process improvement

115: Scaling from Zero to 100,000+ Active Customers with Tom Kulzer

When Tom Kulzer took on a side job during college selling wireless modems, he realized he needed an efficient way to follow up with potential customers. So he developed an email script that eventually led to AWeber – the world’s first email automation tool. As demand steadily grew, Tom began assembling a team. Together, they built a business infrastructure to sustainably support fast growth. Now, 20 years later, over 1 million small businesses have used AWeber, and 100,000 of them are active customers. In this episode, Tom provides the processes that laid the foundation for this scaling success story.

Special Guest: Tom Kulzer, Founder & CEO – AWeber

Location:  Chalfont, PA  USA

Show Notes:

  • AWeber’s Blog: AWeber’s online source for all things email marketing for small businesses. It includes how-to articles, video tutorials, case studies. It also features example emails that demonstrate how to convert visitors to customers and existing customers to repeat customers.
  • AWeber’s Newsletter: sign up for AWeber’s free digest of best-practice email marketing strategies and tips.
  • OmniFocus: a task management phone and web-based app designed to help busy professionals quickly capture and prioritize tasks. Available for Mac and iOS.
  • Confluence: Atlassian’s cloud-based app that encourages team collaboration through “…an open, connected structure allows information to flow freely among everyone at the organization.” A great place to store processes, checklists, templates and other job aids to facilitate daily operations and ensure consistent results.
  • Jira: a suite of work management software products covering requirements and test case management to agile software development.
  • Slack: a communication app ideal for remote teams that offers the ability to organize work updates by topic, private groups, and direct messaging.
  • 1Password: a password manager app offering a secure way to store and share passwords for your self or with an entire team.
  • G-Suite: an “…integrated suite of secure, cloud-native collaboration and productivity apps powered by Google AI. Includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet and more.”
  • Zoom: software that offers audio and video recording of webinars, conference calls, presentations, meetings, and more. Also includes screen sharing for enhanced collaboration.

Related Episodes:

  • Episode 042: Automating the Sales Process with Tim Bornholdt
  • Episode 050: Sparking Innovation & Sales via Intrapreneurship with Carl E. Reid
  • Episode 065: Jason Smith’s Sales Synergistics Process
  • Episode 067: Trace Blackmore’s Documenting SOPs Process
  • Episode 082: Scaling with SEO with Don Sevcik
  • Episode 112: Planning & Conducting Remote Meetings with Kimberly Fennell

 

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Credits_______________

  • Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
  • Editor: Olanrewaju Ade
  • Sponsor: rVidi

 

More About Guest, Tom Kulzer:
Tom Kulzer is the founder and CEO at AWeber, the leading email marketing and automation platform for small businesses, where he is actively involved in the company’s strategic direction, growth, and evolution. Over the company’s 20-year history, Tom has nurtured AWeber from a small start-up to a robust organization, that has enabled over 1 million customers to grow their businesses, all without public or venture funding.

Tom laid the foundation for AWeber while working at a computer hardware firm in the mid-1990s, where he realized sales prospects were falling through the cracks due to lack of proper follow-up. By automating the delivery of personalized follow-up emails to prospects, companywide sales skyrocketed, and sales associates had additional time to spend pursuing new prospects.

 

More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. – a 15-year-old operations management consulting firm. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success.  It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 35+ countries.

 

More About Sponsor, rVidi:
rVidi is the easy app that lets you communicate via video soundbites in your own time in a public or private group setting. Learn more and download for free at rVidi.com.  Currently available for iOS; Android development coming soon!

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104: Improving Workplace Communication with Bill Kurzeja

Being in the Army taught Bill Kurzeja the importance of leadership as he quickly moved up the ranks.  Upon transitioning back to the civilian world, he realized his ability to lead was only as good as his ability to communicate effectively.  In this episode, Bill details the process for how his company successfully improved production by 10-20%, increased customer satisfaction, and transitioned from a culture of “your” customer to “our” customer all through the use of better communication techniques and technologies.

Special Guest: Bill Kurzeja, Founder & CEO – Professional Success South

Location:  San Diego, CA  USA

Show Notes:

  • Get Focused with Bill K. and Gina Faye: Bill’s podcast co-hosted by Gina Faye, a licensed marriage and family therapist.  Listeners will experience and learn from people from all different walks of life on how to overcome your fears, blow past obstacles, and get focused.
  • Sales Domination CRM: a web-based and mobile CRM app designed and built to save time, streamline the sales process, and efficiently organize your data.  Benefits include: lead enrichment, automated data entry, targeted lead generation, unified communication center, and visual pipeline management.

Related Episodes:

  • Episode 042: Automating the Sales Process with Tim Bornholdt
  • Episode 050: Sparking Innovation & Sales Via Intrapreneurship with Carl E. Reid
  • Episode 065: Jason Smith’s Sales Synergistics Process
  • Episode 102: Everything You Need to Know About COOs with Mohammad Ali

 

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Credits_______________

  • Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
  • Editor: Olanrewaju Ade
  • Sponsor: rVidi

 

More About Guest, Bill Kurzeja:
Bill Kurzeja is the Owner and founder of Professional Success South, a professional sales training and business consulting firm.  He has helped several small to large-scale businesses achieve their potential with the help of his unwavering dedication and his attention-to-detail approach for over 20 years.  After he transitioned from the United States Army, where he got his training in discipline and clear, effective communication, he entered the automotive retail industry where he further advanced his career in sales. With a solid background in the automotive retail industry, Bill continues to serve his clients within the internet sales marketing and retail sales of automotive service and parts realm attentively.

He is always working to bring knowledge to as many people as possible whether through his clients, on social media, or through his weekly podcast, Get Focused with Bill K and Gina Faye.

More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. – a 15-year-old operations management consulting firm. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success.  It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 35+ countries.

 

More About Sponsor, rVidi:
rVidi is the easy app that lets you communicate via video soundbites in your own time in a public or private group setting. Learn more and download for free at rVidi.com.  Currently available for iOS; Android development coming soon!

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102: Everything You Need to Know About COOs with Mohammad Ali Ajlouni

Mohammad Ali may not float like a butterfly or sting like a bee, like the famous boxer by the same name, but he is a champion – a champion of operations. With over 37 years of combined experience as a high-ranking military official, chemical and industrial engineer, COO, and board member, he recognizes problem-solving as the cornerstone for continuous improvement. In fact, he started the first auto manufacturing company in Jordan. In this episode, Mohammad takes us on an A to Z tour of all things operations and explains why he believes, “If CEOs do not understand operations, they are bound to be replaced.”

Special Guest: Mohammad Ali Ajlouni, former COO – KADDB Investment Group

Location:  Amman, Jordan

Show Notes:

Watch this TEDx Talk on Emotional Intelligence by Dr. D. Ivan Young:

Related Episodes:

  • Episode 021: Improving Quality in Healthcare Operations with Jarvis Gray
  • Episode 073: Wes Graham’s Primer on Process Improvement
  • Episode 091: Debunking COO Myths with Maria Jones
  • Episode 096: Using Customer Intelligence to Improve Operations with Adam Hayes

 

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More About Guest, Mohammad Ali Ajlouni:
Mohammad Ali Ajlouni is an executive with over 37 years of diversified experience with a colorful spectrum of knowledge and practice that has combined together in a well-balanced, savvy, and harmonized blend of technical, financial, managerial and leadership competencies.  He is a renowned figure in lean management and one of the earlier lean practitioners, educators, and thinkers in lean management in Jordan.

Additionally, Mohammad is an expert in operational excellence, discrete-event simulation and modeling, performance management, and financial and statistical analysis.  He also has a proven record of successful and meaningful leadership and the ability to drive a new culture through his vast experience in all HR systems.

Mohammad currently focuses on mentoring and working with emerging entrepreneurs and leaders to support them in linking an innovative culture to strategy, marketing, and business development.  He has a B.A. in Military Science, a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.

 

More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. – a 15-year-old operations management consulting firm. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success.  It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 35 countries.

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101: Creating a Learning Culture to Enhance Operations with Jay Hassell

According to Jay Hassell, “Getting things done requires a culture of learning.” As the COO of Novologic, he advocates for people and company culture as the key ingredients for improving operations. His H.R. background gives him a strategic advantage in driving learning and training initiatives. In this episode, Jay explains how a focus on people, products, and processes leads to increased profit and performance. He also announces a new learning experience platform to assist companies in pivoting from live to virtual events.

Special Guest: Jay Hassell, COO – Novologic

Location:  Suwanee, GA  USA

Show Notes:

  • Rethinking Events: Novologic’s online learning portal premiering June 25, 2020 where participants can learn from and collaborate with innovators to rethink what’s possible for your next event. “This isn’t your standard ‘webinar event,’ although there will be plenty of live and recorded webinars to binge on.”
  • The LMS vs LXP: Which One Should You Choose?: an article by Thinqi defining the Learning Management System (LMS) and the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) and what the differences are. This knowledge can help leaders and managers understand how to initiate, implement, and monitor learning at their organizations.
  • Slack: a communication app ideal for remote teams that offers the ability to organize work updates by topic, private groups, and direct messaging.
  • Trello: a web-based app to organize and prioritize work and projects with remote teams.
  • Google Meet: Google’s free video-communication service where invited guests can join an online video conference from their computer using any modern web browser or via the app on mobile devices.
  • Google Hangouts: Google’s free phone app enabling users to communicate via video call, phone, or messaging.
  • The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace: a book by S. Chris Edmonds.

Related Episodes:

  • Episode 037: Leveraging Culture to Drive Business Transformation
  • Episode 052: The One Thing You Need to Know About Organizational Agility with Roger Nierenberg
  • Episode 068: Anne Sugar’s Hiring to Scale Process

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More About Guest, Jay Hassell:
Jay Hassell is the COO of Novologic – a culture agency that offers software solutions specifically geared towards influencing and shaping organizational culture. As COO, Jay:

  • Oversees day-to-day operations and allocates staff resources while monitoring professional development,
  • Provides leadership and oversight for all operational functions,
  • Contributes to strategic decisions as a member of the leadership team,
  • Develops systems and processes that support business development activities, and
  • Works with Principals to develop offerings and products to bring to market.

More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. – a 15-year-old operations management consulting firm. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success.  It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 35 countries.

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087: Growing Past Bootstrapping with Chitra Lele

After getting blacklisted from a Silicon Valley company, Chitra Lele decided to start her own software consultancy. She realized entrepreneurship was the only way to achieve her vision of working for profit, people, and the planet. But it required capital and lots of it. So she and her team sprang into self-funding action. In this episode, Chitra details the people, processes, tools, and techniques she and her firm relied on to grow past the bootstrapping phase and on to scaling up.

Special Guest: Chitra Lele, CEO – Chitra Lele & Associates

Location:  Coventry, West Midlands  UK

Show Notes:

Related Episodes:
  • Episode 032: Running Your Business by the Numbers with Charles H. Green
  • Episode 057: The One Thing You Need to Know About Conscious Capitalism with Corey Blake
  • Episode 060: The One Thing You Need to Know About Mental Health & Entrepreneurship with Silke Glaab
  • Episode 075: Jenny Jones’  Building Business Credit Process

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077: Process Mapping with Alicia Butler Pierre

Process maps are more than just boxes connected with arrows. When done correctly, they can help you understand where bottlenecks exist, how long it takes to make your product or deliver a service, and where opportunities to streamline, automate, and/or outsource may exist. In this Season 6 finale, host Alicia Butler Pierre describes how she used process mapping to increase her company’s cash flow. She also shares the people who can help in your mapping efforts as well as recommended tools.

Monologue: Alicia Butler Pierre, Founder & CEO, Equilibria, Inc.

Location:  Atlanta, GA  USA

Show Notes:

Related Episodes:

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