13 Small Business Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

  1. Assuming that I could sell. And then assuming that I would sell. Two completely different things!
  2. 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’.
  3. Logic doesn’t sell; emotion does. This is a hard lesson for someone like me who values logic and reason.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. People buy the benefit, not the product or the feature. It’s easy to understand; not so easy to execute.
  8. The experts aren’t always right. Nothing beats good old fashioned experimentation.
  9. Some people really are dishonest, unethical or both. Enough said.
  10. Listening is a challenge for me, but listening is when relationships happen and I’m getting better at it.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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

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