We recently connected with Greg Hansen and have shared our conversation below.
Greg, appreciate you joining us today. Risk taking is something we’re really interested in and we’d love to hear the story of a risk you’ve taken.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Greg Hansen is the CEO of Hans and Company, a software consulting company that builds, integrates, and tests software for companies around the world. He is a recognized mentor for fast-growing technology businesses and has led innovations in public investment companies, venture capital, and growth marketing. Prior to Hans and Company, Greg has helped to create stakeholder value by founding and running three other businesses, including Ethical VC, Coding AZ, and ThoroughTest. He has also served on the Board for companies such as PassRight and RateMyInvestor. Before that, he started his career by working for companies such as Fidelity Investments, State Farm Insurance, and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Greg has previously served on the Board of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, helping to foster trade between Sweden and the United States. He also was also an advisor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Human Coalition. Academic schooling includes a BA in Psychology from San Jose State University, an MA in Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and MBA from Liberty University, and Executive Education from Stanford University. Professional accomplishments include 18 certifications, more than 85 published articles, and associations with the Change Management Association, Agile Alliance, International Institute of Business Analysis, Project Management Institute, and Toastmasters International. He loves reading, lifting weights, and spending time with his six kids and beautiful wife. Greg also reads one book every week and is currently rebuilding supercar engines for fun. Also attempting the art of refinishing vintage axes and hanging the handles.
Any fun sales or marketing stories?
Never underestimate the value and importance of introducing yourself in public, cold-calling people, and writing letters. I have may connections, friends, investors, and founders through all three of these methods. I once wrote a sales letter to a CEO of a major retail company. I figured not many people would do that and because everybody uses email now, he probably doesn’t get mail that often. I was right. The letter was delivered to him, he emailed me back, and cc’ed several VPs in his response to me. Cold-calling (and cold-emailing) works too. Don’t be spammy, rude, or pushy, but it does work. Just realize you need to do a lot of it and not every call will be a win. Don’t put that pressure on the customer. If you call 100 people, you will find a win, though. I have hired vendors who were politely and respectfully persistent. Remember, people hire people.
If you have multiple revenue streams in your business, would you mind opening up about what those streams are and how they fit together?
Yes, and I wish I would have started my company with multiple revenue streams from the beginning. Here’s my recommendation: have something you can sell to anybody, have something that recurs, and have big purchase items. For me, I’ve had clients hire me as an individual in the past. I don’t advertise it or solicit it, but sometimes people like founders or entrepreneurs want to hire me personally to consult them or consult at their startup. I’ve also had friends who were also business owners want to hire me for something that I didn’t offer, but they trusted me and knew I could figure it out, so they would hire me instead of a stranger. When you need revenue, you’ll do a lot of things. Also, having recurring revenue can really help you when other deals fall through. I offer a service that is a 12-month contract. It’s not big revenue, but if I can layer a few of these clients together, the money ads up and can help your business float through difficult times. Thirdly, offer a service or product that can be a big win for your company. This can be a large contract or a big project. Just have something that will help your revenue numbers jump.