One of the greatest personal development journeys a person can take is to start and run their own business. With steep learning curves and a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, entrepreneurs and business owners must learn new skills if they want their business to prosper and thrive.
Sometimes these lessons have nothing to do with mastering the latest social media platform or closing a deal with a big client, they go deeper, revealing much about the person running the venture.
Alana Joynes, Xpozur founder, believes the most valuable lesson is self belief. “Believing in myself and knowing my worth, especially as a woman,” she said. ” As a mum and business owner, I’ve learned the importance of backing myself and trusting my intuition, especially where there’s discomfort or the need to adapt.
This belief correlates with the ability to take action regardless of the outcome. “Knowing your worth is vital for business commercialisation. If you believe in yourself, you will charge what you’re worth. Instead of thinking you have work for free to be taken seriously,” Alana said.
Susan Sheehan, managing partner of SMARTCOACH7, coaching self-development and financial growth, said the most important business lessons are steeped in the right mind-money mind-set. “But it’s not about money at all. The marketplace will show you the money when you show the marketplace your self-worth.”
Having a vision is necessary. “The power and necessity of a vision, knowing exactly what you want in panoramic, detailed colour, emotionally connected and believing it’s possible is relevant for decision-making to achieve it.”
Susan urges those in business not to overlook the absolute importance of numbers. “Business is all about the math, and if you want to make money in business, you need to ‘fall in love’ with business, and not with what you do. When you become great at business, you can do business anywhere, anytime doing anything.”
Narmie Thambipillay from Narmiet learned the power of focus to drive success. “My biggest business lesson has been to learn to focus. One of my biggest weaknesses has always been marketing, and more importantly branding. I was constantly doing one course after another to learn how to market and brand the business,” she said.
“The problem was I was constantly buying courses, but never implementing anything, because I was in a world of overwhelm. When I finally made the decision to stop buying more courses, and put into action one thing and focus on it for 30 days, the overwhelm disappeared, and I was truly able to see if something worked or not.”
Courtney Rogers, from Court and Co, learned her most valuable business lessons after burning out. “I find focus by having a limited list of goals for a month, quarter, and/or year. Usually they’re quantitative – make $X this month, get more members – this helps me reach those goals,” she said.
Saying ‘no’ more often and setting boundaries and rules is vital for long term growth. “I limit the number of meetings I have per day, and only have meetings on certain days to ensure balance in my week,” Courtney said. “If I lose focus, it usually means I need a break. Sometimes I may move appointments/work for a day or a week, to give myself mental space to clear the fog, re-focus, and reinvigorate my motivation.”
Award-winning accountant, Sonia Gibson, says persistence matters. “Success is about persistence, turning up every day, doing your best, leaving excuses and blame at the door while taking responsibility for what you’re doing,” she said. “It’s about trying new things when something isn’t working, and creative thinking to solve complex problems rather than giving up. You’ve a brain and two hands…work it out – see what needs to be done and get it done.”
Katriina Tahka, CEO of A-HA, A Human Agency, is a believer in treating people like people. She said staff in businesses often feel like they’re just a number. “For far too long, people have been treated like a resource, or a line item, or a salary cost, which can be dialed up and down according to business demand,” she said. “You can see where the title ‘Human Resources’ comes from, and it doesn’t help that they count people in economic units referred to as an ‘FTE’. None of this is actually very human-friendly.”
“The lesson is …treat all your people like humans, not resources; and create a workplace culture where everyone feels valued and respected, and watch your people + profits thrive.”