Like the many successful entrepreneurs who have come before this newest class of innovators, lessons (and failures) had to be learned along the way. Learning from your mistakes is important, but there are also valuable lessons to learn when you examine what worked (or didn’t work) for other entrepreneurs.
Take for instance serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Bobby Genovese, who has been launching, building, and running companies for decades. His experience as a business leader has made him a sought-out source for advice and insights for new entrepreneurs, or those who are looking to do business better. With a professional background that encompasses entrepreneurial ventures across a variety of industries and sectors, he is in a position to provide others with his hard-earned wisdom.
Love What You Do
First and foremost, if you don’t have passion for what you do, then you are only setting yourself up for failure.
Bobby Genovese advises,
I always tell aspiring business owners to get involved in something they love doing, because then it’s not work. Starting a company requires a huge investment of time and energy, so if you’re going to spend long hours working to make your dreams real, do something that’s enjoyable and meaningful for you.”
He adds that even when you love what you do, you’ll want to understand the difference between working hard and working smart. “Look at the big picture and find ways to be efficient,” he says. “Find joy and purpose in your endeavors.” He practices what he preaches, often asking the people who work in his companies, “Who has more fun than us?”
Develop Your People Skills
With any success comes a team of people backing you from the get-go, helping you reach your goals and objectives.
Genovese is also a believer in having finely-honed people skills. For his part, he learned at a very young age that he was good at connecting with people. “I truly love talking and working with people from a range of backgrounds, and it’s always a learning experience.” he says.
At one point early in his career, he worked as a bartender, which, he correctly notes, is much more about interactions with people than about making drinks. This experience enabled him to quickly build his professional network through a diverse range of beneficial connections.
“I met a number of influential people and became friendly with them,” he recalls. “I also became good at selling. When you think about it, all business involves selling, so it’s a skill everyone who hopes to become a success should cultivate. Then I began connecting people with winning opportunities, launching my first company, The Investor Relations Group, which brought together several wealthy investors. Realizing that I had a strong aptitude for identifying lucrative opportunities is what led me to launch my earliest companies.
Identify Opportunities with Strong Potential
Knowing how to identify a lucrative opportunity involves two specific things: knowing that you can and will generate working capital, and that your product or service will fill a void in the market.
Back in 2013, we entered the luxury destination and vacation markets, with offerings that not only included real estate, but also vacation experiences, recreational facilities, and travel opportunities. We were among the only ones doing this for the audience we served, so we experienced a good deal of success. The key is finding something that offers excellent potential for success and that no one else is doing, or doing well, and then capitalizing on it,” says Genovese.
Another important component for entrepreneurial success is believing in yourself. Confidence is key, both in your abilities and in your company’s potential for success. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll have a difficult time convincing others to believe in you.
Bobby Genovese explains that business confidence is based on a thorough understanding of your industry and the audience you will serve, and a strong belief that what you’re offering is the right venture at the right time.
Finally, as an entrepreneur, it is part of your social responsibility to help others; whether it’s by donating resources to a favorite charity or volunteering in the community.
Genovese enthusiastically endorses the idea of giving back once you’ve become successful.
“There are many ways you can do this. You can become a mentor and help others who are starting out as they navigate their career paths. You can push them to take risks and advocate for them. It’s very satisfying to see someone you care about reach his or her full potential.”
He also recommends using your success and influence to benefit philanthropic initiatives that are meaningful to you. As a father who highly values time spent with his family, Genovese says he looks for opportunities to serve children. “Giving back is both a privilege and a responsibility,” he says, “I’m very active with the annual Car and Boat Rally Scavenger Cups, which began in 2007.” He supports other charitable endeavors as well.
To date, Genovese’s leadership has helped raise millions of dollars for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Canada’s largest facility for pediatric cancer research, treatment and care.