Entrepreneurial Challenges: Sam Menon, CEO of Two95 International and David Baldwin, President/Owner of Leadership Insight Group, LLC

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  Talent Talk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and entrepreneurial challenges.

Today’s guests are Sam Menon, CEO of Two95 International; and David Baldwin, President/Owner of Leadership Insight Group, LLC.  To hear the entire show, click here.

Menon and Baldwin run successful consulting practices today, and in their own ways, both nod to the wild journey of early entrepreneurship and their ways of meeting the entrepreneurial challenges.

SAM MENON entrepreneurial challenges

An electrical engineer from India with an MBA from Rutgers, Menon has been in the staffing industry for two decades. He formed Two95 International, which was named after the New Jersey highway, as a full-service staffing firm for contract and full-time positions, primarily in the IT space. The company was recently recognized as among the top 100 companies on the Inc. 500 list.

Of course, Menon has witnessed the Internet change the dynamics of business as a serial entrepreneur which has added a new level of entrepreneurial challenges. The fundamental processes of funding, client acquisition and cash flow management remain the same, but the time you have to achieve these milestones is drastically different, he asserts. However, a constant truth Menon sees is that the people you surround yourself with are the single most critical factor in driving success as an entrepreneur.  When looking for these team members for Two95 International, he requires candidates bring two values to the table:

  • Passion for the job
  • Ability to leave ego at the front door when they walk in. This is a critical characteristic for a recruiter who often deals with high-stakes positions.

Patience in Prospecting

Patience is a key virtue in a small, growing business in the service industry as the sales cycle can often take a long time. Menon recalls, “In the past I was not patient. Over time, I learned the error of my ways…By failing a lot, I learned that in this business patience goes a long way.”

External forces have also shaped his business leadership development. Menon’s business partner is of course a key influence in his life, having met as total strangers at a Dunkin’ Donuts one evening.  He taught Menon “what ‘carpe diem’ means.” Just three months after their chance encounter, they started Two95 together. Another crucial influence in Menon’s success is his wife, on account of the confidence she instills in him, especially having not come from an entrepreneurial family himself.

What are You Reading?

Menon is an avid reader of historical fictions such as The Last of the Amazons.”

How Can I Connect with You? Menon can be reached via the website at www.two95intl.com.

DAVID BALDWIN entrepreneurial challenges

Baldwin founded the Leadership Insight Group in 2007 to provide leadership development solutions such as computerized simulations, 360-degree assessments and coaching. Having worked in broadcasting before, Baldwin realized a “thirst for more face to face, more interactivity…being able to coach instead of just tell.”

“When you step out, it is really challenging with all the uncertainty, all of the excitement, all of the opportunity, and sometimes it comes at you all at once.  It’s not a 9-to-5 clock; it’s a 24-hour clock.” Baldwin recalls the entrepreneurial challenges in managing opportunities, and learning how to lean on resources such as virtual assistants to allow you to design and deliver work while juggling business development and marketing.

Culture & Customer Service

Baldwin has always kept a close eye on Disney and Starbucks in regard to their cultures, their leadership and the brand consistency across locations and staff levels. He notes that culture has a strong link to the leadership at the top, a tie which often becomes apparent when leadership transitions. The other challenge with culture is balancing it against customer service needs; for instance, striking the fine balance between a friendly conversation with a barista and needing to move customers quickly through the store.

Never Static

Beyond culture, a consistent message is critical to organizations – and not just a mission statement on a wall. “A mission always has to be looked at and acknowledged as the lifeblood of the organization,” says Baldwin. He recalls one company that regularly records video messages from the CEO to his employees, deploys them online and follows them up with small group roundtables to discuss key company updates.

What are You Reading?

Baldwin is reading Why CEOs Fail,” which offers real-life stories to provide insight on the derailment factors that trip up leaders at the top. “Even though you’re the CEO, it doesn’t mean that you’ve arrived; there is always room to learn and grow.”

How Can I Connect with You? Via www.lig360.com or on LinkedIn.

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: April 15, 2014