Wednesday, November 4, 2009

#8 Humble Pie

July 22nd, 2009

Humble Pie

I find it to be almost unbelievable. Unbelievable, in the fact of how little I actually know about any of this. Now, I know this is probably not something that I should be admitting to everyone, but it’s true. At 12 months in, I certainly have learned a lot. So much, that I have come to the realisation that upon starting this company, I knew little and next to nothing about running a business. Now we can look at me and my experience and think, ‘of course you don’t know anything about running a business, you have never run one before.’ But, those were not my thoughts 12 months ago when I started up. People who start their own businesses are usually not lacking in confidence and are certainly not lacking in opinions of what they think is right and what everyone else is doing wrong. It is how they carve out their niche in the market and justify their existence in the first place.
Well now, 12 months into this business I find myself eating a LARGE slice of humble pie. Because I now know, just how little I know, and how much is out there that I need to learn. The Don’t Know slice is a pretty large slice of the pie. But all is not lost and there are certainly a lot of positives here. For starters, the lessons I have learned over the past year are big ones. Fundamental ones. Lessons that I will take with me to every business venture and start up that I am ever a part of. Most of the big mistakes I have made over the year are ones that my business partners tried to warn me of. But did I listen? Did I take heed the advice of the experienced, whom I purposely went into business with precisely due to that experience? Or did I go my own way? Thinking that I knew better, that I was different. That I would somehow, as if by magic, not follow their advice and manage to move the business forward almost in spite of it. I am sure that you can guess by now where this is all leading. It all leads to me eating a big slice of humble pie and not wondering where it all went wrong, but more like pin pointing it down to a T, where it all went wrong. Now I know this all sounds very dramatic, but it is certainly not as bad as it seems. In fact, the lessons had to be learned. Having them securely under my belt means that I am now in a more empowered position to dig myself and the company out of the hole. Having the ability to directly affect things and move things forward is a powerful thing. It’s certainly do or die time.
So while the humble pie tastes bitter, it’s almost more bitter sweet. I don’t think we ever stop learning. This means that in the grand scheme of things, I am like an elementary school kid. I am learning the fundamentals like reading, math, and history. Right now I am learning (the hard way) the fundamentals of cash flow, overheads, and revenue. It’s my belief that even if I had an MBA in hand and was an expert in those subjects, I would’ve still had to learn them the hard way. For some lessons in life, there is only one way to get them to sink in.
For anyone who knows me, eating humble pie is a tough thing for me to do. It does make me see how hard the ride really is. There are times when I feel on top of the world, but most of the time I am forced to see myself for what I really am. A young entrepreneur trying to turn a profit and grow a business. Even when the times are great, this is a large feat. The times being tough only make the lessons learned harder and the humble pie sweeter.

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