Tips from a Seasoned Investor to Every Business Owner

April 26, 2021

I recently sat down with my team for an impromptu interview session (they still occasionally like to pick my brain), and their questions highlighted some points during the Percipio brand story that are relevant to most business owners.

I share these tips candidly with you as they are the same pieces of advice, I would give myself when I launched this business.

Treat your business like the adventure it is.

At Percipio, every day brings something different—a new challenge, an unexpected windfall (or pitfall), a fresh introduction.

Even though we may wonder how things will turn out, we never worry about if they will. We’re resilient enough to handle setbacks and plot twists—which says something of our Midwest stock but is more likely a product of being surrounded by agriculture and the capricious whims of the weather and commodities markets.

By treating your business as an adventure, you automatically position yourself on the positive. You don’t fear the unexpected; you welcome it. You don’t sprint at the first sign of smoke; you run toward the flames. You don’t aim to go at it alone; you want as many people to experience it as you can.

Your business is something to which you devote an incredible amount of time, energy, and resources. Shouldn’t you at least enjoy it?

Understand what it is you’re building.

This is more than the processes, systems, and teams you’re baking into your business. Much like parenting, it’s incredibly rewarding to create something from scratch and to watch it evolve and take on a life of its own. Percipio has grown beyond anything I initially envisioned and has taken on the characteristics of everyone who works here. It now provides interesting and challenging careers and livelihoods for more than 20 people—all of whom share the vision and contribute to our success.

As I’ve evolved with the company, I’ve made the conscious move to invest just as heavily in the team and our culture as I have in the decisions we make in the market. This has been incredibly rewarding both financially and personally. I highly recommend it.

Embrace the heck out of change.

If there’s one fundamental truth in owning a business, it’s this: the minute you solve one problem, more problems will rise to the challenge. It’s why we’re in business, after all—to solve, to improve, to innovate, to create. This requires a unique level of agility—one that can embrace opportunity however it rears its head.

One of the reasons Percipio has been so successful is because we have never pigeon-holed ourselves into one market or one investment or one particular strategy. We instead embraced an overarching value-add mindset—we distinguish opportunities by what can be gained by combining our experience with the existing framework, regardless of industry or asset class. We know we don’t have the answers going in, but we trust we will find them. This goes back to embracing change—and it includes changing what we currently know.

Choose your partners wisely.

We’ve brought in a lot of outside investor partners since we first launched all those years ago. Those investors have become important partners to us, and it underscores why all relationships in business should be pursued with intention, integrity, and transparency. This takes an alignment of purpose, timelines, and goals—long-term investments, for example, take a patient partner. We’ve been fortunate that most of our investments have performed well, but inevitably some won’t—and that makes the quality of that relationship that much more important.

In addition to outside investors, choosing your internal partners is essential, too, whether they are part of your actual partnership or a contributing member of your team.

Percipio is where it is today because of the work of several great people, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out the efforts of two partners in particular. Bill Ellis, who I’ve known since college, has been a principal and founding partner for years and plays a strategic role in our organization. Bret Cain is another principal who I hired before I knew I could afford him—an investment that continues to pay dividends in his ability to find great talent and connect them with powerful technology.

As Bret says so well, “Building a successful business isn’t a solo trek.” Don’t let the fear of bringing someone on deprive you of the opportunity to learn and scale in ways you could never do on your own.

As a company that strives to be best-in-class partners, we’ve woven the above so deeply into our company narrative that even when our successes don’t speak for themselves, our enduring legacy will.

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