Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Loy Sheflott, President of Consumer Financial Service Corporation, located in Emeryville, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Consumer Financial Service Corporation develops marketing strategies for leading financial institutions. Since 1994, we've completed thousands of engagements for banks, card issuers, specialty lenders, payment firms, fintechs, and wealth management firms. Our work includes a wide range of activities—from high-level planning, competitive research, market analysis, compliance verification, and product development to detailed design and management of marketing programs. Each project is united by its focus on consumers and business owners and how they perceive, evaluate, and purchase financial products.
Tell us about yourself
Consumer Financial enables my colleagues and me to work with a range of financial services firms, learn new marketing techniques, and stay close to the work, as we care a great deal about the outcome.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As my business has grown, the way that I think about success has broadened. For instance, part of our success is having flexibility, being able to extend that to the team, being comfortable enough as a leader to apologize and fix problems, and knowing that whatever happens, we can deal with it as a team. It's not just me, and I don't have to fix it all myself.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
No matter how good you are at getting the right answer, designing a successful campaign, or running an effective meeting, there are going to be things that don't go the way you expect. And at that point, you need good communication and strong relationships with your clients and your colleagues to get things back on track. And you need to be willing to take responsibility for issues and apologize.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build and maintain strong relationships with people. Part of that is learning what a client needs and understanding how things are done in their organization—but a lot of it goes beyond that. It's about taking the time to listen to what's important to people to catch up on how they're doing to be there for people in good times and bad.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. I know it's kind of a cliché at this point, but that's because it's true. Not everything that is imperfect is a disaster, and not everything that isn't exactly what I would do is imperfect. Part of the benefit of having a team is that we can do a great job for our clients in areas that go beyond my strengths, and that comes from letting go of doing everything exactly my way.
- Be clear about what you're doing and why—and stay focused. Avoid distractions so you're in a good frame of mind to respond to challenges and plan for the future.
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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