by Marc Berman, an EO DC member and president of Vector Technical Resources
We’re all entrepreneurs here. True, we operate in different industries and adhere to our own set of goals, but there is one common thread that connects us all – the desire to drive innovation, achieve success, and position our organizations for growth and future achievement. And as we all know, none of us can go it alone. So, in the spirit of camaraderie, mutual support, and a collective desire for success, allow me to offer some of my largest ‘lessons learned’ throughout my multi-decade, multi-company entrepreneurial journey to help you on your way.
Set and Maintain a Vision of Success
Most importantly here, define what success looks like to you. How does your vision for your business drive innovation and evolve over time as your priorities change and grow? In all of my experiences building and running 8 businesses in total since I was 14 years old, this has always been at the center of my motivations, decision-making processes, and ensuing success.
Keep the Passion Alive
In business as in life, passions can often burn hot for a brief period and then promptly go out, and these are typically far harder to resuscitate once cold. To achieve long-term entrepreneurial success and fulfillment with your business and career, it is essential to find new and innovative ways to keep that passion you have for your work burning at a steady pace. Remember too that as your business and its landscape change and evolve over time, so do you as a leader.
Assemble Teams that Win
Yes, I know – easier said than done. However, this is a critical point that often has the potential to determine whether your organization will fail or beat the odds and succeed to stand the test of time. This process, which I liked to call “Building a Team of ONLY ‘A’ Players, No ‘B’s’ or B+’s’” is not meant to exclude or improperly label, but simply cut to the chase. Let’s be honest – talent matters, it is the epicenter of our lives, or businesses, and a key ingredient in our success. Without it we set ourselves up for the dangerous potential of damaged reputations, disappointed clients or customers, and innumerable issues and challenges that take out valuable time. One way that I do this is establish rigorous hiring standards, to the point where I take pride in how difficult it is to be offered a position at our company, to ensure I am only speaking to the top people for the positions I am seeking. From there, I train them personally, and ensure they are fully engaged in the company’s’ culture, values, and expectations from the get-go. I also firmly believe that once you get the top talent in the door, the work doesn’t stop there. We need to offer these people constant mentorship, development, and advancement opportunities to keep them focused and hungry, and to ensure their loyalty.
Be the Leader
Before you start thinking, “Really? Isn’t this obvious?” hear me out. At the core of its definition, being a leader means embodying the types of qualities that inspire others to follow. In my experience, this is a combination of fierce drive and passion with an even-temper, realistic goals, humility, and respect to empower your employees to strive for their best. It also means never asking someone else to do something you would not take on yourself.
Embrace Experience and Failure – Our Toughest Teachers
While at first you might think this is a negative spin, I encourage you to look back on your own experiences as an entrepreneur. No path to success is without challenge or struggle, and while these times may seem never-ending and crushing at the time, they are often the experiences we look back on fondly later as the instances where we learned the most – about ourselves and our businesses.
Unlike school, where you are taught lessons and then take a test to prove your mastery of the subjects, in life and work, it is often the reverse – you are tested first, and are then left to learn the lesson and form the memories of the experiences to shape your future growth and development.
About the Author
Marc Berman is President and CEO of Vector Technical Resources, an IT and staff augmentation company servicing the private, federal and state sectors. With nearly two decades of experience in the professional services and IT staffing industries, he brings the highest degree of knowledge and leadership to the delivery of world-class IT talent to customers in the government and commercial spaces.