Sean Carothers is the owner of Carothers Construction, a Mississippi construction firm that has operated since 1957. Over the years, in addition to being involved in Carothers Construction, Sean has pursued various entrepreneurial ventures. He enjoys the challenge of learning about new industries and applying his existing business knowledge to these ventures. With each new entrepreneurial project, Sean has learned more about what works and what doesn’t work in the world of business. As a result of Sean’s diverse business experience and his guidance, he has grown a substantial family investment company and Carothers Construction has continued to remain a viable player in the construction industry into the twenty-first century.
When Sean Carothers was only twelve years old, he started helping out his family’s construction business. During that time the construction company was a small family owned business. Sean had the opportunity to observe his family members and learn many different aspects of the construction industry. He learned the importance of responsibility and the reward of hard work—two lessons that he attributes largely to his success.
Before Sean Carothers becomes involved in a new business venture, there are a number of criteria he takes into account. First, the basic tenants of the business must be easily understandable. Then, Sean likes to meet with the leaders of the company if possible. Strong leadership with the proper skillset necessary to scale the business and remain profitable are things Sean considers essential to successful ventures. Some of the other things that Sean considers are valuation (What is the price the business is selling for?), exit strategy (When does upper management and the board think they want to sell?), and valuation multiples in the industry.
The Keys to Success as an Entrepreneur
Research is another key element that helps Sean choose a new business. The only way to learn about an unfamiliar industry is to look at other organizations in the same industry. In general, Sean typically outsources much of the research associated with investigating industries with which he has no familiarity. Sean prefers to avoid businesses based on new technology that is not protected, businesses that have unrealistic valuations of themselves, and businesses that have no unique differentiators. By keeping these considerations in mind, Sean has been able to involve himself in a number of successful businesses while avoiding ventures that would have caused unnecessary difficulties.
Meeting new people and learning about new industries are what Sean Carothers considers the best aspects of his career. On the other hand, the most challenging aspect tends to be dealing with or managing the business’ team. Throughout his career, Sean has worked with managers that fail to or refuse to properly report as well as managers who don’t consider the long-term effects of their decisions. This experience is one reason why Sean believes that hiring the right people is essential to success. Ultimately, it is the quality of the people that a business hires that will determine whether or not the business is successful in the long-term.
Thinking long term has been one of Sean Carothers’ keys to success that he says it took a long time to discipline himself to practice. He finds it ironic that as he has gotten older it has become easier to think in this way. If he had to give one piece of advice to new entrepreneurs, it would be to start thinking long term as soon as you begin your entrepreneurial journey. This type of thinking will help young entrepreneurs have the necessary patience to build wealth over time.
Outside of work Sean Carothers enjoy spending time with his family, skiing, and bowhunting.