Offering practical advice based on his remarkably innovative entrepreneurial philosophies, Hamish McLaren has played a critical role in the success of a long line of startup companies and has himself enjoyed unparalleled success as the founder of quite of few companies of international renown. After several decades overseeing the operations of several unique entrepreneurial endeavors, McLaren is now focused on running the consulting business that has helped so many up-and-coming entrepreneurs meet and exceed their loftiest goals in an incredibly brief period of time.
The Indiana-born McLaren attended the University of Notre Dame as an undergraduate, and it was during this time that he first developed an interest in entrepreneurship. McLaren founded and ran several businesses while working toward his degree at Norte Dame, enjoying mostly modest success while dividing his time between so many demanding pursuits. Upon graduation, he decided to further sharpen his business acumen at the world-renowned Wharton School of Business, where he ultimately earned his MBA. It was only a short while after completing his studies at Wharton that he created the business that would so greatly influence his reputation for the remainder of his career.
Achieving such early success sometimes yields adverse consequences, but McLaren quickly demonstrated an uncommon drive to excel in every endeavor. As his initial business continued to expand, McLaren diversified his efforts and founded several new companies in completely unrelated industries, all of which immediately thrived in the same fashion as his initial endeavor. The expertise that ensured the success of these remarkably varied enterprises continues to contribute to new entrepreneurial endeavors, and McLaren derives a great deal of pride from offering his unique talents through his consulting business.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I love to take on new challenges, and consulting has been a great vehicle for courting and conquering all kinds of unique entrepreneurial challenges.
How do you make money?
We charge a modest fee for our services. I’m mostly interested in working with entrepreneurs looking to do something truly innovative through the company they are trying to build.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Even though this isn’t a purely profit-driven venture, we became profitable after six or seven months, if my memory serves me correctly.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
No, I never had any doubt and I knew that there would never be a shortage of clients seeking our services.
How did you get your first customer?
Through our initial marketing campaign, I made an announcement in which I introduced my new consulting business and noted that we would be accepting clients on an immediate basis. After the announcement was made, we were booked in full and carefully began the process of selecting the clients we would work with going forward.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Our services are available to only a handful of clients, so our marketing efforts are quite limited and emphasize that we are quite serious about selecting only the most innovative and unique clients.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Given the limited nature of my services, turning down worthy clients is difficult.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I developed a philosophy in which I deeply believe and have closely adhered to that philosophy ever since.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There has been nothing nearly as exciting as seeing my first business take off in the way it did so many years ago. Once I saw that my business philosophy was sound in practice, I expected to achieve similar levels of success with each venture.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about the up-and-coming entrepreneurs that are so committed to altering the way we do business; they have so many wonderful and creative ideas that I am looking forward to seeing in practice.
What business books have inspired you?
There have been so many inspirational books I have read over the years, but Guy Kawasaki’s “Enchantment” is one of the best.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
Each year, I reserve a resort in some far-off place and hold meetings with clients and staff members to review the previous year and plan for the upcoming year. It is very informal and we have a great time while also being incredibly productive.
Do you ever consider returning to entrepreneurship, or are you fully committed to consulting?
I’d never rule out the possibility that I’ll begin another new business venture, but I am really enjoying the opportunities and challenges available to me through my consulting work.