Perfection is a curse and success is a moving target: startup advice from Syed Balkhi.
YEC Member Spotlight: Syed Balkhi, Co-Founder of OptinMonster
Syed Balkhi is the co-founder of OptinMonster. He’s an online marketer with design and development skills who creates sites like WPBeginner, List25, SoliloquyWP, Envira Gallery and more. Follow him @syedbalkhi.
Who is your hero?
Growing up in an immigrant family where my parents had to work extremely hard to provide food, my heroes are all of the hard-working parents who put up with their jobs and come home with a smile to their kids. It’s those who do everything they can to make sure their kids have everything they need. Whenever things get tough for us in the business, I always remind myself of how hard others have it.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Having built several businesses over the last decade, I’ve received tons of amazing advice. I think the best advice and the one that I find the hardest to swallow is that perfection is a curse.
Often as entrepreneurs, we get stuck in the perfection dilemma. This causes us to miss deadlines, which leads to unhappy customers and slow growth. Because most of us are overachievers, we want to make sure everything is perfect. However, it’s very important to not lose sight of deadlines by focusing too much on perfection. Innovation is messy, and the only way to clean up is by iterating and improving over time.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I have made a lot of mistakes throughout my entrepreneurship journey. I think the one that stood out most was losing sight of our goals because I was so invested in the company that I was unable to make an objective decision. As you can imagine, this is a recipe for disaster — when a CEO is unable to make an objective decision. You should always reevaluate your goals and surround yourself with smart folks whose advice you can trust. These can be friends, mentors, early employees or even board members.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I map out my day. I get out my white board and list all of the things that need to be done. If there are meetings, then I write down my goals and what I want to accomplish from each one. This allows me to be fully prepared and have a productive day.
I started doing this because it helps provide direction. As your company grows you will have too much on your plate. Organization helps keep me sane.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Always make calculated decisions and be honest with yourself. If you have partners or co-founders, then you should always be transparent. Remember that the goal is for everyone to make money and that includes YOU. Include yourself in your financial forecasts. You are the most important asset for your company, and you should treat yourself that way.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Review your goals and set realistic deadlines.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
For me, success is relative to time. Success is what you define it to be for that particular moment; it’s definition changes over time. You can never “finally succeed” because every time you hit a milestone you set a new one because you want to grow. I think the joy and thrill of entrepreneurship is chasing down the milestones and pushing your limits.
Originally published by StartupCollective.