a 2-minute read
When I look back on the road to get to where we are today, I never imagined being able to positively impact so many amazing businesses. Knowing that all of this started because of my own failed business venture is so incredibly humbling – because I couldn’t have done it alone.
I reflect back on days that were so difficult and remind myself about the things that pulled me through: my family, my friends, my team, and a deep desire for answers. More than anything else, I wanted to know why I failed. Deep down, I didn’t think I was that different than other successful business owners and entrepreneurs. But I knew I was missing something from the equation.
What Was the Biggest Mistake I Made?
I spent the first two years of my entrepreneurial career guessing and making decisions based on ‘my experience’. I invested in 100 different directions trying to hit the bullseye, without even knowing what the bullseye was supposed to look like.
Stop assuming you already know what’s right, what works, and how it should be.
I failed because every decision I made was based on an assumption. I made assumptions about my:
- Who they were;
- Where they hung out;
- What they wanted.
- What it was;
- How it should work;
- Why people should buy it.
- Where I should spend;
- What it should communicate;
- How it should look.
I made assumptions about everything – and I was wrong.
So no matter how hard I tried to make my business work, I couldn’t. Because my business was built around my baseless assumptions, rather than real information. I was blind to details of what actually made my business run. I was blind to the ecosystem that my business operated within. The only thing I was armed with was my opinion.
The Problem Behind Opinions
The problem is that opinions mean nothing if they’re not continuously researched, measured, and challenged. The truth is, we are terrible judges of knowing what works and what doesn’t because most of our decisions are based on what we think, feel, and believe will grow our business.
Believing something is not the same thing as knowing. Just look at the 90% of failed businesses (like mine) who believed they would succeed. That’s why, today, the first thing we teach every business is how to systematically evaluate and challenge every idea, every assumption, and every opinion, using real data and information.
Three Must-Have Processes
If you want any level of confidence when making decisions in your business, there are three things you need:
- A process for gathering real data, information, and insights on the decision you’re about to make. The more information you have, the better decisions you’re going to be able to make.
- A process for tracking the impact of your decision, in order to understand how it’s performing, what’s working, what’s not, and a plan for how you’re going to use the information you’ve gathered to make your next move.
- A process that continuously and systematically challenges every facet of your business. That means every idea, every investment, every decision, so you can optimize, improve, and fine-tune your systems to their greatest potential.
Some Final Thoughts
I firmly believe that every business has the potential to succeed far beyond its current state by establishing a culture of continuous improvement and optimization. I hope that what I’ve shared here gives you the motivation to go out there and stop making assumptions. Do your future self a favor and start informing your business decisions of the future.