Justin Wetherill | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Justin Wetherill

Background:  

uBreakiFix is a fast-growing, Orlando-based chain of 200 tech shops across North America that specialize in the same-day repair of small electronics. The company was founded in 2009.

The Mistake:

At a point in time, we wanted to grow the company from 47 stores to 100 stores. We were trying to create a strategy to do that. And I’ll never forget, a mentor of mine said, “Always work with the end in mind.” So, kind of work your problem backward. 

And that was probably the most insightful advice I ever got. He said, "You want to open 50 stores? How many technicians is that?"

I said, “100, 200…”

He said, “Who’s going to hire those 100?”

And I was like, "Uh ... me?"

He said, “You can’t do these 50 stores and hire these 100 or 200 people. So you obviously need a recruiter. How many recruiters do you need to hire 200 people?”

I’ll never forget, a mentor of mine said, 'Always work with the end in mind.'

The Lesson:

It was pretty early on, but that was kind of a lightbulb moment of, rather than just running into battle without a plan, [learning to] take the time to think with the end in mind – and work backwards. 

One of the mistakes we made early on was [just] running, making mistakes, learning from them and figuring it out. And I think that as we’ve matured as a business, we’ve learned to work to the resolution, toward where we want to be – and then create the plan to get there.

We have 200 stores now, but the lesson is relevant to every aspect of business, whether it’s growing stores or just growing a successful business, period. 

As the business matures, you have to make the decision to, rather than running into wars, to strategizing the battle before running in – and that includes setting new goals.  It applies to just about any aspect of life, really.

Follow uBreakiFix on Twitter at @uBreakiFix.

Pictured: Justin Wetherill. / Photo courtesy of Justin Wetherill.

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