Benj Miller is owner and creative director at eyespeak, an organization that believes every person, product and company is a unique brand. They are passionate about distilling that brand and powerfully telling their story to the market. Follow him @benjmiller.
Who is your hero?
My wife. She is amazing and inspiring.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Be authentic to your uniqueness. Don’t compare yourself to other players in the industry. There is a good chance they are not attempting to do or be the same thing that you are, so comparing is pointless.
More tangibly – define success, be able to measure it and create a scoreboard to get everyone aligned.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
For the first few years running a business I was fast to hire and slow to fire. The wrong people can derail the vision and culture quicker than anything.
I learn to define what the right candidate looked like, make that quantifiable (scorecards), enlarge the candidate pool, lengthen the interview process, use some personality and team tools, and start people on a probation.
On the flip side, if it becomes obvious that you aren’t going to make it here, the fuse is not long.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I clear my emails. I find that if I don’t, I carry the stress of not knowing what is there and who is maybe waiting on me for something productive.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Know your numbers. Know when you need things to come in and don’t get behind. Keep your fixed-costs as low as possible… always.
We even do this with employees, paying them a fair (but slightly below average) salary with a healthy profit sharing upside.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Take the burning and reoccurring questions (often doubt-based), put a time block on your calendar once every other month to evaluate the big questions (should we do this, should we add this product, should we expand…), and don’t think about those big questions outside of that time block.
Find something immediately productive to focus your energy around (usually something in sales/marketing).
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
We have two big success milestones ahead:
I will hit my first milestone of success with eyespeak when the company runs without me showing up everyday.
We also have a success milestone when we hit reoccurring revenue at 100 percent of our fixed costs, knowing that all of our project work becomes profit.