October 26

Arsham Mirshah, Co-Founder at WebMechanix

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Arsham Mirshah (@arshammmis a co-founder and managing partner of WebMechanix, (@WebMechanix) a performance-based digital marketing & advertising agency. He is the glue that keeps the creative, technical, and administrative teams aligned. 

Arsham has been on the cutting-edge of marketing technology for more than 10 years. Now, leading a team of over 40 online marketing professionals, Arsham enjoys executing campaigns and demonstrating ROI with concrete data.

He graduated from UMBC with dual majors in Bioinformatics/Computational Biology and Computer Science.

Podcast Highlights:

  • Get a strong 2nd in command. This allows you to focus on essentials
  • Organic growth is better than hyper growth
  • Hire hungry people that share your values
  • Constantly communicate company goals and values to boost team performance

 

Contact Arsham:

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone, this is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the no limit selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:36
I'm privileged to have arsha marisha, the co founder of webmechanix arsham. Welcome to the program.

Arsham Mirshah 0:41
Happy to be here. My

Umar Hameed 0:42
so arsham we we've known each other for a while, sure. let the audience know who you are, what you do and why you started web mechanics.

Arsham Mirshah 0:49
Okay, so I'm arsham mir Shah, I am co founder of web mechanics here, Chris mechanics, my partner. We are a digital marketing agency. We're a performance based digital marketing agency. So and, you know, we help clients leverage the web and things like Google and Facebook to get more leads, and make more sales. Ultimately, we'd like to say, our job is to make the phones ring and cash registers Ding, little fun jingle for you there.

Umar Hameed 1:19
That's ultimately what we're here to do. And that is such a hard trick to do. Because I have braved the world, the world of Facebook and Google ads and LinkedIn with really, really bad results.

Arsham Mirshah 1:34
Yeah, yeah. Well, hey, I mean, their job is to they make money off those ads, right? So their job is to is to get your money, but But listen, that it's always changing. And I think creative is a big is a big part of that. So there's a lot of factors. humar, you can't, you know, don't get discouraged, man. Oh, yeah.

Umar Hameed 1:54
It's a changing world. And there's lots of agencies out there. And you guys do better than than most, we'd like to think so everybody would tell a really good story. Yeah. So how do you guys walk your talk?

Arsham Mirshah 2:05
and choosing how do we walk our talk?

Arsham Mirshah 2:07
I mean by that,

Umar Hameed 2:08
so you're talking to people saying, Hey, we're going to be the agency that's going to help you make the phones ring and the cashiers, the cash registers? Ding, yeah, other people are saying the same thing. And they sound really good. You walk your talk, and you said, You're a performance based organization, how do you perform, that doesn't change.

Arsham Mirshah 2:25
So you know, we have some clients who actually, you know, we're paid on performance. So if we, you know, hit a certain cost per sale, or if we hit a certain on cost per acquisition, we get, you know, you can call it a commission rise, you know, no limit selling, right, so called a commission. So that's how one way that we walk our talk. I think another way is that we we actually won't take clients on if we don't think that we can make a difference, make a difference, or drive the results that they want, or in the timeframe that they want, you know, then plenty of things that come at us. And it's like, Hey, here's our timeline. We got to hit this out, you know, and we're just like, we just can't do that. So we're not gonna take it on. Oh, brilliant. So how

Umar Hameed 3:05
many people in the company right now? 40, and some change? So did you see yourself being a manager that's managing department heads and all those people? What was that transition? Like from being starting in a basement? Yeah. to having a company? Yeah.

Arsham Mirshah 3:22
Well, look, luckily didn't happen overnight. You know, our growth has been pretty steady. And I'm grateful for that. Because Had it been any faster it would be, you know, even what you hear growing pains, right?

Umar Hameed 3:33
Yeah, implosions happen.

Arsham Mirshah 3:35
Yeah. I mean, I think that's, you know, one of the ways you see companies die, they grow too fast, right? Things spiral out of control, what have you, but I will tell you, that's a good question. And more because I was always the the technical guy. And, you know, between Chris and I, right, he's, he's more of the art, the creative, the sales, and I'm like, the development operations, the numbers guy, right. Yeah. I mean, I could say that it's been a challenge to transition from that to, you know, a leader and a manager. Luckily, I've had, you know, 10 years to do it. So, a lot of a lot of books, a lot of a lot of practice, a lot of practice.

Umar Hameed 4:13
How do you unite the team? Because you know, you have people that are, are young interested in different things. You guys are a little bit older, not that old? But how do you get people from different walks of life to come together kind of go in the same direction? All right, couple things on

Arsham Mirshah 4:28
that. So number one is values. You know, when we're hiring, we're looking at values, skills, as well,

Umar Hameed 4:35
but values so give me an example of what values speak to you like, what

Arsham Mirshah 4:38
are you looking for? So we like ambitious people, if they don't have a lot of experience, but they're hungry and you give them because interview processes isn't one day so we meet them and we say, okay, you know, here's an assignment. try this out for us. And then they'll say, and then they'll go figure it out and you can tell the people who put their heart and soul into it. You can tell the people who went and googled or and learned, I've had people say, Hey, I didn't know how to approach this problem. So I'll Google here are the resources I've you I used? And here's my answer. I'm like, wow, okay, like, this shows me the work that's showing me the work, right? They didn't just show me the answer. They showed me how they got to work. So they showed their math. Now that's a, that's an example of, you know, someone who's going to be a hard worker, someone's going to be, you know, interested in learning,

Umar Hameed 5:20
I was talking to the CEO there in the programming space guy. And he says, you know, we get managers coming in, we vet them through the resume process, we're so we know people have the talent. Sure. And they come in, first thing they do is they actually get them to do live coding in front of them

Unknown Speaker 5:34
my problem, perfect

Umar Hameed 5:35
love, then we get them to kind of talk about, you know, how they lead the teams in the past. And what the guys looking for is this, he has a notebook. And every time the person uses the word I, he puts a check. And every time he we, if the weeds don't like double or triple the eyes, they're not gonna hire him. Wow, I love this. It's just simple, elegant way to it is to figure out if they're team focused, or ego focused. It

Arsham Mirshah 6:00
is. That's so good. I like that. I'm gonna use that now. Because it's easy to pay attention to small things like that. And it uh, it can it can it can tell you because I think it is. It's totally we game right? We can't, there's no way Chris and I could be making the impact or webcast, we can make an impact. It was just me and Chris is totally we game. I mean, and I forget what your question was. But we're

Umar Hameed 6:22
going to go back to that how do you get the team to come together? You said values, you sort for values when they come in? And then what

Arsham Mirshah 6:28
I think constant communication of the goals, the goals that was called the top right, what are christianized goals? And how does that permeate through the organization? How does that then become a departmental goal has that then become a individuals goal?

Umar Hameed 6:44
So you know, the process guy, right?

Arsham Mirshah 6:45
Yes. Yeah. Well done. I mean, reading right into it, right.

Arsham Mirshah 6:49
So and, and so constant communication and transparency, right. We hold quarterly all hands meetings, where, you know, it's, it's me and Chris talking about what we focus on last quarter, we're gonna focus on this quarter, we have town halls, and they can just ask me anything, ask us anything. And you know, that's transparency and candor. It's one of our

Umar Hameed 7:08
so give me an example of somebody that you've got in the past in the company don't name names, unless you want somebody that was valuable to the company, but was not performing at the level you wanted? How did you nurture them? guide them, coach them to right size getting we all fall into slumps? Yeah, and sometimes get distracted? Yeah. Do you have an example of one of those? Because you miss leadership? Yeah,

Arsham Mirshah 7:29
I'm trying to think of a like a good example I can think of. So I have multiple examples where it's a personal issue, it's something that is happening in their home life, right, that, you know, comes to work. Again, it's that constant communication, talking to him, Hey, what's going on, you know, and telling them telling them up front, like, you know, your performance is lacking. When you have this negative behavior, this negative consequence happens. And here's what I will, here's the behavior I want, you know, and what I mean, then they come out and they tell you, Hey, I'm having trouble. I've been lazy, spouse, or whatever. I think like just being there for them and just having, like, I've had people vent, I'm sure you've seen and so they just come in, they'll be like, Hey, man, I just need to vent. You know, having this trouble is, whatever. I've helped people with their personal finances one example of how to coach them through. I don't, I can't think of one off topic.

Umar Hameed 8:17
But it's a general kind of mindset. Yeah. So mindset is important. So it is mindset. When you think about building an organization kind of what's the lens you look at it through? But what's your mindset?

Arsham Mirshah 8:28
Yeah, definitely a optimistic as a work, you know, we like to focus on the best possible outcome, you know, it's easy to fall into a slump, or to think about the worst possible outcome, everyone wants to mitigate the risk. But I think, you know, and this takes a lot of practice Kumar, I think, you know, that to recognize those thoughts, that, hey, this is a this a thought that's not serving me. So I'm going to switch it to one that will serve me I think Chris and I are very good at that. Well, I like to think so we're still practicing. But we also teach our team that, you know, it's in it's in our values, it's in our oath. And so yeah, that in our oath, yeah, we have in our oath, I like that nice mirror there in our own elaborate so we have, we have our core values. And then from those derive an oath that everyone takes is basically just, you know, a series of statements like I dare to dream big. I practice transparency and candor, I cultivate positive and passionate energy. There's one for your mindset, you know, I'm a Money Magnet is another one. And I honor my words with action. And everyone says that it's kind of a it's a cultural thing.

Umar Hameed 9:33
It's culture builder. So one of the things that I get that mindset, right, yeah, I'm not sure if you're doing this you might be, but take one of those oaths. And when you catch an employee doing it capture that story, and that becomes the folklore. Yes. Because when somebody comes into the company new and they go, these are our O's. And it's like, sounds like bullshit. Yeah. But if you say, Well, let me tell you about this. You know, two weeks ago, we had an employee that did this, and this was the impact that had Yeah, it comes real and meaningful. And you get the spirit of the law as opposed to just the the facts,

Arsham Mirshah 10:03
because, you know, people have hold beliefs, and then they, they look for things that support that belief. Right? That's, that's what the human mind does. We have. So for instance, we have a we use Slack, right. And we have a Slack channel called wind stories. Right, right. And so, you know, typically what's in there is our client wins stories is when we, you know, move the needle for a client or a client says something nice or make an impact on bottom line. But you also see things in there. It's like, you know, we're a client or a partner or vendors, like says something like, hey, you're you're so I really thank you for being so responsive in front of whatever. And so we share those wins stories in that channel. Oh, brilliant. And then what what I do or what Chris does, or what our managers will do, they'll go in there and be like, a fantastic legendary service, or way to dream big with that goal. Right. So we're reinforcing it. Yeah. Repeat it, reinforce it. We actually, I'm going to give credit to Mr. Chip Lewis for that one. He, you know, we asked him, How do you a long time ago, we asked him, How do you reinforce your core values? He's like, I just walk around the office, like beating the drum repeating and repeating and repeating it. I remember him saying something to that, Ryan, you know, and

Umar Hameed 11:14
works. You and Chris, both are hungry for learning. Yes. And you've had a lot of mentors and coaches. Yes. Tell me about some of the advice you've gotten that you use today. That makes webmechanix stronger?

Arsham Mirshah 11:28
Oh, wow. That's good. Okay. Um, I think patience is a good one. I can recall back to when we started. We thought we were going to be billionaires overnight, you know, not necessarily. I mean, that wasn't like the, you know, but so patience, I'd say was a was good advice. I think, other advice, like the chip Lewis, for example, you have to care about your people, or not care about your people. But that's not maybe not the best way of putting it. But I think you can get a lot more done through people, you know, when you give them a Daniel Pink will give him a shout out, right? So give them autonomy and chance for mastery and purpose, then you find people for performance goes up, because they enjoy what they do. I think that some good advice

Umar Hameed 12:14
there. My definition of being a leader, yes. Is this three things that you have to focus on? One is a compelling, strategically sound kick ass vision of God that inspires people to say, you know what, that's a journey worth taking? I like it. Second one is the culture and that we've been talking about that how do you develop a culture where people live it breathe it and just becomes a part of the norm. So when you get a new employee coming in, they just align with what's going on? Because it's that's what's happening. And that's a hard thing to do. Yeah. And then the third one is long term shareholder value, how do we increase that? Sounds like, you know, with your oath, and we heading, you've got the vision part really well defined? Yeah, you're doing things to build up the culture within your team? Sure, of course, you're growing and profitable. But the question I have for you is this. You guys are getting a level of education and leadership, not only from people you hang out with, but actually doing which fosters? How do you bring leadership down to the next middle level management in your company?

Arsham Mirshah 13:17
Man? That's, that's a really good question. And I can tell you, it's, it's not that's the million dollar question. Right?

Arsham Mirshah 13:23
Because, because that's

Umar Hameed 13:25
scaling, right? We can't be the leaders of everyone forever. And in larger companies with lawsuits come from is not upper management, middle managers. Yeah.

Arsham Mirshah 13:35
Yeah, that's right. So I can think of a couple ways that we do it here, one of which is back that constant communication, right. So I'll tell you, we do formal reviews, those happen two times a year, and then from those are derived goals for those six months. So each individual has goals, those align, you know, to the department to the to the company. And so for that middle manager, their goals are leadership and management related, you know, read this book, or challenge this person to have this goal and help them achieve it achieve it. And then so we do reviews two times a year and then we do monthly check ins on those, we call them recurring accountability meetings,

Umar Hameed 14:14
nice individually or as a group individually individually. So that's

Arsham Mirshah 14:17
the manager with their direct report. Right? Right. So they do that in there. What they do is they're focusing on the goals that came out of the reviews. And then one other thing I'll say, on developing that middle management layer as it were, we buy training you know, we buy leadership training management training off the shelf we go through it let's do it as together as a team me Chris and you know, the next layer and then and we discuss, hey, is that relevant to us? How so what are we going to change as a result and then we haven't done this yet but the next layer is about to go go through it as well. Nice. So you know, it's we're all hearing the same thing perpetuating it down organization.

Umar Hameed 14:55
Another definition of leadership, Allah Kumar, inside the oma how do we get Our people that will leading to see further out, number one, and number two, how do we get them to suspend their fear and go on the journey? believing that it's gonna work out? Well,

Arsham Mirshah 15:12
I like that. not always an easy thing to do.

Umar Hameed 15:14
Yeah, I forget the guy's work he was basically talking about if you take a look at CEOs of large companies, one of the gifts that they have is they have the ability to see five, seven years out. And when you go down the ranks to VPS, they generally have a three year outwork just the capacity to have that. Yeah. And when you go down further down, when you get down to the frontline people that are punching the clock, sometimes they have difficulty seeing Friday, going day to day is their time horizon. So part of leadership is how do we get people to kind of see further out? All right,

Arsham Mirshah 15:45
it is, it is, you know, I I don't know if I have the silver bullet. But I know that, you know, one thing that's helped with my direct reports, kind of the quote unquote, layer is beneath me and Chris would be, we have a strategic plan. And on that we have a 10 year vision, right. And I can tell you more that's not fleshed out with all the details, right? Nor should it be, nor should it be, then we have a three year we skip from 10, we go down to three, three year again, not super fleshed out, but more so than than 10 year. And then at that layer, you know, we're layering, we're talking about what our sales and marketing looks like, what our team looks like, what our delivery team looks like, right? And then that then breaks down into yearly goals. So using and then those yearly goals break down to quarterly goals on the process guy remember, right? I think that helps show again, like alignment, we call it alignment at the top. So that's to say that it's still align at the top. That's I mean, I don't I can't sense I don't need to, you know, color it anymore. I don't think and and I know that's helped. I notice how because you know how I know Kumar, I'll tell you, because what will come will come Chris and I will come with an idea. Why don't you will come with an idea of like, Hey, we should be doing this. And then one of my managers will say to me, Well, how does that align to the three year goal? I don't see that. I'm like, damn it. You're right. You know, that's happened is having this and it continues having not now I'm happy about that. You know, that's that's support, you know, it's like, hey, focus, man. Okay, yeah, you're

Umar Hameed 17:12
so you're on a path to get better as you go. try and do so what is your biggest fear? As a leader with 40 people counting on you to do it? I do.

Arsham Mirshah 17:21
Yeah. That's a good question. All the clients firing me all at one time. That's a big fear always. I don't know. I don't I don't. Sometimes it can feel like a house of cards. One thing you know, one bad thing happens and then maybe it you focus on that and then think of it like spinning plates or you're holding all these spinning plates one falls. Hey, you know, you still got these other spinning plates. You got to hold them up, distract, don't get distracted, you know, so and, you know, I think we've been lucky we've never had anything bad like that. I don't, I can't. I think the biggest fear is is is you know, going for going for something big and, and failing. You

Umar Hameed 17:57
know, let's take a different avenue. Sure. You have a spin off another company. They guys started and we got people running it. Yep. What's the name of that company out? It was formerly outbound ops now there are OBO. obeah vo vo so OBO. They have their own culture and their own vision. Yep. What's that? Like? Because you want them to do? Well? Yes, you want to have either totally hands off or a gentle hand on the tiller, very just how do you? How do you balance that? Because they may make different decisions in you. Yeah, the values may align may not. So what's that experience? Like?

Arsham Mirshah 18:33
That's a very good question where Chris are were involved at called the highest level, right? We're like, you know, on the board, actually, yeah, technically, we're on the board. Right. And so we're not obviously concerned with the day to day decisions. We want to make sure that they they get the support from us. They ask us for our advice. And they they tell us what's going on. And a lot of times I'm just congratulating them. The leaders of that organization are you know, no Burke and Rob Gwynn. They are always been on the podcast before. Oh, brilliant. There

Unknown Speaker 19:01
you have it. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 19:02
Very good. And he recommended you By the way, I bet he did you think Chris is smart? arsham smarter. That's very

Arsham Mirshah 19:07
nice. I love No no's a good guy.

Arsham Mirshah 19:10
And and I you know, the same goes to him. He's brilliant at what he does. And now he's got fantastic support in Rob and in his team. To go back to the question, you know what it's like, it's, it's, we're at the very highest level, right? So we're talking about strategic direction, you know, what products and services they're selling into who like their audience, the unique differentiators and we're talking financials. That's basically it. I mean, I'd say Chris and I are very, very lightly involved. We're here to help them. I myself, you know, this is no limit selling. I'm a I'm a salesperson for them. When I go out networking, do I'm thinking about web mechanics, I'm thinking about OBO as well. You know, john to help them, help them grow. And it's awesome what they're doing. They're doing very similar to what we're doing here just building a strong organization that creates jobs and makes a big impact on clients bottom Awesome, brilliant.

Umar Hameed 20:01
So before we part company is there if there was a somebody either starting out in business, yes. Or somebody that's gone from single person to five employees, let's say that person, what three pieces of advice would you give them having a small team and growing to make sure they don't lose their way? Okay,

Arsham Mirshah 20:20
number one I'd say is have a good right hand man or woman, even better? Someone to share some of the burden for you a second in command, right, as it were, right? I think that has been like very valuable for Chris and I were kind of, you know, the each other's exactly, no, seriously. And then the yin and the yang, Noah and Robert OBO have that as well. Nice. And then even here within our org, the way where we have like structured and pods, every leader of each pod has their own second second and command. I think that's, you know, the numero uno advice there. And then,

Umar Hameed 20:57
no, it's funny. The number one thing is have a sec, I guess it Yeah,

Arsham Mirshah 20:59
yeah, exactly. I like to find the irony. Yes, exactly. And, you know, you you work with that person to define your swim lanes and define how your relationship is going to, you know, work. And I think, you know, for that one person now managing five people, they'll find, hopefully, the idea is a burden lifted, right? It's like, I don't have to worry about that anymore. Because I know you got that covered. Brilliant, they can go and focus. So I you know, two and three would probably be planned and prepare, so you know what's coming up. So prepare for that. It's always, you know, preparation goes a very long way. And then read them one trait of successful people is learning always learning. Yeah, and it's not just I think Chris did a good post on this, as we talked about, it's like, don't just read for the sake of reading, right? Like if you're now find yourself becoming a manager or leader, find the books. Yeah, read in that space, you know, so. Or if you need to change your delivery team from just, you know, ad hoc to to an agile Scrum model, you're gonna read in that space, you know what I mean? Like, is there any question I should have asked you that I did. Not that you'd like to share with the world. Oh, man. I know part of your audiences you know, maybe salespeople now such What? Obviously then you have that's not all of the audience right? There's

Umar Hameed 22:11
this leaders there. It runs again, so sleep at night.

Unknown Speaker 22:17
fall asleep is always the US babble. Yeah.

Arsham Mirshah 22:21
I can't think of a question but I thought it's something that's kind of funny, like no limit selling, I think everything's a sale. You know, everything's a sale so for us if we're delivering a piece of creative to a client that's kind of a sale

Arsham Mirshah 22:32
right? If we're late on a deliverable that's a sale

Umar Hameed 22:35
it's knowing which parent to go to and how to pitch it to what they want is

Arsham Mirshah 22:38
the Madison ultimate sale that's the ultimate sale right? Or Hey, honey, I'm gonna be late from work you know, coming over is that a sale like ultimately so and then I think you You said something like how do you get your you know, team to align and you know, that's a sale is a sale? Yeah, leadership is a sale. It really is. So I think involving people and being upfront and and untruthful goes a very, very long way. I think people appreciate it. They see it more and more people can see through the Bs, so you might as well just go with the truth. We're slip by nega thanks so much for sitting down with me. My pleasure, always pleasure.

Umar Hameed 23:20
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at no limit selling calm. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights on the world of neuro linguistic programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.



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