Lesson 1- Relationships are the cornerstone of business acquisition.
How many times have you been at a social gathering when you meet someone new and begin finding commonalities? It’s an innate habit everyone does to make connections and lay the framework of common ground. In the business community of Albuquerque, people thrive on making connections and/or associations. “Hey! I know so-and-so, they went to school with my brother!” This type of banter is incredibly common in small to mid-sized markets. In the digital marketing/content world, connections are on a higher level of hyper-connectivity and need to be nourished, cultivated, and maintained to bolster a solid reputation and build trust.
Lesson 2- Micromanagement poisons the potential of your team.
We’ve all worked for a micromanager in one capacity or another. (If you haven’t – steer clear!) The biggest takeaway I’ve noticed about micromanagement from the top-down it communicates, “I don’t trust you.” If you don’t trust someone, why are they on your team and why are you in business? Trust others. Micromanagement actually slows the efficiency cycle and sets a terrible precedent for leadership styles. It is a toxic seed yielding high turnover rates and unmotivated employees, ultimately hurting the quality of service to your clientele. In a survey released polling 450 employees about their bosses and management nearly 60% said they had worked for a micromanager at some point in their career. Of that group, 55% said it decreased their productivity and 68% said it dampened their morale. Source: Forbes: What To Do If Your Boss is a Micromanager.
Lesson 3 – Take risks.
Life is short. If you live in fear, progress won’t ever be your friend. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failing is necessary for growth and overcoming adversity. Respect the process and learn from your mistakes. Stay humble. The most successful business people rarely mention how “easy” it was making it to the top. In fact, any business person that’s made it has been putting in unseen amounts of work for a long time. Success doesn’t just “happen.” It’s a product of choice, making decisions and taking risks.
Lesson 4 – There’s no such thing as 8-5.
If you ask most over-achievers to log their work hours, the average week will equate to at least 50-60 hours. That’s just the nature of the beast. If you’re passionate about it – you’re in it. Don’t be lazy. Lazy people sulk in a circle of concern. Hustlers make it happen and become a catalyst of change for a circle of influence.
Lesson 5 – Be patient, punctual and honest.
Not everyone will understand your sense of urgency. No two people think exactly alike. However, through practice and perseverance, individuals will come to expect a caliber of expertise and service from you and your business. A bad attitude does nothing for an entrepreneur, but impede the opportunity for growth and new business acquisition. Bad attitudes are also like the common cold, if you’re constantly around it, you will catch it too. So protect your business by getting rid of the negativity.
Lesson 6 – If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.
A former mentor used to tell me this and I thoroughly believe it. I’ve been told our services are too expensive and I’ve been told our services are too cheap. Perspective and experience are vital when it comes to providing a price tag for service. I spent the first year giving everything away for free working every weekend and evening to meet client expectations for little to nothing to show for it. I believe in being absolutely fair to any potential client and earning their trust to create a sustainable relationship.
Although this is a short list of lessons learned, it’s important to recognize that growth, learning, and making mistakes are all part of the process. It’s a matter of staying focused, transparent, dedicated to providing quality service and trusting your team members to help you build something beautiful. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for success; just good ole’ fashioned hard work.