This month marks our 10 year anniversary of saying good-bye to Corporate America and starting our business. I vividly remember Bill and I sitting on our porch saying let’s quit our jobs, give up our steady income and benefits, get $500k worth of loans to buy a Greenfield practice and Bill’s clientele from his employer. And let’s give up any free time we have for who knows how long… gulp! I have NO idea where the courage came from to be honest. Reflecting back now I realize just how much we risked in order to follow our hearts and create a firm that got back to the fundamental basics of simply helping people. We jumped head first off the cliff and never looked back.
I can easily say that we are proud and grateful that we have made it past those horrid new business failure statistics and the future looks bright. Success certainly doesn’t come without its heaping piles of blood sweat and tears. As I have grown and conquered my hurdles it’s become a driving force of mine to help others along this same path. I don’t mind sharing my struggles if it gives comfort to even one person so that they know someone else gets it.
For this blog post in honor of our 10 year anniversary I’d like to share the Top 10 Things I Learned these past 10 years of business ownership. Here we go in no particular order:
- Keep it Real – be genuine. You might see people progressing faster in the short-term by using less genuine practices. Don’t focus on them you’ll win in the long run.
- Have your network be people you really like and click with. Don’t waste your time pretending to be someone you are not. If you are “networking” that’s the wrong mindset. The truest network is when you help each other genuinely.
- Processes, processes, processes. A business changes shape constantly, your processes need to keep up. If you don’t there’s tons of waste – wasted time, energy, money, efficiency, etc.
- Be loyal. To your clients, your team, your network. Don’t jump ship constantly to what looks like the next best thing. Cultivate everything through loyalty.
- Learn when to pump the breaks. Sometimes you need to slow it down and adjust to growth or changes. Expanding too quickly when you’re not ready can be a fatal blow. It’s not a sign of weakness to plan things out.
- Get away from your desk when you want to be creative and get fresh ideas. I’ve found anywhere near water is best.
- Your relationship with your banker is massively important. Don’t take this for granted. If yours isn’t on your side and showing it, find someone who will be. They are out there.
- Don’t settle when hiring your team. Often the most painful of lessons.
- Burnout is a real thing, avoid it by taking timeouts to turn off from work, change up where and how you work, spend time with positive people that uplift your spirit. I’ve yet to find anyone immune to burnout.
- And obviously, know your stuff!
Entrepreneurship has become glorified and glamourized more and more lately. They make it sound easy. While it can be an amazing thing I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that it has its dark side too. Massive risks, living with uncertainty, countless sacrifices, no walking away and going home as it’s always on, and for better or worse you are responsible… for everything. It takes a special person to stick with it. As we celebrate a decade on our own, I send a very sincere pat on the back to my fellow business owners for all their sacrifices and tireless dedication to create something and for having the courage to fling off the cliff.
To the next 10…