Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Steve Harper, Founder of The Ripple Effect, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a serial entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, relationship strategist, and coach. I help individuals and organizations identify, develop and grow the key relationships they depend on for success. I have worked with Fortune 500 companies, startup entrepreneurs, and almost any organization in virtually every industry looking to scale and grow.
In addition to The Ripple Effect, I own two software companies, Owner Insite, LLC., and Facility Insite. We help institutional owners manage their construction projects and building assessments and identify and financially plan for their short and long-term facility needs. We work with school districts, high education, hospital systems, and commercial developers through these companies.
I get to wear a lot of hats every day and love every single minute of what I get to do as an entrepreneur.
Tell us about yourself
I've been an entrepreneur since I was 22. I am also introverted and shy, which, as you can imagine, when trying to grow a business, can make things extremely difficult. That led me to become fascinated with relationship dynamics. How to get people to notice you. How to get people to like, trust and eventually buy from you. And in my journey, I discovered just how little time and energy is put towards building the right connections and turning them into win/win relationships.
So it became my passion.
Whether it is helping companies find and recruit the right talent to their organizations, developing a Ripple-centric culture for their corporation environment, or converting more prospects into customers, how we connect out there in the world matters. Especially in today's world, where we all live and work amidst constant distraction. Setting yourself apart from the rest of the herd is more critical than ever. So much so that it's often the thin line between success and failure.
I get up every day with a passion for helping people under the absolute power of Rippling their way to better connections, building better relationships, and developing more mutually successful outcomes. There isn't a thing I work on, whether through consulting, coaching, speaking, or making my ventures, that the Ripple isn't firmly affixed as part of what I do, what I offer, and how I present myself to the world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is helping several key employees realize the potential I saw in them first. For example, my COO is an ex-military guy who had never thought about a role in a tech company. Yet, I knew his skill set and attention to detail would serve him well in this new career path.
He just needed time and the opportunity to gain the necessary experience and, ultimately, someone to believe in him. I knew from the moment I asked him to join the company (in a support role) that he could do it and would eventually surprise himself with what he was capable of.
I want to think I gave him the confidence to try something completely new, and when I did, and the results were there, it became easy for him to believe in his potential too! He now basically runs day-to-day operations for all of my companies and is better than I could ever have hoped to be.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Remembering you can't do it all yourself. So building the right team is critical. It's hard to admit as an entrepreneur because everyone expects you to have all the answers, be equipped with all the skills, and deliver results. The reality is there are things you are good at and not so good at. The sooner one can be honest with themself about this. The more successful one can become.
Because you can hire the right people to do the right job and focus on where you can be the most efficient and deliver the most impactful results. Once I stopped being ashamed of not being good at everything and admitting I needed help. I've been able to scale my companies. I've been able to innovate new products and services into existence. I've been a much happier business owner.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Be open and honest about what you are good at and where you should invest your time.
Find a coach. The right coach will help you in so many ways. They will help you see your blindspots, ask you the tough questions, and be there to cheer you on during good times, pick you up, dust you off, and get you back in the game when things get a little rocky. And as a business owner and entrepreneur, those times will come. Having a trusted resource in your order is invaluable.
Remember, everything in life and business comes down to how well you connect and engage with other people. Whether it's your staff, vendors, prospects, or customers, take the time to build those connections and develop them into genuine relationships. The successful entrepreneurs I know build in time daily to focus purely on developing and growing those key relationships they depend on for their success. To me, it's priority one above everything else you are called to do as a business owner.
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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