Running a business is a bit like riding a century ride on a bike. There are thrilling moments (starting out, coasting downhill) and moments of where it’s just grinding work (going uphill, or miles 50-70 where you wonder how you’ll ever make it).
I have an MBA, but some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned are the lessons I’ve learned by doing. I’m not sure these lessons can be taught any other way. Here are what I call Entrepreneur Essentials.
Overcoming is having the inner resolve to get up and try again. Getting up again after your proposal isn’t accepted, or after the potential client chooses another vendor, or after being told your work doesn’t work for them. It’s being willing to make changes, to try something new, to change on the inside so your business can be more than what it is. Get. Up. Try. Again.
I learned all about the various aspects of a business in the MBA program – accounting, marketing, sales, operations, etc. But, it’s impossible to run a vibrant, successful business, if you don’t know you. It’s easy to copy someone elses way of doing things, but over the long haul you will lose you if you aren’t being you. Being you is what makes your business stand out. It’s the DNA of your business. You can easily find people that can do accounting, marketing, sales, or operations. But, you can’t find another you. Stand. Out.
Do What You’re Good At
Even though I learned about the various aspects of running a business while getting my MBA , I don’t do all those things as a business owner. We aren’t designed to do all those things. Find partners along the way. An accountant. A bookkeeper. An organizer. A mentor. Focus on the things that energize you. Find ways to minimize having to do the other things. It may mean setting a goal that you will do the accounting till you reach a certain amount of sales, or hiring a marketer after the company makes x amount of dollars. Let others join the adventure, doing what they love to do so you can continue to do what you love to do..and are good at.
Sales Your Way
I am not a sales person – at least not in the way I perceive sales people. Yet, obviously, I must be selling because I am still in business. We are bombarded with the need to do sales this way or that way. Find the way that works for you and that meshes with who you are – then go for it. If you need to, find someone to help with your sales. But don’t assume you have to do sales in a certain way. Find what works for you.
Running a business can be hard and lonely at times. I think that’s part of the ballgame we are in, but it can also be exhilarating and can impact many lives.
What have you learned about running a business?