Jonathan Fine | Crain's Las Vegas

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Jonathan Fine


Fine Entertainment is the parent company for a number of Jonathan Fine's projects, including FINE The Agency, an advertising agency that specializes in digital marketing, and a number of popular and successful local bars and restaurants like PBR Rockbar & Grill, Rockhouse, and PWKY Tavern. Fine is also the owner and president of Sting Alarm Inc., a security company providing advanced digital surveillance systems to customers across the country.

The Mistake:

Expecting everyone I hired to work as hard as me.

The biggest mistake I've made wasn't really a mistake, it was more of a philosophy of business. When I started out I had scraped together a little bit of money to start my business, and I was out there grinding with my security company, or the first bar that I had. I was out in the street handing out flyers. I was in the ceiling running wire for cameras.

It was a 24-hour-a-day job. I would wake up in the morning and I would do it. I didn’t have time for family. I didn't have time for a lot of friends.

But the real flaw I had at the beginning, which may have made me successful or may have hurt me in the beginning, was expecting everyone I hired to work as hard as me and to care as much about the business as I did.

A lot of my employees, in the beginning, I rode very hard. If I was out there I expected them to be out there with me. I ran the business as if people were living their lives to run my business, and in the last decade, it's become more of a philosophy of "You work for me to live your life," not the other way around.

You work for me to live your life – not the other way around.

The Lesson:

I need for everyone who works for me to have the right work-life balance. They need to take time with their families if they're sick. We have great insurance plans. Go to the doctor, get fixed up, come back when you’re healthy.

Where 15 years ago it would have been, "You're sick? I don’t care, get to work." It would have been different. The philosophy of business has changed a lot. You can ask anyone who works for me now, whether it's a hostess at one of my local bars or one of the executives on my team. They would all say they like working here because when I see people working hard I'll say, "Hey, go home, take a couple days off, go on vacation. We worked really hard on this. Take a couple of days off and take your family to Disneyland," or whatever it may be for each person.

Changing my philosophy from "you live to work" versus "you work to live" would probably be the biggest shift I've had in my business.

Follow Jonathan Fine on Twitter at @jonathanfinelv.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Fine

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