Joseph Kopser is a speaker, author, serial entrepreneur, investor, and startup enthusiast. Currently, he’s the Chief Growth and Strategy Officer of The Mentor Method, Founder of Grayline Group, and Mentor / Advisor / Chairman at Capital Factory, SpaceFund, CleanTX.
Previously, he co-founded Ridescout and sold to Mercedes Benz, served in in the U.S. Army for 20 years earning the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab and Bronze Star. He is a graduate of West Point with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and also received a Masters from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002. In 2013, he was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for his efforts in Energy and Transportation.
Moby: Hello? Hello? Everybody. Welcome back to the B2B CEO show. Today, I'm talking to Joseph Kopser, a Speaker, Author, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor, and Startup Enthusiastic. Currently he serves as the Chief Growth and Strategy Officer at the Mentor Method. He's the founder of Grayline group and Mentor Advisor, Chairman at organizations like Capital factory, Space fund, and Clean Texas. Previously he co-founded RideScout and sold to Mercedes-Benz. He's also served in the US Army for 20 years. Having earned the combat action badge. Army ranger tag and bronze star. He's a graduate of west point academy with a BS in aerospace engineering and also a master's from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002. Because of his work in Right scout. He was recognized as a White House campaign of change for his efforts in energy and transportation.
Moby: I hope you enjoy this episode.
Moby: All right, everybody. Welcome back to the B2B CEO show today on the show, as you heard in the intro, I have Joseph Kopser. Joseph?
Moby: You've done a lot of things in your long career, when people come to you at a dinner party or networking a and it's like, Joseph, what do you do? How do you answer that?
Joseph Kopser:Well, first of all, it really does. I hate to say this. It does depend on where I am in the context and for your viewers, that don't really know me. Reason why you asked the question though, we answer a great question. So. In my army career, I spent 20 years in the army, but I did it at the tactical and strategic level. So by tactical, we mean, you know, the muddy boots, the pictures that you see on TV
Joseph Kopser: uh,
Joseph Kopser: you know, a couple of trips to Iraq, but I also did the strategic side of the army, which is helping for instance, at one point the army chief of staff, the four star CEO that runs the whole army, helping him think through as a part of a team, some really big ideas. So it went from like, How are we gonna get food chow and bullets
Joseph Kopser: uh,
Joseph Kopser: at the tactical level to how are we gonna help the army repeal? The don't ask don't tell, which is one of the things that we did when I was there.
Joseph Kopser: So that's one part of my career.
Joseph Kopser: The next part of my career really was in academia. So I taught for three years at west point, which is a four-year college, like any others
Joseph Kopser: uh,
Joseph Kopser: two years at the University of Texas. Five years, total plus two years of grad school. So seven years of my life were in academia and teaching. And then, of course, the story where we first met with ridescout years ago, a mobility app that brings together all the options at a city, took it from a PowerPoint slide and idea all the way through acquisition to Mercedes. So I've been at the tactical level. And strategic level in the world of business. So at the startup level, all the way through being an executive at Mercedes after they bought our company. And then what fewer of your listeners may know is I also ran for Congress. So I had the two years, you know, where I started at the tactical level, building a campaign like a startup all the way through to like national-level press and national-level attention.
Joseph Kopser: And so it's kind of tactical strategic. So when somebody asks me what I do, I'm a lot of different things, depending on what they understand best. So I'm either, you know, an army, you know, retired Lieutenant Colonel, a veteran, working at the University of Texas with the president of hearts, soul, and all things, military and veterans.
Joseph Kopser: Or if I'm more in the startup scene, I'm a, I'm a serial entrepreneur. You know, I'm somebody who started a couple of different companies and sold one of them. If I'm more in the context of community service, civic engagement, you know, I'm a person who ran for Congress and had a lot of fun in that experience.
Joseph Kopser: So I guess it just depends on where I am and how I answer that. But I tell you. You're talking about south by, that's gonna be the hardest time for me because all four of those worlds
Joseph Kopser: will be converging in one spot. And I'm like a kid in a candy shop. I don't even know if I'm gonna sleep for the next two weeks.
Moby: Oh, a hundred percent. I don't think south by is a time where you actually get some sleep. Even if you're, especially if you're hosting something, it's just like you get home at 11 and you sleep and wake up and back to downtown.
Joseph Kopser: Yep. Yep. Absolutely.
Moby: And what do you have your hands in right now? Cause you're working on a few things.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Well, so probably one of my favorite things that I'm doing right now is I'm working as a chief growth officer for the mentor method. And just go ahead for folks that are listening along, Google away, the mentor method is a B2B play founded by Janice Omadaki, who, if you haven't met Janice yet, she is a rock star force of nature from her own personal experiences of not being able to find good mentorship inside of a large corporate organization. She like all entrepreneurs rather than wait for it to be made for her. She went and built it. It has now turned around and selling it to companies you'd recognize like Amazon and Lincoln financial. So that probably consumes the majority of my time. But I can't say no to helping military and veterans. And so I'm working with president heart souls office at the university of Texas on basically anything that comes around or looks or smells like military veteran and their families. I'm not the one who necessarily does the work. I'm just the one trying to coordinate to make sure that it's kinda like a liaison that all the different organizations on campus are connected in the right way. Because with 56,000 people, you can imagine something slipping through the cracks. And then I have three or four other startups and I'm working with as a part of gray line, which is my company that Brett Boyd founded several of years ago that I joined after I left Mercedes. And our whole focus is to find innovative companies that are doing really big things, but are still at their first stages. And so we, we refer to it as the gray line catalyst kit to basically help those companies with great teams and great ideas really take their game to the next level. So. I'm more than just an advisor. I'm kind of like a supervisor, meaning I'm in meetings. I'm doing investor calls for 'em. I'm doing more than just introductions.
Joseph Kopser: I'm I'm quite literally sometimes doing training on different technology stacks to help them think about process. Because a lot of times what early startups just need is to kind of know what not to do. Like. Let's avoid some of those mistakes and I just take all the mistakes. I've learned, package them for them and line 'em up and, and help them out there. So, and then I do a little bit of paid public speaking on the side, so that kind rounds it out.
Moby: And when it comes to the work that you're doing with startups, how do you differentiate a Joseph working, helping a startup as Joseph versus Joseph helping a startup as gray line?
Joseph Kopser: So I think the best example of it is, is when I'm really. All in with a company like with the mentor method with Janice. I mean, like I'm in those meetings like I'm in their slack I'm in there are a few meetings for the company that actually help run the meeting.
Joseph Kopser: Uh,
Joseph Kopser: I often will help represent Janice when she's being invited to be in two different places and can't be at both, I'll go and represent her in the company at the other place. So that's what I mean by being all in as Joseph in terms of what I do when I'm helping companies as part of the gray line startup catalyst kit is. It's really my network. So you got a company like local, they're doing some fascinating stuff in bio chart, able to take wood waste product and burn it in a special process that retains all the carbon. So it can absorb carbon outta the internet or internet out of the atmosphere. And so it, it's a really phenomenal application but it's more than just me helping them. So I've got kind of a stable of other experts where I bring them together as necessary to help them go to the next level.
Moby: And so hearing all of that, all that you are working on, I'm surprised you don't have a podcast.
Joseph Kopser: But well, thankfully you invited me on yours. So in many ways I sort of do
Moby: That's, that's very true. That's very true. So kind of taking, looking at the mentor method and your role as chief growth officer in a B2B context.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah.
Moby: Obviously you've had a lot of experience in strategy in military, in corporate, in startups. How would you even start thinking of like your role as growth in a B2B company? What are the big things you're looking when you went into mentor me method?
Joseph Kopser: Yeah.
Moby: What are some KPIs you were like, all right, we really have to focus on these to grow a B2B company.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Well, and the neat thing is, is I'm more of a compliment to what Janice is already doing. So Janice already had a very clear idea of, and had been in this business for a couple years before she decided to grow the team, because she was a one person team for a while. So what I do is that just kind of come in and compliment with process. But your question for instance, was about. In, you know, about KPIs. So let's just take one example marketing. And at the end of the day, I believe it is the marketing team's role to take every set of eyeballs. They can get capture them in either by where they came from, whatever demographics they can gather or in a best case scenario. First name, last name, email, and then help. You know, bucket all those MQs and bring them down over into some way to capture them for the sales team. Because if the sales team can't reach them and if the sales team can't find a way to convert all the eyeballs in the world, don't really matter if you're not able to make that funnel go through. So huge mailing lists are great, but I'd rather have a smaller mailing list that is active, you know, huge number of visits per website per page is great, but I'd rather have a lot of people clicking on that sales demo button. And it's really just a fun exercise, whether using Google analytics or HubSpot or whatever your tech stack is, is to figure out. How do I trace it? Where are they coming in from? Are they organic? Are they referrals? And then once we got 'em in, then let's watch them through the flow before they drop off, do we capture their names, their emails? Like, that's the part that I have so much fun with because my favorite word I love to stomp out of any team or organization that I'm in is especially we're in a, a ex an execution meeting or we're in a KPI review meeting, or someone says, well, I think, and I said, well, what do you mean? You think like, well, I think they're coming from here. I'm like, prove it. Prove it, or I think we're gonna have a pretty good month or I think we had a great month. I'm like compared to what prove it, show me. I just love going through that exercise of making sure that you have the numbers. You have the dashboards, you have the proof because if it's the world, according to the founder, everybody knows that the founder loves their company more than anybody in the whole world. And they will put on that confirmation bias all the time. We're all guilty of it. And by the way, if you don't think you're guilty of it and you're listening to this podcast, you are guilty of it because we all have confirmation bias. And so I love using the numbers. And the process to be able to weed out what's working, what's not working a lot of AB testing. So hopefully that wasn't too long of an answer. And hopefully I got somewhere near the point of your question.
Moby: No, no, no. It was brilliant. And I love that. You mentioned, you mentioned this even earlier in the conversation, but especially now when it came to sales and marketing and growth, which is process, I think a lot of times we think about, oh, we'll reach out to these 10 people or a hundred people or a thousand people, and we'll just get some leads and oh, it worked or it didn't work. Let's move it on. Or like for marketing, it's like, we'll run this ad and see what happens. I think we forget the process of taking them from a lead, from a MQL to bringing them into a system that actually converts them over time.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. And the nurturing of it. And just because they don't answer. So the first one, they, you know, I tell any CEO, founder that will listen. It'll take Rachel Charles work taught me this. Our first branding guru at, at Ride Scout takes seven times, seven times after hearing the name or the product or the brand, before it even begins to sink in with a person, you've gotta be those one and a million exceptions to the rule where if someone hears it for the first time, they never forget it. But I can't tell you how many times I ever heard the term Google, the website, Google, before I ever got off of AskJeeves or Yahoo or whatever it was. Can't even begin to tell you how many times I heard Facebook being mentioned before I ever poked into it. And these are two of the biggest brands on the planet now .It's no different for your listeners and their companies, and that's why process matters to figure out what's working. What sticks, how you get those people to come back, how you retain them. Up your conversion rates, all that mumble jumble that you hear in any good program, execution is what separates people from success and not.
Moby: Hundred percent, a hundred percent. And when you look at these processes, what do you consider growth strategy? What's the difference in your mind when you're helping a company? Like when you're working at a company like the mention method or helping a startup, like, what are. How do you look at growth strategies and be like, all right, these are things we need to focus on for a B2B company.
Joseph Kopser: Well, I think it there's no, well, there is a textbook answer out there, but I'm not gonna give you textbook. I'm gonna give you the world according to Joseph. So I think what's even more fundamentally important before you worry about growth is. Can you sustain what you're doing now, have you flushed out enough of the bugs in the process? I'm working with another company who don't quite have the hardware software mix that they need. So growth is not their issue. They're doing well. They're gonna be fantastically successful, but they don't quite have the stability and the platform that they gotta have before they grow. That's the first thing that is always necessary before you even talk about growth. And then I think the second thing that you gotta have is this notion of, okay. If I were lucky enough, like that dog chasing the car to grab the bumper, if I actually do grab the bumper and get ahold of it, well, do I have the capacity of the technology to expand and scale at that level? You know, that's one of the hardest things to figure out is great. You might get. A hit, you might get a news media mention. You might get something that everybody says, oh my gosh, really? Let me check that out. They go to your website and they sign up order, get a subscription, whatever it is. But if you physically can't handle the growth, then that's almost worse than no growth at all. Because sometimes you'll never get a second chance for a first impression and people just lose your service or just be like, ah, that was the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Or if you're creating a marketplace, for instance, if people rush to your marketplace and there's not an equal density of supply and demand or the appropriate dimensions. They're gonna walk away because of that empty room phenomenon. That's what we experienced big time in the early days of Right scout. And so I'll get to your, I think what was your real question now here at the end, after I explain the importance of being ready for growth and being capable of growth, then once growth itself starts to happen. There's a really fabulous book that just came out by Andrew Chen. And we were talking about it at the green room, Andrew Chen, who was the growth hacker. That was his blog for years ago, 10 plus years ago, I followed it nearly days of Right scout, and he then got hired into Uber and has now done other things and moved on to other projects, but he has. Like, I think it's 34 chapters of like the best hands on case studies and tools. If you will, to be able to measure what true growth looks like. So for instance, he talks about in your first couple months or quarters, once you really start to grow, you know, your, your growth rate should be somewhere around a hundred percent or 200%, but by six months, maybe it's understandable if it comes down to 75% or, or something lower and et cetera, et cetera meaning that. There is no magic number that is true for all times and all ages, but the ratios matter, which is growing at certain rate that allows you to be able to expand and grow the team, cuz you never want customer service to be requested and know one there to serve them. You don't want you know, a customer success person to not be able to help renew that person for the next subscription and the next whatever. So it's a complicated answer. Good question. Excuse me. It's a complicated question. And you know, I just gave you a couple of examples. Mm-hmm but it's nothing else. Get the audible version or the textbook version
Joseph Kopser: and just devour the go the cold start problem by Andrew Chen fabulous book.
Moby: Absolutely. I will a hundred percent do that. And everyone listening should as well. What you mentioned earlier on which is being able to handle growth. I remember I was listening to a Tim Ferris episode a long time ago and he said, He was talking about how his sponsorships, you know, how startups would startups that he used, they would come up to him and be like, Hey, will you invest? Will you advertise? And he said, he stopped doing that with a lot of startups, because there was so much traffic that it would, it was the kiss of death.
Joseph Kopser: I a hundred percent believe that a hundred percent believe that. Yeah.
Moby: Yeah. And that's interesting. You mentioned Andrew Chen. I was on his email list for quite a long time. And I'm gonna read that book because it's so interesting how people actually go from a cold start, how they start getting building demand. In the start, I find that fascinating. So this office I'm right in, we are trying to source about 40 speakers for a weekend event during south by it's right across the convention center.
Joseph Kopser: Nice.
Moby: I should invite you.
Joseph Kopser: Happy to join you. Yeah.
Moby: Hundred percent. And so we're like, well, what do we do? And what we're doing is like, I'm, this is like startup hackish stuff.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah.
Moby: I'm having somebody in the Philippines that I've hired. To scrape all of south by schedule and find out who's talking where they're talking, what time they're gonna be in, in at south by their LinkedIn. And we're finding ways and just sending them an email campaign to be like, Hey, we're doing this thing. Are you interesting interested? And it's not taking a lot of money, but it's just so interesting how some small things, even they're if not fancy and put together, they sometimes help you get started.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Yeah, well it it's Andrew Chen, going back to him again, that made reference to this term Flintstoning that I have always been referring to that as the manual process, the behind the, the, the green curtain or whatever behind the curtain. But what he's talking about is Flintstones. Meaning, you know, that's how Fred Flintstone would get to work. He had this, what looked like a car. It had wheels at a top, even at a steering wheel. But to make the car go being your company and this analogy, he had to move his feet manually to actually make a go. So he had no code. He had no engine. He had no electric motor. He had no brakes. He just literally pushed it with his feet. And I love being in opportunities with any startup. Really any company doesn't matter how new or old they are to just remind them. And well, I don't wanna give too close of an example of this one, because if you're, if he or she is a listener, I don't want their feelings to be hurt, but they were basically gonna build a delivery service between two cities, for a certain demographic to get a certain thing delivered at a certain time. Okay. That's vague enough, but you get the idea. Well, they were telling about all this work, they're gonna put into the website and be able to make it happen. And da da, I said, how big is your demand? And they said, well, I don't know. And I said, well, before you spend a lot of time building on this elaborate website with all these things, why just do like one super quick page on wicks or square and connect it to your own personal email. And then as demand comes in, you be the runner, you be the delivery. And when it exceeds your capacity, Then hire a second. And then when you've got 10 people and you guys are busy all the time, then think about banging some code to actually do it. But until you're sure there's any demand at all, please do not try to grow this concept until you've proven it and do it at the Flinstone method or the manual method is the best way to do that.
Moby: And just getting some revenue is such a great neutral indicator of value of a company just starting out. It's like, oh, somebody paid me. That means there's there's however, I reach them. I suggest, you know, 10 exit when the time when it's necessary.
Joseph Kopser: Yep. Yep. Yeah. I mean, a great example of that right now is this company Fede that launched in college station, a and M and then Austin. And now most recently in Lubbock at Texas tech and their proof is in their revenue. People love the model of group transportation. So if you're eight or 10 people going out, whether it be an office party, well, whether it be an after work deal or might be a sorority fraternity event or all going to a sports game or a family dinner, Eight or 10 people is too much for an Uber or Lyft, but it is perfect for a 15 passenger van. And right now they are crushing those three markets right now. And they didn't do it with a whole lot of fancy upfront stuff. It's just a very straightforward, very slick design and their app and their website, not a lot of bells and whistles, they focus on the consumer and that experience. And low and behold, they played the formula and it's working so.
Moby: And they're now using that from jumping to city to say,
Joseph Kopser: yeah, and they now have the revenue. They need to be able to hire on more people and to be able to help it grow. But they proved their proof of concept with paying customers. Mm-hmm nobody better than that. Not a focus group, not a virtual exercise, paying customers.
Moby: That's fascinating. And I believe that's how Facebook started as well. Right. Just going from school to school.
Joseph Kopser: Oh Yeah.
Moby: To school. And one time you couldn't join without a, I think a school website. A school.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Well a college domain. That's right.
Moby: Yes, exactly. I find that fascinating something I heard 10 days ago, I think. And I can't remember, I think was on a TikTok. Yeah. Somebody I think was talking about social media. And putting content out there and they said something which I'm still thinking about, which is, they said, the moment you put out something, put something out in the market and you get in front of enough people, whatever that is 1,000, a hundred thousand, whatever that means for your business. And if there's. Demand for it. Somebody will pause response immediately. There will be a positive response immediately, and it might not be buy from me, but it's like some inkling, like people will say, yes, I'm gonna talk to you. Or that's interesting. Tell me more. There's something to catch up. And I've been thinking about it a lot recently.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Well, I hope one of your viewers puts in the comment section below after you post this, the name so we can file it if we can't remember it together, but there is a particular phenomenon known as the thousand true fans.
Joseph Kopser: and I forget who attributes to, but we need to figure that out. But the thousand true fans just basically means look, folks, there's 7 billion people on the planet. If you take one in a million. Meaning. Oh, that's so fun. No one only one in a million will like it. That still gives you several hundred million people that will like it when you're dealing with the planet of 7 billion people. So therefore, what does that look like for that niche item that you're talking about? I don't care if it's a left handed football bat or it's the next Facebook, but whatever it is, there are enough people out there that if you find those thousand true fans, you could create either the marketplace or the consumer base for what you're trying to build. You just have to focus and you have to be studying the metrics and process, which I refer viewers back to the first part of our conversation.
Moby: I think there's, yeah, there's deep value in just going inch wide and a mile deep with
Joseph Kopser: Because yeah, and I think I probably left out the most important thing, which is with those thousand true fans, if they truly love what you're doing, how could you monetize them? You know, every month or every year, a hundred dollars, $10, a thousand dollars. Are you looking for this to be a hobby? Are you looking to scale this anyway, it, again, nothing better than actual paying customers to figure out what works.
Moby: Hundred percent. And looking at the example of the mentor method, it's a very specific solution.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah.
Moby: To a problem. How, when entrepreneurs start at or starting out, do you usually see them focusing on a niche enough problem or is it too niche or what's your general recommendation? Do you see a lot of niche down entrepreneurs or no?
Joseph Kopser: Oh yeah. No. So I'm happy anybody that comes to me through a warm introduction or lucky enough at one particular time to hit me on LinkedIn. I'm always willing to like listen for a second, but I'm very quick to say, look, that's way outside my expertise, or I really don't understand where you're going with that. Or, you know, I don't think you've really focused in enough on the product market fit, but when you do by all means, send me a link, give me an update. Cause what I wanna do is. At least just where I am, my journey in life. I just wanna be able to, you know, close off that conversation quickly, because I don't personally have the cycles to be able to help them with that product market fit. You know, the companies I work with today, they've already had that journey. They've already gotten really good at where they're they think they need to be because that's what attracts me to what they're doing in their business model. So I get all fired up and I'm like, well that's great. But what if we did this? And what do we think about expanding there? And da da da da so, yeah. Everybody's got a great idea. I just wanna remind folks, there's a big difference between a potential company and a potential hobby. You're lucky on a hobby. If someone pays you, you could turn that hobby into a business, but you need to start a business. That's focused on a product market fit that works. Otherwise. You've just got a hobby.
Moby: And how do you define product-market fit?
Joseph Kopser: Oh, that's the neat thing. I don't have to define product-market fit because the product and the market will answer that question. And it all comes down to sales and revenue and marginal rate of return. And can it actually sustain it or are you putting in more resources actually make the product and the market's willing to pay for it. You look out over time, do you need more money to expand the, you know, universe of possible consumers, all of those are the questions that need to be answered to find out if you have product-market fit. But I go back to the very last point on our previous question, which is if people are willing to pay for it, that is the first, most important question in product-market fit . And by the way, pay for it, I don't necessarily mean only in money being exchanged, but pay for it in terms of their time, their attention, all of the other precious resources that are out out there, which you may figure out later on how to make revenue off that time and attention, which is the freemium model that got Google started and Facebook started and everybody else.
Moby: A hundred percent. And it seems like what you just said was on the quantitative side, like revenue was a great metric to look at on the qualitative is if people are willing to jump on as advisors or you're having a lot of sales, potential sales conversations with your prospects. Yeah. And any other qualitative metrics that people should look at when it comes to like, am I getting close to product market fit or is some, is this gonna get traction?
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. I mean, I guess. The, the other thing I try to tell, especially young entrepreneurs, not young, I mean, new in their journey. I was 41 years old when I started ride scout. So I can't say young by age, but young in their journey is to figure out, really figure out through the qualitative and quantitative, which is, are you doing this? Because you love this. Or are you really solving a pain point that other people have? And that really is kind of that fundamental question that has to be asked. And I've watched a lot of startups just kinda go ___ because they refuse to look at the data to get the feedback and have people tell them. This just isn't compelling and it's not solving a large enough problem that are gonna help a lot of people and they just motored through it and motored through it. And I'll see, 'em occasionally on social media and they're still trying to pull it off, which by the way is not terrible in its own. Because if they're listening and they're pivoting. And they're growing, who knows what they could turn it into. You know, we're talking about Andrew Chen's book. I mean, I never even knew that slack was originally a completely different company in a completely different concept. They were gonna do some weird AR VR gaming world. That was just way too far ahead of its time. But it was actually its engineers in the way they were communicating back and forth with the code. And the, in the international language they were using in coding to be able to share ideas that they picked up on the idea of creating slack cuz that's how they were communicating.
Joseph Kopser: So you never know where it's gonna come from.
Moby: That's amazing. That's amazing. And I absolutely that part, you said about the distinction between a hobby that you are doing it and you might be making some money, but you're doing it because you love it. And the distinction between a growing company, which is you're doing it because you may or may not love it, but the market demand it, that's actually a very good distinction.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Meaning, you know, if you're still bringing in cash, that's great. But if you have no commitment and you have no customers. Like what the hell is going on now? That's the easiest of the one of the three to survive. Because you can just sell that over to somebody else who wants that revenue generation? The. Idea of doing it with only customers, meaning you don't care anymore. You know, you've got some customers that are not really paying much. They're just more there for a freemium model. You can't figure out how to, to, to generate revenue. That's tough, but if I'm down to the three of 'em and all I got left is commitment. I don't have any cash yet, and I don't have any customers. That's still kind of an exciting place to be. Because it shows hope it shows potential. You're committed to the idea, hopefully to learn from it and do what you need to do. I mean, the name Ride scout, our first company, we changed names twice. Many people don't know it, but the original name was E M E M T. No M the letter M T seats, mtseats.com. Cause that was the only URL I could afford at the time. I mean, I didn't have two pennies to rub together. Then later on, we changed the name to going my way, but we had to change the name after going my way after a couple of years, because. Everybody would Google it. And all they would ever find is the movie by the same name. So I couldn't get any traction that way. And worse people thought that going my way was a hitchhiking app, which further doomed my you know, branding and product market fit until the team came to me one day and said, look, we know you love your baby, but we gotta change the name. And the name actually came down to one of, of two things, Ride Scout or bounce and it was almost bounce. But you know, basically, you know, let's bounce use the app bounce and find the ride to the next place. So but it ended up being ride scout, which as a cavalry officer, I kind of fell in love with that troop first, but I gotta tell you customer feedback is why we changed it to ride scout, not bounce. So. Anyway, thanks for letting me tell that story that may, may not have anything to, to do with your last question.
Moby: No, no but mtseats.com. I, I like it. I, I, I see the start and I really wanna emphasize again how that distinction between hobby, because you love it versus business.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah,
Moby: Because I personally went through it over the last nine months when I started my company, because I got laid off in the pandemic. And I said, all right, I will go and figure this out. I started charging people and there, there was some money in the start. Average order value was very like close to a thousand dollars when I was just doing content stuff. I was doing it because I loved it. Yeah. Only last year. Did we make the transition of, okay. What if I just learned the skills that we, my customers want and then I will get paid for it. And literally I have 10 X, my price. In four months.
Joseph Kopser: There you go.
Moby: 10 X it and it's coming with some challenges of course, where we're finding the right market, but we have initial traction with the higher price point. And I think for me, that just clicked for me that that's what I did based on what you said. The hobby between a, the distinction between a hobby and a business. That was great. Thank you.
Joseph Kopser: It's so funny. You just said that because literally on Friday I rewicker my Stripe account connected to my calendar and then put it out on my LinkedIn page. Because what I found was. You know, it's just, it like you in my DNA, it's to teach and coach and mentor and to share best practices. But I realize now after doing this for 10 years, that I've overextended and the problem with overextending is you drain your energy and you drain your time and then you're not really effective for everybody else. So while I will always still say yes to, you know, the friend that recommend friends, it's a young person or a vet or whoever I'm trying to help. Although I'll help them the first time for free. No problem. I still have a lot of unsolicited folks who come in and like, Hey, I was thinking about this, thinking about that, what do you think about this and what I'm gonna do now to conserve time and energy to make sure I'm what I need to be for the others is I'm gonna say, you know what? I would love to meet with you, but this is kind of what I do for a living. So here's my link. If you are really interested, sign up on my calendar appointment, you know, right now the price points $195 an hour, and I'll figure out whether I need to raise that price or lower that price. Based on market fit. And if I get enough folks that wanna spend an hour with me to kind of think through their business model or talk about big ideas or whatever it happens to be. Yeah, 1 95, cuz I wanna be available to startups I wanna be available to, to, or entrepreneurs early in their journey.
Joseph Kopser: Cause I know that were me 10 years ago. Heck yes. I would wanna try to find someone who's been there, done that and just bounce a hundred questions off of them. And see what sticks. So I applaud you for your 10 X. Congratulations on that. Let's hope I can get to 10 X,
Moby: I think. Well, that's we started at a very low point.
Moby: Trust me, we started at a very low point. And no, I, I love the fact that you set up your Stripe, candidly, because I, I love this quote I heard, which is those who pay. Pay attention and value what they pay for.
Joseph Kopser: $5. That's all, it takes $5 to get somebody to commit to a cause or a charity or a candidate or whatever it is. And then they're in, they're hooked. Like they want that product to win. They want the candidate to win. They want that nonprofit to be the greatest. $5 is what social scientists have said is all, you need to get people to commit same thing with RSVP into a social event. If you RSVP and you gotta pay five bucks, you're gonna go if RSVP it's free and you didn't put anything in, eh, I'm tired. It's late in the afternoon. Maybe I don't go. Yes, couldn't agree more. That's right. Going to pay and they'll pay attention on.
Moby: Okay. That, that's the interesting about the five points. And so. Coming back to your way earlier. Point of sales and marketing, moving them down the funnel what I have done for our business, right? I've we have free stuff all the time. Just like any other company should have in their sales and marketing, but we collect a lot of leads every single month, but not everyone has buying intent. They just want the webinar. They just want the ebook. And what we've done is like two of the things that were free, like two eBooks. They're now a dollar. I don't need to make money off of them, but it's like a barrier to entry. If you want to learn from me, come to my webinar. But if you want to, I know if somebody pays a dollar, that's a trip and I can actually couldn't talk to them in a sales conversation.
Joseph Kopser: Yep. Yep. Well, and the neat thing about that too, is to be able to get them from marketing qualified leads to sales, qualified leads. If they're willing to put a buck in, they have just, self-identified going from your MQs, your SQLs like that.
Moby: Oh, I made me think, should I change that to $5?
Joseph Kopser: That's we, we did a blockchain newsletter on our gray line website for a while. And I think $5 is our price point. It's just enough to make sure that people are paying attention and not too much that it's gonna be a barrier to entry. So, but dope, I would say do some AB testing, odd number days, do it $1, even number days, do $5, and then you come back and tell me which part.
Moby: That's perfect. That's perfect. For the people in B2B right now, you know, they've heard about product market fit. They've heard about growth KPIs. Strategies. And I think the philosophy of how to look at growth and see and evaluate what's working, or what's not. What is something what's a growth strategy that you're working on right now, or saw success with the last five years that you just wanna share for people and be like, Hey, that was really cool. You should try this in your company.
Joseph Kopser: Yes. It also speaks to the question that we alluded to before in the green room, in, in our prior emails, which is who is the ideal customer. And if you can figure out as quickly as possible, who fits into three categories, who is your champion, who is your decision maker and who is your check writer? If you are really lucky, you found one person with all three titles. Rarely ever rarely ever is the champion, the decision maker and the check writer, because large companies by definition B to B at scale end up having to separate those responsibilities for reasons of compliance or reasons of laws and regulations and blah, blah, blah. So. When you're in conversations early with potential customers and you're picking 'em from MQL or at SQLs, you gotta really quickly size up. Is this my champion? Is this the decision maker or is this a check writer? And depending on which door you go through, you need to figure out how to get all three of 'em into the conversation as quickly as possible. And that's why at the end of every one of those calls, rather than it being a very passive well for next steps, I'd like to da, da, da, you need to be as leaned in directly as you can, and be very upfront, which is, you know, Moby. I'm so glad you're a champion of this idea. I can tell this clicks, who is the decision maker that we need to be meeting with next time we meet or can you bring the decision maker and the check writer, maybe don't phrase it quite that harshly to the next meeting. The next time we meet and the sooner you can get to that, the sooner you can decide whether or not this is somebody worth putting through that pipeline and going to the next level, because it could be you get a champion, you get no decision maker, no check writer, and then you're done. And then very quickly just pick up and go back in the pipeline, pick up the last known, you know, marketing sales, sales, qualified lead, and try to push them through the pipeline as quickly as you can.
Moby: That's a that's, that's a great point. That's a great point. Can I add one to that?
Joseph Kopser: Please?
Moby: I've noticed that whenever a sales conversation started and, you know, B2B it's long, one question that's really helped me is This is after the first meeting, which is every time I start a second meeting, I'm like, before I give a summary of everything and we we're about to talk about I'm like, has anything changed since we last spoke?
Joseph Kopser: Oh,
Moby: and for one company they were like, yeah, we're about to go to a, go through a merger. So this is gonna be on hold for 60 more days. And I'm like, Well, thank God. I know that now, otherwise, I would have wasted 45 minutes.
Joseph Kopser: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's interesting. One of the startups that I work with, they signed a big contract with a company, but they haven't heard from that company in a little while. Now they got the money in the bank, which is the good thing. But the champion. No, let me rephrase this. Yes. The champion left the company. Luckily the decision maker and the check writer are all fine with it. You know, they like the contract, they paid it, but the champion is gone and the new person in their shoes, that will be the next champion gonna use the service. Just hasn't gotten excited or gotten up or gotten connected or whatever is lacking on their end. And so that's a pretty interesting time. So I'm glad to know that that fourth question should be asked, which is what has changed that we need to know in this case, your champion left the company.
Moby: Perfect. Where can people get connected with you and find you?
Joseph Kopser: Oh, my favorite place is LinkedIn. I mean When I ran for Congress, I lived on Twitter. When I was building ride scout I lived on Twitter, but over the years I realized that people go to Facebook to share what their friends and family are doing. But on LinkedIn is where business is getting done. So they can find me on LinkedIn real easy. Joseph Kopser are also on the contact info. I put that link for how to get onto my calendar. And then in addition to that, I am on Twitter and I am on Facebook, even Instagram. But I do the majority of my creating ideas and exchanging ideas and sharing ideas. I do all that on LinkedIn.
Moby: Awesome. Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Joseph Kopser: Thanks for having me. I enjoy the conversation. You can't believe it's already over, but it is,
Joseph Kopser is a speaker, author, serial entrepreneur, investor, and startup enthusiast. Currently, he’s the Chief Growth and Strategy Officer of The Mentor Method, Founder of Grayline Group, and Mentor / Advisor / Chairman at Capital Factory, SpaceFund, clients.
Previously, he co-founded Ridescout and sold to Mercedez Benz, served in the U.S. Army for 20 years earning the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab, and Bronze Star. He is a graduate of West Point with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and also received a Master's from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2002. In 2013, he was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for his efforts in Energy and Transportation.