In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what’s your business?
Louis Krubich: Jeff and I are the co-founders of MALKA Media, where I am the CEO. We’re a creative content studio, a collective of creatives built for the modern brand. The Malka logline has always been “content at the speed of culture,” so we’ve been built with a focus on tech, innovation and efficiency within our workflow. We do everything under one roof with an expansive team of creative experts.
What inspired you to create this brand?
Louis Krubich: I was working at MTV Networks, Comedy Central and Spike TV, and I saw the workflow problems and bloated budget of agencies and production teams they were using. We saw a gap in the space. With the way that technology was advancing, and with social media blowing up, the ability to create content at Hollywood budgets became very easy to do, and so that’s when I launched Malka. I started providing a resource to companies for their internal needs, B2B services and content needs. Our formula is to have everyone in-house (editors, designers, producers) full-time, keeping the relationships in a great place because you aren’t working with different freelancers on different projects.
What has been your biggest challenge during the pandemic and how did you pivot to overcome it?
Louis Krubich: Face to face, shooting and filming content was huge for our business, and so we needed to get creative and think the way we did when we just started in 2012. We asked ourselves, “How do we adapt and be multifaceted Swiss Army knives?” So we quadrupled the size of our livestream department. We enabled solutions for our clients to still do remote virtual conferences. We gave our clients a resource to keep going, and for everything they wanted to do, we provided quick solutions without having to be in person.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?
Jeff Frommer: We found a lot of success in finding a local bank, who saw our early success and was willing to fund us on the depth dive, and with a line of credit. Any entrepreneur will tell you that if you see a long-term vision in your business, debt is always less expensive than equity. By giving up 10, 20, 40 maybe even 50% of your business in the early stage, this means that if you truly believe that at the end of that time period you hit what feels like a truly scalable business, you might say you wish you didn’t give up 50%.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
Jeff Frommer: Every day you make decisions that dictate the direction of the company: who you hire, what work you do, how people perceive you and the business. I think that the word “entrepreneur” means being responsible for the final decision and being vulnerable enough to learn from the results of the decisions that you make. It means that you have to be ready to make the call, whether it’s just you in the room or the first five employees you hire, or your new 20-person department-leadership team that’s representing 200 employees.
What is something many aspiring business owners think they need that they really don’t?
Jeff Frommer: I think many aspiring business owners think they need investors and big seed capital, but there are alternative means of funding. I think finding a co-founder who has the same vision, mentality and personality, and is willing to put dollars where their mouth, is a better business decision.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
Jeff Frommer: “Impossible has many options” is a life motto and a business motto that has proven to be very successful for us. Don’t tell me why you can’t do it. Tell me what you can do instead. I think if you have the right people in the room and you have the right knowledge and experience, you can tell anyone who comes to you with an impossible ask how they can get a version of that ask done.