This year marks ten years since I established my business. After experiencing the highs and lows of owning my own business I like to think that I am wiser and have lessons to share.
Lesson 1: Set goals
Setting and working toward goals will enable you to measure your progress. If you're clear about what goals you want to achieve, you're more likely to achieve them.
Lesson 2: Be flexible
Even though it's important to set goals, not everything will go as planned … and that may be a good thing.
The business world of the 21st century is a rapidly changing environment. As a small business, there is the potential to adapt to those changes much more quickly than large corporations.
Looking back over the years I'm pleased that I've been able to be flexible and adapt to the changing needs of my clients. It's opened the door to new opportunities and my business is better for it.
Lesson 3: Listen to your clients
Listening to my clients has been an important part of developing programs for them. My clients have given me insights into what works best for them, which has helped me to develop products and services that has added value to their work.
Lesson 4: Work smarter
There have been times when I've felt overwhelmed by the number of tasks that I needed to complete during a working day.
As time progressed and my knowledge of available resources increased, I realised that those frustrations need not occur. Two major areas to working smarter have been to learn from others and outsource where possible.
Learning from others
Learning from others is easy to do. You can find inspiration through:
- Online forums – can often answer questions about various aspects of your business.
- Social media connections – are always keen to share their knowledge or articles that they've found useful.
- Local networking events – can be an opportunity to find out how other businesses operate and how they overcome common hurdles.
- Online articles – there is an abundance of articles available on just about any aspect of business.
The other major area to working smarter is outsourcing. Outsourcing non-essential tasks can free up time so that you can focus on the core aspects of your business.
A couple of years ago, I decided it was time that I outsourced some tasks. So I ventured into the world of the virtual assistant and I haven't looked back.
Lesson 5: Enjoy the moment
It's easy to become caught up in the business but it's important to enjoy the process. Celebrate the small wins – whether they be landing a new client, finishing a project or just getting to the end of a busy week. Remember to share these wins with others.
When I began my business I embarked on a journey of learning. It has taken me down paths that have allowed me to grow and in turn add value to my clients' experiences. It's been an extraordinary ten years. I'm looking forward to what the next ten years will bring.