What did you learn about YOUR business in 2016? ...What worked? ...What didn't?
As the New Year rapidly approaches, entrepreneurs around the world are preparing their EPIC plans for 2017. This is a magical and creative time of year but my question is, how many are assessing and evaluating what happened in their business in 2016?
In order to move forward with epic visions, one must first lay a solid foundation. The best time to lay this foundation is in the first year of your business! It doesn’t matter how many businesses you own, the first year launching a business in a certain industry tells all and should be the time when you take the most risks BEFORE you’ve truly established your brand!
Although I’ve launched many businesses, 2015 saw the birth of my Life & Business Coaching company! I have been fortunate enough to reap many rewards from my business in the first year (which usually doesn’t happen) but I know God has been behind the scenes working and manifesting in accordance with my thoughts, words, actions and beliefs. The first step to being successful is to completely embody your business. As business owners we can tend to focus on our successes but not take time to evaluate the mistakes to see where we have gone wrong and what we can learn from it all.
Here are 5 VALUABLE BUSINESS LESSONS 2016 taught me:
1. LAY YOUR BRICKS STEP BY STEP: As an entrepreneur most of your days will be spent dreaming and thinking of ways to make your dream business bigger and better than ever. So much so that you can find yourself trying out multiple ideas at one time which can be confusing to your audience. Its ok to dream big but make sure you have laid a solid foundation for each part of your business before moving on to the next thing. Yes, the common habit of entrepreneurs is to throw things at the wall until something sticks but the idea is to recognize what will stick quickly so you are not wasting time and energy on dead end projects. Don’t fall victim to the “Jack of all Trades and Master of None” syndrome. You have to Master each aspect of your business before you dominate your industry. If it means taking a little longer, that’s fine don’t rush the process…haste makes waste and is the unfortunate downfall of many entrepreneurs. You can rush starting a business but you cant rush the time it takes to build the solid foundation and integrity.
2. FAIL HARD & FAST: An entrepreneur is someone who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal risks to do so! When you understand what an entrepreneur is, you will understand why they always seem to have some new idea or master plan. This is part of the DNA of an entrepreneur, we try a multitude of things and then stick with what works. The key to being successful is knowing when to recognize something isn’t working and reroute. Try many things and make mistakes fast because the quicker you figure out what doesn’t work and iron out the kinks the closer you are to creating a solid foundation for your business. I went into 2016 with a plan to try everything at least once in my first year and now going into 2017, I no longer have to test the waters because I’ve built a solid enough boat to carry me to my intended destination. It’s imperative to try a multide of things so you know what drives you and your business but you must be strategic, methodical and mindful of what risks you take at the detriment of your wasted time, money and energy.
3. BE SELECTIVE WITH YOUR TIME: Your time is precious! Did you realize it’s the one thing you can’t get back? Every moment of your time as an entrepreneur is usually spent dreaming, planning, taking action, pouring into others and thinking of ways to obtain financial freedom by generating 7 streams. As such everything you do from morning until night has to be in alignment with these goals! YOU MUST BE INTENTIONAL in all actions! Plan your time, plan your strategies…place yourself around people, places and things that cause you to want more, dream more and do more. Seek the company of those who have been where you are trying to go. A real entrepreneur has no time for anything or anybody that depletes their positive energy with negative thoughts, words or actions…their time is way to precious to entertain foolishness and they are dead serious about it because they realize a moment wasted in negativity is a moment that could have been applied to building their dream.
4. KNOW YOUR NICHE: We often (myself included) start out with one idea but because we want to help so many we change and start going in all directions and trying to serve everybody. The truth is when you are operating a business with the intention of growing it as a leading company in your industry, you must know and stick to your NICHE. Your branding and marketing should always be targeted to your niche audience and if you don’t have one then you are just marketing to any and everybody. This prevents you from standing out and causes you to get lost in the crowd as just another small business trying to make it. I used to hear “you cant be everything to everybody” and I would roll my eyes and say “oh yes I can” but then I realized the true meaning is that although I am able to invest my time in everyone, I should choose to invest in those who will benefit the most from what I have to give. That’s how I fulfil my purpose.
5. GET A STRONG TEAM: The last thing 2016 taught me is that you cannot do it alone. You need a team! Although I am one of those people who like to do everything myself (its the perfectionist in me), I realized early on that it would take a team to build the visions for my company, not just me. Stretching yourself too thin will cause you to burn out real quick. Learn to outsource and delegate. The key to choosing a team is NOT (and some won’t want to hear this) and I repeat NOT to start with friends and family. Yes I know we all have family and friends that love to help but unless they are on your books as an official employee, contractor, etc. this is why most times it doesn’t work:
To run a successful business, you must know your business inside out. Hiring friends and family although convenient on the pockets can cause an issue of complacency. You want people on your team who are as hungry as you to build a dream. Only those with the same vision and mindset can truly understand the drive, commitment, attention to detail and constant challenges it takes to be an entrepreneur. If they are only doing it as a favor, the chances are they will not be as invested in the outcome of the process as much as you. Start with a team of people who are willing to ride from the bottom to the top with you daily and plan of riding with you for the next 5 years (minimum).
So there you have it, the 5 valuable lessons I learned in 2016 that are sure to assist my business in taking it to the next level in 2017! If you found any of this info relatable, please share with others so that they may relate too!