A delicate, beautiful balance hangs between a leader and his team members. This balance rests on the foundation of trust, transparency, and an understanding that only knows one way of moving — forward. It plays an important role for any leader to not only succeed in leadership but also in succeeding collectively as an organization. This balance and its understanding is what makes Geoff Hamilton a successful influential leader in entrepreneurial parlance.
In Geoff’s dictionary, most influential leaders find themselves in the position of influence without even aiming for it. The individuals work closely with their team to produce the best results, irrespective of their personal gains. Geoff’s journey as an executive, entrepreneur, and a leader echoes a similar belief.
The Best Fit
By fate, Geoff got lucky and tasted the sweet flavor of the business world at an early age. His father, who was an independent remodeling contractor for most of his career, became the spark for Geoff to step into the entrepreneurial world. He spent considerable time working alongside his father, catering to the regular customers while at the same interacting with various contractors and vendors. These experiences gave him an adequate introduction to the idea of being an entrepreneur.
While he got a strong foundation from those surrounding him, his years of coaching youth sports and working across several other small businesses sealed the deal for Geoff Hamilton to create his own name in the business world. He explains “All these experiences and development with very rapid advancement opportunities prepared me to step into more leadership roles. Eventually, I recognized that the independent nature of entrepreneurship was really the best fit for me.”
Thought For Himself, Built For Organizations
Like most entrepreneurs, Geoff’s journey began with a dilemma. He had two options infront of him; one would take him to secure a position in Venture Capital. While the other would take him down the road of philanthropy. Perceiving philanthropy as the more noble direction, Geoff chose the latter, and today it has made all the difference.
To his surprise, most grantmaking processes at the time were still completed on paper. And being in the year 2002, Geoff preferred to work on a more technologically advanced setup such as a computer. Hence, he started to make an online tool that would make his job experience better.
Once again, upon realization, Geoff came to the conclusion that this tool he is building would be of great value for organizations instead of it solely being used to simplify his present job. With this eureka moment, Geoff turned his attention to complete the tool and focused on the technology. Afterward, by having extremely focused conversations with potential and future customers, Geoff was able to drive the innovations that were key to getting the right product to the market.
Marketing and introducing a product to a market can be easy. But what can be hard is the product’s ability to penetrate the market and provide the much-needed services the right way. As a premier online application management tool, ZoomGrants was able to secure this position in the industry through a combination of several things.
The first thing the tool offers is robust features that go beyond the customer’s needs and expectations. This step alone makes it easy for Geoff to move forward to creating unexpected efficiencies and effectiveness for the clients.
Besides offering powerful features, the tool also offers an easy-to-use process and learning curve for customers to take full advantage of application management.
Coupling all these offerings with an affordable price point ultimately leads to a value proposition that is unmatched in the industry. This commitment towards ensuring incredible customer service and value, is what has made ZoomGrants stay at the top of its game.
Challenges Brought Wins
Geoff certainly finds Bootstrap financing to be challenging but considers it to be worthwhile given the requisite time and effort into it. According to him, this type of financing forces you to be wise about investing with what little capital one has. It also enforces a strong work ethic.
While Bootstrap financing did not turn out to be a major roadblock for Geoff, he did find the process to be a little slower than he had expected. However, the same thing turned out to be a win as well! By going slowly, Geoff was able to create a solid product even before trying or selling it to the market before it was fully developed.
Another thing that bothered Geoff at a minimal level was not having a centralized office. His organization has always worked remotely and thrived on this approach, especially given the global coronavirus pandemic. However, before the pandemic, his team would only get together a couple of times a year to have those true face-to-face interactions. He explains, “Occasionally I think that we could achieve more frequent spontaneous collaboration moments if we were physically together, and we do still have those moments. With a remote model, we must be much more intentional about being collaborative.”
The third thing that surprised Geoff was the impact his small team had on so many people as a result of what he brought to the market. In the eyes of Geoff, it was simply amazing.
Being a Humble Leader
Geoff considers humbleness as the most important trait for a leader. For him, it means relying on your team, your people just as much as they are relying on you. And when all these things i.e. trust, freedom, and reliability come together, the whole organization is set to be nothing short of successful.
Geoff does the same for his team members and his organization by doing everything he can to stay out of their way. They know better about what they are doing and what the organization is trying to achieve collectively.
As such, there is only one thing left for Geoff to do; to provide his team members with everything they need to succeed, including input and feedback and strategic or tough policy decisions when necessary. He also makes sure to stay as the most forward-thinking member of the team in terms of anticipating where the company is headed and what is needed to get there.
What Geoff Wants Aspiring Leaders to Do
With an early start of observing different professions and understanding the value of humbleness, Geoff wants aspiring leaders to get diversified experience and let their team do all the work.
With experience, their team members would understand that their leader knows what it feels like to stand in their shoes. And the trust they are forming with the team — by giving freedom — will only help in creating an environment that only knows how to breed excellence.
What the Future Holds?
At present, ZoomGrants is dominating one or two niche markets in the industry. For the company, a huge untouched ocean is left to be conquered. For the upcoming years, Geoff will go after the same and has even identified a few niche markets that will serve the company well and looks forward to expanding his company into these new territories.
On the personal side of things, he is enjoying the work he is doing, what the company is doing, as well as where it is going. However, at the same time, Geoff Hamilton seeks to find additional ways to have an even greater impact in the nonprofit sector, bringing efficiency and effective improvements to an industry that is doing such amazing work helping so many people in need.