Disclaimer: I was quoted for the first time on Twitter last month. It was kind of cool to see something I said get posted by the organizers of the event and to see some retweets on the quote itself. It went a little something like this: “Running a startup is the best education you can’t buy”. The following is a glimpse into what I’ve learned over the course of the last 3 years.
A- Accountability – It’s inevitable. You’re going to mess up. Whether you work for a company or you run the company, you need to be able to learn to be accountable. Running a business means that you’ll be dealing with vendors and customers on a daily basis. Think back to the last time you know someone messed up and how insulting it was when instead of taking the high road and apologizing, they had their back up and insisted it was everyone else’s fault. It’s frustrating when you’re on the receiving end. Never be the person who feels they have to prove they were right, you’ll save yourself a lot of energy and the other party a lot of frustration.
B- Bravery – Doubt, fear, anxiety… it all comes to the forefront when you’re responsible for bringing something from concept to success. There will be days where you feel confident in your product, your service, your team, your direction and your vision. There will be days when you can’t find your footing and you’re uncertain about everything. I’m not saying it’s easy in those moments to spring back to ‘optimistic you’ but ultimately, you need to find it within yourself to continue. Remind yourself of why you started this venture in the first place.
C- Celebrate – …everything! Milestones — small and large — deserve to be talked about, applauded and acknowledged! We have a bell at StaffStat and whenever it rings, everyone gets excited. It could mean something small (ie. a new sales person got their first contract signed) or something big (we were awarded a huge contract). One thing’s for sure: EVERY milestone gets a ring because every step in the right direction is a step toward our goal of bringing our solution to the masses!
D- Delegation – Everyone has a weakness and this just happens to be mine (although I am working on it). It’s easy to get attached to every task or find it more convenient to do everything yourself. If you ever want to get to the place where you’re able to focus on the higher-level conversations, meetings and decisions, you need to delegate some of those tasks you’re possessive about and move them downstream. Everyone wins! You are freed from feeling like you have one more thing to do and the person you assigned the task to feels trusted. Not to mention, if you assign the task to someone whose strengths are aligned with it, odds are good that it’ll be done right.
E- Energy – Self-care is a huge component to your business. If you run a company and/or a team, you need to be at your best. Learn to ‘turn it off’ every now and again. You would be amazed at the impact when you hit the power button back on after a reset!
F- Fail – While there are many quotes on failure, my favourite is by Colin Powell: “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence”. Failure presents with it an opportunity: we can either learn from it or we can dwell on it. Your character decides which road you want to travel. My guess is a successful business would be led by the individual who takes the opportunity to learn from the situation.
G- Growth – It’s always risky to add to your team. It’s a hit or miss and the bull’s-eye is a very small, finite mark. When hiring, you’ll stumble upon amazing and questionable people alike. In my opinion, each person you bring on is there for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Growth is inevitable, it’s up to you to make the best decisions you can along the way and learn from all hiring experiences for future additions.
H- Humility – Business is NEVER a ‘me’ effort. Even if you don’t have a team in-house, where would be without your customers? Every business that survives and thrives is of the ‘we’ mindset! Always remember to be thankful and grateful and everything should line up nicely.
That wraps up part 1 of this series! Stay tuned as I tackle the rest of the alphabet in parts 2 & 3… coming soon!