Marjorie Adams is president/CEO of AQB, a business process & software consulting firm that improves the efficiency of client accounting departments. The firm specializes in QuickBooks integration and conversion projects. In her spare time, Marjorie catches up with one of her six sisters, sweats through CrossFit training, dresses up her four cats, reads a business book or watches the latest AMC show. Follow her @aqbinc.
Who is your hero?
In business, my hero is Patrick Lencioni of The Table Group. His team gave me my first exposure to a team in business where everyone has a voice and feels free to speak openly. Their team meetings are productive and happen frequently. He taught me to lead with authority, but not fear. In addition, his books, such as The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, have given me a love of business reading. Everyone wanted to work at his company and that has always been my goal with AQB.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
I was a soccer player my whole life and then coach for eight years. When you play professional sports, you have a coach. Athletes know what they are doing, but they still need guidance. Business is just like a competition, so it makes sense to get a coach. I had a business coach for two years and need to get one again. Coaches inspire to realize your potential. They also push you in ways that might seem uncomfortable, but are really for your own good. And, if you find a coach that isn’t a good fit for you, end the relationship right away and find another one. Life is too short!
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I did not document everything from the beginning. Documentation saves time and makes the business worth more. It is hard when you are growing to do this since processes change every other day, but the closer you get to consistency throughout the business, the better you will be for the long term.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I check sales numbers for the day prior, as well as our partner numbers, to know where we are trailing 365. I look at how much dropped off, but also review how much we added yesterday vs. the day before and compare the two numbers to last year. I also go through emails and delegate them to the appropriate people.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Look at things on a weekly basis — sales quotas and service hours, for example. Budgets should be longer term, but find key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can track weekly to be sure everyone is staying on track.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Find your sense of competition. Competition is fun and drives you to win.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I used to think success was being a number one partner in our industry; that was our five-year goal. Now that we have achieved that goal three out of the last five years, new success for me is bringing value to my customers 100 percent of the time. I want customers who want to work with anyone on my team because they know every second is spent trying to grow their business or better their work-life balance. I also want to work with customers who are engaged, are able to make decisions and respect the work we do.
Business is a partnership, and without those three attributes, you cannot be successful.