Justin Kaufenberg is the co-founder and CEO at TST Media, a market leader in online sports organization management systems. Justin has been a life-long entrepreneur and is recognized as an authority on amateur sports technology and e-commerce. Mediaspace Solutions had the opportunity to talk with Justin as part of our Shatter the Status Quo (STSQ) Interview Series, which highlights individuals who have lived the STSQ lifestyle throughout their personal and professional lives. Below is an excerpt of our recent conversation with Justin. You can download the full interview here.
MEDIASPACE: How has being involved in athletics influenced your business decisions? Are there lessons learned from sports that you apply to your business?
KAUFENBERG: Yes, absolutely. I was exposed to this industry because of my lifelong participation in sports, both as a player and as a coach, and I recognized opportunity for improvement. From a philosophical perspective, most of the lessons I have learned in life have been learned in the locker room. That’s where I was taught how to shake a man’s hand and work hard; I’ve tried to carry those lessons through to our business. We’ve built a culture that incorporates a little bit of that locker room mentality. We talk about how people are working shoulder-to-shoulder to accomplish a greater goal, all while having fun. We’ve taken the competitive nature of sports and instilled it in the organization, along with the idea that if you work hard, you earn the opportunity to have significant fun and freedom. It’s no different than if you’ve practiced hard and earned the opportunity to win games and have a lot of fun doing it.
MEDIASPACE: Who were some of your mentors along the way and how did they influence you?
KAUFENBERG: My biggest influence was my dad. He’s a passionate entrepreneur, but he started a family at a young age. I’m one of four boys, so he never really had the opportunity to chase his dream, but he was always passionate about it. Growing up, we’d have family meetings at home every month and the theme of every family meeting was the exact same thing: how to make dad rich. What can we invent so dad doesn’t have to commute to work every day and sit in traffic on Hwy. 169? What can we do to help him start a business, to invent something? We had fun, collaborative, brainstorming family meetings for a number of years. By the time I became a teenager I knew I wanted to do something on my own. My dad instilled in me the idea to control my own destiny.
MEDIASPACE: One of the core values at TST Media is to leave everyone in awe. How are you doing that in today’s crowded marketplace?
KAUFENBERG: Our greatest driver of new business has always been our client services team. Every single person in this organization has been empowered to throw economics out the window and go above and beyond to make sure they never hit ‘send’ on an email, hang up a phone, or leave a meeting without leaving the client in awe. We don’t track outbound calls, time spent on the phone or any other call center metrics being tracked by other companies. We base everything on a happiness coefficient and we strive to leave everyone in awe. If a member of our client services team picks up the phone and that particular client needs help, even if it has nothing to do with our software platform or our business, the client services team member is not allowed to end the call until they have left that customer 100% happy. The same goes for sales, design and development. If a client needs a feature, then the developer will not leave the office until they have satisfied the client to the point of leaving them in awe. We’ve always had the belief that through the long term, the economics will reward us if we track that happiness coefficient amongst our clientele.
Download the full interview to learn how Justin spends the first hour of his work day and what sets TST Media apart from its competitors. TST is a prime example of a company capitalizing on bringing a beneficial service to local communities. If you’re interested in learning the top reasons you should be reaching consumers locally, download our most recent research report.
Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.