Lessons from Building a $30+ Million Company at 21

Thrown into the new age of digitalization and globalization, starting a company from scratch and growing it tenfold year-over-year is doable. Building a $30+ million company at the age of 21 sounds risky and nearly impossible, right? I am here to tell you that it is possible with the right idea and mindset, perseverance, and dedication.

No matter what age you are at when considering starting a business, the following are 5 lessons that can help you succeed when starting a company.

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Practice Makes Progress

Progress is the key to success. To make progress, you must practice. Enough with the ‘practice makes perfect’ language. This is an impossible goal that would only make one frustrated and, ultimately, your own expectations will fall short. With that said, let’s focus on what practice actually means when growing a business. When you are kicking your business off the ground, you are going to run into concepts that are foreign to you and practices that you may never have thought about in the first place. The way to success is to simply give it a try. If it does not work the first time, try again. Continue to try until you finally understand. Once you are able to teach the same concept that used to baffle you to others, you will be content with your success.

Learn from your Mistakes

Making mistakes means you are human. Making mistakes within business only allows you to grow to new heights and prepare you to increase your mental capacity. For one, you likely will not make the same mistake again, and secondly, you will be able to share this experience with those who you bring into the business, ensuring that they do not make the same mistakes or face the same obstacles that you did in the past. Every business leader has made mistakes to get to where they are today. They have tried and they have failed, many times. However, they get back up and try again until they succeed. Maintaining a growth mindset as you enhance your business, product offerings, service levels, etc. is the best way to recognize that you are always growing mentally and intellectually. Always be willing to learn, ready to adapt, and ready to succeed. Be overprepared and do not get discouraged when people underestimate you. Finally, express to your team that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them, as this will encourage them to try and learn new things just as you did, ultimately creating even more leaders.

Take the Advice of Your Peers

Your professional inner circle includes the people who will help guide you when you need it, or at times, pull you back down to Earth. When you are faced with a major business decision, receiving a variety of feedback and diverse strategies from multiple people will allow you to assess a decision from multiple perspectives. Surrounding yourself with intelligent, motivated, and capable individuals will ultimately help you and your business thrive. And most importantly, be open to constructive criticism from them. As mentioned before, we are not perfect. Although, initially, it may be tough to hear, actively listening to feedback from your peers, teammates, clients, customers, etc. and working to be better professionally will prove beneficial for the long-term success of your business and personal growth too.

Empower the Team Around You

Empowerment is the key to leadership. As you begin to grow your business, you will soon realize that you cannot possibly accomplish every single task for your business on your own anymore. This is an opportunity for you to surround yourself with a diverse workforce and empower them to identify their strengths and capitalize on leadership opportunities at work.

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You will find that empowering your team will allow for quick business growth when everyone sees their true capabilities and has a common goal. Leading by example is great, yes, but encouraging your team to lead, while you also assume the role of a follower, gives them responsibility and the accountability to make real decisions without true direction. This gives you the freedom to focus on other aspects of business and provides you with a chance to witness your progress from an outside perspective. Trusting your team to make the best decisions for the business will not only allow the business to grow, but also showcase individual growth within the business.

Find a Common Goal

Find a common goal to ensure everyone is on the same page and discuss the steps needed to reach new and greater heights. When you are leveling up, take the time to truly recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of you and your team. It can be easy to become wrapped up in daily tasks where all can forget to recognize the progress you have made. Progress does not happen overnight and celebrating small milestones can be motivational to everyone involved. When your workforce feels appreciated, they are more likely to produce better and more genuine results.

Nobody can run a successful business alone. It takes a team of motivated, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic individuals to make your dreams a reality. As a leader, you want to understand and empathize with your workforce, encouraging them to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Creating an environment where your employees feel safe and motivated by you encourages them to pursue higher career goals and see the potential in you too. To be a great leader, you must create leaders.

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