Be realistic about how soon you can grow your business. It always takes longer to succeed and costs more than you estimated.
As a serial-entrepreneur at heart, the success I experienced in the corporate world never totally fulfilled me. After my position as a top marketing executive at a Fortune 500 company suddenly came to an end, I realized I had the opportunity to take control of my future.
In 2004, I founded GMR Web Team, a full-service web development and digital marketing agency. That same year I created GMR Transcription, one of the first online based transcription and translation services companies. I was able to use my marketing strategies from GMR Web Team, to grow GMR Transcription into one of its largest clients, effectively ensuring the success and rapid growth of both companies.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I needed to get seven hours of digital recordings transcribed in 2004. I found out that there were few companies that accepted digital files, and prices were quoted by lines of transcription, which meant that I could not find out my cost until the work was completed.
I saw an opportunity to create a transcription service where the cost was transparent and the recording for transcription could be electronically sent.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days are focused on analyzing performance and planning for the growth of the business. My focus on growing the business generates new ideas that we try.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Mostly through consumer feedback or by reading about trends relevant to my business. I try new ideas to see if it works. This means I experience failures all the time, but I also see successes that helped me keep on growing my business.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited about the possibilities of having artificial intelligence (AI) transform our business. We currently transcribe recordings and send transcripts to our clients. A client has to read the complete transcripts (typically 50+ pages) and decide how they want to use it.
AI could analyze the transcript and point out the key ideas, which will make our service even more valuable to my clients.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I reserve the 2nd half of Thursday and half of Saturday every week for analysis and introspection. This “me” time helps me identify what is working well and also pinpoints areas of improvement, and lets me devise an action plan for my business growth. I implement the plan next week or as soon as possible and track results for continuous improvements.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be realistic about how soon you can grow your business. It always takes longer to succeed and costs more than you estimated. I was over-optimistic when I started my business and made too many mistakes because of my unrealistic growth plan for my business required actions that needed a large amount of investment without first testing its effectiveness. Failures, which is an essential part of success, were more expensive than they should have been, which caused unnecessary financial strains.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everyone overestimates their capabilities. You know much less about things than you believe.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Periodic introspection of how you are performing – for a period of 2-3 hours every week, 1 day every month, and 3 days every year.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Be sure about why you want to run the business and relentlessly focus on it.
Hint: It cannot be making money.
Our focus is providing transcripts that are 99% accurate. We are more expensive than most of our competitor, but clients that are looking for accuracy stay with us.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I accepted every client that came through the door and had a hard time executing the work with different requirements; resulting in many unhappy clients. I analyzed my happy and unhappy clients and realized that there were lots of similarities between the groups.
I created my ideal customer profile based on my happy clients, resigned the ones who did not match the profile and stopped taking new clients whose profile did not match with the ideal client profile.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Test your idea before you even develop your product by advertising on Google. Few hundred dollars will help you find out the real need for your business idea and could save thousands of dollars, time, and future heartache.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Buy 5 copies of the book Mindset by Carol Dweck and gave it to my employees. The book could help them change their attitude that could make them thrive. Employees with the right mindset are also more productive.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Transcriber management software that I developed for assigning files, tracking work, and generating invoices for my 300+ independent contractor transcribers located all over the US.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mindset by Carol Dweck because people with a “growth mindset” are far more successful than the ones without it.
What is your favorite quote?
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Make sure your business has a real reason (why)
- Only a win-win business proposition lasts for a long time
- Identify your ideal customer, find out where you can find them, and what message will resonate with them
- Under-promise and over-deliver
- Fail quickly and fail cheaply