• Tom Herman

Tom's Origin Story - Part 2

My first real job was intense.


Conducting market and consumer research


To support store location decisions for a retail chain.


With each store requiring millions in investment,


And a massive amount of planning and effort,


It was a lot of pressure for a kid with little real-world experience.


I came into it with a solid foundation of subject knowledge learned in grad school,


But I’d never been integrally involved in decisions that had real financial implications.


Or decisions that impacted people’s lives.


My case of imposter syndrome was extreme.


And I was terrified of making a mistake.


Quick back story:


The company had recently closed a dozen stores in an expansion market.


These stores failed to live up to the previous store development team's projections.


The financial loss to the company was huge,


And several hundred employees lost their jobs.


The company hired my boss and me to ensure it didn’t happen again.


As the organization’s first market research team,


We had to create systems and procedures to


➡️ Analyze market trends,

➡️ Assess competitors,

➡️ Conduct consumer research, and

➡️ Forecast and defend sales projections.


Despite the stress, it was the perfect first job.


I quickly learned:


Solid customer and market intelligence


✅ reduces organizational stress,

✅ supports confident decisions, and

✅ improves financial outcomes.


And this realization has guided my career.


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