Success Secrets of a Multinational Entrepreneur

By: Jack Sims

Hi I am Jack Sims, and I can tell you after founding successful businesses in Europe and here in the United States, sorry, but the fact is that there are no secrets, most of it is common sense, with a little bit of luck added, being in the right place at the right time and surrounding yourself with a whole bunch of people who are better than you at doing what they do best, and a whole boat load of hard work.

But there are some specific elements that I have done that fly in the face of the business norm that made serious differences in the businesses that I founded and grew to a national size, and that’s what my latest keynote session is all about. The things, the items, the areas of business that if you dare to incorporate them into yours, will buck the status quo, and give you too an abnormally serious chance of success.

Let’s start at the beginning, why the heck do you even want to start a business, knowing that the odds of failure are so high, according to the small business administration over 50% fail in the first five years. You must be nuts if you even want to try.

So that’s the very first question you have to answer to yourself, and sometimes this has to be a deep down answer….”Why do I want to start this business”? And the answer better be something other than “So I can make a lot of money”, because I can assure you that you are doomed to failure within a fairly short period of time, and for many reasons.

It’s about your mindset, your character, knowing the difference between your want’s and needs and the desire to become the very best at what you do for a living.

Here’s a short story about a friend of mine who is a very successful entrepreneur and is a well known speaker who was flying from his home in LA to New York and arrived after taking the red eye at Kennedy around 6 in the morning. He collected his bags and went outside to get a cab for a ride to Manhattan, and got on line and he walked towards the shiny black town car that the person who runs things told him to. So far so good. That’s when things get very interesting.

First thing that happened was that the driver got out of the car and said to my friend, “I assume these are your bags sir”, I’ll put them in the trunk, for you”, and at the same time he was opening the rear door of the limo, and asked my friend to make himself comfortable. Then the driver got into the front seat and turned to my friend and asked where he was going, and he said Mid-Town and from memory he was staying at The Peninsula, but he did have a breakfast meeting in the lobby that he would like to make at 8 am, and it was about 7 am at that time.

Let me tell you if you have ever been to New York’s Kennedy Airport, so far this story will sound like a fairy tale, drivers do not go out of their way like this, they do not help, they do not do anything, they kind of snarl a little, but basically say nothing. But this driver was different.

Now it gets better, the driver says what newspaper would you like, I have the Times, The Post and the Financial Time from London. Or if you would prefer, I can put the radio on, I have it pre- programmed for light classical, all news or talk radio, just let me know which one you like. Then the driver said, the traffic is a little heavy on the Long Island Expressway, so in order to get you to your destination in time to make your meeting, I think we would be better off taking the TriBoro Bridge, I know it’s a little longer, but we will make the time. And by the way, if we were to run late, I would like to offer you my cell phone so that you can call your party and update them on your status.

About this time my friend is so full of expletives, raving about this guy, so he asks him what on earth was he doing picking up rides at Kennedy Airport at 7 am. His answer was fairly simple, one of his regular clients had to be at the airport by 6, so he figured as he was going back into NYC that he would get on the taxi line as it seemed fairly short that particular day. And that was how he picked up my friend as a fare.

The bottom line was that this was the cleanest ride he had ever been in, the very best service, in fact, the very best ride he had ever had and he asked the cab driver for his card saying that he would be needing a few rides while he was in the city and of course back to Kennedy in a few days.

My friend then started chatting a little and said to the driver, what he was thinking, and he asked the driver how business was. And his response was quite amazing, he said in his slightly mid European accent that basically he rarely goes on the line to get a ride like he had that morning, it was only that the line was so short that he had bothered. Because most of his business comes from appointments that clients make. They e-mail him from overseas, across the country to let him know when they are arriving, flight numbers etc, he generally does not solicit business, he is as busy as he want’s to be.

Because my friend is like me, a CEO, he is always looking out for talented people, so he asked him why he was a driver, and the response was quite incredible. Apparently the driver was from  what was Yugoslavia, and in his native country he was a researcher/scientist and when he came to America, he did not speak any English, which meant he was UN-employable in the area of his specialty. So he knew that he had to feed his family and he did know how to drive, so he got a job as a yellow cab driver, where he rented the cab for the day and basically made a few bucks an hour.

Well one day he had a revelation, he decided that if he was going to be a cab driver, he just might as well be the very best cab driver in the world, and that’s what he set out to do. And that’s why his car is spotless, why he has the latest newspapers, cell phone, fresh bottles of water and also why it’s hard to become a new client of his, as he has all that he wants.

The reason that I told you this story is that it’s about wanting to be the very best that you can be, and anything short of that will seem like a failure to you.

At one time in most peoples lives there comes a point where you have to make a fundamental decision on what you want to do, what path you want to follow, like Yogi Berra said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”.

In my case it was after I had been running a successful business in London, England in the world of Marketing Communications, and I wanted to take the company more in the direction of straight marketing, but my partner was really not into it, and honestly I understood, because as I say, we were doing OK, and eventually we were consistently ranked as one of the top 5 graphic design companies in the UK. So that became my fork in the road moment, and the direction I took was “To motor west” across the Atlantic and start my marketing agency in NY.

I started the company out of my two bedroom apartment in White Plains, New York, and I had a very clear vision of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to become. And that was to become the very best marketing agency in America. I never set out to become the biggest, but I did write down on a piece of paper that I kept in my wallet until the day I retired after selling the business, that reminded me of what I wanted to achieve, it simply said “Jack be the best marketing agency in America”. It was that concept that enabled me to make some very tough decisions, and some logical ones too, because I always had the long term objective in mind and in front of me.

So now ask yourself that question, what is it that I want to be in life and in  business, and then start taking very small steps towards making that become a reality.

Because you have made a decision on where you want to get to, you will instinctively have an incredible amount of passion that will be very evident to those around you, and frankly this enthusiasm that you have should be infectious to all of them. It’s this enthusiasm or passion that comes from having a “Clarity of Purpose” and knowing “WHY you wanted to get into your business in the first place”, that will become the biggest factors in making your business unique in the marketplace that you compete in. You see in most businesses it’s not about the actual products, goods or services that you create or manufacture, because to be very frank, that’s simply the price of entry to have a great product. It’s more about the way it’s delivered, the process that you go through to determine the target audience and the way that you communicate with them, that separates you from the rest of the competition, and that’s what gives any business the opportunity to increase the odds of their being successful.

About Jack: Jack Sims is on a mission to inspire entrepreneurs, business founders, management teams and employees to grow their businesses by understanding and leveraging their “WHY they are in business in the first place” and having a “Clarity of Purpose”. Jack has founded two international corporations including America’s largest marketing agency and was recently named “One of Meeting Planners Favorite Speakers”. He is the author of two business growth books including “Growing small Businesses into BIG Brands” and “How to Seriously WIN at Business & Golf”, a guest lecturer at the Institute of Business, a member of the National Speakers Association.

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