After working at the telephone company for over seven years, briefly as directory assistance, then as a frameman maintaining switching equipment and running cables, I switched to working as a receptionist at a prestigious law firm in Los Angeles. That quickly evolved to being a legal secretary and the office equipment expert, until I realized I hated the boredom of the job.
My sales career started shortly thereafter when I took a job working for a mortgage banker in the early seventies. One day my boss came to me and told me to go to real estate offices and find real estate mortgage loans to fund. Fortunately, I'm a quick study, and it didn't take me long to figure out that I'd get more business by educating real estate agents on how to put together better deals. It worked, thus launching my career as a trainer. I also became the top salesperson.
My next sales job was selling whole life insurance policies on the spot, going door-to-door, floor-to-floor in small towns throughout California. While travelling around the state was fun, the job was boring, and even though I was promoted to sales manager within three months, I needed to find something more stimulating. As it turned out, the insurance sales job served me well as a testament to my sales ability. I still remember being interviewed for what became my next job, and the interviewer said to me, "If you can sell insurance door-to-door, you can sell anything." And so, in 1977, I began selling a mainframe batch processing dental billing program.
I was given the worst territory – number 20 of 20 in central California, but I didn't know it at the time – and the only experience I had was that I could sell. I knew nothing about software, accounting, dentists or dental offices (I was the first person they had ever hired who didn't come from a dental office), but I had won awards for selling life insurance, so they took a chance on me.
Within 1 ½ years, my territory was number 2 and I had set a sales record by selling 18 doctors in 6 months. I also opened up their market to physicians, chiropractors and other healthcare providers because they forgot to tell me I was only suppose to sell to dentists.
Anxious to get into computers more fully (this is before the first IBM PC was launched), I talked an office equipment company into hiring me to set up a computer dealership (my first), which became profitable within 6 months. That led to my next position with a software company where I wore many hats – setting up and running a computer dealership (it only took me 4 months to become profitable this time around) as well as project managing the development of a high-end accounting software program and setting up and running a distribution center to market the program to independent distributors. During my tenure, the company grew from 4 employees to over 20.
In 1985 I opened my own computer dealership, Software Aided Management Systems, which grew to 9 employees. In addition to marketing accounting systems to small business and the healthcare industry, I also developed and facilitated a monthly 4-day computer dealer training program throughout the United States for a software distributor, which dramatically increased the number of authorized dealers and increased the distributor's sales from 10 to over 100 per month by the end of the first year. Additionally, I consulted with dozens of computer dealer owners to improve income and customer satisfaction.
After closing the dealership in 1989 – the same year the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area where I lived – I spent the next 9 years marketing, selling and implementing a skills management, employee career development and training administration program and providing a variety of consulting services to Fortune 1000 companies throughout the world, until the owner of the software program retired and closed the company in 1999.
While still working with the skills management system, I spent a good deal of time pursuing my own personal development and wrote a book called Transformative Thinking to help people learn how to reduce stress in their lives and to be more effective.
In 1996 I launched InspiredLiving.com and created and facilitated many workshops based on my book and career development history. In 1997 I began the design and development of my InspiredLiving.com website, which has grown to over 900 pages of educational, motivational and inspirational articles, resource links, and a shopping cart with over 400 products that promote greater health and cleaner, safer home environments. I also publish monthly email newsletters and maintain a blog.
Business Owner and Entrepreneur
Carol James has been a business owner since 1985 and is founder of InspiredLiving.com [InspiredLiving.com Company Profile] Through the products and content available on the site, Carol helps people to live a healthier life at home and at work. She promotes hand-selected products of exceptional quality – products that she uses, too.
Business Consultant: Carol works with entrepreneurs and those who want to earn extra income by helping them set up home-based businesses and startups and small business owners who want to achieve greater business success, especially by attracting lots of great customers or talented employees. Carol gained her business development expertise from 30 years of working for and with small businesses. [Business Development Resume]
Speaker: Carol is an inspirational and motivational speaker who charms audiences with her humor, insights, powerful stories, thought-provoking concepts and strategies for success, along with a few interactive exchanges. She tailors every presentation to the specific needs of each group to offer the greatest value. [Speaker Topics]
Workshop Developer and Facilitator: Drawing from her extensive background in business development and personal improvement, Carol has developed a variety of workshops that have been delivered to thousands of people, including entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, employees and the general public. [Facilitator Resume] [Testimonials] [Workshop Topics]
Web Site Designer, Developer, Programmer and Webmaster: Carol built InspiredLiving.com, which offers over 900 pages of exceptional health-promoting products, educational, inspirational and motivational articles, resources, newsletters and more.
Business Owner: Setup and managed a software dealership to sell Bensu, Inc's Skills Management System (SMS) software, which included job profiling, skill inventory and query, skill and performance assessment, skill gap analysis, development planning, curriculum and certification management, training administration and career development. Software included mainframe (IMS and CICS), Network (Novell and 3-Com), DOS and Windows versions.
Marketing, Sales and Consulting: Promoted product, worked trade shows, presented demonstrations, conducted pilots, wrote proposals and sold SMS software to Fortune 1000 companies in the United States, Canada and Europe. Installed software and trained users. Provided on-going customer support and consulting: strategic planning sessions, feasibility studies, job profile development, skill competency definition and software modification design. [Consulting Projects] Accomplishments: 1) Was a top reseller for Bensu, Inc., which significantly increased their sales and software maintenance income; 2) Helped companies pass the training portion of ISO 9000 certification..
Business Consulting: Provided consulting services to software developer Bensu, Inc., including facilitating strategic planning sessions to expand marketing activities, wrote the test plan and tested a major software rewrite (Windows version), rewrote user documentation, developed an on-line hypertext help system and created a self-paced product presentation tool. Accomplishments: Introduced a new way to reach a broader market and increase sales by separating SMS screens, reports, files and utilities into 5 stand-alone modules.
Business Owner: Set up and managed a computer dealership to sell turn-key single (CPM and DOS) and multi-user (MPM, Novell and UNIX) patient and insurance billing, records management and accounting systems to physicians, surgery centers, clinics, chiropractors and dentists. set up and operated a medicare billing service. Hired, trained and managed 9 employees.
Marketing, Sales and Customer Retention: Developed and presented marketing seminars, promoted product, worked trade shows, presented demonstrations, wrote proposals, sold and installed computer systems and trained and supported customers. Accomplishments: Built one of the top producing territories in the United States for the Medical Manager software program.
Course Developer and Facilitator: Developed and facilitated a monthly 4-day computer dealer training program for the publisher and distributor of the medical, dental and accounting software we handled. Training included one day each for marketing, sales, customer training and technical support. Attendance varied from a dozen to 130 participants each month. Accomplishments: As a result of this training program, the company dramatically increased the number of authorized dealers and sales increased from 10 per month to over 100 per month by the end of the first year.
Business Consulting: Provided business consulting to roughly 75 computer dealers and small business owners throughout the United States. Built marketing programs that substantially increased market penetration and the quality and quantity of leads, reshaped marketing and proposal materials to more effectively express the strengths of the company and its products, trained sales consultants to close more sales, revised customer service procedures and support materials to ensure greater customer satisfaction, setup and computerized accounting systems and streamlined business procedures and operations. Accomplishments: As a result of my consulting services, employees were better trained and more skilled, customer satisfaction improved, sales increased substantially and the companies operated more efficiently and profitably.
Business Startup: When I started with this company, they developed and sold a mail order low-end accounting software program and had 4 employees, including the 2 owners. Accomplishments: During my tenure, the company grew to 20 employees as I created new income streams by setting up a profitable computer dealership, expanding their software product line and setting up a distribution network of resellers for the high-end accounting software that I brought on board.
Product Manager: Encountered an opportunity to expand the company's product line and orchestrated a private label arrangement for a high-end accounting software program. Specified enhancements and managed a major software upgrade and, wrote the test plan, supervised testing and wrote the reference and procedure manual. Prepared software for launch (positioning, packaging, marketing materials, etc.) and marketed to resellers and end-users through trade shows. Trained a direct sales team. Accomplishments: Expanded the company's product line and market, which led to a significant increase in revenue.
Management, Marketing, Sales and Customer Retention: Setup and managed a computer dealership to market turn-key medical, dental and chiropractic office management systems and general accounting systems to small businesses. Selected software and hardware, developed and implemented the marketing plan, developed promotional materials, promoted product, worked trade shows, presented demonstrations, wrote proposals and sold to physicians, dentists, chiropractors and small business owners. Installed computer and software and trained users. Provided on-going customer support. Provided business development consulting to business owners. Hired and trained a support staff. Accomplishments: Dealership was operating profitably within 4 months.
Business Startup, Marketing, Sales and Customer Retention: Setup and managed a computer dealership to market turn-key office management and accounting systems. Selected software, developed and implemented marketing plan, developed promotional materials, promoted product, presented demonstrations, wrote proposals and sold to physicians, dentists, chiropractors and small business owners. Installed computer and software and trained users. Provided on-going customer support. Provided practice building education to healthcare providers and business development consulting to business owners. Hired and trained a support person. Accomplishments: Dealership was operating profitably within 6 months.
Marketing, Sales and Customer Retention: Marketed, presented and sold mainframe batch-processing dental billing software and trained and supported users. Taught patient recall and payment collection techniques to office managers. Developed and facilitated practice building workshops to teach doctors how to increase new patient flow. Trained new Safeguard sales reps. Hired and trained my replacement. Accomplishments: 1) Turned the worst territory (#20 out of 20) into the second highest territory within 1½ years; 2) Earned an award every year for my outstanding sales performance; 3) Set a sales record by selling 18 systems in 6 months; 4) Opened up new markets for Safeguard by selling their dental billing software to physicians and chiropractors; 5) Increased the flow of new patients in dozens of dental, medical and chiropractic offices by teaching practice building techniques.
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