Eric Harter from Rapid CPAP Supplies & Testing, Good Samaritan Staffing Solutions
Chris: Hello and welcome to Thought Leader Magazine. episode number five. Today we have Eric Harter, CEO and founder of Rapid CPAP. Rapid CPAP, if you’re not aware, is a full-service medical equipment company that specializes in high tech respiratory care. I’ve also known Eric for years and he is one of those guys that when you get into a room, he’s kind of like on ideas overload and so what I find over the last 19 years of running a business is that I tend to find these people in my life and Eric is one of those type of people that we sort of gravitate towards each other and when we do, it’s usually a very awesome, it’s really great time for us to just share ideas. And I’m really inspired by the company that Eric has grown, and I thought it’d be a good idea to bring him on the show and sort of talk about how he is disrupting his industry. So, Eric welcome to the show.
Eric: Thank you Chris, good morning. Appreciate you having me on.
Chris: Yeah, so my pleasure. So, tell me a little bit about Rapid CPAP and your background and how you got to this place.
Eric: Yup. So, my training was in respiratory therapy and basically what that is, is basically a man nurse and so I did that for some time working in hospitals and nursing facilities and subacutes and so on and just began to observe the needs of the facilities and slowly gravitates towards sales and understanding the business and so I’ve always been sort of driven by creating and being involved in business things and it’s very fun for me. So, that’s kind of how I got out of the actual sort of clinical world.
Chris: That’s great. That’s great. And so, how long have you been doing this?
Eric: I started the business in 2008. Actually, we have two separate entities that work together. One is named Good Samaritan Staffing Solutions. That’s our services side of the business and then our full-service medical equipment company, Rapid CPAP is the other entity and they work very closely together.
Chris: Got you, Got you. So, we were talking earlier, and we had a couple of different questions that we thought would be good for our listeners and one of them was what are your priorities as you keep building the business?
Eric: Well, I think it’s really important to know firstly, love what you do, right? So, it’s sort of the cliché thing to love what you do, and you never work a day in your life, but it’s true. And for years I, and respiratory therapy is a fantastic field and there’s a lot of people very, very driven by getting up and going in and working in hospitals and they do great work and Chris, your wife is a nurse practitioner, so she understands that. But for me, it was about creating something different and being involved in business. And so, I legitimately jump out of my bed every morning. I get up really early in the morning and I really, I’m ready to run through a brick wall every day. I just really love what I do, and I don’t have the Sunday afternoon sort of blues. I just, I just really love what I do. So, priority for me is and as it relates to that is, is knowing your “why”, knowing why you get up in the morning and knowing why you’re working as hard as you as you do. So, I think that’s really, really important, knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Chris: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. When we have, about once a year we bring our team together and we have these, it’s called a summit. We take our team to the Poconos and it’s an awesome time. But, my business partner is a really big Simon Sinek fan. I don’t know if you are familiar with him or not, but he has a really powerful video on starting with “Why”. Steve Jobs started with “why” and if you get your “why” right, everything else seems to follow and so that’s, yeah, that’s one of the things that we believe in, things we try to embrace. What’s so funny is that like life is constantly changing and so I feel like our “why” has changed but it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have to stay a constant thing. lt can change because the company changes, you know what I mean?
Chris: But, you know, I do think that there are some centric things, some things like that. Like for example, on a personal “why” until I had a wife and kids, I really didn’t know why I was doing this. I just really had fun doing it. I didn’t want to have a boss and I knew I could. You know, now things are different, in a good way. I know who I’m doing it for, which is important and then I also have a team that I really love, and trust and I take a lot of responsibility for the fact that their income, that they make, that they generate from our company is a livelihood.
Eric: Absolutely. I absolutely agree with that and you know, I’m married, have three beautiful babies myself and you know, my business is like my fourth child in many regards and our employees are like, and I, you know, I say this every time I get ready to hire somebody is that we’re really more like a family than we are a business. And you know what, there’s a lot of risks in that. We sort of, you know, just, you know, I’m sort of a shoot from the hip type of guy and that’s just who I am, and I’ve embraced it and I’m 160 years old and I just, that’s who I am. And, you know, there’s total risks in that but just developing a relationship with somebody and knowing that you are responsible for their livelihood, for their spouses livelihood, their car payments or house payments, their kids, I’d take that as a big responsibility and it’s very, very important to me to create, sort of moves into creating a culture of care and that’s just not really a term. It’s like caring about the people that you work with, making sure they’re good fits right? Like not everybody’s a fantastic fit and unfortunately, you know, people move on or have to be moved on and that’s always really painful. But to create a culture where everybody that you work with really knows that you care about them, I think that’s extremely important to us. I think you can certainly ask everyone that works with me and even the ones that didn’t work out and they would absolutely say that I gave them every opportunity and I absolutely cared for them. So, that’s really important for us having a family type atmosphere. My wife and kids come into the office and everybody knows everybody and so that’s really, really important. People don’t quit their bosses, their jobs, they quit their bosses, I think and that’s really important to me.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great point, I actually want to kind of use that.
Chris: About that. So, what, at this point, what are you passionate about in your business? You’ve grown a successful business; you’ve got a really great team. What are you passionate about?
Eric: You know, continue to talk about that sort of, you know, I think, you know, I know you’re a big fan of Gary V and I’m certainly an avid sort of listener of his content and just the market, it doesn’t matter what school you went to, what race you are, what gender you are, how old or young you are. The market is the consumer. So, if you have a product or service that people love and they want to come back to, it’s the old sandwich shop. If you make a fantastic sandwich that’s priced appropriately people will come back and buy from you and build a relationship with you and I think that’s super important. Like, you know, I think you can have a, sometimes you can sort of get to a point where you’re insulated from being with the customers and all that and it’s so important to be really authentic with your customers. Let them know right away when you messed up, because you will, and just be really honest with people and care about them. I forget, I think it was Gary V recently that said the best marketing strategy out there, you know what it is, one word, care. You care about your customers. In our regard, it’s caring about our patients and trying to listen to them and listen to the administration and listening to the nursing staff and really care about what you’re doing and that you are creating something that is really valuable. So, I’m pretty passionate about that. Even still when the phone rings, if somebody from customer service has a tone that’s a little off, I’m just like, you know, I just, we’re talking to our customers, we’re talking to our patients and we need to be, we need to care for them so it’s really, really important to me.
Chris: Yeah, I’m the same boat. You know, it’s so funny is I’m really critical about customer service at the low level, you know, like I go to Lowe’s or I go to Home Depot and I’m like, I’m struggling in the light bulb aisle and I just say, you know, hey man, can you fix, can you help me to just find this particular light bulb? And they’re like, oh yeah, it’s down there on the second one on the right. I’m like, you know, the difference of you walking 10 feet and showing me exactly where it is. Now take that as a micro concept. Like, that enrages me. You know, I just go nuts. My wife’s like, “dude you got to take it down a notch.” If my employees did that, literally they wouldn’t be my employees.
Chris: You know what I mean? And so, I think we settled in this world for the lower level of customer service.
Chris: But when you start to get into enterprise business, like the two that we have, I think that, you know, like a lot of times if people are calling you, sometimes they’re having a bad day and if you’re a bad day is the first thing that they hear, it has a ripple effect on what you do, how you do it and stuff like that.
Chris: And you know, I can’t express, even if you don’t care, show that you care. All right. Find a way to care. You know what I mean?
Eric: It’s direly critical and I think along those same lines and just being honest with people and saying I’m sorry. Like we’re not going to do everything perfect every time, but just being honest with people and saying you know, I’m just going to listen to you. I’m going to listen to your complaint because I’m very concerned about it and I apologize that this has happened and obviously we’ve totally missed the mark here but just listening to people I think is really important. And so yeah I think it makes a big difference. I think, you know, again, taking it back to the sandwich shop. You go to some places that have fantastic sandwiches because they taste good and you’ve had a great experience there. I don’t think it has to get much more difficult than that. It’s just like you inhabit and you go to places that you have a good experience with and we’re really important, really, really important in creating a new experience. Obviously providing a fantastic service and product and being accountable and all those things. All of that has to line up, but just empathizing with people and listening and saying I’m sorry and it’s oddly enough, that’s how relationships work and that’s what we have with our customers. They are our relationships.
Chris: Yep. So, I’m going to pivot to the next question and before I do, I’m going to give a little bit of an explanation. So, the next question I have is what does a thought leader mean to you? Obviously, this is called Thought Leader Magazine. You’re in a very interesting space, but one of the conversations that you and I had that I found pretty interesting was your competition is almost getting mad at you. They’re angry, they’re angry at your approach, they’re angry at what you’re doing different and I want you to unpack that because I work with a lot of businesses and I don’t know how to describe it other than if your competition is not angry with you, I’m pretty concerned that you’re not doing enough to differentiate yourself, or even make a difference.
Eric: Yeah. So, for years we kind of did that sort of one-off service to other companies and I just, again paid attention and learned from them and there were some good relationships for a while, but it just got to a point where I felt like the customer wasn’t being considered. The pain of the customer as I would sit with them they would say, “if only this,” and “if only that,” and “if I could find a company that would do X and that they would do Y,” and just listening and learning and being in essence, handcuffed for some time. We had to come to a point where we had to branch out 100% on our own and it was a very difficult decision. It’s the best decision, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Certainly my business life is number one and it’s just about listening to the customer’s pain and trying to fulfill that and, you know, most of our competition, I think we have a friend in common, Jay Manuel’s who, it’s funny, I was sitting with him at breakfast and he was considering branching out and now he’s built this fantastic business, but he did that as, you know by, he was a dental sales guy, calling on these dentists.
Chris: He’s selling pretty much the most sophisticated dental equipment in the world. Yeah.
Eric: And just, in selling the equipment and supplies and so on, I suspect. But he slowly listened and learned to what the customer was asking, “if only,” and “I’m having this pain and this trouble,” and developed this whole consultant business and I feel like in many regards that’s what we’ve done because it’s not about just putting medical equipment out on the street and high tech respiratory equipment. I mean, we have only respiratory therapists setting up that equipment because God bless the drivers, but we just feel like a driver should not be delivering, dropping off equipment for nursing to set up. They really don’t have a place to do that and so we have at no cost, we have respiratory therapists do that every time. We have one on call 24 hours a day so you’re not going to get an on-call service. You’re going to get a live respiratory therapist on the phone. You may get a very sleepy respiratory therapist on the phone, but nonetheless, a 24-hour service. But as I thought about this, your magazine Thought Leader Magazine, the big concern in the nursing home industry right now is patients going back to the hospital. So, if your loved one goes from the hospital to the nursing facility and then back to the hospital within 30 days, there’s a penalty there and so typically the national average, which is very costly and so the nursing home administration and the higher-ups and the VPs and everybody’s very, very focused on stopping that flow back to the hospital. It’s a referral source and it’s very, very important to make sure they don’t go back.
So, the national average for that’s around 20 to 25%. So, 20 to 25% of the patients are going back to the hospital or when they go home, they’re discharged from nursing and they’re going home and they’re going back within 30 days or there are extensive penalties within that. Well, we put together a program that brings that number down below 2% which has been fantastic and so, nursing facilities get paid by the bed dates. So, a patients there and they lose revenue as that patient goes back to the hospital or goes from home back to the hospital and gets penalized. Not to mention, it’s like anything. If you have a referral, say, here’s my business, here’s my patient, take care of them. Uh-Oh, they went back to the hospital within six hours or whatever. So, we, in essence, all but eliminate those patients from going back to the hospital. So, we’ve seen such tremendous success from listening to the administration, developing a program that we’ve run for many years now and had such tremendous success that our business and our program has grown substantially and it’s fantastic. It’s very fun and so, in fact, I had a call with the administrator yesterday and I could tell he wanted to get off the phone and I don’t blame him because I get it and I was like, “Oh, and yes and this and that,” and so, I’m so excited about what we do. and it’s grown so much that I just really want to help people get this program into their building.
It’s a win for them. It’s a win for us and I honestly feel like I’m handing out a hundred dollar bill and just asking for 20 back. And so, I actually emailed them this morning and said, you know, I’m sorry, I’m a little bit overzealous but I’m just so excited about what we’re doing and I know it’s fantastic to go into a meeting and know 100%, 110% that we can stop the flow of patients going back to the hospital and not only that, we can certainly provide the best medical equipment at the lowest cost, by the way, and have only respiratory therapists do it every time and then stop the flow of the patients going back to the hospital. So, it’s an all-inclusive, it’s a total solution for the nursing homes and it’s been really fun, and it goes back to just not hating what you do, and I just love what I do. And so honestly it sounds like a line, but I honestly feel that we’re absolutely helping people and it’s just something that is very easy to sell in essence.
Chris: Got you. Got you. Now, in terms of thought leadership, you were telling the story about how you were reducing these rates, basically these rehospitalization rates if I’m saying that right. Talking about saving these nursing homes tons of money. Now, one of the things that you and I were talking about was before we get into what we do, how we do it, it was like you were sort of establishing your credibility and establishing your thought leadership from an aspect of, you know, what if I can answer critical questions about your space, about your problem, about the things you do on a daily basis, like literally just out of the rule of reciprocity they usually say, well tell me about what you do and how you do it. You just really don’t have these battle scars or basically this tribal knowledge, if you will, unless you’ve been in it since 2008 like you have, you know what I mean. And so, that’s kind of exciting from an aspect of, you know, Marcus Lemonis talks about having a really great product, a really great upsell and a really great process and it sounds like you’ve got a really great product. It sounds like, we’ve talked before, that you take your people very seriously and I find this really cool about your process, your sales process is that, you know what, like you bring value first.
Chris: And then people buy second.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah and I struggle with that. You know, I’m not, I haven’t been in any extensive sales training and everything and I shoot from the hip and I’m a passionate guy. So, you know, it’s remembering that I just want to sit with somebody, develop a relationship, and just unload as much value as I can to them, to where they’re at a point where they just say, “Well, we have to go with you,” and I just kindly, gently just all I want is just an opportunity to show you we are who we say we are and that’s the truth and if you just unload value at a price that’s better than everybody else, the market will consume your product and service. And we’ve watched that and so it’s a lot of fun and nobody likes the sales element. I love Grant Cardone and read quite a few of his books and everything, but he has an angle for each way that the customer goes, and I certainly learned a lot from that, but it’s just, not throwing him under the bus, he’s fantastic. However, I just feel like I have to be me. Like I can’t put on and when I tried to do that, it just doesn’t go good and so I just want to just tell people about what we’re doing, hone as much value as we can and tell them that we were going to care about them and we’re going to do a really, really good job and if we don’t then I fully expect to be eliminated from your organization.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. You know, and I’m kind of the same way as I’ve studied Sandler. I’ve studied all this stuff and I know and teach advanced sales tactics, but why I don’t follow them all the time myself-
Chris: -is because I don’t like being around really slick salespeople.
Chris: Yeah. It sounds really dumb, but like, my name is on a list. I’m a CEO and they all automatically, somehow through hook or crook they get to me-
Chris: You know ask me these open-ended questions and I’m like this guy is a very seasoned sales guy and I know that no matter what way I turn, he’s got an answer for that.
Chris: It sort of turns me off.
Eric: Yup. Absolutely.
Chris: He’s got a job; he’s got eight seconds to get my attention. Do you know what I mean, and I get it.
Chris: Like, I really respect the aspect of being in a scenario where, you know what, like, “How can I help you?,” and then if I can help you and I can serve you, still, it’s still up to you.
Chris: The things that’s kind of fun for us, at least the technology that we do is really marry thought leadership with technology, obviously, we’ve developed a system that generates leads and then we nurture leads into clients and then we convert clients into brand ambassadors. But in that nurturing process what we do is we have a technology that puts cookies on people’s computers, and we start tracking them. So, what we have to do is we have to bring a lot of value and put it right on our blog, put it in our social media and put it like literally at the forefront but what they don’t know in the background is that I’ve got a cookie on their computer and I’m tracking them. How often they come in and check into my materials and stuff like that, is basically how familiar they are with my brand, with my promise, stuff like that. But what it also means is that they’re building trust with who I am, how I’m communicating, what I’m saying about their industry. And so, I might not be talking to them on the phone, but I am bringing value through the marketing materials that I share and that I own. And what’s interesting about that is I actually know what they viewed and so I come in and I’m able to make a very conversational approach to our first conversation as opposed to just, “Hey, how can I help you?” You know, I know what people have viewed, I know what content he likes, I know all that stuff before we even talk.
Chris: So, what’s kind of cool is where you can marry technology with your value-based approach.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah. That was so foreign to me. I feel like, I was telling you earlier, like it’s like, might as well be 1865, I’ve just been pounding pavement. This whole video voodoo, I’m more like a send a telegram type of guy. But you know, it’s like anything, and certainly in business it’s a debt, and listen, I’ve taken my lumps and I’ll continue to take my lumps, but it’s just like, you know, it’s like, it’s just adapt and change or be done. You have to constantly. We’ve adapted and changed so many times. You just can’t say, “Well, this is the way the industry is,” and I’ve had a couple people say, “Well you just really, you know, that’s not really what we do in our industry,” and that to me just is like, you know, like you can’t have the sandwich that way, sir. I’m about to have it anyways, can we do that? So, I’ll come back.
Chris: Yeah, I get it.
Eric: That stuff drives me crazy.
Chris: That’s music to my ears because if I know that I can do it, I’m like, you’re not willing to go there. I’ll take that real estate.
Eric: Yes, and a lot of some of the services and products and Grant Cardone says, create a new set of problems, right. So, we’ve had customers, nurses say, “Do you guys do X, Y, and Z?” And I say, “Oh yeah, we’ve been doing that for minutes now, I mean, years now.” So, yes, we will figure it out and we’ll create a new set of problems for us and we will listen to the market and we will master that service and product and we will deliver it and we’ll deliver it gladly because you’re asking for it and we’ll deliver at a price that beats everybody. And we’ll thank you for your order by the way. So, that’s very, very, very important.
Chris: Very cool.
Eric: So, my wife, you know, she’s very in tune to the tone of our children and if she hears a tone that’s a little off, she’s, you know, she’s right in and God bless her she’s a homeschool mom and she’s, you know, she’s fantastic but she’s listening to the tone of our children all the time. Not that I’m not certainly really involved, but, I’m listening to the tone of how we communicate to our customers and the products and services that we offer, and also willing to say, “I’m sorry we messed up on that,” and we do, and we will, but –
Chris: Yeah, sure.
Eric: Really important to keep moving forward.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I am, I do that in my interviewing process. I actually will say to a potential candidate and I’ll say, “Well, what happens when you don’t know the answer?” And what I don’t like is, “Oh, I have an answer for every problem.” My favorite things to hear are, “You know what, I don’t know the answer to that problem but I’m going to find out and I’m going to get back to you and as soon as possible.”
Chris: Because I don’t want a “b.s” answer. You know what I mean? Like I would rather accept the right answer an hour later, a day later than your “b.s.” answer now that I have actually used, and you know what I mean? It’s funny because this is like such an unrelated thing, but it’s just, you know, in real life, we just got a new dryer and the guy came out and he basically said, “Oh your problem is your dryer or something like that.” So, we’ve got a new dryer, and the new dryer, we had the same exact problem we had with the old dryer. It’s basically just not drying clothes and then we had a vent specialist and you name it. We’ve basically done a number of different things and we find out that we just spent like $1,000 for $100 dollar problem.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah.
Chris: I’m trying to think that as a story basically saying you know what, give me the right answer later, find out what the heck is wrong, so I don’t go and buy another dryer because I’m expecting you to be the guy because I don’t know about dryers. I don’t want to know about dryers. I never want to know about dryers. I just want to dry clothes. I just want the outcome.
Eric: Yeah. Right.
Chris: Yeah. And so, one of the things I would encourage our listeners to, and I would encourage anybody to be like, train your staff to be humble enough to say, I don’t know.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah.
Chris: You know.
Eric: We have a friend in common, Jim Henderson, who I’ve learned a lot from him. and he’s the one that we’re talking about, customer complaints and he would say, “I’m just going to listen to you,” and this is resonating with me “because we want to address the problem, fix it, you know, I’m so sorry,” and Jim reminded me, just be a listener to the problem and let them know that you’re listening, that you’re very sorry for it and I just want to understand exactly everything that went wrong so that I can come up with a solution for you. And, I’m hyper-focused on your disappointment and our failure and not quickly move on to the solution but sit in that for a minute. So, I think that’s important when people feel hurt. Certainly. And in any relationship, right. So, when somebody feels heard and understands I think that, that goes a long way.
Chris: Yeah, I am, sorry, putting my screen back. Yeah. I mean I actually learned a ton from, Jim. He is another mutual friend of mine, but I definitely, I’ve seen that from scenarios of how he’s transformed from one job to another. That’s the one thing that remains consistent and he’s known wherever he goes as the guy who solves the really big problems.
Eric: And, we just spent some time in Charleston together and I was listening to him on a call and his boss’s boss was basically, and I was just so impressed at his ability to really super analyze these problems and then come up with a plan. So, he’s really one of the most gifted guys I know.
Chris: Yeah. I think he’s, I definitely think he has a gift and I learned a ton from him from that aspect of it. He’s working at a pretty, pretty large pharmaceutical company now and it’s so funny as hell. I know he’s doing the things, like the amazing things that we know he’s doing, but he’s very humble about being like, “I just don’t know what I don’t know,” and I’m just like, what? The way you attack your problems or your challenges, you’ll never have to worry about it because you know what, you’ve got the aptitude to know it anyway. It’s your humility in the situation,
Chris: that, you know, when he does know the answer, he knows it 100% and then a little bit later and he crushes it, which is great, and I think that’s one of the things that I really like about him. I’m going to transition real quick. So, we were talking before and you were saying how you kind of keep your emotions on your sleeve,
Chris: in a good way.
Eric: Yeah. Some risks there too.
Chris: Yeah, me too. I mean Christmas parties and like, you know, people are like “Chris, we love you because of your heart,” and I was like, “Well thank God because you’ve also seen when I don’t have, like you’ve seen my bad side too.” Like I wear it on my sleeve, like we have technology snafus on the audio or even just getting this set up and my employees part like the Red Sea.
Eric: My Operations Director, she says probably once a month you are who you are, and I accept you.
Chris: That’s a compliment.
Eric: And I thank you very much.
Chris: That’s awesome. So, the question that I have for you is, how do you describe your leadership style and you know, what are the pros and cons of that?
Eric: Yeah, so, again I think it’s, you know, it’s a, it’s a passionate, honest, excitable, you alright?
Chris: Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah, you were on air, on camera. I’m able to stretch.
Eric: Should I come over to the other room? Yeah, go for a stretch. I am who I am. Super passionate, super excitable, super. driven but also I feel like I’m pretty empathetic with people and it’s risky too because I have a friend in California who owns a good size business and when I tell him some of the things of, some of the struggles that some of the people that I work with have had and how we’re trying to work through these things. At least, certainly my struggles too. He’s like, “Dude, what is going on over there? What- aren’t you focused on the business?” It’s not like a counseling session but I think I am who I am and my leadership style would be real passionate, real empathetic, but real risky in that regard but, you know what, it is what it is and I am who I am and I try to stick to, try to stay in my, we call it high-payoff activities and that’s kind of where I line up with that.
Chris: Sure. Well, you know, I think that one of the things that, we live in a very different generation than our parents lived in and I think also with the fact that most employees in this kind of lifestyle are a lot more transient. Do you know what I mean? And so, what that does is it gives them a lot more power than you think because it costs us a ton to train them and put them in the right chairs and things like that.
Chris: And so, what it’s sort of doing is, I think it’s just pushing leadership to be good at selling your product, to be a good leader, but also to be a pretty good human being because no one’s going to want to rub shoulders with you if you’re not. And you know, that is both the challenge and the reward. I’m sorry, that’s both the challenge, but also an opportunity, you know and so that’s going to lead me to my next question with you is, you know, what piece of advice do you, would you share with a new business owner and entrepreneur? What have you learned? What mistakes could they avoid, etc. etc.?
Eric: Get a job. They’ll need some sort of employment. I think, you know, it’s one of those things where it’s like, just get used to failure and live there and don’t be that discouraged by it. It’s just getting, I mean, it sounds so token, right. I mean, we’ve watched a million videos and books on tape, and you know, you just, but it’s so true. You got to love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, if you’re not comfortable with failure, if you’re one that just sort of easily gives up, entrepreneurship is probably not for you. So, I would say get rid or get so comfortable with failure and then also know your “why.” Like why do you want to give up your 40 hour a week job for an 80 hour a week job to make less money? Why do you want to do that? So, you need to know your “why”, right. Very, very important.
So, don’t give up, know your “why” and then I think, like you and I talked about like my wife and I talk a lot about someday will be 70 years old and we’ll be at our house in Charleston or whatever, and guess what, we’ll be telling these stories. So, try to enjoy as much as you can. Enjoy the process, right. Like, enjoy the ups and downs and again, it sounds cliché but when you lose or when you fail, look for the opportunity instead of the obstacle, right.
Try to learn from it and it sounds so cliché, but it’s so true and I’ve certainly discovered that, and it’s been so reassuring. What are the things that, this was probably the greatest piece of advice I would offer as I’m a lifelong learner and certainly don’t have it all figured out, so my wife and I have adapted this model where we take four days a month, right. Like, so really specifically me and I’ll take -so, you have two fantastic days where you’re just like, “Yeah, we’re killing it, this is the best. Oh my gosh, this is fantastic,” and then you have to terrible days where the whole world is crumbling. Throw them all out, right. If you eliminate the two of your most high days and you’re your worst days and you just continue to go to work and get up early and work hard and consider your customers. Consider your customers before yourself and watch them beat a path to your door. Just think about them and get up every day and do it. If you eliminate those four days a month, you’ll have tremendous success because it’s just about continuing to do the activity and being passionate about the result. So, just love it, just love it and if you don’t love it, don’t do it.
Chris: Yeah, I, you know, I kind of like that from the aspect of if you have those really high highs and these really low lows, like I don’t trust my decisions, right. When things are just crushing it. It’s just like literally, I just start buying stupid stuff. You know, when the lows are lows, you know, we have about a 93 to 95% client retention rate, which basically means our clients come with us and they stick. But from time to time a client will leave and I’ll go into my business partner’s office and I’ll be like, you know, I’ll just be like, “What’s happening to us?,” you know, it’s like that and he’s like, “Dude, pump the brakes.” You know what I mean?
Chris: And so, you know, I’ve been doing this for 18 years and so I’ve actually found a sweet spot in the middle and to not trust.
Eric: Yes. Don’t trust it.
Chris: Don’t trust those emotional things, you know what I mean and –
Eric: To add onto that, it’s like, and when you do lose a customer or have a negative thing that affects your business and you’ve found out about it, it’s about, like throwing it out and then just getting up the next day and just getting after it. Come up with a plan. You know, I always need, like give me an idea. Get up the next morning and get to work. It’s not going to change, you know.
Eric: If a tornado came today and destroyed your whole building –
Eric: what are you going to do tomorrow?
Chris: If this building was destroyed, Farotech would be here tomorrow.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. You have to because guess what, you have no choice. This is what we’re doing and seriously we’ve got to make it work.
Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, my nephew got me into being a big Sixers fan. I mean, I’m five, seven, so I’m actually not a natural basketball player, but love him or hate him our coach, coach Brown, he does the thing whether they win a game, or they lose a game he doesn’t go into the locker room after the game. So, if they have a bad game, he doesn’t go in and bawl them out and if they have a great game he doesn’t go in like all champagne, you know what I mean. Literally, he leaves and then the next day after he’s basically gotten all of his emotions out, the next day he looks at the tape and then he comes in and he confronts the team and then he talks very logically about what he saw. You know what I mean. And, you know, it’s so counterintuitive to what I want to be. I want to be a guy who is just emotion and fire and flash and saying the brilliant thing and being the smart in the room and stuff like that. But I can’t even tell you how many times that I’ve had situations where I’ve written an email and I get in front of my directors and they’re like, “Don’t send that.” You know what I mean?
Eric: Yeah, absolutely.
Chris: There’s an awesome book called “Team of Rivals.” It’s about Abraham Lincoln and he talked about when he died, they cleaned out his office and he had all of these letters that he never sent, but these were like really angry letters to like McClellan and all these guys that could have won the war and he reems them out, never sent them. You know what I mean, and it was a really cool thing about, I mean, I think that obviously some people would say, and I would agree that Lincoln was one of the best leaders that’s ever lived, but he had a way of, he knew that he was just emotionally running hot. He’s like, just get it out on paper and the power is just getting it out of your system. But once you’ve, once you’ve brought it to the world or basically you’ve sent that email or you bawled out that employee, whatever it is, the toothpaste is out of the tube and you can’t get it back you know what I mean. So, I felt, yeah, yeah.
Eric: Yeah. I agree.
Chris: And then you made one other comment about failure and I tell this joke all the time is we’ve been around for 18 years, but my first three years were probably my most explosive growth. I tripled my income three years in a row for my first three years and you might be thinking, wow, that’s really amazing, but that just shows how little money I made my first year. Like, literally, I went from like $3000 that year to $9000, borrowing money from my parents to stay alive and you know, doing whatever it took, working side jobs, doing all that stuff. Watching my friends get married, watching my friends have kids, all that stuff, you know, and so if you are a new entrepreneur, the road is lonely, the road is challenging, the road is difficult, and the road is totally worth it.
Eric: That’s funny. Like you’re talking about money, and don’t get me started talking off base, but it’s the power of broke. I forget the guy, Draymond John, I forget his name, the Shark Tank guy.
Chris: Daymond John.
Eric: Daymond John. So, the power or broke. What are you going to do if you don’t have the money? You’re going to have to adapt, right. Same thing. Adapt and make it work. Like, you know, I think everybody says, “Well, if I only had a million dollar line of credit or if I only had the cash, I could go.” Well, banks aren’t interested in entrepreneurs and my experience, they really don’t want to give you money, right and so, what do you going to do? Are you just going to give up? Are you going to stop? Nobody is going to help you. You’re going to have to figure it out. It’s adapt or die and so, you know, don’t get me started on banks and they’re not wanting to… It’s, you’ve got to figure it out and you got to come up with a plan and guess what, that plan will change 1 billion times and it’s the power of broke and figuring out how to do it without, you know, the VC guys that are going to drop 10 million on your lap. So, yeah, it’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge.
Chris: Well, I’m hoping that this conversation is a more of a to be continued. I’d love to have you back, talk through these things. You’re definitely local enough. I think we will do the next one in person if I can get my technology straight.
Chris: But this was really great. So, how would they find out about you and your business?
Eric: Send me a telegraph, pony express. Chris knows I’m very IT challenged. We are on the worldwide web, believe it or not. So, it’s www.rapidcpap.com, rapid CPAP, C, P, A, P.com.
Eric: And all of our contact information is on there and I’d love to chat with you and learn from you and yeah, so that’s how you can get me.
Chris: That’s awesome. So, I’m going to put that information in the Facebook thread as well, and then eventually it’ll be on our YouTube channel and on our website that we’ll be launching within a month, which is thoughtleadermagazine.org. So, Eric, I’m going to be putting you in the lobby real quick and then I’m going to be doing what we call our marketing minute but thanks for joining us.
Eric: Awesome chatting with you.
Chris: All right. Great.
Chris: So, I’m going to try to share my screen real quick. I had some challenges with this the last time, so give me one moment here.
So, one of the things that we were talking about was just that when you are working with a company, no matter how complex it is, how complex you’re challenges are, usually what you’re finding is you’re finding employees that, hopefully, they’re the right person in the right chair. However, they usually are in a scenario where they have a really big dream, or they have a really big vision but it’s very hard to find time to not only strategize but also to execute. And so, what happens here is that as technology changes I think the way we hire and the way we approach things specifically marketing has to change as well.
One of the things that we talk about is the value of having a team-based approach and so, one of the things that we know here is if you’re looking at my screen and we know that marketing is moving really fast. They expect you to be a thought leader, they expect you to be on the first page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. They expect you to have a social media presence, etc. etc. So what happens is that usually companies go, and they hire an individual, we stole this term from HubSpot, they’re called Mary Marketing. And Mary Marketing basically has the job of doing everything that we just mentioned right here. But the problem is that she’s only got 40 hours a week or maybe 60 hours a week and what happens is that usually they become very overwhelmed and a marketing manager usually says, well, if I say, “Well how are you doing in SEO?,” It’s like, “Well we’re doing good, but we could always be doing better but you know, it’s on my list to improve but I just never get a chance to do it.” Or, “How’s your social media presence,” or so on and so forth. No matter what I ask, I usually find a company that has a marketing person and that marketing person never has enough time to get to the things that they really want to get to. And so, what we do is we tried to talk about finding a company, maybe Farotech, maybe someone else who has a team-based solution and what a team-based solution is, is it’s an answer to the marketing challenge that most companies have and so let me kind of walk through what that is.
So, commonly a company has one individual and that person, we’re going to call them Mary Marketing, but then Mary Marketing realizes that, “You know what to do all my job, I’m going to need to offload a portion of my job. I need to delegate to someone who could write content.” So, they might have another content writer. Okay. From there, they might also lean on a social media guy, whether it’s in-house or it’s an outside vendor. Then they have a project manager that is basically going to handle the, you know the PowerPoints, and everything related to strategic selling. They’re stressing out their web guy and then they’re also going to make everything pretty. So, they are going to get a graphic designer. So, you wake up one day and your marketing team looks like this. You’ve got a lot of money going out. The more enterprise your company is, if one of those people in on your team is not basically getting the job done, sometimes it’s also very hard to get them off your team. So, what happens here is that if you use a team-based solution, usually what happens is that you would have Marketing Mary basically your CMO, they would still be in place but rather than being the person that has to get everything done and missing, they basically, what they do is they go, and they find a team and the team basically helps that person that, that CMO get the things done that they always wanted to get done.
So, usually, a team-based approach is going to give you a strategist, a content writer, a social media expert, an SEO expert, a graphic designer. You’re going to get all of that usually for the price of hiring one individual. But it’s also scalable. So, in a negative way, if you don’t like the way our content writers doing, that’s the team-based solution. A team-based solutions is going to find you a new writer. Or if you really love the way the SEO results are, but you want to take it up a notch, a team based solution is able to get more and more SEO experts onto your team.
Now you don’t have to do the headhunting, you don’t have to do the HR, you don’t have to do all that stuff. You’d literally just pay one bill. And what happens here is oftentimes when you compare it to paying for this service in house, you’re doing it at a deep, deep discount. Okay?
And so, that’s sort of the value that we talk about is if you’re a chief marketing, if you own a business and your chief marketing officer doesn’t have enough time to get to all the things they want to get to, rather than hiring one extra person, an assistant for your marketing specialist, you should definitely consider looking at a team-based solution. If you’re in a business that doesn’t have a marketing specialist and you’re thinking, well, I need to hire one, I’d recommend you hiring a team-based solution first to help you execute on the things that are important for your company and then as they start to get ROI from your marketing efforts, then you hire a marketing specialist. But what’s exciting about that is oftentimes that marketing specialist does not have to be this high falutin and really high salary CMO. They can literally just be a liaison between the content that you’re trying to formulate internally and your digital marketing team that’s doing a team-based solution.
So, that is what we call a team-based solution. That’s what we offer at Farotech. There’s another number of agencies that offer the same approach. We like the way we do it. We have a really great response from the things that we do for our clients. We don’t lose clients very often and we’ve been able to create really, really great ROI statistics on what we do and what we bring to the market.
So, that also comes to the conclusion of our show. We want to thank Eric Harter for joining us. We want to thank you some of the people that have been leaving comments and doing some likes throughout the show. One more time, it is rapidcpap.com and if you have any problems or challenges reaching out to Eric, please feel free to reach out to us and we will get you guys connected.
So, thanks a lot for joining us and we look forward to meeting you. I believe it’s going to be in two weeks. I’m going to be traveling for business next week. So, two weeks from now we’re going to have another episode. So, thank you very much and we look forward to helping you understand how thought leadership can change and disrupt your industry.