There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Chad Altier, the cofounder and CEO of iDropped Repair Centers. Chad’s a serial entrepreneur who has managed, owned and built several other companies, including Blakely Self Storage, Boulevard Investment Group, CJ Enterprises and Penn Avenue Associates.
The inspiration for iDropped came when Chad was playing baseball with his son. A pop fly landed directly on Chad’s phone—and cracked the screen. Frustrated, since his kids were constantly breaking their phones and other devices, he teamed up with a longtime friend to start iDropped. The company specializes in Apple and Samsung Galaxy products. Phone repairs are performed within an hour, and other device repairs are completed within 24 hours.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Chad Altier: When I was young, I had a fascination with building things and there was no limitation on the medium. I would connect Legos, stack Lincoln Logs and tape boxes together. I had a drive to create something unique. If I could build it and I could fit inside, that was even better.
I remember the first time we moved there were empty boxes stacked in our kitchen. My mother was cutting them down for the garbage and I thought, “This is crazy!” In that moment, I methodically began to pick up as many boxes as I could fit in my little arms and bring them to my room. “Tonight, I will build a castle,” I thought. So to answer the question, I always wanted to be an architect.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Altier: The first business I ever started was a truck trailer and equipment cleaning business, which was built out of my youthful goal of not working for someone else. The feeling of my fate being determined by others’ actions was suffocating. I wanted to be my own boss and succeed or fail on my own merit.
The birth of iDropped came out of my desire to create a brand that was bigger than me. I have created and sold many successful local businesses but nothing on a national scale. The business model and scalability of iDropped Repair Centers will allow my team and me to reach, inform and help people from all over the country.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Altier: A pivotal moment in my success was when I realized that talent, luck and opportunities weren’t everything. It is skill that enables one to succeed, not silver spoons. Skill can only be obtained through consistent practice and rigorous routines. Discovering this secret was the pivotal moment in my direction of life.
Whether it is sales, managing staff, accounting, negotiating or anything in between, if I could pursue knowledge within that sector and practice the skill set, I could become great at it. I was not born with any of these talents. I simply focused, practiced, lost sleep, forgot to eat and powered on. When you fail or fall short, if you can look up to the sky, you can get up and try again.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Altier: The best advice I ever received was to not leave ideas or aspirations on the table. Always pursue them with vigor and optimism. Let the naysayers nay and power forward.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Altier: Organizational skills and creating positive habits are the keys to any startup. You need to habitually wake up every day at the same time, have your morning coffee, know where everything you need is and know how you are going to utilize it to facilitate your plans of action.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Altier: More small businesses will begin to leverage technology. For example, small businesses will begin catering to customers who want to pay with their smartphones. Small businesses will implement web-based platforms that streamline their operations, such as HR platforms that simplify onboarding processes. I also predict small businesses will dive deeper into social media to truly reach out and connect with customers about feedback, to resolve disputes, host Q&A sessions, etc.
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Altier: My favorite book is Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. This book is a great read on the pursuit of innovation and change on a broad scale. It shows that no matter the trials and tribulations, one must remain steadfast in their goals.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Altier: “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell
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