As previously discussed in this article, here are lessons 6-10 which I learned while building my company, Padlifter. I hope it helps.
6. If It Doesn’t Hurt, You’re Not Pushing Hard Enough.
If it were easy, someone would’ve already done it. That’s how easy things work. And building a business is hard; building a successful business is even harder. It may sound cliché, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Without the tenacity and determination to plow through challenges, the best you can hope for is mediocrity. And the bad news is: great is the new good (which means good is the new average).
But here’s the good news: There’s no substitute for getting your own hands a little dirty. Your scars will be evidence of the battles you’ve overcome, and each battle you fight makes you better prepared for the next one that’s inevitably waiting around the corner.
7. Line up All Your Ducks.
After the obvious requirement of having a product the market actually wants, the success of any business will be a function of maximizing all of the variables that are within your control, minimizing the variables outside of your control, and adapting accordingly by rolling with the punches.
The likelihood of success within each of these spheres will be naturally heightened by doing as much groundwork and preplanning as possible to mitigate any “gotchas” that lurk in your blind spots.
When you combine your passion with your likely bank balance, it will be tempting to launch your business by yesterday and simply course-correct on the fly.
Make sure that prior to launching, you’re not misled by false economies of a quick buck made today at the expense of big bucks lost tomorrow.
As an example, a strategic decision was made to hold off on Padlifter’s formal launch until completing the build-out of a bank of free hosting tips. This was despite having a fully-functional site with market-ready products and a backlog of referral customers knocking at the door.
Aside from wanting to shut the lights out on our competitors’ hosting tips and resources, why was this decision made?
We understood that we’d simply have less bandwidth to dedicate the time required to produce the high-quality outputs we wanted and needed once we went live. They were crucial to our integrated marketing plan, and provided cumulative marketing benefits that we needed to gain sooner rather than later.
So what seemed (on paper) to be a large upfront delay was in reality a strategic investment that’ll enable us to simultaneously grow the business while focusing without distraction on what we do best—helping Airbnb hosts make more money.
Ensuring that you’ve dotted all your i’s, crossed all your t’s, and thought through how everything is going to come together will save you a ton of headaches, prevent lost efficiencies, and drive profit down the track.
Prior to launching your business, pause momentarily to ensure that you’ve front-loaded the things it makes sense to have completed, tested your products and processes, and future-proofed your business to the fullest extent you’re able to. You’ll thank yourself shortly.
Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. And while being able to boast about a long string of all-nighters or the 25-hour work days you pull may seem like a badge of honor, they are actually evidence of an inability to create a healthy, viable, and sustainable business operation.
At some point, you’ll need to graduate your thinking about work from something that sitsalongside your life, to something that sits within it.
You’ll gain benefits from maintaining social connections and non-work pleasures that you simply can’t get from running—even succeeding in—your business, no matter how passionate you are about whatever it is that you do.
The flow-on effects of these positive vibes will feed the resilience you need to carry you through the tough times and build the business you inevitably want to build.
Extremes are easy. Work towards balance.
9. Small Victories Are More Important Than Big Ones.
In the pursuit of success, it will be tempting (and necessary) to continue reverting back to daydreams of sipping piña coladas on your private yacht in the Mediterranean.
But on a day-to-day level, you will need to ride the waves of satisfaction that come from far less grandiose victories.
These will be the fuel that’ll carry you through the daily trials and tribulations of simply taking a business from concept to reality.
The big victories are too few and far between to provide you with the sustenance you need to maintain your resolve throughout the long game.
10. If You Forget about People, Then You Can Forget about Profit.
You may be driven to build your business for any number of reasons. At the end of the day, the distinguishing feature of businesses from any other organization type is its pursuit of profit as its principle raison d’être.
Despite this, never forget that at the center of everything and anything, the business willdo, does do, and could do are PEOPLE.
PEOPLE will be its profitable customers.
PEOPLE will be its hard-working employees.
PEOPLE will be its suppliers that offer favorable pricing.
Do not be fooled by the legal fictions we create that businesses are the same as the people that operate and interact with them.
Treating your people well—whomever they may be—is about the closest thing that comes to a golden rule of good business.
As the old Chinese Proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I hope these lessons help all aspiring entrepreneurs and future business owners start planting their seeds of passion today.