A few weeks ago I read an article dealing with the reality that even a graduate degree from a business school won’t prepare you for all of the lessons that real business experience delivers. Unfortunately, “The Game of Life” didn’t bless me with the ability to start out with an MBA. When I spun the wheel, my “car” landed on the chance to run a business. And, boy, did it come with some lessons.
Sacrifice — In business, an owner will have moments that will require true sacrifice. In school you may be taught what the dictionary definition of sacrifice means. But when real life circumstances present themselves, one really learns what sacrifice means.
Standing alone — At any point in time during a business crisis, an owner may be forced to make a decision alone. When you are learning in school or training at a job, it is comforting to look back for approval or guidance from a more experienced mentor. But when you are in business, often you will look back and all you will see is your own shadow.
Communication skills — Several people are involved in daily operations of most businesses. Great communication is a skill that will further relationships positively. With people who have power to impact some of your business decisions, like the health inspector, zoning or town officials, vendors, irate customers, or injured patrons, one would be wise to learn great communicate skills. The result can be successful relationships.
Quick decision-making skills — All the preparation in the world can never prepare an individual for split-second decisions. The ability to make judgment calls at lightning speed is a learned skill. After years of making emergency decisions that not only affect one’s own well-being but may greatly impact customers or staff as well, a business owner will face times when asking for help or advice will not be an option. Remaining calm and level-headed while thinking about the greater good is a learned skill.
Accountability — With power and control comes the chance of making a wrong decision for someone else. It is important for leaders to have the strength to admit to their staffs, customers, vendors, or even themselves that they messed up. Roy T. Bennett, author and public official once said, “It takes guts and humility to admit mistakes. Admitting we’re wrong is courage, not weakness.”