The Three Year Milestone - Keep Climbing & Reaching
April 1 2023 and a personal milestone for M. Allen. It's the third year anniversary since I started my management consulting practice. Additionally, we celebrated three years of residing in beautiful Colorado and the Rockies this January. "Being different is a revolving door in your life where secure people enter and insecure exit." - Shannon Alder
So looking back these past three years, what are the key questions and lessons that I've learned from being self-employed/small business owner? I'll break it down by some key questions that I've been thinking through the last few months of this year. Here they are:
Q1: What have been my top three lessons learned this past year? First and foremost, I've learned to not be surprised by anything or over-react when something negative occurs. Plenty of ups and downs but by now, you understand that you can manage through it. Keep GOING, staying positive and focus on what you can control! Second, perseverance is your friend in the long journey of being a business owner and to success in general. Sports legends like Michael Jordan's saying: "I've failed over and over and over again in my life....that's why I succeed." to Brooks Koepka's statement: "It's been very humbling...I was in some dark places mentally. I didn't know if I was ever going to be the same again." I have kept these statements by me every day and read them every morning. Keep moving...get back up and move... My third key lesson learned or reinforced during these last few years is the mind is powerful and dangerous at the same time. It's so amazing to see how my mental state was helping me move forward or on some days preventing me from taking any action at all. It's imperative for any of us who want to achieve our best self to keep your mental state healthy and positive. I can't stress this enough.
Q2: What worked the best in landing opportunities for your clients and M. Allen? Your network and past colleagues are key and most important. You can have the best talents or solution to offer but without a network that understands where you have been, your track record, and who you are as a person....you will have a very long road to travel. I can't stress enough to continue to develop and nurture your network of relationships. In addition to your network, I would stress the important lesson of delivering thought leadership, digital insights and lending a free hand to someone that asks. In this digital or virtual age we find ourselves in today, the ability to deliver meaningful insights will help promote your capabilities, intellect and talents while helping your clients/prospects/colleagues. As a third point of reference, keep the "outward-in" perspective when reaching out to your network and prospects. Put how they are feeling, what they are dealing with, what are their challenges, etc. ahead of your own. People are all going through challenges (especially in this challenging economic environment we find ourselves in and they are most interested in how you can help them......
"Don't forget who was with you from the start."
Q3: What is key about establishing your personal and company brand? When I set out to start M. Allen, I knew small and mid-market B2B companies were going to have challenges in growing their revenue. Existing accounts would "freeze" spending and trying to get new logos would be nearly impossible at the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, the theme of "GROWTH" was a core brand element to launching M. Allen. Leveraging the theme of growth, I then thought about the core differentiators and elements of my personal brand and how they would carry-over to M. Allen's theme of growth in action. So the following are key principles that I've tried to deliver or act on daily: - Transparency - I've always been known to believe in transparency and kept this front and center in everything we are doing....even publishing or sharing in public posts our sales coverage by account and buying decision team executive. Many sales professionals will hype or talk about their network but do they actually show who they talked to and covered in the last week, month, quarter, year, etc? - Commitment to serve and deliver - What are you committed to? In the case of M. Allen and Matt Slonaker, I'm focused on committing to helping people achieve growth. By sharing insights, lessons learned, and most importantly taking action to help them grow (such as developing business opportunities or helping them land a job- coaching veterans in transition as example). - Logical and sound decision-making - Leveraging data, analytics and facts to support recommendations and decisions. I've always enjoyed the insights and gems you get from analyzing trends, data and metrics. - Passion to what we do every day and with every client/prospect engagement - Many of my friends, family and colleagues have always described my passion as a key point of strength. Find your passion and what makes you energetic....leverage those in your journey. - Affordability and high value services - I'm not looking to be "cheap" or the "lowest solution" in the market place. However, I knew breaking into the consulting realm that I wanted to be priced reasonably while providing higher value than my peers in the industry. That's why instead of just developing or offering strategy recommendations....we actually do or act on the strategy recommendations we offer our clients. Leveraging our three decade old network, use the latest methods in a hybrid world to help position new opportunities/pipeline for our clients. Integrity -do what we say - so key to anything we do in life is backing up what we commit to our stakeholders. It's refreshing to hear from people and hear them say how they respect this or that they see this as a strength of mine. Growth - with our clients, partners & ourselves - get outside your comfort zone...I hear this all the time in the back of my head. We can not achieve growth until you accept being uncomfortable in a new situation, that next role, or starting your own business venture.
"You must be big enough to admit your mistakes, smart enough to learn from them, and strong enough to correct them." - John Maxwell
Last Question: What's been the most rewarding experience over the last year starting M. Allen? I believe the most rewarding experience has been the affirmation from clients, friends, family and colleagues that I will be successful. To stick in there...keep doing what you love...keep your focus... Additionally, the testaments from former bosses who reinforce your talents and skills...go out of their way to encourage and support your growth. Fact, 75% of my last four employers have been clients of M. Allen. Relationships mean everything. Finally, the opportunity to see clients appreciate and most importantly use the best practices and methods that I've been bringing to their teams. I have especially enjoyed helping the executives who were skeptics at first whether the methods would help....when it does and they say "thank you" ...it's PRICELESS! So in closing this personal note on my journey, I again say "thank you" to all of my twenty clients who have engaged with me & M. Allen in the last three years. I can only hope that the strategies we have implemented together will last and make the growth impact we were seeking together. It's been a journey that has made me stronger and to that I am thankful!
Regards, Matt Slonaker Founder & CEO of M. Allen - Growth in Action www.mattallendevelopment.com
Ps: Our latest insights can be retrieved here: https://www.mattallendevelopment.com/blog