I have the opportunity to speak in a couple of classes at a local high school about some of the lessons I learned while building a business. Here are the highlights of what I plan to share:
Get Your Hands Dirty: Nobody likes to work for the guy that looks down on his minions from his ivory tower. They want the guy in the trenches with them, sweating and bleeding alongside them. If you want the respect and loyalty of your employees, be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
Learn to Read: An education from the School of Hard Knocks is expensive. Reading is cheap, and painless. If you want to save yourself from making expensive mistakes as you build your business, learn to read.
Be Flexible: There is a good chance that the thing you set out to do in your business will not be what you end up doing. The buzzword for this is “pivot”. If you want your business to survive, get over yourself and be flexible.
Have No Fear: Starting a business is risky, and no matter how carefully you try to plan, you can count on things going wrong. You will have to journey into the unknown and learn as you go. Never back down from big challenges, or be afraid to make it up as you go. If you don’t want to join the ranks of other failed want-trepreneurs then learn to have no fear.
Employees Before Customers: Happy employees make happy customers. Happy customers buy your product, and then tell their friends to buy it. Buying customers make you happy. Since you want to be happy, never forget to put your employes before your customers.
Take Time Off: Your employees will probably enjoy a week without you around. If you are married, your wife will enjoy a week of you being married to her and not the business. Book a week at the beach, and leave. The place will not burn down, and you will probably return with more ideas for your business than you can possible use. If you plan to survive starting your own business be deliberate and take time off.