What every perspective small business owners need to know.
Editor's note: This is part three of a three part series
As I stated in my last piece Accidental Entrepreneur- My Second Big Break and It Was BIG!, I noted that really didn't WANT to start my own firm and didn't have ego issues to be THE BOSS. I didn't want to order people around, I didn't need people looking up to me. I needed a space where the point was the work. I wanted to focus on what the research project needed, not on company policy, not to appease anyones ego, not to impress anyone, just to do really solid research in my community.
Once I decided to move forward I relied on what I had learned in the preceeding years and applied them as a new business owner.
8 Lessons along the way as I was preparing to launch my entrepreneurial life:
1. Do not underestimate the power of a good education.
Knowing how to write, developing analytical thinking, juggling competing priorities, meeting deadlines, how to handle having way too much to do and make it look easy these are the skills you inadvertently pick up along the path of getting your degree.
As I mentioned above, a lot of what you learn in your education isn't in the books its in the discussions in the classes, in the coffee shop chit chat, in the pressure to get 3 twenty page papers out in one week.
Just like real life, you will find.
2. Finding a career that will really work for you is like finding yourself.
Hopefully the career will consist of tasks that you are inherently good at or able to learn very well, that you actually like doing, and that naturally fit your personal traits and quirks.
And that includes your personality. Figure yourself out and try things that could/should fit. If you do it only for the money, you may find yourself unhappy and not that good at what you are doing.
You want to wake up every morning excited about going to work.
3. Find a mentor, hopefully a really solid professional on the rise.
Stick to him/her and learn as much as you can. I lucked out with mine, although sadly we did not sustain our friendship once I left her firm.
4. Get out.
Go to conferences, meetings, events, meet-and-greets.
Gather cards, develop relationships, and do NOT stalk people or kiss ass -- even people you really would like to know better, people who could really advance your career. Try to connect, and when there is real chemistry, it can help you.
If there is not, don't force it. In some cases, it takes several random encounters for these professional connections to develop.
Most people want to be nice, but they have only so much bandwidth, so be understanding.
5. Social media vs. face to face.
Nowadays, LinkedIn and Facebook and whatnot have completely changed this process of network building, but in some ways its made it harder.
Nothing can replace in-person meetings, sharing oxygen, eye contact, a handshake, eventually the occasional peck on the cheek or bro-hug as the relationships mature.
Next-Small business lessons learned 6 through 8
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website