Bob Parsons’ GoDaddy Business Strategy

Bob Parsons, the former Founder and CEO of GoDaddy, also an ex-Marine and Vietnam vet, delivered a rousing talk to the Military Entrepreneurs at the Inc. 5000 Conference in Phoenix, AZ.  His audience was entrepreneurs who are military spouses, veterans and current military service men and women.  Some of their companies made the Inc. Fastest Growing Companies in America list for the first time.  GoDaddy made the Inc. list several times before they became a public company.

As the keynote speaker for both the conference and our military mentoring session, Bob had some key pieces of advice for entrepreneurs – whether military or not:

  1. Delegate to the point of absentia. Bob got this piece of advice from Warren Buffet.  His intention was for the company never to need him – to make himself obsolete.  His job as a leader was to work on the big strategic opportunities and not be mired in the day-to-day of the company.  Companies that are well-operated do not depend on a singular person but on the entire management team.  He hired great people, paid them well and let them do their jobs.  When he sold his company to Intuit, approximately 30 of his loyal employees who helped him grow the company became millionaires.
  2. Allow your employees to make mistakes. When your employees are in the learning process, know that they will make mistakes. They will not do it the same way you do it, but they must understand the process and learn from it.  A mistake is a learning.  It employees don’t feel that they are decisionmakers and stakeholders themselves, they will not have accountability for their actions.
  3. Is their heart in the right place? Mistakes can be tolerable when you know your employees are working from the heart.  Their intentions were well meant.  Do they feel and operate as if they are owners in the company?  Do they want to do the right thing for themselves and their colleagues?
  4. Get to know your SWOT. We must all know our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  What is it that we do well and even more importantly, what are the things at which we are not proficient?  Hire people to complement the area where your skills are lacking.  Don’t be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you are.  For the business, Mr. Parsons said you must always know the threats to your business so you can address them.  Use the same premise regarding your opportunities.  When an opportunity arises, you must be prepared to take advantage of it, and similarly, when you know the threats to your business, you can start to make strategic decisions with “what if” scenarios.

Mr. Parsons currently sits on the Board of Directors for GoDaddy.  His exit strategy is cremation!  He wants to give away his money by the time he dies since he cannot take it with him.  My learning from Mr. Parsons is that if I take care of my employees, they will take care of business.