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Profitable Growth

Written by: Jack Findaro
Last Updated: November 29, 2021
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profitable growth

In today’s interview, we’re going to talk about what it means to be a node and why, to expand your professional career and your business, you should be as close to nodes as possible. So, Jack, we were talking right before this. There’s a few different ways I guess you could define a node. There’s one that’s more of the scientific meaning and there’s one that’s more applied to business. Do you wanna start off talking about the scientific or the business option?

Node definition

Jack: For sure, for sure. So, yeah, as we were discussing prior to the call, I was actually curious to look up what a node means online, like the actual definition, because it means something different than how we use it in the business context. So the actual definition is a point at which pathways intersect or branch, or a central or connecting point.

Now, how it applies to business is a little different now, and I’ll let you dive into that. But for me, the connection, the central connecting point, the pathways, the center of pathways, is a really interesting image to have in mind as we talk about what a node is.

Patrick: Yeah. And I think going into this, my image of a node for business is that a person is just hyper-connected and just has so much information going through it. So in terms of business, there’s individuals that are nodes, and then there’s also entities that can act as a node for information flow.

Nodes characteristics

profitable growth

Jack: For sure, for sure. And I guess, a question for you, a follow-up is what characteristics do nodes have according to your definition of what a node is?

Patrick: So I would say a node, focusing on the person side for a little bit, is someone that has great relationships, deep relationships. It’s not just someone that randomly knows a few people, but someone that is in a position to make a connection.


And there’s some credibility in place that, when they make an introduction, it’s basically worth its weight in gold, and there’s a shared trust on both sides of that introduction.


Jack: Yeah. Yeah, I think the word trust you just said right there is a really key facet of what a node is. It’s why nodes typically gain prominence is that there’s trust and authority built into the node, whether it’s the more scientific meaning of it, definition of it, or, as we’re talking today, in the context of the business world. So with that, perhaps we can talk about nodes in the work business world.

Nodes professional benefits 

And I guess my first question is, how can they benefit you professionally?

Patrick: Yeah, definitely. So, you know, many of people’s first jobs, second jobs, third jobs come about not from a close friend, but someone on that periphery. Someone they know okay, but who’s hyper-connected and can open up different webs of contacts and relationships to them. So that’s how if you think about how you got your first job, second job, or initial business opportunities from those relationships you have that might not be your closest friends. They generally are not, but they’re hyper-connected individuals that can open up another web of contacts. And there’s many nodes out there that essentially can give you different business opportunities. And also really open up your sphere of opportunities well beyond what your immediate group of friends and colleagues can bring to the table.

Jack: Yeah, for sure, for sure. I think in my life, as my career has progressed, there’s definitely been nodes that have benefited me. I’ve seen nodes benefit other people as well, friends and family. Particularly as they’re looking for jobs or looking for resources or looking for a certain skill set, or even a referral to a certain service. Maybe someone says, “Hey, I need a good corporate attorney,” or, “Hey, I need a good accountant.”

Careers where nodes aggregate

There are certain people that just know who to talk to and are good sources of information for this, some more so than others. And I guess another follow-up question then for you is, what are careers where nodes are typically found? Which areas, which industries?

Patrick: Yeah, so in my experience, it’s been people that have good strong relationships with a lot of clients or a lot of vendors, but they’re not gonna be in a position to make a meaningful introduction to someone that can really benefit those two parties. So when I think about a marketing agency that is taking in all this information, it has all these clients and is able to make meaningful introductions between clients and share knowledge, attorneys, accountants.

There’s quite a few of these professionals that are well-positioned as… basically have authority, have credibility, and have multiple clients and a lot of different connections that they can make those introductions that really help out both the parties. So I would say those are some of them. And Jack, I mean, I’d love to turn it back to you and just… How has the product been improved by these nodes? Like, you have a lot of different franchises in our portfolio and businesses that we evaluate.

Nodes that helped us grow the product

What’s like a sample node that has really helped us grow the product side of our business?

Jack: Yeah, for sure, for sure. And before jumping into that, again, the two words that keep coming into my mind are trust and authority. So those various careers you mentioned, accountants, lawyers, agencies, they all carry… It’s the good agencies, right, for marketing, and the good accountants, the good lawyers, the ones who have built up a good reputation over time. They all come from levels of trust and authority, so they end up just gaining a bigger and bigger and bigger network over time.

Now, as it pertains to our work as, you know, consultants, advisors for people, individuals looking at franchise investments, I would say a good node for us has been attorneys in general, which is not really a surprise given that they encounter many, many, many deals. So they know a ton of people. They encounter all sorts of business cases. They have a ton of experience, right? And from them, we’ve been able to meet many good franchises, many interesting franchises, some bad for sure, but also many good ones, and yeah, many solid business opportunities from them.

Patrick: They’re able to essentially pre-filter and save us time, where they’re not gonna make an introduction to a franchise that’s just not even worth a phone call.

Jack: Yeah.

Patrick: Generally at least they’re worth a phone call when these attorneys are bringing opportunities to us.

Jack: Yeah, exactly, exactly. And, a key part of that is the better the node, the stronger the node, the better filter they typically are, right? Of course, there’s a hierarchy to nodes. Some nodes are better than others.

Looking to the people side

profitable growth

Patrick: And then what do you see on the people’s side? I mean, our organization’s grown in the last six years from just us two working out of an apartment at Miami Beach to now we have I think 17 people working with us in a full-time capacity across the world. 

Jack: For sure, for sure. Yeah, it’s really interesting to think back through all the employees we’ve had since starting the company back in 2015. I would say, by and large, our employees have come through connections through nodes, interestingly enough.

And it does seem in general, the general rule of thumb is that the better the node, the better the connection, and the employee has performed better in general, whereas the farther you go away from using a trusted node, right, the more variability you have in terms of the referral… Like, the referee, right? The person that’s being referred to. So we’ve definitely seen that.

Patrick: I think you have that from, like, the person’s side and the businesses they run, and then to even like the networks, where you have a Craigslist on one side, and then you have a handshake on one side.

Useful nodes

Jack: Exactly, exactly. So I guess the question I have for you then is if you’re looking at the sales side of our business, where have you seen there to be nodes being useful, gaining prominence?

Nodes on sales side of the business

Patrick: Where I see the closest are these types of positions, like a wealth manager, who it’s a very personal job. You’re dealing with someone’s money. And generally, wealth managers that are successful are managing a lot of clients, and our clients at Visa Franchise and Vetted Biz tend to be high-net-worth individuals. So you have, and we’ve worked with wealth managers in the past, where they might have a team, including analysts and associates, where they’re managing the assets for 200 wealthy families, and then there’s another 500 that they’re actively prospecting that they have some level of trust with.

And those active prospects, we might be able to support them in their pitch and pique their interest, and almost leverage us as an extension of their team of something that they could offer those prospective clients, as well as staying relevant to their current clients, to distinguish them from the other wealth managers they might be working with.

Referral sources

So we’ve had good success with trusted advisors like wealth managers in terms of referring clients our away that are basically ready to start our engagement and start fine analyzing the right franchise on their behalf. Other advisors, accountants, lawyers. There are different types of accountants too.

There are those that are more implementers and there are those that are more strategizing and are really more in the forefront, and those are the best referral sources or those advisors are much more proactive and might be the first point of contact with the client that are more the trusted advisor than those that are just implementing a strategy, whether it be an accounting strategy or a legal strategy, and might not be in a position of power to make that recommendation.

So we’ve had a lot of client referrals from advisors as well as hyper-connected clients. So if someone’s happy with your service and they belong to the right country club, their kids go to the right school, they can be a big advocate of your business, and they’ll talk about how their experience has been. And oftentimes, it then comes back to how they found that business opportunity, how they analyzed the business opportunity, and that’s where our name has come up.

Difference in terms of proximity to the node

Jack: For sure. Yeah, I could see that. I would say, have you seen a difference in terms of the proximity to the node where if there’s a difference between a referral that comes from someone that’s already a client of the node versus someone that maybe the node will give a referral to someone that’s maybe not their client yet? They’re more of a prospect?

Patrick: Yeah, no, that’s a great question. I would say, without going through all the numbers, the likelihood of someone engaging our services that is more of a loose contact and doesn’t have a client agreement with the referral source,10%, 20%. If there’s already been years of working together, they’ve supported that referral with work in the past, closer to 50% plus. So there’s definitely a big difference in terms of the node’s closeness with that source in terms of how beneficial it is to the top line or the revenue that we would be receiving from that relationship.

Marketing nodes

marketing

Jack: Yeah, for sure. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, as you mentioned, it’s definitely something that is noticeable the more cases that we’ve dealt with. So another question I had is, as pertains to marketing, right? So where have nodes been prominent? Or when have you interacted with nodes as it pertains to marketing and how have those interactions been? What have you seen there?

LinkedIn

Patrick: Yeah, good question. So I guess going through two examples. One would be LinkedIn, so, like, social media marketing, and another one would be mail marketing. So on the LinkedIn front, last I checked I have 4,800 contacts. I’m not gonna say I’m that close to the majority of them, far from that, but in those 4,800 contacts, there’s a few hyper-connected individuals that have a lot of relationships, some of those relationships close, and the algorithm of LinkedIn will pick up when those individuals like my posts, like my articles, comment on my posts, and that extends to their greater network.

So it’s really a multiplying effect with those relationships I have on LinkedIn, some of them close, some of them not so close, and I don’t know exactly how the algorithm works on LinkedIn, but I believe people in a position of authority will have more weight when they like something and those that have contributed a lot of articles on LinkedIn, or are active on LinkedIn than someone that just has a lot of contacts but hasn’t interacted with those contacts and isn’t producing content. So that would be one example of the network LinkedIn working together with those personal nodes.

Mail Marketing

And then another one is mail marketing. So we’re currently using HubSpot, as you know. And after we send an email… We’re sending a few emails a week now. It used to be one a month, and that could be another conversation for our podcast and YouTube Profitable Growth. But I can see different professional advisors that have opened up mail 30, 40, 50 times, and it’s not really them just clicking. Opening up my email and watching my video or watching or reading an article that you wrote or one of our other colleagues wrote. They’re forwarding that on to their client base, a particular client, other attorneys in their law firm. They’re spreading our message across their network, and if someone is forwarding an email… I don’t forward that many emails mostly.

If they’re credible and they have authority, someone is gonna really read through my email. And that email blast that went out to 10,000 people actually was reached to closer to 20,000 based on people forwarding along the email and the interactions that it created. So those are kind of two examples on the marketing front. One would be on LinkedIn and then one would be on HubSpot through their mail marketing on how these nodes have really benefited our marketing efforts.

Marketing key: Find the node

Jack: So the key being, as it pertains to marketing, is to find the node. Find the node and deliver value to that node and you’ll be rewarded. Especially as it pertains to, like, the social applications like LinkedIn or even Twitter. I’ve seen that there as well where if you produce good content, the person likes it, way more people then see it, and that’s how a lot of people on Twitter go viral and gain followers.

Patrick: Exactly. Yeah, I think find the node, stay close to the node, stay relevant to the node, and you’ll be rewarded. Law of reciprocity. And I think that’s definitely what we’re striving for with Visa Franchise and Vetted Biz to essentially be online nodes for information and the franchise, business for sale market, as well as overall investment immigration news on the Visa Franchise side.

Jack: Yes, exactly. That idea being how can we connect the right people with the right resources with the right information, really, at the end of the day, and that’s how you can deliver the most value for sure.

Patrick: Nice. So I hope everyone now knows what a node is from both a scientific perspective and that there are people that are nodes. There are nodes that are within networks, entities, people, and it’s really important to be as close as possible to those nodes to propel your business and grow and profit.

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