Omar Zenhom has named his companies fittingly. He truly is a web ninja that has invented the concept of a $100 MBA. With over 14 years of business-building experience, Omar was an educator and university manager for over 13 years before deciding to attend the Wharton School of Business. He was completely dismayed by the program, and after dropping out, he started the $100 MBA as a project to give people an alternative to a business education.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Omar about how his companies are meeting a niche that is lacking in the market, and any tips he has for business owners looking to reach the next level of customer engagement, through podcasts and webinars.
Stepping Away From Formal Education
Omar explained that his frustrations with attending business school were rooted in his desire to get started right away. As he mused:
He needed a way to teach people the fundamentals of business so they could go out and actually start one. Omar developed the $100 MBA program as means to teach the basics of business for future business owners—in an affordable way. With a collection of over 180 video courses, Omar covers everything from marketing, to sales, finance, leadership, and much more.
Omar is the head instructor, curriculum developer, and content creator of the $100 MBA program— which is also a successful podcast on iTunes. The $100 MBA show is one of the highest rated shows for its genre and won Best of iTunes in December 2015. Currently, the show attracts over 50,000 daily listeners.
Since launching the $100 MBA brand, Omar has also developed one of the best webinar software programs online through his company WebinarNinja.
WebinarNinja is a software platform that allows people to create and run webinars online using a technology called webRTC. The process is completely live —with zero delays, and it is browser-based, so there is no need to download any programs.
For the full effect of what Omar had to say and to hear the advice he had to share, make sure you listen to the whole interview below.
Tips on Creating a Successful Podcast
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, I asked the expert himself for any advice he might have for business owners looking to start their own podcast, and if there is anything he might recommend. Omar offered the following helpful tips for the trade:
1. Planning Is Important
Prior to launching the $100 MBA podcast, Omar had a failed show that he learned a lot of tough lessons from; one of them was the need for planning.
After learning from his mistakes, Omar launched the $100 MBA with a completely different strategy and a formidable plan in place. To him, having a strategy means constantly asking yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and incorporating that "why" into a plan.
2. Get Real with Yourself
Omar believes the reason why he has had success is because of proper planning and getting real. You can't delude yourself and go into it blindly. In order to stand out, you need to have a strategy, a differentiator, and add unique value to the marketplace.
He suggests starting out by studying your genre in iTunes, and seeing what shows are working. You may even want to reach out to some of the producers in your market, and ask for any tips. "Getting real" means studying your competition and doing your homework.
3. Leverage Your Strengths
Omar discovered this business tactic by applying his years of teaching skills and lessons, to his $100 MBA brand. His failed show was based on an interview format that he admittedly wasn't very good at. Once he started using his strengths, he was able to gain a competitive edge with the $100 MBA and was one of the first people on iTunes teaching business lessons
After Omar had relaid some tips for creating a successful podcast, I asked him why he chose this platform.
An Advocate for Podcasting
Omar admits he loves this medium because it attracts listeners that he deems as "completionists." Since some shows last up to a few hours per episode, audiences for podcasts are generally committed and in it for the long haul. That's also due in part to the fact that when people subscribe, they are delivered the content episodically. As Omar puts it:
This type of broadcasting also allows you to have a place in the day-to-day life of listeners, as people tune-in during normal activities—like going to the gym or doing the dishes.
As podcasts are a growing platform, Omar emphasizes the importance of being involved in everything, from host to producer. It's critical to be a craftsman in the process, and you have to have some experience so you can delineate what you want people to do. There's no need to spend money on costly equipment, and you can get a decent mic for about sixty dollars.
Regardless of what people say, they don't like to shop around. Podcasts create rapport, and people consistently go with whom they know, whom they trust, and who delivers.
"They don't care how much you know until you show them how much you care."
Advice for Business Owners
Like the famous shoe company, Omar wants you to "Just do it!" As he cleverly advised:
Part of being a great entrepreneur is forcing yourself to do things when you don't feel like it. It is important to challenge yourself to get things done— even when it doesn't make any sense right now. The consistency of action is critical, and every single day business owners should be producing something.
Checking e-mails and social media are shallow actions that do not build a legacy. The needle gets stuck when you can't point at one thing each day and say "I created that."
Balance your consumptive and productive times accordingly, and practice consistency.
Lastly, it's important to welcome challenges. Business owners should understand how to deal with obstacles. It is what will keep you on track and define you as an entrepreneur so that you can propel yourself to the next level.