When most people start their ventures they have a great made for Hollywood story that explains how they saw a perfect opportunity that came to them while they were taking a shower or maybe even asleep in the middle of the night. However, my story was less of a fairy tale and was more of a painful blessing.
There are over 232,000 Achilles tendon ruptures every year, and while this injury might seem completely unrelated to business, I have come to understand that this is not exactly the case. Recently, I became a part of the 232,000 when I tore my Achilles tendon. It was easily the most painful injury of my life, but it was also a blessing in disguise. In between visits to the Doctor and Physical Therapist, I decided to launch and managed a community of websites for entrepreneurs called Hearpreneur.com. I have a genuine love for entrepreneurs and had written my thesis on sports entrepreneurship and had even written an “Entrepreneur Spotlight” Column for Patch.com. Because of my injury and rehabilitation, I learned valuable business lessons which have helped me to become a smarter and more efficient business person.
- Social Media is King – If you are a new start up company, there is a good chance that your larger and more established competitors might not be leveraging social media as well as they could. This is a great opportunity for you to break through and offer a unique experience and establish a competitive advantage. Because I wasn’t able to go from meeting to meeting with clients, I had to rely on social media and use it as an outlet to reach and interact with customers and potential customers. The great thing is that social media is so new that experts and companies are still determining how to best integrate and use the tools. Each of the different tools (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Tumblr) have different audiences and users, so even though you might have the same message you seek to deliver, you should tweak and tailor your voice and the way that you communicate with your audience on through each of these mediums.
- Be Patient. It’s A Process. – I have not been known to be the most patient person in the world, but there is nothing like an injury that shows you the importance of a process and how things don’t happen overnight. Just as my leg has taken a while to get back to 100%, I understand that business is also a process. I look at business as the same as my rehabilitation, each of the exercises I perform though they might seem painful or tedious in the long run they are making my leg stronger and stronger. While I gradually improved each day, I was still had set backs and days when I was in too much pain to even get out of bed. Business is very much the same. You might have bright days that remind you that you can change the world and there might be low days when you lose a client, but understand it is all part of the process. Remember that no one is an overnight success and that it takes time to get to where you want to be.
- Take the “Pie” Is Half Made Approach – Insert whatever it is that you like, but this is no different from the old saying that the glass is half full. Things might be bad, but remember they can always get better. While I was recovering I told myself that the pain would decrease and I would get back to 100%, but I needed to take it a day at a time. Despite all the possible negative things that could have happened, I worked hard to maintain the mindset that things would get better and took care of the little things that I needed to do to get better. For business remember to stay positive and strong because that is exactly what an entrepreneur is-an optimistic person who understands and feels fear, but still believes and actually embarks on a mission to change the world.
Gresham Harkless is the founder of Exemplary Editing, Hearpreneur, LLC which includes a community of sites for entrepreneurs and start-ups including Teach A CEO, a Q and A site and the Blog site. He regularly writes and contributes at his personal site and blog http://proGRESHion.com.