4 Critical Business Lessons I've Learned as a CEO
If you want to become a business owner someday and succeed in any business you start, here are some foundational tips and advice to set you up for success.
With the ever-changing economic climate, many people are getting into entrepreneurship, which makes sense, because there are several benefits to being a business owner. Running your own company can mean you get the best of both worlds: time and money. As your own boss, you'll get the freedom to schedule your workdays while also achieving financial freedom. Not to mention, you get to create an impact and help others with your business — who wouldn't want that?
Nonetheless, being an entrepreneur is no easy feat, and the journey to becoming a successful business owner isn't always straight and smooth. Over the years, I have learned a few key things that have helped myself navigate being an entrepreneur. If you want to become a business owner someday and succeed in any business you start, here are some foundational tips and advice to set you up for success:
1. Carve out time to sell
As the pilot of your business, the sales — and ultimately, your business's performance — are entirely up to you. That said, you're not guaranteed a paycheck.
Many entrepreneurs struggle with prioritizing their time and assignments. Never underestimate the importance of blocking out time to sell like you would block out time for a client meeting. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend blocking out three hours to sell each day; no calls, no meetings, etc. All that to say, it's equally as important to ensure you have a strong, high-quality service to sell to begin with. If you're passionate about what you're selling, and you're committed to catering to your clients' needs, then selling won't be tedious — it will be fun.
2. Hire a strong team
Sometimes, first-time entrepreneurs fall into the pattern of wanting to do everything themselves. This is a dangerous pattern to sink into. To save time for things like selling and meeting with clients or customers, I recommend hiring a staff person to do the everyday tasks and help get the business off the ground. Another key to success is hiring people you trust and allowing them to do their job freely.
Hiring your first employee can be scary, but once you understand that mess-ups are sometimes inevitable, it'll allow you to take some work off your plate and focus. Your team will never get better if you're constantly watching over their shoulders. Hiring a strong team is critical, because at the end of the day, you need strong employees to support you and bring in more business. Your employees should have the same mission and vision as you, and they should be committed to the success of the business.
3. Schedule time to learn
Regardless of your industry experience, make learning a lifetime priority. Similar to selling, I advise entrepreneurs to carve out time to learn. While learning can look different for everyone — attending conferences, reading books or listening to podcasts, for example — it's crucial to create a schedule that includes time to learn. By setting aside time to learn, you can take a step back and review what's working and not working within your business.
4. You have to spend money to make money
In many cases, money can help you expand — either via marketing, hiring more employees or attending leadership conferences, for example. Even if you don't have a team or marketing budget, I advise business owners to set aside some money for marketing.
Becoming your own boss is a truly rewarding experience. However, a large part of business ownership is trial and error, because after all, you don't know what you don't know. While there are several things you'll have to learn, applying these critical things to your business will increase your chances of success. I'm proud to say that my two companies were able to double their full-time teams, get out of debt, pivot and make it through Covid. We also doubled our video output and tripled our clients throughout 2020 and 2021.
My biggest and last piece of advice: You'll never be ready. You'll never be perfect. Just go, and start. Fall down, and then get back up 1,000 times over. The best things in life don't come easy — and neither does entrepreneurship.
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