Today, we are delighted to welcome one of America’s leading business experts, Mr. Andy Jacob. He is a thought leader in the fields of customer acquisition and the consumer sales cycle, and he is a successful serial entrepreneur and author of the Beautiful StartUp Quiz.
Andy, can you please tell us how you managed to become a leading expert in the consumer sales cycle?
Thank you very much for having me today. I believe that the consumer sales cycle is one of the most important things new companies must consider when starting a business. Too many companies, especially tech companies, forget the reason they are in business in the first place and that is to provide a product, service, or solution to a customer. The customer sales cycle begins after marketing has done its job, and delivered a potential user to a company. Once that potential user has been delivered, the sales cycle takes the customer from first contact all the way throughout the entire lifespan of that customer’s engagement. The sales cycle is a critical component of any business, and it is an area where many companies, especially immature or startup companies, need help. The sales cycle is the lifeblood of any business, and the success and disruption possibility of any business or technology depend on the life cycle of a customer.
Andy, you are a very successful serial entrepreneur yourself. Many of your ideas have been successfully implemented. How do you constantly and successfully develop your ideas or concepts into real, living breathing, companies?
Everyone has a great idea. In my career, I have heard thousands of great ideas from well-meaning people. However, ideas are just that. They are ideas. Most people have what I call “action anxiety”, and have a difficult time taking the very first step to make their ideas a reality. Often times, people with great ideas need to ask more questions about their business idea to get through their “action anxiety”. Only by asking more questions, can an entrepreneur feel confident to push through their typical paralysis, and take the action step necessary to put their idea into play. It is one of the reasons I wrote the Beautiful StartUp Quiz. I want to help fellow entrepreneurs, and I make the quiz available for free to any entrepreneur that asks. I want to see more entrepreneurs with good ideas get through their “action anxiety”, and onto the playing field. In my case, my entrepreneurial spirit was never hampered by this “action anxiety.” I learned early on that nothing takes the place of action, and not everyone is 100% successful all the time. This philosophy has made taking action a breeze for me, and I have been fortunate to have taken the necessary action steps multiple times to build successful businesses.
Andy, our readers are always very interested in what successful people are doing day to day. What was the best book that you’ve ever read, and how often do you read?
I read a lot. I use an online app called blinklist that summarizes books. Due to my schedule, I have a tough time reading an entire book anymore. I use Blinklist book summaries to compress my reading into short, easy to digest bites. My goal in the next 12 months is to read a business book summary a day. That would be 365 book summaries in the next year. That’s a lot of information, but I love it. As far as the best book I have ever read, I go with Positioning, by Jack Trout and Al Rise. It’s an old book, but many of the concepts regarding marketing and business psychology still hold true today.
What are the best and worst business investments you’ve ever made?
Well, that’s a great question. Without getting into specifics, the best business investments I have made are typically businesses that I am in control of or have hand-picked quality partners. I also have had success is making investments where the operator or entrepreneur also has hard earned money invested in their idea. I have a general rule that I don’t invest in companies where the founders don’t have actual money skin in the game. People that do not feel the pain of an actual financial loss from a bad decision are not as vested. The days where a person with an idea wants money, with no real money in the game, are going by the wayside.
What do you wish you had more time for?
I believe in one-hour meetings. Most meetings that last for more than an hour are time wasters. I believe that the best time to have one hour meetings is between 8 AM and 10 AM, so I wish I had more days of all 8 AM to 11 AM’s.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
I love that question because it really gets to the heart of why so many pitches I hear have giant holes in them. I hear pitches every day from excited entrepreneurs. I love helping them, and always ask them to be open to questions about their business model. My first piece of advice is to stop falling in love with your technology. Instead, tell me why customers will want to use whatever your startup is selling. Many entrepreneurs don’t even think about their customer, and that’s a huge mistake. The second thing I would advise is to surround yourself with the smartest people you possibly can, and don’t surround yourself with people that always agree with you. And the third piece of advice is to ask more questions, and if you don’t know what tough questions to ask, simply check out my Beautiful StartUp Quiz.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
There are thousands and thousands of small business people that took a risk with their passion and have built a nice business. It would be easy to point to a billionaire and say they are impressive. In many cases, they are. However, the small businessmen and women that risk it all in a concept are the most impressive. Whether they make a billion, a million, or make a living doesn’t really matter. It’s the fact they went for it. They are the most impressive.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
I’m really proud of my network. I have some really amazing people that I am very blessed to know. I know people of every walk of life, from every corner of the earth. I love my friendships and creating new opportunities for people in my circle. My greatest challenge is getting it all in.
How people should connect with you?
Contact me directly at one of the following:
Andy, thank you so much for spending time with us today. It was hard to get you on our schedule for this interview, and we really appreciate you sitting down with us. We really feel our readers will enjoy this, and we thank you for your time.