I had only $3,000 and a credit card, and everyone told me I was making a mistake. But, by 1982, Paychex was No. 8 on the very first Inc. 500 list. We took the company public the following year, and now it has a $27 billion market cap. I still serve as director and chairman, and now run other organizations—like a fiber-optic internet service provider, and a charitable foundation. In my decades of doing business, I think I’ve learned a thing or two, so I decided to pass on some of my experience in Built, Not Born: A Self-Made Billionaire’s No- Nonsense Guide for Entrepreneurs. The book is meant to be a road map and toolkit for founders— practical tips interwoven with my business philosophy. Here’s my summary of its best parts.
Business plans should be logical and possible.
You read this all the time: “The market for my new product or service is $5 billion; if we can just get 10 percent of that … ” Well, I’ll tell you: Paychex has been around for 49 years, and we’re a very successful company. And we have only 7 percent of the market. So when I see these entrepreneurs come in and say they can get 10 percent of a marketplace in two to three years, it just doesn’t pass muster.
Hire for attitude, not for skills.
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