There are many milestones on the long road of business ownership…one of the most important milestones is the five year mark. Many businesses never make it to that milestone, somewhere along the way they fall by the wayside. Other businesses make it to the five year mark barely hanging on. Those who make it to the five year mark with a strong, healthy business and their own sanity, have something truly worth celebrating.
And so it is with great pleasure that I celebrate a milestone for my own business, founded five years ago today. My business is strong and growing. My cash flow is positive. And (arguably) I remain in full possession of my sanity…opinions may vary.
Here are some of the valuable lessons I learned along the way:
1. Life (and business) is like a compost heap. The more you heap on it, the richer it gets. Mistakes, successes, new skills…keep mixing them in and you end up with a powerful mixture that helps you and your business grow.
2. Focus relentlessly on the problem you solve for your customer. No one will hire you or buy from you just because they like having you around. Find ways to solve their problems and they’ll keep coming back for more.
3. Develop relationships by making other people look good. Saying something positive about another person or business is a great way to make friends. That web of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is the core of your business. Enjoy it. Nurture it. Spread it around.
4. Attract friends. When you describe your business to others in your marketing activities, speak to the people you want to work with. Imagine the person you want to attract to your business is your best friend. Working with great people is a lot better than working with people who make you nuts. How you talk about your business is a key factor in attracting good customers.
5. Know thy numbers. The finance part of your business is critical to your success. Knowing what your breakeven number is, how to manage receivables, and the basics of taxes are all a part of building a successful business.
6. Plan your business based on where you want to be 5 years from now. Most business owners toss about all day in stormy seas, never charting a course for where they want to be. Consequently, they never make to smoother sailing.
7. Act like the success you want to be. If you want your business to the leader in your industry, act like the owner of a company that is the leader in your industry, dress the part, reflect that in the way you treat your customers and employees, make decisions for your business that reflect your goal.
8. Make being a business owner work for you. One of the main reasons we become self employed is to have more control over our lives. Then, we promptly fill our days up with every imaginable task only to find ourselves even more exhausted than when we worked for someone else. It doesn’t have to be that way!
9. Learn (or hire) the skills you need to succeed. None of us gets up the mountain alone. Running a business today is more complex than it ever has been in the history of humankind. To really succeed you’ll need a team of professionals to guide you along the way. Lack of professional expertise will cost you far more in the long run than spending a bit now.
Caroline Jordan, MBA helps small business owners improve cash flow, attract customers they love, and build businesses with real staying power. For more tips and articles to help you build your business visit http://www.TheJordanResult.com . For help with improving cash flow visit http://www.TheJordanResult.com/mastering.html .