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Business Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneur Discussion' started by yveskleinsky, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    There's the old saying out there, "Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn". Since there is not enough time for each of us to "learn" each lesson we need to, (the hard way at least) I was thinking that it would be beneficial for us to post the lessons that we've learned so far. ...We could even separate this thread into real estate lesson learned, stock lesson learned, etc. :)

    So what business lessons have you learned that have helped propel you to the next level? (Can be general or specific.) :)
     
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  2. nomadjanet
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    nomadjanet Contributor

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    Hummm

    Basic things:

    1. Everyone thinks they are right, if you start off with the premise that everyone is trying to do what is right for them you don't get mired down in negativity near as much, you don't get paranoia and you learn to look at things from different perspectives.
    2. The 80-20 rule: 20% of the clients or projects produce 80% of your income or success. Pare down your work load to that 20% and you can really fly.
    3. 5% of the people you meet in life are CRAZY, let them be, and go on your way & you & they will be happier.
    4. There are lots of projects out there, don't fall in love with one particular thing that is not happening for you and stop looking for the next thing that will.
    5. Sometimes the answer is no, not maybe but no, accept it and find the yes that is a better fit anyway.
    6. in business as in life, no one can "make you feel" a certain way but you. If you feel you can't do something, it's because of your beliefs and ideas not because some suit told you it couldn’t be done.

    Remember that old richdad thread about what makes you “feel successful�

    I make me feel successful, nothing else, not money, not clothes, not cars, not travel, me how I feel living my life. And when I feel successful, more often than not I succeed.

    Janet
     
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  3. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Great lessons Janet!

    I know for me, some valuable lessons have been:

    1. Learn to listen. Listening is more than just not talking. Ask questions, and take a genuine interest in other people.
    2. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Most of the time there is a need to fill or problem to solve. Figure out what they need and fill the need/solve the problem quickly and elegantly.
    3. Broadcast your good news. Find what your business is doing right and tell the world- press release, friends, family, associates, newspaper, etc.
    4. Master the basics. Get there on time, look and act like a professional, know your product, give stellar customer service at every turn, etc.
    5. Partner with people you trust, respect and who have the same values you do. ...I almost lost everything after partnering with my former business partners. I thought the deal was strong enough to override how awful they were. Ironically, (or maybe appropriately) the deal was strong and they sold for $3m a year after I left. Now they are in court over tax evasion among other things.
    6. Set goals and follow up. This is a current lesson I have been focusing on mastering. I have always written goals- but then I'd lose 'em, or stick 'em in a drawer. Keep the carrot in front of your nose.
    7. Find money before you need it. If you are going to start a business of any kind, find the cash now so you could weather a storm if one surfaces.
    8. Know your strengths and hire for your weaknesses. Example, I am not good at math. Therefore, any math related anything is in a spreadsheet or done by a book keeper- or my partner.
    9. There is no such thing as failure. Or success for that matter. There are only results. Figure out the result you are after and keep tweaking the process until you get there. (Credit to Tony Robbins for this one- check him out if you haven't already!)
    10. Surround yourself with like minded people. This concept is one of the founding principals of any 12 step program. Success isn't any different.
    11. A business plan really does matter. ...And no it doesn't count that it's in your head; and no it doesn't count if your BP is just to "make money". lol. A good BP is a road map to your success. ...Speaking of which, I need to update mine. :smxB:
    12. You have no control over your competitors. Focus on being ahead of the game and on controlling what you can to give you the outcomes you want.

    This is just what comes to mind at the moment. :)
     
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  4. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    1) Most of your customers will lie. (Checks in the mail, etc.) Even though you know it, don't call them on it.

    2) The customer is not always right, but you should always make them "Feel" right - if you can't make them feel right, fire them.

    3) Fire your bad customers. Not all customer's are worth their hassle and should be dropped. I've had many clients who would spend hours of our time, and their value to our organization was a measly $15/mo. Every month was a huge drama-infested ordeal. We dropped them among many others. A lot of publications are now addressing this concept of firing your bad customers.

    4) The best advertising is word of mouth. Your product should be its best salesperson -- with that behind you, your business will save thousands in ad costs and will grow like a weed.

    5) Spending $1 to save 40 cents is foolish and doesn't justify a new expense. I'd hear this argument frequently - "Its tax deductible!" to which I'd respond "Ok, then you give me $1 and in return, Ill give you 40 cents.... deal?" "Tax deductible" is a benefit to owning a business, not an excuse to spend foolishly on unproven advertising venues.

    6) Do diligence on your ad media - countless times I was approached to advertise on various websites. Diligence would reveal they were sparsely trafficked and not worth the effort. Nothing is worse than paying $x,xxx/mo only to discover the website gets 100 unique visitors monthly.

    7) Focus more on your own business than worrying about what your competition is doing. I've found that a lot of business owners will spend countless hours on competitive intelligence ... instead of wasting those hours on your competition, put them into your business -- into innovation and new ideas. Be a leader, not a follower. Knowing what your competition is doing is important, but not as important as the innovation you need to bring to your respective industry. If you find yourself spending more time analyzing your competition than you do with your own business affairs, you will never be #1 - only a "me to".

    Great topic!
     
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  5. WheelsRCool
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    WheelsRCool Contributor

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    Just wondering, but when you say "checks in the mail," do you mean your customers will say they've put a check in the mail when they actually haven't, or that they will put a check in the mail, and then don't...?
     
  6. wildambitions
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    wildambitions Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Yes. There is no "OR".

    My Lessons:
    1. Master your personal finances before attempting a business.

    2. Life is education, pay attention, take notes and learn it's lessons.

    3. "Never, never, never give up." Winston Churchill

    4. Sometimes being successful means leaving friends behind. As you grow, they don't and soon you no longer have anything in common. They often don't want you to be successful because it makes them feel unsuccessful and they inadvertently become your saboteur. As hard as it is, move on.

    5. Mistakes are not bad.
     
  7. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Here are some others...

    1. If you deal with people, take the time to understand the different personality styles- and adopt to them accordingly. Which leads me to...

    2. Follow the Platinum Rule- "Do unto others as they would like to be done unto". A great example of this is a lender I know who follows up with me in ways that I know she would like to followed up with emails about recipes (nothing to do with business), subscriptions to magazines that have nothing to do with business, phone calls that have nothing to do with business). While all of these follow up techniques might work really well for other personality styles, they leave me cold. Know your client and adapt to their personality style. ...I don't do anymore business with her by the way.

    3. Trust but verify. I totally believe everything that people say- I just like to see it in writing. ;)
     
  8. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    1. Know the difference between activity and productivity. A great example of this is found in office meetings. I currently sit through office meetings twice a week that don't get anywhere. Biggest waste of time and money. (Tried to reign this in, but was shot down. So, I smile and nod and go to my happy fastlane land in my head.)

    So, for our budding company we now have a format for how meetings are run:

    1. Review of Mission Statement.
    2. Review of Goals.
    3. Update on action items from last meeting.
    4. sharing of what's working and what's not working and why- and ideas to make it work.
    5. Plans for things to do before next meeting.
    6. Action items assigned to me or WildAmbitions.
    7. General Brainstorming/ sharing of ideas.
     
  9. kimberland
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    kimberland Bronze Contributor

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    1. Look at the complete system.
    Advertising on some of the smaller romance sites won't pay off.
    However, the reviews gained from advertising on those romance sites
    followed by the additional coverage from other sites
    (because the book was reviewed on the first site)
    DOES pay off.

    2. It is all about synergies.
    Try to get as much return on investment as possible.
    Travel a lot?
    Start a travel blog, freelance for papers, magazines, etc.
    Take something you're already doing
    and get paid more for it.

    3. Buffers free up opps.
    My blogs have a few weeks worth of posts pre-loaded.
    Why?
    So when a time sucking yet lucrative project comes my way,
    I can jump on it.
    I always have a bit of cash on hand (or line of credit open).
    Why?
    So I can grab those great deals that the stock market offers up
    from time to time.

    4. People are lazy.
    Make the product difficult to buy/work/use,
    and the product won't sell.

    5. People are selfish.
    They don't care if your product won a fancy award,
    they only care what the product can do for them.
     
  10. yveskleinsky
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    yveskleinsky Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Great lessons Kimber! ...I want to learn more about blogging now. Thanks for sharing!
     
  11. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Both.
     
  12. tchandy
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    tchandy Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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  13. Motivated
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    Motivated New Contributor

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    definately a big one for me is getting everything in writing, I didn't do it once and ended up costing me. I guess I could add learn from your mistakes and only make them once.
     
  14. jeffs
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    jeffs New Contributor

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    -Value employee input and give recognition upon success.

    -Listen

    -Adaptability to different people and situations.

    -Set goals and get them in writing.
     

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