By Meeky Hwang, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ndevr.
Every entrepreneur has different stories about how and why he or she started his or her business. I started my business accidentally. Long story short, I did not plan on starting one. For that reason, I had no clue what I was doing—it’s a feeling that I’m willing to bet a lot of entrepreneurs have, regardless of their experience.
Here are some of the lessons I learned that would have been immensely helpful if I knew them when I started:
1. It’s hard.
There is no sugarcoating it: Starting a business is hard. Maintaining and growing a business is hard. There are numerous sleepless nights spent working and worrying. There are constant discouragements and doubts. Not giving up is the key.
Persistently look for the solutions instead of dwelling on the issues. If you fix issues as they come up, it becomes more normal, and little by little, it will get easier.
2. You never stop learning.
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At any stage of the business, there are always new things to learn. What I learn each year as we try to step up to the next level or just maintain the current level is there are always newer and better ways to handle things. The amount of new knowledge I have to absorb is indescribable. As a person who loves learning new things, it’s a blessing, and I encourage you to think of it the same way. Being curious about searching for more effective ways to run things can become a great asset.
3. At some point, you have to execute.
Many entrepreneurs preach about this and I strongly agree that it is one of the most important traits to have when running and growing a business. Execute on what you learned. Execute on what you decided. There is no other way to find out what works or what doesn’t work unless you execute and collect data to evaluate success.
4. Be flexible.
There are many factors that are not controllable—the economy, employees, clients or even personal matters that can happen at any time. Not to mention that your initial beliefs could be incorrect as well. You need to be open-minded about changes when they are needed and be willing to be flexible enough to accept those changes.
5. It’s OK to make mistakes.
You will never learn unless you make mistakes. How you deal with your mistakes is what makes the difference. Own up to your mistakes and move on to fixing them. Learning how will help you make better decisions and fewer mistakes in the future.
Of course, these are not the only lessons I’ve learned. There are so many others that may be more important or valuable for different people. But I hope my experiences can help those who are starting or considering starting their business.