Candyce Edelen – Founded in FoCo Podcast
Join Candyce Edelen from Propel Growth as she discusses Scale Up Day at FoundedInFoCo and the brilliant entrepreneurs taking part in sharing their experiences and stories with you. Candyce also covers the major pivots she’s navigated in her business to keep the lights on and food on the table while garnering a 25% return rate on her sales efforts.
You can check out Candyce’s panel at Founded in FoCo here: https://foundedinfoco2023.sched.com/
And learn more about Candyce’s business here: https://www.learning.propelgrowth.com/
The Founded in FoCo Podcast is hosted by Nick Armstrong, Lead Organizer of Founded in FoCo and Geek-in-Chief of WTF Marketing.
Hear more great interviews with founders in and around Fort Collins at: https://foundedinfoco.com
*automated with minimal editing, may contain errors or typos
Candyce Edelen 0:00
Employees have to be happy. If they’re not enjoying their work, if they don’t feel valued, then they’re not going to stick with you. Or if they do stick with you, they’re not going to be giving you their best.
Nick Armstrong 0:16
Hey, this is Nick Armstrong and you are listening to the Founded in FoCo podcast. Each episode, we get to talk with an innovative entrepreneur in our community doing cool and fun and quirky things. And today, we’ve got Candyce Edelen. And she’s going to tell us all about ScaleUpWeek at FoundedinFoCo. Candyce, you’re a member of the core team, you’ve been with us for a number of years. Why don’t you tell us what we can look forward to this year?
Candyce Edelen 0:41
Sure. So I’m Candyce Edelen with PropelGrowth and I have been working on ScaleUp Day, I guess, since 2019. And the whole goal for ScaleUp Day is to help entrepreneurs who’ve already got an established business to figure out how to not just grow the business, but to scale it, meaning that your revenue growth is exceeding your expense growth so that your profits are growing. This is also a great program for budding entrepreneurs that are looking to create a business that can scale rather than just something that’s trading time for dollars.
Nick Armstrong 1:24
Yeah, so you got to learn the basics to do it right. And build the foundations, because everybody kind of does this, you know, but from scratch, it’s bootstrapping, essentially. And this is a better way to learn. Well, and
Candyce Edelen 1:37
Actually, you bring up an important point, Nick, that a lot of founders, especially tech founders, think that the only way to start a business is to raise money. And that’s not actually true, bootstrapping can be a much better and more sustainable way to grow a business. So we’re not going to be talking about fundraising, we’re going to be talking about bootstrapping and creating the operating conditions that will enable your business to scale and not just grow.
Nick Armstrong 2:08
So we’ve heard from Charles Fred in the past, we’ve heard from from Betsy Craig from MenuTrinfo, who can we look forward to this year.
Candyce Edelen 2:14
So our opening keynote is by somebody that I’ve been following for years, her name is Elaine Pofeldt, and she did some research. She’s been a journalist for a long time. And she was looking into the Census – Business census, and came across this trend that there’s all of these businesses in the US that are bringing in more than a million dollars in revenue, and they have no employees. And she’s like, huh, how’s that working? And so she started a research project and interviewing these business owners and figuring out what, what’s unique about these companies? How the heck did they do that. And so she wrote a book called The Million Dollar, One Person Company where she talks about hundreds of these different companies. And then most recently, she brought she wrote another book called Tiny Business, Big Money. That just came out in 22. And it’s taking some of these companies that were these one person companies and how they’re scaling.
So then we’re gonna follow that up with another session from Charles Fred, who is amazing. And so Charles has been talking about the research that they did with TrueSpace, around the five operating conditions that are necessary to scale a business in 21, I’m sorry, in 2020, he introduced this, then in 2022. This past September, he talked about one of the operating conditions called endurance. This time around, he’s going to be talking about predictability. Because that’s such a key thing that you have to get in place. If you want your business to scale, you have to be able to predict whether something is going to work or not work. And so he’ll be talking about how to establish that operating condition.
Then he’s followed by Samson Jagoras. If you don’t know Samson, he is a serial entrepreneur. He was one of the cofounders of Madwire. And he has recently started three additional businesses. He’s got some health clubs, and he’s growing that and I think he’s kind of franchising that also. And then he’s got a couple of other businesses that he’s going to be talking about one in real estate investing, and then one in teaching business owners how to scale so he’s going to be talking about pain to profits, and why 90% of businesses fail to scale and what you can do to to make your business scalable.
Then we’ve got Beth Bostwick, and she and her husband Peter have built multiple businesses also. And so she’s going to talk more about scaling in this economic environment because things are different right now. And you can’t go back to pre pandemic thinking. So Beth is going to be talking about some simple tools that she recommends that you can use to shift your business thinking.
Then I get to interview Sarnen Steinbarth and possibly one other founder, possibly Jen from Tilt, about how they built their businesses. So started and built TurboTenant, which he founded in 2015. And that has grown into multiple 10s of millions of dollars. And he’s going to talk about how he scaled it, I got a chance to talk to him, Nick, and he was showing me some numbers and how he tracks his business growth because his business is kind of B to C, what they do is enable landlords of small landlords like 123, unit, landlords to grow their businesses and seek tenants and things like that. So it’s kind of a b2c model, even though it’s sort of a b2b business also, but he uses ads to drive a lot of that traffic and is investing like $400,000 a year in ADS. So he’s going to talk about how he tracks his growth and manages it, and boy, does he have a predictable business. So it ties really closely into what Charles is going to be talking about.
Then we’ve got at the same time as Sarnen, and we’ve got a team of people talking about what every business needs in order to scale. And that’s going to be a panel with Becky Ezzell, Tami Parker, and Geneve Huxley, and they all come from different areas around bookkeeping, you know, small business action plans and things like that. So they’ll be talking more about some of the financial things that you need to do to prepare your business to scale.
And then I’ll come on yours truly, and talk about how you can use LinkedIn to create predictable growth in driving revenue for your business. And then on Friday, we’ve got another session with Dayle Wickizer about getting a grip on your business. So she’s going to be talking about sensible things that you can do to really get a grip around self employment and how to grow your business, even if it’s a one person or you’ve got multiple employees. And I can’t forget Cindy Skalicky. She’s not listed in ScaleUp specifically, but she’s going to be talking about executive presence. And man, Cindy can bring it in, you’re trying to learn how to present better and speak to your clients better speak to employees better, this is going to be a great session. That’s it that’s ScaleUp Day.
Nick Armstrong 7:51
Isn’t it cool with all of the topics sort of like intermesh and accidentally, like there’s, there’s a ton of work that goes into developing scale up week. And it’s been an absolute privilege watching, you put all of the pieces together, and knit these amazing programs together from the speakers who are in our own backyard. Nobody would even think that these these amazing entrepreneurs are here in Fort Collins, but this is sort of a hotspot for awesome entrepreneurs doing innovative things and doing things really well from a process standpoint. So learning from them is essential for our entrepreneurial community.
Candyce Edelen 8:29
Yeah, and I mean, from, from my perspective, you know, helping companies in the Fort Collins area, grow and scale and create great jobs, does a lot to just stabilize and grow our economy. But we as entrepreneurs, we need to be creating jobs that pay a living wage so that our employees can afford to live in Fort Collins and not just, you know, barely get by. So actually, that’s another person that we’re bringing in who’s going to be talking more about keeping your employees happy as your business is growing. So that will also be happening on Wednesday. That’s a good one for anybody that’s got employees, you know, some of the struggles that employees have in Fort Collins and around the northern Colorado is being able to afford things like health care and childcare being able to access services that they need. And so Liddy is coming in Liddy Romero to talk about how you can provide employees with access to some of the things that they desperately need outside of work so that when they come to work, they’re completely focused.
Nick Armstrong 9:48
It’s such an important part of employee retention. And if you’re looking to scale and have predictability, you have to have that employee retention component in place.
Candyce Edelen 9:58
and employees have to be happy If they’re not enjoying their work, if they don’t feel valued, then they’re not going to stick with you. Or if they do stick with you, they’re not going to be giving you their best.
Nick Armstrong 10:10
Absolutely. You have a business of your own. You and Phil, who are on our core team, tell us about some of the things that you’ve put into place since your business has has been around for a while. I’ve seen you pivot, I would love to hear about how some of the things that you’ve either learned or built into the programming at Founded in FoCo have influenced your business decisions.
Candyce Edelen 10:34
Oh, sure. So I actually I’m a serial entrepreneur, I started two fin tech companies in 2002 and 2005, and scaled both of those into multi millions, but really didn’t get it anywhere close to like the $10 million mark. If I had known Nick, what Charles teaches back then, I’d be a multi millionaire like 10 times over and you know, because the the strategies that he teaches are so workable, I guess it just it just works. So we’re we’re actually into space now. And we’re growing our current business propelled growth was founded in 2007. But during 2020, we had to make an epic pivot. So we were marketing consultancy, had been working primarily in the financial services industry, and decided that we wanted to pivot our business out of financial services into commercial real estate back in 2017. I didn’t have any network. So in financial services, I’d built multiple companies in there.
So by the time I started to propel growth, I had a really big network in that industry. And I was also known as a kind of a thought leader in the tech space, and I was writing things and publications, were taking my articles. So between my content that I was publishing, and my referral network, I didn’t make any sales calls for 10 years, no outbound efforts, then we decided to change industries and all of that referral traffic, and inbound, just slight hit a brick wall. So I had to figure out a way to bring in business because I’m the one in our business that’s responsible for sales. And if I don’t sell, we don’t eat. So you know, it’s like not optional over here.
So I turned to LinkedIn back in 2017 2018, to build a network in the commercial real estate space, which is what we were targeting next. And over six months, I perfected a method that brought in 125, sales calls, that brought in 27 really well qualified opportunities, and we close $430,000 of business, just using LinkedIn, no cold calls, I hate cold calling, not even email marketing, just LinkedIn. So then I did a webinar in 2019, about this, and I taught it at Startup Week in Fort Collins, which is now Founded in FoCo. And 500 people showed up to my webinar, it was really remarkable, but I had nothing to sell on the back of it is just like public service. Here you go. So then 2019 rolls into 2020. And we all know what happened. And our business just like kind of went off a cliff because our clients, businesses were struggling, and I just didn’t have the heart to hold them to contracts, when they were losing business on their side. So come around, you know, March, April, we were screwed.
And then in May, somebody saw my webinar and reached out to me and asked me if I would teach his team. So we did that. And Phil and I were like lightbulb moment, you know, we should maybe build a course and other company asked us to teach their resellers, the methodology. So we built a course at the beginning of 2021, we launched Prospecting Mastery, and completely pivoted our business away from marketing consulting, into teaching this method that is, frankly, faster than inbound marketing when companies need to bring in leads, I don’t say that it should replace inbound marketing. But it’s a really solid, faster way to get in the door with top notch clients. So we’ve been teaching that for two years, we doubled year over year, from 21 to 22. And now we’re working on scaling this business and I’m super excited about the growth that we’re seeing in it and more excited about the results that people are getting, because the people that are going through our training are getting – Nick check this out – 26 meetings per 100 connection requests.
Nick Armstrong 14:41
Candyce Edelen 14:42
It’s insane. And they’re targeted.
Nick Armstrong 14:44
One in four. That’s amazing.
Candyce Edelen 14:46
26 meetings out of 100 connection requests and 54% of them converted into qualified opportunities. Why? Because they’re targeted. They’re not random.
Nick Armstrong 14:55
Yeah. Those sales numbers are astonishing. And, pardon me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. No, that’s truly stunning. And talk about predictability being an indicator of success, right? So if you can regularly predict that you are going to do outreach, or you’re dedicating that hour or two hours of time to reach out to 100 prospects that are hyper-focused, and I’m sure some amount of research ahead of that to make sure that they’re the right targeted audience.
Candyce Edelen 15:30
Nick Armstrong 15:32
You better make sure that that time is well invested, and a 25% return. Wow.
Candyce Edelen 15:39
It’s insane, isn’t it? And it’s the thing that you really have to get people to stop thinking is “mass” (mass marketing), you know, it’s like we write one email and send it to 1000 people and expect it to perform and shockingly it doesn’t. And the difference, the key difference between what we’re teaching and what others are doing is this human-to-human communication, where you, you go and you look at somebody’s profile, and you find a nugget of information that you can use to start a conversation. And you get a conversation going with them, just like you are networking in person. That is not something that I can take the message I wrote for you and go send the same message to Geneve Huxley, for example, you know, I have to write a different one for her and a different one for Cindy Skalicky and a different one for Charles Fred, because everybody’s unique, and I need to treat them like human beings. And I can’t pitch in that message, no pitching, no pitch-slapping as we call it on LinkedIn, you have to just start a conversation. That’s a warm human human. And that’s how you get the meetings, but the meetings convert, so you don’t have to worry so much about, oh, well, if I don’t sell then I’m not going to get the right tone. Now we can teach you how to get the right tone, and so that that meeting can turn into something productive.
Nick Armstrong 17:05
Yeah. Well, and that’s something that we commonly hear from salespeople is if I could just get them one on one and face to face, I would be able to close the deal. You seem to have figured out a methodology for doing that, just through a LinkedIn message. So that’s, that’s, that’s amazing. And I can’t, I can’t emphasize enough how you’re doing how much you need to go and learn from ScaleUp Week, because of amazing tidbits like this, that just come out of the woodwork. If you just do a few things and implement a few of these steps then your business will start taking that upward trajectory pretty quickly.
Candyce Edelen 17:40
Yeah, yeah. Come to ScaleUp Day, because it’s going to be quite profound. I will teach you how to get 26 meetings for every 100 connection requests. But you’re going to learn so many things at every session, you’re going to take away something that you can put to work in your business right away. That’s the whole goal is that you, you go in and you come away with “Oh, wow, I can implement this from this session. This from this session this from this session, and I’m going to be able to scale my company.”
Nick Armstrong 18:09
And as you heard, it’s from entrepreneurs who have been there done that got the t shirt. You heard Candyce say, if she didn’t do the sales, there would not be food on the table. And so it’s just it’s it’s knowledge that is hard earned, that you can benefit from without having to go through the muck yourself.
Candyce Edelen 18:27
It’s not theoretical.
Nick Armstrong 18:28
Love it. Candyce, where can we learn more about you and your business? And where can we find out more about ScaleUp Day?
Well, okay, so for ScaleUp Day, go to FoundedinFoCo.com. And look at the schedule. And most of the stuff on Wednesday is ScaleUp. But you can al so click a link in there to filter to find your scale at programming. For me, you can find us at PropelGrowth.com. Or, you know, reach out to me on LinkedIn – I’m Candyce Edelen and send me a connection request, I’d love to get acquainted.
And where can we find the course that you mentioned as well?
Candyce Edelen 19:15
Learning.PropelGrowth.com Or just PropelGrowth.com. You don’t need to have the “learning” on there. But the course is on there. And we’re actually just opening up a new cohort for a prospecting accelerator that starts on January 24th. So if you really want to get serious, check that out that’s on our site to PropelGrowth.com
Nick Armstrong 19:35
Wonderful, Candyce, I am so thankful that we have you on the team to help guide all of these amazing entrepreneurs into the presence of other entrepreneurs who can learn from them, and that we can benefit from your expertise as an entrepreneur as well. So thank you for all you do for Founded in FoCo for our community at large.
Candyce Edelen 19:54
Well, thank you, Nick. It wouldn’t be happening if you weren’t doing it because, you know, we’re all following you and I’m just so I’m genuinely impressed with how you are pulling things together and the work that Charles is doing on this and the team, it’s just been really exciting to see everything seriously coming together. So totally excited. And the other thing I want to thank you for is how much you just sort of like, say you want to do something, go for it, make it happen, and it really becomes a community driven event. And I admire that a lot about you.
Nick Armstrong 20:24
Thank you so much for that. And, you know, we have so many awesome entrepreneurs on the team, so many rock stars that, that contribute in their own way, and have amazing things that they have learned or participated in or acquired over the years that they’re lending to this experience just to make one entrepreneurs day better.
Candyce Edelen 20:48
Nick Armstrong 20:49
And improve their future. So it’s really, it’s really easy to lean into that space when, when we have so so so many rock stars on the team.
Candyce Edelen 20:59
Yeah, there’s some amazing people, it’s been really exciting, especially some of the people that are taking these big leadership roles right now, like Beth and Peter, Charles, Chrysta, Kim, and Phil, you know, it’s like, everybody’s kind of taking these different angles on things, and it’s just making the program better, it’s great to have them on the team.
Nick Armstrong 21:19
As a leader, it makes it really great not to be like the Nick Armstrong show. I mean, it because it’s, it’s easy for that to happen if you don’t have the trust in your team to or even the people sometimes, right, because during COVID, volunteerism dropped off and just don’t have people to hand things off to but it’s, it’s truly humbling to be able to have the trust in the team to be able to hand things off and say the results are your own. And I love that and I’m happy to help support that and and resource it. And what comes out of that is something that’s co-created and brilliant and wouldn’t have happened if it had just been one person doing it on their own.
Candyce Edelen 22:03
Yeah, it’s it’s gonna be great. And it’s not random, is not just based on random people submitting is talks that are voted on by people that don’t even live in the community.
Nick Armstrong 22:17
It’s highly intentional.
Candyce Edelen 22:18
Yeah, it’s very intentional, all of the programming that is happening at Founded in FoCo is, is by design. And I think that that’s an important feature of what we’re doing that’s different.
Nick Armstrong 22:32
If you want to join us check out FoundedinFoCo.com. The schedule is posted right up there on the menu. You can also click on a button right on the homepage, and it’ll take you right to the schedule, you can build out your entire schedule, save it to your phone, take it with you and learn from those amazing entrepreneurs that we’ve talked about today. And more. There’s even more talks that we didn’t talk about two full days of talks that are beyond ScaleUp day. So please join us. And for more great entrepreneurial advice and wisdom. Excuse me, let me try that one more time. For more great advice and entrepreneurial wisdom from our community. Got it enunciate when you’re on a podcast. Join us at FoundedinFoCo.com and also on our podcast Founded in FoCo. Wherever you get your podcasts from Kansas. Thanks for joining me today. It was so much fun.
Candyce Edelen 23:19
Thank you and please come say hi to both of us. When you come to Founded in FoCo, we’d love to meet you.
Nick Armstrong 23:24
Hey, thanks for listening. I’m Nick Armstrong, and this is a FoundedinFoCo.com podcast. For more great interviews like this one. Join us at FoundedinFoCo.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai