Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company.
Alice Heiman: The mission of my company is to help companies increase sales. I work primarily with small business owners and entrepreneurs who have a business to business sale. I have two part-time employees who support me, but I do all the sales and delivery. I help my clients set their sales strategy and execute it. I focus on sales and that is my expertise, but over the years I have become an expert in being a business owner. I know that business owners have a lot to juggle and that they feel so much pressure. I am their biggest advocate and cheerleader. I can help them balance what they need to do and make sure they have time for sales. I am proud of the nicknames my clients give me. I’ll share two, one of my clients calls me his “Guardian Alice” and another calls me “Amp.” My goal is for every business owner I work with to have all the sales they need to be wildly successful and for them to be able to take a real vacation, where they don’t have to check their email or call the office.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Heiman: Considering I spent the first 13 years of my career as a teacher, that’s a good question. I was living in Concord, Calif., and had started Book Adventures, a resource center for parents and teachers and was running that and teaching part-time. The center was losing money and after three years I made the difficult decision to close it. Steve and Diane Heiman, my parents, had grown Miller Heiman, Inc., a world-renowned sales training company, considerably and asked me to come work for them. I had done some projects for them in the past, but I had never wanted to leave teaching. After the heartbreak of closing my business, I needed a change so I decided at that time to move to Reno to work for Miller Heiman. I didn’t have much sales experience but I had an expertise in curriculum development from all my years of teaching, my masters degree and the eight years of training teachers at the masters level. So I was hired to work on their sales training programs. I always say that I got catapulted into business. Most teachers entering the business world from education wouldn’t have had the opportunities I had. I quickly became and instructor for their sales training programs and worked with some of their largest clients like Coca Cola, Hewlett Packard, Fidelity investments and Dow Chemical. I also ran the train the trainer workshops and coached new instructors. I had a great opportunity and learned a ton and after three years I decided to leave the company and start Alice Heiman, LLC so I could focus more on design, implementation and reinforcement of the sales process instead of training.
NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?
Heiman: Time to think and plan is essential. There is never enough time to do everything you need to do but you have to make time to sit quietly and think. This thinking time is essential if you want create and adapt and keep growing.
NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?
Heiman: Find a great coach, make a solid plan and have plenty of money in the bank. I did none of those and still became a success, but it would have been a lot easier if I had. My next piece of advice is to start with your exit strategy in mind. Again, I didn’t know that and what I have realized about being a consultant is that it is self-limiting. You are limited by the hours in the day and the price you can charge per hour and you have nothing to sell when you are ready to stop working. I love the consulting work but I have figured out other revenue streams as well. And if you can build a business that you can sell, that is even better. NNBW: What’s changed over the years since you founded your business? Heiman: One of the keys to being a successful entrepreneur is adaptability. I try to stay on the leading edge. Two things that have really changed the way I do business are social media and online training. What has changed the most is me. I have changed who I primarily do business with, where I do it and how I do it. I have learned so much that I can be more valuable to my clients. I am planning big changes for my company in the next 12 months.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Heiman: Babysitting. I have been working since I was 11 years old. I babysat as much as I could. When I got a little older I got my first “real” job at the Englishtown Auction in New Jersey, near where I grew up. I sold bras! I had to be at work at 5 a.m. to set up. I worked hard and got paid pretty well.
NNBW: What’s the most fun you have had on the job.
Heiman: I always have fun; just ask my clients. But I am really having fun when I am running the BizTalk Blender. I love to wrangle a crowd and get them to meet other business people in a way that gets results. It makes me feel great when people come up to me after the event and thank me and tell me what they got from the event. I love hearing all the success stories days and weeks after the event — that’s fun.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Heiman: Take care of yourself first, then you will be able to take care of everyone else. I learned that the hard way and in some ways I am still learning it. I want to tell all of you that taking care of yourself is essential. Put yourself first, not in a selfish way but in a way that fills you up so you have plenty to give to others.
NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?
Heiman: I love to read, travel, hike, ski, sail and hang out with my family and friends. I love children and it’s very enjoyable for me to spend a day playing with my nieces and nephews or my friends’ kids. Places you will find me when I am not working; in my backyard, at The Discovery, sailing on Lake Tahoe or in the bay, walking near my neighborhood, co-hosting the Plush Life or eating in one of the many wonderful locally owned restaurants.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Heiman: I would be really good at a sport. Maybe tennis or dancing. In college I played soccer and danced. As an adult I continued to play soccer for a while and learned to play tennis and to ski. I never really became excellent at any of those so I would pick one or two and become an expert. NNBW: What has been your biggest professional accomplishment? Heiman: My biggest accomplishment is what I can do for my clients. I am so proud to be able to really make an impact on a small business that allows it to grow and have more success. I am also very proud of being one of the people who brought the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum to fruition.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Heiman: I don’t really remember thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was a busy kid, taking care of my siblings, studying and working. I loved the theater and was in all the plays, so maybe I wanted to be an actress.
NNBW: What can you do that someone else can’t?
Heiman: I can speak in front of large audiences with ease. I can wrangle a crowd of kids or adults in seconds. I can be your biggest cheerleader.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada?
Heiman: I chose to come here only because Miller Heiman had moved here from the Bay Area. When I got here in 1994 I really wasn’t crazy about the lack of professional organizations, culture and shopping. I didn’t like the weather either. Now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love being so close to skiing and sailing. I love that I can walk out my door and be hiking in the foothills in minutes. I love the sunshine. I love the people and that fact that I can make an impact on the community. I love this place!
Name/title: Alice Heiman, owner and sales strategist, Alice Heiman LLC Number of years in this job? 16
Years in this profession? 19
Education: I graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education. I graduated from National Louis University with an MS in Education.
Last book read? ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink
Favorite flick? All of the Harry Potter movies. What’s on your iPod? Happy songs. I have play lists with upbeat songs so I can keep my energy high.
Spouse, kids or pets? My significant other, Fred McElroy. My son, William Arndt is a junior at University of Nevada. I have the cutest dog in the world, King Ozzie.