Recently, I attended an awards dinner hosted by the Santa Barbara based Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation. I do not think I have ever come across a more aptly named organization. A 501(c)3, they host the awards dinner as a fundraising event to provide scholarships to high-school and college student entrepreneurs. It was an inspiring evening. In my line of work, I am used to meeting people who have tremendous grit and big dreams, but to have so many in one room was a real treat.
Launching a business takes a lot of time, so it very rewarding to see it recognized in the local paper. Even in this internet age, many people get their news with good, old-fashioned paper and ink. I can’t tel you how many compliments and calls I got after this announcement ran in the Star. If you haven’t seen it, read the article here!
With 2016 rapidly nearing its end, December is a perfect time to reflect on the year that has been and plan for the year to come. As a business owner myself, here are a few ideas I will live by in 2017.
Don’t fear change. Change is inevitable and unstoppable. You can attempt to hold back the ocean, but you will be swallowed up. Or you can ride the ocean. That’s called surfing, and it is up to you which strategy you will pursue in 2017.
Control what you can, prepare for what you can’t. Focus energy on what you can control. If you are a farmer, you can’t control weather. But you can control wind frost protection and crop insurance. If you are part of a family owned business, you can’t control your family members (even though we wish we all could sometimes); but you can plan for orderly succession of your company or estate. Lastly, you can never control the litigiousness of others, but you can limit your exposure and liability.
Strive for excellence where it matters, but know when OK is OK. I never saw a company fail because they picked the wrong font for their business cards. But many businesses expend a tremendous amount of energy on decisions that won’t really matter in the long run. How to know when it matters? If it will kill the business if you get it wrong, then it definitely matters. Be a perfectionist when it counts. Most issues are open to some level of compromise.
Fear failure, but not mistakes. Every successful business, individual or organization has made mistakes in the past and will make more in the future. That’s part of life. Learn what you can, try not to repeat them, and be adaptable.
On the surface,these suggestions might not sound like legal advice, but many of the legal problems I see stem from choices my clients have made. Consider in advance how you will respond to some of these issues, and you will lay the foundation for a prosperous 2017 and beyond.