When I recently interviewed Kevin Harrington, something he said really struck me. He admitted that he thought the biggest mistake he made early in his career was trying to do everything himself. I’ve made the mistake of trying to do that to. But as I get older, I find myself wanting to do more and more things. And that means that I need to bring some really good talent along with me. I’m now willing to give up part of the pie if that means I can share the responsibility and the workload with other qualified and competent people. I think it’s going to make me more successful. I’ve also discovered that sharing businesses builds momentum and energy; you’ve got an entire team rooting for your mutual success. It’s helped me.
For example, I want to talk a little bit about a new company I’m developing. It’s a little too early to name it, but I’m excited about the prospects. I began building my team after meeting Mateo Neri. Mateo invited me to speak to his college class about licensing, a subject he was fascinated by but not an expert at. I agreed because I love sharing knowledge. I immediately knew Mateo was someone I wanted to work with after meeting him. He had talents that were very different from mine. Although my office does do graphic design work, Mateo studied graphic design at a premier design school. And he’d run his own company for 16 years. Both of these qualities were important to me. He was professionally trained and he’d been an entrepreneur. He knew how to pay the bills, how to make sure his people were fed.
I knew we were going to work with our third partner, Andrew Krauss, another business partner of mine. But we needed a fourth. That final person would perform a function the three of us didn’t have the skills for. But finding that person turned out to be difficult. I can parallel our roles to the task of building a house. At the beginning, I was the guy with the idea to build a house on a great lot. Neri drew up the plans and Andrew knew what should go inside – the content. Our fourth partner would actually need to build that house. The first person we chose had built houses before, but he’d built them for other people. We quickly discovered that he didn’t share our same initiative and enthusiasm. We gave him a few simple initial tasks, but he couldn’t complete them. He didn’t see the urgency. There was no passion. He wasn’t going to be a good fourth partner because he didn’t have the same vision or desire.
When you have the mindset of an entrepreneur, you know that your success often requires that you go beyond the call of duty, that you work 12 hour days 7 days a week. You find the time. We kept looking for that person.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio
show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media
outlets find you for news stories.