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Category : Startup

By Rhett Doolittle

Small Business Owners Survey Reveals their Deepest Secrets

Small Business Owners Survey Reveals their Deepest Secrets

Survey discovered that small business owners date their customers–and that their biggest concern is good customer service

TEMPE, AZ., Sept. 25, 2019 – New research from Business Warrior, the business’s trusted solution for making marketing decisions easier, offers new insight into the secret lives of small business owners, which reveals that almost a third of these owners have dated a customer.

It also indicates that when small business owners aren’t connecting with customers, chances are good you will find them managing their social presence. The Business Warrior survey of more than 500 small business owners, which was commissioned in September, shows that almost three-quarters monitor their own social profiles. And nearly 90% spend one to four hours a day managing social media.

Looking for Love (or Even Just Friendship)? Talk to the Owner!

Business owners are busy people. But some still find time to date, and some date customers. 

In fact, 31% of the small business owners that Business Warrior surveyed admitted to having been on a date with a customer at least once. Male small business owners were more likely than female ones to have dated customers, with 38% saying they have done so. Nearly a quarter (23%) of female small business owners said they had been on a date with a customer. 

Small business owners also like to spend their free time with other entrepreneurs. Eighty percent of the total survey group said they are friends with other small business owners. And 67% said they sometimes plan local events with their friends at other local businesses.

Me, Myself and I

Whether or not it involves dating, small business owners said they are most concerned with how to deliver the best possible customer experiences. Nearly half (49%) of the Business Warrior survey group said offering good customer service is their No. 1 concern. So, customers who are looking to connect with small business owners might consider broaching the customer service subject to break the ice. It might just lead to a hot date. 

But servicing customers is just one small business owner concern. Technology is another. 

Forty-two percent of small business owners said managing their technology is both a concern and a pain point. The same share said generating creative marketing ideas is a pain point.

Sixty-seven percent of the survey group owns a franchise. And while almost half (49%) of those franchise owners said they like the fact that franchises have set marketing tools and events for them to use, not everybody feels that way. Forty-two percent said the most difficult thing about owning a franchise is following the rules of a larger company. In addition, about a fifth (21%) said it’s not always ideal to have to use the marketing and promotional tools, and hold the events, required of franchises.

Excuse Me While I Take a Selfie

Not all small business owners are supplied with marketing and promotional tools, of course. Many are left to their own devices to appeal to customers and prospects; 67% turn to social media to attract business and engage customers.

The survey indicates that the most popular social media platforms with small business owners are:

  • Facebook, which 85% of the survey group uses
  • Instagram, which 67% of the group uses
  • And Twitter, which 53% of the group uses

The Business Warrior survey also shows that 70% of small business owners manage their own social media profiles on such platforms. Meanwhile, just more than a fifth (21%) have a social media manager handle it. A fifth has a staff member do it sometimes. And a fifth use software to manage it.

And, as the survey illustrates, managing social media takes significant time. A whopping 89% of the survey group said they spend between one and four hours a day on such pursuits.

Adopting the Warrior Mindset

This survey demonstrates that owning and operating a small business is no easy feat – it’s a battle every day. And that comes as no great surprise. But this research does provide some interesting insights into the concerns, demands and desires of small business owners.

“We created this survey to learn more about small business owners, what they care about and how they spend their time,” said Business Warrior CEO Rhett Doolittle. “That will allow us to better execute on Business Warrior’s mission to assist business owners in making the best possible decisions to optimize profitability. We know running a business is a lot of work. Business Warrior is here to help.”

Business Warrior’s Business Warrior helps small business owners get passionate about their businesses again. Business Warrior prioritizes small business owners’ daily decisions to allow them to become more profitable. It enables them to see which of their digital efforts – related to website/SEO, social media, local listings and reputation – are working and which are not. It also allows businesses to have greater trust and confidence in the decisions they make.

About Business Warrior
Business Warrior offers the Business Warrior software, which helps small business owners simplify and prioritize daily decisions to improve profitability. Business Warrior takes a holistic view of a business’s online reputation, listings, website search and social and recommends the most important actions to drive new customers and have the biggest impact. Built-in metrics validate performance, ensuring that the business is on track to be as profitable as possible.

 

Media Contact:

Gaby Perez-Silva

(714) 875-6424

By Rhett Doolittle

5 Reasons to Participate in Small Business Saturday

5 Reasons to Participate in Small Business Saturday

We all know that with the holiday season, comes holiday shopping. Rather than stressing about finding the perfect gift, playing the ‘correct size’ guessing game with online shopping, or facing the chaos of black friday, participate in Small Business Saturday where your money is better spent. There are so many hidden benefits of shopping small on this under celebrated holiday, which is why we’ve created the 5 Reasons to Participate in Small Business Saturday for both customers and business owners!

Small Business Saturday is valuable to not only the business owners, but also the customers, as it offers them both an opportunity to gain a unique experience from this day. It was originally created by American Express in 2010 but quickly took off and has transformed the way local businesses are growing. Small businesses are taking over the this year’s holiday shopping with the rise of Small Business Saturday. Studies show that as of last year, 112 million people went out to shop small on Small Business Saturday 2016, a 13% increase from 2015” and we can only assume that this number will only continue to increase this year.

Since, “Small businesses currently make up more than 34 percent of businesses in the United States” (DirectEnergy) there are countless storefronts and opportunities to shopping on this Small Business Saturday, and from one small business to another – here are 5 Reasons to Participate in Small Business Saturday:

  1. Learn more about local businesses – Learning about your neighbors and their businesses is an important way for you to grow in your community. Small business Saturday provides you with the perfect opportunity to do this. Take this time to truly grow and learn more about the businesses in your surrounding area. You may discover your new favorite business this Small Business Saturday. You may find a new bakery you love, or the perfect boutique, but no matter what you discover it is a known fact that each small business is an expert in their craft. While you learn about these small businesses you are also learning about the small business owner, their passions and what makes their business unique.
  2. Embrace uniqueness – Every small business has something different to offer. Whether it be locally grown food or a handmade necklace, there is something to be said about the uniqueness of each business. Not one small business is the same. They are all individually unique, which makes them somewhat of a hidden treasure. Let’s face it – you’re much better off buying a one of a kind necklace from a small business then buying a typical one from a chain store. Buying local guarantees you with an original gift, one that holds a deeper value.
  3. Support your community – Whether you’re a business owner or a customer, you should take any chance you get to support the businesses around you. This support is what keeps the small businesses alive! Without loyal customers and encouragement from the community, a small businesses would have nothing else to depend on. Studies show that, “Over a 20-year period between 1993 and 2013, small businesses accounted for a whopping 14.9 million net new jobs created in the United States” (DirectEnergy). This is an important reminder that by supporting these businesses, you are also supporting the men and women in these jobs. Small Business Saturday allows you to show your support, while also scoring a few cool finds along the way.
  4. Shop smart – Shopping this Small Business Saturday will help you save money, and also give you the confidence of knowing that the money you are spending – is going somewhere meaningful. Rather than spending your money and not knowing where it goes, you can rest assured knowing that every penny you spend is going towards a business that will use it for something that matters. As a small business owner you may know that spending your money wisely is a top priority. Support your fellow entrepreneurs as you would want them to support you! Spend your money where it matters and pay it forward, in return, you will also be gaining support.
  5. Be a Local – It’s important to take pride in where you’re from. Getting involved with your local environment can either help your business thrive, as a business owner, or help you learn more about unique businesses you want to buy from, as a customer. One thing will always be the same for both the business owner and customer when the time comes to holiday shop: Small Business Saturday will help you become a local by allowing you to discover more about the area in which you live in.

We’d encourage you to embrace your community as the holidays approach and take the time to learn something new about the small businesses in your area. It’s the season of giving – and the advice we’re giving you is far more valuable than an expensive gift. Whether you’re a business owner or a shopper make sure to save yourself some time (and money), learn more about your local businesses, and shop small business Saturday!

By Rhett Doolittle

7 Key Characteristics in Successful Small Businesses

7 Key Characteristics in Successful Small Businesses

Small businesses make up a majority of the economy and employ more jobs than any other group in the United States, so why is their failure rate so bad? After working with over 11,000 small businesses across the country and rolling up my sleeves with hundreds of small business owners (literally, that’s me in the picture there helping a restaurant owner with her inside wiring). I’ve compiled a list of key characteristics in successful small businesses that stood out from the rest, creating the best sales and marketing systems in order to run a small business with long-term success.

I’ve been a Founder, President, and an Executive at multiple companies that have hit Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Company’s in the United States 3 different times. Our highest rank was #18 in the country with 8,417% three-year revenue growth ($13M in annual revenue). When I reflect on the times we were performing at our best, we were right in line with all seven of these key characteristics in successful small businesses. We constantly worked towards improving each characteristic in order to run a small business with long-term success and strived to create the best sales and marketing systems.

Small businesses aren’t going away anytime soon and honestly, we don’t want them to. Nobody wants to live in a world that only consists of Amazon, Walmart and chain restaurants!

After 12 years working with small businesses all over the country in almost every industry imaginable, here are the 7 key characteristics I’ve learned to help you create a successful small businesses. I hope you take these next few characteristics seriously and use them in your small business plans in order to succeed:

1. Solid leadership

Success starts at the top and in every small business with long-term success, there is a need for great leadership. Meaning, either a highly involved owner that is there daily, or a team of people that the owner has put in place to provide the leadership needed. Either way, the leadership needs to start with the main owner(s). If an owner doesn’t like to be involved with the day-to-day, it’s still their responsibility to put great leadership in place and communicate with the team clearly and often.

Famous billionaire, entrepreneur, business owner, and TV star on the show “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis  frequently says, “I look to invest in companies with great people, process and product.” It’s the leader’s responsibility to make sure they have great people in the right place. The people develop the culture to create efficient processes and great products. Especially in the small business world, the product begins and ends with the business owner. If a business’s processes aren’t rock solid then money and opportunities will be lost, that is something small businesses cannot afford to lose.

To be successful for the long-term, a business’s product must provide value or solve a problem. I’ve seen restaurants fail here often. When a restaurant first opens they become hyper focused on their recipes, the feedback they get from their customers, the cost of everything and the experience of their customers. As time goes on, the recipes don’t change much, the restaurant gets old, and they fail to look for new ways to innovate and stay relevant. Revenues decline or stay flat, and their passion dissipates. This is a nasty cycle that can send a business into irrelevancy, and irrelevancy is one step closer to the grave for any restaurant or small business.

Business owners have their own style of leading, managing, selling, and training. Turning the personal style of the business owner into formal processes is a key to growth and building a company to scale. These seven characteristics in successful small businesses are key, but great leadership is the building block of every great business.

2. Know the numbers that affect the business

If a business owner does not have a passion or stress the importance of the numbers that drive the business then they should not be a business owner. They should sell the business or just close the doors.

There is a winning “secret” in running small business with long-term success, but if it’s ignored you will pay for it financially (which I did). When my companies were operating at their peak I knew every important number to the business at all times. Knowing the numbers is more than just what payroll costs are or what the break even number.

This goes hand-in-hand with knowing exactly what you needed to hit your goals including; how many new leads you need on a weekly basis, how many calls you need to make daily, etc. I knew how each one of those numbers were trending month-to-month and why they were increasing or decreasing. These were our Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

Successful businesses know their KPI’s and watch their numbers like a hawk. This makes their business more predictable. Once a business loses sight of the importance of their numbers, they find themselves running into trouble.

Of the small businesses that fail, over 82% are struggling because of poor management of cash flows (Preferred CFO). If you want to have a successful business, know your numbers.

“If you aren’t able to understand and analyze the financial condition of your business on an ongoing basis, you’re like a pilot of a plane who doesn’t know how to read the gauges in front of him.” Business Mastery – Tony Robbins

3. Value the importance of branding

Branding is more than just a logo and a website. It’s the way your business is seen through the audience’s mind. The experience they have online, in-store, and interacting with employees outside the business all have an affect on the opinion of the customer. The business can’t control everything, but they should provide a positive experience for what they can control.

New businesses can’t afford to remodel, rebrand or re-launch every year, but they can stay relevant. The best way for a business to keep their brand relevant is to consistently communicate with new customers about their first impression of the business.

Businesses should always be creating every aspect of their company with branding. Find new ways to keep your brand new, exciting and relevant. Take the Fox Restaurant Concepts for example. They continue to develop new brands under their parent company by finding a creative way to take the successful elements of a franchise and launch a new brand with each new concept. Keeping a brand relevant is key to having a relevant business in your customer’s mind.

4. Culture is a priority

Creating a small business with long-term success and consistent growth can be accomplished through having a great team in place. The better your culture, the better the results. The production of many is always greater than the production of one. From an outsider’s view, if there is a culture problem, this is the easiest area to recognize. I’ve never been in a business that is consistently outperforming their competition with a negative culture. A negative culture is usually recognizable through angry or frustrated employees, poor communication, lack of passion, or employees underpaid, unappreciated and overworked.

The important thing is to avoid a negative culture, because it can affect your business in big ways. Impacting your customer service, sales closing ratios, employee turnover, and operational efficiency. Having a great culture definitely improves your chances of long-term success, so make it a priority.

5. Ability to bounce back from failures quickly

“Fail fast” is a hot term right now. To “fail fast,” means that something new is being tested and the organization needs to quickly determine if it has value. No matter how excited or confident they were in that new idea, if it doesn’t work or provide more value than it’s worth, the business must cut their losses, and make a change, or try something else. The faster they do this on a consistent basis the less time and money they’ll waste.

The important takeaway is that small businesses must continue to innovate. Failures do not define a business, but a lack of improvement can kill a business.

Most small businesses start with one great idea, product or service. That one thing won’t last forever. Just like large organizations, small businesses need to innovate in different areas of their business to keep improving.

If your product or service fails, then don’t waste as much money as you could and they move on to something new that will produce a positive result, as all successful entrepreneurs do.

IMPROVE  INNOVATE  FAIL FAST  REPEAT = POSITIVE RESULTS

6. Committed to being authentic

People enjoy doing business with authentic people. Employees feel good when their employers have integrity and authenticity.

Authenticity is the one common factor that can provide a great customer experience. This promotes more recurring customers and a higher percentage of raving fans. Raving fans can become your best marketing tool by posting 5-star reviews online and telling their friends about your business.

Authenticity = Great Customer Experience = Raving Fans = Long-term Success

Businesses that are successful for the long-term follow these key characteristics in successful small businesses and have extreme integrity, which is shown in their management, marketing, sales, follow-up, communication, pricing, and especially with customer service.

7. The best sales and marketing systems

A great product/service does not make a great company. A great product/service with the best sales and marketing systems makes a great company. 

Most small businesses do not put enough time, effort, and money into creating the best sales and marketing systems. If a business wants to grow then an aggressive approach to acquiring new customers is necessary. Here are our suggested budgets for the best sales and marketing systems:

  • If you’re a start-up then as much as 30% of revenues per month should be spent on sales and marketing.
  • If you are profitable and growing comfortably then the business may be able to dial the budget down to 10%.
  • All other businesses should make sure they budget for 10-30% of total revenues on sales and marketing.

The best sales and marketing systems we see today are made up of funnels, email automation, SEO, A/B testing, landing pages, Google Adwords and social media advertising. In the past, these tools were only available to big corporations with rich budgets or high priced marketing agencies. This is no longer the case.

The vast majority of businesses that try to build the best sales and marketing systems themselves fail because it’s too much to handle in-house. Most will read an article, participate in a Webinar or pay for some software tools, but the results do not come. Even if they budget appropriately, the business is doomed for failure and they will not see the ROI they deserve.

With the constant changes in technology and the amount of different tools needed to be managed, it’s impossible for a small business to build a system themselves or have one employee do it for them. Not only should you be following the key characteristics in successful small businesses but find an agency that has a team of people that is dedicated to producing a solution that drives a positive ROI for the business.

In order for a business to realize an ROI from their sales and marketing system, they must see positive sales results. Many products or agencies will tell a business that they’re delivering a certain amount of “clicks” or “leads,” but if those clicks/leads don’t turn into sales then there isn’t a positive ROI.

Bluume is a marketing and technology company that focuses on making our clients more money and implementing the best sales and marketing systems. Our clients success keeps us up at night. If our clients don’t succeed then we don’t succeed. To see if we’re a good fit for your company, book a free 5-minute consultation with us. We’ll show you everything we do for our clients at a fraction of the cost of most marketing agencies.

By Jonathan Brooks

The 2017 Blueprint of Successful Business Owners

The 2017 Blueprint of Successful Business Owners

Many entrepreneurs are experts in their craft. Whether it be mastering the perfect steak as a restaurant owner or opening the hottest wine bar in Chicago, all business owners are specialists in their designated areas. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill, but only 1 hour of entrepreneurship to know that you need a lot more than just your expertise to run and grow a business.

“You are not your resume, you are your work.”- Seth Godin, Author

When I became a business owner I thought the hours of skills I had required as a marketing executive at a Fortune 500 company, would give me enough experience to run a marketing agency. The irony that hit me was one simple truth: the minute you transition from being a skilled job performer to an owner, you spend little time on the skill that you became an expert in.

A minority of business owners are actually able to build their business into what they had originally envisioned. This causes very few businesses to survive past their first few years. Having a great product or service is vital, but you also need to be able to market that product or service while simultaneously running your business. The Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that, “two-thirds of start up businesses will survive for 2 years, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and only one-third survives for 10 years.” (Fundera)

When you become a business owner, your brain shifts. You find yourself spending more time focusing on how to build your company than on the skills that got you there. One book I suggest every business owner read is E-Myth by Michael Gerber. In this book, there is a story of a bakery owner who becomes disgruntled with her business. She opens a bakery because of her love for cooking, but reaches a point of resentment when her business becomes a pain rather than a passion. Many business owners experience this when they transition from being an expert in their skill to operating a business.

There are thousands of business owners that make this same mistake, but this can be avoided if they take the time to learn from others. We want to make the transition from skilled worker to business owner easier and give everyone the chance to succeed.

To do this, we’ve whittled down the hundreds of things business owners are masters at into The 5 Basic Skills of Business Ownership Success:

 

  1.    Ability to Prioritize – not only demanding priorities for yourself, but your whole team. This will take “pig-headed” practice and determination.

Expert Tip: Spend Sunday evening getting your personal priorities in check, ranking them from level of effort and impact. The sweet spot should be high impact with medium effort. Then, share your priorities with your team on Monday morning. As you share, begin to request similar priority lists from your team and do a mid-morning huddle in the beginning of the week to get in order!

  1.     Financial Acumen – running the financial books, payroll, tax implications; knowing your numbers, it all starts with your financials. The most important aspect of being a business owner is balancing revenue, expenses and cash flow!

Expert Tip: Devout a special day, such as Financial Friday, to keep up to date on your balance sheet so that you don’t delay it and get overwhelmed or prioritize it for a burning business issue.

  1.   Magnified Customer Service – always look for ways to improve the customer experience and process. As an owner, spending at minimum an hour per week with your front line teams is imperative to having your pulse on customer experience. Especially if any processes are getting in the way of delivering your business promise to customers. There is no better time an owner can spend then with their people.

Expert Tip: Institute a monthly operations meeting with your top leaders to address processes that are limiting customer experience. Write them down as a team and prioritize based on level of effort and impact.

  1.    Crystal Clear Communication – both your team and customers will hinge on your every word, so make them count. Communicate with a purpose and lead with the “why”. Every great coach, hero, and leader provides context to their communication. Explaining the “why” will lead to more motivated employees and create the buy-in you desperately need to keep focused on the business.

Expert Tip: Before communicating with employees and/or customers ask yourself – what is the goal of the communication and the “so-what”; so-what’s are a good barometer if your communication is worthwhile.

  1.     Technology – no business today can exist without technology. Whether it’s Marketing Automation, CRM systems, Google Analytics, point of sale systems, customer reporting or inventory management – technology is a necessity. Navigating your way through tools, services, and their associated expenses is somewhat of a minefield for today’s business owner. Researching these technologies adds additional opportunity cost as you must devote time and energy into finding the right solutions to save yourself time and resources!

Expert Tip: Spend 1 hour per week on technology and tools will keep the ever evolving landscape of choices under control. I recommend a “start, stop, continue” method where you look at your current technologies and ask those three questions – what technologies do you need to start using, which ones do you stop using, and which ones do you continue? This method keeps you from always changing to the latest and greatest new tool and focuses on the tools that impact your business the most.

It takes more than just a few steps to grow your business, it’s a lifestyle change. Success doesn’t come easy.

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”- Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder

I realized very quickly that running and growing the business is as important (if not more important) than having a great product or service. “In 2016, 28.8 million small businesses, accounted for 99.7% of US businesses.” (SBA Gov 2016) meaning that in order to succeed, business owners must thrive in their skills or they will fail.

I’d encourage you to build your business around the 5 basic skills of a business owner and continue to pursue your passions. Running a business is an ever evolving process, but the one thing that needs to remain constant is your passion.

 

By Jonathan Brooks

7 Lessons After 1 Month of Startup Life After Leaving Corporate America 

7 Lessons After 1 Month of Startup Life After Leaving Corporate America 

Startup life is hard and magnificent at the same time after leaving corporate America.

Let me repeat, it is HARD and MAGNIFICENT!

And while the quintessential saying of, “if it were easy, everyone would do it” applies, after my first month in startup life there’s some lessons I’m hoping to share with the interested few who are teetering between the though of leaving corporate America and staring entrepreneurial life.

Lesson 1: No Matter What Expertise Level you Have, You are Only 50% Prepared

Insurance, computers, moving furniture, learning about payroll, negotiating cell phone bills, moving more furniture…these are all components that happen in addition to your “day job.”

I was amazed by the number of shared responsibilities that I took for granted with corporate America. Were any of these activities impossible to complete, or my background not full enough to make them happen? No, but it took some guess work and a different side of my brain than the 10 years of marketing had chiseled.

If you have ever felt unprepared for a big meeting or presentation and that pit in your stomach pops in, that’s the feeling of lesson 1. However, the good news is that you are smart enough to make the decisions; if you have a great team surrounding as I do, your best guesses are backed by their history and expertise.

Lesson 2: Being Spread Thin is an Understatement

In startup life, all team members share more burdens: that’s just a fact of the fun. There is rarely a specialist in a startup, yet there is a plethora of “I-know-enough-specialists.”

These are the team members who willingly dive into expanses beyond their roles.

Sales leaders working with the inbound phone company, Marketing Managers in-tune with the financial impacts of each tool, Marketing Specialists who can interchangeably shift into a “sales” mentality, all so that the business keeps moving forward. Everyone in a startup bears heavy shoulders. As a leader, it is 100% crucial that you constantly calibrate priorities. No matter how busy you find yourself, always make sure the team understands priorities and ensure that their work flows into them with precision.

Lesson 3: Be the First to Arrive and the Last to Leave Because People Rely on You

When you have compounding responsibilities, days could get long. And for those I know in startup lifestyles similar to mine, we all rally around the fact that we are constantly working. The business is on your mind from the minute you get up to when you fall back asleep. Your “To-Do” list seems to grow no matter how many hours you put in.

Please note – this is coming from a preacher and practitioner of priorities and working smarter not harder.

Despite this, I find myself enjoying the multiplying stacks of tasks. Why? My team relies on me, our clients rely on me and my partner relies on me. There isn’t another option out there – just do the work!  You may challenge this idea which I welcome, however I haven’t found a better practice than to just get it done.

Lesson 4: Keep it Simple

When you are constantly divided amongst responsibilities of being a business owner, an expert, a leader, the fact is that keeping business simple is challenging.

You strive to stay above the specific details of the task because your team is accountable for being experts. This is where the truth comes in hard and heavy.  Undeniably, you will always want to help and support your team. That means at times, you must dig into the details of the work…and it’s tempting to get muddled into the complexity of the everyday problem.

After all, if you have been a people leader before you know the old adage of “teach a person to fish” pays off time and time again vs. dictating the step by step instructions.

However, you never want your team to struggle with a problem you have had in the past. The temptation to dance in the details is high. You must fight this temptation and challenge to keep the problem and the solution simple. That does not mean that you sacrifice the correct solution for the sake of simplicity; it means that you must always be clear that no matter how complex the problem or solution, it’s upon you as the entrepreneurial leader to relay how you translate simplicity.

I personally must take a deep breath and imagine if I were to share this problem and solution to a 7th grader, would they be clear? Ask yourself this question the next time a complex problem is solved – are you able to summarize it simply?

Lesson 5: You are the Leader, the Worker, the Assistant, the IT Guy, the Janitor

To my corporate friends out there who may be reading this: find comfort in the chair you sit in, the cubical or walls around you, the phone system that works and the device you are reading this on. You may be slightly distracted by this article, yet when you are done you go back to your expert position.

In your position, you have resources to help you complete various tasks assigned by your boss. In a startup, there isn’t anyone else to do your job… which is freeing and terrifying at the same time.

You must be close to surgical accuracy with how you balance your role with the needs of the business. Daily, I spend three, 30-minute sessions with myself and team to prioritize. This sometimes means that your role shifts from establishing a clear vision for the next year to cleaning up the conference room, all in span of one hour. It takes a particular type of person, one who is more than just an adequate entrepreneur or an ADD-ridden boss, to give their absolute focus every hour of every day.

 

Lesson 6: Customers are the Only Reason you are Here – Don’t Forget it!

Businesses exist because there is a job to be done and someone is willing to pay for that job. I heard this theory a year ago in one of my leadership training programs. I will do little justice to explain the full meaning, but the short version is that you must always put yourself in the customer’s mind when manufacturing output.

Many companies make the mistake of not following this theory and their products are awful. In a startup, you must strive for excellence in execution with every customer – they are why you have your business in the first place.

Regardless of the situation or customer complaint, take a breath and put yourself in their shoes – are you addressing the job they are paying you for? If the answer is no, you better or you’ll be back reporting to a boss.

Lesson 7: Everyday is Amazingly Wonderful…For Real

This isn’t an eyes-half-open statement. Being appreciative of the experiences at Bluume took me years of searching for my own value. No matter the challenges, the grind, the constant trade-offs, this journey is unbelievably perfect.

This world isn’t for everyone. So before you take your jump into startup life, take these lessons with careful study. My blessings come from a concrete career where I learned much of my life today, from my team who is just as insane as me, from challenging myself to always work hard and never give up.

Small Business Owners Survey Reveals their Deepest Secrets
5 Reasons to Participate in Small Business Saturday
7 Key Characteristics in Successful Small Businesses
The 2017 Blueprint of Successful Business Owners
7 Lessons After 1 Month of Startup Life After Leaving Corporate America