- Running a company is a tough role, however, with proper training and strategy preparation, the process can be seamless
- Prelay Co-Founder and CEO, Gabriella DeFlorio has years of experience with training and discipline from her collegiate athletic career
- Gabriella shares advice on navigating unpredictable career paths and forming a company strategy through asking the right questions
“You’ve gone through every point of life with yourself, and you really know how you react to things when you are working your best and what type of motives you have for your life,” says Gabriella DeFlorio, the Co-Founder and CEO of Prelay, as well as today’s guest on Taking the Lead.
As a former D1 track and cross and field athlete and current entrepreneur, Gabriella possesses the necessary grit needed for success, both on and off the track. Throughout her athletic career she encountered numerous leg surgeries that failed to keep her away from the sport, displaying a level of perseverance that she continues to apply in her professional career.
In this week’s conversation, Gabriella explains what it takes to become an entrepreneur, how to find a great business partner, and points out that luck is very important for success. But, of course, there’s much more you’ll need to become an entrepreneur and run a company.
During this insightful interview, Gabriella remembers her path through the industry and provides us with great pieces of advice on how to pave the road toward your dreams. She thinks it’s important to be disciplined, emphatic, and aware of your strengths.
Career paths are unpredictable.
Gabriella talks about her experience while trying to locate herself in the business world. She thinks that everything comes from an opportunity and seizing that opportunity. “I never really imagined myself as an entrepreneur or someone that would want to build something or really own something of their own until it was a later point. But really, what I learned during my time of taking these risks and these opportunities to really learn for one and dive into new interests was that if you put yourself in the right position, you will, especially position one for the run, like taking the risk and the chance on a company that’s growing that you’ll have more agency toward for one.”
Given the current circumstances of a COVID-19 world, everyone has been forced to become more accomodating with their time, career plans, and future goals. That same flexibility is a skill that should be applied to everyone’s career, as it creates new and better opportunities out of the increased risk.
Gabriella continues by saying, “Two, you’ll have more ownership as well, that you’ll really allow yourself to. You should find what you’re interested in. So, from my journey, what I learned was at an early stage company, and that’s what I took to is for one, being able to surround myself by passionate people that were really excited about what they’re working on and wanting to build something for the future.”
Discipline and training are crucial.
Being an entrepreneur is similar to being a professional athlete. Gabriella has experience in both fields and explains how these two paths are connected. “I started off as an athlete, and during that time, I was a runner specifically. So with lots of running goals, similar to entrepreneurship goals, there’s a lot of training that has to get involved to achieve these overall goals that you’ll be achieving at these large championships.”
She has been able to apply her characteristics of a successful athlete directly to her professional career, however, she also learned through the intensive training that achieving success in anything requires diligent work and extreme discipline.
“And over again, each day, you have to prepare on small miles. Everything inches across the board, and with entrepreneurship, it’s the same thing. You’re constantly plotting away each and every day, each and every hour, thinking through the best strategy to get your product to market, the best strategy to bring the team to the table, the best strategy to make sure that you’re actually becoming successful with this company.”
Unlike Gabriella’s characteristics of perseverance and determination, strategy is not something that she can be born with. She mastered strategy both athletically and professionally through intense training.
Asking the important questions.
Approaches to business are different, but most entrepreneurs take the same path. Gabriella thinks that you need to ask yourself some questions first and then decide on the strategy you’ll implement. “I really took the approach of going to market first, then product last. I think, oftentimes, a lot of entrepreneurs and founders go product first, then go to market next. But I think if you don’t know the distribution of your product first, it’s really hard to figure out what to build.’
Throughout her experience in launching her company, Gabriella had the opportunity to learn from the mistakes being made around her, leading to her approach on strategy. If ever if the same situation, lay out the most important questions that need answering. Learn the everything that there is to know about everything related to your product, and then make the critical strategy decisions.
Gabriella lends a hand by providing key questions, “You need to think through, ‘Who are you building this for? What’s the problem you’re solving for? And then how are you going to get this to market as well?'”
This article is based on an episode of Sales Assembly’s podcast, Taking The Lead, which features top female B2B Tech Revenue Leaders, VCs, Advisors, and Icons. Bi-weekly episodes dive into a tactical topic to help listeners (regardless of gender or seniority level) learn how to be better, faster, and smarter as they navigate the craziness of the Revenue world within B2B Tech.