ZiZo Technologies founder Jimmy Chebat is a business pioneer and serial entrepreneur, with a substantial portfolio encompassing several industries.
With his new venture, ZiZo Technologies, Jimmy Chebat “has developed a digital initiative anticipated to address the paradigm shifts currently plaguing the workforce.” He understands the changes occurring in the workforce, across all fields and industries, particularly due to “the workplace culture identity crisis and the ever-increasing rate of remote workers.”
Before ZiZo technologies, Jimmy Chebat has gained a wealth of experience in handling and managing his workforce no matter the industry. His experience and knowledge drove him to start ZiZo Technologies.
As a serial entrepreneur, Jimmy Chebat possesses the “ability to identify challenges facing personnel management, generating innovative solutions using his experience in data analytics, automated intelligence, and gamification.”
Regarding ZiZo TechnologiesJimmy Chebat knows that the “fourth industrial revolution” is already upon us, which is why he has developed his “fully integrated system” to lead the “digital transformation into the tomorrow we need.”
At ZiZo Technologies, Jimmy Chebat enables business owners to “zoom in and zoom out on your business.” Their services “simplify management and increase company’s productivity by creating an environment that drives your employees to perform in a fun and engaging environment.”
I think a lot of my determination just comes from my dislike for failure. Jimmy Chebat, ZiZo Technologies
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Jimmy Chebat: I’ve been an entrepreneur in Buffalo, NY for the past 20 years. Ever since I was very young, I knew that my dream was to be the CEO of my own company; I never wanted to work for someone else. I attempted to launch my first business before I was 21 and failed, so I put the dreams on hold for to begin working an IT company. Eventually, I used the that skills I learned working at that company to open my own business (successfully this time), and I’ve been running my own companies ever since.
About 12 years ago, I began working in the accounts receivable space and I experienced some culture shock. There was a major issue of accountability and employee engagement within the workforce and I quickly realized this was a part of the culture in the industry. As a solution, I used my software skills to develop a solution to replace the traditional whiteboard used in most collections call centers.
This software allowed me to clearly see performance and business data and created a culture of accountability and transparency within my agency. We had a lot of internal success with the product and even sold it to other agencies in our area before eventually deciding to take off the market until I was able to perfect it.
Ten years later, here we are with the best iteration of that software. I’ve taken everything that I know works from the initial software and combined it with gamification, integration, and automation to create ZIZO.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Jimmy Chebat: Like I mentioned previously, I attempted to launch my very first company before the age of 21. I was so passionate about the project and I tried everything to gain traction, but it just didn’t work. I was broke and clueless. It was a tough way to start my journey as an entrepreneur and eventually I gave up and decided that I had to get a job working for someone else.
There was a time when I thought that was it, I tried to be an entrepreneur and failed and I settled into working for someone else. Lucky for me, that company went under, and I was forced to reevaluate which lead me to try again on my own.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where that drive came from because it has always been such major part of me. I think a lot of my determination just comes from my dislike for failure. I had a vision of how I wanted my life to end up and I knew the only way to accomplish it was to rely on myself and not someone else.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Jimmy Chebat: During the time when I was attempting to launch that very first venture, it got to the point where I was literally living out of my change jar. Even during that crazy period of my life, I never felt like I was taking the wrong path. At the time, it didn’t really feel like something to laugh about, but looking back I can find humor in the fact that I let myself get to that point.
Allowing myself to get to that type of low early on in my career taught me a very valuable lesson about knowing when to let go and when to sacrifice. I’m thankful that I went through that experience when I did because it taught me how about sacrifice and how to make smart decisions in my future ventures.
Allowing myself to get to that type of low early on in my career taught me a very valuable lesson about knowing when to let go and when to sacrifice.
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Creating the right team and the right culture. This is probably the single most crucial thing you can do for your business. I’ve been in situations in the past where I chose employees based on their skills for the job without considering how they would fit into the company’s culture. This never works out well because it is nearly impossible to accomplish your vision without everyone working towards a common goal.
2. Create a culture of accountability. Something that shocked me when I started out in the accounts receivable industry was the lack of accountability expected from employees. I quickly learned that no matter how much direction I gave, nothing was accomplished because no one was held accountable to their tasks. Establishing the importance of accountability within a company allows it to accomplish more and become truly great.
3. Be transparent. Nothing great can come from a lack of transparency. Build something trustworthy and honest. Ensure that the company’s goals, values, and direction are visible to everyone inside and outside of the organization so that together, everyone can move the company in the right direction.
4. Use the right tools. As the founder and CEO of a startup, I’m extremely familiar with going bootstrap and taking the cheap route when needed. There are a lot of business tools that save huge amounts of time and headaches, but when you’re on a limited budget, it is tempting to take the long and cost-effective route. While this is sometimes necessary, there are certain things you can’t be will to forgo. Always ensure your business is setup for success by utilizing technology to buy yourself and your employees time.
5. Be agile. This has been the most crucial lesson I’ve learned across all of my business ventures. As I said in the answer to your previous question, a great company is one that grows, leads, innovates and adapts.Agility is the trait which allows a company to do all of those things. In many instances, most recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, my company has faced major changes to it’s environment. Rather than remaining stagnant and hoping eventually things would shift back to the way they were, we chose to adapt to our new world and lean into the changes.
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Jimmy Chebat: In addition to the altruistic motivating factors of a purpose driven business, there are a lot of benefits to considering becoming purpose driven. Within the next 5 years, millennials and Gen Z employees will make up 75% of the workforce. Studies of the Gen Z cohort tell us that as consumers, they’re more likely to buy from companies that represent some type of socially conscious purpose. Furthermore, Gen Z is known as the generation that wants to work with purpose; this generation is more interested in a meaningful career than a lucrative job. Focusing business efforts on being purpose driven allows you to attract Gen Z customers and employees, which is imperative to the life of a business as we see a generational shift in the market.
I’m a firm believer in letting professionals do what they’re best at. Jimmy Chebat
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Jimmy Chebat: I’m a firm believer in letting professionals do what they’re best at. The best thing you can do for your company’s conversion rate is to hire a good sales professional to help you build your sales process. If it is not a space your comfortable in, you’ll save hours and stress and mistakes by putting someone who knows this process well in charge.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Jimmy Chebat: Be transparent. If you’re upfront and honest about who you are, consumers have no reason NOT to trust you. I also think having fun and not taking yourself too seriously helps brands become more beloved. Of course, this varies by industry, but as the CEO of a gaming brand, we find that people love our fun and open approach.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jimmy Chebat: I’m very active on my LinkedIn.
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Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!