5 things every business owner must know

With all the various kinds of advice out there for business owners, it gets easy to become lost in all the conflicting and contradicting chatter. What we’re trying to do here is comb through all this information to find the advice that appears most often and seems most useful. There’s a reason why the same advice keeps rising over and over again, and it’s because it didn’t just work once, but worked over and over again for a wide variety of people in a vast array of fields. Whether you’re just starting out or a few years in, this should help keep you going.

1. Do what you love to do.

Find your true passion in life and build upon it. The only way to do truly great work is to do something that you love. Since your work is going to fill up so much of your life, you should make it something that you want to do, something that you enjoy. If you don’t know what that is yet, keep looking. You’ll find it. Don’t settle for something you can just do well. If your heart’s not in it, your head won’t get in there either, and you need both to succeed. So keep looking because you’ll know when you find it. Even though it may be hard at first, keep going. Like all great relationships, it gets better with every day.

2. Be involved.

Have your hand in every element of your company. It’s important to delegate tasks, but don’t delegate yourself out of the loop. You need to be involved in every level and step of your company in order to know what your company is doing and how it’s working. This will also improve the team you’ve assembled. Never believe a job you’ve created is beneath you, and be sure to know what your employees are doing and how they’re performing. Discover the challenges at every level of your business and work with your employees and colleagues to work through them.

3. Learn from failures.

You’re going to fail. Not only will you fail one time, you’ll fail often. Failure breeds success for those willing to learn and put in the work to get past them. If you haven’t failed at something, than you’ve never risked anything, and if you’ve never risked anything, you’ll never find real success. Playing it safe may keep you in business but it won’t get you where you want to be, and it won’t make your company what you want it to be. Learn from your customers and competitors. Learn from your colleagues and employees. Always be learning and always be striving to improve.

4. Embrace opportunity.

Look past the immediate failures and setbacks and see the opportunity there. If a product or service isn’t working, that gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-design. When someone has an idea, whether it be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or an employee, capitalise on it. Don’t let the opportunities and ideas rest or go ignored because they didn’t originate with you. When a customer complains, take it as a moment to learn, as a new opportunity for improving your product or service.

5. Stay calm.

Running a business is stressful, regardless of size, and some of the most stressful moments come from being small. You’ll run into a thousand challenges while working your way towards sustainability and success, and you can’t let it overwhelm and destroy you. Trust your vision and be patient. Surround yourself with capable people who work hard and believe in your vision. Take challenges as they come and deal with them one at a time. Success takes time and you need to make every moment count. The best way to keep the stress at bay is to keep working and pushing and working towards your vision.

These all sound simple but they’re not easy to make reality. The simpler something seems usually relates to how difficult it is to achieve, but success isn’t easy. Most businesses fail for a number of reasons, but if you can keep these five things in mind, you’ll be a step ahead.

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.