Monumental Screw Up

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Yesterday I heard a great story about a very popular networking event where the speakers shared their biggest screw ups in business, what they learned from it and what they changed because of it.
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It got me thinking about how you can think that where you are today is where you are destined to spend the rest of your life.
 
Or when you look at someone successful you can think "Well I'll never have that level of success or  happiness".
 
What you don't realise of course is that those of us who have had any level of success have more than our share of monumental screw ups, because we've tried more and failed more!
 
So I wanted to share with you some of my monumental screw ups and what you can take out of them and use in your business.
 
Screw Up #1: Irreplaceable
 
My first screw up is actually how I got my start in business.  I had a job working as a website developer for a small start up here in Auckland, the industry was going through some tough times and the company was restructuring.
 
I wasn't worried though because I was the first developer they hired, and I was the most senior on the team.
 
Eaaaaaahhhhh: Wrong Answer.  I was let go and as I rode home with tears streaming out of my eyes I wondered what on earth I was going to do.
 
Business is about relationships, and it's not always about the commercial side of the business, but sometimes the numbers DO call the shots.  I had no paid work and other developers did, plus as the first and most senior I was also on the higher end of the pay scale. 
 
You can get it in your mind that you're irreplaceable, and of course to many people you are, but commercial realities often drive business decisions so make sure you're looking at the reality of a situation.
 
Take Away #1: Put on your "Reality Glasses"
 
With my clients I'll often talk about putting on "Reality Glasses".  This is about looking at the truth of any situation, not how you want it to be, but the actual reality.
 
Make sure you're looking at any situation from not just your view point but also your clients viewpoint and in relation to the marketplace.  Reality sometimes hurts but the sooner you recognise the reality, the sooner you can do something about it.
 
Screw Up #2: 1 or 2 Majors
 
A number of years after I started my first business, when I'd got through the first two years of business (with some help from my first business coach) things were going pretty well.
 
In fact from the early years in business I had doubled my income, and was working less and taking more holidays.
 
Little did I know that an unpleasant surprise was just around the corner.
 
I love working closely with clients, and I love having a strong relationship with them.  This had lead us to having a small number of high spending clients.
 
I see a lot of consultants and businesses falling into this pattern too, you have 1 or 2 major clients that you do most of your work with.  It's easier to focus on them and often to get better results for them
too.
  
But there is a downside, if those small number of clients stop using you....
 
It may not be your fault, they may even want to keep working with you, none of that matters of course when your income stops.
 
Take Away #2: Protect Your Income 
 
Do what you can to protect your income, this can be having multiple key clients, it can be multiple income streams.
 
It can also be long term contracts with clients to make sure that you have ongoing income - be aware that even contracts can be cancelled so without multiple income streams there is still a risk.
 
Take Away #3: Build a Database
 
Our first business coach had also told us to "Build a Database".  We had done this, and it was this that saved the day when we lost that major client.
 
We had built a relationship with these people over years, adding value  and when we started making offers to them, many of them bought.
 
In business many people jump from client to client and don't do any consistent work to market and grow a database and build a relationship with them.
 
Then when the work runs out they wonder what to do.  Don't wait until you have no work to start building relationships to get new clients, make sure you are always building your database.
 
This is also an asset in your business, if you plan to sell your business one day one of the big things they look at is your database.
 
 
Have an amazing day and here’s to creating your own amazing business.
 
Andrew Baird


About

Andrew Baird started in business when he was made redundant. Sadly he wasn't an overnight success. In fact in his second year he almost went broke. But he didn't and fortunately, he kept going.

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