Just because you have a few great ideas and an MBA, doesn’t mean your entrepreneurial efforts are going to explode right out of the gate. Starting a business takes time, focus, dedication, and perseverance. As our guest, Adam Mendler, learned when he left his job to work on several startups, all of the education and training in the world can’t compare to his One Big Tip.
Focusing on What’s Important
Adam had worked for some of the largest finance companies in the world before moving into the world of entrepreneurship in 2012 with his younger brother. With a reserve of great business ideas and a self-funded finance structure, the two entrepreneurs soon encountered problems. “After about a year and a half of pushing on every idea we had,” Adam recounts, “we realized that we had to focus or else we weren't going to be in business for much longer.” They felt as though both their ideas and funds were running dry. “We literally had burned through all of our savings.”
It soon became a choice between honing in on what was going to pay the bills or abandoning the business altogether. “We either had to focus on the businesses that were closest to making money so that we could support ourselves, support our overhead, and keep the lights on or close up shop and go get jobs.”
With the added pressure of closing looming, Adam and his brother decided to parse out what was and what wasn’t working, which meant focusing on just two ideas rather than pursuing every opportunity available. This gun-to-the-head approach to getting things right eventually worked, but it’s not something Adam would recommend for other entrepreneurs.
Learning from the School of Hard Knocks
Ultimately, despite having six years of business school under his belt, he found that actually doing something was a far better teacher than any particular class. Adam sums up his one big tip well: “The best source of learning is learning in the school of hard knocks, learning from your mistakes, learning by doing things wrong.”
While making mistakes is rarely pleasant, you often come out on the other side as a better entrepreneur—that was certainly true for Adam and his brother. “Once we kind of learned the hard way,” Adam says, “it forced us to really run the business as truly as possible.”
The reality is that you never really know if something is going to work until you try it. You can read all the books and attend all the seminars, but rolling up your sleeves and learning from mistakes is the true way to grow your business. “If you really want to learn as an entrepreneur,” Adam says, “you have to go and do it. And that's next-level learning.”
If you want to reach out to Adam or learn more about what it takes to get started with your own business, you can find him on Instagram or Twitter @adammendler or you can visit him on his website, adammendler.com. He also has a podcast called Thirty-Minute Mentors, which you can find at thirtyminutementors.com or on your favorite podcasting app, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or Stitcher.