Learn how to become a great problem solver. What questions do you need to ask and who are the right people to answer those questions? Which data points are important and which ones are irrelevant? All of these elements are necessary to come up with good solutions.
Paul Herdsman has over 10 years of experience in consumer software and online customer acquisition. He prides himself on his problem solving, sales, and marketing skills. Paul is the Co-Founder and COO of NICE Global, a near-shore business solutions company that opened in 2014 and is located in Montego Bay, Jamaica. When Paul isn’t in the office you can find him spending time with his family, getting in a round of golf, or out fishing.
Where did the idea for NICE Global come from?
In 2013, we were using outsourcers in five different countries. The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Philippines, India, and here in the US. Managing all of these centers efficiently became challenging and created a tremendous strain on our internal resources. After some long discussions and deep due diligence, we decided to bring everything in-house and build our own center in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Although I was born in Jamaica, I had no real experience with building a company there, how to manage the people there, or how the infrastructure would hold up to our needs. In the end, everything worked out as planned and we couldn’t be happier with our decision. Our associates in Jamaica did such a wonderful job handling our business needs, we decided to offer our services to other clients, and thus NICE Global was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There are two certainties in my daily routine. Making sure I see my kids off to school and making sure I see my kids off to bed. Everything in the middle is an ever changing fast moving environment that comes with running a company. Especially when that company comes with hundreds of people and is located in another country. I just remind myself to have fun, keep things flexible, and don’t create busy work. Create results.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Most of my ideas come to me when I’m away from the office, but they come to life in the office. My business partners are an unbelievable sounding board with fantastic feedback. Every idea starts with more questions than answers. After a lot of back and forth, once we’ve closed the gap on the question to answer ratio, we put the idea into motion on a very small scale.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Companies are starting to utilize nearshore services vs offshore services. Would you rather fly your team to the Caribbean or to India? Would you rather pay a little more and have a high quality customer engagement or pay less and have a mediocre customer engagement? Is it easier to find associates to live in the Caribbean or to find someone to live in the Philippines or India? These are just a few of the reasons why companies are now considering a nearshore option like NICE Global. We’re thrilled with the shift and are looking forward to what the future holds.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Not wasting time. My emails are short and concise. My phone calls are short and concise. My meetings are short and concise. Don’t waste time on creating busy work that’s not important. It distracts from your day and takes away from your overall productivity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn how to become a great problem solver. What questions do you need to ask and who are the right people to answer those questions? Which data points are important and which ones are irrelevant? How do you process the data properly? All of these elements are necessary to come up with good solutions. If you can become more refined with each question it will lead to a more enhanced process to solving both easy and complicated problems.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Being busy equals productivity. I see this all the time, people trying to manufacture unnecessary meetings and phone calls. That mindset will negatively affect productivity as it will slowly erode real actions that do result in productive output. No one gets to the next level by winning the award for most emails sent or most presentations given, you get to the next level by getting results that move the company in the right direction. Focus on what will drive that upward momentum, not on creating ‘busy’ work.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Most people will disagree with me on this, but I go into most if not all interactions with a skeptical view on what’s being presented or discussed. It’s not because I don’t believe in what’s being presented to me at the time, it’s not because I want to discourage the people in the room on what they are presenting or discussing with me, and it’s not because I’m a negative individual.
For me, this thought process brings out the best in my ability to ask the right questions and zero in on what’s important. For the people in the room, they bring an extra sense of energy, determination, and preparation to the conversation that may not have been there if I were just going through the motions. They come extra prepared to state their case and I am extra focused and engaged, it’s worked out well for me and my teammates over the years.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Make sure your team members learn and understand about each individual business unit within the company. They should understand why it exists, what its responsibilities are, and how it executes those responsibilities. In my very first job out of college, my boss sent me around to every business unit and had me get a full breakdown of what they do and why they do it. That lesson has been with me ever since, it gave me a much clearer picture of why my role was so important and how it was part of an overall ecosystem. Anything I did could either positively or negatively affect not just my team, but other teams around us and the company as a whole.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Holding on to certain responsibility too long was always my biggest challenge as a young entrepreneur. I’ve learned to hire people smarter than myself and truly trust them with the task at hand.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A program that would slowly reduce our dependency on our smartphone usage. As a society, we are turning into zombies hooked on our smartphones. Maybe there’s a way to monitor one’s usage and show them how much of their life is actually being lost to texting, scrolling through Instagram, and posting on Facebook. It’s a similar concept to a calorie counter for someone on a diet, if you don’t track how many calories you’re actually eating, you don’t really know where or how to cut back. Our smartphone / social media consumption is no different, we need to cut back and we need help doing it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent a $100 on a few bags of groceries for a weekend cookout with the family. I recently lost a very close friend of mine and this little get together gave me a sense of comfort and gratitude to be so blessed to have my immediate family around me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Slack. It just works.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend two; “Rework” and “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff“. I keep both of them in my office and read through them from time to time. One reminds me that nothing is more important than my family. Issues will always come up in companies and problems will need to be solved, but at the end of the day, you can always go home to what’s really important, a loving healthy family. The other book reminds me to forgo the impressed upon normal business routines of meetings, presentations, conference calls, etc. and just get stuff done. It teaches you not to create work that isn’t really there and how to focus on getting results.
What is your favorite quote?
There isn’t one specific influential person or thought process I follow. I like to take in all perspectives from various thinkers and doers. Whether I agree or disagree with one’s point of view, it helps me look at things from different angles, not just my own.
- Look into nearshore services vs offshore services
- Learn how to be a great problem solver. Ask the right questions and get the right answers.
- Don’t create busy work that’s not there.
- Understanding every facet of the company/business you’re in will set you and your company up for success.
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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.