Listen more, speak less.
Eric Lanz is currently employed as an ERP consultant and a business transformation consultant. He has about twenty to twenty five years of experience and background in the two as well as finance and operations with various manufacturing companies. His main focus is Microsoft Dynamics AX. Eric Lanz started his career working for Arthur Andersen as a Public Accountant out of Louisville, Kentucky. He is married with two grade school aged children and currently resides in Lebanon, Kentucky.
Where did the idea to become an ERP consultant come from?
Honestly, it came out of being asked by others to help them out. It’s really as simple as that. When I got a couple of phone calls asking if I could help with something on the side or if I could fly up to help them do this for a couple of days to a week. That’s how it started and it just sort of grew from there.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day would be a combination of meetings with clients and a lot of my own follow up projects and task work. A lot of collaboration work during the day, a lot of work with fellow team members and then my night would be spent on catching up.
How do you bring new ideas to life?
Most of my ideas come to life through self-problem solving being a sole proprietor and not having a team. My ideas come to life through research, if there is something I’m thinking of doing or thinking of some type of strategy I’m thinking of executing; I do quite a bit of internet research surrounding that to see what else has already been created and make sure I’m not recreating it or stealing it. That’s where most of my ideas come from.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The biggest excitement for someone who does consulting and mergers and acquisitions is the fact that there are so many baby boomers retiring or looking to retire. Without family or children to pass the business along to they feel that retiring is a better option so there will be more mergers and acquisitions happening.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’d say while I am an accountant at heart I still have a fairly outgoing personality and I’m not shy. I certainly don’t mind reaching out to others or getting involved in activities. Whereas a lot of individuals in the finance or accounting field tend to be more introverted, I definitely tend to have some extroverted qualities.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To have more patience as I have learned over the past five to eight years that patience is very important even when there are other things outside of work, you still have to get the work done even when there are other things affecting your ability to, but you have to have patience as well.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The one thing that I think is true that most people don’t agree on is I think the situations in the news become the way they are based on what the media wants to cover. Something becomes a huge issue because that’s where they decide to pick on it. Not social news but more business news such as the stock market is crashing which has been a big one the past couple of days. They spend all of their time broadcasting about how bad it’s going to get it when it truly wouldn’t get that bad. People tend to jump on the bandwagon by nature; we all tend to jump on the bandwagon. When it’s there to follow by the way its broadcasted in the media we tend to make it happen. Self-predicting what will happen by how it’s covered. I recently saw an article that explained the real news is what we see on the ticker running below the broadcasters. While they are busy talking about the latest celebrity breakups or gossip, the stuff we need to know is taking a backstage. Very odd to me!
As an entrepreneur what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I say take notes; notes are essential and help keep things organized. I have seen many times people not doing this and it affecting their work and progress, especially when I was teaching manager and supervisory classes and people would be out in the field asking all kinds of questions to their subordinates. It drives me crazy when people aren’t making those lists. You have to always have paper on you to take notes and make your to-do lists.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Networking is essential and using LinkedIn has been great for me. Probably the best usage of LinkedIn is I’ve helped individuals trying to sell a business or buy a business, being able to reach out and connect with similar businesses or similar individuals for brokering those transactions. Networking has been by the far the best.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure was not being more entrepreneurial at an earlier age. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done this a long time ago. I think we are in an unprecedented time of seeing very young entrepreneurs. While millennials get a bad wrap, they also have been our most entrepreneurial group of business people. Watch Shark Tank and you will see the age distribution gets younger and younger.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s more of a tip, an age-old adage, listen more and speak less. I’m pretty guilty of not doing this myself, maybe more than a lot of people of jumping in ahead of time. If you don’t know what the problem is through listening and getting a good description then none of that will matter because you will be solving something that’s not the problem. The biggest one is listen more and talk less.
What is the best $100 dollars you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent the best hundred dollars on something that is non-business related and that was taking my wife and kids to the ski slopes to go snow tubing. We went to Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive. How do you use it?
Email in general and Microsoft Outlook is still a very productive tool though some people say it slows them down because they are always answering email. It’s still one of the largest productivity tools available and one of my largest productivity tools is a pad of paper and a pen.
What is the one book you recommend our community should read and why?
The one that I love the most, I can’t think of it right now. I would have to look at my Amazon orders again, I ordered twenty copies of it.
What’s your favorite quote?
My favorite one is, “it is what it is.” I say that often.
• Listen more and talk less
• Note taking is essential and helps to keep things organized
• To be an entrepreneur you have to have an outgoing personality and not be shy
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.