by Megan Brown
Everyone learns differently. Everyone takes his or her own journey. No two people are the same. So, as different as we all are, it’s not a surprise that the route to success looks different from person to person.
An older family friend of mine recently decided to open her own restaurant. But, for all of the how-to books she read, e-conferences she attended and entrepreneurial blogs she perused, she ultimately learned that experience is the best teacher.
When it comes to starting your own business, the best way to learn is by doing.
- Work with the best: If you want to be the best, you have to surround you with the best people. For most people, that means finding the best employees. The right employees will fill your restaurant (or your business, or your life) with a positive atmosphere that reflects your values, whether they’re good customer service, friendliness or just a desire to help others. It goes beyond your employees, though. You also want to look for the right restaurant suppliers, and the right vendors. Everything from your commercial ice machines to your napkins should come from people who care about your customers’ experience.
- Work Hard, Play Hard: Sure, you may claim to be a workaholic, but no one can truly work all the time without becoming burned out. For the sake of your physical and mental health, learn how to leave work at home and take time off here and there, just for you. When my friend started her restaurant, she worked almost round-the-clock. For small business owners and entrepreneurs especially, learning to leave work at home is one the best things you can do for yourself and your business. Working constantly will only put you on a path to disaster — you’ll have to neglect something in your life, be it personal time, relationships or health. And, when your neglect finally catches up with you, it may be too late to repair the damage. Early on, try to plan for a little ‘you’ time each week. When you’re at work, work hard. Focus intently on each task and do your best to work quickly and efficiently. Set a designated time to stop each day, and when that time arrives — stop, go home and get your much-needed rest. Your work will still be there tomorrow!
- Never Stop Learning: Approach each new experience as an opportunity to learn. Never think that there’s no room left to grow, that you have nothing else more to learn or that you’re fine just where you are. Always strive for something higher. Keep your eyes open and your brain turned on. Learning experiences wait at every single one of life’s twists and turns, mistakes especially — and if you’re not looking closely, you might miss out. Re-evaluate your mistakes, pinpoint where you went wrong and keep moving forward.
Though it would be much easier to mix equal parts ambition and skill, combine with four parts experience and bake for an hour at 350 degrees, there is, unfortunately, no secret recipe for success. Learning by doing is your best bet. Take your mistakes with a grain of salt, ask mentors for advice and get out there and start doing.
Megan Brown is a social media networker at Slingshot SEO. When not nerding out over startup culture & tech gadgets, she spends her time cycling, cheering on her favorite sports teams, & blogging. Check her out on twitter (@thatgirlmegan) or on her website: www.thatgirlmegan.com