A few weeks ago, I watched the HBO documentary on Carl Icahn and saw a familiar face in the movie. That of Mark Stevens.
I happened to recognize him at the new Decicco supermarket in town. We talked briefly and he then invited me to his home in Bedford. It was a fascinating conversation.
Mark is a true serial entrepreneur. Starting as a teenager, he’s built and sold prominent companies, the last being MSCO, made famous by Mark’s best-selling book, Your Marketing Sucks.
He sold that substantial business in 2017 and ever since, has been advising business owners, founders, and corporate executives on achieving higher levels of success.
He’s a coach now, valued by clients in a cross-section of industries.
Smart, engaging, and direct, the man who used to play tennis with Icahn weekly at midnight,
Mark sat down for a Q&A with me:
•Mark, what’s the key issue that drives business owners/executives?
All business peoples’ lives/companies/careers are essentially focused on two key pillars: Fear and Dreams.
They have fears/concerns about finances, talent, competition, and the like. And they have dreams about achieving personal and business goals.
My work revolves around deflating the fears (which are often magnified out of context) and courageously pursuing the dreams.
•What are the key attributes of a successful business?
Clearly, it understands the value of obsessive focus on customer service. But equally important and related to the first is that the owner recognizes the need to develop an extraordinary culture. Your people need to be well compensated but even more important, they need to be inspired. Unfortunately, management often fails to share its inspiration/enthusiasm with those charged with executing the mission.
•What’s the single most important thing a business owner can do to keep the enterprise scalable and sustainable?
Paradoxically, it’s to set aside time periods to think of anything but business. Go on vacation, read a book, and listen to music. It is during these “non-business “ times that epiphanies are born.
Mark’s highly successful coaching/advisory business delves into the specific issues/challenges and circumstances surrounding these goalposts for his clients (all of whom become his friends).
Mark Stevens can help you figure out your business goals and how to achieve them. Contact him here.