Randy Rayess is the co-founder of VenturePact, a marketplace that connects companies to pre-screened software development firms; he previously worked in private equity at SilverLake Partners and in machine learning. You can reach out to him at @randyrayess or on LinkedIn.
Who is your hero?
My hero is Elon Musk, a visionary focused on improving the world through technology. I admire Elon for his ability to take risks and build revolutionary products. From cars to rocket ships, Elon’s work has shaken up three major industries with his Paypal payment platform, Tesla design, and SpaceX contributions. The reusable rocket Elon built saves 70 percent on the cost of rocket launches — that’s remarkable!
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
The best piece of advice I’ve received is to “build the right team and focus on culture.” Your team is crucial to success and is the first line of defense to execute the company mission. If you are unable to sell your employees on an idea, it is near impossible to sell your customers on the same vision. People work hard on ideas they believe in and produce better results when they enjoy working. Building the right team is often tough and a laborious task. Many variables come into play that are not easy to identify in an interview or in a reference call. Devote the time to building the team now, and reap the benefits later.
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 made was trying to accomplish all tasks personally instead of hiring and delegating. Hiring, training and providing feedback is an investment in your company’s future.
Delegating tasks is of utmost importance to ensure that the founding team has sufficient time to execute the vision by focusing on tasks that will move the business forward. Working 16-hour days is tough. Working 16-hour days while sick is even harder. Your health is your wealth: if you’re stressed out and overworked, it is much harder to be productive and make clear-headed decisions.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I like to start my day reading tech news and LinkedIn Pulse. It is interesting to see the new companies and technologies people are working on.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Monthly expenses add up quickly as you sign up for more services and hire more people. It’s important to focus on what is necessary, prioritize and set strict budgets.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Make sure you are talking to your users and stakeholders. We usually make assumptions about what people think and how people will respond but it is necessary to talk with users, track how users engage with your product and get feedback before making product decisions.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success to me is being challenged daily, enjoying what you are working on, and having sufficient cash flow to cover all your basic needs. You have truly succeeded when you are able to spend each day working on something that you love. Relationships built and time spent helping others are often better metrics for success than placing all emphasis on monetary figures.
Pictured above are the co-founders of VenturePact, Pratham Mittal (on left) and Randy Rayess (on right).