Vincent Marconi is founder and CEO of Price Patrol, a location-based live inventory mobile shopping app that allows users to search the real-time availability of over 2.5 billion products at 500,000 retail locations nationwide. Vincent believes true business success is earned with strong work ethic and strategic partnerships with like-minded, goal-oriented professionals. Follow him @Vince_Marconi.
What is the first thing you did to turn your current business from an idea into a reality?
Research, research, research. I made sure to see if anyone was in my space and I had a handle on the problem I was solving. I saw a major gap in the market, identified it, and began the process of looking for developers.
Meet face to face with potential investors who share your vision. Third-party groups and service providers you use out of the gate must be great.
What is the scariest part of being a young entrepreneur and how can others overcome this fear?
Not knowing how others will feel about your idea. It is scary to spend so much energy and time on something and then put it out there to see what response you’ll get. As far as overcoming this fear, I honestly don’t think you totally should. I believe a healthy dose of “fear” or at least skepticism of your own company is a great way to continually push yourself.
The last thing you want is delusions of grandeur. Focus on your product, process and scaleability. These will lead you to revenue, a strong team and eventual profit.
Were you ever told not to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams? Who told you that, what did they say and why did you ignore them?
I have been very lucky in that I have very supportive family, friends and professional colleagues. Of course, not everyone will think as highly of your endeavor as you do, but stick to your instinct. Entrepreneurialism is NOT for everyone. Just because someone else doesn’t have the gumption to put themselves out there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start your business.
What is the No. 1 thing you wish you’d known starting out and how did you learn it?
That no one will care nearly as much about what you are doing than you do. If people disregard your idea, you have to stay resolute. I thought everyone would fawn over my app. It turns out you will have plenty of naysayers, especially in such a crowded space. Have thick skin, take in constructive criticism, and stay true to your vision.
What do you recommend all new founders do for their business — or their personal lives — that will help them the most?
Get involved in a local community of entrepreneurs to learn from, bounce ideas off of and network with. I am in San Diego, which has an excellent community of startups. I have leaned on that time and time again. It has led me to change aspects of my company for the better, introduced me to talent to grow my business and brought in investment opportunities.
Personal life will always be a balancing act. You became an entrepreneur so you could make your own hours and be your own boss. But soon you find yourself running a company and doing everything that comes with it. Be prepared for success. I’ve seen a lot of great ideas/companies fail because they weren’t prepared to handle it.
How do you end each day and why?
With a beer at my desk, I run through of all of my emails to be sure I haven’t left any stone unturned. I look at the upcoming days’ meetings to be sure I am prepared and I create a list of “must-do’s” for the following day/week/month.
What is your best PR/marketing tip for business just starting up?
Don’t think you can simply pitch your product or service and get a huge feature article. Sell writers a story based on current events.
My company uses your GeoPositioning to search the live inventory of stores all around you. We pitched to a local FOX affiliate a story about parents struggling to find that “must have” toy for their children on Christmas Eve. Price Patrol showed them that the Captain America toy their son was lusting after was at a Target 17 miles away. The story got picked up and shown on five different local news broadcasts. The story should be something everyone can relate to and the solution should be your product.
What is your ultimate goal? What will you do if/when you get there?
The ultimate goal is to scale Price Patrol to the point where it becomes attractive to a larger e-commerce ecosystem or to have it be fully acquired. When I get there, depending on the outcome, I plan on trying to continue to guide my company as long as possible and then start the process over, as the entrepreneurial spirit is in my blood. I already have two or three ideas marinating now.