Saturday, January 13, 2007

Interview with an Entrepreneur

Every entrepreneur is different, yet they have so much in common. The more time you can spend with them to understand the peculiarly creative and self-absorbed way they view the world, the better you will be able to sell to small business.

And if you can't spend time with them, read interviews with them – especially Q&As, where you get to see how their minds work.

In today’s National Post, Libby Zneimer had a great lifestyle-oriented interview with Sam Chebib, president and CEO of Nightingale Informatix Corp., which sells services and software for the health-care industry. Here are a few revealing tidbits:

Q: What are your key functions?
A: I focus primarily on execut­ing our strategic plans, and spend most of my time with my senior management team and major clients. I am very involved in all of our operations, but work very effectively through my executive team.
Q: How many hours do you work each week and when do you start?
A: I work anywhere between 70 and 80 hours per week and 1 usually start at 7:30 a.m.
Q: How often do you take work home?
A: I always have something under my arm when I leave.
Q: How many phone calls do you get? How often do customers call you directly?
A I get 20 to 30 calls a day, and I'll take about 10 to 20 of those. Of those calls, one or two a day will be from customers, which I always take.
Q: How many meetings do you at­tend? Do you like meetings?
A: Between four and five per day. I like some of them, for example, those meetings where I can brainstorm ideas with my team and come up with solutions to strategic concerns.
Q: Are you a workaholic?
A: No, I am just trying to get a job done and I happen to enjoy doing it.
Q: Does your family think you work too much?
A: Of course they do. I've never met a family that didn't.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I get to hire and train highly talented people so they can do most of my job for me.
Q: What’s the best perk?
A I can admit when I've made a mistake without fear of being yelled at.
Q: Do you have hobbies, sports or a fitness routine?
A: I love tennis and skiing, but I don't get to do them often enough, and it's getting more dif­ficult all the time.

Themes to think about: his sheer busy-ness; results-focus; work isn't work when you own the company; the barely-concealed feeling of immunity at the top; scarcity of leisure time; customers really do come first.
How would you market to someone like that?

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