It’s now going to about 1 complete year since I got into the world of business and settled there full-time, especially as a mum. A lot has gone on in the past 12 months, and there have been priceless lessons learnt.
- Always do your best as a supplier and also as a client, regardless of whether or not the job pays ‘big’ money or just a little money. Do your best also even when giving a quotation or corresponding with clients and suppliers. Sometimes, deals go through not because of the mechanics of the work, but because of the experience of the parties involved.
- Always be honest about your abilities and limitations. Clients are happier to know about an expected delay from you than have a perfect picture and an awful presentation. Let them know from the beginning whether or not you can do what they need. They appreciate that more than the illusion of perfection. It also makes you work in a more relaxed environment within your means and capabilities.
- Focus on 1, 2 or 3 major things, and strive to do your best in those. Later on, as the businesses grow into empires, you can venture into various departments and perhaps even have franchises. For now, be known for a few things that you do excellently. That will sharpen your focus and give you a clear brand positioning.
- Leverage on technology, both old and new. Make use of the digital resources available to you, but also limit yourself to a few platforms that you can be effective on. Don’t spread yourself too thin on all platforms.
- Focus on relationships not sales. Yes, sales are important, but relationships produce repeated sales, versus the sales resulting from pressuring potential clients to get some goods or services from you. They might take just the cheapest product to end that conversation. Build trust and rapport instead, and as they get to know you, they get to trust you and also entrust you with bigger assignments not to mention referring you to others.
- Be yourself. This is very important! Clients want to deal with real, authentic people, not people with an artificial air of importance or whatever other fake things. Be human, be real. It always trumps over put-up airs.
- Let go of non-performing clients, suppliers, and retailers. It’s better to count your losses early on instead of wasting more time on ‘good deals’ (cheap products, services, etc). It’s better to pay a higher cost to performers and when serving clients who’ll actually pay, than to go for the lowest deals only to be delayed to frustrating extremes.
- Have clear goals and expectations, and strive to achieve them. Register accountability with someone so that you can be tough on yourself and get to do what you ought to do. The illusion of freedom is very deceiving. You don’t have all the time in the world, and although you’re the CEO, you also don’t have all the talents in the world. Therefore, you need to plan your time well and focus on what works, and what you can afford to do excellently. Also, invest time in learning and growing your skills and resource base. You need it!
Actual Mistakes Made & Actions Taken; and oh well, Successes Too 🙂
In line with the above 8 lessons, here goes.