[ #1 Do it for the right reasons.]
Because ‘I want to be rich’ or ‘I hate my job’ aren’t good reasons to start a business. Your vision must come from a very authentic
place. If it’s your passion, your purpose, your experience, your discovery, your invention or simply because you feel you have a better way of doing things, those are stronger, more sustainable reasons to go through all the risk, pain, work (and yes, the glory) of running your own business. You can save a lot of time, resources and headache if you simply ask yourself this simple and honest question.
[ #2 Resist the temptation of fast and cheap.]
It costs so much more to later rename a company….or invest in a brand…or compensate for short-cuts in an office buildout….or recall a poorly-manufactured product…. or invest in PR to regain lost customer confidence….or replace the wrong management team…the list goes on and on. Besides the actual financial monies RE-SPENT to press the ‘re-do’ button, it’s the invisible opportunity costs that are the real price a company pays. What’s a few more months or dollars to save years of false starts or delayed success?
[ #3 Know when to say “NO”. ]
This is the hardest word to say in business, especially as a start up! Not all revenue is good for the company, especially if it takes you off-course, challenges your principles or distracts your already precious few resources. It’s the art of sacrifice. To have meaningful connection with one group, you will have to give up reaching everybody. But here’s the trick: make the conversation compelling enough that everyone will want to listen in.
[ #4 Don’t waste all your energy on the vocal 2%. ]
Don’t let unhappy customers (or employees for that matter) suck the living marrow out of your bones. Some people are just unhappy. There’s a saying in India, “empty vessels make more noise”. You can’t please everyone, and you’ll make yourself crazy trying. Remind yourself of the less vocal 98% you are satisfying and the daily validation they give you with their hard-earned dollars.
[ #5 Build upon your strengths before strengthening your weaknesses. ]
Focus on what you’re good at and be honest about what you’re not. No one expects you to be good at everything. Casting is the genius. If you’re a visionary, get a strong operator. If you’re an amazing operator, but hate marketing, get that external person to balance you. This tip I learned early in my career and is also a great planning tool. When creating momentum, it’s more important to build upon your strengths versus compensate for your weaknesses. One path is rooted in confidence, one in insecurity and fear. The best defense is a great offense.
[ #6 Persistence pays. And so does good instincts. ]
Learn to trust yourself in both situations. Need we really say more?
[ #7 Build a compelling culture, the business will follow. ]
A great company culture, driven by shared values, turns transactions into relationships, employees into ambassadors and clients into evangelists.
[ #8 Humility is your best friend. ]
As you’re reaching for the sky, remember to keep your feet on the ground. Humility is your best friend because it helps you maintain your willingness to learn. To succeed, you must be willing to ask questions, remain curious, be interested and open to new knowledge. This willingness to learn becomes more critical given our rapidly changing world.