Jesse Willms and the Art of Reinventing a Business

Jesse Willms and the Art of Reinventing a Business

Many professional resources these days are aimed at entrepreneurs just setting out on creating a new business. While this is an important area of study, it also neglects another important question that is often encountered along the business journey — how do you reinvent an existing business that may be underperforming? To help to answer this question, we’ve turned to information from Jesse Willms. The well-known e-commerce entrepreneur has a long litany of business wins that help inform his outlook on what can be done to best set an endeavor up for success.

Jesse Willms Sets Focus on Identifying Potential Problems

Before you can innovate a solution for a business’s underperformance you must identify what may be causing that underperformance in the first place. While this can seem obvious on its face, this concept can actually be more difficult to accomplish than one might think. That’s because entrepreneurs are often known to fall in love with their business ideas, causing blind spots to the issues that may be present. This is understandable, since a business can be a very personal venture requiring long hours of work. By the time it gets to any level of viability, an entrepreneur may have a lot of personal time and mental energy invested in the undertaking.

To avoid allowing such a blind spot to take over your analysis of what problems may be present within the business, it can be helpful to use a methodical approach here. A list highlighting the parts of the business that are performing well and the parts that are underperforming can be a way to zero in on the issue. If an area is underperforming, you might be able to trace that back through a sequence of events to identify where it is going off track. Perhaps the supply chain is too costly to allow you to turn a profit, perhaps manufacturing has become inefficient, or perhaps marketing efforts can be stepped up. It may also be the case that the product is simply having trouble finding a receptive target audience.

To that last point, we can look to the work of Jesse Willms with his latest venture — a vehicle history report website. That website is the result of an in-depth process of product innovation where he looked to customer needs around the purchase of pre-owned vehicles and how he might best satisfy those needs. This process included analysis of social media, customer testimonials, and a range of diverse internet-based resources. A similar process can be of use in your own journey to hone in on whatever issue may be affecting your business.

Hypothesize Solutions

Once an issue has been identified, solutions can be hypothesized. This process can vary in difficulty depending on the complexity of the issue. Sometimes, a systematic assessment of an issue can surface a pretty straightforward fix. For instance, you may find that a key component of the manufacturing process has just become too expensive and you may need to search for a cheaper alternative. This can be a simple matter of searching for a new manufacturing partner or quick product redesign to incorporate the need for an updated manufacturing process.

However, some solutions may be more difficult to ascertain and the pursuit of innovating a new path forward may be much more difficult. An example here may be a product that simply isn’t finding a home amongst its target audience. It can be difficult in such a situation to know whether the product isn’t viable or whether it may actually do better if aimed towards a new segment of the marketplace. Regardless of the eventual fix, it can be critical to at least hypothesize your solution here before you move forward. Without such a hypothesis, you’re essentially taking shots in the dark about what may keep your business moving forward.

Jesse Willms Partners with Teammates

The work of Jesse Willms presents us with another important step in the business reinvention process after you have developed a potential path forward — building a strong team. This has been a key focus for the entrepreneur along many stages of his business innovation processes. While you may have existing members of your staff that are contributing to your overall mission, a time of change for your product can also represent a time of growth for that team. You may want to seek out ways in which your team can grow its expertise by adding new members that have new competencies not currently present on your staff.

Once you’ve brought in your team members, they can help you further hypothesize solutions and innovate ways to move forward with those potential fixes. A new team member may also bring a fresh perspective as to what’s causing the issue in the first place and what may be the road towards a new product direction. While such a move may also need to be balanced against a business’s existing staffing resources, it’s at least a potential area to explore that can bring with it large benefits.

Test Your Fix

Once you’ve identified a problem, hypothesized a solution, and brought in team members equipped to move your business forward, it’s time to test out your proposed fix. You may want to dive into this process cautiously, as it can sometimes be difficult to unwind a change once it’s been set in motion. That said, it can also be important to put your full efforts into a new path rather than investing in half measures.

To this end, institute your changes and carefully monitor their effect. If the change is in your manufacturing process, for example, look to costs and see how the changes affect buying patterns. If the change is for the positive, roll it out on a broader scale. If unintended consequences pop up, or the change is ineffective in resolving the issue, it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

While resources for reinventing a business can sometimes be difficult to find, this area of the entrepreneurial journey can be a critical one to study. Identifying a problem, hypothesizing a solution, building a team, and testing a fix can be an important cohesive solution to turning around a failing endeavor and finding renewed success. The work of Jesse Willms presents a useful guide to finding this kind of success in a range of endeavors. His methodical approach to business and penchant for product innovation can be a goal to aim for no matter where in your business’s life cycle you may find yourself.

How wearing a face mask can boost your business

How wearing a face mask can boost your business

As a business owner, you might have been required to have a mask mandate in your business. Some business owners might just feel like this requirement is a nuisance.

However, mask requirements can actually help businesses boost sales. Check out these reasons why consumers would likely go to a store more if they have a mask requirement.

Safety

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, millions of people have been staying at home to help protect themselves from getting the virus. However, many of these people can’t fully rely on online delivery, making them have to go to physical stores.

Having a mask mandate in your store will ensure that people who want to be safe are more likely to visit. Just make sure you enforce the mandate for everyone who comes in as you might find that customers will leave otherwise.

Sick Employees

COVID-19 is a very contagious disease, even more so than the average flu strain. If you don’t have a mask mandate in your business, you might find that your employees will all get sick from COVID-19.

If your employees are sick from COVID-19, you might be forced to shut down your business for a while, as your employees need to be all feeling well for your business to be open. Make sure you have a mask mandate if you don’t want sick employees around.

Mask Sales

Depending on what kind of business you run, you might have been selling face masks in the last year. You can even work with a company that can create face masks that directly advertise your business.

By forcing a mask mandate in your business, you might have customers coming in to purchase your masks so that they can wear them next time they come into your store. Think about enacting a mask mandate if you sell masks at your business.

Law

In some states, businesses have found that they have been forced to be shut down for a while. This is due to these businesses not enforcing the mask mandate their state gave them.

By enforcing the mask mandate of your area, you can make sure that your business isn’t going to be shut down because of any legal issues. You can also grow your business from consumers that can’t shop at a business currently shut down from not enforcing the mandate. Look more into how legal mask issues could actually help you grow your business.

Conclusion

If you’re running a business, you’re likely always going to be thinking about how you can maximize your products. That’s a totally ok mindset to have if you own a business, as you want to always make sure that you have enough profit to make up for bad sales as a business leader.

All of this advice should help you decide to enforce masks in your business. However, you should start thinking with the mindset that you want to do things that positively help your local community. By wearing face masks in your business, you can help stop COVID-19.

Nicolas Krafft, Former L’Oreal Executive, Weighs in On Work-Life Balance

Nicolas Krafft, Former L’Oreal Executive, Weighs in On Work-Life Balance

Striking a balance between one’s home life and a fast-paced career is one of the pillars of achieving success and attaining happiness. Yet, according to Nicolas Krafft, mastering a fulfilling work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges faced by today’s workforce. This year in particular has made that clearer than ever before. As the COVID-19 pandemic has confined people to their homes and forced most jobs to be worked from the confines of our houses, people are deliberately focusing on striking that balance between work and home as both now share the same roof. 

Most people, if not all, could benefit from a better work-life balance and Nicolas Krafft, a former L’Oreal executive, knows this. Nicolas has spent a large portion of his career traveling, which has forced him to find balance between a demanding career and a personal life.

What is Work-Life Balance?

Nicolas Krafft’s career has taken him around the globe and back countless times, often for extended periods of time. This extensive travel schedule, coupled with demanding business responsibilities, is what required Nicolas to be productive and forced the former L’Oreal executive to work on striking a healthy work-life. In short, a work-life balance is the ability to balance work and life so that neither is neglected and both receive the attention necessary to be successful long-term. It could also apply to one’s life outside of the office on work trips.

A balanced work-life balance is not only fundamental to one’s well-being and happiness, but also to overall career success. According to Krafft, a good work-life balance enables one to take a step back and see the bigger picture. In order to free his mind and recharge, Krafft would turn to running and climbing, which would clear his mind and allow him to see through dense issues in a much simpler, refreshed way. During his extensive business travels, he would make sure to carve out some time for local activities such as shopping at a market on his own or informally with some members of his team. This, according to Krafft, enabled him to satisfy his own curiosity as well as develop a sense of the local culture that ultimately drove business decisions. Striking a work-life balance and allowing space for activities and conversations outside of the purview of work, even with coworkers, will undeniably allow for a fresher mind and a sharper perspective, both of which will directly and positively impact one’s work.

Striking a work-life balance can indeed mean putting up boundaries and leaving work at work, but it can also mean melding work and life together in a way that breeds positive outcomes instead of negative outcomes. 

The Detriments of Bad Work-Life Balance

There are several things that can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. Some of the most common are longer working hours, assuming conflicting roles, balancing conflicting objectives, and not spending enough time with family and friends. Nicolas Krafft believes that having a clear understanding of how a company can positively impact the lives of its employees and customers is imperative to manage such situations, as is understanding how your focus on work is affecting your well-being and your family.

Nicolas Krafft adds that there are several reasons why companies have increasingly begun to prioritize a more sound balance between work and home demands for their staff. They have realized that a healthy work-life balance leads to fewer health problems, enhanced engagement among their teams, high productivity, and an increased sense of mindfulness and pride in their employee’s work. 

How to Establish Work-Life Balance

Nicolas Krafft L'Oreal
Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

Nicolas Krafft shares that he has established routines that enable him to maintain a strong work-life balance. His routine includes adjusting his flight schedules so that he can sleep on the plane, exercising during his trips, and not working on the plane. He also makes sure to prioritize spending as much time as possible with his family, something he deems as crucial. He takes steps toward reducing the length of his trips and works to schedule video conferences for follow ups whenever possible to avoid weekend travel.

Work-life balance in 2020 is obviously much different than it was in 2019. We are working from home, we’re not travelling, and we’re not sharing space with people who are not our family. But while striking a work-life balance this year doesn’t require us to work around a busy travel schedule, it does require us to navigate an unknown entity: a global pandemic. The stage is different this year, but the stakes are just as high.

Working from home and separated from your core work group means that the team needs to be able to set boundaries and expectations so the company mission isn’t lost and the work continues unabated. Working from home also requires us to work towards a work-life balance, but from a different angle. Now that we are all working from home it has become increasingly hard to “leave work at work”. Our work is now accessible to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which makes it that much easier to work later hours and weekends. A separation must be struck so that work doesn’t overtake our home life. Working and living in the same space can be beneficial but we need to make sure we leave work behind when the day ends and give ourselves the time to decompress and experience our home lives.

Final Thoughts

Overall, establishing a flexible and clear work environment can be one of the most effective means by which work-life balance can be struck. Not only will this lead to greater job satisfaction, but it will also decrease stress, help team members establish and maintain healthy habits, and increase engagement. 

During unprecedented times like the ones we currently find ourselves in, flexible work hours and an ability to work from home enable a more satisfying work experience overall. Ultimately, ensuring that a team has the resources in place to strike an effective balance between personal and professional demands will lead to increased loyalty and retention. This doesn’t come without its possible determinants, though. 

This year has thrown all norms out the window, and that includes the normal definition of work-life balance. We now work where we live. Can we separate the two and allow for continued productivity? A balance must be struck, but it is possible. 

About Nicolas Krafft

Nicolas Krafft is a former L’Oreal executive with more than a decade of expertise in the cosmetics industry. He began his career as a product manager at L’Oreal Professional and subsequently moved up through the ranks to become vice president of Global Business Development for L’Oreal USA, leading the go-to-market strategy of one of the strategic brands of the professional division. Based in NYC, Krafft oversaw the transformation of its business model across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Krafft ultimately became the international general manager for the Pulp Riot brand. He worked on launching new product lines, growing market share, and developing an international presence for L’Oreal-owned brands like Kérastase, Matrix, and Biolage.