Marcia Tiago

Founder of Alaska, Inc.

Marcia Tiago is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and project manager with more than 19 years experience successfully operating in the private sector.

Originally from Brazil, Marcia completed her university degree in Business Administration in her home country, eventually translating that credential into a role with Cummings Diesel Engine, an international heavy machinery concern. After some time, she was transferred to the company’s regional headquarters in Miami, Florida, where she worked in the marketing department for five years. Once settled in the United States, Marcia Tiago earned a Master’s degree in business.

In 2005, Marcia and her husband conceived and launched their own business, Alaska Inc., a DVD and CD wholesaler targeting customers in Latin America. However, as time passed, the sale of DVDs and CDs declined as the mediums fell out of favor with consumers across the world. In reaction to this, Alaska, Inc. refocused its efforts on wholesaling cell phones and cell phone accessories.

Marcia Tiago is still based out of Miami, Florida, where she resides with her husband. In her spare time, she volunteers with the Just Love Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that provides aid to orphaned children in Africa.

Where did the idea for Alaska, Inc. come from?

We chose that name because it’s easy and unique. No matter what country we work with or in what language we operate, ‘Alaska’ is pronounced the same. Since we export a lot of products, that’s an important factor in how we conduct business.

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

I work with my husband and he’s in charge of sales. I’m in charge of finances, so I take care of all the accounts receivable and accounts payable. My day starts in the morning with sending statements to customers, talking to vendors, making sure we have inventory, and other things like that.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I do a lot of research and my husband and I attend seminars to understand this new era of Instagram and virtual marketing. We’re always interested in researching social media companies to get ideas on how to promote our products and reach our core customers. We’re learning every day and trying to get more and more into the internet and social media environment.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Technology is a massive part of my day-to-day business, so when I see new technological products and these new Metaverse-based ideas of virtual spaces, it makes me very excited.

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

I plan out my week well ahead of time, and I plan every workday out the day before. I think that planning and trying to predict your day is the best way to stay focused because when you’re immersed in your daily routine, there can be a lot of little distractions. If you have something like a written list of tasks that you can revisit to remind yourself of your original focus, it helps a lot.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Control your impulses. As human beings, it’s natural to have counterproductive impulses when we are young. If you can control those, you can avoid a lot of problems in life.

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

I think that Miami has the greatest cuisine of any major city in the United States. I know the residents of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New Orleans might disagree with me, but I think it’s true.

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

I recommend that every entrepreneur set very clear goals. It’s important to know exactly what achievements you want to reach in order to maintain a clear sense of focus.

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

The one strategy that has helped the most in growing Alaska, Inc. is to keep updated with the trends in the market. If you have a good month, never assume your business is protected or insulated from unfortunate developments. You always have to follow the market and come up with new ideas.

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

In the past, a failure of mine has been trusting the wrong people. Sometimes you mix business with friends and other people that you think you know well, and as a result of this assumption, you don’t get legal advice because you think that these are people you can trust. However, you can get into financial problems with an attitude like that. So, when you conduct business, treat it like business. Always seek out proper legal advice before you make any major decision.

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

Listen to your customers and do your market research properly and thoroughly. If you do that, you will find success in any industry.

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

I bought tickets to watch The Nutcracker with my daughters. I think that was the best way to use the money because it’s important to me to spend as much time as possible with my family.

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

I use OneDrive folders a lot. You can use them to work from anywhere, and you always have all the relevant information about your customers and business operations at your fingertips.

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

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is a good book to read. The wisdom it contains helps the reader to visualize positive alternate avenues for leading their life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Your family is the best team you could ever have.”

Key Learnings:

  • Keeping a master list of goals gives one a point of reference to return to when distractions occur.
  • Impulse control is critical for staying on track in life.
  • Don’t get too comfortable in your business. Always look ahead at what will be trending in the market and keep up with customer demand.