What’s the best advice you have been given as an entrepreneur?
I started two businesses in High School that each did well over $100,000 in revenue. Then when I was 21 my brother Scott and I started a business in direct sales, which we built to over $20 Million in annual sales while still in our twenties. It was in the process of building our business that I received three pieces of advice that were transformational for me. I think they are three pieces of advice every entrepreneur needs to hear.
Advice #1 – Treat Your Business Like A Business – Not A Hobby
In the beginning stages of our business my brother and I had a mentor named Lon Wardrop. Lon is a successful entrepreneur who used to tell us – “If you treat your business casually – you will become a casualty.” In the beginning we were part time (building our business on the side) and Lon helped us recognize that part time hours does not mean part time effort. Entrepreneurs work hard, and those that really grow businesses do so because they treat it like a business.
Advice #2 – Never Stop Knocking Doors
Every business is based on volume and retention. Discovering the marketing efforts that drive that volume and retention for you are crucial (but not complete). A good friend of mine, Brett Proctor, is a successful chiropractor. He hires people to knock doors and pass out flyers. We were talking once and he said, “I think the secret is you never stop knocking doors.” Once you find the marketing efforts that work to drive your volume and retention – you never stop knocking doors.
Advice #3 – If You Want To Succeed – Serve
One of the great mentors of my life was Dr. Stephen R. Covey – author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The first time I met Dr. Covey was at an event he hosted in his home. A mutual friend introduced us by saying, “Stephen, this is Ty Bennett, he’s writing a book.” Stephen asked me what the name of the book was. I said the, “The Power of Influence”. He asked me a little bit about the subject matter and then he said, “Ty can I give you some advice?” I’m not very good with math, but his book has sold about 26 million copies and that seemed like a lot to me, so I said, “I would love your advice.” J
He said, “Make sure you write your book for the reader and not the writer.” I asked, “What do you mean by that?” He said, “A book that’s written for the writer, to build him up, to make him successful, will never achieve what it desires. A book that’s written for the reader, to teach, to inspire, to help people, will be a homerun.” He continued, “it’s much more about contribution than achievement.” I asked, “But isn’t achievement a good thing?” He said, “Actually, life is about contribution and when you really learn how to contribute, you’ll achieve all you’ve ever wanted.”
Successful entrepreneurs and mentors gave these three ideas to me and they have served me very well. What is the best advice you have received as an entrepreneur?