When your company is just starting out, should you focus and spend money on content? How do you take the step to trust a company to outsource to when content is so important?
On this episode of the podcast, we’re joined by Dhiren Bhatia, founder of Cloudscape. As the company heads into its third year in business, Dhiren shares about how he’s focused on content as a way to help grow his company.
From Retail to a Productized Service-Based Business
Dhiren’s family has a long history in retail and from this, he founded Cloudscape, a company that enables retail shops and restaurants to leverage technology in order to streamline business and work more efficiently and effectively.
As many founders do, Dhiren wears many hats, but he has grown Cloudscape to five employees so he’s now able to focus on his role as managing director and develop the overarching strategy of the company. Part of that strategy included creating content, but he found that he was the bottleneck to getting content published consistently.
About a year ago, after regularly listening to Audience Ops founder, Brian Casel’s Productize Podcast, Dhiren really understood the benefit of productizing a service-based business. Through listening to the podcast and reading the content that Brian produced, Dhiren had trust in hiring Audience Ops for his content needs.
Even though Cloudscape is small, Dhiren knows that his marketing efforts require having consistent, high-quality content, and he knew that letting go of writing the content himself was an important step for his company. On the episode, Dhiren shares how we’ve worked productively together on content development, his thoughts on how founders can take that step to outsourcing content, and why that’s so important even when your company is new and/or small.
Transcription of This Episode
When your company is just starting out, should you focus on and spend money on content? How do you take the step to trust a company to outsource to when content is so important? That’s what we’re talking about with Dhiren Bhatia, founder of Cloudscape.
I’m Sara Robinson, a manager here at Audience Ops. On this episode of the podcast, Dhiren shares about how he’s focused on content as a way to help grow his company as he prepares to enter his third year of business. Dhiren’s family has a long history in retail, and from this, he founded Cloudscape, a company that enables retail shops and restaurants to leverage technology in order to streamline business and work more efficiently and effectively.
Though he wears many hats, Dhiren now is able to focus on his role as managing director, and on the overarching strategy of the company. But about a year ago, after listening to Audience Ops founder Brian Casel’s productize podcast really understood the benefit of productizing a service based business. Because of his trust in Brian, based on the knowledge and ideas that he was sharing, Dhiren decided to work with Audience Ops for content. Even though his company was small, he decided to work with us and he knew that people will come back for consistent high quality content. Dhiren shares how we’ve worked productively together and shares his thoughts on how founders can take that step to outsourcing content and why that’s so important even when your company is new and/or small. Check it out.
Dhiren, thank you so much for joining us today. We are excited to have you on the podcast. Welcome.
Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Let’s jump right in. What is the latest milestone or recent milestone that your company has hit?
Yeah, great question. I’m super excited. We’ve crossed a million in revenue, a million dirhams in revenue, and it’s a super exciting milestone for us. As a small team, we’ve come a long way in the last two and a half years, and I’m super proud to have my team and I support a vision that I started out as just myself a short two years ago.
Yeah, that’s really exciting. It has been a short period of time and what big growth since that time, both in people and in revenue. So congratulations.
So as you are about to hit this third year, what has surprised you about this journey as a founder or something that you’ve learned along the way?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the benefit of productizing a business, especially a service business. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve heard a lot about Brian Casel, and I’ve been a big believer in his ideology of productizing and what the benefits are. For me, that was a really good learning piece. I feel that we’ve been able to do a lot of other things in our business just because we have such a standardized offering and clients can come in and choose what package they like as opposed to us giving out a custom quotation every time. The idea of packaging, pricing and having customers choose their own ad makes it easy for us to do business. I think that’s a big surprise that I’ve come across. It’s also something that’s enabled us to grow at the rate that we have.
Absolutely. That’s great that you found Brian, the founder of Audience Ops and his podcast and his ideas around productizing services. So typically for a business, marketing is a big part of how they grow and people learn about them. What sort of marketing are you currently doing that’s working for you?
I think it’s safe to say that content marketing has been and will continue to be a great enabler for almost all businesses in all sizes. That’s no different for Cloudscape. Cloudscape, we’ve adapted ad content marketing as a big part of our marketing strategy over the last year. Given the size that we’re in, we’re so small that makes sense to put out great content and let content attract people to us. I think that’s something that we’ve been working on successfully the last couple of years. We started with Audience Ops just a little while ago and we’re now almost approaching a year in having Audience Ops deliver content for us, and we’re super excited with results. Audience Ops and that content is generated for us.
Apart from that, what we’re going to start doing also is using paid advertising to drive people back to our website using the content we just talked about. One of the other things that I missed saying earlier which is the milestone. We also launched a brand new website and a brand new brand, and we rebranded, and we now want to drive that marketing machine to use all of these different content assets that we’ve created, a new brand, and drive all that traffic into that fancy looking website.
Yeah, that’s great. I mean it’s true, right? If you want to have ads, they need to go back to something. There needs to be content for them. If you have a great looking website, you want people to stay on that site and learn more about you. So content helps you do that. Well, we’re excited that we can provide that content for you and help you do that. I’m curious, what are your thoughts about the idea that founders shouldn’t blog or shouldn’t take the time to actually create the content?
Yeah. I came across this idea when I first landed on Audience Ops’s website. Maybe just a year ago, maybe a little more than a year ago. That’s when I started entertaining the idea of having someone else do the content. That idea really resonated with me. Founders have got multiple things to do and multiple hats to wear. While the idea of the content should come from the founder, I feel that founders have a lot more things to worry about. So having someone like Audience Ops definitely allows the founder to share ideas, share thoughts, and I have someone else execute and so that they don’t end up being the bottleneck.
So in my case, I used to just try and write a lot of content and I realized that I was being a bottleneck for my own business because I was trying to do so many other things. But having this offloaded to someone like Audience Ops at the quality they deliver, it’s been a really big advantage for us to not have to worry about blogging. I think that’s why I agree with that idea. I think founders should put some thought around some strategy around it, but definitely have someone else take that piece over, whether it be in house or outside of company.
Definitely. So how was it for you to actually let go of that piece? Because I think it’s one thing to sort of know, well I’m the bottleneck and I’m the hold up here, so I want to outsource that. But to actually let go of that critical piece of your business, how was that for you?
I’d say initially it was really difficult to wrap my head around that idea. I was of the impression that we should do everything in house, but I have to say that over the last year and so, it’s been a great opportunity to have to have Audience Ops to do it. With anything else in life as in business, handing over takes time. There is, I think, a great talk put behind it. There’s some clear ideas that are put on paper and then shared with the person that is taking it over. I feel it makes the journey really easy.
Yeah, those are some great insights and tips to how to outsource productively to a company like ours. Anything else that’s helped this be a productive working relationship in the last year or so?
One of the cool things that I like that Audience Ops does for me is they come up with the content ideas and they present that as a roadmap and say, “Hey look, this is the strategy that you’re after.” I guess what I’m trying to get at is writing the content is just one big bit of it, but having someone also then put the road map for you to say, “Look, this is what the next few months look like. What are your thoughts? Let’s have a conversation.” Input is always welcome. That collaborative effort has been very, very helpful of course.
Yeah, absolutely. We find that the collaboration is truly helpful too because the more we can learn about company like yours and the customers and the goals, all of that insight really does help us create the content that is going to be useful for you. What benefits have you seen from working with Audience Ops so far?
We’ve closed two big deals thanks to the content that Audience Ops provided. Right off the bat. I mean there’s big monetizing value for us. Also the ability of people recognizing us even before we email them or we call them, they come and say, “Hey, look, we loved your content. We’d love to have a conversation.” So having people come to us because of that has been a great advantage. They also appreciate the brand and they trust the brand more because they see high quality content coming from us, and they have lesser mistrust, I would say, in doing business because they know, they like, and trust us. People always do business with who they know, like, and trust. So that’s again been a very big advantage of Audience Ops doing our content apart from the technical benefits.
Yeah. That’s great. If we kind of go backwards in time, I know we said you were the bottleneck and so you knew you wanted some help there and you wanted to create the content, but what prompted you to first start thinking, “Okay, maybe this is something I should outsource.”? Was there a moment where you realized I should stop doing this and let someone else take this over?
Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s always these watershed moments that we can go back to. I had a similar opportunity. I was working with a marketing strategist who we brought on board to help us put some thoughts in place, what that inbound strategy would look like. We knew that content was a key part of that strategy. What we were missing was the execution, and we put a lot of thought about, we had a content calendar made together and we said, “Look, these are the things that we’re going to talk about.” But every day something or the other happened and I would not be able to deliver those pieces of content to that consultant. From then on, began this idea of looking for someone else to have done this. We looked around Upwork and had some conversations with some freelance consultants, but then I came across Audience Ops, and I thought that was a really good offering, scalable, clean type offering, which I thought was very good. Despite it being slightly outside of the budget, I feel that I’ve made the right choice with Audience Ops, bringing Audience Ops on into doing this piece for us.
Good. Well, yeah, and I know as a founder it can feel like a stretch sometimes where you’re putting your money in, should we do this? I think you’re going through the thought process of what a lot of founders do of, I know I need content, but how do I do it? You look at different sites or like you said, hire a freelancer, do we bring someone in? Do we outsource? So how did you really decide to go with Audience Ops? You’ve kind of alluded to why you love us so much and we’re glad about that, but what really helped you make the decision and feel good about it, especially stretching your budget at that point in time?
I think as founders, we always look out for quality versus quantity. One of the things I did early on, very early on in my career at Cloudspace, again, I actually listened to a lot of Brian’s podcasts. Having him repeat sort of the benefit and having him establish himself as a thought leader in my mind made that decision easier. I knew that when I was comparing other services to Audience Ops, I knew that I had this trust and respect for Brian and I think I understood that I was going to get high quality content from day one, which has been the case. But also the other big piece here is I don’t see anybody else doing it as consistently and as focused as Audience Ops does it. So that for me was two big reasons to go with someone like you guys to help us with content.
That’s great. So it helps to show what we’re doing in terms of building our brand and trust is working, and that’s what ultimately we wanted to help you do as well. To build that brand, build the trust right through the content that you’re sharing with your people and your potential customers.
Why do you think it’s a good idea to continue to focus on content creation?
I think as I mentioned earlier, content marketing is and is going to be and would remain to be a very pivotal marketing strategy for most businesses and especially the smaller you are. Content is going to help drive that business. That’s one big reason for us to continue. We want to generate or rather have our marketing machine churn out quality content which will then attract quality people to our own brand and then nurture them through the funnel and have them know, like, and trust us. For that very reason, it is very important for us to continue with this journey.
This is just the beginning of that. I feel there’s a long way to cover. There’s so much more you can do with content. Podcasting, repurposing episodes of content as podcasts, so videos. All of that again, makes it a really, really powerful methodology compared to other marketing strategies. I feel content is and going to be very, very pivotal for growth.
Yeah, I love what you said there about it almost is more important the smaller you are, and I think that that’s sometimes hard for a company to wrap their head around. I’m a one person team, a two person team. There’s other areas we should focus on, but you’re really advocating for focus on the content when you are small. Can you share anything more about that of how to keep that mentality or to encourage other founders maybe to go for it even when they’re small or starting out?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think the point to impress upon for the founders is if you’re going to be wanting to build a brand and you want to be able to build this brand that people can trust, they’re going to want to see what you are and what you can do. Content is a great way to showcase that. No matter if you’re a one person or two person team, if people can see the quality of your work through the content you produce, they will start to build more trust towards you.
The other thing that I’ve always believed in is if you prove yourself to be the thought leader in the market, people would trust that more often than just looking at price as a competitor. So being a thought leader is very, very important and the smaller you are, being a thought leader allows you to separate yourself from the noise and allows you to have a identity on the internet. As you know, most searches start off the internet. If that content can bring you to our website or bring it to their website or to a company’s website, you’re more likely to go with them because then you’re not seeing them as a top leader and a subject matter expert.
Absolutely. As we were talking about before, we sort of officially started the podcast, you we think are the first doing this sort of service for retail and restaurants. I think in that case it’s even more important that you show yourself to be a thought leader because someone might Google and want to improve the way they’re running their business. They might land on your site. You’re the only one they find, but if there’s nothing to back it up, they won’t buy. Even for new companies who are starting out, who there aren’t a lot of competition within that space, it’s even maybe more important than as you said, that you prove yourself to be a thought leader and trustworthy.
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree any more. I think that’s exactly the point here is establish yourself as an expert or thought leader right out of the gate and build that authority and then get people to trust you because of that great content. As small as that content piece might be, it still allows you to be found on the internet and have people stick around on your website.
Definitely. For our founders who are maybe entering that next phase of growth or talking about founders starting out, any tips or words of encouragement for them?
I know. That’s broad. Lots.
Trust and believe in the idea and the vision and find people that can believe in that vision that can come and sell for you. What has been pivotal for us is to bring a group of people together who believe in that bigger vision that we’ve got, which is enabling retailers and restaurateurs to do more in business. I’m so happy to report that my team believes in that vision and they can then go out and deliver that in their own little ways. I think that’d be one big key thing.
I’d say second is stop to think about content and how your content can affect your niche and figured out what that niche is and then start getting content produced for that niche. It’s super important to know your niche. I think a lot of business owners miss that, that they’d rather spread the net wide rather than narrow and deep. That’s been a very big change for us as well. So I’d say those two are the biggest key learnings that I could share with fellow founders.
Great. Well I love that. Well, if people want to learn more about you, especially if they are in either the retail or the restaurant space or they’d just like to see more of what you’re up to, where can our listeners find you?
Yeah. We’d be happy to have them. Our website is www.cloudscape.ae. They can also find this at Facebook.com/cloudscapetechnologies or on LinkedIn. Same thing. linkedin.com/cloudspacetechnologies. We’d be happy to share some great content with them in the area.
Fantastic. Well for anyone who’s actually on our site, we will link all of this, but you can find Dhiren and Cloudscape and learn more about them and the great content that we are working on together to produce. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. This was a really enjoyable conversation.
Thank you, Sara, for having me. It’s been great.
Thank you again to Dhiren Bhatia from Cloudscape.ae for sharing more about his company through all the content has played for him and his thoughts for other founders. If you’d like to learn more about Done For You content, you can request a free consultation at audienceops.com.