Top 3 Ways to Become a Successful Business Owner
Every year, more than 500,000 businesses change leadership and we will continue to see that grow as many will retire and the new generations such as Millennials/ Generation X will take over. Becoming a business owner can be complex. However, our new President Ian Wagemann talks about the 3 principal that have helped him accelerate his dream of being a business owner and his journey along the way.
1.) Struggling Artist – Be Humble
Rick Wareen once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”While I was not starving in the physical term like most early business owners are, I was realizing that it is better to seek out great mentors that may have insight into how to better build your business and what pitfalls to avoid. Veteran Enhanced Technology Solutions is an IT Consulting firms that predominately holds contracts with the State of California, but as most business owners know is that doing business in and particularly with California can be somewhat cumbersome. I was tired of spinning my wheels and decided to reach out to Gary Herbold for advice; it was the best move I made.
2.) Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – Use your Network
While I have not ever attempted the challenge, I do realize what a small world it is and who you and your network are connected to. Gary Herbold former president of Amerit Consulting has been a longtime family friend and someone my father visits every time that he is in town. A couple years after starting my business my dad mentioned that Gary was doing something with veterans and that we should connect. The “something with veterans” ended up being a 15-year-old extremely successful Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certified company that has several locations across the country and servicing large household names. Even though I had known Gary my entire life I almost wish I would have not looked up his firm before the phone call. The phone call was almost two hours long mixed with advice and pitfalls on running a SDVOSB firm. The one comment that stuck in my mind was his initial comment after asking what advice he could give. In true Gary fashion, “We have not been that small in a while”. Defiantly could have been a conversation ender, but I pressed on. Gary also had an idea that he would later share with me.
3.) Tenacity – Work Smarter and Harder than Everyone Else
The conversation didn’t end on an “Aha Moment” as I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting him to send me to a client that had a pile of cash to give our growing firm but thought I would at least have identified a mountain to start climbing. Three days later a guy named Michael Larkin, Senior Vice President of Amerit Consulting contacted me and wanted to know what we did and if it would make sense to work together. We slowly developed a working relation and worked together on how we could help grow each other’s success. Little did I know; the process was an interview of sorts to see if I was cut out to run Amerit. I worked hard to grow my firm Veteran Enhanced Technology Solutions as well as put in more time to find out how we could help Amerit. I never gave up no matter how hard the mission. Almost a year later Gary came to me with a proposition of taking over the company that he created and grew for 12 years. I was honored, fearful and excited all at once. Your business is like a child; a vision that you have seen from infancy to adulthood and everything in between. While Amerit could seem like a stubborn adolescent you still have the vision of its true potential and I am honored that Gary would trust me with that responsibility.
Humility is key to becoming a true leader and to become a leader you must find what and whom you will lead. As individuals we need to understand that we must never be too proud to reach out to our friends, family, mentors, and peers for advice. More than likely they have experienced something that you are currently or will go through. Your network is key to your success and your ability to make those connections is paramount to being successful. Success is measured in many ways. For me my dream is to build a technology company that has the ability to help veterans’ transition into a career; not just a job. To make your dream a reality you have to work hard. You cannot expect anything to be handed to you. You have to have the grit to dig deep and climb the mountain without knowing what is on the other side. These are key in becoming a business owner.
Ian Wagemann, President of Amerit Consulting