Paul Contris Interview [February 2018] – Transcripts

Why Most Businesses Don’t Make it to Their 5th Birthday

Katherine: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on This Needs To Be Said. Our friend, Paul Contris, is joining us today of Welcov, and we’re going to have a general business discussion. Paul has been in business, sold and bought businesses for many, and one of the things that came up for me as it was time for me to interview him again, is how do you stay in business. We’re going to start our interview off with that on today, but before we jump into that question, and the conversation, welcome back Paul. How are you?

Paul Contris: I’m well. Thank you, Katherine. How are you doing today?

Katherine: I’m doing well, as well. I’m doing well, as well. A little word play there. I’m always interested when they’re people that have been in business for longer than I have, that there’s so much that I can learn from you, and just doing some reading, as I started the interview off with, there’s a statistic and it was like 543,000 businesses are started monthly, and most businesses don’t make it to the fifth year. There are a lot of businesses being born every month, every year times 12, and some of those, a lot of those businesses don’t make it to see its fifth birthday, so to speak. For you, I look to gleam information from you when you spend time with us here on This Needs To Be Said. What tips do you have for us to stay in business? How do you do it? Because it’s not always easy.

Paul Contris: Yeah. Boy, if I had an ironclad response, I’d be richer than Bill Gates.

Katherine: Oh, well yeah, you would.

Paul Contris: Though, I guess, just in general one thing I’ve always told people is one of the key attributes that makes you a successful entrepreneur is the ability to persevere. When I say that, I mean I would say probably most entrepreneurs, they don’t necessarily get it right the first time, and I think that’s why there is a high percentage of failures in new business startups, but you learn from your mistakes. I think one of the keys is if … The old adage, “If you get knocked off the saddle, you got to get right up and start riding again.” You learn from your mistakes that you made the first time around, so I guess that would be the number one tip, or piece of advice, is that just because you do fail the first time, don’t give up, because when you try the second time you’re going to have a lot higher probability of it being successful that second time.

Katherine: I have to agree, yeah.

Paul Contris: Yeah. One of the things that I did is that I worked in corporate environments, and for large corporations, before I started my company, so I kind of learned the ropes in the long-term care skilled nursing business before I ventured out on my own. I think that’s another thing that can kind of increase your odds of success, is if you’re starting a business, it certainly will help if it’s a business that you have a lot of knowledge about and have some experience in.

Katherine: I think you’ve said that to us in another interview, because this is sounding familiar. You were talking about how to basically gain the knowledge of the business that you want to go in, just as you said, but I remember you saying that. It kind of touched the learning curve, is what I was trying to get to, is what you were telling us last time, and to again, increase your likelihood of being successful. Because I was like, “Yeah, you’ve told us this before. We talked about this part before.” Absolutely.

Paul Contris: Yeah. I think you’re right. That does now sound right that I’ve said that before, but it’s kind of a basic way to enhance your probability of success, is to … If you’re going to start a business, start something that you have some knowledge and experience with. Lastly, I think once you’re in that business, you really need to, once again, persevere. There’s going to be all sorts of challenges and obstacles that come up, and sometimes it’s just sheer force of will to get through something where it looks like, “Oh, man. This is insurmountable, or I just don’t know how we’re going to figure this out.” As opposed to just kind of throwing up your hands and saying, “Ah, this is too much stress. I can’t take it. It’s not going to happen. I’m going to just give up and I’m going to go get a job where I don’t have to worry or have these kind of stresses.”

To some people, that might be the right thing to do, because running your own business is not for everyone because it is very challenging. It can be very fulfilling, but it can also be very stressful. There’s a quality of life issue, so for some people it probably doesn’t make sense. If it’s going to end up being detrimental to your health, or your peace of mind, or wellbeing, then maybe it’s not the right thing. If you really … If you can handle it and you really want to be successful, then you just need to stick in there, don’t give up, and figure out a way to make it work.

Katherine: Now, that leads me on what you were saying about your way of life, or your health, what works for you, what makes you happiest, leads me to my next question. How do you balance between being healthy and … I guess I have two questions here. How important is your health to being an entrepreneur and how do you balance your personal life, your health, and business? There’s two questions in there.

Paul Contris: Yeah, those are real good questions. Obviously, if you don’t have your health, health is wealth. I think it really helps to be of kind of sound mind and body to be able to tackle the kind of challenges and obstacles that come up in running your own business. I think it’s just kind of the basic tenets of getting exercise, getting enough sleep, and not … Being able to somewhat compartmentalize and when you have really stressful things going on at work, don’t let it consume you. Don’t sit there all night worrying. You got to be able to train yourself to, “Okay. We’ve got a big crisis going on here, but I’m going to do my exercise routine, and I’m going to get to bed at a regular time, and I’m going to sleep through the night, and then I’ll get up and do what I got to do.” Because sitting there worrying about it all night is not going to help and it’s going to be detrimental to your health too in the long run. I think getting enough sleep, and exercise, proper diet, all those type of things are critical.

Katherine: Do you think … This is your personal preference, or your personal opinion that I’m asking about, not necessarily a study and list. There’s a study out here to answer this question. Do you think our being mindful of our health and nutrition is more important as an entrepreneur, versus being an employee?

Paul Contris: Oh, well, boy that’s a good … I’d have to say, whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, I think you should be equally focused, or have that as a priority either way. I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s more important for … I’m sure … It depends on the individual. I’m sure there’s lots of entrepreneurs who don’t exercise, don’t get enough sleep, and don’t eat well, but they’ve been ridiculously successful. I mean, I’m just saying in general, I think you increase your odds of being successful in the long run if you pay attention to your health, and get enough sleep, and eat properly, and all those type of things, and that’s the same for an employee.

Katherine: I was asking that question because I think of the people that I know that have businesses, or even if they’re starting a business and they’re working, they say they’re on team, no sleep, so they’re not going to sleep because they’re trying to make all this money. Then I also have been this person, as well as I know other business owners that get so busy working that you forget to eat, but I guess you could do that as an employee as well. My question was to think entrepreneurs is easier for them to slip through the crack. As an employee, you probably go to lunch when your peers go to lunch, because it’s in your structure, but as an entrepreneur you have to create and commit to a structure that you could easily break, because nobody’s making you enforce it necessarily.

That was my opinion that I was interjecting in there, but that’s what made me ask you that question. Paul, I want to say thank you so much for being here again on This Needs To Be Said and spending some time asking general business questions, because while you have your specific industry that you’re in, there are some things that you know that anybody in any industry could learn from and definitely being mindful of ourselves as entrepreneurs, our health, our wellbeing, what makes us happy, is something that any business owner could benefit from. Could you tell people how to get in touch with you outside of This Needs To Be Said?

Paul Contris: Yes. Our website is the best way. That’s Welcov is W-E-L-C-O-V.

Katherine: Awesome. Until next time, Paul, have a wonderful day.

Paul Contris: You too. Thank you, Katherine.

Katherine: Bye-bye.

Paul Contris: Bye.