I never knew I was supposed to be an entrepreneur. I was always “enterprising” as a young person but I didn’t know that the leadership characteristics I portrayed were indications that running my own firm would be the best and happiest use of my time.
I came to SLU to finish my MBA when I had already owned a company for 8 years. The company I founded in California, had moved to Kansas City, and had eyed to expand into St. Louis, was focused on SAT and ACT preparation for high school students, with some classes offered for the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT as well.
The high-level strategic thinking that was part of my MBA – which I suspect is often geared towards “job” types – nonetheless proved to be of tremendous help to me as I thought about how to run my company better and I attribute – in part – the successful six-figure sale of one of my businesses in October 2012 – to my time at SLU.
Three fundamental lessons I carry with me every day in every business I am involved in:
1. Pledge to make mistakes only once. When you have made it – put together processes and systems to either prevent a mistake from happening again and/or prepare for fallout if it does.
2. Delegate to people by giving them real authority – authority which they will sometimes make mistakes using – but unless you are willing to let go and give them the ability to learn through their mistakes – you’ll just be busy by giving yourself more work. “If you want it done right, do it yourself” is not just outdated, but just plain wrong.
3. While I recognize that any startup phase has a large amount of personal sacrifice on any level – do not sacrifice your health and personal relationships in pursuit of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The glow of success and achievement once you reach that pot will not give back time you may never get back with those you love.
I love SLU and am so grateful to have received my degree from such a top-notch school.