Jimmy Chebat has built a career as a serial entrepreneur for over 20 years. He has collected a sizable business portfolio that spans several industries. Among his ventures are Layla’s Food Company, “a family owned & operated Lebanese-American Empire;” NexTech Cloud Solutions, which boasts “best-in-class business data” and offers “intelligence consulting for organizations pioneering change;” Blink Academy, a “virtual education platform on the forefront of beauty industry trends and innovation;” eWhiteBoard, “an innovative dashboard software solution for a business enterprise;” Debt Direct Portfolio Management, “a financial services company completing the credit cycle;” and ZiZo Technologies, which reimagines “business intelligence and staff management” through workplace gamification.
At ZiZo Technologies, Jimmy Chebat pushes forward his goal to “simply management and increase company’s productivity by creating an environment that drives your employees to perform in a fun and engaging environment.” His two decades of experience managing workforces across several fields has given him the knowledge and skill to adapt and pioneer change for industries struggling with the changes undergoing in the workforce.
Jimmy Chebat and his team have “combined [our] data software with a gamified approach that will engage your team and encourage better performance without the need for additional programs,” among others. How does he know his approach works? Simple. He’s used his own solutions on his team and realized “hugely positive impacts.”
After that success, Jimmy Chebat built a team to implement his solutions on a larger scale. At ZiZo Technologies, you can expect to “drive performance and employee management for your business” with a smart and innovative approach.
Check out more interviews with innovation leaders here.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Jimmy Chebat: There are so many things I could say that make ZIZO stand out — but I’ll just focus on one for the sake of time. One of main reasons that I initially developed the software ten years ago was to win a debate with my brother. At the time, we both owned our own call centers and we constantly got into friendly debates over leadership style.
My brother had employees who he believed were the best simply because he liked them. He would send them the best leads and give them the best opportunities for success because he considered them his top employees. I challenged him to show me provable data that they were the best employees; because to me it seemed like they were only the best because they had the best opportunities. My brother couldn’t prove me wrong. That wasn’t enough for me though, I wanted to prove that my method of giving everyone the same opportunities, and only rewarding them based on measurable performance data was better.
So that’s when I decided to build a software that would track my employee’s performance to create a culture of accountability and transparency. This allowed me to run my agency objectively, while he lead his agency subjectively.
Taking that idea even further, ZIZO gamifies that data so that top performers are automatically rewarded. Which means instead of worrying about office politics and upsetting employees who feel like management is picking favorites, management can focus on bigger issues and leave that headache to ZIZO.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Jimmy Chebat: Set realistic goals and don’t be afraid to revisit them. When leading a company, it can be easy to set yourself up with high expectations and unrealistic deadlines. If they’re not attainable, the only thing you’ll accomplish is building frustration and disappointment in yourself. I’d encourage any colleague of mine to always encourage realistic and attainable goal setting for their team and themselves. If they’re ever in a position where goals are consistently not being met, the first step is to evaluate if they goals were realistically attainable in the first place.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Jimmy Chebat: My mom has been a huge factor in me getting to where I am today. She was a single mom of six and did an incredible job of supporting all of us. She has this unique way of recognizing her kid’s strengths and encouraging us to use those strengths to benefit the family. For me, it was my leadership skills. From a young age she realized that leading was something I enjoyed and excelled at and she expected me to lead the family and help her keep everyone else on track. I think having that type of responsibility at a young age instilled the love of leadership in me which is why I’ve always been drawn to running my own company.
Over the years my mom has continued to be my biggest supporter and she is always there for me and cheering me on. Having someone who has been there from the beginning routing for me and hoping for my success drives me to want to succeed and make her proud.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Jimmy Chebat: A good company is one that is profitable, stable, and with low stress and low turnover. While not easy to accomplish, it’s relatively easy to measure and maintain.
A great company takes all those good qualities a step further. Great companies provide opportunities for everyone involved to prosper both professionally and personally. A great company is one that grows, leads, innovates, and adapts.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Jimmy Chebat: Business plateaus are the exact reason that I always preach regular reviews or audits for all aspects of your business. Our world changes at a rapid pace and somethings we don’t even realized our market has shifted without us until it’s too late. Take a look at the world around you, what has changed? How can your company change to catch up?
In addition, a stale company culture sets in easily and quietly. Is the problem external, like the environment changing, or internal, like your staff becoming complacent? As much as we don’t want to address that our beloved team is part of the problem, you have to be critical of the culture that you’re cultivating. If you’re not encouraging a culture of growth, you’ll remain at a standstill forever.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Jimmy Chebat: Regardless of what economy you’re in, it is always a good idea to practice fiscal responsibility. Don’t spend just to spend, even when things are going well. Continue stacking away the money you’re making so that you don’t have to stress during difficult times.
That being said, regardless of how much you plan, there will always be unexpected times when you need to get lean and focus your spending to stay afloat. A mistake that I see a lot of business owners make (myself included in the past) is going about getting lean in the wrong way. Make cuts from the top down, don’t just cut the lowest man on the totem pole when you need to save money, consider what you can sacrifice from yourself and work down from there.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Jimmy Chebat: People management. As a young CEO I really underestimated the skills that managing multiple people require. Everyone comes to work with different moods and personal issues and they let those show at work in varying degrees; this can make it really tough to manage. Striking a balance between being caring and understanding and being a boss is difficult; especially when you genuinely like and care about your staff.
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Jimmy Chebat: Creating a great customer experience starts with having a great product. Businesses need to understand their customer and provide them with the right solution. Know what you’re target audience values most and ensure that you deliver it. Never provide a product or solution that doesn’t do what you say it will.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Jimmy Chebat: I completely agree, I think that engaging on social media is a slippery slope. People are easily offended, and things can quickly be taken out of context or misconstrued. Companies and executives, especially, need to be ultra-cautious in today’s world of cancel culture.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Jimmy Chebat: A lot of CEOs and founders try too hard to do things right. Instead, don’t be afraid to fail and fail fast so that you can learn from it. Follow the rule of shooting bullets, not cannon balls. If you miss a few times with small bullets, its no big deal; but if you put everything into launching a canon and you miss, you’ll do a lot more damage.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Jimmy Chebat: I would love to see a movement that incentivizes parents to hold their kids accountable for their education. Something that encourages parents to support their kids to actively participate in their education, but that also supports working parents without limiting them.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jimmy Chebat: I’m very active on my LinkedIn.
You can also follow ZIZO on…
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
The post This Is Jimmy Chebat, CEO of ZiZo Technologies appeared first on tekrati.