(left to right: Samir Patel, Roy Spencer, Gary Hoover, and Nathon Bond)
Today, The Foundation for Economic Education Conference hosted an amazing event. It was a panel of four intelligent, inspiring, and hardcore entrepreneurs that actually "made it": Samir Patel, Roy Spencer, Gary Hoover, and Nathon Bond. Since this event took place at the same time as many other talks at the conference, the attendance was surprisingly low. It was truly a hidden gem and a rare opportunity to gain insight into what the entrepreneurial life is really like. Refreshingly, these entrepreneurs were not trying to sell anything to their audience; they were simply passing on the abundance of knowledge that they have been accumulating since day one. Each of them come from different backgrounds and had unique stories to tell, however, much of their advice had a common theme. Here are my takeaways based on the advice that these panelists gave to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Establish core values for yourself and your business
The core values that you create for yourself and your business are what define your company's culture. These values are the hidden force that "run" your business when you aren't there. Establishing clear and meaningful core values can help you mitigate the risk of causing problems with your employees down the road.
Learn to network early on
Communication is often the foundation of many business opportunities and is certainly a requirement for deal-making and negotiation. By learning to network early on, you become a better communicator at a time where you have less to lose.
Have a solid contingency fund
When disaster inevitably strikes, you need to be completed prepared. Having a solid reserve of disaster funds can potentially save your business in the future.
Do things that most people are not willing to do
When a person decides to become an entrepreneur, they have separated themselves from the pack and have become a sort of a "black sheep" because of their differences. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you simply can't do things like most people. That means doing hard things and taking on challenges that most people simply aren't willing to.
Hire people with character over qualification
Often times, the candidate with the highest test scores, most degrees, or related certifications, is not the right fit for a position, even if they have more work experience. While hiring, entrepreneurs often choose people with specific character traits, like the ability to learn, over people with related qualifications. Although obviously, they prefer candidates that have both the qualifications and a matching character for the position.
The members on this panel also characterized some key traits that they believe are "must haves" for aspiring entrepreneurs.
- You must be a self-starter
- You must be comfortable with uncertainty and risk
- You must be a fanatic when it comes to your specific field.
Although this advice was based on a small group of four entrepreneurs, they are most definitely qualified. Being a successful entrepreneur is clearly no small feat. By using the advice from these entrepreneurs that have already "made it", hopefully, it will make your own journey of "making it" just a little bit easier.