If you could hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self? What are the biggest lessons learnt since you started entrepreneurship? This is one of our favorite questions here at CBNation.
Here’s what CEOs would tell their younger business selves.
#1- Advise my younger self on business matters
I would tell myself that leadership is meant to lead from within — not from out front. As a small business owner, I always liked this piece of advice on how to control a business without being controlling. If you try to run everything yourself, you'll eventually crash and burn. Empower and trust your team to keep the business humming without you micromanaging.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!
#2- Don't listen to others that aren't where you want to be
Fortune favors the bold. Choose your friends and acquaintances wisely. Don't share your ideas with those who can't see your vision. Only you know what future you're capable of creating. Fearlessly follow through with your ideas. The worst that can happen is that you learn another lesson.
Thanks to Patrick Ward, Rootstrap!
#3- Ask me four questions
Ask yourself what is your why in life? What makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing? What could you do every day for the rest of your life and not get bored? I would tell myself to not be afraid of pursuing different career paths and jumping into new jobs from a young age. Once you get a taste of different positions, you will naturally gravitate towards what you’re passionate about. My favorite motivational/ inspirational quote is Work harder on yourself than you do on your business by Jim Rohn.
Thanks to Jason Akatiff, Boundery!
#4- Put more effort into evaluating and summarizing my brand
I needed to determine what set my company apart from the competitors, narrowing in on what made our services unique. I wasn’t truly able to adequately do this until after nearly five years of being in business. Once I was finally able to clearly and confidently articulate how we were not only doing what the other businesses were doing, but we were doing it much better and with more far-reaching benefits.
Thanks to Lindsey Wander, WorldWise Tutoring LLC!
#5- There’s no biggest challenge
I would motivate myself by telling myself all challenges in every moment are huge. I always remember this quote when I get overwhelmed by a situation or a task and look outside of myself to find perspective. The speaker suggests that the only way to overcome each challenge or take the opportunity to improve is always from the same playbook. You need to face each challenge as an opportunity to improve and grow. God presents these challenges to you as a means to climb the ladder of success. But if you fail to learn the lesson you can’t advance to the next level.
Thanks to Jonathan Bass, Whom Home!
#6- First focus on profit
I see far too many companies in the e-commerce space raising money without actionable steps to profitability. Early on in my business journey my partner now, Justin Kemperman, drilled into me how important profiting first was. Due to that mentality, we have had several companies scale to 7 and 8 figures with no outside capital. This meant that we had to budget accordingly, put in long hours, and focus on conversions over fancy design and branding.
Thanks to Brandon Monaghan, Miracle Brand!
#7- Repetition is the key to success
Many of us start businesses because we're excited by the profits we're going to make. We think of the figures in our head and we imagine how lavish our life could be when our business succeeds. There's nothing wrong with having a vision, but we must remember not to focus on the million dollars from the outset.
Thanks to Bradley Keys, PatchMD!
#8- We learn from our failures and mistakes
When we think of Walt Disney, we typically envision amusement park rides and Mickey Mouse. However, he was one of the greatest entrepreneurs and CEOs of all time. And he said, “I think it's important to have a good hard failure when you're young. I learned a lot from that. Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you.
Thanks to Alexandra Zamolo, Beekeeper!
#9- Three things
I would tell myself not to settle for less and not to undervalue myself, and undermine my worth. I would tell myself that it is perfectly okay to tell a client that this is what I am worth instead of simply settling for less. One thing I have learned is that if you do not know your worth, people will be giving you pennies even if you deserve so much more.
Thanks to Lewis Keegan, SkillScouter!
#10- Stay on point and passionate about the original idea
As a business evolves, it is very easy to drift along with the trends and try and become competitive, often veering away from the initial product idea that is so important to your business and is the unique selling point that your customers believe in. I did that as I thought it was the natural progression for my business and it was, but the new products I released needed to be marketed around my unique selling point. I have rectified it but lost some customers in the process.
Thanks to Shaun Taylor, Moriti Safaris!
#11- Age is just a number
I started young in Digital Marketing so I would tell my younger self that you did a great job! Believing in yourself even at young age is such a great leap of faith. Don’t let your fears and worries eat your dreams away. Now that it’s becoming the digital world era, it’s such a big thing that I have overcome my fears during my teenage years. digital world.
Thanks to Jace Beeny
#12- You can turn any failure into a net positive
If you learn from it instead of beating yourself up over it. It took me far longer than it should have to realize this and once I did it unlocked an entirely new level of potential, ultimately allowing me to reach this point in my career. The first time you make a serious error in the workplace it feels like the end of the world, especially if it negatively impacts your coworkers and company. Just do your best to remember that everyone makes mistakes—and figure out what happened so you never do it again. You’ll be a stronger leader (and a better person) because of it.
Thanks to Jonathan Hill, The Energists!
#13- Stop procrastinating and delaying plans
I will my younger self that the world is a big arena of constantly changing environments where the first one to discover an idea, exhaust its potentials and evolve quickly so he can jump to another untapped opportunity triumphs. Lastly, I'll urge him to be hands-on in the game all the time as the ability to create a brilliant idea has no use if there is someone else who can think of the same but can put plans into actions a lot faster than you can.
Thanks to Steve West, Entrepreneur Nut!
#14- Focus on the journey and not the destination
If you put in the hard work with continued determination and enthusiasm, you will reach your goals! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or compare your progress to others; instead, appreciate your entrepreneurial journey as unique as you are and enjoy the learning process. It's the most important part.
Thanks to Sukhi Jutla, MarketOrders!
#15- Choose yourself, before you chose anyone else
It’s very important to choose yourself before someone can choose you. Because in our mind, we always wait for the right person, we choose the organizations we work for, we chose the roles we pursue, and even the outcomes that we want to reach. We can’t go back in time, but still, we can begin with a fresh tomorrow with the intention of improving ourselves and the people around. In the end, each one of us has the ability to reach the highest, become great, and influence greatness in others too.
Thanks to Eric Jones, Couture Candy!
#16- Embrace your messy self
The journey of an entrepreneur has many ups and downs. I would have instead left my practice and work in a 9-5 job. But, I wanted to learn, develop, and make a legacy of my skills. The failure hit me hard when I was young and initially started my business; it took me a while to learn from my failures, which made me repeat the same ones. Opportunities are always there; we just need to identify them and grab the right ones. Holding on regrets will just not let you perform better, in fact feeling proud of your decisions, and moving forward will let you win in the long run.
Thanks to Jitesh Keswani, e-Intelligence!
#17- Follow your path
If I could give my younger self advice, I would tell that it’s OK not to follow the rules. Of course, finding a new path involves a lot of trial and error, which can also mean greater potential for failure. But you should be brave and always take risks to find your path because even if you fail, there is still a path to success.
Thanks to Mian Muneer ud din, Beaufort Associates!
#18- Trust my gut in making key decisions
If I could hop into a time machine and go back in time, I would tell my younger self to continue trusting my gut in making key decisions, but seek out better data analytics to assist in my decision making. In addition, I would hire more fractional help to accelerate growth, like a fractional CFO who can give key insights that I was lacking for many years.
Thanks to Brian Lim, iHeartRaves!
#19- Learn the art of maintaining patience
Growth is something that takes time. There can be points where you face failure but instead of acting in a dejected manner, you need to work more smartly. Sheer dedication and hard work should be your areas of focus.
Thanks to Avinash Chandra, BrandLoom!
#20- Focus on your professional network
Not only to cultivate and grow your professional connections but to make a concerted effort to maintain and nurture them as well. Some of the best opportunities – both for business and learning – will come from those you know directly. Additionally, you're probably great at what you do; continuing to engage with your connections will help establish you as a thought leader and expert, which can have an amazing impact on your own professional image and business success.
Thanks to Connor Whitman
#21- Evaluating your business contacts
Make ensure your contacts and their business values line up with your company's goals and will provide value. Ask for background information and business contacts and make sure to search public records, including the SEC. Be diligent. It would have saved years in the development of my products. A lesson I learned along the way.
Thanks to David Weaver, Aphex BioCleanse Systems!
#22- Be willing and get ready to pivot
The journey of an entrepreneur has its ups and downs and if not for this belief, I would long have left my practice and instead resort to an 8-to-5 job. There'd be no challenges, no learnings, no life lessons. But I prepared myself well to what's ahead and it's by only welcoming change and be ready for it that any entrepreneur can achieve his goals.
Thanks to Michael Hammelburger, Cost Reduction Consultants!
#23- Follow your instincts, take risks, and don't listen to advice
I have learned throughout my career that without risk there is no reward. Searching for advice will never get you anywhere because everyone has their path and you will get overwhelmed by the amount of opposing insight you are offered. My number one piece of advice is to go after what you want, take action, and pivot accordingly. You will never regret trying.
Thanks to Jon Zacharias, The Search Guy!