Welcome to this informative and inspiring episode of the Data Gurus podcast! In today’s episode, Sima is thrilled to introduce you to Roseanne Luth, CEO and President of Luth Research, based in San Diego. Luth Research is a privately held market research company with over 300 highly trained and dedicated employees. Roseanne’s vision is to advance the research industry to its highest and best potential by establishing the most scientifically valid, internet-based data collection service. Roseanne shares her secrets of success that have allowed her company to grow, evolve, and thrive since 1977!
Roseanne is quick to say that starting a company was very different 45 years ago compared to today. The keys for her have been to stay focused and be committed, with a fair amount of personal stubbornness thrown in for good measure. “If you don’t evolve as the world changes, you’ll be left behind.”
Even in a male-dominated world, Roseanne found that people were supportive and willing to help her when she began her company back in 1977. Wanting to work for herself and do things her own way was her inspiration for Roseanne. Since she was young, and her husband also ran his own business that provided for their family, she could be more flexible and take more risks.
As her business grew, the time came when Roseanne had to approach the bank and ask for a loan, but she didn’t have the financial background and knowledge to have her “ducks in a row.” The loan officer was helpful and supportive in explaining the steps she needed to take, but she had to be honest and vulnerable in admitting what she did not know.
Not defined by gender
Roseanne felt that she was defined by what she accomplished and not by her gender. She never felt like a minority because of the confidence she had in herself as a business owner. “How you define yourself has to do with how you perceive the world and how you go out there and do your thing.”
Growing and evolving
In growing a business, there is always a “next phase.” Technology is always changing and requires you to try something new. To fight against the fear of becoming obsolete, Roseanne knew that she had to be willing to make changes, especially when the online world opened up. As a result of her leap of faith in this new investment, Luth Research doubled its revenue in just two years.
Roseanne’s company plunged into the digital world before it became the norm. Going digital with behavioral data was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up, but it meant that they needed researchers who knew how to use the data. She says that her company would not still exist today if she had not been willing to go in this new direction.
The innovation space
Roseanne knows that a percentage of her energy and dollars have to be spent on innovation. After looking at the budget from every possible angle, she confers with her people about where to put their dollars and how much to invest, and she makes the final decision as the coach of her team.
Roseanne tries not to look back and call any of her moves mistakes, but she classifies them as challenges that helped her learn and move on to the next bigger challenge. She recounts the unpredictable timing of COVID as the latest challenge that threw a kink into her plans for her Savvy Shares program.
What is Savvy Shares?
Savvy Shares is a survey opportunity for people to earn by giving their opinions and data. In short, people complete surveys and acquire shares in Luth Research instead of receiving a check. The panel is made up of thousands of people who receive dividend payouts over a long period of time instead of traditional pay. It’s a concept that is growing, new, different, and definitely innovative.
Roseanne’s leadership is always guided by the principle of doing what is right. She doesn’t allow herself to cry over challenges but looks at each one as a learning experience. A firm believer in not being controlled by emotions, “Suck it up” and “No whining” are words she lives by. She says, “A leader is always on stage, and everyone is watching, so you should act like it.” As she compiled her team of both high-paid positions and minimum wage spots, she followed her rule of never hiring someone who looks down on someone else.
Looking to the future
Roseanne is trying to step back and push her two daughters to take over more leadership in Luth Research. Her desire is to see a great future for every single person in her company, and her goal is to grow enough that every employee does well for themselves.
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