In my last blog post, I shared 10 of my favorite “learning experiences” from my 20 years as CEO of Haley Marketing. Today, I’d like to share 10 more quick lessons…and a couple of bonuses.
- Hire smart people who love what they do. A passionate employee with brains and talent is priceless!
- Pick a niche. It’s WAY easier to differentiate your services when you serve a focused client (or candidate) base.
- Stand up for your employees. The customer may be king, but they are not always right or nice. Don’t tolerate clients that won’t treat your people fairly or with the courtesy they deserve.
- You can sell over the phone. Early in my career, I was told that selling had to be done face to face. But our business model is based on keeping our services affordable and travel costs inflate prices. While some companies don’t like that we won’t travel for a sales call (and we’ve lost deals because of it), more seem to appreciate the efficiency and economics of long distance sales (and now with Skype, FreeConferenceCall.com and GoToMeeting, it couldn’t be easier to be remote!).
- Let go. Most entrepreneurs struggle with delegation. Sure, things won’t get done the way you’d do it, but if you’ve hired the right people, they might just get done better! And you can’t grow if you don’t let go.
- Have a great partner. I feel guilty writing this list of lessons from my personal perspective because Haley Marketing’s success is as much (and if not more so) due to the hard work and brilliance of my business partner, and spouse, Victoria.
- Great sales people may not be sales people. Back in 2004, when we started offering website development, we did a promotion that was more successful than we planned—and I had promised to provide web critiques to more than 200 companies. To get the work done, I asked our Creative Director and one of our Project Managers to help. I told them “don’t try and sell anything—just offer your candid assessment of each website.” Guess what – by not selling and simply consulting, they outsold me! Train your people to be consultants, and you’ll have to do far less selling!
- Take risks with your marketing. So many staffing companies are afraid to offend anyone. But safe is BORING! If you want to grab attention—and create interest in your firm—take a few risks.
- When launching a new product or service, be a minimalist. In the tech world, they call this a MVP (minimum viable product). We do this whenever we develop products in order to test our ideas with real clients. We then use their feedback to improve our services. You can do the same thing when launching an extension to your staffing services—find a way to start small, learn, and then build on your successes.
Two Last Lessons (at least for now)
Success is a mindset.
I’m a fan of Napoleon Hill, and his basic premise is to ask life for what you want…and then relentlessly pursue your vision. You can become anything you want—if you believe in your vision and have the courage and persistence to never give up.
When we started Haley Marketing, I had no idea what I was doing. But Vicki and I always believed we’d be successful—and despite some rough years at the start—and challenges along the way, we’ve continued to learn, innovate, and pursue our vision of creating the world’s greatest company providing marketing support to the staffing industry.
Haley Marketing would not have survived for 20 years without the contributions and support of a long list of amazing people (I’ll save that list for another post). We are truly thankful to so many for their contributions, encouragement, willingness to take risks along with us, and the opportunities they have provided.