Dike Ajiri is a strategist in business whose expertise is in creating profitable businesses from the ground up and taking average businesses to the next level. Dike has spent many years honing his business skills as both a manager and director for several organizations but figured out early on that he possessed the qualities to be an entrepreneur. He is highly disciplined, has tons of ambition and a positive attitude which lead to success and business growth for his companies.
Dike is a competitor to the core, both on in the business arena and as an athlete. Along with his business prowess, he spent many years as a professional rugby player and is currently ranked #10 in the world for senior men’s singles Pickleball rankings. During his down time from business, Dike enjoys training with the best players in the nation, and tours across the country playing in tournaments.
Currently, Dike runs multiple successful businesses, which he has improved to be highly profitable, including JunkMan, a Nevada based commercial trash removal business, and a commercial floor cleaning business in his home state of Iowa.
Along with business, Dike is active in advocating for racial equality, and he has set up a scholarship fund, The Dike Ajiri Scholarsip for Racial Equality, to give a little back to a deserving student and to bring awareness to racial disparity.
When he isn’t working on his companies and touring on the Pickleball circuit, Dike enjoys spending time with his lovely wife Marion and his children in their hometown of Urbandale, Iowa.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
As an entrepreneur, I do things a little differently than others. What I do best is to improve on ideas and make companies better. I usually will take a business that is underperforming, but in a good niche market and improve on the idea and processes to make the business more profitable. My belief is that easier to make an average business in a good industry into a great business than it is to make a good business in a poor industry into a great business. I love to find businesses in a great niche and improve upon them.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I spend the most of my days with customers and clients. Sales and customer service is an important part of my day. I believe what sets me apart from others in this area is that many times people don’t do what they say they will do, but I pride myself in following through with the things I say.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Niche markets excite me. I am always on the lookout for new businesses that there is a niche that is large enough to make a great living, but may be too small for large corporations to take notice. There are many opportunities, but you just need to turn over a lot of rocks to find them.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe that my highly disciplined habits are what set me apart from others and make me successful. I have a routine, stick to a schedule and work hard every day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You don’t have to pinch every penny. It’s ok to spend a little bit more and not have to watch every dollar to the point that the value of your time is decreasing. Watch the big dollars but not every cent.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It is ok to say no to growth if the opportunity doesn’t make sense for you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Work hard. A lot of times it just comes down to working harder than others to succeed. And again, it’s ok to say “no” if its not worth your time.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Providing great service. You don’t always have to be the best at everything, but find your niche, perfect it, and provide the best service in your area. Make sure that you follow through with what you say you will do. Also, ask for the referral. Many times I feel that after people provide a great service, they forget to ask the client if someone else could benefit from the service. Referrals can be one of the greatest sources of new business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I bought a transportation company which performed package delivery. Normally, I look everything over about the business to make sure I’m making the correct decision, but this time I did terrible due diligence and didn’t ask for the tax returns. I trusted the numbers provided to me, and it came back to bite me.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Work harder than your competitors.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $375 on a moped in college. I was a student at Miami University in Ohio, and the campus was huge and I was really busy, and started realizing how much time it was taking me to get everywhere that I needed to go. Earlier I touched on the value of saving time and the opportunity cost of lost time, so at end of freshman year found a used moped, and was able to save tons of time getting around campus which opened me up to more opportunities.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Less Annoying CRM. It allows me to have a simple solution for my client management and is affordable and effective.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Book of Matthew in the Bible. Everything that I have earned I have gotten by the gifts given to me from God… everything from my physical skills as an athlete to my business skills. First and foremost, I need to be grateful to God for everything. He keeps me grounded and keeps me humble and free of greediness.
What is your favorite quote?
Proverbs 3:5. “Trust the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.