An interview with Brock Poling, Strategic Marketer, Luthier and Entrepreneur

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone who is starting a business today?

We’re seeing a tremendous shift in the leverage business owners get by developing communities of followers and tapping into a vast pool of worldwide outsourced talent. I would recommend that everyone who is starting a business, to study the field of internet marketing– study industry thought leaders (Ferris, Godin, Hyatt) and great examples of people who are successfully implementing these techniques (Patt Flynn, Lewis Howes, Eban Pagen, Marie Forleo.)

Even if you think these strategies are not applicable to your business or industry I am sure you will find ways to get more done faster (and with smaller budgets), scale your business rapidly by repeatedly tapping into your built in “fan base” and keep staffing overhead low (AND still have access to the best minds in the world in any discipline.)

If you apply these ideas correctly they can become a powerful competitive weapon against traditional businesses.

What is the greatest piece of business advice that you have ever been given by someone else?

Fail fast. Fail cheap.

There are two insights in this that I have found to be true. First, you have to let go of the FEAR of failure. This paralyzes 99% of us. We’ve all been taught to NEVER fail at any cost; but the truth is anytime you build something new you’re GOING to make wrong turns, miscalculations, and bad decisions– it’s just part of the road to success.

Embrace it.

The truth is, most of the time lasting success is built upon some type of failure. Gaining the insights necessary to understand problems in new ways is critical to achieving new heights, and unfortunately a lot of times these insights are achieved through failure. The trick is to embrace this process and try to lower the risk of failure by failing fast and failing cheap.

What do you think makes a successful entrepreneur?

Above all else…taking action. In the long run doers succeed. It’s as simple as that.

Beyond a strong penchant for action I have found that vision, unshakable optimism, and perseverance to be other necessary qualities to being a successful entrepreneur.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing businesses today?

Debt. The world (particularly the U.S.) is hurdling toward a financial disaster with our ever increasing debt load. At a point this bubble is going to burst and put us in the worst financial times the modern world has ever seen. Not only that but it is creating global strategic imbalances that I believe will reshape the power structure of the world within our lifetimes.

Where do you seek advice when you need it?

Other entrepreneurs. I find that having close friends and “mastermind” groups of other business owners (both within my field and outside my field) to be an invaluable resource for exploring opportunities, shaping ideas, and untangling difficult problems.

Are there other tips that you can give someone who is just launching a business?

One thing it took me a while to learn, and a mistake I see MANY first time entrepreneurs make, is not knowing your exit strategy. For most entrepreneurs the REAL money is made when you get out of a business, not while you’re in it.

So it’s important to know what your ultimate goal is for the business. Are you going to sell it? If so, to whom? Your staff? A competitor? A large corporation? Knowing this will help you make the right choices as your building and growing your business to achieve the outcome you desire.

This is an extract taken from Brock’s interview in ‘The Crowdsourced Guide to Business’, edited by Daniel Hall. Available to buy from Amazon.