Everyone needs to get some solid business advice from a trusted friend or partner at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to listen — or hears, but decides to go their own way.
It is the times when we chose to charge off to try an ill-planned idea that we think will work that we remember the most. Even years later, you may think back and wonder how things could have played out differently, and why you didn’t heed some good advice when it was given.
Below, 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council share the one piece of business advice they wish they had followed early on in their career, something that they now share with all of their clients. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Get Clear On Who You Want To Work With
I would have screened potential clients earlier on to see that we align. Wanting to help everyone led to trying to help people who weren’t a good match, which was a disservice to both of us. I suggest getting just as clear on who you don’t want to work with, as much as you’re clear on who you do want to work with. – Derek Doepker, Doepker Global LLC
2. Don’t Take Things Personally
I wish I had learned to depersonalize feedback earlier in my career. I took things too personally and didn’t take action on behaviors that didn’t serve me as quickly as I could have. I encourage leaders to be open to feedback and to be willing to hear the “hard stuff” before it becomes a derailer. – Grace Killelea, The GKC Group
3. Give Up The Right To Be Right
“Give up the right to be right” is a saying my mentor shared with me. I believe that now, more than ever, you NEED others. In order for you to thrive in your business, you can’t be right all the time and you can’t surround yourself with a bunch of “yes women” or “yes men.” There will be strategies and ideas and thoughts and mistakes and trials and errors. Don’t be a one-CEO show: Collaborate! – Mo Davis, Fresh Talent Sources Inc
4. Don’t Lose Focus Of Your Career
Our job should be used as a platform to elevate your career. It is too easy for us to get lost in busyness and forget about sowing seeds daily that will lead to a fulfilling career journey. – Helen Chao, Interview Right Consulting
5. Learn How To Sell Efficiently
Business is all about sales: If you don’t have any sales, you don’t have a business. Make sure you take advantage of any and all sales training that is available. You need to be able to do cold calls, written and spoken sales pitch — the more sales skills you have, the more successful you can be. It’s also important to know that 80% of sales happen after the fourth contact, so be persistent. – Gordon Tredgold, Leadership Principles LLC
6. Accept Your Mistakes And Pivot
Fail fast, learn from your mistakes and pivot. When I worked in the startup world, it was a fast-paced entrepreneurially minded culture. We had a lot of ideas that we implemented quickly. Some worked and some didn’t; we didn’t get emotionally attached, we picked ourselves back up and moved on. When it came to starting my own company, I wish I had followed those same startup principles sooner. – Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and BusinessTraining Inc.
7. Be Clear About Your Purpose
One of the biggest issues I see nowadays facing executives, and one that I wish someone had shared with me early on in my career, is to be clear about your “why.” What is your purpose in life? What is it that gets you excited, that stirs within you and energizes you? Clarity on these questions will help you design your life and your career. – John Fenton, JohnJFenton, Executive Coaching
8. Focus On Building Relationships
It’s important, when starting a new job, to focus more on building relationships than being a rockstar. Those relationships will help you and your team shine, but without them, you will have a much harder time being effective. Too often, new leaders or team members focus on getting results and looking awesome, and they end up alienating their teams in the process. – Dr. Kimberly Jarvis, All Career Matters, Inc.
9. Pursue Your Dream Job
Always do your best to pursue your biggest dream job. After all, you will never know if you could have attained it if you did not give it a try! – David Galowich, Terra Firma Leadership LLC
10. Develop A Long-Term Vision
Create a long-term vision for what you want to accomplish, pay attention to what inspires you, and maintain a practice of lifelong learning. That’s the best way to build a successful and fulfilling career, and to manage through the ups and downs that will inevitably come. – Gerry Valentine, Vision Executive Coaching
11. Do Something Unique Or Uniquely
When choosing what type of business to start, you can either do something unique or do something uniquely. Doing something unique is risky if you don’t solve a significant problem for a large enough demographic. Doing something uniquely is simply taking a product or service that already serves the market, but doing it better, which is much easier to create a profitable business around. – Dana Van Hoose, JT Foxx Organization