As the co-owners of Gilbert & Sheppard Group, Betsy Sheppard and Kerrie Gilbert enjoy developing business strategies and implementing integrated marketing plans for their clients. They have built a well-deserved reputation as the “go-to” marketing agency for developers of active adult communities, and they both enjoy leadership roles in local, regional and national homebuilding organizations. And while business is booming for Gilbert & Sheppard Group and their clients, it was different story a decade ago.
Recently, Betsy was invited to be a guest on CEO Exclusive Radio with her client, Jim Chapman of Atlanta-based Jim Chapman Communities. Host Soyini Coke was interested to learn about the special skills and challenges of marketing to active adults, but she also wanted her audience of CEOs across the country to hear how Betsy and Jim worked together keep their businesses afloat during the 2008-2012 real estate downturn, and how they positioned their companies to succeed in today’s economic climate.
Betsy advised, and Jim agreed, that they needed to pare down their companies and focus on the basics. While business was slow, this was the time for each to become more active in professional organizations and take on volunteer and leadership roles. Rather than try to be all things to all homeowners or clients, both Betsy and Jim focused their companies on serving a niche – active adult homebuyers for Jim and active adult homebuilders and developers for Betsy. They worked together and, as the economy improved, each company was in a strong position to grow and prosper. You can hear their insights by clicking this link: CEO Exclusive Radio.
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Betsy sums up the road to success through difficult times this way: “I call it ‘staying power.’ You have to be surrounded by people who are like you and who are determined. As a CEO and leader, you have to keep showing up, and you have to be that good example. You have to give back…and be flexible.”