Greg Hatch is the CEO of True Market. Greg is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Greg provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of True Market. Greg Hatch joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded True Market with our Impact Company of 2019 award. We are delighted to have Greg join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview.
Greg, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. Greg, please tell us about True Market.
Thanks for having me! True Market is actually pretty young at this point – only 4 years old and a nice tight team of 9 people. As for what we do, we actually started out as a design and web development company, but quickly realized that no one’s interested in websites – they’re interested in the leads/sales they can get FROM their website. This forced a big shift in our company back in year 1, and today we now look more at marketing strategy, of which websites, ads, print material and training are components of that strategy.
2. How did you come up with the idea for True Market?
Honestly? I got laid off! Calgary at that time had hit a big recession with the drop in oil prices and I happened to be in a company that was heavily dependent on new investors. Actually, when they laid off the marketing team my first thought was “I’ve always wanted to start a business, and if I don’t do it now, then it’ll be at least 5 years before I’m out of my next job!” When I started chatting with my (future) business partner everything lined up.
3. What is the key to your company’s success?
Hard *^#* work. That and the stomach to go through the ups and downs, making those key decisions along the way. Everyone tells you that starting a business is hard, but you have to live it to know. I heard one speaker, Graham Sherman, who said in his next business he’s going to invent the “Entrepreneurs Pillow” – it will be perfectly shaped so that you can scream/weep/swear into it as loud as you want, and you won’t wake up your spouse beside you. I definitely could have used one of those!
The other answer is a lot of prayer, good mentoring and a lot of books. One book I definitely have to recommend is Traction, by Gino Wickman. The book takes all of the “must read” business books out there and puts them all into a single system. This has been a huge asset for us.
4. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
Don’t be greedy, and realize your job description is going to shift. The first one (should) be a no brainer, but you’re not going to get your $80K+ salary in year 1 (or year 2) – you need to be willing to let your business grow before your salary does. The second piece is that IF your business is growing, you won’t get to be the “pie maker” forever – you’re going to need to be the CEO, or COO, or CFO – typically whichever one you can’t hire someone else to do. But be willing to change and grow with this. Your business can be whatever you want it to be, but it takes time to get it there.
5. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
This is critical – find people to talk to! Mentors, peers who also own businesses, a business partner, and sometimes just your accountant. The biggest thing is you can’t lean on people who haven’t lived this life before – they don’t get it, they give really bad advice, and at the end of the day (even when they care) they don’t understand what feels like to persevere through it. Find those people who DO understand and share life/stories with them.
6. How do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Micro-experiences. Here’s the hard truth – a great product isn’t good enough to build a raving fan – that just means you didn’t breach the contract. If you really want raving fans you need to look at all the little interactions, touch points and “extras” that you can add because you care. Starbucks has alright coffee, but they have put a TON of attention into their micro-experiences.
7. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
Get out there and talk to people. Networking is fantastic for any business owner, and one of the best ways to keep a pulse on what other business owners are doing. BUT make sure you spend the time wisely – listen instead of chattering. Ask how they setup policies in their business, what software they use, their hiring practices for sales roles, etc. etc. etc. Use these events to build real relationships and get real business intel. No one cares about the weather.
8. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead True Market?
Read the book “Think and Grow Rich”, and I’ll give you a hint: it’s not just about making money. I get up in the morning because True Market is the vehicle through which I can do the things I really care about. For me (and my business partner) a big piece of this is supporting the organizations/people which are important to us. I would suggest to every business owner that they should define this goal – and money is the just answer for the uninspired.
9. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Yes! So alongside the two mentioned above, I’d highly recommend the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. It’s a fairly easy read, it’s on audio (my preference) and it shows you where every successful business hits its stride.
10. What makes a great leader?
Empathy. Only by understanding and listening to your team, your client and the individuals you meet can you build inroads to their loyalty, trust and business.
Greg Hatch, thank you so much for participating in the DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to build a great company and become a great leader. We wish you, your family, and of course True Market, nothing but the best.