Early in the life of JKL Associates, I decided that my time and value in the marketplace was not behind a desk writing business and sales development materials. I was more of an implementer of action. So, I went into the marketplace and researched business development tools which would align with where I thought JKL Associates was heading. At the time I figured it was more in the track of training as opposed to strategy. I eventually engaged a relationship with Resource Associates Corporation and the Total Quality Institute in Pennsylvania. They provided a framework of educational materials focused on the various business aspects such as leadership, sales, supervision, Total Quality Management etc. They additionally had tools for strategic planning which I was remarkably familiar with those concepts from my role at the software company. After plunking down a considerable amount of money, considering there was little to no income, I received my first delivery of books and tapes which now created inventory I needed to sell to recoup my investment. This was very motivating to turn inventory into cash but intimidating to know that the sales pipeline was empty.
JKL Associates also established a strategic partnership with Target Training International (now TTI Success Insights). Our relationship with TTI has been a critical component in our toolbox for providing research-based insights into the human side of the business world. Now JKL Associates had a new set of tools (key relationships) in the toolbox – one for structure, process, procedure, and training and the other for digging into the how, why, and what makes people tick inside of their given environments.
The final component was to engage in a relationship with Coachville and become a graduate member of their coaching school community during the early days when Thomas Leonard was the founding member of not only this community of coaches but a true leader in the emerging business model of coaching. All of these various components, relationships and knowledge points strategically aligned so that JKL Associates could excel and enhancing each and every relationship by providing the best value in each of their unique business needs.
About this same time with revenue almost nonexistent, all kinds of expense investing in this dream of running my own business, the Good Lord blessed my wife and I with our daughter. Super exciting to bring a darling little girl into the world but scary as hell to figure out how do we financially make this happen. Not only did the Lord bring us our daughter but also through his plan enough client work and referrals to make this startup time feasible. No, it was by no means bountiful, but it was also not a financial disaster either. I look back on these times and know that they were part of the startup to make me a better person. A focused businessperson, while fully throwing myself into being a loving father and husband.
Over the next series of years, JKL Associates continued to focus. The inventory and startup investments had been turned into cash and profits. The original building block of doing expense reduction analysis to improve inventory and purchasing slowly diminished as JKL Associates hit its stride of business strategy, leadership guidance and organizational culture engagement. JKL Associates still was incorporating the lessons learned on the process side of the analysis business and this was extremely insightful to our clients. My wife was a full-time mom as was the plan and JKL Associates was bringing great value to our clients in assisting them to navigate their future growth. What was unexpected was the depth and quality of the relationships that JKL Associates formed along the way. Our core beliefs always included respecting our clients and bringing more value to the table than was expected. As simple as that sounds, our clients rewarded JKL Associates with many years of recurring business.
As a Promise Guide, a business consultant, business coach, business manager, or even the pain in the butt person who keeps the owner of the business in check, the business continued to deliver and serve our clients. I am immensely proud to say that our average client engagements lasted many years of recurring contribution to their success as well as ours. We have had the pleasure of working in a variety of industries which is actually a key ingredient to the cross pollination of best practices across industries. JKL Associates eventually narrowed in on what, how and why we deliver our purpose of building relationships rooted in “Purpose” so authentic contributions deliver on “Promises.” It has always been about helping other business leaders and their teams achieve more than they could in their present environment. It was to teach them how to fish rather than give them a fish to eat. By always trying to work and evolve a solution with them, we worked to provide value rather than product.
Now 30 years later there are many gems of knowledge I have learned both about JKL Associates and more importantly about myself. Many have been the results of phenomenal relationships with all of our clients and strategic partners. As I recall through looking back while still looking forward to many years of future business strategy and guidance work, there are some real lessons and tools I have placed in my toolbox while traveling this path along the journey called JKL Associates.
JKL Associates looks forward to continuing to build relationships rooted in “Purpose.” Give us a call at (313) 527-7945 in Michigan or (407) 984-7246 in Florida and let us help you in your journey.