Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire: An Entrepreneur Adage

June 18, 2017

12:45 pm

Take advice from many different sources of inspiration: business mentors, customers, colleagues, and even books and songs. But if you ask any entrepreneur, they’ll tell you that a great team can do wonders in a business. But you need to build your team the right way.

Joe Olsen is the cofounder and CEO of Rova, the industry’s #1 agency-growth platform. Check out our interview with this entrepreneur below as he talks about the importance of hiring slow and firing fast.

Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)

I don’t have a hero per se, but I admire many people for different things. In business and in life (which are the same thing for me), I would say there are many people I take and have taken inspiration from at different times for various reasons. I am always looking at leaders in pop culture and business, as well as the intersection of those two areas, for insightful stories or lessons I can take with me to help make me more successful. I identify with many of those people and their perspectives because I have always felt that that’s where I spend most of my time. If I had to pick one, I would pick Steve Jobs. His focus was incredible and he was a wonderful salesman. Those are the two most important factors for the entrepreneurs I identify with most.

What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?

Wow. We could be here for days. My entire perspective on business is a long list of sound bites. I’ve taken advice from business mentors I have had, customers and clients, employees and colleagues, books, songs, etc. and all of it comes up again and again throughout my life. I learned early on from Wu-Tang that cash rules everything around me (C.R.E.A.M.). I learned that the difference between a showman and a huckster is that a showman has the goods (best bit of sales advice). I was also trying to raise money once for a side project and I was told by the investor that he only invested in businesses, not projects. If he invested in my business, I was thinking about making him money 24 hours a day. If it was a project, I would only be thinking of making him money when I was thinking about that project. Lastly, there is no church in the wild. It’s a hustle and you have to fight every day.

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 old adage: slow to hire and quick to fire. I wish I had learned this earlier on in my career and actively worked to live by it. Bringing in the right people is critical, but getting rid of the wrong people fast is even more critical. I don’t want to know the amount of money and time and resources I have wasted because I didn’t cut people loose quick enough.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?

Every morning is pretty much the same. I wake up and check the news on my phone, eat, take vitamins and then work out. During my workout, I listen to music and try to think about the day, visualize what I need to do and walk through conversations in my head while looking for all possible outcomes. It’s really a great time to get prepared, which sets the day up for success. If I can’t work out, I’ll do the same visualization work while driving and getting coffee or walking the streets of whatever city I am in.

What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?

Run the leanest organization you can. Running lean is way easier than trimming the fat when times get rough — and they always will. You should be running a monthly cash outlook that you’re looking at frequently as well.

Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?

Sell, sell, sell. Customer acquisition is the most important part of any business. It’s hard and compounding, meaning you need to do it consistently every day to see success. Invest in it above all else and make it one of the core values of your company. Sales-focused companies are always more successful. Also, make sure you carve out at least two hours a day to think about your business and your world. Being a successful entrepreneur can be extremely taxing and isolating, so it’s important to get a chance to shut everything else out and think.

What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?

I think success beyond basic attributes of successful companies (i.e. balance sheets and P&L) is a matter of perspective and is largely in the eyes of the beholder. For me, I feel like I will never reach success as I would define it. I think the bar keeps rising and I have unreasonably high expectations. But I think as long as I am having fun, being challenged and surrounded by people who feel the same, I’ll be “successful.”

Read more interviews about being an entrepreneur on Tech.Co

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