John Daniel is a serial entrepreneur and expert in strategic partnerships, business development and marketing, with more than 20 years of business experience in technology, fashion, and transportation. Follow him @innovatrjohn.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
I don’t necessarily have heroes, but I do like what Elon Musk is doing in Tesla and Space X. He keeps pushing the envelope further in business and innovation.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
I don’t follow one piece of advice. I like to listen to all advice that has been given to me over the years and form my own plan. I don’t believe that one simple piece of advice can change how you do business. It’s the multitude of situations you face when starting a business that shape who you are as a businessperson and an investor.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The biggest mistake I made was when I was first starting out and my company was making lots of money was not realizing that my company’s bank account and my personal account were separate. I thought I could spend money like a drunken sailor. I’ve learned to save and separate the two, and know that a new house and car is not that important, but saving for a rainy day is. You never know when business will slow down and you might need to expect the unexpected. Make sure you have money for payroll. You are as only as good as your employees.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I check emails, texts, CRMs and accounts to make sure all employees, clients and partners are satisfied and on the same page. Communication is the most important because that’s how you build trust within your organization.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Stop worrying about failure. If you fail and dont get back up, business is not for you. At least you know that much, and you can keep your 9-to-5 job.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
I invest in talent and let other team members do what I cannot seem to wrap my head around. Once you have tried a certain strategy without making headway, look for talent, partners and mentors who will believe in your product or service. If you cannot afford them, offer equity or something valuable for their help to take you to the next level.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success is a theory to me. It’s defined differently from every single person. What my success means will not make sense to anyone but me.