Sean Heylen has recently been appointed Area Director, South Pacific, for the influential business networking group Entrepreneurs Organisation. My Business caught up with Sean to learn some of his business wisdom.
Q: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?
A: There’s no such thing as an “overnight success”.
Q: What are your most effective work habits?
A: The Rockefeller Habits – refer to the book of this title by Verne Harnish. The key habit is to meet with my team every day. A short “daily huddle” - no longer than 15 minutes - gives us all time to talk to each other about what is going on in the business right now and ask each other for help. This process keeps us aligned and really helps us to stop interrupting each other during the day, resulting in much better overall productivity. It can be hard being disciplined enough to get into the rhythm to start with, but after a few months it becomes second nature, and extremely valuable.
Q: Best business decision you’ve ever made?
A: Joining the Entrepreneur’s Organisation www.eonetwork.org
EO gives me a global network of peers, a local support group in which I can talk about any issue I am facing completely confidentially, plus access to experts and learning in virtually any business subject one can think of.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in business?
A: Employing a person as a key staff member that was a complete fraud and a compulsive liar.
Q: How did you fix it?
A: As soon as I realised, which probably took longer than it should have, I fired him and marched him straight out the door. I then promoted a junior staff member into his position and he really stepped up!
Q: How do you delight customers?
A: During our monthly executive team meeting, we all hand write a letter to someone on the theme of one of our company’s core values. Often this is to a customer thanking them for their business. They seem to really like this simple but very personal touch!
Q: Share your number one sales technique with us.
A: Build personal rapport and then tell the prospect a story (like a case study) about how we have helped a customer that we have worked with recently that has a similar business or similar business problem to the sales prospect.
Q: What’s your secret team-building tactic?
A: Getting everyone involved in the creation of our 90 day strategic plan via a short team retreat and workshop session.
Q: Favourite piece of business technology? Why?
A: The Internet! Because when used properly and strategically, it can transform an organisation’s efficiencies and customer service capacity.
Q: Best tip for managing people?
A: Talk less, listen more.
Q: How do you relax?
A: Cooking a meal for my wife with a glass of wine in hand.
Q: The Internet is a massively disruptive force. What’s your reaction to disruption?
A: Get with the program! Adapt to and embrace the new technology – indeed this is our core offering: helping our customers use the Internet to improve their business. We love it when we can help our customers disrupt their competitors or their industry!