Discover a wealth of wisdom from seven successful business owners who open up about their business start-up stories, experiences, mistakes and much more.
Have you ever wondered why and how people transition from a regular job to starting and running a successful small business? Do they get financial backing or start from scratch? Do they make mistakes as they get off the ground, or do they have it all figured out from the get-go?
What do Successful Business Owners say About Getting Started?
You no longer have to wonder about these and other questions you may have. Seven successful business owners from around the United States and Canada have recently offered to share their stories and insight into launching a company that will be successful long-term.
John Gambill Jr., GO Concepts, Ohio
John notes that he wanted the challenge and excitement of building something, seeing it grow and watching it become successful. He was attracted to the idea of making his own path, working as hard as he could and seeing where that would take him. He and his first business partners, along with their families, put up the money to start GO Concepts; those who invested in the company then earned both stock and interest from their loans. He notes that he learned the importance of paying attention to his employees’ personal and professional goals and being better and more agile than larger competitors. His counsel to aspiring business owners is to figure out what you do well, focus on it, and do the absolute best you can.
Jorge Rojas, Tektonic Inc., Canada
Jorge started up Tektonic Inc. because he wanted to be in charge of his own destiny. He started from scratch but notes that having a supportive spouse pulled him through. He found that making sales was the most difficult part of his new business and advises beginners to partner with a good sales/marketing partner or company. He also points out that you need perseverance, the right toolset, and willingness to continue learning about your industry in order to succeed.
Bryan Ferrario, Alliance Technology Partners, Missouri
Bryan runs Alliance Technology Partners, a Missouri-based IT MSP. He counsels new business owners to rank goals in order of importance, prioritize spending, and consistently look for ways to improve operations while lowering costs. Furthermore, he points out that one of the biggest mistakes that IT leaders make is to over-commit to projects without the people and resources to meet the deadline. Overcommitment not only makes the IT leader look bad but also wastes the IT company’s time and money.
Ilan Sredni, Palindrome Consulting, Florida
Ilan Sredni not only runs his own company but is also an author and co-host of the Brilliant Business Radio Show. His inspiration for starting his own company came from his desire to help small business owners by delivering solutions that had previously been unavailable to them. He started his company from scratch but wisely lined up a few clients because before launching his company. Ilan points out that both challenging and opportunities are always around the corner and entrepreneurs will need problem-solving skills to successfully get through the good times and bad times.
Nicholas Hess, SureTec IT, Oregon
Nicholas was raised by entrepreneurs who, from the time he was a young teen, told him to get a job if he wanted money to buy things. He has founded six businesses, some successful and some not. He asserts that he works his butt off every day and accurately points out that even the best, most dedicated employees will never care about a business as much as the business founder. He says that to start a successful business you need four things: a product/service that people want, experience needed to provide the product/service, a good sense of timing and lots of luck. At the same time, he notes that working as a self-employed business owner is, for him, the only way to really live.
Michael Nelson, TLC Tech, California
Michael says that he started his own business to be in full control of his time and life, but wound up losing on both counts. His first company was successful until the dot.com bubble burst. He then founded TLC tech after realizing that he wasn’t cut out to be an employee after working on his own for the previous six years. This time around, his parents invested in his company from the get-go and he was able to balance work and life after hiring his first employee. Michael advises aspiring entrepreneurs to pay attention to margins and break income into discreet revenue streams to learn where their business is strong and how it needs to improve.
Phillip Baumann, BoomTech, Inc, Florida
Phillip points out that the ability to provide a good service isn’t the same as being good at business. He recommends the following books for aspiring business owners:
- The Ideal Team Player (Hiring)
- Traction (Operations)
- The E-myth Revisited (Systems and process)
- Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits (Accounting)
- Secrets of Question-based Selling (Sales)
Phillip has a lot to say about hiring skills. He notes that, as a long-time business owner, he has made mistakes not hiring the right people, hiring the wrong people, and waiting too long to fire them. He advises business owners to get rid of immediately get rid of anyone who is doing the business more harm than good, even if doing so may seem uncomfortable and create stress. Eventually, an unproductive employee needs to go and the longer you wait, the more damage will be done in the meantime.
While experience is a great teacher, you can avoid a lot of difficulties and challenges by paying attention to wise advice. If you are thinking about starting your own company, consider what the above business owners have to say about the topic and adapt their advice to your needs to boost your odds of ultimate success.