Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur, Part 2
Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur, Part 2
Flat—and falling —-wages over the last 3 to 5 years may explain my business behavior. Trying to maintain the quality of life forced me to cut back on office personnel. With less help, I have become a “professional task juggler.” At work, I wore many hats and preformed many tasks daily. To keep costs down, I avoided using professional experts. I was on my way to becoming–or may already be — “a jack of all trades, master of none”.
Clearly, my actions were damaging the business. I bought $5 to $25 lunch very easy and turn vigorously $20 to $30 monthly or annually services, for tools that can increase my business. I worked many hours “for” or “in” the business and not enough time “on” the business. My business was on its way to a massive heart attack and maybe even extinction.
On Friday Jan 24, 2014, right before leaving the office for the weekend, I had a short phone conversation with a client who faced some business challenges. I hung up the phone and asked myself, will I recover with the economy or will the economy eat me on its way to recovery?
I remember what my father, (may he rest in peace), a university professor, often told me:
Einstein said, don’t do the same thing over expecting different results.
- Identify and focus on the 20% of your work that delivers 80% of the results.
How much truth is in those two sentences! Yet, how hard it is to implement these truths, It became clear to me that I had to make a change. It may be uncomfortable, but if I am going to experience real success, I have to beat my fears and adopt practices that are shared by successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs. I spend that weekend drafting my Business 10 Commandments.
- “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”~ Mahatma Gandhi. In the past, I was clever. I wanted to create a new “world of business”. Today I am wiser, I have identified the business characteristic that I feel I possess, and will use them to develop a contagious, ongoing, winning attitude.
- Create a 90-day plan and no more for major aspects of the business. I identify short term goals and plan my actions.
- Make the ’’Next Sale’’ or “Next Client” the #1 priority! Marketing, promotion and advertising translate into sales. That’s why others do it. This became my #1 priority and mission.
- Erase the word “Employees”. All Employees become Associates. With my five associates I started a life of “accountability”. Each one of us took full responsibility for her/his, actions. I committed to Think– the best way to do the job, Evaluate– the results, Act– Take action, Now – don’t procrastinate. I called it TEAN and made it our new business approach.
- Start a relationship with a marketing company. After a careful search, I engaged a marketing company. I started with a tiny budget. They introduced me to new marketing and sales tactics. Any idea that pushes my #1 priority—the “Next Sale” —I incorporate immediately.
- Use technology to the fullest. While I avoided getting overly caught up in the high-tech world, I discovered how to take advantage of using it. Everything tech-related that I used during a 90-day plan period was to improve reaching the “Next Client”. All of our associates started using the “Gobiggi Connect” app (sending instant email to new contacts and verifying If potential clients open the email ) and “Adobe Connect”(invite client to video live meetings) to convert new contacts to customers. We designed “objective posting social media calendar” and each one of our associates committed to post one article, comment or video a day. I also realized that on the internet Perception can be Reality: If I operate with 1, 3 or 1,000 associates, but have a superior online presence and use a few smart tools I can look like (and become) a $50 thousand or $50 million company, and nobody will know the difference. I engaged with a web company who provide us with tool to take the website to clients verses wait for user to come.
- Document all current daily tasks. I wrote all my tasks on paper, then I identified the 20% most important tasks and committed 80% of my time to accomplishing them. Each one of our associates did the same. For all of us, the #1 task was– “the Next Client”.
- Remember, business is all about the customer. Noting is about our products or services. Everything is about how we as a company can improve, make easy or entertain the life of our clients, in business and at home. With help, and after three days, we had an “elevator speech” —a 30-sec pitch that clearly defined our contribution to our client’s life.
- Develop deeper relationship with vendors. I involve my vendors in my challenges and listen to their advice. Especially when it comes to financials, tax, planning, marketing and technology. Vendors who did not express interest in our growth were replaced.
- Plan time off. To me the temptation to work around the clock is real. I gave myself and my associates time to disconnect, enjoy life (that’s the reason we work) regain strength and reconnect.
It’s been 18 months: six, 90-day plans. I kept “The next Client” #1 priority for the second and third 90-day planning period. We worked smart and hard as a team. We all joined different network meetings. We all used the Gobiggi Connect app to add potential clients to our database list invite clients to video meetings using Adobe Connect, teleconferencing and send Local-Deal alerts.
From 9:30 am to 4:00 pm you could hear all of us talking to perspective clients, responding to request for quotes, delivering online presentations and sending emails. The first social media post was at 6:00 am, then lunch 11:30 am, 2:30 pm and 5:30. Results were not instant. At the end of the third week we started seeing new clients.
Today, we are 12 people – having one voice. We lost two people who could not, or did not, like the new company culture. We are now recovering with the economy, rather than be eaten by the recovery.