Quan Gan is the president and founder of ZTag.com and Gantom. While he has a strong technical background from UC Berkeley and Stanford, he still feels there’s plenty to learn. He has a hunger for knowledge and meaningful connections. Connect with him at [email protected].
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My heroes are Elon Musk and Leonardo Da Vinci.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
During my undergraduate career, I found a variation of the famous Mark Twain quote on the inside of a bathroom stall at UC Berkeley: “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.” True education doesn’t come from classes but from real life experience. Don’t ever stop learning.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
At the time, I didn’t properly recognize sponsors and lacked the foresight to figure out what they wanted to get out of their sponsorship. Years ago in my first business, we had a title sponsor who put up a lot of resources to help us produce a show. I was so tied up in the whirlwind of activities happening leading up to the grand opening, that during my opening speech (which I winged), I completely forgot to thank or even recognize my sponsors. Later that evening during an interview, a smaller sponsor claimed he was the title sponsor, and that interview got published. That angered the actual title sponsor and he even threatened to tear down the show that he help build. Luckily, one of his business partners was able to cool him down. We spent the rest of the season trying to make amends because of that single oversight.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Pay yourself a market wage. Ask yourself the question: If I got hit by a bus, what would it cost to hire people to replace each of my roles? Only by doing this will your company financials be accurate. You’ll be able to understand whether your company is actually profitable or not.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I am still far from being successful. I think that will be the day when I can take a long vacation and relax with my family without worrying at all about the business because someone I highly trust can handle every single thing.