10 Entrepreneur Lessons Not Taught in Classrooms

Entrepreneurship is an exciting journey. It is the pursuit to turn one’s vision into reality and make a difference along the way. We have all seen how successful entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg were able to turn their passion into a ubiquitous product or service that people all over the world can’t now live without.

These successful entrepreneurs share common traits – they think big, they are go-getters and they possess this unbelievable ‘can-do’ attitude. They also know that important lessons in business are not always taught in school. Canon probes deeper into this topic to reveal the 10 most important entrepreneur lessons not taught in classroom.

LESSON #1. Cash Flow is King

Entrepreneurs will have to operate on a limited budget – that’s the reality. In order to run the day to day operation of the business, you must ensure that you have a healthy cash flow. The money that comes in must be more than the money that goes out. Simple math. But many entrepreneurs will argue that this is easier said than done. What with all the necessary expenses that come with starting up a new business, it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of options to make your business a runaway success.

The trick is to invest in cost-effective solutions that offer complete value to your business. For example, Canon’s MAXIFY series of printers allow a business owner to automate frequently done tasks to help boost office productivity. These smart devices can be configured to enforce automatic black and white and double-sided printing for internal documents like emails and memos. Colour output can also be deployed only when needed. The result is a more cost-conscious office environment that helps entrepreneurs keep the business going.

LESSON #2. Set the Vision. Get the Results.

As a leader, your most important task is to set the vision for your team. You will be amazed at how fast and easy you can get to the results that you desire if your team is clear on their goals and objectives. ‘Begin with the end in mind’ might be a cliché but it rings true no matter what business you’re in. Define your vision. Talk to your team. Work together towards a clear goal. No matter how seemingly difficult or impossible it is, that vision will soon become a reality.

LESSON #3. You Are Not the Boss. The Customer Is.

Successful entrepreneurs understand that when it comes to decision-making, there is only one ultimate boss – the customer. In fact, the customer can fire everybody in the company from the CEO all the way down simply by spending his money elsewhere. Therefore, it is crucially important to listen very closely to the demands of the customer. These days, almost everyone carries an iPhone® or iPad (sometimes, both) and use these devices to access important documents and contact lists. Wouldn’t it be great if you have the capability to instantly print from these devices and save time for your valuable customers?

Canon’s MAXIFY range is the perfect business tool to achieve this. This network-ready printer takes mobile printing to the next level. Canon’s free MAXIFY Printing Solutions app lets you print wirelessly from iOS and Android devices. Moreover, the Built-in Apple® AirPrint™ automatically connects iPhone® or iPad to the printer via a router. Being Google Cloud Print™ compatible, this also gives you the ability to print from virtually anywhere. So, just go where your customers are, your mobility will never be hampered.

LESSON #4. Fail More to Succeed Faster.

If you are afraid to fail, then you are not ready to win. By liberating yourself from the fear of failure, you become enamoured to try bold ideas, which will set you apart from the competition. At the same time, that boldness translates to greater mobility and flexibility. To this, it is important that you have business tools that match the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that you embody.

As success is a series of peaks and troughs, failing more actually means succeeding faster. By trying and failing, your knowledge about the business, the market, your strength and weaknesses grows exponentially and propels you to achieve your goals more confidently.

LESSON #5. A Little Ingenuity Goes a Long Way.

We’ve all heard of the story of David, a young boy who managed to slay the giant Goliath. The secret? A little ingenuity. Like David, many of today’s entrepreneurs are competing against the Goliaths of the business world. By employing a little ingenuity, you can actually punch above your weight and increase your capabilities manifold. To this, Canon Business Solutions is a great way to start.

The Canon MAXIFY can help you work more productively and even reduce your office’s energy consumption. Scan-to-Cloud uses the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine to instantly convert scanned documents into easy-to-use formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

LESSON #6. Your Enemies are Your Best Teachers.

Oftentimes, entrepreneurs are so focused on their own businesses that they forget to look at the competition. Don’t fall into this trap. Remember that you can learn a lot from your competitors – the things that they did wrong, the things that worked for them, the things that they lack. Using relevant information obtained by observing your competitors, you can then avoid costly mistakes that could break the momentum of your business.

LESSON #7. Scalability Multiplies Your Abilities.

As an entrepreneur growing a business, it is important to ensure that you have scalable office solutions that can meet your needs, when you need them. It is not wise to invest in enterprise-class systems if the demand is simply not there yet. Similarly, you do not want to be too thrifty that your office equipment is not able to meet the demands of your business. This is where Canon Business Solution’s uniFLOW software can come in. Designed to save time and money by providing effective controls over entire print fleets, a uniFLOW solution can be built from several different components depending on specific business needs. It can be scaled up as your business grows and can be integrated with existing office systems. uniFLOW offers one central platform for all PC-based and mobile print requirements to effectively link workers, contractors and even visitors to the print network.

LESSON #8. Never Underestimate the Value of Partnership.

Networking and partnerships go a long way. However, the biggest mistake that some entrepreneurs make is that they build partnerships only with existing and potential customers. This is wrong. To be successful, strong partnerships must also be forged with your vendors and suppliers. While customers can help grow the revenue stream of your company, vendors and suppliers can help reduce your cost and stretch the value of every dollar. Building your own contacts, being socially connected and establishing your core network are key components that must never be forgotten. As a business owner, you care about the profitability of your company and making sure that partnerships on both end of the spectrum are in good shape.

LESSON #9. Constant Innovation is the Key to Stay Relevant.

Find ways to reinvent your business by offering products/services that add value to your customers without incurring unnecessary expense. One way to do this is to enhance work processes. Take Sakae Sushi as an example. Because of its innovative self-ordering system, the company was able to enhance the efficiency of its restaurants, making them more equipped with customer demands. At the same time, by automating its work systems, employees’ work-life balance has been greatly improved. In your own business, you can start by automating frequently done tasks inside the office and gradually move on to automate more complex work systems and processes.

LESSON #10. The Goal is Not to Achieve Perfection But to Achieve Excellence.

While it may be true that perfection can never be achieved, aspiring to perfection can never be a bad thing as it usually leads to excellence. The best entrepreneurs of the modern era managed to cut through the clutter by embodying true excellence. From the products that they produce, to the service that they provide to the knowledge that they impart – everything breeds excellence. That’s why the market rewards them handsomely for it.

Go Beyond

The most valuable lessons in business are learned, not taught. As entrepreneurs, your mind is set in making things happen. No matter what the odds, you charge forward and pull through. As long as you are empowered to go beyond your capabilities, through scalable, smart and cost-effective business solutions, there is nothing that can stop you to learn, innovate and multiply your business with MAXIFY.