Take a proactive approach to make your business more successful.
Will James is the Owner and President of Brainseed Testing Centers. He has come a long way since he started his business over ten years ago. He began his business with a single idea and a small fifteen desktop office in Alexandria, Virginia. He has grown a network of eleven locations, strategically placing an office on each coast and he is still anticipating an expansion in the future. Brainseed testing centers offer over a thousand tests such as CISA, Praxis, AWS, CISM, GRE, TOEFL, and GED. The company has assisted thousands of individuals to receive their professional certifications and advance their careers.
What makes them the leader of the pack? Customer Service. This is a customer-centric organization. Their commitment is demonstrated by their dedication to remaining open for hours that accommodate clients. They pride themselves on having convenient locations. And, most important, the facilities are kept safe, secure and comfortable for all.
Where did the idea for Brainseed come from?
Before opening Brainseed, my primary field for testing was in aviation with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration). We were contracted by the TSA to provide testing and certification for their staff. As that contract came to an end, we expanded to perform other tests. Our expansion was so successful that we now provide testing and certification on over two-thousand tests. These tests are offered through our network nationwide.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my mornings in my office. I make sure that we are fully staffed and well trained. I can view my entire network through audio and video from my office. In the event that we meet with any challenge, I can be in close communication with my staff. We run a very smooth operation. I travel within the network to assure quality and to meet with staff face to face. The busier the facility, the more often I will visit.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I meditate. It is a good way to clear your thoughts and focus your mind. I think about a plan to make an idea come to fruition. If an idea is good, I employ the help of the people on my staff. We adjust accordingly. If the end-goal doesn’t work out quite as we planned, we will adjust, adapt, and make it happen in a different way.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend that excites me the most is that we have made it possible to have a test that people cannot cheat on. Our staff has been trained in the latest techniques that make it much easier to identify the “cheaters.” There was a scandal that happened months ago where many people got away with cheating on their tests. I don’t believe there will ever be a test that is one hundred percent fool-proof one hundred percent of the time. But these new techniques make it much easier to identify.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
We are a customer-centric organization. You cannot look only at what you need for your business. You have to look at what your clients need from you. Our candidates are also our clients. They entrust us with the test that they would like to have administered. They expect us to deliver the test safely and securely. We also have clients who request tests to be administered. Both the vendor and the candidates are our clients. What sets me is apart is that I put myself in my client’s shoes. I figure out what exactly it is that they need and satisfy those needs.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to be patient. Be diligent and realize that you can make it happen. Have confidence that things will work out the way that you want them to.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Many people have a misconception of the reality of this business. They perceive people coming in to deceive our tests. The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of people are kind and honest people who want everything to work out well. We work a lot with the public. The perception that people are trying to come in to deceive is just not true. It is the exception to the rule of individuals that to try to be shady. It might be less than one percent who come in with ill intentions.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The most important thing to be consistent with is customer service. Even when you don’t feel like providing good customer service, do it anyway. Always, be consistent. We are dealing with two clients, my vendor and the candidates. You have to consistently provide great customer service to both.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that I use is to always be aware of the opportunities available. You have to take care of your clients’ needs first, but always be cognizant of other opportunities that might be available. Then, take action on it. Take a proactive approach to make your business more successful.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Like many entrepreneurs, I have had challenges when hiring staff. I have learned never to compromise on staff. Make sure to hire quality staff from the beginning.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I believe a good business would be to accommodate the growing population of the elderly. They need all kinds of assistance.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best hundred I spent is on my child’s birthday! It was priceless.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Microsoft Office Suite daily for everything.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book discusses how to bring your life into alignment.
What is your favorite quote?
The measure of intelligence is the ability to adjust. This is my mother’s wisdom.
• Never compromised when hiring staff.
• Be aware of opportunities available and take a proactive approach to make your business more successful.
• Be diligent and realize that you can make it happen.
• Have confidence that things will work out the way that you want them to.
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.