Jeff Cayley is a former professional mountain bike racer and the founder of Worldwide Cyclery. Worldwide Cyclery is an omni-channel retailer of top tier bicycles, components, apparel and accessories. The company is niched in the high end segment of the cycling industry and does predominately online sales (a good portion being international).
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
That’s a tough one, but if we’re talking about entrepreneurs I’d say Elon Musk. His list of accomplishments and big thinking is jaw dropping.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
“Consistently progress.” That sums up a lot. It’s a vital mindset for entrepreneurs in order to keep moving forward. The world is a complex place these days, filled with so many distractions and decisions to be made. If you’re not always thinking about how to progress and then taking action to fulfill your ideas, it is pretty easy to stagnate and go nowhere.
Being totally overwhelmed is something every entrepreneur experiences. There is no way around that. However, keeping your focus on progression is the best way to make sure you don’t get caught up doing the wrong things and wasting time.
If you consistently progress, you will get where you want to go, no question. Of course that’s easier said than done. But certainly it’s something that should cross your mind daily. It’s a great way to ensure that you are doing the right things to get where you want to go, and to get there as quickly as possible.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Not having a clear vision of the company five years out. When I opened up the shop I had all sorts of ideas and plans and just charged ahead, doing what I knew I needed to do, with the majority of my focus on sales. I knew that with profitable sales, we would survive. Not having a clear vision wasn’t a huge mistake, but I do feel it significantly hindered our growth and added a ton of stress and extra hours.
As time went on I realized why vision is so important. Spending time thinking about how the company will operate if sales grow to certain numbers is vital. Who will do this? Who will do that? How much space will we need if this happens?
I don’t advocate spending hours fine-tuning all the details of your vision, because things can change at any given point. A better method is to have a broad idea/plan of how things will play out in certain circumstances so you’re prepared for growth. If you don’t envision future possibilities, it will be impossible to delegate because you won’t know what to delegate, when or how. But if you think about your vision, you’ll know what and when to delegate. And without delegation, you’ll forever be an overwhelmed solopreneur.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Recently I’ve been spending the first hour looking over my calendar and figuring out which tasks will have the most impact. Then I decide how to accomplish them. It’s difficult not getting caught up in emails (and who knows what else), but I’ve found that if I focus on the most important tasks — and get those done first thing — I get the best results.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Learn the basics of business finance, consult experts often and pay attention to the numbers. Not paying attention to the financials and not watching cash flow can kill any business. Learn the concepts of cash flow and working capital.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Think. It sounds simple, but it’s actually pretty hard to do. If you consistently spend time thinking about how to make your business better in all aspects, it will get better and grow. If your mind is filled with day-to-day tasks all the time, you won’t be able to innovate new ways to grow your business. Delegate routine work to others so you are free to spend time thinking, making plans and taking action.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I relate success directly to fun. I do what I do because it is fun to me and I genuinely enjoy it. I want to be happy. I want to work with people who also have this attitude, and give them an environment where they can enjoy life.
I don’t really know when I’ll feel like I’ve finally succeeded in my business. I kind of feel like that already. I still want to keep going and do more and more, so maybe I haven’t. I guess it doesn’t really matter, as long as I’m having fun and keeping up a quality company where people enjoy working. That makes me happy.