"The Hard Knock Life of an Entrepeneur" Part 1

To say that there’s a “learning curve” when starting your own business is a true understatement. And sometimes, no matter how many books you’ve read, seminars you’ve attended, or coaching you’ve
received, there are still many lessons that you will simply have to
learn along the way.

Since starting my business back in 2007, I have learned many tough, yet important lessons that can only truly be learned through experience. These lessons learned have helped me to become much wiser and more
successful today, and I’d like to share them with you. This is part 1 of
a 3-Part series that will discuss the “hard knock life” of an
entrepeneur/business owner, and share some useful insight and advice
just for you.

Here are the top 3 lessons I’ve learned as a business owner:

1) Don’t Chase Money, Build Relationships.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but in fact, when you’re starting out, you’re spending a lot of money on advertising, operational expenses,
etc. So you have business expenses that have to be covered, and if your
clients aren’t covering them, that leaves you to handle it on your own,
on top of your own personal expenses. This reality is one of the major
reasons why most businesses fail within the first 3-5 years. That being
said, no one wants to do business with someone that they don’t trust, or
whom they feel is simply after their money, and not interested in
solving whatever problem they have, or providing them with great
service. Additionally, by building a relationship with your clients,
they turn from one-time clients, to long-term clients (which of course
leads to increased income for your business over time). Not to mention,
happy clients tell their friends, family, and colleagues about your
business, which helps to build a successful and reputable business for
you in the long run.

2) Don’t Chase Money, but Don’t Give Your Services Away either- Although it’s great to offer promotions, special discounts, etc. for your services or products from time to time, it is
also important to keep things in perspective. Sometimes when you’re
starting out you think that by lowering your prices you will ultimately
win, because this will make your customers happy. But this poses two
problems. One is that, if you don’t have a financial model in place for
your business that will allow it to survive and thrive over time, you
are doing your clients a disservice, because your business won’t be
around long enough to help them. Secondly, people tend to place value on
things based on how much they cost. So, if you provide a specialized
product or service, then your rates should reflect that. When you
provide superb service/products for your clients, they will be happy to
pay your rate, and appreciate it all the more. Do keep in mind that your
rates/prices should be within reason according to the type of
product/service you provide. However, you should never undervalue your
product/services in hopes of satisfying your customers, at your expense.
This leads me to lesson #3…

3) You can’t please all of the people all of the time. The reality of business is this, there are two types of clients/customers; a) the ones you can please, and b) the ones you
can’t. Your focus should be on doing your best to provide useful
resources to your clients, offer excellent customer service, conflict
resolution, and a pleasant attitude. Give your best to your clients, and
that’s the end of it. Don’t waste energy on those who feel that your
best isn’t good enough, because chances are, no matter what you do, you
won’t be able to please them. So, do your best, handle your business
with honesty and integrity, treat your clients with respect and
consideration, and the rest is out of your hands.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series…Also let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like to see me write about within this series. I look forward to your suggestions and comments.

This article added from my blog on Wordpress,

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Comment by Ashani Mfuko on February 25, 2010 at 10:05pm
Thanks Dr. Christine! lol :)
Comment by Dr. Christine Thorpe on February 25, 2010 at 10:00pm

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