Karan Dhillon: Coaching the Pros
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter
WALNUT CREEK — After spending 10 years working for Fortune 500 companies, Karan Dhillon had established a solid career in corporate America. However, it wasn’t until he adjusted his focus to a smaller scale that he achieved true success. “I did sales and marketing for a large software company until I finally decided to do something on my own,” he says. “I decided to take the knowledge and experience I’d gained in the corporate realm and apply it to the small business level as a business coach.”
Karan founded his business in 2008 and started off strong, but things quickly became tentative following the subsequent economic downturn. Fortunately, a silver lining emerged out of that cloud of uncertainty. “Initially, I was working with small businesses in general, but after the economy crashed, I started getting more calls from contractors, who had been hit particularly hard by the recession,” he explains. “I soon found that we were getting great results with contractors, helping them turn their businesses around and increase their sales within a 12- to 18-month period. While everyone around them was struggling, our contractors were growing their businesses!”
Today, as owner of The Contractors Coach, Karan says he continues to gain satisfaction from helping his clients achieve positive results. “It’s very rewarding to take a client whose life has become consumed by their business and help them turn things around. Typically, not only is their business more successful, the owner actually comes out of it a better, happier person. In fact, the best compliment I ever received was from a contractor’s wife, who said, ‘Thank you for fixing my husband!’”
Originally from India, Karan came to the United States to attend Michigan State University, where he earned his MBA in engineering. Today, as a resident of Walnut Creek, he says he appreciates the temperate climate and concentrated diversity found in the Bay Area. “The weather is unbeatable and the diversity is unbelievable. We also get a lot of great cuisine. I lived in Minnesota for three years, and you’d be surprised what passes for Indian food there!”
Outside of work, Karan engages in a variety of active pastimes, both on the ground and in the sky. “In addition to hiking and playing golf, I’m a pilot,” he says. “I fly Cessnas out of Livermore and Concord, and I enjoy going down the coast to areas like Monterey and Santa Barbara.” Karan also invests time toward continued personal development (both through reading and meeting with a personal development coach) and hanging out with his 2-year-old son, Xander. “We have a lot of fun together, although I find myself watching a lot of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ these days,” he laughs.
In his life and career, Karan espouses the importance of finding your niche. “When I first started my business, I tried to appeal to as many people as possible, and it wasn’t getting me anywhere,” he explains. “However, as soon as I focused on one area—contractors—my business started to pick up very quickly. I soon realized that riches are made in the niches, and the more you try to be everybody to everyone, the more you become no one to nobody. I share this same advice with my clients to apply in their own businesses.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Karan says he’d continue to do what he’s doing now. “I don’t feel like retiring. I enjoy what I do too much, so I’d probably just do more of it, but maybe I’d expand from a local basis to a more global reach. I’d also spend more time playing golf, flying and hanging out with my son.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: Right now, it’s “The Profit,” which is about a business coach named Marcus Lemonis who invests in companies and helps them grow.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Casa Orozco in Dublin. They have awesome chili verde.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Hang out with my son and my dog, Mickey. He’s a 120-pound Old English Sheepdog, so it’s basically like having a giant teddy bear around.
Q: What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
A: I ate chicken feet one time while travelling in Asia. They were fried, and the nails were sticking out of the batter. Obviously, they tasted like chicken.
Q: Do you listen to any podcasts?
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A: I listen to podcasts by a guy named David Neagle. He actually used to be my personal development coach.