I love speaking to new and aspire entrepreneurs.  I love the twinkles in their eyes, their vision and their drive.  I remember how it felt when I first started my own business.  I also remember all of the sometimes crazy lessons I was forced to learn along the way.  These are the top 7 lessons every business owner will encounter.

  1. You are going to make mistakes. It doesn’t matter how many mentors you have, how much industry knowledge you have aquired, you are going to make some blunders.  However, most mistakes are simply great business lessons that will make you and your team stronger.  Great leaders have the courage to fail, and learn from it.
  2. You will waste money. I have yet to speak to a single business owner who did not waste money in the beginning.   Oftentimes new business owners spend on items that they do not really need, because they are focusing on perception.  For instance, many consultants can operate from a virtual office vs. leasing space.  Another major area of waste is in business services.  It is not uncommon for business owners to overspend on technology in the beginning and then downsize later.
  3. You will likely have a crazy client or two and it is okay to fire them. Yes, you need revenue and clients are important.  However, not all money is good money and some clients cost you more in time and worry than they actually contribute.
  4. Your personal insecurities and character flaws will become amplified through your business, if you are involved in the day-to-day operations. This is especially true in marketing and employee management.  People who are insecure tend to create either weak marketing concepts or overcompensate by constructing “big” marketing concepts that really do not communicate a message.  If you don’t particular like GenY, this is going to show up as you attempt to manage your multi- generational team.  This is why I personally believe that ALL business owners should see a therapist at least monthly.  I can personally attest to seeing measurable results in my business as a result of therapy.
  5. You set the terms. While it is extremely valuable to know what others in your industry are doing, at the end of the day, you are the boss.  You do not have to do anything simply because it is an industry norm, with the exception of legal restrictions.
  6. You must have a Business Dream Team. This might be your BCFs or Best Career Friends, as my master mind group member Danielle Forget calls them, or you may have a master mind group.  You may also have advisers.  No matter the term, you have to have people who can direct you.  This will also include your attorney and CPA.
  7. Your online appearance matters. For many businesses, the online appearance is more important that tangibles.  Your use (or lack thereof) of search engine optimization, the look and functionality of your website as well as your social media profiles say a great deal about your brand and can even influence buying behavior.