What does Daymond John think about first thing every morning? "I wake up thinking about how blessed I am to have health, good friends, and family," says the founder and CEO of FUBU and investor on ABC's Shark Tank. "I think about what's going on in the streets and how I can be a positive influence over people of all colors. I think about where I am, what businesses are working and which are not," he says.
"Then, I fall back to sleep because I'm tired."
Tired or not, John is working hard--even during a quarantine and against a backdrop of social and economic upheaval.
In fact, as John told Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk during a Real Talk: Business Reboot streaming event on June 9, he sees this as the perfect time to get to work.
"You've got to look at your advantages right now," John says. "You know where all of your potential customers and collaborators are."
That would be at home, waiting, just like all of us.
"You can find all of your investors on Zoom and knock out nine meetings a day! The glass is always over-full. It's just beautiful. You've gotta start collaborating."
Here are some of John's other insights from the interview.
Talk to Your Team--but, More Important, Listen as Well
As protestors have taken to the streets nationwide and around the world to demand justice following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and other African Americans) at the hands of police, John convened an open forum with his entire staff. It was meant as a chance for some team members to ask questions without fear of judgment and for others to share their experiences with racism, economic injustice, and the police.
"For a lot of people, this is heavy on their hearts," John says. "It opened up a dialogue."
Listening to people speak is an important step to healing and creating a more inclusive business and community. "Listening is on both sides," John says. "We have more in common than we do apart."
Figuring Out What's Next
The coming years are going to be even more challenging for business owners, John says. "Entrepreneurs, many are gonna fall by the wayside. A good portion will adjust and adapt. Then, you're going to see some really rock-star businesses just explode."
According to John, the best thing a founder or business owner can do right now is take inventory of what's in front of them and ask a few key questions:
- What can I control?
- Who can I call?
- Who can I collaborate with?
"It's such an opportune time," he says, adding that it's also important to be a mentor to others. "The number-one reason people are successful is mentors."
Focus on Fundamentals
When looking at your company, John says, ask yourself: "What is your core value?" Figure that out, and whatever you're offering will be a reflection of who you are and what you believe.
You also have to keep the customer at the forefront of your mind at all times. "You have to be obsessed with your customer," John says. "Obsessed."
"Really care. If you care, people will see. It will come through."
And while you're obsessing about the customers, remember to take care of yourself, too.
"Don't beat yourself up too much. Take it slow," John says. "We're gonna get through this."