Phil Dumontet is the founder and CEO of DASHED, the leading restaurant delivery service in the Northeast. In 2013, DASHED was recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., ranking #119 nationwide and #7 in Massachusetts on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 | 5000 list. Phil prides himself on the company’s unique partnerships with higher-end restaurants, as well as their efforts to keep delivery green and eco-friendly. Follow him @phildumontet.
Who is your hero?
I’ve never had one hero in life, but I do draw the greatest inspiration from my family. My mom brings a beautiful enthusiasm and positivity to life that makes everything more enjoyable; my dad is a wonderfully caring and guiding force who has always steered me in the right direction; my older brother is incredibly smart and provides tremendous business mentorship; my girlfriend quite simply makes me a better person; and my dogs make me smile and keep me active. They all deserve hero status because they are constant sources of inspiration.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Learn what you do best and delegate the rest. Being “well-balanced” is a nice way of saying you’re mediocre at everything. To grow my business, I focused on what I did best: relationship-building. I brought in people to do the things that I didn’t do well. If I didn’t focus on my strengths, my company would be puttering along.
The same advice applies to our business strategy. As a delivery company, speed drives all that we do. Trying to be the best at many things would result in mediocrity across the board. We focus on doing one thing exceptionally well and orient the entire company around this core competency.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
My biggest mistake was hiring people who didn’t share the same values and vision. I overvalued industry experience, confusing it as an indicator of good performance. Industry experience isn’t necessarily a good thing. Hiring the wrong person can bring an infectious negative attitude and stubbornness that will suffocate a team looking for positive, forward-looking leadership. To me, it’s clear now that the best indicator of success when hiring someone is a true passion for the company’s mission and a good work ethic. The rest can be learned.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
My day starts with exercise. Waking up at 6 a.m. allows me to plan my day before it plans me. After my morning exercise and hot-cold contrast shower, my head is clearest — so I make a list of the most important things to accomplish that day. I stick to this list religiously. After that first hour, I only check my email at two designated times during the day (thanks Tim Ferriss) to make sure I stay on track with the things that are actually going to grow my business.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Hire a top-notch accountant. Don’t cut corners or try to have a friend help you out. You can save money in other ways, but hiring an excellent accountant will pay for itself. They will manage your cash flow effectively, help you cut costs, and make sharp recommendations.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Get out of your comfort zone. Do something you don’t want to do. Try something that may end in spectacular failure. It’s the only way you’ll grow.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
The only way I can judge success is to set goals. I reach high but make them attainable. If I meet my goals, I succeed and celebrate. If I don’t, I have failed and need to reset.