Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?
Shannon: I am a world champion kick boxer, and while I made a small sum of money as the best in the world for my sport, I really achieved my success by launching a business to deliver that same workout to the masses.
Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Shannon: I’ve had so many failures and setbacks I don’t know where to start. From injuries, to broken bones, to former failed businesses, it’s been a long road.
At one point, I did everything wrong in business. I opened for business during the recession, I didn’t even have enough money to put a sign on the door, and I was tied to another business that I was trying to buy my way out of. But I knew one thing: I was the best at punching and kicking my way to a better life and I was intent on seeing my dream to fruition.
Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader?
Shannon: There are two: persistence, and a drive to always learn and improve.
How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level? Stay focused. As Andrew Carnegie once wisely said, “Put all your eggs in one basket, then watch that basket.”
Adam: What are your three best tips applicable to entrepreneurs, executives and civic leaders?
· Trust your gut, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Your gut, or your heart, is your inner voice. You must trust it.
· Know the score every day. The only way to keep score in business is with money, so check the bank account daily.
· Take heavy action. The ready, fire, aim strategy works.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Shannon: I had a banker tell me one time, “Always keep more money coming in than going out, and always keep your credit score strong, meaning pay your bills timely.” This is how I run my company. We have zero debt and we pay every bill with cash immediately when the bill hits our desk. We don’t wait or push a 30-day net. All that waiting around to make payments is unprofessional and unnecessary stress in my opinion. When a bill is due, we pay it immediately. After all, that’s how we like to get paid as well.
I also focus on the money coming in using a 90/10 rule. I do track expenses, but I spend most of my energy 90% of the time trying to attract revenue and only 10% watching expenses. That is the lifeblood of a growing company. Most people have it the other way around.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Shannon: Most folks actually should not pay it forward until they have enough time and revenue to do so. The analogy of putting your oxygen mask on first so you can help others is so applicable here. Most leaders need to first learn how to make a company produce, and then they can freely give time and money to pay it forward.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Shannon: I enjoy playing golf. I played high school golf for 4 years and fell in love with the game. I think the fact that you can’t blame anyone except yourself for your golf performance is a humbling experience.