S13E24: Making a difference whilst beating the multinationals, David Simnick (CEO, Soapbox)

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S13E24: Making a difference whilst beating the multinationals, David Simnick (CEO, Soapbox)

We're continuing our season on "business as a force for good", Richard speaks with Dave Simnick, the CEO and co-founder of Soapbox – a company whose mission is to empower customers with the ability to change the world through everyday, quality purchases. Soapbox has donated over 36 million bars of soap to local homeless shelters and food pantries.

In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • Why David chose the humble bar of soap for his mission-driven business.
  • What Soapbox "messed up for years" before finally beating multinationals at their own game.
  • The three qualities David hires for – and the interview question he uses to identify those traits.
  • The three key roles of every startup CEO.

"Don't start a company to make money, start a company to change something."

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Transcript

David Simnick
Most people think that they're good people, and when they're at, you know, Boots or CVS or wherever, like the thought that's going through their mind is, well, I want a phenomenal shampoo for my hair. And then we used to have it wrong. We used to scream the charity first and foremost, but someone isn't there to donate. Right? They're there to buy a phenomenal conditioner. Like, that's the thought process. So for years, we messed this up.

Richard Medcalf
Welcome to the Impact Multiplier CEO podcast. I'm Richard Metcalfe, founder of XQuadrant, and my mission is to help the world's top CEOs and entrepreneurs shift from incremental to exponential progress and create a huge positive impact on our world. Now that requires you to reinvent yourself and transform your business. So if you're ready to play a bigger game than ever before, I invite you to join us and become an Impact Multiplier CEO. David Sypnik is the chief executive of Soapbox. Now this is a company, a small business, they're taking on multinational consumer goods retailers and winning. And they're on a mission. In fact, they've given away millions and millions of bars of Soap around the world to promote hygiene, in all sorts of places.

In this conversation, we dive into that. Why did David choose the humble bar of soap for his business. How did Soapbox mess up for years, not quite get it right, focus their marketing in the completely the wrong way before getting the revelation that changed everything. How does David hire in the business? What's the interview question he uses to really get through as to whether people are the right fit. How does he see his role as chief executive? Great conversation to understand how you can infuse real impact into what might seem, on the surface, a bit of a mundane business selling soap. Enjoy this really insightful conversation with Davidson, Nick. David, hi. And, welcome to the show.

It's great to have you today.

David Simnick
It's an absolute pleasure to be here, Richard.

Richard Medcalf
So what I get about you is you're an entrepreneur who believes you shouldn't start a company to make money. What is that? Is it are you just a really bad entrepreneur who's never made any money?

David Simnick
What's going on? First off, I already love this podcast, and second, if any of my shareholders are listening, no, that isn't actually the full quote. I think that the, you know, right? The thing I really believe in and having done this for 13 years, and especially as it as it is in difficult as a vertical as consumer product is you, the fuel behind that entrepreneur can't be, hey, I want to be rich. Like, those type of entrepreneurs have seen fail countless times over and over again. And the reason being is there are better ways to go about making money. There are much more surefire ways to gain capital to build that type of bank account, if that's what you want to do. So within within consumer products, you receive so much bad news on a weekly, daily basis that that the motivation in terms of it it can be a part of it. It just can't be the the actual bedrock of the foundation of why someone wants to do something. Like that, that to me has been so evident for years.

Richard Medcalf
It's interesting. It's the difference between, I think it's different between entrepreneurial CEOs often and, kind of professional CEOs, people who've grown into the role. Sometimes, not always, right? But there's definitely a theme that most entrepreneurs, I think, get to a point where I think it's hard to survive if you're just doing it for the money, right? Because you've got to have something that's going to drive you through a mission.

David Simnick
And your listeners probably already know this, but the type of leadership that's needed from 0 to 1,000,000 is very different then, you know, taking a company from 25 to a100. That's, and my hope, and prayer has always been that I've been able to evolve faster than the company evolves. So, that I can be the leader and or the co founder or the teammate that the evolution, you know, where the company is going. I've actually really enjoyed growing with the company. So, we are, we're in the 25 to 100 stage, sorry, yeah, 25 to 100,000,000 stage, which is super exciting. But with that comes a ton of process and a ton of optimization. And you have to let go of a lot of things that you used to have direct control over. And that's also a lot of fun because hopefully you're hiring people who are way better at that than you are, and, and you get to step back and see, you know, things that you used to think that you were good at, just get absolutely perfected by people who are way better at it anymore.

So, so all that and more, like I've really enjoyed that. I think that I've listened to a couple way more successful entrepreneurs than I have tell me that any organization, if you were to simplify it as such, have like 3 different characteristics in an, entrepreneurial organization. There's visionary, there's an operator, and there's a process oriented type of person. A startup needs to have, especially at the 0 to 1 and 1 to 10. They need a V. Like you need a you need a big V in there. And you can be 2 letters, it can't be 3. So, you can be, you know, big V, little O, you can be big V, little P, you can be big P, little V, you know, let's not make all the jokes that just came out of that.

But anyways, like there's it's an interesting mix because the theory behind it is, visionary doesn't necessarily always translate into creating an organized process, you know, forward environment.

Richard Medcalf
You don't, you know, right? Oh my gosh. Never seen a never seen a chaotic visionary in the past.

David Simnick
All the listeners right now are just like, oh man, never, never seen that. Never heard that. Oh my gosh.

Richard Medcalf
Entrepreneurial leader is so organized.

David Simnick
Yeah. You're right. Yeah. Wow. But I but I do believe that, and this is where I go against the literature, that I was just referencing is I do believe that you can change if if a leader wants to change that she, he, they can change. So, I do think it's it's really interesting.

Richard Medcalf
Well, that point about people. I specialize right in people changing, and I strongly believe people change. People can change. It's just that most people don't change, But that's not because they can't. It's because they don't want to. But when you wanna change, if you've got something important yeah. I say if you wanna know, People say change is hard. It's like, well, you give a mobile phone to a 12 year old girl, she will change overnight.

So it's, you know, when you have it overnight, you know, it's like, Yeah. We're quite good at changing when we wanna change, so I think that's the key. So okay. So don't start a company to make money. Start a company to change something, and we started to talk about that that part. But let's talk about you and your journey. Right? So you've built this, a really interesting business, Soapbox. I know you've been on the Inc, 500 list, multiple times.

You've, you know, you're the fastest growing, businesses in your sector. And you've got a bit of a mission behind that. So if I tell me, like, somebody says, yeah, I wanna do things that kinda have a real impact in the world, you know, why soap?

David Simnick
It's a great question. So I used to be a subcontractor, like an intern at a subcontracting firm for the United States agency for international development. Like the lowest of low that you possibly find yourself on a totem pole. And while there, they asked me to look at a bunch of after action reports of how, you know, United States agency of international development organizations or projects were were doing, you know, implementation work around the world. And in looking at a bunch of wash projects, which is an acronym for water sanitation hygiene. I saw that there was a need for more focus to be on hygiene, because there was a lot of water development projects, but they weren't they weren't paired with the fact that, okay, cool. You're creating sustainable clean access to water within this community, but there is no education aspect that after defecation and before meal prep, you need to wash your hands with soap and or clean your body or whatever it might be. What is interesting is that 95% of the world's homes, and this is a data statistic, but it comes from, UNICEF, about like about 8 years ago.

So, I need to go down the check on that, but, 95% of the world's homes have access to. So, it's not an access problem. It's a cultural issue. So what we do is we go hand in hand with Burger International or the American Red Cross when there are emergencies or care or the Carter Center or any of these amazing organizations, and we pick up the tab for their soap. And we tried to pair also with boots on the grounds organizations like Sandara or EcoSope or Clean the World. All these phenomenal organizations, and we say, Hey, what are you guys doing in terms of an implementation? How can we provide and pay for that soap. And the best thing about all that is oftentimes a lot of the soap is being sourced within the communities that we have the privilege to serve. Now, Richard, why is this important? Let's say you're a soap maker in Northern India.

The last thing you want is like awkward Dave popping out of a shipping container and giving the whole community, like 70,000 free bars or so. Why? 1, just put you out of a job. That sucks. 2, I also just taught the whole community to wait till like awkward white guy shows up and gets you something for free. So, the way that we flip on its head is we work with organizations that already have that community mindset. I believe that the best aid is where you're actually empowering the people you seek to serve and then get the hell out, right? Like like the whole idea is that in any type of work that we do, we eventually wanna see the need for us to be there gone.

Richard Medcalf
Today, think about what I understood was, that most homes have access to soap, but there's a cultural issue about using it. So in that mind, like, why the need to finance soap? Like, I would I thought where you're gonna go where we do we run massive education programs or something, But instead you're paying for the soap, so I'm kind of just says that there's a disconnect in my mind at this point.

David Simnick
1st off, thank you for connecting it. We pay for the soap and the education programs and our cultural programs that all of these organizations run, and the crazy thing is when you we've seen like demonstrable results, like stupid, crazy results that, there's in working with Clean The World, underwriting the soap for that, and they then worked in tandem with Rotary International, which has a phenomenal water program worldwide. 2 of the most, eastern providences of India, we saw a 95% reduction in diarrhea related illnesses for the children that we were seeking within this longitude program, and then we also saw schools, attendance skyrocket. So like there it's it's just crazy, right? Like you would think that, hey, the rest of the world knows how like, you know, before you start making something, you should wash your hands, especially after you defecated, right? Or after you go to the bathroom, you should, but like, but if soap is a luxury, it's going to be used for special moments and or laundry. Not necessarily for cleaning pots, pans, you know, and or washing your hands after you do something that you do multiple times a day. So so the interesting, like the like chain, you're not necessarily going to change the economic ability for someone to purchase that, but you can change like how someone views the importance of washing your hands with clean water and soap. So, although this is possibly the least sexy thing to talk about in terms of like international development, which is like, like, hey, so like it is something that has huge impact. And not everything we do is a win, but most of it is.

And the credit goes to our our partners are 501c3 charities that are on the ground, doing the sustainable work. That's community led and empowerment driven. Like that, I threw a lot of like, you know, jargon at you and or like, you know, fun sayings, but like it it is true. Like, they're doing the work. We we underwrite the tab. That taking this a step even further, Richard, like why soap? We gotta make award winning shampoos, conditioners, body wash, liquid hand soap. We have to compete the likes of, you know, Unilever, and Colgate Palmolive, and P&G, and L'Oreal day in day out. And what we found over the years is that like the consumer actually doesn't wanna buy charity the 1st time.

They wanna buy a phenomenal shampoo for themselves. And I don't blame her or him or they for being selfish. Right? Like that's most people think that they're good people, and when they're at, you know, boots or CVS or wherever, like the thought that's going through their mind is well, I want a phenomenal shampoo for my hair. And then we used to have it wrong. We used to scream the charity first and foremost, but someone isn't there to donate, right? They're there to buy a phenomenal conditioner. Like that's the thought process. So for years we messed this up. And the buyers of these big retailers like Walmart and Target would give us a shot, but the consumer at the shelf wouldn't resonate so we'd be in 1 year, we'd be out the next.

We'd have to pay a ton of money for markdowns to help move all the inventory out. And like, we just struggled on for years, like taking this like, like thank God figuratively, but it felt literally beating each and every year until we finally were like, look, the special sauce with our mission is that it's the repeat driver. It's not the initial driver of purchase. And the, the more that we got that. And for those of you who are watching this on video, like if you wanna look at a colossal mistake in consumer packaging, this is what we launched with. And for those of you who are not like watching this to me.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. It looks very industrial. Yeah. It looks like you can.

David Simnick
Yeah, this looks like automotive cleaner, like our initial shampoo.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, you're gonna kind of, yeah, get some grease off grease off my...

David Simnick
Right. Right. Exactly. Right. Like you can use this, you can use this on like your upholstery and then use a little bit on your hair right now. That may work for maid and tail, but that doesn't necessarily work for us. So, this was this is what we graduated to, and that took, it looks like a completely different brand. Like we changed, we changed everything about it. This has won numerous awards. We're very excited about, and then the other thing is is that like, it's fun to beat multibillion dollar companies have their own game, and that took a lot of time, that took a lot of grit, and that took an unwillingness to give up.

Richard Medcalf
Tell me about the spark, the the pivotal moment. So I heard you know you're doing this thing and you heard about the wash and a, right? But there's gonna be a moment when you're like, oh, yes, so I'm good. That's it. Because there's gonna be a lot of effort behind that decision. So what was that moment where you got inspired?

David Simnick
Oh boy. So, in turn the initial spark the initial spark was, I wrote my brother an email. And I said, Hey, I want to start a company one day. And he said, That's awesome. I believe in you. What is it? I might come work for you. Right? And I think he was just being nice. But I then went out for lunch and I thought about what are the things that I really want to do? And what are the things that I think are are going to make a difference, and how can I I've always wanted to build organizations that that had a meaningful impact on people's lives? Like that's something that I knew pretty early on in university.

David Simnick
So so then I was like, well, how can I achieve that being like a 22 year old? And, like, I emailed them back. I said, hey, I think that, you know, given what Blake Makowski has done with Tom's shoes, I think that there might be something really cool with so open having a 1 for 1 model and just being really thoughtful about how we how we do that same type of model. And that was it. He was like, that's a really cool idea. We should we should get going. And, and honestly, the initial name for our company was Dave Soap, and thank God that got killed. So my ex at the time, well, we were on, on Gmail where they had like a little chat bar, and we were going back and forth, and she was like, What about Soapbox? And I was like, That is awesome. So, that was it. That was this part.

Richard Medcalf
Call it. So test takes on the journey. Right? You so you you got you had this idea from the start of, like, I wanna give back. I wanna, like, work on this one for 1 model, enterprise research impact. And then you've been growing so fast. So so tell us just about, like obviously, you talked about that key moment of packaging and branding, but what's what's really allowed you to scale fast? What were some of the key decisions that you made or how you operated as a leader? Because a lot of people struggle.

David Simnick
Well, I think so statistically speaking, co founded startups have a much, bigger survival rate than solo founded. That changes, and then also like the success rate of like, successful founders starting their 2nd or 3rd venture also drastically goes up. I think entrepreneurship is really interesting because like any career, you get better at it, and you start to understand a lot of the, pieces of a early business that need to come together in order to hit product market fit. And then once you hit product market fit, the question is like, well, how do you scale that? And how you compete against depending on the industry, or the vertical, like whatever the competition, you know, is within that space. Right? So, a lot of those are like the statements, but you'd be surprised. I mean, you know, Richard, you work with a lot of these individuals, people coming from like Fortune 500 or, you know, whatever it might be, like who step in and start their own company, maybe an expert in a couple areas, but have huge gaps in other areas. So, I think there's something to be said about serial entrepreneurs and their success rate in terms of starting new things.

We also talked about like, how does one scale as the company needs different things from its leaders as it evolves and grows up. Are the biggest attribute. The biggest thing I would attribute our success to is grit and also, my co founder and our team. And I think, there are 2 cultural values that we fervently believe in here, because in addition to running Soapbox, we also are masochists and really enjoy pain. So, we acquired other brands. So we run a food company called Bushwick, we run a baby company called Goodnest, we have a company in stealth that hasn't launched yet, but essentially we sell in across all those brands, every major retailer in the US. Which is a lot of fun, a lot of complexity, but it's mostly a lot of fun. The key that I would say is you need to find people who balance your weakness with their strengths and vice versa.

So, my co founder has done a phenomenal job of, balancing me with his strengths where I'm weak, and I would like to say the same in reverse. And then the other really interesting thing is because we've been pseudo work married for like 13 years he's rubbed off on me. Like, and and I'm I am a better person because of having worked so closely with Dan. Hands down. I am a, I am a much better person, far more organized, way more process driven thinking about, you know, what is the end outcome? And then working backwards in terms of all the deliverables that need to be done. I can attribute all those things from, from his amazing genius in all those areas, hopefully rubbing off on me. And I think, and I would like to believe that some of that has has changed, or or I rubbed on him.

Richard Medcalf
I hope you're enjoying this conversation. This is just a quick interlude to remind you that my book, Making Time For Strategy, is now available. If you wanna be less busy and more successful, I highly recommend that you check it out. Why not head over to making time for strategy.com to find out the details? Now back to the conversation. So if you were giving yourself advice perhaps, or or another leader, you know, who's early on in this journey for for that, perhaps it's for the grit side or for this this team. What practical things would you say? Because it's easy to say, go. You gotta, like, have a balanced team and and, and you've got to have grit. Right.

It's easy to say those stuff. Right. You can kind of read them in any kind of 400 word blog posts sometimes. But what have you learned about how you really do that? What's like a lesson you've really had to. Or, you know, or, or tip, right. A technique perhaps So, you've adopted along the way to actually make that reality for you.

David Simnick
I think that one of the telltale signs of whether or not entrepreneurs are going to make it or not, we already addressed grit. I think that's the biggest pot, in terms of a reservoir of a skill set that they need. But I was starting to say this earlier, didn't actually go through them. The 2 biggest value sets we have here are that we looked for we look we love to work with and seek to hire people who are humble, hungry, and smart, and in that order. And I look for the same thing when I make investments in companies is I want that founding team to be humble, hungry, and smart. And the humility part and the reason why the humility part in my opinion is the biggest is because, entrepreneurship, regardless of however smart you are or capable, you are, we'll humble you on a daily basis. Things are gonna go wrong. Things are going to go wrong in every way that you possibly can imagine in finance and operations and sales and marketing and product and whatever.

So, you know, does someone have the ability to quickly learn? And is someone self aware enough to realize what they like what the company needs from them and what they also might need to outsource as well as like build around them to compliment what they are bad at.

Richard Medcalf
How do you pick up if somebody's humble and and hungry? I mean, a lot of people a lot of leaders were smarts. How do you do the other 2?

David Simnick
Yeah, hungry is is a ambition is like how fast they respond, how fast, you know, how much they wanna work. And you know, obviously there's a work life balance because it's a marathon, especially this this quote is something that I remind myself on a daily basis. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. If you're sprinting every day, you gotta burn out and put everything at risk. So you gotta put your oxygen mask on first. You gotta figure out, you know, what's the self care that you require in order to keep at the aggressive pace that, you know, your growing company requires of you. But to answer your question directly, the thing that I usually find in terms of entrepreneurs, that I'm I'm looking to invest in and or people I'm looking to hire in our team is I I asked them a very pointed question about failure, and I want to know how they failed. And if they take ownership of it, and they say, this is how I failed.

Like I truly messed up. These are the, these are all the pain points that I'm culpable for. Then that's a really good sign. If someone says, hey, you know, this project failed, but I wasn't in charge, and you know, you know, like this really wasn't necessarily my doing. Like that's, that's the biggest red flag that I usually have in the interview process. And I can say that the people that, have joined our team and left our team, or we've had to let go from our team. They've all answered that question poorly.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Such a great point. Ownership, you know, I say we all have a choice of ownership or we ignore blame and deny. And, The reality is we all do both. Right? But there's a tendency. The one I love to get people on, leaders who who feel, no, no, I'm just mister ownership or whatever. I'll say, well, you know, so and so.

Oh, I haven't had enough time. Right? And as soon as you say, I haven't had enough time, you're really ignoring, blaming, denying. Right? You might have chosen not to do it, but or whatever. Right? But not having my key point is not having, you know, I didn't have the authority. Marketing didn't deliver. You know? I didn't have, a clear strategy from senior management. I didn't have a good team. These are all the excuses that we give when we're in denial mode, right, or blame mode.

David Simnick
A 100%, a 100%. I mean, even like we'll, we'll address even for the listeners here, Richard's doing a phenomenal job because he usually sends out a questionnaire all of the potential interviewees he's putting on the podcast and this guy didn't fill out any of them. And he sent me a note right before this being like, Hey man, I really need you to fill this out. Otherwise, interview is not gonna be that great. Send it to them 10 minutes ahead of time. This is me apologizing to all of you. That you need to do that. They need to do that. I don't know. But I mean I mean, I think I think the thing is...

Richard Medcalf
There's a speculation involved here. Not publicly anyway. I might do it afterwards.

David Simnick
Well, yeah, right? Just put a huge like asterisk because like Dave came unprepared. So, but I think there is absolutely something to be said in terms of great leaders eat last, right? To take a little Simon Sinek in that, but I think great leaders also fully take ownership. Right? And I and, one of the I used to be a former educator through the teacher America program, and one of the things I absolutely loved is being a middle school teacher, I think does an amazing job of preparing you to, also manage adults because I think emotionally, like, we stop we stop emotionally maturing in middle school, we just get better at hiding it. So like all the fundamentals are there in terms of like raw emotions. So, when we had to discipline a kid, you'd pull them outside of the class. Right? You discipline privately, you praise publicly. And the same thing goes for like the my theory of like management. But the other thing about that is that like one's culpability and ownership, right? Of like, how do they not only accept the good, right? Hey, this project went really well.

You were the leader. Congratulations, everyone. Right? But also how do they in part of a group say like, my bad guys. Like, I I totally, you know, fat finger this and we ordered an extra 10,000 or whatever these bottles or whatever that aren't selling well because I made a mistake. Right? And that and that full ownership of it, like, even I would much rather have someone who tells me that they mess up once a month, then having someone, hide from me once a quarter. Like, I would like 100%, I want the person who's making more stakes, but owning it, growing it, and hopefully not making those mistakes again, and someone who's like hiding it from me and, not willing to like to, to fall on their sword.

Richard Medcalf
And the dip, the distinction here is between a performance culture. Versus a learning culture. A lot of people say, oh, I want a high performance culture, but actually high performance culture that only works if you're in like a stable environment where nothing's changing. As soon as you're in turbulence, what does even performance mean? But it gives that impression of you must've screwed up because we're high performers. But when we change it to, like, high learners, fast rate of learning, highly adaptable, then I think things shift shift. It doesn't mean we don't wanna create results and value.

David Simnick
Obviously, we do, but it's that performance, me versus learning, shifts the kind of the mindset quite a lot. Completely agree. Completely.

Richard Medcalf
Period. So I wanna shift gears a little bit, for sake of time a little bit here, David. I wanna focus on, how you mister Cook, what's it gonna look like for Soapbox to multiply its impact in the world over the next few years? What would be an amazing outcome for you for that organization.

David Simnick
I want us to be a household name brand. I want us to, you know, ship internationally and take on markets outside of the United States, North America, we're currently in Canada and Mexico just a little bit, but like the more we sell, the more good we can do. And, and I get super excited because the way our team views are giving is we're not making it possible, right? Like, we are allowing everyday philanthropy to take place in just choosing not to buy Dove. Right? Like like 6 inches over from Dove at Soapbox in a lot of different retailers, and that, you know, less than half a foot, well, it's actually half a foot. That half a foot away, like allows you to make a world of difference, right? And is that bar of soap going down the street to a local homeless shelter, which we work with tons in United States, Canada, and Mexico, or is it working in any of the 65 countries that we work with those 501, C3 partners I was describing earlier? Like, that's a ton of fun, but also it's incredibly meaningful that like we get to be the conduit between the consumer making this decision to buy a natural clean ingredient, thoughtfully crafted, obviously, I'm heavily biased product for herself or himself, but then also the good that they're able to do around the world or down the street. Like that that to me, like, I want this to be as big as possible. It's so much fun each and every day. The good, the bad, the ugly, everything in between, the roller coaster of good news to bad news, the good news to bad news.

I think also a crazy aspect of like where we sit today is like within an hour, no joke Richard, we're like, hey, congratulations, you're getting expanded in this and it's like, hey, you know, you've been trying to get in this retailer and, you know, tough luck, we have to wait till next year again. And, oh, hey, this shipment is gonna be delayed another 2 weeks because, you know, something's happening in Indiana. And, oh, hey, it turns out there's like the return on ad spend on this is doing way better than we forecasted. Like all within 5 minutes and you feel nuts. You, you like, you're like, and we're like, how am I supposed to process all of this? And I think the, what I've learned over the years is you become more wise in terms of celebrating the wins, what you still need to do, especially for your team, as well as the perspective it gets you to understand like, what is an actual loss and what is the setback? So, so understanding those and and and modestly, you know, like, adequately adjusting your own internal dials, to respond to that has been an interesting evolution or at least for them myself.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Yeah. That's great. I love that distinction loss versus setback. Tell me about yourself. What what's it gonna look like, David, for you to multiply your own impact over the next few years? If you wanna be the leader that does that.

David Simnick
For those of you who are listening, I made the money hand symbol.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. I'm wondering what you mean by that. Yeah.

David Simnick
So, it's funny because at the beginning of this, I was just like, don't do it for the money, but money is a power elevator, right? The more money that you have, the more that you can deploy, and I think, there's a there's a very big fish investor, supporter, mentor within our cap table, and he always believes that like, look, money in good companies with good people has a huge multiplying effect. It's like, I want to see, you know, you and others if I may be so bold to, you know, be amongst his definition of good. Succeed because I think that I think good people with money go out and do great things.

Richard Medcalf
Let me let me rephrase a little bit. I I completely agree with that. Money is a leverage. You know, you can use that. And and not only money does, yeah, multiply. If you got a good character, good things happen. If your character is less good, less good things happen. The question I really wanna get to though is, like, what's the inner stretch for you? Right, so the money's a scaler of what happens perhaps in the business.

But who you gonna need to become to be the leader perhaps capable of, you know, running this international business, right, allowing everyday philanthropy at a new scale. As we we talked we talked early on, right, being the leader that gets for a to b is different from b to c, you know, and from c to d in in that progression. So as you think about where the business is gonna go, where do you need to go?

David Simnick
Another great another great saying I heard from, he's a pretty prominent lawyer within Washington, D. C, which is where we're based, within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. And he's like a CEO really has 3 core jobs, like a startup CEO. One, first and foremost, make sure you don't run out of money. Right? Raising, fundraising, like that's that is that is he, she, they's role, like number 1. Number 2 is you set the vision, the tone, the tenor, you point to like those are the KPIs that really matter. And then number 3 is you're the person in charge of who's on the boat and who's not. And that and that is incredibly important in terms of achieving number 2, and then also will drive the results on whether you can actually do number 1. So I think those are pretty universal on whether you're, you know, 1,000,000 and like you got your sleeves rolled up and you're doing the shipping, and you're doing the marketing, and you're doing the sales, and if you're manufacturing yourself, you're probably also pouring the stuff and the models, you know, you're doing all that. Right? And then when you're where our stage is at, you're less of, of all those things, but you're still very much these 3 things. So, I would say, you know, that having a firm hand on the helm and then also being incredibly objective about who's on the boat. And then finally, you know, just steering the financials and making sure that, you know, we have the capital. Thankfully, we are doing quite well on that, but, that we have a capital in order to deploy and go after the right type of investments into our rowth. So let me check. I understand.

Richard Medcalf
What I think I heard was that there's something there about your, how you manage your team do you wanna sharpen up or how you bring new people on, up level the team, something like that? Because again, the question was really what's the stretch? Right? What were, like, what's the new capability that you need to build, develop within you if you're gonna get to the next level? So I was list I was trying to listen through those 3 really helpful descriptors. So I was trying to figure out, are you saying that you need to improve your money management? Is it that you need to get better at casting vision? Or is it that you need to get better at, building the team? And perhaps there's something else in that.

David Simnick
First off, Richard, you are a great interviewer, and I am terrible at answering your questions.

Richard Medcalf
So, no, I'm just, see, I'm just going with it. I only go.

David Simnick
But no, but I do appreciate you pushing into it. The probably the biggest thing that needs to happen is I need to I need to let go of certain things, and I need to allow more of our team to run, and run faster, and figure out, how can we how can we go after the KPIs that we clearly have set? But I think I think any of those 3, you know, buckets, it's like, okay, how do we make this sharper? How do we make this clearer? How do I empower our people and take less things or take more things off their plates so they have a clearer goal? But I'm a huge believer of, you know, how do you how do you sharpen the focus for the team in order for them to say, this is clearly what needs to happen.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I love it. Well, I'm a strategist at heart, you know, my book Making Time for Strategy.

David Simnick
Oh, is that the book behind you?

Richard Medcalf
Because Go figure. That's, like, yeah, I thought...

David Simnick
It was like, yeah.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. But, but because I believe strategy is a multiplier because not strategy as incorporate strategy necessarily, but just in terms of it being a lens to focus. Effort, right. To focus attention, to, to focus in on what's really going to matter. And I think, you know, when you bring things into focus, when you sharpen things up, you say, then suddenly the other stuff falls away, and you know what you really need to do. It's so easy to have so many things going on. And then, and I think it's, it's a phase we breathe, you know, we expand and then we have to prune. And if we don't prune, we lose momentum, but when we prune it back in.

And so I can see that that could be the next stage for you in the business. Well, David, it's been a pleasure talking with you. We've enjoyed the the discussion. You know, we didn't have all the worksheet ahead of time, but we still we've got their at, I know this is great.

David Simnick
I mean, I'm heavily biased, but I hope, I hope your listeners also and viewers also, have been able to take away some sage wisdom from a, traveling soap salesman. So

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. It's been great. I said I love, the conversations we had around around grit, around focusing, yeah, on purpose and not just focusing on money as in in terms of being an entrepreneur. I think this this insight around focusing on quality and not charity, and actually, yeah, making sure that, you know, you compete rather than beg your way to success. I love the quote about beating multinationals at their own game, and I think it's a little credit to you and the team that you've been able to do that. Right? And you're continuing to do that. And then I think really helpful insight on hung you know, hung humble, hungry, and smart. I actually asked them for people to own up, like where we messed up.

I think the key way of identifying where the people have actually got the ownership, mentality. So thanks so much for for this discussion. It's been a lot of fun, and and thanks for what you do in allowing everyday philanthropy.

David Simnick
Thank you, Richard. Pleasure's been all mine.

Richard Medcalf
So last, I almost forgot, let's quickly do it. If you want to get in touch with you, or find out more about soapbox, where do they do that?

David Simnick
Probably the easiest, but well, there's multiple different ways. One, would love to give all of your listeners a 10% off. So if you go to our website, which is soapbox.co, just type in impact multiplier, and you'll get 10% off your 1st order. And then the 2nd part is, you can email us at hellosoakboxsoaps.com, or you can follow us on Soapbox on Instagram. Just send us a DM. I'm just at my name, David Simnick. You can send me a DM. Whatever, whatever works.

I love entrepreneurs, especially, you know, people who are just kicking off, and if there's something that, you know, really connected with you on today's podcast, and you're like, Hey, I want to go deeper on that. I'm a big believer of paying it forward because there've been not 100, but 1,000 of people who've paid it forward and given us the time of day and helped us start from my college kitchen to the shelves of almost any retailer in the United States.

Richard Medcalf
Perfect. That's a wrap. Thanks so much, David. It's been really, really fun. Thank you. Well, that's a wrap. If you received value from this conversation, please do leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform. We deeply appreciate it. And if you'd like to check out the show notes from this episode, head to expodrent.com/podcast where you'll find all the details. Now finally, when you're in top leadership, who supports and challenges you at a deep level to help you multiply your act. Discover more about the different ways we can support you at xquadrant.com.

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