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Columbus Entrepreneurs' Podcast is primarily for members of the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). Our members include business owners with a majority ownership in companies with at least $1 million in revenue. The stories are inspiring and focus on core principles of EO, including speaking from experience instead of advice giving, building peer learning experiences, and focusing on the top and bottom 5% of our lives. EO is a global organization that offers many benefits and learning opportunities. If you would like to learn more about EO, please visit www.eonetwork.org.

Jun 13, 2017

On today’s episode, our host becomes the guest! Bill Troy turns the table to have Kevin share his lifeline. Kevin talks about how he got started with his current business, Kay-Twelve. Not only does he share his business journey, but he shares some personal stories from his life, and talks about the business’s future as well as his family’s. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!

Key Takeaways:
[:38] Kevin shares his lifeline: He grew up in Chicago with three brothers, and had a fairly idyllic childhood. He started working when he was about 14, and since then he’s always had a job, and always knew he wanted to do/start his own thing. He attended Miami University in Oxford and majored in Mass Communications.
[4:01] His first entrepreneurial experience was at Miami University with a scholarship program that would allow students to do whatever project they wanted, would pay money, and give credit. Kevin made a documentary called “The Commercialization of Michael Jordan,” which introduced him to many different facets of business, marketing, and video production.
[6:21] He originally thought he might want to do video production, but realized there weren’t a lot of jobs in the industry. His first job after college was driving the Eckrich FunHouse around the country. To further his career, he got a job selling copiers while working on his MBA in the evenings. While struggling to figure out what it is he really wanted to do, he went to work for a small company that specialized in compact storage.
[10:43] This opportunity allowed him (and his business partner) to learn new skills and make connections in the Columbus area. They teamed up with another company and this sparked his interest in school furniture.
[14:53] Kevin talks about his family dynamic during this time, including a tragedy, and how his business partner helped during this time. He also talks about the steps they took to buy out the business they were working for so they could further their business goals.
[17:38] Kevin joined EO during the rough year, but it brought him into contact with other people that helped bolster their business decisions, as well as helping him through some personal stuff in his life. This includes his decision to buy out his business partner, as well as the time when his wife was diagnosed with cancer.
[20:15] The business today has come full circle. They originally started Kay-Twelve with the intention of bringing in the ecommerce piece. They also balance this with inside and outside sales. Everything they do is about creating better learning environments.
[22:14] When it comes down to it, they are selling furniture, but they approach it as a very consultative sale, of what is the specific learning outcome their clients are trying to achieve. Kevin talks about the motivation behind the company, and some of their goals to help further education. From here, they hope to build out the national sales team — specifically hoping to grow out in the West (Kevin is actually moving to Arizona).
[25:50] With the changes to the company coming, how can people help Kevin with the transition? He’s already been getting connected with some people in the EO chapter in Arizona, but his biggest concern is ensuring that the office runs really well (both here and out West). Kevin talks about the scope of different types of learning they hope to accommodate.
[28:20] Kevin talks about EO moments — Many members talk about forum, but there is so much more than that. Attending regional events allows you to meet members from other cities as well as different programs to get involved in.
[34:05] Kevin talks about looking up to his dad as a father and a businessman, and how Kevin is using this inspiration to sort of make it on his own in his business.

Mentioned in This Episode:
Columbus Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization
Kay-Twelve
Recommended Podcasts:
Serial
StartUp
How I Built This
EO Global
Conquering Columbus