BG Hamrick, Founder & CEO of Local Impact

Hi everybody. I’m BG Hamrick and I am very pleased and excited today to be able to talk with Jeremy Turner. He’s the founder of EPIC Mission. Jeremy, good to talk with you today, man. Thanks for coming by.

Jeremy Turner, Founder & Managing Director of EPIC Mission

Hey, BG. Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here

BG:

For those out there who don’t know what EPIC Mission is all about, tell us who you are, a little bit about your history and who EPIC Mission is.

Jeremy:

Got it. Okay. Well, first EPIC Mission, we’re all about building and restoring thriving, resilient, hope-filled communities across Appalachia and beyond. What we do is we provide coaching and consulting services for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses of all sizes. Everything from the, “I have an idea” or “God’s called me to do something. How do we get started?” to established organizations that have been around for decades and longer. We meet organizations where they are, let them know they’re not alone and provide the message of hope to help them get and help get them from where they are today to where they wish to go in the future. We were founded in 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. And it really came, EPIC Mission came about from my own frustrations of having looked for and needing professional consulting services, but not wanting to pay three or four or $500 an hour to receive them.

In my prior life in working with large nonprofits and launching small businesses and ministry-based nonprofits and otherwise, I found myself needing help, but I couldn’t find anyone that was willing to really roll up their sleeves and come alongside and not beat me up with a bunch of, a bunch of jargon and a bunch of things that just really sounded great but had no substance to them. I needed someone that was willing to say, “All right, let’s go do this.” And as I said, roll up their sleeves, come alongside me and not cause me to go into bankruptcy by charging me hundreds and hundreds of dollars an hour. So EPIC Mission was formed out of my own frustration and a need to fill that gap. So we work with organizations of all sizes. And really the goal is to provide very high-level coaching or consulting service that’s practical, meaning the things that we teach and the advice that we offer and the tools and tactics we bring to bear. These are things that actually work because we’ve seen them, we’ve done them and we’ve witnessed the end result. And you know, our, again, our goal is, is to make sure that organizations get what they need without going broke in the process.

BG:

Great. Thanks, Jeremy. Obviously the reason we’ve come together today is to talk about the current situation. A lot of us find ourselves in, COVID-19 has put a lot of stress, a lot of money, a lot of answered questions, a lot of problems and difficulties and struggles for businesses and nonprofits. What’s your position on this at the moment? What are you telling businesses where should they be focused at the moment?

Jeremy:

Yeah. You know, ‘business as usual’ these days is pretty unusual. Life as we know it has been disrupted and we don’t any of us really know what life is going to look like after this next chapter passes. So, the businesses, the for-profits, and nonprofits I’ve been talking to you know, there’s been a tremendous disruption in the revenue streams. So how money is coming into the organization and they need to retain as much money as possible. And there’s really, when it comes to having a chunk of change in your organization it’s really, you can do a couple of things. You can cut your expenses and figure out where you have some fluff and how you’re spending money so that you have more dollars to last longer. Or you can now generate additional revenue, find new and inventive ways to sell your product or service, whatever that might be, or you can do both.

And really that, I think that’s the preferred method. And that’s what I’ve been working with organizations on is how can you trim the fat in the monies that you’re spending to get really super lean, knowing that this too shall pass and you may be able to go back to, you know, spending on certain nice things that aren’t purely essential, but for the time being, this is a survival mode. And then, additionally looking at how can you make an adjustment in what you’re delivering, maybe adding new products or services or how you’re delivering them. You know, rather than meeting in person you’re using the power of technology to deliver your products and services. So really looking at trim the fat and also generate revenue as a, not an either/or, but an and.

BG:

Well, it’s something that’s near and dear to both me and you in our hearts is nonprofits organizations who rely on fundraising, on donations, obviously, they’re suffering right now. What’s some of your best advice for them at the moment? And this a difficult time when people don’t have a lot of money to you know, they’re holding on, they’re very being very conservative. What can a nonprofit organization do right now?

Jeremy:

Yeah, that’s a great question. And you hit it. Nonprofits are very close to my heart, your heart. And that’s why we’re, well, one reason why we do what we do. So there’s a couple of things that I recommend and two of them I already shared. One is trim the fat, cut your non-essential expenses and trim those. The other is to look at, for example, for those nonprofit organizations who are typically relying solely on contributed revenue, which is “Hey X, Y, Z nonprofit, I’m going to give you some money and I’ve got no expectation of anything in return.” and looking at options for earned revenue, which is the sale of a product or service in exchange for a fee. So looking within the organization’s core capabilities and seeing is there something that they can make that they can sell? Is there a service they can provide? Is there some expertise that they have they can offer on the open market and sell for a fee? In addition, I think that an organization’s messaging has never been more crucial than it is now. People give to nonprofits, not because they have a problem or have a need, but because they solve a need, they solve a problem. And I think that now is a crucial time for nonprofit organizations to rethink how they’re communicating out what it is they actually do and why they exist. So maybe for the first time in an organization’s existence, they need to really stop and think and focus on what is the core problem that they actually solve. Rather than looking at a slew of things that they do where there really isn’t a lot of focus. They’re trying to do five or six or 10 things, maybe find the one or two things that they do exceptionally well. Focus on that core problem or two core problems and create messaging to share out to the people, “Here is what we do. Here’s how we solve problems. Here’s how we solve needs in our local community, within whatever particular sector and this is how we make the world a better place. So here’s the problem that we solve. Here’s a solution that we offer. And here’s what, when you provide funding to our organization, here’s how we use that funding to combat that problem by providing this solution.” That’s what I would suggest in addition. So cut the expenses, look for opportunities for earned revenue. Tighten up on the business model determining what exactly problem you solve, what solution you offer for whom, how do you deliver it and communicating that out very cleanly, clearly and concisely so people can latch on.

BG:

Okay, let’s switch the side of the road here. Talk about for-profit, maybe even restaurants. I know you’ve had a lot of experience working with restaurants and management and creating plans and directions and had a lot of success there. What I’m seeing are some of our larger restaurants, larger organizations, were positioned better for this crisis that we’re in. They had delivery models and methods in place, they had certain things that they could pivot and make a change for. Some of our smaller restaurants and coffee shops struggled a bit. They tried to do that, they tried to get going, but many of them had a lot of difficulty doing so. So from your restaurant experience and from the time you spent helping to manage and grow those types of businesses and other for-profit businesses, we don’t have to just stick around talking about restaurants. What for the for-profit side, would be different than maybe the nonprofit advice you gave?

Jeremy:

Yeah. So, for-profit businesses, the primary reason they exist is to make money, right? And so looking at how it is that the organization makes money, so when we’re in a time like we are now where there’s been a complete disruption of business-as-usual, there’s never been a better time to get creative and to pull back and see how you might re-examine what it is that you do or reimagine how you do what you do. Similar to the advice that I provided just a moment ago with nonprofits, restaurants still solve problems. And so looking at what is the problem that you’re solving, it may seem like it’s real simple. We are feeding hungry people. Okay, it’s likely a little deeper than that. You know, if you serve a specific type of food and then you’ve got a different niche looking very specifically how you do what you do, what is your model for delivery, meaning, if you had previously been a dine-in the restaurant, how can you perhaps pivot to delivery? What else can you do? And there’s a lot of different models out there right now that I’m seeing where organizations or restaurants are rather than selling one-by-one menu items, they’re creating family meals or they’re providing food and raw food and instructions for take-home meals so that the whole meal plan or a meal box, a delivery option is huge these days, you know, whether it’s Blue Apron or whatever. So restaurants are pivoting into this area right now as well. Getting real creative with their pricing, trying to create more value for less money. These are three ways that I would suggest that the restaurants take a look at what they’re doing and seeing how they can weather this storm. Again, we’re likely to get back to some form of normal after a time, but for right now it’s about survival. So how can you trim your expenses? How can you look outside of yourself and see what others are doing and see if you can emulate that in some way with the understanding that you may not have the same resources as an international restaurant corporation. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still do some form of X, Y, Z service.

BG:

Fantastic. Great, thank you.

As you and I have both pivoted in our own businesses, we’ve looked at different ways to provide the services that we provide. You’re making a pivot right now. One of the things I wanted to highlight is how you are expanding the way you do services, the way you do coaching, the way you take people down a road of management and help and guidance. You’ve made some very interesting changes and created a wonderful opportunity for businesses right now who are struggling, who maybe don’t even know where to began or what questions they should be asking or even what things they should be prioritizing. You’re making a very strong offer right now and a very generous offer to the folks in our community to be able to help them from EPIC Mission and your coaching experience. Can you tell us more about that?

Jeremy:

Yeah, absolutely. This work that we do here at EPIC Mission, this is not just a paycheck. This is ministry work for us. This is how we get out and go serve the world around us. The people that we help, we aren’t called to do the same things that they are doing. That doesn’t mean that we can’t help them in some way, shape, or fashion. In the words of Jim Justice way, shape, form, or fashion. So we found ourselves right now with some additional time, different amounts of time and we want to help. Those people that need help out there. So we’re really doing two things. One is we’re offering a free strategy session. It’s one-hour, it’s with me and we’re going to work through creating a short-term plan of action. The word ‘strategy’ has a lot of buzz associated with it and it’s sort of a jargony business term and it can frighten some people off of thinking it’s some got to be some huge intricate business plan or something. It’s really not that at all. So through the way that we’re offering the strategy session, we’re forcing people to think through a series of questions. So if someone says, “Yes, I’d like to take advantage of your free one-hour strategy session.” they’re going to be guided through a self-assessment that forces them to think about some of the key aspects of their business, the financials, and human resources aspects so that they come in with a frame of mind and have thought through their business. It’s not just showing up on a call with me and saying, “Help, I don’t know what to do,” there are some open-ended questions that ask you to dig a little deeper about when you’re looking for help within a strategy session, what does that mean? What does help mean to you? What would you like to have happen? So that again, before we meet, I have a little understanding of where you are as an organization, what you’re looking for, what help looks like for you. So when we get together, it’s about working with you to design in the implementable short-term action plan that helps you survive this current situation that we’re in so that when life gets back to whatever form of normal it is, you’re good to go at that point. The second half of what our offer is right now is a pay-what-you-can model. So for those individuals, organizations that go through the strategy session with me, or even those who may forego the strategy session, you may know that you need help in some way. Whether it’s additional a coaching one-on-one or small group coaching or some consulting service, you need a feasibility study or deeper strategic planning help or help developing a funding plan or refining a funding plan, whatever it might be, whatever service it might be, we’re offering a pay-what-you-can-model and here’s what that looks like. Once you and I meet, once we talked through whatever your need might be, then I’ll design a proposal that’s going to lay out the the deliverables, the timelines, the roles and responsibilities for you and I, and what the typical cost would be for that. And then we continue the conversation from there. I’ll share the proposal with you and then what I need from you is to have a real open, honest and transparent conversation where you don’t hold back and neither do I. And we can come to some form of understanding about what it is that you actually need, what it is that you could actually afford right now and what that might look like as we move forward. Perhaps you just absolutely can’t afford the typical fee for something and that’s okay. So we determine what does help look like in the situation so that you get what you need at a price you can absolutely afford at this time. So every conversation is going to be deeply personal and very customized. It’s not an off the shelf one size fits all fix. We don’t do that anyway. And especially in this situation, we’re really needing to have very clear, open, honest conversations with you as the principals within your organization so that we can see what help looks like and what we can do to help you.

BG:

Well, I’d like to say on the receiving end, I have seen what motivates you. I have watched you give and I’d just like to say to anybody who’s out there watching us today, we 100% would recommend you take Jeremy up on this opportunity because he’s not only helped massive, massive amounts of people in the past, but he’s also currently giving and helping and he’s helping Local Impact, our business. He’s helped us go through things. I’m extremely excited about the partnership. We’ve been able to develop the things that we’re going to be able to do for our communities. So just from a referral standpoint, if you have any confidence in Local Impact, we can tell you, you can have great confidence in EPIC Mission and Jeremy Turner because he does have a heart for growth, for people, for community, and for success. And he will take you down the road that you need to go, but you have to make the first decision. You have to take that first step to reach out to give him some information that he could use to better assimilate an idea and a direction for you and your company and your business or your nonprofit. So, Jeremy, 100% thank you. Is there anything you want to say in a final few minutes here about where we are and what we’re doing or anything we may have missed in our few minutes together?

Jeremy:

Yeah, just, I really, I want to finish up with just sharing a message of hope. You know, these are tough times, but you’re tough people. You’ve decided to take on challenges that no one else wanted. And you are the Heroes of Change. You are the entrepreneurs, the nonprofits, the small businesses that recognize there’s a gap in your community. There’s a product or service that’s needed. You’re the ones bringing jobs into communities and providing livelihoods for people and those livelihoods provide dignity and self-respect for people all across our community. And for that, you should be applauded. You are exactly who we were formed to help. When I talk about the Heroes of Change, I’m talking about you. I’m talking about you who get up every day and go forward and grind, who get up every day and get a re-excited about why it is that you started whatever it is that you’re doing. So stay encouraged. Stay hopeful. There’s help available if you want it. We can’t do the work for you, but we’re here to work with you and know that this too shall pass. But in the meantime, we just want you to stay hopeful, stay encouraged, and we’ll hope to talk to you soon and see you in the community. We appreciate what you do.

BG:

I’m going to make sure that all of your contact information and the ways that people can get connected to you for your offer are found all around the page that people are watching or consuming this material on. My friend, my brother, thank you for being on. I really appreciate all you do for us and your heart for people.

Jeremy:

Likewise. I appreciate that and I appreciate you, BG, and I’ve loved working with you, with your team, Local Impact. It’s been amazing and I appreciate you continuing to be the change.

BG:

That’s great. Well, we’ll talk again soon I’m sure. Everybody out there, thanks for watching.

Jeremy:

Take care.