Justin Spring is the cofounder of two successful startups: Adept Digital Marketing, a sought-after consultancy for online marketing strategies, and BringShare, an online tool to help marketing agencies simply track and report on their clients' marketing efforts.
Who is your hero?
King Leonidas. How can you not admire the guy?
What's the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” - Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich.
I first read Think and Grow Rich while struggling to build my first company. Everything was going wrong… literally everything.
Over the years, I noticed a pattern developing. Each time something didn’t go my way, I would later realize it was a good thing it didn’t. This has happened so reliably over the years that it freaks me out a little bit.
Needless to say, I’m absolutely convinced that every failure or adversity is an opportunity. The trick is understanding this and keeping the proper perspective to allow the good to evolve from the bad.
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 mistake I ever made in my business was only having enough cash to survive for six months and thinking it was “no problemo.” In other words, I was unrealistic about what was truly achievable in the amount of time I had to achieve it. The lesson here was that startups are like wine. You can add all kinds of amazing ingredients but the greatest ingredient -- for which there is no substitute -- is time.
Now, when I approach new business opportunities, I ask myself how long this will take to achieve and then double it. I’m still usually overly optimistic, but that’s just the nature of the beast, I guess.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Chug lots of water. Dehydration is the enemy of energy.
I read a study once that claimed a person is most creative first thing in the morning. As a result, I spend my first hour focused on the most difficult task for the day. I try my best to avoid my inbox until mid-morning, but I’ll admit I have a sickness and the only cure is more email.
What's your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
At BringShare, we spent a lot of time and money on product development. We almost waited too long before shifting resources to sales and marketing. My tip for entrepreneurs would be to allocate equal resources to sales and marketing as soon as possible. Without the funds to invest in business development, the best products will still fail.
Quick: What's ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Learn to SELL! Some products are sold not bought, and having a strong understanding of proper sales technique will pay huge dividends.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
I contemplate my definition of success pretty often and think I have a pretty good theory. My motivation for building companies is not getting rich. It’s about creating something I can be proud of and having the freedom to pursue the things I care about most. This being the case, I already consider myself successful in business. I could use a little more free time to focus on family though, which is where I think I’ll find true feelings of success.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.