Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Doug Hutchens, President of Hutchens Consulting LLC., located in Chantilly, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide Management Consulting support to large Federal Government Contractors in the development of viable solutions to resolve long-standing federal and global problems. This involves working closely with Industry to accurately diagnose problems and priorities, craft effective bid strategies, validate the viability of proposed solutions, and effectively satisfy federal procurement requirements with compelling and competitive solutions. During program execution, I help large programs leverage and apply Industry best practices, relevant methodologies, and proven techniques to effectively and efficiently deliver tangible results.
Tell us about yourself
As a former United States Air Force Officer (USAF) with senior leadership experience with two of the Top Ten most prestigious Consulting Firms, I have been able to consistently produce tangible results in growing and running large complex business operations. My daily motivator? Every project is an opportunity for the “Detective in Me” to solve a “Crime.” Why are you losing business? Why are your expenses over budget? Why does your process take twice as long as the competitors and produce less value? Leveraging lessons learned from relevant projects, data analytical tools, and viewing problems from a less political or more objective perspective improves your ability to truly identify the root cause and change organizational capabilities infinitely.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Earning the role as a “Trusted Advisor“ to multiple Fortune 500 Business Leaders. I can often see problems that stakeholders and staff who are too close to the organization can’t. This requires deep and broad functional expertise combined with an objective and independent perspective. Opening up an organization’s aperture on how they view a problem or obstacle provides untapped opportunities for improvement. Correctly framing and analyzing the problem leads to systematic problem resolution and enduring results. You learn to sell the result, not the product or service. It’s very rewarding to have an impact on making an organization and the people in it a better version of themselves.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being able to look around the corner and see what’s coming is the hardest thing to master in business. The known Unknown. Owning also makes everything much more personal and brings to life the notion of the “Servant Leader.” Business is an infinite game but managing each quarter’s pipeline of new business can bring new levels of stress.
Perfecting the brand and creating the required Business Agility are paramount in the first business year. Everyone has a plan until they get punched. Slowly you learn that differentiation is a priority. Unique is better. You also learn to be more discerning with clients. All clients are not equal, and you learn to be more selective in which opportunities to pursue, which eventually results in higher win rates and greater organizational goal alignment. You have to believe in your brand and strategy, even when tempted by distractions.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Simplify the Complex – Allow decisions to be made closer to the point of attack based on Occam’s Razor theory, which states the simplest solution is almost always the best solution.
- Listen More than you Speak – Leaders have tremendous insights and experience, but more often than not, that translates to them doing all the talking and marginalizing the perspectives and contributions of the entire team.
- Nothing Trades off against Gross Profit – Extremely important from day one to always know “How much of every dollar flows to the Bottom Line of the Business.” Profit is the direct reward for the risks that you take and provides the Scoreboard on how efficiently you manage and operate your business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Regardless of what you do as an organization, information is the lifeblood of the operation. Projects and priorities largely fail due to a lack of effective communication. In an increasingly complex world, it’s very hard to predict who needs to have what information. So as a leader, your number one focus should be to remove barriers and provide your staff with the resources they need to successfully accomplish their job. In today’s knowledge economy, evolve your organization from who needs to know... to who doesn’t know. Information only has value if you give it to people who can do something with it.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.