Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Urko Wood, Founder of Reveal Growth Consultants, located in Columbus, OH, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I help business-to-business companies accelerate revenue growth through innovation by obtaining deep customer insights.

Tell us about yourself

One reason I love innovation and growth strategy consulting goes back to my days in the Navy which I joined right out of high school to get the G.I. Bill for college. I was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and really wanted to stop but couldn't. I tried every technique I could find and failed perhaps a dozen times. Finally, discouraged and out of options, I gave up. I accepted my smoking habit but also made a commitment to observe what was going on in and around me. Over the course of the following year, I made a surprising discovery: I didn't need cigarettes at all!

What I needed was to manage stress, resolve interpersonal conflict, and connect with others. High school had socialized me to believe that cigarettes could address these needs, but, in fact, they were a poor solution. Once I realized what I truly needed, I was able to generate new solutions and run some experiments to determine what worked best. I learned how to manage uncomfortable feelings, assert myself against an abusive boss, and connect with people in more meaningful ways.

Over time, I replaced each cigarette with a more satisfying solution until, one day, I didn't want to smoke anymore! I no longer experienced quitting as denying myself pleasure but rather as an opportunity for greater satisfaction from my new behaviors. In truth, I never wanted to buy cigarettes. I wanted to get my functional, emotional, and social needs met. And people don't want to buy your products/services or mine they want to get their needs met, too.

Managers who want to innovate and grow in a predictable manner must first discover what their target customers are trying to accomplish, feel, and experience and then devise solution ideas to address those unmet needs. Knowing where to focus your creativity makes all the difference in the world.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The results of my clients measure my biggest accomplishments. Helping a private airline create a successful new business-centric service for C-level leaders who frequently travel for work was really good. Helping an online university attract and retain more students and further its mission was really good. And helping a regional public accounting firm formulate a growth strategy that included creating two new practice areas, buying a company, and entering into a joint venture was gratifying, too.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Staying focused on the most important things. Keeping first things first.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

If you're considering starting a business, don't quit your day job until you have confirmed:

  1. Who your target customer is
  2. What they're trying to accomplish (talk with them to find out)
  3. How you're going to help them
  4. Why your offering is better than other options
  5. How you're going to find, engage, and convert them
  6. That real customers are happy to pay you for your offering

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Being a business owner is hard work. I think it's important to understand why you want to do it. There should be something inherently gratifying about the work to sustain you through those long days and late nights.

Also, make sure you find and develop excellent relationships with the people who have skills and abilities you need to deliver results for your clients. I am grateful to have two excellent people who complement me and make the journey a lot more fun!

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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