Rick Elmore is an entrepreneur, sales and marketing expert, and former college and professional football player. Following his football career, Rick translated his competitive drive to sales and entrepreneurship by founding Simply Noted, an automated handwritten letter company founded on the idea of making it easy to create simple, scalable, powerful, and meaningful real pen-written communication. Rick developed a proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication, helping businesses of all industries stand out from their competition.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Rick Elmore: I remember from a young age being competitive and liked to do things that were challenging. If it was easy, it really did not interest me, or I lost interest in it fast. This mentality led me to become an entrepreneur and create my company Simply Noted.
Simply Noted is an automated handwritten letter company founded on the idea of making it easy to create simple, scalable, powerful, and meaningful real pen-written communication. I developed the proprietary technology that puts real pen and ink to paper to scale handwritten communication, helping businesses of all industries stand out from their competition and build meaningful relationships with clients, customers, and employees. In the three years since starting Simply Noted, we have grown into a thriving company with clients of various sizes across the country including in hospitality, real estate, insurance, nonprofit, franchise, B2B, and others. We have already sent over 1 million notes and letters, and are on track to surpass $2 million in revenue in 2021 alone. We also will send over 200,000 custom handwritten holiday cards to recipients all over the country this season, more than doubling last year’s holiday numbers.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Rick Elmore: As a kid, I wanted to be a professional athlete, then a gym owner. I ended up being drafted in the NFL and retired at 25. After my football career, my competitive spirit translated well into the sales and marketing world, and I excelled in a sales role at a medical company. Later, I decided to pursue my MBA, and it was during one of my classes where my professor revealed handwritten notes have a high open-rate compared to other mediums. Then I utilized this method by sending hundreds of handwritten letters to my current clients and saw just how much it worked. Responses and engagement were through the roof, but I couldn’t sit down to write 500 handwritten notes every week. I thought there must be a way to automate the process, and that was the “aha” moment I had to start Simply Noted.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Rick Elmore: I started Simply Noted with zero experience in engineering, zero experience in coding, and zero experience in software. This may be surprising considering Simply Noted is based in technology and robots, but I have quickly learned.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Rick Elmore: Most people would think an entrepreneur is a job title. They’re not wrong but it’s more than a 9-5 job. I would say an entrepreneur is more of a constant passion project and identity. An entrepreneur is someone that is always looking at the world with solutions in mind. You’re trying to bring an idea to life and make it better continuously.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Rick Elmore: It’s everything. Without the support of my wife, friends, and family, I don’t think I would be where I am. There is a difference between supportive colleagues and “yes men,” who don’t push you to be better. Being an entrepreneur without support or inclusivity would not be possible.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Rick Elmore: Be resilient. When you face a major setback, don’t give up. Or when you reach a goal you never thought you could accomplish, set a newer, ambitious one. You don’t want to become complacent and get left behind as the world changes.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Rick Elmore: I help businesses grow by making it easy to write and send handwritten letters. I do a lot of everything. I’m a leader but I’m also behind the scenes as much as I am making big choices people don’t get to see. My days can be long but they’re never boring. I can be reviewing business details and future projects, meeting with developers and our engineering team, helping organize the thousands of notes we have to send out, and being hands-on.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Rick Elmore: In the first 2 years of launching Simply Noted, I applied for 0% interest credit cards instead of business loans. I would purchase capital equipment, development, and product on the card, then I would try and recoup the investment in sales. We wouldn’t expand to the next round of improvements until we paid off the previous debts. I think this is the responsible way of starting your first company. I know some people may not agree, but I think this mitigates a lot of risk and can prevent an entrepreneur from making quick and bad decisions.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Rick Elmore: I play guitar, I grew up in a family of musicians but took the athletic route. Playing guitar is fun for me and a great way to relax.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Rick Elmore: “How to Write Your Own Entrepreneurial Success & Leave a Lasting Impression”
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Rick Elmore for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Rick Elmore or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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