If you know how to harness technology in the right way it is the best thing that could ever happen.
Entrepreneur Carl Guidice was raised in northern Virginia but spend much of his time in the Washington D.C. area. The D.C. culture has its poverty areas, but it is also a mecca of wealth, cunning, and power. It is not a culture for the faint of heart, but it is a place to learn in the school of hard knocks. Carl’s father was a government employee and so he and his father spent much of their time immersed living in the D.C. culture. Perhaps that is where his drive and ambition was born.
Carl Guidice is a graduate of the University of Virginia earning his degree in finance and economics in 1982. He began his career as a financial analyst upon graduation. However, his astute business savvy and canny ability to create a powerful future took him from financial analyst to entrepreneur in a relatively short amount of time.
After selling his business two years ago after signing a five-year non-compete agreement, Carl Guidice and his wife are now traveling the world. They are also enjoying their life in the community of luxury homes located within the Walt Disney theme park. They are avid sports enthusiasts and stay incredibly active participants.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for the company came when I recognized the need in an underserved market place. The human resources space is very complex. There are many rules and regulations. There are government compliance issues. No matter what the industry they all have to address the complexity of human resources. It makes it very difficult to run a small business. It is one of the reasons for failures in small businesses. I saw a unique opportunity to offer all of these services as a turn-key solution and a one-stop-shop for small to medium size companies.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Since I am in a semi-retirement mode it is quite a bit different than what it used to be. However, one thing that remains consistent is that I have to get my 15-year-old to school every morning. I have a 30-40 minute bible study with my wife. We exercise for the next two hours. We engage in social sports such as tennis and biking. Since we live on Disney World properties there are some interesting things that we can do in the theme park. We do a lot of entertaining with family and friends. We actually have to keep a schedule for entertaining. That is a wonderful part of the price you pay for living in a theme park.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas come to life through discussion. I have many sounding boards including my family. I am on the phone for many hours a day with partners and people that I trust. Then we flush it all out. My business partner spits out 20 or 30 ideas a day. We eventually strike a balance, get them to the goal line, and then implement them.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One thing that excites me is technology. It is amazing to watch children embrace technology. It is amazing that people can make their living online. College can be attended online. It is amazing. Businesses don’t have to have everyone in the office every day. The ability for technology to enable you to be in multiple places at one time is great. If you know how to harness technology in the right way it is the best thing that could ever happen.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe one habit that helps me is running. I have been running everyday for over forty years. I have estimated that I’ve run around the planet three times in distance. I always make time in my day to run. I am sure that running has solved countless problems for me. It calms me down and keeps me centered. Regardless of anything I take an hour of the day and run. It stabilizes my life. It was so funny when workers wanted access to me they would sometimes run with me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell younger Carl Guidice to actually listen more and talk less. I had some very wise people around me when I was younger. They tried to give me good advice, and not do certain things. but I was very brash and figured I knew it all. I could have saved myself a lot of heartaches and financial distress.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everything! If people go left I go right. If they buy stocks, I sell my stocks. No matter what the world is doing, I will do the opposite.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am a bit of a contrarian. If everyone is going left, I want to go right. If everyone is buying real estate, I want to sell. If everyone is buying into the stock market it is time to sell. If they are selling in the stock market it is time to buy. I tend to see the world as contrary people. If everyone else is doing it the word is out and it is no longer new. I want to stand out. I want to be different. I tend to go in the opposite direction of everyone else.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Surrounding myself with good and talented people is critical. I can teach people anything but I can not change their attitudes. A can-do attitude and an optimistic spirit are contagious. It causes the whole operation to run better. It doesn’t take much in negativity to poison a culture or a company. Finding good people that are better than me and the business will thrive.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure that I had was not seeing the recession coming. I usually have advanced warning that a recession is coming. I did not prepare the organization to handle that very well. It caused the company to blow a covenant. We lost relationships, we lost clients. It was a very difficult time. We overcame it by keeping our heads down, continuing to do our best job, and continuing to fight for our clients. I was amazed at how quickly we recovered. I had made the decision not to lay-off anyone from the company. My board wanted to do things differently. I stood my ground and kept my staff in place. As the recession passed, we were the first ones out of the gate.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The business idea I have for almost any entrepreneur is to find a service that you can bundle together with another business. Life is too busy and no one has enough time. If you can bundle and have a one-stop competitively priced business it would be a great business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I enjoy food. I love taking my family out for a meal. We all put our phones away and just enjoy each others company. It is a great investment in family time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Salesforce.com has been such a great product for business and sales. It enables us to spend less time on administration and more time to follow up with salespeople that may need education or lead generation. It manages the sale and I can pull reports without having to ask for them.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Good to Great by Jim Collins Getting the right people on the bus.
What is your favorite quote?
There is nothing funnier than the human animal. by Walt Disney
• Listen more and talk less.
• If everyone is going left, go right.
• A can-do attitude and an optimistic spirit are contagious.
• If you know how to harness technology in the right way it is the best thing that could ever happen.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.