How To Make Marketing Simpler & More Effective Using A Niche

Welcome to the Rialto Marketing podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Edward Stringfellow for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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How To Make Marketing Simpler & More Effective Using A Niche

Tim Fitzpatrick
Welcome to the Rialto Marketing Podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven-figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks if you want to accelerate growth, and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am super excited to have Edward Stringfellow with me today from Stringfellow Technology Group. Edward, welcome, and thanks for being here.

Edward Stringfellow
Well, thanks for having me, Tim. I look forward to our conversation today.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, me too. We're going to have a really good conversation. I love the topic or the path that we're going down. Before we jump into that, I want to ask a few rapid fire questions. Are you ready to jump in with both feet?

Edward Stringfellow
Sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, let's do it. Very quickly, what do you do? How long have you been doing it?

Edward Stringfellow
What do I do? Specific to Stringfellows, so 2005, I started what today is called a managed service provider. We fix computers for people today. It's a much more sophisticated way that we say that. But at the end of the day, in 2005, I saw a need to help people with technology, and that's where the firm started.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's the most important lesson you've learned since 2005 running your business?

Edward Stringfellow
Well, there's so many. I think one of the biggest things is... Well, one's hard. If I had to sum it up into one thing, it would probably be more self-awareness to take the input from others and be self-aware of how you're impacting others and making sure that you're open to their advice and experiences and stuff. I think that can accelerate your learning and your business growth in all around. As an entrepreneur, I think often we feel like we have to have all the answers, but the reality is to have that self-awareness to go find a mentor or check yourself or do that. I think that's been very helpful.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, I think it's hard for a lot of us, but the more self-aware we are, it opens us up to potential blind spots. That's where the opportunities are.

Edward Stringfellow
For sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love that. Look, since 2005, there have been some ups, there's been some downs. You just said growing a business is hard. Do you have any mantra or something motivational you say to yourself or you share with your team when you run into those roadblocks?

Edward Stringfellow
I think whenever you run into something difficult, you got to know there's always tomorrow. You can be in the middle of something. Tomorrow is another day. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger thing. I think keeping a level head and perspective on what we're doing. I don't know what others do, but I try to go to church on Sundays, and so I think there's a faith component to what I do. But what I would say is that nothing is that big. I have 100% been sitting on a sofa looking at our payroll and spreadsheet and cash flow in the early days, and I thought, Huh, in two weeks, we literally will have no money. It won't be any. It was because we were selling computers and buying them and not getting the cash upfront. The business was the PNL was spectacular. I was like, Huh, this is so weird. It's just because you don't... We were financing our clients' equipment purchases. As we grew, that became a bigger problem. But the point, I think a level head and just knowing that at the end of the day, there will be tomorrow, I think is a helpful way to think about that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think that it's a refreshing perspective to have. Sometimes those entrepreneurs were like, Oh, my God, what just happened? This is the end of the world. But when we really put it in perspective, most of the time it's really not.

Edward Stringfellow
Literally, in most people's view, the worst thing that can happen is you would die. We've all, at this point, probably, known people that passed away and stuff rather... That's not going to happen typically. It's not that bad. What are we... I mean, it's bad, but your health and you live to find another day.

Niching Down Makes Business So Much Easier

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, we need to put it in perspective. You recently niched into the healthcare space. After being in business, you were in business well over 15 years at that point. Can you share how you went about this process and the benefits you've experienced since making that change?

Edward Stringfellow
100 %. As you said, we've been in business 15 years. Over 15 years of business, you will naturally maybe find some segments that you work in. That happens typically not because of your proactive marketing, but because of referrals. If you do a good job with this professional contractor, they tell all their buddies, and then you get the calls. That's a great way to... What I would consider referrals are very almost a passive thing, and you're just taking what comes, which is not bad. We built a couple of years back, and it was a very nice business off that model. But we looked one day and we said, Okay, so we haven't been super niche, as it were. We had three different ones. But we were talking and we're like, We have professional service contractors, we have healthcare providers, then we had private and family business. Well, immediately private and privately held businesses, that's so broad as to be... I mean, you can't... Great. Basically, our world would be non-public companies. Well, you can't market to that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it's too broad.

Edward Stringfellow
We took that out. Then we chuckled. We said, Well, how are we going to market to professional contractors and healthcare? I said, Well, we can have an ad of an injured construction worker getting an urgent care facility. This is not super helpful. I was like, Well, all right, let's stop. We got these two segments. When you peel the onion back, a couple of things that I think are important for you, niching down doesn't mean that you quit answering referrals and people's phone calls that are outside the niche. I think that's one of the biggest epiphanies that we had through the process is wait a second, all our referrals are still coming in because it's, Hey, call string. When you get a referral, they typically go to the site and find the contact info, whatever, and they come right in. They don't go look at maybe the copy and all the marketing. You don't kill off the referrals that are coming in. Then, man, the power of being niche down makes your marketing easier, makes your messaging easier, your buyer persona. All these things that now, as I'm saying, are so patently obvious to me. Before, I think this might be helpful before we were real comfortable with this fact, Oh, no, we're not industry specific, we're horizontal. Our market definition is 50-1,000 users and non-financial, so we don't do finance for a number of reasons. Well, man, that's nothing. You can't market to that. We were real proud of, Oh, it doesn't matter. Tell us technology is technology. We don't care if you're a roofing company or a hospital. We can do both. We could do both. But from a marketing and sales perspective, that kills you because you're everything and nothing all at the same time.

Tim Fitzpatrick
When you go broad, the target is so large, all you see is red, the red bullseye. But you can't see where that bullseye actually is. When you niche like you did in healthcare, all of a sudden, you can see that bullseye. You know exactly where your aim is.

Edward Stringfellow
Well, the bullseye is huge, too, you never miss because that's not real. From an operational perspective, depending on what business you might be in, you don't get any economies of scale. But especially in our business, to be very good at one thing, it's helpful. You speak their language and just everything becomes clearer and easier to manage. Also, too, in our business anyway, so now we're the experts in these providers and healthcare clinics. When we see an issue at one, it applies broadly across our base that the clients actually get a better experience and service due to this. It's a very virtuous thing to niche down.

Tim Fitzpatrick
When you started this process, Edward, what was driving that? Why did you start to look at this? Did you do this yourself? Did you hire a consultant or a marketing provider to help you with that?

Edward Stringfellow
We hired a group, marketing group, right? Sadly, we didn't know you at the time.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's okay.

Edward Stringfellow
But I appreciate you still talk with me. But no, we found a little process about it because we wanted a better website, some more messaging and buyer percentage. The epiphany, this is not why we hired them to do the niche thing, but literally they presented us with their review and their findings. It was like it was these three segments, that professional and the healthcare. That's exactly what I thought. I was like, We can't do this. We have to pick one. Really, we were down to picking two. Then I started sitting on it and I said, Well, wait a second, over half of our business and experience, we're really good in the healthcare IT space. What are we doing? Why would we not go all in? I think the reason people don't go all in is because they're concerned about missing out on what isn't in the niche. If you're like, Yeah, you need to pick a niche that has a TAM, a total addressable market that's reasonable. I'm only going to work with trucking companies that start with the letter Y, well, then your one prospect is just bankrupted two or three.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, that's right.

Edward Stringfellow
That's not a niche. But a niche, I think, in my opinion, has defined a niche based on a tunnel addressable market that's reasonable, that you could make a business that did go hand in hand. When we looked at that, it was very obvious. We are, go where your skills take you. You wake up one day and next thing you know, you work with all of these types of clients. Well, why would you fight that? I think some business centers, I think the shift from I want all the business I can get no matter what it is to the right business is a big deal.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, that's a huge key distinction. The other thing, too, that I think, you're hitting on… I'm trying to think of all the things that I always talk to people about, so thank you. Frankly, that speaks to the experience that you've gone through and how it's benefited your business. But when we look at picking a niche, one of the things I always focus on is out of your existing client base, because like you said, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. You've got customers that you've worked with. Who do you love working with? Who's profitable? Who are you getting great results for? That is a great group to start digging deeper to see if you can find a niche. With you, with healthcare, the other thing that we start to look at with a target market is, is it growing? Or at the very least, is it stable? You don't want to go into a niche that is declining.

Edward Stringfellow
We have the experience. You're exactly right. Again, healthcare is, guess what? I mean, this is just our experience.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's not going anywhere.

Edward Stringfellow
Yeah, but healthcare is recession proof, not going anywhere, blah, blah, blah. Professional contracting, although they're great. We have very good relationships with those folks. That's very much tied to the economy. You start macroing out, which isn't bad. Literally, there is a group of groups that they do what we do and only for different areas, and that's fine. Again, if you're in the industry, you'll know these things. But I just, Kelly, it makes all of your interactions, obviously on your marketing, but even your sales process, internal discussions, it really focuses you and gives you a lens to grow your business. I think you mentioned something that some people call several. All your clients are not the same profitability. I think a trap that a lot of groups get into is they think they have a business, but really they have two clients and a bunch of tiny clients. The two clients are actually not good clients, but they're just the biggest. They get trapped. Well, why do they get trapped? They didn't do the marketing to get enough of the small ones to equal the too big. Does that make sense?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah.

Edward Stringfellow
You can end up in this weird spot where you have a business. But the reality is you have a client. I would suggest that any client that's over 10, let's call it 20 to be 90, over 20% of revenue, that would be concerning to-I don't think they're too big of a business owner.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I agree. I think most CFOs would look at somewhere in that 10% range. If you have one client that's more than 10% of your top-line revenue, say it, it's a potentially precarious place to be in.

Edward Stringfellow
Yeah. At a minimum, you want to attract the same size client, and then guess what? They'll be five and five and so on and so forth. But how do you do that? Well, to build the size of the pie, what we have to do? We have to attract, we have to market to more groups, right? Yeah. If I'm going to spend time marketing more groups, again, you have the option now because you're going to pick a niche to market to the most profitable clients. Again, it all goes hand in hand. Depending on how long you've been in business too, you might not have this data. I think another thing that, especially when people are getting started, it seems that they market to the world and they don't have a niche because any dollar is a good dollar. I understand that. I could get that it would be difficult to out of the gate be really niche down. But on the flip side of that coin is what if you are your success is going to be... I've got to believe if you've got the right thesis and premise around your marketing, I think you'll be more successful faster than the other way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I think because when you guys made this choice, you updated your website, your messaging, everything was geared towards healthcare. You went all in. I think an intermediary step, if as a business owner you're really concerned about it, is to focus all your outbound marketing efforts on a specific niche. Before you make that jump. But you just went all in. And when you did that, what happened?

Edward Stringfellow
Signed one of the larger deals we've ever signed in a month. Because here's the thing. If I'm a healthcare provider and I'm looking for IT, do I want to work with the group that is showing me that they're experienced in groups just like me, healthcare and checking all the boxes, or do I just want to work with a decent IT shop? We're going to win every time from a marketing perspective. Obviously, we have to back it up, and we do. But I would just suggest that that marketing should also be differentiation. Many of us are not in unique businesses. It provider, that's hard to differentiate. We make the green lights green. I'm sure we do more than that and we do a really good job. But from a marketing perspective, you got to have something that you are. I don't want to just... Who do you work with, Tim? Anybody that needs marketing. I don't really want to grow my business. I will take you out. I want a 10X. I will take you out. I mean, that's not real. One of our defining things is we want to work with groups that think technology can move them forward and help them improve and they're willing to invest in it. That is part of our marketing and folks that basically want technology to be as cheap as possible, hopefully we don't attract them. Because that's not going to be a good relationship for them or us.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, you thought pretty quick results once you made that shift. Now that you've been doing it, you mentioned this, everything has become, I hate to say easy because things are never easy, but they've become a lot simpler.

Edward Stringfellow
They become focused, simpler. Yeah, easy is probably, but they're focused. Our conversations internally, externally, the buyer personas, I'm sure everybody's familiar with that. Now, when we're calling on a practice administrator, we're very clear, we understand they have limited time in their day, they get 100 calls. It's really easy to add more value to them as well. Now it's not just marketing, but we really truly can... What we're putting out, we want to add value. Our blog posts aren't just these random click-bait things. We want you to read it and get some value out of it, and that's why you'll contact us. We don't want to just spray and pray thing. We want to add value via our content. How do you do that? Well, you have to pick a niche. I could write articles about generic password schemes. I don't think that's very effective from a marketing perspective.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What would you say to somebody that's business owner that's on the fence about actually picking a niche?

Edward Stringfellow
I would say look at the business you have. Look at the business you have. Do some analysis. Don't just look at revenue. I think a lot of groups, they don't understand the concept of gross margin contribution. I don't want to take... We could do a whole other podcast on that. But the shortest way I can make that is forget revenue, hopefully you know the gross profit. Your direct revenue minus your direct cost, in theory, you should have this. If you don't, go work on that first. But get your gross revenue for each client and then look at that percentage. Because your biggest client may not necessarily be your biggest. You want to- I look at who's giving the most gross profit and look at that contribution margin. To me, that's the metric I would look at. Then overlay industry or whatever. Industry might be a side, client size might be a side, whatever those, you got to go find that for yourself. But you overlay the metrics and there's going to be some combination of metrics or lens that pulls out all the high profitability ones or the high contributing ones. I would suggest, hopefully, there's a theme and there you go. That's how you pick that niche. I would agree with you too. You put your toe in the water and market to those people, the challenge is typically we're pushing them to a website.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's not going to be as effective if you have one toe in the water. It's much more effective if you jump in with both feet.

Edward Stringfellow
A question for you, I'll flip it on you. Do you feel like in today's world, buyers, as I understand it, and this is a question for you, don't you think people are going to websites and self-educating a lot more before they're making that call? I agree with you, but I think we both also agree it's a little counterproductive. You spend all this time crafting this very niche based message, and then they go to your site and they're like... I mean, at a minimum, a landing page like something.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's not going to be as effective if you dip your toe in the water. I think you do need to commit. But it's a happy medium for people that are super cautious about jumping in.

Edward Stringfellow
But I think the landing page is easy, right?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it is.

Edward Stringfellow
For you, not for me, but for somebody like you, anyway, for the right group, that's straightforward enough to do.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. But based on your experience, it sounds like you have absolutely no regrets about making that choice. It's changed your business.

Edward Stringfellow
Well, it's focused our business. Now we're able to... We've built a sales. Before, we really struggled with building a sales organization because you can't... I mean, who are we calling? Oh, well... That can get really frustrating. If you're calling at one point, a practice admin, and a healthcare group, and the next a foreman on a job site, that's two different conversations. That's whiplash. Unfortunately, what that does is you got to go to the lowest common denominator. You're going, Hey, I'm Edward, and we're really good at fixing computers. Not a super powerful message.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Well, it's difficult to speak their language. Healthcare providers have a different language than a contractor.

Edward Stringfellow
100%.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You can get much more specific. One of my mentors said specificity cells. The more specific you can get, the easier it's going to be to sell. And you guys have seen that and experienced it. The other thing you touched on that I think is easy for people to gloss over is that if I niche, I'm going to miss out on business. And the reality is if we really look at it like most of our businesses, we're not looking for thousands of new clients. In the managed service provider space, most of the people I talk to, if they could get 10-15 new clients a year, they would be ecstaffed.

Edward Stringfellow
They probably wouldn't be able to handle it, right? Let's throw this on top of it. If they got 10-15 clients that were similar healthcare, they'd be a lot better off than if you got 15 random clients. This is industry specific, but I think that goes with anything because then things become repeatable as you scale your business.

Tim Fitzpatrick
We haven't even talked about the efficiencies on the back end, right?

Edward Stringfellow
Oh, yeah. This is more possible.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, your stack is consistent, your processes are consistent. You're not reinventing the wheel each time you deal with the client. There's just tons of economies of scale there. But if we look at it, so if you need 10-15 clients and you're going to niche, there's very little risk. I mean, going into healthcare… How many healthcare clients are there? There's so many out there. So nicheing, if you really break it down, nicheing and specializing in a specific industry is very little risk.

Edward Stringfellow
I don't think. I couldn't agree more. Again, as a startup, maybe you don't have some data. Unfortunately, maybe you pick a niche and you're actually not good at it. That could be a risk. But that's part of being a business owner. You have to have some market research. I can't tell you that if you're marketing to a niche that you can't serve well, well, that's not a marketing problem.

Tim Fitzpatrick
But I would say you're better off picking a niche and shifting 12 months later than you are casting a throw and out net in the middle of the ish.

Edward Stringfellow
100%.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right? I think most of us who are starting businesses do have experience in previous industries. That's a great way to start. If you've got an experience in an industry, well, start there if it's a good industry and it's an industry that you want to be in our relationships.

Edward Stringfellow
Yeah, for sure.

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Building Long-term Relationships as a Driver of Business Growth

Tim Fitzpatrick
There's multiple ways to do it. Niching, obviously, a huge benefit for you. I appreciate you sharing it because this is something that I preach all the time, and it is really hard for most business owners to really take hold of it. But there are so many examples of people that have benefited by really focusing. But if you had to pick one thing, over the close to 20 years you've been in business, what would you say has been the biggest driver of your growth?

Edward Stringfellow
The biggest driver of our growth has been long-term relationships. I know this is marketing specific, but we value relationships we have with our clients. I think you got to do a good job. Excellent marketing and whatever product, service, business you're in, if you can't deliver, then that will be a tough road too.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. Absolutely.

Edward Stringfellow
Do what you're going to say, do whatever it is well, don't cut corners. We had a different experience. We went and built the perfect service delivery model and all these kinds of things. Then we've gone the other way to build the sales and marketing side. That's a slower growth path, and now we'll accelerate at the end potentially, versus I do think a lot of folks, they'll start with the sales and marketing and then they'll figure it out. That has its own set of challenges. But what I would say is make sure there's a balance. It's not right or wrong, but I would suggest that don't go and make a website up and market things that you don't or not good at. That could be a good recipe because that could also not be good.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, you definitely have to have that balance. Obviously, I'm biased as a marketer, but if you don't have sales and marketing bringing in leads and clients, then all the rest of it, it doesn't really matter because you're just the best kept secret out there. But once you have marketing generating leads that are turning into clients, you have to be able to fulfill on the promises that you're making.

Edward Stringfellow
You got to be able to deliver, right? Think about that too. I don't know. Marketing is important. But to your point, it can be A/B tested and tweaked and this. It's not set in stone anymore. We're not printing out a case of pamphlets. We're going to walk around an office park and hand out them. It's the internet. Literally, your website can look different for every visitor if you want to get into that. Don't get hung up on the details as you're getting started. Just get started and you'll have data to see what's working and what's not.

Validating ROI as a Marketing Challenge

Tim Fitzpatrick
Edward, one of the things that you expressed to me was a challenge about marketing for you was just validating the return on investment, which this is super common. I'm just curious, what are some of the things that you're trying to do to solve that challenge?

Edward Stringfellow
It's still a challenge. We have by no means solved it. It's that. I think you've got to ensure that wherever you're driving, that handoff from an MQL, a marketing-qualified lead to a sales qualified lead, you got to be real clear about how is this happening. How are we getting... Do they do a form fill on the side? Did they find us? Be sure to ask. Make sure part of the sales process, what sales is involved. Hey, that's why we get that on all the surveys. How did you hear about us? Because they're trying to validate that if you pick the website versus this versus this, they're going to invest more in whatever channel is delivering this one. That's pretty straightforward, but just ask, Hey, how did you find us? How did you hear? Well, my buddy said whatever. Okay, cool. Then after you said that, how did you find us then? Did you do a Google search? Were we an ad you clicked on? Did you go to our website? How did you actually get to us? Because that needs to get looped back into marketing strategy and spend, quite frankly. In marketing class I had, you get an MBA, it was like literally you would find that whatever is delivering the most and you would spend all the dollars you could until it quit returning because that's what you would do. If you find that some type of social media ads or they just really work well, great. If you find that really slick website, okay, do that. You got to figure out what channels it's coming in to, which is one-on-one stuff. But step one, measure it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, true. Yes, thank you so much. The first key, like you said, is you have to measure it. What are you going to measure? You need to identify which metrics you're going to track that are going to help guide the decisions that you make. And what metrics you track are really going to depend on the activities that you're taking. I always like to keep things simple. There are a lot of business owners that aren't tracking anything. To me, it's, How many leads are we generating? You just touched on this, Edward, which is, Where are they coming from? And most people aren't even asking, is asking foolproof? No, it is not, but it is better than doing nothing. So when leads come in, like you said, it's, Hey, how did you find us? Where did you come from? And as we start to gather that data, now we know, Oh, my gosh, 75% of our leads are coming in through referral, or, Jeez, we have 50% of our leads coming in through our website. Great. Seo is driving traffic to our website. At least at a high level, we have much better indication of what marketing activities we're taking are actually driving results. Then from there, it's how many new clients do we get? Even with those three metrics, which we can get way more sophisticated with marketing. But even if you have those three metrics, you know how many leads you need to generate to get a client.

Edward Stringfellow
It's all about working backwards, right? You start with what you want, you go backwards. The challenge is, I think for most folks, they conceptually get it, they even functionally get it, and then they just don't follow it. That's the challenge. It's a very short-lived. Everybody's excited the new website gets launched. We pay a bunch of attention to it for a month, it generates some leads. Oh, it's working. Well, yeah, but it's a work in progress. You do have to... These are an ongoing... Marketing is an ongoing thing. It's a contact sport. It's not a one-time-time. Then six months later, they've done nothing and they go, Oh, this didn't work. I was like, Well, it did work for a month, and then you quit paying attention to it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right. I stopped looking at the metrics. But the other challenge, too, is there are so many vanity metrics with marketing that just don't mean much. That's why, again, it just goes back to the importance of really identifying what metrics are the most important and just letting the rest go. Because in the end, I don't really care how many social media followers you have. If they're not generating leads, then who cares? It goes away...

Edward Stringfellow
You can spend a lot of time in Google Analytics.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Oh, yeah.

Edward Stringfellow
Tyson and Dyson and average site views. At the end of the day, all right, so all that time spent on the site, did that call to action or whatever you have out there, did that call to action inspire them to reach out and make a connection/

Tim Fitzpatrick
Well, one of the things, I don't want to go too into the weeds on this, but one of the things that we find super helpful at a fundamental level with Google Analytics is setting up goals. What are the goals that you want people to complete? And attach goal values to those. Because when you can attach values to those, then all of a sudden, every month, when you look at your goal conversions with Google Analytics, you go, Gosh, we have X amount of dollars worth of goal conversions on Google Analytics. That starts to give you a lot more concrete data about whether your website's how effective it actually is.

Edward Stringfellow
Well, and another point, hire us to run your IT, maybe hire you to run some of that stuff because this is the other thing. It's a machine. That thing is huge. This idea that Google AdWords, Oh, we're just going to pay for search and SEO. Well, it doesn't work that way. You got to understand how these tools work. We've blown through in years past, three, four, or $5,000 a month putting them in AdWord because we didn't know what we're doing. I think the other piece is to have a marketing function internally maybe, or really more of a partner because it's too big a world. It's like folks that have, Oh, we've got an internal IT function. It's like, Yeah, but this is a huge world. One person is just not going to know what all needs to know. I think a plug for the partnering with some type of marketing group is really going to give you a much higher return. Maybe every time you figure out what works and what they're doing, and maybe you don't need that long term. But to get started, you ask, Okay, pick the niche, and then find a partner to help you put that together.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. With marketing, unless you have a large team, which most businesses are not going to get large enough to have a marketing team of 10-20 people. It's too broad, like you touched on. Unicorns do not exist. You're not going to be able to hire one person that can do it all. It's just impossible.

Edward Stringfellow
But if you can, they're going to go work for a Fortune 100 company. They're not going to work for you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
No. For a lot of small businesses, it's really going to be a combination. You may have an in-house function or a part-time in-house function, and then you may have one or multiple outsource partners to implement on very specific tactics and channels that you want to take advantage of because those people that are great at that specific thing. I love it.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
This has been a fantastic conversation. I have a couple more questions for you, Edward, before we wrap things up. First off, just what's next? What are your plans for the future?

Edward Stringfellow
Plans for the future? We work on a three to five year time horizon and planning. For us, we're based in Nashville, Tennessee, and we've gotten a lot of traction in the healthcare provider space. I think we're going to continue to invest in understanding that industry and delivering our products and services into that space. I think the need is there. We're seeing it time and time again. Healthcare is not business, and business is not healthcare. The reality is that technology has moved very quickly and healthcare is behind. We want to be part of that solution. For us, again, it's continuing to watch our marketing functions and lead to new sales and then onboard the clients and add value to them and just have that cycle going. I think the journey, having decided on this niche, I guess it was really not even that long ago, maybe basically about a year ago, is when this all came about. It took a minute to get the frameworks and this, and you get the website, get a sales team, all that's happening. Now I'm excited to watch the fruits of that get produced over the next 2-3 years and see where we end up.Okay.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Knowing what you know now anything you do differently?

Edward Stringfellow
In all of life or just business?

Tim Fitzpatrick
I would say let's keep it to business.

Edward Stringfellow
In business, yeah, I think I would... As an entrepreneur, you do it all. I think as soon as the business can support it and it's reasonable, hire the best people you can. Only hire A players, I think. When I say A players, you referred unicorns. I don't mean unicorns, and I don't mean people you can't afford. But for any given company size and role that you need, there is an A player out there. The A player for our service desk, when we were half the size is a different than the A player today. It evolves and moves, but hire A players and listen to them and take feedback from them. Don't try to do it all yourself. I think that can be the name of the game. Get good, excited people on the team. You got to have players. It will pay off over time to build a team that's that way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You just brought this back full circle about self-awareness. Have the self-awareness to know that you can't do it all.

Edward Stringfellow
For sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You got to hire people for the things that you're not great at. I absolutely love it. Edward, where can people learn more about you?

Edward Stringfellow
Well, obviously our website, stringfellow.com, that's all things SStringfellow. I hope that it's easy to contact us if you feel compelled to do so. But yeah, go there and you can learn all about what we're doing in the healthcare IT space.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Edward, thank you so much. If you're interested, reach out, connect over at stringfellow.com. We'll make sure that link is in the show notes. Those of you that are watching, listening, I appreciate you doing so as well. I have really enjoyed conversation with Edward today. We spent a ton of time talking about niching, which to me is all about target market and who your ideal clients are within that market. Thank you for sharing that. That is one of the nine revenue roadblocks that we help clients remove so they can accelerate growth. If you want to know which of the nine are slowing down your growth, you can do that over at RevenueRoadblockScorecard.com. You can also always connect with us over at RialtoMarketing.com as well. So, Edward, thank you so much for those of you watching, listening. Thank you, and until next time, take care.


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