Seth Rand is the Founder and CEO of Rand Internet Marketing and on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida. He is also an Internet marketing speaker, author, and consultant specializing in search engine marketing and social media marketing. Follow him @sethrand.
My grandfather, aka Grandpa Pinky. He was a Holocaust survivor from Poland. Pinky was brave enough to volunteer to go to the concentration camps in an effort to save his parents and siblings, and was strong enough to survive approximately five years in the camps.
After the war, he migrated to Brooklyn, where he got married and had five kids. He worked long hours at labor intensive jobs for 20 years to support his family and to save up enough money to open his own business. Over the next 20 years, he became a multimillionaire and was able to spoil his five grandchildren, including me. He eventually handed down the business to his son and daughter-in-law (my parents), and was able to retire knowing the business he built with his wife Linda and son David was in good hands.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Be proactive, not reactive. Focus on getting strong results for your clients, and you will see retention, repeat business and referrals. Lead by example.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
One of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs like myself are known to make is losing focus on growing what is working successfully, and instead investing time and money into additional opportunities to grow outside of the core business model. In my business, first it was affiliate marketing, which we used to capture more of the performance-based lead generation market. Then, we worked on a low-cost website and SEO program to try and service a high volume of small businesses, as opposed to focusing on the mid-sized business that we’ve been successful with all of these years. Now, this doesn’t mean that all opportunities are bad. Most of the choices that I’ve made as a business owner and CEO to grow our company have been successful. The trick is to take calculated, well-thought-out risks. One of my mentors from a decade ago taught me to “crawl before you walk,” and “walk before you run.” When I follow that advice, it has served me well.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Take my vitamins, drink a coffee, check my social media accounts, and then dig into my emails.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Maximize the billing cycle of your credit cards and/or charge cards. If you’ve been in business for over two years, and have been accepting American Express, look into the Amex Merchant Financing products. It was the best loan available to me as a small business owner until I qualified for a bank loan after five years in business.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Make a plan, including strategy and goals, and write it down.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I’ll know I’ve finally succeeded when I get to spend an entire week working “on” my business without having to work “in” my business, when I can take a vacation without feeling compelled to check my emails, and when my company is on the Inc. 5000 list.