Welcome, everybody! 👋👋🏼👋🏾 Cesar Quintero shared with us last week, in Part One, why going into a food-related business is extremely challenging. Now, in Part Two, the author and founder of multiple businesses explains what conclusions he's drawn about entrepreneurship, no matter the business, that can help you in your venture.
For you regular (and much appreciated 😻) readers of the Generation Si! newsletter, you'll notice I've changed the usual breakdown of categories in today's issue to best share Quintero's thoughts. As always, you'll get the practical advice you count on seeing in every article.
And to keep getting the advice by having the issues sent directly to your inbox, subscribe for free. Do share the article (share button is at the top) to help others (our community is all about helping).
Now, let's get to it!
His name is Cesar Quintero. He’s a serial entrepreneur and guy who created a healthy meals delivery business, Fit2Go, and later, RawBar 2 Go. The latter was the first state-licensed raw bar in Florida.
And Quintero says, what you may be thinking about entrepreneurship just isn’t so.
“The best idea doesn’t always win.”
What? How can that be?
Bruised ego aside, it’s a hard truth. Quintero says, that’s reality.
For example, in his case, he says it wasn't about the food, the delivery or his specific idea. Quintero believes it's about so many "other" areas of expertise.
THE TIP JAR (tips passed out courtesy of Cesar Quintero)
In other words, whether you’re selling food, computers, dental services or, really, practically anything else, there’s a pattern ALL entrepreneurs go through in their journey.
“Everybody goes through the same stages… It’s the five different stages.”
Quintero outlines the stages in his book, “The Profit Recipe,” and the relevant questions to ask yourself at each stage. This is a pared-down version:
THE STARTUP STAGE:
“How do I find an opportunity?”
“Where’s a gap?” (Note: How do I create a market fit?)
LEADER BY DESIGN STAGE:
“Where should I spend my time and energy? And where should I not? Because it’s the NOT [that] is the most important.”
TEAM BY DESIGN STAGE:
“Who do I need in my surroundings?”
He says those people can come from the outside: peers, mentors or coaches.
Or they could be coming from the inside: in your own leadership team (managers, people in the company)
BUSINESS BY DESIGN STAGE:
Quintero calls this stage the operating systems stage.
“How do we create a meeting rhythm, accountability, planning?”
“Where’s our vision?”
“Where are we going together?”
LIFE BY DESIGN STAGE:
“Now that I did this once… what do I want my ideal life to be?”
He provides this example: “I don’t want to be waking up at 3 a.m. every day. I want to have a better family life. I want to do all these things. So what is my NEXT business? Oh, it’s not product, blue-collar. It’s service, white-collar."
"Yes! Perfect. Let’s go do that one."
YOU GOTTA HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY
Quintero credits the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Accelerator program (aka *EO Accelerator) and, later, entrance into the full EO member program (for entrepreneurs once they hit the $1 million revenue threshold), for helping him understand the growing pains he was going through, similar to other entrepreneurs.
He says it helped him take a hard look at the universal patterns that characterize entrepreneurship. Most importantly, he says, the EO program prioritized accountability.
Note: *Quintero calls the EO Accelerator the best kept secret in terms of a resource for an entrepreneur. As I researched it, I must, however, point out that there is a cost involved to join the EO programs or to become a member. As always, I personally do not endorse any program. I just share what has worked/hasn't worked for entrepreneurs who have gone through the same journey and who believe in sharing their wisdom and lessons learned.
Quintero says he joined the program when he was bringing in approximately $700,000 in revenue annually with 27 employees. Through the teachings, he says he was able to double his business.
BAD THINGS HAPPEN… YOU’RE NOT ALONE
While going through the EO program, he was blindsided by what he describes as a baseless class action lawsuit.
At first, he couldn’t believe it.
“How is this happening to me?”
He then admits he went into full-fledged victim mode, telling himself, “I did nothing wrong. This is unfair… I need to fight this.”
Still shell-shocked, Quintero walked into a room with the other entrepreneurs in the EO program.
He showed someone in the room an email of the legal notice he received. That person turned around and asked everyone in the room if anyone had had a lawsuit filed against them.
“There were 65 people. 62 raised their hands.”
That’s when it clicked for Quintero. He wasn’t alone. It happens. A lot.
And here’s another valuable tip of his: get EPLI (employment practices liability insurance).
He says it’s a “cheap way to prevent all of this for you.”
Point well taken.
NO, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING
Of course, there was something else he discovered that went against conventional thinking. It’s about having to “do everything”.
“Just because I start a business doesn’t mean I need to do everything.”
He even says he doesn’t think being an entrepreneur necessarily means he has to have ANY job at all in the business.
BE HUMBLE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO WELL
In retrospect, it’s about humility.
“The reality is, I was not the best person for the job, [on] many occasions.”
But he convinced himself, that was part of the job description.
“As an entrepreneur, I need to be on top of my numbers. I need to know all my finances. So why should I be doing this, right? Or, as an entrepreneur, I should be managing all my people. I should be holding everybody accountable. But if I’m not good at holding even myself accountable, why would I expect that [from] others?”
Of course, I brought up to him that, many times when starting out, an entrepreneur doesn’t have a lot of money, so they’re forced to do it all because they can’t afford to outsource the tasks they aren’t good at doing. I was curious as to how he suggested getting around that.
GOOD, FREE HELP IS ALL AROUND
“Mentors are free. There’s a ton of different resources, peers, people who’ve gone through what you’re going through. Maybe it’s not in your same industry, but it’s people who are going through it.”
THE COMMON THREAD
For Quintero, it all goes back to a common thread: a love of teaching. And it goes all the way back to the age of 14 when he spotted his first opportunity to teach and make money in Venezuela with salsa and merengue lessons.
“I saw an opportunity where kids needed to meet each other. So let me charge people $10 and we can all get together and kind of have dance lessons and stuff.”
It led to tutoring in college and now, helping other entrepreneurs through the five stages of entrepreneurship.
Quintero says he figured out how to “get unstuck from each stage” with various tools. And that’s actually allowed him to fulfill his childhood dream of being a teacher, this time, to entrepreneurs.
NO NEED TO GO IT ALONE
HELP ON THE OUTSIDE...because we can all use a helping hand:
The Investing Game – What You Need to Know
If you know your business would benefit from an investor, but you don’t understand the critical aspects of the investing puzzle, this webinar may provide the info you need. In this FREE webinar, you’ll find out the various kinds of investors that are available and which would be suitable for your type of business, where to look for them, what grabs their attention and what makes them sign the check.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
How to Get an Investor to Chase You – Understanding the Investing Game
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
1:00 p.m. EDT – 2:00 p.m. EDT
WORKING ON THE INSIDE...because we know our culture has a hard time asking for help:
The Attributes To Look For
Since Cesar Quintero recommended in the Team by Design stage that we need to think about who we surround ourselves with as entrepreneurs, I thought this separate, FREE workshop would help you put it into action. Because it focuses on characteristics of people, I thought it would be useful to attend this webinar as a way of building those attributes in ourselves and more easily recognizing them in others. Here are more details, plus registration info:
Orlando SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Key Staff in a Startup
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
7:00 p.m. EDT – 8:00 p.m. EDT
INSPIRATION FOR THIS ISSUE:
As you get older, you notice patterns in people. They’re patterns that help you figure out who would be good to keep in your circle (ex. helpers, those who are loyal) and who to steer away from (ex. narcissists, troublemakers, liars).
Similarly, patterns can help in business because they’re like a math formula. Once you know the formula and can plug in the numbers, you can work on the right combo to get the desired result.
Cesar Quintero’s premise that all entrepreneurs go through the same, basic stages can be a little deflating (you mean the ingenuity of my big idea isn’t as important as I think it is?) and exciting (Wow. Imagine all of the different kinds of businesses where I can apply the pattern!)
I like following step-by-step instructions. So I think that’s why having things broken down into stages appeals to me.
I also like that he dispels the common myths that keep people from succeeding.
It’s all a process, but when you can break it down into manageable steps or units, I think, psychologically, it helps you make better decisions on which way to zig or zag.
Even acknowledging that the bad parts happen to many entrepreneurs (running out of money, not enough staff, lawsuits, outright failure) is comforting.
I hope that knowing these are shared experiences gives you the support to navigate your way through the rough stages onto the fulfilling parts.
🌴Liked the article? Subscribe now to continue getting issues directly into your inbox and to support our growing community.
🌴Don't forget to share this article (share button is at the top).
🌴Thank you for taking the time to read and support my publication. I'm grateful. Always. 😻 Can't wait to share more tips with you! Till next time... and remember, #theskyisNOTthelimit