After 14 years as a successful corporate executive for Eaton Press and Danbury Mint, Allen Baler founded 4Patriots LLC in 2008. A founding Partner of the Tennessee-based business, he is dedicated to providing quality products designed to support individual independence and self-reliance in the United States and abroad.
An honors graduate from Harvard University, Allen Baler lives in Nashville with his wife and business partner, Erin, and their three daughters.
- What is your favorite part of being a business owner?
The best part about owning a business is investing yourself in what you’re passionate about every day. We like to call ourselves “self-reliance evangelists.” It’s not only what we do but who we are. There is an unexplainable satisfaction you get from helping people develop themselves and watching your audience become more independent in an ever-changing, unpredictable world.
- What led you to start your own business?
Having an opportunity to study at Harvard and learning the ins and outs of business in the corporate world really puts things in perspective. You amass a world of knowledge and want to share it with people. Starting my own business meant I would have a platform to educate but also to interact with like-minded people.
- Did college help you become a better entrepreneur?
To an extent, yes. Education exposes you to the business landscape you want to pursue. However, success doesn’t hinge on a college degree. Over the years, I’ve learned that anyone can be a thriving entrepreneur. Success depends most on your individual traits, treating employees well and being nimble enough to adjust to change.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
My wife and I grow our own food so we spend quite a bit of time outdoors. I also have three daughters to keep up with. I have my hands full but I cherish every minute I get to spend time with them!
- Have you read any new, inspiring books this year?
“Thank You for Being Late” by Dr. Thomas Friedman is still a favorite. It is relevant now more than ever with a change in the White House sure to drive economic, political and social changes. As the world continues to change at a rapid pace, so does the audience. It’s important for business owners to stay on the pulse, pay attention to and evolve with customers, and produce products that speak to their changing needs.
- How do you acquire talented employees?
People who understand your vision and are passionate about their contribution to the bigger picture are invaluable. Candidates with a willingness to become an asset to your team but can work independently as well are essential.
We recruit people who understand and enjoy what we do. Our employees are also sales savvy, able to introduce a product to an audience, analyze feedback and adjust what we offer so our customers continue to get the greatest benefits. Education and work experience are fantastic, but the best employees are passionate, flexible and focused on the end goal.
- What’s the best business advice you can give?
New entrepreneurs must be aware that there are challenges on the road to success they haven’t experienced before. Although finding funding and great employees are important, success starts with the mindset of the business owner.
Self-doubt can be crippling, especially in the early years. This is why it’s crucial to focus on the end goal. If you are passionate about your vision, you can use that to propel you through the stumbling blocks along the journey.
Another tip that will save you plenty of money, time and effort is to choose the right business. If you need time to flesh out your business idea, do it. Business choice is paramount. After that, you can develop your marketing strategies, manage finances and time.
Finally, stay flexible. Change is inevitable. From monitoring economic trends to keeping up with evolving technologies, always be prepared to adapt to changing markets. Flexibility is a critical secret to lasting success.