If I Knew Then What I Know Now - Part 1
20 Pieces of Advice for any Business Owner
More than once, you've likely said to yourself, “if I had only known then what I know now.”
I recently had this discussion with regards to starting and running a business with a group of business owners of various size and experience. The answers were so pragmatic, direct, and spot-on, I feel compelled to share for all to benefit.
The result is a list of 20 different pieces of advice, spanning five different areas. Too much for one article. So, I’ve broken them into the following general areas and will send them out one by one over the coming days.
As you read this, I am curious, what would be on your list?
Part 1: Personal and Professional Development
1. Join an Executive Peer Group.
The day I joined my first peer group a decade ago was the day I realized I didn't know what I didn't know – which includes people. The energy, insights, accountability, and connections you pick up while surrounded by other people with similar ambitions and fears will significantly shorten your time to success and help you grow your business. Think of this as a personal board. Without question, it is the most impactful self-development and preservation thing you can do as a business owner. Get off your island of one.
2. Get a mentor or coach.
A peer group is essential for gaining a street-smart business education and will quickly help you identify your blind spots. Once you have identified a blind spot, this is where a coach can be of great help. A personal coach can help you shore a specific skill gap in short order. Be sure to seek out someone who has expertise and experience in your weak area(s). Your peer group is a great place to ask others they may know or whom they have worked with in the past.
3. Learn the art of delegation.
To hire is not enough. Effective delegation is a critical skill for you to learn and will help you to elevate and focus on the role you need to play to lead your business. To have a gaggle of team members waiting on you for everything is a severe limitation. One word of caution - be sure to delegate and not abdicate. Delegating and abdicating are two different things. Abdicating is assigning without instruction, clarity, or follow through. That's a recipe for disaster. Don't do that.
4. Know Your Why
“Knowing your purpose” is critical. It's what will get you going on the tough days. It's what will help you to see clearly when things are uncertain. It will be your foundation when things are unstable. It is the #1 driver of motivation and will be your guiding light for making difficult and important decisions.
5. Be wrong faster.
The pull to be perfect or to wait for things to be just right is understandable but flawed. There are no – to very few - new ideas. Create your minimum viable product or service, get it out there, gather feedback, and improve on it. Learn from how your customers misuse your product. Listen to their feedback. Engage them in helping you improve on it.