The cavnessHR Podcast – A talk with Megan Torgerson of Business Impact NW
The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective site.
iTunes: https://cavnesshr.co /theca54f53 Amazon Alexa: https://cavnesshr.co/f2191
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/cavnesshr Pocket Casts: https://cavnesshr.co/pocke97daa
Stitcher: https://cavnesshr.co/thecae7de3 Spotify: https://cavnesshr.co/cavnesshr-podcast-20868
TuneIn: https://cavnesshr.co/2abb0 Google Play: https://cavnesshr.co/googl6be3a
PodMust: https://podmust.com/?s=cavnessHR+Podcast iHeartRADIO: https://cavnesshr.co/d4s
Deezer: https://cavnesshr.co/podcast-cavnesshr-dbef5 Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jasoncavness
Jason’s Social Media!!
cavnessHR Website: http://www.cavnesshr.com/
Jason’s email: jasoncavness@cavnessHR.com
Jason’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasoncavnesshr
Jason's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jason.cavness.5
Jason’s Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/jasoncavnesshr
Jason’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasoncavnesshr/
For companies of Business Impact NW what we want to offer is regardless of the size your company. As long as it is 49 or less, one year of HR for one year for $1,000 of front price. Or $90 per month.
Megan: Hi, I'm Megan, with Business Impact Northwest and I'm here sitting down with Jason Cavness of cavnessHR to hear more about his business how he got started and how he's impacting the community. So, tell me a little bit about what you do and where you serve.
Jason: Well thanks Megan for talking to me today I really appreciate it. Thanks for the opportunity. So cavnessHR business is to deliver HR to companies with 49 or fewer people across the United States. But of course, you know we have to validate the product here in the local market of Seattle and Tacoma. To niche it down even further. We are focused on companies within Business Impact Northwest, Bunker Labs Seattle and the Tacoma Chamber of Commerce. Some things we're doing currently is HR compliance, employee handbooks, HR policies, labor posters, HR laws and responsive HR advice.
Meaning a company will call us or email us and we will give an answer within a quick amount of time. Items we are going to do in the future are recruiting. If you are Amazon or Boeing you have recruiters. If you're a mom and pop towing company who does recruiting for you? So we want to do that for them. Also, cavnessHR diversity. Where we do diversity workshops and just talk about the importance of diversity from bringing on your first hire and how having a diverse workforce can improve your company. Also, Daniella Young for cavnessHR culture. Culture and leadership for small companies. Another thing we do at cavnessHR. We do a podcast, the cavnessHR podcast where we talk to small business owners, founders, and people in tech, startups and HR. We have like 85 episodes so far and we talk to a lot of great people. We're going to expand that to the cavnessHR Culture podcast where Daniella Young, will be the host. We are looking for people to talk to on that. So if you're a small business owner and you built a great culture or you are struggling to build a great culture she wants to talk to you. I know she plans on reaching out to Joe Sky-Tucker, the Executive Director here to talk to him. Because you have a great culture here.
Megan: That's great. Business Impact Northwest is really enjoying being your first client and we're really excited to have you in today to hear how you've grown since then. So why did you start this business?
Jason: This is kind of a long story. Back when I retired in 2015 and they tell you to use LinkedIn to find a job. While doing this someone reached out to me and said. Hey, my name is Mark Monroe. I have a startup called MyUnfold. We want to help college students and veterans find jobs by taking skills test. Can you tell me how the Army is gonna help you transition? I was like yeah, but what the blank is a startup. I had no clue. We met up and he explained to me about startups. So, a lightbulb went off in my head. You never talked about HR. Why is that? He said because at startups we focus on minimum viable product MVP product-market fit and so on. Like I said a light bulb went off in my head. I said, let me do your HR for you and do other things. That way I can learn this stuff. He said, Well, let me think about it. But me being me, I pretty much hired myself. Started going to meetings, I made all these products for him. I started going to networking events, all these startup events, but no one had HR. So, it was always in the back of my mind. Interesting side note, the person who did marketing for us and the person who did design for us went to high school, with my daughter in Korea.
Megan: Oh, wow.
Jason: But like most startups, it did not make it. But I thought this might be a business idea. They tell you to validate your idea. In a six month period of time, we talked to 331 people in tech and startups. Of course, it is a bit more complex than this. But the basic question was, would you pay for HR, if it was affordable and do these things for you. 71 percent said yes and I have just been going at it ever since.
Megan: As an employee who's worked at a small business in another part of the country who didn't have HR, I think that would be really valuable for small businesses. I think what you're doing is really important. What do you love most about what you do?
Jason Just the community and the energy, You meet people who do so many great things. The problem solving, people trying to make people better trying to improve society.
Megan You're really an integral part of the business team. It sounds like coming in and helping and really watching small businesses grow and flourish with your guidance?
Megan So small businesses have a positive impact on our communities, from providing jobs to innovation and services. So how does cavnessHR provide a positive impact within the communities that users?
Jason So hopefully, the biggest long term impact will be actually paying employees. That is the biggest economic benefit hopefully. Now we do things like a job search seminar on Fort Lewis on a quarterly basis. We've done HR webinars here at Business Impact NW. Just trying to give back to the community as much as we can. When people reach out to me on LinkedIn, I try to help them out. I do things with colleges, there are so many things you can do to add value.
Megan Absolutely and especially just the work that you do for those small businesses is just making a great impact in their leadership and their sustainability. Are there any connections in the community or elsewhere that have been vital to your success?
Jason So obviously Business Impact North West has been vital. All the mentorship and leadership from here. You all just do a great job. Bunker Labs, for those who don't know, Bunker Labs is a veteran, nonprofit out of Chicago. They help Veteran entrepreneurs like me be successful in business. Actually, what they really do is if you have a business idea. They take through this complex series of classes and maybe it's not for you. The sooner you find that out the better for you. Because then the less money you waste. So, they do stuff like that. The startup community in this area, in general, they're just so helpful. It is a great community.
Megan That's great. So how did you hear about Bunker labs and Business Impact Northwest?
Jason So Business Impact Northwest? I don't remember how I found out about it. But the Impact Pitch you all do. I went to the first one. The one the Riveter won that year?
Megan Oh, great.
Jason I can't remember how I found out about it. Maybe Event Brite. But I have been following you all ever since. For Bunker Labs, I went to the first meeting in Tacoma 2 or 3 years ago and have been involved with them ever since.
Megan That's really exciting that you went to the original impact pitch. Then this last year, you won the best veteran-owned business. So that's really cool to come full circle and go up on stage and accept that award. So how has being an entrepreneur and the industry changed you as a person?
Jason So, I mean, I'm not a very patient person. So, I've become a little more patient. I think the general rule is if you think that it will take one week it will take two weeks. If you think it will take six months, it will take a year. Lots of lessons learned and you have to be humble. I mean, because a lot of smart people out there as well. You have to be open to criticism. You have to be able to hear no. Because as a startup entrepreneur, any small business owner, you will hear no, over and over and over, over and over and over and over again. You rarely hear yes. You gotta be thick skin, you can't be thin-skinned. No one's going to believe your idea like you do.
Megan So is there anything you'd like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs or something you wish you would have known when you got started?
Jason I'll tell you this, expect to be successful, expect success. Because failure is going to find you. Don't go looking for it. Have the attitude your going to succeed in everything you do. Because failure is going to find you. Also, patience is a big thing. It is going to take twice as long as you think three times as long as you think. Also, your startup idea, is your so-called baby, right. You can't expect other people working with you or for you to be as invested in your idea as you. It just is not going to happen
Jason Also, if you start a business, I would say this. If you're not awake in the morning, thinking about it. If you're not obsessed by it all day long. You're not going to sleep thinking about it. If every decision you make is not some kind of way based on the business, and you are not waking up thinking about it. This probably is not for you. Because you have to have passion. You can have the best idea, but if you are not passionate about it you're wasting your time. It may be a hobby instead of a business.
Megan Remind me when you got started.
Jason I got the idea back in 2015, 2016. I did the Washington LLC September 2017. Then I switched to a Delaware Corporation in June 2018. So, two to three years, just depending on how you look at it.
Megan So, how do you sustain your energy?
Jason I work every day, but you have to take breaks. Maybe take an hour off to watch TV? Or maybe I go to the Fob Brewery and have a couple of beers. You got to find your own pace. Maybe you need to take a whole weekend off. Or maybe you go snow skiing for the weekend. But you got to find a good balance for yourself. You can get burnt out easily.
Megan I think it's important to take care of yourself. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about your experience with Bunker Labs and the Veteran Business Outreach Center here at Business Impact Northwest? If there are any services that you've taken advantage of like Build Your Network, Build Your Business or the Slack channel that VBOC has, or any of those resources.
Jason I've taken advantage of everything. There are so many resources out there that are free, you got to take advantage of everything. Especially your first year you shouldn't be paying for anything. There are so many resources out there. You just got to find it. Both Bunker Labs and the VBOC have been great. I mean Dom's great, people at Bunker Labs are great. I mean, outstanding, super, excellent. whatever word you want to use. I've been very happy with the service I have received from everyone.
Megan How do you market and promote your business?
Jason I'm all over social media. If you google cavnessHR or Jason Cavness. I'm on Snapchat, Instagram, I do a podcast, have a blog, LinkedIn, a podcast that we post on 10 different pocket platforms. We're even on Amazon Alexa now and just networking. You got to go out and talk to people.
Megan You have a newsletter that you're starting pretty soon.
Jason For the newsletter, we're gonna start doing a weekly HR for small business owners and a weekly HR Culture. The first one will be for small business, like a three to five-minute video talking about drug-free policy, what does that really mean?
Megan It's always nice to have that just arriving into your mailbox. I would love to even hear tips about hiring processes or leadership skills. What are the next steps in your business?
Jason We're are knee deep into customer acquisition right now. We've done all the marketing so now it is a matter of asking people to buy our service. We're doing cold calling, cold emailing to different companies, reaching out to them. We have the email newsletter that we send out once a week. So if you're interested in being in on the email newsletter lists let me know or let Megan know so we can add you to the list.
Jason Another thing, we want to offer the companies of the Business Impact Northwest. So right now for our price and of course, the price is going to change because I am trying to figure it out. Right now, for 1-12 employees, it's $150 a month or $1200 a year and then increases to $3000 year for 35 to 49.
Jason For companies of Business Impact NW what we want to offer is regardless of the size your company. As long as it is 49 or less, one year of HR for one year for $1,000 of front price. Or $90 per month. That includes the job descriptions. We also do onboarding. So, the I9s and W9s all that kind of stuff. We'll find out is your employee is actually authorized to be working in the United States. But one thing we don't do, we don't do payroll yet. So, for the Business Impact NW companies again, thousand dollars for the year or $90 per month. Compliance, handbooks, job descriptions, and all kind of stuff. Then the recruiting, diversity and culture. That is going to be an additional cost and we're sort of trying to figure out what that really means.
Megan What have you learned from your from customer acquisition? That's like a really big process.
Jason I tell people, we're not selling candy bars. It's gonna take 10, 15, 20 touches to convince people. This a lot of touches and the main thing is to have follow up. Because people are busy. So there's this guy named Rand Fishkin, he used to be the CEO of Moz. They're like a real big SEO company, marketing company, a world-famous one. He said even for them, even for people to sign up for the free service. It takes them 10 touches just for free service.
Megan Like the marketing rule of seven requires at least seven touches.
Jason Another thing, are you telling the right person. Are you talking to the small business owner? Or are you talking to some person who really has no ability to affect anything? Make sure you're talking to the right person.
Megan Do you have any concluding thoughts about your experience with Business Impact NW.
Jason I believe that so many people have businesses because of what you all are doing. For example, we talked about this before we started the interview I think Booma coffees. I mean his story is great and he's doing a great job on social media. His story is great. The Impact Pitch competition you do every year. You should be really proud of what you're doing for the community.
Megan Well, we're really grateful for the services that you're also providing small business owners. So thank you so much.
Jason Thank you for your time this was fun.
Megan Thank you for your time.