#277: Lead from the Core: The 4 Principles for Profit and Prosperity with Jay Steinfeld, Founder of Blinds.com
Blinds.com founder, Jay Steinfeld, bootstrapped his company — with only $3,000 in 1996 — to a sizable competitor of the big box shops like Home Depot, who acquired the company in 2014.
Jay was an early adopter of this thing called “the internet” and transformed his small retail business into the world’s #1 online blinds retailer as well as the leading e-tailer of hard-to-buy custom categories of home goods. Jay intentionally designed a successful exit to Home Depot that included him staying on to run Blinds.com for an additional six years after acquisition.
Jay is a passionate advocate and frequent speaker on how company culture and authentic core values drive profitable growth. Throughout his journey, Jay identified four principles that guided his decision making in every aspect of business and life which lead to his continuous happiness and success. He calls them the 4Es: evolve continuously; experiment without fear of failure; express yourself; and enjoy the ride. Jay just packaged up his experience and the 4Es into his new book, Lead from the Core: The 4 Principles for Profit and Prosperity which was just released.
He thinks business owners need to stop asking themselves how little they can do for their employees before they quit and start wondering how much more they can do, and why this is a smarter strategy. This is an amazing episode that shows how caring for the people in your company will scale your business to heights you never thought possible.
What You Will Learn
- How Jay shifted his mindset in his business after a personal tragedy
- Why it’s super important to understand what your employees want (including their personal goals)
- The four Es that that turned Jay’s business into a multi-million dollar company and competitor to Home Depot
- How to stay true to your purpose and the true north of your business, while still balancing the mechanics of your finances and shareholders
- Jay’s strategy behind going with private equity shortly before selling to Home Depot
- How he maintained an 8% turnover rate in his company
- Why Jay stayed on with his company for six years after he sold
- The importance of trying new things, in general, and how that transfers to your business life
- How intention led Jay to create his legacy
- Why Jay is so passionate about humanity in business
- The surprising motivation behind Jay today as he moves forward on five boards, some on the NYSE
JAY STEINFELD founded and was the CEO of Global Custom Commerce, which operates the world’s number one online window covering retailer Blinds.com. Bootstrapped in 1996 for just $3000 from his Bellaire, Texas garage, Global Custom Commerce was acquired by The Home Depot in 2014. Jay remained as its CEO and later joined The Home Depot Online Leadership Team. After stepping away from these roles in early 2020, he has increased his involvement on numerous private company boards and serves as a director of the public company Masonite (NYSE: DOOR).
He also teaches entrepreneurship at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business and supports numerous charities. Jay is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Technology Center. Active as an industry speaker on topics including corporate culture, core values, how to scale a start-up, and disruption, he has more than 100 published articles. Jay is passionate about adhering to his core values, which he calls the 4Es: evolve continuously; experiment without fear of failure; express yourself; and enjoy the ride. They have helped him make every business decision that led to his success and have turned into his new book, Lead from the Core: The 4 Principles for Profit and Prosperity.He also sings in the same barbershop quartet of which he’s been a part for nearly fifty years. He lives with his wife, Barbara, in Houston, Texas, has five children and seven grandchildren whom he proudly refers to as his seven start-ups.
07:20 - “I was doing as much online with those two people (with me doing virtually nothing) as I was with my store and I was working seven days a week in my store. I mean, what was wrong with this picture?” - Jay Steinfeld
14:30 - “Evolve continuously and that means you have to evolve and you have to evolve everything around you: processes, advertising, whatever it is in business. You have to get better.” - Jay Steinfeld
17:56 - “When you’ve got people who are themselves, and are free to talk, they can just be much more creative. They can solve problems much more easily because they try things that, in other organizations, they might not have tried.” - Jay Steinfeld
25:15 - “If you have core values and this is what’s making you tick, then you have to get rid of the things that are not making you tick.” - Jay Steinfeld
29:30 - “It was such an incredible outcome to building something with consequence by helping people become consequential.” - Jay Steinfeld
31:15 - “You do not need to gut your soul to build a business. You do not need to be harsh. You don’t need to be a jerk. You can be kind.” - Jay Steinfeld
34:25 - “But why are people wanting to leave in the first place? Because you’re not providing them with what they need.” - Jay Steinfeld
54:11 - “I don’t think you have to actually think about your business to get it to someplace, so that then you have the choice of doing what you want.” - Jay Steinfeld
54:22 - “I was just incrementally improving myself and my people, and the business did as well. As a result, that gave me the choice.” - Jay Steinfeld
54:43 - “But my definition of success is being in the process of improving and improving everything around me. So I can be successful every day.” - Jay Steinfeld
Links and Resources:
www.JaySteinfeld.com (author website)
www.JaySteinfeld.com/thebook (to download first chapter for free)
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaysteinfeld/ (LinkedIn profile)
Reach out to me if you have questions about the boot camp!
Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth