Paul Borodenko is a self-made businessman who started as a part-time worker at Safeway. After a couple of years, he built three successful companies:
Legacy Cleaning Services
Spectrum One, Inc.
Scavolini Store Roseville
This year, Paul received an award as the Best Entrepreneur of the Year by the Russian Speaking Community. How does one start a business without big investments, overcome difficulties and find motivation? This charming and talented businessman, Paul Borodenko, shares his insight.
How did your business journey begin?
I remember since I was young, I always enjoyed engaging in some sort of business transactions/negotiations with my peers. It was all on the smaller scale, of course, yet I knew it was definitely in me. At the age of 25, I learned some major life lessons. Recovering from my drug-addiction, I successfully completed a Christian based rehabilitation program. I turned my life around 180 degrees and realized my passion was for business. While working part-time at Safeway, I enrolled in a Business Administration program at a private local college (MTI). It was a two-year program and tuition for the first year only was approx. $15,000. Of course, I didn’t have that kind of money at that time, so I had to take out a student loan, which was a huge leap of faith for me. I was able to receive a grant from the Government due to my low income, which covered about half of the tuition’s cost. And then my business journey began…
Did you have a business mentor during your work and studies?
Yes, I had a mentor who helped me in my first business. During my studies, I was offered to work part-time as an administrator for a local construction company owned by a Russian-American. I enjoyed working closely with the owner and learned so much during my time there. Eventually the owner became a good friend and a great mentor. While working for this company I opened up my first business “Legacy Cleaning Services”. I was servicing this company’s projects with post-construction cleanups. This is how I first started making money as a businessman. Soon after, I realized it was time for me to fully spread my wings and with the owners blessing, in October 2013 I opened up my own Construction Company named Spectrum One, Inc.
What are the main principles to be followed in order to create a successful company?
I believe the number one principal for a successful business is integrity. Followed by a good work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile for your team and most importantly, your client!
Many businessmen adhere to the rules of focus. That is, they give all their strength to one project. You have several successful companies: Legacy Services, Spectrum, and Scavolini. How do you manage so many businesses and develop them?
Absolutely, focus is everything! That is why I would not recommend opening up several businesses all at once. After my first company was well established and had good systems in place, only then I opened up my second company and eventually my third. Having the right people in place, providing incentives so no micro-management is required and proper systems that allow minimal involvement on my end, allowed me to build and successfully maintain multiple endeavors. A great team and a great structure are the secrets to success!
One famous businessman once said: “ I would not perform a task which can be performed by someone else”. Implying – the only way to own multiple successful businesses and to grow, is to learn how to delegate responsibilities instead of trying to do everything yourself. It’s also very important to understand when the time is right to expand. Many business owners fail because they expanded too fast. So one step at the time!
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Are there any peculiarities of doing business in the United States? What mistakes, in your opinion, do Slavic entrepreneurs often make here?
It is imperative when doing business in the USA to follow the laws, rules, and regulations as prescribed for each industry. The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make, is neglecting the rules and because of this, they get in trouble. There is a very good saying in the Bible recorded
in Proverbs 17:1 (GNT) Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind than have a banquet in a house full of trouble.
A well-known Russian proverb says that behind every successful man there is a woman who believes in him. Do you agree with this statement? Does your spouse support you in your projects?
Absolutely agree with this saying! I can’t imagine how I could be successful without the love, acceptance and full support of my better half! My wife is always there for me and helps me tremendously on multiple levels! I am forever grateful to her for being there for me not only when the times are good! We’ve been through so much together… Having a loving and supporting wife is definitely one of the biggest secrets for a successful businessman!
How do you try to spend your free time away from business? What hobbies
do you have?
Most of my free time I spend with my family. We take our kids to the movies or places where they can be free and have a good time. We eat out at restaurants, go out of town for a couple of days on regular basis and of course, we never miss our once-a-year 10-day vacation! I believe experiences are more valuable than things.
Spending quality time with my family is extremely important to me. My wife and I love going out on romantic dates to share our achievements and challenges with each other.
I also enjoy working out at the gym with my personal trainer who pushes me to my limits.
What advice would you give to those who are just looking for a niche and want to start a business? What mistakes can young entrepreneurs try to avoid?
My advice is to learn how to not be afraid to dream big. Many times we limit ourselves because we don’t believe we can achieve something. It’s always scary to make that first step but if you feel it in your heart that this is the path you should take – then go for it! It’s ok to fail and make mistakes – this is the only way you will learn and grow. You must be willing to do the hard work and to stay committed to the end. Set clear goals for yourself and achieve them! Start your business the right way by trying to follow all the rules from the beginning and build a solid foundation. Never fall for a “Get Quick Rich” trap! It takes time to build a profitable and successful operation!
Tell us about your biggest mistake. What did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake I made in my life is when I turned away from God – my Heavenly Father. I’ve learned that without Him I can never be happy nor satisfied. Everything is different now – thanks to Him!
How much money do you need to be happy?
The amount of money I have in my bank does not determine my happiness (it can only affect my mood sometimes). What determines my happiness is the piece of mind and joy in my heart. Also knowing how to appreciate and value what I already have. With this said, I am a very happy man already! Money is just a tool – it gives opportunities.
More money – more opportunities yet with great opportunities come great responsibilities! I strongly believe it is important to use these opportunities wisely and make sure not to forget to invest in the heavenly bank! My belief is after we leave this Earth we won’t be asked how big was our house or what kind of car we drove, but rather what good did we do while living our lives? How many people did we help? Those are the things which will stay with us for eternity and which matter the most!