Enrico Palmerino is a graduate of Babson College and a serial entrepreneur recognized by Inc, Bloomberg Businessweek, CNN, and USA Today. He is founder of ThinkLite, an international lighting company ranked #46 in Inc's 500 Fastest Growing Companies. He is currently Managing Director at SmartBooks, a virtual bookkeeping & accounting company providing companies with a virtual finance department that is better, faster and cheaper. Follow him @enricopalmerino
Who is your hero?
Richard Branson and William Brown.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Ideas are great, but execution is 99 percent of what makes a company successful.
Willingness to work around the clock is key. When your work day is 20 hours, you'd be surprised what you can accomplish. Surround yourself with older and smarter individuals who have both succeeded and made mistakes -- every one of their mistakes is one less that you have to make.
What's the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Haste makes waste. We were working on a large lighting project and running behind schedule. So we started producing lights using molds that hadn't fully cooled. This resulted in broken molds and wasted resources. We missed our deadline by two months and ended up with over $300K in losses.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I review upcoming opportunities, then look at projections and schedules. I follow up on emails, and go off to my meetings.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Assume your cash flow will lag and that your numbers will be off by 20+ percent in the wrong direction.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Make a to-do list of everything you want to get done short term (one week goals). Sit down, start working on them and don't stop. Don't sleep and don't get up (except to bring food and drink back to your computer). When you finish the list, set your alarm and take a five-hour nap knowing you just got a week ahead of your competition. Repeat the process six days per week.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
Success is unique for each company. For some companies it's about the social/environmental impact. For others it's the cash multiplier, and for others it's employee count or national/international presence.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.