Larry Turner Explains the Ins and Outs of Being a Serial Entrepreneur

On September 28, the School of Business organized its first entrepreneur lecture for this academic year.  

Mr. Turner’s path has been a multi-decade one with the ups and downs that adorn the lives of self-reinventing spirits. In his introduction, Larry explained the change of heart he experienced in college, from first aspiring to become a veterinarian to suddenly experiencing the aha! Moment of exploring the wonderful world of business. He earned his B.Sc. in Accounting, completed his CPA exams, and enrolled in Law School while working at one of the major accounting firms.

Four years later he earned his law degree and started practicing law as well. It was around that time that he became involved in Sunset Health Co. Inc., a company that conquered the market with a juice-fasting program, followed by the Hollywood Diet. While it took some years to really take off, the project was labeled an overnight success, and Larry and his partners soon found acceptance of their product line in South Korea, Dubai, Japan, and several other countries. 

While he started his venture as a partnership, Larry soon learned that there is always an intuitive issue with choosing your partners, as some may become really trusted business mates, while others may miss the synchronic views to last. Through all these valuable lessons, Larry ultimately decided to buy out his partners and become the sole owner of the business. 

Over the years, the juice-fasting line turned out to be a major asset, later to be followed by the Cookie Diet. The companies received great profiling from major sources, such as the Wall Street Journal, which of course expanded visibility even further.  

In promoting the products for the US market, the company first utilized the strategy of an advertorial, to be followed by a combination of other mass media such as radio, television, newspapers, bus, and billboard portrayals. In penetrating the Japanese market, the company first utilized a Japanese infomercial, which promptly became a great hit! The profits were very lucrative as well because the product sold for almost four times the US price overseas. Larry thereby explained the importance of understanding perceptions within different societies. Inexpensive is sometimes linked to low-rated, so the price of the product was adjusted to meet the local community’s psychological stance. 

As an interesting side note, Larry stated that, while the diet products were a great success in several Asian nations, they never really managed to get significant access into the Chinese market. He also added that it’s important to know for budding entrepreneurs that entering external markets with nutritional products reveals a completely different set of regulations than, for instance, clothing lines. Health regulatory organizations become a major component to consider. 

Larry’s recommendation to his audience is to ensure a solid connection in any new market that you are interested in exploring. Building a trusting relationship may take time, but it’s important to make sure that you create a long-term and mutually lucrative bond with the persons that will be your local representatives. Paying multiple visits to the target market, attending trade shows, getting to know the important players in the local arena, and understanding that each market is unique in its own way: that’s a foundational set of actions toward future success. 

Some of the additional lessons Larry shared with his audience are: 

  • Always be honest and fair because whatever you do will come right back at you. Karma is very much a part of life, and over time it is easy to see what the effects are of anyone’s actions. 
  • Make sure you have a solid legal team behind you. Capture every agreement in writing, so that you avoid unpleasant surprises. 
  • Continue trying new things and be prepared that not everything will be a success. Yet, don’t let that deter you from reinventing yourself, because there is a great lesson to be learned from everything. 
  • Nurture soft skills in your collaborations with others: flexibility, agreeableness, communication skills, creative thinking, and openness are critical. Stop hiding behind emails. Follow up in multiple communicative ways, and make sure you utilize the proper language in business dealings. 
  • Follow your passion. Rather than starting anything only for the money, focus on whatever you believe in. There is much more gratification and fulfillment in that, and the money will follow. 

Woodbury University’s School of Business thanks Larry Turner for this great lecture. The entrepreneur lectures are offered throughout the fall and spring semesters, as a service to all Woodbury students who have an aspiration toward starting their own ventures. 

 

Last Updated on October 3, 2022.