Chris Quiocho is Managing Partner of Indy Asset Exchange and Solutions Air Charter. Follow him at @ImChrisIFly.
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
Sir Richard Branson. His spirit of adventure is absolutely contagious. He constantly challenges himself and tackles life in a way that anyone can get excited about.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Surround yourself with good people and never sell yourself short. Inevitably there will be tough times, but having the right people around you can get you through the toughest of them. Having a tight circle always gives you something to fall back on and can also give you the confidence to go out and take on anything.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Not listening enough. Sometimes it’s easy to get ahead of yourself when you think you’ve asked all the right questions and have found a solution. I’ve learned to develop a little more tactical patience to take a step back from the situation and actively reengage the customer to find out the underlying reasons for their needs. I think it brings a whole new level of customer service when you can connect beyond the transactional piece of business.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I try to exercise and eat a good breakfast. You can’t conduct a lot of business easily in the morning, so that’s time that I can take to focus and take care of myself. If I can push myself physically and mentally in the gym first thing in the morning, I know there shouldn’t be much I can’t take on that day.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Always have an exit strategy. Plan out all your fixed costs ahead of time to create as detailed and realistic a budget as possible. If you have to invest a significant amount of time or money into something, know your limits and what you consider an acceptable loss. This way you can always move on to something else without cashing in all your chips. There’s a lot to be said about being able to lick your wounds and come back to fight another day.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Enjoy life and don’t be afraid to have fun! I wanted to have a business that I was passionate about. You have an opportunity to make something bigger than yourself. When you can take what you love and make someone else’s life better, that is the most rewarding thing. Work should be fun. If you don’t have a good balance, it will more than likely negatively affect you in one way or another.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
When others can say that I have positively affected their lives. I think you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” when people start to sell you; when they think of you immediately as someone knowledgable in their industry. The ultimate end state is sustainability and long-standing impact.
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.