Last month, I kicked off our series on innovation by talking with Julie Evans, the chief executive officer at Project Tomorrow. This month, I interviewed client Michael J. Harris. He’s the chief at Aperture Capital and the newly formed Aperture Payment Solutions. I love what this highly disciplined exec has to say about innovation.
1. How do you define innovation?
To me, “innovation” means inventing or finding creative solutions to problems. In my worlds of capital and merchant card services, the wheel has already been invented and re-invented about a million times over. It’s not about inventing the wheel for my Clients, it’s what wheel fits them best.
2. Give us an example of innovation within your organization this year.
Again, on the topic of finding the best solution for your Client, I really need to understand my Clients and their needs. Every single deal is dramatically different. My favorite account is one where the existing merchant card service provider was encouraging my Client to key in her transactions, vs. actually swiping the customer’s card. All this did was to double his income from each sale he made. Again, I wasn’t reinventing the wheel, just selling my Client on a better-fitting wheel.
3. How do you see the results of innovation created by Aperture Capital and Aperture Payment Solutions?
Integrity and “Doing the Best Thing for the Client” are tenets of my businesses. This invariably leads to happier clients, and happier clients lead to more happy client referrals – the lifeblood of my businesses.
4. Aperture Payment Solutions often works with entrepreneurs. Tell us one story about how you made a difference to an entrepreneur.
I brought in a client, who I thought was a single-account entity. Turns out, this client owns 10 retail shops around Southern California. Because I did such a good job in terms of pricing and service on the first location, I successfully brought on the entire family of accounts. It’s all about being good at what you do, and asking for the business.
5. Now for fun: What is your favorite mobile app?
Without a doubt, Pandora.