Ben Walker is a CEO, entrepreneur, and visionary leader that enjoys helping others become successful in business and in life. Ben’s company Transcription Outsourcing provides user friendly and cost-effective transcription services for the medical, legal, law enforcement, and financial industries for organizations all over the world. Ben is a sought after thought leader and has made contributions to publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc, Forbes, and the Associate Press. Follow Ben’s Tweets: @benjaminkwalker
- CEO Hack: Having a mentor or coach
- CEO Nugget: Get as much as PR as possible
- CEO Defined: Being a good delegator but not being arrogant about it
Below is the episode's transcription provided by Transcription Outsourcing
INTRO: Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, start-ups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you have come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO podcast.
HARKLESS: Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. Ben Walker of Transcription Outsourcing. Ben, it is awesome to have you on the show.
WALKER: Thanks for having me, Gresham.
HARKLESS: Yeah, no problem, super excited to have you on. So what I want to do is just read a little more about Ben so you can hear all the awesome things he is doing. Ben is a CEO, entrepreneur, and visionary leader that enjoys helping others become successful in business and in life. Ben’s company, Transcription Outsourcing, provides user-friendly and cost-effective transcription services for the medical, legal, law enforcement and financial industries for organizations all over the world. Ben is a sought-after thought leader and has made contributions to publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc., Forbes, and the Associated Press. Ben, are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?
WALKER: I am.
HARKLESS: Awesome, let’s do it. To kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more about your background, what I call your CEO story, and what helped you get started with your business.
WALKER: Thanks for asking. About 12, 13 years ago I was part owner of another transcription company. And I was there for three years. Things were changing in the medical community, or medical industry, where doctors now used a lot of digital record-keeping, a lot of pointing and clicking. So we were losing medical clients to that. At the same time, we were getting contacted by law firms, law enforcement agencies, and they were asking if we could transcribe for them. And at the time we were telling them, no. Then things changed like I said, the medical industry, so we started looking more into those other opportunities. And that is when I broke off from the other company I actually still own part of. I created Transcription Outsourcing and started offering more kinds of transcription services. We are in our 10th year right now, we’re almost 11. And like you said, we have clients all over the country.
HARKLESS: Nice, I definitely appreciate that, happy near 11th birthday as well. I think it is awesome, obviously in business you have to able to kind of understand that certain things change in the industry and be able to kind of ebb and flow with that. Be able to pay attention to what is going on and know how to make those decisions based off that.
WALKER: Yeah, business plans very rarely are down to a T accurate. You do have to be willing to move things around and change direction, maybe slightly pivot one way or the other. Because like I said, it is never accurate down to a T.
HARKLESS: Yeah. Absolutely, that is one of the big reasons people say you want to, for business plans specifically, to be able to make sure it is light and nimble enough, and sometimes not even as long because you want to use it as a working document not a solid document. Unless you're getting, like, financing or something like that.
WALKER: Even then they want to see that now too. To get financing it’s good to have a lot of colleagues, friends that own companies. They want some of that built in also, not so rigid and stuck in one lane.
HARKLESS: Especially with how fast everything is changing with technology and everything, you have to able to kind of pivot and change. As you said, the business plan has to showcase that as well. I know you talked about how you guys had made the change in the business, but I wanted to hear more about Transcription Outsourcing. Take us through exactly how the service works, how you support the clients, some of the industries you're working in.
WALKER: So a lot of our business now is through government entities. And larger facilities within government. So a DMV for a specific state will send us all their DMV hearings that need to be transcribed and submitted as evidence for the court hearing. Or a police department conducts interviews with witnesses and suspects, and there are 911 calls involved and jail calls, undercover wiretaps. They upload their audio and/or video through a secure web platform to us. It is HIPAA-compliant and CJIS-compliant. And then it comes to our workflow where our office gets it, and then we assign it out to our transcriptionists that are scattered all over the U.S. that work from home for us. Then we send the document back to that client through the same platform so it is all encrypted and protected. And it gets back to the right person on time so it can then help their process, they move through whatever it is they're doing. We work with universities that do research, law firms that need depositions transcribed, financial companies that do earnings calls or conferences — conference calls, focus groups. There are so many different kinds of transcriptions we’ve done. We have helped authors with interviews like we are doing now. You name it, we have probably done it.
HARKLESS: It seems like it is — correct me if I'm wrong — becoming more of a widespread thing as technology, people are probably becoming aware of it too. To kind of take a lot more, it is a lot easier to have a conversation and be able to transcribe it, an author, of course if you are doing some type of hearing. It seems like it’s a growing industry.
WALKER: It is for sure. Unfortunately, in the legal world, it’s because there are more cases that need to be adjudicated. That is not so good. It is good for us, not good for the judges and the clerks. All those guys. And one thing I forgot to mention, our clients need a premium service, they need 99 percent accuracy. They can’t get away with 50 percent or even 80 percent because that will lose meaning and context if it’s not exactly perfect. We guarantee that for our clients because of the situation they're in and what they are using it for, they have to have that. That is why they come to us instead of doing it themselves or running it through some type of AI. Because AI isn’t there yet, it is still a ways off.
HARKLESS: It makes a lot of sense. I was going to ask you that. In relation to the security aspect, I imagine as you said those people that are going through, having legal cases, you have to make sure a lot of that, it’s with a trusted source and it has that workflow, it doesn’t go through maybe a less secure AI or less secure system that may send that information out. Who knows where.
WALKER: And it — I don't know the different companies, I know who they are but I don't know where their servers are, you don't know where that data is bouncing around. You also don't know how long it is being stored. So if it is a sensitive subject that shouldn't be out and then it gets breached later, then that could be an issue. We do have clients like the VA, the Veterans Administration, they ask us to purge their data at certain intervals so it is gone forever. They don't want us to store it anywhere. We do that, we have to do that to keep them as a client. So things like that have kept us around.
HARKLESS: Sounds like you have to able to provide that quality of service and be that trusted partner. When someone like the VA or any organization is working with you. So you might have already touched on this, but would you consider that being a trusted partner and being able to have that trust and security, those aspects, to be your secret sauce, the thing that kind of sets you and your organization apart?
WALKER: A little, but it is more customer service. I know everybody says that. But what happens when we get into the thick of it with a new prospect is, I almost force them to call references because it is better to hear from a reference than from me or someone in my office, because we can tell them what they want to hear. Or it may sound too good to be true. So we want them to talk to someone who is in a similar situation. Police chief to police chief, or dean of a department at NYU to dean of a department at the University of Virginia. They can speak to each other on the same level and not hold anything back. So our customer service, to get there we ask them to call our references. The other stuff is we have it and some of our competitors don't. Cyber liability and general likability and a bond. And our platforms are HIPAA- and CJIS-compliant, like I said, and I can prove it. These other companies may say that but they might not be able to prove it. It is so common, everyone says they have insurance and then no one ever asks for it. Yeah.
HARKLESS: Yeah, no one asks for it unless something goes wrong, and then everybody is looking for it, and that’s not a good place to be. I appreciate you kind of expounding on that because so many times, you have the ability to develop and have that customer service, a lot of times, people believe the customer experience starts when you sign on the dotted line. But as you kind of talked about it in that customer journey, sometimes it starts in the beginning. And when you have that frame of reference, another client to talk to and hear how the process works. That begins the customer journey or the next step.
WALKER: Yeah, exactly. Because the existing clients or customers can tell the potential customers of an example and I don't necessarily know them all, they don't all come through me, they come through someone else in my office or a company that works remotely. I don't even know, I'm glad it happened but I don't know about it. I have a few examples and then I prefer they talk to the actual client.
HARKLESS: That makes sense. When you have those raving fans that can speak for you, that’s the best way to show what you are capable of and what you can do. I appreciate that example of secret sauce. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask for what I call a CEO hack. That could be an app, a book, or a habit that you have, something that makes you more effective and efficient.
WALKER: This is a common one but it is having a mentor or coach. I can’t stress that enough. It kind of dovetails with learning from people who have already been there or done it. So I read a ton of books and I get those lists from guys like Buffett and Gates and go through them all, even though some of them are boring and not really my thing. But after a while you start to notice patterns of how people did certain things and worked through certain situations. You may not realize it, but subconsciously you are. Doing what they suggested because you keep hearing the same thing over and over. We are not reinventing the wheel.
HARKLESS: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now I wanted to ask for a CEO nugget, like a word of wisdom or piece of advice or I like to say, if you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?
WALKER: To get as much as PR as possible.
HARKLESS: It makes so much sense. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is, what does it mean to be a CEO? We’re hoping to have different CEOs on the show, so Ben, what does being a CEO mean to you?
WALKER: There are so many generic cliché answers. Being a good delegator but not being arrogant about it. Those are more dictators instead of delegators. They don't communicate well, they just tell you what to do and tell you how it is. Instead of working through it with them and then delegating it, or brainstorming together, working as a team more than, like I said, a dictator who just tells people what to do. It is hard to articulate, and I have been thinking about this for a little bit. Yeah, more human about it.
HARKLESS: I like that. I think I see exactly what you're saying and where you're going. That human element. It is funny, that is also what we were touching on, if somebody calls you are able to pick up the phone, if somebody doesn’t want to pick up you also have that way of doing it. That is the element we are craving, as more and more technology happens, more automation, more things, that human element you want as a CEO, whatever your title might be. If you're on a team, you want to be able to have the human aspect, you are working on a team, going forward toward a specific goal, it’s not just you, also the leader or the CEO as well. You just have that interaction and that community feel.
WALKER: You said it much better than I did.
HARKLESS: Teamwork makes the dreamwork. We were showcasing exactly what that is. A lot of times you have to be able to have that back and forth.
HARKLESS: Awesome, awesome, awesome. I appreciate all the awesome things you are doing. I just want to pass you the mic so to speak just to see if there is anything else you can tell our readers and listeners, and how they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're doing.
WALKER: Yeah, we work 365 days a year. Like you mentioned in the beginning we have clients all over the country, medical, legal, law enforcement, financial, general business, academic. Most time it is online, at our website transcriptionoutsourcing.net Click the contact button or click call. We are here between 8 and 5 Mountain Time, we are in Denver. It is a simple process getting signed up and started with us. We do have a vast network of independent contractors to transcribe for us all over the country. With different specialties. We are easy and accessible to work with, we will answer the phone and return your emails, more than likely the same day.
HARKLESS: Awesome, awesome, awesome. I truly appreciate that. The words of wisdom you gave us today. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well. Thank you for reminding us as well to pick up the phone, at least return the phone call and the emails. Within a reasonable period of time, so many times we overlook that. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.
END: Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast powered by Blue16 Media, tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. It is not just a phrase, it is a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a 5-star rating. Get CEO gear at www.ceogear.co This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.