I was recently interviewed by Evernote for their Evernote Certified Consultants Community. The interview below talks about my work as a business development and Evernote Certified Consultant, how I support businesses, and the role Evernote plays.
Tell us about yourself.
I started Creative Thinking for Business in 2001 after the company I was working for at the time was sold. I was the VP of Sales and Marketing and was suffering from the "terrible too's" at that time. I was making ‘too’ much money, had ‘too’ few opportunities in the local market for new positions, and was ‘too’ old to go down to a lower pay grade.
What’s your favorite Evernote feature/function? Why?
I’m a Windows and Android user, so I use Evernote on my the Windows tablet and my Android phone. I use Evernote on my phone and desktop to clip articles and throw all of my work inside of Evernote wherever I am. This gives me the flexibility to deal with it later.
What do you do as a business consultant?
I help individuals and small to medium-sized businesses improve their business development and sales processes. We always start by streamlining workflow so the ideas and strategies we develop can actually be done. Once a workflow is established, we focus on the four areas that can successfully and consistently grow any business 10% to 40% or more annually, year-after-year.
What has becoming an Evernote Certified Consultant (ECC) meant to you and your business?
The Evernote Certified Consultant profile opens up opportunities to connect with clients and networks that I wouldn’t have had contact with before. Evernote is the primary tool I use on the workflow side of my consulting services. I use it to help people optimize their workflows and streamline processes. It gives me the context for helping managers, sales teams, creative teams, and frontline workers get organized and get work done consistently, day-after-day. Evernote gives me a bullseye for helping SMBs achieve their goals. I’m able to communicate ideas, create strategies, and then take them inside of Evernote to plan and implement them.
How are clients locating you?
I receive a good number of leads through my ECC profile on the Evernote website (evernote.com/certified-consultants). I recently even received a lead from a company that was never on my radar. I’ve had so much fun working with them that I’ve now decided to market directly to similar types of clients.
I also receive recommendations from existing clients and can be discovered through online marketing channels like blog posts, social media, etc.
What problems are your clients trying to solve when they seek you out?
My clients typically don’t feel they are as productive as they'd like to be and believe there has to be a better way to manage workflows. They have ideas and strategies they want to implement, but they can’t seem to find a clear path towards accomplishing their goals.
A common phrase I hear when I start working with a client is, “There are too many tasks and not enough time.” I start off by letting them know that we’re going to revamp their workflow strategy. There’s sometimes some pushback on this, especially when I work with teams. But, I remind them that I’m here because what they are currently doing isn’t working. To me, it’s about getting people to ‘unbusy’ themselves enough to focus on creating new habits and accepting a new flow.
I encourage them to start with small changes and don’t just hand them a workflow and send them off. I work with them over a period of 90 days and take the time to sit down and make sure that they’re not running into any pitfalls—that’s 90 days of consistent reinforcement. I keep clients accountable. Through direct coaching and keeping the new workflows simple, it tends to work out.
How does Evernote help solve these problems?
Evernote provides a clear and structured path towards improving workflows, managing information, sharing information company-wide, and ensuring that plans and processes are achieved and don’t fall through the cracks.
By using Evernote, I’m able to provide precise examples of what I’m helping them achieve and say, “Here is the tool and here is how we’re going to use it.” It’s given me a bullseye for helping my clients achieve their business goals and consistently get things done.
Can you give an example?
I had a client with a sales team that was managing information in a number of different places. As a result, important follow-ups fell through the cracks. It took a long time to get anything done because they had to ‘hunt everything down.’ Using Evernote Business, I gave them a process to organize their team workflow, their tasks, and information. I provided a way for them to bring far-flung information, from various drives into one central location that was organized and easily found in a second or two, whenever it was needed.
What are the top three things that have contributed to your success as a business development strategist?
1. Having flexible processes developed to hand-off to clients quickly, and making workflow and business growth strategies easy and quick to implement.
2. Listening, and hearing, what my clients want to accomplish, then using my experience and people skills to communicate a path towards reaching those goals.
3. Staying in touch [with my clients]. I schedule consistent marketing touches throughout the year to keep past clients up-to-date on what I'm doing. This has resulted in clients remembering me and calling me when they have issues they want me to help them resolve.
What strategies do you have for staying productive?
The #1 way to stay productive is to plan your day and work that plan consistently. Build in time for client work (about 40% of a month) and marketing, social media, and sales outreach (60% of a month). Stay with your plan, track your activity and schedule enough time daily to get priorities done.