Dwayne Nielson

With more than 30 years’ experience in business, Dwayne Nielson brings a wealth of experience to his current positions. He wears many professional hats as an executive, entrepreneur, consultant, mentor and board member, leading a variety of businesses and non-profits to be stronger and more effective for his contributions. A native of Portland, Oregon, Dwayne earned his undergraduate degree in accounting and his graduate degree in tax accounting from Brigham Young University along with earning his certification as a Certified Public Accountant. He now runs his own company, consults and coaches CEOs. In addition to his business endeavors, he is the founder and president of the Dwayne and Sandy Nielson Foundation and a board member/chair of the Utah County Children’s Justice Center.

Be a Heroic Leader

As someone who mentors entrepreneurs and executives, Dwayne knows that a lot of business success is tied to willpower and personal drive. “Entrepreneurs are often people who make things happen despite the obstacles,” Dwayne says. A bit of a maverick himself, Dwayne often bucked systems and even went over heads to get things done and make his own way in life. But there’s a difference between having strong entrepreneur qualities and being a quality leader. The drive to make your idea happen despite the naysayers is admirable, but being reticent to listen to counsel can get in your way. “Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness,” Dwayne says. Learn when to push through and when to take advice from mentors and those you trust to make informed decisions as a business leader.

A heroic leader also knows when to stop doing all the work himself and when to get the work done through trusted professionals. “The difference between larger and smaller companies is the leader being able to let go to trust others to get work done,” Dwayne says. Surround yourself with talented people and let the work get done through them to keep your company growing. Understanding that “most success is tied to the quality of the people you have around you” is the key to being a heroic leader.

Get Proper Funding

The right amount and kind of funding for a startup is critical for success. Dwayne has seen many companies fail because they were underfunded to start with. Venture capitalists sometimes do this to be able to take over and bring their people in down the line, so get proper funding from the beginning to get a strong start out of the gate.

Stick to Your Standards

When making a name in business, it’s easy to be tempted to compromise your standards and even your ethics. Going with the flow seems like the best way to get ahead. “It’s unfortunate, but an uncomfortably high number of people in business are self serving and have their own agendas,” Dwayne cautions. But sticking to your standards is the best way to go, even if it costs you a setback or two. When Dwayne was first starting out, he was demoted for refusing to do something against his code of ethics. “But I came back from it–it didn’t stop me,” Dwayne says. And it won’t stop you either.