After 16 years in the business world, here are ten critical wisdoms I have learned:
- Success Hinges on Treating Others Well
Your success is deeply intertwined with how you treat others, including your team. While a certain level of ego is necessary for dreaming big and taking bold actions, it can easily turn into selfishness, entitlement, or greed. Your success is fundamentally linked to the quality of your relationships with clients, strategic partners, investors, co-founders, and your team. Cultivate these relationships with care.
- Service Businesses Accelerate Learning
Service-oriented startups offer unique opportunities for accelerated learning. They compel you to critically assess your value, stay updated in your field, hone communication skills, build relationships, and handle adverse situations with grace. They also foster innovation and adaptability.
- Business Partnerships Are Like Marriages
Selecting the right business partner can be a secret to success. Business partnerships thrive when there's mutual respect, open communication, and shared values. Partners can leverage their strengths and hold each other accountable, but maintaining a healthy partnership requires trust and commitment.
- Company Culture Starts with You
Your company's culture reflects how everyone behaves, starting with you as a leader. Strive to uphold and model positive work ethics and values. No amount of branding or office perks can compensate for a culture that contradicts its stated principles.
- Leadership Is Complex
Leading a business can be lonely, confusing, and overwhelming, in addition to being exciting and gratifying. Leaders often grapple with imposter syndrome, insecurities, and doubts. The challenges and uncertainties can be daunting, but perseverance can lead to immense rewards.
- Ideas Need Execution
While ideas are valuable, businesses cannot thrive on ideas alone. Effective execution requires structured plans, feedback systems, the right talent, clear roles, and standard procedures to control growth and success.
- Financial Responsibility Matters
Entrepreneurs must handle financial responsibilities, even if finance isn't their forte. This includes budgeting, invoicing, cash flow management, record-keeping, payroll, and more. Operating carelessly in this domain can jeopardize your business.
- Integrity Is Non-Negotiable
Integrity is crucial in building relationships. Be wary of situations where you might compromise your values for short-term gains. Uphold your integrity and respect others' as it underpins your reputation and trustworthiness.
- Big Decisions Are Complex
Major business decisions can be messy, tense, and awkward, despite their exciting outcomes. Negotiations, hiring, firing, investment, and strategic planning can all be challenging. Navigating these moments requires resilience and fair, open communication.
- Entrepreneurship is a Lifelong Journey
Entrepreneurs are never truly "done." Even when one venture ends, the entrepreneurial spirit drives you to keep exploring new opportunities. The hunger to make a difference and love for the game keep entrepreneurs motivated.