In the next of my mini-series of blogs around my ten years in business, I ponder the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned since starting my PR and marketing business.
I used to be a perfectionist until I saw a quote on a client’s wall by Mark Twain that said: “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” Thinking of these wise words helps me drive the business forward on a daily basis by making lots of small changes, rather than holding back in the pursuit of perfection.
2. Focus on what you can control
There’s no point worrying or wasting energy on what you can’t control, but you can always control your reaction to it.
3. Time is the only currency you can spend once
Time is the most precious thing you have and it’s important to work smart, spend it wisely and be careful who you give it to. I’ve also learned that if something matters enough, you’ll make time.
4. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is be unproductive
In the early days, I wouldn’t take much time out of work and that was actually unproductive in the end. Over the years I’ve learned the importance of relaxing and recharging my batteries… I do still need to work on this though.
5. Fit your own oxygen mask first
This links back to the above point – I’ve learned you can’t help your team or family unless you look after yourself first. A frazzled, unhealthy and unhappy person is no good to anyone!
6. Enjoy the ride
“When you get there, there’s no there, there.” This advice came from a speaker at an Entrepreneurs’ Forum event and it’s very true. We get so hung-up on the destination, but often when you achieve your goal it’s a bit of an anti-climax, so make the most of the journey.
I’ve always recognised the importance of a team from when I played sport, but the team is everything. I always know I have a great team member if in moments of adversity, they step up. Simple things like saying thank you and praising work are so important.
8. Hire slowly, fire quickly
I’ve made the most mistakes in this department by doing the opposite, but they’re painful business lessons to learn. Now we have an ongoing recruitment process, so we always have a bank of talented people ready to approach.
9. Take time out to think
This is incredibly valuable to the business and often we’re too busy ‘doing’ rather than ‘thinking’ about the business. Often thinking time is not seen as real work, but it’s very valuable for innovation. It’s important that this doesn’t turn into procrastination though!
10. Will this matter a year from now?
It’s stressful running a small business, but I’ve learned not to ‘sweat the small stuff’ by asking the question above when I’m facing an issue. If it won’t matter in a year, it’s not worth getting too worried about and if it will, then it’s worth spending time thinking about.
There are so many other things I’ve learned along my business journey so far, but these seem most pertinent. I’m looking forward to the future journey of my business and learning much more!