Millennials are underrated when it comes to work ethic. As the biggest age group in the country at 80 million strong, entrepreneurs sprout from all over, creating jobs for a variety of industries. Success comes in many forms, and we at Owner’s Magazine had the opportunity to talk to a few successful entrepreneurs about culture, motivations, and how to achieve your goals. Many of these entrepreneurs are founders and CEO’s of their own businesses, and they are here to give some advice on how to grow.
Greg Star, Founding Partner of Carvertise
“Why finding a mentor is the worst advice I ever received. You may be confused by this title. After all, a mentor is crucial for personal development. They can provide hard earned wisdom that only comes from experience facing similar challenges that you are up against. Additionally, a mentor can open up a network of contacts that you would not meet otherwise. So why would finding a mentor be considered bad advice? Isn’t this a no brainer? The answer is no- and here’s why.
Finding a single mentor limits your thinking. You should be trying to find multiple mentors. Here are three important benefits you get from surrounding yourself with a team of mentors as compared to one.
1. Different viewpoints– Having several mentors with different specialties to bounce problems off of will give you broader insight on the problems you are facing. Your one mentor may have a biased that can only be seen if your getting multiple points of view.
2. Larger network– A mentor can open up a lot of doors to a lot of key introductions for you from a personal and professional standpoint. Thus, the more mentors you have, the larger your network becomes.
3. It teaches you how to ask for help– This is probably the best lesson for finding multiple mentors. The act of constantly reaching out to different people asking help is an incredibly important skill. It teaches you to put your ego aside, which is incredibly important in developing personally and professionally. I personally reach out for help 3-4x a month to people who I think I can learn from, and the benefits have been exponential.
Bringing it together:
Next time someone tells you to find a mentor, stop them, and let them know why they are wrong!”
Andrew Nakkache, Co-founder & CEO of Habitat LLC
“7 core attributes or traits that I think are important for entrepreneurs (at least for me):
Share Ideas – I’m big on sharing a raw idea with everyone. Ideas are typically worthless, and the only way they get better is through talking to enough people (and customers). 9/10 ideas I have are terrible.
Delusional Optimism – You need to have a deep-seeded belief that you and your team are exceptional, and you are the ones that are going to fix the problem you’re solving.
Everlasting Paranoia – Simultaneously, you have to believe that what your building is worthless
Shameless Persistence – Again, tell everyone your idea and ask everyone who you think can help..for help. Most people like to help entrepreneurs, those relationships can turn into mentors.
Impulse Control – You need to have the ability to resist temptation.
Level Headed – This ties into Impulse Control, you’re going to have a lot of internal battles. It’s important to keep a level head, and your team needs to see that.
High Integrity – Always be thankful and courteous to everyone you meet. You never know how someone may be helpful down the road.”
David Feinman, Co-founder & CEO of Viral Ideas
“For new entrepreneurs, it is important to just get started, to do something that you can take to market. Be it a product, a consulting concept, or something small, that you are able to take to a few customers that are willing to pay you something, for your idea or for your concept so that you can test, learn, and grow from that initial starting base, and really build on top of that.”
Benjamin Fuller, Associate of Montgomery McCracken’s Business Department
“While every situation is different, I often recommend that the partners in start-ups have honest and frank discussions their goals. I find that they rarely have accounted for disagreement and difficult circumstances that are likely to arise in any business. It is always easier to have a discussion about these issues up front.
With respect to growing companies, I counsel them on how investment may dilute their equity. For founders of any company it is important to understand what they are giving up in order to gain investment. The bottom line is it’s important to include your lawyer in these types of conversations early and often. We often act as the facilitators of these discussions and can provide specific insight sometimes based on “war stories” – both good and bad – from past representations.”
Stephen Blackwell, Chief Strategy Officer of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group
“The Great Recession created a lot of uncertainty for my generation and how it viewed itself and its prospects. The status quo didn’t appear sustainable at the time and it forced a lot of us to think outside the box – and ultimately create jobs during that time. To me, success has been about educating yourself at length about the industry you’re entering and then taking the extra time to get creative. Find that niche your industry is looking for. It’s probably hiding in plain sight.”
Tony Cho, President of Metro 1 Properties
“To me, culture is everything. That is why most, if not all, of our agents and employees chose Metro 1 over other more established companies. The culture we curate and create exudes and exemplifies who we are and who we aspire to be in the community. Providing regular yoga and meditation classes for staff and agents builds camaraderie and rapport between and among the team. Culture is key in business.”
Erica Dias, Co-Owner of The B Firm
“Never give up! Dreaming isn’t going to get you anywhere. DOING will! You’ve got this! Faith It Until You Make It!”
Ryan Shear, Principal of Property Markets Group
“I’ve found that so much of what dictates success in real estate development as a profession and an industry ultimately boils down to effective management, whether it’s managing time, resources, personnel, etc. From the beginning, I recognized an opportunity to do things at PMG differently from the typical development shop. We have a great blend of really experienced industry veterans working hand-in-hand with ambitious young professionals that has left us with a very atypical culture relative to the other companies in our field. We have fun together and support one another, but we are also constantly pushing. When it comes to incentivizing employees based on project performance, I think we are more aggressive than just about any other developer of our size and that gets the team to reach for that higher gear. I am very demanding of my team, but they have become even more demanding of themselves and that is what makes me most proud.”
Karen Elmir, CEO of The Elmir Group
“To maximize sales, one must be creative and think outside the box. Push beyond ordinary marketing tools by investing in your listing and always look for new channels of communication and sales. Remember, it takes money to make money. Additionally, professionalism and dedication are key. Make sure to consistently be knowledgeable about your product, as well as the state of the market and its trends.”
Ali Grant, Founder of Be Social
“As your business expands, you will soon understand the need to scale efficiently. It can be difficult giving ownership to others, but putting trust in your team allows you to conquer, grow, and scale.”
Elizabeth Convery, Founder of Very Real Estate
“I have been fortunate to build my entire book of business at VERY Real Estate on word-of-mouth referrals. It is my belief if you do right by one person, and put their needs above your own, treating them with respect, dignity, and acting in a thoughtful way on their behalf, that you leave a lasting and memorable impression. Naturally, when people have a positive experience, they tell their friends and your business grows like a tree. I strive to always have people smile when they hear my name. Making someone feel special is the key to building trusting, lasting relationships and having a reputation that leaves people feeling great.”
Zubin Teherani, Co-Founder of LeagueSide
“Sell your idea before you sell your product. Youth sports sponsorships have unique advantages over other forms of marketing. They provide a captivated audience for hours every weekend, guarantees digital and in-person impressions to the same group of families, and supports the families you’re marketing to by subsidizing their costs. We always, always, always, start by selling the merits of sponsoring youth sports organizations before we get into how it works. Selling the big picture helped us close big clients and investors in our early days before we ever built a product.
“Fake it till ya make it” – When we started LeagueSide, we focused on selling before we ever built a product. We pitched clients, youth sports leagues, and investors and got yeses before we committed to LeagueSide full-time. This validated that this was a business worth pursuing, saved us months of time, and gave us perfect clarity of what we needed to do next.”
Jenny Cipoletti, Founder of Margo & Me
“The Shift: I started reaching out to stylists to work with them on weekends. I worked PR during the week and started styling on the weekends with whoever needed an assistant at the time. From there, I started to realize I really enjoyed the styling more. I woke up at 25 and I had a grocery list of all of these amazing things: my health, my boyfriend, and my puppy, but I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was alive but I wasn’t living. I was just going through the motions.
That Quit Moment: I said to myself, if I wake up at 30 years old and I’m still doing this, it’s not going to be pretty, so I left my PR job and went back to school. I did the nine month program at FIDM for fashion design, and it was incredible. For years and years, I hadn’t learned anything tangible applicable or creative — that changed overnight. I’d totally forgotten what it felt like to be a student again, totally immersed in a creative culture and constantly inspired by my teachers, my peers, and my work. I was thrown into a design program where you learned how to sketch, sew, drape, and create patterns. It was like this bubble just burst inside of me. I suddenly realized that this was what I’d been missing all along.
Start, Just Start: In addition to going back to school, I launched Margo and Me as a way to showcase what I was designing (Margo is my french bulldog). It started out as just a showcase for the dresses I was designing, but then I started posting outfits and styling tips as well. My husband is a director and was the one who originally inspired the idea because he was testing his new camera lens so I asked him to take a picture of me wearing one of my outfits. There were a few trendsetters out there, but this was before the huge blogging boom. There weren’t really many people doing it at the time. It was a whole new world.”
Kathleen McCabe, Founder of Syreni
“In the early stages of starting a company the best way to stay motivated is hold yourself accountable by telling as many people as possible about what you are doing. This will help you gain confidence and allow you to practice your natural sales pitch while building your future network. Get a web presence early and publish your anticipated launch date. The excitement you see from your early followers will motivate you to keep going and not give up.”
Hayk Tadevosyan, Insurance Agent at State Farm
“I always go back and use numbers to make things simple to understand as I strongly understand that numbers don’t lie. A powerful statistic and a very familiar one to business owners is “9 out of 10 businesses don’t make it past year One”, well what happens after year one?
Another interesting statistic, half the business owners that make it past year one don’t see year three and half of who makes it past year three don’t see year five…. Why is that?
During the starting phase of a business if you are part of the 9 out of 10 that doesn’t make it, it’s due to the fault of the person in charge, the business owner. You didn’t work hard enough, weren’t committed and were not putting in the hours. The only “silver bullet” in business success that I’m aware of is good old fashion Hard Work. SAME can be said by every successful entrepreneur I know.
The problem with year 3 is our business outgrown us in volume. As an individual there are only so many meeting we can attend, so many calls we can make, so many things we can manage. If we don’t duplicate ourselves, and in many cases duplicating ourselves several times, we will not keep up with the growth. When a demand exceeds the business structure, the business falls apart, which is why it’s crucial to start training and developing a team right away, and the right people take a while to develop. If you ask yourself the question of, “How long it took us to learn a skill and perfect it?” If the answer is years, then why do we get frustrated with our managers if they don’t get it right the first time and fire them?! We have to be patient and spend a lot of our time coaching, although sometimes we feel that time is better spend closing more deals. That’s a huge misconception, training and developing a team is the highest ROI time we can spend in a business.
Usually by year 5, the business owner is no longer working for money, but more for balance in life. At this point, we have to realize we don’t need a job and the business is not built to create a job for the business owner, it’s built to create jobs for others. If by year 5 the business owner doesn’t have a manager that manages his team and a team that manages the customers, there is a high chance of the business owners to get negative with the business, which takes away creativity, and with lack of creativity, there is no passion, and without having passion, business dies, either right away or slowly till it becomes more expensive to maintain the business than to just close doors.
There are a lot of moving parts to making a business work, but if I were to give anyone advice on what to focus on is this time schedule.
Year 1 – Be the hardest worker with longest hours. Become what you are looking to recreate as far as future employees in the business.
Year 2-3 – Since you are a machine, look to duplicate yourself. We always attract what we are, not who we want. So, if you are a hard and smart worker you will find a good team, if you don’t, then you need to ask yourself if you are leading by example.
Year 3-5 – One of your team members will shine more than the rest, put them in charge and train them on how to train others. Train the team to answer to the manager, so you only answer to your manager. It’s much easier long term to answer to few sharp leaders within your organization than thousands of clients. At this point, the machine is running, you have lots of time to spend on other business ventures, hobbies, family etc.
Your team is making lots of money and you have created good jobs in the community, and the business doesn’t stop growing as you are not a one man show.
These Are All of the Industries Experiencing The Amazon Takeover
Amazon’s continuous growth is prompting the company to expand into a variety of industries well beyond their initial scope of electronic commerce. Beginning as an online bookstore, Amazon now represents the most valuable United States retailer regarding market capitalization. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is presently the world’s richest person. A combination of success and drive for constant expansion is resulting in an Amazon takeover of several important industries. Amazon still reigns supreme as an online retailer, though clearly that title alone is not enough to satisfy Bezos. His areas of interest are vast, including the following.
Just last year, the Amazon takeover included Whole Foods, where they were acquired for $13.7 billion. The move continues Amazon’s battle with Walmart to reign supreme in the retail space. On the other side, Walmart is continuing to refine their online space, while remaining America’s top employer. The battle between these two giants will continue to wage on, with Amazon’s interest in the brick-and-mortar space being no secret.
Even before the Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon’s plans to build convenience stores and curbside pickup locations shows a deep infatuation with becoming a strong brick-and-mortar presence. Beyond a mere presence, Amazon is confident that consumers will continue embracing a model that allows them to order online and pick up in person.
Amazon’s opening of the Amazon Go Store in Seattle in January marks an exciting time for these interests. Customers enter the store and scan their Amazon Go app as they do. Cameras and other sensors track customers’ activity as their browse, registering an item into their virtual cart when they take it off the shelf. Customers are charged when they leave the store with their goods. Amazon terms the idea “Just Walk Out” shopping and hopes to attract customers who despise waiting in lines, as many do.
Amazon’s reshaping of the typical brick-and-mortar presence is introducing consumers to new ideas like “Just Walk Out” shopping. Combined with the acquisition of Whole Foods, the company will without a doubt continue to redefine the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.
Amazon has been shaping the delivery industry for many years now, especially since Amazon Prime’s introduction in 2005. The company’s vow to deliver items to Prime customers in two days or less still presents a challenge to online retail competition, who are well aware that they must match these shipping expectations or compensate in some other way, like offering lower prices. Meeting Amazon’s delivery promises and their costs is a major challenge, especially to new eCommerce businesses.
Beyond Amazon Prime’s major influence on shipping expectations among online retailers, Amazon is redefining what the delivery space means through their utilization of drone technology. Specifically, Amazon Prime Air is introducing a new delivery system, where unmanned aerial vehicles can safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
Amazon, already familiar with quick parcel delivery, is upping the ante even more in the delivery industry with such lofty ambition. Still, with a private trial already underway in the UK, Amazon Prime Air and the use of drones in delivery is a very real aspect of the future. Upon receiving the regulatory support, we can anticipate Amazon Prime Air to be an option for many.
It makes sense that Amazon is continuing to make significant moves in the tech sphere. There’s no doubt regarding the company’s technical expertise and how technology can accommodate access to their variety of products.
Among their technological products is Amazon Fire TV, which streams live TV and enables users to watch hundreds of shows and movies. There’s also the Amazon Kindle Fire, which capitalizes on Amazon’s vast digital library in the form of a tablet computer with a seven-inch multi-touch display. Many still view Kindle Fire as a strong competitor to Apple’s iPad.
Amazon’s Dash buttons, while simple, are also an exciting addition to their array of tech. The Dash Button is a single-function controller that consumers can place around their house near items that need replenishing. Need a new order of Tide paper towels? Order a specific Dash button for Tide, put it near the towels and press the button when you notice them running low. They will then arrive on your doorstep in a couple of days.
Amazon Prime offers much more than free two-day shipping. One of Prime’s most notable benefits is the increasingly impressive Amazon Video platform. The Amazon Prime Video show Transparent won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy in 2005, while 2017 Oscar Best Picture nominee Manchester by the Sea is also developed by Amazon Studios.
Amazon is increasing their influence in both TV and film by producing excellent content, including many notable releases in development. They’re emerging as a viable competitor to cable, Netflix and Hulu.
Whether a consumer prefers reading a book or watching a movie, Amazon is seeking to have the entertainment niche covered.
Is This Amazon’s Peak?
Amazon’s firm grasp across multiple industries begs the question: Is this Amazon’s peak? While it’s impossible to tell definitively, stockholders should monitor the situation closely. Amazon has been a model of consistent growth since 2000. Presently, Amazon’s stock trades for approximately 130 times the business’s projected earnings for 2018 and almost four times its projected sales for 2018.
These growth prospects rely on revenue per customer growth. Although there will certainly be customers who increase their spending on Amazon, it’s difficult to think of any huge breakthroughs or offerings that will prompt more revenue per customer, especially upon Prime’s increase to $119 per year. Many customers may opt to spend that on a Costco membership instead.
Additionally, it’s important to note that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods plays a significant role in the stock increases the past year for Amazon. The market seems to be operating under an assumption that Amazon will make a similarly buzzworthy acquisition this year, which is far from a given.
Still, even if market projections seem a bit optimistic at the moment for Amazon, there’s no doubting that the company will continue playing a significant role in shifting expectations within several industries, from delivery and entertainment to the brick-and-mortar experience.
Why Amazon’s Second Headquarters Should Choose Northern Virginia
Among the top 20 shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, Northern, Virginia is not a stranger to the massive tech company. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have frequently conducted business in the region. Bezos is known to own The Washington Post and Amazon’s cloud service AWS is situated in a huge data center in the northern Virginia region. It is no surprise that Northern, VA is listed on the list. This region proved to be a safe home for Bezos’ businesses, it would only make sense that Northern, VA is the next home for HQ2.
While the nation waits for the announcements of Amazon’s second headquarters, speculations rise as Amazon employees crowd ARLnow.com. The local news-source for Arlington Virginia have reported major traffic from an internal Amazon site. The article reporting the county’s green building council had received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 visitors from an Amazon web page that is only visible to Amazon employees. Amazon’s interest in the community’s dedication to sustainability is predicted to help the company’s future development of a sustainable building of their own.
The area is surrounded by copious international airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Richmond International Airport for Amazon’s consideration of transportation. The bid for Amazon had reports of the Hub property as a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters. This 85-acre undeveloped location is near the Dulles Airport, perfect for Amazon’s demands.
Amazon announced that they are developing a second headquarter of up to 8 million square feet in order to accommodate 50,000 workers. The plan to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs to the new location will create billions of dollars in investment for the community. This opportunity for economic expansion does not come often, but neither does a perfect business location in Northern Virginia that is close to Bezos’ other businesses.
A possible site for Amazon’s second headquarters is on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties along Metro’s Silver Line. “We are very excited that Northern Virginia is included on the short list as a potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters,” spoke the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova. “Fairfax and Loudoun counties are able to offer a great quality of life coupled with an innovative and business friendly culture for future Amazon corporate neighbors and employees. With our highly educated and talented workforce and a location close to Dulles International Airport and a new Silver Line train station, we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome Amazon HQ2 to Virginia.”
Small businesses and agencies within Virginia are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Virginia.
If you are an agency from Virginia, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/
*Sponsored by Penji*
Why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Chicago
Most of the cities on the top 20 shortlist for Amazon HQ2 had given some extreme proposals. The majority of the pick is located on the East Coast with an important city that is Chicago, Illinois. The city of Chicago is an important business hub that is currently attracting millennial entrepreneurs and corporate talents. The region offers a broad selection of professionals that are specialized in tech, logistics, advertising, and more. This is a huge bonus for Amazon if the tech company picks Chicago as the rightful city for HQ2.
Chicago ranks high in tech, affordability, and infrastructure. These benefits will fulfill Amazon in their search for employment, land, and logistics. The city offers the O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport to the company for traveling affairs. This is just one of the city’s proposal, the entire bid for Chicago was put together by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner. There is a promising bid that if Amazon chooses Chicago, then the massive tech company will collect at least $2 billion in incentives and $1.3 billion in tax revenue back. Employees are still expected to pay the taxes, however, it would be Amazon who is receiving that money back and not Illinois.
There are 10 total potential sites to situate HQ2. One includes the Sterling Bay’s 70-acre Lincoln Yards, and many more sites including the Illinois Medical District. The forefront for a new location is The River District, Riverside Investment and Development in River West. This 37-acre site connects to Chicago’s downtown, River North, Fulton Market, and more. The best deal for any other location.
Amazon will be able to create a substantial amount of benefits from Chicago’s bid for Hq2. Illinois has given over $1.4 billion of tax money to companies like Amazon ever since 2001 when EDGE was created. The EDGE Tax Credit Program provides tax credits for businesses that make capital investments in Illinois and more. The massive tech company is more than qualified for this program and this will be deemed beneficial to Amazon if they participate.
The Chicago metro area grew by 0.6% and it will only get better from here. The region is populated by a big number of young and educated students from the notable schools of University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The work force in Chicago are tech driven and strives for professional support, which is an attractive atmosphere for all companies. Amazon should be using up that advantage as well.
Proposals are still being presented to Amazon by representatives. Small businesses and agencies within Chicago are now able share their professional insight to Amazon. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Chicago.
If you are an agency from Chicago, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/
*Sponsored by Penji*
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