Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jerry Fletcher, Founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc., located in Wilsonville, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I guide consultants, coaches, and independent professionals to become more memorable and more profitable. You know how everyone tells you that you have to be known, but nobody tells you how to do it? Well, what we do is find a unique, trust-based strategy that builds your business, your brand, and a life of joy. At last count, we had successfully done so for 137 elite consultants from Singapore to Spain.
Tell us about yourself
I got fired. I was the CEO of the largest B2B ad agency in Portland, Oregon. My board and I disagreed over the future direction of the firm. I started my consulting practice in the fall of 1990 and never looked back. Over the years, I worked with more and more independent professionals, and my specialization in consultants happened because of referrals. The men and women I work with each generate great outcomes for their clients.
Assisting them in becoming better known makes my day. Finding significant differentiators to keep them in prospects' minds is the casino for me. There is no thrill like hearing a client say: "When he recommended my intro line, I thought he was nuts. But I tried it. Everybody gets it. Nobody forgets it. And it tripled my revenues."
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Staying in business as a solopreneur for 30+ years.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For consultants, most people don't have a clue as to what you do until they have a problem they believe you can solve. That can make it very lonely to build your business, particularly if you don't hire professional help (lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, graphic artist, copywriter, etc.). The business can become your whole life. That's why I tell new consultants to put a door on their office and close it each day to join their family for dinner and the evening. Later I suggest leaving it closed every weekend as well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't try to do everything yourself. That is the mistake I made. An event developer who had hired me to speak at a series of his events set me up interviews with Virtual Assistants and pushed me into hiring one. Cristy has been with me now for several years. It took too many years for me to realize how much more you can do with more people.
- Find technologies that work for you. You don't have to be an expert. Your mission is to find the hardware and software that make it easier, faster, and lower cost to do your job.
- Never stop learning about your industry, your people, and how you can improve all the things you do.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Sooner or later, you are going to want to know why you do what you do. All of us get used to answering the question, "What do you do?" But real relationships, the foundation of becoming a trusted advisor, are based on WHY. My WHY is Better Way. I believe that success happens when we find a better way and are able to share 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.
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