It is important for your small business to have a digital presence if you want to connect with customers. Unfortunately, most owners find the world of websites and Google searches difficult to navigate. You need help!
Fortunately, the experts at SearchLab are here to help guide you through the confusion. This digital marketing agency specializes in search engine optimization, web development, paid search marketing and other high-tech services. We’re happy and proud to call them a My Small Business Pro client.
We recently spoke with Mark Bealin, founder and managing partner of SearchLab, about how the company helps businesses generate more revenue from customers via search engines like Google, and how MSBP has supported their mission.
What sets you apart from other companies doing the same thing? What makes SearchLab so successful?
We have three main differentiators. First, we structure our contracts differently than our competitors. Every client can cancel at the end of the month. We don’t force anyone into a long-term contract. It’s our responsibility to earn your business every month.
Second, we’re a small company with big company capabilities. Our team is really good at what we do, and we’re really passionate about search marketing. Clients benefit from the level of service that’s common in smaller businesses but the capabilities are why they stay.
Third, we have a unique culture that we like to share. Simply put, we’re obsessed with building relationships. Everything at SearchLab is focused on building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. This psychology impacts our relationships with clients, employees, partners, and vendors. I’m convinced it’s the biggest determinate of our success.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love running the team. When a new account comes in, and we have to put the account team together, that’s really fun. When we need to work between sales, the account team, leadership, finance and make the whole experience pleasant for a client, it is kind of a rush.
What were some of your biggest obstacles in getting your company off the ground?
The biggest obstacle was getting the right team together. We made a bunch of mistakes but none of them are as damaging as mistakes related to people. It’s really hard to build a business, but you can overcome a lot as long as the team is strong. We have a great team now, and it’s something I’m really proud of.
Let’s talk about life before MSBP—how did you get connected?
I actually met MSBP from one of their friendly competitors. Originally, we were supposed to work on a temporary basis, but things went great and now we’re expanding our relationship with Daliah and the team.
How has MSBP helped you along the way?
They’ve been fantastic. What MSBP has done for us is take a huge weight off my mind. They resolve virtually all our financial matters with a bare-minimum disruption to our business. They also collaborate very well. Everyone at MSBP is a very good teammate and gets along with everyone on my team. It’s made the whole process so much smoother. We’ve also had our most profitable months and been able to offer our employees a benefits package due to their financial stewardship.
What challenges have you faced since you first started the business? Is there anything that MSBP is doing to help you meet those challenges?
One of the biggest challenges we face is that while we’re good at providing good services to clients, no one on our team had formal education finance. MSBP has helped us in so many ways. We went backward at the beginning to clean up every transaction in QuickBooks. We were doing it, but a lot of work needed to be done by MSBP to straighten out what had been done up to that point.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of running the agency so I immediately felt reassured that our billing, bookkeeping, and general accounting were being cared for by an expert.
We also needed to grow up as an agency to develop a basic HR plan. SearchLab celebrated our two-year anniversary right around the same time we began working with MSBP. It was time to crawl out of our infancy. Daliah provided leadership and did a lot of hard work to help guide us through a process. We’re now able to provide health insurance as well as a suite of HR services to the SearchLab team.
What are your business’s goals for the future?
We structure goal setting in one-year, three-year, and ten-year targets. This year we are hoping to increase annual revenue again, add staff to build out the agency to include more subject matter experts, and drive more sales to maintain profitability. In three years, our goal is to double the size of the agency from a revenue standpoint. We’ve identified the positions we’d hire and how the team would function. We also expect to build software to help with general reporting needs and develop a professional development course that is already being worked on. In 10 years, our goal is to generate $15M in annual revenue with 12% net income.
What would you say to a small business professional who hasn’t yet engaged with a financial services outfit like MSBP?
I’d pass along a piece of advice I received. There’s a huge challenge when you start a business to optimize the time you have every day. At first, you have to do everything. As you grow, it’s extremely useful to figure out what you like doing and are good at, what you like doing but aren’t good at, what you don’t like doing but are good at and what you don’t like doing and aren’t good at.
If finance or any portion of finance falls in a category that you don’t like doing, hire MSBP. Even if you’re good at managing finances, but hate doing it, you’ll be able to spend more time on productive things you enjoy.
Since we hired MSBP, I spend my days doing the things I really like doing and I’m good at with 100% confidence that our finances (something I don’t like) are handled by professionals.
Also, nobody likes working with jerks. It’s an energy killer. We’re a young business. Positive energy is like oxygen for us. Being able to work with MSBP means that you’re going to work with cool people who are super committed. Since the change, the level of organizational harmony is at an all-time high. It’s hard to overstate how important that is. It’s made the job so much more exhilarating.
I’m thrilled we’ve been able to help Mark and the rest of SearchLab focus on building their business. Reach out to me at Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro.com and let’s talk about how we can help your small business thrive, too.