A Taste of Success: Five Pawns’ Rodney Jerabek

Five Pawns’ Rodney Jerabek explains how to take an idea from a dream to a viable business and product.

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What’s your advice to those who have a great idea for a product or business but who have no idea how to launch it?
Do your research. I remember when I first had the idea of launching Five Pawns. I didn’t even tell my wife or family what I was working on for the first six months. I needed to believe enough in myself and my idea before I could properly sell it to others.

Branding 101 will also tell you that you need to have a story. Hopefully you don’t need to fabricate one and it’ll just fall into place. Your story will follow your journey and write itself as you go. I recognize [that] this isn’t normal, but it can happen. Call it luck, call it intuition, call it timing…it happens when you follow your passion.

What’s one mistake you see many businesses and entrepreneurs making and what advice would you give them on how to avoid this pitfall?
You need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Identify what good you can bring to the table and surround yourself with those that can bring what you can’t. Create balance within your organization and build a strong team that only makes you better. Remember, you’re only as good as those that you surround yourself with, and I’m grateful to [both] my immediate and extended Five Pawns family.

Many people have their keys to success. What are some of yours?
It started with my parents, and they’ve made me who I am. My wife and daughter have also supported me through what’s been a very fun—but wild—ride. It’s the people I’ve surrounded myself with who make my brand and me what and who we are today. They shape our future. I have incredible partners, employees and Five Pawns family members that make me a million times better than who I’d be on my own.

Knowing what you know now in business, what advice would you give to up and coming entrepreneurs?
Find something that you’re passionate about and don’t listen to others if they tell you that you’re crazy. Follow your heart. I guarantee [that] if you feel it, others will as well and that constitutes a potential market. No matter how big or small, that’s a market that you can help grow and develop.

Interview by Ben Stimpson

This story first appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.