Recap: Small Business Tips with Ramon Ray: Facebook Live

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• 21 minute read
Small business tips with Ramon Ray and OnDeck

Facebook Live Oct 9, 2018

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting, small business growth expert, Ramon Ray on our Facebook Live. It was 20 entertaining and educational minutes. So much so, that I wanted to break it down for you here in our Resource Center question by question.

Here are the top 3 thing I learned from Ramon Ray: 

  1. Sort out your operations before you do anything else. 
  2. Know where your audience is online so you don't waste time trying to reach them where they'll never see you.
  3. Don't be afraid to say "no" and delegate to best utilize your time.

Enjoy the video clips! (The full video and transcript are at the bottom of this post.)

Question 1: Tell us how you became Ramon Ray – Small Business Growth Expert in 30 seconds.

Question 2: What’s the most important thing you learned along your journey that you think every business owner should know?

Question 3: What strategy should a small business owner nail down first? Marketing, Sales, Operations, etc?

Question 4: What are the 3 best sales or marketing tactics you could share with small business owners?

Question 5: What are some tactics, tools, or advice you have to help small business owners optimize their time?

Question 6: What are some of the key mistakes you’ve made along the way and how can small business owners avoid these mistakes?

Question 7: Any last thoughts, advice or inspiration you want to share with small business owners before we sign off?

Here is the full Facebook Live recording:

Interested to read the full transcript? Here it is!

Ariele Krantzow:                 Hi. I want to welcome all of you to On Deck’s Facebook live, featuring the one, the only Ramon Ray.

Ramon Ray:                            Hey everybody.

Ariele Krantzow:                 So excited that you’re here with us. Thank you so much.

Ramon Ray:                            You’re welcome.

Ariele Krantzow:                 One of the great things about working with small business owners is that they love to learn and love to ask questions, and my favorite part about my role here as the content manager is that I get to help educate business owners, and make sure that all their questions are being answered.

Ramon Ray:                            I love it.

Ariele Krantzow:                 So, I just want to start off by, if you could tell something about how you got to where you are today. I know you got a lot of fans, and we’re gonna get you some more.

Ramon Ray:                            Awesome. Ariele thank you so much. A big thank you to the On Deck team for hosting this. It’s awesome for me to educate business owner. I am a small business. I have a team of about five, I’m probably leaving somebody out, but about five, and I love what I do. In essence, I’ve started four companies. Two I currently run,, which is a online resource about all things technology in business. Smart hustle magazine, which is a magazine all about the stories of entrepreneurship, maybe people who are customers of On Deck, and we provide content. We educate business owners is the essence of what we do, so think of Inc. Entrepreneurs the great magazines and content sites. That’s in essence what I do. How do I make my money? I work with large brands and help them better reach small business, and hang out with cool people like Ariele and educate. So in essence what I do. I play piano. I love burnt pancakes, making pancakes, and two glasses of cold milk on Saturday mornings.

Ariele Krantzow:                 That sounds great. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day as well.

Ramon Ray:                            Mine too. Today I had an exception to that, I had more like bagel, bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, with orange juice, which is a secondary favorite.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Alright, we’ll go there. Just to start us off, what is one thing that you could share with the business owners watching today, something that you’ve just learned along the way that you think every business owner should know.

Ramon Ray:                            Yeah, that’s a good question, and there’s so many things we could say Ariele, but I think that for one is to go narrow, narrow, narrow, and I may repeat some of these things depending on how we go along. I’m just speaking from my heart, so I think really it’s to go narrow. Sometimes I find as business owners we can say “you know what? Who is this watch for? Anybody who needs to tell time.” That’s not the case. Maybe my buddy Ariele here, this may not be the watch for her, or she may not want to have a watch. She probably wants to keep track of time. So I think the aspect of going niche, Seth Goden, often says that “don’t be afraid to go narrow, narrow before you expand.” If that helps to make sense.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I also think when you’re starting out a business, or even if you’re making a change in your business, knowing exactly who you’re trying to reach is gonna help solve a lot of problems along the way.

Ramon Ray:                            Absolutely. When you go too big, I think you find that you can’t serve everybody. You think you’re serving everybody, but it’s too big. You can’t please everybody, and then you’re disappointed.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Exactly. So in terms of growing a business, there are so many ways that you can go about it from marketing to sales. When a business owner is trying to make that decision, where do you think is the best place to start?

Ramon Ray:                            Sure, and listen I wish I had a case study like a business, right here, we could think “huh, they’re a fashion retailer, and they’re doing, this this”… We can’t. It’s me and you, so I’m gonna make up some broad strokes. I think again, you’ve already started your business now, you got the basics done, LLC or SCORP, you’ve got your bank account, which is some of you need to do that. But you have that already done. How do you grow? I think a few areas. One, I found in the school of hard knocks, I think, and I only started recently saying this Ariele because I normally would say sales and marketing are the things, which I’ll touch on. But I think you’re operations.

Ramon Ray:                            You can’t grow unless something is systematized that you’re able, let’s say I’m working for Ariele’s sweater company, and if she doesn’t have an operations procedure, how to do sales for example, I can’t grow into a new role, if that makes sense. You can’t hire new people because you’re always reinventing the wheel. And you can probably help me say this better. But somehow operations, and my point is systems, procedures, best practices, training, so that you’re running like a machine is what I’m trying to say. So I think that as you’re growing, you’re a pizza shop owner. If there is a certain way that your cashier is supposed to do cashiering, then you need to make sure that you have that written down. So I think that’s number one thing. Hopefully we’ll touch on sales and other things, marketing, which I’ll touch on. But I think if I had to think of one thing for growing companies, man, operations. Get that down pat.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting insight because a lot of people would go straight into sales or marketing or a combination of the both, but it’s really hard to do one or both of those things without knowing how you’re going about doing it.

Ramon Ray:                            Exactly.

Ariele Krantzow:                 But moving on from there, when you’re talking about sales and marketing, some businesses it’s easier to do sales, it’s easier to do marketing, how do you make that decision?

Ramon Ray:                            Absolutely, good point. So let’s talk about both. For me, I find that marketing, that’s my jam, that’s my favorite. You can see me just coming alive and yours as well. So I love marketing. I’m a marketer. I love the aspect of educating customers about how you can help solve their problem. If you’re Great Adventure you provide fun for kids, educate moms and dads, “hey, it’s Saturday, sunny, how can you spend time with your family. By coming to Great Adventure.” You know? So you’re educating.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yes.

Ramon Ray:                            Sales is more, so I think it’s important as well, is how do you get people to buy? I think that’s the sales aspect, meaning two dollars off, 20 percent off. Sales and marketing are similar cousins, but one I think is more of a brand-play educational and one is really we’re gonna move you along. So I think, listen, both are important. I think it really depends on what you’re doing in the stage.

Ramon Ray:                            Let’s say you are a food business, maybe a common food business, let’s go back to pizza. I don’t know why I like pizza a lot. You probably want to focus on sales. There’s not too much education you need to do. Are you dreaming of pepperoni tonight? It’s really get people in the door, have them buy a slice of pizza.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah.

Ramon Ray:                            Yeah? That make sense in a small example? Maybe if your a limousine company, maybe doing transportation from Newark airport, Chicago or anywhere in the world. You still need to make a sale, but I think there you could use some more education. Busy,late at night coming home from a party you could take so. Does that make sense? Ariele!

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah! That makes sense to me. I think what to sum it up.

Ramon Ray:                            Please

Ariele Krantzow:                 Correctly, hopefully is know what your business does and you be able to sort out which way is the right way for you to focus.

Ramon Ray:                            Exactly absolutely

Ariele Krantzow:                 So if you struggling to decide can I focus on sales or can I focus on marketing? Which one do I do first? Just get back to the basics and really ask yourself the question what do I do?

Ramon Ray:                            Right

Ariele Krantzow:                 And then you can move on from there.

Ramon Ray:                            And I think by all things every busy has to have some degree of marketing for sure. Those of you that are stuck in the old school of just sales that’s good. But I think everybody needs to start a test from some in the marketing. Of course our jam would be social media somewhat is the lowest easiest to do you can start with 25 dollars and 30 dollars and just test. Yeah know? Should I do shave or Afro? Which one do people like more? You can test it and see. Or should I grow my hair out?

Ariele Krantzow:                 I think you should grow your hair out. So based on that what you we’re just bringing up, so for social media you can really do[inaudible 00:07:34] for pretty cheap, with big businesses, corporation like one deck, we have big budgets and its not a struggle to decide do we do this or do that? Its how much of this and how much of that? With small businesses like my husband has a small business and we talk about it all the time. We only have a few hundred dollars a month to spend on marketing. It’s like how are we spending that few hundred dollars to get the most bang for our buck? Where do you see businesses owners using that money?

Ramon Ray:                            Am I allowed to shout out people on here? So shout out to Steven whoever you may be thank you for the thumbs up and thanks for all of you watching and if you have questions we may take them we may not, but thank you the engagement we love seeing it so make me feel great. So I would ask what your question was again but I remember it now. So about deciding how much to spend and how to leverage our social media. Listen I think there’s a few ways to do it. I think one focus on as ariele said its always good to know what your trying to sell and do. That’s important! Am I trying to sell this watch sell? Sell a sweater? Or do I want people to just sign up for my need magnet, some of marketers might know that term like a free PDF. Just get them into my funnel and you guys can google these words if your sure what they are we can dive into some of them. So that’s one, let’s take something like Instagram and you are a fashion company making amazing orange sweaters let’s say.

Ramon Ray:                            You may want to do Instagram campaign everything about orange. Orange berets on dogs, orange paint, oranges, you following me? Its a silly example having some fun about all things orange, promoting that, and seeing how can I attract people who who like orange and people who like fashion, now you can start to drive into your funnel and then start to sell them. So that’s kinda how I see it, but I would say task 2, where’s your audience at? I happen to not be on snap chat, lets say ariele business with her and her husband they find out most of their audience is on snap chat, you may want to go for it. It just happens to not be where my audience is cause their business owners also[inaudible 00:09:34] so that kinda how I do. One where is your audience at, two test and measure three experiment if you can’t afford 5 dollars or 15 dollars you~need to reevaluate your business I think. But of your business is any size YOU CAN [inaudible 00:09:48][inaudible 00:09:49]

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah! I think that’s one of the things, that when talking with a lot of small business owners they’re so scared to test because they don’t want to waste money.

Ramon Ray:                            Yes!

Ariele Krantzow:                 And when all your resources are so precious, that’s something good say [inaudible 00:10:03] even just testing on Facebook or Instagram, you can test for five dollars, its not a big commitment and you can really learn a lot with very little investment.

Ramon Ray:                            Just do it and do it and do it and focus on educating too. Use social media to educate.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Were big fans of education here. So this is [inaudible 00:10:25] really are people who don’t have a lot of time, we even did a study a couple years back, that just the amount of time it takes business owners to fill out a loan application at the bank. Something like 33 hours and on deck its minutes, and that was something we really connected with us a marketers and as people who run a business ,really connecting the fact that business owners don’t have time, so when your saying to business owners you have to do this sort of marketing and that sort of marketing and you have to this sale and you have to meet this operations manual. What are some tools that you’ve used that’s helpful to us to streamline some of your daily tasks?

Ramon Ray:                            I will tell you the secret step I used for my day today. But you can’t tell anybody its a secret just us in this room. No. So one when your talking to the smaller business, again as ariele said if you have a larger company with 200, 300 ,400 people, your on different size scale than those of us laid with 1 to 10. But this works for all and especially as an individual, so one I have an administrative assistant now for half of you, they may be like that’s easy we have staff. For some of you who don’t who are growing, get help someone just to manage your calender, somebody you’t don’t want to do or don’t have the skill set to do.

Ramon Ray:                            So get help, whether its hiring a team or whatever it is, so for me its an executive assistant. Point two to that point of hiring people I think get a team as your business grows, you may not have time to do cropping folders yourself. There’s people who can do it better than you and cheaper than you. So get a team together is point two, three i am a fastidious award. Does that mean like focused on? I like to use big words that I don’t know what they mean. But anyways I am focused laser like on using a few tools.

Ramon Ray:                            So I use a task management tool, the name doesn’t matter, so the name was net relevant, but I use a task management tool. To organize my day so I forward my emails bcc my emails, my teams assigned task, that’s point three. I think four delegate that to [inaudible 00:12:35] and I’m learning that as you may not have a big event coming up 8 November[inaudible 00:12:38] listen I delegate I want to do things like this. I have a team that’s working right now on the event, so those four things. Yeah delegate, get somebody to admin, use some cool tools, learn to say no as well. I think that’s a big way to get back time so often, we’re like yes I’ll do it, yes I’ll do it, yes I’ll do it.

Ramon Ray:                            When its okay to say you know ariele no I just cannot. See that’s kinda mean, say no ariele you smile and say no I can’t do it today, or I say no, so I think those are a few things to boost productivity cause its a common problem the more time you have the more you can grow your business.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah! I think those are really great pieces of advice and think for business owners that are just starting out the concept of having a team is really, is a scary thing because, having overhead is scary because you have enough to cover every month, and that’s something those are really relativity simple low cost solutions to getting back a lot of time

Ramon Ray:                            Absolutely

Ariele Krantzow:                 So, one of my favorite questions to ask people is. What are some of the key mistakes or one key mistake you made along the way that you think with would be helpful to share with business owners?

Ramon Ray:                            [inaudible 00:13:56] I’ve made a lot, I think the glamour of social media gives this image which is nice sometimes, you know[inaudible 00:14:03][inaudible 00:14:04][inaudible 00:14:04] and I’m blessed I’ve had some success and you’ve had some success but this has been a journey, so I always like to say that because I think the[inaudible 00:14:12] watching on video and social media its like ooo well there a lot that’s not like oo

Ariele Krantzow:                 Absolutely

Ramon Ray:                            But the success I have had I think of some mistakes I’ve made and one of the biggest ones and I can give an example where the result is not plan ahead now there’s many mistakes that can happen but for me I happen to be a shoot first ask questions later or a fire then aim person and that’s been the biggest mistake for my business. I’m going to tell you what happened, ill tell you what happened, don’t laugh at me. You guys cannot be laughing at me right now okay!just keep the serious face. I do conferences one of the things I do I have my event and things like this. So I said you know what I’ve done ten events five to 80 events whatever it was in the new york area, I can do an event in San Francisco, because I’m Ramon ray. So I booked a hotel or venue or something, got the cheap food and the signage, you know because, not a lot of people came

Ariele Krantzow:                 What?

Ramon Ray:                            Same thing I said why not?

Ariele Krantzow:                 So no one came to see you?

Ramon Ray:                            No!

Ariele Krantzow:                 I’d fly across the country to see you!

Ramon Ray:                            Thank you ariele! But the point being is that I didn’t think through it. I didn’t plan, I can go on to details. But I think that’s the best for me is planning, being thoughtful, and taking small baby steps, maybe I should’ve had a meet up group and a greeter space or something and had ten people and testing it. Before I hade the 5000 person event. So I think for me its not thinking ahead, and I would say also and not just since we’re on decks house here, would be a student manager of your money, be financially illiterate and that’s kind of another thing I would say, is a whole another conversation with you guys[inaudible 00:15:51]

Ariele Krantzow:                 Its a conversation we can have another time and we will we talk about it all the time.

Ramon Ray:                            But for me that’s a mistake since I haven’t done it, that’s one thing I ding myself Ramon be more financially aware so.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah I think being aware, someone once said as a business owner if you don’t know the number in your business bank account off the top of your head, your doing something wrong.

Ramon Ray:                            That is so true.

Ariele Krantzow:                 And I can tell you it’s the funniest discussion I have when I get home with my husbands business, hey I have this much money in my business checking account. I didn’t need to know that but okay thank you. Its just so on his mind all the time and as business owners the finances should be on your mind all the time and you can start to delegate out the other things. But really you can have an accountant, have a book keeper, but you need to know what their doing. SO that if they’re making a mistake or if something is not right you know that you can stop it before its gets.

Ramon Ray:                            So true. So true. Yeah if you don’t know, you can’t blame somebody else, oh my accountant it was her folder, they clicked the wrong button on whatever software their using.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah!

Ramon Ray:                            It falls on you. Let me do that again. It falls on you.

Ariele Krantzow:                 So were starting to wrap up here at our Facebook live and we’ve so enjoyed having all of you with us today! Just Ramon is there any last thought or piece of inspiration you could share with business owners out there?

Ramon Ray:                            Sure yeah! I mean a few things. I think one if its okay can I invite people to my 8 November?

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yeah!

Ramon Ray:                            Okay good.good to hear. So 8 November I have big event coming up! A smart hustle small business conference and you can just check it out at Seth golden will be there and many other speakers, so come and if your type in On deck, capital on deck, in the little discount code event system that I have, you’ll get a nice discount. So please come.

Ariele Krantzow:                 Yes!

Ramon Ray:                            But a few last minute things. I mean I think one have fun, that’s the least for me if I can’t have fun in my business we’ve taken the struggle to have our own business in the hustle, have fun. I think two always be learning and be curious for me there’s a lot that I know personal brandy and things kinda my jam I can always learn but going back to finances I go to conferences and events so I can learn because its a weak area, so always be learning. I think three the power of networking and getting out of your comfort zone. Like today, I’ve known ariele for awhile she’s know me for awhile lets do something together and try it and say hello. I think being able to do that you never know where things can lead and what happens.

Ramon Ray:                            So have fun learn, get out of your comfort zone, and do Facebook lives.

Ariele Krantzow:                 So I want to thank all of you for coming and joining us today, well ill be sharing this later,, so if you missed part of it or you missed the beginning don’t worry. We’ll have it up there. I want to thank Ramon so much for coming and for all of you look and talking about education. You can go to we have a ton of articles specifically about business financing, about just finance and budgeting in general and marketing and sales and tons of other topics that I think you’ll find really helpful. So we look forward to seeing you on future Facebook live and we’ll see you next time. Bye!

Ramon Ray:                            Bye!