Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Graban, Founder of Constancy, Inc., located in Colleyville, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business includes a number of products and services, focused heavily on healthcare and, more broadly, on those who want to be more successful as a leader or an organization. I do speaking, training and management consulting related to how to improve performance and how to coach others through continuous improvement and breakthrough improvement. I also publish a blog, books, videos, and podcasts on these topics.
Tell us about yourself
After my first book, "Lean Hospitals," was published, that opened a lot of doors for speaking, training, and consulting. I enjoy being my boss and the flexibility that comes with it -- even with the challenges. What motivates me is a number of factors -- for one, healthcare needs to be safer for everybody involved (patients and caregivers). Secondly, people shouldn't hate going to work -- we can create better, happier, more engaging workplaces. Thirdly, people often want to improve but don't know how to structure their improvements, and I love helping them with that.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In a way, just surviving for over a decade. It's challenging to face the ups and downs and risks of having your own business. I'm glad I've been able to stick with it. It helps to have an incredibly supportive wife who has a very successful traditional career path -- that reduces some of the risks that I face (and it helps that I can get health insurance through her).
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things for people who do work like me is finding the balance between selling work and doing work. It can be difficult to sell the next engagement while busy with the current one. You want to give 100% to your current client(s), but you have to be disciplined in carving out time every week for marketing and business development.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure there's a market for the goods & services that you're passionate about providing.
- You can often test this by taking baby steps... starting a business as a "side hustle." I'm fortunate that I was able to scale back my last W-2 job to being just 50% time, so I could start my business to fill that other 50% (and then some). After a year, I felt more confident in giving up that employment and going on my own.
- Don't try to do everything yourself -- find experts and partners to work with who can follow your direction and add a lot to your business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Please check out my latest podcast: My Favorite Mistake (available on YouTube or any place you listen to podcasts). We all need to learn from mistakes, and my guests share their "favorite mistakes" and how we can best learn from our own mistakes.
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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