Cash is King: Protect Your Downside Risk – Cash is the lifeblood of your business. Don’t risk your capital where the upside potential isn’t proportional to the downside risk. Success comes to those who are able to stay in the game the longest.Nobody Else Will Figure it Out for You – Nobody else will get your customers, or figure out the toughest business challenges for you. In 2007 when we were about to launch Docstoc I attempted to outsource our PR and social marketing to no avail. Eventually I committed to take care of it myself, and on the day we launched 30,000 people visited our website. Personality Matters – Personality can be your most valuable asset. People are often willing to do business with you just because they like you. Before you have money or notoriety, you always have likability as currency to trade to your advantage. My dad has the biggest personality I know, and often reminds me “you have to know how to talk to people Jason.” Fortune Favors the Bold – My father is fond of driving me around Los Angeles pointing out all the buildings he could have owned. But for an immigrant with limited education, he did an amazing job of piecing together the smallest of savings to start buying real estate decades ago. If you want to reap the fruits of success you have to take your shot. No one ever hit a game winner from the sidelines. Nothing is Ever Quite Good Enough – On occasion I’ll share what I think is an important accomplishment with my father, and he’ll often reply “Congratulations Jason, I’ll give you a sh-t medal.” High standards matter, and sometimes they should be impossibly high. If you ever feel too satisfied with you business, it will likely lead to very unsatisfactory results. What Are You Waiting For: Do It Now – A very dear man and mentor to me, Mike Schuminsky, had a very special way of managing folks. Once he decided something, he wanted you to get it done that very instant. Great business owners have a keen intuitive sense of the most important items to work on, and a heightened sense of urgency to complete them right away. Build Something to Pass On – When you birth and grow a company, at some point you inevitably think about its legacy. And whether it’s a family business or business brand like Intuit, owners think about building companies that stand the test of time. You’re driven by more than monetary outcomes, you want to create something built to last, that you’re proud to pass on. CEO Management Don’t Do Work; Delegate Everything – I once had an extremely hard working board member tell me, “your job as CEO Jason is not to do anything.” It was a hard lesson at the time to comprehend. But as the CEO if you’re responsible for executing functional areas, the growth of the company can be bottlenecked by one person’s individual capacity. (TIP: read The E-Myth) Always Be Recruiting & Fundraising – Two of the most important jobs of a CEO are to recruit great talent and to make sure their company has ample access to capital. You should be spending up to 50% of your time on this. (TIP: read “What a CEO Does by Fred Wilson” Hire Talent Better Than You and Pay Up – Great CEOs hire people more talented than them (Jim Jonassen first told me that). If you hire folks whom you believe you can do a significantly better job than, you’re making a huge mistake. Paying 25% more for the best talent can lead to 200% better results (major props to Marissa Mayer and her hiring standards). Define Objectives, Provide Resources & Step Aside – Define your company’s goals in terms of customers, quality, revenue and growth. Provide your team with the resources they need to accomplish these goals: money, talent, vendors and time. Then step aside. Agree on required resources and results, but don’t tell your team how to get there. Hold Others Accountable for Results, but Encourage Mistakes –You’re responsible to hold your team accountable for their commitments. But instead of punishing inevitable mistakes, turn them into lessons. When I was 23 I was sure I was going to get fired for a major blunder, instead the CEO told me it was my mess to clean up. We should encourage mistakes as opportunities to build growth and ownership. Give Praise, Share Credit, Encourage Critique – Employees feed off of your positive reinforcement and recognition. Credit for accomplishments should be shared with your team. Be overly generous in these areas, and constantly ask your team “what can we, and I be doing better?” (TIP: take Ben Horowitz’s advice: Get Made & Master the Unnatural) Cultivate Culture – A company culture always exists. You’re either going to consciously mold it in a desired direction, or it may become a current flowing against your growth. Decide what values are most important to your business, and build a team and environment that supports them (we have a superhero culture at Docstoc). Coaching & Cheerleading vs. Doing & Directing – Early on in Docstoc, a CEO coach told me that I was spending way too much time doing and directing vs. coaching and cheerleading. As businesses grow, it’s vital that we spend the majority of our time mentoring and encouraging others to better execute the efforts we were previously responsible for. Have a Big Vision: Plan Out the Next 5-10 Years – What is the big picture? Start with the end in mind. You should be able to communicate a compelling vision of your company 5 years out that inspires and motivates your team to execute passionately on the tasks & goals in front of them. Here is a recent keynote I did for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, where I presented on this topic: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SA0qgVkw-3o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> This piece originally appeared in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2013/06/26/owner-vs-ceo-management/#7bcc7a8a4ddf
Subscribe Now: Forbes Entrepreneurs Newsletter All the trials and triumphs of building a business – delivered to your inbox.We’re More Productive in the Morning – During my first 2 years at Docstoc (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis. I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone. But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours. Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.
Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue. It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.
How is it that certain people are so incredibly persuasive? Can we all harness those skills? After studying the most influential political, social, business and religious leaders, and trying countless techniques out myself, these are the 21 critical lessons I’ve identified to persuading people. This is an overview from a talk I’ve been giving to thousands of entrepreneurs for a few years now on “How to Persuade People.” More detailed examples are explained in the links below. THE BASICS1. Persuasion is not Manipulation - Manipulation is coercion through force to get someone to do something that is not in their own interest. Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you. 2. Persuade the Persuadable - Everyone can be persuaded, given the right timing and context, but not necessarily in the short term. Political campaigns focus their time and money on a small set of swing voters who decide elections. The first step of persuasion is always to identify those people that at a given time are persuadable to your point of view and focus your energy and attention on them. 3. Context and Timing - The basics building blocks of persuasion are context and timing. Context creates a relative standard of what’s acceptable. For example the Stanford Prisoner Experiment proved that overachieving students could be molded into dictatorial prison guards. Timing dictates what we want from others and life. We chose to marry a different type of person than we date when we’re younger, because what we want changes. 4. You have to be Interested to be Persuaded - You can never persuade somebody who’s not interested in what you’re saying. We are all most interested in ourselves, and spend most of our time thinking about either money, love or health. The first art of persuasion is learning how to consistently talk to people about them; if you do that then you’ll always have their captive attention. GENERAL RULES 5. Reciprocity Compels – When I do something for you, you feel compelled to do something for me. It is part of our evolutionary DNA to help each other out to survive as a species. More importantly, you can leverage reciprocity disproportionately in your favor. By providing small gestures of consideration to others, you can ask for more back in return which others will happily provide. (TIP: read ”Influence” by Robert Cialdini)
6. Persistence Pays - The person who is willing to keep asking for what they want, and keeps demonstrating value, is ultimately the most persuasive. The way that so many historical figures have ultimately persuaded masses of people is by staying persistent in their endeavors and message. Consider Abraham Lincoln, who lost his mother, three sons, a sister, his girlfriend, failed in business and lost eight separate elections before he was electedpresident of the United States.