Tom Alexander is founder and chief executive officer of PK4 Media located in El Segundo, CA. He has applied over 10 years of experience in digital advertising to develop the cross-platform technology company. Follow him @pk4tom.
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My father. He came to the United States with no money, and he lived the entrepreneurial dream.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
The best advice I’ve ever received was to spend every day focused on earning a dollar, not trying to save a dollar. I look for ways to add value, not just minimize loss. Focusing with this type of mentality allows me to stay positive and projecting future growth.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
In the very early stages of developing our technology platform, I hired an outside development firm. I quickly realized that my lack of experience with software engineering and lack of specific control over their development work made it very difficult to produce the exact product I wanted to build. After several frustrating months, I hired an internal engineering team as employees of PK4 Media. Working with such a smart, dedicated team day in and day out has given me the control and communication I needed and gives our clients 100 percent confidence in our technology.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I look at my calendar, flag important emails that have come in overnight, and check social media for any breaking news.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Spend time to understand your model completely. While you have experience in a particular industry, your company has a unique differentiator. That differentiator most likely will influence how you manage cash flow. Understand which vendors are key to your business model, and work to integrate them into your company.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I would define success for our business as when I am not needed for vital parts of the company. Success occurs when you’ve built something that exists and has a life of its own without your direct involvement — when you leave for vacation or take a sick day and aren’t worried or stressed.
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