By Morag Barrett
Ramon Ray is a leading expert on small business success and a lovely soul to be around. Being in his presence is electrifying, as his charisma and charm can light up even the smallest of screens! He inspires and educates thousands of business owners a year through his articles, podcasts, and in-demand interviews. I had the honor of speaking with him on People First! and learning more about his career journey!
Ramon’s resume is a fascinating one, as he has built FOUR companies from the ground up and has sold two of them! He is the founder of smarthustle.com and an entrepreneur in residence at Oracle NetSuite. On top of all of that, he has authored four books, including The Celebrity CEO. Above all, audiences are immediately drawn to Ramon due to his admirable high energy and ability to connect and care.
Back to the Basics...
If you’d have asked Ramon in elementary school what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would have confidently exclaimed, “FBI Agent''! Growing up, young Ramon was enamored with the coolness factor of these G-Men. The white shirt, the black suit, the chiseled chin; all aspects of this suave aura fascinated him. If he wasn’t an FBI Agent, he’d be protecting the President as a part of his secret service detail. What really attracted Ramon to these careers was the appearance of professionalism, leadership, and strong values.
Weaning Off the Training Wheels
We focus a lot of our energy on knowledge. We constantly tell ourselves, “I need to figure this out,” “I need to learn how to do that,” “I should know this by now!” So much emphasis is placed on education and training. As important as that is, it’s equally as important to just feel inspired. Motivation can sometimes be the toughest part of starting a business. You can learn all the facts and strategies you want, but if you don’t have a core drive, what’s pushing you towards your goal? Inspiration and encouragement is exactly what Ramon focuses on with his business. In other words, once you’ve taken off the training wheels, Ramon encourages you to keep that balance and ride off strong.
The Definition of Small Business
Tthe government defines small businesses as companies with 100 employees or less. However, there are several different types of small businesses. Ramon, for example, works with a team of about 5. There are other small businesses that work with 25, 50, the numbers go on and on. The real definition is not pigeonholed by how much, but is greater demonstrated through hard work and value. A hard-working 5 person team cannot be simply categorized with a well-dispersed crew of roughly 100. At the end of the day, it all comes down to quality over quantity.
Whether you’re a small business or a large business, personal branding is absolutely essential. Sure you could fall back on your logo, your product, etc., but there’s something about a personal brand that truly ignites the fire. Any touch of what is truly you can absolutely be an asset to your business. You’re probably thinking, “well, what is my brand?” There are several ways to define your brand and share it with the world. Ask your colleagues three words to describe you, share why an article resonated with you, reflect on moments within a company meeting that truly motivated your team; all of these tactics and more can greatly assist in developing your personal brand.
Bringing the Energy through 2D and 3D
One of Ramon’s traits that is apparent right off the bat is his extremely likeable energy. Though our interview was virtual, I could feel his charming presence coming through the confined video chat screen. I couldn’t help but ask him, “how do you do that?” Ramon explained three helpful tips with me. First, he shared that we all are who we are. Embracing our authentic selves is the first step in exuding a welcoming presence. He also mentioned that improv classes are incredibly helpful in shifting gears and staying present. Lastly, he suggested we try not to take ourselves too seriously. Escaping from the rigid, scripted space and letting ourselves laugh allows us and those around us to feel free and comfortable.
The Celebrity CEO
When we want to make a sale, sometimes that’s the only thing we focus on. We put all our energy into achieving that end result that we sometimes don’t stop and look around us. The people we are selling to are exactly that: people. Let us not forget to ask for a smile before asking for a sale. Adding a personal touch of compassion and connecting on a human level is the starting point for going into business. This goes hand in hand with personal branding as well as building a community/fanbase. The foundation of human connection is the route to all success. Want to get started with your journey?
Click the links below to hear more of our conversation!
Watch away: Here!
Treat your earbuds: Here!