Scott Armstrong is a Senior Market Research Analyst based out of Columbus, Ohio. Scott earned his undergraduate degree in computer science at Northwestern before completing his masters of business administration (MBA) degree at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. After graduating, he began working for a local Columbus business as a market analyst before accepting a larger role at a national company.
Ohio’s Scott Armstrong is a lifelong advocate of charity and volunteer work. Although he involves himself with a good deal of volunteer work through his job, he also volunteers at charitable events during his free time, some of which include the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ohio, as well as Columbus Relief. Scott also espouses the physical and mental benefits of athletics. He completed a triathlon in 2015 and maintains a strict personal exercise regimen to this day.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
After completing my MBA, I had a choice to either enter the workforce or continue further with education. At that point, I just wanted to get a job and get my life started. My background was such that most of the entry-level positions open to me were in the realm of market research, so I just kind of found myself travelling down that road. It’s funny, as a kid, no one ever says “I want to grow up to be a market research analyst,” but I couldn’t be happier with how my career turned out.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
After some coffee and breakfast, I tend to take a short bike ride in the morning to get some exercise. Sometimes I’ll even bike to work instead of driving. I arrive at the office between 8 – 9 am, at which point I get straight to work conducting and evaluating market research. During the course of the day, I’ll take meetings and make phone calls, as well. Eventually, once a project is far enough along, I’ll compile a report to submit to my clients and superiors. After my day at the office is finished, sometimes I’ll bring some work home with me—but whether I do or not, I always put aside some time for rest, personal development, friends, family, and recreation.
How do you bring ideas to life?
One of the ways I bring ideas to life is through visualization. I find it pays incredible dividends to simply take a moment or two and form a mental picture of how you want any given project or situation to turn out ideally. Things don’t always work out the way I visualize them, but I find at the very least it gives me an end to strive for and helps dictate my path going forward.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I see a lot of people being more health conscious these days and I think that’s a fantastic trend. From eating fewer meat products to adopting meditation to increasing the level of exercise in their lives, I think the people of America have started to wake up to the fact that the body is an instrument that needs to be properly maintained. Nothing but good can come from that.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like to return messages as soon as I get them. That way, they don’t slip my mind. Also, I think most people really appreciate a prompt response, so it fosters good will, as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Move through life at your own pace. There is no set age by which a person must own a house or must get married or must achieve a certain position at a company—although, there’s no shortage of people that will tell you otherwise. Don’t listen to them. Life is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Everybody is different, and some people move quicker than others, while some people move slower.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think that the Columbus Blue Jackets will win the Stanley Cup in the next few years. Very few people other than me are of that opinion.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Check every piece of data you receive not once, not twice, but three times before accepting it as accurate. It will ultimately save you a lot of time and effort. I can’t tell you the number of errors that I’ve caught on my second and third looks through that, had I built my final analysis on that faulty data, would’ve resulted in me having to re-do entire projects almost from scratch.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
This may sound a bit obvious, but nothing will get you ahead in the professional and corporate world faster than effectively networking. It’s amazing how a seemingly unimportant contact or acquaintance can become immeasurably valuable in the blink of an eye, depending on a given situation. So, always be amiable and never alienate anybody—you never know when you might need them in your corner.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There was a time in my career before I checked every piece of data I received three times. Needless to say, that caused me a major problem once. Without getting into specifics, I compiled an entire report where the conclusion rested on a faulty set of numbers. What followed was neither productive nor pleasant. Obviously, though, I learned my lesson. Now I check everything three times without exception.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A while ago, I had an idea to monetize a social program that couples out-of-work people with government agencies suffering from manpower shortages. It could give unemployed people much-needed work experience, a good line on a résumé, as well as a method of regaining some self-confidence. These would have to be appropriate agencies, of course—not the CIA, or anything like that. But I think agencies like the Department of Agriculture or the Department of the Interior or the Department of Housing and Urban Development might welcome a program like that.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My monthly charitable donations are in excess of $100, but I can say with confidence that those donations are the best money I spend each month. I’ve always felt that those of us with the means to give to charity have a special obligation to do so in order to alleviate some of the terrible suffering that
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
In my line of work, Microsoft Excel is completely indispensable. I compile and analyze spreadsheets all day long.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Without question, Advanced Concepts of Personal Training Study Guide as compiled by the National Council on Strength and Fitness. That book teaches you everything you need to know about maintaining a healthy exercise regimen, increasing endurance, ensuring cardiovascular health, and building muscle mass. Basically, if you read this book and retain the wealth of information that it contains, you will never need to hire a personal trainer.
What is your favorite quote?
“Charity brings life again to those who are spiritually dead.” — Thomas Aquinas
- Check every piece of data you are given three times without exception.
- When networking, don’t discount seemingly unimportant contacts. They can become valuable later.
- Give to charity. It feels good, and it is simply the right thing to do.
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.