Time to celebrate, reflect, learn and look forward
Today marks the start of my 9th year in business and over the eight years I've been trading, I've highlighted below 10 things that I have learned. Key though, if you set up your own business, Business Growth isn't linear, there's plenty of ups and down on that journey.
- Stay agile, as there will always be curve balls out with your control to deal with. No matter how much research you do and plan, there will always be external events and factors that change the business landscape. i.e., Weather related such as floods, Economic and Political changes, Health & Social events such as we've experienced with Covid-19, Global security factors, along with all the impact these can cause on our supply chains, customers and also internally on our own businesses.
- Running a business can be a lonely place, therefore build a network of trusted associates. A successful business is all about having healthy relationships and surrounding yourself with people you can call on when you're in need of advice or to use as a sounding board, such as a coach or mentor.
- You can't be a master of all. You will need support from specialists and those with more experience and knowledge than you. Play to your strengths and outsource what is necessary for your business, which is not yours or your teams bag. (Accounts, bookkeeping, Marketing, H.R. etc.)
- Don't try to represent something you're not. It's your own core values and personal brand that will influence, determine and shape your business brand and what you and your business becomes known for.
- People buy from People. So, you need to get out and network. Don't hide behind your screens or totally rely on your social media accounts to generate business. An online presence can help raise awareness, but it's through the people that you meet and the trust that you build, that the majority of your business will be generated.
- Focus on building long term business relationships. At times it can feel like a numbers game, and customers do come and go. However, some customers will stay with you for years if you take the time to understand their business needs and articulate how you can continually support and provide for them.
- Don't stand still. You'll have to continually adapt your services, products and approach as your market changes and evolves.
- Not everyone doing a similar thing to you is a competitor. Some of these "competitor" businesses can become valuable strategic partners which through collaboration, will help you access new markets and sectors.
- Every day is a school day. You will make mistakes, so be resilient, bounce back and be open to learning something new every day.
- Continually aim to work Smarter, not harder. Ensure you spend time "working on the business" refining and securing the processes to establish the balance that works for you, your family and your team.
What are the key learnings you have had in your business, over the years?
Which of the above resonates most with you, in respect to your learnings in running a business?
As I move into my 9th year of trading I will take all of these learnings, the knowledge and experiences forward to assist in my approach and plan for 2023 and beyond. I'm also sure there will be new challenges, obstacles and events out with my control that crop up along the way too. But I firmly believe, my past experience and learnings will prepare me well for the future.
"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future". William Wordsworth.
Wishing you all a prosperous 2023.
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