Key lessons I've learnt as an Entrepreneur
I first posted this on LinkedIn but thought it deserved to be on my personal blog too. My father used to tell me that the day you stop learning is the day you're dead. If you're alive and not learning, you may as well be. I am, therefore, predisposed to keep an open (if sometimes quite dubiously) mind around most things in life. I have learnt to never say never.
Lesson 1: Set achievable goals
It is not necessary to have a huge goals. Its like when you commit to climbing a mountain. You have to break it down to daily goals and focus on the job at hand. Its the same with a business. While you keep the overall picture in your head, break it down to achievable goals. In addition to making it easier for you to get to where you want to be, every time you cross one of these milestones, you are building confidence in yourself and in your business. And you might even get to where you want to be faster than you think.
Lesson 2: It's okay to fail
You will never know what you are capable of if you don't take the plunge. I've always dreamt of running a business, but I've also been scared to fail. Scared that I would have never have enough money or make enough. But thanks to a very generous ex boss, Dominic De Sousa of CPI, and his (continued) mentoring, I took the plunge. I have had hiccups and some very hairy (money) moments and I am sure there will be many more but I have taken these in my stride and survived.
Lesson 3: Find a good partner/mentor/support system
I have been lucky. From Dominic De Sousa to Prashant Gulati, I have been lucky to find folks that have been happy to take the time to lend me their ear, their wisdom and been my sounding board. I have to mention my brother, Bish Ray, too as a great sounding board since he keeps me grounded.
It's important to have folks, not necessarily in your business or your family, to give you unbiased opinions and take an outside view. Sometimes we are just too close to the problem to see the (often) easy solutions. 'Wood for trees' idiom comes to mind. You don't need someone that will crow at your misfortunes but give you a hand to get back up.
Lesson 4: Give yourself time off
Right from the beginning of setting up Market Buzz, I made sure that I did NOT work all the hours God gave us. Tempting as it is. I made sure that I gave myself time to relax and have some 'me' time or time away from work. This means that you are not burning out and it also refreshes and rejuvenates you. This also means giving yourself not only regular weekends but holidays. Burning the candle at both ends only gets you ill and you may even end up losing everything because you did not take good care of yourself.
Lesson 5: Pay yourself
It is so important that you give yourself a regular salary (not huge necessarily), but enough to make sure you pay your bills and not have to worry about eking a living. You can live on the profits at a later day. It also means you allocate money for investment in the growth of the business.
Lesson 6: Do not compromise on ethics
When you are in trouble (whatever they are), the temptation to breach business ethics can be tempting. I am much too stubborn to ever do this and in my line of business (PR) its an absolute NO-NO. Once you go down this slippery slope, it is difficult to get back on track. Best not to go down that route.
With all the ups and downs, I would not change a thing (even the hairy moments). They teach me invaluable lessons that help to continue to shape my business and what we stand for.
Are there any others you can think of? Do share.