Question: What is the absolute best piece of advice a mentor has ever given you -- the kind that sticks, time and again?
Sell Once, Sell Again and Scale
"A few years ago, I saw Mike Evans from GrubHub speak, and the way he described business stuck with me to this day. He said, 1) sell the first dollar, 2) get the customer to buy again and 3) hire the right people to scale. When you think about it, that's all you need. Of course, easier said than done!"
Hire People You Trust
"The best advice I have been given is to only hire people you would trust to hire other people for you. When building a team, you can easily bring the wrong people in, which can do a lot of damage to the company. To be sure you bring in only the best, make sure you would trust everyone you hire to bring another person into the company. "
Embrace Being Uncomfortable
"Our most active mentor provided a piece of advice that has never left us -- you have to become comfortable being uncomfortable. The entrepreneurial process will place you outside your comfort zone. Whether it is delivering a big sales pitch, finding a new supplier, networking with key potential customers, etc., embracing that uncomfortable feeling is vital to thriving in those situations."
Work With People You Like
"Whether it’s your team, clients or partners, I’ve learned to only work with people I like and enjoy. This advice really hit home for me. Life is too short be around people who bring you down. If you really like the people with whom you work, their ethics and values will align with yours. This makes it much easier to produce great results and makes for a much more enjoyable work environment. "
Work Hard in the Beginning
"Hard work is an overrated concept these days. It's important in the beginning of a startup, but once things get rolling, the best thing an entrepreneur can do is focus on ways to work more efficiently rather than simply putting in 80 hours a week."
"Before flying off the handle, getting angry or placing blame, ask why. If work ever falters or someone fails to meet your expectations, there's often a good reason. And that might be you. By digging into the why and doing so in a patient, understanding way, you can find out if your behavior as a leader is inhibiting performance or there's an issue in the company that needs to be addressed."
Analyze Your Actions
"This is a maxim from Peter Drucker, but one that two different mentors have shared with me. Any time that I'm frustrated with our progress for a period of time, I take a step back and analyze if my actions are in line with our company goals. If they're not, I revise the projects and tasks on which I'm focused."
Eat, Sleep and Work
"The bigger your dreams, the bigger the sacrifice. When in startup mode, act like you are in prison. Eat, sleep and work, and do nothing else."