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The 10 things this serial entrepreneur learned from founding 17 companies in 20 years

Philip Weinman, CEO of Locomote. Photo: Jeremy Blode photography.

Philip Weinman has founded 17 companies in just over 20 years.

He started in 1983 with his first company, HiSoft, a software and hardware solutions business. Within three years, HiSoft grew to become Australia’s largest privately owned computer company with a 35% market share and turnover in excess of $300 million.

In 1995, Philip founded CTS Travel and Events, and in 1998, CTS merged with Internet Travel Group and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with a turnover exceeding $450 million.

Now his latest venture is in the travel space with Locomote, a business which streamlines the booking process for companies and business people.

With this wealth of knowledge of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and the challenges that a startup has to overcome to scale up, Business Insider asked Weinman for the top 10 things he has learned in the past two decades.

Here’s what he said.

1. Loyalty ranks number one.

When you work with loyal people, as a company you can look forward and not behind you. In every business I’ve grown, loyalty has been the most significant reason behind the success.

2. The formulas for a successful business don’t change.

Every company has a different personality and of course you add a few key or different ingredients – but overall the formulas don’t really change.

3. Say yes.

A yes can-do attitude goes a long way to delivering outstanding results — negativity has no place in business.

4. Respect is a privilege not a right.

Recently, I’ve seen an increasing number of people come into business with an incredible sense of entitlement – before they’ve actually achieved the outcomes needed. I have always believed that that you need to deliver to earn or gain entitlement. There’s been a major shift in this attitude since I started my first company.

5. Make the most of every opportunity.

There is no such thing as issues or problems but rather opportunities. Problems are best left with other companies. Not ours.

6. Have a voice.

I strongly believe that you should not come to a meeting if you have nothing to say. It’s important to have an opinion and contribute to the conversation.

7. Be supportive.

The more you encourage people, the more you build their resolve to succeed. The major catalyst for success is having a sense of belief in yourself.

When I see potential in someone but notice that they are not thriving in their current position, we work together to address the issues and find them a position that will inspire and help them to perform their best. There are currently many team members working at Locomote who have recently changed roles and have grown faster than expected as each of them has been given multiple career advances in a very short period of time.

8. Be passionate.

Passion is really significant when building fast-growing companies. Passion encourages loyalty and drive within the business; it inspires people to continue pushing forward.

I think celebrating everyone’s success and wins – both big and small – is important. When someone achieves great results within the company, we share and celebrate the news across the entire company. It helps to build an understanding of the different roles and creates a supportive work environment.

9. Lead from the front.

Get your hands dirty if needed and never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t chip in and do yourself.

I am involved in most key responsibilities and strategic areas across Locomote — from establishing new partnerships to initiating efficient processes so that our expansion plan stays in place with our growth. I spend much time mentoring my executive team across all aspects of the business as this company continues on its significant expansion path.

Most importantly, I run a strong succession plan amongst the team to ensure we always continue to grow from within.

10. Never say it can’t be done.

There is always a way and a solution — the words “no”, “but” or “it wasn’t my fault” have no place in business culture.

At Locomote, we all think of the opportunities that an idea can bring to a project and develop different angles to make that idea work — instead of saying that “it can’t be done”, we look for ways to make an idea work and turn it into a successful strategy.

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