Success doesn’t come easy. It takes hard work, determination, surrounding yourself with smart people and learning from your mistakes. For me, enhancing the customer experience has always been a personal measure of success and remains the focus of what I do. Throughout my career, I have looked for opportunities to innovate or disrupt industries in order to help the businesses I lead better serve their customers.
In my current role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vivial, I look for ways to help businesses of all types increase their visibility through digital marketing and turnkey solutions. I’m incredibly proud of Vivial’s success to break new ground in the advertising technology (ad tech) industry and making the complex simple to help companies connect with customers, build loyalty, manage content and track results. It’s what we set out to do and we’re achieving our goals. In today’s fast-paced, constantly changing business world here are some tips and advice, that have helped me succeed.
Create an environment for success
My parents were immigrants and when they came to America, they thought, “This is the greatest country in the world! You can have more than one job. No one tells you what you should do or how much money you can make.” They knew opportunity was finally a reality for them and future generations. I have always held the story of my family coming to this country close, and it has shaped who I am today.
I started my career 30 years ago as a salesperson and with perseverance, I’ve worked my way through the ranks of numerous technology and telecommunications companies. I believe that for any entrepreneur, no matter what industry you are in, you always have to create an environment for success. Failure is not an option.
You have to think about what the options are if plans A, B, C and D don’t work out. It’s also important to remember that it’s not about what you did to get where you are, but it’s what you do after you get there. It’s how you apply the lessons you learned along the way to keep creating that environment to succeed.
Connect with and know what your customer needs
Ultimately, your business is not about you. It’s about the customers you serve. So even if you have the best product or service in the world, it’s not going to matter if it doesn’t ultimately meet your customers’ needs or solve a problem for them.
Today’s consumer desires and behaviors are changing faster than ever. But there are also more ways for companies to connect with their customers to keep a pulse on what they are interested in and what they want and need. Depending on the type of business you have, there are different ways to connect with customers, and develop two-way communications and feedback loops. For example, your customer service team can ask questions to inquire what customers like best about the products, or areas for improvement. You can use digital marketing like social media, email and texting to provide customers with the right information at the right time to meet their needs. And you can follow-up with customers with a phone call or note, asking for feedback about their experience or purchase.
Always have your eye on the next thing
In my world, I have to stay in tune to constant evolution as it is heavily dependent on new technologies, customer behaviors and preferences. Today ad tech revolves around content marketing, social media, texting, search engine optimization, location-based services and data analytics, but tomorrow it will be different. Ad tech is still a relatively undefined space and companies need to remain agile and work smarter to compete in a constantly changing digital landscape.
With the ever-evolving technology, media and marketing landscape, you need to look ahead to understand the problems your customers face and what they are going to need. Once you think you have the industry figured out, you’re wrong. It changes. This sentiment is applicable to business leaders in all industries – remain agile, work smarter, create value for your customers and become indispensable to them.
Find the best people, and let them be their best
As a leader of an ad tech company, I think it is my job to find the best talent and create a culture that allows them to excel. I work with very smart people, and I encourage you to surround yourself with people who are not afraid to challenge you. Vivial is not a hierarchical organization. It’s not about titles. Everyone is expected to make a contribution and voice their opinion about how to best serve our customers.
Forge new frontiers
Sometimes being successful in business requires risk. I’ve made a career out of identifying investment opportunities within companies on the brink of change that result in substantial growth. And as the leader of Vivial, I saw the opportunity to break new ground in ad tech, in part through consolidating various ad tech solutions under one company, and developing best of breed technologies and solutions.
It’s these experiences that have helped me grow as a leader and provided me with opportunities to chart a new path.
However, leadership doesn’t just exist in the C-suite. It’s critical for people who are still early in their career to understand how power has shifted. I recommend reading, The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be, by Moises Naim. The book proves that it doesn’t matter if you work for a large corporation or a one-person startup. Today, there are more opportunities to become a leader in your field. You can start a business or invent a technology that could change or have a huge impact on how people live their daily lives.
As all industries continue to evolve, there is no shortage of opportunities for entrepreneurs and savvy leaders to identify opportunities to forge a new frontier.