Founder of Bestcompany.com, a consumer services marketplace centered on trusted reviews. Their mission is to help consumers make confident purchase decisions for their home and family, while helping companies unlock the power of word of mouth marketing for their business. Real customer reviews is at the core of everything we do. Landon has been building bootstrapped businesses for 13+ years and with that has gained a deep understanding of the inner workings of a company and what makes it go. On a personal level, Landon and his wife Kelsi live in Utah with their 5 kids and a dog. He and his family loves sports (playing, coaching, and watching) and being active.
Where did the idea for BestCompany.com come from?
We started an affiliate marketing and search engine marketing (“SEM”) agency in 2013. A number of our clients at that time were frustrated with other “review” sites that had coercive business practices, held our client’s brand ransom, and were pay-to-play. We felt consumers, as well as the brands listed on these sites, were grossly underserved with this type of marketplace. We felt there was a need for a trustworthy and transparent marketplace to help consumers who are making a purchase decision connect confidently with brands.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
6 am exercise. First 15 min in office plan for day and check in on week’s most important tasks (“MIT”). I use a Franklin planner for this planning and review. Sounds simple but with a solid personal management system and a clear/refreshed mind from exercise it allows me to stay on task throughout the day and focus on the items I feel are the most important. Home by 5:30 pm on average and then spend time with family or serving in the local church organization.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Start with high level concept, illustrate and iterate the concept in writing and on white board to outline basic idea or wireframe. Let it marinate and review a few times trying to think through the various implications and dependencies. When I feel the idea has been vetted through that conceptual/ideation phase then I bring in the appropriate stakeholders to refine and move it forward. It’s critical to know who are the key stakeholders to move something forward with you. For example, for a product build this might mean the PM and UX Director to work toward a prototype that we can then get feedback from customers quickly to validate the idea before tying up development resources.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The economy of trust + power of c-commerce. I feel that the light will continue to shine brighter and brighter on how well brands treat their customers and I feel that customers will become the greatest source of new sales for brands as the word of mouth marketing flywheel is systematized. To the point where reliance on google, facebook, and other traditional digital marketing channels will lessen when it comes to acquiring new customers. Word of mouth marketing will become more and more systematic for brands big and small. E-commerce has really led the charge here and services will follow.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Attitude of gratitude…I know that’s more a characteristic, but it really is an x-factor. When I’m grateful for what I’ve been given it helps me keep things in perspective and remain grounded.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Always bet on yourself, stay hungry, value relationships, and play the long game!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
When you know you’re going to the office…wearing sandals / shorts in the winter and pants and shoes in the summer is a very sound strategy. You’re indoors a good portion of the day and in summer the A/C is blaring. In the winter the heat is ratcheted up….dress for how it’s going to be indoors! Disclaimer: this only works if the walk from your parking spot to the office is a quick jaunt across the parking lot and you live in a place where there’s a clear difference in seasons (I’m in Utah). If you commute on a subway or other transit then this is not a good strategy.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Roadmap planning (product, strategy, org, personal, etc). Clearly articulating where you are now, where you want to go, and then plotting out how you get there.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Pushing the envelope for growth and not getting comfortable. As we’ve seen “harvests” in one area we’ve parlayed that into seeding other investments in other areas throughout the org. We’re always looking at how we can expand or scale the areas of the business that are proven
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Buying out a partner when we didn’t need to. Added an extensive strain on the business in early years and the partner was a good partner. How did we overcome? We continued to bet on ourselves and execute well.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A home service concierge…..something that when homeowners have a need they can send a simple text to the concierge who then helps them find the best company or professional, schedules the appointment, follows through, guarantees quality, etc. I’m planning on building this myself but if someone else does before me more power to them….it’s sorely needed and I’ll be the first customer.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A simple standing umbrella. We spend a lot of time at soccer/baseball games on Saturdays and during the week watching our kids compete, so a nice pocket of shade makes all the difference.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Trello….super simple kanban flow for our product development. Makes it easy to organize, collaborate, prioritize, and see where everything is at in the pipeline
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Multipliers by Liz Wiseman…..if you manage people or work on a team it’s a must read. Are you a multiplier or a diminisher?
What is your favorite quote?
Can I share two…..”We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.” from Thomas Monson and then “Never too high, never too low, steady as you go.” I actually don’t remember if I got that second one from someone or made it up while I was coaching youth sports, but it’s one that’s been helpful to me throughout my life to remain steady through the ups and downs of business, life, and everything in between.
- Never too high, never too low, steady as you go.
- Sandals in the winter
- The future of word of mouth marketing
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.