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Business mogul Lew Dickey’s advice to startups

Larry King NowOct 24 '16

Lew Dickey – who helped build Cumulus Media into the second largest radio broadcasting company in the U.S. – offers his advice to fledgling startups, and discusses the challenges inherent in transitioning from upstart to a full-blown company.

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Larry King: What is the best advice for start ups?

Lew Dickey: I think with a start-up, and I’ve started a number of companies, in my career and been very fortunate, you’ve gotta have, have a clear idea of what you want to do. And you need to have an immense amount of focus and drive. And, my father told me this when I was, when I was first getting started. Because I’ve never had a job, if you will. I’ve always started all the businesses that I’ve worked at. And he said, ‘you’ll find if you’re gonna be in business for yourself, you’re always going to work a lot harder for yourself, then you would for anybody else. So don’t think this is an easy way. And in fact you’re actually going to make it much more difficult on yourself. And I think you have to go into it with that mindset.

Larry King: Is it hard to transition, start-up to full-blown?

Lew Dickey: Well I think that it is. We obviously did that at Cumulus, stared with nothing, no radio stations and a couple people, and uh, and built into something with 6500 employees. So the organization changes in complexity, and it also changes in terms of day-to-day responsibilities. And when you see companies that are very large that can’t be as nimble anymore it’s really true. Because it starts to have- I try to manage in a very apolitical way but never the less, when you have a large organization, it’s- things start to become politicized and it makes for challenges that you know, sometimes I frankly don’t have any use for, but never the less they’re there and you have to deal with them.

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