Brendon Schenecker is made up of equal parts developer and CEO, which has led to an array of tech-based startups. He has a strong background in programming languages, along with over 10 years managing startup ventures. Brendon is currently Founder and CEO of Travel Vegas, a technology focused destination travel company. Follow him @bschenecker.
Who is your hero?
Simple; my father.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Don't forgot what you are truly working to achieve. I have yet to meet a successful business owner who is working for money alone. There is always something deeper behind it. This business game is a life or death fight. If you are going to battle for money and your opponent is working to feed and shelter his children, money is not enough motivation. You don't stand a chance. Be honest with yourself about why you have chosen to put everything at risk and use it to your advantage everyday. The second you forget your true motivations it will get ugly -- fast.
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 biggest? We all like to discuss our successes, but any entrepreneur knows they were created from a pile of miserable failures.
I will say that a younger version of myself racked up a decent amount of debt and defaulted on some un-secured credit cards. I did this personally prior to starting into business. It slowed down my business' growth as I could never secure financing to fill in delayed receivables. I remember the day I sold a business and walked into the bank with $1 million in cash. They still wouldn't give me a credit card.
Failures come and go, but a bad credit score can last a long time.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
That has to be the craziest time of the day. Most of the time I'm not even out of bed when the work starts. It usually takes an hour just to catch up on what happened while I was sleeping. Then the caffeine intake begins. I'm not sure that it helps, but not much gets done until I secure can-of-sugar-saturated brain fuel.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
I am actually a huge fan of self-funded ventures. The road that starts with nothing and coagulates into success -- that's a real business. I see people with ideas and a lack of funding every day. If you are going to get started, get started running your business. Throwing money at an untested "idea" has a high failure rate. Not to mention that you are giving up ownership and equity before the game has even started.
Cash flow is just as important as the product or service being offered. They are mutually dependent for success. As an entrepreneur, it is our job to develop both overtime, testing them and making changes.
If you can start with a small savings or family loan, you will learn your cash flow lessons early on.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Live it. We all look for quick money making ideas or the next best thing. What's the problem with taking the worst product or service and letting it consume you as much as possible? Eat it, sleep it, breath it. Allow yourself to see it from every angle. Become an expert over time. Everything else is easy; it's just work.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
Success is a word with a million meanings that no one agrees on. My definition of success has evolved. Success to me is more of a journey than a binary state. I think I measure my own success by the percentage of goals NOT completed. If many of my goals remain uncompleted on a given day, month or year, I feel unsuccessful. Success can never be measured only in business, it has to include family and personal goals. Part of the journey is in finding a balance.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.