Business Buzz reached out to Carol Roth for an interview to gain some professional insights on Entrepreneurship and Marketing along with a few important tips for first-time entrepreneurs.
1- Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?
I have a very lengthy resume, so I typically introduce myself as someone who makes people think, who makes people laugh and who makes people money- not necessarily in that order. My experience includes $2 billion in transaction experience (capital raising, M&A, joint ventures, licenses and more). I tend to focus my time in three areas today. I work in the media as a pundit (giving my expertise and opinions), currently as a contributor to CNBC on TV and a writer for various media outlets. I also used to host a radio show on a major station in Chicago.
Second, I act as a spokesperson and consultant for big brands looking to reach entrepreneurs (some of the companies that I have worked with Include Bank of America, Microsoft and Nextiva). The final area of focus is my entrepreneurial endeavors, which includes my customer loyalty consulting business, developing and launching products (including a software product currently in development), investing, speaking and more.
And I have an action figure made in my own likeness.
2- What is a common mistake entrepreneurs do when launching their startup?
Most entrepreneurs don’t know “The Rule of 3”: that everything will take three times as long, cost three times as much and be three times as difficult as you expect it to be (and than it should be). This means that entrepreneurs underfund, not just initial costs to start the business, but the costs to operate the business until it reaches a stable foundation and to live on while this is happening.
They also need to have the patience and the long term view, because there will be a lot of “Rule of 3”-generated bumps in the road and the ones who are successful are often the ones who persevere through the challenges.
3- What do you think of Digital Marketing and online presence in general?
It’s a tool, so like any other tool, it is useful if it serves your purposes and you use it correctly. Certainly, being online can give you credibility and being well-known online can give you an expert status that allows you to raise your prices or attract new customers.
I think that the digital landscape can be overwhelming. First, I think every business can benefit from it by listening. Social media lets you eavesdrop on your customers and your competitors. This knowledge is powerful.
Then, it gives you the opportunity to communicate with customers as well. My best advice here is to pick a few platforms where your customers are congregating and receptive to hearing about your business, and to communicate consistently. A presence doesn’t happen overnight, but is built one tweet/post/update at a time over a long period of time.
4- What are a few tips for first time entrepreneurs?
Make a good risk/reward tradeoff. If you are going to start a business, you have to make sure that your opportunity is big enough to justify the risk that you are taking on- including what you are giving up in terms of other potential opportunities, like a job. Too many entrepreneurs trade a job for a business where they work more hours for the same or less pay when they had been employed.
Don’t fall in love with your idea. Make sure that there’s a real need for your business with a big opportunity and that you are the best person to solve that problem at the right time. That formula’s critical. I have more on this in my bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation.
Keep it simple. Too many entrepreneurs try to cram every feature into a new product or service or over-complicate their solution to a market product. Don’t. Start with what’s known as the minimum viable product- something that doesn’t have every bell and whistle, but still addresses the core problem and then, look to add features down the road once you have a successful launch and customer base.
Know how to fail. Failure isn’t bad, but you have to do it the right way. Entrepreneurs are going to be best off if they can fail quickly so they don’t waste time, cheaply, so they don’t utilize too much money on one unsuccessful endeavor, and never fail the same way twice, so they learn from their mistakes and don’t do the same things over and over again.
Learn more from Carol Roth here and follow her on Twitter @CarolJSRoth.