George Jones is the CEO & Managing Director of GIDUS Solutions residing in New Jersey.
Your Title/Business Name:
CEO and Managing Director, GIDUS Solutions
Describe what your hometown was like. Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA (Philly) in the Mt. Airy section. Philly is a city of neighborhoods. My part of town was pseudo suburban in that we lived in row homes. Generally, it was quiet and uneventful but the people were friendly.
Where do you currently reside?
Winslow Township, NJ
What is your zodiac sign?
What is your favorite cereal?
How did you get started on this road of business? What began it all, and what did the path look like along the way?
My business journey began around 1999 when a business associate of my brother needed tax returns prepared to secure a mortgage to buy a house he was having built. That led to more opportunities like that.
As time progressed, people were making inquiries about other things like form 1023, the federal tax exemption application or a business plan. So, demand created opportunities to do more to help people.
Give us some business advice or one success tip in your field.
One piece of advice I would give other business owners is what an old mentor told me. Sometimes you have to be more than a servicer of a product or service to your customer. For example, you may need to be a ‘therapist” where the customer doesn’t talk about their business but talks about their spouse, kids or some other issue. They will sense your concern for not only their check but for their well-being. Being available to them in an empathetic way builds a trusting relationship that last for a long time.
What has been the hardest part of being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a business owner has been finding the right marketing mix. That is balancing traditional face to face and phone calling with use of social media and website. Prospects vary generationally and culturally. Using the best tools in my field is not always easy to do.
What’s in store for you this year?
This year I will be starting a learning and development division to offer customized training to businesses and non-profits looking to improve skills and to increase knowledge of their workforce that directly affects their business value.
I am also working to develop an app that automates some of my company’s consulting functions to allow for greater flexibility especially prospective clients who are investigating consulting options.
Lastly, I am growing through equity deals. I have a minority interest in a couple of innovative startups where I am able to provide my expertise to impact their growth and my portfolio.
What is one mistake that you see business owners make?
One mistake I see business owners make is to underestimate the importance of a business plan. It can be one page or 50 pages. But, thought must be given to an executable and sustainable path for success.
What is some piece of advice that you would give someone aspiring to be a business owner?
Don’t limit your business options to the obvious, like what you went to college or what others think you’re good at. Make and build your business around meeting a yet to be discovered customer need or want. Or, find a need or want that provides a growth opportunity. If people will pay for it and you offer it that is business.
Being a business owner teaches an individual a number of things. What has it taught you?
I have learned to be flexible and to reframe thinking as needed to keep moving forward. Being egotistical and rigid is not helpful to anyone – you and your customers.