Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal & business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Chris Denny, Founder of Attention to Detail Training, located in Lakewood, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Attention to Detail Training is focused on training employees, teams, and organizations to improve accuracy and attention to detail, reduce mistakes and errors, and improve productivity, communication, and even employee morale. My customers are generally companies, non-profits, and government agencies, but many individuals take my online courses for self-improvement and career development.
Tell us about yourself
I am an entrepreneur and multiple-business owner. In about 2010, I had an employee at my marketing agency who was great, technically speaking, and exceptionally talented, but he struggled to deliver client-ready work because of a severe lack of attention to detail. I couldn't find any kind of training for him, so I thought I could make something. I thought it would take an evening or two, but I soon realized how big -- and interesting -- the topic is, and I totally went down the rabbit hole with it.
Six years later (hundreds of hours of research, days at libraries, dozens of interviews with various professionals, and surveys), I had a system I was ready to share. I love working with individuals and companies to get past sticking points and ongoing challenges, develop systems to improve processes and help them become more effective.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There's not really one thing. It feels great to have created a life where I get to be creative, work on multiple projects/businesses, travel, and have the flexibility to go snowboarding or hiking with my wife and boys. Maybe the biggest reward is taking an idea from nothing and creating something people purchase, enjoy, and benefit from.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's often lonely because most people who have not owned or managed a business don't understand all the concerns that can be going through your head at any given moment. As a business owner, there are a million things to keep organized and stay on top of—especially with multiple businesses.
You've got to keep the balls moving forward, make sure cash flow is strong, that the bookkeeper is doing things properly, that the phones are being answered, that quality is up to par, and on and on. If you enjoy being an entrepreneur as I do, you're kind of always working. I've said before that I'm not really happy unless I'm in a prison of my own making. That's good and, obviously, bad too.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be deliberate. This is one of the first pieces of advice I was given for my first business (selling deck materials online). In fact, I wish I could remember specifically who gave me that advice. I was calling to ask him to be a supply partner. He liked what I was doing and could probably tell that I was only about 22, so he shared that advice.
- Ironically, the next piece of advice is to have a "Ready, Fire, Aim" mindset. Be action-oriented with your ideas. Think them through, but don't wait until they're perfect, or you'll never start anything. Take action, then be deliberate.
- Set up a separate bank account for taxes and put up to 30% of your revenues there. That will cover state and federal taxes, and you might even have some left in the account for a rainy day (after taxes are paid, of course). Mismanagement of taxes is one of the biggest reasons small businesses fail.
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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