Many new entrepreneurs begin their businesses with a few misconceptions that make growing their business a lot harder than it has to be. In this article I will be discussing 10 essential business lessons every entrepreneur needs to know, in hopes to normalize the ups, downs, twists and turns you have to navigate while getting started.
I know, I know, this one sounds negative but I promise you it’s not! Believe it or not, failure is an essential part of success. Think of a baby attempting to walk for the first time… How many times do they have to fail before being able to clumsily take a few steps across a room. This is how we learn. However, somewhere along the way we have been made to think we have to get things perfect out of the gate or else, dun dun dunnnn… we face total embarrassment and impending doom.
I have had many ugly firsts including the time I tried to ride a bike downhill and could not stop. I ended up hitting a dip in the road and falling over in a very dramatic way in front of everyone taking the skin off half of my face. Lol, I may be exaggerating here but it’s how I remember it.
Everyone who tries at anything fails at some point. That’s how they know they’re trying.
Embracing failure is often the critical first step on the road to success. Think back to a time you failed at something. Did you get back up and try again?? Or did you hang your head in shame and consider yourself labored a failure for the rest of your days.
I hope it’s not the former because getting used to failing is absolutely an essential every entrepreneur needs to know. That brings me to the next thing…
If you are starting or currently running a business and you don’t know what your customers want then you are in for a long and arduous road. Knowing what your customers or your target audience wants is essential because you need to know who you are talking to. If you are trying to solve a problem then you have to understand who is having the problem and exactly how it is affecting their lives.
Knowing what your customers want should be the beginning of any sales strategy. For example, if you want to promote early childhood education and a love of reading in children who have dyslexia, you wouldn’t stand out in front of a nightclub passing out your business cards and flyers advertising your new reading system.
This is a perfect segway into the next essential business lesson every entrepreneur needs to know.
This is a lesson that every entrepreneur is sure to wish they had done in hindsight because how you start a thing is how you will end a thing. If you are just getting started in business and you haven’t started off with a loud bang then it isn’t too late to turn things around it will just take some effort.
I can not tell you how many half ass businesses I have started halfway only for them to fall by the waste-side. Most people will not tell you this but to get momentum in your business is sort of like moving a huge rock. The most effort will be just to get the rock to roll and after that the law of momentum takes over and does most of the work.
This does not mean you get to take your hands off and slack off. It just means you have to begin with an exorbitant amount of energy to get everything off to a successful start and from there you will need to show up consistently to maintain your business.
This is a lesson I learned many years before going into business for myself. I was running an outpatient mental health office and I had just gotten started. I had to jump into the job with both feet into a pile of problems. The position had been vacant for a while so there were quite a few things that needed tending to. At first I ignored the complaints and problems from both the staff and the patients. Until one day I decided to lean into a problem doing everything I could to figure out why this particular thing had gone so terribly wrong. I was frustrated at the amount of time it was taking to figure this one thing out until finally I cracked the code! After finding the root cause of the issue I implemented an automation to prevent the problem from happening ever again.
I continued to do this until the business was basically able to run itself… I was able to turn my efforts to something else and delegate the maintenance of the system that I had out into place. I now look at that moment as a gift because it has allowed me to think differently about problems in my business. Not to mention this way of being builds an unshakeable confidence that will make you stand out as an expert amongst others in business.
So the next time that nagging problem in your business pops up, I suggest you take charge of it and own it until the problem has been solved.
Taking action is definitely an essential skill that every entrepreneur needs to know. If you are new to entrepreneurship and have been working a 9-5 then this may be a transition for you. It is the equivalent of going from high school to college. Absolutely no one is coming to make sure you turn your assignments in. No one is waking you up making sure you study or get to class on time. Being in business is kind of like that 10x. When the business is yours you have to nurture it and feed it like it is your newborn child. If you don’t the business will die… and we don’t want that now do we?!?
If you struggle in this area you may want to join professional peer groups, get a coach, try working with an accountability partner or sign up for a paid course, any one of these things will prompt you to take the next step toward your desired outcome… but by all means just keep taking action.
This may sound counter intuitive to the previous two lessons but there are moments where you have to decide whether to keep going or whether to quit. When I first began coaching outside of the branding niche, I worked for an international company that served entrepreneurs literally all over the world. I felt invigorated by the work. It was an absolute thrill being challenged with helping people with all kinds of business get unstuck from whatever issue they were challenged with. This is actually how I cut my teeth and sharpened my skills as a life and business coach.
However, one day, I decided to move on from doing the work that I loved because it was time for me to set out on my own. My goal had always been to work for myself and after speaking with almost 1,000 entrepreneurs at the time I knew it was now or never!
You too will be faced with all kinds of moments where the thing you have been doing is no longer the thing to do. For me leaving was bitter sweet but it was time for me to move on and the same might happen to you. Trust your gut, you will know it when it’s time because the zest you once felt will be absent and you will find yourself asking why are you still doing it. It’s a sign of growth!
This essential lesson every entrepreneur needs to know is crucial because without knowing why it will be difficult to stay motivated, ultimately making it easier to give up and quit. In the previous lesson I talked about losing your zest for a thing being the indicator to quit a thing. However, if your tasks are not attached to anything of meaning then beyond making money it will be difficult to feel rewarded for the work that you do. In order to stay in this thing called entrepreneurship you will need a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel to pull you forward through the difficult times.
Be sure to ask yourself why you started and what it would mean for you and the lives of others if you see this business through.
I can not stress this essential business lesson every entrepreneur needs to know enough!!! I will forever be a student in some form or another. Whether I am reading a book, implementing something my coach suggested (yes coaches have coaches, and a therapist too, lol). The point is I know, to reach a new level I have to be a student of life and therefore open to new teachings.
Sometimes the learning looks like joining a mastermind, reading books, or signing up for yearlong mentorship. And other times learning will look like taking action on something new and seeing what works. Either way, I suggest you be open to learning and implementing new things every step of the way.
This is a truly funny story but I can remember being ashamed to say I was a certified life coach. It’s because I came from working in a world of mental health providers… psychiatrists, doctors of psychology, clinical therapists, licensed professional counselors and more. Not to mention life coaches getting a bad rap for being under qualified and compared to used car salesmen trying to get over on you. I would find myself at events or just hanging out and someone asking what I do and I would say it with so much shame. Fast forward to today, I have seen therapists go the coaching route not to mention my whole client base as a coach in the beginning were all mental health professionals who needed what I knew. The point is, if you know your stuff then you better act like it. Poke your chest out and even go as far as to brag on yourself a little.
This is the final essential business lesson every entrepreneur needs to know. Practicing gratitude daily for what you have and where you are right now will help you to grow. You don’t need to be at the top of the mountain to be successful. If you keep stepping you will eventually get to where you are going. The problem is you may never realize it without appreciating the here and now. Practicing gratitude daily will help you cherish the wins and keep a winning attitude through the hard times.
I suggest keeping a separate journal just to acknowledge what you are grateful for each day.
I hope this article was helpful to you. If so, don’t be a stranger… Let me know your thoughts! And if you like, feel free to join my email list and get entrepreneur tools, tips and lessons delivered straight to your inbox.