Tyler King is an American entrepreneur who has established a number of successful companies. Currently, he is the CEO of the global business and management consulting firm Assuras, which specializes in solving complex challenges that face organizations. He is also the Executive Director of A Voice From Prison, a 501(c)(3) non-profit advocate group that focuses on criminal justice reform and constitutional rights.
Tyler King has attended major educational powerhouses such as Harvard Business School and MIT Slone School of Management. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies.
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Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I first was interested in starting a company earlier in my high school years. During my Freshman year, my parents decided to transfer me to a private Christian academy in the same faith I grew up with. Coming from a public school all my life, I was in advanced placement classes, which the private school didn’t offer.
I was forced to repeat a course I had already passed previously because they did not have enough math credits to graduate. It was around this time I decided that my educational pursuits no longer mattered. I wasn’t learning anything new and was penalized due to learning too quickly. I felt my time was better spent elsewhere. So I started a technology company and spent the majority of my time working when not at school, and, managing via my laptop and cell phone.
Where did the idea for Assuras come from?
CSR Technology Group, Inc. (my first venture) arose out of a much simpler and smaller company – CSR: Computer Service and Repair. I wasn’t expecting to be so successful so the newly incorporated company was based upon the original concept of the company I had started. Originally, my intent with the company was to do computer repairs, but we quickly grew into a field force company spanning many states which meant we needed a stronger company structure for obvious reasons.
Today, I am the Chief Executive Officer of Assuras, which is a consulting company that does business both across the United States, as well as in several areas around the world. Assuras actually grew out of a previous venture, where I provided executive consulting and mentorship to key executives within companies. Following gaining traction in the field of management consulting and executive coaching, I helped form the consulting firm today that specializes in solving incredibly hard challenges.
How did you get started in your industry?
Since a very young entrepreneur, I had originally worked to solve issues relating to technology and come up with solutions to challenges. Today I do the exact same thing, just instead of using technology and computers, I help do the same thing with people and processes. Of course, we still rely on technology, however, my focus has shifted from tech to people.
Why do you think that PR is the tool you need to implement in your business and how does it help to grow your business?
Public Relations is and has always been an important part of success in any business. The most important skill set I teach other entrepreneurs is the concept of value, specifically selling value. Most people often have a basic idea of what they need in life. However, the larger challenge that exists is being in front of these individuals when they need what it is that you are offering.
PR puts your business in the minds of potential clients. Even if your potential client understands what she or he needs, they might not realize that a solution currently exists or that you can provide it to them. It’s important to be visible. Perception is also key to success, and PR goes a long way to framing your offerings correctly.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
The most important asset to any organization is its people. Without these individuals, the business could achieve nothing. One of the most important things I do in my line of work is to look for the best people to bring both into my own organization, as well as people with who we can partner with to help them be successful as well. Human capital is incredibly important and I spend a lot of my time trying to find the best people that can work for us and work with us.
In growing an international organization, one of the challenges is to find these people that have a combination of both your existing corporate values and align with the current culture within the organization, as well as to fit in with the culture that exists in their local communities. Merging this can be complicated, so I also spend a lot of time working on these challenges as well to ensure the organization is successful.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
One of the things I wish I accepted and knew early on was that there is no perfect moment. The right time is now. Sometimes you just have to get up and try something. Failure will happen and it’s important to go through it. I wish someone would have told me to get out of my head so much and just do something.
Where did your first six figures come from?
My first company, CSR Technology Group, Inc. hit $1M in revenue during my senior year in high school. This was the moment I decided to drop out and run my company full time.
What excites you most about your industry?
Where do you see it heading in the near future? One of the things I most enjoy seeing is how our bottom up approach is rocking the consulting industry in headlines. It’s incredible to see how a traditional industry by nature can take untraditional approaches to solving problems and addressing challenges.
And it’s awesome that my firm is one of the leaders in that thought space. Consulting by definition is done by those with expertise and experience. But the world today is facing challenges that can not be addressed by conventional methods – we have to think outside of the box to be ready for tomorrow.
One thing I promise our clients is that we aren’t just thinking about their interests today, but preparing them for tomorrow. It’s one thing to address them now and solve a problem. But it’s another to think about what could happen and prepare our clients for those possibilities so they aren’t impacted during the next COVID-19 event or economic downturn.
What is your brand’s philosophy?
This is where my personal values and my organizational values combine. We want to change the world in a positive way. Every single hire is someone who desires to leave a positive impact on the community. We only hire people who seek to lead changing the world for the better. We all take this to heart – we want to help our clients so they in turn can help change the world for the better. Quite simply, we want to change the world in a positive way.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ve always questioned life. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Purpose has been a big part of my life. The book that has meant the most to me is called Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankle. It discusses how he found meaning during the Holocaust in a concentration camp. If he could find meaning in such a horrible place, I believe anyone should be able to find meaning in their life where they are not faced with such hardships.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Not so much advice but a quote that has always stuck with me is by Emerson – it goes like this: Every man is my superior in some way, in that I learn from him. I take this to heart. I learn a lot from every individual that I encounter. On one of my past trips to LA, I stood outside a restaurant with a homeless man who showed me several things about selling ideas to regular people on the street.
He was one of the best salesman that I have ever met, yet he has never seen a corporate sales award or commission for his efforts. I promise you that anyone you encounter, there is something that they are more proficient at than you. So accept it and learn from all those you meet.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
I always like to start off by teaching entrepreneurs about the concept of value – but an even more important piece of advice I would offer to new entrepreneurs is that failure is important to embrace. Do not try and avoid it. Accept it. You will fail. You will fall down. But get back up and learn how to fall down less over time. Protect yourself and your venture by making sure that when you do fall down (it will happen) that you do so in the least harmful way.
Entrepreneurship is about experimentation – you must try something. So by default, if you try two different things, that means you fail half the time. Edison failed thousands of times to get his light bulb filament, but we don’t look at his failures, we look at his successes. Remember this – it’s not how many times you fall down. It’s how you choose to get back up and try again. Success is only found after a firm foundation of failure has been established.
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