In my time as CEO of Coalition, I have worked with dozens of business owners and have seen what makes a business owner successful and what makes others fail. The single biggest distinguishing factor I have observed is NOT intelligence or connections. Instead, the single biggest factor that determines the success or failure of a new business is the amount of work the business owner himself puts into the company.
The cheap labor I refer to in the title of this article is not overseas, nor is it interns. It is your own time. You might make a big salary working at a company right now, but if you want a successful business you must do everything yourself at first.
When you start your business, you need to go into it with the realization that in order to build a successful company and gain the ground that your competitors already have on you, you need to work twelve hours a day, six days a week for at least the first five years. I myself am not to the five year point and I put in these hours. It is completely necessary to do all tasks in the business yourself until you can afford to hire someone to help you. At that point, you continue to work 12 hours a day, you just delegate some of the tasks that you can’t get to yourself to the person you have hired to help.
Let’s say that you raised $1 million to start your business – you don’t still have to put in six days a week, 12 hours a day do you? Absolutely, yes. Here’s why:
You will never do a good job hiring or assessing someone’s performance if you cannot do their job yourself. The most affordable training in how to do a job is to do it yourself and read everything you can get your hands on. Avoid school – I went to a prestigious undergraduate business school and learned less in 4 years of formal education than I did in my first 3 months of starting Coalition.
For most businesses, you will need to learn the following basic skills by doing the work yourself and researching as much as you can:
- Bookkeeping / Accounting / Finance
- Recruiting / Hiring / Human Resources
You will want to set up each of these systems yourself and learn the basics in the process of doing so. Sure, you will never be a CPA, but having an understanding of accounting terms and practices will be very powerful for you later in the life of your business when other people are doing this for you.
You should do as much as you can each day and only have other people do work that you cannot get to. As your business grows, this means you will understand how EVERYTHING is done inside of it and you will do a much better job of managing and optimizing the entire thing.