At a Dizzying Pace, Eric Greenspan Is the Driving Force Behind Make It Work
Eric Greenspan was born an entrepreneur. His first job was for the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, selling subscriptions to pay for a remote-controlled helicopter he just had to have. Unfortunately, when he flew the copter for the first time, due to incorrect assembly, it flew the wrong direction up over a mountain and was never seen again. Greenspan was heartbroken.
Since that day, every company Greenspan has assembled seems to fly in exactly the right direction. Now, the founder and CEO of Make It Work Inc. is flying high and making sure everything electronic works all over Southern California.
From its headquarters above The Habit Burger Grill at La Cumbre Plaza, the computer support company dispatches technicians to homes and businesses to fix “anything that hums, beeps or clicks, from computers to iPods to home theaters.” While the concept of servicing computers on-site is by no means a novel idea, what Greenspan and his talented team of technicians are doing certainly is; that’s because of a company ethos that Greenspan refers to as providing a “mind-blowing customer experience.”
“We promise you enthusiastic delight or a full refund with no questions asked,” Greenspan said. “If a customer calls up and says, ‘You know, I don’t really love what you guys did for me,’ the first thing we say is, ‘I am really sorry, would you like my CEO’s cell phone number? And if that’s not enough, in addition to giving you a full refund, would you like us to come out and fix it for free?’
“And if we’re late, we’re going to call you and tell you that we’re going to be late — before you’re sitting there looking at your watch wondering if we’re coming,” he continued, his excitement rising. “And by the way, would you like us to stop at Starbucks to grab you a cup of coffee?”
It is that type of do-whatever-it-takes attitude that has brought Greenspan success throughout his business career. It is also why Make It Work remained profitable every quarter during 2009’s flagging economy, a trend that has continued into 2010.
During the summer following his first year in college, Greenspan starting working for $5 an hour washing cars at a Hertz used-car lot. By the end of the summer, he said he had not only been promoted to sales, but had also sold a record 13 cars, beating out every other salesman on the lot. He then went on to pay his whole way through college in Santa Barbara by turning an unpaid internship at IBM into a full-time job within a matter of months.
In 1995, Greenspan took a step that would change his life forever. He sat down one night in his Montecito apartment and wrote a business plan called Make It Work.
“It was a one-page business plan, and all I wanted to do was help people make things work,” Greenspan explained. “I started that company the next morning.”
His first major client was Debbie’s Delights, the wholesale bakery at 233 E. Gutierrez St. He built a network and a complete order management system for Debbie. About six months later, she was able to sell her company and retire.
Greenspan eventually sold that company to Push.com, but he remained the CEO and retained ownership of the Make It Work name. Over the course of the next several years, Greenspan continued to enjoy monumental success in the world of business and technology. Eventually, he sold his half of Push to his then-business partner.
In 2001, he started the second, and current, version of Make It Work. He brought in Jeremy Anticouni, the very first technical employee of the original Make It Work, and made him a co-founder and CTO of the company.
Greenspan quickly noticed there were far more home computers than when he started the original business, and, as always, he had a keen eye for opportunity. The business model, which had been centered around landing big accounts, evolved until in July 2003, he decided to reshape the entire company around the current structure, which is all about providing a stress-free digital lifestyle for people in their homes.
The first $450,000 was raised completely from customers who loved what Greenspan, Anticouni and Make It Work were doing. An additional $1 million was raised through a few high net-worth individuals in town, and the final $1.75 million through angel groups. Today, the new and improved Make It Work, which began with one customer back in 1995, has raised in excess of $3.5 million.
These days, Greenspan has his hands full with much more than his 65-employee, booming business. He is also the co-host of the 140 Conference LA Meetup, one of the premier social media conferences in the country. He is the founder of Eric Greenspan’s OSN 101 conference, where customers can learn how to effectively use social networking to benefit their business. He has launched a major social networking campaign for Make It Work, and 137 social networks — including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube — are engaged.
And as of Tuesday, Make It Work has partnered with Noozhawk to launch T-3: Today’s Tech Trends, a daily technology news source dedicated to reporting the day’s top three tech stories. Click here to watch T3 or click here to find out more about it.
That isn’t the only thing on his plate Tuesday, though. Tuesday morning he was at USC’s Marshall School of Business discussing the case study the school did on Make It Work’s “customer-centric business model.”
Other than that, Greenspan doesn’t really have a lot going on right now. Well, except for the fact that he and his wife are expecting a baby, a boy, in less than two weeks. Jackson Greenspan hasn’t even been born yet and he already has 29 friends on Facebook, two different Web sites and a Twitter handle.
— Kevin McFadden is a Noozhawk contributor.
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