How I Succeeded: Guzman y Gomez's Steven Marks

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How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Steven Marks, founder of Aussie Mexican restaurant chain Guzman y Gomez.

Current gig: Founder and Global CEO of Guzman y Gomez.

Current location: Surry Hills in Sydney, but next week we’re moving...around the corner to Surry Hills!

Current mobile device: Apple iPhone, of course!

Current computer: Apple — it’s all about Apple for me, they’re one of my most favourite brands in the world.

One word that best describes how you work: Intensity

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

The Guzman y Gomez app is my No. 1, then Instagram, WhatsApp, Google, Netflix and a couple of secret ones my marketing team won’t let me tell you about! They’re our secret sauce!

What social network do you find the most useful?

Instagram, it keeps me in tune with my brand all over the world but also how my guests are feeling. That said, I’m also finding LinkedIn a great way to connect with people these days.

What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

You have to go through major pain to succeed and you have to learn from failure. But never stop growing.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

For my most powerful results, I’ve learned to balance intensity with calmness.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

My team tell me I have great vision for GYG, for me it’s just a gut instinct that feels right. I never doubt my decisions and I never look backwards. We can do the craziest things or have record days selling burritos but I’m always looking at that next record and what’s next. I feel like I can drive our business forward and I’m always thinking a few years ahead so I know where we are going and how to get us there.

What's your sleep routine like?

I have my kids every second week so I do all my business meetings and socialising one week and then have a more relaxed week the next but I’m generally in bed by 11pm most nights. I focus on keeping my mind and body healthy at all times so I’m usually early to bed and early to rise. I start talking to my team around 5am each morning, fortunately the team are usually awake at the same time as me so it works!

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

You have to believe in what you are doing. Not a blind belief, you always need to listen to what others are telling you but business is hard and Australia is really difficult. Rents are high, labour is high, food costs are high so if you can make it here in Australia, you can make it anywhere! Make sure you have people around you who will support you all the way. For me that was bringing in a co-founder, my best friend Robert Hazan. He keeps me centred and he’s better at a lot of things in business that aren’t my strengths.


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