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.
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
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!
Father and son team Chris and Graham McConnell are the founders of Nth Round, a software platform that allows business owners and potential investors to find each other. Nth Round allows employees and outside investors to bid for shares in a company. The idea is that the platform simplifies the process of getting funding and liquidity for a business. Chris and Graham tell me how they created the blockchain system Nth Round is built upon. We discuss who benefits from this platform and why they felt it was needed in this current market. Nth Round strives to “level the playing field” for all parties involved and take the flow of capital away from private equity firms and smoke-filled back rooms. These guys are being hailed as game changers, tune in to hear why. What you will learn: Graham’s background in software and finance. Chris’s background in business and private equity. The problems the guys saw within the private equity world. How Nth Round was developed to fight these problems. How Nth Round works. How companies come to an agreement on the value of their business. The 3 target markets Nth Round appeals to. How Nth Round equals the playing field for everyone involved. How their system is different from private equity and M&A. Why venture capitalists have mixed reactions to Nth Round. The goals for the company moving forward. How video is a great tool to keep business owners and investors in touch. The FCC’s reaction to Nth Round. Takeaways: People are trying to fix the market. Private companies are the backbone of America and the system is broken. If you need liquidity or investment in your business don’t just settle for the first answer you get. If you know what you want, there ...
This is Part 2 of a 2-part series with Saud Juman, who last week shared his sensational journey on becoming intentional. This week, we talk brass tacks about pivoting his business model, exponentially growing into a multi-national company and his eventual exit to private equity—all while staying true to his original vision and ‘why’. What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview What forced Saud to pivot PolicyMedical's business model and why those changes enabled exponential growth. How to identify the real problem your clients are trying to solve. Why finding and catering to the right clients and customers is important. How to involve your clients in your marketing and service offering development. How to turn your company into a revenue-generating engine. The cost of complacency as an entrepreneur and the impact it has on the business. Why hospitals in the US sign up with accreditation agencies, what is involved and how it impacts business. The impact meditation has on focus and staying true to your ‘why’. Why mentors matter, Saud’s formula for finding mentors and what makes a good mentee. The value in face-to-face contact as a vendor and what questions to ask to strengthen your ties. How to turn clients into raving fans that will go to bat for your company. Why your exit number can be a date and not a dollar value. How to use your personal ‘why’ when vetting potential buyers. Are You Growing The Value of Your Business Take The 2-Minute Assessment To Get Your Intentional Growth Score™ And 1-Page Vision Board. Podcast Summary: In the second half of this two-part interview, we’re going to cover how Saud started PolicyMedical, pivoted the business after it hit a wall, and what he did to explode ...
Chris Goebel spoke to us about the intricacies of operating and then selling a business that included nine other siblings… and he actually did it twice. Read on for some of the highlights of Chris’ story (which is available for download above): What was the business? The business was split across two companies: one was predominantly airport coach transfers, while the other was focussed on leisure travel. How big were the companies? At their peak, a total of approximately 400 employees and 175 vehicles spread across four different major airports. How did they define the roles for each of the 10 children? Age order was the first criteria, then it was an organic process of matching the roles with people’s specialisms. Key drivers of business? Contract revenue rose from 3% to 21%, which not only provided a useful hedge against seasonal factors like weather and events, it also made the business a more attractive proposition for a buyer. What triggered the exit? The age of the management team combined with serious interest from two different companies. What were the most important aspects of the sale? The dollar amount and taking care of the future of the employees. How ready were they? They had a lot of numbers already in place. The company was so big that they had no choice but to have their financials in good shape. How long did it take? Six months. What happened next? The business was sold to one of the bidders but a few years later ended up being sold again to the other bidder. The first takeover was from a private equity firm, but it eventually became part of a ...