Work “On” As Well As “In” Your Business

Michael Stenberg is the President of Dr. Shrink, Inc., a full-service, full-circle supplier of premium shrink wrap and installation accessories. Having been in business 25 years, Michael has a lot of insights to share when it comes to successful entrepreneurship. Read on as he shares just some of his thoughts with’s Entrepreneur Exchange:

How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own business? Tell us a bit about how you made the decision and why.

It is a challenge starting your own business. If you wish for your little baby company to find success, it takes a large amount of time. This is time away from your family, friends, football games, etc., but the time spent on your company will be worth its weight in dollar bills as it grows and flourishes. I think an entrepreneur needs to be street-smart, have common sense and ambition to make their own business a success. You do not need an MBA from Harvard. I saw an opportunity in the shrink-wrapping field and knew that type of business was for me. After 25 years in business, I still like going to work.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first six months in business? How did you meet that challenge?

The largest challenge for us starting our business was keeping positive cash flow and the fact that there was no track record for the business, which meant we didn’t know if our marketing efforts were working as effectively as they should be. We met the challenge by continuously monitoring cash flow to make sure we were on track financially and found that, luckily, our marketing was working.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why? Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?

Difficult economic times like those we are experiencing today make starting a new business a bit more difficult. Borrowing money, pushing new concepts and finding the right customers can be an issue when a lot of folks are looking for gas money to get to Wal-Mart. Good planning, good marketing and having cash to carry you through the first few months will help get the business humming.

What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?

When starting a business, talk to friends who currently own businesses so you can find out what pitfalls may occur. Many heads are better than one.

What would you say is the one thing that new business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?

I think that it is easy to overlook business basics such as accounting programs, cost of doing business and just the stress of making sure your baby is growing.

What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing your business?

Our marketing efforts consist of a constantly updated website, exhibiting at trade shows, fresh and informative literature that can be emailed and sent physically, cold calling to potential clients, print advertising, a good presence with our blogs and now social marketing.

What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive to you?

The versatility of shrink wrap made this business a potential winner in almost any industry. When I saw shrink wrap, I saw an opportunity to shrink wrap boats, RVs, homes, scaffolding, wind-generation equipment, aircraft, etc. Shrink wrapping is a straight forward application process consisting of logical steps and common sense.

After the initial start-up phase in business, what obstacles do business owners face as they try to grow their business and remain successful? Any advice for how to overcome those obstacles?

Business owners will always worry about cash flow no matter how old their business is. Plus, once businesses start to grow there is always a need to keep the marketing fresh and keep the identity of the business always in the eye of potential customers. Another thing that happens is that business owners plunge into their business and begin working “in” their business instead of “on” their business. All owners have to surface once in a while so they can look at the future.

What on-line, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company? Why and how have they been helpful?

We are members of many organizations which has helped our name recognition and given us credibility. For accounting we have found QuickBooks very easy to work with.

What did you do before you decided to become your own boss, and how have those skills helped you in your current business?

I personally was a librarian before striking out on my own. I never looked back.

What process do you follow to successfully close on a lead and make the final sale? Any tips?

We receive leads from shows, the internet, cold calls, print ads, etc., and our thing is to follow up immediately with emailed files that pertain to what they are looking for, a mailed catalogue and a phone call to make sure that all of their questions are answered. Our goal is to provide excellent service, high quality materials and a competitive price. Business should be a rewarding experience for all parties.

If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so? What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?

We used to work from our home, and the major problem is keeping focused on business when regular life rears its head. There needs to be a separate office for home-based businesses so quiet can be had. Also, working from home means you are always working. It is good to get away from business at times.

What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business? Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?

My mottos are: “It doesn’t take any longer to do the job right than it does to do it wrong,” and “If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it!” (Keep things in stock…)

More about Dr. Shrink, Inc.: In business for close to two decades now, Dr. Shrink, Inc. is the go-to supplier for all things shrink wrap!  In addition, the company offers one-stop shopping for supplies, training, marketing and other business basics to help entrepreneurs who want to start a profitable shrink-wrapping business of their own, either in a standalone capacity or as a complementary unit to a present business. Dr. Shrink’s shrink-wrap product line goes from 12’ (3.6M) to 50’ (15.2m) for ease of installation on almost any sized object. This means that their products and system can be used in virtually any industry—including marine, manufacturing, aerospace, construction, disaster restoration, etc. As a training aid, Dr. Shrink, Inc. offers its Shrink Wrap University, which includes a combination of classroom and hands-on experience.