No matter how much you prepare yourself for business ownership, there are lessons you can’t learn until you’re at the helm of your own company.
Surprise: It’s hard to get customers. Your product or service is great, heads and shoulders above the competition. Your prices are fair. Customers still aren’t flocking to your door. The truth is, you must constantly work at attracting and keeping customers.
Surprise: Success isn’t about your product or service. Why are competitors seeing more success than you, even though their product is inferior and prices higher? Learn your weaknesses and hire people who can help you build a successful company, not just a product or service.
Surprise: You develop Attention Deficit Disorder. Entrepreneurs have lots of great ideas and wear many hats. You have to prioritize, because all those ideas and responsibilities can drive you crazy; you’re constantly going off on one tangent or another.
Surprise: No one thinks you actually work. Because you are the master of your time and your business, the observer’s perception may be that you get to play while others do the work for you. They don’t realize how full your day is.
Surprise: You won’t spend all your time doing things you like. You may have started your business pursuing a dream, but the devil is in the details: hiring, marketing, quality control, shipping, billing, taxes etc. etc. Success is often found overseeing details.
The final surprise: It’s lonely at the top. No matter how many people work for you, they are not your confidants. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great suggests owners develop a personal board of directors, “made up of seven people you deeply respect and would not want to let down.” A group you can turn to as a sounding board for guidance, life transitions and difficult choices. The best groups help you preserve your core values and kindle self-renewal.
If you’re looking for such a group, contact me. I can help.
The road is easier together,