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Entrepreneurs Corner: Adapt and conquer

Adam Pollock says if you don’t pay attention to your business then no one else will either.  Photo by STEPHEN McDILL / Mississippi Business Journal

Adam Pollock says if you don’t pay attention to your business then no one else will either. Photo by STEPHEN McDILL / Mississippi Business Journal

Pollock knows where he stands and enjoys his business and his life

Adam Pollock has been a lifelong entrepreneur who has learned to roll with the punches, adapt, and pursue his dreams.

Starting at 13 years of age, working in his father’s store, Pollock spent many years in the jewelry business, learning every aspect of the business “from the ground up”.  Through the years, he performed various kinds of jobs for a variety of jewelers, and finally graduated to his own shop, where he was involved in selling antique watches and “larger diamonds” as he put it.  His work led him to do “estate work”, wherein he would buy jewelry and other items from large estates, and often, he’d travel around the country as necessary to market the items he purchased.

“One thing I learned early on,” Pollock said in a recent discussion, “when you see an opportunity, take advantage of it and don’t be afraid.”

What was the opportunity Pollock saw?

“Well, I guess you could call me one of the early internet marketing pioneers,” he said.

Somewhere in the mid-1990s, he learned about the internet and perceived where it could take him. After he sold his first item online, there was no looking back, and he ultimately wound up developing one of the first full-time EBay businesses in Mississippi.

“Today, I’m the largest EBay dealer in Mississippi,” he said.  “At times, I might be running 500 auctions at one time.”

Pollock said he could never have imagined the way his life and his business would evolve, but as always, he recognized the absolute importance of being able to adapt and move with the changes in technology, shopping patterns, and consumer preferences.

“You have to give consumers what they want,” he said.  “If you don’t meet your customers’ needs, you won’t have any customers.”

While he has lived and operated his business in Starkville for the past several years, today Pollock is in the process of opening new locations in the Jackson area, beginning with a store on Old Canton Road.

“These are what is known as ‘registered EBay drop off locations’,”, he said.  “We’re vetted by EBay, we’re bonded and insured.  People can be confident when they deal with a registered seller.”

From the first store, he plans 2 more in the next five years, to be followed, as he hopes, by a franchising model to help him grow to the level he and his investors envision.

In the auction business, he sells everything from items that cost 99 cents to $7000.  How does he keep up with all of those transactions?

“You have to pay attention to business,” he says.  “I’m highly organized, everything is arranged on my computer, and I always know where I stand on everything.  If you don’t pay attention to your business this way, no one else will either.”

Has business always been a smooth road for Pollock?  “Oh, no,” he said with a laugh. “Your failures are your best learning experience.  In fact, I don’t know of anything that will teach you the right lessons better than losing money on some venture or project.  Anybody that isn’t willing to fail, should never be in business.  You’re just not going to bat a thousand, no matter how good you are.”

This is a theme I’ve heard frequently in the course of my discussions with entrepreneurially-minded people: failure is a necessary part of the process of starting and building a successful enterprise.

Pollack says there are “lots of people who would extinguish your fire if you let them, but no matter what, you have to pursue your dream, have faith, and do your very best.  Adapt and change is the name of the game, because nothing is ever going to stay the same.”

It seems that many entrepreneurs absolutely thrive on change, and boredom is something many don’t seem to tolerate very well.  Judging by the many ventures and options he’s pursued in his entrepreneurial career, Adam Pollock is one of those who just don’t see life in the “routine” sense.

He offers one other piece of advice to those who are drawn to starting businesses.

“You need to be prepared to live modestly,” he said.  “It’s all too easy to live beyond your means, and when you do, it will take you down the drain.  A lot of the fun is in the process of making a business successful, not necessarily in living a lifestyle beyond your means. “

From the discussions we had, I’d say Pollock has had a lot of fun through the years, and no doubt, he’ll continue to do so as he works on expanding his business going forward.


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