An entrepreneur at heart, Tim Campbell brings over 20 years of experience, strategic expertise and brand stewardship as Founder and CEO of GiftCast.
Campbell understands traditional and digital channels and knows how to apply them effectively to create bold brand ideas that achieve and surpass goals. He has worked with large consumer brands, such as Dairy Queen, as well as in pharmaceutical advertising, where he contributed his strategic insight to help build and drive multi-billion-dollar brands such as Enbrel, Crestor, Nexium, Symbicort and Cialis. Prior to founding GiftCast, Campbell tapped into his entrepreneurial skills and created Chef Pak in 2009, a high-quality culinary case, that quickly became a household name among chefs.
Campbell was born and raised in Phoenix, Ariz., graduating from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. He currently resides in Charlotte, N.C. and enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family in his spare time.
Where did the idea for GiftCast come from?
The idea came because we wanted to create a more emotional and personal connection for a cash gift. Videos are the way people like to communicate, how they consume information, and can be stored forever. Gift cards and greeting cards have a place and have been the standard of gifting. However, we wanted to create a new generation of gifting, which will be to send a video message and money that recipients can use anywhere they want.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day for me is back to back meetings or phone calls. Then after dinner and putting my kids to bed I can get the rest of my work done. The last 2-3 hours of my day is the most productive. Every night before I go to bed I put together a to-do list for the next day. I try my best to check off every box on the list before I call it a night, but not before I make a list for the next day and do it all over again.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I surround myself with the right people. I tend to come up with a ton of ideas, but I’m not enough of an expert to get it any of them done. So, getting the right minds together in one room for a brainstorming session is how we can bring it to life. Then do the research to validate the viability and whether there is a market for it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There are a lot of exciting trends that I find exciting. If I had to pick one that is closely related to what we are doing at GiftCast it’s blockchain. The overhaul in digital currency transactions has come a long way over the last 5 years and there are so many other applications for blockchain technology that are being explored now. There is so much potential and it will transform the way people do business in the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m always asking “why?”. It’s just something I do. Why doesn’t this product/service exist? Why did they do it this way? Why did a product fail? It energizes me and keeps me up at night thinking of ways to solve it. It’s this same mentality that drives me to ask questions and solve problems within our own business. We are creating a service that has never been done before, so there are no answers or analogs to rely on. Having the wherewithal to identify gaps and anticipate issues before they allow for greater productivity and potential for success.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would like to go back to my younger self and give the advice to start my entrepreneurial path sooner. There are so many ideas that I had before other people and companies have made a reality. If only I had the drive and determination and the belief that I could.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That medications are worth the high cost. Not just because of how much pharmaceutical companies put into R&D to bring products to market, but that medicines that keep you healthy and alive are worth the money. We pay extra for premium brands of clothes we wear, the alcohol we drink, the food we eat in restaurants…but we complain that medicine, healthcare, and insurance are too expensive? If we don’t have our health, then we won’t be alive to buy expensive clothes or eat at expensive restaurants.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Research, research, research. Know the market. Know your customers. Know your competitors. These are essential as you build your business plan, but also know and research your vendors. You need to pick the right vendors who will be creating your product and it’s so important to find competent partners. Before you choose who you are going to work with, ask to speak with their customers, read reviews, and ask to test out previous work they have done.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our number one strategy with GiftCast is developing the market. Our product is unique, so we focus on building interest and excitement about our product benefits over what is currently available. We reinforce an easy to use and fun user experience that exceeds the expectations of our customers. A number of marketing methods are used to reach our audience, including online advertising, public relations, and influencers.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I created a safer and more sanitary way to clean knives. It was a 3 in one knife cleaner that had a sponge, scrub brush, and squeegee. It was intended for chefs and dishwashers in restaurants to have a better way to clean all their knives. We put in a lot of time developing it. We did the research to make sure that there was a need and a market for it. It worked really well. However, what we didn’t do is research on sanitary regulations in the kitchens and what materials were allowed. The sponge we used wasn’t up to code and therefore couldn’t be sold to restaurants. We made 10,000 units that we couldn’t sell to our primary customer. We tried to pivot to the consumer, but building that need was too much of a hurdle and the product failed to sell.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always wanted to create a way for people to pay their bill at a bar without having to wait for the bartender to come back. There ought to be a way to start a tab using your mobile phone and when you are ready to check out you can just pay and tip over your phone.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The Amazon Echo is the best for the money. It has great sound and you can ask Alexa anything, like the weather or to set a timer. But I have to say the best thing is when my kids ask me a question that I don’t know the answer to, and they ask a lot of questions, I just tell them to ask Alexa.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I have a few that I would recommend, but I believe Slack is a great tool for any company to use. We are able to communicate with our developers, payment partners, vendors, and other entrepreneurs. You can create multiple different channels based on topics or milestones to stay organized.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend the book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. I first watched Simon on Ted Talk and thought it was very insightful. The book brings it all together to explain what makes a great business and to understand why you are doing what you are doing. This is very powerful and closely aligns with how I think, which is to always ask why. While there are many examples of thriving companies, he teaches you how to be a leader and that you don’t have to do what everyone else does to be successful.
What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” It reminds me of why I do what I do and it motivates me that I can impact change. I have a passion to create change and be remembered. To create something that people can use and I can be proud of.
- As an entrepreneur starting a company, do your research as early as possible. Know who you are targeting, the market you are getting into and your competitors.
- Don’t be afraid to follow your drive and determination to start your entrepreneurial path.
- Surround yourself with the right people who inspire you. Having a strong team around you, small or large, can help push you to be the best entrepreneur you can be.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.