The Entrepreneur Series: Scott Lewis
(Enjoy this conversation transcript, or scroll down to listen to our conversation)
Scott, thanks so much for coming in today. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about Building Mavens.
I'm Scott Lewis, I am the president of Building Mavens. Building Mavens is a multidisciplinary engineering firm that focuses on inspections and restoration services, especially these new inspections that are happening in Florida with the recent collapse.
What led you to venture out as an entrepreneur?
I don't think it was one thing. It may be a sequence of events but mainly just reaching a certain point in my career where people kept saying, “Why don't you do it yourself? You've built businesses for other people, why not try it for yourself?” And so everywhere I went kind of pushed me in that direction and I just took the leap of faith because one person said, “would you regret not doing it?” and I said “yes” and that was the question that pushed me over the edge.
What would you say are some of the key things that have led to the success of your business?
I think definitely paying my dues, working for other people, working in different situations, and really coming through the ranks so I really understand the concept of the work, the actual business development, as well as the need to service the client well. And so, I think I was really positioned well to start a business, especially the fact that I do think about the business side of things and I really love that side so I like working on the business when I work more than I love working in the business.
If you could start the business over again, what would you do differently?
I think the one thing is when you're talking to people you work with or maybe vendors and so forth you may tend to think that you don't need solid contracts or agreements. So I'd say, from the very beginning, think seriously. Whether it's a business attorney involved to really write proper agreements that everybody can go back to and reference and because people's memories fade easily, and also people tend to only hear what they want to hear.
Who would you say are the people in your life that have contributed to the success of your business?
My wife was the biggest cheerleader for doing the business and then I'm a part of a CEO group and so there's a bunch of colleagues that really pushed me to do that for myself when that decision came up. I also have a close network of friends that encouraged me so I think I maybe had the most trepidation of everybody but the people that know me saw me as a person that could do it and they really held me accountable to doing that.
So you'd say that having a good mentor or mentors have really helped you?
Yes. I think for anyone starting a business, talk to people who have done it because I think the people who haven’t done it, they'll give you a lot of bad advice because they don't know what they're talking about. It's kind of like having people telling you how to raise a kid and they don’t have kids, it's impossible to give that type of advice.
What three things would you tell somebody wanting to start their own business?
Think carefully. Don't do it because you just want to make the biggest bang for the buck. You really have to love being a business owner and being able to think as a business as opposed to just an individual seeking to make the most amount of money you can. I would say be prepared to do everything yourself and to have a much more intense work life than before. I don't think anybody starting a business can expect to have an easier life than they had before. Maybe more fun and more enjoyable, but it's not going to be easier.
My dad always told me you can't just be good at what you do, you've also got to be good at running a business. We see so many statistics about people who start businesses and they fail. Maybe they're really good at what they do, but they're not good at, or they haven't been willing to get good at, running a business and doing all of those things.
There's a quote that says the minute you start your own business you essentially retire as that profession because now you're a business owner.
How can people learn more about Building Mavens?
You can go to the website buildingmavens.com or check my LinkedIn profile. There's a lot of information about me and the business there. If you want to know more, just reach out because I'm pretty available. I post a lot of stuff about being a business owner and I'm pretty open about sharing information and the bumps in the road with others.
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