Stefan Katanic is a 28-year old savvy entrepreneur from Toronto who likes to help pave the way forward for others. He started out as an entrepreneur by helping agencies scale over millions of dollars in revenue, and today operates Veza Digital, a premier white-label marketing agency. Stefan is a part of Forbes Agency Council and 25 Young Entrepreneurs To Watch.
City where you’re from: Toronto
Favorite quote: “To get the best out of people around you, you have to clearly and forcefully articulate the opportunities you see for them” – 50 Cent
Tell us about your agency, Veza Digital. How did you come up with this idea for white labeling?
Stefan Katanic: I’ve been a marketing consultant for the past 7 years, and I never thought that my next project would be a white label agency. But here I am sitting at my kitchen table with my best friend and a clean white piece of paper staring back at me.
It all started when one of our agency friends approached us about developing their own proprietary software to sell as opposed to outsourcing it out where they were paying someone else’s team to do it. We brainstormed some ideas and came up with Veza Digital White-label Agency – an agency that provides white label services to agencies who want something tailored just for their clients, under their own brand. They wanted us to create everything from the design process through development, testing, and launch day strategy! It took around 6 months but we managed to finally get it off, and today we have over 40 white-label agencies who leverage our back-end service to scale their agencies.
How did you promote your agency in the early days?
Stefan Katanic: In the early days before we even thought of a white-label agency, it was mostly word of mouth, cold email, and LinkedIn. Today, we primarily get a ton of organic traffic to our site and practically own the top of the funnel for the space.
How have you been able to grow your agency?
Stefan Katanic: It’s always fun to see the look on people’s faces when they find out we offer free consultations and feedback. If they know how much we charge, that is. I’m a believer in going over and beyond for good people, we want to make sure they feel confident about the choice!
This motto has been shaped over the years and really embedded as a value in our company culture. Although we’re first on Google search for our services, once people do become dedicated partners we work and plan to work with them all for the long term.
What are some secrets to virility/sales in your most successful platform?
Stefan Katanic: For our clientele, the great results have been a mixture of advertising on social media platforms coupled with a sleek website design that gives people a premium brand experience that blows their competition out of the water.
Teach us something we don’t know about digital marketing.
Stefan Katanic: Marketing doesn’t happen overnight. Most people think that ads are the final step towards enabling sales and closing more deals. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I would say that your brand is the most leveraged asset you will ever create. The term Brand Equity is something that I always preach to our clients and partners. It’s an evolving project initiative that will never end. Put your brand first and all your other activities such as Ads, PR, Funnels, and cold outreach will have 10x the effect.
What do you think you do better than most people? How are you able to do it?
Stefan Katanic: I’m not the most talkative person, but with certain people, I can do it. Sometimes being quiet and observant is all you need to know about how others feel. For me, speaking to someone, in particular, was a second nature thing. If I had an idea of what they wanted or needed then that’s where my words flowed from because I knew just what they were looking for. For example, if someone who worked in marketing asked me how their campaign should go, I would speak from the experience knowing which words would work for them as well as their audience because it felt like such a natural fit for me.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
Stefan Katanic: The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma, Hustle Hard, Hustler Smarter by Curtis Jackson (50 Cent), and the 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch.
What advice would you give to other agency owners?
Stefan Katanic: Most agency owners are in it and want to exit. If that’s the case you need to focus 80% of your efforts on the top 20% of activities that generate your results such as sales, negotiations, marketing campaigns, and other high-ROI activities.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple of years? What’s your dream?
Stefan Katanic: I see myself operating our eCommerce brands at Veza and focusing more on my investments. I’m not going to go into details but just know I got my next few moves planned out.