Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce
Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce

Episode · 3 weeks ago

How Hitex Became a Top-100 Marketing Firm with Enrique Perez

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Enrique Perez, President & Founder at Hitex Marketing Group, joins the show to share his origin story, how he got started in business development, his philosophy of leadership, and how he eventually grew his own business into one of the top 100 marketing specialties and promotional products firms in the United States.In this episode, Enrique shares:

  • His secret sauce for how Hitex adds immense value to the companies they work with
  • Why Hitex works in vulnerability with both clients and competitors
  • How Hitex pivoted their service offerings in response to the pandemic
  • How Enrique successfully scaled Hitex to develop an international presence working with some of the world’s most well-known brands 

For more information about Hitex Marketing, visit:https://HitexMarketing.com or https://HitexAddingValue.com

Uncle Sam’s Secret Sauce is hosted by Rafael Marrero, Founder and CEO of Rafael Marrero & Company, which helps small companies do business with the world’s biggest customer: the U.S. Federal Government.

You're listening to Uncle Sam's secret sauce, a Raphael Morrero and company podcast. This is a show for US small business owners and decision makers looking to grow their business. You're about to hear a conversation with successful entrepreneurs in the fields of construction, janitorial, cybersecurity and more. Here you'll learn how to sell to the government and what this secret ingredients are for effective marketing for small businesses. Let's get into the show. Enrica Fez, welcome to Uncle Sam's secret sauce. Well, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here and I think we're gonna have a very enjoyable time together. Absolutely, don't we always right? That's what it's all about, Enrica. Ever since we met, we've had a very positive working relationship. It's one of those relationships where you click with the individual from the very beginning. We have a lot of commonalities and we hit it off from the very beginning. It's been a good, solid working relationship and beyond just a typical client relationship. I enjoy visiting your facilities because you have a world class facility and, by the way, we're speaking with Enrique be it is president and CEO of high text marketing, Enrique, please tell us where your company is located in your website before we get started. Absolutely, and I agree with you. I've enjoyed the relationship with you since day one. You are an impressive individual and I think it's been a great partnership as well. Thank you. We're located in Miami, Florida, actually in Durral, next to the Dolphin Mall, and our website is high text marketing, Dot Com. We've got a second one that's adding value dot com. Everything to do with the promotional products is found in those pages and really it's more about high text. Well, thank you for sharing that. And folks, that's high text, H I t x, high text marketing dot com, and adding value dot com is a second website. Correct, that's correct, okay, and it's very, very interesting because you talk about adding value and we're going to cover that concept today. It's a very significant concept. There's a very big difference between what Enrique Perez and his firm does for his clients and clients he has, and wait till you see the Star line up air very significant high profile entities and individuals and companies that he represents and that he helps brand the product. I compare Enrique in high text to apple in many ways, because his is a product development firm, not just a Choch key firm. Right, and I don't mean this in a condescending way. There are many companies that sell promotional items and riget petters is above and beyond that. He does product development in which you see the quality of the products that are featured in his website and the brands that he works for. I mean, as soon as you walk into his showroom and facilities, you're going to get a world class experience. It's like you're visiting a Disney facility from all intents and purposes. From a brick and mortar standpoint, the branding is there, the lighting, the color, decorations, everything, even the display of your sample products, is very impressive, very very well put together. So congratulations, and it's something we pride ourselves with. It's actually award winning for the industry, by the way, our facility. Yes, the bottom line is that when customers and clients come in, they feel the area that we want them to feel, in the vibe and just and things start to happen, and that's really what we wanted to do. And that's what I felt the very first moment that I was there. So let's get started. Let's talk about that. So first and foremost, and Rique, tell me about your family origins, word as your family originally hailed from, and tell us about the beginning of your professional career. It's a great place to start, because I think the origins has so much to do with who you become and who the company actually becomes and hopefully, the success of that company and you as an individual. I'm born first, oldest son of immigrants this country. My father immigrated from Spain at age seventeen and my mother was seventeen and immigrating from Argentina. They met, they quickly married in a couple of years and I was born pretty quickly after that. So I have very young parents. They decided to move back to Spain when I was around five. I lived there through the Franco era and then moved back to California when the country took a very left hand turn, I supposed, and it was scary for them and they said no, let's go back to the USA, more opportunity, and so they moved back to California. I was then raised there. I went through your middle school and high school and university. So I went to UC Santa Barbara for a couple of years studying economics and transferred over to Loyola Marymount and did an international business program excellent and it was there that I kind of got my feet wet and really shaped my career. I was involved in an entrepreneurship academy. At that point, your professors would pick, you know, a couple of students to represent the school and we had students from USC U, C L A, Chapman College Long Beach and Loyola Marymount and a couple others, and we had a group of about students that every Saturday morning would be able to go and speak to these entrepreneurs that were shaping the world at that point in the late eighties, and it was just access that you would not imagine that anyone would have. And this is before entrepreneurship even became something you could study at the universities. So that really shaped me and actually, and it shapes me until now. We...

...have amazing internship programs here at high tech and it comes from that. It's from having been given the opportunity to see the world by people that were shaping so I graduated from Loyola Marmount and didn't want to work Pacific Rim so I had a job offer here in Miami. It was a company called Basson distributors in the music world. I knew the least about music of anyone in that building, but somehow they made me new business development and my job was really pretty cool for a twenty four year old just out of college, twenty three year old. I had to get ten appointments anywhere in Latin America, so Bogata, Chile and Santiago, when a side is and then I would get to fly down there and we were the industry leaders. So these people wanted to see you go down there represent them. I got to really finish my education that way with Basson Distributors and I learned so, so much about the world and what I wanted to do. And it didn't really matter. You know, it's the fact that I was selling, you know, music accessories or music videos. We were selling laser just at that time. I did ten million dollars of brand new business development. My second year there you were on fire. I'm fired. I'm fired twenty four. So the owner of the company would come to my desk and say so kid, what are you got going on today? It's just amazing. So I was there for a couple of years getting paid really pretty much nothing. I think it would be minimum wage nowadays. But the experience that I got from that was really got me to where I'm at today, you know, in terms of the people that I met working with Latin America. So I opened up a firm. It was more of a of an import, export or just buying company. About six months into doing that, to get a call from one of the clients down in Latin America and says, Hey, can you do these letter openers for the bank that they were representing? I said, okay, let me find out, opened up the yellow pages, put in an order with the distributor and then he says, okay, meet me at such and such factory. I go pick up the order and all of a sudden I realized, wow, this guy just made thirty points on me and that was so easy for him. Within a year my entire business was promotional products and I got into this business really by chance. Today, twenty five years later, where you are in the top companies in the United States doing this business out of twenty six thousand. Okay, that was an amazing journey. It started in a one bedroom condo. I had just gotten married. I got married the same year that I started my business, so it's easy to remember both things. You know, one bedroom, so we had the bed and we had the desk, and then the crib comes about a year and a half later with Nicholas, my oldest son, and my wife says, Hey, one of these things has to definitely leave the room. It was the desk and so we moved out to the durrall and that was the start of a journey. I shared office space with a friend of mine that was in the freight forwarding business. So I got to learn freight forwarding, which is such a vital part of my differentiator with any company in my industry, and I helped friendly competitors were just doing that. So I learned that by sharing an office space. And then the next thing is I moved to a little bit larger office. I started hiring people and I realized, you know, what I need is is somebody to help me build this business with the graphics. And it's unheard of, but I now have seven graphic artists on staff for a company that has many some employees who were very heavy me into the graphics. The way that we present is as an AD agency, but the difference being, of course, that we don't charge for the ideas. What we do is we make sure that the ideas are capable of being executed and so we make money on the execution of the ideas. So it's a much more profitable business proposition for any client to be able to pay for what you're gonna use rather than, you know, the idea of what something might or might not end up working. So that's how we differentiate ourselves and it was learned from the early days, which was, you know, it's just opportunity. So I learned to travel, I learned to do business in Latin America and then I learned how to do freight forwarding and then I got into this business of promotional products and again, Opportunity knocks when you least expected. It was the Gold Coast Promotional Products Association, which was the Association for Florida, was looking for a young Latin distributor because they wanted to increase their attendance to their events and they thought well, this is a segment, this is who we need to bring in. So let's find somebody, and they put me on the board. So I was a director on the board of an industry that I barely knew. Two or three years later, with their mentorship, I was asked to be the president of that Gold Coast Promotional Produc Association for the President of the Association for the State of Florida, which gave me the ability to travel, you know, for those three or four years, the ability to travel to the best mentors in our industry. So I got to see the guys shaping this industry in the United States and that had brought their knowledge and I wanted to share it to young people. They would send me to every leadership program that they could. So again it was very fortunate. I become the president of that association in a time when purchasing was archaic here for ours so we had to supply chain. That meant so, as a distributor, I would buy it from somebody here in the United States that was a decorator, who would buy it from an importer here in the states who was buying from someone in Hong Kong who was then buying from someone in China. I studied international trade in two thousand and one, I did my first trip to China and I've been there probably twenty five times since, and that again became a differentiator because I have relationships now that I've had for twenty years in...

China, and I'll give you one. For example, the factory that we use for our hats is. I met that gentleman, that factory owner, eighteen years ago. He has since given the company to his daughter and the daughter has now given it to her brother. So I've been dealing with the same hat factory in China for eighteen years. We get billed every month or two. That's unheard of in China, that you don't get building you know before ships. So those are the type of things. Again, how did that happen? Opportunity and putting together the things that I learned. Maybe some genetics, because, you know, I grew up in entrepreneurship and just the vision to differentiate yourself, to do something different. I grew up learning that entrepreneurship wasn't just being a business owner, but you were doing something different. And so what we started doing different because I wanted to be an entrepreneur and can help shape this industry is putting together all those things. So how do we differentiate ourselves? The way that we present our graphic artists? They're creative. I've got seven. One of them is into packaging, so our packaging. Before packaging became a big thing in our industry, you know, we were already doing it three d modeling. So we've got one that just basically that's what he does and we put that into a presentation. They're only gonna look at your presentations. In fact, I had it been large customer of bars and one of the reps data presentation kind of quickly and didn't go through the right methods that we typically present to that customer and I got a call from that customer saying, yeah, we received something, but I don't think it's from you. It's not up to your standards. and She was absolutely right. You know somebody who took out shortcut and needed to geus something to her right away. But they're not used to that. They're used to the high text presentation style. That's why you you've raised the board. So creativity, innovation and just to be able to like know, hey, what I received, I can produce and your guys know the capabilities of each machine that's going to be used and you know how the branding works and you have the continuity of the messaging. That's how we differentiate ourselves. You can go to market. So that's kind of my story. I've been really, really fortunate and blessed. I enjoyed the industry so much and the people that are working with talked about adding value, and that's why I told our listeners stand by for the meaning of adding value. Right, your second website and there you have it. It's all of the items that you receive from a provider before dollar one is invoice. Right. If you noticed, there are big, significant differences in the way enrica and his team approach the client relationship and the creative process. Right. He has a creative staff on the bench. That is almost a third of his workforce. So the creative side of the house accounts for almost a third of all personnel. That's a significant amount of creative staff members. In addition to that, they each have specializations like packaging, and then they present themselves as an agency. But the difference between high text and others is that they don't just present, they don't blow sunshine, right, they don't just present ideas and then see if they stick. They actually work with products that are viable, that can be sourced, that can be fabricated or manufactured, and that's why, at the very beginning of our talk today, compared your firm to Apple. You're a promotion hi old product company, but you're a product development firm. You developed products and you developed concepts that sometimes our words and thoughts and you put them into practice. You build things that embody that concept and that's what makes it such a great place. So let's talk about the areas that your firm specializes in, because we've touched on some of them. Let's kind of synthesize and summarize them. What are some of your firm's core competencies? I think that the best way to do that is maybe with the story, and I'll share one that probably from three or four years ago. We're very UH active in in Central America, Latin America Caribbean. We had a call, we got a call from Amazon in Costa Rica, which is the largest facility outside the United States. At that point they had ten thousand employees in Costa Rica and they asked us to go ahead and come up with a end of the year gift for their employees and was request king from the HR Department and they gave us, let's just say, not a huge value for what we needed to produce, but we ended up taking that and we came in within budget. Create is something that was iconic. We took their iconic box and created a very simple backpack. But when you see it, the graphics on the backpack, which the graphics don't add much cost when you're doing them in an Orient, but the graphics and the idea, this thing looks like it's an Amazon box. So it had all the continuity of branding, the continuity of messaging and then came in within budget. So core competenencies, I would definitely say is yeah, creativity, innovation, you know, an eye to budget. How do we get it produced? Well, we got the sample produced within two weeks. Again, going back to my previous stories, I've known this bag factory for almost fifteen years. When we asked them to do a sample for Amazon, they jump on it and two weeks later I've got a physical sample in front of the buyer in Costa Rica. It's unheard of to be able to do that, that R and D and come in with the fabric. That was almost a cardboard like fabric, with the right printing, you know, with everything. It was already ready to go product. This is not three D prototyping, this is it of the ability to do that, I think, definitely core...

...competency. We're actually doing this now, also for friendly competitors. That's how good I think we've gotten that. We were able to produce that bag. I think it was six weeks in China and obviously different days. We were able to ship that and it got the market within five or six weeks. We made it to destinations, all the destinations in Latin America that it had to go to, probably a month before they needed it. And so the comfort, what does that mean? So again adding to those core competencies, logistics, I guess really it's almost, want to say, responsibility to make that buyer's life easier and look good. There's human things that we do that that are beyond what you can put on paper. But when that buyer looks good, guess what happened after that? They came back the following year in February and said, okay, what are we doing this year? And we gave them a deck. That was unheard of. So that's been now four years. So we just finished delivering a great idea. We actually created a wireless charger, also in the shape of a little Amazon box that you set your phone on it and it try. It is yourself phone, and that went out to each employee, not only in Costa Rica now, or Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, but now also now we're working with Europe, and so we sent these out to Holland, all over Europe. So that's what happens and we are just now did our pitch for the same customer for their next gift. So that's just one example, but I think those examples really show our competency and anything I can list for you. Yes, absolutely great way to Illustrat it via storytelling, right and based on an actual situation that you've encountered. When talking about government, most folks don't think about products. They think about rette paper, guys in uniform or someone constructing a building or things like that, or rockets or airplanes, right, the military. Most folks don't associate promotional products with government, and I know that it's not the case. It's actually the contrary. The government does a lot of outreach and a lot of events tell us about your experience. What are the areas of opportunity for you in the government sector and also in the large private sector, and then let's talk about some of the small socio economic certifications that you've been able to secure. Wonderful and I gotta start first of all by really thanking you because you got me involved in this world. Probably the listeners don't we were named a Florida mb e supplier of the year last year. BRAV Bravo. I'm amazed by that accolade. The competition in that grouping is it tremendous. Just amazing companies doing amazing things for the community and I love the fact that they not only measure your revenue and buying and but they also look at you know who you're buying from, how many other M B s are you working with and what are you doing for the communities and society in general, and I love that. So that's an accolade that just happened and it's very dear to me and it had a hundred percent to do with you. So thank you very much. Thank you so much for that, and well deserved because your company is all about it. Thank you, I would say, and it's a great question. So we've taken a different approach and it's really helped revitalize our business and I see endless potential. So one of the things that we did was, yes, there's tons of work that you can do with the government, but there's a lot of private sector companies that are working with the government, that are looking for partners and that's a great aspect that a lot of people overlook. You know, I would say, Oh, I want to work with the government directly. No, but so we work with some of our clients that have mandates by their contracts to work with minority owned businesses, diversity suppliers. Diversity suppliers is enormous. We picked up a company, it's it's a nine billion dollar Canadian company and we picked it up by one simple thing is somehow we had emailed our capability statement, which, again, Drafa, that capability statement was the best time that we spent together in fruitfulness. I don't think there's another company in my industry that has as professional of a capability statement as that is and that you had to ton to do with that. Thank you. Thank you. And had opened the door for this, for example, this company that was looking for a diversity vendor, a diversity partner in Canada and in the US, and they're they're located mostly in Canada, seven thousand employees, but have been buying a lot of franchises and other companies in the US. So they needed somebody that could work both, obviously, with our capabilities being international, our vision for logistics and the footprint and the experience, and there's some local vendors right both in the US and abroad. We were able to satisfy pretty much all the needs that they had, and so it's been about a year now with this company. That seriously just came from an email where we had emailed them our capability statement. And we're noticing not just with very large companies, even medium sized companies that are looking for diversity vendors, they need to be able to prove that the vendors are using first of all are not just diverse, but that they're certified, and that's helped us, how quite a bit. The MB again, the same thing, even as as far down as the county. We work with a county, for example, and not just our county. But the fact that you're working with Miami data in our case allows you to work with brower and with other counties in the State of Florida.

So it all works together and you really have to at some point kind of figured out, okay, what segment of this do I want to really be the expert at. We have decided that what we're gonna do is really try to work with these companies, these large companies that have tons of government contracts themselves, but to have that mandate, to have to work with diversity suppliers, and then add to that the fact that we specialize because we feel it, we love it and we know that it's the future in sustainability. So a lot of our projects have says sustainability concepts. With this one in particular that found us from Canada, we actually created a gift to deliver their sustainability reports to their all seven thousand employees and v IPS that deal with them. And then we went beyond what the air even expectations were. So we went the extra mile. Week found a vendor in the State of Utah, which is fantastic, and what he does is he creates cardboard boxes post consumer recycles, so Nott. And then what people don't realize is, okay, so you put something on there then you're gonna use the tape which has the SIDS. We're using equal friendly adhesive tape. The sticker and the label to go on it are recycled. We're taking it to just the extreme. If that's what the client needs and wants and we're delivering a sustainability report, why wouldn't you do that? Exactly that product delivery right there and preaca embodies it. carries the message. Right, it is. In this case. The medium is the message, like mcglulin would say, right in the marketing classic. Right, very interesting. How folks, I want to underscore what you've just heard from the president and founder of high text marketing, Mr Enrique Petz, who is a academically trained economist and personal with Business Administration background and a specialization in entrepreneurship, and who has been a successful entrepreneur during the last several decades and the president and founder of one of the top one hundred marketing specialties and promotional products firms in the United's states. So your firm is actually on the top one percent right of the industry. That's we're talking about the elite. This gentleman owns the equivalent of the apple in his industry. He is the upper echelon of the promotional products industry and for those of you that are fortunate enough to visit their location in Miami, Florida, you will be impressed. For Contracting Officers and program managers and the heads of agencies and departments out there that are looking to source a qualified, talented, responsible partner for your supply chain needs that will put together a great outreach solution. High text marketing is one that I highly recommend. That have been betted by multibillion dollar companies abroad and have delivered on time, on budget, a quality product and always seem to exceed customer expectations. That's what I really, really like about them. Right now, there are multiple areas of opportunities in the large private sector in the government. Something at Enrique just pointed out that I want to underscore is the fact that there are two ways that you can actually do this. One of them is becoming a prime and getting certified and going after the contracts directly with the government. The more sensible way of doing it is actually the latter, which is subcontracting to a prime because under federal guidelines, they are required to have a subcontracting plan when contracts exceed seven hundred thousand dollars, with the exception of construction, they are required to have a subcontracting plan for thirty three point seven percent, and that's where companies like high text marketing come in as a qualified strategic partner for product development, products sourcing and packaging and branding custom solutions for clients in different realms. So if you're looking to put together a product launch in the commercial sector or if you're looking to do an outreach campaign in a federal agency, community outreach efforts into fabricate products that can carry that message and help your agency promotional materials and Riquet Bettis and his team already go to in this realm, and I really appreciate what you just said. I mean, please, I cannot underscore it enough. Subcontracting and strategic alliances are a great way to scale your business. That leads us. So we've already covered the diversity component, about the socioeconomic designations, and they've secured small business certifications at the state, federal and private sector level, Enrique. So some of these teaming agreements and subcontracting and agreements that you've had with other firms, have they evolved into mentor protegee programs. There's been a lot of growth in mentorship, both us from them and them from us, and I think that's where it's very important. You know, there's things that we can learn from our clients. They keep pushing me to be more creative, more innovative, more on targets. We have a customer that would all due respect, they came to me and they say, Hey, look, you're getting of our...

...spend and it's a big client and they realized, Hey, by giving everything the high takes and working the way that we're working, basically brought it in house, because they consider me an house. But one of the things that they were asking for is, okay, we need to have an awareness as to what are the major brands in our industry doing, and so how? What does that look like? We need to be at the forefront, and so that pushed us. And so what do we do? We came up with a program and it's an internship program and I'll go back to that part. So we've got interns which are we're using their for day, which is social media, and they're diving not to see what, say, for example, of the brands are doing themselves, but what the influencers of the influencers of those brands are doing. So we are going deep, beyond what even we were asked to do and really going to three, four steps ahead to see, okay, where are the trends really going? And so we're able to bring that back. And so there's the mentorship program and really the them pushing us and US being able to get back. And what we're able to do at that point is also create mentorship programs for the younger generations. Now, for our students, which, when they get a chance to work with the brands that they're working with, they're just in amazement. Here's a sophomore, junior, senior at Fiu, for example, and he's working on global brands in a capacity that even the global brand marketing managers don't even get to do it because they're these kids are so bright, you know. So I love giving that opportunity for them to be able to grow and have those mentorship opportunities. And at the same time, it's those companies, of our clients, that are giving us the opportunity to have mentorship with them. And I would go one step further, and this is something that maybe some of your listeners don't think of I think I'm mentored in a mentor friendly competitors. How much more profitable is my business today because of things that I've learned from friendly competitors and I passed along, obviously as well, and some of those friendly competitors have become clients of high text now because of the things that we do. We open ourselves up with vulnerability, both to our clients and to our friendly competitors, in order to really be more than the some of the what a great concept. I'm also a big believer in coopetition, right, that's what I call it. Yes, cooperating with your competitors, because a situational awareness is very important. So you get to work with your competitors firsthand and guess what, if they're a worthy competitor, a very good strategic alliance can grow out of that, and I mean that. And the good thing about contracting in general is you don't have to be married to one entity in every single project. You can cooperate on a first come, first served basis. You can form what's known as a teaming agreement, and I just recently wrote an article about this on our blog, and I encourage all of our listeners to go to Rafael Mareo DOT COM to check out our blog section, because we're posting three pieces every week in new concepts that are written in standard English for the rest of us. Right, contracting for the rest of us in standard written English, so that people can go and read up on contract your teaming agreements. So you can actually develop a teaming agreement, and these teaming agreements can be exclusive or non exclusive, so you can be part of a team that is going for a contract and participate with a competitor via coopetition, right, or you can have an exclusive where they can't bid on any other team, you know, so it's only you and they'll give you pricing and you're gonna go after this sales pursuit together, right after the sales capture efforts. So it's a very interesting way of developing your business, of growing your revenue and also staying on top of what's out there in the market. And then, last but not least on this topic, and Hek is the fact that remember that conversation that I had when we had the boot camp in your office, which is a very, very incredible experience. Your entire team was there and maybe later on you can tell us a little bit about that experience, but I really enjoyed it and one of the things that we talked about was how do we position the company right to win additional opportunities? You know, how do we get that situational awareness right? How do we get our names out there right? Very important to see who's buying one and from whom, so that you'll see who your true competitors are and who you can actually team up with right, identify new opportunities. And then, most importantly, and this is something that small businesses need to learn to grow and and Rica has become a master at it, and that's what his firm has grown so much, aside from the obvious skill set, in the dedication, in the hours and the intellect of this man, as as you can witnessed in this conversation. Now you can actually go after opportunities and identify them in advance by talking to your contracting officers and are your senior buyers in the large private sector. Right, and in the federal contracting arena, there's something called the rule of two. Right, if two small businesses are identified in the sources sought notice before it becomes an RFP, right when the government is actually formulating its acquisition strategy. This is something that we discussed in your boot camp. Then...

...you can throw your hat in the mix and also tell a good competitor, hey, there's an opportunity here. You guys should throw your name in the hat, because what happens is they invoked a rule of two right and it becomes a small business set aside where two qualified respondents have participated in this process. So you can actually help formulate ethically influenced the government's acquisition strategy, the A S and help them define because during the sources sought is when they do their market survey and that's when they get to meet Enrique Biz and Enriquez, worthy competitor, and they say, wait a minute, these two or small businesses, they're in the right mix code, they have the facilities, we're going to make this a small business set aside for this product right for this category. Or they really, really like what Enrique has to say and they go visit Enrique and they do a site facility visit, which you've had before. I recall that they've actually gone to visit you because they've been impressed, and then they say, you know what I think we have a case here for a soul source justification right, so you can actually be awarded the contract because the contracting officer deems that you meet the criteria required to be awarded this business without a formal solicitation or formal bidding process right, and that it is in the government's best interest to do so because of the unique value that you add. Going back to the original topic, these are little nuggets that are coming from the conversation with Enrique, some of his ingredients for success. So, enriquet, please share with us what are some of the names and logos of the companies and entities you've served in the last five years, because when I walked into your facilities, which again world class facilities, you must visit this man's facilities. And if you're looking to source a good, super qualified product manufacturing company, Promotional Products Company, you need to consider high text marketing. Tell us about some of the names and logos that your firm represents today and has in the last several years. Well, I think a lot of these logos are very dear to you, so you like them when you saw them as as I said, it was Amazon, for example, mastercard, Heineken, Guinness. We've been working with the diageol group for many years. so that's your Johnny Walker's, mayorn, Not Bailey's, Captain Morgan and preferred vendors with these companies, all of these companies for a ton of years. And then a lot of banking, and it could be international banking. We do a lot of universities here, locally, F I, you and you am, Baptist hospital, locally, Nicholas Children's. It's a pretty long list. I would say we have about three hundred companies. A lot in the legal and accounting so we worked with de Lloyd, for example, price waterhouse coopers or B WC as well. It's a long list. It's a long list many and we work with these companies also in many countries. Our list of clientele is spread out through many industries and then, at the same time, through many different countries. So so we feel pretty comfortable that we're well in. So pretty impressive and in case you missed some of those names, you can actually go to high text marketing, their website and download a copy of their capability statement. On the reverse side you will see a nice matrix with the different services that they've provided to these agencies and entities very, very impressive across the categories of products and services that high text marketing offers. I saw consumer products, I saw beverages and and spirits industry. I also saw sports, sporting teams. Now you're doing some work with the major clubs. I understand, of course. Yeah, and again it's a lot of partnerships. So when we just did the bounce back, which was the Miami Heat, because really of our partnership with adaptors hospital, and so there's a lot of times that you get to give back to the community in ways that I would have never expected that I'd ever be able to do. That's just it brings a lot of joy to your heart to be able to participate that way. But at the same time, you know, and then there's sandals resorts, for example, is another one. Club Med when you're looking at the hotel and fun industries, a lot of cities, you know, the city, Daventura, coral gables, throw just to name a few. But nonprofits like the it's a wonderful nonprofit. A lot of nonprofits. So we have local and state government, we have some agencies at the federal level, we have a fortune one D company that you mentioned, and also big four accounting and consulting firms. Uh nonprofits of the independent sector is there and again, if you're looking to provide a fully sustainable, green option, and riquet beers and his team are capable of doing that because of their background in third party logistics, freight forwarding cargo and their years of extensive experience and not just product development but also sourcing the components and their supply chain partners throughout the world. Let's talk about the pandemic hit and some of the things that you did. Some people had to pivot reinvent themselves. High text marketing actually grew during the pandemic. Please tell us about your growth. I gotta start this, but just by saying that I think the number one thing that I was to accomplish...

...during the pandemic is that I kept of the families intact, that we're working for me, even when for three months, you know, we had very little to know sales. It was something that was very dear to me and I had told him that that was going to be the case and I was able to stick to it. What it didn't mean, though, is, you know, we had to get very creative. We started pivoting, as you called it. We did some PPE stuff, but not necessarily very much. What ended up really being fantastic was the kidding. So we started creating kidding. We have got a great video that was filmed during that time really to introduce it, and it probably took two or three months, probably for me. You got a little longer before company started realizing hey, this is gonna be the next thing, and that really saved us. So it got to a point where my forecasting mid pandemic was like, okay, well, here's the worst case. Now I had to re forecast the worst case. Now re forecast the words case, and halfway through the year we didn't know if our sales are gonna be down fifty easily. And then something happened in the third quarter and some of those pivots started paying, especially the kidding, and we were able to really come back with a vengeance and we ended up that year down from where we were in which had been our best year ever. So it was fine, it was something manageable at least. But what ended up happening is that energy that started in the third quarter kept going, the fourth quarter kept going, and then here comes first, second, third, quarter in one and we're going, what is going on? This is amazing. What was happening? This is those same people that maybe got let go from their current jobs during the pandemic went to other industries or other jobs and brought us with them to just as amazing companies as they had been to before. So we grew exponentially. So by the end of this last year we were up an extra thirty from our high ever. So let's say that again, please, because I want people to understand and to really let that sink in. Please repeat those stats, because that this is significant growth. Please, and we get for our benefit. So we had had our sellar year. We were a partner of the year for the Association. That would belong to great year started obviously fine. By March, our sales went to like nothing. So March April May, we I don't know, we sold ten percent of what we normally sell, and that's just by probably some PPE stuff that we sold. The pivot ended up coming in late third quarter and fourth quarter was amazing. We ended up the year fifteen percent down from our high and enabled US really to keep everyone that we were working with, that we was working with us, and really give some assurances to those families to not worry, which I thought was the most important that. That's what you needed during the pandemic, if you recall. And then what happened was this kept going one we reached amazing heights, almost higher than what we had been at in ten and this year we're expecting at least another growth year of another thirty percent easily. That's phenomenal and that speaks to the culture, but also the training. I mean, I think you spent, you've not spent, you've invested a significant amount of time in development and training. Aside from the formal education that you have, which is stellar. I recall that you also you graduated from the Goldman Sachs Ten thousand small businesses program right. Tell us a little bit about that opportunity in that experience that was amazing. And that program started, I think it was in January of before the pandemic. We finished into the pandemic, so we finished on on a virtual sense, you know, in virtual classes. But it opened my eyes to quite a bit, also with the county, with the state, a lot of government and entities, but also in terms of just professional development, and it's they group just so they you have this program that that's really it's actually tyed to Babson college up in Boston and their entrepreneurship program which is, I think, ranked number one in the world. They're teaching US things that you may know how to do or as a business owner, but they're sharing with your best practices and re educating you. And one of the things that I really needed, I think, help with is on the financial side and being able to forecast, because the company was growing so quick, being able to forecast three months, six months, about two or three years down the line in cash flows business in situations, you know, how do you forecast cash flow a year ahead of time? Those are the type of things that that I really got a lot out of, as well as the camaraderie with a lot of great business owners locally. I would say any opportunity that you get to do those type of programs, you're always going to learn more or less, but there's always going to be things that you're gonna learn and that you're gonna be able to implement immediately into your business. I recall exactly when you were contemplating taking the course and you ran it past me and I said please, yeah, do it do this one course, and part of the reason, if you recall from our conversations about your supplier diversity strategy and scaling your operations, because that's exactly the way you saw it. You saw supplier diversity as a way to position yourself as a qualified, diverse supplier in the large supply chains, working with others to grow your business, and one of the things you saw...

...was the opportunities for executive education and training, and that this is one of the things that we discussed. We discussed the tuch program that I graduated from, and then we also discussed the ten thousand small businesses and you said, should I take this one, and I said absolutely, go for it. And I remember when you first started the program how enthused you were, really, really pumped. You know, I remember, I gotta tell you that, that it's hard for a business owner, as you know, to say, okay, one day a week I'm not going to be in the office, but what an investment, because it was during those courses that I really put the test. Okay, how am I going to use these new certifications and have attained? And it was during this class and mentoring from some of the other business owners and instructors that they said really what you're describing to me, they said, when I from listening to what I wanted to do, was exactly what ended up happening, is to go for those contracts, with those subcontracts, and that was the key to the success over the last year and a half, and it would never have happened unless I had taken that one day a week to go and do these courses with these amazing people. What a great lesson learned and what a great outcome, because definitely the return on your investment has more than paid off. Right, right. So how have you been able to scale Your Business? And now I'm going to put on my econ hat and tell us about how you scale Your Business and then future growth strategies and if you could share with our listeners three of your secret sauce of Enrique bet is, a secret sauce ingredients for growth. Right, tell us about the things that you've done to scale your business, what the future holds for high text marketing, which I think looks very, very brilliant and very bright, by the way, and tell us about Enrique secret sauce. Well, some of some of these things are all tied together. I think what is the business? What are we looking to scale? That's tied to one of the secret sauces, which is technology. Nowadays, we have been able to find, maybe over the last four or five years, a way to go cloud based and transparent. And transparent I mean we are completely transparent, with every employee in the company cloud based, making US available to go ahead and hire and have a team that it spans multiple countries. So we've got a team in Costa Rica and Trinidad, in Madrid. That our oriented team. Everyone has access to everything and its technology base. So once we went to that, that enabled us to continue to grow and since then, in the last four or five years, we've tripled in size, basically. So that's a secret sauce. Team. The team that we have is absolutely amazing, and why? I think, because we have a very good understanding of what our values are. So anytime we're adding somebody to the team or the existent team that we have, we're looking for three things, and that's we need people to be hungry, to want to do more and to be humble. Hungry and humble, and humble by meaning not that they're lowly but humbled, and that they will do whatever it takes help. Whoever needs help not just think of themselves so hungry, humble. And the last one is smart, and that's smart. Is Common Sense Smart. Those are three values that we look for anybody that deplays the high techs. They need to be hungry, and you can tell when you have somebody hungry. They need to be humble immediately. You can tell that just by how they describe and what they're doing and what they want to do. And definitely smart, common sense smart. I don't need rocket scientists. What I need is somebody that has common sense solve the problem at hand. That's fantastic. What are some of your future plans, if you're able to share something, some of the next steps for Enrique Betis and his fabulous team at at high tech define the future is absolutely amazing. I am so excited. I love what I do and I'm energized by just listening to people at the forefront of my industry and collaborating with them. What our next movie is, and I haven't even spoken to you about this yet, but we're creating solutions through metal worlds. This is so interesting. So take for example, and I'll use the Amazon example. So Amazon has a challenge. You know, they've got, let's say, those employees in Latin America and they need to be able to communicate with them. Well, people don't want to go on a web check out their email. That you know. They get bored with an email. They're not going to go onto the web to check out you know. Okay, well, what's the HR Department posted today? So what we're creating, imagine this is metal worlds, where there's an incentive that you're creating a world for an Amazon employee world. And let's say when they go in, and it's like playing a game. So there's games side to it. They're going in, you get your an avatarge, so you create an Avatar that's you and now all of a sudden you're going in, you're checking stuff out. You may have a video from the CEO scrolling by. You know, you're walking by a TV and that's the CEO. You Click on it and it's the video message from the CEO. Or you may have another spot where you go to and it's information about an HR or about how to request vacation time, and let's say it's product related. You go into this amphitheater and you start seeing the different products that they have, and they may be in three D and You click on it and then all of a sudden you're learning a out that...

...product. And as you're doing that, then there's a little quiz, let's say, or a game, and it will ask you a questions just to make sure that the employee did it. And as you're doing it, you're gaining points. So let's say, Oh, you've got ten points for that answer, under points for this. Then you're able to change those points for swags. So now all of a sudden I'm getting orders for okay, so, Hey, we want to buy a thousand t shirt for a certain event in the Bayu. And so they go in and there's something that they can win. They can win that Sincle, the Mayo Shirt, by answering, you know whatever questions or going in and visiting, listening to the CEOS video message or whatever, and you get these points and then all of a sudden that comes to me and I'm able to ship that employee out directly without touching anybody at your firm, at Amazon. We ship them the t shirt that they want, if that's what they want. They can also pick hey, I love dogs and they can pick a little dog that enters the Avatar and follows them around. You know. I mean there's just the metal world thing is brand new. WE'RE gonna go to it. WE'RE gonna BE HELPING OUT HR WE'RE gonna help out how we train employees. You can help out safety programs because you're gonna educate them. You know, it's endless what we can do with that and it's just vigorating. As far as I can see. I can hear and perceive the enthusiasm in your voice. I know when you're pumped up about something because of our history. I know when you're really excited about something. So I mean it's interesting how you've used technology as an enabling construct to help catapult your company, to take it to the next level and to really have that upper hand in terms of being always at the forefront and coming up with innovative strategies such as this one. I am curious to hear what comes next. So I'm definitely going to invite you to come visit with us again pretty soon when, once you've implemented some of these programs, because this sounds like a fascinating chapter in high text marketing's history as a company. I would love to thank you. Last but not least, before we leave and we get betters. Thank you so much and we get betters. President, CEO and founder of High Text Marketing Today with US folks, can you share with our listeners your experiences working with with our firm, with our Maret and company, and some of the pointers that you would give them? Well, I think I mentioned that. The first thing that comes to mind is a team that you've assembled, extremely thorough, conscientious. You've kept me on task and they've kept me on task. So they will help you to get the things done that need to get done. They prioritize for you. So your team has been wonderful to work with. In terms of the benefits, as I mentioned to you, that capability statement that we created, that you really created, with my hope not the opposite, has differentiated me in my firm from everyone else and it's open overdoors just on its own. So, besides any of the certification, than anything else, you know, there's things that you do that will have the immediate effects. So you know, I'm always pleasantly surprised at how much comes out of every time that we have a conversation. Thank you so much, your words being a lot. I will never forget, and I have pictures of the boot camp that we held that your office. I remember arriving early that morning and the attention to detailed. So, because it's you and it's at your corporate facility, I brought Pastelto's and us and we had an espresso machine set up. I don't know if you remember that we had and the team loved it. It was a great experience. So we had binders, we had I mean it was a good educational foundation. It was the boot camp is actually something that I highly, highly recommend, especially if you want to get your head around a business plan and word how to take this to the next level. Right. I really enjoyed that and I remember your staff was on pointed. That experience right there really really helped me understand just how well you pick your staff, because everything you said earlier about the qualities that you look for in individuals was made clearly evident in that boot camp session that we had in your corporate facility. Enriqueps, it's been a pleasure having you on Uncle Sam's secret sauce. Thank you very much for the opportunity and I hope to be on again. You very much enjoyed the interview and just the time to share, you know, some of our successes and in the future for high text marketing. Yes, sir, indeed. Until next time. Based in Miami, Florida, Raphael Morrero in company is a management consultancy founded in two thousand eight by Dr Raphael Morrero. The firm helps other veteran owned, minority, women and small businesses break into the federal marketplace and do business with the world's richest and most powerful client, the US federal government. To learn more, visit Raphael Marrero Dot Com. You've been listening to Uncle Sam's secret sauce, a Raphael Morrero and company podcast. Keep connected with us by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player and giving us a rating. That helps us to keep delivering the latest in business growth strategies and, ultimately, learn what Uncle Sam's secret ingredients are. Thanks for listening. Until next time.

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