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Curtis Watkins

Episode 52: How Knowledge-Based Systems Improve Your Company’s Credibility, with Curtis Watkins

Curtis Watkins is the CEO of BovaMetrics, an Augmented Intelligence company focused on boosting performance in long-term portfolios managed by wealth advisers. This is his third entrepreneurial endeavor after previously serving as the COO of a micro-hydro renewable energy firm and also as a co-founder of a mobile software solutions company.

Additionally, Curtis is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Joules Startup Accelerator program located at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a regular television contributor to news programs and shows focused on current events, and he also serves as the Chairman for a political software company he founded called CampaignKit.

He is a 2013 recipient of the Charlotte Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” award and a graduate of the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Curtis’ expensive career experience that has seen him in various roles as both an entrepreneur and an employee in Corporate America
  • BovaMetrics’ knowledge-based systems that allow them to anticipate the questions they will be asked about their software from different industry professionals with very deep backgrounds (ex: a wealth advisor is going to have different questions from a developer)
  • Why credibility is key for an early stage company (and how knowledge-based systems boost their credibility)
  • The database of written documents that make up the knowledge-based systems that BovaMetrics can pull from whenever they need to
  • The different levels of documentation that they have written to provide to prospects who may come in at different levels of expertise
  • How BovaMetrics uses Google Drive to organize and give access to specific documents on an as-needed basis
  • Relating what people already know to your product (ex: BovaMetrics’ Equilla is an assistant, so they related it to Siri and Alexa)
  • How having these written documents prevents someone from interpreting your product the wrong way
  • Getting some outside writing help to ensure you’re not caught up in your own echo chamber when creating documents and leaning on your network to get some external advice and validation
  • What’s next for Curtis and BovaMetrics

Ways to contact Curtis:

Podcast eBooks:

The Power of Two

Episodes 1, 2 and 3 collide to bring you summary of lessons learned and systems created around Vision and Key Initiatives that help drive success to companies and businesses.

The Transition to Automation

In Episode 25, Vera talks with Heidi Rasmussen, CEO and Co-Founder of one of Inc 5000’s fastest growing companies in America – freshbenies. This eBook highlights part of the conversation to bring out the best lesson in automation and on-boarding for startups.

Using IT Strategically

In Episode 29, Vera talks with Tom Grooms, Vice President, Information Technology, and Chief Information Officer for CF Industries. This eBook is your guide for seeing IT as more than just a faster way to do your accounting.

The ZFactor Methodology

In Episode 35, Vera talks with Cindy Goldsberry, founder and partner of ZFactor Group. This eBook shows you how to take your business from vendor to value creator.

Transcript:

Welcome to System Execution, the strategy and system behind today’s successful companies. Systems can make or break your company, but here, we’ll solve your physical, technological, and psychological systems issues by connecting you with experts that have succeeded in overcoming those challenges in their own business, and providing you the guidelines and tools you need to implement those same strategies for immediate results. Now, here’s your host, Vera Fischer.

Vera Fischer: Today’s episode is sponsored by 97 Degrees West, the brand marketing agency located in Austin, Texas. 97 Degrees West serves regional and national companies in the healthcare, finance, energy, and manufacturing industries. 97 Degrees West believes that an integrated approach to marketing that involves traditional and digital strategies that fit your customer’s buying journey yields the greatest impact on your bottom line. Go to www.97DWest.com to learn more.

Welcome to System Execution, a podcast devoted to using processes and systems to drive to a better outcome for your business. I’m Vera Fischer, your host. Many of you know that business success relies on systems. Systems can be physical, such as a warehouse or a factory. Or technological, think software. While others are psychological systems such as checklists, org charts, or your daily hot list.

Today, my guest is the CEO of BovaMetrics, Curtis Watkins. BovaMetrics is an augmented intelligence company focused on boosting performance in long term portfolios, managed by wealth advisors. This is Curtis’ third entrepreneurial endeavor, having previously served as the COO of a micro hydro renewable energy firm, and also as a co-founder of a mobile software solutions company.

Additionally, Curtis is also the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Joules startup accelerator program, located at the University of North Carolina, at Charlotte. He’s also a regular television contributor to news programs, and shows, focused on current events, and the Chairman for a political software company he founded called Campaign Kit. He is the 2013 recipient of the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award, and a graduate of the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University. Welcome to the show, Curtis.

Curtis Watkins: Thank you so much, Vera. I’m so glad to be here.
 

More on Curtis’s Background

Vera Fischer: Well, it’s awesome to have you on the show and before we dive into your knowledge-based systems, if you don’t mind, why don’t you share a little bit about yourself and your experience?

Curtis Watkins: Sure. Glad to do it. So, our business is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I happen to be a Charlotte native. Living here, I came back here after I graduated from BCU, since 2001, and have really enjoyed the opportunity to be part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of this city. Charlotte is a very fast growing, very entrepreneurial minded city. I think one of the things we learned through the downturn back in 2007-2008 was that as a city, we needed to be more diversified, and we need to be more than just a banking city.

We utilized that as an opportunity to really build out our economy, and I’ve been very excited to be able to part of that. Having been an early entrepreneur in this city, the very first thing I did coming out of college, my brother was just starting to get a company off the ground out of his living room and he said, “Hey Curtis, I’ve got this opportunity for you to come in and help me build a company. There’s no pay, there’s no benefits, and long hours, what do you think?” I said, “It sounds great.”

So, we did that. We worked out of his house and we were able to bootstrap it for a couple of years and eventually get some venture capital funding from a former executive from Wachovia Bank at the time, and we built and sold that company in 2007, and then I did my tour of duty over there in corporate America for a few years, working with a large utility in their emerging technology office, to get that experience and that exposure.

I think in any career and any opportunity, when you can combine different experiences and see different points of views, it’s an important part of building out not only your resume, but just your understanding of the business world and things that exist, and how things work in one world versus another. Basically corporate America’s a lot different than entrepreneurial America, so it was a good opportunity for me to really build on that experience.

After that, I was able to move into the hydro company, the micro hydro company that was doing some fantastic work, built off of research done with the United States Navy and the Department of Energy. That was an opportunity for me to really help build something from a different perspective and do that from a higher level. I think the first time I did an entrepreneurial endeavor, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know, and a lot of it was just learning by mistakes.

But in the second opportunity, there was a great chance for applying the learning over the past decade of being involved in the entrepreneurial effort, and also having been involved in the community and working with the accelerator program that we have for startups here in Charlotte. So, that was really great and I was excited what we were doing, but then this new opportunity came along at a time when I decided I wanted to be more focused in Charlotte.

The previous company was based in Atlanta and it was tough going back and forth, and so when I had a new opportunity come up after deciding to commit to being in Charlotte full time with my family and all here, I was very excited. We’re getting this thing up and running off the ground after three years of research and development and testing, and all the things that we’ve been doing. The opportunity to really introduce we’ll call it pretty much a game changer for wealth managers in the augmented intelligence space is something that is unique and rare and I’m excited to be part of it.
 

The Knowledge-Based Systems Used at BovaMetrics

Vera Fischer: Well, that is quite a list of experiences and it seems really well rounded. So, I’m really looking forward to learning about your knowledge-based systems today and it’s a great segue, because earlier before we started the interview, you had really said, “The one system there, the one thing that we’re so good at is this knowledge-based system.” So, let’s get started and take us through that system.

Curtis Watkins: Sure, absolutely. So, for us in the area where we’ve put a lot of emphasis in making sure that we are top notch in what we do, this knowledge-based system is something that is vitally important, not only for us internally and for our everyday operations, but it’s for our external communications and the efforts that we have across a broad set of many different stakeholders.

Ultimately what it is is we really want to be able to be in a position to anticipate the questions that will be coming our way and be prepared to answer them with a very tailored response. This means understanding our various audiences and when you’re dealing with a complex subject like augmented intelligence for wealth advisors and dealing with RIAs and things that have to do with people’s financial situations, you’re going to get a range of questions that come from the very technical side to the very, we’ll just call it marketing side of things.

Like, how do I explain this concept to somebody who understands the financial markets, but doesn’t really have much interest in things like artificial intelligence or augmented intelligence? We’ve had to take a very complex algorithm and system and what we’ve built as a company and turn that into opportunities to communicate on various different levels, different aspects of what we’re doing.

That’s a key part of our knowledge-based systems which is to make sure we have those things, have them ready, that we’re not putting people off and having to come back to them weeks later after we’ve developed something. We’re actually working on something or we have something that we can provide to them and be ready when we walk in there. Because it shows a level of preparedness that’s very important at an early stage of a company.

Vera Fischer: Right, and you know, Curtis, I’m curious. Forgive me for the layman terms that I’ll need as we go through this, but when you say anticipate what someone is going to ask you, can you expand on that just a little bit more so I understand where you’re coming from?

Curtis Watkins: Sure, absolutely. So, I’ll give an example. As we’ve been going out and having conversations in the industry with people with different levels of background in financial services, having a conversation with somebody who has done a hedge fund, for example, they will understand a lot of the statistical concepts that are built into our algorithm. They’ll understand things such as performance corridors, and they’ll understand, of course, more base level concepts like alpha and adding that into the portfolio.

But they really want to dig into the statistical theory of what we’re doing and how that was used as a basis for developing the code. So for us, having a paper that digs really deep into statistical theory, performance corridors, et cetera, et cetera, that give someone with that deep of a knowledge and understanding of what we built in the fundamental concepts that make it work is important in our credibility in having that conversation with that person.

Whereas, if we were talking to a software developer, they may not care much about things like performance corridor, but they may care about the code and how you built it and how you hosted it and whether or not … Excuse me. You’re available on the cloud or things of that nature. When you’re talking to a wealth advisor, they’re going to want to understand how many basis points you’ll be adding to the portfolio every year, how you actually extract the alpha through your process of performance harvesting.

Again, it’s making sure that the right level of detail is available to the performance in the right context and they’re able to get a satisfactory answer that again, builds on your credibility and helps them understand better what it is you’re doing.
 

BovaMetrics’s New Product

Vera Fischer: So that’s interesting. Have you launched your product in the market yet?

Curtis Watkins: We have our product ready. We are in the early stages of being prepared for our 2018 roll out. We’ve been running the solution itself in a live portfolio proof of concept with a large wealth advisor here in Charlotte, but we’re still an early stage company. These are the first steps to really get us out there and be ready, and again, this goes back to why the knowledge-based process is so important.

Because a lot of what we’re running on right now is the idea of our credibility. We have a good team that has a lot of experience in the industry. We have a good team that has experience in entrepreneurial endeavors and having two successful exits and having raised money in the venture capital community before, and all of those great things. That’s very important as well.

But when you combine all of the things that are very important for an early stage company, credibility is key. Building those knowledge-based systems and having that process in place for us now is an investment that is so worth the effort. Not only because it pays off in terms of that credibility and what we’re able to do in this early stage of a company, but also as we continue to grow and we add more people to the team and we add our clients and our customers in 2018, having all those things available and ready for us obviously make us able and ready to answer questions that will be coming our way.

But also it allows us to anticipate what the market will bear in terms of what are we offering? How are we positioning it? How is our fee structured developed? All of those things are done based on a lot of thorough research, a lot of understanding our market, of our industry, and also in our ability to point back to these are all based on facts and research, and documentation, and not just based on pure speculation.
 

Why You Need to Organize Knowledge-Based Systems

Vera Fischer: So Curtis, it sounds like these knowledge-based systems are a repository for written knowledge that you can draw on as soon as a potential customer/client asks for it. Is that true?

Curtis Watkins: That’s absolutely true, and in fact, we are very careful even at how we organize these knowledge-based systems within our organization. So, it’s not just about having the document but it’s about having the document of the same type of subject at varying levels of subject matter expertise. So, we have level one, level two, level three, and level four documentation repositories that are actually divided up even on the same subject, based on the depth and experience of the audience to which we’re presenting this document.

Level one might be very, very high level. It might give you a concept and some sort of analogy that anybody could really grasp upon reading it, and they say, “Okay, fundamentally understand what you’re doing,” but by the time you get to level four, you’re definitely digging into the very deep technical details, or the very deep financial details of whatever it is you’re trying to present to your audience so that again, we understand based on who they are, what level of experience we know they have, the types of questions they may have asked from us in the past. We can use all of that to provide them with exactly what it is they’re looking for.

Vera Fischer: So Curtis, who thought of this? Was it a group effort or was this something that you spearheaded and just based on your experience knew, “This is something we just have to do?”

Curtis Watkins: It was definitely a group effort and it really was a combination of all of our experiences. As I mentioned, we have a very experienced leadership team and I think all of us have learned from painful experiences in the past of having been caught without having the relevant information and losing opportunities because of that. That is something that we consciously decided as a leadership team that we did not want to have in our company as long as we can help that.

Part of that was building out our knowledge-based systems, and so by having all of that stuff available to us and at our fingertips, we’re able to be a very professional, very ready to answer and quick to respond organization from people that oftentimes don’t have a lot of time to spend waiting for you to get back to them, or having to spend a lot of time doing more research to be able to get them a suitable answer.

These are folks that they expect you to have everything together and if you don’t, it reflects poorly upon you and your organization, even if what you have is really revolutionary and it’s good product and it’s going to be profitable and all those other good things. You may not get the opportunity to get there if you don’t have all that information and all this resource available, not only to you, but to the folks that are asking for it.

Yeah, we definitely had an early on conversation about making sure that from everything to technical documentation, to sales documentation, to marketing and positioning, and how we’ve developed our product and put that out in the market, that’s all been something that we’ve discussed very thoroughly, and it’s led to a lot of great results. As I mentioned, the way to divide up the documentation and store it is important, but also how we present ourselves and present the information.

For example, talking about augmented intelligence on the surface and performance overlay algorithms is not a concept that everybody wants to listen to, but if you talk about it in terms that they understand, in this case we named our product Aquila, and Aquila is a form of artificial intelligence on the narrow spectrum that’s very similar to things like Alexa or Siri.

You’re able to make these analogies to things that people understand and they’re comfortable with because they’ve used it in their own lives, and then we’re able to tie all those concepts into how we position stuff in our knowledge base. All aspects of what we put together are incorporated from the entire team.
 

Where Information from These Systems is Stored

Vera Fischer: Curtis, where do you store all of that information? Do you use a special program or is it maybe just Word documents somewhere? How does that work for you guys?

Curtis Watkins: Sure, so we have multiple different types of documents, of course. Everything from Word to PowerPoint to PDF, depending on how we want to deliver it to a customer. For example, you don’t want to send somebody an actual PowerPoint. You’d rather send them a PDF version of the document that you have. But we’ve developed a structure within Google Drive. As a matter of fact, we’re very much like any startup company, using a lot of the tools and solutions that are available out there to us, like Slack, Google Drive, using things like HubSpot, and of course, all the social media tools that are out there.

But we’ve very much embraced the concept of these are the tools that are out there in our resources that if you’re not using them, you’re missing out on great opportunities to have great tools that help with collaboration.

That’s an important aspect of it, and Google Drive is a place that not only can we go in and store documents and be able to do that internally with the structure that we’ve identified as one that works well for us, but we’re also able to share externally from there. Rather than me having to send large files on a document to somebody if they request something and try to do it as an attachment and wonder if it actually made it through their email systems or got caught up in spam, or whether it’s too large or anything like that, I can send them a link to the Google Drive that gives them specific access just to that document that I want to share with them.

They’re able to go in and just download it themselves, which is an incredible time saver, but also is a very valuable tool to make sure that we’re not getting lost somewhere in communication and come two weeks later you realize that you haven’t heard from this person, it’s because they never got your email. We’re able to avoid all of that.

Vera Fischer: So that’s interesting and it’s also a great thing to have whenever you have new hires, because since everything’s written, you’re not just depending on someone’s interpretation of the product or how it was built or what it is for, or what your go-to-market strategy is, et cetera, et cetera.

Curtis Watkins: Absolutely. Education is a big component of this, and that can be with an onboarding process of new hires, and that can be in just communicating to our target customers, the wealth managers, how this concept helps them. I mean, there aren’t a lot of technology solutions for wealth managers today that are focused on the idea of increasing alpha within the portfolios. Most of the stuff you see today are solutions that are asset reallocation within the portfolio or other solutions that are more blocking and tackling I guess you could call it.

But we’re really focused on this idea of increasing alpha or and so when you are communicating and educating that out, it’s important that there are documents that help support that, because you’re not always going to get a meeting, or you’re not always going to get an opportunity to explain it in great detail. Or, you’re going to have a conversation, they’re going to say, “I need to understand a little bit better what Aquila is and how that helps me.”

So again, to your point, education is another aspect of this that’s vitally important and so having that available and easily distributable to our various audiences is something that we’ve spent a lot of time making sure we’re able to do.

Vera Fischer: I’m curious, because I’ve found that some people just don’t like to read a lot, so how do you ensure that the recipients are reading the documentation that you’ve sent them? I’m assuming that from an internal perspective, it’s much easier than external.

Curtis Watkins: Sure. Internally it’s definitely very easy, ’cause you’re going to quiz them pretty hard about it that next opportunity. But externally in dealing with wealth managers, this has actually been a very interesting trial and error process for us. In the beginning, in how we actually came up with the idea of branding the AI solution as Aquila, is because we were initially focused on a lot of the statistical concepts and the in depth details, if you will, technical details, of how the solution worked.

Almost to a certain extent, expected that, “Well, as long as we’re delivering alpha, we’re able to show an average of 1.4 basis points annually on our solution, that would be enough to get them to dig into the details.” What we found with wealth managers for example is, while the 1.4% annually is something that obviously gets them very interested in what it is the solution is doing for them, the technical details were something that surprisingly they weren’t as interested in as we thought they would be.

Considering that this was going to be a solution that they were going to be selling to their clients and was something that they were going to be using on a lot of their portfolios, and so that’s when we said, “Well, we need to shift a little bit in our communication strategy and put something, put a wrapper around this that makes it a little bit more digestible and focuses on some of these software aspects,” if you will, of what the solution is.

Being augmented intelligence, having it work as something that is an assistant to the wealth manager, certainly not a robo replacement. Being something that helps them be a better wealth manager in terms of not just performance, but customer service and other things of that nature. They’re able to get more touches with their clients, they’re able to provide more regular feedback in terms of, “Hey, this system’s performing for you. Here’s some things we did for your portfolio this week, and what that means for you.”

These are all things that they weren’t really able to do in a standard, what they call static buy and hold approach, in long term money. So, that was an evolution of the process for us and we found we got really good response from providing them documentation that helped them digest that. And to your point about people don’t really like to read it or don’t like to read a lot of details, or lots of documents, we have multiple different papers that give them, depending on their specific area that they may be interested in, they could get one document or they could get up to six on Aquila.

But it is something that as they start to digest one, we usually get feedback in the form of, “Okay, I got it. Do you have anything that digs in deeper on topics X, Y, and Z?” Or, we get a, “I don’t quite understand” or, “This isn’t really something that I can really help you guys with.” So, you move on from there if that’s the scenario. It does depend on how they respond and deal with something that we send them from what we’ll call a first draft of first version of what it is that they’re getting in their inbox.

But from there, hopefully that opens up to other conversations and then you can provide them as much or as little as they want, depending on how well they’ve received what they received initially.

Vera Fischer: Curtis, did you outsource any of this writing? Or, did your internal team take care of writing all of the documents?

Curtis Watkins: This was done internally and we have an interesting complementary skill set within our own executive leadership team where one of our founders, the original founder and developer of Aquila, is our very technically detailed oriented guy. This is where he really excels. On my end, I’m pretty good at condensing very lengthy concepts into more digestible and easy to read formats and prose, if you will.

We’ve also had some part time fractional help on the marketing and the communication side that was available to us as well, that provided additional feedback and revisions, and so again, we felt it was well worth the investment of time on our end to do this internally with a little bit of external help, just to make sure that we weren’t caught in our own eco chamber of having these conversations about what it is we think makes sense.

Then, on top of that, we utilized our network externally as well to folks that are involved maybe not at having anything to do with financial services, but if you were able to explain the concept to them and show them a one pager, or some sort of slide, or some other material that you may have, and say, “Hey, look, I realize you’re not in financial services or you may not be someone who is completely interested in things like augmented intelligence, but when you read this conceptually, does it make sense and do you grasp the concept?”

We had a lot of really good feedback doing that, as well, so I always tell people, “Don’t be afraid to lean on the networks and people that you’ve gotten to know over the years that have been very helpful and always are willing to provide you an external perspective on something” because you might be surprised what you get back.

It’s the old adage that you always hear about going out and asking folks for advice. People love to give advice. People love to give their insight, and I find that to be very true. I never have any problem going out and asking somebody for a little bit of external validation, and that really goes a long way to helping narrow down and refine, and get yourself to a really good, concise, impactful message in whatever it is you’re putting together.

Vera Fischer: Well Curtis, we have had many a guest on System Execution, and you really have driven home the fact that documenting that knowledge is really critical and I think that’s something that is almost a common sense, “Oh yeah, of course I would do that,” but it is so often overlooked.

Curtis Watkins: Absolutely. There’s one of those things, or there’s a few of those things in any endeavor where you’re leading the charge and you’re trying to get something off the ground. Or, even in an organization, a large organization where there have been years and years of previous efforts to put together a SharePoint or whatever it may be.

I’ve seen it where it can also be on the other end of the spectrum, too burdensome, too many regulations, too many things around naming conventions and so on and so forth, and you can actually lose the whole point of doing this, which is not to overburden your team or to create a library of things that will never get used. It’s just to make sure that you have the right things in place and available to you when you need them, and you have to find a good balance of making sure that this knowledge base is something that is useful.

Not only, again, for the team, but for any external efforts that you have. I’ve seen it in other places, in mentoring other startup companies and organizations, where they’re so focused on one aspect of what they do, be it the technical aspect, be it trying to get that first customer or whatever it is that they lose sight of some of these things. As you lose team members, as you grow, as you bring on new team members, whatever it is you’re doing, if you lose along the way some of the things that you’ve either accomplished or you’ve already spent a lot of time putting a lot of effort into developing, you can lose a lot of opportunity to really jump by leaps and bounds within your organization.

So, I always tell teams, “Don’t overlook these important aspects. They may seem mundane at times, they’re not exciting, it’s not as fun as putting together let’s say a really cool CRM system internally,” which again, is something that’s important, but it is fundamental. Those fundamentals go a long way ensuring that you’re building the right kind of business that can be profitable and has the opportunity to go the distance.
 

Next Challenges for Curtis and BovaMetrics

Vera Fischer: Well Curtis, you’ve given us a really great set of takeaways around your knowledge-based systems, so let’s, before we wrap up our discussion, let’s talk about what your next challenge is with BovaMetrics.

Curtis Watkins: Well sure, yeah. For us as an organization, obviously 2018 is going to be a pivotal year for us in terms of really doing the market validation with more live customers of the augmented intelligence solution we’ve built. That’s top of mind and key. From a process perspective, though, I think there’s some things that we internally are going to need to tackle this year that we just haven’t had to do as of yet.

For example, what will be big for us is as we have more wealth managers coming on, utilizing the system in live portfolios, customer support’s going to be important. Our onboarding process to get them utilizing the solution and understanding what it is that they’re doing is going to be important, and for our system, we really start to hit our peak performance after the AI solution has been running for three years.

That means as we’re getting customers onboard, we have to be very cognizant in the effort to make sure that we don’t start to lose them before we make that three year mark. Because once they get there and they really see things starting to click with the portfolio performance, they’re going to be pretty excited.

But it’s easy to lose sight of that process if you don’t have support, if you don’t have customer touches, if you’re not going back and making sure that you’re essentially holding hands along the way with these very critical early stage customers. These are things that we need to put into place to make sure that we’re doing that right. Those processes, those systems for us are going to be very critical, making sure we’re managing those customers, making sure we’re managing that interaction, that we have the ability to support them the way that they expect to be supported.

All those are going to be things that in 2018, as we continue to grow, are going to be vitally important to us, and we’re excited about the opportunity to implement those and put together a really great program for our customers.
 

Final Advice from Curtis

Vera Fischer: Curtis, you have shown us that processes are needed to get the work done and have provided a few of the nuances that our listeners need to hear regarding the execution of a successful system. Curtis, before we go, let’s close out today’s discussion with any final advice you want to share, anything we may have missed, and then tell us the best way we can connect with you.

Curtis Watkins: Absolutely. Well, I think in my particular case, and where we are as a company in BovaMetrics, being an early stage entrepreneurial endeavor, being in the startup community, one thing that I would tell all entrepreneurs and anybody who is either in an endeavor to build a new company, or is thinking about it, and has an idea, and they aren’t really sure what they need to do, I would say number one, get involved in your entrepreneurial community.

There are a lot of great resources in cities all over the nation that are out there that will provide you mentors and people who understand what they’re doing, who have been there and done that. They can help you out. But don’t lose your fundamental business training and things that you’ve learned along the way in your career as you build this out.

It’s easy to get lost in the hype and the excitement of doing a startup and the idea that we’re all going to have matching hoodies and we’re going to play foosball at lunch and all that other great stuff. That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t necessarily build a successful company, and your fundamentals are key.

Having systems and processes in place that ensure that you’re running an effective, that you’re running a competent, that you’re running a very lean and great organization are vitally important. Anybody who has any interest in your company, be it from an investor to an advisory board member to your own employees, are going to want to see that. Don’t lose sight of that. The hype is cool, but don’t get lost in it.

As for me, I’m always willing to speak with anybody who’s interested in any sort of entrepreneurial topic. I’m available through our website. You can find my email address, it’s at BovaMetrics.com. On there it will have my email, my LinkedIn, so if you’re interested and have the opportunity, please feel free to reach out to me.

Vera Fischer: System Execution fans, no matter how many notes you took or how often you re-listen to this episode, remember every successful business uses systems to drive to a better outcome. Curtis, it’s been great to have you on the show. Thank you so much for sharing your insight with our listeners today.

Curtis Watkins: I very much appreciate it, Vera, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to everyone.

We hope you found this episode of System Execution enlightening. For free examples, case studies, eBooks and more, be sure to visit SystemExecution.com/resources. Contribute to the conversation by reaching out to Vera directly on email, at vera@systemexecution.com. Until our next episode, thank you for the privilege of your time.

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