Growth & Marketing

This powerful, transformational exercise forever changed our company.

by David Tendrich

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The start of this year has been extremely transformational for me. I’ve uncovered beliefs I have about life, and people, that have held me back. And I’ve realized a new direction Reliable needs to go in.

The two are completely tied together though.

For example, I realized I have a fear that people aren’t willing to pay our prices,

which are higher than 99% of our competitors. Deep down I was afraid that our market doesn’t care if the quality or the service are that much better – they just want cheap and fast, even if it’s riddled with problems and headaches.

But in looking at the actual numbers, and the actual feedback we get from clients, I’ve faced these fears and beliefs head on, and challenged them.

For example, Reliable grew 2.41x last year.

And a ridiculously high percentage of people who use us once use us again and again.

We also have a Slack channel (Slack is a team chat app that we use, in case you aren’t familiar with it) called “Client Love” and every day April (our awesome Director of Projects) posts amazing things clients write us when they receive their work.

This growth and feedback show me that there are people out there who crave the quality and service we bring to the table. And it’s made me realize that by worrying about everyone else – I’ve been taking my energy away from the people who are ready to work with us and are happy to pay a bit more if they get a lot more value for the price.

I’ve been letting my energy and focus get distracted by people who just really aren’t our market.

So I met with Lou (another co-founder and my amazing wife) and shared these thoughts and we decided to really clearly define who Reliable is for and what it’s all about.

In a nutshell, we answered the following 4 questions:

  • Who are we for?
  • Who are we against?
  • Who do we want to attract?
  • Who do we want to repel?

This exercise was extremely transformational… and relieving.

It gave us permission to laser-focus on a very small group of people (our core market) and ignore the rest.

It clarified Reliable’s vision. We’ve already put systems in place to better serve our true audience – and removed systems that try to serve anyone else.

I wanted to share this with you because I think if you do it in your business too, you’ll have a similar experience, and get yourself on track to really take this year by storm.

 

So without further ado, here
are our answers

to these truly powerful questions:

Who We’re For

Our fellow designers who are ready to finally have a great experience in getting their designs converted to code. They’ve likely had a bad experience or two (or three!), just as we have in our design agency.

Who We’re Against

All of the PSD to HTML companies that gave us tons of headaches and frustration – and are giving thousands of designers that same awful experience too.

They butcher your designs and write code that breaks in different devices and browsers.

Companies who treat their coders terribly and force impossible deadlines on them and crazy-low pay.

(Many coders from other companies have joined our team and have told us the horror stories. We want to put an end to that).

Who We Want to Attract

Designers who really care about their work, their quality, and their clients.

Their mission is to be the greatest designer they possibly can be, and to truly make their clients happy.

They want business relationships that maybe even feel more like friendships, and are happy to pay more if they receive more value, convenience, service, and quality (just like we are!).

Who We Want to Repel

Those who are just looking for the cheapest prices around, not the best quality. Those whose hearts are not in their designs – who lack true passion and fire.

And those who ask you to do lots of extra work outside of the project scope but make you feel bad when you ask them to pay for it. (Have you had clients like these?)

 

I have a feeling if you replaced the word “designers” for “companies” – our lists would look a lot alike 🙂

I think anyone who really cares about quality will have similar values. And, in all honesty, that’s who we’re trying to attract. That’s who we’re fighting for.

This motivates us to keep up the good work, and get even better. And the better we get, the more we’ll grow.

Are you up for trying this exercise?

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. If you’re up for it, leave a comment below and share your own vision for your year.

Peace,
David

Discussion

  1. Melanie Beaudoin says:

    January 5, 2017

    Your “Who do we want to attract” statement is exactly how I felt about working with you guys & gals… it is like a friendship. Also, as a client of yours, I feel that I fit nicely in your description—passionate about quality, caring about my clients and wanting to do the best possible work I can. Thanks for sharing this tip! I have been working on writing up my own set of values for my business and this exercise will help.

    1. David Tendrich says:

      January 6, 2017

      Hey Melanie! I’m so sorry, I could’ve sworn I replied to your comment ages ago but maybe I just composed a reply in my head but forgot to actually post it lol

      That’s so beautiful, and we feel exactly the same way about you.

      Thanks so much for sharing all of that. Made this nice Friday night even nicer (to re-read!)

      Would love to see your list if you feel like sharing.

      Best,
      David

  2. Darren Davis says:

    January 11, 2017

    What a killer post, David! I got a lot out of this. And you ARE right, I kept nodding my head in agreeing to almost all of this. Here’s a quick version of ours:

    Who are we for?

    Companies that wants mo’ leads, mo’ sales, mo’ money.

    Who are we against?

    Ones that promise the moon and think growth comes from automated marketing activities. That are not transparent about what they do/HOW they do things. And ones that say it takes 6-24 months to start seeing results and ask for a huge amount of money.

    These agencies out there take a clients money and doesn’t give much back in return. It just boils my blood.

    Big agencies that put far more pressure than nessisary on their employees or contractors and non-realistic deadlines…because they’ve promised a company they’d show results and can’t produce them.

    Who do we want to attract?

    Companies that do good in the world, and/or good for other people. This can be in any shape or form of business/services core values, not just non-profit.

    Open minded people that want to hear and accept truth when we are transparent & honest.

    They truly value our time as much as we truly value theirs.

    I was trying to think of a different way to phrase it that you did, but realize you just said it so perfectly: “They want business relationships that maybe even feel more like friendships, and are happy to pay more if they receive more value, convenience, service, and quality (just like we are!).”

    Who do we want to repel?

    Companies that send blanket RFPs. I don’t like doing battle against 20 agencies via my proposal.

    Other than that our list here is pretty much identical!

    1. David Tendrich says:

      January 13, 2017

      hey, darren! congrats on having the courage to publicly do this exercise my man. it’s a little unnerving to be so transparent (at least for me).

      i would challenge one thing you wrote…

      “Who are we for?

      “Companies that wants mo’ leads, mo’ sales, mo’ money.”

      that is pretty much *every* company in existence, ever lol. if you’re up for doing some digging, i’d narrow that down. what kinds of companies? what is it about one company that makes you want to work with them that another lacks?

      hope that makes sense.

      thanks again for taking the challenge 😀

  3. Kati Falk says:

    January 11, 2017

    Probably the best “we are raising our prices” letter I have seen. By the way I totally agree with you. k

    1. David Tendrich says:

      January 13, 2017

      wow, thank you, kati 🙂 honored to hear that. thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, made my evening 🙂

  4. LouLevit says:

    January 11, 2017

    It’s amazing what this exercise can do! It brings so much clarity to exactly the kind of experience you really want / don’t want to have in your business.

    1. David Tendrich says:

      January 13, 2017

      yes, so true. that’s exactly what it did for us 🙂

  5. April says:

    January 11, 2017

    Great post, David! 🙂 I’ve found that if I try to work with someone I just don’t feel is a good “fit,” I wind up not wanting to put my heart and soul into their project, and that’s not good for anyone. By focusing on those we really mesh well with, it’s a win-win all around. The client gets what they want, I feel good and excited to help them, and often, a great long-term relationship forms where you actually look forward to hearing from them!

    1. David Tendrich says:

      January 13, 2017

      Beautifully said. That’s the dream right there – having only clients you feel that way with, and who feel that way with you too. I feel like we’ve really done a lot of hard work to make that come to life (and you have been a big part of it)

  6. Emma says:

    March 20, 2017

    Hey, thanks for this article!! It was very timely for me as I just turned down a project (and the promise of many more projects to come) because it didn’t fit with my ideal client goals (actually they made my “who I want to repel” list!) I was kicking myself a little for the “lost opportunity” but now I can confidently say it was the right decision, because I’m keeping true to my business goals.

    1. David Tendrich says:

      March 22, 2017

      Hey Emma,

      Nice job. I know it’s not easy. Even after all these years, a part of me still casts doubt when I do the same. You did the right thing though. Great job. Treat yourself to something nice for showing such courage 🙂

      Take care,
      David

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