After the initial “start up struggles” when I first created my company, I began to start to get phone calls and emails out of the blue from people wanting to come and work for my trendy, up and coming company. One was from a pretty successful entrepreneur in Orlando, Rick Highsmith, who had already created and sold two companies. When he first called me and told me of some of his accomplishments, I paused and said, “And why is it again that you want to come work for me?” because he had already done what I was trying to do. I figured that I should probably be working for him.
After a few phone calls, Rick decided to invest in a flight to Los Angeles where my next class was taking place, and after the first few hours of the class, he was hooked. He and I had lunch at the hotel, and he told me how impressed that he was with the class. He said that he had “audited” about ten different training companies and had actually gotten certified to teach a few classes, but he wanted to be a part of The Leader’s Institute® because what we were doing was so unique.
I smiled at him and said, “That’s funny, because I decided to hire you the moment you bought your plane ticket to Los Angeles.” No one had ever taken a risk like that on me, so I was very impressed.
Then I looked him right in the eye and said, “Great, that makes two of us now…” and his jaw dropped into his plate. He couldn’t believe that I was running this huge, international company all by myself.
The truth was that, at that time, my company wasn’t a huge international company. In fact, the previous year, the entire revenue of the company was only about $130,000 and the profit was a lot (lot, lot) less.
But I had already begun to figure a few things out about being a small business owner. The main thing was that when everyone else was paying fees to become a “Certified Small Business,” I was beginning to create the impression in the marketplace that my company was a BIG business.
Like most entrepreneurs, I made a bunch of mistakes in the beginning, but every time that I made one of these mistakes, I learned something. Once I learned some of these secrets, I began to pass them along to other business owners so they didn’t have to make the same mistakes.
Folks say that “Experience is the best teacher,” but that is really only about half right. In fact, “Someone ELSE’S experience is the best teacher,” because they have already made those mistakes. Learn from them, and you get to a higher level of success in a much faster time frame.
Doug Staneart is the CEO of The Leader's Institute® and creator of the Entrepreneur Boot Camp Small Business Workshop, and he is the Undisputed Expert in small business development. He is based in Dallas, Texas, but the class is taught in cities all over the world.