Interview with Scott MacGregor, Founder & CEO at SomethingNew LLC
The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
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Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Tell me about your education?
I went to Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT. I graduated with honors from the University of Hartford. I’m a lifelong learner, so I also have earned certificates from Cornell, the University of Virginia and Wharton with hopefully more to come.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
At around age 10 I started working at my dad’s gas station, which today seems unimaginable, but it taught me about work ethic and the power of fanatical customer service. Not only would I pump gas, but I would also wash their windows, check oil and tire pressure and earned lots of tips by going above and beyond. Seeing people react so positively to great attention to detail and courteous service shaped how I thought of business from a very early age.
We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
There are so many people whom I have tremendous admiration for as business people, from Brandon Steiner, Trish Bertuzzi, John Barrows, Lori Richardson, Joe De Sena, Mark Gerson, Randy Brandoff, David Cancel, Sara Blakely and on and on. The first one who jumped out at me though is Jesse Itzler. The common denominator for all of the aforementioned is they all do business with an incredible amount of integrity. Jesse stands out because he is bold, unconventional, has incredible vision, attention to detail, has built a great team around him and believes passionately in giving back. Beyond all that he’s just really a great guy who lives life to the fullest and truly cares. When I asked him to write a chapter in my book for charity, “Standing O!” I knew that his plate was overflowing. His first book, “Living with a SEAL” was a New York Times bestseller, and I knew that his second book, “Living with the Monks” was coming out at about the same time as mine. The difference was his would include a large book tour and tons of obligations outside of his already jam-packed schedule. He never even mentioned that though, all he said was absolutely, happy to. I have tremendous respect for Jesse and look forward to being inspired by him and many more for years to come as we continue to build SomethingNew LLC.
Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Where is your company located?
We are based in New York with employees throughout the US who work with clients and candidates from coast to coast and internationally.
What services or products does your organization provide?
We are a very unconventional talent acquisition firm. We do two things exceptionally well.
- Talent Acquisition Consulting: We help clients create a rock solid talent acquisition foundation by helping them think through the myriad of different things surrounding finding, hiring and retaining great employees. We consider this “teaching them how to fish.”
- Talent Acquisition Search and Placement: We help clients find people who will demonstrably move the needle to get them to the next level. We consider this “giving them a fish.”
What problem is your business trying to solve?
Companies by and large do not have a rock-solid talent acquisition strategy which can at the least stunt their growth and at the worst lead to their demise. We solve this problem by being subject matter experts and being the trusted advisor they seek out for the dozens of things you need to be an expert at if you want to build a fantastic company. People always have been and always will be the single most important thing that creates success or failure for a company. Finding those special people who ensure success is extremely hard and very time consuming, so we take that off of our client’s plate and do it for them with a precision data-driven approach.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
We do way more than find and place talent which is what the majority of companies in our space do and sometimes not all that well. We started SomethingNew because we felt that the traditional model was broken and that a better mousetrap could be built. Almost four years in we have won the American Business Award for “innovation” three consecutive times so we know we’re fulfilling our goal of being disruptive and innovative. Part of that innovation is in our process that we call Accurate Search Accelerated Placement or ASAP™. We also use a very sophisticated but easy to use Candidate Scorecarding system that helps our clients make data-driven decisions vs. the typical “gut feel.” It’s a bit of a Billy Beane from Moneyball approach that is very effective.
The fee structure was another area that we felt was lopsided in favor of recruiters and had little logic behind it, so we use a logic-based fee structure that clients embrace and love. Even the way we search for candidates is different. We use a massive influencer network to get to people that otherwise would be extremely difficult to engage.
Finally, we believe passionately in giving back. From day one we created a social mission that we called SomethingGood™. Through SomethingGood™ we support two charities, Elevate New York and Keep On Playing, donate over 100 bags of food and toiletries to the homeless and wrote an book called “Standing O!” with 52 prominent CEO’s, military leaders, pro athletes, authors, artists and Olympians with a forward by Super Bowl winner, Dick Vermeil. All of the proceeds from the book go to charity.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
I was a sales and marketing leader for 20 years, first at a Fortune 500 company and then at a startup that grew exponentially. Over the course of 20 years leading large sales and marketing teams, I dealt with countless recruiters and almost always walked away frustrated. I’m painting with a broad brush, but the industry with rare exceptions was and is dysfunctional and at the expense of the number one thing that makes a company sink or swim, their people.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting on their journey?
1. Follow your passion and the money will follow
2. Keep things simple. You need to be able to explain your value prop in sentences not paragraphs
3. Play the long game. There are no silver bullets, few overnight successes and lots of blood, sweat, and tears to grow a business that will have staying power.