From Teaching Literacy to Training the Trainers in Sales: Alice Heiman Part I Business / Entrepreneurship / Stories / Video

Alice Heiman is originally from New Jersey and lived there the first 18 years of her life. She went to Indiana University in Bloomington and chose that school because they had a great art program. While playing on the women’s soccer team in college, she quickly realized she wouldn’t make a living in art and ended up studying to be a teacher. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education, specializing in special education and her graduate degree is in literacy.

When she wanted to learn how to teach children to read, she started a master’s program in literacy and studied with a faculty member who conducted research with a professor from the University of Nevada. Quickly after her master’s program, she started a business that focused on providing resources for parents and teachers that would train them to teach children how to read.

She opened her business in California while simultaneously teaching in schools. With a cutting edge resource center, she spoke at conferences and managed her store with hundreds of books and a space to provide hands-on training. Having the heart and passion for a business is unfortunately not enough, especially with the emergence of Barnes & Noble. Alice learned a hard lesson and had to close her resource center.

Next steps for Alice were to join the family business, Miller Heiman in Reno, Nevada. The company had been around for over twenty years and by the time Alice joined they had plans for growth with an exit strategy. Miller-Heiman started in the late 1970’s in San Francisco. They published several books on sales that many of the fortune 500 companies used. In 1992, the business moved to Reno and in 1994 Alice joined the company in a role that taught strategies and tactics for large companies to position themselves well and execute a sale.

She traveled around the country and trained the trainers. Some of the companies she trained included Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, etc. She went from teaching little kids to teaching big kids in a big way. After three years of helping her family grow the company, Alice went off on her own and opened Alice Heiman, LLC. She maintained an affiliation with the company beyond the time it was sold a few years later.

This was the dot-com time (a.k.a., the “dot-bomb”). It was an interesting era because people from big companies were leaving and joining dot-com’s (i.e., startups). Alice learned how to create sales teams from scratch and help small startups come into their own with sales. That was how she transitioned working with fortune 500 companies to startups and small companies, which is what her business focuses on today.

It’s important for Alice to lift up business owners and founders. She wants to focus her energy on ensuring the success of others. The biggest project she’s working on now is her book that’s written specifically for company owners that don’t know anything about sales. She’s editing the book now, smoothing out all the final pages and seeks a book launch this August 2016.

Check out more with Alice Heiman answering 5 Questions on Excellence in part two of this blog.

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