We met Dan Debenham and Tom C. Zdunich, at their LENZworks office at the base of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. They are living their dream, and maybe my dream a little too. For real, and if you don’t believe me, here is what Tom said when describing his business,
“We create resorts and resort style properties world-wide into a five six minute video. Our crews get to travel around the world. Our niche is high-end resort industries around the world and fractional ownership properties and timeshares. We film resorts and resort style properties world wide into a five six minute video. Those videos are used on websites and stand alone DVD’s. We also create original television programming. We have had four television shows hit the air. "
Tom and Dan amongst the gear that travels with them around the world.
Tom holds on his shoulder the initial equipment investment from his 1997 LENZworks launch.
Tom and Dan serve as a great reminder of what is possible when you are not afraid to follow their dreams. As entrepreneurs, we are not an easily satisfied group. We all have the need to create and do our own thing. We reach one goal and that goal leads to the next. Before starting LENZworks, Tom started as an on camera anchor and Dan was a sports reporter. They both accomplished their dreams before they started this business.
When spoke with them it was snowing and the mountains weren’t visible, but when Dan led us into his office, he sat in his chair and pointed out the window and pointed to his large bay windows where on most days he has the most beautiful view. Dan and Tom had just come back from one of their most successful conferences. They worked 16-hour days and were ready to keep on going. They love their jobs; they love their work, and our time with them was a great illustration of how to succeed in today’s economy.
Pay close attention. For Tom and Dan, success is simple. People, people, people.
Tom acknowledged the simplicity of this statement, but questioned how many people really understand that it is the people we work with that help make our businesses successful. Tom and Dan’s practice of this ideal begins with their staff. They contract teams of videographers, editors and photographers, and they have learned how to find the best talent and to keep them. ? Tom spoke of one his employees who "has been extremely loyal to us and has just performed amazingly over the years with us, and we have paid him well. In fact for months we paid him more than we paid ourselves to keep him so he wouldn’t go somewhere else. That would be hard to swallow for some business owners but that’s the only we can do it.”
They really understand what their employees need, because they haven’t forgot about what it felt like when they out on their own. Tom tells us “what we have always wanted from the beginning is a group of people that are talented and creative, that can work under one roof and have synergy. Making great stuff and feeling like they are part of something and not just working for me. They feel that energy and creative spirit that we all have when we are on our own, here.”
Lenz Works is also an example how marketing can happen if your dream is to work with the best and create. When asked about what marketing they do, Tom answered that didn’t do any, but after talking to them for a few hours it became obvious what they marketing strategy was. Their passion. Dan revealed that all of their clients have either been word of mouth or return clients. LENZworks will also identify an industry or a company that they think can benefit from their services, create a platform that will be successful and take it to them. They walk right in the door and tell the potential client that they have created is what that client needs. They shoot these on their own dime, presenting not just an idea but a tangible and visible product.
Enjoying his work at the editing bay, Tom Zdunich shares with us some recent skiing footage.
Tom reminds us to not be afraid to fail, “if you can’t fail you will never go anywhere you will always be working for someone else. When you fail you learn you learn what you did. You can’t care about failing. If you fail, you can always get another job.”
Tom and Dan live this. They create product, and present it to the people who need it. They are on the cutting edge of their industry, because they are not afraid to create and take risks.
And one more thing, if it is not obvious already, Dan and Tom are really good guys. When asked what his greatest concern for the year was Tom said, “People. Finding the right people. Still being able to be a good dad to my two girls while keeping this company going.”
Thanks to Dan and Tom for sharing your American Entrepreneur stories with us!
An Intimate Portrait of the American Entrepreneur Project is sponsored in part by the automated marketing gurus at Infusionsoft
and is championed by the spirited zeal of The Toilet Paper Entreprenuer and TPEs across the universe.