Starting 2021 on the Right Foot: In Conversation with Kyle Wenn

Scott Snowden
Scott Snowden
Business & Technology Strategy
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Perspectives for a New Year

We all worked to make the most of 2020, but we each faced unique challenges too. How then, do you look ahead and offer a perspective that will resonate broadly? We thought we would share a journey and share some stories from that journey that can be used to help percolate some of your own ideas.

Kyle Wenn is the COO of SNAP Premium Finance (at least he was) and has been a long-time client of ours. Flywheel Partner, Scott Snowden, sat down for a conversation with Kyle to discuss business, leadership, what it means to be an entrepreneur and how our world is evolving. It was a fun discussion and we’re sure there’s a nugget in here to get you thinking about how to advance your own business goals.

The Discussion

Watch the full webinar.

 

 

 

 

 

Introductions

Individuals and businesses are facing once-in-a-generation challenges. But with all challenges come opportunities. The discussion in this webinar looks to reflect on experience to help us all consider how to succeed as we move into 2021 and beyond. Flywheel Partner Scott Snowden introduces Kyle Wenn from Snap Premium Finance.

Watch the Introduction.
0:00 - 1 minute, 18 seconds

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Day One and a Blackberry

The partnership with Flywheel and SNAP started with a project to build... a Blackberry App! Both Kyle and Scott compare their recollection of how that was a major move for SNAP and a real entrepreneurial moment. Kyle discusses how to make sure ideas become reality - which involves picking the right people. Scott shares the Flywheel passion and excitement for innovation.

Watch the segment: Day One and a Blackberry.
(01:18 - 3 minutes, 16 seconds)

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Kyle's Career

Kyle discusses his career path and how it led him into the finance and lending world. It all started with online training for a board of education. Learn how that lead to a leap into financing for power sports equipment. Recognizing a need to make lending work better than how the banks do it, efforts grew into creating Canada's largest home improvement lender. Expansion into the USA may not have been the best idea though. Kyle admits he is not a great employee and he has now moved on to start his own company. Is he a serial entrepreneur?

Watch the segment: Kyle’s Career
(04:34 - 6 minutes, 47 seconds)

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The Definition of an Entrepreneur

Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? What would that look like? To Kyle Wenn an entrepreneur has the ability to pull people together around a common goal. Entrepreneurs also have to believe in themselves so they can go from a blank sheet of paper to a viable business. Having a clear purpose is a strong grounding rod, but it takes a good team and a healthy culture too.

Watch the segment: The Definition of an Entrepreneur
(11:21 - 2 minutes, 22 seconds)

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The Pandemic and Today's Business Leaders

Kyle outlines how leaders today are challenged to keep culture alive. If we're not careful, employees will feel like and act more like a commodity. Interpersonal bonds are harder to solidify when we're all just faces on a screen. This will make employee retention harder. The opportunity for business leaders is to focus on improving company culture.

Watch the segment: The Pandemic and Today's Business Leaders
(13:43 - 3 minutes, 59 seconds)

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Advice for Leaders: Practice Empathy

Life is short. Do what you love to do. Work with people you want to work with. And take advantage of opportunities that come your way. Don't make decisions in a vacuum and be a good listener. These are some of the words of wisdom that Kyle would share with other business leaders. Most critically, it is important to be empathetic - understand human truths first. This applies as much in life as in business.

Watch the segment: Advice for Leaders: Practice Empathy.
(17:42 - 5 minutes, 51 seconds)

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Learning from Failure

Making decisions behind closed doors, just with senior management can be dangerous. Not listening to your customers, staff and others will lead to failure. In one case for Kyle, it almost sank the company! A good entrepreneur does not let these moments happen without growing from the experience.

Watch the segment: Learning from Failure.
(23:33 - 2 minutes, 54 seconds)

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Our Global Relationship with Technology

"It scares the hell out of me." says Kyle. Technology is becoming a necessary evil. But there is a lot of upside - our lives are getting easier. Scott's position is that our technology and connectedness will make us healthier. Tomorrow's generation has a big challenge to learn how to make that balance work.

Watch the segment: Our Global Relationship with Technology.
(26:27 - 5 minutes, 55 seconds)

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Required Reading

How does an entrepreneur stay current? Staying abreast of trends, announcements and changes in the business world can itself be a full-time job. Kyle likes to read a lot and usually follows industry news. Scott has a similar predilection and has recently also found value in audio books.

Watch the segment: Required Reading.
(32:22 - 4 minutes, 47 seconds)

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The Death (or not) of the Boardroom

Kyle starts asking the questions and turns to Scott to find out if the boardroom pitch has died. "Hopefully not," says Scott. The in-person experience is a valuable part of the sales process to ensure both parties are aligned and can validate that there is a benefit to working together. Subtle cues from those in the room can be invaluable. On the flip side, we have all gained a new comfort with video meetings - saving time, cost, and environmental impacts.

Watch the segment: The Death (or not) of the Boardroom.
(37:09 - 4 minutes, 59 seconds)

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Strong Partnerships

The long-standing SNAP / Flywheel partnership has been instrumental to the success that Kyle has seen take place. We look forward to sharing future insights down the road!

Watch the segment: Strong Partnerships.
(42:08 - 58 seconds)

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