In this segment of "Lessons for Entrepreneurs," Awais Khan, VatorNews clean tech correspondent, sits down with Mike Hess, CEO of Mariah Power, a provider of east-to-install wind-powered appliances for the residential and business market.
When asked to offer up his key pieces of advice from his experience running and starting the company three years ago, Hess dove right into failure. Experienced and savvy entrepreneurs tend to be open about sharing their failures. It's most likely because the veterans know that failures help to shape the entrepreneur.
Here's what Hess had to say (partly paraphrased).
First lesson: Be patient
The first design we did failed. It did not work. The specifications, or requirements, or engineering documents. We had a choice so we could say let's hold up the tent and go home or let's re-look at the problem and see how we can change it. And that's what we did. We came up with a design we have today which is the lowest cost in the world and is a very effective system.The other lessons that we've picked up along the way, patience. It takes a long time to convince people what you are trying to do and how you're doing it so they can fund you, especially investors, they just take time. And you just have to kind of wait.
Second lesson: It will take longer than you think
The other thing is recognize that your schedule is never right. It's always going to take you longer than you think.Therefore don't get too pressured by what your schedule is. Be consistent about trying to make sure your performance goes well.
Third lesson: The customer is king
Last thing in terms of advice is your customer is king. Find the five to 10 customers who you can talk to whenever you want to ask whether the product works or doesn't work, [and] who are going to guide you and help you understand what you need to do to meet their needs in your performance.
What about advice on managing a team? Khan asked.
Hess responded: "My guys have always said I have more energy than they do and I am
at least twice older than they are. I think it's a function that you
have to recognize that you feed off of each other. So you have to have a
positive view; a positive orientation. And just because you run into a
problem or a disappointment doesn't mean you need to be down. It's just
like football or any other sport. You've got to get the team up and get
them focused and guide them. And they need to play off of each other and
help each other. I like a flat organization. Everybody should be able to
do their job. Nobody has to ask permission. Let's go get done what we
need to get done."