Daren Jackson is the founder and principal of Rapid Financial Solutions, a Logan, Utah-based card processing company that began in 2005 serving one industry and has since expanded to provide end-to-end payment solutions for numerous industries. But Rapid Financial Solutions is just one of the many companies that Daren has founded. A lifelong entrepreneur, Daren opened his first business mowing neighborhood lawns as a teenager, learning from his entrepreneurial father. Since then, he has founded or been an investor in numerous successful business ventures, during and in between earning a BS in Economics and an MBA from Utah State University, doing volunteer service for two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and serving in the US Army. A strong leader, Daren brings experience in corporate management, education, the military, non-profits and more to his current position. His leadership has not only earned him many successful business ventures but a variety of awards, including the Entrepreneurial Impact Award from the Cache Entrepreneurial Council in 2015. Daren also serves his community through volunteering as a coach and advisor to youth in sports, young entrepreneur organizations and more.
Be Smart When You Start
You may have a fantastic idea and a ton of enthusiasm starting a business, but being smart when you start can make the difference in your idea being successful and your enthusiasm being well used. That includes knowing who you are, implementing successful business models and planning your finances to cover home base.
Knowing who you makes you smart in business because you are able to play to your strengths. “To be successful, you have to be yourself,” Daren notes. Knowing your strengths, skills, weakness and dislikes is the best way to be yourself. Then you’re able leverage that in business to make your entrepreneurial efforts work better and smarter. “It comes across as unnatural to try to apply a skill set you don’t have,” Daren says. It also can eat up valuable time in building and running your business. So know and be yourself to start off smart.
Another way to start smart is to implement successful business models in order to not re-invent the wheel. “It’s great to be visionary, but you also have to be able to make things work,” Daren cautions. The most successful companies utilize proven business models, so studying and implementing those models will get you started smart. “If you’re a visionary who doesn’t know how to implement, hire someone,” Daren advises. It will make a huge difference in getting your idea off the ground in the short run and being successful long-term. “Someone who takes the time to study business models and apply them correctly can easily be a millionaire,” Daren says.
A third way to be smart when you start your business is to plan your finances to take care of yourself and your family. This will take the pressure off when you’re getting everything up and going. “It’s a good rule of thumb to expect to spend 40% more to start a business than you originally estimate,” Daren says. “And when you start a business, your heart will be naturally pulled towards taking care of family and the things that are most important to you.” Avoid getting yourself into a tough spot by taking care of your personal costs and then risking money on your business after that, tracking finances meticulously.
Leverage for Profits
Success as an entrepreneur means leveraging whatever you can to help your business grow. And that’s not just leveraging assets. “Learn to master and leverage relationships, capital, intellectual power and employees to create value,” Daren advises. This is smart leadership, and it helps all aspects of your business work for you. Leverage the relationships you make to open doors for new opportunities and leverage your employees’ talents and hard work to make the business more successful.
But it doesn’t end there. You can leverage wisdom others give you in life as well as the qualities of your own character and personality to be a successful entrepreneur.
“My father taught me to ask ‘how can I have what I want?’ instead of just saying ‘I can’t have it'”, Daren notes. And he leverages that wisdom to find solutions and innovate for new business opportunities, not letting obstacles stop him. Daren also leverages his personal qualities of being competitive and persistent to not give up when things are tough, making him a tenacious business owner and a strong leader.