Founder Advice: The Pursuit of Perfection Has Limits

May 30, 2017

8:30 pm

Putting unrealistic pressure on yourself to perform and excel could be limiting you to progress and succeed. We talked with Kyle Goguen, founder and president of, an online retailer and manufacturer of natural dog treats and chews, and asked him what advice he has for small business owners and lessons learned.

What advice helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today?

Change the way you analyze risk. Take the time to quantify the worst-case scenario, and determine what you could do and how long it would take to repair the damage. The easiest example is to look at financial risk. If your worst-case scenario is losing a sum of money, what would it take to get you back to where you are now? How will that affect you long term? If there isn’t irreparable damage, you should likely do it.

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Kyle Goguen

What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business and the lessons learned?

For too long I was striving for perfection. That sort of self-imposed pressure is paralyzing. It took me way too long to launch my business, kept me from taking risks and made it difficult for me to delegate. I tried to do everything myself and had unrealistic expectations. It was only after speaking with a few other entrepreneurs that I realized I was stunting my own business growth. I have since made a conscious effort to hire quality employees and allow them to take on more responsibility. By removing myself from certain tasks, I’ve learned to trust my team and enabled them to grow the business well past anything I could have done on my own.

What do you do during the first hour of your day?

While I’m not disciplined enough to do this every day (working on it!), exercise is the one thing that puts me in a better mood and allows me to think more clearly and accomplish more. I try to wake up every morning and exercise in some manner. Whether it’s hitting the gym or going surfing, moving for 30-90 minutes is always a great way to start my day.

What’s your best financial-related tip for early-stage entrepreneurs?

Know your numbers. You yourself should be aware of what’s happening in your business financially. Even if it’s not something you feel comfortable tackling and you hire accounting help from the get-go, you shouldn’t be completely unaware of what’s going on with your money. The last thing you want is to tie up too much of your cash in inventory and be surprised when you don’t have the funds to cover payroll.

What one thing do you recommend to grow one’s business?

SEND EMAILS. While this advice obviously depends on your industry and business model, I recommend figuring out how to use email marketing in some aspect of your business. This is especially true if you are in e-commerce. If you aren’t utilizing email for customer acquisition and retention, you’re leaving money on the table.

What’s your definition of success?

To me, success is the endgame. For me, the moment when you consider your business to be a “success” is the moment when you stop actively working to grow and nurture it. I became an entrepreneur because I love to watch things grow. Overcoming the struggles and hurdles with my businesses are a part of that evolution and my favorite part of my work. I try to celebrate the mini-successes and goal achievements along the way, but I have yet to hit a point where I’ve felt like my business was a “success.”

Read more advice from founders here at Tech.Co

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Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC members generate billions of dollars in revenue and have created tens of thousands of jobs.

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