The “Wise-Guy” Skill Set

When I asked Tom Ryan, CEO of SmashBurger, about what experience he applied to starting SmashBurger that really made a huge difference, he answered, “building-in scalability” from the start.  He said, “It’s a wise-guy skill-set… you gotta be around the block a few times to get it.” Tom continued that he’s often approached by ambitious restaurant entrepreneurs, frustrated that as they add locations, they are failing rather than scaling.  They hadn’t known to build-in scalability, or how to do it.  They weren’t yet wise guys.

That got me thinking.  Today as we celebrate the meteoric startups, particularly those in tech, we place an increasing amount of focus on innovation and speed, and relatively less value on experience.  While speed and innovation are more important in a software startup than for a burger franchisor, I think it’s worth asking, “Is there someone with more experience who might have advice that I should hear?”  I love the way Tom Ryan described the scenario of “needed to be around the block a few times to get it!”  There are lots of times when entrepreneurs need wise guys.  Of course, without experience, it’s hard to know those times.

Fortunate for us, our great collaborative spirit in Colorado makes it easy to find generous wise guys who fit your business and your path.

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