Episode 46: Cheryl Cappellano – Does Your Business Have the “IF” Factor

Play episode

Gold Nuggets

  • “Interestingly” is, in fact, a word. Juliet is interestingly excellent.
  •  “The only thing that people really respond to in the mail, is something you could eat.”
  • “We guarantee our customers that we will delivery them a 10% success ratio.”
  • “There’s a misconception among entrepreneurs that you only go out of business because there’s not enough business.”
  • Cheryl’s Win-Win-Win philosophy: is this a Win for my customer? Will it be a Win for their target audience? Will it be a Win for Idea Factor?
  • “The time that I was being the technician was zapping my energy to pour into it the entrepreneurship which was really where I belong.”
  • “We have a process behind everything, not visible to our clients, but very visible to us. What’s happened since we’ve done that is we have a precision effort to every campaign that we launch.”
  • “For years I often said certain things were difficult for me because I couldn’t tap into the Old Boys’ network.”
  • “If you don’t understand your goal, you can’t create a path to get to it.”
  • “I already know what my legacy is going to be, and it’s what I always wanted. That is to pass over the reigns of Idea Factor to another female entrepreneur. I’m excited that it’s not only a female entrepreneur, but also a woman of colour.”
  • “Worry about being better, and bigger will take care of itself.” – Gary Comer

Meet Cheryl Cappellano

Our guest is Cheryl Cappellano, Founder and CEO of The Idea Factor, Inc.

Cheryl has over 20 years of experience in the industry, dedicating her time especially to cultivating relationships with customers. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, she was nominated as Royal Bank of Canada’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year, she was a Burlington Chamber of Commerce Finalist in Business Excellence in 2013 and 2017, won the Business Excellence Award in 2018, and she is a member of the World Wide Association of Female Professionals. She is a regular public speaker on topics ranging from marketing to advertising, and she shares her wealth of knowledge with others through her mentorship initiatives.

Smart Man, Smarter Woman References

We talk about a lot in each episode; however, we don’t want you to miss a thing! Here are some key items were mentioned if you want to take a closer look.

Website Recommendations:

Book Recommendation:
The E-Myth – Michael E. Gerber

Stay Connected:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Idea-Factor-1630627623830927/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylcappellano/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Idea_Factor

Learn more about our Cloud Accounting Services here


Steve Loates (00:00):

Welcome everyone, to another episode of the podcast Smart Man, Smarter Woman, a podcast for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. Thank you very much for giving us a listen today. I am Steve Loates.

Juliet Aurora (00:15):

And I am Juliet Aurora.

Steve Loates (00:17):

We are your co-hosts. Before we dive into today’s episode, and I’m pretty excited about today’s episode, how about a couple of words from my wonderful cohost, that smarter woman herself, Juliet. How are you doing today, Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (00:34):

I’m actually, interestingly, excellent. I say it that way, yes interestingly excellent.

Steve Loates (00:40):

Is that even a word?

Juliet Aurora (00:41):

Interestingly, sure. It is now, I’ve made it a word.

Steve Loates (00:45):

Okay, all right.

Juliet Aurora (00:46):

But, I guess in the life of being an entrepreneur, you have days and I know that everyone in our audience will have had these kinds of days, where you just go, “What the heck am I doing? Let’s just shut it down, and go live on an island somewhere.” I was having one of those mornings. I wasn’t having a great morning and I thought, well no, we’ve got a podcast recording that we’re doing today.

Juliet Aurora (01:11):

And now, I answer interestingly excellent because I know our guest that we have on the show today, and we don’t always know the guest. But, I know our guest today, who is always a very positive, uplifting person. And, just leading up to knowing that I was going to speaking with her made me feel better and made my day better. So it really is true that who you surround yourself can fundamentally shift how you feel.

Juliet Aurora (01:43):

To answer your question, I am excellent. Thank you, Steve.

Steve Loates (01:46):

Oh, thank you Juliet. That’s awesome. And honestly, I’m really going to try not to take that personally, the fact that you were getting ready to speak with me as well had nothing to do with you feeling more uplifted and positive. We’ll just let that go right by. In fact, I won’t even mention. How about that?

Juliet Aurora (02:06):

Yeah, let’s not even mention it.

Steve Loates (02:08):

Okay. I think it’s probably the audience has had enough of us, let’s bring our guest into the show. Our special guest today is Cheryl Cappellano. And as Juliet said, we both know Cheryl so full disclosure there. And, really excited to have her on the show, she’s a very successful entrepreneur. Thank you very much for joining us today, Cheryl.

Cheryl Cappellano (02:33):

My gosh, well thank you both for having me. And Juliet, I’m going to have a fat head all day after that kind of an introduction.

Juliet Aurora (02:40):

You deserve one, so go for it.

Steve Loates (02:43):

Well why don’t we start out, Cheryl, perhaps if you could tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, and how you help people, and how you get to where you are today.

Cheryl Cappellano (02:55):

Sure, I’d love to. Actually, it’s my favorite story and I tell it a couple of times a day, so you’d think I’d get sick of myself by now. But actually, I haven’t.

Cheryl Cappellano (03:03):

A long time ago, and I like to say I was only about two since the business has been around for 32 years, I was given the opportunity to sell a software program. The software program was called Sales Pro. It was really just a CRM system that everybody has today, but 32 years ago nobody even knew what that was. It predominately was just an automated calendar, to remind you of notes and people to call, and things like that. So I had absolutely no IT background whatsoever, I couldn’t even put a floppy disk into a computer to save my soul, but I decided that I was going to do this.

Cheryl Cappellano (03:44):

I had the distribution rights for Canada and the United States, which to me, sounded like this incredible thing of something I didn’t know how to do. And, I borrowed $20,000 from my parents, which they were not impressed with at all, and I did all the things you do in marketing. So I had a great big Yellow Pages ad, which I think is hilarious now because who has Yellow Pages anymore. I had a beautiful glossy brochure, it was black with a silver telephone on it. My company was called Science of Selling, SOS. I made chocolates, SOS, and went to trade shows and would hire robots that could view your name tag from a few feet away. And come over and say, “Hey Steve, how are you doing? Why don’t you come and meet Cheryl over at the booth and I’ll give you some chocolate on the way?” The robot would give some chocolate.

Cheryl Cappellano (04:33):

Anyways, I did all the things you do in marketing. I wrote articles about lead generation, about getting new customers, which is really our core business today. And, the only response I ever got from that was people who would call me and challenge me on my math. I like to say I spent all my money, and the only thing I didn’t have was customers. I decided that I was going to start calling people. I was traditional cold calling, and even over 30 years ago, people would hang up on you, they would swear at you. It was terrible. If you’d have to do that for more than a day, you’d never want to do that again. So I thought, well maybe if I send them something.

Cheryl Cappellano (05:13):

I was mailing them my very expensive, glossy, die cut brochure in a nine by 12 envelope, but when I’d call them they’d go, “Oh, you know I’ve got a million brochures. I don’t know, maybe there’s one on my desk.” I thought, my goodness that’s just not working either, is it? So, what can I send them that will get them to take my call maybe be a little bit nicer to me? I thought immediately about a pen. Oh, let’s get a pen and put my company name on it. Won’t that be cool? And, my phone number, and that’s just going to be fabulous. Well when I went to the post office they said, “Well, we work on a roller ball system, so unless you pay premium postage and use a bubble pack envelope, if you were to break the machine with one of these pens, you’d have to pay to fix it,” which could be a considerable amount of money. Of course, I realized that that wasn’t going to work either.

Cheryl Cappellano (06:00):

So finally, I decided that I would write a letter, but only use half of my page as stationary. The letter said, “I’d like to talk to you about increasing your sales, but that’s only half of the story. I’m going to call you soon with the other half.” I physically ripped my letter in half and folded it, and put it into a number 10 envelope, and sent it out to 100 companies that I had selected.

Cheryl Cappellano (06:25):

The very first company I called was Minolta. The gentleman said to me, and you could hear him straightening out the paper on his desk, and he said, “Listen, I don’t care who you are, but I want to see you in my office because this is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen.” He said, “First, I accused my receptionist of ripping your letter and then I read it, and now I really want to see you.”

Cheryl Cappellano (06:48):

I always call this the good news, good news, bad news story. Because the good news was I had Minolta as a customer in 11 locations across Canada and three into the United States, in New York region. I won an award from the Canadian Direct Marketing Association for the creativity of my direct mail piece. And, I had to wind the business down because I got too big too fast. While I was flying around the country doing all of these software installations, which I didn’t even, quite frankly, know how to do, I didn’t have a backup team internally that would be the customer support if they didn’t understand how to do something.

Cheryl Cappellano (07:27):

Once I wound the business down, I actually created a job for myself at a company call Unisource. They sell paper goods, pretty much anything you would see in a fast food restaurant. So everything you see if you go to McDonald’s, like straws, and napkins, and cups, and this, and that, and the other thing. I sent the president of the company a chocolate telephone. In there was a note, telling him that if he would hire me, it would be one of the best investments he ever made because I know how to run lead generation programs that would greatly augment his sales. So he believed me, and I got the job. That was actually a really interesting job, because that’s where the female entrepreneur was something brand new. All of my colleagues were men, and I was the only woman in that group and there were some interesting stories around that, but that’s different.

Cheryl Cappellano (08:20):

In any case, what I did was, for the various new products that would come on, I would create a direct mail piece and I would send it out. While I worked for Unisource, I had a big budget so I could try everything. I mailed everything. Pens, hats, rulers, tshirts, money trucks, squeeze balls, pies, I did it all. What I learned was that the only thing that people would really respond to in the mail is something you could eat. That was true 32 years ago, and that is true today, which I find fascinating.

Cheryl Cappellano (08:56):

To give you an example … Our direct mail back then was so unpolished in comparison to today. But literally, we would write up a letter on letterhead, put in some sort of clip art on it and it would say something like, “Make the smart choice, look to Unisource for your whatever needs,” and then we would include a box of Smarties. Then, I had two team members who would do the follow-up calls, who would then call these companies and book appointments on behalf of the sales reps. I was only there for 18 months, but we have a direct correlation to $3.1 million in sales, using that technique. Coles Book Store was big, big company in those days, probably as big as maybe Indigo is now, and we created the appointment for the sales rep to go in and sell them all of their bags. So everyone that left the store with a book, would leave with a big. Those were the types of opportunities that we would create.

Cheryl Cappellano (09:52):

But, I am not employable so I had to leave, because we spent too much time talking about what we were going to do but not actually doing it. I felt like my hands were always tied, I wanted to do so much more than they were allowing me today, so it was too frustrating for me and I moved on. I learned that the edible was really the only thing that could burst through all of the noise that is included in direct mail. But, the other thing that I learned was that when I had my software, people didn’t want my software, what they wanted to buy was an opportunity and an understanding of how to create a great lead for their field salesforce.

Cheryl Cappellano (10:34):

Equipped with those two really important pieces of information, I opened up Idea Factor, which is lovingly known as IF, and we have been doing the same sort of thing in a much more polished manner for a full 32 years now. There’s our outbound lead generation programs, which we conduct for companies big and small across North America. People you would know, like IBM, Cisco, and Microsoft, and Castrol Motor Oil, and [inaudible 00:11:04], and Drager, and names like that. But also, we work with the local insurance company, we work with the local employment agency, and we deploy our own methodology for lead generation to meet all of the new and wonderful customers that we service today.

Steve Loates (11:18):

Wow, that’s a great story.

Juliet Aurora (11:21):

I love the Smarties and, “Make the smart choice.” And the letter, the tearing of the letter.

Steve Loates (11:27):

The letter was great, that was brilliant. You absolutely deserved an award for that.

Cheryl Cappellano (11:32):

Thank you.

Steve Loates (11:33):

That was great.

Juliet Aurora (11:34):

So as you’ve gone through this journey, one of the things that you said is that you’re not employable which is why you started … That’s what we here often. Steve says that all the time, that he realized if he ever wanted to keep a job he needed to create it himself, because no one would keep him. A lot of entrepreneurs start because they aren’t employable, and they have this vision in their head that they need to fulfill.

Juliet Aurora (12:00):

Can you tell us a little bit about … When you started this journey, and fast forward 32 years later, are you now where you thought you were going to be when you started?

Cheryl Cappellano (12:10):

No, I think I far surpassed where I hoped I could get.

Juliet Aurora (12:14):


Cheryl Cappellano (12:15):


Juliet Aurora (12:16):

Are you selling the same service offering now, as you were when you started? Or, have you had to morph along the way?

Cheryl Cappellano (12:25):

It’s the identical service, it’s just gotten more sophisticated in terms of look, feel, and messaging. And, it’s 100% process driven, and because of that process we actually guarantee our customers that we will deliver them a 10% success ratio. What I mean by that is for every 100 companies that we would target on their behalf, we guarantee them 10 qualified, it used to be face-to-face prior to COVID meetings, but now they’re phone meetings, which are still going, actually, very well.

Juliet Aurora (13:00):

Excellent. Do you think that, as your business has evolved over the years, have you ever thought to add different services? Or, go in a different direction? You sound like you stuck pretty true to where you started, to where you are now. Shiny ball syndrome is a symptom of a lot of entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t seem to have affected you at all.

Cheryl Cappellano (13:24):

Well, that’s not true. I have gone down that road a couple of times, and learned not to do it again. And actually, one story was quite interesting.

Cheryl Cappellano (13:33):

Myself and a number of other vendors were invited to a supplier meeting with one of our global clients, and we all went around the table talking about what we do, our core competencies. And, there happened to be a company in the room that specializes in promotional goods, so those pens, hats, and rulers with your company name on it. It’s interesting, over the years, for some reason promotional companies want to align themselves with what we do, but what we do is completely different than that industry. The promotional companies would always encourage us to use some of their products, but we’ve proven over and over again that only the edible works. I did try to include doing my lead generation effort. But then, “Oh by the way, if you want a backpack with your name on it, I can help you out with that.” But, I found what happened is I stopped being the master of my domain and became a jack of all trades.

Cheryl Cappellano (14:30):

An interesting story about that particular promotional company was that they came to me one day, and this was quite some time ago, 15, 18 years ago, and said that they wanted to buy us, which was very flattering. I said, “I’m very flattered that you’d like to buy us, but we’re not for sale.” He said, “Well then, I just want you to know that I’m going to compete against you, head-to-head.” I said, “Well, may the best woman win.” It took him about 11 minutes, and he went out business and I’m still here, so there you go.

Steve Loates (14:59):

That’s awesome. One of the things that I love about your business model, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to buck the trend when it comes to marketing. That all everyone talks about today, if you want to be successful, is your marketing must be online, it must be digital, you must be using lots of social media. And yet, you seem to stick to a tried-and-true method that has worked for you for a long time, and continues to work, obviously. Do you digital marketing? And I guess, if not, why not?

Cheryl Cappellano (15:47):

That’s such a big question, and I could tell you so many stories around that. I do post a number of blogs on LinkedIn. But a broken record that I get when I’m meeting a new customer is about all of the time, and energy and money that they’ve spent on social media and digital, to not get the return that they were hoping for, to not get the leads or the quality of the leads that they wanted to get. I sound like I don’t believe in social media, but that’s not true, I believe in it 100%. I just don’t believe that this is the purpose.

Cheryl Cappellano (16:16):

I also believe that the reason why our program works is because it is a laser targeted solution, where we’re not only going after meetings within our prospective audience, but wanting to learn something about them. Let me give you another little example.

Cheryl Cappellano (16:35):

We wanted to work with IBM, desperately. This is more than 20 years ago. And so, every quarter, who is now actually the president of our company, her name is Naomi and has been with me all this time, she would try to open that door for me so I could have a meeting. She would mail the card and the edible, and then call them. Mail the card and the edible, and call them. Now, she knew eight or nine people within the organization after two years.

Cheryl Cappellano (17:01):

On the last call that she made to them they said, “You know what, we love what you do and we’ve got a whole shrine here to Idea Factor because we think your mail is so creative. But, we can’t work with you because we have our own internal telemarketing department.” She said to them, “You know what, there’s no such thing as wasted meeting. Why don’t you meet with Cheryl? She’ll probably give you some ideas.”

Cheryl Cappellano (17:18):

So I loaded up my little sample kit, and jumped in my car and went down to Steele’s Avenue there, in Don Mills, and met with this lovely team of ladies. They were about to do a direct mail campaign to 5000 companies. I’ll never forget it, because it was a box and the pieces were all die cut, and there was a CD inside. It was extremely expensive, it was 29.95 a piece, because I asked them. I said, “What are you going to do with that?” They said, “Well, we’re going to mail it out.” I said, “Okay. And then what?” They said, “Oh, well do you see that room over there, with all those people in it? That’s the telemarketing department. And when people call us, then we’re going to dispatch that lead out into the field.”

Cheryl Cappellano (17:58):

I said, “Okay, I’ll tell you what. How about if you do 5000 your way, and let me do 500 my way? If we can’t get you an 8% response rate, you don’t have to pay us a dime.” That campaign, at the time, was worth in the $40,000 range, I would say. They said, “Will you sign a note to that effect?” I said, “Yes, only if you agree to pay me when I deliver the 8%, and you put me on your procurement list.” They said yes, and we said yes.

Cheryl Cappellano (18:30):

Long story short, we actually delivered a 27% success ratio. We didn’t do 5000, we did 500. More than 140 qualified opportunities went directly to their field sales. But, the remainder of that group, the other 360, we knew something about. So now, we were able to develop an incredible strategy of how we actually would tap into that 5000, which only made our response rates bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

Cheryl Cappellano (19:01):

When people come to us now and they give us a robust number of companies that they’d like to target, I always say, “I’d want to, too. But let’s just do 100, or 200, and let’s learn all about that target audience. You’ll get to see the way we do things, and we’ll get to see the way you do things, and then we can go to market with a strategy that’s really going to kick some butt.”

Steve Loates (19:23):

Very good.

Juliet Aurora (19:24):

It’s amazing. Again, like Steve said, so different from what a lot of companies are doing.

Juliet Aurora (19:31):

So it sounds like a lot of your clients are larger. Does your methodology work with smaller clients? You mentioned you had a couple of local businesses that you work with as well. For our audience that maybe is starting out, what would you recommend be their starting point for them to be able to reach their target audience?

Cheryl Cappellano (19:55):

Well, we absolutely do work with some smaller companies. I often illustrate the larger ones, just because people know who they are. But, the local insurance company would work with us, and so would the local employment agency.

Cheryl Cappellano (20:10):

But, the thing that I have learned that entrepreneurs struggle with is who is your target audiences. If you say to me, “Everyone,” well no, that’s not good. No. We need to know specifically, because everyone, you could never afford to target all of those people. If I am an employment agency, the questions I’m going to ask myself are number one, what geography do I want to I want to trade in, and what makes sense for me? Do I need to have feet on the street, do I need to get in a car? Is it all done on the phone? Does geography not matter? And then, let’s decide upon that.

Cheryl Cappellano (20:47):

Then, I want to look and see if I have any clients at all, what do they look like in terms of profiling them? What would their average revenue be in a year? How many employees would they have on staff? And then, let’s take a look at a map that will help us to look like all the other companies within any geography that look like the ones that you’re currently servicing. Now, we’ve got a list that we can really target, where we can get some traction.

Juliet Aurora (21:14):

Excellent. Great advice. We’ve talked about it in the past, identifying your persona of your best client. Where do they hang out, what do they read? And that is along the same lines, understanding who your target is for your business. For a lot of entrepreneurs, especially when you’re starting out, the answer is always, “Everyone. Whoever wants to hire me, I need to pay my bills.” But, the focused growth has to be on a certain audience, so absolutely great advice.

Steve Loates (21:48):

Yeah. No, I agree. I want to just circle back on something, because I think it’s really important. It’s not something that we get an opportunity to talk about a lot on our show. That is, earlier in the episode Cheryl, you talked about how the first business you had was successful, but you had to shut it down because you got too big too fast. There’s a misconception out there, I think, amongst entrepreneurs that the only time you got out of business is because there’s not enough business.

Steve Loates (22:25):

I guess, what was your learning from that? What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are growing really fast, which happens to a lot of them, to make sure they stay in business?

Cheryl Cappellano (22:42):

I suppose, when I had Science of Selling, it was just that, I would take an order from anybody who would give it to me. I was sure of my abilities to be able to deliver, but I wasn’t sure of my backend. So that wasn’t good, that really wasn’t good.

Cheryl Cappellano (23:01):

But, what we have now is what we call a win-win-win philosophy. When we’re deciding if we’re going to do something, because sometimes we do walk away from certain pieces of business, we decide is this a win for my customer who wants to hire me? Will it be a win for their target audience? And, will it be a win for Idea Factor? If the answer is yes to all three of those, then we proceed. If we see a hiccup there anywhere, then we alert the customer to what we perceive that could probably be negative in any way, and that’s made a big, big, big difference. That, and our desire to be process driven. We are 100% process driven. We have a process for everything. Because I’m an entrepreneur, I’m not the kind of person that would like those sorts of things, but I’ve made sure to surround myself with people that do.

Cheryl Cappellano (23:57):

I hired a business coach. This company actually approached me for lead generation, I ended up hiring them. I had some business coaches over the year, that I felt that I just spent, then, all this time teaching them about my business but I didn’t really get any value in return. But, this one time it was completely different because I said exactly that. “I don’t want to spend money with you, and then I’m not going to get anything.” He said, “Well, I don’t want to learn about your business.” He said, “I want to learn about how much free time would you like to have.” I thought my gosh, how much free time would I like to have? You’ve got me hook, line, and sinker. Let’s talk a little bit more, because my work week was, without any exaggeration, was more than 80, 85 hours a week. I was here. Everybody was at home having dinner with their families on Sunday, I was here doing artwork, and writing quotes, and things like that.

Cheryl Cappellano (24:50):

This gentleman did me the biggest favor in the world, and he told me about a book called The E Myth which is written by Michael Gerber, and it absolutely changed my life. Because the whole premise of the book, and I strongly recommend. I listen to it in audio in my car, and I still do from time to time just as a refresher, because it was so fabulous. But, it was about the difference between the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur, and I was being all three. All the time that I was spending being the technician in the office, doing creative, writing quotes and things like that, was zapping my energy to pour into it at the entrepreneurship, which is really where I belong. So I learned that, which was monumental to our growth. We literally doubled our sales, once we got that figured out.

Cheryl Cappellano (25:42):

And then, the next big takeaway from that book was process, which they talked about McDonald’s. Well, I was the french fry girl at McDonald’s, when I was a teenager going to school. So they talked about making the hamburger. You know, pickles, lettuce, onion, sesame seed bun, or however it goes. But we did the same thing, over and over again, no matter who we were within that organization. If we touched the french fry station, there was a way to do it. If we touched the shakes, there was a way to do it, we all knew.

Cheryl Cappellano (26:11):

Well, that’s how Idea Factor runs, we have a process behind everything. Not visible to our client, but very visible to us. What’s happened since we’ve done that is it’s almost like we have a precision effort to every campaign that we launch.

Steve Loates (26:26):


Juliet Aurora (26:27):

Excellent. One last question, before we move onto the last part of the program. You said one statement, again early on, about being the only woman in the room. What do you think, or what has impacted you, or how do you think it has impacted you, for being a female entrepreneur in the space that you’re in, which is predominantly male? I know that you’re also a member of WEConnect International, which is all about women owned businesses. How do you think that you’ve had to do things differently, or have you had to do anything differently because you’re a female?

Cheryl Cappellano (27:08):

Oh boy, that’s such a loaded question. We might need a glass of wine.

Cheryl Cappellano (27:14):

I do love being a part of the WEConnect group and the WBEN, and I have had customers attracted to me simply for having those logos associated to who we are. For years and years, I often said certain things were difficult for me because I couldn’t tap into the old boys network. Sorry Steve, but sometimes they just wouldn’t give me the key to the executive washroom, no matter how hard you tried. But, I never let that bother me, and I also tried to lead the majority of my conversations with humor.

Cheryl Cappellano (27:55):

If I were to send an email to an executive at a corporation that I wanted to work or I was working with, it might start with something like, “Hey Steve, how are you doing? I’m just back from Italy and missing my daily French fries. What’s happening in your world?” I’m not always looking for the order, I’m not always looking for something, I’m just looking to continue to establish the relationship. That’s something I carry through, even now. With former people that I’ve worked with and organizations that have moved on, I reach out to them often through LinkedIn, just to see how they’re doing. I don’t talk about business at all, I talk about pretty much anything but business. Somehow, that tends to come back to me.

Cheryl Cappellano (28:38):

But, I have had my challenges in that field, without question.

Juliet Aurora (28:42):

Perfect, thank you so much. Over to you, Steve.

Steve Loates (28:44):

That was great. One question I have to ask you, because I think I would be amiss if I didn’t. If someone is thinking, right now, about becoming an entrepreneur, they want to create their own business, what one piece of advice would you give them?

Cheryl Cappellano (29:06):

Oh my gosh. Probably just that focus thing, to really focus on what it is they want and really understand their goal. If you don’t understand your goal, you can’t create a path to get to it.

Cheryl Cappellano (29:21):

I’m an old-fashioned girl, I still have a book that I write in everyday, all the things that I want to do and all my thoughts. I tick them all off, one by one. And then, if I don’t do it today, it goes to number one in tomorrow. Sometimes, people will call me and they’ll ask me for things and I’ll say to them, “Well, the good news it’s on the list. The bad news is you’re number 23.”

Steve Loates (29:43):


Cheryl Cappellano (29:45):

But, the goal thing is extremely important, if you’re going to open up a business, is know why you want to do it and then make a path to get there.

Steve Loates (29:56):

Awesome. That’s great advice. And, that brings us to the part of the show we call the Smart Man, Smarter Woman version of James Lipton’s Actor’s Studio. We have six questions, same six questions we ask every guest. Are you ready, Cheryl?

Cheryl Cappellano (30:15):

I’m ready, bring it on.

Steve Loates (30:18):

Question number one. What one word best defines an entrepreneur?

Cheryl Cappellano (30:24):

Determination. I would have said focus, but I think you have to be extremely determined to sit in this chair.

Steve Loates (30:33):

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

Cheryl Cappellano (30:40):

I would really like to dabble in the world of public speaking. I like to help entrepreneurs, and I like to share stories, and I like to hear about the challenges that people are having, in case there’s some way that I can assist.

Steve Loates (30:54):

Awesome. What profession would you like never to attempt?

Cheryl Cappellano (30:59):

You know what? I don’t know why, but this pops into my head, is real estate. Because real estate, to me, is a job that you work 24/7, 365 days a year, and unless you do that, you can’t be really good at it. You know, I don’t like to do anything where I can’t be really good at it. And I don’t want to work 25/7, 365 either.

Steve Loates (31:19):

Okay. What sound or noise do you love?

Cheryl Cappellano (31:25):

What sound or noise do I love? Oh, laughter. I absolutely love the sound of laughter.

Steve Loates (31:32):

Okay, great. What book, and you may have already done this, what book would you recommend every entrepreneur should read?

Cheryl Cappellano (31:41):

The E Myth. You know, I have been given so many books, and I have read so many books throughout my career, and The E Myth just spoke to me from page one, it was just so good. I learned a lot of valuable lessons. And, I actually listened to it on CD, but I did buy the CDs for all of my executive team and they have all listened to it as well. And, I’ve watched them elevate in their role, once they got the difference between the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician.

Steve Loates (32:12):

Awesome. And, question six. When your own entrepreneurial journey is completed, what do you hope your legacy is?

Cheryl Cappellano (32:21):

Well, I already know what my legacy is going to be, and it’s what I always wanted. That is to pass over the reigns of Idea Factor to another female entrepreneur, and I’m excited that it’s not only a female entrepreneur, but also a woman of color. I’m feeling like I’m helping in two places, where I have a vested interest.

Steve Loates (32:40):

Awesome. For those in our audience who would like to connect with you, what is the best way for them to do that, Cheryl?

Cheryl Cappellano (32:48):

Probably through my email is great. Shall I give it to you?

Steve Loates (32:53):


Cheryl Cappellano (32:54):

I always say I should have married a man with a shorter last name, but here goes. I am Cheryl, C-H-E-R-Y-L dot Cappellano, C-A-P-P-E-L-L-A-N-O at Idea, I-D-E-A dash Factor, F-A-C-T-O-R dot com.

Steve Loates (33:19):

Perfect. Yeah, you probably should have married someone with a shorter …

Steve Loates (33:26):

Before we conclude this episode, do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with our audience of entrepreneurs?

Cheryl Cappellano (33:34):

Well, I would like to thank you, Steve and Juliet, for putting this together, and so much for inviting me. I was quite thrilled to do this today.

Cheryl Cappellano (33:42):

I think what I would like to say to entrepreneurs is it has been an extremely rewarding and fulfilling journey. I had the great honor of receiving a business award from the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, and we were asked to write a little speech. I really didn’t know what I wanted to say, but it came to me one night. What I told the audience was, I don’t know if you ever saw the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, but it is a story about a man who is a teacher, there’s a whole bunch of things that happen. And then, at the end of the movie, the auditorium is filled with all of the students that he taught in his life, and where they were in their careers.

Cheryl Cappellano (34:30):

Often, I think about all of the families that I have employed, and all of the nights that I sat up and worried about making my payroll, and doing everything right, and so on, and so on. If I could see them, all in a room and where they are today, that would give me such great joy. That was what that Chamber award did for me, because it took me through all the years of when I started, and to where we are now.

Steve Loates (35:00):

Awesome. Thank you.

Steve Loates (35:02):

What about you, Juliet? Do you have any final words for our audience?

Juliet Aurora (35:06):

I guess, more than anything else, thank you Cheryl for joining us, and sharing so much for your story. As you know, I’m a huge fan of your story, your journey, your business. I’ve known Cheryl for several years, but even before I met her in-person, did know of her business and of her story, and her place in the community. I just want to thank you for being a part of our show, and sharing with our audience. Much appreciated.

Cheryl Cappellano (35:37):

Thank you. It’s great work you all are doing.

Steve Loates (35:38):

Thank you, and thank you Juliet. And, this episode’s Words of Wisdom are short and sweet. “Worry about being better, and bigger will take care of itself,” by Gary Comer.

Steve Loates (35:55):

Thank you, again, thank you Cheryl, you were a wonderful guest. And of course, my cohost, how could I not thank my cohost, I’d never hear the end of that. So thank you, once again, Juliet, for doing an awesome job. It always helps though, when we have a great guest, it always makes it a little easier.

Juliet Aurora (36:16):


Steve Loates (36:17):

But most importantly, thank you to you, our audience, for tuning in and for giving us a listen. We hope you found some value, and if you did please subscribe to the podcast. You know where we are, in all the normal places. Or, you can go to the website, smartmansmarterwoman.com. Thank you. Until next time, take good care of yourself and those that you love. Bye for now.

Song by Adam Vitovsky / CC BY 3.0

Join the discussion


Episode 46