[quote style=”boxed”]One of my greatest failures was starting multiple businesses at once. At the time, I thought this was a great idea, because I figured if one of them didn’t work out, the others would pull ahead. But what I didn’t consider was that spreading yourself thin prevents you from growing any of your businesses. With time, I realized that mistake, sold three of the businesses I started, and focused on Company Folders. Since then, we’ve been growing like never before.[/quote]
Vladimir Gendelman was born and raised in the former Soviet Union, where he rarely had access to the basic amenities that many of us take for granted. High quality products and friendly service were few and far between, and above all, Vladimir found it intensely frustrating having so little access to different choices and options. After immigrating to America, Vladimir made it his mission to help provide others with the things he never had access to growing up. After a client expressed a need for high quality presentation folders, Vladimir was inspired to create Company Folders, Inc. in 2003.
Since then, Vladimir’s enthusiasm for quality, customer choice, and friendly customer service has made him a passionate voice in the printing and design community. He is constantly looking for ways to improve Company Folders’ service, and has instituted industry-leading processes to maintain a supreme level of quality.
With over 10 million folders printed for over 5,000 customers, Vladimir has acquired a wealth of knowledge related to printing, design, business communications and small business management over the past decade. Much of his insight can be found on the Company Folders blog. Vladimir can often be found at print-related conferences and seminars, staying up to date on the latest trends, techniques and technologies.
Where did the idea for Company Folders, Inc. come from?
I originally ran a small computer repair company. A few of my clients mentioned that they were in the market for custom presentation folders. I did a little research to see if I could help my clients get the amazing folders they wanted, but wasn’t able to find anything that particularly stood out. That’s what gave me the idea of starting up an innovative presentation folder printing company with a comprehensive variety of high-quality products and options.
What does your typical day look like?
Every morning, I spend at least one hour exercising while listening to business books. Learning is massively important and I find that this ritual helps keep me on my toes at all times. Throughout the day, I manage our PR, deal with clients and oversee our business operations. I do not have a lot of meetings outside of our office, since that usually takes a lot of time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Carefully. The most important part of any idea is its implementation. Unfortunately, it seems like you never have all of the resources or time to implement every single one of your ideas, either as an individual or as a company. That’s why I only materialize ideas when I know that I truly have the proper resources to dedicate to them.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I see more and more companies nowadays investing in high-end print marketing materials. I also notice more unique and more expensive papers being used, more foils stamping and embossing in combination with other print methods, and more unique dies. It seems that since digital printing technology is saving people money, they want to use that money to elevate their printed promotions to greater heights.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I create task lists for myself. Long ago, I noticed that I get more things done when I am overwhelmed with tasks. Ever since then, I try to overschedule myself and that ends up helping me to be more productive.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Back in my teenage years, I worked as a bagger at a grocery store. I truly hated that job. It was so bad that on my third day of working, I went to lunch and never came back, even though I needed the money. That job taught me that I don’t want to be a grocery bagger, but I also learned that money is not as important to me as my mental well-being.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
In the very beginning, I lacked a clear focus and wasn’t quite sure which direction I was going. If I had to start all over again, I would keep a laser-focused approach towards a single goal.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I listen to business books every single day, and I would recommend the same to every entrepreneur.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
The strategy that has helped us the most is content marketing. We produce a lot of great content that we share with our clients via our blog and Folder Design Gallery. Then we promote it via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of my greatest failures was starting multiple businesses at once. At the time, I thought this was a great idea, because I figured if one of them didn’t work out, the others would pull ahead. But what I didn’t consider was that spreading yourself thin prevents you from growing any of your businesses. With time, I realized that mistake, sold three of the businesses I started, and focused on Company Folders. Since then, we’ve been growing like never before.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I believe that hemp is a great resource, but unfortunately, not many people know about its benefits. I would encourage someone to start a hemp shop. They could begin by selling t-shirts and other apparel, and then diversify into hemp foods and other hemp-based products. I would also encourage that entrepreneur to use their business to help educate people about the benefits of hemp.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I was born and raised in Karkov, Ukraine and I have traveled to many countries, but I have never visited Ukraine’s capital.
What software and web services do you use?
I use WordPress a lot for all of our websites.
What do you love about them?
WordPress allows you to easily build and maintain websites without limiting its capabilities.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Start With Why,” by Simon Sinek. The message of this book is that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. If you know exactly why you do what you do, your life becomes much more meaningful.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
The first self-help book I ever read was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” by Robert Kiyosaki. Since then, I’ve read every book written by him. Not only have I learned a lot from his books, Robert Kiyosaki has also inspired me to start reading other business and self-help books.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.