Big Lessons From 5 Years Of Business
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt over the last 5 years of building up and running a successful small business is the simple action of just doing.
I was one of the best procrastinators around for many years and ended up letting life rush by. If I had kept those habits I would be back in the city rat- race and trying to ignore dreams of having my own freedom in my own business.
Thankfully I have learnt lessons in just doing – just making that phone call, just getting the stock made for market, just getting a few pages done at a time for the website, just figuring out how to run a jewellery party business, just doing.
It is really easy to find excuses not to do something; to say you’ll do it later but that later is useless. The results of just making something happen are the secret of success.
Walk the talk and choose how much you talk. What matters are the results, not the gas-bagging.
One of the things that has got me thinking on this is the interaction with a new market neighbour. He started his market stall business with goods that he’s always had a passion for while working full time. He’s found it was time to make the leap and go full time with his own business.
Part of the success of doing this is encouragement and support from others. So I gave him a tip about a selling opportunity and gave him 3 out of 4 contact details with the 4th easily looked up. He phoned me a couple days later saying I hadn’t given him all the information, that this was a problem and I needed to give him the extra detail – a phone number. I found this somewhat strange and suggested he look up the phone number. To him this was a big thing and left the conversation in a huff.
As it has turned out he does expect to be given leads in complete packages – all the information and all set up for him and all the sales lined up for him. I’ve been rather stunned by this because I thought better of him than that.
But when I was talking to one of my friends who is building her own business I realised that we are use to getting one little hint of a tip of a good idea, a good lead, and taking the initiative to seek out the details to make things happen.
I’ve realised that this is probably part of natural character and a big part of experience. Part of building a business is taking the initiative and exploring. Getting 3 out of 4 points of information about a good lead is unusual. Normally you’re lucky to get 1 or 2 out of the 4.
Making it happen from there is normal. I know I’ve been given lots of generous leads from people and I’ve also learnt to ask more questions when people start talking about ideas. The ideas may not work out for me but they are worth exploring. Most ideas have their own time for coming into their own and you need to follow up – just write notes in your diary as this is very easy.
I won’t help this man again with leads because it has worked out poorly. Instead of him having the good manners to say “thank you for the lead, it didn’t work so well for me this time but I appreciate the thought and the sharing of contacts” he’s only complained to me repeatedly.
Not all leads work but you always must have the good grace and good manners to thank the person who cares enough to share with you the leads, ideas and opportunities. You need to reciprocate the kindness of sharing too. You never know where you’ll get the big opportunity.
A growing successful business needs you to make things happen, to have good grace with friends and colleagues who mean well and care, to be ready to explore with an open mind and heart, to seek possibilities through learning and doing.
It is doing the small things regularly that add up and make a difference. Track growth over time periods like 3, 6, 9, 12 and 18 months. Don’t waste time beating yourself up for having a non-productive week, do something that is constructive instead that is good for the business and you rather than complaining and berating that can only take you backwards.
Just doing the simple small things add up and build the foundation for the big things. There’s another secret, there’s far more growth and success in the small things and there are very few big things to be done in one go because the big things are made from lots of little things.
So just do the little things each day and enjoy the results!