How to maximize the power of your network with Richard Lau

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On today’s 3-Minute Marketing episode, I’m speaking with serial entrepreneur Richard Lau. He’s currently Founder & CEO at LOGO.com, the logo design platform that allows you to create a great logo for your brand in minutes.

One of Richard’s passions is sharing what he’s learned in his journey as an entrepreneur that can help other leaders be more successful in their careers, particularly mistakes made or opportunities missed that others can learn from.

Richard told me a networking story (one of the keys to his success) and I was intrigued to learn more. So I asked him, “If I were your protégé, how would you tell me to maximize the power of my own network?”

Show notes:

  1. Facebook and Instagram are NOT your business network. LinkedIn is your business networking tool. Make sure you’re over the 500+ connections threshold.
  2. Be useful. Don’t go out there selling and pitching. Instead, make connections between people in your network.
  3. When you do this, you’re helping 2 or more people in your network become more successful. The goodwill compounds over time.
  4. Helping is a numbers game. If you help 100 people, 99 may never turn into anything. But one could lead to an opportunity that will change your life.

Transcript:

– You’re listening to “Three-Minute Marketing.” Where we interview the world’s top growth marketing leaders and distill their knowledge into actionable bite-size insights. Now here’s your host, Chris Mechanic.

– Today’s guest, ladies and gentlemen, Richard Lau. Co-founder, CEO of Logo.com. Do me a favor. Pretend I’m your good friend slash protege. I’m an up and comer, I’m you when you were younger. And I ask you, I’m like, “Hey man I’m really… I’m a marketer, I’m trying to grow in this marketing thing.” Say that I currently, I’m employed somewhere like I’m director marketing at some firm and how can I fully utilize the power of my own network? How can I maximize the value? If you could in three minutes or less, just like summarize the advice that you would give to somebody close to you.

– So I would say number one is Facebook and Instagram, et cetera. They are good social media tools, but they are not your business networking. LinkedIn is your business networking. So become recognized as an expert on LinkedIn. So number one, make sure you’re over that 500 plus threshold of connections, which is easy to do, anyone can do it. If you need tips on that, Google it or ask me. Second is be useful to your network. Don’t go out there selling something to your network. Go out there, being useful to your network. How can you help them? Because if you’re useful to them, they will want to be helpful back to you. So you do not put- so many people are either they’re out there trying to sell something or they’re trying to be helpful by providing their product. So if I’m like, “Hey, I want to help you by getting you to use my logo maker at Logo.com.” It’s like, that’s not being helpful, right? But if I’m like, “Hey, when we were talking, I noticed that you had this need. I saw this guy over here, someone else in my network or just a tool I’ve come across. I think that might be helpful to you.” And you pass that over. Now, you’re helping two people. Ideally, you’re helping two people, you’re helping two people within your network connect. Don’t worry about, Hey, how is this going to come back to me right now? You just keep doing this. If you do this, it’s like being a single guy dating. You’re just out there collecting numbers, it’s a law. It’s like cold calling, right?

– It’s like physics, yeah.

– It’s just, it’s a numbers game. So, when you’re servicing your network, you’re putting all of these things out there and one out of a hundred is going to explode and be great. But those 99 are necessary to get to that hundredth one.

– Love it. That was money. So LinkedIn is where it’s at basically for B2B networking. Get at least over that 500 threshold, but be recognized as an expert and be useful. That’s a wrap here, ladies and gentlemen. I think we we’re right around that three-minute time. Richard, I do have some additional questions for you, Richard and I will continue talking. If you guys are liking this, please drop us a like, a comment, a thumbs up. You can catch the bonus footage either in the show notes or if you’re on the website watching this it will probably start here in a few minutes. Richard, tell us a little bit just before we go, tell us a little bit about Logo.com. I’m interested, just to hear your brief kind of story, as well as like who might benefit from Logo.com?

– Yeah, so Logo.com is obviously, it does what it says on the can. You come to Logo.com, you can create your logo in minutes. And by create, I really mean, you tell us your business name, things you like, and it’s like going to a chef’s table where we provide it to you. So we’re not dropping you into a tool where you need to build it from scratch, we’re going to push dozens and dozens, and dozens of logo designs that are customized to you, for you to scroll through and pick which one jumps out at you because you don’t know what it is until you see it that you like. And then when you grab it, then you have the power to tweak it. And within minutes, you’ve got not just your logo, but all of the logo files that you need to be able to put that logo to use. And then from there, then we come into you and say, “Hey, okay, now that you’ve got your logo, and you’ve got your logo files,” that’s where we really shine is on the brand tools. It’s like, “Okay, now you need to create social media postings for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, what have you.” You’re coming to our tool, we call it Stitch, and your brand colors, your logos, those are all pre-populated into templates. So it’s not like you’re going into Canva and then you have to go, and drag your logo in, change the colors, et cetera. You come into our Canva-like tool and it’s already done for you.

– Wow!

– So you might need to tweak some of the text, but you don’t have to. If it’s one of our motivational ones, you can just grab that, I want the Monday ones, okay, here you go, post.

– Nice.

– And it saved you 20 minutes and you know for $5 a month, we want to save you hours. So however you market, whatever tool you use, if you use our tool once a month, it’s going to pay for itself.

– Wow.

– So that’s really what we’re after and we’re packing hundreds of dollars worth of value from like pulling in brand, what brand tools are around the web. We’re pulling them in so whichever one you use in our package, it’s just a no brainer. That’s what we’re going with.

– That’s awesome. Well, true to your segment here in terms of adding value to your network, it sounds like you guys are adding a lot more value than you’re asking for at five bucks a month.

– Exactly, we like to be an absolute slam dunk.

– Do you have partners in the business today in Logo.com?

– No, so yeah, in Logo.com, I’m actually the minority partner.

– Oh.

– Yeah, so James Morfopoulos is the majority partner in it, but we’ve worked together for 16 years. So this is not our first business together.

– Oh, I see.

– Yeah.

– Is Logo.com your main thing, or is that like a side hustle for you?

– It takes up the majority of my work week. So I would say it’s my main thing. But I do have other businesses with partners that bring more, put more money on the table for me. But I’ve put those business together smartly rather than, so they don’t require my time.

– Interesting.

– Those are actually a really good examples of like servicing your network. I have James as my business partner and I was like, “You know what? We’ve got all these pieces of the puzzle.” This guy has the technical expertise, you have time and automation techniques and I’ve got the network. So if we put those three things together, then we’re going to have a business. And that was eight years ago. And that’s exactly what we did, and then now it’s profitable. The guy who’s has the… He’s got 50% of the company, but he does 95% of the work. James is focused on the automation, and me? I brought my network in, so what do I do? I’m just like, yeah, I’m the advisor, right? I do by far the least, but, you know.

– So what are your skill sets like? Well, I mean, networking and deal making is a skillset in and of itself, but do you have marketing skillsets?

– I would say that that’s it, you know that there’s a lot that I know, I don’t know. So I’m a Swiss Army knife, where I have shallow depth and lots of different skills, but hiring into and hiring smarter people than you is very important.

– Yeah, so you’ve basically made a career out of being a master networker in a way.

– Yeah, can you believe it?

– No, I can’t.

– It’s just I mean, when saying univers-

– I can and I can’t. Like, I guess that’s what… That’s sort of like what investment bankers do.

– Yeah.

– Right? Like they’re like the ultimate value added networkers.

– Right.

– They’re like, “Hey startup, you’ve got a good idea? I know a bunch of rich people.”

– Exactly.

– Like, let’s help you put a nice deck together.

– Yeah, exactly, exactly. But you know, you came back and your original question was, what advice would I give? And it’s really about, if you’re starting a business, you’re starting your side hustle, it’s start it with an exit in mind. So when we started the conference, I had an exit in mind, that’s why I didn’t want partners. ‘Cause I didn’t want to be like, “Oh, well we have to take a vote.” I was like, “If I want to sell it, I want to be able to sell it.” So I’ll give you like bonuses, I might give you shadow equity, like profit share. But in terms of actually holding the shares, they’re all mine. But when you start a company with an exit in mind, it changes your documentation, record keeping, it changes how, if you’re cutting corners or not. It changes some of the things that we see our competitors doing where they’re using like fonts that aren’t licensed. Well, that’s just a liability. It might get you to market faster, it might get your sales up, but then when someone comes in to buy you, they’re like, “This is a problem.” And it can be such a problem that they don’t even buy you or they say, “Well we have to derisk this, so we’re going to lower the price.”

– Yeah, and that’s actually amazing advice, which I think I’d received at one point in our early days. So WebMechanix is an agency. We just celebrated our 13th birthday yesterday.

– Nice.

– On April 13th.

– Congrats.

– Yeah, I’m 50/50 partners with my co-founder and largely it’s been awesome. We didn’t start with an exit in mind, and we never really meant to and still don’t really… We’re not actively trying to sell the business, but we’ve always built it to be able to sell. That we’ve always thought about process, we’ve always thought about like contracts, right? ‘Cause investors want to see your contracts. Not always, when we first started, honestly, we literally just swiped our contract verbatim from some other proposal that we had gotten like that was our contract with the first year or two. But we knew that we had to make stuff legit. So we are absolutely building it in such a way that it would be attractive to an outside buyer because like the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted.

– Yeah, that’s so important ’cause I’ve gone through a few sales, business sales and each one gets easier and easier. The first one was an absolute disaster, I lost $4 million of value because we didn’t do, we weren’t represented by a business broker. We didn’t have good due diligence. Didn’t realize that, Hey, if you’re getting private paper in this new company, well, if you’re not just being bought you’re actually buying them, right?

– Yeah.

– And I was just in such a rush, I rushed into this, I’m like, “Hey, look at this, we’re getting an IOU, we’re getting private paper.” The world is my oyster. Fast forward a year, they were doing internally, they were doing like Enron accounting, and it was just a disaster. And they turned around and said, “Oh, well, you know, the only asset we really have is what you’ve ended in.” So I’m like, “Well, we were worth 4% of your a hundred million company.” What happened to that 96? And they’re like, “It’s gone, evaporated.”

– My goodness.

– So we’re going to sell your asset for a fire sale and you’re going to get 4% of that. So I’m like, “I’m going to get 4% of 4%?”

– Geez, Louise.

– So I basically walked away with that. Honestly, with a severance check. That was it. Lesson learned. But you know, the best revenge is to live well. And so I just like dusted myself off and kept at it. Built the next one and then sold that. But you learn as each iteration you go through. You learn from your past mistakes and it gets easier, and easier. So we’ve sold our conference, then we sold Resume.com to Indeed. And one of their comments…

– Damn, that URL itself must be worth at least 20, 30 million bucks at this point.

– Well, yeah, it wasn’t when we sold it, but it was a strong sale. It had 10 employees, it was a real business. Hence, we want to do the same with Logo. But now when we’re building Logo, we know what these large corporate buyers are going to be looking for in terms of documentation or you know, you don’t want to go back and like, “Hey, we don’t have a lease” or “Hey, we don’t have paperwork for this contractor,” you know?

– Right.

– Their contract ended three years ago, but you’re still using their code. Well, the corporate buyer wants to see that. Go get it.

– Yeah, 100%. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Richard Lau from Logo.com. Wow! Mr. Lau, that was awesome. So basically, it sounds like you’re a really good marketer deep down. I think you underestimate your skill sets there. But really, he made a career out of being a master networker.

– Absolutely.

– Out of connecting people in value added ways. So that’s awesome. I’m definitely going to check out Logo.com. I’ve got some ideas for you guys as well as probably some clients that could use you guys ’cause it seems like an excellent value.

– It’s where to be and people can find me on LinkedIn, just look up [email protected], and I really appreciate being on the show.

– Absolutely man, appreciate having you come back sometime.

– Will do.

– And we’ll talk soon.

Featuring:
Richard Lau

Richard LauFounder & CEO

Chris Mechanic

Chris MechanicCEO & Co-Founder

Podcast Info:
15:30
Categories:
Marketing

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