Len Caric is a serial entrepreneur who has owned and managed six companies over his career. Most recently, he acquired The George J. Howe Company with his business partner Jim Rudolph, who together also recently launched Smashed Waffles in the Pittsburgh area. Caric is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business.
Though Caric has had many accomplishments, he says the best thing he’s been able to do professionally is build the teams that he works with at the companies he’s acquired.
“You have accomplishments in business — you get that customer you've been working on, you get that deal you've been working on, you get all those things. But I find the best accomplishment is building a team that you work with. You get to know each other, there's the interactions, you rely on each other, you build those successes of getting that new customer, that deal done or something like that, because you got support.”
However, with accomplishments, there are often bumps in the road. A couple mistakes that stand out in Caric’s mind are two bad hires he made while trying to build a team at two different companies.
“The second time I did it I was really mad at myself because I should have learned from the first time and I didn’t. I made two very bad hires in trying to build a team up. I didn't listen to my gut on both of those — I didn't listen to that inner voice saying, probably not the right person. I listened to some outside people who said, Yeah, that's the right person. And both times it was a bust; neither one of them lasts more than seven or eight months. It was just a bust.”
Caric spoke on Dealmaker TV's SmartTalk program about what he learned from his first job, how mentorship has impacted his career, change as a motivator and work/life balance. Hit play to catch the full conversation.