With more than 28 years of leasing experience and an Executive Masters in Business Administration, Scott Wheeler founded Wheeler Business Consulting LLC in 2008. Scott took a moment to talk with BusinessOpportunity.com’s Entrepreneur Exchange about some of the lessons he’s learned as a relatively new business owner…
How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own business? Tell us a bit about how you made the decision and why.
Making the decision to start your own business is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding decisions that an entrepreneur will make. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Being on your own is difficult ― you eat what you kill. An individual must be driven to succeed even when the money is lacking. Entrepreneurship is not about making big money, especially when you start out ― it is about following your passion, your dreams. I recommend that individuals have enough available cash or a stream of alternative cash flow to live for at least one year, if not longer. I was fortunate that I had available cash and after two years the money that I used has been replenished beyond its original amount. I never let the money drive my decisions ― I followed what I know is the right thing to do for the long-term.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first six months in business? How did you meet that challenge?
Getting the word out to potential customers about the services I was providing and assuring potential clients that I was serious about building a business for the long-term ― not just filling time between jobs ― was my greatest challenge. I encourage others to network heavily, to conduct marketing campaigns, to announce their new business to the world. Every waking hour is all about marketing for the first 6 to 12 months. No one knows that you exist, and YOU are the only one who can campaign about your new business effectively.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why? Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?
The number one challenge for all businesses, young and old, is "CASH FLOW". Available capital is tight in today's environment. I strongly suggest that all expenses be watched very closely and that every dollar be considered an investment. Invest your money wisely. Crawl and walk before you run.
What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?
Do your research. Know what you are getting involved in. Don't enter into any business blindly. Talk to lots of other entrepreneurs, both in your new business and out, to determine if you are choosing the "right" business for you. Once you make the decision, put 110% of your efforts into it every day. Only YOU can make it work.
What would you say is the one thing that new business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?
The little things matter…start with a strong foundation and make sure you have your ducks in a row before you go to market. First impressions are important and it’s worth taking the extra time and effort to make sure you are prepared to deliver a top-notch product from the very beginning.
What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing your business?
I help individuals build market strategies; everyone should have their own strategy that comes from within. A boiler-plate strategy usually doesn't fit individual personalities. Your strategy in the beginning should have enough flexibility to react to your newly found attributes and desires. Make sure that strategies are built around proven knowledge and experiences.
What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive to you?
The equipment financing/leasing industry is very dynamic and provides a service that is widely used by all types of businesses. Therefore, individuals can solicit business from a variety of different niches and concentrate their efforts in areas that are most interesting and most rewarding to them. Leasing products and services are somewhat simple to learn; however, their application and benefits are widespread and therefore the learning process never ends, nor does the industry ever become mundane. My consulting services allow me to share my passion for the industry with other professionals who are engaged in the commercial-equipment-leasing industry and unlock new income-producing opportunities for my clients.
What on-line, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company? Why and how have they been helpful?
CRM systems are a necessity in any marketing operation, and I strongly suggest that all entrepreneurs invest in an easy-to-use, but effective CRM system.
What did you do before you decided to become your own boss, and how have those skills helped you in your current business?
I managed a publically traded, bank-leasing company for nearly 20 years as a Sr. VP and President. My knowledge about every aspect of the industry helped me to successfully build my consulting business and to help other entrepreneurs enter the commercial equipment leasing industry.
What process do you follow to successfully close on a lead and make the final sale? Any tips?
Stay close to the customer and offer solutions every step of the way. Keep the process simple.
If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so? What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?
I work from home. I am highly disciplined and see no difference in a corporate office or my home-based business. Others may have difficulties, but I do not.
What is your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business? Any words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?
Have Fun Every Day and Enjoy the Process!
Scott Wheeler is the President and Founder of Wheeler Business Consulting, LLC, which provides consultative services to individuals and organizations who are engaged in the financing/leasing industry. He also assists individuals who are entering the industry through his comprehensive leasing school and ongoing mentoring and coaching programs on a selective basis.