Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ivan Cevallos > www.ethosagency.com

Ivan Cevallos, CEO & Founder, ethosGROUP Inc.

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
One of the core qualities of an entrepreneur is the gift of a vision and the ability to execute on it every day. When you run a business, you are exposed to many distractions that can take you on different directions. When you stay on track you are closer to success.

What did inspire you to start your business?
Before starting my business, I was running all kinds of business for other people, from restaurants to film production and distribution companies. I had none or very little supervision and was able to build up from zero to several millions in sales. One day I asked to become a partner and was told no. I thought about it, analyzed the situation and after a couple of days decided to go on my own.

How did you finance it?
The business was financed organically in the first years and with personal credit cards and lines of credit as it grew.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
My first business ventures were in the general and Asian markets where I was the only Hispanic. It had its pros and cons but always required that I validate my capacity to run the business. That disappeared after I closed a few deals. When I went on my own, I went through a retro acculturation process where I asked myself if I should continue to work in the Asian/Anglo markets or consider the Hispanic. Since 2003, the Hispanic market is part of my business.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I think it is all about attitude. When you start the day, you decide to see it as adversity or a challenge that you must overcome. I arrived to the U.S. at 18 and did not speak English, I slept in the streets a few winter nights in New York, I did not have parents to help me or support me. Those were my first challenges. I had to develop a plan to learn the language, get a job and a home. You always have options; you either sink or move ahead based on what you choose.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
I think the availability of additional funding has been a major challenge.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I would look for funding at the initial stage.

What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be a film director

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Richard Branson, Michael Dell and Oprah Winfrey

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast, lunches, happy hours and dinners. We are always open for business.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I tried to maintain balance between personal and business life but there were times in which I was not at home as often as I would have liked.

What is your favorite quote?
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. -Simone Weil

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
It can be difficult because you do not go with the flow and humans tend to stick with groups that have things in common. That puts you in a position in which you also gravitate to other people that are unconventional. In my case it has been creative people.

Biggest mistake made?
Not saying no to clients.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes, I am always looking for alternatives that are not in the market. I am also an early adopter of ideas and technology. When you adopt new technologies or ideas, new rules are being made. It is part of my strategy to be current and look for new opportunities.

About the Company
ethosGROUP Inc. is a marketing communications company that guides clients with strategy and the execution of those strategies to meet specific clients’ needs and objectives across traditional marketing, digital & social media and branded content.

Much as our name implies, the ethosGroup combines its understanding of cultural distinctiveness with the most sophisticated usage of the entire spectrum of media to create brilliant marketing communications/advertising campaigns that go wherever your consumer does. Online, on their cells, on branded television programs, to events, even to their homes via grassroots activities.

The ethosGroup devises relevant marketing and advertising strategies that position your products both culturally and targeted to that segment most important to you and your goals.

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