Graduation is an accomplishment, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the true reality of the business world. Every owner or CEO learns that lesson sooner or later. Those who fail to don’t last very long.
There are a few other things college will never teach you about how to succeed in the very real business world. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
One-man armies die alone. You will not reach the success you imagine for yourself on your own. Just won’t happen. Sure, it may always be your name in the paper, but not because you did it on your own. The day you start believing your own press is the day you begin to fail. Along the way, you will need family, friends, and colleagues to help you move up the ladder. From each step, you will learn something, lean on someone, and benefit from the wisdom of mentors and competitors who teach you some of the most valuable truths you will ever learn.
There is truly no substitute for enthusiasm. CEOs that REALLY care will always succeed more than those who are just going through the motions because they are supposed to. You need to eat, sleep, and breathe whatever you are doing. Get deep into it, put it up on your shoulders and carry it everywhere. No matter what decisions you make, it should have a benefit for where you are and open a door to where you want to be. The moment your excitement for the business fades, you begin to drift mentally and emotionally. You will lose focus, and your business will suffer for it.
Never just accept anything. One of the easiest ways to kill your success trajectory is to simply accept status quo and standard process. “Because that’s how we do it” is NEVER an acceptable answer to anything. Challenge standard processes and entrenched protocols. Your business may be as massive as an aircraft carrier, but it should be as nimble as an attack helicopter. Never get so stuck going in one direction doing things in one way that you miss the iceberg up ahead. Be on the lookout for better paths, and always be ready and willing to turn when the need arises.
There is no one-size-fits-all management journal. You will face unique challenges and markets. You will have a unique team, unique resources and a unique approach to business. But these truths will never steer you wrong, and, if you’re lucky, they may just protect you from yourself.
Roman Temkin is a mobile entrepreneur and a real estate developer.