Watch the Full Interview with Owen Professional Services
Owen Professional Services
Cardinal: Hello. And welcome back to WCBC review where we put the spotlight on small businesses. Today, we are interviewing Chris Owen of Owen Professional Services. How are you today, Chris?
Chris: I'm doing really good. Thanks so much for taking some time out of your day to chat with me and looking forward to a great conversation.
Cardinal: Oh, well, I'm so glad that you are putting yourself in front of a camera. That's recording. That takes a little bit of guts. So thank you.
Chris: I'll say I've got my trusty headphones on. So see, I feel safe already.
Cardinal: I know your audio quality
Chris: It's a lot better than yelling into a microphone. That's a couple of feet away, right?
Cardinal: Yep. So what exactly does Owen Professional Services do?
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So we serve small to medium sized businesses and we work as fractional advisors. So typically that's a fractional sales manager, fractional chief revenue officer. Or as an advisory board member, which of course would only work on a fractional basis.
So the advantage to that is companies that need help in the sales and the revenue operations, revenue generation, or anything of those natures. A lot of the times you're talking about an owner, president or a CEO trying to do that on their own because they don't have the resources to hire somebody. That's a six figure plus a addition as a full-time employee by offering our services, you get that high level caliber person. And at the same time, you're not having to put down for a full time employee. So fraction of the cost in order to do that.
Cardinal: Nice. Wow. So when did you start offering these services?
Chris: So I launched my business back in fall of 2020. So I'm a, I'm a little bit new to that world. I come to it with 20 plus years in business, working around sales, customer service, customer success, marketing operations, and high-level executive leadership for companies across a really diverse field of industries.
So I'm, I'm one of those COVID baby businesses, in a sense. Launching out of the chaos that that was 2020 for all of us. And looking at that as a, hopefully a launching pad to really bring a tremendous service and a lot of value to the small businesses that I believe are the backbone.
Cardinal: Yeah. You know, it's surprising doing these interviews I've actually run into several, several people who, when the pandemic hit, they were like, Well, I guess now I should start my business!
Chris: You know, it's I like to joke and say it was the kick in the butt out the door. When the company I was working for, lost 60 to 70% of their business practically, overnight due to the restrictions on being able to and rightfully so, being able to go into people's homes and do work.
And my whole job there was focused on creating new business. And when you lose 60%, you can't really go find a replacement for that to replace somebody like me. So it was, it was nice. It was a great company I was working for. And I had a lot of them over my years, but it really felt good to get out on my own and be able to help more than just one company at a time and be able to do something that I think is going to provide a broader impact to the overall, not just local community, but also with companies across the country.
But you're right. There's a lot of businesses that have, have launched in this.
I was just having a conversation yesterday with a peer of mine and he was relaying a story of a gal, here local to the Portland area where I'm at. And she had turned part of her apartment into an organic garden. To grow vegetables, to sell to some of the local restaurants. And I guess she at least she was making it about $2,000. So she was actually able to cover more than her rent. And her comment to him was, Hey, I had to, I've got to pay for this apartment that I'm living in now. I lost my job, so I might as well use it. I've just really cool stories like that. And then that one just happened to be fresh on my mind.
And I thought it was so unique. And I've had many more people that I've talked to personally, or some of my peers that I've talked to who've related these kinds of stories to me, if they're. They're abundant. And it really speaks to the innovation that is the heart of a lot of these small businesses.
And it's something that I've not only hoped to emulate, but I also hope to be able to help a lot of these business owners as they, they grow and try to take those next steps and they need somebody like me, and what my company can offer.
Cardinal: Yeah. Too many business owners, small business owners try and do everything themselves. And they really limit themselves that
way. Absolutely for sure. Experts in so many things, right? Yeah.
I'm sure you have a long list, but what was the toughest thing you went through when opening your, your consulting service or yourselves.
Chris: Anybody launching a new company one of, if not the single toughest things is really getting that first client, that first contract that I'm getting over, that hump and going from I, you know, I know, I believe in myself.
I know, I believe in my product. But does anybody else? And can I present value? And, and I think people think that's strange when they didn't know that my background is in sales going well, wouldn't you just be confident you could sell anything. Well, yeah, but it's a whole new ball game, right? The first time you do anything you know, I tell people it's like, I've ridden a bike, but it's kind of like going from a bike to a motorcycle going well, I mean, in theory, it's about the same.
I just don't have the pedal. I just rubbed the gas. Right. But. It's a whole new ball game and going, okay. It's that learning experience then? I can literally say there was a little squeal for glee when I got that that first, yes. And even more so when I took that contract home and, you know, scanned it into my digital system and put it into my filing system.
And it was, it was an exciting night. Oh yeah. No, my, my wife and I definitely celebrated, normally we'd say we'd go out to dinner, but it was more like we went out and brought takeout back home from work a really nice place to be the COVID celebration. Right? Yes. So it was awesome. That was the big
Yeah, getting that first client is so important too, for getting starting to have those testimonials roll in and building that trust and your brand. So that's so important. You make a really good point there. I know you are still relatively fresh, but if you had to start over from day one, was there anything that you would've done differently?
Chris: If I would start over, I probably would have moved day one faster up in the process. Oh, I think it would be the answer. And realistically, I'd love to say that. And again, not to disparage anybody that I've worked for over the years, but I would have loved to started this years ago. I worked for some great companies.
I gained some great experience and no doubt I'm better today because of that. But I would have loved to have gotten started sooner, because I, I truly think that I I've been doing a lot of these works just for a single company and the opportunity to have a big impact across multiple companies. I could have achieved so much more, had so much more impact than I started sooner.
And even if we just went to back from the day that, that my job disappeared with COVID coming through and wrecking havoc on everything, if I could have just made that decision to move forward sooner. And I know all of us are probably sitting there in April going, Oh yeah, this is a couple of weeks.
And things will be back to normal, you know, a couple more weeks and we'll get back to normal. And I was definitely one of those people just sitting there in the. You know, telling myself those pretty little lies, so to speak that things were just going to get back to normal. And of course, when they didn't it took some time for me to, to grasp realization and find the right opportunities and probably the truth is that everything happened in the way that it, it needed to happen for the maximum results. And a couple of years from now, I probably would laugh and say, man, it's a good thing I didn't start sooner.
I wasn't ready. But right now I wish I would've started sooner. Mm.
Cardinal: So what, what stopped you from starting sooner?
Chris: I think it's always going to be that self doubts that belief I'm not necessarily seeing a whole picture. I, even before I actually launched what I'm doing now, I spent a couple, probably be a month or two, actually.
Pondering through a couple of different ways to approach going out on my own, doing something on my own and making an impact and ways that I could do something that would grow to be beyond just what I could offer and build a company that offers solutions to a larger base of clientele. So it was definitely a process and, and a lot of it was, was getting over that.
Lack of belief in yourself, again, as much as you smile and look at the sales guy and go, yeah, they never have doubt. Absolutely. We're probably you know, we'll pull back the mirror, so to speak. We're probably some of the worst when it comes to self-doubt and having to work and get over that. And I'm lucky to have some mentors in my life that helped to coach that out of me as much as you can.
And and of course it's a non-stop battle every day to try and improve yourself and continue getting better.
Cardinal: Yeah, for sure. Well, I'm glad that you took that leap of faith in yourself.
Chris: Thank you.
Cardinal: So if a customer had three different sales services in front of them, why would they choose yours?
Chris: First and foremost there's probably not a lot of people that do exactly what I do.
And that's not to talk bad about anybody. Who's a sales trainer or business consultant. I think there's a lot of, in fact, I know a lot of the guys, both here around Portland, a lot of the guys and gals around the country that do, and there's some wonderful people out there. What sets, what we do apart at Owen Professional Services is that we really get in with the company. I like to say, you know, we make your problems, our problems, we're going to be in there working with you. I'm, you know, with my clients that I'm working with, I'm there personally. I was just I spent about two hours in the office with one of my clients yesterday, face to face.
And, you know, we worked through plenty of business problems and a lot of them that are probably a little outside of the scope of what was initially in our contract. But, but they impact that revenue generation. They impact the opportunities for growth. They are very important to that. Company's success going forward.
And my goal isn't just to get in there, do some training, do some teaching and walk out the door. What I believe in doing is building a lasting relationship and that means that the relationship may change and it's going to be dynamic over time. And, you know, today we may be working on this and tomorrow it may be in a whole nother area, but what's important to me is that lasting relationship, because I do want to see them grow.
I want them to.grow to the point where instead of having me as a fractional sales manager that said, Hey, we've got to hire a full-time sales manager. We need somebody here, five, six days a week, working with this team. And I would hope that they're going to ask me to help in that process because of the value of adding the systems that I've put in place, and the growth that they've seen because of it.
And they know, and trust that I'm going to have their best interest at heart. And then maybe I'm not working with them as consistently as I am, but I hope they still see value in working with me and that we find a new relationship to continue working with them. I don't want to just work for the company for a couple months.
I want to build a lasting relationship where I can consistently add value. And I don't think those other two companies that you're sitting there evaluating are going to offer that type of service or that type of commitment.
Cardinal: It sounds very personalized, very invested in your client.
Chris: Thank you.
Cardinal: So has the internet played much of a role as you have been launching?
Do you rely on it at all for prospecting or for. Finding clients or anything
Chris: like that. Yeah. Without the, without the internet, a lot of what I do would be defunct. And as far as what you're talking about prospecting, absolutely. LinkedIn and Facebook are both invaluable tools in terms of making connections.
In my world, LinkedIn is probably a little bit more valuable in terms of the connections that I'm going to make, but just as much. So for many of the clients that I'm working with Facebook is a much more valuable tool for them. Instagram, Tik TOK, Snapchat, you name it. All those social media channels are, are huge.
I actually gave a, a talk to a local business group and the topic was about utilizing social media and their small businesses. And, this simplest advice without, you know, trying to give you a 45 minute presentation on a short interview is, is just to say that it doesn't matter who you are or what your business is.
You need to have a presence on social media. If you don't know where to start, Facebook's usually a pretty safe bet because across most generations it's still active in some form or another, right. My grandma has a Facebook. My dad has a Facebook and my my youngest nephew, who's just now reached the age where my sister is is going to let him, has a Facebook page. How much they're on.
It definitely varies a little bit, but it is a great place to connect with people. But having social media is vital and it's been huge for us. We've worked to build our presence and it's, it's an ongoing, nonstop battle. And that everyday battle, we tried to provide valuable content out there for people to engage in, content is King and it's something that we're continuing to try and grow in.
And I'm looking forward to actually, I've got some, some great content plans for the folks that choose to follow us online. As we move into the spring and I'm actually really excited and I don't want to spill too much of it cause it's not final yet. So I don't want to over promise what I'm going to deliver, but I can promise it's some good stuff coming down the line.
I'm excited about it. Ooh, where can people find you? You can find by just simply going facebook.com, backsplash Own Professional Services and same thing on LinkedIn, linkedin.com backslash Owen Professional Services. Those are going to be the two best channels for the time being. But you can look for us popping up in a few other places.
And all of that will be tied together with our website, which is going to be going live soon. In fact right before you and I got on the interview, I was working on some, some content for it and and doing the hard work behind the scenes to make a website tick. And I'd love to say it's going to be out sooner rather than later, but I'm, I'm busy.
So it's taken a little bit of time and I have some empathy for all the folks that do websites as their, their sole job and go, man, it's more work than maybe I give them credit for somedays .
Cardinal: So you've been working on your own website? What platform do you
Chris: use? So I prefer using a WordPress site and I utilize the Divi themes in order to to do most of the work on that.
It's to me, it's, it's simple, easy professional, and there are a lot of great options out there. That's just the one that I would choose. And I'll tell you, it's probably the recommendation that I've gotten from most of my peers that work in website development and SEO, SCM. Yup.
Cardinal: Yup. I use WordPress too.WordPress with the Astra theme and Beaver Builder.
Chris: And I'm not going to tell you my, my wife has been doing some schooling and computer programming and yeah. At any time I look at her, her homework on the screen and it just goes right over top of my head. Right. I think I passed one computer programming class back in college.
And I'm not exactly sure how I passed it and it was a few years ago. So I'm sure anything that I learned there is completely worthless today.
Cardinal: Yeah. Hope it moves so fast. It is a whole nother
It really is.
Cardinal: So if you had, if, if we lived in our perfect world and COVID was. done and over with let's assume soon, ish.
Uh, If you had to look a year in the future, where exactly do you want your business to be? Yeah,
Chris: absolutely. That's, that's actually an exercise that I go through a lot, looking down in the future forecasting, what we're looking like three to six months out a year to 18 months out and then way into the future, which of course that's a...
you can get your crystal ball out and you're probably never going to get it right. But, looking about a year from now my hope and my goal is to been able to grow my impact so that I am a recognizable name here in the Pacific Northwest that people turn to for help with their small businesses that people are loving the content that we're putting out online, and engaging with it. And that we're building a great audience. There are people that are learning something from us. You know, I, I want to be teaching. I actually went to school a long time ago to be a teacher. And you know, the running joke I've always had as I came out of school to take a part-time job. I love sales so much that I decided I couldn't go back to teaching because I made more just as a first year sales guy that I could ever make as a teacher. So it's coming full circle now for me, I want to get back into the teaching side of things, but just do it with a sales pitch.
So I want to be working with with a good swath of companies across the area. And then I see it as an opportunity to have our team grow and to be able to add on the blessing, really, to be able to mentor a lot of folks that were young in the sales world, the sales management world, the leadership world, and even some of those who've gone on to be high level leaders within, some fairly good sized companies around the area.
And I would love the opportunity to continue. I already had some conversations, but I would love to have the opportunity to pull in some of these amazingly talented guys and gals from around the area that I've worked with and let them begin to make an impact on companies. I believe in what I do. I know that I've got some skills that can translate, but I'll tell you something.
Some of these folks that I've coached and mentored are, are going to go way beyond what I can offer. And I just hope that I can provide them a platform to take their level of excellence out there to help small businesses around the area.
Cardinal: Hmm. That's a good mission. It keeps, it keeps the wheel turning in for sure.
Cardinal: So, what is the number one way that you currently bring in new customers?
Chris: There's probably a couple of different avenues and I don't know that one of them is, is tops over another. I'm a big believer in local networking. So I am a board member for one local networking group.
I've been a invited guests to a number of other groups and probably I'm going to end up joining one or two. And I think that's really important and I know a lot of those are still meeting digitally and I really look forward if you ask about post COVID and the last question, I very much look forward to the opportunity to get together and meet in person with a lot of these groups and actually shake some hands and all that good stuff that we all miss.
The other side of it is LinkedIn. I do a lot of connection building on LinkedIn. I spend a lot of time trying to build relationships and I guess the carrot that advice mixed in with what I'm saying here is please don't be one of those people that just sends blind, generic sales pitches over LinkedIn.
We all hate it. It doesn't work. And I get so many of them every day. I was just having your conversation with somebody this morning, who does LinkedIn automation. And we were having a good laugh sharing, just what we got in the last day or so of bad automated messages. And he was obviously trying to explain to me why they are a little bit different.
And I don't want besmerch automation because I think there's room for it. But please be one of those people that builds genuine connections on LinkedIn, get to know somebody and find out and, you know, get to a quick zoom call like this, get to know them from there and then see if there's an opportunity to work with them.
I, I try my hardest to not. You know, put that sales hat on. As soon as I get on LinkedIn, instead, I want to put that people have on, I want to put that smile on my face and I want to connect with somebody and then go, Hey, you know what? There might be an opportunity for us to work together or Hey, maybe there's not, but do you know somebody that I should be talking to because I believe in what I'm doing.
And I hope when you talk to me, you, you get the feeling that there's passion, there's knowledge, and there's a desire to help people. And if that can go across and come to somebody, then I hope that connection that I'm building on LinkedIn can bear fruit. So those are the two chief avenues. And then I very much look forward to when we start getting some groups back together, in a larger capacity, I do a little bit of public speaking and obviously it's not.
To me. It's not nearly as much fun as to be Frank to do it over zoom audience. I, I really miss that vibe and that energy you get when you've got a room full of people and there's nothing that can replace it. I, you know, I don't, I don't want to say I'm not as good on zoom because that would just be like, feeling like I'm selling myself short or something, but I don't think I am to be fair.
I think it's a lot more engaging when I can get there face to face. I can look somebody in the eye and I can, you know, make them smile. I can tell a little joke that I can. You know, tell if it was a good joke or if it was one of those that I need to throw away and get rid of and you know, really get to know people.
And I think those are going to be another great opportunity. Those conferences, those groups, where you bring people together, where I've got an opportunity to go in there, whether I'm speaking or I'm just joining it and getting to know people in that way. Those are the three avenues that I see going forward.
Cardinal: it sounds like a lot of word of mouth.
Chris: It definitely is. If anybody tries to tell you that there's a better form of advertising than word of mouth, I think they're lying. And you can generate some word of mouth over social media. You can generate some word of mouth utilizing reviews on Google and things of that nature, but good old fashioned word of mouth is still the top dog.
When it comes to recruiting and, and earning business. I don't see anything topping that anytime soon. Especially, not in my world or my industry.
Cardinal: Yeah. Because people come to already warmed up.
Feel like this just goes back to that, that challenge that you talked about earlier, about how the hardest part is just getting that first client, because without clients, you don't have word of mouth and you need to create art, getting that cycle going. And it does take a little bit of effort, but once the momentum's up it is, it's. It feels good to have people come to you for sure.
Chris: No question about it.
Cardinal: We're wrapping up the interview here. And the last question that I like to ask people is if you had a brand new business owner in front of you, what advice would you give them?
Chris: Hmm. That's a really good question. And I think it's a really valuable question. I'd love to say I've got all the answers, but I can give you some good tidbits here. Cause I'm still learning as I go too. Yeah, we all are.
Cardinal: Anyone says they know it all.
Chris: If they think they know it all run, I'm reading a good book, taking in a good online lecture and consuming content every day to try and. Get a little bit smarter and learn at least one new nugget every day. So if I'm sitting down with a brand new business owner or somebody who's thinking about launching, I'm going to give them a few pieces of advice.
Number one, have a big, bold vision for where you want to go. If you don't have that big vision, that's going to just pull you forward and you're going to be able to constantly reach for it. The hard days that are going to be ahead of you will derail you. So have a big, bold vision of where you want to go.
Number two, have a detailed plan and process. As much as you can. And I know that you can't always get it. All right. And you're going to have lots of things that you never saw coming, but do your best to have a good plan in place for how you're going to move step through step. Take a little bit of time to.
Write that down too, to put it into some form of organization that works for you. I'm, I'm a big believer in flow charts, infographics and spreadsheets. Yeah. Yeah. I'm, I'm a bit of a sales nerd in that way. I'm one of those guys that loves the data and analytics that go behind things and that they're looking at stuff.
And then I think my third one is get a mentor or preferably several mentors you know, our coach or, or something along those lines. I. I pride myself on the fact that I have a number of people in my life who have been highly successful in fields that are similar to what I do, or in some cases really straight up what I do.
And I, I, I almost to collect and hoard as many of those people as I can around me, because they are invaluable to my future success and to my day-to-day growth. So find the, a couple mentors really, find somebody who has done. Kind of what you do. I know if you're innovating and you're doing something brand new that may not be possible, but find something that's as close to an adjacent field, find yourself a mentor who can help you with some of the struggles that you're going to have outside of your business life.
We're going to help drive you forward and then find somebody who can hold you accountable to what you're trying to do. Having people like that for me has been invaluable to know that, Hey, I'm going to be hopping on a mastermind group this Friday with one of my mentors, and he's going to be asking me and not just me, he's going to be in front of some other people in this case.
Cause it's a group scenario. What did you do this week? Hey, you and I, we talked about this one thing last week on this call. How to go? And if it's Thursday and I still haven't done that one thing, you can be darn sure I'm gonna have a late night Thursday, make sure that things are done right. Cause I don't, I don't want to be embarrassed for myself and, you know, professional pride sets in, right?
So those mentors, those accountability partners, those coaches that can drive you forward,
those kinds of things. So big, bold vision, be organized, have a plan and then have a, have a coach, have a mentor, have a have an accountability partner. Somebody that's going to drive you forward. Those three pillars are going, help you so much. And then the, the, the PS on there is be ready to be challenged.
All of those things will be challenged in the coming weeks, months, and probably years. And. If you have those pillars, they'll help pull you through those challenges and they won't allow you to get derailed, but know that those challenges are coming. And then the PPS, I guess, is no, that it's going to be worth it at the end.
Cardinal: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And you know, challenges as a business owner, I feel like entrepreneurs, our job is to solve problems. That's when you really get down to the core of it, that's. What we do in whatever form it shows up in that will vary wildly, but the more problems we have, the more opportunities that we actually have to grow and to solve and to offer help as well.
Chris: challenge every challenge in front of us is an opportunity to grow and succeed. Absolutely.
Cardinal: All right, Chris, it has been so great talking to you. Thank you again. And one more time, where can people find
Chris: you at. You can find me online soon at Owen Professional Services dot com. And right now facebook.com backslash Owen Professional Services or linkedin.com backslash Owen Professional Services.
Or just get on there and look for Chris in in the Portland, Oregon area on LinkedIn. I'll be happy to connect with you. I love. Adding people who add value to others, to my network. And it's great to share content and learn from everybody out there. So I look forward to seeing a bunch of you guys connect online and have an opportunity to learn and grow with you.
Cardinal: All right, Chris, thank you again. And I hope all your business dreams come true.
Chris: Thank you very much. And thanks so much for taking the time again, to chat with me. It was it was great to spend it with you and I look forward to hearing all the wonderful stories from all the business owners out there about how they're moving forward and these challenging, but opportunity rich times, for sure.
Cardinal: All right. Bye-bye thank you so much.
WCBC Review interviews Chris Owen of Owen Professional Services, a fractional sales manager who wants to help companies train up their sales people.
In this episode we discuss self doubt, and how the acclimation of our experiences leads us to posses more knowledge than we know.
Chris Owen can be found on his website, as well as Facebook.
Find Owen Professional Services Online
Sometimes We Just Need A Kick In The Butt To Get Going
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