Conversation with Tim Jackson, President Jackson Leadership Systems
Most people I know love to read stories about entrepreneurs and their businesses. With that in mind, we’ve started a new series about companies and the people that run them that we hope you’ll find both interesting and informative. If you’re interested in seeing your business profiled, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Jackson is the President of Jackson Leadership Systems. Tim might not have started the company but he has big plans for its future growth.
1. What does your business do?
We help companies optimize their use of people and talent using three service areas: 1) sharing tools and methods to select the highest quality employees, 2) creating individualized training programs to help managers and executives develop their skills, and 3) analyzing HR data to support making data-driven decisions about people.
2. How long have you been in business?
My Father started this consulting practice (on his own) in the late 80’s, after working in two previous successful partnerships. He was a serial entrepreneur, and always ran his own practice. I came on board in January 2010. Prior to that, I spent four years doing contract work for other Toronto-based consulting companies who deliver leadership assessment and development services.
3. Why did you decide to start your own business? I got into the family business, and took advantage of the opportunity to work with my Father. I suppose his example instilled in me the confidence that I can be my own boss and run my own business. But I admit that him sharing his client list with me at an early stage of my career helped a lot too!
4. What makes your business unique? We employ very highly trained, highly educated consultants, usually with Master’s or PhDs in industrial/organizational psychology, or related fields. We are unique in that we are small, and work with a few long term clients. We value the opportunity to work with our clients over many years and to understand their businesses inside and out. I think this level of familiarity helps us provide the best service possible. I suppose the other unique aspect is that it is a family business, and is now being passed from Father to Son.
5. What do you wish you knew before you started this business? I did not start the business, but I have taken over running it in the last 18 months or so. That said, I wish I knew beforehand how much running your own business can become an all consuming challenge. I think maintaining work life balance is really critical for me, especially since I spend a lot of time facing my clients. I want to give them my best, and put my best foot forward. It is usually a challenge to NOT think about work during off times. In some ways doing my PhD was good training for dealing with this, but it has still been tough.
6. What goal did you have in mind when you started and has that goal changed? I have to admit, when I first started, I just wanted to learn to become an excellent consultant, and not get fired by any clients. As I learned the ropes, and took over the business from my Father, my goals now relate to pivoting the business in a direction that I am interested in (for example offering new services), and looking for opportunities to take on larger and more complex projects. Hopefully pursuing these goals will result in mix of professional challenge and growth for the company.
7. How did you finance the business? I am funding the purchase of the business from operating cash flow, and paying my Father out on an agreed-on schedule. We worked out terms of payment that would allow me to do this without jeopardizing the stability of the company. This payment plan also meant I did not have to invest my personal savings into the business.
For more information on Jackson Leadership Systems, please go to www.jacksonleadership.com.
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