Inbox Consults: SME Excellence Business Award & Top Business Service And Quality Award 2022/2023
Inbox Consults is a digital marketing agency which mainly focuses on full-suite digital marketing, some of its services include designing landing pages, building up sales funnel, email integration, video production, etc. Most of its clients at the moment are independent entrepreneurs such as coaches, trainers, etc. However, they are looking to expand their business to include B2B services as well.
Mr Gavin is the founder and strategic director of Inbox Consults and he has always had a passion for teaching and educating others. However, he feels that if he is not personally involved, there will be a lack of credibility and he definitely does not want to be seen as one of those online marketing gurus who doesn’t walk the talk. Most business owners nowadays are keen to learn digital marketing, but they may not have the time to do it themselves, hence they are more than happy to engage someone else to do it for them, so this is where Mr Gavin and his team from Inbox Consults come in.
From Navy Officer to Marketing Consultant
Before starting Inbox Consults, Mr Gavin was a Navy officer for 10 years, he left at his 30th birthday as he wanted to start a new chapter of his life. Initially, he was offered a job as a sales director for a magazine company, however, he felt that the culture did not fit his ideals so he left after a short while. After leaving the company, Mr Gavin decided to provide free help to speakers, and it was not long before he realized that he was quite good at helping speakers organize events. He then decided to dive deeper into the field and that was when he realized that many events in Singapore were not ran properly resulting in lots of complaints. When Mr Gavin looked back at the the events he helped to organize previously and the success he has achieved, he decided that this was the right field for him.
When Mr Gavin first started in 2016, he would wake up at around 2pm everyday, read books and attend self- enrichment classes till 7pm. He likes the quiet night drives because it gave him the time and space to think and plan for the next day, Mr Gavin stuck to this routine for one and a half years. Despite the time schedule being productive for him to work on his business, he felt that he was missing out on spending quality time with his family. While most business owners are working towards freedom, Mr Gavin felt that he was losing freedom instead.
In 2017, Mr Gavin started another education business with a partner where they teach marketing. Initially, they rejected requests for clients asking them to do marketing, but after much consideration, the pair decided to incorporate it into a company in late 2019. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Mr Gavin’s partner left the company not long before Covid-19 started and Mr Gavin had to juggle both businesses on his own.
Building Real Business Value with Full-Suite Services
What differentiates Inbox Consults from other marketing firms is that Inbox Consults is not just a marketing firm. It provides holistic end-to-end services and client consults to help clients to build their value. Mr Gavin also analyses their business fundamentals and assists them with building webinars. While most marketing companies will only help clients to attract patrons for only one time, Inbox Consult focuses on building long- term full-suite plans for better customer retention and overall growth of the business. One of Mr Gavin’s past client was a custom-jeweller who didn’t think her products could grow into a full time business, but Mr Gavin helped her by turning the business into a full-force offline business. This lady who started as a solo entrepreneur has now turned her side hustle into a 7-figure business and is now empowering many other women. Mr Gavin sees this as a domino effect in terms of the impact that he brings to his clients. Mr Gavin chooses to focus on bringing impact to the client and he believes the revenue will eventually follow.
As someone who could easily work with big corporations, Mr Gavin instead chooses to help niche self employed SMEs with limited budget and minimal knowledge. Why? Because he used to be just like them and he now takes pride in empowering them. However, he also notices that they tend to have a lack of vision and a narrow mindset, where they tend to see marketing effort as a waste of money instead of a long-term investment that brings value to their business. Mr Gavin often proposes long-term strategies to help his customers build an ecosystem that is sustainable and beneficial in the long-run.
Inbox Consults is currently adopting solutions supported by Enterprise Singapore’s Productivity Solution Grants. Mr Gavin aims to build a team of expert marketers to better serve his ever-increasing number of clients and eventually become the number 1 choice for SMEs in Singapore. He does not want to seen only as a marketing agency, but also a friend and mentor to his clients. Mr Gavin currently runs a mentoring group where the mentees all have direct access to him and the group, the group meets twice a month to discuss any questions they might have.
“Marketing is not a one-way street, but more like partnership. We have to work hand-in-hand to achieve the objective that we set out to do.”
Freedom for the Team
At the moment, Mr Gavin’s team consists of 5 team members who meet once a week on Monday to go through project updates. Mr Gavin does not micro-manage but he will check in on them from time to time to monitor their progress. He is also constantly on the look out for people who are self-motivated and wants to become a creator. Mr Gavin believes in giving freedom to his staff to freelance for others and explore different things, as long as it does not jeopardise the business and his expectations for them are met.
As a modern digital marketing agency, Mr Gavin and his team will have to adapt to the changes with time and keep up with the latest marketing trend. Mr Gavin often explores different marketing techniques on his own to see what works and what does not, so that by the time he proposes his ideas to the clients, he comes from a place of credibility. He believes that we should not be too fixated with one way of doing things, but instead be willing to change and adapt.
Mr Gavin used to follow the “hustle culture” of waking up at 4-5AM and focusing most of his energy on work but he soon realised the implications of that when he saw how his relationship with his wife deteriorated. Since then he has changed his routine to match with his wife and has finally been able to spend quality time with her. Mr Gavin believes that it’s all about getting your priorities right, and making full use of the the pockets of time he has throughout the day to work on his personal stuff.
Being able to travel the world and work from anywhere with just a laptop is definitely Mr Gavin’s proudest achievement. He is able to share his knowledge with audience from the US, Australia and everywhere around the globe. Mr Gavin feels that being able to help his clients grow their businesses brings him personal satisfaction. He used to have the self-limiting belief that “I am already making more than enough money for my simple lifestyle” but he soon realised that by expanding his business, he is able to help more people. Mr Gavin organised the event “Destiny Summit” in 2021 and 2022 where he invited global speakers, some who were willing to speak for free, and the purpose of the event was to help struggling businesses during Covid-19. The event was his way of giving back to the community, not to make money.
Mr Gavin’s advice for young entrepreneurs:
Just do it, focus on the goal and have the courage to take the first step.
Strive for progression, aim for perfection. A lot of people don’t dare to start because they think “I/my product/my service is not that good YET” but the keyword is “YET”.
You do not have to be the best in the world. No matter where you are at, there will always be people doing better or worse than you. Do not be worried about “imposter syndrome”. Believe in yourself and continue upskilling yourself, and in the process, help as many people as you can.
Be willing to seek mentoring on subjects you are not familiar with. Being a self-starting entrepreneur does not mean you have to literally do everything by yourself. Mr Gavin also sought his own mentorship when he first learned about email marketing in mid 2000s. Despite losing money back then, Mr Gavin is thankful for the lessons he learnt in the process. Even now he is still paying to learn from other mentors, as he is a firm believer that learning never stops. “Even kids who are home-schooled need a mentor, what makes you think you don’t need a mentor in business?”