It’s been a little while since the last article due to taking on a project that I never should have taken, but nonetheless was great for maturing me both professionally and personally. I thus give much appreciation to the entity that gave me the opportunity to grow in these ways although things did not work out for the long-term. While reflecting on my time on this project and the lessons learned from experiencing stress in some pretty interesting scenarios, I thought about the multiple failed attempts at business ownership that I’ve experienced and was ultimately motivated to share some lessons learned from them.
$$$ should not Be a Primary Motivator
Up front, I will cede the point that $$$ is a vital factor in any business endeavor and without it or a lack of it from poor management will lead to business failure and personal loss to some degree. In saying this, I would strongly state that your business motivation should not come from $$$ because you will miss one of the true foundations of any successful business: focus on keeping the customers satisfied and offer products / services that help customers solve problems and enjoy life optimally. Instead of being inward focused in terms of generating revenue and cash flow, you should become other’s focused and be motivated by the solutions and joy your products / services give to your customers.
It’s Not About Maximizing Every Opportunity; It’s About the Context of the Opportunity
Here’s my point here: all opportunity is not your opportunity. You should learn and discipline yourself to undertake opportunities in which you understand the context. Webster’s Dictionary defines “context” simply as environment or setting. In other words, before jumping into business endeavors that look and sound great on the surface, take the time to ‘tear apart’ or ‘stress test’ it. Not to get too saddled down into analysis, dig in enough into the opportunity to know (if possible) the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. Take the time to understand the setting and especially its connection to where you are both professionally and personally. Don’t be a rabbit chasing many trails, instead be like the tortoise and move with purpose and a committed determination to finish what you start.
Listen To But Be Not Motivated By Group Think
This one is truly colossal and to me the most important. We are by nature drawn and influenced by the company we keep, listen to, or follow. It’s no different in business. True, we need others especially those who have gone before us and accomplished feats we only wish to attain to. What we forget most though is that we all take different roads to reach the end. One person’s walk will more than likely be different than the next person’s and that’s OK. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned about business have been when I’ve ventured off the path of group think, not because I’m a rebel, but because I reacted and responded to circumstances as only I could or essentially because of the way I’m wired.
I encourage those who operate businesses or who desire to operate a business to embrace the journey and take action to serve customers in an ‘other’s’ perspective and create / offer products / services that solve problems and help others enjoy life more.