Being an entrepreneur comes with a whirlwind of advice. It doesn’t mean that every bit of advice you’re given works for your business but it also means that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every stumbling block. Most successful business owners will tell you they could not have accomplished their goals without help from other business owners or mentors. For many of us, our ability to evaluate, internalize, seek out advice and then act on that information is instrumental in getting our companies to the next level.
Here are some of the wisest words I’ve heard that have helped me shape Plan A into what it is today:
You can’t be the expert at everything. Know your strengths and let them shine. Recognize your weaknesses and keep on working with them. Don’t beat yourself up for not being an expert at bookkeeping when you are talented at marketing. Take a bookkeeping course, or better yet, hire a great bookkeeper, so you can have the time to come up with some brilliant marketing strategies.
Shy people starve. It’s true. If you want to get your business out there but you’re too shy to get in front of people you are going to have to do something to work on that. I used Toastmasters to help me get my message out and then I pushed myself to go to networking events regularly. It’s a ‘who you know world’ and you won’t meet people if shyness is holding you back.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Plans make executing a direction, a new arm of the business, an HR shift or a quick pivot happen as seamlessly as possible. Sitting down with your team and mapping out what everybody’s responsibility will be is the smartest way to get things accomplished.
Run to the Fire. This is easily some of the best advice I have ever received. We jump to deal with complaints or concerns, sometimes dealing with them before our clients know what has happened. This lets our clients know that they can trust us to deal with any issues with a sense of urgency.
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Learn to listen and then listen to learn!
Surround yourself with great people. Your colleagues, your mentors, your business relationships and your clients all have a big impact on your business. Building a great team doesn’t happen overnight and when you find those great fits it’s important to keep them interested.
Know your next hire. I always know what next position is coming up in my company and I often have a good idea of who’s going to get it. I reach out to people months before I am ready to hire so I can hopefully make them my employee when the time is right. I like to connect with people to get an idea of what their career goals are at the moment. If it feels right I let them know about an opportunity coming down the pipe. So far it’s worked. We’ve hired a couple of people that didn’t fit but we’ve hired even more that do fit and are still with us. In fact, nobody has ever quit working at Plan A which tells me we’re doing something right!
Trust yourself. You know what kind of person you are supposed to be. Trust yourself to make the right decision for you and your team.
As an entrepreneur I have had my share of ups and downs. My goal is to always learn from my mistakes, try again and most importantly seek out and listen to business advice from people who have gone down the same path before me. This is the advice I have received from those people; I hope it can be helpful to you too!