What’s up… Welcome to the podcast. I really appreciate you tuning in and listening to me today. I know that you have a lot of other options. You can be listening to another podcast. You could be reading a book, what have you, but you chose to listen to me today and I really appreciate that.
Today I want to talk about entrepreneurship, which is a topic that is very dear to my heart. Over the last eight years, I’ve been able to amass or curate a top 10 list of pieces of advice that any entrepreneur, regardless of where they are in their journey, can appreciate and I hope that they can perhaps adopt and employ into their daily operations. Before I get into that, it’s important for you to understand that I don’t consider myself an expert or a guru in this field. I am learning daily things just like you are. And you know, this is something that, I’m trying to do too, to help anybody that has decided to embark in this and this sometimes lonely journey. So the format of this podcast is that it is raw and unedited. It’s just a simple casual discussion between you and me and having said that, I would like to get into the first piece of advice.
Number 1, is surrounding yourself with good people. This is essential. Period, end of story. The people that you work with and have an opportunity to interact with on a daily basis, they need to be aligned with who you are, what you stand for, what virtues you think are important, things along those lines. I have had very bad partnerships and they all stem from misalignment, the framework, what the goals are for the company, those things from the onset, there was misalignment there. What we wanted to gain out of the company was different and that’s a problem moving forward and having the right people on the bus, on the team, those are things that are necessary for a healthy, sustainable business moving forward.
Number 2, knowing your business inside and out. I am in the tech space and knowing the way software works and understanding the technical aspects of the product at a granular level, of course, are imperative. But it goes way beyond that. If you are a business owner, knowing the financials is just as important, especially if you are being scrutinized by someone who is in the financial sector. In the SaaS business, there are certain metrics that are specific to that arena and educating yourself on those calculations and what drives those numbers provides those same financial people with assurance that you know your business, you know your verticals, you know your user-base, you know the community, so on and so forth. So again, very important to understand the entire financial picture of where the business is today, where it will be six months from now, a year from now, etc. What you could spend money on today to perhaps make more money down the road. An important piece to this is that everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. So if you don’t like finance or accounting, that’s okay, but you have to have an outside third party or some partner that is dedicated to understanding and analyzing this type of data to establish a sound financial foundation.
Number 3, customers buy your product and they buy your service of course, but they also buy You, your brand and the people that power the brand. To me, in my opinion, this is more important than your product. In fact, your product, at the end of the day, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that important. The way you connect with people, the way people view what you’re doing, your culture and how it is cultivated, that’s what makes the difference. Ultimately, people want to be associated with you. They want to be a part of what you’re doing and that’s what really makes the sale. At the end of the day, it’s the entire package. It’s not just the product or the service, so it’s important to be mindful of that because that may be the difference between You and your competitor.
Number 4, don’t be an asshole to your existing customers or for that matter, anyone. This is a life lesson. It doesn’t necessarily apply to business by itself, but it’s really important for people to understand that other people are going through things in their lives that you are not aware of or you’re not privy to. So if you’re on a support call or you are, uh, doing something for somebody in a live setting, you have to be empathetic. You have to want to take the time to listen to that individual; to understand how they’re doing, to initiate a friendship. And it’s important for the overall business strategy of the company or the brand. So people have to want to work with you. It’s important for people to like you, um, in any setting.
Don’t be an asshole to your existing customers or for that matter, anyone…
Number 5, being uncertain about the future is okay. Actually, taking comfort in this notion is something that I wished I would have understood sooner as part of my journey. This is something for a new business owner or entrepreneur to really understand and to be aware of, but the faster that you become, uh, familiar with this concept the better off you’re going to be in the long run.
Number 6, making a wrong decision is okay and it’s better than making no decision or a delayed decision. You have to take a position and go with it. There’s a lot of decision-makers or leaders that consider too many things. This leads to almost a paralysis by analysis type of scenario and they get too caught up in what other people may think and how that decision is going to be criticized by the cast of thousands. That’s not the important thing to note here. People appreciate leaders or business operators that make a calculated decision and realize this is probably the best decision as it stands today. They don’t waste a copious amount of time pondering what to do next. When a decision is made they deal with the consequences as they arrive. I think that should be applauded more often. There are situations where decision makers think about things too much and it leads to delayed execution.
Number 7, taking the time to stop and enjoy the moments when you hit a particular milestone or accomplishment. Very, very critical to quote-unquote stop and smell the roses. There’s also a connection factor with your team. If you and your team are aspiring for the same goals… if one of your goals is to make an extra $100,000 in revenue over a six month period and you hit that number, you have to stop and celebrate. You have to make it a big deal. You have to drink that champagne or go to that fancy restaurant and enjoy some good food because it’s not just about the daily grind. It’s also about smiling with the people that you’re doing it with and appreciating their camaraderie and efforts.
Number 8, having a consistent grit like mind frame, I mentioned already before, you’re going to go through periods where you think the business sucks, but you have to have the grit and the tenacity to fight through it. You have to have a consistent pattern of staying on task, whether those tasks are mundane or super entertaining. The faster that you can obtain this mind shift, the better off you’re going to be as an entrepreneur.
Number 9, don’t be afraid to walk away from a customer that is problematic. What I mean by this is that there are bad customers out there. There are clients that are not going to connect with you or during a demo we’ll bring up things that may be a complaint down the road. In fact, I believe that this is a skill that you get better at over time and one of the things I look for is what I just described, how people are interacting with our team during a demo. What types of questions are they asking? Are they trying to identify problems that are not there? They haven’t been trained or educated on the software yet… This scenario to me is an indicator that this particular person or client can perhaps be a problem. You’ll be surprised as to how much energy and resources are spent and wasted on a bad customer. Just one.
Number 10, Be Authentic. This is my favorite. Be The real You and turn your quirkiness or your uniqueness into an asset. You don’t have to pretend to be somebody else. You don’t have to fake it till you make it. You don’t have to post fake or altered stories on social media to provide a certain perception of who you are or what you’re trying to accomplish. So it’s important to just be who you are. It’s fine. Everybody who is anybody started somewhere and they went through the same process and the same doubts that you have today. So again, you have to have that as part of your entrepreneur mind frame and not lie to people and make them believe that you’re farther along than you actually may be. People are going to gravitate to your authenticity and these same people will turn into customers. Ultimately your customers will turn into friends and those will be the business relationships that you’ll remember forever throughout your journey.
So I hope that one or two of these pieces of advice resonated with you or that you can incorporate them into your business or everyday living. If you have any questions on one of these concepts or pieces of advice, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, hope to hear from you. Good luck on your entrepreneurship journey and I will see you on the other side. Take care and have a great day.