This is Part 2 in a series on entrepreneurialism and career changes by Porter Gale, Former VP of Marketing at Virgin America. Part 1 is here.
In the spirit of collaboration (and entrepreneurship), I sent a quick email out to my successful self-employed friends and asked, "What is the best advice you have for business owners?"
Interestingly enough, a large percentage of the responses received were focused on work ethic, finding the best people and treating them right. Below are 10 "success" tips from 10 top entrepreneurs.
1) "Hire slowly, fire fast." --Bill Clerico, CEO of WePay
2) "The Brand is The Amusement Park, the Product is the Souvenir." --Nick Graham, CEO of Fresh Happy People and Founder/Chief Underpants Officer of Joe Boxer
3) "Trust your gut, keep your sense of humor, surround yourself with adult supervision, and know that starting and running a growing business is filled with adversity and challenges. I doubt any successful business was easy." --Lily Kanter, CEO of Serena & Lily
4) "Never ask anyone to do something that you wouldn't do." --Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment and former Chief Evangelist of Apple
5) "When you become an entrepreneur you need to understand 'people' are at the heart of your success. The most successful entrepreneurs master the art of dealing with and attracting the right people." --Daren Klum, CEO of CRAM Worldwide
6) "Do business in person, use email for follow-up." --Ido Leffler, Co-founder of Yes To Inc.
7) "I believe a business can thrive with the right attitude towards people. Treat everyone with courtesy (you never know who might be a customer or a conduit to one), think about what your employees need to thrive and work hard (set a standard and an example as the founder), and take time to get to know your banker." --Wendi Norris, Co-Owner of Frey Norris Contemporary & Modern
8) "When tackling a problem, I would rather work with a team of people who don't know they can't solve it rather than with an experienced group that would tell me how difficult it is to get the job done." --Jeff Pulver, Founder of #140conf and Co-founder of Vonage
9) "Problem solving is a joy." --Jodee Rich, CEO of PeopleBrowsr
10) "There is no way to fake hustle." --Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-founder of Vaynermedia
These tips remind me of a program created at Virgin America called ViVa, based on the idea that you should "call someone out on their awesomeness." The premise? Often, it's easy to forget the importance of giving positive feedback and rewarding your team. So today's tip for entrepreneurs is to call at least three people out on their "awesomeness."
You don't have to give them a gold statue of Sir Richard Branson. Giving your recognition of a job well done will probably do the trick. As these tips point out, a little bit of team-building, positive feedback and of course acknowledgment of your team's success can go a very long way.
If you have advice you'd like to share or, alternatively, if you have a job title that tops "Chief Underpants Officer," feel free to tweet it to @portergale. I enjoy hearing from you all each week.