Q. How did you come up with the idea of starting your own company?
Dennis: After spending over twenty years in the corporate world in various leadership roles with different organizations, I felt it was time for a change. The desire to help organizations and to challenge myself towards a new milestone led me start the company, Zero In
Q. How did you get the courage to put your thoughts into execution?
Dennis: Starting my own company was like nothing I had ever done before. But after some encouraging discussions with my wife Cindy, we decided to go for it and give it a full year. That way I would know I had taken the proper time and effort to invest in myself. If I was able to be successful in starting a business that provided me the challenges, rewards, and income I needed to fulfill myself, it would have been a risk worth taking. If not, I would at least know I gave it a good shot and would not regret.
Q.What services does Zero In provide?
Dennis: Zero-In helps organizations to focus on customer-centricity and innovation with their employees. Our unique approach helps our clients to address pertinent issues of stagnating businesses and derive innovative ways of increasing revenue streams. Our services are categorized in 2 major segments:
Customer Journey & Experience – We offer workshops, extended consulting engagements which help to design and implement the ultimate experience for your customers. Several templates are provided to map out customer personas, their journeys and experiences. We also brainstorm and ideate methodologies that can be explored for newer and more creative ideas.
Innovation and Design Thinking – We conduct workshops that deploy methodologies like design thinking in your business to cultivate a culture of innovation in the company. You can reach out to Zero In to facilitate a brainstorming session with your team to unlock unique, transformational and revolutionary business ideas for your company!
Q. How are you leveraging your previous experience?
Dennis: With a Bachelor of Science degree from Trent University, a Masters in Project Management from the University of Ontario IT, and over 20 years experience working for and with organizations of various sizes from different industries, I have a variety of skills, background, and strategies to draw upon and help my clients.
Q. How has the journey been?
Dennis: When I first started my business, I had a lot to learn. It was a brand-new adventure for me and the journey has been one that forced me to adapt and grow a lot. The first year alone was like a full MBA worth of experience. My growth was not just as a businessman, but as a human being as well. There were many ups and downs throughout that year that tested my passion, patience, and perseverance.
I sought advice from several people that had been down my path before. I learned a lot. But learning was the part of the journey I enjoyed most. I understood how important networking is, and how to do it effectively. I learned many strategies in the areas of marketing and sales. There were some great wins found through partnering with other established consulting firms on engagements where I came in as a specialist on the project. This gave me experience and exposure. All of these learnings were helpful, and I saw some return on investment for my efforts. I started signing on more clients and paid attention to what works and what does not when it comes to attracting and retaining business for my services.
Q. How has COVID19 impacted your business and what are your other endeavors to contribute towards the society?
Dennis: The first quarter of 2020 was the most successful period in the existence of Zero In. I made as much revenue that quarter as I did in all of 2019 as the momentum started to build from all my effort put in last year and especially with my intentional change to have Zero In become a customer centric and innovative consulting firm. Then halfway through March of 2020 the world was brought to its knees by the COVID19 pandemic. Throughout this time, I have been continuously trying to support anyone in need. I have helped people in my community through phone calls, video calls, food and supply deliveries. I also delivered a five part webinar series teaching businesses about CCI (Customer Centric Innovation). 100% of the money from those webinars was directed to help three local charities (Five Counties Children Charity, The MS Society, and the EarlyON Child and Family Centre) during COVID19.
But the biggest thing COVID19 has allowed me is some more time to work on finishing the manuscript for my upcoming book and put some time into developing some online tools that will help my business clients be more customer-centric and innovative.
Q. What is your goal for the business going forward?
Dennis: I plan to release my book in September. The book talks about why being customer-centric and innovative should be the foundation of your business. It introduces a formula that can be used to help make sure your business is built on these two pillars and they are not just buzzwords. There are also several examples and stories from companies around Canada and the US. Some are my clients, some I interviewed specifically for the book.
Along with the book, I am launching an online tool that businesses or teams can use to assess how customer centric and innovative they currently are. Are these just buzzwords that they use? Or are they walking the walk?
I also have an innovation board game that I created a few years back that I am currently working to have developed into an on-line game that businesses can subscribe to and play whenever they would like to have a fun and engaging way to come up with new creative ideas.
My goal is that by this time next year, all three of these projects (the book, the CCI assessment, and the innovation game) will have made a large impact to many businesses globally. My mission is to help as many companies as possible become more customer centric and innovative.