Theresa Līna’s new book, Be the Go-To, demonstrates to companies why earning customers based on pricing, and creating a brand promise and mission that’s similar to that of their competitors, simply doesn’t work. What companies need is to become the go-to in their space–the Tesla, Apple, or REI of whatever their sector happens to be. Of course, this sounds pretty daunting, right?

Well thanks to Theresa, it’s not. In Be the Go-To, Theresa leans into her decades of experience as a Silicon Valley thought leader and strategist, demonstrating to companies how they can follow what she calls the four pillars of The Apollo Method for Market Dominance. To become ‘that’ brand, regardless of where the company is starting. As you’ll see in this episode, all of Theresa’s expertise is wrapped up into fun, thoughtful, and memorable anecdotes in research, ranging from the space program to Salesforce.

Nikki Van Noy: I am joined today by Theresa Līna, the author of the new book, Be the Go-To: How to Own Your Competitive Market, Charge More, and Have Customers Love You For It. Theresa, thank you for joining me today.

Theresa M. Līna: Thank you for having me Nikki, I’m very excited to be here.

Nikki Van Noy: I’m so happy to have you here. We’ve already had a very interesting discussion, before we went live, so I know we’re headed good places today. Theresa, let’s start by giving listeners an idea of your professional background and how you got here to writing this book.

Theresa M. Līna: Sure. I came out of school, I studied business, and came out and went to work for a company called Accenture, which is a large management consulting firm. At the time, it was part of an even larger accounting firm and I started out doing systems development work, technology development, computer development work.

I then got into marketing and strategy–with one of the practice areas, we started a new business within the business. So, I was very fortunate early in my career. Number one, to work for a brilliant partner. This company was a partnership at the time like a gigantic law firm. I worked for this brilliant man, who was creative and incredibly strategic, and he was charged with growing this business and I came in as his right-hand person. I really took a leap of faith. It was a brand new position, and I actually lobbied him for the job, I defined it and pitched him on the idea, and he got into his new role and decided he needed help, so he hired me.

Together, along with other people in the company, we built a very successful business unit from the ground up. I was very fortunate to have that experience early in my life. It was entrepreneurial but within the context of a bigger company, so I learned so much. Turned out, we did a lot of things right. I went on later to start a consulting firm of my own and I continue to work–Accenture actually became a big client of mine–and then I went on to work with a lot of other companies and I started seeing some patterns, within Accenture across the different business units I was helping, and then at other companies.

The pattern was that everybody looked and sounded the same, and yet they thought they were completely unique. I would keep telling them, “Look, I know you think you’re special but I talk to companies all day long that say exactly what you’re saying. What is different about you?” They’d say, “Well, we have the best people, we have the best methodology, we have the best technology.”

I’d say, “Fantastic, but everybody says that.” I had a really hard time getting it through to them that they just weren’t that unique. Now, this is before everybody was online the way they are today but, at that time I saw that going on.

At the same time, interestingly enough, I was having a problem with my business, where even executives who I had worked with for quite a few years, who knew my unique abilities and that of my team, they started pressuring me to lower my prices. They started saying, “Well, we can go hire anybody to do that for 50% less than what you’re charging.” I was having an increasingly difficult time defending my prices and demonstrating the value we were bringing.

So, one day on an airplane, I was actually working on my own strategy for my company, and it came to me. I sketched out this diagram, this four-stage or four-phase diagram, of what it would take for me to get out there and really build a brand as the go-to company in a space. I looked at it and I realized, oh my god, all of my clients need this! This is what everybody needs to be doing.

That was the beginning of what I ultimately came to call The Apollo Method for Market Dominance, which we can talk a little bit more about later. It’s the underpinning of everything that’s in the book. But, you know, it gave me a way to start talking to companies about the four key things they would need to accomplish in order to really stand out, and really differentiate on a sustainable basis in the market, rather than on some temporary basis that would quickly be matched by a competitor.

My basic background has been consulting. I did start working also with Stanford University a little over a decade ago, helping in entrepreneurship education and some other areas of the engineering school there. Now, I also am on the teaching team for an executive education program in the school of business. We work with executives globally, particularly help their companies become more innovative over time, and manage the innovation process.

I’ve had some other side activities along the way. I at one time had a company that specialize in educational entertainment for children–that’s a whole different story. I’ve raised a couple of kids who are now teenagers. I’m actually still raising two kids, and at one point, my family and I took a year off to travel around the world.

Nikki Van Noy: Cool.

Theresa M. Līna: We took the kids and went around the world for a year, so that’s another story–and that’s actually a whole other book.

Nikki Van Noy: Seriously, I was thinking, that is a book, absolutely. Okay, there are a few things that I want to touch on here and the first is going back to what you were saying about your own company and this pressure to bring your price down. I feel like this is such a relatable thing for entrepreneurs. Talk to me about why that’s not a good idea?

Theresa M. Līna: This is a problem for all companies. You know, I’ve yet to meet a company of any size, and I’ve worked with companies of every size you can imagine, and it’s a problem across the board. It’s a huge problem because the pivotal word is margins, profit margins, and we’re talking really about what we call gross margins and to get even more refined about it, something called contribution margins.

Gross margins are basically, at its simplest, the amount you were able to charge for something less what it cost you to provide it. Most people think of profits for company, at the very bottom line, what they might read in an income statement in a SCC filing. For example, people think Amazon posted losses many years, especially in the beginning, and yet their stock grew like crazy.

Well, that’s because they were taking a lot of their gross profit–that I just described, what they had left over after they earned revenues and then subtracted what they made off of it–they had leftover profit to then invest in RND, developing fancy warehousing systems, increasing their efficiencies, and developing new products and services. All of that leftover money that they could invest in running their business and preparing for the future.

When you have thin margins, when you have thin gross margins, you don’t have very much money to work with to then fund the rest of what you’re doing, and to fund your future. I hear, especially when you read in the press, there’s so much emphasis on revenue and growth on the revenue side.

However, you can actually grow your way out of business if your margins aren’t high enough. Some people have negative margins on some products and services. That means, the more they sell, for every unit they sell, they’re losing more money. It’s super important to have nice healthy margins. This is why being able to raise your price, relative to what it’s costing you to provide the service or the products–let’s just call it an offering–to be able to raise your price and either keep the offering cost to produce at the same or even reduce it with efficiencies.

That cushion gives you room to run your business.

What is a Go-To Brand? 

Nikki Van Noy: Okay, perfect. Now, with that baseline, before we dive into the Apollo Method, talk to me on a very high level about what you actually mean by being the go-to brand, and using that is the way to grow your business.

Theresa M. Līna: Yes. You know, a lot of people might use the word market leader, and I have trouble with that word mainly because it’s very vague, and it can mean a lot of things. When I say be the go-to, I really firmly believe that every business ought to be aiming to be the name that comes to mind when the market thinks about a particular problem, or in some cases an opportunity.

You want to be the first name that comes to mind, you want to be the go-to company, the go-to person, the go-to brand for a particular market problem so that, number one, they seek you out first. It saves you from having to really get out there and try to make your name, and fight among the fray, be part of the fray. Instead, you’re popping up and you stand way apart from the rest of the crowd.

Number two, it allows you to be in a position to really set the market agenda. A key part of being the go-to, and a key part of the Apollo Method that I can get into later, is one of the things that a go-to company does is it declares ownership for a market problem.

It says we own that. Our mission is to eradicate that problem or at least make great stories towards solving that problem. Think of Tesla, for example. If somebody says the words electric car, Tesla is the company that comes to mind. Their mission is to accelerate our adoption of electric vehicles. They are really out to make the world drive electric cars. They started by offering the Roadster, because they wanted to demonstrate that yeah, electric cars can be sexy, they can be fast, they can be high performance but their plan all along was to move into the mass market, which they’ve done now, with some of the other models they’ve introduced.

A go-to is the name that comes in mind, it’s the company that other people seek out, and it’s the company other people are willing to pay a premium to, because they really believe in that company’s ability to provide superior value.

The Apollo Method for Market Dominance

Nikki Van Noy: Perfect, okay. Now, let’s talk about how we get there. What are these four key things that you mentioned?

Theresa M. Līna: Yes. There are several elements, and they’re divided it into four categories or four pillars. You could call them four pillars of sustainable differentiation.

The first phase I call launch. In fact, I should back up by saying that the metaphor that I like to use as a–it’s actually a case example, really, that I dive into in depth in the book–is the Apollo space program.

In the late 50s, the U.S. and the Soviets had a Cold War going on planet Earth, and in the skies they had the space race–each competing to accomplish the next big milestone in space exploration. Every time the Soviets would make a step forward, the US would make a little step, and then the Soviets would somehow beat it. It was this incremental race, one step at a time, trying to beat the other, and yet the Americans kept losing.

This was a very important race symbolically because, at the time, you had the Soviet Union, which was Communist, and which was interested in expanding its empire. And then you had the rest of the world, which had more democratic leanings or wanted freedom and not to be part of the Soviet regime. The U.S. activity in space was representative of that freedom.

Kennedy said to Vice President Johnson, who was pretty close to the space program, he said “Look, we’ve got to figure out a way to clearly win this.” You know, these little incremental one-thing-at-a-time–think of products, companies competing on features and functions. Every time one company adds a feature or function, its competitors match it.

It’s just this constant little incremental race and Kennedy said, “What will make us clear winners in the space race? What seems completely impossible but, if we did it, we’d win?” Of course, we all know now that Johnson came back after talking with NASA and he said, “If we put a guy on the moon, and bring him home, we’ve won.” And Kennedy declared it.

It’s famously known as his moon shot speech, and now moon shots are part of our business vernacular, representing or meaning a big audacious goal of some kind. But, at the time, this was very revolutionary, and it kicked off an eight, nine-year program, the Apollo space program, to make it happen.

When I sketched out my methodology on the plane, I felt I needed some way to package it to give it some life and have it mean something, and, one day, I was randomly reading an article about the space program.

I actually grew up in NASA territory and was surrounded by people who had worked on the Apollo space program. So, it was very much something near and dear to my heart, but I had never really put the two together until I read this article. The language of the article and the way it was describing what the space program had to accomplish in order to achieve this goal, I realized, oh my god, it’s exactly the same.

I decided to name the methodology The Apollo Method for Market Dominance to demonstrate that, yes, what it took to put a man on the moon and what it takes to become the go-to are very similar.

To get into the four pieces, the first phase is Launch, and that’s where you’re really deciding what it is we are going to stand for. The key steps here are that you define a market that you want to be an integral part of, and you identify a problem in the market that you would like to own. You develop a point of view around what it’s going to take to solve that problem, you conceptualize a solution to the problem, and then you declare ownership for that problem in the market. You launch yourself into the market, declaring that you plan to own that problem. You may not even have all the answers yet, but you tell people, “We want to be associated with this, and be the spiritual leaders of the market’s efforts to solve this.”

The next phase is Ignite. When you launch a rocket into space, you have to continually ignite it to escape the gravitational pull of the earth in order to get it out into orbit. With Ignite, your goal is to ignite a movement in the marketplace around your point of view and solution. Your goal here is to really stoke up the market and get it excited about what it is you’re doing, and your vision for where the market needs to go, and then what it will take to solve that problem.

You know, Elon Musk does a great job of this–going back to the Tesla example–of really firing people up around the potential for electric vehicles and getting people excited. Steve Jobs was phenomenal at this with Apple, about really leading a movement in the marketplace around the need for elegant design and clean design and easy to use computers. Or, in the case of the iPhone, getting people fired up around why we ought to have these little computers in our pockets and what we can do with them.

The third phase is Navigate, and that’s where you have to walk the talk. You have to actually lead customers on a journey towards achieving the goal, towards solving the problem. This is where you actually have to deliver. You need your solution, you need to have it working, and you need to have sales, and have clients for customers, and be out there delivering the results that you talked about in your Ignite phase.

And then the final piece is, none of us can stand still. We always have to be improving or people will catch up to us, companies will catch up to us–competitors–and so we accelerate. We accelerate to stay out in front of everybody else, we broaden our penetration in the market, we constantly adapt and change, and we update any of our plans and activities and solutions to stay ahead of the competition, and also address market needs as they change.

Those are the four pieces: Launch, Ignite, Navigate, and Accelerate. They sound very simple and, on many levels, they sound common sense, but there are a lot of interesting nuances to each that I get into in the book. They can be challenging to execute, but if you do all four of these, you are likely on your way, if not already, a go-to in the market.

Launch, Ignite, Navigate, and Accelerate

Nikki Van Noy: You know, the phase of this I’m the most struck by is the first phase: launch phase. It just strikes me as being so internally powerful, claiming your space in your mission before you’ve even necessarily gotten there. The Apollo analogy just seems so apt here because that feels very much like the fire that just drives all of this.

Theresa M. Līna: Yes. You know, NASA accomplished something extraordinary with the Apollo space program, with that moon goal because, before that, NASA was actually multiple organizations. You had contractors all over creation, academic institutions all over creation, they were all working on different things, and it was all disconnected.

I interviewed for the book numerous people involved in the space program and I did a lot of research and it was really interesting. The moon goal, that one word, galvanized all the different entities involved in space research, space exploration, around one goal. I talked to one of the Apollo astronauts, this was some years ago, and he has since passed away, Dick Gordon.

He said that kind of focus rallied everybody around one thing, and it got all those different particles out there floating around in formation, and geared toward one goal. When you think about what a short period of time–it was roughly eight, nine years, 1961 to 1969. In that period of time, when you think about what they accomplished, and when you look at where the technology was back then, it’s mind-boggling! I would encourage anybody who hasn’t read any of the numerous books or watched any of the different movies that are out there about what was accomplished during the space program and what circumstances they were operating under–I have a lot of stories in my book, so definitely read my book. You’ll get some great highlights.

There are many wonderful resources out there that really bring it to life. One that’s phenomenal and very entertaining is From the Earth to the Moon, which was an HBO miniseries that Tom Hanks and Ron Howard produced. It is really beautifully done and really brings a lot of this to life in a marvelous way.

Nikki Van Noy: I mean, how cool was your research and interview process for this book? That’s amazing.

Theresa M. Līna: Yeah, it was fantastic. It’s really interesting and some of the people I talked to were my friend’s parents who worked on this. One of my best friend’s dad was involved in some of the math required to land the lunar landing module on the moon–to actually land it. Another guy I talked to led the team that figured out where to land. This was before there was even such a thing as a pocket calculator, you know?

Nikki Van Noy: Totally! People’s brains are incredible. That is astounding.

Theresa M. Līna: I know, it is mind-boggling what they achieved, and we think of those days as the dark ages, from a technology standpoint.

Nikki Van Noy: Right, well I think so far now we’ve plotted out your upcoming book schedule. We got the traveling around the world for a year it sounds like, even though I know some of this is in this book, that is probably a totally separate book, it is researching and what you found out about the space program and the people involved in it also.

Theresa M. Līna: Yes, and other companies too. I did a lot of research on companies. One company that I cover in the book a lot, that not everybody may be familiar with, but it also a phenomenal story, is Salesforce. In the early days they called themselves That may even still be its legal name, but it is a company that provides what we call customer relationship management software. Many of the companies you deal with out there, whether it is an airline, or a hotel, or your phone company, or what have you, many use this software to manage the information about you.

When you call into the call center and talk to a rep, they are probably accessing Salesforce to see your account information. What is great about this company is Marc Benioff started this company when there was a giant, total Goliath in the marketplace called Siebel, which many people have never even heard of anymore, but it seemed unfathomable to go up against this behemoth. It would be like starting a new little company and deciding you’re eventually going to eclipse Apple.

He [Marc Benioff] came out and he said, “Look, there is no reason it should cost millions of dollars to install software that your people are using. It shouldn’t take years to do, it shouldn’t cost millions of dollars, and it shouldn’t require hundreds of people. You should be able to just go into the cloud, get your stuff, and let somebody else update that software, manage that software, take care of all the functions and features. You should be able to have your people just using it, and you should be able to start using it on day one.”

He had a mantra, “kill software.” Now, nowadays we don’t even think twice about the cloud but back then the word ‘cloud’ had just been starting to be used, and very few companies had any technology in the cloud. He had a vision for this. He even produced little buttons, if you think of that red circle with the big red slash through it, he had the word software underneath that, and he wore that as a lapel pin everywhere he went.

I saw him at tech conferences. He’d get up there, and he’d be the only guy in a suit because everybody else was wearing really casual clothing. He’d be up there, pounding the mantra, “Kill software. Software is dead, we need to get rid of it. It is absurd.” This was heresy at the time, and he was fearless, and he was relentless in his message, and it was very controversial, very bold, very provocative.

He pounded on that mantra and now look at the company. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but it is a tens of billions of dollar company in terms of market cap, and even in revenues. In only 20 years, it’s grown from just a little, tiny company being run out of an apartment to this behemoth. The Salesforce Tower is the largest building in San Francisco at present. A relatively new high-rise that’s gone in, and they have something like 150,000 people come to their annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, which is not going to happen this year because of the pandemic.

That is another fascinating story and, while he didn’t consult with me to build his company by any means, their implementation of the Apollo method was absolutely textbook. I get into that in the book with lots of stories of some of the interesting and sometimes audacious things he did to build that company. So that is another great one.

I have lots and lots of wonderful examples, ranging from Walt Disney to some stories people don’t know about Steve Jobs. I’ve got interviews in there. We have some classes at Stanford where we bring some of these Silicon Valley luminaries in to talk to our students, and I have some stories from those appearances, that people might not have ever heard before that are really fascinating about how they have gone out and done this.

This Altered Market

Nikki Van Noy: That rings true in how you talk. It is my favorite kind of writing, and it makes ideas so much stickier. Speaking of the pandemic, before you and I started recording, I was asking you about your thoughts about this content and the fact that we are stepping into an altered market, which is uncertain in a lot of ways right now. And you were mentioning that, even as you were working on this book, which was before this became a reality, you were already looking ahead to what you saw as an inevitable recession coming up, and writing with that in mind.

Can you talk to me a little bit about your thoughts about that and the climate that companies are stepping into and what impact that may have on all of this?

Theresa M. Līna: Yes. I come at this as somebody who has lived through several recessions and 9/11. In fact, I was at a startup during the dot-com bust, an internet startup, and we had, I kid you not, $80 million in backlog, meaning booked business that disappeared literally overnight, because our customers went out of business. So, we went from practically on the verge of going public to suddenly clawing, and I mean literally dialing for dollars, just to keep the business afloat.

We had successfully clawed our way back, over the course of about eight to ten months, when 9/11 hit. It was like a big crashing wave knocking our feet right back out from under us, and again, we ended up scratching and clawing. Now we stayed alive, thank God, because we had started implementing some of these approaches that are in the book. Many of our competitors went out of business right away. Somehow, we were able to manage and hang on.

It was very painful. We ended up having a lot of layoffs and other difficult decisions that happened along the way, but this is not a new experience. This economic situation that we are going to see ourselves in as a result of the pandemic and the economic fallout, we were due for a recession anyway. People had been talking for months and even longer about the fact that we’ve had, up until now, an unprecedented upward trend in the stock market and in business growth.

So, we were due for this anyway. You know the challenge when things are good is everybody performs well when you have more than enough business for people to even take advantage of, and that is the environment we have been in for a while. Lots of companies are coming along and the market is very forgiving when there is more demand than there is supply. But, all of a sudden now–literally overnight because of the pandemic–the economy has retracted.

I think we are going to see even more fall out as we go along over the next year, but the economy has retracted. Demand has suddenly dropped like a stone.

Now, we have far more supply in the market than we have demand. So, it doesn’t even take an economics degree to realize that presents a big problem for companies. What happens when you have a lot more supply than demand, is you have a lot of companies competing for the same spending dollars among their buyers, and so we immediately have a problem of commoditization.

If you have a lot of companies who all look and sound the same, suddenly they are going after the same dollars. Those buyers will have a lot of buyer power now, and what happens is a lot of companies, unless they can convey some kind of a unique value, are going to lower their prices to try to get the business. Then of course that leads to the margin problem we talked about earlier.

So, in these other cycles that I have been through and that others have been through, what you see is that companies that are lowering their prices are working on very thin margins, and don’t have room to grow their businesses. So, some of them are going to limp along and stay in business, but they are not going to be positioned for growth, especially when the market comes back. They are going to be poorly positioned to take advantage of what is happening in the market because they haven’t been able to invest in keeping their products up to date or invest in new technologies, or even new advancements in their offerings. It is a very dangerous place to be.

This is really important–this need to become the go-to in a market. A key part of being the go-to is you saw the problem better than anybody else, and you do it in such a high-value way that customers are willing to pay healthy prices because they are getting far more value than it is costing them. This is something a go-to is positioned to be able to provide.

This retraction of demand is going to put a lot of pressure on companies and it’s going to be extremely important to have this differentiation that I talk about in the book and the four pieces that are involved in accomplishing it.

Nikki Van Noy: So, just a couple of follow up questions on that. Obviously as you are speaking to the temptation to lower prices now to survive, or for the idea of survival, is going to be tempting to a lot of companies, I would imagine. What do you say to that? Is that something that now more than ever should be avoided at all costs? Is it something to be aware of? How should companies look at that?

Theresa M. Līna: Well, you know, it is not unusual. I do think that many companies are going to need to think about their pricing to accommodate what is happening in the market. It is not a terrible thing, if your margins are still healthy. So, this is why you see companies laying people off. They’re trying to protect their margins because it is a fast, easy way to reduce their cost structure. It is not a happy way to do it. It is not a very healthy way to do it. I tell people all the time, you cannot cut your way to growth, but in a situation where you are just trying to survive, sometimes it is unavoidable.

The same is true, actually, for lowering your prices. If you can lower your prices, then you can look at, if there is a way to reduce the cost of providing the service or the product to somehow gain efficiencies. But the better way is to look at how to increase the value of what you are providing so significantly that customers aren’t even thinking about the price.

How do I provide such high value that they are more than happy to pay a healthy price because they are getting far more than what it is costing them? The value of what they are getting far eclipses what they are paying. That is really what you are after, and that is a big part of what the Apollo Method navigate phase is all about.

Enormous Opportunity

Nikki Van Noy: Okay, that’s helpful. Something else that jumped out at me that I just wanted to point out, you have mentioned the phrase, problems to solve, finding your problem to solve, a few times throughout this interview. One thing that strikes me is that even though we can make comparisons between this and the things the market’s done previously in different recessions post 9/11, we are living in a time that pretty much everyone alive has never seen the likes of in many ways before.

It does strike me that there is opportunity amidst this because we are faced with new problems to solve. So, going back to this idea of staking your claim and really spiritually setting forth your company that way, it seems to me like there could be areas of opportunity there right now in ways that didn’t exist before.

Theresa M. Līna: Yes, there is enormous opportunity right now. Enormous, enormous opportunity for reframing problems, and looking at them in a different way. I’ve got a client that is in, broadly speaking, the entertainment industry and they can’t gather people together anymore. So, how do you make money when all of your revenue came from bringing big groups of people together for live experiences? How do you now make money? And I said, “This is an opportunity to innovate and come up with new offerings, new ways of bringing value to these fans that never have been tried before. You have a pause in the action that actually gives you time to experiment and try some things out.”

So the pivotal question is, if you have always thought of yourself as–I don’t want to divulge any information about them, so I am just going to use an analogous example–if I am a concert promoter and I can no longer bring people together, let’s say Lady Gaga making millions and millions of dollars off of concerts. Or let’s even pick Cirque du Soleil. Cirque du Soleil could be a good one, you know they live and die by their live performances. So, what can they do to really understand, well, what is it that people get out of coming to their shows? And how can they deliver that in a different way, that is equally valuable to them, that people are willing to pay for? And it opens up lots of creative doors to try new offerings.

I think we’re going to see a lot of that with this pandemic. We have already seen incredible creativity happening online. I just watched this morning the Julliard School have a performance that they put together that showcased their musicians, their dancers, their actors, all of the different areas that they teach, and it was an incredible performance done over Zoom.

We have seen a lot of that online. We have seen shows like Saturday Night Live. We saw Parks and Rec put together a virtual show from their individual homes. We are going to see a lot of new technology that allows people to engage virtually. Zoom is sort of the name that comes to mind, you could call it the go-to. It is not really. It is momentarily, let us put it that way, but they need to build in more sustainable differentiation to stay the go-to because Facebook and some other companies are coming after them as we speak. There are lots of technologies.

Now that a lot of people have worked from home who never thought they would enjoy working from home, and a lot of people have participated in online video conferencing, who had never tried it before or who weren’t comfortable with it, you now have all of this adoption that’s happened. That opens up tons of doors for new offerings and new ways of thinking about things, and I am only naming a couple of examples.

Many, many companies were started during recessions or had their major breakthroughs during recessions. During the last great recession in 2008-2009, I was being interviewed by a couple of different media outlets as I was the spokesperson for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program in the school of engineering at Stanford. I was explaining that this is a great time to start a business because when you are just getting started, you don’t need a high volume of customers. You just need a few. You need a handful.

This is an opportunity to get started, to experiment, to figure out what works, to go out there and find new problems. To go out there and talk to people and kind of get your legs, so that by the time the market comes roaring back you’ll be ready to leverage what you have built and take advantage of all of that wonderful demand that is starting to surge out in the market place. So, this is a great time to innovate, a great time to start a business.

Nikki Van Noy: Interesting. It strikes me as such a juxtaposition between constriction and elasticity all happening at the same time right now.

Theresa M. Līna: Yeah, I mean you know you have to remember, for a small company, and people tend to think immediately over the big grand vision, but a small company is just that little seed. It’s just that little tiny sprout sticking up out of the ground. It doesn’t take a lot of sunshine, it doesn’t take a ton of water. It doesn’t take a ton of nutrients to allow that sprout to double, triple, quadruple, or quintuple, in a short amount of time.

I am trying to think of a good analogy here, or a good way to build on this metaphor–by the time a thunderstorm comes along, it can endure. But that is not really what I am looking for, but you know, by the time there is a lot of demand in the market, that company is now at the stage where it is ready to scale. So, a small, new company is still trying to get its legs before it is capable of scaling, and it needs that time.

A big, healthy, surging market is kind of lost on a new company, because it is not ready to get out there and take full advantage. But once it is, you have that wonderful match between the company being ready and the market being ready. You have that, they come together, and great things can happen.

Nikki Van Noy: That makes so much sense and such good news for so many people out there, I’m sure.

Theresa M. Līna: Yes. I would encourage people to definitely to go out there, find out what the problems are, figure out what you want to own, and then apply the Apollo Method for Market Dominance. The book lays it out step by step. This is basically a strategy template that you simply adapt to your situation, but it is very specifically laid out. I’ve got worksheets in there. If you do all the work that is there in the book you will end up with your plan, and you’ll be on your way to executing. So, it is really all you need to make it happen.

Nikki Van Noy: Perfect. Again, the book is Be the Go-To. Theresa, where else can listeners find you?

Theresa M. Līna: I’ve got a companion website for the book, the URL is and that’s going to go live, by the book launch date of June 2nd. So they can find me there and then I am on LinkedIn, and the company website is, and they can email me at [email protected].

Nikki Van Noy: Wonderful. Theresa, thank you so much for joining me today. It is a pleasure to talk to you.

Theresa M. Līna: Thank you, Nikki.