Originally from Richmond, VA, Jay Scherr, owner of J. Scott Consulting Services, has loved all things business since he can remember. After attending Virginia Commonwealth University, Scherr spent over 30 years working with corporations and entrepreneurs. When the time was right, Scherr jumped at the opportunity to apply his extensive knowledge and experience to help other business owners achieve their goals and objectives.
“After college, I spent three years with a Richmond based global manufacturer before relocating to Ohio to join a company started by one of my entrepreneurial customers,” Scherr said. “They were a building products distributor. Over a 20-year period, I held a number of management positions. During that time, I relocated to Florida in 1999 to close down a failing operating company we acquired. It was an extremely challenging situation, but I learned a lot. Shortly after leaving the distribution business in 2010, I accepted a position with Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company that manufactures insulation, roofing materials and engineered products.”
During his six years with Johns Manville, Scherr held various leadership positions, including Regional Preferred Accounts Manager and District Sales Manager. By June 2017, after a successful career working for other companies, Scherr felt it was the right time to take his knowledge and experience and start his own business devoted to helping other companies improve performance.
“It was risky giving up the security and benefits of a corporate position,” Scherr said. “However, I believed in myself, my unique abilities to help others and deliver meaningful results, and felt strongly about going off on my own.”
According to Scherr, one of his biggest challenges in the early stages of his business was finding clients that were willing to give him an opportunity. For someone who spent so many years in corporate environments, building a strong network was also an early challenge. Fortunately, Scherr was able to leverage some of his connections to jump-start his business.
"A good customer from my time with Johns Manville asked me to help them with process improvements in key areas of their business and help to get a new location off the ground. It was a great opportunity and further solidified the decision I made."
As a business improvement consultant and coach, Scherr has grown his business by identifying his target market and ideal customer, marketing to them and being in proximity to those he can serve. He focuses on areas where he can help make the greatest impact on his clients’ business.
"I help entrepreneurs, small and mid-size business owners optimize performance and get their business fit by creating a framework and providing the tools that strengthen the foundational components of their business while creating clarity, focus, accountability, discipline, scalability, and predictable results," he said. "This enables my clients to close the gap between where they are and where they want to go."
Scherr continued, "I not only help business owners create a system to effectively and efficiently optimize their business, I also help them execute and ensure they are achieving results. Business, to me, is personal and I take my clients' success to heart."
For Scherr, finding the right client is about finding the right fit. “I'm not a fit for every business and I'm upfront about that when meeting with a prospective client. The clients I work with must be committed to change and taking action,” he said. “I’ve learned through experience that a business has to be in enough pain to execute on what needs to be done.”
Scherr shared that working with businesses in different vertical markets, such as finance, retail, security, construction, and media, has been an extremely rewarding experience. “What brings me joy is building relationships and helping a client get what they want from their business while sharing in their excitement when they begin to gain momentum and achieve their goals,” he said. “It’s a feeling that’s difficult to replicate. I feel that I’m in my sweet spot and doing what I’m meant to do.”
Looking ahead, Scherr is focused on continuing to grow his business by helping the right clients create the business of their dreams. He has plans to provide more business coaching, speaking engagements, increasing his involvement in business and professional organizations, and is considering an online platform to reach a broader audience. His overall objective is to do good work with good people.
What advice does Scherr have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Do something that you love and that gives you purpose," he said. "Do your homework, define your target market and provide a solution that solves a real problem for that market. Fulfill a need, don’t create one. Start building your network early – as Harvey Mackay says, ‘dig your well before you’re thirsty.’ Surround yourself with amazing people who share your values and get your vision. Have a written strategic plan, set realistic and stretch goals, have metrics in place to measure progress, and execute! Be in proximity to those you can serve with your product or service. Lastly, engage with mentors who have relevant experience and can provide guidance."