YEC Member Spotlight: Blake Miller, Partner, Think Big Partners
Blake Miller, Partner of Think Big Partners, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build, launch, and grow their companies. Follow him @imbmills.
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?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have to phenomenal mentors (in addition to my partners at Think Big), who have taught me so much about business in general. But the best advice I’ve ever received from them is: Be a good partner, work like nobody else will, and being nice goes a long way.
There’s a reason why we are called Think Big Partners. We want to work with people who have a partnership mentality. Being a good partner can mean a lot of things, but one of my biggest takeaways is that you don’t have to win all the time. Give a little before you get.
My favorite quote and something I live by is, “Spend a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
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’ve learned that you need to write everything down. EVERYTHING. Proposals, statement of work, and small or large agreements. Even write down something as simple as when you’re in a meeting. Take a journal and take notes. Write down who was in the meeting, the date, and the key takeaways. It never ceases to amaze me how fluid memory is about what was agreed upon and what was expected. When someone “remembers something different,” you can respond with, “Nope, actually it was this, on this date, and this is exactly who was in the meeting.”
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I’m not a morning person at all. I’ve always been a night owl. Until recently, during the first hour or so of my day, if I’m not scheduled for a morning coffee I catch up on reading. I like to know what’s going on.
However, for the past month, I’ve been trying to change my habits and get something important done during the first part of my day. It’s been working well and helping to take pressure off of my day.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Start to create a solution to a problem people are willing to pay for. This helps so many things: product-market fit, cash flow, and traction. These things will also help you raise money from investors.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Learn at the very least the fundamentals of programming, even if it’s just HTML/CSS. Knowing how to use Word, Excel, etc. is not a skill anymore.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success means having a positive impact on a person, commerce, and a skyline. We are already seeing success in impacting people and commerce through the entrepreneurs we get to work with everyday.