As a part of my MBA course at Marshall I have to interview a successful Entrepreneur. I was fortunate to get a chance to talk to Ray Galan of RG Pacific about his entrepreneurial journey.

Introduction

Ray Galan, founder of RG Pacific, is a skilled businesses man with excellent entrepreneurial spirit. RG Pacific is a software consulting company with specialization in online marketing and brand building. His creativity and strong passion to work has won him many hearts. Lot of his clients admire him and take his advice when it comes to strategic planning.

RG Pacific helps companies organize their online business model, provides consulting on how to revamp their website to improve ROI, strategize and apply new web development tools to improve performance, implement CRM solutions to strengthen business relationships, and implement e-commerce solutions to create sales. It helps in planning, executing, and maintaining a strong online marketing mix to maximize online efficiency, branding, and strategic planning.

Background

Ray grew up in Los Angeles in a family of Hispanic decent. He went to CSU Northridge for BA in Political Science and later MBA from National University-Los Angeles. He had natural talent of attracting people and creating plans. While in college he got opportunities to work as a Web Content Developer where he helped the largest ISP in Latin America and managed their e-commerce system.

RG Pacific’s Beginning

While working after his graduation Ray decided to try freelancing work in both web development and marketing because he felt he can do what the companies did. With this confidence and the work experience Ray was willing to take risk for high reward. He saved money in his savings account for 6 months and collected enough finance to start his own company RG Pacific as a sole proprietorship.

Ray did personal interviews with many colleagues who were also entrepreneurs to find out how they started the business. He had already learnt the planning and that helped him calculate his margins. He approached lot of clients through his network and got a few web-designing jobs.

Expansion

As RG Pacific grew Ray started getting complicated projects. He didn’t have the expertise for them so he decided to hire a few developers. He posted ads in Craigslist. To cut the overhead costs Ray got an idea to hire freelance developers. Thus after hiring people Ray was able to concentrate more on his sales skills and got more projects. He followed a simple and effective strategy for expansion “Beat the Price!”. However he always calculated profit margins and costs with minimal projections to allow realistic goals. He had set short term goals to get his expansion going.

People

Ray realized real value in the people he hired. He was very generous and willing to give opportunity to young and budding talent. He always believed in his people and trusted their skills. He gave them full authority and freedom. He compensated his people with bonus on job well done.

Challenges

Ray initially had a few problems setting the client contracts. At times the contracts he signed back fired on him for not being strong enough to protect him. Soon he realized the need to hire an attorney and developed contract & proposal templates. He got insurance and registered his businesses with the state. Ray was watchful and solved these issues at the right time.

Ray had to depend on his freelance developers for getting his projects done. Sometimes that turned out to be unreliable and time-consuming. He solved those problems by keeping constant communication and free dialog with his developers. He developed a friendly and personal relation with his people and that helped him overcome this challenge.

His mentors were managers and directors whom he worked for in the past. They encouraged Ray to push and not let up.

Going Forward

Step by step Ray was able to expand and add new verticals to his company. RG Pacific now specializes in SEO, Social Media Strategy, Paid Search, Online Media Buying, E-Commerce, E-Branding, and Marketing . RG Pacific’s goal is to allow small and large companies excel and compete with corporations that are dominating markets.

Ray plans to make RG Pacific a corporation and expand to other states. Also want to offer interactive media buying and event planning.

As an advice to young and budding entrepreneurs Ray offers “Never let a client down- one happy client means more referrals.

Advice to new entrepreneurs

Ray suggests young entrepreneurs should work at big corporation for a while and understand how they do the business. One should keep eyes and ears open and be knowledgeable of latest happening in the organization. Ray feels networking is the most important part of any businesses. He believes in keeping clients happy and always doing more than the expectations.

He thinks young entrepreneurs should go at one’s own pace. One should realize that growth takes time. Step by step approach is the way to go. One has to get into the mindset of the entrepreneur to take big challenges. It is better to expand slow and steady than take big risks upfront.

Ray suggests keeping overhead costs to the minimum in the initial phase and invest the savings in most important things that get more business.

Ray advices young entrepreneurs should look for good mentors. When he needed advice he always asked his previous managers. He did peer to peer meetings at cafe. He says that one should not be afraid to ask peers for advice.

Family support is always good to have. He saved lot of money on rent by living with family and used the savings to get started.

Ray was able to get most of his clients through networking. He likes playing golf and realized that by joining golf clubs he could meet many prospective clients. Sometimes hobbies can help in you businesses.

Advice to me

I am interested in expanding my software company which I recently started. Being a software developer myself I’m doing all the programming myself. I also have a day job so I take time after returning home and on weekends. I asked Ray for advice on what approach I take to expand by startup and what direction I should take in the coming years.

Ray enjoyed taking to me and suggested a few good ideas to get started. I am listing them below:

  • He suggested hiring freelance developers to free up my time. All I have to do is to manage them. I should look for some local college graduate or post ad in Craigslist. This will get projects completed on time and give me good experience in management. Once I get to learn the art to manage people I can expand and hire more people. However he alerted me that he faced problems in managing people in early stages and suggested to find the right talent.
  • To expand my businesses he suggested visiting my community centers and talk to entrepreneurs in my community itself. Such people always come forward to help young and budding people to get started. He asked me to work as a volunteer at my community center to get introduced to such people.
  • He stressed in keeping the overhead costs low and not think about the luxury of business lifestyle initially. Things will get better eventually.
  • I should take advantage of every possible opportunity to meet people by attending events, seminars and alumni network.
  • He suggested keeping in touch with the latest industry buzz by keeping track of the blogs, tweets from technical blogs like TechCrunch, Slashdot, GigaOm etc.

Summary

Ray as an entrepreneur has all the qualities of a successful business man. He is hardworking and diligent. His entrepreneurial spirit and other qualities make him a pleasure to talk with. He has patience and energy to keep going. He perseverance has helped him expand his company step-by-step.

To expand my company I have to hire a few developers and learn the art of getting things done from people. I learnt the technique of networking he follows. I should start talking to successful entrepreneurs in my community.

He suggested taking advantage of the latest buzz in the world of internet : Cloud Computing and offered to give advice in my entrepreneurial journey.

I learnt a lot from Ray and to summarize in a few words all I have to say is “Your mind is your own Limitation

[Software Consulting & Development is a rapidly growing industry. According to market researcher DataMonitor, the size of the worldwide software industry in 2008 was US$ 303.8 billion, an increase of 6.5% compared to 2007. Americas account for 42.6% of the global software market’s value. DataMonitor forecasts that in 2013, the global software market will have a value of US$ 457 billion, an increase of 50.5% since 2008. more]

 

1 Response » to “Interview of an Entrepreneur – Ray Galan of RG Pacific, Los Angeles”

  1. Chinmay Shah says:

    This is a very good interview indeed, the reason why i would say that is because it deals with the practical problems of opening up a new venture rather than just focusing on superficial quotes and stories.

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