Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interview with Steve Estrellado

Please explain the history behind the creation of your business and how you became involved in it. 
Estro Communications was founded in 2010. We, Steve and Christian Estrellado, had the intuition that social media and digital advertising was about to explode. Prior to Estro Communications, we created Estro Entertainment (a marketing promotional agency).  We were often asked to use social media to help amplify our marketing campaigns.  With this experience, we realized that social media will be the wave of the future.

What product or service do you sell and how do you do the selling?
Estro Communications focuses on digital management consulting and marketing communications. Our ideology revolves around building business relationships, not hard-selling.  We use the “new digital norm” of social media to brand our company online. Social media allows us to network with people, as well as advertise our company’s name on digital ads, e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google.

Who was the most influential in helping you as you developed your business? How?
We had many mentors in our past work experience.  They all advised us to read about the businesses we planned on getting involved in--don't assume that we know everything about the subject.  Reading is a tactic that we use to develop our business. Books such as “Good to Great” and “Built to Last” by Jim Collins influenced us.

Why did you decide to start this particular type of business? Where and how did you develop the expertise or the idea for this business?
The digital marketing industry is constantly evolving.  Change creates opportunity—you need to trust your gut instinct and adapt to change.  We taught ourselves the subject; it was autodidactic.  

What is your educational background?  Are there any classes that you did take or wish you had taken that could help you run your business? Why?
I have a BS in Marketing from Rutgers Business School.  I started college majoring in Computer Science and I switched to business.   I recommend finishing with both a degree in business and in computer science.

To what do you attribute your success?  Be very specific. What would you consider doing differently if you had a chance to start over again?  Why?
I credit my discipline and routine as strengths in our business—I abide by a daily schedule. Managing the business cash flow is very important, meaning you shouldn’t spend more than you make.  Running your business on mismanaged credit can put your company severely in debt.

Did you have any business failures as you were trying to get established? If so, what did you learn from them? 
Cash flow is the most important pillar in business; it is the reason why our prior business went awry.  I advise getting a deposit from your clients and receiving the difference once the job is completed—protect yourself if the client defaults.  It is best practice to save at least a year’s worth of expenses in your company’s saving account.  In case your cash flow runs short, you have a buffer to keep business as usual.

What personal characteristics that you possess contribute the most to your success?  Why?
I credit perseverance, faith, belief, charisma, positive thinking and energy as characteristics that make a thriving businessman. These characteristics are the foundation that help push you through those difficult times.

Describe a typical day in your business. Be very specific.
I suggest having a to-do list of what has to be done before you go to work. My work can get pretty hectic even with a to-do list, considering I’m constantly receiving phone calls and emails.  I suggest prioritizing what needs to be done as tasks come in.  Try to get 3 to 5 of the most important projects finished per day.

What are the advantages to owning your own business? Disadvantages?
Advantages include freedom, but freedom with responsibility. I own my own time, and I am able to be spontaneous with my schedule.  I am my own boss and I make my own decisions. Disadvantages include: having to take full responsibility if something goes wrong, having your business come first and putting personal relationships second.

Do the advantages of owning your own business outweigh the disadvantages? Please explain.
Advantages in business always outweighs the disadvantages if there’s an end goal in mind.  If someone owns a business and creates it for the sake of longevity, cash flow and carry on value, it has legacy and it will live on.  But, if you start a business to just go to work, the dream stops there.

What advice would you give to these young entrepreneurs as they venture out to create their own businesses?  
One, come in with capital. Two, come in with a team.  Three, have an advisory board, but take their advice wisely.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned over the years?
Our biggest problem was that the first business was getting too big too fast.  Take the time to stop and enjoy your success.  Don’t over-extend yourself and enjoy the moment.

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