Persevere – never relent, never give up. If you have a good idea and a good business model, never relent. You have to have the right idea, the right business model and the passion to make it as an entrepreneur.

 

Frank Poore is the CEO and founder of CommerceHub, which he founded in 1997 and built into a $1 billion company that plays a key role in helping retailers compete more effectively in a digital world by optimizing assortment, demand and delivery.

As a pioneer in ecommerce and drop-ship fulfillment, CommerceHub helps retailers like The Home Depot, Best Buy and Macy’s meet the demands of an increasingly savvy customer by creating an exceptional customer experience. In 2017, CommerceHub helped more than 11,500 retailers, brands and distributors achieve an estimated $16 billion in Gross Merchandise Value.

Where did the idea for CommerceHub come from?

In the 90s I was working with a video game distribution company that sold to Mom and Pop video stores, I noticed companies like Walmart and Target only had 10 to 15 games for sale on their websites while we had 3,500 games in our warehouse. The idea behind CommerceHub then came to me – if we could get pictures and product descriptions of our games placed on retailers’ websites, the retailer could increase the number of games they had to offer, take the order and I could integrate on the back end to ship the order directly to the retailer’s customer. That initial thought led to a deal with one major retailer and then another and we never looked back.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Every day is different. Though there are some things on my schedule that are set and predictable. First, I check email and respond to everything that needs to be taken care of. After that, I’m constantly on the move. I may have to travel to meetings with various CommerceHub departments. Despite my busy schedule, I try to constantly keep in touch and I’m good about trusting the people on my team to help me stay focused and keep things moving in the right direction.

How do you bring ideas to life?

The key to bringing ideas to life is collaborating with really smart people. Once they are on board; they can help see things through. I believe there are two types of people in the world: corporate people who can think big picture and tackle more structured tasks and entrepreneurs who can grow plants out of sand through their determination to make an idea work. It takes a combined effort with the right mix of corporate and entrepreneur driven people to really advance an idea.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The digitization of commerce – everything today is becoming digital and automated. It’s exciting to see these trends happening in retail because that’s where the advances are going to be made. That’s where money is flowing and how the industry will survive.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

A quality I think contributes to my level of productivity is I become obsessed, I get fixated. I use the expression, “See the back of the net.” Hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky made the comment: a 50-goal scorer sees the back of the net and the 5-goal scorer can tell you the brand name of every goalie’s pads he has faced in the league. When you see the back of the net everything else blurs, no one is blocking you from your goal. This expression is one I identify with and emulate. It holds me to a higher standard from a productivity perspective.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to always strive to be surrounded by the best people you can find. It is crucial to find the types of people that not only support you, but also share your vision and determination in order to achieve success. They will also keep you grounded so that you never forget where you came from.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I believe the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team’s defeat of the USSR was the primary event that started the downfall of the Soviet Union.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else does?

Persevere – never relent, never give up. If you have a good idea and a good business model, never relent. You have to have the right idea, the right business model and the passion to make it as an entrepreneur.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Early in my career, I made the decision to not only sell to retailers, but to create value for them as well. While our competitors were approaching suppliers one at a time, we focused on diagnosing the issues and went straight to the source targeting the larger retailers to help guide them through the good, bad and ugly. I believe this has made CommerceHub what it is today – a strategic partner for retailers looking to navigate through changing customer preferences.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Hiring the wrong people, which I believe is a universal issue. You can never truly overcome it, but you can get better at it and learn from mistakes. It’s hard to find the right people with the conviction and the buy-in who will help the company succeed once the battle starts. It’s a skill you have to develop over time.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A Service Merchandise for today’s shopper. It could be a showroom filled with all kinds of products customers can go in and touch and test out. When they decide what they want, the products can be drop shipped to them at their convenience instead of actually having to walk out of the showroom with anything. I believe this is a multi-billion dollar idea.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A while back, I was with my friends at the casino and I bet $100 on a hockey game. I am not a gambler. In fact, I typically never bet on anything. That night, as luck would have it the Capitals (the team I bet on) won and as a result I won $230. It was a coincidental thing, but it was the best $100 I’ve spent recently.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

It’s called “Things.” It‘s essentially a mobile checklist where I can go in and keep notes. It’s extremely efficient. Whenever I complete a task, I’ll check off a box and the associated “Thing” will disappear off my list of to-dos. My favorite part about it: you can use it to track progress. My list will always keep building and “Things” helps me keep track of all of it.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My two favorite books to recommend are Art of War by Sun Tzu or Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike. Art of War plays well to the strategic side of founding a company or revamping a business. Shoe Dog is about Phil’s life and how he got to where he is now. This serves as a great source of inspiration to other entrepreneurs looking to succeed.

What is your favorite quote?

“See the back of the net.” If you can envision your end goal, nothing can distract you or get in your way. This is a motto for any entrepreneur (or hockey player) to live by!

Connect:

https://www.commercehub.com/
CommerceHub on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/commercehub

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