Adam Callinan is a founding partner of Beachwood Ventures, a Los Angeles-based early-stage VC firm that excels where technology and entertainment intersect. As an entrepreneur, Callinan spent nearly a decade building small businesses in and around technology, medical devices and consumer products, which most recently includes an exit in 2013. Callinan lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife Katie and remains active as a founder of BottleKeeper. Follow him @Adam_Callinan.
Who is your hero?
I’ve always followed Richard Branson, but wouldn’t call him my hero…
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
There’s always a better deal. Realizing this point isn’t unique; I’ve had plenty of disappointment over the years as certain deals haven’t gone through. Whether it’s leasing an office, closing the perfect hire or attaining an absolutely critical account, I was always taught (by a mentor) that there’s always a better deal. And it’s always come true.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
In my earlier years I signed an operating agreement under very short notice, thinking that I had the legalese under control. I did not. It didn’t feel right, I didn’t trust my gut instinct and I paid the price. Lesson learned: If it doesn’t feel completely right, don’t do it. Ever.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Drink at least three cups of coffee, check emails and read up on the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Mashable, LA Times (I live in LA, you just have to). This gets me ready for the day with, hopefully, some new information I can apply to my business.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
For me, the key to revenue generation is making sure that every party involved has a personal incentive in the success of your business. Really this just means figuring out how to build value, but I’ve always tried to think of it on an extremely personal level.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Build your network yesterday. If you didn’t, start right this second. Literally, leave your house right now and go meet someone new.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I will have succeeded when I can exit and force my parents and my wife’s parents into retirement and spend more time on philanthropic pursuits.