CEO advice to my younger self

I was just recently asked what advice I’d give my younger self with regards to starting my business. Hmmm, great question. It made me think about where I am now professionally, how I got here and how I could have gotten here much faster.

While I enjoyed great success in my businesses over the last 20 years, clearly I made some big and small mistakes along the way. So here’s my advice to myself as a young, entrepreneurial CEO of a start-up company:

Don’t be a Jack-of-all-trades
Hire a good assistant
Grow your sales team
Have fun

Don’t be the Jack-of-all-trades
It’s tempting to cut corners in the early phases of a start-up company by doing everything yourself. After all, good professionals are expensive…and that’s the rub. Top professionals (think corporate attorneys, accountants, CPAs, financial advisors, etc.) charge what they charge for a reason. Assemble a team of top advisors and listen to their advice. It will help you avoid early, yet significant mistakes and will allow you to grow your company with the right foundation.

Hire a good assistant
“If you have no assistant, you are the assistant” (quote by the awesome Jack Daly). Seriously, this should be on top of your list. Take the time to find a really good assistant – it’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make because being able to delegate operational tasks to your assistant will allow you to ‘work on your business, not in your business’.

Grow your sales team
If you want to grow your company fast, you’ll have to grow your sales team. Spend some time to develop a stringent and structured recruiting, interviewing and training process specifically for sales people. Have detailed expectations and metrics defined and don’t be afraid to let go of new sales people when your gut tells you that this is not working. I’ve let go of newly hired sales rep in less than a week and am glad I did.

Have fun
This is really the most important adviceĀ  I can give. We all have our reasons for being in business for ourselves and for me, freedom trumps them all. The freedom to do what I want and when I want is literally priceless to me. So, make sure to take full advantage of this freedom. Life is not about 80-hour weeks in a cubicle.

So, there you have it. I could go on and on with more tips, tricks and ‘gotchas’ but for now, these are my top 4 to share with you.

What about yourself? What advice would you give your younger self? Please add your comments below.


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