Who are you, and what do you do?
Larry J. Kolb, I’m the co-founder and President of TSI Group Co., Ltd. I sit on the company board of directors. I run the N. American business operations and I also manage the global Innovative Products Division for the company.
What is one habit of yours that helps you be productive?
I try to stay current every day with clutter, whether it’s e-mail or paperwork around the office, I try to stay current and keep my office clean and well organized. If you come to a clean office and your work is organized to start the day, you set yourself up for a productive day.
What is your morning routine and how does it help you get the most out of your day?
I try to work out in the morning before I get to the office. It seems to really get you going and when arrive at the office you hit the ground running. When you work out you feel like you’ve already achieved something, so that is a good way to start the day.
In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?
Always spend time with the family on weekends and get away the office. Family time is the most important time, and your business should support that. It’s been my mantra since I started the company, I can always find reasons to work harder, but family time is my #1 priority, business is 2nd.
When you feel unfocused, what do you do?
You can’t accept being unfocused if you expect to be successful. I work harder and more hours when I feel unfocused, including into the early am or later in the evening until I feel focused.
What is one piece of software or a web service that you get immense value out of? How do you use it?
We use a project management system called Basecamp. This logs all of our day to day activities with deadlines, people responsible and it tracks everything on a daily basis. This keeps track of employee responsibilities and it measures performance.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf.
This teaches you the key business principles of how to properly start a business along with how you establish value and expand the business for long-term success and sustainability
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Nothing beats hard work and dedication. Those who want success will achieve it if they work hard and never give up.
Creating a successful business is not easy, you need to fail fast, learn and move forward. You must have the mindset to out-work others at all costs. Service your customers as good as you can, strive here for perfection not just be better than the competition. Clarify expectations with your customers and always follow up with them on time.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
I have two:
1) Communication is the most underutilized asset. When in doubt, communicate! Ask questions and be proactive… work through problems or concerns by talking to people.
2) Always tell the truth in business and in life. Honest and integrity are keys to success.