BlinkJar celebrates five years of business today. As I was writing this blog last night, my six-year old daughter slept on the couch next to me, my nine-year old son had fallen asleep without showering (again), and my wife was battling a bad case of the Flu. Oddly enough, tonight is a microcosm of my life over the past five years. A life many would term insane, but I categorize it as insanely normal. If you're a business owner, you understand.
Yes, five years has pushed me closer to the edge of insanity, but it has also provided enough lessons to write a book. Have no fear, this is not a book. It's quite the opposite. It's five insanely quick lessons learned in my first five years as a business owner.
1. Business Ownership Is a Lonely World
"A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd." Max Lucado
It's hard to confide in people who cannot relate with what you are facing. As a business owner, you're responsible for .... everything. There is no such thing as passing the blame or running it up the flag pole. Having this responsibility is both stressful and lonely. Finding people that can relate is tough.
2. It's Not About You. It's About Your Customers and Your Team.
"Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." Theodore Roosevelt
Understanding the challenges of your customers and employees are critical elements of a successful business. Walk a mile in their shoes, so you can understand their perspective. Discover how they communicate, find out what motivates them, and listen. This is a work in progress for me, but one that is vital.
3. Business Ownership Is a Marathon Not a Sprint
"Nothing Valuable Comes Fast." Gary Vaynerchuk
Often times, people associate business ownership with living life worry-free. The reality of business ownership is quite the opposite. Business ownership is unpredictable, and it requires an undying focus and relentless work ethic. Just like a marathon, there are many times where it seems much easier to quit than to keep going.
4. Take Care of People
"The single best machine to measure trust is a human being. We haven't figured out a metric that works better than our own sort of, like, 'There's something fishy about you.' " Simon Sinek
All the metrics and data in the world cannot replace a human being. People are a priority in business. Take care of people, and most of your problems will disappear. I still have plenty of work to do here.
5. Be Open-Minded, Growth Oriented, and Vulnerable
"If you cannot risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot become your best. If you cannot become your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else matters?" - Dr. David Viscott
If you've read the book "Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business", you're familiar with this one. The leader who thinks they have everything figured out is wrong. Be open to new ideas and be ready for change. I am working on this daily.
Now it's your turn. What lessons have you learned in business?