The serial entrepreneur and investor, who is now a household name thanks to his spot on the judging panel of Channel 10’s hit show about start-up businesses pitching for investment, says the advice he wants to pass on are lessons that he learnt through his first accountant.
“He gave me three pieces of advice,” Steve (pictured) tells My Business ahead of his presentation at Intuit Australia's QuickBooks Connect conference.
“He said, ‘Never spend a buck to save 50 cents.’ That is, just because something is cheap on 29 June at pre-tax time sales, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Be frugal with money.
“‘Never treat your business like a cash register.’ Run your business as a business, as if you’re running it for someone else. At the end of the day, pay yourself a wage and you also take dividends – never stick your hand in the till and pull 50 bucks out and go to the pub! That’s just the wrong way to go. It’s false accounting.
“And the last thing he said was, ‘This business is getting too big – please get another accountant.’ That’s when you know a professional is good: he first himself because he knows his limitations. I think what rubbed off on me is you have to know your limitations, and the limitations of the people around you.”
With those points in place, Steve says the hardest thing about being in business is the same no matter your industry or location.
“The only really hard thing in business is sales – you’ve got to sell. And then after that, you’ve got to collect the money. So regardless of whatever else your business does, it’s got to be able to sell and collect cash … sell them a product, and then get the money off them. And that can be quite tough.”
According to Steve, the basis for succeeding or failing in sales comes down to interaction.
“If you don’t interact with people, it will always hold you back! Fair or not, it doesn’t matter. The only people that care about fairness are the federal opposition [of the day].”
*Image courtesy stevebaxter.com.au