Every entrepreneur has their own key takeaways on running a biz and not many will like to put them in written form because they are afraid of other people’s opinions or they don’t have time for it but I will like to change that.
The reason why I am taking my time for you is that I want to add value to you so that you too can create more solutions for the world to create a better tomorrow. There are far too many problems in the world we live in and we need more leaders to innovate with solutions for the benefit of many.
So what are the top 6 lessons I learn this year at 24?
1. Always have black & white.
Whatever business decision we make for the business must come in black and white. Both parties must sign the paper and acknowledge the agreement that has been understood from both sides. This is very important so that you won’t lose your company one day or be cheated into something that may seem like a fraud in the future that will put you in a bad spot. We don’t want that to happen to you so that is why is best to protect yourself with legal papers when a biz relationship is formed for a common goal. This also applies to doing business with your close friends, family, or relatives. We must be professional in segregating our work lives from our personal life.
2. Be open to feedback.
Feedback is so important to understand people's perspectives on a product or service to see if there is a market opportunity for it in the long run. I believe many of us run biz is because we want to serve people with our values and be our own boss so that we can quit the cooperate world. However, before you do that make sure u have collected hundreds of feedback that are real rather than just getting people to fill up. What do I mean by that?
Well, I have met people who don't even know how to differentiate between a survey and a feedback. A feedback is a comment you get after people have experienced your product or service. A survey is a list of questionnaires that we create to seek the market response on the idea you"re working on or the prototype you're building. So if you have already started your biz and want to know what people think of you, get them to comment on it. It is from there you judge if the biz can be improved or expand.
3. Be patient
In the mundane world, time cannot speak but with patience, they will show us the future. No matter what happens to you, time will not stop but it will still continue to flow. We can only accept that it has happened to us in reality and there is nothing we can do to change the past but we can always write a better tomorrow while focusing on the present. So, my friends, if you make a bad biz decision, it is ok to cry but tell yourself to be patient and continue to be a better version of yourself so the biz can become stronger in times to come.
4. Sacrifice yourself for the benefit of others.
photo credit to :goodreads.com
If you're the owner of the company, then this is something you should take note of. I have realized that you must always prioritize your team when it comes to scaling the company. You have to ask what are their needs and what it takes to bring them to a whole new level. At the end of the day, no great things are built alone but they are built with a team because teamwork makes the dreamworks. In my team, I have always given them time to finish their task and I don’t want to pressure them so much that they can’t take it and soon explode which will then lead to losing one talented person for the company. This will also not be good for the long run because if you as a biz owner only know how to pressure people, then you will expect a fast turnover rate in your company. If they needed an extra hand to finish the task, sacrifice some of the company cash reserves to get another person to help with the heavy workload. It has been said that a happier work environment leads to a higher productivity.
5. Cash flow is vital for survivor
I have always believed that we must have continuous cash flow because no business wants to exist only knowing how to spend without anything coming back to them. If this happens, the company will soon cease its operation and that is why there are so many brands out there that have opened and closed over the years. We must be aware of our spending and also take note of how can we generate income for the biz because if we don’t then it will soon be a goodbye. So find out the few ways you can generate revenue for the biz and lay out your marketing strategy for cash flow to come in to you. If you are in the green biz and seeks for a green partnership, Green Hero is happy to help if it aligns with our vision to make Malaysia a Green Hub. This will allow both sides to strengthen their green presence in Malaysia and also a cross-branding for both pages to expose themselves to their followers.
6. Pivot your biz.
In 2020, we had to change our biz model for awhile when MCO landed in Malaysia. 75% of our supplies were affected because there is no food surplus from ready-packed or ready-made food. This is good news for the environment but not a piece of good news for our biz. Why did this happen?
The reason for this is because most of our partners like bakery and sushi shop has cut down on their production. The sushi restaurants no longer do sushi and put on the sushi belt. The bakery on the other end no longer produced buns that much to put on the shelves because walk in customer has decreased a lot due to covid-19. So what did we do to pivot out from this crisis?
We helped our merchants to sell their ready to make food to our customer base and slightly cheaper for the Green Hero community. This helped Green Hero to have cash flow during MCO and CMCO. The biz owners were happy with this because the Green Hero community as well helped them to stay afloat during MCO.
Moreover, we also begin to sell vegetable surplus during the MCO and CMCO period. To our surprise, so many people ordered from us because during those times, going out was still strict as they only allow 1-2 people to leave their house to do the shopping for groceries. However, there are some who are cautious about the pandemic, they ordered everything online and to be delivered to their home.
Once the MCO and CMCO are over, dine in was allowed. That was the moment sushi starts to be on the sushi belt, walk in customers starts to increase for the customer to purchase bread from the shelves, and this lead to higher production for bread too. It was then, things got back to normal, we no longer focus heavily or ready to make food but if our customers do ask about it, we will still make it for them.
In conclusion, these are the 6 key lessons I have learnt this year. I learn that when your biz is in crisis, we need to change our biz model to suit it and also overcome the challenge we faced to have cash flow flowing into the company.
Furthermore, whatever biz deals and partnership was made, we must have a legal contract that binds both parties together and not just by words because if things go sour, words cannot save you from court order but with a legal contract, there is a high chance it can save you.
Besides that, be patient in growing the biz is vital because we want to go slow and see what are the loopholes we can fix along the way to strengthen the foundation rather than just going fast and leave those holes open. Who knows one day as you grow bigger, those small holes you left behind can cause the whole thing to collapse so take note of that. We must also be open to feedback if we want the biz to grow or perhaps for someone else they may see some things in our biz that can be improved. This is because different people have a different perspective and being on the inside for far too long may make you blind to what others on the outside think of you. So, please do be open to feedback and read their inputs.
To further add on, Simon Sinek has once said that ‘Leader Eat Last’. We want to ensure that everyone in the team is well-taken care of because without your teammates you won't be able to go far in life . This is because everything has to be done by you and this will lead to your downfall.
I hoped these lessons will serve me as a reminder not to repeat at age 25 and continue to grow Green Hero from time to time. We want to make it available to more people to benefit from this initiative and to save good food from wastage. Together let's be a Green Hero that Malaysia needs.