Michael Shawn Majeed is a Toronto-based consultant and executive with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Michael Majeed currently serves as a Senior Financial Consultant and Regional Sales Manager for a leading SR&ED tax credit firm, ARCK Innovative Consulting Corporation, in Markham, ON. Michael has the ability to build long term profitable relationships with corporate, institutional and high net-worth individuals by providing customized financial solutions and business advisory services. He most enjoys helping clients receive tax refunds so that they can use the money to stimulate the economy, hire new employees, and grow their business.
Outside of his professional responsibilities, Michael Majeed enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, and watching Toronto Maple Leafs hockey. He is also active in the community, having raised money for The Ripple Effect Wellness Organization, Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital and breast cancer research.
Where did the idea for ARCK Consulting come from?
Each initial in the company’s name ARCK corresponds to the first and last names of my managing partners of the firm, and therefore the name ARCK was branded as the corporation trade name.
Our parent company is a public accounting firm providing accounting services such as audit and tax advice. While conducting an audit on one client, my managing partner discovered the opportunity to file an SR&ED claim for a large manufacturer in Toronto. The claim was successfully filed and the client received a sizable refund. This provided the opportunity to create a separate corporation specializing in SR&ED consulting services to an existing block of clients and that’s when ARCK was given birth.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each morning starts with a detailed market and economic overview. I view 5 key websites for relevant content. I call it my 5 minute morning:
Wall Street Journal
BBC World News
I like these particular websites because they provide me with enough relevant information pertaining to key areas such as economics, finance and world issues.
My day typically starts at 6:00am reviewing market commentary and then proceeds with emails, phone calls, servicing existing clients and prospecting for new clients.
I usually call prospective clients first thing in the morning, I find C-level executives are early morning risers and are typically at their desk by 7am.
I enjoy making calls to prospect clients as I am able to relate to many of these individuals on a professional and personal level. Over the years I’ve learned people buy from people they like, and this is a critical success factor if you are working in professional consultative sales.
I usually have working lunches unless a client requires me on a call or in a face-to-face meeting.
After lunch, let’s say between the times 2-5pm, I am working on clients files and pushing out deliverables in order to meet strict deadlines.
After work, I enjoy regular exercise by going to the gym; my circuit typically involves 1 hour of resistant training followed by 30 minutes of cardio.
Dinner is usually at 7 – 7:30pm and then I wind my day down by spending time with family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Consulting in the Research and Development space, I work with business owners who are constantly innovating and bringing new ideas to life to help improve and better the human condition. I said to one of my clients, innovation only occurs as the result of people being able to bring new ideas to life.
How I bring ideas to life follows a six step process:
Create a prototype; make your idea visual and receive input on any improvements and enhancements.
Demonstrate the benefit; show how your idea will provide a solution.
Find partners and collaborators; do research and get to know the subject matter experts who are well versed in your subject.
Be open to partnership opportunities with your leadership team. Some of the most successful companies in the world started from humble beginnings. Although one person in the organization may have come up with the original idea, company ownership of shares was made available to many individuals contributing to the idea generation and thought leadership
Build a business plan; demonstrate how your idea will lead to technological improvements, demonstrate ROI, show how your idea reduces costs, improves a process, increases efficiency, adds value, builds your brand and improves the quality of life.
Take to market; after accomplishing all of the steps above, schedule a time to share your business case with leaders in your industry and introduce your product, process or technology to the world .
What’s one trend that excites you?
The one trend that excites me is the constant evolution of technology in artificial intelligence (AI). By definition, AI is a branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tests that require human intelligence.
AI is advancements in machine learning and it is creating a paradigm shift in every industry sector. We are beginning to see how technology and machines are now playing a critical role in our activities of daily living. From how we live inside our homes to diet, nutrition and exercise; AI will continue to have a profound effect on the quality of our lives.
Our homes are now equipped with state-of-the art technology allowing us to control internal temperature, open and close the blinds, select our favorite television stations or music, vacuum the floors, drive and park our vehicles or make our favorite coffee. Life today as we know it has been automated through the advent of AI technology. AI has allowed technology to monitor and study our behavior and has contributed to overall betterments and enhancements in our day-to-day life. I am really excited to see how technology will evolve and how it will impact the quality of our lives moving forward into the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
To have a successful day, it is imperative to plan your daily activities and tasks the night before by actually writing down what needs to be accomplished in order of importance. Over the years, this simple exercise has allowed me to remain focused each day, every day and minimize my time in non-productive activities and distractions. Of course, life is not always planned; you will come across circumstances outside your control. If you simply make a note of important tasks that you must complete the night before, you will have a much greater chance of actually accomplishing those activities. I believe if you write it down, it will come true.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to never be afraid of taking chances in life. As the old saying goes…without risk, there is no reward. In order to fully achieve your accomplishments and to live a full life without regret requires a different level of thinking. As we get older our risk appetite decreases and the window of opportunity becomes narrower.
I would advise my younger self, do not be afraid to quit your job and to start your own business; be open to taking entrepreneurship courses in school, have successful mentors who you trust and can turn to for guidance and feedback; but most importantly, never be afraid of failure. The road to success is a long, hard and difficult feat; persistence, perseverance and patience are all required.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Through television and mainstream media, we are conditioned to believe that IQ is more important than EQ. The ideology of having a high IQ will result in greater material success is indoctrinated in us at a very young age; intelligence is almost always parallel to success and dominance.
Over my many years of working with high performance individuals and C-level executives, I’ve learned quite the opposite is true. High emotional intelligence breeds a different kind of character personality traits. An individual with high EQ shows empathy, genuine concern, listens attentively and has the ability to build rapport with very little effort. It is remarkable to see how much easier things are if you just know how to deal with people and connect with them emotionally and make them feel comfortable and appreciated. I am convinced that a person with a high EQ can contribute more to an organization in comparison to a high IQ. Most people think one thing, but the truth is actually the opposite.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
On any given day, prioritizing your daily activities is crucial to the success of your business. Whether you are working for a tech startup in Toronto or a senior level executive working for a multinational corporation, prioritizing your daily activities is critical to your own individual success and to the success of your organization.
The one thing I do over and over again every single day in my business week is to prioritize revenue generating business activity over all else. Focusing your attention on generating revenue is a full time commitment.
How will you improve sales this month over the previous month?
What additional services are your clients requesting and how will you deliver these additional services?
How should I take advantage of every government grant or subsidy or tax credit made available to our company?
All of the above questions directly impact your companies top and bottom line revenue figures and it is imperative to prioritize your daily activities to those of revenue generating activities if you wish to grow and succeed in this competitive environment.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The single most important strategy that I have implemented to help grow our business was creating a high performance sales team and department. I researched the best possible way to onboard new clients with minimal investment. I designed a two-tier sales department consisting of inside and outside sales reps. Our inside sales team and titled business development representatives are responsible for making ‘cold calls’ to targeted prospective clients. This requires some intelligence homework on each prospect through online public research. BDR’s are answering the following questions:
size of company based on revenue and employee
number of business locations
decision maker in the firm
are they using a competitor
Once a BDR captures interest they book a face to face meeting with our outside sales representative. This person then meets with the prospect and successfully onboard the client to the firm. This two tier sales system has been a tremendous success.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Throughout my professional employment journey, I realized that managing my career rests solely in my hands. I met with successful business people in my industry who have rewarding careers and I sought their help and support by talking to them about my issues and challenges. My mentors provided me with excellent advice and feedback which shaped my attitude and influenced my way of thinking. Facing adversity is not a bad thing, in fact, it’s necessary…it helps sharpen your pencils and allows you to look through the lens of your career more clearly; this only comes after experiencing failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Find something you are good at doing, something you have a passion for…whether it’s sharing your personal story of facing adversity, overcoming challenges in your professional career, or perhaps something more difficult as battling and defeating cancer. Share your story with others, become a life coach, a motivational speaker, provide advice on how to become a better salesperson in today’s competitive market, how to be a better manager given current changes in technology.
People are ready and willing to listen. People will pay to seek knowledge and information. I advise everyone who is willing to take a chance on themselves, find a need that the market demands and build a business around that need. You will see how the market reacts when you build the infrastructure of a business and use today’s technology to market those services. As the old adage goes….’when you build it, they will come’. Success and financial independence is around the corner for us all….you just have to seek it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent was on a ticket fundraiser at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. When purchasing my raffle ticket and in the event I won a gift, I assigned my winnings to the hospital who would then donate the gift to a child.
I suppose it was my lucky day that day because my ticket number was drawn and I won a $250 gift certificate to Toys R Us. My gift was donated to a lovely young girl who was battling a terminal illness. It was truly a gift to see how I put such a big smile on her face, and the feeling I received in return is indescribable.
From that day forward, I decided to raise funds for Sick Kid’s Hospital when training for competitive runs in the city. This is now my preferred choice of charitable organization. I also wish to acknowledge the incredible work of the entire hospital staff at Sick Kids; they truly have a profound impact on each child’s life and that of their parents.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The one piece of software that I use on a daily basis is our client relationship management software (CRM). A CRM is a cloud based software that acts as a repository of prospective client leads. Our entire organization including our sales team and management rely on the use of this software to obtain the following information:
Number of prospective client leads converted to opportunities
Number of opportunities expected to be on boarded as clients
Projected revenue per client file
Relevant notes and background information on company profile
Key contact information
Internal staff notes
Management also relies on this software for revenues and expense projections on a weekly and monthly basis; this software assists management in making key strategic short and long term decisions in addition to establishing sales targets and benchmarks. You can login to the system from the office or remotely as long as you have a reliable internet connection.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. Schwartz.
This is a book that everyone should read. The book focuses on you…the individual self and how you can succeed in your approach and your thinking. The book is filled with relevant and reliable content and serves to act as a coach. It touches on the following issues:
You feel trapped or stagnant at work and what you should do about it
You’re tired of thinking “I couldn’t” or “I can’t”.
You need the confidence to succeed in an upcoming project/presentation or meeting
This book helped me in my approach to business and I am confident it can help you.
What is your favorite quote?
‘Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.’
- Identify critical success factors required to succeed in both personal and professional spheres
- It’s never the challenge of reaching the final destination, it’s the hard work and commitment required through the journey getting there
- Achievement is both quantifiable and measurable
- All the necessary tools required to succeed are made available to everyone, you just have to seek it
- Attitude, commitment and character matters
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.