This is a follow up story for GR0 . If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Kevin Miller and I am currently the Co-Founder and CEO of GR0, one of the fastest-growing SEO agencies in the U.S. I launched GR0 with my long-time friend and co-founder, Jon Zacharias, back in 2020 and we have more than doubled in size since then.
Initially, we wanted to focus our business on providing top-tier SEO services to clients and helping them scale through organic search channels, but we have now expanded to also offer other digital marketing services, such as Google ads, Email/SMS, influencer, affiliate marketing, and paid social. Most of our customers are D2C and technology companies and also include the likes of Adquick, Venus et Fleur, Mosh, Olipop, Caraway, Genexa, and Lashify.
Entering 2023, we are now doing $1.8MM in revenue monthly, representing a run rate of just shy of $22MM annually. We have accomplished this by delivering 10s of millions in incremental revenue for our customers by running extremely efficient omnichannel campaigns that are both paid and organic.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
The business has continued to grow steadily since we last talked, that being said, the economic environment and looming recession have slowed our growth, allowing us to focus on improving the efficiency of our operations across the board.
In 2022 we expanded from 1 core service to 8 and in 2023 we will expand this to 14.
We recently launched affiliate marketing and hired a new Associate Director to run this department. In addition to that we launched a Paid Social department and hired two incredibly experienced Associate Directors to run that department. Lastly, earlier in 2022, we did the same for our new Email and SMS department.
Given our economic landscape, we have noticed a slightly decreased appetite among our customer base to invest in SEO, instead that interest has shifted back to Google Adwords and Paid Social because of their direct response nature and ability to generate faster and more predictable sales.
We have kept our existing customers happy and coming back by continuing to deliver consistent, honest, and transparent communication in how we are running our campaigns, making them true partners in the strategies we are employing. Ultimately, we deliver results that deliver positive ROI for our customers, we can prove that working with us is increasing sales and profitability and that is ultimately why our customers stay with us.
- Recently won 3 new Comparably awards for Q3 2022: Happiest Employees, Best Company Compensation, & Best Work-Life Balance
- Recently named an honoree on Inc.’s Inaugural Power Partner Awards list for 2022
- Recently launched GR0’s website with a new design and featuring new client services and case studies
- Lastly, in Q4 we were honored by Comparably and Business Insider with the title of Best Company Culture, Best CEO, Best Company for Women, and Best Company for Diversity.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
The thing we have been trying to solve day in and day out is our data operations project which is company-wide. This involves switching our project management system from Notion to Monday.com. Additionally, we have implemented a robust instance of Salesforce to run our sales from top to bottom.
Since we last talked, we were purely an SEO agency, we learned over time that to adequately service the brands we are working with and want to work with in the future we needed to decide to expand to become a full-service agency. In our effort to do this, in 2022 we expanded from 1 core service to 8 and in 2023 we will expand this to 14.
This will allow us to service extremely high-value enterprise customers and deliver full-funnel performance marketing for those that choose to work and grow with us.
Culturally, the economic changes did result in some terminations for financial reasons and this was particularly difficult for us because it is the first time we have experienced this in our three-year history. This has posed morale and emotional challenges that we have had to face and overcome. Given the changes in tech, this was to be expected but difficult nonetheless.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The biggest lesson I learned this past year was learning how to lead a large company through the ups and downs of a potential recession, keeping my employees motivated and feeling good in the face of broader economic uncertainty.
To continue to level up our company, we partnered with ADP to deliver a PEO that handles our payroll and gives our employees unparalleled benefits that we are extremely proud to offer.
Additionally, I hired a reputable CEO coach to help me learn how to become a better CEO, one that can lead the company to achieve the kind of growth we are striving to hit. It has challenged me in many ways personally and professionally that I did not expect. I have had to change the way I work, working smarter, not harder because at this point the company is too big for me to be working on all of the things I used to, I have to methodically pick the spots where I can have the greatest impact on an organization of this size.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
For the upcoming year, we intend to launch four new departments:
- Organic social media management
- Conversion rate optimization
- Tik Tok Ads management
- Amazon ads management
Our 5-year plan is very simple, to continue to grow employee headcount, client count, revenue, and profitability. We are laser-focused on making customers happy, which will produce the items listed above.
In the short term, we want to add 4 more service lines to be able to attract and serve enterprise customers.
In the long term, we intend to be the go-to destination for public companies to grow their businesses online.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
The best thing I read in the last year was Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins.
For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare -- poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him "The Fittest (Real) Man in America."
In Can't Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.
I applied the learnings from this book and it has allowed me to be a more resilient leader for myself and the people at GR0.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
My top tip for other entrepreneurs is that when faced with a problem if you do not know how to solve it or you have not encountered it before, go and find the person or people who have been faced with this same problem and conquered it and ask them how they did it.
This sounds super simple and it is, but many people do not go direct to the source to solve a problem this behavioral change has been game-changing for me and allowed me to avoid making several bad business decisions. I have been able to tap into the knowledge of these experts and they have helped to guide me and make the right decisions in certain situations, the first time.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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