Author, Celebrity Apprentice, TV Personality, C-Suite Network. Jeffrey Hayzlett is a true American Entrepreneur with a plethora of experience.
Alan: Welcome back I’m here today with Jeffrey Hayzlett he’s the author of the book Think Big Act Bigger. Jeffrey, welcome to today’s show
Jeffrey: Thank you for having me it’s a pleasure
Alan: So Jeffrey you’ve done many things in your life aside from writing your recent book, but for our listeners, can you take us on your timeline, background, how’d you get to where you are today?
Jeffrey: Like most people it’s not a normal path. You always do different things that you think that you’re not going to do but you do. I started off as an entrepreneur like a lot of people. I worked in the House and the Senate and political campaigns and that lead me to create my own Public Relations firm. From there I went and bought and sold companies, I’ve sold over 250 companies in my career, and that led me to becoming a sales and a market leader in a major company, in a billion dollar company and that got taken over so I got fired from that job when the new guys come in, which is normal for guys like me. So then I went on to become the Chief Marketing Officer for a Fortune 100 company, Eastman Kodak. I left there six years ago and now I’ve started my own television shows, my own radio shows, and then leading the C-Suite Network. So it’s definitely not a normal path, but it’s a path that I say it’s been a great ride so far.
Alan: You know it’s a remarkable background that you have and open that gives a lot of credibility for Think Big Act Bigger. What was your inspiration for this book?
Jeffrey: You know sometimes entrepreneurs leaders businesses we put obstacles in front of us, and they are self-imposed for no other reason. “Well we can’t do this, we can’t do that, we’ve tried that before”. In corporate America I got tired of hearing about it, so I wrote this book, Think Big Act Bigger to talk about how we need to think through them, get over them, go around them ignore those obstacles and do the things that we want to do. It’s not the lucky who win it’s the relentless. In my career I’m not the smartest guy, I’m not the brightest guy, I’m not the quickest guy, I might be the best-looking guy I don’t know. But nonetheless I wasn’t born with a silver spoon or a lot of money but I’ve been extremely successful at what I’ve been able to do mostly by being relentless. And that is saying “this is what I want to do and I’m going to go get it done and I won’t accept no for an answer”. There might be a setback for a period of time but that’s really what the book is about. It’s as much a self-help book as it is a book about this is the way that you plan your business.
Alan: When you’re starting out though, everyone has a vision, everyone has a dream but how do you move from thinking about it to putting it in place.
Jeffrey: It’s not that difficult, you have to take it one step at a time. It’s like the first time I did Celebrity Apprentice. Someone asked me “how’d you get on the show”. I said I called Donald Trump. Well how’d you do that, why’d you do that? Well I picked up the phone, and called 411 got the information and called and left a message. It literally is that simple, one step at a time baby steps. I have a philosophy of crawl, walk, run. That’s really what we do in life from the time that we are a little child to the time that we die. We crawl we walk we run. In everything that we first start with we are a beginner. You don’t just become a maestro, you have to play some bad notes. You have to take that first step plink on a piano or that first strum on a violin, and that’s all you have to do is just pick it up and do it.
Alan: So Jeffrey in life you will often run across people that say yeah Jeffrey I get it, I need to take that first step, but I don’t know who I am or what my passions are.
Jeffrey: But then start going somewhere. Start going in a direction and you’ll figure it out. Someone once asked me, what’s my greatest achievement, or what’s my greatest failure and I said I don’t know I haven’t done them yet. That’s really the way in which you should do. I don’t think the leaders of these major major companies. I happen to know who they are, I happen to know some of them, they didn’t start out with that in mind, they started doing something. Maybe they were working at McDonalds, Maybe they were working at Pizza Hut Maybe they were working at a local saddle shop whatever it might be from where you are. But they started somewhere and they figured out along the way. The most important thing about business that we are going to learn, for most of us that are going to do things, unless you are operating heavy machinery or operating on a person, if you make a mistake no one is going to die. That’s what it’s really about, go try something that works for you, and if it doesn’t work for you go try something else.
Alan: Great advice. I’m visiting here today with Jeffrey Hayzlett he’s the author of the book Think Big Act Bigger. We need to take a quick break but we’ll be right back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back I’m visiting here today with Jeffrey Hayzlett he’s the author of the book Think Big Act Bigger. In the first segment we were talking about people who don’t know who they are or get their mindset in place, but the common excuses, what do people come up with to say that they can’t do this.
Jeffrey: You know in my book Think Big Act Bigger I actually list off pages of excuses. I went out and crowd-sourced my friends and said give me the list of excuses. “Well you know, we can’t activate that on Thursday because the best day to activate content is on Tuesday.” Or we tried it before. Or it’s not in the budget, is a common one. You know it’s all about making choices, that’s what you have to do in life. That’s what you have to decide to do. With everything there is pain, that’s life. Pain in learning, pain in love, pain in everything. You have to learn that you have to give up something to get something. And that’s the first step in realization of being along that journey in figuring out what that pain in going to be. You need to remember that no one is going to die in the process. You have to make those decisions early on that I want to go to this place and I want to do this, and you have to make sacrifices along the way.
Alan: I love the way that you put that, that in order to get you have to give without really an understanding of what’s going to happen.
Jeffrey: You know I had a person that I was inducting into the Speaker Hall of Fame about a year ago, and someone got up to speak and said “in order to get you have to give and if you give give give, you get get get” I’ve always found that to be the case. So one of the things that I constantly do in business is help other people, and people come to me and ask “what’d you get out that that” and I say nothing. Eventually I probably will and if nothing else I learned something new about the person that I was helping or their business or what they did so it is an important thing to do and a good thing to mention.
Alan: So when you work through this how important are relationships as you’re trying to solve business problems or move through…
Jeffrey: It’s interesting that you say relationships, I was at a recent conference and someone got up and said “relationships, it’s all about relationships now.” I looked around and said when did it stop? It’s always been about relationships. The best business I’ve done in my life, the best things I’ve done in my life it’s always been around relationships. People should nurture that. Especially those that are going out and trying to be thought leaders today and businesses that are trying to reach their customers. It’s about that community that you’re building, and you want to nurture that community. So that relationship with that customer, that relationship with your spouse that relationship with your children is the most important thing that you can possibly do is nurture that.
Alan: So Jeffrey in business what comes first the relationship or the business?
Jeffrey: You can always master the relationship, there’s time for that. But I think that the business always comes first. You really want to focus on what I want to be when I grow up it’s the business. So what are my conditions of satisfaction? What is it that I want to do and have other people buy it from me. So you establish that relationship action cycle that we have and I make a promise with you the customer.
Alan: And so in the acting big what exactly does that mean.
Jeffrey: I use my own personal example of when I was talking with my team when building my social media profile. At first we though 50,000 was a big number for followers on Twitter first we said if we get to 50,000 we will be ok and now we are at 300,000. For me if we had gotten to 100 it would be ok. Now I’m thinking, let’s get to 500,000. Why 500,000? Why not a million? It’s about adding zeros and that’s what we need to do. Don’t restrict yourself. I came from South Dakota; most people can’t even find that on a map. Yet I’m one of the most successful business people out there today. Why? Because I thought bigger. I figured out hmm, I can do this is Iowa, I can do this in Minnesota, I can do this all over the world, and that’s what thinking big is all about.
Alan: I’m visiting here today with Jeffrey Hayzlett he’s the author of the book Think Big Act Bigger. Jeffrey I need to take a quick break and we will be right back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back I’m visiting here today with Jeffrey Hayzlett he’s the author of the book Think Big Act Bigger. Jeffrey we talked about getting started and launching companies, but you’re a veteran at this, doing some 250 companies, and the Celebrity Apprentice getting Donald Trump to put you on, but I want to move onto your current project. The C-Suite…
Jeffrey: The C-Suite Network, yeah we are building the most vetted network for C-Suite Executives. When you look across the platform there are 28 million businesses. You have businesses over 10 million that account for about 95% of all the spend and that’s only 600,000 businesses. So we are targeting those businesses and helping to have those leaders be the most strategic people in the room. But we are going to vet them so it’s not LinkedIn. We are going to have a LinkedIn like component so that we can network with each other online and off at our events. But we wanted something because I’m being inundated by all these people coming at me as a C-Suite executive and I can’t tell who is who. What we wanted to do is draw a line in the sand and put a red velvet rope around the community and that’s what we decided to do. So we are building a community for C-Suite Executives over 5 million in size, VP or higher, as a safe haven for them, much like a private club. Then we help them facilitate meetings together, we help them facilitate services together and then we give them content. Because here’s one of the key things for C-Suite executives. When I was the CMO for Eastman Kodak I was in meetings for every minute of the day. From the time that I get up in the morning, to the time that I put my bed down late late at night or even early the next morning. Yet my staff is looking at information and getting information and looking ahead of me, which is great. But my job is to be the most strategic, not the smartest person and so what we want to do is to help those people be more strategic by feeding the right kind of things to them.
Alan: Now as they become part of the network there is also an aspect where they can do their own podcasts?
Jeffrey: There are all kinds of pieces; we have the community itself, and then the content. We have 4 Cs. The Community, the content, the concierge, and our convene or meetings that we have together. So for the community, it’s liked a LinkedIn, but on Steroids, and only for the people that we have vetted. The content then is only for the folks that want to create content, or we curate the content for them through news podcasts, information, blogs that are being done. Now a lot of executives are creating more blogs and they want to get it out to the right people. So those are the places that they can participate.
Alan: So let’s go through the last two Cs
Jeffrey: Then Convene, because you need to get people together. We do everything like big meetings; we are having one in September at the New York Times Center for about 400 people where we will be talking about elections and everything else. But we do smaller meeting as well in lots of different communities. We might have a scotch tasting event or a wine tasting event. We might just have a topic of what’s Brexit doing to the United States or other countries. So we have small gatherings of what we call salons around particular topics, so that those people who are interested, those executives who are interested can go. And the last C is concierge, services. You know when I was at a major major company I had a lot of people doing a lot of things for me, and in a smaller company I wouldn’t have that. So what services might the smaller company need and what services might the executive want beyond what their company can do for them as well? We have partners like Accenture and a whole host of others that serve up products and services for the members and also for the members companies.
Alan: You know when you look at the world today and we are in a world of constant change. A recent guest, Module Q a Harvard PHD said we are inundated with technology overload. How do we make things simpler and how does this C-Suite help us with that.
Jeffrey: One of the things we do especially in the content is that we put a learning engine in front for the stuff that you’re asking for and the way that you want to do it. So let’s imagine that you’re CEO of a company and that you have 4 different plants around the country and one of them is in Wichita and you don’t always get to Wichita. Why do you have to go to an app and get that information, why don’t we feed that information so that you know for instance weather. Why is weather important? Let’s say for instance that you’re about to have tornado warnings in Wichita near your plant. Now wouldn’t it be a smart thing to know about as a CEO so you can call the plant manager and say “hey, it looks like you are going to have some rough weather today. Are we ready for tornado warnings? Have we had our practices for employees? Have we done the right things in order to do it?” That’s being strategic, in terms of what to do and give them that information. It’s not to say that it’s a filter, but it’s a way of saying much like when you go to a good club or a restaurant and they know you very well and you sit down they know what kind of appetizer you like and what kind of drink that you like. We are doing the same thing with the C-Suite Network. Anticipating what you need and giving it to you as you need it.
Alan: You know with the network here, is the idea that people can pipe in with the technology or are there face to face meetings in the room.
Jeffrey: Both, you have to go to where the people are. You can’t just build it and hope that they will come. I was doing a very successful television show on Bloomberg for instance, a number one primetime show. But we started having more people watch the show online than watching it on broadcast, so we said let’s capture behavior. If they are watching it online or if they are watching it on their app why aren’t we feeding the content. So we immediately changed and adapted so that we wouldn’t die and began to move our content online. That’s what you need to be able to do, change it and meet where people want. If they want to do it face to face do it, or if they want to hide behind an app that’s fine too.
Alan: So for the listeners that want more information about joining C-Suite how do they find that?
Jeffrey: Go to C-Suite.com, C-SuiteNetwork.com, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Bookclub, C-Suite TV. Just look up C-Suite, look up #CSuite on social media and you can find us.
Alan: I’ve been visiting today with Jeffrey Hayzlett, and we have been talking about the C-Suite Network. Jeffrey I would like to thank you for being on today’s show.
Jeffrey: A pleasure
Alan: We will be right back after these messages