Rick Kotar was born on July 13th, 1988 in Canada. Even in his childhood years, he was an avid thinker with a fascination for discovering exactly how electrical systems worked. In addition to this passion, he also felt an innate desire to help others with his talents. Having ran a self-operated electrician business out of his own garage, Rick got his first taste of entrepreneurship.
After a minor tenure as a traditional electrician, he began his own startup. Combining his natural entrepreneurial aptitude with his exceptional skills as an electrical engineer, he sought a way to additionally combine these skills with his aptitude for helping others: In just three short years, the company has seen massive success, with some of the most cutting edge electronics providing much-needed assistance across the country.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
My business is the culmination of my entrepreneurial journey that began as early as my childhood; although I am an electrical engineer at heart, I felt that venturing outside of my comfort zone into the pharmaceutical world was the next logical step. Now, I truly feel that I can use my work to help others on an entirely new level.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The customers are my first focus. I try to engage directly with as many of our clients as I can, giving that personal touch that can often feel absent in electrical work.
How do you bring ideas to life?
At the foundation of everything I do is the sheer satisfaction I get from helping others. I don’t hesitate to dig deep and really invest myself and my company into their problems, going the extra mile to provide not just products and services, but a true enhancement to the lives of anyone we interact with.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I know not everyone is excited about the recent trend in subscription-based models, but for me, I feel like it’s been the perfect addition to my own business. I love how it turns many customers that would otherwise be one-time customers into regular clients, establishing the foundations of a community.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Too many people I know let the chips fall where they may when it comes to how many hours of sleep they get per night; if they work late and lose sleep, so be it. I have a very strict sleeping regimen, without any compromises, and it really does make me feel that much more alert, focused, and ready to work the next day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say, ‘Don’t ever try to stop learning’. It’s so easy to reach a point in your expertise where you plateau in terms of your own personal learning and understanding.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Ironically, I would say the basic principles of my business! I tell people time and time again that I retain just as many customers and make as much money, if not more, when I teach them to fix their own electrical issues. I can prove it with hard facts, but people somehow find it hard to swallow.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Practice how you talk to people! It’s the backbone behind virtually any business, and it can be the difference between meaningful connections and building community versus merely getting the job done and never hearing from a client again.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Surprisingly, a little bit of generosity can go a long way. In terms of the products we offer, I often add extras into the mix when we finalize a deal with a customer. My goal here is to reach out and set generosity as the standard; it takes very little before it causes a chain reaction, and the business gets something in return. As such, I am an advocate for bringing out the best in people, regardless of whether this is perceived as an ideal business strategy.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the days where I operated as an electrician out of my garage, I once had a client that wanted me to fix an issue, they were having but was also adamant about why it was acting up. With my knowledgeability, I couldn’t help myself from trying to correct them to the point where I lost their business entirely! Ultimately, I learned that day that it takes a lot more than just an expert to make customers happy. Since then, I have always considered my own knowledge and the customer’s wellbeing in equal measure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The application of electronics within the pharmaceutical world is still a relatively young practice, and as such, I believe there are a plethora of potential business opportunities that could be explored here. One such example might be a fully automated, electronic version of the pillbox that many of us rely on in order to manage multiple medications at once. Not having to worry about this process is something that I believe would generate massive appeal with customers.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent around $100 on a Udemy course that taught me things about electrical work that I had never known before! Good knowledge can come from anywhere if you’re looking for it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I would say it’s largely taken for granted, but simple social media – – – Twitter, Facebook, and so on – – – is such a remarkable tool for customer engagement. It’s our platform for really connecting with each client individually, enhancing their experience that much more.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I highly recommend “First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” by Jim Harter. This book was the beginning of my journey towards finding a new way of running a business, and I can’t stress enough the importance of taking the time to reevaluate everything within your business and your life, no matter how much it seems like it can’t be improved.
What is your favorite quote?
Ava DuVernay once said, “If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.”
- Empowering others to be more knowledgeable about solving their own problems is a surprisingly great way to retain customers.
- No matter how much of an expert you feel you are, you can always sharpen the saw.
- It’s just as important to foster a community through your business as it is to run your business.