THE ZERO IN FORMULA, Dennis Geelen’s latest book, challenges business owners, CEOs, and leaders to think differently about their company.
The stats don’t lie. A large percentage of businesses do not make it past the first few years. Of the ones that do, only a small percentage end up surviving past 15 years. Many of those that survive have now plateaued or are in decline.
Geelen argues that if you look at the most successful businesses throughout history, you will find a common formula. The businesses that have been able to rise to the top of their sector and thrive throughout economic downturns, industry disruptions, or even a global pandemic were all built on a foundation of being customer centric and innovative.
Building a company, an organization, a school, a church, or a team that reaches the level of customer-centric innovation (CCI) required to be a leader or disruptor in your industry—with long-term sustainable success—requires intention and a plan. This book gives you the right pieces to your puzzle. This book helps you understand how to build a proper foundation. This book is your recipe.
In THE ZERO IN FORMULA Geelen walks you through the recipe. You will learn what it means to be customer centric, with strategies and tools you can apply to your business. You will understand what it means to be truly innovative, with principles and practices you can implement. You will be guided through the recipe step-by-step to build your successful foundation. You will learn from stories and examples of other businesses and their successes and failures. Whether your business is just starting out and looking for a blueprint to follow over time, or your organization is an existing business and you realize you need to make some corrections and get back on a better course, this book is your guide.
Targeted Age Group:: 25-55
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My mission is to help as many businesses as possible become more customer centric and innovative. The book is a great way to reach thousands of business leaders around the globe.
A New Version of Volleyball—and All the Right Moves
What is the Magic Quadrant of Customer-Centric Innovation and why is it important?
Chris Meade, along with his brother Greg and their longtime friend Mike Delpapa, cofounded the popular product and game called CROSSNET (www.crossnetgame.com). Their journey started from an idea to combine the game of volleyball with the game four square. The result was a volleyball net divided into four quadrants with four individual players.
After creating a prototype, they invited their friends to come play. Their friends’ excitement made it clear they were onto something. Since that idea was born in 2017, the trio has made it their mission to spread the game of CROSSNET throughout the world.
“The three of us were at pivotal parts of our life and nobody wanted to work a corporate job we didn't enjoy just to make a living,” said Chris Meade.
They had an incredible idea and knew it was going to take a ton of hard work, passion, and relentlessness. The largest initial challenge was engineering and bringing the first prototype of CROSSNET to life. After getting over that first hurdle, they experienced pain points in self-funding the entire business, keeping up with order volume, and scaling smartly without having to give part of their company away or going into debt.
This game adventure was not a completely virgin experience for Chris Meade, however. A film school graduate from Quinnipiac University and now twenty-seven years old, he was no stranger to the world of entrepreneurialism. One of his first businesses was a little film and photography company called SeaMeade. He would shoot anything from weddings and music videos to corporate headshots. It helped pay the bills and was a fun way to practice his craft. Prior to that, he remembers selling multitudes of video games and sports memorabilia on eBay as a fourteen-year-old while learning the laws of supply and demand.
When starting CROSSNET, the three entrepreneurs knew they needed to build a foundation on some solid strategies if their game was going to be as successful as they knew it could be.
Chris Meade talked about their approach to customer centricity by saying, “We run our business very authentically and never try to dress it up to be anything it isn't. We’ve created the world’s first four-way volleyball game, and the only way to improve our company is getting negative feedback. Even if it’s the slightest complaint or thought, we want to hear it. Negative feedback drives our company and our vision and without it we’d never improve.”
Their business officially launched in 2018 with $75,000 in revenue. The year 2019 saw them build on that success and explode for thirty times growth. In June 2020, CROSSNET was on track to quadruple their 2019 numbers. This growth was taking place during the world crisis of the coronavirus and had the business on track to be an eight-figure company by the end of 2020.
CROSSNET’s story is one of just over 627,000 new businesses starting up in the US each year. New technologies, new ways of communicating, connecting, and selling means more products, services, and business models to meet newfound needs. It is easier now to start up a business than in any era in the past. The internet provides access to the tools and resources you need to understand how to start up a business at your fingertips. If capital is required, venture capitalists and angel investors are looking to help finance the next big business idea. Stats for the US show there are over 30 million small businesses in the country alone, making up 99.9 percent of all US businesses. Starting a business is easy. But just starting is not the goal.
Studies show 20 percent of new businesses fail during the first two years, 45 percent in the first five years, and 65 percent in the first ten years. Only 25 percent of businesses survive fifteen years or more. Why? What mistakes are businesses making? If there are more demands, it is easier to market and sell to people around the world, and you have the information and resources required to start up a business, so what is the problem? To put it simply, with more businesses, there is more competition.
Will CROSSNET be a long-term successful game, product, and company? They are sure off to a terrific start. But many opportunities and challenges lie ahead for the young entrepreneurs. How will they face those challenges? Time will be the ultimate judge, but as you will see in this chapter, CROSSNET has a leg up on other new businesses by deciding to build theirs on a proper foundation.
Studies also show when starting a new business, a fifty-year-old business owner is more than twice as likely to achieve success than a thirty-year-old founder. This shows us experience is one of the most important factors when it comes to creating a thriving business. Start-up failure rates indicate executing strategies and creating tactics get easier with higher levels of experience.
We need to look no further than some particularly prominent entrepreneurs throughout history to see they too were not immune to this phenomenon. People such as Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, James Dyson, Reid Hoffman, Henry Ford, and Jeff Bezos are among the long list of people who saw business ventures fail in their past before eventually finding success.
Will Chris Meade and his cofounders be successful long term with CROSSNET? Do they have the experience required to beat the odds?
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