Jessica Nunez is the founder and president of TruePoint Communications, a Dallas-based, full-service integrated marketing communications agency that offers a wide range of services including public relations, media relations, digital marketing, social media, PR, corporate communications, and crisis communications. They serve clients specializing in consumer goods, hospitality, technology, fashion or retail, commercial real estate, and healthcare sectors. TruePoint is recognized for its strategic planning and dedication to producing meaningful results. Their strategic public relations initiatives have led to increased sales, increased web traffic, increased awareness, and a more positive public perception for their customers.
Jessica is a force to be reckoned with and her passion for helping entrepreneurs fuel their growth makes it clear that she’d love nothing more than getting them started on their path. She is always looking to help entrepreneurs prioritize strategies so they can achieve accountability, which speeds up their business growth process!
In our conversation, we talked about Inc. 5000, crisis communications and issue management, and her company’s core values.
TruePoint Communications’ core values
A company’s organizational culture is like a mirror that reflects how people on the team think and behave. If you want to create an effective work environment for your employees then it’s important they have clear guidelines about what behaviors are expected from each of them. Core values support an organization’s vision, shape its culture, and reflect its corporate values. They are the essence of a company’s identity – the principles, beliefs, or philosophy of values. While many companies focus primarily on technical capabilities, they tend to forget the underlying capabilities, or core values, that keep their businesses running smoothly.
TruePoint’s mission is to propel brands forward. That is their goal, drive, and filter for all of their customers. They aim to raise awareness through fresh ideas and help you stand out regardless of the challenges facing your business environment. They’ve been recognized as one of the Top 100 PR agencies in the country, and a three-time recipient of the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Privately-Owned Companies in the US.
Their core values are to generate meaningful results, deliver excellent client service, work with integrity, create a respectful work environment, and deliver fresh ideas. For Jessica, one of the big differentiators at TruePoint is delivering excellent client service. It requires them to know and anticipate what the needs of their clients are, get in their shoes, and feel what they feel. She said, “It’s one thing to generate a result, it’s an absolutely different thing to generate something that’s meaningful to the bottom line of the business.” And working with integrity, which seems like a no-brainer, matters. “Working with integrity, this is a hard thing to do, but it’s the right thing. What’s right is a hard thing. Let’s do it.”
In-depth look at crisis communications and issue management
“In a relationship with customers, we are building trust and that relationship every single day. When we have a crisis, we’re withdrawing that trust. So our job is to mitigate that redraw, that withdrawal and build that trust deposit back up in crisis.”
In the broader context of strategic communication frameworks, it’s important to remember that sometimes things go wrong. All statistical organizations face difficult problems and sudden crises. The purpose of crisis and problem management is to mitigate the harm that adverse events can cause by ensuring that statistical organizations are ready to respond publicly, timely, and appropriately to the problem.
News moves fast – especially bad news. Jessica said, “You have about this day and age of social media, what you do in the first 45 minutes is what matters most.” When something negative happens, clients need advice, processes, connections, and support to solve problems they encounter, as well as the tools and know-how to identify them on the horizon and prepare them appropriately.
Challenging events can originate within the statistical organization, or externally. TruePoint has dealt with issues like internal employee relations, sexual harassment, customer service, store closures, bankruptcy, food poisoning, and unfortunately, death and tragedies.
Though adverse events may be difficult to remember in the middle of a high-stress crisis or troublesome issue, they are a concrete and visible representation of a company’s commitment to integrity and transparency to strengthen its brand.
Her leadership positioning strategy
Aside from the Inc. 5000, Jessica has landed on other coveted best lists. She shared that she uses these awards for two things: thought leadership and retention. “We look at our awards strategy, for example, as an opportunity to show the market prospective clients, our industry, that here’s the segment we’re really great at,” she said.
With the plethora of social media, one way to make sure your brand is seen as a trusted expert in the industry is to put it in your communications with clients when you send them an email or newsletter. Another way is “obviously putting it on social media, tagging your employees too, so they can be recognized and tagging the brands that you work with. It’s top of mind visibility.”
Tune in to the Fascinating Entrepreneurs podcast to hear my whole conversation with Jessica!
Transcript from Podcast
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[00:00:20] Jessica Nunez: For us at TruePoint, it’s all about the hustle. It’s on our wall in the company with a big wall. You walk into the bullpen, it’s a tussle on it. It’s the nature of who we are. It’s permission to play at TruePoint. We’re scrappy, and we have to get in the trenches and roll up our sleeves. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to be resilient.
[00:00:38] Natasha Miller: Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.
How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their business? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life? Are they building to exit? These and a myriad of other topics will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.
If you’d like to know how to scale and grow your company and make more profit sign up on my website at natashamiller.co to get on the waiting list for my Entrepreneurial Masters Accelerator Program.
How do you scale a company to 27 employees and survive a pandemic? In this episode, we’ll be talking to Jessica Nunez about this, her core values, the Inc. 5000, and so much more. Now let’s get right into it.
[00:01:43] Jessica Nunez: When I was in college, Natasha, I said that I was going to start my own PR agency and I was in my senior year.
And my professor said, you know what? You should probably go and get some experience. Maybe, might be a good idea. So I said, okay. And I did. And I went out and worked for a top three consulting communications consulting company. Great company. Had a wonderful experience. And about six years into it, four or five years into it, I actually decided that I really was being pulled to do my own thing.
And a large part of that was where the market was going in. The media landscape and communication world. Facebook had started, Twitter was born in the year I started my company. And so I was seeing what was happening and I was really into launching websites and getting on Twitter.
And everybody would say oh it’s not really gonna last. It was like when the internet launched, it was like, whoa, is that really going to last? And I saw that there was this new generation of PR and it was called an ePR at the time and you’ll hear ePR a lot now.
I didn’t coin it, but I think a lot of us would say electronic PR and going on digital. And then I moved into integrated marketing communications and I just had a desire and a drive to want to do things differently. And I also believe that marketing is a 24/7 business. And several years ago, about six years ago, I really started pushing our company into more of a 24/7 model.
[00:03:13] Natasha Miller: One thing that I’m going to ask you about later about your model, because I’m really curious about one of the services you have, but staying on the path to entrepreneurship. Do you think that you were born a natural entrepreneur or do you think that it’s something you can absolutely learn?
[00:03:34] Jessica Nunez: That’s a great question because I took my predictive index today. Coincidentally, if you’re familiar with that company, but somebody gave me one of those and they said, you’re driven. No wonder you’re an entrepreneur. Your number one feature. You’re extremely driven. I think they work with entrepreneurs and they said, the person I was talking to said a lot of entrepreneurs have this, an independency. Also, it’s one of my traits.
But, I also was influenced in a great deal by my grandfather. My grandfather was an entrepreneur and he retired at 40. His name is Judy Hamilton. I’m very proud to be his granddaughter. He did a lot of really cool stuff. He sold his farm. He was a farmer in Illinois and he sold his farm and moved his family to Texas.
Then he bought used car dealerships and he bought a laundry mat and he, at some point ran a bar in Illinois before he moved to Texas and he ran a hair salon.
[00:04:23] Natasha Miller: Okay. That’s incredible. At one point I would’ve stopped you in thought your grandfather, isn’t an entrepreneur. I think he’s a businessman or a business owner. But when you move around through those various ventures, that’s entrepreneurial in my opinion.
[00:04:38] Jessica Nunez: He was entrepreneurial. The nature of he saw opportunity and he went after it. So he wanted to live on a ranch in Texas. And so he bought a ranch and he bought it with a horse racing track and he got into horse racing and then he started selling his shavings out to other farms or ranches that had horse racing.
He’s very entrepreneurial in nature of everything that he did. And I think I picked up on that element of what can I do, what is in my craft that I can do differently or do better, or just find a way around. Finding enjoyment around that. That’s also what I loved, he found enjoyment in whatever he did.
And that was unique to me and it stuck with me, but you’re right. There’s a big difference between a business and an entrepreneurial spirit.
[00:05:21] Natasha Miller: And do you love what you do?
[00:05:23] Jessica Nunez: I love what I do and here’s what’s crazy. Okay. I love being a publicist. I love being a communications counselor.
I love crisis. So I do a lot of crisis and I love that. And that’s what propelled me into starting TruePoint is I’m so passionate about innovation in my industry and in becoming the leader of the company, by default, by being the founder, I found that at first, I obviously didn’t know anything about being a leader of a company.
I knew my craft.
[00:05:51] Natasha Miller: Totally different thing. Managing, hiring. I just realized this moment when you are like falling in love with somebody and you’re like, there’s all that great endorphins and sexual desire to translate to marriage and kids. They don’t really go together.
The entrepreneurial path. You’re great. And you want to be a great publicist, but that doesn’t mean that you know how or are going to be good at hiring people and managing them and scaling and growing a business,
[00:06:20] Jessica Nunez: Running a business or managing, finding, building services, maintain those services, retaining clients.
That whole mix of building a company. And what I found was when I got out of being in the post is in the communications and I got my arms wrapped around growing and scaling a company, I fell in love again. I was like, oh my gosh, I love this part. I don’t need that anymore. I love this. And frankly, for me, it opened up a whole new growth opportunity for me.
Like it does many entrepreneurs. I think there’s a lot of people who resist it. So if you started a business, especially professional services business, like I’m in, if you started it because you’re really good at what you do, it doesn’t correlate to you than being a great entrepreneur or a great business owner.
But those two things don’t, they’re not a given. And so a lot of people will resist it and they’ll run a lifestyle business, because they’re enjoying their craft and they’ll add a couple more people on to run that lifestyle business. But for me, I found I enjoy propelling people forward and TruePoint gives me that opportunity to build. My product is people.
I love building great people and growing them and catalyzing brands and getting in with our clients and growing their people. That is what really excites me. So that’s, what’s been fun over the past several years as we’ve been growing. And I know you and I came to know each other really well through Inc. 5000.
[00:07:42] Natasha Miller: Yeah, great segway. I think that this whole time you’re reading my mind, which is fine with me. So in addition to the Inc. 5000 list, you’ve landed on other coveted best lists. You just posted something yesterday. How do you leverage those accolades? And I want you to talk about not just how you do it, but for listeners, the strategy to leverage their…
[00:08:03] Jessica Nunez: For me, here we are getting ready to start 2021.
And first of the year, as an opportunity to look at your leadership positioning strategy for you as a brand, right? And each one of us is our own brand and your company as a brand. And so how do you use awards, articles, thought leadership, to position you as the expert. And so what we really look at is, we look at our awards strategy for example, as an opportunity to show the market prospective clients, our industry, that here’s the segment we’re really great at.
And so we use it one for thought leadership and positioning. And the other reason we use it is for retention. So our product is our people. Our people deserve to be showered on and recognize and put forth. So we look at it to say, what great work are you doing that we can put forth and showcase and highlight?
And that’s what’s so exciting. In fact, one of our team members, Morgan Gunnels one PRSA in our industry, Public Relations Society of America, they’re rising professional. They’re top young professional. And it was so cool because that’s something she’s going to carry with her for the rest of her life to be a part of that and propel her forward.
That’s what we love. So strategically we look at one, where do we need to be positioning ourselves? So if I were another business, I’d say, what are my client, my prospective clients, what are they reading? What do they care about? What highlights what we do really well? And I would start small and that’s what we did too.
We’re not a giant business, we’re a boutique. So we had to start with what really matters and generate meaningful results there. And when we got those early awards, then we’d say, okay, that’s wonderful. Let’s go out and tell people we got it. And then we’d see the results of that.
[00:09:46] Natasha Miller: And so that right there, how do you tell people about it?
Can you list a couple of the more innovative ways of using those designation actions rather than just sticking the logo on your website or posting a press release and a blog on your website?
[00:10:03] Jessica Nunez: Absolutely. So a few things I love to do is one, I love to share the wind with our clients. We wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t for them.
So we like to celebrate that. So Natasha, if you and I had won the award together, we’d want you to be part of that. Celebratory. If you couldn’t be there part of the event, then you’re part of the next day, celebrating that with you, sharing that out with you, getting the award for you too, right?
Sometimes you get those plaques or those emblems making sure. Especially as we work with a director and a big company for example, capturing that so they can send it up to their leadership. So their leadership can see what a great job they’re doing, because great that you won the award, but if nobody knows about it, they’re never going to make it over to your website to look at it.
So find ways to really build other people up. And as they’re sharing it with their leadership, then you get to be a part of that. And so that’s wonderful, but make it about them, not about you. And then, obviously, a low-hanging fruit is, putting it out in your communications to clients.
If you send an email newsletter, email signature, low-hanging fruit, right? Like the obvious, but a lot of people never do it and showcasing it that way. Obviously putting it on social media, tagging your employees too, so they can be recognized and tagging the brands that you work with. It’s top of mind visibility. It’s oh, hey, I saw that there on her LinkedIn.
One of the things I really pushed and I’m trying to get more companies to do is, awards should not be giving out the big plaques anymore. I really think they should do the virtual emblems that you can put on your LinkedIn.
[00:11:29] Natasha Miller: And let’s talk about that. So for the Inc. 5000, and let’s just use that one because it’s big and juicy, you have to pay $1,200-1,500 to use their assets. Brilliant business decision on their side.
And then we get this award in the mail. But are you saying you’d like no physical award and we would love to use that asset?
[00:11:51] Jessica Nunez: I don’t really feel like I eat a box of hardware. Or like I get it. There’s the idea of the wall you put on it. There is that piece of it when you walk through your company, when we do go back in and you go to a company, you have the wall of awards. That’s awesome. And I think there’s a big piece of that. I do feel that is important because I can tell you, there is an element of pride in history that when you walk in, wow, they obviously are doing something right.
They’ve got the hardware up there. So there’s a piece of that I like about that. But we’re in this world where we’re all virtual and you made your first introduction to me might be online and virtual. And I would sure like to have that virtual badge on my LinkedIn profile, on my website. Whether I’m paying a licensing fee for it or however it’s coming about, I do think there’s value to that.
[00:12:36] Natasha Miller: I hopped mine in the headline of my LinkedIn profile. So it says Inc. 5000, then entrepreneur then something else than author. I don’t know what else it says, but I definitely wear that as a badge of honor. And I was asking you for, of course I want our listeners to know about this, but selfishly, I wanted to know what else I could do.
And since you’re in PR I had a feeling you would tell me. So I liked that. So let’s talk about how you’re scaling and growing your business during this pandemic.
[00:13:08] Jessica Nunez: For us at TruePoint, it’s all about the hustle. It’s on our wall in the company with a big wall. You walk into the bullpen, it’s a tussle on it.
It’s the nature of who we are. It’s permission to play at TruePoint. We’re scrappy, and we have to get in the trenches and roll up our sleeves. And if 2020 has taught us anything it’s to be resilient. I told somebody today, we will dock our ship in 2020. We will finish 2020.
There might be some holes in the bottom, but we will not be as sunk. It’s been a tough year. I think we’ve all gotten hit with a two-by-four. We’ve gotten up and we’ve hustled and communications has been busy. I hate to say this, but I’m grateful that we’ve been able to have work. It was created by COVID.
[00:13:48] Natasha Miller: Yup.
[00:13:48] Jessica Nunez: And we had to help a lot of companies communicate in a crisis. What do I do? If I’m a restaurant brand, how do I communicate safety to my guests that they know you can come meet here? How do I communicate this pivot we’re making from in restaurant dining to go and pick up and delivery?
How do I communicate all that and keep everybody in the know and say in the consideration set and not be forgotten about. So we were extremely busy there. Everybody was on social media, nobody was going anywhere. So everybody was on social media.
[00:14:17] Natasha Miller: I get those pesky notes from my iPhone telling me how long I’ve been on.
I’m like, oh my God, where do I shut that off?
I know, please don’t remind me. I don’t need to know. And it’ll be interesting to see if they do a year over year. How much more was I on in 2020? Because I guarantee you, I was on my phone a lot more in 2020. But yeah, going back to, for us, it’s been great to be able to be needed.
From a social media perspective, community management is a big segment of our business and social media content creation and then crisis. And also, we’ve just been non-stop busy throughout the year as companies pivot their strategy. How do we help them communicate that?
Again, thank you for leading me into this next thing, which is you offer four main services, digital marketing, social media strategy, crisis and issue management and public relationships or public relations. I’m really curious about your offering of crisis and issue management specifically, and also digital marketing at troop.
Can you talk first about the crisis and issue management?
[00:15:15] Jessica Nunez: Yeah. So crisis is a segment of PR that we’ve always done. So you’ve got your proactive PR that you go out and tell the world about you, and then you’ve done so well. They know what they know about you, that when you mess up or you don’t do something right, they’re ready to bring that back up to the forefront.
We help companies mitigate that when they are in crisis and it can be anything from an internal to an external. So it could be an internal employee relations. We handle sexual harassment, customer service issues. It could be, store closures is a crisis, right? That made your brand. If you’ve got a big footprint of stores and you’re closing some down, how do you manage that and communicate that?
Bankruptcy, unfortunately we’ve handled a number of deaths and tragedies. Food poisoning and restaurants. You name it. If they can impact your brand. And the reality is, here’s what happens when something negative happens. This is something I tell everybody. You have about this day and age of social media, what you do in the first 45 minutes is what matters most.
And I can give you lots of examples of brands over the years that sat in a boardroom and tried to figure out. Meanwhile, social media created Twitter handles and caught wildfire, and they could not control that crisis any longer. And so what you decided is for first 45 minutes, meaning how you approach this, how much attention you give to it.
And how you choose to respond will dictate how that crisis will play out in the court of public opinion.
[00:16:37] Natasha Miller: But you really are 24/7, because if something happens on a different time zone. So do you have strategists that are dedicated to just that one element of your business?
[00:16:49] Jessica Nunez: We have a crisis team. They would work Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve.
I’ve worked Valentines. Our team, we’ve had a crisis. If a crisis where we stay in our industry, anybody who’s in our industry knows. If there’s a crisis, it’s going to be at five o’clock on a Friday or a holiday, or like the day before holiday. I had one client call me the Saturday before Easter.
And I was hosting. Oh, I guess it was Friday before that Saturday, before Easter. I hosted a big, fun egg hunt and brunch. And they called me the night before at 10 o’clock. And we took care of it and it was super easy and our team is phenomenal and they jump in and we’ve got hotlines, our clients call.
Yup. And and that way it rings to someone and somebody is on call. And especially in this age of social media, something could be so sensitive. It could be so minor. It could seem so little and it’d be there at six o’clock on a Friday night. And you think nothing of it and wake up Saturday morning.
And your brand is in damage and it takes a long time to recuperate from that. And now what we’re seeing is if you follow, and this is the other thing I coach our clients on. If you don’t believe me on this, let me pull the stock prices of companies who’ve been hit.
How long did it take to climb back out of the mess that they had from the hysteria and the back-to-back crises that they had, where they lost their footing.
They lost that trust. And so for me, what I tell everybody is, in business, our currency is trust. You and I know each other, we built trust among each other. You knew you could trust me enough to invite me here and I wouldn’t totally hopefully fall up. So we have a trust relationship. And so in a relationship with customers, we are building trust and that relationship every single day. When we have a crisis, we’re withdrawing that trust.
And so our job is to mitigate that redraw, that withdrawal and build that trust deposit back up in crisis. So that’s what we help our clients do.
[00:18:40] Natasha Miller: So do you also manage accounts where like a big brand has a social- online social media? It’s a product and people are like, mine didn’t come. I didn’t hear from you.
Customer service and no one responded. My thing ended up broken. Do you have an engine within your team that responds to that?
[00:19:00] Jessica Nunez: So that basically sums up social media 2020 for a lot of our brands because the supply chain has been hit so hard. People can’t get anything. And so what we all did is we got home.
We were in quarantine and we couldn’t get any products. So we ordered everything online. Clients, retailers got bombarded and their e-commerce sales went out the roof. And then supply chain, couldn’t keep up with it. We’re going to see that happen again now with supply chain being impacted, because we’ve got to prioritize the vaccine, which is obviously the right thing to do. But it’s also holiday season and people are going to not get what they need.
And yeah, we’re super busy. Responding to people. And actually this year has probably been easier because yeah, there’s this thing called COVID happening. And it is impacting unfortunately supply chain right now. In some cases our clients can’t control it. Sometimes it is other distribution systems.
So yeah, we handle all of that. We handle that customer care element and our job, the approach we take is unexpectedly personable approach. I was talking to somebody the other day, speaking of entrepreneurs, he told me, no, you should really offshore. You should consider offshoring your services for social media.
Anybody could really, respond. And I said they could, yeah. But they can’t do it as well as we do it. They can’t do it in a way that they build a unique relationship and change the perception of your brand the way that we do it. Because you’re talking to your target customer, because we’re putting people on your work that love your brand, who are your brand, and they convey your voice and your tone.
And they make it. So it’s fun that Natasha screenshots that, sends it to her friends and her mom and says, can you believe that they responded that way to me? And did you see what they did? And then now she became an ambassador for our brand and that is the best kind of PR you could possibly get.
[00:20:41] Natasha Miller: Absolutely. So when we talk about in your business, social media strategy, that’s a different word for you guys. What you’re doing is in addition to what other marketing companies would do for social media, they’re curating colors and photos and taglines and you do that too.
I’m sure as well.
[00:21:00] Jessica Nunez: Yeah, we do that as well. And what we’ve been talking about here is the community management piece. So what we believe in is, there’s two pieces, there’s the proactive you have to have got great content, right? You’ve got to put out really wonderful content that people want to follow and engage on and see in their stream.
But then when they do engage on it, you have to show up. There’s so many brands, posts, social media ads, or organic, their own social content. And then their fans start talking and they don’t say anything. It’s like being in a store and I’m saying, oh, I really like this. How much is it? And nobody responds back to me.
This associate just stands there. That would never happen, but we allow it to happen online.
[00:21:38] Natasha Miller: And do your brands engage with you for one service or do they have to engage with you for all of them?
[00:21:44] Jessica Nunez: No, we do what is in the best interest of the brand. So we have clients that, hey, we only need you for the community management. Or we only need you for the proactive content. Or we only need you for the PR.
And so we’re very much- The services we’re really great in. This is what we built TruePoint on and our people are really good at these and we can segment them based on the client needs.
[00:22:07] Natasha Miller: I want to ask you about your core values. What they are, how did you select them? Was it a team effort and how do you use them within your business?
So both internally with your team, but they’re on your website. So you are facing them to your clients. And I’m sure there are very many similarities as to how you use them, but then there’s probably some differentiation. So I’ll just let you go.
[00:22:32] Jessica Nunez: Thank you. So our core values came as a team effort. We didn’t have them when we started the company.
So anybody who doesn’t have it today that’s running a company, I would tell you, this is a great project or summit to do with your team together. We did that and it really, I think transformed, especially as we were scaling it, the company and enabled me to feel comfortable knowing that everything we do will be filtered through this.
Literally like somebody will call me and say, from the mission of the company is to propel brands forward. And they’ll say, hey, I have this idea for this client. Here’s what we want to do. And I want to run it by you. What will propel the brand forward? Yeah, absolutely. Here’s why. Great. We’re gonna talk this conversation.
Go propel them. So that starts with our purpose to propel brands forward from their core value. My favorite is deliver excellent client service. So I’m a big believer. I think one of the big differentiators at TruePoint is to deliver excellent client service, you have to know what the needs are of your client.
You have to get in their shoes, you have to feel, anticipate their needs, feel what they feel. And so we do more than just manage that social media response. We anticipate that you might want to know the themes we’re starting to see, and you don’t have to ask me, we’re going to know to send that to you.
So we train our team to anticipate those. So delivering excellent client service, generating meaningful results. I talk to clients all the time about it. It’s one thing to generate a result? It’s an absolutely different thing to generate something that’s meaningful to the bottom line of the business. Whether it’s the brand reputation or driving sales. Figuring out what’s meaningful to the business when you can connect those dots, especially as a vendor.
Like a lot of times in professional services, since the companies say, you’re not my people, you’re the agency we’re hiring. But if I can understand what’s truly meaningful to you, I can become one team with you. So that’s what we train our team, to be that one team.
Working with integrity, that may seem like a no-brainer and they say, you shouldn’t put those no-brainers in there, here’s why it matters. We do crisis communications. And there are times where we have to remind clients and say, look, working with integrity, this is a hard thing to do, but it’s the right thing.
What’s right is a hard thing. Let’s do it. It also helps when you have to have hard conversations with clients. I had to call a client recently and say that we’re not going to rebid on the business. And it was a very difficult conversation, but it was the right thing for my company and protecting my team. Having a hard conversation with them to explain why. It was important to me that I take care of my people. I knew how easy it was and how fast it was to make that decision because of my core values.
[00:25:02] Natasha Miller: Yeah, it does make it more black and white rather than the 5 million shades of gray when you have the core values. So another thing that I am always just incredibly interested in of every entrepreneur is, we’re all driven by revenue, right? We have to have revenue to just exist. The net profit average for your industry.
[00:25:28] Jessica Nunez: They do. So here’s what I would tell you because I’m part of an industry group. I think it varies based on your size. Yeah, I think what a boutique like mine, like TruePoint does versus, a freelancer or then go all the way up to the top, a large consulting company. Global footprint is I think they’re, what I’ve heard are very numbered. So I was just having this conversation with somebody else who runs a group for professional services. They coach professional services companies, and we’re saying, there’s no playbook.
There’s nobody has a book out there. And look, I’ve read so many books and they have all different numbers.
[00:26:01] Natasha Miller: Right? Like I was talking to someone yesterday and the restaurant industry, I thought their net income was, the average was 10%. And I thought that was too low. It’s six.
[00:26:13] Jessica Nunez: Yeah, I would say it’s way lower. We work with restaurant clients and margins are so small.
And the industry, our consultant communications consulting industry, what we’ve usually looked at is between like 19-20%. So obviously, so sad to say that’s a much bigger profit margin, net profit margin, that restaurant industry. So here’s the thing you clued in on. One of the things I tell a lot of entrepreneurs, especially those of us who get in like I did because of my craft.
You have to know the numbers. Otherwise what’s the point, right? Like you’re just, you’re getting up every day and you’re running this business. You have to know what you’re doing and what the outcome is. And what’s the meaningful resolve going back to my core value, what’s a meaningful result for TruePoint.
And the reason I think that’s so important is when COVID hit, in Dallas, March 13th, we went into a quarantine. On February 25th, I sent an email to my team. I was getting ready to go on vacation around February 25th, 27th. We’re going on spring break. And I said, hey, there’s COVID happening across Asia.
And it started to show up in the US, I think this is going to be significant for us. We are going to need to get ahead of it and communicate to clients. And I emailed my out of operations and I said, when I get back, I’m going to have a plan for the company. And I had said at the beginning of year, we might be in a recession this year.
[00:27:25] Natasha Miller: It’s great that you really understood what was going on. I can honestly tell you, I did not understand the gravity of what was coming.
[00:27:34] Jessica Nunez: I forecasted the hit for our team. And I said, look, we need a forecast, the worst possible outcome for us. Obviously the worst would be to lose everybody, but we looked at older clients and every month we revisited our forecast and I over-compensated.
I thought we were gonna do way worse than we did. I did not realize.
[00:27:53] Natasha Miller: Me too. I thought I was going to do worse, not you.
[00:27:56] Jessica Nunez: So I started TruePoint in 2006. 2008 recession, marketing obviously always gets cut first. So marketing PR goes. This year, something different happened. People leave businesses and companies leaned on communications and it shows a cultural shift in business. That there’s enough care about the culture and the perception and the reputation of your business that they leaned hard on communications.
[00:28:20] Natasha Miller: I would agree with that. We don’t outsource communications. I actually..
[00:28:24] Jessica Nunez: You do it so well, I know.
[00:28:26] Natasha Miller: Thank you. I also hired a gal that’s working on comms with us. And our number one, we have three things that we’re focusing on during COVID. And since this is your podcast, I will just say one. But the number one thing is to remain top of mind with all of our clients.
[00:28:44] Jessica Nunez: Oh, good that you even have that strategy. That’s number one.
[00:28:48] Natasha Miller: Yeah. That’s it. And honestly, I’m seeing what we have accomplished in these 10 months. Not only have we kept top of mind, but we’re now soaring and we look like mega rockstars. We are. But I think the perception is much bigger than the reality and that’s fine.
[00:29:06] Jessica Nunez: That’s the seed you plant so it can grow, right? Like you need to plan enough seeds. This is what I say in PR. We’re going to plan a lot of seeds so that we can see which ones grow. You’ve got to build perception so great. Do you know how many touch points it takes in order to drive conversion? It takes a lot of touch points depending on your business.
And that’s something, every business should know. Every position should know. And I know, because you are so great at running your business and communicating to your clients, you can count how many times did it take to put our brand out in front of them before they converted to a sale. I’m so curious what two and three are.
I know this is my podcast, but what’s two and three?
[00:29:43] Natasha Miller: Okay. So two is to get as much virtual event work as we can during this time. We have done over 125 virtual events since March. And that is positioning us for when we go back to in-person events to possibly double our revenue. And the number three, we created in April, no in May, a premium gifting division and within a month and a half, we had done a hundred thousand dollars in revenue with no startup costs.
And so number three, is to drive all of our clients to that division. If they need that service, we’re not pushing it on anyone.
[00:30:27] Jessica Nunez: That’s phenomenal. We just hosted our capture point, our annual agency summit in July, and we tried to go out and put all of the boxes together to get what we wanted to give to our team, but it was a lot of work on us.
Had I known that’s something you guys do, I would have been phenomenal to just reach out and say, here’s our costs that we have. Could you guys put together a box for us? I really believe send version of hybrid or in-person will exist forever. I know from my business.
[00:30:53] Natasha Miller: Absolutely.
[00:30:54] Jessica Nunez: That’s going to be crucial for us.
[00:30:56] Natasha Miller: That’s so exciting. I love it. I’m a very outgoing person, but I’m a severe introvert. So this is heaven, being here and just doing my thing by myself. Okay. So enough about me. Where did the name TruePoint come from?
[00:31:11] Jessica Nunez: This is such a cool story. Thank you for asking. I was not expecting that. When I started the company, when I started the agency, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t super creative. I really focused on just getting down to brass tacks and building the business, but it was Nunez PR Group originally. Super creative, I know. Bonus points for that. Okay. So then I was getting into, in my- we’re in Entrepreneurs Organization together.
We’re in EO and I got a mentor early on and he said, I won’t mentor you if you don’t change the name. And I was like, why? And he goes, because who wants to work for, excuse my language, piddly ass Nunez PR Group. And I said, we’re doing just fine, thank you very much. We’re growing and we’re building, but I got it right away.
He hit me and I was like, yeah, I got it. You’re gonna attract all the rock stars, when they just put their own name on it too. And I knew that I really wanted to build something bigger than me. And he’s “I challenge you to change your name or I won’t mentor you.” So I went to my forum, my small group, and I said, guys, I’ve been through all these names.
And I can’t find one that I love that somebody doesn’t already know.
[00:32:19] Natasha Miller: You didn’t spend $30,000 for someone to name your company.
[00:32:22] Jessica Nunez: I was going to. I had it sitting around, I know. I didn’t though. Also, the hardest thing, anybody who owns their own business knows this. If you do a craft, your business suffers with that craft, right?
If the owner is really great at PR, generally the business gets the brunt end of that. So we have to TruePoint, which would be really intentional. So I went to my forum and I said to one of the guys, he had just sold his company. It was a logistics company. And I said if I had a name, like TruePoint, wouldn’t it be easy?
[00:32:54] Natasha Miller: Oh, no. You took his name.
[00:32:56] Jessica Nunez: He goes, Jessica, do you want to be TruePoint? Are you kidding me? I would love to be TruePoint. It’s true. Authenticity, integrity. It’s everything I care about. That’d be amazing. And he goes, it’s yours. And so then I emailed my attorney and I said, hey, I got the name. It’s going to be TruePoint. He goes, oh I’m so sorry, Jessica. But that name’s taken. I was like, oh yeah, I forgot to copy my friend. He’s going to give it to me.
[00:33:17] Natasha Miller: That is a very unusual story. And I don’t know how many people that would actually have that story.
[00:33:24] Jessica Nunez: So I had to get a big shout out and thank you to Michael Fogelman from Dallas.
[00:33:27] Natasha Miller: Amazing. Thank you, Michael. That’s really cool. Okay. So next up for bid is you’ve had a lot of successes. We’ve talked about a lot of success, even through the COVID time. We didn’t go dive down into losses. So not having to do with COVID necessarily, although it could be what is a big loss that you had and what did you learn from it in business?
[00:33:53] Jessica Nunez: Oh gosh. That’s a really deep question. I would want to spend a lot of time to be intentional in our response. But I’ll just tell you what comes to mind first and hopefully it answers your question, but it’s the first thing I think about. Probably the biggest loss would be the first several years of building my company.
Like we said earlier, I was really great at my craft and communications. And, obviously I’m saying, I don’t mean to sound like boastful, but I cared about them. I cared about being really great at it. So I focused a lot on that and I did it. And because I cared about it, the business grew, but it grew at me being really, using my expertise in my craft.
And I didn’t really focus on growing and creating a foundation that could scale and building a great place where people, really love that. And that came later after I matured.
[00:34:39] Natasha Miller: Did it occur to you back then? Or were you just like the engine getting it started?
[00:34:44] Jessica Nunez: It didn’t even. I was so knee deep. I was like in a coal mine, just go in.
[00:34:51] Natasha Miller: Same here.
[00:34:52] Jessica Nunez: Like I was just shoveling stuff out and like building tunnels. And I couldn’t see anything in front of me or behind me. And I was so exhausted and now I get it. I know why, I was running on adrenaline. I probably wouldn’t even tell you I was exhausted. I was on adrenaline. I was like, soaking it up. Everything I was doing, I was loving it. But I look back on that and it wasn’t authentic to who I am. There’s just nothing sustainable about it. And so that would probably be clearly, it was a loss, a loss a lot of years.
When we could have been the company we are today.
[00:35:27] Natasha Miller: What did you learn from those losses? Because I can tell you myself, but I want to hear from you, you had to have those losses in order to what?
[00:35:36] Jessica Nunez: Yeah. Unfortunately I had to have those losses. I say I went to the hard knocks school of business and I paid so much more money than if I would’ve gotten my master’s at SMU in entrepreneurship or something. But I learned a lot, I guess. One, I learned the real importance of being, it’s one thing to be good at your craft. You have to learn the entrepreneurial side. If you’re really in it, you have to know the numbers and you have to care about the numbers and you have to build strategy for your business and you have to spend time on that.
And you have to be intentional with your people. If you’re truly invested in building something that can scale, you have to pay attention to your people and you have to want to authentically care about building a culture of purpose and intentionality. And I was just doing the work, I was, bring it on. I’m hungry for it.
[00:36:21] Natasha Miller: You had the mentality perhaps as a solo entrepreneur or a lifestyle brand. At the beginning, we all have to start somewhere. So how many employees do you have at this time today?
[00:36:34] Jessica Nunez: We have 27 today.
[00:36:36] Natasha Miller: Oh goodness. That hurts me to even hear or think about. But are you running EOS traction or scaling up?
[00:36:43] Jessica Nunez: We’re not, we ran pieces of it through the years. I’m doing a program with rom point out of Detroit that is called execution maximizer. It’s been really great for our business. Very similar to EOS, takes a lot of the pieces from each. But we’re not. We run a level 10 meeting basically that 90 minute meeting, we do it once a week.
And we really focus on leadership management and accountability, all pieces and components of EOS. So I think what I’ve done over the years is, and maybe it’s similar to Natasha’s, I will go through these programs, read these books and I’ll pull what resonates with me and I’ll work it into the business.
And sometimes I’ve implemented the programs and I give them a shot. And then, if it’s not working, I take pieces that are and continue those.
Probably just in closing, what I would love to hit on is, year 2020 has been a year for all of us. But 2021 is ahead. The future is ahead. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to be resilient and dig in. And to anybody out there who’s had a really tough year, or just exhausted like most of us, I’m coming at the finish line here.
I would just encourage to stay positive, to be thinking about the future and what opportunities are there for you. If there’s something you truly don’t enjoy, stop doing it. And go do something else, or start trying to do something else.
And Natasha, you’re a great example of that pivot, right? That you weren’t taken down, you kept climbing, and you kept going. And I hope that for every entrepreneur, because that’s what I really believe in, catalyzing entrepreneurism and propelling people forward, propelling brands forward. That’s what TruePoint’s been committed to and it’s been really fun for us. Building our team and we hope to do more of it in 2021.
That was Jessica Nunez of Dallas, Texas, and TruePoint Communications. For more information on Jessica, go to truepointagency.com and check the show notes.
For more information about me, go to my website, natashamiller.co. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe. Also if you haven’t done so yet, please leave a review where you’re listening to this podcast now. I’m Natasha Miller and you’ve been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.