August 14, 2022

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Donna Spurrier, Marketing Innovator and Strategic Media Consultant: “Don’t be quick to take no as an answer ”

Don’t be fast to take no as a solution — if plan A doesn’t work, go for plan B and C. There will at all times be “no’s”.

As a part of my interview collection, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Spurrier. Donna is a advertising innovator and strategic media advisor. For 40 years, her methods and executions for presidency, industrial and non-profit purchasers have impressed new methods of pondering throughout the advertising and media industries. She has lately added entrepreneur to her resume because the inventor of Showerspecs, the one reader for the bathe.

Thank you a lot for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers wish to get to know you a bit extra. Can you inform us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this explicit profession path?

I used to be really within the music enterprise for a great whereas as a singer/songwriter. My dad was a recording artist within the 50’s with Jess Duboy and the Hitchhikers. Random enjoyable truth — he was additionally the producer and the voice of the Rock-A-Teens cult traditional hit, “Woo-Hoo”, heard in a number of commercials and the film Kill Bill. So, music is in my blood. While I like to jot down and to carry out, I did NOT just like the music business within the late 70’s and early 80’s. While I used to be determining what to do about it, I went to work at my dad’s promoting company and fell I like with media technique. After about 15 years there, I began my very own media company, Spurrier Group, and have been operating that for the final 25 years. The invention of Showerspecs is the newest of my entrepreneurial efforts, one other attribute I credit score my dad for instilling in me.

Can you share essentially the most attention-grabbing story that occurred to you because you started main your organization?

That’s straightforward! We went to market actually WEEKS earlier than COVID shut every little thing down. The product is Showerspecs, readers for the bathe for these of us who can’t see to shave, or learn the product labels. If you will have readers in each different room in the home, it simply made sense that you simply may want them within the bathe! It took 2 years of analysis to get the lens coating proper, since sizzling steamy showers and glass lenses don’t combine properly — however we did it and have been able to go to market. Fast ahead just a few months and we’re all carrying masks. One day within the grocery retailer, I used to be struggling to learn something in small print on the merchandise as my readers simply saved fogging up. I used to be so pissed off after which I remembered I had a pair of Showerspecs prototype in my purse. I put these on and was shocked (don’t know why!) to appreciate they didn’t fog even a bit bit. From this expertise, and having many others attempt the identical factor to check it out, we rushed again into manufacturing with a lighter weight body and plenty of extra fashion choices to create Clearspecs Readers.

Can you share a narrative concerning the funniest mistake you made whenever you have been first beginning? Can you inform us what lesson you realized from that?

So, right here’s the error — we did an advert marketing campaign with aspect by aspect photos of individuals with Clearspecs and with out, one all fogged up, one clear as a bell. Seems like a straightforward technique to present folks the performance of the product, proper? Oh my goodness, we had no thought what can of worms we opened up as our marketing campaign grow to be some form of set off for anti-masking! We posted advertisements on social media and the 2 “sides” when bonkers with one another and we’re shaking our head, like, that is simply an advert marketing campaign, people. We pivoted to the higher worth of anti-fog readers — some people should put on masks within the occupation (healthcare, meals prep, and so on.) and Clearspecs additionally don’t fog with a sizzling cup of espresso, whenever you cook dinner over the range, open a sizzling dishwasher, go from cool temps to sizzling, and so on. They are an important addition to the Showerspecs product and we enhance the road of merchandise with this patent pending coating. Sunspecs are subsequent — sun shades that gained’t fog with you’re employed out outdoors or whenever you get right into a sizzling automobile!

None of us are capable of obtain success with out some assist alongside the way in which. Is there a specific one who you might be grateful in direction of who helped get you to the place you might be? Can you share a narrative about that?

Easy one! My dad. Even although it was his firm I used to be leaving to begin my very own, placing him in a tricky spot to fill that place, he was at all times 200% my greatest supporter and fan. Honestly, most individuals in our lives don’t REALLY care concerning the everyday of beginning, rising and operating a profitable enterprise. I don’t blame them — my dad did, nevertheless. He requested me about each aspect of constructing Spurrier Group.

He was so excited concerning the thought of Showerspecs, however he wouldn’t stay to see me get them to market. My dad was an inventor himself and it’s clear the place I received that bug as properly. In his early promoting days, dad invented each the Sell-a-thon and the Toyota-thon ideas. Outside of labor, he was perpetually making issues work higher with wacky innovations. Some of these “wacky” issues that he did years in the past are actually patented merchandise by later inventors. That is the explanation that I’ve labored so laborious to get Showerspecs to market. Dad by no means did with any of his tangible innovations. He handed away in 2016 however I do know he’s cheering me on alongside this journey.

Let’s now leap to the first focus of our interview. According to this EY report, solely about 20 p.c of funded corporations have girls founders. This displays nice historic progress, but it surely additionally exhibits that extra work nonetheless must be executed to empower girls to create corporations. In your opinion and expertise what’s at the moment holding again girls from founding corporations?

In my opinion, it’s the cultural expectation that males are the breadwinners, the employees and the achievers. Men didn’t ask for this life place by the way in which. It’s culturally assumed in most nations for era upon era. Today, Gen Z younger girls are seeing a special pathway than my era (Boomer) in addition to the Gen X and even many of the Millennial inhabitants. There actually has been a glass ceiling, it’s not a fantasy. The generations of productive, inventive, “won’t take no for an answer” girls of the earlier many years have paved the trail for immediately’s girls. It’s a skinny path nonetheless, but it surely’s a path! Those of us who’re profitable must proceed to help and mentor the following generations of entrepreneurs. My era didn’t have a variety of leaders. We have grow to be these leaders now and owe it to the generations of wonderful girls that observe us, to proceed to pave this highway.

Can you assist articulate just a few issues that may be executed as people, as a society, or by the federal government, to assist overcome these obstacles?

I’m undecided about how useful authorities might be because the tax legal guidelines for small companies of all types are robust, however as people and communities, we are able to fill the highest of the funnel! The extra good girls there are beginning companies, socializing concepts, and supporting current companies with their insights and management, the extra the chance to contain increasingly entrepreneurs.

This is likely to be intuitive to you as a lady founder, however I believe it is going to be useful to spell this out. Can you share just a few the reason why extra girls ought to grow to be founders?

The timing has by no means been higher. Since the flexibility of ladies to work outdoors the house has grow to be extra “acceptable” (laborious to imagine) there have at all times been obstacles. Many of these have been overcome. Don’t misunderstand me although — there’ll at all times be the problem of elevating our households and dealing, inside, outdoors, or the other way up — elevating our youngsters whereas conquering the office is on no account straightforward.

And, for those who get success from this type of problem, who need to present worth to the enterprise, who need to work to help the household, or any of the opposite causes we work, now could be a extremely good time in historical past to flex these muscle mass (sans COVID in fact).

What are the “myths” that you simply wish to dispel about being a founder? Can you clarify what you imply?

Honestly, time. Running an organization shouldn’t be a stroll within the park. You have to actually resolve to do that. There are limitless issues out of your management that grow to be your accountability in case you are the proprietor and operating the enterprise each day. I mentor a number of younger folks and nearly everybody says their dream is to personal their very own firm someday. That’s an important aim and I commend them for that form of need, however it is going to take all that and extra. BUT, the thought that each one it’s important to do is have an important thought and also you’ll be set is a fantasy. It is laborious laborious work and plenty of it isn’t what you specialise in, a lot of it’s operating a enterprise with HR and payroll, and worker evaluations, and so on. and so on. My recommendation is at all times to actually suppose it via and KNOW that that is what you need.

Is everybody lower out to be a founder? In your opinion, which particular traits enhance the chance that an individual will likely be a profitable founder and what sort of particular person ought to maybe search a “regular job” as an worker? Can you clarify what you imply?

Everyone ought to NOT be a founder or proprietor! Great work is required at each single degree in a enterprise. We want nice leaders and nice followers. We want nice thinkers and nice doers. There is totally nothing incorrect or underwhelming about being an superior worker. As the proprietor of two companies, I can inform you first hand, my corporations could also be the results of my concepts, however their success is totally attributable to the employees that’s finishing up the dream.

The means I clarify it’s like this: a great employee who enjoys what they’re doing experiences little victories all through the day, the week, the mission. Not everyone seems to be motivated or satiated by closing the large deal, touchdown the large consumer, getting the consumer face time, topping the official roster. LOTS of employees are actually glad to do an important job that they know is a part of the work wanted for the general higher good and we NEED these employees!

Here is the principle query of our interview. Based in your opinion and expertise, what are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a narrative or instance for every.)

I’ve two companies which might be very completely different. One is Spurrier Group, which is the strategic media firm I’ve owned for 25 years. The different is Showerspecs. This is model new and exists due to a product line I invented. The two companies couldn’t be extra completely different however there are some guidelines to stay by that apply equally to each endeavors.

1. Believe you are able to do it — there may be confidence that’s required to assist others imagine in you and what you provide. The chief should imagine in herself.

2. PREPARE — STUDY — RESEARCH — KNOW YOUR BUSINESS, YOUR COMPETITION, AND YOUR CONSUMER. Going right into a enterprise with out this type of prep is an enormous mistake. Short cuts don’t often work. There is not any substitute for due diligence.

3. Don’t be fast to take no as a solution — if plan A doesn’t work, go for plan B and C. There will at all times be “no’s”.

4. Do NOT be afraid to fail. Any profitable particular person will inform you that failure is a part of the journey. The listing is limitless of profitable those who have vivid tales of failure, myself included. What we be taught from failure can’t be taught. We need to expertise it.

5. Reward the those who make it easier to achieve success. Don’t make the error of pondering you’ve gotten to the highest fully by yourself. Don’t be stingy along with your earnings OR along with your time. They are each very priceless and must be shared.

How have you ever used your success to make the world a greater place?

I’ve often used the platform I’ve to work for nonprofits, often within the function of volunteer board positions. For 25 years, my media firm has at the very least one professional bono account that we offer strategic analysis and media providers for. Having been a previous professor on the VCU Brand Center, I’ve had entry to a number of college students and through the years, have mentored many younger professionals of their profession paths. I proceed to try this immediately.

You are an individual of nice affect. If you may encourage a motion that might convey essentially the most quantity of fine for the best variety of folks, what would that be? You by no means know what your thought can set off.

FEED EACH OTHER! I’ve an thought I’ve been engaged on for just a few years now round tips on how to align profitable companies with feeding their native communities; a non-profit that might convey these two collectively. The catalyst for that is that meals is essentially the most primary want that we as people have. It’s our gasoline, actually our lifeline. Children shouldn’t go to mattress hungry. They shouldn’t need to get their solely meal at college. Moms shouldn’t ever need to put their infants to mattress hungry. There are options to this drawback and we are able to remedy starvation within the United States. Of course, all hungry persons are equally essential, but it surely’s additionally essential to unravel the problem at house. I’ve concepts round this, concepts which might be scalable and doable. That’s my subsequent mission. 🙂

We are very blessed that some very distinguished names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment learn this column. Is there an individual on the earth, or within the US with whom you’d like to have a personal breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she may simply see this if we tag them.

Loaded query. I can consider a dozen proper off the cuff — completely different varieties of individuals for various areas of curiosity — authorities, religion, music, and enterprise. There are so many good folks that might be so pleasant to share lunch with. Where I’m in enterprise proper now, I believe lunch with Lori Greiner from Shark Tank could be fascinating. Talk about an incredible lady entrepreneur!

What I’d like to ask her is how she manages to juggle the razor-sharp enterprise decision-making and the clear compassion she has for folks, even within the enterprise setting. She didn’t get the place she is accidentally. She’s pretty, skilled, appears to be kind-hearted and profitable as heck! Showerspecs perhaps my first client good product invention to go to market, however I’m nonetheless inventing! I’ve 2 extra prototypes ready for me to have time to give attention to them. Right now, operating Spurrier Group and Showerspecs, making an attempt to launch a model new class (not only a new product). But, there are not any different readers for the bathe wherever. Lori might need some actually sound recommendation for me.

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