning, you should be planning for everything you should be planning for the virus and how the virus affects your employee employees, potentially, you should be planning for the potential effects of the virus, right? Let's say the entire world economy is shut down for let's say, like a month, which is pretty substantial. What are the reverberating effects of that and how will people buy and again, this isn't about what's right or wrong. This is not about being emotional about it or anything like this. You just got to be realist, right? This is kind of the situation that we're heading in. And as a result of that, at this point, cash is king, right? You need to make money and you need to like make sure that you're spending it on the right things and if the customers aren't buying, like Paul said, right, like, how do you get them to buy or if not try to improve the value proposition, pivot. It's super important that you kind of think about that. But again, fundamentally, it's really about being grounded in reality, right? This is the reality. And this is how we manage it moving forward.

 

Paul D'Souza  4:00 

You know, earlier this afternoon, I was talking to one of my marketing partners. And we were talking about this. This is not my first rodeo. This is not the first downtown I've seen, I helped companies go through and pivot back in 2007 and eight, which is why I wrote the first book. In fact, now I'm writing the second word, second book with the same title, the market has changed, have you? But the subtitle is customer engagement. So yes, the market is going through a downturn right now, right? We're not in the bear market anymore. But the question really is now, what do you do? It's a ton of things. You can't act as if it's not happening. Your strategies that you had you were falling through in February I almost potentially irrelevant now. What is the future hold what is the next 90 days or what's the next 1818 months look like? Where will revenue come from? What happens in markets like today is not that the market goes away the market is basically you buying habits change. Definitions of value change in people's minds, and they spend differently. I just went shopping Guess what, it's not like a not spending I, you know, I just had to buy groceries because we're the sort of lockdown over here, right? We spend a lot of money. People are spending money. I've just made six recommendations to companies that are need to move product from manufacturing from China. And I'm suggesting to go to Mexico for early stage product startup companies. Right? People are still buying online. They're not going to the store but they're buying online right? One of my clients, source select is in Tracy. lights are on and we're rocking because people are still buying stuff online, on Amazon and places like that. So the question is, is your business relevant in today's market and when you go through a situation like this as business leaders, We've got to show up and say, Okay, how is my product relevant? And if it is not that relevant, you're gonna very quickly cry for 15 seconds and pivot. Right? It is rough, yes, but pivot and what do you need to bolt on? How do you need to change your strategy? have those kinds of conversations to figure out? What do people need today? And how can you take care of it? So the answer is the market is there. Yes. But the question is, how do you pivot to address needs and take care of people? You know, I think, Mike, you were talking to somebody the other day, forget his name is Brian, I think, and it's really about solving real problem, right? The gentleman that started the food industry and the meals, ready meals to go for people to buy online. The question is, he is solving a real problem. Same thing today. that business is relevant today because people can't go to restaurants and go shopping. Maybe they can get meals delivered to their home. That's what I'm talking about. How are you pivoting with the market? That makes sense?

 

Exactly. And also this that element of leadership, right, Mike, you know, what I want to coach him and I reached out to you, you know, my message of what I want, how I want to pay it forward to our community of founders, is I want to take care of you the founder, right? If you're listening in, I want to take care of you as people first because now everybody's gonna be looking up to you to figure out what's the right path we take, how do we conserve the resources we have? Right? How do we conserve water we move but then who are you looking up to? And I want us to be there I in fact, as you might write, how can we serve? I want the founders to come back to the founder Institute because we're part of a family here. We've got wisdom and experience and things like that on the mental side, the mental community, and I want us mentors to really show up to offer you leadership guidance and support so that you can take care of your little tribe, you the founders, right? You've got to show up. Now, this is time to put on your big boy pants on, right? And figure Okay, now how do we serve? How do we, I mean, please take moments of time and speak to your employees, people, your co founders and everybody else in your team. One of my other client companies did a j query. We actually had 11 o'clock meeting talk about this morning, what's going on? What is the path forward look like? Who are we going to focus on I contributed the conversation. But yes, we are focusing on customers that are willing to talk to us. Now, so guess what, that's what we focus on. I've got customers that said, Paul, we are not engaging in new conversations for query right now. So please call me back in September. Hey, thank you for sharing, I can focus on people are saying yes, we are using this time to design things. In fact, we want to be ahead of the curve on innovation. So yes, conversation

 

The query is going to move forward. In fact, we're all working on we have time, it's easy to coordinate time, a great opportunity to get in front of people who couldn't get in before because you know where they are the freakin at home, right? Hundred percent. So it's a great way to recalibrate. This takes leadership. This takes maturity this takes greed and focus. Right? If you guys are like me, we've had a history where we might have gotten a fuse, you know, skirmishes ice, run a salsa nightclub? I've gotten a few fights. Who do you hit first? Right? You focus on the biggest threat. You take a breath, if you panic, you're gonna lose. Don't panic. You focus, control your breathing. Literally control your breathing, take a breath, and then pull the team together and say, which is our biggest threat? How can we conserve resources? Who cares about what we're doing? Where can we Serve? These are the types of questions I want founders to start asking themselves.

 

Mike Suprovici  11:06 

Any thoughts or any advice on kind of how to control your breathing? I'd love to kind of hear about this and just being able to be still and focused, you know, do you want to kind of give us some advice on that? And some, yeah, a couple things that we can do. Maybe after the podcast is over so that we can get grounded and think clearly.

 

Paul D'Souza  11:24 

Yeah, actually, I wish we had a video but I'll explain it very well. You know how you make a fist when you're boxing, right. And you can try doing this right now. Take your thumb and tuck it into the bottom of your palm and wrap your fingers around it. So it's not a full fist where you have your thumb on the outside with your thumb on the inside of your palm and wrap your fingers around it. And breathe. Just take a breath in.

 

Unknown Speaker  11:50 

And breathe out.

 

Paul D'Souza  11:52 

Now notice where that breath goes breathing again.

 

Where does it go into your body? You

 

Notice it goes in deep into your lower diaphragm, breathing again, within.

 

And then breathe out.

 

And notice how that breath goes all the way deep in. Now imagine I just stick your thumb out, like you're hitching a ride and breathe in and notice the difference of where the breath goes in your body breathing.

 

Notice how that just stays in the top of your chest. Breathe out.

 

It's the right time not breathe in.

 

And then breathe out.

 

So there are more but these are some fundamental techniques in pranayama. And let me explain when your thumb is on the inside. So this is you're sitting at a board meeting, a conference call or a sales call. I do this all the time. One hand I just stick one hand I put my thumb in, wrap my fingers around my thumb and I breathe and immediately the drops my emotion

 

because it goes

 

Lower diaphragm. And it centers my body it centers This is pranayama this is this is energy work and breathe in it's based on on the meridians and the traditional Indian system called bodies. Right. So that brings your emotions down and centers you in your body and you can do 10 breaths, or even five breaths. You can wake up in the morning and sit on a couch if you want to just wrap your fingers around your thumb re then but on the contrary, if you feel a little sleepy, or you need to focus on something, just you know, put your hand under the table or you're just sitting in fact in a room and you need to really focus boom, you put your thumb out like a hitching a ride and put it flat on the table so nobody knows what you're doing. Breathe in, your higher energy centers open up the top of your lungs open up - boom, and you look at the world more clearer. Try that out and everybody's gonna have potentially different experience. But these are some of the techniques it's much easier to do something physically or you can put your hands in the master because that's centers you in the heart Energy Center, literally where your center of your chest where you give somebody a hug and you pull them in, and you do an A muster. It's like pulling in a loved one you pulling in yourself though, you're touching the center of your chest, literally feels like you're giving yourself a hug. And you can sit in and do 20 breaths are 10 breaths, nice, deep, long breaths. The key is don't hold your breath and the bottom or the top of the breath. Don't empty your lungs and hold or don't fill your lungs and hold. Just two nice deep but continuous breaths. This allows the flow of energy.

 

Dustin Betz  14:38 

Yeah, that's awesome. Paul, this is so important. I think for founders, obviously, to be able to employ a technique like this if they're feeling panicked, or if they're feeling just overly a moment of a lot of stress all at once. To talk a little bit maybe about you know, keeping your team focused on also writing out this storm maybe how do you translate this kind of a more calm style, this calm mindset of leadership over to other people on your team who, you know, maybe just panicking more just for all kinds of different reasons around them. Are there ways that, you know, you can kind of instill this kind of calm in others around you, short of, you know, leading a meditation like this?

 

Paul D'Souza  15:21 

Yeah, absolutely. Narrative narrative narrative, right? That's the key. We exist in narratives, birds fly, fish, swim, human beings talk. This is what separates us from the great apes. The way you hold teams together, the way you hold yourself together, is by holding a narrative that makes sense. The narrative has to change in today's world, if you hold a narrative, then everything is hunky dory and you have nothing to worry about. Your team will lose trust in you

 

So you have to pivot the narrative first, and then collaborate, narrative, and then collaboration, and then engage the team, your team. So as you have to spend time and talk to them, and I would recommend, even though you've sort of got a clarity about where the narrative should go, don't shove that narrative down their throat. But ask them to participate and collaborate around, say, Hey, you know, pull up Columbo, right? Columbo was in the TV guy wasn't the detective was never threatening way. Political, obviously, you know, this is what's going on. This is what I'm thinking, let's get together. Let's get on a zoom call. And let's talk about it and create the space for people to own and show up and engage in that narrative. Just as customer engagement is a platform on how you sell today, employee engagement is the platform and how you scale a business.

 

So engaging employees in a new narrative collaboratively is the best way for lead servant leadership. Right? To support building a strong team, that's the most that's the way to go about it. Otherwise, it becomes very dictatorship like you know, like a dictator say, oh, we're gonna do this now. And that only works a week employees and you don't want to have weak employees on your team.

 

Dustin Betz  17:28 

Yeah, I love that. And I feel like that same kind of advice on you know, basically making sure you have bi and really openly communicating but that can also apply to external partners or suppliers or your clients as you are thinking about just everything that everybody's going through with economic upheaval or kind of that you you know, you can have that same kind of really honest and open dialogue with with others as well?

 

Paul D'Souza  17:53 

So like, a lot of the way I pivoted like when I help companies in the previous years, like literally, so they was a 3d animation studio in San Ramon that I was helping back in 2007. Right. We were trying to figure out they were doing 3d animation work, building these gorgeous videos to sell high end resorts in Dubai and the Ritz Carlton and places like that. So these rich people, the way they buy apartments and properties, is they see it through video 3d Animation Video there, you know, the wire funds, and it's done. They don't even travel and then they go see that when the building is built. And they had a rocking business about 25 employees, guess what that market tanked. And we collaborate together like what is the essence of your business was the question that was a workshop right? I was leading with it. What's the essence of your business? And they said, paraphrasing and, and it came down to they were storytellers. They could take ideas and they could take concepts, right? They could tell them in three dimensional stories. Their business said okay, who else needs this and who and then we ask question Who has the money for that today, I didn't come up with the answer, but we came up with the answer. And the answer was the military has money today. And they need what we do. And so guess what we ended up using the same skill set, we hired more people. And we started building 3d animated employee training manuals for Patriot missiles. We built in 127, false we gamified, three ring binders. I think there were 33 ring binders with the training, we ended up building a game because the new soldiers an Xbox get, right. I didn't come up with the answer. We came up with it, the team came up with the answer. So that's what I'm talking about leadership, you get buy in, in fact, then duplicate those 22. It's not for.

 

Mike Suprovici  19:46 

Another thing that's also important here, too, is is this concept of transparency. So one of the things that we see particularly with first time founders is that they're generally afraid or don't feel comfortable telling their employees exactly where they are, or their co founders or founders where they are, for example, let's say you have a month left of cash in the bank, you know, or two months have left in the bank. They feel uncomfortable saying that because they feel like they may leave, or whatever, right. And so this is actually usually a pretty big myth. What you want to do instead here is you want to be transparent and let people know and expect that strong employees or strong founders or strong team members will embrace and rise to the challenge of making things happen. Some of the greatest successes I've had certainly, as a startup founder was, you know, when we were lower on cash, and it's kind of amazing how like the team will rally around it. So back to kind of how we started this conversation just given you know, the economic environments, like you need to kind of think that through and be really have a realistic forecast about where you're thinking that your business will be in three or four months have a plan A, B, and C, C being that there's a pretty pretty wide like global recession and how do you ride that out? Right? How are you able to make money? How are you able to extend your runway to 12 or 24 months so that you can basically withstand it right? And if that means having making tough decisions, then that's also part of it. But being transparent is really important, particularly to your employees.

 

Paul D'Souza  21:16 

Yeah, transparency. So now you add transparency with what we talked about with narrative, and allowing them to collaborate because if you're asking them, if you're sharing with them, Listen, the runway is running out, they're gonna start making decisions to protect themselves or their families, right. But if you allow a space to pivot collectively, and come up with a new narrative in a collaborative form, they will actually give you answers and they feel comfortable, like yes, the new narrative, they this sign on to and help create a new narrative. They'll be super engaged and right to start with you because they're part of the new narrative is everything because it's difficult for them to make the changes and cuts

 

Say I only have a month of resources left in the bank. But they're not involved with the new narrative. Right? Or they're not emotionally engaged with the new narrative. That's completes the the power of that strategy. Your buy in is key. Yeah. And that's where storytelling and narrative actually really helps. I agree with you. 100%. Right. Why do you want me to buy take the risk of there's no upside for me. I mean, it's on simple terms. And as leaders, we have to be sensitive to that. You're right. But transparency is so key, because just as the new customer is an informed customer, the new employee is also a very well informed, connected employee. They don't need you until they commit to your narrative and where you're going as a leader of your business, because they have choices. They all do, right.

 

Mike Suprovici  22:53 

Yeah, I agree. So you know, keep make sure you have a really good narrative, create a really good plan and before be transparent moving forward with your teams through this potential downturn in the economy. And the good thing is, is that a lot of the best companies of our time, if not, most companies of our time had been built in situations like this with scrappy teams and scrappy founders that basically were able to find a way. Right? And so instead of like thinking, like, what was me, this is a bad situation, what do I do now? Blah, blah, blah, just embrace it and see, like, let's go ahead and make a dent in the universe. And that also plays part of what you were saying is like the snare, right? Like, why are we going to go charge them out? I mean, why what's the value?

 

Dustin Betz  23:37 

Yeah, I think it's pretty important that you know, what you just emphasized, you know, that there are some positives that come out of all downturns, right? I mean, any downturn creates new problems. You know, entrepreneurs are problem solvers. Costs fall down, you know, credit becomes cheaper, big companies are going to be reorganizing, which just means they might be moving, you know, more slowly there's going to be talent, possibly that's seeking new opportunities. So, yeah, it's important to keep that positive mindset. You know, Paul, one thing you kind of talked about you, sir, a way that you would recommend maybe founders go about if they want to have one of these really honest conversations, they want to bring their team and say, "Hey, we might need to go through a pivot. You know, we've been speaking with a lot of our customers." There are a way to kind of invite the team in to think about changing a product or service offering in these different market conditions or, you know, you recommend starting?

 

Paul D'Souza  24:29 

Yeah, depending on size, you know, I would definitely start with the inner circle, start with the leadership team. In a validated start with your mastermind, right, Everybody, please have your mastermind, sometimes your partner, your co founder, your inner people, your core people, your mentors, start with your mastermind, bad ideas, be respectful. You don't have a second chance you don't want to show up like you don't have a plan right then becomes a free for all and you're just throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. That's not leadership. That's not getting buy in. That's adding to chaos.

 

So take leadership to zero in from 360 degree of possibilities zero in on some obvious choices, go validate that with your mentors, then go to your co founders go to the leadership, get their buy in, and then go deeper. There's got to be some sense and strategy about how you and just with ethics and humility, you'll find teal that new narrative and fine tune. Absolutely. Yeah, I really like what you talked about earlier when it came to chaos. The Chaos is a usually a result of like, bad leadership, right, where people don't know they have too many questions, and then it's just start kind of acting on their own. Right and making these decisions kind of like on their own. Yeah, exactly. It's not a free for all right. I have a problem with just saying it's a democracy, we're all equal. No, some people are going to the bank little more than the others. Right? That's one fact. Second fact is some people you know, the buck stops with them. So they've got to make decisions to protect everybody.

 

So even in this pivot in the buying, you want to be respectful of people's roles and experience. You want to listen to everybody and their perspective, they got something to add. But there's got to be some logic about how you approach this.

 

Mike Suprovici  26:14 

Quickly pivot to use your word here. I want to talk a little bit more about like, you know, business strategy, particularly in tough economic environments. And you've been through several, can you talk a little bit about like rethinking your product and service offering, you know, just given how the market has changed a little bit and, and maybe if you had some examples, or some stories of kind of like, how you were able to close some deals and bad markets, that'd be really helpful for the audience as well.

 

Paul D'Souza  26:42 

Yeah, for sure. Like I said earlier with the animation studio company, right. We focused on the essence of what they did. And then we said, Who needs us today and off that, who has a budget today, right? In every market like there are winners and losers. There are people where this market I am literally talking to private equity company. My eight o'clock call was with a company in Mexico. They are on a buying spree. I scheduled a meeting tomorrow for one of the companies that turnaround way back when they're in Cincinnati. The private equity companies buying companies left right and center right? Because they know this is gonna turn they got the cash, now's the time to buy. So you've got to locate yourself in the new marketplace.

 

It's called reading the market. So if your offer is all about entertainment and luxury that people will spend when they have money, like you know, in 2007 and eight, when people had extra equity in the property they were buying Escalades, Cadillac, Escalades left, right and center who needs a damn escalate in a down market, they don't.

 

So if you have the choice or the ability, you got to pivot and start selling cars that people need in a down market as an example. Right, you've got to be respectful of the market. People will only buy what they need, what they can't do without you. If they can do something without you, they'll do it. If I can build a website that's good enough for my business without you, they're not going to use you. But if they're going to need to build a website that is better than what they can do, they suck at building a website, they're going to hire a service as an ad service is going to go the website.

 

So you've got to be honest. And ask yourself who in today's market has the need and the budget to buy what I'm selling? is critically important. I'm doing that with all my clients. Right now. I'm asking that question. Is this relevant for you today and is it in your budget? I use this term when qualifying

 

Do you have strategic initiatives that require what we have to sell? Do you have a strategic initiative because a strategic initiative on the customer side will assign budget to what you're doing?

 

Right. Do you have budget? What do you mean? You have a strategic initiative? Guess what? It always comes with a budget. Do you have a need? Do you have any problems I can solve? Yeah, you might have customers that have a lot of problems that you can solve, but they don't have a budget. And it's not part of the strategic initiatives, what they need to focus on in a down market. Is he we all live with problems. Yeah, solving problems, who cares? Not important.

 

Dustin Betz  29:26 

I love that, great advice. And it speaks to, you know, all kinds of different facets, all kinds of different businesses, but all sort of on the demand side, I guess, of the economy, right, and solving, I guess, a problem for your customer. There's also this thing that especially in this sort of emerging recession, there's disruptions on the supply side. So could you also sort of talk a little bit about these kind of supply chain issues like if I'm a company and you know, I only have one contract manufacturer based in China? What should I kind of be thinking about right now basically, diversify that

 

Paul D'Souza  30:00 

You should be thinking about sending me flowers because I'm your best friend.

 

So, you could not have teed that up better for me. So literally, I'm in that space. Right? China's sucks in this current market, right? They were into the terrorists about a year. I've been dealing with that. And I was all bullish about Mexico. I love tequila. I was going to Mexico. I've got a ton of manufacturing companies. I've got a ton of assembly plants and ready to go. I built the relationships over three years. Now you have the coronavirus, manufacturing companies that are shut down. So first, you have a 25% increase in costs just going to China. You've got a four week delay if they get a product on a ship. You come back now you can even manufacture the goods. So yes, you need to call me ASAP. And what I'll do I'm recommending and I've got videos out there you see them on LinkedIn. I'm talking about this on my videos. I'm suggesting companies first pull the components, pull the parts out of China because China's supply chain for you know, their raw materials and components is amazing. It's very difficult to duplicate it. If you can pull those components out, because you might have already figured that out and they they're in bits and pieces in the factory, but the factory is not working because of the virus. Ask if you can get those out. I can move them on a ship. I'll pick them up from any factory in China right now. If I can, as long as there's no lockdown. I'll bring them on a ship to and I'll send them to Tijuana. Bring them to LA and drive them across the border fastest way. Right and because bringing the either air or containers to LA is super cheap. And I can do for 11 1200 bucks. It's amazing what a container cost these days. Bring that in driving across to Mexico do the manufacturing the final assembly and manufacturing or the back out. I'm just giving introduced my guy's there to accompany that needs to do 10,000 units a week just to pack them out. Like

 

The packing it's coming in pieces and putting them together, putting the piping in them 10,000 units a week. He can't get it done. So we're getting it done in Mexico, orders are coming in online, Amazon's working. Right. And we're handling the entire process. Guess what? simultaneously. In fact, cyber shoes is one of my clients. There are manufacturing China and modern manufacturing. In Estonia. I'm now having to rethink routes of inbound freight. I'm bringing calamus bikes, there's a new e bike coming out of the market, very successful Kickstarter campaign. They move manufacturing to Thailand. I'm just quoting them 20 foot container to Europe and a 20 foot container here. Right. So I'm getting Indonesia, I'm getting annoyed. I'm getting Thailand, I'm getting Estonia places I've never pulled product out of the market is absolutely changed. So if you're also thinking that China is your only options, please forget about it. Talk to me. We'll find the alternatives. I'm connected.

 

In the manufacturing world, because I'm helping startup companies that are doing successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, distribute the products all over the world, we've got warehouses in, you know, five countries, six countries now. So we're doing global fulfillment 150 countries, and then we helping you get into Amazon, if you want to get an Amazon and you're not an Amazon yet, I can get you in right to the top. Right, the one of the new products, emerging Products Division, where they actually give you an account manager who will get you on the Deal of the Day and things like that if you have a good product and if you're funded well, so yeah, it's a great this so many good opportunities. Thanks for that question. Yeah, one of the things that we literally just emailed Well, not just as a thing as like a two to three weeks ago, email, the entire ephi alumni portfolio, just some best practices here.

 

Mike Suprovici  33:50 

So just to summarize it here for everybody else that's listening to this podcast. It's really important to basically start thinking about diversifying your supply chain kind of like what Paul mentioned here, so if you are heavily reliant on on China and other areas, it's a good opportunity for you to start looking at other folks like Latin America, there's some folks, Eastern Europe and things like that, if it makes sense. And the other thing that you want to try to do is to have backups to backups. Right? So let's suppose that you decided to work with another vendor for a particular product that you're manufacturing. And they start kind of working on it. But for whatever reason, something happened in their supply chain, and you're unable to develop, you know, deploy or Kickstarter or whatever it is that you've done, right, you want to be able to have somebody kind of on the back burner that you can at least call begin having conversations and spin them up that way. The delay won't be a year, but maybe the delay is three months, right or whatever, two months. So it's really important to kind of think about like backups to backups, but certainly at the very moment right now, you should definitely be looking at various ways to try to diversify your supply chain.

 

Paul D'Souza  34:54 

And that's also for non product related, right. I mean, you've got a development teams. Don't put any or all your back office guys in one country, you know, do India to Brazil to Costa Rica, you know for nearshoring, India for back office or Philippines, Philippines is becoming much better now go to Europe, for technology go to Romania for technology it, definitely have that spelled as well, because you never know, the way the market is going. This is how the big guys are doing it. They've got multiple teams and multiple places. So yeah, definitely that was a fight as much as you can. So this has been great. Paul, thank you so much for dropping all this knowledge on us. We've learned a ton. You know, is there any final words pieces of advice that you can spread for the rest of the ephi community? Yeah, for sure. So don't do this alone. Don't go through a tough market alone. Come back to the founder Institute come back to mentors like me. I'm all about revenue. Right? You can find me on my website. My new sort of handle there is still policies the.com I have one domain but you can find my services on chief revenue officer as a service car or as chief revenue officer as a service car. Oh, s.com don't do this alone.

 

Like me, I'm paying it forward. And I'm good. A range of opportunities, right? I mean, you can from you know, 10 15,000 a month all the way down to 500 a month. I don't care, I'll help you. Don't lose along, go to my comeback on regular basis. We're in tough times. You owe it to your team first. And then you owe to your customers, you overdue investors to make the right choices. So you haven't seen a down market? Hey, I still have my mentors that I go to all the time. Right. The one of the reasons I focus a lot on Mexico is because one of my mentors who's retired sitting in Florida said, Ollie, you're onto something. Right? He says, I think you've got five to 10 years on the top and three to five years for sure. Maybe 10 years focus on Mexico. That's what I'm focusing on Mexico. So learn from people's experiences around you be humble in a market that stuff and I think is going to get a little tougher. These regions, it's just writing us off, be on the right side of the market writing itself.

 

Dustin Betz  37:09 

I think that's a really great note to end on just being humble in this kind of uncertain times. This has been a really, really interesting conversation, we will make sure to include everything that Paul mentioned in the show notes. You'll be able to find it here if you're listening. Paul D'Souza, thank you so much for joining us.

 

Mike Suprovici  37:25 

Thanks, Paul.

 

Dustin Betz  37:26 

You most welcome. Thanks for having me on the show, Mike. Appreciate it and look forward to many, many more years like this. And all the best founders.

 

Mike Suprovici  37:33 

All right, bye bye.

 

Dustin Betz  37:35 

Thank you again to everybody for listening. Remember, if you haven't already subscribed to the founder insights podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever find podcasts are found. And if you are a pre seed stage entrepreneur, go to ephi.co slash join slash podcast to see if the founder Institute accelerator is enrolling in a city near you. Thanks everyone. Be healthy.

  

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