Winning in a Down Economy From a Former Wall Street Trader

About this Episode



Are you a business owner who’s struggling to survive this down economy?

If so, then you’re not alone. According to the latest statistics, about 80% of all small businesses fail within their first five years.

Every business owner’s nightmare is facing a major crisis and market crashes that threaten the stability, reputation, and future of their business. These crashes and crises can come in various forms, and they often strike unexpectedly regardless of the status of the economy. Facing these can be overwhelming and challenging for business owners. However, proactive management strategies can help mitigate the impact of these situations.

We’re thrilled to present the newest installment of the HVAC Financial Freedom Podcast, showcasing a special guest, Debra Angilletta, CEO & Founder of Angilletta & Associates, a former Wall Street Trader, and is certified in the advanced level implementation of the Amazon Best Seller – “Profit First” from NY Times best-selling author Mike Michalowicz.

Let’s check in and listen to how Debra provides her insights about how we are going to adapt to a down economy and market crashes, turning volatility into a business owner’s best friend, turning fear into fuel, and how we make our customer’s life easier.

Join us now and learn…

0:47 Introducing Debra
2:22 Debra’s background story
3:13 Working directly with Mike Michalowicz
4:24 Winning in a down economy
8:39 How to overcome fear
12:15 Other opportunities that people would consider in a down economy
16:23 What is Profit First?
18:14 Envelope system
20:36 Leverage that business owners are pulling in a down economy
22:01 Profit Account
24:03 Bigger isn’t always better
26:54 What does your buyer really want
28:42 Pricing
31:51 How do we make our customer’s life easier
34:54 Find somebody who’s good at customer experience
35:27 Leave a Google review
37:42 3 Things your technician needs to do
40:01 Recap
41:25 5 Secrets of Success Hiding in Your Financials

📢 Connect with us!

👉 Full episode can be found here:

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📢 Connect with Debra!

🎁 To get your FREE E-Book copy of the “5 Numbers To Transform Your Business”, make sure to head here:

🌐 If you want to learn more or get started with the Profit First method, email her at [email protected]

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Audio Transcript

Welcome to the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast. A show to help you create more revenue, profit and freedom in your life. Now, your host, John Victoria. Hello and welcome everyone to the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast. We are recording this after a long weekend, the Memorial Day weekend. So uh very excited feeling refreshed. I feel like our guest is refreshed too to talk some winning in a down economy from a former Wall Street trader. So Deborah, she is, this is the second time she is on the podcast.

And uh if you don't remember the last time, she actually has been instrumental at helping me to implement profit first in my own business. And there's a lot of great value and takeaways that she'll be able to share with you from her background in finance on Wall Street and coaching businesses to take themselves to the next level. So with that, I wanna welcome Deborah onto the show. Uh Deborah, how are you? Hey, John, how are you? I'm over here cheering you on in the background. I'm like, yeah.

Oh yeah, it's I, I've been loving profit first. It's um I think uh one of the topics we'll probably talk about later today and the goal of profit. First, I see it's just being intentional with the profits that you create in your business versus waiting for some imaginary date in the future of one that will come. So it's been absolutely amazing. You know, that word intentional. It really says it all because it is one of those things I think people always think about money coming into their business and money going out and some day waiting to see if there's some money left over, if that's what we call profits.

But you want to know what, there are a lot of businesses that never happens as, as you know, with a lot of other people and how they run their businesses, not you because you know how to create that road map for yourself. So, yeah, it just really creates the game plan to create that intentional profit in your business. And what's so cool is that it is really a decision to create profit in your business and we can show you how to do it from day one. So that's what's so fun.

I absolutely love that. And for, for those folks who have not met you just yet, uh, maybe just a quick introduction to who you are your background. And, um, yeah, and the topic for the day. Yeah. Oh, my gosh. So thanks so much. Once again, my name is Deborah Angeletti. And yes, my company is Angela and Associates and we implement profit first. This is what we do all day long, but you want to know what it's been a long road to get here. Uh, so my background is in banking, finance.

I was a former Wall Street trader, so I've seen finances left, right center. Six different ways till Sunday. It doesn't matter. Um, and so I'm very, very familiar with all those numbers, the balance sheets and, you know, people say I'm not good at numbers. Well, I'm good at numbers. So you don't have to be. So um yeah, so that's really where the background comes from. And then fast forward, you know, working on Wall Street wanted to leave because I had my daughter create more flexibility. That's when I started my business and I met the wonderful Mike Mal.

He was publishing the book profit first needed some people to implement and here I am. Wow. So you worked directly with Mike I have, yeah, he's not too far from me. So it's, it's really great to have home base here and he's got a great um co-founder of the business as well. Ron Soar. And so we pal around a lot and do a lot of great things for uh for our clients. So it's really, it's just a such a great system and then, you know, these guys are out down the street and you know, so down to earth, he's got such a great sense of humor, but he's able to put things in a way where people can understand it.

So it's not like talking up here. He's like talking right alongside with you. You just feel like you're kind of like hanging out having a beer with him, you know what I mean? And just like, you know, shooting the breeze and talking about this stuff and he's just so practical with it and that's what really is the game changer. And it's that accessibility, which I think has made such a big difference in small business owners lives. It's, it's not this complex thing. It's, oh, you know, it's kind of like this envelope method that we're all, I have, I have an envelope of cash right here actually, you know, just like we got your envelopes of cash and ok, you know, putting money in these buckets here and there and it's, it's been great.

Um And so I definitely want to talk more about profit first later, but I know our topic for the day, this is talking about winning in a down economy. So, you know, I've, I've been having a lot of conversations with small business owners, different entrepreneurs from all around the country. And I see there's like two mindsets that are emerging. You know, there's one where it's like, I'm, it's like, I'm afraid like what's gonna happen and let me contract and then I, I see other folks, which is, which is interesting because it's like same situation, different paradigm where they're, you know, they're, they're like, let's go like, this is the time for opportunity and I guess maybe just to kick things off.

Like, what are your thoughts? Like, what is the state of the things that are going on and, um, what are you seeing from your perspective? Yeah. So one of the things that I can tell you, John is that this really isn't my first rodeo and it's probably gonna show um you know, the number of years I've been doing this. So um I've been through a lot of Wall Street incidences, right? So when we're talking about market crashes, so we go right back to the dot com area.

This is like the 19 nineties. Oh my God. But um you know, so it's, it's a matter of these things go in cycles, you're always gonna have major market downturns and then you're always gonna have your highs. So, you know, going from that crash in 1990 to fast forward, you know, when Lehman Brothers went under and we had the big Wall Street crash in 2008. Um and then we have had a lot of crises since, right? So the market is always gonna go up and down, there's always going to be a crisis to, to just kind of reset things, right?

But within these dips, there's always opportunity and it gives the business owners an opportunity to do something different because if everything stayed great and the same, then your business is always gonna stay stag stagnant, right? But this also gives you a competitive advantage because every time there's a downturn and it is a little bit of a mindset shift, you know, there are people that are always gonna be, oh, it's the economy, it's the economy, it's the economy. You want to know what you can always use that excuse in every single economy.

But if you want to go ahead and take the other side of it, you know, it's a time for opportunity. All right, things are going down. So I'm an and girl versus an or girl. So when you were talking about the two schools of thought and I, I jotted it down. You know, there are little bit afraid and they're looking to contract. I say yes to that. Right. It's always a good time to revisit your finances. See where there's some leaks in your business, shore things up and yeah, maybe cut expenses by 53 20% because you never know what's gonna happen.

Especially in the type of economy we're in right now. So I say yes to that, right? But then I also say yes to there is opportunity. You just have to open up your eyes. It's there, it's there and one of the great places to go to figure out where your opportunity is, talk to your clients and customers, right? What are their biggest complaints? What do they love about working with you. What do they hate about working with other people? Right? Because they won't tell you if you're doing, not doing something great, they're not gonna tell you to your face.

So make it about somebody else and they will tell you this is how you're able to pull out those opportunities. What can you do better than everybody else? How can you take advantage of that opportunity and really start implementing? But this is the time to find that out. So that's why I love downturns because volatility can be your best friend. Hm. I love that. And it's like you said, it's not just uh or it's like an end, it's like I, we acknowledge the reality of the way things are currently but as well, like there's still opportunity in this volatility as we are moving.

Yeah, absolutely. And there may be some things that maybe your clients and customers wished that you did and you'd be like, oh my gosh, it's just a conversation we can do that. That may be another service that you might add or whatever it is that you're doing that. Maybe you never thought of before because somebody was in a jam. It's like, wow, you know, this is really what they need. So, yeah, there's always opportunity there and, and maybe just to build like, how, how do you, how does one cultivate that mindset?

Like, you know, it's, I think it's easier said than done let's say someone's currently in a place where they are afraid. Right. And they don't, they're like, I really don't wanna, you know, they're, they're afraid. And how do you, how would you coach someone out of that? Like, is it, are there certain things that they need to do? Any habits? People they need to surround themselves with? Like, how does someone, especially if that doesn't come naturally to them? Like, how do they, how do they shift or get out of that phone?

Yeah. I mean, fear is one of those primal things that we have, right? That flight, if I could say it right? Fight or flight, like, that's kind of how our brain started to evolve. It's like at the base of our brain it's, you know, is this safe? Is this not safe? Right. So, it's a very, very primal and primitive, um, feeling right when it's comes to fear. But one of the things that we can really look at is that fear is just an indicator of something going on. Right.

So, it's just really, we're going to our day to day, all of a sudden fear comes in. It's like, oh, it just means my attention needs to be put on this because to tell you the truth when you're in a state of fear, it's very, very hard to make good decisions. Have you ever noticed that before? When you're in a here? It's usually like, you know, sometimes we don't make the best decisions, but we can use it as a motivator to do the things that maybe we've been putting on the back burner for a while.

So I like to equate fear to a sense of urgency for maybe that maybe have had an opportunity that have been presented to you that you didn't take advantage of. Well, guess what now is the time to do that? So I like to take fear and use that as just a sign, the signal and the noise to be like. All right, I need to have my eyes on this number one and then number two, what is this? Trying to tell me what is the opportunity here? And most of the time we know it, it's been something that we've been ignoring and it's kind of like, all right, there's a sense of urgency.

Where is the sense of urgency in your business? Go there, go do what you need to do there that maybe you've been avoiding and see where the opportunities are. So listen, there's a spectrum. You can either be on the side of fear or on the side of faith. Everybody knows how to be on the side of fear. So that's just everyday, same old, same old, same old. So if you want to be like everybody else, you can just see it as just, you know, kind of crawling up in a ball, being fearful and just trying to figure out how to insulate yourself and you're playing constant defense, play defense, but then get into offense, see what's really, um, you know what, what the cream is that's rising to the top, what the opportunities are now and then get into faith. Right.

It's, you have a choice. Right. And so you might as well choose something different because you know what it's like to be in fear. Mhm. That's the default. Right. That's, that's what everyone else is doing. That's the default. And, um, there's a quote, it's like if you want extraordinary results, you have to do extraordinary things or it's basically do something different than what everyone else is doing. Go against the grain. Yeah, it was so funny. I was vacationing last year with my daughter, um, down, down at the shore.

We're here in Jersey. We go to the shore. So the, and, and it was so cool because somebody had this shirt that basically said the same thing is fear is just the spotlight on what you need to be looking at. Right? It creates that sense of urgency for change. And if you don't have fear then you have no change. So that's very positive. Wow. So it's really, uh, I'm experiencing this thing now. It's just what is my response to what I'm noticing? Like I'm noticing fear. How can I reframe it?

And it's like you actually turned it into fuel, the fuel. I like that. Can I use that? Yeah. Fear and a fuel and that's exactly what you wanna do. That's exactly what you wanna do and listen, you just have to be open to some of this stuff because it's exercising a new muscle, right? If you're not used to doing that, but you're sick of kind of, you know, being constantly just trying to catch up or like this happens, this happens, like, just have a different thought, be open to a different thought that um and I, I guess building off of that too.

Well, are there other things? So you mentioned, let's get some customer feedback. Let's see if there's new product lines or better ways to do what we're doing. Are there other opportunities that people should be thinking about when we're in a down economy? Um You know, that could be doing something new stopping things. Like what other things could be opportunities for a business? Well, that's why I always like to say it's funny like things are always coming at us all of the time, but a lot of times we're just so busy that we don't notice these things, right?

So what I always like to do is I, I call it the step away from the, from the desk. Like you literally push yourself away from the desk, you get up and you actually go out for a walk and you turn off all the distractions, you just shut the world out, give yourself some time. Um I like to go walk. There's like this little thing, you can walk as like a little maze thing by my house that you can walk. And it's just kind of like a little meditative thing.

Now, I'm not really into the, into, into like the, the big, big meditation. So I'm not promoting that kind of stuff, but I'm saying just a little walk to clear your head. But it's amazing what you can do if you just shut the world out. Take a little time for yourself and just close it all out and just shut it down and just be with yourself and I honestly be with nature, be outside, right? Be in the sun, get some fresh air, be around trees, be around fresh cut grass like wow.

One day I was like, so stressed out my business a number of years ago, I was trying to work on a problem. I went for a walk and I si smelled fresh cut grass for the first time in years, meaning actually smelled it like I had just been going through the motions and everything else and I'm like, wow, I haven't even noticed this. And so it's just, you know, it, it doesn't seem uh very intuitive to just, you know, walk away from everything, but just take a time out and give yourself a break in overthinking and then just let things come and it's really amazing when those things that are constantly trying to come to us or people that have been trying to get a hold of us that maybe we've been putting off, there's opportunities everywhere, but you kind of have to kind of stop the world and say I want to jump off for a little while, do that because guess what, that stuff will always be there, it'll be there.

I promise you, it's not going anywhere. So if you can just take a little time to just segment out and just clear your head, it's amazing the opportunities that now start to flash before I'm like, whoa, that's been coming up. You know, whether it's in a search or whether it's somebody trying to get a hold of me or an old friend that says, hey, you remember this and like something comes back around. That's always how this seems to work. So yeah, just taking a time out. Wow, just the solitude, the silence and really, uh it sounds like doing a small moment of decluttering because if, if everything is present in your, your field of vision, then it's like you can't really decide what's important or notice new things because it's like we're on these railroad tracks, we're going here and we're just 1 ft in front of the other and missing out on, in your case, like the smell of grass and, but also like the opportunities that are just out there that we're just not aware of at all.

It's just, we're so busy being busy. I yeah, and I remember when I went for that walk one time, one of the things, believe it or not, I was in a mastermind at the time and I was leaving, like, the next day, flew out, went to the mastermind. They're like, Deb, you have to read this book. It's called Profit First. No. No. Yeah. And it's been history. So, so it works. Oh, my God. What? That's crazy. That's how, yeah. Right. Yeah. But you wanna know what just taking that time out getting, you know, I would have never even been open to even the thought I be like, yeah, it's another book.

Like, you know, I get tons of books but no, that one hit me like a ton of ton of bricks. I was like, whoa, what is this? Oh my gosh. Like I love that now with profit first specifically. So are there, are there strategies given that? Well, actually, maybe a brief intro for those who are not familiar about profit first and then are there specific things that someone who is implementing profit first that they should consider when things are in a down economy? Aside from what you mentioned?

Because, you know, there's a different, you know, percentages this and that. Are there any changes? But maybe first. What is profit first for so profit first is really, it's not an accounting system. So if you already have like quick books or something like that or somebody keeping track of your books, it's not another accounting system because I know, you know, people that are really good at what they do in their craft and, and whatnot, they're really, really good at that. And they say I don't wanna take care of the money and stuff.

I'm not good with. That's all right. That you don't have to be good with money. This is the way that business own. It's a, it's a personal money management system for business owners. And that's the really cool thing and it's really kind of gamified. So the idea is, is that for every dollar that comes in, you want to know what that money is not available to be spent. So just say, you know, $10 comes in now that $250 you have it, but it's not available to be spent. We have to do what we have to profit first.

So we pay ourselves first and then what's left, we make the spending decisions on. So I'll give you an example. $22.5 comes in. Dollar goes towards profit. $222 goes towards paying ourselves. What do we have left to pay our expenses with $200? Now, if we have $25 worth of expenses? Oh, we've got to get a little innovative on how do we make that? $27? Turn that into $73 right. We do some cuts, we do some negotiations, right? And then we, we make it work from there because the old formula that really doesn't work for us.

Business owners, right? We're kind of held by the accounting industry. So accounting industry says sales minus expenses equals profit, right? So it's, profit is an afterthought. So what profit first does is it switches the equation, it's sales minus profit equals expenses. So it's what you have left is what you make the spending decisions on. But you want to know what paying yourself in the profits come first because if you don't, then it's an afterthought. So that's where the intentionality comes in. So that's just a kind of a quick overview and, and using the envelope system is a great, it's like grandma's envelope system.

Remember how grandma used to have the, the book my grandmother did. And it was like, ok, when you got paid or when money came into the household, there was envelopes for food. Um, you know, for, for, if there was a car involved. Right. My grandmother, she didn't have a car but her husband did. So there was, you know, gas, fuel, car repair, um, you know, rent, uh, utilities and things like that. And then back in the day there was even, there was even, um, an envelope for cigarettes that was, and in the sixties and the seventies. Right. Right. Right. Cigarettes. Right.

But, you know, I joke around but everything was planned out in envelopes because, you know, they didn't have credit cards back then. They operated purely on cash. So it's the same concept where you make sure you fill your envelopes with the money that you have. That's how you make it work. And it always seemed like grandma had, you know, dinner on the table, there was enough for everybody and she made it work. Hm. Hm. I love it. So envelope system giving every dollar a direction of what they need to be doing.

Um, and it, yeah, it always reminds, there's, there's a book and I think you read it as well. It's like the richest man in Babylon, which is, you know, first principle is like pay yourself 27% and it sounds just like, yes, similar like profit first, you know, pay yourself first and you know, the rest will go to the other thing though. That's uh, you know, food, cigarettes, the car these days. But you get what I'm saying? Yes, but that's the idea. So if we look at it where our expenses are less and everything else is first, you know, then we start making different decisions, especially for kind of dealing with that money that goes in an envelope, right?

So that, uh that, that, that thought process of dealing with cash, right? It's not like a credit card where you can keep using it over and over again, right? So we have to get really, really clear on what are our expenses each month? What are we spending? And then where are we overspending? Where do we have some leaks. Now, let's say someone has this system set up, you know, they, you know, let's say $25 comes in. They have the system set up where, ok, this money I'm paying myself, this money goes here.

This money goes here. Now, layering on top, you know, today's topic, you know, winning in a down economy. Yes. How, how should someone be thinking about this system that they set up? Right. They have some money that are set aside, they have certain expenses like what levers should they be thinking about pulling now that we're in this down economy? Yeah, so some levers that you can pull. And I kind of mentioned it before. It's always good to revisit your expenses because your expenses as income increases. Funny thing happens, expenses tend to increase in tandem.

So just say you increase your income by like maybe 27 to $5000 in that month. Watch your expenses, they're gonna increase right in tandem with that. Why? Because we typically feel really, really good when money's coming in and then we tend to make decisions on, oh, I got money, right. So I'm gonna spend more money. So it's always great practice every single quarter to just go ahead and take a look and say, hey, let me look at my expenses and the best way to do that is just pull out your credit card statement or your bank statement, see where your money is going and start shoring that up and seeing whether there's any leaks, just see what's necessary and what's not necessary. Right.

A lot of things, there's some things that are fixed but there's a lot of controllable spending in that and, you know, and also with technology as it evolves, you may be paying for something that you can augment with that where you get more and pay less. It's like insurance. Right. I know my, uh, my car insurance and my home insurance. I don't keep it for years and years and years. I shop it probably every two or three years and then you get a better rate. Like it's just like that, it's the same concept.

So it's always good to revisit the expenses. That's one lever to pull. But the cool thing is, is when you get this going and you start the profit account has a couple of different functions. So when these down economies come, that profit account is not only there for your profits, half of it's there for you as the business owner to take profits just like big corporations do every quarter, but the other half is there. So that if you have, have some innovation, just say you want to invest in a piece of equipment or if there's a down market and you need to stretch things over there, is money there, there's your sleep at night money or your um or your safe haven money, right?

Whatever it is that you want to call it, but it's all built into the system. Hm. Hm. I love that. So, yeah. And this is that, that's the first time before. It's like you can actually get ahead now that you have this system, you've been paying yourself first. You have this reserve of capital that you can make these key investments, equipment, employee, and new technology that does move your, your company forward in a time when people are pulling back. Yeah, absolutely. And to tell you the truth, I always like to tell my clients this because they love to be in competition with, with the other people that are out there. Right?

They always want to stand out. But I'm like, listen, in a down economy, if you can keep your doors open longer than your competitor, you won. Mhm. You know, and even just that simple example, you know, when things get really bad, listen, COVID did a lot to businesses, right? It really decimated them. Um If, if the, uh a lot of the money that was, uh, that was put into the system, like with the, with the loans and things like that and the infusions, I think businesses would have closed a lot sooner.

Um, what we're seeing now it's downstream, that money was injected so that we could get the economy going and we can keep these businesses going. But what we're seeing right now is a lot of the businesses that had the problems even before COVID are now back in the same problems. Right. It was just a band aid for getting them out. But, but now we're going to see a lot of shake out. Um, and so it, but it's a natural cycle. Right. Things, things go up, things go down, you have to be able to weather the storm and if it doesn't weather the storm, you, you have to fold up and then go try something else. Right?

Because that's what's good for the economy. Good businesses are good for the economy. You're just slogging along. And if you're really, really struggling, you have to really think what are the other opportunities I have where I don't have to struggle anymore. Like, what am I trying to hang on to? Because it's just in a drain on the economy with these businesses that are, you know, like one paycheck away from closing the doors. Yeah. But there's always another thing they could be doing. So it's not like saying, oh, well, they're going, that's going out of business.

That's not what I'm saying at all. I'm saying that if things aren't working, then there is something else available out there that will work. And if it's kind of like the same thing expecting a different result and you're trying it over and over again, you already know what the result's gonna be. So, you know what, try something else really, it's uh it's opportunity, opportunity to, you know, reflect is this, the thing I wanna do, maybe there's another way that I can contribute to the world that could be different than my current iteration of, of business. Yeah.

And the other thing is, is that bigger isn't always better. And we do this exercise a lot with businesses is to say there's some businesses that say, oh, I want to, you know, get really, really big. I wanna have a lot of employees under me. I wanna be the largest whatever, right? And so we, we do these little, we do these little forecasting and, and I had a client that we did this for um he said he wanted to grow his business to, you know, 2.5 million or something like that and he was probably around 750,000.

Do you know he was more profitable at 750,000 than 53 million? Like the way that he was get scaled and everything else. He's like, what am I busting my hump to try to get here. I could probably get to 7 50 to between 7 50 a million. He was more profitable than a 2.5. But those are some things that you can map out for yourself instead of just having, I got to get bigger, I got to get bigger and sometimes it doesn't serve to your business. It just depends on what industry you're in and then the costs that are associated.

With that. So. Yeah. Wow. So it's, it's kind of like the costs to grow to that level. The take home pay would not really, it's gonna be equivalent to where he was at. But it's plus you get the headaches and the stress and the additional team and with more people, right. You know, there's, there's just exponentially compounds, potential problems, you know. Yeah, you more, you add more people to the party, the, the hr party. Yeah. Um and, and how, so I, I think I could see one reason why people might say I want to grow is maybe they do want to sell and maybe there's some, some value to being a bigger company.

How does one reconcile that where it's like, oh, maybe I could get sold for a bigger amount and, but really the profits not, how, how does one reconcile these like 22 different ideas? Maybe part of the same coin? You know, it's a great question, especially if you do want to sell. What you have to understand is you have to get into the mind of your prospective buyer. What does your buyer really want? Well, I'll tell you if you're not paying yourself in the business and you don't have any profits, does it matter what level of revenues you are?

If you're not, if some that's gonna buy your company can't pay themselves and generate profits, they don't want it. So really the revenues be, don't really become an issue. It doesn't matter how big you get, they want to see that the owner paying themselves and they want to see profits in the business hands down. So, get into the mind of your buyer. What is it that they want? And those are usually the top two things. Love that. Wow. Yeah. And no, I, no one's buying an asset.

That's, yeah, nobody's buying an asset that cannot produce, throw off income. Right? Do you want to buy a stock that's not gonna pay you a good, like if you buy a dividend, paying stock, do you want to buy a stock that's not gonna pay you a dividend? Same thing. Hm. Got it. Yeah. Boom. Oh my God. Yeah, that's the reality of it. And, you know, so when you understand what your buyers are looking for, then, you know, cater to that mindset, it doesn't matter about, you know, how big the company is, right?

But, you know, you'll still, you got to figure out what's the multiple in your, in your, in your industry and do a little math and talk to some people ask some questions and you'll get a good picture. Love that. Yeah, perfect. So, just, uh, uh, change the topic just a bit. Uh, one thing that folks have, have been concerned about or in, and I, I think you've, you've seen this a ton too. It's about pricing prices. Right. Right. Right. Now in the home service industry, lots of companies, a lot of private equity companies buying up home service companies.

And, um, and there are a lot of contractors I've spoken to who are, um, I think afraid to charge more than what, what they want to, to meet their, their, their margins and to really grow the company that they want. Um, and I know that you have a lot of thoughts around, you know, pricing and, you know, so, uh, I guess like, let's say you're talking, let's say you're talking to me and I have that problem. I'm a home service owner. Like, what would you begin with?

Like, how, how should I begin to think about, you know, being afraid to price and charge what I feel like my services are really worth. Yeah, it's hard because in, in this industry it's almost like a race to the bottom, right? Who wants to be in that race where it's like you're just trying to cut prices to be competitive with everybody else. Um What I can tell you is that once again, it's about what are the pain points of, of your client base, right? How can you differentiate yourself on service?

Right. So in the absence of value, price is always going to be an issue. So what is the value that you give your clients now? It's not the value that you think your clients get, you have to actually ask them. What value do you get from having my services? Or have somebody else in your office ask the question of your clients and they will tell you what is it that they value about your business? And so let me give you a couple of examples because I not only have the consulting practice, but I also am um, an, a property manager.

I, I own some real estate so I manage multiple units and I have to go out and have service contractors like, like, like h back and whatnot. So what I appreciate if you were going to ask me is number one, can I schedule very, very easily if I can go on your website, point and click and just book a time and have somebody come at that time. I'm happy. Right. So you've made it really, really easy for me to get a hold of you. I didn't have to pick up the phone.

I didn't have to go through an IVR, right. That voice, that voice mail. That's like nobody uses anymore. It wasn't like, all right, leave a message or, and we'll get back to you and nobody gets back to you or text and then nobody texts back or it's just something that rings and rings, ring. Right? If I don't have to pick this up and I can just point and click and get you to my house and one of my properties from what I need. That's a win. Number one, number two.

If I like this morning, I had somebody. Ok, we're on our way. They gave me a picture of who they are on my text. So I knew who the, what the person looked like says we will be there, right? Give me a window. I don't like all day windows. Nobody does give me a two hour window. Give me a three hour window. People can handle that all day long. They can't. Um And then I also got to see who the person was that was coming. So when I answered the door, I was very comfortable in who that is.

Once again value. And then guess what, they fixed my problem the first time they explained to me what it was. Do I need any follow up? And then, you know, when they, when they gave me what it was that I had to make, I'm happy to do it. Why? Because they made my life so much easier. So that's where you want to go ahead and ask your customers or your clients, right? What is it that we do? Really? Really? Well, how do we make your life easier?

Right. What's the value that you get? Not just from fixing? Right. Because I don't want to call the service provider back and if you found something else that needed to be done and you just, and it was really, really quick and maybe you didn't charge me for it. I'm gonna love you forever. So those are the types of things to say, oh, I noticed this. Let me give you some recommendations. Do this for now if this or this happens, call us. So now I'm like, now I have a point of reference and something I should take a look at. Right.

So that's what I mean about value. I don't really care what I pay my service providers make life easy for me because I'm busy. I can schedule, you're gonna show up on time. It's a two hour window. So I don't have to take my whole life and sit there waiting for you. Right. You're communicative and, and if you bill by credit card or make it very, very easy for me to pay, there's nothing worse that I hate than taking out my checkbook. And I had a vendor come here and I said, ok, so I can give you a credit card.

Nope, we take cash or check and I'm like, what do you need? Takes for? I need to make sure money in my account. The checkup transfer of money like that did not make my life easy, but they didn't tell me that that's what it was gonna be upfront. If they did, then maybe I would have found another provider. But the ease of payment, the whole process works. The value. How do you make it easy for your clients and customers to do business with you? And what do they hate about the competition that they do?

Do they not show up, do they not answer the phone? Is it hard to get somebody there? Like, what is it, find out, solve and, and fill that hole and it doesn't matter what you charge. That's what I would say. It doesn't matter because there's value there. I love that. And it, and it's right, it's like, it's, it's a different paradigm. It's not this race to the bottom who can get it the cheapest, but it's, um, expanding the pie because of the service and making things easy to do business with you.

And also, you know, point out things that you as someone, like, let's say, I, like, I don't know about this unit. Like they're, they're bringing the expertise, which is a huge value add because you wouldn't have had that to begin with. Um, wow. And I like when the service providers talk to me and say, hey, how are you? They come in, they shake my hand like they're personable and they'll have a conversation. All right. We did this. You don't have to tell me everything you did. Like we took care of everything.

It was a little dirty. Like I just had my, um, my H VAC people here this morning actually to service the air conditioning unit, right? Came in, shook my hand, knew who he was right because I had his picture, um, called me the whole nine and, uh, we had a nice little conversation and he said, do you have any questions for me or you went around? I was like, yeah, actually I do. And so we had a nice conversation and guess what? He also got a tip on the way out too.

Yeah, that's amazing. I mean, and you can charge like if, especially if you do something like that, you have the extra capital um to potentially put into the profit account and do more with it, right? Invest back into the service, invest it back to the technology and it's it's this virtuous cycle of just making a better process and making a better business and a better customer experience at the end of the day. Yeah, and find somebody who's really good with the customer experience. Like I'm not expecting your your people to be good at this, right?

But find somebody who is or find someone else that's doing it, find out who they're using to create this because you know, it's out there, it's out there. So just capitalize it. Technology is great when you utilize it to your benefit. For sure. I love that. Yeah, that's awesome. I mean, you if you just gave like a g whoever they are, you need to leave a Google review, right? Oh, they're great. Oh, and they asked me for that too at the end and I remember but, but let's talk about that, right.

Leave a Google review if you don't leave me a link and make it easy for me to do like leave me the link where the stars come up so I can just hit five stars and go don't say leave us a Google review without the link. I'm not gonna go search and find you. So do like don't make your clients and customers do work, do it for them. So make sure like be a guest in your own home, meaning take your own customer journey sometimes and see where are the tension points.

If you don't leave me the link, I'm not leaving you a review. Make it easy for me. And I tell people all the time like where's the link? Send me the link, make it easy for me to send you a review now you know me John I I'm gonna tell because I love business owners. So I will talk to them like that because I want to give them the experience to say, hey listen, I will do this but make it easy for me. Ok, good now do that for everybody else and you'll get more reviews.

So yeah, it's like the the Amazon principle right there. Their goal is how do I reduce the number of clicks it takes for someone to purchase an item, right? Just make shit list. Yes. And it's not what you think your customers value about you. It's what you hear out of their mouths like in the time that we were here, I probably gave you five things, right? You have to hear from your customers because you can't guess because you're not taking that journey, you're on the other end of it, they're taking the customer journey.

So ask them and how you can frame it is, you know, what do you value about our company? And then you can say, what do you value about other companies? And what is it that you don't like of other companies? Because they're not gonna tell you what they don't like about you, but they'll tell you what they don't like about other companies. So that, that's good data too. But you still get the same, you get the same answer. Hm. Hm. I love that. So it sounds like take away from what you mentioned earlier and just now it's, uh, you know, interview your customers.

Um, and I guess tactically are, are you thinking people just like, call them up or like they offering like, hey, we're doing this survey to improve, like, how, how like just tactically, how would a home service business owner think to implement this? Like, is it just on calls that they're taking or? So, I think it's in the moment, right? So it's like, where are the opportunities, the opportunities are in the moment? Where are those little touch points that you can make in the moment? So if somebody's trying to schedule with you, how can you make the scheduling system easier?

Uh, you know, how is it that you can communicate with them better? How is it that you can train your technicians to be more personal? Call them by their first name. Shake their hand. Like those that you call, somebody call their name. Right. Use their name. Good morning, Miss. So and so, or whatever. Right. Or they use their first name. That's, that's on the, that's on the order. Second thing is shake their hand. Right. And third thing is smile. Mhm. That's it. That's it. That's it. Those three things can just shift everything and then whatever it is that you're looking to tweak, implement in, in your service calls and just to see how it goes and people are like, uh, oh, right.

Because if they have a different experience then they're like, 00, now they take notice because they're having a different experience than they usually have the same old, same old, same old. Now you don't, I'm not saying to carry on a long conversation with somebody, I'm just saying, ask them if they, you know, if they've been having any problems or have any questions for, for me that I can answer for you. And then I'd be like, no, I'm like, ok, great. Have a great day. You know, that's it.

I love that. So, that's, that's beautiful. So, that's, I mean, it's really simple right in the moment. Just do it and you get all these useful feedback. Um, if you know the person who's listening, if you're not in the field, you know, that's something you're gonna have to coach your team on to make sure to gather that information. Um, and at the end day it's just gonna make a better process for, for everybody. Um Yeah, so it's real simple. It's, it's, uh, I'm reading this book, it's, uh, called The Slight Edge Jeff Olson and talks about it.

It's easy to do, but it's also easy not to do. Um, and the success really comes from doing the easy thing not to do consistently over time and paying dividends. Yes, it is doing the challenging things and getting used to getting comfortable with discomfort. Yes, for sure. But that, when, once again, that's the sense of urgency that we were talking about at the beginning, what's gonna make you different if you're leaning into discomfort and looking at taking advantage of those opportunities? Ah, that's where the dividends come in and the innovation comes as well.

Love that. So, so I guess with this, um, let's, uh, let's just recap some of the action items for everyone. So, number one, we got the customer survey and number two make it easy. So we talked about the Google reviews, maybe sending the photos over to them with their technician. Um uh, what are some other things that we have that we want to assign his homework to everyone for today? Oh, my gosh. I think that's, that's probably so I think it's. No. Yeah, taking, taking that customer journey alongside your clients, like just ask them. Right.

What are those things? Number two, it's always great to revisit your expenses. Make sure you're not leaking any money. Every dollar is going to work really, really hard for you. And you want to know what? Pay yourself first. Mhm. Profit first. Pay yourself first. Yes. And, and I also know you have a resource that is super helpful. The five numbers you need to know in your business. And yes. Can you tell us more about that? Yeah. So listen, you know, I hear all the time, you know, people are always trying to wrangle their cash flow.

They want to make confident decisions. A lot of times they don't know their numbers and they definitely want a profitable business and they just get, you know, stuck in this hamster wheel. Uh And here's the thing, it's a matter of just understanding things in a very, very simple manner. You don't have to know all the numbers in your Quickbooks. There's only five numbers you really need to know in your business in order to be successful. So there is a download or free downloads called Five Secrets To Success Hiding in your financials.

And if you hop on over to Deborah Angela dot com, you can get that and it's Deborah Angelle two L's and two T dot com. I love that. And we'll also uh for anyone who's listening, we'll make sure to add the link in the show notes. So in case um yeah, in case you want, you know, I guess to make it easy like as you are like, give the link, I'll give them, I'll give you all the link. Click on it. Boom, you got the resource and what's great is that you'll get that and then if you want to stick around I do a video once a month on uh it's a short video, it's 5 to 7 minutes just how you can implement some principles.

So it's all complimentary. So it's all great stuff. Oh, that's through email. Is that like a email newsletter? I didn't know that. That's awesome. Yeah, it's, they're just quick hits, right? Because people have the attention span of nets, including myself. So you want to know what if you want to add value 5 to 7 minutes? If you got 5 to 7 minutes, you can even put me on two times speed. I'll sound like Minnie Mouse, but you'll get it in two minutes. I mean, you know, forget about it. Right. We're here in Jersey.

We just try to do what you need to do. And so many business owners who got that entrepreneurial A DH D, right. I was just like, absolutely. Don't fight it. Work with it. I love it. So I guess with that um any last takeaways you want to make sure to give everyone. So we got some action items. You got the resource. Um Any last takeaways or things you want to share with. Yeah, I think just reiterating the point no matter what happens in the economy. Listen, there's always an excuse and you can either take the empowering route or you can take the fear route, right?

So you always have a choice in the moment. Just always know that and there's always opportunity in downturn. So you just have to find it and be open to it. Not as we said earlier, turn that fear into fuel, that's fear into fuel. You got it, John. Well, thank you so much. This is a fun podcast and hope everyone and it took some things away. You know, like how do you think about being in a down economy? Um There are things that are outside of your control, but there's also a lot of things within your control and so you can only operate within that sphere of what you can do.

So, you know, I think there's a lot of great takeaways, some resource you can do. And of course, you can always reach out to Deborah for um some of the resources and you know, chat with her more about some of the things you can do to help your business. So with that, you know, thank you, everyone. Hope you had a great episode and we will catch you on the next one. All right, take care everyone. Thank you for joining us for the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast.

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