Joe Rojas: Today, we’re talking about the sucky economy.
Jeff Loehr: I think it’s a pretty good economy.
Joe Rojas: I think the economy is doing fine. I think it’s overly dramatized for news purposes
Jeff Loehr: I think the important point of the economy and sucking is that people will complain about the economy sucks, and they will use this as an excuse for their business not doing well, when in fact, the reason their business is or isn’t doing well has nothing to do with the economy. It has everything to do with the entrepreneur. That’s what we’re talking about today.
Joe Rojas: In 2008, I remember telling my staff that we just weren’t going to participate in the recession. We grew about 200% from 2008 to 2010 because we changed our tactics and went after a particular type of client.
We started looking for bigger clients in the same vertical with the same problem with the same issue as small businesses because small businesses were struggling. So we looked for more prominent clients trying to replace their IT director. And all of a sudden, we were turning out big clients.
Jeff Loehr: The critical thing is that you identified the problem you were solving and figured out for whom. Way in the beginning, we talked about ABC companies, and “C” companies are the companies that are just doing work. They’re just out grinding. A typical “C” company does work, but doesn’t stand out from everybody else who’s doing work. This is the problem with being a “C” company and why you end up getting weeded out in a recession.
When the problem you were trying to solve goes away, you have to figure out the new problem you’re solving and for whom you solve that problem. You’ll be left behind if you expect the world to buy the same thing from you tomorrow.
So Joe, in 2008, you were solving the same problem. You just found a different for whom. It’s essential to get clear about what you do and for whom, and sometimes you may have to shift your for whom. You may have to redefine the problem that they have.
Joe Rojas: I can’t tell you how many meetings I went to where I would keep my mouth shut because everybody was complaining and complaining. The companies that suffered were agnostic. They tried to do everything for everybody. The narrower you get, the more money you need to be able to thread your client through the eye of a needle. And the more narrowly you define your segment, the bigger your market is.
Joe Rojas: Here’s the secret about a recession. People might become more value-conscious in a recession, but it’s never about price. If you only give someone a price to negotiate around, they will need to negotiate on the price. You have to create more value than just what something costs. You have to show somebody why they should purchase from you, why buying from you matters. And that’s where it comes down to being clear about the problem you solve.
Your big takeaways from today are to know the problem you solve and for whom, don’t participate in recessions and know your value.
Jeff Loehr: When it comes down to it, if you’re going to pivot, identify a gap in the market, find a new avatar, a new target customer, and build your business and your offer around delivering that. And that’s really what it takes to get out of a recession. Joe, you want to take us out?
Joe Rojas: Remember that you are loved.