5 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Apply to Build a Better Business
Every entrepreneurial journey is unique but certain truths apply to each one.
Every entrepreneur, business idea, and failure are different. Because of that, there is no one-size-fits-all guide on how to make their business stronger and better or how to deal with failure. It takes a lot of trial and error that you personally have to experience.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go through this on your own because every entrepreneur has been in your shoes at some point. And, here are five important lessons that they’ve learned that have helped improve their business.
1. Think more like a teenager.
If there aren’t any teenagers in your house, think about your younger siblings or cousins. As William Vanderbloemen, founder and CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group, explains they’re demanding and respond to situations quickly because they’ve grown up in the on-demand world.
He also says that they search online for facts or answers to questions. Entrepreneurs, says Vanderbloemen, “will take note of this and build their businesses with models that lean into instant learning and fast solutions.”
And, teenagers are also social. In fact, they are “the most hyper-connected generation ever.” Just like teenagers, people want to know what your company has been up to and wants to interact with you. Whether if it’s attending networking events or being active on social media.
Overall, learning from teenagers can help you learn to become more adaptable to change, as well understanding the needs and demands that the next generation of consumers is going to be.
2. You learn as you go.
Yes. While there are now legit entrepreneur classes being offered at colleges and universities, and an endless amount of online resources, nothing can compare you for the entrepreneurial journey like on-the-job training. And, that means making mistakes like hiring the wrong people because you’re impatient, trying to make everything a priority, attempting to do everything on your own, and being terrified of failure.
The sooner you admit your mistakes, own up-to-them, and use them as a learning experience, the stronger of an entrepreneur you’ll become.
When John Rampton founded Due, he thought it was just going to be merely an invoicing and time tracking platform for freelancers. However, he quickly learned, just like teenagers, that the payments industry was rapidly evolving into one that he was focusing on digital wallets and cryptocurrencies. He tried to catch-up as much as he could, but he couldn’t possibly learn about all of these payment trends and run the day-to-day functions of a business. John had to rely on hiring the right team that he could trust because they had the knowledge to start building content and educate me on the changes in the payment industry.
3. Customer-centric begins with being employee-centric.
We live in a customer-centric world. In fact, we focus on our customers so much that we neglect the fact that it’s our employees who need to come first. After all, how can we make our customers happy if our employees aren’t?
And, the best way to keep your customers satisfied, is to turn your company’s culture around by;
- Listening to disenfranchised employees so that you can address their questions or concerns. If they are continuing to cause trouble, you may have to replace them with someone who is a better fit.
- Encourage employees to offer feedback, but make sure that they share solutions as well.
- Don’t punish employees for giving criticisms.
- Have one-on-one meetings so that you can discuss any problems, concerns, and address their feedback.
- If you make a mistake, own up to it.
4. The more transparent you are, the better off you’ll be.
How can you expect to turnaround a dire situation if you aren’t honest not only with yourself, but also your team and stakeholders. Denying how bad a situation is only digs yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. And, the last thing that you want is to have employees show-up to work one day and the office is locked up for good.
Besides, being transparent with your team and stakeholder could lead to a brainstorming session where someone comes up with a solution that’s going to save day.
In other words, get over your ego trip and admit you’re trouble and you need help.
5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
We all make mistakes. We all stumble and fall. We even make fools of ourselves from time-to-time. Instead of getting frustrated about it and freaking out, which can distract you fro the really important things like building a great product, you have to learn how to smile and not take yourself so seriously so that you can move on. It’s good for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
As the great Richard Branson has said, “Humor, I think is a very important part of building a business, not taking yourself too seriously and being willing to have a sense of humor.”
Richard Lorenzen is CEO of Fifth Avenue Brands, a public-relations firm in New York. He speaks nationally on entrepreneurship and has been featured on Fox News, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post and more. Lorenzen sits on the Young Entrepreneur Council, is a board member of Friends of the Children NY and is on the leadership council of the Clinton Foundation 20/30 Initiative.