Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My parents are my heroes. I never had to look externally to find inspiration. Both my parents are doctors and self-employed. Whether it was growing their practice from scratch without any debt to being available for their clients whenever they were needed to having the best employee retention rate I have ever seen, I have learned more from observing my parents than reading any business book. Although my line of trade is completely different, the principles of business remain the same in every industry.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Your existing clients should come first! I learned very early in the game that it costs mush less time to retain an existing client than to try to convert a new one. A regular client of mine recently said something very interesting, which went straight to my heart: “The way you treat your clients in busy times will shape what happens to your business in slow times.”
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Micro-managing. I had a fear of not getting things done right if I was not involved in them. In doing so, I was burning myself out and was unable to focus on growth. It’s extremely important that you place smart people in business, train them and empower them to function without your involvement.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
My first half hour after waking up is spent reading and replying to any important emails. The next half hour is spent making breakfast for my wife. I believe it’s very important to spend time with your family in the morning as your brain is not clogged up with 10,000 different things.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Spend less than you make. I started my business with no loans or debt and managed to survive by following this simple philosophy. I believe the life of an entrepreneur who is starting out should be like that of a monk, “dedicated, focused and without many material needs.”
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Interact with people from all walks of life. Learn how they live their lives and the problems they face every day. Think about how your product or service might be directly or indirectly benefiting them.
I know that I am supposed to list only one thing, but I can’t leave without stating this: Stay humble when you are starting out and stay humble when you succeed.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success to me is relative. Just as success for a homeless person might be finding shelter on a rainy day, my success is the ability to do what I love and help support people.
I am very ambitious in business, but that has no relation to success.