Getting To Know You: Ross Fobian, CEO & co-founder, ResponseTap

What do you currently do?
I’m CEO and co-founder of ResponseTap, a marketing technology company that helps businesses track and analyse their in-bound customer calls. Our product does for phone calls what Google Analytics does for online conversions. My role largely revolves around overseeing our expansion in the US & Canada and planning for further expansion.

What is your inspiration in business?
I am passionate about two things; helping businesses succeed and driving efficiency. In a previous business I was helping customers with their online marketing efforts and although I was helping them increase sales, they could not tell me where these sales were coming from.

The existing tools were limited to only tracking online conversions, which frustrated me as my clients sales were happening on the phone and so I could not focus my marketing efforts accordingly. After exploring the market and not finding anything that could solve this problem I decided that we had to solve it.

Who do you admire?
I admire anyone who is passionate enough to succeed no matter the obstacles. I consider Nelson Mandela to be at the top of this list. He was imprisoned multiple times for 27 years for his unwavering drive to bring democracy and equality to South Africa and even when faced with the death penalty he did not waver. And in the end he succeeded, helping millions of people.

Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
Looking back, I think we would have raised more money sooner. My business partner and I were lucky enough to have profit from our previous businesses to invest in the launch of ResponseTap, but we were flying by the seat our pants at times and didn’t take a salary for the first nine months. A bigger up front injection of cash might have helped us move even more quickly and would certainly have reduced some of the stress we encountered!

What defines your way of doing business?
Visualising five years ahead – you have to keep moving forward and that means constantly looking ahead a few years. But also ensure you celebrate the success and milestones as you go – it can be frustrating to staff who are working hard to fulfil your current plan when an entrepreneur is always talking about the next big thing, but the industry we operate in means that we have to do so to keep innovating and moving forward.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Get a proof of concept or an early product to market quickly – don’t wait until you think you have the perfect product, as you will never get to that point. Having something for customers to try out is an invaluable way to get real feedback that you can work back into improving the product.