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Business, Entrepreneurship

As an entrepreneur and business owner, there is never enough learning that can be done.

Our featured guest is Raymond McKenzie.

Ray McKenzie, founder of Red Beach Advisors, an executive business and product strategy, operations, and process consultant with more than 20 years of experience with public, private, and start-up tech companies specializing in growth and scaling strategies. 

Ray has held various senior executive positions with companies such as Verisign, Neustar, State Farm Insurance, TeleSign, UltraDNS and has served in an advisory role for several start-up companies in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Ray McKenzie completed his studies in Management Information Systems from San Diego State University in 2001 and is a certified AWS Cloud Practitioner (CLF). Mr. McKenzie is also a certified Lean Six Sigma sensei (CLSSS) practitioner from Villanova University, is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance. Mr. McKenzie currently sits on the board of directors for non-profit organizations such as My Friend’s House, Inc. based in Los Angeles, CA and Students With Aspiring Goals based in Merced, CA and regularly speaks to groups of children and youth regarding entrepreneurship, leadership, and achievement. Ray is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. 

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KEY POINTS FROM RAY:

  • I’m grateful for my family. I have my wife who has been extremely supportive of me and my career since I started, and then, obviously, my four kids.  
  • I travel quite a bit for my customers but I also make it home all the time for a lot of things, but there’s an understanding there.  That understanding and support means the most.
  • Ray McKenzie on forging a lane for himself:  “I can make a decision to continue to allow companies or the development of software to guide my career or I can take it into my own hands and start to use some of my skills in terms of talking and interacting with people, clients and customers.”
  • I started to utilize my ability to talk, my ability to interact, and my ability to work with clients and develop good relationships. I made that change, and that’s where my career started to take off for the most part.
  • Ray tells us the result of his pivot to entrepreneurship:  “I was able to work on projects I like to work on; I had a chance to work with people I wanted to work with; I had a chance to dictate my rates in terms of what I wanted to charge for my fee; and then I was also able to control the quality of life that I had.”
  • To build a business and to start a business and make sure it’s successful, it does take a lot of time.
  • To build a business, it’s time intensive; you have to be focused; you have to be dedicated; and you have to not quit. You have to persevere.
  • Relationships take about 12 to 18 months to really foster on a business and professional level.
  • It takes time, effort and showing the delivery to be able to get those contracts.
  • Everything that drove you to want to start your business, or want to be an entrepreneur, or what you wanted to gain, should keep you motivated.
  • Ray McKenzie on being an entrepreneur:  “Quality of life and the power of choice is driving me in the work I’m doing today; the ability to say yes or no to what you want to do in your life.”
  • The ability to turn something from good to great has been the ability to develop not only that professional connection with people, but that personal connection with people.
  • Whatever that internal driver is for them (your clients), or what’s important to them, understand that, be able to relate to it, and build a relationship off of that.
  • In the consulting world it’s all about delivery.  Your brand is based around delivery, and it’s based around trust.
  • You have to bring in great people; you have to understand what their motivations are in their careers, where they want to go, where they want to develop, and try to give them a clear path in terms of how to do that.  And then, if you provide them with projects that help them continuously grow, continuously expand kind of their knowledge.  And then, kind of teach them the business, to a certain extent.  That always gives them motivation to be able to stay onboard and deliver and deliver and deliver. People are paramount to the success of any company that you see.  That’s just how it works. If you have great people, you provide a great culture for them, and then you’ll see that they’ll continuously grow, your company will continuously grow, everybody will be motivated and everybody will be looking and moving in the right direction. [[spp-timestamp time="22:14"] – [spp-timestamp time="22:59"]] 
  • It’s important to make people feel wanted.  It’s important to make sure they’re compensated correctly.  It’s important to make sure that they feel like a valued part of any team; and it’s important to understand what’s important to them. [[spp-timestamp time="23:01"] – [spp-timestamp time="23:18"]] 
  • We have to have good personal relationships all around, not just with clients or customers who cut the biggest cheques, but all of your clients and customers and especially all of your employees and/or consultants that you work with.
  • If you’re not healthy, you’re not good to anybody else.
  • The values of business are that you’ve got to develop something that people want and need. Don’t build something that you want, because you may be the only person that wants it.  Build something that people want to buy.
  • Be as detailed as you can be. Persevere and work through your struggles, and don’t quit.
  • Work ethic is important and showing up and delivering is important.
  • You can’t teach people how to show up on time.  You either get it or you don’t.
  • You can’t teach people how to work hard.  You either have it or you don’t.
  • Everything you need to know is in a book.

 

ONE ACTION

  • Try to call five different people who own businesses and/or CEO’s this week, and not necessarily ask them for business, just ask them how they’re doing.

THIS EPISODE WAS SPONSORED BY:

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Join, support and invest in this movement to help improve the life outcomes of our black men and boys.

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