People running a business tend to run into trouble for a handful of different reasons. There are certain basic lessons they need to learn, and frequently relearn. In my experience, problems arise from forgetting these fundamentals. It’s very easy to do. Businesses are run by people, and people have habits, flaws, biases and … well, they’re human. Here are a few of these lessons — my own list of what every business needs to make sure it does:
First, they need to learn to trust their gut. Instincts exist for a reason – your intuition really is telling you something. You need to learn to listen to it, and take it seriously.
You have to have someone(s) from the outside the organization you can trust as a mentor. A mentor is someone who has been there and done that, and whose only objective is your success. They are invaluable.
You must surround yourself with AND LEARN FROM people who are smarter than you are. You are only as good as your team – really – and a strong team is an incredible day-in, day-out force multiplier. It changes everything.
You need to understand financials and operations. No matter what the reason for going into your business originally, you have to look under the hood, and get into the real nitty-gritty of what makes your enterprise tick. Otherwise, you’re just guessing.
You’ve got to be innovative; not afraid to make “mistakes” and to take calculated risks. This is how you learn, how you uncover opportunities, and ultimately, something you have to do to grow. Plus – it’s fun. Embrace it.
Finally — and I do a lot of this — get the right people in the right roles. Human capital is incredibly valuable, and often misdirected. Correcting that can change everything.
None of this is especially complex, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. My job is to make it easier, and ultimately, to make it happen.