Raj Singh | Crain's Philadelphia

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

Raj Singh

Background:  

DroneCast uses drone technology to create advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.

The Mistake:

I am super OCD, even though my desk or my office can be dirty as hell. If the signs or anything that represents our brand is off slightly, I flip out. And I've had times where I've gone to speaking events and walked up to our booth and said, “Why is that like that?” and flipped out.

I built this from scratch, and it took a long time to get that brand to where it is, so if I see the slightest thing off, I'm going to freak out about it. And when I freaked out about it, we would spend the next two to three days only working on our branding going over the same details every single time.

“The banner needs to be this big. They need to be this high from the ground. And they need to do this, this, this, this and this.” Branding for me, is the biggest thing, especially with an advertising company.

A year and a half ago, about six months into Dronecast, we were probably at our worst time. Now we are doing about $200,000 minimum a month in revenue. At that time, we were doing $20,000 and we were already in the red. We had paid our way $30,000 to $40,000. One of my assistants sent me her timesheet and had spent 12 hours overtime on those three days. She was making $15 an hour, so I ended up paying her an extra $1,000 or $1,200 for my OCD about the banners.

When I had to write that check out I thought, “Oh wow, this cannot keep going on. I am paying her another $1,200 for my ego.”

I ended up paying her an extra $1,000 or $1,200 for my OCD about the banners.

The Lesson:

Although I was right to a certain degree — branding is important — it wasn't to the point where we took away two to three days in the week for almost every week for six months straight to work on these small issues. We could have spent that time selling our product or selling our services.

If you want to succeed, you can't hang on to perfectionism. You're going to get to a point where you'll have to let go of the small for the bigger picture. You have to let go of your ego and suck it up.

Follow DroneCast on Twitter at @DroneCast1