Most business owners aren’t born entrepreneurs: instead, they sort of fall into it thanks to fortuitous circumstances or because they’re sick and tired of their career going nowhere. As a result, most don’t have any practical experience: it’s not like they spent their childhoods soldering circuit boards and selling them to local computer hardware stores, like Steve Jobs.

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Michael Olguin is one such entrepreneur who had to learn the basics pretty much from scratch. Over the years, he picked up a few bruises and learned some lessons about what works and what doesn’t. This is his advice for growing a business, no matter what industry you are in.

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Stay Focused On The Prize

Olguin says that things can and do go wrong in business, more often than most people think. The difference between a successful entrepreneur and one that has failed doesn’t usually have much to do with raw talent and skill. Instead, the people who succeed are those who keep getting back up after they’ve been knocked down time and time again.

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The reason they are able to do this, Olguin says, is that they have their eyes on the prize. They’re following some kind of higher purpose that motivates them to look past the day to day difficulties and focus on the end goal. In so doing, they motivate the rest of their team in the process, getting everybody to rally around a single cause.

Running A Business Is Different To Being Good At A Profession

Many people who start their own businesses, Olguin says, are trained professionals and experts in their fields. But, he points out, that’s not usually enough. There’s a big difference between being an accountant and running an excellent accountancy firm.

Olguin says that he has seen many people who are great professionals fail to succeed in business because they took the wrong approach. They thought that the way to be successful was to be really good at their profession, but the key to growth is through operational success – and that requires an entirely different skillset.

Don’t Focus On The Minutiae

Olguin says that entrepreneurs often try to take on too many tasks themselves. They want to be all things to all people. The problem is that this doesn’t work because they end up spreading themselves too thinly. After all, there’s only so many things an individual human being can do well.

One place where entrepreneurs tend to waste an enormous amount of time is IT. Instead of using IT consulting services, many insist on managing their own systems which wind up less efficient and more expensive. Olguin’s advice is to use other professionals to take care of the technical side of the business so that individual professionals can get on with delivering what they’re good at. It’s a simple cost-benefit calculation.

Always Remember, People Work For People

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Companies that don’t have a healthy culture don’t grow. Instead, they stagnate and isolate and don’t attract new people. Olguin’s advice is to always remember that people work for people, not companies. That means that it is the job of the people at the top of the organization to inspire dedication and loyalty in their employees.