13 Small Business Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
- Assuming that I could sell. And then assuming that I would sell. Two completely different things!
- The real meaning of niche. I had an inner resistance to reducing the size of my target market. Until I started to go down that road, I really didn’t ‘get it’.
- Logic doesn't sell; emotion does. This is a hard lesson for someone like me who values logic and reason.
- A great network is EVERYTHING. Building staunch relationships with inspiring, talented people that I know, like and trust has strengthened EVERY part of my business.
- I don’t have to work with anyone I don’t want to. I was a customer service manager for years and the thought of turning away a potential customer was completely foreign. Now I've done it, glad I did it, and will likely do it again.
- Too many choices can lead to inaction. I prefer to know what ALL my options are, then decide for myself. I expected that everyone else felt that way too. Not so!
- People buy the benefit, not the product or the feature. It’s easy to understand; not so easy to execute.
- The experts aren't always right. Nothing beats good old fashioned experimentation.
- Some people really are dishonest, unethical or both. Enough said.
- Listening is a challenge for me, but listening is when relationships happen and I’m getting better at it.
- The absolute necessity of doing a good needs analysis. I've learned this one the hard way more than once and now it’s rock solid.
- Engaging in social media is not a choice. It’s an integral part of my marketing strategy, one that can’t be put on hold when I get busy. Developing tactics and skill in this area has been critical.
- When using technology, something will break sooner or later. Contingency plans are good but I can never plan for everything. Trouble-shooting and ‘winging it’ are essential skills.
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder newsletter September 25, 2013