4 lessons I learned during the first year of TACO
TACO Studio celebrated its first anniversary on last Thursday.
Happy anniversary to us all!
Such a big milestone calls for a brief assessment or a concise reflection, right after, of course, congratulating ourselves…repeatedly. Because after all, it’s a great moment and I couldn’t be more proud of all the work we did during this time.
If I needed to summarize TACO’s first year in one sentence, I would say: it was a bumpy road. I don’t want to sugarcoat it, having a company is hard work, most probably a lot harder than you would ever imagine. Even I was surprised by the wide range of tasks needed to be done, and I have a vivid imagination.
We worked a lot, cried a little, laughed a ton and learned even more. And after all these, we are still standing. Oh yes, let’s pop that champagne.
The first year is a crucial period in every company’s life. This is when it’s decided whether it was a good or a bad idea to start your enterprise and if you are capable of coping with all the challenges you face along the way. It is also the time when every day holds something new and exciting. Not a single day passes by without you learning a new expression, a method or professional secrets.
Here are what I learned…
“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” – Socrates
Wise man and even wiser saying. You would rightly guess that it’s easier said than done. When you are a newcomer in any business field, the chances that everyone else there knows more than you, are high, very high. You are the junior who has lots to learn and has little experience regardless your age. Bitter pill to swallow or at least it was for me.
I left my previous profession knowing every single trick, shortcut and secret about the job. Everyone came to me for advice and help. Falling from a mentor position to a beginner one is a serious transition requiring a completely different mindset and a certain amount of humbleness.
I like knowing, so I had serious difficulties accepting the fact that being an expert takes time and it’s fine to be a newbie. I keep reminding myself that I have been beginner many times in my life, it’s only temporary.
“The customer is always right.” Is that so?
I wonder who said that originally, because I would love to have a chat with him or her. Don’t get me wrong, I fully agree that customer satisfaction should be or must be the main priority of a client-based service, but not at any rate. Some clients have different agendas, motivation and they might try to take advantage of you and your firm. People are diverse and so are the customers.
I paid a high price for this edification in wasted hours, sleepless nights and emotional meltdowns. You can read all about my frustration regarding the subject in my previous post, where I summed up my view in an honest way.
The ultimate goal of business is to make your clients satisfied. But not at all cost. You shouldn’t sacrifice your spare time, your integrity or your credibility during the process. I know for sure that there are certain demeanor, I should and I will not put up with.
Don’t wait to make changes
Business is fierce, especially online. That’s a widely known fact and I was fully aware of it, too. What I failed to comprehend was that I was no longer a customer, but one of the service provider. I looked at the outcome of each project with the eyes of a customer missing out the angle of the seller who considers competition, conversion and ROI (Return on investment).
When our first website got online, we were thrilled and excited. It was our baby making its first step in the wild world of digital market. However, we were blind to see that it didn’t generate the conversion it supposed to. Right at the beginning, we should have seen that it wasn’t what our customers wanted and liked.
It was maybe our ego making the decision, but we kept waiting and hoping for a better conversion. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that it was our ego talking: “How come people don’t like what we created? That’s not possible. Something is wrong with our marketing strategy.” I present the voice of denial.
We waited six months to launch a new website. Awful lot of time has been wasted because of waiting for…I don’t even know for what exactly. For people changing their mind, perhaps. Now, we know that’s not going to happen and we are the one who has to adjust without delay.
Networking takes time and effort
I didn’t think that our company would have a broad business network overnight, but I definitely underestimated the time and effort required to build it. Making connection when you are face-to-face with one and another is quite simple and straight forward. You decide to maintain a relationship with someone based on his/her behavior and appearance that you witness at close quarters. And vice versa.
You have none of that online. Social media profiles can give you hints about the personality of others, but those can be misleading. Also, people are often suspicious and reserved because of their negative past experience. I am sure you have received spam, too, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. Due to all these factors, online networking takes a lot of time and careful planning. Who knew, right?
Business may change your bank balance, but entrepreneurship will change your life.
So, my inventory for the last year:
- Did I make mistakes? – Of course, I did. Lots of them.
- Would I do it any different now? – Of course, I would. Don’t let me start on that.
- Did I regret founding a company? – Not for a moment. Being your own boss is priceless.
Are you an entrepreneur? Share your life lessons below.