Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jimmy Blackmon, Managing Partner of Exactus Advisors, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an advisory firm that focuses on business optimization and transformation. We have a broad range of clients from Fortune 100 companies to Private Equity portfolio companies looking to scale and optimize people, processes, and technology.
Tell us about yourself
After retiring from the US Army, I began a career as an author and professional speaker. That led to executive coaching and, subsequently, consulting. I still do all of the above, but helping business leaders grow and optimize their businesses is most rewarding. Our vision at Exactus is to inspire a sense of performance and optimization in every business we touch. That's what excites me about what we do. Our clients want us on the team with them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is having built a team of seasoned professionals that are aligned in purpose and passion. It's all about the people for us - internally as well as with our clients. You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don't have the right people in the right positions aligned with a common purpose and vision, then it's very difficult to optimize your performance and outputs. At the end of the day, we believe the most important thing in business is people and relationships. We've done that very well at Exactus.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a business owner feels very different than my life in the Army. In the Army, I never had to worry about selling and making payroll. When we began growing, and I started hiring for the first time, I felt the weight of that responsibility. I committed to those folks that we would sell work and continue to grow the business. Honestly, I'd never had to do that in my previous profession.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Four things rolled into one formula: Strategy, Structure, People, and Technology. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do we have a strategy with very clearly defined objectives, and can we measure it?
- Are we structured in a way that will optimize outputs?
- Do we have the right people in the right position with the right authorities?
- Do our people have the right tools and processes to optimize outputs?
There is a lot more than meets the eye in these four questions. We dive deeply into each area when we help our clients grow, transform, and optimize.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Remember, no matter how technologically advanced we become, life is and always will be about people and relationships.
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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