A recent publication by Inc. highlighted the 5 best pieces of advice from founders that have made it on to their ‘Inc 5000’ list at least 10 times. So makes these founders so wise? Are they worthy of having the BEST advice?
Lets take a look…
Carey Smith, CEO of Big Ass Solutions
“When I see somebody we like, I say, ‘holy cow, I don’t care if we have a job for them or not.’ We hire them”
As Richard Branson would say, customers are not your number one priority, your employees are. So building the right team is crucial to delighting your customers. This bold move of hiring even without a job to fill is a clear testament to that belief.
Kara Trott, Founder & CEO of Quantum Health
“You need to set boundaries around growth. We didn’t want any one client to be more than 20% of our business.”
The classic don’t put all your eggs in one basket scenario. It may sound a bit counter-intuitive to minimise business from clients, however, think about it from a cash-flow perspective… what if tomorrow that big client who was worth 50% of your revenue decided to end their contract? You’d be left stranded. Better to ensure you won’t be fighting to survive if one of your clients decides to move on.
Tom Gimbel, Founder& CEO of LaSalle Network
“When we have a bad culture fit… no matter how good the person is… we fire that person.”
On a similar note to the 1st piece of advice, you only want people on your team that ‘fit’. Culture plays a huge part in the success of a business, and although you may have a super smart team member who is fully capable of doing their job, it can have a negative impact on the team dynamics and performance if they aren’t aligned to the company culture. There will always be a clash, and things will start to deteriorate from the inside out.
Lale White, CEO of Xifin
“Pick your VC or private equity firms very carefully. Make sure they match philosophically and culturally what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Connecting on a philosophical and cultural level to your investor is key, there is a higher chance that they will work with you to make your business a success, not only because of their returns, but because they believe in you and what you are trying to achieve on a deeper level than just financial rewards.
Stephen Thorne, Founder & CEO of Pacific Dental Services
“If you get your structure right… your capital structure, your org structure, your process structure… if will help you survive the changes in strategy you will have to make.”
Having plans and processes in place early on can future-proof the organisation as it grows. For example, investing in the right IT systems can mean the difference from selling your business or not in 5 or 10 years’ time. Avoiding the small company mentality, and ‘dressing for the role you want’ you can plan for eventualities. Of course budgets can be a factor, but at least having a plan in place for that growth rather than just winging it, means you can support yourself even when times get turbulent.
So is this the BEST advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and founders?
Well, it is all solid advice for sure. Each of these founders and CEOs have build and are running successful businesses in their own right, so it is definitely good advice.
There are endless lists about what to do, what to avoid and how to win, but ultimately you’ll never get it right all the time. But if you keep on pursuing your goals, have a clear strategy for growth, build the right team with the right culture and ethos, you have the foundations of a stable business.