Chris Gronkowski is a former NFL player turned entrepreneur. He now owns and runs Ice Shaker and Everything Decorated. Follow him @ChrisGronkowski.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My parents are my heroes. They raised five boys and did an amazing job. All five of their kids made it to the pros, four playing for the NFL. Now that I’m a father, I couldn’t imagine how hard it was to raise five oversized, energetic boys.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Take care of the people who work for you. It’s hard to find good workers, and the last thing you want to deal with is turnover. If you have a good employee, it’s worth it to pay them more than the going rate. Make sure you keep them around!
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
My biggest mistake was thinking that I could do everything myself. I was afraid to hire others to take over certain roles in the business. I felt that no one could ever run every aspect of my business as well as I could. But this was preventing the company from growing since I was spending time in the books or on social media instead of finding new revenue streams.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I spend the first hour of my business day at the gym. Working out reduces my stress, increases my patience, energizes me and gives me a clear mind. I think of some of my best ideas while I’m exercising. I also have a chance to run through my game plan for the day in my head — in between sets and during cardio.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to start a business. My wife and I started our first company for less than $1,000. If you have an idea, just make sure it’s a great one before you pump a lot of money into it. Start small and crawl before you run.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
If you want to take your business to the next level, you have to build your network. By joining networking groups or clubs, you can share ideas and learn what other entrepreneurs are finding success in. At first, this was hard for me to understand because I always had the mentality that I could take on the world by myself. But having this mentality was actually preventing me from learning from others.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
My definition of success would be walking into a completely random gym one day and seeing multiple people using the Ice Shaker and enjoying my product as much as I do.
That would be the greatest feeling in the world.