What Would Dave Have Changed?

William has a new business that is growing. He asks if Dave could restart his own business, what would he do differently in the first five years that he didn't do before?

QUESTION: William from Texas has a new business that is growing. He asks if Dave could restart his own business, what would he do differently in the first five years that he didn’t do before? Dave thinks this is a great question.

ANSWER: I would take more time hiring. The biggest mistakes I’ve made hiring were because I didn’t spend enough energy and go through enough interviews and enough steps before we brought somebody in. Consequently, we let crazy in the building, and then we had to move crazy out of the building and had to deal with crazy and all that. I would slow down and be more thorough in my hiring practices. That would be one.

We did not start taking a percentage of our net profits and setting aside for retained earnings until we got too tight on cash. I would do that from day one. I would run your P&L for the month, close your books for the month, and I would take a percentage of your net profit after you pay yourself a living wage and automatically start setting that aside as savings in the business. That’s called retained earnings.

Those two things brought me more stress than anything else I can think of. People problems and money problems early in the business. We fought so hard. We were so passionate. We were such edgy warriors in those days just to hang on by our fingernails. I’m so much more relaxed than I used to be. I wonder how many messes I made just by my over-the-top intensity. You’ve got to be intense and passionate, but I wonder if there was a place or two where I probably could have had a little more class than I had. Sharon would answer the question quickly with yes. Maybe that would be a distant third. The first two would probably even affect that. If I didn’t have to deal with crazy people and I had some money, it changes your whole outlook on things.

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