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Helping Clients With Their Future Success

An Interview With Jay Thompson

 


The Loop Newspaper: Jay, what motivates you in your role as a business advisor?

It all starts with my fundamental belief that the average, hardworking American business owner doesn’t get a fair shake. Everything is stacked against them. And the average small or even mid-sized business generally does not have access to the kind of professional guidance a Fortune 500 company does. I think most businesses are left with few options related to available services.

I have made this the focus of my business, to serve business owners that want and can really use high-quality guidance. About 12 years ago, I was in the process of making a career change from the automotive service industry. I met with individuals from Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc., and their focus on working with everyday clients and small businesses resonated with me. The real benefit I saw was that cutting-edge products and services could be delivered to these people in a very cost-effective manner. I then stumbled onto the CSU Bakersfield SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and found that they share my outlook and mission, and their focus on providing highquality no-cost business consulting services struck a similar cord. I was all in, and my work with them as a consultant has been very gratifying.

What kinds of clients do you generally work with?

My clients range across the spectrum regarding age and demographics. They are primarily middleclass individuals that own their own business or want to start their own small business. I have a lot of ties to some pretty amazing and successful people in my area, and I have been able to use them as resources to help others. Some of my clients are much like your neighbors: good providers for their families who have worked hard but feel like they get little or no help from the “system.”

I always tell people that I am a business consultant by title, but in practice, I am an educator and a coach. I like to say; I’m your coach, cheerleader, and biggest fan! I want to win, and I want you to win. My priorities are in guiding people to protect what they have built or are planning to build, and then focus on realizing their dream. In the end, I want to help people make their lives better now and in the future.

I believe that my background in owning and starting several small businesses is a tremendous asset in dealing with people. I think I have the ability to be both a good listener and someone who can deliver guidance. I like to tell people it took me ten years to become an overnight success! I could write a book on making mistakes, but I’d rather use that experience to help others to avoid as many pitfalls as possible.

Talk about your process.

A potential client needs to register for service at http://www.csub.edu/sbdc and click on the red register button on the top right side of the page. They will be assigned a consultant who will meet with them and have an informal conversation so they can get to know each other and see if they want to work together. (If requesting a particular consultant, name them in the comments section.) We have about twenty consultants on our team, and at least one of them should be a fit.

I like to gather all of the facts I can about their situation and what they want to achieve. Who are they? Where do they come from, and what is their background? Is it a life long dream? What do they like to do in their spare time? What business/industry experience do they have? What are their goals and dreams for the future, business and personal?

Once I have this total picture, we move more into the formal planning process. I try and keep things in a real-life context and explain the planning process broadly as setting goals and then creating objectives to achieve those goals. Once you have established a plan, you work the plan.

How do you define success for your clients?

My definition of success is achieving our SBDC milestones and helping clients achieve their goals. Our major milestones and how we are graded are capital infusion (any form of investment into the business) jobs created and jobs retained. We are not limited to these, but it is the main focus. When we achieve our milestones, it just goes to reason that the businesses we are helping are growing, expanding and reaching their goals.

Another measurement of success is the annual small business awards ceremonies in Kern County and Regionally in Fresno. Our SBDC has been and continues to dominate these awards, and that means our clients are winning.

How do you explain your position to clients?

The key point I want people to understand is it’s their business. I’m not going to tell them what to do, but I will give them the information they need to make decisions for themselves. We do not take the place of or replace their professionals. We want to be a part of the team and the one who’s looking out for their best interests.

Mr. Thompson was born and raised in California. He works with a diverse client base, which includes individuals and small businesses. He is a graduate of the Masters College in Santa Clarita and has been a part of the CSU Bakersfield SBDC team since it was established in 2010.

Jay has a variety of interests and describes himself as a “high-level networker.” He is passionate about public speaking, personal coaching, and self-improvement training, and attends many events related to these areas. Thompson is involved with Rotary International and is on the Board of Directors for the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council. He encourages anyone who has an interest in the SBDC services or who just wants to chat about business to contact him directly at (661) 510-7440 or email him at sbdcjay@gmail.com.

 
 

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