Jim Suss is a nuanced character of many personas: a military brat, a contrarian, a man of technology, and a man of God. While distinct, and perhaps seemingly at odds with each other, it’s this very mix of diverse personas that have given rise to Jim’s success.
Today, Jim is the co-founder and President of LAM Technology (LAM), a Texas-based tech services company. Since founding the business, Jim has built LAM into sales powerhouse that ranks as one of the Top 10 Intelisys Sales Partners nationwide.
Jim Suss’ Secrets to Success
So what does it take to build a successful business as Jim Suss has done with LAM?
I recently sat down with him to find out.
Make Your Business Personal
From the very start, LAM has been a business built upon the relationships of its people. In fact, it was a close personal relationship that got LAM started in the first place: that of Jim and his childhood best friend, Link Moore. Since their early days in middle school, through to college, and now as business partners, Jim and Link have remained committed friends for over 36 years.
Their dedication to each other has also served as the foundation for their business. For Jim and his team, business is much more than sales transactions.
- Business is about relationships.
- Business is about people.
- Business is personal.
Today, this ‘people first’ mindset permeates every aspect of LAM’s operations. Whether an employee or a customer, dealing with Jim’s business means becoming a part of the LAM family.
So how has this thinking impacted his business overall?
To Jim, his belief that anyone that deals with LAM should be treated like family is the very reason his employees and customers stick around.
Make the Learning Bigger Than the Experience
Setbacks are an inevitable part of doing business. Clients will be lost, as will earnings. And while the natural reaction for many is to obsess over the minutiae of those setbacks, Jim encourages a different approach: focus on the lessons of the failure rather than the failure itself. Using this approach, Jim and Link have gained powerful insights into their business over the years. By extracting the lessons from their losses, they’ve been able to see exactly what led them to stumble and how to course correct to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Bring Integrity and Commitment to Everything You do
Growing up a military kid, Jim Suss learned the value of integrity early on. Following his dad’s lead, Jim’s worldview became shaped by a commitment to uphold his obligations. Or in Jim’s words, “do what you say you’re going to do.”
As a business owner, this sense of obligation has carried over to become a ruling principle at LAM.
So much so that LAM’s official purpose reads: Serve. People. Always.
In a world gone mad on instant gratification, it’s this sort of commitment to others that sets LAM apart from the competition. In Jim’s words,
“Integrity delivers customer experiences, and if integrity leads, success will follow.”
Know Your Core Values. The Right Employees Will Follow.
Core values are pretty fundamental to the success of any company. They help define what a company stands for, they help guide it, and they help to right the ship should it veer off course.
Surprisingly, LAM operated for years without any set of defined core values. Sure the LAM team had a generalized sense of who they were, largely carried forth by Jim’s and Link’s personal values. But on the whole, the company operated without a clear definition of its identity. This, Jim says, had a huge impact on both their culture and overall hiring practices.
Before implementing their core values, Jim notes that his team commonly hired the wrong people or people who simply didn’t last. These ill-fitting hires were brought on board, he says, because LAM didn’t have a clear picture of who they were.
Everything changed once they went through an exercise to define their core values. Hiring practices are now based on those core values — meaning LAM now finds people who align with what they do. Since implementing their values, and hiring based on those values, not a single employee has quit LAM.
LAM’s Core Values:
Family Spirit | Servant’s Heart | Predictable Performance | Customer-Focused
Work for Something Bigger Than Yourself
At the center of all Jim’s success has been his faith in God. Sensing something was missing in his mid-thirties, Jim turned to God to gain a greater purpose in life. Today, Jim is a devout follower who finds motivation by serving God. And it’s this very sense of servitude in something bigger than himself that has been the major motivator and key to success.
Jim sees his business as a vessel to help other people and serve God in the process. So much so that one of LAM’s core values reflects this (Servant’s Heart). “If you make your world about you, it really becomes challenging,” says Jim. By surrendering to and serving God and others, true meaning and business success can be found.
Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge Your Customers
Clients typically turn to companies to help them solve a problem or serve a need. But as many business owners know, clients also occasionally appear who believe they have the best solution. And some clients can be pretty stubborn about it.
In these sorts of situations, Jim believes it’s his job to demonstrate he knows what’s best for his customer (and that he has the industry knowledge to back it up). This sort of thinking connects back to his commitment to serve others and to his belief that his clients are his family. And it’s why Jim isn’t afraid to challenge a client’s thinking if he knows his solution is in their best interest.
Listen to Jim Suss in His Own Words
A man of many personas and solid core values, Jim Suss shares his secrets to success. Catch his inspiring story in its entirety over on the Channel Outlaws Podcast.