Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Larry Honig, Founder of Retail Hedge, located in Mount Pleasant, SC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I predict the future performance of publicly traded retail companies based on observations of consumer behavior in stores worldwide, talking with customers and clerks. I am looking for anomalies and patterns that indicate a particular brand (say, a company that makes apparel) might do better or worse than expected. My customers are hedge funds, private-equity firms, and sovereign government funds. They only pay me if I am right, not for my time.
Tell us about yourself
I developed a love of being in retail stores decades ago. I have served as CEO of several retail companies, including ones that failed, so I understand what can go wrong. My primary motivation is the thrill of the hunt - ferreting out what does not look or feel right. I have to accumulate and document "why" for the client, which is typically anecdotal. Thus, to be successful, my anecdotes need to be spot on. I work hard to make a photo or a customer conversation convey a broad point.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was helping one large client make a lot of money by acting on my advice to sell shares of a company, even though it was a hot stock on Wall Street and no financial analyst had a "sell" rating. My observations suggested a weak future for this company, but I agonized over being the lone dissenter. This caused me to check my work repeatedly, providing even more inner validation when my judgment proved correct.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most challenging aspect for me is attracting new clients. I work 100% confidentially, so my excellent work cannot be validated. I do not work on contract, so I might not be paid for several months (if at all - a different kind of risk).
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Think through (and write down) in detail what you will be doing day-to-day, and week-to-week, making sure that (a) each step is necessary to achieve your business goals and that (b) you have included all of the necessary steps.
- Find and compare what others are doing along similar lines, and make sure you understand how much it costs them to do it and what they receive in return. You are unlikely to improve something on which no one else makes money.
- Try to "reflect in advance" following a successful event ... How do you feel about it? Good enough to redouble your efforts for the next event? If you think, "glad it's over," you will fail.
- If you live with a significant other who is not working with you, have an initial understanding of support. Make sure they know the downside, the tempo, the thrills, the expenses, the income, and the boundaries - for example, maybe you are eager to take suggestions on process improvements, or perhaps you need to focus on executing your plan without interference from the peanut gallery. Attitude adjustments in advance are usually more productive.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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