20 Years as an Entrepreneur; 32 Things I’ve Learned

20 Years as an Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Steve Wilson – over 2 million views Thanks !! via Compfight cc

  1. When starting a business, it’s much cheaper and smarter to go above and beyond and take extra good care of your customers than it is to keep finding new ones.
  2. Hiring friends and family might seem like a good idea starting out—it’s not.
  3. Starting a business with a partner is a BIG decision, choose carefully.
  4. Understanding your financials or having wise council in this area is absolutely critical.
  5. Don’t listen to people who aren’t doing better than you.
  6. If you have a friend or family member you tell about your new business and they do nothing but encourage you, keep them around, they are rare.
  7. When you’re starting a business, it’s darkest before the dawn. Remember that. Sometimes, when things seem impossible, the sunshine is right around the corner.
  8. Bad things are going to happen. Don’t get upset when they do. Accept it, embrace it so when it does happen, you are able to adapt and set a good example for your team.
  9. If there is any way to avoid borrowing money, do it.
  10. When things are really good, find a mattress to stuff some money under because they aren’t going to stay that way.
  11. This one should be #1 on this list. If you can avoid it, unless it’s critical to offering your customers a great experience, don’t buy it!
  12. Anyone starting a business should also remember to buy a backup computer.  Today.
  13. Don’t ever follow your competition. Rise above them and set the pace.
  14. There is enough business for everybody. Life is much easier if you are civilized with your competition.
  15. The only way to hold somebody down in a ditch is to stay down with them.
  16. Whether you’re starting a business, or you’ve owned a business for quite some time, keep this in mind — don’t trash talk the other guys. It doesn’t make you look good.
  17. You will screw up sometimes. Admit it, right away. Say you are sorry and own it. To your people and to your customers.
  18. The race is over before it started if you can’t do this one. Take responsibility. Something goes wrong, don’t look for anybody to blame. If one of your people messed up, you should have trained them better (or you hired the wrong person).
  19. Hiring. The best indicator of future performance is PAST performance. Some exceptional people interview poorly. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people who interview very well that I was certain would be a bad fit. Do some research on the subject.
  20. Sneak away every now and then (not very often) clear your head, take a breath and think. Be still and really think.
  21. Your people can’t succeed without clear expectations. They are extremely important right from the get go.
  22. You set the example. If you ever treat a customer poorly, that’s how your people will treat them when you aren’t around.
  23. When you screw up a job or order, go above and beyond to make it right. This WILL pay dividends.
  24. Give your customers a little something extra above and beyond what they paid for. It will pay off.
  25. Hire slowly — this applies to anyone just starting a business AND those who are experienced in business. Do multiple interviews with more than one person. If you realize you made a mistake don’t drag it out, let them go.
  26. Don’t forget to have fun.
  27. Find a way to give back that works for you. Volunteer, get involved on a board, a charity or the Chamber of Commerce.  You will meet smart people and learn new perspectives.
  28. Don’t forget to take care of you. Go to the gym, yoga, for a walk, drink a lot of water.
  29. Look at your business from your customer’s point of view. Call your office, sit in the waiting area, call your business as if you are a customer. Do you like what you see and hear?
  30. Get involved in your industry associations and publications. I know you don’t have time; make time. Being recognized as a leader in your industry will pay dividends.
  31. If you’re thinking of starting a business, you should first understand the business you are planning to be in. The mighty railroads were never in the railroad business, they were in the transportation business. UPS and FedEX figured this out and look who’s on top now. What business are you in? Think about it.
  32. Reach out and build relationships with others in your industry (but not in your city or state).  Be open and try and help them however you can. You never know when and if you might need a bit of help or somebody to talk to.


If you would rather focus on running your business and turn this over to a team that lives for this kind of stuff give us a call today at 316-285-0729.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.