Ask An Entrepreneur: Shannon Clemonds of Shannon Gail

Ask An Entrepreneur: Shannon Clemonds of Shannon Gail

For our inaugural Ask An Entrepreneur, I spoke to my good friend Shannon Gail Clemonds owner/operator of Shannon Gail. Shannon Gail is a Chicago-based event planning firm producing 90+ weddings and events per year locally and across the United States. The team is comprised of a unique blend of business and event professionals with backgrounds in finance, marketing, design, venue management, hospitality, and catering and prides itself on being the go-to expert in all areas of event production. In its 10 years of business, the company has continued to set the bar for event management standards and has built an impressive resume of corporate and social clientele. 

Don't Listen to All of Your Customers Equally

Don't Listen to All of Your Customers Equally

Listening, and being responsive, to customer feedback is an integral part of any business. That is not a surprise (or if it is, there are other things you should be reading before this blog). However, what isn’t talked about very often is which customers should not always have their advice heeded. Business leaders need to be careful which customers they listen to. The squeaky wheel gets the grease… The silent wheel writes online reviews. *

"No Assholes" Defined.

As I walked my dog (Herbert-pictured above) the other day, started to think about how I would define "no a$$holes." It is a term I have noticed in job descriptions and heard talked about as policy but have never seen clearly defined (which is probably the point but not the subject of this article). I realized that I intuitively understand what I think it means but there is a chance that other people have a completely different view. So, I started pondering some ideas which encompass my definition. What I came up with is below. I guess you could call it an expectation list or employee conduct policy.

I Loathe Packing

I Loathe Packing

As you may have noticed, I strive for efficiency in everything I do.  I actually timed how long it takes an “el” train to go clockwise and counterclockwise around the Chicago Loop as to never waste a single minute commuting.   So, the idea of packing all of my belongings into boxes is a terrifying proposition. 

Innovation is a Flower

Innovation is a Flower

Innovation is not a dress code.  It cannot be dictated, ordered, or forced.  It does not occur on demand.  Innovation is more akin to a delicate flower.  It requires the constant attention of the gardener (leader) to clear the weeds (impediments).   It must be given the proper conditions (culture) to grow.   Its seeds must be planted gently in the ground (organization).  Innovative ideas can be fostered, supervised, and encouraged to take root but cannot be forced to do so.

Your organization has matured. Has your org chart?

Your organization has matured.  Has your org chart?

You don’t need to go full hierarchy but adding a level of middle management will acknowledge the dynamics that are already present and make your organization more efficient.  You can hold onto your principles and organizational culture while still providing a framework that adequately specifies delegated decision making throughout the organization.

Strategy Drives Success in Baseball (and Business)

Strategy Drives Success in Baseball (and Business)

What are your strengths? What do you need to work on? What is the next pitch (opportunity) for your business? Will you be ready to knock it out of the park or will you foul it off? Do you know the answers to these questions or are you swinging blindly at whatever the pitcher throws? Competitive strategy is too important to leave to gut feeling, guess work, or good luck.

Follow the leader is a children's game not an innovation strategy.

Follow the leader is a children's game not an innovation strategy.

If you want to be the next Amazon, Apple, Intel, or Google the first thing you should do is disregard everything Amazon, Apple, Intel, and Uber except the fact that they followed no one. Throw out the mold. Break the barriers. Disregard the benchmarks. Ignore what you have read in every blog including this one. Forge a new path like the successful entrepreneurs before you. You can be the next great success story but only if you blaze your own trail.