With no better time to be running a business, many people ask us about the best path to success. Generally, they want to know how to build the skills and knowledge required to become an entrepreneur and build a great company. The fact is, there’s a lot of ways to do that. Studying business is a great option, sure – but it never trumps real world experience.
Because there’s just some things you can’t learn in an MBA.
1. How to handle the stress of your business
Running a business is the hardest career path you can take. It’s all on you and your co-founders or business partners, and if times get tough, it’s not as easy as looking for a new job. You have a whole team of people relying on you for leadership, guidance and a regularly paid salary. And those people have families.
You’re never quite prepared to have that kind of responsibility unless you’ve developed real-world experience managing people and understanding your team. It’s a lot more than abstract management techniques and courses – these are real skills that you need to build on the job.
2. How to be patient and how to break a sweat
No business is an overnight success. Not even fancy online startups. If you see a business that looks like it happened overnight, you’re missing the years of backbreaking work that the owners put into it before it became successful enough for you to notice. You need to have a lot of patience as an entrepreneur, and you need to be able to keep your focus for years before you can expect to see growth.
Even when you do, that level of hard work and perseverance is never going to completely go away; that’s just wishful thinking. You need to be able to live with that and maintain it in the long term. Breaking a sweat is a part of running a successful business, whether you’re growing a plumbing company or designing software.
3. What scaling your business means for your employees
Scaling a business is the big dream for many people. It’s natural to want your company to become a big business, with large revenues and huge projects. The thing is, you have to be able to recognise what that kind of growth will do to your employees. Your first employees. The people who took a chance on you as much as you took a chance on them.
You’ll never learn how to take care of your company culture without relating to the people you work with and getting to know what they want, need and care about. At Charltons, we’ve grown an amazing company culture where we celebrate success in a down to earth, friendly way. But you can’t learn how to do that from a distance.
4. Why your customers love what you do
Aside from all the data and the metrics, there are going to be some very human reasons around why your clients love you and love your products or services. Realistically, there are so many competitors with different offerings and features that standing out purely because of what you’re selling isn’t always going to be a realistic goal.
Learning what the point of difference is will depend on how closely you listen to what your customers have to say, and what they don’t say. Believe me, the real reason people choose your company over your competitors will have more to do with the way you provide your services, not the services themselves!
5. The importance of taking a time out
We’ve seen a good many entrepreneurs burn themselves out. It’s heart breaking to watch someone grow a company from the ground up and slowly fade away as they put everything they have into their business at the detriment of their health and their personal lives. We talk about working hard, but you can’t run a business if you’ve worked yourself into an early grave.
Taking time away from worrying and working is important. Taking a weekend to go skiing, or to catch up with your partner or your family can make more of a difference to your ability to run a business than a dozen management courses!
In the end, the only way to learn how to be the best business owner and operator possible is by doing it. By jumping in and building something. If you can do it with advisors who can give you a tap on the shoulder and some helpful pointers at the crucial moments, you’ll be well on the way to long-term success!
Charltons are one of Sydney's leading accountants, offering expertise in a range of different areas. We've helped thousands of businesses grow and become long term successes, and we have a vast amount of knowledge around business success. If you're interested in developing a growth plan, understanding how technology can help you grow and developing a bright future, we are waiting to hear from you!