Scott Meiklejohn: Thanks for listening to Hit Subscribe, a podcast by Recharge. I'm your host, Scott Meiklejohn. And on this episode, we're talking to Yaseen and Yusuf Shurbaji, co-founders and managing partners of Prismfly. Prismfly specialize in conversion rate optimization, alongside best in class design and development to create leading digital experiences. Yaseen and Yusuf share the different paths they took to get started in ecommerce before deciding to go into business together as brothers.
Scott Meiklejohn: They shared with us some of the misunderstandings about CRO, why subscriptions are so key to building up that loyal customer base, as well as the benefits of adding bundling options to your products. We wrap up our conversation with advice to new merchants just starting out as well as some key trends to keep an eye on in 2022. So, without further ado, let's get started. Yaseen and Yusuf, thanks for joining us.
Yaseen Shurbaji: Thanks for having us, Scott. Happy to be here.
Scott Meiklejohn: So, a lot of talk about today. But I want to talk about first, a little bit about yourself and a little bit about Prismfly. So, Yaseen why don't you go first?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Thanks, Scott. Yeah. So, my name is Yaseen. And I'm a managing partner here at Prismfly and also a co-founder. Prismfly is a performance marketing business that specializes in conversion rate optimization. And we also pair that with best in class strategy development and design. And I really serve in a business development capacity here. So, I spend most of my time talking to new clients, talking to them about their problems, and stuff like that.
Scott Meiklejohn: And Yusuf, how about you, what do you bring to the table here?
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. So, I'm on the other side and other founder and also a managing partner here at Prismfly. My background is in all things CRO. I've been doing digital for forever, SEO, being a merchant myself, as well as at different agencies. But really my strong suit is in CRO and kind of helping brands think about how to improve their online experience and ultimately, how to figure out this ecommerce game.
Scott Meiklejohn: You two are brothers, no spoiler alert here. I'd love to talk about the origins of Prismfly and how this came to be. So, you mentioned you guys are merchants before you said you did like a streetwear brand, right, for a bit?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah, yeah. That's a great question. So, probably about three years ago, a buddy of mine was telling me a little bit about this ecommerce thing in this world of Shopify. And at the time, I was still in college. And this seemed like a really attractive proposal, because I was like, "Hey, I'm looking for a way to pay for college. This could be interesting for me to learn about, maybe I could create something cool here."
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, had no prior expectations, but quickly got into it. I was always a fan of streetwear clothing and fashion and things like that. And so, I came to Yusuf and said, "Hey, if you have some extra time, this could be a fun side project for us to work on and have fun with." And within a matter of I think it was five or six months, we'd grown the store to multiple six figures. And we really just took a big step back. And we said, "This is really incredible. Something is happening here." And we want to uncover kind of more about this.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, we dug a little bit deeper into building the brand. We got really good at running ads. We got really good at optimizing the onset experience. And then we realized that a lot of people had a need for the kind of competency that we had developed. And then, we realized kind of the potential for us to take our knowledge and professionalize it and package it up was actually far more valuable than even the brand that we had created.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, that's when Yusuf and I came together and at the time that pandemic had just hit. And so, the need for ecommerce had kind of exploded. And so, we came together and said, "How neat would it be to kind of fill that talent deficiency gap and offer this kind of nice outsource turnkey solution for ecommerce strategy."
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, that's really the beginning of Prismfly. And since then, we've just grown an absolute rocket ship, which has been a privilege and a blessing. And a lot of that is a testament to Yusuf's background, who's the actual pro here in terms of service delivery. He's been in the space doing a CRO for much longer. So, much of the service delivery has been built on his expertise as well.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. It was funny, Yaseen was mentioning, I remember back the days of, he would send me a Snapchat of a giant three rooms long of just order labels being printed off and the boxes that were filling his dorm room. And I was like, "Sweet, it's working." And I was just happy that I wasn't having to ship out all the orders. But at the same time, I was also handling the customer service and adjusting the onsite experience and running tests. And I was just like, for an hour and a half every night was just getting on and doing customer service emails. And it was a lot of fun.
Yusuf Shurbaji: But the interesting bit was that we realized even as a very, very small brand, the issues that we were facing just in our merchant experience were the same issues when I was working with like JCPenney and Dior and some of these biggest names in the market. It was the same exact issues that they were facing.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And so, we realized, like Shopify is really doing something special here. And the nice thing is that a lot of the merchants out there in the ecosystem understand that. And if you can get really good at doing it even on a small scale or on a big scale, then you can have just monumental impact.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And so, it was kind of nice because the smaller you are, a lot of times it allows you to pivot really quickly. And slowly, things are shifting to where it's like, you can try different things out. You can try different technologies without having to rip out giant ecosystems or have months long process for integrations. And so, that's been really nice. And that's really enabled Prismfly to test all different types of things, it's just been great.
Scott Meiklejohn: I'd love to talk about some of those issues, and in particular, the ways, yeah, that you guys noticed and have seen that you can move the levers to pivot past them. But do you think it's very relatable to talk about challenges? And when I spoke to you guys before you told me a great story of, well, I just flat out asked you, tell me about when you guys realized you could do this. You're two brothers, Yusuf, you mentioned you had just bought a house. And just tell me about that moment where you guys are struggling to make this work. And then finally, you see that light.
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah. That's a great question, Scott. So, yeah, so from a macro perspective, we had a really good idea that ecommerce was just going to continue to explode, especially in the wake of the pandemic. And that was sort of our gut feeling. We obviously were at the grassroots of that as a merchant. And so, we felt that. But when we chose to go all in and actually create this kind of business to business outsource turnkey professional services option, it was a lot less clear if we would be successful. Because there wasn't much of a roadmap there, like there was with creating a brand.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, there was probably six or seven months that went past where we just didn't have a lot of traction. I was sort of on the ground floor talking to a lot of merchants about their problems, trying to figure out what would be the right pricing strategy for us to kind of go to market with this. And at the time, throughout all of this, we're making no money. So, we haven't taken on any institutional capital at all. And so, my little savings were kind of quickly dwindling to zero.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And I kind of asked Yusuf. I was like, "What are we going to do here? Because things are running out." And Yusuf was three, four years, my senior, so he had had a job and had savings. I said, "What if we just bought a house. And we lived in one of the rooms and rented out the other rooms. And could use some of that profit to float us because we had had some knowledge of real estate." And Yusuf said, "Well, I guess it's our only option." So, he went in all in on that. And that helped float us throughout that kind of period.
Yaseen Shurbaji: But for me, the moment that really signaled, hey, this might actually work is we were having a conversation with a merchant for about two months about conversion rate optimization and the power of incrementally increasing your conversion rate, your average order value LTV.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And I remember it was a Friday night, and it had been a really tough week with absolutely no traction. And Yusuf and I, we were at this restaurant. And there was nobody in there, which was kind of like the first red flag. And our food was taking forever to come out. And it was just, we were so hungry. And it was just a really sort of tough day, I guess, if you will, everything was going wrong. And out of nowhere, we got this wire into our bank of I believe it was 20 or $25,000. And it just was the craziest experience ever going from zero to that. At the time, we were celebrating. We're like, "Oh my gosh, we made it."
Yaseen Shurbaji: But what that really was an indicator that, hey, somebody sees value in this. And then now, we have to go deliver on it. And then as the story goes, we did deliver on it well, which led to more work. But for me, it was that kind of moment where we were at our worst and out of nowhere, we were then at our best.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. I think for me, it's been almost like two sides of the coin. One was going from Yaseen and I servicing merchants and really taking on a lot of the work ourselves to freaking out about hiring the first person. And then making that investment and realizing, holy crap, now we can do so much more. And then really training up a team developing onboard and such that the Prismfly service is very cohesive. We're adding double digit value to multiple merchants.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And the best part for me now is jumping on with merchants. And they're excited to be on a call with us. They're geared up. And both of us are just kind of super geeked out about what's the cool thing that we're going to build next. And realizing that, yes, we've built an agency, we built a business. But in the past, it always felt like you're maybe even at odds with the agency or the consulting company that you're working with. Whereas this felt like we were both excited to get on the call. We're excited to talk about the future, what projects, what things are we going to try.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And so, that was a really refreshing feeling. And then even I think kind of months into from when you seem spoke about fast forward six months, seeing clients, we don't have any sort of lock in on any of our retainers. And so, effectively clients have the ability to leave at any point, pretty much. But it was funny to watch, in previous agencies, I watched as there was these big discussions around retention. And they would have issues with merchants said that weren't happy with the service and were leaving.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And we were seeing merchants basically never roll off. We never had a merchant roll off even in our first year. And it was wild, because I think that for me, it was sort of every single month that everybody was staying on. And it wasn't just me sort of handling all the engagements, but really the entire team all handling separate engagements. I realized, we've really built something special people really appreciate it. They're not just buying into it because they see value, but they also are continuing to see that value in that growth.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And so, yeah, it's just been really incredible. And to this day, years later, we don't even know our true client retention, because the first clients that have come on and had never rolled off. So, it's been really nice.
Scott Meiklejohn: I love that, too, you guys spoke about what a great celebration to see that number in the bank account, but just at the immediate thought was, all right, now we're going to go crush it for these guys. We're going to show them the value of this and make it so worth their while. I mean, they never left. So, that's great.
Scott Meiklejohn: Speaking of that value, speaking of crushing it, we're chatting before about Prismfly, how you guys are incredible expertise that conversion rate optimization. I'm big on the show about bragging. I want to hear some brag. So, tell me about your favorite story of getting a brand and turning it around for them. You don't have to name names at all, but just the one that comes to mind where you're like, wow, we made a hockey stick out of that.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. Yaseen, I have one that I'm thinking of, but you want to check that out?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah.
Yusuf Shurbaji: I think they're the same thing.
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah. We're probably thinking of the same one for sure. So, for a lot of the merchants we work with, many of them are, I'll admittedly say, kind of already in that kind of 5 million to $100 million range. But what we noticed that a lot of them have plateaued. So, they've kind of reached this kind of roadblock where they're like, we don't know how to go from where we're at today to the next level. And that's where we step in and can really help them uncover revenue and value in places that they never even would have thought.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, there's one brand in particular I'm thinking of. Yusuf's probably thinking of it as well, where they have thousands of skews. Their average order value is less than $50. And a lot of those skews were interrelated. So, they had some items that had certain colors that would match up with other items, even though there were different product types. And one of the things we executed a kind of day one was advanced bundle building where we could empower the customers to actually add multiple things to their cart and achieve discounts kind of with the more that they add.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And historically, a CMS like Shopify, it's not a super easy thing to accomplish. You have to think about the folks doing your picking and packing on the logistic side. You have to understand, okay, what discounts can I comfortably give away, while not totally depression margin? So, there's a lot that goes into it from the strategy side, the development side and the design side. And getting all of those things right to that merchant basically increase their average order value 65%.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And so, we're talking in some instances, I think even seven figure impacts to a brand like that, who, for a long time, has been maybe experiencing some plateau. And this is a three-month initiative that can basically totally change the game for the cost to them, which is relatively very minimal.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. Quickly after, the CEO was asking people to put banners and messaging around the site pointing to that experience, and they were running ads toward it, just because of how much impact it had. So, it was really wild.
Yusuf Shurbaji: I think kind of touching on that, some of the successes that I've really loved are the ones that typically new often engagement we're going through and we're coming up with a ton of ideas, both data validated, but it also could be just based off of their industry or from UX best practices or things that maybe we think that could help them stand out from their competitors. So, we come up with a giant laundry list, and then we go through and prioritize those based off of impact and effort, which kind of results you that in a list of quick wins.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And I think some of my favorite are when you run a test that takes you maybe a few hours to set up, but it has a 10% improvement on their overall revenue with 100% statistical significance. Those are my favorite. Those are I kind of check out for the day. I send a message with the rocket and I'm like, "Hey, guys, here's the results, just crushed it. Congrats." And then just walk off, take a walk, enjoy my day.
Scott Meiklejohn: Love to hear that. Yeah. That must be a great feeling. What do you guys think some brands misunderstand about CRO or maybe underestimate?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah. So, I would love to start here. And in transparency, some of my knowledge on this was rehashed from Yusuf educating me on it, too. So, he'll probably laugh while I talk about this. Yusuf always says the best thing for your conversion rate is just make your product free, everybody's going to buy it, said nobody ever. So, what you don't just care about a conversion rate, you should also care about things like average order value and lifetime value.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, I think a lot of people in this space are really eager to increase conversion rate, but they forget that, which to really care about to drive earnings is being helpful in a manner that can drive LTV. So, Yusuf and I sometimes suggest initiatives and Yusuf can maybe speak to this deeper, that aren't just sort of conversion rate related, but could also be average order value related and finding the balance between those two.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, take subscription as a really good example of that. Sometimes you might want to give up some money at the upfront to get somebody subscribed and saved. And that's going to increase lifetime value down the line. So, maybe in that first purchase, you're losing a little bit, but you really have to think about three months down the line, four months down the line.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, I think there's a lot of merchants that kind of forget that there's more that goes into conversion rate optimization than just trying to get more people to buy. What you're really trying to do is be helpful to the customer. And the best metric of that is lifetime value.
Yusuf Shurbaji: There's some great examples of maybe let's say you're selling shaving products, for example. And maybe if you sell the cheaper beard oil, that that's going to result in someone coming back to get the shaving kit, come back and get the shaving balm or whatever other products that you sell. And so, figuring, looking at the data is a common practice that we're going through and doing and then trying to identify what are the entry paths that are going to create that long term value.
Yusuf Shurbaji: A lot of times that's being subscription, but it might mean sacrificing some of your conversion rate up front. But the nice thing is that your LTV skyrockets. And there's data in a lot of stores already that support a lot of those decisions. And so, it's not often as big of a risk as someone might think it is.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And I would say the misconception I see most often is maybe less of the misconception is more when brands say they're data driven. And then you show them data, and they're like, "Well, we've always done it this way." And so, I think that's probably the biggest one that people have to kind of gut check themselves.
Scott Meiklejohn: That's not the data we like. [crosstalk 00:19:16] data.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Exactly.
Scott Meiklejohn: Let's say I'm a CPG brand. I make delicious granola bars. This is basically ... I'm really curious about the pitch. So, we're Scotties granola bars. I have no subscription program. Could you kind of walk me through the pitch you would give a merchant like that to say, "Look, you've plateaued. Here is the value of subscriptions and here's how we break it down so you can understand."
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah. I have a couple of macro thoughts about this that I think might even apply to brands outside of the CPG brand. But as business owners, we really care about the future. We try to plan with the future in mind. But when you don't have certainty in the future, it's tough to kind of plan against your goals. So, in the current model without subscription, somebody will come in and kind of make a purchase, and that's great. But who knows if they're going to come back next month and make that same purchase.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, when a brand is trying to think about maybe the product roadmap for research and development, or maybe they want to do some brick and mortar and open up like a flagship store, it's really tough for them to, let's say, go to a bank and take out a line of credit when they don't have certainty in what the future looks like.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, maybe they're able to give up a little bit of add value to the customer in order to get them subscribed. But what they get in exchange for that the value to the merchant is certainty in the future. So now, they can start to do things like be a little bit more bold about maybe financing through debt and doing something like launching more products, doing more R&D, scaling more aggressively with ads. So, from a macro perspective, it's really important for merchant to think about, how do I lock in the future? And I think that that's where subscription plays in really nice. Yusuf, what are your thoughts?
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. Really just kind of I completely agree. Nothing really too big to add on to that. Yeah.
Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah, please, sorry [crosstalk 00:21:16].
Yaseen Shurbaji: Sorry to interrupt. I think this one will be a good. Something I think would be awesome for a CPG brand, who's maybe selling granola bars would be bundling those items in a way where the customer can choose what flavors are put in their box. And that, of course, will have a big impact on average order value. But let's take it to the next step. What if now that somebody has custom curated their own box, you could put that box on subscription.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, not only do you get a big boost in average order value up front on creating that added value to the end customer, but now you get that value locked in on a recurring basis. So, some of the best projects we've seen for CPG are actually bundling combined with subscription. Those tend to work phenomenally.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. And kind of starting to add on. I think one thing I would touch on is that when you talk to merchants about and when they think about who is their best customer, right? The best customer is the one that keeps coming back.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And so, as they're launching new products, they're trying out those different products. They're coming back and buying things that they like again and again. And brands are trying to do that with email. They're trying to do that with retargeting ads and push notifications in an app.
Yusuf Shurbaji: But one of the best ways possible is to enable that customer that loves your brand to do that easier. And subscription, kind of my biggest pitch is like, "Hey, how do you get more people to be that customer?" And the answer is a subscription offering. Because it simply allows people to do that far easier than having to come back, purchase on the site, and find the product again. And even if you don't have the hottest shopping experience, at least now people don't have to come back and deal with it again. Now, it's no friction, it just arrives at their door.
Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah. That's a great point. We've seen that, too. We say this all the time. But I think it's one of the biggest takeaways, if you're thinking about subscription or have a subscription program that feels stalled. And it's just ensuring your customers, your subscribers have that autonomy over their program.
Scott Meiklejohn: If you're locking them in to, we only ship this every four weeks. I'm sorry, this is it. And this is your only flavor. This is all you get. You're going to get a lot of churn, because customers want to be able to skip. They want to be able to swap products. They want to be able to control that order schedule. So, definitely see that on our side as well.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And Scott, where you're speaking to, I think, is really special. And it's something that underpins the importance in certain CRO programs that people miss. Fundamentally, as a business, but then also, of course, as a brand being in our space, what you're really trying to do is be helpful to the customer. And it's really that simple.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, when you think about subscription, you think about CRO, when you think about all these things, take the 30,000-foot view and just say, "What can I do to be helpful to the customer." And it's really that easy, and kind of work backwards against that goal.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Exactly.
Scott Meiklejohn: Zooming in from that 30,000-foot view, how about like a year view? Kind of asked you guys this question before, what do you think maybe are some trends or some things to keep an eye on as we move into 2022? For any CRO, doesn't have to be subscriptions, just anything DTC or CRO.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Do you want to touch on it? I would say kind of one off the top of my head is being personalization. And that's personalization in different flavors. So, as you mentioned, within a subscription, how do you personalize that subscription to yourself versus it just being a store offering? How do you personalize your bundle? And how do you personalize even the product findability from recently viewed through to AI-based search that's going to maybe predict products based off what they've looked at before?
Yusuf Shurbaji: So, all of that is super important, and not just in your product findability and your onsite experience, but it could also be personalization in the sense that if someone goes through a quiz flow or if someone is coming in from a certain ad, how do you listen to those signals and those data points they've given you, either from a quiz, an ad click, an email click, and now start to change the website experience based off of that.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Maybe you have a really solid influencer program and that's your primary driver of your business. Maybe now talking about what those influencers favorite products are based off of the influencer that they came from. So, things like that, if they've told you their name, adding their name to the account section, as simple as that can just be a really easy way to not ... You don't want to fast track into personalization.
Yusuf Shurbaji: It's funny, some brands that I've never visited, I got on it. And it's like, you might also like, and I'm like, "You don't know what I like." It's my first visit. But understanding what does a new visitor get? What is a visitor that shows you some data? And then where do you go after they answer the quiz? They've clicked ads, they're subscribed to your email, then what should they see? And really taking each initiative and putting in those buckets and say, "What should it look like at each of these stages, rather than just kind of building something flat?"
Yusuf Shurbaji: So, personalization being a big one, that exists across. I think we're starting to see that with bundling with quiz flows a lot. Yeah. And then, kind of finally, the biggest one that I've seen a lot of recently is subscription. And not always traditional subscription, we're seeing a lot of unique subscriptions.
Yusuf Shurbaji: So, even if a company, their primary product is maybe a physical good, where you're going to typically buy one of them, they might add on, for example, a cleaning product that is eligible for subscription. Or if you buy, for example, a toothbrush, maybe the heads are available as a subscription offering. So, even if you're not subscription eligible, you can benefit from the reliability of subscription by just figuring out an additional product that might make sense for that.
Yaseen Shurbaji: Even to build on that, Yusuf, there's brands for maybe, let's say, maybe they're a high average order value product. And it's really meant for a one-time purchase. But let's say they have a really loyal fanbase. There's even ways to tie in subscription into making customer accounts to offer up unique discounts.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, even if a brand doesn't have kind of that repeat purchase ability, they're still subscription components in there that they can leverage and take advantage of that maybe aren't as obvious at the upfront, but still add a ton of value to the end customer. Maybe it's unique discounts or access to content that they wouldn't otherwise get if they weren't kind of on that subscribe model for the content piece.
Scott Meiklejohn: I was just going to say, that's the fastest growing subscription type right now, this access membership. Also, one of the easiest to do across your vertical. Just like you're saying, Yusuf, when you're mentioning these most loyal customers, those are the people you can bring in to this, show them the value of a program. Yeah, whether it's discounts access to exclusive products. We've definitely seen more and more brands experimenting with that. But Yusuf, I cut you off. What were you going to mention?
Yusuf Shurbaji: No, no. I was going to say exactly like that membership club type of experience. And it's funny that I would say the other one that I started to see popping up, but it's price [inaudible 00:28:33] early trend is live shopping. It's something that you see really popular in Asian markets, and we're starting to see it on Amazon other large players starting to incorporate it.
Yusuf Shurbaji: So, I think that there's a lot of vendors that have started to make themselves eligible for more Shopify merchants with one click integrations. And that's perfect tie in with having like a membership program where you can be eligible for a live shopping experience where we're all stuck at home and we're used to video calls and now it's sort of like Twitch or TikTok, but for your online shopping experience.
Scott Meiklejohn: We've been talking about that here for the last two years just waiting for that to come to North America or to the west. I feel like it's just a matter of time. Yeah. It's just a matter of time before you're going to see your influencer pop up on Instagram. They're trying out the next latest gear, if it's headphones or something and you're like, "Oh, yeah, I want that." Click, boom, you're there.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. I remember, back when I was in college, and I was trying to get my style game on, I would always watch these YouTube haul videos. And it's basically they do haul video and I'd go Google the products afterward. Now, it's basically all of that packaged up into a store where it's like, "Hey, I'm going to try on all these products." Now, there's the link popping up on the screen when you're seeing it.
Scott Meiklejohn: Yeah. No more affiliate link, just click this button. One click, frictionless. Yeah.
Yaseen Shurbaji: Totally. The kind of thought I have with a lot of this is as things go so digital, that's great. But the other thing, we're people at heart. And a lot of these initiatives we're talking about, I love them because they're really unique ways to bring the shopping experience almost off the screen and really take it to that next mile. It's what I like to say. So, bringing the shopping experience to life in a world where things are so digitized is super important. So, Yusuf, and I launched this or supported a brand and thinking about how they would launch artificial intelligence for things like hair extensions.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, that's a perfect way where maybe somebody's having trouble choosing their color, what if they could see the color on themselves? So, I think a big trend is just, hey, how do we figure out how to bring this off the screen a little bit.
Scott Meiklejohn: Speaking of that humanizing experience and from your human perspective, as one guy has started his own DTC business successful. Now, two brothers working together. What advice would you give anyone who's thinking about making that leap into entrepreneurship, whether they're just starting out or thinking about it? Any advice come to mind that you would offer them from your own experience?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah. I definitely have some good thoughts on this. I know Yusuf does as well. The most important thing is just a start. I think people are momentum creatures. And when you see a little bit of success and you see the small win, that leads to the next win, which leads to the next win, which leads to the next win. But a journey of 1,000 miles all starts with that singular step. And I think most people really struggle with that. So, doing whatever you can to kind of take the first step will set you up for success.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And then the other thing is, no time is the right time. That's something Yusuf and I learned. It's always, oh, what if we did this or did that first or we waited until this happened or wait until that happen? The reality is, there's always going to be something. I think people need to just take a big step back. Do a lot of self-searching and realize, no time is the right time. The best time is right now.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. And to add on that, I think the only other one that we've really learned is just focus is so, so important. You don't have to be everything to everyone. Know what you're really, really good at and just be the best at it. And people will remember you for it, people will come to you for it. And yeah, just focus.
Scott Meiklejohn: I'll throw three clichés at you. If you're listening this and you're thinking about getting started, this was your sign, get started. Stop waiting for a sign. Second one, just like you were saying, Yaseen, best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, second best time right now, plant the tree. And then third one, one of my favorite ones that I've come across is what's the most important step a person can take towards anything, goal, whatever it is, and it was just simply the next one. And I love that. Don't look too far forward. Don't look too far back. Just keep incremental growth. It's the best way to do it.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Yeah. We had this attitude when we were a merchant and really coming into Prismfly that there is going to be obstacles, there always will be. That's the name of the game. But what will lead someone to success is seeing those obstacles as opportunities for basically bettering their organization, bettering their offering, bettering themselves, and really just not facing them in the sense that this is a blocker or this is going to stop us.
Yusuf Shurbaji: I think there's like a big mindset shift, where you see those obstacles as, hey, this is a blocker that's going to stop us, versus, okay, this is just the next problem that we have to solve. And as soon as it's behind us, we never have to worry about it again.
Yusuf Shurbaji: And so, just kind of treating things in that sense was definitely a shift. But I think there's always going to be random issues that pop up and just kind of moving past them is tricky, but it's very doable. And it's just a matter of keep chipping at it.
Yaseen Shurbaji: One thing we like to say at Prismfly is that pressure is a privilege. Tension or problems or friction is actually required for growth. You can't make a shot without first missing a few shots. And we kind of like to think about it like a slingshot. The further you create tension in that pullback, positive tension, that pullback, the further that ball is that I'm going to go.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And so, our company internally, and also, we encourage us for our employees in their personal lives, really lean into discomfort, get comfortable with discomfort because that's where growth occurs. And if you don't feel that tension, that time under tension, you will just not experience the growth or kind of get where you want to be.
Yusuf Shurbaji: If you want to improve your heart health, you got to put your heart under some stress. If you want to go work out, you need to go through the difficulty to have the benefits. Diamonds are formed with tons of pressure. So, it's very similar personal growth and in brand growth.
Scott Meiklejohn: I have two specific Prismfly questions for you. The first one just simply being, we're recording this if you're listening in the first days of January 2022. So, what's next in 2022 for Prismfly? What do you guys got going on?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yusuf, I'll leave that in your court with those two new verticals.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Oh, geez. Yeah. So, in terms of, I think some of the biggest ones for us is systematizing, data querying, sparing, getting way too far into it. Basically, you realize that there's a lot of different maybe problems that merchants might have. And a lot of times, despite having various different widgets and offerings, the problems at their core are the same. And so, figuring out ways that we can query their data across different merchants to identify if those problems exist, and how to solve them, and the best way to solve them. So, I think that's probably one of the biggest ones on my end.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Outside of that kind of moving into software solutions in the sense that if you can solve that problem once, you probably can solve that problem twice, three, four times with software. So, that's another one of the big ones. And then Yaseen, there's probably ones I'm missing or ones you're thinking about.
Yaseen Shurbaji: No. I think you definitely hit the nail on the head. Prismfly wants to obviously do more of what we're already doing. But I think for us, we have a culture of just trying to always improve at Prismfly. And so, we have a culture of automation. We have a culture of systematization. So, that's really important. So, I think we're going to continue to grow as a company and continue to professionalize ourselves.
Yaseen Shurbaji: But the way that we deliver on the work, I think it's just going to continue to get better and better over time. Even in the way that we do CRO, we're starting to collect learnings from different sub niches that can then be translated to other niches in a way that is super turnkey. So, we're starting to develop kind of the infrastructure to capture those learnings in a really systematized way that can be even more turnkey than it already is with us as a professional services company.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Right. And the benefit is funny, we always talk about the value equations with merchants with our team. And part of the value equation is how do you get to a win. Part of that value equation is how fast you can do it. And so, to Yaseen's point, we're always trying to optimize even our internal processes from training and onboarding and getting wins faster. And so, yeah.
Scott Meiklejohn: We love the word "velocity" here, too. It's a big one. My other specific Prismfly question was, and we'll put these links up on the channel, but where can people get in touch with Prismfly if they're interested in working with you guys?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah. So, there's really three key places I would say. The first is our website, which is prismfly.com, that's spelled P-R-I-S-M-F-L-Y. And then also, on LinkedIn. And then we recently became a certified preferred Shopify Plus partner. So, we have a full page on ourselves on the Shopify Plus services, preferred partner services page. And people can also get in touch with us there. Or by direct email. Yusuf and I are super transparent. If there's any way we can help you or you just want to kind of brainstorm and geek out about ecommerce, you're at your disposal. That's just [email protected] and [email protected].
Scott Meiklejohn: I love that. Now, we ask this question to everyone as we're wrapping it up. What physical products do you guys subscribe to? Do you have any of that you get pretty regularly? Yaseen, why don't we start with you?
Yaseen Shurbaji: Yeah, that's excellent. So, I love exercise. I love health and wellness. And we do our best to shop with the merchants that actually we work with. So, one of our favorite clients is a company called Simple Modern. I'll give them a big shout out here. They create a high quality drink ware. We both have the same one.
Scott Meiklejohn: That's good.
Yaseen Shurbaji: High quality drink ware and also accessories like coolers and backpacks. But one of the things we really love about Simple Modern as a brand is that they're not just selling products. They're selling an experience and their mission statement is to do good and give generously. So, a big percentage of their profits goes to charities and donations and things like that.
Yaseen Shurbaji: So, for me, when I drink from a Simple Modern bottle, it's not just for my own health and wellness, but I know somebody somewhere was benefited in a really positive way. And to me, success and brand building is about that. It's about the why, not the product. You have to sell the why, not just an item.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Right. Otherwise, you go to Amazon. So, yeah. And so, it's that moat building around your brand. On my end, one of our merchants that we work with frequently that we're a huge fan of is Nutrition Faktory. So, I've got a couple supplements subscriptions from them. And then, I'm also a huge fan, there's a brand called Honey Stinger. They make these little waffles, which are just, I've never had anything like it before, but it was one of the best snacks I've had in my life. Absolutely love it. They're called Honey Stinger.
Yaseen Shurbaji: I'll throw out another one that I really love. It's a company called Red Land Cotton. They create premium bedsheets and pillowcases and all this. But the really unique thing is that they're all American made.
Yaseen Shurbaji: And in a world where it's so easy to kind of save costs in offshore, they've made it a point to kind of employ people here at home in the US. And I think that just commitment to quality and commitment to kind of things that go beyond just the product like that, like employing people here at home is something that I know definitely resonates with Yusuf and I. It's taking it to that next degree. And something they've proven is that, hey, customers are willing to spend more if the story is right, and that has definitely been a learning for me.
Scott Meiklejohn: I love that. The story, the why and it's so true, that's what keeps people coming back. Very, very interesting, by the way. Going to check out as soon as we wrap this up, that waffle snack thing. That sounds right up my alley. Yusuf, Yaseen, thanks so much for joining us on Hit Subscribe and we wish you the best for 2022.
Yusuf Shurbaji: Thanks for having us. Likewise, happy new year, guys.
Yaseen Shurbaji: Thanks, Scott. It was a pleasure.
Scott Meiklejohn: We'd like to thank Yaseen and Yusuf once again for joining us. If you're interested to learn more about Prismfly, you can head over to prismfly.com. And if you're looking for more of our episodes, you can check us out at rechargepayments.com/hitsubscribe.