In conversation with Megan Del Borrello from Behind the Brand
I had a chat with Megan Del Borrello of Behind the Brand to talk about my entrepreneurial journey. The transcript of our conversation is here.
Gill Walker solves complex problems within Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE and ClickDimensions, challenges that often lead to user adoption issues. If you are a CIO, CFO, CEO or decision-maker tasked with making Dynamics 365 successful, Gill will help. At heart, she is an educator, so brings mentoring, training, speaking and coaching to your CRM challenges. She is a trainer (MCT), speaker (Professional Member of Professional Speakers Australia (PSA)), consultant (Sales Functional Consultant for Dynamics 365), project manager, and vendor manager.
Gill Walker is a widely recognised Microsoft Dynamics 365 trainer, problem-solving expert, coach, mentor, D365 success consultant, author, and speaker. Her audiences gain extraordinary value from her presentations as she shows them how to get the most out of their CRM investment. Gill’s work inspires and excites people to use their CRM to improve their revenue and results.
Gill has been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (previously Microsoft CRM) since 2002 – before it officially arrived in Australia! During these 17 years, she has worked with a wide variety of organisations including small businesses, corporates, not for profits and government departments. These organisations have been in technology, finance, marketing & construction–and more.
Overview of your business
Opsis provides expert consulting to ensure that your CRM project is successful. Our philosophy about CRM failures – and there are many – is that they always point to a lack of education. Education is far more than the end-user training that may occur towards the end of the project. Education includes:
- Ensuring that key stakeholders understand the key functionality that they have BEFORE any customization or configuration is done,
- Technical training so your implementation team have a broad knowledge of the options within your selected technology,
- Mentoring technical team members so they make the best possible design decisions to meet those business requirements,
- Coaching key stakeholders so they do make unrealistic requests, or mandate the poor design of the solution – often caused by trying to implement a "brighter, shinier version of what they already have", even though what they have is not really working!
- Presenting to larger groups so they support the upcoming changes,
- Training your planned trainers so they can successfully pass on their knowledge to other team members, and of course,
- End-user training, so each user has the confidence to use the newly deployed solution.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I was working for an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) who really had no clue about how to approach CRM projects. I realised that there had to be a better way. From that day, I have been building skills and marketing my approach and myself to change how people approach this type of project.
Was there a significant turning point when you decided to become an entrepreneur?
Not really. Many years ago, I was made redundant and started doing some temping assignments. During one of these, I was advised to become a freelance trainer. The rest, as they say, is history. I morphed from trainer to consultant, to success catalyst, and more recently to a speaker. But I have worked independently for three decades. While there are some aspects that I’d like to change, I never really considered returning to the ranks of an employee.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
Understand the value of what you provide and have the skills and have the confidence to stand up for your uniqueness and value.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Problem-solving – since there are far fewer support services ready to come running
- Tenacity – since it is highly unlikely to be easy sailing
Who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
- Matt Church, Neryl East, Julie Garland McLellan, and a range of other experts who share their expertise via speaking
- People who put the client and employees before other targets
- People who put quality before revenue
What do you think your key to success has been?
Continuous learning and hard work.
How have you personally measured your success?
The extent of my reputation and the people who know of me.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
That depends! It depends on what the skill is, and how much time it will take to learn it. However, although it often is not possible for an entrepreneur to learn a skill in enough detail to do everything, it is essential that an entrepreneur understands enough to protect themselves from charlatans. It also depends on the cost of doing it yourself compared to outsourcing it. If we can outsource a task for say $20 per hour, and use that time to bring in $100 per hour, that is a good deal. However, if we then have to spend another few thousand dollars sorting out a mess created by a ‘cheap’ resource, maybe it was not so good.
How do you generate new ideas?
Reading (including watching videos), and then thinking how/what I am consuming could be twisted to my market and world.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Variety and independence.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
Financially free, working a few days per month for a few clients who are keen to learn from me. This work will include speaking and will enable me (and my husband to return to the UK to visit my parents a couple of times a year.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
Catherine Palin-Brinkworth, my mother, my nieces, and some other female entrepreneurs.