The 5 Key People Every Entrepreneur Needs for Business Success

by Melissa Rogozinski April 3, 2024, marked the 5th anniversary of RPC Strategies, LLC! According to statistics, at least fifty percent […]

by Melissa Rogozinski

April 3, 2024, marked the 5th anniversary of RPC Strategies, LLC!

According to statistics, at least fifty percent of startups will fail before their fifth year.  Investopedia reports the most common reasons for failure include money running out, being in the wrong market, a lack of research, bad partnerships, ineffective marketing, and not being an expert in the industry.

Thankfully, RPC Strategies only struggled with one of these six reasons for failure:  we ran out of money during two downcycles.  At first, I panicked, but I have a great circle of consultants, fellow entrepreneurs and advisors who were patient with me, encouraging, and kept me calm.  With their guidance, I learned that business cycles are normal, how to leverage credit, minimize expenses, and keep afloat until subsequent upcycles helped us turn it around.

As RPC Strategies celebrated its fifth anniversary, I contemplated the five most important lessons that I’ve learned as a founder and entrepreneur.  What I realized is that every lesson leads to people.

With that said, I’d like to share with you five of the most important people in my entrepreneurial journey.

(Check out our anniversary gift to you: the new RPC Strategies’ website!)

My Team

The people you start your business with will likely not be the people who help you see it through.  The financial compromises that must be made when building a startup –  like lower salary, insufficient or no benefits, employee versus consultant status, taxes, debt – are the main driving force behind who is with you for the long haul.  People need to pay their bills, provide for their families, and want to take vacations.

Being a startup doesn’t facilitate these things easily or quickly, and not everyone can or is willing to weather these storms with you.  It’s okay – and best for your business – to let these people move on.  As your business evolves, so will your team. 

My Colleagues 

As I began to learn the lessons about having the right people on my team, I also realized how important it was to build a tight group of other successful entrepreneurs at all stages of their careers.  My current group is made up of:

  • RPC’s consultants who are also entrepreneurs in their own right.
  • First year entrepreneurs bootstrapping their businesses.
  • Multimillion dollar C-Suite leaders who leverage investments from finance and capital institutions.
  • A private equity partner whose company funds some of the most prominent technology companies of our industry.

They all have an ear to listen, stories to share, and real-world experiences as the basis for understanding, empathy, and advice.

My Mentors

With both of my businesses, ESIRT and RPC Strategies LLC, I set up Advisory Boards.  These were professionals who were strong in skill sets I needed and/or more experienced and influential in my own industry.  We hold monthly meetings to discuss the state of the company, and individually, they reach out to me from time-to-time to check in and keep me encouraged.

About two years into RPC Strategies, two members of our Advisory Board recommended the book “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wick.  The book is written to explain the fundamentals of the Entrepreneur Operation System (EOS) and help define and execute your vision, values, guarantee, accountability, and operations to gain traction and business success. Defining these for RPC Strategies has built a solid foundation upon which we stand now, and our team works together like a well-oiled machine.

The EOS has been so good for us that we now implement some of its components into our audits, strategies, and messaging for clients as well.

My Friends and Family

This can be a tough one.  Research shows that it takes seven to ten years to build a sustainable business.  Much of that time, you may or may not have money to go out to eat, enjoy fun activities, or take trips with friends and family.  Savings and retirement funds are being depleted or already non-existent.

Most of our time is spent working six or seven days a week, maintaining “normal” business hours as well as being on call, then doing work for our own business over the weekends.  The people in your personal life who are not entrepreneurs may not understand your ambitions, sacrifices, and lifestyle choices.

We have to be cognizant to communicate openly and with understanding, but also know how to set healthy boundaries to mitigate the balance between entrepreneurial success and the stress on personal relationships.

Our Clients

The Clients, past and present, have taught me so many valuable lessons that we actively incorporate into the fabric of RPC Strategies.

No sooner had we signed new clients than the global COVID-19 pandemic hit.  There was absolutely no playbook for that for either startups or long-standing enterprises.  We have we gone through two downcycles and three upcycles, iterated our services and pricing three times, updated our brand guide, built a new website, and fine-tuned what may arguably be the industry’s tightest, most well-thought-out project management plan in legal marketing.

The most important thing we have done over the last five years is serve and listen to our clients: Why are they seeking our services?  How did they find us?  What made them choose us?  Why do they stay?  What did we do right?  What causes them to leave? Did we do something wrong, or were circumstances out of our control?  Can we fix it, and if so, how?  How do we receive feedback and criticism?  How can we continue to evolve, serve clients better, and be the best in our industry at what we do?

Our Success

I thought about listing things like leadership, listening, humility, boundary setting, and effective communication as the five lessons I’ve learned over these last few years. But every time I sat down to write this letter, each of those ideas kept coming back to the people.

People are what makes RPC Strategies successful.

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