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Achieving Sustainable Growth as an Agency Owner With Frank Cowell

Frank Cowell

Frank Cowell is the Chief Revenue Officer of Revenue Ranch, a coaching and training organization for professional service firms. With 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, he works closely with founders to help them achieve predictable revenue, more profit, and personal freedom.

Before Revenue Ranch, Frank was the CEO of Digitopia Agency. He is also the best-selling author of "Building Your Digital Utopia," where he introduced a concept that helps brands create digital experiences to accelerate growth systematically.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Frank Cowell explains how Revenue Ranch helps people

  • How to efficiently delegate tasks as an entrepreneur

  • The seven core functions of the business

  • Tips for achieving mental freedom as a business owner

  • Brand building strategies

  • How does AI impact customer experience?

In this episode…

Growing a business as an agency owner can be challenging but achievable. Seeking support from experts in this field can help you do this effectively and efficiently.

However, it's essential to realize that growth barriers are common. Frank Cowell recommends working with a coaching and training organization to help you implement a strategy and management methodology. This will enable you to overcome unexpected obstacles and achieve consistent growth, predictable revenue, more profit, and personal freedom.

In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker sits down with Frank Cowell, Chief Revenue Officer of Revenue Ranch, to discuss how agency owners can achieve sustainable growth. Frank explains how to delegate tasks as an entrepreneur, the seven core functions of the business, tips for achieving mental freedom as a business owner, and brand-building strategies.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This is brought to you by Quik!

At Quik!, we provide forms automation and management solutions for companies seeking to maximize their potential productivity.

Our vision is to become the leading forms automation company by making paperwork the easiest part of every transaction.

Meanwhile, our mission is to help the top firms in the financial industry raise their bottom line by streamlining the customer experience with automated, convenient solutions.

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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.

Richard Walker 0:16

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins, where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Some of my past guests have included Robert Kirk, the CEO of Energen Data, and Mark Firmin CEO of eTreem. Today, I'm excited to speak with Frank Cowell, the Chief Revenue Boss of Revenue Ranch, and today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forms processing. When your business relies upon processing forms, don't waste your team's valuable time rekeying data off forms instead, get Form Extracts from Quik. Using the Form Extract API, simply submit your completed forms and get back clean, context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate. Visit to get started. All right. I'm so happy to talk to Frank today. Frank Cowell is a speaker, a best-selling author and an entrepreneur in San Diego, California. As the Chief Revenue Boss of Revenue Ranch and with close to 20 years of agency experience, Frank works regularly with agency owners who are looking to build profitable and smooth-running agencies that they can step away from whenever they want by helping them implement a proven business management methodology. Frank presents regularly to regional and national organizations on topics related to strategy, management, sales, marketing, and leadership. We're gonna learn a lot from you today. Frank, welcome to The Customer Wins.

Frank Cowell 1:43

Hey, Rich, thanks for having me today. Excited to be here.

Richard Walker 1:46

So if you haven't heard this podcast before I talk with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they built and deliver a great customer experience and the challenges to grow their company. Frank, I want to understand your business a little bit better. How does your company help people?

Frank Cowell 2:02

Yeah, so as you mentioned in that introduction, and thanks for that, by the way, we work with agency owners who have gotten to a certain particular zone, if you will, where they've got an offering, they've got clients, they have employees, and what they're doing to try to grow just isn't working anymore, they kind of hit this ceiling. And so what we do is we help them figure out why they're hitting that ceiling and their number one blocker to growth. And we help them implement a strategy planning and management methodology that can scale them beyond what I call their entrepreneurial brute force. So that way, now they have an aligned driven team of professionals all working towards the growth objectives of the agency. So that way, it's not all resting on their shoulders.

Richard Walker 2:49

So let me clarify real quickly, I think a lot of my audience members in financial services, they think the word agency like insurance agency, or brokerage agency, that kind of thing, the agency you're talking about, is that typically different or is it marketing?

Frank Cowell 3:02

Yeah, it's like a marketing agency, web development agency, a PR agency, a branding agency, those types of things where you're doing services for a given market related to branding, marketing, sales, PR, what have you.

Richard Walker 3:17

Okay, so it's all the things around the messaging, getting your name out there, all the things that everybody in my industry doesn't know how to do. It's hard to do.

Frank Cowell 3:25

Yeah, absolutely positioning the brand, attracting audience to the brand generating leads, nurturing those leads, and everything.

Richard Walker 3:37

We all have a problem, it's something you mentioned, especially entrepreneurs and financial advisors, go start their own RAA practice, maybe with one or two people, we all face the same problem that you brought up, which is we get to a point of only I can do the work. How do we move on from that? So what do you help people do to break free of that mindset and then get to scale and grow?

Frank Cowell 3:57

Yeah. So that efforts, I call that entrepreneurial, brute force, that entrepreneurial brute force is really what's required to start a company, get it off the ground, get the initial clients, initial employees, figure out the offering, refine it, and so on. So that effort is needed, that mode is needed. But at a certain point, that mode, actually is detrimental to growth. It's that saying of like, that goes like this, what got you here won't get you there. And so again, while that mode was necessary, what's needed to go to the next level, is to have a mode that starts to include other people on the team, other leaders that can start to take on some of the specialized business functions, where in the beginning, you the owner, the entrepreneur, were kind of the expert in all the major business functions. What a certain point you have to start hiring people better than you in each of those functions. So as the entrepreneur or the owner of the business, if you do want to scale beyond yourself in a couple of people, you have to identify who those people are. And you have to bring those people onto your team and start tackling those business functions one by one, and start getting them aligned towards something. So that's the critical part is, can you gather those people and get them aligned to exactly where you want to go to this special place and the universe that your brand fulfills?

Richard Walker 5:24

I remember in college, somebody, a mentor said, hire people smarter than yourself? Well, I suffer from smart kids syndrome. I'm like, who's smarter than me? Yeah. And I didn't understand it's what you said, hire people smarter in those areas of expertise. And in my company, enable them to do their best work. What do you think is the primary struggle in the mind of that entrepreneur that you're shifting them through? And trying to get to that point? Is it revenue? Is it just awareness? Is it what?

Frank Cowell 5:52

I think a lot of entrepreneurs that I meet will identify revenue as the thing that is holding them back from making those decisions, and taking that next leap? If we just had this much more revenue then I could hire that person that you're talking about, if we just had this much more revenue, we would free up some gross profit, maybe some net profit, whatever, there's all these reasons, usually tied to revenue, or we just need one more big client, which is indirectly saying revenue, I think the reality is, is there is an egoic attachment to the work. And we all have egos, right, it's a part of our mind that we have, it's a part of our persona, the degree to which that ego is attached to certain things is going to determine how far we can go. So the more we're able to break that egoic attachment to the work, the further we'll be able to go and the easier it will be. So I find that attachment is usually the limiting factor, when people just can't let go, because they think this person's not going to do it this exact way. Instead of looking at the outcome of what that person might bring, they start communicating on the level and analyzing on the level of the little nuances. And when I hear that, that's a huge sign that there's a lot of egoic attachment, because they're not talking about outcomes of the role, right, and the outcomes of the individual. They're talking about how it's getting done. And that's a huge sign. So I find that's the biggest thing. And so if we can work on that, if we can break that and create that understanding, then we can go to work and say, okay, what is the one function that you need to focus on next? What is the priority? Because there's seven total functions in the business. And we can't address them all at once, when we're smaller enterprises trying to break out of that range. So what's the one function you need to obsess about right now, it's your, what I call the boulder. We've all heard of rocks, rocks are quarterly projects designed to install something new or fix something broken in the business? Well, the boulder is something that doesn't get fixed in one quarter, it's your focus for the next one to three years. So typically, a boulder is that one function in the business that has to perform without you. And you've got to get it to that place. So that is usually the boulder and if we can help identify that and we break that egoic attachment, then we can start to create momentum. But until then, it's very stagnant, unless we can make those two things happen.

Richard Walker 8:27

Man, you're explaining so much, I really wish I had met you more than 10 years ago, because my company is now in year 22. But it took me 12 years to break out of that. And the catalyst to break out of it was having a baby. I promised myself I'd stop working 80-hour weeks and go to 40 or less when my first son arrived. And I did that. But man, went through so much guilt of not performing not doing the work. And it forced me to delegate, you know what happened, we grew, we started growing by 50% a year, it was incredible, because I let go, finally. But I had that attachment that you're talking about.

Frank Cowell 9:01

Yeah, we have to let go. And then once we let go, then we have to tackle things methodically. And the point I'll reiterate, that I mentioned a moment ago is we can't tackle all of those functions at once. So we have to disproportionately deploy our time against the one function that is the priority. It's the number one blocker as I call it, the rest of those functions, you're going to have to spend a lot less time in and you have to be okay with those functions being imperfect, maybe some plates dropping. And so that's the other hallmark of a great entrepreneur, is you become okay with broken pieces of plate on the floor. That this is very hard for a lot of people to get used to. Because we're taught since we're children, that we have to be these perfect little x everything we do has to be perfect and nothing broken. We don't color outside the lines, but a great entrepreneur will color within the lines and do an amazing piece of artwork on the one thing that they're supposed to focus on. And the rest of it, you might have broken plates on the floor, and that's okay. And so getting comfortable with that is really important to growth.

Richard Walker 10:11

This is the irony of being an entrepreneur. Like it's okay for me as the entrepreneur to fail. In fact, I embrace it, because I know that's where growth comes. But soon as I ask somebody else to take over a job or role responsibility, and they fail, you can't fail. That's the wrong attitude. Right? You need to let them fail and learn and grow like you did, so that they own it. And they evolve with it just like you did as an entrepreneur.

Frank Cowell 10:34

I think what we fail to do as entrepreneurs, and it's also why most entrepreneurs are not great managers, is because we have this quality, call it charisma. Call it chutzpah call it just that entrepreneurial, brute force, call it being stubborn, whatever it is, we just make stuff happen. Yeah. When we try to manage people, it usually doesn't work too well if we don't develop real management skills, we can't take our entrepreneurial brute force skills, and use that to grow or manage somebody, because that's not who they are. And so we have to remember that. And that's usually one of the big hurdles for entrepreneurs trying to grow other people. Because we don't articulate things well. We speak on the level of feelings and vision and emotions, rather than being very methodical about steps and processes. And how do we chip away at things little by little, and allow that person to chip away little by little a stead of expecting one big giant result?

Richard Walker 11:39

Yeah, I'm really, really fortunate. My COO, Don Cron, has been running the marathon at a steady pace ever since he joined. And I actually watched him to be able to come down to 40-hour work weeks, because that's what he would do, highly consistent, always productive, always progressing. Me, I'm like spiking up running races slowing down burning out. Yeah, I'm lucky to have had that example. Because I think it's necessary. You mentioned something else. You said, the seven rocks, what are those?

Frank Cowell 12:08

Yeah, the seven core functions of the business. I have rephrased those in my world. And I call them the seven capabilities. And we talk about the translation from function to capabilities. So the functions are CEO, COO, operations, sales, marketing, admin, and finance. Now, whether you structure your organization that way, from a hierarchy standpoint, whether you have different titles, whether someone's handling both sales and marketing, whether someone's have handling, both admin and finance, those seven functions still exist, whether someone's wearing multiple hats, or you're just completely ignoring it, those seven functions exist. We often assign job titles to those functions as well, sure. But what I like to do is I like to ask people, why do those functions exist? And the answer to the why become the capabilities that you're trying to achieve as an entrepreneur. So if you own the business, and let's play a thought experiment here, let's say you couldn't work in the business, you own this business, but you couldn't work in it, you don't actually don't know how to fulfill the service, you don't know any of the content within this business. If that was the thought experiment, if that was the little game we were playing, then as the entrepreneur who owned this enterprise, you have no choice but to make sure that this business achieved those seven specific capabilities. So if we retitle the functions into capabilities, here's what we get. The CEO becomes True North strategy, meaning the purpose of the CEO is to create a true north for the company, where it's going, why it's different, how it's going to specialize in the marketplace, the vision, and the team of people that share the values to get there. That's a True North strategy, we go to the COO, that is called exceptional execution. That person's purpose, that capability is where we have the right planning and management methodology across the entire company such that any problem we're trying to tackle we know how to tackle and we have a mode for tackling plans and problems. We go into operations, which is your offering. So that's called World Class offering. The purpose of operations is to have a world-class offering, which means we have an offering that we produce profitably that clients rave about and never want to leave. Okay, what about sales? Well, the purpose is to have a systematic sales process, such that we systematically turn people that are interested into opportunities and opportunities into clients. Let's go to marketing, active lead generation. That's the purpose. We do all sorts of things in marketing like content and we do emails and we do ads and we do trade shows we do all these things, but the purpose is active lead generation. To produce a steady stream of active leads. People are raising their hand to support the sales targets. What about admin? That is to create an empowered work experience. So that way your people can be the best they can be both professionally and personally. And then finally, what's the purpose of finance? It's for cash and profit optimization. So we go through that, those functions, and we grade ourselves on those capabilities. How well do we have those capabilities in the business because again, going back to our thought experiment, or little game here, if you're the entrepreneur, you can't work in the business, you have to go install those capabilities in your business by hiring the right people getting the right software and systems and creating the right direction for that company to where those capabilities can be fulfilled.

Richard Walker 15:40

Man, this is brilliant, I hope this is what one of your books is about, or you're writing it about this, because it's just brilliant, how you're looking at this.

Frank Cowell 15:47

Thank you, I appreciate that. It really does come down to these seven things, putting them in the right order, and then tackling them in the right order, by the way, and the order that I just stated them in. That is what I call momentum order, which is to say, once we nail our True North, and we have exceptional execution, meaning we have a mode for how we go about doing planning and management on a recurring basis, then the next thing is world-class offering. And that comes before sales and marketing. Why? Because if we have an offering that isn't world-class, we're gonna have a hard time selling it. And we're sure as hell gonna have a hard time marketing it. And then if we don't have that, then we're not growing, we don't have a lot of throughput. So why are we worried about our empowered work experience, if we're not even a growing thriving company, we have nothing to impart, we have very little to empower. So this is about throughput. How do we maximize throughput such that when we work on each of these capabilities, we have maximum leverage, right? It does no good in a team of three people to do all this work in the Empowered work experience in the cache and profit optimization with three people and five clients, like we just don't have enough throughput, we don't have leverage, but when we nail them in the right order, and now we have 50 100 people on our team, when we have hundreds of clients, then the work we do an empowered work experience has massive payoff. The work we do in cash and profit optimization has massive payoff, because we now have leverage that we didn't have when we were smaller. So that's the order we tackle it and because that's what we call momentum order.

Richard Walker 17:20

Now, one of the things I really love about this is, first of all, it feels very affirming and validating to how I've been building and running my company. Second, though, is when you talk about function and capability, I'd like to divorce that from title or person even. One of the exercises I've gone through consistently every year to two years is to look at all the things I do and assign a role to it like this is a CEO role. This is a CIO role. It's really about a function like what function is it, not the person, because then I want to address who is the right person to take these on. And that is honestly how I've started pushing things off my plate. Now I'm focused on only the things that are true North star to use your words, that matter to how we drive this company forward. And the irony then is, I'm always 10 steps ahead of everybody else in my team, because I'm way down that path. But I just love how you're framing this. So let me ask a totally different question. We started by talking about how do you help your customers win? How do you help people and you're helping your customers do these things? But what is the outcome of having done that? They get to help their customers more? Right?

Frank Cowell 18:25

Absolutely. I think one of the things that I'm really passionate about, and the reason why I want to help my clients implement something like this is, yes, you'll grow, you should put more money in the bank, put more money in your pocket, those things should happen. And those things are important. But I'm really about helping my clients achieve mental freedom. Because the reality is, is when you grow a business to a certain size using entrepreneurial brute force, it gets to a place where you don't have mental freedom. And then all of a sudden, you find well, am I really paying myself well, could I kind of go get a job making what I'm making, like, I've got all these things I'm providing to everyone else on the team. And we end up having a business that's in control of us instead of the other way around. So I'm really passionate about helping people take control of their business and making sure they're developing an entity that serves them and not the other way around. That's not to say, we shouldn't be of service to our people. Because the way we're going to make that happen is to be of service to people. But the decisions we make about the business strategy, and where we're going and what we're doing and where we'll specialize and who we go after should create a model that feeds the agency owner or the business owner, what they need out of the entity. Right? And so that's what I'm really passionate about is creating that mental freedom and that prosperity for that person. And if we can do that, they might wake up one day and say, you know what, I actually want to be in this role in the business. You know what, I want to sell this business, you know what, I want to merge it, like, all sorts of things open up, because now they have the mental freedom to realize like, what is it that I love about this thing? And how do I play that role and only that role in this entity?

Richard Walker 20:12

Yeah. And I love that. And I love that because I'm an entrepreneur and a business leader. But I also think the impact you're having on the entire team is kind of like when you think of sales, you want the flywheel that's repeatable, and it just keeps moving and growing and it keeps getting momentum you're doing that for the whole company with Ross's looks like. I have to imagine then the outcome of that is that company gets to offer better products, better service, better customer experience, and therefore higher loyalty, higher attraction, and then just grow, which is why you're called the Revenue Ranch, I bet.

Frank Cowell 20:43

Yeah, absolutely. And that really is how we get there. So if we start off with like, Mr. or Mrs. Business Owner, what do you need out of this entity? And how should it serve you? Well, the how we get there is by serving our people by gathering the best people, putting them in the best environment possible, nurturing them to become the best they possibly can be getting them aligned and clear, setting expectations so that way, they have clarity on their job role better than they ever have. That is how we get there. We get there through the people. And in fact in one of my lessons that I run my clients through is that one of the comments is we have to get you to understand like, this isn't about you, it's about your people. Right? This is the how like, it's about your people. And so the level of people that you're able to gather and your ability to align them and create clarity and enthusiasm for them is going to determine how successful this venture is going to be.

Richard Walker 21:38

Frank, I think this feeds into another concept, which I'd love to hear your take on, as I've been talking to different people about branding recently. When we think of brands, we think of the big names like Nike, they make you feel like you can just do anything because of their product, right. But that's not achievable for small businesses to have that kind of spend to create that kind of emotion. So therefore, I believe brand is really your company culture, which is made up of your people and how they feel about working in your company. How do you feel about brands?

Frank Cowell 22:05

I think that's all part of it. I think brand is something that as a result of activities over time, and how purposeful you are about those activities are going to determine whether or not that brand is something you're proud of whether that brand is something that you aimed for or not. But a lot of those activities go back to the True North strategy, what you define in your True North strategy has a massive impact on your brain. In fact, in my True North strategy, when I do this with my clients brand is one of those pieces, how you articulate that. How do you articulate the specific audience your for with the specific problem and the specific struggle they face with a very specific solution with a very specific outcome and some specific promises that you make to those people? How do you articulate that? What's the personality around that? And how consistent are you in bringing value around that? So it all starts with that, really, those specific definitions and making those business decisions. And a lot of times, the reason small businesses don't have a, what I call a very sharp brand, is because they're very muddy and dull on those business decisions of the specificity of who and their struggle, and your solution and the outcome. When you get really sharp there, then your brand can be really specific and sharp. So how do you communicate that in the marketplace? How do you continue to deliver value on that in the marketplace to the marketplace at large? And then once people start experiencing your company, then what are you doing inside to foster that so that way, there is actually manifestation of everything you've been talking about in the marketplace for your clients. And so to me, like that whole process creates brand. But it all starts with having a true north. And if you don't have specificity and your true north, then your value proposition your messaging is also going to be very blunted and dull.

Richard Walker 24:07

Yeah, I think you're more clear on this than I am. And I totally agree having the sharpest tip of the spear going forward is super important. But these other six functions and capabilities you've talked about, if they're not operating well, a sharp spear is not flying very far. So they're really propelling the brand as they build up those capabilities as to be stronger and more effective, more efficient, and then the happiness within the people grow. That boils out to the rest of the community that you're serving. I see it all so entangled, and why it's so important to do these all seven of those capabilities that you're describing.

Frank Cowell 24:43

Yeah, those first two capabilities. When I talk about True North strategy and exceptional execution. I view those as your foundational business skills. Right. So when we move from just being a business owner and entrepreneur into true business managers, it's those two capabilities True North strategy and exceptional execution when you have those as your core, then you can go tackle the other five capabilities methodically and know how to handle the problems that come up in those areas, methodically. And when we do that, then the brand can really manifest beyond just the owner of the executive team making some business decisions, to then actually putting things in action.

Richard Walker 25:26

Right? Man, this is awesome. This is one of my favorite, favorite topics. And I'm so glad we're able to talk through it.

Frank Cowell 25:31

By the way, Rich, the last thing I'll share on branding is, there's a great quote, I heard from a marketing legend named Dan Kennedy. And this stuck with me when I read it almost 30 years ago, and it's something I repeat to this day, which is great brands repel as much as they attract. So that just goes back to what I mentioned a moment ago about being very sharp and your business decisions. With your business strategy decisions. When you're extremely sharp and your business strategy decisions, then you can articulate a brand that repels as much as it attracts. And so the reason that's important is because if you want people magnetically attracted to your brand, you have to say something that polarizes such that people will actually be turned away from your brand. If you try to say something that appeases a large audience, then it's very vanilla, it's generic, it doesn't resonate with any one particular person. And so this is a fear a lot of small business owners have people don't understand the power of brand, is that you actually have to repel as much as you attract.

Richard Walker 26:32

Yeah, yeah, that is something that we're going through right now in our company. Because as we bring a new product to market, we're realizing as we talk to different sizes and styles of customers, there's a segment of our current customer base, that is not going to be a customer. And then there's a portion of them plus a portion of the larger customers we work with, who would be a customer, if we added this feature, this integration did this. And then we have this perfect customer that's larger, higher volume, higher scale, etc, which will end up making more money, but also be an easier sale because they get it. So we're asking ourselves, like, who do we want to be with this new product, our current customers, or this brand new customer base that is more obvious to us? And obviously, I think the answer is obvious. We're gonna go after the bigger customers, where it scales, well, et cetera. But as entrepreneurs as legacy business owners, we don't want to lose out on a current customer. So we have that challenge right now just clarify this, and distill it down and not necessarily repel current customers, but the ones that are not a fit, they shouldn't even look at it.

Frank Cowell 27:30

I think where we get into trouble as entrepreneurs is when we take our core offering, and we try to make it malleable for a wide range of audiences. And so what we end up doing is, we end up taking this core offering servicing the lower end of the market, but not really doing less. And so we're spending just as much time we're including a lot of human labor. And so it's not all that profitable, I think the way this gets done profitably and in a way that makes sense, is if you can take your core offering and create different vehicles for what that offering does that use different modalities. So for example, if your core offering includes a lot of human labor, service and attention, in addition to maybe software you've built, then if you want to go down market, and only if it makes sense because that down market will eventually graduate into that target audience, and is there a way you can create a different modality of that offering that is maybe training, templates and resources, self-guided work, you don't take the same offering and try to do a little less? That's where we get into trouble? Can you create a different modality for the offering through training through tools through resources through software, through self-service, and then that's the way you can address a down market that eventually might graduate into your target market, then it makes sense. But again, where we get into trouble is we take that same core offering, and we just try to like, do a little less, and then price it less to try to fit into this lower market. And that almost never ends up working because it's still services-based in this example. And you still end up spending just as much time and it's just as much work.

Richard Walker 29:15

Yeah, oh my gosh, that is such an important point. The point being that you need to have a client who can graduate into your A client. When I wasn't a financial advisor 20 years ago, we did analyze our clients, A, B and C clients, the C clients, they were the least profitable the most worked, the B clients were questionable. But oftentimes we weren't asking ourselves, will this person or this client become an A client? How could they become an A client? And I think a lot of advisors do probably forget about that, because they're just in the mode of working, helping, and they want to serve as many clients as they can and help as many people as possible, but not everybody is going to graduate. So I think that's a really important point. So let me switch gears a little bit more. You are in a space that is being so impacted by artificial intelligence. Or at least the outside world thinks that, oh, I'm not gonna be copywriters anymore. I'm not gonna need marketing agencies, I can do this all with AI. So I'm kind of curious, from your perspective, how do you see artificial intelligence impacting customer experience or even the kind of services that your customers provide.

Frank Cowell 30:15

So I'll state this with the asterisk of short of the point in time, where there is true AI, where you have an autonomous, quote, unquote, being that truly you can interact with and just give instructions to like on a human to human level. So short of that, if that ever happens. So short of that, our jobs just change a bit with AI, it doesn't eliminate the need, the jobs just change. So that means that with the, like, we look at the current tools that are out there, you can't get rid of your copywriter. The reality is you still have to guide the AI in a way that's going to give you the output you want. If you're the business owner, and you're like, oh, well, I don't have to then hire someone in marketing. Well, that's still going to take you some time. So is that the best use of your time. So someone still has to interact with these tools. And what I found is that, if you just give it basic instructions, you'll get something that when you look at it, it's like wow, that's pretty amazing. I gave it some basic input. I can't believe I got back this eBook, this article, this whatever. But when you dig into the content of it, it's not really saying anything novel or different, right. So if you want to put out content that's great, that truly resonates with your target audience and starts to communicate in a way that points out differentiation in thinking differentiation and solutions, differentiation in philosophy, you need to come up with that, and you need to feed it in, and then you can use it as an editing assistant. But it still takes a skill to know what to feed in to get something great out. And then today, you would still need to edit that quite a bit and massage it to get it on point with what you're really trying to communicate. What I found in the way I use the AI tools right now is I use it almost as a creative brain, I can use to process thinking and give me ideas. So for example, when I develop nomenclature, for my methodology, I did this when I formalized my strategy planning and management methodology. When I was developing the nomenclature, I had a couple of, let's say, up of five points in a given part of the framework. If I had to have the points, nailed, I knew I wanted to name them these things in the nomenclature pattern matched. But the other three, I kind of knew what I wanted to say, but I didn't have the words yet, I would just feed that into the AI, tell it what I'm trying to do. And then I got back a list of ideas for how to name those other three components of the framework to where the nomenclature pattern matched. That's really powerful. But again, how you use this tool, is largely that the effect of the tool is largely gonna be dependent on your creative input. And so I get a lot of output from it. That's super useful. And when I feed it a creative challenge is like when I think of like content, yeah, I find it content to play around and get something back. But it's like, okay, it's okay. It's certainly we can just fill up a lot of pages with it if we wanted to. But I don't know if it's uniquely saying what I wanted to say. So my biggest benefit with AI right now has been at least from like a tech standpoint, I haven't done a lot of playing around with like, the video stuff and the image-driven stuff. I know, there's some really cool stuff going on there. From a tech standpoint, the biggest benefit I've received is, I really use it as a creative brain to process ideas that I have, and then make sense of it. Give me ideas back. That's been super powerful.

Richard Walker 34:03

That's actually one of my favorite uses of it. My wife launched the business this summer called Dr. Weightless, and we didn't know what to call it. And so we ran it through all these different ideas, input scenarios, and it was such an awesome brainstorming tool. By the way, it did not name the business. But it gave us 100 different ideas to keep spurring our own ideas and thoughts around it so that we could come up with what we think is a great name. And I've done that for lots of different things, product ideas, technical designs, I love the creative nature and the spark that creates but I 100% agree with you. The output is not publishable. It lacks sentiment, it lacks personality, it lacks the tone even so I think it's going to transform over time. But right now that's one of my favorite uses.

Frank Cowell 34:46

It really is a creative assistant like or you can bounce ideas off of it and have it take your thoughts and give you a different perspective on it or give you ideas for nomenclature ideas for frameworks. that has been super powerful. The other way I've used it is to write code to do certain things that isn't all that earth-shattering. But it also saved a lot of time from having to write, call it this much code to do something or this much on a given web page, for example. That's been really powerful. But again, to know how to do that well, like I'm a former programmer, so I know what to ask it. And I know where it's wrong. Right? Right. So like, if you don't know anything about code, I don't know how well that's going to work for you. Like, you're going to fumble around a lot. And you may not know why it's not working once you implement that code. I know why it's not working when I. That's another way I've used it is I don't want to have to manually write it even though what I'm asking for is pretty simple in nature. It's kind of sophomore, if you will.

Richard Walker 35:54

Maybe that's one of the keys to success here is don't ask it to be something you're not comfortable being or working with. Like I'm not a dietitian, can I really trust the diet plan it might give me I might be able to but a dietitian would know if it's really valuable or viable, etc. Frank, as we wrap this up, I have another question for you. But before I ask it, what is the best way for people to find and connect with you?

Frank Cowell 36:16

Yeah, great question Rich. So one, my website So if you go there, the seven capabilities that we talked about, actually have an analyzer tool on my website, where you can run your business through an analysis, it'll tell you of those seven capabilities, which of those is your number one blocker to growth right now, and it will give you a roadmap for what to do about it. So, you can go check out the seven capabilities, growth momentum analyzer, you could also get in touch with me there. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with me. So if you go to LinkedIn and search my name, Frank Cowell, happy to connect with you there. Those are probably the two best ways. Yeah, you can also just email me So happy to connect and chat with your audience.

Richard Walker 37:06

Well, I love that your principles, they transcend all companies. I know you focus on marketing agencies, PR, et cetera. And that's great that you have your niche, you know that background really, really well, that audience, but these principles are universal. They're amazing. So I hope people go check out your site. Appreciate that. All right, so here's my last question, who has had the biggest impact on your leadership style, or how you approach your role today?

Frank Cowell 37:30

So I think of gentleman named Jerry Stein, who was my mentor, and he has since retired and no longer mentoring anybody. But Jerry really taught me the importance of management. And I think management as a skill is really lost in today's world. And I think it's hard to find. And I think people when they think of management, they err more on the conversation around leadership. And leadership, oftentimes, is a qualitative thing, how you behave in certain situations, how you respond, how you show up, when you take the lead in the face of adverse situations. That's leadership, and it's important. But if we were to measure how often leadership and management occur in a business and need to occur, leadership is really like 20% of the role that 80% of the role is management. So how do you go about planning for business growth? How do you manage to that plan? What kind of cadences do you create, with your team members to stay on track with the plan? How do you create clarity for individuals? How do you give, create opportunities for feedback for those individuals? And then just as important when individuals don't perform, how do you manage to that? What is the process for it? And I think what I learned a great deal from my mentor about management is that most people fail to just have a process and stay consistent with that process. So that lack of process and the lack of consistency is why we have a lot of chaos in organizations and why it exponentially grows as the business grows. It doesn't grow on par with the headcount. It actually becomes the chaos gets exponential with each headcount that we bring on. So, I learned a ton from Jerry and he was excellent at management, and he passed a lot of that on to me, so super thankful to him for that.

Richard Walker 39:32

Man, that is awesome. I'd love to talk to him. I love this kind of stuff, too. I've always said I want to be an awesome leader and a good manager. Well, I got to wrap this up. I want to say a big thank you to Frank Cowell, Chief Revenue Boss of Revenue Ranch for being on this episode of The Customer Wins, please go check out Frank's website at And don't forget to check out Quik! at where we make processing forms easy. I hope you enjoyed this discussion, well click the like button, share this with someone and even subscribe to our channel for future episodes of The Customer Wins. Thank you so much for joining me today, Frank.

Frank Cowell 40:09

Thanks for having me Rich. Good to chat with you.

Outro 40:12

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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