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Be Your Best, Find Someone Better | Jim Johnson from Mobile Solutions

In part one of our conversation with Jim Johnson from Mobile Solutions, he talked about starting a small company on a family loan and taking it from six employees to a hundred.

In part two of our conversation, he tells us how you may not want to be the smartest person in the room, and he offers some key advice on how to grow your company.

More information: https://www.brightfin.com/


In 2011, Jim joined his wife Kim in managing Mobile Solutions, a Centennial-based company that delivers a cloud-based platform, MAX, to give companies control over their wireless asset management. As the CEO of the innovative company, Jim oversees the growth of the business, including strategic management of the firm, product development, sales, and service delivery.

Under Jim’s direction, the company continues to flourish due in part to a corporate culture that preserves and encourages a “no matter what” mindset. His past leadership roles have helped him articulate an ambitious vision for giving organizations the tools they need to free up their time and money through better management of their wireless and telecom expenditures. With an eye always on the customers’ needs, Jim is leading his company into a new era of prosperity. In 2019, Jim was recognized by IndustryEra as one of the 10 Best CEOs. 

In 2011, Jim joined his wife Kim in managing Mobile Solutions, a Centennial-based company that delivers a cloud-based platform, MAX, to give companies control over their wireless asset management. As the CEO of the innovative company, Jim oversees the growth of the business, including strategic management of the firm, product development, sales, and service delivery.

Under Jim’s direction, the company continues to flourish due in part to a corporate culture that preserves and encourages a “no matter what” mindset. His past leadership roles have helped him articulate an ambitious vision for giving organizations the tools they need to free up their time and money through better management of their wireless and telecom expenditures. With an eye always on the customers’ needs, Jim is leading his company into a new era of prosperity. In 2019, Jim was recognized by IndustryEra as one of the 10 Best CEOs.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Jim Johnson 0:00
Really mapping out hiring processes? And when should we hire instead of it feels like we need to hire somebody, what are the metrics say, and then we hire based on metrics.

Alexander Ferguson 0:16
In part one of our conversation with Jim Johnson from mobile solutions, he talked about starting a small company on a family loan and taking it from six employees to 100. In part two of our conversation, he tells us how you may not want to be the smartest person in the room. And he offers some key advice on how to grow your company. Obviously, as over the years that you mentioned, it’s it changes as you see the market evolve, and do what your customers need. What What difficulties have you had to face and the past 989 years that other business owners and leaders can learn from that you were able to overcome?

Jim Johnson 0:54
You know, early on in my career, I made the mistake of not surrounding myself with people that were better than me. And I was more threatened by that, and not able to embrace that, I would tell you that, right from the beginning of starting mobile solutions, that’s where it changed, was bringing people in, and the first position that we brought in was a CFO, somebody that just help automate this business from from a financial perspective and really give the the visibility into myself and my business partners. So that we could, that we could steer the steer the right course, make the right decisions at the right time, instead of make a decision only to find out months down the road, that maybe that was the wrong decision, really mapping out hiring processes. And when should we hire instead of it feels like we need to hire somebody, what are the metrics, say, and then we hire based on metrics. So our CFO did a tremendous job, I would tell you that those were some of the challenges that I had early on in my career, but again, not having the resources or being more threatened by the by the resources, and it sounds bad, to be threatened by that. But you know, I’d be lying if if I said anything other than that. And so, you know, radical transparency is only the only way that you get better. And those were some of the early on mistakes that I made in my career, you know, the the challenges that we have today, they’re still the same. I mean, we have, we have people challenges as you grow, right, we want to make sure that our staff is adequately supported. We have challenges with how we go to market and, and serve customers. And, you know, I’m happy that we have those challenges, because it allows us to make iterations in our process and make those changes when we need to. But none of the challenges that we have today scare me, I’m I, I’m refreshed when I see the team jump on an issue and attack it. You know, we are a team oriented organization, here, we are not a team of eyes or individuals, we’re just not I mean, we tackle a problem together. And we typically will bring resources from every department and so we could get different perspectives. And that’s kind of how we solve those challenges. So

Alexander Ferguson 3:04
I appreciate that insight of learning yourself of what is a barrier for growth, bring in those people and have that team atmosphere. As you move forward? Where do you see the business and five years from now?

Jim Johnson 3:18
Yeah, you know, I would tell you, obviously, doing what we’re doing today, we will continue to enhance our offering. Today, we’re a mobile only organization, we will get into the traditional telecom expense management, so on your fixed lines, networking capabilities, and we will break into the cloud. One, one area that we’ve recently started doing here in the last year is actually licensing our product. And so we’ll see a big lift in 2019, we’ve got we’ve got roughly a dozen white label or sorry, not white label Power BI partners today. And we see that being the kind of the next evolution of the business where we’re empowering them to be successful, and then we’re supporting them on the back end. And we’re letting the product speak for itself.

Alexander Ferguson 4:06
Fascinating. So just being a platform that other providers can use. Correct. Now to realize this, this vision of both continued growth, whether it’s licensing or expanding into other services, whether it’s cloud or or Telecom, what kind of challenges do you see you’re gonna have to overcome to to realize this vision?

Jim Johnson 4:28
Yeah, you know, I think it really comes down the process. And we’re big on process around here. We don’t just say, hey, this sounds like a good idea. Just somebody go do it. That’s not how it works. You know, again, we all sit in a room and we know this business very well. So it’s from a Power BI perspective, it’s relatively simple. It’s more about what are the challenges going to be in managing and supporting that partner? Yeah, because we are the heaviest users of the product. They are not. That will be one of the areas that we’ll want to focus on is is how do we support that partner to make sure that they feel good about their go to market strategy and know that they’ve got a really good partner supporting them in the background?

Alexander Ferguson 5:10
Is there any specifically books or audiobooks or podcasts that you’re reading or listening to? or blog posts that you’re engaging with for new insight?

Jim Johnson 5:21
Yeah, I mean, for me right now, it’s really around leadership. And so I’m a big Brene Brown fan. Right now I’m reading Derrida lead. I’m almost done with it. But for me, it’s gonna be it’s one of those where I’m going to, I’m going to read it three or four times, not just cover to cover the first time. So that’s where it really starts to sink in. So that that’s the current book I’m reading right now. And it’s really just around cultivating that leadership and and what’s that next level of leadership look like? Not only for myself, but for my team. And so how can I be best prepared to support my leadership team?

Alexander Ferguson 5:54
Love it. Last question here I’ve had for you personally, what upcoming technology are you most excited about?

Unknown Speaker 6:02
I’d say AI. Hmm. Okay,

Jim Johnson 6:07
really trying to learn how that can apply to our business and through our brains that we’re building out today. How that can apply to the brains, I think. I think that’s probably the most exciting thing that I’ve seen today. I mean, just the brains themselves and watching them operate today and how they can transform what we’re doing. In transform Max our product. I would tell you that more than anything else, that’s exciting. And when our staff, when our team starts to see that the investments that we’re making to make their positions and their professions here better. Everyone’s supportive of the direction that we’re going in.

Alexander Ferguson 6:46
How long was it a journey before you guys he said in April that you started this journey of implementing these different bots, these brains? How long before that? Did it take for you to say okay, yes, let’s let’s hit this the Go button and start implementing and programming and working on it. Three weeks, three weeks. So basically, the idea came and they’re like, let’s make it happen.

Jim Johnson 7:06
idea came, we proved it out. We I had the I had my team presented in our board meeting. And the board, it was a unanimous decision.

Unknown Speaker 7:14
Wow. Quick execution. Yeah.

Jim Johnson 7:17
Sometimes you have to be read by loads and say sometimes I’d say as long as as long as you’ve got all the data points, you need to make a decision. We’re gonna make good decisions.

Alexander Ferguson 7:26
Love it. Well, thank you so much for the insight you shared in this journey that you’re on where can people go to to learn more, and what’s a good first step that they can take?

Jim Johnson 7:35
Yeah, so they can go to mobile solutions dotnet. And a good first step when they’re there is to read the products that we’re offering. And then look at the sales process that we have today. We’re unique in that way that we put a there’s a lot of effort that goes into our sales process and make sure that customers are very comfortable with who we are and what we do before they come on board.

Alexander Ferguson 7:55
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.

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