Don is an award-winning entrepreneur, Forbes contributor and was recently named the #1 Business Coach in Florida in 2021. As the CEO of Accountability Now, the Sales and Marketing coaching and consulting agency. Accountability Now has achieved record growth mainly due to helping small businesses build sales and marketing teams to create scalable solutions. The core of Accountability Now is the concept that all companies need more revenue growth but can’t always afford the help. Their model provides fractional Chief Revenue Officer support to give small businesses the sales and marketing help they need to win.
We had a chance to Interview Don Markland. Read till the end to get great insights from this Amazing Entrepreneur.
What motivated you to start Accountability Now? How did the idea come about?
I have worked successfully with multiple businesses over the last 20 years, helping grow one privately held call center BPO from $12M to $45M. Later, another Fintech company from $36M to $90M. From those and other achievements, I started to identify a clear pattern of what drove consistent business success:
1) common understanding and measurables around Accountability;
2) a relentless focus on sales; and
3) everyone needs coaching.
I incorporated these three patterns into my business development and personal development program. This program is called The 4Cs of Accountability, which featured on Forbes. From these basic principles and early recognition, other groups started to pay attention and ask to be involved with what I was doing from a business coaching and consulting perspective. And from there, Accountability Now was born.
What was your mission at the beginning of starting your business?
As I started to explore business Consulting and the Coaching industry, I noticed many consultants missing some of the key ingredients necessary to help enterprises get ahead. Often, many coaches or consultants don’t bring in years of business ownership or their blueprint for success. I wouldn’t say I liked this. My mission from day one was to provide custom-made solutions with our blueprint of business growth principles as our guide. As we’ve been able to help multiple businesses reach 6X growth, we know it has more to do with our system and blueprint than personalities and engagement. We help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their businesses by creating simple-to-follow steps, processes, and strategies to win quickly.
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
First, I’ve been very blessed to have multiple mentors in my life. Early on, I had a mentor who taught me one of the most valuable lessons, chief of those being “if you can sell, you’ll always eat.” I’ve transitioned this phrase into my business process where I teach “sales solve all sins.” Businesses don’t have expense problems or cost issues – they have a lack of sales issues. Increase sales and so many problems go away. No doubt, businesses can be complex and challenging to manage. At the same time, they are straightforward – sell more.
Second, I was taught early by my parents constantly to be reading. I regularly read between 60 and 80 books a year and everything from business/non-fiction to Charles Dickens and Shakespeare (I’m a huge Shakespeare fan). This constant learning helps my everyday work with clients, finds new partnerships, and participates in discussions that are helpful to my business.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Yes. Early on, I had signed a fantastic partner who was building her print magazine in Central California. We reached an agreement but struggled to get traction in the first 90-days. The client was encouraged along the way but, in the end, was frustrated because of the narrow results. We ended the agreement at 90-days and learned some valuable lessons. First, always set clear goals and expectations together. Second, don’t be afraid to revise along the way. One of our unique models is that we don’t sign long-term contracts because I’ve been a small business owner and don’t believe in tying down entrepreneurs with high costs they can’t afford.
Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for Accountability Now? If so, how did you stumble upon it?
I learned from my other businesses, without good marketing, sales will be much more challenging. Every small business owner and entrepreneur must complete the three pillars of marketing – Good Referral Sources, The Power Base, and Ads.
We’ve used good referrals sources for years. These include directory partnerships like BestCompany.com or Bark.com, and many others.
Secondly, learn to mine your Power Base consistently. The Power Base is your group or network that you have the most robust connection. I actively contact this group of people every month to find out how to help them for free. This consistent outreach leads to future business every month.
Last is Ads. Don’t be afraid to spend correctly. Take the time to find your target dream customers and then do whatever you have to do to get in of them: ads, podcasts, or whatever. Get in front of them and stay there.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
First, hire a coach. Get someone who forces you into the uncomfortable zone to make the hard decisions and recover from mistakes quickly. Plus, choose a coach that makes you better, not one that makes you feel good.
Second, sales solve all sins. Regardless of your industry or size, keep a laser focus on sales every single day.
Third, your team matters. Hire people that make you better. Make sure they have your values but also are different in skill set. An exceptional team will take you from good to great.
Are you looking for a business coach? Don Markland can help you solve your business problems.