Robert Estrada is my mentor in business. I asked him recently, what is one thing you remember doing when you first started in the business 40 years ago that made you stand out and helped lead you to a quick rise to the top? Here is his response:
Back in the day The Equitable gave you the “standard issue” metal desk and squeaky chair. That was the style back in the 70s. I decided early on that my target market was going to be successful business men. As I went about my prospecting I found myself in the offices of many successful business men. One of my observations was they all had really nice offices with custom wood furniture and leather/wood chairs. That’s when it hit me…I need to emulate my target market. One of my prospects decided he wanted to take his office furniture to the next level so I purchased his gently used beautiful wood and leather office furniture and gladly got rid of the “standard issue”. My office was complete with…remember this was the 70s…a beautiful wood roll-top desk, a side conference table, classic oak chairs, and roll-up all wood filing cabinets. My new surroundings made me feel like a million bucks, which was a lot of money back then. I believe if you accept the “standard issue” in your life you will always be mediocre. I wanted to be number one and a successful business man. My train of thought was in order for me to become a successful business man, I needed to act like one. By the way, the prospect I purchased the used furniture from became my client. The return on my investment came back 10-fold…after all, I am in the investment business!!
The second thing I did early on was hire an assistant to handle non-revenue producing activities. When I began my career I went to the top guys in the company and asked them for advice. I wanted to know what I need to do to reach their level of success. One of the most valuable best practices that was shared over and over was to hire an assistant early on so you don’t get tied up with non-revenue producing activities. As you know, hiring an employee can be costly; however, I knew that in order to be successful, you needed to emulate the successful and do what they do. So, I hired my first assistant. Again, I never looked back and my investment paid off in a very short period of time.
In business I believe you need to take risks and trust that if you do the things that make a successful career over and over again, you will have success.