The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Tell me about your education?
In addition to the school of hard knocks, I attended Knox College in Galesburg, IL. It was one of the very few outstanding decisions I made at the age of 18. It had an excellent professor-student ratio, a high bar of excellence, and an environment where taking chances was encouraged, not discouraged — and we were in the prairie, where books came before beer.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shape who you are today?
I played youth soccer, and when I was about eight years old, our team went winless with one tie. It was discouraging and embarrassing, but ultimately it instilled a determination to keep challenging myself to do better.
We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work on Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
From afar, I admire Elon Musk. Elon is a fan favorite because his vision for the future is ambitious, perhaps more so than any other entrepreneur’s in the last 20 years. Also, his ambition ultimately, he feels, will benefit the entire planet, not just his particular company or nation. Leaders who can achieve the business success that dovetails with the community or environmental success are my favorite type of people.
A less obvious choice is Mindi Knebel of Kaizen Health. I admire Mindi because she has paid her dues and is creating a marketplace solution to tackle what many people feel should be a fundamental human right, access to proper healthcare. Moreover, in her vision, access starts with transportation.
Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Where is your company located?
Our office is located in downtown Chicago on Jeweler’s Row in the east Loop, not far from Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”). Many of our clients are in Chicago, but we also have several in other capital centers around the world.
What services or products does your organization provide?
The result of a 3Points engagement is increased awareness and credibility for your people and business. We get there by providing earned media, owned media, and social media strategy and execution.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
Many of our clients have a superior product, but would-be customers have never heard of it. Many of our clients have great places to work, but would-be employees have never heard of them. We address that head-on.
On a more cerebral level, we encourage clients to stand for something, not merely marketing feature functionality, but having principles and the gumption to share their points of view and remain authentic.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
At first glance, there may not be an apparent difference between 3Points and our competitors. However, if you look more closely, you’ll see a team of people driven by three fundamental values: authenticity, grit, and precision. We work to embody these values every day, pushing ourselves to produce great work on behalf of our clients.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
I was at a career crossroads while working in my PR job, and the PR industry was also at a crossroads. PR was fumbling into digital services. I saw many in the industry struggling to figure out how to transition well to faster and more relentless news cycles. Although digital PR and marketing can be powerful and effective, you won’t get far if consumers don’t feel you’ve got a backbone. You have to bring real value to the table, not just speak in tech and marketing jargon. I wanted to create a business that could help clients truly provide value to consumers.
Further, I wanted to establish a firm with a strong focus on effective communication. Our prospects and clients would regularly give us a long list of reasons why they felt they had a leg up on their competitors, but that just wasn’t effective. At 3Points, we boil those lists down to three things, because we live in a hyper-distracted society, and if you think consumers will care after you make your third point, you’re wrong. Our name, “3Points Communications,” comes from this “rule of three” thesis.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting on their journey?
- Do it for the journey, not the destination.
- Give of yourself before you ask of others.
- Watch that burn rate.