Setting up SBU (Strategic Business Units)

In now by Michael Michelini

What Mike Michelini is Up To Now – Feb 28 – Mar 6, 2021

Listen as audio here [2 minutes long] (or scroll down for text)

It’s hard to believe we are entering the third month of 2021.

Quick updates (bullet points) and then:

  • Still feeling “stuck” in China.
  • Working hard on adjusting company and my mindset for a leadership team + scale.
  • GFAVIP online mastermind
  • Organizing online events for Amazon & Handshake

Those curious more about the “stuck in china” feeling, it’s not really on an exit ban, just feeling stuck.


It’s just the month to month living on our current temporary apartment here in Shenyang, China. The plan still is to return to Thailand (have most of our belongings and a car there waiting). But the big question is when. To invest to go now is a big financial decision as we have to contend with 4 flights, and quarantine hotel for 2 weeks (I think it is 2 hotel rooms as well for 4 people, as a requirement) and other admin/visa processes. It’s hard to know if it is “smart” to go now, or wait until it is “easier”.

But are we in a “new normal”. Will there be more COVID strains around for years to come and travel will always be this way?

So, the rough plan still is to stick here until the summer.

Those who want to read the week plan I write for the company, here it goes

Week Plan Feb 28 – Mar 6, 2021 Shadstone Limited:

The year is flying by. Seriously, I feel like Christmas just passed and now we are entering March! Time flies when you are having fun ;-0)

Super stressful times (for me at least) and I hope everyone is learning a lot, enjoying what they do, and improving their skills and collaboration as a team.

As we have said in the ongoing week plans, the company is still adjusting to building a leadership team and more structure rather than a “Mike made a task for me” company. Blessed with good people and Janette’s help as well. I see progress. And I know probably, I am the biggest barrier to the transition. Allowing others to do what they need to do, not micromanage, and trust the team will get the tasks done well, on time, and presented to clients in a professional manner. I am trying to further “let go”. Thank you for all sticking with me in this ongoing process.

A few big updates:

  • A client online event is Monday and Tuesday night this week. Extra stressful as the dates were changed and then some turnover on our event management team. So last week the event management service was transitioned out of Shadstone and to the client, since we didn’t have time to get a replacement here. But in a way, it is more aligned to our core strengths, the content, the website, that of the event (similar to Handycon.promote – we will discuss below)
  • The Amazon brand was approved by Amazon on Thursday/Friday. This has been such a long process of registering company, bank, seller account, trademark, brand accelerator, inventory, bar codes. We are 90% there but there’s a new barrier – some reason Amazon won’t let us use the new brand name on the listings, even though they approved the brand in the system. Our content editor I connected with our Amazon assistant partner and wish I had thought of that earlier. They will be handling the product creation and the shipping plans, variations, all this stuff (which we don’t currently have anyone on the team with this experience) and we can focus on our strength – content and internet marketing.
  • Month end here and working on monthly reports for ongoing clients.
  • For the Handshake / dWeb, working on a new event – Handycon.promote (or if you don’t have the resolver setup) for March 10-11 (USA time) / March 11-12 (Asia time). It is a bit last minute, but the community is so active and speakers are agreeing to share so it will be an amazing one.

From this list, the trend I see, and the focus / clarify I am getting for our company, Shadstone, is we are a content and internet marketing company. We need to focus on that, for our own internal projects as well as client services. We cannot be tempted to do other services because a client asks. We need to develop thee services and processes of the strengths we have (content and SEO) while having partners / clients do the other parts of the business themselves.

Example (from above)

  • Event – we do the podcast / video / website / graphics / event tech setup / integrations / affiliate program. But we do not do the customer service, speaker management, social media promotion for it.
  • Amazon / ecommerce – we do the text, the research, the optimization, the influencer campaign. But we do not create SKUs, variations, shipping plans, bar codes, customer service.

This was always the vision of Shadstone, since it started in 2007 – to be a “Shadstone” and a “stone” company you can rely on. With the first ecommerce business we did (in 2004) when I started Shadstone, the goal was to service that ecommerce company with sourcing and SEO services; to be the “engine” of the company for it, while other partners in that first ecommerce business did the sales, customer support, logistics and supply chain.

Hope this is clear and aligned. We (I) just need to say no to inquiries on doing services that do not fit into our core of content creation and internet marketing services. We need to focus on what we currently have in our team, develop those services and skillsets, and find partners for our non-core services.

Janette suggested I/we design the org chart for huge growth. To practice how the organization would function and what it would look like with more revenue, projects, and team members.

Still working on that, but one part I learned from her suggestion was the SBU – Strategic Business Units.

So we have our “HQ” headquarters, and then for core projects/services we have team members dedicated on those.

Here’s the current design:

So at the headquarters is our content creation team. That is our core service and our engine that we use to feed into our projects (clients or our own).

Then there are 4 main SBUs I can see (again open to any/all input from team members)

  1. Shadstone Services / Content Investments – SEO, content creation.
  2. Global From Asia – cross border community, masterminds.
  3. SkyInclude / Handshake, HNS – long term investment on the “new internet” (decentralized web). Believe this will become the “real internet” but may take 3 – 10 years.
  4. Amazon / BlogJV partnerships, ecommerce of our own – our partnership with the Thailand factory. We are servicing with content and internet marketing services.
    (But this kind of to me is part of (1), just that we are a part owner in the agreement)

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