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Posted on: Tuesday - Jun 2, 2015

The countdown is on for Launch Tennessee’s inaugural 36/86 conference next week.  Named for the latitude and longitude of Nashville, this annual event in Music City will assemble an incredible line up of national speakers and business leaders, promising startup companies and strategic investors for a celebration of entrepreneurship and southern culture.

In anticipation of the big event, we could think of no better person to talk entrepreneurship than our own TNECD Commissioner and Launch Tennessee Chairman Randy Boyd.  He’s the founder and Executive Chairman of Radio Systems Corporation which he started in 1991. Headquartered in Knoxville, Radio Systems has more than 630 associates worldwide with offices in seven countries. The company produces over 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG. It is privately held with sales of more than $350 million. 

Why is Tennessee such a great place to start a business?

In today’s world you can work from anywhere and do business everywhere, so you would want to do business in a place you would like to live. Tennessee is a great place to live. There is a great quality of life, with low taxes, amazing natural resources, a great educational system and friendly, hardworking people.  From a purely business perspective, the great infrastructure, central location, low taxes and generally pro-business environment insures a supportive community.

Why did you decide to start your own business?

As do all entrepreneurs, I saw an opportunity to create a product that could provide value to consumers and that could provide a great return to my family and me.

What are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face? 

I had to face lack of cash, supply, quality, and technology initially. Pretty much every problem one could imagine except for lack of demand.  Every entrepreneur has some or all of these challenges.  The key is persistence.  I believe the one single common denominator of every successful entrepreneur is persistence in the face of what often appears daunting challenges.  I’ve never met someone who is successful that quits, and I’ve never met someone who quits easily that is successful.

What are the biggest rewards?

Beyond the personal financial rewards, the most important reward is to make a difference.  A successful company should make a difference by making the world a better place just through the products and services they offer. They will also provide a better life for those they employ. And, if they choose, and most do, they have the opportunity to return to their community through supporting philanthropic initiatives.  Success is making an impact that lasts long after any one person’s career.

Can you recommend any books or resources that have helped you along the way? 

Two Jim Collins books: Good to Great and Built to Last, Alfred Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific RevolutionThe Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clay Christensen.

What keeps you motivated?

Having the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the world. Like the Boy Scout code of the outdoors I have taught to many scouts, I would like to leave every place better than I found it.  I get excited about big hairy audacious goals, and have Theodore Roosevelt’s saying in my office and at home that states “Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor souls that neither enjoy nor suffer much.”

For information on all things 36/86, including tickets, speakers, schedule, concerts, startups and more, please visit thirtysixeightysix.com