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Big Question: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started in business?

We asked - you answered!

As part of our Big Question feature, we asked four Forum members: what do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started in business?

Charlotte Bottomley, Third Aspect

In business you’ll learn most from your failures. You’ll grow and improve what you do / who you are after every failure. Embrace them! 

Mark Easby, Better

I know now just how vital it is to ‘let things go’. I mean that in a couple of senses. Firstly, realising I can’t do everything. Understanding the importance of building a strong and trusted team around me and getting used to letting that team, who are better than me at most things, get on with it. And secondly, the importance of looking forward, not dwelling on the past and letting things go. Of course, it’s always important to learn from mistakes and experience, but it’s vital not to waste time or energy thinking about things you can’t change.  

Andy Briggs, IA Growth 

Perhaps being slightly controversial here, I’m going to answer with: “It’s not what I know, it’s who I know.”

And I don’t mean that with any sense of cronyism. I have been a Finance Director for many years.  Several years ago I sat on a panel discussing ‘The role of the Finance Director’, one of my fellow panellists described it thus: A Finance Director is a ‘Jack of All Trades’, but knows a ‘Master’ of every one.

In the past I was never very good at networking – they’re always trying to sell you something……..? – I soon realised there was nothing wrong with that if it’s done correctly however I also released that I couldn’t know everything an FD needs to deal with, let alone what a business owner needs to.  So, to para phrase the original quote:

In business, you need to know something about a lot of things and more importantly you need to know lots of people who know a lot about some things.

Paul Card, Paul Card Recruitment

Use a business coach. Having a coach or a mentor who bridges the gaps in your business knowledge and experience is vital to developing an awareness of your blind spots. For the first 18 months of my business, I didn’t have a coach. Whilst I felt I knew what I needed to know to run a recruitment business, I now realise that I could have made even more significant progress by working with a coach sooner. The penny dropped when someone highlighted how many individual coaches a sporting professional or team use to develop their performance. I now realise that engaging with a coach is not admitting to your weaknesses but reflects a desire to improve.

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