The Definitive Guide to Business with Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis: This is the first step to starting a successful business 

Marcus Lemonis shares his biggest splurges and money secrets
Marcus Lemonis shares his biggest splurges and money secrets

Marcus Lemonis believes there is one thing every aspiring entrepreneur needs to do before opening a business — and it has to do with gaining experience.

"First and foremost, I think, before you open a business you have to work for somebody else," Lemonis tells CNBC Make It.

As the star of CNBC's "The Profit," and the chairman and CEO of Camping World, a company that sells RVs and has a market value of roughly $1.8 billion, Lemonis says people frequently ask him what they need to do before opening their own business.

"You know, people ask me all the time — 'I'm getting ready to get out of college, I want to open my own business,' or 'I'm thinking about a type of job I should take, what should I do?'"

Lemonis' advice is that it is always educational to first work as an employee at another successful business before trying to run your own operation. "Don't short-cut the system," Lemonis says.

"I worry about some of the youth today wanting to circumvent that hard work and get right to being the manager," he adds, noting that holding a lower-level position is instructive for learning how to eventually manage other people who will hold that same position under you.

"I think we need to slow people down a little bit and remind them that part of being [a successful boss] is understanding how to deal with situations for the people that work for you and if you haven't actually held that position or dealt with that issue how would you know how to manage it?"

In other words, Lemonis does not want to see young entrepreneurs assuming that they are entitled to skip right to running a business without first "paying their dues," he says.

"In the old days, all of us had to pay our dues — wash cars, wait tables, cut grass — and that was part of the evolution of learning how to be a good team member, a good employee," he tells CNBC Make It.

In fact, Lemonis himself mowed lawns from the time he was 12 years old through college. Lemonis earned money while attending Marquette University by mowing lawns and working as a club promoter. He also worked at his grandfather's auto dealership after graduating and before getting into the auto retail industry himself, working his way up to become a regional manager at Florida-based auto retailer AutoNation before getting into the RV business.

However, Lemonis has said before that it's fine for young people seeking jobs to show their ambition by making it clear that they want to ultimately move up the ladder and, one day, run a business themselves. But, he previously told CNBC Make It that job-seekers should also make it clear that they are willing to "do whatever grunt work was necessary" in order to learn and grow and by working hard.

Lemonis says he wants to hear young job-seekers tell him: "I want your job, so tell me what I need to do to have your job when you retire or when you move on."

And, ultimately, the experience you gain working for someone else will be invaluable when looking to start your own business, Lemonis says. "Understand what it feels like to work for a great boss — or a terrible one," the self-made millionaire and entrepreneur previously told CNBC Make It. "Understand what's entailed in owning a business. It's not just showing up and telling people you're the boss."

CNBC's "The Profit" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET .

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Marcus Lemonis' job interview advice for new college graduates
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