Robert Knop, Chief Executive Officer of Assist you today brings sales and marketing programs into the 21st century. What does that mean? Well, think less cold calling, blast emailing and gut-based decision-making, and more data-driven decision-making and usage of modern tools like digital, mobile, and social media. Assist You Today focuses on sales, marketing, and social media consulting with their four main areas of focus being strategy, sales enablement/training, content, and fractional resources. They’ve had the “great blessing” as Robert says of working for Fortune 100s, startups and mom and pop shops, B2B and B2C companies, agencies, and corporations. In addition, they’ve helped build marketing and social programs from scratch, made good programs great, and set up great programs for long-term success, and that unique background and experience for differentiating them from peers.
Struggles and successes
Their journey to excellence was not immediate; Robert’s first big challenge was finding clients when he started out with his current business. He had been hearing for years that peers wished he worked for his own company (so they could hire him!). So, when he opened his own shop, he thought leads would just roll in, but he forgot that it takes time to build a business case internally, get on the roadmap and find budget— his fault he says for not building a pipeline ahead of time. Yet every year since launch, Assist You Today has dramatically grown their business, “which means we can help more people,” Robert says “and that’s the biggest achievement I feel I can achieve in business — helping as many people as possible.”
“The world is going to change so much in the next 10 years.” Robert states. He believes most of the US, for example, will spend 90% of their day at home — working remotely, online learning, and with delivery of everything. Per Robert, the key to be successful in this future world is to keep an open mind, constantly be learning and stay on top of the latest innovations, and test, learn and optimize to grow both as a person and as a business. His future goal is to simply be happy (“I know it sounds corny, but it’s true!” he says), and what makes him happy is doing what he loves: helping people and spending time with his family (And the occasional beer while watching a soccer game on TV). He is doing all of that now, so you could say he has already accomplished his career goals! Long-term, he wants to get more involved with philanthropy. He has worked with many nonprofits over the years, wants to work with more, and be an executive director of a large charity at some point.
Advice to the budding entrepreneurs
His words of wisdom for the emerging entrepreneurs are, “Before you start your business, establish a large network. This network is the foundation that you will utilize to get most of your business, especially early on. Also, building a strong personal brand is so important to success today. A big part of that is social media, and your profile looks like on channels like LinkedIn (as looking you up there or on Google is one of the first things prospects will do when you reach out). Thus, you need to write your LinkedIn profile from the perspective of your target audience –what would they want to see that would make them accept your invitation to connect or meeting invite – include THAT. Also, well in advance of starting your company, distribute value-adding content to both build a following and be known as an expert in your industry. As you get close to launching your new company, talk to people in your industry that you trust about your business model, products/services, and pricing. When I launched, I reached out to someone who did what I did and two senior marketing leaders in roles that I would be targeting. I walked them through front-to-back what I was offering, how it worked, the deliverables, and how much it would cost. All three offered great advice on all fronts and really set me up for success (and two even ended up being clients!) So, take the time to reach out to your trusted network and target audience ahead of time!”