Top 6 Business Lessons You Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way

by Mike O'Neill

Sadly, most of the knowledge we gain in the business world comes from lessons we learn the hard way. If you know a few lessons before making the mistakes, you gain an advantage and lose the struggles of getting things wrong. 

You can’t learn everything all at once. Just like your business ebbs and flows, so do the choices you have to make. So we can’t give you all the lessons, but we can give you some to help you along your way. 

The business world is tough enough. Don’t make these mistakes, which could cost you more than just your time. We don’t want this to happen to you. The fewer errors, the less time and money are lost to you. 

Every business owner will have their trials and tribulations, but here are six business lessons you don’t want to learn the hard way. We’ll save you the headache.

6 Top Business Lessons

Lesson #1.
You Can’t Do Everything On Your own

Try as you might, you simply cannot do everything on your own. Building a team in your business is critical to its success. There are only so many hours that one person can devote to the company. When you reach that limit is dependent on all of your other obligations. 

If you’re young and don’t have much social life, you might be able to sustain the ‘do everything’ mode for a year or two. If you have obligations, a family, or anything that would pull you away from work, your dedication to work will eventually hurt those relationships. 

Build a team that can handle the business - even when you’re not around. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Cross-train team members, so everyone is prepared in case anyone on the team has to be out.

Lesson #2.
Even if You Think Your Product/Service is Perfect, Your Clients Won’t Always Think So

Take the time to listen to your customers’ feedback, don’t just hear it. Sometimes your opinion may not be the best one. It can be a little biased - as it should! What business owner wouldn’t love their own product/service?

You won’t know if you have the best product/service until you test it, release it, and listen to feedback. Continue this process as many times as necessary to get your product/service to be the best of the best. 

Put your heart into it, or don’t do it at all. The easy way never leads to success or perfect products/services. It takes your heart, hard work, and dedication. Work until your clients think your offerings are perfect.

Lesson #3.
Pick One Thing and Do It Well

Business owners tend to try to be everything to everyone. But it’s hard to be a one-stop-shop. Instead, specialize, and you can charge more for what you provide, whether it’s products or services. 

No matter which thing you pick to do well - always add customer service on top of it. The only way to get customers and clients to care about you and your products or services is to care about them first. A little kindness will go a long way in the business world.

Lesson #4.
Get Paid Before Handing Projects Over

If you provide a service to your clients - get paid before you hand your project over. Once you’ve turned over that project, you won’t have any bargaining power when it comes to collecting your payment. 

A little pro tip - if you’re a graphic designer, watermark projects and host websites on a private domain until the bill is paid. And always have contracts in place - for any business.

Lesson #5.
You Cannot Afford to Undercharge

We get it. You want to undercharge to build a portfolio, gain reviews, gather testimonials, or just get your product out there.

As a business owner, you’ve got to think about paying your own employment taxes - social security, medicare, federal tax, and state tax. 

Instead, compete on expertise and quality in your niche instead of price. When you try to compete just on price alone, the price-shopping customers will leave you for the company that undercuts you. 

Think about this: to double your net worth, double your self-worth. And then, charge extra.

Lesson #6.
Build for Your Market

Don’t scale and build your business for you - build it for your market. You build to answer the demand. Opportunities will come to you -  that's what you use to build your business on. Build around what you know well.

And remember, without risk, you’ll never fail, but you’ll also never win. The real failure is to never try. 

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