He Means Business

Bill Rancic is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurs, the challenges they face and what it takes to make it in business. Before winning the first season of The Apprentice, Rancic launched a successful online cigar company and started his own small business to help pay for college. He talks about his new gig, hosting A&E’s “’We Mean Business” and what he thinks it takes to be successful.

Tell us about the premise for your new show “We Mean Business” that airs Saturday mornings at 10 ET/9CT on the A&E network.

“We Mean Business” is like Extreme Home Makeover for small businesses that are not doing well. We go into the business and try to make it more profitable by changing the computer system, looking at advertising and marketing, etc.

What type of businesses did you visit for the show?

Some of the businesses we went to were a pizza place, party shop and chiropractor’s office.

Without giving anything away, what was the biggest challenge in working with these small business owners on the show?

The biggest challenge was getting some of the business owners to commit to change and follow through with the changes we made.

What piece of advice would you give to small business owners just starting out?

I would tell business owners to make sure they know what they are getting into. Make the new business a priority if you want to be successful.

It seems like you’ve always had this entrepreneurial drive. What with a makeshift restaurant out of your grandma’s kitchen to the boat washing and waxing business in college to Cigars Around the World—who or what was your biggest inspiration for becoming an entrepreneur?

I knew I always wanted to be my own boss—I think that was my inspiration.

In quite a few interviews, you mention how you really looked up to and modeled yourself after your father. Tell us a little more about him and why he served as such an inspiration to you.

My father is definitely my inspiration. He was the definition of a true “gentleman.” My dad was a big family man, and we were very close. He instilled a strong work ethic in me that I am thankful for every day.

I know you started the Dr. Edward T. Rancic Memorial Fund for Cancer Research in his memory. Can you tell us more about that? How can people contribute?

Yes, the Dr. Edward T. Rancic Memorial Fund was started at the National Institute of Health, where my dad underwent experimental treatment for kidney cancer. I want to help other people and their families going through kidney cancer. People can contribute through NIH.

What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned so far?

I have learned so many important lessons in business, but I think the most important lesson I have learned is to adapt to change. As your business changes, or the economy changes, you may need to veer from your path and that is okay.

What would you say was the key to your winning “The Apprentice?”

I think the key to winning The Apprentice was taking each task head-on and adapting my work and management style each week depending on the task. When I started the show my goal was to not get fired. Then, by the second task, I really wanted to win!

What was the most important thing you learned from Donald Trump?

The most important thing I learned from Mr. Trump is to think big and aim high.

Do you still speak to him?

Yes, Mr. Trump and I still communicate.

You recently had a highly publicized marriage to Giuliana, the famous and beautiful E! News anchor. With both of your busy schedules, how do you find time to be together?

Giuliana and I were married one year ago, and we commute between Los Angeles and Chicago. There is a lot of travel involved, but it is worth it.

Is there a connection between a successful business and a successful marriage?

I don’t think there is a connection between a successful business and a successful marriage. I know they both take a lot of work, and they are both big commitments. I know many people who have successful businesses but their marriage fails, and vice-versa.

You’ve starred on a reality television show, worked for Donald Trump, built successful businesses, and married your dream girl.What’s next for Bill Rancic?

Hopefully, a family will be next for me.

America’s Best Companies was founded on the belief that small businesses are the best companies in America. Do you agree with that statement? Why?

Yes, I agree with that statement because that is what makes America so great—it was built on small businesses.

At America’s Best Companies, we offer a variety of small businesses tools. Based on your experience, what do you think are the most important tools to offer small business owners today?

It is important to give them a network, access to capital, and the ability to market themselves.

Can “Support Local Business” be the next “Go Green?” Why?

Yes, I think the “Support Local Business” trend is off to a good start. Enough people believe in the power of small businesses that they go out of their way to support them.

You wrote a book with your sister called, “Beyond the Lemonade Stand” that was geared towards children. What was the inspiration for writing this book?

I come from a family of educators. My mom was a principal, and my dad a superintendent. I saw a need to teach kids about money and wanted to guide them toward a successful financial future.

What’s one thing that not a lot of people know about you?

Not a lot of people know that I am great with kids. Giuliana and I have 13 nieces and nephews, and I love hanging out with them. I can change a diaper, give a bottle and calm a crying baby with the best of them.

Any political aspirations?

Not at this time.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’! end_mark.ai

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