On the 1st of September I celebrated 3 years in Business for Wellwood Health, a journey that has brought me some humbling highs, gut wrenching lows, soul changing lessons and an education in self that has changed me as a person.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting and I can see why, small business is hard!
“It’s often said that the first five years in business are a real test of survival but those who work in small business say it’s actually the first three years that show whether they will survive and whether the owner has what it takes” – Anne Maree Moodie, Sydney Morning Herald
Reflection for me is a huge contributing factor to surviving and the process that is ‘building a business.’ I reflect on the past week, month, quarter, year/s and I adjust accordingly and quickly. When you reflect you give yourself an opportunity to acknowledge your actions, assess how you handled yourself / situation, find the lesson in it and move forward. I try not to dwell, which is hard if your ego has been hurt or you had a negative experience that deeply affected you, but dwelling is a time waster and we all know that time is precious in business. If you don’t move forward quickly then the business can get away from you and before you know it, you are sinking.
“We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey
Throughout the 3 years I have learnt a lot and sometimes I have had to learn the same lesson multiple times. Here are a few lessons that have helped me grow, both in business and as a person:
Setting boundaries can be hard, especially in the early stages of business because you are working like a shark to be the number one driving force behind your businesses growth. Without them you are fast tracking yourself towards burn out and you are going to have to deal with feelings of regret, anger and frustration. Boundaries are knowing and understanding your limits and the limits of your business. Tune into your feelings, set your boundaries, be assertive and back your decisions.
When I was 21 years old, I was appointed the role of an Assistant Store Manager for a large corporation. I was the youngest Assistant Store Manager ever to be appointed and thats because I was great at my job. Unfortunately I had a chauvinist pig of a manager that would undermine every decision I made, especially when it came to my staff. This affected me for years and caused me to doubt myself every time I communicated with people, every time I would delegate work and every time I would make a big business decision. Self doubt is a killer! If you spend time reflecting and learning and you know that your decisions come from a good place, then you need to back yourself 110%!
DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU
If you are constantly worrying about what other people think, you will never make it in business! You are going to have to make decisions that are not going to be pretty and that some people wont agree with but in the end you know the business, you have the vision and you need to do what is right for you and your business. Worrying what others think will stop you from reaching your business dreams and at the end of the day you are going to have to live with the consequences, not them!
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
Feel free to add any lessons that you have learnt in business in the comments below or even better, feel free to add the benefits you get from stopping and reflecting. Bring on year 4 and the many lessons to be learnt that comes with small business.