15. Improve decision making with research.
“When you hit an obstacle you have three ways to deal with it: go over it, around it or turn it around. Deciding which to do is the hardest part, and through my experience the only way to know what the right decision is, is to conduct research before coming to a conclusion. Read as much as you can on the subject, consult others in your field, look at similar case studies to see how other businesses have managed what you are facing. Chances are you are not alone and there is someone else out there who has “been there, done that” and can offer you advice.”
16. Call in favors and leverage your network.
“Building a business is hard work, and the network of friends and colleagues you’ve built over your career [can be] more than happy to help. It’s hard to ask for help sometimes or you want to make sure you are ready for the favor (so as not to “waste” it). You have to get over this and ask for help, advice, favors, connections.”
17. Work on the business, not in the business
“Within the first year after opening my first business I realized that I had to wear many hats. I had to be an accountant, a marketer, a sales rep, a customer service rep and many other things required to run a business. Thinking I couldn’t afford to hire help, I was consumed with being a technician working ‘in’ the business, rather than being an entrepreneur working ‘on’ the business by focusing on growth and bringing my vision to reality. The reason most small businesses fail is because entrepreneurs end up being consumed by the work of technicians and never get to focus on truly being entrepreneurs.”
18. Don’t take everything so personal.
“For a difficult co-worker or work situation, remember not to take actions and statements personally and react in a way that may make the situation worse. While it is very hard to directly change someone else’s behavior, it is much easier to change your own to get the desired results from that other person.”
19. Communicate effectively.
“Through effective communication, you can deliver clear, concise, and helpful information to manage expectations and ensure proper project delivery. My business relies on communication skills since many of our members operate external to our home office. We have developed a framework to provide our employees with the proper tools to manage and deliver this information. If you’re building a business or trying to improve your existing one, have the team define communication paths early and often to deliver consistent and clear information and save your business time and money.”
20. Hire people that are ready to learn.
“If someone is resourceful or willing to learn new skills, that means more to me that any resume or degree can show me. Especially when starting a new business, you need people who will be flexible and will wear different hats, all in the name of growing the company. Having those key employees who will say, “I can figure this out,” is vitally important.”
What is the number one lesson you learned your first year in business? Let us know in the comments section below.
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