Life Lessons From the Business World That College Won’t Teach You

My time in the business world started quite awkwardly. Apparently learning does not come with a manual. Although it wasn’t always easy, the lessons I brought from the business world and my fledgling entrepreneurship were invaluable. College is a great networking tool and it has opened opportunities for me, but nothing can replace real world experience. Business is like poker; it’s not the hand you are dealt, but the way you play it, that really matters. In poker, life and business, a cast iron stomach and the ability to pick yourself up and keep going every time you fail are priceless. Among the things that I learned that college won’t teach you are:

Mistakes are expensive but necessary

Although they can be costly, mistakes are nothing more than a learning experience. They can provide valuable knowledge if you use them as a reason to learn and keep going. We have all made plenty, but they have helped us to be a stronger more knowledgeable business people because of them.

Get everything in writing

Contracts or written agreements might seem like a hassle but they are totally necessary to avoid future headaches. You never know when you might end up thanking yourself for having something in writing. The legal protection and the clarity it provides to the operation you are running are priceless.

Networking is vital never stop building connections

When you stop trying to build a footprint and gain ground in the industry you are attacking, you are setting yourself for failure, as the only two ways you can fail are giving up or failing to plan. My connections have been a huge help.

It’s okay to find a mentor

You don’t know everything and the odds are you could use the help early on. My first was the CEO of the Legacy Company I marketed for as well several members of the music industry I have turned to for advice. It’s also okay to share your ideas as an idea isn’t worth much unless it is built into a concept and taken forward from there.

Never stop learning

The day you think you know enough, you are making a big mistake. Someone much hungrier than you is waiting for you to stop pushing. You can never know too much and you can never want what you feel you deserve too much either.

Don’t be afraid to take on the big boys

Just because you don’t have a niche isn’t a death sentence for your business. The real difference between success and failure is how bad you want it. A niche could even be worse depending on the industry you are going into you could even be handicapping yourself.

Never Give Up

It’s like the Thomas Edison quote, “failure is only realized when you accept it.” I also love the similar quote, “many who have given up and failed never realized how close to success they really were.” Its true 99% of us will fail not because we aren’t smart enough but because only a small fraction will have the courage to fail again and again, until success is truly theirs.

Social Media and The Business World

For kids growing up today they did not know what it was like without MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter. Go back just one decade and it all started with AIM Instant Messenger. However, the big limitation to AIM was it was not beneficial for the business world. That would change soon though as social media evolved very quickly.

AIM allowed you to basically text one another over the computer and you could have running conversations with many people at once. However, it was very limited for business applications. No one would ever do business with the old social media types prior to Facebook and LinkedIn. Now the world has changed and companies must adapt to the new world or risk going out of business.
While AIM was becoming popular so were web-cams. These allow people to see each other and chat at the same time. This is really important in the business world as clients and suppliers can meet face to face to help close the deal.

The major downfall of AIM was the lack of business information. You could not portray what your business was about or anything like it. Now, most people check social media to make sure the business is legitimate and if they cannot be found many will wonder why the company does not use social media.

MySpace allowed you to customize your own web-page with music, pictures, and whatever else you wanted. It took off so fast that AIM was basically left in the dust and it went from being used by almost everyone to being used by almost no one.

That is the thing with technology, it quickly changes and the changes are often severe. MySpace was an innovative creation that really came along at the time where almost everyone was getting high speed internet. This was important because these large media filled web pages would have taken all day to load at slow internet speeds. Each of these improvements allowed businesses to thrive and display information about their products or services offered. MySpace was a huge leap for the business world and everyone in it.

With the new age of social media changing there was soon going to be another player in the game. Facebook came along and competed side by side with MySpace before taking over the lead. Many feel Facebook provides a better interface and it is easier to follow what companies had to offer and could even offer a customer service link that could not be provided before. Now, many can directly send customers to their web sites and hopefully get them to place an order.

Another newcomer is now making a strong impression on people and that is Twitter. People basically say what they are doing in just a few characters and need to make a quick and witty comment in order for people to Tweet it to others. The real benefit to Twitter is you can just make quick comments and do not have to have an elaborate site. Business benefit quite a bit as they can have a saying of the day or another similar idea that will get people talking about their company. Free advertising is the best.

Over the past 10 years social media has really changed how the business world acts. I am sure it will change again soon, but companies must act now and do the best they can with the current resources at hand. The real question to ask would be is it worth it? I would argue it is very worth it and almost essential to business today.

The benefits of social media are many. Business can now access more and more customers for free. All those sites are free and that gets the companies’ name into millions of new homes that would never have been seen before. These sites also allow you to post specials, download coupons, and use other forms of marketing that were not available 10 – 15 years ago. Almost all of the Fortune 500 companies use social media in one way or another. I am sure their marketing departments love the fact these media outlets are free resources to use to promote their goods or services. The only real cost to them is the labor hours incurred in updating their sites.

Not all businesses use social media for the same reason though.Some do it to push sales while others do it to inform the consumers. Many people and companies have their specific reasons to use it.

What are your reasons?

Beginners Journey Into the Business World

I’ve learned a lot of what I know through my own mistakes, and an equal amount from observing the mistakes of others. Perhaps the best mistake I’ve made was diving head first into the business world as a young man. While the expression “learning things the hard way” has always held true for me, it is by this that I have laid a foundation for myself, and my business ventures.

I often find myself wondering if I made an appropriate business decision, whether in regards to simple things like taking a sick day, or life-changing decisions such as quitting one job for another. I have often acted impulsively in such decisions, but my judgment to base my impulses on is something I have finely tuned. Unfortunately not everyone has good judgment, so impulsive business behavior is probably not a good idea. Either way I have determined that my judgment is based on two things I know to be true about the business world:

1. You may have a hundred competitors in whatever you’re doing, but your biggest competitor is yourself; if you don’t get out of your own way you will never accomplish anything. This is the most important factor in your success in the business world. What this means is that when you have a great idea, it doesn’t matter how great it is if you don’t implement it. If you don’t get the ball rolling no one will do it for you.

2. Opportunity exists everywhere you can possibly look. If you’re struggling trying to determine the best product to sell quit struggling and look around you; Everything is a product! And ALL products sell, which means you can make money with any one of them. If you can’t find your next lead, or make your next sale you need to get out of your chair and go get it, because it you won’t find it sitting around.

5 Animals of the Business World

My dearest friend and up-line from Taiwan, always full of amazing surprises, led a team-building workshop that I had the privilege of attending.

After her TV show in Taiwan as a business Psychology trainer, she sponsored 17 reps in her first month, breaking records in our new MLM business, and making her a new team leader here in Canada.

Kim revealed to me an astonishing secret used in the professional Taiwanese business world. There Kim is in high demand to fix multi-billion dollar companies such as Toyota, during her famous weekend workshops.

While here in North America, we have heard Network Marketing gurus teach us about different personalities, her magic, this secret of hers defies our Western logic.

In China, there are five animals representative of the business world.

1) Tiger: these are the leaders, the action people who know their business and what they want. They are the pace setters, trendsetters and set the stage for success in the industry.

2) Peacocks: These busy people know how to show their colors. Armed with great potential for team working, social networking and marketing, they shine best when they can show their amazing colors.

3) OWL: These people are loyal to the extreme. They know and excel at numbers, too. They are the irreplaceable troubleshooters, forecasters advisers and accountants of the business world.

4) Chameleons: Chameleons instantly adapt to any environment. They blend and truly connect well with anyone, anywhere. Kim says if you haven’t become somewhat of a Chameleon by the time you are 30 – you are dead in this world. They are rather indirect with immense powers of persuasion.

5) Koala bears like consistency and predictability. Hidden in the eucalyptus trees eating all day, these people can work behind the scenes often making great executives. However change doesn’t always come easy and seeing out of the box may require outside help.

Kim’s wisdom went beyond this. She said that while we usually demonstrate strengths in one personality type, many of business associates and fellow networkers have developed traits in 2 or 3 of these personality types.

So when you are recruiting a tiger, GET TO THE POINT. Don’t sell him on “why” they might want to see your business opportunity. They are totally independent and only need the tools you are offering to blaze their path to success. They prefer to sort out and solve their problems alone without outside help. Before you know it, you will be putting your faith in their ability to turn information into profit.

Peacocks do not fear risks and like to keep on the move and explore new horizons. They take on bright new ideas readily and tend to dominate others with their creativeness and originality. Provide them with opportunity to show off their unique amazing colors where they can impress others with their above average leadership qualities. They could well be the marketing guru you follow on you tube, branding themselves well with colorful photos and impressive links to draw your attention to them.

Owls are so loyal and good with numbers that you will just want them on your team, period – end of story! Build their trust and confidence by showing them the numbers IMMEDIATELY. That is all they will base their decision on. If they are asking to be shown them the comp plan get to the numbers right away! They are very success orientated and unwavering in their determination. Persistence pays!

Chameleons are perceptive, adaptive and can be very influential. Remember with Chameleons, while first finding their role and place online, they need to tap into the resources and talents of other marketers in order to brand themselves. Create a solid network marketing atmosphere for them loaded with handshaking mentors, tons of training resources and the very best networking sites they can hang out on and call home. However, the key is not to let them lean too much on others for support or they may not accomplish their goals.

A business team consisting mostly of Koala bears could need some spicing and livening up. Their responsible, disciplined and methodical manner can organize and run any business. They make excellent managers and will build solid home businesses. They are wise and prudent but their overly conservative natures, lack of imagination, over-protectiveness of their interests and their unadventurous outlooks on life can lead to stagnation.

Kim taught me to always adjust my training and relationship-building to meet each individual’s personality and needs. This information on personality traits of these 5 animals has been made available for the first time here in North America now in this article.