Ronn Torossian, Founder & Chairman, 5WPR
What's your industry?
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
Growing up, I had many professional interests, and from early on thought I might want to pursue a career in law, journalism, or psychology. I soon realized PR was a mix of all my interests. After working for another agency, I decided I wanted to tackle the challenge of starting my own. I founded 5WPR in one room alone, and in twenty years we have grown tremendously with offices on Park Avenue and in Miami, 300 employees, and hundreds of clients.
What does an average day look like for you?
I make it a point to begin my morning by reading the news, and continuously check throughout the day. When working with media, it is important to stay in the know with current events locally and internationally. If I’m at home in New York I enjoy working from the office, but regardless, my days are full of both in-person meetings and business calls. I normally work late into the night since the news cycle never stops, but I make sure I have time each night to spend with my daughters and decompress.
How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your personal life?
As a founder and a father, it can be challenging to set a boundary between business and personal life. Keeping a schedule for my day and doing my best to stick to it is the strongest tool I can suggest. Knowing that I have scheduled time throughout the day dedicated to work allows me to give my full attention to personal business during the hours I’ve allocated to focusing on that.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
Being successful isn’t about one huge thing, it’s about a lot of little things. Doing something every day to better yourself will better your business--from working out, to meditating, to reading, and knowing when to shut out the noise.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
The hardest part about the path I’ve taken was starting my business on my own. It required a lot of risk taking and following my gut. Once I got to the point where I was able to hire employees, the path only became harder knowing they relied on the continued success and my guidance of the business. This can continue to be a difficult reality to navigate, especially these last few years which no one saw coming.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie is among the most influential books I've read, and it is often referred to as the ‘Public Relations Bible’. A podcast that has made an impact on my business outlook recently is "The Agents of Change" with Rich Brooks. Each week, Brooks interviews marketers from around the globe to share tips and tricks on SEO, mobile marketing, and social media.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful business owner or executive to have?
I believe the three traits that were most instrumental to my success have been creativity, time management, and personability. Being an entrepreneur means you have to rely on yourself more often than not, and these traits have helped me navigate some of my most challenging moments in business.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a business owner?
Network! It will always benefit you to expand your circle because you never know when someone could be able to help you. Having a strong network can also put you in the position to find an advisor or a mentor, if you ever find yourself in need of one, especially as an entrepreneur or a young professional who is paving the way for themselves.
What are the top three things you think are essential for business success?
Adaptability. While you plan as best as you can to build from the ground up, there is so much out of your control in the business world that you cannot always take into consideration from the start. This is why being able and willing to adapt is important on your entrepreneurial journey so that if you hit a roadblock you can work your way around it, rather than finding yourself stuck.
Talented Employees. There is not one singular trait that makes an employee talented, and you know who is best to represent and work alongside you. It's important to be involved in the hiring process and set a precedent for employees. They are the most important tools day to day for the continued success of your business.
Marketing. What good is your business if no one knows about it or your offerings? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for marketing--it could be email, social media, or even word-of-mouth. However, you need customers for a successful business, and marketing is among the best ways to reach them.
Do you think someone can be a great business owner without having many years of experience first?
A good sense of business often starts before you even think of owning your first business. Similarly, the qualities that make someone a great business owner are learned and built as you grow up, go through school, and learn about businesses and your industry.
In general, do you think the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago?
Entrepreneurs have more resources than ever thanks to the internet and social media connecting young professionals with as many professionals and tips imaginable. I also believe social media gives everyone a voice regardless of title, and this has broken down a wall previously in place between leadership and employees. Owners have a better connection with their employees now than ever before, and they're more aware of their needs and thoughts, making themselves better business owners.
Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?