Eric Marcus | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Eric Marcus

Background:  

Tempe-based Marcus Networking is a family-operated technology and telecom business established in 2002. The company specializes in telecommunications centered on phone systems, cabling and network infrastructure.

The Mistake:

My biggest mistake was falling into everybody else’s model, or that of my competition. What I mean by that is, in the tech industry, everybody follows a pretty simple model. I was young and gullible when I started the company and just wanted to be in that model. I thought I would just compete.

A lot of it, in the beginning, was confidence. I started off as a consultant and grew the company over time. The way that I got a lot of business was from companies that weren’t happy with their current IT providers. They would just give me their contract and say, “Can you do this a little cheaper?” And I would say, “Yes.” But I was never sticking to one particular model, or way, of doing business. I just wanted their business to grow my business. 

That was my mistake. I didn’t have the confidence to say, “This is our model. This is how we do it. This is our pricing and this is why we’re better.”

It’s a matter of confidence, and I had to learn that very quickly.

The Lesson:

I learned over the years that you shouldn’t follow everybody; you should lead by example and create your own model that works best for you, your customers and your staff.

Obviously, I know quite a few other business owners that do the same thing I do. I listen to their problems, and it seems like a lot of them never go away because they’re trying to adhere to a model that I think is dying over time. So, no one wants to evolve. 

It’s a matter of confidence, and I had to learn that very quickly. It’s a matter of believing in what you can deliver to the client. It’s a matter of believing in yourself and your staff. 

You have to learn to trust your staff and know that your employees who have been there for 10-15 years really have your back and want to be successful, just like you. They put in their hard work and time as well.

Follow Marcus Networking on Twitter at @MarcusNT.

Photo courtesy of Eric Marcus

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