I had the pleasure of interviewing Gavriel (Pronounced Gabriel) Legynd who is the Founder and CEO of Visioneer. Gavriel has been in tech for the last 20 years. He has started 3 companies which span cyber security, marketing as well as custom mobile app software for medical marijuana home growers. Gavriel has grown Visioneer in 5 years from a small firm that which worked exclusively with small local businesses to now working with a number of government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I am the CEO and Founder of Visioneer which is a full-service marketing and technology firm. We actually started as just a software company but did a pivot a few years ago and added marketing to our service offerings. I saw a need within my community to offer marketing and technology under one umbrella. I wanted my clients to be able to “get back to business” and allow my firm the opportunity to focus on their online/ social presence and bringing in clients to their store front. Many of our clients didn’t really understand the importance of systems, automation and how it directly ties into a customer’s acquisition and retention.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting thing that happened to me since starting my company was when we started doing marketing for Cannabis business’. Due to all the regulation surrounding the cannabis industry, we had to get really creative in how we helped our clients advertise their services and products. Facebook accounts were getting shut down as were Instagram accounts, so we needed to figure out how best to serve our clients meanwhile staying within FB and IG terms of service.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes my firm different is that we are a full-service firm, meaning we offer marketing services as well as technology services. We are unique in that, we spend time watching marketing trends and ensure that the solutions we offer our clients are based on client goals, market analysis and KPI’s (Key performance Indicators). An example of this, is how we develop mobile apps for clients and then market those apps through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest ads. We are committed to seeing our clients “win”.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Currently we are working on several interesting projects, however our main project we are working on within Visioneer, is that we are finding new methods of leveraging Facebook Chatbots and IG TV as another way for our local client base to interact with their customers. We also are working on a custom mobile app software for medical marijuana home growers. Over the last few years, there has been a significant number of changes within the cannabis industry, which allowed marijuana patients the opportunity to grow their medicine at home. We felt that the average medical marijuana patient was underserved. This app will be just for the average patient who has no experience in growing their own medicine.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
One of the best pieces of advice I can give other CEO’s is to hire people smarter than you. Don’t try to do everything yourself because, it weakens the moral within your firm. Employees can tell when they aren’t trusted to have creative freedom to perform their duties. Hire a team of trustworthy people that you know can get the job done, so that you can work ON your company, not IN the company. Learn to trust yourself, so that you can trust those whom you employ.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
The person who has been instrumental in my success is my Mother. She taught me everything I know about business and has shown me by example how to build relationships, which result in evergreen opportunities.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Mentoring other business owners has always been a passion of mine. I have created a FREE mastermind group to help other people to not only start their own business, but also understand how to create wealth and have more freedom in their personal life. This business was born out of my own lessons learned from doing business the wrong way. I know starting a business can be scary and can be costly, if you don’t have the proper direction. Helping bridge the wealth divide for marginalized communities is something that allows me to give back to the community.
Can you share the top five lessons that you have learned from your experience as a “Black Man In Tech”? (Please share a story or example for each.).
Lesson 1. Get comfortable with being the only person of color in the room. Early on in business, I realized that I was going to be 1 of maybe 2 or 3 blacks at a conference or business event. I made it my business to shack every hand in the room and make sure that my firm was seen as not just another black owned business, but rather a business that delivered results and solutions my customers could depend on.
Lesson 2. Practice the Law of 33% which implies we should have 3 types of people around us at all times. It says that you should spend 33% of your time with people lower than you, then 33% of your time with people on your level who eventually become your friends and peers, the final 33% of your time should be spent with people who are 10x further ahead than you, this could take the form of a mentor or coach. Also find other business owners at networking events that can mentor you on the areas of business that you are the weakest.
Lesson 3. There is power in numbers. Don’t be afraid to partner with another firm to get a job done. Sometimes there is going to be an opportunity that is too large for your firm to effectively deliver services/ products. So, by allowing your partnering firm the opportunity to work alongside you, it can be a win for the both of you. Partnering on an opportunity, rewards you now. But it pays double on the backend.
Lesson 4. Systemize, Automate and Strategize as much in your business as possible. Leverage technology to make your job as seamless as possible. It will free you up to focus on the more pressing issues within your business. This allows you to be more effective and precise in your day to day activities.
Lesson 5. Stay competitive. On a regular basis, take a look at your competition to determine, whether you are maintaining a competitive advantage. Take a hard look at where you are now and is that going to carry you into the next year. This does require you to look at your KPI’s (Key performance indicators) and determine if a pivot is required.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
My favorite Life lesson quote is from Napoleon Hill. It says, “If you don’t conquer self, you will be conquered by self”. My take on it, is that failing to learn self-mastery, is a key reason that many entrepreneurs fail during their first few years in business. Learn your weaknesses and your strengths and then surround yourself with people that can help you compensate in the areas that you are weak in. Always operate from a position of strength.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this :-)
One person who I would love to have a private breakfast with, would be Gary Vaynerchuck as well as Jay Abraham. Although both of their approaches are extremely different, they each have the unique ability to make you really take a step back and look at the way you are doing business and whether it is effective. I ask myself all the time, what my desired results are and how is what I am doing working for me. That’s the toughest thing for most business owners and entrepreneurs to do. Be honest with yourself and that is when you will truly start to notice real positive change happening within your business.