[quote style=”boxed”]Be as clear as you can about what the bigger picture is for you. It will change as you grow, and when it seems like what you’re doing isn’t working, refocus your picture again.[/quote]
September Dohrmann is the COO of CEO Space International. Her role in the company encompasses rebranding, HR, office management, and finding external solutions for the company. CEO Space believes in cooperation among businesses; they seek to build a community that encourages and educates in conference settings.
She is married to Berny Dohrmann and has two sons.
What are you working on right now?
Like all companies expanding, we have many moving parts, but a few projects are particularly exciting for us. We’re recreating our sales training program to better fit our culture and better serve the long-term relationship between our brand and our members. We’re also overhauling our IT department, which will enable us to provide better solutions for our internal teams, as well as more interesting and engaging experiences for our members and prospective members.
Where did the idea for CEO Space come from?
Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, our founder was part of a mastermind group that put its talents together and came up with a solution that would not only better the lives of business owners, but also provide an opportunity to create a worldwide movement of cooperation, which is the core purpose of CEO Space. We want to change the way we work and grow together as a global community through the experience of cooperation.
How do you make money?
We sell a lifetime membership to our cooperative community that gathers at our Business Growth Conferences five times a year.
What does your typical day look like?
Our Mondays are great — we start off with a team huddle and refocus our thoughts and plans for the week. We share exciting news from the community, bring up new challenges for brainstorming, and develop solutions. Throughout the week, we support each other on projects we share. It’s amazing to see all the work accomplished in a week’s time. Between managing and completing projects, we also service our members’ needs, as well as our sales force’s needs.
Things change before a conference. Four weeks before a conference, we focus on delivering our main product: setting up the AV, hotel accommodations, inventories, menus, schedules, room assignments, new member welcomes, and more. It can be a bit crazy sometimes, but at the end of the day, there’s not one of us who would say it wasn’t the best week ever.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We use lots of Post-it notes! Brainstorming sessions are always done around a big pile of Post-its and pens. We put all our ideas down, map the idea process, and transfer the final thoughts into project management documents once we reach agreement on the best way to proceed.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Infographics really excite me — I love the way we’re capturing information in such a visually captivating way.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Telemarketing was the worst. I learned I’d rather have an engaging conversation with someone than a scripted, one-way conversation that ended with a mid-sentence hang-up on the other end.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do one thing differently. That’s not to say it’s been a walk in the park. There have been days when I questioned what I was doing, but out of that, I found I was focusing on the wrong things, things that didn’t really matter in the big picture. I suppose if I’d known that lesson going in, things would have been easier when I needed them to be. However, I’m stronger in the knowing, and it’s serving me very well.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be as clear as you can about what the bigger picture is for you. It will change as you grow, and when it seems like what you’re doing isn’t working, refocus your picture again.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
A marketing idea we had about three years ago was rough going. The thought was fantastic; it was the execution that caused the effort to fail. But we came together as a team, created a systemized solution we still use, and executed a clean-up solution. When the clean-up was taking place, we put better marketing structures in place. Now, we continue to polish and nurture them.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’d recommend creating a social media management firm. Create a company that manages and builds accounts on every social media platform for a monthly fee, and build packages to fit all budgets. There’s an enormous need!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I’d change one thing: competition. Why do we have to compete with one another to succeed? For most of us, it’s not a great feeling. In our space, we know cooperation speeds up the business growth process, benefits all parties involved, and creates a much better experience at the end of the day. It feels great knowing you not only made the desired progress in your area, but you also made a positive difference in another’s area.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
Most people think we have a very large team of people running the day-to-day operations, shifting companies’ challenges into growth opportunities, and producing a large conference ever six to eight weeks. We’re actually just a small team of 11.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Google: You can never say “I don’t know” again.
Lynda.com: This site has saved us so much time with learning curves. We love how clear and concise the messages are.
Dropbox: This is a great tool for document communication. We, of course, use it with our internal team, but we also use it with vendors, like our printing company. It’s made the process of printing materials for each conference a breeze.
What is the one book you recommend our community should read and why?
I love to read, so offering one book is hard! I’ll go with “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz. If you’re going to dream about your life and what you want out of it, do it in a big way. “Big” doesn’t have a universal meaning. Big to one person is not the same for another. This book talks about how to step into the process of thinking bigger.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I’ll be honest, I’m not social media-savvy.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This week, my youngest son was telling me about his day at school and was very focused on explaining all the details precisely. Our family talks with our hands, and my sons are no different. As he was talking, his hands and arms were flying, and suddenly, he hit his funny bone and went from a focused poker face to a contorted expression of pain, like something from a Jim Carrey movie. Being the mom I am, I started to laugh to refocus his attention on something other than the pain. We both laughed a hearty belly laugh that brought us to tears. It was awesome.
Who is your hero, and why?
My hero is Wonder Woman…because she’s Wonder Woman. My true hero, however, would be my husband. He loves unconditionally with his whole heart. I’ve never met such a loving spirit.
What is the most unique aspect of your company?
Our mission is what makes us unique: to change the world through cooperation. Think about it in depth, not just as a passing thought. What would that global experience look like?
If you were to look back on the entirety of your life (past, present, future) what would you be most proud to say you’ve accomplished?
My family is my greatest accomplishment. I have a family in which my teenagers enjoy both parents, and both parents enjoy each other. It’s my happy place.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.