Being ambitious comes with a price tag – this is what I’ve learned in the past few years since I entered the realm of building companies together with others. I have been a part of building two organizations – one for my past client and the other of my own. In both cases, I’ve learned quite a lot about trust and gut feelings – both are critical to your success and peace of mind. If you trust the wrong guy, you’ll suffer and if you ignore your gut feelings, you’ll be doomed.
When you build a start-up firm, be careful about choosing people – the ones whom you should let in and whom you shouldn’t. In other words, it’s about creating a circle of trust and being judicious about who actually deserves to be in there. If you don’t trust someone much, don’t let them in. Don’t let them be associated with your organization.
During my early days of building companies, I’ve made quite a few mistakes of trusting the wrong guys all the time. So, here is what I shouldn’t have done.
Fought The Gut Feelings: When I was building a company for the first time for my client back in 2007, it was a big decision for me in terms of whom I should hire. There were quite a few things involved and I wasn’t really equipped with so much experience and confidence that I could pull it off on my own. I ended up hiring some close friends of mine whom I thought would understand my vision and co-operate with me accordingly. But it went the wrong way as they were more concerned with the money part. They clearly wanted more money than anything else although they never deserved it.
My gut feelings told me to part with them again and again, but I held those feelings back assuming things will be alright down the line. But it wasn’t meant to be – I woke up too late and realized things had been damaged beyond repair. I decided to part with the whole thing and build a world of my own – a company where there is place for mutual faith, love and prosperity. So I parted ways with them for good.
The Lesson – When you gut feelings growl, you know your enemies are on the prowl.
But more was yet to come…
Hired The Wrong Guy: With a start-up firm, you should always be careful about not hiring the wrong guy – it’s a mistake you’re bound to pay for. Hiring should be purely based on what they bring to the table, and not what their face value. Face value is important for brand endorsement, not for a start-up firm having less cash to dispense with others.
My mistake was to be over-ambitious with hiring the wrong guy without taking into consideration of how he could be productive for the company. Yes, I was right – he could never justify his salary for the entire of his tenure. Worse, he fell victim to a few people who were hell bent on bringing me down professionally. I simply should have fired him right there but I ignored my gut feelings and decided to carry on with him – another major mistake.
The Lesson – when you feel someone is going against your company, just fire him.
Associated with The Greedy: Some people are nice with you as long as you’re not prospering and keep them happy with sharing a part of what you make. I made the mistake of associating myself with one such guy who waged a fight against me at the mental level with a strategy unknown to me. He resorted to some dirty tactics of misleading the other guy right under my nose. By the time I decided to part with him, he had already done enough damage to the other guy.
The Lesson: Don’t associate with greedy people ever, least when you’re building an organization.
Helped The Jealous: They say it is great to reach out and help others out when they need it the most. But, only they need it the most and ask for it, should you reach out and help them out. Moreover, you’re not supposed to go out of your way to help someone out, because some people aren’t worth the favor and others will hit you back when they get a chance.
The Lesson: When you recognize them, don’t hesitate to take stern action and do the necessary to drive them out before they do more damage to your firm.
Involved The Convenient: Everybody loves money and wants a portion of what you make, whether they deserve it or not. Some people are ostensibly on your side as long as you serve their purpose. The moment they get a chance to join your detractors, they will at your costs. Beware of them as they are worse than your enemies.
The Lesson: Essentially, you should be straight with them whenever your gut feelings say they are talking out of both sides of their mouth.
The Circle of Trust: A start-up firm is not just an organization where anyone can work; rather it is a circle of trust and you shouldn’t let just anyone in without reading their mind upfront. While a whole of people would covet and drool over your money, you need to be careful about choosing people, whether close to you or not, who should be let in your circle of trust.
The trust-worthy people should work with passion, share your vision and be like-minded to begin with. When they work with passion, it paves the way for organizational success and helps the operation makes enough to dispense with everybody who truly deserves it. With consistent efforts from a chosen few who work to satisfy the common goal, you can choose people that deserve a part of the company’s annual profit in the long-run.
Therefore, it is important to choose people based on their personal traits as much as their inherit skills and talent.