Business (and life) lessons from a distinguished owner.

I’ve listened to many business advisors and read many business books. Many are well spoken and articulate and I always try to glean lessons from every situation. Far and away though, I learn the most when I sit down with a business owner and hear their story first hand. One recent lunch with an owner and I came away with these nuggets of gold:

  1. Always be cautiously optimistic. Sometimes one is stronger than the other, but it keeps you grounded in reality without being too pessimistic.
  2. The 3 circles of any business:
    1. Management
    2. Leadership
    3. Ownership
  3. The most difficult part of business is understanding the people; internal, external, clients and constituents.
  4. The best firm does not always get the job; the best firm to SELL the job often gets the job.
  5. You need to be most aggressive about marketing and business development when you are the busiest.
  6. The economy is cyclical. Be patient.
  7. Succession is about reconciling what you need to give up in the business and allowing others to grow with the added responsibility.
  8. Write it down, share it, save it.
  9. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Retirement simply represents more time to focus on the next endeavor.
  10. Legacy represents an emotional attachment to the business. The best owners want their business to do better after their departure.

As this owner spoke of his business legacy and his emotional attachment, he began to cry. To me, that is the epitome of success.

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