03 Apr Common Traits of Businesses that Thrive
In this episode of The Faces of Business, Damon Pistulka talks with Andrew Penny about the common traits of businesses that thrive. Andrew Penny is the President of Kingsford – Advisors to Business Owners and is a manufacturing master consultant who assists mid-sized businesses in their efforts to grow by providing strategic growth advice based on bespoke market research. Andrew finds new markets and opportunities for manufacturing companies to grow into.
The two men discuss their backgrounds and how they relate to one another. They also discuss what they believe are common characteristics of businesses that thrive. Andrew enjoys solving business puzzles, such as determining the best way to enter a new market, launch a new product, or stand out from the competition. He looks for ways to break the rules and gain an unfair advantage wherever he can.
Damon asked Andrew, who works with b2b companies and other businesses on marketing. Why did he decide on marketing? He could have a great sales career and help people with sales, but why did he choose to market?
Andrew Penny explains he does not distinguish. Marketing, advertising, promotion are probably better terms for what’s going on right now. Sales are only a portion of that; that is the actual engagement and negotiation discussion, which can be done live, on a website, or via email, but it is only a piece of the overall business development story.
Damon admires his approach to marketing from the standpoint of revenue generation. Marketing is a component of revenue generation, just like awareness and branding are.
He moved on to explain that many people make the same mistake when entering a new market: they bring their entire catalog, whereas we have everything, you know, we’re a one-stop-shop.
Damon Pistulka continues their conversation by stating that businesses that have been successful for many years are dying all around us daily. And they’re being outperformed by global competitors who are going direct to consumer and digital.
The Argentinian guys are going after the digital farmer, which we’ve even specified, you know, what they’re growing, how they’re in, how old they are, how young they are. The same can be said for the best in the world. You cannot be crowned the world’s best mouse for the sake of the entire population. Some people are left-handed, some are blind, some are short, and some are both.
He said that if you hyper-segment your market and are the best in the world at it with this product or service for that hyper-segmented marketplace; you have a chance of winning. But if you try to be, you know, we serve farmers, just like the Argentinians go after the digital farmer. So it’s always looking at a half-full glass because business is full of challenges every day, there’s something that’s going to happen and you can, you know, look at it as SWOT analysis, you can look at it as an opportunity or a threat.
Damon ends the episode by thanking Andrew for doing b2b marketing and helping with business development for midsize companies, and he appreciates being here today.
Andrew Penny is the President of Kingsford – Advisors to Business Owners since 1997. He believes that well-managed privately owned businesses are the bedrock of healthy societies. They provide meaning and dignity to their owners and employees, contribute to their local community, and provide solid value to their customers. They generate profits that can be enjoyed and reinvested in the company and community.
From 2018 to the present, he has also served as a Board Member and Advisor for TutorOcean in Canada. TutorOcean is global tutoring and student marketplace. It offers its tutors a virtual classroom and booking and payment systems. He is also a proud member of the Economic Development Committee, which is working to make Ottawa a better place.
In 1995, he received his EMBA in Marketing from the University of Ottawa. Andrew Penny is passionate about BUSINESS culture building, growth, transformation, migration, buying, and selling.
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Common Traits of Businesses that Thrive
The Exit Your Way Business Round Table Live Stream
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Damon Pistulka, Andrew Penny
Damon Pistulka 00:04
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited for our guests today. I’ve got Andrew penny, and we’re going to talk about the common traits of businesses that thrive. Andrew, awesome to have you here today.
Andrew Penny 00:23
It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me on. I’m looking forward to this.
Damon Pistulka 00:27
Man, I’m excited. I really am excited to because I was looking at your background, you know, we talked before looking at your background and we actually met because you are on the manufacturing masters and and that’s how we met through the manufacturing matters with with Darrin and Vince there. And I actually have a video that I recorded. I don’t know when it’s gonna come out. But we’ll see. But that’s this is cool. It’s good to talk to you because, man, you help people with marketing, midsize companies and marketing. I think it’s really cool what you’re doing.
But I also think there’s some other stuff that’s that, that we want to talk about, as I said, the common traits of businesses that thrive because you describe it well, on on your LinkedIn profile where you’re talking about, you think that good societies are founded on well run privately held businesses. So can you this, that’s first of all this, I want to jump right into that. But let’s talk about your background a little bit. Because man, your background is interesting. Because you you work for some really interesting stuff coming up. And then you’ve been consulting for a while. So let’s talk about your background first. I was getting excited there.
Andrew Penny 01:37
Yeah, you went the resume. I mean, I could go on for hours. I guess I kind of grew up in sales and marketing, you know, yeah, yeah, I had a degree in English literature. And I guess back in the in the 70s, or 80s, whatever it was, you know, you’re either a teacher or you become a salesperson. So I became a salesperson. And I worked for a lot of a lot of companies. And you know, one of the things that really annoyed me in the early days is that it is still true today. The marketing folks didn’t know what the sales folks were doing. And oftentimes marketing people weren’t talking to the client, you know, to the prospect to the marketplace.
So there was this disconnect, you know, marketing would be off selling this message and sales would be marching a different direction. And that just just bugged me all the way along. So anytime I I, one point I was working for one of Canada’s, which actually the first mobile telephone company, Bell cellular, yeah. And it was like I was employee 14. I just said, No, you know, we’ve got to get marketing and sales, singing the same song. So I kind of subsumed marketing into my department. And, you know, we, we actually did really, really well with it. We put some very interesting strategies together and scooped the competition and had dominant market share blue chip clients.
So it worked really, really well. But it was a it was a difference between sales and marketing to bug me. And, like continued to teach me a little bit. And I, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So I’d be sitting in some of the executive meetings and people will be going on about human rights legislation or amortization of capital investments and you know, subordinated debentures and all this kind of stuff, and I’m Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Yeah. All I decided I need to know what the game was. So I went back to school and did an MBA and learned all that stuff.
And some of it I like some of that I could care less about, yes, I know what they’re talking about. So when somebody, I don’t think there’s anything in business that somebody can bring up that I can say, okay, you know, I know what you’re talking about. And that’s not right, or explain this to me. Mm hmm. Oh, it’s, uh, I think, you know, those kinds of experiences have done me really well. But do go back to that, you know, that’s one aspect of Elena that sales and marketing aligned, but that really does need to be organized properly.
Damon Pistulka 04:04
Well, there’s no doubt I mean, because you see this all the time in it. And it was a lot more years ago than it is now because it’s, you know, it’ll kill a business now, whereas years ago, he kind of got away with it. But if you’re not speaking to your customers, now you’re it’s really hurting. It’s not just a little bit inconvenient, really hurting.
Andrew Penny 04:27
I think there are a lot of companies that recognize their marketing companies. I worked with a number of technology companies and they’re all tech first and you know, the product market fit later, you know, that’s a problem. But, you know, I tell all of these guys that you have to become a marketing coach, if you’re successful. Yes, marketing company, and you have to be a customer service company and some of the service customer service products. But even manufacturing companies, you know, I they’ve got, you know, good r&d, many of them.
They’ve got, you know, lean operations, they’ve got their stuff Supply Chain all figured out, and they’ve got a guy in sales. And they don’t develop that side of their business. And, you know, there’s two aspects. One is, Okay, gotta fill the funnel, what are you filling the funnel with? You know, are you filling it with one client? You know, you got dependency? Are you filling it with a whole bunch of really hard to do low margin stuff?
That’s different, you know, sort of a heterogeneous product mix? Or are you going after the easy stuff from a diversified client base with good margin? Yeah. And is the guy in sales, you know, and, you know, good for him for her for driving that. But there’s not enough effort split put into the strategy around business development, I’ll call it which encompass marketing and all the rest of it. So that’s, I see that all the time in midsize marketing or midsize manufacturing firms. It’s the factory, you know.
Damon Pistulka 05:58
Yeah. And you make such a great point. Because how many manufacturing businesses have you seen go out of business? Because they keep going down the same road with the same customers and not making the money they should?
Andrew Penny 06:14
Well, the other thing that happens? Absolutely. The other thing that happens is if you look at the average lifespan of a product, or or even a client of yours, you’re doing well at 20 years, but but that company is going to change I mean, in your business, right? There’s going to have new owners, yes, have a different story, you’re going to get in there and change how they do things. And the guys that are supplying or where did my you know, easy, easy business go? So it’s it’s a, you needed evergreen strategy on on your prospects and your your client base?
Damon Pistulka 06:51
Yeah, that’s for sure. I like that evergreen strategy around your prospects.
Andrew Penny 06:55
You know, who, you know, are you? Are you working with new types of companies? I won’t, I won’t call them startups, because a startup will be two guys in the basement to start. Yeah. Elon Musk’s Gigafactory. Right. But now working with, you know, the, the the next wave of opportunities?
Damon Pistulka 07:15
Yeah, yeah, I was. I was recently recently in my passes a few years, but working with a company that was working with a startup, but it was a startup that was a part of Google. And when you know, then you got a reasonable chance of success when you’re doing that. And, and also, same company, it is a startup with Microsoft. And, you know, those are companies that a startup to them, is a significant opportunity for your a lot of companies and that those are good, good ones work you good.
But that is that is an example of a company that had long held customers, you know, like you said, the 20 plus year customers, but they were reversing diversifying with some newer kinds of customers and more technology based things around their products to keep that long term longevity because you don’t know what the next the next bet the next long term 20 year customer is going to be
Andrew Penny 08:14
thriving. That’s right. And we’ve seen the the upheaval over the last three years. Yeah, sells retail. We have a client in Lithuania. Sorry, Latvia. Wow, his steel prices are going up 130% every month.
Damon Pistulka 08:31
Oh my God. He is
Andrew Penny 08:32
a steel fabricator. I mean, this is not Oh, this is his business. Right? Yeah. Well, he. And it’s because Russia supplies a lot of Europe used to supply a lot of European steel. Now it’s coming from Italy and places like that, which means you’ve got to barge it through the Mediterranean, up around and up to Riga through the Baltic Sea. And it’s
Damon Pistulka 08:53
that’s crazy. So how do you
Andrew Penny 08:56
how have you play in that game? Those disruptions if you’ve got a very a very gated, let’s call it or or heterogeneous customer base that makes it a lot easier to to work in that market.
Damon Pistulka 09:11
Yeah, yeah. That’s for sure. That’s for sure. So let’s talk a little bit more about your background though. Because you you had worked your class eight truck work. So you that’s one of your earlier jobs, but you were selling useful to all the major truck manufacturers you look like in North America?
Andrew Penny 09:31
Yeah. Yeah. I was working with a company in Montreal. I was there OEM sales manager. Yeah, they didn’t have any OEM sales when I joined them, but they did what I love, but they they were making heavy duty suspension components. So leaf springs for my trucks, like Yeah, we ended up shelling to I think every one of the class seats except international at the time. So I’ve been out your way Who was it was pack our car?
Yeah. Liner were? Yeah. Western Star up in Canada. All the Mac plants, Volvo white. Yeah. So all of those guys, we have an interesting story there because a lot of our business was in the aftermarket parts. So always aftermarket. And in the in the sort of new product OEM, you know that you’d have order lengths of, you know, 5000 10,000 units, and the pricing, the competition on that was brutal. You know, you’d be lucky if you got 15 points. Yeah. And then when we were a small plant, we couldn’t handle most of that stuff anyway. But in the aftermarket side of the business, they would only buy two or three of these things a year. So we could get the 500% margin.
They didn’t, yeah, yeah, you’ve got 1000 parts of 500% margin. It was just a fantastic way to really drive the business, but it shows you that the buying processes and the the criteria they use are very different, even though it’s different part of the same company, but a different part of it. Yeah, you have to market Guys, can you get it to us in two weeks, please, uh, know what else we would do, you know, a couple of parts. So we Yeah, missed them basically, too. So the hammer. Yeah. Yeah. Huge, huge margins on it was great.
Damon Pistulka 11:24
Yeah. Well, and you find your nice then. I mean, it really is if you can if Yeah, I can’t make you a million by Tuesday. But I can get you two by Tuesday where no one else can
Andrew Penny 11:35
write. And two of these two of these and two of these two. Yeah. are five different manufacturers. And we had a great business. A lot going on.
Damon Pistulka 11:43
Yeah, yeah. No doubt that. That’s a that is a cool. A cool way to do it.
Andrew Penny 11:49
Yeah. Some companies kill themselves by getting the two and then trying to do the 1000. Yeah. And then their merchant drops down. Their production goes to hell, they’re working overtime and paying for it. And they can’t deliver and the quality is good. Yeah. Where’s this stuff? The quality inspection was sort of, you know, putting a drug in good enough?
Damon Pistulka 12:09
Well, yeah, because if they really need it, someone’s gonna make it work. Right. Yeah, they’re gonna make it work. And so this stuff, but but the, that’s like, that’s a great point, actually, the aftermarket compared to the to the OEM market on products there. I’m amazed when I look at trucks. There’s one thing I look at things like, well, of course, automotive in general, you know, just private automotive or fleet automotive and things like forklifts, and all these industrial products, the aftermarket businesses for him is so crazy. It’s extensive, just so extensive. It’s really something.
Andrew Penny 12:46
So your production equipment, because if your forklift is down, you might have a spare or two, but you know, I need it by Thursday. Yeah. I don’t care if it costs 505. Bring it on.
Damon Pistulka 12:59
Yeah. Yeah, there’s been some ecommerce in the forklift space event, some really interesting ecommerce. And they must be resellers or something, because I’ve seen him with, you know, SKU counts of in the millions. And I was like, so it must be they must be aggregating all the icons like that.
Andrew Penny 13:18
A Metro district distributor or something?
Damon Pistulka 13:20
Yeah. Yeah. It’s pretty interesting. So you were in you were in like you saw before you were in the telecom industry earlier. And then you’re with some of the first national internet providers in Canada. Yep. Yeah. That was an interesting time. I’ve it wasn’t it?
Andrew Penny 13:36
It was just an adult program. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Who was sitting around in the office in Ottawa, and we, you know, this is before URLs or if it was IP addresses, right? Yeah. Somebody had told us about this video, you could watch online. It was live. So, okay, we’re all around this display in the US, and we type it in. And it’s a shall we say? It’s an undressed performance by multiple people. Yeah. And we’re watching television. Okay. And there was a question bar, so we could type something in. So we typed in, you know, hello from Canada. And one of the people got up and went to a notepad and then held up, you know, hello, Canada.
And to me, that was the first interactive video, you know, personal connect, TV, not broadcast not recorded. It was a live connection through a computer with full video and that was like, early, early days of the internet. And when I say not the content, but when I saw it, ability, it was like, This changes everything. And, you know, here we are today, doing this. Yeah. But yeah, you know, that the ability to effortlessly, effortlessly communicate anywhere in the world in data. And that can be any any format of data you want. That just blew my mind. You know, digital natives go like, you know, but
Damon Pistulka 15:13
yeah, well, but those of us that can remember before the internet, literally before email before texting before all that good stuff, you know it I couldn’t remember the same in the same timeframe when you started to be able to email people. It was a big deal. Holy heck, no didn’t have to use the phone, you could email somebody a question.
Andrew Penny 15:36
We’re telling all of our clients, you know, put your your web address, I guess we call them those put your web address on your billboard. And I’m like, why would I do that? You’ll say,
Damon Pistulka 15:48
yeah, yeah. Now,
Andrew Penny 15:50
every bit of collaterals got a web address and email address of the tick tock, Facebook, LinkedIn, you name it.
Damon Pistulka 15:57
Yeah. Yeah. That’s for sure. For sure. Well, that’s cool. So you’ve had Kingsford consulting for a while now. And you’ve been helping, you know, b2b companies and other companies with their marketing? Why? Why marketing? Why did you choose marketing? I mean, you had a great sales career, you could be helping people with sales, but you chose marketing.
Andrew Penny 16:20
What’s interesting, I, I don’t differentiate, okay, I used to talk for a while there, he’s talking about big am marketing, and I got a better term is business development. Because marketing is a subset, marketing. Marketing, Marketing Communications is probably a better term for what a lot of people think when they think marketing, and advertising and promotion and the sort of thing that’s on right. But to me, the whole piece of it is it’s it’s the whole revenue side of the business. So it’s your market position.
It’s, it’s your distribution network. It’s your awareness, it’s your messaging. You know, sales is just a portion of that, that’s the actual engagement piece and negotiation discussion that can be live, it can be done on a website can be done through email, or whatever. But that’s just a piece of the overall business development story. So I wouldn’t say that we’re on the marketing side, per se. It’s sort of that business development, the revenue side of a company, how do we make more money? Or how do we start making money? That’s really the question that we answered all of it. So that’s, that’s the difference.
Damon Pistulka 17:28
That’s awesome. Because it wasn’t rehearsed. I didn’t even you didn’t know, I was asking this question. Because I think that that’s one of the one of the points that I picked up in talking to you earlier, and from the stuff that you, you’ve you put out is that you approach marketing from a revenue generation standpoint? Yes. There’s, like you said, awareness and branding, and, and everything all the way through, but marketing is really a piece of revenue generation.
Andrew Penny 17:56
It’s well, sales is a subset of market.
Damon Pistulka 17:59
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Sales is a subset of marketing. There you go,
Andrew Penny 18:02
how do we connect with the customer and get the money from the best the sales bit, but who is the customer? What’s the story we give them? Where to where are they located? What awareness strategy we use to to get their attention. You know, that is all part of the business development story. And that, I mean, that’s true. Whether you’re in products or services, whether you’re selling through through a channel, whether you’re selling direct to consumer, something online, that story is still their sales engagement piece, is just tailor to whatever the relationship is.
Damon Pistulka 18:40
Yeah, yeah. So when you when you look at marketing, what’s been the toughest marketing challenge you had? Or just say, the toughest product or business you’ve ever had to help industry something like that? This way you go, man, that was tough. But we got it.
Andrew Penny 19:08
You know, I remember the pain I can’t remember the instance but there you go, we tend to use something we call a position statement. It basically says what do you do? Who do you do it for? Who else does it why you better and that’s, that’s the model. It’s a little more than that, but that’s that’s the essence of it. So, we start with a customer we look at okay, what do you got what are you You know, what are your capabilities, what are your aspirations and what can you deliver Oh cancer or whatever.
So, you know, so, what do you do you know, we look at that okay, who could we do it for you look at your segment the market right your addressable market, like the segment you segment the market and then all those segments you look okay, who what are they competing against in those market, I can be a competitor, it can be inertia, it can be do it yourself, what do you what are you having to overcome in that market? And then why are you better than what are urges are trying to overcome. So that’s the, that’s sort of the, the, the algorithm we look at the market through, you have to get it all to work. Right.
So okay, that’s a good market. What we can’t compete, okay. But you know, this will be good, but we don’t do that. So that system has to work. And sometimes you get to there, you know, the company just is really has no advantage. No real hard advantage in any one marketplace. It’s really tough. Yeah, it and usually it’s a tired company. Oftentimes, they’re doing this and you know, they’re they’re wondering why they’re, they’re about to crash, and can we help them?
And oftentimes, it’s too late because you really have to reinvent what what do we do? Because that, yeah, well, what nobody wants is what what are fewer and fewer people want? So how do you reinvent the what do we do? So that it becomes relevant? Yeah, but I tell you, there’s there’s particularly now particularly with manufacturers, there’s a really interesting way to differentiate. I’ll give an example. We’ve got a client in Argentina, and they make farming implements.
So hey, Baylor’s baggers stuff people behind a tractor, right? Yep. Very. You know, they want to come to North America. Why not? You know, it’s hurting just got a pretty robust agricultural environment. But as they do just, you know, the sort of the Corn Belt of Canada in the US, it’s, it’s ripe for no pun intended. It’s ripe for for market expansion. When you look at the market, though, there’s this company that sells green tractors, John Deere, they’ve got 3000 dealers.
Yeah. So how do you break into the market? How do you how do you, you know, how do you compete on service? How do you compete on you know, they’re everywhere? So there’s a, there’s a slice of almost every incumbent market right now that he’s gone digital. And out of the people that own farms, we’ve got the numbers, I think we determine that something like I think the numbers like 30, or 40,000 farms are run by what I would call a digital farmer.
Yes. The digital farmers in his tractor, you know, he’s looking at the soya is he’s looking at corn prices. You know, he’s ordering, you know, whatever. So they’re fully digital, they get, you know, they buy on Amazon, they would buy a Tesla like this online. Yeah. So we don’t need, you know, 300 or 150,000. Clients. Okay, for Argentina guy, we need, like a few 1000 would be marvelous. Yeah. Oh, there’s a slice of the market that will buy online.
So the competitive strategy is direct to consumer, but tailor it not not to, you know, somebody who’s 55 and, you know, yeah, profile and doesn’t have a tick tock account and isn’t on Twitter, right, you know, forget it. So you you tailor it to that very narrow slice of the market. And you differentiate on distribution, you don’t differentiate on on quality, you don’t differentiate on the color of the machine, you don’t look differentiate on features and fun.
Those are all tables, things got to work, right? Yeah, you differentiate on distribution. And that, to me, is is an excellent way for a lot of manufacturers to change the game disintermediate get rid of the of the channel, not for your whole market necessarily, as a new in a market. I mean, that’s it, you’d be dumb not to do this. But if you’re trying to work your market, then maybe if you’re developing a new product, take that’s that doesn’t wouldn’t be carried by your existing channel. That’s the one you go direct the customer with.
So it’s a well in that industry. retail prices, it’s about 100% markup. So $100,000 Yeah, has $50,000 worth of margin. Yeah, you can keep it all as a manufacturer, or if you give up half of it for you know, to have a price advantage or give up half of it to you know, I was joking, you could from a service point of view, you could afford to fly a helicopter and you know, with a guy in a ranch to fix it, right. Yeah. So, the market is is that particular market the channel is, is very bloated, and very wasteful. When technology can do
Damon Pistulka 24:45
so yeah, that’s awesome. Because it just it shows the vulnerability of of the market because as as we know, that market is changing. those buyers are changing every single day, the amount of digital buyers and farmers are in any market, any buyer you look across and this is manufacturing going across, if every manufacturer that’s listening to this right now should take note of it, because if you’re not in it, it’s funny you said that’s because I get on my high horse about this a lot.
Just because, look, the average age of the people making decisions in OEM manufacturing companies are not digital immigrants anymore. They are digital natives. They they they made the decisions based on the fact that they grew up in Google and a phone in their hand. And they can do, just like you said, those digital farmers and manufacturing across the board. Yes, you still need salespeople, as you said, to do what you need to do. But if you’re not doing it digitally, you’re you’re you’re losing margin every year, you’re losing market share every day.
Andrew Penny 25:59
So that leads me to my next pet idea or concept here. And it’s very true. And we talked about this before. Once you start selling online, you realize that everybody can sell online.
Yeah, everybody can everybody can
Andrew Penny 26:17
sell online. And the the the concept I talked about is being best in the world. Because if you’re selling online, you’re well this guy in Argentina is coming to North America, right? Look at John Deere. Yeah, our guy in Latvia, you know, he’s doing the same thing. And the mistake a lot of people make when they enter a new market, is they come with their full catalog, and we got everything, you know, we’re a one stop shop. And we you can buy this that from us. And you know, that’s already if you’re selling O rings, and they’re just different sizes, but if they’re different categories of product, it doesn’t make any sense. Because how can you be best of all of them, and you can’t put focus behind it.
So, you know, the strategy really needs to be okay, if you’re going to expand your market, you’re going to go global with something, you’re going to go online with something, pick something where you are, or you could become best in the world. And that nebulous term, you know, it has a good price and features and service, and brand power and a whole bunch of things, right. But you have to be best in the world, but pick that that one area, you know, we we make mice, you know, we’re the world’s best mouse maker and become the world. But you might sort of the initial thought is, well, you know, how many people buy mice?
And you’re thinking of your you know, Seattle or Ottawa, or Canada, you know, that’s irrelevant, you know, of the, what is it? 6 billion people or something in the world, how many by mice, but that’s your market. So, but you have to be best in the world if you’re going to go global with it. So that’s what I tell people when they’re going into a new market. What is it that you can be best in the world that not only from an offensive point of view, but that guy in Argentina is going to come after you if you’re not best in the world, in your home market?
Damon Pistulka 28:13
Well, that that’s just it. And and people don’t see it over time. I mean, and or in the short term, you don’t see business erosion in the short term, because it’s little chinks. It’s like death by 1000. Cuts exactly, it just keeps going. It’s like, Oh, we didn’t get that work, or that didn’t that order, you know, they’re, they didn’t order from us, whatever, blah, blah, blah, you know, this, it could be an OEM manufacturer, that could be a contract manufacturer doesn’t really you don’t see it.
And it’s a it’s a roading every single minute of the day, unless, you know, and you own that, that piece of the market and you know, where it’s going, why it’s going. And it’s, it’s sad to see it happen. But there’s businesses dying around us every day that have been successful for many, many years. And they’re getting beat like you said, by global competitors that are coming in direct to consumer and able to do it or the person around the street that has a digital strategy and marketing strategy that you don’t
Andrew Penny 29:17
so you know, you’ve got you’ve got your your sales that are dropping, right, but if you use this strategy as your sales are dropping your best in the world product is taking over, you know, you’re maintaining or growing your revenue. Yeah, it’s uh, if you if you if you don’t play that game, you will eventually will disappear. Yeah, the other point of that though, is, you know, just like the the Argentinian guys are going after the digital farmer that we’ve even specified, you know, what they’re growing, what states they’re in, how old they are, you know, we’ve narrowed it down very, very specifically. Mm hmm. Same thing with best in the world.
You can’t be best in the world. You’d never be made The world’s best mouse for the entire population. Some people are left handed some blind, some people are short some people, you know, whatever, they don’t like the color white. So you you have to hyper segment your market. Yep. If you hypersensitive segment your market and be best in the world for that with this product or service for that hyper segmented marketplace, then you have a chance of winning. But if you try to be you know, we serve farmers, like
Damon Pistulka 30:31
forget it. Yeah. And ain’t happening.
Andrew Penny 30:34
No, no. So the challenge is to have the objectivity to be able to look at look at what you do I go back to what do you do that you do for? Who else? Does it why you better? Yeah, look at what you do and are really, really good at and say, Alright, what would it? What is the hyper segment or the fine segment? Where I could be best in the world with this? And if not, what would I have to do to it? But you know, what is that segment? And how big is that segment? Is it? Is it global? Is it you know, is it age? Is it you know, what is?
How do we look at that? And is it big enough? You know, the the big in Canada, we often look at Canada, Canada, is it big, you know, but it’s not that big from a revenue point of view. Us is very big, but you ahead in Europe, and that’s a whole bigger market opportunity. After emergent thing time. That’s another one. So there’s so much more market out there. But unless you hyper segment, you’re not going to be able to be best in the world at that.
Damon Pistulka 31:33
Yeah. Yep, that the hyper hyper segmenting is, is niching down like that is key. And I think here’s Matt goosey. He dropped a comment in here want to learn more about me just Google my name. And you see serious mascot, Mrs. Machining in in Wisconsin there. And I mean, he goes out of his way to be digitally known and doing what he’s doing. And it’s one of those things where you look at it, and his business is thriving because of it. And there’s just some people that understand that and understand specifically where they play the best.
Yeah, and, and you see it in some of the great companies, it doesn’t matter if you’re if you’re an auto manufacturer, or you’re, you know, someone that’s making parts for airplanes, it doesn’t really matter. You know, it’s and the people that do it, though, when you play in your lane, and you do a really good job, and you’re you are known for that, and you are actively out there doing it. You can be the best in the world at some. And it’s like you said, if you wanted to be the best in the world that make it a pan, right? You probably can sell millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars of pens, if you’re the best in the world that
Andrew Penny 32:47
probably but I would still say you’ve got a hyper segment. Yeah, it’s got to be a fountain pen. And it’s got to be for people over 50 with arthritis and near sighted, you know, I don’t
Damon Pistulka 32:59
know. There you go. You’re right.
Andrew Penny 33:01
When you do that, and I say to you, you’re 50 Do you have a little bit of arthritis? Do you like fountain pens? We should talk?
Damon Pistulka 33:08
Yeah. That’s an awesome example because it’s exactly what you need to do is as you’re doing it is because when you look at the world that we were all stuck with this we’re going to growing up what was the market? Well, you know, there’s about this many people that live around us, you know, and now that that’s just it’s totally bonkers.
We can sell anything anywhere. We know we can and and so the world is your market and your you may not sell hardly anything. And I’ll give you a great example. There’s a there’s a cooking store that I like to frequent and I’m a horrible cook. I’m just saying that. But so cooking thirds. Yeah, I just I just go in there because he’s got cool junk, right? He walked in this cooking store, it looks like a shoe box. And you talk to the owners of the cooking store. They sell three times what they sell on the physical store out the back that you can’t see on ecommerce.
Yeah, yeah. This in and I was in another another place that’s that’s local to us here across on the peninsula. This is a liquor store like I’ve never seen before. Literally. And 3000 foot wine cellar. A tasting room for four single malts just fantastic. Again, in a place where there are not 100,000 people within 20 miles of it. Unless you get on a ferry. They sell again twice as much by E commerce than they do everywhere else. I just think that the coolest thing about it is when people niche down like that hyper segment.
You can go you can do this anywhere. You can do it anywhere and you can create these Experience Experience destination places to go. And in the case of the of the liquor store, they had a restaurant they had a chocolatier place with a Coffee Shop, and it was a family business, but they had a thriving family business. I just think, to me, I get off on the opportunity that that creates, because I grew up in a small town in South Dakota that, you know, had less than 500 people. And you just think what could you do with that today? Anything? I know, it’s, it’s amazing, but I got
Andrew Penny 35:21
to make a good point there. You’re talking about that that family store with the chocolate shop and the family restaurant? That’s the brand. Yeah. And people relate to that brand. Even if they’re buying from, you know, they might be in I don’t know. Lucerne, you know, again, or what is it? Right, but they relate to the brand. That brand of family and wholesomeness will come through, even though it’s digital.
Yeah, you know, that’s, that’s the other aspect of what I looked at your you’re asking me earlier, what, you know, what are the success factors? And it’s a, it’s his core purpose, if that’s what people like, my vision and mission, and all the rest of it knows, if you look up one dictionary, you know, mission will be what vision is, you know, they’re useless terms. So we talked about, I talked about core purpose. Yeah. Why are you in business? What’s the dent you’re making in the universe?
And the companies that do well, are the ones that that can, you know, put their head in their heart and say, you know, I’m, I’m doing this you know, the, the, I’ve got a client who’s bringing tutoring and educational support to every person in the world, you know, helping the people of the world share what they know, with, with people who want to learn. They’re doing their relative startup at this point, they’re worth maybe 100 billion or something. But, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re finding their way through, but that core purpose ignites everybody.
Yes. And when I work with a company once, once I’ve, you know, earned the trust of the owner, I asked them, I said, why doing this one, make money, my dad had a, you know, whatever, your bullshit, you know, what, what’s the difference you’re making in the world? Yeah. And, and when they can’t enunciate that when they can’t connect, what they do during the day with a positive impact on the world, then things start to fall apart. It’s just a job.
Damon Pistulka 37:26
Andrew Penny 37:28
And, you know, sometimes I need to lead them through it and have them because they’ve thought this way, they have to start thinking about that. And they go, Oh, we had a client who was a contractor, right? So it builds apartment buildings. Yeah. And very, very successful. And he asked us to say, look, I want to stop building apartment buildings, I want to build a company. So rather than building one at a time, and build it, sell it, build it, sell it, he’s slowly building his concrete empire. And he’s got half a dozen buildings now. And he’s worth hundreds of millions.
So he’s doing well. And we started to ask him about this stuff. And he said, bullshit, honor, what are you talking about? You know, I gotta make Yeah, you know, be success. That’s the that’s the reason we’re doing it, right. But we got to him. And finally he said, you know, the reason we’re doing this is to give people a really nice place to live that safe and secure. And we design them in such a way that we actually create a community within the building.
And our long term vision is that we want to build the same kind of housing on the moon for people when they live there. Now, this is a this is a real, you know, hard boots, steel toed pickup truck, kind of No, no, no, no effing everything. Third word, kind of guy. But that’s what he came back with once I got him thinking about it. So now it’s part of a story. And the employees are going and we’re going to build houses on the moon. Yeah, we’re building the right kind of housing for people. So that’s the dent in the universe.
And when you do that, you attract people, you keep people, it’s part of your brand part of your mythology, and everybody loves it. I was I was looking at a website the other day, was part of some research I was doing. And you know about us, okay, you found it in whatever, you know, six employee, whatever it is, that kind of stuff. And there was a little video there, you know, here’s us having here’s some company activity, right click, and it was about a three minute video and they were having balloon fights.
They were having hot dog rows, they were collecting money at Halloween. They’re all this sort of, you know, stuff, right? Nothing to do with the business. But at the end of it, I thought, I like these guys. I do business with them. Right? Yes. It’s that personal thing. It’s that putting your heart on your sleeve talking about why you’re in business. And is that vision beyond the owners lifespan? Yeah, but that starts to work for people and companies that have those kinds of things. Have a lot more Fun. And usually they do really, really well.
Damon Pistulka 40:02
Yeah, yeah. Well, you talk about it in your in your common threads for businesses, right. He talks about sense of purpose. Yeah, that’s it. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s an outstanding ski. Yeah.
Andrew Penny 40:16
What’s your sense of purpose? Like, what do you do what you do? What’s the dent you make in the universe? Sorry to go. But But no, no,
Damon Pistulka 40:22
no, I want to help every business owner, I can in my lifetime to exit their business successfully, however, the hell they want to do it, I’ll give them the information, I just want to make that difference. Because there’s so few people that ever get to, they work so damn long in their businesses, and so hard, and so many get to the end. And then of having to liquidate or close it down or die at their desk, there’s so many bad ways that they go out. I want every one of them give them every bit of information I can so they can do it. Right. And I don’t care if I get paid.
Andrew Penny 40:57
That’s good. That’s good. So you’re making the world a better place for those guys.
Damon Pistulka 41:01
will those be I don’t know. Maybe me I just you know, spam or junk out of my mouth. But hopefully it helps somebody you know, cuz it’s the alternative forum is not good.
Andrew Penny 41:10
Yeah. That’s that’s sort of, you know, our story as well. And we we believe, I truly believe that a, a privately owned company can do the right thing for the world. Yeah. Look, what happened Ukraine recently. Okay, the number of of privately held companies, LinkedIn posts, public announcements, whatever that said, we’re out, you know, we’re gone. Yeah. Like, almost overnight. Yep. Or some of the larger companies did it. It took them a week or so. And I’m sure they had talked to lawyers. Yeah, it was kind of a corporate decision.
Okay, decision. I don’t I don’t, you know, not going for that at all. But, but a private company can do things that are suboptimal profitably, but for profits, or performance, but it’s the right thing to do. Yeah, I’m not going to lay off Bob, or Mary, you know, they’re 60, they want to work three more years, they really aren’t performing anymore, but they’ve been good people.
I’m gonna carry them. Yeah, you can do the right thing. I can donate money I can use, I can do that stuff. So that’s why I want to do everything I can to help privately run businesses. Because it creates good jobs, it creates good communities. It creates income for people, and it’s not such a big deal in North America, but other parts of the world. The job is huge. Employing people means no anarchy, really playing world peace. But you know, it’s that sort of thing. So that’s, that’s what I do what I do.
Damon Pistulka 42:49
Yeah. Yeah. And that’s cool. Because it is it is I mean, privately held businesses are the heartbeat of you show me one economy or the world it is they are and and you’re right, they can do the right things. They can make money doing the right things. They can generate wealth for their owners and their families and for generations, if they do the right things. And the community, or the community. Yeah, exactly. I’m just gonna say,
Andrew Penny 43:17
export. You’re bringing in Florida. Right? It’s a building block. It’s
Damon Pistulka 43:21
everywhere. Yeah. And it’s in it’s so good to be able to, to see, I’m sure just warm. I mean, some of the stories that you get to hear about the companies and why they do things is got to be just phenomenal.
Andrew Penny 43:36
Oh, it’s Yeah, yeah. That just, it just, it’s interesting. There’s not much of a story, they just do it. Press publicity. They don’t tell people, they just do it. Yeah. And one of these guys were I was involved with scouts for a very long time. And boys were in scouts. And one of these guys just showed up with a pickup truck. So I know you guys are having a big campaign. And he’s going to pick up chock full of stuff that we could use at this camp. He had, you know, water barrels, and, and, and ropes and yeah, we need for Scout camp. And we said, well, you know, wow, thanks. So how much do we owe? You know, it was a couple of $1,000 worth of stuff. Yeah, it’s the right thing to do. So
Damon Pistulka 44:21
yeah, that’s, that’s the kind of thing that you just love to hear when when, when local businesses do it, right. And, and like you said, it’s that sense of purpose, feels the community, the employees, the customers, and the business owners. Hearts and pockets. At the end of the day, it helps everyone. It does.
Andrew Penny 44:47
It does. It’s, uh, I just, I mean, I’ll tell people i i haven’t worked in 25 years. I mean, I just love what I do. I mean, intellectually Everything’s a challenge. It’s always a puzzle. Quickly. It’s those know those four things I mentioned before. Yeah, you know, what, how do we make that work? But but the the, the positive impact that I’m privileged to be able to provide? Yeah. Is it just warms my soul?
Damon Pistulka 45:18
Yeah. Well, that’s cool. I saw I saw you had written that down. And, you know, I concur. And I feel the same way about what I get to do I pinch myself every day, because I get to get up, it wakes me up early in the morning. Because not because I have to, because I think it’s because it’s just the ability to be able to do what you do. And it shows and talking to you and your, your enthusiasm and passion for it. It’s so so great to be able to just experience that. Yeah,
Andrew Penny 45:49
I’m watching your grid away, we both got this big. Oh, yeah. Cuz
Damon Pistulka 45:53
I mean, there is nothing like there is nothing like solving those problems. And helping those those privately held businesses do what they do well,
Andrew Penny 46:03
and you find, like, I do that, you know, we might get involved with a client with some sort of market research activity, and then we’ll get into business development and strategy and whatever. And then very quickly, it’s a very privileged place to be is we start, we become sort of the consigliere or the advisor on all things, and it can be, you know, family issues, it can be certainly business issues, all sorts of things. And it’s, it’s a privilege to be invited into people’s confidence to be able to do that. And after, after doing this for 25 years, with hundreds of situations, and I got some context. Because,
Damon Pistulka 46:50
yeah, yeah, cuz you’ve seen it before it is you’re exactly right. And because that most people that are on the outside of a business don’t know how lonely it is being the owner of a business. Totally. It is, right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, but honestly, a lot of business owners get up and look in the mirror every day, because that’s the person that’s gonna decide what they’re gonna do and how successful they’re gonna be. Yeah. Yeah. And, and they, they do need a lot of help, you know, or they appreciate good help when they when they can have good advice.
So when we’re talking about you, let’s let’s go some of these common threads of businesses that thrive because you got some good ones here. And you talk about one that we talked about sense of purpose, but you talk about optimism. And I think this is this is one that you see every day in businesses, and it kind of goes unnoticed, just because it’s so common. So why do you think that optimism is always a common thread?
Andrew Penny 47:54
It’s, um I guess when I wrote that, I must have been dealing with somebody who wasn’t very optimistic, but it’s it’s looking at every instance every thing that comes your way as an opportunity. You know, half your force, your your, your company, employees quit, oh, okay, I can hire new people. Or, you know, as opposed to oh, and all I ever do, you know, so it’s, it’s always looking at business that have half full because business is full of challenges every day, there’s something that’s going to happen and you can, you can look at it as, you know, they’ll SWOT analysis, you can look at it as an opportunity or a threat.
And if you look at all of the things that happen as opportunities, then you can be much more optimistic that you’ve got a an upside and somewhere yeah, but if you feel like everybody’s trying to, you know, crap on you, then Yep, you you’ve got to shake that attitude and I think you know, you probably certainly me occasion to be days when you’re just like, Shit, yeah, in Oregon, something’s not here. And you kind of have to work with your peer group, talk to your friends and sort of get your get your mojo back and yeah, where you go, or all your tractor or something.
Damon Pistulka 49:22
Oh, I think I think you’re 100% on the on the optimism one because I’ve worked with people that are not owners that are not and and when when you’re in those situations, or I should say not very always some optimism in it. Yeah, but when you look at people that that are generally wake up with that let glass is half full, and I’m gonna enjoy that half full glass. That it’s a different business. Yeah, yeah. You can have a business and that person be like that not quite as optimistic or not very optimistic, and they can make money in it. can do things and those kinds of things, but not nearly as well as somebody that that is really in it with some optimism with a lot of optimism
Andrew Penny 50:09
in the the thing that happens, of course, if you go into into work and start interacting with your team, and you’re not, hey, it’s great day, everybody. The captain of the ship sets the tone. Yes, everybody has kind of, I guess, look for a job or this will never work or, you know, you you lose that, that energy.
Yeah. And if you if you if I think optimism kind of equates with energy. And if you got the whole team is full of optimism, you know, they got a core purpose. They got a vision. They’re building houses on the moon, and now we’re on our way. Yeah, anything can happen. Anything. But if you’re everybody’s, you know, got their boots on slogging through the mud and feeling like life, you know, life’s a bitch.
Damon Pistulka 50:56
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, no, I think I 100% I think that as you look at the differentiator in businesses, and I equate a lot of things back to sports, you get a professional level, I don’t care what sport you choose, choose anything. When you’re a professional level, everyone is good. Everyone has practiced. Everyone has honed their skills an awful lot. It comes down to mindset, it comes down to an attitude, it comes down to feeling of like you’re saying sense of purpose.
And I think optimism, thinking that you can today is a good day, I’ve got an opportunity to win like no other because I’ve got a great team around me that optimism is the differentiator, because in business, we’re all professionals. Yep. We’re not in sports, but we’re in business. And when you’re in competitive environments, I think that is part of what is the differentiator between those businesses that consistently win? Or more consistently win? Yeah.
Andrew Penny 52:05
And I think it’s easier to be optimistic when you have direction. So companies that don’t have a strategic plan that they’re running to, or they don’t have at least a month plan or some sort of forward trajectory, and we’ll call it a vision, but what are we doing next month or by the end of the year?
And how are we going to get there? There isn’t a game plan. But like the sports, if there isn’t the game plan? Well do your best, you know, then it’s really difficult to be optimistic, because you’re you’re you’re not getting the metrics to say, Are we improving? Is it going well, and you’ve got really no idea what you’re supposed to be doing next week different from today and make it better? So yeah, why be optimistic? Because it’s the same old grant?
Damon Pistulka 52:45
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Good. Great. Great. I thought that was that’s awesome. Because, you know, we talked about that and sense of purpose. And, and you one last one before, before we wrap up here, you talk about vulnerability. Yeah. And in there, and being vulnerable is a common common thread. And so what do you mean by that?
Andrew Penny 53:13
Unless it’s, it starts with the with the CEO, the owner, right? How long it goes down through an organization, but talking about the CEO. I’ve met a lot of CEOs who know everything. And they want to demonstrate they know everything. And you ask, you know, if you ask a question, they will they will have a rock solid answer and shut try to shut you down. Their job is to is to prove that they don’t have to listen to me. And a CEO who is open to questioning themselves opening to being critiqued can improve. But if you if you if you know it all, and you want to just demonstrate the consultants fair, and it’s a consultant. Okay, fine. Have a wonderful day.
And we’ll go but but the ones who, who are prepared to explore things, like, I’ll go back to the core purpose question, what do I need that for? You know, so getting into that with someone that that’s a vulnerability, that you’re going to an area where they don’t have any experience in any past trip? They’re, you know, we’re exploring it together. So that’s vulnerable. You can have the same conversation about you know, best in the world and what do you really really good at? What we’re good at everything we want to preys on no surprise, I don’t know. Okay, but they’re there. They’re not exploring. And when you want to explore you, you have to be vulnerable.
Damon Pistulka 54:43
Yeah, I That’s well said. And I read your example and I loved it. When you’re talking about you have to, you have to want to not be the smartest person in the room or except that you’re not the smartest person in the room. And I think that’s what that is. And I think that again, comes around To in successful companies, people are curious. They know, they know we’re not the best, you can always be better. And the CEO like you described that, that no at all. I mean, they obviously are probably not that curious.
And not that kind of person that’s going to continue to be better. And I, I think that I asked the question simply because I about this point, because I think this is one of the things along with sense of purpose and, and optimism that really drives the best companies. Because if you’re not curious, if you’re not trying to get better, every single minute of every day, I don’t care what you do, you can do to be a heart surgeon, right? You’re getting passed up. You don’t know it, but you’re getting passed up because somebody else down the street across the globe is is figuring it out better every day, because they are curious.
Andrew Penny 55:55
And part of that part of that curiosity, I think is a great expression. You know, if you’re, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Yeah. And I think a lot of CEOs fall into that trap of thinking that, you know, it’s your military deal, right? You know, the the general knows everything. So do what you’re told. So they fall into that trap of being the CEO, I’m supposed to know everything.
So I got to pretend that I do. As opposed to being vulnerable to being shown up by someone else in the company. So yeah, your executive team can challenge you and is knows more and, you know, has ideas. Unless you let those ideas out and explore them showing vulnerability, you’re not going to improve it because a great idea that’s going to make you best in the world won’t necessarily get up to the table because it will be shut down. So yeah, I think I think that, you know, vulnerability is it covers almost everything.
Damon Pistulka 56:56
Yeah, it really does. It really does. Oh, it’s been it’s been awesome talking to you. I can’t believe we’ve all spent an hour here doing this. Andrew, it’s it’s so great to get some oral This was fun. Yeah, it was it was because I’m sure when we get into the marketing that you do, and like you said about creating that, that that brand awareness and it’s really understanding how the marketing and sales and business development all works together in the process is so great. But and I just appreciate you appreciate you taking the time because it’s been so much fun.
Andrew Penny 57:33
It’s been good. I thank you for having me on. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 57:37
Well, if someone wants to get a hold of you, Andrew, it is LinkedIn a good place. What’s the best way to get ahold of you?
Andrew Penny 57:43
LinkedIn, you’ll find me on Android penny on LinkedIn. The company is Kingsford consulting. Yep. Well, if you if you Google Kingsford consulting, once you get past all the barbecue, months, you’ll find can Kingsford consulting.
Damon Pistulka 57:57
Very good, very good. And you’ll and we’re going to have Andrew stuff in the in all the show notes and everything else so you’ll be able to find him there. But I just want to say thank you once again, Andrew for being here. today. We’re talking about some marketing, Andrew is doing b2b marketing and really helping with business development for midsize companies and appreciate you being here today.
Andrew Penny 58:21
It’s been a pleasure. Thanks so much. Alright, everyone.
Damon Pistulka 58:24
Thanks so much for being here today. We’re going to be back again in a couple of days talking to somebody about another interesting topic. Thank you