Almost three years. THREE YEARS!
It has almost been three years since my company drove a stake into the ground in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City. It is funny to look back on the process and change the business has gone through. From working out of an apartment to moving into offices, hiring employees, speaking through the mid-west, and venturing into new markets… it has been a whirlwind ride. What have I learned?
Good question. I have been asking myself this question for the past week. What have I learned over the course of three years? Here are 5 things I have learned as a generation y business owner.
1. A Great Business Partner is Invaluable.
Brandon Coon (my business partner) has been the foundation holding this company together since we started. To be completely honest, I am surprised he hasn’t quit on me. I can tend to be a little ADD and completely crazy. If you can find a person that has opposite strength qualities… it will help when planning marketing strategy, financial forecasting, and absolutely everything else you will deal with as a company.
2. Don’t Let Your Age Keep You Down.
When we first started the company and I needed to go out on the “networking circuit” to sell product and services… I let the issue of my age (being 22 at the time) destroy my confidence. I would tend to think that my alternative look and overloaded energy would push business owners away. After losing a couple of projects to “seasoned veterans”, I realized that my age could actually be a supporting model to business owners looking for a “refreshed” look to their image.
By owning to your age… you will find that people feed off of your energy. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you are too young to complete a project. Don’t ever let someone tell you that it will be impossible for you to succeed as a business owner right out of college.
We look and preach what we sell.. and it works.
3. Find a Mentor. Even a Couple.
I am blessed to count a couple of people as mentors in my network. Tony Scelzo, Lorraine Ball, Ray Hilbert, Mike Lantz and my father (Dan Lacy) are people that have coached me and helped me through the past two years of running my company. Without a support system of business owners and mentors who have accomplishments far outweighing your own… you will not make it in the business world.
Make it a point to create mentor type relationship with your clients.
4. Work Your Butt Off.
There is a saying out there: Work smarter not harder. Forget that crap. Work your butt off in the first couple of years as a business owner. You are going to make mistakes and that is a given. I have forgotten clients, missed deadlines, and screwed up print jobs BUT I have learned from those mistakes and changed.
You are not expected to run a business free and clean. You are a young business owner! Work harder than the person next to you. Out hustle the competition. Get out there and rule the world. It is yours for the taking!
5. Your Team is the Most Important Thing You Will Ever Have.
If you want to grow your company… If you want to expand into new markets and destroy new competition… You need a powerful team standing with you on the front lines. Notice I said, “Standing with you.” Your team members need to be powerful and better than YOU at what they do. We have a great team.
Take care of your team members. Take care of the people helping to grow your company. They are the most valuable things you have behind that wonderful brand.
It has been awesome running a company with one of my best friends. Hopefully, I will be writing another post by our 5th year milestone. Until then… rock out.