As the founder and CEO of OneIMS and Clickx, Solomon Thimothy has built his career around his passion for helping other businesses grow an online presence and thrive in the digital world. Solomon works with clients big and small to develop uniquely customized and highly-effective marketing strategies that meet every company’s individual goals. Follow him at @sthimothy.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
Steve Jobs. I know it sounds cheesy, but the man has practically changed the way we live today. Without him we may not have smartphones or ultra-slim laptops. Even when everything (and everyone) was against him, he was fully focused on innovating. His drive to make each product the best it could be is something that motivates me every day. Keep working hard until you achieve something truly unique. That’s what I learned from him.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
I started my business out of my passion to help business owners reach their own business success. What I didn’t do, though, was invest in myself or my own business. While your passion is the key to making things happen, it’s important that you get educated on what it means to run a business. Knowing the tools you’ll need to grow your business is key to making it happen.
From leadership to creating processes, it’s important that you have a full view of all the components that make your business run. Depending on your company, this may mean learning how to develop a sales team, recruit talent or create operational processes that will help you grow in the long run.
You also have to remember that you can’t just fully focus on the business itself. You have to be able to step outside the daily grind and take care of your own company just as you take care of your customers. It’s easy to put yourself and your business on the back burner when you’re just starting out and things are going well. Remember, things change, and equipping yourself with the right tools for the future will make a huge difference.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The biggest mistake I’ve made is not thinking about the future. As a CEO of a young, fast-growing company, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities. From helping out the sales team or heading operations, it’s extremely difficult to carve out time to plan for the future.
I often find myself saying, “I wish I’d done this years ago.” Having set goals and specific micro-goals will dictate much of where your company will go. Not having a plan or timeframe to achieve specific goals and milestones is like having no direction. Not to mention that you can’t really measure success if you don’t have goals.
I highly encourage any entrepreneur to have a clear vision and make a plan to achieve that vision. This will help you identify roadblocks early on and overcome them to reach goals and milestones.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
The beginning of my day is usually predictive of how the rest of my day will go. I try to create big picture goals for myself and key teams so we all have specific tangibles to achieve. Not only does this keep us focused, but it also gives us a sense of satisfaction when we get things done.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Know your numbers. I know it sounds easy enough but it’s incredibly hard to really get your numbers down to a science. Whether you’re making cupcakes or billing by the hour on a service, it’s very important for you to understand the true cost of delivering your product or service.
Knowing your numbers also means you will not run your own business into the ground by delivering a Rolls Royce when you’re getting paid for a Kia. Not only will you ensure you are collecting the right fees, you will also be able to estimate when you’ll need a new employee. Having financials to back up your operational decisions is crucial.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Educate yourself. You don’t need an MBA to run your own business. Read about great companies and great leaders. Learning what has made them successful (or led to their failure) can be eye-opening and motivating.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
My vision of success is knowing that I have a thriving business with happy customers and an operation that can run on its own. That reassures me I have a great product, great people and a great process.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.