Jon Cline is the founder and CEO of Rokit SEO, an Internet Marketing and Inbound Marketing Company based out of Scottsdale, Arizona that specializes in marketing different hard trade industries as well as promoting music and video production teams. Follow him @jonclinejr.
Who is your hero?
I have a long list of heroes, and I could elaborate on all of them for very different reasons. In particular though are my parents. They grew up with nothing. When they married each other, they slept on couch cushions in a studio apartment and together took their company to the point where they could live well. Both of them have worked harder than almost any other people I have ever met, and were the ones that told me to chase after whatever it is that I want in life, as long as I put everything into it.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Have a plan, and execute. It’s unlikely that anyone is successful by just blindly going for it without preparation or foresight. Many of my friends start businesses, but the ones who are successful are the ones who understand both their end goal and the necessary steps to get there. Writing a business plan before starting your own business will help ensure that you have at least thought about where you are going before you start. It blows my mind how many people try to start a business and never write out a business plan. Of course, the plan always changes, and that’s completely natural. But if you at least have a plan, you can still keep your eyes on the end goal. In the modern professional world, you can have a business up, running and making money in weeks as long as you have the plan and willingness to execute it.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Trying to keep a low price to underbid my competition has been my biggest mistake. Instead of trying to have competitive pricing, it’s worked much better to find the companies that were on my level and then make large amounts of money from my company’s different offerings. If you have a product that is worth three times the amount you are charging for it, charge what it’s worth. In this B2B industry, it’s easy for me to prove my product’s value, and discounting anything typically makes the client take me for granted. A client should value the money spent, and paying $2,000, $4,000, or $6,000 per month for a product that enhances their bottom line significantly shouldn’t be a second thought for them operationally. If the client doesn’t want to spend a specific sum of money, even though they make a considerable ROI from your service, you don’t want them as your client.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I always check for any sort of emergency emails, but the first hour is typically spent reading about anything related to the Internet marketing or marketing industries. I feel it definitely helps overall with the day, and helps with devising new strategies for clients.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Do it as cheaply as possible, and track all of your expenses. I have worked for owners who have had their power shut off or have had to borrow money from their spouses. It always comes down to the fact that they were bad with money. The wealthiest people I have ever met drive cars that are 10 years old, and they certainly don’t buy Rolex watches. Of course, there are always exceptions; however, nice things and fancy offices shouldn’t be the initial focus of any entrepreneur.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Do something that makes you feel uncomfortable every day.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Employees that are paid a very livable wage — because our company has a bunch of satisfied clients — and who are feeling the successes of Internet marketing is my ultimate success metric for this company. We don’t want to be anything less than an Internet marketing solution. Beyond this, having everyone within the company constantly developing and growing is ideal for our culture. Most of us don’t even need an office to do our job, so allowing people to work from home, or from afar, and experience life from different perspectives is an ultimate success for me as well.