What key lessons do you learn running a business?

In today’s blog I reflect on some of the key lessons that I have learned along the journey of running Brightside. Today marks the beginning of my third year in business so it felt timely wanted to share some of the key learns from the journey so far.

Commit to Getting Started

Taking the leap of faith to start a business takes guts and determination. A couple of years ago I jumped in with two feet leaving a full-time job to start the business. Making that initial decision was a hard one, having been with my previous organisation for 5 years, however, it was completely the right thing to do to enable me to fully focus on realising the dream of helping others in a way I could shape and manage through the avenue of my business. Once you commit to taking the plunge it’s necessary to get your strategy in place.

Define Your Purpose

When I set out in business my purpose was not as clear it is today. I feel over time your purpose develops and evolves. My purpose is to ‘inspire you to be the best you can be.’ I have always been passionate about helping others to develop and since I have become crystal clear on the purpose for my business my client base has grown and it has been much easier to engage with businesses I would like to work with. Asking yourself why you do what you do is crucial to being fulfilled in your job role, business and general life. I would ask you to take an hour this evening to explore the following three questions:

  • WHY do you do what you do?
  • DO you love what you do?
  • If there were no barriers WHAT would you want to do?

Vision, Goals & Plan

Those of you who have read any of my blogs before will know I am a champion for establishing a clear vision underpinned by goals and a plan of action. Without a plan as to how you are going to achieve your vision and long term goals frustration sets in. You may know where you want to be and what you want your business to look like but without a plan to underpin this you will end up so frustrated. The same structure applies to any goals you may want to achieve in your life – articulate the goals and then plan for how you are going to achieve these. Don’t look back in 10 years and wonder if only…

Positive Routine

Many business owners set up on their own to break free from the constraints of the 9-5 routine. For me routine and consistency have been fundamental to building the business. My personal fitness routine plays as big a part in my business success as the number of times I call my customers. Ensuring that you have a routine of things that keep you focused, relaxed, healthy and on top of your workload is critical. A few things that work for me include:

  • Going for a run
  • Having a clear structure to my week: business development, coaching, training, admin  and factoring in enough time for each when one element is mega busy.
  • Listening to music
  • Watching motivational videos
  • Catching up with family and friends
  • Making time to relax and chill out
  • Focusing on personal development and learning from others
  • Creating a support network: including a coach, mentor and friends in business. Working on your business can be isolating so make sure you get out and about there.

These are just a few of the things that work for me in creating a positive routine and I feel this could easily be a blog topic in itself. Consistency is key to success in all elements of your life and having a new business has illuminated this for me.

Never Get Complacent

No matter how full the order book is or how successful you are in your current role I urge you never to get complacent or take your eye off the ball. You may have a large order or client contract  with a 2 year term, however, don’t lose sight of growing your network, clients and business whilst fulfilling the clients you already have. In business I have worked with clients who have a constant struggle with cash flow because of an inability to get the business development v client fulfilment balance correct. It’s a tough one for all of us but I would urge you never to get complacent irrespective of how big you get.

Be Yourself

There is a perception that you need to act or behave in a certain way when you run a business. For me the key thing is to be yourself and to support others along the way. Acting with integrity and honesty has been key to my success. People have commented on the supportive yet honest approach I provide. After two years I now feel more confident to be authentically me with whoever I meet. People buy people – FACT.

Be Positively Proactive

As you will know, growing a business does not come easy! For me what differentiates those who succeed and fail is the level of positivity and proactivity. The combination of the two is key to ensuring you persevere and succeed when the going gets tough. Creating opportunities from nothing is a key skill of successful entrepreneurs. Create a list of some customers you would like to work with and go after them. I urge you to be proactive today. In the first couple of years being proactive and finding new clients is the differentiator between businesses that succeed and fail.

Understand Your Customer

Richard Branson simply articulates a business as an ‘organisation which makes people’s lives better,’ therefore to understand who you can positively impact through your business is key to your success. Understanding the needs and wants of your customer and how you can support to fulfil these should be the key to shaping your strategy. Building strong and trusting relationships with your customers will enable you get powerful feedback from them and enable you to grow and develop new products and services accordingly. LISTEN to your customers and ask them for feedback to help you improve.

Growing a business is not easy, but boy is it worth it when you can positively impact the lives of other people. I can’t believe how quickly the last couple of years have flown in. Having my own growing business has been an exciting journey and as I am expanding my vision, goals and support for my customers I CANNOT wait for the next leg!