10 years in Business – some things I’ve learnt.

Peter posted this on October 20, 2019

    1. Failure is very common:
      The motivational speakers never say it (so you don’t get scared away from buying their stuff) but failure is far more common than success in Business. I’ve learnt persistence, personal growth, preparation and consistency increase probability of success though it’s not guaranteed.


    1. Keep Customers Happy, keep them forever:
      As long as you keep customers happy most would never look for alternatives(even if you cost more than the alternatives). Customers would start looking for alternative providers once they stop getting what you promised.


    1. Value for money is king in sales:
      You can get away with selling almost any product at any price. Just make sure you communicate any added value you add to the customer clearly. Sir Alex Ferguson’s last (chewed and spat out) bubble gum sold for almost a million pounds.


    1. You are not your business:
      I learnt this like 5 years into Business. Your Business made a million pound sale doesn’t mean you are rich. Treat your Business as a separate person – separate finances, start from the first day setting prices like you already have staff, build your business as something that can be sold with low friction.


    1. Price wars are a useless race to the bottom:
      Except you have far more cash to burn than your competitors or just want to get them out of the way. Fighting a price war makes no sense, it always ends up a case of; When they go low, We go lower. That is till every sale results in a net loss.


    1. Most of your business problems won’t be solved by more money:
      The most annoying thing you can tell me is, I want to start xxx but no capital. With creativity and resourcefulness you can start almost anything with an empty account. Also when you encounter issues (you would encounter a lot), first check if the issue is with your process, people or product before throwing money at it.


    1. The best solution isn’t always the most expensive:
      At times while seeking for vendors or solutions for our Business we tend to feel the most expensive solution presented has to be the best. It hardly ever is.


    1. The actual best solutions might be hard to find:I’ve realized most times the makers of excellent Business solutions usually are terrible marketers or so focused on the product they forget marketing is needed. You need to search harder.


    1. The worst money to have is idle money: Conventional Wisdom says save. Idle money loses value over time as even interests that might accrue never beat inflation. I always put my money into Business or other investments and leave just what I need as cash.


    1. Keep your team worry free so they can keep your clients happy: We have a process at my company every Friday where everyone says what’s not working and what can be improved in the Business. You don’t want your team worrying about things like poor heating and late salaries while dealing with client work.


    1. Always be selling: Except you have a vault full of endless VC cash or you lose money on each sale you make, if you aren’t regularly bringing sales in, you are heading for a Cashflow crunch and possible insolvency. Have someone focused on sales if you aren’t doing that.


    1. People are important: My cousin once called me anti-social and I had no defense. To survive in Business though, people are important, most of the lifesaving opportunities I’ve had were from people I know one way or the other. Try and build a network of supportive people and nurture it.


    1. Learn to ask for help: This goes with the previous point. If you build a support network and can’t ask for help when stuck, what’s the point? I’m forcing myself to learn this too as I tend to just throw myself at problems and waste days solving something that would have been sorted in minutes with a phone-call. Also let go and hire help when you start spending time on none critical things.


    1. It’s better not to hire than to hire wrongly: When you make a wrong hire, you’d feel the impact almost immediately. Every hire (and co-founder) has to be carefully chosen as they can make or break your business.


    1. Always be learning: Starting a Business to me is a long term practical MBA. the world of business keeps changing (these days at the speed of light) so always set time to learn new things, be informed of new trends and ensure your future plans are in line with latest advances in tech & co (don’t be the one setting up a video cassette factory when everyone’s streaming on Netflix).


    1. People are mimetic: This reminds me of a post I wrote earlier. I noticed on social media ads we ran 2 years back that if the first comment was negative, all following usually followed the same trend. Same with the opposite. Take note of this & apply accordingly.


    1. Many people would tell you many things: When people give advice, it’s usually limited to their experience and exposure. I left this last because a lot of things I said might not apply to everyone reading this so don’t take what I, or anyone else says as law. Filter and apply to your unique circumstances.


Finally, don’t get caught up in semantics like wasting time arguing if you’re an Entrepreneur or a Business Person and similar. It won’t add a pence to your bottomline.

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