Small Business 101 with Robert Herjavec
Insight The Shark Tank investor and cybersecurity expert shares his tips for budding entrepreneurs and established small business owners.
Mediaplanet spoke with Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank investor and cybersecurity expert about the current challenges facing small businesses.
Mediaplanet: What are the most pressing issues that you see small businesses facing today?
Robert Herjavec: Small businesses need to differentiate themselves and serve a particular customer base. I also see too many small business owners who treat their business as a hobby and don’t formalize their numbers. In today’s competitive landscape, if you aren’t using data to drive your decisions, you’ll fall behind quickly.
MP: How does cybersecurity affect small businesses?
RH: Whether you’re an enterprise business leader or an entrepreneur, you need to balance your investment in cybersecurity measures against the risks to your financial reputation and brand reputation. I always recommend engaging with a third party for an initial assessment of your environment. Then, build out an investment roadmap of tools and processes that match your organization’s maturity level and risk acceptance.
MP: What’s your advice for budding entrepreneurs?
RH: Test before you jump in. When I speak to groups of entrepreneurs I always show a slide with an image of someone cliff jumping and say, “Before you do this, make sure the water is deep enough.” It makes sense, right? Conduct a focus group, do additional research, and test your product or service. Make sure there’s a problem you’re solving and you have a target customer before you take the leap.
MP: What is one piece of advice you would give to an established small business owner?
RH: Never rest on your laurels and continue to push yourself forward. You’ve made the commitment, and this is the time to go full force ahead. Review what the data is telling you and question everything. A small business owner has to be an expert in so many things — sales, marketing, accounting, operations, and more, so you have to continue to question and fine tune to see true scalability.