Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. You will never see success without hard work, determination and the ability to make tough decisions. Sometimes you have to be ruthless for the sake of the company, your employees and, of course, yourself.
But it’s equally as important to have a strong moral code and to conduct yourself in an honorable, honest and forthright manner. A reputation for fair play and integrity is priceless.
Here are some principles that I have embraced while building three successful companies — with the third, RadiumOne, hopefully on the path to billion-dollar status.
Put Family First
Never lose sight of your roots. Honor and respect the sacrifices that your family members may have made while raising you. When you're working day and night chasing your business vision, it’s all too easy to forget to stay grounded and to let your personal priorities slide into second place. Try as hard as you can to find the right balance. Time spent away from your loved ones can never be regained.
Keep Your Promises
If you say you’re going to do something — do it. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the commitment may be. At the end of the day, you will be judged on whether or not you kept your promises. When your customers know that they can trust your word, they will remain loyal customers and will likely refer others to you. You want people to know that you are always true to your word.
Embrace Your Mistakes
Acknowledge your failed endeavors. Embracing your mistakes is the first step to learning from them, so repeat offenses become unlikely. As a result, your company will flourish. The ability to bounce back after a setback is the single most important trait an entrepreneur can possess.
Don’t Be a Whiner
Many people can’t help but feel sorry for themselves if something doesn’t go as expected. They feel the world is against them and openly complain to anyone who will listen. This is a trait to be avoided at all costs. Both in business and in life in general, you never want to be viewed as the constant victim. Dust yourself off and move forward.
Develop a Thick Skin
The more successful you become, the more visible you become, which puts you at risk to be an easy target. Sometimes it’s unscrupulous competition (or business partners!). Sometimes it’s a personal relationship that tests your honor and integrity. You can’t afford to let the “slings and arrows” get to you. All you can do is continue to lead your life in an honorable way and hold your head high. If you come from a place of authenticity and always protect your integrity, you will always walk away unscathed.
There’s one key area in which any entrepreneur or business leader should not be stingy. When it comes to rewarding your executive team and others who work with you or for you, be generous. If you want the most talented and dedicated people on your team, they need to feel appreciated and be compensated accordingly.
Take a Break
When you’re passionate about your business dream and are striving to accomplish it — guess what? You can easily lose sight of other important things in life. Like having dinner; enough sleep; exercising. I know because I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve survived on fast food and slept in the office. This knowledge is all the more reason for me now to stress that you should take a break. Enjoy the company of family and friends. Go for a walk. Have a power nap. Eat a decent lunch. Make time for any kind of break that will clear your head and improve your performance. You’re of little use to your organization when you’re running on empty.
Share the Dream
Make a habit of talking to others about your dreams and your goals. Talk to your family, friends and employees. And, speak with other entrepreneurs about your mutual passions. Sharing bold, out-of-the-box ideas and exchanging stories about obstacles you’ve hurdled along the way generates even greater conviction and determination. It is a powerful, motivating force to remind your that you are making positive contributions to society.
Do the Right Thing
Whatever you do in business and in life, keep your moral compass on track. Don’t ever compromise it. Your integrity is more important than your bank balance. Karma also has a weird way of manifesting itself — usually when you least expect it. There will be many occasions when you might be tempted to take a shortcut. Make a decision because it’s the right and decent thing to do. Make a decision knowing that it’s one you can justify — to your family, kids and loved ones. After all, they make us want to be the best possible version of ourselves and are the main reason we strive to be successful.