Ditching Hourly

Bryghtpath CEO and Ditcherville lifetime resident Bryan Strawser joined me on Ditching Hourly to share the secrets behind his huge business wins in 2023.

Bryan's Links:
Summary (ai generated):

In this episode of Ditching Hourly, Jonathan Stark interviews Bryan Strausser of BrightPath about how positioning his consulting firm and using program evaluation "roadmaps" as a first engagement with clients has led to major growth and 7-figure revenue. They discuss Bryan's journey from generalist consultant to focused niche positioning, using content marketing and authority building to attract ideal clients, the roadmapping process to diagnose client needs before prescribing solutions, how to price and sell high-value services, and building ongoing managed services for recurring revenue. 

Chapters:

[00:00:00] Introduction 

[00:02:00] From generalist to focused positioning

[00:08:00] Attracting clients through content marketing 

[00:13:00] Client onboarding with program evaluation roadmaps

[00:21:00] Using the podcast to build authority 

[00:25:00] The importance of positioning

[00:28:00] Pricing and selling high-value services 

[00:36:00] The roadmapping sales process

[00:44:00] Writing effective proposals 

[00:51:00] Increasing profits through pricing 

[00:53:00] Growing through managed services

[00:56:00] Conclusion


Creators & Guests

Host
Jonathan Stark
The Ditching Hourly Guy • Author of Hourly Billing Is Nuts • Former software developer on a mission to rid the world of hourly building
Guest
Bryan Strawser
Continuity & Crisis Expert | CEO @bryghtpath | Chair @mnguncaucus | PhD Student @hamlineU | EMT | Proud Alum: @warstudies @kingsakc @harvardnpli @carlsonnews

What is Ditching Hourly?

For experts who want to make more and work less without hiring.

Jonathan Stark:

Hello and welcome to Ditching Hourly. I'm Jonathan Stark. Today, I'm joined by guest Brian Strauser. Brian, welcome to the show. Hey, Jonathan.

Jonathan Stark:

Thanks for having me. So I'm super excited for the conversation we're about to have. It is predicated by you sharing a big Big 2023, a series of wins for 2023 in the Ditcherville wins channel. But first, could you tell folks a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Bryan Strawser:

Sure. So Brian Strauser, I'm CEO of a small consulting firm, based in Minnesota called BrightPath, and we work with the world's Leading brands to strategically manage uncertainty and disruption.

Jonathan Stark:

That's wild. So maybe you could just tell us a little bit about What the business model of Bright Path looks like? What sorts of products and services you offer?

Bryan Strawser:

Sure. So we work primarily with large complex organizations. I think our Smallest client is, several $100,000,000 in sales all the way up to name brands you would recognize in the Fortune 25. And what we help with is really understanding the risk landscape that they're faced with. And then we help them build plans From, crisis management continuity of operations and crisis communication standpoint to help them withstand The kind of disruptions they expect to face, whether that's natural disasters or, more recently, cybersecurity and cyber extortion ransomware Kind of events to violent crimes and some of those other things that, unfortunately, impacted businesses and employees.

Jonathan Stark:

Excellent. Oh, so many questions. But Let's I feel like I don't wanna I don't wanna drag the conversation in that direction because it might just automatically reveal itself.

Bryan Strawser:

Sure.

Jonathan Stark:

Through the primary purpose here. So maybe you could tell us a little bit about your, Well, I can just the quote here if it's okay if I share the quote.

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. Go for it.

Jonathan Stark:

So ending up 42% over last year, broke 7 figures for the first time, closed Killer deal today, this is the end of December Mhmm. With the largest invoice ever. Expanding team in 2024, A lot due to strategies and tactics, and then and then a nice some kind words about, things you've learned in Digital. So This is great and it was, you know, it's in contrast to not everyone had a year that's 42% over last. So what Sorts of things could you share with us, you know, in particular the dear listener, that might help contribute to them having that kind of a year This year in 2024, like, were there key things, you know, you mentioned pricing positioning proposals and other things that we talked about.

Jonathan Stark:

What sorts of things were real game changers for you? Or was it just a combination of things that created a flywheel effect?

Bryan Strawser:

Well, I I think it was a combination of things. But if I if I take these In a little bit of order, I think it started with positioning. I come from a pretty diverse background in corporate Security. I just happen to specialize in crisis management in the end of my corporate career. I've been on my own for a decade.

Bryan Strawser:

But before that, I was with A fortune 30 retailer for 21 years.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And when I first started the company, it was just me and I, you know, thought, Here's all these things I have done. I can do all of these things, which was true, but it didn't help me build or market any particular expertise because I wasn't positioned deeply into something. Mhmm. And that's what I think one of the first things I learned from folks like you and, David c Baker and Blair Enns and others that have been influences on how I think was to really narrow the positioning to What do I really enjoy, and what do I where I think thinking differently and taking a a a different approach to the business Would differentiate us, and that had me narrowed towards where I was at the end of my career in my into my corporate career where I was the head of management and business continuity and crisis communications. So we've just gone deeply into we think of that, bucket of resiliency, Of really being the place where we wanna go deep into that.

Bryan Strawser:

And then as I built the team, I've just built folks if that's what they wanna do. They don't wanna do all this other For BS, they wanna focus in these areas.

Jonathan Stark:

Yep.

Bryan Strawser:

So I think starting there, niching down, I think, is how you would put it in getting the right positioning in stake Or in in place really helped us start down this path a few years back.

Jonathan Stark:

So let's drill into this before we move on to other useful tactics. How long did you feel like you were operating as a solo generalist?

Bryan Strawser:

I think it was the first let's see. I started the company in 2014. So by 2017, we had hired the first employee. So it took us about 3 years took me about 3 years to figure out the the positioning struggle.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. What did that process look like if you can remember?

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. I just didn't feel like I was picking up on the business the way that I didn't I wasn't picking up new business the way that I expected that I would. So I found that, you know, sales and marketing process to be harder than I expected it to be, and that was kind of my first indication. Maybe something's not right and how I'm thinking about this.

Jonathan Stark:

What were you doing for sales and marketing back then that was not working?

Bryan Strawser:

I really just had a website and expected that folks would find it. Okay. Right? I wasn't doing any I I wasn't really doing any marketing. I wasn't doing content development.

Bryan Strawser:

I didn't have anything approaching a lead magnet. I didn't have a productized service. I didn't have any of that figured out. It was just kind of a jumbled generalist mess prior to that.

Jonathan Stark:

And I'm gonna guess your clients came by referral.

Bryan Strawser:

Oh, my client solely came from my old network of folks. You're exactly right.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. That's how it works. Okay. So then it was, roughly a 3 year process. So you you you went slowly.

Jonathan Stark:

You did that. You probably got some referrals, and you you were doing some work. And then at some point in that 1st 3 year period, you you recognized that something was wrong. How how quickly did you discover that did you think, like, geez, I'm not, Like, maybe I've got work, but I'm not getting a lot of leads. I mean, was that right away?

Jonathan Stark:

Was it 6 months? Was it a year?

Bryan Strawser:

It it took a while in in 2017. So I would say it took the bulk of that year. We had a really I had a really large contract at the time, where I was serving in an interim, c suite Generalist position for a university a privately held university that, where I was doing a broad variety of security things, but it's not what I wanted to do. I wanted to get Back into kind of the crisis management realm. And it was a lot of time sitting there thinking about it during the course of doing that work To figure out how do I start to narrow this positioning down and then build the marketing material to help that be successful.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. So so once you decided to narrow down the positioning, How long do you think it took before you landed on something that seemed to get traction?

Bryan Strawser:

I it took the bulk of a year to Get to an earlier version of how we think about positioning today. We've tweaked this a little bit in the last couple of years, but it it took a good A year to figure out that this is what we should focus on and how to go about doing that.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. And what do you remember what The process was like so many people to get wrapped around the axle on this one. So, like, they're generalist and they're like, well, I could specialize in 10 things. Or what does Specialization even mean? Is it about what I do or is it about who I help or what I help them with?

Jonathan Stark:

Or so could you kinda share with us a little bit, like how Certain were you, and and as you you'd said you took it a little bit. It sounds like you might've came pretty close with your first attempt. But, can you think of any specific things you did, like reach out to your network and kinda bounce the idea off of them or change your LinkedIn profile and, like, woah. Woah. I'm attracting more Followers or something.

Bryan Strawser:

There was definitely, there certainly weren't any metrics around it like that. Unfortunately, I didn't think of it at the time, but there was definitely conversation within my network. There were some folks that had left our employer our previous employer around the same time as I did that had started their own businesses. And the ones that were really successful had all started to niche into one particular space.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And I think that really gave me Some inspiration through conversation from their experiences, what had been working for them.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And that that got me thinking about, Really kind of around 2 ideas. 1 was, what did I really enjoy about the work that I had done in previous years? And it All kept going back to, I enjoy the preparedness and the management of disruption.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

So that whole It was that whole idea of this is the kind of work I like to do, so I want to focus there. The second one was just how do I think about this that's different than how others in this space think about it?

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And it it led me to this concept of resiliency the way I think about resilience, and the folks that I've hired think about resilience. And the roles that Crisis management, business continuity, crisis communications play as kinda moons orbiting that sun of resilience, so to speak.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. Alright. That's very interesting. Are you sort of in the antifragile camp, just out of curiosity? Or is that is that kind of what you mean where It's like the idea isn't to never have an outage.

Jonathan Stark:

It's to be to be, like, very bounce back very quickly.

Bryan Strawser:

It's more it's definitely in more of the how do you bounce back quickly because those things are going to happen to you.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Like, if we if we go to the technology world, then I know where you started, It's this whole idea of chaos engineering. Right? How do we build things and then test them in a way that we know they're not gonna break because we've pushed them in this way, in this very chaotic approach. Cool.

Jonathan Stark:

What were your thoughts around specializing in a particular, You know, fortune 25 retailers or something. You know, did you have any anything on that knob that you were focusing on or was it Just a sort of side effect that your network in your history had been with these sort of big kinds of $100,000,000 companies.

Bryan Strawser:

I think, We did think about how do we I did think through, like, how do could we niche even further? And I think, actually, that was some of your feedback to me in, in the pricing This seminar, several years ago was, can you go even, more narrow in your niche? And I I kinda shied away from that because The the world of companies that can afford this kind of service is not that large.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Particularly at the scale at which I saw us being able to operate. So we didn't that didn't I I've never gone towards kinda niching down even further than that. Now, ironically, we've developed Some industry specialization along the way. I came from retail. Ironically, I don't have much retail.

Bryan Strawser:

We don't have a lot of retail clientele. But we've developed a lot of clients in the energy sector and the health care sectors, because of referral Once we've got into a large client who has then started talking with their peers, but that was not intentional, but we've certainly learned things in those two sectors that we didn't know before.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. So one one comment I'll make and I hope I'm not contradicting myself back then, but if you're If you are super premium or even premium, that's automatically gonna have the discriminating effect. It's it's not an industry specialization, but if you're automatically pricing yourself in a way where the thing that you deal with is only valuable To a company of a certain size, then that is that is still specialization on a particular it's niche air quotes niching down On, enterprises. So one of the these kinds of enterprises. So one of the things that I'd love to touch on here that is related is once you started to become clear about your positioning and Presumably started messaging about it.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm. Where were your leads coming from? Were they, like, inbound leads? Did it continue to be A lot of referrals or did you notice an uptick in other types of inbound or did you do outbound and And sort of start conversations that way.

Bryan Strawser:

I've never really ever done outbound. The inbound definitely the the calculus has shifted over time. It was referral from, initially, the network of alumni from the company I had worked at To now being referral from to referral from existing clients. Whereas now we get noticed, I would say mostly in the last 2 to 3 years, we've picked up more on inbound leads from folks we've never had contact with before.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

So I think our I think a combination of our positioning and our ongoing content between podcast and articles, and, you know, lead magnets, I think, has helped drive up that inbound lead category over time.

Jonathan Stark:

Great. Yeah. And for a premium buyer, Someone who's expecting to spend a lot of money, inbound is I mean, inbound is great. If you can plant those seeds when the when the tomatoes start coming up, it's Just fantastic. It can be difficult for people to get to the point where they've, you know, tended the garden and and Done everything every day, watered it and all that, and and had something to eat in the meantime.

Jonathan Stark:

So, because I know there are probably a lot of people salivating at the size of clients that you're getting as a relatively small consulting firm. So I I would point out to those people I think that your particular specialization it sounds like just on the face of it, It's just incredibly high value to a particular kind of buyer who is is familiar with trying. What is how do you say this? Like, risk is part of their daily life, managing risk, taking risks, And there's a lot of money on the line, presumably. So that that automatically creates a lot of value for what you do.

Jonathan Stark:

So if you were if you were someone like you brought their positioning statement, you know, oh, we do crisis management for independently owned co working spaces, Single location co working spaces. It'd be like, well Yeah. And even that, you know, like solo solo consultants. Like, if you if you did risk management For someone like me, I feel like, you know, you could be amazing at what you do, but it's just the value is just not there. So it makes sense that you go Way up market to people that were that were lots of dollars were on the line.

Jonathan Stark:

Careers probably on the line. Let me ask you this. What are the alternatives to hiring someone like you? So, if you're talking to someone And they're like, oh, you know we're in the we've got this we're gonna expand into South America and we're nervous about the politics in some country and something like that. Then, like, who else would they be talking to or or in your experience are they just they're not talking to anyone else because they Trust you specifically.

Bryan Strawser:

There are, there are definitely some competitors. There's a couple firms that are, A little bit larger than us that we often compete against. And sometimes we win the business, sometimes they win the business.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And then there's a huge gap, And then there's Deloitte, Pricewaterhouse Yeah. Ernst and Young, Marsh, McKinsey. And we usually are competing against them as well. The other it's more common that companies will either they'll either go to a consulting firm they've used before. So, like, they've been with Ernst and Young for years, so they're gonna go to NY.

Bryan Strawser:

Yep. Or they you know, if they're open to it, they're talking with our firm and some of our competitors, or they're just gonna do it internally, which I think never ends well. Yes. Because they just don't they're usually coming to us because they don't have the expertise or they don't have The head count of the resources to be able to do the work, and it just doesn't work out well for them. And they usually come back Okay.

Bryan Strawser:

So future point. Looking, like, can you fix the thing that we broke, you know, trying to do it ourselves?

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. Never been there. So How how would you if you're in a situation where you knew that the client was talking to McKinsey, let's say Mhmm. Would you Lose interest in the conversation or would you be able to, you know, like, in a compelling way if they said, well, you know, we're talking to McKinsey too, but Mhmm. What what would be the pros and cons of working with you versus them?

Jonathan Stark:

Like, do you have a Yeah. A sort of pat answer for that? Like, what does that sound like?

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. I mean, I think It's a it's a 2 part answer, I think. 1 is, is this a, you know, a blind RFP process where I've Gotta put 40 hours in to get in the front door. Whereas, I don't have the you know, for me, I would do that if I had a really good chance of winning the work. I wouldn't do it, if this was, you know, some random call out of the blue about taking on an RFP

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Because McKinsey has a team of 100 or more that Ken, you know, churn those things out every single day.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

But if we're in head to head and I'm not having to go through this blind RFP process, I think the differences are flexibility and ability to pivot, and focus in a way that a large organization just can't do that. You're you're gonna get a a bespoke, solution that fits the problem that you're faced with, whereas with McKinsey and my wife Came out of large consulting at at a at one of McKinsey's competitors. You know, they're pulling it out of a file cabinet And then modifying it to fit the orc. And it's it's not the same approach. It's such a

Jonathan Stark:

great visual. Yeah. She's used

Bryan Strawser:

that several times in sales conversations here.

Jonathan Stark:

That's powerful. Yeah. I love it. Yeah. So a particular kind of buyer is just gonna recoil at that.

Jonathan Stark:

The the way I laughed at it, they're gonna recoil at

Bryan Strawser:

it. Exactly.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. So, yeah. They're gonna pull it out of a file cabinet. They're gonna modify it. They're gonna give it to you, and you're gonna put it in a file cabinet.

Bryan Strawser:

Yep. You're never gonna look at it again.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. That's awesome. So once once you got your positioning Down. What were the you you've alluded a couple of times to content marketing. So what were some of the things that you do or did that Started to move the needle in terms of inbound.

Bryan Strawser:

There's 2 things that we did from a content standpoint that we've continued to focus on. One was we started a podcast. And I think our our challenge my initial challenge with that was how do I get to just consistency in the podcast by making it as easy as possible? Mhmm. And I think I was listening I never did your podcast course, but I think I was listening to an episode of the Business of Authority where you and Rochelle were talking once about With the podcast where there's no intro, there's no outro, you just start it and do it.

Bryan Strawser:

And when you're done and there's minimal, if any, editing and you're and you publish it. Yeah. And I was like, why am I not doing that? So I got rid of the intro and the outro and all the editing, and I it has been so much easier Just, unless I screw up the first minute or 2 of a podcast episode, then I'll start over. But, otherwise, I just go with it.

Jonathan Stark:

Right.

Bryan Strawser:

And that has that has alleviated so much stress and friction in the process for me to just do it.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. It turns into more of a live it it feels like you're live streaming. You might as well be live streaming it. And it, For me, it just has a a massively different energy to it. I just it's so difficult to just talk into a mic by yourself.

Jonathan Stark:

It's because monologuing is not a normal thing.

Bryan Strawser:

Right.

Jonathan Stark:

But in most people listening, just a quick little pitch for podcasting, most people listening are perfectly comfortable running a Zoom call with A client. They're they're not worried about starting over. Like, they're gonna keep going. They're even if they screw up, they're gonna figure out a way to keep going. They're not gonna, like, forget what to say or just Stop that.

Jonathan Stark:

You know? So if you just think of it like a conversation and proceed that way then, yeah, it can be extremely and you'll get better at it. You'll figure out how to, like, how to how to screw up in a way that doesn't look like a screw up. And I've got a background in live music performance, so that's like a total Musician skill. It's like I meant to play that note.

Jonathan Stark:

Exactly. So you get better at it. Anyway, podcasting it for especially for someone who Like you, who's competing potentially against a giant gorilla like, you know, 400 pound gorilla like Mackenzie And needs to be perceived as less risky than them Mhmm. In some way. Somehow Somehow you are the safer option.

Jonathan Stark:

Like, how are you gonna do that? Well, one way is to show up every week in their ears and become that familiar voice, and Dude, it's just amazing how it creates this, you know, asymmetric intimacy with the listeners. It's it can be it takes a long time, and you need to be good at it, but, you know, if you've got a long time and you can practice it and just keep showing up and doing it, you'll get better and better and better. And then have you I mean, have you found that it helps in, like a sales meeting for example, where people like, oh, we've been listening to the show?

Bryan Strawser:

It has I mean, it's, I think the first time we hear it, we're 229 episodes in as of today.

Jonathan Stark:

Damn.

Bryan Strawser:

I think the first time we heard that From a prospective client, it was about a year and a half ago. And they're like they approached us about doing a particular piece of work, and they're like, oh, we've listened to all of your podcast episodes on this topic. That's why we're calling you. Mhmm. And they didn't call anybody else.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm. And I

Bryan Strawser:

thought that was that was just the best demonstration of authority and And, I think helped us justify, you know, our investment in doing this week after week after week.

Jonathan Stark:

And so that would have been, like, a 100 And something episodes in when that happened?

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. So, like, 2 years? Yeah. Yeah. 2 years ago.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. It's an investment. Okay. Cool. So, you mentioned a lead magnet at one point, I think.

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. We've done a few different lead magnets over time. So From our standpoint, there's, you know, we've got very we have, like, a resource library on our website, and we give away, you know, some of our frameworks of how we think about, like, What's a crisis management strategy look like? What does a business continuity life cycle look like? But we also have, you know, kind of a lead magnet we focus on for long periods of time.

Bryan Strawser:

So if you go to our website, it's on our front page. Right now, it's, the 250 ways to 4 to 5 your business against disruption. So it's like, you know, 15 to 20 page, report of 250 or so tactics in organized into some themes That you can look at as a business leader to help fortify, you know, the resilience of your organization.

Jonathan Stark:

So tight. That is really, really good. I love it. I'd like to think that came out of TPS. Probably did.

Jonathan Stark:

That is really like, for the target market, like, so for for For certain people that's mumbo jumbo.

Bryan Strawser:

Right.

Jonathan Stark:

But for their target market, that's catnip.

Bryan Strawser:

Yep.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. Okay. That's great. What is What happens next after the lead magnet? Do you have a a mailing list that you are

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. Yeah. So we do, so it we use Drip for, our marketing automation and and newsletter. And so any of our lead magnet interactions feed people into an onboarding sequence. There's no pitching really.

Bryan Strawser:

It's just, You know, more and more free expertise. Here's our best articles. Here's our best podcast episodes, that kind of thing. We do a little bit of segmentation into where we think they are on their resilience journey so we can pitch them a little more directly resources that are applicable to them

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And where they're at. And then they go into our normal newsletter, and we do a weekly newsletter, for the organization. So we're highlighting the content we've published that week, the latest podcast This episode, some soft product pitching.

Jonathan Stark:

Yep. Okay. So in terms of investment of time and money, How significant would you say your content marketing efforts are?

Bryan Strawser:

I we've done a lot around that, to be honest. We, everyone on our team writes At least an article every month, and I write more frequently than that.

Jonathan Stark:

And how big is the team? Sorry.

Bryan Strawser:

It's okay. I have, 8 folks, currently.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. So 8 articles a month.

Bryan Strawser:

Probably more like 10 articles total every month, a podcast every week. And then we do we started to do more video over the last 5 to 6 months. So we record the podcast, both audio and video. We put the video on YouTube, every week. And then we also I also do a longer form video every Thursday on, like, a weekly insight of some type.

Bryan Strawser:

And by longer form, I mean, 3 to 4 or 5 minutes, maybe max. And is that,

Jonathan Stark:

like, live streamed, or you do that into a camera Upload it or what's the story?

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. I'm recording it a few weeks out, and then it's it's getting published on Thursdays. And then, One of my employees just does video editing and and content strategy. And so he's gone back and has chopped up It is still in the process of trapping up our podcast archive into shorts Mhmm. That he's then animating and putting on, you know, YouTube and Instagram and Okay.

Bryan Strawser:

And the technology.

Jonathan Stark:

Serious A serious investment. Okay.

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. Bringing it back to positioning for a second, like, if you could imagine, what would it be like If you didn't have this really clear focus.

Bryan Strawser:

I don't think it would have been effective. I I think that we were that I when it was just me, I I think It was a muddled mess. Like, what did we do? Because it was all over the place. I think narrowing Our positioning to what has been working for us and continuing to tweak that as we feel the need to, I think, is part of what has made us successful.

Bryan Strawser:

It's allowed us to deeply I mean, we can deeply point at the authority and expertise and credibility we have in this Base. I don't know that I could do that on a really broad scale like I was trying to before.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. Alright. So have you ever Felt I swear we'll stop talking about positioning in a second because this is only the first thing in the list. But Have you ever felt constrained by it? That seems that's a fear of many people.

Jonathan Stark:

They'll feel like bored, all only doing the one thing that they've Chosen to specialize in or that they've missed out on opportunities because people like, oh, you specialize in a, but we're b. The only

Bryan Strawser:

I I think I felt less and less of that over time. Definitely early on when, you know, I was trying to build the business More and I wasn't having as much inbound as I do today, things would come to us. And I would be like, yeah, but that's not really what we do. Mhmm. Could we do the work?

Bryan Strawser:

Do I have the expertise? And does some of my team have that expertise? Yes. Should we do that? No.

Bryan Strawser:

It doesn't really line up with where we're going.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

But I don't today, I don't feel like that. 3, 4 years ago, I I may have wondered if I was doing the right thing a little more than I do today.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm. And at the time, I I got a guess. Like most people, the the difficulty of that decision would be Directly proportional to your cash flows.

Bryan Strawser:

Exactly. That's exactly what it was.

Jonathan Stark:

I know deep down I don't wanna take this client, but I also know that payroll is due in 3 days.

Bryan Strawser:

Exactly.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. It's no fun. Alright. We'll forget we'll stop positioning. We could probably talk the whole time about positioning and the Marketing that comes out of it.

Jonathan Stark:

The content marketing and the benefits and and the myths. But you said that there were a few things. So So positioning was the first one. A few things that contributed to your your big success in 2024, this big leap forward. What what would be the next thing on your list do you think?

Bryan Strawser:

I think learning over time if we get past positioning, I think learning over time, the combination of how to propose and how to sell Effectively, how to manage those sales conversations. And then how do I write a proposal that brings the kind of income that our expertise It's demands. Mhmm. And that we should be able to charge for.

Jonathan Stark:

So this sounds like a combination of, proposals, pricing, value based pricing probably. Exactly. Yeah. So let's let's what's been your experience in your journey there? So, like like, how Crazy was that at first, or what was the pricing or the proposing like at first?

Jonathan Stark:

And then it kinda walked people through like, you know, this was weird. I had Do this. I didn't understand the value really and but now things are way better because, you know, we've flipped our worldview to scope blaster or something like that.

Bryan Strawser:

So I think, I I think the interesting thing for for anybody coming into starting your own business and managing your own business Is just learning how to sell in an authentic way and be comfortable with that process. I knew how to sell and propose huge capital projects Inside of a corporation, at least the corporation I was in. That's a whole different ballgame than trying to sell to, you know, say Nike, for example.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

So I think I I had to I needed to learn how to have that conversation and how to do that in a way that was authentic to someone like me who's, you know, I'm more introverted and I don't like Those kind of sales y used car salesman conversations. Yeah. So I think having and I think I still evolve with that, you know, a decade into the business. I keep learning how to do this in an effective way.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

But learning how to ask questions, how to have the why conversation, And trying to understand how do I get to the value of what this is worth to them.

Jonathan Stark:

Especially something that's so intangible. Yes. I'm sure people listening are just like you've got to be kidding me. Risk? Right?

Jonathan Stark:

Crisis management? Like That's unmeasurable. That's unquantifiable. It's like, well, probably not.

Bryan Strawser:

And I'll tell you a data breach, and then you're you're gonna quantify that really quick.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. Right. Yeah. You don't wanna be Target or J. Crew and their psychos done on Black Friday or whatever the situation is.

Jonathan Stark:

Yep. I almost want you to just kind of like Like editorialize on that right there. So can you share anything, Concrete's not the right word, but something concrete about the kinds of words you would use in a conversation with someone where you're trying to talk them out of hiring you.

Bryan Strawser:

What what when I'm trying to talk him out of it?

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. Like like, you're in a sales con well, that's the I had a sort of, like, a jokey way to

Bryan Strawser:

I knew it was just a

Jonathan Stark:

about the why conversation. So it's like, you know, why would you hire why would you even do this? Like, why would you even care about crisis management? Why would you even think of hiring us? Why would you do this now?

Jonathan Stark:

Why not wait?

Bryan Strawser:

I mean, I I I ask very similar questions to directly that. You know, why is this in I I was I almost always like to start with, like, why is this important to you now? Mhmm. Like, what what changed? I mean, we and I think a a good exam we were Talking with a I was talking with a company last week in an initial conversation, and that was the question that was one of the first questions.

Bryan Strawser:

Why is this important to you now going into 2024. And they're like, wow. Last year, we had a big date we had a data breach. Mhmm. And what we learned from that was We don't really have an effective business continuity program.

Bryan Strawser:

We don't have good ITDR. We don't have a crisis management strategy at all. And I was like, oh, that's a big problem.

Jonathan Stark:

Would you get into the impact? Would would it be too sensitive to start asking about the impact, or would you try and work your way into that in a delicate way? Like, how bad was it?

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. So we had a we went up having to have a 2 part conversation because most companies won't talk about that till there's an NDA.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. Yeah.

Bryan Strawser:

So we did an NDA, and then we had a second conversation later in the week. And then we could get into some detail

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Around that. But I, like, I I knew only what was in the public, you know, news about this particular incident. Yep. I did had no idea of the internal things that went on And the things that they saw. But that was all good.

Bryan Strawser:

It was great fodder to understand where we needed to go. 1, so that I could propose work that would make sense for them. Mhmm. And 2, to understand, what is this worth to them? Because I knew from my own experience, having been in a company with a massive data breach, They probably had companies like Mandiant or CrowdStrike or Verizon in there for 1,000,000 of dollars doing remediation.

Jonathan Stark:

Right.

Bryan Strawser:

My consulting Fee for a program evaluation was not going to concern them.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. It's not gonna be a price problem. Yeah. Probably pricing it too low would be bad. Exactly.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. Okay. So, yeah, I I I feel like I need to do a quick sidebar on the NDA thing. So you you signed the NDA before They were a client. Correct.

Jonathan Stark:

And normally generally speaking, I don't talk about contracts at all. Not a lawyer. Yep. Don't like contracts. I think it makes total and I've said probably plenty of times on my email list, like, I probably wouldn't sign an NDA Until someone's like a client.

Jonathan Stark:

And I definitely wouldn't sign to not compete. Mhmm. In your case, it makes total sense. Mhmm. As you as you know, but I'm saying for the dear listener, it makes total sense in Brian's case to be doing this because it's a signal that they are they are willing to reveal A bunch of very useful pricing information.

Bryan Strawser:

Yep.

Jonathan Stark:

Right? They're about to tell you everything you need to know to price The work to to define the work and price the work appropriately is for both parties. Mhmm. So that's like a no brainer. And especially because you're operating you're operating with based on if you're doing value based pricing, you're probably operating at high margins.

Jonathan Stark:

And you're operating with clients who have, like you said, Your prices could be in the 7 figures and people would be like, yeah. That makes sense. Right. And so there it's not a question of like, oh, should we get a lawyer involved? Like Like, the dollars just do make sense in this case.

Jonathan Stark:

A lot of people I talk to, the dollars don't make sense. Mhmm. But you are definitely an exception to that. Mhmm. And

Bryan Strawser:

we'll we'll bring in counsel if it's some kind of, you know, really strict or weird NDA, but usually it's not necessary for this kind of thing.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. I I love it. I love it. So you so you're you have the conversation, maybe you have 2 conversations, maybe there's an NDA. Mhmm.

Jonathan Stark:

What happens next?

Bryan Strawser:

Well, then we, so typically from there, we'll we'll move to a proposal. So the most common way that we get into a large client is Our productized service or close to a productized service, which is how we think of a program evaluation and a road map

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

To understand What they have or don't have from a the standpoint of a resiliency program, and then what we think they need to do. And that almost always then leads us To either doing the work to implement our recommendations, or we're Coming in and just running it for them rather than having an internal team do it. So we build a manage we build it and then we've we Run it as a managed service.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. What what are some more like, what is that? And and, like, how long does it last?

Bryan Strawser:

It can last for years.

Jonathan Stark:

It sounds novel. Yes. Yeah. Is this advisory or are you in there? What does this look like?

Bryan Strawser:

So let me let me take you through, maybe a more practical example. So one of our, one of our current clients is a health care, Health Care Insurance Organization would be the best way to put it. And we came in and did a program evaluation to look at their current capabilities and then outline, here's what you need to do. Mhmm. Which was followed by okay.

Bryan Strawser:

Can you help us build these things? Yes. We can. Sure. So we then built, You know, kind of the program elements followed by, we don't really like how this is running internally.

Bryan Strawser:

Would you consider Contracting with us, and we just outsource the entire program to you to run.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. Pause. So so how much of a time delay was there between you delivering, like, Here's the road map. Here's the plan. And I'm saying, we can't we're not gonna do this well.

Jonathan Stark:

We need you to help us.

Bryan Strawser:

In that case, about 6 months.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. That that seemed right. So they needed to learn that they were not gonna Correct. Okay. That's that is exactly what I was wondering.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. So what so the this kind of the concept of the sort of road map, the prescription Mhmm. Moving into the implementation slash therapy is very common. It's a very common pattern. We talk about it a lot.

Jonathan Stark:

Alex Hillman episode was another good one. Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

I remember that one.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. And what did he say? He said I closed 100% of the deals that I wanted after the road map.

Bryan Strawser:

Exactly.

Jonathan Stark:

So where is your roadmap in in your funnel? So you've got this lead magnet, you've got This content marketing that comes from it, you've got soft pitches in the email. Mhmm. You're building authority in the podcast. Do Is the first is the road map phase required in every case, or is it a case by case basis?

Bryan Strawser:

We almost always require the road map for a new client. If you've never been in there before, we wanna start with what we call the resiliency diagnosis. I wanna do a program evaluation. I can modify the scale a bit depending upon what they want to focus on or the size of the organization, but I want my own diagnosis before I prescribe what the or do what the solution is.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. And is that something that you price individually On a case by case basis, or is it more of a a traditional productized service where, like, there's a a a price tag on your website?

Bryan Strawser:

It we don't put the pricing on the website, but there's a floor of where we're gonna start. And then based on, you know, a scoping conversation, it'll go up from there.

Jonathan Stark:

What are the things that affect the scope? Like, what sorts of things are scope red flags for you? Or not red flags, but, like, this is definitely gonna cost more.

Bryan Strawser:

One is how many people they would want us to talk with within the organization. Like, we we had a client in 2023, they're in a 150 plus countries, massive organization, and they wanted us to talk with a lot of people around the world, And that drove the price up.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Because it was going to be significantly more work to pull that off. They were also, they were a more mature program. They've been around longer. They had Done more. So it all kinda lined up in terms of what we expected going into the con the scoping conversation.

Bryan Strawser:

Whereas, you know, a $4,000,000,000 company, 4,000 employees, operating in 1 or 2 countries. It's gonna be close to the floor to be

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. That's funny. So it's just funny because the numbers that you're using I think for a lot of people are just like, salivating. Yeah. So let let me ask maybe a strategic question.

Jonathan Stark:

So, like, this this this one that was, like, in a 150 countries and like, wow, this is gonna be a lot Like, is that really an ideal client for you? Should you maybe have said no to that, or are those the kinds of clients you'd rather be getting in your working toward?

Bryan Strawser:

I'd rather have that client because there's more work to be had at the end of that, evaluation. And there has been. We've done some follow-up work with them since then.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. Do you, I don't think we talked about client roster. Like, do you get nervous about whale situations, or is this not not one of those situations?

Bryan Strawser:

I used to be more concerned about that a few years ago, but as we've diversified, the number of clients we have, I've become a lot less concerned with that.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. So they're not they're not they might be making up a decent portion of your revenue, but you're like, ah, we've got more leads. We've got more. Right. There's stuff to fall back on.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. Great. So pretty much everybody starts with a road map. There's a floor price. Can you say if it's 5 figures or higher?

Bryan Strawser:

Mid 5 figures.

Jonathan Stark:

Mid 5. Okay. So So right away you're gonna you're gonna any tire kickers are gonna be out of the running. Mhmm. Do other do your competitors, especially the ones that are a similar Sorry.

Jonathan Stark:

It's not McKinsey, but is this a common is this the way that they also engage with clients, or do you even know? Like, do they just go straight to a project?

Bryan Strawser:

So I I don't know if they have a comparable services defined maybe the way that we have to this level of Specificity, most of them say they do program evaluations Mhmm. On their websites or in their marketing material, whereas we spell out I I mean, we have a landing page for this with detail. Here's how it works. Here's the deliverables. You know, here's the typical schedule.

Bryan Strawser:

So it's hard for me to tell, how far into that you know, how how far are apples for apples, that the 2 are.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. So from a buyer standpoint, I think that stands out. If if I can get a sense of what the engagement is gonna Roughly involve. You know, maybe not maybe the price isn't there, but I'm I'm gonna get I would have guessed what you said, mid 5 figures. Mhmm.

Jonathan Stark:

Then okay. If if I'm thinking it's probably mid 5 figures, I'm gonna wanna feel like I'm in good hands. Like, I'm with someone experienced, I'm gonna wanna see things on the page that make that I'm nodding along with. Like, oh, that would be a good idea. That would be a good yeah.

Jonathan Stark:

So we really should we should have done that. I should have thought of that. I really wanna get these people in. Versus someone who's like, yeah. I would do you know, they don't have a maybe they they know they need to evaluate the situation, but it's kinda they wing it Or it's not super formalized and they're certainly not even if it is formalized the the process.

Jonathan Stark:

It's not really exposed on the website in a way that's Compelling. I would completely detect that as a buyer. Mhmm. Be like, yeah. Like these people are probably smart.

Jonathan Stark:

I could Probably bring him in. They could probably figure things out on the fly, but Brian's people are like poof. Like I can already feel I feel like I already learned Something just from reading the sales page, you know. I'm I'm imagining a lot of things, but from the way that you described it, like, that feels super compelling. At what point does the concept of the evaluation come up?

Jonathan Stark:

Do they come to you knowing that they need to have the evaluation first or do you Do they think they wanna hire you to do some kind of, like, project and then you're like, here's how things work here. Mhmm. 1st you do this. So how familiar are they with The the engagement the the your engagement style?

Bryan Strawser:

I think usually so usually, they come in in the 2 one of the 2 mindsets that you just described. Sometimes it's look. We really we think we need an outside expert to come evaluate where we stand because it looks to us like we're not Doing everything we can or should be doing. Mhmm. So it's clear to me that that's what they're they're looking for in evaluation.

Bryan Strawser:

Mhmm. Sometimes it's It it's a lot more muddied in that, as you described, where they're like, we want to improve our program. And we were thinking we could do, you know, x y z. And I'll just turn that conversation to, well, how do you know that's the right thing to do? Why do you think that And maybe they've maybe they've done an evaluation, but that's that rarely comes up.

Jonathan Stark:

Right.

Bryan Strawser:

It's more of we just we're not happy with where things are.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay.

Bryan Strawser:

So you really need to understand deeply where you stand and where you need to go, and so I'll spin them towards the The evaluation and road map is the place to go. I would say it's about 5050 when folks come in.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. Cool. What which one do you prefer?

Bryan Strawser:

I don't know if I have a I mean, ideally, I want someone who has read the product page and has understood it in detail, but that doesn't always happen. Right? I mean, it's They may have skimmed it, but they'll want to know more about the process.

Jonathan Stark:

That was diplomatic. Yeah. Yeah. How often does it happen that you do one of these, Let's just call it a road map. And you don't want the follow on work?

Bryan Strawser:

It it's definitely happened. One thing that it's happened. It's almost when it's happened, it's almost always happened because we haven't enjoyed the process of working with this client.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Or we think that our advice is just not it's being ignored.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. Yeah.

Bryan Strawser:

Right? So then I then I don't wanna do the implementation because it's gonna be too painful Right.

Jonathan Stark:

Right.

Bryan Strawser:

To work through. And implementation work is almost always less profitable than the road map to begin with anyway.

Jonathan Stark:

Yep.

Bryan Strawser:

So I it just if we enjoy working with them, if we if they if they continue to fit like the ideal client we thought they were at the start, Well, then we wanna do the work, but sometimes it's too damn damn painful. Right.

Jonathan Stark:

To do it. Yeah. That's why I stopped consulting. I was like

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah.

Jonathan Stark:

Just put it there's not They're not taking the advice. It's like I'm happy to cash the checks, but there's some part of me that just dies inside when they just I see the website. Mhmm. It's still bad. Okay.

Jonathan Stark:

So so first we talked about positioning, tons of great stuff there, and now this sort of the sales approach It's almost like, some people call the road map. I I I don't know if I agree with this, but some people call the road mapping thing like a paid proposal. It's really not. Right. It's like a paid scope.

Jonathan Stark:

It's not really a paid scope. It does function that way. Mhmm. And then was there like, It felt like there was another thing with looking back at the things that made a have started to make a big difference and contribute to your success.

Bryan Strawser:

I think proposals in general, like, learning how to write an effective proposal

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Which I would I would say, You know, for me, it's been a combination of the work you've done and reading and watching and listening to Blair in this talk

Jonathan Stark:

Yep.

Bryan Strawser:

About, you know, how to price appropriately, how to deal with objections in the process, and giving the client giving the prospective client Options. You know, the the the three option proposal has changed our world, for sure.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. So Alright. My eyes light up to that. Yeah. My ears perk up there.

Bryan Strawser:

I mean, almost everybody takes option 2 or option 3, where where 2 or 3 are the higher, You know, paying options. Sure. We probably don't always scope the 3rd option as, like, a 5 x of, you know, option 1.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

We we try to lay out, like, what's the most logical thing that they're gonna want to do and then guess a little further,

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

That would make sense for them. But, the bulk of our client of of new clients take option 2 and some will take option 3.

Jonathan Stark:

Yeah. That's perfect.

Bryan Strawser:

We would have left that money on the table before

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

Because we didn't propose it.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. Oh, that's great. Now do you have people dedicated to, like, say following the the pricing creativity process or is that Does everyone do it like you're blogging or is it more like more like you you just do it or even, Ron Baker talks about Having an Ed Klus talk about having, like, a pricing department or in your case probably a person Right. Who is responsible for that. How do you handle that, the proposal writing?

Jonathan Stark:

Who Who does it? Is it always you? Is it the person who's probably gonna implement? How does that work?

Bryan Strawser:

It's usually me, but we do have some broad is a team around proposals. So for example, the example I gave you last from the discussions last week With a client that had prospective client that had a breach last year, we're you know, we proposed to do a Program evaluation and, you know, gave them some options. But we had a team the delivery side of my team, we had a discussion about that Particular proposal because we're going to the New Year, we wanna set some new price benchmarks. So what do we what do we think we should be proposing for them, and then what should we be charging for that? Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

And from that, we you know, I wrote from there, I wrote the proposal, had the team provide feedback, and then we sent it to the client.

Jonathan Stark:

How high stakes are you at the this this point in time? You just closed a really big year. Like, how far do you push it? In other words, how willing are you how willing are you to lose the deal by being So let me let me actually start that over. There I talked to some folks who literally lose sleep about leaving a dollar on the table.

Jonathan Stark:

They're just, like, so freaked out that they could have gotten more. And it's odd because it's almost impossible to ever find out That you did that unless the client later says we would have paid you double. Yeah. You know, it's almost impossible to find this out. So it's all almost all imagined.

Jonathan Stark:

I suppose one exception to that is if if you are consistently sending out proposals and everyone's picking option 3, your prices are too low. You're leaving money on the table. Mhmm. Most of yours are option 2, some of them are option 3, which indicates that there's probably a little bit of upward mobility. Well, there may be a lot of upper Mobility depending on who you're attracting.

Jonathan Stark:

But I'm just trying to like, you're you're you're at risk and statistics and probabilities. Where would you put yourself on the scale of, like, I don't really care if I get the you know, we don't need this job. So that the prices in other words, putting this high High upward pressure on your pricing and be like, you know, I want I'm in the game to hit home runs versus I just wanna I wanna be like, I wanna hit a lot of doubles and just always be on base and just show up and hit doubles. You know, where between the the those two spectrums, where would you place yourself personally?

Bryan Strawser:

We're probably between the 2. And I I say that only because we, We've done enough program evaluations since we created that as a as a consistent productized process That we generally know how much time we're gonna spend on that

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

With a within a within some reason. Right?

Jonathan Stark:

So So you feel pretty strong about your costs? We feel

Bryan Strawser:

pretty good about the cost end of things. Okay. So and we're gonna we we're gonna push the price a little bit because it's a new year and we're raising prices. But if we if that if we win the work, I think, unless we've completely underestimated it, I will feel pretty good about it. If we just if we don't get the work because it's For whatever reason, they decide not to hire us, that's fine.

Bryan Strawser:

We've got plenty of other work right now.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm. Okay. So you mentioned you Said this year we're raising prices, which actually is it might be an interesting way to to re ask this question or to go deeper into this question. With value based pricing you never raise your prices, but what you could raise is your profits. And I'm just curious Since you're in such a unique position and it's the timing of it, is that really what you did you really mean that you raised you're gonna raise your prices or did you really mean you're gonna Try and raise your profit.

Jonathan Stark:

Like, you're gonna it's like we know what our costs are. Well, it's a diff it's different.

Bryan Strawser:

You're right. So we're raising our profit. Okay. The right way to put it.

Jonathan Stark:

I love that answer. And that's an important distinction for the listener. So because you don't have set prices, because you're talking to Each client individually and setting price based on so there's no concept of raising a price. Everyone's different. I mean they probably fall into a standard distribution, but They are different.

Jonathan Stark:

So for example, you could say, we are we are going to go after more These whale client like, we're gonna go after bigger clients from now on because we know that that is gonna increase the value that we can deliver and we can capture more of that as the price. Mhmm. So totally Totally semantics, but for someone like me that really likes to deconstruct these things, I I appreciate the I appreciate you indulging me. So what that and that was the root of my question about, like, it's another way of saying you're, like, moving more towards the home run hitter. Like, let's let's move a little move a little bit towards some home run pricing.

Jonathan Stark:

Like, I can't believe we landed that. Like, wow. And really testing the market to see, like, how much money are we leaving on the table based on our brand reputation, our content marketing, the trust we have in the marketplace, And like the prices we're putting out there.

Bryan Strawser:

I would agree with that.

Jonathan Stark:

Cool. Alright. That's awesome. Okay. So so Was there anything we've talked about so many things.

Jonathan Stark:

I don't even know. It's a clock on the wall. I think we've been going forever. We could probably keep going. But Was there anything else that you felt like made a really big difference?

Jonathan Stark:

Maybe not even just in 2023, but, like, something that came to fruition last year that contributed to this, like, Almost, you know, 50% increase in revenue.

Bryan Strawser:

Well, I think 2 things. We we talked a little bit about, you know, we do some managed services work, Where companies are outsourcing their whole resilience program or elements of their resilience program to us, I think we've been able to do that in a very profitable way, because we're basically applying our methodologies of how to do the work to the work. Mhmm. And that has allowed companies to the value proposition on their end is they get this from a vendor, where the work is guaranteed. They're not having to manage performance because we're doing that, and they're able to do this less expensive than having an in house team do the work.

Bryan Strawser:

And that because we know how to because this is the only thing that we do, this has allowed us to, I I think, Develop a newer line of business that we think will be able to grow and expand in the future.

Jonathan Stark:

I was gonna ask, like, where do you see it going in the future? Right? Like, it is what's the future For Bright Path, is it some sort of almost like SaaS or product or, or just Sort of ongoing managed service, like you said. Like, do you think that that is the next big thing for you guys?

Bryan Strawser:

I so ironically, Some of our competitors have launched a SaaS, a business continuity and crisis management tool, and that's worked really well for them, but they found themselves pivoting to being a software company.

Jonathan Stark:

Right.

Bryan Strawser:

And I don't there's a lot of other good software in this space. I don't really see us doing that. I think it's more I I think we'll continue to grow the managed service arm of the work that we do that we can really differentiate ourselves there to some of our competitors and grow that Grow the business in that direction.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. So I've got I know we're going do you have time? I have, like I do. Okay. I've got 2 big Questions to close on.

Jonathan Stark:

It's sort of bad. You just mentioned the word guaranteed, which I cannot let go by, especially in the space that you're in. Mhmm. So what does that look like? What does a guaranteed engagement look like from from you?

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. So when we're doing managed service work, like a business continuity as a service is Something that we do for several organizations. The guarantee here isn't that you're not gonna have a disruption, but the guarantee is that we're gonna get you We're gonna take your business continuity program through its annual life cycle of creating new plans, completing business impact Analysis, updating plans, having business continuity team exercises, and whatever else might be within that statement of work that we negotiate with them, But you're gonna get that done on an annual basis, or whatever the, you know, calendar calls for

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm.

Bryan Strawser:

In that particular engagement. So for example, One of our clients, that had an in house team prior to outsourcing to us, they hadn't completed their business continuity life cycle Requirements by, you know, their policy and regulations for several years. And we got that done in the 1st year, for them. Because we're just applying our methodology and our expertise, our experience to that problem and making it happen.

Jonathan Stark:

Right. Okay. Totally cool. Totally cool. Perfect answer to that question.

Jonathan Stark:

Alright. So then the other question was much more entrepreneurial which is How much growth is enough for you?

Bryan Strawser:

Global domination, Jonathan.

Jonathan Stark:

Okay. So not universal, though.

Bryan Strawser:

Funny. Ironicly, we had our our Our annual planning meeting with the whole team this morning, and we talked about, like, what do we look like 3 to 10 years from now? Mhmm. And, You know, we we've got some revenue targets we planned. We think that we can achieve over time.

Bryan Strawser:

Not every year is gonna be this 40% increase by any means. But we we see continuing to grow in some of these areas that you and I have talked about with managed services and other products that we want to launch and have over time.

Jonathan Stark:

Does that look like increased head count or top line like, stay head count, top line goes up?

Bryan Strawser:

It'll be both. We'll have to continue to add headcount in order to support the work that we believe that we'll win and have to do over time.

Jonathan Stark:

Mhmm. And the attractiveness of the ongoing manager services, like, predictability. Right. Your own resiliency in a sense.

Bryan Strawser:

Yeah. It really levels out the peaks and valleys of cash Hello.

Jonathan Stark:

Exactly. Wow. I mean, I feel like we could do another whole episode, but, I know I have to let you go. Thank you so much, Brian, for coming on the show.

Bryan Strawser:

Of course. Thanks for having me and greatly appreciate, all the knowledge you shared over the years.

Jonathan Stark:

So I love to see it working. It's my favorite. So where can folks go to find out more about what you're doing? Maybe get in touch with you, follow-up questions, refer business, and so forth.

Bryan Strawser:

Our website and all of our social media is brightpath, brythpathandthen.com for the website. You can find me on LinkedIn under Brian Strauser, and our podcast is Managing Uncertainty, and you'll find it in all the same all the great places that podcasts

Jonathan Stark:

Rob. Sounds great. Love the title. Good marketing there. Alright, folks.

Jonathan Stark:

That's it for this week and I hope you join me next time for ditching hourly. Bye.