Meet the Entrepreneurs Series
In this new series, we interview entrepreneurs from across York Region to understand what motivates them to do what they do, some of their challenges, and some of their highs.
Meet Marc Gordon, owner of Fourword Marketing
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Marc Gordon, owner of Fourword Marketing and a public speaker in the areas of marketing and customer service. I started Fourword in 2003 and have been professionally speaking since 2014. I have a long history of running businesses from offering painting services in high school, wholesale model car parts, my own clothing line, to a successful car accessories distributor.
How does your business generate revenue?
Revenues are generated through Fourword Marketing by offering consulting services, website design, printing services, graphic design, public relations and promotional products. Other sources also include public speaking.
Tell us your worst entrepreneurial moment?
In the later stages of my last company, sales were plummeting as a result of a weak auto industry. I had no idea at the time that just a few years later GM and Chrysler would file for bankruptcy. As demand for cars were at an all time low, that directly affected the demand for our products. During the time, I chose to invest more money in the business by bringing on new products. This resulted in increased overhead and inventory costs. We had hoped to capture a larger part of the market with our investments, however despite our efforts, sales continued to fall. This resulted a great deal of stress on myself and the business. In the end, I decided it was finally time to let go. I sold the business, a bit less than what I would have gotten years prior. If I had a chance to do it over again, I would have done the same thing. I did what I believed was right at the time. Sometimes you just have to take that chance. What saved me was knowing when to pull out; it was the best and worst moment at the same time.
What do you want to share with your fellow entrepreneurs?
I think it’s important for every entrepreneur to know that, whatever they’re going through, as bad as it might seem, they’re not the first or the only ones going through it. Every business owner from every industry hits that wall where they feel that they’re not wanted, not appreciated, and unvalued. Feelings like where no one wants to buy from you, getting crushed by competitors… but in reality most of that is probably not happening. The market is constantly flowing – there’s going to be days where you are constantly busy and days that you’re not. My advice would be to build on the saying “it’s not what you know but who you know” – I would say “it’s not who you know, but who knows you.” It’s really about getting out there in person – get out of the office, meet real people, shake hands and network. You can’t run a business through tweeting, posting and blogging. By getting out there, that is the most influential and powerful tool in marketing you can do, regardless of industry.
What are you doing right now you want to share?
My speaking is keeping me very busy – I’m speaking for a number of industry groups, associations, companies, helping them understand how to better relate to their clients, how to meet expectations and create great customer experiences. I am also sharing my personal story with youth groups, schools, and business associations. It is my hope that by hearing my story, they will be motivated to better take on their own challenges.