One of the most critical aspects of being an entrepreneur is utilizing all the experience you have. You need to learn from the good and the bad and then apply it to your business going forward. Another important aspect of being an entrepreneur is learning from others in the same field. Today, I am sharing with you six of the most important lessons I have learned on my entrepreneurial journey.
💡 The importance of continuous improvement
When you set a goal of continuous improvement you set yourself up for growth and progress. To me, continuous improvement is getting a little bit better each and every day. When you add up those results over one year, it will be amazing to witness how far you have come. If you do not make continuous improvement a goal, you will be stagnant in all aspects of growth.
💡 Show support for your community
I think showing support to the community in which you have built your business is very important. Since moving to Hannibal, Missouri, I began volunteering at the Regional Economic Development Council where I offer training and advice, as well as assist local leaders with facilitating decisions that would best support industry in the city. While visiting Lakehurst Properties in Maine during the summers, my daughters volunteered at the local firefighters’ breakfast fundraisers. I was incredibly proud to witness my children showing community values as well as supporting important community institutions.
💡 Make a plan
Creating a well-thought-out plan that spans multiple years is one of the keys to success when starting your own business. Even if you are self-financing, you should construct a plan as if you are going to investors that includes aspects such as financial projects and business structure. Ask yourself: Would my business plan convince someone to finance it? This practice will ensure your plan is detail-oriented and thorough. If you go into a business without making a plan, you will go in circles. Your business plan should act as a map detailing the trek to a foreign location. You need to give yourself the exact steps on how to get to your final destination: success!
💡 Work as a team
At Lakehurst Consulting, I am the owner and decision maker, but at Lakehurst Properties, I am one of eight partners. With that being said, working as a team is doubly important in a family business because conflict is extraordinarily difficult when your coworkers are also your family! My biggest piece of advice when it comes to working on a team is to divide and conquer. You also must be extremely conscious of strengths and weaknesses when dividing up duties. You should be extremely transparent and specific when dividing up duties, so everyone is aware of their roles. This practice minimizes conflict as well as sets the expectation of clear communication.
💡 Be flexible
COVID-19 was one of the biggest eye-openers on why being flexible is crucial to any business owner. Business owners must adjust their businesses to fit the needs of an ever-changing society. At Lakehurst Consulting, one of the biggest transitions was shifting from strictly in-person communication to telephone and web conferencing. At Lakehurst Properties, due to the state of Maine’s regulations, we were closed from March to the end of June in 2020. When we reopened, we had to rethink our procedures and techniques to minimize exposure, but also give our guests guidance on how to interact while still maintaining social distance. If we had been stuck in our ways, we would have seen a steady decrease in occupancy. But, since we were flexible and able to adjust to what was critically needed for our business, it continued to thrive.
💡 Be passionate and persistent
In my opinion, being persistent means identifying the right thing and then continuing to do the right thing- whatever that may be in your business. For me, doing the right thing is identifying clients and then going out and serving them. Referrals are great for any business, but at some point, they run out, and then you must forge new business all on your own. A business owner needs to be persistent in generating interest.
Anyone embarking on the journey of starting a business needs to be sure they are passionate about it. It’s much easier to work at something that you love than something you don’t. The final advice I leave you with is, to pick what you love.