George Morris, co-founder of Imulus, is a father, entrepreneur and organizer of TEDxBoulder. His interests are vast but tend to center around technology and how it can help build community and foster human connections. Follow him at @gmorris.
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
I can’t do mention one. There are just so many but I’ll limit it to three.
Nikola Tesla: The man defined creativity and invention. He clearly wasn’t financially motivated but rather wanted to see all humanity benefit from his creations.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: I lost my father at age 14 and found myself looking for a male figure I could learn from. I dug deep into Arnold’s biography and was inspired by his ability to break the rules, reframe negatives into positives and achieve most of his dreams.
Tecumseh: He was a renowned leader of the Shawnee and great orator who unified several tribes in an attempt to form a Native American nation. If I could harness 25 percent of his leadership ability, I believe I could move mountains.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Follow your interests, NOT your passions. Before something becomes a passion it starts as an interest. Explore all interests and see which ones become passions. Don’t overthink it. Your heart and gut will lead you down the right paths.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Ignoring cash flow. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’m not sure how I ran my company for 12 out of its 13 years of existence without understanding this business 101 concept. Rather than looking at cash flow, I would watch our cash balances. I thought everything was OK if things were growing.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I went to a workshop by Dandapani, a monk and entrepreneur. He challenged us to make our bed every day for one month. It seems like a trivial task but worth it. I start by making the bed, grabbing a cup of herbal tea, writing down my core values, appreciations, purpose and affirmations for the day. Then I use my Headspace app for 10 minutes to center my thoughts before tackling the day. For me that’s better than espresso shots.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
If financials aren’t your strong suit, take a few courses or find someone to outsource this aspect of the business to. At the very least, find a mentor to help you navigate them. I truly believe that if I had a better understanding of this early on my company would be in an exceptionally strong position right now.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Join a peer group. I deeply believe you are the average of the top five people you socialize most with. I’ve joined several entrepreneurial and community groups with the intention of continually learning and giving back where I can. I look for group members who challenge me on my business and life moves, and those who have particular skills that I would like to emulate. For me, collisions with members of these groups have helped me get un-stuck and aimed in the right direction in all facets of my life.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I don’t believe success is a destination that can be reached. I believe it’s a moment and it arrives numerous times in life. For me, the challenge is finding peace with my life. I want to feel like I’ve given it my everything, I’ve left it all on the floor and fully explored what I am capable of without sacrificing my role as a father, friend and member of the community. How that’s balanced is anybody’s guess, but I’m going to keep figuring it out.
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.