Overall, business is good; however, we’re not out of the woods yet. Listen to this week’s episode to hear how we’re doing and the lessons that we have learned thus far.
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Hello and welcome to JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. President of The Moery Company, JP’s mission is to arm today’s associations with insight and strategy to thrive and a progressively complex and competitive business landscape. 21st century associations must move forward with a little bit of hustle and revenue development at their core.
I want to answer a question that I get the most right now, “How is business?”
Frankly, I don’t think people are asking it as a conversation starter these days – I think they genuinely want to know – people want to know what’s happening in the association space.
Business is great. I’m grateful because we are still here. It’s great because we have kept everyone on the team and working at full capacity. We had to make adjustments to do that, however, we’re all here and we’re all working. It’s great because I think we’ve executed better than ever before. I think our team members value their positions and I’m grateful for that, too. From that perspective, really good.
Now, a deeper dive.
We have two types of business. We have a consulting business that involves membership dues and sponsorship prospectus development and strategic planning, to name a few areas of expertise. Then, we have our business development side where we sell memberships, sponsorships, ads, and exhibits.
Our consulting and strategic planning business is going to remain soft for the remainder of the year. Associations are putting some of those projects off or they are trying to do it on their own without a facilitator. They’re developing their strategic plans – if they’re even trying to do that at all right now –because of the current situation that we’re in. Membership and sponsorship sales continue to provide us with opportunities because associations are going to need revenue as well as the people, the process, and the infrastructure to optimize the opportunities that they have. I think the opportunities for us to help associations are coming to us on that front.
There will be less inventory from a sponsorship and a non-dues revenue area to sell because the cancellation of events and with some organizations being slow to move to virtual programs. It has made non-dues revenue sales difficult because the associations aren’t moving forward at a pace that they should in order to survive.
Our overall revenue is up 5% and profits are similar to last year. Our net profit is right where it was before. It’s going to be a challenge to meet the net numbers that we did last year, however, I feel pretty good about the overall business. I have to be candid, though, it’s a fight with knifes every single day.
In the process of pivoting and adjusting, we’ll weed out the mediocre and see where we end up at the end of the day.
I have also thought about how we will change our associations and companies; I think everyone needs to think about that. What kind of things could happen, things that are going to change long-term and what things are going to be episodic?
Here’s what I see happening: our speed must improve and our speed is dependent on our data. You need good information for a sales team to be optimized. You’re not just going to start calling people without a plan, are you? Our association partners – and ourselves included – need to move quicker in this area. The prospectus and the membership narrative have to be really tight before we ever get out of the gate and that’s going to be very important.
Your narrative must be bottom line oriented. Companies will be making choices in 2021. Many associations have the same companies and the same prospects, that’s just the way it goes. Companies are going to be making decisions with reduced budgets about which associations gave them a return on investment in the previous year. They have multiple memberships and they will be making decisions that will pick the winners and the losers in the association space. It’s a competitive marketplace and it should be that way. I want our clients to be the ones that are most successful and we’re going to be doing everything that we can make that so.
What will we keep the same?
We implemented a pricing model that was retainer plus commission for our sales work when we started the company. I recognize that we’ve lost business because of it. Even today, we don’t win every deal because there’s always somebody who is willing to do business development work for commission only. I don’t and here’s why: I know how difficult it is to sell an association and our expertise in this area. Our price also includes us building out the infrastructure and hiring the best salespeople in the association space to do these things.
I know associations have good salespeople, too, but we’re very good at this and doing the work has value. Being out in the field, spreading the value proposition, and building your brand is a very good thing for you. This is one of the many reasons why we charge a retainer which is why we’re not the cheapest option in town.
If we did not have this model in place – in April, May, June, and July – I don’t think we’d be here today or we would have had to layoff a number of people in this organization and that would have broken my heart. Because if we were selling the inventory that was available and doing it on a commission only basis, things would have been bad.
Overall, business is good. But it is a battle, my friends.
Are we up to it? Absolutely.
If you’re listening to this podcast, I think you are, too. Change with better data and speed. Be prepared for every weakness in your organization to be exposed. Keep things the same, like your most valuable services. Don’t race to the bottom, hold firm. Keep your fundamental business values in place.
I’m with you all the way.
Go to MoeryCompany.com to see all of our new resources for virtual events.
Thanks for listening.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of JP Moery’s Association Hustle Podcast. We’d love to connect with you. Check out our blog at moerycompany.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also connect with JP on LinkedIn and Twitter at @JPMoery, as well as The Moery’s Company’s Instagram and Facebook page. To purchase a copy of JP’s book, Association Hustle: Top Strategies for Association Growth, go to JPMoery.com.
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