Business Profile | Vince Fowler: The Measurable DifferencePosted by Office Guardians / April 8th, 2016 / No responses
Founder & Chief Challenger of the Status Quo
Mel: Please tell me about yourself and what your company does?
Vince: I envision a world where small business owners live life on their terms. I believe that one’s business is the perfect vehicle to enable them to do just that; and live in optimal wealth, which to me means they have an abundance of time, money, and relationships.
So, I spend every day exploring the wisdom of past and present to benefit others in the future. This may be through business coaching, workshops, speaking, and/or seminars. I work with my clients in a 1-on-1 role or in groups.
I am also a Veteran, and played rugby at a high level – business, like sports, has a scoreboard. I leverage a number of military and athletic experiences to benefit my client – largely small and medium sized businesses.
I am a proud husband to my beautiful wife, and the father of our two amazing children. And… I have ADHD… which is totally, and unequivocally, awesome.
Mel: What led you to starting a company in this industry?
Vince: I grew up in Williams Lake, BC, a small central interior town with parents who both owned their own respective businesses. They were very entrepreneurial in many ways, but in reality, they just owned a job – their businesses consumed a lot of their time and energy, always working, and never really living life on their terms.
It’s largely because my parents toiled and slaved over their business, without living life on their terms. The consequences of that are what ultimately motivated me to become a business coach; though I didn’t actually realize that at the time. I thought I was becoming a business coach because I was good at sales and marketing, and good at coaching sports. It seemed like marrying the two would be something I would enjoy.
Mel: You run monthly events that help other small businesses improve, these fantastic events have even impacted how Office Guardians looks at some of our services. How did you come up with the idea for these events? What have you learned from running these events?
Vince: You’re referring to The Measurable Difference (TMD). TMD was inspired in late 2011 by my love and appreciation for TED Talks. I watched these amazing speakers share so much wisdom that I found myself wanting to learn more and more; especially about business.
TED, of course, speaks to a variety of subjects, themes and most of all… ideas worth talking about… and that’s where TMD events are different.
TMD was created to, first, serve the Small Business owner and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Second, instead of sharing ideas, we speak to specific themes about business (ie: sales, marketing, leadership… etc) and share current, real world, actionable business strategies that the audience can take home and implement immediately, and (we believe) achieve measurable results.
We run TMD events on a bi-monthly basis, three speakers, purposeful networking, and a speaker panel at the end – ALL of this in just three hours and 15 minutes. I know. It’s amazing 😉
Running the TMD for the past 4 years has taught me many things… First, there is a ton of wisdom right here in Calgary. There are so many business owners doing incredible things, creating exceptional products and services, and making a difference. It’s a great feeling to be able to showcase these innovative men and women to their community.
I’ve learned, “what can go wrong – will”. LOL. I’ve also learned that our audience is incredibly forgiving of our mistakes because we’re on this journey together.
I’ve learned that I can’t do it all any more. TMD is so much bigger than I ever (originally) imagined, and that we can’t run an event without a few key volunteers from our tribe.
I’ve learned that people don’t value free tickets. In other words, when we first started, TMD tickets were free – we had a 25% no-show rate.
When we started charging $10, no-show rates dropped to 11%. At $30, our no-show rate is 3%. We’ll raise our fee to $40 in January 2017.
Mel: What has been the most exciting moment in business for you and your wife?
Vince: The most exciting moment was launching our business in the first place.
The next exciting moment, watching my wife (about a year later) resign from her job and join me full time in our business. It was the first tangible step to living life on our terms. We dictate our calendar – meaning if we want to be with our children during any given day of the week, we can make that happen.
Mel: How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself? How did you live through those first few months/years?
Vince: Immediately. It wasn’t much (after expenses) but it was something, and it was happening. I had no choice, I had to make enough money to pay my business expenses (which included a sizeable repayment to depart from my previous and final employer – let’s call it a Student Loan) and contribute to our household expenses.
We didn’t have any kind of financial safety net in place – in fact, we were in significant debt – being profitable from day one was an absolute must. We’ve since climbed out of that debt.
In the past three and a half years, we’ve certainly had a skinny month here and there – and we do what any business owner would do – we tighten up on our expenses. However no business can create wealth by cutting expenses alone, so we put a large focus on revenue generating activity as well. It has always paid off. Pun intended.
Mel: What failure have you experienced and how has it changed the way you run your business?
Vince: My biggest past failure was not recognizing that failure in it self was my greatest opportunity to learn. I saw failure as something to be ashamed of.
Once I got my mindset working for me and not against me, I’ve since made some awesome mistakes which have propelled our business forward.
For example: here are just a few; Not knowing my numbers well enough. Over spending. Under spending. Not putting aside my GST. Not putting aside my corporate tax. Not having a profit account. Buying resources too soon. Not rebooting my computer often enough. Not having a data backup. Becoming arrogant. Not delegating. Not giving enough clarity to my team. Not networking enough. Net-lunching instead of new-working. Not vetting my vendors well enough. Not raising prices soon enough. Raising prices too soon. Raising prices too high. Not reading enough. Not exercising enough. Not getting enough sleep. Not looking at my calendar enough. Not protecting my time. Not dry cleaning my suit enough. Wearing ties. Not taking enough time off to recover and regenerate. Not saying thank you. Losing my keys.
Mel: Can you shed some light on techniques you use for furthering your online reach with different social media platforms? What has been the most effective? And why?
Vince: I don’t know if I actually have any techniques per say. I use Buffer App now and then to schedule certain posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; but by in large, most of my posts are live and real time.
If I have a technique at all, it’s using the same photograph for every platform and media release. I AM the product, I am the brand – my face, my voice – thus, I use the same picture for consistency.
Second. I write like I speak.
Third, I’m naturally curious about others – which isn’t a technique, it’s a benefit of my ADHD. I will reach out to anyone (online or otherwise) that I find interesting – including industry celebrities like: Geoff Mowatt, Jeffery Gitomer, Dan Pink, Bob Burg, Darren Hardy, Nancy Duarte, Sally Hogshead, and Seth Godin to name a few, all of whom I’ve gotten a response.
I figure that most people don’t reach out to big names for the same reason people don’t ask pretty people to dance – the assumption is their dance card is full and even if it wasn’t they would be rejected anyway. I’ve found that to be simply not true. In this day and age, everyone is building their own brand and nobody wants to be perceived as a dick. Just saying.
Lastly – and again, not a technique –
I say yes to things that I don’t know how to do. For example, three years ago I was asked if I could facilitate a two day strategic planning retreat for a company executive I had just met on LinkedIn. My external voice said, “Hell yes”. My internal voice said, “What did you just say?” to which I responded to myself, “Hey, I’ll figure it out.”
Having said all that, LinkedIn serves me very well. My client is on LinkedIn and I invest a lot of time there. Linkedin is my number one online lead generation platform, my website is second, Facebook is third. I’m also on Twitter and Instagram however my sole purpose there is to simply engage with others and leave a social trail.
Mel: If you have a million dollars to spend on starting a new company right now, what would it be and why would you choose that industry?
Vince: The safe bet is any service relating to our aging population. Over 15.7% of Canada is over the age of 65 and they’re going to need a lot help – be it assisted living, pharmacy, anti aging solutions, etc. This number will rise to 24-28% by 2063. (Statistic Source)
That said, with a million dollars, I’d poor gas on the fire I’ve already started – The Measurable Difference. Small Business owners are hungry for knowledge and they live all over North America and beyond. My focus right now is to grow TMD across North America. I’ll get to the rest of the world eventually.
It’s really sexy to take and million dollars and bet on black, red, or whatever… me… I choose to bet on me, and the unquenchable thirst and aspirations of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Mel: What is the first thing you would do if you had to check something off your personal bucket list?
Vince: I don’t have a bucket list.
If I had a bucket list, then to me, it would mean that my life is somehow, currently, incomplete, when in reality I have the best life I’ve ever had… and every additional day is truly a blessing.
You see, on January 5th, 2010, our 8 day old son (Hudson) went into cardiac arrest for a heart defect that we had yet to learn even existed. By some miracle, the amazing team of doctors, specialists, staff and nurses at the AB Children’s Hospital were able to bring our son back to life, and stabilize him so he could be med-evac’d to Edmonton for emergency open heart surgery. Hudson survived, and 43 days later we were able to bring him back home. He’s now six.
I have my wife, my daughter, and my son. So, you see, my life is perfect and complete.
Would I like to travel to Australia and watch a rugby match between the Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks? Would I like to own a Tesla, and an original H1 Humvee? Would I like to eat sushi at 25,000 feet, then sky dive back to earth?… sure. All of that and more would be nice. But I wouldn’t lose a second of sleep if it never happened because I have my wife, my daughter, and my son… my life is already perfect and complete.
Mel: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Vince: Remember that a business is a vehicle to enable you to live life on your terms. The question is, are you? And if you’re not, what are you willing to do about it?
I will always add bacon to any sandwich I order.
ADHD is a gift.
The Collaboration Section
Companies I follow/pay attention to: Zappos, Apple, West Jet, Simon Sinek Inc, TED, TWT Group, DIRTT, , Canadian Armed Forces, LinkedIn, Virgin Group, Tesla, Under Armour, HubSpot, Copy Blogger, Success Magazine, Isagenix
Thank you for checking our Office Guardians’ Business Profile. You can send some loving to Vince Fowler by going to any of the links below and liking his work.
Websites: www.vincefowler.ca & www.themeasurabledifference.com
Last, but not least:
You can reach out to Robb, if you need any Photography done for your business: