8 things I would like to know when I started my business
In a world filled with startups, success or failure is hard to predict. But one thing is certain: the one who decides to open his own business will never be the same as before. The constant difficulties associated with the emergence of new opportunities and challenges make the process amazing and interesting. I think that is why many people start their own business, despite the existence of another (simpler) alternative - to work for someone else.
In my life I have opened several companies and I can say that some of the lessons I learned were intuitive and accessible, while others were far from being so simple and obvious. However, given the time and money involved in understanding these lessons, none of them I can name cheap.
These lessons have changed my worldview, changed me as a person. I am glad that I had to face them, but this does not mean that I would not want to know them initially.
These are the eight things that I would like to know when I started my first business.
It takes more time than you can imagine.
Where people work, resources are spent, tasks are performed and someone controls it, it takes significantly more time than it seems at first glance. And it is not a matter of patience, because patience will not help you move forward. You just need to be realistic in planning and management.
Successful things successful right away
I saw more successful products, projects, people, etc. that “shot” in a short time than those that developed gradually. A good seller or employee is good from day one. Such people immediately begin to benefit. And a product that can become successful immediately attracts the attention of customers.
People will let you down in such sophisticated ways that you could not even see in a nightmare. From simple indifference and laziness to fraud and theft. You yourself will learn all this as you work with people. Belief in people and trust in them can be dangerous. As Ronald Reagan used to say: "Trust, but verify." Blind faith will cause you to constantly face problems. Love and reward your employees, but don't be too confident in them.
Good workers are hard to find
Yes, just like that: not just hard, but devilishly hard. And such workers leave first if something goes wrong. The truth is that only 10% of the world's population is competent in anything - and of course you want to hire just such a person.
It's hard to do it all the time. Therefore, organizations that successfully find such people have an ideal reputation and many clients. If you want to build a business that requires success in finding and retaining a large number of good employees, you must understand that this is an incredibly risky enterprise. Finding a market for the successful sale of a product (usually considered a very risky business) is simply relaxing compared to this. It would be better to do things that require a certain sane percentage of good workers.
Bad workers like burdocks
Firstly, bad workers are not too interested in work, because interest makes them work. Secondly, nobody needs such workers. Weak and insignificant employees will cling to you for the rest of your life, unless you are constantly moving forward. For many years, I only once saw a situation where this statement was not true: during the dot-com bubble. At that time, any idiot could get from 15 to 20% of the increase in salary simply by changing jobs. And they changed jobs. In our time, bad workers are the most loyal to you (in the bad sense of the word).
Good luck and bad luck go side by side
You will be accompanied by both luck and failure. All the time. Sometimes things will seem negative to you, and then turn into positive ones (for example, a bad seller did not want to work for you), and vice versa. You will have ups and downs, you will win and lose where you do not deserve it. You will be lucky and unlucky. You just may not understand what is what.
Avoid the myth of spending
Take a look at the quick success item. Do not tie yourself to the anchors that you create in the development process. If something doesn't work, throw it away. Understand that this will not bring you money, after a certain amount of expenses, it will bring you only expenses. Fire the seller, release the manager, stop selling that product, get used to moving forward. You have to make a huge number of difficult decisions. And you need to be prepared for the fact that not all of them will be correct.
The difference between good and bad times often lies in the number of opportunities available, customers, etc., that bring you success. In a good time, more transactions end successfully of those that are available to you. In bad times, this number decreases. Therefore, always, always look for as many opportunities as possible. Transactions fail for a million reasons. You should always have a fallback.
about the author
Don Rainey is a co-owner of Grotech Ventures and host of the VC in DC blog . He is also a consultant to the Director of Information Technology, US Department of Defense, and a member of the Organizing Council of the prestigious MindShare Forum.