Being Exceptional In Your Niche: The rVibe Story

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Today, we feature the story of rVibe. rVibe is radically altering the live learning landscape through their innovative technology and methods, according to CEO Braydon Johnson-McCormick.

What advice would I give to a small to medium business struggling from a cash flow standpoint? I would say focus your business on your core competency, find your niche customer and dominate that segment through the innovative products.”

Those are the words of Dr. Braydon Johnson-McCormick, no stranger to the unique challenges small businesses face. Since 2004, when he founded rVibe, the president of the company has seen sea changes in his company’s business model, a recession that rattled the doors of nearly every small company in America, and a plunge into the world of online training aimed at pharmaceutical companies.

He recently shared some advice for small business owners with PointBlank, as well as the story of his business.

rVibe’s Story

For Johnson-McCormick, rVibe’s 2007 entry into the world of online training for giant pharmaceuticals came at an unfortunate time. Shortly after the business kicked off,the U.S. economic downturn was in full swing. Like many companies, rVibe faced cash flow challenges. Needing to lease equipment, Johnson-McCormick said his company turned to Direct Capital for financing.

“Where we’ve started to leverage Direct Capital is the leasing of that equipment that deliver clients value,” he said. “Since, in our view, it’s in our best interest to own outright and we’re not interested in the upfront costs, the leasing Direct Capital has provided has been perfect.”

The stakes are high. With clients of the size rVibe is used to dealing with, Johnson-McCormick said his company only gets “one shot” to win them over. That means meetings and events with customers have the air of a playoff game.

When asked how rVibe wins clients, he started off with a quip.

“Other than being totally awesome? We win customers through demonstrating the value on-site in real client scenarios, in the form of demos and working through solutions for our customers. We help devise a solution that leads to winning customers. In order to retain customers, we consistently execute at the highest levels of quality.”

rVibe is in the process of bolstering its offerings to keep its clients satisfied, and expects to to bring aboard more by the end of the first quarter in 2012.

What Lies Ahead

Today, rVibe employs four full-time employees and 40 contractors who travel across the country with that equipment to produce live training and consult with pharmaceuticals who have billions of dollars in profits to manage. It’s a model that caught on in the recession, with cash-strapped companies leery of sending their employees to retreats.

“Traditionally, pharmaceutical reps have gone to a central location for conferences and learning. Cost being what it is, companies are not willing to absorb that anymore,” Johnson-McCormick said.

Johnson-McCormick now presides over a company that’s doing more than surviving. It’s also growing, crafting innovative new products and seeking to become the source for live training courses for pharmaceutical companies from coast to coast. He truly believes the focus on the niche market—however large the companies within it may be—has been the force that allowed rVibe to thrive.

“As a small operation….we can’t go boil the ocean. We’ve got to be able to focus and focus and focus to get to the people who have a need and money to pay, ” he said. “Once you realize that and you identify the people who need it, want it and can pay for it, then you can also work with them to develop even more innovative products.”

To learn more about rVibe, visit their website. To read more of PointBlank’s series of interviews with small businesses, check out our archives.

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