The Three Things I’ve Learned as a Business Owner in 17 Years
I have had countless lessons & learning experiences – there are three that rise to the top.
Contributor: Brian Nolan, Managing Partner & Sr. Business Coach
In October of 2003, I did it. I left the corporate world to start my journey as an Entrepreneur. I had been climbing the corporate ladder for 17 years and now was free to explore a world with no ceiling. Thanks to my dad’s advice, Kevin Nolan and I teamed up and started Nolan Consulting Group, Inc. – formally, on March 17th, 2004. I almost can’t believe another 17 years have passed! While I have had countless lessons and learning experiences in that time, there are three that rise to the top.
- Never settle when it comes to forming the right team.
Continually evaluate your employees and make sure they live your company values, are in the right seat, committed, talented and totally engaged in their work. If you sense dis-engagement, hit it head on. If an employee is not living the values, tell them. If they don’t adapt, invite them to leave. If they are a sub-par performers, don’t hope they will get better. When you have the right team, amazing things happen. I have the right team now. Teams win!
- Pick your customers.
We all spend a lot of time trying to sell and bring on business. We need to pause and describe the characteristics of our ideal customer and more importantly, who is not our ideal customer. Much of our stress, financial losses and problems come from tolerating customers who are not a fit. Most of our joy in the work we do comes from the customers that become our friends, the ones that appreciate the good work we do. You get what you tolerate.
- Know what business you are in and what you are not in.
Over the last 17 years I have gone outside our sweet spot many times, and paid the price. This refers to adding on services that didn’t work and expanding our offerings outside of business coaching. In the book Good to Great, author James Collins says, “find your niche and crush it“. He goes on to say that businesses should consider three things: the model is profitable, you can be number one or two in the market and you have passion for it. For me, the passion one rings especially true.
I’m not saying that I finally got it right as I reflect on these last 17 years in business – I’m on a lifelong learning journey! I AM saying that these three lessons learned have brought me to a very happy place in life!
I am filled with Gratitude for my awesome team, customers and market niche.
All the best,