By Bryan Orr
Most of us can look back on our younger selves and see areas that we would now handle differently. If you flashback to the early days, what is something you’d change about yourself if you could?
Looking back at the early days of opening my doors to a service business, I see a few things that make me chuckle, and sometimes even blush a little. What was I thinking?
I should have valued people more, and wish I wouldn’t have keyed in so much to my emotions, but instead remembered to put others above myself and my wounded pride.
We live and learn and that’s the beauty of walking out our life; though we make mistakes, we do have to journey through every step and recognize it as a learning experience. Most entrepreneurs understand that excellence comes through trial and error, not instantaneous perfection.
Through discussion with successful businessmen and women, one of the common things I hear them say about changing their younger selves is wishing they were more patient.
We often feel this need to push, push, push our way into things. A perfect example would be an annoying salesman trying to make commission and instead of tuning in to the customer. He promotes his own ideas and self to the extent of often losing a customer, or at best, annoying the dickens out of them.
Though confidence and hustle is good in sales or other ventures that we take as entrepreneurs, we should allow things to grow naturally and healthy.
When discussing patience with entrepreneur Steve Behncke, he said, “Take time to leave the seed on the ground and let it grow, and reap the fruit in its season.” I like that. We should be tilling the ground and putting in the work, but there’s a season of letting our work come to fruition through waiting.
Bob Gee from BobGee & Associates is a successful sales trainer. During a conversation I had with him recently, he made a few important points about slowing down and tuning in with your customers. When selling he said it is best to “Ask your way into more sales, don’t sell your way.”
When we’re interacting with customers and trying to sell our product/services, we should be focusing on their need, first. Ask questions: Listen. You will then have a better way of knowing what it is that you have to offer them and how you can truly serve them. Be patient.
Another great piece of advice that he wished to impart to his younger self was: “Slow down and absorb all that you can. Start with reading more at an earlier age. Be willing to become ‘dumb’ again and read on subjects that you know very little about.”
I think we can all benefit more from learning to enjoy the building process of our business. Remember to focus more on the ‘why’ of starting your business in the first place. If you don’t have a clear ‘why,’ dig into that a bit more so that the bumps and the roadblocks along the way don’t weigh you down, but instead are just a part of building up your business.
What do you wish you could tell a younger entrepreneurial you?
I would tell myself to pay attention to what’s important – many times I focus, but on the wrong things at the wrong time with the wrong individuals.