It would be nice for me to tell people that my share of making mistakes in business is over and going forward the only option for me is to succeed. Unfortunately, this statement is as false as it gets because irrespective of the number of mistakes one makes, as a business person there are just too many ways that one can fall down. It is a well-known saying that ‘failure is overrated’, but I’m here to tell you that in fact the opposite is true.
You gain that much more leverage as you learn from the mistakes that are made and you grow stronger and more quick-witted.
It is good to have business goals, but these have to be flexible, because a large part of what happens can never be planned. A part of this is reassessing mistakes, so we can learn a lesson from it and move on.
There are quite a few mistakes that I have made during my time in business and below I list just a few:
Turning a deaf ear towards wise advice
Over the years I have had the opportunity to gain advice and business tips from some great mentors. Unfortunately, I chose to turn a deaf ear towards advice, as I believed I knew better. I am quite certain that it did pain my mentors to see me make mistakes that they had expressly told me to avoid. But, I was obstinate and thought I needed to forge my path alone.
Biting off more that I can chew
It is quite understandable that your business is very near and dear to you and you will try to do everything in your power to put it out there. You will tend to oversee anything and everything; take on more tasks, and try to undertake more projects, which needless to say, will burn you out at some point. My advice, take it slow and take on work that is manageable, or delegate.
You need to trust your employees to do it – as that will leave you to concentrate on more important business aspects. It’s important to recognise when people are smarter and better at something than you. Although admitting that may hurt your ego, it’s the first step towards change.
Being satisfied Easily
As a business person, I have been through the stages of growth, stagnation and dips and it is a cycle that repeats time and time again. The growth we acquired in business hit a certain point and never exceeded it. The reason was hard to understand at the time; but now it is simple to spot in retrospect – I was too easily satisfied and felt as if I could take a break from it all and rest on my laurels. The saying ‘if you are not growing, you are dying’, is the business truth that I learnt firsthand. So, if you ever become satisfied with where your business is, you either need to set higher goals for yourself or switch your line of work.
There will come a time when money might be at a premium, I learnt the hard way during one of my financial dips that things don’t go away by ignoring them. I had a seasonal trough and there was little money coming in and I had the tax man on my back and employees to pay. I was inexperienced and I know now, that perhaps I should have sought help sooner by looking into different financing options to get me out of my slump.
Over time you will notice that you are making fewer and fewer mistakes and your ability to dodge tricky situations will become well-honed from past, painful experiences. Take my advice and learn from the mistakes that others made and make it a point to not repeat them. Having said that though, life is all about making mistakes and they will never disappear completely, it’s just about how you deal with them.