As Anderson Efficiency Specialist continues to grow rapidly, I suppose it is time to give a little background on myself. I feel like it is important for people to know the background of not only a company, but the people behind it. I will not only share my business background, but my personal background as well. I will let you in on what has driven me to this point and led me to start a company in AES that can provide an unprecedented amount of services to small businesses in local communities at prices that they can afford. If you have read my previous posts you know AES believes that small businesses shouldn't be left out in the cold when it comes to keeping up with the times, technology, and their larger competitors just because they can't afford the business help of a larger consulting firm. While I love marketing myself and my services to small businesses, I'm not generally accustomed to talking about myself in this way, so bare with me as we dive into this.
I grew up in South East Aurora, which is a suburb of Denver, Colorado. My neighborhood was in a nice community with a great schools system. This is where I get my passion to help small businesses and their communities comes from. It was a great place to grow up and provided a healthy environment to do so. It makes me want to help local communities so others can have the same experience. I was also blessed with a fantastic family and extended family that was, and is still, supportive in everything that I do. Sure there were struggles at certain points, and not everything that happens in life is always fabulous, however the older I get the more I realize how lucky I was for the childhood that I had.
From the time I was five years old I played as many sports as I could. I was practicing and playing games all year round; football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring and summer. This is where I get my competitive nature, and I openly admit that I can be competitive to a fault. If you are a baseball fan, or have even just seen the movie "Money Ball" with Brad Pitt you might be familiar with a quote from the Oakland Athletics General Manager named Billy Beane. "I hate losing more than I want to win."
I went to a local high school in the community, where I continued to play these sports as well as finding other extra curricular actives. My school had a couple of business programs where I really began to learn and develop my knowledge of how to run a business. These programs were called FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) & DECA. I referenced these programs in my last post a few days ago called "5 Things Your Small Business Can Do To Help Your Community" (click on the title to take you to the post, or click on the program logos to go to their websites). These programs provided invaluable real life lessons that pertain to the real world, and definitely give students a leg up on their way to business school. Outside of multiple sports, these programs, and actually doing school work, I didn't have much time for anything else. That was fine by me though, as my high school experience was a great one.
After high school I accepted a football scholarship to a smaller college about six hours away from home. I remained there, and had an amazing time during my freshman and sophomore years. In my sophomore year however, I injured my hand while playing in a game. It was unfortunate, but with football over I was able to transfer back to a University in Denver to continue my business studies. There, I decided to major in business communications and the rest is history!
I am not going to lay out my whole resume here and bore everyone to death with an impromptu job interview. Therefore I have decided to focus on the businesses I have been a part of that helped push me into starting AES, and taught me the most about how to build a successful company.
First and foremost is The Tavern Hospitality Group (THG). I actually talk about why we ended up parting ways in my post "Are You A Leader or Just a Boss" (click the title to go to the post, or the logo to got to the THG website). After I had to stop playing football and became a traditional student I obviously didn't have my scholarship anymore, so I started serving and bar tending at The Tavern Uptown. At the time this was a small, family owned business that was a ton of fun. After awhile I found that I had an affinity for the hospitality industry and decided to accept a management position with the company. If you have ever heard someone claim that everyone should be required to work in a bar or restaurant for awhile, no truer words have ever been spoken. The level of multitasking you learn is incredible, and it's a terrific way to hone your communication skills. And I won't even get into learning how to handle rude and belligerent people in a good way. Beyond that, if you can run a restaurant successfully, you can run most any business. If you have never seen a restaurant P&L you would be shocked at the margins for even a successful place. It is safe to say that I learned the most about building, running, and marketing a business from my experience with THG.
Even if you are not in Denver, Colorado, this next company is one you have probably heard of, as it is known nation wide. For a couple of years I ran a Bar Louie (click on the logo to go to their website) in Westminster, Colorado and the experience greatly expanded on what I had learned from the THG. If you are familiar with Bar Louie you know that it is a restaurant group that has franchises and corporate stores all over the place. So wait, if it is another hospitality concept, how could I learn anything different from what I had done before? The difference is the THG started as a small business (family owned like we discussed), and Bar Louie is a very large corporation. The way corporate establishments do things are exponentially more structured, and they have systems and protocol for everything you can think of. To be honest working for a large corporate place like this can be mind numbing and extremely annoying. It certainly is not my cup of tea, however there is a huge up side to having this experience. There is a reason a place like this has multiple successful locations all over the place, and it is due to their never ending systems and regulations. While I mock it, it obviously works or they wouldn't be successful. This is why Bar Louie was such a great education for me, because not only did it expand my knowledge regarding running a different type of business, but showed me exactly how to take a small business to the next level and grow into a structured success. This is why one of my more popular services with clients is my ability to take them to whatever level they would like to reach.
The last company that I will reference is Stratus Building Solutions (click on the logo to go to their website). This business is a whole different genre from the previous hospitality businesses we just discussed. Stratus is a nation wide commercial cleaning company. I was a senior inside sales manager in the Denver office, responsible for nine different territories from Los Angeles to New York. I basically was in charge of a team that was responsible for providing 24 outside sales reps across the country with qualified B2B appointments with a high closing rate. I had been is sales before, and was completely comfortable with this. In fact, I really didn't learn much about business or sales from this company. However the reason they made the cut for this post is that, while I was making other people a bunch of money bringing in clients and setting up lay down closes for others, I realized that if I was good at generating business, why not do it for myself? Yep, you got it! I was while working for Stratus that I began the process of creating AES, it is that simple.
Why did I start AES?
It's no secret that I love what I do because it is important to me to help local communities thrive for the people that live in them. That was certainly a part of why I started the business that I did, considering my skill set and what I have to offer. However I put together a quick list of the other reasons I decided to build AES, and what drove me to actually make it happen.
I grew tired -- Not in the sense of losing energy or drive, but tired of building things for other people. I was building and growing businesses for other people while being compensated the least amount they could possibly get away with. More importantly, I was tired of making other people rich!
I got smart -- I was literally handing over lay-down closes and extremely qualified leads to others who were making a ton of money from them. I realized I was good at prospecting, qualifying leads, and most importantly closing business. Why on Earth would I continue to do that for other people, and not for myself?
I was fed up -- Working for a paycheck is not only boring, but so uninspiring. How can you not get complacent when your check is exactly the same every single time, no matter how hard you work. What's worse, is that generally the person next to you is probably making about the same as you no matter how much they slack off or how many snacks they eat instead of actually working. I've always preferred working for commission, but even in a commission job you still have to play by someone else's rules. If you have the drive, skill set, and product/service to do it, why not give the potential for an unlimited income while making your own rules a shot?
I could go into much more detail about why and how I started AES, and I certainly plan on it. I will be posting a detailed and complete guide to starting a small business in the near future. It will contain a step by step guide of proven ways to get things off the ground, and a lot more information about the path that I took. Make sure you subscribe to my blog club so you don't miss it!
What I do for fun
This is where we get to the good stuff. Anyone that has ever started a business can tell you about the amount of work it takes. The sleepless nights and endless hours spent creating and building. And the worst part, the exhaustion you fight through to make sure your new company doesn't fail before it even really starts. Martin Zwelling writes about this in a great article for Forbes, 10 Reality Checks Before Starting Your Own Business (click on the title to go to the article). That being said, it is so important for your sanity to have outlets to get away sometimes. And the best outlets are always the ones that are fun.
We established that I was an athlete, and very competitive, so generally anything that involves physical activity is a great release for me. Whether it's a pick up basketball game to a simple walk through a park, I enjoy being active. And as usual, I can turn almost anything into a competition 😊.
To narrow it down even more though, one of my favorite activities is golf. I try to play as much as I can, and to be honest if I could play every day I would. While golf can be an excellent way to network for your business, I love to just get out and play. It's four or five hours of taking my mind away from anything stressful.
Outside of athletics and physical activity I'm an absolute history nerd. While I mostly read material that can help me with business, sales, success, marketing, etc., on my downtime I'm reading about history. And on the rare occasion that I'm watching TV, a good percentage of that time is watching the history channel or others like it. United States history, and world history for that matter, are extremely important to me. It's imperative that we know where we came from and learn from the mistakes made in the past.
Like I mentioned in the opening of this post, I am not accustomed to talking about myself in this way. It was a bit difficult, but actually pretty fun as well. As usual I thank you for taking your time to read this. It is humbling to know that people are interested in what you have to say, and even more so when the content is so personal. Like always I will ask you to like and share this post below. Thank you again and make sure you register for the blog club so you never miss a post!