Spotlight: Blair Johnson of Blue Elephant Group
This entrepreneur provides insight into being heard in a noisy digital marketplace.
Tell us about yourself and your role within your company.
I wear many hats (probably too many) at Blue Elephant, including overseeing our training, recruiting and, of course, our sales and marketing teams. The biggest challenge that I have found as a business owner is delegation.
One of the unique aspects of owning a real estate brokerage is that the realtors don’t really work for us in a traditional sense; we actually work for them. Providing them with great service, training and support is critical and we use technology and simple, yet powerful, systems to achieve this. As the leaders of these initiatives, we as the brokerage always need to be testing, tweaking and updating our own digital strategies and systems to ensure that our team stays ahead of the curve. It’s really a never-ending project and it keeps me busy.
My passion is about building tightly integrated systems and digital advertising campaigns that can quickly and easily be implemented into a new entrepreneur’s business to drive immediate ROI. This includes educating the entrepreneur about each piece of the puzzle and ensuring that they are comfortable with not only “how” it’s done but also “why” it’s done.
We are now at a place with our business where our focus is turning towards strategic partnerships that will help us expand more rapidly. My role will be transitioning from the doer to the advisor...stay tuned!
What is the most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur? What keeps you passionate and driven to succeed?
For me, there are two sides of fulfillment, one is more selfish and one is more selfless. Both sides of the equation involve a great deal of accountability that fuels my drive.
Everything starts with my family. I work my tail off to provide them with a good life. Having a nice home, travelling together...I think these are the best rewards anyone can ask for.
On the professional side, I think one of the most fulfilling things in life is the thought that someone has chosen to work for or with you. It’s incredibly flattering when people look up to you and admire you, and it’s something that constantly drives me to work harder and be better in my business. I take a great deal of responsibility for the success of my team and seeing them succeed is a professional high for me.
I am always driven by the same goals in my career even though the tasks that I do to achieve these goals change: Improve on my knowledge and ability to scale my businesses, and find new ways to generate income from my skills and my network.
The digital landscape is changing rapidly, with more and more Canadians using digital marketing tools to drive more leads and increase sales. For you, what are some key concepts or strategies that you suggest for small business owners?
"One of the challenges that we face as digital marketers today is advertising noise."
The emergence of mass digital advertising has made consumers increasingly numb to our ads, so grabbing their attention can be more difficult. I think if you live by a few marketing principles, however, you exponentially increase your chances of success:
- It all starts with consistency. The biggest issue I see with most entrepreneurs advertising is that they either change campaigns or give up on their campaigns too quickly. I use the saying a lot, but the cream will always rise to the top. In other words, building your brand to a place where consumers know you, trust you and want to do business with you takes time.
- Aesthetics matter, especially to millennials. If ads look like crap, people will develop negative feelings about both ads themselves and the brand overall. Invest in making sure your website, your emails and your ads look great; it will pay off in the long run.
- Simplicity is always better. Simple copy, ad calls to action and follow-up communications always work better than trying to explain every little benefit of your product or service. Try asking simple questions that your prospects are interested in learning the answers for.
- Focus on the things that matter most in your business and stop spending time on the things that don’t provide an ROI. I know this seems obvious, but people like to focus more on the things they like to do, which aren’t always the things that make them money.
What advice do you have for aspiring and prospering business owners when it comes to taking their business to the next level?
Surround yourself with people who drive you and complement your skills. I would be nowhere without the support of the great people that I have around me, both in my life and in my business. I learned early on in my career that I wasn’t very good at some of the things that are critical to running a business. I found people who were great at those things and I partnered with them. Everything seems less daunting in your business when you have others to take on the challenges with you. An important byproduct of having partners is that it creates accountability, which I think is equally important for success.
Save your seat at the FREE Kitchener Small Business Centre event, and meet Blair Johnson and other entrepreneurs in your community!
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
6:00pm ‑ 8:00pm
Rogers Small Business Centre
685 Fischer Hallman Rd, Unit D
Kitchener, ON N2E 4E9