Running your own business is equal parts exciting and stressful. No one is telling you what to do, and instead, you need to make the correct decisions if you want your company to be successful. And it won’t just be your life that’s riding on those decisions – if you have employees, they depend on your business’s success, as well.
The responsibility of business ownership brings several important life lessons with it. Here are four of the most significant.
1. Surround Yourself with the Right People
This advice is applicable to business success in two ways. The first is that you need the right people around you as either employees or business partners to build and maintain your business. You can’t expect to be successful if you try to do it all. As the business owner, you can’t spend valuable time learning every skill under the sun. Instead, you’ll need to outsource certain things.
The second is that you need to hang out with the right people in your personal life. It’s said that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If those are driven individuals, they will help raise your game. If they’re unambitious and lazy, they’re just going to hold you back when you’re with them.
2. Fast, Good and Cheap – You Can Have Two Out of Three
So, you know that you need to outsource certain areas of your business, and you’re thinking of hiring either full-time help, part-time help or a freelancer to work for you on a per-project basis. When you do this, you need to decide what kind of results you want, how quickly you want them and how much you’re willing to pay.
It’s best to look for people who can provide high-quality work quickly, and then pay them what they deserve. If you try to pinch pennies, it will likely end up costing you more in the long run.
3. Everyone Has Their Limits
You’ve probably heard a few crazy stories about famous entrepreneurs and how they work 80 or 100 hours per week. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, and in fact, a strong work ethic is valuable when you’re running a business. After all, since you’re at the top, you set an example for your employees to follow.
But one of the things many business owners learn too late is that it’s important to know when they should get some rest. If you continually work around the clock, your performance is going to suffer and you’ll be irritable with other people. Work hard, but work smart.
4. You’re the Only One Who Will Think About Your Retirement
When you’re an employee, retirement is usually simple enough. Contribute as much as you can into the retirement plan your company offers, and if you’re saving a reasonable amount, you’ll build up a solid nest egg.
It’s certainly not that simple when you’re a business owner. No one is going to save for your retirement but you, which means you’ll need to do the legwork of choosing a retirement plan and getting it setup. The good news is that there are several good options to choose from. You could get your own 401(k) plan, or you could set up a self directed IRA. Whatever you do, do it early on. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the more your savings can compound and grow.
By understanding these four truths right away, you’ll be better equipped to run a successful business. Of course, you’re still going to have plenty to learn, and you’ll make your share of mistakes along the way. What’s important is that you learn from those mistakes and apply each of those lessons to better your business.