While there are some universal tenets of success, entrepreneurs wouldn’t be entrepreneurs if they didn’t march to the beat of their own inner drummer. Many successful small business owners have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that help them achieve success.
Here some of today’s smartest, highly innovative, most successful business owners share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Barry Hinckley, a serial technology entrepreneur and founder of Yotme, the first people-centric social media and events hybrid app—intended to connect like-minded people through truly meaningful social experiences. Before founding Yotme, Barry cofounded Bullhorn, a wildly successful software recruiting and CRM services firm.
You can find him on Twitter @barryhinckley.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Barry Hinckley: My father was an incredible businessman—not only for his genius, but for his drive to build something meaningful for everyone around him. When I was 9, he told me that my primary job as a human being was “to leave the world a better place than you found it.” Through his businesses, that’s exactly what he did, so that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Since that moment, I’ve dedicated myself to becoming a businessman for good; to empower my employees through their work, to help my clientele achieve more success than they ever thought possible, and to create brands that do as my father did—make the world a better place.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Hinckley: I was raised by a family of entrepreneurs—so the entrepreneurial hunger is in my blood; it’s in the way I’m wired. If there’s a problem, I want to solve it. If something is broken, I want to fix it. That mindset is the kernel that inspired me—and so many other people—to take a risk and build something bigger than myself—to solve problems, to fix what’s broken. I wanted to fulfill my dad’s philosophy.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Hinckley: How can I list just one? Most of these pivotal moments were painful lessons. Perhaps the most pivotal (read: most painful) came from my last business, Bullhorn. For the first five years of our business, nobody would trust a third-party vendor to manage their data and applications offsite. No trust equals no business, equals growth slower than a snail’s pace. It was a tumultuous and uphill climb that, for a while, left me feeling like we wouldn’t make it to the top. Then, in 2005, people started to understand the seriousness of SaaS, and things began to shift in our favor.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Hinckley: My first boss at Boss Harbor Maine gave me the only nugget of business advice that ever stuck with me (oh, the plight of the ever-evolving entrepreneur). He said, “If you want a fulfilling career, try something for five years. If you love it and feel successful, double down for another five. At that point you’re ready for a new challenge.” I’ve followed this advice almost to a tee and it has led me down an exciting—albeit interesting—career path.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Hinckley: Meditate daily. Spend time in silence to clear your mind of all the modern-day clutter and noise. While a seemingly impossible feat for most on-the-go entrepreneurs, doing this will open up your headspace to improve your decision-making capabilities and overall brain capacity.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Hinckley: Small businesses are the heart and soul of the American economy. The more we can do as a country to make it easier for entrepreneurs to take a leap of faith and launch their dreams, the better it is for America. I think more and more serial entrepreneurs are recognizing that fact and doing what they can to support it.
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Hinckley: I literally broke out in a sweat reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle—it was that inspirational to me. In a world full of naysayers and confidence slayers, entrepreneurs need to channel their chutzpah to press on when all seems dark. This book gave that to me.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Hinckley: “It takes two hands to clap!” While seemingly rudimentary, this quote is inspiring to me because no one can build a company alone—and this simple quote has been the cornerstone of my thought process for many years.