Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Las Vegas Showman – Pt. 2: The Devil in Disguise

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  • Post last modified:December 8, 2016
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A Las Vegas showman has more to teach us about being entrepreneurs.

Continuing on from my last post, the Bros brothers enjoyed success for only a few years before it became apparent that one of the people they trusted most, was really the ‘Devil in Disguise’ to quote another famous Vegas superstar, Elvis Presley, himself.

It turned out that their manager, Tim Watkins, was more interested in Tim Watkins than Bros, and had them sign a contract that was so ridiculously one-sided, he made everything while they made not only nothing, but also had to pay for everything!

In the end, debt caught up with them and the 2 brothers learned another valuable and critical lesson that every Entrepreneur cannot avoid, if you give some people the chance, they will take you for every nickel they can.

It starts small in business, the subcontractor who changes his price at the end, or issues multiple change orders for things that should have been included all along.

It grows for the Entrepreneur into business partners or staff, who instead of putting the business interests first, put their own first instead.  Eventually, all roads lead to the same conclusion, someone else is living off your hard work and essentially stealing your hard earned rewards.

To avoid this, 3 things should be remembered:

1. Trust no-one, until they earn it in your Business.

They might be your friend, brother, pastor or teacher, but whoever they are, treat them all the same.  EVERYONE starts from ground zero.

Hold them accountable. Check and check again, periodically but regularly. Build business trust slowly, and don’t overlook the little signs that so often tell the larger picture. If it’s all about them, it likely always will be, so don’t try and change them, accept them for who they are and replace them.

2.  Use Your Network.

It can be expensive, but sometimes, bypassing the lawyer or not checking with the CPA will ultimately cost you 10X as much.  Every entrepreneur needs to have a quality, trustworthy professional network of services that will help his or her business succeed.  You can’t get by without a lawyer, so the faster you find one you can trust the better.  Use them when you need to, they’ve probably seen it all before. You can’t get by without a CPA, they’ve probably seen it all before also.

Your job is to build a business, focus on that and pay the professionals to do what they specialize in.  If you can’t afford it, your business may be undercapitalized because they’re even more vital than the gas in your car or the electricity coming in.  Without them you’re doomed, 100% of the time.

3. Find a Mentor / Be a Mentor.

When you’re in a situation, it’s often difficult to see the wood for the trees. For people removed from any given situation, it’s often much easier.  In your life you’re going to need a mentor / advisor.  Someone you can just talk to but who understands business. You need those relationships not just for you to receive wisdom, but because eventually it will be you giving it and you have a responsibility to develop yourself for that day.

Gleaning wisdom and insights from other, more successful people is how it’s worked for decades.  Hewlett and Packard famously took in a young Steve Jobs. Many of today’s Silicon Valley CEO’s have been / are being mentored or advised by the old guard of the Valley also.  Lose the pride, stop thinking you can do it all alone and find someone, your business will be better for it.

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