In this interview, I was joined by Bryan Kramer. Bryan is the co-founder of H2H Companies and a renowned business performance coach. He’s also a global keynote speaker, executive trainer, two-time bestselling author.
And he’s a TED speaker, Forbes contributor and former President/CEO of a Silicon Valley global marketing agency.
What You’ll Hear
- [1:22] About Bryan and his background
- [6:30] How Bryan stays motivated
- [10:37] The human-to-human movement
- [14:25] Why some businesses are more successful than others
- [17:28] How to take action on our dreams
- [20:34] How Bryan overcomes challenges
- [24:38] Bryan’s advice for people starting out in business
- [26:25] The most interesting place Bryan has visited
- [27:50] Final thoughts
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About Bryan and his Background
Bryan’s career has always been marketing. He went to college to study communications with a focus on public relations, along with a minor in Japanese! He signed up because it sounded interesting, and he really enjoyed it.
He started working in agencies straight after college, which coincided with the time the internet was taking off, and website developers and programmers were learning to work together.
Bryan gives an example of when he was at college, he failed a paper because he’d given a link to a reference which was no longer available when the professor clicked on it. He was told that if he could supply the correct reference, his grade would be improved.
He couldn’t find the link, and he found that the internet was slow and clunky – finding other resources was also a challenge. So, he borrowed books on HTML from the college library and taught himself. He built a web page on Dizzy Gillespie, uploaded it and submitted it to the professor. His grade was increased.
Bryan realised that this was a skill he could use elsewhere, and found work in agencies helping with digital transformation and marketing. That led to helping more people building more websites and businesses.
In 2002, he and his wife founded Pure Matter, which ran for 18 years. They worked with local companies and built up to working with companies like Netflix. They had 30 employees and the success led to book writing and public speaking opportunities.
How Bryan Stays Motivated
Bryan said he always knew he’d start a business at some point; it was a when rather than an if. In every job he had, he learned as much as he could to develop the knowledge he needed to start a business.
He started a company within a company during the dot com boom, which grew from 3 people to 75 staff at the point it was sold. It allowed him to experiment and learn about building a business with someone else’s money.
He had a boss, but was able to steer the growth of the smaller business himself. That gave him the skills he needed to build his own business, with the belief that it was possible.
When Bryan launched Pure Matter, his wife, Courtney, was already running a successful freelance design business. He said it made sense for the two of them to combine their skills. They moved to a new city, were newly-married and had a child 18 months later.
Bryan says that there was a lot of enthusiasm and positive energy at the time, which helped them keep going. Just after they launched the business, they had a discussion about their big plans.
They realised that they were comfortable talking about business in bed, and that their work and personal lives were intertwined. They even pause TV shows in order to talk about business ideas.
The Human-to-Human Movement
The human-to-human movement started around five or six years ago. Bryan explains he coined the phrase for a presentation, when he said, “There is no B2B or B2C, only H2H – human to human.”
People have access to others in business for the first time when social media started. Previously, the company could put out advertising, but the customer could only contact customer service to speak to someone internally. Social media gives the customers a voice and puts the power back in the hands of the customer.
During the pandemic, we’ve had human to Zoom to human – we hardly see each other. And we’re automating more than ever, with BOTs, AI and augmented reality. Now, the definition of human to human has changed to mean how do we define a human moment now, compared to 10 years ago?
Bryan says that human moments are the ones that win. There are so many automated interactions these days, so the human ones stand out. Things like a handwritten thank you note, which are so rare these days.
Why Some Businesses are More Successful Than Others
Bryan said, “My dad says we create our own luck, but I would add, ‘we co-create our luck with others’. When we share our ideas and our vision with others and work with them, then we create success.”
We have to believe in ourselves and not hold back, and we should share our visions instead of keeping them to ourselves. When you ask people what’s stopping them, it’s rarely about money. It’s about fear of failure, because the more you can fail the more successful you’ll ultimately be.
He added that you don’t have to make huge differences; you can make small shifts. They’ll be lighter on you and will move you towards smaller successes. “Don’t try to boil the ocean; try to boil a puddle instead.”
How to Take Action on our Dreams
Bryan says it’s important to put the work in to define exactly what it is you want to achieve. It’s sometimes difficult to find time, especially when you’re busy with work.
Carve out some time when you can think through the goal, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find an answer. A change of scene can help too, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time at home over the last 18 months.
How Bryan Overcomes Challenges
Each challenge is different, and requires a different approach. Bryan gave the example of leaving his agency to protect his health. He found that speaking and a lot of the agency work was taking its toll on him.
He spent half of the year on the road, and ate and drank unhealthy things. And he was on his own a lot, and having to run the agency while travelling for speaking events.
Bryan added that he put a lot of weight on, got diabetes and was missing a lot of time with his children. He came home from a trip and his 11-year-old son took him to one side and told him he was worried he wouldn’t be around to spend time with his grandchildren.
He and his wife agreed to phase out of both the agency and the speaking over six months, and then took a year off. He now does coach marketing and business growth, and he’s lost the weight and is enjoying his life. To overcome his challenge, he had to ask for help, which is what everyone should do.
Bryan’s Advice for People Starting out in Business
His biggest piece of advice is, “Do NOT use your credit cards!” Borrow from the bank or from someone in business. Don’t stack up debt on cards – build up with one client at a time.
If your business needs a lot of equipment or capital to run it, get a loan. Don’t support it with your credit card. It financially devastates you and makes it harder to grow.
Bryan says he knows that from personal experience. Map out exactly how you’ll grow, and find the clients who are a good fit for your business. Don’t just work with someone because you need the money.
The Most Interesting Place Bryan has Visited
Bryan says the most inspiring place he’s ever visited is Jerusalem. He went to the Masada and the Dead Sea when he was 15, and he’d love to take his children there.
If you want to grow and take action in business, Bryan is currently launching a group for coaches and consultants.
Visit www.h2hgrowth.com to sign up to the waitlist. It’s a two-month, hybrid live course and includes coaching.
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