Last week, I started a new series: The ABC’s of Business, where I expressed what I’ve learned while running a startup over the last 3 years. Read part 1 by clicking here.
Let’s jump back into it…
I- Integrity – Do the right thing, even when no one is looking… a piece of advice provided to me a long time ago that I still remember every single day.
J- Juggling – You can call yourself the Founder, the CEO, the one at the helm… regardless of your ‘title’, if you’re running a startup, you’ll likely be wearing ALL hats — for a little while anyway. Juggling is my preferred word to the concept of time management. You need to learn to prioritize, get things done efficiently and manage yourself and your company to the best of your ability. It’s a large task and one that usually requires 60-80 hours/week. It’s a tough gig but again, I say: “Remember why you started this venture in the first place”.
K- Knowledge – In this particular case, I’m not talking about learning your craft. I’m talking about imparting your knowledge onto new entrepreneurs. In my opinion, it’s part of the gig. If someone asks to meet with you, give them a bit of your time (you may end up learning a thing or two yourself). Always remember those mentors who helped you along the way, and if you didn’t have mentorship, remember those moments where you wish you had someone as a sounding board. Give back — it’s as simple as that.
L- Listen to learn NOT to reply – To make my point here, I’ll use an example.
- Boss walks in after discovering an issue.
- Boss sits the entire team down and tells everyone his or her idea to resolve it.
- Boss now asks everyone for their input and ideas.
Result – the team is not only swayed (the person who is responsible for paying their bills has already expressed their brilliant idea) but also shies away from presenting an alternative because the inevitable outcome was already been presented by the person who manages them. The result here is a boss seeking reinforcement of his or her opinion from the team.
- Boss walks in after discovering an issue.
- Boss sits the entire team down and asks for their opinion on how to resolve the problem.
- A brainstorming session ensues.
Result – the team provides their opinions openly and freely leading to multiple potential solutions. The result here is a boss who’s willing to listen and a team who’s willing to contribute.
M- Mastery – You should know the sector/s you serve like the back of your hand. The language they use, their pain-points and the solutions they’re currently using or that are considered a competitor in your market. Join their memberships, attend their conferences/tradeshows and if you don’t have it your own arsenal, seek out a mentor from their vertical. Know their numbers as well as you know your own. This is information you should be able to rhyme off at the drop of a hat.
N- Never dull your shine – Being a woman leading a tech company, I OFTEN get asked: “What’s your biggest struggle as a woman in the tech industry?” The answer is multifaceted but for the purpose of answering to my concept of ‘never dulling your shine’, I’ll provide 2 points:
- Women are outnumbered by men in the world of tech. This starts in the Computer Science programs offered everywhere and leads to those numbers being translated to programmers employed by tech companies and the C-level executives within those companies. It’s simple math and it’s going to take a little while for us to grow those numbers across the board. When you choose to go against the current grain and trends, be steadfast despite the odds against you.
- Don’t let anyone ever make you feel that you have to tone down your personality, your looks or your opinions for the purpose of being taken seriously. Stay true to who you are and you can’t fail.
O- Open – Be open to ideas. Be open to criticism. Be open to anything that may have an impact on your business. Understand that someone’s ideas may have no fit or may have a massive impact on your day to day. Keeping yourself open to others’ opinions can be difficult, I get that… It may also have a pivotal effect on your business’ bottom line. In other words, be open and you never know what the outcome might be.
P- Price point – Set it and believe in it. Don’t hesitate when discussing your price point. Know your differentiating factors and be confident when expressing the cost of your product or service. Whatever sets you apart is what will allow you to set a price that makes sense to both your bottom line and your customer’s budget.
That wraps up part 2! Stay tuned for next week’s post as I conclude this series! Feel free to share any business advice you’ve learned in the comments; whether you’re in your first year of business or your tenth, I welcome all advice!