What is your mission for your business? For many, it’s something like wanting to support their family, having a cause they are passionate about, or wanting to live a more enriching life. It is a true “why” for their business. In this episode of CEO Sales Strategies, Doug C. Brown talks to Peter Goodwin, the CEO and Founder of Groove Life, who initially started his company to earn $50,000 more a year for his children’s education and quality of life. Now? He’s grown the company to multi 7-figures just 5 years later. Join Doug and Peter as they discuss leading with your mission in mind, collaborating with others, recruiting the right people, and more.
From residential construction to founding one of the fastest growing companies in America, Peter Goodwin can see market trends and recruit the right people. Groove Life is a leader in the outdoor and active lifestyle accessory market and has grown to 8 figures in 4 years. Peter appropriately refers to himself as Groove’s Chief Energetic Officer, as his energy and drive to win inspires 180 employees to greatness. Peter has a passion to share his experience with other entrepreneurs who want to leverage their businesses to make a difference in the lives of their employees, customers and communities.
Visit his website: www.groovelife.com
I’m bringing you a great guest. His name is Mr. Peter Goodwin. He owns a company called Groove Life in Tennessee. Check them out at GrooveLife.com. He’s an interesting man. He comes from humble beginnings and built a company in five and a half years to over 200 people. He’s doing great things, having private and licensing deals with the National Football League, Tony Hawk, and different types of places.
He started his business up originally to earn an extra $50,000 for his family. He’s got four children and a wife. He wanted to have better vacations, more vacations and be able to afford college for his kids growing up and give them a better life. From this freezing garage in Alaska, because he was a fishing guide and a tour guide prior to out in the bush, he started building this adventure, outdoor product wear. He built it into what is today called Groove Life with over 200 employees and nice revenues and profits.
He has gone on to have affiliate deals and/or partnership deals with people who are well-known. Tony Hawk being one of them and a lot of pro players football players. Marvel was another one. Cool stuff. We talk a lot about collaboration and how collaboration is a big factor in building a business, especially in scaling that company up as a sales strategy in collaboration with licensed partners, with the employees, or anybody that you come into contact with.
Also, how being heart-centered in the mission because at the beginning of building a business, we’re more money-driven and we can always be money-driven. How do you build that mission in that heart-centered and that mind shift that you got to go through to do that? In the spirit of collaboration, we also talk about how do you hire the right people? In particular, we started going more towards salespeople and sales because this is the CEO Sales Strategies show. We’re going to invite him in right now.
I’ve got a gentleman I’ve talked with several times now who is intelligent beyond belief and I do mean that positively. His name is Mr. Peter Goodwin. He owns a company called Groove Life. They are out of Tennessee. Peter, welcome.
Thank you, Doug. I appreciate you having me. I’ve never gotten an intro with intelligence in the intro. I’m putting that in my checklist. Thank you.
I have found you over the time that we have known one another to be one of those what I would call almost like an Aikido master where you allow somebody energy to come in and then you turn it and help them to accomplish what they want to accomplish. That, to me, is high intelligence. That’s a great leader. I appreciate the way you are.
Peter, If you don’t mind, why don’t you tell people what Groove Life is? I know it’s an adventure-inspired outdoors products company. To me, it goes much deeper than that. How about for yourself? What is Groove Life so everybody knows what it is?
On the surface, Groove Life is an outdoor active accessory brand. We make things from silicone rings to belts to watch bands. We started with the silicone ring as an active outdoor person myself. What Groove is, to me, is a way to reach people. Not only to provide for my family and employees but also to run an excellent business based on my faith and beliefs. The outward is we make cool stuff that has a lifetime warranty that will serve you forever but.
On the backend, it’s like, “We want to connect on a deep human level with our employees to more of a surface level with our customers but inspire adventure.” Our core tenets are to serve the customer, serve people well, inspire adventure and reflect God in everything we do through excellence. That’s a long answer to your question but it is more than selling trinkets to make tons of money, which is needed to accomplish the goal but that’s not the goal.
Behind every company I’ve ever worked with or have had the pleasure of conversing with, behind almost every great brand is a mission other than, “Let’s sell some stuff.” Everything on your website, everything that’s infused throughout all our conversations are driven in that mission-based statement. From your perspective, how important is it for the growth of a company to have a mission-focused approach versus, “We’re going to go sell stuff today and tomorrow and the next day.”
Can I dive back into why I started Groove?
By all means, I was going to get into that.
We can go back deeper but I want to touch on it now. I did not start Groove with this crazy mission to have 200 employees and serve them well and serve humanity through treating them well. I never thought I’d have the influence that I have. My wife and I started Groove to make $50,000 more a year so we could provide for our children’s future education, take a vacation, and have a little bit for retirement. We were in the tourism industry in Alaska for the last many years. We lived out in the bush. I had airplanes and I didn’t have a car. We did all sorts of crazy adventures for people. You would come for a week at a time. It’s a good lifestyle business but not a business that makes a lot of money. It’s like farming, you get a lot of cool toys but you don’t make a lot of money. My wife’s like, “You need to do something else in your free time to make money for us because we have four young children.”
We did not start with this crazy why. I was trying to provide for my family and that is the best reason. It’s probably the same reason we exist now. It was more focused on my family unit. It was to provide for my children and a margin for myself so I can spend time with them and all of those things. As you grow and you’re successful, it needs to expand out. Naturally, it probably is the same mission, values, and everything that we had in the beginning. It has expanded to more and more people. Everybody starts with that unless you’re a greedy capitalist bastard who wants more.
Everybody’s trying to provide better for their family when you start a business and you can probably lean into a little greed when you start to become successful. Get real clear why you started it. Was it for people? It is self-serving for your family and your retirement but can you expand it out from there? Do I think it’s critical? It’s absolutely critical. We know a lot of brands that sell to private equity. They lose their soul almost immediately. They’re not happy. The owner flushes out. It’s not a good thing. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s different.
For me to stay engaged in the business, I have to have this massive reason and it’s got to be people because I have accomplished what I set out to accomplish, which is to provide for my family. Now what? Growth, the excitement of growth and the winning in the game are fulfilling to a certain point but at the end of the day, when crap hits the fan, if you can’t go back to the real reason you’re doing it, you’re going to flush out eventually.
I would agree with that. I’ve seen myself even in businesses that I’ve had or others that I’ve been involved in, once that mission and the reason why starts to get too dulled to excess, if you will, the business suffers. People start making different decisions based on what the success path was on the business side in the first place. Let’s give some context to the people reading. You started in 2015 or 2016 if I remember correctly.
January of 2016 was when we officially opened.
We’re in August of 2021. If my math is right, that’s a little over five and a half years. You’ve gone from 0 to 200 employees and that’s pretty good growth by anybody’s measuring stick. You said, “These were maybe the first 1 or 2 things that we figured out that got us.” I love what you stated in an article you did for Thrive Global with me. That was even better. The first $1 million is the easiest, in your opinion, because you get to ride the coattails of the pioneers who have already been out there. You got to that place. You started making money but then you started expanding. You probably grew and got a little bit stable and then, “We’re going to expand.” A lot of people who come here to read are interested in, “How did he expand?” What were the success strategies in sales in particular?
Everybody says the first $1 million is the hardest. I would say that’s the easiest. You don’t have HR problems. I was on a phone call with somebody. If you’re good at solving problems and you have a product that people want to buy, making $1 million in gross sales is somewhat not that challenging. I know some people who are rolling their eyes now but I would say the next $5 million, $10 million, $20 million, $30 million, $40 million, and $50 million are much more challenging. You have to grow. It’s a different set of skills. Everybody talks about that. What got you to $1 million is not going to get you $5 million or what gets you to $5 million is not going to get you to $10 million.
If people are interested in how we did it, it comes down to demand in the marketplace. Is the product that you’re selling, whether it’s information, digital, or a physical product already in demand? We talked about this in our first interview. When I first got into this business, I was in the tourism business. A buddy of mine came to me and said that he was selling selfie sticks on the internet on Amazon. I was like, “I’m sorry for you and your family. I know times are tough.” He’s like, “We sold $1 million in ten months.” My mind exploded because I was thinking he was selling used books on eBay and was selling stuff on the internet.
He said to me, “Here’s the model. Sell something that you could use and tie it into a story to why and how you use it. Sell it to a different audience but make sure that it already has velocity in the marketplace.” Getting that first $1 million, if you answer those three questions, it’s quite simple. You can start on Amazon. There are all sorts of ways to do it. Getting the next is now you’re empowering employees. You have to tell them why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Some employees are like, “I can see myself getting rich in this company and that’s enough.” That’s enough for them. A lot of times, especially nowadays with Millennials and whatever the next generation is, they don’t care about money as much as they do purpose. Getting that next $5 million is a lot to do with inner work. Maybe it’s not fun. Maybe it’s $5 million to $20 million or whatever. I feel like I’m not answering your question well.
I feel you are in a lot of ways. One of your strategies was doing the inner work, to build a culture around the people that were coming in, the Millennials. In my generation, we were more money motivated as a primary. Now, it’s more life satisfaction. Even when we’re hiring salespeople in our company or helping clients hire sales teams for them, you find even the top producers are looking for quality of life more than they’re looking for an extra $300,000 a year. I noticed on your website, the picture of the people in the company, a lot of them are Millennials. They’re in that age bracket. We have to cater to the growth of not only the external but the internal and you’ve done that like a master.
I had a little bit of an advantage because of my faith background. I went through a massive depression when I was in my twenties. I had this turning point of either God was real. If you believe what Jesus says in the Bible, “Love your neighbors as you love yourself.” That is the actual only commandment. I had to realize that it was either about people, God loves people, and he’s going to use me to do that in my life, or I need to put a bullet in my head. I decided to start to live that way. I was 27 when that happened. I started Groove Life when I was 34.
I had done a lot of inner work in my early twenties and then I did a program called Mayhem Mindset. I don’t have any affiliation with them but they helped me. We did a deal with Rich Froning, a big CrossFitter and one of his coaches is Jim Hensel. He walked me through my core values. This was a few years ago. Faith, family, and sacrifice are core values that I have come out with. When you’re coming out of your inner self to lead a company to make money to do something big, one problem that I have with most companies is that, at the end of the day, they don’t care about wells in Africa, the elephants, or children in Nicaragua. They want to sell more shit.
They’re going to tie this 1% to the planet or whatever the in-vogue thing is to sell more things so they can buy their yacht or whatever. That is a short-term strategy and people see through that, especially your employees. If you want to build a big brand that is probably going to be here for 50 years, which is our goal, you’ve got to come out of the middle. That’s the hardest thing. You can’t replicate that. That’s usually through pain, misery, trials, and suffering that you look inward. Mayhem Mindset is a good way to start for brands.
When you start a brand, you don’t care about inner work. You’re trying to make a living and you like the game. To go to that next level and to speak to these Millennial kids, they don’t give a shit about money. They want to work from home, beanbags, and food. We have mandatory fun. The whole company stops and we paintball the executives. We do dunk tanks. We only do it once a month and people win prizes and money and it’s a hoot. That’s a lot of fun. If it was up to me, I’m old school. I’m like, “Let’s do business and then we can go home and play.” They want those things.
What we found is that even though it’s frustrating and it’s not typical business as usual to do those types of things, it makes life more fulfilling at work for us, for me, and for the other executives that are older. They’re happier. Everybody’s down on Millennials. Millennials are driving us to our humanity with work and maybe causing us to do the inner work so we can lead them because they will not follow if you are not genuine.
This is a good subject matter for people. Millennials are starting to shape the world because they’re the up-and-coming group. If we don’t know how to employ them or sell to them in a way that they want to be sold to, even successful businesses are going to start to see a dip in their revenues or dip in their profitability. They’re not going to be able to sell to the people who are vehemently going in and saying, “I’m not buying.” I went up and looked at your five-star reviews on your sites. You have 99,883 five-star reviews and then you’ve got some four stars and a few 2 or 3-star reviews on there, which you’re always going to get some of them if you have that many reviews.
What I want people to take out of this is the fact that you are heart-centered and mission-driven. You take care of the internal employees. That enhances the customer journey all the way through the process. The customers feel more valued because the employees feel more valued. One of the things I love is the Groove rings that you started with. I love this strategy. Two things, number one, you had stated that be an innovator but find a problem that people are already experiencing and give that to them, which is an old marketing process.
I find many companies don’t do this now. They’re trying to differentiate themselves in the market in different ways and what’s happening is they spend a ton of money on R&D, personnel and all kinds of things and they’re not making the ground. When you found a problem that people were having, you made a ring that looked cool. It’s a wedding band-type ring but it was also a breakaway. It would break away because in sports or adventure or whatever, if your ring got caught up, you could break your hand, finger, or lose a finger. I thought that was amazing.
It reminded me of a story my dad was telling me about that we always embrace growing up. My father had an electric motor machinery repair company. He was in the Navy and he would say every once in a while somebody would catch their wedding band in a lathe and that would take their finger right off. My dad would never wear a wedding band. My mom was understanding of it but at the same time, I could tell my mom always wanted to wear a wedding band. In your case, you make a product. Your Groove ring, if you got it caught toward a lathe or something, it would break away and therefore, you can live to lathe another day if you will. I love how it all came about because a lot of times, people don’t realize that there is a problem sitting right there in their industry that they could capitalize on if they gave them what they were looking for.
I have a story about that. I was not the first to use silicone rings. There’s a company called SafeRingz and they did the first one in the mid-2000s and then another company made it mainstream called QALO. Both those companies are run by good people. When my buddy said, he’s doing selfie sticks and made a gross of $1 million. We’re entrepreneurs, we know what that means but he was like, “What’s a product you already use that you can make better.” I was wearing some other ring. I can’t remember what it was and it made my finger sweat badly and pickle. I was a fishing, hunting and adventure guide in Alaska. I could not wear a metal ring. If you deglove your finger or take it off in the middle of the bush and you’re a day to Anchorage, potentially it could be life-threatening. Nobody wore them up there.
I got lucky. You can do your research and you can find out what has velocity in the marketplace. The bottom line is you need to find a product that has velocity already. SafeRingz and QALO were more of the pioneers and they spent a lot of money making people problem-aware. Making the marketplace problem-aware is the most expensive thing in the world and the most successful company in the world doesn’t even do it. Apple has never tried to educate the consumer on the problem. In fact, they’re the best plagiarizer in world history. They came out with the Apple tags. The tiles were off for many years and finally got enough market velocity that Apple said, “We’re going to come out and take this over.”
The iPad, the touchscreen phone, iPods, computers, and all those things were not even close. They’ve never done anything first but they come in and they do it better. They make it easier and they tie an elite sensation to people and give them value that way. There are all these things that they do. That’s our model. We’re never going to make anything that is not already in demand. Those people are not problem-aware.
It’s like our belt that came out, which has been fabulously successful. Get the belt. It’s amazing. You’ll never go back. The main problem is you need to keep your pants up but there wasn’t this huge and glaring problem with all belts that are unsafe, they pinched your hair, or whatever. Belts have been around since Adam and Eve probably. How do you improve on the belt? That was less of like, “We’re going to solve a huge problem.” We solved a lot of little problems but people need a belt. How do we put our spin on it?
“Don’t be a pioneer, be a settler.” That’s what’s written on the walls here at Groove. We don’t ever want to be first in the marketplace. We don’t want to ever invent some type of new invention and then try to tell people about it. We’ll go out of business. There are people that are addicted to new products and inventing new things. Let them do that and get some velocity. There are billions of people in the world. This is what’s wonderful about our time and our World History in life. I would never have been able to get distribution for my silicone rings if QALO and this other company were first.
Now, I can sell to my niche. Nobody was serving the hunting, fishing, outdoor crowd with this silicone ring concept, especially with the breathability. It was almost easy. Nobody was serving that. I could get distribution. I could get eyeballs through Facebook, Instagram, Kickstarter, and all of that. We’ve kickstarted. I highly recommend everybody to kickstart everything because it gives you great feedback. It gives you eyeballs and people will talk to you and tell you if they want your product or not. It’s a wonderful time to live but don’t steal. Don’t be the first to market a product. Innovate and sell to a different customer.
You’ve also capitalized on using licensing on that concept. You have pro-team athletes. You have Tony Hawk and Marvel. You’re using licensing, which is a form of you don’t have to be the pioneer. Someone else has already built the brand and you can leverage that brand.
The first licensing deal I did was Mossy Oak, which is a huge camouflage company. You’ve got to think about where your audience is. Is it on Facebook? Is it on TV? Who else has your customer? Mossy Oak has our customers. We are hunting, fishing, and outdoor Alaska. That was our home brand. Mossy Oak and Kryptek was another one. We partnered with them early on and what it does is gives your brand legitimacy. It’s like, “Who the heck is Groove Ring or Groove Life?” We’re nobody. All of a sudden, it’s Groove Ring plus Mossy Oak. Mossy Oak is a legacy brand. They’ve been around for many years. They have millions of customers. You piggyback on there. You legitimize yourself to that audience.
They’re still our best licensing. We’ve done NFL, NCAA, Marvel, Disney and all these other things. Tony Hawk was a good one. Tony Hawk broke his finger on a halfpipe and we reached out to him on Instagram. He’s like, “Sweet.” We had a partnership with him and now we sell his rings and he loves them. He wears them all the time. We’re on the skateboard. It’s not our core group but we sell to a lot of skateboarders for Tony Hawk. It’s all about having a product. Can I touch on something else about margin?
I preach this all the time to my team. We need to be able to 10X our cogs to be able to make enough money to pay for the party. When I say pay for the party, I’m talking about full benefits and retirement for everybody and great pay, competitive or higher than pay. We want to have a great working environment, mandatory fun and we want to feed our people a couple of times a week with a chef. We want to do all these things. At the end of the day, we need to be able to make 15% to 20% of profits. How do you do that? For us, it’s always 10x our cogs.
Sometimes with licensing and stuff, it’s not quite that. If you don’t have amazing margins, then you will never be able to build a people-first business because you’re going to be scared. For entrepreneurs and humans, it’s greed and fear. It’s like 1 of the 2 all the time. A place of rest is, “Let’s not be greedy but let’s not be fearful so let’s price our products so we don’t ever have to be fearful and we can have some reserves so we can build a culture.” It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you focus on the people, the people will make you lots of money. They will come to work and work late. They will make the business but you have to have the margin to be able to pay them and give them that security. I see a lot of mistakes where people have a 30% gross margin or profit and it’s like, “That’s not going to work.” We try to shoot for every product but not every product has that. Our belts don’t have nearly as much as our rings. It’s a balance.
There are these nuns who ran a Baptist hospital in all of the Southeast United States. I have a buddy who is a CEO of a hospital and he’s like, “Those sisters are ruthless.” They are nuns. It wasn’t Baptist. It was like St. Vincent Hospital or something. Their model was all over their boardrooms. It was that “There’s no ministry without margin.” You can’t be excellent, you can’t treat your people right and you can’t have a higher mission and goal if people are not paying a premium.
We have an unlimited lifetime warranty. We don’t require you to send your product back. We’ll send you another product. All of our customer services are right next door. They all speak English and we have 24/7 support. We spent a lot of money on customer service. We have three-star reviews and we love street three-star reviews because we call those people up and say, “What can we do better?” We give them a refund and they become lifelong customers. We love three-star reviews.
To be able to do that, you have to have the margin. There’s no ministry or no party. There’s no real brand longevity without a lot of margin. What I was going to say is when you treat people well, they don’t mind paying premium prices. Especially for a product under $100, whether it’s $30 or $50, if you treat them like a human being, treat them well, and have a consistently great experience on your site and then with your marketing and everything, $50, $20 more is nothing but that’s everything for your business.
Our belts are $60. A lot of that has to do with COVID shipping, I’ll be honest, but we sell the belts like crazy. We don’t have any hesitation from people because if they ever have a problem with a belt, we give them a new one forever. I’ve got to have the margin to be able to replace that belt 1.5 times and the ring six times without losing money. That’s how you build a brand.
This is an excellent point because a lot of entrepreneurs out there are not selling for higher margins because they don’t know how to sell on value. This is a mission through the whole company. It’s collaboration. We’re going to collaborate with our people who are buying in the form of providing them high value, getting their feedback and making sure that they love what we do and what their thing is.
A lot of companies don’t look at it this way. They falter and they stumble because they’re trying to squeeze down the margins to support the VCs, the investors or whoever put the money in. Not that they’re bad people but they’ll try to squeeze down margins and what they’ll do is they’ll limit things within the company that promotes a great customer experience. Go check them out at GrooveLife.com. They got some cool stuff there. It’s high value for you and you’ll be unique with some of these things that are on this website. You can use them as conversational pieces as well.
Go through our funnel and copy it. It works.
We could talk about so much stuff. I want to talk about the collaboration a little bit more because you do a great job at what I would call hiring people plainly. You stated that you hire the smartest people you can afford or even if you can’t afford. I remember when you were mentioning you hired a COO in the beginning and he was making three times what you were making. Let’s talk a little bit about hiring because so many people who are reading this are always like, “I want to hire top-selling and top-performing salespeople. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it.” You have a wholesale division as well as your direct-to-consumer division in which you employ salespeople. What would be like if you had a methodology or a step-by-step like step 1, step 2? If not, what would be the right way to hire somebody?
We don’t know what we’re doing yet but it’s working, whatever that’s worth. We did a couple of practical things. We use a DISC test. The DISC is like an enneagram, especially with anybody making more than $50,000 a year on a salary or whatever. I have a guy in stats who is advanced trained in this. We brought a consultant in early on and asked, “What is the DISC profile for a great accountant, great salesperson, or whatever?” That was one of the filters we pushed people through.
If an accountant is the life of the party looking to hang out at the watercooler and crack jokes, they’re not a good accountant. You should not be in accounting. However, you should probably be in sales. When you have and you give somebody a DISC test before they come in or walk in for their interview, they won’t even get here if they don’t have the right DISC profile. This drives me crazy that Fortune 500 companies don’t have this figured out.
Why in the world would you stick a person who doesn’t like people, whose numbers are driven on the floor of your retail space at AT&T? They’re pissed off that you’re there and that they have to work. They’re not happy and they don’t like people they don’t like to talk to. It’s like, “This is how God made people. He made people in six different ways and that’s it.” It’s not fair to those people to put them in positions that might pay well but they’re not going to thrive there. That’s one.
The other thing is we are hardcore in culture. I’m strong in my faith. I’m not a religious person. Religion is evil. God loves people and he wants us to love our neighbor and our brother. That’s how. You don’t have to have my particular faith values to work here at all. We have Buddhists and all sorts of different types here. You’ve got to love people. That is the requirement. I don’t think that’s illegal on the HR front. If it is, who cares? Sue me. I’m not going to hire people that aren’t people first.
When I talk to somebody, around here, they call it the Braveheart Speech. I tell them, “We don’t give a dang about silicone rings and belts.” Those are products to get us to people so you and your family can thrive so our customers can have a great experience in the chaotic world that they live in. We can give them a nugget of light of consistency. If they reach out to our customer service, we could give him a smile. Those are things people will trade. That’s the value we give to them and they’ll give us value back.
On the employer side, if we can take the pressure and the margin of life, give them more margin and take the pressure of providing for their family off, that’s a huge value to our employees and they will give us massive value back. It seems self-serving but it’s not. It’s the economy. It’s like a circular economy of value. That’s how the world works, like it or not. There are not many people that will do something for nothing in return. You don’t want that. You don’t want your employees to work for money and that is such an exchange of value. You want them to work with their soul.
A profile is probably not a nice word for people to use but what you’re doing is you’re looking at the job title, the job specificity, what somebody is going to experience daily, and you’re using a personality test to say, “Does that fit this particular role?” I do the same thing on sales when I’m helping companies hire salespeople. We also have sales specific. Do they have the ability to be a hunter or do they prefer to be a farmer? Do they have the will to sell? Do they have follow-up skills, specific measurements in the role? What I love about what you’re doing with DISC is you’re getting them into the place where at least it’s a fit, then you know it’s a fit. You’re not putting somebody who doesn’t like to talk to people in a position where they’re forced to talk to people.
Everybody does that and it drives me crazy. It’s not that hard. You have to put people in the right position. It’s for their sake. They will thrive. It’s basic human intellect.
Please correct me if you think I’m incorrect. I see a lot of people trying to hire off of two factors. Number one, the resume and number two likability. Firstly, the résumé is always not true. People embellish on it. Especially in sales, they go, “This guy’s likable. He could sell. This gal is likable. She could sell.” The truth is they may be able to sell in the right capacity in the right role. The reality is if you put a person who fears rejection in a hunting role, they’re not good at all. They’re not going to make it. It’s not their fault. It is the company’s hiring process.
You’re doing them a disservice by not doing your homework on who you need to hire. If you’re going to have this, you’re not going to be able to grow as fast. It’s a ninja trick but it’s super basic. They should give a personality test before you go on dates because you’re going to be attracted to your opposite, typically. Why go out with somebody who is like you? It’s funny how we are as humans.
Culture with the DISC test, having a margin to be able to pay them a competitive or more than competitive wage, giving them purpose and telling them where and why they’re going somewhere. Everybody’s having a hiring shortage of people. We got people in line to work here and we’ve mostly hired through word of mouth almost entirely. There are some specific marketing needs that we have that will venture out and go on Indeed and whatnot but for the most part, we’ve got a waiting list and it’s because we’re different. We have a soul. We sell trinkets like everybody else but we were doing it for a bigger purpose.
You’re doing it and driving tons of revenue doing it as well. You’re doing something that people wouldn’t be probably buying over and over if it wasn’t a benefit for them.
We have a 40% return rate and our lifetime customer value is through the roof. It’s working. I don’t know if it was a master plan or if it was like, “Love your neighbor as you would yourself.” That probably rubs people the wrong way. Whether it’s coming from Gandhi or Buddha or Jesus, it’s about loving your neighbor. It sounds weird. In private equity, I don’t like to talk like that and all that. We don’t like private equity. They’re all about the bottom line and next quarter’s results. Fuck next quarter’s results. What are five years’ results from what we’re doing? That’s how I want to run my business.
We’re going to take a hit. We’re going to cancel an entire product line and we’re going to lose millions in inventory. We’re taking a write-down on it because I’m not satisfied that it’s a five-year fit for our brand. My finance team is having a fit and I’m like, “It doesn’t matter. We’re either building a 50-year brand or we’re building this thing to sell.” I’m not building this thing to sell. We’re building it to impact more people than we can. It’s a different mindset.
You wouldn’t be the worst customer on this call. We don’t filter it either because the people are the people. A friend of mine and I were standing by a graveyard and I was looking at the gravestones. I always like to look back, “They were born in 1602 and they died in 1701. They lived a long life.” I said to my friend, “Jim, there’s always a start date and an end date and there’s always a line in between. I’m not sure we can extend the line that long but we can get maybe a few years by being healthy and doing all the stuff we want. The line is fixed. What we do in between is our quality of life.” He goes, “The one thing you can do with that line though is you can make it fatter and thicker.”
I am telling the story because, to me, it embodies everything that you do. Everything that Groove Life does within their company is, enhance people’s lives through what you’re doing with them and giving them a higher quality of life. Quite frankly, losing a finger or out in the bush, I used to be in the army. I remember being at a winter survival training camp one time and some guy took his tongue and stuck it to the side of a truck. We had to pour water on there to get him off but people’s rings would also freeze or, worse yet, they would start to get to their skin and start to cause health issues. You’re providing super value for people. Before I let you go, I want to ask one question because I know a lot of people are trying to figure this out. You use digital advertising like a master, as far as I can see, or at least it’s been a big contributor to your business. How important do you think it is now to be advertising digitally?
It’s not a question of, “Is it important?” It’s like, “Where are the customers? Where the eyeballs?” I’m not anyway loyal to Facebook or Instagram or Google but that’s where the people are. Back in the day, I would have been loyal to the local newspaper. The question is not, “Is it important?” It’s like, “Are the people there? If people are there, then it’s important.” The problem is it’s probably harder now than ever to get in and thrive in digital marketing.
When I started, I was taking pictures on my iPhone 6 and I was getting a 5X return on my ad spend. It’s amazing. Now, it’s harder than ever with all the updates, all the big tech are fighting, and there’s censorship. My sister has a swimsuit brand of modest one-piece swimwear for mothers, pregnant mothers, and stuff and they got taken down on Facebook for nudity. There’s no recourse. Amazon’s canceling people. A lot of times, it’s not even legitimate like my sister’s swimsuit brand.
We got on Amazon a few years ago and we’re eight-figures on it. The point of that being is that we did not start on Amazon. We started on our website because we figured we could diversify the traffic coming in and they couldn’t change our algorithm and shut us down. To specifically answer your question, it’s extremely important. How you do it is different. You’ve got to get creative. There are lots of influencers on TikTok and there are so many people doing different things. There’s top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.
I can tell you what we’re doing. We’re focused on wholesale. We have 3,500 retailers that carry our product but we want to get to 8,000. We need 20% of our product to be sold in retail. We need a third party like Amazon and then we went to rest to be our own. That stabilizes the brand. If Facebook cancels us, then our whole business isn’t shut. If you’re in our executive meeting on January 1 of 2021, you heard these things. We’re going to diversify this brand. We’re going to diversify the product line. We want not all of our sales to come through rings. How do we do that? We double down on product development. We have two industrial designers. We have six people in that division. We’re pumping out new products because we need our revenue streams to come from different products, not just rings. Rings go out of vogue or whatever happens.
We diversify channels. How do we wholesale? eComm, third party and we diversify eyeballs, traffic, so Facebook, Google, Instagram. How do we get more traffic work? We’re 30% organic, which is great. We’ve gotten that up to 40%. We love it to be 60%. In this world, it’s hyper-competitive and things are changing like crazy. Diversification is everything. That’s how we diversify. We diversify channels, traffic, and revenue source. Those are the three things right there.
Thanks, Peter. I appreciate you being here. We’re talking with Mr. Peter Goodwin, who is the founder of Groove Life. They’re in Tennessee. Check them out on GrooveLife.com. They got some cool stuff, belts, rings and all kinds of neat stuff. Go up and get something unique for yourself. Peter, I want to thank you for being here. People will get a ton of value out of our conversation. I appreciate you taking your time being here.
Thank you, Doug. I appreciate you. I’ll say to all the entrepreneurs out there, keep solving problems, do the inner work, find out what your core values are, and then share those core values with your employees and they’ll follow you off the cliff, and hopefully, you don’t go off the cliff.
That was great. Peter is a good guy and a genuine person. I always love the fact that when people start, they don’t know what they’re going to do, but when they get into something, they start figuring it out and they never quit. They keep building and they get themselves to a great level. I love the fact that the guy’s got almost 100,000 five-star reviews on the website because that says a lot about the quality and the value that they provide.
He and I got a chance to talk even after the show. One thing I appreciate about him is he’s constantly trying to learn, grow his company and grow the people, as well as the revenues in the company. He is going through shifts along the way. I see so many entrepreneurs that get stuck there and they’re like, “I’m making this. I want to go more but I’m stuck and I’m not sure how.” A lot of times, it comes back to the inner workings of what we do within our own minds that prohibit us or propel us to move forward.
As usual, if you liked this episode, please give it a five-star review. I love reading all your comments. Keep sending them to me. I would appreciate that. You could send them to Doug@BusinessSuccessFactors.com or DougBrown1234@gmail.com. Most people won’t give their cell phone number out but mine’s (832) 549-4836. Feel free to text me and call me. Let me know what you want on this podcast because I would be happy to go out and bring these types of guests to the podcast that you’re looking for as well.
I wouldn’t be a great coach, consultant and advisor if I didn’t tell you that if you’re looking for somebody to help you grow your revenues or increase your profits, reach out to me. I’d be happy to talk with you about how we can do that, how you can do that, and what services that I could provide to help you out there. Go out, sell something, make some money, impact the world, and convey your value to your success.
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