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Sales, effective management, and long-term vision are three of the key ingredients you need as an entrepreneur when cooking up your own successful business. 

We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Charles Aldis, who established a company that delivers managed IT services to small and medium-sized businesses at an enterprise level to discuss his own entrepreneurial journey. 

His transparency about his experiences offer invaluable insight into what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and we’re here today to share everything we learned with him.

What are three things  every entrepreneur should know?

The first thing Charles thinks every entrepreneur should know seems like a no-brainer once you’ve heard it: sales. Sales is the language of business and crucial to success. No matter the business you’re running, be it a product or a service, you are trying to sell your offering to potential customers. 

Therefore, it’s absolutely essential to understand sales as well as you understand your business so that you can more effectively and confidently communicate with your customers. 

Effective management skills are also crucial for entrepreneurs, according to Charles, especially as their business grows and expands. One key skill is the ability to delegate tasks to others on the team. Entrepreneurs often have to wear multiple hats in the early stages of their business, but as the business grows, it becomes important to delegate tasks to others who are more specialized in certain areas. 

Delegation not only frees up time for you to focus on high-level strategic decisions, but it also allows others to develop their skills while ensuring that running your business is more fulfilling than draining. 

Lastly, Charles believes entrepreneurs should be able to think ahead and plan for the future beyond the day-to-day operations of their business. This means having a long-term vision for the business and developing a plan to achieve it. It’s important for you to know what your long-term vision is so that you can focus on goals and targets that will actually help you achieve it, while anticipating changes in the market and other variables that may affect your path to success.

What problem does your business solve and who are its customers?

Charles' business, Maven IT, Inc, provides enterprise level managed IT services to small and medium-sized businesses, which includes keeping their infrastructure running efficiently and effectively while ensuring security. The main problem, Charles highlighted, that his business solves is providing an outsourced IT solution at a fraction of the cost of doing it in-house, with a one-stop-shop for all IT needs. His business has developed a niche in the franchise space, serving franchisees who often assume the franchisor will take care of IT needs - but don't. 

Charles’ business also serves multi-unit franchisees, with one sale often leading to many locations. They package the best of breed technology to offer affordable remote management services to their customers, which include businesses in need of IT support and maintenance. Essentially, Charles' business provides affordable and comprehensive IT services to businesses that need it, allowing them to focus on their core operations.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur and would you do it again?

Charles was beautifully transparent with us in his answer to this question, saying that he was initially inspired to become an entrepreneur after experiencing a major health scare. He had a stroke at the age of 48 and, after realizing how young he was to be having a stroke, was motivated to reassess his career in the corporate world. 

Being an executive in the telecom industry for over 30 years, Charles understands that the industry is extremely stressful. However, after having the stroke, he began to realize that it was taking far more than it was giving. He was not fulfilled in his role and yet it stressed him to the point of putting his health at risk. 

It was clear to him that something needed to change and he was fortunate enough to receive a buyout from his company that he used to start a telecom consulting and brokerage firm. While working in that business, Charles met his current business partner, who also founded a company. The two combined their businesses after working on several deals together and found that their combined product and service set had much more value together than separately.

If someone had given you a million dollars when you first started your business, what would you have spent it on?

Charles was quite clear on his answer to the million dollar question… If someone were to give Charles a million dollars when he started his business, he would have spent 100% of it on sales and marketing. He believes that sales and marketing are the key to growing a business, and he would have used the funding to hire more salespeople and invest in more intense marketing. 

As it stands, Charles already spends 10% of his revenue on marketing as a general metric, and he would have continued to do so with the additional funding. He also highlighted how important it is to spend the money wisely, as wasting it on the wrong campaigns could be detrimental to the business. 

In addition to sales and marketing, Charles would have allocated some of the funding towards operations and customer support. However, he believes that the economy of scale inherent in his business model would have allowed him to spend more on sales and marketing, as he only needs to spend about $20 on operations for every $100 spent on marketing.

What is your proudest accomplishment as an Entrepreneur?

Charles' proudest accomplishment as an entrepreneur is their ability to triple the size of the company in the first year of the pandemic. Despite the challenges faced by the pandemic, Charles and his team were able to adapt to the new normal and worked diligently to grow their business. 

They took a stoic approach to the situation and focused on finding ways to sell virtually. Charles was able to close most deals through Zoom and email, which streamlined the sales process and was good for business overall. Charles is proud of his team's resilience and ability to stay focused on their goals during a difficult time.

Charles even credited some of their success to the pandemic because it forced them to be so focused.

What big goals are you looking to accomplish in future?

Charles' big goals for the future of his business are twofold. 

Firstly, he aims to achieve a revenue milestone of two and a half million, which they are currently on track to accomplish. In fact, they’re doing so well that they may even need to revise this goal to be higher. 

Secondly, Charles is focused on securing funding for an expansion plan. He and his business partner have been selective in choosing investors, turning down offers that don’t align with their vision, and are now in discussions with potential investors who match their criteria and can help them implement the expansion plan they devised several months ago. 

Their main goal is to scale their business significantly within a specific time-frame, leveraging external funding to complement their so-far self-funded approach.

Charles’ story beautifully shows how any difficult time or challenge in our lives could be an opportunity for real change. An opportunity to take what we have and make the most of it, from the way Charles pivoted into entrepreneurship after a health scare to the way his company not only survived the pandemic but thrived through it. 

Every entrepreneur has a unique perspective to share with others. Inspiration and motivation can be found in everything by those that seek it. Share your entrepreneur story with us so you might play a part in the success of another. Connect with us today.

If you want more, watch Charles' episode of Amplify Your Busniess!

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