Monday, January 21, 2013

Kevin Kilpatrick > Constru-Guía

Kevin Kilpatrick, Founder and President, The Cloud Peak Firm & Constru-Guia

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
I am convinced that you either are built to be an entrepreneur or you are not.  You have to be a dreamer, a hard worker and stubborn.

What inspired you to start your business?
I worked at The Home Depot from 2001 to 2004 and then started a marketing firm serving the home improvement and construction industry. It was while working with a client that is a major power tool manufacturer that I began analyzing the demographic statistics about construction professionals, I saw a huge opportunity to develop a media company providing helpful content for male Hispanic construction professionals and business owners of home improvement, gardening, and building maintenance businesses.

How did you finance it?
Fortunately, I didn’t require any financing. My advertising partners trusted me and believed in my vision. Their generosity helped me to launch the magazine in 2007.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
I’m not Hispanic and, in fact, no hablo español, but I saw the opportunity to help Hispanic contractors and workers with high-quality professional tips. Our team at Constru-Guía is excited to provide our magazine readers with high-quality professional guidance in Spanish. And now, we offer this content in both English and Spanish on the newly re-launched bi-lingual [link to:] where users can toggle between English and Spanish-language articles.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
The Constru-Guía brand is what feeds my family. All I need for inspiration is to look at my kids as I tuck them in bed each night. 

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Without question the recession and housing crises affected our industry like nobody could have ever predicted.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
This a challenging question. I truly can’t think of one thing I would change. I have a great team that I get to work with every day and we have readers of the magazine and website and listeners to our daily radio tips that like the content we produce and they tell us constantly how we are helping them. 

What was your childhood ambition?
I have always wanted to work in the marketing/advertising/public relations industry.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
All three are readers that I have been fortunate to meet through the magazine.  These guys amaze me. They are so smart and full of ingenuity.  They are on the job site during the day and then running their businesses at night.  Every time when I think I have it rough I think of these guys and it puts everything in perspective.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast with a big cup of coffee

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
You can never take any time off.  Each vacation I have taken since launching my business I have my Blackberry attached to my hip and find myself doing a couple hours of work each day. However, don’t get me wrong, I love my business and will gladly give up vacations for it.

What is your favorite quote?
A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke,
The less he spoke the more he heard,
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
At times, yes. For us we are unconventional in the sense our magazine is given away and we don’t have a large subscription list. It takes us some time and energy to explain to media buyers the benefit to this unconventional distribution system.

Biggest mistake made?
Trying to grow too quickly.  We had a very large national retailer that saw our success with the magazine distribution at Home Depot and offered to carry the magazine in 2,000+ of their stores. I was game for the additional distribution, but my advertising partners didn’t have the appetite for the growth explosion.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes, because an innovator has to see an opportunity, take ideas/solutions that currently exist in the marketplace, twist it into something new, and then go for it. That’s what we did at Constru-Guía…create something new in Spanish for the Hispanic market but based on media vehicles that existed in English.  

Add here a brief description of your company
Constru-Guía al día® is a quarterly Spanish-language magazine, the largest construction magazine in the U.S. regardless of language, and a bi-lingual English/Spanish website. Constru-Guía focuses on job-site safety, the latest building techniques, new products/services, lifestyle, financial, health and wellness information. Our distribution is over 325,000 in 1,100 Home Depot stores nationwide and over 150 national convenience stores, including 7-Eleven, in the top U.S. Hispanic markets, a 7% increase in total circulation from 2012. 

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