Tuesday, May 17, 2011

PART 1: TBP's Q&A with Original Winner of The Apprentice, Bill Rancic

Because Bill Rancic is coming to Kansas City on May 24th to speak at the Think Big Kansas City conference, we decided to sit down with The Apprentice winner himself to learn more about his views on entrepreneurship, the lessons that he learned from Donald Trump, and what he’s looking forward to most at Think Big Kansas City 2011.  Check out our one-on-one Q&A session with Bill Rancic below! 
TBP: What are the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face today?
Bill:  Lack of access to capital.  It’s hard to get money, it’s hard to get loans.  Obviously, when entrepreneurs are first starting out, they don’t have the track record.  That’s a big challenge.  And even before that, it’s [the entrepreneurs] themselves.  In many cases, entrepreneurs let themselves get in their own way and they let the fear stop them.  One of the things I’m going to talk about [at TBKC] is how most people are afraid to fail, they’re afraid they’re going to make a mistake, or they’re afraid of what they’re friends and family are going to say.  That’s something that holds a lot of people back.  A final challenge is lack of agility—being able to adapt and react to the changing times is critical.  A lot of people get in their comfort zone and they don’t like to leave.  I think that’s hard—it’s hard to embrace change, it’s hard to go into areas that you’re not familiar with.  But you have to do it if you want to stretch and grow.
TBP: Were these the same challenges that you faced as an entrepreneur?
Bill:  Money was a big problem.  I started out when I was 23 years old—so it was certainly very difficult because we didn’t have any money.  But the fear of failure didn’t stop me.  Growing up, my parents said it’s okay to make mistakes and have set backs, but it’s never okay to not try things.
TBP: What are the key ingredients of success for an entrepreneur?
Bill: Understanding the ability to execute.  I think entrepreneurs are doers, not the people who talk.  Most people in the world talk one hell of a game, but entrepreneurs are the ones who let their actions speak for them.  They have that never-quit attitude [and] they don’t make excuses.  And finally, [entrepreneurs] have to be able to make decisions in a timely manner.
Bill presenting "How to Succeed in Business and Life".

TBP: What do you think are the best opportunities for an entrepreneur today?
Bill:  I think the best opportunity for an entrepreneur is to do what they’re passionate about.  If it’s someone who hates alternative energy, they’re not going to want to wake up at 5 in the morning and work until 10 at night.  You have to find something you’re passionate about and then determine whether or not it’s going to be a viable opportunity for you.  I think the most important ingredient you can bring to the table is your passion and your energy—that’s what it’s about.  If you don’t have that, odds are, you’re going to fail.
TBP: What is one of the biggest mistakes that you see entrepreneurs make?
Bill: I read a statistic that last year there were 500,000 businesses started each month.  300,000 of those failed and it’s because people went into it for the wrong reasons.  They want to become a business owner and they think they’re going to have all of this free time and extra money.  Eventually, you will. But in the beginning, that’s not how it works.  A lot of people want to own a business because it sounds good and they want to call themselves a business owner.  There’s a lot of guys out there that like to “play business”.  They’re in it just for the status and to talk about it.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2!  We have much more from Bill Rancic for you including the top three lessons he learned from Donald Trump, his views of Think Big Kansas City, and how he Thinks Big.  Look out for PART 2: TBP's Q&A with Original Winner of The Apprentice, Bill Rancic...coming in a few hours.

Interview conducted by Allison Way.

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