From Pars to Pivots – by Andrew Mears

10.07.23 Blog

I have compared starting and building a business to playing a round of golf every day. You have 16 holes of considerable effort for mediocre return, and then 2 holes where everything falls into place just enough for you to want to do it all over again tomorrow!

It’s exhilarating and challenging in equal measure!

The first two years of any entrepreneurial journey are often the most crucial and formative. As I reflect on my own experiences, I feel a sense of overwhelming pride and gratitude for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

In this blog post, I will reflect on the past two years, offering insights that have shaped both the business and my personal growth.

1. Get comfortable, being uncomfortable.

When I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey, I quickly realised that uncertainty would become a constant companion. Whether it was dealing with market fluctuations or making critical decisions with limited information, the ability to embrace the unknown has become essential.

Instead of being paralyzed by fear, I have learned to see uncertainty as an opportunity for growth and innovation. Embracing ambiguity has allowed me to adapt (albeit not quick enough sometimes), explore new possibilities, and ultimately push the business forwards.

2. Just keep swinging

Persistence has proven to be a vital trait during the ups and downs of the last two years.

Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted, and setbacks are inevitable. I’ve had some dark moments when I really questioned what we’re doing as a business and how we’re doing it. Not to mention my own abilities and resolve.

However, keeping a determined mindset and refusing to give up (my wife would say stubborn), has been invaluable. But to keep that persistence, I have had to get better at celebrating small victories, finding inspiration in the setbacks, and seeing failure as a stepping stone towards success.

3. Build a support network

Entrepreneurship is a lonely path. I realised this quickly and set about making sure I had a support network. Surrounding myself with mentors, fellow entrepreneurs, and a trusted team who provide encouragement and guidance.

Sharing experiences and challenges with others often provided a fresh perspective and helped me stay motivated and resilient during difficult times.

4. No such thing as a straight road

The business landscape is constantly evolving, and as a result your entrepreneurial journey must change. My ability or inability to adapt and be flexible has been crucial.

Adopting different ways of working, considering new technologies, listening to changing customer preferences, and ever-changing market dynamics mean you must adapt. Remaining open-minded and willing to pivot when necessary is instrumental in keeping the business agile and responsive to the needs of the audience.

5. Embracing Continuous Learning

One of the most rewarding aspects of running a business is the opportunity for continuous learning. Every day, I have encountered new challenges that require me to expand my knowledge and skills. I seek out industry insights, attend trade shows, participate in seminars, speak to industry peers, and invest in personal development.

Embracing a growth mindset will continue to be a cornerstone of the business. It has allowed me to discover creative solutions, broaden my experience and improve both myself and my business.

6. Prioritising Work-Life Balance

The early stages of building a business can be all-consuming, but I quickly realised the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

I have seen entrepreneur’s burnout quickly. Working more does not mean you’re more productive, in fact I will argue it negatively impacts productivity and overall well-being. I learned to set boundaries, delegate tasks (reluctantly 🙄😂), and take time for self-care. By prioritising my physical and mental health, I’ve become more productive, more focused, more energised. As a result, I’m able to make better decisions for my business.

That being said, I’m self-aware enough to know that it’s sometimes easier to write about this balance than it is to put it into practice. As part of true reflection, I recognise that there have been periods when I haven’t practised this balance particularly well (apparently overseas conferences don’t count as a vacation!) However, the point is that I recognise when those periods happen, and I have to take corrective action.

In conclusion…

Looking back on my first two years in business, I’m humbled by the experience and the lessons learned. Embracing the unknown, persisting through challenge, building a support network, adapting to change, prioritising continuous learning, and maintaining work-life balance have been instrumental in shaping both my personal and professional growth.

As I continue this entrepreneurial journey, I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, but maintain a healthy apprehension about the challenges we will also encounter.

The insights gained from the past two years have provided a strong foundation, equipping me with the skills and resilience necessary to navigate the ever-evolving landscape. With an unwavering commitment to learning and growth, I am confident in my ability to overcome future obstacles and achieve long-term success.

Remember, the journey of entrepreneurship is not just about the destination; it’s about the growth, the experiences, and the impact we make along the way. So, to all aspiring entrepreneurs out there, embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and never stop learning. There isn’t a journey like it, and it’s a hell of a ride!!

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