1. What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
As a former fighter pilot, I’ve learned that it’s better to take a decisive and immediate action (even if it is mediocre) than wait to figure out a genius maneuver. Odds are that by the time you’ll figure out the genius maneuver, an enemy plane has already shot you down. As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly running and making data-driven decisions. I refuse to look back and question them.
2. What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The biggest mistake I’ve made as an entrepreneur was trying to please venture capitalists while I was pitching to them during our first round of financing.
Most VCs know very little about your business, especially when it comes to disruptive ideas that have never been done before. Albeit their inexperience, some of them came up with irrelevant suggestions on how to change my company. Although our business is extremely successful, I changed my focus and lost precious time.
In the end, however, instead of trying to please the money gatekeepers, I learned to ignore the noise. You need to take capital only from investors who are really passionate about your business; not necessarily just passionate about their ideas for your business.
3. What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I usually start my day at 5:30 a.m. with a long run or spinning. It allows me to think through the top three things I want to accomplish. I write down my goals on my iPhone and make sure they get done by the time I leave work.
4. What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Cash is the great-great grandfather of the last king; give him a lot of respect. When I get a quote from a vendor I always counter with a price that is 40 percent below their asking price and end up with a 20-33 percent savings. You’d be surprised how much money you can save just by asking.
5. Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Read the book “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.” Take notes on what is applicable to your company and execute those things.
6. What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success is a fading momentary notion that means very little. We are Type A individuals, and success for us means that we have raised the bar to challenge ourselves to our next goal in life. My purpose is to reduce over-consumption by 20 percent by 2050. I probably won’t be successful, but I’ll certainly die trying.