Kenny Nguyen is a young, energetic and inspiring entrepreneur. Kenny attended Louisiana State University (LSU) where he came up with the idea for Big Fish Presentations, a company that designs presentations for 500 companies to small budding startups.
Kenny Nguyen participated in LSU’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization chapter on campus and has been a model member of CEO. Kenny has been a speaker at several Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) conferences, speaking at the 2012 MWEC CEO Regional Conference at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and at this year’s CEO National Conference in Chicago.
Kenny had an ‘ah-ha’ moment when he was attending a presentation of a Fortune 500 company and saw how bad the presentation was. He thought that he could do a better job, and he was right! Now a year and a half later, Big Fish Presentations has ten employees and Kenny has decided to leave LSU to put all of his focus on the business.
For his efforts and accomplishments, Kenny Nguyen was awarded the 2012 CEO Student Entrepreneur of the Year at the National CEO Conference. I was able to catch up with Kenny on for a quick interview about lessons from his experience, winning the CEO Student of the Year Award, and his advice to other young student entrepreneurs.
ML: What have you learned about business since launching your own?
Kenny Nguyen: Cash is king. Get the deal signed on paper and never consider a deal done until you see the money in your bank account.
ML: What would you have done differently if you could start over again?
KN: 1) Get things in writing earlier when it comes to legal structure of business (such as who is a partner and who is not).
2) Don’t price yourself too short. General rule of thumb, if you spoil a client they’ll expect it again on the next project.
ML: What is the key to your success?
KN: I have 3 keys:
1) Hiring the right team members and giving the resources to succeed. I couldn’t do this without my team and awesome business partner Gus Murillo.
2) Keeping a rhythm in the office for weekly team meetings to discuss ways to improve the business.
3) Keeping track of specific goals and celebrating when we achieve them.
ML: Any other lessons from your experience?
KN: 1) Don’t stray away from the business core competency. You know what you’re good at and think hard before expanding to a service you don’t have a clue about.
2) Have fun. Sounds cheesy, but if you don’t love what you do then why are you doing it? Just make sure to find a way to wind down when you’re burnt out. You can come back in the office the next day refreshed and ready to rock.
ML: How was your experience at the 2012 CEO National Conference? What was you reaction to winning the award for your accomplishments with Big Fish Presentations?
KN: My conference experience was very refreshing and thought-provoking. It’s music to the economist’s ears to hear that the conference’s rate of attendance increased dramatically from last year. What that says is that more leaders have emerged to make a brighter future for our economy.
As for receiving the award, this isn’t about individuality to me but as a symbol of the hard work of my team and influence from my mentors. I couldn’t have done it without those guys and gals, and I’d like to say we’re only getting started. Thanks CEO for the recognition!
ML: What would be your most important piece of advice for college students?
KN: Go out and meet people! The saying ‘your network = net worth’ has some truth to it. Find people that you know are successful, shut up and listen, and soon enough you’ll find yourself being motivated to succeed.
ML: Why should college students start their own business?
KN: If you want to learn more about yourself and test your limits while impacting the world, start a business. Chances are, the business that you create will solve problems you are facing in everyday life. With that being said, there’s a high chance that others are also encountering this same problem. Be the change you wish to see in the world type of talk.
ML: Any other advice you would like to share?
KN: Always make sure you know where the money is going. Poor money management can sink a business so fast. I’m not talking about using a make-shift excel spreadsheet but using programs like Wave Accounting or Quickbooks. It’ll help you to plan your growth and what resources to invest in much easier in the long run.
It is clear that Kenny Nguyen loves what he is doing and that he is passionate about entrepreneurship. Congratulations to Kenny for his accomplishments and good luck to him and Big Fish Presentations.
Michael Luchies is an entrepreneur at heart, avid sports fan, and supporter of entrepreneurship. Michael serves as the National Growth and Programs Manager for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). Michael has a B.S. from Bradley University in Entrepreneurship and has operated several internet businesses over the past decade.
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