He’s a business man, inventor, philanthropist and television personality. He has an estimated net worth of 150 million dollars. He leads close to 6,000 employees in over 100 cities across the U.S. He is Marcus Lemonis and here are his top ten rules for success.
Marcus Lemonis’s Top 10 Entrepreneurship Rules For Business and Success
Rule #1: Make A Business Plan
You know there’s this myth that people think they don’t need a business plan. And often times I find business owners who have an idea, a great one, and where they miss it is the execution. They don’t go through the process of writing things down.
Because any time you can take pen to paper, write out your ideas and share them with other people, and get feedback, which is essentially a business plan, you’re going to do better. It could be a white board in an office, uh, it could be notes taken on your computer or in a journal.
But I want it to start with something that says here’s what my product or service is, here’s how I’m going to attack the market, here’s how I’m going to beat the competition, here’s how I’m going to learn from my competitors, here’s what I’m going to take from my customers, and here’s the kind of people I need to surround myself with.
If you don’t answer those questions then really you’re just kind of, like a dodge ball game, you’re just going to go out there and wing it. And at some point you’re going to get whacked in the side of the head.
Rule #2: Have Enough Working Capital
You know, cash flow to me is, is important but working capital from the beginning is also important. I find people come to me with a projection about their business, it’s a brand new idea, they think they’re going to make money in six months, they don’t make money in six months and they don’t have a backup plan.
They don’t have a reserve, they don’t have a line of credit. And so they go out of business and that’s probably the single biggest reason small businesses close, not because the idea is terrible, not because they have bad people, they don’t have the sufficient amount of working capital.
Rule #3: Create A To Do List For Tomorrow
One of the things that I do do before I go to bed at night is I make a quick list of the things that I know I have to deal with the next day. And I try to get those knocked out before noon. Because from noon on it’s kind of like the wild, wild west.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what new issue is going to come up. And so you want to really be smart about your time to knock out the things you have to. Who do I have to talk to? What do I have to review? What do I have to do with a bank or an employee or one of the businesses? You want to get out, what I call the housekeeping, you get the housekeeping done in the morning and then you get to kind of farm the fields for the rest of the day.
And part of the challenge or part of the challenge for me at least is that the lines get very blurry of when the day actually shuts off. And that can present a real challenge to, you know, your personal life and your friends and kind of that balance, so it’s hard. But the first part of my day is the focus.
Rule #4: Take Care Of Your Employees
The reality of it is that the employee is number one. Because if the employee is happy, ultimately the customer is going to be happy. If the employee is happy they’re going to take care of the assets of your business. If the employee is happy they will have a pride of ownership and they’ll stand side by side with you and they’ll fight during the tough times and they’ll celebrate during the good times.
If you take care of your employees they will put the customer first. But if you don’t, it won’t matter. There won’t be any customers. If you don’t take care of your employees there will be nobody to help and you’ll have no business.
Rule #5: Have The Knowledge
I say follow your passion, which should be sports, I say if you have a passion for business you also better have a knowledge for it. And so if people want to own a business they better have worked for somebody else for a while and they better have an intrinsic knowledge of that industry.
And so it would be like me getting into, you know, the barber business and I never went to learn how to cut hair. I should have a knowledge. If I don’t have the knowledge then I better have a partner or I better have a manager or a leader in place who’s vested in the business who does have a knowledge.
And so three guys want to open up a restaurant because they think it’s cool to open up a restaurant but none of them know how to cook or wait tables, they shouldn’t be in that business.
Rule #6: Constantly Reinvent Yourself
Entrepreneurs who have offered a product or a process that isn’t working today have to make the bold step of reinventing themselves. I talk about it all the time, how over the course of my life whether it was at 12 years old or 18 years old, or 25 years old or even today, I’m constantly working to reinvent myself.
I’m no different than a package on a shelf, people have to feel that it’s relevant, they have to see the warning labels, they have to understand the contents, it has to be appealing, it has to provide value to people. And so when an entrepreneur has a product or a process that they’ve offered and they’re not willing to change it then they’re going to end up like Circuit City, or Montgomery Ward, or Sears, or Fiat or whatever these brands are that don’t exist anymore, right? Every single company in this country today, if they’re not evolving, they’re dying.
And I don’t know why an entrepreneur would think they’re exempt from that process. I’m not interested in their ego, I’m not interested in their pride, I’m not interested in their feelings, I’m interested in their business being successful. And so I think not only does their business have to do it but we as entrepreneurs have to do it as well.
Rule #7: Always Stay One Step Ahead
Let’s talk about the myth that your product is already good enough. People often develop a new product and it’s fantastic and it hits the market, like, in a blaze of glory, and it sells and there’s back orders. If you’re delivering them a good product or service today they’re still going to expect something better tomorrow.
And the one thing you have to worry about is there’s a competitor out there, somebody that can mimic your offering. And so you always have to stay one step ahead of them. And so when products don’t morph into something new, they don’t develop into something better and smarter and faster and less expensive, that’s probably the biggest takeaway, less expensive, then people are going to find alternatives.
For me I like to go out and study the competition, that’s how I reinvent myself. I go out and I study businesses that aren’t exactly the same but they run their business with a set of ethics and a set of principles that are second to none, and they can be in a space that’s completely different than mine but I learn something from them. I don’t think we do that enough.
Rule #8: Stick To The Grind
How many people you meet at a party or at a restaurant that tell you they’re entrepreneurs, and in the past I used to say now, does that mean you don’t work? And so an entrepreneur to me um, is kind of a nonsensical word. You’re either a business owner or you are a team member, one of the two.
And I think being a business owner is the hardest thing to do in this country. You take your money, hopefully not your mother’s money, but you take your money and you invest in an idea which is essentially investing in yourself, but if you do it solely to make money you’re going to lose.
And you really have to do it and I know that a lot of people out there get up every morning and they hustle, and they’re driving in the car right now and they’re on their way to a job right now that they may not love, and, I encourage them just to stick to the grind.
Get the paycheck, pay the bills, learn, learn and learn. And too many young kids out of college tell me they’re entrepreneurs and I tell them you can’t be an entrepreneur until you’ve worked for somebody else and you know what it feels like to be fired, or to be called on the mat or to be harassed or to be mismanaged, you’ve got to know what that feels like so that when you’re on the other side, you can be respectful to people.
Rule #9: Push Through The Fear Of Failure
You know I have a terrible fear that I lay awake at night with, and that’s the fear of failure and the embarrassment that comes with it. And so people like to have a lot of pride and say, you know, I’m not embarrassed I’m not, I think anybody that’s an entrepreneur deep down, really deep down in their soul has fear of failure.
What will people say, what will people think? And it’s hard, it’s a hard challenge. And so I try to ignore it as much as I can but I find it kind of haunting me. And so I push through because I really believe that I have an obligation to keep trying and trying and trying.
And I’ve had plenty of failure in my life. What happened was when I turned 35, and 2008-9 happened, I became much more comfortable with admitting my vulnerability, acknowledging my mistakes, saying when I was wrong, showing my cards and saying oh that was stupid.
Crumbs could be one of those situations where I tried to outsmart something and now, I don’t think it’s going to fail, but I have to be realistic, it could. Anything I do could fail.
Rule #10: Stand Out
I go through thousands and thousands of applications and sometimes I pick businesses that are new and innovative and the product’s exciting and sometimes I pick businesses that are pretty ordinary.
When it’s ordinary and it’s saturated the biggest challenge is you’re now dealing with a commodity, and so whether it’s a coffee shop or a yogurt shop the question is is the product relevant in the marketplace? And if it’s saturated can you rise to the top of the list? I want to encourage people not to run away from saturated markets, But I want you to run away if you don’t have the time, the resources, the energy, the people, the process or the attention to detail to be best in class.
And so if you’re going to open up a coffee shop in a very crowded market you’d better have something that’s unique. It better be experiential. Your product better be amazing. You process better be on pointe. And the people that sell it better be better in product knowledge and better in experience than anything else.
I guess a different way to look at it is if you go into an industry that’s not saturated you should probably ask yourself is there a reason that nobody else is in this? I can’t be the only person with this idea. And so you get into a business that’s not saturated it may tell you that there’s not really a market there.
I think I’d like to get into the hanger business, I mean, is it saturated, is it not, is there a reason that everybody’s not in it. I don’t really mind whether it’s saturated or not, I have to like the product, it has to be relatable. It has to be not totally recession proof, but it has to be kind of recession proof.
I think it’s important that if you’re going to get into a business and you’re thinking about taking your last $50,000 and getting it, getting into something, you better have something that is unique if it’s going to be a commodity. And you better, better make sure that you really understand what happens when the economy goes up and down and study those trends.
Thank you so much, I made this because Black asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur you want me to profile next leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I would also love to know which of Marcus Lemonis’ top ten rules you liked the best, meant the most to you, leave it in the comments and I’m going to join in the discussion. Thank you guys so much. Continue to believe and I’ll see you soon.