Search Interviews:

Jeremy Weisz 3:45

I want to go deep a little bit because people throw white glove service around and you know, what it sounds like for you as you do things that probably all other companies don’t want to do? Because it’s probably tough to do. And it’s not easy to do. What are some of those components that even made you think, I don’t know if we should even do this is not easy, right? What are some of those pieces that you do for the company that you really, you know, go deep with?

Josh Levine 4:13

No, it’s a great question. What’s that show on Discovery called Dirty Jobs or something like that? Where they like, really roll up their sleeves and get dirty? I mean, that’s what we do. And some of it, frankly, is not fun. Why do we do those components of it? Because we’re performance based, and the better our clients do, the better we do. And if those things aren’t handled, guess what? Clients can’t make money and we can’t make money. We if we wanted to be a PPC only advertising agency, that’d be easy. We can do that all day long, but the plane won’t fly. And I’ll give you an example. Crisis Management technical term pain in the ass. If you have on gating issues if you have listing issues, if you have hijackers, if you have illegal resellers, sending out cease and desist letters, getting dirty, kicking people off of listings that don’t work Long they’re based on your Amazon brand registry and the fact that, you know, this is your brand, you should own it, why should somebody be able to hop on your listing and take your sales? All that has to be done to clear the road in order to be able to do advertising, right? So that’s a down and dirty thing we do. I can tell you have at least three or four companies that came to us that had over 100 Illegal resellers on their listing. Imagine your brand, Jeremy and you should be generating 100 grand a month, and $95,000 a month is going to illegal resellers. What does that mean? on Amazon, you know, there’s the yellow Buy Now box? Well, if there’s illegal resellers, the yellow box turns gray, and it says see other buying options. So now, you click on Jeremy’s product, right, and you don’t get to buy now you get a gray box, which then shows you four or five people you can buy from including Jeremy, the manufacturer, now you’ve got maybe a 20% chance of getting the sale versus you owning it. Right. And you know, that’s the down and dirty and negative of Amazon, there’s amazing things. But there’s things you got to patrol. And that’s one example of things that we patrol and clean up for clients, right? I would say another one. That is down and dirty. People don’t want to roll up their sleeves and do his inventory management. Right? When we think about clients, and we think about them growing, we think about a flywheel that moves. And the first thing in the flywheel is availability. If your products aren’t available and in stock, and you can’t forecast properly, you go out of stock. If you go out of stock, it’s the kiss of death on Amazon, why you get direct, right, and we have an expression. And if we work super hard getting people to page one, we have an expression, which is, you know, where’s the best place to bury a dead body on Papa page two, why nobody’s looking? Right? When’s the last time you went to page two or page three or page 20? To look for a product? Well, Amazon, frankly doesn’t care about you and doesn’t care about us. They want to make money themselves, right? So if you’re not in stock, they’re just gonna take you off the hard work. We’ve done bubbling you up to the number three link, you’re not going to be on page 30. Right? Because you’re not available. So inventory management is down and dirty, right? Are we in your warehouse? And are we a three PL No. But managing that putting the intelligence layer on top of that, giving clients a dashboard where they can understand the days on hand and the fillable quantities. And what’s needed to ship in, is invaluable. Because entrepreneurs, all they need to do literally is send a label and things arrive on time and they don’t go out of stock.

Jeremy Weisz 7:38

That’s a huge thing, what you just talked about there, and we can unravel it a little bit. Because inventory management, it’s the non sexy thing that allows e-commerce companies to function and that kind of goes into cash flow. So I’d love for you to talk about how you think about cash flow?

Josh Levine 7:58

That’s a great question. So part of what we do in our dashboard is, you know, to be able to log in and see all of your parent ASINs and all the children underneath, right, and exactly how much stock in days on hand you need, and to be able to forecast that demand, and then be literally clicking on a parent ace and all the way down to the children or child a son, which could be blue color, size quantity 23. Right? The health of the family is only as good as the health of the children. Right? So clicking on that, and then seeing exactly how much revenue that produces for your company. And then how much cash flow you need to buy more product is critical. So from a cash flow perspective, baseline one is understanding that right? On top of that is understanding what is it going to cost for me to have a three PL on board. Because the worst thing you can do is ship from China, try to get that right into Amazon, you need to have a three PL based here in the United States. We do marketplaces globally. So if it’s and Netherlands or C discount in France or Amazon, let’s say Japan, you have to have a three PL on the ground and you need to build that into a financial model. So you can afford that right? That’s number two. Number three, obviously, you have to afford be able to afford an agency like ours to do the work. Or you need to hire W twos internally to do that work, right? There’s no free lunch, you got to pay for that right? Our value prop. The reason why we’re in business is we’re kind of like a timeshare model where you can sliver slice, basically a 30 person team of experts that’s been selling on Amazon for 16 years, versus trying to hire that’s less expensive than hiring even one or two full time experts on Amazon internally. But any way you slice it, you got to pay for that expert and you got to invest in that either. headcount benefits mastermind groups to stay up to date on the A nine algorithm or you outsource so that’s kind of like number one inventory got the money to who’s going to run this thing? Right? internal or external? Once you do that, three, what’s your off Amazon strategy? Right? You’ve got to be able to have money aside, forget about us, or let’s say the W two. So you’ve hired the Amazon a nine algorithm is increasingly rewarding the work you do off of HIMS. Right. So what are you doing on tick tock, Instagram, Facebook, what are you doing with PR? What are you doing with influencers? What are you doing with your ambassador programs, there’s so many buckets of money that have to be invested in, in order to be successful in Amazon because the algorithms gonna say okay, one plus one equals three in this example, right? The days of being an Amazon only brand and my opinion in our opinion are pretty much over this for 2015 You could just buy some product for China White Label it enroll. If you came to me today and said, Hey, I want to sell vitamin C on Amazon. I’d be like namaste audio, see later. We can’t help you. But that’s a race to the bottom based on price. Amazon wants to see you build a brand and you need money to do that outside of Amazon.

Jeremy Weisz 11:12

Water, you mentioned a couple of things three pls forecasting off Amazon, I want to touch on the forecasting. What are some mistakes that you see people make with forecasting?

Josh Levine 11:25

You talk a little specific relative to inventory.

Jeremy Weisz 11:27

Yeah, because I’m sure like you have people coming to you. And they’ve, they’ve already been in business for a while and you are looking at home holistically, you’ve seen a lot of different brands. And you probably point out some low hanging fruit of things that they can do to clean up what their their cashflow and their forecasting?

Josh Levine 11:48

That’s a great question. I think the biggest thing is, don’t underestimate the beast, meaning if one out of every two sales in the United States is transacting on And we’re gonna light that up. And we’ve done that, to your point with eight companies in the last two years, going from zero to 100 grand a month, in 12 months, you got to be ready for that meaning you’ve got to have enough supply in a three PL and invest in that money to have the inventory sitting there onshore in the United States. So we that three PL can drip feed Amazon, when we send them labels and say go ship X amount of y product on Z date, right. So that’s an investment you have to make. Otherwise, you stock out goes back to the kiss of death of D ranking. And we have to run up the hill again, I just got off the phone with a very established company that’s running into that problem today. And now now that we’re blowing them up in a good way, they’re having to stock a lot more at that three PL to be successful. So I feel like from a cash flow perspective, that’s critical. But also being prepared to make the investments off of Amazon is equally critical. And you know, it’s about expectation setting, like we can have a slope of the curve in terms of growth, that’s like this, it really high, it could also be medium and lower. But expectations have to go along with that, in order to have a rocket ship and go from zero to 100k. In 12 months, you got to be able to invest if you don’t have that cash, you can look to fundraising, or it’s perfectly okay to say, You know what, we’re going to downshift expectations, you know, kind of grow medium, right versus super fast.

Jeremy Weisz 13:28

You know, you that’s been even more important recently in the past couple of years with Amazon because they’ve restricted their inventory requirements. So before you could send six months of inventory and the whole day now, that’s not the case anymore. And so this has become even more important. And what do you look for in a three PL? Like, I’m sure people you know, ask you and as a trusted adviser,

Josh Levine 13:56

ya know for sure. Look, we’ve worked with good and bad three panels. We have a shortlist of a couple three panels that are tried and true that we use all the time. We look for experience like literally 1015 20 years in business No Fly By Night shops, right, number one. Number two, we look for three pills that understand how to spell the word Amazon. I know that sounds so basic, but there’s three pills out there that do a lot of dance, but they’ve never really worked with Amazon and understand that that’s so critical. Right? We want a three PL that understands what IPI means if they don’t run away from them. IPI is inventory performance index. And if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s the score that Amazon provides. That basically says they grade you on four different criteria and they give you an index basically, I think it’s zero to 800 Red, yellow, green, right. And if you’re unable effectively to not only bring product into Amazon when they were requesting it and have a sell through rate that makes sense on the other criteria am Isn’t is going to restrict the amount of product that you’re able to send in? Because they’re basically like, hey, we don’t trust you that if you say you’re going to ship it, you can actually fulfill. Yeah. So these are the kind of things that we would ask a three PL, how long are you in business? You know, what are your thoughts on the IPI score and listen to the results? Like what do you mean IPI? They should know that right off the bat? And these are basic things. And then, you know, we have a track record with some of these three pillars we work with. And we know the ones in our opinion that have done great work and the ones that need help, right. And we’re happy to make referrals anytime.

Jeremy Weisz 15:35

Let’s talk about one of the companies you help was a supplement company.

Josh Levine 15:40

Yes, we’ve helped. Man, we’ve helped lots of supplement companies, it’s probably the hardest category within Amazon, it is cutthroat. And what I mean by cutthroat is remember, we talked about crisis management and the dirty stuff that no one likes to do, right? And understanding the call center to go to in Bangalore in Bellevue, Washington and how to clean all that up, right. Um, man, it’s such a cutthroat category, we had a client and I kid you not this is a hard case, where a competitor was pissed at the growth we’ve had with this client, that they logged a complaint with Amazon that their supplement has shark teeth in it. Straight up, it’s the most ridiculous thing. They also changed an image on our clients page and replaced the supplement with a picture of a basketball. This happened literally, it’s insane. Right? So patrolling listings, keeping them up and going as all this critical stuff. That category is cutthroat. Right? So this is an example of a client. It’s our best case study, actually, where we took a client in 12 months from zero to $330,000, a month in 12 months. Now, huge Asterix on the side, not for everybody. Right. rare case, why did it happen? Well, yeah, we do the great work we do. But we had an amazing client that was doing amazing work off of Amazon to the point of just to show you the upper limit, where they’re making massive investments off his Amazon. And by the way, this is not a fortune 500 company. This is a small company that has an incredible entrepreneurs, a CEO, who is doing great work so much. So where they’re launching a documentary on Netflix to talk about the importance of their supplements. They’re partnering with beauty brands and major brand names. They’re working with doctors at Harvard Medical School, and UCLA, literally talking about the efficacy of their supplements. And this is a patented, you know, portfolio products. That’s not vitamin C, right, which is a race to the bottom. So it takes a special mix of I have something unique, that’s really good. I’m willing to mark it off Amazon, I’m willing to partner with people that know Amazon, and together that’s just a powder keg of excitement, right?

Jeremy Weisz 17:54

I want to talk about what a successful funnel looks like off Amazon that will help Amazon but even a supplement example, like were they running ads? I’m making this you know, running ads on Instagram, sending them to an Amazon listing, are they running it to their website in, you know, collecting emails and then sending it to Amazon? What is a successful off Amazon strategy, just as an example look like?

Josh Levine 18:18

Oh, man. Well, if you got three hours, let’s roll. Let’s do a minute, the two minute high level on that is, you know, best practices, we like to see, you know, 80% or 90% of traffic going to their DTC site, their direct to consumer sites, whether that’s back in Shopify or wherever they’re using, right. But we want to see some traffic going to Amazon, and specifically, and I’m not going to get into all of our secret sauce, right and how we do things. But let me just tell you, this part of our traffic needs to go to Amazon needs to be set up the right way. And here’s what’s really important Amazon launched a program recently, look, they’re under pressure to by the way, the big bad wolf for them is Walmart, obviously, who’s spending a billion dollars to compete with them. Yeah. So one of the things they’re trying to do is get defensive and get offensive and say, You know what, if you’re an entrepreneur and you want to send traffic into my company, Amazon, let me give you a link and I’ll give you 10% off your selling fees. That’s a huge incentive. Most companies are not taking advantage of that. Now. Why would I not send some traffic into Amazon? To the brands I’m trying to uplift? If Amazon is going to give me 10%? Back on the selling side? Effectively, they’re subsidizing your advertising costs off of Amazon. Guess what? When we bring that up with clients, they’ve either never heard of the program, or they’re not doing it. So that’s the best practice we like to do, because it’s effectively not free, but almost free advertising. Right. Does that mean that’s

Jeremy Weisz 19:49

that’s a mic drop moment right there. I’m just gonna pause for a second because, yeah, that’s a huge, huge advantage. It’s a huge advantage and it’s I have I’ve talked to so many people in the e-commerce space Amazon, I, I’m not aware of it. So,

Josh Levine 20:05

yeah, well, yeah. And it’s amazing. They’re trying to obviously increase switching costs and make it harder for you to leave the Amazon platform. And they also want to help entrepreneurs, and they realize, if entrepreneurs and businesses are willing to help them, they’re willing to kind of You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. So why would you not do that? Right?

Jeremy Weisz 20:25

Love it. Let’s talk about Walmart for a second. Because there’s a lot of low hanging fruit. Some people are just I don’t know what you would say. fat and happy. Amazon’s doing amazing. So why do anything why focus efforts on something else that may produce when they could just focus on their energy and Amazon talk about diversification? Walmart?

Josh Levine 20:46

Oh, it’s a great point. I mean, Walmart’s a sleeping giant right now, as we know, we know what a behemoth they are in the retail stores. And yeah, they came late to the dance on this side of things. But the trajectory and growth on Walmart is incredible right now, getting on Today would be like getting on Amazon in 2015, you don’t need a verified purchase to have a review. You don’t have the competition for keywords, the amount of work that has to be done to kind of get there is a hell of a lot less than it’s going to be five years from now. So what we tell clients right now is, are you going to make the money on Walmart as you are on Amazon? Absolutely not. But if you can at least get to 10% of your Amazon sales on Walmart today. And in some categories, you can get even higher than that. What are you waiting for, right. And what I’m seeing, interestingly enough, when I when I join different mastermind groups and go to different conferences, is that there’s an increasingly number of vendors that are trying to serve the Walmart marketplace as well. Because the reality is, when that tide rises, all boats are going to rise. And if you can actually rise to the top of your category in terms of keyword ranking, now you’re on the top of the hill, it’s a lot easier to protect it than climb back up, right, think about, again, how easy it was to do business on Amazon in 2015 versus 2022 2023. Right? much different. Now. What’s the problem with that people are starting to wake up to that. And if you’re trying to get on Walmart today, you could be in a queue of anywhere between a month and four months to go live straight up. It’s not easy. So between us and our and our partner that we work with, we’re one of literally only aid agencies out there that have working with our partner on this specifically, especially this special designation with Walmart, and frankly, the ability to go, let’s just call it a fast pass to get things approved faster than they normally would meaning shrinking that four month time period, down to four or five weeks. Big our strict, not guaranteed. But the point is we can get the attention and really help brands grow faster. So I guess my biggest point is there’s no reason not to get on Walmart recommend that people are on that, like yesterday, would not expect fireworks on there right away. But you know, you got to get on there and defend your space. Now,

Jeremy Weisz 23:06

when someone comes to you, Josh, like let’s do this, and you start to onboard them. Are you simultaneously onboard? Like let’s say they’re they have an ammo, they’re on Amazon, they have a president Amazon, they don’t on Walmart. At what point in the conversation? Do you say let’s, let’s turn Walmart on? Is it right away? Or do you you want to wait?

Josh Levine 23:26

That’s a great question. I mean, if you remember as a kid, and you’re like, you know, because I was a geek. And I was like always doing all these nerdy things like, you know, when you have the leaf and you’re trying to light it on fire with the sun’s energy in the magnifying glass, right? If you move that magnifying glass too fast, there’s no leaf catches on fire, right? So it’s to answer the question is, when is on fire and doing well, then we can move the magnifying glass to Walmart, we can move it to and the Netherlands, we can move it to Amazon, Japan, Mexico, Canada, wherever it might be the and it’s not just us, like we can go fast on that. But back to the cashflow that company or that entrepreneur needs the cash in the bank to support a new platform launch that has nothing to do with our fees because we’re performance based and growing with clients that has to do if you need money on advertising, you need to support a social strategy, you’ve now opened up a new, you know, front in your war to succeed here, you better have the troops to support that. Because otherwise that magnifying glass is going to sit there with not enough energy to light that on fire. So it’s more on the client, right? And this is something that we run pro formas on figure out with him financially can you afford to open up a new a new front or not right? In some camp examples? We can launch with Amazon and Walmart right away in other examples. It’s Amazon’s a mess. It’s got illegal resellers revenues flat, it’s not growing, we got a lot of work to do to fix it. And all the clients money needs to be spent on off Amazon and on eBay. was on making this healthy. And then we move to Walmart. So I guess at the end of the day, we can do whatever makes the most sense for the client and their budget and what they need.

Jeremy Weisz 25:09

Yeah, yeah. Cuz I could see clients being like, Josh, we just want to blow up everywhere. And you’re like, well, let’s just get Amazon healthy before we, you know, go to another platform, I want to also hear your opinion on the decision to be performance based, and what performance based means.

Josh Levine 25:31

Oh, my God, it’s such a great decision. I just feel like at this stage in my career, I’ve been sold by every salesperson on planet Earth, in multiple industries and fortune 500 companies and its startups. And I really believe in life, you learn from your failures, more than you do your successes, right. And I was tired of being duped by people that, you know, it’s the classic management conundrum of hoping for behavior a and rewarding behavior be right. And so the only way to align that and not to be like, Oh, hey, hey, Jeremy, here’s a two year contract. 24 months, I’m going to start performing on month 23 of 24. Because I want my renewal, right? That’s a bunch of nonsense, like after, and so I didn’t want that I, I’m also an entrepreneur, I’ve also been on the corporate side of things as well. I want the respect and trust and it sounds so basic, but like, if you’re doing good work, you earn your keep every month, we have a clause in our termination, which is real simple after onboarding, you have 30 days right to cancel with or without cause, which means if you wake up one day, and you think the sky is purple and not blue, you fire us. I say that with confidence, respect and humility. Because it’s like, if you’re doing great work day in and day out, you earn your keep, why do you need to lock somebody into a contract? Right? And all of a sudden, that eliminates the risk of working with a vendor, right? Because I’ve been in the opposite situation where I’m now stuck in this two year contract. So that’s what it means to be performance based, right? And that’s it. And for clients doing more than $100,000 a month on Amazon or Walmart or combined e-commerce marketplaces. We’re taking a percentage of sales and growing with them, period, right. For clients that are startups are new, we have a minimum retainer until we get to 100 grand a month. Why? Because you’re working with experts that have to be paid to do what they’re doing. You’re either working with us, or you’re hiring that team internally, and you’re paying for that anyway. Right.

Jeremy Weisz 27:31

Yeah. And your, you know, your goals are aligned, right. They obviously wanted to get their startup wanting to get to 100k a month as quickly as possible.

Josh Levine 27:40

Yeah, exactly. And it’s exactly. So that’s what performance based means. And that way, like I said, That’s why when we give a proposal to a client, they’re like, Well, can we see your services agreement? Sure. Copy, Paste, send right, meaning? Yeah, there’s some legalese. But the only thing that matters in our agreement is last 13, which says 30 day right to cancel with or without cause, with or without cause, right? So just D risks the whole team, it puts pressure on us. But we’ve been doing this on Amazon for 1015 years. So it’s okay. Right?

Jeremy Weisz 28:12

Tell me about who’s a fit for you. You are a white glove service, you can’t work with everyone, you, you know, it’s very high touch, who’s a fit for you to work with?

Josh Levine 28:22

That’s a great question, man. Like, we had to take a real hard look at what’s a good fit? Not and honestly, nine out of 10 times, we politely say no. And I’ll tell you why. Clients either got a commodity product, which is a waste to the bottom ie vitamin C, forget it. Right. Clients going through, you know, some sort, of course online on Amazon. And they’re like buying product from China, China, slapping their label on it reselling on Amazon. Oh, it’s going to be easy button in 2015. Yes. 2022. No way, right. So we’re looking for number one season companies who understand the importance of Amazon and growth and the fact that one out of every two sales happen on Amazon in the United States, right? So season companies are seasoned entrepreneurs who’ve been in business a while that understand there’s no free lunch, they either got to work with an agency like ours on a timeshare model, which is less than the cost and then building out a team, or they got to build that team on their own. But it’s not just like, hey, this is just going to happen magically. Right. So that mindset is critical. And we really test for that. The second thing is a differentiated product. You know, do they have need to have a patent or an approval from the FDA? No, it would be nice if they had something that was differentiating, but the value prop better be unique, right? And then the third thing, they’ve got to have at least you know, 50% gross margins, right? Because otherwise there’s no money for them to either build out their own Amazon e-commerce team or hire us because they’re working on razor thin margins. How are you going to hire us or how are you going to hire to build out your own team, how are you going to do marketing off of Amazon? If there’s not enough dry powder? It’s too it’s too thin, right?

Jeremy Weisz 30:09

What’s what’s interesting about that conversation, Josh, I bet you have conversations with people who will want to hire you. And I’m imagining, after the conversation with you, you don’t work with them because of that, maybe the gross margin, and you may shift their whole I don’t know, if you’ve seen cases where you shift their business or like, well, actually, maybe we shouldn’t even go into that product line as as it happened before, oh, my

Josh Levine 30:32

God all the time. And the thing that I love the best is helping clients, frankly, decommission products, or help them realize through our financial analysis, that guess what, buddy, you’re not making money selling this today, right? Because when we added all the true costs and our modeling, and we give them a dashboard, they can log in and see it. They’re like, Oh, my god, yeah, this is not the best thing. But what was actually fulfilling for me, frankly, is helping them launch new products that are and doing the market research ahead of time and understanding the points of parity and points of differentiation. And where’s the sweet spot to launch an Amazon? I mean, what I love, just from a nerdy perspective, is that, you know, 10 years ago, and marketing, you know, 50% is wasted, as they say, right? And you don’t even know what your competition is doing. If you’re willing to spend the money. And, you know, I’m talking to Helium 10 is great, that’s wonderful. But we also use our own tools and other things out there collectively to say, you know, if everybody’s using the same tool, everybody’s getting the same results, right. But if you’re doing something maybe a little different, and understanding, that’s a great benchmark, but what else is out there, and you’re understanding exactly where to launch in the marketplace, guess what happens? You can when you go to battle, you’re that arrow is super sharp, you pull out backfire, boom, you get through that armor of add OCD, I’m busy, I don’t have time to look at this, the consumer instantly lights up and buys your product. So and here’s what the point is, if you know exactly what your competitors selling, how many units that are moving, right? What is their revenue? Exactly? You guys, like I said points of parity points of differentiation, before you even launch a product, you exactly know how to go, frankly, beat them up. And that’s super cool. And you know exactly what your gross margin is, and exactly how much you have to sell. And then all of a sudden, you’re like, I got these six ideas for products, I’m now realizing only one is viable, versus launching six and wasting all this money, right?

Jeremy Weisz 32:33

One of my favorite interviews of all time, was with Perry Marshall, at 20, sales and marketing and you have a specific philosophy at 20. With products.

Josh Levine 32:45

Without a doubt. It’s kind of and what’s so cool is just literally getting a JPEG from a client. And you know, you can’t even see these things. Maybe you can’t or can’t, it doesn’t matter the product. But like if we’re able to say this is Jeremy’s product and competitor, if we’re able to get a representative sample of 100 data points and simply say if these products are absolutely identical, which one would you buy and why? And the only thing Jeremy has invested in at this stage meaning you is a graphic designer and a label. Well you start getting enough data points. It’s incredible the information you can get on the marketplace before you spend money on packaging and formulation and launch.

Jeremy Weisz 33:26

There was so we talked about some supplement example. What about you at a hearing protection?

Josh Levine 33:32

Oh, yeah, we have lots of clients. But one of my favorite case studies is That’s right, is hearing protection companies super interesting. And I didn’t know this. But once you lose your little villi in your ear, right? That when that goes away, once you lose those, you get tinnitus and ringing. That’s it, you don’t get your hearing back, it just degrades. Right. So this company is super, they’re a pioneer in the space. They’re literally the leaders in the space. And they reduce the treble and the bass to a level that’s tolerable so that you don’t blow out your ears at concerts and all that. Yeah, they were with another agency and flat, you know, very low five figures for a long time. Within two years of working with us, we took them from there to six figures a month in revenue on their product. And it was a great, great success and a great case study. But again, it’s not the success that I got excited about. It’s the fact that we took them there in 18 months, and that was January 2020. And you know what happened? Now the pandemic hits and guess what, Lollapalooza and South by Southwest and Coachella and the world shut down. There’s no need to go to concerts, right? Everybody’s isolating. So you can imagine what happened to their business right? And at the same time, we pivoted and went into different categories working closely together with them. So going into hearing protection for motorcycles outdoors, what you could do in the pandemic, and using into moving into, you know, sleep in areas where you just want quiet Different types of plugs. And we literally reimagined, they reimagined with our support together, launching new verticals. And it’s been a wonderful symbiotic partnership over the years, launching new marketplaces and you know, growing together.

Jeremy Weisz 35:16

Yeah, that’s pretty amazing, because you opened different categories. And then when the contracts come back, now they have that on top of what they’re currently doing.

Josh Levine 35:25

Absolutely. And all the split testing and stuff I’m talking about is critical working in conjunction with them, and they’re able to get, you know, a lot of that done at a fraction of the cost of, you know, what it would cost them to actually hire that internally.

Jeremy Weisz 35:37

You know, when a company’s going, you know, they’re flat, they’re plateaued for a while, what, I don’t know if in this specific instance, what’s something that was low hanging fruit because a company wants to grow, and they want to get out of that plateau? And maybe they’re skeptical, too, like, we’ve been doing that this for a while we’re plateaued? What’s something that you’re looking at as low hanging fruit to get them out of that plateau? Phase?

Josh Levine 36:01

It’s a great question. And it really depends, right? So the first thing we do is, you know, just like going to the doctor, we’re going to take your blood pressure, your pulse, we’re going to run through literally like a 60 point question diagnostic on the car, and triage the problem, right? And so I can’t really answer your question until they know where the problem is, right. But based on this battery of tests, we can tell whether it’s an availability issue, whether it’s an issue around conversion, whether it’s an issue around driving traffic, whether it’s an issue expanding into a new marketplace, there’s so many critical aspects of the business that have to be working, functioning properly, you know, in order to play beautiful music, and I like to give the example of I’m due to Mel at the Los Angeles Philharmonic here, where I live in Los Angeles, if the French horns are taken away, but the strings are not in sync with the French horns and repercussions. It’s not going to sound good, right? So we’ve got to triage where the problem is, get everybody humming properly. And all of a sudden, you got beautiful music, ie revenue.

Jeremy Weisz 37:02

Josh, you mentioned before about the Fast Pass to Walmart. And I love to hear, I know you work with Disney. I know you worked with Microsoft for many years, any lessons in business, you know, culture, whatever it is from Disney and Microsoft from working with them.

Josh Levine 37:23

Oh, my God, there’s a lot of things that I love working for those companies. I really cut my teeth there early on in my career, I was on the Windows XP launch team. And I don’t think I’ll ever have an opportunity like that again. But you know, doing business development for them and working on partnerships. At the time, I worked on a deal with a little company nobody heard of they’re 150 people hunt Patton in Mountain View, California called Google. Right. And, and it was fascinating working with them and working with Microsoft and to Sim ship a product Windows XP, that was 300 years ago, right. But that’s, you know, their first sim ship, and 150 countries and 50 languages, however many it was same day, just understanding scale and growth. And, you know, it was an amazing training ground. They’re just such a group of smart individuals. And, you know, just, you know, God is much bigger conversation, but understanding how to scale products and grow them in different marketplaces is, I’d say what I really learned there. And Disney was incredible. I was there during the time when we were launching Disney California Adventure, which was a whole new theme park in Anaheim, California, next to Disneyland. And so being you know, ride testing, you know, the sun wheel and you know, getting stuck on that, while we figured out the attraction, when it was literally just dirt It wasn’t even built was was actually quite fun. But I always love to say putting things on a track at Disneyland and understanding. This is exactly how Disney were to do things in the importance of SOP standard operating procedures. And this is actually, you know, how you build this out is exactly what we do internally. Now, everything has an SOP. Why? Because if it’s a company that’s being built, looking to soul be sold. The last thing we want it to be with due respect is the Dr. Jerry show, because what’s going to happen is they’re going to say, this company can’t succeed with Dr. Jarrett without Dr. Jeremy right. And now all of a sudden, they’re gonna lock you into a multi year contract and you’re like, Oh my God, I want to sell this company, right? But if we can say, oh, no, it’s not about me. Dr. Jeremy, it’s about all my SOPs in place. So you guys don’t need me here. If I go on holiday, everything hums like a truck on Disneyland.

Jeremy Weisz 39:34

First of all, Josh, thank you. I have one last question. And before I ask it, I want to point people to check out your website and then go to Are there any other places online or on your website? We should make sure to point people towards

Josh Levine 39:50

Well, that’s a great question. We spend a lot of time investing in just blogs to educate, you know, everybody on the industry what’s going on. There’s a great blog page you can kind of geek out on any subject you want to learn about, from search frequency rank to whatever you need to know, go check out the blogs. There’s great content there.

Jeremy Weisz 40:10

Last question, Josh, I know you’re an advisor at several companies as well. What are some things that you think about when you go in to advise a company? And, you know, right off the bat, you want to make sure they’re paying the most attention to?

Josh Levine 40:26

You know, as it relates to what specifically would you say, your growth? Growth in general? That’s a great question. I just think it’s one of the first things is just understanding what TrueNorth is, right? And having a financial model that’s built out three years in advance, and being really cognizant around the tough choices you’re going to need to make relative to what you can invest in and be successful, both really on and off Amazon, right? Not not biting off too much back to the magnifying glass and the leaf analogy, right? If we’re going into this marketplace, this vertical, do we have enough dry powder to actually get there, because we can get there and stick like, for example, ranking on Amazon, eventually competitors will, will come at you and then we’ve wasted the energy, you know, rolling up that hill. The other thing I’ll say too, is not to underestimate the kind of HR component of that, especially when it comes to compensation and making sure people are rewarded appropriately. So just like our company is performance based, the worst thing you can do with employees and executives is hoped for behavior a reward behavior, B, right? So making sure those compensation plans are aligned with the company vision, the company goals and the company strategies and they cascade down into every department, from operations to sales to marketing to HR, so that when it comes bonus time, everybody is on the same sheet of music and gets paid based on their performance that’s going to drive the business forward at the top end.

Jeremy Weisz 41:58

Josh only the first one to thank you everyone. Check out, Check out more episodes of the podcast check out Rise25. And Thanks, Josh. Thanks, everyone.

Josh Levine 42:08

Thank you so much.