Seth Talbott started his career in IT and software development 15+ years ago. Since then, he has run a global data center for a major software company, been CEO of the award-winning Longevity Medical Clinics, and founded numerous companies, including Promedev and AtomOrbit which VentureBeat named one of the most innovative early-stage startups in the 2013 Innovation Showdown in Cloud Software. He’s also a co-founder of Preferling. Follow him @sethtalbott.
Who is your hero?
Abraham Lincoln. He was a brilliant man of deep faith who struggled with dark personal demons, lead a nation through a devastating war and still managed to abolish slavery.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Learn to tell when someone is blowing smoke, starting with yourself.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I viewed potential business failure as death. For a long time one of my companies was really struggling and I was completely overwhelmed with the thought of it failing. It took coming through that dark season and eventually overcoming even greater problems for me to finally realize that failure is common — often necessary — and not fatal. Failure doesn’t scare me anymore, whereas not learning from my mistakes petrifies me.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I get an espresso brewing, stare out of my office window for a few minutes and brace myself for the day. I am a huge advocate of a slow start so that you don’t get kicked in the shins. You don’t want to start your day off stressed and unbalanced.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Get your finances in order from the start and watch them like a hawk. Pay a little money upfront for an accountant to help you get your affairs in order so that you know what your cash situation is and can avoid any year-end tax surprises.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Don’t major in minors. Make sure that you keep the most important issues on the top of your list and don’t get distracted or overwhelmed by issues that shouldn’t be at the core of your focus.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I would consider a business successful if I grew it to a point where it created long-terms jobs and consistently generated a solid return on investment for its shareholders. It may sound simplistic, but I love to create new jobs. I feel a great sense of accomplishment from strengthening our local and national economy.