Reigniting your outdoor and indoor spaces – Jonathan Burlingham of Starfire Direct

Jonathan Burlingham, CEO of Starfire Direct

Jonathan Burlingham, the CEO of Starfire Direct, grew his company’s revenue from $3.4 million in 2014 to $7.3 million in 2017, a 112% increase, and to just under $8 million in 2018.  

Starfire Direct reignites indoor and outdoor spaces with high quality products and customer service.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Jonathan shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by:  

  • Refining and developing new products based on customer feedback.  
  • Improving their website design, content, and traffic sources (paid and organic).  
  • Optimizing their internal processes to ensure a seamless customer experience.    

Computer generated transcript - Starfire Direct Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

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Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Jonathan Burlingham, the CEO of Starfire Direct, a company that reignites indoor and outdoor spaces with high quality products and customer service. Welcome to the call Jonathan.

Jonathan Burlingham: A Malcolm M.. If you having me

Malcolm Lui: Jonathan, you grew your company's revenue from $3.4 million in 2014 to $7.3 million in 2017, a 112% increase, and in 2018 you hit just under $8 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Jonathan Burlingham: Yeah. So essentially we have a Web site called Starfire direct com and on the Web site you'll be able to find most of the outdoor lifestyle products that most people would want. Like fire pits barbecues umbrellas patio heaters things like that to really enhance your outdoor Space. And essentially our mission of our of our company is to use our industry expert knowledge to help our customers create memorable experiences that will bring value and comfort to their everyday life. So not only are we trying to sell these remarkable products that points to all of us want and desire but we try to do it in a way that really answers the questions that most customers have. We really try to marry customers up with the right products rather than just trying to say hey this is the right or this is a product that everyone else likes. You must like it too. We try to really use our knowledge to help pair customers up with the right products. So customer service is big and I think in it in an industry that's becoming somewhat saturated there's a lot of competitors on the on the horizon a lot a lot of new companies that really are just selling the products and they they're kind of missing the point. And that's that's what differentiates us. We really just try to help our customers we care about our customers. We we strive for knowledge over here we really try to make sure that all of the information that we give is complete accurate that we answer their questions. We're not really selling first. We're trying to provide the information first and give the customers what they what they want and that usually leads to a sale. So that's that's what differentiates us and that's a little bit about our business.

Malcolm Lui: So how does it work. I want to buy something from your site. Can I just pick through add to my cart and buy right away. So you try to encourage interaction with your customer service team your sales team first to make sure they're buying the right product for them.

Jonathan Burlingham: It's a little bit of both you know some some some shoppers are really savvy they know exactly what they want. Maybe they saw it in a barbecue store or they saw it in a in a patio store and maybe they didn't quite get the customer service that they were hoping to get. Or maybe the price seemed kind of high. So a lot of times they'll Google that product and then our website will come up they'll find us. So they know what they want and they see that it's a good product and a good it's the product they want it's at the right price they get the free shipping you know they don't pay sales tax or whatever it is. And we're able to get it out forum with all the same warranties and everything else that they saw at the store just maybe a little bit at a price maybe a little bit better service. They can just check out and purchase and they'll get the tracking information will process it. It's process by live real people will process it was shipped out to them. We'll take all their customer service calls but we do encourage customers to call we. We want customers to call and ask the questions a lot of these products are expensive. You know a barbecue that cost two three four ten thousand dollars. You want to make sure you get your questions answered before you make an investment in something like that. So we encourage our customers to reach out give us a call let us answer the questions for you. We're factory trained factory certified. So we want to make sure that we're getting our customers the right product. So we have a lot of blogs and information too that's going to help them do their own research as well.

Malcolm Lui: So for these pretty expensive and complicated products that a lot of parts and so on. How do you handle returns. Right it's not a it's not like you can call it U.P.S. and have them pick it up and mail it back to you. Right.

Jonathan Burlingham: Well in some cases yes returns returns are always somewhat of a challenge because it does take a little bit of effort from the homeowner or the end user to kind of work with us to get that product back. So we try to be upfront on our returns policy some products or special ordered maybe a maybe they chose a a chair and they chose the finish and they chose the fabric and they chose. The wilting or special items about that chair. Well that is theirs once they get it. But we try to answer all their questions before they make that purchase. But usually that will say that it's not returnable but then other items are returnable. You have your 30 days so it's really easy they just give us a call or they go on their website. It's met their request. We email them a U.P.S. label. They package it back up. Comes back to us. It's a little bit bigger. It might require freight. We call that ltl shipping. But one way or another our customer service departments really good about helping our customers get the end result of what they want. So it might take a little bit elbow grease but at the end of the day you know the customer is going to be happy with what they have.

Malcolm Lui: Right now not as your company takes somewhat of the Amazon model where if there's a defect in the product you're happy to take it back and cover all the shipping costs. But if

Jonathan Burlingham: Of

Malcolm Lui: It

Jonathan Burlingham: Course

Malcolm Lui: Is just simply a person doesn't like it after they saw it then they bear the costs of buying it taking it back to

Jonathan Burlingham: Yeah of course. I mean obviously there's a cost in shipping and so we're trying to we're trying to be a profitable company that's first and foremost right.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jonathan Burlingham: But but we we do. If something is effective of course we can take it back. We're going to do our best to try to resolve the problem. A lot of times it might just require a replacement part and we can easily send that out to the to the customer. And that takes care of that. Yeah. Obviously if it's defective. We'll have that sent back to us. We'll get him a new one

Malcolm Lui: Now get to hear that I mean one of my pet peeves in buying from an online vendor and now that I won't is their return policy right especially if it's a first time transaction you don't know how things work. You want to be to unwind things you know without much trouble and costs that it turns out that it doesn't work out.

Jonathan Burlingham: You know Malcolm that's why our Web site's a little bit different than some of our competitors where some websites might just have a product price and that's it. You know we we really try to write blog articles and not just stupid unnecessary on research blog articles just to get SEO or whatever. Well we spent a lot of time our writers our content writers are all in-house. Their factory trained. So their job is to really research these products really help our customer and write these blogs that we our customers can really make an informed decision. So we have a compare feature on our site so they can compare the different features. But ultimately at the end of the day if you buy something and it was a mistake or something you know we will work with you. We're going to make sure that you're happy in a day. It's harder in money we want to make sure that you spend it the way they should be spending it.

Malcolm Lui: Awesome. Fantastic. Now as a as a retailer have you ever considered the L.L. Bean like guarantee you your complete satisfaction guaranteed for life if you don't if you're not happy send it back which I understand you've recently stopped but what are your thoughts on those sort of

Jonathan Burlingham: I think

Malcolm Lui: Policy

Jonathan Burlingham: That's great. I think that's great. And I would love to do something like that. You know Malcolm what it boils down to is really our industry has been doing things the same way for a long time and actually we've been one of the advocates for pushing change because we know that more people are buying online and they want to be able to return things if I want to return something if I cook on a grill for instance and I know it's not getting hot enough. And again I tried it for a couple of weeks and it's just not really what I liked I should be able to exchange that for something that I do like. Right. I mean that's kind of the that's kind of the new norm with companies like Costco or Amazon or L.L. Bean like you mentioned. Unfortunately our industry doesn't view it that way. They're so used to the traditional brick and mortars for the last few decades that they essentially have a strict no return policy. So when a Web site does offer a return like us oftentimes we're the ones that are taking that product back and then just clearance in and out or whatever but we're we're pushing for that kind of change I'd like to see in the next 10 years five 10 years I know that seems like a long time but Rome wasn't built in a day. I'd like to see our industry leaders kind of step up and start supporting what the customers want and that is being able to return the products you know within a reasonable time if they simply change their mind you know and supporting that. So it's hit and miss. We have some vendors that do we have some vendors that don't but that's something that we're pushing for and that's that's that's going to be a long term goal that we're working towards.

Malcolm Lui: Right. And I think you can look at it from a longer term perspective right. Yes you might lose money on the first transaction because the customer returned it. But if they stick with you for the next 10 years to come out way ahead.

Jonathan Burlingham: Exactly. I agree 100 percent.

Malcolm Lui: Now you agree your business quite rapidly. Three point four million in 2018. I'm sorry. Three point four million in 2014 and then four years later you're just under eight million. So it's a pretty pretty chunky growth over the past four years. What were the three biggest drivers of your sales growth during that period.

Jonathan Burlingham: You know there's a lot of things that we've done and it's been hard. First and foremost hard work having a company and having a website is not easy. You know it's evolving all the time. Google is different than it was 10 years ago. The way we market the way we have the layout on our Web site mobile searching a lot of these things have changed. And so in the last few years the three biggest things I think the three biggest drivers for our growth I think have been product refinement Web site improvement and internal optimization.

Malcolm Lui: What do you mean by internal optimization

Jonathan Burlingham: Well you have to have a process. For instance if a customer returned something and one manufacturer does take returns and another one doesn't. How do you handle that. Now we need to have a seamless approach for our customers. So really just having processes organizing our inventory properly making sure that we're looking at inventory aging reports accurately we're taking advantage of early buys. We're at marketing those products. I mean really it's it's it's really like this well oiled machine that we're constantly trying to refine making sure we recently invested in Wired guidance our warehouse. So we were able to get about twice as much product in our warehouse and state more organized with it. So little things like that when I say optimized internally that's that's really important

Malcolm Lui: Right. One thing you did mention which I suspect is a huge contributor toward your growth is your marketing from my tools. I look at your paper slick advertising presence as well as your SDL and it looks like from the tools I have that you're spending from twenty eight thousand to seventy five thousand a month on paper click ads and if that range is accurate I'd like to think that it's you're getting a positive ROIC from that. Is that the case.

Jonathan Burlingham: Yeah. That's your you're you've got good tools. Maybe you can send those over to me I love to see them.

Malcolm Lui: Juror

Jonathan Burlingham: Know the. Yeah. We do spend a little bit of marketing dollars every single month but it's really critical. Nobody uses the yellow pages anymore. Everything is on Google. Google is somewhere around that I think 75 to 80 percent of the market share for circuit for online searches. And last time I checked and so we have to be relevant. We have to be found. And that's a constant goal is just refining our marketing ads you know making sure that our our long tail on our short tail keywords are are are accurate. Making sure that the the the ads are linking to the right products making sure that they're relevant you know whether we're advertising in certain demographics or other demographics you know what states you know there's a lot that goes into it and you can't just set it and forget it anymore it used to be a little bit more simple but with increased competition we really have to be very efficient with our marketing dollars and paper click ads is one of those things

Malcolm Lui: Now are you doing this all in-house or do you have a partner to help you with it.

Jonathan Burlingham: For years we did it. We use third party companies partners and they've helped grow our our marketing our SEO. I'm sorry our paperclip campaigns but actually recently we brought it in-house

Malcolm Lui: Have

Jonathan Burlingham: After

Malcolm Lui: You found have you found your your are lying or campaigns have changed

Jonathan Burlingham: It's

Malcolm Lui: Now that you

Jonathan Burlingham: Still

Malcolm Lui: Have some in-house players.

Jonathan Burlingham: Early. Sorry it's still early to tell. It's actually been a recent recent change so far so good. We're discovering a lot of little things I think I

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jonathan Burlingham: Think about about it that I've noticed over the last decade of working with partners is that you get these really good companies and you get some bad ones too by the way. So it's not uncommon. You do all your research do your due diligence and guess what. It's still not going to be enough.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jonathan Burlingham: And what ends up happening is I think that they rely on these companies rely on their proprietary software or they rely on their processes. But at the end of the day. Malcolm No one knows our products better than us that's that's the end of it. No one knows it better than us and so you know we would go in an audit and find these little tiny mistakes and you can't have that. You can't have that wasted ad spend. It has to be has to be perfect and the only way it's ever going to be close to perfect is if if if you're a team who understands the product who believes in the brand who believes in the success is looking at it. So we're gonna go ahead try this internally for a little while. Hopefully it's not a bust but my thought is that it's going to be better for us. So I'm.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah I think I was thinking the same way right. When you have your own people involved with it the plus side is like you said you know your product you know your market right. So you could figure out you know what nuances of your product will engage your market best and you can create ads around that

Jonathan Burlingham: Not

Malcolm Lui: Much

Jonathan Burlingham: Exactly

Malcolm Lui: More easily than a third party who can do that for you as well. But it might not be as obvious to them as it would be to your own team.

Jonathan Burlingham: I think so. You know some companies I know some companies spend a million dollars in our industry spend a million dollars a month on their ad. So no doubt they have to have that managed because at a certain point you have to look and say well are we a paperclip company. Are we are we trying to sell barbecues and fire pits you know. And so it's easy to kind of get distracted all of a sudden be consumed with taking on these new these new job titles these new roles that you kind of never originally thought you were going to take on. So it's a balance you have to find which partners are good to manage things and they may miss stuff. But it may be what's required

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jonathan Burlingham: On the other hand if you can bring it in-house and it's not going to overwhelm your resources then that might be a good good move to

Malcolm Lui: Yep. Now would you consider your marketing and your paper click ads or FCO marketing as part of Web site improvement or maybe driver number for

Jonathan Burlingham: Know that's that's definitely part of Web site improvement. Our email marketing has really improved over the last year. We're really trying to drive content that's relative to our customers. Remember that we want to. We want to create memorable experiences for our customers that bring value and comfort to their everyday life. So if I'm just sending him an email with products on it that's boring. They're used to that. They're going to they're going to unsubscribe. That's done. So we try to tell them how to maintain their products that they bought how to clean their products. You know here's some new design ideas here's some here's here's a fresh look on that you know here's how to winterize your product here's how to give it a facelift you've had it for a few years here's how you give it a facelift. Here's some other items that complement the items here's some accessories that kind of go along with those items so we're really trying to just deliver good content to our customers. And then of course we do a lot of a b testing with our Web site. We're constantly I mean every single month we are working on improving our Web site. It is our focus.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Jonathan Burlingham: So we want to make sure that our Web site is optimized that we're getting good conversion rates that that we're really just delivering the content to our customers that that they're that they're asking for or maybe don't even know that they're asking for yet. But it's it just helps them with with a smooth purchase process. So that's that's key for us.

Malcolm Lui: For your website design you ever take some inspiration from Amazon because you know that they too are a b testing at an order of magnitude that's probably ten ten thousand times bigger than than most e-commerce businesses out there

Jonathan Burlingham: Sure.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Because they have the cash from the budget to do it. And because they are transaction volume is so high they can run some more tests than anyone else in the world can do and

Jonathan Burlingham: Of course

Malcolm Lui: And get value out of it. So have you ever considered borrowing being inspired by some of their ideas

Jonathan Burlingham: If I'm being honest we did that for for a while. We tried to work with Amazon we tried to compete with Amazon. We tried to. You know I'd say replicate what we thought was working well for them but we had a realization. That halfway through last year and that is we aren't Amazon and we never will be Amazon. And that's. We're really trying to focus back on our core values and who we are as a company and you know what. We're not trying to be Amazon. When was the last time you were able to call Amazon ask him a question on the product. You know you have to submit a question. You have to wait for an answer. You don't get to call anyone if you have a return that's past their return window. You're stuck with it. If a product is defective I've had I've had defective products from Amazon that they didn't take that. So Amazon is not flawless. And I also know that they really take a lot of the profits from these hardworking companies that are trying to sell on Amazon just to stay alive.

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Jonathan Burlingham: That happened to us. And after a while we realized you know what. This is not who we are. We're just spinning our wheels trying to keep up when I'd rather be to be honest I'd rather be a small smaller company and be able for our customers to reach us and for them to be able to get their questions answered and for us to help them find the right product for them. You shouldn't have returns for instance if you landed them on the right product to begin with. Right now the whole culture of returning is because they're not sure they don't know you know I just buy it. I'll see if it works and if it doesn't work I'll return it. But if they knew it was going to work they wouldn't have a need to return it. So you know these. Yes we've we've obviously there. Amazon does a lot of things right with their optimized site. Over 50 percent of product searches start on Amazon but I think for our industry it's a little different. Customers want the information they want the knowledge they want. They want to know they want the videos they want the tutorials they want the DIY tips and tricks and

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. Plus

Jonathan Burlingham: That's

Malcolm Lui: The

Jonathan Burlingham: Where we're going to excel at that. Where Amazon doesn't. I think

Malcolm Lui: Yeah and also the nature of the purchase too. I mean you're buying a you know a 10 burner barbecue as can the integrated into your backyard. Right. And you're gonna be stuck with it for the next five to 10 years. People want to get it right the first time right. And you know it's not something Amazon knows really well. Now you talk a little bit for your number one driver product refinement by product. It sounds like it's more than just the physical product. But you're also talking about your customer service and how you deliver that service as I write.

Jonathan Burlingham: Yeah that. And also you know we listen to our customers so for a long time we where we really see when we really started to see our growth happened was you know we were selling products that were offered in our industry and they were popular but they lacked this or they lacked that. If that makes sense and customers will tell us we'll do you have it like this. Do you have it like that. Do you have it. Can I do this can I do that. And so we would take that information and we'd go back to our manufacturers and be like hey our customers are really asking for this or they're asking for that and nothing would happen. And so you know you start hearing it for so long you just start to think well why not. Why don't we just do it. So we actually developed our own brand of products called Starfire designs products. And so we have our own line of fire pits and Starfire glass our own glass our own burners our own connection kits and really we we kind of went back to the drawing board with a lot of these products we rethought them and we reengineer them to be quality products that are going to last a long long time lot longer than our competitors. We improved the tutorials the owner's manuals the instructions the performance. We looked at all of the issues that we had and we said let's. How do we reengineer this stuff to be better. And that's what we did. So we ended up coming out with their own brand of products and that's been something that we've been refining over the years is just really trying to hit the nail on the head and get the right get the right products the first time made a few mistakes along the way but ultimately where we're getting better and we have really a nice line of products that are actually really really popular and customers love them so product refinement we're trying to offer we're trying to build a better mousetrap. We're trying to offer our customers what they want

Malcolm Lui: Nice. So what's the one product in your Starfire product line that's just awesome best in class. Better than competition by far. I'm going to check it out after I've done this interview

Jonathan Burlingham: Ok. So we really excel in the copper in the copper production of our fire kits. We actually have an in-house shop and we build these handmade copper fire it's and they are beautiful. They they start around like thirty two hundred bucks and go up from there. But we have these really nice Merino series and copper Canyon series fire pits that are just beautiful. These have gone in some of the nicest resorts and hotels across the country. We've done these really nice cool custom fire features as well out of copper for these really great brands and you know I'm proud of it. It's exciting because it's it's a beautiful product it's built to last forever. It's all handmade. It doesn't get any better. And we're very proud of that.

Malcolm Lui: And these are fire pits with real fire now that simulated stuff right.

Jonathan Burlingham: Or Shia

Malcolm Lui: All right. OK. I'm going to check that out. So for 2018 your sales growth is a little bit slower than before. What happened there. What slowed down the trajectory of your growth in 2018. Your

Jonathan Burlingham: Will

Malcolm Lui: 73 million in 2017 just under eight million in 2018

Jonathan Burlingham: We we kind of touched on it a little bit but you know we kind of got a little bit away from our our core values of who we are as a company trying to help our customers. And we kind of got kind of excited with the growth that we were experiencing and we had that become our focus and rather than really looking at refining and optimizing our internal processes we got kind of caught up in the Amazon fad and we got caught up in in gross revenue and and really we we lost some of our we kind of lost our way for for a little bit there. So last year we made the decision to stop take a deep breath and let's look let's look at what's made us great up until that point. We really want to be a good company for our customers. And so I think that's what happened we just we kind of stopped and just got back to basics and we're looking at what what we did. Well the first 10 years and we're going to continue to try to improve upon that so we continue to have because we still want growth but we want to do it and we want to do an ethical smart productive manner.

Malcolm Lui: Now did you. It's not like before you were literally using Amazon's fulfillment services as you mentioned holiday just Amazon takes an arm and a leg right. And take 30 percent or whatever off of this of the selling price for their fees. Now do you sell through Amazon now or are you going through entirely through your warehouse

Jonathan Burlingham: We we've been actually pulling out of Amazon all last year. We were doing quite a bit. It wasn't our it wasn't our main focus staff our direct comment was our main focus but we wanted to be on the Amazon marketplace as well. So we were doing fulfillment by Amazon FBA and it just sucks all of your time. And it was it was taking us away from staff our direct staff our direct is easy. We we make it easy. We have good processes we have good customer service we have all these things but when you're dealing with Amazon that becomes your focus. You're sending in product they mislabeled it they may ship it customers leave a one star review because they don't know because maybe Amazon made a mistake. But we paid a price on that. And so the Israelis your whole day trying to fix that or get things you know get get the listing released there's so many problems I can run through with Amazon that it just it's a tie. It was a time waster for us so we made

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jonathan Burlingham: The conscious effort to kind of pull back let that let Amazon be someone else's desire because I wasn't enjoying it took it took the joy out of my day and now I'm getting back to my business staff are directing and I'm having fun again and I'm enjoying it I'm enjoying what we're able to bring to the to the marketplace now

Malcolm Lui: Yeah yeah I've looked into the Amazon FBA model. I think it's fantastic because it does. Let them deal of the headaches of the logistical side of getting the product out plus Amazon's website the selling machine. But the one part or three thing they didn't like about it or when the fees are pretty high. Right. You know you pencil in 30 percent or so of your sales going to Amazon's pocket and in the part that's perhaps even more costly is that you don't have direct access to the customer right. You don't have the customer information you're not able to market to them going forward. And I thought that was a big opportunity cost of going through their platform

Jonathan Burlingham: As a as a retailer or as a as a supplier or a manufacturer. It's

Malcolm Lui: At

Jonathan Burlingham: Tough as a consumer. By the way I'm an I'm an Amazon fan.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah. I'm

Jonathan Burlingham: I

Malcolm Lui: A prime

Jonathan Burlingham: Have

Malcolm Lui: Member for

Jonathan Burlingham: A

Malcolm Lui: 20

Jonathan Burlingham: Network.

Malcolm Lui: Years or something

Jonathan Burlingham: It's great. So I get it as a consumer it's fantastic. It's great for a little stuff to you know technology perhaps things that things that are easy to ship when you start getting into LTL and you start getting into you know things that are a little bit bulkier bigger or a little bit more expensive it can be a challenge. So yeah it's you know Amazon is great but it's not us it's not who it's not who we are as a company and in it and it doesn't fit our mission statement it doesn't fit what we're trying to do. So you know back to basics everything we do now we look at our mission statement and if it fits that well we'll will adopt it. But if it doesn't fit our our mission statement then you know it's not for us

Malcolm Lui: For 2019

Jonathan Burlingham: Or.

Malcolm Lui: What are your targets and what challenges do you need to overcome to achieve them.

Jonathan Burlingham: So really optimize optimize optimize. I say that passionately you know a company that doesn't have processes is losing money. And so we're taking a deep look this year and 20 19. Internally we're refocusing on what makes us special. We're going to make sure that all of our internal processes and all of our marketing and all of our Web site flows and everything like that our culture here in our company our employees are happy. We want to make sure that is it good for the customer is it good for our team. Is it good for us as family people as employees as as team has to has to work for us. You know that's the whole point of business if you're just in the business for money and that's your sole focus you will not be happy you'll never have enough but if you really are happy with the results of what you're doing and you're you're making money but you're also able to have a good work life balance then that's important. And travel's important you know being able to have a good relationship with your colleagues is important. So that's our 20 19 focus. That's not going to be on growth. I think growth will come with the continued refinement and optimization of our of our company. So that's that's 20 19

Malcolm Lui: Ok so it sounds like your focus here is being more and more getting more return out of your time right. So you're looking to eliminate inefficiencies. Do more of what brings you value might not just be monetary value but brings you better work life balance. For example or just doing work that brings more joy and happiness both to your employees and to your customers. Perhaps

Jonathan Burlingham: Exactly. Yeah I want I want all five star reviews. I want customers to be thrilled with us. I want them coming back and buying from us. I want her. I want a high retention rate for my employees. I want a good culture I want them to be able to take breaks and take vacations. I want Bill to offer a company that does all these great things for for us and for our customers. So that's that's what we're going to work towards and we're going to make money in the process too. MALCOLM Don't

Malcolm Lui: The

Jonathan Burlingham: Be

Malcolm Lui: Worst

Jonathan Burlingham: Confused here. You know we are a for profit company but we're gonna do it in the right way.

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah well generally all the things you mentioned write happy customers happy employees. Joanie in the longer run it leads to a bigger company and if more sales and more repeat business that works out well.

Jonathan Burlingham: I hope so. Yeah well we'll see remakes you mean next year. We'll

Malcolm Lui: Yeah

Jonathan Burlingham: See how.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. Tetris in the year three last question for you. Say Starfire direct has a billboard on a freeway it's moving California billboards typically have six seconds before people drive by them. So what would be your six second billboard message.

Jonathan Burlingham: We are all about helping you our customer achieve the backyard dream that you've always had. Give us a chance to earn your business and you'll see why all your neighbors agree that Starfire recon is the best for your home and outdoor patio needs. I don't know something like that.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Jonathan Burlingham: Was at six seconds or was it was it longer.

Malcolm Lui: I might you might need multiple billboards in succession for that message. So why not back our dreams that are good. I guess it depends on why people have their backyards right. I mean do you have the best backyard on the block. If its people do it for competitive reasons for example

Jonathan Burlingham: Sure. Well you

Malcolm Lui: Like

Jonathan Burlingham: Know

Malcolm Lui: The

Jonathan Burlingham: It's like we sell products I want to you know our customers you Malcolm our customers me our customer is you know your friends. We we know you have aspirations for your backyard. I think you had mentioned to me that you're wanting a one of those big green eggs you know or something. Yes. You know we want to help you get that. We want to answer questions we want to teach you how it works. We want to educate you on it. I have aspirations to for my backyard. There's always something I want to change change about it. So you know we're just everyday guys wanting to make our home Oasis something that's desirable so we when we get home from work we can crack open a beer we can for ourselves a scotch glass of wine whatever it is and we can barbecue with our families we can play with our kids we can play with our dogs we can enjoy the cool summer nights or the fall evenings around the fire pit. We can have little parties and cocktail parties or have our friends over. I mean that's what really what what brings happiness and joy and we want to help people people do that everyday people like you and me

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. Yeah. Maybe after our interviews at another time because I know this could easily be another half hour conversation we need to talk about deep fryers that's another thing I've always wanted to get wanted to cook a turkey and a deep fryer.

Jonathan Burlingham: On that

Malcolm Lui: Know it's a fun

Jonathan Burlingham: Tell you some stories about that.

Malcolm Lui: Game.

Jonathan Burlingham: Lots of customers that'll be for another type

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely. So two questions for you. Who are your ideal customers and can you kind of cover that just now. Maybe recap a little bit and what's the best way for them to find your product.

Jonathan Burlingham: Guys like you and me. Yeah I'll reiterate it. It's guys like you and me girls your wife. You know normal people that just want to enhance their backyard. But we also have tight relationships with contractors like pool builders design architects hotel chains things like that. You know there's a lot of trends. There's a lot of changing trends and you only know what you know. So our goal is always to reach out to these contractors pool builders architects designers and kind of show them what some of these new trends are kind of share with them what's going on going on in the industry and and hopefully develop long lasting relationships so both from a commercial and residential application it's that we those are our customers and the best way to find us. Obviously you just go to our Web site Starfire direct dot com that's Star fire direct dot com

Malcolm Lui: All right.

Jonathan Burlingham: Is

Malcolm Lui: Pretty

Jonathan Burlingham: Good

Malcolm Lui: Straightforward

Jonathan Burlingham: That you'll be able to find our contact date you can read about us you can read about our history read some of our blogs send us an email give us your feedback. Take a survey let us know what you think. If you like the Web site if you don't like the website what can we change. How can we improve what was what was hard and complicated what was easy. Now we want to know because we're always trying to improve. So please drop us a line reach out to me and I'm happy to take your call and go from there.

Malcolm Lui: All right. Awesome. Thanks for joining us today Jonathan. And sharing how you grew your company's sales so fast

Jonathan Burlingham: Thanks for having me. Malcolm I appreciate it. Always nice to answer questions and hopefully we can reach someone that cares so

Malcolm Lui: Yeah definitely.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Jonathan Burlingham, the CEO of Starfire Direct, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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