Have A Niche

The Inventive Journey
Episode #335
Have A Niche
w/ Levent Yildizogoren
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What This Episode Talks About:

Have A Niche

"Have a niche. It is so important to have a niche even a micro niche. Like many businesspeople, I was afraid to lose customers, so it led me to be a generalist. So, the first thing we do is translate from English to many languages and many languages into English. Having a specialty now I realize is so important not just for my industry but for anything."


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What Is The Inventive Journey?

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

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 that have a niche you know it's so important to have a niche even a micro niche because like many many business business people we i was afraid to lose customers so what what did then it led me to be a generalist so for instance we do localization services we translate from english into many languages and many languages into english the having a speciality now i realize is so important not just for for my industry which is organization but for anything [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller iplock where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast levant il disgoran and i'm sure i slaughtered the last day but i tried by now that was that was good that was good but lovin was uh born in turkey grew up in the uk um studied and learned in university for about a year i had an opportunity to come out to work in the print trade so decided to go go down that path gave him a lot of understanding and printing was in the printing business for about 15 years um decided to join his wife's business and made the leap over the span of a couple weeks the timing wasn't the best uk was in recession had two small kids but didn't think about it at the time decided to go for it anyway and then was uh when the it was a language translation service if i remember and then the business had about 10 employees and then there was a ski accident that power came along and gave them a bit of time to reflect explored a few other opportunities now with kobed i want or decided to get into about a bit of podcasting as well as writing in books and jumped or jumped into that step back from the wife's business a bit but still does a bit of that as well as uh consulting for other businesses so with that much is introduction welcome to the podcast 11 thank you thank you devin glad to be here and thank you for inviting me absolutely so i just took a much longer journey and condensed in the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and uh tell us how your journey got started with being born in turkey and growing up in the uk well very much yes i was 18 years old when i came when i was when my parents sent me to the uk to continue with my education that was i was 18 years old and and you know i did my a levels and then started working in the printing trade and loved it because it was all um all before the digital age so i had a chance to learn all the kind of the the theory science behind it it's not just pressing buttons but more like all the theory and what the color is what it means how does print work so so it was it was great fun i did a bit of production management courses uh so i educated myself question before we get too far into the printing business because you you say you grew up in the in turkey uh or and then or born in turkey grew up in the uk and then you went studied at university for about a year what made you decide hey you know rather than continuing on down the university path you'd instead get into printing well actually i never i didn't end up going to university it was um i did all the preparations like what what they call in the uk a levels that's like almost like um university preparations but then the job opportunity came up and then it was too too exciting for me to to to to miss it and uh and also i felt a bit bit guilty because you know it was costing my parents a lot of money uh because they were earning the money in turkey and then trying to finance it in the vote for the uk education with the exchange rates and everything i felt bit guilty and and when that opportunity came up i didn't think too much about it so i just just grabbed it and and uh and i'm glad i did because um it was um opportunity of a kind of lifetime because it enabled me to understand everything in print and it pretty much laid the uh foundation for what i will do next in my life oh no i'm not i'm not regretting that well good it sounds like it turned out to be uh definitely a great opportunity you know it was one where you know you had different plans and i i certainly get i mean i went through i'm probably the opposite although my parents didn't only pay for part of my education but i went through and spent a whole bunch of money on education wouldn't change it for the world but there is definitely both a uh a tangible cost as well as an opportunity cost and it sounds like for you that the path of going into the printing business was a great opportunity and one that just you know didn't make their sense to pass up at the time and so now you're too much so you're doing the the printing business and you did that i think for about 15 years is that right 15 years yeah yeah i did uh i did 15 years and then you know it was by then you know the digital site was trying to getting introduced but at it at the same time the business that my wife set up a translation business was was you know booming and and and i was hunting her on the side okay it was getting bit better and but i was i was loving that as well um but when we got a contract to do a job that would last probably 10 12 months i knew it was time to give up my job for good and then join her for full time so it was a bit of a a decision of the spirit of the moment would i do it now probably not because thinking about it what i know now we didn't have a purchase order for the contract we didn't have we didn't have any paperwork so it was all like so much excitement and it was something that i wanted to do very much and uh so i didn't think too much about it handed in my notice two weeks later full-time uh on that on that project and we we done the project finished it successfully one day on that and so because i mean you've been in the printing business as you said for about 15 years and then with that within a matter of a couple weeks you've given it or put in your notice jumped over to your wife's business full-time and even mentioned that the timing maybe wasn't great uk was going through a bit of recession you had it yeah yes yes yes too small what was the motivation or reason what made you kind of within the space of two weeks go from hey i've been in the printing business for quite a good period of time 15 years to jumping over to your wife good question good question i don't think it was logical it was i mean it turned out to be very logical you know i'm glad i'm glad i've done this but at the time thinking about it it wasn't logical it was more emotional because um i always wanted to run my own business i i want it wasn't the money it was more like the freedom to make my own choices freedom to make my own decisions and so when the opportunity came up it wasn't logical we didn't we didn't open a spreadsheet and and made some calculations and it was lasted he said he said that's an opportunity here this contract you know it's not gonna it's not gonna happen again you know it's not gonna wait for us and uh he said that's it if you don't do it now it'll be very hard to do it 10 years later you know because as you know it's natural that people are younger they're more energetic and everything gets done a lot more easier and quicker so we thought it's the time to do it and you never looked like so so now you said okay you know it's the time kind of the opportunity is now it's going to be you know one that it's the right time of life and you know it makes sense and so you know even if it's not necessarily all in your heart or head but more in your heart say okay i'm gonna jump over gonna work with the wife on her business take an opportunity of kind of running and doing all your own business working for someone else now as you make that transition you know how did it go was it a great opportunity you loved every minute of it was it stressful working with your wife and was it hard to do through the uk or kind of how did that go for you as you decide okay i'm going to make that jump over it it went it was very interestingly um we had two small kids and we were working from our home because we didn't have time to set up any office or anything like that so because the project started and we had like french doors so these are those like with like lots of glass in between so we had a dining room so we closed the french doors and that was our office with three four five computers printers and we had two small kids and so we we had to luckily we found a baby still you know child minder so they were it was very it was a traumatic experience actually i'm laughing now but it was at the time very hard so we had two small children with the child minded sitting at the other side of the room with the french door closed but we could see them and every time phone rang it's not like this now you know people are now very proud to say that i'm working from home please excuse if my children start crying or my cats start jumping around at the time it was really like hard to say i'm working from home so every time phone rang we will say children be quiet turn the tv down and the poor children were sort of trying to be quiet and everything and so it was a kind of traumatic experience and towards the end of the day my daughter at the time she was like four or five and she would she would come to the door and say mommy why can't you come to this side so it wasn't easy at all but somehow we made it work but because we wanted we wanted it so much to to be to run our own business we made it work but the first few years it wasn't easy at all i mean once we finished that large project we moved out of the house so we you know we had our proper office and everything but yeah it wasn't easy at all it was but it was fun it was fun because we did something was totally in our control and over the years we got the benefits from from that exercise so it was it was good so i would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it and and you know it's very hard to make i had a friend a few years ago he wanted to start his own business and it was all about uh you know spreadsheets calculations plans and plans and plans he was so busy doing planning he forgot his his gut feeling he forgot he he kind of all the planning okay i'm not suggesting you shouldn't plan definitely planning is important but the planning shouldn't kill the passion you know the the so so the some of the decision has to be done on emotional basis you know so that's how we did it and it was hard but i'm glad we we did it no i think that's awesome i think that uh definitely you know i think that that is the thing you know i worked from a little bit similar to you probably a little bit later in in or later on but i also worked from home for a good period of my career and it was kind of the same thing now with you know covert and people's lockdowns and working from home it's become a bit more normal that you know if you have a kid in the background or something's loud that people are a lot more understanding but for a while there i had my office door and the whole family knew that if the office door was shut it means that you didn't come in you listened before you know to before you knocked didn't interrupt the meeting you know just part of the dealing of that but i think that it also presents that opportunity you know it's one that you got to work with your wife you got to be there with the kids a bit more you got to just explore it and so that sounds like it was a great uh phase of the journey even if it wasn't all you know the easy road that everybody always thinks it is you and i know you and i know it's never easy running your own business but you know if you have the passion to do it i think the difficulties soon are forgotten absolutely so now i i and i couldn't agree more so now as you've done that you worked there how long did you work with your wife under business well we still we still are working um but what what happened this i mean that's been uh that's going back now we just this is our 30th year this is our 30th year so you know it's a big year for us you know round numbers you know it must be really gonna create a bit of a buzz around it i mean the the business has evolved tremendously in in 30 years um now i had a pleasure of stepping back to write my book that was april last year and so i wrote my book it's been published good business in any language i think i'm proud of displaying my the banner behind me and so that was published in amazon in october last year and because it worked so well and during that time the business grew you know so i said i said to my colleagues i said guys you don't need me you know you you have grown the business and and of course the purpose of the book and and the podcast that you kind of mentioned that i'm running is all about promoting the business so i said you you don't need me anymore so so but we did the arrangement that which was temporary we made it permanent a colleague who was an acting managing director you know we promoted her to to be the managing director so i've taken a role to really develop the business further try to reach even a wider circle of potential customers and also not just business but also do more of our charity charity type of work because we've been running this translation competition with three universities for the last nine years which we are something very proud of because we are such a small company but we've been doing this for nine years and every it takes about a month but it means at least like it's the amount of couple of our team members so you know they have to step back and coordinate this trans this competition but it's very rewarding because the students who take part they find jobs and they come back and say thank you we've done this now you got students who graduated works for apple facebook some of the larger companies and it makes us really proud so yeah it is a business is has evolved tremendously we are a team we have an office in in turkey now so the the tools we use and everything is is all um based on uh working remotely so yeah it is a it's good that things have evolving and we are just you know keeping up pace with the changes oh and that definitely sounds like it's been a good uh evolution as well now one question i have that you that you jumped over i think a bit or not this conversation but we talked a little bit before the podcast on was that you also had um a i think it was you if you if i remember i had gotten a ski accident which also gave you the time to sit back and reflect a bit more which was part of the genesis for making that transition and doing some of the podcasts in the book is that right very much very much david because um in 2009 i mean i love skiing and and you know i love stuff to do with adrenaline running you know and in 2009 christmas i never forget that skiing with my daughter in french albs i had this awful accident and uh and so it was it was you know quite quite bad luckily it was attended straight away broke my hip but it was so badly broken i was advised to lay down for six months because some of the hypoxidens after two three months they ask you to step on it because as th as this pressure on the bones it it helps it heal better because of the blood circulation and everything but mine was broken so badly they said you can't step on it and so six months i i had to lay still only time that i could i was allowed to to move is when i went to the the laboratory and uh and anytime that wasn't really just moving from one place to another and and and the other six months was on crutches so that's like 12 months and during that time it i had this opportunity to reflect and i realized that the having a network of great people around me not just my family my family was great i mean you know my wife you know she couldn't do enough and it was a lot of hard work and um for me of course i was grateful to them but also my colleagues they they all stepped up you know i couldn't go to work when i went to work after six months i had like a like a chair there for me everyone was like trying to welcome me and everything but what made me really sort of um almost like at the time i was very tearful even that the business continued colleagues stepped up and i said you know this is so the life is about making connections and building bridges and everything so you know after that year we we started the competition we also do a lot of charity work so you know it it it has made a fundamental effect on my on my approach you know having people around you is so important and and i realized that i was so lucky that you know so i said what can we do so that people who are not that lucky that how can we make some change in their lives so yeah that was really an accident that i'm trying to forget but in certain ways in certain ways it was interesting that it happened which enabled me to do things that i'm doing now oh it sounds like you know certainly you wouldn't ever want to if you had the decision to go through the accident sound pretty painful in a long or long path to recovery but also sounds like it give you gave you a lot of time to to reflect and to think about you know kind of the next phase and the next direction which leads you to now where you're getting doing the podcast you're writing a book you're looking at a bit more charitable organizations as well as still continuing to to work on and assist with the business and doing some of those things so it definitely sounds like it was a a good pivotal point for for yourself along your journey yeah yes definitely oh go ahead yeah no as we uh as we so now as we kind of get to where we're at in the present that kind of brings us to where you're at now i always like to transition and have a couple questions always ask at the end of each journey or to bringing it to the present present time so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it well good question i don't think that was one there was a few few bad decisions i think one of the the one of the um it's hard to say one but there's a particular one that actually i was talking to somebody today about this it was a uh we had we had a we had somebody worked for us for like six months and it was really good chemistry there because what i like davin is that when i choose a team member to join the company and the values the core values are so important because we need to have the same core values and and you know everything else can be secondary but if there are no core values then there's there's no connection so we hit the right core values and everything but somehow we couldn't hold on to them now knowing what i know now i should have had have tried everything to make sure that they stayed with the company so that's probably one of one of my uh it was like not you see i didn't decide to let him go but i i didn't do enough for them to stay on so it was yeah it was it was something i regret and what i learned from that is that if i see a good people that matches our core values make sure stay do everything to make sure that they save the company no i think that there's a lot of truth i mean there isn't always a trade off you're not always there sometimes employees you just can't match the salary expectations or can't provide the opportunity and there are reasons why they leave but oftentimes you don't realize the value of the employee or the amount of contribution they make until they're gone and then you're saying hey that was something that i probably should have tried harder to keep them around so i think that there's certainly an understandable mistake to make but also a great one to learn from yeah yeah yeah i think we get i think we get wiser you know as as you get older and i mean i don't definitely that's for me you're you're a young man um but yeah i'm getting i can't see that i'm getting wiser as i'm getting older and it's it's easier to talk about the mistakes that i did whereas at the time it probably wasn't that easy to talk about it no and i think it's you know it's always one where sometimes we want to forget our mistakes or we want to move on from them and certainly understandable why but a lot of times that's where we get a lot of the learning uh that comes about that we then are able to better run the business afterwards so i think that it's one where it makes sense to appreciate you sharing it second question i'll always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what'd be the one piece of i should give them well my one one i mean that's there's many as you know there are many things that we can save based on our experience probably what i would suggest to them is that having niche you know it's so important to have a niche even a micro niche because like many many business business people we i was afraid to lose customers so what what did then it led me to be a generalist so for instance we do localization services we translate from english into many languages and many languages into english the having a speciality now i realize is so important not just for for my industry which is localization but for anything having a niche if you're a personal trainer have a niche you know working with certain age group or or achieving something for for for certain maybe gender or or age group or or certain disabilities if you're a doctor having a niche i mean the doctors are probably the the best example if i have a serious condition i don't go to my family doctor i go to the specialist and and now i realize that this applies to everything but i was too worried initially to have a niche thinking that i would lose customers by having a niche or micro niche but now i realize that was totally wrong so my advice is whatever your profession is whatever the industry you're in have a niche that makes such a big difference no and i think that that definitely is a great piece of advice i think that to your point a lot of times you worry that if you have a niche or that you you have a focus then you'll miss out on that other business that could have come through your door yeah because you're they're gonna you're too niche down and yet on the other hand i think that it helps to differentiate yourself and say or set you apart as if you have that niche and people know why they should come to you and why you're different than the competition so i think that's a great take away once we wrap up the podcast if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to read your book they want to listen to your podcast they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more thanks thanks for asking davin i really appreciate that well i'd love to offer a free download of my book good business in any language to your listeners they can visit levant dot team that is levant l-e-b-e-n-t dot team m t-e-a-m then they can download the uh the e-book free of charge or they can purchase the kindle version from amazon and there are some also goodies as well otherwise i'm available on linkedin i'll be more than happy to answer any questions anyone throws at me or anybody wants to connect talking about international trade localization i'll be more than happy to reply to all any any listeners that that would like to connect with me awesome i definitely encourage people to reach out connect and uh and and uh utilize your services as well as take advantage of the ebook that you uh that you offered and so definitely encourage people to connect there well thank you again levin for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell them you'd like to be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show also as a listener make sure to click subscribe share listen um review because we want to make sure that everyone finds out about all of these awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents or trademarks or anything else with your business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with this chat and we're always here to help well thank you again levin and wish the next leg of your journey thank you even better than the last thank you david it was a great pleasure to to be on the show

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