Yaniv Masjedi is vice president of marketing at Nextiva, a leading provider of cloud-based unified communication solutions headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. He manages the firm’s marketing and branding efforts and initiates programs related to brand management, demand generation, advertising, marketing communications and thought leadership. Follow him at @yanivmasjedi.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
Tomas Gorny, Nextiva’s co-founder and CEO, is my hero. He’s a self-made entrepreneur with an incredible story and an even more impressive work ethic. He moved here from Europe with only a few dollars in his pocket and proceeded to build multiple companies, two of which went public.
At Nextiva, his visionary mindset is evident every day. He leads by example and really cares about his team. He sleeps maybe two or three hours a night and is still able to keep his finger on the pulse of every part of the business.
Back in 2008, Tomas projected a revenue dollar amount for the next 36 months and he hit his target, almost to the exact dollar. I feel fortunate to work with and learn from him every day.
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 ever received was to stay calm. Business can get crazy at times and very busy. When you are making decisions and working with people, you have to take the emotion out of it and try to be sane and practice good judgment. Staying calm has really helped me in my career.
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’ve always taken the lead on building Nextiva’s company culture and I think my biggest mistake in doing that was thinking culture was all about fluff like massages and free food. We operated in that way for a few years and just recently changed course.
The results have been amazing. Instead of just offering free food and ping-pong tables to our employees, we are focusing more on staff recognition and helping each person build a solid career path at Nextiva. That learning has been huge and employees have responded favorably. I think our company culture is stronger now than it has ever been.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I wake up around 6 a.m. and check my email. I like to get it out of the way before I even come to the office; it helps me start my day without the worry of playing catch-up.
Once I get to the office, I make myself a cup of coffee, check my calendar, write a detailed to-do list and head into a meeting with our sales department.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Be careful with how you spend your money. Especially if you’ve been on the receiving end of outside investment, it can be tempting to rent a fancy office or buy yourself something nice. Resist that temptation. Spend money on the things that will help your business grow. Don’t run to the dealership to get yourself a new car; use that money instead to launch a new marketing campaign.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Focus. Don’t try to do too many things at once. Stick to the basics and never forget your company’s values. It is easy to get sidetracked.