Lessons in Starting and Running a Business

by Mike Semanco

Lessons in Starting and Running a Business – What I Wish I Knew


I’m sure everyone has thought about starting their own business at some point in their career. Become your own boss, set your own hours, hire your own staff, raise your own capital, struggle with slumping sales… the list goes on.

Starting and owning your own business is an awesome adventure. There is so much to learn, so much to do, the rush is amazing, and the rewards can be outstanding. I can attest to all of the above based on personal experience. I can also attest to the low points when giving up seemed to be the only option – but the little voice keeps telling you to charge ahead. It’s not about you, but the people you employ and the families you help support. They are the individuals who decided to join the ride when it was just an idea. Pushing through when you have little left and somehow catching your second wind and pulling off the upset. This is what makes it all worthwhile.

Here are a few tips for those of you starting out or thinking about creating a new venture. For the seasoned pros, some insights you can reflect on:

3 Traits Needed by Business Owners – Passion, Persistence, and Patience

If you are passionate about your business, it makes the tough times a bit easier. Persistence and patience work in tandem and become a balancing act. You will find everything takes twice as long and usually costs twice as much. Customers and vendors never move as fast as we want them to. Persistence is the little voice.

Surround Yourself with Good People

Just because you are the owner and think you can do everything, you can’t and you shouldn’t. Whether it is your initial hires, board of directors, or trusted advisors, good people are irreplaceable and can help you through the ups and the downs. I have never met a successful business owner who said they were able to make it all by themselves. The right team can accomplish great success.

Trust Your Instincts

It is amazing how many times when something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.

Never Stop Growing and Learning

More of a life lesson I tell my kids, but same holds true for business: companies who don’t evolve won’t survive. There is always something new to be learned- new processes, new technology, new customer channels. Your staff should be encouraged to learn and grow in order to keep the business progressing.

Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride

Life is way too short to do anything but enjoy the present. It is amazing how fast time moves past us. I read an article reminding parents they have 18 summers with their kids. Not long, is it? The determined entrepreneur who loses sight of what matters and is suddenly faced with a sick family member usually wishes they could go back in time. Ask yourself how much you are enjoying the ride or if it is time to reassess your game plan.

About the Author

Mike Semanco is President and COO at Hitachi Business Finance. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. He began his career at banks and credit unions, and later became a partner who helped launched Hennessey Capital in 2002. Contact Mike today at msemanco@hitachibusinessfinance.com or (248) 658-3201.

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