What hard times teach us: Lessons to set up your business for future success

What hard times teach us: Lessons to set up your business for future success

Hard times happen to everyone. Sometimes they happen seemingly out of nowhere and really rock you to the core. Other times you know you were poorly prepared, not organised enough or were expecting them. Regardless of how they happen, hard times have the power to teach you the most valuable lessons.

Why hard times teach us the most valuable lessons

When something goes to plan, it feels good. But when something goes wrong, you feel it on a much deeper level. Hard times often evoke such deep emotions, that it’s hard to ignore. These are the moments that you really learn your strength and resilience. You learn that bad things can happen to good people, and often for no obvious reason. It is in these hard times, that by practicing acceptance and gratitude, you have the power to overcome any obstacle that comes your way.

“A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.” 
- Albert Einstein

10 lessons we’ve learnt from working with business owners

As business coaches we’re always listening to and learning from business owners. Over the last year, since COVID19 first hit Australia, we’ve learnt a number of lessons from working with business owners and how businesses can prepare for what’s next. 

Lesson 1: There is no easy business

No matter where you are on your business journey, it’s unlikely that it will always be ‘easy’. The grass isn’t any greener on the other side of the fence. That said, you can make your business simpler – which will make things feel easier. Businesses naturally increase in complexity as they grow, so it’s important to continually look for ways to simplify. Remember: less is more.

Lesson 2: Most people would rather not solve their problems

It’s amazing how many issues get dusted over when problem solving real issues in your business. People like to complain about things that are going wrong, but in most cases, people truly would rather ignore them and hope they go away, than make consistent changes to actually solve them. The irony is that by going to the root of the problem and solving the issue as soon as it becomes apparent, you have the opportunity to save a huge amount of time and ongoing issues.

Lesson 3: Learn how to create an agile business culture

Leaders who constantly focus on their core values and make every decision with them in mind find that everything is a little easier when making decisions in their business. Rather than relying on what worked in the past, adopting a mindset that is flexible and prepared for any circumstance or crisis can provide great advantages to your business. There are many ways to improve your business culture that will also assist your business to become more agile and adapt to the ever changing world we live in. Whether we experience another pandemic in the future, or you simply need to adapt to challenging times in your business, creating an agile business culture will help your business handle the ups and downs with ease.

three persons pointing on a laptop

Lesson 4: You need to slow down to go fast

The old proverb is as true as ever. Leaders who take time off, work “on” the business frequently, take breaks, and plan with their teams actually grow faster and get more done than ones who work morning till night, seven days a week. We observe that they are often more creative, solve problems better, and solve them faster. When was the last time you took a break to have business clarity?

Lesson 5: It’s all about healthy relationships

Healthy relationships are based on trust, loyalty, respect and communication. Our most effective clients are those with healthy leadership teams in their businesses. They have strong, healthy relationships and connections with each other. This leads to positive outcomes and assists businesses in reaching their goals.

Lesson 6: Leaders obsessed with providing value have fewer customer issues

Providing value to your customers should be what your business is built upon. The moment your company stops providing value to customers, your problems will multiply. Every process, person, system, and service in your company needs to be aligned to solve a problem or fill a need for your customers. If you don’t clearly know what your customers love about your business – and what they don’t love – you’re missing an opportunity. Business leaders who become obsessed with providing their customers with value will gain a significant advantage over their competitors.

Lesson 7: Goals can help your business achieve success

Establishing and accomplishing quarterly goals and weekly tasks will have the fastest impact on your business. Of everything that we do as business coaches, helping our clients to define their goals and set up a plan to achieve them, this gets the fastest results.

A man showing a graph

Lesson 8: Embrace innovation in your business

Learning to embrace innovation and technology is essential in any business. This has become even more evident in recent times, where remote working and advances in software and technology has continued to grow. Being flexible and accepting of new and different ways to do things is critical, especially during a pandemic. Companies that react and adapt quickly, in days rather than in weeks or months, will be the successful ones. Those businesses that don’t could face grave consequences.

Lesson 9: Business systems and processes are the core of any successful business

Having effective business systems and processes is underestimated by many business owners. This has been highlighted more than ever during the pandemic, when to operate efficiently, those businesses who already had systems and processes in place could more easily convert into a remote working model for employees and their business. Having effective systems and processes also enables your business to reduce costs, boost revenue and achieve growth. In addition to that, by making a process more efficient, you are reducing the cost of running the process itself.

Thinking of systemising your business? Grab a free copy of our guide on The System for Creating Systems here.

Lesson 10: Celebrate all successes - big and small

It’s important to celebrate all successes, both big and small. In addition to showing your team that you trust them, celebrating small wins and big wins should be a top priority. Most employees simply want to be acknowledged. Showing your employees gratitude and celebrating success individually and as a team will help them feel special and like they’re making a difference.

The hard times in business provide the best business lessons

Remember that the best business lessons are learned during hard times. Contemplate the lessons you’ve learned over the past few months and plan what you are going to do differently as a result of learning those lessons.

If you needed to take one positive take away from the last 12 months in business when reflecting on your performance as a leader, what would it be? 

Thinking ahead to 2025. What will business look like? What can you do now to prepare for business in the future? Read our article on Small Business in 2025 and set yourself up for success.

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