Scaling Ecommerce Business Made Easier By Videos with Yoni Kozminski (Episode 109)May 31, 2022
Kickstarting your ecommerce business on this day and age has never been this easy, with platforms that allows your brands to go online in just a few days. While managing it can be a daunting task, many ecommerce brands are able to go viral, thanks to effective content strategy. So, does it mean you're ready to scale? How do you scale an ecommerce business? Is it worth a shot?
Welcome to 'Video Made Simple' video podcast featuring marketers, entrepreneurs & clients who help take the mystery out of video and break through the monotony of day-to-day communication.
In this episode, Chris Schwager (Co-founder and Video Marketer of Ridge Films) is joined by Yoni Kozminski (CEO and Founder of Escala and Multiplymii) to discuss how he was able to scale an ecommerce business from $2M to $5M in a year, the struggle that comes with growing a business, and how internal communication videos help streamline business systems so companies can scale faster and easier. Yoni also gives insight on tapping the market of professionals in the Philippines as its resource for Multiplymii.
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Chris Schwager 0:37
Hello video marketing professionals and welcome to the podcast that takes the mystery out of producing videos. I'm your host Chris Schwager. And today our guest is Yoni Kozminski, from Melbourne, Australia and now as I just realized, based in Israel. He is Founder and CEO of Eskala, an management consulting firm for Amazon and ecommerce businesses and Multiplymii an end-to-end executive recruitment and HR solution that connects top talent from the Philippines.
Chris Schwager 1:09
He spent a decade in digital marketing and Creative Advertising globally, developing digital strategy for the likes of Mercedes Benz, MasterCard and Sony. Back in 2018, Yoni was able to expand an e-commerce Amazon business from two to 5 million in just 12 months. Wow, what an achievement. He's grown Eskala and Multiplymii from a four man team to over 250 people on payroll, supporting more than 75 businesses responsible for more than $500 million in annual revenue. So to learn how to scale your business, let's chat to Yoni.
Chris Schwager 1:55
What inspires you to focus on consulting and recruiting markets?
Yoni Kozminski 1:59
So I guess it comes down to effectively my mission driven objective, and that's how to create gainful employment. So for me, you know, the metric and what you read out is to it's actually now 300 People on payroll since I sent over that information, it's about having the ability to help make sure people are getting fair pay and opportunities. So that's what drives all of this,
Chris Schwager 2:23
How we are able to expand an e-commerce business from two to five million in 12 months, that sounds like WeWork or something like that. And then "we crashed." Come on, give it to me man. Tell me.
Yoni Kozminski 2:36
It's actually funny that you mentioned that my parents are watching We Crashed this week, and they said, Jesus, it sounds like you . We're a little bit concerned about. If you had more of an ego, we'd really be worried. But look, I'll be honest with you, when it comes to Amazon, having a decade of experience in Creative Advertising and digital marketing, growing up in the agency space, you know, it was almost a step down. It was how to build effective systems and process and bringing the right movers and shakers and team members sitting in the right seats to help actually create focus and drive the business forward. And especially at that time in 2018.
Yoni Kozminski 3:15
Amazon, I mean, it's still I would argue, it's still nascent, there's still so much opportunity to sell on Amazon, super capital intensive, obviously, when you're a product based business and ecommerce. But ultimately, it's a closed system. And you know, I don't know what your listeners are like when it comes to their understanding of conversion rates and things like that. But just to give a bit of perspective, you know, when I stepped in, website conversion, typical website, something good, you're looking at one to 3%, you know, getting 3%, you're pretty well happy with that.
Yoni Kozminski 3:45
I stepped into Amazon and I was seeing a literal, I said to one of the original founders of this business. You know, something's not right here. And he goes, What do you mean? I said, Well, I'm seeing conversion rates of 20, 25%. And he said, Yeah, it's a little down at the moment. I said, forget building out a DTC brand. That was my intention. I said, well just grow a massive DTC brand. We've got amazing traction already. And I said, forget everything I've said, we're focused 100% on Amazon, and we're just gonna get this machine going. And that was, that was really it, was bringing in the right people, the right systems and the right processes and having clear focus on on whatever objective was,
Chris Schwager 4:23
How do you know if a business is ready to scale?
Yoni Kozminski 4:25
Yeah, that's a great question. So broad stroke, you know, there's different service based businesses, there's SaaS companies, you've obviously got what you guys are doing in terms of film production and editing. I think that the first thing is understanding that product market fit, so have I found the right audience and is there real traction? You know, there's, I mean, again, going to maybe not We Crashed or WeWork is a good example. The irony that I'm recording from a WeWork right now is just not lost on me at least. And he was in Israeli guy as well. So here we go.
Yoni Kozminski 5:02
But ultimately, raising tons of capital, which is you know, we're bootstrapped, but a lot of people will raise tons of capital before they even have that product market fit and driving belief. Understanding your customers and a friend of mine, I said you should, you should, you know really make this a quote of yours. He said to me, "I don't know your customers as well as your customers know your business." And ultimately, when you find that product market fit, that's that should be the signified, to say, right, we're onto something here. It's having deep impact and meaning for the people that are rendering our solutions, whatever that looks like. And that's where it's about building that plan and getting the systems in place to actually build that future state vision. So, you know, no one's gonna, you're not driving anywhere quickly, unless you have clarity on what that direction and what that goal looks like. So, you know, I could go on about this topic for a long time. But I know you got a few questions, obviously,
Chris Schwager 5:56
Well, in scaling businesses, then on that note, where do people really struggle the most?
Yoni Kozminski 6:01
Yeah, so great question again. Team, if you're listening, team if you're listening in, you've done fantastic work, great research.
Yoni Kozminski 6:15
That it really is the challenge, right? I think a lot of people who start a business, especially as, say, an owner operator, and I say a lot of this in the Amazon space is you get to a certain ceiling of ability, where you can no longer hold control of every aspect. You know, if you're sitting there as a micromanager, try and deliver, it's never going to scale at you and your time. And your input is not a scalable solution. So when it talks to building scale, and one of my businesses at Escala is a process improvement management consulting practice, we take historically, a lot of that methodology out of Ernst and Young. And now we've built on top of it over the last couple of years, our own methodologies on how we build it. But looking at it simply, having clear guidance and direction on what the goal is, and working backwards and then implementing what we would say, is a perfect system. So perfect system to us is the harmony between people, process, and technology coming together. So understanding what piece of technology I can use, what are the individuals or what are the seats that I need to fill in order for those processes to be built to drive the technology in the right way. And if you have any one of those three key pillars not in alignment, you're going to have challenges. So that would be the short of it.
Chris Schwager 7:28
Well, this is a video show. And we interviewed David Jenyns a couple of months back regarding using Loom recording and Systemising and putting practices in place with videos. What role do you think videos can play in scaling businesses and finding talent?
Yoni Kozminski 7:47
Yeah, I mean, that's a revolutionary tool that has changed the game for us. For our clients. We are huge believers in video production. And it's impacting in virtually every aspect. So when you ask the question, what role does video play in scaling your business? So when we document processes in our consulting business, we believe that no video should be more than three to five minutes long so that when you're looking to rerecord, you're not having these huge chunks of time. So literally every single team member that joins our company goes through an onboarding process where there's sequences of videos to help automate and systemize that and effectively understand what does that journey look like, you know, you can take it from the marketing perspective, there's nothing more powerful in communicating storytelling, which is what everything's about, right? It's all about storytelling. When you talk about business and the journey that we're all on in life and in business and it's very hard to disseminate between the two they are so closely linked but promotion of your brand, you know, there's nothing more authentic and there is no format of media consumed more than that video, and I'll finish with this one. We are extremely lazy as it looks like as we are in humanity in its current state. So people are looking for the easy option. If you're going to produce video content, that's the thing that's going to be the most digestible putting it on something like YouTube is evergreen, unlike a Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest or wherever you're gonna house it so it's extremely powerful. I mean, you know, I could go on for a long time about this too.
Chris Schwager 9:18
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Chris Schwager 10:00
Obviously, you've touched on professional video marketing really, you've touched on processes and using loom and you know, those short we're not short live videos, but the videos you don't, you're not going to produce produce them heavy. It's more about documenting information. Where Where does personalisation come into this and, you know, recording videos for single people. I mean, I it's just right up my alley at the moment, because there's still so much talk about, actually, there's not so much. So let me qualify.
Chris Schwager 10:30
And let me give you a situation here I've been asked to speak. And one of the topics that they put forward for me was all talking about viral video. So nobody gives a shit about viral video. Right? Like, you know, quite frankly, yeah. Would they be better to know actually how they integrate video so that it actually draws people close to their business and makes better connections and makes their systems more efficient? Then that's what I'm going to talk about, I'm not going to talk about TikTok, right. So I guess where I'm going here is like, we're a big part of that is one-on-one personalized video, which I kind of equate to being the new viral, you know, if you can, if you can actually pull someone in, and it's an audience of one, but you close the deal, then that's the best video in the world, right? Do you have capacity? Do you have space for that type of content?
Yoni Kozminski 11:21
Yeah. Again, nailing the questions I would say I'm actually going to draw upon and when we before we hit record, had a guest yesterday has really reframe the way in which I'm thinking about how I want to live my life and how purposeful. I want to be intentional and he said that he has built teams around him, where what he's able to do in a day, he said, it takes him 30 to 40 minutes a day. And he will shoot out 240 15-second clips to all the people that are in his network, creating real, genuine, authentic personal connection. And well, I'm gonna mess this one up here, because I heard literally the concept for the first time yesterday, but he has what he calls the wedge of despair, potentially. And what he talks about is his whole, his whole focus is on customer journey, and what the experience is like with the brand, and what he said is, the further away you are from actually those interactions. So if we speak to each other on LinkedIn for the first time, and I don't hear from you for another six months, you know, it's just created distance and an ability for me to lack or believe that there's a lack of authenticity in you or brand you or your brand.
Yoni Kozminski 12:31
So coming back and bringing this all together, the ability to produce bespoke video that's directly targeted at an individual so that resonates with them through that visual storytelling and that communication and that authenticity. I mean, you struggle to find anything that will have more meaning and impact and have a stronger ROI, if you will, on what it will do for your business.
Chris Schwager 12:55
We've been doing it for two years, I mean, relatively similar to the sort of COVID timeline if you like, but it has changed everything. We don't communicate now by reactive telephone calls to inquiries, for instance, we get back with the video immediately. So an enquiry come in, you know, within the hour, they've got a 30-second video just for them personalized to say, hey, book in when it's convenient for both of us. Because you're busy, I'm busy, but let's make it mutual and let's start this relationship professionally. Videos on LinkedIn similar thing. So even outreaching for guests, in his podcasts, we do personalized videos in in inmail to do that. And, you know, the wow factor of this stuff so surprised that more and more businesses aren't a world they're not aware of it. And I guess sort of condensed their ideas about video to all Well, isn't that something that sits on YouTube or your homepage or Facebook or whatever, they actually don't understand that, that videos can sell for you. Live videos can actually glue, you know, gaps and problems and challenges in processes that you have in your business and allow you so much more leverage and allow you to be there without being there. And by the time you do connect with that person, the report is already partly built. It's an amazing thing. There's a real gap in people's understanding, but it's, you know, up to us, I guess, to try and advocate and get that message out there.
Yoni Kozminski 14:27
I build on top of that and say, you know, in a two and a half year period whenever this whole all started when we talk about the pandemic, you know, the feeling of isolation and the lack of human interaction builds. And so to be able to bring a video directed specifically at an individual that feels closer and more authentic and more connected, probably has add, you know, more meaning now than it ever has in history. So I'd be shocked if you haven't absolutely ballooned out and grown incredibly quickly over this time, because there's probably never been a time where it's been more needed in, in our history, since the digital ages has come.
Chris Schwager 15:11
Yeah, yeah, there is, you're right. And the need now as well as changing from this concept of well isn't a webcam enough to know it's not enough, because now I've got to bring not only professional attitude, professional appearance, but I also need to upgrade my professional image. And a webcam is just clearly not cutting it. So we're actually picking up a lot of business from those that need to step shit up, you know, they need to, they need better quality, video recording video, Zoom calls, they need better quality recordings and internal training that they're doing or external trainee even, and also this ability to then sell and do wonderful things within within email, but they've never even kind of considered before, which has been a different approach. I think, ultimately, people are always intrinsic about what how to improve the cut through. And sometimes it's the simplest ideas that can have the maximum impact. So look back to went on a bit of a derailment there.
Chris Schwager 16:25
But how important is it for startups or even established business owners to have a coach or consultant to help him with things like what we've just been chatting about?
Yoni Kozminski 16:35
A personal perspective, and I can only give you my lens, I have a mentor that I sit with every week, I'm part of several mastermind, right? I have, you know, so I would say in terms of my personal and professional growth and development, I mean, if I can speak to someone who's been there, and has done that, we're currently building a board of advisors, you know, I'm not trying to make the mistakes that others have made before me. And if I can shortcut my learning to have impact in coming back to my mission in creating more opportunities for more people that I'm going to do that I feel a direct accountability and responsibility to do everything that I can to further my personal and professional growth and live in my, my truth and live my 10 year plan, so to speak. So, you know, critical, you know, I'm constantly looking for them.
Chris Schwager 17:28
So this is, you know, could be perceived as being a quite a sort of sort of obvious question, but it's very hard in Australia, for people to come to terms with the fact that they don't know everything, and that they sometimes have to drop their guard put up their hand and go, will someone just bloody well help me please? You know, so why, yeah. Why, I guess, is it important to scale correctly?
Yoni Kozminski 18:00
Yeah. So I would say it's important to scale. And again, it comes down to what you are trying to achieve in your life. The two biggest levers that you will pull in your lifetime are going to be either time, or money, right? You always want to be able to buy more time, you know, every entrepreneur that you're you'll ever come across is, I want my freedom. Yeah, I want my time. And I want to make more money. So when it talks about when you talk about scaling, effectively, you know, I have a pretty large team, I'm running multiple businesses, I'm still able to wake up in the morning, I've got an eight week old, I'm still able to wake up in the morning, do the morning feed, take my dog with me for a walk, I spent four hours with them in the morning, till I come to the office at 10.
Yoni Kozminski 18:49
And the most important thing and the reason why this works is because I have built an incredible leadership team around me that have built the systems and the processes that allow me to live a lifestyle that is not, you know, anyone who's glorifying the the hustle culture, you know, don't. He is not sustainable. And I've lived that lifestyle. Don't get me wrong. I'm not sitting here saying, I'm holier than now. When I was starting the business, I was doing the 20 hour days, and I was you know, I was seven days a week, every waking minute, how do I how do I how do I and at some point, there's there's that breaking point. And you know, I'm really fortunate that I invest in my education, you could see over my shoulder right now there's a book called EOS traction, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. So I actually flew to an event in Orlando last week to see the EOS conference and see Gina Whitman, the guy who wrote the book and also the EOS life and rocket fuel and a bunch of these other books. And, you know, it just helps guide me so deeply and understanding that I love what I do every day.
Yoni Kozminski 19:53
But I want to create balance and I want to have meaning and purpose in my life and I want to invest the time in the things that are important. That's my family. So, coming back to it, why is scale important? Scale is important, or building for scale is important so that you can design your life in a way, and not just for you. But for me, I look at my entire team, I want them to live their best life, first and foremost, and a really simple logic. If I look after my team, they'll look after the business. And therefore me. And that's it.
Chris Schwager 20:24
Congratulations, by the way on your eight week old, and
Yoni Kozminski 20:27
Chris Schwager 20:29
Anyone with kids knows how tough it can be the to juggle. I've got two little ones hovering around somewhere. I'm sure there'll be busting through the door in moments.
Yoni Kozminski 20:40
How good is that?
Chris Schwager 20:41
But I'm interested to know who was the guy that you were talking to yesterday, so that maybe the audience can can latch on to your podcast and listen?
Chris Schwager 20:51
His name's George Bryant. And I think it'd be great to have him on because just wow. I mean, I typically like to record for about 30 minutes. That podcast went for an hour and 10 an hour and 15. I just Well, I was I just was living every minute. And I didn't want him to get off. Yeah, he was happy to oblige. She just Yeah. Incredible.
Chris Schwager 21:14
And for my listeners, or our listeners, I should say, tell them about your podcast for a second.
Yoni Kozminski 21:21
Yeah, so the podcast that I started about a year and a half ago, now it's called Successful Scales. And it's all really about the entrepreneurship journey on talking to people who have built large businesses, and I go a pretty broad gamut. So I'll tell you guys openly don't listen to the early episodes, they're pretty shit. But you know, like everything, you get a lot better. So as you get past episode 30, they start to improve, it's up to probably 82 now, and I'd actually happy to send sort of I can send you a best of best of podcasts are the ones that will resonate most. But ultimately, I'm getting anyone from, you know, people that have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to people that have built a billion dollar companies to large e-commerce businesses, to people that are a little bit more tactical, helping educate you on how to scale your business from a, from a position of a specific line of questioning. So it might be the psychology behind it. It might be their culture in a team and might be the media spent in mind anything like that?
Chris Schwager 22:27
Well, I'm keen to listen. And I'm sure if you like what you hear today, then shoot over and, and have a listen to podcasts. I've only got one more question before we wrap up. And that is why Philippines Why choose the Philippines as the talent pool for Multiplymii?
Yoni Kozminski 22:42
I had a really profound experience probably four or five years ago, when I started working more heavily with the Philippines. I found talent so there's like a bunch of websites that you can find talent out of the Philippines I like to call onlinejobs.ph, the gateway drug to the Philippines where you find talent that's just good enough to do some baseline tasks. And that's where you get sort of this VA culture which which I hate, you know, you'll never hear me say that we place VAs. That's not what we do. We find high level professional talent that live in the Philippines. The Philippines resonates with me for many, many reasons. But just to build sort of the 10,000 foot picture, you got a population of 120 million people. It's inside of that population, anyone 95% of college educated, or above, as in inside of the not inside of 120 million people of the people that are working in their business process outsourcing space. Of them, all that education is done in English, so they grow up speaking English. So there's none of that language barrier of like a bit of a weird American accent if I fail, I admit. But, but ultimately, it's the motive, the intrinsic motivators.
Yoni Kozminski 23:51
So it's about loyalty and integrity, it's super non-confrontational, attention to detail is highest out of probably almost any other culture. So what you find is a highly motivated, loyal, educated and capable, driven team. And so I owe all of my success to the Philippines. And you know, I will sing that message for for the rest of my days.
Yoni Kozminski 24:19
And lastly, again, coming back to the Multiplymii business and why we built it. I understood that a lot of people enter the BPO space and take a pay cut, working with foreign entities. I asked my early team members that I took from the previous company that scaled from two to 5 million I said, What were you getting paid at your absolute maximum when you're working corporate Philippines? And it was about three times higher than what we were paying them then plus they had health care, Social Security HMO, Philhealth, 13th month and Pag-ibig.
Yoni Kozminski 24:50
And I said I don't want to live in a reality where you have to wait, you have to sacrifice a single dollar because the cost of living there is 50 to 80% Lower anyway. So you even with all of these benefits, you're still looking at probably a quarter of the price of what you'd pay someone in Australia, or the US and some of the top talent, maybe a third. I mean, there's people honestly, if, if I'm honest that I pay more than I pay myself right now in the Philippines, that's just how good they are. And they deserve every cent, they're balling out, let's put it that way. But But that's really, I mean, you can hear the passion in my voice, I have just a deep affinity.
Chris Schwager 25:25
Man, I'm with you. With you, you know, I'm a huge advocate, and the ethic work ethic, you know, some people here is so like, entitled, it's ridiculous. Bitch and moan because they couldn't get their second investment property. You know, it's like, relax, you know, and like, yeah,
Yoni Kozminski 25:47
What's crazy to lean on that point is I think one of the biggest concerns I have is making sure that they're not over committed to the hours that they're working. You know, when I'm seeing and checking in at two three in the morning, it's like we've we've built company policy, like when we send a Slack message, there's no expectation to respond right away and and to the point now where it's like if you respond in hours that are like really not appropriate say, two through 6am, we'll dock at you, we'll find you like that is not okay, you need to switch off you need to be focused on living a healthy work-life balance.
Chris Schwager 25:47
And Yoni tell us how our audience can reach you.
Yoni Kozminski 26:09
So if you're interested in Escala, or Multiplymii, check out the websites, I'm sure you will, you're smart enough to have shownotes. So you'll probably find them in there. If you're looking to speak to me directly, I'm always open if I've got time on the calendar, just Yoni at Multiplymii or wearescala.com and off you go.
Chris Schwager 26:50
Well this has been a lot of fun, a lot of similar journeys, I think, which has been awesome. And thank you for sharing your time. So the best part about this episode is just definitely looking at ways to scale the input of your business by tapping the global market and using videos as a way to do that. Thanks for tuning in. That's all for this episode of Video Made Simple podcast and see you next week.
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