As a part of our series called ‘Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO’ we had the pleasure of interviewing Roman Tsarovsky.
As founder and CEO of Ally, a SaaS platform that empowers Merchants to go direct to consumers, drivers to work directly with businesses and customers, and ensures customers save over 30% on their normal purchases, Roman’s mission is to establish an open form of transacting where everyone benefits. The platform ensures that all parties keep 100% of their revenue and profits. This creates healthy commerce and facilitates growth.
With over 15 years of experience in the technology, business, and block chain sector, Roman has helped over 600 businesses restructure, develop, market, and become profitable in various sectors. Taking the knowledge, expertise and experience gained, Roman, focused his energy to solve more global and economic problems by focusing on Logistics and Commerce. Solving large, complicated problems with technology has always been Roman’s true passion.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I have always focused on technology. I love building computers, learning to program that focus on the applications and solutions using Automation. Using my passion, I decided to put it to work and start solving problems in various industries. The first Industry was in the financial space, where I learned a lot and developed relationships that would follow me throughout my career. After a while, I decided to modify my focus and use the knowledge gained to solve more fundamental and global problems.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Leading a company can be hard but is definitely very interesting, so it’s hard to just share one. Interacting with people all over the world, managing different cultures, time zones and goals were a few of those that I find captivating. However, the most interesting story that happened to me was when one of our workers reached out not work-related and just talk about what’s going on with their life. From the beginning, it’s important to understand that a CEO works for everyone in the company. The goal is to make everyone’s life easier. It’s also important to think outside the box and understand the needs of the business and the workers. Implement programs infrastructure and tools to facilitate growth.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As a leader, you have to learn how to laugh at your own mistakes, but most importantly learn from them! When starting out, we had a client who loved us so much, he took it upon himself to recommend features for our platform. He came back with over 100 features that would make our software meet his exact needs. We were young and eager to please everyone so we agreed to build new features for his business. Their feedback resulted in the statement “What does your software NOT do”. This was very funny and made us feel good, but this was a mistake. We learned to balance our clients’ requests and the goals/growth of the business. It’s impossible to make everyone 100% happy and companies will suffer trying to meet every desire. Each business provides a specific value proposition and should stick to their main focus. If enough feedback is received, a business’s discussion needs to be made to add features at regular intervals.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There is no greater help than from your family. The greatest help I have received to achieve success came from my wife. She empowered me to focus on growth, supported my vision, and helped release my stress. It’s very rare to find such a supportive partner who understands and truly supports the efforts that need to be done for success. There were times that I had to work for three days in a row without sleep which would have been impossible without the support from my wife. Finding a strong support system is very important to being a leader.
As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?
Every race, diversity, and difference share the same overarching principle, we are ALL EQUALLY different. Each difference allows us to learn from each other, have unique perceptions and bring unique value. We are all humans and should enjoy all the basic equalities but value, honor and appreciate the differences. Businesses need to truly value this uniqueness between us as it greatly empowers the business to be truly adaptive, global and inclusive. Having a strong diverse leadership/executive team will provide a huge advantage for growth, expansion, adoption, and maximize success. We are all the same but we are all different. This is a benefit not a disadvantage.
As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.
The best and easiest way to accomplish an equitable society is leading by example. Lead as how you want others to follow. If everyone focused on truly understanding each other, learning from each other, and taking the steps to lead by good actions, this will truly make a difference. As a business leader, it’s important to understand that you are not a boss, you are not a dictator, you are a leader. That means, people follow you and learn from your actions and direction. You need to be at the head of the line and show your followers the way. Being a strong inclusive leader will pave the road for others to follow in the same footsteps.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?
Executives focus on the overarching business vision and direction, while ensuring the proper ecosystem to achieve those goals. This means being truly understanding with how the business works, the internal and external needs, sustainability, growth, technology, operations, and overall direction of the business. As mentioned previously, the goal of an Executive is to work for everyone at the company and make sure everyone has everything they need to perform at the highest standards. This could include emotional, physical, financial, and visionary support.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?
Being a CEO is easy, it’s fun, and everyone loves you. This is a very powerful myth that drives everyone to want to be a CEO. In reality, it’s very hard, rarely fun, and keeping everyone happy is exponentially difficult. The CEO needs to be responsible for the whole business, which includes the past, present, and future. This means that the CEO is not the top, they are the bottom. With such a large cope and responsibility, being a CEO is very stressful and requires a lot of time and attention to ensure the business is moving the right direction.
What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
Honestly, I never thought about what my job would actually be. Since the beginning, I focused on doing whatever is needed to make sure everyone benefits, grows, and the business expands. It’s like being a parent and guiding your children to the right direction. You will make mistakes, but what’s important is you always learn from them.
Do you think everyone is cut out to be an executive? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?
I honestly think that everyone is capable of doing anything they put their mind to, that includes being a CEO. I do not think everyone is capable in putting the work and having the mindset to achieve such a goal. This is because people are in different stages and situations in their life. Some are less driven, some are less hungry, some are more comfortable. This is not to say they can’t be a CEO, but it does mean they have to step up to the plate and do what it takes to truly build a strong, inclusive, scalable, profitable business that provides a great product or service. That alone is truly hard to do and requires great amount of effort. But in short, ANYONE can be a good CEO if they truly want to be!
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help create a fantastic work culture? Can you share a story or an example?
They don’t work for you; you work for them!! When you’re in charge of a business on any scale, you are working for the greater good of your company. A company with poor leadership and management will only produce poor results. What is the duty of a business? To provide a service for its customers. They do that by following the rules and orders of the chain of command. The chain of command exists so that employees have someone to look to and turn to when questions need answers or support and directions. Bosses work for their employees because without employees a boss would have nothing.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I have gained a lot of knowledge, experience, and wisdom trying to solve problems. I build solutions and architect a solid platform to bring all this to the masses. The Ally Platform is my focus on making the world a better place. Solving global economic problems with automated software and platforms to truly increase the quality of life for everyone around the world is a huge passion of mine. With Ally, I think it’s possible!
Fantastic. Here is the primary question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Learn to say NO. You’ll never get far being a “yes” man, and although it may seem easier in the short term to appease people rather than offend or disappoint them with a negative response, in the bigger picture it will only create more problems, stress, and impracticalities in the long term. You can’t please everyone, and the sooner you learn that, the easier things will get.
2. Two most important things in any relationship are:
In any relationship, you need to know what you want or need out of it and be able to clearly express it as well as what you’re willing to do in order to come together to achieve them. First impressions are everything so you have to be able to communicate with your peers if you want to get anywhere in life. However, you should also have realistic expectations in everything you do so that you’re prepared whatever the outcome.
3. Take care of yourself, your health and the people around you. These three things are vital to everyone, regardless who you are or what you do. You have to take care of yourself first and foremost, because there’s no one else in this world who will care more about you than you do. You need to take care of your health because you’ve only got one body, and it can only take you as far as you allow it to. You’ve got to take care of the people around you the same way they’ve taken care of you, because none of us have gotten where we are on our own. If you treat the people around you how you wanted to be treated then they’ll treat you the same, but that’s where you have to remember the importance of saying NO as well.
4. Fake it till you make it, as long as you are willing to put in the work to make it. You’ve got to approach life, your goals, and aspirations with the confidence and mentality that you’ve already accomplished it, because you’re going to. You can’t let anything hold you back from your dreams if you truly want to accomplish them, and sometimes the thing holding you back the most is yourself. That’s why you have to convince yourself you’re already there until you get there, because as long as you’re making the steps to get there then it’s your future and you should claim it.
5. Don’t stress over problems you have absolutely no control over. If you do have control, then do something about it.If you do have control, then do something. There’s no point in worrying about things that are outside of your power because they will resolve themselves however they do regardless what you do. If you’re late in the middle of a traffic jam, you could either take the time to enjoy the peace or listen to music — why stress more about the fact that you’re going to be late if it’s going to happen either way. People get too caught up in the moment that they’d rather think about all the things they can’t do rather than do what they can in the present, regardless of whether it’s something groundbreaking or relaxing.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would push the undeniable idea that we are all here on the same planet together, we are all the same, yet we are all different. We all need to value each other’s differences and work together to solve larger problems, not focus strictly on our own, and care about our neighbors. After all, we all want the same thing at the end of the day. To be happy!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I truly believe that “Anything worth having is worth fighting for”. This includes your goals, family, love and happiness. You need to put in the work to achieve what is worth having. What’s funny is I received a fortune cookie that continued my favorite life lesson. “Anything worth doing can be done”. This means that anything worth having that is worth fighting for can be achieved.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to have lunch with Elon Musk. I truly value and appreciate his brain, vision, and direction. Plus, it will be fun!