In honour of our 10 year anniversary (22 June) I have decided to write a few lists about 10. This one is about 10 things I've learned about business.

  1. Running a business is harder than it looks (the lows can be really stressful).
  2. Defining a core segment and sticking to it is hard (you could be doing so many things).
  3. When you are getting going and even after, you need to develop skills you were unaware of when you started (even if you delegate or outsource functions, ultimately you still need to make informed decisions).
  4. Reading, interpreting and negotiating legal documents is not for the faint of heart.
  5. Starting a business to avoid working for someone else doesn't work; you are always working for someone else (your family, your staff, your customers and the marketplace).
  6. Your balance sheet and cash flow are paramount once you have a payroll and other obligations to meet.
  7. Your customers are always right, even when they are wrong, because they are paying the bills and if they leave you don't have any cash coming in.
  8. If your customer is wrong too often you likely have the wrong customer and should either change your business or ditch the customer that doesn't match (get rid of bad customers because they take all your energy).
  9. Marketing and sales are something that everyone in the company does every day. Never slack off in this area.
  10. And the top thing I have learned is…

Despite all the ups and downs, I still enjoy running a business.

And the bonus thing: Business is like everything else in life; it is about the people and relationships.

From our readers:

  • Celebrate your achievements, both small and large.