There are many business degrees and classes you can take as an aspiring entrepreneur. However, not all of these courses will be able to teach you valuable lessons only an experienced business owner would know.
Owning a business isn't easy. It takes a lot of different skills and experience to lead an entire team, meet deadlines and complete several day-to-day tasks.
Whether you've recently launched a business or are in the process of opening your own company, there are important lessons you need to know. It can take years, even decades to grasp an idea or strategy that can help you and your business grow.
Here are just a few lessons I've learned along the way:
1. Family comes first.
The first lesson is the importance of family. Yes, your business is your baby, but you have to prioritize the people you love.
When you're at home, focus on relaxing with your family and spending quality time with them. Time can fly by when you have a million things going on at work.
Use your time with family to rest and make the most of every minute. Family time is precious because at the end of the day, they'll always be there for you during the good and bad times.
2. The lows are rock-bottom lows.
Many entrepreneurs will go through rock bottom lows. Whether it's losing your biggest client or struggling to put food on the table, your lows will force you out of your comfort zone and push you to your limits.
You may experience "make or break" moments. You must power through, no matter how difficult it is.
Over 20 years ago I failed miserably on the first business that I opened. I had clients and cash coming in, but I had to close the business. I didn't understand cash flow, operating expense, budgeting, or any of the other numbers.
Understanding the language of business--including financial statements--is essential.
The great thing about these rock bottom lows is you can use these tough lessons to embrace the suck and become a wiser person. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel.
3. The highs are extremely rewarding.
Just like you may experience rock bottom lows, you may also experience extreme highs. Winning a client, expanding your business or being able to afford your own jet are just a few of the many successes you may experience as a business owner.
I've been fortunate with my success. My business has expanded to include speaking, online training products, books, webinars, and conducting mastermind groups, all as a way to serve more clients and keep up with demand.
Celebrate the wins and take note of what got you to that point. Learning from your best experiences are just as important as learning from your worst.
4. Little victories can turn into major victories.
Have a new customer? Made a new friend at the networking event? Hired a sales coach? If so, that's fantastic.
Small victories can go a very long way. You never know when new customers will tell all their friends and bring you a lot more business. The new friend you made at the convention may bring you more prospects than you ever dreamed of.
I'll say it again: Celebrate the little victories. You don't know what new opportunities they may bring.
5. Mentors are necessary.
Whether it's an executive coach or a former boss, mentors are necessary for ultimate success. To reach your full potential you'll need someone there to guide you on your path.
Owning a business isn't easy. Having someone always available to give you advice and keep you accountable will give you the support you need to achieve your vision.
6. There's no "9 to 5."
Your office hours may be 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but that won't always be the case for entrepreneurs. You can certainly devote yourself to work strictly during these office hours but you can't expect to not work outside that time.
Some clients may expect you to be available or be able to answer urgent questions at any given time. A crisis may erupt at 6:00 a.m. and you may have to jump on it. It's important to balance your work and home life but as a business owner, you must understand the term "office hours" may not apply in some situations.
These are just a few of the many lessons I've learned throughout the years. Unfortunately, some lessons are best learned with experience but hopefully I've saved you some trouble while you work your way towards success.
Never give up if something becomes tough, just power through it, surround yourself with support and you'll always end up learning and becoming a smarter business owner. Best of luck!