Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tony Cole, Founder of Anthony Cole Training Group, located in Cincinnati, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our business is a sales/revenue growth consulting practice. We work primarily in the financial sector with an emphasis on community banking, commercial insurance, and investment advisory. If an organization/business must grow, then they must realize that they are currently perfectly designed for the results they get today. In short, if they want different sales outcomes, they must do something different. Hire a firm that specializes in focusing on driving revenue, not JUST training.
Tell us about yourself
My wife, Linda and I, started the business when the company I was working for was getting ready for the right size. I had been involved with a sales development expert for a number of years and would occasionally sub for him. We were at a crossroads, so I was reading my bible one morning when I read a passage that spoke to me. I shared it with Linda. We already had sketched out our business model. I had a few potential clients that said they would hire me, so we took the leap. Here was and is the key. NEVER doubt. I promised God I would never doubt the call to do this, nor would I ever worry about our success. What motivates me still today is knowing that we do good work that has a great impact on people's lives. I'd like to think that as people improve their skills and behaviors as professional salespeople, the ripple effect on their personal financial security and future greatly improves. And this includes our own people at our company.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being in business for almost 30 years. What many people don't realize is that the failure rate for start-ups is extremely high. Also, based on our revenue numbers, only about 4% of small businesses succeed at our level. That's pretty rare air.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
People. And that is not specific to our company but for any company. If you want to grow, you need people. They need to be smart, loyal, trustworthy, and share the same values as the founders. Finding those people is hard. We are very fortunate to have the people we have. Our current team is the least of our worries. Finding the next-gen is the worry.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start a business that you love and are great at executing. It won't feel like work.
- Understand that no matter what your business is, you are in the money-making business. That is the core of your business.
- Know how to run a business. If you don't know how then make sure you have someone that does. As good as I was, what we built and have, we wouldn't be the company we are without Linda's business acumen and sharp mind on the financials. Without that, you just have a hobby.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Even though I just talked about the importance of money, don't let that be your motivation. My motivations have been 1. To do the thing God called me to do, and do it at my very, very best. 2. Make sure my family is taken care of. I wanted them to have freedom of time, freedom from worry, and, if possible, freedom from harm. Now some of that changed when our son Anthony had a cardiac arrest at age 12 and suffered a severe brain injury. I had to double down on my effort to grow the business because of the uncertain financial requirements in the future. Don't worry, and it just works.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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