Category Archives: Charlotte

A Time of Transition By Evan Shirreffs

A Time of Transition – It’s OK to Take a Break By Evan Shirreffs

There is a reason the United States has the largest economy in the world. We work harder than anyone. There is also a reason we have a mental health crisis that is affecting 1 in 5 adults, nearly 50 million people. One of the contributors is our results-oriented society. Instead of falling in love with how things are done, we fall in love with simply getting things done. Whether it’s studying for a test or reaching a quota set by an employer, the satisfaction is short-lived for the amount of stress put into reaching the end goal. It wears us down because school and work gradually become viewed as a task instead of an opportunity. We look to the future for happiness and build these elaborate plans for our lives that become less realistic as time passes. We work towards a certain degree or job because we expect it to yield a favorable outcome that will in turn make our lives better. What we do not realize is that in doing so, our jobs become our lives. Why then would I even consider following a career path that is destined to become my life if the work involved isn’t something I am prepared to mold my life around?

In December, two major seasons of my life came to an end: school and my football career. Both dominated my life since I was a child, which left me wondering what might fill their voids on my list of priorities. Throughout our schooling and upbringing, we are taught that there is usually one proper way to do things. For me, this would mean searching for and starting a job as soon as possible to guarantee there would be no gaps on my resume and a steady stream of income to begin my business career. At the time, rushing into a job just didn’t feel right.

The truth is, all I was worried about for the last few years was training for football and completing my MBA program. I had no plan for how I would even apply my MBA to a career; I simply knew that having another degree would add to my value in the eyes of potential employers. Many people advised me to secure a job before finishing school. Ironically, much of this advice was coming from people who currently hated their jobs, so why would I listen to them? I was burned out from college football and knew that if I started a job in January, I would work myself into the ground. With employers pressuring me to start work following graduation without any real knowledge of what any of the jobs might entail, I felt a bit trapped.

Instead of accepting a position just to have a job, I decided to buy a one-way ticket halfway across the world. Australia would be my home for the next few months. I worked cash jobs for spending money and stayed in hostels with 10 different people every night. My 15-pound youth backpack was my only companion as I hopped on greyhound buses to get from place to place. For the majority of my life, I had planned my next move before finishing my last, so living day-to-day with no solid plan was a completely foreign idea to me. My world was turned upside down.

I soon found that I had no place in the hierarchy of society. I was no longer a football player or a grad student. I had no standards or expectations established for me by other people, meaning that there was no end result to work towards. I was simply a kid from America trying to find his way. There was something freeing in that.

Don’t get me wrong, it was tough. The time had finally come to think about past experiences, relationships, and mistakes I had made. It was a time of reflection that was long overdue. With everything I had been through over the years, I had bottled up a lot of issues because I just didn’t have the time to deal with them. Looking at myself in the mirror and truly analyzing my actions helped me discover a lot about myself.

Not only did I get to experience life on my own, but I got to hear about other travelers’ stories. I met people from all over the world: New Zealand, Ecuador, the UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, the list goes on. I found that Germans are serious in all aspects of life until they’ve had a few beers. Canadians are in fact the kindest, most agreeable people on this Earth. Australians love life because they don’t spend it indoors aimlessly scrolling through social media; instead, they explore and try new things. Through comparing my experiences and upbringing to others’, I realized that there is no perfect way to do things. There are endless solutions to every problem, it is just our choice to figure out which solution best answers the problem for our specific needs.

Sometimes you have to take a few steps back before a huge leap forward. Whether it is from high school to college, college to a job, or one job to another one, we are wired to rush from opportunity to opportunity without even batting an eye. We refrain from taking time off for no reason other than to save face when people ask us what we are up to. I was a bum for two months and I needed that. I needed to learn how to live on my own and appreciate the blessings I had taken for granted my whole life. Maybe travelling isn’t your thing. Maybe you’d prefer hiking or art or music or reading. Take some time to get out into the world and live on your own terms between these monumental seasons of life. Make those memories for yourself so your only stories for your grandkids aren’t about the time you watched an incredible video that someone else made while you sat on your couch. I’m not promising that this will cure everything you are going through, but I will say that it was a step towards finding joy in my life. It worked for me to clear my mind, realign my priorities, and reignite the passion for my dreams that every worry-free kid is born with. Go be a kid!

Get Ready Stay Ready

Get Ready. Stay Ready.

The more appropriate saying is, “STAY ready so you don’t have to GET ready.” Alas, I unfortunately wasn’t following these guidelines. Not too make excuses, but between baby #2, the holidays, and then just plain life I got out of shape and way off the rails. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of things still went really well during this time, but despite that I began to slack in two really important areas: health and finances. Worse yet, I know better than to fall into this downward spiral.

At the beginning of the CoVid-19 situation and quarantine this continued for a week or two (in fact it became even easier with the gym closing and more time at home, etc.). I had known for a while some sort of market correction was on the horizon, knew I should be incredibly prepared for it, yet I STILL didn’t do nearly enough.

Finally I realized I had to wake up and snap out of it! Just because I wasn’t where I should be, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything in your power to start and get there. Better late than never, right?

This epiphany was a few weeks ago now, as I just finished Day 25 of a program called 75 Hard. 75 Hard is a program created by a game named Andy Frisella, the CEO of a supplement company called 1st Phorm. The criteria list is below. It’s part fitness challenge, but it is equally a mental challenge as well which is what was just as alluring.

As my companies WIMS Consulting, EolianVR, and ARRE (Augmented Reality Real Estate) all continue to grow and scale at a pretty rapid pace I have no choice but to continue leveling up. If I’m not practicing what I preach and leading by example then I shouldn’t expect many to follow. That very much includes health and finances, but also just the mental toughness and focus required as well (pretty obvious, right?)

I’m 1/3 of the way there, 2/3 to go! Here are the rules:

  • Work out two times a day for 45 minutes minimum. However, one of them has to be outside regardless of the conditions (I’ve had several late night workouts in the rain already and they were actually glorious).
  • NO booze.
  • Follow a diet – Mine is essentially based on NO dessert/sweets and intermittent fasting for at least 4 days of the week.
  • Drink a gallon of water a day.
  • Read at least 10 pages of a physical book (no audio books allowed).
  • Take a progress picture each day (luckily those are starting to get better now haha).

So far I’m already down about 15 lbs (I still have about another 15 to go). I’ve crushed 2 books – Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Bold by Peter Diamandis. Next up is finishing Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman. That being said, there is still a long way to go. There is even more reason to ratchet up as in the next 1/3 as I hit my 34th birthday in about 4 weeks and I want to hit that milestone with serious momentum.

The hard part is getting back on track, the “getting ready.” Hopefully after this time around will make sure to stay ready across the board for whatever comes next.

What are you doing during this time to stay on top of your game and get better? Or are you just using this time to relax and reflect? Either way that is a deeply personal choice but I’d love to hear.

WIMS Client Spotlight Close Off Market

WIMS Client Spotlight: Close Off Market

Charlotte-Based Real Estate Tech Startup Close Off Market, Inc. Launches New (Beta) Platform
Close Off Market is a unique technology platform that offers subscription-based access to off market commercial real estate deals in an efficient and user-tailored manner.

Close Off Market, Inc. and its team has been working tirelessly to solve a major problem facing the real estate community, tighter margins because of slowly moving deals and antiquated business practices. The platform leverages pre-existing technology, such as e-signature, CRM, ecommerce, etc. and then added its own proprietary algorithm on top to bring it all together. The business is built off the hypothesis that further enabling technology to add another layer of efficiency will help streamline the entire sales cycle and will make a tremendous impact on their users’ business.

If you’re in the commercial real estate industry you know how important getting access to the best possible deals at the best possible time can be to help increase the ROI on a potential transaction. Whether you’re a developer, investor, property manager, or otherwise having access to the best information, operating an efficient business, maintaining great relationships, and making timely decisions can make or break your organization.

Close Off Market has completely systematized the process to streamline the entire cycle and present its users with off market deals that are fully customized to their specific desired criteria.

Close Off Market’s co-founders are Clifford Blanquicet, Jr. and his wife Anna Blanquicet. Clifford is an entrepreneur and CEO of Blanq Real Estate, he’s also a commercial real estate broker, investor, and property manager. This problem is something he experiences daily and is extremely familiar with. Finding a way to solve it became a passion project of his that eventually led to the spin off and creation of the new entity.

He wanted a simple, automated, yet functional platform that expedited the commercial real estate acquisition process, while also providing invaluable insight into what his clients needed and wanted in their respective businesses. After searching unsuccessfully for such a platform, he noticed a void, and a potential opportunity. This led him on the path of creating Close Off Market.

After allocating the necessary resources and assembling a team, he and the company recently finished their internal development and testing phases and have now launched the initial beta platform to the public. While there is an extensive product road map in place that will continue to be rolled out in the near future, the existing iteration of the Close Off Market platform is ready for further user testing.

ABOUT CLOSE OFF MARKET
Charlotte-based Close Off Market, Inc. is a real estate tech startup focused on streamlining the process of commercial real estate acquisitions. The company offers a secure, cloud-based technology platform that provides subscription-based access to off market commercial real estate deals in an efficient and user-tailored manner. For more information, please visit: https://www.closeoffmarket.com/.

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The WIMS Guide CoVid-19 Edition Charlotte

The WIMS Guide CoVid-19 Economy Edition aka “The Charlotte Coronaconomy”

By now we’re well into the quarantine period and pretty deep into the business disruption that’s been the byproduct of the spread of CoVid-19/Corona Virus. At this point many of us are (at least relatively) beginning to adjust to the new normal and catch our breath in terms of what this means to our various businesses. Hopefully you’ve been able to strategize on potential pivots, are making the necessary adjustments, and are getting closer to finding a new groove for the path forward.

On the other hand, it would be naive to think that every businesses is going to make it through unfortunately. To think where we are now compared to even a month ago is pretty horrifying. But that being said, the ONLY thing to do now is continue to march onward with an unrelenting focus on doing whatever it takes (even if that means closing up shop and going in a different direction) to get through this. Looking forward is really all that matters now.

In that light I want to use my company’s (WIMS Consulting) platform, clients, partnerships, relationships, etc. to help share resources, ideas, insights, hope, strategies, etc. to help you and your business navigate these waters. I know a lot of people are doing this too and some of these things may be redundant, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t do my part and just let others do the leading during this time.

Considering the majority of our our business is based in Charlotte, NC and Miami, FL I’m going to create a page for each with specific local information in addition to the more macro/federal stuff. Further, I’ve volunteered to help lead the “South Florida Business Continuity Task Force” so will be sharing more information about that too as we launch the website later today (3.25.20). In Charlotte, we’re going to spearhead something similar via the Charlotte Business Group. Stay tuned!

In the mean time please reference the content below which I’ll be updating regularly. If you have anything else you’d like me to add please email me directly at msimmons@wims-consulting.com.

It may sound insensitive right now, but as the saying goes: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This is going to produce unprecedented opportunities if you look for them. Another extremely applicable quote: “This too shall pass!”

-Mike

 

Financial Support

SBA/Disaster Relief Loans:

By now just about everyone has been spreading the word on this. But this piece from the Charlotte Business Journal was really well done. “What small businesses in North Carolina need to know about SBA disaster-relief loans”.

IRS – Federal Tax Relief protocol.

North Carolina Department of Revenue CoVid-19 Tax Relief Guidelines.

Charlotte/Mecklenburg County:

Carolina Small Business Development Fund: Small Business Lending: COVID-19 Update from Our President & CEO, Kevin Dick

Mecklenburg County ​Office of Economic Development another incredible set of resources surrounding things not solely business related but also with an expanded scope.

How to Get Mortgage Relief (Investopedia)

 

Charlotte Impact/Next Steps

Charlotte Regional Business AllianceCoVid-19 Resource Portal this expands well outside just greater Charlotte too and includes resources for the much larger regional footprint. Check it out, extremely valuable. It even goes into the personal health side of things, again which is outside of the scope of what we’re trying to accomplish here but if you’re curious this is the place to go. This also includes guidance from lawyers, accounting firms, etc.

Charlotte Inno – Startup Related: “Coronavirus-Related Resources for Charlotte Startups” This is an incredible and robust list that gets into operational recommendations among others.

North Carolina Chamber Coronavirus Resource Guide including Small Business Resource Center.

Charlotte Inno“Amid Coronavirus, Charlotte Tech Leaders Talk Next Steps for the Business Community”.

Charlotte Business Resources CoVid-19 Resources.

 

Ideas/Strategies

65 Free Tools to Help You Through the Coronavirus Pandemic (Entrepreneur Mag)

On CRM: How Companies Are Leveraging Their CRM Systems To Help Navigate Through COVID-19 (Forbes)

Coronavirus: What Every Business Owner Needs to Know (Wix) great article with a lot of sound ideas, even if some are seemingly obvious.

Email Marketing: This was a great article from Fast Company, and insightful. Just because everyone else is sending emails doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do one too. Just make sure it’s really well done if you do and that it adds value to your audience (don’t be self serving).

List Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Relief Programs (Forbes)

COVID-19 Will Fuel the Next Wave of Innovation (Entrepreneur Mag)

 

MORE TO COME!!

LDR BRD Level Up Your Business

Level Up Your Business: Introducing the Launch of LDR BRD

The LDR BRD Mission:

We help your business understand and connect with your customers by providing actionable intelligence on consumer behavior. We want you to really know your customers and your market. We give you the power to increase revenue, brand exposure, and increase market penetration by deepening your relationships with your customers.

Whether you’re in the early stages of the concept, have been around for a while, or are currently experiencing a wave of growth, we understand each business has its own unique set of challenges and opportunities and customize our approach accordingly.

We work with you to help reach your destination, while keeping in line with your unique brand, mission, and everything else that makes your restaurant, brewery, coffee shop, winery, retail location, etc. stand out!

What sets LDR BRD apart?

  • Created for the food, beverage, brewery, winery, hospitality, and retail industries.

  • Integrates with your existing systems (or we can help you create them).

    • Data collected from Web, Email, POS, Social Media, CRM, referrals, etc.

  • Tracks customer activity on-site and off-site.

    • ​Financial, Online, In-Person, etc.​

  • Data is then measured, run through filters, and used to identify your most valuable and loyal customers, how they interact with your business, and keeping them engaged with your brand long-term.

 

We have much more to come, but if you’re interested in learning more please visit our website and reach out to discuss!

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.11 Cali Trip and More

The WIMS Guide Video Ep.11 – Cali Trip & More

The WIMS Guide Video Edition is Back! I’m in Cali for the next two weeks. We came out here to close out my wife’s maternity leave with a little business and a little pleasure spending time with family and friends.

Today’s video I mainly focus on where I’m at her in Cali with a call to action for any potential meetups, introductions, connections, etc. I’ll be in Southern California until Sunday, February 23rd so please feel free to reach out!

The other topic is the Charlotte event I’m hosting on Thursday March 12th. I’m putting on an event for Charlotte’s best and brightest while also celebrating 6 years in business for WIMS Consulting. The event is open so please feel free to bring a friend!

After some extended time grinding in Charlotte for about 5 weeks, I head back down to Miami for the eMerge Americas conference. If you do any business in Miami of Latin America you’ve got to make it down here for this. It’s one of my favorites and I make it down every year specifically for it. Some friends and I are also going to plan a mastermind/meet up for those in town, we’ll share the details on that soon.

Also, I’m still putting together the content plan and doing outreach for additional posts and videos, etc. so if you’re interested in spreading the word about a specific business topic, your personal/business brand, etc. let me know!

Lastly, we’re going back to some of the CRM and business development topics we’ve been working through but I’m going to start adding a lot more structure and even a curriculum as well.

Thank you for your time, attention and support as always!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 Call to Action Friday

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 8 – Call to Action Friday

Getting this in a little last minute today but keeping the streak alive nonetheless! Still in the mountains of Banner Elk, NC and wrapping up Day 14 of the fitness streak (only 90 more to go yet to meet my goal).

Again taking a bit of a detour with something that I make more of a thing going forward: Call to Action Friday. Wanted to shout out that I’ll be back down in Miami all next week. The schedule is already packed with client meetings, prospect meetings, networking events, and much more. I’ve said many times I’m ALL IN on growing the business more and more down there and this is another major step in the right direction. I still have some availability left but even if we’re not able to meet in person this trip please reach out and let’s at least set up a call and make a plan for the next time as I’ll certainly be back often!

Also, I’m still continuing to seek more and more content from entrepreneurs and professionals who are looking to create more whether written or video. If that’s a part of your strategy for the year please reach out and we’ll get something going.

Thanks for the attention while I keep getting these reps in and have a great weekend!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 6 CRM

The WIMS Guide Ep. 6 – CRM: The A-Team

If you’re following along (if not that’s ok too) today we’re talking about what you do as the next step in launching or redeploying your CRM. You’re going to focus solely on the A players for now. The main thing that is going to create momentum and keep you using the system is achieving ROI as quickly as possible. That’s the main benefit you want out of this and thus its the primary goal.

The quickest way to get there is prioritizing the A players first, aka your best clients and prospects. So after you’ve got the data, context, and all the other appropriate information about them in there you’re then going to focus on doing something about it.

You’re going to pick these people and go through them and schedule/pre-plan your out reach and follow up strategy. You’re going to leverage the task list, the calendar, reminders, etc. to layout the timing and content with which you’re going to conduct your outreach. And you’re going to leverage the CRM to systematize/automate it and take out the human element (somewhat, but not entirely).

By now you should have some sort of script that articulates your value proposition well along with a deck or brochure. Pre-schedule your follow up, and do between 3-7 touch points to make sure you see it through. Once you close the deal you can eliminate the subsequent steps as they’re convert. Put the email script in there, add some customized talking points, context, recall a funny joke or something they care about and set the entire campaign up in one shot.

The feeling you’ll get knowing this has been accomplished is going to propel you forward and create an invaluable supplement to your day to day activities. Give it a shot and let me know if you need any assistance.

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 3

The WIMS Guide Ep. 3 – For Entrepreneurs and Professionals Focused on the Journey

It’s Friday! Already got day 7 of my gym streak knocked out, got it in early today as opposed to the 10pm sessions I’ve been pulling off lately.

Today’s client work was mostly related to government/military contracting as well as the legal industry. Fascinating stuff. I try to bunch project work together by themes/industries as much as I can in order to maintain a consistent and appropriate mindset. It doesn’t always work out that way, but when it does I find it helps create more efficiency as you don’t have to transition from say a law firm to a restaurant instantaneously.

Also, I’m rocking the Charlotte Business Group pullover on this rainy Charlotte Friday to give the organization a little extra love as we have big plans for 2020 as well. We also have an event with the Charlotte Hornets coming up on Wednesday the 8th. Make sure you stay tuned!

Most important however, I wanted to use today’s post as more of a call to action to all of you. If you’ve got the goal of creating more written and video content surrounding your business I’d love to do some guest posts/collaborations moving forward. I just have a few small stipulations that I list on here. So please reach out to me so we can make this happen!

PS, yes I’m a pacer, rocker, fidget-er even (again media training on the way), it comes out especially when running on pure adrenaline after a wild week too haha. (Man watching these playbacks is awkward…)

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

-Mike

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here. 

 

The WIMS Guide Video Ep. 2

The WIMS Guide Ep. 2 – For Entrepreneurs and Professionals Focused on the Journey

First of all, thank you for the feedback from Day 1, it means a lot and I appreciate it! There were a lot of you savages still grinding long into the night of January 1st checking LinkedIn/YouTube and I love to see it. Secondly, my wife has agreed to give me that media training refresher after all. So, when that happens, I’ll record it for you all as she’s a legit pro – and talk about META AF content am I right?!

For today’s message I went in a bit of a different direction as I wanted to highlight some of the other content I launched. I wrote a blog post specifically about Charlotte and offered some tips for how to grow your business here in 2020. Then I also wanted to highlight the newsletter we launched today that goes out to the company list and includes a ton of content. It’s the original The WIMS Guide that typically pairs with the blog and includes some additional content such as event calendar and travel advisory. Check the blog site (wimsguide.com) if you’d like to subscribe and get it, or you can email/text me or comment and I can add you to the list.

On here I give a rundown of some of the content from the newsletter, and rather than be redundant here I’ll just throw some links and let you listen to the rest. If there’s anything I can elaborate on or something you’d like me to talk about in the future, please let me know. Onward!

-Mike Simmons

The WIMS Guide Video Edition will focus on business topics such as Entrepreneurship, CRM, Marketing, Sales, B2B, Business Development, Web Design, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and much much more. To learn more about Mike Simmons and his company WIMS Consulting, click here.