Yakima County Development Association - Richard Tait Energizes Crowd at New Vision Annual Meeting

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 



Richard Tait Energizes Crowd at New Vision Annual Meeting

March 15, 2011

With approximately 250 people in attendance, New Vision enjoyed a near record crowd for its annual meeting.  People in attendance were generally glowing after Cranium Board Games founder Richard Tait inspired the crowd with lessons he has learned as a serial entrepreneur.

Tait has been oriented towards business since a kid when he launched a venture selling fish door to door. He suggested to not try this enterprise at home (the business has a perishability problem!). Mixing humor and high energy, Tait bounced around the room talking about his days at Cranium and his new venture Golazo Energy.

Richard offered up eight principles that have helped him grow successful businesses and absorb the challenges of being a successful entrepreneur.

    1. Have a mission. Tait felt strongly that companies should be mission driven. This mission should be shared and understood by every employee in the company.


    1. Change the rules. Richard suggested that entrepreneurs and businesses need to be nonconventional and not afraid to break new ground. The ipod is a good example of how a product changed the music and recording industry for good.


    1. Know what you're good at. Entrepreneurs and businesses should focus on creating world class products and services. Find a niche where you are the best and then commit to constantly perform at this level.


    1. Make hiring priority #1. Tait felt strongly that good employees are the backbone of a successful enterprise. He suggested that people hire for smarts and rent experience. Tait got a chuckle when he admitted that this principle doesn't work for staffers in operations and finance. He learned the hard way at Cranium that you cannot take shortcuts in these staffing areas.


    1. Your customers are your sales force. Richard told great stories about the loyalty his customers had to Cranium and how it transferred into brand loyalty and sales. .


    1. Avoid hairballs. Tait recommended Gordon MacKenzie's book "Orbiting the Giant Hairball" and suggested that entrepreneurs need to be proactive rather than reactive. Avoiding problems is a key to business success.


    1. Do good as you do well. Richard reminded people to give back to the community and help others as you succeed in business.


    1. Lead with passion, a sense of discovery, and speed. Tait suggested that "Speed is your friend" and to push yourself hard toward success in business.

Tait finished his talk by introducing Golazo, a new energy drink that he dreamed up as a result of witnessing the latino community's passion for soccer. Richard reminded everyone that life and success is not about how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get back up.

All in all it was a great meeting!  Thanks to everyone who attended our big event - we hope to see you at our annual investor meeting next year.

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"A lot of the leaders here in Yakima are very probusiness and make it easy to do business in Yakima." - Lisa Shields-Long, Co-President, Shields Bag & Printing