The MKG Marketing Model for Growth With Mike Krass

Mike Krass is the Co-founder of MKG Marketing, where he has leveraged his extensive experience in digital marketing to service cybersecurity and SaaS businesses effectively. As an avid pilot, Mike brings a unique perspective to his business, emphasizing procedure and risk management. His entrepreneurial journey includes learning valuable lessons from youthful ventures, such as his car washing business. Mike is also the facilitator of the What’s the Problem? podcast, which explores pressing issues in the tech and marketing space. 

In this episode, John Corcoran hosts Mike Krass, the Co-Founder of MKG Marketing, to discuss how Mike took the bold step of firing himself as CEO to better serve his company’s growing needs. The conversation unravels his entrepreneurial roots, from a neighborhood car washing business to establishing MKG Marketing as a leading agency in the cybersecurity and SaaS realms.

Available_Black copy
Available_Black copy
Available_Black copy

Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [2:27] The unexpected wisdom gained from Mike Krass’ childhood car washing business
  • [3:27] How early entrepreneurial hustles can hint at future business success
  • [5:21] The strategic thought process behind niching down into the cybersecurity market
  • [7:32] Understanding the complexities of the cybersecurity industry
  • [10:21] Recognizing when it’s time to fire yourself as the CEO
  • [12:33] The steps involved in successfully transitioning the CEO role
  • [16:01] Adapting leadership styles post-CEO transition
  • [20:16] Introducing an agency leadership committee to empower team members
  • [24:18] The benefits and challenges of self-implementing EOS
  • [33:27] Diversifying the client pool by servicing early-stage companies

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution. 

We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.

What do you need to start a podcast?

When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.

The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.

We make distribution easy

We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.

Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

Are you considering launching a podcast to acquire partnerships, clients, and referrals? Would you like to work with a podcast agency that wants you to win? 

Contact us now at [email protected] or book a call at

Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

Okay, today we’re talking about how to fire yourself as the CEO of your own company, especially in the services business, and replace yourself with a new CEO who is not you. My guest today is Mike Krass, and I’ll tell you more about them in a second. So stay tuned.

Intro 0:17

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders and ask them how they built the relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:33

Alright, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. Thanks for joining us again. And I’ve had lots of great interesting founders and entrepreneurs on this show. You can check out the archives we’ve got. We’ve had Netflix and Kinkos, YPO, EO, Activision, Blizzard, GrubHub, LendingTree, you name it, check out the archives, you can check out those past episodes. And of course, this episode brought to you by our company, Rise25, where we help B2B businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done-for-you podcast and content marketing, you can go to our website at or email us at [email protected] if you have any questions about that. 

And my guest here today is Mike Krass. He is the owner and visionary from MKG Marketing and has over a decade experience in the digital marketing world. He established MKG Marketing as a prominent agency focusing on cybersecurity and SaaS businesses. So we’ll talk a little bit about his journey, some of the highs and lows that he’s experienced, including, of course, firing himself as CEO and niching. Down and even having to replace a couple of key clients and what he did and in that instance, and also give him a shout out he’s 45 episodes into his, what’s the problem podcast, go check that out. 

Also fun fact, he’s a pilot, I come from a line of pilots. So I always like to chat with pilots. But Mike says it’s a pleasure to have you here today. And I love to ask people about any kind of little entrepreneurial side hustles that they had as a kid, and you actually had a car washing power washing business, where you went around the neighborhood, and there was an important lesson from it, because you print up flyers, and then you put them sounds like you plaster them across every mailbox in the neighborhood, which was simultaneously an unpopular decision with some of the neighbors that weren’t happy about this. But you also got business out of it. So there was an important lesson in that as well.

Mike Krass 2:27

Absolutely. Honored to be here, John. And yeah, with that, with that car, Washington business. I didn’t really know it any better. I didn’t know that mailboxes were not my property. And that me stuffing flyers all over them demanding or requesting car wash clients would not be well received. I think that was the original mark as spam. 

Right? This was before people were marking spam and email, it was like, people were tearing my flyers down and mentally marking me as spam. But it did lead to quite a few clients. And I say clients because they were recurring. I mean, they hired me, they said, come by every two weeks, you know, the hoses out front and the stuff in the garage and just wash the cars. So it worked. And it definitely alienated some of the neighborhood as well. We didn’t like them anyways. And

John Corcoran 3:14

So tell me, did you realize that it was a recurring revenue business at the time, or are you reflecting back on you realizing, Oh, that was just kind of smart to choose something that was a service that people needed on a regular basis.

Mike Krass 3:27

I needed tickets to the movies, which cost money, and I needed them that day. So I wasn’t thinking about recurring revenue. I was blessed with that. So I have good movies, and weekends to follow. But for me, it was just like, hey, what can I do right here right now? I’m good with the Shammi. I’m good with cars and paint some scratch of paint, drying it and there was not that much forethought or put into it. It was really just how can I get to the movies tonight?

John Corcoran 3:54

Did you have it? So I can see that? Motivating it? But did you have entrepreneurs in your family? Or was this more something that came innately through you?

Mike Krass 4:06

Yeah, at the time, I didn’t know it. Because think about when you’re a kid, you know, you don’t quite recognize what the grown ups do. You know, they talk about what they do a lot, but it’s like, they don’t really know what they’re doing. And I have quite a few entrepreneurs in my family. You know, Uncle mine started a law firm. nother uncle started a handyman construction business. 

My dad ended up consulting and doing his own one man shingle consulting in mediation in the airline industry. So when I reflect back on it, there’s actually quite a few examples of professional services or service based entrepreneurship in my family, and I never actually connected the dots on all those different people until much later in life. 

John Corcoran 4:52

Yeah. I’d love to hear about how that showed up for you as you started to move yourself out of this operational role because that’s such a difficult journey from being the founder rolling up your sleeves, doing it yourself, doing everything yourself at the very beginning to moving out of that role in hiring other people. But you didn’t start with focusing on cybersecurity. So let’s talk about that. How did you decide that this was the area that you wanted to niche down and focus on?

Mike Krass 5:21

Sure. So we’ve been in business for 12 years now, summer of 2020, for over 12 years. And I say that like a cat, we’ve had three lives so far, three of our nine. The first one was, I call it AFM anything for money. If you had money, we were the marketing agency for you, which is a pretty terrible positioning statement. Because it effectively means nothing. We then transitioned into working more with technology businesses, primarily on the b2b side. 

And that was the result of us just having those clients. So we looked around and we said, well, actually, most of our clients are on this. So let’s just go and get more of them. Right, prospective clients want to see that you have some sort of experience in their field or at least transferable experience in their industry. And we had direct experience in the industry, the move into cyber and information security happened. Because we actually looked at who some of our best clients were. And we also looked at the industries in terms of which industries are growing. 

Where is their compound growth happening, that we’re not just talking about working with you today, but in five years, 10 years, where’s market spending investment going to be invested into. And as we looked at it, we had some fantastic case studies in the cybersecurity space. We were looking at some of the compound annual growth rate projections at the time, this was about five years ago, and those CAGR projections for cybersecurity were all up to the right. 

I mean, it was up there with like electric cars, and, you know, things like that. And so we made the decision five years ago to niche down into cybersecurity. And I believe we’ve been rewarded. Because a lot of folks in cybersecurity want you to, at a base level, and preferably more than a base level, understand some of the different categories and how they function with one another. Because in cyber, it feels very incestuous. There’s a lot of partnering between security vendors, when I say vendor, I mean, like a product vendor, that it’s happening

John Corcoran 7:32

You’ve got the underlying software programs that I imagine a lot of companies using, and then there’s, I guess, implementers, or, you know, the, the companies that helped to set up the software, I’m guessing.

Mike Krass 7:46

Totally, yeah, but actually helped deploy, they become channel partners. So it’s just a very incestuous kind of industry vertical. And it’s, it’s difficult even for us who’ve been focusing pretty exclusively on it for five years. Now. It’s difficult to unravel everything and understand. So I say all that to bring to light that there’s a bit of a moat around the industry, right? 

It’s not easy to be marketing Nike sneakers, stuff in a single engine aircraft, and a cybersecurity vendor. Like, that’s just those are such wildly different industries. And so we haven’t seen the amount of agency competition entering that space. It’s there, but not nearly to the degree of other established industries, like consumer packaged goods, or hospitality marketing agencies or something like that.

John Corcoran 8:31

Yeah. And did you find that there was less potential? And clients, were you? Or was it growing at such a rate not just the industry growing but new entrants, new potential clients, entering the industry, that there was enough of a market for you to go after?

Mike Krass 8:50

So the market I’ll be honest with you, John, is still I think it’s, it’s a fraction of what it will be, I still think it’s a little small and mature in terms of the lifespan of cybersecurity. For example, across the globe, there’s something like, I think it’s like 4200 cybersecurity vendors, those are product vendors, not including any sort of service integrators or professional services businesses tied into cyber. 

So it’s still a very small market, in comparison to VLOOKUP software, which I did the other day, and there’s, there’s over a million recognized, just recognized software companies across the globe, right? So million versus 4000. Like that’s, that’s a huge difference. 

That being said, the amount of new cyber businesses and the amount of early stage investing, especially here in 2023, and 2024, is huge. It’s a big difference. And I think that investment is going to lead to both consolidation which is already seen from the big players, consolidating the smaller ones, as well as the encouragement of startup founders to enter this space and create a business. So I think it’s going to continue to grow. But it’s still early days. When