Tag Archives: lessons

10 ways to fail in business

You always hear what “TO” do when starting your new business. I am a very positive person, but maybe the best way to state the positive in this case would be to tell you what not to do.

Confused? Let’s begin and you’ll see what I mean:

  1. Never respect anyone! No one will cooperate with you and you will get nothing done. 
  2. Never pay women what you pay men. Even the men will not respect you and the women will leave and maybe even will sue you!
  3. Never be honest or tell the truth; cheat whenever you can. You will have a horrible reputation that will precede you, and you will never get any business.
  4. Never tell your associates what you want them to accomplish. Your associates will not know what to do and will underperform for you. 
  5. Lie on your income taxes too. This way, WHEN you get caught, you will go to jail(!) and will not have to worry about any of the rest of this bull. 
  6. Never plan your activities. Even you won’t know what to do next. 
  7. Don’t do background checks on potential associates. This way, you will be surprised when someone does something wrong.
  8. Don’t keep good records. Maybe even the IRS won’t know what you earned.
  9. Skip out on hard work or long hours. You won’t get done what you need to, and your associates will see your bad example and do the same.

Enough? I think so. A company following these rules would not last very long at all even, if it got off the ground. Obviously, the opposite of all the above is true if you are to succeed. But there is so much more you can do to give yourself the maximum opportunity to succeed.

Did I ever fail myself? I did made mistakes in business. For example, I did’t conduct background checks when I first started my agency, and paid the price when someone I hired embezzled money from me. Heck, I didn’t even hire an accountant in those first couple of years. And sure, I blundered in later times, once adding on more square footage to our offices when the economy was good, even though I really didn’t need extra space. It hurt me later.

You’re going to make mistakes. We all do. Learn from your failures and don’t repeat past ones. NEVER make the mistake of not learning from mistakes! That is a “FAIL” in my book.

Success is never guaranteed, but always learning and doing your best certainly gets you closer. I hope you enjoyed this post enough to share it, and spotted the blatant irony!

Lessons learned in my 56-year career

In my book, The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business, I share the lessons learned along the path of my 56-year business career. The purpose is not just to tell my story, but really to help readers learn from my successes and mistakes. Many lessons are rooted in my dealings with business professionals and public servants, all of whom helped to shape these lessons, and ultimately, this book.

Some lessons are way more important than others. Here are the ones I consider to be the most important.

  • Be honest. Honesty will make you a better person and professional.
  • Listen. When you are talking, you are not learning anything. So, listen! Listen to family, associates, clients or business partners and advisors. Once you do, you are better able to make decisions that include all their input.
  • Respect everyone and everything. If you do, there will be a better chance of others respecting you. If you do not, you will not get much if any cooperation.
  • It can be done. Most things can be done. Find a way. Do not give up.
  • Work smarter as well as harder. We have all known people who worked 12 hours and got eight hours’ worth of work done. A smarter way is to work eight hours and get 12 hours’ worth instead. How? Prioritize. Do what is important first. By prioritizing, you will find some of the least important tasks fall off your “to-do list” before you do them.
  • Teamwork. Any two of us is smarter than any one of us. Use the team you have to get more done all the time. This helps the product as well as your teammates to be better. If you must operate alone, work smarter as well as harder.
  • Continue to learn. You need to be a student your entire life. Make yourself a better person each day through constant learning. You will be amazed at how this improves your efforts over time.
  • Constantly learn to recreate yourself. If you are not doing this as a person or business, you will be passed by. Also, continuously recreating yourself and learning new things go hand in hand.

The book includes more detailed lists of lessons I learned, ones focused on career and business. I encourage you to read, adopt and share them when the book goes on sale this coming June on Amazon.