Alex Melen is the Co-Founder of SmartSites. Alex Melen is a thought leader, influencer, and risk taker, and provides the vision and energy that has inspired the creation of SmartSites. Alex Melen joins other leading CEOs and Founders and Co-Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has awarded SmartSites as an Impact Company of 2019, and we are delighted to have Alex join us for our Leader Round Table Interview. The SmartSites story is very interesting, and we are very excited to not only interview Alex about his very successful business and entrepreneurial spirit, but also put Alex through our popular speed round as well.
Alex, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview, and answering some questions about leadership, your vision, and your SmartSites.
1. Can you describe what the “elevator pitch” for SmartSites is?
SmartSites is a leading full-service digital agency, with expertise in website design, SEO and PPC. We are laser focused on providing the best results for our clients and being their trusted partner in the digital space. We have nothing but 5* reviews on every review platform online and have consistently ranked in the top agencies in the world.
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give Founders just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
As you’re in the initial phases of growing your company it’s very important to zero-in on your core competencies and where you bring the most value to your clients. Once you have that figured out, it’s all about steady growth without sacrificing quality or jeopardizing cash flow.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as SmartSites, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
Even in 2019, there are A LOT of opportunities in the digital space, and really in most industries. An example I like to cite is that even now (in 2019), the Digital Space only represents a quarter of US Ad Spend. While at the same time, digital dominates our day-to-date and where we (the consumers) spend most of our time. It’s opportunities like this that allow for arbitrage opportunities and for companies to come in and succeed. The same opportunities exist in almost every industry – you just have to look for them. In terms of “challenging times”, they will always happen – you just have to focus on what you (and your company) does best and not focus on the ups and downs as much.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at SmartSites, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Client satisfaction is actually our top priority and the results can be seen from our stellar reputation. I’m a big fan of the amazon approach with an almost over-bearing focus on making sure our clients are happy and getting results. Everything else will follow.
5. What is the one overriding belief that SmartSites has about what it is doing?
Our believe – and goal – is to help our clients succeed online. That is our underlying goal with everything that we do here.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, what do you do to keep up with the changes? What do you read to stay abreast of things?
As we have grown, we now have employees whose sole job is to keep up with the industry trends and help bring all of the latest and greatest into our services and processes. For others just starting out, I’d recommend following key people on social media (like twitter) which will help them stay in the loop on the latest trends. I personally post a lot in the digital and digital advertising space, so everyone is welcome to follow me @amelen of course.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead SmartSites?
Every day I see more and more people struggling in the digital space. Sometimes it’s a local mom-and-pop shop. Sometimes it’s a 3rd generation company that has always survived on advertising in the yellow pages. My personal goal, and that of SmartSites, continues to help bring everyone we can into the digital space and help them succeed.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
I’m not a big reader of entire books. And I don’t want that to come off in a weird way – I just keep my reading to specific articles and posts by specific individuals. It helps me absorb a lot more information in the short periods of time I have available. I wouldn’t say anything bad about books though – I know they can often be a lot more insightful than the tidbits of information I get from my sources.
9. In one sentence, can you tell us what the most important thing about being a leader is?
The most important thing for me is creating a company that has values, helps our clients succeed and make our employees happy (and excited to come in to work every day).
10. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as SmartSites?
I’ll do it in 2 words: Do It. Very few people have regretted starting a business or venture, while millions regret never doing it or passing on that one idea they had that was great. The younger you are, the easier it is to take the risk (while you have less responsibilities), but I think it can be done at any age. Even if your idea fails, the amount of learning you will gain from the experience will in most cases be more valuable than the time and risk you took to do it.
Alex, we would like to have some fun and do our famous “First Reaction” round with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In three words or less, What makes a successful CEO?
Vision & risk-taking.
2. Describe SmartSites in one word?
3. Describe SmartSites customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee for SmartSites?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about SmartSites?
Helped-me succeed (sorry needed more words!)
6. In three words or less, describe your SmartSites?
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Passion, Drive, Follow-through
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at SmartSites?
Scrappy, Driven, Unpolished
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Increased focus & drive.
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Success (everyone wants it).
Alex Melen, thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Impact Player Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others to learn more about your company and what it takes to be a leader. We we wish you, your family, and of course SmartSites, nothing but the best.
The Alex Melen Roundtable Interview brought to you by DotCom Magazine.