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Problem Solvers

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United States

Twitter:

@heyfeifer

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English

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Episodes

She Raised Millions From Investors... Then Almost Lost It All

7/16/2018
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Raquel Tavares, founder and CEO of a ghee company called Fourth & Heart, had just finished raising a round of funding -- and then her team looked at the company's numbers and realized they were almost out of money. How did this happen? The answer is simple: The company wasn't properly tracking its inventory and cost of raw materials, and now it was in a terrible bind. What does an entrepreneur do in a situation like this? Raquel is here with an incredible answer: Not only can you survive a...

Duration:00:13:55

How MailChimp's CEO Became the Leader His Company Needed

7/9/2018
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As a company grows, its needs change -- and that means a leader must change as well. This is commonly accepted wisdom about leadership, but it's easier said than done. MailChimp's founder discovered that when his once-scrappy company reached about 300 employees, and, in an achingly awkward staff meeting, he discovered that he hadn't transformed into the leader those 300 people needed. What followed was a lot of soul-searching, and some very important company changes.

Duration:00:21:14

How to Survive When the Money Runs Out

7/2/2018
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It's perhaps the most terrifying situation an entrepreneur can face: Suddenly, the bank account is nearly empty. You can't pay your staff. You can barely keep the lights on. What now? This is what Saima Khan faced with her high-end cooking company Hampstead Kitchen. She charges a small fortune to cook intimate dinners for industry titans, celebrities, and even world leaders—but then a change in the tax law nearly wiped her out, and forced her to reconsider exactly what kind of business she...

Duration:00:17:05

What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From The Bicycle

6/25/2018
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Entrepreneurs must embrace change, or risk becoming outdated. In this episode, we offer a cautionary tale from history: What happened when entrepreneurs of the late 1800s tried to resist a newfangled invention called the bicycle? This episode is a special rebroadcast of a podcast called Pessimists Archive, also hosted by Entrepreneur magazine editor in chief Jason Feifer. For more like it, search Pessimists Archive on any podcast platform or visit www.pessimists.co.

Duration:00:36:14

Nobody Believed In His Vision. But He Knew Better.

6/18/2018
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Everyone who’s experienced setbacks, rejection, and frustration will ask themselves the same inevitable question: “What if the naysayers are right?” Mike Rothman did that. As he built his company Fatherly -- a media site for dads, which is a market everyone told him was nonexistent -- he was told “no” over and over again. But instead of quitting, he made strategic decisions that enabled him to discover the truth: His idea really was a good one. And soon, the people saying no started to say...

Duration:00:20:06

Califia Farms Had To Start Saying, "We're Out Of Product"

6/11/2018
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Califia Farms makes a popular line of plant-based milks, yogurts, and coffees—but they became too popular, too quick. In 2017, demand began significantly outstripping supply, and so the company had to do something it hated to do, but that was critical for its long-term health: It had to start telling retailers "no," while it fixed its entire production system.

Duration:00:17:10

When Your Staff Can't Agree On a Vision for the Company

6/4/2018
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Orchard Mile, an online shopping site, had a promising platform and a talented team. But they had two very different ideas about what the company should prioritize. How CEO Jennie Baik made tough decisions to bring them together.

Duration:00:19:29

Keep The Company Running During A Personal Crisis

5/28/2018
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It's a question almost every entrepreneur will at some point face: How do you keep a company stable while you're pulled into a personal crisis? For Chris Carter, founder of Approyo, that question came shortly after his startup launched -- when his daughter developed epilepsy. After working himself to exhaustion, Chris stepped back and retooled how his company operated and how he was treating himself. The result was a stronger company, a healthier founder, and a better balance for everyone.

Duration:00:15:41

Build An Audience Without Advertising

5/21/2018
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If you want to learn how to succeed without traditional advertising, ask someone in the "adult" industry. Why? Because most advertising channels—including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more—are closed to them. That's what Polly Rodriguez learned when she founded Unbound, a company that makes and sells adult products. Most platforms won't take her money, so she had to get creative... and build her own community.

Duration:00:17:41

Saving A Damaged Brand (Remember About.com?)

5/14/2018
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How do you give new life to an old company? Bring new vision to a place that lost its own? And how do you bring your team -- and your new audience! -- along for the change? Those are the challenges Neil Vogel faced when taking over the old internet giant About.com and transforming it into a thriving company called Dotdash.

Duration:00:20:22

Selling The Product That Everyone Said Was Impossible

5/7/2018
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Selling perfume online seems impossible. After all, people need to be able to smell it, right? And when former Ralph Lauren executive Eric Korman launched his online perfume company PHLUR, he ran smack dab into that problem. Industry peers thought he was crazy. He hung in and devised a solution: an ingenious a mix of smart e-commerce strategy, science, photography, psychology, music, and storytelling. And with that, he made the impossible possible.

Duration:00:16:00

People Love Your Idea, But It Doesn't Make Money. Now What?

4/30/2018
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People may like to shop for cars online, but they still want to test drive them in real life before buying. So when the online car sales company Shift launched, it created a system its founders were sure would win customers over: They hired “car enthusiasts” -- guys just really passionate about cars -- to drive a car to a customer so they could test drive it together. The car enthusiasts were a hit; people loved them, and praised them online. But Shift wasn’t celebrating: As it turns out,...

Duration:00:19:28

How to Name Your Company — Or Fix A Bad Name

4/23/2018
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A company's name is one of (if not the) biggest early decisions a company founder will make -- and they often get it wrong. Google was first called BackRub, Best Buy was Sound of Music, eBay was AuctionWeb, and Policygenius was KnowItOwl. In this episode, Policygenius's founder walks us through the rigorous process she went through to scrap a confusing name and create one that led to success.

Duration:00:19:52

He Took A Lowbrow Product, And Made It Luxury

4/16/2018
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Sean Dowdell loved tattoos, but he hated tattoo parlors. They were dirty, uninviting, downmarket, unprofessional and often sexist. So when he set aside his music career to start his own tattoo parlor, he needed to find a way to make a traditionally lowbrow product appeal to a high-end, but still edgy, audience. A decade later, he’s now opening glitzy tattoo shops all over the world. Here’s how he pulled it off.

Duration:00:16:06

The Business Model Doesn't Work—So Change It!

4/9/2018
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What happens when your customers are willing to use your product, but they're not willing to pay for it? Answer: Your business model may be wrong. That's what Ilir Sela learned after launching Slice, a company that helps local pizzerias sell online. He found plenty of early customers, but they weren't paying their invoices. As he dug deeper, he realized the problem wasn't them -- it was him. And he began the long process of figuring out what (and how) people were willing to pay.

Duration:00:18:22

The Curse of the Problem Solver: You Can't Solve It All

4/2/2018
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Patrick Llewellyn discovered that his design company, 99designs, was only fulfilling some of his customers' needs. He wanted to fill more, so he created a spinoff brand called Swiftly. But in doing so, he created a major problem for himself: He was stretching his resources too thin, and confusing customers about which brand they should use. In the end, he discovered the Curse of the Problem Solvers: Sometimes, you have to let some problems go unsolved.

Duration:00:20:09

How A Company Becomes A Thought Leader

3/26/2018
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When Daniel McCarthy cofounded the music licensing company Musicbed, he had a big idea: "I don’t want customers to just think about Musicbed when they think about music licensing. I want them to think about Musicbed when they’re trying to get inspired." Accomplishing that would require a lot of experimentation, spending money with no sure ROI, and launching (and closing) a magazine. In this episode, we map how Musicbed became more than just the sum of its product.

Duration:00:19:07

They Were Acquired... And Then The Buyer Went Bust

3/19/2018
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The apparel startup Richer Poorer thought it had found the perfect deal: A fast-growing e-commerce brand wanted to buy it, offering an influx of cash and resources while leaving the founders in control. But after the deal went through, a nightmare scenario folded: The new parent company started to collapse. In this episode, we learn how Richer Poorer's founders put the wheels in motion to get out—and saved their company just in time.

Duration:00:17:23

How Three Entrepreneurs Started On The Fast Track

3/12/2018
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Every entrepreneur’s journey starts with a big problem. That first hurdle—and hopefully, that first solution. Small and sometimes simple as it may be, this first moment contains so much ingenuity and inspiration, and captures just how resourceful entrepreneurs must be to continue along their path. Today, we’re telling three mini-stories of first-time challenges: how the creator of the Butterie butter dish cracked its market research problem, how GrowSumo found the right customers (and...

Duration:00:18:06

The Entrepreneur’s Identity Crisis: “Am I My Company?”

3/5/2018
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Glenn Kelman thought of himself as a software guy. Then he became CEO of a real estate company called Redfin, but insisted on seeing it as a software company. Confusion reigned. Cultures clashed. For Glenn, it would come to highlight an often-unspoken business challenge: Entrepreneurship means exploring unknown paths, sometimes leading entrepreneurs to a very different place from where they started. The result can challenge not just their business philosophies but their very sense of...

Duration:00:18:44