Q. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. ThreatProtector is a business that concentrates on securing all sizes of businesses in the United States from cybersecurity threats. We are based in Sante Fe, NM and specialize in securing business from a variety of threats including: employee cybersecurity education and awareness, email encryption, device antivirus, phishing protection and much more.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I am Phil Dawson, the Founder of ThreatProtector. I have a long background in securing businesses from the ever increasing threats from cybercriminals. Spent my undergraduate time at Boston University and have achieved multiple awards throughout the years including Cybersecurity Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 and 2020
Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. I always looked towards small to medium sized businesses as being underserved in making technology decisions. Combine this with the realization that these business don’t have the internal resources available to fully secure their businesses led me to the decision to do something about it. That’s specifically why I founded ThreatProtector. Give small to medium sized businesses the ability to secure themselves just like the largest companies in the world, all at an affordable cost.
Q. Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. The best three pieces of advice I can give to budding entrepreneurs would be:
1. Build your business with the end in mind. You always need to be thinking about the future, don’t get caught up in the weeds.
2. Make solid technology decisions. It’s very hard to fix bad decisions made today in the future.
3. Understand that cybersecurity MUST take a priority in your business. It’s not a matter of IF you will be hacked, it’s WHEN. Businesses are breached every 10 seconds, you need to make this a priority.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. The top 3 skills needed to be an entrepreneur are:
1. Curiosity – Great entrepreneurs always need to be discovering new problems, looking for new opportunities to grow the business and innovate. Curiosity is key to that.
2. Time management – Entrepreneurs get pulled in many directions so it’s essential that they not only know how to manage their time, but also prioritize where the spend that time.
3. Strategic thinking – In order to grow any business, one must be able to strategically look at a problem and identify the low hanging fruit to solve it. Creative solutions and strategic thinking are core to this.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. Entrepreneurs put in the hours needed, no matter what. The minute you start putting hours of work per day as a key performance indicator is the minute your business starts dying. Saying that, I put in a minimum of 10-12 hours per day.
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. I live by the concept always improve and NEVER give up, EVER. When things go wrong, I look at them as opportunities to improve and move past them.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business?
A. What has been your most successful form of marketing? We generally market our business through a robust partner community. Setting up a partner ecosystem to help sell your product is very easy to leverage at a very reasonable cost. You only pay when they make a sale versus paying a full time employee all the time whether they sell or not.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
A. How did you obtain investors for your venture? We started the company with a bootstrap budget, only two partners, no outside investors. Every dollar earned has been poured back into the business.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. You must have a long term plan so you know where you are heading towards. Most entrepreneurs concentrate on the short term because it’s easier. Doing that is like sailing a ship without a steering wheel, you won’t get where you want to go.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. We see ourselves being a leading cybersecurity provider in the United States with revenues of a minimum of $20 million per year.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. I love Elon Musk and Tesla. He is the absolute definition of a risk taker, and a true serial entrepreneur. He says all the time that he wasn’t 100% sure Tesla would hit, but he still went all in.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. We don’t have employees as we sell exclusively through partner organizations across the United States
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. This is an interesting question and I don’t believe there is a static answer that can be had. One thing I would say is that when testing an idea, make sure you have defined certain key performance indicators that can be tracked to the idea. Give it a time frame, like a quarter, and then measure against those key performance indicators.
Q. What motivates you?
A. Success, 100%. Every day I drive to be better than the day before.
Q. What are your ideals?
A. I live by 3 core ideals: Curiosity, Challenge, and Community.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
A. Ideas are taking from anywhere I can find them. Could be a discussion with a current customer or even examining ways our competitors have chosen to go to market. You just need to be open to ideas no matter how crazy they sound and no matter where you get them from.
Q. How do you define success?
A. I define success as the ultimate creation of products and services that make a genuine impact on our end customer organizations.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
A. It’s so important to leverage your customer base and use them as springboards into other customers. Don’t underestimate the power of referrals, they are like gold.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
A. Never knowing what the day will bring.. challenges, surprises, wins, losses, etc.. I live for it.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. Sitting down day one and realizing we have a ton of work to do. 😊
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. Entrepreneurs create their own endgame. Employees simply perform their tasks according to their job profile and what the organization wants to accomplish.
Q. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
A. Our culture revolves around the concept of amazing customer service. It’s everything to us. Take care of the customer always, and the business will grow.
Q. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
A. I wouldn’t do anything different. My career prior to me becoming an entrepreneur taught me many of the skills necessary to succeed.
Q. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
A. It definitely cuts into family time a bit, because you have to give it your all or risk the company not growing. My family has come to understand this though which is great.
Q. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
A. Fear is interesting.. being fearful is ok, as long as you have a plan. Being paralyzed by that fear, will destroy your business.
Q. How did you decide on the location for your business?
A. We are virtual, so the location doesn’t mean anything to us.
Q. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
A. Jumping in to decisions too quickly without completely vetting out the idea.
Q. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
A. Mistakes will always happen, what matters most is how do you respond to those. Do you learn from them? Do you put procedures in place to ensure they never happen again?
Q. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
A. I love hiking. Getting out into the mountains is good for the soul.
Q. What makes you happy?
A. Seeing that we are protecting our customers to the best of our ability.