Whenever someone sets off on the fantastic journey that is owning a business, they do so filled with optimistic goals and ideas. Most business-owners-to-be dream of flexible hours, great profit margins, vacations whenever they want, and the satisfaction of finally doing what they want. However, once they start working to make that dream a reality, they clash with the dire reality – owning a business is damn hard!
Running a successful venture requires a lot of hard work and effort, be it a flower shop, a small coffee house or a small software development team. That’s why we’ve compiled this brief list of truths every business owner needs to hear. Its goal isn’t to burst their dreamy bubble but to get them back to reality and help them realize things all business owners need to know at some point or the other.
Are you trying to become one? Then read on!
1 – Your Business Isn’t Special
This one might sting a little but you definitely need to hear it. Of course you think your business is unique and that no one in the world offers what you offer. However, that can’t be true, as there isn’t a unique business in the entire world. So, it’s better if you make peace with the idea that what you do isn’t original.
In light of that, you need to focus on the how rather than on the what. Yes, there might be other coffee shops out there just like yours but how you do things (how you serve your customers, the little details that accompany your service, the delicate attention in front of your clients) are the things that can make you stand out.
2 – Your Customers Aren’t Always Right
This logan is so ingrained in the public discourse that reading how wrong it is might be disconcerting. But you need to understand that customers aren’t always right. No one is always right! You might argue that, if people complain about your business, you need to address those complaints or risk losing customers – and that’s a valid point. But, what happens when a complaint is clearly wrong?
You need to see beyond the complaint and into the complainer. There are people that are only looking for excuses to raise their voices and fingers at someone. Complaints can be a good thing for business, as they can show you where you can improve. Yet, depending on who’s issuing the complaint, you’d be better off by dismissing the complaint altogether.
3 – Technology Doesn’t Solve Bad Businesses
In our increasingly tech-driven world, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that technology can help any business grow. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Sure, technology can bring value and benefits to all kinds of companies from all sizes and across many industries. But what it can’t and won’t ever be able to do is fix a bad business model.
Technology is a tool, a wonderful thing that can elevate our ideas to the highest and make them evolve in ways you never thought possible. However, you need to have those ideas first. If your business isn’t taking off, don’t try to solve it with technology. It’s highly likely you’ll have to review your business model instead.
4 – You Are as Good as the People Working With You
People are the most important assets you’ll have at your side. Period. In fact, we shouldn’t even call them assets. Since you won’t be able to do everything on your own, you’ll need the help of talented people working side by side with you to get your business going. What’s more – your staff will probably be the source of great ideas for your business.
The importance of your employees, especially during the early days of your small business, is huge. That’s why you need to keep them motivated, make them feel included in your decisions, and show them how much you respect and value their time and effort.
5 – Success Doesn’t Come Fast
The internet is filled with stories of people that got overly successful overnight. In those stories, they had an idea, got funding, and a couple of months later, they already were owners of a multimillion-dollar business. We are not saying that the people behind those stories are liars, but chances are that events weren’t as straightforward as those people paint them to be.
Success for most business owners comes after quite some time. During that time, you’ll see yourself failing, changing directions, adjusting strategies, missing opportunities, or even hitting jackpots through dumb luck. Embrace those things, as they are the roads that will get you where you want to be.
6 – There Are No Business Hours For You
In other words, you don’t get to clock in and clock out of your business, simply because it’ll have you working for it 24/7. Seems extreme? Maybe – but it’s true. That’s because you’ll be taking care of things even when your business is closed. You’ll have to address issues as they appear, regardless of them popping up during the night or on weekends.
You’ll have to be the one that opens the business and the one who closes and you’ll be weighing into a lot of things and decisions. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a break (you should definitely have time for yourself). But the dream where you are down the beach sipping margaritas while the business takes care of itself? Well, that almost never happens.
7 – You’ll Need Advisors
A lot of business owners think they have to decide everything on their own. That’s what bosses do! Fortunately, that’s not quite the case. While you’ll have to define certain key aspects of your business, you should definitely have a trusted partner or advisor to talk to, bounce ideas off, and discuss the ideas that may be going around your head.
Why would you do that? Because if you don’t get out of your head, you may end up too self-involved and unable to see the bigger picture. If you talk to someone regularly about your business, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions and get to consider ideas that you might not consider otherwise.
8 – Your Business Isn’t About You
Finally, here’s another hard truth that a lot of business owners fail to understand. Yes, you are the one that devised the business, that put hour after hour to turn your idea into a reality, that funded the whole thing. And, yes, you’re the one in charge, the boss, the one responsible for it all. Yet, even with all that, your business isn’t about you.
Your business (as with any business) is about your customers, how you can help them with their wants and needs. While it’s true that you’ll make a living out of it, you should worry more about what your clients think and need. Just remember that they won’t always be right and you’ll be all set.
As hard as it may be to hear some of these things, you definitely need to pay attention to them. That’s especially true if you’re just starting your own business and don’t know what to expect from a lot of things. But even if you already have a business, some of these truths might come in handy to make you realize something you never thought before.
Of course, we don’t mean to discourage you. We believe that owning a business is an amazing and exciting journey. However, we also think that’s best that you consider all the possible aspects before venturing into this great experience, so you can do better and live the sacrificed but spectacular dream of being your own boss.
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