Integrating Intentionality into Your Business Approach

Ephraim Ebstein

Ephraim Ebstein is the Co-founder and CEO of FIT Solutions, a company providing managed IT and cybersecurity services to reduce IT spending, increase efficiency, and protect businesses from cyberattacks. Ephraim’s passion for computers and helping organizations succeed initiated his career in the tech industry, prompting him to create his own business in 2012. Ephraim’s success is the result of his dedication to helping companies achieve their goals with FIT Solutions technology services.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Ephraim Ebstein shares his unique founder’s story — and how he grew his team
  • How to measure and scale business growth
  • The importance of creating a token demand for service
  • Ephraim’s insights on the psychology of believing you can achieve your goals
  • How to incorporate intentionality into your business practices
  • Exercising role-playing as a method for team training 
  • Tips for maintaining a positive culture while promoting employee accountability
  • Top performers succeed because they apply strategies executed by their mentors
  • Ephraim discusses the business skills that come with experience

In this episode…

Envisioning success at the beginning of your career is not wishful thinking. However, defining your goals is the most challenging part. What can you do to make progress on your business goals? 

Planning ahead is the key to achieving the business milestones you set for yourself. Whether it’s developing your career or starting a business, a successful mindset helps you understand the end goal — and the steps necessary to lead you there. Having the desire to set the precedent for industry standards, work culture, and growth strategies makes your job more enjoyable because progress is defined by your willingness to commit to your future success. 

In this episode of The Cyber Business Podcast, Matthew Connor welcomes Ephraim Ebstein, Co-founder and CEO of FIT Solutions, to discuss strategies for scaling your business and equipping your team to help you achieve your goals. Ephraim shares how he incorporates intentionality when conducting business, the value of role-playing as a team training exercise, and how to maintain a favorable culture.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by CyberLynx.

CyberLynx is a complete technology solution provider to ensure your business has the most reliable and professional IT service.

The bottom line is we help protect you from cyber attacks, malware attacks, and the dreaded Dark Web.

Our professional support includes managed IT services, IT help desk services, cybersecurity services, data backup and recovery, and VoIP services. Our reputable and experienced team, quick response time, and hassle-free process ensures that clients are 100% satisfied. 

To learn more, visit, email us at, or give us a call at 202-996-6600.


Matthew Matthew Connor here, host of the Cyber Business podcast, where we feature successful business leaders, top law firms, green energy companies and more. Today, we're joined by CEO and co-founder of FIT Solutions from Epstein. Ephram, welcome to the show.
Ephraim Thank you, man. I'm super excited to be on with you, Matthew.
Matthew Super excited to have you on. And before we get too far in quick word from our sponsors, today's episode is brought to you by SentinelOne. SentinelOne is a leader of cybersecurity protection for end points and the cloud. They use A.I. to identify threats and act quickly. And really, it's it's in our experience it's been unparalleled.
Matthew We we are constantly out there looking for ways to protect our clients, new tools, new methods, and set in a one has outperformed everything that we found. So thanks to SentinelOne for their their support and and now back to your show I Ephram I can't thank you enough for coming on the show today a super excited to have you.
Matthew For those people who are not familiar, can you give us a quick elevator pitch of fit solutions?
Ephraim Yeah. So. So this pushes is our managed i.t service business. That was the first one that got started and we basically for small businesses we are the IT department for larger organizations. We're kind of a support system for the IT department and then cybersecurity spun off of that in about 2015 and that is our managed security service provider.
Ephraim And so we're an actual security operations center based here in San Diego. But we have a national footprint. We even have some international clients. And the two things we do on the cybersecurity is that 24 seven monitoring, we really act as a 24/7 cybersecurity team for internal I.T. departments. We act as an extension of them, and it makes a lot of sense for for a lot of organizations.
Ephraim And then we also do penetration testing. We do a lot of, you know, ethical hacking, external, internal web app testing and so on. And then we'll help the organizations know exactly what's going on with what the issues are. They'll remediated. Then we'll retest and kind of just go through the cycle to make sure they're secure.
Matthew Fantastic. Well, you know, so on the Cyber Business podcast, we you know, we and really me I love founder stories and I, I ran into you on Instagram. I saw one of your your reels and absolutely loved it. I thought it was was great content and the more I started digging in, the more I was like, this guy's got a great story.
Matthew I would love to hear, you know, your your founder story because the way I piece it together, you basically after you went to back then, you spent about ten years working your way up in, you know, from, you know, basically I.T. administers Austin all the way to senior senior systems manager and then you branched off and started Fit Solutions.
Matthew Is that about right?
Ephraim That's that's pretty much it. You know, I'll add a little to it, but you got it. You got it. That's that's it. When I when I came out of high school, I really didn't know. You know, everyone was like, What do you want to do? I had literally no idea. So I thought, maybe I'll be a machinist or something.
Ephraim I really had like, no, no idea. And I wasn't. I was, I mean, likely exposed because that was during the the nineties lately exposed to computers that I wasn't like a computer nerd or a geek or anything like that. I was more of like an outdoor kid. But I liked computers to a certain degree, and everyone was like, You got to get into technology because that's the future.
Ephraim Computers of the future. And so I just kind of was like, Yeah, that sounds pretty good. I think I'll do that. And it was during, I think 99 or 2000 when I was getting into it and the dot com bubble had it was like going good. I had a buddy that was a little older than me, maybe two or three years.
Ephraim He had went through like an IT tech at home in college, and he got out and he got like a six figure job, which at the time was, you know, insane, right? Like for this young guy, I was like, man, that's that's great. I'm going to do that. But when I got out of school, that was over and I now I was competing against more seasoned professionals that had experience that got laid off.
Ephraim They're looking for jobs. And I mean, I was trying so hard to get a job, I couldn't even get one. So I ended up working for free for about six months in an internship and I'd show up every day like it was my job from 8 to 5 just work for free and doing the assistant administration type stuff.
Ephraim It was for a organization that belonged to SDSU and then after a while they're like, Yeah, we like this guy. Like, I think we should hire him. So that's how I got started.
Matthew That's awesome. I mean, you know, it just goes to show you, you know, you put in the time and the hustle and it pays off. But where I'm really curious is, is, you know, fast forward through those ten years and then you start your own, you know, everybody I think a I'd say most MSSP start out, you know, somewhat similarly right You know guy's got some his build up some I.T. skills and they they're like, hey, I could go do this.
Matthew I can this would be a decent thing for me to do. But can you walk us through that, how you went, who your co-founder was? You know, that you know, just those first I think those first, you know, moments, those first years. I think they're so fundamental to what you you end up being. And then, you know, so let's start there.
Matthew What was what was that like when I took that plunge?
Ephraim I'll take you to the launch. You take your step before the first MSP I worked for and the owner, the company was called the I.T Pros. The owner was Doug Ford. Great, great guy, mentor of mine. You know, I started there in the Help desk and I immediately loved it. I loved the console team. I loved helping organizations, you know, with their decision making process, making sure they're successful, all of that.
Ephraim During the economic downturn cycle, he decided to sell the business and he sold it to Konica Minolta, all covered. And it went through a couple of acquisitions and I went through those acquisitions and it just kind of coming out to all Covered was not a bad company by any means. There was a lot of maturity. You had things that I look back now and I'm like, Oh yeah, now I get why they did that.
Ephraim But it didn't have the same feeling. I kind of missed the feeling of the team that I was working with. I was kind of just on an island. I would just different, different thing. And so as I was, you know, I started working out with my buddy of mine, kind of like my my good friends, older brother. I started hanging out with him and he was very entrepreneurial.
Ephraim His name's Joel Ritchie, and he was saying, like, man, why don't you start your own business? You're good at what you do. And the more he was like putting that bug in my ear, like when we were doing workout sessions, I was like, Maybe I should do that. And, you know, I didn't have any savings. I really I had a good job and I was making good money.
Ephraim And in fact, I, I was like, I was really scared because of like, what if what if what if I don't get a client? What if it goes sideways? What if I kept all these? But the more I thought about it and I started reaching out to people that I could think of that had businesses and a lot of them were like, Man, other people.
Ephraim If other people can do it, you can do it. And I was like, Man, that's that's good advice. And I started thinking like, what is the worst thing that can happen? And honestly, the worst thing was like, I either go back, beg for a job, go work at McDonald's or something, you know, like it's yeah, it wasn't that disastrous.
Ephraim Right? And so I was like, you know what? I'm going to go for this. And then I talked to Joel. I said, Hey, I want to do this. But, you know, you've been inspirational. I'd love for you to kind of join me on that. And his he was like, he was on board. So so he kind of was my co-founder.
Ephraim I owned the majority of of of the business and he was a more minority shareholder. But we also talked about and I could talk about that if you want, like you no longer with the company. I bought his shares out at a certain point because our our goals were going in different directions. But the reason we were able to stay friends through that whole process is because early on at those times we had talked about kind of what an exit would look like.
Ephraim And we actually, even though we were good buddies, we put everything in writing. We both signed it that way. You know, it was it was clear. And what I did is I worked with him for about 11 months on how we were going to build the business. And I didn't I didn't even you know, most people start out with like a website and a logo.
Ephraim Like at the end of those 11 months, we still didn't have a website, we didn't have a logo or business cards, but we had contracts. We had our entity set up. We knew exactly our like pricing. We knew like what was going to be included in the package, how we were going to deliver service. And we're really excited.
Ephraim So when that first opportunity came, it's like, shoot, you don't have a logo, but we were ready on everything else and awesome. We got that first customer and then what I started doing once I left all cover, I didn't want to poach any customers and be unethical, but they had lost a lot of customers in the acquisition of I.T.
Ephraim Pros that did it like all covered. But they knew who I was and they liked me. So I went to all the lost ones and I said, hey, I don't know what you're doing for i.t now, but I started my own company. I have a great team and I would love to be able to service you. And so what?
Ephraim I missed my team so one thing I knew was I didn't want to be a self-employed guy that just because I'll never have a vacation, never have a break, I knew that I had to build a team to scale. And even though it was just me in the beginning because I was the first one to quit my job, Joel hadn't even done it yet.
Ephraim I had. I needed that coz that customer, because if I didn't have it, I wasn't going to be able to pay rent and stuff. But, but I got that first one and then I went after the other ones and I said, Man, I'm losing track of my story. Yeah.
Matthew So now you know, you, you're, you're, you've got, you went back out after the pro lost customers, you got your first one and now you're going after the second building up to when you bring on your other members.
Ephraim Yeah, exactly. So I went after some of them and I was able to, to land a few and because they liked me, I had created a name for myself, good reputation. And they felt, you know, you know, the odds are usually when you go to an MSSP, it sucks. And so that's, that's, you know, the odds were in my favor.
Ephraim They weren't happy. And the few who weren't sure enough and I was able to land a few of them. And so that got us started, I think we made in the first three months of business, which was the very end of 2012, was the last quarter full quarter of 2012. I think we made like 90,000 bucks. Wow. Yeah, that's pretty good.
Ephraim I thought that was pretty good.
Matthew That's awesome. So was that your first is that your first year basically, or first quarter? You made 20,000?
Ephraim Yeah, we did. It wasn't even a full year. It was like the first day. Yeah, it was October 2012. So we did October, November, December and then. And then. Yeah. And then we were off to the races 2013 was our first full year.
Matthew So let me ask you, where were you starting these first few clients that bring in basically 90 K in the first, you know, kind of quarter, there are these all larger clients that they had in I.T prior. I mean.
Ephraim They were they weren't super large like I think there was some procurement in that. So it wasn't all services. Of course there was, there were some projects, some, some server infrastructure projects and I think San there was maybe a SAN or something we replaced in there, but it was those, those clients were all kind of about, I would say those first three clients we had were all between like 40 and maybe 70 employees AT Fantastic.
Matthew Okay, so there you are.
Ephraim And then it was like cybersecurity was a component of what we did, but it was not we were not like it wasn't like the cybersecurity was like making sure the firewall is turned on and you got the right rules on it and you had antivirus patches. Yeah, but that was like kind of scope of cybersecurity.
Matthew Yeah, it really was back then. So yeah, so there you are, you've got your first few clients and now what about that, that first hire. How's that go.
Ephraim Yeah. So the first, the first. So this is the one thing I did. I lived under my, you know, basically what I just needed to survive for a very long time. Four years, actually. And I spent every penny just like we got a new customer was hire somebody. And we hired we hired, like kind of central came on next and he didn't have the technical background.
Ephraim I did. So he was doing like everything else, account management, procurement to operational side, but just, you know, helping with the sales like all the other stuff. And I was really the engineer just like doing it. But the whole time I always said we as our team, I never said me, my I never said like, I'll do this for you.
Ephraim I'll say, We'll do this for you. We'll take care of you. And and I had a few other contractors that I could lean on as we scaled. And then finally we got we hired a gentleman named David Gadson. He was, I think, our first or second employee, and he's our oldest employee still with us. And he came in, he was like a young guy that worked at FedEx.
Ephraim He had no idea what was going on. And he was helping like set up our connect wise and all this kind of stuff. And then and then the next one, I was able to recruit a guy that I had previously worked with. His name was Mike, fantastic engineer. And then we have kind of that hodgepodge of like internal engineers get hired and we're still using contractors at that time.
Ephraim But all the contractors, we really treated them as if they were part of the team. So I would pay for them to come to the team meeting. They wore that kind of our dress code of code. We set them up with emails, all that kind of stuff. Like now regulation is a little tighter. You can't really do that.
Ephraim But that that's how we did it. Like they were part of the team.
Matthew That's awesome. And, you know, just for those, you know, I mean, now you went from that, you know what? Now almost 12, 11, 12 years ago to where you guys are now, which is a whole different ballgame. You know, that's a lot of growth between, you know, there and now what's what you know, kind of going through that.
Matthew Right. I get that. That's a great founder story. Beautiful. And now just to give people an idea of how much you've grown, how far you've gone, what would you say in terms of, you know, however you want to measure that, you know.
Ephraim Yeah.
Matthew With clients.
Ephraim So it was I felt like it was relatively easy for us to get to the like 5 million mark. And the reason I say that I don't want to make it seem like it's easy because it's not. But I had worked for an organization even though I was only the engineer. They were at that four or 5 million mark.
Ephraim So in my mind I was just kind of recreating a lot of what I had observed, and I kind of knew how it ran, even though I didn't know all the ins and outs, I didn't know about the accounting and all of that. But I had a sense of like what the what the team dynamic and structure was.
Ephraim So I was just kind of doing that and I was like, I didn't know how to sell. I had never had a formal sales job. So now I was in a position that I was yes, I was engineering, but I had to sell and I in the beginning just started. If someone was a professional in the not even in the industry, just just a working person, I would take them to watch.
Ephraim Right. Whether it was a client or prospect, anything I could take. Yeah, I think I take them to lunch to try to fill up my calendar with like 3 to 4 lunches a week. And, and then that just started and I had no agenda other than like, I mean, obviously I wanted to grow the business. I guess that was part of it.
Ephraim But I just started like meeting, telling people what we're doing. I was so passionate, so excited, and everything was focused about quality and my I didn't have the knowledge about like, you know, profit and loss statements and financial, you know, cash balance. I didn't have formal sales training. I didn't really properly know how to run a project, but I knew that if we did really good work, that our reputation would help us and, and, and we treated that like gold.
Ephraim And so that helped us, you know, helped us like naturally gets more clients and grow once they hit like the $5 million mark. And we started having these bigger break points, business break points that all businesses go through. I was like, Man, I need like, I don't know where it goes from here because I had never been on the inner workings beyond that, you know?
Ephraim Yeah. So that's where it started getting a little more difficult. In fact, in 2017, we well, previous to that, I should mention, we made some really stupid we did some stupid stuff too. Like I got distracted. Me and Joel started a gym, a CrossFit gym because we liked CrossFit. That was a funny, like a distraction and a drain on resources because we're taking profits out of it.
Ephraim Got to get this other business going. Never became profitable and we monkeyed around with that for like two three years on the side. Even though we weren't training in CrossFit. Like we weren't there like running it. We hired employees, but it was it was a bad it was a bad one, even though it was a great like what I did love is I love I loved the community that we built over there and I loved like it just everything was good about it, except it didn't make money.
Ephraim It was a bad business and then the other thing is, I think we also approached the way we started fit cybersecurity. So we started out in 2015 and my approach now is make sure there's a demand for the service and even sell the service and then deliver on the service. Right? And if you're an ethical, moral driven person, you're obligated to deliver on that no matter what the cost is.
Ephraim But we kind of said, let's build out our stock. We're going to build it all out, make it look like a mini massive center hire the employee staff 24 seven and then go try to sell it. It took us years, literally years, to even break even. So once again, we were taking profits from the i.t services, moving it to pay for all the employees in the cyber services, even though they weren't paying for their own seat.
Ephraim And I knew it was I knew it was a good decision to do that in the sense that what Russians they were good decisions, probably a bad decision, but I knew that cybersecurity was an important component in the future, and so I just kept doing it, kept doing it till we finally started breaking even. But there was a lot of things like that that kind of that I learned.
Ephraim And fortunately, we were able to kind of grow beyond that. In 2017, we ran into a really tough spot where, like I remember it was in summer time, I think I was going on vacation that week and our accountants call us and they're like, Man, we're really worried that we might not make payroll, like we don't have enough money in the bank payrolls coming up.
Ephraim A lot of people haven't paid us yet. So I started like immediately doing collection calls basically to get the money. And it was it worked out. But the but being at that point, I was like, I can't scale the business like this anymore. This is not I need to I need to be more financially literate. So the first thing we did is like hired like an outsource CFO, not just to do it for us, but to actually teach me like, yeah, I wanted to know how to read a profit loss statement, understand cash balance, basic finance, principles of finances that I had never been to thought.
Ephraim And then I also the other thing I realized is sales was super, super lacking so I could sell naturally. Well, from just, you know, the passion having to do it. But I wasn't a professional. I was still an amateur. I had never had training, I've never had a sales manager, anything like that. So and we would go through this thing where we pushed to sell and we would like do all these lunches stuff would kind of shake out, kind of like it's like you shake the apple tree.
Ephraim And I didn't know what was going to come out, but the apples would fall out, right? So that was our approach. And but then when we got the clients, we were focused on delivering for the clients, right. And doing an amazing job. So we go to work every six months would pass and we realized, man, we have nothing in our pipe.
Ephraim We haven't been selling. And so new revenue was like this up and down and down. Now it's like we need consistency. So we hired a sales trainer. He was okay. Then I kind of like did different online sales programs and then I ended up actually listening to Cardona's podcast called Young Hustlers and I loved it. And I know Grant's like a little bit of a, you know, like controversial figure.
Ephraim But what I loved about Grant is he was very like, if you get past the flashiness and you actually listen to his content, it's all about understanding the client's business problem, understanding why now? What's the issue? What have you done before? When do you need this done by? And really just honing in on solving their problem? And that was naturally something that I appealed to.
Ephraim And so as I started doing more of his sales training, I started getting better at sales. And then I could also start to duplicate myself. And so that's kind of, I guess, a little bit of a journey.
Matthew That's awesome. Well, I have so many great follow up questions. I think they're great. Let's see how they pan out. But let's let's take that that sales, for instance. I mean and actually let me rewind because you mentioned that that whole $5 million mark, you know, being one of those let's call it a sticking point. And it made me think of, you know, like the four minute mile, right?
Matthew I mean, it was such a a, you know, a huge milestone where people thought it, you know, it just couldn't be beaten because nobody had ever done it. And and it really comes down to this, the psychology of believing that it's doable. So I say this because so many MSPs that start their four minute mile is $1,000,000. And so for them, it's okay.
Matthew Millions that big one. And then it's tough to go beyond that. What I thought was really interesting because I've heard I met so many MSPs who that was there was their belief and you hear it all the time in places like, you know, Robyn, Robyn, she she's, you know, big on that, you know, telling people that, you know, that let's get you to the million, that's your big, you know, hurdle and that's going to be so tough to get there.
Matthew I mean it really creates that reality for them where you went right in there like No. Five is the first sticking point. So boom, you blow right past one. Like, that's not a thing. And now today you've got kids in high school, tons of kids in high school blowing past four minute miles, like it's not even a thing because, well, they know it can be done.
Matthew So I can do it. You knew it could be done. So you did. And it wasn't even a thing. And I'd like it. So I thought that was. That's fantastic and a huge takeaway, I think, for every small business owner and entrepreneur and MSP like that million, whatever you think that sticking point is, that's what it is because you've made it that way, right?
Matthew Not to be all Yoda about it, but you know. No, it really is.
Ephraim It's huge. So one of the things I learned from so so Grant also has a book called ten X Rules, Great book. And one of the things in there, he talks about writing your goals down. So that wasn't something I was doing early. But before, like you said, it was just in my brain, like, that's the roadmap. Like, I just knew it was possible, like it.
Ephraim So there was no question. I mean, once I got beyond that, I didn't have that anymore. And so one of the things I learned to do was write my goals down and not just write them down, but write them in a very particular format, which is like as if they've already happened. And another mentor, Brendan Dawson, kind of explained, like people say a lot of different stuff.
Ephraim Oh, it's putting it out in the universe, it's manifesting like the best explanation that I ever heard about it was from Brad, and he said, like, have you ever, you know, you drive your car home from work and you're supposed to stop on the way home. Maybe you're supposed to go somewhere else. You go to the grocery store, not paying attention.
Ephraim Before you know it, you didn't drive to the grocery store. You automatically drove home and you're like, you get to your driveway. You're like, Oh, shoot. Like, I was supposed to go to the grocery store. Now you have to consciously change your way. What happens is your subconscious, which doesn't really do thinking, just kind of that feeling. It's like the GPS doesn't know the difference between reality and what what is like an idea.
Ephraim So when you kind of write your goals as if they've already happened, like I own a, you know, a $30 million, $100 million business, this is what it looks like. This is what my data looks like. You write that stuff out, your subconscious just start. You do it a lot. It starts to think that's the reality and your subconscious will just hope.
Ephraim Like a GPS, like take seize opportunities as they come your way. And it helps kind of like you reprogram your mind in a way. So I think that's really what it's doing. And like, like you said, for me it was like, Oh, that 5 million I need, I need like 20 people. I need to make 5 million. Like it was just no question, because I, I just figured that's what it's going to happen.
Ephraim And then when I got to it now, I was like, Oh, wait, we got to do more. This is. And now it wasn't just about, you know, it never was just about me. Because for me, one of the big reason I quit my job was I wanted to work. I kind of missed, like working with people I really enjoyed working with.
Ephraim Yeah, And I wanted I wanted obviously, to make a better, you know, make an impact on my life and my family's life. But I also wanted to bring people along for that ride and take care of them to that that were aligned with me. And and so now when we had gotten to that point, I realized that I have to help my team.
Ephraim Yes, I want to help more businesses. I want to help a lot of businesses, but I really want to help my team, too. And I want them to have career opportunities. I want them to have raises. I want them to have promotions. And if I don't grow, they can't have that with me like they have to go elsewhere.
Ephraim So the only way for me to impact their lives positively is to grow. So, you know, a lot of my growth schools are still about that. Our mission is to impact lives through technology. And that, of course, means impacting the lives of our clients and supporting their missions. But it also means impacting the lives of our teams, helping them with a personal, professional financial goals.
Matthew That is awesome. I love it. I mean, that's just I mean, I think, you know, a lot of people use that whole it's not a you know, it's not personal. It's business. And I think that's such a load of crap because there's nothing more personal than business. That's how you feed yourself and your family with, you know, So it becomes very.
Matthew Yeah. And so when you you know, when you've got that, you know, when you've got the right principles and values and you apply that to your business. And it's not just some, you know, kind of heartless rule, you know, moneymaker, you know, endeavor or machine. Now, you know, because people are going to spend so much time there, they're going to spend, you know, a good portion of their life there.
Matthew And you want to create an environment that that is you know, good for them, it's healthy for them. You know, they can create a good, good living. They can, you know, go home and be happy with their family and provide for them and their kids. And, you know, make the world a better place. Because I really do think that, you know, small business and business in general really can do that.
Matthew You know, when people do like like you do, you know, create that for people, when those are your goals and your values, that's what happens, right? I mean.
Ephraim Yeah.
Matthew So it's wonderful. So kudos to you. That's that's fantasy. Now, I'd like to rewind again. Go back to There you are. You know, you've got a few clients and you're just inviting people out to lunch. Basically, that's your business with lunches. Like, well, I guess I want you to walk me through that like you hear, because so many people are like, Well, I got to advertise on Google AdWords.
Matthew You like that? Let's just take people to lunch. So you just get it like a prospective client. Like, Hey, I'd like to take you to lunch like anybody.
Ephraim If I met you at a networking thing, I'd be like, Hey, what do you think about going to lunch? Because once again, I didn't have that much formal training of like, like asking like, you know, what's the biggest business problem you're trying to solve? I didn't have that kind of like, vocabulary like I do now. But going to lunch is amazing.
Ephraim I would recommend if you're new at sales and an organization or you're a business owner or anything, you just you just need to get some traction fast. Just invite everybody that you can think of to lunch. Now, of course, the ideal is a prospective client, but you'll have anybody who is in your power base and your networking group or someone you know that you can go, Oh, and then I if I was meeting with you and you're not a prospective client, I just say, Matt, do it.
Ephraim Like, you know, at some point in the conversation, I just have it naturally because I wouldn't have like a huge agenda, but I would ask for your help at some point. I'm like, I'm working really hard to scale this business. Do you know anyone that could benefit from a services or you think I should reach out to and you might.
Ephraim You either make it think of someone or you might not think of someone, but then you won't forget me. And when later an opportunity comes by, you like, Hey, my buddy, he knows who I think you should talk to. So that's what I was doing.
Matthew It's awesome. So, okay, so now you've you're doing that. At what point do you do you bring on Did you bring on salespeople?
Ephraim Yeah, that's a good question. So sales was tough because once again, four years until we brought a lot of sales people on, it was always one at a time, maybe two at a time. They never sold. I sold every contract basically up until like 2018 or something like, Wow. So and, and what's funny is, once again, like before this, I was like, Oh, never have a sales job.
Ephraim I don't I don't associate it. But now my mindset completely changed because I love it, because you never can service a client that you haven't for sold. It's impossible. That's right. So if you want to solve the problems, you got to sell them. And so, so no, I really enjoy it. But yeah, I didn't I didn't have that.
Ephraim And so we, we hired the first ones early on 2015 or so. They never worked out. But a lot of that is my own fault. I take responsibility for that because I didn't know how to properly train them and I didn't know how to hold them accountable and what metrics. Yeah, I just sit I would I would just let them loose.
Ephraim Oh, go have lunches. They don't know what to do. Like they did it. You know, it just they were just fumbling around like organizing spreadsheets. Now I realize that it takes like eight phone calls before you get someone to talk to. You got to do, you know, so many cold calls per day. Like if you do 150 call calls, you're probably depending on your ratio.
Ephraim You can get like maybe one meeting out of those. So if you do five meetings a week and then, you know, subset of those will turn into appointments. So the activities in the training, it wasn't until we started really holding the team accountable to activities and training and role play. That's the other thing. So in an in our company, we not now role play isn't just for sales, it's critical for sales, but we even make our engineers.
Ephraim Everybody in our company role plays every single day and it feels very awkward. But I, I've realized that I don't want anyone practicing on our clients. That's right. So, so we'll just go in like this week's role plays, like even a sales role play. It's like a customer. You're recommending your recommending a solution and they say this is outrageous, it's too much.
Ephraim They feel that maybe they need to go shop you. How do you respond to that? I like that a lot of engineers, what they'll do is, well, you know, but Mr. Customer, they get into a very defensive mode. They'll double down on the solution because, you know, genuinely people engineers want the right solution. They say, let's say some Meraki solution and it's $40,000.
Ephraim They're going to like start defending it. And they put and they don't give any other options. The the customer now starts feeling like they're in a corner and they have to go shop, right? Whereas we're role playing, for example, and say, Hey, you know what, I'm with you, Mr. Customer. Price is a big deal. We understand that the reason we recommended the solution, because we have other clients that are successful, we had good results with this this solution, but it's of course not the only one.
Ephraim So let me do this. We're going to come together and get you a good, better best option. And, you know, obviously, you have the choice to do nothing or maybe you do a good option or a better. And of course, you always have the best one and we'll give you all the information you can make the decision what's right with business.
Ephraim This how does next Thursday sound that we get together? We kind of go over the other options.
Matthew Right? I love that.
Ephraim So we're never heard of anyone doing that. That's great. Yeah, we're training our team to do that. But you've got to do that with the salespeople because you have to set them up for success. And if you and you've got to fit, like I don't want to say failing, but you got to pause them and make them redo it until they sound yeah, yeah.
Ephraim Because otherwise it's going to take them years and most of them are going to fail. Even if you have someone with a lot of potential. So I think if some of those hires we had in the past that didn't succeed, had I known how to coach them and train them and so on, could have some of them maybe been successful, maybe they could have.
Ephraim And that, you know, not all of them, but some of them could have. And so I had to learn how to manage a team and set them up, really, not just managing to hold them accountable. It's setting them up for success and duplicating what the top performers do so that they can see it and follow it and get the same results.
Matthew So awesome. So a first of all, I got to hand it to you the, the, the role playing. So I was back in my old army days. I was I was an army interrogator. And of course, you can't always you there's not always someone to interrogate. So role roleplaying is a big part of that. You know, the third part of the training was doing these role play, you know, exercise, which is tons of it.
Matthew And I, I was a you know, I'm to this day huge believer in like, you know, when we go over something we role played out. I've never heard anybody else talk about it. So I think it's a great thing I got it from my old army days but course it's yeah.
Ephraim Yeah. The military will never carry out an operation unless they practiced it a hundred times. A thousand times? No professional sports team will ever go into a professional sports game and not have practiced their plays. Everybody has to show up. If you have a professional team, practicing with the team is not optional. You must show up to practice or you're not going to be in the game.
Ephraim And I don't know why people think business is any different. If you want to be any more, your whole team needs to role play together and they need to practice because there's this weird assumption they just throw people out there and think they're going to be successful. There's no there's no way.
Matthew Oh, you got a bunch of people fumbling the ball everywhere. They've never pressed.
Ephraim Everywhere. Yeah, Angley.
Matthew Agree.
Ephraim That's insane. It's just a mess. And they're not closing sales. It's just. It's just a mess.
Matthew That's I couldn't agree more. So love that, let me ask you, this whole remote slash, slash in-person thing, How do you guys deal with it? What's your stance? How do you guys operator, you all, you know, hybrid, are you what what's the deal? How do you what's your take?
Ephraim So I think every business needs to really analyze their business and their team. I love the in-person, but we're not able to do that anymore. It's so before COVID, we were everyone that was not an engineer or, well, cyber analysts had to come to the office. Only engineers who are going on site to clients had the liberty of working from home or at the client site.
Ephraim Just because it made sense for everybody else. Had to come in our office every day. And there definitely is something about being in the office. But of course that COVID we dispersed and then during that time we grew a lot and we went very national. So I also started hiring a lot of leadership team members and different team members in different states.
Ephraim Now, I can't even pull them back to the office if I wanted to, because it would just be a small subset of people that I would be pulling back. Now. But a hybrid or in-person is great, but for our business we can't do it anymore. And so what we do to to keep the culture alive and also hold team members accountable is we learned a few lessons through that period.
Ephraim And we also we were also taught this because we were, you know, once again, seeking, seeking mentors, seeking knowledge. And one of the things we do, an all hands team meeting every day, we go through the we go through the mission of vision. So you'll hear on all hands our mission and our vision every single day. Everybody at that point memorizes it.
Ephraim We then go through each department, announce their KPIs and wins. So the all hands meeting is only positive. There is nothing ever negative announced on that in that meeting that's always separate. It's only a positive type meeting. So we go over the wins, then we'll like read like a quote or a paragraph out of an inspirational book and then we'll go into breakout rooms and we role play.
Ephraim That's where we role play as 15 minutes starts on the dot, pretty much ends on the dot and that that's been a key. And then the other one excuse me, get over cold is that the metrics, the KPIs we've identified, we went to every single job role and said, okay, yeah, every role does 50 things, 100 things, right?
Ephraim You know how that is. But what are the three most impactful things? Maximum four, but ideally three most impactful things for that department and that they do. And then you turn those into KPIs. And so, you know, let's say it's cyber analyst, it's response rate utilization, client satisfaction, and then quality, they have quality on their incidents. Right? So that's the example there.
Ephraim You go to the h.r. Retreat into the h.r. Department. What is that? It's time to fill a position. One on one completed, completed training, completed like those. So they're responsible for the development of our people. So we put people on, on on training courses, and they have very well will invest. They can train on our dime. We'll pay for the training, but then in return, we actually hold them accountable to that training.
Ephraim So they go through training, completed and the one on one is completed. So managers meet. We have kind of a one on one form and we go through, you know, their personal professional goals or personal professional financial goals. We align those with their KPIs and their development plan and things like that. So sorry, I'm going to tangent, but I think those metrics are so important, everyone can see them.
Ephraim And then we created what's called the magnitude of impact scale. So we took we broke up the top performers that top like 10%. What are they doing? And that is remarkable, remarkable category. Then we have excellent, great, good average poor or is the baseline if you go below that, it doesn't make sense for you to work here. Just misalignment and a lot a lot of people don't you know are turned off by that.
Ephraim We had huge cultural pushback when we started doing it, but really our intention was not to create a super competitive environment. We have a very positive helping environment. Our our intention was not to make people feel bad or anything, but we need to scale and we need to model out what the top performers are doing. We need to help new people mimic that until they've mastered it and then they can help duplicate.
Ephraim And so the only way to do that is you have to measure what your top performers are doing. And then if a top performer finds a better way to do things well, then you can model that out and everybody can change. But a lot of times people come to the organization like, Oh, at our old company, we did this and that and everyone was like trying to make changes all the time.
Ephraim It's like, no, the only people that are making changes in this organization are the top performers. You have to mimic and master what we know works. Once you've mastered it and you're consistently a top performer, then you're going to find ways on how to help improve it. But until then, it's it's not that we're closed to suggestions, but really the suggestion doesn't carry a lot of weight compared to what the top performers are doing it.
Matthew 100%. I think that's brilliant and I think that's really nice because of it being one of these things where people feel like, Oh, this is you're just coming up with a way of tracking me and putting pressure on me. This is how you know that you're that you're kicking butt. And I and I think the funny part is that, you know, all too often I think people forget or they don't realize that actual happiness comes from progress.
Matthew Like you're not going to be happy. Like if you go to Jamaica and sit on the beach at first it's really cool, right? Secondary school you have fun for I don't know how long, but at some point it stops being fun, right? Because you can't you can't progress on sitting on the beach drinking margaritas and whatnot, Right? I mean, there's no you know, there's no great progression there.
Matthew There's no improvement. So as you've got those KPIs and it's not a perform or die, but it's here's how we can get, you know, how do we get better, keep getting better. And people are enjoying that. People enjoy what they're good at. And you've given them a, a, a whole structure of being good and getting better. That's how you actually how you actually create happiness.
Matthew You know, you're not going to do it sitting on your couch or on a beach.
Ephraim It's an idea. It is tough. Top performers want to know the numbers. They have to because you said, oh, someone wants to run the four minute mile, as you know. And if he's running a four minute mile, he's going to run fast. Did I do it this time? You know, I go, man, you're almost there. You are like 8 seconds away, you know, like and now he's dang, I got I'm almost there.
Ephraim Like, so, yeah, the only way you look at all the greats, Michael Jordan or LeBron or any sports, they want to know the numbers. They want to know. And then they they they're pushing against, you know, doing something better. And even a new person that maybe is like sitting at average, you know, they want to if they're driven, they want to grow their career.
Ephraim They're looking for mentorship and for guidance. And if they can, it should be shown exactly what they need to do to perform like the top performer. The right individuals are going to say, Yeah, that's great. I'm going to just copy it on to mimic it, and then I'm just going to keep doing it till I get the results.
Ephraim And that that is I mean, a lot of people have never shown someone how to make $100,000, right? So I can say confidently to someone that's maybe entry level or hasn't been around for a long time and is like maybe, maybe they're making 70. Hey, it that's 75. 80 is the most they ever make. Has anyone ever shown you successfully how to make $120,000, like step by step on how to do that?
Ephraim No, no one's ever actually shown me, like, exactly how to do that. If if I were to show you how to do that, what would your commitment beats the following those steps to get it. Now you have the right person. I can do whatever you tell me. That's right. Perfect. Okay, now, now we got something to work with.
Ephraim Let's. I'll show you how to do it. You're going to do it, and we're going to get the results together.
Matthew That's right. I mean, McDonald's, they minted so many millionaires that exact same way. They're like, look, we can start out a, you know, entry level, be very, you know, flipping burgers. And, you know, if you stick with it, here's the program, your own your own you know, your own franchise at this at this stage, you know, you just go up through and by the time you do, you'll be a millionaire after its like ten years or something like that.
Matthew Yeah. People are like, what? And they were just minting millionaires because, hey, there it is. If you're willing to do it, there's, there's the path, go do it. And so that's brilliant. Love it, man.
Ephraim So, yeah, go ahead.
Matthew Well, so, you know, there you are. You know, you've, you've, you know, up considerably. You know everybody. You know, you make those mistakes along the way. Let's go kind of, you know, now ish, right? In terms of like sales and marketing, Yeah. What have you learned in terms of that. You know, and ultimately I'm going to bring all this back to like if you were to do it over again today, you know, then know.
Matthew So that's the question that's going to follow you. Like if you were to start all over, what would your advice be? What would you do differently? But before that, you know, what have you learned in terms of the sales and marketing that you'd say, hey, look, this this is what we've really learned when it comes to sales and marketing, how it plays together, where we've wasted a ton of money, where we've, you know, learned the hard lessons.
Matthew What would you say in terms of, you know, sales and marketing?
Ephraim So it's a really good question. We've been marketing, we've put immense amount of money into marketing in the last few years and we're far from having fully cracked that nut. We're starting to get like a fairly consistent amount of leads, but it it is far from where it should be and where the spend is at. And so I wish I could give better advice on, on the marketing, what we've been trying you name it, we're we're trying SEO AdWords, you know, campaigns.
Ephraim I think one of the more successful things we've been doing lately is the breach report. In the Breach report. I don't like the webinar where I'm trying to pitch you our services and stuff that once again, I'm not I'm just bringing in all the, you know, similar, similar to your podcast, which I'm loving. This conversation is very free form flowing and the podcast I have is, is, is very related to just cybersecurity, like what breaches what's going on in the industry.
Ephraim So, you know, it's a small niche that's going to listen to that. It's really going to be like an IT directors, a cybersecurity expert or, you know, an ID person in that that is interested and wants to hear what other cybersecurity experts are doing and what's happening in the industry. So that's kind of the topic of conversation. And and we'll go in there and we'll just we'll just talk about like their experiences, their recommendations, projects.
Ephraim They've been working on, breaches, they've seen things like that. Yeah. So that, that actually almost by just setting us up as like a subject matter expert in the stand in a sense and giving people good information. Yeah, they start to trust us and that's been good. So, so that's it. On the sales side, we've had more results with that.
Ephraim And so once again, role play, knowing the numbers, like how many people do you have to contact to get an appointment and then you might be the business owner, you might be the best one at sales. Like, like for me that was there was no one better than me. And that's not cocky. I just haven't found anyone better than me yet.
Ephraim And so at that point, because I was the best, the process needed to be modeled after me and the role players need to follow the way I spoke. Now, once someone could outperform me then, and I hope someone does, I never want it to be the best I want in my organization, always to be people better than me.
Ephraim But that took time and I had to first model out really what I was doing and then hold people accountable. And I had to set them up for success. But hitting the phones and getting out in front of people is critical. Like the money. Lot of people that they're in. You know, with sales, you want to like, well, let me organize HubSpot first or get this all money in HubSpot, the money is on the phone.
Ephraim Well, set up the phone and call like and you're going to get good people will. I want to get really good first before I start calling. No, you get it. It's like quality or quantity. Quality comes from quantity. You call a thousand times 10,000 times you're going to start being good. Yeah. If you're trying to get good and then start making calls.
Ephraim No, it's not going to work. You're never going to get there. You have you you got to you just got to pick up that phone. You got to get in front of people. You have to talk. If you don't know what to talk about, just be the friend and learn about what the what's going on. Learn what the your you know, what their challenges are, all that kind of thing.
Matthew Yeah, for sure. Great advice. So now if you had to to start it all over again. Now back to that that question, knowing what you know now, gone through everything, what would you do? How would you you start it if you were starting over? So let's say day one, here you are, you're starting fresh and clean. What are you going to do?
Ephraim Well, every day.
Matthew And honestly, this comes from it's funny because it really comes from I throw this back to Grant Cardone. Did you see what was that show that he did? It was billionaire undercover billionaire. It really comes from that. It was so good. I mean, it was so good. It was the first time seen him. And then I got into some of his stuff and it's really good.
Matthew But it makes you wonder, you know, it takes you back to that. That's, you know, those beginning days. So I like that thought experiment of, okay, what would I do if I started all over today? And it's always different, right? Because you're constantly learning. But if you did and you had to, what would you do?
Ephraim Yes. So the first thing I would do, I would have done it way sooner. Obviously, I was risk averse. I would have started in and I just recommend like just go, just go, just go after it. Don't wait. Just make it happen. Don't be afraid. The sooner the better. So I would have obviously done it sooner. I think everybody would have.
Ephraim But the other thing that I would do is I would start start mapping out all your processes early and documenting them in like a SFP format. What is the vision of of this process? What's the ideal outcome? What is the commitment of each individual that's involved? And then what are the execution steps? And then you can teach new people that because you have to duplicate, you do.
Ephraim And the other thing we were doing is not just writing it out. I actually creating short videos. Each video is about 1 to 3 minutes on average, so maybe five. I never if if a topic needs more than 5 minutes, you need to create a series ten videos or 12 videos, right. And like, hey, what is the technology business plan?
Ephraim Why is the technology business plan important? You know, what is the what is the technology business plan look like? What are all the chapters in the technology business plan? How do you open the conversation with the technology business? Like all create that whole video series and new employee comes in. They're going to watch that video series because then you're inevitably going to bring one employee and you're going to put all your heart and soul and training them with the next one.
Ephraim So they maybe they leave and the next one like it goes, enthusiasm goes down. And then after a while, you thought you train this guy, but you didn't. And so, you know, having that video series and now we're up to like over a thousand videos across all our departments and stuff. So employee comes in their first week. I'm not, you know or I should say I the manager's not worried about like what they're spending their time on because they have their whole curriculum spelled out for them.
Ephraim And then instead of checking in on the employee and saying, how did you where are you at with it? The employee has to check in with the manager and report their progress. If you have an employee that can't hold himself accountable and you have to micromanage him, he probably shouldn't. He or she shouldn't be on the team. And so so the accountability is on the employee being a professional and driving that.
Ephraim And then you just, you know, just live within your means. Don't overspend, get your employees. That was the one thing I did right. What I did wrong was I got distracted by some shiny objects and like, now my my focus is so much more singular.
Matthew That's awesome. Well, I could dive in over and over on on tools and pricing and models. I'm going to let you go because I know you know that that's almost a whole nother episode, which if you're up for it, I would love to have you back on.
Ephraim Possibly. Yeah. Another and again, I'd love to do another episode.
Matthew This was frickin fantastic. And one of the final questions we like to ask people is if if there's a mentor you'd like to give a shout out to lessons learned from them or, or whatever, or just a thanks. Here's the here's here's your chance. Is there a mentor you'd like to mention?
Ephraim Yeah, I'll mention. I mentioned Grant a lot. He's a great mentor, but an amazing mentor is Brandon Dawson. Fantastic guy. And his wife to Natalie Dawson. She has a wonderful book called Teamwork. You can get it for like nine bucks on Amazon. It's a great it's great. I love I love those two.
Matthew Fantastic. And where can people find out more about you and what you do?
Ephraim Yeah, absolutely fits Solutions Dot biz is our website and that'll kind of lead you to whatever your business problem is. If it's if it's I.T., we love to help you solve that problem. If it's cybersecurity, if you're an internal I.T team or you don't have one, we have some amazing, amazing solutions and one of the things we do is instead of a tiered system, we kind of create pods of professionals on the cybersecurity side.
Ephraim And so they really act as an extension of your team. And we had amazing results with that. So check it out. Fit solution stop is.
Matthew Love it from Thanks again for coming on the show. It's a pleasure having you.
Ephraim Thank you, Matthew.

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