James McDonough is a passionate entrepreneur with a tier-1 management consulting background focused in strategy and operational excellence. Follow him @jamesgmcdonough.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
Richard Branson. He has built a great brand winning against major players across many industries and looks like he’s having a blast while doing what he loves.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
“Revenue solves all your problems.” If customers are buying your product and you have your sales and marketing nailed, all other problems can be solved with time and people. Sales is absolutely a foundational skill. Until you and your team become great at it, you will struggle. Educate yourself on how to sell and learn from great career salespeople who have fed their families on what works and what doesn’t.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The wrong early team (founders, hires, investors, service providers) can sink a great company. Choose all these people wisely and talk to experienced entrepreneurs who have done exactly what you want to do.
For example, if you are starting a VC-funded oil and gas enterprise software company, talk to as many experienced CEOs who have raised money and built successful enterprise software companies servicing oil and gas customers.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
First I meditate. This helps lower stress and clear my mind. Then I establish my most important three “must do’s” for the day. This is important as distractions can cause anyone to get off track. Finally, I talk to my team, ensure everyone is aligned and ask how I can help.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Don’t fear financials if you don’t have a business background. Any accountant can help you understand them. Focus on what you are great at. And remember, cash is king. Spend it wisely. Continue to invest in tools and education to make sure you’re sharpening the saw.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Connect with other entrepreneurs at your level monthly for dinner to share tips/tools/market intel/sales learnings, etc.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
When our team has achieved our mission of streamlining every company’s workflow around the world and we are able to continue to develop innovative ideas that help businesses and the community grow. Personally, I will feel successful when my team is more committed than I am and are building and growing SEE Forge faster and better than I can.