It’s been 12 years since I started my first business, I was an employee for less than 2 years and I wish I would have learned more things before embarking in this journey.
A couple of things I would like to share to young folks who want to start a business:
I always liked to learn new things but I didn’t enjoy school so much. In school it was very easy to learn about things that I liked and get great grades so after school I continued to learn things that I enjoyed. This has helped me so much and for me is still a great journey.
Learn how be a good employee before being the boss
Go trough several jobs with multiple bosses to know how to manage and also how not to do it. Try to be the best at what you do and learn as much as possible about the job, the company and from your superiors. Try to be the ideal employee to know what to look in others later on. Observe how your colleagues act, what they do when they work, also hang out with them outside work. A few of the people I worked with I become friends with and later on worked with me later on in my companies.
Learn about managing people
Managing people can be a hard thing especially when you are young. I was 21(and looked like I was 18 actually) and telling people what to do was a bit difficult at the beginning, I didn’t want to upset them. I also didn’t know how to handle people that were making mistakes.
Work with your team and communicate with them.
Learn how to talk with people(partners, employees, sales people, customers etc.) and make sure that what you are trying to say is what the other is understanding. Make sure you are on the same level with the person you are communicating with.
Learn how to teach people
I was teaching people how to do things that were 40 something years old. It felt they weren’t taking me seriously some time, even with other employees that were more age appropriate there were issues.
How to solve problems
As an entrepreneur this is a must have trait, you will encounter problems all the way, there is no day at work that I don’t have to solve something new. That means you need to create a way for you to manage problems.
You want to be organized and with time you will develop your own system on how to handle projects. I still have problems with this because I started doing it a little while ago. It will definitely help if I was more organized.
Basic accounting and legal stuff
Company setup, taxes, basic accounting and everything that requires to run a company successful.
Search for a good accountant and good legal consulting, they are somehow partners in the business. Before doing something with the business ask them.
How the economy works, statistics, forecasts, markets etc.
How to handle your personal finances
This is so important and yet very few of us manage to do it well or learn about it. I was never good at this, many years I was spending everything I had without worrying that I will have money problems. In 2005, the business we started went pretty good and made money, in a couple of months we moved in a big office, employed a few dozens of people but by the end of the year we got screwed by another company and we got left penniless and with no business. At the beginning of 2006 I had to sell my car and other stuff to pay rent and make ends meet.
Learn from your mistakes
Why did it go wrong and how not to do it again next time are priceless lessons.
Know what you are good at
And keep learning about it. Try every day to be a better version of you than you were yesterday.