Recently I was thinking about lessons learned thus far in my business. I was contemplating what I could have prepared for and what, no matter how much prep, I simply wouldn’t have known since I believe they only come from experience. So I thought I’d try to give you a heads up.
4 Important Business Lessons That Only Come From Experience
Success is defined on your terms
I used to think that in order to be successful in business you have to follow some MBA-approved method that involved sleepless nights, clearly defined revenue streams, and a rock solid business plan.
It wasn’t until I realized that sleepless nights lead to useless days, revenue streams are often defined as you build your business and learn your customers real needs, and business plans should be created with a pencil because your creativity and ingenuity will be keys in your success, did I understand that in actuality, we as business owners are free to define our own success.
If you approach your business on your own terms, focusing on your values and beliefs, you will make money.
Plans are great but don’t bank on them
Like I said, business plans should be created with a pencil. We often start out with a brilliant idea, a way of defining ourselves in the market, and a polished customer profile. But time and experience are things that have made it quite obvious to me that all the planning in the world will not necessarily lead to a sustainable business.
The problem that a lot of us come up against with planning is that we stick to the plan even when common sense or customer feedback shows us differently. We think we need to stick with what we planned rather than reacting quickly to customer needs. But that’s not really a good idea. Make a plan, yes, but listen and adjust it often.
Get good at failure
If you had asked me 5 years ago about failure, I would have said I want to avoid it at all costs. Now, I simply don’t agree with that. I’m not saying I want failure. What I am saying is that little failures happen almost every day and I don’t mind that. Why? Because that means our team is trying new things, putting the business out there and learning from our mistakes.
Not everything we try works, but we’ve learned to get good at failure; try new things, learn from the experiences, and improve.
You cannot grow without a team who believes
Success takes a community of people who believe in what you’re doing; we tend to focus this sentiment on our customers. Well, experience has taught me that the sentiment absolutely applies to the team you put in place.
As you grow your business, spending time to find a team of people who truly believe in your mission and values as a business is imperative. It’s the only way to be sustainable.
It’s tempting to bring on people because you like them or they have a certain degree you think is useful or because they’re willing to work for what you can afford to pay. Sure, those things are important, but I’m telling you from experience, if your team isn’t 100% behind your mission, if they don’t live the mission in their own lives, they are not a good fit for your business.
Image via Chema Concellon