In this series titled Member Showcase, we publish interviews of members of The oracles. This interview is with Rafael Romis, founder and CEO of Weberous, an award-winning website design agency in Los Angeles. It has been condensed by oracles.
Who are you?
Rafael Romis: I was born and raised in Greece. I have studied and worked in London in a pharmaceutical company. When I was 21, the owner thought I was a spy, because I was networking with many vendors – but that’s a long story.
After a brief stint in Greece, where I opened a retail store, I decided to move to Los Angeles. I have found my home in many ways. This is where I founded my digital agency, Weberous, that I met my wonderful wife, adopted our dog and recently welcomed our daughter.
During my two years of running a marketing agency and seven years at Weberous, I’ve been involved in hundreds of digital projects, with clients ranging from startups to companies worth billions of dollars. I’ve recently started Generate Culture, a consulting company where I share what I’ve learned.
What was your biggest influence growing up?
Rafael Romis: My father. Growing up, I watched him running his retail business and working harder than anyone else to support us. At the same time, he took the time to be present. He has always been there and still is, even though it is now via Skype because he lives in Greece.
Looking back, I still do not know how he did it. But that influenced me so much that since I was 10, I wanted to own a business like him. That’s when I started my first “business”, repackaging and selling NBA trading cards to my classmates.
How are you more skilled than most people in the world?
Rafael Romis: I like people. I am intrigued by them, so I listen carefully and pay attention to every interaction I have with others. I find that knowing how to listen and really understand what someone says is the key to success, whether in sales, marketing or in life in general.
It has helped me immensely with customers and helps me capture our audience through daily marketing campaigns. In addition to a very hard job and several sleepless nights, I would attribute much of my success to that.
What are you passionate about most in your business right now?
Rafael Romis: I am about to publish a book on e-commerce. I have written many articles and given interviews and speeches on the subject. Now, I summarize everything and write about the four stages of a successful business: how to conceptualize, build, market and develop it. You must master all four to really succeed.
I have participated in hundreds of digital campaigns over the years. I found that most companies focus on marketing when it would be better to take a step back and evaluate their concept from the ground up. This will help make decisions about everything else.
What is your favorite quote?
Rafael Romis: Former US President Harry S. Truman said, “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” I learned that if you have something good, you should use it. Then try to improve it later rather than waiting for it to be perfect. This is true for just about anything, especially websites, business ideas and marketing.
You have no idea what “perfect” really means until you get a return. Spending time creating what you think is perfect can cost you more than you know.
What is the most common mistake you see in ecommerce?
Rafael Romis: Lack of clarity This is true for most websites, but especially for e-commerce. If you can not tell in seconds what the company does or sells – and why you should care – you have problems.
For example, almost all cosmetic brands display their packaging at the top of their website. But unless the packaging says a lot about the brand, you missed the boat. When we created the Jeffree Star Cosmetics website, we used a large photo of one of his photo sessions. That’s what you are really purchase: the Jeffree Star look. The products are just one way to get there.
The same principle applied to Melt and many other startups that we helped to succeed. They succeed because they know their audience very well and focus on what sets them apart from other consumers at all points of contact, online and offline.
What is your most important tip for ecommerce businesses?
Rafael Romis: “Principle of the Unicorn”. Identify something unique about yourself or your product that interests your audience, and you will make a lot of sales.
It sounds simple, but most business owners are wrong. They try to blindly copy a success story by selling something similar or marketing in the same way because it worked for someone else. The trick is to find out how you can be different. Then you will not have to worry about the overload of competition, which exists in all sectors. Instead, you can stand alone, the king or queen of your audience.
How do you identify a good business partner?
Rafael Romis: It starts with understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. You want to find someone who is strong in the areas you are missing and who will complete the package. But you know what is almost as important? You must love the person.
The more successful you are, the greater the responsibilities that come with it. There will be conflict, even if you work with your family. (I’ve been working with my brother for over seven years, so I know it very well.) It’s important to have fun, to be able to take your time with your partner and to remember what brought you together at the beginning.
What are you working on right now?
Rafael Romis: I come back to what I love and what I do best. With our new offering, Generate Culture, I will personally work with 10 different brands to help them in all areas, from strategy to strategy, website and marketing.
As much as I like to run Weberous, my main strength is strategy. So I’m thrilled to be active again, as I was when I started, and dive to help every business crash!