We’ve all heard the business world referred to as dog-eat-dog and for a good reason: starting and running your own business is extremely difficult. It takes guts, intelligence, and creativity. Whether you’ve been in the business world your whole life or are just starting out, it pays to have role models and people you can look to in order to figure out what you need in order to succeed.
Having a role model means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every facet of your business. You may have a brand-new idea but you can also benefit from the business ideas of your role models. While business is always changing, the principles of success stay the same.
Of course, experience is a valuable teacher but listening to someone who has come before you can prevent you from making costly mistakes. With the thin margins of the modern business world, a mistake can be the difference between success and failure.
As a successful entrepreneur and businessman, Robert Deignan offers five tips that have allowed him to thrive in business.
1. Go with Your Gut
Robert Deignan believes in trusting your gut instinct when it comes to both big and small decisions. While he constantly weighs the pros and cons in his head, Deignan knows that, more often than not, his initial gut reaction is the correct one. Your business is personal to you and the best decision is often the one that just feels right.
Deignan emphasizes that it takes courage and discipline to go with your gut. However difficult the decision, you need to trust yourself. Even if you don’t know if you made the right move weeks, months, or even years later, you’ll be able to sleep soundly knowing you did things the way that appeared right to you.
Hesitation in business can be fatal. While it’s a good idea to always be thorough, constantly ruminating on decisions causes a lot of unnecessary stress. Decision-making is like a muscle that needs to be worked out. Due to the huge number of decisions you’ll need to make as an entrepreneur and business person, you need to be able to act quickly and move on to the next decision.
2. Get the Numbers Down on Paper
Robert Deignan continuously emphasizes getting rough ideas down on a spreadsheet to analyze them and see if they really hold water. A great idea in your head is one thing, but in order to see if you can make it work, it’s essential to crunch the numbers. You’ll want the most accurate numbers possible. So, you’ll have to create them from personal experience or extensive research.
Deignan uses this strategy to compliment his gut decision-making. While an idea could sound great in your head, the numbers will tell the true story. Don’t kid yourself if the numbers aren’t there. Rest assured that you’ve made a thorough analysis and move on either way.
3. Hire for Culture
Through Robert Deignan’s many years in business, he learned the hard way the importance of keeping culture in mind when hiring employees. In his younger years, Deignan found that some employees who blew away the job requirements and had outstanding intelligence turned out not to be the best people for the job.
When you are running a business, it is essential to be able to believe in the people who are working for you. Additionally, you need to maintain a functional culture within the organization. Hiring is extremely important in this process. The boss is responsible for hiring and whoever you hire will spend a lot of time with your other employees. A poisonous employee can spoil the entire work environment.
As the boss, you don’t want to spend your time micro-managing people. You want people who believe in the company and have dedicated themselves to giving their absolute best. An employee with outstanding qualifications who watches the clock all day long is not an asset to your company.
An employee that is a bad fit may order others around without being willing to work themselves. Look for someone who fits the qualifications but is also willing to learn and believes in the things you believe. By making what you believe clear around the office and during interviews, you can make sure you attract the right people to work with. Don’t be shy about sharing your passion for the job.
4. Don’t Work with Those Closest to You
Another lesson Robert Deignan had to learn the hard way was avoiding hiring family and friends. While it may be tempting to fill your organization with people that are close to you, it is simply too risky. Business is constantly changing and requires making tough decisions. When you work with family or friends, your judgment is clouded. Not wanting to make a certain move because you are afraid of injuring a personal relationship can destroy your business.
Sure, when things are going well it may seem like having your friends and family working with you is a dream come true. But, when times are tough, salaries need to be cut, and employees need to be reassigned or let go, you risk ruining the relationship altogether. Deignan does everything he can to not put himself in that position.
5. Find Time to Yourself
In the fast-paced business world, it can seem like you never have a moment to yourself. There is constantly work piling up that needs to be done. But, Robert Deignan insists that, as an entrepreneur and leader, you need to find time to disconnect and reflect.
Deignan himself does it before work, trying to find some time to be in nature without electronic devices so that he can reflect. The repetition of each day can rob us of our very best ideas and the motivation to work on them. We think that by continuously working we are maximizing productivity but it’s essential to constantly step back and look at the big picture.
Deignan emphasizes that time in nature is essential for creativity. By going on a vacation somewhere beautiful, you change what you interact with every day and can you change your habitual thoughts. This can spur the idea that revolutionizes your business.
About Robert Deignan
Robert Deignan is the co-founder and CEO of ATS Digital Services, a digital support company that helps clients internationally with technology questions and queries. Deignan was born in Florida and spent his formative years playing football, eventually going on to play for the Miami Dolphins and the NY Jets. Soon after, he co-founded the first of his entrepreneurial ventures, Fanlink, Inc.
Want more from Robert? Read the full interview here!