By: Darren Guccione, CEO
Starting a business is hard. Starting a technology business is really hard. I have been an entrepreneur since I was 16 years old. My Dad had an exotic automobile dealership in Chicago. When I was in high school, he taught me how to buy and sell cars for a profit. In addition to this, I caddied during the summer at a private country club. The experiences during my youth coupled with school were instrumental in helping me and my partners build and sell our first tech company in our 20′s.
First, I learned that it was important to listen to your gut. When something didn’t feel right about life – it was important to put your feelings first, before intellect. Feelings are what inspired my drive to create inventions, patent them and turn them into profitable business ventures.
Second, I learned to honor and embrace fear – that failure was simply a recipe for success. Thomas Edison, by example, performed over 100,000 experiments which failed, before he created the functional light bulb. He never stopped trying and used failure as a catalyst to succeed. To fear the unknown isn’t necessary because the darkness holds all the answers. It’s the uncharted territory where invention is created.
Third, I learned to value time more than money but – to value both. A week is 168 hours, not 40. This means that as an entrepreneur you have 128 hours beyond a normal work schedule to achieve your goals and build your business. I knew that if I put just 25% more time and focus into my objectives, I would make progress. Time lost is always lost and unlike money, it can’t be made back. Treat money as being “important” but treat time as “critical.”
Fourth, select great people to work with. Choose people who have strong values, passion for your product / service and solid technical fundamentals. Many great ideas and companies fail because of appointing the wrong people in key roles.
Lastly, if you are doing something and your gut tells you that it’s not working – then stop, re-evaluate and if necessary pivot. Try it a different way and always strive to perfect it. Also, if your gut tells you that you are working on something that isn’t part of your critical role or company focus, then stop. Stay totally focused and learn to say “no” or “we aren’t working on that today.” “Focus” is the most important aspect of executing any business idea.
I hope the foregoing sheds some light on some of my beliefs and fundamentals that have worked for me.