Steve Feld is a certified business coach with FocalPoint. He owned a district office for Farmers Insurance, where he recruited, trained, coached, and consulted agents. Steve was a COO/CFO for a large non-profit organization, the Harlem Globetrotters, General Manager for RAWHIDE, an 1880’s Western Theme town.
He also traveled around the world working for many different musical acts such as The Eagles, Paul Simon and Jimmy Buffett improving merchandising operations at the venues, he has owned two managerial consulting practices working with start-up, small and medium sized businesses.
Steve has over 30 years in business operations/marketing experience in a variety of industries and sizes, along with being part of 3 different Fortune 500 companies - always contributing to their profitability and growth.
In this interview with Startup Savant, Steve shares his experience when starting his fifth business. He also shares what is unique about his consulting business, how he gets through tough times and how to handle a disappointed client.
Hi advice to entrepreneurs starting a business:
Have a solid plan on how you are going to start your business, understand you and your resources and know the facts.
To learn more about Steve's consulting business and get a 1 hour complimentary business review, connect with him on Facebook!
What motivated you to join FocalPoint Coaching? How did the idea come about?
I joined FocalPoint after speaking to several business/life coaches I know. At a networking event, I bumped into a business coach that I have known for many years and we were talking about how I am about ready to leave Farmers Insurance as a district manager and close up that business.
The coach pushed me to close up that business and to focus all my time on coaching since I have been coaching agents and business owners for many years. I didn’t believe him so I spoke to other coaches I know and they all told me that same thing-close up the district at Farmers and be a full-time business coach.
I looked around at some other certified coaching programs, but none had the integrity, the systems and the support as FocalPoint. I did not want to re-invent the wheel and FocalPoint created and tested the wheel many times around the world.
When did you know that you had a business on your hands and not just a ‘good idea’? (The ‘Aha!’ moment)
It took other coaches to see my coaching ability before I did. One of them had me call my former clients when I was a business consultant to see if I coached or consulted them. Almost all of them said I coached them to success, not consulted them in fixing a specific issue.
That is when I really thought of all the business owners I have worked with over the years and the success they have had from coaching them.
What is unique about your consulting business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?
I believe my biggest competitive advantage that I have over other business coaches is that I have owned 4 prior businesses and ran many others, as well as having coached and consulted many business owners in a variety of industries. Knowing what your clients is going through and knowing what it feels like is key to really assisting them to achieve their goals.
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
I believe I have been fortunate to have mentors during my entire career. I also have sought out experts in businesses to sharpen my own skills to help me get better so I can assist my clients in a greater capacity.
The key trait for anyone that is willing to help you is integrity. They must be willing and able to assist you achieve your goals and dreams while keeping you on the right path.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
I believe every business owner has encountered a disappointed client or customer. The big key is how to turn that around and to make sure the next client is not disappointed. I have had a client that was not getting the results they were looking for when I was working with them. I put in the extra time and effort (at no charge to them) to find out why he was not getting the results that should have been showing up.
After some deep digging, I found a staff member in their organization was intentionally sabotaging the owners’ efforts because they didn’t want the organization to change. We decided the mission and purpose of the changes were not clearly defined to everyone in the organization and developed a plan of action to rectify this issue and then all the other changes that followed allowed the client to achieve the results they were looking for and much more.
Did you have a hard time starting your business? How did you handle time and resources constraints?
Being this is my fifth business, I didn’t find it difficult to start the business. But at the same time it has gotten easier to start a new business — it’s still a lot of work.
I am big on planning and I believe that is a major key to any start-up. Planning on the front-end of a project such as starting a business will save you many headaches and time while you are getting the project off the ground.
Even with all the planning, you must keep in mind “Life Happens.” Have a plan but be a little flexible for all those items where you do not have control over. Be prepared for time and resource constraints.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
In business, times do get tough and knowing that up front gives me the mindset that it will be tough and to keep moving towards my goal. All business owners need to keep the prize in mind and to fight through the noise and obstacles that are in the way between us and our goals. Starting a business on paper is easy, making the business work and be successful is hard work and dedication.
Stay positive, join groups with other like-minded people who are also positive. Just realize you are not the first person that encountered tough times in starting a business and you will not be the last. The tough times only last for a little while, just work through them and they will end.
Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for Focal Point Coaching? If so, how did you stumble upon it?
My favorite type of marketing is referrals. I believe in all business, if you are receiving referrals you are doing something right and taking care of your clients/customers. It is the highest form of a business compliment.
I also am a big fan of handwritten notes to potential clients. Taking the time to actually write a note to a business owner about something positive you read, heard, saw, learned about their business is powerful.
Where can we find you for business growth consulting?
With today’s technology, I can be found many different ways.
My website is; www.stevefeld.focalpointcoaching.com, email; email@example.com, phone; 602-750-3017, Facebook; BizCoachSteve, LinkedIn; SteveFeld, and Skype; fp_stevefeld.
I always offer a complimentary 1-hour strategic business review. Call or email me to set up a time to meet or talk. You don’t have to live in the Phoenix area.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
The three best pieces of advice I would give anyone starting a business is this;
- Have a solid plan on how you are going to start your business. This includes a solid business and marketing plan.
- Understand you and your resources. This includes how much do you have in saving to live on while your business is starting up. What are you capable of time wise? What is your level of risk?
- Know the facts. By this I mean make sure you are starting a business for the right reasons, that it will be a business and not a hobby. If you are not well versed in accounting, find an accountant that will be good for you and your business. Not great at sales, take sales classes to be great at selling. There are plenty of experts out there and you need to look at your strengths and weaknesses and how those relate to your new venture and have a plan to improve on your weaknesses and expand your strengths. Who are going to be your customers?
Talk to successful people in the industry that you looking to go into and tap into their knowledge and possibly resources. By talking to them learn from them and learn how to avoid many of the mistakes they did when they first started.