By most accounts, Thomas Gay is a serial business owner. He’s created 5 profitable business organizations, among which he had taken public. Recognized with several awards, Tom gotten Inc Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growth Award two times as well as Individual Investor Magazine’s Award for Best Small Public Company CEO’s in the USA. And, he nevertheless finds time for loved ones, travel, friends, speaking engagements as well as community service. Creating Genius Magazine had a chance to question him how he accomplishes so much and also keeps everything in balance.
CG: Tom, there’s no denying you’re a serial entrepreneur but what’s it about beginning and growing companies that excites you?
Tom: You will find numerous things. For instance, its difficult and I have always appreciated to challenge myself and some to attain their best. Then, I love problem solving. and in case it is a large enough problem or perhaps repeated sufficiently it probable suggests there being an underlying market opportunity. Solve it for one after which systematize it for most, and you have got a small business! Next , all of the things about enrolling in a business strategy to good results and also the rewards that are available from which are quite compelling. Last but probably there is more.
I have received abilities that go so beyond the expectations of mine. I cannot picture not using them. Not just that, but squandering them would dishonor the Creator who provided them to me.
CG: What would you search for in considering starting out in a business?
Tom: Beyond seeing a huge issue to be resolved, I am constantly searching for the working leverage to be accomplished in addressing the issue. Basically what I really mean is, there is an increased return for each product of income you consume. This likely means excessive startup or perhaps first fixed costs being going but increasing return shipping once you are past the break also line on each sale that you simply create. A great strategy to also see at this’s I love to be the one that changes the rules on the ball game with my solution. In case you review the idea Blue Ocean Strategy you will envision an unit for sorting through many ideas to get a potentially great one.
CG: It seems every one of your businesses need to do with increasing product sales and creating business development for your customers through recommendations and relationship marketing. So why do you feel this’s very important?
Tom: Well that is close but not entirely accurate. Imagine waking up on Monday morning Jan 5th, 2015 and stating, How am I going paying the bills of mine this season (AKA Get my product sales bucket filled). It is a huge issue, universally known in most markets, worldwide. Hmmm seems well worth checking out. Also the primary key term to me is relationships; folks working with individuals to help individuals. Whether it is a for profit entity or perhaps a cause, it’s nevertheless about relationships. Now imagine in case you might be comfortable in knowing you’ve an effective approach and a system to construct and keep many associations for whatever their objective is. I like the sales world since it’s exactly about folks and so that is exactly where I have been aiming mostly but the target is usually to help you to a greater level of achievement as we all reach the goals of ours.
CG: When it concerns building a profitable company, no one is able to do it alone. What’s the secret of yours to building teams that are great?
Tom: First, you’ve to really care for individuals to create an excellent team and they also have to see it each day and in each and every interaction. Then, I have always felt the leader must invert the organizational pyramid currently putting the customer at the top after which all those that service the customers next and themselves finally on the bottom. It is a type of servant leadership model. Next, I imagine you’ve to experience a watch for the most effective folks you are able to find, and are as much as a well used dictum I heard years before place your A players into the game breaking jobs. Lastly, everyone wins in case you are a team player and truly add to the victory. this consists of celebrating together when the paydays occur. We only received a 25th reunion celebrating the purchase of my very first company two years back. Over 150 folks flew in from within the USA to celebrate that function as well as the greatest joy was seeing just how more folks had done it also on their own, several in some really large ways
CG: The large bulk of companies that will succeed have raised capital. Nevertheless, for many entrepreneurs, Just how to do it is still a mystery. Could you provide a little insight as to the philosophy of yours on the subject?
Tom: Raising capital is really, very hard no matter what the experience level of yours is. The solution is different in each situation. I do not believe in 50 page business plans. Give me 2 pages with the five W’s sketched out. There is an excellent free web application known as the business model canvas that each start up person must study to frame their believing much better. Now steps which are essential to raise capital better, have a strategy, some original proof or clients of industry, put in several skin yourself (time and money), I also suggest Geoffrey Moore’s guide Crossing the Chasm. Its is a good way to recognize the playing field; that in case you get on it and gain, you will attract a lot of capital.
CG: What’s the opinion of yours on developing an exit strategy whenever you start up a small business?
Tom: Remember the old expression. Do not start a fight that you are not ready to finish.’ This’s a lot the same thing. Every business that I have ever started, I have had an exit program for myself and the organization at the beginning. Precisely why you will be a much better leader and build a much better organization and create greater value for each one of the stakeholders. Today you are able to decide along the way to not exit but even then in case you create it to sell then it’ll be designed to last and you will have a life too. I can create all sorts of scenarios where this’s beneficial and so many that are loaded with dangers in case you do not think that way. I read an ebook recently known as the Danger Zone by Jerry Mills, founding father of B2B CFO in Mesa, AZ. Easy read, 2 hours max. When you obtain it and you will probably stay away from lots of pitfalls in the process.
CG: Can there be any common link between the businesses of yours that you feel are central for their success?
Tom: The usual links, I have mostly described already. It is about folks and solving problems, as well as being devoted to team together. Nevertheless, let me put that many of these components transcend company and then affect all phases of the life family of yours, associates, friends, the folks on the street everybody what about every culture worldwide.
Set goals in an ongoing and systematic way. It amazes me how a lot of individuals do not do that. In case you aim for nothing, you are likely to hit just that.
CG: Building a company could be all consuming but you somehow have learned how you can have a somewhat healthy life. What’s your secret?
Tom: At times I have had a healthy life although not always. I have had the share of mine of stumbles, however, you have to boost & deal with yourself for going again. For fifty years though I have benefited from a few excellent mentors and implemented a number of disciplines like the usual: calendars, to do lists, time management methods, etcetera. However there are two elements that are key in the life of mine. You are setting goals in an organized ongoing way. It amazes me how a lot of individuals do not do that. In case you aim for nothing, you are likely to hit just that. And then my loved ones is a high priority so I shut down the computer of mine at six PM each night. done! I start at 4 5 AM but after that clock hits six the time of its for us to be a family. Read The thing by GaryKeller to own an excellent start on goals.
CG: What advice do you’ve for the brand new business owner that is going to help make sure their success?
Tom: Never, ever, ever, actually give up! Do the proper things but do not listen to quit. or naysayers remain completely ready to shift guidance (called a pivot these days) if you discover you want a mid course correction, shift but do not stop. Individuals saying no to me or even telling me that I cannot take a step turned me right into a raging bull in front associated with a red cape. I am about to run through that obstacle!
CG: Remember what food you do for community program, or even to give back or even invest in your neighborhood?
Tom: Giving back is a central component of my why. All of my businesses have had a purpose associated with them such as my present business Refer.com. I am a strong believer, who thinks what gifts we’ve come from God and we are to make use of them to honor the giver. And I feel in many of our hearts is a kernel, a seed looking to achieve a greater level or even a point just where we’re doing a thing of significance. I have been privileged to have existed in South Africa in which the wife of mine and I began a ministry which offers the institutionally disadvantaged. We create numerous programs to feed kids that are hungry, care for HIV AIDS infants, interdict youth to divert them from jail into significant lives, etc. From the start, the objectives had been to teach these individuals exactly how to uplift as well as support themselves and after that to direct the group themselves to the place they did not require the outside support of ours or perhaps leadership. The set of goals was a part of the initial plan (think company plan!). We are happy today to find out that set of targets be attained where the organization of ours there’s self sustaining and led by individuals from 3 cultures that are different who in the past were opposed to one another. Today this organization feeds as much as 10,000 kids one day and our starting team remaining to replicate that feeding process is in four additional locations around the planet. My current firm is about relationships and systematizing tools to create and maintain relationships. In my opinion this’s the best season of mine of significance as across the USA we’ve a tiny but growing core of non profits, ministry organizations, churches, etc. getting sponsored by Refer.com to get similar opportunities to utilize the finest to obtain their supporters and followers. Imagine what this might be exactly where causes and supporters are much more engaged in concert to satisfy the objective of those causes. That is my dream today!