Sam Gaddis guides Mutual Mobile's go-to-market strategy and is responsible for opening conversations in new accounts. As Chief Marketing Officer, he has developed a keen understanding of where in the enterprise mobile works, and more importantly where it often doesn't. Recently, he helped launch Mutual Mobile's consumer and enterprise strategy practice.
Who is your hero?
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
"Everywhere you look, you'll find people who take perverse pleasure in pointing out the obvious: that if a new venture does not succeed, it may result in failure. The same people will say there are not enough resources, that outside advice is required, or that it's all been done before. How many millions of hours are wasted in all this doom-mongering?"
- Felix Dennis
What's the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
As our business grew, there became an increasing number of new interesting things to do. Every aspect of the business was an opportunity to make something better; there were endless choices to make about how to spend our time. For a few months, I spent my time immersing in these new shiny objects – and forgot to maintain our flow of new business. One day in a management meeting, we all realized at the same time that our new business pipeline was simply nonexistent, and that we were in for a rough next quarter as a result. It was also very clearly my fault. The lesson is simple: know what the fundamentals of your business are and make sure you're dealing with them first before getting distracted by shiny objects.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Every night, I make a list of 6-10 tasks I can accomplish quickly that will help move the business forward the most. Then I prioritize them and knock out the top two to three tasks first thing the next morning. I'm happy with my day if I accomplish those two to three things. If I check my email or do anything else related to the business before tackling those items, I'm very likely to spend the rest of the day distracted and unproductive.
I wish I could say I do this every day, but it's really only when I'm well-rested and at my best.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Stop planning and stop working on your logo or your website design. That stuff doesn't matter to anyone but you. The only thing that matters is getting at least one customer to pay you for something. Then you can get feedback, improve, and get more customers. Ignore everything else.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
For aspiring entrepreneurs: stop over-thinking it and just sell something. Don't get too emotional about your idea. Be prepared to tweak it relentlessly until it works.
For current entrepreneurs (in established companies): stop just selling things and make time to start planning, focusing and getting strategic.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
My definition of success is not unique. I want to work on challenging, engaging problems that matter. If all we did was build software for giant companies, I would be completely uninterested by now. Fortunately, there's a lot more to it than that. We get to build technology that improves emergency rooms and cockpits, and a lot of tools that millions of people use every day – and that's pretty cool stuff.
Ultimately, I probably won't feel successful until we've made a serious dent on the education problem which, to me, is the biggest challenge facing humanity today.
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.