Michael Wark, CEO and founder of Trimline, is our guest today and a great example of resilience, adaptability, and the determination to succeed in the business world. Starting his professional journey by establishing a T-shirt company at university, he eventually transitioned into the film industry and later found his calling in helping small businesses. In this episode of the Niched Agency Podcast, Michael tells us all about his journey that has shaped him into the entrepreneur he is today.
Michael’s first business was when he launched a T-shirt company with friends. This venture provided him with his first taste of the business world, teaching him the importance of hard work and the ability to turn an idea into a successful venture. Despite his successful foray into entrepreneurship, Michael felt the need for a more formal education and pursued an accounting degree.
Post-graduation, he took on a role as an auditor at Ernst Young, giving him insight into the workings of large corporations. However, he soon realized that he wanted more direct interactions with the businesses he was helping. This led him to join a small business and immerse himself in the challenges and rewards of this sector.
However, it was his move to the film industry that really combined his passion for creativity with his business skills. He worked in various roles in major feature films, including Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. Despite the glamor and excitement of the film industry, Michael wanted more control over his time and negotiations, leading him back to the world of small business.
His professional transformation came full circle when he launched Trimline in 2020. Despite the global pandemic, Michael remained resilient and continued to strive for success. He was determined to offer a service that not only helped small businesses thrive but also provided him with a sense of purpose. He began offering virtual CFO services, focusing on improving profitability and growth for small businesses.
A big challenge that Michael had to face was letting go of employees who were no longer the right fit for the company. Even though there was an emotional attachment and loyalty, he emphasized the importance of making tough decisions for the betterment of the business.
Additionally, Michael discusses the importance of building a business with the intention of selling it or creating a team to handle day-to-day operations. He also highlights the necessity of understanding financials, addressing immediate pain points, and setting clear goals for the business.
Michael recommends several books that have helped shape his business perspective, including Built to Sell by John Wardlow and Hell Yeah or No by Derek Sivers. These books offer unique perspectives on life and business, underscoring the importance of perseverance and continuous learning.
Michael has an ability to navigate the challenges of staffing and growth, which, combined with his dedication to assisting small businesses, sets him apart as a leader in his field. His journey serves as a reminder that resilience, determination, and a passion for what you do can lead to remarkable success.
Trimline’s greatest strength is that you buy exactly what is promised: Michael himself leads all the engagements, working side-by-side with founders. His methodology is to empower the founders to understand their own business better so he can focus on having higher-level strategic conversations because that’s what he really loves.
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