What if we told you there's a way to overcome the limiting factors that stunt the growth of many mid-sized businesses? Join Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society in a conversation with Joe Rockey, a business coach, speaker, and the brains behind Elite Business Conversations. Rockey takes us through his journey of starting and working on 15 different businesses, including his Local Football Flavor podcast that brings NFL fan bases closer together.
Discover how effective communication can be the key to unlocking your business's full potential, as Rockey shares strategies for creating a nurturing environment for ideas to be heard and acted upon. We also dive into the essence of crafting an impactful marketing message that piques your customers’ interest and highlights the value of your products and services.
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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning
Welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, gary Peugeot. The Dead Pixel Society podcast is brought to you by MediaClip, advertek Printing and IP Labs.Gary Pageau:
Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast. I'm your host, gary Peugeot, and today we're joined by Joe Rockey, who is a business coach and speaker with Elite Business Conversations. Hi Joe, how are you today? I'm doing great. How are you? We're doing great. We're waiting for the draft for football to start. Obviously, before the show, joe and I were talking about a little bit of a professional football. I won't hold it against him that he's a Steelers fan, but actually you have a professional football podcast, so why don't we talk a little bit about that before we get into the nature of your business.Joe Rockey:
It's called alled Local Football Flavor and the whole goal of it is aside from educating NFL fans, but it's to really bring each fan base to closer to each other. We all have this perception that we've all witnessed before, where we heard some national guy go off about our team and we know he's flat out wrong And what we try to do is connect other fan bases to each other and find out what's really going on and be able to get real details. So in the off season we're done a condensed version of every single team season what went on. I have been watching football tape at one capacity or another for 20 plus years, so when I watch the NFL coaches tape, i can tell you what they actually are trying to achieve the difference between a physical mistake, a mental mistake and a flat out bad scheme. I'm looking at Mac Canada, our offensive coordinator, right now. The long story short is we try to give people a lot of insightful information, try to bridge the gap, saying that Pittsburgh isn't the only city that hates their offensive coordinator, detroit's not the only city that can't cover the past to save their lives, and there's a lots of places out there that we try to have good connections. Figure out the rest of the world. It's amazing for people who follow the show and you get these little local tidbits here and there how much better your fantasy team and your bet winning ratio is drastically improved just with some fun conversations with local fans.Gary Pageau:
Well, you and I could probably talk about that for hours on end, but we're not here for that. We're here for the other side of your business, which is elite business conversations and which kind of dump tails actually kind of into the pro football top, because in some ways business is a conversation.Joe Rockey:
Yeah, absolutely, and that's really what we try to break down. So elite business conversations. we feature two main products to our clients. The first is the business coaching for companies that have stalled out for whatever purpose, and that frustrating quagmire that's not one, but you're feeling the pain, the just frustration that this is my baby. I built this. It was doing great. Why is it getting held back? Why is that the repeat second grade, and that's where we help people. And then also on the keynote side, that's just a more one off type situation, but still the same thing. It's presenting people great information that will make them better. And one of my speeches is in the process of becoming a bestselling book, because I presented to a bunch of publishers and next thing you know, we're making a bestseller here. So that's always fun as well.Gary Pageau:
So how did you get into this? How did you decide I'm going to be a coach, Business coach.Joe Rockey:
I started my own personal business in 2011 and I since then made 15 other ones And I kind of fell into it. I just started helping other So my friends that were running their businesses that work on the way they wanted, and, lo and behold, everything I told them worked really, really well. I was like I should do this more. I found that I was getting more personal joy out of helping other people and just doing what my business was and or is like. I turned it off, but what we did was I wanted to focus on this. This is my goal for 2023 is to really really get to a hundred new clients in 2023 that we didn't have before, and it's all on the basis of making ourselves better businesses for what the business is trying to achieve. So, is that more wealth for the business owner? Is it more time? Is it pushing an agenda that you'd want to have for trade? And that's the kind of things that we help people do, because these are all different questions based upon the desire of why did you build this baby in the first place?Gary Pageau:
So give us an example of one or two of the 15 businesses you've started or worked on.Joe Rockey:
Yeah, so we're doing with just the ones I've made. I like bringing up Father and Joe. It's my second podcast. It's the first podcast I made, but it's the second podcast to discuss here on the show And that is all designed behind the notion of creating better relationships with individuals and with ourselves. So Father and Joe is with a priest They're called fathers in the Catholic Church And we created this because in 2017, in the transition between Obama and Trump for those that can remember back that far, it was not awesome. Basically, the TV said you had to either be or own one side or the other. You weren't allowed to talk to the other side, and anytime in human history, a civilization or culture has said you're not allowed to talk to the other side. The road ends in one of three very bad ways Either that country goes to war with someone else, they have a civil war, or they committed genocide, which is just the really one-sided civil war. Knowing that I didn't want to live in a country that was going to do either of those options, i chose to try to do something about it, and that's where Father and Joe came to be And the relationship skills that are created. There are really the bridges, of how you calm everyone down and also make a very productive life in business. So I start with that, because I actually don't make a dime on Father and Joe, but the knowledge that I've learned from it and that we share with others is the most invaluable stuff that I've ever done. It's really the basis of helping a lot of my other clients how to make your relationships better. It's why I can build the absolute best work culture environment on the planet, because I know how to deal with relationships and individuals.Gary Pageau:
So are your other businesses. Are they B2C, b2b? what are what?Joe Rockey:
I have both. I have business, i'm a consumer. I have business to business. So first business I ever built was designed to basically be what you would consider a flipper, if you watch those kind of TV shows. We buy properties, we modernize them and we collect the equity in the form of revenue, and then that became a landlord business. I created after that because I want to have residual income and just so on and so forth. It all started in the real estate realm and just sort of growing into helping other businesses achieve, so we created a marketing business. Thereafter we created, like I said, business culture creations, and that's really where the culmination of elite business conversations is is creating that business culture. That's place where your clients want to work, where your clients want to be, they're able to create innovation, so therefore your company continues to grow. And then obviously, sales is the key of everything and I'm a master teacher of sales, so that's also important.Gary Pageau:
So one thing that I want to come back to something you said earlier was about goals. You know I was we're talking about before the show. You know, a lot of times people think in the photo industry it's a mature market, right, everyone knows about photography. They may, they have an impression of it And seeing drastic growth in some areas may or may not be in somebody's future, but the reality is is there's always growth opportunities. And what do you suggest to someone who is businesses not growing and maybe it's a mature business that's been around for I would say a camera store or a photo lab that's been around 30, 40 years, maybe in the second generation How do you suggest they look at their business to get more of a growth mindset?Joe Rockey:
So the first thing is is you need to be able to be in touch with the reality of what your strengths are, what you wish your strengths were, and those are oftentimes two different things, and for many owners, we'll start with the first generation that created it. That's a very hard problem to achieve, because you've created it through the lens of seeing it grow up, just like a child, and you sometimes, almost always, see it in that light. So where the problem in the disconnects can be most easily addressed and typically give you the best results as well is how well do your employees and your from every level, from the absolute most insignificant person on your staff to the one who's cutting the million dollar checks, where do each of them have the ability to put input in and how is it received and potentially acted upon? Because the reality is is that your entity has a lot of different components and just addressing the three major ones up front of the sales cycle, because that is the most important part. You built a business to make revenue. Everything else it does is important, but if it doesn't make revenue, it dies. So your revenue cycle has three main components. People need to know who you are and have a desire to want to be with you. Part one. Part two you need to have the ability to transfer the promise of your product for resources. Basically, you pay me now, amazon will ship the product to you in two days, it'll be awesome. And then part three your product needs to be worth it and amazing on the back end. So those are essentially the three parts that every business needs to look at Specifically. Looking at those, what insight do the people involved in those three elements have about your business? So, for those that don't have specific people addressed to those individual tasks, we need to open this up to everyone and see who will actually gravitate to them, because you probably already are doing this, but you've never put the labels on it. That's very common across mid-tier businesses that Sue just kind of takes care of collecting the money and making sure all the orders are filled. That's awesome. How does that actually go about? What are her insights And what do we ask her about what she's seeing and what she's experiencing? And most businesses get bottled up because they don't allow appropriate communication from everyone and they discount people's opinions and overvalue other people's opinions. That works great when the person who you're overvaluing is right a lot and you have just ride that individual's growth. It's horrible. The second he's wrong or the second he leaves, then your business is done to shot flat in the face. And this is how we help people. You got to learn how do we listen to everyone involved and how do we create a nurturing environment of where I might not like your idea, we might never do anything, but I'm glad you gave it to us And unfortunately I can't give all of that in 20 minutes. But that's the core essence of what you're trying to achieve, because your company will know the answer. It's just how do you get it out of your company.Gary Pageau:
Because I think it's interesting because what I've seen in a lot of, like you said, mid-sized, mid-tier companies, i would say you got 30, 40, maybe 50 employees and many of them work in different areas. Let's say there's like shipping or order preparation or customer service, and they may have an opinion about how another fast of the business ought to go Like. I've always heard like shipping department see everything and they don't always feel like they can have input into the other areas of the product because, put a quote, it's not their area, right. And so that's something where I think a lot of businesses run into bottlenecks and problems is, you know, it's not your area syndrome.Joe Rockey:
You're absolutely right, And that's a limiting factor that people put on themselves, They put on their company. Like I said, there is certainly possibilities where the idea you'll get from the shipping people are absolutely flat out wrong and it would not help your product. But you have to figure out a way to communicate that back and forth and kind of dive into it. Now that does not mean that you're creating the shipping guide, become the next product engineer. I mean, that's not what we're necessarily trying to do. Sometimes it happens, but that's not necessarily what we're trying to do here. We're just trying to say we can give communication and in a, like I said, respectful, nurturing way. We don't think that would work. And here's kind of why. And sometimes those dialogues back and forth in fact almost always are how you get through these problems, Because it might be something in shipping that finds out you know this area is something we're doing bad And you might have someone over here marketing saying that we can't really reach these people very well, but this type of question just keeps coming at us And I don't know how to answer it. So we're losing those sales. Well, why don't we figure this stuff out and connect some bridges here? And that's really how companies that are stalled really can find these opportunities. Now there's also an entire process of diving in and doing a true, honest evaluation of what we are and where we are, And there is a segment of owners out there that will live in denial of the facts, And you just need to be able to overcome that at the end of the day, that you know you might have been the best at this 20 years, but you're not, and we need to figure out why. And living in your mind so that you still are the best is hurting everybody.Gary Pageau:
When you're in a mature market, what are some of the things that you can look for to boost your sales? Like for you know, for example, because you know, the photographic industry was built around the original idea was built around the idea of, you know, family vacations right, so people would. Or special events you would take pictures at graduations and at birthday parties, summer vacations and Christmas right? I mean, sometimes there'd be a whole year's worth of memories on a roll of film, right, that's what they shot. And then it kind of evolved and when it got into digital and to self-expression, right, i could do all these more creative things with my, with my camera and my images. And now you can print out on incredible materials, like you know, ceramic and metal and you know bamboo and canvas and all these wonderful substrates. So now people have gotten into home decoration and other things. But what happens is and this is where I really am interested in your insight as a coach but an outsider, right, you're not living. This is, you know, you can focus on all those opportunities, but you can also then lose your focus.Joe Rockey:
Yeah, that's true. So you need to know what it is that you're good at. I mean, that needs to be the starting point. So, yes, we look at the industry of photography from an overall perspective. It used to be get a professional, come in, sit down, hold your face still for an hour, and if not, it looks weird. And that's what all the black and white pictures we see from the you know turn of the century were to. Now any random kid can take 20 billion pictures with his phone on one bus ride home from school. So it's like that part of its night and day. So There also is, because the industry has been around so long, a perception that the average consumer knows everything. Yeah, i know what a printed picture looks like, i know where, i guess, if I get it, i guess I can Google it. But at the end of the day, facebook doesn't need me to print anything. None of my social media is doing anything And the back of my phone and computers can be all these digital pictures. Why do I even need this? So what we're actually dealing with in my opinion, as an outsider, as the industry problem as a whole, is a conflict of apathy, war. Essentially, people have to resell, why you should have printed materials For years, generations. That was a no-brainer, of course. How is he going to see a picture of your grandma? I mean stupid, like that's a stupid question. You ask someone that in the 70s they'll be like no, unless she's in the movies. I think we need to have actual pictures of her. So now we're dealing with the reality that any two seconds I get my picture taken And unless I'm on a roller coaster or something where the actual theme park has taken the picture for me, i have complete and under control and access to my picture. I can even edit it now inside the phone, and that's how they're selling these phones is you can make them better at editing pictures. So the real thing needs to be what am I doing that is necessary? that is probably being taken for granted and missed. So that would be the true starting point to make yourself stand out. Because from the average end consumer I'm not talking about the business, business, i'm saying the end consumer, who every business eventually is getting to, is losing the need intuitively in their mind about the industry And that as an industry whole goal needs to be. This is why you need to have printed pictures And you're also now in the revolutionary period where you're rattling off bamboo and stealing. I had no idea that was even an option. I'm just a regular guy going through life here. I had no idea you could do that clinical stuff And if you're a company who could do that, specialize at it. We live in a world that simultaneously is ignoring the physical element of the world, but it's also trying to constantly be seen, and you have this opportunity of being unique and saying we can give you this great image. Basically, you give us the image. We don't care what the image. We can give you this great platform to present it upon. And I'm assuming the ease of doing this now is drastically different. And the thought that just came into my mind was you're back in the 70s and you wanted to customize your truck with a business logo on it. You needed to get a really good graphic designer who could work with some spray paint for a vehicle. You don't need to do that anymore. You need to find a company who can make a detail and get it on the side of your Ford And at the end of the day, that's the kind of thing that will make you stand out going down the road You go oh, look at that one truck, i could see it. It's not like everyone else's And there's an opportunity there that is beyond measure for those printing houses that are able to do it. Now, yeah, that's custom. You might have used to been doing the padded photos for generations And now we've got to switch because padded photos aren't the big thing anymore, because now someone can go buy a digital picture frame that changes every five minutes or whatever.Gary Pageau:
But it's an opportunity, right, and that's the kind of thing that you can come out with when you really start exploring what it is that we can do and looking beyond the old five by seven printouts that you got from Target.Gary Pageau:
Because you've hit on one of the major points, i think, of the challenges of the industry because interest and in the category right, photography. Everyone, like you said, everyone's got a smartphone that tastes great pictures, but it's activating people to print has been a challenge in a lot of ways, basically because they preview the image on their screen and they're like, yes, i need to print that someday somehow. And you're right I mean it's easier than ever to do right now. So I mean you can print to your home, have the sub ship to your home, you can print to a store, have it picked up in a store, and or you can print it yourself in a store and pick it up right there. There's all kinds of options.Joe Rockey:
So ease of use is not really the challenge either, but I can actually push back on that a little bit because I think there's a bigger problem that's missed underneath that analysis. I look at my wife as an example here. She's got 20,000 pictures of my baby and my baby boy here And she doesn't know which one she likes. She doesn't, first off, know what she likes, how she ever going to invest in it, and that is common everywhere. It's a byproduct of having essentially unlimited memory in your phone. But to me that's that is a starting point problem. You know how do we? if you had a computer algorithm that said, of these 500 pictures or this video you took, this is the frame you want, you just solved a lot of people's mental problems.Gary Pageau:
Well, that's coming, that's out there, no.Erin Manning:
I mean, i mean.Gary Pageau:
I mean it's not out there now, but it's coming. There are people working on that, ai driven selection for a lot of different things, but again, they may just present the ideal photo, but will it translate into print this now, or we're going to make this photo go away? I think it's almost Well, that's part of it.Joe Rockey:
But the point is is you can't have urgency if you don't have a passion. There's too many, the passion is watered down because there's too many images. That's my, that's my, that's a great assessment.Gary Pageau:
That's a good assessment because I think you're right. You know there's going to be 1.3. I think the latest number of projects, 1.3 trillion images captured this year just in North America. So that's a lot of crappy images but a lot also a lot, of meaningful images that should be preserved and shared and displayed and print. and it's not So, as a business owner is in this business and you're constantly having to talk to newer customers. right, because people age out of the category, because traditionally, people you know, like yourself, with a small child, you were the sweet spot You took in back in the film days. you took a ton of pictures and you printed a ton of pictures because you sent them to grandma and grandpa and everyone else And that was great. Then, when you had more kids, you took more pictures, you took more vacation, you did all that. So people are always aging out of the category because as you get older, you may not take as many pictures and ways of reaching those people are now much differently than it used to be.Joe Rockey:
Yeah, absolutely, and it does start with. There has to be a reason. There has to be a reason that I want to do this And that's there.Gary Pageau:
Everyone agrees They love pictures, right?Joe Rockey:
And that's why they got an entire thing full of them. They have hard drives full of them, but the problem is is that there's not scarcity. Right, that was the joy, that was the underwritten part of the industry that really driven it. It was this moment in time And this is the only time I'm getting this picture, even when they was the old school. You'll push the button, take another picture and you go through 24 of them. You know we live in a world where Facebook doesn't care how many times you upload the same picture. It literally give me the same picture And you can see it over and over again. And that presence of being around us just erodes the need. Because I can see it now, why do I need to make it permanent? So this phone, in theory, if I'm connected to the cloud, this image will live forever, along with the 5000 other that I have taken. And what needs to be conveyed? to answer your question, i'm not trying to stumble around it. What needs to be conveyed in reaching out to new people is saying that your phone is great, it's good for a lot of things, but we need to take your most important five and make them forever, and not in a way where they're strolling across the background screen of your computer, but they're going to be meaningful to you. For some people, that's going to be on the side of a coffee mug. For some people it's going to be, you know, whatever. You know your products better than I do. But the point being that battle of emotionally grasping someone saying this is important, this is meaningful, some people would argue this is sacred, we need to have it. Those that will succeed will accomplish that mission of conveying that need to the buyers, and the ones that are better at that will be the ones in skyrocket. That's the opportunity in this market of how to do it, because I can go to Shutterfly right now. I can upload five billion pictures, but I never look at them. In fact, actually, when his first birthday came around, we got 700 pictures. We think we have three of them that we still look at. But if they were made in the same price tag but in a unique setting where it was on the side of this weird whatever that was wrapped around, that would be looked at and viewed much more powerfully. And when it comes time around for the second go around, the second birthday, what are we more likely to do? The thing that we just looked at once for a weekend and now. I don't even know where they are, The thing that's like the center point of the entryway of the house, Like, oh, that thing looks awesome. So that's what I mean by scarcity and making something really stand out. And again, I'm not trying to diminish the bulk purchases that Shutterfly can do, But I'm saying for the opportunities that the unique jobs have. That's what you need to do. You need to create scarcity and importance with something that's abundant. And on the surface it sounds like a very, very hard question until we realize there's nothing more abundant on this planet than water. But we all know what aquafine and desante are.Gary Pageau:
Right, exactly.Joe Rockey:
People who can do it will succeed, and they will succeed to the point where they will be the only one left. It's the most vital skill you can in terms of portraying your product to the future and to the future buyers.Gary Pageau:
Well, i'm happy to report. There are people who are doing the type of approach you are doing, which is good. The challenge, i think, is in a marketing standpoint, and there are people who are always chasing the next thing. And the reality with business, i think and maybe you could have a comment on this is it's more important to be consistent and have a strong message than super creative and have your message everywhere.Joe Rockey:
You need to have a strong message, i think is what you're ultimately trying to say there. And as human beings, we all crave consistency. It's one of the universal things that are true for every person on this planet is the desire for consistency, and if you can be a basis of giving that, you will be better off. That's 100% a fact. There's no way to fight that. So, yes, the answer, as long as I'm short, was yes, you'd better be consistent. Outrageously consistent is one of the best qualities you can have, especially in a marketing team.Gary Pageau:
But I also think it's interesting because there is so much. if you read the business media, almost all of it is now about marketing approaches whether Instagram is going to have reels or they're going to have a buy now button, or if TikTok is doing this or Snapchat is doing that, and it's not really about how to craft the actual, effective message itself. It's more about the technology and the platform. So I don't want to say don't read that stuff.Joe Rockey:
Yeah, you're probably better off for that. The end of the day, we are hitting back it up to style note. We're hitting into the space where spin and reality really are hitting their confluence point. You know, depending upon what state you lived in during COVID, you were told two drastically different messages about whether this thing was real and whether or not you're allowed to go outside or not, And the reality eventually crushes people, Like I was lied to in one regard or the other. But I was lied to And that element is just fighting the marketing world that we're having now. The fact that I can just say anything and be in front of 20 million people on YouTube is great. I really love it for my show. But if I tell people all the time wrong information, they don't come back. You need to have not just the wild consistency we discussed before. You need to be good and correct. And by good, i mean your product needs to deliver. The absolute best way to achieve any supremacy in business is have the absolute best product. You do need to get people to find you. I mean, like I said, there's three equally important revenue stages. People need to find you and want to come to your business and you need to have an amazing product, but at the end of the day, that's it.Gary Pageau:
Oh, cool, joe. Thank you so much for your time and your expertise today. Where can people go to find more information about not just local football flavor but elite business conversations? Where can they go?Joe Rockey:
Yeah, so elitebusinessconversationscom is the straight points. Three words, elitebusinessconversationscom, local football all these are three words. Local football flavor is our YouTube channel where you can see it, and then my audio podcast, father and Joe, is where you can find that.Gary Pageau:
So it's a leap. Another three word thing. That's right Yeah.Joe Rockey:
I realize that Elitebusinessconversations, local football flavor and Father and Joe, like I said, all of them are designed for, at the end of the day, of uniting people, just in what platform we discuss.Gary Pageau:
Well, thank you, Joe, for your time and look forward to catching you when the football season starts.Erin Manning:
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