Finding success is rewarding but many often feel stuck in uncertainty. Successful leaders have developed habits to keep them moving forward. The team at Scalar has had the opportunity to work with many CEOs and leaders in different industries. We’d like to introduce you to some of them.
Zak Nugent, CEO of Scalar, LLC
Zak Nugent is Chief Executive Officer of Scalar and has been involved in all phases of the firm’s development since joining in 2009. He has overseen more than 6,000 valuation engagements for tax, financial reporting, transaction advisory, and litigation consulting purposes. Zak has provided valuation consulting to management teams and boards of directors for deferred compensation, purchase-price accounting, mergers and acquisitions, capital fundraising, secondary transactions, equity buybacks, shareholder disputes, and succession planning. Learn more about Zak here.
Alexey Likuev, CEO of Ditch Cash
Alexey Likuev grew up in Moscow, Russia, during the turbulent times when the Soviet Union was going through reconstruction. At age eight he started his own company, and he continued on the path to successful entrepreneurship in the United States five years ago. He currently heads the startup events at the trendiest mobile bank for teenagers and parents—Ditch Cash. Learn more about Alexey here.
Brigham Dallas, CEO of Sugar Me Wax and Fat Boys, LLC
Brigham Dallas began his venture adventure at Brigham Young University years ago, when he started his first company in his free time. During his travels around the globe, Brigham discovered his passion for leading and company management. He created the world’s most popular human water launcher, Fat Boys’ Blob, which currently holds two world records. He currently manages more than seven different locations of widely popular Sugar Me Wax salons in Arizona. Learn more about Brigham here.
Through their years of managing, these leaders have gained insights on what traits and habits have helped them find success. We visited with these leaders and can’t wait to share with you our top 10 tips to become a more successful leader!
1. Know where you want to go
Zak Nugent admitted setting goals and objectives is the best way to get on the path to success.
“You’ve got to have an objective of where you want to go and what you want to do. As an organization and as a leader, you have to know what your objectives are. I think they should be quantitatively measurable. Whether you make a nonrevenue, nonfinancial, or even a personal goal, you need something to measure.”
2. Do what inspires you
Alexey Likuev decided to start Ditch Cash because he wanted his kids to grow up knowing about money and how to use it—similar to how he was raised. He loves his family and is determined to make the world a better place.
“You have to do what really inspires you. I’m building a product for my kids and for the whole generation. It is about making money for us as a company and for the shareholders, but at the same time, it’s about making the world a better place for everyone. When you are onto something that really inspires you, you can, as we say in Russia, move mountains.”
3. Get a morning routine
Brigham Dallas sticks to his morning routine, and he swears by it. As part of his routine, Brigham studies topics of interest from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day, with his cell phone off, before heading in to work. It puts him in the right mental mode and helps him be more productive.
“I want to start off with a morning routine. Some people hate them; I think they are incredibly important to keep on a disciplined timeline and get the right things done. I’ve read a lot of studies about times of day and how your brain works. You have a lot more creative juice in the morning, and by the afternoon you have a lot more social juice. I try to schedule meetings in the afternoon, and I set aside productive work time in the mornings.”
4. Never stop learning
During Brigham’s two hours of study time, he reads content related to his industry and other topics he wants to learn more about. He also reads Tim Farriss’s books. He knows one of the key ways to become a better person and leader is by continually learning.
“One of the most important things you can do to be successful is to never stop learning. As the saying goes, ‘Intelligence is the application of knowledge.’ I can’t even remember what I ate yesterday; if I stop reading, I’m definitely going to be lost, so it’s super important to keep reading.”
5. Be proactive, not reactive
Zak understands that reaching personal and company initiatives is important. One of the most effective ways to do so is by being a proactive leader.
“There are two ways you can run a company. You can be proactive or reactive. I think when Scalar is humming and making big strides, I am very proactive. When Scalar tends to not see those big strides, I’m reactive. When you’re running a company and you have initiatives, you need to be deliberate about reaching those initiatives. You can’t be like, ‘Hey, when I get around to it,’ or, ‘If I have time.’ You have to be really dedicated.”
6. Own your mistakes
Making mistakes isn’t enjoyable, but it is part of life. Zak makes sure to acknowledge when he has made a mistake but quickly moves on to keep the company moving forward.
“Being a CEO is about being decisive and making good decisions. And you’ve got to make good decisions, fast. Inevitably, you’re going to make mistakes, but how fast you recover and move on to the next decision is important. As a leader, you need to be able to be decisive and be confident when you make a mistake. Understand your mistake, learn from your mistake, and make sure you don’t make the same mistake again. Put it behind you and move on. You don’t have time to lament—you’ve got to move.”
7. Find mentors
The best tennis players in the world have coaches, so business leaders should have guidance too. Brigham attributes much of his success to the help of mentors.
“It’s all about finding mentors and strategically looking for people who are much smarter than you in a certain industry. Your association with a mentor is not a one-time relationship either. It’s about having regular discussions and brainstorming. Following that advice will put you years ahead in life. Finding the right people to help you understand the punches you don’t see or you aren’t aware of makes such a big difference.”
8. Surround yourself with support
Managing and leading is not always easy. Often times it comes with a lot of struggles, doubt, and frustrations. Alexey makes sure to surround himself with people who will listen and support him during the not-so-sunny times.
“I find it helps when you have a group of people you can talk to about your ideas and the challenges you are going through. This is a trend I have seen only in the past two years. Before that the startup environment was very bright on the outside, and people only mentioned the positive side of things. But in the past couple of years, I have found that a lot more people have started talking about the darker side of the startup world. You go through a lot of challenges and very rough times. You need to talk to trusted people.”
9. Build your best team
Coworkers and coleaders can often make the difference between a good and great work experience. Alexey likes to work with humble, optimistic self-starters.
“In general, I like working with people who do more and talk less. Collaborating with people who are humble and willing to learn new things is essential. Being a self-starter and being able to operate in a dynamic environment is very important, especially regarding early-stage companies and startups. Working with optimistic people is important too. There are a lot of bumps and challenges when you start a company. Negativity doesn’t help and tends to drive the whole team into negativity too.”
10. Work hard, and get lucky
Over the past 10 years, Zak Nugent has seen success and failure at their finest. He believes the two secrets to being successful are hard work and luck.
“Whatever has your name attached to it, make sure it is done to the very best of your abilities, because it’s your name. It’s attached to you.
“The second thing is you get lucky. But what does that really mean? Well, the first step really matters. If you execute every task to the very best of your abilities, it creates opportunities. Most opportunities, as Reid Hoffman explains, are “shrouded in ambiguity.” Some people can see the opportunities and take advantage of them, and they can become wildly successful. Others take the safer route. Regardless of which path you take, if you execute each task well, you will succeed in either one. Most people miss that concept.”
Try implementing these habits and tips. You may be surprised how much more successful you become. We love featuring our accomplished readers— share your success stories with us on social media!
This article is purely informative, and Scalar does not accept any responsibility for action taken based on the content of this article. If you need valuation services, request a complimentary consultation or call us at 385.831.1010.
 Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, The Start-up of You (New York: Crown Business, 2012), 170.