It was a dream-come-true for me to start a business of my own. However, running and managing a business was a whole new ball game for me.
There’s little to prepare you for life as a business owner or entrepreneur, but there are a few lessons that I wish someone had shared with me early on.
1. Take risks in adopting new strategies
I used to follow strategies that were in place at my prior workplace because I was so scared of failing or losing.
Guess what? When I finally stopped worrying about the consequences and started implementing and optimizing my own strategy, I overcame my fear and discovered new opportunities.
2. Face your weakness and make it into your strength
I found it hard to express myself in person. This made me avoid interacting directly with my employees—which made it hard to connect with them and create a team atmosphere. When I finally faced my weakness and started talking more with team members, I could better manage my staff and improved my ability to communicate my mission and goals.
3. Don’t overlook the importance of gaining knowledge from successful entrepreneurs
I was always careful to distance myself from competitors, and I didn’t think other business owners could teach me anything about my industry. But I reached a point where I could see my business running, but not growing. This is when I started following entrepreneurs from other industries.
Regardless of what their product or service was, these entrepreneurs taught me a great deal. I was being exposed to valuable business tips which started helping my business to grow.
4. Look for employees with skills—not degrees
Knowledge and skills are an important factor in business. However, having the confidence and practical understanding to create solutions and try new approaches is sometimes more important.
I adapted my hiring process to assess for this kind of ability, and I never let resumes or degrees be the final say.
5. Adopt a project management system to avoid costly errors
Working on multiple projects for many clients demanded a lot from my team. And communicating with each employee about the status of individual project started to cause delays.
After realizing the importance of effective team communication, I started using a project management system that eliminated the risk of miscommunications and saved considerable time.
6. Lead your team, but don’t boss your team
Early on, I realized the importance of being open to ideas from my skilled employees. I started organizing weekly group discussions so that we could share our concerns, our solutions and our ideas for the company. Not only did I get the benefit of many perspectives, but my team members also started gaining leadership skills and thinking like owners—which ultimately helped my business.
7. Track employee hours to improve productivity
Tracking my employees’ activities and hours every day helped me analyze work cycles and anticipate productivity and staffing needs. This has a direct contribution on my company’s revenue.
Written for Entrepreneurs’ Organization by Anil Parmar. Mr. Parmar is a computer engineer and founder of GloryWebs, a digital marketing agency based in Harrisburg, PA. Connect on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.