By Anna J. Anthony
Anna J Anthony: Jeff, I am so fortunate to have heard you speak last month at a local networking event! I was immediately inspired by your authenticity, as well as your passion for helping businesses and individuals increase their business in all areas. Tell us a little more about your background before starting your business coaching endeavor, as well as how did this all come about?
Jeff Vekony: I had a 30-year technical sales career. My background is in electrical engineering. I received my MBA from the University of Chicago. I had always been interested in management consulting, as I held many management positions leading sales teams in my career. What I loved about selling was solving people's problems. After 30 years in that business, I decided that I was ready to do my own thing, and start my own business. I wanted to do something consulting-related to leverage my background. I was serving on a board, and my position allowed me to work with small businesses and owners, which I really enjoyed. I then came across FocalPoint, and really liked their system. It is a franchise, and I didn't have to reinvent the wheel.
AA: What are some examples of types of businesses and individuals that you are currently coaching?
JV: I have a variety of clients. Some examples would be chiropractors, custom home builders, small restaurant owners, sales professionals, and distribution companies, just to name a few. I especially enjoy working with “newer” businesses which can include businesses that have been open up to six years. I teach a clarity module that covers topics such as knowing your competition, knowing your clients, as well as what key productive indicators businesses should be tracking.
AA: When a business is just starting out or just making it, deciding to invest funds in a coach or a consultant can be a challenging decision. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in that situation?
JV: The key is accountability. Many of these concepts aren't rocket science, while at the same time some of the ideas are very unique. Many business owners tend to become stagnant. It is unlikely that they will truly push themselves out of their comfort zones, to achieve what they need to grow their business to the next level. Coaching does that for them. They need a sounding board, and someone to hold them accountable to the action plans that have been created. It must also be looked at as an investment, not a cost. FocalPoint has been around for 15 years. Many of the current coaches have been here from day one. They report that their results have been five to ten times return on investment (ROI). A perfect example would be one of my very first clients who was in the distribution business. We worked together on marketing his product differently, to reach a wider audience. He had thought of many of these ideas himself, yet just needed someone to push him toward his goal and hold him accountable. His ROI ended up being 200 times!
AA: What values and behaviors have made you personally successful?
JV: Diligence, hard work, integrity, tenacity, having credibility. In my sales career I had to be very thick-skinned. It's about being able to receive no as an answer, yet continuing to go back and try again. Alignment is very important; if your goals are not aligned with your core values, you will not be successful.
AA: What advice would you give to the individual who has an idea for a business, but is still working for someone else and just hasn't taken that leap yet?
JV: You have to be mentally prepared. I had an idea to start my own business six to seven years ago, but wasn't mentally prepared yet to do it. Having the mental fortitude is very important! You must take a leap of faith, and you also must stick with it! It is very common for people to quit six months to a year into their new business, because it isn't producing what they imagined. Most businesses take two to four years to really take off.
AA: What does the first step of your coaching program look like?
JV: In the beginning, many people aren't sure if they can afford services, and some aren't even sure if they understand what business coaching is, and if it will benefit them. I offer a free strategic business review that is comprised of 15 questions that identify six to eight areas that need focus. We then sit down for on average one-and-a-half hours to discuss the findings. Most people leave this free session with ideas they can implement immediately to drive results.
AA: Do you also offer group sessions?
JV: I do offer group trainings, and I really enjoy leading them. I require a three-person minimum. It is very common for a group of offices, or a building housing various small businesses to come together and host a training. The cost actually can be less, in these situations. Of course you are sharing your time with others, however this can create synergy, as well as great ideas and discussions. I would love to provide training sessions at any store locations or learning centers that would like to offer this.
AA: You focus in your training on goals and goal-setting. Do you have any best practices to share with our readers when it comes to setting goals?
JV: Write down your goals! At FocalPoint we have what is called the "10 Goal Method." This encourages individuals to write down 10 goals for the next day, before going to bed. They can be different daily. Over time you will go back, and reread your goals from two or three months ago, and realize that there are similarities. This will also ingrain your goals into your subconscious.
I highly suggest reading Brian Tracy's book Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible. It is really great!
Jeff Vekony is a Certified FocalPoint Business Coach focused on helping business owners and executives improve their businesses, their careers, and their lives. Contact Jeff at 630-208-7270, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at jeffvekony.com.
Anna J. Anthony is the Advertising Coordinator for Conscious Community Magazine. She is passionate about collaborating with and promoting local artisans, Lightworkers, and conscious business owners. In her free time, Anna studies the art of tarot, the paranormal, and is curious about various forms of consciousness, and spreading light and magic to others.