10 Life Lessons from Running a Business

I recently read a post called 26 Lessons from a 26 Year Old CEO. It was very good. This post is a take off of that. I came up with my own Top 10 List – from a small business owner perspective. Five of my 10 are gleaned from her list with my perspective added.

My Top 5

I used to think running a business is about knowing what to do, understanding business concepts, putting into practice what I learned from MBA school. It can be all those, but it’s so much more. (You don’t need an MBA to run a business. In fact, you might be better without one.) It’s more about you growing as a person. We’re forced way outside our comfort zones. We’re forced to hone down what we really do want from the business. We’re forced to define how we are going to spend our time.

Make it a habit to step into the unknown.
Living on the edge comes with running a business. One has to be ok with being in the midst of the unknown, with taking risks.

Planning is good, but planning can also be a show-stopper. This is about action. Jump in. Try it. See what happens. Make the necessary adjustments.

Let go of control.
This is a hard one. We’ve spent years of our time and energy making our business what it is. Yet, our good ideas become great ideas with collaboration. If the right people that bring value are on our team, our business makes more of an impact.

Seek mentors.
In today’s world we have easy access to mentors. Google. Blogs. Webinars. Find mentors online and subscribe to their blog. Follow them on twitter. Learn from them. Apply what you are learning.

My Top 5 from 26 Lessons from a 26 Year Old CEO

Think in terms of value – not price.
What value can one bring to the table? What value will this idea, this project bring to my clients? As a small business, we often run a tight ship. It’s too easy to get caught up in the numbers game. Adding value is more fun.

Life is short, and very easy to take for granted. We hear this all the time – leading us to take it for granted. But, we really do need to get this. Let it sink deep into our very being. Then, at the end of the day, it’s how we treated others that will really matter.

Only hire people with fire.
I recently posted a job position on craigslist. It was very easy to filter out those that just wanted a job and those that wanted this particular position. It takes an inner fire to be a part of a small business.

Learn to forgive. Things happen. People change. You can’t move forward in business — or in life — if you can’t forgive and move on.

Cash flow is crucial. This is one of the main killers of small businesses. If your ‘outs’ consistently exceed your ‘ins’ for a long period of time, you’re in trouble. Find ways to even out your cash flow. Make clients pay up front. Come up with payment plans for your expenses, if necessary.

Bonus: My Favorite

Balance is overrated. Aim for joy.
I love this one. When you are doing what you love, you are energized. As Shama Kabani (from 26 Lessons from a 26 Year old) puts it:”When work is fun, you don’t feel the need to take as many breaks. Balance in today’s world looks very different than it did just 20 years ago. Embrace it.” Well said.

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