Young Millionaires 2005: Doing Things Differently
Everyone has regrets--even our young millionaires. Here's what they wish they'd done differently, and how they learned from their missteps.
It's near impossible to build a million-dollar business without wishing you'd done at least one thing differently. We asked our 2005 young millionaires what the one thing they wish they'd done differently. Read their answers to learn where they tripped up, and how you can avoid the same regrets.
"I think you have to take the time to find and hire the best people earlier. That should have happened before the 80-employee mark, because when it hit me, it was, 'Holy cow, I need help in every single area.' I would have taken the time earlier on. That advice is extremely hard to follow, but that is the best advice."--Mike Domek, 36, founder of Crystal Lake, Illinois-based TicketsNow, the world's largest online marketplace for secondary event tickets
"Being more math-focused early on. Early on, a lot of my decisions were made kind of on gut feeling. Now everything we do has to be proven through metrics models. And I'm talking about both forward looking and historically looking-just looking at numbers and using math as a way to make your decision. Now we have a very metric-driven management. We don't make gut decisions whether it's financial decisions, product launches, department organization. We create metrics and then make our decisions based on what the numbers look like. You can be wrong. It's not like you create a metric and you're going to hit it head on, but just the exercise of going through and doing that allows you to make the necessary adjustments and realize what you're getting in to."--Babak Farahi, 32, founder of Multivision Inc., an Oakland, California, company that records and broadcasts coverage for clients
"I'm pleased with where things have landed. In some ways, I wish we had gotten to where we are more quickly, but at the same time, we wouldn't have had the same experiences. I guess the one thing I would have done differently is when there are even the smallest victories I would have taken the time to reflect and celebrate them because I think sometimes you get so stuck in the thick of things you don't do that and you can be keying in on what's negative versus the tremendous things you've done. In the last 10 years, I've gained some perspective. I've also realized that it's not just about the money. It's about doing something that satisfies who you are and what you are."--Doug Zell, 39, co-founder of Chicago-based Intelligentsia Cofee & Tea, a coffee roaster, retailer and wholesaler
"I really don't regret any decision, good or the bad. You learn from your poor decisions. None of us are born knowing how to run a business; once you're out there, you're out there, you have to figure it out. There were some decisions that I figure were better than others, but even the poor ones prepared me for the next time I found myself in a situation."--Shawn Prez, 34, founder of New York City-based Power Moves Inc., a street promotion, marketing and event-planning company
"A combination of being less enthusiastic on ordering inventory in some cases and keeping my own personal income lower because of the tax implications. When there are tight months, it's irritating to cut huge checks to the government every week."--Joel Boblit, 29, founder of Somerset, Wisconsin-based BigBadToyStore Inc., an online toy retailer specializing in collectible action figures