Mal McCallion, Growtion, Business Grow Execution Podcast

Mal McCallion ( is all about growth. He was an integral part of the natural launches for hugely successful companies like Zoopla as well as which had an exit of £2.2B. For the past 30 years, he’s helped so many businesses to be able to grow because he is relentless in his pursuit of one single question: 

What makes some businesses grow and others fail? 

And that is the quest that he is on. With his podcast, the Growth Execution Podcast and with almost a hundred episodes underneath of his belt, today’s guest knows a thing or two about podcasting for business.

There are all kinds of great nuggets in this episode.  Check the show notes below.

Topics that we covered:

  • What are the top 3 reasons businesses fail
  • How Podcast Fits Into the Overall Marketing Plan
  • Why you should mix solo episodes with interview episodes

This episode is brought to you byStart My Business Podcast Challenge“. I’ve been using podcasting as a powerful business growing tool for years. Nothing is more powerful than podcasting for help businesses grow. If you’re tired of playing roulette with your ad dollars and frustrated with algorithms constantly changing on social media platforms, the only thing that has changed about podcasting is the popularity of the platform.

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Show Notes:

  • What are the top 3 causes of business going out of business? (03:19)
  • How podcasting fits into marketing (05:05)
  • Why Use Themes are Different Season of a Podcast (05:22)
  • How to leverage podcasting on Facebook and Youtube with Video (09:54)
  • What Does 11-7-4 have to do with marketing and lead generation (11:24)
  • How does having a clearly defined avatar impact your podcast (13:04)
  • What were the biggest challenges when first starting a podcast (14:30)
  • Why is it important to commit to a schedule (15:09)
  • How to post consistently (16:09)
  • Why is it important to bank content (17:02)
  • How to use your podcast to meet an NFL Player (17:51) 
  • Why start with 15 solo episodes (19:02)
  • How to find the right guest for your podcast (20:59)
  • What is his advice for the podcast that’s struggling (22:21)
  • What are the dangers of just producing an episode just to get an episode out (24:17)


Cliff Duvernois: Hey there world changers and welcome to Entrepreneurs on Podcasting. Our guest today is all about growth. He was an integral part of the natural launches for hugely successful companies. Like Zoopla as well as Prime Location. For the past 30 years, he’s helped so many businesses to be able to grow because he is relentless in his pursuit of one single question. 

What makes some businesses grow and others fail? 

And that is the quest that he is on. And with almost a hundred episodes underneath of his belt, today’s guest knows a thing or two about podcasting for business. Please welcome to the show, the host of the business growth execution podcast. Mal McCallion.  Mal, How are you? 

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: I’m really, really well. Cliff, thanks so much for having me on really excited. 

Cliff Duvernois: Excellent. Tell us a little bit more about your business

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Okay, I was lucky enough when I was a very long time ago, but about 27, I got involved in a project that became a startup that became a company called prime And that we, there was like six of us sitting around in a sort of upstairs attic, somewhere in the midst of London, trying to work out how we were going to make. This business work, which was essentially a kind of aggregator that a little bit like Zillow. and things like that over in the states. And what we were very focused on the luxury end of the property market, and fast forward five years through a number of near death experiences, we made it out, we sold 48 million pounds. 

 That just gave me this real kind of bug for, what, it’s so great when you build a business, when you’re able to see all those efforts, when, perhaps sometimes when there are those moments in time, we all look at. This could be it. This could be over what makes some businesses push on through and get past that to success and others fail.

And, and then, so after that, I was lucky enough to be asked to help out a new business in 2008, which was Zoopla. Which is very similar again, and that’s, sold very recently to private equity group for 2.2 billion. It’s been one of the joys of my life and I’m fortunate to have my life to be involved in these, these crazy, amazing staff, that idea.

It’s just about how do I bring some of those, some of those learnings. Because setting up a business is hard. Many of them won’t make it right. And actually are the little things that we can do to help other businesses startups out there to, to launch builds, uh, grow and exit. And yeah.

that’s, that’s where Growtion came from.

That’s why we we’ve started this business. That’s why we, we love to chat about it on the Growth Execution podcasts, as you say, and why. Yeah. Any help we can give to anybody along the way we are delighted to do so, including podcast. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. And before you talked about, and I got to say, I love that phrase near-death experiences. Because, you know what? It’s true. We’ve all been there as entrepreneurs. Right. We’ve had those days when it’s been like, oh my goodness today is to do or die day now. When you take a look at your business. 

And you hear about near-death experiences. What do you think are like the top causes of this?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Yeah, it’s almost, it’s not almost always. So I tend to think in threes and then the three things within a business that, that always grabbed my taste. I always focused on a product, marketing and sales, and generally speaking, it is one of those is, is misfiring. Now it could be that the product itself is not matching its market and that then requires some iteration.

Everybody goes out when they’re launching a product or to your business, he goes, right. I think I’ve got the answer to a problem and you might not have it quite right. So, so products can be a thing that, by tweaking it by iterating, by testing, by listening, you can find the right way through.

And sometimes its marketing. You’ve had the greatest piece of kit in the world. You can have, absolutely honed to perfection, but if nobody knows about it, it kind of doesn’t matter. And then the final one, the third one in sales is it’s the one probably I spend most time in if I’m honest, because I think many entrepreneurs. 

I completely understand, and I’ve been there myself. I absolutely believe so much. The thing is so great, but it’s just sell itself. I then just got to sit there, waiting for it to sell itself and it doesn’t sell itself a bed. You’ve got a so-so we build on sales processes. 

 And in the end, generally, that’s obviously where the revenue starts to come through in that tends to tends to fix most things. I find. 

Cliff Duvernois: and I love how succinct that whole thinking is just simply because of the fact that I know so many people out there that have a great product or great service, but the term that we’ve tossed around is making noise. So you get people to notice you as you’re out there and that way you’re driving traffic to your site; you’re driving traffic to your offers. 

Whatever you might be doing. You’ve created this really great, business structure. You’re helping out all of these businesses. What made you decide to get into podcasting?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Do you know what it’s very much the kind of second side of that piece of the marketing side, as you say, being discoverable is one of those big challenges for any young business. When I first started the podcast where we’ve done three different seasons, actually.

So the first season was very much around business startups, business launches, how to make your business grow. It was just me. And I was obviously talking to, to audio, but I also videoed. Well, multiple total we’ll touch a bit on why that first season actually has, has probably given the biggest lift.

And then the second seat. So we did 16 episodes there. We then did 16 in the second season, which was around when COVID hit. What I was fascinated by was how this was impacting on entrepreneurs. Young businesses out in the market and have some great, great conversations in season two are very much around the pandemic.

And what that meant for us for a lot of growth businesses. And then season three has been a little bit more about, launching, so I wrote a book called the launch handbook which I’m lucky enough to get to Amazon bestseller and off the back of that.

What I really wanted to do is to. Leverage a lot of the content around there. Talk to people who found themselves at various stages of launch and just learn a little bit more about where they were

and what and Yeah.

share some stories and some, some of the the war or tales of how we got to where we are and what and can those conversations help others to learn more quickly than just standing and talking at them? 

Cliff Duvernois: Excellent. Yeah. And what I would like to do is go back to the first season those particular episodes there, when you first started out with with creating this podcast and the direction that I wanted to go. Did you have something really concrete in mind or were you just going to kind of feel it out as you went along?

How did that unfold?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: That was something very specific. And then there was something really vague and the very specific thing was

within my kind of framework of how I help businesses to grow. And how gross and helps businesses to grow. I’ve mentioned this there’s product marketing and sales, those three things.

And within each of those, I’ve developed what I call a kind of a formula. So there’s this five elements in each of those three pieces, 15 elements. Okay. And those go from a product concept, which is that the why? Why are you building this business? Three things like product pricing through marketing, brand marketing content, all the way through to sales process, sales goals, and selves.

So for each of those are very naturally set itself up as a, well, I’ll do one intro episode one season one, and then I’ll do 15 episodes, which basically tracks all of those 15 all the way through. And it was, and the thing that kind of just happened almost by accident was I decided to be. And you perhaps can see if you answered to the website Or if you see it in my level, Daddy growth tips. I stand in front of essentially a backdrop that has these elements almost in a periodic table type style to kind of back up your formula idea. And I run through each of them and what that video did and the video of each of those each of those episodes was it then allowed me to actually slice them.

Into little bite-size 32nd to 45 second video snippets bookend them. And then now they have become 400 plus little daily growth tips. Okay. And I randomize them, but every morning at eight 15 over here in the UK. That drops into 1500 people’s inboxes entrepreneurs in boxes, and who’ve signed up to, to receive these daily growth tips and it’s growing all the time.

It’s yeah, we were really lucky. What it does, it just gives it’s literally just gives you that little moment in time just to think of something. It’s like, all right. I’ll think about marketing distribution today, or will be something about sales success. So it just intends to just drop things in eight, 15 every morning, just gets people thinking about stuff and off the back of that, we’ve had such great response with people who. I have found, just thinking differently about that moment in time when they’re on a commute or whether they’re just getting out of the shower, whatever it is, they can just think about a bit differently about that business. So that’s one of the benefits that, that I have found is within the podcast, if there are other ways that you can repurpose that content, if you can video it at the same time, and then if you can do a blog off the bat, Then those are very very powerful ways of ensuring that you can maximize the impact of the content that you’re building.

Just from what’s, what feels like a podcast sounds like a podcast, but actually can be a really significant marketing campaign.

Cliff Duvernois: I got to say, I love your entire approach to this. This is actually something when I’ve worked with entrepreneurs before, with regards to the podcast, I’ve always said to them, don’t think of your podcast as part of your content strategy. If anything, it should be the tip of the spear. Because from one pot app, as a podcast episode, you can create all kinds of, you know, quote cards, static images, uh, what you’re doing there with video. And I think it’s absolutely brilliant. 

Now are you also taking advantage of putting your content out on a Tik TOK or doing Instagram reels or Instagram stories? 

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Do you know what, that’s the next iteration. So would when we’re not there yet, but certainly obviously on YouTube and we do Facebook, we do Facebook lives and various others so far as far as the audience gets more involved in Tiktaalik. And in certain things like that, for sure that’s where we’ll follow them, but we’ve found that a lot of. The content really resonates with entrepreneurs that, that are within the platforms that we work on right now. But certainly as we go through, particularly this year towards the end of it, we’ve got plans to expand into those other social networks to, 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. What has. So let’s talk about the benefit that your business has received from podcasting. And I know you said you’re sending out snippets to your list of, I believe you said 1500 people. So you know, what is it, what are the benefits that you’re seeing from the podcasting?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: For us, it’s about reaching the right entrepreneurs, right? So these are, those that in our minds, when we think about the advertise, you know, that the relatively young businesses th. All right. And that problem may be anywhere in the product marketing or sales scare.

But they are really alive to the idea that there are solutions out there that aren’t necessarily just from within. So what we really focus hard on is how can we deliver as many different touch points as part. To enable people to really, really trust what we do and who we are now it’s sales is as the most important thing is trust in any transaction.

People have to believe you. And there’s some great numbers that the Google quotes actually, which is which are 11, seven and four and 11 is the number of touches that somebody needs. From to see your brand, to see of your brand before they trust you. On average is 11, which is fact that helps us to focus.

That is the number seven is seven hours. So can you get them to spend seven hours with you somehow, whether it’s videos, whether it is blogs, whether it’s podcasts, all of this enriches their understanding of who you are and what you stand for. And then four is number of different environments. So again, it just to keep repeating in email shot to them is not enough.

They need to see you in different environments and sense that, you’re the real deal from a 360 perspective. So the podcast itself has helped us to to appear audio when they’re out on the run, then to do little videos that drop into their email inbox, then to see webinars that are based on the podcast too, and then blogs as well that they can read.

In all things. What the podcast does for us is to enable our message to get out there consistently and coherently.

Cliff Duvernois: and I got to say, I love that as well too. I, and oftentimes I’d argue that of out of all the content you put out there podcasting to me, it’s just a no brainer. I mean, what other platform can you spend 20? 30 minutes, maybe in 40 minutes talking to your ideal customer avatar, right. When you said, when they’re out exercising, when they’re driving down the road or whatever it is, this is, the power behind podcasting, like you said, making sure that your message is consistent across those platforms and getting it up.

Absolutely brilliant. I want to go back to this circle back to this point. Cause you, you made a comment about reaching the right entrepreneur. How important is it for you to have that? Uh, you know, we call them the ideal customer avatar, clearly define how important is.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: No gates. It’s absolutely critical, Cliff. If you’ve got to know who’s on the end of that that, that ear piece or that speaker, who is it? Who’s actually watching this stuff because for me yes, it, it’s nice to have big numbers and that’s great. And that’s, that’s all to the good, but actually if 

your words resonate so much more strongly with those, for whom this is, is of huge value. Whilst you’re not necessarily going to win everybody over right off the bat, by enabling them to hear repeatedly just your passion, your. Your real kind of mission, what, what your purpose is.

Repeated on a podcast or, the offshoots of that podcast, I think is really powerful in convincing people and enabling that trust to flow, which then enables business to be done.

And, again, you’ll know that doing business with people who really get it is so much more fun. 

Cliff Duvernois: Yes, I agree.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: So much more, I’d say anywhere from 10 people who were like, oh, I didn’t realize this is what we’re going to get. It’s well, we be talking about this for five years. This is what we do, but yeah it’s, being able to be upfront and being able to welcome almost welcomed somebody who is fully cognizant of what it is that you do.

And why you’re absolutely perfect for them is so beneficial and saves a lot of time on the backend. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. When you first started with being in getting into podcasting, uh, what was some of the biggest struggles that you came up against?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Do you know what I think with everybody, it is that measure of technology. Isn’t it. You’ve got to try and get the right balance between, okay, we can go harder than this. We can spend a lot of money or we can do it relatively cost effectively. I think we, we made a choice to, to get a good quality mic and obviously video as well when we first started out.

It was relatively relatively rudimentary. And yet, this morning and other video that was shot in 2019 went out and is still working and is still doing good. And the audio is still great. I think the challenge was very much a right.

Am I going to commit to this? Am I going to make sure that my audience believes and knows that I am going to consistently deliver what they want because. You can start something and everybody gets very excited about it. And then you miss a week or two weeks or three weeks or whatever. And that just kills the vibe sight.

Yes. Strong advice out there would be don’t over promise. Only promise to do what you can do. So if that is a month, One of an hour. Great. If that is a weekly board of 20 minutes, 20 minutes. Great. If you think that you can do a daily 10 minutes up, brilliant, go nuts, but you’re making promises to an audience and that audience needs to believe you and don’t let them down. 

Cliff Duvernois: Exactly. And when you came up with your publishing schedule how did you plan that out? So you could make sure. And the reason why I asked this question is because I know a lot of people, when they start out, they got the best intentions, right. I’m going to publish every day. And then they get out there and realize, holy cow, this is more work than I thought. 

How did you take that step back and say, okay, here’s the schedule that we can publish to that, that we can maintain? What was that thought process like?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: I am a big believer in discipline. And I think successful businesses, need to have a certain cadence to their, that their marketing efforts particularly. So, when we decided that the podcast was going to car

it was very much a right. We need to make sure that we are keeping our promises.

We are delivering on time. So yeah, it was almost. It was almost a kind of good discipline for us to say, okay. It’s Thursday. We want to make sure that we’ve recorded it. We’ve got to make sure that we get the video together. You got to make sure it’s book-ended you’ve got to make sure we’ve done the intro And the outro.

And all of those checks were there as well. And yeah, so it was almost that. W we need to make sure. And, again I spent a lot of time with businesses talking about discipline. It’s, it’s not a dirty word is it’s a very important word. Particularly if you’re starting a business, there needs to be that level of right.

I’m going to make a commitment I’m going to get on with it. We need to do this on a weekly basis and therefore we will. It got quite interesting when you start to get others involved and you’re starting to do interviews and then you’ve got to try and rely on other people.

So we started to bank quite a lot. So to actually do something. 2 3, 4 weeks in advance for season two and then season three. Because we didn’t want to get to a stage where we ended up with short of short of content and that got quite interesting as the pandemic changed every day.

And then still you’d be talking about something completely. So as the pandemic kind of hit. So he not talking about the pandemic at all. And then suddenly four weeks later, it started to come into the conversation. So yeah, there are events that that happened, but I think people are very forgiving as long as they can see that you are committing to them as well.

Cliff Duvernois: Share with us one of the biggest successes that comes to mind when you think about podcasting for your business.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: What I love most about it is just the fantastic conversations you have and just how it goes off to these wonderful places. And, talking with, um, talking with people who you just wouldn’t otherwise necessarily have got into a chat with, or certainly wouldn’t have found something out about.

So, we spoke with Sean Harper recently, NFL ex player, and he was amazing, as a kind of motivational speaker, motivational coach, those kinds of things that, that happen as a result of them seeing your commitment to. So I think there’s this, there’s not quite a kind of It is a community.

It is a community of podcasts as I think who have respect and understanding for what everybody else goes through in order to create it. And therefore they’re much more willing to share themselves and share their stories too. So I think that, if I was to look back and as you said, 96, right now, we have got another.

40 4-5 backed up ready to launch and do cross. But so, but Yeah.

, It’s just the, the wonderful stories. You get the people that you are able to expose to listeners that otherwise wouldn’t have those stories are out there. I think is another great joy of doing podcasting. 

Cliff Duvernois: So now there’s typically two ways of doing a podcast and I taught and I talk about it in terms of like a solo episode. Just standing behind the microphone and chatting versus interviews. And it sounds like your podcast is a little bit of mix of both. You were talking before about how you created like those first 15 episodes that kind of discusses , your business framework, how you get results for your customers.

And now you’re doing a lot of interviewing, as well. What made you decide to start interviewing people?

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: I think that there is much to be gained from others, hearing other voices as well. In getting the first season done, that was very important to get the message out there and to set the, kind of the framework of exactly what Growtion is, what it does, why it’s focuses on these 15 different specific areas.

Having done that, then the opportunity to. Inject conversations with bits of that. You know what we would be talking with somebody who is an online marketer and we’d be able to talk about marketing brand and we’d be able to talk about marketing content and sell marketing Intel.

Or we’d be talking with an absolute sales bureau. And you’d be able to find some more stories about, their sales goal setting, how do they motivate teams, all that sort of stuff. So what I think it does is it reinforces. The message without being too salesy, frankly, more than we are here as everybody is, we want to help people and we want to stay in business to, to ensure that we can help more and more people.

 In being able to talk about who we are and what we do and reflect back from an interviewee on that and riff off certain things, I think that gives us a real a real sort of 360 3 D view of what we do rather than it being very, just broadcast. And just kind of essentially one of us just talking out loud at the screen about it.

Although, like I said, that there was absolutely a very important place for that.

But I think for us in our market quickly, we decided that talking to other entrepreneurs of whom there are millions, would really add to the flavor of the podcast. 

Cliff Duvernois: How do you go about finding good guests to be on your podcast? Because I’ve listened to a few episodes and they’re the subject matter that they did discuss is just, it’s incredibly cool. I’m loving it. And so how do you go about finding. these guests. How do you sit there and say to yourself, this person would be a great guest for my podcast.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Yeah. So again, we’re lucky that because we’ve been around for a while, People approach us, which is great. And some really fascinating people who have been very fortunate to get on. And as a result of that. And we do have a look at various that there are some other sites. So things like AUDRY for example, AUDRY is a kind of podcast.


A place where the team can find some very interesting guests and people who exchange podcasts on that. So yeah, have a look at some of those as well, because there’s always people there that are very keen to to go. I have to forgive me that there’s a couple of other sites that are similar to that that my colleagues do use.

But yes, it’s an AUDRY is one that leaps to mind. But yes, there are. Interesting people. And again, because we are lucky that we’re all about business or about growth. There’s always people to talk to about this particular topic as well. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. And so for, for the entrepreneur, who’s out there, an entrepreneur listening to this podcast episode, they’ve got a podcast maybe they’re struggling, what would be a key piece of advice that you would give them? 

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Um, so, you know, 

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: right. Okay. Can we get onto social? We use Libsyn, L I B S Y. For to distribute it, obviously to make sure someone there may networks we use chartable in order to measure how. And measure the performance and make sure there’s getting out as much as possible. And that’s really useful as well.

It’s got a single link that allows you to send it and then whatever device that person’s using it’ll pop up for apple or Google or whatever. so.

That’s been really useful for us. But that makes the difference. I believe between something that people become committed to is your commitment to them.

I’ve said before about the whole discipline side and making sure you don’t over promise. I think any budding podcast are out there. What you’ve really got to do is say, right. I need to make a commitment about these times. And these topics and make sure that I’m getting out there, perhaps join something like Audrey gets some good guest flow through but make sure that you weren’t delivering making sure.

Content and you are what you’re talking about is consistent and coherent And reflect your values and people will find you now it may, they may take some time. All right. There may be a slow belt, but sooner or later, it just starts to really kick on and you start to find yeah, the audience that you’re looking for because they are looking at.

Cliff Duvernois: And this has been a recurring theme throughout this interview. When you talk about consistency. And I remember I did a really great interview last July with a social media manager. And when we brought up the topic of consistency, The thing that I seem to think about, because I hear it all the time from people, right?

If you want to get ahead on Instagram, you need to post a real, every day, you got to put a static post up there every day. You got to do all these things every single day. So when people hear consistent, that’s what they’re thinking of. But consistency means what’s consistent for you. 

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Yeah, 

Cliff Duvernois: That could be once a day, could be once a week.

It could be once a month.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: you’re absolutely right Cliff. I think it is. You have to make a decision on us as a podcast and protect you as a business is what is, what’s your. Don’t, don’t just, if you don’t have anything to say for God’s sake, don’t just Chuck something up and doesn’t reflect where you’re talking about just to put it out and you’ve got to find your gift.

You’ve got to be that message on a regular basis, but it can’t be, you can’t, half-ass it, you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing the right thing and you’re doing it regularly consistently and coherently, so that it is all the piece with your overall message and who you are. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. Absolutely love it. Mal if somebody is listening to our audience and they want to start following you online and start soaking up, some of those little videos you were talking about an email messages, what’s the best way to make that happen.

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: That’s great. Good. Thanks. I’m so Growtion is where we are. G R O w T I O N dot C O. So And you can sign up for a growth execution tips. They’re all on that. All of the links through to our social media in there as well, but yeah, we’d love to be sending out some more and Yeah.

Hopefully helping even more businesses to launch a build and grow. 

Cliff Duvernois: And for our audience, we will definitely have all those links plus all this other good stuff that mal has given us in the show notes down below. Mal, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to speak with us today. It’s been a real treat having you on the show. 

Mal McCallion, Business Growth Execution: Genuine. Thanks very much, Cliff. 

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