I always knew I wanted to own my own business. It was something I always dreamt of doing, but I never knew how incredibly difficult and time consuming it could be. But one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The hours I spend working and researching for an interview are not wasted, they’re a joy because I get to live my dreams. If you’re dreaming of starting your own business, but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck! Celebrity Apprentice season one winner, reality TV star and successful business owner, Bill Rancic joined me for an interview this week to share the secret to starting a successful small business, how to avoid the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a business, the importance of technology, and National Mom and Pops Business Owners Day which takes place on Sunday, March 29th.
Candace Rose: What’s the secret to starting a successful small business?
Bill Rancic: “Well, I think first and foremost you have to be prepared to work hard, to take a lot of risk, but to manage that risk and convert that risk into success, I think that’s very important. If you decide to go for it and to start that business, I have tips that I think every business to embrace:
- You’ve got to go mobile. In this day and age, I say ‘You’ve got to fish where the fish are’. Everyone today is on their smartphone or on their tablets. As a business owner you’ve got to be there. You’ve got to be advertising on the mobile devices, you’ve got to have apps, you’ve got to have a great website, you’ve got to make it very easy for your customer to do business with you. I think that’s critical.
- Secondly, you’ve got to protect your data. With all the security breaches that are happening – as you see on the news everyday, companies are getting breached left in right – it’s important that small businesses take the proper precautions to protect their data. Today it’s more affordable than ever to back up all your data online. It’s easy to get password protection on all of your devices.
- It’s about being proactive and training your employees on what to look for so they don’t fall into the traps that a lot of people fall into when they get breached.
- Check your ego at the door. Don’t be a ‘know it all’. I think so many small business owners, they let their egos interfere and that stunts their growth. It’s important to network, it’s important to partner with the right people. It’s important to get advice from those that have done it before.
One thing that I’ve done with AT&T is – they’ve created a website: ATT.com/BizCircle. It’s a forum designed specifically for small business owners to get advice, to network, to learn, to see what’s out there that’s new and that’s fresh, and I think it’s a great resource.”
Candace Rose: What are some of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when they start a new business?
Bill Rancic: “Well, I think first and foremost they try to do everything on their own, and I always say if you want to be a successful small business, you’ve got to be the conductor of an orchestra. When you think about the conductor of an orchestra, the conductor has all these expert musicians in his or her pit, and they play their instruments to absolute perfection. The conductor himself or herself is not an expert at playing each and every one of those instruments but he gets them all playing in harmony with one another, and that’s what it’s about as a small business owner. You’ve got to create that music. Don’t try to play every instrument yourself because if you do the music won’t sound so good.”
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day?
Bill Rancic: “Well, that’s what we’re doing here. We’re in a mom and pop business in Chicago, it’s called A Baker’s Tale. I’ve teamed up with the folks at AT&T, we’re just trying to shine a spotlight on the small businesses in America and letting people know they’re a vital part of our society. They are so important to our communities. Go out this weekend, spend some money at a local mom and pop business and thank them for what they’ve done because they’re employing more people than any other sector of business out there, they’re revitalizing Main Street, they’re sponsoring the local soccer, football and baseball teams and we just want to celebrate what they’ve done.”
Candace Rose: What does every business need to remain on top and competitive?
Bill Rancic: “Well, they need to be agile and that’s part of my success. I’m not going to stay in my comfort zone, I’m going to realize that the world is changing around me and I need to embrace that change. I need to adapt and react and see what’s happening if I want to stay relevant and stay competitive. I think where you really fall into trouble is when you get complacent and you say ‘I’ve been doing this for the last 10 years and it’s worked, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing.’ Instead of saying ‘Wait a minute, maybe there’s a better idea. Maybe there’s a new app that I could use. Maybe there’s a new way to advertise online to reach my customers and drive them to my business from anywhere in the country. That’s where you stay successful.”
Candace Rose: How can those of us who are business owners stay productive when we’re on the go?
Bill Rancic: “Well, here’s a great example, A Baker’s Tale. She can run this business from anywhere in the world. With all the apps that are out there today, you can monitor your cameras in the store, you can monitor the cash register, you can turn the heat on, the lights on – you can do just about anything from your mobile device. It’s more affordable today than it’s ever been and it’s more accessible today than it’s ever been.”
Candace Rose: Speaking of tech apps, are there any you recommend for small business owners/entrepreneurs?
Bill Rancic: “Oh my goodness, there are so many apps that you can have – you can manage your fleet from anywhere in the world, so if you’re a business that has trucks or cars, it’s a great way to manage a fleet and cut down on unnecessary mileage. You can take mobile payment from literally out in the field which I think is very effective. It helps improve cash flow, it cuts down on collections. There are so many great apps out there I couldn’t just pick one.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Bill Rancic: “Well, I just want to encourage anyone who is thinking of starting a business or who is a small business owner to go to the online resource: ATT.com/BizCircle. It’s a free resource that I think is really helpful to small business owners.”