Ep 003: From Philosophy Major to Serial Entrepreneur – with Mark Richards of PolyClean USA

If you want to create products that people love, you’ll want to listen to this wide-ranging interview that I had with Mark Richards—a philosophy and political science major who’s become a serial entrepreneur.

Mark has a passion for developing unique products and services—as witnessed by the fact that he’s started over a dozen diverse businesses over the past 25 years from high performance boat design to short run corrugated boxes—with his first being a manufacturing company that developed and produced hazardous waste liners for the transportation industry. His main company, which he started in 1998, is PolyCleanUSA. In addition, to all that, Mark is an investor, as well as a mentor to a number of startups here in the Charleston, SC region.

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What You’ll Learn

In this episode you’ll learn

  • Why philosophy can help you be a better entrepreneur
  • The belief that a business idea is nothing more than an opportunity to have a conversation with a customer
  • Why you need to be more open to pivoting (and less rigid in your ideas)
  • How you can survive two bankruptcies in one day (a great story)
  • Why you should consider manufacturing as part of your entrepreneurial adventure
  • Why other people’s excess capacity is to your benefit
  • Why you should pay more attention to the psychographics of your customers
  • The one thing you need to pay attention to when taking a risk
  • The key to becoming an engineer—without needing to go to college for it
  • What not to ask someone at a large company to do if you want them to buy what you’re offering
  • How to actually implement your core values to shape your corporate culture
  • Why you should consider a non-scalable version of your product first
  • What pretotyping is (and a great example from IBM)
  • Why negative reviews could be the key to your next great product
  • Why Mark thinks that goals are ridiculous and passion is overrated
  • And so much more …

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If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure you pass this along to some other business owners, entrepreneurs and/or entrepreneurs-to-be that you know. Also, as you saw above, the iTunes subscription option is now available (Subscribe to iTunes here), as well as Stitcher (Android: Subscribe here). And don’t forget to hit some of the like buttons below. Your help getting the word out is greatly appreciated!