Jeff Nock

Founder of Prescient Consulting

Jeff Nock is an experienced executive, consultant, leader with a demonstrated history of growing startups, non-profits and established companies. Jeff is skilled in Business Planning, Strategic Planning Process, Management Development, Comprehensive Marketing, Sales, and Presentation Development. Strong, well rounded background with a Master of Science in Management. Jeff has helped over 250 companies build and execute successful strategic and business plans.

He is the CEO & Founder of Prescient Consulting, LLC. Prescient is a consultancy that helps funded early stage and mid cap companies achieve their vision and growth goals by offering services that include C-Level mentoring, strategic planning, business planning, business model ideation/evolution, market analysis, competitive niche analysis, business development, operational efficiencies and brand evolution. Prescient Consulting has also developed a stellar group of partners in areas such as software development and leadership development to ensure that services offered can scale with your business.

Jeff has over 30 years of executive leadership experience including President & CEO of Goodwill of the Heartland, CEO of EPX Denver, AVP of Marketing and Product Development at ACT, and supervisor of a software coding department at a Dun & Bradstreet subsidiary. Jeff also has been part of three high tech startups including netLibrary, an online ebook library purchased by OCLC in Boulder, CO, Knowledge Analysis Technologies, an automated essay scoring engine purchased by Pearson in Boulder, CO and ConnectFive, a UX design firm in Coralville, IA.

Jeff is blessed with four amazing children and loves supporting his kids at all their events, fitness, reading, watching sports and giving back to the community.

Where did the idea for Prescient Consulting come from?

For many years during my various leadership roles within organizations, I had the opportunity to be a volunteer mentor for a variety of business owners and their teams. During the Cedar Rapids flood of 2008, when the entire downtown was under water and hundreds of businesses had to start over again, I volunteered through their Chamber of Commerce SCORE program as a business mentor and enjoyed helping people get back on their feet. I often was told that “you should do this full-time so at the end of 2018 I decided to go for it and lunched Prescient Consulting, LLC.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Both pre-covid 19 and now, in the mornings I am on ZOOM video calls with international clients and partners and do prospecting. In the afternoons, I spend time with local clients at their facilities. The key is to mix up the online remote work with the in-person client work as the online remote work is efficient but the in-person work allows for more socialization and the ability to develop deeper business relationships.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As a business owner, executive for a company, or consultant, my forte has always been to work with the creative team available to identify opportunities for incremental improvement or to solve problems in the market/customer base. As Elon Musk is known for saying, companies can’t just come up with products or services that are as good or just a little bit better than those already in the market. They have to come up with products or services that clearly differentiate with value propositions that are clearly, incrementally better than available today. Google didn’t invent the search engine. They just made it faster and better than anyone else. Apple didn’t invent the smartphone, they just made theirs incrementally easier to use than anyone else.

What’s one trend that excites you?

As horrible as COVID 19 has been for the world, it has allowed the vast majority of workers and students to realize that working remotely is possible and that it can be more productive. While socialization at the workplace does enable strong collaboration, approximately 50% of people or more introverted than extroverted. Many of them may actually enjoy working remotely AND be more productive doing so. As we work through this pandemic, I anticipate a trend where many people continue to work from home because they enjoy doing that more and are betters workers doing so.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

The ability to stay focused. Most entrepreneurs I work with are so creative and they are constantly coming up with new ideas. They often fail to focus long enough on one promising concept in order to bring that concept to fruition. As they say, dreamers come up with lots of ideas. Entrepreneurs execute on their ideas and make them realities.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Strive to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Good leaders should want the strongest possible team around themselves. The best companies have the best and strongest leadership teams (not just a great founder). When Steve Jobs was first at Apple he thought he should make all the decisions and was rude to his leadership team and employees. Eventually his own Board of Directors fired him. When he came back after learning some humility he hired some of the brightest minds in tech history to be on his leadership team. This reenergized Apple which became the most valuable company in the world.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The University of Colorado, Boulder is the greatest university in the world!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Get a mentor who has already done what you want to do and can meet with you regularly to help you achieve your goals. AND, mentor someone who wants to accomplish what you have already accomplished.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Network, network, network. Defined as keep in touch with people and what they are trying to achieve and help them achieve their goals whenever you can. And don’t ask them for anything in return. Networking is not asking someone to help you. You end up growing your growing your network, which grows your intellectual capital. And eventually, people reach out to help you with your goals and you don’t even have to ask.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I was part of a small startup team in 1998 at the beginning of the Dot Com boom. We raised and spent a lot of money fast on a model that was years ahead of its time. When the bubble burst in 2002 we lost everything. What I learned from that is you have to be confident but humble when launching a company. The ability to raise and spend money has to be balanced by appropriate market acceptance of the product or service (meaning the company should have revenue growth worthy of investment at various levels of growth).

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If I had a universal idea for a business, I would have already started that business! Each person has their own life experience. What consumer or business product or service simply doesn’t work currently? How could it be done incrementally better?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I run 6x a week and sometimes I forget how important running shoes are to a runner. I recently spent $100 on a new pair of Nike running shoes that conform to your soul after use. The difference in comfort has been amazing.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We have been using ZOOM for our business to connect with clients and partners all over the world for years. One of the few benefits of this horrible pandemic is that now all my clients and family and friends now how to use ZOOM to communicate.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. The development of a good company culture should start with why the company exists. If the reason the company exists is only to make money, that company will fail compared to those companies that have a purpose or why that is higher up Maslow’s hierarchy.

What is your favorite quote?

Having been on many non-profit boards and having been a CEO or executive for two large non-profits, I once worked at ACT and the CEO at the time, Dick Ferguson, used to say “We are non-profit. That doesn’t mean we are for loss.” He meant no money, no mission.

Key Learnings:

  • Mentoring: Successful business people have earned that success through experience and effort and have a responsibility to share what they have learned with the next generation of leaders. It is important to not just take but to give.
  • Remote work is here to stay: The traditional in person, group work setting works well for half of our world, but working remotely works better for many (introverts) and should and will continue to be an option that will increase productivity and worker morale.
  • Perseverance: So often in today’s world of instant gratification, we expect instant results. Success in the business world is rarely instantaneous but rather takes perseverance, hard work and patience.