If you’re looking for a keynote speaker on business growth, you’ve come to the right place.
Jeff Havens is not your typical keynote speaker. He wields an uncanny ability to provide actionable answers to today’s biggest business challenges in an undeniably entertaining way. When he’s on stage, you’ll gain insights, reconsider your perspective, and even laugh a little — OK, you’ll laugh a lot. Jeff’s unique and humorous approach to speaking on business growth has put him in front of 1,000s of eager audiences across North America and Asia.
In this article, he’s asked some questions about business growth, when to hire a speaker to address business growth in a company, and what to expect from someone of his caliber.
But before you read his answers, watch this video as a short introduction to Jeff and his presence on stage:
Ask The Expert: Jeff Havens
You speak with a lot of different types of businesses across a number of industries… so, how do you define a business growth expert to so many different markets?
“The specifics of how a business goes from small to large, or from good to great, are unique to each business. However, the general ideas those businesses need to understand – whether we’re talking about how to win customers, create a winning culture, out-innovate their competition, etc. – those ideas are true for all businesses, regardless of their age or size or industry. Fundamentally, business growth is about understanding people – the people who make up your company, or the people who buy and use your products and services. If you understand how people think and operate, if you can truly understand why they do what they do, then you’ll know how to win. That’s where I come in.”
Why should businesses trust you as their business growth expert?
“This will sound like a weird answer maybe, but they should trust me because I am NOT selling consulting services. I make my living delivering presentations, not engaging in 3- or 6- or 12-month contracts with companies. That doesn’t mean I don’t do those, but it does mean that’s not my primary means of earning a living. Which means I have no incentive to leak small amounts of information over a long period of time. If you hire me, you’ll know everything I can think to tell you as quickly as I can share it. You’ll immediately have a comprehensive overview of how to solve your leadership issues, or your interaction with your customers. If you want me to help implement those solutions, I will be available; but you will absolutely know what to do as soon as I finish talking.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you see businesses facing when trying to grow?
“Depends on the size of the business. For small businesses, especially entrepreneurs, hiring is the biggest issue. If your business is fewer than 10 employees, a single bad hire can cost you 2 years of progress. With large businesses, though, the biggest issue is culture. The vast majority of employees are simultaneously satisfied AND disengaged with their jobs, which sounds like it should be a paradox, but in reality it’s a consequence of how we typically approach what leadership is and requires. That’s a problem I know how to solve.”
When is the best time to start leveraging a business growth expert?
“The easy answer would be something like, “Whenever you’re ready to grow!” but that is not only super cheesy but also a little late. I think the best time would be when you start to get complacent, which often happens while things feel very good and stable. Complacency typically comes immediately before stagnation or decline, and smart businesses are always at least mildly paranoid that today’s good times won’t necessarily last forever. Business growth isn’t only about making more money or hiring more employees; it’s also about creating a richer culture and building stronger relationships. Those are things that can be addressed during even the greatest financial moments.”
Per your website, you have 4 keynote speeches: Customer Experience, Innovation, Generational Differences, and Leadership… How do each of these play a role in business growth?
“Well, without customers, there’s not much of a business to have, so understanding how they think and why they want what they want is critical for long-term success. The best businesses are also continuously innovating (which by the way does NOT mean they’re always coming up with new products or industry-changing ideas!). Generational issues is one that usually gets put into its own category, more of a ‘would be nice if we all got along’ rather than ‘necessary for our business to succeed,’ but in reality those differences have a huge impact on succession planning, training the next group of leaders, hiring intelligently, and ultimately helping the company continue on an upward trajectory. And great leaders inspire employees to higher levels of loyalty and productivity, which definitely helps a business grow.”
What is one of your favorite jokes/stories to tell while speaking?
“I love to connect the personal with the professional. How we act at work is not entirely separate from how we act with our family and friends, and so I like to use personal examples that somehow inform what we should be doing professionally. And so I talk about how I accidentally told my wife’s father (who is Spanish and speaks no English) that I was attracted to him the first time I met him; or if that one doesn’t work for you, there’s the one about Santa Claus terrorizing my son. If the family stuff bores you, I’ll talk about stealing kidneys from partygoers at Mardi Gras, or maybe I’ll teach you how to outsource blame – that one’s a big hit. How do all of these things relate to business growth? Well, you’d just have to hire me to find out. :)”
Since you work with so many businesses and industries, what is one thing that all businesses should understand about business growth?
“Growth doesn’t always mean bigger. It doesn’t always mean more money. It can mean any number of things – more happiness, a stronger community, a more meaningful impact on the world. If the only thing you care about is making more money, then you should probably hire a sales speaker. There are a lot of rich, miserable people I make fun of in my Unleash Your Inner Tyrant! presentation – maybe someday you can be one of them!”
Takeaways From Jeff
Here are some key takeaways from Jeff in his answers on business growth:
- “Fundamentally, business growth is about understanding people.”
- “The vast majority of employees are simultaneously satisfied AND disengaged with their jobs.”
- “The best time [to grow] would be when you start to get complacent.”
- “Understanding how [customers] think and why they want what they want is critical for long-term success.”
- “Growth doesn’t always mean bigger… [Growth] can mean any number of things.”