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“Do What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest”

While there are some universal tenets of success, entrepreneurs wouldn’t be entrepreneurs if they didn’t march to the beat of their own inner drummer. Many successful small business owners have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that help them achieve success.

In this space, some of today’s smartest, most innovative and most successful business owners share their insights and success secrets with you.

Meet: Ryan Fogelman, Managing Principal of Conversion Development Group, a niche-consulting firm that helps build companies, products and brands by building brand awareness and acting as part of their sales teams. Essentially, the company is an outsourced VP of Biz Dev for other businesses.

Throughout his career Ryan has focused on developing and introducing new technologies into a variety of different industries.

You can reach Ryan on Twitter @ConDevGroup.

Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ryan Fogelman: I was born to market and sell products. I started a school store at my elementary school and have never stopped since. In high school, college and law school, I sold shoes and clothes for 100 percent commission. 

Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?

Fogelman: I spent years in school pursuing my JD/MBA and then [working] at large corporations like Accenture, American Greetings & Scott’s Miracle-Gro. I liked wearing a lot of hats as well as being on the front lines, which owning my own business could provide. My goal since starting CDG has been to work with innovative products, inventors, entrepreneurs and companies. 

Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Fogelman: The day I figured out that the marketing and sales functions of any organization needed to be aligned as opposed the traditional siloed approach. While simply driving awareness with the goal of a well-defined conversion might seem simple, it can be the difference between success and failure of a business or product launch. 

Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Fogelman: Do things your way. There will always be naysayers and non-believers, but if you are passionate about what you believe, success will follow. 

Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Fogelman: Outsource. Do what you do best and outsource the rest to capable and responsible partners. Anyone can work hard, but the most successful entrepreneurs need to work “smart” while utilizing the right partners.    

Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?

Fogelman: Throughout my life, I can point to three different times where I was told America was falling behind other countries’ economies. The reality is that “American Ingenuity” continued to pave the way for our success. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy and will continue to be, now and in the future.   

Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?

Fogelman: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Fogelman: “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford