Building a Culture of Learning with Brad Farris and Jill Salzman of Breaking Down Your Business

Episode 254 of the Breaking Down Your Business Podcast with Brad Farris and Jill Salzman brings Kris Reid on air to discuss SEO and the problems he’s facing with his business. With fun and witty hosts on the helm and with an enthusiastic guest on the other end, the show was a great font of fun and learning.

But the real takeaway is that the ideas exchanged are practical and useful to business owners who are struggling to establish a culture of learning. 

What is the Breaking Down Your Business podcast?

Breaking Down Your Business is a show dedicated to tackling the most complex business questions and discovering the answers as the hosts dig deep into the mysterious world of entrepreneurship. With the focus on thoughts and ideas from actual business owners rather than product pushers and book promoters, listeners are sure to gain real value that they can apply in their business.

Meet Your Hosts

Jill Salzman

Jill Salzman of Breaking Down Your Business Podcast.

Jill Salzman is an entrepreneur with business ventures that range from music management to jump-starting business start-ups. In 2013, Forbes named her website The Founding Moms a Top 10 Website for Women Entrepreneurs.

She is also the author of “Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs”, has appeared in several media outlets, and is a columnist for NBC Chicago. She recently launched her fourth entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Kit, which helps startups get their business off the ground.

Brad Farris

Brad Farris of Breaking Down Your Business Podcast.

Brad Farris is a business consultant, helping small business owners grow their venture. He was previously an engineer and managed business units for over 10 years, before he founded the Chicago-based consulting firm Anchor Advisors and became a Principal Advisor.

Farris is also the founder of a small business owner community called, where small business owners can access tools and resources to help grow and run their business.

Who is Kris Reid?

The Coolest Guy in SEO, Kris Reid is the founder of a digital marketing company that primarily focuses on SEO, with reputation management as one of their defining services.


Kris Reid of Ardor SEO

Kris was a software engineer working in the financial industry until the global crisis hit, and he discovered SEO when he was trying to get people to play the online game he created.

When Jill asked him right off the bat, “What makes you so famous that you’re on the podcast today”?

Kris promptly replied, “Well, I am the coolest guy in SEO. You go to Google and type in the coolest guy in SEO and you’ll see my pretty face.”

He went on to prove this by defining SEO in a way that anyone who’s heard it even for the first time will understand, a testament to his in-depth knowledge and understanding.

“Search engine optimisation is basically trying to help Google understand what your site is all about and it’s the best of whatever you do and should appear at the top of the search engine”.

What’s your problem with your business?

Kris pointed out several problems—including managing a remote team and communication. But his ne major concern is how to inspire people to learn.

He admits struggling to get this message across to his team and motivating employees to want to be the best they can be. Kris wants to instil the belief that “if you learn more skills you can become a team leader or you can work on research development.”

Jill dropped the bomb by asking, “Why do you want everyone in your company to educate themselves and be smart in the same way that you are? Why do you feel so strongly about this”?
According to Kris, education has improved his life and enabled him to appreciate life more. It’s made him happier, too.

The goal is to “help [employees] take the blinders off and realise they do have more potential within themselves.”

What’s the solution to the problem?

Jill and Brad shared with Kris possible solutions to his business concerns.

According to Brad, leadership changes when the number of employees hit 50 and communication should be narrowed down to department heads who will then pass on the message to the rest of the team.

“Communicating through team leads is much more impactful,” he said.

Kris has been doing exactly this, but there’s more he can do to succeed.

  • Set up a career ladder to encourage them to aspire to do more
  • Evaluate employees based on their performance against a higher role
  • Point out gaps in performance
  • Provide training to fill in those gaps
  • Gamify the process to spark conversations and inspire people to not be in the bottom 20%
  • Use webinars to communicate.

Want to know exactly how to implement these suggestion? Listen to the full podcast on Breaking Down Your Business and on iTunes, and you’ll take home valuable insights, just as Kris did.