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This Entrepreneur Said Yes Too Many Times. Then He Learned to Say No

The founder of Crown & Caliber needed help, and discovered that 'no' is the secret to success.
This Entrepreneur Said Yes Too Many Times. Then He Learned to Say No
Image credit: Crown & Caliber
Entrepreneur Staff
Editor-in-Chief
3 min read

This is an episode of our podcast, Problem Solvers. Each week, an entrepreneur reveals how they overcame an unexpected problem in their business -- and were happier and more successful as a result. The show is hosted by Entrepreneur’s editor in chief, Jason Feifer. Listen below, or subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Entrepreneurs love to say yes. We’re vision people. We’re enthusiastic. We see opportunity everywhere, and we want to seize it. Yes, yes, yes!

But sometimes, yes isn’t actually such a good thing. Just take it from Hamilton Powell, who founded a online ecommerce site for secondhand watches called Crown & Caliber.

“As an inexperienced CEO, I was chasing a lot of different opportunities,” he says. “Anything that was shiny, I was kind of going after.”

Related: Why This Entrepreneur Broke Up With His Biggest Client

Soon his employees were calling him the "Good Idea Fairy." He was working 100-hour weeks, barely had time to see his family, was feeling lonely and stressing out his employees.

Powell knew he needed to make a change. He needed to fix how he was running the company. And above all, that meant one thing: “Essentially killing the Good Idea Fairy,” he says.

That’s why Powell hired a former military man as his COO, who came in with a challenging and firm philosophy: To grow the company, he’d first need to break it.

Two years later, Crown & Caliber is a very different company. It recently completed its 15,000th transaction, expects to double business in 2018 and end up with about $45 million in revenue. And how did it happen? How was the company broken for the better? In this episode of Problem Solvers, we explore how everything started with one fatal blow: They killed the Good Idea Fairy.

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