Nov. 2, 2021

How the Pandemic Catapulted Endless Events Growth Ep. 42

How the Pandemic Catapulted Endless Events Growth  Ep. 42

As the founder of Endless Events, Will Curran has been named one of the most influential people in the meeting & events industry, one of the 40 under 40 event industry leaders, 35 entrepreneurs under the age of 35, and Inc Magazine’s Coolest College Start-up all before graduating college. Will has been producing in-person and virtual events since high school when he started his first company and has now worked in the production of large event clients such as Emerald City Comicon, Anheuser-Busch, Warner Brothers, Morton Salt & Uber. His team’s mission is to simplify the event planning process by creating the equation for an event’s perfect solution. They also relentlessly seek to be the name in customer service in the events industry. From event logistics to business development to technical production, Will Curran has a diverse background in growing events and companies to the next level.

>> 2:17: How did the pandemic affect your business for the better?

>>03:10 How is sourcing and qualifying new talent?

>> 05:12 What about the difference between inbound and outbound sales?

>> 06:26 So let's unpack that what's the ROI

>> 07:26 Is that your number one marketing strategy in terms of inbound?

>> 12:30 So how do you define your profit goals to your team and measure and appreciate or develop your team?

>> 12:46 But how do you get your team on board and communicate with them?

>> 15:05 I want people to actually set ambitious rocks

>> 14:58 How do you deal with that challenge and development of that person?

>>17:25 What do you do to set a rock for someone who's like an assistant or

admin?

>> 20:06 What is the number one toughest challenge that you're facing right now in your business today?

Where to Find Will Curran

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcript
Will:

I definitely tried to create a foster, a culture of like, you can fail, right? Like I want people to actually set ambitious rocks, fail at them at least the first time. And then say like what they learned. I think somebody who is consistently achieving their rocks might not be setting a big enough rock for them at that point.

Natasha:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life? Are they building to exit these and a myriad of other topics will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Hey, can you tell me a favor? Well, you're listening to this podcast. Can you open a web browser and type in officialnatashamiller.com. Yes, this is my brand new website that I built for you, entrepreneurs that want to scale and grow their businesses. It's packed full of information articles, blog posts, podcasts, and also you can download the free Profit Finder Guide that helps you find more profit in your current business.

You can get on the wait list for my digital course and be the first to know when my book Relentless is up for pre-sale. Today we talked to Will Curran who owns a completely remote workforce, audio visual company called Endless Events. He talks about how his business grew during the pandemic, how he uses inbound marketing SEO lead generation tool and how he communicates his sales goals with his team. Now let's get right into it.

Will:

I try not to count like the number of specific events that we do, because sometimes like I'm a fan of bigger events with less than lots of little stuff. I think we ended up doing, I know definitely October was absolutely nuts, but let me see real quick. See if I can count.

Natash:

We did 200, so

Will 01:59.

So many.Oh my gosh. I definitely don't want it to.Let me try to see, I'm just counting real quick. I'm looking through like our HubSpot and all the numbers. Well, like a hundred.

Natasha:

Okay. That's good. That's good. Oh my gosh. Yeah. So how did the pandemic affect your business for the better?

Will:

Oh, definitely. The pandemic was so beneficial for us. We ended up seeing probably our largest growth in a single year, over year.

I mean, I think like everybody, anybody who was doing in person events that were all like solidified based like wiped out, but then we had so many new clients and clients who decide to switch to virtual come over that we actually ended up doing. I think like we grew by basically 200% last year. So huge.

We have so many staff members or teams so much bigger now. Well, I think it also forced us to grow and change as a company into like almost a whole new company, almost like Endless 4.0, I guess you would say.

Natasha:

So you're totally remote. You're distributed. How many full-time employees do you have today, approximately?

Uh, almost a 50. I think we're at like 42 and we have like positions open for like 12 people. So probably be at like 50 by the end of the year. Yeah. How is sourcing and qualifying new talent? Right.

Will:

Oh, my gosh. So that's probably one of the most interesting challenges that I think people have within business right now.

Is that in the events industry, I think there's a mix of we're feeling what everybody's feeling in terms of like general labor shortage, the feelings of the unemployment, benefits kind of coming to an end. And also some people being like, well, do I want to go back to the events and street? But I think one of the most interesting things I'm seeing in this

stuff I'll add to it is that sales roles right now, I think are really hard to fill. I think that what I think like ops roles still pretty decent difficult fill. I think marketing role is still pretty decent, but, but like sales roles, like everybody came back and anybody was left in the industry and they were like, okay, well, now that the vaccines are here, we need to like start scaling up back again.

And there's like, hire back the salespeople and we'll hire back the ops people once the sales start to happen. And so what I've noticed. What happened at the beginning of the pandemic? I remember like being able to cherry pick all the best people in March 2020. Yup. I want that person. I want that person.

I kind of sat here and said, okay, what did we do wrong? Why are you having so much trouble filling sales roles? And I think it's just because every company is hiring sales people, but then also too, I think there's this general uneasiness in the events industry. There's a scar that's kind of got left from how everybody got furloughed people, some people lost their jobs completely

Natasha:

80% of our industry.

Will:

Yeah. Oh geez. That's so crazy. And I think one of the interesting things about it is that it left this fear now that people who may have even been a company for a year now, maybe they don't even like the company they work for.

They're just afraid to leave because they're afraid that. The Delta variant or the whatever variants can come is going to come wipe the industry again. And they're going to be like, well, damn, I really wish I hadn't left that other job or whatever it may be. So I think people are just kind of fearful right now.

They're hesitant to try to make a switch, even though some people are like being forced to go back to offices and they want to be remote and everything like that, or, oh, "Hey, they know that the benefits are better". I don't, unless I don't know, but I think that's one of the most big challenging things is. This fear that everybody has.

Natasha:

What about the difference between inbound and outbound sales? Which ones are you looking for mostly. And which are you having the hardest time?

Will:

Yeah, we're all, inbounded Endless. We eventually have goals to be able to like build out like an outbound, but our outbound model will probably be something more along the lines of like promoting the inbound content and trying to get them into the investment to

Natasha:

I was gonna say good luck with that.

Will:

But yeah, definitely like I think cold calling is definitely dead. I don't think anyone buys from someone who does like really

Natasha:

But even warm calling. Yeah, that takes a hunter. Right. And those are really hard to come by and very expensive.

Will:

Yeah. And so for us, yeah. I mean, luckily we have a very, very strong marketing backend that has allows it.

So then that way, these leads that come in, they're really passionate about it unless they love the content that they've kind of digested. So I think that really adds a lot to making it easier. And also we have very systematized. I mean, you and I, our system buddy is hard. So I think like we're very systematized, so it makes it very, very easy to be like, Hey, we have a process for everything.

And if you need an answer for something, you have an answer available to you. That helps a little bit, but definitely it's, uh, I think the fear is probably making things harder.

Natasha:

So two questions to pick you back up that one is you do have and have had for some time, an incredible inbound marketing strategy. So let's unpack that what's the ROI and I'll ask the next question later. Cause it's too many questions.

Will:

Yeah. I mean it funnels our entire business. So like the ROI is basically in relative, like infinite, right? Like it's everything that pummels our business. It makes it what it is. It makes it great. So like, if I were to just to shut off the blog, shut off the website, everything like that.

I pretty sure like the company was just like, Collapse on itself. So it's definitely a measurable on that end, but we're always trying to do whenever we're designing these campaigns, it's just trying to make sure that yeah, like it's continually moving the needle be data-driven, but ultimately to not only is it actually what's funneling that revenue it's become like almost, and this is the part of marketing that I think most people think marketing is, is it's become almost unquantifiable in terms of the value.

It's put us as a thought leader and it's made us as having that brand and making us have that value in that place in the industry. And that honestly like the ROI and the stuff's so hard to be able to calculate, but the ability to say, like you're one of the leaders in the industry, I think is just awesome to be able to say.

Natasha:

Is that your number one marketing strategy in terms of inbound?

Will:

Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, like everything that I do when we're designing and talking about like, Hey, how can we do marketing is designed to push people back to the website, to digest the blog posts, to get an ebook, to get on a webinar, to be able to digest that, convert that funnel and then to have a sales development rep follow up and add value along the entire way.

Everything else that we try to do where we try to negate that and try to like directly sell or anything like that doesn't really work well for us. And we haven't really built out a really extremely strong, like in terms of like, compared to some of these SAS companies partnership program.

Natasha:

Right.

Will:

So definitely the simple strategy for us in marketing is get them to the website, get them to download the content and it will work itself out.

Natasha:

So are you writing and creating all that content yourself? Or do you hire another company to assist with.

Will:

Yeah, no, it's not me. And in terms of me, it's not Wil Curran, but it's my, our internal team. Yeah. We don't outsource any of our content just because it, we find that you pay it too much of a premium on it and we know what we're doing.

So we know like, Hey, we can take a writer who has no experience in the events industry and train them what to do. So yeah, it all comes in internally on our team and yeah, we're really lucky. I honestly, the team people like talk about how like, "Wow, I love endless content." I'm like you "Guys, like, it's not me."

I sometimes stand from a camera and have some cool ideas. I should. But like the reason why you see a podcast every day, the reason why you see a blog post everyday, while there's an ebook coming out every quarter is because there's a team who's working on it every single day and not.

Natasha:

So is that your approach to podcasts every day, a blog post every day, and a quarterly download loadable thing.

Will:

I think where we're at right now is we have three podcasts. We have a basically Monday, Wednesday, Friday release dates for them. So I would love to have two more podcasts, but they might seem to hate me. That's too much content for that.

Natasha:

Wait, you have one podcast. But it releases Monday, Wednesday, Friday?

Will:

No three different podcasts. And they each have different release days. And so like, event icons was the original one I started, which was all designed like interview the icons and events industry. Right? Like I think you've even been on the show before twice now.

That's right. That's right. Oh yeah. They told her got about that. Oh my God. That's how long that show has been going to. I don't remember. And then we have then Tech Podcast, which was just kind of Brent and I spinning off to talk about tech nerdy stuff. And then the third one's event grew, which is like my chance to basically get on everyone's shit list.

And the events industry you talking like. And no one else talking about, and let's be honest. I think we're the only podcast events industry that has an E rating

Natasha:

You need to have me on that one. And I will let loose.

Will:

Well here's, what's interesting. Most people don't know this about that podcast is we don't do guests because it's just the same consistent voices.

And we're just constantly hearing our different pinks cause we all have different really wrapped opinions on it. So that's the one show that doesn't have any guests on it.

Natasha:

I just wanna say out loud. If you're listening to this, and my demographic actually is not event planners, it's entrepreneurs, but if you are a planner, please feed and water.

Your artists, your technicians, your photographers. Please. Okay. Moving on. The other question I wanted to ask is since you and I are both very much into systems and processes, what do you use to teach everyone in your onboarding? Do you use Trainual? Do you have Google docs?

Will:

I love Trainual such a cool company. Chris Rondo is a longtime friend of mine.

And there's a funny story about that. If anyone ever wants to hear how Chris and train Neil and I all go way, way back, but we don't use Trainual. Our big thing is we're very lenient on kind of two systems. One is more for ongoing and also for that initial training and the other one's primarily used for

onboarding and the initial training. So the first thing that we do is instead of doing like a Trainual system, we actually do like a base camp project. So we have just a template for every role within the company that says like, "Hey, this day, you need to learn about this.", "You need to read about this document."

And that pairs really well with the other system, which is our Slab document. Like basically it's a Wikipedia for our company, huge fans of Slab.

Natasha:

You said what kind of?

Will:

It's company called Slab or an app called Slab or like

Natasha:

Slab.

Will:

Yeah. Everyone's sort of Notion probably by now at this point. And we use Notion at the beginning that we're designing like Notion is it doesn't allow really easily for if you're on like mobile, if you like scrolled, sometimes you like am moving like a box or moving a whole text chunk.

And I kind of liked like, There's an editing time and there's a reading time and I didn't really need all the robust, like tables and database features that Notion kind of offered. I just needed a place where we could write, "Hey, our brand guidelines and here's where they are with images and videos" and things like that.

Or, Hey, here's a step-by-step instruction guide. If you need to do request a PO for a new vendor or something like that. So Slab Kim really good for it. And I liked it because it was very lightweight. And I remember had an conversation with the owner when I first switched over. Cause we were like one of their first customers and he said, well, you like most about slab and why did you switch from Notion?

And I said, It just does one thing really, really well. It just allows you to document. So yeah, that's where we primarily use it's in, you know, the Wikipedia is mixed with videos, pictures, obviously, lots of text and things like that. And then yeah, when we onboard employees, we put them in base camp, which tells them which documents, which days, and you look at and who they need to meet.

And Hey, what apps do you need to download and all that sort of stuff.

Natasha:

So how do you define your profit goals to your team and measure and appreciate or develop your team?

Will:

Mostly when they don't hit goal. Yeah. So this is on profit. I mean, we don't look at top line revenue anymore. We look at profit. If you look at revenue, that's fine.

Natasha:

But how do you get your team on board and communicate with them?

Will:

Definitely like the very complex piece of it. But the system that we use is we use EOS. Everyone's kind of heard Entrepreneur Operating System, right? Gino Wickman's traction book. Um, so very much follow that system pretty well. We kind of like tweaked it a little bit based on what worked well for us.

I have a VTO, which we make sure everyone reads and it's part of the onboarding. And we tell people to go back to it regularly, we do quarterly planning and then announce it at a town hall every quarter, we do monthly town halls to where we're constantly reporting on where we're at. And that's really where the goal kind of comes in.

Pair that with the system of lattice is what we use to do all of our performance management. And we really like it because it allows people to set those goals and then have them link them to apparent rock. So basically you can create company rocks or AKA like quarterly initiatives and then goals, and then link it to a department goal.

And then everybody's individual roles then roll into that department role and it rolls all up and down. So all the updates they give go in one single base.

Natasha:

Who is managing that for you?

Will:

We have a people experience part. Yeah. Like an HR department, essentially. Yeah. We call people experience. Cause they do a little bit more than just like compliance and payroll and stuff.

Natasha:

We don't use the word human resources anymore. It is merged into people ops.

Will:

People Operations and we even thought people operations sound a little too hard. So that's why we liked like experience you know,

Natasha:

You guys, the Einstein's I'll do everything just a few clicks different

Will:

That's true. Our finance departments called The Counter Holics so in fact exactly for it.

So, but yeah, so that system is managed by them, but then like, obviously like every manager's in it doing, you know, it does one-on-ones it does reviews. It does feedback. It does, it does so much more. It's it's really a killer. So everyone's kind of contributing in that different way, but when it comes to the goals specifically, I'm the one who puts them into the company ones.

And I set those and then obviously my whole leadership team then sets the department goals and they link it up and then we actually just started doing it. This quarter is then having an audit of our leadership team. Every single person's goal across the whole company and make sure they're all lined in that.

No one's going after any crazy ambitious things that don't make sense or, Hey, does that not even help the department rocks that then helps the company rock. So that's the one piece. And then I think the second question was like, what do you do when people don't achieve those goals? Right. Yeah.

Natasha:

How do you deal with that challenge and development of that person?

Will:

Yeah, well, one of my things is like, I definitely try to create a foster, a culture of like, you can fail, right? Like I want people to actually set ambitious rocks, fail at them at least the first time, and then say like what they learn. I think somebody who is consistently achieving their rocks might not be setting a big enough rock for them at that point.

Well, unless you like really are looking at, and you're like, no, you're just really good at saying your rocks and you are going a little bit after ambitious. You know, there's obviously a case by case scenario. But the first thing I do is try to foster that ability for people to know that they can fail and go after big things.

The big thing. I think when it comes to that idea of failure though, is I don't want to know about failure at the third month or the end of the third month at the end of the quarter. And it's just like, oh, Hey, the whole month everything's been good. And boom, Wait, something went wrong? "Everything didn't work, wait."

How did he not work? So, what I want to see is like, "Hey, have you made that progress towards it?" "Have you worked towards it?" And obviously like our managers are all taught to look at Lattice and that's one great thing I'll be in the same system for the one-on-ones is they can see the rock status and see like, Hey, I'm off track, I'm off track and they get in their one-on-ones.

Hey, "what do I do?" "I have to help you?", what I have to do to help you." And then also then pair that with the system of EOS. I think it does a really good job. We have weekly meetings where they have to report on track or off track with their ranks. And whatever always try to do is encourage people to say like, are you really on track?

"Are you really off track you default to on track?" I think in remote culture, you have to let people default on track. Otherwise you people feel micromanaged, but if someone's feeling like, oh yeah, I've seen it with them where maybe I haven't seen much progress, haven't seen much update. And they're saying, yeah, I'm totally on track.

"Are you really like, come on, you can be honest here, say you're off track." And then they're like, "yeah, I'm actually off track.", I'm like, "Cool, no worries. Let's put on the issues." "Let's talk about them all. I'll help you." So much to the point where sometimes towards the end of the core people who have been off track for like maybe a month or maybe they get off track halfway through the quarter and they can't ever recover from it, does, you know, whatever it may be.

Right? So much to the point where sometimes we get to that. We have beaten this with a dead horse. You've tried to help me so much. It's just the thing it's unobtainable now for me at this point. And I go, cool. Well, we're going to set better rocks next time. And then I think the big thing though, is that that's like within one quarter, obviously, if you see this happen repeatedly over quarters, That's where I think you start to have that performance, maybe performance improvement plan conversation, maybe have deep conversations, your one-on-ones, but I try to make it where people don't feel the need to feel like they're walking on eggshells.

That they're, if they screw up, everything's going to go poorly. It's hard. Cause sometimes they, I think even people make that assumption on themselves, even though you enforce the culture as much as possible to fail.

Natasha:

What do you do to set a rock for someone who's like an assistant, admin or something. That's not sales generating.

Like what kind of rocks can they have? And again, rocks are these three month goals that flow up to the major goal of the year.

Will:

Yeah. Oh my gosh. So this is like, I don't have a perfect answer for this. That's pretty sure.

Natasha:

I'm asking personally.

Will:

Yeah, Yeah,

Natasha:

I'm asking personally, but then everyone else listening to this is going to be like, yeah, how do you do that?

Will:

How do you do that? So one interesting thing, and I'll do two examples. Cause you can do like the admin thing. I have to do this every quarter because my assistant obviously has to come with a rock and he's like, how do I help? You know, like last year. Revamping all of our praise and he's like, well, how do I hope with this?

Right. And you have to have that conversation. So I think that's our first thing is have a conversation idea because sometimes I think it's easy to get stuck. And then just to classify as like, well, yeah, because my role can't attribute to this, but what I've also noticed is sometimes even full departments can feel like they can't attribute to a rock.

Right? Like, for example, so we're updating our website, adding some additional content and my people express. Well, how the hell do we help with this? Sales makes sense they want to know what's going to be on there. And marketing's always going to build it all operations, going to give information that helps with copy and things like that.

But then like people experience, what do I do? And I think sometimes you just start with that brainstorming conversation. Okay, let's start to think about this. And I think if you have the person who set the rock or had the vision for what it is in this case, like the update website fell on me because Will's school, web designer skills over here.

And so I sat here and said, you know, there is ways that you can help. To be honest, we probably should update our careers page to better illustrate the people we want to get. We were actually going to move it into the header of the website so we can, in-court get more salespeople to apply for jobs, going back to that other issue.

But trying to figure out ways to like, Hey, maybe there's a way that we can help communicate our awesome culture that helps sell us more. That helps illustrate the team and who was all on board. And then they started going, oh, well, what if we update the whole about us page? I'm like, yeah, you guys know what about us better than anybody.

So let's go ahead and update that page then. And I think when you start to get that brainstorm going. It's very easy to see like how it goes. But I think sometimes when you just expect the person to come up with the goal all on their own, sometimes it can feel very lost and not sure what.

Natasha:

So I'm going to just say collaboration between the individual or the division and the leader to come up with rocks that make sense, and that are, cause everyone wants to participate, but it is hard to do non-revenue generating goals.

So if anyone's listening to this and you have an incredible solution. Can you email that to me?

Okay, next question. I'll pass it on. What is the number one toughest challenge that you're facing right now in your business

today?

Will:

Oh yeah. Well, I think it's, the first one that pops into my mind is that we've grown so much.

We have that like stereotypical now you're so much bigger. Here's what does that need to look. It just bursts across everything and touches everything in terms of that growth. Right. You have more employees. Okay. You need more structure, you need better documentation. Oh. We're like hiring roles that have no documentation now.

Okay. Like how do we build that all out? And sometimes when you're hiring for people that no one in the company knows what that role exactly does, you gotta figure that sort of out.

Natasha:

Wait, what are does one of those roles potentially.

Will:

So like we hired a sales enablement person and we were like, I know what sales name is.

I've read books on it. I have an idea that ideas are kind of like a glue between the. Push people along. And it's funny say is ours his name is

Natasha:

Is it a business development type of role, what is it?

Will:

No, they don't touch clients at all. They're just like, back-end what do I do to unblock you? They're focusing on helping clean up processes.

They're looking at data to be like, are we actually, our sales are at rest talking to the right people very much. Just trying to think, like, what can we do to enable sales to happen more often? And yeah, Caesar's his name and Charles to say is our, I don't know if you'll ever listen to podcasts, but we hired him.

And we were like, we don't have any documentation. We have some basic orientation. Like you can learn about our processes. You can learn about what kind of clients were going after. We have a lot of dark, but we didn't have anything. I said, here's how to do sales and MIMLS and we had to kind of hire that role and be like, hire someone smart enough that we're like, you're going to help us build that -

Natasha:

Write the manual

Will:

and have that culture. Yeah, I think that's a big challenge. Part of it that's an example of one of the things, but I think one

Natasha:

Is capital, is capital a challenge for you with growing and having so many new people on a bigger payroll and accounts receivable, it can be 45 to 90 days for large events. And we'll let me just put this to you. I interviewed someone actually, the podcast just released this week.

His receivables, it was construction, was up to two years. Sometimes.

Will:

Yeah. Jesus. Yeah, no, we've been lucky that like, from the beginning, I've always desired to have really low receivables kinda naive. I was just like, oh yeah,

Natasha:

that's easier-

Will:

Net 15 and I was like, you must follow net 15 and then-

Natasha:

Big companies don't do that.

Will:

Yeah, no, no, no, totally. And we'll actually, this might surprise you. This is what's crazy. Is that like, I kind of naively was hitting in probably some ego speaking thing and they're like, yeah. You know, like the more that you can increase the cash coming in the Greg Crabtree principle of like, if you can increase how fast your game receivable is, you can increase your cashflow and your like time thing and I was looking at it. I was like, well, I think my total time from sale to like cash or execution was whatever. It was like 15 days or five days. And I was like, I'm gonna make this like, less than. I'm going to collect all my money before the event and believe it or not, we put in our contracts and we're strong about, and you get these occasional clients like we have is very big client. We just did like this week and-

Natasha:

Apple's not gonna do that.

Will:

We'll get,

Natasha:

I mean let's just -

Will:

It depends. It depends.

Natasha:

Okay.

Will:

Like we go in pretty strong, like art terms are like, we want to be paid very far ahead for the them. Cause we realized most of the work's done before the event, right. Like, you know this and so we just go in and saying like, that's what.

We have all of our cash in hand two weeks before the event even starts. And sometimes you do have clients like Apple who come and say, "Hey, we're not going to do this." Most of them, don't say, we're going to pay you completely net 30 net, 90, whatever it is. Most of them then say like, okay, well, how about this?

We'll give you 25% upfront. We'll give you 25% that first day of the vent. And then we want 50% off words. And then obviously it's just negotiation

Natasha:

That's a lot of admin.

Will:

Yeah. So what we found is we did that negotiation. Most clients end up just being like the most we'll end up doing is like 25% after the event.

And that what we realized is we line that up also with our profitability to know that. Let's say for example, that a client decides to just completely screw you and says, I'm not happy. "I'm not giving you the money" or who knows, whatever reason ends up happening that we can't get that last 25% we know based on our profitability that we can lose that.

And we'll still be fine businesses. Aren't going to like crumble and everything like that. So I think that's where really where he designed your accounts payable and accounts receivable. Yeah. Your accounts receivable primarily, and then your, with your profitability, you can end up protecting yourself.

And then also utilizing, and that's why capital's not as much of an issue for us as we can use that as an acceleration that as we're starting to collect these payments, it's almost like the customers are feeling the fire for the future growth of the company too and while.

Natasha:

Yeah, great, so about profitability, there's so many numbers to throw around and I vacillate between wanting to talk about gross profit and then net profit and the in between gross and net is really how you run the innards of your business in your type of business, do you know what the standard and that profit ?

Will:

For like the industry

Natasha:

For AV not planners?

Will:

Yeah, not necessarily. And I almost don't really care in some ways, cause I'm like, look, I'm going to do what I can and -

Natasha:

benchmark, right? I mean, like restaurants are four to 6% and 10 is like amazing. And anything more than 10% is like mind blown now. Hopefully you're doing better than that.

Will:

Yeah. Yeah. Definitely better than that. Yeah. And I think for us, in terms of benchmarks, like my biggest thing is I use myself as a benchmark, right? Like I'm my own worst enemy. I'm the only one that I need to be worrying about and worrying about competing.

And so I stay laser focused on that, but also too, I think it opens the idea that you can have these conversations say like, why not can't we go for this, right? Why can we not consider charging more, to have a higher margin than someone else in the industry? I think the biggest thing that what I try to do whenever it comes to margin and we talked about maybe this really gross margin is that I try to balance margin, but also making sure that we're not out pricing ourselves. And that's honestly the biggest dance that we try to do.

Natasha:

Yup, it's a tight rope dance.

Will:

Yeah. And we let the clients kind of dictate what they need to be. Right. If we're losing a lot of deals and we're talking to them and the clients getting feedback, it's price, it's price, it's price, it's price.

And then we look at those proposals or their companies, or hear feedback that they're like, they gave you more or they do the exact same thing for cheaper. It makes you then go, oh, We need to drop our margin a little bit more on this, but as time kind of going on, like our business, the way it's involved in margin a lot is that it's really become more people heavy.

So most people don't, this is kind of a unique thing about endless is that as a production technology coming, we don't own any of the technology and that's been purpose. I'm not trying to be like a subcontract, everything kind of company had don't believe in that. I think you do have to have control, but for us, we realized that it was the people was the special element.

So we realized that, okay, well, if that's the case, like the people margins is really where it's important. So we actually try to make more margin on people. Then we do try and off the rentals and things like that. Because if you try to mark up the rentals too much, then you start to look too expensive to everybody and everything like that.

And then I think then the other part of it too. If we recognize too, that like, "Hey, we're not going to own the equipment." So therefore, in theory, this is what I want you all to say is like, you have the same price as somebody who owns equipment. What we try to do is make on the business side of things, make up for it by, Hey, let's get discounts from our vendors.

We're going to say, "Hey look, you don't have to deal with the client. You're literally just going to drop off a truck. You're going to slide the thing down and you could give us all the gear and we just take it off your hands. We're going to give it back to you in good condition." All good. It goes a lot.

Well, we find with a lot of companies is. Oh, wow. That's nice. So basically we're getting free money. We don't have to do any work at all and as long as you return the gear and there's no damage and there's no super wear and tear like, whoa, that's great. So we pair that with the discounts and then also just the fact that we have so much buying car because we don't own everything we're renting all the time.

So these companies are really happy because

Natasha:

So they give you a 10%, right. A 10% discount at least, right?

Will:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So we try to pair that mix. So like, for us, it's about making sure that we have good margin on labor and then making sure that we work our relationships, utilize our position in the industry to be able to get good deals.

So then that way, when Natasha comes in and says, Hey, I want you to do an event. We can sit here and say like, yeah, you're going to get the same price that you. I say probably cause it all depends obviously, but we've always lost business obviously to people who do own gear and they really want the business, but we can usually price match on what's coming down the line because we have that good pairing on the other side.

Natasha:

And your overhead is different also being fully distributed, remote work. Okay. Last question. What is your exit plan?

Will:

Oh my gosh. So this is a weird one. I don't necessarily have an exit plan because I. Have any desire to exit. And this is kind of a weird one because I think for most entrepreneurs they use, there's like the 50% I do then there's kind of like the 50% who are just like, this is a lifestyle business for me.

I'm kind of like in between, I mean, this is like maybe the 1% weirdo category of being like I love not exiting because I love what I do first of all. And that's the easy answer. But the second thing is that when I don't love what I do, I find a way to make it, what I will have to do. Right. And not like a forcing coercing way.

But like, for example, when I was starting to get really burnt out on like what we were doing in terms of the business, it was coming repetitive. I really want to learn more about video creation. And I was really passionate about Casey Neistat was doing his blog and doing all this travel. And I really wanted to travel more.

And I was like, well, how the heck can I do this? Instead of, I think most entrepreneurs would say, I want to sell the company and go and do that or whatever it is where most people think in that methodology, I think to myself, how can I do that with an Endless? And so what I did. Let's start making video content and endless.

And it paired well with the goals of what the company was trying to do, which is continue to do content marketing and everything like that. I literally bought a camera. I started doing a bunch of vlogs and things like that personally, but then I also started doing these whiteboard Wednesday videos. I learned how to light a whiteboard and things like that.

And it was really cool because it allowed me to explore that passion. And for me, that's what it's about is exploring the passions, getting a chance to do new and different thing. I'm think I'm like some entrepreneurs where it's like, not as much about the money, money is just an enabler for you to get to do other things.

But when you can go into work in, for example, me right now, as we're growing the company, it's a really exciting time for me because I'm like, cool. These are so many new problems and challenges and I want to tackle them all. And then I think the time where you start to say her, and there's like, no challenges, everything comes kind of routine.

You're like, oh, Well, how can I maybe make a new challenge for us? In the business, but go and create awesome new content

Natasha:

Avoid those moments of just coasting, because that can lead to despair and depression and selling your business. We'll unpack a lot of his strategies for growing and managing his nearly 50 person company that is still growing along with the challenges that come with that growth.

For more information, please go to the show notes where you're listening to this podcast. Want to know more about me, go to my website, officialnatashamiller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast. Now I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Will Curran

Chief Event Einstein

As the founder of Endless Events, Will Curran has been named one of the most influential people in the meeting & events industry, one of the 40 under 40 event industry leaders, 35 entrepreneurs under the age of 35, and Inc Magazine’s Coolest College Start-up all before graduating college. Will has been producing in-person and virtual events since high school when he started his first company and has now worked in the production of large event clients such as Emerald City Comicon, Anheuser-Busch, Warner Brothers, Morton Salt & Uber. His team’s mission is to simplify the event planning process by creating the equation for an event’s perfect solution. They also relentlessly seek to be the name in customer service in the events industry. From event logistics to business development to technical production, Will Curran has a diverse background in growing events and companies to the next level.