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CEO Campfire Chat
41 minutes | 7 days ago
Building a New Kind of Recruiting Firm
As an entrepreneur himself, Kurt Wilkin understands firsthand the challenges leaders face in hiring great talent. He visits the show to discuss HireBetter, his recruiting firm with a bold new approach to an old industry. He also shares tips any entrepreneur can use to improve their hiring process.
34 minutes | 21 days ago
Getting Started With First-Party Data
Aaron Oberman, CEO of Omeda, has been helping publishers leverage first-party data to understand their audience and drive revenue for years. But he sees the potential data has to power organic growth in any industry. In this episode, he shares tips for building a successful foundation for your data project.
33 minutes | a month ago
Building a Crisis-Resistant Business
Josh Richardson of Yale University teamed up with the Sterling Woods Group to conduct research on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected organizations. Why have some businesses thrived while others have shuttered? Josh and Rob discuss the results of surveys and interviews with 40 executives leading through the pandemic to unearth what businesses can do to become more resilient in the future.
42 minutes | 2 months ago
What It Takes to Be a Private Equity CEO
CEOs who lead private equity portfolio companies face unique challenges. Bob Post, a serial PE-backed CEO, has developed an approach to jumpstarting impressive turnarounds at the organizations he leads. Bob shares how he tackles each new role and what he’s doing to guide his current company, a data analytics firm serving the hospitality industry, through the turbulence caused by COVID.
60 minutes | 2 months ago
The Link Between Leadership and Passion
Kate Eberle Walker took over the reins of virtual special education services provider PresenceLearning at a critical point in its lifecycle. The company was on a downward trajectory, with flat earnings and high employee attrition. Learn how she turned the company around, with 70% growth year-over-year.
44 minutes | 3 months ago
Making Business Decisions Grounded in Empathy
Elizabeth Green is the founder and CEO of Brief Media, a publishing company focused on the veterinary medicine space. She shares how she and her team have uncovered new ways to care for customers and colleagues during the COVID crisis.
34 minutes | 3 months ago
Evaluating Acquisitions in a Volatile Market
Brent Diamond is a serial CEO for private equity-owned businesses. Now he's working with a team to acquire and run his own organization. Brent shares insights into the world of private equity and how it's changed since the start of the pandemic. Whether you're looking to buy or sell a company, or want an investor's insights on the market, there's something for everyone in this episode.
29 minutes | 3 months ago
Finding Rookie Success Despite Hazards
David Stephens accepted the role of CEO at a growth-stage sports technology company, Guided Knowledge, in January. Little did he know that the coronavirus outbreak would upend the company’s plans to launch in the US professional golf market. With sports on pause and America on lockdown, David and his team needed to pivot their focus quickly to a new geography and a fresh audience. He shares what it took to make those moves happen, all while keeping his investors calm and the team engaged.
35 minutes | 4 months ago
Sharing Vital Knowledge During a Global Code Blue
For more than 20 years, EB Medicine has been producing peer-reviewed, evidence-based emergency medicine treatment guidelines for doctors on the front lines. It’s important to stay abreast of the latest trends and discoveries in any industry, but when your job is caring for people who are gravely sick or injured, up-to-date information on best practices and advancements is all the more vital. So even in a normal year, the service that EB Medicine provides for its subscribers is critical. But 2020 is not a normal year, and with emergency room physicians on the front-lines of the pandemic, CEO Stephanie Williford and the team at EB Medicine had to rise to the occasion to support their members. Stephanie mentions that, because her team is made of experts and medical professionals, her editors were flagging the growing need to cover the coronavirus way back in February—long before it was on the general public’s radar. The challenge was that the editorial team at EB Medicine is not in the business of breaking news. They typically operate on a longer cycle—about nine months to one year—to produce their content. But with coronavirus, their timeline became condensed. Doctors who saw their emergency rooms filling up with ailing patients needed immediate guidance on how to best provide care. Stephanie and her team worked long nights and weekends to rapidly disseminate information to their subscribers. They also reconsidered how they gated their content, not wanting to bar any medical professionals or hospital groups who had financial concerns from being able to access the content. As the team has adjusted to this new pace and workflow, they now look towards the future. Stephanie notes that, contrary to what some outside the industry may think, the medical profession is hurting financially right now. With most elective surgeries and procedures paused for months during the first surge of the virus, some hospitals and medical groups are in dire straits. How will this affect EB Medicine’s subscriber base moving forward? That’s certainly something Stephanie is thinking a lot about. Members of the Chat’s audience chimed in with some creative solutions to finding the middle ground between continuing to serve the company’s audience while securing revenue growth for the long run. In the end, what Stephanie and her team remain most committed to is making sure that their members feel supported so that they’re well-positioned to care for their patients. Episode Transcript Rob Ristagno: Many emergency physicians are going through the most challenging year of their careers. The ER is a high pressure environment in normal times. The coronavirus has only amplified that reality. On this episode, we sit down with the CEO of a publisher in the emergency medicine industry. When the pandemic hit, her organization had to accelerate processes and innovate quickly to provide our healthcare heroes with the vital information they need to stay ahead of the curve. Announcer: This is the CEO Campfire Chat, with your host Rob Ristagno. Taped in front of a live studio audience, join us to hear successful growth stories for middle market companies, just like yours. Sponsored by the Sterling Woods Group. Rob Ristagno: Welcome to the CEO Campfire Chat. I'm your host, Robert Ristagno and I'm honored to introduce my friend, Stephanie Williford, the CEO of EB Medicine. Thanks for coming on the show today. Stephanie Williford: Thanks Rob. Rob Ristagno: For those of us not familiar with EB Medicine, tell us a little bit about what you do. Stephanie Williford: Sure. EB Medicine is an evidence-based education provider and CME provider. We've been around since 1999. The EB in our name stands for evidence-based. It reflects our philosophy that that should be the guiding force in medicine. And all of our content is written by practicing emergency physicians and peer-reviewed by practicing physicians as well, because our goal is to provide really practical, relevant information that practicing clinicians can use on their next shift after they use our content. Rob Ristagno: Sounds to me like your customers, emergency physicians, are on the front lines of all things coronavirus. Before we jump into how you manage that, let's rewind the clock. Let's rewind it back to January 1, 2020. No one had any idea that the pandemic was on its way. What were your goals for 2020? What were you hoping to accomplish? Stephanie Williford: Yeah, so well that feels like about a million years ago at this point, but we really start every year with the same guiding principle, which is focusing on our customers and what their needs are. We do regular surveys and the number one thing that our customers have been asking us for, for a couple of years, is a mobile app. We came into this year really wanting to develop that, figure out exactly what they were looking for and how that would add value to our content and to their clinical practice. We also were looking at developing or expanding our content so that it would be more accessible and usable at the point of care. And then we were looking at some, I guess you could call operational areas. We wanted to implement an auto renew program just to make it easier for customers to continue getting access to their content and developing curricula for practice providers was also on our radar. And a big focus as well that we wanted to work on was our brand. We, I mentioned, we launched in 1999, we really haven't done anything since then to update even the look and feel of our journals or our brand message and positioning, and we felt like that was something we really needed to focus on and make sure that we had a clear and consistent message that we're putting out there and that we're reaching and appealing to the younger audience because we found that we really not attracting as many of the younger folk as we would like to. Rob Ristagno: Got you. Big slate of initiatives, very optimistic, lots of customer driven ideas, as you mentioned. You had a full plate, I'm sure you're very busy, and then COVID strikes. Tell us a little bit, what's going through your mind when things start? Let's say we're in early March and things start to look like, oh wait, this is serious. This is something that's just not going to pass us by kind of, what were your initial inklings? Stephanie Williford: Honestly, I did not expect it to have the impact that it's had it. Maybe I just was naive, but in terms of literally across the globe in every industry and every person in the world has been impacted by this in some way. And I just, I didn't quite anticipate that, but I will give credit to our editorial team who did and understand how important it was going to be for us to cover this. Obviously emergency physicians were impacted probably more than most and we're not in the news business. We don't normally rapid-fire turn out content or new information. It often takes nine to 12 months for us to produce an article. It's not normal for us to say, "Oh, this is something we need to cover." But actually in early February, our team said, "No, we really need to do this and our customers are going to need this information and it's really important that we be there. And even though there's not a lot of evidence yet, because this thing literally just happened, there is some evidence that is available already and there is a lot of expert advice and there's a lot of experience with it internationally that we can learn from." And we were lucky that we had an editorial board member from Italy who was able to give us recommendations and lessons learned from that. We did start producing content very quickly and very early on. Rob Ristagno: Did you have to change any of your processes there to get, you said it usually takes several months, you're working months ahead and you're not used to quote unquote “reporting the news.” Kind of, how did you have to change some of your processes? And how did that go over? Stephanie Williford: I don't know that we changed things so much because we still think it's incredibly important to have the vetting process and have the content peer-reviewed, make sure that it's accurate and relevant and practical. The biggest change was just accelerating it to an incredible degree. And we were lucky that the physicians that we worked with, we had several, our editor-in-chief is at Mount Sinai in New York and he had several people on his team that were willing to put the time in to create the content. And then we, our editorial team worked nights and weekends to get it done and our online content team to get it posted and then the marketing team to get the messaging out there. And so it wasn't, I don't know that we changed the process so much. It's just everybody really dove in, all hands on deck and let's get this done and make it happen, which was really amazing and I'm very proud of our team for what they did. Rob Ristagno: It's good to see when everyone gets, I love the all hands on deck situation. And it sounds like this actually was initiated from your editorial team thinking about the customer first. You had a bit of an advanced warning system built in there because you're good at listening to your customers and figuring out their needs. Okay let's fast forward again a little bit now, it's becoming not only serious to your team, but serious to the world at large, what's going on? What are you thinking? What are you reprioritizing? What are you focused on? Stephanie Williford: Focus, my team would love it if I could focus on one thing. There's still so much to do. No, we were actually able to proceed with a lot of the things that we wanted to work on. We did put our auto-renew program in place, took longer than expected, but we kept kind of working on that in the background. We are still investigating mobile app options and that. We back-burnered a couple of things - so the advanced practice clinician group curricula we put on hold. We had actually wanted to pilot that at a hospital this year and obviously they were like, we have no ability to do that right now. That's been put on hold, but we are still focusing on a lot of the things that we wanted to. We did pivot quite a bit in terms of wanting to capitalize - kind of hate to use that word in this situation, but - on the traffic that we were getting from COVID, because we had over a 100,000 visitors to our COVID article, which in comparison to maybe five to 10,000 visitors that we would get for a regular article. Rob Ristagno: Okay, wow. Stephanie Williford: Then we said, "Okay, well, now these people are coming what do we do with them? How do we get them to sign up for an email list or subscribe? And so we had a lot of conversations about that and we made changes to our website and our marketing strategy to take advantage of that situation. Rob Ristagno: You had a big surge in traffic. I want to actually pause here for a second, just maybe some other people in the audience here have some thoughts on things that you had to shelve, things going into 2020 you thought were high priority but you had to shelve some them because of COVID and other priorities took precedence. Any stories to share there? Any similar stories? Audience Member 1: I will add on the second part is nothing that we shelved, but we accelerated the launch of a number of new products. We were just launching them as fast as we could this spring, because they were working and the market, other than a very brief three week period, the stock market was strong and investors were interested in buying and we didn't know how long it would last so we thought, things we are going to be launching in the fall, we launched in the spring. It was a very busy spring for us. Rob Ristagno: Got you. It sounds like another example of all hands on deck, everyone chipping in, going above and beyond. And this for anyone in the group, how do we bottle that magic? It seemed like we got everyone rallied against the cause, doing new things much more quickly than expected and outside their comfort zone and learning and growing. Unfortunately took a crisis. Any lessons here, stuff we can note and try to inspire this in other ways? Fred: It's hard to maintain a sense of urgency. Very hard. Audience Member 1: The only thing I think is being prepared. I just remember a professor in college and grad school used to say, "Never waste a perfectly good crisis." And so, to Fred's point, I don't think you can artificially stay sustain that for very long at all, but being ready to jump on it as quickly as possible gets you the most mileage out of it I think. Rob Ristagno: There's some adage about preparation and luck and I'm going to botch it if I try to say it, but if you're prepared and ready and had a good culture already in place, I think that allows you to, I also hate to use the word capitalize, Stephanie, but allows you to respond quickly when there's a crisis. Okay, great. Back to Stephanie, your traffic windfall, 10 to 20 times increase in the number of people coming to your website. What are some things you tried that worked? And maybe what are some things you tried that didn't pan out as you'd hoped? Stephanie Williford: That's a really good question. One thing that we did that has worked well, which seems obvious, but we implemented, we just took out a step in our checkout process. It's something that we had thought about doing for a while, because the quicker and easier it is for them to get through that, the better, but we just never got around to it. And we were looking at our abandoned cart rate and thinking, well, shoot, we're getting more people than we've ever gotten, if just a few more of them could complete the cart process, then the revenue potential was huge. We cut a step out, that's worked very well. We also implemented a pop up in the cart. I think, can't remember if it was an on exit pop up or I think it was just a time delay. We looked at how long people typically were in the cart and left. And then we had the pop up occur a little bit before that so the people that we were likely to lose, we were keeping and the ones that were likely to continued anyways, didn't get the additional discount because why give away the money if they were going to order anyways? One thing that we tried that did not work well was attempting to gate some of the COVID content. I will say we did that rather late because we didn't have an easy mechanism to make that happen on our site where you enter your email address and then get access to it. We ended up doing it on some content that was more specific than our audience generally likes because it was in a very focused area, administrative and less clinical type thing. It didn't get as much traffic as some of the other content anyways. And then the traffic that it did get, most of them didn't end up getting to see the content and the conversion rate actually was very good on the email sign up form. I guess it worked and it didn't work at the same time because we had a good conversion rate, but there wasn't enough traffic to the page to really make it worth it so we ended up ungating that content. What I think I would do differently, and hindsight being 20/20, is I would have been reluctant to have gated all the COVID content, even just asking for an email address because people were so insistent that they needed access to it quickly and they didn't want any barriers to that. We also got a lot of international exposure and associations and organizations reaching out to us because it was free. And I think if we had even asked for an email address, they would have been less likely to link to it and share it and things like that. But I think we could have played around with that a little bit more, maybe had portions of it in front of the paywall and then other portions not paywall, but at least gating it and requiring an email address to collect email names, to collect more earlier on. Rob Ristagno: Got you. Got you. Okay. You had this surge in traffic. What other changes did you experience from a sales and marketing perspective? Stephanie Williford: Well, we were worried that it would have a big impact on our larger group sales and site license sales - so we have about 70% of our revenue comes from individual practicing clinicians and the other 30% comes from hospitals or groups that are purchasing it on behalf of their clinicians. And we were very worried that the hospitals, since they were taking a big hit financially, were going to just pull the plug on everything, that we wouldn't be able to close any new deals, that renewals would struggle. And our account executive was really great about reaching out to the customers that we had and staying in touch with them. We made sure that we were just sending them a lot of resources and information, things about COVID and to help their team trying not to push the sale, but just be there for them and provide value. And we were very glad and very lucky that we didn't see the big decrease that we expected. We actually re-forecasted, anticipating that it could go away. And so far that has not happened. Although I will say we tend to feel the impact of economic downturns, recessions a lot later than other industries. Even going back to ’08 and the crisis that occurred then, we didn't really feel it until ’09. It took so much longer to get through it and medicine and healthcare is relatively stable. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but the plan we use then and that we're using now as sort of a hope for the best, but expect the worst. To your poll earlier, we're cautiously optimistic and I'm watching things carefully. Rob Ristagno: This episode of the CEO Campfire Chat podcast is brought to you by the Sterling Woods Group. Middle market executives and private equity investors need to achieve rapid revenue growth, but face limited resources and time. We've developed a proven system to quickly and confidently uncover your best opportunities for growth so that you can scale up and maximize exit value. To learn more about our proprietary data driven approach, check out sterlingwoods.com. Rob Ristagno: Anyone else in the audience here - sounds like Stephanie took care of her best customers. There were some customers affected. Actually, by the way, I don't think it's common knowledge that hospitals are in bad shape. People might falsely assume that hospitals are doing well, but it's really all the elective stuff that's been put on pause and so they really aren't doing very well. Anyone else in the audience had a segment of their customer base really negatively affected? And how did you stay ahead of the curve, work on building that relationship and help them out? Adam: Well, just a question. I have a, this is probably not very good data, but I have one client who's an emergency room physician who was cut back by 30% and so did you feel an impact from those smaller hospitals? I don't know if he's a subscriber. I have no idea, but he may, I don't need to do this now because I'm cutting back on my expenses? Stephanie Williford: Yeah. It has been a challenge. To Rob's point, the elective procedures getting essentially eliminated had a huge financial impact on the hospitals. And the other side is actual ED volumes, non COVID-related have been down and still have not returned. And they don't anticipate them returning soon. Hospitals have been reducing shifts, significantly cutting back their CME budgets or eliminating them. And we've had customers that have reached out to us and said, "I can't afford this anymore. I don't have a budget, I need this, I want the information." And we work with them, if it's okay, let me give you a three months free extension or let's do a monthly billing option or we can offer a discount. We've tried to be really flexible and understanding with that to meet their needs and keep providing them with the information that they really do need. It helps them improve patient care and they realize and recognize that. But yeah, it's definitely been something we've had to address. Audience Member 2: Can I ask you two questions? Stephanie Williford: Sure. Audience Member 2: Do you have an ad revenue model at all? Is there no advertisement? Stephanie Williford: We do not have any advertisements. Audience Member 2: And printed content is the only delivery that you have? You don't have video, you don't have podcasts, you don't have anything like that? Stephanie Williford: We do have a monthly podcast and we are starting to do more video content. We don't produce a lot of it ourselves. We partner with organizations and other individual physicians. Audience Member 2: Video can give you tremendous legitimacy, with some of that - and my son is involved with something that has completely radically changed, particularly the COVID environment. Changed by doing training, if you will. And I don't know how it's applicable as to what you have, but creating subject matter expertise that they connect the videos a lot more than they do with printed word. And it has worked out marvelously for them. Stephanie Williford: Yeah, that's a great point. And actually, one of the things I didn't mention, our marketing director really advocated for doing a webinar series because she said, "Well, if ever there was a time to launch that it would be now when they can't go to conferences." And we did two in June that we were very successful. We got great attendance. We offered them for free. We wanted to see if people would show up. Because previously our audience hasn't really been interested in a webinar format, they do like video content, but more focused on short procedural or how to. But that worked well and now we're looking at what we want to do next with that. And we just did a survey this week about video content and what they're looking for. You're a 100% on target with that. Audience Member 2: Well, the last thing is, do you have the ability for somebody to search by voice versus typing in what they want through your content? Do you rely on other people to do the search mechanism? Stephanie Williford: I'm still trying to get the type in search correct so no, we're not at the voice level yet. Audience Member 2: Well, that's where the future is going. That's why I bring it up. Rob Ristagno: Did you do any paid advertising during COVID? And if so, how did that work? Stephanie Williford: Yes, well, we were doing paid Google ads before and continued that. We've increased the budget for that. We also started doing social media ads just in the last month. Actually, I was on this Campfire Chat a couple months ago when Mark presented their successes with social media and I ran back to my team and was like, "We should do this." And they did make it happen. We had good success with Facebook ads when we started those in June. We're now on LinkedIn and Twitter and experimenting with those. And so far we've seen really good ROIs. Actually it does not cost a lot of money. Well, I guess it depends on your industry, and keywords, at least for us in the space that we're in. And we've been able to see pretty good returns on that. We've mainly been promoting and selling the actual subscription. We might test doing lead generation efforts. A little bit more reluctant to do that because it's harder to measure over time whether or not they actually convert and the cost can be a lot higher. But I know that's very effective for others so we're looking at that. Rob Ristagno: It's terrific to hear your team stepped up, completely maintained a sense of urgency. Are you seeing any fatigue now? And if so, how are you managing it? Stephanie Williford: Yeah, they're incredible. They work really, really hard and there's definitely a sense more often than I would like to admit of feeling overworked and overwhelmed. We talk a lot about that as a management team of how do we better focus our energy and our time? We need to not take on so much. It's a conversation we have on a regular basis. I honestly, I have to take responsibility for that because I can be a bit of a shiny object chaser at times and want to capitalize on every new opportunity that walks in the door. Rob Ristagno: I think that's in the job description for any CEO. Stephanie Williford: Yeah, we've worked on creating criteria, how to evaluate a new partner opportunity or something like that, so that we're not just going after it. We've gotten really good, or much better at strategizing and then staying focused on that. We meet every month as a management team to look at what our big initiatives and priorities are. And I am trying to make a point every time of crossing something off the list, rather than adding to it. I cannot say that I do a great job of that, but I try. Rob Ristagno: Anyone have to have some advice or wisdom to share in terms of avoiding this shiny object? Because on one hand you don't want to have FOMO [fear of missing out]. You don't want to, oh, I missed, it wasn't really shiny object, it's the future. But on the other hand, there's something about focus and deploying your resources in an effective way rather than spreading them too thin. Wisdom, thoughts, experiences people want to share? Adam: This is Adam. I feel like you should set aside a specified time and number of hours during the week for stretch, crazy, bonkers, left field thinking goals, whatever you want to call it. And whether it's putting your feet up on your desk and staring at the ceiling and letting ideas flow or networking with someone you haven't talked to in 10 years and getting ideas that way, whatever it is, but pick out time dedicated to not doing your normal work and then let your mind go and then get back to the grindstone. Glen: This is Glen. I struggle with this a lot too, so I don't have any good data except to tell you there's a great book called Deep Work and another called Essentialism, which I'm trying to learn how to use. Rob Ristagno: The books are there. We just need to figure out how to put it into use. Glen: Right. That's a little bit harder to do. Audience Member 1: Stephanie, you've told me before, I think you actually have a good system for kind of keeping that in check. And so you didn't get to answer that question, but I wanted to throw that to you because I think you have a good perspective on it. Stephanie Williford: Thank you. Well, we've tried to get better at it. We created a few years ago, what we call our vision criteria, which is how we measure new ideas against the vision and mission of the company. And the three kind of pillars are that it has to be high quality, high value and high impact. And we define what each of those things mean for us. We do try to use that as a vetting process, but even sometimes I forget to use it myself, but it can be very effective when we do. Rob Ristagno: Hey, Stephanie, what are some things that you think have changed your business forever? Things you were dealing with a surge in demand, dealing with a spike in traffic, dealing in changing customer preferences. What's going to stick versus what's going to go back to normal if there ever is a normal again? Stephanie Williford: That's a good question. In a lot of ways, everything changes and everything stays the same. I think we still will be focused on providing evidence based content that's really practical and useful. We still want to continue evolving our formats and the interactivity and the usability of our website. I honestly don't know that we've made some huge change that that forever will stick. I think a lot of it, some of it is culture wise. We're capable of doing things that we might not have thought we could do to produce content that was that important that quickly. And really, I think I want to build on a lot of those successes and keep the team motivated and moving forward, continuing to think about innovation and focusing on the customer. I think that's still going to stay front and center for us. Adam: This Adam again, have you considered moving to a model specifically addressing the crazy COVID times, which is if you're able to continue your current payment plan, please do so but for those who are struggling, we want to support you. Pay what you can, pay what you want and then we'll revisit in six months, 12 months, what have you. We're still showing you our customers the love, but you're not over quote unquote overcharging based on their budget. You could also marry that to a gift sponsorship program. Hey, you got a few extra bucks in your pocket, help offset our costs, help your colleagues in the industry to still maintain and receive this information. Create a sense of camaraderie amongst your membership base. Stephanie Williford: We have not talked about that, but I love that idea. I'm definitely going to put some thought into that, how we could do that. I think that's a really smart approach. Audience Member 1: Adam, have you done something like that that's worked? Adam: Take the example from a number of restaurants and other businesses I've seen do this, which is pay what you think is right. I personally did that with a consulting project in Australia once and I just had the guy, you can pay me anything or something, it is totally up to you. They actually paid me more than I was expecting. Great, but I said, "I want to be fair to you. You tell me what value you've received." And it worked out, I think very well for both parties. Audience Member 1: My concern for that with in a restaurant, if you know the owner and the chef and you love the food and you walk in and they know your name and know your table, there's a strong bond there. These are hospitals. Some are private equity-backed and some are not for profit. It's hard for me to see them of their own, stepping up to help Stephanie. But if you put the message out there to everybody, "Hey, we're open to taking less than full fare," rather than waiting for them to say, "I can't do it anymore." I've got to lapse and then we talk, I'd just be concerned that you're going to take everybody stepping up and saying, "Yeah, I can't pay the full freight right now." And that you could take a massive hit there. That would scare the heck out of me to go that route in your environment. But I could be wrong. Stephanie Williford: They may be trusted on a small basis first. Let's see how it goes. Audience Member 1: I could be wrong, I just wouldn't jump in with both feet. Yeah. Rob Ristagno: It reminds me of, from an HR standpoint, companies who move to unlimited vacation, they actually find that fewer people take vacation. It could go either way. There's always a risk that no one shows up in August or you can see that. It's probably a lot in the execution and the nuances of it. But sounds like something that's worth a test. Audience Member 3: Stephanie, is there any way, if you had clients that couldn't pay the fare and you're going to be losing them, is there a task they could provide to you to reimburse you in some way? A new topic, an experience? I agree with Ed completely. In any of our consulting practices, we do that, we would decrease our margin by 50% overnight. Just, we wouldn't lose them, but we'd certainly cut our margin. But if you provide them with the dignity of doing something to continue to get your valued services, then they're contributing in it. I think he got a chance to build a stronger longterm relationship with them. Stephanie Williford: Yeah, it's interesting. I was thinking about too, for the customers that have lapsed, but there's less risk there as well. And I am also thinking it could work better for individuals, particularly those that have been with us for a long time, which is a question, if you've been a subscriber for five or even 10 years and all of a sudden didn't renew, really, we should be reaching out to them and asking what's going on? And how can we help you? It's a good opportunity to open that door for discussion. Audience Member 4: I feel like a referral code to work well there. Refer a friend and get. Audience Member 3: Bring us a new customer and you get a 25% discount for your own subscription. <!-- wp:paragraph --> Stephanie Williford: Yeah, that's a great point. We have a large percentage of our new orders are referrals already and that's without even asking or encouraging them to do it. That seems like an easy win for sure. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> Rob Ristagno: I have one more, Stephanie. I understand in your limited spare time, you're launching a brand new association organization. I think it would be of a lot of interest to a lot of people in the listening audience and the folks in the live audience today. You want to tell us a little bit about it? <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> Stephanie Williford: Yes. I would love to. Thank you for asking. It's called SME Meetup. It stands for Subscription Membership and Events. We are really aiming to bring a community of people together to very much like this, discuss ideas, share what's worked, what hasn't, new opportunities, challenges and questions. We started with a Slack channel where there's daily discussions about these kinds of topics. And we just kicked off this month, a webinar series and round tables on different topics. We have one for marketing, another for events and then there's one for strategy and growth for executives and owners. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> We're just, we're building it out. We have over a 160 members already on the Slack channel and it's totally free. We're open to everybody. Would love for people to join and participate in the discussions online, register to attend the webinars. It's so new I don't even have a website to tell you to go to yet so if you're interested, you can email me at email@example.com. I can say that slower. It's S-W, my initials, Stephanie Williford @ebmedicine.net and I will send you the link and get you signed up. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> Rob Ristagno: And what about people in the listening audience who happen to be emergency physicians or maybe are related to or friends or loved ones with emergency physicians, ebmedicine.net, anything else that you want to call their attention to? <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> Stephanie Williford: Yes, we would love to connect with emergency physicians and their friends and family, so ebmedicine.net is our website. Tells all about us and there is a lot of free content that's available. You can check it out and share resources with colleagues as well. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> Rob Ristagno: Right. Well, please join me in giving a virtual round of applause to Stephanie Williford. Thanks for spending time with us. We learned a lot from you and your story and congratulations in all the successes you've had. This has been the CEO Campfire Chat podcast with your host Robert Ristagno. Be sure to check out ceocampfirechat.com to subscribe for the email companion, listen to past episodes and to take a two minute assessment to see how you can grow your business. That's all for now. See you at the next chat. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> Rob Ristagno: Go with your gut, follow your heart, trust your intuition. We've heard this kind of advice before, and sometimes it works. Like when you're trying to decide what movie to binge tonight. Or you're on the fence about asking her out for that second date. Or you have a sneaking suspicion about which neighborhood dog keeps digging up your lawn. <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> But it's not the way to make major business decisions. When you're facing challenges with growing your revenue, it's not enough to rely on instinct. That's why we've developed a data-driven solution to help you easily unearth your best opportunities for growth. No guesswork required. To learn more about our system, go to sterlingwoods.com. <!-- /wp:paragraph -->
46 minutes | 4 months ago
Centering Customers' Needs in Crises
Vistage Worldwide has always focused on bringing together CEOs of small to midsize companies to share knowledge and best practices. And with the seismic shifts in the business world caused by the pandemic, its services have never been more needed. However, Vistage Worldwide’s model typically depends on in-person events and networking. CEO Sam Reese and his team had to think on their feet to continue to offer the support and camaraderie that Vistage is known for, without the ability to meet face-to-face. He shares how they pulled it off by placing their members’ needs at the center of every decision.
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