Successful Entrepreneurs Sound Off

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Smart Entrepreneurs Impart Some Wisdom

As entrepreneurial business professionals, sometimes it’s easy to get a little lost in the mechanical daily grind of running a company. Sometimes you need a little inspiration, some sage advice, or words of wisdom to give your management a little motivation. Hear out these business owners as they reflect on what’s what. They get down to brass tacks about what mindset made the difference for them. Here’s the heart and soul of why they’re successful entrepreneurs:

–Adapted from an article on–

Keep Great People and Help Some Become Great

Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare has clocked a lot of hours building a reliable team, gaining experience and hiring hundreds of employees.

He likens the recruitment process to collecting art, arguing that leaders must take the time to hire strategically and “curate the team to make sure the people who are great stay, and the people who aren’t as good get the help they need to become great.”

Learn To Say No

Rick Alden is the founder of Skullcandy. The company’s first product combined headphones with hands-free cellular technology, allowing users to both listen to music from a portable audio device, while making and receiving calls through their cell phone – LINK technology. The company was named “the world’s coolest ear bud”.

Alden asserts that it’s about revenue – very realistic and not too dreamy, right.

He says the challenge is learning to say no to nine great ideas to free up the resources necessary to push one product to market immediately. “That one product may not be your fantasy, but revenue on a simpler product today always beats running out of money developing a more complicated product that won’t launch for another year,” he says.

“An entrepreneur’s life is entirely dictated by the questions How much? How fast? and At what margin?” Alden says. “Everything else is secondary.”

Right People in the Right Positions

9+ founder, Peter Relan’s advice got swept out to sea:

No matter how great an idea is, success in business is more about the sailor than the boat.  “This means that while ideas are important, it’s even more critical to have the right people in the right positions to execute them.”

Hire The Best

CEO Sheila Johnson built Salamander Hotels & Resorts from the ground up. Her prize advice is about the value of your team. And Johnson certainly knows what she’s talking about, also being owner or partner in three professional sports franchises: Washington, D.C.’s Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. As if her plate wasn’t filled enough, add founding partner of the BET network to her resume!

“Your team is one of your most important investments,” she maintains, “and if you are careful about hiring only the best people, it will pay dividends.”

Only Look Forward

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International will tell you that aside from providing context for future decisions, reflecting on the past does little good.

MGM Resorts International founder Kirk Kerkorian championed the “only look forward” approach to business, and Murren, who recently oversaw the $8.5 billion development of CityCenter in Las Vegas, carries the torch. He wants the people at his company to have the capacity to envision the long term. “Creating teams that have an understanding of not only what they are doing but, most importantly, why they are doing it, is critical,” he says.

Innovation and Not Fear

Christine Day is the CEO of Luvo, ‘food on the go’ healthy food trucks. She also developed lululemon athletica into an unbelievable force for workout wear that has a cult following. Earlier in her career, she headed up the Asia-Pacific division at Starbucks and remembers CEO Howard Schultz explain why he does not rely on market research for innovation.

“There is no evidence for what has not been created yet; only insight, purpose, passion and a willingness to move into what could be instead of what is,” she says. “Truly innovative companies are not afraid to let go and create the next market shift.”

A video of Schultz about innovation:

Executional prowess!!!!!

Understand Your Customer

Diane Bryant is senior vice president and GM of Data Center Group, Intel

“The better you understand your customer, the higher the probability of success,” she says. “There is value in expanding and rounding out your expertise and skill set.”

Be Passionate and Fearless

Rehan Choudhry, founder, Life is Beautiful, an inspirational social platform dedicated to helping people conquer their fears and chase their dreams. It’s also a Las Vegas-based festival with music, food, learning, and art.

“What makes an entrepreneur is not knowing everything about business, but rather being passionate and fearless,” Choudhry says. “There’s no ‘right time’ to take the leap; you can take it at any point in your life, and should.”

This perspective has stopped him from overthinking everything in his path, “leaving him more focused and nimble.”

Customers Are People Too

Reece Pacheco is the founder of, that’s now a part of Samsung Electronics. Shelby TV takes videos from across the web and organizes them based on the user’s preference. Reece talks about the humanness aspect:

It’s easy to focus on transactions, especially when you’re struggling to start a company. But this is when it’s most important to remember that your customers are people, too. “Take a second to recognize that there is a person on the other side of you,” says Reece Pacheco, who was given the advice early in his career from a branding expert. “It can make all the difference in the world.” Pacheco adds that the mantra applies to every aspect of life as an entrepreneur; from the way you treat colleagues to the way you interact with investors.

 As an entrepreneur, what’s your golden nugget piece of advice or words to live by? SOUND OFF!

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