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.
Ans: Laughing Rock Technology is a full service provider of Information Technology, telecommunications, and web based solutions to commercial, industrial, and government clients across the United States. We specialize in developing technology based solutions that help companies increase productivity and reduce overall costs. While Laughing Rock only has one physical office in Reading PA, we service clients across the Country and employ personnel all over the world.
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).
Ans: Craig Stonaha graduated from King’s College with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration. In 1998, along with his close friend and business colleague John Newton, he started SN Graphic Technology. Their expert knowledge as graphic designers and website designers led to a profitable run as successful business owners until 2001 when they dissolved the business to pursue better opportunities. Craig decided to continue his education in the technology field by attending Villanova University to pursue his Masters in Computer and Electrical Engineering.
The following years were spent learning about business in multiple environments including working as an executive for one of the most successful residential builders in the United States. Over the years, Craig has been published multiple times in Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal, Builder Magazine and other publications, he wrote articles explaining the benefits of technology in business, and gave numerous presentations helping to change the role of technology in the building industry.
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?
Ans: After spending years running IT departments and consulting with corporate Information Technology teams, I’ve determined that the biggest cause of technological stress for an organization isn’t planning or deploying new technologies. It isn’t even when business systems go down. The most difficult situation is getting multiple organizations to take ownership of an issue and work together toward a resolution.
Internet providers blame the network engineers. The networking team blames the hosting company. The hosting company blames the phone provider. And on, and on… When this company was started it had one purpose: provide a single source for all your business technology needs. There is no finger pointing when a single organization is handling everything. If there is an issue, simply call Laughing Rock and we will get it resolved.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: Being an Entrepreneur is easy. Being a successful entrepreneur is one of the hardest things in the world. If there are three things I would recommend, here they are: 1. The customer is NOT always right…but they are your boss. It is not your job to give them whatever they want. It is your job to advise them and guide them in your area of expertise. 2. Develop systems at every opportunity. For everything you do, find a way to systemize it and document it. Without systems, you can never grow. 3. Take advice from every person who will offer it. Listen intently, pay attention, and learn. That said, when it comes time to make a decision, go with your gut and own your choices.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: 1. Be decisive 2. Work hard 3. Never dwell on the negative
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: 10-12 hours a day
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Professionalism. No matter how intense a situation can get, a cool head and rational thinking will always have you coming out on the best side of it.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: While there are lots of ways to market your business, nothing is as effective as word of mouth. Meet people, make contacts, and always do your best work. Word will get around.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: I self-invested in Laughing Rock by liquidating real estate holdings and savings. It made for a tough start but the sacrifice was worth it as there are now no other owners invested in my business.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Always be innovating. If you stop to rest on your laurels, your competition will pass you by.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: Continued growth and success. I don’t know for sure where we will be but it will be a fun ride!
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: On a large scale, Amazon is one of the most impressive business models I have ever seen. They are constantly reinventing industries and pushing the boundaries of what is considered “normal”. On a smaller scale, any business that starts from nothing and builds themselves up is a source of inspiration and admiration to me.