My first entrepreneurial venture was a disaster. It ended in a messy dissolution of partnership, legal bills, bruised egos, and a lost friendship.
While still in the midst of said dissolution, I launched my current agency. Wary of partners, and weary from battle, I swore I would run this agency on my own.
Being a successful entrepreneur is not always a solo venture. You can't bear the burden of it all on your own. It's also an extremely personal thing. Creating a culture happens together, not alone.
The people you choose to collaborate with will make or break your company. For richer or poorer, they will become like family.
Long hours, stressful situations, and tight deadlines can become the ultimate revealer of character. Entrepreneurs, by our nature, think different. We don't mind being uncomfortable. Pushing ourselves and our limits.
Which is why having people around you that you can trust is so important for success. Some of us succeed, most fail.
I saw John's talent, and entrepreneurial fire. So I partnered with John and his parents to launch the Westchester Digital Summit. Forbes later named the event one of the Must-Attend Marketing Conferences For Leaders In 2014.
After our first summit, I turned to John and said "you have to come work with me." Together we can do great things. He agreed.
A few months later, he came to work with me. Two years later, I made him my partner. He had earned my trust, admiration and respect.
We have a quirky nightly tradition that I believe could help you.
When I first met John he was single. As a married Father of two little girls, I lived vicariously through John and his friends.
A fun technique that they used to meet young women while out, stuck with me. One of them would holler "I love you" as a pretty girl walked by.
The tone would be silly, the voice in jest. Perhaps sounding more like the "I love you" said by a cartoon character than a normal person.
Of course, the young lady would turn, smile and begin chatting with the boys. She wouldn't know who made the bombastic statement, but it was out there, and the proverbial ice thawed.
I found this charming. It tickled me.
So that evening, I shouted to John as I left the office "I love you!" He returned the sentiment in kind. And it stuck.
I did it the next day, and the next.
This April, it will be four years that I'm running Silverback. Every evening when John and I say our goodbyes we both say "I love you."
While this may seem small and insignificant, it is, in fact everything.
This time last year, my Father was in the last days of his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). While I was by Father's side, John ran the agency.
Now when we say "I love you," at the end of our work day we say it with even deeper meaning.
I do love him, and I trust him.
We don't shout it. It's usually just between the two of us (we sit only a few feet from each other). But we say it every day.
I admit this is quirky. But it's also a powerful indicator of our success.
I believe that together we can do anything. I view it as our competitive advantage.
Now it's your turn.
What quirky every day ritual keeps you ahead of the game?