What I want to talk about today is The Eight Rules of an Entrepreneurial Leader. As the founder of a company, your leadership will set the parameters of how great your company will be. A company will never outgrow its leader. If your leadership is a six, your company might get to a six.
If you’re lucky, it will parallel you. Sometimes it’ll go below your level and maybe if you got really, really, lucky with some good teammates, it might go one level above you.
If you want to have a top-notch, top-flight, highly profitable company that you can sell, then you’re gonna have to be a level 9-10 leader. You’re gonna have to, at the very least, fill out these eight critical roles and you need to develop these if you want to build a company that’s significant, and what is a significant company, a significant company is one that’s highly profitable and revered by your competition.
See, that’s kind of my goal as a company. I want to be highly profitable and I want to be revered by my competition. So let’s jump into the eight rules.
You Need to Be a Dreamer
It is the founder who begins the enterprise with nothing more than a kind of a dream that their business is going to do this great thing, provide this value, satisfy this target audience, but it kind of always starts with a dream. It typically starts in the brain of the founder, so a founder is a dreamer.
Look at Walt Disney, referring to Walt Disney World. He had already seen even it before it was finished. He was passing away, and he’d already shared that regardless of him ever seeing the finished product, he’d already seen it in his imagination for years.
You Need to Be an Innovator
The dream is great, but it’s the innovation that you need to take that makes it a surviving business. You kind of start with this idea, but then throughout the course of the business you have to constantly innovate. The company that you dream about is not typically that same company five years in. It’s almost good that I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I got started because my companies took turns I would have never seen coming, and I may have been discouraged. We innovated. Opportunities present themselves, and we innovated.
You’re Going to Be a Gambler
There is always a bet that you need to make.
I saw an interview with Jeff Bezos and he said, “You know, yeah, we’ve made some bets that failed miserably. I’ve made some billion-dollar bets that failed, but I also made some billion-dollar bets that did pretty well. He was talking about Prime, the membership. That’s been huge. He was talking about Kindle. Audible has worked out pretty well for him. And now he’s got Amazon Video, you can keep going, but he said, “Yeah, you know, you have to be a gambler, you have to make big bets that pay massive returns because they will wipe the board.” They’ll erase the three to four mistakes that you make, so if you make some big bets and you don’t do all-in bets with your company, you’re never gonna put your company at risk, but you have to try something.
I try to do something every year that brings in additional money, additional profit streams, and they’re typically gambles. When you create a new division or even a new company or an expansion within your company, you don’t necessarily know if they’re gonna work.
You Need to Be a General
Someone has to craft the strategy and implement its execution. I listen to my team, but at the end of the day, I sign off on the final strategy. In other words, my team will present to me strategies or things that they want to do, and I will work with them on crafting the strategy that we’re gonna implement, and then I will oversee its execution and give it the resources its need. I’ll create the accountability, and then I’ll let my team run with it, but I’m the general. Underneath me is tremendous people that will lead their divisions, but I’m gonna be highly involved in crafting the strategy. Somebody has to be a general. The buck has to stop with somebody.
You Need to Be a Coach
You need to be a recruiter, you need to recruit talent. You need to motivate talent and be a talent scout. You have to see potential in people before they even see it in themselves.
You Need to Be a Networker
You need to be able to put around you a group of people. You need to build this network around you to almost like a cabinet.
Around me, I have partners, I have advisors, I have professionals, accountants. I have legal protection, people that provide for me good legal advice, and then I have a network of business owners I can bounce ideas around with. You might have a network of people that refer you to good, highly talented people.
You Need to Be a Salesman
I’m the Pied Piper of my company and I’m the Pied Piper of a new venture. I’m always selling my company, I’m always pitching it. I’m pitching it to new potential employees. I’m pitching it to partners that I want to bring on. I’m always pitching. I’ve said, I think that’s the number one skill every starting entrepreneur should have because if you can’t sell your product, you’re out of business.
You Need to Be a Learner
To become a great entrepreneur, you will need to expand your understanding and your competency within your industry. I’ve some economics, accounting, leadership. You need a thirst for knowledge. Failure is best heard through a second-hand story. There’s no better way to learn it than through a book. CEOs read on average 60 books a year, where the average person reads two a year.