Read This First
- In good times, weak businesses prosper.
The Nothing-To-Lose Mindset
- There is nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose.
Hustlers. Charlatans and Tony Robbins
- Work your ass off.
- Don’t give up, ever.
- When faced with defeat, rise to your feet!- Dr. Dre
- Keep angling until you find your right angle, then play your angle.
- You’ll survive, no matter how bad it is- it isn’t so as bad it could be.
- Shake off your mistakes, but try not to repeat them.
- Be grateful- most people don’t even have a dream.
- Remember that you are not safe. Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
- Go big, have fun. If not, you either quit, die unhappy, or have a midlife crisis and blow your success.
Philosophies From The Jail Cell to Boardroom
- Life is theatre; everyone is an actor- some in the lead, some in the supporting cast.
- Never ask a question you don’t already have the answer to.
- If you are unsure of the answer to a question, say, “I don’t know, but I will get you the answer by [day, time, date]
- The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, the start working on the first one. – Mark Twain
- When/if you feel you have failed at something, ask yourself: Why did this happen? What could I have done differently? How can I do it better next time? What changes should I make in my strategies? What can I do to improve my planning and preparation?
- Postmortem- a process whereby we go back and evaluate our failures to make sure we learned our lessons so we don’t repeat the failures.
- I suggest keeping a notebook specifically for lessons you learn the hard way.
- Strive to become a master of action.
- Always be engaged in the process of selling, networking, expanding, negotiating, researching and exploring.
- Never express a negative emotion in an email or text message. These types of conversations need to be had in person or over the phone.
- 24 Hour Rule- if you feel you may respond emotionally to something in business, sleep on it and respond the following day instead.
- If you have something critical to say, do it in private.
Business Model Rules
- You are a model driven company. Test your assumptions, and revisit your model routinely. Rip the model apart every time you look at it.
- Create a retention-based sales model; ideally, pay a long-term residual.
- Know your customer.
- Be as close to your customers as you can be.
- Cherry-pick your new markets.
- Everything else within our company’s structure, needs to be focused first and foremost on creating sales.
- The best formula for increasing sales: Exposure x Conversion = Results
- It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin
- Adaption is the key to survival.
- Compensation drives behavior.
- The best way to make your business stand out is to provide customer service at a level that is unmatched by your competitors’ services.
- Worry about your loyalty to the customer, not your customer’s loyalty to you.
- How loyal are we being to our customers? What decisions are we making in the short term and long term that might make our customers feel we are disloyal? How do we treat them in our customer service group? How are we giving more to our most valued customers- the one’s who have been with us the longest, spent the most and given the most feedback? If you take care of your customers first, everything else will fall into place.
- An army everywhere is an army nowhere. – Sun Tzu
- A business needs to have focus.
- Do one thing and do it well, philosophy.
- One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows slowly endures. – J.G. Hubbard
- Things that develop over time are the ones that are more likely to reflect timeless ideas rather than brief trends or flash-in-the-pan popularity.
- Take the time to make your advantages and unique offerings clear, recognizable, and prominent.
- Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always try to do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, are great. – Mark Twain
- Steer clear of people who are too shortsighted to recognize your potential- or too bitter to be willing to encourage it.
- I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man. -Jay Z
- I don’t buy stocks, I make stocks.
- Efforts don’t pay the rent, I deal in results, not efforts. Results pay rent.
- I make money, it doesn’t make me.
- It’s a very bad idea to pursue too many good ideas. Make sure to be very selective in the projects you take on.
- People will give you a reputation; you give yourself character.
- The only differences between you today and a year from now are the people you know and what you have learned.
- We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it.
Honor Your Deals
- We don’t have control over the expectations other people have. Someone will always feel you did him wrong. But you do your best to honor your deals, regardless.
- The lesson here is not to create false expectations or make vague promises with regard ti cash, salary, or equity.
- I call that making a new deal. If you can’t honor the first deal, make a new one and do whatever it takes to honor it.
- When you are dealing with investors money, you have to act as if God himself wrote you the check.
First Things First
- That’s the problem, but what is the solution? We need to be solution oriented.
- The path is all math, meaning there’s an equation that will lead to your answers.
- Inspect what you expect, follow up on action items; make sure that everyone knows what’s on your mind.
- Write down a list of everything you believe is critical to the success of your business and then focus on the one item that will save you the most money or generate the most money. Work on the task until it’s completed or until some outside dependency requires you to wait (such as getting a quote from a vendor or the arrival of a shipment), then work on something else and come back to the first when the outside dependency is fulfilled.
- Sometimes the fastest way forward is to go backward.
- The more things you say yes to or try to do, the less productive you are.
- If you say yes to too many seemingly good ideas, then you have one bad idea of a company and a poor management culture.
- Just say no- if the idea is good enough, it will come back around again.
- As a CEO you need to be the foremost expert in the multiple variables that drive your business.
Watch Your Wallet
- Compensation drives behavior and sometimes the threat of losing compensation will drive people to action.
- There are no excuses for that type of error. You must put controls in place to ensure that money isn’t running out the back door while you’re trying so hard to bring it through the front.
- Watch your wallet, be just as proud of what you do as what you don’t do, and focus on first things first.
What’s Driving You?
- What drives you to become an entrepreneur?
- Four main drivers that urge an individual toward becoming an entrepreneur: independence, wealth, recognition and fame, and contribution.
- By generating wealth, you are providing for your own needs, for your family’s needs, and- moving beyond your own immediate considerations- probably creating jobs in your community as well.
- Old saying about recognition- Babies cry for it, grown men die for it.
- Where is your passion? What do you absolutely love doing?
- Take stock of your skills, interests and hobbies. Determine what you are naturally drawn to.
- Choose a business you would love to do without pay and build something that wakes you up in the middle of the night, something you’re proud of and you can’t stop thinking about.
Tap Those Assets
- It takes approx. ten thousand hours of training and practice to truly master a skill set at a professional level.
- When it comes to leveraging the assets in your network, many times having access is better than owning.
- There may be small companies out there that are ripe for purchase, restructuring and re-branding. Keep your eyes open.
- I have money, but I prefer using other people’s money in building my business. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly taking all the risk, but when you bring in investors, it spreads the risk and brings complementary talents, skills and experience to the table.
Risk and Sacrifice
- Asses your tolerance for risk, and the tolerance of others around you.
- First, consider what is at risk. (home, luxury items, etc.)
- Risk taking is NOT the same as being reckless.
- Try to avoid personal guarantees.
- The most important thing is that you know what you’re getting into.
- Who else is depending on you, and how much risk can they tolerate?
- Most men die at 21, we just don’t bury them until they’re 60 or 70.- Benjamin Franklin Don’t be someone who lives a life of excuses instead of action.
- Investment over consumption
- Take 5% of your gains and reward yourself.
- An entrepreneur has to ask for what he needs to live- and that means preparing for sacrifices.
Million Dollar Mistakes
- Don’t make wildly optimistic sales forecasts.
- It pays greatly to be accurate in your projections.
- Don’t hire people who like your ideas all the time.
- Don’t focus too much on the competition.
- Don’t waste your time caring what others think and worrying too much about mistakes, even million-dollar ones.
- Say what’s on your mind and focus on the solutions.
- Don’t do your business where you do business. Do not fraternize with your employees, and choose your partners wisely.
- Don’t allow sales employees to sell you.
- Not firing fast enough.
- Don’t get caught up in your company.
- Don’t under forecast cash needs.
- Don’t try to do too much at one time.
- Never write something you wouldn’t want to come back to you.
- Don’t date the wrong women.
- Don’t invest in uncoachable entrepreneurs.
I Hate Business Plans
- The best business plan is one built from a business that is already up and running and forecasts the business’s potential growth.
- Begin your business plan by writing a personal purpose statement in which you outline the philosophies and vision that you want for you and the company you are creating.
- Make a list of adjectives you would like people to associate with your business, then narrow it down to your top 3 or 4.
- What is going to make your business plan stand out from the hundreds of other business plans that get pitched to investors each day.
- What need are you filling that no one else is?
- What can you do better than anyone else?
- You need to have an operations plan as well as a plan to raise money.
- I start with my operational plan and develop that first before moving on to the financial plan.
- If you are going to submit a plan to me, make sure it is concise.
- PowerPoint presentation with no more than 15 slides is enough.
Launching Your Business
- Not only do your consumers have to buy your product, but they have to be able to explain and recommend your company to their friends in a way that will be easily understood and remembered.
- Focus on creating a single solution for a single problem in our society- in the simplest way possible.
- If you can apply the “sum up your life in 6 words” approach to describing the problem your company will solve for it’s customers, you’re golden.
- One of the biggest common mistakes new businesses make with their marketing is trying to reach to broadly to capture every possible facet of their industry.
- No matter the source, you have to be willing to earn it.
- Tell them the truth.
- You get paid last, investors get paid first.
- You build relationships by putting others first. You ruin them by only looking out for yourself. Never forget that, especially with investors.
- You must offer value.
- You demonstrate to the investors the lengths to which you will go to to get them a valuable return on their money.
- Time is their most limited, and most valuable resource.
- Securing one or two larger investors can open doors to a number of other investors.
- Offer them equity in your company in exchange for their time.
Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching to Investors
- Turn off your cell phone before the presentation begins, do not wear an earpiece.
- Dress professionally, business suit or a shirt and tie. Casual wear is never appropriate.
- Ask for the investment at the end of your presentation.
- Rehearse a minimum of 10 times before you officially present.
- Don’t allow your presentation to exceed 30 minutes, allow at least 15 minutes for questions and answers at the end.
- End the talk by reciting the specific actions that were requested of you.
- Follow up on everything to which you committed.
- Don’t interrupt your prospective investor when they are speaking.
- Answer all of your investor’s questions clearly and concisely. Always ask if it answered their question.
- Don’t attempt to answer questions if you don’t have an answer. Politely say you do not know, and you will follow up with them on that question.
- Investment presentation is printed in color and bound professionally.
- Don’t ever respond with negative emotion to a criticism or lack of interest from a potential investor.
Growing, Hiring and Firing
- Employees need to have a defined job description and a clear set of expectations, but you should also make it clear that time to time they may be called upon to step out of their job descriptions to help with other projects or situations important to the company.
- People who are over protective or territorial about their job descriptions tend to not be team players.
- As a CEO, you have to remember that all of these talented, well-compensated people are building your equity and your profits, and that contributes to your compensation.
- You need to be entrepreneurially minded and create a culture in your company that is also entrepreneurially minded.
- I want to have as clear a picture as I can of the people I intend to bring on board.
- Ask yourself a question about each employee. If he/she came to you and said, “I am leaving your company for a new opportunity,” what would your gut reaction be? Would you be devastated that this person’s contribution is irreplaceable, or would you be happy?
- There are 3 forms of compensation that all employees should earn. First is money, second is recognition, and the third is contribution.
- Who’s the one person you need to take your company to new heights? Who is your perfect recruit?
- Founder’s syndrome- when it’s time for one of the founders to move on.
- Retire while maintaining an interest that continues to earn you money.
- You must be a good guardian of your investors money.