Link To Guest Website:

Title: “A VC & Consultancy Firm Rooted In Expertise”
Guest: Sam Palazzolo – Tip Of The Spear Ventures LLC
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (0s):
Hello everybody. This is Radio Entrepreneurs, and we continue to stream stories of entrepreneurship everyday. Trying to keep everybody up to date. What entrepreneurs are doing adapting to this new economy. I am also, I have my own businesses of my own a and also I am the CEO, founder of Mage LLC management consulting firm, working with leaders, developing organizations, changing organizations and family businesses as well. Our next guest, Sam Palazzolo, managing director, Tip Of The Spear Ventures. Whoa. It sounds like a sharp enterprise to me.

Sam (37s):
Hello. How are you?

Jeffrey (39s):
Very good Sam. So tell us about a Tip Of The Spear Ventures.

Sam (43s):
Yeah, so I founded the firm after I left a tech start-up to a successful private equity exit. I said, that’s what I want to do prior to that, I came from big consulting. So one of my former senior partners outreached after I left the tech start-up after that exit and they asked, you know, can we put the band back together so to speak? And I said, yeah, I think so. But lets do something different this time. Lets do a, a, a private equity from on one side, lets do a consultancy on the other. So to this day we’re celebrating our 10 year anniversary. We still have those two sides of the house. One’s the venture side at the house and one’s a, a consultancy. Our consulting world probably overlaps a, the consulting.

Sam (1m 26s):
I’d done it in the past. It surrounded change a, I think Deloitte and McKinsey called a business transformation now, but we have a heavy sales biz dev focus and our consultancy and our, our venture side of the house. So I can speak to that at length as well, but that’s how it is. We help organizations out.

Jeffrey (1m 44s):
Wow. It sounds very good. Why don’t you give me a little bit about your history and how you got into this?

Sam (1m 49s):
Yeah, sure. I spent about 20 years in the automotive industry. Go figure a guy from Detroit goes to work in the car business, but, but my way through under-grad working is a UAW, a member on the assembly line, a spent a number of years, working wholesale distribution for a couple of manufacturers like general motors and Toyota Alexis. And they ultimately worked retail for a few years. So a, you know, run a large auto platform for one of my favorite dealers with a variety of manufacturers. So I kind of get that industry and the industry at large from that manufacturing wholesale distribution and retail perspectives. As I mentioned, spent a number of years also working consulting both with Deloitte as well as with a Ann’s changed management group.

Sam (2m 32s):
And also it had my own firm and I grew from a single shingle to about 20 folks over about a five-year time period. And, and, and that is great. It is how it came to be where it is that I’m at today.

Jeffrey (2m 47s):
What, you know, how do you get your business?

Sam (2m 51s):
Yeah, so, so our business, you know, from the consultancy side of the house, you know, people typically think of consulting as a relationship. You got to know somebody’s or somebody refers you or, you know, our approach has something a little different in as much of that, the network is only going to be so big, right? You got to look for ways to a organically and creatively grow the network. And so we’ve worked with the same sales trainer now for the last six years, he has coached us up. We’re a, a, a aggressive outbound as well as an inbound type of a group. So from an outbound perspective, we do cold calling that’s the first and foremost how it is, but we outreach in connect with folks a, we try to network through social media aspects, but cold calling is our best ballywick, it’s the way that we put the most effort and energy in that outward type of a let’s connect with some different folks that aren’t in our current networks, our inbound marketing, a we’ve been in a HubSpot adopter, a pre IPO.

Sam (3m 55s):
So dating back to 2014, we’re good bloggers. I think I’ve got over 250 articles that are available on our website. I’ve also written five books, two of which were textbooks for university. I’ve taught at the university level since 2008, but that’s a little bit about how it is that we go about marketing from both the inbound outbound, a to try to gather some new network, if that makes sense of a new prospect identification.

Jeffrey (4m 25s):
Ah, do you find your field to be very competitive? Extremely

Sam (4m 31s):
Sure. I mean, we bump up against, you know, we bump up against in a consulting capacity to it, the big boys, right? Deloitte McKinsey, you know, at $500 plus per hour for consulting work. And it’s always interesting, you know, we’re, we’re kind of a boutique. I, I had a senior partner who always described us. It’s still to this day of the descriptions accurate, you were a little speedboat that aggressively is, you know, it kind of circling those big Naval aircraft carriers that take forever to turn around where we’re turning on a dime. It gives us greater flexibility, not only in product for what it is that we’re able to produce for our clients, but also for how it is from a billing structure.

Sam (5m 16s):
But we’ve also been there on the receiving end of those large consulting groups. And we know what it is from a quality of production. We create the same level and then some a, so we look at the consulting side of our business very much, or as a strategic partnership. We don’t like the term bender when we find that a prospective organization start terming us in vendor that verbiage, we, we exit, that’s not for us. They’re not the right client. I’m on the venture side of the house. Yeah, absolutely. We, we likewise run up against, you know, private equity firms that have more money, bigger funds, all of that type of, of things, you know, where it, its kind of a competitive, but it’s also a much more collegial, you know, and this is much, we don’t necessarily need to be the, the front runner from an investment, from a funding.

Sam (6m 14s):
It, as long as we get invited to participate or generally happy with that, we don’t need to be first in. That’s kind of our, our, our model on the venture side of the house too.

Jeffrey (6m 23s):
Interesting. Do you work by contracts or are you and open hourly how to use sort of build your fee structure?

Sam (6m 31s):
Yeah, so, so we’ve done it both ways and our best or best engagements have a purpose. So a statement of works are oriented around specifics from a production, from a deliverable to the client there, or also from a fee structure, you know, based out on the project completion. But you know, typical consulting work, you know, we’re in the project, you know, we’ll typically have some shoot off or offshoots regarding this is another project that we need help with. And so one project leads to another project that leads to another, one’s a, those types of, of statements of work. Obviously our, our, our architected around certain deliverables and very similar, a certain type of payment procedures.

Sam (7m 17s):
We’ve also had some clients though that have said, you want me to look, can we keep you on a retainer, might access you for, you know, two hours a month, 10 hours a month, something like that. Do we structure a, a 12 month, 20 for a month type of a contractual retainer agreement? And we’re open to those types of things as well.

Jeffrey (7m 37s):
Interesting. That’s a quite a thing. I like the fact that you seem to be able to compete with what I would call the big consulting firms. You must be much more reasonably priced than they are.

Sam (7m 49s):
Yeah, we can be. I think that’s one of the value adds the bigger value add though, is that, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna receive the same level of, of quality production and you’re going to get a better customer experience out a bit. You know, I, I, we sat on that side where we’ve hired the big consulting firms where we’ve hired the McKinseys and the Deloittes and Accentures, you name it. And, and we know it typically the game, the game is traditionally one where a senior partner will come through. They will sell the initiative. Maybe there is a little smoke and mirrors, but the actual production will be created by some freshmen analysts and brought in to the firm. They don’t know the industry, they don’t know the ins and outs from a client perspective.

Sam (8m 33s):
It’s extremely frustrating because there’s a, there’s a good two to four month type of a lag between them being brought up to speed on the industry or at least what it is. But we’re talking about doing, we don’t have that type of type of time to waste back then. We certainly don’t. Now we want to get into it. We want to do a rapid type of a discovery. We’re talking weeks instead of months. And that’s kind of, that’s kind of our approach to it. You know, we don’t, we want to be able to create, again, that high level of production, better customer experience have clients for a long term. We have one client whose been with us. They have been with us, write from the get go when we launched it.

Sam (9m 15s):
But the spirit there where our first client there is still with us to this day, 10 years later,

Jeffrey (9m 20s):
That’s it a great, we’ve been speaking with Sam Palla Zola, a managing director Tip Of The Spear Ventures and Sam, if someone is looking for you when the organization, how could they find you?

Sam (9m 30s):
Yeah. So Tip Of The Spear Ventures is our, our primary website a there. And I know it will put it in the show notes. If you like, what it is it we’re talking about it. Do you want to see some or our methodology? We have a, we have a give-away, it’s not our business transformation. We call it a business transformation. Self-assessment workbook. It’s 37 pages, 128 questions that you can self assess how good you are as a business. Typically we’ll have folks. This is our DIY offer. We’ll have folks that’ll come to the website, they’ll secure it. They’ll complete it. Or they’ll get part way through it. And they recognize, you know, or maybe DIY, maybe this is not the best approach or maybe we can do it in partnership with them.

Sam (10m 12s):
And we’ve got a couple of different partnership levels. We have one that is surreal. A hands-on we’re a step in step with you all the way through the process. The other one is one where it’s a, you don’t, maybe I just need some questions answered periodically a so we’ll develop both of those types of relationships, but we’re heavy customer focused, but that business transformation self-assessment, website’s available at Tip Of The Spear Ventures time.

Jeffrey (10m 37s):
Oh, that Sam, thanks for being on the show today. We hope you stay connected with Radio Entrepreneurs. We appreciate the time you’ve spent with us. You’re welcome. Thank you. I appreciate it. And remind everybody, this is the Radio Entrepreneurs.

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