Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Tim Krotiris (@timkrotiris). He is an entrepreneur with a proven track record of building companies. He has built successful companies for over 20 years in industries such as health, manufacturing, marketing, and digital advertising.
In 2015, he founded Philotimo Global, a growth consultancy designed to systematically execute rapid growth and profitability strategies for businesses in a number of sectors. In the past three years, the business has consulted in both specific projects and ongoing performance retainers with over 100 different companies in 35 industries.
Currently, the business is responsible for an increase of $75 million in client revenues with an average client growth achievement of between 20% – 50% per year. The business was set up to create a business performance infrastructure that produces consistent results.
Philotimo Global owns proprietary tools which can be used for businesses funded by Alexo Group. Tim also heads up Backable, on an online network built to support SME owners and Entrepreneurs giving them access to Philotimo propriety tools and strategies to assist in business growth and network building and opportunity creation. Backable revolves around an invite-only business group, weekly zoom strategy meetings and the Backable Podcast, a top ten podcast in the entrepreneurial category on Apple podcasts.
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Miko Santos (01:43):
Thank you so much for your time. And I know you’ve been busy in Melbourne. We’ve been busy start opening up, the economy in Australia. So first thing I want to ask you, can you tell us about yourself? So that the audience knows you.
Tim Krotiris (02:10):
Sure., I guess I maybe where it starts to get interesting. I started my first company during my uni degree that was when I was just almost 19 years old. So I was I was at uni and I decided, you know what, this uni thing’s great, but it’s not really going to be for me. I want to build companies. So I started a company while I was doing my degree. That was a huge era because running a business as most of your listeners probably know is not a part-time thing. So I, I spent my next decade building selling companies and helping others and sort of got to my 30’s with a little bit of experience and started sort of at that time, met my now wife and we, we built a digital agency until she got to a point where she sacked me and after she sacked me, she go and do what you love, help people build their companies.
Tim Krotiris (03:01):
You do it well you’ve got a track record. So we, we started a specialist SME performance consultancy and that’s where it sort of got to here today, which was how do we help SMEs with all the things that I think were missing from traditional business coaches and consultants? I’ve got a little bee in my bonnet about what two SMEs really need. And if we had to build the perfect performance consultancy and support around them, what would it look like? And that’s sort of the company we we’ve been building since November, 2015, which is which it feels like just yesterday, but it’s nearly six years and not on top of that. We then established backable, which became the podcast, but we’ve got about a thousand SMEs in a private group, which we help because I feel as part of the obligation of being someone who’s had a little bit of success in business, you’ve got to help others and you have to do it in a good way. Not just we sort of advice that, that doesn’t particularly help people of a certain size. So we we’ve been doing that as a bit of a, a philanthropic arm of our company, which has been a hell of a lot of fun.
Miko Santos (04:09):
So we know that there’s a pandemic right now. So what bigger thing is the new responsibility of a small medium enterprise during this time of a pandemic COVID 19
Tim Krotiris (04:25):
Maaco. It’s a really, it’s a really good question. And I, I think I’ve taken a position that it is our responsibility to rebuild the economy and hours and hours alone. And I don’t know if a lot of people understand, but SMEs are a huge fragmented group around the world and particularly in Australia, but especially in developed countries, it’s got a very similar sort of trend. And we account from between 65 and 70% of employment. And that’s an, a ridiculous amount. I think at the last time I said it was about 55% of global GDP. And so with things like this pandemic where the advantage for a lot of our smaller businesses and people who are running sort of sub, I call it small business sort of sub 50 million, but, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of people there’ll be sitting on both ends of, of that number.
Tim Krotiris (05:10):
Our job is to produce economic impact and we’ve got the agility, we’ve got the ability to be entrepreneurial. And I really think that the advantage that a lot of SMEs have in this environment is the fact that they can change so quickly. And I realize people are probably sick of pivoting, changing, doing all that cause it’s exhausting as a small business, but it’s no better time to seek out opportunity. And for me, particularly in my clients, in the consultancy, there’s been some really great opportunities that have come up, but it’s taken some real bravery to be open to them. And I think that’s sort of part of the next couple of years, if, if you own a business and you’re in that sort of sub 50 million turnover, you want to get generally excited about the opportunity rather than dictated by the fear And I’m sure you’re very much the same with all the people you speak to. There’s the people who are going to navigate. This are the ones that are going to be bold, but bold in a very specific strategic and well executed way. Because if you can do that, this could be really the opportunity of a lifetime. And for me personally, how do we get as many people making as many jobs as much economic impact as we possibly can because where the safety net of this economy. So we need to grow, we need to prosper. And I want everyone to get as wealthy as they can, because that means they’re creating more jobs and doing all those good things.
Miko Santos (06:31):
A lot of people know in thinking on getting into entrepreneurship, wanted to create their own job, their own online business because of the pandemic. So what is your advice to them? So they think of starting up into this entrepreneurial journey.
Tim Krotiris (07:12):
Yeah, I it’s, again, a good question. And for me, for anyone starting up and you know, when I have family members that come and see me before they want to start a new enterprise or do something, my first thing is don’t dabble. Don’t, don’t get into business by just having a go and see how it goes. Go in there with a real strategic focus to win going there and say, I want to run a business and I’m going to be a business owner. I don’t mind if it’s a hobby business or something part-time to start with that’s okay. But take the game seriously. And seriously, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s very competitive. And you know, you see a lot of entrepreneurs always saying, Oh, it’s so hard. They don’t understand that every business in the world’s hot, everything in life is hard.
Tim Krotiris (07:56):
If you, if you let it, but we’re in a competitive game and you need to respect that. I think you really need to go in it with I’m going to give it my all. And I’m going to become a professional in what sometimes SMEs are unprofessional industries because they’re small, they’re micro cap. If you can be someone who’s strategic, who is focused, who can execute well, you’re going to do really well. And I think that’s exciting for me. That’s that still gets me up in the morning, going, this is great because there’s opportunities for everyone.
Miko Santos (08:29):
So you need to have like a passion.
Tim Krotiris (08:34):
Yeah. I really think not only your product or service, but you have to love becoming a business person. And you’ve got to love everything that goes with it. The learning, the changes, the mistakes, losing some money, sometimes making money. Sometimes just for me, the people who do really well and particularly clients that have extraordinary results, they genuinely love the learning. They love to keep trying to understand that part of the road is going to be, you’re going to have to take some steps back at times because we’re all learning. But if you don’t love that business is going to be really hard. It’s going to feel stressful. It’s going to feel like you’re not getting anywhere, but if you actually analyze the game, get good people around. You only listen to advice from people who have got proven track records. I think that’s a big one. You’ll start to really enjoy what it is. And that is adding value to everyone. Adding value to people, solving problems, which is exciting that’s that’s business.
Miko Santos (09:34):
So what are the best resources that help you along the way?
Tim Krotiris (09:41):
I think it depends the size you are as a business. So if you, if it’s your first business, I’d be really selective of who I’m listening to and applying, I would listen to everything, but I’d really gut check everything. These are the sort of things I want to start. It makes sense that person’s done what I want to do before, whatever it is. I think as you start to get bigger, you’re actually going to probably find that you may not be the right person to run your business at times. So part of the transition, when you start getting some good revenue, is, is there someone better who can do the job that I’m doing? Because we actually need you to be back in your superpower, which is the entrepreneur, or if you’re an excellent manager, how do we bring in an entrepreneurial person into your business, but actually taking a step back from wherever you are in your business any whether it’s brand new or you’ve been here for 20 years and ask, what am I really good at?
Tim Krotiris (10:31):
And what do I love doing and do more of that and see if we can bring in people who can round the gaps in your company. Because I’ve found where at times where my companies have had really dramatic growth, it’s when we’ve got obviously the right people in the right positions, or sometimes just fresh blood in those positions. People that can bring something new, someone who can bring new ideas. And I’ve particularly found for me, once when I learned this lesson was when I used to work 24/7 all the weekends, and I went away and we went to Greece, sailing for, um, uh, taking my parents. And there was a big thing. It was their 60th birthday. So we all went and I just assumed the boat that we hired was going to have wifi. We got onto the boat, zero wifi, and I’m like, Oh my God, I I’ve lived.
Tim Krotiris (11:16):
I was going to manage from abroad for two weeks. I couldn’t contact my business. We’re in the middle of the Aegean. And what I found when I came back to my business, we grew by 13%. I’m like, wait a minute. Something’s not right here. And what I worked at is, even though I know what I want to do in the business, I was getting in the way of others to be able to contribute. And you always want to look as the entrepreneurs who can contribute and where am I in their way to give them that opportunity. Because if you can bring talent through your business, allow others to contribute, you’re going to find the journey a lot easier and you’re going to be able to scale a lot quicker.
Miko Santos (11:51):
So do you, what is opinion about hiring people smarter than you so that your business can grow?
Tim Krotiris (12:01):
Yeah. Listen, I think, I think that’s a very it’s a common rhetoric around is find people that are smarter than you and hire them. I, I couldn’t agree more. And I think at times, cause a lot of people at different stages might not be able to afford the person they really want, because that might be more than their whole revenue of their business. I remember when I was smaller, I was like, this is who I want, but it’ll take us two years to pay for them. Or my accountant used to charge me one for a full year. What he now charges an hour. So things scale up as you get bigger. But the thing that you want to always find is who can do a particular job better than me at a time. So when you’re smaller, it might just be outsourcing tasks or jobs as you get bigger, it might be bringing specialist talent in.
Tim Krotiris (12:45):
And the great thing about bringing in specialist talent or people that are better than you in a certain area or job is inevitably when people come and go in a business, you can hire for the specific job where entrepreneurs find it hard to scale is they’re doing too many hybrid roles. So we lose a key person and they have to replace five heart, heart, you know, half roles. So that’s the key. I think when you’re going through this journey is understand where you’re at and what’s the thing that will give you the most relief in that moment in time and put that in place and keep putting that in place until you work out. I don’t actually have a role now I can do whatever I want and that might be still in the business, but it allows the business to be the business and you to be the business owner, as opposed to business owners that get trapped in operations. And they’re there for 10, 15 years. And wonder why it’s so hard because it’s the same year over and over again.
Miko Santos (13:37):
So who are the three person you, who has been the most influential to you on this entrepreneurship journey?
Tim Krotiris (13:48):
Bye. in terms of the, I, I love to read about other entrepreneurs and watch what they do in the moves they make. So I think all of the main guys and girls that you would see that have had global success for me,
Tim Krotiris (14:13):
Very inspiring because I think it takes a certain time of type of person to really achieve that. I think you have to be pretty special in the way you approach life and are willing to back yourself at that level. So all the guys that are guys and girls that are just running huge companies at the moment that are changing the world. For me, they’re all inspirational people. The where I get real inspiration and I find myself more motivated. I actually love micro cap and small business. I love the family business that want to do a great job in their community. Want to be the best of whatever they are in their local area because I think it comes from a place of contribution of, as I said, building the fabric of what community’s about helping others. And when I look around communities and I look at how they’re supported, it’s all the small businesses donating to this, supporting that, making sure things are happening. So for me, the inspiration comes in SMEs that are real SMEs. They’re there to be part of the community and be part of the contribution. So for me, where I just love it whilst everyone loves to make a lot of money and, you know, do all those fun things, saying that the mum and dad businesses, seeing the family generational businesses to me, is there, can there be anything more inspiring than that to me, I love that.
Miko Santos (15:33):
So because of the pandemic, a lot of business or close some small business or medium, I have thoughts. So what is your advice to other people? Because some business is it’s not able to adapt what’s happening. So
Tim Krotiris (15:54):
What do you do? Well, , I want to answer that because I think there are some people who’ve done already pretty well in the pandemic. There are some industries that, you know we own a digital company as part of our portfolio of companies and we just, the phone starts ringing. Everyone had to switch and, you know, it’s, that’s nothing more than dumb luck where other businesses, like some of my hospitality clients that they’re literally not allowed to open and then there’s nothing they can do. And they’ve made the adaptions to online delivery and all those sorts of things. But it takes some time to get that, you know, to build that business up as well as every other competitor that you’ve got doing the same thing. So it’s not easier said than done. But I think if you’re someone there who’s really having a hard time during the pandemic or how the pandemic might be over the next few years, I think, first of all, you need to calibrate emotionally, how are you going to deal with it?
Tim Krotiris (16:49):
Because if you can’t find a way to rectify the mindset of how you are as the leader, your business, doesn’t hold much chance of survival because there’s gotta be a strength there and it’s not easy, but it’s sometimes just taking some time. And I realize that might sound counterintuitive, which is what do you mean? I’ve got to do things go, no, you have to breathe. You have to look at the whole board and you’ve got to put your pieces where you may get the most amount of success. Now, if I couldn’t operate my business, but I was a business person I’d be looking at where is my next opportunity while I wait and see, because there’s no magical box, that’s going to suddenly fix that. If you literally can’t operate all, there’s something your supply being cut out from overseas or whatever it is, you know, airlines, for instance, then it doesn’t matter how much they want to fly the government.
Tim Krotiris (17:39):
Won’t let them land the PO the plane, then I’ll fly. So as an entrepreneur, how do you fall in love with your next step? As soon as I think you accept that you need to change. You’re already on the path of the next thing. No one likes it. No one loves change, but if you ask every great entrepreneur and all the people I’ve known, who’ve made really significant contributions in business. They’ll always have a moment where they had to make a decision and the decision was difficult at the time, but it in reflection was the thing that they needed that completely changed their life. And I think if that gives a little inspiration to people, is this may be your moment. This is what it’s all been about is your moment now to use all the skills or your energy or your positivity or your resources or your resourcefulness, and now work out what could I do now? And am I willing to try, because if you’re doing that, you’re already in the top echelon and you will find a way through,
Miko Santos (18:55):
Thank you for that. So let’s go back on, you also have a podcast, the Backable Podcast An overview of your podcast and advice share doing the typical episode.
Tim Krotiris (19:15):
Well the podcast came from an experience I had early in my career, which was a conversation I had with a mentor and friend at the time. And I remember having this conversation and it completely changed my way of thinking around business. At the time I was struggling, I was doing all the hard work. I was I believe there was no one who was working harder than me, 24 seven, always work. Everything was secondary. And I had this conversation and it recalibrated the way I looked at my company in the way I did things. And I realized I wasn’t seeing the matrix. I wasn’t it was a lack of experience, but I was just thinking about it all wrong. And off that conversation, my life, my finances, my wealth, it changed trajectory quite dramatically. And so we wanted to share some of those conversations that I had that, you know, I think back of what if I miss that conversation, where would I be right now?
Tim Krotiris (20:09):
And so the podcast is about accessing people. Who’ve had experience that. We can take that one idea, that one moment that one thing that they do different and put it through your personal filter. What if I did that? Would it change the way I look at business, how I could perform the way that my relationship to business and my life and my lifestyle being a business owner. So we just talk. And a lot of it is also my wife and I talking about our experience of growing companies together and being business partners and things like that, because it also gives insights from how we both saw situations. And we got through challenges and with the feedback that we received is that’s quite interesting because it’s the time we’ve probably discussed it. And it’s interesting to actually hear really how each of us saw it. So that’s what we’re trying to do. And we were lucky enough to start getting some really great international guests and people sharing that experience. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun, as I say, it started out as let’s do it because it’s enjoyable. And it’s, to be honest with you, it’s one of my most enjoyable times of the week.
Miko Santos (21:24):
Yeah. So what are your, what are the two or three things of the biggest impact it has on your business because of the podcast?
Tim Krotiris (21:33):
Yeah. Maybe I’ll give you a couple of things that have been really significant. I think one of the things is we’ve not necessarily been public in a lot of our businesses. So we, we sort of the quiet entrepreneurs, we build our businesses, we sell our businesses. We you know we we’re not trying to be on social media. I’m not trying to do live streams from my car and all the sort of things that have sort of become the entrepreneur Bible of, Hey, look at me, I’m successful. We, we just build companies. We sell them and, you know, we make some money. So, but doing this podcast has given us a little bit of public note or writing and our listens and our our companies have become more public and what has happened. And what I’ve found is it’s actually opened a lot of doors for us because even when we approach people and they search us, there’s this social proof that we’re around, they get to hear us, they get to sort of make a decision around whether they would want to speak to us prior to that.
Tim Krotiris (22:29):
And it’s been a really great way of fast tracking some of the relationships that we like to build with other people. So that’s been a very big benefit. I think the second one is we get to speak to people that we wouldn’t have necessarily spoken to and we get to have a forum in which it’s adding value. So when we get someone onto interview or even, you know, Miko you and I speaking today, we’re developing a level of friendship or a familiarity that we’ll start, who knows what type of relationship, but that probably wouldn’t have happened in any other circumstance, because we can do something like this it’s enjoyable, but it actually, we get to know each other in a really nice way. So what used to be coffees with people and stuff like that, it’s almost become, Hey, why don’t we sit down and talk about a topic in business?
Tim Krotiris (23:13):
And I find that it’s an extremely good way to get to know someone and hear what they’re about as well, which is, which is really great. So for me, that, and the third and last one is that constant we’re, we’re living in a day and age of media where we’re all little media companies. So actually producing high quality content, sharing our thoughts on the world, being able to contribute in different ways. It’s going to become more and more necessarily. And I think at worst, it’s great for your business at best you get meet other people, you get to meet really interesting people. We get to hear about other journey. So for me, to be honest with you, just the fact that a lot of these conversations they tweak or facilitate, and we get to do it. It gives me a lot of inspiration to also keep focused and excited about my businesses. So for me, they’re the three things that really stand out from the impact, particularly over the last 12 months.
Miko Santos (24:07):
All right. So then my next question is it’s also in line with your podcasts as well and in your business. So what has been your most unexpected surprise during your podcasting journey so far?
Tim Krotiris (24:24):
I think particularly running a sort of small media company, which is when we’d be produced, I think over the last year and a half, 105 podcast episode , which is quite a lot that’s on average in two a week. And I think it’s been surprising to really integrate that into our business in terms of how do you actually manage that? The by-product of that is obviously some great things that come and some great conversations and people interested in what you’re doing, because as you obviously start building a network, you become more valuable to other people. So I think particularly and what people might expect is as you become sort of more prevalent, there are, there are other opportunities. So we’ve really enjoyed that side of it. But particularly for me, the unexpected byproduct internally is when you decide to run a small media company, which we are around media department, just the way in which we behave internally is actually changed a lot the way in which we analyze situations, the way in which we talk about things, because we’re always looking for that might be something interesting we could bring to the podcast, which actually internally makes us really analyze some of the things we’re doing differently.
Miko Santos (25:56):
So what is the most critical skill for a business owner or entrepreneurs to master in order to be successful in podcast .Just like you?
Tim Krotiris (26:11):
Yeah. Well, let me, maybe I’ll give you a slight philosophy on how we see everything, because I think there are the great entrepreneurs that we see, but I think the 99% of the whole world it’s around your process and the process in which you live your life, how do you attain the things you want? How do you get the experiences? Where is your discipline? What are the things that you’re doing that creates success in a consistent way, whether that’s health, mental health, fitness, your business, your personal finances, your whatever it is. And so for us, our whole focus in our actual business is how do we create top performance? How do the best performers in the world operate? And how do we replicate their systems and processes? And we’ve just placed the same thing in our podcast. The first ones were okay, nothing special, but we were doing them and we were forcing ourselves to go through the learning process.
Tim Krotiris (27:11):
We had to be embarrassed at times we had to make mistakes. We had to do all those things where most people won’t even start. So we’re already ahead of the game. Then we start refining things. We do the first 10, and we said, what’s working. What’s not, is it really interesting? Is it boring? We ask people that we trust, what do you think? But we’re in this constant path of improvement, then you get to a point, how do we slightly improve the sound? How do we slightly improve the content? How do we do some better planning prior to the, to this? How do we then build a studio, which you might be able to see now that we keep adding one thing at a time, but I think the key to it is we’re never satisfied. And we’re always just challenging to see what happens next.
Tim Krotiris (27:54):
And so we do that with our businesses, which is, well, why was this a good quarter? What if we did this next quarter? What are the five things we’re going to do in the podcast? What were our best episodes? Did we enjoy doing those episodes? Is that the, where we want to go? Because for us, it’s not just about getting listens and all that. It’s about if we speak about this, will it help an SME somewhere who doesn’t have anyone to turn to? And so for us, to me, I don’t think this will ever be a money-making venture, to be honest with you, if it is so, be it. But most likely it’ll be reinvested back into the podcast to expand it to be honest with you. So it’s not our core business, but we treat it like a very precious thing. We want to be better every day. And I think that process changes everything, because if you approach it like that, you’re not scared anymore. You’re not scared to make a mistake. You’re not scared to not do the right things. You’re not scared to experiment and that will free you up to be able to just go for it. And that’s the most important thing. Most people just won’t even try. So if you’re out there listening, just give it a go it you, you can’t lose.
Miko Santos (29:00):
So do you have any final advice or anything else you want to share with our audience?
Tim Krotiris (29:09):
I think one of the things we talk about is as a business owner, a podcast or whatever you’re doing right now is give yourself a break, fall in love with yourself, be a weirdo and be okay with it. Don’t follow everyone else. Cause 90% of businesses are going out of business. So for me, a lot of the time is be great at being you and then attack the world with what you want to do. But when you decide to do something, run at it, a vigor that you want to see what mastery in this area, it looks like, be genuinely excited about finding the hardships in that path, because that’s where our learning comes from. That’s where the innovation is developed. That’s where the opportunities, anytime that I’ve had a significant shift in my life, it’s on the back of things that at the time needed to break.
Tim Krotiris (30:04):
And so in my companies, I say the same thing, as soon as this feels like everything’s under control. We need to break it again because we’ve become complacent. And I think if you approach entrepreneur-ism business and your life with an enthusiasm that my job is just to break, fix and try. And that’s the game we’re in. You take all the stress out of, out of what it is to run a business. And you actually just accept the game for what it is. It’s the game. Find others like you that are also positive about the game and work with them, build your army, understand what you want in life and just go for it with a vigor that nothing else matters. Go for it, enjoy it. See what happens, run down that part, because I think if you play like that, you generally happy.
Miko Santos (30:53):
Thank you so much for that. So how can they contact you in case there’s a decent one to have a chat with you, connect with you, how they can connect you connect with.
Tim Krotiris (31:03):
So, yeah. Um, please, you know, you can search any of us online through any of our social channels. We’ve got philotimo global.com, which is our performance consultancy and backable.ai. Um, as, as our podcast and where we put a lot of the information and blogs from a lot of the people we interview and speak to. So, but as I said, we’re a very social company and, and social people. So feel free to hit us up on any of the socials and we can certainly direct you. And if there’s any, um, SMEs that want to join our private backable group just send an invite on Facebook and you’ll get the sort of invitation to join. If you’re someone who’s interested in growing your company and want to contribute to a community, but I’ve really appreciated being on Miko. Thank you for facilitating this and, and also take taking the time to support the community as well.
Miko Santos (31:52):
Thank you so much Tim and to all our listeners and our audience. So just follow the team on any social media platform and you will, especially the, the podcast as well. Please support them as well. And thank you again for another episode of the bootstrap podcast under Auspod syndicate. And of course thank to my sponsor. The Kanagaroofern, a podcast management service and of course myayos.com for the web hosting as well. Thank you so much and see you next week for another episode of AusPod Syndicate.