Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Fall 2010

Greg Carr offers tips for entrepreneurs

By Steve Eaton

Greg Carr visited the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business last spring to speak with students and hear a report a Field Studies team had prepared for him. (See story below.) Later we asked him what tips he would offer an entrepreneur just starting out.

Have a plan and a way to measure your success. Don’t be afraid to revise your plan.

“Changing plans based on some feedback and some data is different than flying by the seat of your pants and not having any plan at all,” he said.

You can overcome setbacks if your goals are really important to you.

“I think it is important to remember the deep, deep goals that you have and those should be inspiring enough that you’ll always get going again even if you have a setback,” he said.

It’s important to do your research. Before he even started tackling the Gorongosa project, he took some classes on conservation at Harvard.

“Learn what’s already happened,” he said. “Read a lot of books about it. Talk to people. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. At least start by knowing what else has been done in that world.”

Picking the right team is crucial to the success of a new venture.

“I would say to go slowly picking your team, especially in the beginning when your first few choices are going to be so critical,” he said. “Do a lot of interviews. Spend a lot of time with the people. Consider different candidates. Get advice from others about the candidates you are considering.”

Be passionate.

“There has to be a motivation for what we do and it should be driven by some genuine passion,” he said. “There has got to be a set of principles we believe in and work for.”

Don’t give up.

“I failed a hundred times for every time something went right,” he said. “It’s not like the idea for voicemail just kind of flopped on my desk one day. We had spent years talking about nutty ideas.”

Make sure your goal is a meaningful one.

“By protecting a national park, by protecting a forest, we are contributing to the goal of saving species on our planet,” he said. “That’s a pretty meaningful goal. That’s something I can think about that will have an effect for centuries to come and beyond that.”